November 3, 2014 / by admin / American History / No Comments

Through Others' Eyes: Published Accounts of Antebellum Montgomery, Alabama

Through Others' Eyes: Published Accounts of Antebellum Montgomery, Alabama

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 1603062580

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Through Others' Eyes includes descriptions of traveling to and from Montgomery, but it focuses on the travelers' descriptions of Montgomery itself. The twenty-eight published accounts between 1825 and 1861 were written by Americans and Europeans with a variety of backgrounds. A few are as objective as can reasonably be expected considering the short durations of the writers' visits. Some are prone to display their preconceptions and prejudices. Most exaggerate-they had to make their books marketable. The accounts are sometimes insightful or incredulous, often humorous and colorful, always giving the reader a vicarious experience of being there. For most of its forty-year antebellum history, Montgomery was a frontier river town. These accounts of it do not reveal moonlight and magnolias, but a rather coarse culture. The touring authors don't mince words about slavery; after all, their readers expected commentary about the most peculiar of Southern institutions. However, the writers' diverse views of slavery are as complicated and contradictory as was the institution itself. Together, these accounts sketch a fascinating world populated by individuals and with customs that would have inspired Charles Dickens had he overcome his prejudices and ventured further south than Richmond in 1842. The "Epilogue" provides a description of the first capital of the Confederacy.

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H. Thorington, a lawyer of great practice, who possessed all the qualities requisite to constitute a good man. He is no longer living to read my praises; but it affords me a melancholy pleasure to record his unvarying kindness to me and mine. As mayor or intendant of the town, some years afterwards, he took a decided stand against the gamblers who congregated in Montgomery, in great force, and he was persecuted by them in various ways, until he concluded to leave the place, and remove to the

the soil is very different from any I have lately passed through. Here there is a run of twenty miles of this fertile soil. Twenty years ago this land was sold at the State price of a dollar and a-half; now it is worth fifty dollars an acre.[2] The chief want in the prairies, in summer, is water; the surface wells all drying up. This has caused some of the wealthier settlers to form artesian wells, at the depth of some hundred feet, which they put down by augers or bores, about the diameter of

England. The geological question arises, How could such an immense stretch of country have become covered with this thin stratum of sand, while the subsoil is so opposite, and, at the same time, homogeneous in its character? I remarked to Dr. Cloud that it had apparently arisen from the washing away of the clay out of the surface soil by the rains, the sand, which the clayey subsoil contained in abundance, being left behind. I have since observed, however, that Sir Charles Lyell discusses some

with considerable rapidity; but we soon stopped again, to take in some cotton bales, which lay ready in a wood on the shore. We had above four hundred bales already on board. The hold of the boat was full, the space between the machine and the first cabin was filled, as well as the space about the cabins, and the roof over them. There was no room left for exercise in walking, and in the cabin it was very dark. The first delay lasted about an hour; as soon as we were in motion again, we were

Baptist Church building 84, 205 Episcopal Church 101 Methodist Church 68 Presbyterian Church 93 Claiborne, Alabama 19, 51, 114 Clarke County, Alabama 144 Clay, Clement C. 130 Clay, supporters of Henry 48 Clemens, Col. 107 clergymen 182, 193–194, 206 climate (also see weather) 63, 155, 160 Cloud, Dr. Noah 142, 143, 145 Cobb, Howell 193, 194, 200, 205, 206 Collins, Tomie 34 Columbus, Georgia 65, 89, 102, 174 communication, Civil War disruption of 218 Confederacy, growth of 213, 216

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