YOUNG AMERICANS ABROAD;
VACATION IN EUROPE:
IN ENGLAND, FRANCE, HOLLAND, BELGIUM, PRUSSIA AND SWITZERLAND.
BOSTON: GOULD AND LINCOLN,
89 WASHINGTON STREET. 1852.
Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1851, by
GOULD AND LINCOLN,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
STEREOTYPED AT THE BOSTON STEREOTYPE FOUNDRY
GEORGE SUMNER, ESQ.,
SLIGHT TRIBUTE OF GRATITUDE
FOR HIS KIND ATTENTIONS IN PARIS,
ADMIRATION OF TALENTS DEVOTED TO THE INTERESTS OF
THESE LETTERS ARE RESPECTFULLY
BY HIS OBLIGED FRIENDS,
* * * * *
I. FRONTISPIECE—CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF ST. GUDULE, BRUSSELS.
II. ICEBERGS SEEN FROM STEAMSHIP "ARCTIC," APRIL 6, 1851, 24
III. PORTRAIT OF THOMAS CHATTERTON, 56
IV. PORTRAIT OF ROBERT SOUTHEY, 61
V. PORTRAIT OF SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE, 88
VI. VIEW OF ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL, LONDON, 148
VII. A FULL-LENGTH PORTRAIT OF DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON, 150
VIII. VIEW OF THE POET'S CORNER, WESTMINSTER ABBEY, 185
IX. VIEW OF THE COLONNE DE JUILLET, 196
X. VINTAGE OF THE RHINE, 275
XI. VIEW OF A SWISS COTTAGE, 305
XII. NAPOLEON'S SARCOPHAGUS, 324
One evening last winter a few private pupils were sitting in the study of their instructor, when he stated his intention to pass the spring vacation in Europe, and his wish to have two or three of his young friends as his travelling companions. An earnest and joyous desire was expressed by each lad to enjoy the gratification, and in the course of a short period the arrangements were made which afforded him the pleasure to assure three boys that they should accompany him. The ages of the young travelers were twelve, fourteen, and sixteen. Their attention was immediately directed to a course of reading adapted to prepare them for the beneficial use of the proposed tour; and during its progress each boy kept a journal, which was useful as a reference in the correspondence kept up with friends and families at home. A companion in study, left behind, and prevented by duty from joining the party, wished to have constant advices of the movements of his friends; and the letters of the young travellers to a lad of sixteen are, at the advice of many friends, now submitted to the perusal of those at that age. No similar work is known to the authors of these letters; and at the forthcoming gift season it is hoped that the young of our country may be amused and gratified by these reminiscences of other lands.
NEWPORT, R.I., Nov. 25, 1851.
Arrival at New York.
Going on board Steamer.—Arctic.—Weather.—Passengers.—Loss of Life and Burial at Sea.—Icebergs.—Sabbath at Sea.—Land.—Excellence of Collins Line.—Adelphi Hotel.
Liverpool; Its Public Buildings, Docks, &c.
Birmingham.—Arrival in London.—Strand.—Temple Bar.—Fleet Street.—London Exchange.—London Coffee House.—Omnibuses.
United States Minister in London.—His kind Attentions.—Crystal Palace.—London of other Days.—Monument.—The Bridges.
Villages.—Camberwel.—Accidents and Murders in England as common as in America.—Greenwich Fair.—Gypsies.
Great Western Railroad.—Swindon.—Bristol.—Scenes of early Life.—Ancient City.—Clifton and Hot Wells.—Redcliffe Church.—Chatterton.
Bristol Cathedral.—Monuments and Inscriptions.—Butler.—Mason.—Southey.—Cloisters.—Mayor's Chapel.—Dundry.—Vine Prospect.—School attended in Boyhood.
Clifton.—Avon.—Hot Wells.—Vincent's Rocks.—Robert Hall.—Sublime Scenery.—Leigh Court Picture Gallery.
Bath.—Royal Crescent.—Queen Square.—Cathedral.—Hot Baths.—Bradford.—Trowbridge.—Devizes.—Cricket.
Tower of London; its History.—Horse Armory.—Antiquities and Curiosities.—Executions.—Regalia, &c.
Thames Tunnel.—New Houses of Parliament.—House of Lords described.—Fresco Paintings.—St. Stephen's Hall.—House of Commons.—Westminster Hall; its Associations, festive and criminal.
British Museum; its fine Galleries, Pictures, Library, Autographs, and MSS.—The Place to study.—Lord Campbell.—Servant who resorted to it.
Woolwich.—Naval Arsenal and Dock Yard.—Ships of War.—Yard.—Twenty Thousand Cannon.—Greenwich.—Blackheath.—Lee Grove.—Golden Cross and its Host.—Mr. Lawrence's Soiree.—Duke of Wellington.
Exhibition.—Season Tickets.—Wet Weather.—One May fine.—City Streets.—Throng around Palace.—Arrival of the Queen.—Opening Scenes.—Procession, &c.
Fine Equipages.—Appearance of the Palace.—Walk through the Exhibition.—American Contributions.—Greek Slave, &c.—Mediaeval Court.—Kohinoor Glass Window.—Austrian Furniture.—Amazon of Kiss.—Crusaders.—Galleries.—Transept.—Glass Fountain.— Sculpture.—Veiled Vesta.—Machinery.—Models.—Model of Liverpool.—Plate Glass.—Taunton Cabinet—Steam Power, &c.
Royal Polytechnic Institution.—Lectures.—Egyptian Hall.—Panorama of Overland Route to California.—Exeter Hall Sermons.—Wyld's great Globe.—Zooelogical Gardens.—Christ's Church Hospital; its Boys.
Windsor Castle; its History.—Interior of the Palace.— Pictures.—Waterloo Chamber.—St. George's Chanel.—Royal Tombs.—Edward IV.—Henry VIII.—Charles I., Discovery of his Body in 1813, Account of the Appearance, &c.—Terraces of the Castle.—Eton College.—Datchett.—Great Park.—Long Walk.—Celebrated Trees.—Virginia Water.—Cumberland Lodge.—Frogmore.
Sir John Soane's Museum, House, Antiquities, Pictures.—Hogarth's "Rake's Progress," and the "Election."—Wonderful Economy of Room, &c.—Greenwich; Hospital, Chapel, Paintings, and Statuary.—Queen's Stables; Horses, Harness Room, State Carriage.—Soyer's Symposium; Description of its Rooms.—Dinner there.
The Temple Church and its historical Associations.—Steamboat on Thames.—View of St. Paul's from River.—St. Paul's Cathedral; its Dome.—Statues: Johnson, Howard, Reynolds, Heber, West, Nelson.—Ascent of the Dome and Cross.—View of London.
Westminster Abbey.—Early History.—Associations.—Poet's Corner.—Chapels.—Monuments and Effigies.—Coronation Chairs.—Stone of Scone Statuary.—Sermon in Abbey by Lord John Thynne.
Hyde Park.—St. James's and Green Park.—Regent's Park.—Squares of London.—Northumberland House.—Sion House.—St Margaret's Church.—St. Martin's in-the-Fields.
Mission House.—Lord Mayor's Day.—Royal Exchange.—Bank of England.—London Docks.—Covent Garden Market.
Rev. Dr. Murray.—Dover Castle.—Passage across the Channel.— Calais.—St. Omer.—Douai.—Arras.—Amiens.—Clermont.—Paris.— Hotel Windsor.—A Mistake, and Loss of a Dinner.
Gardens and Promenades.—Gayety.—Flowers.—Wrong Drawing-room.—Notre Dame.—Interior.—Sacristy.—Robes and Relics.—Hotel de Ville.—Louvre shut.—Paris by Moonlight.
Palais Royal.—Garden.—Gay Scene.—Passage d'Orleans.—House opposite to which Henry IV. was assassinated by Ravaillac.—Moliere.—Marat and Charlotte Corday.—Palace of the Luxembourg.—Paintings.—Gardens.— Statuary.—Chapel.
Hotel de Cluny; History, Associations, Interior, wonderful Contents.—Julian's Palace of the Baths.—Mr. George Sumner.—Church of St. Sulpice.—Statuary.—Ecclesiastical Fountain.—Bibliotheque St. Genevieve.—Church of St. Etienne du Mont.—History.—Monuments of Racine and Pascal.—Christening an Infant.—Church of St. Germain des Pres, (oldest in Paris); its Restoration going on.—Tombs of Descartes, Mabillon, Montfaucon, &c.
Jardin des Plantes; Situation, History.—Cedar of Lebanon and Palm-trees.—Menagerie.—Cuvier.—Museum of Comparative Anatomy, &c.—Paris owes much to Henry IV., Louis XIV., Napoleon, and Louis Philippe.—Pont Neuf.—St. Bartholomew's Massacre.—Bastile.—Column.
An amusing Fellow-countryman.—Pere la Chaise.—Monuments.—Abattoir. —Consul's Office; his numerous Calls.
Cirque.—Amusements.—Champs Elysees.—Hippodrome.—Arabs.—Sabbath kept in Parlor.
Pleasant Company.—Railroad to Brussels.—Jemappes.—Mons.—Brussels; History.—Hotel de Ville.—Cathedral Church of St. Gudule; its Monuments.—First Communion.—Park.—Palace.—Hon. Mr. Bayard.
Lacework.—Money Matters.—An uncivil Banker.—Museum.—Paintings. —Burgundian Library.—Manekin.—Botanical Garden.
Excursion to Waterloo.—Hongomont.—Relics.—Belgian Mound and Lion.—Ivy from Waterloo for Mr. J.P. Hall.—Church.—King Leopold.
Laeken.—Vilvorde.—Mechlin, or Mallnes.—Antwerp; History.—Place Verte.—Statue of Rubens.—Cathedral of Notre Dame.—Interior Pulpit.—Pictures by Rubens.—Tower of the Church.—Quentin Matsys's fine old Houses.
