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CHAPTER IV.: 1859. - William Stanley Jevons, Letters and Journal 
Letters and Journal of W. Stanley Jevons, edited by his Wife (Harriet A. Jevons) (London: Macmillan and Co., 1886).
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As will be seen from the previous letters, Mr. Jevons made good use of his time during his residence at Sydney. He began the study of political economy with much interest, and he also read one or two books oh logic. At meteorology especially he worked hard, and on 24th August 1856 he commenced sending weekly meteorological reports to the Empire newspaper, which he continued without intermission up to the end of June 1858. For about a year he was the only acting meteorologist in Sydney, and his observations were subsequently made use of by the Government in compiling an account of the meteorology of New South Wales. He frequently contributed to the Empire letters or articles on various subjects, and was several times gratified to find his articles reprinted in the summary for England. In 1857 he sent home a paper on the “Cirrous Form of Cloud,” which appeared in the London and Edinburgh Philosophical Magazine. In the same year he commenced monthly meteorological reports in the Sydney Magazine of Science and Art, and also wrote several papers for the magazine. He published in Waugh's Australian Almanac for 1859, “Some Data concerning the Climate of Australia and New Zealand,” a paper over fifty pages in length, which is best described by his closing words:—“My object has been to present in an available form such accurate numerical data as are attainable, and secondly, to group together general information as to the winds, rains, rivers, floods, the geographical features of the country, and the meteorological circumstances of this part of the globe, so as to show what remarkable problems have to be solved, and what interesting connections of cause and effect may ultimately be traced and proved.”
He had made use of his occasional holidays to take excursions from Sydney, and his journal contains full accounts of trips to the Illawarra district and the Hunter River. In January 1859, after he had resigned his post at the mint, he visited the diggings at Braidwood, and then returning to Sydney, made final preparations for his departure. He determined to go by land to Melbourne, and then to sail to Callao, the port of Lima; afterwards he would cross the Isthmus of Panama and make his way to the United States, and especially to Minnesota, where he expected to meet his elder brother, Herbert, who had lately gone to settle there, in the hope that the country life would suit his health better than England.
To his sister Henrietta.
Sydney, N. S. W., 30th January 1859.
“Yesterday I returned from my trip to the Braidwood diggings, and for a few days I enjoy the comfort of a quasi-home. You might perhaps be interested by an account of what I have done and seen in this primitive country, but I prefer, in the first place at all events, writing some sort of answer to an interesting and pleasing letter from you which met me here. I did, some time since, write you a very serious and rather uncommon letter, and you may depend upon it that what I said I also meant to say. But I am glad to find that it was not misunderstood by you, and that in fact you agree with me as far as could be expected concerning the comparative values of an agreeable and a useful life. It could never be supposed that in the course of a rather gay stirring life, such as you have been lately spending, there would always be opportunity for serious work or even reflection; these things are not always right nor necessary. … I can perceive that your own views of the proper uses of life coincide satisfactorily with my own, and we enjoy a common understanding upon that basis, which is a considerable privilege. But in conducting yourself upon that basis of conduct, you have not, I think, sufficient patience and confidence, which leads to a certain degree of wavering and inconstancy, and the consequent dissatisfaction of your own heart—'the battling,' as you term it,'of your two natures within you.' Do you not perceive that a girl of eighteen years, or even a man of twenty-two or twentythree years, can really do little or nothing in the world? It is only an extraordinary precocity of intellect, very rare and scarcely to be desired, which can enable them to do it. It is quite sufficient if, after a life of forty or seventy years, a person can look back and say that he has done something, not so much as he would have liked to do, but perhaps nearly as much as his innate nature and circumstances enabled him to do. … How unreasonable, at your age or mine, is all impatience to have any absolute result, to see a stroke of the work struck, or a nail driven home!. Sufficient that you are considering its magnitude and importance; that you are looking about and seeing what results others achieve; that you fix your attention on the greatest works hitherto achieved, and wonder how they were done; that you steadily and patiently exercise every smallest member of your mind and body, uncertain upon which muscles or upon which faculties the strain will fall; or that you collect and learn to handle skilfully the tools which you feel sure will be of vital use. Be in no hurry to start upon the actual work, almost draw back from it, that your preparations may become all the more complete. Take it coolly and confidently, and leave the result, as I have said, far in the future. … I think you do not duly appreciate the comparative importance of preparation and performance; or perhaps, as I may illustrate it, of capital and labour. You desire to begin and hammer away at once, instead of spending years in acquiring strength and skill, and then striking a few blows of immensely greater effect than your unskilled ones, however numerous, could be. We enter here into one of those deeply-laid and simple propositions of economy which I hope some day to work out in a symmetrical and extensive manner, hitherto unattempted even by Mill or Adam Smith. It comprehends the whole question of education and the employment of capital and industry, and will define the proper relation of preparation and performance. I will illustrate this by a simple instance.
“Suppose a man in early years to be so struck with the value of railways as to determine to devote his life to their construction, and suppose him to live for sixty years. Suppose him to have moderate money-means at his disposal. Should he buy a spade and a barrow, and set to work at once digging away at a railway cutting? Or would he do better to abandon for some years all care about rails, sleepers, embankments, and locomotives, and learn nothing but mathematics, mechanics, natural philosophy, reading, writing, and even French and poetry? In the first case he would remain all his life a common ‘navvie;’ in the second case, favourable talents and circumstances, and what is more important, a peculiar, well-directed industry, would make him a Stephenson. Now as regards the real extension of railways, a Stephenson is as valuable as perhaps a hundred thousand navvies, for it is he that has led the whole theory and practice of railway making, in which so many hundred thousand persons are engaged in various parts of the world. This single man is probably more industrious than most, but does not labour much above the average, yet see what education, reflection, and determination can accomplish. I need not refer to other names, such as Watt and Adam Smith, to show how one man can, even in a mere mechanical sense, render himself worth millions of men, and it requires only a little more refined consideration to perceive that eminent men, in every branch of knowledge and practical life, are really as valuable as Watt, Stephenson, or Adam Smith, although they do not directly produce material wealth. Soyer is worth a hundred thousand cooks, as Newton is worth a hundred thousand ordinary mathematicians and astronomers, because by due education, reflection, and industry he leads them all into new methods, and raises their pursuit to a new level.
“You will perhaps perceive the bearing of this on your own case; if you really wish to be useful, why not desire to be as useful as a hundred thousand other people, and lay yourself out accordingly? A woman's field of action, and her available means are considerably less than those of a man, but she has no reason to complain and remain idle so long as the field is really so little occupied and still so wide, and while all her disadvantages are fully recognised and allowed for. Often, indeed, these very disadvantages, when properly encountered, become quite the reverse, as with Ida Pfeiffer, Florence Nightingale, and many others. I am using names in illustration of what I advance, which will perhaps dismay you. Of course I do not in the least expect that you should follow in their footsteps, but that in your own chosen and natural way you should endeavour to be as confident, courageous, and patient as they. You applied yourself for a time, you say, to teaching at schools. This is a very good thing, but if you devote much time to it, aim at being as useful as a hundred thousand other teachers, by so studying the theory and practice of education that you may be an original leader in that line. But the selection of your pursuit is a duty of your own, and if you feel no present inclination one way or another, be satisfied to reflect upon and learn what will in any case be useful.
“For myself, as I have before stated, I have long felt the same desire for a useful life, but while I was. at school and college it remained comparatively latent. I gave my attention chiefly to physical science, feeling much interest in it, and being sure that it could not prove useless. There is indeed almost an infinite field for work in the various branches of physical science, but within the last few years I have become convinced that more is really to be done in the scientific investigation of man.
