Travels Through North America, during the years 1825 and 1826
By His Highness,
Bernhard, Duke of Saxe-Weimar Eisenach
Journey to Philadelphia, Stay in that place. Bethlehem and Nazareth.
On the 10th of October we left the city of New York in the steam-boat Thistle, which conveyed us to New Brunswick, through a thick fog which lasted all day. For several days past we had smoky, warm weather, which was ascribed to the burning of a forest in the state of Maine.
The shores of New Jersey seemed flat and swampy, resembling very much the Dutch banks. As we approached New Brunswick, the banks of the Raritan become higher. On our arrival, eight stages were already waiting for us, having each four horses, and the passengers were so numerous that each stage carried from eight to nine persons; we had hardly time to have our baggage packed, and consequently could see nothing of the neighborhood. We continued our journey through New Brunswick, apparently a busy and well built place, thirty miles by land to Trenton, on the Delaware. The road led through a hilly country, but carefully turnpiked, several pits being filled up to make the road even. This road is formed somewhat according to the manner of German turnpikes, of small beaten stones, with side-roads and ditches. The neighborhood is mostly woody, consisting of chestnuts and oaks. The forest has been regularly cleared of undergrowth, and has a cleanly appearance. In places where wood has been felled, the land is well cultivated with corn and fruit trees. Most of the good-looking houses we passed were provided with cider-presses. About four o'clock, P.M. we arrived at Trenton, and immediately embarked in the steam-boat Philadelphia.
I was very sorry for this great hurry, because I should have liked to have examined Trenton; it is a very handsome place, and was to me particularly interesting, on account of General Washington's crossing the Delaware above Trenton, in the winter of 1776-77, and attacking a troop of Hessians, of whom he took one thousand four hundred prisoners. The Hessian Colonel Rall fell in this engagement. This was one of the best fought battles of the American war. There is, moreover, at Trenton, a remarkable bridge crossing the Delaware. It consists of five great suspended wooden arches which rest upon two stone abutments, and three stone piers. The difference between this bridge and others consists in this, that in common bridges the road runs over the tangent, but in this bridge, the roads form the segment of the arch. The bridge is divided in two roads in order that wagons may pass without meeting, and has also side-walks for foot-passengers.