The Alvan Stewart Papers

May 16 - June 10, 1831

Across the Atlantic,
New York to Liverpool

June 11 - June 18, 1831

Landing in Liverpool;
Travel to London

June 19 - June 26, 1831


June 27 - June 30, 1831

From London to Paris

July 1 - July 8, 1831


July 9 - July 14, 1831


July 15 - July 21, 1831

From Paris to Havre

July 22 - September 1, 1831

Return across the Atlantic,
Havre to New York

Landing in Liverpool; Travel to London, June 11 - June 18, 1831


Saturday 11th of June 1831. At sea in sight of the Irish coast. It being daylight at 3 A.M. I went on deck the first cabin passenger and saw land the Bull in the dusky distance. I testified my joy with a tear. It was a happy moment. I then went into my hammock arose at 7 A.M. saw the coast more distinctly called the Mizenhead on which is an old Baronical Castle, as we passed further east we come to the rock, 80 feet above the ocean, around whose base the waves beat in grand and dreadful beatings but in vain. We are now going south of Cape Clear, Ireland, the most southern land of Ireland. - There is a fine lighthouse on it. The wind is good and fair and before sundown we shall pass old Kinsale of Albion memory - I stop here till I sail further - Pause -

Between 3 and 4 o'clock P.M. of the day aforesaid I resume my pen to say we are now very near the spot where the Albion lost her sails and begun to drift towards Old Kinsale - Alas! our situation is far from pleasant, night coming on, the wind blowing with great violence from the south with rain and hazy and thick weather so that we cannot see a great distance ahead. My trust is in God for the events of the coming night.

To Him we must look in the day of trouble and distress. - He is our Father and Almighty Maker and disposer of our lives. Oh that I may put my trust entirely in Him, and in Him alone for the preservation of life on this stormy sea and iron bound coast. But whether my days are few or many, Oh! Lord may my soul be prepared for the great change of Worlds. - May the blood of Christ, that all atoning blood, be applied for the forgiveness of my sins, and eternal salvation - 2nd Pause.

Between 11 and 12 o'clock Saturday night we have passed Old Kinsale, but, the weather was so thick that we could not see the lighthouse. The day which was so fatal to the Albion a British sloop of war and 200 souls perished near the same place while a number of ships rode out the storm at anchor. Captain Sketchby says the gale was so violent that it destroyed the masts and sails of the Albion, and her anchors were so foul, she could not be held by them and the wind blew her sideways, being unmanageable, upon the rocks of this iron bound coast. We have just unseen, passed the Harbor of Cork, and are opposite to Milford Haven where Richard the 2nd who was dethroned and assassinated and succeeded by Henry the 4th landed his 20,000 troops from Ireland on hearing of the insurrection of the Duke of Lancaster, afterwards Henry 4th.

The wind is now very moderate through fair - Good night.

Sunday 4 P.M. 12th of June 1831. In St. George's or the Irish Channel. - the Eastern parts of Ireland have been in view all day, the mountains of Wicklow are very prominent, and some houses occasionally have been seen the distance we have been east of the Irish shore has been from 10 to 20 miles through the day, and nothing has been seen on the right in Wales through the day until, a few minutes since, land in Wales was announced. We passed during the night, on the Irish coast, Carnsove point and lighthouse. - This morning we passed the Luskar Rock, which is about 20 feet above water, and three miles from shore, on which is erected a light house 105 feet, which added to the height of the Luskar Rock makes 125 feet, the height of the lighthouse springing out of the bosom of the ocean. This lighthouse was erected 12 or 14 years since on the happening of a dreadful accident near it in the loss of a ship in the night with 300 souls on board, every one of whom perished. The light is a revolving light of three colors some are circular light. - We are now steering for Holy Head in the Island of Anglesea nearly opposite to Dublin. The tide runs six miles an hour for six hours one way then six hours the other. The channel is from 70 to 100 miles in width in some places, and today is as smooth as a millpond, though it has been a channel of death to thousands - when it puts on it habiliments of anger, I am told she is very furious. - Today being about to separate according to ancient custom a collection was taken up for the steward and his mate, also for the cook and his mate and two others, we paid about one sovereign each, so that there was between $50 and $60, to be divided among these black and yellow caitiffs. - The captain has bet a hat today that tomorrow 1 P.M. we shall be in the Mersey, anchored at Liverpool; I hope he will win. - What a lamentable forgetfulness of God has been manifested by the fifty persons on board this ship, during this voyage, and truly might one say if God was as forgetful of us, as we are of Him, our situation would be awful, but we thank our merciful Father that he is just what he is.