“There are multitudes of writers of all degrees of eminence and cleverness who treat of every imaginable subject connected with man. Take for instance the number of papers contributed to the Social Science Association. But does it not strike you that just as in physical science there are general and profound principles deducible from a great number of apparent phenomena, so in treating of man or society there must also be general principles and laws which underlie all the present discussions and partial arguments? Is it not worth years of labour to dive into these inmost and obscurest principles, and after obtaining some good clue, to follow it out with all the intense pleasure of mental success into a multitude of useful conclusions? Man is said to possess free will, but however this be, he is at least a phenomenon in which effect is always connected with cause. All the investigations of social science must proceed on the assumption that there are causes to make people good and bad, happy and miserable, rich and poor, as well as strong and feeble. It follows that each individual man must be a creature of cause and effect. This has indeed been argued by Quetelet, but requires yet to be more completely proved. But the causes which operate in each man, letting alone a collection of men, are so very complex that their effects supply innumerable facts for many branches of knowledge. But why do these remain disconnected while the causes must have more or less connection? Men possess animal powers and functions, they have logical minds, they have a series of emotions, and they are placed in contact with definite but extremely variable external circumstances. A perfect consideration of all these data, in fact of all the causes in operation, must result in a determination of all effects; for instance in the case of a single person it must explain every trait of his character, every action of his life, every word he has spoken, every thought he has conceived. Of course such is the infinite complexity of causes and of effects that we cannot treat them in detail. A few of the main features of man and society afford plenty of occupation. To attempt to define the foundations of our knowledge of man is surely a work worth a lifetime, and one not excelled in usefulness or interest by any other.
“Why, then, should anything beyond my necessary moral obligations debar me from it? While I should never consent to sacrifice others, why should I care to sacrifice my own present ease and amusement? Why should I care for money, for fine possessions, for present name and position, or even for the real pleasures of scientific study, while there is such an important and interesting work evident to me? Others will not, for years, know or appreciate my real purposes, but it is not to be expected that they should. I do not profess to say what you should do with the long years before you; it is rather open advice to say—choose what is useful and good, and therefore likely to be happy. … Painting, music, and literature are indeed excellent pursuits for ladies, but they may even yet employ themselves with equal delight and propriety in branches of more serious learning, which are not at all beyond their reach. To each individual the choice belongs, and so to yourself.
“Excuse me if my letter is extremely heavy and serious. It is suggested by your own, and while I cannot omit what I have said, I have not time to write much more on lighter subjects. A long time since I wrote about a small essay I was going to publish; perhaps you are surprised it did not appear, so I must briefly explain that the London publishers, Simpkin and Marshall, said it would not pay its cost for printing, and referred the matter back to Mr. Waugh, the Sydney publisher. I did not care to go on with it at the expense of perhaps £20 or £30 (the estimate of the total cost of 1000 copies being £87), but I did not see the least ground for discouragement, as it is not at all usual for original essays, by unknown writers, on dry uninviting subjects, to pay any profit I am even glad now that it was not published, as in years to come I can make use of the same conclusions, free from a great many faults of style and mistakes, which I expect exist at present in the essay.”
To his cousin Henry Roscoe.
“… I feel an utter distaste for money-making, but on the contrary ever become more devoted to my favourite subjects of study. Perhaps you think I am too varied and desultory in my employments, which is partly true, but you know I am yet in a transition state. I told you, long since, that I intended exchanging the physical for the moral and logical sciences, in which my forte will really be found to lie. I like and respect most of the physical sciences well enough, but they never really had my affections. I should be glad, indeed, to follow out my subject of the clouds and the movements of the atmosphere, because I feel sure I could place it in a new position altogether; perhaps I may spare time for this in England, but I shall make it a secondary thing. I have almost determined to spend a year at college before looking out for any employment in England. It might be worth while to take my B.A. (If I had had this degree before coming to this colony I should vastly have improved my position in, as well as outside, the mint) I wish especially to become a good mathematician, without which nothing, I am convinced, can be thoroughly-done. Most of my theories proceed upon a kind of mathematical basis, but I exceedingly regret being unable to follow them out beyond general arguments. I daresay it is the general opinion of my friends in England that I am inexcusably imprudent in resigning £630 per annum. … But, I ask, is everything to be swamped with gold? Because I have a surety of an easy well-paid post here, am I to sacrifice everything that I really desire, and that will, I think, prove a really useful way of spending life?”
To his sister Lucy.
Double Bay, February 1859.
“… It almost seems now as if my return to England were a reality very soon to happen, and it does not seem at all out of place to consider what must be done when it is accomplished. To build castles or even very moderate-sized houses in the air is absurd, but this is not the case with us.
“You suggest very reasonably that it will be necessary for me to do something to earn a living in England, and that I ought not to be without settled plans. It is a fact which I do not mind confessing to yourself, that I wait very much ‘for something to turn up,’ but I am pretty sure I can find some way of supporting myself, and perhaps others, which will not interfere with my own settled pursuits. … A preliminary, however, upon which I have almost decided is that of taking my B.A., not so much for the value of the title as for the sake of a little more study. …
“Herbert's letter from Wayzata is cheerful, and so far satisfactory. … I shall certainly try to reach his abode and see him. Travelling in the United States is, I believe, cheap, easy, and rapid, so that if I ever get into the country it will not be difficult. … Vessels to the west coast of America are now very scarce here. I shall have to take any that offers, whether it be Callao, Valparaiso, or San Francisco, but I understand there is such good steam communication along the coast that it does not much matter. I shall cross at Panama (where a letter might perhaps reach me), and enter the U. S. by one way or the other. I have no fancy for New Orleans and the yellow fever, but I should like to ascend the great Mississippi, the head of the navigation of which is, I believe, St. Paul's, of which Herbert speaks.
“I will now tell you that I have only just returned from a rough, hard-working, but fine excursion to the southern diggings. With the exception of the passage by the steamer, I walked all the way there and back, and to many places in the neighbourhood. I lived in a tent with Charles Bolton, Maurice O'Connell, and their mate, Frank Fuller, and saw and felt all the peculiarities of life in the diggings. My principal employment was photographing with my stereoscopic camera and tent, and my success exceeded all previous efforts, which, however, is not saying very much. I have about twenty pictures, many of which are almost professionally perfect, exhibiting not only general scenery, but all the principal operations of gold-digging and washing and incidents of tent life. The diggers were highly amused at being taken, and only required a hint to stand in any desirable attitude, so that my pictures seem almost alive. with real diggers. I even got an aboriginal black with two black gins or wives, who sat still in the sun while I made four or five attempts at their portraits before I succeeded. … When out in the field I am quite pestered with people wishing to buy views, and if I carried printing materials with me I might easily travel scot free as an itinerant photographer. It is one disagreeable thing in this country that a tourist is always mistaken for some sort of a tramp, because they are utterly unaccustomed to the tourist system, so highly developed at Snowdon, the Lakes, Mont Blanc, etc. However, it is pleasant to travel in places really primitive and unappreciated. I walked to the Valley of Araluen, a long narrow valley so entirely surrounded by steep mountain ranges that wheeled carriages of all sorts can neither get in nor out. Provisions are taken down the mountains on sledges. The place is occupied by none but gold-diggers and their dependent trades. A drawback to travelling there is that decent accommodation cannot be had. I had to beg and pray the only respectable landlady there before she would give me a bed in a loft. The valley, however, was highly picturesque, and the foliage of the trees along the sides of the creeks was delightful, at all events to an Australian eye. Here were fine large Casuarina trees, called swamp oaks, with a dark green foliage resembling the pine or fir of England, only more graceful. The shady natural groups of these trees were beautiful among the variety of fine old gum-trees to which we are here so much accustomed. The comprehensive view of the valley from the top of the mountains, with the distant wild ranges which hedge it in on all sides, was surpassingly beautiful. I made a desperate attempt to photograph it, with just a particle of success, but distant mountains as well as clouds are practically beyond the power of the photographer. The country surrounding the diggings of Janbecumberre, where I lived, was unlike other Australian country, being an unvaried wide and slightly undulating plain or tableland, entirely covered with fine green grass and shaded by fine scattered trees. It exactly resembled, in short, an unlimited English park. There were plenty of birds, including crows or ravens, magpies, many white cockatoos, and I also saw two magnificent black and scarlet cockatoos. Of course one apprehended the drawbacks of snakes and herds of wild cattle, the latter especially alarming to the timid, but being in fact very timid themselves.”