St. James's Church.—Tomb of Rubens.—Paintings by Rubens and Jordaens.—Vandyke.—Mount Calvary.—Monk of La Trappe.—Museum.—Chair of Rubens; his Pictures.—Other great Works of Art.—St. Andrew's Church.—Bourse.—Mr. Vesey, U.S. Consul.
Dock Yards at Antwerp.—Steamboat Passage on the Scheldt.—Dort.—Lost Villages.—Bergen op Zoom.—Van Speyk.—Rotterdam.—Erasmus.—Delft. —Hague.—Hon. George Folsom; his Kindness.—Scheveningen.—Museum. —Japanese Curiosities.—Historical Curiosities.—Gallery of Pictures. —Rembrandt, Paul Potter, Gerard Dow, &c.—King's Palace.—Brimenhoff. —De Witt.—Bosch.—John Adams's House.
Dunes.—Leyden; History.—Harlem.—Church of St. Bavon; Organ.—Coster.—Flower Gardens.—Palace of late King.—Picture Gallery.—Exhibition of Pictures by living Artists.—Amsterdam.
Mr. J.G. Schwartze.—Stadhuis.—Churches.—Jews.—Picture Gallery.—Dutch School.—Columbus before the Council.—Artists' Club.
Utrecht.—Lobith.—Ruhrort.—Meet with Americans on Return from the East.—Cologne; History.—Cathedral.—Three Kings.—Relics.—St. Peter's Church.—Crucifixion of Peter, by Rubens.—Champagne for America.
The Rhine.—Bonn.—Drachenfels.—Godesberg.—Rolandseck.—Oberwinter. —Okenfels.—Castle Reineck.—Neuwied.—A Raft.—Castle of Sain.—Ehrenbreitstein.—Coblentz.
Coblentz.—The Moselle.—Excursion to Stolzenfels.—Curiosities.—Fine View.—Boat up to Mayence.—The Brothers.—Rheinfels.—Lurley Rock.—Seven Sisters.—Pfalz.—The Rheingau.—Falkenberg.—Rheinstein. —Assmanshausen.—Ehrenfels.—Mausetherm.—Bingen.—Geisenheim. —Johannisberg.—Erbach.—Biberich.—Mayence.—John Guttemberg's Statue—Austrian Troops.—An English Nobleman.
Frankfort.—The Roemer; its Portraits of the Emperors.—Mr. Bethman's Gallery of Statuary.—Ariadne.—Jews' Quarters.—Darmstadt.—The Bergstrasse.—Heidelberg.—Castle.—Baden.—Kehl.—Strasburg.
Cathedral; Its History; Interior Clock.—St. Thomas's Church.—Kleber's Tomb.
Vosges Mountains.—Vineyards.—Colmar.—Muehlhausen.—Basle.—Black Forest.—United States Consul, Mr. Burchardt.—Cathedral.—Tomb of Erasmus.—Chapter House.—Holbein Gallery.—University.—Library. —MSS.—St. Jacob.—Tea Party.
Moutiers Valley.—Sublime Scenery.—Domach.—Arch.—Roman Antiquities.—Berne.—Mechanical Clock.—Cathedral; Organ, Choir, Bears.—Lausanne.
Mountain Scenery.—Hotel Gibbon.—Episcopal Church.—Signal.—Hotel de Ville, and its kind Inhabitants.—Cathedral; its History.—Steamboat to Vevay.—Castle of Chillon.—St. Martin's Church and the Regicides.—Geneva.—Cathedral.—Museum.—Calvin's MBS.—D'Aubigne.—Gaussen—Malan.—Evangelical Association; its Anniversary.—Count George.—Soiree.—Mr. Delorme.—The Saleve.—Savoy.—Rousseau's Island.
Diligence for Dijon.—Fine Scenery.—Dijon; History.—Railroad to Paris.—Sens.—Cathedral.—Fontainebleau.
Methodist Chapel.—Madeline.—Pantheon.—Louvre, open.—Statuary and Paintings.—Versailles.—Statuary.—Series of National Paintings.—Portraits of distinguished Men.—Apartments.—Gardens and Fountains.—Grand and Petit Trianon.—Passy.—St. Cloud.
Glass Depot—American Friends.—Good Intentions.—Hospital des Invalides.—Garden of the Tulleries; its Scenery.—Triumphal Arch.—Chapel of St. Ferdinand.—National Library.—A Tradesman's Memory.
Calais; its Recollections.—Rough Passage of the Channel.—Dover.—Mr. Peabody's Entertainment on the Fourth of July described.—Company.—A patriotic Act.
Entertainment at the Belgian Minister's.—Young Nobility.—A noble Boy.—Craven Chapel.—Slavery.—Exhibition.—Pauper Labor.—Need of a Tariff.
Kind Friends at Bristol,—Weston Super Mare.—Museum of Baptist College.—Highbury Chapel.—Old Houses of Bristol.—Fine Churches.
River Avon.—Wye.—Chepstow.—St. Aryan's.—Wynd Cliff.—Glorious Scenery.—Tintern Abbey; its History.—Ragland Castle; Appearance.—Marquis of Worcester.—Chopstow Castle.—Henry Marten.—Defence of the Parliamentary Party.—Severn River.—Old Passage.—Henbury.—Blaize Castle.—Birthday Lines.
Leave Bristol.—Berkeley.—Cheltenham.—Birmingham; Manufactories.—Rev. John Angell James.—Mr. Vanwart.—Liverpool.—Chester; its Antiquity.—Cathedral.—Rows and Pillars.—Englishmen and Americans have much in Common.—Royal Agricultural Exhibition at Windsor.
Passage Home in the Steamer Atlantic.—Claims of the Collins Line.—Lessons taught by Travel in other Lands.—Our Comforts.—Excellent Character of many of the English Nobility.—Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.—Prospect of Affairs in Europe.—Popery as seen in her proper Territories.
Young Americans Abroad.
ASTOR HOUSE, NEW YORK, April 1, 1851.
I have just arrived at this place, and have found my companions on hand, all ready for the commencement of the long-anticipated voyage. We regret the circumstances which render it your duty to remain, and we all feel very sorry for the disappointment of your wishes and our hopes. You will, however, feel happy in the thought that you are clearly in the path of duty; and you have already learnt that that path is a safe one, and that it always leads to happiness. You have begged us all to write to you as frequently as we can, and we have concluded to send you our joint contributions, drawing largely upon our journals as we move from place to place; and, as we have for so many years had pleasant intercourse in the family circle, we wish to maintain it by correspondence abroad. Our letters will, of course, be very different in their character and interest, because you will bear in mind that out ages are different; and we shall write you from a variety of points, some having a deeper interest than others. I trust that this series of letters will give you a general view of our movements, and contribute to your gratification, if not to your instruction. The weather is delightful, and we are anticipating a fine day for leaving port. It is to all of us a source of pain that we are deprived of your sunny smile; and while we are wandering far away in other lands, we shall often, in fancy, listen to your merry laugh; and I assure you, my dear fellow, that, wherever we rove, it will be amongst our pleasantest thoughts of home when we anticipate the renewal of personal intercourse with one who has secured so warm a place in our affections.
ADELPHI HOTEL, LIVERPOOL, April 14.
It is but twelve days since we parted, and yet we are actually in the old world, and the things which we have so often talked over on the rock-bound shore are really before me. Yes, we are on the soil of Old England, and are soon to see its glories and greatness, and, I fear, its miseries, for a bird's eye view has already satisfied me that there is enough of poverty. You know we left New York in a soaking rain, and the wind blowing fresh from the north-east. We all felt disappointed, as we had hoped to pass down the bay, so celebrated for its beauty, with the bright sunshine to cheer our way; but we had to take comfort from the old proverb, that "a bad beginning makes a good ending." James, George, and I had made up our minds to a regular time of sea-sickness, and so we hastened to put our state room into order and have all our conveniences fixed for the voyage. As soon as we had made matters comfortable, we returned to the deck, and found a most formidable crowd. Every passenger seemed to have, on the occasion, a troop of friends, and all parts of the immense steamer were thronged. The warning voice of "all on shore" soon caused a secession, and at twelve o'clock we had the great agent at work by which we hoped to make headway against wind and wave. The cheering of the crowd upon the wharf was hearty as we dropped into the river, and its return from our passengers was not lacking in spirit. The Arctic, you know, is one of the Collins line of steamers, and I was not a little surprised at her vast size and splendid accommodations, because I had only seen the Cunard boats in Boston, which are very inferior, in size and comfort, to this palace and tower of the ocean.