Monday, 13th of June, in St. George's Channel; rain in the morning as usual, but shortly after sunrise the weather became fair, and so continued through the day. At sunrise, at Holy Head, on the island of Anglesea, a pilot came on board. - The island of Anglesea is beautiful, and appears highly cultivated. Immediately after this the coast of Wales with her wild, picturesque and cultivated mountains came into view, and so continued for 20 miles. - There is something so highly romantic in feeling in looking at those mountains, that all which has been written of their beauty falls far short of the impression made by the reality. - Fresh beauties come rushing on the sight of the traveller in the cultivated fields of Chester, Lancaster, sprinkled with cottages, palaces, wind mills, light houses, and ships sailing in every direction. - At 2 P.M. we came to anchor, and his Majesty's Revenue Cutter took the letter bag and landed us on Terra Firma in the City of Liverpool.

We took lodgings at the Adelphi Hotel at 3 P.M., ate a dinner, each one by himself, calling for what he wished. - Then at 4 P.M. went to the Custom House and got our trunks inspected, and paid a 25 cent bribe for my tobacco and 15 cents to porters to get my trunks to my lodgings. - At 5 P.M. Mr. Hammond and I hired a hack and went around the City, and four or five miles into the Country, which is cultivated beyond my most sanguine expectation; such stone walls, cut and even carved with hedge and hawthorne; such fields of grass, potatoes, oats, wheat; such splendid mansions embowered in woods; such gardens; such macadamized roads. They all astonish and delight me. - We visited the New Liverpool Cemetery, and went to the grave of the unfortunate Mr. Huskinson, who was killed on the Manchester Rail Road last fall. The cemetery was formerly a horrid gulf with quarries of rocks all around it, or rather ledges of rocks. The hand of art has turned the side of the ledges into portals for family vaults, and the green grass plot on the flat between the rock walk, also contain an occasional interment among which is Mr. Huskinson who died on the field of his fame, his country's improvements.

We then drove to a gate on the Manchester Rail Road at 1/2 after 7 when a man told us the cars would arrive in five minutes from Manchester; in about one minute we heard the distance rumbling; in an instant burst upon our astonished sight eight or ten cars, filled with gentlemen and ladies, elegantly dressed, perhap 150 or 200, with their faces in the direction the cars were going, who passed us with such a terrific velocity, and anon, in a moment disappeared, that it really appeared like some wild extravagance of a disordered imagination, playing its fantastic gambols, than the demonstrations of physical science for the annihilation of time and space. - No agent is visible to the eye which moves at 30 miles an hour this squadron of human beings; all set up straight, look gallantly, and much at their ease. I think without exaggeration I felt for a moment the dignity of man arise within me and felt proud that I belonged to that order of being. -

June 14th, Liverpool.

I went to bed at 10 or 11 last night, and slept till 8 this morning, I think there is something narcotic in the climate, and should not have slept nine hours under John Bull's protection without a dream.

This morning I visited the Post Office - a poor affair. - The Town Hall, and Exchange, and Lord Nelson's monument, all very well. Let the reader who wishes more peruse Carter's Travels in 1825.

