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It is an unhappy circumstance when an infant nation adopt the vices, luxuries and manners of an old one; but this was in a great measure the case with the first settlers of Albany, most of whom were immediately from Amsterdam. Their diversions are walking and fitting in mead-houses, and in mixed companies they dance. They know nothing of the little plays and amusements common to small social circles. The gentlemen who are lively and gay, play at cards, billiards, chess, &c. others go to the tavern, mechanically, at eleven o'clock, stay until dinner, and return in the evening. It is not uncommon to see forty or fifty at these places of resort, ac the fame time; yet they seldom drink to intoxication, unless in company, or on public occasions, when it is thought to be no disgrace.
They seldom admit many spectators to their marriages; but the day after, the groom prepares a cold collation, with punch, wine, &c. to partake of which, he expects all his friends will come, at eleven o'clock, without any invitation. A dictator, with absolute power, is then appointed to preside at each table, or in each room, and it feldom happens that any are suffered to leave the house, until the whole circle exhibits shocking specimen of human depravity.
Their funeral ceremonies are equally fingular. None attend them without a previous invitation. At the appointed hour, they meet at the neighbouring houses or ftoops, until the corpfe is brought out. Ten or twelve persons are appointed to take the bier all together, and are not relieved. The clerk then desires the gentlemen (for ladies never walk to the grave, nor even attend the funeral, unless of a near relation) to fall into the procession. They go to the grave, and return to the house of mourning in the fame order. Here the tables are handsomely set and furnished with cold and spiced wine, tobacco and pipes, and candles, paper, &c. to light them. The conversation turns upon promiscuous subjects, however improper, and unsuitable to the folemnity of the occasion, and the house of mourning is soon converted into a house of feafting.'
The best families live extremely well, enjoying all the conveniences and luxuries of life; but the poor have scarcely the necessaries for subsistence.
The ground covered by the city charter, is of a thin, poor foil. In the river before the city is a beautiful little island, which, were it properly cultivated, would afford a faint resemblance of paradise.
The well-water in this city is extremely bad, scarcely drinkable by those who are not accustomed to it. Indeed all the water for cooking is brought from the river, and many families use it to drink. The water in the wells, if Kalm was well informed, is unwholesome, being full of little insects, resembling, except in size, those which we frequently see in Stagnated rain water.
The public buildings are, a Low Dutch church, one for Presbyterians, one for Germans or High Dutch, one for Episcopalians--a hospital, and the City-hall.
The city of Hudson has had the most rapid growth of any place in America, if we except Baltimore in Maryland. It is situated on the east side of Hudson's river, in latitude 42° 23', and is 130 miles north of NewYork, thirty miles fouth of Albany, and four miles west from old Claresack town. It is surrounded by an extenfive and fertile back country, and, in proportion to its fize and population, carries on a large trade.
No longer ago than the autumn of 1783, Messrs. Seth and Thomas Jenkins, from Providence, in the state of Rhode Island, having first reconnoitred all the way up the river, fixed on the unsettled spot where Hudson now stands, for a town. To this spot they found the river was navigable for vessels of any fize. They purchased a tract of about a mile square, bordering on the river, with a large bay to the southward, and divided it into thirty parcels or shares. Other adventurers were admitted to proportions, and the town was laid out in squares, formed by spacious streets, crossing each other at right angles. Each square contains thirty lots, two deep, divided by a twenty feet alley; each lot is fifty feet in front, and 120 feet in depth.
In the spring of 1784, several houses and stores were erected. The increase of the town from this period to the spring of 1786, two years only, was astonishingly rapid, and reflects great honour upon the enterprizing and persevering spirit of the original founders. In the space of time just mentioned, no less than 150 dwelling-houses, besides Mops, barns, and other buildings, four warehouses, several wharfs, spermaceti works, a covered rope-walk, and one of the best diftileries in America, were erected, and 1500 souls collected on a spot, which, three years before, was improved as a farm, and but two years before began to be built. Its increase since has been equally rapid ; a printing-office has been established, and several public buildings have been erected, besides dwelling-houses, stores, &c. The inhabitants are plentifully and conveniently supplied with water, brought to their cellars in wooden pipes, from a spring two miles from the town.
It stands on an eminence, from which are extensive and delightful views, to the north-west, north, and round that way to the fouth-eait, consisting of hills and vallies, variegated with woods and orchards, corn-fields and meadows, with the river, which is in most places a mile over, and may be seen a considerable distance to the northward, forming a number of bays and creeks. From the south-calt to the south-west, the city is screened with hills at different distances; and welt, afar off over the river and a large valley, the prospect is bounded by a chain of ftupendous mountains, called the Katts-kill, running to the west-north-west, which add magni. ficence and sublimity to the whole scene.
