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tales of pauperism and crime, he finds his way to the "Tombs," where he makes himself acquainted with the keepers and the cells, and with the details of the mode in which the punishment of death is inflicted. Afterwards, with the same object in view, no doubt, he visits the infamous Five Points, which region of filth and vice and crime, he enters under the escort of two police officers, whom hundreds might pass in the streets daily without suspecting their official character, but whom our police reporter, long familiar with Bow Street, Seven Dials, and St. Giles's, would have recognized had he met them in the Great Desert. What scenes he witnessed at midnight in these abodes of misery and sin, we shall probably learn more fully from the tales of fun and woe, which will embellish the "new work, by Boz," to be published in monthly numbers, beginning in the present month. He favors us with only one scene, which seems to have afforded him unspeakable delight. It was a negro dance in a low and filthy cellar, performed at his particular request.
After describing, though in somewhat unfavorable terms, "the different public institutions on Long Island," Mr. Dickens concludes his notice of New York, as follows:
"There are three theatres. Two of them, the Park and the Bowery, are large, elegant and handsome buildings, and are, I grieve to write it, generally deserted. The third, the Olympic, is a tiny show-box for vaudevilles and burlesques. It is singularly well-conducted by Mr. Mitchell, a comic actor of great quiet humor and originality, who is well remembered and esteemed by London playgoers. I am happy to report of this deserving gentleman, that his benches are usually well filled, and that his theater rings with merriment every night. I had almost forgotten a small summer theater, called Niblo's, with gardens and open air amusements attached; but I believe it is not exempt from the general depression under which theatrical property, or what is humorously called by that name, unfortunately labors.
"The country round New York is sur passingly and exquisitely picturesque. The climate, as I have already intimated, is somewhat of the warmest. What it
would be, without the sea breezes which come from its beautiful bay in the evening time, I will not throw myself or my readers into a fever by inquiring.
"The tone of the best society in this city, is like that of Boston; here and there, it may be, with a greater infusion of the mercantile spirit, but generally polished and refined, and always most hospitable. The houses and tables are elegant; the hours later and more rakish ; and there is, perhaps, a greater spirit of contention in reference to appearances, and the display of wealth and costly living. The ladies are singularly beauti
The title of the next chapter is Philadelphia, and its solitary prison." It might with propriety be inverted, for about one tenth part of the chapter is devoted to a description of the city, and the remaining nine tenths, to meditations and soliloquies in the Eastern Penitentiary. We have never read a book, professing to give an account of any country, which, in respect to its natural features, its towns and cities, its manners and customs, its social, civil, and religious institutions-in short, in respect to every thing about which the reader wishes to receive information, or at least, to ascertain the opinions of the author, is so profoundly silent as the book before us. We should hardly have thought it possible for so many pages of "Notes on America" to be written, and so little to be said in them which is of the least importance to the reader. The experiment, however, has been successfully made, and Mr. Dickens has proved himself to be utterly incompetent to write any thing which does not savor strongly of his former occupation. In jails and almshouses, amid scenes of vice and crime, he is perfectly at home, and often paints with a master's hand. He is more graphic and eloquent in describing the habits of the pigs that roam through the streets of New York, than in portraying the
more elevated manners and refined amusements of the Gothamites them selves.
From Philadelphia, Mr. Dickens proceeded to Baltimore and Washington. In the former city his stay was brief. He simply enumerates its various public buildings in a single sentence, and then occupies four or five paragraphs in delineating "two curious cases" which were brought under his observation in the State Penitentiary. In this city, he found the only hotel which af forded him perfect comfort and satisfaction, though there were many approximations to his beau ideal in other places. "The most comfortable of all the hotels of which I had any experience in the United States, and they were not a few, is Barnum's, in that city; where the English traveler will find curtains to his bed [mark this!] for the first, and probably the last time, in America; and where he will be likely to have enough water for washing himself, which is not at all a common case. On reading this sentence we were strongly impressed with the idea, that Mr. Dickens was a physiological phenomenon, exhibiting in his own person the remark. able properties of the opposite mag netic poles; for, while externally he manifested a very powerful attraction for water, internally he manifested a no less decided repulsion towards it; and we afterwards find it a ground of complaint against two or three hotels, that they had nothing but water for "the English traveler" to drink!
On his journey to Washington, Mr. Dickens was particularly disgusted with the exuberant use of tobacco which he witnessed on all occasions. We heartily join him in his "counterblast" against the Stygian weed; yet we apprehend, that his practice of frequenting the bar was no less disgusting to some of his fellow travelers, than the use of tobacco on the part of others
seems to have been to him. He could not go from New Haven to New York, without " exhausting the stock of bottled beer" on board the boat, and we believe that he even found a bar on board the little steamer between Springfield and Hartford. The habits of Mr. Dickens, in this respect, as our readers have already seen, need no inconsiderable reformation.
