Journal of Dr GFW
- Hits: 1976 1976
Our anxiety to get to Baltimore induced us to start before day, and accordingly we were on the road at an early hour this morning. The road was good and as we calculated to stay in Baltimore one or two days, we drove much faster than ordinary. Small Peaches were to be seen on the peach trees; corn was up in many places; and people were plowing in it preparing for the more laborious process of hoeing. Slaves were here to be seen, plentifully. We could see the top of Washington's Monument long before we reached the city. It appeared in the distance to be no more than two feet in diameter. Arrived in Baltimore at eight o'clock. Took breakfast. Prepared our clothing for the purpose of cleansing from some of the dust collected on them. And then we began our rambling over the city. Our first object were Wharfs and waterfronts. These, to my feeble judgment of these matters, were well constructed and the Steam Boats and Sloops in the harbour had a beautiful appearance. Stores, Warehouses, and shops of every kind and description animated with business. And the streets thronged with active multitude of businessmen was to us a source of satisfaction. We only lamented that we were not thus employed; to be thus idle spectators among this crowd of active people indicated us to be men of leisure, and indeed we were at this moment. But our pecuniary circumstances admonished us that we could not long bear such an easy course of life. Yet we had this consolation that we were searching for the proper place to become active members of society - though now unemployed - we hoped it would not long be the case.
The old part of the town is not as neat and free from filth as would have been expected. The streets are narrow, houses mean and low, and there is no regularity in the Streets. It indeed exhibits quite a contrast when compared with the more modern part of the city. In the latter the Streets and Spacious and well paved, the houses mostly build of brick, indicating taste, elegance, and improvement. The city Hotel is a handsome large marble edifice standing nearly in the center of the town, on Market Street near the Naval Monument. It is one hundred and thirty feet long and eighty wide; its cost is said to be three hundred thousand Dollars and is rented for six thousand Dollars per Annum, and at this seemingly momentous sum, it doesn't yield the proprietor two and a half percent on the money invested and will require Fifty years to equal the first cost. If this is the fact, I must say it is a bad investment, for profit. It is well furnished internally, containing the best and most costly furniture our country affords. Everything has method and regularity about it combined with elegant style. Board and lodging can be had in this superb mansion at the price of Ten Dollars per week, or at the still more liberal price of three Dollars per day. Such a place will do very well for those who have money to spend and wish to have it gone as quick as possible. All the servants about this magnificent establishment know their places and business, and indeed strictly attend to everything necessary to be done as though the least dereliction of duty would be the signal for death. However, I suppose all this to be absolutely requisite in so intensive a Public house, where so many different individuals, with as many different notions resort. Yet to me unaccustomed to slaves, it appears inhuman that there should be such a condition of any of the human family, liable to be sold at the discretion of another.
Curiosity next led us to Washington's Monument situated on an elevation of ground a little South of the town. It is not yet finished. It is constructed with white polished marble, and is now one hundred and sixty feet high and the Statue of Washington on horseback is yet to be added. When this is accomplished it will have a much more imposing appearance and increase its elevation seventeen feet. The base of the Monument is fifty feet square and rises in this form twenty-five feet, and is so constructed by arches the inside is hollow. A column made of brick rises in the center of the inside several feet in diameter and runs up quite to the top. Round this, steps are made in a spiral form from the bottom to within fifteen feet of the top where there is a door. On the top, and at equal distances from every side of the fifty-feet square, rises another square elevation about eight feet high and nineteen feet square. From it starts the round marble column nineteen feet in diameter. In this form runs up one hundred and twenty-seven feet and is made like all the part of polished, white marble and so well joined as to appear like one solid stone. At the door before mentioned, near the top, is a kind of platform nineteen feet square on which you can walk all around the column and from which you can have a full and complete view of every place and street in the whole city - and a full view of the Harbour and vessels, either going out or coming in. We did not think our time misspent in visiting this mark of respect shown by the citizens of Baltimore to the father of our common country. On our return we called at the place where they cut and polish marble. This, or these, operations must be very tedious. The polishing process is not as laborious as the sawing of the slabs from the block. This last is to say, the last of an endless job. Here I saw a negro sitting under a species of shelter to keep off the violent heat from the sun or to protect him in rainy weather, working at a block of marble at least seventeen feet long and four feet wide, that is perpendicular, sawing with a smooth saw - a slab of marble about four inches thick - there has to be a constant dropping of water into the vacancy made by the saw. The process seemed more like filing than sawing. It really looked as the fellow might end his days at that one piece and then live threescore and ten years; but the constant motion of the saw will in a short time detach the piece from its present adhesion.
