Perhaps I ought to assume that all the world in England knows that that portion of the United States called New England consists of the six States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. This is especially the land of Yankees, and none can properly be called Yankees but those who belong to New England. I have named the States as nearly as may be in order from the north downward. Of Rhode Island, the smallest State in the Union, I have already said what little I have to say. Of these six States Boston may be called the capital. Not that it is so in any civil or political sense; it is simply the capital of Massachusetts. But as it is the Athens of the Western world; as it was the cradle of American freedom; as everybody of course knows that into Boston harbor was thrown the tea which George III. would tax, and that at Boston, on account of that and similar taxes, sprang up the new revolution; and as it has grown in wealth, and fame, and size beyond other towns in New England, it may be allowed to us to regard it as the capital of these six Northern States, without guilt of lese majeste toward the other five. To me, I confess this Northern division of our once-unruly colonies is, and always has been, the dearest. I am no Puritan myself, and fancy that, had I lived in the days of the Puritans, I should have been anti-Puritan to the full extent of my capabilities. But I should have been so through ignorance and prejudice, and actuated by that love of existing rights and wrongs which men call loyalty. If the Canadas were to rebel now, I should be for putting down the Canadians with a strong hand; but not the less have I an idea that it will become the Canadas to rebel and assert their independence at some future period, unless it be conceded to them without such rebellion. Who, on looking back, can now refuse to admire the political aspirations of the English Puritans, or decline to acknowledge the beauty and fitness of what they did? It was by them that these States of New England were colonized. They came hither, stating themselves to be pilgrims, and as such they first placed their feet on that hallowed rock at Plymouth, on the shore of Massachusetts. They came here driven by no thirst of conquest, by no greed for gold, dreaming of no Western empire such as Cortez had achieved and Raleigh had meditated. They desired to earn their bread in the sweat of their brow, worshiping God according to their own lights, living in harmony under their own laws, and feeling that no master could claim a right to put a heel upon their necks. And be it remembered that here in England, in those days, earthly masters were still apt to put their heels on the necks of men. The Star Chamber was gone, but Jeffreys had not yet reigned. What earthly aspirations were ever higher than these, or more manly? And what earthly efforts ever led to grander results?
We determined to go to Portland, in Maine, from thence to the White Mountains in New Hampshire — the American Alps, as they love to call them — and then on to Quebec, and up through the two Canadas to Niagara; and this route we followed. From Boston to Portland we traveled by railroad — the carriages on which are in America always called cars. And here I beg, once for all, to enter my protest loudly against the manner in which these conveyances are conducted. The one grand fault — there are other smaller faults — but the one grand fault is that they admit but one class. Two reasons for this are given. The first is that the finances of the companies will not admit of a divided accommodation; and the second is that the republican nature of the people will not brook a superior or aristocratic classification of traveling. As regards the first, I do not in the least believe in it. If a more expensive manner of railway traveling will pay in England, it would surely do so here. Were a better class of carriages organized, as large a portion of the population would use them in the United States as in any country in Europe. And it seems to be evident that in arranging that there shall be only one rate of traveling, the price is enhanced on poor travelers exactly in proportion as it is made cheap to those who are not poor. For the poorer classes, traveling in America is by no means cheap, the average rate being, as far as I can judge, fully three halfpence a mile. It is manifest that dearer rates for one class would allow of cheaper rates for the other; and that in this manner general traveling would be encouraged and increased.
But I do not believe that the question of expenditure has had anything to do with it. I conceive it to be true that the railways are afraid to put themselves at variance with the general feeling of the people. If so, the railways may be right. But then, on the other band, the general feeling of the people must in such case be wrong. Such a feeling argues a total mistake as to the nature of that liberty and equality for the security of which the people are so anxious, and that mistake the very one which has made shipwreck so many attempts at freedom in other countries. It argues that confusion between social and political equality which has led astray multitudes who have longed for liberty fervently, but who have not thought of it carefully. If a first-class railway carriage should be held as offensive, so should a first-class house, or a first-class horse, or a first-class dinner. But first-class houses, first-class horses, and first-class dinners are very rife in America. Of course it may be said that the expenditure shown in these last-named objects is private expenditure, and cannot be controlled; and that railway traveling is of a public nature, and can be made subject to public opinion. But the fault is in that public opinion which desires to control matters of this nature. Such an arrangement partakes of all the vice of a sumptuary law, and sumptuary laws are in their very essence mistakes. It is well that a man should always have all for which he is willing to pay. If he desires and obtains more than is good for him, the punishment, and thus also the preventive, will come from other sources.
