The last journal of Bishop Burgess was not written for publication, but for the gratification of private friends. It is now given to the public because it is the last, and is earnestly called for by a wider circle of friends. To these reasons may be added another. When the disastrous fire, which occurred but a few hours after the Bishop landed in Port au Prince, deprived our missionary of the hall in which he gathered his congregation, he said that when he returned home he would make it his business to see that a church building was provided as speedily as possible. But he was not permitted to return home, and the work which he laid down must be taken up by other hands. It has been proposed that the necessary buildings should be erected by the personal friends of the Bishop, as a memorial of his last work on earth. To these friends it is not possible to make direct application, but it is hoped that this record of the last few months of his life will make a more distinct appeal unnecessary. If [iii/iv] each reader who calls himself a friend will, without delay, contribute his share towards the work, another year need not pass away without accomplishing the object which occupied almost his last thoughts on earth.
It is proper to add, that if any profit is realized by the publication of the journal, it will be devoted to this object.
The intelligence of the decease at sea of the Right Rev. George Burgess, Bishop of the Diocese of Maine, shocked and saddened the whole Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States. His brethren and friends, (and who that knew him was not his friend?) were fondly anticipating his return from his voyage in improved health and with augmented energies. The prayers and good wishes of many Christian hearts followed this eminent minister of Christ when he embarked for a Southern clime. It would be a superfluous attempt here to pen the eulogy of one so highly respected and so truly loved. Among the accomplished scholars, the finished writers, the fervent preachers, the wise and faithful Bishops of our Church, he stood in the foremost rank. As a Christian man and an overseer of the flock he commended himself to the fullest confidence, shed lustre on his own communion, and adorned the doctrine of God his Saviour.
The loss of such a man under any circumstances would awaken heart-felt sorrow, and leave a painful void, not only in his Diocese, but throughout his whole household of faith. The circumstances attendant upon [v/vi] his removal have been such as greatly to enhance its mournful interest. He passed away in the meridian of his vigor and usefulness. He expired at a distance from his Diocese and home. He was taken in the midst of active duties, the ink being scarce dry upon the sheet on which he had inscribed his last official acts, when the hand dropped motionless and the eye closed. And while, as a Diocesan Bishop his field of labor was wholly Domestic, he closed his course as a Foreign Missionary. Warned by his impaired health of the necessity of change of climate and relaxation, he sought to combine these objects with the advancement of the great work to which his life was devoted. The need was urgent for an Episcopal visit and for the survey of the missionary field in the Republic of Haïti and also in Mexico. Bishop Burgess, instead of seeking to restore his impaired health by visiting the Old World, so full of interest to a man of his well-stored mind and cultivated taste, gladly embraced the opportunity of exploring the openings presented for evangelic enterprise in our tropical regions, and of encouraging and confirming the little flock of our communion that had been already gathered in Haïti.
Those who love to recognize the direction of Him who is Head over all things to the Church, will not doubt that His servant was led to those shores by His unseen hand. And if He have designs of great mercy for the people of that large and beautiful island, through the agency of our Church, is it not in accordance with His ways of wisdom and grace that the memory of one so highly loved and honored should be ever associated with the inception of the work? Is [vi/vii] it a new thing in His Providence that missionary ground should be thus claimed and consecrated? The standard-bearer falls, but not before the colors are unfurled and the trumpet sounded. Moses looks over the length and breadth of the Promised Land, and although he expire on the summit of Nebo, yet was the survey taken by his dying eye as much a part of the divine plan as the victories of Joshua. If the lamented visitor could have returned to his brethren he would have pleaded earnestly and effectively for the evangelization of Haïti. But how often is the death of God's servant more eloquent than his life!
The establishment of the gospel in that magnificent island, whose history from the time of Columbus is of such deep and tragic interest, seems now in the providence of God to be devolved upon our branch of the Christian Church. The nominal religion is the Roman Catholic, and this unscriptural system there exists in a debased shape, almost powerless for good, little better than a bondage of superstition and an agency of extortion. Although it has been for so long a period supreme, it has scarce done any thing to enlighten the ignorance, purify the morals, or elevate the social condition of the people. Dark and cruel heathen usages still linger, witchcraft is a terror, and cannibal orgies were not very long since brought to light and punished by the Government. Rome has had full scope to do what she would; has been weighed in the balance and found wanting. The English Wesleyans have made commendable efforts to introduce the gospel since 1817, and not without a measure of success. Several thousands, it is estimated, have through their efforts been brought to a purer [vii/viii] faith. But they have not succeeded in raising up a native ministry; the attention of the Society is now directed to other fields, many of their missionaries have been withdrawn, and their converts are largely looking to us to care for their souls and prosecute the work which has been begun. Intelligent and pious men are desirous to receive at our hands the ministerial commission, and congregations invite us to take them under our charge.
The Protestant Episcopal Mission in Haïti was commenced by the Rev. J. Theodore Holly, pastor of a colony of one hundred and eleven souls who sailed from New Haven, Ct., May 1st, 1861. The little band did not escape the hardships and mortality almost inseparable from colonial enterprises. Insufficiently accommodated upon their arrival, and exposed without proper shelter to a tropical climate, they lost the first year one third of their number. Mr. Holly, although afflicted with personal illness and domestic bereavement, persevered with signal courage and faith. He acted as the pastor of the little suffering flock, and supported himself and his family in part by the labor of his own hands. Animated by an irrepressible zeal for the spread of the gospel in Haïti, he commenced the work of an evangelist in the city of Port au Prince, and made a highly favorable impression upon the authorities and intelligent residents. On Whitsunday, May 15th, 1863, the Church of the Holy Trinity, Port au Prince, was organized, and in July following was received by the Right Rev. T. C. Brownell, Presiding Bishop, under his Episcopal government. The undersigned, being commissioned by Bishop Brownell to [viii/ix] perform Episcopal acts at Port au Prince and elsewhere in Haïti, visited the island in November, 1863, at which time he confirmed twenty-six persons in the upper room occupied by Mr. Holly on the Lord's day. A report of this visit was made to the American Church Missionary Society, by which Mr. Holly was then sustained, expressing a favorable opinion of his work and of the opening there presented, and especially urging that a church edifice and a house for the residence of the Missionary and the accommodation of a school, should be sent out from this country with as little delay as possible. In 1865 the Mission was transferred by the American Church Missionary Society to the Board of Missions of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and at the request of the Foreign Committee Bishop Burgess consented to inspect the Mission during the last winter. A report of his official acts has been made public. Besides confirming nineteen persons, he laid the foundation of a native Protestant Episcopal Ministry by ordaining two competent persons, both of whom are already engaged as Missionaries of the Foreign Committee, and by receiving testimonials from six more applicants for Holy Orders. After having performed these labors of love, and preached his last sermon at Port au Prince, the lamented Bishop embarked for his distant home, leaving behind him a deep impression of his Christian zeal, practical wisdom, and devoted-ness. But although he knew it not, he was much nearer to a heavenly than to an earthly home. On the day after his embarkation, as the little coasting vessel was lying becalmed on the glassy sea, he fell asleep. On the open deck he gently sank into the [ix/x] long deep slumber--the "blessed sleep, from which none ever wakes to weep"--he fell asleep in Jesus.
And now the autographic record of the closing days and final toils of his holy life is given to the Church of which he was so attached a member and honored a Bishop. May the object to which he gave his latest thoughts and prayers enlist the sympathy and liberality of those who esteemed him very highly in love, both for his own and for his work's sake.
September 11, 1866.
Dec. 27, 1865.--After several mild snows and rains, as the year was drawing towards its close, a westerly wind scattered the clouds, and gave us a gentle entrance on our voyage. The friends who attended us to the vessel, and lingered on board, saw gladly the bright omens towards the setting sun. How various a scene, and sometimes how touching, is the pier from which a steamer, bound for a foreign port, swings herself off, true almost to the minute! There stands a family group in mourning; all serious, the younger in tears: how easy to guess the history of their parting! There are young men and women who have come down to give a cordial farewell to some companion whom they almost envy the delight of travel. The mercantile gentlemen, well-trimmed, intelligent, prompt, mount to the deck as if they took their places in the omnibus. The choked train of vehicles on the pier, with the sometimes swearing drivers, has been released. The last policeman has finished his work about the vessel, whatever it was. The plank is drawn ashore; the great mass moves; the voyage is begun. As she wheels around, and leaves behind her all those friendly faces, and hats are lifted, and white handkerchiefs are waved as long as the eye can discern them, [11/12] it is one of those scenes which the merest stranger would love to retain in memory.
The departing and arriving steamers cross each other's way with a whistle of proud and kind salute. A few moments have carried us beyond the sight of the familiar towers, steeples, and lines of ships. Half an hour more bears us beyond the suburban houses on the shore, the hospitals, the fortresses; and now we pass that long sandy line with its termination of white waves, and we are out, with the boundless sea on one side, and on the other the receding shores, over which, as evening closes in, a light-house now and then glitters. It is a moonlight night, neither cold as winter might claim, nor rough beyond the mildest usage of ocean; and all this transient household of various bloods, who sleep to-night within these floating walls, lie down with little discomfort, though mostly satisfied with the attitude of repose. I write with ease till a late hour.
Dec. 28.--So passed the first night; and the second day bore us easily upon a sea that still tossed but gently. The sky was a little overcast; a little rain fell; but those who were not sick could walk the deck pretty freely; and the air was mild: no need of gloves for warmth. We were far out of sight of the shore; and we saw no vessel. The ladies of the party were generally absent from the table, but without great suffering. The wind drew towards the west; and the western sky, at sunset, was red with the hues of promise. "Glory to thee, my God! this night."
People in the same ship become easily acquainted. The universal need of companionship makes itself felt; [12/13] and, when the ordinary restraints are lifted for a time, something appears of the sentiment which "makes the whole world kin." Conversation which might at other times be little courted is then agreeable; and characters which would otherwise have been never appreciated, become objects of real regard.
Dec. 29.--The second night carried us quietly beyond Cape Hatteras; and, at noon on the following day, it appeared that more than five hundred miles had been accomplished. A little rain would drive us to shelter; and then, again, we could sit and walk, and see the low waves, with their white crests, rise and fall around us as far as the horizon. Other vessels passed us, from Wilmington, perhaps, or Charleston. I delivered letters of introduction to two passengers, and read a large part of a book on "Adam and the Adamite," lent me by an English gentleman from Barbadoes. Between sleep and the four meals, a little conversation, a little reading and writing, and the sources of private meditation, the day and the night glide on easily, if not rapidly, and mingle themselves with eternity.
Dec. 30.--The fourth day brought us to warmer skies, and to seas about as calm as a lake, but traversed by no visible bark but ours. We saw the little nautilus sail; we passed among the fleets of leaping porpoises; we noticed the tracks of the flying-fishes; we admired the white pinions of the sea-gull, which had followed us all the way; and we exulted in the glory of the tropical clouds ranged like white Alpine battlements all around the horizon, or attending the magnificent sunset. Down plunged the sun indeed in haste beneath [13/14] the waters; but the soft, rich, green metallic hues which were left along his path in the west were such as were never quite known at the north.
I became acquainted on that day with a gallant general of the United States army; and with a lady who was my townswoman, and nearly allied by marriage to a family to which my family was similarly allied.
Dec. 31.--The next day was the Lord's Day, and both the last day of the year and, in effect, of our voyage, which closed a little after midnight. We had passed in the forenoon close along the Florida Reef, with the long, low shore, and occasionally a tall beacon in sight. A fine ship, lately wrecked, lay near us on her beam-ends, stripped and worthless. We saw several steamers, and seemed to be on a highway of the seas. Although ill prepared for so much exertion of the vocal organs, still, when I found that some were expecting from me a service, I could not but offer one, brief and imperfect; but it may have its blessing. In the afternoon, we ran at once from the fair green waters that skirt the coast and hide the shoals, into the deep and very beautiful depth of the Gulf Stream. The sea became rougher, and the western sky was hidden at sunset; but a glorious moonlight filled the night and ended the year.
Jan. 1.--At a quarter past one, on the morning of the first of January, the whistle of the steamer bade her strong arms rest, and announced the land, "the harbor, the Havana." There she lay quietly till the morning light, when she steamed in between the strong castle of the Morro, on the left, and a work of some [14/15] strength on the right. The passage is narrow: and the harbor deep, long, but not otherwise very spacious. It was pretty well thronged with vessels of different nations; but the red and yellow of Spain and of Cuba much predominated. The steamers are obliged to anchor at a distance from the pier, so that they have still to land their passengers by small boats.
