NEW YORK CITY. 1834. American Husbands' Poor Estimation of their Wives; Womens' Bad Habits; Fashion.
IT is a fact might be as confidently admitted as any of Euclid's axioms, that there is an utter absence of all social communion and fireside-enjoyment in America-indeed, their habits, looks, actions, and words (though speaking the same language and springing from the same stock) are as unlike English as they can well be. But one of the most remarkable features in American Society is, notwithstanding their affectation of gallantry, the low estimation in which the females are held by the men.-Had the Americans caught their idea of women from the creed of Mahomet, they could not have held their intellectual powers cheaper than they do. An Englishman loves them for their social qualities, a Frenchman for the charm they give to the living-picture, as the idols to which he constantly sacrifices his constitutional gallantry; but an American looks upon women as the mere animal. If he believes they have a soul, he never suffers them to discover it by either word, look, or action.
His idol is his dollars. He lives upon dollars, talks of nothing else but dollars, & sleeps & dreams of dollars. The consequence is, as might naturally be expected, that morals are at a very low ebb, and are but little studied or understood by the American ladies. And this is remarkably apparent in their intercourse with the male part of society. There is a saying in England, that if a man does not look you in the face whilst addressing you, he is not to be trusted: no American lady looks a gentleman in the face either when speaking to him, or when she accidentally meets him, or he addresses her, either in a room or elsewhere. The heard is half averted with an affected bashful, or what might more properly be designated a sheepish look- mauvaise honte. There is none of the liveliness of the French woman, nor of the virtuous confident manner of the English woman. Both the latter have their rank in society assigned them, and they assume their proper stations. An American lady does not know her place, and she constantly seems doubtful if she has any business in Society at all-She is constantly left to cater for herself.
This is an evil in the Domestic circles of America, which hangs like a dead weight upon their progress in civilization, & continually checks moral improvement-nor can they ever hope to approach, much less enjoy, the charms of polished life, till it is removed. An American husband is an absolute hog in his own house. The little time he does spare from the pursuit of his beloved dollars, is spent in eating, smoking & spitting, or in phlegmatic silence, with his heels on the dinner, tea, or supper table. Perchance he throws himself on a Sofa, and mostly falls asleep after dinner-and if he has company, he does not fail to amuse them a la drone. Conversation is out of the question...
But it is not uncommon for females in America both to smoke & chew tobacco. Indeed, the American ladies are not much behind their lords in habits of a tendency far from pleasing. Ladies of fortune and some pretension to breeding, may be seen in the streets & at home, with a huge piece of Sugar Candy Sucking & enjoying it with all the gout of a spoiled Slobbering child. I have seen them lift their veils & take a bite, and even bite off a piece & present it to a friend or companion as a condescending schoolboy would do, and when the stock is exhausted, thcy coolly walk into a store, or shop, for a fresh supply. This love of sweets infects the American females of all ranks-and accounts in some degree for the universal benefit they might derive by employing a dentist-I saw but few Americans with sound or white teeth...
It was once doubtful, it is said, from the decent length of an (American female's garment, whether she had any feet at all. That doubt, however, is now completely removed. For they wear their garments so short, as to exhibit the whole of the calf of the leg to the gaze of their Beaux-in fact, in the display of their persons, both at home & abroad, they exceed the most coquettish Parisian Belle, though in their manners they want that naivete which in the latter makes it palatable, in a degree. During the cooler season they generally wear tightish frilled trousers, by which their lets are decently kept in the shade; but in the hot weather, they not only dispense with them, but appear in the streets with naked legs, feet, & bosom, with a parasol cap to cover the head. I am now speaking of New York; higher up the country the excessive display of their persons is still greater.