We all anticipated a hard time of it, from the severe storm which raged all the morning, and I, in common with all the passengers, was delighted to find it any thing but rough water outside the Hook. We kept steaming away till we lost sight of land with the loss of daylight, and yet the sea was in less commotion than it frequently exhibits in Newport Harbor. The next morning, at breakfast, we had quite a fair representation at table, and I think more than two thirds presented themselves for duty. We boys were all on hand, and passed for "able-bodied men." The routine of life on board was as follows: We breakfasted at eight, lunched at twelve, dined at four, took tea at half past six, and from nine till eleven gentlemen had any article for supper they saw fit to order. This is quite enough of time for taking care of the outer man, and any one careful of his health will be sure to intermit one or two of these seasons. All the meals were excellent, and the supplies liberal. The tables present a similar appearance to those of a first-class hotel. In regard to our passengers, I think I can say, with confidence, that a more agreeable set of persons could not well have been gathered together. It really was a nicely-assorted cargo. We numbered one hundred and thirty, and the various parts of our country were all represented. Philadelphia sent the largest delegation; from that city we had more than twenty. I liked the looks of the passengers at the first glance, and every day's intercourse heightened my estimate of their worth and pleasantness. Amongst the company we had Professor Haddock, of Dartmouth College, going out to Portugal as charge d'affaires. He was accompanied by his lady and son. Then, too, we had the world-renowned Peter Parley, with his accomplished family circle. Mr. Goodrich, after a long life of labor for the youth of his country, for whose reading and instruction he has done so much, has been honored by the government of the United States with an appointment as consul at Paris. Mr. Goodrich resided there for two or three years, and was in Paris during the revolution of 1848. He seems fond of the company of young people, and we spent a great deal of time on board with him, listening to his stories, some made up for the occasion, and narrations of the events in February at Paris, and some capital anecdotes about the last war with England, during which he served his country in the army. The Hon. George Wright, of California, and her first representative in Congress, was also one of our party; and his glowing descriptions of the auriferous regions kept groups of audience for many an hour. The Rev. Arthur Cleveland Cox, of Hartford, favorably known as the author of some pleasant rhymes and sonnets, Mr. Cunningham, a southern editor, and several retired sea captains, all contributed to enhance the agreeableness of the voyage. I am sorry to tell you that, three days out, we had a sad occurrence in our little world. Just as we were sitting down to lunch at eight bells, the machinery stopped for a moment, and we were informed that William Irwin, one of the assistant engineers, was crushed to death. He accidentally slipped from his position, and was killed instantaneously. In less than half an hour he was sewed up in canvas, and all hands called to attend his funeral services! The poor fellow was laid upon a plank covered with the American flag, and placed at the wheel-house. The service was performed by Mr. Cox, in full canonicals; and I can assure you that the white-robed priest, as he issued from the cabin and ascended the wheel-house, really looked impressively. At the close, he was committed to the deep. What food for thought was here! A man in health and at life's daily task,—alive,—dead,—and buried,—all these conditions of his state crowded into thirty minutes! The poor man had a mother who was dependent upon him. Dr. Choules drew up a subscription paper for her benefit, and nearly five hundred dollars were at once raised for her relief. This unhappy event, of course, gave a sad damper to the joyous feelings which existed on board, and which were excited by our fine weather and rapid headway. On Sunday we had two sermons in the cabin to large congregations, all the passengers attending, with the officers and many of the crew. The morning service was by Dr. Choules, and the evening one by Mr. Cox.
In the afternoon, April 6, we had the gratification to see a magnificent iceberg. We were in lat. 43 deg. 4', lon. 53 deg. 11' at twelve o'clock, and at three the ice appeared at about ten miles' distance. The estimated height was about three hundred feet. One if the passengers took a sketch. I also made one, and have laid it aside for your inspection.
The berg had much the appearance of the gable end of a large house, and at some little distance there was another, of tower-like aspect, and much resembling a light-house. The effect of the sun upon it, as we saw it in various positions, was exceedingly fine. On Monday, the 7th, we saw a much larger one, with several small ones as neighbors. This was probably one mile in length, and about two hundred feet high.
We saw several whales frolicking at the distance of a mile, and distinctly saw them spout at short intervals.
After having had all reason to hope for a ten-day passage, we were annoyed for four or five days with head winds, materially retarding our headway. The evenings of the voyage were generally spent on deck, where we had charming concerts. Seldom have I heard better singing than we were favored with by eight or ten ladies and gentlemen. One universal favorite was the beautiful piece, "Far, far at sea." On Sunday, the 13th, just after morning service, conducted by Mr. Cox, we made Mizzen Head, and obtained a magnificent view of the north coast of Ireland, which was far more beautiful than we had expected. The coast is very bold, and the cliffs precipitous, in many places strongly reminding us of the high lands of the Hudson. A more exquisite treat than that which we enjoyed all the afternoon in looking on the Irish coast I can hardly imagine. At night we had a closing service, and Dr. Choules preached. Every one seemed to feel that we had cause for thankfulness that we had been brought in safety across the ocean, and under so many circumstances of enjoyment We have made acquaintances that are truly valuable, and some of them I hope to cultivate in future life. One of the great advantages of travel, Charles, seems to be, that it enables us to compare men of other places than those we live in with our former acquaintances. It brings us into intercourse with those who have had a different training and education than our own; and I think a man or boy must be pretty thoroughly conceited who does not often find out his own inferiority to many with whom he chances to meet. On board our ship are several young men of fine attainments, who, engaged in mechanical business, are going out to obtain improvement and instruction by a careful study of the great exhibition. A number of gentlemen with us are young merchants, who represent houses in our great cities, and go to England and France twice and three times every year. Some of these are thoroughly accomplished men, and, wherever they go, will reflect credit upon their country. In no country, perhaps, do young men assume important trusts in commercial life at so early a period as in America. I have heard one or two Englishmen on board express their surprise at finding large business operations intrusted to young men of twenty and twenty-one; and yet there are some such with us who are making their second and third trips to Manchester, Leeds, Paisley, and Paris, for the selection of goods.
I ought to tell you that, on the last day of the voyage, we had a great meeting in the cabin, Mr. Goodrich in the chair, for the purpose of expressing the satisfaction of the passengers with the Arctic, her captain, officers, and engineer. Several good speeches were made, and some resolutions passed. This has become so ordinary an affair at the termination of a passage, as to have lost much of its original value; but as this ship had an unusual number of passengers, many of them well known to their fellow-countrymen, and as great opposition had been displayed, on both sides of the ocean, to this line of steamers, it was thought suitable to express our views in relation to this particular ship and the great undertaking with which she is identified. Every man on board was satisfied that, in safety, these ships are equal to the Cunard line; while in comfort, accommodation, size, and splendor they far surpass their rivals. It really seems strange to us that Americans should think of making the ocean trip in an English steamship, when their own country has a noble experiment in trial, the success of which alone depends upon the patriotism and spirit of her citizens. The English on board are forced to confess that our ship and the line are all that can be asked, and I think that pretty strong prejudices have been conquered by this voyage. Every one left the ship with sentiments of respect to Captain Luce, who, I assure you, we found to be a very kind friend, and we shall all of us be glad to meet him again on ship or shore.
On Monday, the 14th, at three o'clock, we took our pilot, and at eight o'clock we anchored off Liverpool, and a dark-looking steamtug came off to us for the mails, foreign ministers, and bearers of despatches. As we came under the wing of one of the last-named class of favored individuals, we took our luggage, and proceeded straight to the Adelphi Hotel. I ought to say that James was the first to quit the ship and plant his foot on Old England. It was quite strange to see it so light at half past eight o'clock, although it was a rainy evening. I shall not soon forget the cheerful appearance of the Adelphi, which, in all its provisions for comfort, both in the coffee-room and our chambers, struck me more favorably than any hotel I had ever seen. Although our state-room on board the Arctic was one of the extra size and every thing that was nice, yet I long for the conveniences of a bed-chamber and a warm bath. I am quite disposed to join with the poor Irish woman who had made a steerage passage from New York to Liverpool in a packet ship; and when landed at St. George's pier, and seated on her trunk, a lady who had also landed, when getting into her carriage, said, "Well, my good woman, I suppose you are very glad to get out of the ship?" Her reply was, "And indeed, my lady, every bone in my body cries out feathers!"
Well, we have fairly commenced our travel, and yet I can scarcely realize the fact that I am here in Old England, and that, for some months at least, I shall be away from home and the occupations of the school-room. The next day after landing we went to the custom-house to see our fellow-passengers pass their effects, and really felt glad to think of our good fortune in landing every thing at night and direct from the ship. It was an exciting scene, and I was not a little amused to observe the anxiety of the gentlemen to save their cigars from the duty imposed, and which amounts to nine shillings sterling per pound. All sorts of contrivances were in vogue, and the experiences of men were various, the man with one hundred, perhaps, being brought up, while his neighbor with five hundred passed off successfully, and, as he cleared the building, seemed disposed to place his finger on the prominent feature of his face.
I quite like the appearance of Liverpool. After walking through the principal streets and making a general survey of the shops,—no one speaks of store,—I think I can testify to the extraordinary cleanness of the city, and the massiveness and grandeur of the public buildings.
Our attention was first directed to the cemetery which had been described, you remember, to us one evening in the study. It is on the confines of the city, and is made but of an old quarry. I liked it better than any cemetery I ever saw; it is unlike all I had seen, and, though comparatively small, is very picturesque, I may almost say romantic. The walls are lofty, and are devoted to spacious tombs, and the groundwork abounds in garden shrubbery and labyrinth. Some of the monuments are striking. The access to this resting-place is by a steep cut through the rock, and you pass under an archway of the most imposing character. At the entrance of the cemetery is a neat chapel, and the officiating minister has a dwelling-house near the gate.
I wish you could see a building now in progress, and which has taken twelve or fourteen years to erect, and from its appearance will not, I suppose, be finished in four or five more. It is called St. George's Hall. The intent is to furnish suitable accommodations for the various law courts, and also to contain the finest ball-room in Europe. It is in a commanding position. I know little of architecture, but this building strikes me as one of exquisite beauty. We obtained an order from the mayor to be shown over it and examine the works, and we enjoyed it very much. The great hall will be without a rival in England. The town hall is a noble edifice, and the people are quite proud of it. The interior is finely laid out, and has some spacious rooms for the civic revelries of the fathers of the town. The good woman who showed us round feels complacently enough as she explains the uses of the rooms. The ball-room is ninety feet by forty-six, and forty feet high. The dining and drawing-rooms are spacious apartments. On the grand staircase is a noble statue of George Canning, by Chantrey, whose beautiful one of Washington we have so often admired in the Boston State House. In the building are some good paintings of the late kings; one or two by Sir Thomas Lawrence. The Exchange is directly behind the hall, and contains in the centre a glorious bronze monument to Lord Nelson, the joint production of Wyat and Westmacott. Death is laying his hand upon the hero's heart, and Victory is placing a fourth crown on his sword. Ever since I read Southey's Life of Nelson, I have felt an interest in every thing relating to this great; yet imperfect man. You know that illustrated work on Nelson that we have so often looked at it contains a large engraving of this monument. As Yankee boys, we found our way to the top of the Exchange, to look at the cotton sales-room. This same room has more to do with our good friends at the south than any other in the world. The atmosphere would have been chilly to a Georgian planter, as cotton was down—down.