It will be said that the American cars are good enough for all purposes. The seats are not very hard, and the room for sitting is sufficient. Nevertheless I deny that they are good enough for all purposes. They are very long, and to enter them and find a place often requires a struggle and almost a fight. There is rarely any person to tell a stranger which car he should enter. One never meets an uncivil or unruly man, but the women of the lower ranks are not courteous. American ladies love to lie at ease in their carriages, as thoroughly as do our women in Hyde Park; and to those who are used to such luxury, traveling by railroad in their own country must be grievous. I would not wish to be thought a Sybarite myself, or to be held as complaining because I have been compelled to give up my seat to women with babies and bandboxes who have accepted the courtesy with very scanty grace. I have borne worse things than these, and have roughed it much in my days, from want of means and other reasons. Nor am I yet so old but what I can rough it still. Nevertheless I like to see things as well done as is practicable, and railway traveling in the States is not well done. I feel bound to say as much as this, and now I have said it, once for all.
Few cities, or localities for cities, have fairer natural advantages than Portland and I am bound to say that the people of Portland have done much in turning them to account. This town is not the capital of the State in a political point of view. Augusta, which is farther to the north, on the Kennebec River, is the seat of the State government for Maine. It is very generally the case that the States do not hold their legislatures and carry on their government at their chief towns. Augusta and not Portland is the capital of Maine. Of the State of New York, Albany is the capital, and not the city which bears the State’s name. And of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg and not Philadelphia is the capital. I think the idea has been that old-fashioned notions were bad in that they were old fashioned; and that a new people, bound by no prejudices, might certainly make improvement by choosing for themselves new ways. If so, the American politicians have not been the first in the world who have thought that any change must be a change for the better. The assigned reason is the centrical position of the selected political capitals; but I have generally found the real commercial capital to be easier of access than the smaller town in which the two legislative houses are obliged to collect themselves.
What must be the natural excellence of the harbor of Portland, will be understood when it is borne in mind that the Great Eastern can enter it at all times, and that it can lay along the wharves at any hour of the tide. The wharves which have been prepared for her — and of which I will say a word further by-and-by — are joined to, and in fact, are a portion of, the station of the Grand Trunk Railway, which runs from Portland up to Canada. So that passengers landing at Portland out of a vessel so large even as the Great Eastern can walk at once on shore, and goods can be passed on to the railway without any of the cost of removal. I will not say that there is no other harbor in the world that would allow of this, but I do not know any other that would do so.
From Portland a line of railway, called as a whole by the name of the Canada Grand Trunk Line, runs across the State of Maine, through the northern parts of New Hampshire and Vermont, to Montreal, a branch striking from Richmond, a little within the limits of Canada, to Quebec, and down the St. Lawrence to Riviere du Loup. The main line is continued from Montreal, through Upper Canada to Toronto, and from thence to Detroit in the State of Michigan. The total distance thus traversed is, in a direct line, about 900 miles. From Detroit there is railway communications through the immense Northwestern States of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois, than which perhaps the surface of the globe affords no finer districts for purposes of agriculture. The produce of the two Canadas must be poured forth to the Eastern world, and the men of the Eastern world must throng into these lands by means of this railroad, and, as at present arranged, through the harbor of Portland. At present the line has been opened, and they who have opened are sorely suffering in pocket for what they have done. The question of the railway is rather one applying to Canada than to the State of Maine, and I will therefore leave it for the present.
But the Great Eastern has never been to Portland, and as far as I know has no intention of going there. She was, I believe, built with that object. At any rate, it was proclaimed during her building that such was her destiny, and the Portlanders believed it with a perfect faith. They went to work and built wharves expressly for her; two wharves prepared to fit her two gangways, or ways of exit and entrance. They built a huge hotel to receive her passengers. They prepared for her advent with a full conviction that a millennium of trade was about to be wafted to their happy port. “Sir, the town has expended two hundred thousand dollars in expectation of that ship, and that ship has deceived us.” So was the matter spoken of to me by an intelligent Portlander. I explained to that intelligent gentleman that two hundred thousand dollars would go a very little way toward making up the loss which the ill-fortuned vessel had occasioned on the other side of the water. He did not in words express gratification at this information, but he looked it. The matter was as it were a partnership without deed of contract between the Portlanders and the shareholders of the vessel, and the Portlanders, though they also have suffered their losses, have not had the worst of it.