The style of their fashions are the most tasteless & outre imaginable. The preposterous length of their bonnets exceed any thing I ever saw in England, even at the time when the lady's hat was made a subject of ridicule in our English Pantomimes. One writer in an American paper, in the Spring of 1834, with great truth said of the bonnet of an American lady, who came under his observation, that it "resembled in color & shape a smashed lobster! " & was "here & there ornamented with knots, or bows, like peeled Onions!" This latter observation I had myself often made to a friend, as I passed by them in the Streets of New York. Indeed no woman in England could appear publicly in the British Metropolis dressed as the American married ladies generally are, and hope to preserve her character-- ŇEgad! Sirs," as I once heard Abernethy say during one of his amusing lectures, "the very boys would run after her."
Perhaps one reason for American ladies wearing such short garments is that they are generally admired for small and pretty feet. Nevertheless, it is impossible for an English eye not to be shocked at the display they make of their persons, both at home & abroad; and it is surprising that amongst their divines some second Tillotson or Rowland Hill has not sprung up to censure & correct such dangerous incentives to vice, as the female habits & fashions in America really are. But in Republican America, where very many of their spiritual teachers are taken from the very outcasts of European society, who, it is well known, rule the female devotees with as iron a hand as ever did the priesthood of any Roman Catholic community; when it is also well known that at their American Camp-meetings, their love-feasts, etcetera, these same pastors assist in scenes of debauchery that would shock a practiced libertine; it is not surprising that the ladies of America are wanting in that greatest charm of their sex, a cultivation of the delicate, ladylike, adornment and concealment of their persons, which indicates purity of mind & sentiment, and the presence of moral sense; nor that American husbands are not gifted with a very savage sense of propriety.
One disagreeable fashion, to my eye at least, is that of American females almost universally dressing themselves in a glaring red, when at home, the effect of which is almost as offensive to the sight as are their painted edifices. And never did I see the female form so distorted by those tasteless things, modern corsets & stays, as it is in America. It is a fashion for the gentlemen to carry their admiration of small waists to an excess and the ladies have, in consequence, carried their cultivation of it to such a pitch, that I feel no hesitation in saying, many girls never live to be women in consequence. In a room the most respectable married females take a pride in exhibiting the whole of the bust bare. In the streets females of character will be seen in the most gaudy trappings with their stockings full of holes.
NEW YORK CITY. 1834. Marriage and Divorce Practices of the Americans; Polygamy.
It is with matrimony as with all other matters in America, there is no decent observance of ceremony, nor any importance attached to a Union, such as should lead the parties seriously to consider it as entering on a new and obligatory state of life, imposing duties upon the observance of which the wellboing of a social & civilized community chiefly depends.
Any marriage contract is lawful in the United States, whether the parties go through a clerical ceremony, or a man simply says, on entering a room, in the presence of a 3rd person, who signs a paper as a witness, "I take this woman for my wife." Thousands, indeed the majority of marriages, are so made in America, and it is a very common thing for a girl to tell her husband, after they have lived together as man & wife for a few weeks, that she is "tired of matrimony," and forthwith She packs up her moveables, should she be so fortunate as to have any, and walks off to her friends. Her husband has no alternative but to live alone, unless he can obtain a divorce, which is not a very difficult thing to do in the United States, and thousands have not scrupled to make a fresh contract without troubling themselves with tedious appeals to a court of law.
In New York, the only question a girl of the lower & middling classes will trouble herself to put, on receiving an offer of marriage, is-"Have you a wife in New York?" It is no uncommon thing for the American to have one or two in another state. But each one being governed by its own laws & customs, in respect to marriage, no danger is apprehended on that head, and on the girl's being answered in the negative, a paper is signed by a witness, probably instanter, and the twain become one flesh: unless they should have the decency to prefer the assistance of a divine or magistrate, the expense of which is about a Dollar.