But once landed, without unusual bustle or confusion, and having submitted to the Custom-House examination, and parted from several friends of the voyage, we have leisure to look around on the strangely foreign scene. For, at first sight, Havana is not only Spanish, but Moorish, Oriental, Chinese, American: all races and all hues mingled in its population, and crowding each other in its narrow streets. The cooley helped to land our baggage; the Chinaman was there, with his peculiar look of old acquaintance: negroes of every degree of blackness; mulattoes with that blackness softened down to every degree; the dark olive of the tropics, the light hair of the North,--all not only meet us, but are thrown together as if in one crowd, to the eye of the stranger.
We arrive at our hotel. The broad, high passage at the entrance leads into the court or quadrangle; and we ascend, on the right, a staircase equivalent to two stories of most well-built houses. The whole front is occupied with a handsome drawing-room; the rear, with a pleasant parlor: and a gallery connected with these goes around the court, and opens on each side into the rooms of the guests. From this gallery we look down into the court below, where, as well as under the adjoining arches which uphold the chambers, [15/16] the tables are spread for each group of guests, all thus having their repasts in the open air. Above, a ceiling of windows were all opened to the sky. The house, once the residence of a noble Spanish family who own it, continually suggests thoughts of a palace, a fortress, or a prison. The windows, like all others here, are heavily grated; the shutters and doors are massy and thick; brick or stone pillars sustain the galleries; marble or brick pavements form the floors; the flat roofs are tiled; and on one of these, for the time, a room was assigned to us, where the welcome breeze comes from the sea above the houses of the city. We look down upon a wilderness of ragged battlements and picturesque walls, every house being painted with some bright color,--blue, yellow, white, green, red,--all that loves the sunshine.
I was obliged to take a boat, and return to the steamer for a very precious Bible which I had left behind; and, after this, contented myself with resting from the voyage. After dinner, which is after dark, the gentlemen and ladies are accustomed to ride for pleasure, which, in the present moonlight, is more endurable. This day was excessively warm, even for Havana; the mercury being at 85° in the shade.
Jan. 2.--On the following day, in the forenoon, we rode, under equal heat, through some of the principal streets and squares, to the fortress by the sea, opposite the Morro Castle; then along the parks, such as they are, and to the country-seat of the Captain-General, not otherwise a spot of much note except for the fine avenue of palms and pines, the orange-trees, the cactuses, and other rich plants developed to their utmost [16/17] glory in his gardens. I saw one negro workman there, at work in fetters. The streets of Havana are swept every night; and thus the city is far cleaner and more fragrant than New York. Families live within their own barred walls; people of gentility walk very little; the ladies wear veils, not bonnets. Many of the laboring men have upon them only the thinnest and scantiest attire; and occasionally a negro child, in the arms of its parent, has none. The shops and warehouses, though not very spacious, are rich with costly goods. Horses, asses, mules, of every capacity of endurance, all lean, scraggy, and strong, with every sort of strange pack-saddle and burden, go rapidly through the narrow streets, where two can pass each other, leaving the merest sidewalk on each side for a single passenger. But great civility between all classes appears to prevail, so that there is little jostling or angry assertion of street right. The favorite, peculiar carriage is the volante; in which the horse, ridden by a negro, drags a chair at a distance of some six to ten feet behind him: the person or persons inside, one or three, lounging as in a cradle. There are crowds of these and other light carriages, but apparently no coaches.
The extreme heat continued. The hills and fields of the country wore the freshest green; and the southerly winds, as far as they went, were refreshing.
Jan. 3.--On our third day in Havana, we repaired, in the forenoon, to the Cathedral; but its doors were locked: a few persons were kneeling at an adjoining shrine. The mass is performed early, in the choir; but in the afternoon, at three, the Canons have their [17/18] second service, for greater coolness, in the nave: this we attended. About twenty ecclesiastics took part in the chanting and reading; and there were only two or three other persons there. All, however, though very monotonous, and quite enough to make the suggestion of intoning our English services an abomination, was still conducted with entire decorum, gravity, and dignity. The Cathedral, built of the yellow stone which becomes rough but not ugly with age, is not of immense extent; but it is stately and beautiful within, and kept in superb order, so unlike most of the Romish churches in all lands. It is also bright and cheerful; and, in all its arrangements, I saw remarkably little that was offensive. The pictures, as works of art, are worthy of the structure. When the Canons had retired, one of them approached us, and, in imperfect French, offered to show us the spot where the ashes of Christopher Columbus lie. It is within the chancel; and is marked by a modest monument, bearing the effigy of the great discoverer.
The endowments of the Spanish Church have been largely appropriated by the State, which at least administers them, and out of them pays the ecclesiastics. These are not seen in any great numbers in the streets of Havana; and the cloisters furnish no trains of monks or nuns to the crowd. I have not even seen the hideous costume of the Sister of Charity, as she spreads out her stiff wings and banners in our cities. No public Protestant service is tolerated; but the Bible is freely sold and given away. The people must be in great religious ignorance: and there is, if we may trust general report, much corruption of morals; but it does [18/19] not very often assume the type of intemperance in drinking. A taste and a necessity for cool and refreshing drinks, which are various and abundant, seems to supersede the desire for more fiery gratification.
The great heat of the last few days was succeeded by gathering clouds and a wind from the north; and, in the evening, there was almost a tempest of rain, while the wind rushed fiercely through the open spaces of the house. We had been transferred, happily, from the roof to one of the rooms opening upon the gallery.
In the night we were aroused by sounds as if several strong men were tugging at our locks and bars; and one of the doors at length flew open. It was "but the wind;" but it was no small exertion to keep it out by barricading, with heavy trunks, both the passages by which it could enter.
Jan. 4.--On the next morning, it was said that a vessel was on shore off the Castle. As we stood upon the Custom-House pier, and looked towards the entrance of the harbor, facing the strong, cool north wind, the dash of the distant breakers was wildly beautiful. The air was quite changed; moderate, even cool, though only in comparison; for it was still pleasant to do every thing with open windows and in the air.
The matters of passports, arrangements for money and for the transmission of letters, and even the determination of the route itself, liable to be changed by any intelligence, are among the wearinesses of the traveller, who would gladly be wafted on his way without solicitude, becoming often a little too self-indulgent. It is well for him to be reminded that he is in the world, where all who live must labor; and where care mounts the ship and sits behind the horseman.
 A man with a strong, boisterous, but glorious voice, somewhere in the neighborhood of the hotel, amused himself, late in the evening, with singing patriotic or other songs. Such a power of voice, it seemed, I never had heard; and I was sorry when the cooler weather, which the Cubans find oppressive, put him to silence. As to the weather at night, there being no glass in the windows, you must choose, when it is cool, between shutters with complete darkness, and the winds, however tempestuous or chilling.
Jan. 5.--Havana is chiefly a great commercial city, with two hundred thousand inhabitants, the pride and treasure of Spain. Its harbor extends, bending a little, perhaps two miles back from the Morro Castle; and, beginning at its upper end, and following it downwards, we see the sources of this insular wealth. Heavy and handsome piers stretch along the water; and there are some broad paved esplanades which look down upon the discharging vessels. There are the supplies of sugar and coffee from the country; the oranges, the bananas, the tobacco; the boards for sugar-boxes, all prepared in the United States, and sent out; the sponges, even, in large heaps. As you proceed, small oxen, harnessed without yokes, but with the pressure of the board upon their foreheads, are reposing; and tough, well-fed, but lean horses and asses bear on each side a balanced burden, and on their backs a vast saddle, to be filled perhaps by a rough laborer, perhaps by a scarecrow. These are depositing daily within the warehouses, or beside the ship or steamer, that which the wealth of the world is ready to buy. These ships and steamers, except when [20/21] actually discharging, or, I suppose, loading, lie off from the shore, and form a scattered fleet of noble bearing. On the last day but one of our visit, a French vessel was lying there, with two regiments, it was said, of reënforcements for Vera Cruz.
Detained by the delay of the steamer to arrive, in which on her further voyage we were to embark, we saw the strange usage of the negro population on their peculiar holiday, Epiphany,--the day of the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, of whom they were. It would be a glorious and most significant spectacle, were they found in all the churches, lifting up their songs of gratitude for the light which has reached them from afar. But it is employed as an occasion rather of strange, giddy, sometimes servile and sometimes barbarian, festivity. The slaves are all let loose for the day. Bands of them go about the streets in all kinds of fantastic attire, and accoutred with every odd implement of peace or war. They unfurl banners; they wield swords in the dance; they drum with their hands and with sticks on hideous African drums; they clothe themselves in the attire, I suppose, of Fetishmen, hiding their natural face and form, and covering themselves with skins, feathers, gay flowers: others make themselves ludicrous by their excessive shabbiness. And thus they place themselves under the balconies, and before respectable people, and solicit small gifts, which, when collected, are dedicated, it is said, first to the relief of their suffering fellows, and then to a gay ball and supper on this night. Meanwhile, a more elevated class of the negro girls have spent their earnings, or the presents which have been made them, in [21/22] the purchase of gay, floating dresses, scarlet and crimson shawls, and all that is brilliant in dress; and thus trail the streets on this one day of triumph. Some of them were graceful and handsome, and one or two were queenly; the black skin at a little distance contrasting better than white with the light muslin. The only gloves I have seen in Havana were a pair of white kid on one of these women. The shops were generally shut; and no one was very solicitous to extend his walk till the afternoon brought a comparative quietness; and then the Park of Isabel and the vicinity was exceedingly pleasant.
Again we were detained till after a Sunday, the day succeeding the Epiphany. The promise, where two or three are gathered in the name of Jesus, was affectionately claimed through the services of His Church in private: public Protestant service in Havana there is none. The streets on Sunday are more quiet than throughout the week: trade is not much invited, but is not refused. Many tradesmen live at their places of business, or have their warehouses in their dwellings. But a bull-fight was advertised for the evening. I was told that very few white people in Havana go to church at all; hardly any men. We went to the Cathedral in the afternoon, to see a procession which was advertised. It was a very unimposing exhibition, though not so shabby as I have seen them at Rome. I was offered a candle, and was glad to retreat behind a door, as the canopied hostia passed by. Oh, who can forbear lifting to God the longing prayer, that, on this great irreligious seat of commerce and opulence, the light of God may arise; so that its temples may be His in all purity and [22/23] truth, and that the blessings which Spain repulsed at the Reformation may still be her best wealth!
Jan. 8.--The steamer of the English line from Vera Cruz to St. Thomas, in which we were to embark, arrived on Sunday; and on Monday morning we were duly on board at her anchorage. Before noon she steamed down the harbor, passed all the fleet of ships, passed the solid piers and full warehouses, passed the strong lines of the fortification on either side, passed close under the Morro Castle, town, light-house, and rock, turned to the right, and was in a moment on the sea. The sea was a little rugged; but through most of the day it was delightful to sit upon the deck, and inhale the cool air, even from ahead. Occasionally a little shower or too damp a spray would compel us to retire for a season. We ran along the northern coast of Cuba, in sight of land, till dark: and, toward evening, the slightly varied outline of the previous shore was succeeded by that remarkable flat between two striking summits, known as the "Pan of Matanzas." The city of Matanzas lies around a point eastward of this. As we proceeded, the wind and the sea grew higher, and the night was rather rough. The steamer, remarkably straight and steadfast, built of iron, wavered not and was but little affected, except by the occasional thumps which struck her till she trembled. My mattress was wet from the deck; and I slept on the lounge.
Jan. 9.--Through the early part of the night, sleep was naturally broken by some restlessness; but the latter part was passed in deep sleep. Morning brought closed ports on our side: spray washing over the deck, [23/24] strong winds ahead, and altogether one of those days on which (though they be neither very alarming nor intolerably uncomfortable, yet) every one longs for a favorable change. In the afternoon and evening the sea did considerably subside; and the stars shone down upon the waters when I last went upon deck. We passed several vessels at a distance, on their way to Cuba: one of them a Spanish steamer. Almost all the crew of our vessel were Africans; with a somewhat peculiar type of countenance, by no means indicating either stupidity or malignity.
Jan. 10.--I enjoyed on the following night, when the sea, somewhat allayed, rocked me to sleep, a pro-founder repose than for many a week before. When I came out in the morning, we were at a narrow part of the Bahama Channel, some twenty miles across. On the left was a tall white light-house, on one of the small Bahama keys; on the right, the Cuban shore was distinctly in sight. Through the whole day I could walk the deck, or sit there; but the wind was cool, and a great-coat was welcome. The four meals break up the day; and I read a considerable part of Mill's "Examination of Hamilton's Philosophy"; and only wished I had more materials for other literary occupation.