To his sister Lucy.
Beechworth, Ovens Diggings, Victoria, Sunday Evening, 13th March 1859.
“It is a pleasure to be able in the midst of my travels to spend a quiet hour in writing what you will soon read, and you will be glad to hear that I am as yet safe, well, and pleased with the strange and various scenes of life and nature which I meet.
“I had set my heart on performing the overland journey to Melbourne, although knowing it to be exceedingly laborious, expensive, in most respects uninviting, and not altogether unsurrounded by dangers. As steam communication with Melbourne is so convenient and rapid, it is an unknown thing to go overland, except when there is necessary business on the road. I wished to gain a fair idea of what the interior of Australia is, although it be somewhat repulsive, and I had the further advantage of seeing two considerable gold diggings—viz., the quartz reef at Adelong, and the celebrated Ovens District. A journey of 600 miles overland is but a slight affair in a first-class railway carriage, but on a small mail cart, dragged by force of numerous horses over the uneven tracks and among the bush of Australia, it is really no matter of joke. The mail carts travel day and night at the rate of from 4 to 6 or 7 miles an hour, and during the whole twenty-four hours, awake or half asleep, you must hold on hard, lest an unexpected jerk should set you flying.
“I do not mind admitting that I have scarcely met with a scene of beauty the whole distance. An eye accustomed, as mine now is, to the unvaried greenish brown or black of the distant bushy country, to the common shape of the mountain ranges, and to the foliage and other component parts of the foreground, is not again excited by similar scenes, although hundreds of miles away. The difference, too, of the coast and interior country is all against the latter in an artistic view. The varied scrub, forest, and flowers of Sydney, and the magnificent tropical vegetation of Illawarra and the coast ranges, are exchanged for a thin scattering of gum-trees and a partial covering of dry and straggling grass. The landscape is often like that of an ill-kept English park, but devoid of its variety, its interesting associations, the beauty of the tints and the noble roundness of English forest trees. The interior country of Australia may be classed into several kinds, over which you pass uneasily in dreary succession. The mountains are chiefly in the form of long ranges, with steep stony sides, but always covered with more or less gum-trees. In one place the trees upon some hills were so thinly scattered as to look perfectly ridiculous, indeed, like those in a Chinese painting. Again, at the foot of the ranges, generally occurs a large extent of undulating slopes, over which you travel roughly, with the sight of nothing but trees, grass and banks of sterile earth or coarse clay. Thirdly, there are alluvial lands, or flats, as they are called, of rather more productive soil, but still a dull expanse, over which you are glad to pass at full gallop, swallowing, as you cannot help, your fair share of the dusty cloud which envelops the coach. The only places which are devoid of trees in Australia are what they call plains; these are level lands or gentle hills perfectly and naturally free from trees, and bearing only a carpet of grass, which is generally so dry and burnt by the sun as to appear yellow like hay. The Goulburn plains extend some 20 or 30 miles, and this yellow expanse, bordered by dark brown bushy ranges, has a very remarkable appearance. On one end of these plains the town of Goulburn is laid out, not unprettily, as seen from a distance, but when inside it about noon the unshaded glare of the sunshine, and the abundance of white dust, are nearly insupportable. The town of Yass, again, is built on somewhat similar plains, but of less extent; here too is a river of decent pretensions, fringed with graceful trees; around are several remarkable mountains, while in the extreme distance is seen the gigantic and rugged range of the Australian Alps, the highest in Australia, but still not exceeding about 7500 feet, or half the height of Mount Blanc. The remarkable interior rivers, Murrumbidgee and Murray, great rivers as they are here called, have a very serpentine course between flat lands liable to inundation, but covered by clumps of trees are very picturesque.
“The uneasiness and danger of the mountain roads of N. S. W. are now past, however, and I am in Victoria, and in the midst of one of those remarkable gold districts which are a new wonder of the world. Such a comfortless, unsightly but interesting place could not be found elsewhere. The greater part of this morning I passed in the Chinese camps here. They are collections of many hundred tents arranged close together in the form of rectangular streets. In the construction of these tents, canvas, split wood, old packing-cases, old tin, old clothes, old sacking, etc., are indiscriminately employed for the simple purpose of keeping out the sun and wind. You may imagine, then, how squalid and unsightly are a few hundred such tents, inhabited by swarms of the little ugly Mongolians, in their loose blue clothes, and often with their extraordinary basket hats. Often also you see them carrying water or transporting their earthly possessions in their own peculiar manner over their shoulders. In the centre streets of the camps are all manner of canvas shops, and a number of temples. They let me freely walk all round and examine the latter, which were the only places of worship I had entered for a long time. The god himself was shin or chin, as they emphatically told me in answer to every question, and this god seemed to exist somewhere among an extraordinary collection of gimcracks, of pieces of drapery covered with Chinese characters, and probably close in the neighbourhood of a lamp which was burning. I also saw the old Chinese man prepare tea for this god: it was uncommonly weak, and offered in three teacups and three or four old eggcups. It was accompanied also by the burning of small sticks of incense and the beating of a drum and gong. In the shops I bought for you a Chinese fan, which fans very well, although it is decidedly ugly. For Henny I got a Chinese book, and Tommy may have the change in Chinese money. I greatly amused a little Chinaman who met me when seriously studying the volume, which I assured him I understood. The last 30 miles were travelled in company with a little Chinaman who was brought up in Glasgow and well educated; he dresses in the full style of a gentleman, and has the official title of interpreter and protector of Chinese for this district; still, he is all affability and condescension.
“I should mention that in travelling the most solitary, flat, and tiresome part of the road, a distance of 120 miles, we came, among the dry grass and gum-trees, to a station called Kyeamba, where vines and fruit-trees grew luxuriantly. The proprietor, a funny old man named Smith, wanting a favour of the mail driver, took him, as well as myself and fellow-passenger, down into his vaults, where he stores his own made wines, and treated us to three or four kinds. They were light sweetish wines, but after a dry hot journey inexpressibly delicious and refreshingly cool. I drank two tumblersful, and yet preserved my right senses, and thought Kyeamba a true oasis in the Australian desert, where nothing better than water was to be found. For the present, however, good-bye, for I have booked my place for Melbourne, and start to-morrow at 5 A.M., consequently I must go to bed early.”
Emerald Hill, Melbourne, 16th March 1859.
