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Return is neither extend to turn a train on size of cities or amounts of production is not abundance of the precious metals. Not density of population not democracy of institutions which will make a country great elevation of sentiment. Strict integrity and spotless honor. Lofty ambition pure and models and that genuine religion which yields a greater pleasure in listening the pains about others than in adding to the pleasures of self. When these qualities shall distinguish the mass of her people America may become a great nation but not until then. They bend our ear travelers to America from the 1820s to the evil of the Civil War. Europeans came to America in a steady flow. It travels through the
United States and irresistible curiosity. Later many of them wrote books about their travels to tell Europe what they'd seen in the new world of Jacksonian democracy. Some were friendly. Someone highly critical meticulous observers of detail in the event our year written by Perry Miller professor of American literature at Harvard University. You will meet some of the travelers to America who bend our ear with their criticisms. They drive their prey is on a philosopher they already know. Others are new acquaintances at all times the travellers speak in their own words quoted directly from their writing. They vent our air is produced and recorded by the Lao Institute cooperative broadcasting Council under a grant from the educational television and radio center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Today's encounter is with James who wrote it is on the
United States after spending three years here as a parent. As your host and narrator. James So bucking am age 51 accompanied by his wife and son disembarked at New York from the packet boat present and on October 19 18 37 and at once commenced delivering his like cheers on Egypt and on Palestine. In the next three years he was to present these throughout the then united states from Maine to New writings from Serrano to St. Louis. It's like Jews are almost all that talent eloquence and good taste could make them. Mr. Buckingham makes himself ridiculous by appearing in an Oriental cost you manufactured in New York pyramids the pyramids Mr. Buckingham will lecture tonight on the pyramids of Egypt. Such a theme and such a lecture. Speaking from the evidences of the senses cannot fail to attract the expectant throng Mr. Buckingham's tongue is hung in his head for skilful adaptation to rapid use.
He took six hundred dollars out of Pittsburgh Mr. Buckingham is about the best looking man one might expect to meet with in ten thousand. Queen Elizabeth would have been satisfied with his appearance he has in every respect the jet. Man I'm not bragging I am. What is your English equanimity which we now or have been many times tested in your adventures as a sea captain a roamer in the Orient and a member of the British parliament. Was it disturbed by the conflicting reactions of your American audiences. No I cannot say that it was in every town in the delivery of my lectures brought around me all the most intellectual portion of society. And as the song my acquaintance my introduction I was brought into personal and intimate communion with the very best portions of the community with attested by the standard of learning morality manners influence or well I may say from personal knowledge that he received the most cordial attention in private as well as in public from the elite. But these American elite as your great friend here calls
them where they are not suspicious of your past your active participation in so many reforming movements the interest which I had been known to take in England in the calls of temperance education a condition of seemingly improvement of the working class in unfettered Commerce and the Universal Peace occasioned application to be made to me by various philanthropic societies to take a part in the Proceedings of the public meeting. We all knew his record as a reformer as well as about his travels in Arabia. All that was made him only the more acceptable to the American Navy. Yet he made clear his opposition to slavery. Do I understand that he was actually received more warmly in the South than in Boston Mr. Buckingham's vigorous advocacy of free trade which by the way I as a Northern Whig do not agree and his fervent Christian piety made him very popular in the south and this new Charleston Korea. He has made the Bible a living book and it's dead language alive. We're certain that the Christian portion of the community will ever remember their obligations