Jan. 11.--A pleasant night and day succeeded, during which we finally left the eastern point of Cuba, crossed the Channel, and came in sight of the Haytien hills. Though the weather was moderate, yet it had no tropical features. One could sit on the deck with comfort, but there was no occasion for summer clothing. The hours glided away, idly perhaps, [24/25] though not so with me, who was reading rather hard, but not uncomfortably. Amongst the passengers, I became acquainted with one, from the State of New York, who felt himself to be quite low with consumption. He had lost by it his father and six brothers and sisters, being himself the last left to his mother, whom it was his great desire to see again. If he found himself able to stay through the winter, he would return in the spring: if not, he would take the first steamer homeward. He had been an officer in our volunteer army; and spoke of himself with calmness and even cheerfulness, and was not ignorant where he must look for hope and peace. I was glad to talk with him, as he was necessarily lonely and exposed to many inconveniences.
An unpleasant and possibly fatal accident occurred in the succeeding night to one of the engineers. Leaning over the machinery, he allowed his head to come between two iron beams, one or both in motion, which compressed his skull above his ears, so that the slightest additional pressure would have been destruction. It was not quite certain, in the judgment of the surgeon, how far the skull was injured; but he feared much from the secondary consequences of such wounds. The man was sensible and sleepless.
Jan. 12.--All the next day we skirted the northern coast of the great island of St. Domingo, at a distance of eight or ten miles. It is very bold and grand, one range of picturesque mountains sweeping off behind another, and some of them very high, many thousands of feet, and broken by singular clefts. About noon we were abreast of the fine headland which [25/26] makes the northern extremity of the island, Cape Isabella; and near its fort is the town of Port au Platte. Still the shore stretched onward till morning. The air was becoming warmer.
Jan. 13.--The next day was warmer yet, but not oppressive. We left St. Domingo behind us, and crossed the Mona Channel, till, in the afternoon, we were in sight of Porto Rico. We thought it best to have some letters ready for home, as so many vessels leave that island for the United States, and we were to touch at St. Juan. The shore, so far as we could get glimpses of it from a distance before dark, was less striking than that of St. Domingo; but it is a rich island, and of great value to Spain, with its sugar and molasses. The former goes chiefly to Europe; the latter to the United States.
Jan. 14.--In the night the steamer stood still off the harbor of St. Juan in Porto Rico, and at daylight went in and delivered the mail. Few more beautiful scenes than this fine haven presents can be seen even in the West Indian seas. After entering the narrow passage, on one side of which frowns the little fortress, the very handsome town extends itself on the left with walls on the water's edge, and no aspect of poverty or decay in any part, as it ascends the lull. The harbor stretches up, like that of Havana, among green fields; but on the right as you enter, are magnificent ranges of hills, range behind range, broken precipitously, but all rich with vegetation, and suggesting thoughts of volcanic ruptures, while still beyond these are loftier mountains. The familiar name of Bangor on the stern of a vessel which we passed made us hope that our [26/27] letters might even so reach home, if not sooner. Leaving this splendid scene, we skirted the shore of Porto Rico still eastward, then saw a crowd of beautiful islands of every outline and size,--now a single, low round hill, now a long mountain, now a mere fantastic rock, till, at a distance, the lofty height of St. Thomas arose in our front. But the island is mostly uncultivated, and the population is nearly confined to the town, which is on the south side. As you at length approach it, clearing the smaller islets, you see on the lower part of a vast green hill-side three rises of bright houses, with yellow walls and red roofs and verandas; and on the water many ships and steamers. As it was Sunday, everything was in its best attire; and even the negroes, who fought over our baggage, were well clothed. The hotels, happily for us, reached almost to the shore; and the neighboring streets were short and narrow, for there were no carriages; and we applied at four hotels without succeeding in our application for lodgings. At length we obtained a room, and quiet, comfortable accommodations in a private boarding-house. It was an unspeakable satisfaction to go in the evening to the English Church, of which the Rev. Mr. Roach is the minister. The congregation was large, and was chiefly made up of people of color. An excellent and evangelical sermon was preached; the Service was well read; the singing was pleasant and general; and after service I introduced myself to the Rector, and stepped over to his house. We went to bed this night tired, but refreshed and rejoicing.
Jan. 15.--The sun rose, warm and cheerful; but very soon, as in the night before, clouds came down [27/28] from the mountain, and brought a succession of sudden and heavy showers, which were not long interrupted throughout the day. We were unable to go out till towards evening, when we took a short walk, but saw little of the town. The streets are so narrow, and so muddy in rainy weather, that it would be impossible to explore with any satisfaction. We could see little more than a few pleasant houses on the heights; the stir of the noisy, good-natured blacks; their various modes of carrying burdens--not generally very heavy; occasional horsemen, few in number; and no carriage, though there are a few carts and genteeler vehicles. Mr. Roach called in the evening, and came on horseback, though his house was at no great distance.
Jan. 16.--Beautiful weather succeeded on the next day; and we saw St. Thomas in much of its best beauty. The main street is lined with long, deep warehouses, extending to the water side. The market is a busy scene; and so are the few piers; but the vessels lie off at their anchorage. We visited the Danish Fort, which is also the prison; and from the weak battlements had a fine view of the little bay and its fleet of ships and steamers.
Arm of the Lord, why lingerest thou so long?
The ocean isles await thee with a song.
The steamer from England came in; bringing, with other passengers, a part of the commission sent out to inquire into the Jamaica insurrection and its suppression. We dined with the Rector of the Parish, and passed a pleasant evening.
Jan. 17.--We rose early, expecting to cross to St. Croix, as the steamer was advertised for eight o'clock; [28/29] but on going down to the harbor, found that the hour had been suddenly changed, and she had gone at seven.
Thus detained, we found ourselves able to turn into the hotel at which we had first made application in vain. I called again on our friend the Rector, and walked with him the whole length of the town to the Cemetery. Graves are kept open, because in this climate the burial must usually follow the death within the day. Sixty persons were buried, in the prevalence of the cholera, by Mr. Roach one Sunday afternoon together, some of whom had been at church in the morning. The town is not considered unhealthy; but diseases are often rapid, and many deaths occur in the shipping. In the streets the number of blacks greatly exceeds that of the white people: the police, I believe, is rigid, just, and uniform.
Jan. 18.--There is at St. Thomas a very respectable Atheneum, with the chief papers and magazines from different countries, and with a large and valuable collection of books. Such use of these privileges as could be suitable for strangers was secured to us by the kindness of a citizen. Santa Anna lives on the hillside, in a house not externally splendid, but richly furnished; and loads the community with the abomination of his corrupt example. St. Thomas has a population which must be nourished almost entirely from abroad: the island yields very little. It is a free port; and certain articles are thus sold at low prices, while the general rate of living is high.
Jan. 19.--The custom of living is to take, on rising, a cup of coffee, but not to breakfast till ten or eleven,--much work being first done. Dinner is deferred till five [29/30] or six; and these two meals, which are almost equally substantial, are the allowance of the day. Much time is thus left for industry, and I should suppose it not idly employed. Certainly, if the promiscuous and incessant babble of thousands of tongues in the free open air be any indication that the blacks are not asleep, industry of some sort is not wanting. One city clock gives the time; and a gun from the garrison at five in the morning and another at eight in the evening, seem to be regarded by the negroes as the regulators of their day. The Lutheran is the established religion. The clergyman of the English Church is sustained by the English government, like the chaplains in European cities, to the extent of half his salary. The Moravians have been established here more than a century: they have two little meetings outside of the town, as well as one within, and are held in universal confidence. No Baptist, Methodist, or other sectarian worship is by law allowed.
Jan. 20.--At length we undertook the little voyage of forty or fifty miles, right through the open sea to St. Croix. The night had been windy and rainy; and though the sky was bright, the little steamer, once out at sea, so heaved and tossed that it was impossible to remain on deck. It was, however, but three or four hours, and we found ourselves, early in the afternoon, in the harbor of St. Croix. The Custom-House (St. Thomas, though Danish, being a free port) required a moment; and we were soon settled comfortably at the Hotel, where we found several American gentlemen, and one lady, somewhat an invalid. Mr. Allman, the Rector of the church, soon after called; and we walked [30/31] out together, but were compelled by a sudden shower to take shelter. Then we drove a little way out of the town, and saw something of the character of the place and of the neighboring country. It was peculiarly the market-day, substituted for the old Sunday markets; and a cheerful sight were the crowds of black people from the country, with their little carts, called "emancipation carts," in which they bring in their produce and ride home over the smooth roads. We met and passed many of them as we drove through a sugar estate near the town. The cane grows to a great height, the upper part being excellent food for the animals, while the stalks, after the extraction of the juice, are still of use, as fuel. There were no fences or walls; but the cattle were pastured together, under the eye of a guard. Nothing could be more delightful than the ride on the sea-shore, with the cool breeze, while the cocoa-nut trees, with their fruit; the cactuses in full growth and bloom; the oleanders--large, beautiful trees--and others, natives of the tropics, which I could not name, bordered the way. The town was once more imposing than now, as many of the houses have a decayed look; but there are public buildings of much extent and dignity, especially the Government-House: the churches are all large and respectable in aspect: and the first impression of the town is one of great pleasantness, even apart from its delightful climate and fine position on the sea.
Jan. 21.--On Sunday, the Danish custom and regulations being founded on the Lutheran view of the Lord's Day, shops may be open at early and at quite late hours, but are closed in the intervals. The sound [31/32] of the billiard balls was heard in the hotel all day long. At the English or Episcopal Church,--for indeed it is independent, and, though originally planted by English people and ministers, has been much carried on by American clergymen,--there was a large congregation. It is a cruciform building of stone, very spacious and airy, and could hold fifteen hundred people or more. The clergyman ministers to five thousand souls. People of all colors sit, as at St. Thomas, quite indiscriminately together. Mr. Allman preached extempore, on prayer; and in the evening on the same subject, under a different aspect and with a different text. There are monuments commemorative of the labors of Mr. Hawley, and of Mr. Richard Cox, who was here for a time. The Sunday-schools, composed both of children and of adult blacks, are very large and interesting, and have, besides the church, an excellent building for their accommodation. Four churches supply the town: the Lutheran, Episcopal, Roman Catholic, and Moravian.
Jan. 22.--After a ride on the next day through some of the most luxuriant spots in the neighborhood of the town, I had the opportunity of being present at an interesting discussion in the Council of the Island. The Governor was present, though not exactly as the presiding officer; but he gave his opinion with great freedom. It was proposed to permit the laborers to make their annual bargains with their employers at such rates as they might agree upon, and not, as now, at a fixed rate; and several other changes were included, all in the interest of the laborers. After a rather animated discussion, in which two of the Judges [32/33] took part on the side of the laborers, the propositions were all rejected, not being acceptable to the planters, who were strongly represented in numbers. The whole Council were about twenty-four; and my friend and I were the only auditors in the large and handsome hall.
We dined with our friend Mr. Allman, and had the pleasure of meeting the Rev. Mr. Dubois, Rector of the Church of Friedrichstad at the other end of the island. He was educated at Middletown, and is canonically a clergyman of the Diocese of Connecticut, to which he does honor.
Jan. 23.--The public schools of the island have been permitted to be very much under the charge of the Moravians; but the Government has required the erection by the planters of very substantial school-houses, which are well furnished with teachers and books,--the latter in some cases prepared for the island, or for the West Indies, exclusively. We visited one of these schools in the country. The phonetic system of reading has been unhappily insisted on by the Superintendent of the schools, but is now likely to be altered; the results being found to be too small and too easily lost, after the time when, at an early age, the services of the children are required on the estates. These estates form the subdivision of the country. Each has its substantial buildings: the establishment of the proprietor, formerly the seat of autocratic elegance, and usually spacious and strong; the habitations of the manager and others, as well as of the laborers, who are very well lodged; the sugar-works, with the tall chimney emitting smoke when they are [33/34] boiling the sugar, which also sends abroad a very pleasant and healthful fragrance; the windmill, often of stone; while the fields are all covered with the cane at its different stages,--some just planted, some at a mighty height and thickness, waiting for the cutlass. Returning to the town, I called at the Government-House, to pay my respects to his Excellency, who is a courteous and intelligent gentleman.
