Clúny, Alexander. The American Traveller, or, Observations on the Present State, Culture and Commerce of the British Colonies in America. . . . London, 1769.
p. 73 LETTER XIV.
THE next province, that in Course offers itself to your Lordship's Consideration, is New York, in every respect the Happiest for Habitation in all North America; the Healthfulness of the Climate vying with the Fertility of the Soil; which not only produces aboriginally every Necessary of Life, but also brings all the vegetable Productions of Europe, that have been tried there, to Perfection, and many of them in a much higher Degree, with little or no Trouble, than they arrive at in England, under the most careful and expensive Cultivation.
p. 74 Commodities exported from Great-Britain to New York.
Wrought-Iron, Steel, Copper, Pewter, Lead, and Brass -- Cordage -- Hemp -- Sail Cloth -- Ship-Chandlery -- Painter's-Colours -- Millinery -- Hosiery -- Haberdashery -- Gloves -- Hatts -- Broad-Cloaths -- Stuffs -- Flannels -- Colchester-Bays -- Long Ells -- Silks -- Gold and Silver Lace -- Manchester Goods -- British, Foreign and Irish Linens -- Earthen-Wares -- Grindstones -- Birmingham, and Sheffield Wares -- Toys -- Daslery -- Cabinet-Wares -- Seeds -- Cheese -- Strong-Beer -- Smoaking -Pipes -- Snuffs -- Wines -- Spirits -- Drugs -- All of which cost at an Average of three Years - - - - £531,000
The high Amount of our Exports plainly shews the Importance of this Trade to the Mother-Country; but this Importance will appear in a still stronger Light, when it is considered that the greatest Part of the Exports of this Province are carried to other Markets, and consequently the Returns
Commodities exported from New York to Great-Britain, and other Markets.
Flour, and Biscuit, 2500,000 Barrels at 20 s --- --- £ 250,00
Wheat, 70,000 Quarters at 20 s --- --- --- 70,000
Beans, Peas, Oats, Indian Corn, and other Grain --- 40,000
|Salt-Beef, Pork, Hams, Bacon, and Venison --- --- 18,000
Bees-Wax 30,000 lb at 1 s --- --- --- 1,500
Tongues, Butter, and Cheese --- --- --- 8,000
Deer, and other Skins --- --- --- --- 35,000
Flax-Seed, 7000 Hhds at 40 s --- --- --- 14,000
Horses, and Live Stock --- --- --- --- 17,000
Timber, Plank, Masts, Boards, Staves, and Shingles --- 25,000
Potash, 7,000 Hhds at 40 s --- --- --- 14,000
Ships built for Sale, 20 at £ 700 --- --- --- 14,000
Copper Ore, and Iron, in Bars and Pigs --- --- --- 20,000
The whole at a like Average of three Years £ 526,000
for ours made in Money, the most advantageous System of Trade, that can be carried on with any Country.
Richard Smith. A Tour of Four Great Rivers, the Hudson, Mohawk, Susquehanna and Delaware in 1769.
5th In the Morng we arrived at Paulus Hook Ferry, went over and dined at Burns's Tavern in (p. 4) York & this we deemed an indifferent House; here we saw the Govr Sir Henry Moore and other noted men. In the Afternoon we took Passage in a sloop, Richd. Scoonhoven, Skipper, for Albany; had fine weather and found it extremely agreeable Sailing with the country seats of the Citizens on the Right Hand, and the high Lands of Bergen on the Left and the Narrows abaft. We sailed about 13 or 14 Miles & then came to Anchor for the Night; the great Rains just before we set out had caused the Water of the North river to taste almost fresh at this Place. The Bergen Shore is high and Rocky & the Eastern Side diversified with Hill and Gully.
6th. These Albany Sloops contain very convenient Cabins. We eat from a regular Table accommodated with Plates, Knives & Forks & enjoyed our Tea in the Afternoon. We had laid in some Provision at N. York & the Capt. some more, so that we lived very well. Our Commander is very jocose & good company. About 7 oCloc we passed Spite the Devil (why so called I know not), or Harlem River, which divides the Manhattan Island from the Connecticut. The Entrance here appears to be narrow, bounded on each side with high Land; Kings Bridge said to be about a Mile from this Entrance but not in Sight. The Bergen Coast continues to be lined with lofty Ricks, thinly overspread with Cedars, Spruce & Shrubs.
Nearly opposite to Tappan we took a Turn on Shore (p. 5) to a Part of Col. Philip's Manor, from the Hills of which are beautiful Prospects. All the Country on both sides of the River from the City is hilly. *** This Morng the Sloop passed by Col. Philips Mansion House and Gardens situate in a pleasant Valley between Highlands. *** Hardly any Houses appear on the Bergen Side from Paulus Hook to the Line of Orange County.
