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mental study, or gay dissipation, he is said to be pretty much
In the adoption of French words, the English pronunciation is usually given, and persons speak of the rout they intend to take in a journey instead of route. When persons are addressed in conversation, and do not hear at first what is said to them, they usually make the interrogatory how? which is certainly less abrupt than our what? among the vulgar, and more brief and appropriate than the phrase I beg your pardon among the more refined, which would be the expressions used in similar cases in England. In answering a question when distinctly understood, as, for instance, “ Where are you going to-day ?" or " What think you of the present prospect of affairs ?” or even the simple question of “What o'clock is it ?'' the party answering usually begins by saying, “ Well," and, after a short pause, gives you the answer required. To “get along" is the phrase equivalent to ours of to “get on,” that is, to make progress in a journey or to advance in life. To "guess" is not applied to the future exclusively, nor even to the present, but to the past and to the certain. For instance, a person will say “I presume," or "I reckon," or "I guess that the dinner-bell has rung ;' and if you ask him on what ground he so presumes, or reckons, or guesses, he will tell you that he heard it; and if a servant, he would say, perhaps, “ Well! I rung it myself.” It often occurs that an individual is addressed in conversation as the third person, as in Italy; and a lady will frequently be heard saying to a gentleman whom she is addressing face to face," I hope we shall have the pleasure of seeing Mr. Buckingham again, if, indeed, Mr. Buckingham's engagements are not too numer. ous to permit us to indulge that hope ;' or a person would ask me sometimes, “Can you tell me where Mr. Bucking. ham delivers his lecture this evening ?” the parties knowing all the while that it was myself that they were addressing.
On the whole, however, there is much less of variety in dialect, pronunciation, and expression among the people of America, as far as we had yet seen them, than there is in Great Britain, where not only the English, Scotch, Irish, and Welsh have their marked and broad accents and peculiarities, but where the different counties of each produce such varieties as to make the peasant of the one nearly un. intelligible to the peasant of the other. Here the frequent intercourse between state and state wears off whatever peculiarities
may be acquired in early life in any one locality;
and thus there is a general level or standard observable among the whole. The only universal characteristic that I could observe to distinguish American conversation, preaching, or speaking from English, was a clearly perceptible, but, at the same time, almost indescribable sort of whining tone, not quite nasal, nor yet far from it, but mingled with a thin, wiry sound, which is common to both sexes, but more marked in females, and in both it takes much from the fulness, dignity, and richness of tone, which is so great a charm in well-sustained conversation, and still more so in efforts of eloquence made from the pulpit, the bar, or the platform.
Climate, Weather, Snows, severe Cold. -Sleighing, private Sleighs, Omnibuses, Carts.
- Peculiarities of American Winters.-Supposed Periods of ten years for each Se. ries.-Series of severe and Series of mild Winters. The present Winter of 1837 regarded as a mild one.-Supposed Commencement of a mild Series with this.-Ships, Packets, Steamboats, comparison with English.-Naval Expedition destined for the Polar Seas.- Environs of New York, Brooklyn, Long Island.-Staten Island, New Brighton.- Asbestos Quarries.- Jersey City, Hoboken Ferry, excellent Boats. -- Passengers in Carriages conveyed without alighting.-Separate Apartments for Ladies and Gentlemen.-Good Fires and comfortable Accommodations for all.-Last Day of our Stay in New
York. - Farewell Lectures, and parting with Friends. - Visit to the Public School with the Mayor.-Proficiency of the Pupils in their Exercises.- Voluntary Society for Moral and Mental Improvement.-- Preparations for leaving New. York.-Friendly parting with our Fellow-boarders.-Mulually strong Attachments, on solid Grounds.
The weather during our stay in New York, from October to February, was, on the whole, more agreeable than I ever remember to have experienced within the same period in England. The first two of these months were delightful, it being a sort of second autumn, which is here called “ the Indian summer.” The sky was always bright, the atmosphere clear, and the air soft and balmy. In December it began to feel cold; but throughout the whole of that month and January there were not more than three or four days of snow or rain. The frost was sometimes severe, but the bright and warm sun, and the fresh and healthy atmosphere, made one sustain it better than the same amount of cold could be borne in England. The coldest days were early in February, when the thermometer was on one occasion as low as seven degrees below zero; the rivers were both nearly frozen over, and the harbour was full of floating ice; but even then we did not suffer any great inconvenience from the cold, as the houses are well warmed with stoves, and greatcoats and cloaks were found sufficient protection on going out. We suffered some little derangement in health at first from change of climate, change of diet, much occupation, and sometimes late hours, having frequently to dine with one party before delivering my lecture, and then going out to spend the evening with another party after it was concluded. But we soon got acclimated, and, with due rest, and well-proportioned intervals of occupation and repose, were perfectly restored to the enjoyment of our usual vigour and spirits.
