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expressly permitted by the legislature, and announced by a proclamation from the governor. This excellent regulation has in a great measure liberated the community, from a heavy tax, and a most offensive nuisance. What renders it still more remarkable is, that it should have been enacted by the very State which was once governed by the “ Blue Laws.” In the days of that pious code, if a person had presumed to say, that it would be better to spend any superfluous money, in adding to the comfort of the people at home, than in attempting to educate the Tartars, he would I suppose have been looked upon universally as a heathen man and a publican.
LEAVING Boston, where I had been staying at the only truly comfortable hotel I found in all my travels, I passed through a fine cultivated country to Providence. This is the capital of the State of Rhode Island, and is a flourishing town, containing, according to the last census, 11,767 inhabitants. The exterior of the houses in this neighbourhood, as well as throughout the whole of New England, is so neatly painted, that the inhabitants may be supposed firm believers in the old Dutch proverb, that “paint costs nothing.” Many indeed of the houses which I saw in Massachusetts, were neater in this respect, than even those which attracted
my admiration, when I was travelling on the canals near Amsterdam.
At Providence I went on board the steamboat, and descended the beautiful bay of Narraganset. Newport, at which we touched, is celebrated for the beauty of the women; and certainly to judge from the few specimens I saw, this character is very well deserved. Indeed the women of New England are as superior to those of the other States in beauty, as they are in education.
After sailing down Long Island Sound I again landed at New York. Here I embarked on board
one of the packet ships for Liverpool: and without meeting with any circumstance worth mentioning returned to my native country. But before I conclude the account of my Transatlantic travels, the reader may say to me: “ Now that you have returned home, what is your calm and unbiassed opinion with regard to the character of the Americans ?" I reply without hesitation, that there is no subject upon which the people of England have been more completely misinformed, than upon that of the American character. The writings of interested or ignorant individuals have raised a cloud of prejudice against the inhabitants of the United States, that superior information is only just beginning to dissipate. I myself, before visiting the country, had imbibed a great deal of this erroneous opinion; and on landing on the Ainerican shore I expected to find a people, very little civilized compared with Europeans, and so rough and brutal in their manners towards strangers, that when they knew I was an Englishman, they would be almost certain to insult me. Judge then of my astonishment, when my own experience proved to me, that the people were kind and hospitable; that the manners of the higher classes were nearly as polished as could be found in any European country; and that the name of an Englishman, far from provoking insult, was a certain passport to the kindness and attention of every one.
At the same time we must recollect, that as the Republic of the United States extends through twenty-three degrees of latitude, the manners of the people inhabiting different parts cannot of course be the same everywhere. Thus the White inhabitants of the Southern and slave-holding States are high-spirited, fiery, and impetuous, with difficulty restraining their passions, and possessing all those characteristics (many of them very odious) that mark the slave-holder. In those States no one deigns to work, and the gentry or wealthy planters occupy their time in sporting, and particularly in horse-racing and cock-fighting. They also indulge in the pleasures of the table, much more than their Northern fellow-citizens,
At the revolution indeed, and for some time after it, the Southern States produced nearly all the men of education and abilities; for the wealthy planters generally gave their sons an excellent education, and frequently even sent them to travel and study in Europe. The young men also, certain of inheriting a good fortune, and never entering into any profession, had plenty of leisure to improve themselves in knowledge; and were enabled to devote the whole of their lives, towards the cultivation and increase of the information they had obtained in their youth. Hence they enjoyed a great advantage over the laborious inhabitants of the Northern States, who, with less wealth and leisure, were obliged to occupy themselves in more
mechanical employments. But a change has now taken place; and the free States have become the most wealthy, and at the same time the most learned and enlightened. To what can this change be owing, but to the superiority of Liberty over Slavery? Yet whatever the cause may be, the inhabitants of the free States are not only much less impetuous, and much more cautious than the Southerners, but are also superior to them in morality, and perhaps even in politeness and urbanity of manners.
One thing that I could not help remarking with regard to the Americans in general, is the total want of all those games and sports that obtained for our country the appellation of " Merry England.” Although children usually transmit stories and sports from one generation to another, and although many of our nursery games and tales are supposed to have been imported into England in the vessels of Hengist and Horsa,* yet our brethren in the United States seem entirely to have forgotten the childish amusements of our common ancestors. In America I never saw even the school-boys playing at any game whatsoever. Cricket, foot-ball, quoits, &c., appear to be utterly unknown: and I believe that if an American were to see grown-up men playing at Cricket, he would express as much astonishment, as the Italians did
* Vide the preface to that pretty little work, “ German Popular Stories.”