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The freedom enjoyed in the medico beyond what is enjoyed in England is enjoyed solely by the disorderly at the expense of the delay and word tonight. I would throw down my gauntlet and challenge the Republic to the commies. I must be contented with stating the fact that I will be contradicted by one loud shout from Maine to Georgia. Our travels to America. From the right. Europeans came to America in a steady flow. They traveled through the United States. Driven. By an irresistible curiosity. Later many of them wrote books about their travels to tell us what they'd seen in the new world of Jacksonian democracy.
Some were friendly some are highly critical. All with meticulous observers of detail in the event written by Perry Miller a professor of American children at Harvard University. You will meet some of the travelers to America who bend our ear with their criticisms their advice their praise or their philosophy. Some you already know Dickens Bacary now yet. Other new acquaintances at all times the travellers speak in their own words quoted directly from their writing. They bend how it was produced and recorded by the Lowell Institute cooperative broadcasting Council under a grant from the educational television and radio center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Our second encounter is with Mrs Francis trollop author of domestic manners of the Americans published in London and New York in 1830 to
Sussex County Miller is your host and now writer. Our first scene is a hotel in Cincinnati in February. Eight hundred twenty eight Francis trollop 48 year old wife of an English merchant who proposes to open a bazaar for fancy goods in the new city is staying with four of her children in the hotel while hunting for a house. She comes in exhausted from a long day's quest and in the presence of a Irish maid looks into the dining room. I cannot take my evening meal with the three score and ten gentlemen of the dining room. Who are these a medical gentleman. Because Mr. Trollop is English they call him the old man. Well Draymond butcher's boys and laborers on the canal and invariably denominated them gentleman. The females call me the English woman but mentioning each other they
constantly employ the term lady and they ever did. We have a pleasure in using it but I've repeatedly observed that in speaking of a neighbor instead of say Mrs such a one they describe as the lady over the way that takes in washing. Well it is that there lady out by the galley which is making dip candles. Who I do wish I could have my tea in my own chamber just sue me honey you will be from me all koan 3. I see you will have your tail all to yourself for any soldier trollop family for the first time since they had landed the previous November in New Orleans were enjoying what their English hearts most prized their privacy which they pronounced the privacy a state of being there months on steamboats and in hotels and not from moment allowed them. They are deep in family talk when this is alive. Please come in. Are any of you new. Thank you so we're all quite well
then madam I must tell you that I cannot accommodate you on these terms. We have no family tea drinkings here and you must live either with me or my wife are not at all in my house. I am sorry to have offended you so. We are strangers here and unaccustomed to the menace of the country manners are very good manners and we don't wish any changes from love. But but why we might ask Did Mrs. trollop try to avoid the dining room. It was fitted up as joyously as Cincinnati could not afford as luxuriously is the cabin on the steamboat Belvedere which had brought her from New Orleans. What was the matter Mrs. travel to a cabin in the dining room are indeed handsome and well carpeted. But it cut it. I will not I may not describe its condition. Indeed it requires a pin of a swift to do it justice. Let no one who wishes to receive agreeable impressions of American manners commence their travels in a Mississippi steamboat. For myself it is with all sincerity I declare
that I would infinitely prefer sharing the apartment of a party of well-conditioned pigs to the being confined in its cabin. I don't quite understand what you mean Mrs. Talbot. I hardly know any annoyance so deeply repugnant to English feelings as the incessant most list BT. A medic. I apologize for the repeated use of this in several other odious words but I cannot avoid them without suffering the fidelity of description to escape me. As you surely have been told before the United States from a continent of almost distinct nations. Uncool habit is local not national. That is because you know so little of America that is a phrase I have listened to a thousand times and in nearly as many different places. It may be so and having made this concession I protest against the charge of injustice in relating what I have seen. Mrs. Trollope I should explain was a woman who loved nature. She
was ecstatic before Niagara Falls. Oh I can only say that one tear and delight completely overwhelmed me. I wept with a strange mixture of pleasure and of pain and certainly was for some time to violently affected in the physique to be capable of much pleasure. But when this emotion of the senses subsided and I had recovered some degree of composure. Oh my enjoyment was very great indeed. She was delighted with the scenery of the Mohawk Valley in upstate New York. I was that some British artist a strong and youthful daring would take my word for it and passed over for a summer pilgrimage to the state of New York. We're in very earnest he would do wisely but I question if the world could finish him within the same space and with equal facility of access. So many subjects for this pencil. Oh oh but he must be boneless a lion in coloring or he will make nothing of it.
