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There are very few rivers upon the island. The largest is Peakonok, which rises about ten miles weit of a place called River head, where the court-house stands, and runs easterly into a large bay, dividing Southhold from Southampton. In this bay are Robin and Shelter INands.
The fouth lide of the island is indented with numerous streams of various sizes, which fall into a large bay, two or three miles over, formed by a beach, about eighty rods wide, which appears like a border to the island, exterding from the west end of it to Southampton. Through this beach, in various places, are inlets of such depth as to admit of veffels of fixty or seventy tons,
This bay was formerly fresh water. As evidences of this, the stumps of trees are to be seen in great numbers on the salt marsh, near the upland. Oysters, clams, and fish of various kinds, are caught with eale, and in great plenty in this bay, with feines, during the winter season. It is not uncommon to see forty or fifty vessels here loading with oysters at the same time. And what is almost incredible, though I was told of it by two gentlemen of truth, and who were well informed as to the matter, thirty waggon loads of bass have been caught in this bay at one draught.
Rockonkama pond, lies about the centre of the island, between Smithtown and Iflip, and is about a mile in circumference. This pond has been found by observation, to rise gradually for several years, until it had arrived to a certain height, and then to fall more rapidly to its lowest bed; and thus it is continually ebbing and flowing. The cause of this curious phenomenon has never been investigated. Two miles to the fouthward of this pond is a confiderable stream, called Connecticut river, which empties into the bay. There are two whale fisheries ; one
from Sagg harbour, which produces about 1000 barrels of oil annually. The other is much smaller, and is carried on by the inhabitants in the winter season, from the fouth side of the ifland. They commonly catch from three to seven whales in a season, which produce from twenty-five to forty barrels of oil. This fishery was formerly a source of confiderable wealth to the inhabitants, but through a scarcity of whales, it has greatly declined of late years.
There is a considerable trade carried on from Sagg-harbour, whence is exported to the Welt-Indies and other places, whale
oil, pitch-pine boards, horses, cattle, flax-feed, beef, &c. The produce of the middle and western parts of the island is carried to New-York.
The island contains 30,863 inhabitants.
Staten Ifand lies nine miles fouth-west of the city of New-York, and forms Richmond county. It is about eighteen mises in length, and, at a medium, fix or feven in breadth, and contains 3,152 inhabitants
. Os the south side is a considerable tract of level good land ; but the island in general is rough, and the hills high. Richmond is the only town of any note on the illand, and that is a poor, inconfideralle place. The inhabitants are principally Dutch and French.
Hiftory.] Hudson's River was first discovered in 1608, by Henry Hudfon, an Englishman, who fold his claim to the Dutch.
In 1614, the States General granted a patent to several merchants, for anexclufive trade on the river Hudfon. The fame year this company built
a Fort on the west fide of the river, near Albany, and named it Fort Orange.
In 1615, a fort was built on the southwest point of Manhattan's, now York island ; but the first settlers planted themselves about two miles from this fort, and built a church there, the ruins of which, it is said, are ftill visible, near the two mile ftone on the public road. In this situation, finding themselves insecure during the wars between the English and Dutch, they left this place, and planted their habitations under the guns of the fort, which laid the foundation of the present city,
In 1614, Captain Argall, under Sir Thomas Dale, governor of Virginia, visited the Dutch on Hudson's river, who being unable to resist him, prudently submitted for the present, to the king of England, and under bim to the governor of Virginia. Determined upon the settlement of a colony, the States-general, in 1621, granted the country to the West India con pany; and in the year 1629, Wouter Van Twiller arrived at Fort Amsterdam, now New York, and took upon himself the government.
In August 27, 1664, governor Stuyvesant surrendered the colony to colonel Nicolls, who had arrived in the bay a few days before, with three or four ships, and about 300 fuldiers, having a commission from king Charles the II, to reduce the place, which then was called New Amsterdam, but was changed to New York, as was Fort Orange to Albany, in honour of his Royal Highness James Duke of York and Albany. Very few of the inhabitants thought proper to remove out of the country; and their numerous descendants are itill in many parts of this state, and New-Jersey.
In 1667, at the peace of Breda, New York was confirmed to the English, who in exchange ceded Surinam to the Dutch
The English kept peaceable poffeffion of the country until the year 1673, when the Dutch, with whom they were then at war, sent a small squadron, which arrrived at Staten Inand, on the 30th of July. John Manning, a captain of an independent company, who had at that time the conimand of the fort, sent a messenger down to the commodore, and treacherously made his terms with him ; on the same day the lips came up, moored under the fort, landed their men, and entered the garrison, without giving or receiving a shot. All the magistrates and conftables from East Jersey, Long Ifand, Æfopus, and Albany, were summoned to New York; and the major part of thein swore allegiance to the States General and the Prince of Orange. The conquerors, however, did not long enjoy the fruits of their success, for on the gth of February the year following, a treaty of peace between England and Holland was signed at Weltminster ; by the fixth article of which, this province was restored 10 the English, in whose hands it remained until the late revoluţion.