Jan. 24.--On the following day, we rode fifteen miles to Friedrichstad, or West End, the other part of St. Croix. The roads are superb; and it was ludicrous to hear complaints that they had been neglected. A very large part of the way lies through an avenue of cocoa-nut trees. The cabbage palms are mingled with these; and then we have the tamarind, the mango, the mahogany, and a large variety of trees known only within the tropics, while of our northern vegetation there is scarcely a trace or name. The prospect of the various estates--some by the sea-side, others in the valleys, all so green and rich--was exquisite to the eye. Many of the estates are not in the hands of their former proprietors, and many are not profitable; but the negroes have much protection from the laws, and appear to form a contented and prosperous peasantry. There are no fences and very few walls; but the fields are watched, day and night; and small stone houses, about as large as a tomb, are seen, in which the single watchman has shelter.
Jan. 25.--I saw, on the next day, for the first time, a cotton estate. The culture of cotton, to any extent, has but lately been introduced into St. Croix. Large fields waving with the plant, now in flower, were a [34/35] beautiful sight; and we saw the easy process of the gin. The fish-market offered to me one of the most interesting scenes which I have anywhere beheld. It seems as if, in the colors of the tropical fishes, the profuseness of creative skill had thrown abroad its splendors with pleasure in their mere variety and luxuriance. Black, white, brown, red, pink, gray, yellow, green, orange, every shade, every kind of spot or stripe, are here in wonderful beauty, on these little animals drawn up indiscriminately from one harbor.
We took the steamer at five in the afternoon for St. Thomas, and arrived before ten. The passage was not very rough. As we were going from the steamer to the boat which was to land us, an accident occurred, which, but for the merciful favor of God, would have filled us with the deepest sorrow. A fellow-passenger, a lady of much worth, descended the steps, and, on placing her foot in the boat, slipped, and in a moment went over the side into the water, except as we could sustain her from entire immersion. The struggle was hard for a moment; I had her by the hand when she fell, and, going with her to the bottom of the boat, kept a strong hold upon her, while the boatman and the men on the steps helped to raise her, and kept her from being hurt between the boat and the steps; but she was heavy, and the boat dipped very low, and threatened us all. By the mercy of God, however, we succeeded in lifting her in; and with thankful hearts, landed in St. Thomas.
Jan. 26.--A day was gladly given up to some little matters of business, and to rest; as our excursions [35/36] in St. Croix had, after all, been rather numerous, and absolute repose is occasionally very agreeable in travel. The difference between the comparative quietness of St. Croix and the incessant gabble of the streets and little market-places of St. Thomas was easily felt, and did not favor rest. But our lodgings at St. Thomas were so comfortable, and the flow of life around us so animated, narrow as it was, that the exchange was not disagreeable. I formed the acquaintance of a gentleman, who, after living for eighteen years at Para, on the Amazon, almost directly under the equator, pronounces that the most delightful and healthful climate in the world, having never been sick.
Jan. 27.--The next day proved to be rainy, almost throughout, and a rainy day in St. Thomas is a day to be passed within the spacious halls and galleries of the hotel, or in the Atheneum, well lined with books, if you can reach the spot, but not in the streets. For, the successive showers come down, sweeping, sudden, overwhelming; and there is nothing but to take shelter, as wet clothes maybe quite dangerous. The evening brightened up, and we had an early visit from the Rector.
Jan. 28.--The next day was a bright and cheerful Sunday, and not excessively warm. At the English Church the congregations were very large. That church, a handsome stone edifice, capable of containing at least a thousand people, was built through the energy and personal toils and sacrifices of our countryman, the late Rev. J. J. Brandegee. Coming out for his health, he found such a field here that he gave himself up to it for a time with all his powers, and has left a noble monument.
 Jan. 29.--Towards the end of the month, there is a great concentration of arrivals at St. Thomas, of steamers from the various parts of the seas: from England, from the United States, from Jamaica, from Cuba, from Aspinwall, from the Windward Islands, from Brazil. A vessel of war from the United States came in, under the flag of an Admiral or Commander, and anchored so near the town that the sound of the salutes was like a heavy bombardment. There was a little gathering at the Rector's, this evening, of uninvited friends, to congratulate him on his birthday, such being the kindly, but rather troublesome custom, of Denmark and the Danish Islands.
Jan. 30.--The Atheneum, at St. Thomas, is a great resource for strangers, and not a little needed: as the rides are difficult up the sides of the mountains, and then through unmade roads, and the walks still more limited, and indeed, except within very narrow bounds, impossible, save to the most healthful and patient strength. The Atheneum furnishes a few of the best periodicals of the English, Danish, German, and French languages; and its books are drawn from all these sources. Many an invalid traveller has passed hours there, with mental advantage and entertainment, which might else have glided away in lassitude.
Jan. 31.--The English and French steamers, expected, the former on the last day of the month, the latter a day earlier, had neither of them arrived on that day. We were therefore delayed, as our steamer depends on that from England. By the kind invitation of the Admiral, we dined with him and the two [37/38] Captains, of the fleet and of his vessel, on board the flag-ship, which is a vessel of fourteen guns. We had a very agreeable dinner, and were afterwards rowed about the harbor as the twilight came on; a scene of exceeding beauty.
Feb. 1.--Still another day we lingered; for the fact was that there had been severe weather far on the Northern Atlantic, and the steamers had passed through it with straining engines. Our friend, the Rector, was visited with one of those little attacks of fever, which, in this climate, from time to time, attack such a man and make an occasional change of climate a great advantage, if not a positive necessity. The Atheneum was still a resource; the handsomer streets of the town, though few and small, were visited; and, another of our vessels of war having arrived, the American uniform was a frequent sight.
Feb. 2.--The steamers from England and France both arrived in the next night; and we were early on board of the other British steamer, to which the mails for the Windward Islands were transferred. Before noon, we were dancing upon the blessed sea, and breathing the warm but delicious breezes of the South. Leaving St. Thomas behind, we passed along the shores of the little neighboring islands of St. John and Tortola, and then struck across for St. Christopher, leaving St. Croix on the right, afar off. The night was very warm; and as all the best cabins were occupied by the passengers from England, who had the preference, we were shut up in a place which would a little reduce a candidate for wrestling honors; but I was suqirised to find at midnight that I had slept, after all, very quietly.
 Feb. 3.--In the morning, I found myself in need of our full measure of covering, which, after all, is but a sheet, so far as hotels or vessels furnish us. We approached and passed the high land of St. Eustatius, and soon were in sight of St. Kitts. The interior of this island is of stupendous height: but the green fields stretched up the side, and beautiful estates came down to the shore. A very singular clump of rock and earth, which appeared as if it had once been hurled from the mountain to the coast, had been, when there was a garrison here, its strong seat. The large, dark church of the Church of England is by the water. The mails and some freight were landed here in boats; and then we passed on, gathering a few more passengers, till we reached the fine little isle of Nevis, which is very near St. Christopher. On the opposite side, we saw the rock of Redendo, an island rising straight out of the sea, and producing great supplies of guano, which our countryman, Dr. Field, aspires to make a great source of profit, to himself and the country. In the evening we approached Antigua, landed the mails and freight, and were detained about an hour. We could see very little of the island, except its dark, high sides. The little port at which the steamer touches is twelve miles from the capital; and passengers had been waiting there desolately from hour to hour for two or three days, during the detention of the steamers.
Feb. 4.--On Sunday morning the vessel glided by the broken summits of Guadaloupe, and at an early hour handed over her mails, without stopping, to a vessel from the island, which had been visited by a [39/40] most destructive visitation of the cholera. I could not credit the very large number of its victims, as given in the papers, though bearing the aspect of accurate detail. We had a short Morning Prayer and discourse, the service being chiefly read by an English clergyman who came on board at Antigua, desiring to be present at Dominica at a Confirmation and other services on this day. A little after noon, we arrived at the harbor and small capital. While the steamer waited, the Bishop of Antigua, Dr. Jackson, came off in a boat, with great kindness, and gave us the opportunity to become acquainted with one whose benevolence of manners and dignified cordiality accord with the great respect in which he is held as a bishop and pastor. Delicious winds attended us as we thus glided all day along these beautiful shores, till, towards evening, Martinique was in sight; and at a later hour the hubbub of a mighty concourse of negro boats in a harbor, and of embarking and disembarking passengers and a little freight at a distance from the shore, were once more witnessed. The lights of St. Pierre were left behind us as midnight came on.
Feb. 5.--The arrival of the steamer at St. Lucia and her departure occurred before daylight; and thenceforth our way was eastward, leaving the shelter of the Islands, and taking the waves of the Atlantic to Barbadoes. It was a rough and rather disagreeable passage; as there was great difficulty in keeping one's legs, even when the head and stomach were steadfast. The Archdeacon of Barbadoes, son of the aged and absent Bishop, had come on board at St. Lucia, with a clergyman of the Diocese; and we were greatly [40/41] indebted to him for carrying us on our late arrival, at ten o'clock, through the shocking confusion of a nightly landing at one of these ports. The authorities of the steamer might easily produce order and comfort for the passengers; but they hand them over to the boatmen, who are ill regulated by the police, and amidst whose wild, unmeaning clamor an operation, not the easiest nor the least hazardous in the world, is performed at every disadvantage. Once fairly out of the crowd of boats, we rowed delightfully across the fine harbor, in which a considerable number of large ships were lying; and we rejoiced to lay our heads on pillows once more which rested on dry land.
Feb. 6.--Our first day in Barbadoes was passed chiefly within doors, on account of the illness of one of us; but I took a walk of some extent, and was also driven along the shore, before dining with a gentleman, just out of the town. It extends along the water-side, and has a little range of wharves around an inlet. Trafalgar Square is the central point of this part of the town, towards which the streets converge, and which contains a statue of Lord Nelson, and a fine fountain: some very busy streets, back from the water, cross those which meet here. St. Michael's Church is the Cathedral. Then there is St. Mary's Church, and St. Paul's, and two or three others of smaller size and more recent date. The older churches are surrounded by spacious churchyards, but none of them appear as if kept up with-great regard to its freshness of aspect or with much outlay of expense. The "Queen's House," occupied by the military Commander, is in a fine enclosure of rich trees. I saw in our ride, trees [41/42] which, like the banyan, strike their branches into the earth, and so multiply their roots and trunks.
Feb. 7.--Though the air is warm, there seems to be a perpetual strong breeze, which more than softens the heat. On the second day, we went out to the dwelling of our hospitable friend, who had urged us to come to Barbadoes, and who placed at our disposal the mansion which he was occupying, as tenant, in a bachelorlike way. It is one of the best of the old provincial residences, exceedingly spacious in every direction, and airy, and commanding an extensive view of a beautiful country on every side. To reach it, being about three miles from Bridgeton, we passed by one of the principal roads, and through a most populous community: for the homes of the black people extend on each side of all these roads, to a considerable distance from the town. They are the simplest wooden cottages, with two rooms; just a shelter, and no more. The roads themselves are hewed from the coral rock which composes the island, and must have cost great labor in other days.
Feb. 8.--We spent an entire day in complete rest, in our airy and delightful abode, till the hospitalities of the evening gathered a few guests. The plains were green with the cane, ready to be ground; while, here and there, the crop of the succeeding year was just above the soil. The cool wind swept over them; and we were too far removed to hear the sounds or see the signs of labor. Perhaps the breezes are less soft than at St. Croix; but they are steady, cheerful, and invigorating.
Feb. 9.--Almost every morning brought with it a [42/43] little shower; or, if it failed in the morning, it was only to come at a later hour; but on the ninth of February it was so prolonged in the morning as almost to threaten the planters, just gathering in their canes, and proceeding to melt. It passed off, however, and left a beautiful day, in which we visited one of the Moravian establishments, of which there are four in the island. They have done much good amongst the negroes; and still exercise a happy influence. There is usually a large house for the missionaries, a chapel, a school; and they sometimes possess so much property as to have some of the usual appurtenances of a sugar estate.
