North America: August 31 1871 - September 10 1871
31 August 1871
We reached New York last night. It took a long time after sighting the land to get in, for everything was obscured for some time by a deluge of rain, and we were obliged to remain with the ship at a stand-still. It cleared however, and we entered the beautiful waters of the Hudson. The American River Steamers are so strange in appearance that we can hardly describe them as they should be for they
appear large and numerous enough to convey one-half of New York across the Waters at once, - and it seems just as if the inhabitants of New York were changing sides with those of New Jersey City, or Brooklyn, each of which are on the opposite shore of the river, or estuary.
31 August 1871
We arrived at Jersey City, New York late in the evening of Wednesday August 30th – and stayed at the celebrated Fifth Avenue Hotel, being anxious to see Americans in their own establishment. The Hotel is very large and very busy; and several shops are attached to it, such as Hairdressers, Chemists, Cigar &c. We went to the Bar and had some American drinks at different times, - for few people drink wine at meals and therefore visit the bar afterwards. The breakfast, commences at an early hour, is put on and served by
blackcolored men, and begins with melon and iced-water and includes various ordinary dishes – Lunch and Dinner are much after the style of France. The charges are so much per day, which includes everything but Wine; but the charges are high. Every piece put to Wash costs [unclear: s 6]. In fact, living and everything is ruinous in New York. Dollars which are 4/2 but amount in currency to about 3/9 are only like shillings. The luxury of a carriage is something
indeed, the charge being 2 ½ dollars an hour. The City of New York is not striking in itself. The Stores, as they are called, shew great trade, but do not compare with our Warehouses in size. All the Goods are seen in New York, - whereas in England are much larger establishments not so ostentatiously set out. There is only one that can compared with such an establishment as that of Sir John Watts in Manchester. There is not much to be seen in New York. By riding about in the street cars, or as they are called, the tramway carriages, one can get on very well – otherwise it is something marvellous to see what execrable pavement there is. We were half our day arranging for future travel; -
31 August 1871
and next we went to see the Central Park, which is good but new. We chased the large and magnificent butterflies for a while in the tremendous heat, and then came back to prepare for our Journey up the Hudson, after which we dined with Lord Adare and some friends whom we met on the steamer.
1 September 1871
Next morning early we went on board one of those grand three-decked river steamers for Albany. Lord Adare would have been with us, but a Telegram having brought him bad news of Lord Dunnaven’s health, he must return by next boat to England.
The magnificent Bay at New York and the sight of the large Steamers constantly flying on it, is a scene far more pleasant than the review of New York and a sojourn amidst its whirl of Business . The change is indeed charming, from the close heat to the pleasant breeze created by the Steamers going at 20 miles an hour; - from
the crowded street and busy hum to gaze upon the beauties of this magnificent river. It was the scene of much strife between the Americans and the English, and many places are rich in histories relating to the time of the fight for Independence. The mountains form themselves into precipitous rocks, called the “Palisades”, and look very imposing. The river takes a sudden bend at West Point, and there the scene becomes fine indeed, equal to any river views I have ever seen. An eagle came close to the boat, so wild is the part. We got to Albany at night, and after wandering about until near midnight started in the train for Niagara.
2 September 1871
Who can described these Falls! They must be seen to be appreciated, and moreover seen again and again. Their greatness cannot be realised at once. We went underneath the parts it is possible to visit, which was amusing as well as instructive. Our dress was of flannel, and we were soon with the spray, wet to the skin; - as we walked we were simply blinded with spray coming at us, as if in spite from all quarters. Poor Dunny this enjoying it, got his mouth full in a second, whilst laughing, but so far as one can realise anything in such a situation, the constant descent of the green water over head amidst a deafening roar is most appalling. And this is only one wee part of this waste of waters. Next morning, on rising, the Falls looked larger than ever, and so, I am told they grow on you. We stayed on the Canadian side hoping for more moderate charges, but in this were disappointed.
4 September 1871
We started on Monday for Chicago, taking places in
the sleeping cars. We passed thro’ Canada by the Lakes – thro’ those immense forests which none can realise by merely reading about; there to see the veritable settler clearing his farm by burning the timber and cutting it down. There we saw his log hut, and his cattle. Certainly it was a home of freedom, but dreadfully wild. Thus we go thro’ parts, only touched along the sides of the railway, for about 18 hours, knowing that for only about a quarter of a mile on each side of the Rail and sometime only on one side (and that in part) has the clearance been made, and that beyond, for miles and miles, the land of man has plenty to do.
Approaching Chicago, and on the bowers of the lakes there are lands of fine quality, which extend for days’ journey round Chicago. The Corn producing ground is of wonderful extent and quality. Here is a City of 17 years growth, now with a population of 300,000, and growing still. Our views of the Lakes were rather disappointing; - they are seas, and not realisable as Lakes from the Railway; - and the shores are flat and not interesting. In passing the river at Detroit, the Railway Train was run on to a large steam barge, so that we had not to change carriages.
5 September 1871
We stayed a day at Chicago to get rest and clean up and see the place. The Therman House is a very good establishment and on a very large scale. The trade in wood, grain and cattle for the Western States is as you are aware enormous and Vessels can load at the Wharves and passing thro’ the Lakes and canals to the St. Lawrence, can sail direct to any part of the world.
