Images de page

moved up the Hudson, and settled in a fine tract of land, where the descendant was found by Mr. Finch. He seemed to be in the possession of all the comforts of life, without however inheriting any of the ambition of his ancestor. His house was built in a valley, and he never went to the polls to vote. He had a farm of five hundred acres, which he cultivated, and talked with much animation about his flocks of merino sheep, and acres of Indian corn. I asked him why he did not attempt to become governor of the State; but he replied, he was contented with his lot.

Philedelphia was next visited by Mr. Finch, who was perfectly satisfied with its appearance. In the Swedish church-yard is the tomb of Wilson the ornithologist; his remains were entombed in a part of the garden where "the birds might sing over him," in compliance with the specific request which he made for that purpose to the venerable pastor.

Some distance from Philadelphia Mr. Finch visited a Moravian establishment at a place called Bethlehem. The director of the society is the Rev. P. Schweinitz, who is also a capital botanist. The spiritual director of the community, Dr. Heiffell is a bishop(!), who not only cultivated natural science, but also performed with great skill on the organ. The Moravians, Mr. Finch found, assemble in the church every day, and hear prayers and a discourse from the bishop. They are partial to music. Most of them play on some instrument; and in this manner the mechanics entertain themselves after their labour is over. Concerts are frequently performed. The Moravians engage in manufactures: hatters, carpenters, machine-makers, are numerous. In the first organization of the society, property was common to all; but now, each works for himself. The houses are purchased under certain conditions, such as not admitting a member of any other religious community, for fear of producing dissension, &c. In former times, marriages were arranged by a council of old people of the society, who issued their mandate, and the ceremony took place without any delay or difficulty. The ladies, thinking their rights were infringed on by this mode, sent a petition to the council in Germany. Their prayer was granted; and they now enjoy the usual privileges

of ladies in other Christian societies.


At Providence, one of the two capitals of the state of Rhode Island, the author found that the legislature was sitting. members, he says, were farmers, mechanics, or tradesmen, and few lawyers; they are paid six shillings sterling per diem. The Governor of the State has a salary of 1501. sterling; an effort was made in the legislature to reduce the amount; it was considered too large.

Mr. Finch tells us that the form of government in nearly all the North American republics is similar. Deputies chosen yearly constitute the house of representatives; deputies chosen for two or four years compose the senate. The governors are elected for

two or three years, and they possess great power-their office is the most honourable in the United States, if we except that of the President. They confer many offices, have the power of pardoning offences, call together the Houses of Assembly, and command the state militia in war. It is a great honour to be elected chief of one or two millions of people; and, although the title is not hereditary, the honour descends to their latest posterity, and is an incentive to good actions.

During his stay at Boston, Mr. Finch was gratified by being permitted to attend the meetings of the Massachusetts' representatives. The number of the members may be six hundred, but, as the townships have to maintain them, no more than the amount necessary is sent to the parliament, The sitting at which Mr. Finch attended commenced at ten o'clock, and at eleven the business began. Petitions on various subjects were presented from several towns, and referred to committees. There were three petitions from persons who wished to change their names; for, this cannot be done without an act of the legislature. Twenty persons applied for this privelege during the session. The members are paid nine shillings per diem, besides a certain sum for travelling expenses. They were well, but plainly dressed; many wore their great-coats and hats in the House. In passing the chair they bowed, and great order prevailed. Here were assembled the representatives of one million of people to transact the business of their constituents.

During his route from Philadelphia towards the south, Mr. Finch came to a particular place, which was pointed out to him as the residence of a gentleman of fortune who had formerly occupied it, and of whom he heard the following anecdote. He was fond of snakes; he thought they were oppressed and ill-treated, and he would take their part. He accordingly collected a great variety of black snakes of the woods, garter-snakes, which are beautifully striped, and water-snakes, which inhabit ponds. He fed them regularly, and they became quite familiar; they would twine affectionately around him, and, when he travelled, he generally carried one or two in his pocket as companions.

Our author visited Baltimore, the city of monuments, as it is called, where he met with a gentleman, who gave him some authentic information respecting the slaves of South Carolina. It appears that in that district the negroes are set task-work in the rice and cotton plantations. They are given the possession of a certain quantity of land to cultivate, and, when that is kept in order, they may do what they please with the remainder of their time; their masters' work is terminated at about two o'clock in the day. The product of their cultivation they are obliged to sell at the market-price to their masters. These negroes are allowed two pecks of Indian corn meal per week, together with a small quantity of salt meat, and, in the crop season, there is an

additional allowance of two drams of whiskey. They are seldom sold except for bad behaviour, or for debt. When set at liberty, their masters must give security to the state that they shall not become chargeable to the parish.

Mr. Finch visited Washington during the period when congress was sitting, and he gives a very detailed account of the proceedings. He found that, in Virginia and Maryland, the slaves were allowed a bushel of Indian corn, and from thirty to sixty salt herrings, or, in lieu of the fish, eight pounds of smoked meat. They are very much attached to Indian corn, and if, during a scarcity of that article, they are supplied with wheaten flour, they become indignant, and shew their anger in such a way as almost to amount to an insurrection. The wheat is found not to agree with them so well as the Indian corn. The process of preparing the latter for food is very simple: they mix the meal with water, and make it into cakes; the ashes are swept off the hearth, and the cakes laid in rows upon it; they are then covered with the hot ashes, and are soon baked. They are called ash-cakes. These, with water, form their breakfast-with the addition of a fish, or a small piece of meat, their dinner.

The following particulars respecting these Indians are interesting:

'I was informed by a gentleman who resided near Baltimore, that he wished to have a large tract of land cleared of wood, and, besides employing his own negroes, hired a number of white men, who were employed at the same time. The free men cut down and piled twelve cords of wood a week; the negroes cut down and piled, in the same time, five cords, although they worked harder than was usual for them.