Sometimes the ladies are even less scrupulous than this. I am acquainted with an English gentleman who emigrated to the United States about a year & a half since, who had previously married an English lady with a handsome property, but becoming politically prejudiced with his own country, he resolved to transfer his wealth to the United States & settle there. He, however, had the precaution to go alone to make the trial, taking with him a considerable sum with which he purchased a tract of land on arriving at New York & the necessary implements for clearing it, &c., and went up the country to his location without delay. He found it in the neighbourhood of a farm, the owner of which had a family of several daughters, and the new-comer being a man of wealth & education, our American soon sought & obtained his friendship. Every art was used to make him a constant visitor at his residence. The result was, that though he had in the outset told them he was a married man, & that his intention was to return to England & fetch his wife, if he liked his situation in the new world, they used every species of manoeuvre to influence him to remain & marry one of the daughters. But this only disgusted him the more with his lonely life & solitary & unprofitable situation-being obliged to do all the duties of husbandman, wood-cutter, dairy-maid, &c. though he had ample means to have paid for labour, but none was to be had. He no sooner declared his intention of leaving the country than his Yankee neighbours (which is generally the case) persecuted him with every annoyance, and the result was he sold his land for mere waste paper, though he had paid down his sterling gold for it, & it is doubtful whether he will ever realize a penny of the purchase money.
This is the fate of hundreds. And fortunate indeed is the emigrant who goes over without his family to make the trial, for hundreds are now living in America in a state of the greatest misery, who would not have remained, had it not been from a dread of again encountering a tedious voyage with a wife & children. I knew some disgraceful instances of fellows who had left a wife and family behind them in England, and made no scruple of taking a second wife in America. One man had a wife & family living with him in New York, whom he drove away to England by his brutality, and though this was known to hundreds, he found no difficulty in contracting a left-handed marriage with an American girl possessed of 1000 dollars, and his oldest child, a boy of 12 years old, was a witness to the whole transaction and continued to live in the same house with his father.-In fact, it is so common a thing for a man to have one wife in one state and a 2nd in another, that it is a proverbial saying, "An American has one wife in New York and another at Brooklyn."
Another man of 2 wives, who had married an American girl with a small fortune, was a Methodist preacher within a few miles of New York when I was there. When he left England he had never mounted a pulpit, and his wife expected to be sent for with her 6 children, as soon as circumstances permitted. Finding, however, that she recŐd no summons, and suspecting all was not right, she came over to New York, assisted in so doing by her parish, and inquired for her husband. She was told there was no person of the name in New York, but there was a Rev- of the name at Newark. The poor woman posted off to that place, and there found that her husband had abandoned her & been married to an American girl who had borne him two children.
There is, however, a law by which persons may be punished for bigamy in America but it is so expensive a proceeding, from the difficulty of obtaining evidence, &c. that not one injured person out of 5000 could avail themselves of it. In fact the law is in such a state in North America, as regards marriage, and morality is so lax in consequence, that their own papers are continually complaining of it. One of the most ably conducted Journals, the Sun, a short time since took an occasion to observe, that such an enactment was much wanted in the United States such as had lately been passed by the South American states, which made it imperative upon all emigrants entering their country to produce a certificate whether they were married or not, and for the truth of which their resident Consul must vouch.
A short time before I left New York, a poor woman presented herself at the door of her runaway husband who had married an American girl on reaching the United States, and upon her knocking, he opened it himself. He asked her "what she wanted?" She told him she was his wife. Upon this he slapped the door in her face. The poor creature in vain tried to redress herself, and she must have perished in the streets of New York with her helpless children, but for the compassion of a few English Emigrants, who provided her with food & shelter, and she is now living decently, as a washerwoman, within sight of the dwelling of her recreant husband.
But this state of concubinage is universal in America. I lodged for a few days in one house where there were 14 couples living, as man & wife, and the person who kept it declared to me that she knew they were all living in a state of adultery. As for divorces, they are granted in all the States upon very trivial evidence. According to a late number of the Sun American Paper, in Ohio alone there were 5000 in less than two years. My readers may easily imagine what must be the state of morality where such things can be with impunity, and what are the prospects for a family of daughters, should any such contemplate emigrating to the United States.
