A Journey To Philadelphia


A Journey to Philadelphia, or, Memoirs of Charles Coleman Saunders was first serialized in The Philadelphia Repository and Weekly Register in 1804. The initial installment appeared on April 14, and the novel ran in six subsequent issues, ending May 19. The author signed the novel simply “Adelio.” The pseudonym is a masculine derivation of the German edel, which translates to noble. In addition to A Journey to Philadelphia, Adelio is named as author of 12 other poems and opinion letters in the magazine. One poem is written in German, and translated by another contributor, others written in English. His contributions present a range of topics, including marriage, linguistics, law, German poetry in translation, and nature. All Adelio’s contributions were published in 1804, and several were in the same issues in which A Journey to Philadelphia appeared.

The Philadelphia Repository and Weekly Register was a Philadelphia-based weekly magazine which was published from 1800-1805. According to its terms, a subscription cost four dollars per year, and half that for subscribers in the country outside Philadelphia. Women’s interests were frequent topics in the magazine. According to Lucia McMahon’s study of female roles in American society, venues like The Philadelphia Repository expanded the network of communication in order to propagate and advocate for women’s education. The Philadelphia Repository was a miscellany, committed to publishing a variety of topics, so it is unsurprising the editors would publish pieces which contributed to the national conversation of women’s roles in the nascent republic.

Adelio’s contributions are not excluded from the conversations on women. In one April 7, 1804 Adelio letter, a case is made against men who bemoan their wives. He warns readers against choosing a marriage partner for beauty and fortune only.

Let those who write against marriage, pause, and reflect–let them enquire with care, listen candidly, and decide impartially, and I am much mistaken, if they do not find themselves erring in a most egregious manner; they will find, that where there are unhappy couples, it has as frequently been owing to an improper choice; in many instances the female has been selected for beauty of fortune only, without any regard to disposition, virtue, or solid accomplishments.

In other words, Adelio echoes other writers of the Early National period by advocating for a filial marriage pairing instead of marriage for financial gain. The April 7 letter sparks a response from L’ami, another contributor, who disagrees with Adelio’s forgiving stance toward women in unhappy marriages. L’ami instead blames incessant female chatter, financial excess, and domineering female spirits to marital strife. Adelio responds by reproaching the writer, and suggesting he read more closely in order to fully understand his points.

In another entry, Adelio claims a motto, initially in German, then translated to English. “When you write, write so your reader may understand.” Following the German heading, Adelio’s article is a denouncement of foreign language mottos or headings, and he describes them, in essence, as pretentious displays of education.

Varied articles like Adelio’s are common to The Philadelphia Repository and Weekly Register. As a miscellany, the magazine ran various entries, including essays, fiction, birth and death announcements, poetry, biographical sketches, theatre information, and music. It was also known to re-print and re-run previous material or material from other periodicals. Edited first by David Hogan, successive editors were John W. Scott and Thomas Irwin. In 1802, the magazine was suspended from July to October due to the Yellow Fever epidemic in Philadelphia.

A Journey to Philadelphia’s protagonist, Charles Coleman Saunders, an idealistic youth from the countryside north of Philadelphia. Saunders, while in search for his trade, is arrested for a murder he witnessed, but did not commit. The true culprit is his double in almost every way, a Freudian unheimlich. The double, whose name is Carson, attempts a crime due to an unhappy marriage. The stranger’s doubling represents Saunders’ options to choose an unhappy marriage and suffer the consequences, or to choose well and be happy. Emila represents a good marriage pairing, while the marriage of Saunders’ double represents what can happen if prudence and wisdom is not exercised in romantic pursuits.

In another subplot, Charles Saunders, like protagonists in Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland (1798), faces trials at the hands of a malicious villain, one who threatens his existence and happiness. Like Brown’s Carwin, Carnell has insights to Saunders’ life, his home, and his closest friends. Saunders cannot rid himself of the villain, but unlike Brown’s novel, Saunders’ wrongful conviction shields him from Carnell, while Brown’s Wieland family (of German descent) falls to madness and violence. The Journey to Philadelphia’s parallels to other popular texts at the time suggests the influence of those works on the writer, and provides ample evidence for the short novel as a gothic tale.

Shortly after its appearance in The Philadelphia Repository and Weekly Register, A Journey to Philadelphia was collected and published as a book by publishers Lincoln and Gleason in 1804. Included in the book was An Interesting Narrative, another short, anonymously printed tale. That A Journey to Philadelphia was collected and sold as a text so soon after its initial publication suggests its popularity.

Works Consulted:

Adelio. A Journey to Philadelphia. Philadelphia Repository and Weekly Register, 1804.

Brown, Charles. Wieland. Ægypan Press, 2006.

“For the Philadelphia Repository.” Philadelphia Repository and Weekly Register, 7 April 1804, pp. 71.

McMahon, Linda. “’Of the Utmost Importance to Our Country’:Women, Education, and Society,1780–1820.” Journal of the Early Republic, vol. 29, no. 3, 2009, pp. 475-506.

“Noble.” Pocket Oxford German Dictionary: English German. Fourth ed., 2012.

“Publication Information: Philadelphia Repository and Weekly Register.” American Periodicals.

“Terms for the Repository.” Philadelphia Repository and Weekly Register, 2 March 1805, pp. 72.

“To Adelio.” Philadelphia Repository and Weekly Register, 14 April, 1804, pp. 118.

“To L’ami” Philadelphia Repository and Weekly Register, 21 April, 1804.

Waterman, Bryan. “Introduction: Reading Early America with Charles Brockden Brown.” Early American Literature, vol. 44, no. 2, 2009, pp. 235-242.