The Necropolis is a very spacious burying-place, open to all classes, and where persons can be interred with the use of any form desired. The gateway is of stone, and not unlike the granite one at Mount Auburn; and on one side is a chapel, and on the other a house for the register. Not far from this we came to the Zooelogical Gardens, kept in excellent order, and where is a good collection of animals, birds, &c. The Collegiate Institution is an imposing structure in the Tudor style.
St. George's Church, which stands at the head of Lord Street, occupies the position of the old castle, destroyed, I believe, more than one hundred and fifty years ago, and is a very graceful termination to one of the best business avenues of the city. Several of the churches and chapels are in good style. But one of the best buildings is—as it should be, in a city like this—the Sailor's Home, not far from the Custom House. This is a highly-ornamented house, and would adorn any city of the world.
The Custom House is thought to be one of the finest buildings in the kingdom. It occupied ten years in its erection. It is composed of three facades, from a rusticated pavement, each having a splendid portico of eight Ionic columns. The whole is surmounted by a dome, one hundred and thirty feet high, and the effect of the building is excellent. The glory of Liverpool is her docks, and a stranger is sure to be pointed to the great landing stage, an immense floating pier, which was moored into its present position on the 1st of June, 1847. This stage is five hundred and seven feet long, and over eighty feet wide. This mass of timber floats upon pontoons, which have to support more than two thousand tons. At each end is a light barge.
In the Clarence dock are to be found the Irish and coasting steamers, and to the north are the Trafalgar, Victoria, and Waterloo docks; the Prince's dock, and the Great Prince's dock basin. On the outside of all these is a fine parade, of about one half a mile, and which affords one of the most beautiful marine promenades in the world, and gives an interesting view of the Cheshire shore, opposite the city. The Prince's dock is five hundred yards long, and one hundred broad. Vessels, on arriving, discharge on the east side, and take in cargo on the west. Besides all these there is the Brunswick dock, Queen's dock, Duke's dock, Salthouse dock, &c.
The Royal Liverpool Institution is a great benefit to the inhabitants. It has a good library, fine collections of paintings, and a good museum of natural history. Many of these paintings belong to the early masters, and date even before the fifteenth century. We were interested to find here a complete set of casts of the Elgin marbles. The originals were the decorations of the Parthenon at Athens, and are now in the British Museum. As we shall spend some time in that collection, I say no more at present about these wonderful monuments of genius. The Athenaeum and the Lyceum are both fine buildings, and each has a good library, lecture, and news rooms.
We were disappointed at finding the Rev. Dr. Raffles, the most eloquent preacher of the city, out of town. He was the successor of Spencer, who was drowned bathing in the Mersey, and his Life by Raffles is one of deep interest. The great historical name of Liverpool is William Roscoe, the author of the Lives of Leo X. and the Medici. I must not omit to tell you that, during our stay, the town was all alive with a regiment of lancers, just arrived from Ireland, on their way to London. They are indeed fine-looking fellows, and are mounted on capital horses. I have watched their evolutions in front of the Adelphi with much pleasure, and have been amused to notice a collection of the most wretched-looking boys I ever saw, brought together by the troops. There seems to me more pauperism this week, in Liverpool, than I ever saw in New York in my life.
Does it not seem strange that I am here in London? I can hardly tell what to write about first. I stand at the door of our hotel and look at the crowds in the streets, and then at old King Charles, at Charing Cross, directly across the road, and when I think that this is the old city where Wat Tyler figured, and Whittington was lord mayor, and Lady Jane Grey was beheaded, and where the Tower is still to be seen, I am half beside myself, and want to do nothing but roam about for a good month to come. I have read so much concerning London, that I am pretty sure I know more about it than many of the boys who have heard Bow Church bells all their lives. We left Liverpool for Birmingham, where we passed an afternoon and evening in the family of a manufacturer very pleasantly, and at ten o'clock took the express mail train for London. We are staying at a hotel called the Golden Cross, Charing Cross. We have our breakfast in the coffee-room, and then dine as it suits our convenience as to place and hour. We spent one day in riding about the city, and I think we got quite an idea of the great streets.
The Strand is a very fine business street, perhaps a mile long. It widens in one part, and has two churches in the middle of it, and a narrow street seems built inside it at one place, as nasty, dirty a lane as I ever saw, called Hollowell Street. I was very much delighted at the end of the Strand to see old Temple Bar, which is the entrance to the city proper, and which divides Fleet Street from the Strand. It is a noble archway, with small side arches for foot passengers. The head of many a poor fellow, and the quarters of men called traitors, have been fastened over this gateway in former times.
Dr. Johnson was once walking in Westminster Abbey with Goldsmith, and as they were looking at the Poet's Corner, Johnson said to his friend,—
"Forsitan et nostrum nomen miscebitur istis."
When they had walked on to Temple Bar, Goldsmith stopped Johnson, and pointed to the heads of Fletcher and Townley, hanging above, and slyly remarked,—
"Forsitan et nostrum nomen miscebitur istis."
I suppose you remember that the great dictionary man was a Jacobite in his heart.
The present bar was put up in 1670, and was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. The statues on the sides, which are towards the city, are those of Queen Elizabeth and James I.; and towards the Strand, those of Charles I. and Charles II. They stand in niches.
Whenever the monarch passes into the city, there is much ceremony takes place at the bar. The gates are closed, a herald sounds a trumpet and knocks for entrance, the gates are opened, and the lord mayor of London presents the sword of the city to the sovereign, who returns it to his lordship. The upper part of the bar is used by Messrs. Childs, the bankers, as a store room for their past account books.
Fleet Street is thronged with passengers and carriages of all sorts. Just a few doors from the bar, on the right-hand side, is a gayly-painted front, which claims to have been a palace of Henry VIII. and the residence of Cardinal Wolsey. It is now used as a hair-cutting shop, up stairs. We went up and examined the panelled ceiling, said to be just as it used to be. It is certainly very fine, and looks as if it were as old as the times of bluff Harry. Of course we had our hair cut in the old palace.
We followed through Fleet Street, noticing the offices of Punch and the London Illustrated News, till we came to Ludgate Hill,—rather an ascent,—which is the direct way to the Cathedral Church of St. Paul's. It stands directly in front of Ludgate Hill, and the churchyard occupies a large space, and the streets open on each side, making a sort of square called Paul's Churchyard, and then at the rear you go into Cheapside. We looked with interest, I can tell you, at Bow Church, and, as the old bells were ringing, I tried to listen if I could hear what Whittington heard once from their tingling—"Turn again, Whittington, lord mayor, of London." At the end of this street, on the right hand, is the lord mayor's house, called the Mansion House, and directly in front of the street, closing it up, and making it break off, is the Royal Exchange; whilst at the left is the Bank of England. All these are very noble-looking buildings, and you will hear about them from us as we examine them in our future walks. We went to the counting-house of Messrs. Baring & Co., the great merchants and bankers for so many Americans, and there we found our letters and got some money. Mr. Sturgis, one of the partners, told us to take the check to the bank, No. 68 Lombard Street, and informed us that was the very house where the great merchant of Queen Elizabeth's time—Sir Thomas Gresham—used to live. He built the first London Exchange, and his sign, a large grasshopper, is still preserved at the bank. On Good Friday we had bunns for breakfast, with a cross upon them, and they were sold through the streets by children, crying "One a penny, two a penny, hot cross bunns." We took a carriage and rode to Camden town to visit a friend; thence we took the cars, to Hackney, and called on the Rev. Dr. Cox, who some fifteen years ago made the tour of the United States, and wrote a volume on our country. We then returned to London, and took our dinner at the London Coffee House, Ludgate Hill. This has been a very celebrated house for one hundred years, and figures largely in the books of travellers fifty years ago. It has a high reputation still, and every thing was excellent, and the waiting good. You cannot walk about London without observing how few boys of our age are to be seen in the streets, and when we asked the reason, we were told that nearly all the lads of respectable families were sent to boarding schools, and the vacations only occur at June and December; then the boys return home, and the city swarms with them at all the places of amusement. We seemed to be objects of attention, because we wore caps; (here boys all wear hats;) and then our gilt buttons on blue jackets led many to suppose that we were midshipmen. The omnibuses are very numerous, and each one has a conductor, who stands on a high step on the left side of the door, watching the sidewalks and crying out the destination of the "bus," as the vehicle is called. There is a continual cry, "Bank, bank," "Cross, cross," "City, city," &c. I must not forget to tell you one thing; and that is, London is the place to make a sight-seeing boy very tired, and I am quite sure that, in ten minutes, I shall be unable to do what I can now very heartily, viz., assure you that
I am yours, affectionately,
After passing a day or two in a general view of the city, and making some preliminary arrangements for our future movements, we all called upon Mr. Lawrence, the minister of our country at the court of St. James, which expression refers to the appellation of the old palace of George III. Mr. Lawrence resides in Piccadilly, opposite the St. James's Park, in a very splendid mansion, which he rents from an English nobleman, all furnished. We were very kindly received by his excellency, who expressed much pleasure at seeing his young countrymen coming abroad, and said he was fond of boys, and liked them as travelling companions. I handed him a letter of introduction from his brother. Mr. Lawrence offered us all the facilities in his power to see the sights, and these are great, for he is furnished by the government of England with orders which will admit parties to almost every thing in and about London. Amongst other tickets he gave us the following admissions: to the Queen's stables, Windsor Castle, Dulwich Gallery, Woolwich Arsenal, Navy Yard, Sion House, Northumberland House, Houses of Parliament, and, what we highly valued, an admission to enter the exhibition, which is yet unfinished, and not open to inspection.
