Volume IV · Winter 1949 · Number 2
Diary of An American Tour, 1834
--FREDERICA SOPHIA BROKE
Frederica Sophia Broke was the daughter of James Mure of Cecil Lodge, Hertfordshire. In 1825 she married Horatio George Broke (1790-1860), who served as quarter-master general in Nova Scotia from 1830-1834. In the summer and fall of 1834 Colonel and Mrs. Broke and their son, Horace, a child of seven, Miss Mure, and three servants traveled from Boston to Niagara Falls. From there the party sailed down the St. Lawrence to Quebec; then proceeded to New York by way of Lake Champlain and the Hudson river. After visiting Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, they returned to New York, sailing for England on October 16. The diary, recently purchased by the University Library, contains the following passages relating to Mrs. Broke's experiences in New York State – Gladys G. Nelson
We left Lebanon next morning, Monday – Augst. 18, and travelled 38 miles to Albany – passing through Nassau. The Country was not so striking on the whole as what we had seen before, but perhaps that around Lebanon had made us fastidious, it being very beautiful. The outline of the Catskills is fine & looked well in the distance. We crossed the Hudson in the steamboat driving in & out with perfect ease. We went to the Mansion House (Bradstreet) which is an excellent Hotel, good rooms, exceedingly good food & great civility & attention. My cold was too bad to allow me to go out that evening but the rest walked about till nearly nine enjoying a brilliant moon. I have not noticed the varieties of trees we have seen, only the Elms, which are certainly magnificent, both in size and beauty. There are a great variety of Oaks, but their size is not in general so striking, though many are fine trees. The Oriental Plane, Butter Nut & Catalpa were very frequent, the finest I saw of the former kind was in the Garden of the Columbia at Lebanon. We saw no Beech till between Becket & Lebanon. The wild flowers which remained in bloom were very pretty. Crossing the Hoosac Hills (which I have omitted between Becket & Stockbridge) we gathered a beautiful bunch of Lobelia Splendens, in full flower. We also saw a species of Monkey plant & many others whose names I did not know. The Halmias grew to an immense size on both these chains of Hills, but they were not in bloom & the quantities of seed vessels were alone left to shew how fine they must have been. There is the same lavish use of wood in their fences &c that one sees in Nova Scotia. We crossed several covered Bridges, one just as we left Springfield was above 1/2 a mile in length & had a singular effect on entering it & seeing the apparently small speck of light at the further end. The Turnpike gates too extend across the road like a Gateway and the gate itself is drawn up like a Portcullis. At present wood is very abundant, but at the rate it is consumed for Steamboats &c, they will in the course of a few years, have to be more economical.
Tuesday – We walked about Albany which is a handsome town, but not as strikingly so as Boston. We went to the Town House built of Marble (as are many Public buildings and some private Houses) worked by the convicts at Sing Sing. In the Vestibule is a monument to the memory of Sir Walter Scott, & opposite one was erecting to DeWitt Clinton. From the gallery round the Dome (which is covered with gilt tin) or rather from the windows with which it is lighted, we had a fine view of the town & the surrounding country. Many of the roofs & Cupolas of Churches & Meeting Houses are covered with tin, which looks very clean & pretty; & I should think would be very durable. We saw the Steam Carriages arrive from Saratoga. They are cast off from the Engine about two miles off & are drawn into Albany by Horses.
Wednesday – Augst. 20th – We dined early meaning to go at three o'clock by the Railroad to Saratoga. A Coach came to fetch us to the place of starting, and a cart for our luggage and we took our seats in a very nice new gothic carriage which held eight, with the servants in one behind us. We set out with two horses dragging us, till we met the Engine, a distance of two miles. We then were cast off and the whole train hooked on to it. Being the first time I ever travelled on a railroad, it was amusing for a few minutes; but after that, the noise, the smoke, & the particles of dirt became very annoying. The concern was in its infancy, so there were many stoppages, and though we did at times make a mile in 3 minutes, & once went 5 miles in 1/4 of an hour, yet owing to these, which occupied altogether nearly an hour & 3/4‚ we did not accomplish our journey – 37 miles – till almost seven o'clock! At Ballston, a little watering place seven miles off, we were hailed by Messrs Cochran & Cunard, who returned to Saratoga with us. We got in just at tea time, but got some after we were ready. The House was not full, and we got good rooms. After tea we adjourned to the Drawing room which is a very good room with two small ones off it, one for Music, & one for Cards. The long room where they dine &c is 136 ft. long. We met here Baron Behr, the Belgian Minister to the U. S. whom we had known at Halifax, and we were introduced to Mr. Buckland, some relation of the Professor's, who has resided nearly five years in this Country, Mr. London, a very respectable looking old gentleman, of some influence in Charleston and Mrs. Bates, from Boston. The Ladies in general were plainly & simply dressed, one or two rather pretty, their heads chiefly in the Grecian mode of dressing the Hair, but they want air & carriage very much, and their mode of speaking is very unpleasant to an English ear. They have an awful twang, and pronounce their words very broad i's like oi's &c and they all talk of riding in Coaches &c–
