Saturday, 10 May, 1828

Fairfax County, Virginia

Rose early this morning and a fine looking, jet black little Negro boy presented our boots brushed and elegantly black; and with his broom, performed on our coats the necessary operation of dusting in the most musical manner, which we rewarded him with four pence. It seemed to please the little fellow very much. The Village, as it is called here, contains ten Inhabitants, no school or Meeting House, but instead of these, a Court House and jail. The jail is separated from the Court House and we were told this was the custom in this country. There are two Doctors, two Lawyers, two Taverns, and One Store. A Negro shoemaker and blacksmith in the place. We are told the number of mechanics in the Southern country are from the Black population. The white inhabitants think it degrading to be employed in labour but are very fond of sport. And so far as I can now judge, I think the Ladies are not fond of employing their pretty, delicate hands in domestic performances, particularly so in relation to culinary affairs.

We left our pleasant Inn at just five o'clock, leaving the turnpike road with expectation of having a better and more near one, to Fairfax. But, if the turnpike is worse than this road proved to be, it must indeed be horrid; for this, in many places, was almost impassable. The land, the whole distance this morning from Fairfax to Centerville, a distance of eight miles, was much as yesterday, poor. And the country appeared to have been once cleared and fenced but forsaken and deserted. All that was saw this morning was a few Negro huts and naked, destitute Negroes, both male and female. At length, we came to the turnpike at Centerville; and here we took breakfast with a fine, facetious old fellow who told us that servants would cheat in feeding our horses and advised us to be particular in this respect or we would, before getting through Virginia, be unable to move. He also said the Negroes were trained to stealing and cheating. Now, is not this declaration a bad comment on slavery, that here are a set of human creatures, intelligent beings in a free country. Under laws inflicting severe punishment on those guilty of theft, yet have incorporated into their Constitution the right of domestic slavery. And the circumstances surrounding these slaves are such as to cause them to disregard honesty and truth. If such things are right and commendable in a Slave State, I must confess I have been erroneously taught in my education.

Just before we arrived at Centerville, our wagon broke and was under the necessity of having it repaired. Myself and Tyler stayed for that purpose, while Gage concluded he would continue on as he was on horseback. And by some misunderstanding in getting the direction of the road, or forgetting it after he had received it, he got out of the way some ten miles. He left the Pike or pavement as it is called here, and went through Haymarket. After we had accomplished the object for which we stayed, we kept the main road or Pike, and a worse highway cannot well be made in the imagination. We drove over such roads as indicated for fourteen and a half miles, encountering toll gates every five and two and a half miles. Our expense for tollage was extravagant. They would charge us fifteen cents for two and a half miles. We had a severe dispute with one of the gate collectors by the name of W.W. Connor, but it produced no effect in diminishing our bill, so we paid him and went on until we arrived at a place called New Baltimore, the last gate on the road, when the collector said we had to pay ninepence (twelve and a half cents). This old fellow was father-in-law to Connor and we related to him how we had been charged. And he said we had been imposed upon very much and that the law forbid taking over fifteen cents for large wagons, etc. The old man was very profane and said, "Hell was a sacred place and would be full of such villains." At Buckland, a place fourteen and a half miles from Centerville, we fed our horses and took some refreshment ourselves. From this place we drove on to Warrenton, Faquire County and Court House, distance from Buckland eight and a half miles. For the last eight miles the road had been graveled and was much better. In Warrenton we put up at the Widow Morrises. Here we expected to have found Gage as this was the place appointed to meet, but we found him missing. retired to bed quite early. Beds in good order and very clean, and as I hoped, not infected as at Washington. It done me much good just to view them. They look so cool, sweet, and pure. And not only the beds were thus neat but all the furniture in the room appeared to have been purified by the same hands. It is gratifying to the weary traveler, when he calls at night to find that he is welcome and that everyone is ready an desirous to make him contented and that care has been taken to make his short stay as comfortable as possible. It produces feelings of attachment which he loves to think on when it is passed and gone, and when such feelings exist, the house will never be abused by any except by such as are insensible to affection. Viewing the day that has passed and gone, I must make one remark: How often are people imposed on in traveling by overcharging. The law has made provision for these things in almost every  State, yet a stranger does not know the regulation, consequently is liable to be imposed on every day. It is necessary for a man when he enters a State, or as soon as convenient to make some inquiry into these things, so that he may be prepared at any time to defend himself from the designing and unjust because these are large numbers of every community who cannot withstand the temptation of gaining property in any way where detection is improbable. The passion of self-interest is so strong that it obliterates every idea of justice, honour, or honestly and deprives a man of those more pure and elevated sentiments, which are inculcated by Religion and Morality.