[1. 14 April 1804]

SOME time in the year–, I fre-
quently visit the prison at Philadelphia,
for no other purpose than to satisfy curi-
osity, in one of which visits, I noticed a
man sitting in a retired part: Something
in his appearance made me wish for a
nearer view, to accomplish my purpose,
I resolved to address him and offer such
little services, as I knew were agreeable to
persons in his situation; his counten-
ance was remarkably interesting, it bore
the traces of sorrow resisted by a manly
fortitude; his dress was plain in a much
greater degree, than was common for
persons at his age (he appeared about
twenty;) his manners were mild and pre-
possessing, and his conversation plainly
evinced that he possessed no common
share of intelligence; I afterwards fre-
quently visited him in his prison and did
him any little services my power: – I
would describe his character; but this
will be better done, representing the fol-
lowing memoirs of him, written by him-

TO you my friend who have not
suffered appearances to make you impen-
etrable to the voice of truth; and whose
humanity has alleviated the miseries of
my situation; I will relate the adven-
tures of my life; you will find them singu-
lar and unfortunate, and it will require
an exertion of all your candor to enable
you to give credit to the relation; – but
I have now no motive, even if I had the
inclination, to deceive you; I shall short-
ly suffer the punishment due to the crime
of which I have been convicted, if you
think he who is standing on the verge of
eternity, and deeply impressed with a
proper sense of his situation, will not de-
ceive you, you will give my story a pa-
tient and accredited hearing.

The first part of my life was passed on
the banks of the Susquehanna in Penn-
Sylvania; my father had retired to this
place to pass his days in the quiet of an
agricultural life: He was one, who, like
myself, had early struggled in the thorny
paths of adversity and misfortune; he
had once filled a station better suited to
his talents and industry, and it was chief-
ly from this excellent being I received
the little knowledge I have acquired; but
on this is unnecessary to dwell:– Pro-
fiting by his instructions, and aided by
a disposition to enquire into the causes
of all I saw in the works of nature and
art, and generally to add to my fund of
knowledge, I early contracted an aver-
sion to the dull uniform, and as I then
thought, uninstructive round of pursuits
which mark the progress of an agricultu-
ral life; I sought to distinguish myself
by becoming eminently useful to man-
kind; I had read of men who, with no
unusual talents, but by a proper exertion
of them, had become celebrated for some
singular services they had performed;
and why, thought I, could not I, like
them become distinguished; the path of
fame was open to all who have the cour-
age to tread it; could I not, by application
and a strenuous exertion of my powers
give my ideas a greater expansion? If I
reflected on what I saw, what I did, and
what was done by others, would it not at
last lead me to the accomplishment of my
wishes? There were various methods
by which I might acquire celebrity and
honor; in the field, in the cabinet, in the
study of the arts and sciences; for the
first I had neither inclination nor taste,
my disposition was peaceable, I possessed
none of that terrible kind of courage,
better called ferocity, which would ena-
ble me to distinguish myself as a soldier,
and had I possessed it, I did not enter-
tain the idea that honest fame could be
acquired by becoming the greatest of the
destroyers of the human race, and an in-
creaser of their already too numerous

Politics pleased me as little, I thought
it would be impossible to preserve my
integrity, amidst the dangers and tempta-
tions which usually surround an impor-
tant political station, I saw that even the
preservation of this invaluable possession
would not perhaps eventually accomplish
my purpose; the best of politicians had
not all been famous for their virtue;
even those who had preserved it untaint-
ed, while they had been extolled by one
party of men, had been vilified by ano-
ther; to become celebrated in the pro-
motion of the arts and sciences, was the
only path left open to my footsteps, my
success in this pursuit would displease
no one, and the applause I might merit
would be willingly awarded by all.
Many of my leisure hours had been oc-
cupied by reflections of this nature, and
time only served to add strength to my
resolution; I had already become ac-
quainted with some of the principles of
experimental philosophy, my father’s
books had supplied me with much use-
ful knowledge in mechanics, hydraulics,
&c. many an unoccupied hour had been
passed in applying my theoretical know-
ledge to practice; I had constructed
clocks of wood, I had made mills, pumps,
&c. it is true, they were rude and un-
finished, but they were my first essays
and much could not be expected, where
the only tools used were a saw, hatchet,
and knife; yet my success served to add
vigor to my ruling passion; I flattered
myself that my little machines were con-
structed on an improved plan, and if I
could make improvements here, under so
many disadvantages, what should I not
be able to perform in the city, where
these attempts might be made on a more
extensive scale, and would receive the
reward due to their merit.

To go to the city became my most
earnest wish; but my father was very
averse to the scheme, his experience had
taught him to believe a greater share of
felicity was attainable in his situation,
than in the accomplishment of the object
of my pursuit; I knew he entertained
this opinion and therefore resolved not to
consult him, but to act in obedience to
the dictates of my inclination, without
his knowledge; it would do him no in-
jury, my brother was a sufficient assist-
ant in the ordinary labors of the planta-
tion, and his circumstances enabled him
to hire in the case of inability. – My resolu-
tion was taken, and I had but to put it in
execution; a journey of a few days
would bear me to the city: I was well
acquainted with the roads, accustomed to
pedestrian feats, and dreaded no danger,
from a nightly elopement. A circum-
stance which happened some time before,
was an additional motive; it had been
my delight to take a nightly ramble to a
rock which commanded a fine view of
the river and surrounding country, here
I used to sit, or walk, and contemplate
the beauties of nature, when the mild ra-
diance of the moon displayed all the ro-
mantic beauties of the surrounding
scene, in its richest, though softest tints;
nor was this my only employment, I had
a smattering of astronomy, I could name
most of the constellations, and loved to
gaze over, and reflect on the innumera-
ble glories of the heavens; returning
from an excursion of this kind, I was
alarmed by a cry of distress, I started–
the natural timidity of my disposition
gave way to the idea, that I might per-
haps, be serviceable to some person in
distress, the voice was that of a female,
but from whence could it proceed? I
knew no female would willingly be
abroad at this solitary hour, in a country
but thinly settled; the idea of robbers
occurred, – the shriek was heard again,
it was near me; and I quickly saw a
man attempting to bear a struggling fe-
male from the public road; I rushed up-
on him, – a desperate struggle ensued,
in which I proved victorious; mean-
while, the lady had fled, but the momen-
tary view I had of her features awaken-
ed sensations of a new and unaccountable
kind; the first wish they produced was,
a desire to behold again, the object which
had excited them; the man who had
yielded to my superior strength had fled,
I had no right to detain him, I had ac-
complished my object; but now a new
one occupied my attention: I hasted to
search after the female, I searched the
road, the wood, but in vain, she was no
where to be found; and I returned home
weary, dissatisfied and perplexed.
All my enquiries with regard to the
lady, were fruitless, – my affairs pro-
ceded in their wonted course for some
time; my nocturnal rambles were con-
tinued, and my speculations with regard
to the future were still indulged; one
night I was returning home from my
favorite spot, I noticed a man crossing
the path which led to my father’s dwell-
ing; surprised at an appearance so un-
common, I was endeavoring to guess
what could induce anyone, besides my-
self, to wander through the woods at this
late hour; from these reflections, I was
roused by a pistol shot, which deprived
me for a time, of sentation1; I know not
how long I remained in this state, and
when I recovered, found I had sustained
but little injury; how I happened to es-
cape so well, I know not, whether it had
been fired from a great distance, had
spent its force by striking against a tree,
or been deadened by the resistance of my
hat and a large handkerchief, which I
had bound round my head to relieve a
violent head-ache, I am unable to deter-
mine; but I was happy I had received so
small an injury.

