October 14, 1832

14 October: Very nice morning; bright sunshine. The river is considerably wider than yesterday. At seven o’clock there was a pretty island 6 miles from Louisville. The steamship Conway sailed past.M30During the night we had passed the small towns Fredricsburg, Vevay, Ghent, and Big Bone Lick, where large mammoth bones have been excavated in the black soil at the foot of a hill; all the bones are said to have been sent to England. Now, however, in Ferussac's Journal Bulletin des sciences nature[lles et de geologie](1831) there is a notice regarding a huge animal 60 feet long recently discovered there, but this entire report was concocted to lure spectators for their money. In Silliman's American Journal of Science and Arts (vol. 20, no.2, July 1831, p. 370), one can read a correct description of these bones as a refutation. Soon we reached the town [of] Jeffersonville on the steep right bank, which is about 40 feet high. Some of the houses are attractive.

On the left bank, approximately opposite the first town, the imposing city of Louisville, with 12,000 inhabitants, soon appears. When viewed from the water, however, this city does not look nearly as sightly as Cincinnati. The Portsmouth docked next to the steamship Rambler. Negroes took our baggage to the inn (Washington Hotel), where numerous strangers and, as is usually the case here, idle gentlemen filled all the lower rooms and were encamped around the fireplace with their legs up in the air and their hands clasped behind their necks. We were assigned to a miserable little bedroom with two beds. At that time there was no more room anywhere in the house. After we had eaten breakfast, and to that end, at the second sound of the bell, had taken the dining hall by storm with a horde of hungry individuals, we changed our clothing and looked up Mr. Wenzel, a merchant of German descent who later dined with us. Because it was too late to leave here today, we prepared to depart the following morning.

Louisville has long, straight streets, intersecting at right angles, which are broad and are provided with brick sidewalks but are poorly paved with large stones in the center and are very dirty. The houses are not of the same size and style of architecture, and this provides a pleasant appearance. Most of the houses have two stories; the newer ones usually have three stories and are made of brick. There are a large number of fine shops and stores everywhere; here, as in all the cities of the United States, elegance is a primary concern of the residents. They place great importance on money and fine clothes, while they suffer boredom and lean their mostly empty heads against the walls as though they were very heavy.[Page 1:119] Today was Sunday, and one saw elegant society streaming into the churches, of which there are many and of quite a few different sects. After lunch one goes for a stroll or for a drive in pretty little coaches, over thirty of which are for rent here. Among the coachmen for hire, several are Negroes, since there are many of them here; some of them are still slaves. Here I shall list the number of Negroes in the various states of North America, according to one of the most recent newspapers:

Free Negroes Slaves Vermont 881 0 Indiana 3,629 3 Massachusetts 7,045 4 New Hampshire 602 5 Maine 1,171 6 Ohio 9,675 [9,657] 6 Rhode Island 3,546 [3,564] 14 Connecticut 8,047 25 Michigan territory 261 42 [32] New York 44,869 76 Pennsylvania 37,930 403 Illinois 1,637 747 New Jersey 18,303 2,245 [2,254] Delaware 15,885 3,292 6,868139 [6,867] Free Negroes Slaves Arkansas territory 141 4,376 [4,576] District of Columbia 6,152 6,119 Florida territory 844 15,501 Missouri 569 25,091 Mississippi 519 65,159 [65,659] Maryland 52,938 102,994 Louisiana 16,710 109,588 Alabama 1,572 117,549 Tennessee 4,555 144,693 [141,603] Kentucky 4,917 165,213 Georgia 2,486 217,531 N. Carolina 19,543 245,601 S. Carolina 7,921 315,401 Virginia 47,348 469,757 1,999,573140 1,999,573 slaves in the land of vaunted liberty!!!

In North American cities, one sees the same strange Negro clothing as in South America, since they dress in all kinds of ragged clothing, though they are paler in the latter country. They are wretched and cunning, and one has to be on one’s guard against them.

The city of Louisville has only one tolerably good inn, but recently a company was formed that is now constructing a large new one (Louisville Hotel), which will cost 50,000 dollars (125,000 florins) but will not be completed for several years. There is also a theater here, of which, however, I cannot form an opinion. Cholera had already been here, but so far had not carried off very many victims. In Cincinnati it was already further advanced. There was great terror among the residents, who pressed into the pharmacies in crowds and had large pitch poultices applied to their abdomens. Others sniffed camphor, ate camphor drops on sugar, etc.

Date: 
Sunday, October 14, 1832
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Charlotte Spires
Zachary Joyce