Diary in America: With Remarks on Its Institutions

By Frederick Marryat | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXIX
Climate

I wish the remarks in this chapter to receive peculiar attention, as in commenting upon the character of the Americans, it is but justice to them to point out that many of what may be considered their errors arise from circumstances over which they have no control; and one which has no small weight in this scale is the peculiar climate of the country, for various as is the climate, in such an extensive region, certain it is that in one point, that of excitement, it has, in every portion of it, a very pernicious effect.

When I first arrived at New York, the effect of the climate upon me was immediate. On the 5th of May, the heat and closeness were oppressive. There was a sultriness in the air, even at that early period of the year, which to me seemed equal to that of Madras. Almost every day there were, instead of our mild refreshing showers, sharp storms of thunder and lightning; but the air did not appear to me to be cooled by them. And yet, strange to say, there were no incipient signs of vegetation: the trees waved their bare arms, and while I was throwing off every garment which I well could, the females were walking up and down Broadway wrapped up in warm shawls. It appeared as if it required twice the heat we have in our own country, either to create a free circulation in the blood of the people or to

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