The Project Gutenberg eBook of Mysteries of Washington City, during Several Months of the Session of the 28th Congress

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Title: Mysteries of Washington City, during Several Months of the Session of the 28th Congress

Author: Caleb Atwater

Release date: July 17, 2017 [eBook #55141]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Larry B. Harrison, Charlie Howard, and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at





By a Citizen of Ohio.

Washington, D. C.

Entered according to the act of Congress in the office of the clerk of the District Court of the District of Columbia, by Caleb Atwater, in the year 1844.


To the Members of the twenty-eighth Congress, Senators, Representatives and their officers, this little volume is respectfully dedicated, as a small token of high regard for them, as officers of the government of the United States, and as men, devoted to the best interests of their country, by their old friend and fellow citizen,




This small volume is the first of a series, which the author proposes to write for the amusement, and he hopes, for the information of his countrymen. This is “Mysteries,” the next will be “Humbugs of Washington city” and the third volume if deemed necessary, to reform the public morals, will be “the crimes of Washington city.” Whoever reads this little work, will find in it no malice, nor even ill will towards individuals, whom the author wishes to reform, not to destroy, by exposing vice and recommending virtue in its loveliness and beauty. He is happy to be able to say, that the people of this district have been growingvi better during twenty years past. Several of the Departments, perhaps all of them, are better conducted than formerly. There is in them a better system. We refer more especially to the Treasury Department—the General Land Office and the Department of the General Post Office. The State Department is and always was well enough. All party spirit has been carefully avoided in writing this little book. Feeling no ill will towards any one, for opinion’s sake, the author has expressed none towards the good men with whom he has freely associated during several months past. Treated kindly himself by men of all parties, he has endeavored to treat them as they have treated him, during this protracted session of Congress. In his next volume he proposes to describe the Patent Office, the War Office and the Navy Department. He hopes to be able soon to begin his visits tovii them, and continue his visits until he understands fully what is in those departments, so that the people can learn correctly whether common report be true or false respecting them. The Indian bureau will be examined.

Errors in this first edition of an original work could not be avoided, and the reader, it is hoped, will correct them as he reads the work the first time. Unless this volume is soon sold, his next work, “The Humbugs” will be put to the press when Congress rises. The author will take off his gloves when he writes that volume during the dog-days.

The reader’s humble servant,

WASHINGTON CITY, June 1st, 1844.




Journey to Washington City.—A day at Wheeling, in Virginia.—Ride to Cumberland over the Alleghany mountains.—Extremely cold weather in a crowded Stage.—Arrival at Cumberland two hours too late to take the Rail-road cars to Baltimore, through the management of stage drivers and tavern keepers, on the route.—Arrival at Washington City on New Year’s day.—Reflections on the change in every thing, in the city, since that day fourteen years.—Interviews with the President, Major William B. Lewis, Governor Woodbury, and many old friends, at Mrs. Hamilton’s, on Pennsylvania Avenue.—Biographical Sketch of Levi Woodbury.


Journey from Washington to Philadelphia.—A day at Philadelphia.—Journey to New York on the rail-road.—Stop on Broadway.—A dinner consisting of ice water and one mouthful of roast beef!—Bill of fare, but no fare.—Thefts and burglary.—Broadstreet Hotel corner of Broad and Pearl streets.—Fare excellent, but no BILL OF FARE on the table at dinner.—Charles A. Clinton and Dr. Hosack.—Mrs. Lentner’s on Amity street, where Colonel Trumbull lived and died.—Albert Gallatin and his lady on Beekman street.—Mr. Gallatin’s eventful life.—How employed in the study of Indian languages.—His inquiries concerning his old friends in the District of Columbia.—Their feeling towards him and Mrs. Gallatin, and the comparisons they are now daily compelled to make.—The trade of New York city, its vast amount and probable increase, which will eventually render it the greatest commercial emporium in the world.—Rail-road to the Pacific ocean and a fair prospect of its connecting our Atlantic cities with China and the Pacific islands, by means of rail-roads and steam vessels.—The future wealth, grandeur and moral glory of this republic.



Return to Washington.—The different degrees of temperature in the atmosphere at different places seen in the thickness of the ice in the rivers from New York to Washington inclusive.—Long interview with the President. His misfortunes rather than his faults.—His cheerfulness, and his views as to Liberia.—Supernumeraries ought to be set to work and sent off.—Beautiful situation of Washington.—The Congress library, its officers and the agreeable company usually in the library room.—Army of little officers in and about the capitol.—Judge Upshur, personal acquaintance with him, his character and death.—The tragedy on board the Princeton.—Great funeral and a whole city in tears for the loss of so many distinguished citizens.


Mr. Dana’s speech against the military Academy.—Objections—it is an aristocratic institution.—1st in its selection of candidates—2nd in its monopoly of military commissions.—Its expenses are enormous and wholly disproportioned to any advantages to be derived from it.—Its positive evils, as it operates on the officers and on the private soldiers.—Mr. Dana might have added, that if this republic is in danger from any quarter, its danger lies in this institution.


This chapter is serious, grave, gay and mysterious.—Good advice to Uncle Sam.—A dream which clears up the mystery of beards and mustaches, and accounts for some things, but cannot account for others, until the author dreams again; perhaps not even then!—Inquiries and doubts, not answered or solved in this chapter.


Officers of both houses of Congress.—Vice President Mangum.—Speaker Jones.—Members of Congress, their labors and unenviable state.—Eloquence of members.—Senators Choate, Crittenden, Morehead, &c. &c.—The Tariff, Oregon and Texas to go down to the foot of the docket and be postponed until next session of our honorable court.



Visit to Mr. Calhoun, Secretary of State.—Alexandria, its early history.—Reminisences of General Washington.—Memoir of Mr. Anthony Charles Cazenove; a most interesting tale.—He was the old partner of Albert Gallatin, at New Geneva, Pennsylvania.


Officers of the government.—Remarks on the permanency of the seat of government.—No authority in the constitution to remove it.—Monomaniacs, one who fancies himself in paradise! and the other expects to be elected the next president!—Other monomaniacs equally crazy.—Local Information.



Journey to Washington City.—A day at Wheeling, in Virginia.—Ride to Cumberland over the Allegheny mountain.—Extremely cold weather in a crowded Stage.—Arrival at Cumberland two hours too late to take the Rail-road cars to Baltimore, through the management of stage drivers and tavern keepers, on the route.—Arrival at Washington City on New Year’s day.—Reflections on the change in every thing, in the city, since that day fourteen years.—Interviews with the President, Major William B. Lewis, Governor Woodbury, and many old friends, at Mrs. Hamilton’s, on Pennsylvania Avenue.—Biographical Sketch of Levi Woodbury.

Leaving Columbus, the seat of government, in the State of Ohio, on the morning of the twenty-sixth of November, in the stage, in company with six or seven passengers, we arrived at Wheeling, in Virginia, in exactly twenty-four hours. The distance is somewhat over one hundred and thirty miles. We passed over the National road, then in a good condition for travelling on it. Stopping at the Virginia Hotel in Wheeling, we ascertained that we were too late for the stage that would pass over14 the road to Cumberland, in season for the rail-road cars next morning; and so we concluded to tarry where we were, until next day. Resting ourselves here that day, and laying by sleep enough for the route between Wheeling and Cumberland, we took an early start the next morning, and passed over the Alleghanies during the succeeding night. We travelled some fifty miles or upwards on the ridge of that mountain, which is four thousand feet above the ocean, and on one point it is nearly, if not quite, five thousand feet in height. It was extremely cold, and the snow was several inches in depth. The cracks in the doors and windows of the stage, admitted the piercing cold more freely than we could have wished. We were nine in number, and were quite incommoded and uncomfortably stowed away. The stage driver insisted on stopping at every tavern, that we passed, almost, during the night, and the tavern keepers themselves were quite importunate, and strove to induce us to stop15 and warm ourselves by their large coal fires in their bar-rooms.

These arts of stage drivers and tavern keepers combined, detained us so long, notwithstanding all our exertions to prevent it, that they produced the effect which it was intended to produce: we arrived at Cumberland, in Maryland, about two hours too late for the cars that day, and so we were detained at that town until next morning. If the tavern keepers at Wheeling and Cumberland could be believed, though we had our doubts, they were excessively offended at all who were concerned in delaying us on our route, viz.: the stage agent at Wheeling, and the drivers and tavern keepers on the mountain, from the top of Laurel Hill, to Frostburgh inclusive. On the last day of December, 1843, we left Cumberland early in the morning, and in ten hours we were safely landed in Baltimore, passing over one hundred and eighty miles of rail-road in that period of time. For such a distance, of continuous rail-road, this is a16 most excellent road, and the ride is a very pleasant one. Our stoppages were neither numerous nor did we tarry long at any one place. At Harper’s Ferry we stopped to dine, but prefering to take our refreshment in the cars, we were gratified in that way, thereby saving one-half the expense and one-half the usual time of tarrying here to take a regular dinner. The towns through which we passed, between Cumberland and Baltimore, are small ones, but are improving in appearance. In Baltimore I stopped at Bradshaw’s, near the depot, and there found a good, comfortable room, a good bed, and good breakfast for one dollar. Leaving Baltimore in the cars at 8 o’clock, A. M., we reached Washington city, at 10 o’clock, in the morning, on New Year’s day. I had expected to have seen, at least, one hundred thousand people in Pennsylvania Avenue, on New Year’s day, as I saw, on that day fourteen years before. Now, I saw no crowd, no bustle, and heard no noise, and saw no stir. There was, however,17 as I learned at supper from some clerks who boarded where I put up, a levee of clerks and officers, who were dependants on the heads of Departments, and they called it “a crowd” of officers and office seekers? The nation had increased in numbers, greatly, since 1830, but only one thousand officers attended at the White house that day, whereas one hundred thousand people thronged the Avenue fourteen years before! Such was my impression from what I saw and heard that day. The change was striking, and told the different feelings of the people towards the Captain, from those formerly evinced towards the old General. I leave it to the reader to decide on the cause, but the fact made an impression at the time, and forced the comparison on my own mind, on the first day of the year 1844. Both days, that is, the first day of January 1830, and New Year’s day 1844, were equally fair, and the Avenue was now in a better condition than formerly, made so, at a large expense, by the nation. The officers of the18 government had doubled in numbers around the Chief Magistrate, but THE PEOPLE were not here now.

I had been absent from the city ever since early in August 1832, and it had undergone a change in its exterior appearance, in the mean time, of some magnitude. Its vacant lots had been built on, in many places; old buildings had been removed, and new ones, many of them large and elegant ones, had been erected in their stead. The improvements about the public buildings: the Capitol, the War office, the President’s house, &c., were considerable, and had cost the nation large sums of money. Besides these improvements, a new building of large dimensions had been built instead of the old Post Office, that fire had destroyed, since I had been here. A new Patent Office, of dimensions quite too large for any use to which the nation ought to devote it, had been built. The structure of this building seemed to me, to be such, that it will fall down in a few years. A new Treasury19 Office of vast dimensions, had also been built, since I had visited the city. Washington had now assumed more of a city-like aspect, instead of its old one, of a long straggling village. More churches had been built, in various parts of the city, and no disgusting sights of beggars and prostitutes met the eye. These circumstances added much to my satisfaction on my first day’s visit to the seat of Government. I met and shook hands with many old friends, residing either here or in Georgetown. Washington no longer presents the outside of vice, and that circumstance speaks highly of those, who have so zealously laboured to improve the morals, and mend the hearts, of the great mass of the citizens. Their labors must have been great, otherwise such success would not have followed their works.

I attended, afterwards, divine service in several of their churches in the city, and once in the Episcopal church, with General Archibald Henderson’s family, at the Navy Yard, but I always found good preaching,20 and orderly, and even devout congregations attending church. In the streets of the city, I have never seen an intoxicated person, whereas, twelve years since, I have seen fifty such sights in a day. Many of them were Members of Congress! During this long visit of several months, constantly visiting all the public places, I have not seen one Member of Congress, either intoxicated or in any wise misbehaving himself, on any occasion.

There may be vice here, but it no longer exhibits its disgusting front in public, and I have not sought for it, nor wished to find it. It is true, the passengers see signs in several places on the Avenue, with the words “BILLIARDS,” or “BILLIARD SALOON,” printed on them, but otherwise, the stranger would not know without inquiry, where the gamblers resort for gaining what they call an “honest livelihood.” The reflections I drew from such premises, assure me of an improved state of morals, in the nation itself, in many respects. We may21 hope that moral feelings and moral principles, will one day govern this great Republic, through its representatives, in our legislative assemblies.

Let us hope, too, that the day is not far off, when our highest officers, civil, naval, and military, will be sober, honest, and moral men. Many, perhaps all, or nearly all, of our older officers are such men even now—such men as General Henderson, Col. Abert, General Bomford, General Gibson, Col. Totten, General Towson, Maj. Lewis, Judge Blake, M. St. Clair Clarke, and many others, are such men now. The high respect in which these men are held by all who know them, will have a good effect on all their subordinates. The low estimation, likewise, in which men in high places, of an opposite character, are held here and elsewhere, will produce its good effects also. They stand out as beacons on the ocean of life, to warn off every mariner from such an iron bound coast. The success which has always attended the sons and daughters of22 such good men, and the total ruin which has followed, and overwhelmed the children of wicked officers of government, teach the same lessons of prudence, wisdom, and virtue.

It argues but poorly in favor of an aristocracy in this country, to see, in the offices, as minor clerks, the sons of highly respectable fathers, unless it be in cases, where a man with a family is reduced by misfortunes and losses, by untoward events, without any fault of his; or he may have been a literary man, like William Darby. In such a case, the government may, on the purest principles of morals, give such a man some easy place as a shelter in his old age. Such an act ought to rescue such a head of department from oblivion. Judge Blake deserves and receives his reward in the good opinion of all good men.

Speaking of clerks, it is to be regretted that the young men of this district should, early in life, accept of a clerkship, instead of setting out at once for themselves, whereby23 they can be more independent and have a better prospect of rising in the world as respectable men and useful ones too, than a clerkship can ever afford them. I was told that it was no very uncommon sight to see in a day one hundred such young men in office hours, walking the streets, standing in refectories, drinking spirits, or lounging about the lobbies of the two houses, or sauntering about the rotundo with an umbrella over their heads, leading about some female friend! I was told also, that while these loafers were thus engaged, the older clerks and older men with families to support, were over worked in their several offices. One hundred such clerks with high salaries, (often the highest ones) ought to be dismissed in a day, and substitutes found in the western states, who have almost nothing here in the departments. Such a state of things would sink any administration in the estimation of all the West.

I give this story for what it is worth, and for the sake of unity, in relation to the appointment24 of clerks, whose residence is in the District, we relate here another anecdote, which, in order of time belongs to a more recent era than the early part of our present visit. On the morning of the day when Messrs. Gilmer and Wilkins were nominated to the Senate, for the purpose of getting those nominations made that day, I called at the White House very early in the morning, and being the first on the spot by half an hour, the President, in accordance with his usual politeness towards me, directed the messenger to give to me, as the first one that morning whom he would see, the key of the door that led to the President’s room, up stairs. I took the key and opened the door, putting my hand against the door case to prevent an ugly old woman getting ahead of me, on my way to see the President; but the old lady stooping under my arm and running before me, cried out aloud, “W...... ought to be clerk, W...... ought to be clerk.” She kept before me, running a race, thus proclaiming,25 at the top of her voice, until she reached the President’s room, where seating herself without leave or licence, she continued her clamor for some minutes.—Finally, finding no opportunity to be alone with the Chief Magistrate, I opened to him my business, notwithstanding the presence of this old witch of Endor. She declared that “although they had lived in the District almost one whole year, yet during all that long period they had procured no office yet.” They had kept boarders, for which they had received only thirteen dollars a week for each boarder! They had been compelled, it seems, to hire a man at ten dollars a month, to wait on the boarders! yet neither her husband nor her son-in-law had received any office yet. Hearing that two Secretaries were to be nominated that day, she modestly insisted on “her husband’s being a clerk under one of them.” The President told her, “that he had nothing to do with such appointments, which he left to the Secretaries to make.” It26 seems, from the best information I could obtain, that women, belonging to this District, and parts of Maryland and Virginia near Washington, come here, constantly soliciting offices for their sons, husbands and other relatives. That they have often succeeded, is evident enough to the public injury, and to the injury of the public officers themselves. Were the same rules adopted now, that Jefferson and Madison adhered to formerly, a vast deal of personal inconvenience to the President would be avoided. The Presidents, to whom I have referred, required that all applications for offices should be made in writing. If the office was derived from the President and Senate, the application had to be made to the President; but if the office applied for came from a Secretary, then he only was addressed, but it must be in writing. A story has been for some time past running around the whole Union, during the last year, in relation to the appointment of a clerk. The tale itself is derived, we presume,27 from some officer here, yet is doubtless wholly untrue. Could that officer be believed, a woman, residing in or near the District, frequently called to see the President, in order to get her husband appointed a clerk. After many vain attempts to accomplish her wishes, she is represented as having succeeded at last by informing the Chief Magistrate, “that her husband was entirely helpless in his bed from sickness, and that she and her children must come to want unless her husband was appointed a clerk!”

Having recounted my first impressions on my arrival here, I proceed in my personal narrative. On the next day, early in the forenoon of January second, I called on my old friend, Major William B. Lewis, Second Auditor, located in the War Office building, whom I found disengaged. After a few minutes’ conversation, he began to tell me about how my business had been treated in the War Office, by the late Secretary of War and the present Commissioner of28 Indian Affairs. He spoke an hour, in which time he entirely acquitted President Tyler of all participation in the oppression, of which I had been the object. I had been informed quite the reverse by our delegation, on the authority of the men, who were the only authors of all the injustice which had been done to me. On the next day I saw the man who had wronged me; and although I did not even allude to his conduct towards me, I became entirely satisfied of his guilt, and so made up my mind accordingly. The next step required me, I thought, to make the proper apology to an injured man, injured by his worst enemies, who pretended to be his best friends. On the first day that I called to see the President, the members of Congress occupied the President’s time so long, that I could not see him that day. I called again next day, and through the friendship of Judge French of Kentucky, who spoke to the western members then waiting to see the President, and more especially through the29 aid of the Hon. T. Jefferson Henley of Indiana, I saw the President and conversed with him about my claim. Mr. Henley lived opposite Louisville, (when at home,) on the Ohio river. He represented a part of Indiana with which I was formerly well acquainted. He stood by me, and insisted on the President seeing me and conversing with me on my business. The President came out of his room to see me, instead of inviting me into his room. He seemed not to know what had been done, and he referred me to Maj. Lewis for information; but as the Auditor could not originate an account, and, in as much too, as the then Secretary of War, I well knew, could not pass the Senate, I preferred deferring my business until another Secretary of War had been appointed. I therefore deferred the presentation of any claim until a future day.

Walking along the avenue towards Gadsby’s, I heard a loud voice behind me, and turning around, I saw following me, with a quick step, Levi Woodbury, now a Senator30 from New Hampshire, formerly a Secretary, first of the Naval, next of the Treasury department. I was happy, indeed, to meet such an old friend, after a separation of more than eleven years’ continuance. He was in the best health and spirits, and exacted a promise from me, that I would spend that evening with him and his family, at Mrs. Hamilton’s, on the avenue. At early candle light I went to see him, but, in addition to his family, I found there a large number of old friends, members of Congress and others. It was a most agreeable meeting of old friends, who had once been the supporters of General Jackson. Old scenes were recalled to our minds, and all were very happy for the time being. Gov. Hill of New Hampshire, was the only one who did not laugh heartily on that occasion. His nomination for some little office was before the Senate for confirmation, and his fears, if he had any, were well founded, because his nomination was not confirmed, but rejected not long afterwards by the Senate.31 Among the ladies present, were Mrs. Woodbury and her three daughters. They are New England’s best beauties—they have handsome forms, and they are beautiful in face, body and mind. The whole family, father, mother and daughters, present one of the best family groups I ever saw in my whole life. Their persons, minds and manners are in perfect keeping, of which New Hampshire may well be proud, as ornaments, physical, mental and moral, of the Granite State. Seeing them, and listening to their conversation, I thought, though I did not say so, that, unless the unmarried members of Congress had hearts harder than granite itself, and colder than northern icebergs, these young ladies would soon have good husbands and good homes in our delightful Great Western valley. Give us millions of just such people in the West, to cultivate and adorn the largest, the best and most fertile valley on the whole globe.