Feb. 10.--On the day after this, we drove some ten miles to the residence of a gentleman, the President of the Council, who had invited us to spend the day at his beautiful place. Its position is elevated,--almost the highest in the island; and around the house he has placed the loveliest flowers of the climate, its variety of interesting trees, an almost English lawn, and an orchard of Barbadian fruits, where the shaddock, a kind of sour orange, hangs over you with threatening weight and a golden hue. The family were delightfully hospitable, intelligent, and kind; so that our day was to be remembered as passed on one of the brightest spots of the whole earth. Between breakfast and dinner we rode a few miles to Haskleston Cliff, near the eastern shore of the island; where, from a height of nine hundred feet of almost perpendicular descent, we saw, at the distance of perhaps half a mile, the magnificent Atlantic break on the shore. Then we went on to St. John's Church, which stands on a continuation [43/44] of the same cliff, a mile or two beyond, and commands a very similar view from the church and churchyard. Codrington College is just below the cliff, near the sea-side. Our host for the day, as we returned to his home, took us into his sugar-works, which were in actual operation; and we saw the process, from the submission of the cane to the grinding mills, on to the rich product packed in the hogsheads. Every estate has its stone windmill, its works for boiling, its storehouses and other buildings, forming a cluster, which, from a little distance, appears like a village; and then the whole island, almost every rood cultivated, is dotted with these hamlets; not a fence, wall, or hedge being seen, except about mansions like that in which we are guests, and to which we returned in the evening.
Feb. 11.--The following day was the Lord's Day, which it was a great happiness to spend in a Christian land, in English churches. We rode in the morning about seven miles to St. George's Church, the Rector of which, the Rev. Mr. Cummins, is a man more than seventy years old, and altogether blind; but recites the prayers, chants alternately with the choir the intermediate chants, and even recited the Gospel, leaving the rest of the service to his Curate, the Rev. Mr. Beckles, son of the Bishop of Sierra Leone. The part of the Rector in the Service was touching, as he spoke with much feeling; and all were struck when he read in the Gospel for the day the supplication of the blind man, that he might receive his sight. In the afternoon, at a smaller distance from home, we attended the Evening Service at St. Matthew's Church. Only [44/45] eight white persons were present: the black hearers might have been a hundred. This was, of course, chiefly on account of the general habit of attending the Morning Service only; but the preponderance of the colored classes must be great in almost all churches. There seems to be no very definite separation in the seats: at least, the body of the church, including the pews usually most valued, is occupied by the black people, just as by the white: Mr. Clinckett is the Rector of St. Matthew's. The churches of the island have outside a great resemblance; Gothic, airy, with or without towers; but the stone of which they are built, as with houses, becomes dark and discolored. There is usually a building for schools, the lower story of which is arched and open, for the horses and carriages of the families that come. In our long drives we were always much struck with the immense labor which has dug these excellent roads through the rock. On that day it was very charming to see the laborers, to a great extent, dressed in their best clothes; the men much like gentlemen, the women with all the flow of white handkerchiefs, and gowns of spotless cleanness. Here and there, however, at the humble houses, a boy appeared as he came into the world. We reached home just as a decided rain came on. Thanks for a day of mercies!
Feb. 12.--On the succeeding day there was rain,--enough to prevent a contemplated excursion; and in fact, from its irregular and broken occurrence to keep us in the house, where, happily, there was room for much exercise. Any exuberance of rain is dreaded by the planters, with whom the question of profit and [45/46] loss from their estates, turns often upon a delicate and fluctuating margin. Most of the estates, though yielding well, and assiduously cultivated, are embarrassed with advances, made either for their purchase, or in unfavorable years, or in the confident hope of favorable ones, inducing too much expenditure. Still, I think that there must be on the whole a very fine average gain to the owners, in return for the labor and capital employed through any considerable succession of years.
Feb. 13.--A similar day followed, with a strong wind day and night. We walked out a little way, but did not venture to take a drive. One of the island clergy, however, whom I had not yet seen, called in the course of the day. The Commissioners from Canada, who are here for the purpose of promoting intercolonial trade, were on this day entertained by the merchants at a great public dinner. There was not, I think, much disposition to enter into specific engagements.
Feb. 14.--We had now arrived at the beginning of Lent; and Ash Wednesday, a cold February day at home, saw us in the spacious cathedral at Bridgeton, with the breezes sweeping through all the windows, doors, and galleries, except when these were partly closed to shut out short and slight showers. The Cathedral is a plain building, but so large as to contain two thousand persons; and is filled and surrounded with monuments, the oldest dated in 1665. Although there was no music, the Service was long, including the Commination, which I had never heard before. The congregation was pretty large, but did not embrace [46/47] many gentlemen, nor indeed many white persons. We spent the remainder of the day at the house of a friend who had taken us to church. Opposite to this house is Bishop's Court, the residence of Bishop Parry, now an old man, infirm, and in England. The house was deeply embosomed in trees. In compliance with the general custom, I called with a friend on the Governor, Mr. Walker; and as he was somewhat an invalid, we were courteously received in his chamber.
Feb. 15.--A ride on the following day took us to a picturesque region. As we ascended the rather hilly land, at some distance in the rear of our residence, a splendid view of the sea along the western coast of the island, shining in the light of the declining sun, was opened. Pausing a moment at a little school, which was closing with the Evening Hymn, pealed out by a company of black children, under a black preceptor of the English Church, we proceeded into a more rocky scene than we had yet witnessed in Barbadoes. The hills were perforated with frequent caves, amidst the thick foliage. Immense fragments of the coralline rocks lay scattered on all sides, with wild ravines between them, while by the roadside the breadfruit-tree or the mango might be spreading its grand shade of he deepest green. A copious spring issues from these wilds; and, rushing through an iron outlet, fills the pails of the negroes from all the region around, and pours on to water many a spot below. We returned, delighted with this little excursion.
Feb. 16.--The cool wind swept all the while over the island. When, on the next evening, we drove in a [47/48] different direction to return the visit of a worthy clergyman, it was almost chilly for one of our party, who was thinly dressed. An ascent of a few hundred feet considerably varies the temperature; but in Barbadoes it is never below 68. We heard much, of course, in all quarters, of the proceeds of estates, the pay of the laborers, the prospects of the planters, the improvement of the whole system of society, as well as the plans of individuals. A gentleman dined with us this evening, whose eagerness and anxiety were very copiously and rapidly expressed in a tide of argument that could not be interrupted.
Feb. 17.--The negroes work, on Saturday, only for themselves, unless they choose otherwise. Thus the windmills rest their broad arms; and all along the road appear groups of people walking, talking, stretched on the ground, or wandering at will. Others, especially the women, carry fruit and other articles of their own to the town for sale. There seems no pause in the toil of the port, which was now just beginning to be urgent, as the sugar began to be brought in for shipping. The city of Bridgeton contains, on its outskirts, many really handsome houses, the abodes of real or apparent affluence. They are all but two stories, if not merely one, in height, with thick stone walls, covered with a cement of light color; but owe much of their pleasantness to the trees amidst which they stand, usually with high walls in front. But beyond these houses, the suburbs, as inhabited by the Africans, are the scenes of the slightest wants and the fewest comforts which home can be supposed to offer. It is only to be said that there was no direct appearance of vice or intemperance.
 Feb. 18.--On the Lord's Day we went in to attend the Service at the Cathedral, and to receive the Holy Communion, which is there administered weekly. The Service was a little more musical than is usual in parish churches; but not much: and the music, excellent as it was, had the great merit of being voluntary and universal. The Rector of the parish preached, and, with the assistance of one Curate, performed the whole Service, which occupied two hours and a half of almost uninterrupted speaking, in a very large building, which will contain two thousand persons, and was well filled on that day. He has been at his post almost a quarter of a century; and is fresh and youthful. We rode in the afternoon to a chapel about four miles from our abode; but unfortunately mistook the hour of Service, which was not till the evening. After a little visit to the Curate and his family, we returned, and read the Evening Prayer together in our chamber.
Feb. 19.--It is remarkable that Barbadoes, peopled and tilled to the utmost inch, should be distinguished for the cheapness of its market. Many articles can be purchased there for half their value in the United States. No spot, I suspect, where the English tongue is spoken, would furnish a more advantageous place for economical living, in the same proportion to social demands; at least, if we regard only the lesser expenses. The best houses, though very airy and spacious and strong, are plain in ornament and furniture. Carpets the climate excludes, as all over the West Indies. I saw almost nothing in any of the islands of insects which are popularly dreaded by strangers; and in [49/50] Barbadoes, I might say, literally nothing, beyond a few mosquitoes.
Feb. 20.--After a peaceful sojourn in the mansion of our hospitable friend, whose family were in England, and who had himself to leave us two days before for Tobago, we were kindly made the guests for a couple of days of one of the principal clergy of the island. He was for the time officiating at a country curacy, in the absence of the minister for health. The house was exceedingly comfortable and the situation perfectly rural. It was high; and the strong and incessant wind swept over it with a cool and healthful sway. We were indebted to its inmates for great enjoyment.
Feb. 21.--We went on the next day to Codrington College. It stands on the eastern shore of the island, with the Atlantic half a mile in front, and a hill behind, crowned with a chapel. There are two solid buildings of stone, with a handsome approach through an avenue of cocoa-nut trees. The College was founded by General Codrington, who bequeathed certain estates in the neighborhood for its support, early in the last century. The buildings were raised soon after; and have withstood, though not without injury, all the great hurricanes. A fine swimming bath, which has lately been perfected, is not the least attraction of the spot. The College was designed for the education of Missionaries to the Africans; and, though long used as almost a mere school for the sons of the planters, has been now restored in a great degree to its original purpose. Many of the clergy of Barbadoes receive their theological training there; and two or three young men are candidates for that [50/51] almost fatal post of the Pongas Mission. The property of the College yields an income of nearly ten thousand dollars, but the number of students does not exceed sixteen.
On our return, we were gladdened by the arrival of our first letters from America and from home, after an absence of eight weeks. These came from St. Thomas, the only point after Havana to which we could confidently have letters directed, while we knew so little of our probable route. We were devoutly thankful that our letters, almost a month old, showed that, till then, peace and health had been granted to our dear friends.
Feb. 22.--The following day, as usual, was pleasant; and in the afternoon we drove to the estate of a venerable gentleman, educated at Oxford and at the Temple, a barrister and Judge, from whom we had received much courtesy. It was not far from the sea; and its owner, though much alone, yet, in his benevolent and philosophical disposition, his love of Nature, and his still active powers of intellect, had many resources besides the large landscape. As we returned, we called at the church and parsonage of one of the oldest clergy of the island, whose equally venerable lady--for they have lived more than fifty years together--is the sister of an eminent prelate in England. Their house and church, surrounded by noble trees of long growth, with the cool quietness and repose of all around, accorded well with the comparative retirement of the aged and not active, though not infirm pastor.
Three of the clergy of Barbadoes and one of St. [51/52] Vincent, formerly a missionary at Pongas, in Africa, dined with us in the evening. They all appeared to be faithful and excellent men; and all sustained that character without blemish. Each had from four to eight miles to drive to his home; but the roads are admirable, and it was moonlight.
Feb. 23.--We were up in the morning, and in the church, at half-past six, for a Lenten service. In the forenoon we called at Brighton, the estate with which St. Luke's Chapel is connected,--the proprietor having given the land for the church, and the church and parsonage having been substantially the gift of his family, and being now held by his son, who is in Holy Orders, and whose place, in his absence, our reverend host was supplying. A very aged lady, entirely deaf, and her two daughters, one unmarried and one a widow, now occupied the fine old mansion, with its noble lawn. One of the ladies had been in America, and her husband had received some little courtesy from my brother; so that here was a link of connection. We then drove into Bridgeton, and were soon settled at our former lodgings.
Feb. 24.--The following day, after the transaction of some little business, was passed quietly at home, and saw a letter of some length begun and completed. How much an invalid, travelling in a climate like this, owes of the inactivity that steals upon him to diminution of muscular strength, how much to that habit of seeking "repose" in all respects, to which he has been incessantly exhorted, and how much to the influence of the climate itself, it would be difficult to decide. All the causes doubtless concur; but it is [52/53] very clear to me that it is better sometimes to be roused up from the sway of all of them, and made to feel the reach of home, of duties, and of private ties and public responsibilities. The whole system is awakened and invigorated; and, at certain times, a necessary reaction from a real danger may be the consequence.
Feb. 25.--Our lodgings were near St. Mary's Church, the oldest in the town. They had the preposterous custom at this church of ringing a small bell, without the cessation of a moment, for three quarters of an hour before each service. It is a very solid old edifice, with a plain tower and large churchyard. The clergyman had a rich voice, a fine intonation without the smallest affectation, and exactly the right measure in reading the Service,--a thing so unfrequent amongst the English clergy. He preached also a very good sermon. After dining with some friends of a clerical friend of ours, we went to the afternoon Service at the Cathedral, which was very well attended, although there is a third in the evening, when the other churches are open. The Assistant Minister preached, and, with assistance, performed the Service.