*** The Skipper gave here 5 coppers for a Quart of Milk and Mr Wells bought (p. 6) Ten small Rock Fish for 12 coppers. The Freight of a Bushel of Wheat from Albany to N York according to our Skipper is Four Pence, or a Barrel of Flour one shilling and of a Hogshead of Flour 7/6and he thinks they have the same Rates from Kattskill. In the Night we ran ground among the Highlands about 50 Miles from N. York between Orange and Duchess Counties. The Highlands here are not so lofty as I expected and the River at this place appears to be about Half a Mile wide.
7th. Out Company went on Shore up the Rocks to a miserable Farm and House in Orange & left with the Farmer a Direction for Otego as he and his Neighbors seemed desirous to seek new Habitations. He pays Seven Pounds a Year Rent for about 100 acres including Rocks and Mountains. Hudson' River is straight to the Highlands, but thro them very crooked, many Strawberries are to be seen about the Banks and stony Fields. Martiler's Rock stands in a part of the River which is exceeding deep with a bold Shore encircled on either Hand by aspiring Mountains & thro them there is a View of a fine Country above. Here it is chiefly that the sudden Flaws sometimes take the River Vessels for which Reason they have upright Masts for the more expeditious lowering of the Sails on any sudden Occasion. Beyond the above Rock lies Pollaple's Island.
But a few Wheat and Rye Fields appear along the East Side of the River from N York hither and a very few Fields are ploughed as if intended for Indian Corn. The Lands seem proper for Sheep or perhaps (if the Severity of our Winters will admit) for Vineyards. On the West Side among the Highlands are only a few Houses seated in the small Vallies between the Mountains. From the Streights between Butter Hill and Broken Neck Hill & below them there is a distant Prospect of the Kaatskill Mounts, to the N. W. Murderers Creek which runs by the Butter Hill, divides the Counties of Orange and Ulster, there are a few Houses at the Mouth of the Creek. The soil in these parts is broken, stony and few places proper for the Plow. What grain we saw growing was but indifferent.
About one oCloc we passed by the Town of New Windsor on the Left, seeming at a Distance to consist of about 50 Houses Stores and Out houses placed without any regular Order. Here ends the Highlands. This Town has some Trade and probably hereafter may be a place of Consequence as the fine Country of Goshen is said to lie back about 12 or more Miles. On the East Side of the River a little above Windsor is the Fish Kill & Landing, whence the Sloops carry the produce of that Side for Market. The North River is here thought to be near Two (p. 8) Miles wide and the general range of the Highlands by the Compass as taken on the N. Side by our Surveyors is W. S. W. & E. N. E.
We took a turn on Shore at Denton's Mill called 60 Miles from N. York and walked above Two Miles down the River to Newbury a small scattered Village & to Denton's Ferry. We found excellent Cyder at both. The New England Men cross here & hereabout for Susquehannah; their Rout is from hence to the Minisink's accounted only 40 Miles distant, & we are told that 700 of their Men are to be in that Country by the First of June next. A sensible Woman informed us that Two Men of her Neighborhood have been several Times across to those Parts of Susquehannah which lie in York Government & here the people say our Rout by the Albany is above 100 Miles out of the Way. This is since found to be true, yet that Rout is used because it is the only Waggon Road to Lake Otsego.
The Lands near Hudsons River now appear less Hilly tho not lever & a few settlements are visible here and there; the Houses & Improvements not extraordinary. Denton's Mill above mentioned has a remarkable large Fall of Water forming a beautiful Cascade. We saw several other Cascades and Rills; divers Limekilns and much Lime Stone on each Shore hereaway & some Appearance of Meadow Land of which we have hitherto seen very little. Lime Stone, it is said, may be found on either Side of the River from the Highlands to Sopus. We have the (p. 9) pleasure of seeing sundry Sloops & Shallops passing back and forwards with the Produce of the Country and Returns. In the Evening we sailed thro' a remarkable Undulation of the Water for a Mile or Two which tossed the Sloop about much and made several passengers sick, the more observable as the Passage before and after was quite smooth & little Wind stirring at the Time. We anchored between Two high Shores bespread with Spruce, Chestnut Oaks and other Trees, very like the towering Banks of Bergen.
