(Some spelling has been altered for readability.)


Daniel Constable
"I wish you could have Mr Daniel Constable with you a week. He Could tell you more than I can write in 40 Letters. He has traveled so much about America and he is a man that takes perticular pains to inform himself about all Sorts of Business and what progress is going on here. He always Carrys his pencil in his pocket and writes down what he wants to Remember. He will Travell from one township to another all Round about for his amusement and find all the Fresh Manufactorys that are Set up and every New work or Old work that is going on, and go into peoples houses were he is an intire Stranger and ask for a little water to Drink or to sit Down to Rest him a Little. Then he will Entertain them with many little tales and Anecdotes of his travels and excursions which is very pleasing, and ask them a great many questions about all their Business and Prosperity and every thing he wants to know. He makes himself so agreeable they always want him to come again. I am always glad to see him. He has always something new to tell us, and if he can do us any Good any way, he is always ready and willing."

William Constable
"It was William who put the Constables on the map by contriving to draw a 'New and Correct Plan of Brighthelmston' using a pocket compass to pace the distances and determine angles. He engraved the plan on a business card advertising their shop, which offered a particular target and gave general directions for visitors seeking a draper. The idea was new to Brighton, though it would have been familiar, as has been suggested, to customers of his uncle Daniel. Smith Hannington, his successor, took up the idea and enlarged Daniel’s shop on its prime site. Today Hanningtons Department Store is Brighton’s leading store and currently occupies much of one side of North Street. In the boardroom is a small painting of William Constable, probably a self-portrait done about 1858. He was not the founder of the business, but as a distinguished Brightonian he does deserve his place on the wall."

Thomas Jefferson
"[W]e came through the Federal City, the situation of which is delightfull, the place is so very extensive and stragling houses built nearly over the whole extent of it, that it does not present one compact finished street. The Avenue from the Presidents house to the Capitol, full a mile in length with a very broad carriage road and spacious foot ways on each side [and] planted with double rows of poplar trees, surpasses for grandeaur and beauty any thing I ever saw in England. We were gratifyed with a sight of the president, who looks like a plain country gentelman. He had been for his morning ride alone unatended even by a servant, and we were told it was customary with [him] to take his ride alone—wonderfull contrast with foppery & pomp of the old world, access to him at the presidents house is attended with no more difficulty than that of any private citizen."

Native Americans
"On leaving the Chactaw lands we enter the domains of the Chickasaw Indians. . . The Chickasaw lands are much like those of the Chactaws, the Indians have settled all along the road & and we did not often travel much above 30 miles without meeting with their cabins, they have most of them a small piece of cultivated land on which they raise their Corn, with Cows, Horses & Chickens, they have several white men living among them, who have intermarried with them & have been regularly receiv’d into their nations, some of these are owners of considerable property; it was in a house of this sort that Daniel luckily fell with his Ague & we were by no means uncomfortable in it."

Thomas Paine
"'July 4 Friday, fine clear day, the annual Festival of Independence, we were up at five O Clock and on the Battery saw the Cannons fired in commemoration of liberty, which had been employed by the English against the sacred cause, the people seemed to enter into the spirit of the day, stores &c were generally shut . . . in the fore part of the day I had the honour of walking with Paine along the broad way . . . after parading with the different companies &c.' Daniel had a way of making the most of opportunities but rarely does he elaborate on his encounters with the famous. While the details of the conversation on this occasion go unrecorded the sense of exhilaration is undisguised: he had arrived in New York in time to observe the thirtieth year of American independence; he had sought and found the man he believed above all to have been its inspiration, and had walked by his side in celebration. Politically, he had at last met with his maker and henceforward was wont to recall the climactic hour when to an honest disciple the Old Philosopher became a friend."


"This is a very old settled place, many of the houses are built of bricks brought from Holland at the first settlement of the place, the inhabitants are mostly dutch & that language is still spoken among the old people, here we stopped at the first Hotel in the place. The supreme Court was sitting & . . . most of the Council & Judges were at this house with whom we took our meals at a very plentiful & splendid table, at 2 O'clock we dined after which these gentlemen again proceeded to business, for this high living we paid 1.25 Dollar per day lodging included! It is curious to contrast the appearance of these men with the foplings of Europe, they dress as plain as any of their fellow citizens."

New Orleans
"We arived at this city 4 days since. The weather is now as hot as august with you, its inhabitants consist of abt. 25 thousand people the most motly grope of human beings ever assembled together consisting of Spaniards french yankeys & every shade from the deepest black to a brunett. Indians & negroes all but naked swarming about the streets the buildings mostly old spanish houses. Out of ten people you meet not one or more than can speak english."