A new train of reflections and surmis-
es were new exited; I asked myself
who could be the person that fired; it
was evident it was an enemy; every con-
current circumstance, the hour, the place,
seemed to impress this belief; but who
would it be? I had injured no being on
earth, I was almost a stranger (owing to
my romantic notions) even to my nearest
neighbors; I was totally unable to form
any rational conjecture; I soon recover-
ed the slight injury I had sustained; the
circumstance no longer caused any anxi-
ety, and I again ventured to revisit my
favorite retreat;–returning home one
night, as I passed through my brother’s
chamber to gain my own, I saw by the
light of the moon, the figure of a man
standing near the bed of my brother,
armed with a dagger; I stood almost pe-
trified with fear and astonishment; I
had imbibed from our rustic neighbors,
some superstitious ideas, it was near,
“the noon of night,” that solemn hour,
when the dead forsake their graves, and
wander forth to revisit scenes once dear
to them; I believed I saw a spectre; I
made no alarm, my tongue clave to the
roof of my mouth, horror almost froze
the blood in my veins, and my limbs
scarcely supported my tottering frame!
The figure moved towards me, – I made
a desperate effort, reached my chamber
and locked the door; the silence of death
reigned in the house, – not a sound reach-
ed my ear; I gave myself up to reflec-
tion: could, I asked, this figure be an in-
habitant of the grave? Was it probable
that the dead could leave the earth, and
rise to sport with the terrors of mankind?
Would they come armed with the wea-
pons of death? My reason would not
suffer me to cherish the thought, my cou-
rage returned, I left the room and search-
ed the house in silence, for now I believ-
ed it must be a robber I had seen; but I
found no one, every thing was save, and
returning to my bed, I puzzled myself
with fain conjectures, till sleep wrapped
my senses in forgetfulness.

In the morning, I enquired if any noise
had been heard in the night? And No,
was the answer; no one had heard any
thing, their slumbers had been sound and
uninterrupted; I evaded answering with
truth to the consequent enquiries, by say-
ing I had dreamed a frightful dream.
The next night I again saw the same
figure, but I was now convinced it was
no spectre, but a man; at the sight of me
he fled, and passed through the door
which I had by accident left unfastened;
a new cause of wonder here presented it-
self: who could this man be? and what
was his object? were questions which
naturally occurred; my father frequently
left his bed and traversed the house in
his sleep; but it was certain this was
not him. By what means could he have
entered the house? I had fastened the
door and had the key in my pock-
et; he was armed; this gave birth to a
new idea; it was evident his intentions
were dreadful; my adventure on a pre-
ceding night was remembered; my life
had been aimed at, and it was probable
it was again attempted; my thoughts
however, fixed themselves on no deter-
minate object, until I recalled the remem-
brance of the female whose rescue I had
effected; that man whom I had defeat-
ed, he then, I concluded, must be the one
who had fired the pistol, and whom I
twice met armed in my brother’s cham-
ber, – he wished to revenge himself
on the author of his defeat, he had attempted
to destroy my brother through mistake,
and my appearance had alone saved his
life. There now appeared to be an ab-
solute necessity of taking some measures
to counteract his schemes; and in form-
ing plans of this nature I busied myself,
till a new thought displaced my former
ones. It now appeared plain to me, that
this man had discovered his error, or
why did he not (believing I slept in the bed
of my brother) pierce his bosom with
the dagger; there was nothing to pre-
vent him, my brother was sleeping, he
might have killed him, retired in silence,
and the dark mantle of oblivion, would
have hidden the secret from the know-
ledge of man. It was now evident my
life was attempted; he had found means
to descend the chimney, and enter my
brother’s chamber, as by this means only,
he could enter mine.

(to be continued)

[ 2. 21 April 1804]

There is no fear which acts so
powerfully on the mind of man, as that
which bids him guard against no deter-
minate object or attempt; my death was
certainly intended. To meet it face to
face in any form (though constitutionally
timid) I thought possible; but to be for-
ever in danger, to be taken off by a bullet
while I believed myself safe, to drink the
draught of death, when I thought myself
restoring vigor to my exhausted frame,
or to perish when lying defenceless and
reposing in the arms of sleep – these
were dangers to encounter for which all
my courage was unequal, and which could
only be avoided by removing from my
present abode; once gone, my enemy’s
scheme of revenge would be relinquish-
ed; if I remained, I should one time or
other, become its victim. My journey
to the city was again resolved upon and
executed. At midnight I left my father’s
house, but without any intention to re-
turn: I took nothing with me except a
small sum of money: I imparted my in-
tention to no one: I may be blamed for
leaving my friends thus abruptly, in anx-
iety and suspense respecting my fate;
but I thought it wrong to alarm them, as
they could not possibly remove the cause
of my danger; they would have persuad-
ed me to remain, or by their means my
future residence would be discovered,
CARNELL (the being whom I believed to
be my secret enemy) would pursue me,
and I should be subject to incessant
alarms; perhaps you may think my con-
clusions unwarranted; if so, remember
they were the conclusions of one, who
was unable, from the singularity of the
case, to receive advantages from the judg-
ement of others.