But there are still good days in store for the town. Though the Great Eastern has not gone there, other ships from Europe, more profitable if less in size, must eventually find their way thither. At present the Canada line of packets runs to Portland only during those months in which it is shut out from the St. Lawrence and Quebec by ice. But the St. Lawrence and Quebec cannot offer the advantages which Portland enjoys, and that big hotel and those new wharves will not have been built in vain.
I have said that a good time is coming, but I would by no means wish to signify that the present times in Portland are bad. So far from it that I doubt whether I ever saw a town with more evident signs of prosperity. It has about it every mark of ample means, and no mark of poverty. It contains about 27,000 people, and for that population covers a very large space of ground. The streets are broad and well built, the main streets not running in those absolutely straight parallels which are so common in American towns, and are so distressing to English eyes and English feelings. All these, except the streets devoted exclusively to business, are shaded on both sides by trees, generally, if I remember rightly, by the beautiful American elm, whose drooping boughs have all the grace of the willow without its fantastic melancholy. What the poorer streets of Portland may be like, I cannot say. I saw no poor street. But in no town of 30,000 inhabitants did I ever see so many houses which must require an expenditure of from six to eight hundred a year to maintain them.
The place, too, is beautifully situated. It is on a long promontory, which takes the shape of a peninsula, for the neck which joins it to the main-land is not above half a mile across. But though the town thus stands out into the sea, it is not exposed and bleak. The harbor, again, is surrounded by land, or so guarded and locked by islands as to form a series of salt-water lakes running round the town. Of those islands there are, of course, three hundred and sixty-five. Travelers who write their travels are constantly called upon to record that number, so that it may now be considered as a superlative in local phraseology, signifying a very great many indeed. The town stands between two hills, the suburbs or outskirts running up on to each of them. The one looking out toward the sea is called Mountjoy, though the obstinate Americans will write it Munjoy on their maps. From thence the view out to the harbor and beyond the harbor to the islands is, I may not say unequaled, or I shall be guilty of running into superlatives myself, but it is in its way equal to anything I have seen. Perhaps it is more like Cork harbor, as seen from certain heights over Passage, than anything else I can remember; but Portland harbor, though equally landlocked, is larger; and then from Portland harbor there is, as it were, a river outlet running through delicious islands, most unalluring to the navigator, but delicious to the eyes of an uncommercial traveler. There are in all four outlets to the sea, one of which appears to have been made expressly for the Great Eastern. Then there is the hill looking inward. If it has a name, I forget it. The view from this hill is also over the water on each side, and, though not so extensive, is perhaps as pleasing as the other.
The ways of the people seemed to be quiet, smooth, orderly, and republican. There is nothing to drink in Portland, of course; for, thanks to Mr. Neal Dow, the Father Matthew of the State of Maine, the Maine liquor law is still in force in that State. There is nothing to drink, I should say, in such orderly houses as that I selected. “People do drink some in the town, they say,” said my hostess to me, “and liquor is to be got. But I never venture to sell any. An ill-natured person might turn on me; and where should I be then?” I did not press her, and she was good enough to put a bottle of porter at my right hand at dinner, for which I observed she made no charge. “But they advertise beer in the shop windows,” I said to a man who was driving me —“Scotch ale and bitter beer. A man can get drunk on them.” “Waal, yes. If he goes to work hard, and drinks a bucketful,” said the driver, “perhaps he may.” From which and other things I gathered that the men of Maine drank pottle deep before Mr. Neal Dow brought his exertions to a successful termination.
The Maine liquor law still stands in Maine, and is the law of the land throughout New England; but it is not actually put in force in the other States. By this law no man may retail wine, spirits, or, in truth, beer, except with a special license, which is given only to those who are presumed to sell them as medicines. A man may have what he likes in his own cellar for his own use — such, at least, is the actual working of the law — but may not obtain it at hotels and public houses. This law, like all sumptuary laws, must fail. And it is fast failing even in Maine. But it did appear to me, from such information as I could collect, that the passing of it had done much to hinder and repress a habit of hard drinking which was becoming terribly common, not only in the towns of Maine, but among the farmers and hired laborers in the country.
