July 8, 1832

[8 July:] This morning, from the windows of our hotel (Franklin House), we see people with their books going to church, where the bell had been sounded with single, widely separated strokes. Today, on Sunday, the streets are quite dead, compared to weekdays, but even today one sees many cabriolets and coaches. From our window the view of this city, like most cities of this region, has a somewhat dull character, for the whitish houses with pale gray roofs present a strange, lightly whitish gray appearance, which is somewhat tempered and offset only by the vividly green color of the trees rising from the gardens. In the gardens of the city, one sees European trees and flowers almost exclusively, but also some Ailanthus, Rhus typhinum, magnolia now in bloom, etc. In pots, nothing but European flowers, even the lupine. In the gardens, Carthusian pinks, larkspur, Monarda, grapevines, etc. The fruit here seems very poor; the cherries were scarcely edible. Apple wine (cider) is used everywhere; people drink it mixed with water. I soon upset my stomach with this beverage, and a doctor in Providence advised me to drink spirits with water.

Today, on Sunday, toward noon, the number of stages and other carriages that drive past is very large. At times one sees four or five stages at once. The carriages come along, one right after the other, just as in the largest cities. One also sees very fine horses of all colors. Many are docked; others have long tails. The latter usually hold their tails very high. The coaches and harnesses are very elegant. Many have painted coats of arms on their carriage doors, which people actually do seem to regard highly in this land of liberty. People do not greet each other, either on the [Page 1:32] streets or in buildings. Everybody keeps his hat on except during visits or while eating. The elegance of the men, even here in Providence, equals that in the largest cities. They wear frock coats of various colors, now cut somewhat long.

At eleven thirty the steamship Boston arrived from New York. The master told me that there was indeed cholera in that city. Yet we have no choice; we must go there on the eighth. After lunch at three thirty, we boarded this large, beautiful steamship where the passengers, probably one hundred of them, gradually assembled. This steamship was excellently equipped. In size it resembled a frigate.M5 Some of these ships are 200 feet long. It was very wide and had two three decks. On the lower one was the long dining hall and sleeping apartment where over a hundred persons were very elegantly served food on colorful porcelain at a long table. Candelabra with wax candles; bronze sconces all around on the wall. Beside the large table there were two other smaller ones and a buffet. The entire salon was 58 of my paces in length, and on each side there were twenty-nine beds. Mattresses were spread out for other persons. Another room for ladies contained twenty-four beds. They were all very elegantly furnished with red draperies and curtains. During the day these were pushed back; they then formed a simple drapery above the beds. In the evening, however, these were drawn and one could comfortably undress and dress behind them. Numerous blacks and mulattoes waited ⟨[on us]⟩. They had to stay up until late at night, and therefore they sat around slumbering in every corner.

On the middle deck this ship had long skylights covered with glass windows for the bedrooms, but on both sides there were several additional rooms, including the one for the ship’s master and the purser’s office. From here one walked up steps to the upper deck, where an enclosure for the helm was situated forward, above the steps leading up from the bowsprit and a roomy forecastle of the second deck located near it. Behind them the deck was level and supported the two steam engines (low-pressure engines) with their stacks to port and starboard. Behind them was a glass pavilion with seats all around, where one can sit well protected during bad, windy weather, and behind this the entire afterdeck or quarterdeck, over which a cover has been drawn and around which there is a railing from which one can look down, as high as though from a frigate. The entire upper deck up to the steps near the steering enclosure measured 57 of my paces in length.

When all the passengers were on board (most of them came rushing with four-horse stages at the moment of departure), preparations were immediately made to get the ship, which carried a large amount of heavy spruce firewood piled on its decks, under way. As soon as the steam pressure began to rise, the heavy engines were started up by first unthrottling one engine and then gradually releasing several ropes. The vibration was especially severe in the stern of the ship. The ship now sped off as swiftly as an arrow. The banks on both sides of the ocean inlet, down which the ship hastened, were low, sandy, and partially overgrown with many trees. Towns alternated with woodlands.

Particularly striking was the wake that the ship, with its great force, left behind in the water and which surely broadened out to over 800 paces. Presently a large metal bell, which almost deafened us, was rung to summon the passengers to pay their fare, which amounted to six dollars, including meals, to New York. We saw a small steamship coming up from Newport, sailing to Providence. There are very many small steamships here like this one. The sky was dreary, dark, and cloudy; a brisk wind was blowing. Our channel became a little narrower. Fields with enclosures of stones or hedges and solitary, often quite attractive, buildings appeared everywhere. Many poplars, which we see near them, seem to be the European ones. Scattered villages appear intermittently. Here and there one saw rather bare hills similar to dunes. Cattle grazed on the hills. Terns (Sterna) flew on the banks. In several places there are views into side bays of this waterway, within which many islands appear. Villages with thickets, rows of stones, and rows of [Page 1:33] green trees that enclose the fields. Rain now obscured the landscape. The color of the water was light green. In several places there are unusual rocky islands and rocky shores; all are low.

On the northern bank we reach the city of Newport, where many ships, most of them not large, lay at anchor. The whitish gray total view of the cities here does not greatly enliven the landscape. Figure 2.10. The small passenger boats at Newport are usually very colorful, provided with many longitudinal stripes.Several very nice little boats of a special kind brought many passengers to our ship, the engines of which lay idle during this time. Near Newport several fortifications have been constructed, including some on an island, and also a fortress with one hundred cannon emplacements. On the island there is also a small white lighthouse. From here we sailed to several other rather large lighthouses. Even before dusk we no longer saw any coastline to the left but instead had a view of the open sea here, which, however, does not last very long, since after a few miles one again turns to the right between Long Island and the mainland. At seven o’clock the bell is rung for tea, for which the entire group sits down in the long dining hall, where the service and hospitality were very good. About eight o’clock there was a cape with a shining lighthouse to our right. Seagoing vessels in the distance on the ocean’s horizon. The firewood on our deck had already greatly diminished; on the following day none was left when we put in at noon. The boilers were stoked to such a degree that the smoke was completely red like fire and sparks flew far and wide everywhere, as from a blast furnace.

Date: 
Sunday, July 8, 1832
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Roz Parr
Nina Crabtree