Diary in America: With Remarks on Its Institutions

By Frederick Marryat | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
Visit to New England--Boston

Stepped on board of the Narragansett steam-vessel for Providence. Here is a fair specimen of American travelling--from New York to Providence, by the Long Island Sound, is two hundred miles, and this is accomplished, under usual circumstances, in thirteen hours; from Providence to Boston, forty miles by railroad, in two hours-- which makes, from New York to Boston, an average speed of sixteen miles an hour, stoppages included.

I was, I must confess, rather surprised, when in the railroad cars, to find that we were passing through a churchyard, with tombstones on both sides of us. In Rhode Island and Massachusetts, where the pilgrim-fathers first landed--the two states that take pride to themselves (and with justice) for superior morality and a strict exercise of religious observances--they look down upon the other states of the Union, especially New York, and cry out: "I thank thee, Lord, that I am not as that publican." Yet here, in Rhode Island, are the sleepers of the railway laid over the sleepers in death; here do they grind down the bones of their ancestors for the sake of gain, and consecrated earth is desecrated by the iron wheels, loaded with Mammon- seeking mortals. And this in the puritanical state of Rhode Island! Would any engineer have ventured to propose such

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