“Since finishing the above account, the succession of dreary stages of monotonous objects and of tiresome delays and disappointments, has been exchanged for everything pleasing and convenient, and the rest of my letter will perhaps be a chapter of good luck. In travelling from the Ovens to Melbourne, a distance of 166 miles, we had curious but comfortable coaches drawn by four horses. The passengers were respectable and not disagreeable, and as companion I had a gold assayer, who chanced to be travelling from the Adelong gold-fields, where he had been with much the same object as myself, and whom I find to be very respectable. As we got towards Melbourne the roads improved, and the fresh coaches to which we changed were even more commodious. … At distances of 10 or 20 miles we came to pleasant little towns with romantic-sounding names, such as Avenal, Violet Town, Seymour, Glen Rowan, Donnybrook, or peculiar native names, as Tarrawingee, Wangaratta. The country, however, was even more monotonous than anything I had passed before, in fact, one continued flat and lightly-wooded plain, intersected by several considerable river streams, and numerous devious creeks. Having left Beechworth at 5 A.M., we met with evident signs of the proximity of Melbourne at daybreak the next morning, and at eight o'clock found ourselves, covered as we were with a frightful accumulation of dust, in the busy streets of this great town. As yet I am charmed with Melbourne. It is totally unlike Sydney, and artificially as much greater as it is by the nature of its site worse than it. Built upon an expanse of land as nearly flat as can well be, nothing picturesque can be expected, but the fine straight regular streets, filled with handsome buildings and stored with every luxury, are the next best thing. But what chiefly charmed me was that on the very morning of my arrival I saw an announcement, by the Melbourne Philharmonic Society, of the oratorio Israel for the evening. I instantly bought a ticket. I have often longed for an oratorio, but did not expect such a thing on this side of the world; moreover, with one exception, the Mount of Olives, there is no piece of music I more wished to hear than Israel. You will perhaps be surprised to learn that such a great and difficult mass of double choruses was very well performed here. The solo singers, indeed, were wretched, and the instruments were few and played with want of taste; but there was a good organ, and, what is more, the two choruses, making together some 120 or 130 people, sang with at least as much force and feeling as a similar number would in Exeter Hall. I found almost everything realised that I had expected of the Israel.
“But I must spend what time I have in telling you of my progress here. Arriving at 8 A.M. from a journey of twenty-four hours, I had, before going to bed, not only heard an oratorio, but done the chief part of my business. I visited Mr. Hodgson, an assayer here, and a pleasant little gentleman of my acquaintance in Sydney. Mr. H. took me round and showed me all the banks and assaying establishments; and when I asked his advice about means of living here, his chief assistant, a pleasant obliging man, said he had some rooms vacant in his cottage. … I am well pleased with my lodgings, and I daresay I could stay with comfort longer than I at all intend to do. I shall be able to arrange my photographic things here with convenience, but there is a complete want of subject, for the view before the windows is a flat plain half covered with water, and a few short trees in the distance, said to be the Botanical Gardens.
“I may perhaps compare Melbourne to Birkenhead. On entering it from the land side there are precisely the same wide well-formed streets, fine buildings, almost too large for their purposes, and preparations for all manner of parks and improvements. Then, on the other side, there is the same abundance of shipping, a forest of masts such as one sees at Liverpool, and there are railway trains with passengers and goods busily running in and out of town. Emerald Hill, where I am, is a quiet suburb 1 1/2 mile from Melbourne, but not far from Sandridge, i.e. Hobson's Bay, the port It is called a hill, but I have hardly been able to detect any elevation above the general level of the plain.
“I shall have much more to see in Melbourne, and to select a ship in which to leave Australia, then I shall spend at least two weeks in visiting the great gold fields of Bendigo, Ballarat, etc., which can be reached by coach in six hours. I shall not sail, then, probably under four weeks. More particulars I cannot give. As of course I no longer hear from you, I have not much to remark about home affairs, but it is needless to say how continually I have you and an English home in my thoughts.”
To his sister Lucy.
Emerald Hill, 9th April 1859.
“… I am glad to say that my Australian travels are now achieved, and that I have safely returned from a rapid but satisfactory circuit of the Victorian diggings. They are almost entirely devoid of any picturesqueness, but such celebrated places as Ballarat and Bendigo are surrounded with extreme interest in both a scientific and social aspect You can form no idea as to what strange scenes of life you meet. Thousands of very sturdy independent diggers raising daily from a wilderness of clay and gravel the much-sought gold, and rapidly adopting fixed habits, manners, and appearance. The digger dresses better than an English labourer, and generally in dark-coloured woollen clothes, discovering slight traces of the earth in which he works. He wears a straw or wide-awake hat, beneath which is a face rather stern and dark, and gravely bearded. You may always expect from him a rough, and rather familiar, but spontaneous civility, simply because from his independence of you, and little care for your superior position, he can easily afford it. Thousands of such men live in tents either with their families or with their ‘mates,’ that is, partners. In the latter case it is often amusing to see a big man going a round of marketing and carrying home chops, steaks, loaves, or perhaps a bundle of carrots. Again, there are the swarms of Chinese always pursuing a quiet kind of industry, and just alloying their own fixed habits with a tinge of the civilisation around them. “But the diggers only form a part of the population of the diggings, for gold that is raised must be spent, and whole townsful of greedy dealers collect together, offering the digger every kind of article which can draw from him his gold, but often giving in return, it must be said, the best products of other labour. … I stayed six days at Ballarat, of which I will only further say, that it was a very singular town wit a first-rate hotel, where I lodged comfortably, but rather cheaply I took some photographs, but no very good ones. There was an unlimited number of subjects in the peculiar style of life there existing, but I soon found it too laborious, time-consuming, and annoying a work, and despatched my apparatus back to Melbourne. Then I went by coach through Cresswick's Creek and Clunes (both alluvial or quartz reef diggings), to what is called the ‘New Rush Back Creek.’ Here some 30,000 diggers had literally rushed together in the space of a month or six weeks in consequence of rich new discoveries of gold just made. To describe the appearance of the mushroom town of canvas thus suddenly created among the ancient (and we may poetically imagine) terror-stricken gum-trees, would be impossible in a moderate-sized letter There were full two miles of regular canvas streets, densely set with every kind of shop. There were five banks, of which one had offices in a draper's shop, while others, for instance the Great Oriental Bank, had small wooden or iron houses of two or four rooms. There were photographers, doctors, dentists, lawyers, apothecaries, bankers, watchmakers laundresses, libraries, in addition to every common kind of trade I have an advertising newspaper published in the place within the few first weeks of its existence. You will perhaps not be pleased if I say too much of the grog shops, billiard-rooms, concert halls, and other questionable places of amusement, which perfectly abounded.
“But I had no fancy to remain in the place, which even old stagers declared to be the most disagreeable hole on earth Accordingly I went on to Maryborough, another old diggings, then, next day to Tarrengower, which is on a small mountain. Here I was excellently received by a gentleman I met on my overland journey, and he showed me the quartz mines, etc., into which we descended by perpendicular ladders, much to the benefit of my nerves.
“After two days at Tarrengower, on to Castlemaine, a very pretty, clean, and model little town, which, with Forest Creek where the diggings are, forms a fine panoramic picture. Next day again, to the celebrated Bendigo, and after another night home to Melbourne. Travelling here as elsewhere is full of amusing, but not at the time always agreeable, incidents, which will afford substance for much pleasant reminiscence.
“Victoria is in the parts I have seen utterly unpictruresque, and little different from a wide poorly-wooded plain. I even now regret the deep dark gullies, the bold rocks, and the luxuriance of bush which New South Wales can certainly boast.
