Lehigh University
The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
Previous Issue Next Issue
Previous Page Next Page
0 matches
Meeting to Broad street, where I met Hartley
and parted with him, probably for evermore.
Here are some of the observations I made sub-
sequently, when better acquainted with Charleston,
they apply however mostly to the suburbs and older
portion of the city:

[newspaper clipping continued: first column]
  Charleston is an old-fashioned city; the most an-
tique in appearance I was about to ignore seces-
sion by saying in the United States any way, the
oldest-looking town on this continent north of
Mexico.  If Charles Dickens, who, in illustration of
the newness of New England, mentions that while
passing through a down-east village he found him-
self involuntarily speculating where a baby seen at
a house door, in its mother s arms, had come from,
never supposing it could have been born there if,
I say, Dickens had journeyed hither, he might have
witnessed the antipodes of Yankee novelty, in
architectural as in social characteristics.  Visiting
Charleston is going back at least half a century.  So
colonial is its aspect, and in many respects the in-
stincts of its people, that you wonder how their an-
cestors ever revolted from Great Britain.  Indeed,
they did so not too willingly; as you assert, from
want of patriotism, as they say, moved to it from
sympathy with you, against their direct interests.
Perhaps their inherent love of a fight was the prin-
cipal reason, for your true South Carolinian is like
Job s war-horse, who  neigheth ha! ha! at the
thunder of the battle and the shouting.   I have
forgotten the rest of the quotation.
  I have never been in England except after the
fashion of the Honorable Lafayette Kettle, in  Mar-
tin Chuzzlewit,   in imagination,  but I think
Charleston must resemble hugely an English coun-
try town, with a dash of Spanish America thrown
in by way of giving it a semi-tragicalx flavor appro-
priate to its meridian.  The transatlantic repre-
sentatives of wealthy and honorable British compa-
nies in Queen Anne s days, dealers in  colonial
produce,  (not to mention negroes,) might have
established such a city.  De Foe s Colonel Jack,
when a wealthy planter, could have ridden consist-
ently into its narrow streets to inquire when the 
half-yearly ship from England was due, bringing
that scarlet cloth to make a riding-coat, and that
handsome gold-mounted sword that we read of.  (I 
know he lived in Virginia, but that doesn t matter.)
And I can imagine another resident of the old Do-
	x tropical

[newspaper clipping continued: second column]
minion and Colonel of the reign of Queen Anne,
one Henry Esmond, Esquire, having a town abode
very similar to the Pinckney House, which illustra-
tion brings me to more direct consideration of my
  Charleston, then, is an old-fashioned town, with-
out broad streets, its general aspect quiet, respect-
able, sombre and unprogressive.  Many of its best
houses are solidly and sometimes heavily built, of
diverse material, often weather-stained, and even
dilapidated in appearance, almost always the re-
verse of showy or pretentious.  No dazzling white
marble, six stories in height, inflicts temporary
ophthalmia on the spectator; no arrogant sharply-
carven and heavily corniced  brown stone  an-
nounces recently and rapidly-acquired opulence.
Pepetuity, competence, gentility the latter rather
decayed in some instances, but therefore the more
inclined to stand on their dignity these are the
attributes involuntarily suggested by the better
class of Charleston houses.  There are new-looking
ones, of course, and mean abodes of various de-
grees of shabbiness; of these we shall speak here-
  The private residences of the colonial period (I
give the precedence due to their seniority) have, as
implied, a very Queen-Annish look; generally they
stand apart from others, their privacy secured by a
walled, railed or boarded enclosure adjacent to a
carriage entrance, guarded, perhaps, by heavy 
columns or battered pilasters surmounted by a big
stone globe or fantastic iron-work  Peeping inside
you obtain glimpses of broad flights of stone steps
leading upwards to a central door of mansions of
dark brick, with stone dressings of a lighter color 
defaed by green stains; sometimes of neglected,
often of trimly-kept gardens, almost monastic in
their seclusion, where the sunlight shines idly and
pleasantly upon bright evergreens, clipped hedges
of box and laurel-leaved magnolia trees, perhaps
with a great cracked stone urn nestling under the
latter.  In some cases later additions, generally
of wooden balconies and piazzas, (to which Charles-
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Fourteen: page one hundred and eighty-one
Description:Describes his impressions of Charleston in an article for ''The Evening Post.''
Subject:Dickens, Charles; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Hartley (traveler); Secession
Coverage (City/State):Charleston, South Carolina; Mexico; Virginia
Coverage (Street):Broad Street
Scan Date:2010-04-30


Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Fourteen
Description:Includes descriptions of attending a lecture by J.H. Siddons on Queen Victoria; seeing tightrope walker Charles Blondin perform; boarding house living; his freelance writing and drawing work; visits to the Edwards family and his friendship with Sally Edwards; a visit of the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII of Great Britain, to New York; his work as a reporter for ''The New York World;'' a visit to a dog fighting establishment; an evening spent at the 4th Ward police station awaiting 1860 election returns; and Gunn's experience as a correspondent for ""The New York Evening Post"" in Charleston, South Carolina, in the aftermath of South Carolina's secession from the federal government.
Subject:Boardinghouses; Civil War; Elections; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Military; Police; Publishers and publishing; Secession; Slavery; Slaves; Travel
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Charleston, South Carolina
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2010 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.