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extreme to the other are most trying to the constitution. There is a piercing quality in the cold winds sweeping across the rivers and marshes which is most disagreeable to encounter, and from which we suffered severely; for, when we arrived from Baltimore, on the 26th of February, the ground was covered with snow, and the pavements of brick, or the side-causeways, were, on the shady side of the streets, literally sheeted with smooth ice. Yet before we left, on the 26th of March, we had had such heavy rains as to make the streets impassable puddles; such excessive heat as to make cloth clothing disagreeable; and such clouds of white dust in the badly macadamized roads of the avenue as to blind and choke one at the same time; while, to make the variety complete, we had on some days fogs as dense as in England.
Captain Smith, in his account of the Chesapeake Bay, which was drawn up and presented to Queen Anne, says, "In this country the summer is as hot as in Spain, and the winter as cold as in France or England;" and he adds, "In the year 1607 was an extraordinary frost in most parts of Europe; and this frost was found as extreme in Virginia. But the next year, for eight or ten days of ill weather, other fourteen days would be as summer." And Mr. Jeffer
son, in his "Notes on Virginia," says, "The extremes of heat and cold, of 6° below zero and 98° above, are distressing." He adds, that "in the year 1780 the Chesapeake Bay was solid from its head to the mouth of the Potomac. At Annapolis, where it is five miles and a quarter over between the nearest points of land, the ice was from five to seven inches thick quite across, so that loaded wagons went over it." Severe colds, rheumatism, intermittent fevers, and agues are the natural consequences of such extremes as these.
Our last survey of Washington was made in a carriagedrive around its whole extent during a delightful day, the 22d of March, in which we traversed nearly every part of it, and closed our excursion with a visit to the Arsenal and the Navy-yard. The aspect of the city is certainly unlike that of any other in the world. In some places new houses are building, as if it were a place just rising into being, while in others there are whole terraces and groups of houses completely in ruins, as if it were a place that had been long abandoned to decay. One group of these was so conspicuous, that the facetious friend in whose carriage we made the excursion had long since called it "The Ruins of Baalbec;"
APPEARANCE OF WASHINGTON CITY.
and at a distance, the range of buildings in this group was sufficiently dilapidated to look ruinously picturesque. The cause of this singular contrast of a rising and a falling city existing on the same spot and at the same time, is this: the lots or parcels of ground for bulding on having been most injudiciously sold by the government to different speculators at different times, without any condition of building up first the grounds near the Capitol before the remoter parts were built upon, each speculator has made an attempt to draw the population towards the particular quarter in which his lots were situated. Some thus built up fine terraces near the river, and these were let cheap, to draw inhabitants; but a counteraction was soon produced by some rival speculator, who built another group in some other quarter of the space laid out for the city. Each of these have been therefore successively inhabited and abandoned; and many are now not merely without tenants, even of the poorest kind, but falling to pieces for want of repair, the owners not thinking them worth that expense, as they have no hope of receiving any rent for them. Add to this, that between these distant groups the way is often over marshy and always over miserably barren and broken ground, and some idea may be formed of the sort of living wilderness which many parts of Washington exhibit, though from many points of view it looks less scattered than, in traversing it, one finds it to be, Ever since the days of Moore, who described Washing、
"The famed metropolis, where fancy sees
this strange intermixture of city and wilderness has been the most characteristic feature of the place; and, for many years to come, it will still continue to be "the city of magnificent distances," as it is facetiously called by its inhabitants. If Washington should ever be made either a commercial or manufacturing city, its outlines would soon be filled up; but of this there is no immediate prospect, though in half a century hence it may become the seat of both, and the banks of the Potomac be as thickly peopled as those of the Clyde or Mersey.
The Arsenal of Washington is an interesting spot. Placed at the confluence of the two rivers, Potomac and Anacosta, it has an open and extensive view both up the two separate rivers and down their united stream. The interior, which is like a garrison, is remarkably neat and commodious, and all the workshops and storehouses are in the best
condition. Through the polite attention of the superintendent, Captain Ramsay, who accompanied us, we had an opportunity of inspecting everything at leisure, and saw enough to satisfy us that the Americans are not behind any nation in Europe in their ready adoption of all improvements that are introduced in the founding of large pieces of ordnance, the making of small arms, or the manufacture of the other munitions of war. The artisans employed are among the most skilful that can be procured; many of them are paid as high as five dollars, or about a guinea a day, these being occupied in constructing models; and their workmanship surpassed, in skill and beauty, any that I remember to have seen in this line.
It may show the extent of patronage bestowed by the government of the United States on inventions which they deem valuable for warlike operations, to mention the fact that a Captain Bell, of their service, was recently paid 20,000 dollars out of the public funds for a very simple and almost obvious improvement, by substituting a vertical worm or screw to elevate and depress heavy pieces of artillery with greater ease and precision than could be effected by the wooden quoins formerly used for that purpose, the effect of which improvement is to enable the person firing the cannon to take his deadly aim with greater precision.