The customs observed at such marriages as are celebrated with a kind of public recognition by their friends & relatives are anything but such as would be desirable in well-regulated societies. A houseful are invited, and of course there is a feast, which terminates with the ceremony of the bride being saluted by every booby of the party. I was present at one where the bridegroom by no means relished this part of the proceeding, and stood peeping from behind a corner of the room half blushing, half clenching his fist with rage, as the operation proceeded, & no sooner had it closed, than he seized his brideŐs hand, dragged her to a table where there stood a basin of water, and himself well-washed her face. And this precaution was the more necessary; as all the gentlemen present, with the exception of myself, had been chewing tobacco & spitting about the room the whole time they were present.
With marriage vows or contracts so loosely observed, an American Judge has lately decided, in New Hampshire, that if a gentleman for a considerable length of time pays particular attention to a lady of the same rank & standing in life with himself, such as to visit her (whether relation or not), or take her to visit at his father's, or friends, &c. from these facts the jury have a right to presume a promise of marriage.
NEW YORK CITY. 1834. Free Black Population in New York.
One American had the effrontery to tell me, that it ought to be made a crime for a white man to marry a black woman. Let the American gentleman go study the character of the freeblack, and he will behold a fond husband and father and a man social, sober, & industrious in his habits. Their affection for their offspring not only far surpasses that of the American, but they are tenderly, nay devotedly attached to their wives, and far, very far exceed the Americans in their gallantry and estimation of the weaker sex. It is truly delightful to see the free-blacks walk forth, well-dressed & well-behaved, on the Sunday, with their wives & children. Their contented, happy, cheerful faces are by far the most attractive feature that characterizes a New-York Sabbath. As for gallantry & attention to their females, an American is not to be named with a free-black. Yet these same Americans affect universally to despise them, and many have often expressed their astonishment at seeing me converse with them. But I confess their intelligence, their wit and general information, their natural acuteness of intellect, was a source of far greater attraction to me, than any the society of whites, born Americans, afforded.
NEW YORK CITY. 1834. Gentleman Callers on New Year's Day.
MOST nations have their peculiar customs and America is behind none that I am acquainted with for the number & peculiarity of hers. One of them is celebrated on the Ist of January, or New-Year's Day, when all the youth of New York & other towns are early on the move, trimmed out in the most approved fashions of the day, & adorned with all the trinkets & ribbands they can muster. Each one has previously made out a list of the names of those ladies whom he intends to honour with a call 2 or 3 weeks beforehand. One young American exhibited to me a catalogue of 50. Thus prepared, they sally forth, and "rat, tat, tat," is the universal din. At every house they enter, "Is Miss at home?" is the inquiry. Miss is all the while simpering in the corner of the room, and upon receiving an affirmative answer, the next observation is, "I am come to drink her health & wish her a happy New Year." This is accordingly done, and where they are acquaintances, a salute is thrown into the bargain. It is, however, no matter whether the parties are strangers to each other or not, every house is "liberty hall" on this day, and the Cogniac and kisses are all given gratis.
One may very well imagine, that by the time young Corydon has got through his list of 50, he is pretty well 3 sheets in the wind, or "rather hazy" as the sailors say. But very many of the more respectable classes seem to forget themselves on New Year's Day, and to reel from house to house, in no very tempting condition to make love in. I saw numbers led home on New Year's Day, 1834, in New York, who, by the force of gravity, ever & anon came to the ground. You might here & there see men, more sheepish than others, stand peeping round a door, half hesitating whether they should knock or not, whilst Miss might be discovered through the window, every moment expecting the "rat, tat, tat." In some Streets you would see one peeping, whilst a holder youth demanded admittance, and all New York seemed to have poured forth her male population to do the gallant on this day. "They call it social," said an old half-bred testy republican to me. "Pretty sociality it is for mothers to have their daughters placed in a chair, like a stuck pig, for every fool to run his grizzly beard against." "I guess," added the old man, with a laugh, "there's many a match concocted in New York on New Year's Day, if nothing worse happens."
