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er, is the seat of the State Government for Maine. It is very generally the case that the States do not hold their legislatures and carry on their government at their chief towns. Augusta and not Portland is the capital of Maine. Of the State of New York, Albany is the capital, and not the city which bears the State's name. And of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg and not Philadelphia is the capital. I think the idea has been that old-fashioned notions were bad in that they were old-fashioned; and that a new people, bound by no prejudices, might certainly make improvement by choosing for themselves new ways. If so the American politicians have not been the first in the world who have thought that any change must be a change for the better. The assigned reason is the centrical position of the selected political capitals: but I have generally found the real commercial capital to be easier of access than the smaller town in which the two legislative houses are obliged to collect themselves.
What must be the natural excellence of the harbour of Portland will be understood when it is borne in mind that the Great Eastern can enter it at all times, and that it can lie along the wharves at any hour of the tide. The wharves which have been prepared for her—and of which I will say a word further byand-by-are joined to and in fact are a portion of the station of the Grand Trunk Railway, which runs from Portland up to Canada. So that passengers landing at Portland out of a vessel so large even as the Great Eastern can walk at once on shore, and goods can be passed on to the railway without any of the cost of removal. I will not say that there is no other harbour in the world that would allow of this, but I do not know any other that would do so.
From Portland a line of railway, called as a whole by the name of the Canada Grand Trunk line, runs across the State of Maine through the Northern parts of New Hampshire and Vermont, to Montreal, a branch striking from Richmond, a little within the limits of Canada, to Quebec, and down the St. Law, rence to Rivière du Loup. The main line is continued from Montreal, through Upper Canada to Toronto, and from thence to Detroit in the State of Michigan. The total distance thus traversed is in a direct line about 900 miles. From Detroit there is railway communication through the immense NorthWestern States of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois, than which perhaps the surface of the globe affords no finer districts for purposes of agriculture. The produce of the two Canadas must be poured forth to the Eastern world, and the men of the East
ern world must throng into these lands, by means of this railroad, -and, as at present arranged, through the harbour of Portland. At present the line has been opened, and they who have opened are sorely suffering in pocket for what they have done. The question of the railway is rather one applying to Canada than to the State of Maine, and I will therefore leave it for the present.
But the Great Eastern has never been to Portland, and as far as I know has no intention of going there. She was, I believe, built with that object. At any rate it was proclaimed during her building that such was her destiny, and the Portlanders believed it with a perfect faith. They went to work and built wharves expressly for her; two wharves prepared to fit her two gangways, or ways of exit and entrance. They built a huge hotel to receive her passengers. They prepared for her advent with a full conviction that a millennium of trade was about to be wafted to their happy port. “Sir, the town has exp led two hundred thousand dollars in expectation of that ship, and that ship has deceived us.” So was the matter spoken of to me by an intelligent Portlander. I explained to that intelligent gentleman that two hundred thousand dollars would go a very little way towards making up the loss which the ill-fortuned vessel had occasioned on the other side of the water. He did not in words express gratification at this information, but he looked it. The matter was as it were a partnership without deed of contract between the Portlanders and the shareholders of the vessel, and the Portlanders, though they also have suffered their losses, have not had the worst of it.
But there are still good days in store for the town. Though the Great Eastern has not gone there, other ships from Europe, more profitable if less in size, must eventually find their way thither. At present the Canada line of packets runs to Portland only during those months in which it is shut out from the St. Lawrence and Quebec by ice. But the St. Lawrence and Quebec cannot offer the advantages which Portland enjoys, and that big hotel and those new wharves will not have been built in vain.
I have said that a good time is coming, but I would by no means wish to signify that the present times in Portland are bad. So far from it, that I doubt whether I ever saw a town with more evident signs of prosperity. It has about it every mark of ample means, and no mark of poverty. It contains about 27,000 people, and for that population covers a very large space of ground. The streets are broad and well
built, the main streets not running in those absolutely straight parallels which are so common in American towns, and are so distressing to English eyes and English feelings. All these, except the streets devoted exclusively to business, are shaded on both sides by trees-generally, if I remember rightly, by the beautiful American elm, whose drooping boughs have all the grace of the Willow without its fantastic melancholy. What the poorer streets of Portland may be like I cannot say. I saw no poor street. But in no town of 30,000 inhabitants did I ever see so many houses which must require an expenditure of from six to eight hundred a year to maintain them,
The place too is beautifully situated. It is on a long promontory, which takes the shape of a peninsula ;-for the neck which joins it to the mainland is not above half a mile across. But though the town thus stands out into the sea, it is not exposed and bleak. The harbour again is surrounded by land, or so guarded and locked by islands as to form a series of saltwater lakes running round the town. Of those islands there are, of course, 365. Travellers who write their travels are constantly called upon to record that number, so that it may now be considered as a superlative in local phraseology, signifying a very great many indeed. The town stands between two hills, the suburbs or outskirts running up on to each of them. The one looking out towards the sea is called Mountjoythough the obstinate Americans will write it Munjoy on their maps. From thence the view out to the harbour and beyond the harbour to the islands is, I may not say unequalled, or I shall be guilty of running into superlatives myself; but it is, in its way, equal to anything I have seen. Perhaps it is more like Cork harbour, as seen from certain heights over Passage than anything else I can remember; but Portland harbour, though equally landlocked, is larger; and then from Portland harbour there is as it were a river outlet, running through delicious islands, most unalluring to the navigator, but delicious to the eyes of an uncommercial traveller. There are in all four outlets to the sea, one of which appears to have been made expressly for the Great Eastern. Then there is the hill looking inwards. If it has a name I forget it.
