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tions, in such a way as to give no particular direction to his answers, and found his ideas of the country and people were very similar to my Own. To a question whether he found the Americans more or less civil than the English, he replied, “I think they are more accommodating and friendly, and more ready to oblige either a stranger or one another; but, to be sure, they have always been in the habit of helping a neighbour, and have never known the depravity like of a condition which made them obliged to look to themselves. I was surprized to see them so friendly to every body."
He quite agreed with me that labourers, generally speaking, have no reasonable prospect of improv ing their condition, however uncomfortable, by coming hither,-I mean to the Atlantic States: in the Western country industry and selfdenial will force their way. Very superior merit, or singular good fortune, may still raise some to independence; but five out of ten may wander about for weeks, or months, in the agricultural district's of Pennsylvania, without finding regular employment, or the means of supporting themselves by their labour. One of our passengers, a respectable looking man, said that a friend of his had been applied to by a good labourer of character, whom he had long known, offering to work till the Spring for his food, which offer was declined. In the neighbourhood of Philadelphia, I heard of many instances of less skilful labourers making similar applications in vain.
About 3 o'clock we stopped to dine at York, a town not unlike Loughborough at a distance. We were not expected; and though there were only two passengers who dined, the landlord made many apologies for producing only a beefsteak, veal cutlet, and tart, instead of the turkey, ham, and two or three joints of meat usually set on the table, even for a small party.— Immediately on leaving York, we
entered a beautiful and interesting "Creek Valley," valley called where the land is said to be as good as in almost any part of the United States. On each side of the road were fine large fields, in a high state of cultivation. One of the passengers, well acquainted with the neighbourhood, mentioned to me the value of the several estates as we passed. The first, rather more than three hundred acres in extent, with a house, and large and extensive barns and stabling, which together cost erecting about 10,000 dollars, was sold two years sincè at 260 dollars per acre. It would, even now, bring 200, the fatal effects of the paper system having been almost entirely averted from this district, either by the prudence of the Bank Directors, or, what is more likely, the inveterate habits of the German farmers, which did not readily become reconciled to a flimsy substitute for gold.
The next farm consisted of twenty-five acres, with a new brick house, and a decent frame barn, which together would cost erecting, my informant thought, more than 4000 dollars. A gentleman, whom he pointed out to me, had just offered 7000 dollars for the whole, which were refused. The next farm was one of a hundred and fifty acres, without buildings, but in high cultivation, oneIt had been sold fifth woodland. the preceding week at 140 dollars In this well settled counper acre. try, woodland is dearer than cleared land. The next was a large estate, which a German had just sold to his sons at 105 dollars per acre, that they might give their sisters as a marriage portion their equal share, as is usual with them. The sons in law thought the sale too low. All these estates are within fifty-five miles of Baltimore, which the farmers consider their market, and speak of as very near.
Ten miles from York we passed the beautiful and classical Susquehanna, on a fine bridge, a mile and 2 P 2
a quarter broad; but the night was closing in, and the clouds, which obscured the moon, prevented our seeing the scenery of this noble river distinctly. We had been frequently gratified during the day by the view of a distinct chain of the Blue Mountains in the horizon. We reached Lancaster, a fine old town, (all things are by comparison,) at nine o'clock, having been eighteen hours in completing the seventy miles from Baltimore. We left Lancaster at four o'clock the next morning, and proceeded in the dark fourteen miles to breakfast. To my great mortification, it was so cloudy and misty during a great part of the day, that my view was circumscribed. We still continued, however, to see handsome barns, substantial houses, and beautifully cultivated fields. From the time we left Lancaster, we were on the great Pittsburgh road, which leads us to Philadelphia, through the "Great Valley," as it is called: the land is for the most part excellent, yielding from twenty-five to thirty bushels of wheat, and thirty to forty of Indian corn to the acre. The farmers in the county of Lancaster, unlike those of York, are, I was told, deeply in debt; the treacherous paper system having been incautiously admitted.
