« PředchozíPokračovat »
thenæum without special leave from one of their number. The privilege is certainly one of the greatest treats; the building being one of the largest in the city, pleasantly shaded with trees, the rooms spacious, and as silent as night; no one is allowed to speak above their breath lest they might interrupt the readers. Each room is accommodated with chairs, tables, pen and ink, for taking extracts if you wish so to do. Besides the library, the Athenæum contains a choice collection of statuary and painting. For this invaluable treasure, the citizens of Boston are indebted to the taste, zeal, and indefatigable research of Shaw, Esq. a man of platonic virtue, and once secretary of the ex-president Adams, to whom he is related. He was the founder of the Athenæum ; and to whose politeness I am indebted for my introduction into it; here the first citizens of Boston repair in their leisure hours to read. Besides this library, there are several in the city. The law library has been mentioned; the city library contains 6063 volumes. The books in all the libraries are well selected; want what author you will, it is to be found in Boston.
Markets. The market of Boston yields to none, and in many things it excels, particularly in its fish; the butter is sweet and abundant, much more so than in NewYork; but there is no market that I have seen which equals Boston for its excellence in fish. The meat and vegetables also are fine and plentiful, with carly fruit of delicious flavor; but they have no market-house worth the name. The butchers assemble under Fanueil Hall, and another place adjoining; but the venders of vegetables line themselves in rows at random, or sell out of carts the best way they can; the fishmongers have a kind of a shed, with a long bench, near to which they have large tubs of water with the finest salmon, fresh from the ocean, and every kind of fish that can be mentioned. The fish market is exemplary for neatness. But how they have,with their population, lived so long without a market house is a mystery. They are now building one, which is nearly finished; it would, for length, make about one square of the Philadelphia market, and wide enough for two. It is laughable (I mean for those who are not con
tra disposed,) to see the pains and coat they are at to construct a building the least calculated for the purpose intended of any thing else. It is a massy building of free-stone, finished in superior style, carried up in a solid wall, like a house, whereas the beauty is out of the question. I mean the convenience of a market-house is, to have it long, narrow, and open on all sides, so that the articles may be spread abroad, and the people may have both room and light. The same money they are spending on this, would have built a complete market-house, three times as long, and ten fold more to the purpose. They have the neatest arched windows and doors, all of the whitest free-stone and first architecture; and instead of placing this most worthy edifice in the centre of the city, they have built -nearly at the bay. I dare say it will cost some hundred thousand dollars. Their fire department is also badly organized; this, however, they are about to remedy. Boston has only been incorporat ed a few years; before this, it was governed by select mcn, to whose want of foresight on the subject of the general weal, may be the supposed cause of the city's being kept rather in the back ground.
Museum.-The museum of Boston is a good collection, but kept in a slovenly condition, and the subjects badly preserved. In this respect it is greatly inferior to that of Philadelphia or New-York. It is chiefly valuable for its specimens in the fine arts, which consist of paintings and statuary: besides these, an ancient shield, and the chair used by Gov. Winthrop, when administering justice, were the most interesting objects. The elephant that was killed while crossing the bridge, is handsomely preserved, and standing on its feet, in the museum, though not enclosed in glass, like the one I saw in New-York; it is, however, much larger: it also contains a great Greenland white bear, which, for size, has no equal; al so a variety of wax figures, which always disgust me. Among the paintings is Trumbull's representation of Gen. Washington crossing the Delaware, after the breaking up of the ice. He is in the act of giving his horse, upon which he is mounted, a sudden check by the rein, whilst with his head turned over one shoulder toward the
irpose ing of
pose. all of
of the ay it
tion, badly that e for
great ; al.
river, he is earnestly watching the progress of the army and artillery over the stream.
