Joseph Howe hosted the notable author Charles Dickens (and his wife, Catherine) on his first visit to Canada on the RMS Britannia. At the time, he was just shy of his 30th birthday. Howe took him to the opening of the twentieth Nova Scotia Legislature. The legislature reminded Dickens of a smaller vision of the British House of Commons at Westminister. By this time, Dickens had already published The Pickwick Papers (1837) and would later publish A Christmas Carol (in December, 1843). He and his wife made their way to Boston the next day and later toured the east coast of the United States, as well as the Great Lakes, primarily by steamboat, rail and coach, returning to England in June. He later in the fall he wrote a book on their travels to America called American Notes for General Circulation (October, 1842). He depicted America as a nation of “dollars, demagogues and bar-rooms,” violent, and deeply hypocritical, prating about honor, freedom and liberty while enslaving millions.