In the afternoon of the same day, as I walked along one of the principal streets, I saw a flag issue from a fine large public building to invite “ladies and gentlemen” to see “the magnificent picture of the departure of the Israelites from Egypt,”—the canvas containing 2,000 square feet, and 2,000,000 of figures! How significant! It would have been still more so, if the number of “figures” had been 3,000,000 instead of 2,000,000. What an “abolition” picture! It must have been worse than “Jacob and his Sons,” which was expunged from a catalogue of the American Sunday-School Union, because, in reprehending the sale of Joseph to the merchants, it reflected upon the internal slave-trade! Surely such exhibitions will affect the safety of the “peculiar institution!”
A Sabbath in New Orleans—The First Presbyterian Church—Expectoration —A Negro Pew—The Sermon.
Think of a Sabbath in New Orleans! Curious to know how people did really pray and preach, with slavery and slave-trading in their vilest forms around them, I set off in search of the “First Presbyterian Church.” It is a beautiful building; seldom, if ever, had I seen a place of worship the exterior of which I liked so much. Being a quarter of an hour too soon, I had opportunity for some preliminary researches. Wishing to see whether there was a “Negro Pew,” I went into the gallery, and took a seat on the left side of the organ. The “church” I found as beautiful inside as out. Instead of a pulpit, there was a kind of platform lined with crimson, which looked very nice. Most of the pews below, and some above, were lined with the same material. A splendid chandelier, having many circles of glass brilliants, was suspended from the ceiling. Altogether, the “church” was a very neat and graceful structure,—capable, as I learned, of accommodating about 1,500 people. But the floor—the floor! What a drawback! It was stained all over with tobacco juice! Faugh! Those Southern men are the most filthy people in that respect I ever met with. They are a great “spitting” community. To make it still more revolting to luckless travellers, this nasty habit is generally attended with noises in the throat resembling the united growling of a dozen mastiffs.