But after she had spent two years in Cincinnati she said she would not allow this artist should he come to America to go any further west the Niagara Falls. Francis trollop was certainly very disappointed in Cincinnati. I hardly know what I expected to find in that city fresh arisen from the bosom of the wilderness. But it was not a little town about the size of Salzburg. Without even an attempted beauty in any of its deficiencies and with only just enough of the end of the city to make it noisy and bustling so you can see she was happy when she found a cottage a couple of miles out of town deep in the virgin forest. But she was not happy for long. One morning she beheld a workman cutting down the exquisite acacia trees next door. She rushed in anguish to the spot. What are you doing here. Building a building was kind of a building used to be a slaughter house for a home so your to house for Hoag's he had in this lovely suburb where several gentlemen have houses in the neighborhood. Would it not be a dreadful
nuisance. Oh I knew since the stench will be intolerable. There must be some law that will stop you. Now all that may do very well for your tyrannical country were a rich man's nose is more thought of than a poor man's mouth. But hogs be profitable products here and we be too free for such a law as that I guess. Experiences of this or so outrageous this trollop during her two years in Cincinnati 18 28 waiting 30 and during the next year which she spent in Washington and New York that when she got home in 1832 she determined to get her revenge by writing a book about American society wherein she would speak what seemed to her the whole unvarnished truth all the freedom and joy Genetic of the armed forces enjoy doing it is enjoyed solely by the disorderly at the expense of the order and her die a stout Knight in either of the sword all the headlines. I would fearlessly throw down my gauntlet and challenge the whole republic to prove the
contrary. But being as I am only a feeble look on with a needle for my spear and an I talked to my device. I must be contented with the thought of stating the fact perfectly certain that I will be contradicted by one loud shout from Maine to Georgia and Mrs. trollop knew just how loud and how angry the shot would be. She was living in Cincinnati when Captain Basel Hall's book came out. Oh it was perfectly is done to hear men who on other subjects would have some judgment after their opinions upon this. I never heard of any instance in which the common sense generally found in national criticism was so overthrown by passion. Other nations have been called thin skinned but the citizens of the Union have apparently no skins at all. The winds of a breeze blows over them unless it be tempered with education has run this is drama book which she called the nesting manners of the Americans reached this country at the end of
1832. She was denounced as vigorously as Captain Aull it been in fact some people insisted that she did not exist that Captain Aull wrote both books. But in Cincinnati they knew if she was real and they smarted with resentment when they found her recording as a sample of the local style this conversation with her milkman where I am now so you will be from the old country you will see sights here I guess I hope I shall see many as fact. I expect your little place of an island don't grow such dreadful fine carnage if he's here. He grows no corn to tall so ha. Well well now that we read such awful stories in the papers like your poor people being starved to death we have we tell it to rich folks but I kill 8 the poor are seldom gets a belly full well you certainly have much greater abundance here I expect so. Why they do say that of the poor about a contrived to be smart enough to scrape together a few dollars that your King George always comes down upon him and takes it all away.