Next morning we sat down to breakfast at eight o'clock precisely, about 150 persons. The attendance was tolerable but the food not to be compared to that at the Tremont though "Congress Hall" is reckoned the first Hotel here. The Dinner, at two, was much like those at Lebanon, two pronged steel forks of a most inconvenient kind & spoons which bent if you attempted to cut anything with them. No soup, but the joints were helped at the side table, and carried to those who wished for plain meats – an improvement on the dinner at Lebanon, where Col. Broke nearly lost his on Sunday by having to carve some roast Beef for all the party. After dinner we drove to Saratoga Lake, a large party, having in addition to ourselves and the Miss Inglis's, Messrs. Cochran, Cunard & Buckland, Captn Henderson, Mr. & Miss Hale, very pleasant people who were on their way to Canada, where their Father lived. Mr. Hale had been in England ten years, at the Bar. His sister had gone thither a year ago for change of air, after having nearly died of the Cholera when it was so fatal in Quebec in 1832. We had three very nice carriages & came round by Mr. Barhyte's which is very prettily situated. He is a strange looking old man and though he keeps a house where parties go to dine and has fine trout which he locks up, yet if he do not like the looks of those who come, or they treat him cavalierly he makes nothing of refusing them admission. We returned home, & found many strangers had arrived, and the rooms were much better filled than the preceding evening, but there were none amongst them with whom our party were acquainted. We were all very tired, and went early to our rooms.
Friday – We were up betimes and at seven joined the water drinkers at the Congress Spring, where they had been congregating since six o'clock. The water is not at all unpleasant, slightly saline, with a good deal of fixed air in it. It is in a sort of well under a building supported by Pillars open all round, & is brought up by boys with a tin vessel with three compartments in each of which a glass is placed. This is plunged in, and brought up & presented to the drinkers. We afterwards walked to the Hamilton Spring which is behind the Congress Hall. It is pleasanter than the other as there is in it the same fixed air & the flavour is that of steel. Mr. Cochran, Mr. Cunard & the Inglis's were to have gone today, but letters arrived which enabled them to defer it for another day. It was decided that we should dine at Avery's, a house near Saratoga Lake where the gentlemen ordered a dinner of fresh fish and game, and at the appointed time we set out, Horace & I in a little open carriage with Messrs. Cochran & London, Col. B – the two Inglis's & Mr. Buckland in another. Mr. Cunard, Kate, Captn Henderson, Mr. & Miss Hale, Mr. & Mrs. Charles Irving, a newly married couple, he a nephew of Washington Irving's, her sister, Miss Amanda Tennant, daughter of Col. Tennant of Baltimore & Mr. Robinson, (cousin of the Depy Commissioner at St. John's). We found also Dr. McLean of Saratoga & Mr. Gerreau awaiting us. The dinner went off very well with the assistance of a party of four blacks who played & sung, and really one or two of their comic songs were very good, particularly "The Schoolmaster." We drove home afterwards, and arrived in time for tea, and then dressed for the Ball which was but a melancholy affair as very few of the company joined in it, and had it not been for our party, it could not have got on at all. Yet the music was very fair, consisting of our black friends, and the room (the lower half of the long dining Room) was large and well lighted. A few couples, stood up for a Quadrille, in which the only difference was the omission of the figure of the "Trevis," and thereby shortening the dance. Waltzing was not very successful, two young Ladies whose names we could not learn waltzed together very prettily doing a great many different figures, but a country dance was performed with greater spirit than anything else that I saw. It is not fair to judge of American dancing from so small a sample but none of them were to be compared with most English girls either in manner, carriage or steps. Our new acquaintances were both nice looking. Miss Tennant pretty, fair with very good hair, but their pronunciation was if possible worse than any I had yet heard, & Mrs. Irving's "O moy" at every word, was insufferable; they were pleasant and chatty. After I left the room a "Virginian Reel" was proposed which proved to be "Sir Roger de Coverly!" –
Saturday – Augst. 23d – This day three years we left London & embarked for Halifax! On this day we left Saratoga & proceeded by the railroad to Schenectady, but as at this early turn they used horses, not steam, we only went at the rate of ten miles per hour. We dined at a very nice public table, where for the first time our servants sat down with us. After dinner we parted with the two Miss Inglis's, Mr. Cochran & Mr. Cunard which reduced our party very unpleasantly for the present, but we trust we are to see the two former again in New York, though the reports which reached us this morning of the Cholera having broken out in Halifax, made them very despondent about it; as they expect to be summoned home sooner in consequence. Mr. Cochran, Mr. Cunard and they were to continue their route to Albany by the afternoon train of steam carriages, and were thence to go down the North River to New York. We set out in our Extra about 2 1/2 o'clock and continued our journey through the vale of the Mohawk, preferring this mode of travelling to the Canal Boats. We passed through a very pretty country, with the River running close to the road & the Canal just on the other side of it. The road was very hilly, and the heat and dust most overpowering. We changed horses about seven at Caughnawaga, and half intended sleeping there, but the house looked so dirty that we preferred going 16 miles further to Palatine, where we did not arrive till past ten. The rooms were tolerably comfortable, but I am afraid we lost a great deal of fine scenery by travelling so many miles in the dark.