Levi Woodbury was born in Francistown, in New Hampshire, in the year 1790. His32 father, Peter Woodbury, emigrated, when quite young, from Beverly, in Massachusetts, to the town where Governor Woodbury was born. We do not propose in this biographical notice of one who has successively filled, with credit to himself and honor to his native state, so many high and important public stations, any thing more than a mere passing notice of one of the most industrious, polite, kind and useful men in the present Congress. The early education of Mr. Woodbury was acquired in the common schools of his native town. During a short period, he was employed, when young, a mere youth of fourteen or fifteen years of age, in teaching a school in Pepperell, in Massachusetts. In 1805 he entered Dartmouth college, and was regularly graduated at that institution. As a scholar, he stood very high in his class. This circumstance, in addition to his devotion to literary pursuits, in all probability, induced his alma mater to confer on him the degree of LL. D. at a subsequent period of his life. After33 graduating at Dartmouth college, Mr. Woodbury studied law one year with Judge Reeve, at Litchfield, Connecticut, and completing his law studies at other places, was admitted to the bar in 1812, and immediately opened a law office in his native town. At the time when Mr. Woodbury began his career as a lawyer, party spirit ran high in New Hampshire; the majority were opposed to the war and the then administration of the general government. Mr. Woodbury supported the war, and often addressed public meetings, and drew up and introduced into them spirited resolutions, which produced considerable effect on the minds of his fellow citizens. During several years, the party opposed to the war, governed the State, until 1816, perhaps. During these four years Mr. Woodbury rose into a great practice at the bar, and stood high too as a politician with his party. In 1816, when his party had become a majority in the legislature, he was elected clerk of the Senate. In the next January he was appointed34 a judge of the superior court. Having at such an early age been appointed to the highest judicial station in the State, the public attention was naturally turned towards him. His quick apprehension, his reach of thought, his firmness and moral courage, rendered him a model, it is said, of judicial deportment. His judicial decisions are reported and held in high estimation by the lawyers of New Hampshire. In 1823, Judge Woodbury was elected Governor of the State, but returned to the practice of the law in 1824. His law practice was instantly considerable, and he was sought for as a lawyer by persons in every part of the State. In 1819 he was married to Miss Clapp of Portland in Maine. In the year 1825 he was elected a representative from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to the legislature. He had settled himself as a lawyer, on his marriage, in Portsmouth. By the legislature, to which he had been elected, he was chosen Speaker of the House of Representatives, and towards the close of35 the session he was elected to the Senate of the United States. We have been the more careful to notice every step of Mr. Woodbury’s advancement, until he reached the United States Senate, because, as soon as he appeared in that body, he was seen by the whole nation; and from that time to the present moment, he has always been where the whole nation could see him. His labors on committees, in the Senate, have been great and useful to his country. As Secretary of the Navy, and subsequently Secretary of the Treasury department, he has shown talents of a superior cast. It is a striking fact, that he and his friend Cass, of the same State originally, are possibly the only men whom their party could, by possibility succeed in electing at the next presidential election.

To those who personally know Mr. Woodbury, it is unnecessary to state, that in his manners he is one of the most agreeable men in the world. Finally, himself and Mrs. Woodbury, have the most beautiful,36 well bred and polite family now attending on this session of Congress. Their persons are not less beautiful than their minds, their manners and their hearts. I dismiss them from any further notice in my book, with the fervent desire that God may bless them.



Journey from Washington to Philadelphia.—A day at Philadelphia.—Journey to New York on the rail-road.—Stop on Broadway.—A dinner consisting of ice water and one mouthful of roast beef!—Bill of fare, but no fare.—Thefts and burglary.—Broadstreet Hotel corner of Broad and Pearl streets.—Fare excellent, but no BILL OF FARE on the table at dinner.—Charles A. Clinton and Dr. Hosack.—Mrs. Lentner’s on Amity street, where Colonel Trumbull lived and died.—Albert Gallatin and his lady on Beckman street.—Mr. Gallatin’s eventful life.—How employed in the study of Indian languages.—His inquiries concerning his old friends in the District of Columbia.—Their feeling towards him and Mrs. Gallatin, and the comparisons they are now daily compelled to make.—The trade of New York city, its vast amount and probable increase, which will eventually render it the greatest commercial emporium in the world.—Rail-road to the Pacific ocean and a fair prospect of its connecting our Atlantic cities with China and the Pacific islands, by means of rail-roads and steam vessels.—The future wealth, grandeur and moral glory of this republic.

Having tarried at Washington about eight days, and having visited all the places and persons that I then desired to see, I left the city early in the morning, in the rail-road cars, breakfasted in Baltimore at Bradshaws, and reached Philadelphia about dark in the evening. Stopping at the Mansion House hotel, adjoining the depot, I visited Dr. S. G. Morton, on Arch street, not far from my38 lodgings. He invited me to call on him the next evening, which I did. Through the day intervening, I visited some book-sellers and book-binders, and saw and conversed with several very agreeable and well educated persons, citizens and strangers. The Philadelphians are a very moral, well-informed and good people. At Dr. Morton’s I met a small circle of his friends, with whom I spent agreeably several hours. The Doctor and his lady have a family of very promising sons and daughters, whom they are educating in the best possible manner. I saw Dr. Wistar at the hotel where I put up, and where he boards. He is the son of the celebrated Doctor of that name, but the present Dr. Wistar does not wish to follow the practice of his profession, and so he does not follow it at present; at least, I so understood him to say. Since I had seen this city, it had greatly increased its dimensions and improved its exterior appearance. The Girard College buildings, the Merchants’ Exchange and the Almshouse, have39 been built since I had seen Philadelphia before, and they added much to its exterior aspect.

The building intended as a residence for paupers, as we passed along the rail-road, on my return from New York, in a pleasant morning, on our right hand, across the Schuylkill, standing on elevated ground, made a splendid appearance. Had we not known that it was the Almshouse, we might have been tempted to believe it the residence of some retired monarch of the old world, who had come here, and at the expense of a million of dollars or more, had erected this splendid palace for a residence. The traveller is generally treated a little better, and charged a little less in Philadelphia, than he is in any other Atlantic city. As a whole, this city has always been celebrated for its good qualities of all sorts, and yet a few, a very few men here have done not a little to injure its still fair character. Its banks, bankers and bankrupts have brought down ruin on many an honest man40 and covered themselves, the authors of the ruin, with shame and disgrace. The ruin has fallen on the innocent only, while the guilty have escaped condign punishment, except one of them, whose death in all human probability was occasioned by his mental sufferings, at the loss of his character.—Peace to his shade.

Early on the morning of January 10th, I left the Mansion house, crossed the Delaware and passed through the State of New Jersey, in the rail-road cars, and arrived at New York city about three o’clock in the afternoon, in season for a dinner at a tavern on Broadway, At dinner we had a printed bill of fare in French. For drink, I had a glass of Croton water, with ice in it, and this, after a cold day’s ride, in the depth of a cold, northern winter! Had I been a frozen turnip, such water might have thawed my frozen stomach, but as it was, hot coffee or hot tea would have suited me much better. I called for something to eat, but the waiter in an insolent tone ordered me in41 German “to read my bill of fare,” and he refused to give me any thing to eat. Finally, after positively refusing to comply with my request a dozen times, the ruffian gave me a thin slice of roasted beef, which I ate at a mouthful, and called in vain for more. This mouthful of meat, with some cold Croton water and some ice in it, was all I got for my dinner! Half a dollar for such a dinner! kind reader. I had the bill of fare lying before me, but the fare itself I did not and could not obtain. After sitting at the table nearly an hour, faint, cold and hungry, I went to my room, in which a small fire had been made at my request, at the expense of another half dollar. The room being cold and damp, with so bad a prospect before me, I locked my door, put the key in my pocket, and went down Broadstreet, until I came to Thresher’s Broadstreet hotel, and told the host my story. He agreed to furnish me the best fare, unaccompanied by a bill of it, a good room to myself, warmed constantly by a good coal fire, for one dollar42 a day. Upon these terms we agreed, and I went back to the Broadway tavern. The Broadstreet hotel is the same house, which was occupied by General Washington as his head quarters, when he took possession of the city, after the British army had left it, at the conclusion of the revolutionary war. Standing in front of a large opened window in the second story, his officers standing before him in the street, below him, General Washington delivered to them his farewell address. From the house, his officers accompanied him to the wharf, not very distant from this spot, where he took his final leave of his companions in arms. Having crossed the ferry into New Jersey, he hastened to appear before the continental Congress, then sitting in Annapolis, the now seat of government in the State of Maryland. A painting in the rotundo, represents Washington at Annapolis delivering his farewell address to Congress.

On the conclusion of my bargain with the landlord of the Broadstreet Hotel, I returned43 to my first stopping place, and by dint of argument, aided by several southern guests, I got a warm supper, with warm coffee and warm food, a little after ten o’clock that night. I got some sleep that night and a breakfast next morning, and paid a bill of three dollars twelve-and-a-half cents, for what I had! Although my door had always been locked when I was out of it and the key was in my pocket, yet that precaution had not prevented my room from being entered, my locked trunk’s being opened, and several articles of no great value being stolen from it—such as a shirt, a handkerchief and a quire of writing paper. By ten in the morning I was at my new lodgings, where I continued some three weeks, while I remained in New York. This Broadstreet Hotel, on the corner of Pearl and Broad streets, is within one minute’s walk of the shipping, in the slip; it is one square from Broadway, and the old Battery. At the Battery there is playing constantly a splendid, roaring fountain of Croton water. It44 roars like a cataract in a still night. This Hotel is near not only to all the shipping in port, and the principal wholesale stores of all sorts, but it is the headquarters of most of the captain of vessels, which sail from this city to all parts of the world. From such a point, I found it an easy matter to visit every part of this emporium. New York, with its four hundred thousand people, here, or in Brooklyn, is unquestionably the first city on this continent. To fully comprehend all the ideas necessarily belonging to the wealth and resources of the United States, a man must visit New York and tarry some time there. Its streets, compared with those of Philadelphia, are narrow, crooked and dirty.

The first person whom I called to see, merely as a friend, was Charles A. Clinton, the eldest son of De Witt Clinton. Him I found some few squares above the Park and near Broadway. Here I found too Dr. Hosack, the son of my old friend Dr. Hosack, now deceased. It was quite gratifying to45 see the sons of my old friends, in the enjoyment of good health and prosperous in the world. Maj. Clinton had been clerk of the Superior court, for some dozen or more years, but had been removed from office, to make room for some relative of one of the judges of the court. This circumstance I had previously learned through the newspapers, about which Major Clinton said nothing. I called several times afterwards to see Major Clinton at his law office, nearly opposite the Customhouse, in Nassau street. He practices in partnership with Henry S. Towner, Esq., a lawyer, originally from Williamstown, Massachusetts. The lawyers cluster around the Customhouse and around the Merchants’ Exchange in Wall street.

If law business is great in the city, the number of those who follow the legal profession, is great likewise. I became personally acquainted with several lawyers here, who are highly respectable as men, as lawyers and as scholars. Among them46 may be mentioned George Folsom, Esq., whose office is opposite the Exchange, on Wall street. He is an author too. A son of Colonel Gibbs, the geologist, is a lawyer whose office is near the Exchange.

The bustle and crowd, the noise, the anxiety on many faces, and the vast amount of property of all sorts, such as cotton for instance, in piles, blocking up streets, or moving to and fro, between warehouses and wharves—the masts of vessels, standing along the shores of North river or those of Long Island sound, strike the eye, as one passes over the lower end of the city. Along Broadway, the goods and the signs and every thing, indeed, that possibly can catch the eye and draw the attention of the stranger, are not wanting, for a distance of two miles from the Battery upwards. The citizens, I believe, do not patronise the hotels on Broadway, but prefer those in streets farther eastward, as cheaper, more quiet and better in all respects, than Broadway houses. The retail stores are many of them on Broadway, but the wholesale ones are47 lower down in the city. Wall street is full of banks and insurance companies. The Harpers’ great book establishment is in Cliff street, near the old swamp, we believe. At the foot of Fulton street is the ferry, which crosses the East river to Long Island. This is the greatest ferrying place in America. We say this, though we are aware that a place in Kentucky, is called “Great Crossings,” yet Brooklyn ferry is a greater “crossing” place, than the “Crossings” in Scott county, Kentucky. I went over to Brooklyn and called on the editor of the Long Island Star—Alden Spooner, Esq. He is the surrogate of the county where he resides, and he devotes the most of his time to the duties of his office. Of the forty thousand people who live in Brooklyn, not a few of them have stores, shops and offices in New York city. Such men spend the day in the city and sleep with their families on Long Island at night. House rent is cheaper in Brooklyn than it is in New York, and there may be other reasons, such as the comparative48 quietness of a village, in Brooklyn, which is not found in New York, except some three miles up in the city. Brooklyn is therefore nearer their business than the upper part of New York would be; so Brooklyn is preferred by men of business, as a family residence, to the city itself.

Soon after my arrival in the city, as soon as it was generally known, through the newspapers, where I was located, I was carried by Geo. Folsom, Esq. to the dwelling house of Albert Gallatin, in Beekman street. He and his lady received me most cordially, as “a man, whom they had ardently desired to see, (as they assured me) during the last thirty years.” I found Mrs. Gallatin a most interesting old lady, surrounded by the neighboring ladies of that vicinity, to whom she politely introduced me. After a brief interview with these ladies below stairs, we proceeded (Mr. Folsom and myself) to Mr. Gallatin’s library room, where we found him engaged in his favorite study of the Indian languages of America. Perhaps49 I am in an error, but as I understood him, Mr. Gallatin had taken the Indian words as spelt by Englishmen, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Portugese, Americans, &c. as the true pronunciation of Indian words, which by the Indians themselves, had never been written. If he had done so, the true pronunciation of the Indians themselves had seldom been reached. Having been myself engaged in writing down the language of the Sioux, I am aware of the difficulty of catching the exact sound of each word, and the difficulty too, of expressing the exact sound of the word, by means of our alphabet. I saw at a glance the difficulty of his position. I hinted at this circumstance, but Mr. Gallatin did not fully comprehend my meaning, and so I dropped the subject. No alphabet now in use among men, can convey all the sounds of any Indian language, now or ever spoken in North America. Of this fact I feel assured from my own knowledge of Indian languages. The perfect knowledge of these languages is more curious50 than useful, perhaps, in as much as the Indians themselves will soon be gone, before the Anglo-Americans, whose march and conquests will soon obliterate every vestige of the aboriginals of America.

Our regrets may and will follow the disappearance of the Indians from the face of the globe, but their doom is certain, and not far off, in point of time. Our legislative bodies, from the best of motives, are endeavoring to preserve Indian names of places, rivers, mountains, &c., but our gross ignorance of Indian languages, prevents us from even retaining proper names. Hoo, for instance, in some Indian dialects, means elk, and uk is river, so Hoosuk means “elks river.” “Sooske,” means hunting, and “hannah,” in a Delaware dialect, means river. Sooskehannah means “hunting river,” which we call Susquehanna river.

No Indian, who heard us pronounce the word Potomac would suspect that we meant to say the river Potum; so of Rappa-hannah, he would not know that we meant the river51 Rappa. So of the river Roan, which we call Roanoak, instead of calling it simply the river Roan. But enough, perhaps, too much of Indian languages. We give, however, the names correctly: Hoo, Sooske, Potum, Rappa and Roan. After spending several hours with Mr. Gallatin in his library, and after conversing with him on my business, which had brought me to the city, in which he took an interest, I returned to my lodgings in Broad street. He invited me to call on him again, and spend some time with him, on his birth day, when he would be eighty-three years old.

I next visited Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins and their daughter, who boarded with Mrs. Lentner, No. 15 Amity street, near Broadway. In this house, kept by the present occupant, Colonel Trumbull spent the last twenty years of his life. Here he lived and here he died, not long before my visit. It was in this house that Colonel Trumbull executed his splendid paintings which now adorn the rotundo in the capitol at Washington52 city. These paintings are seen by a great number of persons every day in the year. The Declaration of Independence, the Surrender of Cornwallis, &c. &c. will confer an unfading fame on Colonel Trumbull. Mrs. Lentner will always be remembered for her care of the painter, which so greatly contributed to preserve his useful life, until he was more than eighty-seven years old. I saw in Mrs. Lentner’s parlor a likeness of Colonel Trumbull, painted by himself, in his last years. It was said to be a very correct one. So said Mrs. Lentner.

After taking dinner and supper with Mrs. Lentner and her family, I returned in the omnibus to my lodgings. If any persons could prolong human life and render it happy, Mrs. Lentner, her sister, and the domestics around her, could certainly effect that object. So it seemed to me during the six hours that I spent at number 15, Amity street, New York. She is the Mrs. Ballard of New York.

53 On Mr. Gallatin’s birth day, when he had arrived at the age of eighty-three years, I went to see him as early in the morning of that day as I could, after taking a very early breakfast. I found him up in his library, busily engaged in his favorite study of Indian languages. He was quite active, quick in his motions, his cheeks were ruddy, his eye clear and piercing, his step elastic, his eye sight, by the aid of his glasses, good. He repeatedly ran up his ladder like a squirrel to get a book for me. His hearing is unimpaired, and his memory of past events, wherein he had been concerned, excellent. His reasoning powers were good, and so was his judgment. On my former visit I had, at his request, related to him what I had known of the transactions of his life, in which I had left many blanks, especially when he had been in Europe as our diplomatic agent. To-day Mr. Gallatin filled up those blanks and recounted to me what he had done, ever since he landed at New York, a poor foreigner, ignorant of our54 language, unlearned and not twenty years old; but now I saw before me, at the age of eighty-three, a man of wealth, of learning, of great practical knowledge and of vast mental powers, whose fame as a diplomatist, as a man of business and as a statesman, was co-extensive with the civilized world. He more than once told me that he was relating the manner in which he had succeeded in life, so that I might profit by his experience, whereas I expected to die long years before he would. So I thought, but said nothing, because any remark in reply or by way of inquiry, seemed to discompose his mind very much. In the course of his long story of four or five hours in length, he more than once gave the credit of his success to his wife and her relatives in New York. He had married a daughter of Commodore Nicholson. She had entered into all his concerns, political, moral, social and mental with her whole heart. She even watched the newspapers, to learn what they said of Mr. Gallatin. He55 related to me an anecdote of Mr. Gales, who in his Intelligencer had said of Mr. Gallatin, after his arrival in Washington, “that the venerable Mr. Gallatin had arrived in the city.” Soon after that paper appeared, when a party of gentlemen had convened to give Mr. Gallatin a public dinner, perhaps, the latter gentleman said aloud, so that all present heard him, “Mr. Gales, my wife says, you make her husband quite too venerable.” Mr. and Mrs. Gallatin sent by me their best respects to all their old friends in the District of Columbia, with a very pressing request, that I would give him an accurate account of these friends, and what had befallen them since January 1830, which was the last time Mr. Gallatin had been in Washington city. On my return to Washington I executed my commission in a way that I supposed would be satisfactory to all concerned—that is, to Mr. and Mrs. Gallatin and to their surviving friends in the District. On the whole, we may safely pronounce Mr. Gallatin56 a very fortunate man, who, by his industry, economy, perseverance and sleepless energy, has acquired honors, wealth and fame. Sixty years ago, he was a surveyor of wild lands along and near the Ohio river, naming the smaller streams that run into that river, ascertaining the latitude and longitude of particular points, and extending his surveys quite into what is now the State of Kentucky. George Washington was a surveyor in that region at the same time. Mr. Gallatin spoke of himself, as a man in rather limited circumstances, whose annual income amounted to only about five thousand dollars. When he so informed me, I thought that many a man in the western States would consider himself well off, provided he had that sum as his whole estate. As to size, Mr. Gallatin is rather under the common one, extremely well formed in person, and has in his head a piercing, hazle coloured eye. His memory is remarkably good, and he is almost infinitely better qualified to be the Secretary of the57 Treasury, than the man *******. His old clerks all retain a warm friendship for him, and so do their families. Mrs. Gallatin is remembered by them, and all her old neighbors in Washington, with heartfelt gratitude, on account of her numerous unostentatious hospitalities and charitable acts. The comparison which all in this city, who lived here in Gallatin’s time and still reside here, are compelled to make, is quite mortifying to their feelings. While the mass of the people of Washington city have become better, some of the higher officers of the government have become worse—much worse. Esconsed, malignant, haughty, distant, reserved, lazy, inattentive to the duties of their offices, one of them, scarcely ever reaches his office until noon, carrying his gold headed cane, horizontally suspended in his hand, he signs his name to a few papers, which Mr. ***** and his clerks, *** and others had prepared for his signature, and he departs to his house to write for the newspapers against the administration,58 one of which he is. A President who would dare to brush off a musquito from his hand, that was biting it, would clear out such a fellow forthwith.A It is an old maxim with me, “to mark the man, whom God has marked.” When I see a deformed mouth and a cocked eye, I expect to find their owner a man actuated by malice, treachery and deceit; a cold hearted wretch, whom no one pities and no one loves. Under some frivolous pretence, such a creature hides himself in his house as an owl does in his hollow tree in the day time, and prowls, like the wolf or the owl, during the night. That man’s father says, that his son is the worst man in the world.

