July 7 or 8, 1832
[7 or 8 July:] Providence is a very lively place that maintains very brisk commerce with the countryside and is full of fine, important shops. The city is said to have 15,000 to 20,000 inhabitants. It is situated on both sides of a narrow inlet of the ocean, which does not extend far inland: on one side, the north side, it is on an elevation; on the south side, on level land. It has several long, attractive streets with sidewalks and many imposing buildings, and also several very nice brick churches with tall white steeples variously ornamented. Several of these churches are somewhat colorfully painted: reddish brown below; the brick, window, and door frames white; the upper story, or what is above the lower roof, light yellow and white. Several of the hills on which a part of the city is situated are sandy and bare, but at the place where the ocean inlet, with its ebb and flow, breaks and surges against the land, one sees beautiful, dark forest delimiting the landscape. At that place a small brook from the land flows into the inlet.
The luxury in this city is significant. The female sex parades about on the streets in the most elegant finery, and the country and field ladies, often from small, wretched cottages, are in silk and large hats with veils like the most genteel ladies. Very often they themselves drive a small cabriolet or a small, dirty farm wagon with a seat on which they sit ⟨[dressed]⟩ in silk. This flair for finery and elegance really seems to be a character trait of the people here, but it also reveals the prosperity that actually must exist, for no beggars or, it would seem, poor, idle people are to be seen. Negroes and their colored descendants are frequently seen in Providence, far more than in Boston and in the more northern regions.
The ships, of which a considerable number are lying here at anchor, mostly brigs, some of them large, also indicate that commerce here is significant. From time to time several steamboats go to various places. Today the Boston is expected at ten o’clock and with it news of health conditions in New York, where cholera is said to be rife. Yesterday 400 persons, most of them fleeing this disease, arrived on a steamship.