Sunday – Augst. 24 – Started at Eight after an indifferent breakfast. Passed through a most lovely Country. The road was very hilly and the trees superb, Sumach, Hiccory (which is a very fine tree very like the English Walnut) Chesnut, Locust &c &c in profusion. At a small place at which we stopped to give the horses water (which they do every 5 or 6 miles) a man was sitting in the Porch reading, without his coat, with his feet on another chair. Captn. Henderson entered into conversation with him & in the course of it, said he supposed he would not approve of our travelling on Sunday. He replied – "oh no! – in New England they would not like it, but we are not like them; we are more independent and do not mind it" – Our road continued along the banks of the Mohawk like that of the preceding evening & was very fine. At Little Falls, we walked to see the acqueduct & to look at the Falls, but there was so little water in the river, that there was nothing to see. We stood on the towing path of the Canal, & watched the boats passing the locks, which is always curious and amusing. This wonderful work (the Erie Canal) was begun in 1817 & was finished in 1825. It is 363 Miles in length. The Property at Little Falls belonged to Mr. Ellice, M. P. for Coventry, but he sold it a few years since for 40,000$. It is now worth very much more, indeed our informant expressed his belief that he had been cheated at the time by his Agent at New York. We were struck with the numbers of Butterflies which were fluttering about the carriage, 20 & 30 in a group, all of a small size & bright yellow, with black edges to their wings. They looked as if a field of buttercups had taken wings. There were amongst them a few of much larger size, & resembling our common English brown butterfly but not so handsome. We noticed the great scarcity of birds, we travelled miles without seeing one. The chief kind was a small bird much of the size & shape of a Canary, of a brilliant yellow, with black wings, which when closed, looked like a black handkerchief pinned on its back. It had also a black tuft on its head, & was altogether a very pretty bird. We saw numbers of swallows. The people build little houses for them, like small models of cottages &c, every window being an inlet for a nest. Many of these are very well finished, with doors, chimneys & sometimes colonnades. At first I could not imagine for what use they were intended. We dined at Herkimer, at the Stage House, but the things were dirty, and untidy, & we rather repented our adhesion to the "rules of the road." We reached Utica early, and found a very nice Hotel, where we got a very tolerable meal, though the tea was not very potent. It was made by an elderly dame who presided, & looked somewhat crabbed. About 30 sat down, chiefly men, who boarded in the House. After tea we walked about the town which is clean & airy & has two or three fine wide streets. We were much struck with the extreme quietness of the town. Being a fine evening numbers were walking about & yet we hardly heard a sound.
Monday – 25th Augst. Up at five & off at six for the Trenton Falls. We did not take Horace or the women servants. We passed through a richly wooded country up & down steep hills, for 15 miles. The morning was lovely, and the clearing away of the Mist & Fog, had a pleasing effect. We breakfasted at the "Rural Retreat," near the Falls, a very nice clean house, & afterwards walked to them. They are very beautiful & well worth seeing and the dangers attending the expedition are much lessened by chains fixed into the rock at all the most difficult places. At the time we saw them owing to the great dryness of the summer in general, & the length of time they had been without rain, the river (the West Creek) was unusually low, and the ledges quite dry and not at all slippery, but still there is quite enough for a person who has not a very strong head, especially as the guide points out from time to time places from whence people have fallen & been lost. One of these accidents happened about two years ago – a young man who lived in the neighbourhood, & had visited the Falls about 30 times & imagined he knew every part & all the dangers. He was with two young Ladies, his cousins, & in order to walk along side one of them, he took a lower ledge of the rock, which was covered with water. She begged him to keep the dry path, & refused to take his arm. He walked on a step or two after she had given it up, when he made a false step & fell into the water, which was rushing on towards one of the principal Falls. He attempted to swim to the edge, but the current was too powerful, though the water was not very deep. At last he seemed to give up in despair & they saw him go over the fall, the water then being not above his middle! The body was not found till the next day. What an awful situation for the poor girls! We purchased some of the crystals & petrifactions which are found near Trenton, & returned by another path to the "Retreat," whence we retraced our steps to Utica, dined & proceeded to sleep at Lenox 26 miles further.
