American Journey

Tocqueville and Beaumont Travel America

Facts About the Trip
Events of 1831
Travels: April - July
Travels: August - October
Travels: November - February






Facts About The Trip:

Year: 1831-1832
Official purpose: Study the U.S. prison system and report back to France
Unofficial purpose: Observe America
Traveling partner: Gustave de Beaumont
Tocqueville's age: 25
Beaumont's age: 28
Number of days spent in the U.S.: 271
Number of states in union: 24
Number of states visited: 17
Number of presidents Tocqueville met: 2 - Andrew Jackson, (current); John Quincy Adams

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EVENTS OF 1831


- New York Legislature finds that poverty is not a crime and abolishes prison terms for debtors

- Black Hawk, the leader of the Sauk and Fox Indians, reluctantly agrees to leave tribal lands and move west of the Mississippi

- Dr. Samuel Francis Smith's song America, written to the tune of God Save the King, is sung for the first time in Worcester, Massachusetts.

- Nat Turner leads an uprising of slaves in Southampton County, Virginia

- The Anti-Masonic Party holds the first national nominating convention with a platform and delegates from 13 states

- Former President John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts joins the House of Representatives Return to Top of Page



The Itinerary:

Source: "America Revisited: 150 Years After Tocqueville" by Eugene McCarthy; Doubleday and Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1978


TRAVELS: APRIL - JULY

April 2, 1831
Tocqueville and Beaumont leave Le Havre, France on the ship Havre

May 9
Arrive in Newport after 37 days at sea

May 10
Leave Newport for New York City

"We understand that two magistrates, Mssrs. de Beaumont and de Tonqueville (sic), have arrived in the ship Havre, sent here by order of the Minister of the Interior, to examine the various prisons in our country, and make a report on their return to France. To other countries, especially in Europe, a commission has also been sent, as the French Government have it in contemplation to improve their Penitentiary system, and take this means of obtaining all proper information. In our country, we have no doubt that every facility will be extended to the gentlemen who have arrived."

----- May 12 Mercantile Advertiser and New York Evening Post

May 11
Arrive in New York; stay at a boarding house located at 66 Broadway

May 29
Travel to Ossining, NY to visit Sing Sing Prison

June 7
Take a steamboat back to New York City, stopping in "Greenbugh on the Hudson" along the way

June 30
Leave New York City by sloop for Yonkers

July 1
Leave Yonkers by steamboat; stop in Peekskill long enough to go hike "Anthony's Nose"; board the steamboat North America headed for Albany

July 4
Attend Independence Day parade and then leave Albany late at night by stage

July 5
Arrive in Utica

July 7
Leave Syracuse on horseback; stay near Fort Brewerton

July 8
Leave Fort Brewerton; explore Frenchman's Island

July 9
Travel to Auburn; visit the Auburn prison and Gov. Enos Throop at his farmhouse

July 16
Travel by horseback to Canandaigua

July 17
Visit Ontario County's almshouse

July 18
Travel from Canandaigua to Bufflalo, stopping in Batavia along the way

July 19
Leave Buffalo for Detroit via steamboat Ohio

July 20
Stop (briefly) at Erie, PA

July 21
Stop (briefly) at Cleveland

July 22
Arrive in Detroit and leave shortly thereafter on horseback for Pontiac

July 24
Leave Pontiac enroute to Saginaw

July 26
Saginaw

July 28
Leave Saginaw

July 29
Arrive in Pontiac

July 31
Arrive in Detroit

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TRAVELS: AUGUST - OCTOBER

August 1
Leave Detroit on steamboat Superior for Sault Ste. Marie and Mackinac

August 2
Stop at Fort Gratiot on Lake Heron; stay anchored for two days due to inclement weather

August 4
Leave Fort Gratiot

August 5
Arrive at St. Saulte Marie

August 6
Take a canoe to Pointe aux Pins at the beginning of Lake Superior

August 7
Arrive in Mackinac; leave late at night for Green Bay

August 9
Arrive in Green Bay

August 10
Leave Green Bay and return to Michillimackinac

August 13
Leave Mackinac

August 14
Arrive in Detroit on the Superior

August 17
Arrive in Buffalo by steamboat

August 18 & 19
Visit Niagra Falls

August 20
Travel on Lake Ontario aboard another steamboat, the Great Britain, enroute to Montreal

August 23
Arrive in Montreal Leave Montreal by steamboat John Molson;travel to Quebec

August 24
Leave Montreal on the steamboat John Molson enroute to Quebec

August 29
Visit the village of Beaufort, near Quebec

August 31
Leave Quebec aboard the steamboat Richelieu for Montreal

September 2
Leave Montreal by steamboat Voyageur for La Prairie; travel by carriage to St. Jean; then board the steamboat Phoenix for travel on Lake Champlain

September 2
Arrive in Whitehall

September 4-5
Travel by stage to Albany

September 7
Leave Albany for Boston

September 8
Stop in Stockbridge, MA

September 9
Arrive in Boston; stay at the Marlboro Hotel on Washington Street before moving to the luxury Tremont Hotel

October 3
Leave Boston by stagecoach for Hartford, CT

October 5
Visit the New Connecticut State Prison at Wethersfield

October 8
Leave Hartford via steamboat for New York

October 11
Leave New York City by steamboat and stage for Philadelphia

October 12-28
Stay in Philadelphia; during this time, Tocqueville made eight visits to Eastern State Penitentiary in Cherry Hill where he interviewed each of the prisoners individually

October 28
Travel to Baltimore from Philadelphia

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TRAVELS: NOVEMBER - FEBRUARY

November 6
Return to Philadelphia

November 22
Travel by stagecoach to Pittsburgh - a 72-hour journey over the Allegheny Mountain range

November 25
Leave Pittsburgh on the steamboat Fourth of July enroute for Cincinnati

November 26
During the night, the Fourth of July hits a rock on the Burlington Bar near Wheeling, VA (now West Virginia)

November 27
The boat is rescued by another steamboat, the William Parsons

December 1
Arrive in Cincinnati

December 4
Leave Cincinnati via steamboat

December 5
The Ohio River freezes, forcing the passengers to disembark in Westport, KY and walk 22 miles to Louisville

December 7
Leave for Nashville, TN, a two-day journey

December 11
Leave Nashville in an open, one-horse carriage for Memphis

December 12
The carriage breaks down and can barely be fixed. Tocqueville is very ill, so the two stay in Sandy Bridge

December 15
Leave Sandy Bridge via stagecoach for Memphis

December 17
Arrive in Memphis

December 25
Travel down the Mississippi on the steamboatLouisville

December 26-27
Steamboat is stranded for about two days on a sandbar

January 1, 1832
Arrive in New Orleans

January 3
Travel on a steamboat enroute to Mobile, AL; then spend 12 days traveling by way of various stagecoaches across Alabam, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina to reach Norfolk, VA

January 15
Arrive in Norfolk, VA

January 16
Leave Norfolk for Washington, DC traveling by steamboat up the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River

January 17
Arrive in Washington

January 19
Meet with President Andrew Jackson

February 3
Leave DC via stage for Philadelphia via stage

February 5
Leave Philadelphia for New York City

February 6
Arrive in New York City

February 20
Leave New York City for Havre, France, aboard the Havre

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