The country through which we passed during the day's ride, as far as we could see on each side of the road, (the fog contracting our view within narrow limits,) might be compared with the richest part of England, reminding me sometimes of Craven-sometimes of Warwickshire-sometimes of Gloucestershire. The best houses and barns are of stone, the largest being generally taverns; and the buildings on the farms (which are from two to three or five hundred acres in extent) are perhaps from 4,000 to 20,000 dollars in value. There were few, (till we reached Philadelphia scarcely any,) that could be called gentlemen's houses, or
which give one the idea of being in the vicinity of educated, or well bred society. One, between thirty and forty miles from Philadelphia, exhibited traces of taste and elegance in the front of the house and garden: the out-buildings seemed complete and extensive. My companion said, the whole of the buildings might cost, with the house furnished, 7,000 dollars; and one hundred acres of land, in high cultivation, in the vicinity, 5000 dollars more. Now, I think, with good management on the farm, a family might live comfortably with 18,000 dollars in addition; not with less than that sum, nor with so little, if there were boarding-school expenses to pay, or any charges except those strictly domestic. Now, let us suppose that Mr. Birkbeck. had settled there :—his family, except as regards society, would scarcely have been conscious that they were transplanted: he would have felt at home in a cultivated country, instead of a novice in the prairies, and his agricultural skill might have been profitably exerted in a congenial sphere: 30,000 dollars, out of the 35,000 which he is said to have brought with him, would have been disposed of in a form at least as convertible as at present. I much doubt whether his whole property at the end of ten years, including the 5000 dollars left to accumulate with compound interest, would not have been of more value than it will now prove, and have commanded as many cultivated and uncleared acres in Illinois, as he will possess at the expiration of that period. If he should not be benefited, or be only partially so, by the remissions of price proposed by the Government to be afforded to purchasers of public lands (which will depend on the state of his instalments,) or if his settlement continue unpopular, he may actually lose by his lands, the reduction from one and a quarter to two dollars by the Government for vacant lands of
course reducing the value of those he has entered. This, however, is a speculation for which I have no sufficient data; but I was led to think a little on the subject on passing these fine Pennsylvanian farms. It appears to me that the " aliquid immensum infinitumque," which played round the youthful imagination of Cicero, and conducted that celebrated orator into regions of truth and beauty, had taken possession of the mind of Mr. Birkbeck, and led him, less courteously, into the prairies of Illinois, where I have no doubt it has long since vanished, like an Ignis fatuus, leaving the agriculturalist not a little mortified at having been beguiled by an insidious phantom, which beckoned him to fame and fortune in the Western wilds.
We reached Philadelphia, 60 miles from Lancaster, at four o'clock in the afternoon, and found our party at the boarding-house increased by the arrival of a gentleman and lady and three daughters from Lexington, Kentucky, who having hastily left a comfortable estate in the vicinity of London, had become tired of the Western wilderness, and had returned to the Atlantic States, beginning to think that, to persons in their easy circumstances at least, there was no place like old England after
New York, Feb. 1821. A longer residence in the principalities of the United States, and a more intimate acquaintance with their inhabitants, have given me a better opportunity than I had previously enjoyed, of forming the estimate you request from me of the present state of religion and morals on this side of the Atlantic. You must, however, make great allowance for errors in so difficult and delicate an undertaking, and will receive with peculiar caution, on such a subject, any general conelusions deduced from the observations of an individual traveller. You may, however, consider the
favourable representations which I made, in a letter from Boston last autumn, with respect to opportunities of public worship, and the prevalence of evangelical preaching, as applicable to all the principal towns and cities from Portland to Savannah.
But churches are not religion; nor are the ministrations of a pastor an unerring criterion of the piety of his hearers. In a country, however, in which contributions to places of public worship are for the most part voluntary, a liberal dissemination of sacred edifices is a very favourable symptom; while the number of faithful ministers,and the frequent occurrence of large congregations listening attentively to unwelcome truths from pastors appointed by their own election and dependent on them for sup port, afford something more than a vague presumption of the existence of no inconsiderable degree of vital piety in the community.
My favourable impressions were strengthened as I proceeded, by noticing the attention generally paid on the Atlantic coast to the external observance of the Sabbath; by meeting continually with Bibles, and other religious books, in the steam-boats and houses of entertainment; and by witnessing the efforts every where apparent for the extension of Christian piety.
Theological institutions for the education of ministers, extensive, well-endowed, and respectable, frequently arrest the attention of the traveller as he passes along the road; while a very little intercourse with society convinces him that associations of a more private nature, for preparing indigent young men for missionary services, together with Bible Societies, Missionary Societies, and Sunday School and Tract Societies, are liberally scattered.
I felt neither disposed nor called upon to deprive myself of the pleasure I derived from these favourable indications, by reflecting that
they were no accurate measure of the degree in which personal religion prevails. I was quite aware that, in many cases, and especially where there is no establishment, churches are sometimes multiplied by the very dissensions of a congregation; that a proportion of the active effort engaged in the promotion of religious objects, is often very little connected with Christian principle; and that respect for the form of godliness may survive its power. But at the same time I felt persuaded that, although a love of popularity may enrol the worldly in the list of contributors to religious societies, or engage them as public advocates in a sacred cause, still that diligent performance of the routine of official duties and selfdenying and persevering efforts, to which religious societies are usually indebted both for their origin and prosperity, imply, in most cases, the existence of a higher principle, and spring from a purer source.