Upwards of twelve hundred fleighs entered the city daily, for several days together, in February 1986, loaded with grain of various kinds, boards, thingles, ftaves, hoops, iron ware, stone for building, fire-wood, and sundry articles of provision for the market; from which some idea may be formed of the advantage of its situation, with respect to the country adjacent, which is every way extensive and fertile, particularly to the westward.
Poughkeepsie is the shire-town of Duchess county, and is situated upon the east lide of Hudson's river, and north of Wappinger's-kill or creek. It is a pleasant little town, and has frequently been the seat of the state government.
Lansinburgh, formerly called the New City, stands on the east side of the Hudson, just oppolite the fouth branch of Mohawks river, and nine miles north of Albany. It is a very flourishing place, containing upwards of a hundred houses, pleafantly situated on a plain, at the foot of a hill.
Kingston is the county town of Ulster. Before it was burnt by the British, in 1777, it contained about 200 houses, regularly built, on an elevated dry plain, at the mouth of a little pleasant it reain, called Eufopus Kill or creek, that empties into the Hudson, but is nearly two miles west from the river. The town has been rebuilt.
Skenectady is fixteen miles north-wett of Albany, in Albany county, situated on the banks of the Mohawks river. The town is compact and regular, built principally of brick, on a rich flat of low land, surrounded with hills. The windings of the river through the town and the fields, which are often overflowed in the spring, afford a beautiful prospect about harvest time. As it is at the foot of navigation on a long river, which passes through a very fertile country, and is the medium of all the wel. tern trade through the lakes, that comes down the Hudson, it must grow rich in proportion as the country west of it populates.
Agriculture and Manufactures.) New-York is at least half a century behind her neighbours in New-England, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, in point of improvement in agriculture and manufactures. Among other reasons for this deficiency, that of want of enterprize in the inhabitants is not the least. Indeed their local advantages have been such, as that they have grown rich without enterpriae. Besides, lands have hitherto been cheap, and farms of course large; and it requires much less ingenuity to raise 1000 bushels of wheat upon 60 acres of land, than to raise the same quantity upon 30 acres. So long, therefore, as the farmer in New-York can have 60 acres of land to raise 1000 buhels of wheat, he will never trouble himself to find out how he can raise the same quantity upon half the land. It is population alone that stamps a value upon lands, and lays a foundation for high improvements in agriculture. When a man is obliged to maintain a family upon a small farm, his invention is exercised to find out every improvement that may render it more productive. This appears to be the great reason why the lands on Delaware and Connecticut rivers produce to the farmer ewice as much clear profit, as lands in equal quantity and of the same quality upon the Hudson. If the preceding observations be just, improvements will keep pace with population and the increasing value of lands. Another cause which has heretofore operated in preventing agricultural improvements in this state, has been their government, which, in the manner it was conducted until the revolution, was extremely unfavourable to improvements of almost every kind, and particularly in agriculture. The governors were many of them land-jobbers, bent on making their fortunes; and being invested with power to do this, they either engrossed for themselves, or patented away to their particular favourites, a very great proportion of the whole province. This, as has been before observed, proved an effectual bar to population, and of course, according to our present hypothesis, has kept down the price of lands, and fo prevented improvements in agriculture. It ought to be observed, in this connection, that these overgrown estates could be cultivated only by the hands of tenants, who, having no right in the soil, and no certain prospect of continuing upon the farm, which they hold at the will of their landlord, had no motives to make those expensive improvements, which, though not immediately productive, would prove very profitable in some future period. The tenant, depen
dent on his landlord for his annual support, confines his views and improvements to the present year; while the independent freeholder, fecure of his estate for himself and his successors, carries his views into futurity, and early lays the foundation for growing improvement. But these obstacles have been removed, in a great measure, by the revolution. The fine fertile country of the Mohawks, in Montogmery county, which was formerly possessed by Sir William Johnson, and other land-jobbers, who were enemies to their country, has been forfeited to the state, and is now split up into freehold eltates, and settling with astonishing rapidity.
The foregoing observations will, in a great measure, account for the great neglect of manufactural improvements. Smith, whom I have fo often quoted, thirty years ago observed, · It is much owing to the disproportion between the number of our inhabitants, and the vait tracts Atill remaining to be settled, that we have not as yet entered upon scarcely any other manufactures, than such as are indispensibly necessary for our home convenience. This fame cause has operated ever since, in the same way.
