American Scenes, and Christian Slavery eBook

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

LETTER XXIII.

Arrival at Pittsburg—­Its Trade and Prospects—­Temperance—­Newspapers
—­Trip up the Monongahela to Brownsville—­Staging by Night across the
Alleghany Mountains—­Arrival at Cumberland—­The Railway Carriages of
America.

Arriving at Pittsburg in the middle of the night of the 10th of March, we remained on board till morning.  As we had been accustomed on this “Clipper No. 2” to breakfast at half-past 7, I thought they surely would not send us empty away.  But no! we had to turn out at that early hour of a morning piercingly cold, and get a breakfast where we could, or remain without.  This was “clipping” us rather too closely, after we had paid seven dollars each for our passage and provisions.

Pittsburg is in the State of Pennsylvania.  Its progress has been rapid, and its prospects are bright.  Seventy years ago the ground on which it stands was a wilderness, the abode of wild beasts and the hunting ground of Indians.  Its manufactures are chiefly those of glass, iron, and cotton.  It is the Birmingham of America.  Indeed one part of it, across the river, is called “Birmingham,” and bids fair to rival its old namesake.  Its advantages and resources are unparalleled.  It occupies in reference to the United States, north and south, east and west, a perfectly central position.  It is surrounded with, solid mountains of coal, which—­dug out, as I have intimated, with the greatest ease—­is conveyed with equal ease down inclined planes to the very furnace mouths of the foundries and factories!  This great workshop communicates directly, by means of the Ohio, the Mississippi, Red River, &c., with immense countries, extending to Texas, to Mexico, and to the Gulph.  Its population, already 70,000, is (I believe) incomparably more intelligent, more temperate, more religious, and more steady than that of any manufacturing town in England.  In fact, England has not much chance of competing successfully with America, unless her artizans copy more extensively the example of the American people in the entire abandonment of intoxicating liquors.  In travelling leisurely from New Orleans to Boston (the whole length of the United States), and sitting down at all sorts of tables, on land and on water, private and public, I have never once seen even wine brought to the table.  Nothing but water was universally used!

At Pittsburg I bought three good-sized newspapers for 5 cents, or twopence-halfpenny.  One of them, The Daily Morning Post, was a large sheet, measuring 3 feet by 2, and well filled on both sides with close letter-press, for 2 cents, or one penny.  The absence of duty on paper and of newspaper stamps is no doubt one great cause of the advanced intelligence of the mass of the American people.  What an absurd policy is that of the British Government, first to impose taxes upon knowledge, and then to use the money in promoting education!

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American Scenes, and Christian Slavery from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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