“I may now state that on again reaching Melbourne I found a ship was almost immediately to sail for Callao, where my chosen route lay. On examining the ship I found her a sound, large, new one from Glasgow, rather dirty, but roomy, and as safe as any land. Accordingly I at once paid the passage money (£30), and have hurriedly provided myself with ship's bedding and a table, chair, etc., for berth. She was to have sailed to-day, but I am glad to find it will be Tuesday or Wednesday before she goes, and I have thus some time to spare for letter writing. This afternoon I called at the Melbourne Observatory upon the director, Professor Neumayer, a rather new-comer. I was introduced to a little spare German, who received me with a tremendous bow, to which I was obliged to respond with interest. … With the greatest enthusiasm he at once commenced a complete round of his observatory, showing and discussing with me every instrument, meteorological, magnetic, and astronomical, of which at least the two former kinds, he had a numerous and very varied collection, all in active use throughout the twenty-four hours. Then he showed me many of the numerical results, explaining the methods of reducing them, and carefully taking my direction and name that he might post me his published reports, and even promising immediately to set his assistants to work to copy out a few barometer readings which I required, and had made the ostensible purpose of my visit. … How delightful it is to meet this enthusiasm for true and highly useful things, when one passes whole years together among those who are enthusiastic and greedy only about gold. One would be willingly snubbed each day of the year by the rich and addleheaded, if only received so well as this by the truly best of their race.
“… I have lately formed an idea of collecting specimens of newspapers from all parts of the world only a single copy, or at the most two, of each, being admitted; I think that when I have got a good many they will be exceedingly interesting and useful, as presenting a peculiar insight to public and private matters of all people. A great part of the collection may be made without expense by getting old copies thrown away. I have already got nearly Australian ones, of which some are curious, especially the Back Creek Advertiser, published at the New Rush. In America I shall meet with a multitude of papers—the date does not much matter, but should not perhaps be older than 1850, unless for papers which have ceased before that date.”
To his sister Lucy.
Ship Chrysolite,” Latitude 19° 37' South; Longitude 8333° West. 600 Miles S. W. of Lima, S. America, 29th May 1859.
“… I commence my letter anew, because my previous attempt was in such a solemn heavy style that I could not get far on with it, and even if I could have completed a few sheets in the same style, I should have dreaded their effect upon your general health and spirits. I believe I am blessed with what may be exactly described as a well-regulated mind, in which grave and gay are not incompatible; whose whole attention may for a time be given to any one subject or reflection without becoming so preoccupied that other things are inadmissible. …
“But you will wonder, perhaps, that I am in a ship and say nothing about the voyage. How I wish you could be here with me for a few hours, that you might go with me and look over the stern rail into the exquisite deep blue of the ocean water-a colour which seems to me in itself in the highest degree sublime, since it is the indication of perfect purity, of unfathomable depth and of almost infinite quantity of water. And then you would never be tired of looking round the visible horizon, although it is but a straight line every day, with an apparent dome-like sky above, and a plain-like expanse of heaving dark water below. By looking on the map for Port Phillip and Lima, or Callao (the port), in South America, you will see that the voyage between them lies across the greatest and most uninterrupted space of ocean which this globe possesses, and we passed certainly not far from the point where you are in the utmost possible degree remote from solid land. Add to this, that it is a part seldom traversed by any ships, and almost deserted by all living animals, and you would imagine the voyage to be gloomy and overpoweringly monotonous. But to me at least it has not seemed so.
“Fortunately, as there was abundant room in the cabin, I obtained a berth all to myself, and I took care to furnish it with two little cheap tables in addition to other necessaries. With the aid of my closely-packed portmanteau, box, and bags, I find myself surrounded with books, instruments, and every little thing that I can want. The only unpleasantness is that I cannot do half what I wished and intended—books must remain unread, many things unwritten, and many experiments and observations untried. I have, however, got a good deal done of my journal or accounts of my tour in Australia, having written, since I came on board, almost 170 large and closely-lined pages, illustrated with innumerable sketches or other figures of the most rough execution. I have as yet, too, deferred the general description of the diggings and of the modes of extracting gold, which might make another 100 pages. But I can assure you I will never require yourself or any one else to read it, nor do I myself venture to read what I have once written. Perhaps it may amuse me if ever I am an old man, and look back to the strange early days in Australia, when I was living in tents, sleeping in the air, exploring unknown and romantic mountain scenery, or jolting on the royal mail through bushy deserts at most dark and unearthly hours. Already I begin to regret Australia, and when I am holding yarns with the captain about it, I feel a slight tendency of water to the eyes, and an inclination to give most partial and ‘rose-coloured’ descriptions.
“We are a very small, if not a very affectionate, party in the cabin here. The captain and I are perhaps the best friends aboard. The Chrysolite is from the Clyde, and he is consequently Scotch. I keep the Board of Trade meteorological log for him, and discuss or try various nautical observations. … I spend most of my day either writing in my berth or reading. To-morrow, however, I must begin to arrange and repack my boxes, as in three days we may possibly be in Callao. Winds, however, as I am fully convinced, are most contrary and capricious phenomena, and in spite of the many fine philosophers who write grandiloquently (in a quiet parlour with their feet on an English fender) about universal and inscrutable laws, proving the benevolence and wisdom, etc., the winds which we have had might certainly be said to drive a coach and four through the most solemn and important laws and decrees of meteorologists. We repaired to high southern latitudes that we might benefit by the constant westerly winds which always blow there, but presently met a strong stormy east gale blowing right ahead of us, and delaying the voyage twelve or fourteen days. Now we are in the trade winds, which ought to be steady delightful breezes, but we find them to consist of heavy shifting squalls.”
“2nd June, 20 miles south of Callao.—This is one of those most cheerful days which occur in the lives of but few people, and then only at rare intervals—the first day in sight of a new continent after a long sea voyage. All day we have been lying becalmed 20 or 30 miles from the shore of Peru, and almost in sight of our port; but although this delay is provoking, it is not unpleasant to me. The coast is almost unequalled for boldness and grandeur, but is unfortunately shrouded for the most part in dense beds of cloud. The sky is gloomily clouded, and all around the atmosphere seems in a thick and hazy state. Yet below the layer of clouds peaked rocks or lofty precipices are seen rising from the water's edge, and above these are a confused multitude of mountain slopes, which seem to melt away into each other with that exquisite delicacy of outline and of tint which form the charm of distant mountain scenery. It was for a long time left to our imagination to trace the shapes and heights of the higher peaks, until for a short time we gained sight of an immense mass of mountains or tableland, probably that of Pasco, towering above the clouds, but scarcely distinguish-able from them. The elevation of the loftiest summits, seen from here, does not exceed perhaps 12,000 feet, while Mont Blanc is nearly 16,000 feet in height. But then the Andes are a range of extreme length, and of immense proportion in every part. They are also situated close to the coast, so that the impression of loftiness must be all the stronger.
“But we have had other novelties to-day to break the monotony of our monotonous voyage, for a whale was reported. I had never previously been so fortunate as to see the greatest of animals, and considered my chance quite gone; but here he was blowing away, that is, spouting out water just as the story-books describe him. We have also seen during the morning numbers of pelicans, great birds with large bills a foot or two in length, who coolly sit in the sea-water looking out for fish. For the last few days we have also seen numerous booby birds, who live on solitary rocks and islands, and also occupy themselves in fishing. Perhaps you have heard of Cape pigeons, who bear the sailor company in many a solitary voyage, but you can scarcely imagine what beautiful little birds they are, with white breasts, black heads and wings, most prettily diversified with black and white feathers; their shape is the plump yet elegant one of the pigeon or dove, and they can sit and swim in the water, which they do especially on a calm day, and they then look even prettier than when circling about, with their wings outspread and motionless, in the air. From ten to a hundred usually follow a ship day and night”
Marine Hotel, Callao, 9th June.
