The Home Front: 1861 to 1865

A British Traveler

What did John Francis Campbell say about the border crossings from Canada to the United States?

The British traveler was well aware that the Northerners dreaded a possible Confederate influence in Canada, but he said there was no way to prevent it. The Southerners looked too much like Northerners to be separated out. As he traveled in the northern part of New England, the British traveler was struck by the segregation, not between white and black, but between men and women. This was especially the case when traveling by railroad.

“Women have a car to themselves,” he wrote, “and extra comforts. No man, unless he is accompanied by a lady, may enter the sacred car-ess, and even ‘brutes’ of husbands cannot smoke there. Elsewhere [on the train] there is a freedom and independence about the proceedings which has its charm. Everyone is at liberty to break his neck, or be left behind, if he thinks fit. Men jump off and on while the cars are moving, and no guard interferes. The engine stops and goes on again without the concert of station bells which proclaims the fact elsewhere. It does not whistle, but it tolls the big bell hung round its neck, and roars a strange variety of notes and tones.”


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