Dodie I do not can in the heading of such a transaction. I guess they'd be pretty close about it. Your paper is being like our own I reckon. Now we says and prints just what we like. You spend a good deal of time in reading newspapers. I'd like you to tell me how we can spend it better. How should freemen spend their time looking after their government and watching them fail as we give offices do do their duty and gives themselves nowhere. I sometimes think said that your fantasies might be at most that of repair and your roads in better order if less time was spent in politics lard to see all the little you knows about free country. Why what's the smoothness of a roll up against the freedom of a free born American. And what does a broken zig zag signify comparable to knowing that the man what we have been pleased to send up to Congress speaks handsome and straight as we chooses they should read this from a sense of duty then that you will go to the liquor store to read the papers sure it is. And he'd be no true born American is it. Now I don't say that the father of families should always be after later but I do say that I'd rather have my son drunk three times in a
week than not to look after the affairs of his country. Captain Hall came to the conclusion that the great divisions in American society it was lack of loyalty. Would you agree with astronomy. The great defect of America is the want of refinement. Of course Cincinnati was terribly new and as a trial it was there in the West was wild and crude. However she did find the markets of Cincinnati well stocked the beef is excellent and the highest price when we were there for sense the power and the mutton was inferior and so was the veal to the eye but it ate well though not very fat. The price was about the same. The poultry was excellent fowls of full size chickens ready for Table 12 cents but much less a boat a la the not quite. That is about 50 cents and geese the same the Ohio finishes several sorts of fish. Some of them very good and all wish to be found cheap and abundant in the market. Nearly all kinds of vegetables are excellent and at
moderate prices. But this is drawn up with that abundance so cheaply available. A world that you could know our prices have changed. What you complain of all animal ones are supplied profusely in Cincinnati and it very easy rate. At last these go but a little way in the history of the day's enjoyment the total and universal want of menace both in males and females is so remarkable that I was constantly endeavoring to account for it. Do these Americans lack intelligence which sadly does not proceed from want of intellect. I have listened too much dough and have a conversation in America but rarely to any that I could strictly call silly. If I accept the everywhere privileged class of very young ladies they appear to me to have clear heads and active intellects more ignorant on subjects that are only of conventional value then on such as out of intrinsic importance. But you see there is no Chow
no grace in their conversation. I very seldom during my whole stay in the country heard a sentence elegantly turned incorrectly pronounced from the lips of an American. There is always something either in the expression or the accent that Joe has the feelings and shocks the taste. Well you remark was drawn up that you heard Americans say they can see no difference between an evening party in England in one instance and not up. And this is done as you tell us what constitutes a typical evening party in Cincinnati. Who the gentleman spit. Talk about elections and spit again. The ladies look at each other's dresses till they know every pin by heart talk of Pozen somebodies last sermon on the day of judgment on doctor about these new pills for dyspepsia til the TV is announced when they all console themselves together for whatever they may have suffered in keeping awake by taking more tea coffee hot cakes and custard whole cake johnny cake with the cake and Dodger cake pickled peaches and preserved cucumbers ham turkey hung applesauce and pickled oysters they never were
prepared in any other country of the known world. After this massive meal is over they returned to the drawing room and it always appeared to me that they remained together for as long as they could bed it and then they rise and mess cloak bonnet shawl and eggs. And what we must remember though Mr. Trollop made Americans furious. She did eventually have some effect on their manners. She used for instance to go to the theatre in Cincinnati. She says few women did go but she had come from London where the theatre was a center of culture. What she saw there explains why American women did not customarily attend the bidding in the attitudes of the men up perfectly indescribable the heels thrown higher than they head the entire regard of the person presented to the audience. The whole link supported on the benches among the varieties of these exquisite posture masters exhibit with that noise as to what the pitch well and
of the most unpleasant kind. The applause is expressed by cries in something with feet instead of clapping hands when a patriotic fit sees them and Yankee Doodle was called for every men seem to think his reputation as a citizen depended on the noise he made. Still not long after Mrs. trollops book came out and was read amid denunciations it was noted that the more respectable elements in the theater when they saw a Western citizen sticking his heels over the railing took to crying at him trollop dry up in a short time offenders were thus persuaded to sit up. No doubt she was right in pointing out that the society was dominated by men that the women had little influence. But she ranks as a prophet by declaring that we're American women permitted a larger role. They would reform the national report. You will remember that I did make an exception among American women for one delightful lady of Cincinnati.