A While this form was passing through the press, the President brushed off the musquito from his hand.—Thank you Sir.

During the time I was in New York city, the Customhouse officers were kept very busy. The duties on the imported goods were of great amount, and the officers were employed all day long in the open air, from sun-rise till dark, when the thermometer59 was many degrees below zero. General Waller was thus employed, weighing iron from Sweden and Russia, all day long.

Goods by wholesale are sold much cheaper in New York than I had supposed, and I had no correct idea of the vast amount of its commerce, until I had been in the city two weeks. Considerable as the amount of duties on goods received in this city, is, yet the goods not paying any duty, such as cotton, Orleans sugar, and domestic manufactures, is still greater. The amount too, of flour, wheat, corn, pork, beef, lard, &c., brought here, is much more than I had supposed it to be. When we have a despotism in this country, all these goods will pay a duty to the government. It might amount to twenty millions of dollars annually, and would then be a very low duty on domestic products. We say this for the lovers of low wages and free trade.

As this nation increases in numbers—as the western States fill up with people—as the amount of agricultural and manufactured60 goods increases, and as the foreign goods, consumed in this great and growing nation, increase, the city of New York will increase its numbers of people, its commerce, wealth and power. Her ships and commerce will float on every sea and every ocean, until she will rival London herself in trade, wealth and power. The position of New York, so near the main ocean, on an island, laved too by the North river and the Sound, affords every facility which she needs or could desire, for extending her commerce not only to foreign countries, but into the interior of this vast country. She will only need a rail-road to the Pacific, and a dense population, settled along its whole route, to enliven and animate the scenery along its way. In that event, steam vessels, running from Astoria to China and Japan and all the islands of the northern Pacific, would soon be seen on the Upper Pacific, conveying the productions of the whole world to a market. Such a rail-road might be made by the nation,61 from the land sales in the new regions to be settled by our people. What a sublime, moral, political and commercial prospect is held out to our enraptured eyes! Christians, statesmen, Americans and scholars, look on this picture!

From surveys actually made by Lieut. Freemont, it is certain, that a rail-road from Cumberland, in Maryland, to the Pacific, is entirely within our means as a nation, at an expense of only about fifty millions of dollars or less; and it is equally certain that the new lands to be brought into market by making the road, would defray every dollar of the expense of making it. We live in the infancy of the greatest nation that now exists, ever did, or ever will exist, on the face of the globe. Looking through the vista of futurity, we can now behold a nation consisting of five hundred millions of people, all speaking our language, and governing the world in peace without a rival in commerce, arts or arms. Should the British lion growl at us, the Gallic cock62 would flap his wings and crow at our success, and the Russian bear smile upon us. The American eagle will yet soar above both, into his own pure air, where he can revel in the brilliant beams of his own flaming sun. The trade between the East Indies and Europe will eventually pass across our territory, east and west, and the time of passing from London to Canton might not occupy more than two months. Such a state of things would add to the wealth, numbers, commerce, agriculture and manufactures of this whole nation. Such a nation, whose territory extended from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the Icy sea in the north to the Isthmus of Darien in the south, would present a sublime spectacle. What a vast field in which free government might exercise its energies! The human imagination is lost in its contemplation of such a prospect, for the future generations of our posterity.

Yet, certainly, such is the prospect ahead, unless it be our own fault. The most63 difficult portion of the road to be made between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, is between Cumberland and Wheeling; and yet that portion of it could be made in five years after it was fairly began to be made by the nation. The little questions of policy and of party, now agitating so many little minds, will be lost in oblivion, and higher, nobler, better and more extended objects and aims, will occupy higher, nobler and better minds than are now employed on political affairs. The little ants and their mole hills, will give place to mammoths and to Alps, in the intellectual, political and moral world. Our destiny is in our own hands, and unless we abuse all the gifts of God to us, we shall be the most powerful nation on earth. Let us hope that our people will move forward in their career to its ultimate grand end, unimpeded by factions at home, or by force from abroad. The more States we have in our confederacy, the stronger we shall be as a nation. As a great whole, the human mind has always64 moved forward, and we see no reason why the American mind should stand still, or stop short of its grand, final destiny, at the very head of nations—of all nations on earth. Nature’s God never intended that the people of this great continent, should be subservient to the people of Europe, more than he did that the sun in yonder firmament should descend from his orbit to revolve around a pebble on our sea shore, as his centre of gravity. No. We inhabit a great and mighty continent, blest with every soil, climate, plant and animal which the earth contains. Our people, too, derive their origin from every other people almost who live on this globe. Let us throw aside as useless, and worse than useless, all low aims, and soar like our own eagle into purer air.



Return to Washington.—The different degrees of temperature in the atmosphere at different places seen in the thickness of the ice in the rivers from New York to Washington inclusive.—Long interview with the President. His misfortunes rather than his faults.—His cheerfulness, and his views as to Liberia.—Supernumeraries ought to be set to work and sent off.—Beautiful situation of Washington.—The Congress library, its officers and the agreeable company usually in the library room.—Army of little officers in and about the capitol.—Judge Upshur, personal acquaintance with him, his character and death.—The tragedy on board the Princeton.—Great funeral and a whole city in tears for the loss of so many distinguished citizens.

Having determined to return to Washington city, I wrote to the innkeeper of the Mansion house hotel at Philadelphia, to have my room warm for me at 11 o’clock, P. M. and entering the evening cars at Jersey city in the evening, we were carried across the State of New Jersey, and crossing the Delaware with some difficulty, on account of the ice in the river, I arrived at Philadelphia, and was in a good warm bed, in a warm room, before eleven o’clock at66 night, at Horter’s Mansion house, corner of 11th and Market streets, Philadelphia.—The ride across the State of New Jersey, in a bright moonlight night, was as agreeable as it could be, we being able to see each town as we passed through it. The cars were well warmed by stoves; we were not too much crowded to be comfortable, and we had agreeable company enough to render our journey pleasant. Lodging at Philadelphia, next morning after breakfast I entered the cars for Baltimore, and arrived at Washington city exactly twenty-five hours after I had left New York. This last day’s ride was perhaps on the second day of February. The different degrees of temperature in the atmosphere during the month of January, was seen in the thickness of the ice in the North, the Delaware, in the Susquehanna and the Potomac rivers. In the North river the ice was fourteen inches in thickness, in the Delaware ten inches, and eight inches in the Susquehanna, but not more than six inches in the Potomac.67 The city of New York, located on an island that lies high, and is exposed to every breath of air that moves in any direction over the land or the water, is colder than its latitude would seem to indicate. The current in the river and in the Sound, owing to a tide of from seven to eleven feet in height, rising and falling every few hours, prevents any very great inconvenience to ships, either entering into or leaving the harbor in the coldest winter weather.

I was no more fatigued by my journey, than if I had been sitting in my room at the Broadstreet hotel. The passage money between Washington city and New York, is only ten dollars and fifty cents, yet, for handling trunks, for refreshments on the way, and tavern bills, added to car fare, we may safely say that it costs the passenger fifteen dollars between Washington city and New York.

Soon after my return to Washington, I spent an entire evening with the President, from early candle lighting until after nine68 o’clock. He had invited the Rev. Mr. Gurley, and a gentleman from Memphis, Tennessee, to visit him that evening. These gentlemen tarried an hour or so, when I was left alone with the President. He conversed very freely on the colony of Liberia, and expressed a wish to see it become a nation, independent, but under the protection of the United States and of England. He dwelt on that subject during an hour. He was quite eloquent on the prospect when Virginia would send off her slaves to Liberia, and become a great manufacturing State, and in that way at length assume her old supremacy, standing at the head of the Union in numbers and wealth. The President said that he owned some thirteen slaves, which he bought, to prevent their being carried South. He appeared to be entirely willing to set them free, and let them emigrate to Liberia. To him they had been valueless, and so would remain a burden on his hands. He seemed to think that this Union would last forever, or if it69 should be divided, the Alleghenies would be the line of separation. In this opinion I heartily coincided with him. He was quite cheerful, and very agreeable in conversation. He appeared to know his position—who his friends were around him, and who were not his friends. At that time I thought he had more friends among his officers than he supposed he had, but subsequently I ascertained the entire correctness of his information on that matter. He has doubtless been very unfortunate. Placed in his high station as unexpectedly to himself as to a whole nation, his first cabinet was not of his selection, and they deserted him in a critical moment. He was compelled instantly to form a new cabinet, which unfortunately for him, Upshur always excepted, began forthwith to help themselves, and their poor, needy, greedy dependants, and they have continued to help themselves ever since they have been in office. Two of these heads of department spent their time in studying how they might gratify70 either their cupidity or their malice. The indignation of all honest men in the nation was roused into activity against the President, on account of removals from office on several occasions, because they argued that the Chief Magistrate, unless he approved of such flagrant acts of oppression, in removing from office such men as Gen. Van Rensellaer, Governor Lincoln, and a long list of good men, he would at once remove those heads of department who had been guilty of such high-handed injustice. Thus, the whole blame fell on the President, instead of falling on the real authors of such wickedness. The President has been, and is still blamed, for many appointments of very incompetent men, which I understood him to say, he never had interfered with at all. So of the accounting officers, who had in many cases, it is said, done great injustice to individuals, and then had charged all their enormities on the President. The people in every part of the Union had become exasperated at these flagrant acts of71 oppression and injustice. Claimants, where the case was as clear as the noon-day, were postponed from day to day, for weeks and months; their claims were to be acted on, none could say when. It is a fashion they have here, of putting off the settlement of claims until the applicant has spent here about all that he gets from the government. The supernumerary officers, block up every avenue to the treasury. Congress should either dismiss them altogether, or send them off to clear out our western rivers, or employ them as far off as possible from the seat of the national government. Why they are here at all is a mystery to me, and why Congress permits them to throng their lobbies and the rotundo, is equally surprising to me. West Point academy was once useful, but if the cadets are to accumulate as rapidly as they have of late years, it may lead in the end to an aristocracy in this country. Whether this institution, on the whole, is an useful one, is at best quite doubtful in my mind.

72 Taking a recess, as a legislator would call it, I here say that Washington city and its surrounding country is delightfully situated for the seat of the national government.—The ground rising gradually from the water and extending back in places a mile or more, with the space occupied by water, between, the ground around it on all sides of it, presents every variety of aspect, almost, calculated to render it pleasant as a residence. It has none of the bustle of commerce, none of its noise or crowd. During a session of Congress, persons of both sexes are in the city from all parts of the Union, with whom the stranger can associate, and obtain a great deal of information, topographical, literary, scientific, general or particular. Every person in the whole Union being here represented, one can gain correct information concerning any man of any note in the nation. By going to the library room of Congress, he can there find and read almost any books which he desires to consult. He can there see73 daily, persons of the most refined taste, polite manners and agreeable conversation. None but such persons are rarely seen in that room. I have always found reading people more placid and more agreeable in their manners than others, and were any whole nation wholly composed of such materials, it would be the happiest and the best nation in the world. Mr. John S. Meehan the librarian and Edward B. Stelle, C. H. W. Meehan and Robert Kearon, his assistants, are among the most polite and agreeable gentlemen in this city. They are always ready to attend to the wishes of all who call on them. Personally acquainted with nearly all who call at their room, they are always ready to introduce a stranger to any gentleman who is in the room. Fatigued as they sometimes are with the constant labor of a long day, yet they never complain of their toil, but cheerfully attend to all the wants of the visiters.—This room is opened very early in the morning, and not closed until a late hour.74 If any officers of the government deserve all their salaries, and more too, they are the Meehans, father and son, Stelle and Kearon. Their salaries are small ones, and their labors are great and fatiguing all day long, during the whole session of Congress. During the intervals between the sessions, their labors are not so fatiguing, but they are even then constant, unremitting and useful to the visiters, who are always all day long in this library. Having known these gentlemen fourteen years and upwards in their present stations, I take a real pleasure in bearing this testimony in their favor.

How many messengers, assistant messengers, doorkeepers and assistant doorkeepers, clerks and assistant clerks, postmasters and assistant postmasters, paperfolders, pages, &c. &c. there are here, I cannot tell, because I do not know, but their numbers must be very large, and they cost the nation a great deal. All the officers of government in the city must amount to one75 thousand at least, and their salaries would support probably all the State governments in the Mississippi Valley. I make no complaint of this vast expense, but we must not find fault with the expenses of monarchical government in many of the minor governments in the old world. Take from those governments, in the north of Europe, their standing armies, rendered necessary, perhaps, by their peculiar position, and it is possible that their governments might be cheaper than ours. That we have many useless officers, many members of Congress seem to think, but whether they can be cast off, because they are useless, is doubtful. This army of smaller officers are always on the alert, when retrenchment and reform are talked of by members—these creatures crying out: “penny wise and pound foolish.” They have some influence on Congress, and would be glad to have more. So far as the House of Representatives are concerned, there is a strong disposition to reduce the expenses of the government,76 but the Senate has not yet acted finally on that subject.

Very soon after my return to Washington, I became personally acquainted with Judge Upshur, Secretary of State. From the first day I saw and conversed with him in his office, until the day of his death, I saw him at least once, often twice a day, and wrote down at night what had been the subjects of our conversation in our interview. I did this at his suggestion, so that he could duly consider the subject matter of our discourse in the day time. He was one of the most agreeable, sensible and truly good men, whom I ever became personally acquainted with. Sometimes he has been called a nullifier, perhaps, but no man in the nation was ever more attached to the Union than he was. We thought precisely alike on that subject—that it is the highest duty of all our citizens to use all the means in our power to promote the interests of all sections of the Union, and of all classes of its people.

77 The natural cements of our confederacy, consisting of mutual interests promoted by mutual acts of kindness and affection for each other, Judge Upshur preferred, as he often told me, to all or even any resorts to the violent restraints of physical force, such as the despot and the tyrant employ. He dwelt with rapture on the future prospects of this nation, when its citizens and its institutions, would cover the whole of North America, like a mantle, and when our ships would float on every sea and visit every island and country in the world. When our steamers would ascend and descend every river of any size that irrigates the countries of both continents. By such means, he thought, christianity would be spread from pole to pole, and all the world become united in the bonds of peace, harmony and brotherly affection. In this way, wars would cease and the despot and the warrior be laid aside as useless. “The nodding plume, he said, dyed in blood, would no more be seen.” Knowing as I did, all78 his views and all his plans, and the means which he would have used to carry them into execution, I felt the overwhelming calamity of his death the more on these accounts. His plans were all formed, and they were just about to be carried into effect, otherwise he would have instantly gone into private life. Laying my own feelings, as to myself, out of the question, and looking only to the public interest, I felt myself and the country overwhelmed by an awful calamity. Any successor of Judge Upshur would not have the time, such as he had devoted to that object, to form and mature plans of operation. And if he had such plans laid as Upshur had, his successor might not have the necessary means of effecting his object. As a nation, we deserved to suffer, but still we may mourn for our dreadful loss, sustained by his untimely death.

Judge Upshur was a man of good principles and pure morals. He was all in reality and truth, that any old Virginia gentleman79 was in the days of Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe, an ornament to human nature itself and of the “Ancient Dominion.” He recalled to my mind the old patriots of Virginia, for whom from my earliest years I had entertained a strong and abiding sense of their worth, their intrinsic value, as men and as citizens of this republic. From three of their Presidents I had received numerous marks of their confidence in me and my relatives. This may be one reason almost without my knowing it why I have always taken such pleasure in doing justice to Virginia’s favorite sons. I shall always take a melancholy pleasure in remembering Judge Upshur, and in associating him in my mind with my old friend Chief Justice Marshall. From the latter gentleman I received a great deal of aid in the way of information, while I was in Washington, many years since, when I was preparing for the press my History of Ohio. An old Virginia gentleman, as he exists in my recollections of Jefferson, Marshall,80 Monroe and Upshur—the Randolphs, the Masons, the Lees, the Pendletons—and what I hear of Archer, Rives and others is as perfect as human nature can be.

Here I present a very condensed account of the awful calamity on board the Princeton on the 28th day of February, 1844.—The first announcement of the event is derived from the Intelligencer of the 29th of February, and the account of the funeral obsequies is extracted from the Globe of the 4th of March.

In the whole course of our lives it has never fallen to our lot to announce to our readers a more shocking calamity—shocking in all its circumstances and concomitants—than that which occurred on board the United States ship Princeton, yesterday afternoon, whilst under way, in the river Potomac, fourteen or fifteen miles below the city. Yesterday was a day appointed by the courtesy and hospitality of Captain Stockton, Commander of the Princeton, for receiving as visiters to his fine ship (lying81 off Alexandria) a great number of guests, with their families, liberally and numerously invited to spend the day on board. The day was most favorable, and the company was large and brilliant, of both sexes; not less probably in number than four hundred, among whom were the President of the United States, the Heads of the several Departments, and their families. At a proper hour, after the arrival of the expected guests, the vessel got under way and proceeded down the river, to some distance below Fort Washington. During the passage down, one of the large guns on board (carrying a ball of 225 pounds) was fired more than once, exhibiting the great power and capacity of that formidable weapon of war. The ladies had partaken of a sumptuous repast; the gentlemen had succeeded them at the table, and some of them had left it; the vessel was on her return up the river, opposite to the fort, where Captain Stockton consented to fire another shot from the same gun, around and near which,82 to observe its effects, many persons had gathered, though by no means so many as on similar discharges in the morning, the ladies who then thronged the deck being on this fatal occasion almost all between decks, and out of reach of harm.

The gun was fired. The explosion was followed, before the smoke cleared away so as to observe its effect, by shrieks of wo which announced a dire calamity. The gun had burst, at a point three or four feet from the breech, and scattered death and desolation around. Mr. Upshur, Secretary of State, Mr. Gilmer, so recently placed at the head of the Navy, Commodore Kennon, one of its gallant officers, Virgil Maxcy, lately returned from a diplomatic residence at the Hague, Mr. Gardner, of New York, (formerly a member of the Senate of that State,) were among the slain. Besides these, seventeen seamen were wounded, several of them badly and probably mortally. Among those stunned by the concussion, we learn not all seriously injured,83 were Capt. Stockton himself; Col. Benton, of the Senate; Lieut. Hunt, of the Princeton; W. D. Robinson, of Georgetown.—Other persons also were perhaps more or less injured, of whom in the horror and confusion of the moment, no certain account could be obtained. The above are believed to comprise the whole of the persons known to the public who were killed or dangerously or seriously hurt.

The scene upon the deck may more easily be imagined than described. Nor can the imagination picture to itself the half of its horrors. Wives, widowed in an instant by the murderous blast! Daughters smitten with the heart-rending sight of their father’s lifeless corpse! The wailings of agonized females! The piteous grief of the unhurt but heart-stricken spectators! The wounded seamen borne down below! The silent tears and quivering lips of their brave and honest comrades, who tried in vain to subdue or to conceal their feelings! What words can adequately depict a scene like this?

