"Journal of a French Traveller in the Colonies, 1765", part II. American Historical Review, 27: 1 (Oct., 1921), pp. 70-89
p. 81 August the 22d. Crossed the fery from amboy to Staten Island which is about mile broad, from hence to watsons fery at the other Extremity of the Island, 16 miles. here I Broke fast. this Island is in the province of new York, Distance about 9 m. N. W. from the metropolis. it is about (13) miles in length, and 6 or 7 in breadth. on the South side is a Considerable tract of good level land, but the Island in general is rough and the hills prety high and stoney. the Inhabitants are principally Dutch and some french.
Sandy hook, and the Southermust point of long Island, form the Entrance of New York Bay. this is Called the narrows. It is but 2 m. broad and opens the ocean to full view. the passage up to York from sandy hook is safe, and not above 25 miles in length. the Common navigation is between the East and west bancs, in two or three and twenty feet water, but it is said that an Eighty gun ship may be brought thorough a narrow winding unfrequen'd Channel, between the North End of the East bank and Coney Island. there has been a 70 gun ship up Close to the town. the Island on which the City is built is about 14 m. long, and not above one mile broad. the S. W. point projects into a fine spacious bay, 9 miles in length and about 4 in breadth, at the Confluence of hudssons or N. W. river and the streight between long Island and the North Eastern Shore, or East river. on this point is the City, which Consists of about 2700 houses or buildings. it is upwards of a mile in (p. 82) length and about ½ that in breadth. it is said to be a very healthy spot. the East and South parts are low and Convenient for wharfs, the north and west parts Elevated and Dry. the Streets are Iregualar, but being paved with round pebles, are allways Clean. there are Several well built brick houses in the English taste, the others in the Dutch with the gablends towards the Streets and Coverd with tyles; this City is suplyed with markets in Different parts, abounding with great plenty and variety, they have Beef, pork, veal, muton, poultry, veneson, wild fowl, Especially wild pigeon, fish, oysters, roots, and all Kinds of vegitables and fruits, in their Seasons; this City is the metropolis of the province and by its Comodious situation Commands all the trade of the western part of Connecticut and that of East Jersy; no Seson prevents their shipin from going out and Comeing into port, there are allways pilot boats at the narows ready to Conduct them In on first sight.
the City hall is a Strong building two Stories high situated where four Streets meet and fronts to the S. W. on one of the most Spacious Streets in town. here they hold their Council and General Courts.
the Inhabitants of new York are a mixed people, mostly Decended from the Dutch planters originally, there are still two Churches in which religious worship is performed in that language, but the number that talk it Diminishes Daily. all religions are permited here Except the roman Catholique.
the City of York Consists principally of merchants, shop keepers and tradesmen (as Dos philadelphia) who have the reputation of punctual and fair Dealings. there are Some very rich houses in it. the people are very sociable and kind to Strangers.
felt makeing is a Considerable Branche in york and it is said their hats are as good as in England.
p. 83 the N. E. part of New York Island is Inhabited Chiefly by Dutch farmers who have a Small vilage there Called harlem pleasantly Situated on a flat Cultivated for the City Markets.
scarce a third part of the province is Cultivated. the Colony of Connecticut which is vastly inferior to this In its Extent, had according to a late Computation, above 133,000 Inhabitants of which a militia of 27000 men, wheras the whole number of souls Containd in New York is but 110,000 and the militia 18000.
the Situation of new york with regard to foreign merkets Is to be prefered to any of the Colonies. it lies in the Center of the Continent, has at all times a Short and easy access to the ocean, and has almost the whole trade of Connecticut and New Jersy, two fertile and well Cultivated Colonies. hudsons river which runs up in the Country near lake ontario (and Caried Small vessels as far as albany on Sd. river 150 m. from York) Impowers them to Cary on a Conssiderable trade with the Back Indians, to whom they Send rum, amunition, blankets, Strouds, and wampum or Conque shell Bugles. In return for which, they have all Kinds of fur, and peltrys; they allways have been in good Intelligence with the five nation, now Six Nation Indians, which are the Bravest and most redoutable of all the Indian Nations, that Canada has often Experienced;
the Importation of Dry good from England to this province has been Conssiderable formerly, Insomuch that the merchants were often at a loss how to make returns, or remitances to the English merchants, but this is not so much the Case now, and Expecially since the Stamp Dutys have been talked of. Indeed the Inhabitants of all the Different Colonies are so Exasperated at this present time, at the stationing men of war all along the Coste to prevent their Carying on any foreign trade, Especially with the french Islands and now ading the Stamp Duties, that they are resolved to raise every thing within themselves, and Import nothing from England. this resolution tho of a Short Standing, has afected England to that Degree that Several Corps of tradespeople were risen, and Could not be quelled without a Conssiderable body of troops that were Dispersed in the Difft. parts of the City of london for that purpose.
there had been severall perssons apointed in the Different Colonies, to be Colectors of Sd. Duties, but they were all glad to resigne to save their lives.
the Exports of New york to the west Indias are flower, peas, rye meal, bread, Indian Corn, ognions, boards, Staves, lumber, horses, sheep, pickled oysters beef and pork. of flower, which is the main article, there has been shiped about 90,000 Barels, pr. annum. to preserve their Credit in this important branche of their staple, they apoint officers to Inspect and brand every Barrel before it is shiped. the returns are Chiefly sugar, rum, molasses etc. the spaniards Commonly Contract with this and the Colony of Pensilvania for provisions, and with Virginia for Masts and yards, much to the advantage of Sd. Colonies, the returns being wholly in Cash. their wheat, flower, Indian Corn, and lumber, shiped to lisbone and the mederas, balance the madera wine Imported which is no small quantity, it being their usual Drink after meals. they Export to Ireland great quantitys of flax Seed. they Sent in one year 13,000 hhds. in return they have Irish linnens.
p. 84 there is along hudsons river great stock of timber of all Kinds and good Conveniences for ship building, also Iron mines in plenty and of the best quality out of which they furnish Boston and road Island, for their bulding. this is a Considerable branche of the trade of this province, the bodys of Iron mines in the Northern parts of it are so many, their quality so good, and their situation so Convenient with regard to wood, water Cariages, and all other Conveniencies, that it is generally thought (with attention) they might rival the Swedes in this article.
[Notes: stroud: "A blanket manufactured for barter or sale in trading with the North American Indians" (OED)
peltry: "Undressed skins, esp. of animals valuable for their furs; furs and skins prepared for sale" (OED)]
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