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more punctilious than they were five or six years since, when there was not to be found what would be termed a “fashionable man," (according to the “

” acceptation of the term in New-York) among the residents of this city. And where is the southern gentleman that ever dressed fashionably? They dress well and richly, but seldom fashionably. Their garments hang upon them loosely, as though made for larger men; and they wear them with a sort of free and easy air, enviable but inimitable by the stiffer and more formal northerner. The southerner, particularly the planter, would wear with a native and matchless grace the flowing toga of imperial Rome. Though destitute of that fashionable exterior which the tailor supplies, and for which, in general, they have a most sovereign indifference and contempt, they possess—I mean the genuine, native-born, well-educated southerner-an "air distingué," and in the highest degree aristocratic,

which is every where the most striking feature of their appearance.

That knot of gentlemen issuing from a plain brick building-one of the banks-is composed of bank directors. Their decisions have elevated or depressed the mercury in many an anxious breast. Two or three faces resemble those one often sees in Wall-street, or on Change, in Boston. The resemblance is so striking that one is quite sure at the first glance that he has seen them there. But no: they are merchants of this city—thorough-going commercial men. The resemblance is only that of a species. Merchants resemble each other every




where. Their features are strongly marked and characteristic. It has been said that a Boston mer. chant may

be known all the world over. It has been proved that a sea-faring life, especially when commenced in early years, has a tendency to produce a physical change in the organ of vision. That a mercantile life, long and intently pursued, has a tendency to stamp a peculiar character.upon the features, is equally certain, in the opinion of those whose habits of observation may have led them to such physiognomical investigations. Among the remainder, are two or three in white blanket coats, broad-brimmed white hats, with slender ridingwhips in their hands, who will be readily designated as planters. A circumstance that very soon arrests the attention of the stranger, is the number of gentlemen with riding-whips in their hands to be met with in all parts of the city, particularly on days when any public meeting is held. Every third or fourth person is thus, to a northerner, singularly armed. At the north few ride except in gigs. But here all are horsemen; and it is unusual to see a gentleman in a gig or carriage. If his wife rides out, he attends her à cheval. Instead of gigs, therefore, which would fill the streets of a northern town, saddle-horses, usually with high pummelled Spanish saddles, and numerous private carriages, in which are the ladies of the family, drawn by longtailed horses, throng the streets and line the outside of the pavé. At least a third of the persons who fill the streets are planters and their families from the country, which every day pours forth its hun



dreds from many miles around the city, that like a magnet attracts all within its influence.

There are several public buildings in this street of which I shall make more particular mention hereafter. My object now is merely to give you some idea of things as, when presented to it in the novel hues of “first impressions,” they strike the eye of a stranger.


First impressions--American want of taste in public buildings, Agricultural bank-Masonic hall-Natchez academy-Education of Mississippians–Cemetery—Theatre—Presbyterian church-Court-house-Episcopal church-Light-house-Hotels--Planters' Houses and galleries—Jefferson hotel-Cotton square.

First impressions, if preserved, before the magnifying medium of novelty through which they are seen becomes dissipated, are far more lively and striking than the half-faded scenes which memory slowly and imperfectly brings up from the past. Yet, if immediately recorded, while the colours are fresh and glowing, there is danger of drawing too much upon the imagination in the description, and exaggerating the picture. On the other hand, if the

. impressions are suffered to become old and faint, invention is too apt to be called in unconsciously, to fill up and complete the half-forgotten and de



fective sketch. The medium is safer and more accurate. A period of time sufficiently long should be suffered to elapse, that the mind, by subsequent observation, may be enabled to correct and digest its early impressions, exercise its judgment without a bias, and from more matured experience, be prea pared to form its opinions, and make its comparisons with certainty. How far I have attained this desirable medium, the general character and justice of my descriptions must alone determine.

The deficient perception of architectural beauty, in the composition of American minds, has frequently, and with some truth, been a subject upon which foreign tourists love to exercise their castigating pens—weapons always wielded fearlessly and pitilessly against every thing on this side of the Atlantic. The very small number of handsome public buildings in the United States, and the total contempt for order or style which, (with but here and there an honourable exception) they evince, would give a very plausible foundation for this ani, madversion, did not Americans redeem their reputation in this point, by the pure and correct taste they universally exhibit in the construction of their private residences. Herein, they are not surpassed by any other nation, Natchez, like most of the minor cities of this country, cannot boast of any public buildings remarkable for harmonious conformity to the rules or orders of architecture. They are, nevertheless, well deserving of notice, highly ornamental to the city, and reflect honour upon the public spirit of its citizens. The Agricultural bank is unquestiona



bly the finest structure in the city. It has been erected very recently on the south side of Main-street, presenting a noble colonnaded front, of the modernized Grecian style; being built somewhat after the model of the United States bank at Philadelphia ; though brick and stucco are here substituted for marble, and heavy pillars for the graceful column. It is entered from the street by a broad and spacious flight of steps, leading to its lofty portico, from which three large doors give admission into its vast hall, decidedly the finest room south or west of Washington. The whole structure is a chaste and beautiful specimen of architecture. It is partially enclosed by a light, iron railing. To a stranger this edifice is a striking object, and, contrasted with the buildings of less pretension around it, will call forth his warmest admiration. The other banks, of which there are, in all, three, including a branch of the United States bank, are plain brick buildings, undistinguished from the adjoining stores, except by a colder and more unfurnished appearance, and the absence of signs. A short distance above this fine building is the Masonic Hall; a large square edifice, two lofty stories in height. Its front is beautifully stuccoed, and ornamented with white pilasters. The hall is in the second story; a large, plain, vaulted apartment, almost entirely destitute of the splendid furniture and rich decorations which characterise such places at the north. Here masonry, with its imposing forms, ceremonies, and honours, is yet preserved in all its pristine glory. The first story of the building is used as an aca

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