84 On Saturday the last rites were paid to the distinguished men who laid down their lives on the deck of the Princeton. The funeral procession presented the most sad, solemn, affecting scene ever witnessed in this city of the Union. The President’s House was again—as on the demise of General Harrison—made the receptacle of death. Instead of one, five bodies were now laid out in the lately illuminated east room of that fair mansion, which before the melancholy fate which there awaited General Harrison in the first month of the first year of his presidential term, had never known a pall within its precincts. The first month of the last year of the same term found it again turned almost into a charnel house. Like “the Capets monument,” it became “a palace of dim night,” and gathered within its gloom the blackened and bloody remains of a most frightful tragedy—the bodies of five intimate friends of the President, two of them his cabinet associates, all hurried out of existence while he sat unconsciously,85 with only a plank between them, enjoying a song. What a thin partition in this life separates its scenes of greatest enjoyment and bitterest grief!!

Religious rites were performed over the dead by the Rev. Mr. Hawley and Mr. Butler, of the Episcopal Church, and Mr. Laurie, of the Presbyterian Church, before leaving the President’s House. The bodies were then hearsed, and the procession led off by the military companies, which filled the avenue in front of the President’s house. The military array, composed of horse, infantry, and artillery, made a very imposing appearance; and the train of carriages which followed extended along the avenue more than a mile. A vast multitude, on foot and on horseback, from the neighboring cities and adjoining country, filled the spaces not occupied by the procession. The whole distance between the President’s and the Capitol square, as far as the vision could reach through the darkness of the day and the dust, seemed to be a living current, in86 slow movement to the wailing and mournful music of the band, which, with the sound of distant cannon and solemn-pealing bells, alone broke the silence. The immense crowd was perfectly mute in its march. The dread quiet that reigned over all; the almost twilight darkness that dimmed the whole day; the deep mists that shadowed the surrounding hills and horizon from sight; the cloud of dust that covered the long and gloomy procession; the sweeping trains of crape that blackened the closed windows and doors of the dwellings on the way,—gave, altogether, the most saddened and impressive aspect of wo ever worn by this city. It was rendered the more deeply affecting by the contrast of but a few days before, when the warmth of a vernal sun had shone out, giving light and gayety to our streets, opening the buds upon the trees and bringing out the tender green upon the grounds whereon the snow had so recently lain.

The mournful ceremonials had just been87 concluded, when the city was alarmed with the apprehension of another fatal accident to the Chief Magistrate himself. As he returned in his carriage of state from the place of interment, (the Congress burying ground, about three miles from the President’s House,) his horses took fright, and ran with fury along the great thoroughfare, filled with people and carriages. There was no arresting their wild career; the reins were broken in the attempt to restrain them, and all that could be done was to give room to their headlong flight. As they approached the turn in the end of the avenue, obstructed by the President’s square, they got scared at something on one side of the street, and shied off in their course to the curb-stone on the other side, which gave the advantage to an intrepid colored man on the side walk to seize them by the short reins and stop them. A little beyond, in the direction they were going, lay masses of the large stone rejected from the new treasury building, near the precipitous bank88 to the south of the President’s wall. Had not the career of the horses been arrested at the moment that it was, the next would have wrecked the carriage on these rocks, or precipitated it over the bank. The President was happy to escape from his state equipage, over which all guidance and control was lost, and find himself afoot, by the side of his humble deliverer.



Mr. Dana’s speech against the military Academy.—Objections—it is an aristocratic institution.—1st in its selection of candidates—2nd in its monopoly of military commissions.—Its expenses are enormous and wholly disproportioned to any advantages to be derived from it.—Its positive evils, as it operates on the officers and on the private soldiers.—Mr. Dana might have added, that if this republic is in danger from any quarter, its danger lies in this institution.

Immediately after the funeral obsequies, Congress took up, on the 6th of March, the bill making appropriations for the Military Academy at West Point. Mr. Hale of New Hampshire, one of the best debaters in the House, moved to strike out the appropriation from the bill. On this occasion, Mr. Dana of New York delivered a powerful speech in favor of the motion. The intrinsic value of this speech entitles it to a place in our book, so that its home truths may be duly considered by all who read books or public documents. The institution itself90 should be given away to the regents of the University of New York, or to some literary institution, and no longer be connected with the general government. But we proceed to lay before the reader extracts from this elegant speech.

Mr. Dana said: My first objection to the academy is, that it is an aristocratic institution. It is aristocratic in its nature and character. It gives to a few individuals privileges which it denies to the many. Out of a population of eighteen or twenty millions, about one hundred individuals are annually selected as the exclusive recipients of the national bounty, and are paid and educated at the public expense, without making the least return for the benefits they receive. All other persons who draw pay or salaries from the government, perform services of some kind—often perhaps very inadequate but the cadets do nothing for the public; make no return whatever. Their pay and education are mere gratuities. Is it just,91 or right, or republican, thus to pamper a few at the expense of the community?

The institution is aristocratic in the manner of selecting the cadets. They are nominated and virtually appointed by members of Congress. The privilege of appointing a cadet has become an appendage of a seat in this House. A member is thus enabled, at the public expense, to provide for a relative, dependant, or favorite, by quartering him for life upon the treasury. He thus enjoys a patronage almost equal to his pay. Why should he have this extra privilege? Are not members sufficiently compensated for their services? If not, increase their pay; but do not suffer them to quarter their dependants upon the public. Such a privilege will be abused; it cannot exist without abuse. It is not only unjust to the community, but it is injurious to this House. Congress is called upon to legislate continually in relation to the academy; and will not such a patronage tend unconsciously to bias the judgment of members, however92 pure their intentions? It is not in the nature of man to be entirely impartial and indifferent when his own interests are involved. But even if he succeeds in divesting himself of every improper influence, and acts with the strictest justice and propriety, his country’s good his only object, he will be likely to gain little credit by it; he will still be suspected. Men incapable of acting with the like nobleness themselves will be slow to believe it of others. I do not doubt that every member will act on this subject from the purest motives; but if we would stand well with the country—if we would have full credit for disinterestedness with the people, we ought to divest ourselves of this patronage.

Again, sir, if this power be confined without check or control to members of Congress, will there not be danger of the institution being aristocratic in the persons selected as cadets? Whom will a member be most likely to nominate? Will it not be a son or relative, or some one dependent93 for support upon the member?—or, if there happens to be none such, the son or friend of some wealthy or influential constituent whose influence the member desires to secure? I would rejoice to find it otherwise. But when we examine the roll of cadets, and compare it with the lists of members of Congress, we find such a coincidence of names as I cannot attribute wholly to accident; there must have been some relationship between them to produce such a striking family likeness.

[Mr. Giddings. I wish to state a fact for the information of the gentleman. Some years ago, being applied to to nominate a cadet for my district, and having at that time a son of the proper age to enter the academy, I wrote to many of the prominent men of my district to send me the name of a candidate, and could not procure one.]

Mr. Dana. The district of the gentleman from Ohio appears to a be very peculiar one in many respects. Unless I am greatly mistaken, relatives and connexions of many94 men of wealth and high stations have been educated at the public expense at West Point, and the privilege has been highly coveted and eagerly sought by them generally, the single instance of the constituents of the gentleman from Ohio to the contrary notwithstanding. I am entirely opposed to the whole system of educating any person, or class of persons, at the public expense; but if some must be so educated, let them be selected for their merits—for their talents and virtues; give the preference to the poor and to the orphan—they are the most needy and deserving—instead of bestowing the national bounty on the rich and influential, who have other means of education. I admit there have been many instances in which members, waiving all selfish considerations, (and I honor them for it,) have selected the most meritorious candidate; but as a general rule, in this contest for patronage between wealth and power on the one side, and poverty on the other, it needs not the gift of prophesy to95 determine which will triumph. If this Academy shall be continued, I hope that, at least, its organization will be so changed as to secure to the poor a fair participation in its benefits.

The institution is aristocratic in the monopoly of military commissions which it secures to the cadets after they have received their education. It is not sufficient to educate them at the public expense, but they must also be provided for in the same way ever after, and that too in the most objectionable form of a monopoly. No man, whatever may be his talents or qualifications, or his thirst for military fame, can get into the army unless he enter through the gate of the West Point Academy, the only portal open to ambition. Thus every person who has passed the age of 21, without obtaining an appointment in the academy, and every person under 21 who does not graduate there, is disfranchised, and rendered incapable of holding a commission. He may have spent his days in toil, and his96 nights in study, to qualify himself for his country’s service; he may have mastered all military science; the fire of genius may burn bright in his soul; he may be impelled by the purest patriotism, and be the “bravest of the brave;” but he comes not through the door of privilege—he has never graduated at West Point—he is rejected! Is this the equality of your boasted institutions? If “all men are created equal,” that equality is soon lost by congressional legislation. It is said that military science is necessary in the army, and that there is no institution except at West Point where it is taught. How can it be taught elsewhere? The science acquired any where but at West Point is of no value to the possessor. Abolish the monopoly of military commissions, throw them open for competition to merit and science, wherever acquired, and there will be places enough for instruction in the art, without burdening the treasury, and a much wider range for the selection of officers will be afforded to you. West Point97 is a beautiful and healthy place, and a strong military position; but there is nothing in its air or climate, however salubrious, that in itself creates a soldier. It has the monopoly of commissions—not of qualifications—the same instruction at another location would have equal effect in qualifying an officer to command. I object to the institution, because it is aristocratic, also, in the habits and feelings which it inculcates. Petted as the cadets are, it would be surprising if they did not become proud and vain. It is not their fault—your laws make them so. They are placed in such a position as to render the adoption of such feelings almost inevitable. They alone have a public education at the expense of the nation. They are instructed in things which no other individuals have any motives for learning—they only are deemed legally competent for officers of the army; and they naturally reason: “If our services were not indispensable, we should not be educated at the public expense. If persons not educated98 at West Point were capable of performing the duties of military commanders, we would not be allowed to monopolize military commissions. If the knowledge we have obtained could be had elsewhere, the United States would not, at great expense, erect and maintain the military academy. If our country could dispense with us, we should not be commissioned and retained for years under pay without employment. We alone have been educated for officers. All the military science of the nation centres in us; no others are qualified to command. We are a caste by ourselves—a military nobility, on whom the fortunes of the country depend.” Censure not these young men for their opinions. They are the legitimate fruits of your legislation—fair and just inferences from your enactments. But they are not, therefore, the less to be regretted. Such enactments are calculated to draw a wide line of separation between the cadets and their fellow citizens; to foster a spirit of pride and arrogance, and self-sufficiency,99 on the part of the former, mixed with scorn and contempt of the multitude, to be returned by the latter with feelings of envy and detestation. Have not these consequences resulted? Does not, even now, an ill feeling exist between West Point and the country?

My next objection to the academy is, that the expenses are exorbitant, and greatly disproportioned to the benefits.

A report made by the Secretary of War at the present session of Congress, states the expenditures to have been upwards of four million of dollars. Over seven hundred thousand dollars of that sum is the cost of the grounds, buildings and fixtures, in the nature of capital, which cannot be considered as entirely wasted, though they are of little value in any other respect than as connected with this institution. The residue amounting to 3,291,500 dollars, is stated as the current expenses of the institution—the cost of educating the cadets. This100 would amount to an annual expenditure of about 130,000 dollars. The number of cadets who have graduated, including those who are expected to graduate on the 30th of June next, amounts only to 1,231; each graduate, therefore, has occasioned an expense to the nation of three thousand two hundred and fifty dollars; or, if we take only the current expenses, deducting what may be considered as an investment of capital, the cost of each amounts to 2,673 dollars. But the amount thus reported by the Secretary of War, I understand, includes only the direct and immediate expenditures for the institution, and omits many expenses which the academy has indirectly occasioned. A friend who has carefully investigated the matter, and whose general accuracy I cannot doubt, makes the cost of each cadet who graduates this year amount to five thousand dollars. All of the expenditures direct and indirect, by reason of the military academy, I have no doubt, exceed five millions of dollars, which is the cost of101 educating 1,231 persons in military science sufficiently to qualify them for subaltern officers in the army. A part of them have taken their commissions, and are employed in the public service. Some have declined to accept, others have resigned soon after their acceptance, while many have received commissions, and been placed on the roll of supernumeraries—officers without men to command, or military duties to perform. Those who have graduated are by no means all who have entered the academy. Since 1815 the whole number of students has been 2,942. Deducting the 1,231 who have graduated, and are expected to graduate at the close of the present year, and there will remain 1,711 who have not graduated. Less than 200 remain at the academy, and between 1,500 and 1,600 must have left it without completing their education, or rendering any equivalent to the nation for the expense incurred for them. Perhaps, however, it is not a subject of regret that so many of the cadets have left102 the institution, or been dismissed from it without completing their education, and claiming their privilege of military commissions, as many more yet remain than we have the means of employing. The number of cadets at the academy usually amounts to about 250—the number annually admitted to about 100, of whom about 40 graduate. The army absorbs 22, and the remaining 18 are supernumeraries, holding brevet commissions, without active duties. It is rather a subject of congratulation, therefore, than of regret, that 60 out of a hundred of the students do not so persevere unto the end as to entitle themselves to commissions, and become quartered for life upon the treasury; but it is not on this account less objectionable in principle thus to educate them at the public expense, without an equivalent, in service or otherwise. A law providing, in terms, that 100 students should be admitted annually into the academy, and educated at the public expense—that 40 of them should be retained as officers103 of the army, and the remainder be discharged from all claims for the instruction they receive, and the expense they occasion, would be denounced as unjust and unconstitutional; but a law effecting indirectly precisely the same objects, receives not only the sanction, but the eulogies of the most strict constructionists. What cannot constitutionally be done directly, may be accomplished indirectly, without trenching upon the constitution. Be it so. I shall not raise a constitutional question here. My observation has taught me that the constitution is formed of materials very like India-rubber. It will stretch on the one side so as to admit anything a man desires to introduce, and close so tight on the other as to shut out everything he wishes to exclude.

But to return to the question. I hold it to be a less evil to give the supernumerary cadets a gratuitous education, if the nation can be thereafter discharged from their support, than to retain them as officers of the104 army, when their services are not wanted. Already the supernumeraries, at the lowest estimate, amount to seventy, whose support and pay cost the nation nearly 70,000 dollars a year; and the number will be largely increased at the next examination, which occurs in June. Prior to the Florida war, the number of unemployed officers was much greater; but, at its commencement, resignations were “plenty as blackberries.” It is but justice, however, to those who retained their commissions, to say, that they fought gallantly and well in the most unpromising and disagreeable contest.

Not only is the military academy an aristocratic and expensive institution, but it is also the parent of some positive evils. The first that I shall notice is the jealousies and controversies which it occasions between the officers of the army. Some of the officers have been educated at West Point, others have not. Most of the superior officers have not enjoyed the advantages of that institution: nearly all of the inferior105 officers have. Thus they are divided into two classes—the regular and the irregular. The cadets, having enjoyed greater advantages than their superiors—served a regular apprenticeship to their business, and entered the service by the only door the law now recognises—can hardly fail to look upon their superiors as unlearned, as mere intruders, the creatures of accident, as usurper of stations of right belonging to themselves. Is it possible for such feelings to remain smothered for years in the bosom, like the hidden fire of a volcano, without occasional eruptions? Will not such sentiments be very apt to break out in overt acts of disrespect and contempt? And will not the older officers, annoyed and disgusted by what they deem the vanity and presumption of the juniors, be likely to meet this spirit by a haughty and imperious bearing, calculated and intended to mortify their pride, and check their assumptions? Have not the many quarrels and controversies, often ending in courts of inquiry and courts-106martial, which have been so frequent in, and so disgraceful to the army, originated principally in these conflicting sentiments? Sir, I apprehend the difficulties have been so produced, and under the same circumstances they will continue to occur, while human nature remains unchanged. Harmony can no more be expected to exist between two distinct classes of officers, so differently taught and appointed, than between different sets of children in the same family, whom all experience has shown to be irreconcilable.

The second positive evil I shall notice, is the effect produced upon the soldiery. By means of the Military Academy, the door to promotion is effectually closed against the men; the cadets having the exclusive right to preferment, and there being already seventy supernumerary officers and the number annually increasing. The soldier, thus excluded from promotion, has no incentive to bravery or good conduct; all he has to desire is to shirk danger and hardship107 as much as he can, without incurring the risk of punishment. Does not this state of things necessarily degrade and demoralize the army? Who would enlist into such a service? None but the desperate and the vicious. Having no hopes, they can be influenced only by their fears—the ties which should unite them to their leaders are all broken, and their obedience, instead of the submission of respect or affection, becomes the base servility of apprehension, and a desire to escape bodily suffering. The officers can regard such men as little better than brutes, to be controlled by fear and force, while the men look upon their officers as tyrants, to whom they are compelled to yield an unwilling obedience. What motive or feeling in the soldier can be appealed to as incentive to good conduct? Ambition, hope, pride? All are crushed and blighted. Conscience? Its voice is powerless with such men. Fear alone remains—the fear of personal suffering; and to this the officers appeal. Hence, despite your laws, corporal108 punishment has been, and continues to be, and, I fear, will continue to be, inflicted. True, it is prohibited; but has the prohibition banished it from the army? No; nor can it, until you so change the organization that the soldier will have other motives of action besides a fear of punishment. A late court-martial has exemplified the operation of these feelings in the army. A soldier who had been committed to the guard-house for some misconduct, was brought out by an officer and severely beaten with a sword. The officer was arraigned before a court-martial for unofficer-like conduct in thus beating the soldier in violation of law and of the rules and articles of war; and the court-martial, although they found that the act was committed as charged, decided that no criminality was attached thereto, and honorably acquitted the accused. When the proceedings were reported to the commanding general, he disapproved of the decision, and ordered the court-martial to reassemble to consider the case, and demanded109 of the court by what law or order a soldier could be taken from the guard-house and beaten with a sword; and if there was none, that then the accused should be punished according to law. The court reassembled, and reaffirmed its decision; and, the proceedings being reported to the War Department, were again sent back for recommendation and reconsideration, and the decision shown to be entirely erroneous. But the court-martial refused to change its decision, and I regret to be obliged to say that the department tamely submitted. Now, it may be considered as an established principle, decided by a court-martial and acquiesced in by the government, that an officer may take an unprotected and imprisoned soldier, beat him with an implement not more dangerous or cruel than a sword, without being guilty of “unofficer-like conduct,” although it be in direct violation of law, and of the rules and articles of war; and if the officer be arraigned for misconduct, he is entitled to an “honorable acquittal.”110 Perhaps it is necessary, as an act of justice to other officers, to add that the accused, and most of the members of the court were graduates of West Point. Is this the submission to the laws which is there inculcated?—the respect for the rights of inferiors taught at that “democratic institution?” After all, sir, the fault is as much in the system as in the men. By excluding every non-commissioned officer and private from promotion, you so degrade the army, and destroy its moral power, that is difficult to govern it without the infliction of corporal punishment. Abolish the West Point monopoly—open the way to merit for promotion from the ranks—and a new and far better class of soldiers will enlist in your service, a new spirit will pervade the army, obedience will be prompt and willing, emulation and hope will lead to acts of daring bravery, and you will gain in efficiency far more than you lose in science.

The last evil I shall notice is the want of confidence, respect and attachment between111 the army and the people. The main reliance of this country for defence is, and ever must be, the militia. Anything, therefore, which tends to prejudice the militia, or the mass of the people, against the army, should be cautiously avoided, as it is essential to have them act in concert and harmony. Whether merited or unmerited, it cannot be denied that the people, and especially that portion of them which compose the militia, look upon West Point, and West Point officers, with great disfavor; they are specially unpopular. If war should occur, and the army and militia be brought in contact, the most disastrous consequences might ensue from their dissensions. It would be difficult, perhaps impossible, to induce the militia to volunteer their services when they would be placed under the command of the cadets. In the objections I have made, and the views I have taken of West Point, I believe I have expressed the general sentiment of the militia of my district, and of the majority of the State I have the112 honor in part to represent. Located, as the academy is, in the State of New York, its character and influences must be as well known and appreciated there as in any part of the Union; yet it has been repeatedly denounced by military conventions, composed of the most distinguished and enlightened men of that State. Believing it to be an expensive, extravagant, and anti-democratic institution of little use, the occasion of many controversies between the officers, and of discontent and degradation to the soldiers, I cannot give my vote for its continuance.