I think I was indeed something of a prophet when I said in speaking of her that worthy others as civilized would it be a magical bullet the men would dare to enter the party reeking with whiskey that lips blackened with tobacco and convinced of the very center of their hearts and souls that women were made for no other purpose than to fabricate sweetmeats and gingerbread construction done stockings and become mothers of possible presidents. Assuredly not. I said. Should the women of America ever discover what that poem might be and compared it with what it is. Much improvement might be hoped for are but Mrs. Trollope. This is not the real basis for your hostility to America. There is something in your opinion more to blame for American bad manners than the American treatment of women. I suspect that what I have written will make it evident that I do not like America. I do not like the population generally. I do. Like their principles I do not like their manners. I do not like their opinions as I
declare the country fair to the I and most richly teeming with gifts of plenty I am led to ask myself why it is I do not like it. Well tell us the real reason the social system of Mr Jefferson if carried into effect would make of mankind and on the most committed mass of grating atoms where the darling I am as good as you are would soon take the place of the law and the Gospel. Yes but but you make me suspect that it is not the theory of equality that which you object. Rather what you are civilized and sense of a woman conceived to be the consequences of it for manners and domestic manners after all is the title of your book. The assumption of equality however empty is sufficient a tincture of the manners of the poor with brutal insolence and subjects the rich to the poultry expediency of sanctioning the falsehood however deep their conviction that it is false. You think we Americans do not actually believe in equality. It cannot I think be denied that the great men of America attain to power into fame
by eternally uttering what they know to be untrue. American citizens are not equal. Did Washington feel the need to be so when his words outweighed so happily for them the votes of thousands. But Mrs. Trollope you were in America when the great Democrat Andrew Jackson was president. Do you think him a hypocrite concerning equality. Oh my husband was about to leave Cincinnati when we heard that General Jackson the newly elected president was expected to arrive immediately. Did you see him. Nothing could be better of its kind than his approach to the shore the noble steamboat which conveyed him was flanked on each side by one of nearly equal size and splendor. The roofs of all three were covered by a crowd of men. Cannon saluted them from the shore as they passed by to the distance of a quarter of a mile above town. There they turned about and came down the river with a rep it but stately motion. The three vessels so close together as to appear one mind the mess upon the
water. How did General Jackson impress you. Well he alone with the exception of a few European gentlemen who were present was without a hat. He wore his gray hair carelessly but not ungracefully arranged and in spite of his harsh Gart features he looked like a gentleman and a soldier. Well was he not the Democrat among equals when he was in deep mourning having recently lost his wife. They were said to be very high. Be together. I was pained by hearing a voice near me exclaimed who was Jackson away as is why perhaps the citizen did not know the facts. Well my husband accompanied the general and was pleased with his conversation but deeply disgusted by the brutal familiarity to which he saw the general exposed and it was at his elbow when a greasy fellow accosted him thus. General Jackson. Yes yes he told me you was De Niro Providence's ever to preserve my life. It is your wife alive to know she is not. I thought it was one or
t'other of you. Frances Trollope exercises the prerogative of the femininity she saw zealously defends that quality which she contended was lacking in American society. She will not ever answer our question point blank. She will not quite say look the root of the evil she sees in America is equality as a principle. Now she evades our question that he New York at the long pieces given time for each nation to get from each what was best in customs and manners and the rapid advance of refinement and general information has been the result. It really is not so much the American political philosophy that annoys you Mrs. Trollope your exasperated because America will not listen to the criticism you and Europe levy against it. What then do you imagine the future will bring to hint to the generality of Americans that the silent current of events may change their beloved government is not to please them but in truth they need be tormented with no
such fear. As long as by common consent they can keep down the preeminence which nature has assigned to great powers. As long as they can prevent the human respect and human resting upon high talent gracious man as an exalted station so long may they be sure of going on as they are. With this ironic benediction Francis trollop sailed from New York in 1831 for 30 years there after she enjoyed a wide success as a writer of exquisite refinement. But her novels astounded her contemporaries by their vivid presentation of scenes from low life. It was suggested wasn't it was drawn up that you acquired your appreciation of all get it in America and I think no one will be disappointed who visits the country expecting to find no more than common sense might teach him to look for namely a vast continent by far the greater part of which is still in the state in which nature left it and a busy bustling industrious population hacking and hewing their way through it.