After leaving the minister, we paid our respects to Mr. Davis, the secretary of legation, and were kindly received. We walked on from Piccadilly to the Crystal Palace, passing Apsley House, the residence of the Duke of Wellington, and soon reached Hyde Park, with its famous gateway and the far-famed statue of "the duke." As we shall go into some detailed account of the palace after the exhibition opens, I would only say, that we were exceedingly surprised and delighted with the building itself, and were so taken up with that as hardly to look at its contents, which were now rapidly getting into order. The effect of the noble elms which are covered up in the palace is very striking and pleasing, and very naturally suggests the idea that the house would, by and by, make a glorious green-house for the city, where winter's discontents might be almost made into a "glorious summer." A poor fellow was killed here, just before we entered, by falling through the skylight roof. He was at work on a plank laid across the iron frame, and that tipping up, threw him on to the glass, and his death was instantaneous. We are more and more pleased at having so central a domicile as the Golden Cross, for time is every thing when you have to see sights; and here we can get to any point we desire by a bus, and obtain a fly at any moment. Very much that we desire to see, too, is east of Temple Bar, and our Mentor seems determined that we shall become acquainted with the London of other times, and we rarely walk out without learning who lived in "that house," and what event had happened in "that street." I fancy that we are going to gather up much curious matter for future use and recollection by our street wanderings. A book called "The Streets of London" is our frequent study, and is daily consulted with advantage. To-day we dined at the famous Williams's, in Old Bailey, where boiled beef is said to be better than at any other place in London. It was certainly as fine as could be desired. The customers were numerous, and looked like business men. The proprietor was a busy man, and his eyes seemed every where. A vision of cockroaches, however, dispelled the appetite for a dessert, and we perambulated our way to the Monument. This has a noble appearance, and stands on Fish Street Hill. The pillar is two hundred and two feet high, and is surmounted by a gilt flame. The object of the Monument is to commemorate the great fire of London in Charles II.'s reign.
It had an inscription which ascribed the origin of the fire to the Catholics; but recently this has been obliterated. It was to this inscription and allegation that Pope referred in his lines,—
"Where London's column, pointing to the skies, Like a tall bully, lifts its head, and lies."
There are few things in London that have impressed us more than the fine, massive bridges which span the Thames, and are so crowded with foot passengers and carriages. Every boy who has read much has had his head full of notions about London Bridge; that is, old London Bridge, which was taken down about thirty years ago. The old bridge was originally a wooden structure, and on the sides of the bridge were houses, and the pathway in front had all sorts of goods exposed for sale, and the Southwark gate of the bridge was disfigured with the heads and quarters of the poor creatures who were executed for treason.
The new bridge was commenced in 1825, and it was opened in 1831 by William IV. and Queen Adelaide. The bridge has five arches; the central one is one hundred and fifty feet in the clear, the two next one hundred and forty feet, and the extreme arches one hundred and thirty feet. The length, including the abutments, is about one thousand feet, its width eighty-three feet, and the road for carriages fifty-five feet.
The great roads leading to London Bridge have been most costly affairs; and I was told that a parish and its church had been destroyed to make these approaches. The men of different generations, who, for almost one thousand years, looked at the old bridge, would stare at the present one and its present vicinity, if they were to come back again. Southwark Bridge was commenced in 1814, and finished in 1819. It has three arches, and the central arch is two hundred and forty feet, which is the greatest span in the world. In this bridge are five thousand three hundred and eight tons of iron. Blackfriars Bridge was commenced in 1760, and opened in 1770. It has nine elliptical arches, of which the middle one is one hundred feet in width. Recently this bridge has been thoroughly repaired. I think this is my favorite stand-point for the river and city. Nowhere else have I obtained such a view up and down the river. Here I have a full prospect of the Tower, St. Paul's Cathedral, Somerset House, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and perhaps twenty-five other churches! But the great bridge of all is the Waterloo one, commenced in 1811, and opened in 1817, on the 18th of June, the anniversary of the battle of Waterloo. Of course, the Duke of Wellington figured upon the occasion. At this point the river is one thousand three hundred and twenty-six feet wide; and the bridge is of nine elliptical arches, each of one hundred and twenty feet space, and thirty-five feet high above high water, and its entire length two thousand four hundred and fifty-six feet. It is painful to hear the sad stories which have a connection with this magnificent structure. It seems the chosen resort of London suicides, and very frequent are the events which almost justify its appellation—"the Bridge of Sighs." I love to walk this and the other bridges, and look at the mighty city, and think of its wonderful history and its existing place in the affairs of the world; and I cannot help thinking of the reflection of the wise man—"One generation passeth away, but the earth remaineth." I have never felt my own insignificance so much, Charley, as when walking in one of these crowded streets. I know no one; I am unknown; I am in solitude, and feel it more, perhaps, than I should if alone upon a mountain top or in a wilderness. I am sure I have told you enough for once, and perhaps you are as tired of my letter as I was in going over the places I have written to you about; so I will relieve your patience.
I am yours always,
All round London there are the most exquisite villages or towns, full of charming retreats, boxes of wealthy tradesmen, and some very fine rows of brick and stone residences, with gardens in front. I am amused to see almost every house having a name. Thus you find one house called, on the gateway, Hamilton Villa, the next Hawthorne Lodge, whilst opposite their fellows rejoice in the names, Pelham House, Cranborne Cottage; and so it is with hundreds of neat little domiciles. I think the road up to St. John's Wood is one of the prettiest I have seen; and there are in it perhaps two hundred habitations, each having its sobriquet. Since writing to you last we have been to Camberwell, a very pretty place, two or three miles from the city. We called on a gentleman who had a party that night, and we were politely invited, and spent an agreeable evening. The supper was elegant, and the ladies were quite inquisitive as to our social manners. One gentleman present had a son in Wisconsin, and he seemed to fancy that, as that state was in the United States, it was pretty much like the rest of the country. We told him that Wisconsin was about as much like New York and Massachusetts as Brighton, in 1851, was like what it was one hundred years ago. When we talk with well-educated persons here, we are much amused at their entire unacquaintedness with American geography and history. I think an importation of Morse's School Geography would be of great service. We very often lose our patience when we hear about the great danger of life in America. I find very intelligent and respectable persons who fancy that life is held by a slight tenure in the Union, and that law and order are almost unknown. Now, the first week we were in London the papers teemed with accounts of murders in various parts of England. One newspaper detailed no less than eleven oases of murder, or executions on account of murders. Poison, however, seems just at present the prevailing method by which men and women are removed.
As to accidents in travel, we, no doubt, have our full share; but since our arrival in England the railroad trains have had some pretty rough shakings, and the results in loss of life and limb would have passed for quite ugly enough, even had they happened in the west. I very much wish you could have been with us on Easter Monday, when we passed the day at Greenwich, and were at the renowned Greenwich Fair, which lasts for three days. The scene of revelry takes place in the Park, a royal one, and really a noble one. Here all the riff-raff and bobtail of London repair in their finery, and have a time. You can form no notion of the affair; it cannot be described. The upper part of the Park, towards the Royal Observatory, is very steep, and down this boys and girls, men and women, have a roll. Such scenes as are here to be witnessed we cannot match. Nothing can exceed the doings that occur. All the public houses swarm, and in no spot have I ever seen so many places for drinking as are here. The working-men of London, and apprentices, with wires and sweethearts, all turn out Easter Monday. It seems as though all the horses, carts, chaises, and hackney coaches of the city were on the road. We saw several enormous coal wagons crammed tightly with boys and girls. On the fine heath, or down, that skirts the Park, are hundreds of donkeys, and you are invited to take a halfpenny, penny, or twopenny ride. All sorts of gambling are to be seen. One favorite game with the youngsters was to have a tobacco box, full of coppers, stuck on a stick standing in a hole, and then, for a halfpenny paid to the proprietor, you are entitled to take a shy at the mark. If it falls into the hole, you lose; if you knock it off, and away from the hole, you take it. It requires, I fancy, much adroitness and experience to make any thing at "shying" at the "bacca box." At night, Greenwich is all alive—life is out of London and in the fair. But let the traveller who has to return to town beware. The road is full of horses and vehicles, driven by drunken men and boys; and, for four or five miles, you can imagine that a city is besieged, and that the inhabitants are flying from the sword. O, such weary-looking children as we saw that day! One favorite amusement was to draw a little wooden instrument quick over the coat of another person, when it produces a noise precisely like that of a torn garment. Hundreds of these machines were in the hands of the urchins who crowded the Park. Here, for the first time, I saw the veritable gypsy of whose race we have read so much in Borrow's Zincali. The women are very fine looking, and some of the girls were exquisitely beautiful. They are a swarthy-looking set, and seem to be a cross of Indian and Jew. Those we saw were proper wiry-looking fellows. One or two of the men were nattily dressed, with fancy silk handkerchiefs. They live in tents, and migrate through the midland counties, but I believe are not as numerous as they were thirty years ago. You will not soon forget how we were pleased with the memoirs of Bamfield Moore Carew, who was once known as their king in Great Britain. I wonder that book has never been reprinted in America. I am pretty sure that Greenwich Park would please your taste. I think the view from the Royal Observatory, and from whence longitude is reckoned, is one of the grandest I have ever seen. You get a fine view of the noble palace once the royal residence, but now the Sailor's Home. You see the Thames, with its immense burden, and, through the mist, the great city. As to the Hospital, we shall leave that for another excursion: we came to Greenwich at present merely to witness Easter Fair, and it will not soon be forgotten by any of us.