So it is with everything. Even property, b small additions, will in time swell to large sums, and so by the removal a little and often lost will in a few years sweep away large fortunes.
The sun had rose to the Meridian and our curiosity satisfied, or sufficiently that we were wiling to return to our lodgings and take some refreshment, as our appetites, from the constant alert of the day, were more than ordinarily acute. And in accordance with this demand, we pointed our course for the house we left this morning.
After appeasing our appetites we started for the Shot tower and on our way to that place we called in at many of the Shops of the different Mechanics. All of the operators appeared busy and contented. And I believe that employment is the very essence of contentment. We saw some elegant specimens of workmanship in almost every shop we entered, particularly of cabinet work. I saw one of the most elegant pianos I believe this country can produce. Here I tried to supply the loss of my Glasses but in vain, not at a price that I was able to pay. We now arrived at the Shot tower. Having obtained permission, we entered the circular pile of brick, the material of which it is constructed. Its internal diameter is thirty feet at the base. from here it regularly diminishes so that after it has reached to a height of one hundred and seventy-two feet, it is only sixteen feet in diameter. There are six flights of steps to ascend before you reach the top and each of these are made to consist of forty steps. We found it is not as easy a task as we imagined. We, however, reached the top and stood and looked down on the world below - not with disdain, but with sorrow to think of the pain vice, and wretched poverty contained within the small circle of our view from this elevation. At the end of every flight of steps there is placed a large Kettle for Melting the lead calculated to run into shot. After the lead is melted it is run through an iron ladle pierced with holes of diameter such as the shot to be made. These sieves, during the time the shot is forming, have quite a sudden, small, and continuous motion in order to prevent a continued stream of lead. And these drops of lead assume in their decent a globular form and at the bottom fall into cold water. Weather the finest or the largest falls from the greatest elevation I did not learn or whether it makes any difference. But I should suppose it did. They are now removed from the water and it allowed to drain off, and then they are rolled on an inclined place for some time in order to give them that smoothness you always observe shot to have. We were told that six tons were made here daily. The lead is raised up to these different places of melting by means of a windlass and large rope turned by horse; the bars or pigs of lead are made fast with a simple noose that can be easily unloosed and the lead removed as soon as it gets to the proper place without stopping the machine.
Here, too, as on the monument, we had a place of elevated observation. Could from this point see every church with their lofty spires reaching far above the ordinary buildings as if too pure to mingle in the sins and miseries of the world below. From this point also the Medical College and Hospital was plain to see. The prospect of the Bay from this place was as complete as could be wished. Here we could see Sloops coming into the harbour. At so great a distance they appeared but small specks on the surface of the water. And if you continue looking at them you will see them in crease in apparent size as they approach. Others again spreading their canvasses to the breeze slowly moving from the wharfs laden with merchandise destined for other harbours on our sea coast and from there to the interior of the country. Indeed the prospect, in a fine clear atmosphere, was not only beautiful but delightful, and to one unaccustomed to such scenes was almost enchanting.
But the sun indicated that we had occupied as much time in this view as practicable, we therefore closed our observation in this place and descended to the ground to mingle with the crowd, which had now increased by the addition of many who had left their business to enjoy the call of the evening in the salubrious exercise of walking. Now you can see Gentlemen and Ladies promenading the streets in every direction, seeking for pleasure. But it would not appear that pleasure resided in one place, no she is always in motion, continually moving and I may say that few are the number in the immense crowd who will find the fickle dame. When you think you have her within your grasp, you have not time to enjoy before she be flown in an instant or assumes some other shape and points you to some distant object, and there paints in vivid colors the place of her abode. Thus she eludes the grasp of mortal and keeps him continually on the search for that which he seldom finds. At night we attended the museum. Here are a fine collection of natural curiosities, and some elegant and grand scenery exhibited through magnifying glasses. Here we were shown a learned dog. He preformed well and would have been disbelieved by me had I not seen it preformed. So I will not relate it.