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Another," will you take a nice stake piece this morn. ing, here's a charming piece;" thank you sir, I am only viewing the market; I don't keep house; this is really fine beef indeed, how long may it have been fed ? Might as well address a post. "Will you buy some bread this morning? here's some very nice." "How do you sell it?" "Six cents, take two?" (handing out the bread ;) "I dont wish to buy, I only wish to ascertain the prices; what profit do you make?" Could not get another glimpse of his eye. All the information I obtained was from the buyers. The benches and stalls are kept remarkably neat and clean, being washed every day. Market is held every day in the week, not excepting Sunday, which accounts for its thinness. The constables attend to prevent riot or distur bance. Several attempts have been made to suppress Sunday markets in Alexandria, by those "outrageous" religious people, but without effect. It is alledged by them that it is a henious sin thus to violate the Sabbath; while those who advocate the measure, contend that the greater crime would be to debar poor slaves from the only opportunity they have to sell their produce, the hard acquired pittance of many a weary night's labor.* Besides, they have a number of labourers and mechanics, who cannot spare time to provide for Sunday. These motives operate conclusively upon the majority, to continue Sunday market. Market begins at day-light and usually ends at ten o'clock every day, except Sunday, which is out an hour sooner. At nine o'clock A. M. on Sunday, you hear a small bell ring for about a minute, this is succeeded by a peal from the great market bell. The first is to give notice to those in market, to pick up his or her unsold articles, and be off; by the ring of the great bell, all who fail to do this, forfeit what they have to the constables; whose business it is to take those articles so forfeited, to the poor house, for the benefit of the poor. The poor house is supported by the corporation; it is nothing more than a house where cooks are employed to prepare soup and
*Many of those people own slaves, and yet make a merit of enjeining the observance of the Sabbath.
bread for those who are unable to work. They attend daily, and carry home the amount of that day's provision, and so on. Alexandria, though generally a healthy town, was visited by the yellow fever some years ago, which swept off a number of its inhabitants; since that, the corporation has been very careful and attentive to the means of health. Fountains and Baths. There are no springs in the city; the citizens procure good water at some expense from a fountain in the suburbs of the town; for ordinary purposes, however, they have fountains in abundance. There is an elegant bathinghouse, but the price of bathing is so unreasonably high, (fifty cents,) that it is of no benefit either way; whereas if it were within bounds, it would prove a fortune to the proprietor, and tend more to the health of the citizens. There seems to prevail amongst the citizens of Alexandria, a deep rooted enmity against the Federal city; they sigh to be reunited to the state of Virginia. They are now engaged in an attempt to separate themselves from the District of Columbia, by a petition to Congress.
The merchants suffered greatly by the late war, particularly in the loss of their shipping. On the day that succeeded the capture of Washington, the British entered Alexandria; the citizens capitulated upon conditions not very favorable, for it seems the British burnt their shipping, and plundered the stores and ware-houses. The citizens, however, were not guilty of abandoning their city, as were those of Washington. It was amusing to all (except the owners,) to see with what liberality the British dealt out the sugar, coffee, flour and blankets, to the poor, and the negroes. These articles were turned out into the streets, and all who wished might come and take what they pleased. It is said that the flour taken off by the British was considerable; but the Americans attacked them after clearing the port of Alexandria, and destroyed the whole.
The Potomac at Alexandria, is rather over a mile in width; it is celebrated for its beauty. It is certainly a great blessing to this county, in supplying its inhabitants with food in the article of fish, and for commercial purposes; without it, the country would not, it could not
exist, the soil being nearly good for nothing. But Po tomac, the only tide river I have seen, yields greatly to the western rivers, in point of beauty. It is always turbid and rough, owing, I suspect, to the wind from the ocean, and the ebbing and flowing of the tide. The tide, I am told, extends as high as three miles above Georgetown. Notwithstanding the visible decline of Alexandria, the number of strangers who pass through it, the number of stages, carriages, waggons and drays, rattling on the pavement from morning till night, and almost from night till morning, gives to it a very lively appearance. All travellers going from north to south, or from south to north, and so of the east and west, have necessarily to pass through Alexandria.