I did not, however, leave my father’s
house without emotion, I could not de-
ny myself the secret satisfaction of vis-
iting every spot, which recollection made
dear to my heart, the nocturnal seat
was not forgotten; once more I repair-
ed thither and seated myself in the usual
place; – the night was calm and clear,
not a cloud obscured the splendors of the
etherial vault of heaven, the moon was
full and her beams seemed to repose on
the tranquil bosom of the water; every
sound was hushed, save when the zephyr
sighed through the foliage of the venera-
ble oaks. – It brought to my recollection
the celebrated night-piece of Homer, –
thus translated by Pope:–

As when the moon, refulgent lamp of night,
O’er heav’n’s clear azure casts her sacred light,
When not a breeze disturbs the blue serene,
And not a cloud o’ercasts the solemn scene;
Around her throne the vivid planets roll,
And stars unnumber’d gild the glowing pole;
O’er the dark trees a yellower lustre shed,
And tip with silver ev’ry mountain’s head.–
Then shine the vales, the rocks in prospect rise;
A flood of glory bursts from all the skies;
The conscious swains exulting in the sight,
Eye the blue vault, and bless the useful light.

To me who was about to leave it, per-
haps forever, this scene appeared unusu-
ally interesting; I knew not how long I
sat occupied with various reflections,
when I was roused by the sound of ap-
proaching footsteps; I started, and look-
ed around, I saw a young woman at no
great distance from me, in her hand she
held an open letter; her movements were
wild, irregular, she would look on the
letter, and then on heaven; I watched
her with attention and solicitude; the
adventure was of a singular nature; this
was a place not frequented by any human
being except myself, at least I had not
seen any one here at this hour. Could
she be seeking any one here! This
seemed improbable, and her attention
seemed wholly absorbed by the letter. –
Suddenly she exclaimed, I can bear this
torture no longer, rushed towards
the river; I started from my seat, and
flew to prevent her; I seized her but she
eluded my grasp, shrieked, and leaped
into the water! In a moment all was
again silent; to descend to the river at
this spot, could not be accomplished
without immanent risk; I looked down
on the stream, but the overhanging rocks
cast a deep shade over it, and I saw her
no more: Some distressing occurrence
had probably overpowered her reason,
and in a moment of despair and insani-
ty she had put an end to her existence;
she had chosen the hour of midnight for
this purpose, when she thought the deed
would be concealed from every human
eye; I however, had been a melancholy
witness to the shocking catastrophe.
Her friends would wonder whither she
had fled – I only could tell; her corse
would be borne down the stream, it
would perhaps be found when corruption
had made the features indistinguisha-
ble; conjectures would be formed as to
who it had been, and how it came there;
and I alone, could answer all these ques-
tions; but should I endeavor to discover
who it was, should I inform her friends,
what had been her fate; I should be
seized as the perpetrator of the deed: I
might indeed discover the truth, but
they would not believe it; I should suf-
fer by my sincerity, I should at least be
blamed for not preventing it; this I
might have done, but how was I to ima-
gine her intention? Self-destruction was
a deed of which I thought mankind in-
capable, and when convinced of the con-
trary, it was too late – the deed was
done; the past could not be recalled. I
resolved to leave every thing to its
course; no one had witnessed her end
but myself, and I would, for many re-
asons, be induced to conceal it, her
friends would be benefited by this pro-
cedure, they would suppose her death,
(if the intelligence of it reached them) ac-
cidental, and be spared the dreadful cer-
tainty of its being intentionally effected.
I pursued my journey, and reached the
city in safety; here new difficulties pre-
sented themselves; my object had been
to offer myself as an apprentice to a
watchmaker; but who would take me?
I was acquainted with no human being,
though surrounded by so many thou-
sands, I was unknown and unrecommend-
ded; in the mean time I might be ap-
prehended as a thief, or confined as a
vagrant or runaway; this might be pre-
vented by a disclosure of the truth, but
its concealment was necessary to my pur-
pose; in addition to this, food was abso-
lutely necessary; my stock of money
was almost exhausted.

Those who have lived remote from
cities, have not a just conception of the
real necessity of money; provisions for
a day, lodgings for a night, might be had
in many parts of the country gratis, and
would be received as the offering of hos-
pitality, a virtue more practised in the
country, than in town: The little cash I
had yet remaining would not, here, pur-
chase more food than was necessary for
a single meal; the haughty indepen-
dence of my spirit would not permit me
to ask a favor, and my soul revolted at
the thought of stealing; I shuddered
when I reflected on the condition to
which my imprudence had reduced me;
a secret voice whispered, “you have
done wrong;” but to return was too late,
and the evils I had fled from would again
be encountered; my situation was sim-
ilar to that of a man in the midst of a
rapid stream; it was at least as easy to
proceed as to return, my course was
pointed out, and I could do nothing
more than rush on boldly to the endur-
ance of whatever ills I was doomed to