Tuesday – We breakfasted at six, & were off by seven. A heavy shower the preceding night had given us hopes of avoiding the clouds of dust, with which we had been suffocated ever since we left Saratoga but alas! its influence had not extended many miles, and the wind being with us we travelled in our own dust and were worse off than ever. We stopt at Syracuse to change Coaches. It seems an increasing town, Salt being the chief manufacture. We have remarked the Carts in this country. They are all long & appear narrow in consequence of the length, and all are drawn by a pair of horses driven abreast, which gives them a much more imposing appearance than carts in England. We got to Auburn at 1/2 past 4, and finding the American Hotel very good, we decided on remaining here all night. We got a very good dinner and proceeded to see the celebrated Gaol, and had just time to go all round the cells & workshops before the convicts were marched in for the night. It was a curious & painful scene altogether. Between 6 & 700 men all at work according to their different professions, weaving, shoemaking, watch making, cutlery &c &c &c, without a sound beyond that made by the machinery, or worktools, none allowed to speak, or even to look for an instant off their work – and we observed that this was strictly attended to. They work from 1/2 past 5 in the morning till six in the evening, including the time allowed for their breakfasts & dinners which are taken together, their supper they carry with them to their cells. As they are marched off for the night each man takes his mess of mush, made with Indian corn, and a small bucket of water. I counted 681 convicts all of them marching in close files with the lock step, according to the gallery to which they belonged. When shut up it is impossible for them to hold any communication with one another, or by any means to reach the lock of the cell, so that escape is out of the question. But few things are sold in the Gaol of the manufacture of the Prisoners. Their labour is generally hired out to various tradesmen, which, as of course, they work at a much lower rate than ordinary, is much complained of by the workpeople in general in the neighbourhood. We bought some combs and penknives, & maps of the town & prison. We had remarked throughout the Country the numbers of Colts which we saw every where. It is the usual custom for the Mare to be driven as she is accustomed to be, and the young one runs by her side frisking & gambolling, to the great discomfiture of their feet, which must be much battered over the rough & stony roads. Another thing which I forgot to remark whilst in Boston, was the custom of having the backs of the hoods of open carriages made to roll up like a curtain which renders them much cooler than they would otherwise be. We walked about Auburn, which is a pretty small town, with good shops in it.
Wednesday – Augst. 27th – Left Auburn after breakfast, and changed horses at Aurelius, and came to Cayuga Lake, where we crossed the Bridge, which is above a mile long, & a wonderful work, both on account of its length and its simplicity. In the winter it receives much damage from the masses of ice which are driven against it by the South westerly gales, & the present bridge has only been built since last spring, & the old one is left standing in order to break the force of the drifted ice in the winter. A short time since a violent storm injured part of the bridge, several planks were displaced, and a chasm left near the eastern end of it. The Rochester Coach was proceeding on its journey towards Auburn at night, & the leaders plunged into the hole before the coachman perceived what had happened, it being dark. Fortunately it was over one of the piers, so that the horses did not fall far, and were extricated with some little difficulty. The scenery about the Lake is very beautiful. It is nearly 40 Miles in length & 2 at the greatest breadth. We dined at Canandaigua having passed through Seneca Falls & Geneva, the latter very prettily situated on the Seneca Lake another noble sheet of water. We were much annoyed today by being obliged to change our Coaches four times, owing to the different proprietors not choosing their vehicles to go beyond "their line." This was very inconvenient as the changing the luggage so frequently delayed us much, but there was no help for it & we were obliged to submit. Many of the small towns through which we passed were quite in their infancy, having arisen from the vicinity of the Erie Canal, & it was curious to observe the different stages of "settling," from the simple framework house standing alone in the middle of a rough piece of ground, without a fence of any kind & remnants of planks & shingles &c around it, to the more advanced building neatly painted, with a small Colonnade in front, & a piece of garden railed in, with two or three sunflowers, & a little Indian corn, & thence to the finished House with its shrubs, & Locust Trees waving before it. Wood here is so plentiful that the waste of it appears quite surprizing to English eyes. As much is used in the fence of a small field as at home would make a paling for a moderate Park, and the quantities which are burnt in clearing the Land is incredible. We were told at Trenton on our admiring some very fine sticks of Timber, that as they stood they would only sell for "two shillings" each, about one shilling sterling! – & at that rate the finest were bought by the road surveyors, for bridges &c! The very Barber's Poles (of which there are numbers in every town) have enough timber in one of them to satisfy all the Barbers in any moderate town in the United Kingdom. At Canandaigua the Black waiter was very eloquent upon the harsh treatment which he and his colored brethren received in general in this country, the Land of Liberty. However he could not complain of his own wages; they being 20 dollars (about £4 sterling) per month in the summer & 15$ in the winter. Living is very cheap, meat being from 5 cents to 7 per lb, 2d or 3d, sterling, but all articles of clothing are dear. Fuel cheap of course, wood being the chief part of it. We reached Rochester late & drove to the Eagle Tavern, where they could not take us in, so we returned to Rochester House, where we were pretty comfortable. The Stage Director came to us, and was very civil in his offers of sending on to bespeak a dinner for us at Gaines's, & beds at Lockport. We trusted to his promises unfortunately for us, as he fulfilled none of them.