Niagara Falls
"This wonder of Nature has been so often and as well described as language, paintings, & drawings can do it, all of which must for ever fall very short, and give a very inadequate conception of this stupendous cataract, we heard its roaring 9 miles before we came to it, and at 16 miles distant saw the collum of spray among the clouds many people here assured they have often heard it at 40 miles distance."

"This is universally allow’d to be handsomest city in the Union, its streets are all good but their uniformity is in a measure fatiguing to the eye & I like the variety of New York much better, some of its public buildings are very elegant; it has two Steam Engines for supplying the City with the water of the Schuylkill, which is generally preferr’d to that of wells."

"This town of Pittsburgh where we arrived two days since, is one of the most beautifully situated places we have yet seen in this country, it has abt 4 thousand inhabitants & stands on a point of land formed by the Alleghany and Mononghehala rivers, which there join and form the Ohio. On two sides its protected by lofty mountains covered with wood and at the back part is gradually sloping down, much like the downs at Brighton, is as healthy as any place in the world, is increasing very rapidly, has many reputable merchants tradeing down the Ohio. The girls and women dress much in the same style as when we left England, it has a very excellent markett which I attended two or three hours yesterday for the express purpose getting a correct price of provisions &, I could almost fancy myself in your markett while lounging here, the scene was much like, as here was many well dressed women, but the contrast in the price of provisions wonderfull.

“...a slovenly place is the best that can be said of it, in it is a college.”

Washington, D.C.
"This City seems to progress very slowly & great doubts are entertained by even its inhabitants if it ever becomes a place of any commercial consequence, there are buildings scatter’d all over its whole extent, but are no where sufficiently connected to form an entire street, the beauty of the plan is yet easy to be discover’d in some of its parts particularly in the Avenue leading from the Presidents house to the Capitol, which is more built than almost any other part, having 4 rows of Poplars running along its whole length, its width being [160?] feet the houses are almost all-brick, the Presidents house a fine large building & the Capitol as yet quite unfinish’d are both free stone of which vast quantities are found in the neighbourhood."

Other Observations

American justice
“Went with Edgson and William to Federal Hall to the Police Office to get each a warrent for an assault by Hoby, was much pleased with the N.Y. treatment of the officers of justice, the contrast was so great between the appearance of these men, and the foblings of Europe.”

"Vast quantitys of Cotten Rice & Sugar are exported from this place [New Orleans] to Liverpool, the bank of ye River 300 miles above this City presents almost one continual line of plantations, here we see the sugar & cotten plantations, groves of Oranges trees & woods of Cypress, fine houses, a River of water known to have its rise 5 thousand miles from its mouth rolling its fearful current among the whole forming a scene at once grand & beautifull but alas the thousand of hapless Africans naked upon the sugar & Rice fields scared & cut with the drivers whip is a sight that blasts the beauty of the whole & fills ones mind with horror."

"Nov. 19. Thursdy. Colnl Porters, a bright sunny morn & severe frost — The poor & midling class of the people in this country are certainly more dirty & slovenly in their houses and persons than the people of England, — both the men and women have a nasty disgusting habit of spiting very frequently & upon the floor of their houses, the men chew tobacco much more than in England & the women are not free from this indelicate habit, smoaking is very common with the farmers wives west of the Alleghany mountains and a great number of them go without shoes and stockings, I have frequently had my appetite checked when sitting down to a meal, by the woman of the house spiting a mouth full of saliva upon the boards, and drawing it over the floor with her naked foot, — another beastly custom is almost universal with men, women & children, that is blowing their noses in their hands and wiping, the men (if they have any) upon their shoes & stockings & the women upon their petty coats. In taverns it is very necessary to place your clothes very near, or more safe, even under your own bed, or ten to one, before morning it is pretty well motteled over, and moistened with spital and gobs of tobacco, from the surrounding beds, as it is customary in all the inns that you have several beds in the same room & all upon stump bedsteds without any kind of hangings, if there was no holes through the log walls or glass out of the windows it would be rather more excuseable, as chamber pots are quite out of the question, if the dirty brutes must eat tobacco in the night they ought surely to spit their filth out of some of the holes in the chamber as there is generally plenty."

"Many of the Taverns (for so they are called here) are kept by Colnls & Captns of the army, who to the trade of their Tavern generally have a farm or a store, by many of which we were at different times entertained, you would think it very strange if a Captn of Militia in Engld was to keep an Inn & personally attend to the wants of his customers, we have had many a nice bowl of milk handed us by these gentry here."