I knocked at the door of a watchmaker
in market-street, and was soon ushered
into the room, where sat the master and
his family, in a manner which plainly
evinced my embarrassment; I told him
my business; his dark, unprepossessing
features were contracted, and his pene-
trating eyes seemed to pierce my
very soul: He asked my name, place of
abode, &c. I told him no falsehoods,
neither did I tell him the whole truth; I
did not tell him my father’s dislike to my
pursuit; after much conversation of an
uninteresting nature, he said, “your sto-
ry does not seem improbable, your ap-
pearance seems to evince the truth of
some parts of it, but if I take you as an
apprentice, what security can you give
me, for your good conduct, and indus-
try.” All I have to give, I replied, is the
word of a man of honor, who values his
word too highly, to promise what he
does not intend to perform. The term,
I believe sounded strangely in his ears,
it was indeed ludicrously contrasted
with my homely dress, and awkward ap-
pearance, and I believe he was about to
refuse me, when the entrance of a young
lady put an end to this interval of sus-
pense, and created another; she cast an
enquiring look upon me; I felt still
more distressed, and held down my head,
confused and confounded, when a sud-
den exclamation from her, of “Can it be
possible?” effectually roused me, “can
what be possible?” said every one in the
same instant; she answered not, but hast-
ening to me, she seized my hand; I was
now convinced my conjectures were
right; when she spoke, I thought the
voice familiar to my ear, at least that I
had somewhere heard it before; a sight
of her features told me where, my hand
trembled in hers, and I flattered myself
she was not without emotion: You have,
no doubt, already guessed who this lady
was, you will remember my adventure
in the wood when I saved her from the
violence of CARNELL: An explanation
ensued, and I received the thanks of her
family; my first request was granted,
and I became an apprentice.

(to be continued)

[ 3. 28 April 1804]

TIME rolled rapidly along; my
exertions pleased Mr. BRANART; my
knowledge increased; my reading, and
conversation with man, enlarged my
mind, whilst it corrected many of my er-
rors; my hopes of distinction were raised,
I thought I saw the path of fame open as I
travelled: Mean time my leisure hours
were passed in the society of the amiable
EMILIA BRANART, the first impressions
which I had felt at the sight of her, were
strengthened and confirmed; nor did I
think her opinion of me unfavorable, and
I believed I should have no cause to re-
pent my journey.

But this pleasing calm, this feast on
lively hopes of future prosperity, distinc-
tion and happiness, was doomed to be in-
terrupted, by an alarming circumstance:
I had been sent to repair a clock at the
house of a gentleman in race-street; re-
turning home, just as I stepped on the
pavement, I saw a stage coach arrive at a
neighboring house; wishing to see if any
of the passengers were known to me, I
stopped and to my astonishment, saw
CARNELL descend from it; a cold shud-
dering seized me; the sight of this be-
ing filled me with sensations of a dread-
ful nature; they were connected with a
sense of the dangers to which I thought
myself again exposed; this man I was
convinced, had sought to destroy me,
and now again haunted me for the same
dreadful purpose. Yet, how could he
have discovered my residence? I had
imparted no hints of the place of my de-
stination on quitting my native spot, to
any human being; yet he was here;
causes with which I was wholly uncon-
nected, might have induced him to visit
Philadelphia; pleasure, business for
aught I knew, this city might be his home,
yet I still labored under the conviction
that I, and I alone, was the object of his
journey, to gratify his revenge, to em-
brue his hands in the blood of an innocent
man. And was his vengeance to be gra-
tified only by my destruction? Was there
no method of warding off the impending
danger? Could I not cause him to be ap-
prehended? I had seen him in my cham-
ber, armed with the instruments of death,
at the hour of midnight; but I was the
only one; my voice alone would not
condemn him, and if it would, dare I
charge him with meditating a deed, of
which he had perhaps never formed an
idea? It was at least possible, I might
be mistaken, it might have been some
other, my apprehensions had probably
deceived my senses; these and many
more reflections passed rapidly though
my mind, but produced no other effect
than to confuse it with the uncertainty
of probabilities, and the horrors of appre-

Nothing, however could be done; no
means could be pursued, to ensure my
safety, or lull my fears. I was obliged
to wait with patience the unfolding of
this mystery, and prepare myself to meet,
with firmness, whatever might happen.
Walking in the state-house garden2
was a favorite amusement with EMILIA;
thither I frequently attended her, when
the warmth of the summer days, made
the coolness of the evening, and the frag-
rance of the garden inviting; here, en-
joying the society and conversation of
the object of my fondest affections, – I
was suddenly seized by two officers of
justice: I was surprized[^3], and enquired
their business, “Our business, Sir,” said
one of them, “is with you.” You have
mistaken your object said I, with me you
have no possible business; they howev-
er, insisted they were right, they men-
tioned my name, and even my former
place of abode; after a vain altercation I
accompanied them to the mayor’s office,
and answered many questions, and was
finally informed I was charged with the
crime of murder! You may form some
idea of my astonishment at the informa-
tion; EMILIA had accompanied me to
the mayor’s she believed the officers la-
bored under some mistake, and her feel-
ings may easily be conceived when she
found me charged with the commission
of so detestable a crime; yet what she
knew of my character and conduct, seem-
ed not to accord with that of a murder-
er; she requested I should not be sent
to prison; she believed me innocent,
and related those events of my life which
had fallen under her observation: The
mayor was a humane man, but he was
compelled to fulfil the duties of his of-
fice; “All you have stated,” said he,
“may be true,” but I, he observed, was
charged with the murder of a young
woman, who had long been missing. I
had entered the city under very sus-
picious circumstances &c. if I was innocent
the truth would shortly appear; this was
not the place of my trial, his duty, how-
ever, obliged him to confine me, and I
was sent to prison!

Of all the strange adventures I had
met with, this was the furthest above my
comprehension: I could recollect no
circumstances of my life which could pos-
sibly create suspicions of this nature:
I did not think myself a dubious charac-
ter; during my residence in the city I
had led a quiet and inoffensive life;
how then was this to be accounted for?
It was evident some person had lodged
information which would justify my con-
finement, in the judgment of the may-
or; but here I was almost entirely a
stranger, and who, except actuated by
the spirit of a demon, would accuse me
of any crime, without possessing at least
a shadow of proof; the crime too, was
so detestable, I had never even meditate-
ed it; I was lost and bewildered amidst
innumerable and useless conjectures: At
length the idea of CARNELL occurred,
and with it a train of terrifying images;
might not he, I asked, have caused my
apprehension? Might he have not sub-
orned some desperate villains, to prove
me guilty of the crime? The conjecture
seemed probable: instigated by revenge,
he had already sought my destruction;
and was not he who could deliberately
meditate the death of an innocent man,
capable of any deed, however enormous
and detestable? Thus did I bewilder my
senses endeavoring to guess why I
had been apprehended; my few friends,
in the mean time, visited me in prison;
they believed me innocent, and endeav-
ored to impress a belief, that I would, on
trial, be proved so, and be honorably ac-
quitted; for this occasion, I summoned
all my firmness to my aid, yet I could not
avoid reflecting with pain on the misfor-
tunes I had encountered in consequence
of quitting my paternal home; I had left
it, chiefly to avoid assassination, and was
now to suffer death, (perhaps) for a crime
of the commission of which I was inno-