Thursday – Augst. 28th – Walked about Rochester, which is a very thriving town & it is quite wonderful to see the size of it when one considers it has risen entirely since 1812, when it was an uncleared Wilderness. The Canal here crosses the Genessee River by an Acqueduct of 11 arches. We walked to see it, but it is so surrounded with Mills, Warehouses & other small buildings that we could only see a part of it, & the stone being an ugly red colour, it rather disappointed us. We then proceeded to the Genessee Falls, from whence Sam Patch took his last leap about five years ago, and a tremendous spot it is, a bluff rock nearly 100 ft high crosses the river & the whole of it is precipitated over it. When the water is high it must be very grand, but this is now only after heavy rains, and in the spring after the breaking up of the ice & snow, for the banks are lined with Mills, each of which enjoys a "water privilege," & draws off some portion of the stream, which you see falling over the banks from their respective dams. Still the Falls are very fine, & well worth seeing. We were told that the mad man who lost his life here, was intoxicated when he took the jump, & therefore struck upon a rock which he might otherwise have avoided. We went into a very good Bookshop, and made several purchases, amongst others the "Subaltern's Furlough" which we had not been able to find elsewhere. In most of the Towns the Booksellers' stores were very good, & well supplied both with American & English Books. After leaving Rochester we passed through the least pretty Country we had yet seen, but it appeared to be well cleared and farmed in many places, & in others the clearing was going on vigorously. We passed several fires, where the trees were either burning as the[y] stood,' or the trunks & branches piled up & blazing. When we got to Gaines's which was apparently little better than a Pot House, we found no orders had been sent for our dinner, therefore not choosing to lose time by waiting, we went on to Oak Orchard, where we were to change horses. The whole road was along a ridge of sand, & very heavy, & the dust insufferable. The Inn was a wretched place but we got some good fresh eggs & bread and Butter. They brought us water to drink, but on enquiry produced a little brandy which they said they had in case of Cholera, as they belonged to the Temperance Society. To our surprise the woman told us her husband had given 1000$ for the House & one acre of ground, which appeared a great deal for such a place. As we approached Lockport the signs of recent settling were still more apparent, many houses being wholly built of rough logs, & we saw through the crevices the lights within them very distinctly. Some of them were so near spots where the woods were burning, that had a sudden gale sprung up, they must have been consumed. Lockport is a small straggling place, entirely depending on the Canal which is here carried to its greatest height by a succession of five Locks. We found no rooms ordered for us, shewing the carelessness of the Stage Director at Rochester. We were tolerably lodged, though the house was by no means as clean as most of those we had been in. One great advantage in houses which were not neat, was the absence of bed curtains, by which we at least escaped a certain quantity of dust and dirt.
Friday morning we left Lockport and before we went Captn. Henderson came to ask if any of us had seen a Book (Hamilton's Men & Manners in America) which he had taken into his room the preceding night. As we could give him no intelligence of it, he summoned a waiter & returned to examine his room, from whence every thing had been removed. The man preceded him & instantly produced the book from a drawer into which he said he had put it to take care of it, rather a suspicious circumstance, as we were just driving off! – We passed through a very beautifully wooded Country to Lewiston on the river Niagara. The Militia were out as indeed they had been at most of the places as we came along, generally they were much like what one sees in other parts, where they have not on uniforms but here were some of the most amusing figures I ever saw off the Stage. One company being dressed in a kind of fancy Highland costume, consisting of a tartan tunic trimmed with yellow worsted fringe, with a sort of turbaned bonnet of red silk, with an upright military feather stuck in it – ! I never saw anything more absurd. At one place where we stopped to change horses the Landlord, on being asked whether the want of Rain had not injured the Wheat answered that "that Rubicon was passed but that they were now anxious about the Potatoes" – and another man talked to us of the "decomposition of the vegetable matter" affecting the water producing illness amongst the people &c in a style which would have made a figure in any Mechanics Institute. After leaving Lewiston we kept along the bank of the River. Opposite were the Queenston Heights, and General Brock's Monument. We stopped to see the Devil's Hole, which is near the road, where the rocks are very abrupt & grand, & the beautifully green waters rushing along at a great depth below. During the War in 1814, a party of soldiers who were