The appearance of Washington, as it strikes the eye of a Londoner, is facetiously described; though on the whole, he seems to have been in something of an ill humor while visiting the Federal city.
"It is sometimes called the city of Magnificent Distances, but it might with greater propriety be termed the city of Magnificent Intentions; for it is only on taking a bird's-eye view of it from the top of the Capitol, that one can at all comprehend the vast designs of its projector, an aspiring Frenchman. Spacious avenues, that begin in nothing, and lead want houses, roads, and inhabitants; no where; streets, mile-long, that only public buildings that need but a public to be complete; and ornaments of great thoroughfares, which only lack great thoroughfares to ornament, are its leading features. One might fancy the sea
son over, and most of the houses gone out of town for ever with their masters. To the admirers of cities it is a Barmecide feast; a pleasant field for the imagination to rove in; a monument raised to a deceased project, with not even a legible inscription to record its departed great
Our traveler was not very favorably impressed with the appearance of the House of Representatives, though he gives the Senate much credit for its dignity and decorum. His criticisms on these two bodies, though not a little exaggerated, are in the main so pungent, and have so much truth in them, that we cannot refrain from expressing the wish, that they might be read and pondered, not only by the members of Congress, but by all who have any thing to do with sending them there. Our author of course visited the President, and was well pleased with the republican simpli
"It was between six and seven o'clock in the evening, when we drove to the hotel; in front of which, and on the top of the broad flight of steps leading to the door, two or three citizens were balancing themselves on rocking chairs and smoking cigars. We found it a very large and elegant establishment, and were as well entertained as travelers need desire to be. The climate being a thirsty one, there was never, at any hour of the day, a scarcity of loungers in the spacious bar, or a cessation of the mixing of cool liquors but they were a merrier people here, and had musical instruments play ing to them o' nights, which it was a treat to hear again."
mode of traveling, or of American society as exhibited in his fellow travelers. Having left Harrisburg on Friday evening, he reached Pittsburg on Monday evening by dint of traveling on the Sabbath, and remained there three days, but he has hardly a word to say about the place. There is nothing worthy of remark in his account of the journey by steamboat, from Pittsburg to Cincinnati, except the dissatisfaction which he expresses, because "at dinner there was nothing to drink upon the table, but great jugs full of cold water," whilst at the same time he complains of the scantiness of the "washing apparatus," thus again illustrating the theory of opposite poles.
With Cincinnati he was particularly pleased. While there he had the privilege of seeing a temperance convention and parade, which he regarded with much interest as a "holiday concourse," though he felt little sympathy in its peculiar design.
His description of Louisville, his next stopping place, comprises little. more than an account of its superb hotel and of the rooting of swine in the streets. Thence he proceeded to St. Louis, where he remained long enough to make the discovery, that the city owes much to the influence of the Unitarian church, "which is represented there by a gentleman of great worth and excellence." From St. Louis, he made an excursion to the Looking Glass prairie, and then retraced his steps to Cincinnati. From Cincinnati, his course was to Canada, by way of Sandusky and the lakes. A scene described at one of the towns between Cincinnati and Columbus, may have been admired by some as an illustration of the writer's talent for caricature. We copy a part of the concluding paragraph as another illustration of his love for brandy, and his dislike of any internal application of water.
"We dine soon afterwards with the boarders in the house, and have nothing to drink but tea and coffee. As they are both very bad, and the water is worse, I ask for brandy, but it is a temperance hotel, and spirits are not to be had for love or money. This preposterous forcing of unpleasant drinks down the reluctant throats of travelers, is not at all uncommon in America, but I never discovered that the scruples of such wincing landlords induced them to preserve any unu sually nice balance between the quality of their fare, and their scale of charges: on the contrary, I rather suspected them of diminishing the one and exalting the other, by way of recompense for the loss of their profit on the sale of spirituous liquors. After all, perhaps, the plainest course for persons of such tender con
sciences, would be a total abstinence from
From Sandusky, Mr. Dickens hastened by steamboat to Buffalo, and thence to Niagara Falls, where he remained two days-spending the time however, on the Canadian side. He was not probably aware, that some of the most magnificent views of the falls are presented from the American bank of the river. His reflections are worth quoting, as a specimen of his descriptive powers, but as the book itself is in the hands of millions of readers, we need only refer to it. If Mr. Dickens had not been educated to the trade of making police reports, he might have been a poet.