(to be continued)

[ 4. 5 May 1804]

THE day of trial came; I was con-
ducted to the bar of the supreme court;
the eyes of hundreds were upon me; the
usual question was asked, “Are you guil-
ty? or not guilty?” I replied with firm-
ness “Not guilty!” when the charge was
read, and I was accused of drowning a
young woman, by forcibly pushing her
into the river Susquehanna! A smother-
ed groan was heard from the audience;
it was not excited by an emotion of pity
for me, but was a proof of their detesta-
tion of the author of so shocking a deed;
I did not blame it, it was honorable to
their feelings, and evinced the rectitude
of their hearts. I now found to my sur-
prise, I was tried for the murder of her
whose life I would gladly have saved,
and whose unfortunate end I thought no
eye, save mine, had witnessed; it now
appeared, some others had witnessed it
besides me, but who, and why I was
charged with the crime, were circum-
stances, to me, inexplicable. The wit-
nesses now appeared, but guess, if you
can, my sensations, when the first I saw,
was (CARNELL) the same dreadful being
I had seen in my brother’s chamber, I
shuddered; my heart beat tremulously
in my bosom; my sight grew dim, and
I almost fainted; the spectators seemed
to consider my emotion a proof of my
guilt, but they were mistaken. The tri-
al continued, and new sources of inde-
scribable astonishment and wonder were
every moment displayed. The sub-
stance of the evidence was as follows–
“That I had planned and effected the
death of SUSAN WARFIELD; I had been
heard to say, I would destroy her, by
any means in my power; that knowing
she had frequented the scene of her death,
I had laid in ambush (armed) to effect
my purpose, and had been seen by the
evidence (who were fishing at a little
distance, though in a situation which
precluded all possibility of rendering as-
sistance) to push her forcibly into the
water, where there was little probability
of her escaping:” All this was new to
me, so far from planning her death, I had
scarcely known her, she had consequent-
ly never given me any cause of offence,
I was certainly ignorant of the visits of
any one but myself to the spot I had cho-
sen for my nocturnal seat; the exertion
I had made to save her, might, it was
true, be mistaken for the different one, by
persons who had seen the transaction
from a distance; but that it should be
said, I had declared my intention to de-
stroy her, and that I had concealed my-
self to effect this purpose, was really as-
tonishing: But the witnesses were suf-
ficient, respectable, positive and uniform
in their depositions. I had nothing to
offer in my defence but the truth, but
who would give credit to the relation of
one who stood convicted of so foul a
crime, who had secretly left his native
home, and entered the city in a manner
not ill calculated to excite suspicion, had
concealed his true name and passed un-
der a different one (CHARLES COLEMAN)
and betrayed evident marks of guilt and
confusion, at the sight of his accusers. –
Had I said, –I had seen CARNELL offer-
Ing violence to EMILIA; had rescued her
from his grasp; had seen him in my
brother’s chamber armed with a dagger,
at midnight &c. would my tale have
been credited? No, I had no proofs to
offer; I had informed no person, not
even my brother of what I had seen. I
believed all attempts at defence would
prove entirely useless, and therefore for-
bore to make any. I thought it better to
meet my fate, dreadful and ignominious
as it was, with manly firmness and un-
yielding fortitude; my story would be
treated as the last effort of despairing
villainy and impotent malice. The
Judge addressed the jury in a solemn
and impressive manner; they retired,
and in a short time, returned with the ex-
pected virdict[^4], “guilty!” They had
done their duty. I had no cause to com-
plain, the evidence was sufficient to con-
demn me; and had I been appointed to
judge a similar cause I should have act-
ed in the same manner; I listened to my
sentence with calmness and composure,
and was reconducted for the last time,
to the prison. Thus, I had given you
a faithful and exact account of my adven-
tures. – I shall now shortly suffer an ig-
nominious death: the world in general
believe me guilty: but the time may
come, when what is now hidden from hu-
man eyes, will be disclosed, – and then,
my friend, when the grave shall hide me
from the world, you, I trust, will do jus-
tice to my memory.

THUS ended the story of this unfor-
tunate young man, it was told with the
greatest apparent sincerity, and my heart
became deeply interested in his fate. I
was astonished at the calmness with
which he supported his misfortunes; he
was endowed with the keenest sensibili-
ty, and even timidity of disposition; his
courage had probably never been awak-
ened by danger, or perhaps was of that
kind, which, though unequal to the en-
counter of sudden and alarming attacks,
gathered strength by reflection; those
who best know the various shades of
character which distinguished mankind,
know, that there are persons of weak and
delicate constitutions, who tremble at the
slightest agitation, while their minds re-
main firm and undaunted, who, if they
have time for reflection, meet danger
with an undaunted front: Thus it ap-
peared in the present case, here reflection
seemed to have inspired a contempt of
death in its most terrified and disgraceful
form, in the mind of this young man;
yet there were moments, when his tran-
quility was disturbed, when the images
of his father, his friends, and above all,
his EMILIA presented themselves to
his imagination: EMILIA loved him with the
tenderest affection, which even his mis-
fortunes, (for she believed him guiltless)
were unable to alienate; yet, for him she
was doomed to suffer all the evils, flow-
ing from disappointed love, and the cru-
el taunts of a misjudging world; these
causes interrupted his quiet far more
than his own misfortunes; “my pain,”
said he will “shortly end; death will
lull it to rest; but, for them, an ample
store of anguish is collected, which time
alone can mitigate.” – Some pressing af-
fairs obliging me to hasten to Europe, I
bade him an eternal adieu! The day of his
execution was at hand, which my depar-
ture alone spared me the pain of witness-
ing. –