But, if the men and women of Portland may not drink, they may eat; and it is a place, I should say, in which good living on that side of the question is very rife. It has an air of supreme plenty, as though the agonies of an empty stomach were never known there. The faces of the people tell of three regular meals of meat a day, and of digestive powers in proportion. O happy Portlanders, if they only knew their own good fortune! They get up early, and go to bed early. The women are comely and sturdy, able to take care of themselves, without any fal-lal of chivalry, and the men are sedate, obliging, and industrious. I saw the young girls in the streets coming home from their tea parties at nine o’clock, many of them alone, and all with some basket in their hands, which betokened an evening not passed absolutely in idleness. No fear there of unruly questions on the way, or of insolence from the ill-conducted of the other sex. All was, or seemed to be, orderly, sleek, and unobtrusive. Probably, of all modes of life that are allotted to man by his Creator, life such as this is the most happy. One hint, however, for improvement, I must give even to Portland: It would be well if they could make their streets of some material harder than sand.
I must not leave the town without desiring those who may visit it to mount the observatory. They will from thence get the best view of the harbor and of the surrounding land; and, if they chance to do so under the reign of the present keeper of the signals, they will find a man there able and willing to tell them everything needful about the State of Maine in general and the harbor in particular. He will come out in his shirt sleeves, and, like a true American, will not at first be very smooth in his courtesy; but he will wax brighter in conversation, and, if not stroked the wrong way, will turn out to be an uncommonly pleasant fellow. Such I believe to be the case with most of them.
From Portland we made our way up to the White Mountains, which lay on our route to Canada. Now, I would ask any of my readers who are candid enough to expose their own ignorance whether they ever heard, or at any rate whether they know anything, of the White Mountains? As regards myself, I confess that the name had reached my ears; that I had an indefinite idea that they formed an intermediate stage between the Rocky Mountains and the Alleghanies; and that they were inhabited either by Mormons, Indians, or simply by black bears. That there was a district in New England containing mountain scenery superior to much that is yearly crowded by tourists in Europe, that this is to be reached with ease by railways and stagecoaches, and that it is dotted with huge hotels almost as thickly as they lie in Switzerland, I had no idea. Much of this scenery, I say, is superior to the famed and classic lands of Europe. I know nothing, for instance, on the Rhine equal to the view from Mount Willard down the mountain pass called the Notch.
Let the visitor of these regions be as late in the year as he can, taking care that he is not so late as to find the hotels closed. October, no doubt, is the most beautiful month among these mountains; but, according to the present arrangement of matters here, the hotels are shut up by the end of September. With us, August, September, and October are the holiday months; whereas our rebel children across the Atlantic love to disport themselves in July and August. The great beauty of the autumn, or fall, is in the brilliant hues which are then taken by the foliage. The autumnal tints are fine with us. They are lovely and bright wherever foliage and vegetation form a part of the beauty of scenery. But in no other land do they approach the brilliancy of the fall in America. The bright rose color, the rich bronze which is almost purple in its richness, and the glorious golden yellows must be seen to be understood. By me, at any rate, they cannot be described. They begin to show themselves in September; and perhaps I might name the latter half of that month as the best time for visiting the White Mountains.