“I have now been a week in Peru, and am already anxious to leave it—not that there is any want of interesting objects, but because everything and everybody is strange and unpleasing. Perhaps you have never before heard of Lima, the capital city of Peru, which is an old Spanish colony celebrated for its silver mines; yet it is a most remarkable place, and I have seen more novel sights in the last week than in any equal period of my travels. For instance, you will perhaps be shocked to hear that last Sunday afternoon I witnessed a true Spanish bull-fight in its full barbarity. Imagine a large rudely-constructed circus, open to the air of this delightful climate, where rain or storm is positively unknown except as a prodigy. It is overlooked by a bare lofty rock—the Sierra di San Cristobel, which bears a cross upon its summit … Two or three thousand of the Peruvian people are collected on its benches, while the richer and the fairer in complexion chiefly fill the highest range of galleries or the low series of sheltered boxes which enables them to be close to the wounded bull as he rushes round the circus and near him when he dies. The people are of all varieties, from Englishman or Yankee to negroes of unusual blackness and ugliness, but the dull dark faces of the native Indians are perhaps the most common.”
Steamship “Medway,” 29th June.
“I must leave my description of a bull-fight for another time. … You must excuse this fragmentary, clumsy letter, but I find my faculty of writing almost deserts me amid the exciting or interesting scenes which I should wish to describe. … In my letter to Henny (of the 21st June) I have answered her small epistle, so happily received at Panama, and have given some account of progress since leaving Callao. …”Curiously enough, I find in my desk some old English postage stamps which I have had since (on this day five years) I left home; now they serve to bear this letter which tells you how near I am to England.”
To his sister Henrietta.
Aspinwall Hotel, Panama, 21th June 1859.
“Some writer has said that a traveller's life is full of intense pleasures and intense disgust This day seemed likely at first to be one chiefly of vexation and trouble, although indeed this strange little town excited in me no little interest But when, in company with two fellow-passengers, I happened to pass a vacant-looking old building which serves as a post office, it occurred to me to enter, more with a view of finding something to do than because I had a faint recollection of once telling you to address a letter to me here. A board was pointed out in reply to my inquiry, covered over with slips of paper, variously aged and dilapidated, all written over with names in a nearly illegible and careless handwriting. All hope of success in my search vanished as I glanced over a few of these lists with their strange mixture of Spanish and English names—José, Pedro, Pablo, Antonio, Isidore, alongside of William, Henry, Thomas, John. But just escaping the edge of a mischievous tear, what do I see? my own name legibly, unmistakably written down, nay even correctly spelt to the last letter—this latter being an occurrence almost unprecedented during my lengthened experience among strangers. It was with a rare delight indeed that I received your little letter. … I hope to be at home in about three months, when it will indeed be pleasant to have a week's quiet life with my sisters, and it will then be time to discuss every plan; much there will be to discuss in so short a few days, for if I join the university again it will be necessary to settle to my study rather quickly.
“My more immediate business now is to request you to write as quickly as possible, and give me intelligence of Herbert, whom I wish to visit before I return to England. Tell me if he is in the same place as according to the last account (Wayzata). The journey will be a rather long one of a few thousand miles, but will be easily performed with the aid of American facilities.”
Steamship “Medway,” Carribean Sea, 29th June.
“Being unable to obtain a steamer from Panama to the United States without waiting nearly a week at the hot fever-breeding Isthmus, I determined to come on in this steamer, and with my previous fellow-travellers, as far as the Island of St. Thomas, West Indies, which, being a great port, will afford me a choice of routes to the States. We are within a day's sailing of St. Thomas, where, of course, I shall post this letter onwards. It will be tantalising to think that I am within fifteen or sixteen days of England, and see others proceed onward to that happy land, yet not to join them myself. But of course I must not be impatient and break off from my intended travels. At St Thomas I shall either take a sailing ship direct to New York, or shall take the Havanna steamer which touches at six or seven of the intermediate West Indian ports. I am now rather overrunning my time, and shall not leave sufficient for the wonders of the States.
“You will perhaps like to hear a little about the places I have lately seen. Callao, where I first landed on the American continent, is a seaport of some consequence, six miles inland of which is the celebrated city of Lima (pronounced Leemā), the capital of Peru. I lived in a curious French hotel in the town of Callao for nine days, going up to Lima, when I desired, by means of the railway, which now connects them. The buildings there are quite unlike anything I had elsewhere seen, being built partly of sun-dried bricks, partly of laths and clay, for the climate is so dry and rainless, and the occasional earthquakes so severe, that this mode of construction is the most suitable. The houses are usually of one storey, and enclosed, according to the Spanish fashion, with an outer wall or range of buildings through which a gateway leads into the patio or courtyard. The most extraordinary love of ornament and of bright colours is shown by the people here, for they not only paint all the walls and houses of pink, sky-blue, light yellow, or other brilliant and pretty tints, but they also leave no vacant space without a fresco painting of some curious allegorical design, or of some landscape real or fanciful. The courtyards often contain fountains and small groves of potted plants and trees, so that the Lima houses, although very different from what the more substantial and reserved taste of the English would prefer, are often extremely elegant, and well adapted to the circumstances of the city. But the churches (of which there are sixty-seven) and the large old monasteries attached to many of them are the great points of interest in the place. The Roman Catholic religion, imported from Spain here, gained vast power, wealth, and extension among a population formed to a great extent of native Indians, low in the scale of intelligence, and of negroes who are worse. As a consequence the religion became debased into something which I can only regard as a bad form of idolatry. The churches are remarkable in an architectural point of view for an extreme and absurd abundance of ornament and colours, but the altars inside, before which the people worship, are what excite and disgust one most. They consist of large complicated erections, gilded and profusely covered with carving in every part. Often they are loaded with large quantities of pure silver, in the form of candlesticks and of ornaments of senseless and indescribable form. When silver was not to be had the commonest tinsel was substituted. The eyes are indeed attracted and dazzled by this tawdry and barbarous pile of decorations, but they rest with disgust upon the images which are placed in the niches and peep out from every side; the Virgin Mary with a gilded crown and a dress of bright yellow silk, embroidered with a mass of gold or tinsel lace; Christ himself represented by a barbarous wooden figure nearly naked, and showing wounds and streams of blood; and the Apostles clothed in robes of velvet, with the usual profuse and tawdry decorations. Such are the objects before which crowds of women, white, brown, or black in complexion, and even men, may be seen kneeling and praying at all hours of the day, while other women are murmuring their confessions to old priests who sit easily in the confessional boxes. But it would be impossible to give you a complete idea of the curious general aspect of these old Roman Catholic edifices, the gloomy vaulted naves, the ghastly images, the old and rude pictures, which startle you at every step, the antiquated organs, the great screens of double iron bars which separate off the chapel in which the nuns or monks attend the service. In the monasteries, again, you may roam through courtyard after courtyard, along gloomy long passages, and up great staircases, passing, every now and then, a small chapel enclosed by a lattice door, within which a solitary lamp burns before the tarnished old altar and its images, in evidence that it is not quite neglected. All these strange edifices, built of vast masses of sun-dried bricks, and tried by many an earthquake, have the evidences of decay, and one is almost glad to see that the tarnished altar-piece is not regilded, and the fallen image often not replaced. Where might one see idolatry if not in Lima? Who would be a Christian if this is Christianity? But I must tell you more about these things when I see you.
“Leaving Callao by the Pacific Steam Navigation Company's steamer, we passed up the coast, stopping at three ports, and on the tenth day we landed in Panama. This is a curious old Spanish town of small size, but beautifully situated. Its inhabitants are chiefly negro, with a mixture of Indian blood; but the splendid churches and religious erections of the former Spanish colonists have now nearly passed away, for their ruins, overgrown with bushes, now encumber the town, and of a total number of seven or eight, only the cathedral and one or two more can be used for worship. I remained here two days in a good French hotel, then at 9 A.M. of the next day I started on the celebrated Panama railway, and in passing the Isthmus saw for the first time a tropical country of which every square yard is covered, nay, piled up, with a bright green luxuriance of vegetation in a multiplicity of elegant forms.