Guns fired late in the evening signified to us the arrival of the steamer, which was to carry us away from this island where we had been permitted so delightful a sojourn of three weeks, under God's blessing and protection.
Feb. 26.--Early in the morning we were again on board of the same steamer which had brought us from St. Thomas. The return voyage is usually shorter, [53/54] and the passage money is less. We ran across to St. Lucia on a summer sea, where before we had been considerably tossed, and this part of our voyage was accomplished in little more than half the former time. The coast of St. Lucia, from afar, presents a strangely bold, volcanic outline; but as you approach it, two remarkable mountains, near the shore, known as the "Sugar Loaves," stand out with an unique aspect. The town is insignificant; and we did not reach it till after dark; but seemed to linger some time, and then passed on towards Martinique.
These steamers are manned by Africans. Forty of them pulled at the ropes for drawing up the boats, to the measure of a violin. I saw one in irons, fastened to the main chain all day, and confined to bread and water.
Feb. 27.--We were at Martinique at too early an hour to distinguish the objects that shimmered in the white moonlight; and reached Dominica before the day was much advanced. The waters were smooth; and we were soon gliding along the shore of Guadalope, which we approached very near and saw to advantage. The green valleys, as usual, stretch up towards the hills, which here are hardly so bold as at St. Lucia, and elsewhere in the islands. The town has a shabby look, but the barracks and fort seemed extensive. We saw Montserrat very fully, and in the evening arrived at Antigua, where the little harbor was very picturesque at that shadowy hour.
Feb. 28.--Before morning we touched at St. Kitts; and so glided on easily across towards St. Thomas. As evening drew on, squalls and rain set in, though [54/55] not with violence; so that we entered the harbor of St. Thomas at the expected hour of nine, but in very thick and rather boisterous weather. There was no communication with the shore that night; and we had the enjoyment which many a traveller understands, of a quiet sleep in a berth untossed by the waves, while the winds are heard with their rude roar outside of the boat.
March 1.--At an early hour we landed, by boat, notwithstanding the continuance of the rain, which lasted all day and all night, with more or less violence of wind. For our own sake, we could not be sorry that the French steamer, on whose movements we depended, did not arrive during the day, so that we passed the stormy night on shore. Though, in Barbadoes, some slight showers were a daily thing, all the rain that fell there in three weeks would not, I should think, have balanced the torrent which in one hour washed the streets of St. Thomas clean. The Bishop of the Diocese was expected from Tortola, in a small boat; but I hoped that, though habitually very punctual, he would not attempt to fulfil that appointment to the letter.
March 2.--In fact, the Bishop did not come; and the storm did continue far into the following day. Then, however, he came; and the French steamer, for which we were waiting, came about the same time. So, after a brief interview with him, we embarked in the Caraibe, for Cape Haytien, on her route to St. Jago de Cuba and Jamaica. The steamer did not unmoor till a late hour in the evening; but we dined on board, and were introduced to those meals in which [55/56] the French so much excel. Whatever else may be deficient, their regard for the little conveniences of the traveller, their tasteful and most palatable cookery, their cool wines and lemonades, make one grateful and contented.
March 3.--After an easy night we found ourselves in the harbor of Porto Rico once more, and the steamer lay there through much of the forenoon. The port appeared alive with shipping; but the town was not noisy. The tall houses looked down upon the bay, from their rear windows, without giving token of their inhabitants. Spain, in her provincial dignity and wealth, seemed to be reposing here. We found the sea, when we were out again, somewhat rough, and as our vessel had no side-wheels, she had the disagreeable rolling motion which prevents all walking on the deck. Thus we crossed the passage between Porto Rico and St. Domingo. Four Romish priests, bound to Port au Prince, were amongst our passengers; and Spanish was spoken about as much as French. We were the only persons on board to whom English was vernacular, unless it were the stewardess, who was from Jamaica.
March 4.--Towards morning a voice shouted "Garçon, garçon!" and none answering, the cry was continued with patient and increasing vigor, till all the passengers were well aroused. Two or three of the state-rooms had been overflowed in consequence of a leak that had appeared under the cabin. Baling was commenced, which continued, with pumping, through the day, more or less; but the matter was not serious, especially in the pleasant weather, in [56/57] which we glided along the northern shore of St. Domingo. It was Sunday; and it was exceedingly difficult to secure even the semblance of a solitary place for our devotions, as the state-rooms include four persons.
March 5.--To our surprise, we were awakened at sunrise by the announcement that we were entering the harbor of Cape Haytien. There it lay in the light of the early morning, as bright a scene as waters and shores alone can well constitute. Right and left and in front, east, south, and west, rose the wonderful outline of five mountains. On the left, a long, fair plain extended before them, dividing them from the bay. On the right, directly back of the town, mount up at once the steep heights, covered with jungles, though not inaccessible at first. In the bay, a Haytien man-of-war, two with the English flag, and our own Monongahela, watched the spot where the English Bulldog had been blown up by her captain, after running her on a reef, in an attempt to destroy a Revolutionary vessel. Her mast and spars were visible; and so were the masts of two little vessels which she had sunk. As we went ashore, we were met by the boat of the Monongahela with the Vice-Consul, who, in the absence of the Consul, had been requested by the Consul-General at Port au Prince to afford us every aid, and who now offered us the apartments at the Consulate, which we were glad to accept. I brought a despatch, containing orders from the Admiral at St. Thomas to the commander of the Monongahela, which I delivered to the officer of the boat; and we landed at a wharf not free from [57/58] dangerous cavities. I was hurried to the offices of the port, to the custom-house, to another office at a considerable distance, and finally permitted to rest, with the prospect of too long a repose; for it was stated that the steamer from Port au Prince was injured, and that we might be detained a week,--even a fortnight. We dined with a hospitable merchant, partner of the Consul, who undertook the supply of our commissariat. Walking through a part of the town, the site of which is very extensive, we found it a mass of ruins, often covered with vines. The pavements, the long streets, the fountains, the foundations, of the old French city remain. But the earthquake of 1842, along with a terrible destruction of life, threw down the walls of almost all the houses, and largely those of the very spacious Cathedral. But more recent ruins, and very wide, are those which of late the Revolutionists, defeated and desperate, created by burning what they could of the town, in sheer wickedness. It was all a sad sight, but wonderfully interesting.
March 6.--On a bright morning, as indeed every morning seemed to be bright, the Captain of the Monongahela, a most worthy gentleman, whom I had known many years before, but had not since seen, came with a boat, to take us off to his vessel, "to spend the day." As we were rowed out, we passed near the wreck of the Bulldog. Many sailors were upon the spars,--the English, after stripping off all that is of value, naturally willing also to let the remnant disappear, either by being raised or submerged. The commander of the Bulldog had somewhat too hastily [58/59] taken under his protection a British boat chartered by the Revolutionists. This was followed by mutual defiances; and at length he determined to run down the Haytien schooner. Either the schooner, without his knowledge, had slightly changed her ground, or else he was ignorant of the navigation; for, just before reaching his antagonist, he ran firmly upon a shoal, where he was at the mercy of the batteries of the Africans. He was compelled, as he thought, to abandon and explode his vessel, or otherwise, both vessel and men would surrender, or perish at last. When he was afterwards tried by a court-martial, he was severely reprimanded for negligence and the premature abandonment of his vessel. We had a delightful day in our noble American ship, with her worthy officers, and a dinner and tea altogether American and exceedingly enjoyed.
March 7.--The military tribunal for the trial of the insurgents who had been gleaned up after a Captain of our navy had given the chiefs transportation to a place of safety, was going on in public, and I was present through one afternoon of its sessions. This was occupied by the plea of the Advocate-General; which was rapid, earnest, and lucid. He wore a chapeau bras and official coat, adorned with silver trimming. The judges were five: the commanding General, a man of sixty or more, with a splendid uniform, consisting of a light blue coat, red pantaloons, a magnificent hat, and the richest epaulettes; an elderly general in dark blue and gold; a younger, very black; a fourth, nearly or quite white, very young, tall, and rather prepossessing; and still another, [59/60] black, and like his associates in hue, with silver ornaments and epaulettes; while the rest had gold, and in abundance. One of the lawyers wore a black gown of plain material. The prisoners, about fifty in number, occupied a kind of transept of the building. They were well dressed, two or three of them women. The Advocate-General withdrew the charge in several cases, as not adequately proved; and the others were left in the hands of the judges. The military arrangements and dresses, except the uniforms of the higher officers, were sadly poor, and sometimes resulted in utter shabbiness.
March 8.--I was also present on the following day during a part of the defence. The advocate was a man of thirty-five, perhaps, with a scholarly look and in a black gown. Like the Advocate-General, he spoke impressively, distinctly, with much animation of gesture, but with perfect dignity and self-possession. Amongst the less important prisoners, was a former British Consul.
The old Cathedral was a building of very large dimensions, but of not much architectural unity. Its walls substantially remain, or have been rebuilt,--a white, grand ruin. A large sum had been slowly accumulating for its restoration; but this, with other treasures, was seized by the Revolutionists, and is lost. Two handsome statues, of St. Peter and St. Paul, a gift from Europe, have been placed in their niches outside. It will apparently be long before the edifice can be even a shelter for worshippers. In the mean time the Roman Catholics, the whole mass of the people, appeared to have but one small church at their [60/61] disposal. Two of their clergy, whom I saw at the Court, were decidedly the shabbiest men in the whole assembly, ragged even, unshorn and slovenly. The Cathedral fronts on the great square, where once were the theatre and opera-house and the seats of French luxury, right under the shadow of the steep mountain. In the centre of the square, as elsewhere, a fountain still affords the water of the people, having on the top of the pillar the red cap of the French Revolution. The market-place is another and similar square towards the other end of the town; but the insurgents burned up the buildings.
March 9.--Our broken-down steamer from Port au Prince arrived, and broke down again at the entrance of the port. The friend, however, whom we expected, came; and we could but await her return, which might be after a delay of but a day or two, or might be much longer deferred. A pleasing occasion was the baptism of two children of the British Consul, at which several officers of the British Navy were present. They had almost finished dismantling, exploding, and putting out of sight the relics of the Bulldog, which Englishmen could not view with much satisfaction.
March 10.--Not many hours seemed to elapse without bringing to light some person, more or less connected with our country, or interested in the Protestant religion. There was a considerable congregation of Wesleyans, some of whom understood English; but it had now been long without a minister, the ministry having been sent from England. At different times small settlements of colonists have been encouraged; and though the settlement may have been broken up, the persons may remain.
 There was no other current money than the depreciated paper issued by the government, of which one dollar was but a sixteenth of the dollar in silver. Prices, however, were high; and the laborer obtained larger wages than elsewhere in the West Indies. But they needed not to labor, unless they chose; and so, substantial, continuous industry was not much known. The cultivation of sugar has quite ceased. Coffee is brought in from all parts in small quantities; and cocoa, and logwood, and mahogany; and thus Cape Haytien has a considerable trade, ruined as it seems. As usual in the West Indies, the merchants have their stores and houses under the same roof; and the entrance to an elegant parlor or gallery, if not through the warehouse, is close by the kitchen, without the slightest reference to the principles of fitness and beauty.
March 11.--On Sunday, a mild and rather cool day, Divine Service was held in the Chapel occupied by the Wesleyans,--the premises including a parsonage and school-room within the walls. The services were in French; and except those of Confirmation and Ordination, were performed by the American Missionary of the Episcopal Church at Port au Prince,--a black gentleman from the United States, who has resided for some years in that city. A mulatto gentleman, formerly a Methodist minister at Cape Haytien, received Confirmation in the morning, and was admitted in the afternoon to the Order of Deacons. Fifty or sixty persons were present; but in the afternoon, the quietness of the administration of the Holy Communion was disturbed by the music and shouts of the persons [62/63] who had assembled to witness the adjournment of the Court-Martial, not far off.
March 12.--The following day was marked by a stronger wind on the bay. We walked along the shore almost to Fort Picolet; but the gale was too much in our faces. Low fortifications, of some earlier date, line the shore as you proceed, while the mountain, dark and tall, draws nearer and nearer till it terminates at the point where the fort is planted; and beyond is the open sea. Back from the shore, till the town is left behind, and indeed afterwards, and towards the foot of the mountains, the streets are mostly ruins. They are very widely overgrown with the green luxuriance of a tropical vegetation; but many bare, broken walls, many roofless abodes, many spots simply covered with scattered stones, tell the story of the earthquake.