The view from this hill is also over the water on each side, and though not so extensive is perhaps as pleasing as the other.
The ways of the people seemed to be quiet, smooth, orderly, and republican. There is nothing to drink in Portland of course, for, thanks to Mr. Neal Dow, the Father Mathew of the State of Maine, the Maine Liquor Law is still in force in that State. There is nothing to drink, I should say, in such orderly houses as that I selected. “People do drink some in the town, they say,” said my hostess to me; "and liquor is to be got. But I never venture to sell any.
An ill-natured person might turn on me, and where should I be then ?” I did not press her, and she was good enough to put a bottle of porter at my right hand at dinner, for which I observed she made no charge. “But they advertise beer in the shop-windows,” I said to a man who was driving me—“Scotch ale, and bitter beer. A man can get drunk on them.” “Wa'al, yes. If he goes to work hard, and drinks a bucketfull," said the driver,
perhaps he may.” From which and other things I gathered that the men of Maine drank pottle deep before Mr. Neal Dow brought his exertions to a successful termination.
The Maine Liquor Law still stands in Maine, and is the law of the land throughout New England; but it is not actually put in force in the other States. By this law no man may retail wine, spirits, or, in truth, beer, except with a special license, which is given only to those who are presumed to sell them as medicines. A man may have what he likes in his own cellar for his own use—such at least is the actual working of the law but may not obtain it at hotels and public-houses. This law, like all sumptuary laws, must fail. And it is fast failing even in Maine. But it did appear to me from such information as I could collect that the passing of it had done much to hinder and repress a habit of hard drinking which was becoming terribly common, not only in the towns of Maine, but among the farmers and hired labourers in the country.
But if the men and women of Portland may not drink they may eat, and it is a place, I should say, in which good living on that side of the question is very rife. It has an air of supreme plenty, as though the agonies of an empty stomach were never known there. The faces of the people tell of three reg. ular meals of meat a day, and of digestive powers in proportion. Oh happy Portlanders, if they only knew their own good fortune! They get up early, and go to bed early. The women are comely and sturdy, able to take care of themselves without any fal-lal of chivalry; and the men are sedate, obliging, and industrious. I saw the young girls in the streets, coming home from their tea-parties at nine o'clock, many of them alone, and all with some basket in their hands which betokened an evening not passed absolutely in idleness. No fear there of unruly questions on the way, or of insolence from the ill-conducted of the other sex! All was, or seemed to be, orderly, sleck, and unobtrusive. Probably of all modes of life that are allotted to man by his Creator, life such as this is the most happy. One hint, however, for improvement I must give, even to Portland ! It would be well if they could make their streets of some material harder than sand.
I must not leave the town without desiring those who may visit it to mount the Observatory. They will from thence get the best view of the harbour and of the surrounding land; and, if they chance to do so under the reign of the present keeper of the signals, they will find a man there able and willing to tell them everything needful about the State of Maine in general, and the harbour in particular. He will come out in his shirt sleeves, and, like a true American, will not at first be very smooth in his courtesy; but he will wax brighter in conversation, and if not stroked the wrong way will turn out to be an uncommonly pleasant fellow. Such I believe to be the case with most of them.
From Portland we made our way up to the White Mountains, which lay on our route to Canada. Now I would ask any of my readers who are candid enough to expose their own ignorance whether they ever heard, or at any rate whether they know any thing of the White Mountains. As regards myself I confess that the name had reached my ears; that I had an indefinite idea that they formed an intermediate stage between the Rocky Mountains and the Alleghenies, and that they were inhabited either by Mormons, Indians, or simply by black bears. That there was a district in New England containing mountain scenery superior to much that is yearly crowded by tourists in Europe, that this is to be reached with ease by railways and stage-coaches, and that it is dotted with huge hotels, almost as thickly as they lie in Switzerland, I had no idea. Much of this scenery, I say, is superior to the famed and classic
I lands of Europe. I know nothing, for instance, on the Rhine equal to the view from Mount Willard, down the mountain pass called the Notch.
Let the visitor of these regions be as late in the year as he can, taking care that he is not so late as to find the hotels closed. October, no doubt, is the most beautiful month among these mountains, but according to the present arrangement of matters here, the hotels are shut up by the end of September. With us, August, September, and October are the holiday months; whereas our rebel children across the Atlantic love to disport themselves in July and August. The great beauty of