Liverpool stands upon a fine red stone building quartz. I visited the docks of Liverpool today; so justly celebrated, which I will not attempt to describe except by saying that they are sufficient to contain one half of the world's navigation, as secure from tempest and storm as a Lake Erie canal boat would be in one of the locks on that canal; which locks, the docks resemble almost exactly in form, except that one of those walled and dated docks is as large as 100 locks, and the rise and fall of the tides in the Mersey supply the waters on the summit level, as the great six hour feeder of the canal docks. - The tide rises between 20 and 30 feet here. - The oldest church in this town which has been rebuilt two or three times traces an antiquity as high as the year 1360 almost 500 years. This place was called in the time of William the Conqueror Litherpoole, and in the reign of Edward 3rd its quota of men for a sea armament of 14,000 men, was but six men. - Liverpool is the entire growth almost of the last century and a half. - Its population is now 180,000, - But its business is immense. - It is, however, by no means to be compared to New York in the beauty of its architecture. They never paint their brick, and the houses are mostly of that material and the brick are of a dark stoneware color, rather than red even when new. - The old church just described, - the tower part fell down and killed 26 persons on a sabbath day in 1810. - The church yards in Liverpool are from one to two acres, the whole surface of those I have seen is completely on the ground with flat stones covering the entrances to family vaults. - A grave yard appears completely flagged with these marble doors to the city of the dead, whose silence the trump of the Archangel will be the first and the last to disturb.

There is to be an election for a member of Parliament next week, and the candidates are a Mr. Thornley, a Liverpool merchant, against a Lord Sandon of Staffordshire. - Liverpool has no great love of aristocracy, and it is supposed his Lordship will have leisure to study the obligations of the Jockey Club, rather than those of a legislator for the British Empire. There is a fine healthy democratic feeling in Liverpool, and the press is not sparing of it coarsest effusions in relation to his Lordship's pretensions to set up as a candidate for legislation.

June 15th Liverpool 6 P.M. At 10 A.M. I paid five shillings sterling for a ticket in the cars on the Manchester Railroad, which distance we traversed through tunnels of solid rock, over 50 feet embankments, and over six miles of chat mass, or six miles of marsh, over the top of brooks, rivers, turnpikes, roads and under them; everything submitting to the Railroad. - The distance was performed, going, in one hour and a half. - Returning, same. - A string of cars, as elegant as so many beautiful coaches, extending 20 rods in length, moved, on at the rate of 40 or 50 miles an hour.

The other day after the Manchester Races 1300 persons were put into cars and all drawn by one engine. - Thousands of acres of chat mass have been reclaimed from sterile bog by the Railway.

Before making it, this was supposed to be the most difficult rail, but in fact, it proved the easiest part of the Rail to make. - It was first made like a causeway, and then covered with earth and pounded stone. - I went to the Star Inn in Manchester and paid $1.12 for my dinner. I visited the old Collegiate church, a spendid and huge monument of Antiquity. - The oldest part is 1100 years old, and the modern part was built 1460. - Its architecture is gothic. - The images in sculpture on the frieze of men's heads in the mast horrid shapes, and beasts drawn in same horrid cast was disgusting; the Church covers three times as much ground as old Trinity. - I saw many monuments and epitaphs of 150 years standing - I visited the River , a river which runs through Manchester. Manchester is in Staffordshire. - The town looks very ancient and much smoked by making the cotton goods for ages for the world.

It is a gloomy, populous, rich and enterprizing city of near 200,000 inhabitants, without a representative in Parliament, while the little, old, rotten borough of Newton in the Willows of 20 houses which we passed on the Rail has two members. But this inequality, Parliament in its reformation will correct this summer. - I found the English gentleman, with whom I rode on the cars, intelligent, communicative, social, and every way like well bred Americans. - We in America have a false notion of the English character among the well bred, it is not haughty or distant; I think from the little I have seen it is much as it should be. - We know nothing about England except from it brainless tourists and dandies.