Yesterday, 22d Feb, the militia companies turned out, preceded by a band of music. The Artillery, the Blues, and the Independent Blues, were distinguished by very handsome uniforms; the Independent Blues made a splendid appearance-as respected their equipage, they were second to none that I have seen. But in manly size, they are children compared to our men of the west. They will not do, too effeminate; otherwise they are handsome-looking men. They, with the clergy, proceeded to Christ's church, where an oration was delivered by S. Cox, Esq. They then returned to the hotel, whence they set out; after firing twenty-four rounds, preceded by the band, with banners flying, followed by the clergy and the citizens. When they arrived at the hotel, they formed in two lines; the clergy walked bare-headed through into the hotel, when they dispersed on Monday (to-morrow) a splendid ball is to close the celebration. During Saturday, national flags were suspended from the east and west fronts of the market-house. These flags are of the richest deep blue silk. floating almost to the ground, the centre being ornamented with a white eagle, with twenty-four stars of the same. They were trimmed with a border of brilliant deep red. The celebration is over; the ball took place last evening, at the city-hotel, agreeably to arrangement. Notwithstanding a very unfavourable evening, upwards of two hundred gentlemen and ladies at
tended, amongst whom was the Vice-President and several other distinguished characters, from Washington City. A splendid room was prepared for Gen. Jackson, (who was expected to participate in the celebration,) but was prevented by indisposition. His destined apartment was ornamented with national flags, suspended at each end; but to our great mortification, the General was unable to witness this testimony of respect. Mr. Clagett, the proprietor of the city hotel, received great applause for his promptness and skill in providing a supper, in which taste, elegance, and profusion were displayed. The national flag floated at each end of the table, which was upwards of an hundred feet in length; this was the most superb supper I ever beheld. In Alexandria, dwells John I. L., brother of him who signed the declaration of Independence. He has nothing engaging in his countenance or appearance; on the contrary, he has a sly, cunning look. He is of middling height, about fifty years of age, sallow, spare, and thin visaged. Though much disappointed in Mr. L., I was pleased with his son, a very promising young man, upwards of twenty, of genteel manners, and very engaging figure. I should, very probably, have quitted Alexandria without having either the honour or the pleasure of knowing it contained such an august personage, but for mere accident.
After spending some months at Alexandria, I took my departure for Richmond, Va. in the steam-boat "Mount Vernon," intending, on my return, to visit Washington City. The Mount Vernon carries the southern mail when the river is open. The boats commence running the last of March, and continue till middle of December, when the stages take up their line till the return of spring, and so on. The Mount Vernon leaves Alexandria at 2 o'clock, P. M. and arrives at Potomac creek from 6 to 8 o'clock, same day, as the wind is more or less favorable we arrived at the creek about 8, the wind being against us. Here we quit the boat and take the stages, which wait for us on the bank of the river. The boat takes in the passengers going northwards, who ar rive in the stage, and turns back without delay, going
all night, she arrives at Washington City about daylight, after touching at the fort and Alexandria to put out the mail: the distance is seventy-five miles. After getting out in the river some distance, upon leaving Alexandria, you have a fine view of the capitol at Washington; it is seen as low down as Mount Vernon, eight miles from Alexandria. Notwithstanding a pretty smart gale, I remained on deck to enjoy the scenery presented by the Maryland and Virginia shore. The farms looked very handsome, the buildings and the fish houses, which last seemed to set in the water. But the clusters of pine and cedar, indicate the poverty of the soil. A little before you come to Mount Vernon we have the fort on the Maryland side; it appeared to be large, but no one present could tell how many guns it mounted, or what number of men it required to man her; the fort is built of brick, but as I only saw it from the boat, I could give no opinion as to its strength. Governor Barbour, of Virginia, and several other intelligent looking men were on board; they could give no information respecting it, in fact, they seemed to speak of it in terms of contempt. I was very much astonished that Mr. Barbour, who has been a member of congress for some years, and whom we might suppose, would feel enough of interest in his country's means of defence, did not know more of it than he seemed to know, nor have I been able since to obtain any information on that subject. The steam-boat stops a minute or two at the fort to put out the mail, which is sent ashore in a skiff; shortly after leaving it, we were in sight of Mount Vernon: we were, however, too far from the Virginia shore on which it stands to have a satisfactory view. It appear ed to be situated in a poor soil, so far as I could perceive, from the quantity of cedar by which it was surrounded. A number of trees, (of what sort I was unable to distinguish,) surrounds the house its lf, which nearly precludes it from sight. It appeared, partially amidst them, to be a massy white building, of the Ionic order; but no one could inform me of the architecture; it stands near the bank of the river.
After quitting the steam-boat, we had eight miles to