As we had a few days to spare before the exhibition opened, we proposed to run down to Bristol and Bath, and pass a week. We took the Great Western train first-class ears, and made the journey of one hundred and twenty miles in two hours and forty minutes. This is the perfection of travelling. The cars are very commodious, holding eight persons, each having a nicely-cushioned chair. The rail is the broad gage; and we hardly felt the motion, so excellent is the road. The country through which we passed was very beautiful, and perhaps it never appears to more advantage than in the gay garniture of spring. We left Windsor Castle to our left, and Eton College, and passed by Beading, a fine, flourishing town; and at Swindon we made a stay of ten minutes. The station at this place is very spacious and elegant. Here the passengers have the only opportunity to obtain refreshments on the route; and never did people seem more intent upon laying in provender. The table was finely laid out, and a great variety tempted the appetite. The railroad company, when they leased this station, stipulated that every train should pass ten minutes at it. But the express train claimed exemption, and refused to afford the time. The landlord prosecuted the company, obtained satisfactory damages, and now even the express train affords its passengers time to recruit at Swindon. This place has grown up under the auspices of the railroad, and one can hardly fancy a prettier place than environs the station. The cottages are of stone, of the Elizabethan and Tudor style, and are very numerous; while the church, which is just finished, is one of the neatest affairs I have yet seen in England. The town of Swindon is about two miles from the station, and I expect to visit it in the course of my journey. You know, my dear Charley, how long and fondly I have anticipated my visit to my native city, and can imagine my feelings on this route homewards. We passed through Bath, a most beautiful city, (and I think as beautiful as any I ever saw,) and then in half an hour we entered Bristol. The splendid station-house of the railroad was new to me, but the old streets and houses were all familiar as if they had been left but yesterday. The next morning I called on my friends, and you may think how sad my disappointment was to find that a dangerous accident had just placed my nearest relative in the chamber of painful confinement for probably three months. It was a pleasant thing to come home to scenes of childhood and youth, and I was prepared to enjoy every hour; but I soon realized that here all our roses have thorns. Of course, in Bristol I need no guide; and the boys are, I assure you, pretty thoroughly fagged out, when night comes, with our perambulations through the old city and neighborhood.
Bristol has claims upon the attention of the stranger, not only as one of the oldest cities in England, but on account of its romantic scenery. The banks of the Avon are not to be surpassed by the scenes afforded by any other river of its size in the world. This city was founded by Brennus, the chieftain of the Gauls and the conqueror of Rome, 388 B.C., and tradition states that his brother Belinus aided him in the work. The statues of these worthies are quaintly carved on the gateway of John's Church, in Broad Street, and are of very great antiquity. In the earliest writings that bear upon the west of England—the Welsh Chronicles—this city is called Caer oder, which means the city of the Chasm. This the Saxons called Clifton. The Avon runs through a tremendous fissure in the rocks called Vincent's Rocks; and hence the name given to the suburbs of the city, on its banks—Clifton. Of this place we shall have much to tell you. Another Welsh name for the city was Caer Brito, or the painted city, or the famous city. Bristol, like Rome, stands on seven hills, and on every side is surrounded by the most attractive scenery. It has made quite a figure in history, and its castle was an object of great importance during the civil wars between Charles I. and his Parliament. This city stands in two counties, and has the privileges of one itself. It is partly in Gloucestershire and partly in Somersetshire. The population of Bristol, with Clifton and the Hot Wells, is about two hundred thousand. My first excursion with the boys was to Redcliffe Church, which is thought to be the finest parish church in England. This is the church where poor Chatterton said that he found the Rowley MSS. No one of taste visits the city without repairing to this venerable pile. Its antiquity, beauty of architecture, and the many interesting events connected with its history, claim particular notice. This church was probably commenced about the beginning of the thirteenth century; but it was completed by William Cannynge, Sen., mayor of the city, in 1396. In 1456, the lofty spire was struck by lightning, and one hundred feet fell upon the south aisle. The approach from Redcliffe Street is very impressive. The highly-ornamented tower, the west front of the church, its unrivalled north porch, and the transept, with flying buttresses, pinnacles, and parapet, cannot fail to gratify every beholder. The building stands on a hill, and is approached by a magnificent flight of steps, guarded by a heavy balustrade. In length, the church and the Lady Chapel is two hundred and thirty-nine feet; from north to south of the cross aisles is one hundred and seventeen feet; the height of the middle aisle is fifty-four, and of the north and south aisles, twenty-five feet.
The impression produced on the spectator by the interior is that of awe and reverence, as he gazes on the clustered pillars, the mullioned windows, the panelled walls, the groined ceilings, decorated with ribs, tracery, and bosses, all evincing the skill of its architects and the wonderful capabilities of the Gothic style.
The east window and screen have long been hidden by some large paintings of Hogarth. The subjects of these are the Ascension, the Three Marys at the Sepulchre, and the High Priest sealing Christ's Tomb.
On a column in the south transept is a flat slab, with a long inscription, in memory of Sir William Penn, father of William Penn, the great founder of Pennsylvania. The column is adorned with his banner and armor.
The boys, who had so often read of Guy, Earl of Warwick, and of his valorous exploits, were greatly pleased to find in this church, placed against a pillar, a rib of the Dun cow which he is said to have slain.
You may be very sure that we inquired for the room in which Chatterton said he found old Monk Rowley's poems. It is an hexagonal room over the north porch, in which the archives were kept Chatterton's uncle was sexton of the church; and the boy had access to the building, and carried off parchments at his pleasure. The idea of making a literary forgery filled his mind; and if you read Southey and Cottle's edition of the works of Chatterton, or, what is far better, an admirable Life of the young poet by John Dix, a gifted son of Bristol, now living in America, you will have an interesting view of the character of this remarkable youth.
At the east end of the church is the Chapel of the Virgin Mary. A noble room it is. A large statue of Queen Elizabeth, in wood, stands against one of the windows, just where it did thirty-seven years ago, when I was a youngster, and went to her majesty's grammar school, which is taught in the chapel. I showed the boys the names of my old school-fellows cut upon the desks. How various their fates! One fine fellow, whose name yet lives on the wood, found his grave in the West Indies, on a voyage he had anticipated with great joy.
I am glad to say that a spirited effort is now making to restore this gorgeous edifice. It was greatly needed, and was commenced in 1846. I do wish you could see this church and gaze upon its interior. I have obtained some fine drawings of parts of the edifice, and they will enable you to form some faint idea of the splendor of the whole. We have to dine with a friend, and I must close.
You have so often expressed a desire to see the fine cathedral churches and abbeys of the old world, that I shall not apologize for giving you an account of them; and as they are more in my way, I shall take them into my hands, and let the lads write you about other things. The next visit we took, after I wrote you last, was to the cathedral. This is of great antiquity. In 1148, a monastery was dedicated to St. Augustine. This good man sent one Jordan as a missionary in 603, and here he labored faithfully and died. It seems, I think, well sustained that the venerable Austin himself preached here, and that his celebrated conference with the British clergy took place on College Green; and it is thought that the cathedral was built on its site to commemorate the event. The vicinity of the church is pleasing. The Fitzhardings, the founders of the Berkeley family, began the foundation of the abbey in 1140, and it was endowed and dedicated in 1148. The tomb of Sir Robert, the founder, lies at the east of the door, and is enclosed with rails. Some of the buildings connected with the church are of great antiquity, and are probably quite as old as the body of the cathedral. A gateway leading to the cloisters and chapter-house is plainly Saxon, and is regarded as the finest Saxon archway in England. The western part of the cathedral was demolished by Henry VIII. The eastern part, which remains, has a fine Gothic choir. This was created a bishop's see by Henry VIII. It is interesting to think that Secker, Butler, and Newton have all been bishops of this diocese, and Warburton, who wrote the Divine Legation of Moses, was once Dean of Bristol. The immortal Butler, who wrote the Analogy of Natural and Revealed Religion, lies buried here, and his tombstone is on the south aisle, at the entrance of the choir. A splendid monument has been erected to his memory, with the following inscription from the pen of Robert Southey, himself a Bristolian:—
Sacred to the Memory of JOSEPH BUTLER, D.C.L., twelve years Bishop of this Diocese, afterwards of Durham, whose mortal remains are here deposited. Others had established the historical and prophetical grounds of the Christian Religion, and that true testimony of Truth which is found in its perfect adaptation to the heart of man. It was reserved for him to develop its analogy to the constitution and course of Nature; and laying his strong foundations in the depth of that great argument, there to construct another and irrefragable proof; thus rendering Philosophy subservient to Faith, and finding in outward and visible things the type and evidence of those within the veil.
Born, A.D. 1693. Died, 1752.
We noticed a very fine monument by Bacon to the memory of Mrs. Draper, said to have been the Eliza of Sterne. We hastened to find the world-renowned tomb of Mrs. Mason, and to read the lines on marble of that inimitable epitaph, which has acquired a wider circulation than any other in the world. The lines were written by her husband, the Rev. William Mason.
"Take, holy earth, all that my soul holds dear; Take that best gift which Heaven so lately gave. To Bristol's fount I bore with trembling care Her faded form; she bowed to taste the wave, And died. Does youth, does beauty read the line? Does sympathetic fear their breasts alarm? Speak, dead Maria; breathe a strain divine; E'en from the grave thou shalt have power to charm. Bid them be chaste, be innocent, like thee; Bid them in duty's sphere as meekly move; And if so fair, from vanity as free, As firm in friendship, and as fond in love,— Tell them, though 'tis an awful thing to die, (Twas e'en to thee,) yet, the dread path once trod, Heaven lifts its everlasting portals high, And bids the pure in heart behold their God."
In the cloisters we saw the tomb of Bird the artist, a royal academician, and a native of Bristol. We were much interested with a noble bust of Robert Southey, the poet, which has just been erected in the north aisle. It stands on an octangular pedestal of gray marble, with Gothic panels. The bust is of the most exquisitely beautiful marble. The inscription is in German text.
Robert Southey, Born in Bristol, October 4, 1774; Died at Reswick, March 21, 1843.
The cloisters contain some fine old rooms, which recall the days of the Tudors. Here we saw the apartments formerly occupied by the learned and accomplished Dr. Hodges, now organist of Trinity Church, New York. This gentleman is a native of Bristol, and is held, we find, in respectful and affectionate remembrance by the best people of this city.