The tourists have generally been shallow in their observation of men and manners, and carried from home a class of false ideas, and in many instances no ideas at all, and if the institutions, laws, manners and customs of American differed from their own, they called it heathenism. - The truth is, these men frequently went abroad before they understood the spirit of their own institutions, and the character of their own countrymen. - The dandies have been ported to America as Tailors patterns and John Bull has even made money out of that extraordinary traffic; for although dandies are said to be of no gender, yet they have a tact of producing even more than their own number by converting the addle-brained young Americans into their imitators, who must be clad in nothing but the fabrics of English workshops as their father dandies were. - So honest John Bull increases his foreign markets through the medium of his dandies. - There is a canal from Manchester to Liverpool and the railway runs under the town of Liverpool till it bursts out at Wapping, where the navigation takes the contents of the Tunnel. The country is represented as rather barren, and not very well cultivated between Manchester and Liverpool, and I thought so. - Though it appeared very well, I had strawberries and cream with my dinner of fish and calve's head, lettuce. The strawberries are almost as large as small potatoes. At Manchester we visited the Exchange where we saw the glory of Manchester, its great merchants to about 200, reading the News and conversing, fine looking men, the picture of health, a bountiful table and a good appetite. A very intelligent young English gentleman told me today if I visited Windsor, I should see their citizen King. - He told me the King for the first one of the English Kings was present at the Newmarket Races, without Kingly pomp, dressed like a country clergyman, without anything to distinguish him from the multitude of his country subjects. - Tomorrow morning I leave the Adelphi Hotel, and have paid my Bill. - Which is as follows - I came here on Monday 1 P.M.

Fees to waiters Dinner $0.87
To head waiter $0.25 Coach hire 1.50
per day is $0.75 Breakfast 0.50
Boot black 0.12 Dinner with coffee 1.06
Chambermaid Breakfast 0.50
for making bed Lodging 3 nights 1.50
3 nights is 0.30 Breakfast 0.50
$1.17 $6.47

June 16th City of Chester at the Inn, sign of the Feathers, kept by Ines.

This has been a very interesting day, I paid my passage outside in the stage from Liverpool to London 200 miles, with the right of stopping one day at Chester and another at Birmingham. I paid L1.6, and have to pay the guard and driver besides. We left Liverpool in a steamboat, and crossed over the Mersey to Woodside, when the stage took 18 passengers inside and out. We passed over hill and dale, through three or four small villages on a beautiful macadamized road, at the rate of eight miles an hour, which brought us to Chester at 11 A.M. being 18 miles from Liverpool; our fellow passengers, and what we would see of the country were equally agreeable; a high degree of cultivation and improvement seemed inscribed on the fields, the roads, the walls, ditches and hedges. On our arrival at Chester, before examining the curiosities of that city which are worthy of the most ardent zeal of an Antiquarian, we hired a carriage and pushed on for Eaton Hall, six miles south of Chester, the residence of one of the wealthiest nobleman and subjects in the British Empire, Lord Grosvenor. We passed through splendid lodges or gateways into a park of 800 acres about the Hall with six or seven hundred deer, some red, some spotted, some black, and others white. - The Hall is not exceeded in the British Empire as a splendid piece of gothic architecture, covering two acres of ground, and about 200 rooms, three story high in part, and two in the rest, and 450 feet in the length; a lady of about forty showed us through this splendid pile of architectural marble. My pen nor tongue can not describe a hundredth part of the magnificence which is shown one from room to room. - In fact every thing is there most costly in art, as though the pile of buildings had been erected to contain nothing but the highest efforts of human ingenuity and art. Warriors clad in mail and cut in marble, the canvass speaking tragic stories, gold, silver, ebony, alabaster and sparkling stones. - Like the palace of Aladdin with his lamp.