I am not going to write a guide book, feeling sure that Mr. Murray will do New England and Canada, including Niagara, and the Hudson River, with a peep into Boston and New York, before many more seasons have passed by. But I cannot forbear to tell my countrymen that any enterprising individual, with a hundred pounds to spend on his holiday — a hundred and twenty would make him more comfortable in regard to wine, washing, and other luxuries — and an absence of two months from his labors, may see as much and do as much here for the money as he can see or do elsewhere. In some respects he may do more; for he will learn more of American nature in such a journey than he can ever learn of the nature of Frenchmen or Americans by such an excursion among them. Some three weeks of the time, or perhaps a day or two over, he must be at sea, and that portion of his trip will cost him fifty pounds, presuming that he chooses to go in the most comfortable and costly way; but his time on board ship will not be lost. He will learn to know much of Americans there, and will perhaps form acquaintances of which he will not altogether lose sight for many a year. He will land at Boston, and, staying a day or two there, will visit Cambridge, Lowell, and Bunker Hill, and, if he be that way given, will remember that here live, and occasionally are to be seen alive, men such as Longfellow, Emerson, Hawthorne, and a host of others, whose names and fames have made Boston the throne of Western literature. He will then, if he take my advice and follow my track, go by Portland up into the White Mountains. At Gorham, a station on the Grand Trunk Line, he will find a hotel as good as any of its kind, and from thence he will take a light wagon, so called in these countries. And here let me presume that the traveler is not alone: he has his wife or friend, or perhaps a pair of sisters, and in his wagon he will go up through primeval forests to the Glen House. When there, he will ascend Mount Washington on a pony. That is de rigueur, and I do not therefore dare to recommend him to omit the ascent. I did not gain much myself by my labor. He will not stay at the Glen House, but will go on to — Jackson’s I think they call the next hotel, at which he will sleep. From thence he will take his wagon on through the Notch to the Crawford house, sleeping there again; and when here, let him, of all things, remember to go up Mount Willard. It is but a walk of two hours up and down, if so much. When reaching the top, he will be startled to find that he looks down into the ravine without an inch of foreground. He will come out suddenly on a ledge of rock, from whence, as it seems, he might leap down at once into the valley below. Then, going on from the Crawford House, he will be driven through the woods of Cherry Mount, passing, I fear without toll of custom, the house of my excellent friend Mr. Plaistead, who keeps a hotel at Jefferson. “Sir,” said Mr. Plaistead, “I have everything here that a man ought to want: air, sir, that aint to be got better nowhere; trout, chickens, beef, mutton, milk — and all for a dollar a day! A-top of that hill, sir, there’s a view that aint to be beaten this side of the Atlantic, or I believe the other. And an echo, sir! — we’ve an echo that comes back to us six times, sir; floating on the light wind, and wafted about from rock to rock, till you would think the angels were talking to you. If I could raise that echo, sir, every day at command, I’d give a thousand dollars for it. It would be worth all the money to a house like this.” And he waved his hand about from hill to hill, pointing out in graceful curves the lines which the sounds would take. Had destiny not called on Mr. Plaistead to keep an American hotel, he might have been a poet.
My traveler, however, unless time were plenty with him, would pass Mr. Plaistead, merely lighting a friendly cigar, or perhaps breaking the Maine liquor law if the weather be warm, and would return to Gorham on the railway. All this mountain district is in New Hampshire; and, presuming him to be capable of going about the world with his mouth, ears, and eyes open, he would learn much of the way in which men are settling themselves in this still sparsely-populated country. Here young farmers go into the woods as they are doing far down West in the Territories, and buying some hundred acres at perhaps six shillings an acre, fell and burn the trees, and build their huts, and take the first steps, as far as man’s work is concerned, toward accomplishing the will of the Creator in those regions. For such pioneers of civilization there is still ample room even in the long-settled States of New Hampshire and Vermont.
But to return to my traveler, whom, having brought so far, I must send on. Let him go on from Gorham to Quebec and the heights of Abraham, stopping at Sherbrooke that he might visit from thence the Lake of Memphra Magog. As to the manner of traveling over this ground I shall say a little in the next chapter, when I come to the progress of myself and my wife. From Quebec he will go up the St. Lawrence to Montreal. He will visit Ottawa, the new capital, and Toronto. He will cross the lake to Niagara, resting probably at the Clifton House on the Canada side. He will then pass on to Albany, taking the Trenton Falls on his way. From Albany he will go down the Hudson to West Point. He cannot stop at the Catskill Mountains, for the hotel will be closed. And then he will take the river boat, and in a few hours will find himself at New York. If he desires to go into American city society, he will find New York agreeable; but in that case he must exceed his two months. If he do not so desire, a short sojourn at New York will show him all that there is to be seen and all that there is not to be seen in that great city. That the Cunard line of steamers will bring him safely back to Liverpool in about eleven days, I need not tell to any Englishman, or, as I believe, to any American. So much, in the spirit of a guide, I vouchsafe to all who are willing to take my counsel — thereby anticipating Murray, and leaving these few pages as a legacy to him or to his collaborateurs.