8th. There is a high Road from New York to Albany on both sides of the River, but that on the East side is most frequented; both Roads have a View now and then of the River. Poughkeepsing the County Town of Duchess stands above the Fishkill a little beyond the rough Water already noted. We passed the Town in the Night. Slate Stone Rocks are on the West Shore at and below Little Sopus from whence N York has of late been supplied. They reckon Little Sopus Island to be Half Way between N York and Albany. The Weather yesterday and to day very warm but the Mornings and Evenings are cool. Our Skipper says there are at Albany 31 Sloops all larger than this, which carry from 400 to 500 barrels of Flour each, trading constantly from thence to York & that they make Eleven or 12 Trips a year each. The general Course of Hudson's River as taken by compass in S & by E. and S & by W., in some places North and South. Between the Highlands and Kaatskill both these Mountains are in view at the same time.
At Two ocloc we arrived off the Walkill, there are (p. 10) 2 or 3 Houses at the Mouth of the Creek & a Trade is carried on in Six of Seven Sloops. Kingston the County Town of Ulster stands about Two Miles distant but not visible from the Water. The Kaatskill Mountains to the N. W. appear to be very near tho they are at a considerable Distance. The Country on both Sides continues still hilly and rugged and what Wheat is growing, looks much thrown out and gullied -- more Houses & Improvements shew themselves along the Sopus Shore and Opposite being an old settled Country.
Our Vessel came to Anchor a little above the Walkill about 60 Miles from Albany. We went on shore to Two stone Farm Houses on Beekman Manor in the County of Duchess. The Men were absent & the Women and children could speak no other Language than Low Dutch. Our Skipper was Interpreter. *** Twelve eggs sold here for six pence, Butter 14d. per pound and two shad cost 6d. One woman was very neat & the Iron Hoops of her Pails were scowered bright. The Houses are mean; we saw on Piece of Good Meadow which is scarce here away. The Wheat was very much thrown out, the Aspect of the Farms rough and hilly like all the (p. 11) rest and the soil a stiff clay. One Woman had Twelve good coutenanced Boys and Girls all clad in Homespun both Linen and Woolen. Here was a Two wheeled Plow drawn by 3 horses abreast, & a scythe with a Short crooked Handle and a Kind of Hook both used to cut down Grain for the Sickle is not much known in Albany County or in this Part of Duchess.
9th. We arose in the Morng opposite to a large Brick House on the East Side belonging to Mr. Livingston's Father. . . . Albany County is now on either Hand, & sloping Hills here and there covered with Grain like all the rest he have seen, much thrown out by the Frost of last Winter.
Landing on the West Shore we found a Number of People fishing with a Sein; they caught plenty of Shad and Herring and use Canoes altogether having long, neat and strong Ropes made by the People themselves of Elm Bark. Here we saw the first Indian, a Mohicon named Hans clad in no other Garment than a shattered Blanket; he lives near Kaatskill & had a Scunk Skin for his Tobacco (p. 12) Pouch. The Tavern of this Place is most wretched. Trees are out in Leaf. Cattle and Sheep, nothing different from ours, are now feeding on the Grass which seems nearly as forward as with us when we left Burlington, the Trees quite as forward & the White Pine is common. One Shad taken with the rest had a Lamprey Eel about 7 inches long fastened to his Back.
I was informed here by a person concerned in measuring it that the Distance from Kaatskill Landing to Schoharie is 32½ Miles reckoned to Capt Eckerson's House, a good Waggon Road and Produce brot down daily; from thence to Cherry Valley half a Day's Journey; that People are now laying out a New Road from Sopus Kill to Schoharie which is supposed to be about 32½ Miles. Sopus Creek is about 11 Miles below Kaatskill Creek and a Mile below where we now landed. The say that 7 or 8 Sloops belong to Sopus. The Fish are the same in Hudsons River above the Salt Water as in the Delaware. The Skipper bought a Parcel of Fish here cheap. These Fishermen draw their Nets oftner than ours not stopping between the Draughts.
At 3 o'Cloc we passed by the German Camp a small Village so called having Two Churches, situated on the East Side of the River, upon a rising Ground which shews the Place to Advantage. Some distance further on the same Side of the River we sailed by the Upper Manor House of Livingston. A Quantity of low cripple Land may be seen on the (p. 13) Side & this reaches 4 miles to the Kaatskill called 36 miles from Albany. Off the Mouth of this Creek we had a View of the large House built by John Dyer the Person who made the Road from hence to Schoharie at the expence of £400, if common Report may be credited.
Two Sloops belong to Kaatskill, a little beyond the Mouth whereof lies the large Island of Vastric. There is a House on the North Side of the Creek and another with several Saw Mills on the South Side but no Town as we expected. *** The Creek runs thro the Kaatskill Mounts said hereabouts to be at the Distance of 12 or 14 Miles from the North River but there are Falls above which obstruct the Navigation.
We landed in the Evening on the Kaatskill Shore 4 Miles above the Creek but could gain no satisfactory Intelligence. . . .