The garden of eight or ten hot houses with plants of every clime, employing about fifty gardeners, next allured our attention, I gave the gardener's showman a York shilling, and the show woman of the Hall 1/2 a crown for the civility I experienced. Lord Grosvenor has three sons, two with titles; himself a peer and two of his sons are members of Parliament. - His income is L340,000 a year or almost L1000 per day. He keeps two set of race horses, one for the Chester turf and another stud of racers for Newmarket, he has two stewards, one at home and the other in London. He has fifty servants employed in the house, and sixty men about the park, and has twelve hackney coaches. The Hall cost two millions of dollars. - I have not said much of what I remember about this man's wealth but more than I ought and will therefore hurry back and examine the antiquities of the ancient city of Chester.

Chester is one of the oldest cities in the kingdom, and is surrounded by an ancient wall two miles in length, and in some places fifty and at others not more than twelve feet high and six feet thick, supposed on good authority, to have been partly if not wholly built by the 20th legion of the old Roman armies seventy years after Christ. - It is the only speciman in England of a perfect ancient fortification, with its gates and towers on the walls. - It is very grand and interesting. - The Cathedral of Chester some important part of which are above 1500 years old and some suppose older was built on the site of the Roman temple of Minerva. - It is huge and truly stupendous with its time beaten wall, which are scaling and slowly sinking beneath the ceaseless strokes of time. - I saw in it the stone coffin of the Emperor Henry 4th of Germany, who happened to die here. I put my hand on the bottom of his stone coffin through a hole and found nothing but dust.

There are two Latin monuments commemorating two great men as early as 1060. - I saw Lieut. Gov. Clark's monument of the Colony of New York who was buried there in 1760, at 84 years of age. - Earls, Counts, Bishops, Poets, Chancellors are here, all huddled together in awful silence. - Oh the vanity of life. - Truly man is a shadow, in the pursuit of things like himself. From the wall at the East side in which the hills, tournaments, jousts and all the military gambols, were played by those great knights, who made the World grow pale at the mention of their names.

I went upon a tower on the wall on the top of which King Charles the 1st stood in 1645, and saw his great army routed at the battle of Marston Moor. - What a melancholy picture his reign presents of the misfortunes of Kings and distress of Princes. - At this place, at different periods in the last 100 years, coins of Hadrian, New and various other Roman Emperors have been dug up and three Roman altars almost entire. - The history of the wars and sieges which the walls of Chester have alone witnessed would make volumes of history and legendary love. -

At Chester we went into an old Roman bath, called a steam bath; it is underground, and in a dark cellar, on one side of which the light of Heaven penetrates, a poor man and his family lived here at L15 rent. - The Poet Parnel died at Chester in 1718, and his bones are buried in Trinity Church. - At Chester we saw a Sedon chair to carry the rich and lazy on four men's shoulders.

June 17th 1831, at 11 A.M. we took our seats for Birmingham, I was seated with the driver. - We first crossed the Beston Moor the scene of one of the great battles of the Civil War of Charles the 1st. - There are some bold hills, on one of which is Beston Castle towering in splendid ruins. The driver pointed out to me the scenes of some murders, and the place on a lofty eminence where two men were gibbeted sometime since for robbing the mail. - After going through a number of small villages of 27 miles, we left the Palatinate of Chester, and came into Shropshire and saw the seats of many nobles, their mansion houses, and finally came into Staffordshire. - Where the house by the roadside in which Charles 2nd was hid during the time he was seeking his crown, and the Oak, called Lady's Oak, in which he was hid while his enemies passed under him. - We next came to Wolverhampton, one of the great manufacturing towns. It is celebrated for it forges, iron and coal mines, and four in breadth fires furnaces, piles of cinders and rubbish coal, like small hills, arrest the eye of the traveller. - Nature has been bountiful to this place, by filling the earth with successive strata of coal and iron ore. While the forges and furnaces through the agency of steam are vomiting flames and smoke day and night like Mount Vesuvius. - In fact the earth is gone just below the surface for many hundred feet. - It is hollow, fear that you may drop into those regions of endless night will come over one as the coach wheels rumble over this hollow shell. - But one might well suppose from the piles of black rubbish that some dreadful eruption of a volcanic character had visited this country, but not, it is the work of man hunting for subsistence in the bowels of his mother earth from whence he came, and to which he so soon returns. - We next came to Wednesburg, and from there descended a long hill into Birmingham, being about 75 miles from Chester; we here tarried over night. - Birmingham has the appearance of one of the large cities of England, but as I intend visiting it again, I will say no more, than that it, as well as Liverpool has a monument of Lord Nelson.