retreating before the enemy, came suddenly on this place, & before they were aware, were all precipitated over the rocks and perished. We afterwards got out again & walked some way through the Woods to see the Whirlpool, which is very grand. About 2 1/2 miles from Niagara, I had the first glimpse of the Falls – but it was only for an instant, as we were driving fast. On our arrival at Niagara Falls, we stopped at Genl. Whitney's Hotel the Eagle, & found dinner just going in. We therefore decided on joining the party, as the heat was excessive, and we wished to have the afternoon at our command. We afterwards went out, crossed to Goat's Island, & went first to the American Fall which was so far superior to what I had imagined, that I at first thought it must be the Horse shoe, the center receding in a great degree (though nothing like the others, as I afterwards found). After admiring this sufficiently, we desired to go directly to the Great Fall, & were accordingly conducted to the Terrapin Bridge which overhangs it. No words can express the effect of this stupendous scene. It was quite overpowering, & it was some minutes before I could recover myself sufficiently to look round. We stood directly over the Fall with the waters rushing but a few feet from our feet, over a Rock 160 feet high, a single plank being between us & inevitable destruction! There is no use attempting to describe the scene. Nothing can convey any idea of it, & no one who has not seen it, can form any conception of its magnificence & sublimity. Therefore I shall only recapitulate the various points from which we viewed it. We descended the staircase erected by Mr. Biddle, & walked along the ledge of rock to look into the "Cave of the Winds" – behind the small fall between Goat's & another small Island, which separates it from the American Fall. The rainbow within it was splendid. We then walked along the ledge towards the Horseshoe, but the wind brought the spray so strongly that we could not get very near. We returned to the Hotel very tired with all our walking & scrambling. The House was not very full & tolerably comfortable, thanks to a very obliging little Chambermaid. The bed we had was very bad, indeed I do not think we have had one that could be really called good. They have no bolsters of any kind, and the mattresses are of straw, very hard & seldom large enough for the bedstead. You may have a feather bed, of the same size and the bedclothes are never long or wide enough, & the only two pillows which they give you are about the size & thickness of a large pincushion, so unless you make friends with the Chambermaid you have no chance of comfort.
Saturday – Augst. 30 – This morning we set out after breakfast (which was at seven) to the Island again & went to both Falls. The rainbows were superb. At the American side we saw four, and at the Horseshoe and Elliptical one of the most vivid Colours appearing to lie on the snowy foam. We sat a long while admiring the scene & while we were there a well dressed man & woman came up, appearing like a respectable Tradesman & his wife. She seated herself in a kind of Alcove at a little distance & he stood by us watching Col. Broke who was engaged in wiping the glasses of his telescope. He waited till it was put together again, & then requested permission to look through it, when to our astonishment he applied the large end to his eye & appeared quite satisfied with the effect as he walked off to his wife to give her a view through it. Captn. H – followed him & recommended taking the other end. He seemed rather confused at this, but turned it as directed. Evidently he never had seen such an instrument before, which in these enlightened days is extraordinary. We walked round the Island & had a fine view of the rapids above the falls. They are very like a raging sea bursting over its banks. Anything thrown into them is irresistibly carried over them, & the noise of the rushing waters over the rocks, is very grand; After dinner (at half past one) we again walked out, and went to the Ferry, from the stairs of which there is a splendid view of both the Falls. We crossed the river & luckily found two waggons on the other side, which carried us up to the Pavillion, which would have been a long hot walk. We went down to the Table Rock, & then found we had not seen the whole of the Horseshoe Fall to perfection. We decided that we might see everything to cross over on the following day to the Canadian side and remain there the rest of our stay. We therefore engaged rooms, & bespoke our dinner for the following day. In the boat crossing the Ferry was a very intelligent elderly man, who at tea joined in conversation with us, and gave a surprizing account of the great fertility of the Land in these parts, the ground yielding from 20 to 35 bushels of wheat per acre for 13 years successively. He also told us of the immense farms in the Illinois, many having 1500 acres of Indian Corn on them. He himself came from the Neighbourhood of Springfield, and was on his way to Detroit, but was alarmed by the accounts of Cholera there. This evening we had a thunderstorm and torrents of Rain, which we hoped might cool the air, but it had no such effect.