This chapter is serious, grave, gay and mysterious.—Good advice to Uncle Sam.—A dream which clears up the mystery of beards and mustaches, and accounts for some things, but cannot account for others, until the author dreams again; perhaps not even then!—Inquiries and doubts, not answered or solved in this chapter.

Should that time ever arrive when the members of our state and national legislatures practise all the vices which the laws they make are apparently made to punish and prevent—what influence can their legislative acts exert on the community? Why enact laws to prevent the commission of acts, which their own examples encourage and aid, and even induce? If such legislators are often seen at the card table, in the race field, or at the nightly debauch, will not men in less honorable stations continue to follow such blighting examples? Unless men in the highest, civil,114 military and naval stations, pay due regard to the decencies of life, to the strict rules of morality, will persons in private life and in humble stations do better than their superiors in office? Because the rich man can afford to live in luxury, will not his example exert a bad influence on the poor, and on those whose means do not enable them to live a life of extravagance and wasteful expenditure? What effect then have high salaries on this or any other community? Let any observing man look over this district, and then answer my question. We live in an age of innovation—in an age, when the passions are let loose, and when the pseudo reformers are busily engaged in their endeavors to uproot all our old, well-established forms of government, religion, morals and law. Like the largest oak on the Alleghanies, which has withstood the fury of the elements during five centuries, we hope our institutions of all sorts may survive the furious blasts of demagogues in morals, politics and religion. But if we115 wish these institutions to last, we must stand by our colors, hanging out our banner on the outward wall, and manfully defend our fortress against all the assaults of innovators—of restless, rash and wicked men. We must stand to our arms, and dare to meet every emergency, with blow for blow and gun for gun. Under the care of such guardians, liberty, religion and law have little to fear for the result. I thank God, that there are a considerable number of such men in this district, whom I well know and duly appreciate.

These reflections grew out of my associations, sometimes not voluntary, but from necessity, where I heard, and was compelled to hear, every institution in the whole country assailed by several noisy, ignorant and self-conceited men, conversing together so flippantly as to resemble the chatterings of so many monkeys, and with less good sense than is possessed by the animals they so much resembled in their gestures, noise and frivolity.

116 During a long session of Congress, as the first session of each Congress is sometimes called, assembled here from all parts of the Union, may be seen true and faithful representatives of every party, sect, faction and even fragments of all these parties and factions. Democrats, whigs, nullifiers, abolitionists, and all other crats, isms and ists. They are all busy, all active, sometimes noisy, boisterous and persevering. Could each one of them be believed, all the world will soon come over to their several creeds. Poor fellows! we suspect that the world will still roll on in its own orbit, around the sun, and the puny, tiny insects that are now buzzing about here, will all pass off and be gone far away, before dogdays come.

In this Babel, as it is just now, the people of the district refrain mostly from entering much into the feelings, interests and views of the visiters from a distance. The letter writers, the speculators, office seekers, and the office suckers, the courtiers and the courtezans will leave the city when117 Congress rises. While Congress sits, all the crowd will continue to haunt the public places and the public offices. One would naturally enough conclude, that in a city, no larger than this, where some three millions of dollars are annually expended by members of Congress and by visiters, money would be plenty and the citizens would be all wealthy; but that is not the case. What becomes of such a vast sum? Shall I answer my own question? I will answer it, and confess, that I do not know, and cannot even imagine what becomes of it. It disappears from our sight, and those who have handled the most money, appear to be in the greatest distress for the means of paying their just debts! Perhaps there are exceptions to my general rule, but the exception proves the general rule to be a correct one. House rent, being very high, is assigned as the cause of much distress to renters. Some of these houses were built very cheaply, fourteen years since, by the joint labors of brick makers, brick layers,118 joiners and carpenters, who hired their day laborers at the low price of twelve and a half cents a day, besides board! So the day laborers used to tell me, at the time they were thus employed. Their assertions, as to their compensation, might have been untrue, but circumstances satisfied me at the time, that they told me the truth. Possibly these day laborers did not work all day.

In some instances it is possible that quite too many persons follow some particular calling, to allow it to be profitable to any one of that calling. Is the competition too great? All the nation, I need not say, cannot live at the seat of the national government. I should doubt, too, whether all things being duly considered, this is the best place in which to rear a family of children, or one consisting mostly of young people. More or less dissipation and vice will always surround the seat of this government. Move the capitol where we will, the turkey-buzzards, perhaps the same birds,119 will follow it, and build their nests under the eaves of the treasury building. Their bills will always be thrust their whole lengths into Uncle Sam’s purse and Uncle Sam’s pocket.

Address to Uncle Sam.

“Unfortunate old uncle! you have a great many lazy, idle, worthless pets, whom you do wrong, very wrong, to support in idleness, sloth and dissipation. Are you sure, Sir, that you are acting the part of a prudent, discreet and excellent old gentleman, so long as you indulge such pets in practices so repugnant to your better nature, in your earlier years and better days? I do not expect you to turn them out to grass, as Nebuchadnezzar was turned out in days of yore; but certainly, the prairies of Illinois would afford them a better pasture, than this sterile district does. Alas! Selden’s refectory is preferred by them, to all the prairies of the West, blooming with tall grasses and the most brilliant and beautiful flowers, and a mint julep to any other120 vegetable. Of all the fowls of the air, some of them prefer the wing of an ox, whereas others prefer the oyster to every other bird of passage! Pray, Sir, be wise in time, put all your sons into some honest calling, whereby they may get an honest living and pay their honest debts, by their industry, economy and enterprise. Do this forthwith, or you will become a bankrupt in fame, fortune and resources and be compelled to take the benefit of the act for the relief of insolvent debtors. You own a great many large houses here, which cost you a great deal of money, but are there no mortgages on them which may be foreclosed? That being done, shall we not soon afterwards see all your household furniture, your carpets, your tables, chairs, beds and bedding exposed to a public sale, on some market morning, opposite the market-house, on the avenue?—Good bye, Sir.”

P.S.—A large lot furniture and a great lottery wheel, from the War office, were offered for sale at auction the other day on the avenue.

121 Among the mysteries of this mysterious city, take the following: Soon after my return from New York, I went all alone into the monumental square, east of the capitol, to discover what a certain low ill-looking shanty contained. On entering the building, I saw a statue of Jupiter Tonans, easing himself, without a shirt on his back, holding a thunderbolt in his right hand! Every wrinkle and every feature of his face, and his Roman dress, without a shirt, and coated with dust, proved to me at a glance of the eye, in a moment, that some Italian had either stolen and brought off the original statue, or he had exactly copied it; and that some one had placed it here, for the purpose of setting up the worship of Jupiter here at the seat of the national government! And this in a christian country, in this nineteenth century! Until I saw this statue here standing, I did suppose that christianity, in her onward march, from the banks of the Jordan to our farthest West, had overthrown the pagan religion, and had erected122 the cross wherever Jupiter Tonans and his kindred gods had once stood. After examining the statue of this heathen deity, I looked, and behold it stood on a granite rock, inscribed: “WASHINGTON!” That Washington was well represented by a block of granite, I was not prepared either to affirm or deny, but that any one could with any sort of propriety introduce into this square, the worship of Rome’s old pagan gods, I do deny, and will maintain my denial on substantial grounds of correct taste. The old story of Jupiter Tonans, if my memory serves me, after having read it forty-four years ago, for the last time, I believe is this. Some Roman emperor, perhaps Augustus, was being carried along in a litter, when one of his bearers was instantly killed by lightning. The emperor, from a sense of gratitude to “The Thunderer,” for sparing his own life, promised to erect, and finally did erect a temple, dedicated to “the thundering Jupiter” and placed his statue in it, in the very act of darting his123 deadly bolt. Who would have thought that that statue would have been transported here, and erected for the adoration of the pagans in this christian country? Paganism in Washington, in the nineteenth century! Why not forthwith get up lectures and send around beggars to crave money in order to stop its further progress?

To say that Congress ought not to encourage ingenious foreign artists at all, would be contrary to our feelings and to all our history, but our own artists should have a preference, all other things being equal. And I do not say, that our artists may not with great propriety go to Europe and there study the best labors of the best artists. But let our Americans carry with them American hearts, and return to us untinged with European feelings, and not be imbued either with the ideas of paganism. Washington clad in a Roman dress, instead of his American uniform! Daniel Boone dressed in a toga, instead of his Western hunting shirt! An American Indian in a toga, fighting124 a battle in a personal contest, instead of his being clad in his simple breech clout! Why such sights are presented to us here, is a mystery—a mystery of Washington city which I cannot unfold to the reader. So of the pedestal of a bust of Mr. Jefferson, resting on the heads of infants, whose mouths are wide open, rendered so apparently by the pressure on the top of their skulls. Whose absurd taste produced these abortions? To mingle paganism with the ideas of christianity in our statues and in our architecture, is in bad taste, especially in this age. Within about three hundred years after the death of the Founder of our religion, against the superstition of Jews and pagans, against the ridicule of their wits and the reasonings of their sages, against the craft of their politicians, the power of their kings and the prowess of their armies, against the axe, the cross and the stake, christianity ascended the imperial throne, and waved her broad banner in triumph over the palace of the Cæsars. Her march and conquests extended125 to every part of the then civilized world. The idols and all the gods of paganism fell down prostrate, before the onward march of christianity, and who will now, set up these idols here, for the worship of Americans? Away then with these gods and goddesses—away with Mercury and his rod, with Minerva and Venus and Cupid, they are blemishes, not beauties, they are pagan and not christian, barbarous and not civilized signs of the times. We want a Congress sufficiently christian to overthrow these idol gods, and all idol worship in the capitol. The ancient Greeks and Romans have long since gone down to their graves, and even their gods have perished from off the face of the earth. Why dig them up and bring them here to imbue the minds of our youth with pagan ideas?

With a view to learn the mystery of wearing unnatural beards, some filled with vermin, and some with ginger bread! some resembling those of Saracens, Turks and Russians, I visited Lipscomb’s near Gadsby’s,126 on the avenue, and M’Cubbin’s on Eighth street, and there gravely sat often for a long time, studying beards and mustaches, but in vain. At last I came home to my lodgings at Mrs. Tilley’s on Tenth street, nearly opposite Peter Force’s large library, and falling asleep in my easy armchair, a form stood before me in my dream, with mild aspect a sympathising look, she thus addressed me: “Let not thy thoughts about beards and mustaches trouble thee, because I am sent to reveal to thee the sublime mysteries of beards and mustaches. All men are created with certain propensities, and He who made them, has marked them, so that their propensities may be known as soon as the eye sees them. Euruchs have little or no beards, but a man whose disposition is Saracenic, Turkish, Tartarean, Gothic, barbarous or christian, has given him a beard in accordance with his natural disposition, But if he is like, in all respects, a goat, in smell and sensuality, a goat’s beard is given him and he wears it,127 leading about some frail female, dressed in silk velvet, while his wife with six small children, and one at the breast is left to starve at home. Such a man will never buy or read thy book, otherwise he will buy it. In compassion to thee, I further inform thee, that as to beards full of vermin, that circumstance is owing to the poverty of their owners, whose purses do not contain money enough to pay for a comb! Those beards which contain ginger bread, it is owing to a fact which is as well known to me, as it is to this whole city, that many of the bearded race are so poor, that I have seen twelve of them contribute a cent a piece, to purchase a large roll of ginger bread; they would then tie a cord around its centre and suspend it to the ceiling over their heads in the middle of the room, and seating themselves flat on the floor, in a circle, and in that position each one of them would catch a bite, as the ginger bread was whirled around from mouth to mouth. And although every mouth was wide open128 like an anaconda’s when swallowing a rabbit, yet, sometimes the roll struck the beard and got entangled in it, until the mouth was filled with the delicious morsel. The beard itself retained the roll, until some of the beard stuck to the roll. The fragments of tobacco in the beard, are to be accounted for in the same way.” I awoke, refreshed in body and in mind, having had revealed to me one of the greatest mysteries of this city. My mind is now at ease about that mystery, because I know every man I see on the avenue, by the beard he wears, whether he is civilized or savage, rich or poor. If he is able to get shaved without running in debt for shaving, he is shaved clean and smooth. Has he a beard like a goat’s; his beard proves him to be one that will stand on the left hand. And so of all the other signs, they are all revealed to me, and I, without fee, tell the reader all about it.

There are other mysteries in this city of mysteries, which I cannot find out, although129 I have slept in my easy armed chair and on my pillow time and again.

What the Senate will do about the Texan treaty? whether they will discuss its merits public or privately? whether they will stay here, until they have gone through their long docket of nominations, now before them? Whether the House will continue to sit until they complete their business not yet finally acted on? or whether they will go home soon, and the people thereby lose all the benefit of what has been begun, I cannot divine in this chapter.



Officers of both houses of Congress.—Vice President Mangum.—Speaker Jones.—Members of Congress, their labors and unenviable state.—Eloquence of members.—Senators Choate, Crittenden, Morehead, &c. &c.—The Tariff, Oregon and Texas to go down to the foot of the docket and be postponed until next session of our honorable court.

Officers of both Houses of Congress.

In the Senate, the Honorable Willie P. Mangum presides. John Tyler, the Vice President, on the death of General Harrison became President of the United States. The Senate thereafter elected Samuel Southard, their presiding officer, he dying, they elected Judge Mangum their president. He lives, when at home, in Orange county, North Carolina. From his name, I should suppose that his ancestors were from Wales. However that may be, Judge Mangum’s family is an ancient one in North Carolina,131 the name being found among the earliest settlers of that colony. He presides in the Senate and occupies the Vice President’s room in the capitol. He is a man above the common size, of fair complexion and commanding air, rather grave in his manners, but very agreeable and appears to be kind hearted. His voice is clear, sufficiently loud and distinct to be heard all over the Senate chamber and its gallery. On the whole, he is, taking him all and all, the best presiding officer, that I ever saw in any legislative assembly. He is always at his ease, always dignified and always agreeable. His appearance is that of a man about forty years old. He is a whig, unwavering and unflinching, yet, like the Kentucky Senators, not a persecuting whig, often voting to confirm men in offices, who are not whigs, nor any thing else—long. He appears to look more to the interests of his country than his party. When I say this, I mean to draw no invidious distinctions between Judge Mangum and others in the132 Senate. The feelings of senators must have been often severely tried by having presented to them the names of very incompetent men. Where the man is not decidedly a bad one, though wanting decision of character, without which no man can be relied on, in any pressing emergency, the Senate let him pass as Hopson’s choice, because they expect nothing better. In this way they have confirmed many nominations which I should have rejected at once, as destitute of a qualification, without possessing which, no man is fit for any office or any calling. So far as Ohio is concerned, not even one appointment of a citizen of that State, has been a good one, nor such an one as I would have made, during the last two years. I feel no hostility to any one of these weak men, but wish they had belonged to some other State, not to ours. Where the imbecility of a country is placed in the offices, it shows the strength of our institutions and the virtue of our people, which can get along tolerably well, though133 such weak men are appointed to offices. To have found so much imbecility, so carefully selected from the very surface of society, must have cost those a vast deal of labor, care and diligence, who have succeeded so well, so perfectly in hunting it up, and in bringing it forward to the President and his secretaries for their acceptance and gratification! It is a strong argument in favor of the permanency of our institutions, which can bear such appointments. The Senate appear to be as hungry for the nomination of men well qualified for the offices to which they are nominated, as any trout ever was for a well baited hook—they jump at them in a moment and unanimously confirm them. The confirmation of Calhoun’s appointment as Secretary of State is a case in point. The news spread like wildfire, and fell upon the ear like the roar of a water fall in the ear of a thirsty traveller, in the desert of Sahara.

Asbury Dickens is clerk of the Senate, and a better clerk of that body could not have been found in the Union.

134 Edward Dyer is sergeant-at-arms, and he is an excellent officer.

In the House of Representatives, John W. Jones is the speaker. He appears to understand the rules of the House pretty well, but owing to the weakness of his voice, or to the structure of the room, perhaps, we should attribute something to each cause, I cannot hear speaker Jones at all, on any occasion, from any location in the room which I have ever been permitted to occupy, by the courtesy of the House.

Caleb J. M’Nulty is clerk of this House, and a better clerk, a more obliging one, more correct, more industrious, more attentive to all his duties as a clerk, more obliging, polite, and in all respects capable and faithful, never filled the clerk’s office. M. St. Clair Clarke, his predecessor in office, although applauded constantly for his good qualities of all sorts, yet our Ohio man does, for aught I can see, as well as M. St. Clair Clarke himself ever did in his best days.

Among the ladies attending on this session135 of Congress, we mention with pleasure and pride Mrs. M’Nulty, wife of the clerk of the House. She was born and educated in Ohio. She is beautiful in form and manners and does honor to our Buckeye State.

This handsome couple are young in years, just beginning the world and bid fair to live long and be useful in the world, and be ornaments of Ohio. Prosperity and success to them!

Doctor Lane of Louisville, Kentucky, is the sergeant-at-arms in the House, and he is a very gentlemanly, faithful and attentive officer.

The door-keeper, Jesse E. Dow, and the postmaster, John M. Johnson, are as good officers as need be, and they give general satisfaction.

Members of Congress, generally speaking, are not idle men by any means. Besides their attendance on the daily sessions of the two houses, they are on committees, which occupy no small portion of the day, and, sometimes they are in their committees136 to a late hour at night. The more laborious part of the members work more hours, than any farmer does in the country. Some of them have a great correspondence with their constituents and others. They are obliged to call at the public offices, on the business of those whom they represent. Some members, who represent the farmers of the interior, have little to do, and such members, are not often chairmen of important committees, and they may lead an easy life. Those who represent large cities, or many commercial people, have more than they can find time to do it in. The same remark applies to those who represent manufacturing districts. Delegates from Territories, like the Dodges, father and son, have an immense amount of business to do, and a great correspondence to carry on. Such men labor night and day. Calls on them, made by their constituents and by others from all parts of the Union, interrupt them a good deal. General Vance, chairman of the committee of claims, performs137 daily a very laborious task. So far as Ohio is concerned, in sending representatives to both houses, I am sure that we have little reason to complain of their remissness or inattention to the duties of their station. There is not a dissipated man among them nor an idler. So far as I know, they faithfully attend to all their business in Congress. Their per diem, eight dollars, seems to be a very liberal compensation for their services, but after paying all their bills for living here, very little remains. Those who have families here, actually fall in debt, and have to borrow money to pay a part of their expenses. A very considerable number of the members have their wives with them—and where they have daughters and female relatives, their compensation is wholly inadequate to pay their expenses. The ladies visit the library often and there read and amuse themselves, or they sit in the gallery of the House, listening to the debates. The families of such members as are able to bring them here, appear to be138 quite happy. By associating with many respectable, well informed and polite people, they learn a great deal of the world and its affairs. They become personally acquainted with the first men in the nation. In this way they can form a more correct estimate of such men, their character, dispositions, manners, habits and talents. In vain do we look into newspapers, pamphlets and periodicals for correct ideas concerning these men. They are much better, or not so bad, as common report makes them. Though I had known Mr. Calhoun forty years, by common report, and, although I had seen him often presiding in the Senate chamber, yet until I sat down beside him in his office, and had conversed with him sometime, I had never had any correct ideas of the man at all. I had always been told, that he was impetuous, sour and morose, but I found him to be the mildest, kindest and most agreeable man I ever saw. I was truly astonished at the contrast between the man as he really was, and the one he139 was represented to be! I was agreeably disappointed in many others. With the character of our western men I was in no case deceived, because I knew them either personally or from correct sources of information. For instance, although I had never seen the Kentucky senators, yet I found them, Crittenden and Morehead, as agreeable, as well informed, as friendly, kind and conciliating in their manners, as I had always understood they were.

By mingling in such society, our young men may acquire a fund of information, which may be of great value to them in after life.

Though I knew Colonel Benton personally well and knew him to be a man of kind feelings towards his friends, and even towards many who are not friendly to him, yet, he is often represented as malignant and overbearing. It is not true, because at the bottom of his heart there is a great deal of good feeling. He cannot always suppress the exhibition of his better nature, even towards140 open and avowed political opponents. So of our senators, Tappan and Allen, the whigs of Ohio believe that these senators are their enemies, but I always found them very friendly to me, doing me many favors and no injury—quite the reverse. They have their own political creed, differing from mine in some respects, but they endeavor to serve their constituents when they come here, even if they are whigs.