(p. 14) We passed by Sunday Islands whereof Scutters Island affords a good low Bottom fit for Meadow and some of it improved. Bear's Island is said to be the Beginning of the Manor of Renslaerwic which extend on both Sides of the River. The Lords of the Manors are called by the common People Patroons. Bearen Island or Bears Island just mentioned is reputed to be 12 Miles below Albany. Cojemans' Houses with Two Grist Mills & Two Saw Mills stand a little above on the West Side and opposite is an Island of about Two Acres covered with Young Button wood Trees which Island, our Skipper says, has arisen there to his Knowledge within 16 years and sine he has navigated the River.
More low, bottom Land is discovered as we pass up, generally covered with Trees; being cleared might be made good Meadow by Banking, an Improvement to which the Inhabitants are altogether Strangers. The upper End of Scotoc's Island is a fine cleared Bottom not in Grass but partly in Wheat & partly in Tilth. However there was one rich Meadow improved. We saw the first Batteaux a few Miles below Albany, Canoes being the Common Craft. (p. 15) One Staat's House is prettily fixed on a rising Ground in a low Island, the City of Albany being 3 miles aHead. We discovered for the First Time a Spot of Meadow Ground, ploughed and sowed with Peas in the Broad Cast Way; the Uplands are now covered with Pitch Pine & are sandy and barren as the Desarts of N. Jersey.
As we approach the Town the Houses multiply on each Shore and we observe a person in the Act of sowing Peas upon a fruitful Meadow of an Island to the right. The Hudson near Albany seems to be about Half a Mile over. Henry Cuyler's Brick House on the East Side about a mile below the Town looks well & we descry the King's stables a long wooden Building on the left & on the same side Philip Schuyler's Grand House with whom at present at present resides Col Bradstreet. Col. John Van Renslaer has a good House on the East Side.
(p. 16) At Half after 10 oCloc we arrived at Albany estimated to be 164 Miles by Water from N. York and by Land 157. In the Afternoon we viewed the Town which contains according to several Gentlemen residing here, about 500 Dwelling Houses besides Stores and Out Houses. The Streets are irregular and badly laid out, some paved others not, Two or Three are broad the rest narrow & not straight. Most of the Buildings are pyramidically shaped like the old Dutch Houses in N. York. We found Cartwright's a good Tavern tho his charges were exorbitant & it is justly remarked by Kalm the Swedish Traveller in America that the Townsmen of Albany in general sustained the character of being close, mercenary and avaricious. They deem it 60 miles from Albany to Cherry Valley.
We did not note any extraordinary Edifices in the Town nor is there a single Building facing Albany on the other Side of the River. The Fort is in a ruinous neglected Condition and nothing now to be seen of Fort Orange built by the Dutch (p. 17) but part of the Fossé or Ditch which surrounded it. The Barracks are built of Wood and of ordinary Workmanship; the same may be said of the King's Store Houses. The Court House is large and the Jail under it. One miserable Woman is now in it for cutting the Throat of her Child about 5 years old. There are 4 Houses of Worship for different Denominations and a Public Library which we did not visit. Most of the Houses are biuilt of Brick or faced with Brick. The Inhabitants generally speak both Dutch and English & some do not understand the latter. The Shore and the Wharves 3 in Number abounded in Lumber. Stephen Van Renslaer the Patron or Lord of the Manor of Renslaerwick his House stands a little above the Town; he is a young man.
The Site of the Town is hilly and the soil clay but round the place it is mere SAnd bearing pine Trees chiefly of the Pitch Pine. Some Lime or Linden Trees as well as other Trees are planted before the Doors as at N York and indeed Albany has in other Respects much the Aspect of that City. The Houses are for the most Part covered with Shingles made of White Pine, some few with (p. 18) red or black Tiles. In one of the Streets there is a Sigh of the Jersey Shoe Ware House being supplied in Part with Shoes by Henry Guest of N. Brunswick; there is a Town Cloc which strikes regularly. We saw some Indians here & found the Weather warm and sultry.
to throw out 1. of frost, etc.: to force (young plants) out of the ground. [See p. 10 & 11] 1840 Jrnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 1 iii. 272 The wheat is usually only thrown out in severe frosts. 1847 Jrnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 8 i. 66 The rolling and treading..prevent the plants being thrown out by alternate frosts and thaws.
cripple 3. U.S. (local.) (a) A dense thicket in swampy or low-lying ground; (b) a lumberman's term for a rocky shallow in a stream. [see p. 12]
1675 in New Jersey Archives (1880) I. 115 The great Swamp or Cripple which backs the said two Necks of land.
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