« ZurückWeiter »
the engines, one on each side, with a large chimney rising from each, so that the operations of the machinery are visible above the deck. The after-part is laid out in sleepingcabins for passengers; and above this, on another deck, is generally the dining-room in the centre; besides this, there is usually a separate saloon for ladies, and one for gentlemen, as drawing-rooms. In some of the larger steamboats there is yet another deck placed above this, called the hurricane deck, because of the wind being more felt there than below. This makes the fourth deck from the keel, and is generally a mere elevated platform, supported by stanchions or wooden pillars from the deck below, being perfectly unobstructed above, and out of the way of all the operations of the crew, so that passengers seated along its sides or walking in its centre may enjoy undisturbed the most extensive prospects on all sides around, and the fulness of the sea and river breeze.
In consequence of these several decks rising one above another, the external appearance of an American steamboat is much less elegant and graceful than that of an English one, and her whole bulk seems cumbrous and overladen ; but in the interior arrangements for the comfort of the passengers the American boats have a decided superiority, as well as in the speed with which they perform their voyages, under the high-pressure engines, averaging at the rate of fifteen miles an hour on the rivers, and twelve miles an hour on the sea. The finest of the ocean steamboats that we saw was the Neptune, of Charleston, sailing as a packet between this and Carolina; she was worked by engines of 200 horse-power, was about 600 tons, and could amply and comfortably accommodate with separate bed and board more than 200 passengers, and carry as many more who did not need separate beds, on her decks. The interior arrangement of this steam-packet was superior even to the best of the London and Liverpool ships; the beds were everything that could be desired; the furniture of every part sumptuous; the dining-room and separate drawing-rooms were of the most elegant description; and the kitchen, store-rooms, pantries, and every other part of the ship as perfect as art and order could make them. The engines were in the highest order; nothing, indeed, seemed wanting that skill or capital could supply. She had already performed one voyage by sea from hence to Charleston, and the captain was anxious to have her tried in a trip across the Atlantic, for which she seemed in every way admirably adapted.
A naval expedition, for a voyage of exploration in the South Seas, had been long lying in the harbour, in a state of uncertainty as to whether it should proceed to sea or not. It is understood to have originated with the late president, General Jackson, who took a great interest in it; and, under his auspices, the formation and equipment of the squadron was begun. It was to consist of a frigate, the Macedonian, two sloops, and two store-ships; and the object of the expedition was to make new geographical discoveries in the South Polar Seas. From the cessation of General Jackson's authority as president, however, the interest of the government in the expedition seems to have declined; and it had been upward of a year in port, nearly all that time ready for sea, with a succession of several commanders, and a removal of several of the ships, with dissatisfaction among the officers, impatience among the seamen, and indifference at the sources of naval authority. It has since sailed, however, and is now in the southern hemisphere.
The environs of New-York are extremely interesting, and might well engage the attention of the traveller for a longer period than would be generally imagined. Long Island, which preserves a continued parallelism with the front of the eastern part of the city, and extends its length in a northeast direction for many miles-interposing as a barrier between the Atlantic and the fine navigable sound that lies between the island and the continent-is well worth visiting in every part; and during the summer it is much frequented, especially on the southeastern edge, for the excellent sea-bathing which is there enjoyed. Babylon and Jericho are among the names of the towns it possesses; and to me, who had visited the ancient and ruined cities of the East, from which both of these were called, it was a strange sight to see their names on a directing signpost, as included among the places to which you can be conveyed by railroad!
Brooklyn is the chief town on Long Island. Less than twenty years ago there were but a few country houses here, and now there is a regularly-planned and legally-incorporated city, containing 30,000 inhabitants. Its situation on the opposite side of the East River, and on more elevated ground than that on which New-York is seated, gives it great advantages in the purity of its air and the extent of its prospect. The elevation of that part of the island of Manhattan on which New-York is built nowhere exceeds 50 feet above the surface of the water on either side, while the elevation of the upper part of Brooklyn exceeds 200
feet. In the island of Manhattan there were originally great inequalities of surface, in the elevations of masses of the gray or bluish granite, of which that island is chiefly composed, and intervening depressions between them, such as are still to be seen, indeed, in those parts of the island beyond the present city, and which are not yet built upon. But in the laying out the streets and squares of the present town, these inequalities were all levelled, so that there are few cities in the world at all approaching to New-York in size that have so few elevations or depressions as it exhibits throughout its whole extent.