to it on here to Savannah Georgia on the February 13th 1830 night from Mt. Lebanon we gazed with ecstatic feelings on the lovely valley of the Jordan and the train of pleasurable emotions which crowded upon our senses was only despair that we might be summoned from the scene to linger at the foot of Hermon clothed with a refreshing view and observe the king of the forest and other animals of the brute creation and besides he was the first traveller to see the whole country. My journey is carried me through every state and territory in the union except two and do use the least settled at least interesting in every point of view namely the state of our Kansas and the territory of Florida. Still he repeats the old chestnuts that we are occupied with business that we chew tobacco I can assert with confidence that I have always endeavored to investigate carefully the facts placed within my reach never having indulged in the national antipathy towards foreigners which has always seemed so offensive to me in the writings of too many of my own countrymen. I'm not conscious of having been influenced by
such a feeling in any senses which I may have felt right to express. Yes but when we try to reach him we begin to prefer the amusing slanders of cap to the whole of Mrs. Trollope. Just listen to Mr. Buckingham for example on the Boston State House. It has a frontage of a hundred and seventy three feet and a depth of 51 feet. The basement story is 20 feet high and the principal story about this is 30 feet high the home is crowded by a well proportioned dome. Fifty two feet in diameter and 32 feet in height. Some mounted by a circular lantern 20 feet high so pertinent in such a style this man wrote eight volumes of over 500 pages each in order to tell us about ourselves now is anxious and prominent desire was to make my work worthy of future reference by those really seeking accurate information on the subjects connected with America. I can assure you that as a public speaker Mr Buckingham die staff sketches with
vividness and graphic force and at the same time with the freedom for all appearance of striving after effect which elicited the most enthusiastic applause. I will confess Mr. backing out that your three volumes which you called American historical statistic and descriptive which you published in 1840 run along with your next two on the southern states. And then your three fat volumes on the eastern and western states are indeed full of factual information. Still in a broadcast of this sort for which of course you were not writing we are less interested in the measurements of the Boston State House than in your conclusions after so exhaustive an investigation about the nature of American civilization. I learned a great deal from studying the violent political campaigns which culminated in the election of General Harrison the Whig candidate and the defeat of President Van Buren. The Democratic incumbent in 1840 a stranger arriving in the country not doing anything of the stated
parties beforehand or the mood of warfare practiced on such occasions would have imagined that the fate of the whole union depended on the issue of this single election. This dismay you. I was obliged to remark to my friend who is here beside me. Look at the greater number I must know all this to be merely electioneering language and disregarded accordingly. We had no objection whatever to its use provided it with a tape we had and we were so used to backing out like earlier observers found our elections riotous. I visited many of the world. So that purpose the whole affair was conducted with much more or done the column than any contested election that I had ever seen in England there was no drunkenness Ryle party animosity. Every man came freely to the polls went two ways freely from it this is a new note in the criticism of English visitors upon America. I believe we have not yet in this series heard from a British or so handsome in a nation.
No I do not believe in having a lax code of morals for all who dwell on the English side of the Atlantic and a rigid one to those who dwell on the other. At any rate you will be held in New York City the famous sweet victory of 1838 the one that prepared the way for the national triumph of 1840 the Whigs were so in talks AK did with their success that they were perfectly frantic with joy. They exhibited what might be called paradoxes about delight in every conceivable form. Guns for the city ten thousand for the state you know Rabboni Ellis which show last night was a display of the approbation of the heavens on the Triumph of the whip. This nation is rescued from the Gulf or put in commemoration of the great victory of New York. The Whigs of Springfield Illinois will set on fire the great pray this prayer is about 300 miles long with an average breadth from 10 to 20 miles does sound riotous where as the costs of all these operations to be calculated we settled on a day of festivity and we couldn't buy the