'Unmarried negroes sleep on planks or on the floor. Those who are married generally choose their wives on a distant plantation, because it gives them an excuse for being out at night. On these occasions, they generally break open the stables, take the horses to ride, and return home early in the morning. The poor horses suffer, as they are made to work day and night.

In Maryland, dancing is fashionable; the slaves frequently dance all night. In Virginia, musical parties are more frequent; every negro is a musician from his birth. A black boy will make an excellent fiddle out of a gourd and some string. In autumn, they play tunes on the dried stalks of Indian corn, when it is still standing in the field. By striking it near the ground or at the top, they make it discourse most excellent music. The bandjo is another instrument they are fond of: but the supreme ambition of every negro is to procure a real violin. By saving the few pence which are given them, selling chickens, and robbing a little, if necessary, they generally contrive to make up the sum. An instrument of music seems necessary to their existence.

'The young blacks are in general very fat and happy; they have nothing to do, except to wait, as play-fellows, on the white children, who play a thousand antics with them; but the young negroes are as much amused as their masters. At a planter's house, I saw two young children

at dinner-time, sitting by the side of the fire, with three young blacks to wait on each. One negro held the plate, another the glass of water, and the third was employed at looking in the other two. Having so many to wait on them, the white children are very much indulged. Many negroes keep pigs, and feed a number of fowls: the sale of these enables them to purchase a little better clothing for Sundays.'-pp. 236-238.

Mr. Finch visited Mr. Madison, at Montpellier, and Mr. Jefferson, at Monticello. From both he received the most hospitable attention. At Northumberland, on the Susquehannah, he sighed over the tomb of his grandfather, Dr. Priestley, to whom he pays an affectionate tribute. He went also to view the mansion where the doctor had resided. Here, a sun-dial still remains which had been presented to him by an eminent mathematician in London. His laboratory is now converted into a house for garden-tools! the furnaces pulled down! the shelves unoccupied! the floor covered with Indian corn! To this laboratory the children from the school were accustomed to come once a week, and he would amuse them with experiments.

Amongst other remarkable places visited by Mr. Finch, was the valley of Wyoming, the celebrated scene of Mr. Campbell's beautiful poem. Here he met with an aged man, who had been engaged in the battle which is so well described by the bard. He informed the author that he swam across the river with some of his companions, after their defeat, and was taken prisoner as soon as he landed, but ultimately escaped. In this neighbourhood, he accompanied a gentleman, named Cist, to whom he had letters of recommendation, on a hunting expedition, during which, he complied with the invitation of his host to accept an Indian feast in the forest. The feast consisted of the inner bark of the birch tree, which Mr. Cist said he had often found useful when nothing better could be obtained. But our author does not recommend it from his experience as any thing at all equal to a good dinner. During his sojourn in these districts, Mr. Finch paid considerable attention to the manners and customs of the people. The method by which they clear the land of its timber consists of five operations, the nature of which are as follow:

1. Underbrushing. The settler takes a hatchet, or sharp iron tool, and cuts up the underwood and small bushes, which he piles in heaps.

2. Cutting. The trees are now cut down with an axe, about three feet from the ground, and from constant practice, the settlers acquire great dexterity in this art.

3. Chopping. The branches of the trees are cut off and piled up.

4, Burning. A dry, windy day being chosen, fire is applied to the immense heaps of brush-wood, and those bonfires have a splendid appearance in the forest, especially when, as it often

happens, the fire catches some of the hollow trees which have been left standing. A brilliant pyramid of fire, accompanied by the hollow roaring noise of the air rushing up the ignited trunks, then announces the triumph of man over the forest.

5. Branding. The unconsumed trunks of the trees, which are lying in all directions, pártially burnt and charred on the outside, are now collested in heaps, and this is the blackest work of the settlers: when engaged in it, they resemble the charcoalburners of the forest.

The next process is to drag a harrow hastily over the ground, and to sow wheat in it, the very first crop of which is so abundant, as to be equal to the expenses of the first cost of the land, together with the whole of the expenses incurred in clearing it.

Canada was the next destination of the author; but there is nothing in his account of what he saw, which, for novelty or interest, need detain us for a moment. The work concludes with an essay on the natural boundaries of empires, in which the author shews the effect of the geological structure of the earth on the political boundaries of nations. The subject is treated at some length, and the essay shows considerable learning.

ART. VIII.-Second Report of the Central Board of his Majesty's Commissioners appointed to collect information on the Manufacturing Districts, as to the employment of Children in Factories, and as to the propriety and means of curtailing the term of their hours of labour; with Minutes of evidence and Reports by the Medical Commissioners. Printed by order of the House of Commons. 1833.

THIS document contains the reports of the medical gentlemen who were employed by government to inquire into the state of the Factories, so far as the health of the children employed in them was concerned. The first portion of this report contains a series of the most curious facts, furnished by Sir David Barry, who proceeded to Scotland to examine the state of the factories in that country. It would be useless to follow him in his circuit around the manufacturing districts, and we must therefore content ourselves with a summary. The places which he visited were Dumfernline, Kirkaldy, Dundee, Arbroath, Aberdeen, Perth, Sterling, Glasgow, and Paisley. In these localities he met with various manufcatories in which the people were more or less exposed to the effects of deleterious agencies. But, upon the whole, the report is extremely favourable; and what is curious is, that the evidence altogether on this Northern district shows, whatever may be said of the natural delicacy of females as far as regards their organization and their incapability of enduring fatigue, that, whether we regard the females employed in the factories of the north, in their

« PrécédentContinuer »