Those who have been long in Congress can be much more useful to their constituents, than those who have had less experience. Understanding all the rules of proceeding, they know how to take advantage of circumstances, when to make a motion, and the exact moment when to oppose an opponent. They say less and more to the purpose. Young men are quite apt to be impetuous, hasty and rash, and thus often get overwhelmed by a more cool, deliberate member. John Quincy Adams is the hardest man to deal with in the House. Understanding all the rules of legislation,141 with a large store of information, he is sometimes sarcastic and witty, sometimes profound and those who attack him always come off second best. Of all the attacks on Mr. Adams this session, C. J. Ingersoll’s was the most unfortunate for the assailant. Mr. Wise related the whole of it to me in the library, immediately after the assault was made and the chastisement which Ingersoll got. Mr. Wise condemned C. J. Ingersoll, as every one else did, for his behaviour towards an aged, respectable man, whose public services, years learning and talents ought to command and do command the respect of all good men in the nation. Any member of Congress who respects himself, will always be treated with respect, because he deserves it. Any young man, who thinks to obtain any advantage by assailing Mr. Adams, will find himself to have made a false calculation.

The Senators preserve their own dignity, and do not mingle much with the turbulence around them. They are often misrepresented142 by malignant letter writers, and the falsehoods they invent, have a wide circulation. These Senators cannot devote up their time to explanations and contradictions of such misrepresentations. They have something else to do.

I will state an instance in point. About the time that the speculators in Texan land scrip, began their operations, to effect an annexation of Texas to this Union, some letter writer pretended to tell exactly how all the Senators would vote on that question. A number of the members of that body told me, “that they had neither made up nor expressed any opinion on that subject.” I afterwards ascertained from the highest source of information, that not a few Senators would not vote as the speculators had predicted they would, but exactly the reverse. Such miscalculations are daily made by interested or malicious persons, who hover around the capitol. Seeing the papers from a distance, and conversing with the members on the subjects treated of by143 the letter writers, induced me finally to distrust all I saw, coming from such a polluted source. These falsehoods do their authors no good, but often an injury. Placed as members of Congress are on a pinnacle, in view of a whole nation, unless they possess well ballanced minds, they are not to be envied. They have rivals at home, sometimes ready to misrepresent their motives, their services and their talents. There is always requisite, the constant exercise of one virtue, at least, which is patience, and they must labor incessantly to gratify friends at home, who expect at their hands more than they can do for them. To be a member of Congress, requires talents of all sorts—great industry, great attention to business, constant care, strength of body and strength of mind. Members of Congress, who make a figure as orators, can do little indeed for individuals among their friends. Moving in a higher sphere, they aim at some high station—to be a minister abroad, a Secretary, or to obtain some lucrative office.144 Apparently laboring for the public good, their real object is frequently very selfish. Such men have rivals among their own party, and all their political opponents are opposed to them. If they succeed to their hearts’ content, how long does their prosperity last? In a few short years their race is run and they are seldom mentioned, but oblivion covers them from our view and even from our thoughts. Those who figured on the stage at some great era in our national affairs, and stood high then, are remembered with affection and gratitude, but the little party politician is forgotten as soon as he walks off the stage. In this changing world, how soon is the mere demagogue forgotten? In his day, he impresses his retainers with the idea, that, unless some favorite theory is adopted, all is lost. It is exploded, he disappears from our sight, and the world moves on in safety. There is an elasticity in the American character, not existing to the same extent in any other nation. Under any great national disappointment,145 there may be, and there is, sometimes a season of national gloom, but recovering from such a state of mind, our people rouse up all their wonted courage, and confiding in their own strength, they move onward to new enterprises, entertain new hopes, and finally realise, and frequently more than realise all their most sanguine expectations. In the natural world, the storm and the tornado may be as necessary as the clear sunshine and the gentle shower, and why should the mental world differ from the natural one in this respect? “This is a crisis,” says the demagogue—“a nation’s fate depends on the issue of this crisis,” but the mighty crisis passes by as harmless as the Zephyr’s breath in May moves over the meadow. These getters up of crises are, on the whole, quite a harmless set of beings. They keep up a ripple on the ocean of human life and prevent a dead calm in the political ocean. In this session of Congress I have seen none of these crises and panic makers in the two houses. The debates146 on the twenty-first rule, on the Oregon question, on the army bill, on the tariff and some other topics were ardent, long and exciting, but they did not produce a very angry debate. These several storms passed over without doing much harm, like a squall of wind without hail, or even much rain descending to deluge the earth.

During Dr. Hammet’s speech on the 21st rule, I had a place, through the Doctor’s politeness, a seat in the body of the House, from which, by standing on my feet, I saw every member in his place, and witnessed the effect on the countenances of members, which that speech produced. Those passages which turned sixty faces pale, produced convulsive laughter among the rest of the members. The countenance of Mr. Adams never changed from a serene aspect, whereas the Ohio members mostly looked unmoved as marble, in no wise excited by the topics, except when the speaker alluded to the old maids of Massachusetts. When they were introduced into his speech, our147 members were taken by surprise, and they laughed immoderately. Even Gen. Vance, Judge Dean and all, with all their usual gravity, laughed heartily, and forgot to be grave. The hit was a fair one and well deserved. Female fanatics are doing some harm, and can do no good. On questions, and even doubtful ones of great national importance, our females would show more wisdom to be silent, than to press forward on the stage in buskins to show themselves as players.

Many persons think the members do wrong to indulge themselves in so much speaking, but better make long speeches than pass many bad laws. That too many laws are made by state, territorial and national legislation is certain. The mania for speech making is not as bad as many suppose it to be—it is the safety valve that lets off the superfluous steam, otherwise boilers would burst, and blow into fragments the vessel of state. Viewed in this light, we can tolerate it from motives of sympathy for148 the afflicted. Another good effect flows from these long speeches, while they are delivered, members can go into the library, the lobby or the rotundo and amuse themselves or converse with their friends. The speech being made, it can be printed and sent home to their constituents. They are pleased and thus many ends are answered by the delivering of a speech.

Eloquence of Members of Congress.—Under this head I shall not say much, for several reasons. The chambers are but poorly calculated for hearing in them; the places occupied by those who wish to hear and report speeches, are not such ones as they should be, if hearing be the object of those who sit in them; the noise necessarily made by three hundred persons, moving about and sometimes talking and whispering; the opening and shutting of doors and the confused din, attendant on such an assemblage of men; the many objects, such as the Ladies in the galleries of the House, naturally draw off the eye from the debater,149 the ear from the sound of his voice and the mind from the subject in discussion. With all these abatements and all these impediments, we need not wonder if the speeches are not very correctly reported, they being so imperfectly heard when they are delivered. This circumstance gives rise to every day explanations, almost, in both houses, to correct erroneous reports of speeches. But with all these impediments, there is a very considerable number of good speakers, especially in the Senate. It is possible, however, that the Senate’s chamber being a place wherein one can hear better than in the gallery of the other house, may have had quite an influence on my opinion in this particular. Senator Choate is quite a favorite among his friends, as an orator. His voice is clear, sufficiently loud and distinct; his method is clear, his language elegant, often beautiful; the impression which he makes on the hearer is highly agreeable. He rises neither too high nor sinks too low for his subject, but flies along over the subject at a suitable elevation. He150 looks as if he were a man of great labor, and not in very good health. He appears to be care-worn, and as if he was over-worked by the incessant toils of his station. I have no personal acquaintance with him, and speak merely from what I saw of him a few moments at Dr. Sewall’s, and from hearing him in the Senate chamber a few times. He is the brother-in-law of the Doctor and lodges at his house. Mr. Choate represents the manufacturing and commercial classes and has a laborious task to perform, in opposition to restless men, who, it appears to me, mistake their own interest in opposing commerce and manufactures.

John J. Crittenden, a senator from Kentucky, is a most delightful speaker. With a melodious voice, clear method, clear sentences, in which every word is fitly chosen, so that no one could be changed for any other word in its location that would do as well in its place. His arguments are lucid, his manner is so fascinating that he is a model of forensic eloquence in a parliamentary151 debate. Honest, candid, sincere, pleasant, sometimes eloquent, always happy in his expressions, it is no wonder that he is a very popular orator. On hearing him, you esteem him as a gentleman, and love him as a man. He was nominated by Mr. Adams to the Senate of the United States as a judge of the United States supreme court, but was not confirmed, and Judge M’Lean fills the place to which Mr. Crittenden was nominated. He would have made as excellent a judge, as he made a member of General Harrison’s cabinet. He has no enemy who personally knows him, so pure, so sincere and candid is he in all his intercourse with the world, that even those who disagree in opinion with him, love the man, his manners and his straight forwardness of speech and of action. His age may be forty-eight and he is quite grey headed, of the common size and square built. His lady has a young look and is still handsome. She is always lady-like and agreeable in her conversation and deportment.152 In these respects she resembles the ladies of Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. They always remind me of the West, and recall to my mind the delightful recollections of a large integral portion of my extended life, spent among scenes and surrounded by a people always dear to my heart. No place, time or circumstances will ever be able to obliterate these impressions from my vivid recollections of a delightful past. The Western people, possessing as they do, unflinching courage, pure patriotism, a love of liberty, of sincerity and truth, decision of character, open heartedness and sincerity, with broad and liberal views, and possessing too an energy and a determination to go forward, conquering the forest and the prairie, they will soon extend our dominion to the Pacific ocean. Such a people will always go ahead of all national legislation and compel Congress to come limping and halting along on crutches and stilts behind them.

James T. Morehead, the other Kentucky153 senator, was formerly governor of that State. He is six feet high or upwards, rather spare in flesh, straight as an Indian, and he is so agreeable in his manners and address, as to be as he truly is the world’s idol. His words flow along in a constant stream, sweeter than honey. Sometimes he rises into sublimity, and soars along on high, and like our own eagle, revelling in the beams of a clear sun. Sometimes he can be playful, with an arch leer on his brow when he is ironical. He can captivate with his witchery of manner and of style. His method is good, his sentences are clear, sometimes pointed, sarcastic and withering. His manner is winning and his arguments convincing. He is shrewd, searching and occasionally severe in his arguments, though not in his language. His ideas may be hard, but his words are soft, smooth and melodies. He labors with his pen and his books incessantly, sometimes more than his body can well bear. Having come over into Ohio and married and carried off a beautiful,154 amiable and good lady, the daughter of my excellent friend, J. M. Espy, of Columbus, I wish I had it in my power to present the reader a short biographical sketch of Gov. Morehead.

Under the head of eloquence, I will confess, that although I have been months attending here, sometimes conversing with members of Congress, sometimes with other persons from all parts of the Union—standing in the rotundo or sitting in the library, there conversing or reading, I always found it an unpleasant task to hear speeches, unless some one was speaking whom I knew or greatly desired to hear. I went to hear Dr. Hammet of Mississippi, John Q. Adams, General Dromgoole, Judge Dean, John B. Weller, Schenck, Vinton, Florence, Van Meter, Potter and a few others, but I had so much difficulty to get a seat where I could hear, that I seldom made an attempt to get a seat in the House. Hale of New Hampshire, when he spoke, could always be heard and understood.

155 It appeared to me, that our western members were more eloquent on the Oregon question than the eastern members, and that the eastern members beat the western ones on the tariff question all hollow. The eastern members were learned, eloquent and sensible whenever they spoke of manufactures, commerce or trade. These speeches, properly digested, would make an instructive and useful volume, that would be read by every body.

I took an interest in the army bill, and contrived to hear a great deal of its discussion. M’Cay, Cave Johnson and Black of Carolina never spoke a word in vain. Mr. Black deserves a great deal of credit for his exertions to reform the abuses of the patronage of the government. The mad ravings of the pets against him are recommendations of him to his constituent, as their faithful sentinel in Congress. He represents a hardy, patriotic race of men, whose ancesters fought bravely and well for their country in the war of the revolution.156 The Cowpens, King’s mountain, and all that country round about them are immortalised by deeds of arms; and by patriotic devotion to the interests and the glory of our common country. The nation owes that people a debt of gratitude.

I spent an evening with Mr. Black and Mr. Simpson, of Pendleton, S. Carolina, at their lodgings in the old capitol, kept by Mrs. Hill. They are excellent members of Congress, honest, capable and faithful representatives—none better. They are friendly to Mr. Calhoun. Mr. Black was born near Mr. Calhoun, that is within five miles of him, and Mr. Simpson lives where Mr. Calhoun does, and is his near neighbor. He thinks highly of Mr. Calhoun’s family and says that it is the happiest and the best one he ever knew. If my memory serves me, I think there is a sort of relationship by marriage between Mr. Simpson and Mr. Calhoun.

In the Senate are a great many good speakers. I heard Allen, Tappan, Choate, Benton,157 Woodbury, Buchanan, Crittenden, Upham, Morehead and several others, who spoke well and argued clearly, distinctly and to the purpose. I have not room for a criticism on their manner and matter, but I was pleased to hear them speak so well on all occasions. I wished to hear Rives and Archer, but did not get an opportunity to hear them, or even become personally acquainted with them. As a Senate, we need not be ashamed of that body, but the reverse in all respects. M’Duffie appears to be out of health, and I fear that he is in a decline that will carry him off before many years. I should have been glad to hear Bayard of Delaware, to ascertain whether he inherits his father’s talents, but I never heard him. Foster of Tennessee, I know to be a man of talents and an excellent senator, but I had not the pleasure to hear him. He stands high at the bar as a lawyer, and no one is more beloved than I know him to be by his neighbors in Nashville, where he lives when at home. Talented,158 learned and good, Tennessee may well be proud of her beloved son.

General King has gone to Russia, and Lewis has taken his place. General King, like his friend Buchanan, is a bachelor; so he can go abroad, having no family to detain him here.

A Digression.

The influence of the Christian religion, it appears to me, begins to operate beneficially on our legislative assemblies, and it is to be hoped that it will in the end melt down in its crucible our whole people. That religion is the great fountain-head of republics. It teaches us that our Creator is our Father, and that we are all brethren. In some respects, there is a falling off from the practices of our fathers—for instance, family government is not what it once was. In former days we had infancy, youth and age, but by the present generation youth is struck out of human life altogether. A boy or a girl five years old, assumes the dress, the manners and the airs of a young gentleman159 or a young lady. Last January, at my room, in the Broadstreet Hotel, in New York, after hearing their youngest child read to me, (she was only about four years old) I inquired of her, if her sister never curled her hair? which hung in beautiful ringlets on her head. She replied, that “her sister Sarah would, within a few days, curl her hair, and then she was to have a beau!” The remark pleased me greatly, because it was so characteristic of these times. No sooner is the hippen laid aside, than the pantaloons, and the boots, and the cocked-up hat follow, as the dress of the boy—and the girl, is dressed like a young lady. Her locks are curled, and she looks around her for a beau! Of these things we mean not to complain, but we merely note them as a change effected in our manners, since the last age, whether for better or for worse, we do not say. The days of our fathers are gone by, and this generation assumes to be wiser than the former one was, but whether a better one, on the whole, is at best doubtful with me.

160 We prefer Old Virginia, with her old principles to all her new fangled ideas. In some things she may be behind the age, but that does not convince me that she is the worse on that account. I prefer the principles of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Marshall and Upshur, to those of Aaron Burr and the spoilers. The former are pure gold, in my estimation, and the latter are mere dross. The sons, and the descendants generally of the Randolphs, the Lees, the Masons, and a long list of Pendletons and other revolutionary patriots are true to the principles of their ancesters and the republic. Long may such men and such principles shed a lustre on the Old Dominion. Rives and Archer represent Virginian interest and principles in the Senate of the United States. In the other house I am ignorant, wholly, as to their representatives, and so I say nothing of them. Gilmer was quite popular in the House, but he is no more. Summers is a western Virginian—so western that he is exactly like an161 Ohioan in his manners and feelings. He lives on the Kenhawa, and truly and efficiently represents the people who send him to Congress.

From our digression we come back to say, on the subject of the tariff, that the eastern members appeared to us to have the better arguments. They said, in substance, that the tariff of 1842 had injured no interest of our country; that agriculture was more prosperous than before; that manufactures were more flourishing; that our navigation was more active; public and private credit was restored, both at home and abroad. These members then enquired, whether it was wise, prudent and statesmanlike to change a law that worked so well? They contended that the experience of all nations proved that sudden and frequent changes in the laws of any country, were highly injurious to all classes of people. We do not use the very words, but we give the sum and the substance of what fell from the lips of many friends of the present tariff law. It appeared162 to me that those who wished a new tariff, took a very narrow view of the subject. They looked at what they considered the interest of their several districts of country, without looking further around them on the whole Union. It is a matter of opinion, and feeling as I certainly did, coolly and calmly, I made up a deliberate judgement, as disinterested as it could be. We in Ohio are an agricultural, manufacturing and commercial people. These interests are in reality the same; they prosper or fall together. Mr. Jefferson, by his embargoes and restrictive measures, made the people of New England a manufacturing people, against their wills at first, but following his advice, they became a manufacturing as well as a commercial people. Their industry, perseverance and energy made them prosperous and rich. The change in their pursuits ruined thousands of them at the time, but as soon as their prosperity was everywhere apparent, there were not wanting those, who envied and wished to ruin that prosperity163 by frequent changes in our tariff laws. Those who wished to check their prosperity, remind us of a private soldier in the revolutionary war, while he was suffering corporeal punishment. When the lash fell upon his shoulders, he cried out, “strike lower, strike lower!” but when the lash struck his loins, he cried out, “strike higher.” Strike where the corporal would, the culprit was not at all satisfied with the blows, nor pleased with the corporal himself. Could all our people be willing “to live and let live,” it appears to us that we should all be happier and better off, and in that way become an united people in the bonds of mutual interest and mutual affection.

All laws calculated to affect a whole nation should never be changed for slight causes, nor changed without giving the people, and the whole people, time to duly reflect upon such changes, in all their bearings on the whole people. Such are our ideas of that republican form of government,164 which was erected by our fathers, to promote the happiness of the people, aye, of the whole people. Keeping this great object in view, the laws should be plain, simple and few, and be changed as seldom as possible, otherwise no man in any business can make any safe calculations as to the course he should pursue—what plans he should form, or how he can execute them. There is an union of interests, not always duly considered. The farmer, the mechanic, the manufacturer, the merchant and the mariner have precisely the same interests in the prosperity of all the great interests of all our people. Destroy or greatly injure any one class of people, and the whole body politic feels the wound and suffers by the injury. One class may feel it first, but in the end, all feel it.

On all great national questions of policy, time, reflection, prudence and caution seem to be required by the dictates of patriotism and true wisdom. And our legislators, and indeed all our wise men, should always remember,165 and be sure never to forget, that we Americans are a very exciteable people, more so, much more so, than many nations are in the north of Europe. Our southern people may be the soonest moved by any sudden impulse, but get our northern people once fairly started, and they move like a tornado. Knowing ourselves, and how exciteable we are, let us endeavor to keep cool, on all the political questions, which agitate the public mind, from time to time. Our republican institutions have been dearly bought—with the blood of our ancestors, freely shed, in the battle fields of glorious memory, and on the mountain waves, where our sailors fought, bled, died and conquered in the cause, the holy cause of liberty.—When the liberties of this country go down to their graves, have we not reason to fear that free government all over the world, will be overwhelmed in one universal ruin? May my eyes be closed in death before that day arrives.

Having decided that the tariff case shall166 be put down to the foot of our docket, on the principle of want of more time for national reflection, it follows as a matter of course, almost, that we ought to put the Oregon question at the foot of our docket also, and continue it for a trial at the next term of our high court of judicature. Whether the Texas case shall be disposed of in the same manner, we will not decide, until we have ascended to our seat on the bench, and there patiently heard the arguments of counsel learned in the law, on the motion for a continuance of the cause until the next session of this honorable court.

The idea that the American people are to be taken by surprise, and that six large States ought to be added to this confederacy by legerdemain, without notice and without sufficient time for reflection on all the consequences of such an addition to our territory, calls for deliberation, reflection and a solemn pause, like the stillness of a Quaker’s silent meeting, before we decide this question—especially in the affirmitive.167 Let us hear it discussed openly in the Senate, and in all places of public resort.