discharge of cannon from the batteries continued by minute guns and could prove it by a great deal deep lows God said. You reserved Darwin's very closely all that I am sure Mr. Buckingham. You know we got to the home seemed to her passed away like an I remembered dream so much of the people of this city the creatures of impulse easily excited and as easily calmed and pulsing with amazing rapidity from the most intense degree of earnest interest in any given subject to its opposite state even taught indifference to the same school always accusations on either side of despotism against the other are worrisome to some of us. The despotism of the government must be very mild indeed when such articles as news can be printed in the newspapers of the Union. And no editor banished as you mean. There are no newspapers seized and suppressed as in France and no criminal information filed by a state attorney
general. As in England the despotism exists only in the imaginations of the defeated and disappointed party. You see Mr Narrator What a relief it is to be inspected by an Englishman who has learned all of the world a mere human. We can put up with hundreds of pages of your statistics Mr Buckingham in return for a few such perceptions though cos at the moment I speak as a member of the victorious party. Perhaps Mr. Buckingham is the man we should ask for a definitive opinion about the American preoccupation with business. The earlier writer as you no doubt know Mr Buckingham then more and more struck by this phenomenon. New York is the busiest community that any man could desire to live in in the streets. All these hurry and bustle that carts instead of being drawn by horses at a walking pace are often met at a gallop and always at a brisk trot. We like it that way. Indeed the whole of the population scene in the streets seemed to enjoy this bustling and
do it by their own rapid pace as if they were all going to some place of appointment and well how do you know. Under the apprehension of being too late we don't always keep up such a pain. Tell me then when do you ever get any relief. New year are you. Yes I was forgetting that that day has made a complete holiday and the stores and shops are almost as generally closes on Sunday. Not a lady moves out as early as 09:00 the visits of the gentleman commence. And as these are all dressed in their best the streets and squares present are most animated appear it is thought important by those who have a very extensive circle of acquaintances that they should visit them all in the course of the day. Some young men have nearly a hundred on their list. We met in every house with the most cordial reception the ladies put forth. Well their attraction was one well dressed affable cheerful and communicative Who do you suppose to increase the respect for women by the army to the state to the male
influence. Right. It has all these advantages and many more without a single evil that I could discover. Some of us think it has too democratic a tendency by bringing persons of different rank to nearly on a level Martin by observation since no gentleman ever presumes to visit a family on New Year's Day. That has not been previously introduced to him. None of the parties we meet are strangers to each other and no liberties are taken of which the most prestigious could disapprove. You spend a fair amount of time in Washington as to backing out. Surely society there is not so engrossed by business. The taste for party is a pleasure in Sue general. The disappearance may be said to be the leading characteristic of Washington society. Hey you should one Suze this fertile exhibited in the paleness and Lang the young lady is seen in a state of feebleness and exhaustion in the late hours and continued excitement long before their hormones are
fully developed. Their constitutions perfectly fine but you get better conversation. They have that in New York during all our stay in all our visits. I do not remember a single instance in which any literary or scientific subject was the topic of conversation or the merits of any book or any after the subject of discussion. Then I'm like Mr. Grafton your country's Consul General in Boston and you Mr. Buckingham did not enjoy my washing and there seem. United in the circles of Washington or the pretensions of a metropolis with the power of vanity of a watering place and a union was anything but a gravel. Perhaps then you found American society more attractive at the watering place my family and I remember Saratoga for about 10 days and during that period we made visits to each of the large hotels so we were unable to form a tolerably fair estimate of the place and its visitors. Yeah the bread first served at seven. Generally a substantial one.