Mr. Dickens visited Toronto, Kingston, Montreal, Quebec, and St. John's, neither of which places is described very minutely, but all of them more at length, and apparently with far more satisfaction, than any American cities of the same or even greater importance. He is more particular in describing scenery and location, and has far less fault than usual to find with the modes of conveyance, the provisions for refreshment and comfort, and the manners of the people. All this is quite natural. In Canada he was on British ground.
From St. John's, our traveler reentered America by way of Lake Champlain, and proceeded imme
diately to New York; but having five days of leisure before embark. ing for England, he made a short excursion to West Point and [New] Lebanon. At New Lebanon, he suffered dreadfully by the misera ble accommodations of the hotel, at which he would have slept had sleep been possible.
On Tuesday, the seventh of June, Mr. Dickens embarked in the packet ship George Washington, for his native land. The chapter describ. ing the passage home is pleasantly written, and contains some import ant suggestions respecting the ship. ping of emigrants. It is followed by a chapter on slavery, embody. ing some facts, but lamentably defi, cient in argument and force. The chapter was written for the English market, and would probably have been different, had the author's scheme for an international copy. right been successful.
The last chapter of the work contains some general remarks on the prominent features of American society, but none of them betray an accurate or philosophic mind. The topics discussed are some of them important, but they are dis. missed with a few hasty, disconnected observations. The writer censures that "universal distrust," which he regards as characteristic of the American people, condemns the general character of the news. paper press, laments the prevalence of the "real" to the exclusion of the "ideal," complains of the de ficiency of the organ of wit in the American cranium, and the want of that "lightness of heart and gaiety," which abounds in merry old England," discusses "the prev alence of various forms of dissent," and the tendency of republican institutions to engender the feeling of self-respect. The latter point is illustrated by the independent air of a boot-maker, who came to take his measure as he was enjoying his "book and wine-glass," and with
this anecdote, followed with a brief dissertation on cleanliness and health, the "circulation" of "American Notes" is suddenly stopped-the said notes being found completely below par.
We regret that Mr. Dickens has published these volumes, for they bear the marks of hasty composition, evince no genius, add nothing to the author's reputation as a writer, and exhibit his moral character in a most undesirable light.
It remains that, in concluding this article, we present briefly the judgment which we have formed of Mr. Dickens as a writer. These Notes are by no means a favorable specimen of the talents of the author. They are very carelessly written, and the subject affords but little scope for the exercise of his peculiar powers. Mr. Dickens is unquestionably a man of genius. He possesses in a rare degree a talent for caricature; yet it seems to be almost uniformly under the control of good nature, and is seldom exercised for a malicious purpose. His mind is continually on the alert for the ludicrous; and the faculty to which he owes his greatest success, is a faculty for making exaggerated descriptions of laughable scenes and odd characters. It may be said of him, as Dryden said of rare Ben Jonson," that "humor is his proper sphere." Such a sentence, we are aware, would assign to him no very lofty niche in the temple of Fame. No man would think of placing the author of Tristram Shandy as high as the author of the Task. Yet in conformity with this estimate of the nature and rank of our author's genius, we are much inclined to regard the "Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club," as his chef d'œuvre. It is to the Pickwick Papers-a work of mere fun, for which the epithet comic is quite too dignified-a work having no aim but to make the public laugh, as laughter from the pit
and galleries greets the broadest kind of farce-that Mr. Dickens owes his chief renown. In that work, every character, every scene and incident, is in perfect harmony with the whole. Mr. Pickwick and his associates, Mrs. Leo Hunter and the elite of Eatanswill, the Wellers elder and junior, Mrs. Bardwell and her boy, the scenes of the election and those of the law-sait, are all of a piece; and it is not to be wondered at, that with the aid of Cruikshank, (whose "illustrations" are a great help to the story,) they have become so well known, and have furnished so much food for unmalicious merriment.
The later works of Mr. Dickens are less exclusively humorous; in fact, they deal not unfrequently in the stern and sad realities of life. But while they thus indicate another kind of talent, and show, as is often shown, that the broadest humor and the most resistless pathos may be nearly allied, they are deficient in respect to unity in the design and harmony in the effect; and the reader feels that a certain violence is done to truth and nature. The hero of the tale is commonly selected from the lower walks of life, perhaps is taken from the parish workhouse, and in spite of the most untoward circumstances, notwithstanding the baneful influences by which he is surrounded, without instruction or sympathy, deprived of the counsel and example of judicious parents and friends, perhaps even against the vicious example of those who gave him birth, he appears to the world a model of excellence, adorned with every virtue and grace, and wins his way to respectability and fortune. So rare, however, are such instances of selfguardianship and promotion in real life, in fact so contrary are they to our experience, that however deeply we may be interested in the story of such a character, we cannot at the same time resist the impression