Frances Trollope, the 48-year-old mother of Anthony, the more famous novelist, came to reside in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1828. A leisure class proto-Victorian almost to the point of caricature, she found a great deal in America to disapprove of, from the mosquitos and slimy Mississippi delta, to our incessant spitting (of tobacco, primarily) and our filthy habit of shaking everyone’s hands at every possible encounter, to our religious voluntarism (which she claimed was religiously regressive, depriving rural Americans of their access to religion, she having visited apparently between circuit rides of the responsible Methodist) and our inability to talk about anything but politics and money. As one sample of her general intolerance of American egalitarianism and coarseness, I offer the following.
Frances Trollope, Domestic Manners of the Americans. London: Whittaker, Treacher, & Co. (New York reprint, fourth edition), 1832, 83. Think Margaret Thatcher and Martha Stewart channeling de Tocqueville, but it’s a treasure trove of cultural and social history for the antebellum period.