My subsequent experience has convinced me that I was not incorrect in the persuasion in which I indulged myself as I passed along, that I was always in the vicinity of some at least who were united in Christian sympathy with the whole church militant on earth, and were travelling to a better country amidst the hopes and fears, the trials and consolations, which chequer the lot and form the character, of the Christian in every quarter of the globe. Sometimes, in the course of my route, some little incident would give peculiar force to this persuasion, or the surrounding scenery impart to it a particular in
On my return from Canada through Vermont and New Hampshire, I visited the Theological Institution at Andover; where the handsome collegiate edifice, the spacious grounds, the houses of the professors, and the excellent inn in some degree attached to the establishment, bore as ample testimony to the munificence, as the object of
the institution to the piety, of its founders. It is from this establishment that the American Board of Missions has drawn nearly all its labourers. After tea we adjourned to the college chapel, where religious intelligence from various parts of the United States was communicated by the students or professors. We had then prayers, after which we separated. It was a beautiful star-light night in au tumn; and while looking out of my window, at midnight, on this quiet scene-where many who were then labouring in distant regions of the globe first felt those ardent as pirings after extensive future usefulness, which prompted them to encounter the trials of a missionary life, and where many were then preparing for the same honourable enterprize-I could not but contrast the privileges of a life thus early and entirely dedicated to the noblest cause, with those of the most successful commercial or political career, where the flame of piety, if not extinguished by the very at mosphere which surrounds it, is exposed to a thousand blasts from which the religious zeal of the mis sionary is sheltered by his peculiar situation.
At Hartford, in Connecticut, in a church so richly adorned with "Christmas" (either winding round the pillars, or hung in festoons), as to appear almost like a grove, I was gratified by a sermon in vindication of our Liturgy; and my heart warmed when I heard the minister enumerate among its claims to the affectionate regards of the congregation," the opportunity which it afforded them of worshipping in the very words in which saints for centuries had breathed their devotions in the land of their fathers, and of still offering their incense in the same censer with their brethren in Britain, that brightest star in the firmament of the Reformation."In the afternoon I attended the Presbyterian chapel, where the minister announced, at the close of
the service, that it was the wish of many of the congregation that the following Friday should be set apart for prayer and fasting, and that it was expected it should be so. observed by the members of the church. I felt that I was among the descendants of the puritanic exiles, (for exiles may many of them be considered rather than emigrants); and I could not but breathe a wish that the spirit of an Elijah might linger in the land which still preserved these vestiges of more devotional times.
At Newhaven, in the same State, after visiting Yale College,-in the library of which I was pleased to recognize, under the titles "Berkeley," and "The Dean's Bounty," substantial proofs of the liberalityof our celebrated countryman, Bishop Berkeley,I spent the evening with Dr. Morse, whom I found engaged in drawing up a report on the state of the Indians, to be submitted to Congress. He had been selected by the President to travel among the Indians with reference to this object, in consequence of having been long employed by a society in Scotland in the promotion of their benevolent designs among some of the northern tribes. He has devoted a very long and very active life to the interests of literature and religion in his infant country, combining the attainments of a scholar with the apostolic zeal of a missionary, and often exchanging domestic endearments and literary ease for the perils of the wilderness, and the privations of solitary journeys in swamps and forests, When Mr. Hall's sermon on Infidelity appeared, he printed an edition at his own expense, although in very moderate circumstances, and has since endeavoured to introduce among his countrymen a high standard of practical excellence, by exhibiting to their view that extraordinary combination of the lowly and the splendid virtues of the Christian character which adorned the life, and has em
balmed the memory of the late Mr. Reynolds of Bristol.
At Boston I had the pleasure of an interview with the late venerable Dr. Worcester, the secretary of the American Missionary Society, and received much interesting intelligence from the Missionary Board, and its excellent treasurer. There I found an association of young men, who have set apart a portion of their income for the establish ment of a missionary press at Jerusalem. There also I had the gra tification of seeing Henry Martyn in an American dress, going forth in the character of a departed saint, to advance in the West the cause in which he himself fell so early and lamented a sacrifice in the East; to fau, in the very scenes where his beloved though unknown Henry Brainerd had laboured and expired, the missionary zeal which that eminent man had kindled; and to animate every succeeding Ameri can missionary by an affecting proof, that a ray of fervent picty, though emanating from the solitudes of an American forest, may penetrate even the cloisters of Cambridge, and revive a fainting bosom in the deserts of Persia or Hindostan.
(To be continued.)
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
IN reading the account in your