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Travels Between the Hudson and the Mississippi

Travels Between the Hudson and the Mississippi: 1851--1852

Moritz Busch
TRANSLATED AND EDITED BY Norman H. Binger
Copyright Date: 1971
Pages: 316
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt130hnn4
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  • Book Info
    Travels Between the Hudson and the Mississippi
    Book Description:

    Moritz Busch, a German journalist, theologian, and participant in the Revolution of 1848, proved himself both an accurate observer and a sensitive interpreter of American life in the mid-nineteenth century. His charming and richly detailed account has been translated into English for the first time. Not only an outstanding travel account, it proves to be a lode of background material that will be valued by the general reader, historians, political scientists, sociologists, and other scholars.

    Busch was keenly interested in the working of American institutions -- government, religion, economy, and social customs -- and his descriptions rank with the best contemporary accounts. His concern in studying American mores was to understand what made the New World different from -- and apparently on the way to surpassing -- the Old. Busch traveled the rivers and back roads, noting what Americans ate and drank, how they dressed and talked, gave their opinions on religion and politics. He described boats, stagecoaches, schools, hotels, and passed on folk tales and regional history as told by his many hosts.

    This engaging work is annotated with translator's notes to explain Busch's references to German literature and history, as well as more obscure points of American geography and history.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6234-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. xi-2)

    Julius Hermann Moritz Busch (starting with the publication of his first work, theTravels,Busch used only the forename Moritz) was born in Dresden on February 13, 1821, the son of a Saxon noncommissioned officer who had married the daughter of a Dresden schoolmaster. After studying and receiving a doctorate in theology at the University of Leipzig, Busch took part in the unsuccessful May 1849 uprising in Dresden. In the summer of 1851 he traveled to the United States, possibly with plans to emigrate, but for reasons not stated he returned to Germany in February 1852. During the years 1856...

  5. 1 FROM GOTHAM TO PORKOPOLIS
    (pp. 3-27)

    IT WAS my plan to remain in New York until the end of September, then go to Boston, the Yankee Athens, for a few days, and to travel from there to the western states by way of Niagara. A letter from Ohio canceled these plans and compelled me to take leave of Gotham’s throng after I had scarcely recovered from the boundless joy of finally having solid land under my feet. I just had time to cast a glance down upon Broadway and the Bowery from the crow’s-nest perspective of the Trinity Church steeple, to make a fleeting visit to...

  6. 2 CINCINNATI IN DIARY ENTRIES
    (pp. 28-54)

    THE Jefferson Hotel had been able to impress us at night by its size, but the next morning’s sun showed us that it was not the place for us.¹ Ugly beetles clambered up the walls of our bedroom on long, thin legs, and spider webs in the corners of the canopy, broken windowpanes, an unlockable door, a washstand without basin, and a barroom full of ragged, unkempt Irishmen all caused us to think of hasty flight from this locale of misunderstanding, despite the beautiful view of the Ohio afforded by our windows. At Eggers and Wilde, a well-established book and...

  7. 3 A SHAKER TOWN AND A DUNKARD MEETING
    (pp. 55-91)

    NOT since the fire of the Reformation was extinguished by dogmatism has the religious spirit expressed itself in any part of the Christian world as powerfully as among the peoples of the United States—and in no place as chaotically and strangely. Compared to our conditions, the life of the Christian Church in America seems almost like a remnant of the fantastically fluid primeval world alongside the solid regularity and rational dryness of present-day nature. Beneath the crust of a rigid and obstinate orthodoxy (such as could not have behaved more stiffly and boringly in the time of Calov and...

  8. 4 A WEEK IN THE BLACK SWAMP
    (pp. 92-124)

    IN THE Dayton suburb of Macphersontown on the road to Covington stands, half-covered by foliage and shrubbery, a pretty little white brick house with a black, varnished shingle roof and a small balcony. A most charming shelter for a philosopher of Rousseau’s requirements, it also was a welcome refuge for the wanderer, who wished, after weeks of swarming along in the anthills of the Yankee world, to rest again in comfortable isolation, to collect himself, and incidentally to dream a little of the beloved homeland on the other side of the ocean. It was my headquarters for the month of...

  9. 5 THE QUEEN OF THE WEST AGAIN
    (pp. 125-149)

    THE week of the twenty-first to the twenty-eighth was devoted to digesting and working up the material collected during the excursion described in the preceding chapter and to cultivating old acquaintances and making new ones. In small towns here (as elsewhere) life offers little worthy of notice. Its monotonous course is interrupted only by the noise with which an exceedingly exuberant partisanship plagues itself and by an occasional bit of humbug surpassing the usual in originality and brazenness. Incredible things are accomplished in regard to the first, and, to be sure, the Germans greatly outdo the Anglo-Americans in their proclivity...

  10. 6 A VISIT TO THE BACKWOODSMEN OF EAST KENTUCKY
    (pp. 150-202)

    THE character of the North American people is generally conceived of as a commercial spirit: cold, sober, cleverly calculating, intelligently ambitious, perhaps a bit too hasty. Everything included under the heading of “Romanticism” has been completely eliminated from it. To be sure, a certain amount of wit must be admitted; but feeling, and everything proceeding therefrom, must be denied for the present. Therefore a person who, because of his spiritual makeup, requires a sentimental nature for the sustaining of life will not be able to live well in this atmosphere. If this view were restricted to the coast or if...

  11. 7 A RIVER TRIP THROUGH THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY
    (pp. 203-237)

    IT WAS now closer to the middle of December than to the beginning. The citizens of Cincinnati could be surprised any morning by the unwelcome news that Indian summer—which during the past week had brought back over the land on the Ohio, as if by magic, something of the blue sky and the warm air of September—had suddenly departed during the preceding night and conveyed its rights to winter. Temperature changes of the most rapid and extreme sort are as common in the West as in the Atlantic states, and nothing guaranteed that within twenty-four hours rapidly falling...

  12. 8 A VISIT TO BELLEVILLE AND A WORD ABOUT THE GERMANS IN AMERICA
    (pp. 238-259)

    THE Sunday with which the last chapter ended was concluded with a trip to the beer hall of a former German representative, the Silesian Mandrella, located in an extreme suburb of Saint Louis. On the way home we stopped for a quarter hour to listen to the concert of several Tyroleans who have settled here—after wearing out their voices at the Leipzig fairs, they had hit upon the clever idea of utilizing the remainder in America. This notion had turned out to be very practical, for in the course of a few years they had yodeled for themselves a...

  13. 9 A WINTER JOURNEY FROM THE MISSISSIPPI TO THE NIAGARA AND BACK TO THE HUDSON
    (pp. 260-271)

    MONDAY was spent in taking leave and in making preparations for the return trip, which had to be undertaken by post coach since a freeing of the river from ice was not expected for at least a week.¹ There was nothing attractive about this journey by coach in the intense cold, and I should have liked very much to have celebrated Christmas in native fashion with my German friends. But necessity compelled, and so I went to the office in the Planters House and made a reservation for the stage to Cincinnati, got myself a double wool blanket and a...

  14. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 272-282)

    WHEN fragments of the observations and studies put down in the preceding chapters were shown to a friend, the question was raised as to whether a unity could be found in the diversity of the phenomena in the life and literature of the North Americans, or, in other words, whether or not the citizens of the United States already bear the character of a nation. At that time, when the view was still too much engaged by the variability of the subject, the answer had be postponed for further collection and reflection. If, however, there was present at that time...

  15. EDITOR’S NOTES
    (pp. 283-296)