(to be continued)

[ 5. 12 May 1804]

SOME years after, I returned to
Philadelphia; the misfortunes of SAUN-
DERS, though not forgotten, yet the im-
pression they made was partly effaced
by time and various cares.
While walking one day in front-street,
I was transported with the sight of SAUN-
DERS coming towards me: we instantly
recognized each other, and were folded
in a mutual embrace; I eagerly interro-
gated him on that subject, which my for-
mer knowledge of him and my astonish-
ment at our present meeting naturally
excited, when, after entering his house,
he gave me the following information.
“The day of my intended execution
came, and with it my father: His pre-
sence was more distressing to me, than
death itself; I wished to spare him the
pangs a parent must feel, who is doomed
to witness the ignominious death of a
son, once dear to his affections: but fate
had determined otherwise: Some per-
son had informed him to my expected
fate, and he hastened to bid me a last
adieu. He entered my prison, I flew to
embrace him, he received me with emo-
tions, which his love of justice had made him
desirous of suppressing; but the tide of
nature was powerful, and the severity of
judge was softened by the tenderness
of the parent: Think, my friend, what
must be the feelings of a parent who has
labored for years to teach his offspring
the duties of life, and the exercise of vir-
tue, – a parent, venerable for his age,
and whose life, was unstained with a
crime, when he beholds the object of his
love, forsake the paths of rectitude, and
become the most detested villain, and
your imagination will paint this scene,
better than my words can describe it:
He believed me guilty, – this impression
I strove to remove, and succeeded:
falsehood was so mean a crime, that he
believed me incapable of it, though pas-
sion might have impelled to the perpetra-
tion of greater crimes. Yet the convic-
tion of my innocence did not dispel his
sorrow; to the pain which the death of a
son will naturally produce, was added, t
he shameful manner by which justice in-
flicted the blow: I should die innocent,
but would his conviction of this, induce
the world to believe me so? – Would not
my death load my family with shame
and infamy, which an indiscriminating
world casts on the relations of a murder
er? – But now the appointed hour was
come – I bade my friends farewell! and
the cart moved towards the place of ex-
ecution; the rope was fastened around
my neck, the cap was about to be drawn
over my eyes, and the signal was about
to be given, the execution of which
would hide the world from my view for-
ever, when a sudden and piercing cry of
“Save him! save him!” was heard and
a young woman rushed through the
crowd, to the foot of the gallows; her
distress and agitation soon discovered
who she was, it was her for whose mur-
der I was about to suffer! whom I
thought I had seen perish on the memo-
rable night when I left my paternal
abode! Yet, here she was, by some
means unaccountable to me, at the foot
of the gallows, accusing herself as being 
the cause of my misfortunes, and implore-
ing the sheriff to suspend my execution.
The crowd pressed tumultuously around,
and joined their cries to hers. –The
rope was unfastened, and I reconducted
to prison.

“I had been saved, in the last moment,
from an infamous death; a prospect of
life and liberty was open before me;
my friends and even the spectators con-
gratulated me with that tenderness and
joy which will naturally arise in the bo-
soms of men, when they behold inno-
cence snatched from the fate which is
only the punishment of guilt; yet,
strange as it may seem, I was the only
one who seemed to feel but little emo-
tion: I had long contemplated death as
certain and inevitable, I had prepared
myself to meet it with a manly fortitude;
I wished to prove with what dignity I
could suffer a fate I had never merited,
and conscious innocence brightened my
prospect of eternity; the name of death
had become familiar and his terrible
shaft had lost the keenness of its point;
I returned to prison with but little more
pleasure than I left it, and some hours
elapsed ere I was sufficiently sensible of
the blessing of renewed existence to be
grateful for the gift; to no one was my
life more gratifying than the lovely
EMILIA; her joy was not expressed by
words, nor displayed by gestures; but
was painted in lively colors on her ex-
pressive countenance; a sweet satisfaction
animated every feature, and gave addi-
tional lustre to her beaming eyes.
“You will naturally be anxious to
know how this change was produced;
WARFIELD’S information was as fol-
lows; she had, for some reason she did
not explain, determined to anticipate the
hand of death by drowning herself; that
she attempted it, you know; but the fear
of death, proved stronger than her dis-
gust of life, and with great difficulty she
saved herself from that fate she had
sought with so much secresy; but,
dreading to return home and endure the
severity of her parents’ reproaches (who
she supposed would be made acquainted
with the circumstance) she fled to a rela-
tion in Maryland: Meanwhile the intel-
ligence of my fate reached her; alarmed
at the consequences her folly was likely
to occasion, she hastened to Philadel-
phia, thinking it probable she might ar-
rive in time to avert the fate which hung
over me; when she reached the city,
she saw the immense concourse of peo-
ple, who had assembled to witness my
execution; curiosity led her to enquire
my crime; the moment was propitious,
and my life was preserved. Yet reflec-
tion dissipated a greater part of my joy,
when I considered my situation,
my innocence of the crime of murder
was proved and I should probably be
liberated in a short time from confine-
ment; but who was to prove me inno-
cent of meditated guilt? Would not I
still be treated as a being dangerous to
the community? Would the world consi-
der me as much less guilty than before?
I should be detested by all mankind, and
condemned to wander through the world
like an outcast from human society; I
was conscious of my innocence, it is
true; this had supported me at the most
trying moment of my existence; but
that proud, unbending spirit I had receiv-
ed from nature, and which had been
strengthened by education, recoiled at
the prospect. I wished to deserve the
good opinion of all mankind, to command
respect, though I could not inspire love;
how then should I be able, when walking
through the streets of the city, to bear to
be shunned by all good men, and treated
as a being with whom no one could safe-
ly commune; these reflections gave me
intolerable anguish; I was almost tempt-
ed to wish I had perished at the hand of
justice; I should then have slept quietly
with the dead, the grave would have
shielded me from the scorn of mankind,
and insured my tranquility.