Our right to Oregon, up to the fifty-fifth degree of north latitude, is quite clear and our people will occupy that territory forthwith, and then Congress will limp along after them, carrying our laws to them. In the mean time, villages, towns and cities will rear their spires along the rivers, the stage driver’s horn and the steam boat’s bell will be heard there. The sound of the axe, the hammer and the saw, will rival in speed the roaring of the waters rushing over mill dams, or dashing against the rocks in the streams of Oregon. All these things will soon be heard and seen there, but we can wait a little time yet, until the nation is ready to rush in one mass of men, to wash their feet in the waters of the Pacific, as they roll their briny waves on to our great western boundary. As Mr. Owen said, in the house, “the Pacific is our destination and our destiny.”

Lay the question over, gentlemen, till168 next session of Congress. The prancing steed and the nodding plume shall be seen there and the star spangled banner shall wave, and rustle in every breeze that moves over the prairies, the hills and the plains of our own farthest West. A rail-road from Astoria to Boston can transport the salmon of the Multnomah to our farthest East. Between the salmon of Penobscot and those of the Columbia river, let the Bostonians decide which is preferable. We will wait, sitting with gravity in a wig and gown in our court, until the Bostonians are called into it, to give their testimony on a point of so much delicacy, in a matter of taste, too, about which old Horace has said there is no disputing.—“De gustibus non disputandum.



Visit to Mr. Calhoun, Secretary of State.—Alexandria, its early history.—Reminisences of General Washington.—Memoir of Mr. Anthony Charles Cazenove; a most interesting tale.—He was the old partner of Albert Gallatin, at New Geneva, Pennsylvania.

On the fifth day of April, I went early in the morning to see Mr. Calhoun, the new Secretary of State. I found him already in his office, attending to his official duties. It was long before office hours, and I had a long conversation with him. He received me most cordially and entertained me most agreeably for an hour or two. When it was announced to him that Mr. Chilton, a member of Congress, had called to see him, I retired to call on Mrs. Murphy, of Ohio, and her son, who were putting up near the Secretary’s office. After spending an hour or two with them, I called again at the Secretary’s office, but found him engaged with170 the Texan ministers, Mr. Henderson and Mr. Van Zandt. The messenger brought me a slip of paper with Mr. Calhoun’s place of residence written on it, “at Mrs. King’s, between 13th and 14th streets, on F st.” I went thither, and waited not long but until Mr. Calhoun and his son had arrived and dined. The Secretary came into the parlour where I was sitting, and we conversed together several hours, until General Anderson of Tennessee came, when I took my leave of Mr. Calhoun. During these interviews I had in my mind two regrets: first, that I had never before in my lifetime had an opportunity to converse with him so freely on a great variety of matters, deeply interesting to the people of these United States; and secondly, that my first was to be my last opportunity of conversing with Mr. Calhoun.

Mr. Calhoun, in conversation, is as great as he is in every thing else. He can say a great deal in a few words. His language is appropriate and as beautiful as one could171 possibly imagine it to be. He is in the full possession of all his corporeal and mental powers, he sees every thing at a glance of his mind, and he can speak as easily as he thinks. He is unquestionably one of the most talented men in the nation. It is quite possible that he has been treated very ungratefully by the men, who have been raised into high places by Mr. Calhoun himself. Without a particle of intrigue in his composition—unacquainted entirely with the machinery of party management and party drill, he has stood no chance of success among such men. He appeared to know and to feel this, though he has always scorned to stoop to such low means of rising into the highest office in the Union. He has not a particle of ill will towards his enemies, and, he said, that he had taken a real pleasure in doing good to those who were employing themselves in their endeavors to injure him, although he well knew what they were doing at that moment when he was serving them. He has come172 here, merely to treat with England and Texas, and having finished his intended labors, he will resign his present office, and retire to the high ground where he dwells, there to spend the remainder of his days. Just back of the country where he lives, the Alleghany mountains rise to an altitude of seven thousand feet above the sea, which is higher than the White mountains in New Hampshire.

In the vallies of the Alleghany, near him, Indian corn grows and comes to perfection four thousand feet above the sea. Though I did not ask him, yet, I suspect that at such an elevation it is the New England corn, and not our gourd seed corn. He tells me, that on his elevated ground, where he lives the climate is nearly the same, as that of the District of Columbia. He has no ambition for public life, its cares and responsibilities. After being thirty-five years in office, he desires to retire from it, and be at peace at home, surrounded as he is by a family endeared to him by all the ties which173 none but a parent can feel. He has five sons and two daughters. The son with him here, is an officer in the army—a promising young man. He appeared to think that his part of the Union had been wholly neglected by the general government. If that be the fact, and I am sure he thinks so, the representatives from South Carolina, should use their endeavors to obtain their due share of the public patronage. To strengthen the bonds of our Union by mutual aid and mutual affection, should be the constant aim of all our national legislation. I told Mr. Calhoun that Ohio had paid twenty millions of dollars for her lands, into the United States treasury, whereas the people of the Atlantic States had gotten their lands originally, merely for settling on them. Mr. Calhoun in reply stated that Wayne’s war, with all its expenditures, must be charged on Ohio and Indiana.

I told Mr. Calhoun that within ten years from this time, the national government would be in our hands in the West for safe174 keeping, and so will remain thenceforth and forever. This idea, I told him, had its full weight on our minds—it made us bear and forbear—bear our evils and forbear to use any violent means now, to acquire what would, of its own accord soon fall into our possession, and be forever ours.

General Anderson of Tennessee, coming in here, I left Mr. Calhoun with the most friendly impressions towards him, which will never wear off from my mind during my life-time. Devoid of all intrigue, he is too honest a man to compete with the little men, who have always opposed him. He will only be called for, when great and commanding powers of mind are imperiously demanded by some great emergency. Like a great lamp, he shines to give light for the benefit of others, who see by the aid of its lustre. Perhaps it is best that the greatest talents are unemployed, except in cases of emergency. They are the army in reserve, upon which a defeated party in advance can fall back and be saved from175 destruction. Why so many incompetent men should rise into high places of trust, while the greatest and the best ones should be passed by, is not always seen. Envy of living merit may be the cause.

Mr. Calhoun’s private character is pure and spotless. He never had any vicious habit of any sort, nor indulged in any vice. There are very few such public men in this nation, or even in this world, and there is no better one anywhere. Whether he belongs to any church, I do not know but that he practises all the christian virtues is certain. His hair is grey, but his step is strong and elastic, and his body like his mind is as strong and as active as it ever was. For strength of thought, deep, vigorous, keen, searching, discriminating, methodical, logical and clear Mr. Calhoun has no superior in this nation. His feelings are mellowed down by years and by a large experience in the affairs of the world and all its vicissitudes. His great learning, derived from books—his agreeable manners, derived from a good heart176 and from his associations with the best society in the nation; his business talents; his industrious habits, and all his other great qualifications, eminently fit him for his present high station, and for even the highest station in this republic. The Senate did but yield to the unanimous desire of all our citizens here, when they unanimously confirmed the nomination of John C. Calhoun, as Secretary of State. In whatever station he is, we may always feel assured that a talented, patriotic and good man occupies it, who will faithfully, honestly and correctly do his duty at all times and in all emergencies.

Alexandria, April 10th.

I came here yesterday, to spend a few days—to rusticate. This city of ten thousand people is made up of an agreeable, well informed and industrious population. The streets all cross each other at right angles, like those of Philadelphia. It is free from the dust, which loads the air of Pennsylvania177 avenue at this time, and is, on the whole, a better place for me than capitol-hill, where I was so happily located, at Mrs. Ballard’s, within two minutes’ walk of the capitol, its rotundo and library. This spot is more retired from company, so agreeable to me as to take off my mind from my business. On attending the market here, the most prominent object in it, was the fishes, such as shad, herring, &c., just taken in this river, and brought here for sale. I saw yesterday three large shad sold for a quarter of a dollar, and single ones, large, fresh and fair, for ten cents each! The quantities taken are great, and a great many wagons from the country, back of this city, and from Maryland and Pennsylvania were here for the purpose of carrying them away. Before I came here, I heard much of the decay of the city, but on my arrival I found none of it. I found signs of thrift, but none of decay. Houses were repairing, the people were all employed in some useful calling; the streets are all paved, with good178 side-walks, and what surprised me, was, that I saw no coffee-houses where spirits are retailed, in this city of ten thousand people. There are only two taverns in it, and one of the innkeepers sells no ardent spirits in his house. I am now writing these lines in his inn. I doubt much, whether such another town of the size of this can be found in America, where no more intoxicating liquors are drank in it. I have now lying before me, a record of the first town meeting in this old American town, and I extract from it the following, viz.

“At a meeting of the majority of the trustees of Alexandria town, July 13th, 1749. Present: Richard Osborn, Wm. Ramsay, John Carlyle, John Pagan, Garrard Alexander and Hugh West, Gent.”

What a record! Ninety-five years almost since this was a frontier town, and then the majority of the trustees held their first meeting, of which any record remains. Before that time, the place must have been occupied by settlers, and must have been179 laid out as a town, into lots, because the same record shows that John West, junior, was appointed a clerk of the town, and the proceedings of the meeting were recorded by their clerk, and his book, in manuscript, lies before me! John West, junior, was “appointed cryer to sell the lotts at publick sale, within five minutes, from the time they are set to sale.” The price of the lots is given in the record, in pistoles. No. 36 was the first lot sold at the public sale, and John Dalton was the purchaser, at 19 pistoles. Among the purchasers of the lots, we find the names of Lawrence Washington, W. Fairfax and Geo. Fairfax, Nathaniel Harrison, Wm. Fitzhugh, Wm. Ramsay and Major Henry Fitzhugh, besides the names of the trustees first named, and their clerk and Roger Lindon and Allan McRae.

I visited the printing office on Saturday morning, April 13th, and introduced myself to the editor, a pleasant sensible and obliging man. The Alexandria Gazette was established by Samuel Snowden in 1800. It180 was continued by the original proprietor until his death in 1831. Since that time it has been conducted and owned by his son, Edgar Snowden—it is therefore one of the oldest newspaper establishments in the United States.

Between this place and Washington there are two steam boats running, starting almost every hour of the day from each city, and passing each other about half-way between Washington and Alexandria. They start at five in the morning, and their last trip commences at five in the evening. They charge twelve and a half cents for the passage. Some of the officers of the departments live here, and daily pass the distance between the two cities. A stage coach runs between them also several times daily.

The citizens of Alexandria often attend the debates in Congress, and know what is doing in Washington as well almost as those who live there.

I visited the Alexandria museum over the market house, and among the collection181 there, I saw the mantle in which George Washington was christened; his masonic robes, apron and gloves; his pistols, presented to him by Louis XVI; a model, in stone, of the Bastile, presented to him by the national assembly of France; his pack-saddle, used in the revolutionary war; his flag, borne by his body guard in that war; the first British flag, captured in that war, called Alpha by Washington; the last flag taken in that war from Cornwallis; La Fayette’s flag—blue; Decatur’s flag; Paul Jones’ flag, on board the Bonne Homme Richard, in his battle with the Serapis; Gen. Morgan’s flag, borne by his Virginia regiment; and a great many other relics of revolutionary times. General Washington’s letter to the cotillion party, which used to assemble in the house where I am located, is in the museum. In this letter the General declines to meet with them, on account of Mrs. Washington’s age. What thrilling recollections of times gone by, do these relics stir up within us? What a crowd of182 emotions, of all sorts, rush upon the mind, when looking on these memorials of former days, former ideas and opinions? of old customs and ancient manners, compared with modern ones? We live in a world that is passing away—in its habits, customs, dress, weapons of warfare; all is changed, changing and never will be stable, scarcely an hour! Ninety-four years ago, this spot, where this city is, was surrounded by a dense forest, on the verge of civilization, now it is quite on the eastern side of our domain.

There is a large market house here, of brick, over which are rooms for the several public offices, and in the third story is the museum. The mayor, clerk, auditor, &c. have their offices in the first story above the market house. The market is well supplied with meat, fish and vegetables. I saw too in it many flowers and small evergreen trees, in a proper state for planting them. The vegetables, flowers and trees were offered at very low prices—hardly183 sufficient to pay for bringing them to market. Those who brought them appeared to be poor, with families to support.

The rail-road from Cumberland to Baltimore has injured Alexandria, by taking some of the trade of the upper country away from this district. An extension of the canal to this city will bring back some of the trade which it has lost temporarily. The water in the wells of this city is not good, except a few in the suburbs, from which the city is well supplied. By taking the water out of the canal, it can be easily conveyed to the houses and supply all the citizens with healthful water.

Religious Sects.—There are episcopalians, presbyterians, methodists, catholics, baptists, and perhaps some other denominations of christians. They appear to live together in unity, and agree to disagree in opinion about their several forms of worship. To the community at large it matters little what may be their several forms, so as they have the same great fundamental184 principles of charity and benevolence towards each other and towards God and man. There are too, some quakers, as I perceive by their dress and conversation.—They are the same industrious, neat, quiet, friendly people every where.

On Sunday April 14th I attended church in the morning at the first presbyterian church, and in the afternoon at Christ church, the oldest episcopalian church. In the forenoon I heard the Rev. Mr. Harrison. Calling at Mr. Cazenove’s to accompany him, he being absent, I went to the dwelling of his son-in-law, expecting to find him there, but, learning the object of my calling, a daughter of my deceased friend, the late Colonel Fowle, came forward, and accompanied me to the church; she was a child nine or ten years old. She behaved perfectly lady-like, and conducted me to her mother’s pew, where her parent was already seated. The congregation was not a large one, though a very serious and devout one, to whom the preacher addressed185 a very good discourse. Colonel Fowle was lost in the Moselle, when that vessel was blown up at Cincinnati, a few years since. I shook hands with him, and bid him farewell, only fifteen minutes before his death. I had been personally well acquainted with the Colonel for many years, and had spent many happy hours at different places in the West with him, on many a day, and I always had a high regard for him. His little daughter resembles him very much in her looks and manners. I could not refrain from thinking how happy he would have been, had he seen her, and noticed how lady-like his daughter was, in her behaviour, while conducting his old friend to church, in this city. If spirits hover around those friends whom they have left behind them in this world, and take a peculiar pleasure in any thing that relates to them in this life, the spirit of my departed friend, Col. Fowle, must have been pleased to see me seated in his pew, yesterday, at church, with his widow, her father and his daughter.

186 In the afternoon I went to the church where Washington used to attend divine worship, and found in it but two persons—ladies, dressed in mourning. I stated to them my case, that I was a perfect stranger, who wished to attend their meeting at that time. One of them offered me a seat in her pew, which I accepted. It was near the pulpit, and she pointed out to me the pew in which General Washington used to sit; it was the largest one in the church. At the proper time, the congregation assembled, some three hundred people perhaps, and three-fourth of them were females. The weather was warm and it was after dinner. Where the men were I did not know, but they were not in the church. Two preachers at last appeared, and began the service. The regular minister read the service, but another clergyman preached the sermon. I soon discovered that this was an old school episcopalian church.—Their creed told me so, because it stated what Jesus himself has contradicted on his187 cross. The creed said, he descended into hell, but he himself told the thief by his side suspended on the cross, that on that day he would be in paradise! The sermon was an eloquent one, and so far as I could judge, very correct in its doctrinal points. As a literary composition, it was good too, and its delivery occupied an hour perhaps. The regular preacher was Mr. Dana and the one who officiated, was the Rev. Mr. Johnson. Young, or middled aged at most, tall, erect, active and well educated, they may yet live long to be useful and successful preachers.

Forty-five years since, General Washington attended this church and sat in the pew now occupied by a square built, heavy man, fifty years old, possibly. To me every person in the church was an entire stranger. The church has a good organ, and on each side of the pulpit are printed on boards the ten commandments on the south, and the Lord’s prayer and their creed on the north, or right hand side of the minister in his desk.

188 Reuben Johnson is the present clerk and auditor of the city. From him I obtained leave to inspect all his records. Joseph Eaches, Esq., is the present mayor, from whom I have derived very useful information, concerning this city.

The people of Alexandria have in their manners the simplicity and straight-forwardness of a people in a rural village.—They have the hospitality of their ancesters of Charles II. time, when the Scotch, under Lord Fairfax settled the northern neck of Virginia. The pure morals and pure principles of those primitive times have been handed down unsoiled and uncorrupted to the people who now dwell here. Should the seat of the national government be removed farther west, Alexandria would not suffer much by that change. The Potomac, broad, deep and navigable, would still roll its tide from Georgetown to the sea. The industry, enterprise, economy, morals, religion and patriotism of the people would remain, and render prosperous, useful, good189 and happy, a thriving people. An increasing city will forever remain here an ornament of the nation. This is a nucleus, around which men of good principles may rally, and from this point spread far and wide, sound morals and sound principles of all sorts. Near this town Washington was born and died, and his spirit hovers over this people. His example, his precepts and his principles govern Alexandria still. We see it in every thing all around us.

The stage house, where I am, is kept by Mr. George Wise, and it is the best in the city. As such I take pleasure in recommending it to travellers.

I cannot conclude my remarks on Alexandria better, than by introducing to the reader Mr. A. C. Cazenove, a native of Geneva, Switzerland, but now and for many years past an enterprising merchant and importer of foreign goods. Mr. Cazenove is as stirring a man, as there is in Alexandria. At my request he drew up a short memoir of his life, which, in his own words,190 I present to the reader. Gen. Archibald Henderson married Mr. Cazenove’s eldest daughter and Colonel Fowle his youngest one.

Memoir of Mr. Cazenove.

The cradle of the Cazenove family was Nismes in France, though it is probable, from their name and coat of arms, that they were originally from Italy or Spain, where you find some Casanovas and Casanuovas.

Being protestants, they had to fly at the revocation of the edict of Nantes, and took refuge in Geneva, in Switzerland, from whence some of them afterwards branched off to Lausanne, in Switzerland, to Holland, England, France, and lastly to the United States. This last event took place during the summer of 1794, when the leaders of the dreadful French revolution fomented one of a similar character, only on a smaller scale, in the little republic of Geneva, then not one of the cantons of Switzerland, but in close alliance with that ancient and admirable confederation. The object of191 the French being the geographical situation of Geneva, being fortified and by nature one of the gate-ways into France, Switzerland and Italy, besides its great wealth for an inland city, and the high state of information possessed by the generality of its inhabitants, being acknowledged to be one of the luminaries of the world.

Although France had succeeded in overturning their old form of government, and substituting in a population, then amounting to about 25,000 souls in the city and about 15,000 in the surrounding villages and country, a national assembly as democratic as it could well be. They were attached to their independence and desirous so to remain. It therefore became necessary for Roberspierre and the leading jacobins of France, to find some pretext for taking possession of Geneva, for which purpose they surrounded it (being then in possession of Savoy and having military posts close by) with the worst of192 their jacobins, and such Genevans as had been banished from it for any cause, and in one night, with the help of their sattelites in Geneva and their own people which they had introduced into the city, took possession of the three gates of the city, arsenal and powder magazines. They armed the most desperate amongst them, to intimidate others, and early next day went and dragged the heads of our best families and distinguished citizens, into two large warehouses, used before that for public granneries, to the number of about 400 persons, and established a national tribune, before which they brought several of the best, most virtuous and patriotic citizens of Geneva, but ranked by them as aristocrats, which they pretended to have conspired against the independence of the republic; the very thing they had themselves in view, and were aiming at. Nor could they have had the reign one single day, but for the knowledge that France was ready to pounce upon Geneva, if any thing like a193 scuffle had taken place, to avoid which the people of Geneva thought it best to submit for a while to the tyranny of their own jacobins. As it was impossible to substantiate any charge against such men, however depraved their revolutionary tribunal was, they were necessarily acquitted and sent to the common jail for safe keeping. This however so enraged their blood-thirsty Marseillois, (the worst of jacobins) that they forced the jail during the night, and by torch light shot sixteen of the best men Geneva ever possessed, and so overawed the revolutionary tribunal itself, as to compel it to take on itself the responsibility of so atrocious a deed.