There is a description of coal burned here, called anthracite, which is very hard, scarcely at all bituminous, producing, therefore, but little flame, yet giving out great heat and a sulphuric gas, the effect of which is very injurious to some constitutions. It affected me with intense headache, of which I was some time before I discovered the cause. It has the effect of making the atmosphere of the room in which it is burned so dry that the skin begins to feel uncomfortable, and the hair to grow wiry and stand on end. Some persons counteract these effects by placing a pan of boiling water on a place beside the fire, so that its steam shall ascend in the room, and gradually diffuse the vapour throughout its atmosphere; but we preferred discontinuing the use of it in our apartment altogether, and substituting English coal, called here Liverpool coal: the effect of the change was perceptible in a few days; the sensations of dryness of the skin and hair, as well as the headache, disappearing entirely, and never returning again.
Towards the end of February the snow became suffi. ciently deep to admit of the use of sleighs instead of car. riages, and the effect of the change was agreeable to the eye and the ear of the stranger. The sleigh, being drawn along upon the smooth surface of the snow, makes no noise in its progress, and this was an agreeable substitute for the ceaseless rattle of omnibus, cart, and carriage wheels. To give due warning, however, of its approach, the horses have collars of bells, which tinkle merrily as they trot, and give apparent pleasure to the animal itself, as well as to those who are drawn by it. The private sleighs are of very light and elegant forms, and are not elevated more than two or three feet above the snow. They are open to the air, but are warmly lined with large buffalo skins, the furs of which serve to enwrap the parties seated in the sleighs; and this mode of taking the air is more frequently adopted by the ladies, with whom "sleighing" is a very favourite amuse
ment, than with gentlemen. In addition to the private sleighs, the omnibuses and carts are taken off their wheels, and placed on slides or runners; and the noiseless progress of all these, passing and repassing each other, without the rumbling sound of bad pavements and reckless driving, with the musical jingle of the bells, produces altogether a most agreeable effect.
It is said by many that the winters of America are observed to alternate after periods of ten years; that there are ten years, for instance, during which they are severe, and go on getting more and more severe from the first of these decades to the last; and they are then succeeded by a series of ten mild winters, growing milder and milder as they proceed, till the return of the severe period again. The celebrated Dr. Dwight, of Connecticut, was the first to observe this peculiarity; and his son, from whom I heard this, stated that, from very close observation of the climate for the last thirty years, he had found this to be the fact. The present he regarded as the first of the mild series of ten winters, and he congratulated us on our arrival at so opportune a commencement.
To a maritime eye, one of the most agreeable sights in New-York is its busy wharves, ample waters, and crowds of shipping, always entering, or leaving, or loading at its port.
The maritime eminence of New York, however, is ow. ing not so much to its excellent shelter for ships, as to its position as the most commodious point of entrance into the great body of the Union for all foreign commerce.
Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore have each in their day enjoyed their periods of maritime prosperity; but, since the opening of the great canal from the Hudson River to Lake Erie, which makes a water-line of navigation from New. York to the lakes of the interior, and since the other outlets formed from these lakes to the great rivers, Ohio Missouri, and Mississippi, by which goods can be conveyed from hence as far south as New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico, and as far west as the foot of the Rocky Mountains, NewYork has acquired, and will long retain, the character of being the great emporium of commerce for all the Western States. A great portion of the native produce of those states, in flour and other provisions, is brought here by these water-channels for shipment; and the greater portion of the British manufactures consumed in America are imported into New-York from London or Liverpool, while many vessels also arrive here with French goods from Havre.
In addition to the constantly increasing tonnage of NewYork for the foreign and the coasting trade, which branches off from this point, there are regular lines of some of the most beautiful packets in the world, sailing with the punctuality of the mail from hence to the three great ports named, at intervals of only a few days apart. Some of these ships, of recent construction, are 800 and 1000 tons, and are as beautiful specimens of naval architecture as ever came from the hand of the builder. Their forms combine, in the highest degree ever yet united, the requisites of strength, capacity or burden, speed, safety, and beauty. Their equipments are as perfect as their hulls, and their cabin accommodations for passengers are all that can be required; they are, in short, excellent maritime hotels, and are furnished with everything that can render a sea-voyage agreeable. The President, in which we came out from London, was inferior in size and comfort to all the others that we saw, being one of the oldest class; but the builders go on improving so rapidly in the construction and fitting up of their vessels,
that each new one launched is superior to all her predecessors, and is visited to be admired by hundreds of inspectors before she sails on her first voyage.
The steamboats of America differ very much from those of England, both in external appearance and in internal arrangement. Instead of having, as with us, the engines below, and the cabins for passengers beneath the main deck, it is the custom here to devote the lower part of the vessel to the stowage of cargo, and on the main deck are placed