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hoods of marshes; and in my opinion it deserves to be held as sacred by the Americans, as the Storks by the Dutch, or the Ibis, by the ancient Egyptians.
Towards the middle of May, when the weather had become of a delightful temperature, I accompanied a party of ladies and gentlemen, on a very pleasant excursion to the Great Falls of the Potowmac. The whole body of this large river falls seventy feet in the distance of about one hundred yards; and although only a small part falls perpendicularly, yet this rather adds to the effect, as the water rushes and leaps with great violence, from one ridge of rocks to another, throughout the whole distance.
The locks of a canal, which has been cut round these falls, for the purpose of allowing boats to ascend and descend the river, are exceedingly curious, some of them being of great depth, and all of them cut out of the solid rock. A geologist will observe from the remarkable perpendicular cliffs immediately below the falls, that the Potowmac has probably cut its way through the rocks, which must at one time have obstructed its passage.
At the latter end of the spring or beginning of summer, vast shoals of Shad and Herrings ascend this river. The shad, which is a large fish, weighing five or six pounds, is much esteemed. The herrings are, I think, inferior in delicacy to those of Europe, although undoubtedly superior in size. A great many people are at this time of the year employed in catching them; and immediately below the Navy Yard at Washington, I have seen several thousand taken at a single haul. They are bought in large quantities by the planters of Maryland and Virginia; and when salted, and eaten with a portion of ground Indian corn made into bread, form the chief, and indeed almost the only food of the Slaves. When the country becomes more populous, these fisheries will be of still greater importance, for the fish ascend the rivers inte the very heart of the country. Even now the planters would find it difficult to feed their slaves, were the herrings to fail.
In the neighbourhood of Washington the woods are for the most part of oak. But wherever a field or farm has been first cleared and cultivated, and afterwards deserted, (as is common with individual fields), the whole is speedily covered with young cedars, though there are none of these trees in the neighbourhood. I have seen several spots of five or six acres that had thus become entirely covered with cedars, growing so closely and so regularly, that every one at first sight would suppose that they had been planted, these squares offering a very singular appearance, particularly during the winter, when their dark green foliage is strongly contrasted with the leafless state of the trees around them. I have asked several good botanists the cause of this phæ
nomenon, but none could ever explain it to me satisfactorily.
At the beginning of summer I left Washington, and passing for the second time through Baltimore and Philadelphia, arrived at New York. Very different indeed was the appearance of this great commercial city, from that which it presented when I arrived there from Europe. Instead of a spectacle of desolation, all the houses were re-occupied, and the streets swarmed with an active and numerous population. - What moreover occasioned the city's being unusually full, was the arrival of about 20,000 people, chiefly Virginians and Southerners, who had come to see a great horse-race, which was to be decided in the neighbourhood of the town. The southern planters, like the rich and idle in most parts of the world, are very fond of any thing that comes under the head of sporting, and have always been particularly celebrated for their love of cockfights and horse-races. In the free States, where, at the present time, large inheritances are uncommon, and where almost every one is engaged in some active profession, sporting is much less prevalent, and is held in no great estimation by the higher classes, who in this particular, as in others, appear to me to shew the superiority of their intellect.
Of late however, the New Yorkers have imported some fine horses, and Long Island has bez come famous for its breed of these noble animals. Now of the horses bred here one named “ Eclipse" had occasioned a great deal of discussion. While the New Yorkers thought him the best horse in America, the Southerners rather underrated his merits. At last his proprietor put forth a challenge in the public papers, offering to run him against any horse that the Southerners could produce, for the sum of 5,000 dollars. The challenge was accepted; but the day the match was to have been decided, on the race course at Washington, the Southern horse went lame, so that the gentleman to whom he belonged lost his 5,000 dollars. The New Yorkers exulted in their success; but the Southerners still maintained that they could produce a horse that could beat Eclipse, and immediately accepted a second challenge, for double the former sum.
When therefore I was journeying to New York, all the steam-boats and carriages were crowded with Southerners, who were going to see this great contest ultimately decided on the race-course of Long Island. All of them were confident that the Southern horse would win, and assured me, that if I wanted to make a fortune, I had only to bet on him. It was really amusing to see the interest this race excited; indeed an election for a President would not have excited greater. In all the papers, and in every man's mouth, were the questions, “ Are you for the North or the South ? " " The Free or
the Slave States ?” “ The Whites or the Blacks?” It was indeed made quite a party question; all the Free States wishing success to Eclipse, and the Slave States to “Sir Henry.” The day arrived, and Eclipse gained the first heat. After a very well contested race “ Sir Henry” gained the second. Expectation had been wound up to the highest pitch, when after another severe heat, in which the four miles were run over in little more than seven minutes and a half, a degree of speed that would have done credit to Newmarket, the match was at last decided in favour of Eclipse..
Nothing could exceed the exultation of the New Yorkers, or the depression of the Southerners; for the vanquished party, besides losing their fame for having the best horse, lost individually large sums of money. The mail, that went through the western part of the State of New York, carried a red flag, on which was inscribed, “ Eclipse for ever. Old Virginia a little tired;" and all the people, as it passed through the different little villages and towns, turned out and huzzaed, such an interest did they take in what seemed to be an omen of political superiority.
The city of New York is the great commercial capital of the United States. It is situated at the head of one of the most noble bays, and probably of the very finest harbour, in the world; and vessels of the largest size can run along-side, and dis