I was told, that I should be fully expected to pay the honours & take my dose of Cogniac Schnapps with all the pretty American girls I had been introduced to. I was, however, too much amused with what I saw to make a single effort on my own account. Myself & a friend took the round of several streets to "spy out the nakedness of the land," towards afternoon. We saw old maids & Bachelors, or what ought to have been such "frosty with age," trudging about in all directions. One youth had made his entrance & exit so often, that after mounting the steps & knocking with great difficulty, he fell upon them oblivious. How he was received by his fair one, I did not wait to learn The whole scene, in fact was a perfect Saturnalia throughout the city. No wonder there are so many divorces annually in the State of Ohio.
NEW YORK CITY. 1834. The Unhappy Custom of Serenading Women.
IN lands where minstrelsy and melody are the order of the day; and in countries where tourneys, chivalry, and beauty and bright eyes were the burthen of the harper's soots; when ladies' favours were the rewards of valor & victory; & where lovers wooed to the light guitar amidst bowers of thyme & myrtle, beneath Italian skies; one might still dream of midnight-songs and serenades. But will it be allowed that your money-loving American, whose hands are eternally in his breeches' pockets, fumbling his dollars, who has less voice & fewer notes than a cuckoo, is to be seen in the streets of republican America at one, two, or 3, in the morning, serenading his mistress, with "Hard is my fate,"-"My Lodging is on the cold ground," & various other pathetic melodies, to the annoyance of more peaceable citizens? Yet such is the fact. One unhappy swain, to whom his mistress had, I suppose, "given the beg," as they say in England, woke me out of a comfortable sleep every night for a fortnight. And he had no sooner made his exit, than another love-sick swain took up the like trash a few doors further from my lodging, with something very like the tones of a cracked clarinet-probably Apollo had not blessed him even with an American voice. I might very well liken the tones of his instrument to the cracking of a whip in the hands of a lusty English waggoner.
NEW YORK CITY. 1834. Christian Reform Societies; The Danger Presented to Women in the Person of the Clergy; the trial of Reverend E.K. Avery for Adultery and Murder.
But all religious matters in America, like everything else, are conducted upon a System without a parallel in the history of any well-regulated community, as the foregoing facts and the following truths will show. The Sun American paper of May, 1834, observes, "This is the season of the anniversaries of religious & charitable institutions. They are numerously attended, and their reports speak favorably of their increasing strength and usefulness. Having for the most part, the welfare and happiness of man as their grand object and aim, we wish them all success in their efforts. There are, however, one or two associations among them, which, whatever may be the purity or zeal of their supporters, are calculated to produce the most serious evils. Among them, is the Society for the promotion of the Seventh Commandment-or in other words, the Society to prevent lewdness. There are certain subjects which the common consent of all civilized societies has marked as too indelicate, gross, and distasting in their character, ever to be brought- except in extraordinary cases, and where the moral sense of the community has been severely shocked-before the public eye. Of such a character must of necessity be all details connected with the proceedings of this Society. Its supporters defy all common sense of propriety, all received notions of decency, and do not hesitate in public assemblages, where ladies form a great part of the audience, to give the most disgusting accounts of low debauchery and sensual indulgence, such as can hardly be communicated to the delicate mind of a woman without polluting it. This society probably owes its existence to that record of the stews, McDowall's Journal, which has already been presented by the grand jury as a dangerous and immoral publication. In all charity, and without seeking to inquire into the motives of men to profess to be guided by a desire to promote public purity, and public morals, we must say that this association, unless opposed by the same general spirit which demanded that a public example should be made of McDowall's Journal, will exert a most pernicious influence upon the morals of this community. Every friend of decency & morality should frown upon and discountenance it.