I cannot say that I like the hotels in those parts, or, indeed, the mode of life at American hotels in general. In order that I may not unjustly defame them, I will commence these observations by declaring that they are cheap to those who choose to practice the economy which they encourage, that the viands are profuse in quantity and wholesome in quality, that the attendance is quick and unsparing, and that travelers are never annoyed by that grasping, greedy hunger and thirst after francs and shillings which disgrace, in Europe, many English and many continental inns. All this is, as must be admitted, great praise; and yet I do not like the American hotels.
One is in a free country, and has come from a country in which one has been brought up to hug one’s chains — so at least the English traveler is constantly assured — and yet in an American inn one can never do as one likes. A terrific gong sounds early in the morning, breaking one’s sweet slumbers; and then a second gong, sounding some thirty minutes later, makes you understand that you must proceed to breakfast whether you be dressed or no. You certainly can go on with your toilet, and obtain your meal after half an hour’s delay. Nobody actually scolds you for so doing, but the breakfast is, as they say in this country, “through.” You sit down alone, and the attendant stands immediately over you. Probably there are two so standing. They fill your cup the instant it is empty. They tender you fresh food before that which has disappeared from your plate has been swallowed. They begrudge you no amount that you can eat or drink; but they begrudge you a single moment that you sit there neither eating nor drinking. This is your fate if you’re too late; and therefore, as a rule, you are not late. In that case, you form one of a long row of eaters who proceed through their work with a solid energy that is past all praise. It is wrong to say that Americans will not talk at their meals. I never met but few who would not talk to me, at any rate till I got to the far West; but I have rarely found that they would address me first. Then the dinner comes early — at least it always does so in New England — and the ceremony is much of the same kind. You came there to eat, and the food is pressed upon you ad nauseam. But, as far as one can see, there is no drinking. In these days, I am quite aware that drinking has become improper, even in England. We are apt, at home, to speak of wine as a thing tabooed, wondering how our fathers lived and swilled. I believe that, as a fact, we drink as much as they did; but, nevertheless, that is our theory. I confess, however, that I like wine. It is very wicked, but it seems to me that my dinner goes down better with a glass of sherry than without it. As a rule, I always did get it at hotels in America. But I had no comfort with it. Sherry they do not understand at all. Of course I am only speaking of hotels. Their claret they get exclusively from Mr. Gladstone, and, looking at the quality, have a right to quarrel even with Mr. Gladstone’s price. But it is not the quality of the wine that I hereby intend to subject to ignominy so much as the want of any opportunity for drinking it. After dinner, if all that I hear be true, the gentlemen occasionally drop into the hotel bar and “liquor up.” Or rather this is not done specially after dinner, but, without prejudice to the hour, at any time that may be found desirable. I also have “liquored up,” but I cannot say that I enjoy the process. I do not intend hereby to accuse Americans of drinking much; but I maintain that what they do drink, they drink in the most uncomfortable manner that the imagination can devise.
The greatest luxury at an English inn is one’s tea, one’s fire, and one’s book. Such an arrangement is not practicable at an American hotel. Tea, like breakfast, is a great meal, at which meat should be eaten, generally with the addition of much jelly, jam, and sweet preserve; but no person delays over his teacup. I love to have my teacup emptied and filled with gradual pauses, so that time for oblivion may accrue, and no exact record be taken. No such meal is known at American hotels. It is possible to hire a separate room, and have one’s meals served in it; but in doing so a man runs counter to all the institutions of the country, and a woman does so equally. A stranger does not wish to be viewed askance by all around him; and the rule which holds that men at Rome should do as Romans do, if true anywhere, is true in America. Therefore I say that in an American inn one can never do as one pleases.
In what I have here said I do not intend to speak of hotels in the largest cities, such as Boston or New York. At them meals are served in the public room separately, and pretty nearly at any or at all hours of the day; but at them also the attendant stands over the unfortunate eater and drives him. The guest feels that he is controlled by laws adapted to the usages of the Medes and Persians. He is not the master on the occasion, but the slave — a slave well treated, and fattened up to the full endurance of humanity, but yet a slave.
From Gorham we went on to Island Pond, a station on the same Canada Trunk Railway, on a Saturday evening, and were forced by the circumstances of the line to pass a melancholy Sunday at the place. The cars do not run on Sundays, and run but once a day on other days over the whole line, so that, in fact, the impediment to traveling spreads over two days. Island Pond is a lake with an island in it; and the place which has taken the name is a small village, about ten years old, standing in the midst of uncut forests, and has been created by the railway. In ten years more there will no doubt be a spreading town at Island Pond; the forests will recede; and men, rushing out from the crowded cities, will find here food, and space, and wealth. For myself, I never remain long in such a spot without feeling thankful that it has not been my mission to be a pioneer of civilization.