“It took four hours to travel the distance of 471/2 miles across the land (the cost for fare and luggage being 43 dollars, or nearly £8:12s.), and we then went straight on board the Medway steamer, as Aspinwall, the railway station and port on this side, is a miserably hot and unhealthy place. Since leaving there we have touched in at Carthagena, a Spanish seaport town of considerable beauty and interest, but we did not go ashore. Here a number of native Indians came off in their canoes and sold to the passengers many monkeys, parrots, marmosets, as well as shells, sponges, fruits, and other natural productions of this tropical place. The Medway is a steamer of considerable size, but old and extremely uncomfortable. The weather is intolerably hot and close in these tropical seas, as the thermometer never falls below 80°, so that travelling here is far from being a pure delight, and I now look forward to a quiet sooty room in London as very happiness itself.
“It has rendered my journeys much more pleasant of late that I have been very fortunate in my travelling companions. From Melbourne I have been with old Dr. Fergusson, an inspector-general in the English army, a very high rank, as he occasionally tells us. He is sometimes a great bore, being deaf and infirm, but he is a most plucky and excellent old man, so that I am glad to help and cheer him occasionally. He even went up a church steeple with me in Lima. Then at Callao we took on board several very intelligent and agreeable English gentlemen who have been a long time in Peru, and whose conversation is interesting and rational to an unusual extent. Lastly, there is Dr. Karl Scherzer, the chief scientific traveller belonging to the Novara Austrian frigate, which has recently made a voyage round the world, and was for five weeks in Port Jackson. The doctor is an author and traveller of considerable German reputation, has spent twenty years in visiting nearly every part of the world, knows almost every man of eminence, speaks six languages, has the rank of lieut.-colonel in the Austrian army, yet he is totally unassuming, and when not engaged in writing, spends the whole day in the most delightful conversation. Of course I am the best friends with him, and, either on scientific or political subjects, have much discussion at every spare hour of the day. Here ever}' hour of the day is to spare. …
“I can well remember how on this day five years ago I parted from you and Lucy, and also from my father. I have very often thought of the day with a feeling that was not far different from downright pain. Soon it might be buried and forgotten were it not that it was my father's last farewell. … But in about three months we will hope for a day as joyful as that was full of pain.”
HoteldeCommerce, St. Thomas, 30th June.
“I am again on land in a pretty seaside town with a very high temperature. But I must first think of posting my letters, then of breakfast.”
Soon after his arrival in England Mr. Jevons wrote a long account of his journey to his friend Mr. Miller of Sydney. In it he speaks of St Thomas as “a pretty little tropical island, with a curious little Danish town spread around the shore of the harbour, surrounded by steep green hills rising almost from the water's edge.” He continues:—
“The only vessel direct for the States was a small Yankee bark. I preferred to take a Spanish steamer which in two days was to leave for Cuba. Ten days (I think) were spent in this most delightful voyage, the weather, glorious yet fiercely hot both day and night, being now delightful when every suitable comfort was afforded us; the day spent on the well-shaded deck reading or watching the beautiful green islands as they came in sight or faded in the distance, sleeping at night upon a bed that was nothing but open cane work and a single sheet, enjoying fully the Spanish style of living—viz., breakfast at ten with numberless dishes of meat and fish, flavoured highly with garlic, and succeeded by a fine dessert, nothing to drink but an abundance of claret, a similar meal for dinner at 4 P.M., iced lemonade at noon, and coffee at night You may well believe, then, that this was a charming voyage. There were numbers of Spanish on board, who are, outwardly, polite agreeable people. My only English companion was Mr. Stewart, a Demerara sugar planter, who accompanied me to Baltimore in the States. … We stayed for some hours at the Spanish town and island of Porto Rico, again for some hours at a port in St. Domingo. Thence we steamed for the port of St. Jago de Cuba, in the town of which I spent a day; we also touched at two less important places on the north coast of Cuba, and at last entered the striking and much-praised harbour of Havanna.
“I shall never forget my visit to this port and town; my determination to take everything with as perfect coolness as the tropical weather would allow, that the yellow fever might have a poor chance; the great beauty of some Spanish young ladies who came on board, to meet their friends, in their walking dress, a kind of simple and elegant ball costume; the tremendous perspiration and confusion into which I suddenly fell when the Spanish custom-house officer refused for a long time to admit my photographic apparatus into the country; the dispersion of my luggage by the time that the obnoxious articles were passed; my anguish next day on discovering that I had altogether forgotten and lost my Australian journals, several valuable books, etc., which, for use on board ship, I had made into a separate parcel; the strange discomfort of the Hotel Ferdinand, which had floors of marble, doors of iron bars, and no real windows; the terrible still heat which pervaded everything; the gay appearance of the streets, the houses with doors and bow windows open to the street, except as iron bars can close them; the ladies sitting publicly within, on rows of rocking chairs in large bare stony chambers; the innumerable cigar shops; the numbers of porters, soldiers on guard, or others, who in each corner were seated at small benches, making thousands of the celebrated Havanna cigars and paper cigarettes; the delicious ice creams which we had at the Café Dominica; the coolness with which the ladies called at the café, in their volantes, to take ices; the extraordinary and absurd form of the Spanish carriage or volantes, a kind of huge wheelbarrow with one horse, immense long slender shafts, high wheels, and a negro slave as postillion; the unfortunate breakdown which Mr. Stewart and I had when we attempted to ride in one; the impassibility of the narrow streets when all the fashionable ladies of the city rode out in the afternoon in full dress; the astounding discovery that they did their shopping at nine o'clock at night; my interesting walk over the town early next morning—into the churches also, and the cathedral in which Columbus is buried; the general sensation of yellow fever and uncertainty of life in new-comers; our satisfaction in securing a passage during the day on board a small American screw steamer; our enviable position on board her during the night, to leeward of a fever burying-ground, near a fever hospital, where some fires burning outside must have been consuming the clothes of those recently dead; the details of how many had died on the surrounding ships.
“At daylight of the third day we steamed out of the narrow entrance of the harbour, and passed the formidable morro or castle which guards it from American filibusters and others. The little screw steamer, loaded with pineapples and bananas, made rapid northing, greatly assisted by the Gulf Stream. After five or six days at sea we steamed up the long Chesapeake Bay, and landing safely at Baltimore I felt some exultation in at last entering the great United States.”
To his brother Herbert.
Franklin Hotel, Philadelphia, 25th July 1859.
“Having heard nothing to the contrary, I assume that you have settled down upon the forty acres of land which you were intending to purchase, and I write to inform you that I have not only arrived safely in the Great Union, but am also intending to visit you in the far West—a journey, indeed, which will be very pleasant to me on more than one account. I cannot undertake to give you any written account of the countries I have lately seen, for when ‘on the move’ I am never in a mood for writing. … The great heat, the unhealthiness, and the expense of living in Havanna, caused me to leave it by the first opportunity, which happened to be a small screw steamer leaving next day for Baltimore; and after again passing five days at sea, I found myself at last in a Yankee city.
“My arrival there was about a week since, for after spending several days in examining the monumental city I ‘took the cars’ for Washington, scrambled over the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Smithsonian Institute, Lafayette Square with Mr. Sickle's residence, walked along the avenues, and then seeing nothing more of the least interest in the American capital, abruptly took the cars back and came on here. To-morrow morning I am again about to move to New York.