Strange to say many large buildings are built principally of iron; but wood is turned out in all shapes for houses, and on a large scale so that they may be shipped to any port ready-made, and certainly on our route, these wood erections form the principal stores and houses of all people in New Settlements. Here I met Mr Maxwell Secretary to the Iron Ore Company, who had been to Denver City, called Central City, and reports on some excellent mines rich in lead and silver.
6 September 1871
We started for Omaha at 10am on Wednesday passing thro’ rich cornfields and immense farms all the way until evening, when we came to the Mississippi river over which is constructed a large bridge of timber. The train was checked in speed as we crossed, for indeed it is a frail structure, and the timbers creak in a most serious way groaning with the weight of the train. We found it very hot, the thermometer standing at 87° in the shade.
7 September 1871
We arrived at Omaha at 9 next morning, having dined and slept in the train. The Pullman Sleeping Carriages are certainly magnificent, but withal the whole space is so limited, and the dust so great that there is not much comfort or cleanliness. We crossed the Missouri River in a ferry boat, the bridge being only in progress. All were huddled together 1st and 2nd class passengers - a motley crew indeed, consisting of Ladies, gentlemen, Blacks, Gold Diggers, Chinese, Trappers from the Back Woods, and a bearded class of “strangers” fit for bowie knife &c. In an hour or so after starting we reached the veritable prairie with its boundless
extent of waving grass, and antelopes, Prairie hens and other game. We encountered a most terrible stench and were troubled with it for a mile or more:- and were informed that a skunk had crossed the track! Here was land indeed capable of raising crops, only waiting for man to till. The Railway is simply laid on the surface, and it is said, was made at the rate of 8 miles per day with Chinese labour. Breakfast was at Des Moines, Dinner at Fremont and Tea at Grand Island, for all those not in Pullman’s Palace Cars. Next Day, Friday still finds us travelling the same boundless plains!
7 September 1871
We passed Prairie Dog City, a place in which these little animals live in great numbers. In size they are about as large as a rabbit, but in appearance rather like a large stoat. They burrow in the ground like rabbits, and then sentinels, always on the look out, give the alarm, whereupon the inhabitants all bolt into their holes. We found them sitting up on their little banks in the most imprudent manner, watching the train as it passed. The wolves feed on them, but it is a hard morsel to catch, evidently. We saw five
of them at work on a carcass, who caring nothing for the passing train, and antelopes in abundance. We breakfasted at Sydney Barracks, one of the American Outposts for protection against Indians, dined at Cheyenne, named from a tribe of Indians, and had tea at Laramie, a place mentioned in all books of travel over the Rocky Mountains, and a favorite hunting ground of the Indians. Here the cattle in the Waggons got their best feed, and almost their last good
one before entering the Desert of the Rocky Mountains. We saw the Prairie on fire further on, which was a marvellous sight indeed!
9-10 September 1871
On Saturday the 9th we awoke in the Desert, a desolate and dreary Sahara, - arriving at Utah in the evening we proceeded to
the Salt Lake City where we stayed over Sunday. We went to the Tabernacle of the Mormons to their service and had their faith proclaimed, as the Apostle Woodruff stated, especially for the benefit of the Gentiles. His explanation was that above and beyond the Bible and its teachings, a Revelation was given to Joseph Smith, and a further light given to the World; that, as in the days of old, revelations were given directly to man so now to the Latter Day Saints he reveals to Brigham Young his Will. To prove that the Saints were under especial care, he referred to their settlement at Nauvoo, in Illinois, - to the development of their industry there, and the building of their town – proving by their subsequent persecution and expulsion. God love and care; - and likening the wonderful exodus from Nauvoo, the preservation and march of the Saints thro’ the Deserts to the Plains of Utah, the conversion of arid plains into wondrous fertility, to the march of the Children of Israel to the Promised Land. He said the Gentiles might go on in unbelief – but here were a people happy and prosperous. A part of the necessary teaching and faith is that no idleness is permitted – all must work. He said the Saints invited people to come and see and hear for themselves. Had it not been revealed to Brigham Young that a way was to be opened across the
desert; and had not the Saints made 400 miles of the most difficult part of the Pacific Railway, which in fact could not have been made without them? Had they not tamed the Indian by kindness and carried food for the constructors during the progress of the Works? And when a second revelation came to Brigham Young they made the Railway from Utah to the Salt Lake City. It appears, however, that Brigham Young undertook to construct 400 miles on the part of the Saints (for, it must be remembered, their Church property is enormous in value. The Land and City belong to the community, and as everyone still pays one-tenth of his earnings to the Church, the revenue is very large. The affairs are governed by Brigham Young aided by the 12 apostles). However, the construction of the Railway was found not to pay, - and after they had made 40 miles, they left the Gentiles to finish it themselves.
I was struck with the simplicity of the people so far as I saw them. – They don’t shew education! The older men appear to be respectable laboring men. The Tabernacle will hold 14,000 persons seated- about 6,000 were present on the morning we were there. I believe but few duplicate marriages take place now; - and it would appear most unjust and unwise for the United States Govt. to interfere and stop the industries of this strange sect. We had also an Exposition from a Young Missionary just arrived from England who said that the Saints compared excellently well morally with the Gentiles; - and added that the mission in England was progressing favourably.