Mrs. trollop that is all very well and we appreciate your compliments to our scenery but you know your book is raising quite a storm of protests not only in Cincinnati but every man who is I know a single word indicative of doubt that anything or everything in that country is not the very best in the world produces an effect which must be seen and felt to be understood. And it may be that we aren't much used to criticism. At least not from far out. If the citizens of the United States were indeed the devoted Patriots they call themselves they would surely not uncross themselves in the hard drive stubborn persuasion that they are the first and best of the human race that nothing is to be learned but what they are able to teach and that nothing is worth having which they do not pose this. There we have the theme or at any rate one theme of these broadcasts thus kept in the hall and this is trollop bent the ears of our ancestors and bent them hard our ancestors are not like you. But they were trouble after they stopped filming. Sometimes they said to themselves.
Some among us would gladly see a change. There are some with the wisdom of philosophers and a fair kind of gentleman shrink from a profession of equality which they feel to be untrue and believe to be impossible. How about that Mrs. trollop Did anybody ever say this to you in so many words. I can well believe that such there are though to me no such opinions were communicated and most truly should I rejoice to see power pass into such hands. Well here then the most sophisticated observers of America at the beginning of the age of Jackson leave us were they correct. Of course we say times have changed. That future of which these Britishers were so skeptical has now been achieved they saw a nation still rule still advancing into the world and hacking and hewing the way through it. And you said that before. Yes we know she said it but maybe we can take her words as a backhanded compliment. The problem however does remain. Did these intelligent observers comprehend what they
saw. They were always told that something other than what met the eye was operating. Neither Captain Aull or Mrs. trollop could comprehend what their American friends told them they were witnessing an experiment for which nothing in their background prepared them. We have yet to see whether later observers warned by Captain Aull and Mrs. trollop could decipher anything of these innermost directions. And we must remind ourselves even today that we here confront a fundamental problem in the effort of America and Europe to communicate with each other. But before we let Mrs drama recede back to 1832 we might ask her what she would expect America to become if powered were to pass into the hands of the enemies of equality. She is a lady and she should have the last word. If this ever happens if refinements once creeps in among them. If they want to cling to the graces they Ana's the chivalry of life then we shall say farewell to a medic inequality and
welcome to European fellowship one of the finest countries on the earth. Travels to America. They bent our air. You have been listening to Mrs Francis trollops account of her stay in the United States. Adapted from her book domestic manners of the American by Perry. Professor of American literature on Harvard University the cast included John Peters. Robert Evans Leslie Cass Edward Finnegan and Nancy require as Mrs. trouble. Professor Miller was the narrator original theme music by Raymond Wilding. Why this has been the second broadcast in they bend our ear the stories told by the host of travelers to America during the period from the 1820s to the 1850s in subsequent
broadcasts you will meet more such travellers. At all times they speak in their own words quoted directly from their writing. Next week another woman travels one looked at things somewhat differently. How much you know from her to books to society in America and retrospect of Western travel. They bent our ear is produced and directed by Alison would play for the Lowell Institute co-operative broadcasting Council production supervisor Lawrence craft coffee this series has been recorded in the studios of station WGBH AF am and produced under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcaster. This is the end of the network and.
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They bent our ear
Frances Trollope
Producing Organization
WGBH Educational Foundation
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on Frances Trollope and her "Domestic Manners of the Americans."
Series Description
Dramatic readings of 14 travelers who came to the United States in 1820-1850 and wrote of what they saw.
Broadcast Date
Trollope, Frances Milton, 1780-1863. Domestic manners of the Americans.
Media type
Host: Van Dusen, Henry P. (Henry Pitney), 1897-1975
Producer: Lowell Institute
Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
Writer: Miller, Perry, 1905-1963
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 56-6-2 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:50
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Chicago: “They bent our ear; Frances Trollope,” 1963-12-23, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 19, 2024,
MLA: “They bent our ear; Frances Trollope.” 1963-12-23. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 19, 2024. <>.
APA: They bent our ear; Frances Trollope. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from