But the rapidity with which it is dispatched is its most remarkable feature the longest time taken by the slowest being never more than 15 minutes. Some are quick. Just get their meals done in five minutes. The reason for this haste is the pursuit of the business. But here at Saratoga and with Tower day before I have nothing whatever to do with eat just the same haste as at the other places. The contest for the dishes is a perfect scramble elegance or malice in such a scene as this is quite out of the question. Mastication may be said to be almost entirely omitted in nine cases out of 10 persons do not remain in their chairs to finish the meal short as it is with the last multiple Stillman swallowed and disposed of it gradually as they walk along. But there is the healthful effect of the water. I was short by a physician an extensive practice in Philadelphia that the medical men of the great cities were never in greater requisition than on the return of the
various families who had been out indulging in all the irregularities and excesses of the watering places. Oh dear. I had hoped you would find us more civilized at Saratoga. I should add in justice that I can see these objections to be as a couple to the annual visits made them my own countrymen and women to market Brighton and Chapman in England as to those made to Saratoga. I am most relieved to hear that one of the most striking features of the American character is the extreme sensitiveness. All classes to the opinions of foreigners. The same census coming from one of their own nation scarcely heeded Southern Isles are a set of unprincipled licentious regular slave holders shoppers and gamblers combined. The men of the north are a set of cold selfish calculating Canton hypocrites desiring to pursue their schemes of pretended full length ropy at the expense of their fellow citizens commit night acts of fraud and overreach and during the week and wipe it off with saying the money is faces and long prayers on
Sundays. However lip but in English ventured to express an opinion of the inferiority of the American people to his home country mind. In any of the most trifling particular whether in beauty or dress manners taste and everyone will be up in arms against him. We are sturdy inhabitants born into the soil and the soil to us and there are enough moralists in our borders to tell us the World of Heaven we are temperate people remarkably so. We do not take time to drink. We do not create roads in order to build tap and yet Mr. Buckingham is hollowing in years his impudent insinuations. Perhaps Mr. Buckingham the Americans have some ground for resentment. Does it seem to us all that in reviewing your previous answers in this series that I gave in those in misrepresentation and caricature in some of the English writers there was an evident determination to seek only for blemishes to turn even Bert Hughes into ridicule you know goes there was a strong political bias hostile to everything connected
to the very name of the republic. Mr. Buckingham having graciously conceded so much I might whisper to him that unpalatable as are the strictures of English travellers they are among the most efficient means of improving the rising generation. Many customs formerly prevalent in different states have been laughed off frowned out of countenance by the strictures of foreign writers reiterated by the American press in putting them in that case there is one practice which I found especially prevalent among the young ladies of The West which I must disclose if I can cause but half a dozen daughters to abandon it I shall not have committed this account in vain. And what is this practice. Young ladies will resolve to become extremely pale from a notion that it looks interesting for this purpose they will substitute for their natural food. Pickles have all kinds of powdered chalk coffee pepper and other spices especially cinnamon and cloves. Others will add to these.
But which many use sheets are sometimes eaten in a day. At last the cheeks become deathlike in their hue and the whole frame with us oh oh such practices as nice patiently account for the decayed in decaying state of health among the female population. If these procedures rapidly in the next half century it is done in the last it will require a new race of settlers to supply the worn out constitutions of the own that they may do crazy things like that in the West. But you have to admit that here in the East our women are very handsome. There are a greater number of pretty female forms and faces than are ever to be seen in an equal number of English persons but there are no five women in the English sense. What do you mean by a foreign woman Toyo commanding figure. Bold and striking as well as beautiful pictures. Rosy color expressive eyes and the noble
air and carriage of a lock the undignified a wreck I don't know much about lofty and dignified rank but I think our American women might be good to look at. I grant you the symmetry of the future beautifully wired to regular TVs. But what more would you ask. Well they want the full development of their god on the past as well as the rosy complection and coral lips of the help the English do care and they are still more deficient in their guarantee and ambition which a brilliant female captain so often express is in that look of intelligence and lower feeling and sentiment which accompanied the utterance of a well-educated and well-bred woman at home. I suppose you have travelled so much. You have seen all kinds of women in England Scotland and out in Germany France Sunday today and even in Spain and Portugal. Well educated women events and in humor as he has them and
express because they feel passionately I do speaking of well. It sympathy which they must Kindle in the minds of others only seems to increase the fervor and intensity of the that is it may. American women make the most faithful wives and most correct members of society that and the nation can flourish even so even so I do not think they love with the same intensity as that women of Europe at any rate you found New York girls prettier than those in Boston. There are not so many handsome women in Boston less than are in New York Philadelphia or Baltimore. Nor are the ladies so gracefully elegant in their dress and manners there is less effort to display. But still the same deficiency in the proper use of fingers and so then you found no roundness and plumpness anywhere in America.