Great improvements in agriculture cannot be expected (unless they are made by a few individuals who have a particular genius for that business} so long as lands are plenty and cheap; and improvements in manu, factures never precede, but invariably follow improvements in agriculture. These observations apply more particularly to the country. The city of New York contains a great number of people, who are employed in the various branches of manufactures. Among many other articles manufactured in this city are the following: wheel-carriages of all kinds, loaf-fugar, bread, beer, Thoes and boots, sadlery, cabinet-work, cutlery, hats, clocks, watches, potters ware, umbrellas, all kinds of mathematical and musical instruments, ships, and everything necessary for their equipment. A glass-work and feveral iron-works have been established in different parts of the country, but they never have been very produce tive, owing solely to the want of workmen, and the high price of labour, its neceffary consequence; for the internal resources and advantages for these manufactories, such as ore, wood, water, hearth-stone, proper situations for bloomeries, forges, and all kinds of water-works, are immense. There are several paper-Inills in the state, which are worked to advantage.
Trade.] The fituation of New York, with respect to foreign markets, has decidedly the preference to any of the states. 'It has, at all seasons of the year, a short and easy access to the ocean. We have already mentioned, that it commands the trade of a great proportion of the best fettled and best cultivated parts of the United States. It has been supposed, by gentlemen well informed, that more wealth is conveyed down Connec-. iicut river, and through the Sound to New-York, than down the Hudson. This is not improbable, as the banks of the Connecticut are more fertile, and much thicker and more extensively settled than the banks of the Hudson. New-York has not been unmindful of her superior local advantages, but has availed herself of them to their full extent. Some of her commercial regulations have been viewed as oppressive and injurious
to the interests of her neighbours, and been productive of many heavy complaints and unhappy jealoufies, which have proved unfriendly to that political union which ever ought to subsist between confederate fifter ftates. But as it is expected that the new government will remedy these evils, a bare mention of them is sufficient.
There appears to be a secrecy in the commercial policy of this state. An accurate account of their annual exports and imports, if known at all, is known to few. All therefore that can be expected under this head, in addition to what has already been observed, is fimply an enumeration of the several articles exported and imported, without pretending to fix their amount. Mr. Smith * observes, - In our traffic with other places, the balance is almost constantly in our favour.'. This I believe has generally been the case. Their exports to the West Indies are, biscuit, pease, Indian corn, apples, onions, boards, staves, horses, Theep, butter, cheefe, pickled oysters, beef and pork. But wheat is the staple commodity of the state, of which no less than 677,700 bushels were exported in the year 1775, besides 2,555 tons of bread, and 2,828 tons of four. Inspectors of four are appointed to prevent impositions, and to see that none is exported but that which is deemed by them merchantable. West India goods are received in return for these articles. Besides the above mentioned articles, are exported flaxseed, cotton-wool, farsaparilla, coffee, indigo, rice, pig iron, bar iron, pot ash, pearl afh, furs, deer skins, log wood, fuftic, mahogany, bees wax, oil, Madeira wine, rum, tar, pitch, turpentine, whale fins, fish, sugars, molasses, salt, tobacco, lard, &c. but most of these articles are imported for re-exportation. In the year 1774, there were employed, in the trade of this state, 1075 vessels, whose tonnage amounted to 40,812.
Mountains.] The long range of Allegany mountains commences with the Katts Kill mountain upon Hudson's river. This range, which Mr. Jefferson calls the Spine of the United States, spreads through this state, in a north-east and south-west direction, in several distinct ridges, with dif. ferent names.
Medicinal Springs.] The most noted springs in this state are those of Sararoga. They are eight or nine in number, situated in the margin of a marsh, formed by a branch of Kayadarosfora Creek, about twelve miles west from the confluence of Fish-Creek and Hudson's River. They are surrounded by a rock of a peculiar kind and nature, formed by the petrefaction of the water. One of them, however, more particularly attracts the attention; it rises above the surface of the earth five or fix feet, in the form of a pyramid. The aperture in the top, which discovers the water, is perfectly cylindrical, of about nine inches diameter. In this the water is about twelve inches below the top, except at the time of its annual discharge, which is commonly in the beginning of summer. At all times it appears to be in as great agitation as if boiling in a pot, although it is extremely cold. The fame appearances obtain in the other springs, except that the surrounding rocks are of different figures, and the water flows regularly from them, * Hift. New York, p, 213.