In order, however, to appease in some respects public indignation, the revolutionary tribunal brought before them forty of the prisoners, amongst whom were Mr. Paul Cazenove, myself, and his two and only sons, John Anthony and Anthony Charles, when, after having charged them also of conspiracy against the republic, and194 threatening them in an awful manner if they persisted, they were allowed to return to their respective families, where I found seven jacobins guarding my mother at her country seat, not allowing her to leave her own room, and I was not even allowed to go in and see her, nor have I seen her since; for my brother and myself, under cover of the night, with the help of a Swiss boat, escaped the second night, through the lake to Copet, the nearest town in Switzerland, on the lake of Geneva, where we were joined by our cousin Fazy, one of the defenders of Lyons when beseiged by order of the French national convention. Having long felt that we could not live in peace in Geneva, under the sway of the jacobins, we and several other Genevans had determined to leave it, for a while at least, and under the impression that the jacobinical principles of revolutionary France were destined to go through Europe, we determined to come to America, where the revolution had happily terminated,195 and where we had already friends and relatives. In order, therefore, to avoid the French armies, which were then making their second incursion into Flanders and Germany, we proceeded through the interior of Germany to Hamburg, where we were met by other Genevans, who had formed the plan of emigrating to America. There we heard of the death of Roberspierre, and were all on the point of abandoning our project, but we determined to persevere in it, because every leader of the French convention having been heretofore succeeded by one still more sanguinary than the last, we did not expect any change for the better. We all, to the number of eight, therefore, embarked together with our four Swiss servants, for Philadelphia, where we landed in November 1794, and were soon after joined by three other Genevans, two of whom, with their wives, had left Geneva after us for the United States. There I found my cousin, Mr. Theophilus Cazenove, the same after whom Cazenovia,196 in the State of New York, is called, who had made in that State and in Pennsylvania, as agent of wealthy capitalists of Holland, the extensive purchase of the Holland company. Also my cousin Odier of the house of Odier & Bousquet Brothers, and soon after Mr. Albert Gallatin, then a distinguished member of the Legislature of Pennsylvania, joined us.

A number of Genevans having, while yet in Geneva, much approved our intention of removing to the United States, and desired that we should remember them and also prepare a retreat for them. We formed the plan of a large landed company, in which a number of influential individuals became interested. But having ascertained during the spring of 1795 that, justly adverse to emigrate, the French revolution and that of Geneva having assumed a somewhat milder course, after the fall of Roberspierre, we were not likely to be joined by other Genevans as we expected, we relinquished the plan of our landed company, and I formed197 a co-partnership with Mr. Albert Gallatin, his brother-in-law, Mr. J. W. Nicholson, and two other gentlemen, under the firm of Albert Gallatin & Co., and purchased a tract of land at the mouth of George’s Creek, in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, where we located the town of New Geneva, on the Monongehela river, and established stores, built mills, glass-works, &c. I remained there until having married in Alexandria, where I then settled myself for life. Some years after that, the Swiss government, having thought it desirable, for the first time, to establish consuls in the United States, unexpectedly to me, knowing nothing of their intentions, I received from the federal government of that country, their appointment of Swiss consul for the middle and southern States, with a very kind and obliging request from them to accept it; which was the more flattering, as it had been unsought by me, and though it was impossible for me to forget the country of my birth, or my attachment for Switzerland198 ever to be weakened, still it was very pleasing for me to see that I had not been forgotten by her, and had such agreeable opportunities afforded me of keeping up an intercourse with that excellent government and equally excellent people, which it is the delight of all travellers to exalt above all other nations.



Officers of the government.—Remarks on the permanency of the seat of government.—No authority in the constitution to remove it.—Monomaniacs, one who fancies himself in paradise! and the other expects to be elected the next president!—Other monomaniacs equally crazy.—Local Information.

The chief clerks, such as M’Clintock Young of the treasury department, Mr. Moore of the general land office, Wm. B. Randolph of the treasurer’s office, Mr. Pleasants, Thos. L. Smith the Register, and M. Nourse, his chief clerk, are always at their posts, attending to their duties. Without just such men, the public business could not be done. In the state department, Messrs. Winder and Carroll and Pleasonton are always engaged in their proper business. Perhaps there is not an idler in that department. Major Lewis and all his clerks, James Eakin, his chief clerk, Josiah Polk and all, are very industrious and attentive to their duties.200 So in the general post office, M. St. Clair Clarke and all his clerks, the several assistant postmasters general, and Judges Smith and Hotchkiss, S. B. Beach, Stone, Gen. Allen and all the clerks labor hard all day long. In the offices of the war department and in the naval office, I am not sufficiently informed to tell the reader anything about them. Generals Towson, Abert, Bomford, Gibson and all the officers of their grade are always industrious, always attentive to their business. In all these stations no changes could be made for the better I am sure. Judge Blake of the general land office deserves an honorable mention, for having appointed Wm. Darby and several others like him, clerks; and for his kind treatment of all his subordinates. The changes of heads of department, which are more and more frequent of late years than formerly produce changes among the clerks. No sooner is any new head of department inducted into his office, than he seeks forthwith a place for some relative or dependant.201 If there be any vacancy, this creature fills it; if there be no vacancy, the new head of department creates a vacancy and puts his creature in it. When any secretary leaves his office, he endeavors to keep his dependant still on the list of office holders. James Madison Porter left three relatives in offices, two Porters and a Wolf. These secretaries being changed very often of late years, renders the tenure of office very uncertain, very precarious. In looking back on the last few years, we see changes of heads of department so frequent as to render it almost ludicrous for a secretary to undertake to get personally acquainted with his clerks, before he goes back into private life again. Why is it the ambition of any man in this country to be a secretary or a head of department? And yet, it is evident enough that those who fill these stations, think highly of them—their gait, their air and address prove this. Looked these gentlemen on their stations, as the whole nation does, these offices would202 not be coveted at all. Such men as Calhoun are exceptions, because they act as if they knew what they were doing and felt all their responsibility and all the cares of office. In his manners and industry Mr. Calhoun naturally reminds one of old times, when men in high stations were beloved by all who had any business to transact with them. From all I see and hear, I doubt whether the frequent changes in our highest officers operate beneficially on the public interest. However, if the chief clerks are not changed, perhaps, the head of the department being often changed does no great harm, because the chief clerk is in reality the head of department. M’Clintock Young has been in reality the secretary of the treasury for four years past. Without him every thing would have gone to ruin, long ago, in the department over which he presides.

Former presidents, from Jefferson downward, used to visit the rooms of clerks and inspect the offices very often, but his Excellency203 John Tyler is not so hard on clerks and heads of bureaus. He never visits them—at least I have not seen him on any such tours of duty. General Jackson has often gone with me to the rooms of secretaries and clerks, to inspect their books and to ascertain how they kept their accounts. Having doubled and trebled the force in the offices, renders such tours of inspection unnecessary, in order to do all the business of the several departments faithfully, correctly and well. Two families hold four clerkships each; so I hear from an authentic source.

Should any citizen of the United States wish to know exactly what is done with every cent of Uncle Sam’s money, let him call on Thomas L. Smith, the register of the treasury, and he can there see it at a glance. Maj. Smith holds the purse strings. If any one wishes to see models of all the light-houses in the world, let him call on Mr. Pleasanton in the state department and there he will find them, and a perfect gentleman204 to explain every thing that relates to these light-houses. If any one wishes to see all the books, for which American authors claim a copy-right, let him call on the Messrs. Winder and Carroll in the state department, and he will find the books, and the gentlemen in whom Judge Upshur most confided, as his confidential clerks. Mr. Calhoun will extend to them the same confidence as Judge Upshur did. The former is the son of General Winder and the latter is the descendant of Daniel Carrol of Duddington, a signer of the declaration of independence.

To those who visit the city from a distance, local information may be useful, and we give such as we suppose may be of service to them. If the stranger wish to tarry only a few days, having no business but to see the city, perhaps Brown’s or Gadsby’s will best suit him; but if his business be with Congress, capitol hill will best suit him, and he can put up with Mrs. Ballard, Mrs. Owner, Mrs. Hill or some other keeper205 of a boarding house—Mrs. Whitney for instance. I prefer Mrs. Ballard’s, although the others are all good houses, with good accomodations. If the stranger’s business is with the departments, he can stop at Fuller’s, or Mrs. Galabrun’s on the avenue, or Butler’s on F street, or Mrs. Tilley’s on Tenth, near the avenue. But there are a hundred other boarding houses, as good as need be, such as Mrs. Hamilton’s, Miss Polk’s, Mrs. Arguelles’ and a long list of good houses. Five thousand persons can be well accommodated in Washington city. For the size of it, this has more and better accomodations for travellers, than any other city with which I am personally acquainted. I prefer it to any other east of the Alleghanies, but until the late riots, Philadelphia stood highest with me. It may be owing to my long acquaintance with this to me delightful city, that I prefer it.

However much we may loathe occasional loafers, who come here, and quite too many of them do come here, yet the people themselves206 are as good, as the people of any other section of the Union. As a whole, they are more polished in their manners than any other people in the confederacy. Trusting to the constitution itself, in accordance with which, and the laws made under its express provisions, this district was selected for the PERMANENT seat of government, many persons settled here, and fixed on the District of Columbia as their permanent residence. Their all is here, their families and their whole fortunes. Until the seat of government was fixed here, it never had been fixed permanently any where. Those who had the power delegated to them, having expended all the power over the subject, that ever was delegated to any persons to fix on the site of the general government, no power to change it, remains in the constitution. That vast regions have been acquired and added to the Union, without a particle of constitutional authority for the acquisition or addition to the original States, is true; but that fact cannot207 change the constitution itself, so far as a permanent seat of government is concerned in the question.

However, let us change this serious subject for one serio-comic. We have heard of two maniacs to-day—monomaniacs. One of them seriously believes himself in paradise! and the other believes that he will be the next president! Paradise was a place of innocense, the abode of happiness, a bed of roses, but the presidency is a bed of thorns. Reposing on such a bed, who could sing, with Thomas Moore,

“Will you come to the bower I have shaded for you,
Where your bed shall be roses bespangled with dew?”

We hear to-day also, that a monomaniac, another one altogether, thinks that if he can get a certain man elected president in 1844, he, the maniac, will be elected president in 1848! Still other maniacs expect to be foreign ministers! What strange delusions in this deluded and deluding world are all these vagaries of the brain? Shall we call in Dr. Mayo, or shall we import208 forthwith all the helebore which both the Anticyras produce and administer it all to these afflicted patients? or what shall we do to restore these men to a sound state of mind? Who can calculate the chances of the next election? We cannot tell by 400,000 individual votes, and we suppose we know just as much about it as the voters themselves do at this moment.

Sanguine politicians think they know, but they do not know more than we do, whose minds are not made up yet what we shall do, or how we shall vote—perhaps, not at all this autumn. Instead of “a light house of the skies” and buildings for “storm kings,” telegraphs, &c. &c. why not appropriate money for a lunatic asylum of such large dimensions that it could accommodate thousands who come here with their humbugs of all sorts, asking for national aid and support?

Perhaps we ought to have added a chapter on Humbugs, in addition to our Mysteries, of this city. Kind reader, it is too209 late now for such a chapter, our whole little volume being all filled up and nearly all its contents are already printed.


Meeting of Courts.

Supreme Court of the United States, second Monday in January.

Circuit Court of the District of Columbia for Washington county, fourth Monday of March, and fourth Monday of November.

Circuit Court of the District of Columbia for Alexandria county, first Monday in May and first Monday in October.

Criminal Court of the District of Columbia for Washington county, second Monday of March, first Monday of June, fourth Monday of October, and last Monday of December.

Criminal Court of the District of Columbia for Alexandria county, first Monday of April, and first Monday of November.



Bank of Washington—corner of Louisiana avenue and D street—discount day, Tuesday, Wm. Gunton, President; James Adams, Cashier.

Bank of the Metropolis—Pennsylvania avenue, between F and G streets, opposite the Treasury Department—discount day, Friday, John P. Van Ness, President, Richard Smith, Cashier.

Patriotic Bank—7th street, between C and D streets—discount day, Thursday, G. C. Grammer, President; Chauncy Bestor, Cashier.

Insurance Offices.

Firemen’s Insurance Company of Georgetown and Washington—office in the Hall of the Perseverance Fire Company’s building, Centre Market Square. Jas. Adams, President; Alex. McIntyre, Secretary.

Franklin Insurance Company—office corner of 7th and D streets, next door to the Patriotic Bank. G. C. Grammer, President; Alex. McIntyre, Secretary.

211 Potomac Fire Insurance Company—office on Bridge street, Georgetown. John Kurtz, President; Henry King, Secretary.


Baptist, Rev. O. B. Brown, 10th street, between E and F.

Baptist, Rev. Mr. Samson, Aldermen’s room, city hall.

Baptist, Rev. Mr. Tindell, corner of 4th street and Virginia avenue.

Baptist, Shiloh, Elder Robert C. Leachman, on Virginia avenue, near 4½ street.

Catholic, St. Patrick’s, Rev. Mr. Mathews, F street, between 9th and 10th.

Catholic, St. Matthews, Rev. J. P. Donelan, corner of H and 15th streets.

Catholic, St. Peter’s, Rev. Mr. Van Horseigh, 2d street, between C and D, Capitol Hill.

Friends, l street, between 18th and 19th.

Lutheran, English, Rev. Dr. Muller, City hall.

Lutheran, German, Rev. Ad. Biewend, corner of G and 20th streets.

212 Methodist Ebenezer, Rev. Messrs. Phelps and Hanson, 4th street, between F and G, navy yard.

Methodist Foundry, Rev. Mr. Tarring, corner of 4th and G streets.

Methodist Wesley, Rev. Mr. Wilson, corner of F and 5th streets.

Methodist Protestant, Rev. Mr. Southerland, 9th street, between E and F.

Methodist Protestant, Rev. Thomas M. Flint, pastor, 6th street east, between G and I streets south, near navy yard.

New Jerusalem, Council chamber, City hall.

Presbyterian, Rev. Dr. Laurie, F street, between 14th and 15th.

1st Presbyterian, Rev. Mr. Sprole, 4½ st. between C and D.

2d Presbyterian, Rev. Mr. Knox, corner of H street and New-York avenue.

3d Presbyterian church, on F, between 14th and 15th streets, near the Treasury Department. Pastor, Rev. Dr. Laurie; Assistant Pastor, Rev. Septimus Tuston.

213 4th Presbyterian, Rev. J. C. Smith, 9th street, between G and H.

Christ, Episcopal, Rev. Mr. Bean, G st. between 6th and 7th, navy yard.

St. John’s, Episcopal, Rev. Dr. Hawley, corner of 16th and H streets.

Trinity, Episcopal, Rev. Mr. Stringfellow, 5th street, between Louisiana avenue and E street.

Protestant Episcopal Mission, Rev. Mr. French, Apollo hall.

Unitarian, Rev. Mr. Bulfinch, corner of D and 6th streets.

Circulating Libraries.

Washington Library—room on 11th st. between Pennsylvania avenue and D street; open daily from 3 to 5 o’clock, P. M.

Jefferson Apprentices’ Library Association—room west wing City hall; open every Wednesday and Saturday evenings, from 6 to 9 P. M.

Fire Companies.

Union—located at the corner of H and 20th streets; W. B. Magruder, President; Charles Calvert, Secretary.

214 Franklin—located on 14th street, near Pennsylvania Avenue; regular night of meeting the first Tuesday in every month. Robert Coltman, President; William Durr, Secretary.

Perseverance—located on Pennsylvania avenue, Centre market square; regular night of meeting, the first Thursday in every month. Samuel Bacon, President; Geo. S. Gideon, Secretary.

Northern Liberties—located on the corner of Massachusetts avenue and 8th street; regular night of meeting, the first Wednesday in every month. John Y. Bryant, President; Augustus Brown, Secretary.

Island—located on Maryland avenue, between 10th and 11th streets; regular night of meeting, the first Thursday in every month. William Lloyd, President; William T. Doniphan, Secretary.

Columbia—located on South Capitol st., near the Capitol; regular night of meeting, the first Thursday in every month. James Adams, President; R. Bright, Secretary.

215 Anacostia—located on Virginia avenue and L street south; regular night of meeting, the first Friday in every month. Thos. Thornley, President; Wm. Gordon, Sec’y.


Washington Light Infantry—west wing City hall; regular night of meeting, the first Monday in every month.

National Blues—east wing City hall; regular night of meeting, the first Monday in every month.

Columbian Artillery—west wing City hall; regular night of meeting, the first Tuesday in every month.

Union Guards—hall of the Union engine house; regular night of meeting, the first Wednesday in every month.


Federal Lodge No. 1.—room corner of 12th street and Pennsylvania avenue; regular night of meeting, first Monday in every month.

Potomac Lodge, No. 5, Georgetown—room in Bridge street, opposite Union hotel;216 regular night of meeting, fourth Friday in every month.

Lebanon Lodge, No. 7—room corner of 12th street and Pennsylvania avenue; regular night of meeting, first Friday in every month.

New Jerusalem Lodge, No. 9—room corner of 4½ street and Pennsylvania avenue; meets on third Tuesday in every month.

Hiram Lodge, No. 10—room over West market, first ward; regular meeting, first Wednesday in every month.

Grand Lodge of District of Columbia—annual communication first Tuesday in November, semi-annual, first Tuesday in May. Installation meeting, St. John’s day.

I. O. O. F.

Central Lodge, No. 1—room City hall; night of regular meeting, Friday.

Washington Lodge, No. 6—room City hall; night of regular meeting, Tuesday.

Eastern Lodge, No. 7—at present occupying a room in Masonic hall, navy yard; night of regular meeting, Friday.

217 Potomac Lodge, No. 8—Odd Fellows’ hall, Alexandria; regular night of meeting, Friday.

Harmony Lodge, No. 10—room City hall; regular night of meeting, Thursday.

Union Lodge No. 11—Odd Fellows hall, navy yard; regular night of meeting, Wednesday.

Friendship Lodge, No. 12—room over West market, first ward; night of regular meeting, Thursday.

Covenant Lodge, No. 13—Odd Fellows hall, Jefferson street, Georgetown; regular night of meeting, Monday.

Columbian Encampment, No. 1—room City hall; regular night of meeting, last Wednesday in every month.

Marley Encampment, No. 2—Odd Fellows’ hall, Alexandria; regular nights of meeting, second and fourth Mondays in every month.

Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia meets annually on the second Monday in November, and quarterly on the second Mondays of January, April, July and Oct.


Sons of Temperance.

Timothy Division, No. 1—room Buckingham’s hall, on C street, between 10th and 11th; night of meeting, Wednesday.

Harmony Division, No. 2—room St. Asaph street, Alexandria; night of regular meeting, Monday.

Freemen’s Vigilant—room Carusi’s saloon; regular night of meeting, Friday.

Beneficial Society.

Island Beneficial Society of the city of Washington—night of regular meeting, the first Thursday in every month. John W. Martin, President; W. T. Doniphan, Sec’y.

Typographical Society.

Columbia Typographical Society—Buckingham’s room, on C street, opposite Carusi’s Saloon. Regular night of meeting, first Saturday in every month; President, Ferdinand Jefferson; Recording Secretary, James Wimer; Corresponding Secretary, James N. Davis.

The studio of C. B. King is on 12th street between E and F streets.


On page 73 , for John H. read John S. Meehan.

On page 119 for Sellons read Selden’s refectory.

On page 124 for a statue of Marshall, read a bust of Mr. Jefferson, resting &c.

On page 145 for Zephur, read Zephyr.

On page 163 read Strike higher, strike higher, Oh! strike higher!

There are a few literal errors which the reader will correct as he reads the work.

Transcriber’s Notes

Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed. This book was published in 1844, so some words may have been spelled differently than they are now.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; occasional unbalanced quotation marks retained.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained; occurrences of inconsistent hyphenation have not been changed.

Most of the Errata on the last page of the book have been corrected within the text; the change to page 163 was not made because it was ambiguous.

Page 132: “Hopson’s choice” probably is a misprint for “Hobson’s choice”.

Page 153: “smooth and melodies” was printed that way.

Page 168: “De gustibus non disputandum” is a misquotation for “De gustibus non est disputandum”.