While New York remained in possession of the Dutch it was called New Netherlands, and governed by a Scout, Burgomasters and Schepens, From its surrender to the English in 1664, to 1683, the province was rule 1 by governors, appointed and commiflioned by the Duke of York, and their council, whose rules and orders had the force of laws. From the last named period, the people were admitted to a share of the legislative authority
The confederated Cantons of Indians, before the incorporation of the Tuscaroras, a people driven by the Carolinians fro:n the frontiers of Vira ginia, confifted of five nations, viz. the Mohaws, Oneidas, Senecas,
On or dagas,
Onondagas, and Cayuagas. The alliance and trade of these fix, nations, inhabiting the territory west of Albany to the distance of more than 200 miles, though much courted by the French of Canada, have been almost uninterruptedly enjoyed by the English.
In 1684, the French attempted the destruction of these Indians, because they interrupted their trade with the more distant trèbes, called the Far Nations. The Seneca Indians interrupted this trade, because the French supplied the Miamies, with whom they were then at war, with arms and amunition,
To effect the destruction of the Indians great preparations were made by the French. But famine and sickness prevailing among them the expedition proved fruitless. Four years after this, 1200 Indians attacked Mon: 'treal, burnt many houses, and put 1000 of the inhabitants to the sword.
In 1689, Colonel Dongan, the gov rnor, being called home by king James, and a general difaffecțion to Government prevailing at New York, önc Jacob Leisler took possession of the garrison, for king William and queen Mary, and assumed the supreine power over the province. duction of Albany, held by others for William, and the confiscation of the estates of his opponents, was an impolitiç measure ; and sowed the seeds of mutual animosity, which for a long time greatly embarrassed the public affairs.
The French, in 1689, in order to detach the six nations froin the British interest, fent out several parties againft the English colonies. One of the parties, consisting of about 200 French, and some of the Caghnuaga Indians, commanded by D'Ailldebout, De Mantel, and Lemoyne, was in. tended for New York. But by the adyice of the Indiańs, they determined first to attack Skenectady.
For this place they accordingly directed their course, and after twenty days march, in the depth of winter, through the snow, carrying their provisions on their backs, they arrived in the neighbourhood of Skenectady, on the 8th of February, 1690. Such was the extreme distress to which they were reduced, that they had thoughts of súrrendering themselves prisoners of war. But their scouts, who were a day or two in the village entirely unsuspected, returned with such encouraging accounts of the absolute security of the people, that the enemy determined on the attack. "They entered, on Saturday night about eleven o'clock, at the gates, which were found unshut; and, that every house might be invested at the same time, divided into small parties of fix or seven meni The inhabitants were in a profound sleep, and unalarmed, until their doors were broke open. ver were people in a inore wretched consteệnation. Before they were risen from thelr beds, the enemy entered their houses, and began the perpetration of the most inhuman barbarities. No tonguę can express the cruelties that were committed. The whole village was instantly in a blaze. Wonen with child ripped open, and their infants cast into the flames, or daihed against the pofts of the doors. Sixty persons perished in the massacre, and twenty-seven were carried into captivity. The reit fled naked towards Albany, through a deep snow which fell that very night in a terrible ftorm ; and 25 of the fugitives lost their limbs in the fight, through the severity of the froft. The news of this dreadful tragedy reached Albany, sbout break of day, and universal dread seized the inhabitants of that city,
the enemy being reported to be one thousand four hundred strong. A party of horse was immediately dispatched to Skenectady, and a few Mohawks then in town, fearful of being intercepted, were with difficulty sent to apprise their own castles,
The Mohawks were unacquainted with this bloody scene until two days after it happened, our messengers being scarcely able to travel through the great depth of the snow. The enemy, in the mean time, pillaged the town of Skeneđady until noon the next day; and then went off with their plunder, and about forty of their best horses. The rest, with all the cattle they could find, lay flaughtered in the streets,
Upon the arrival of a governor at New-York, commissioned by the king, Leifler imprudently refused to surrender the garrison, for which he and his son were condenined to death, as guilty of high treafon.
