England, London, Tuesday, May 6, 1851.

LONDON, Tuesday, May 6, 1851.

I have seen little yet of England, and do not choose to deal in
generalities with regard to it until my ignorance has lost something of
its density. Liverpool impressed me unfavorably, but I scarcely saw it.
The working class seemed exceedingly ill dressed, stolid, abject and
hopeless. Extortion and beggary appeared very prevalent. I must look
over that city again if I have time.

We came up to London by the “Trent Valley Railroad,” through Crewe,
Rugby, Tamworth, &c., avoiding all the great towns and traversing (I am
told) one of the finest Agricultural districts of England. The distance
is two hundred miles. The Railroads we traveled in no place cross a road
or street on its own level, but are invariably carried under or over
each highway, no matter at what cost; the face of the country is
generally level; hills are visible at intervals, but nothing fairly
entitled to the designation of mountain. I was assured that very little
of the land I saw could be bought for $300, while much of it is held at
$500 or more per acre. Of course it is good land, well cultivated, and
very productive. Vegetation was probably more advanced here than in
Westchester Co. N. Y., or Morris Co. N. J., though not in every respect.
I estimated that two-thirds of the land I saw was in Grass, one-sixth in
Wheat, and the residue devoted to Gardens, Trees, Oats or Barley, &c.
There are few or no forests, properly so called, but many copses,
fringes and clumps of wood and shrubbery, which agreeably diversify the
prospect as we are whirled rapidly along. Still, nearly all the wooded
grounds I saw looked meager and scanty, as though trees grew less
luxuriantly here than with us, or (more probably) the best are cut out
and sold as fast as they arrive at maturity. Friends at home! I charge
you to spare, preserve and cherish some portion of your primitive
forests; for when these are cut away I apprehend they will not easily be
replaced. A second growth of trees is better than none; but it cannot
rival the unconscious magnificence and stately grace of the Red Man’s
lost hunting grounds, at least for many generations. Traversing this
comparatively treeless region carried my thoughts back to the glorious
magnificence and beauty of the still unscathed forests of Western
New-York, Ohio, and a good part of Michigan, which I had long ago
rejoiced in, but which I never before prized so highly. Some portions of
these fast falling monuments of other days ought to be rescued by public
forecast from the pioneer’s, the woodman’s merciless axe, and preserved
for the admiration and enjoyment of future ages. Rochester, Buffalo,
Erie, Cleveland, Toledo, Detroit, &c., should each purchase for
preservation a tract of one to five hundred acres of the best forest
land still accessible (say within ten miles of their respective
centers), and gradually convert it into walks, drives, arbors, &c., for
the recreation and solace of their citizens through all succeeding time.
Should a portion be needed for cemetery or other utilitarian purposes,
it may be set off when wanted; and ultimately a railroad will afford the
poor the means of going thither and returning at a small expense. If
something of this sort is ever to be done, it cannot be done too soon;
for the forests are annually disappearing and the price of wood near our
cities and business towns rapidly rising.

I meant to have remarked ere this the scarcity of Fruit throughout this
region. I think there are fewer fruit-trees in sight on the two hundred
miles of railway between Liverpool and London, than on the forty miles
of Harlem Railroad directly north of White Plains. I presume from
various indications that the Apple and Peach do not thrive here; and I
judge that the English make less account of Fruit than we do, though we
use it too sparingly and fitfully. If their climate is unfavorable to
its abundant and perfect production, they have more excuse than we for
their neglect of one of Heaven’s choicest bounties.

The approach to London from the West by the Trent Valley Railroad is
unlike anything else in my experience. Usually, your proximity to a
great city is indicated by a succession of villages and hamlets which
may be designated as more or less shabby miniatures of the metropolis
they surround. The City maybe radiant with palaces, but its satellites
are sure to be made up in good part of rookeries and hovels. But we were
still passing through a highly cultivated and not over-peopled rural
district, when lo! there gleamed on our sight an array of stately,
graceful mansions, the seeming abodes of Art, Taste and Abundance; we
doubted that this could be London; but in the course of a few moments
some two or three miles of it rose upon the vision, and we could doubt
no longer. Soon our road, which had avoided the costly contact as long
as possible, took a shear to the right, and charged boldly upon this
grand array of masonry, and in an instant we were passing under some
blocks of stately edifices and between others like them. Some mile or
two of this brought us to the “Euston-square Station,” where our
Railroad terminates, and we were in London. Of course, this is not “the
City,” specially so called, or ancient London, but a modern and
well-built addition, distinguished as Camden-town. We were about three
miles from the Bank, Post-Office, St. Paul’s Church, &c., situated in
the heart of the City proper, though nearer the East end of it.

I shall not attempt to speak directly of London. The subject is too
vast, and my knowledge of it too raw and scanty. I choose rather to give
some account of an excursion I have made to the royal palace at Hampton
Court, situated fifteen miles West of the City, where the Thames, which
runs through the grounds adjacent, has shrunk to the size of the Mohawk
at Schenectady, and I think even less. A very small steamboat sometimes
runs up as high as this point, but not regularly, and for all practical
purposes the navigation terminates at Richmond, four or five miles