Sunday – Augst 31st. – Walked after breakfast again to see the Rainbow over the Great Fall, it was lovely, a complete bow spanning the River; with the most brilliant colours, took leave of Goat's Island with regret. It is a delightful place to walk in, and the variety of views are I think very superior to those on the Canada side. We set out with our whole party & our luggage to go to the Ferry at Lewiston, but intending in our way to go to the Presbyterian Church of the Tuscarora Indians which we were told was worth attending. We retraced our road towards Lewiston for about five miles, & then turned into a very pretty, but very rough one towards Tuscarora which is a very picturesque village inhabited solely by Indians. They live in frame work houses instead of Wigwams, & are a very superior clan or tribe to those of Nova Scotia. When we drove up to the small Church door we perceived it was nearly full, & directly opposite to us in the desk stood the Minister, a most sour looking Methodistical man, with an Indian by him, as all was silent we imagined the service had not commenced, and took what seats we could find. Mine was next an old Squaw rolled up in her Blanket, who put me into a fever to look at her on such a hot day. The rest were placed in different parts, & silence being again procured, the Minister arose and instead of either praying or preaching, he began a long invective against his congregation, upbraiding them with being an hour an half beyond the appointed time for the commencement of the service, telling them how he had himself been obliged to open the doors, and ring the Bell, and that as they were so late, & such disturbance was made in the church by people coming in & taking seats, it was impossible to continue the duties they had met to perform there, but that at one o'clock precisely he should recommence, when he desired them to be in their places & to have no going out or coming in after that time. He then said a short prayer & dismissed us. This tirade was pronounced sentence by sentence, & the Indian acting as Interpreter, repeated it after him in his native language, which must apparently be far from concise, as he took much longer to express the meaning of what the Minister said, than he did himself. We were very glad of this speedy termination of the business, for the heat was intolerable, and the smell far from pleasant; and we saw enough of the Preacher's style & language, to be sure we should not have been much edified. When we came out of the Church a respectable looking man, who had given up his seat to Kate, addressed us, saying that as strangers, he thought some apology due to us, for the strange behavior of the Minister. He said he was an odd tempered Man, & had been put out by the number of strangers who had that day attended the meeting, as he disliked any but Indians coming, but that he had commenced his sermon and had preached about ten minutes when our arrival had completely disconcerted him, and that he sat down as we drove up, saying it was impossible to continue with so many interruptions. Happily we were not aware that we were the objects of his wrath, & had only congratulated ourselves on getting away so quickly. It would have been very annoying. As it was every one joined in condemning his ill humour, and rejoicing that he was to leave that part of the Country. Several of the Indians gathered round us, amongst the rest a fine looking old man, who asked many questions about where we came from, & expressed much surprize at our having had the courage to cross the seas from England, saying we must have "good hearts." His name was David Cusick, & he was one of the Chiefs of the tribe. He told us he was 74, and we afterwards heard he was an Aide de Camp to Genl. Washington in the American War. The dress of many of them was much ornamented. The Women had their hair neatly combed & fastened up, without any caps, and their trowsers & mocassins had broad borders of bead work round them. One had scarlet trowsers with white bead borders to them. They wore large squares of dark blue cloth over their shoulders & one or two had printed cotton shawls put on square. We saw several papooses, one of four months old was a fine lively looking baby, & seemed quite happy in spite of being swathed up in its cradle and stuck up on end. Its coverlid was much ornamented with beads, it was of crimson silk. The Mother did not understand English at all. The Men were variously dressed. Old Cusick had on an English suit & hat & the only singularity was in wearing his shirt over his trowsers, so that the tails hung down behind & before like a carter's frock! We observed this was the universal fashion. One young man was very much dressed. He had silver earrings, chains & broaches, & a band of the same round his hat. His shirt had a plaited bosom & a deep frill & his cheeks were rouged! He was very good looking, as were several of the young women. Another young man had on a gown with loose sleeves not unlike a surplice, made of a dark printed calico with bunches of flowers on it. Only some of the old squaws wore blankets. We took leave of Cusick and continued our way towards Lewiston. Tuscarora stands very high. We saw Lake Ontario distinctly over an immense tract of thick wood, and to return to the road, we had to descend a very steep hill, with a very bad stoney road, about which the driver was very nervous, and he told us of coaches being upset there & rolling over & over down the side of the hill, till we thought it most prudent to walk down it, which we did, and steep enough it was. When we got to the Ferry at Lewiston there was a demur about crossing, our driver not choosing to go over it. After some little time it was settled that we should take another carriage, which carried us down to the Ferry, where we crossed in a Horse Boat, it landing on the other side. We walked up the steep Bank & then proceeded to the Pavillion through Queenston. We found the house in great confusion. The Landlord, Mr. Atkinson, was on the Eve of giving up the concern, and there was no possibility of getting any one to attend to us. Our dinner and rooms had both been forgotten & we were obliged to wait for the one & the other till the first was prepared & the last obtained by turning people out. This took up so much time that we did not go out at all that Evening, but as we had a Private sitting room we amused ourselves with reading & writing &c.
Monday – Sept. lst. – Another lovely day. After breakfast, at which there was but a small party, we went down to the Table Rock, and Colonel Broke, Kate and Captain Henderson went behind the Fall, as far as Termination Rock. My courage failed me, & I would not go. They looked most extraordinary figures being entirely equipped for the expedition in oilcloth jackets & hats &c, everything they had on being completely drenched by the spray. They returned much pleased with their exploit, though they allowed it was more difficult than they had expected, & Kate confessed that could she have made herself heard, she should have turned back at one point where she found her breath going, but that effect she says ceased when they were fairly under. After dinner we again walked out & went to the Museum, where are some good specimens of stuffed animals &c from the neighbourhood, two live Rattlesnakes were in a box, one was casting its skin, & not well, but it is a beautiful creature. Its back was black with a beautiful pattern in gold all over it. It was found about eight miles off. The rattle is smaller than I expected to see it. There are not so many nice walks on this side as on the other. No places in which you can sit and watch the foaming waters as you can on Goat's Island. The view from the Table Rock is undoubtedly the grandest of all, but for enjoyment I prefer the American side much.