The same authority stated in the previous month of April, that "a religious sect had sprung up in the county of Surry, one of whose tenets is to salute each other at a holy meeting with a holy kiss. One of the female devotees, a young lady of a thousand charms, happened to encounter a young gentleman of whom she was enamoured, and gave him a more cordial & loving salute than was quite becoming. The next day she received a message from the high priest of the sect, saying she had been excommunicated for 'kissing with an appetite.Ő I could relate anecdotes of their camp-meetings would make the ears of decency tingle and the cheek of modesty burn with shame enacted, not only under the eye of their spiritual teachers, as they call their vagabond pastors, but in which these same pastors were the principal actors. I shall not, however, dwell upon them. Those who would be better versed in the history of an American camp-meeting, I must refer to the writings of Mrs. Trollope, and to the more recent publication of Mr. Ferrall. I have never read the latter, but I am told he has fully entered into the subject. It is a fact that the females of all classes of fanatics in America are under a complete state of subjection to their spiritual pastors, and that they alone ought to be looked upon as their hearers & their supporters. One would suppose from appearances that the American women were all fanatics, & the men all atheists-Indeed, I believe it to be near the truth. I have been in many of their most crowded congregations, and amongst several thousands never saw above a hundred men present at the same time; in fact the disproportion of the sexes never fails to create surprise in strangers. It is to the women all their appeals are addressed, it is upon them all the baser purposes of fanatical preachers are made to operate.
Let us then inquire who this great class of preachers are, and we may thus draw some conclusion as to the value of their influence upon female society in America. I have elsewhere recorded the fact, that several abandoned characters who emigrated from England leaving wives & families destitute, became popular preachers after reaching America, settled as such & married American women with property, and on their wives & families arriving in the United States & claiming their protection, these same pious preachers of the word of God declared their wives & families to be impostors, in which they have in most instances, nay in all that I am acquainted with, been countenanced & supported by their American congregations. One man, now a popular preacher no great distance from New York, emigrated from a city in Norfolk, where he was a dyer & scourer, by trade, and little better than a confirmed sot-now he is the RevŐd Mr--, in America. I know a lady who lately emigrated from England, that went with some American acquaintances to hear a popular preacher at Brooklyn, near New York, which has been recently made a city. The party were persons of influence, and after the service concluded, the new settler was taken to be introduced to the RevŐd favourite. His name was no sooner uttered, than she recollected that such a person had fled from England with a large sum of money belonging to a society for the Conversion of the Jews. She no sooner looked him in the face than she recognized the renegade Jew, and she confessed to me that the blush of shame mantled in her face as she put out her hand to shake that of a known thief. After she retired with her American friends, she named the fact to them. But they did not profess to be at all surprised or ignorant of the matter, and exclaimed-"Ah! but he is a fine preacher!"
This is only one out of many I could relate. But there is a more recent case before the American public, the remarkable one of a preacher being retained in his office of pastor, an acknowledged Seducer & adulterer, a convicted liar, and a darkly acquitted murderer! This man is the RevŐd E.K. Avery, the father of a family, who was & is still a Methodist preacher of note in the vicinity of Boston. He had for one of his congregation a poor factory girl of the name of Sarah Maria Cornell, represented as interesting & intelligent. For some indiscretion, it is said, she had come under the bann of this fanatical Moloch- designedly, there is too much reason to fear, to make her a sacrifice to his baser passions, & this he accomplished during one of their infamous Camp-meetings, about the middle of 1832. She became enceinte, in consequence. Her health obliging her to seek advice, she first learnt her situation from Doctor Wilbur, a member of the Society of Friends, in the month of October, of the above year, and to whom, after a promise of secrecy, she declared the father of her offspring to be the RevŐd E.K. Avery. It was with great astonishment the Doctor heard her, as he supposed the RevŐd delinquent a man of character, and after several interviews with this physician, at every one of which, it is affirmed "she appeared to be deeply affected, with a sense of her conduct, and always shed tears," she persisted "in naming Avery as the author of her difficulty."