March 13.--I visited on the following forenoon, accompanied by my two clerical and colored friends, the Haytien steamer of war, Galatea. She was a Confederate vessel, and was recently purchased by this government, and had come down to bring the soldiers who guarded the Court-Martial, and to command the town during the trial. The commander was a Frenchman; one of the lieutenants, a black man, originally from the West Indies; the other officers all white men, and Americans; and the crew black, and generally American. Unusually spacious and airy, the ship was also well armed and in good order; and we were received and conducted over it with the usual politeness of the navy.
The military tribunal pronounced the sentence of death on twelve wretched prisoners, and proceeded [63/64] with the consideration of the less severe penalties. It was customary that the execution, in such capital cases, should take place within twenty-four hours, and it was understood that the President had declined beforehand all appeal to himself; but the day and night went by without any marked public sensation, and I supposed that there had been delay; but was informed on the following day that six of them had been shot at the other end of the town, on the preceding afternoon; the other six were to await the decision of the President. The poor wretches doomed to die for assassination, pillage, and incendiarism, had been marched through the street within a few rods of us, amidst the lamentations of women; but I had heard nothing. It was, as I gathered from all accounts, a butchery. Recruits from the country were employed; they turned their heads away; and two hundred bullets were actually fired before the six wretches were dead. Their bearing was unfeeling and desperate.
March 14.--North of the town is a house, with a garden now partially occupied by a little club of the resident merchants as a place of meeting. It is plainly a chateau, or other stately building, of the French days, now ruined, except that the elegant walls and columns, here and there still standing, declare what once it was. A glorious mango-tree grows in the court, and flowers may be plucked in handsome clusters. Farther on, towards Fort Picolet, where the mountain draws very near to the sea, a little glen is filled by the extensive remains of another of these fine old mansions. The fortifications along the shore and heights seemed to me not beyond the skill of the Haytiens under their [64/65] African governments; but these buildings are of another date.
The ass is the common beast of burden at Cape Haytien, along with the small horse; but oxen draw also their loads from the country, having the beam of the yoke on the head. The fodder of the horses in the town is the long grass just cut, and brought in bundles. Even to drive through the town in a good carriage would be almost out of the question.
March 15.--I sought out the existing Roman Catholic church, at the hour of Vespers, that I might see the provision for public worship in a city which most usually contains 10,000,12,000, or 15,000 inhabitants, all, with few exceptions, of that communion. Since the earthquake of 1842, this has been the only place of their worship. It is in the remotest corner of the city, in the same part with the Cathedral, but beyond it, and could scarcely contain three hundred people. Some women were kneeling at their prayers.
March 16.--A small war-steamer, the Geffrard, having come down from Port au Prince to take back the Advocate-General and other members of the Military Court, the Vice-Consul sought and obtained permission for us to go in her as passengers--a privilege obtained by a number of other persons. Our friends very thoughtfully furnished us with boxes of cold provisions and fruit; and it so befell that of the chairs provided for the Court, and now taken back, two were allowed us, and enabled us to sit with some comfort. Though we were aboard early in the afternoon, the vessel did not leave the harbor till dark; and then we bade farewell to the glorious bay and sad, desolate [65/66] town, most interesting still in its sorrows. The night was beautiful, and we glided along the shores of the island without a disagreeable ripple; but as there were no beds or berths to spare, we slept as we could, thankful for so little discomfort.
March 17.--The absence of the usual opportunities of perfect repose and of preserving personal cleanliness is the great cause of suffering in this kind of travel. We were congratulated, and most justly, on the great superiority of the accommodations even thus afforded by a ship of war to those of the usual lines of small steamers. Long before daylight, we found our way through the rows of sleepers on the deck, to look for the Southern Cross, which was there in all clearness. I apprehend, however, that it is only in climates further south by far, where the brilliancy of the northern heavens is unknown, that those four or five stars can stand forth with their characteristic impressiveness and glory. The day was pleasant, and in the afternoon we touched at Gonaives. Long, black, sandy hills formed the shore along which we had been sailing; it was on our left, and the bright mountain streams of Hayti all ran in the other direction,--the clouds borne by the northern winds passing beneath the summit. I landed at Gonaives, and called on a gentleman, who may be safely designated as the chief gentleman of the place, the father of a friend at Cape Haytien. He is a very wise and intelligent man, enfeebled in health; and I passed with him an hour of very satisfactory conversation. The delay of the vessel was much longer; and she finally, in the evening, took a lighter in tow, and set out. I slept in a chair, with a boy under my feet, [66/67] and myself at the foot of the stairs leading to the little cabin.
March 18.--Weary and jaded, yet thankful for a safe and smooth voyage, we entered the Gulf of Port au Prince, and approached the city in the middle of Sunday forenoon. Its site is extremely low, where it lies along the sea-side, but its streets rise steadily behind for a considerable distance. It had suffered most widely from a severe conflagration some eighteen months before; nor is the eye arrested at the entrance by any very stately edifices. We, however, enjoyed a few hours of absolute delight, when, in the spacious precincts of the Consul, we were permitted to wash, to eat, to drink, to lie down and to take our rest, for a couple of hours. We arrived too late to allow of any morning services, and it is not usual to hold any in the afternoon. So we performed our offices of devotion at home; and tried to "rest, according to the commandment."
March 19.--Our first entire day in Port au Prince dawned brightly; but within an hour a tremendous calamity had begun. The city was on fire. In the very heart of one of its wealthiest regions of well-stocked warehouses and handsome mansions, the hand of the incendiary, as it seemed, threw in the seed of destruction. All the morning the land-breeze blew, and wafted the raging flame, which swallowed everything in its path, and widened its path on both sides. There was nothing like effective resistance; generally none at all; goods were removed, but the houses went down like stubble. A multitude of wild men and women, boys and girls, friends and pillagers, carried [67/68] off all to which the owners could not look, and which the fire did not too soon ingulf. There were no engines of any force; and what was to me most fearful of all, if true, it was said that some of the people cut the hose of the engines. There was no organization; and, notwithstanding the presence of the President and his ten aides-de-camp, in uniform and on horseback, there was no real leadership. So the conflagration swept out of existence all that broad, best part of the town which covered the plain towards the edge of the sea; and, when this was exhausted, the wind also lulled, and the dreadful work seemed over. But at this crisis all the residents said that when the sea-breeze should spring up an hour or two later, it must waft the flame back upon its track, and towards other parts of the city still uninjured. Was anything then done, attempted, proposed, or encouraged? Nothing; and the whole people waited in silence or in noise the coming of the sea-breeze which carried the flame just where it was expected, and, having rolled and roared over streets and squares, made its path up the hill, and in the evening died for lack of fuel. Oh what a mournful day for those who were wealthy, and in a few hours had not a change of raiment! What a tremendous blow to the city, the nation, all trade, all credit, all confidence! I was told that half the wealth of Port au Prince was no more.
March 20.--The night passed quietly, to the relief of many anxious hearts, which trembled lest in the depth of night the flames might revive, or some wretch might kindle them afresh. In the forenoon, I rode with my host, on horseback, through the desolated district, [68/69] picking our way. It extended all along the plain to the right from the harbor, and to the foot of the higher ground, and a little up the slight ascent, and embraced, in general, the best dwellings and the busiest stores. The buildings were commonly reduced to utter ruin; being constructed with a thin brick wall and wooden casing, with an appearance of firmness which fire too soon shrivels away. Beyond this region, and outside of the town, we came to the Palace, which stands apart, and is spacious, but not handsome, and only one story high. Still beyond was a fine level plain, over which a horse could run with delight, and to which, even so far, houseless people had brought some of their goods, finding a sleeping-place under the open sky. The Cathedral, a large, white edifice, of plain architecture, escaped the flames.
After our return home, the venerated President of the Wesleyan Missions in Hayti paid us a visit. He had lived at Port au Prince twenty years and more, and had never been seriously ill. He speaks, though not without Christian hope, yet in a spirit of depression, of the island and all its prospects.
March 21.--The cheerfulness of the sufferers, under their great losses, was something altogether surprising, and perhaps not to be lasting. We walked on the day after through a part of the ruins. President Geffrard rode by as we sat in our gallery, followed by two or three officers. He was in black, and appears to be about sixty years old; carefully and genteelly dressed, and riding a good horse.
Our friend, the Consul-General, whose guests we were, in conjunction with the Consul, at whose house [69/70] we were, had just taken for his more peculiar residence a house commanding a glorious prospect from the heights, but three miles from the city, and almost inaccessible. There was no road fit for a carriage, scarcely for a cart. A person on horseback ascended without any serious difficulty, if his horse were surefooted and obedient. We were expecting much pleasure from a visit, if we could get there; but the great fire compelled Mr. Peck to open his doors to certain ladies who had lost their own roofs and all beside. They went out in a carriage, which broke down; and they were compelled to struggle up the mountain on foot.
We had, in the evening, a most welcome rain, which quenched the remaining life of the flames.
March 22.--Another and slighter shower followed on the following night. I walked with the African Rector across the burned region, and to the spot which had been purchased for the site of a church. As usual, there was considerable discrepancy of opinion on that subject. Afterwards, I went with the Rector to his humble abode; and was glad to find that, though so much in danger as to have removed his goods and books, which were of great value to him, he had brought them all back in safety. There I conferred also with a man of remarkable physical powers, and fine, benevolent face, who had labored amongst the rude mountaineers with very striking success. A gentleman called upon me in the afternoon who two or three years since took high literary honors in France, and who is a devout Wesleyan Protestant.
March 23.--On a beautiful morning we drove out [70/71]--two ladies, a gentleman, and the driver, in a four-wheeled carriage, one of the very few existing at Port au Prince--to the country residence of the Consul-General. The road ascends considerably, but is not verv steep; and, were it kept in order with any labor, might easily be safe and comfortable. Gradually we had reached the mountain side; and presently, with a slight rise, were amongst a paradise of trees. All was tropical, and nothing tropical seemed wanting; while above rose the grand mountain, and in front, beyond the desolated town, spread the broad bay to the horizon. We passed here a delightful day; and one of the most princely attractions of the place were the baths, cut in stone and filled by the delicious mountain stream which supplies the city. To have bathed there once would make the day memorable. When we were setting out on our return, towards sunset, the carriage broke, just as a few days before, when it brought out the ladies, fugitives from the fire. We resolutely walked home, a distance of three miles; and as we passed, after dark, saw a large number of people on their knees in the Cathedral.
March 24.--Saturday, at Port au Prince, as elsewhere, was the market-day; and from the early morning the several places at which the traffic chiefly goes on were crowded with a sea of heads. But as the day drew towards a close, we went out to the gate through which they were returning to the country. It was to me one of the most striking sights I ever beheld. By hundreds, by thousands, the people passed by, usually on asses and mules, or perhaps on horses; women and boys and young girls, as well as men, with broad, [71/72] flapping straw hats, with turbans flowing back upon the air; or, in the case of the boys, with sleek black legs rising and working with the motions of the animals. These people seemed cheerful, content, healthful, and not idle. They were probably little moved by the desolations of the fire. The trading interest, even the city population, and the rural masses, are very distinct. To me, the scene, so Oriental in many of its aspects, was rich in important suggestions.
March 25.--We found the Lord's Day, as we had been told, to be observed in Port au Prince by the cessation from labor and business beyond the example of Roman Catholic cities. The little Protestant congregation with which we worshipped in a private hall was almost entirely composed of persons of color, and was a cheering and animated assembly. Most of its members were absent; some embarking for Great Britain; some left without clothing by the conflagration; some, from the same cause, withdrawn into the country. Still, the place was filled; and had there been more room, there would have been more people.
In the afternoon, coming home from the Sunday-school at the home of the Rector, I walked straight across the path which the fire had hold from the sea to the hill-side. I counted my steps, and found the width of this utterly cleared and desolated track to be five hundred and fifty paces.
March 26.--Many of the best persons in Hayti are of the class who have come in from the United States and from the British Islands, and live in the cities industriously. The emigration in bodies, under the encouragement of the government, was not generally [72/73] happy in its issue. The country population, however, remains very distinct; of vast numbers, and living in great simplicity. Among them, some gross African superstitions prevail; and it is not long since eight persons, men and women, were shot together at Port au Prince for a cannibal use of the remains of a child whom they had murdered in sacrifice.
A friend from Cape Haytien arrived, who on the first intelligence, imperfect as it was, of the fire, had posted across, by horse and by sail-boat, in two days. The absence of roads, and of any means of communication in the island, is the great obstacle to its comfort and progress.