Brooklyn, therefore, being generally elevated far above the City of New-York, enjoys a much purer atmosphere, and is esteemed particularly agreeable as a summer residence, from its coolness; and the view of New-York, as you look down upon it from the heights of Brooklyn, is as fine a prospect as the eye can dwell upon. The houses in Brooklyn are on the same general plan as those of New-York. They are, however, less ostentatious in their decorations, and more of them are built of wood. The great bulk of the inhabitants of Brooklyn are the families of persons who have business-establishments in New-York, as merchants, traders, and store-keepers, but who reside on this side for economy and quiet; and, certainly, the contrast between the serenity and tranquillity of Washington-street in Brooklyn, and the noise and rattle of Broadway in New-York, is striking to a stranger, and must be grateful and refreshing to persons engaged in business, when they cross over the river, to return home after the heat and the bustle of a busy summer's day.
Brooklyn has an excellent Lyceum, to which is attached a spacious and elegant theatre for lectures, superior in size and general arrangement to either the Stuyvesant Institute or Clinton Hall in New-York. In this theatre I delivered my two courses of lectures on Egypt and Palestine, twelve in number, and they were attended by audiences of about 600 persons every evening. The churches are numerous and well attended, and a perfect solitude reigns throughout the streets in Brooklyn during the hours of Divine service, every place of worship being filled. It is pleasing to witness, at the close of the services on the Sabbath, the crowds of young and old, all neatly and comfortably dressed, that issue from every street, and throng every avenue of the town.
The state of society in Brooklyn, as contrasted with that of New-York, is like that of a small country-town in EngVOL. I.-Y
land compared with London. It is more domestic, more simple, more hearty, social, frank, and hospitable.
of the pleasantest evenings we passed were in the family circles of Brooklyn, and we found them as well informed and intellectual as they were generous, friendly, and agreeable.
Staten Island is another pleasant spot in the environs of New-York. Being situated at the Narrows, as the entrance to the harbour is called, and near the open sea, it is a favourite spot for health and recreation. The three seamen's institutions already described are here; and a wateringplace, called New-Brighton, has recently been built on Staten Island, where an excellent hotel, called the Colonnade, is much frequented in the summer months. Some quarries of asbestos are worked on Staten Island, and their produce is brought up to New-York for manufacture and sale.
Jersey City, which is opposite to New-York on the west, as Brooklyn is on the east-the former having the Hudson River flowing between it and New-York, and the latter having the East River running between it and the city-is also in the environs; but it is not much frequented except for business, and in the route to various places in the State of New-Jersey. It is chiefly occupied with trade, and is a busy and thriving city.
Hoboken is another and a very favourite spot, a little farther up the Hudson River, to the north; but my engage. ments were so incessant in New-York that I had not an opportunity of seeing its beauties, which are, however, very highly spoken of.
From New-York to all these places there are steam ferry-boats going every hour of the day, and these are as com
fortable as bridges, for persons in carriages need not alight, but may drive into the boat, and remain there undisturbed to the end of the passage, and then drive on shore again; while passengers not riding or driving are accommodated with pleasant cabins and warm and comfortable fires.
On the last day of my stay in New-York I had hoped to have enjoyed an entire day of rest preparatory to our journey south, especially as we had in the preceding week taken leave of all our very numerous personal friends. But my repose was broken in upon by a pressing invitation which I could not resist. I had been invited by letter to attend the public exhibition and examination of the pupils at one of the common schools, No. 15, in Twenty-seventh-street, and had already expressed my inability to attend, from the near approach of our departure, and the necessity of completing many arrangements for which the time would be required. The directors, however, to overrule this objection, deputed some of their body, headed by the mayor of New-York, Mr. Aaron Clark, who came himself with a carriage for our con-. veyance, and I was thus compelled to accompany him to the exhibition at seven o'clock, and remain there till ten, though having a hundred things to do, and to start with my family at six the next morning for Philadelphia.
I was amply rewarded, however, for my attendance. The schoolroom was spacious, airy, and well arranged in every respect. The boys and girls, in separate classes, were well dressed, and in the best possible order; and while these occupied the upper end of the room, and came on the platform for examination in detachments, the examiners occupied an elevation at the lower end of the room; and between these two extremes the body of the school was filled with upward of 600 of the parents of the scholars, with about 300 visiters, relatives, and friends.
The examination of each class was conducted by its respective teacher, assisted occasionally by an incidental question from some of the visiters on the platform, and the proficiency of the pupils was extraordinary. In mathematics, astronomy, history, and geography, their knowledge was surprising, both for its extent and accuracy. In recitation they were not so good, though perhaps this was less perceptible to the American portion of the auditory than to myself, on whose ear the nasal and drawling tones of the ordinary pronunciation of all classes here fell disagreeably, and must so, I should think, to every person recently from England; though a long residence might perhaps reconcile one to it, as it does to provincialisms at home.