« PreviousContinue »
Map of the United States ............ to face the Title.
CHAP. XVIII.-The Navy............................ 320 XIX.-Commerce...................... 346
XX.-Hudson River.-Military College......... 352 XXI.-Army................................ 377 XXII.-The Grand Canal.-Niagara............. 387 XXIII.-Buffalo. The Indians................. 407 XXIV.- The St. Lawrence. - Montreal. - Lake
VOYAGE ACROSS THE ATLANTIC.-LANDING AT NEW YORK.-.
AFTER travelling through almost the whole of Great Britain and Ireland, as well as through a considerable part of Holland, France, Switzerland, and Italy, I determined to cross the Atlantic, and visit the United States, a country which I was particularly desirous of being personally acquainted with, as the descriptions I had read of it seemed to abound in contradictions.
Accordingly, towards the end of the summer of 1822, I set out from Gravesend, on board a fine American ship of 350 tons. After touching at the Isle of Wight, to take in some extra provisions, and two or three passengers, we stood out to sea with a favourable breeze, and bade adieu to England.
Nothing can well be more disagreeable to lands, men than the beginning of a sea voyage. Want of room, of exercise, and of occupation, added to the sickness that Neptune imposes on them as a kind of tribute, all combine to depress their spirits. I really think Dr. Johnson has drawn too favourable a picture of the life one leads on board a ship, when he merely says, that it is “ being in prison with the chance of being drowned.” However,
there is one resource against ennui, and that is reading; a pleasure which I was enabled to obtain from the large stock of books which the passengers had with them.
I recollect particularly that one of them lent me an old black-letter translation, by Richard Eden, of the “Decades of the Ocean," written by Peter Martyr, of Angleria. This is a history of the voyage of Columbus, and of the subsequent voyages made by the Spaniards down to the year 1520. I was much diverted with the manner in which the author tries to account for the opposition the ships met with from the Gulph Stream. He says that the earth is shaped like a pear, and that the water running down from the thick part towards the point, causes this terrible current : so that (to use the Admiral's own words) the ships seemed at times to be sailing up hill. In reading this work I felt my admiration for the courage of Columbus tenfold increased; for it appears that the fleet in which he set sail to discover a western continent, consisted only of one vessel with a deck, and two small ones without decks. . ii. ii. · This curious work is dedicated by the translator to Philip and Mary, of whom he humbly requests as a favour, that they will be pleased to cure the nation of the intolerable disease of heresy.
In addition to our crew, we had, on board several “ Consul's- men,” as they are called. An American seaman, if in distress in a foreign country, has