“As far as I can now tell, I shall wait about a week in New York (at the Metropolitan Hotel), until I receive a letter from home in answer to mine from St. Thomas. If I then hear that you are still in Minnesota, I shall take a route by Pittsburg, thence by steamer to Cincinnati and Louisville and St. Louis, and up to St Paul's, which may occupy nine or ten days, as I intend to stop one day in each of the considerable towns. You need scarcely expect me, then, under three weeks from the present time. Of course I am deprived at present of any news from home, and unless I had luckily received a short note from Henny at the old Panama post office by a lucky chance, I should be six months behind date. At present I am three months behind. By such a lengthy travelling I have become more than ever accustomed to live independently, so that it seems quite natural; and even to meet a relation will seem most strange yet pleasant. The return to England, which has ever been my highest desire, is now scarcely more than two months off, and I can hardly realise it.
“In the list of passengers by the last English steamer from New York I saw the name of F. Jevons. At first I was afraid it might be a mistake for your name, but found the name repeated in other papers. It is curious that I should so nearly have encountered Fred Jevons; but perhaps we should not have known each other. Indeed, I do not feel sure that we two shall very easily recognise one another.
“I will give you my thoughts on American affairs when I have more matured them, and can converse with you. My Australian life has quite prepared me for that in the far West, and a clean floor and a blanket will quite serve me for a bed.
“I have throughout enjoyed the most surprisingly good health, having been often styled by fellow-passengers the ‘picture of good health.’ A month in the very hottest tropical climates did not affect me, and I escaped the yellow fever of the West Indian ports. I have almost lost two days of my stay in Philadelphia by a little illness from which I am to-day recovered.
“The extreme convenience of the American hotels renders travelling here easy and very tolerable, so that I am almost becoming lazy. Opposite the bedroom where I now write, at 10.30 P.M., is a free concert saloon, whence, every evening, I can hear some really good vocal and concerted music, which is rather a treat.
“Consider this to be the mere epitome of the letter which I should like to write.”
To his sister Lucy.
St. Nicholas Hotel, New York, 1st August 1859.
“I have now been nearly a week in this great but not very amusing city. … I shall start this evening for Pittsburg on the Ohio River, which is the first step of my journey to Minnesota. It will be a splendid excursion, I have no doubt; but you may be sure I am beginning to be quite weary of travelling, and shall be delighted when I can give up all further thoughts of hotels, railways, steamboats, and that most terrible of bores, baggage. You can have no idea what a splendid hotel I have been living in here. It is perhaps the largest in the United States, which is saying a great deal. My bedroom, in which I am now writing, is No. 453; it is rather small, but fitted in a very superior way. … Everything is at your service without question for the simple charge of $2.50, or about ten shillings per day: this is the uniform charge in nearly all hotels. Whatever I may say of the Yankees in other matters, certainly they are supreme in the management of their hotels.
“The great towns which I have as yet visited are mere collections of great warehouses, shops, wharves and handsome dwelling-houses—in fact merchants' offices and merchants' houses. The alpha and omega of the whole is trade. The same is to a great extent the case with Liverpool—you know how devoid it is of things of higher interest—well, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore are far worse.”
In the letter to his friend Mr. Miller previously quoted Mr. Jevons says:—
“I reached Pittsburg by rail, finding it an intolerable smoky manufacturing town; then to the large town of Cincinnati (the queen of the West), also by rail. I now embarked on one of the Ohio river steamers, a thing which in no way can be said to resemble any steamer seen in English waters. … We made a slow tedious passage down the Ohio, stopping to land and receive passengers and cargo every five or ten miles; sometimes I was able to land and walk about a little; then we reached the great Mississippi river, and made a still slower progress up its rapid turbid stream to St Louis. This town is large and important now, but will soon be the western capital of the States; I left it the same afternoon in a better steamer, and the scenery of the upper Mississippi becoming more nearly beautiful, I was better pleased. I had spent almost two weeks in this monotonous river life before I reached St. Paul, the chief town of Minnesota; but the same evening I succeeded in discovering my brother's settlement, twenty-two miles away, and slept at night in his log hut.”
To his sister Lucy.
Wayzata, near Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., 17th August 1859.
“You will be glad to learn by this letter that I have reached Herbert's location—the farthest point of my wanderings—safely, and have found him in very good health. It cannot be said that a log hut affords anything approaching luxurious comfort; but you must be aware that when you are hungry even potatoes and Indian corn bread are a comfort to the stomach, and when you are well tired it is delightful to rest upon any sort of a bed. People in this far West country live much more poorly than I should have expected, for as there are no butchers and no animals to butcher, fresh meat is almost unknown. On the whole, I am much pleased with Minnesota; and Minnetonka, which being translated from the Indian language means ‘great water,’ is a charming but by no means great lake. The numerous woody headlands, the bays, and a solitary island, have a very pretty appearance, and remind me somewhat of my excursions on the Parramatta river. Thus, just opposite to Wayzata is a sort of little peninsula running out and ending in a curious knoll. On the summit of this used formerly to stand an ancient stone which the Indian aborigines worshipped—the stone, indeed, has recently been removed to a museum, but the place is yet. known as ‘Spirit'’s Knob.' The fine woods here, with their bright green and abundant foliage, are very beautiful to my eyes, so long wearied by the stiff and monotonous brown gum-trees of Australia The bushy dells through which the pathways lead you, and the very swamps with their thick green grass and rushes, are also beautiful in their way. … Herbert has a fine piece of land, consisting of a sort of flat-topped hill surrounded by a small swamp, which is valuable for affording good logs and grass. At the same time the elevation of his future hut will be such as to render it very healthy. He has done very little towards clearing his own land as yet, but we are now living in a log erection belonging to, but deserted by, another man.”
One day whilst staying with his brother, Mr. Jevons went out alone to fish in a small boat on the little lake. In his eagerness to haul in a large fish he unfortunately overturned the boat, and had to swim to shore—a task of some little difficulty, owing to the large water-lilies which covered the surface of the water, and through which he could hardly make his way. After a pleasant visit of ten days, he started westward to Chicago, which he described as “a large, important, but horribly dull place.” Thence he went to Detroit, and through Canada to Niagara, of which he writes: “There was nothing to disappoint me in the great falls, the grandeur and interest of which cannot be exaggerated; I stayed a day and a half there, and had scarcely time to see them fairly.”
He continued his journey to Toronto, and then by way of Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence he reached Montreal, where he walked into the Great Victoria Tubular Bridge, which was then almost completed. From Montreal he proceeded to New York, and found that he was just in time to take a passage by the Cunard steamer which sailed from Boston the next morning. On landing in Liverpool he went to the house of his uncle, Mr. Timothy Jevons.
To his sister Lucy.
Grove Park, Liverpool, 18th September 1859.
“I awoke this morning in what appeared to me a new world, until upon consideration I found it to be the old and very dear one. Since daylight this morning I have been most pleasantly engaged in reviving recollections at every turn, and by every question and answer. Park Hill Road, indeed, looked dreary and forsaken beyond measure, and it is needless to seek our home where it used to be; but in Grove Park I have had as kind a welcome as I could possibly have looked for, and there are many things about it that remind me of home. Tommy is so much grown and changed in voice that I might not have known him, but I am gradually discovering that he is the same, except that he is as much a man now as a boy then. So much am I pleased with what I meet here, that I know not what it will be like to meet two sisters, or how I shall contain myself.
“Unless you hear to the contrary, Tom and I shall leave Liverpool by one of the earlier trains on Wednesday, but I have not had time to consult Bradshaw.
“It is needless to say more to-day, and what a pleasure it is to drop the old silver pen that has written you so many letters, and reflect that its use in that respect is gone.”