How liberally the arts of destruction are rewarded compared with the arts of preservation, one need not visit America to learn. All Europe furnishes many striking examples of the same kind; but, while such is the perverted taste and judgment of mankind that the warrior, whose life is devoted to the slaughter of his fellow-men, shall be crowned with honours and rewards, while the schoolmaster, who instructs them, shall pine in neglect and obscurity, who can wonder that it is deemed less honourable to save than to destroy?
The Navy-yard is a much larger establishment than the Arsenal. It is higher up on the Eastern Branch or Anacosta River, and is under the superintendence of Commodore Patterson. No ships were building in it at the time of our visit; but the large shed or ship-house under which the Columbus 74 was built was still standing, and perfect in its kind. The most interesting processes we saw here were the forging of the large anchors for line-of-battle ships, the welding the links of the great chain-cable for the first-rate ship of war the Pennsylvania, of 130 guns, and the manufacture of the cooking-houses or cabooses, and iron tanks
WAR OF THE GIANTS AND THE PIGMIES.
for water, as well as the machinery for making blocks. Although the dockyards of England are more extensive than this at Washington, and employ a greater number of men (the number employed here being about 200 at present), yet the works executed here in every department appeared to me as perfect as at Portsmouth, or any other of our great naval ports. Many of the leading workmen, indeed, were English; and the person who conducted us through the different departments was a native of Devonport, and had served his apprenticeship there; but he said the wages paid to able workmen here were so much higher than the same class could obtain in England, that he considered himself to be twice as well off here as if he had remained at home, and was very happy at having made the change.
On our return by the Capitol, we heard that the Senate was still in debate upon the never-ending topic of the Subtreasury Bill; but, conceiving that all that could be said on either side had been already exhausted-for the measure had been under debate in the Senate for a greater number of days than there are members of that body, and these are fifty-two-we did not stop, though, according to the Nation, al Intelligencer of the following morning, March 23, the con test was severe, for it is thus characteristically described:
"THE WAR OF THE GIANTS.-The debate among the great men of the Senate still continues, and continues to be distinguished by passages of arms of unexcelled skill and ability. Yesterday Mr. Calhoun and Mr. Webster encountered, and held a large audience rapt in admiring at tention to the conflict for several hours."
We had learned to estimate at its proper value, however, this exaggerated style of description, and bore our disappointment meekly, as well as the loss of a scene which contrasts well with the former, and which, by way of appen. dage, might be called "the battle of the pigmies." This scene took place on the same day in the House of Repre sentatives, and is thus described by the same paper:
"Mr. Boon commented with very great severity on Mr. Halsted's speech of yesterday, and avowed his intention 'to skin' that gentleman. He said his speech evinced the advantage of being high-born and college-bred; characterized its strain of language as low and vulgar, and every way unworthy of a representative; referred to Mr. Halsted's consumption of pens and paper as being ten times greater than his own; he remarked upon his dress, as being that of a dandy, &c.; and concluded by comparing the whole speech to butter churned without a cover, which splashed on all around," &c.
We passed our last Sunday in Washington in attending Divine service in the House of Representatives at the Capi tol. It had been announced that the Rev. Dr. Fisk, presi
dent of the Wesleyan University in Connecticut, was to preach there to-day, and the weather being beautifully fine, the preacher eminent, and the place very popular, a crowded audience was assembled, and the scene was impressive and imposing. It was curious to see nearly all the representatives' seats occupied by ladies, while members of both houses crowded around in the passages and avenues, and the galleries were filled with strangers. The preacher oc cupied the chair of the speaker or president of the assembly, and the service consisted of the usual succession of the hymn, the extempore prayer, the lessons, and the ser. This last was a very able and beautiful discourse on the words of the Psalmist, "The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of the isles be glad thereof," in which the reign of the Almighty over the material and the moral world was impressively explained, and a deep attention was bestowed on every part of it by the audience.
On returning from the Capitol, we lingered for a long while on the terrace that sweeps its western front, from whence the view over Washington below it to the west,ward, as well as over the broad Potomac and the distant hills, is one of the most pleasing that the city affords. The day was as bright and sunny as our finest days of June in England; and, though all vegetation was still clothed in the brown and leafless garb of winter, it was full-blown summer all around and overhead.
Our last excursion from Washington was to pay a visit to Alexandria, to which place we accompanied a young Virginian, who was returning to her home there after a visit to our amiable and excellent friend, the lady of Judge White, in whose carriage we performed the journey. The position of Alexandria being on the Virginia side of the Potomac, as Washington is on the Maryland side (though both are now in the District of Columbia), we had to cross the long bridge over the Potomac, which exceeds a mile from bank to bank, with a small drawbridge over the navigable channel for the passage of vessels up and down the stream. The views from this bridge are very charming; and, as we were fortunate enough to arrive at the drawbridge when it was open, we had to alight and enjoy the sight of a beautiful schooner cutting her way, with a fine breeze, against the descending stream, and steering under full sail right through.
On the opposite side of the river to Washington, at the point where the bridge terminates, we were shown the foundations of a new town, intended to have been built as a rival