“By my uneasiness was happily re-
lieved–on the day succeeding that on
which my life was saved, I was saved
from a fate which I considered as little
better than death, in the following man-
ner, several of the persons who were wit-
nesses at my trial visited me in prison,
one of whom gave me the following wel-
come information, which I will give you
in his own words.

(to be continued)

[ 6. 19 May 1804]

“THAT the motives of my con-
duct, and that of my colleagues may be
understood, and our innocence of any de-
sign against your life, or the crime of
perjury may be proved; I shall relate a
few circumstances which happened pre-
vious to your unfortunate journey to Phi-
ladelphia: Being on a visit of some
length in the neighborhood of your late
residence, we happened to stop one even-
ing at an inn, where we heard a young
man (who we then thought was you)
express his intention of effecting the
death of SUSAN WARFIELD; he said her
base treatment of him, would justify any
measures, however violent and sanguina-
ry; it was such, as no human being,
however gentle, would suffer to pass,
without the severest punishment; and fi-
nally, he said he would effect her destruct-
tion in any manner whatever; we saw
him, though we were in the next room,
through the glazed door; he, I believe,
was unconscious of our presence: he de-
clared his intention to his companion,
while intoxicated with passion and foam-
ing with rage and fury; the circumstance
made some impression on our minds;
but we believed his words proceeded
from the violence of his passion, and did
not doubt, but during the paroxysms of
anger, he had meditated, what when rea-
son again regulated his conduct, he
would certainly not execute; for these
reasons we were silent, until some
months after; we were accustomed du-
ring the moon-light summer nights to
fish for eels in a small stream which
emptied into the river Susquehanna, the
situation we usually chose commanded a
near view of the rocky eminence where
we could observe all that passed without
being seen; here we saw you frequent-
ly arrive, armed with a club in the night;
near this place WARFIELD usually pass-
ed the evening with her lover, as his vi-
sits to her father’s house were forbidden;
these circumstance, compared with what
we had witnessed at the inn, excited our
suspicions, and you were narrowly watch-
ed; – one night, while pursuing our usu-
al sport, we saw WARFIELD approach
you; we saw you rise soon after, rush
upon, and push her into the river; all
this was done in a few minutes, nor was
it in our power, (though in a short
distance) to prevent, or to save WAR
FIELD; as to reach you, we should have
been obliged to take a circuitous rout:
we therefore watched you, as you had to
pass very near where we were concealed,
by the trees, (it should be recollected,
that we still believed, you was the same
person we had seen at the inn.) That
night you absconded, and it was long
ere our inquiries traced you to Philadel-
phia. We caused your apprehension
and conviction. –As we were returning
home to Maryland (our place of resi-
dence) we lodged at an inn on the road,
where, on entering, to our astonishment
we saw a man sitting in the room, so
much resembling you, that we were ful-
ly persuaded you had escaped from pri-
son; without a moment’s hesitation we
seized him; his astonishment seemed
equal to our own; he said he was in
search of his wife, who had left his house
in Maryland, and he believed had gone
to her father’s on the banks of the Sus-
quehanna; he told his story with appa-
rent sincerity, and with that confidence
which innocence, or impudence, only,
can assume when charged with a crime;
we gazed on each other in silent wonder;
with the banks of the Susquehanna we
were somewhat acquainted; we asked
him many questions which he readily an-
swered; but when we charged him with
the crime for which you were condemn-
ed to suffer, he replied, if possible, with
increasing astonishment; SUSAN WAR-
FIELD is my wife! Not many days have
elapsed since I saw her; he explain-
ed to us several circumstances, all which
filled us with horror and consternation;
in short, we were made acquainted with
every circumstance necessary to prove
your innocence: Judge then, if you can,
what we felt; we had caused the death
of a guiltless and deserving man, he had
been deceived by an unusual resemblance
between two persons. unknown to each
other: the day appointed for the exe-
cution had already passed and you had
probably been punished for a deed you
had never committed; but the pangs of
death, and the extremest tortures were
bliss compared to the horrible sensations
we experienced. –Yet there was still a
possibility of your execution being defer-
red; this had more than once, been the
case; the life of a man and our own fu-
ture peace were at stake, and while there
was the most distant hope it might be
saved, it was our duty and our wish to
make the experiment. To return to Phila-
delphia and to take CARSON with us,
was a resolution adopted and instantly
put into execution; to our inexpressible
joy our journey has not been vain; you
will scarcely be able, sufferer as you have
been, to forgive us, who have been,
though unintentionally, the cause of your
misfortunes; but could you know the
torments we have felt, when in imagina-
tion, we saw your injured spirit rise from
the shades of death, and accuse us of des-
troying you by deeds perpetrated only by
the most abandoned of mankind, and
when you have seen the dreadful resem-
blance which caused our unfortunate er-
ror; you will look on us with less detest-
ation than is at present possible.” –
He ceased, went out, and soon return-
ed with CARSON––here was indeed an
extraordinary resemblance, so exact, so
striking, that all present were filled with
astonishment: but for a small difference in
our height, the most intimate friend
could have scarcely distinguished us
from each other; from these men I learn-
ed that the dreadful CARNELL was dead,
and thus another cause of uneasiness was
removed. I was now soon liberated, re-
stored to that respect I had before enjoy-
ed, and united to that amiable woman,
EMILIA, who had been one of the first
causes of my misfortunes. In her I have
found a woman of a superior understand-
ing, enlightened mind, gentle dispo-
sition, her superior judgment has correct-
ed many of my errors; she has lessen-
ed that love of distinction and celebrity,
which I had once indulged, and which I
had attained by means, as unwelcome,
as unexpected; she has convinced me,
that fame is not always the portion of
merit, that to deserve the esteem of man-
kind, was a superior enjoyment to an en-
larged mind, than distinction or fame
could bestow. “


  1. Misspelling of “sensation.” 

  2. This place was then the report of people of fash-
    ion and decency. [footnote from original text]
    [^3]: Misspelling of “surprised”
    [^4]: Misspelling of “verdict”