« A new world seems to pass before our eyes like a magic lantern:
that is the life we are living. »(Letter from New York to his sister-in-law Emilie, June 9, 1831)
On May 9, 1830, "the first cry of 'Land!' was heard", and the Le Havre's passengers, who gazed upon Long Island at dawn, understood that their voyage was finally at an end. It should be pointed out that the final few days on board were more and more difficult: water and food were in short supply, and some passengers were ill and confined to their beds. In addition, headwinds kept the ship from nearing New York, forcing it to drop anchor in Newport. This is where Tocqueville and Beaumont first came into contact with the reality of America and its inhabitants, who "outwardly differ very little from the French", even if "their physiognomies vary so little that it would be difficult to say from which peoples they inherited their traits. Nevertheless, the goal was to reach New York, which they did on May 11, 1830, aboard the President, an enormous steamship that fascinated the pair through both its size (125 meters long) and speed. As far as their impressions of the big city are concerned, it appears that they were immediately dazzled!
« At sunrise we approached New York. . We exclaimed in admiration at the sight of the city's environs. Imagine the most beautifully trimmed banks, slopes covered with grass and trees in flower right down to the sea, and, more than that, an incredible number of country houses, no bigger than chocolate boxes but well cared for. On top of that, picture if you can a sea white with sail, and you will have the entrance to New York from the Sound. »(Letter to his mother, April 26, 1831)
The Port of de New York, Anonymous © BNF
"A new world"