Opposite to the cathedral, and on the other side of the college green, is the Mayor's Chapel, where his honor attends divine service. In Catholic days, this was the Church and Hospital of the Virgin Mary. This edifice was built by one Maurice de Gaunt in the thirteenth century. Under the tower at the east front is a small door, by which you enter the church, and on the north another, by which you enter a small room, formerly a confessional, with two arches in the walls for the priest and the penitent. In this room are eight niches, in which images once stood. The roof is vaulted with freestone, in the centre of which are two curious shields and many coats of arms. In 1830, this chapel was restored and beautified. A fine painted window was added, and the altar screen restored to its former beauty, at the expense of the corporation. The front of the organ gallery is very rich in Gothic moulding, tracery, crockets, &c. It is flanked at the angles with octagonal turrets, of singular beauty, embattled, and surmounted with canopies, crockets, &c. The spandrils, quatrefoils, buttresses, sculptures, and cornices are exceedingly admired. The pulpit is of stone, and the mayor's throne, of carved oak, is of elaborate finish. Here are two knights in armor, with their right hands on their sword hilts, on the left their shields, with their legs crossed, which indicates that they were crusaders.
In every excursion around Bristol, the boys were struck with the fact that an old tower was visible on a high hill. The hill is called Dundry, and it is said that it can be seen every where for a circle of five miles round the city. Dundry is five miles from Bristol, and fourteen from Bath, and it commands the most beautiful and extensive prospect in the west of England. We rode out to it with an early friend of mine, who is now the leading medical man of Bristol; and when I tell you that we went in an Irish jaunting car, you may guess that we were amused. The seats are at the sides, and George was in ecstasies at the novelty of the vehicle. When oh the summit, we saw at the north and east the cities of Bath and Bristol, and our view included the hills of Wiltshire, and the Malvern Hills of Worcestershire. The Severn, from north to west, is seen, embracing the Welsh coast, and beyond are the far-famed mountains of Wales. The church has a fine tower, with turreted pinnacles fifteen feet above the battlements. We rode over to Chew Magna, a village two miles beyond Dundry. Here I went to a boarding school thirty-eight years ago, and I returned to the village for the first time. It had altered but little. The streets seemed narrower; but there was the old tower where I had played fives, and there was the cottage where I bought fruit; and when I entered it, Charley, I found "young Mr. Batt"-a man of eighty-six. His father used to be "old Mr. Batt," and he always called his son his "boy," and we boys termed him "young Mr. Batt." I came back and found him eighty-six. So do years fly away. I called on one old school-fellow, some years my junior. He did not recognize me, but I at once remembered him. We partook of a lunch at his house. I was sadly disappointed to find the old boarding school gone, but was not a little relieved when I heard that it had given place to a Baptist church. I confess I should have liked to occupy its pulpit for one Sabbath day. To-morrow we are to spend at Clifton, the beautiful environ of Bristol, and shall most likely write you again.
Clifton and the Hot Wells are the suburbs of this city, extending along for a mile or two on the banks of the Avon. One mile below the city the Avon passes between the rocks which are known as St. Vincent's on the one side, and Leigh Woods upon the opposite one. These rocks are amongst the sublimities of nature, and the Avon for about three miles presents the wildest and sweetest bit of scenery imaginable. These cliffs have been for ages the admiration of all beholders, and though thousands of tons are taken from the quarries every year, yet the inhabitants say that no great change takes place in their appearance. The Avon has a prodigious rise of tide at Bristol, and at low water the bed of the river is a mere brook, with immense banks of mud. The country all around is exquisitely attractive, and affords us an idea of cultivation and adornment beyond what we are accustomed to at home. In these rocks are found fine crystals, which are known every where as Bristol diamonds. We obtained some specimens, which reminded us of the crystals so frequently seen at Little Falls, on the Mohawk. The great celebrity of the Hot Wells is chiefly owing to a hot spring, which issues from the rock, and possesses valuable medical qualities.
This spring had a reputation as early as 1480. It discharges about forty gallons per minute, and was first brought into notice by sailors, who found it useful for scorbutic disorders. In 1680 it became famous, and a wealthy merchant rendered it so by a dream. He was afflicted with diabetes, and dreamed that he was cured by drinking the water of this spring. He resorted to the imagined remedy, and soon recovered. Its fame now spread, and, in 1690, the corporation of Bristol took charge of the spring. We found the water, fresh from the spring, at the temperature of Fahrenheit 76 deg.. It contains free carbonic acid gas. Its use is seen chiefly in cases of pulmonary consumption. I suppose it has wrought wonders in threatening cases. It is the place for an invalid who begins to fear, but it is not possible to "create a soul under the ribs of death." Unhappily, people in sickness too seldom repair to such aid as may here be found till the last chances of recovery are exhausted. I have never seen a spot where I thought the fragile and delicate in constitution might pass a winter, sheltered from every storm, more securely than in this place. Tie houses for accommodation are without end, both at the Hot Wells and at Clifton. This last place is on the high ground, ascending up to the summit of the rocks, where you enter on a noble campus known as Durdham Down. This extends for some three or four miles, and is skirted by charming villages, which render the environs of Bristol so far-famed for beauty.
I never wished to have your company more than when we all ascended the height of St. Vincent's Rocks. The elevation at which we stood was about three hundred and fifty feet above the winding river which, it is thought, by some sudden convulsion of nature, turned from the moors of Somersetshire, its old passage to the sea, and forced an abrupt one between the rocks and the woods; and the corresponding dip of the strata, the cavities on one side, and projections on the other, make the supposition very plausible. A suspension bridge over this awful chasm is in progress.
The celebrated pulpit orator, Robert Hall, always spoke of the scenery of this region as having done very much in his early days to form his notions of the beautiful. In one of his most admirable sermons, preached at Bristol, when discoursing upon "the new heavens and the new earth," he indulged in an astonishing outbreak of eloquence, while he conducted his audience to the surpassing beauties of their own vicinage, sin-ruined as it was, and then supposed that this earth might become the dwelling-place of the redeemed, when, having been purified from all evil, it should again become "very good." Here, on these scenes of unrivalled beauty, Southey, and Lovell, and Coleridge, and Cottle have loved to meditate; and the wondrous boy Chatterton fed his muse amid these rare exhibitions of the power and wisdom of the Godhead. A Roman encampment is still visible on the summit of the rocks. We were all sorry, to see such havoc going on among the quarries, where, to use Southey's language on this subject, they are "selling off the sublime and beautiful by the boat load."
Our favorite walk is on the downs. George seems really penetrated with the uncommon beauty of the region, and wants to stop as long as possible, and does not believe any thing can be more beautiful. We look over the awful cliffs—gaze on the thread of water winding its devious course at an immense distance below—watch the steamers from Wales and Ireland shoot up to the city, and the noble West Indiamen, as they are towed along. The woods opposite are charming, and contain nearly every forest-tree belonging to the country. Dr. Holland, in his travels through Greece, refers to this very spot in the following language: "The features of nature are often best described by comparison; and to those who have visited Vincent's Rocks, below Bristol, I cannot convey a more sufficient idea of the far-famed Vale of Tempe than by saying that its scenery resembles, though on a much larger scale, that of the former place. The Peneus, indeed, as it flows through the valley, is not greatly wider than the Avon, and the channel between the cliffs irregularly contracted in its dimensions; but these cliffs themselves are much loftier and more precipitous, and project their vast masses of rock with still more extraordinary abruptness over the hollow beneath." We devoted a morning to visit Leigh Court, the residence of Mr. Miles, a wealthy merchant and member in Parliament for Bristol. This is regarded as one of the finest residences in the west of England. The mansion has an Ionic portico, supported by massive columns. The great hall is very extensive. A double flight of steps leads you to a peristyle of the Ionic order, around which are twenty marble columns, supporting a lofty dome, lighted by painted glass. The floor is of colored marble. This residence has been enriched with the choicest treasures from Wanstead House, and Fonthill Abbey. To us the grand attraction was the Picture Gallery, which has few superiors in the kingdom. A catalogue, with etchings, was published a few years ago. You may judge of the merits of the collection, and the nature of our gratification, when I tell you that here are the Conversion of Paul, by Rubens; the Graces, by Titian; William Tell, by Holbein; Pope Julius II., by Raphael; Ecce Homo, by Carl Dolci; Head of the Virgin, by Correggio; St. Peter, by Guido; St. John, by Domenichino; Creator Mundi, by Leonardo da Vinci; Crucifixion, by Michael Angelo; Plague of Athens, by N. Poussin; three Seaports, by Claude; and a large number by Rembrandt, Salvator Rosa, Paul Potter, Parmegiano, Velasques, Gerard Dow, &c. This has been a most gratifying excursion, and our visit here will be a matter of pleasant recollection. I forgot to say that at Clifton, and at various places near the rocks, we were beset by men, women, and children, having very beautiful polished specimens of the various stones found in the quarries, together with minerals and petrifactions. Of these we all obtained an assortment.
We have while at Bristol made two journeys to Bath, and I am sure we are all of opinion that it is the most elegant city we ever saw. A great deal of its beauty is owing to the fine freestone of which it is chiefly built.
We were much pleased with the Royal Crescent, which consists of a large number of elegant mansions, all built in the same style. Ionic columns rise from a rustic basement, and support the superior cornice. These houses are most elegantly finished. All the city is seen from the crescent, and no other spot affords so grand a prospect. Camden Place is an elliptical range of edifices, commanding an extensive view of the valley, with the winding stream of the Avon, and the villages upon its banks. One of the principal features of Bath is its hills and downs, which shelter it on every side. The sides on these downs are very fine, extending for miles, and you see thousands of sheep enjoying the finest possible pasturage. Talking of sheep, I am reminded how very fine the sheep are here; it seems to me they are almost as big again as our mutton-makers.