The whole province of New York was originally settled by non-epilcopalians, chiefly by presbyterians, except a few epifcopal families in the city of New York. In 1693, Col. Fletcher, then governor of the province, projected the scheme of a general tax for building churches, and supporting episcopal miniiters, and artfully effected his defign in part. This overture laid the foundation for a dispute between the presbyterians and episcopalians, which, until the revolution, was maintained on both fides with great warmth and animosity. Several of the governors, particularly the infamous Lord Cornbury, shewed great partiality to the episcopalians, and persecuted the presbyterians.
To prevent the Roman Catholic millionaries from Canada from influencing the Indian allies of the province to renounce their allegiance to the British crown, under the pretext of religion, the legislature of the province, in July 1700, passed a law, prohibiting Jesuits and Popish Priests
* The following extra& from the History of New-York, will fully juftify this epithet. Speaking of Lord Cornbury, the historian says, His lor'dship's Jense of honour and justice was as weak and indelicate, as his bigotry was ram. pånt and uncontroulable : and hence ue find him guilty of an act complicated of a number of vices, which no man could bave perpetrated without violence to the very Nightest remains of generofly and justice. When his excellency retired to Jamaica, on account of the Great Sickness in 1702, one Hubbard, the presbyterian minifter, lived in the best house in the town. His lordship begged ibe loan of it for the use of his own famiiy, and the clergyman put himself to no small inconveniencies to favour the governor's request ; but in return for the generous benefaction, his lordship perfidiously delivered the par fonage-house into the hands of the episcopal party, and encouraged one Cardwel, the perif, a mean fellow, who afterwards put an end to his own life, to seize upon the glebe, which be surveyed into lots, and farmed for the benefit of the episcopal church, Fbese tyraunical measures juftly inflamed
the indignation of the injured sufferers, and that again the more embittered his lordship again them. They resented, and be perfecuted : nor did be confine bis pious rage to be people of famaica. He detefted all who were of the same denomination ; nay, averse to every sece except his own, be infified that neither the ministers nor schoolmasters of the Dutch, the most numerous perfuafion in the province, had a right to preach or instruct without his gubesinatorial licence; and fore of them lamely submitted to bis unauthoritative rule.'
from exercising their office in the province, on pain of perpetual imprifon. ment. If any one should escape from prison, and be afterwards taken, he was to be put to death. This law, however vindicable in a political view, is certainly to be condemned on the principle of religion, as it favoured as highly of persecution as any law ever passed in New-England. The truth is, the legislators in both instances intended to prevent political evils, but their laws for this end were highly exceptionable. The offenders against the public peace ought to have been treated in a civil , not in a religious capacity. Civil and ecclesiastical
intirely distinct, and never ought to be blended. The religious persecutions, which have proved the destruction of thousands of pious people, may, in a great measure, be ascribed to the undue interference of civil with ecclefiaftical authority.
This law against the Roman Catholics remained unrepealed (though it was never enforced) until the revolution.
In 1709, a vigorous expedition was meditated against Canada, in making preparation for which, this province expended above £,. 20,000 ; but the expected assistance of Britain failing, it was never prosecuted, Soon after, Col. Schuyler, who had been very influential with the Indians, went to England with five fachers, who were introduced into the presence of Queen Anne. The object of this visit was to stimulate the miniftry to the reduction of Canada.
In 1711, a considerable fleet was sent over for that purpose, but eight transports being cast away on the coast, the rest of the fleet and troops rea turned with making any attempt to reduce Canada.
In 1710, Governor Hunter brought over with him about 3000 Palatines, who, the year before, had Aed to England from the rage of perses cution in Germany. Many of these people settled in the city of NewYork; others settled on a tract of several thousand acres in the manor of Livingston; and some went to Pensylvania, and were inftrumental in inducing thousands of their countrymen to enigrate to that province,
The prohibition of the sale of Indian goods to the French, in 1720, excited the clamour of the merchants at New-York, whose interest was affected by it. The measure was undoubtedly a politic one ; and the rea. fons for it were these : The French by this trade were fupplied with articles which were wanted by the Indians. This prevented the Indians from coming to Albany, and drew them to Montreal, and they being employed by the French, as carriers, became attached to them froni intereft. About the same time, a trading-house was erected by the English at Oswego, on Lake Ontario; and another by the French at Niagara..
In 1729, the act prohibiting the trade between Albany and Montreal was imprudently repealed by the king. This naturally tended to undermine the trade at Oswego, and to advance the French commerce of Niagara ;
and at the same time to alienate the affections of the Indians from Britain. Not long after this, the French were suffered to erect a fortress at Lake Champlain. To prevent the ill consequences of this, a scheme was projected to settle the lands near Lake George with loyal protestant Highlanders from Scotland. A tract of thirty thousand acres was accordingly promised to Captain Campbell, who, at his own expence, transported