March 27.--We visited the Superintendent of the Wesleyan Missions, and saw his chapel and school. He had been so long a resident at Port au Prince that he had made his dwelling tasteful and pleasant, and well adapted to the climate. The Chapel is sufficiently handsome and attractive, and like the school, was built chiefly by Haytien gifts. An expensive attempt to light the whole with gas, which indeed was successful for a long time, was at length broken up by the alarm of the neighbors and the consequent interposition of the authorities.
March 28.--At length, we went to the Romish Church, the only one in Port au Prince, and large enough to contain probably twelve hundred worshippers. It is white, and low, and plain, and has little ornament, or richness of preparation for divine services. The psalms, however, were chanted loudly and clearly, and the floor was occupied by a multitude of sober people, mostly women.
 It seems that both last year and this some genteel people, in opposition to the express wishes of the Archbishop, attempted to dispense with some of the strictness of the celebration of Lent. Both the great fires took place in Lent; and the populace were bitterly reproaching a lady who had proposed a masked ball for the middle of Lent, the very time of this great conflagration.
March 29.--We rode on horseback, after a rainy night,--the traces of which were soon gone,--to the hospitable country-seat of our Consul-General once more, and passed the day in luxurious quiet. Looking over the broad bay, we saw a steamer come in,--the long-expected steamer from New York; and, on our return to the town, found letters and papers from home, and from several friends, with, God be thanked, no ill intelligence.
By the Haytien Roman Catholics, the Thursday of Passion Week is treated as a holy day and fast, much on the same level with the Friday, and no business is done. The flags are at half-mast, and the church is filled.
A few ugly images of Judas were constructed on that day, or on Good-Friday, to be destroyed when the fast should cease. There is a strict abstinence from labor and trade on Good-Friday, and it seemed difficult to procure articles even for Easter, unless with considerable forethought. We attended the Protestant Episcopal Service, where nine persons were confirmed, all of them people of color.
March 30.--The difficulties of religious services in such a climate are greater than would have been [74/75] apprehended, before experience. For the day is, for such purposes, greatly shortened by the necessity of withdrawing from it all its middle hours. Then the evening is no time to stumble about a dark city, with its rough pavements and unclean gutters; and in the afternoon, the hours of dinner seem as different as from one to seven. The comparative silence of the city, however, favored the meditations of the day of the Crucifixion.
March 31.--It was rather gratifying, on Easter Eve, to hear the songs of persons who were traversing the streets in a little company. I could not tell their import, or whether they were those of Roman Catholics or Wesleyans; but they were evidently religious. Other little strains at an earlier hour I heard in my neighborhood, which were plainly of Methodist origin. In the forenoon, with some firing of guns, and destruction of the images of Judas, the fast ceased, but no business was still done in the ordinary way.
April 1.--Easter Day was bright and pleasant, and kept as a high holiday. When the President set out from his residence for the Cathedral, when he arrived, and when he reached home again, there were peals of artillery, most superfluous and inappropriate. The Episcopalian congregation met in their hall; and a Deacon and Priest were ordained, and the Holy Communion celebrated in great peace. In the evening it rained very violently, and the streets were a flood. The Wesleyan congregation, which had assembled for Service, were surprised by the storm, and disagreeably detained till a late hour. There were wild rumors of intended insurrection and massacre, which we did not know at the time.
 April 2.--The day after Easter was kept as the fête of Pétion, the mild President who succeeded Christophe. His tomb stands in front of the residence of the President. It would seem to be the wish of the Government to keep his example before the people as the national policy. News came of an outbreak, no one knew how important, in the neighborhood of Gonaives; and a frigate was sent down with two hundred soldiers. In the evening the United States ship Bienville arrived from St. Thomas.
April 3.--The rainy season at Port au Prince had so far begun, late in March, that almost every evening there was a shower, or a longer fall of rain, attended sometimes with lightning and thunder. Then the streets and mountain-paths were flooded, were rapidly dried, and kept very clean. The rains very much tempered the heat, which, indeed, except just in the noontide hours, was not very severe, but which, except for the breezes and the rains, might have been debilitating.
April 4.--At the Court of Hayti, there are no foreign ministers or chargé d'affaires. France was represented by a nobleman who was Consul-General; Great Britain, by a gentleman of noble family in the same character; and our own government, by Professor Peck, formerly of Oberlin College, in the same office. The colored clergyman of the Episcopal Church is, appropriately enough, Consul for the little Republic of Liberia,--as he is not likely to be thus burdened with secular business, and may secure some slight privileges.
April 5.--The occurrence of strange or mischievous [76/77] insects and reptiles in the West Indies is by no means what is often supposed and represented. We had seen but one scorpion; cockroaches were far from abundant; no centipede had crossed our path; some enormous but very harmless spiders appeared at Cape Haytien; but the mosquitoes, though numerous at Port au Prince, were by no means large or very venomous. Rats were bold; but we saw no bats, or snakes.
April 6.--Ascending one day with slow steps the steepest of the streets which lead from the water out of the town, I turned to survey with great pleasure the extensive view. The rains had scooped the road till it was like a scoured floor. At the foot of the hill and down the descent, the buildings along which were poor enough, stretched that part of the city which had survived the fire. Then came the ten or twelve steamers and ships in the harbor. Then, the bright sheet of waters stretched to the setting sun, which was coin" down cloudless and in all its crimson
Directly in front, but many miles distant, the great island of Gonaives rears itself; while, dose upon our left hand, behind the town, the hills are like a wall, and on the right they bound the plain at a greater distance. Cheerfulness was added to the picture by the many little boats which, loaded with bananas, sugarcane, and other articles of popular demand, and spreading their sails to the light wind, came fleetly to the shore, ready for the market of the next day.
April 7.--The city of Port au Prince, before the destructive conflagration, though not a very handsome town, yet must have contained a far larger proportion than now of good buildings. Almost all the houses [77/78] have galleries extending over the street, forming walks for the passengers below, and rooms or corridors above. The structures are not heavy, on account of earthquakes; and indeed, most of the buildings appear very slight, poor, and precarious, though the rents are extremely heavy. Scarcely one has more than two stories. The grand object, of course, is airiness.
April 8.--The indifference of Europeans and Americans, residing in foreign towns for purposes of trade, as to attendance on public worship, under circumstances which demand any real and cordial interest, is but too common, but too general, of course with bright exceptions. They will sometimes give liberal sums, at least to a moderate extent; but personally, their treasure and their heart are elsewhere. They come for gain; and, having acquired it, they go as they come. So the missionary can place small reliance upon them, except in a very collateral way.
April 9.--The weariness which belongs to travel in a hot climate is not all to be attributed to merely physical exertion. For, the task of conversation with strangers, the draft on the attention, and on all the powers if the subjects are weighty, especially if there be a necessity of understanding and using a foreign language, and especially, also, if there be any weakness in the organs of speech, all make a day of visits and discussions oftentimes the most exhausting of all.
April 10.--A visit by invitation to another of our national vessels was an agreeable incident and interruption. She was to sail on the next day for St. Thomas, from whence she had come. Having been a merchant steamer, with accommodations [78/79] on a handsome scale, she was altogether such a ship as sailors could inhabit with the amplest arrangements for their health and comfort. Our party embraced the Consular Agents of Great Britain, Spain, and the United States, with several gentlemen and ladies. The officers were most courteous; and the little lunch was so American as to be delightful.
April 11.--On the next, day the war-steamer left; and quite a blank, partly of loneliness, partly of repose, remained behind. The weather was now becoming, from day to day, more sultry; and in the middle hours of the day, in the heat of the sunshine was, indeed, excessive; and yet, with the fine breeze and the open construction of the houses, there was no weather so hard to be borne as our American summers in the largest cities. Such, at least, was my experience, guest as I was in the airiest house in Port au Prince, and seldom leaving its galleries.
April 12.--The mixture of races and colors, in the scenes of business, created no apparent embarrassment or sensation. In fact, the white men are the unusual exceptions. Those of them who had been settled in Hayti permanently, appear not to have hesitated to mingle their blood with that of the native race in its more diluted forms. I saw most respectable gentlemen, from Europe and the United States, whose wives were of African descent, though sometimes to detect this required almost a physiological examination. In one or two instances, I could not believe it, except on other proof than the eye.
April 13.--Intelligent people in Hayti seemed ill satisfied with the Government, though not desirous of [79/80] change, in their ignorance as to the possible result. Everything, indeed, is required of the Government; everything is laid at its door. The Constitution leads to this, as the term of the Presidency is for life, and the President originates all legislation. The very large salary of forty thousand dollars, with an additional sum for special expenses, introduces an invidious element into the view of that high office, besides really affording opportunities of corrupting influences.
April 14.--The magnificent sunset of the West Indies was daily witnessed in its glory from the airy galleries of the house in which we were inmates. It is almost always clear in the west, though the clouds in which hangs the nightly rain are behind us along the mountain. The bay, with the vessels not very numerous, flashes below in the golden light, as the great orb grows more and more distinct to the eye, able to bear better its declining beams. At length, in its full roundness it approaches, it touches the horizon; there is a cry for watches to note the instant of the contact and the length of the passage; and while you look a moment longer with dazzled vision, he is gone.
April 15.--Divine Service in French was performed, more or less, in the several assemblies for Protestant worship, of which there were five in Port au Prince. In the morning I preached from Genesis xxxviii. 20-22. In the afternoon I heard a discourse in the Sunday-school from a plain man, of little education, but of much fire and energy, and not apparently deficient in good sense (the Deacon ordained on Easter Sunday). The people seem to sing universally and naturally, in a simple way; and the French is not ill adapted to [80/81] that kind of verse which Psalms and ordinary edifying hymns may demand. There is sometimes a very sweet simplicity in its tone.
April 10.--Another American vessel of war, which we had encountered before in these seas, dropped in for a day on her return from the Spanish Main, by Jamaica, to the United States. The intelligence of the officers of some of these vessels, within their sphere of observation, after cruising for many years in different parts of the world, is pleasing and rather surprising. In the mean time, we were now waiting for the arrival of the vessel which may take us, God willing, to New York.
April 17.--A visit to the President of Hayti was a matter of respect, which was usually expected from foreigners in our position. We called at an appointed hour, under the charge of the Consular Agent, he received us alone, and conversed with us in French for half an hour or twenty minutes, speaking with the utmost distinctness, and readily appropriating to himself so much of the conversation, and talking with so much apparent frankness, as to place the visitor quite at his ease. The palace is large and comfortable, and of one story.
In the afternoon, a ride on horseback over rough roads, and with a hard horse, to the home of a gentleman whose three children were baptized, stiffened me for a time.
April 18.--The vessel of war, after a delay of only two days, passed on to Cuba and Jamaica, on her way to the United States; and we felt that we would gladly run the race with her, were our own steamer at [81/82] hand and ready. It seemed almost as if a still rainier season were drawing on. The clouds gathered earlier in the day, and the evening rain sometimes extended far into the night; there was also more of thunder and lightning.
April 19.--The desired steamer from Jamaica for New York came at length; but did not arrive off Port au Prince till so late an hour that we were compelled to wait till morning in uncertainty. Meanwhile, news was brought of a dreadful explosion of one of the English steamers at Cuba, laden with chemical articles; the result of which was the utter destruction of that steamer, the serious injury of another, the loss of some sixty lives, and the annihilation of an immense mass of property.
April 20.--To our deep disappointment, the steamer for New York, when she appeared in the morning, was filled with passengers, and could not take one more. We were obliged to determine on going by a sailing-vessel, and happily there was a good opportunity. Several of the passengers from the steamer came ashore; and while they were with us, a great riot arose between the mate of the vessel and others on the one side, and the mob on the other. A citizen was seized and put in irons on board of the vessel, charged with the design of committing some violence. On this, the mob seized a sailor of the steamer and beat him unmercifully. The accounts were, of course, confused; but it was an unhappy event, on account of the excited state of general feeling.
Those who have followed Bishop Burgess in his [82/83] wanderings among the West Indian Islands will be interested to follow him to the end. The last date in the Journal is April 20th. He might have written again on the 21st, but, expecting to sail on that day, the trunks had been packed and sent on board the vessel. At sunrise on the 22d he embarked; and on the morning of the 23d, while resting on the deck, with no warning which he could recognize, and with but a few minutes' warning to the single watcher at his side, he was called to his heavenly home. It was less like death than like a translation. "He walked with God; and he was not: for God took him."