Upon the Doctor's expressing his incredulity, his surprise and horror, at the bare imputation of such an offence on a minister of the gospel, his penetrating eye, and searching inquiries it is said, lest he should be imposed upon, seemed to produce no other emotion in her than those of heartfelt anguish, and the additional information that-Avery had advised her to make use of the oil of Tansy, in doses of 30 drops, with a view to destroy her offspring, or rather to kill the poor girl herself, and remove as he thought all the living evidence of his guilt, as 10 drops, the doctor informed her, were sufficient to lay her dead at his feet She further confirmed the truth of what she had stated of Avery by shewing the Doctor a letter she had recŐd from him. Upon this Doctor Wilbur insisted she should demand an interview with Avery and negotiate with him for a sum sufficient to enable her to retire from the labour of the factory, & support her comfortably till she should be again able to support herself-proposing a sum larger than she thought her seducer could afford, upon which she generously refused to demand it, alledging that she knew Avery was poor, and that she would do nothing to distress him & his family. She finally consented to ask for a smaller sum and to request an interview.
She shortly afterwards called on Dr. Wilbur & shewed him a letter she had received from her seducer, appointing to see her in a secluded & very solitary spot, at night, near the Fall River, in which neighbourhood the Doctor lived. This struck the Doctor as remarkable, & he begged of her not to go alone. This advice was not attended to. The scene of the meeting was so near the Doctor's residence, that when he arose in the morning he was surprised at seeing people hurrying by in evident anxiety and on inquiry was told that a young woman had hung herself. He put on his hat & hastened to the spot to which the people were crowding, when the 1st object that met his view was the poor girl in whose welfare he had taken so much interest, suspended from a tree quite dead. There was no evidence how she came there, but Avery had been seen in the neighbourhood the night of the proposed interview, which had proved so tempestuous, that Avery, as it afterwards came out had in vain endeavoured to bribe a boatman to take him across the river to the opposite side, the direction in which his dwelling laid.
Upon taking down the poor girl's body, it was found that the rope by which she was hanging was tied with a double knot, and that it had been drawn so tight on the first being tied, that it must, as the medical men stated, have caused instant death-so that it was impossible the poor girl could have been her own executioner. All the medical men, from the distorted angry look of her features in death, testified that she had died by the hands of a murderer; and it further appeared, that she had on her hands a pair of clean white gloves, which must have been soiled had she hung herself, as the rope was in a dirty state. And it was found, on examination, that the flesh was violently pressed in on both her sides, with finger marks, below the stays, as if by the grasp of a powerful man, which Avery is. In short there were so many circumstances that shewed her death to have been the work of a murderer.
But all these facts did not all come to light at the time her body was first discovered, and much pains were taken by the Methodist preachers and their friends, in the neighbourhood, to defame the poor girl's character, after death. They actually refused to bury her in consecrated ground, & an honest old farmer, of the name of Duffee, who lived near the scene of death, was so moved with the barbarous persecution that was going on, that he declared she should have a decent funeral, in a spot he had appropriated to be the resting place of his own family.
At length public rumour bruited so many suspicious circumstances against Avery, that he was apprehended on a suspicion of being her murderer, & her remains were exhumed for further examination, but the evidence not being deemed sufficient to commit him upon, he was suffered to go at large. Other evidence, however, was procured sufficient to make a different impression upon the minds of a coroner & jury, and a warrant was granted for his apprehension. Upon this he fled and was traced by the officer to the cottage of an old woman, who to the officer's inquiry denied that he was there. At the instant, however, the constable thought he perceived something to flit behind the dour, and darting forward, he found it was Avery, who fainted on being seized.
He was soon after brought to trial for the murder, during the progress of which many singular circumstances occurred. Amongst others was that of a woman coming into court & stating to the Judge, that she had dreamed for 3 successive nights, that the man who had murdered Maria Cornell had a wound on one of his hands. It was then recollected that Avery had, from the commencement of the trial, kept one of his hands gloved, and upon his removing the glove by the Judge's order, it was found that there was the remains of a wound, as if caused by a bite.