Yeah I did in one place. The creel and quadroons of New Orleans and he have dark eyes lips of coral and teeth and long raven locks of soft and glossy head soof like eagles and such beautifully rounded limbs and exquisite gait and manner that they might furnish models what a Venus or he been to the chisel of a sculptor FEMA's to Buckingham that though you are a strenuous advocate for such lofty causes as temperance and free trade you have not lost your sailor's eye but speaking in rulings I believe you saw more of the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Illinois than any of our visitors had yet traversed. There impress you the Mississippi is not everywhere beautiful but to use everywhere sublight even in the parts which are deemed most flat and monotonous.
But then you will of course know all of the great rivers on muddy Mississippi must seem tame compared to those it has been my lot to voyage on the Nile of Egypt the Tigris and Euphrates of Mesopotamia and the Ganges of Hindustan. I can tell by just a meter. But the Mississippi is equal to either in extent in Granta and in the true God is it in any respect different from them. One contrast one contrast it is impossible not to be struck with and that is on the Nile the your feet is the Tigris and the Ganges. It is the wreck of former grandeur that most engaged the attention and effects the feeling is on this great river of America it is the end to see patients of the future that filled the mind and expand the heart. Well I do believe that hope is more agreeable than despondency and that a pregnant future is more cheering and exhilarating going to destroy it and desolated past the Christian and the philanthropist will agree with you madam but with an earnest prayer.
May I inquire into that prayer Mr. Buckingham. That the people who are to build up this anticipated glory here and to whom the future destinies of this great country are to be committed. May rise superior to the graveling view us assorted passions the selfish pursuits the degrading vices and the mean and miserable party stripes which now encroached so many hearts and minds everyone to their own taste. But for me I could never endure to live in a country where the people are so fake that to prevent their being choked by the dust they are obliged to be constantly watering the roads. It is neither extend to Terror Train or size of cities nor amounts of production is not abundance of the precious metals. Not density of population nor democracy of institutions which will make a country great. What else do we need. Mr. Buckingham elevation of sentiment. Strict integrity and spotless honor. Lofty
ambition puro models and that genuine religion which feels a greater pleasure in listening the pains of others than in adding to the pleasures of self. That's a large order Mr. Buckingham enterprises the characteristic of this nation. No undertaking which promise is in the attic or pretend Has it any difficulties short of the possibility farm conservation to deter us Americans. When these qualities shall distinguish the mess of her people America may become a great nation. But not until then. And what do you really think most about King am. Are the chances that America will achieve that great that all the physical elements of greatness are within her reach. Time alone can show whether the model elements are equal to yourself and whether the successful combination of the One can be made to keep pace with the development of the other. Travelers to America. They bend our air.
You have been listening to some impressions of the United States from three works and eight volumes published by James still talking I'm. Only 21 and 1842. Adapted by Perry Miller professor of American literature Harvard University. The cast included Boardman O'Connor John Peters. Edward Finnegan and. Myra McLachlan. But thousands Langton as Mr mucking up the sysadmin I was the narrator original say music by Raymond Wilding. My this is been the AP broadcast and they bend our ear. The story is told by the host of travelers to America during the period from the 1820s to the 1850 and subsequent broadcasts you make more such travellers at all times they speak in their own words quoted directly from their writing.
Next week we hear from Martin Chuzzlewit and the amount of the notes of Charles Dickens. They banned our air is produced and directed by Alison would lay for the Lowy Institute cooperative broadcasting Council production supervisor Lawrence Cross call. This series has been recorded in the studios of station WGBH FM and produced under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the end E.B. network.
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They bent our ear
Chevalier and Grattan
Producing Organization
WGBH Educational Foundation
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on the writings of Michel Chevalier and Thomas Colley Grattan and their experiences in the United States.
Series Description
Dramatic readings of 14 travelers who came to the United States in 1820-1850 and wrote of what they saw.
Broadcast Date
Grattan, Thomas Colley, 1792-1864. Civilized America.
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: 56-6-8 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:55
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Chicago: “They bent our ear; Chevalier and Grattan,” 1964-01-31, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 21, 2024,
MLA: “They bent our ear; Chevalier and Grattan.” 1964-01-31. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 21, 2024. <>.
APA: They bent our ear; Chevalier and Grattan. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from