The farther that I got away from Boston the less strong did I find the feeling of anger against England. There, as I have said before, there was a bitter animosity against the mother country in that she had shown no open sympathy with the North. In Maine and New Hampshire I did not find this to be the case to any violent degree. Men spoke of the war as openly as they did at Boston, and, in speaking to me, generally connected England with the subject. But they did so simply to ask questions as to England’s policy. What will she do for cotton when her operatives are really pressed? Will she break the blockade? Will she insist on a right to trade with Charleston and new Orleans? I always answered that she would insist on no such right, if that right were denied to others and the denial enforced. England, I took upon myself to say, would not break a veritable blockade, let her be driven to what shifts she might in providing for her operatives. “Ah! that’s what we fear,” a very stanch patriot said to me, if words may be taken as a proof of stauchness. “If England allies herself with the Southerners, all our trouble is for nothing.” It was impossible not to feel that all that was said was complimentary to England. It is her sympathy that the Northern men desire, to her co-operation that they would willingly trust, on her honesty that they would choose to depend. It is the same feeling whether it shows itself in anger or in curiosity. An American, whether he be embarked in politics, in literature, or in commerce, desires English admiration, English appreciation of his energy, and English encouragement. The anger of Boston is but a sign of its affectionate friendliness. What feeling is so hot as that of a friend when his dearest friend refuses to share his quarrel or to sympathize in his wrongs! To my thinking, the men of Boston are wrong and unreasonable in their anger; but were I a man of Boston, I should be as wrong and as unreasonable as any of them. All that, however, will come right. I will not believe it possible that there should in very truth be a quarrel between England and the Northern States.
In the guidance of those who are not quite au fait at the details of American government, I will here in a few words describe the outlines of State government as it is arranged in New Hampshire. The States, in this respect, are not all alike, the modes of election of their officers, and periods of service, being different. Even the franchise is different in different States. Universal suffrage is not the rule throughout the United States, though it is, I believe, very generally thought in England that such is the fact. I need hardly say that the laws in the different States may be as various as the different legislatures may choose to make them.
In New Hampshire universal suffrage does prevail, which means that any man may vote who lives in the State, supports himself, and assists to support the poor by means of poor rates. A governor of the State is elected for one year only; but it is customary, or at any rate not uncustomary, to re-elect him for a second year. His salary is a thousand dollars a year, or two hundred pounds. It must be presumed, therefore, that glory, and not money, is his object. To him is appended a Council, by whose opinions he must in a great degree be guided. His functions are to the State what those of the President are to the country; and, for the short period of his reign, he is as it were a Prime Minister of the State, with certain very limited regal attributes. He, however, by no means enjoys the regal attribute of doing no wrong. In every State there is an Assembly, consisting of two houses of elected representatives — the Senate, or upper house, and the House of Representatives so called. In New Hampshire, this Assembly or Parliament is styled The General Court of New Hampshire. It sits annually, whereas the legislature in many States sits only every other year. Both houses are re-elected every year. This Assembly passes laws with all the power vested in our Parliament, but such laws apply of course only to the State in question. The Governor of the State has a veto on all bills passed by the two houses. But, after receipt of his veto, any bill so stopped by the Governor can be passed by a majority of two-thirds in each house. The General Court usually sits for about ten weeks. There are in the State eight judges — three supreme, who sit at Concord, the capital, as a court of appeal both in civil and criminal matters, and then five lesser judges, who go circuit through the State. The salaries of these lesser judges do not exceed from 250 pounds to 300 pounds a year; but they are, I believe, allowed to practice as lawyers in any counties except those in which they sit as judges — being guided, in this respect, by the same law as that which regulates the work of assistant barristers in Ireland. The assistant barristers in Ireland are attached to the counties as judges at Quarter Sessions, but they practice, or may practice, as advocates in all counties except that to which they are so attached. The judges in New Hampshire are appointed by the Governor, with the assistance of his Council. No judge in New Hampshire can hold his seat after he has reached seventy years of age.
So much at the present moment with reference to the government of New Hampshire.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:55