What makes this trial one of the most singular that ever, perhaps, took place in the known world, is the shameful conduct pursued by the Methodist preachers of the district, the friends of the accused, who are said not to have spent a less sum than 5000 dollars in their endeuvours to establish Avery's innocence. Every means was resorted to by them, with a barbarous ferocity to blacken the poor girl's character with lewd practices, females were intimidated by them from coming forward to give evidence who had been eye-witnesses of familiar scenes between the poor girl & her seducer.
Amongst other instances, says a writer in the Free Enquirer, American paper, "of the shameful manner in which witnesses were tampered with and their testimony kept back," is that "of a person who was heard to say, previous to the trial of Avery, that he saw him & Miss Cornell walking together during the camp meeting at Thompson, and that he knew them both. This information was communicated to the gentlemen who conducted the prosecution, and one of them went to Connecticut to procure the witness. But he was one day too late. On his arrival at the residence of the man, it was found that no less than 3 Methodist Clergymen had stolen the march upon him. The result was, that the witness refused to answer any questions put to him, and as no compulsory process could be had, nothing could be elicited from him. If any person shall think proper to question the facts relative to the 3 clergymen," adds this writer, "their Names, and that of my informant, shall be promptly given to end all doubt."
It was sworn by a respectable witness, that he saw Avery & his victim "walking arm in arm" on the evening of the 20th of October, in the neighbourhood of the Fall River, and "Mrs Bidwell also, wife of the RevŐd Ira M. Bidwell, testified that, on that night, Avery, who was expected to lodge at her house, was out so much later than usual for a minister, that she went to the house of a neighbour to inquire for him. And Mr. Bidwell himself stated that on the previous evening he saw Avery & Miss Cornell within '3 feet' of each other, & left them together, because he supposed Miss Cornell wished to have some conversation with him. All this does not look like a desire on the part of Miss Cornell, to avoid an interview with Avery as was pretended by him, and also by Mrs. Mayo, at the Thompson Camp meeting."
Evidence the most conclusive was produced on the trial showing the intimacy that had subsisted between Avery & his victim, more than one witness swore to his being seen in the ncighbourhood where the poor girl was murdered, yet Avery was acquitted, but acquitted only upon the Judge suggesting to the jury that any doubt in their minds ought to be given in favour of the accused.
One American paper observed upon this termination of one of the most interesting & exciting trials that modern times have produced, that they were glad he was not to be hanged, as he was a descendant of one of the old Republicans who had fought for their independence: so much for American love of justice. The report of the trials is before the American people, and but few who are not living under the despotic influence of the Methodist preachers have the smallest doubt in their minds but that he ought to have suffered an ignominious death instead of being now at large and actually forced upon a congregation by the influence of the Bishop of the district (Methodists have their Bishops in America), and the party of Methodist preachers, upon whose shoulders he may be said to have been triumphantly borne from the tribunal of murder, to defile God's temple with his unholy breath.
NEW YORK CITY. 1834. Female Labour in America.
A short time before I left New York, several thousand females struck for an advance of wages, and the Sun American paper of March, 1834, observes, "The low rate of female labour (in America) is a grievance of the very first magnitude, and pregnant with the most mighty ills to society. It demands the most serious consideration of those whose situations in life give them influence upon manners & customs. This unjust arrangement of remuneration for services performed diminishes the importance of women in society-renders them more helpless & dependent-destroys in the lower walks of life much of the inducements to marriage-& of course in the same degree increases the temptations to licentiousness. It is difficult to conceive why, even in those branches, wherein both sexes are engaged, there should be such an extreme degree of disparity in the recompense of labor as every person acquainted with the subject knows to exist." I was told by several tailors that the reason why their labor was paid so badly was, a great many women were employed in the trade, who worked for next to nothing. None but the very best hands amongst the men could get what was called good wages.