Tuesday – Sept. 2d – We had intended taking our departure today, but found the Steam Boat did not start till the following one and we therefore had no alternative but to remain another day, which we were not at all sorry for. Col. Broke & I rose very early & walked down to the Table Rock with the intention of going under the Fall, but the spray was so great that we found it would be useless to attempt it as nothing could have been seen through the mist. We therefore deferred it till 12 when we went to the Guide's House & I was obliged to undress entirely & put on a long flannel bathing dress with a coloured chintz gown over it & an oilcloth jacket with long skirts, a pr of blue worsted socks, shoes that from frequent soakings & dryings, were shrunk to nothing, & a glazed hat tied tight under my chin! We then descended about 90 steps in an enclosed stair case when we found ourselves on a narrow ledge of rock with a good deal of spray falling on us. The Guide held me up, or I should have slipped several times, the wetness of the stones, & a portion of green weed making it very difficult to keep one's feet. The wind was very strong and the torrents of water which it blew in our faces took away my breath and I panted & puffed as if I had been in a Shower Bath. When I could look up, it was wonderful! The rock projecting far above our heads and the sheet of water rushing over it, with such a noise that it was quite deafening. The wind driving up the spray from below & above, and drenching you with the falling torrent! Altogether it was a most awful scene. We reached the Termination Rock much sooner than I expected. Here the path ceases, and it is impossible to go beyond it. I brought away some pieces of the rock & we then turned to come back. The effect then of the sun upon the banks of the opposite falls, and the stupendous rocks was very beautiful, Table Rock projecting far over our heads. My shoes were full of water & I had great difficulty in keeping them on & when I reached the foot of the staircase I was obliged to wring my dress, it was so heavy with the water. Were it not for the fatigue of ascending the rock again, I am sure it would be a most beneficial expedition to go under every morning as a Shower Bath. I received my certificate from the Guide and wrote my name in the register & am certainly very glad I went. It is a thing never to be forgotten, and which one has no chance of ever seeing again. After breakfast this day a Lady who was with her family in the apartments opposite to ours, and with whose little boy Horace had made acquaintance, paid us a visit. She was Mrs. Robinson from Toronto & her husband I believe is Chief Justice in Upper Canada. She knew the Maitlands & Captain Deeds, and she remained with us sometime conversing about them. She had brought her seven children here for change of air, one of them having had an intermitting fever. Horace spent the morning with her children. In the afternoon we drove about five miles to the bank above the Whirlpool, passing by Lundy's Lane, up which we drove, the Coachman pointed out the different positions of the English and American troops, and the spot where the engagement was the fiercest, telling us that the British retreated thither before their opponents, which being a different version of the story, we enquired what he was. "An American, I hope" was the reply, which explained the discrepancy in his account of the matter. There are only three houses now in the village which were standing then, & they have several shot holes in them, & in one place there are still many human bones, which is a great reflection upon the inhabitants who thus allow the remains of their fellow creatures to remain on the face of the earth. We stopped at the Cottage which formerly belonged to Sir Peregrine Maitland when he was Governor of Upper Canada & of which he cleared the ground himself. There is a pretty Lodge & a gate, looking more like an English place than any we had seen for a very long while. We walked a little way up the entrance road, till we caught a glimpse of the house, but not knowing the present proprieter Mr Green, & it being too late to make application to be allowed to see the place we returned to the carriage, & came back to the Hotel.
Wednesday – Sept. 4th. – We had a visit from Colonel Brough, and Mr. Monro, whom Col. Broke & Captn Henderson had found that morning at Genl. Whitney's. They remained with us till we started for Niagara 15 Miles, along the bank of the River. We got there covered with dust just in time for dinner, which was the strangest we had yet been at, and with the most heterogeneous collection of people at it, I ever beheld, chiefly, to judge by their language, Scotch, and not one who could be supposed to be above the rank of a shopkeeper. I cannot say that the Canada side of the River gave us a favorable impression of our possessions in this part of the world as compared with the States. The houses were much worse in every respect, & the country flat and ugly. After dinner we went on board the Steam Boat, Wm. the Fourth, Captn. Paynter, a very fine vessel with good accommodations. It was very full, all the berths in the Ladies' Cabin were occupied, and as there were one or two infants amongst the number their crying was very annoying. We set off about three o'clock, and about eight arrived off Toronto, the Seat of Government for Upper Canada.