June 18th. We came to Meriden then Rugby, then into the county of Warwick. The city of Warwick is the county seat of Warwickshire; here is Warwick Castle; here is where the old Kingmaker lived. - The castle is very grand, with it walls, towers and gates; we saw the east and south side of it, it is said to be the most perfect Castle in England. - It is the center of a most delightful country, cultivated to a high degree; we came two miles from Birmingham to Lemington Spa, where we breakfasted. - I suffered with cold very much with my coat, surtout and cloak on. - No one could believe how cold it was in England in haying. - I am at a loss to know how vegetation can grow and luxuriate as it does in the cold climate. - Leamington Spa, is a beautiful modern town of elegant houses of eight or ten thousand inhabitants. - From this place to the town of Daventry, form Daventry to Toweaster in the county of Northamptonshire, from Fenny Stratford in Buckinghampshire to Leighton in Bedfordshire, and from there to Dunstable the great factory of straw bonnets. - From thence to St. Albans, the shire town of Hartfordshire, and saw the great and ancient Abbey of St. Albans. - At St. Albans I saw the most beautiful private houses I ever saw in my life. - It is twenty miles from London. From St. Albans we came to Barnet, from thence to Highgate on a high ridge of land to the northwest of the City of London from which you may see London and far beyond it. - There they were making hay. - We descended a hill for three or four miles into London, with the most beautiful seats in every direction, and off at the right of Highgate in a woods looking like an American forest stood Lord Mansfield's Mansion. We came from Highgate to Middlesex County through Islington, which by itself would be a large city but is only a suburb of London and its street are macadamized instead of being paved with round stones, which is the only thing which distinguishes it from London. - The first collossal public building which arrested my eye was St. Paul's Church, towering in majestic grandeur from the center of the grandest city in the Universe. We drove to the Saracen's Head, but finally put up at the Queen's Arms, facing on one side on St. Martin's Le Grand, and on the other side by Newgate Street, near the center of London, within fifteen rods of St. Paul's, and within eight of the New Post Office, which is one immense pile of buildings.

I have now traversed the heart of England from Liverpool to London, 203 miles, and must say that it is the most beautiful and most highly cultivated country in the world. - No expense is spared in embellishing. The Parks are surrounded, to the amount of 500 to a 1000 acres, with a stone or brick wall laid in lime and mortar to the height of ten or twelve feet. - Lodges costing from L1000 to L3000, stand at the gate of entrance of those seats. - Wheat, rye, oats, barley, potatoes, horse beans, cabbages, grass in meadows and pastures, constitute the substance of what covers the earth. - Corpses of wood - Pine, oak, hemlock, beach, yew, larch, Lombardy and Italian poplars, and many other kinds whose names I have not learnt - cover the earth to 30 and sixty feet appearing from all ages up to fifty years, covering from one to five hundred acres of Land. - All hedges have tress set near them and ditches. -

Old oaks may be seen of a greater age and size than I have described I did not see a stony district from Liverpool to London. - In fact England is hill and dale and like a garden highly cultivated.

The wheat was universally stout. - But it is said to be a fine year for wheat. - The roads could not be improved or made better than they were when I passed them. No pains have been spared. - I passed through a chalk hill which has been excavated seventy feet for the accomodation of the road to make it of easy ascent. - The sides of this chalk hill were very beautiful and interesting to me who had never seen any chalk hills before.

I had strawberries, which are very large in every part I passed. Cherries are very fine. - I cannot write down the 20th part of what I saw and heard while passing from Liverpool to London, which I thought at the time worthy of being written and remembered. - Some I have forgotten but I remember too much to be written as it would become too voluminous.