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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 236 pages of information about American Scenes, and Christian Slavery.

LETTER XXXIII.

The “Retreat”—­Introductions to the Insane—­Piety and Profanity —­Service in the Fourth Church—­Memorials of the Pilgrims—­Dr. Bushnell and his Opinions—­The Mother Church and its Burying-Ground —­The New Cemetery—­Prejudice against Colour—­Mrs. Sigourney—­Departure from Hartford—­Worcester and Elihu Burritt—­Boston—­The Rev. Seth Bliss—­The Cradle of Liberty—­Mr. Garrison—­Bunker’s Hill.

Having seen the Charter Oak, let us proceed in company with the Rev. Mr. Gallaudet to the “Retreat for the Insane,” of which he is chaplain.  The place is delightfully situated, and severity of treatment carefully avoided.  As we pass from room to room, we are very gravely and formally introduced, as strangers in the country, to the inmates.  Here we are introduced to a tall muscular old lady, who has her cap fantastically trimmed with bits of ribbon of various gaudy colours.  With an air of assumed politeness and dignity, she asks me if I have been to Washington.  On receiving a reply in the negative, she expresses great regret, and inquires if I have seen “Dan Webster,” and, without waiting for an answer, hurries on, “Fine fellow Dan,—­some solid timbers about Dan,—­indeed, the Yankees altogether are not to be sniffed at.”  I nodded the most entire assent to all she said.

We enter another room, and are introduced to a curious groupe.  One woman has tied her mouth up with a handkerchief, to prevent her talking too much.  She tells us that at first she had tied it over her ears, to prevent her hearing another woman’s voice, who is constantly talking to herself, and making her head ache; but that she found her own tongue then going faster than anybody else’s.  She had therefore adopted the wise plan of tying her own mouth.  She is eloquent in the praises of the institution, and calls it “A blessed Retreat—­a blessed Retreat.”

We move on, and are introduced to a fine-looking woman—­the wife of a respectable merchant in New York.  She looks wild, and shakes her head violently.  She pours upon us a flood of questions, most of which relate to her own husband, such as—­When did we see him last?—­How was he?—­What message did he send to her? &c.  Turning to my wife, she said, “You had better have staid at home, and never come to this country.  This country was once a great country:  it is so no longer, and all through that man,”—­pointing to Mr. Gallaudet.  “Oh that man! what a villain he is!  People out of doors don’t know him; and,” looking at myself, “you can’t do this country better service than to make known everywhere the real character of that man.  Here he keeps me a prisoner in this place for nothing at all; but I hope the State will take up the matter, and punish him well for it.”  I promised to make known Mr. Gallaudet’s character, and bade her adieu.

We are next introduced to a student of theology, who asks very sensible and pious questions in reference to the missionary cause and the progress of the Gospel in British Guiana.  This man is perfectly sane except on one point.  He thinks there is a conspiracy to poison him, and that slow poison is administered to him continually in his food.  Mr. Gallaudet, even by dining at the same table and eating out of the same dish, has failed to convince him to the contrary.

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