Queen Square, in Bath, pleases us all, as we are told it does every one. It stands up high, and is seen from most parts of the city. From north to south, between the buildings, if is three hundred and sixteen feet, and from east to west three hundred and six feet. In the centre is an enclosure, and in that is a fine obelisk. The north side of the square is composed of stately dwellings, and they have all the appearance of a palace. The square is built of freestone, and is beautifully tinted by age. The first thing almost we want to see in these fine towns is the cathedral, if there be one. I never thought that I should be so pleased with old buildings as I find I am. Old houses, castles, and churches have somehow strangely taken my fancy. The Cathedral, or, as they here call it, the Abbey Church, is a noble one. It was begun in 1495, and only finished in 1606, and stands on the foundation of an old convent, erected by Osric in 676. It is famous for its clustered columns, and wide, elegantly arched windows. The roof is remarkable for having fifty-two windows, and I believe has been called the Lantern of England. You know that the city takes its name from its baths. The great resort of fashion is at the Pump-room and the Colonnade. This building is eighty-five feet in length, forty-six wide, and thirty-four high. This elegant room is open to the sick of every part of the world. An excellent band plays every day from one till half past three.
The King's Bath is a basin sixty-six feet by forty-one, and will contain three hundred and forty-six tuns. I have been much pleased with Dr. Granville's works on the Spas of England, and there you will find much interesting matter respecting Bath.
We made some pleasant excursions in the vicinity of this beautiful city. We have visited Bradford, Trowbridge, and Devizes. Trowbridge is a fine old town, and we looked with interest at the church where the poet Crabbe so long officiated. His reputation here stands high as a good man and kind neighbor, but he was called a poor preacher. Here, and in all the neighboring places, the manufacture of broadcloths and cassimeres is carried on extensively. Devizes is a charming old town. We were greatly interested with its market-place, and a fine cross, erected to hand down the history of a sad event. A woman who had appealed to God in support of a lie was here struck dead upon the spot, and the money which she said she had paid for some wheat was found clinched in her hand. This monument was built by Lord Sidmouth, and is a fine freestone edifice, with a suitable inscription.
Roundaway Down, which hangs over this ancient town, was famous in the civil wars of Charles I. Here, too, are the relics of an old castle. Devizes has two great cattle fairs, in spring and autumn; and the market day, on Thursday, gave us a good idea of the rural population. We have rarely seen finer looking men than were here to be seen around their wheat, barley, and oats. We have been pleased to see the great English game of cricket, which is so universally played by all young men in this country. It seems to us that the boys here have more athletic games than with us. Prisoners' bass seems a favorite boys' amusement, and ninepins, or, as we call it, bowls, are played by all classes freely, and it is not regarded as at all unministerial. We are going to London this week, and shall commence sight-seeing in earnest. Above all, we are to be at the exhibition. When I have seen the lions, I will write you again.
The story goes that Mr. Webster, when he first arrived in London, ordered the man to drive to the Tower. Certainly we boys all wanted to go there as soon as possible. I do not think that I ever felt quite so touch excitement as I did when we were riding to the Tower, I had so many things crowding into my mind; and all the history of England with which I have been so pleased came at once freshly into my memory. I wanted to be alone, and have all day to wander up and down the old prison and palace and museum, for it has been all these things by turns. Well, we rode over Tower Hill, and got directly in front of the old fortress, and had a complete view of it.
In the centre stands a lofty square building, with four white towers, having vanes upon them. This is said to be the work of William the Conqueror, but has had many alterations under William Rufus, Henry I., and Henry II. In 1315, the Tower was besieged by the barons who made war on John. Henry III. made his residence in this place, and did much to strengthen and adorn it. About this time the Tower began to be used as a state prison. Edward I. enlarged the ditch or moat which surrounded the Tower. In the days of Richard II., when the king had his troubles with Wat Tyler, the Archbishop of Canterbury was beheaded on Tower Hill, or, rather, massacred, for it said that he was mangled by eight strokes of the axe. When Henry V. gained his great victory at Agincourt, he placed his French prisoners here. Henry VIII. was here for some time after he came to the throne, and he made his yeomen the wardens of the Tower, and they still wear the same dress as at that day. The dress is very rich,—scarlet and gold,—and made very large; the coat short, and sleeves full. The head-dress is a cap.
We went in at what is called the Lion's Gate, because some time back the menagerie was kept in apartments close by. The kings of other days used to have fights between the beasts, and James I. was very fond of combats between lions and dogs in presence of his court. All these animals were moved several years ago to the Zooelogical Gardens. We passed through strong gates, defended by a portcullis, and on our left we saw what the warden called the Bell Tower, and which was the prison of Bishop Fisher, who was beheaded for not acknowledging Henry VIII. to be the head of the church. I wanted to see the Traitor's Gate, and found it was on the right hand, having a communication with the Thames under a bridge on the wharf. Through this passage it was formerly the custom to convey the state prisoners, and many a man in passing this gate bade farewell to hope.
There is, just opposite to this gate, the bloody tower where Edward V. and his brother were put to death by the monster Richard, who usurped the throne. I would have given a great deal to have explored the Tower, but the things and places I wanted to look into were just what you are not let see. The old Tower of English history you look at, but must not go through. Still I have been delighted, but not satisfied. We found the spot where the grand storehouse and armory were burnt in 1841, and, if I recollect rightly, the warden said it was three hundred and fifty feet long, and sixty wide. Here, I suppose, was the finest collection of cannon and small fire-arms in the world. We saw some few fine specimens that were saved. Of course, we were curious to see the Horse Armory. This is a room one hundred and fifty feet in length, and about thirty-five wide. Some one has said that here is "the History of England, done in iron." All down the middle of the room is a line of equestrian figures, and over each character is his banner. All the sides of the apartment are decorated with trophies and figures in armor. I was much gratified with the beautiful taste displayed in the arrangement of the arms upon the walls and ceiling. Some of the suits of armor were very rich, and answered exactly to my notions of such matters. Here I saw, for the first time, the coat of mail; and I think the men of that day must have been stronger than those of our time, or they never could have endured such trappings. I was much pleased with the real armor of Henry VIII. This suit was very rich, and damasked. And here, too, was the very armor of Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who figured at the court of Elizabeth. It weighs eighty-seven pounds; and close by it is the martial suit of the unfortunate Essex. He was executed, you know, at this place, 1601. Among the most beautiful armors we saw were the suits of Charles I. and a small one which belonged to his younger brother when a lad. I think one suit made for Charles when a boy of twelve would have fitted me exactly; and wouldn't I have liked to become its owner! King Charles's armor was a present from the city of London, and was one of the latest manufactured in England.
I do not think I ever was in a place that so delighted me. I cannot tell you a hundredth part of the curiosities that are to be seen s all sorts of rude ancient weapons; several instruments of torture prepared by the Roman Catholics, at the time of the Spanish Armada, for the conversion of the English heretics. One of these was the Iron Collar, which weighs about fifteen pounds, and has a rim of inward spikes; and besides, we saw a barbarous instrument, called the Scavenger's Daughter, which packed up the body and limbs into an inconceivably small space. We looked with deep interest, you may imagine, Charley, on the block on which the Scotch lords, Balmerino, Kilmarnook, and Lovat, were beheaded in 1746. The fatal marks upon the wood are deeply cut; and we had in our hands the axe which was used at the execution of the Earl of Essex. I shall read the history of this country, I am sure, with more pleasure than ever, after walking over the yard and Tower Hill, where so many great and good, as well as so many infamous, persons have suffered death. Only think what a list of names to be connected with the block—Fisher, More, Queen Anne Boleyn, Queen Catherine Howard, Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, Cromwell and Devereux, both Earls of Essex, the Duke of Somerset, Lady Jane Grey and her husband, the Duke of Northumberland, Sir Walter Raleigh, Strafford, Laud,—all perished on the Tower Green or on the Tower Hill. The spot is easily recognized where the scaffold was erected.
The regalia, or crown jewels, are kept in an apartment built on purpose to contain these precious treasures. Here are the crowns that once belonged to different sovereigns and heirs of the throne. At the death of Charles I., the crown in use, and said to be as old as the times of Edward the Confessor, was broken up, and a new one made at the restoration of Charles II. The arches of this crown are covered with large stones of different colors, and the cap of the crown is of purple velvet. The old crown for the queen is of gold, set with diamonds of great cost, and has some large pearls. There is a crown called "the Diadem," which was made for James II.'s queen, adorned with diamonds, and which cost just about half a million of dollars. The crown of the Prince of Wales is plain gold.
As for orbs, staffs, and sceptres, I can't tell you half the number. One I noticed called "St. Edward's Staff," of gold, four feet seven inches long. At the top is an orb and cross, and a fragment of the Savior's cross is said to be in the orb. Here, too, are all kinds of swords—called swords of justice and mercy—and vessels to hold the oil for anointing the monarch at coronation, and a saltcellar of gold which is used at the same time, and is a model of the Tower. I thought all this very fine; but I was most pleased with seeing such splendid specimens of precious stones. Such diamonds, pearls, amethysts, emeralds, &c., &c., we Yankee boys had never seen, and probably may never see again. I was very much delighted with a large silver wine fountain, presented by Plymouth to Charles II., and which is used at coronation banquets; and also with the font, of silver gilt; used at the baptism of the Queen. It stands about four feet high. Over all this show that I have told you of is the state crown made for Victoria. This is very brilliant, and in the centre of the diamond cross is a sparkling sapphire, while in front of the crown is a large ruby which was worn by the Black Prince. Well, Charley, my boy, I would rather go to Washington and look at our old copy of the Declaration of Independence than gaze for a whole day at this vast collection of treasure. There is more to be proud of in that old camp equipage of Washington's up in the patent office than in all the crown jewels of England—at least, so I think, and so do you.
George has said his say about the Tower, he tells me; and I assure you it was a time that we shall often think of when we get back. On our return, the doctor proposed that we should visit the Thames Tunnel, which was not far off; and so we went through a number of poor streets, reminding us of the oldest parts of Boston round Faneuil Hall. The tunnel connects Rotherhithe and Wapping. This last place, you know, we have read about enough in Dibdin's Sea Songs, our old favorite.