The famous treaty of Penn with the Indians is also represented, though in small design. Penn is standing, with his head uncovered, under the renowned elm, amidst an immense crowd of whites and Indians. The whites are on his left, and the Indians on his right hand, all of whom have their eyes fixed on him in deep attention ; Penn, with his hands spread in token of sincerity, seems to have concluded the treaty. A number of trunks are standing on the ground, and some of the white people are on their knees unlocking them, taking out the goods they contain, and distributing them amongst the Indians. The Gill family (one of the most distinguished in Massachusetts) by Copely, likewise deserves notice. Gill himself, his first and second wife, his mother-in-law, with her brother, Nicholas Boylston, are all represented in full size, in rich attire; the ladies in full dress of blue satin; Boylston has a rich mantle of crimson satin thrown over him, while he is regarding you with the keenest eye in nature. This gentleman is celebrated for his wealth, as also in history for his liberality in bestowing to Cambridge University a library of 28,000 volumes. Hero too, is a full size representation of a French princess, in the reign of Louis XIV. by Nutter. The left side of her head is as plain as my hand, the right is curled into ringlets, and twisted high up on the temple, ornamented with a garland of flowers. Her neck is bare, her bosom full, and her waist screwed to nothing. Her arms, which are finely turned, are bare to the elbow, from which drops, in luxuriant folds, a double tier of the richest lace. Her eyebrows are arched, her face masculine, but fair, with much expression and dignity in the countenance. Also Rittenhouse, with his hair parted in front, from the crown of his head, and never was any thing more plain and simple. Likewise a portrait of Chancellor Livingston, who is looking me in the face with a calm, steady countenance, surpassing the unruffled sea. But the giant Hercules frightens the beholder; he is represented dying, his eyes thrown up to heaven, his masculine limbs, his
grim countenance, his face besmeared with blood; he is terrible even in death!
Manners and Appearance. Whatever may be the cause, and however strange it may appear, yet it is nevertheless true, that in proportion as one part of society advance in science and civilization, the other part sink into vapid ignorance; like turbid water, the pure particles rise to the top, while the dregs settle to the bottom. Whether the cause of this difference is to be sought for in the physical or moral structure of the human mind, I leave to those whom it may more deeply concern to investigate. This truth is perhaps in no community more clearly manifested than in Boston. The people differ as widely as tho' they lived on opposite sides of the globe. How happens this? The means of education are the same to all; there are not less than an hundred schools in Boston and its vicinity, free to all, many of them without money and without price; Cambridge is in sight! Never were the means so ample as in Boston; the whole state is one seminary of education; no excuse for ignorance; the poor are taught gratis.
One part of the community have realized these advantages while the other has not. In no city, perhaps, in America, are to be found a greater body of what may be called gentlemen than in Boston: whatever can be conceived of wealth, whatever can be conceived of talent, or intellect embellished by education or improved by business, is eminently displayed in the gentlemen of Boston. Here the human mind appears to be perfectly unfolded; most of them, indeed all of them, are men of liberal education, whether professional or not, and by associating constantly together, and reciprocating those delicious waters which flow from the fountain of knowledge, their manners, of course, accords with the excellence of those attainments. They are affable, mild, and liberal, in every sense of the word. They are mostly Unitarians and Universalists in religion, the most humane and benevolent sects I have met with; the former, however, predominate. The ladies, like the gentlemen, are not exceeded by any on the continent; in accomplished manners, they possess all the yielding soft
cause, theless nce in
advan. ips, in
ed by ☞en of
rfectly men of
know. exceld, and
ness of the southern ladies, with warmer hearts, and minds improved by travelling, most of them having made the tour of Europe. Their countenance is diffused with a magic charm of irresistible sweetness, to which they join the utmost grace of gesture and harmony of voice. As to beauty, the ladies of Boston are celebrated throughout the world. But that which deserves our greatest applause, is their unbounded benevolence and charity towards the distressed; "which things the angels desired to look into." All the females, of every class, have a flexible softness in their manners peculiar to them." What may be called the lower class, for their opportu nity, are ignorant, proud, and abrupt in their manners, particularly the men; nor do they mix at all with the higher class, or have any intercourse with them, more than with the inhabitants of a distant country. They do not know them in the streets, they arc as absolutely separated as though an impassable gulph lay between them. These last, I cannot call them clowns, for a clown though awkward is bashful; but these are presuming, pert, and in some cases rude, nor have they a spark of that yielding charity which distinguishes their more refined neighbors. Their manners and their dialect perfectly correspond, though they can read and write, and many, in fact, all, I am told, go to the grammar schools; a chambermaid will read as correct as the most finished scholar, and yet their dialect is wretchedly defective. Here are a few of their phrases; had'nt ought, ought not, I be, I am, do what you'r mine'to, use your pleasure, on to it, on it, with a number of such. But guess, and what'say, are their favorites, and make a part of every sentencce. It is amusing enough to hear about a dozen of their what'says and guesses assembled together. What'say is a substitute for sir or madam, (which amongst them you seldom hear,) and answers to the how, of New-York; it is a habit they have contracted from asking a question to be repeated again, although they have heard it distinctly. They have the hickups here too. All the learning in the world will never break them of those vulgar hab its. Thousands of dollars are expended annually in Boston for no other purpose than to eradicate this igno