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Prison. The prison of Albany is in the city, upon the same elevation with the capitol, and not far from it; a little south. It is a brick building of great size, though not of great strength; kept in excellent order, the rooms clean, well aired and white-washed; it contained 18 men and six females, all of whom were criminals; they looked cheerful and healthy and spoke in the highest terms of the keeper. I saw but one debtor, an English gentleman, who had sacrificed his liberty out of affection for his son, on whose account he was imprisoned. Ile was (to the honour of the keeper,) admitted to great in dulgencies, spending most of his time in the keeper's apartment. Both the keeper and his wife are people of exemplury humanity.
Alms-House and Hospital.-The alms-house is nearly a mile from the city, and consists of two very indifferent wooden buildings, which are crowded with paupers. They made a wretched appearance, and looked any thing than comfortable. And as for the hospital, which is a part of the same buildings, it is a burlesque on the name. In short, both these establishments, and the manner they are kept, are every way unworthy the capital city of the great state of New-York. In extenuation, however, it is but justice to explain that the great number of Irish who flock to this country for the purpose of bettering their condition, when they arrive here, become the most abandoned sots. Their fonduess for ardent spirits, and the low rate at which they can obtain it, sinks them to the lowest (and far beyond it,) grade of hu manity. The victims of poverty and disease, the poor. house becomes their final retreat. A great number of those unfortunate creatures were employed in making the grand Canal, but from their intemperance, have be come reduced to pauperism, and are now a dead weight on this city! Such was their number, and so sudden the application, that the present buildings were found in adequate.
It is much to be lamented, that those Irish who come to this land of liberty and plenty, should so shamefully abuse their privilege by turning a blessing into a curse! The poor-houses in all these Atlantic towns affords a de
plorable proof of the justness of this remark. The an-
Lancasterian School. The building in which this school is kept, stands in one of the most commanding situations in the city, upon the same elevated ground with the capitol, and remarkable both for beauty and size. From 300 to 400 children are taught in this school, which is the best organized of the sort I have seen. It is under the eye of an able board, consisting of the first gentlemen in the city, who seem to take much pride in its success. The main school-room is divided into two equal parts, by an open passage or gangway quite across the building; from this area, the desks of the pupils rise up one behind the other in regular succession, on each side of the passage, to the height of a story, so that the whole is seen at a glance. The teachers have their desks one at each end of the passage, elevated about half way to the sealing.
The alphabet class have each a small wheel before him, with the letters of the alphabet printed on it, which shows but one letter at a time, the wheel being concealed in the desk. When the pupil is perfect in one letter he turns the wheel which brings the next letter into view.
But what they excel in is their correctness of pronunciation, cadence and emphasis in reading and spelling; this is to be ascribed to the indefatigable labor and attention of the Principal, Mr. Tweedale. When the classes read, Mr. T. adjourns to a reading room, where one of the pupils commences by reading a paragraph alone, in which he is corrected by the other pupils, who, with the teacher, hold a book of the same sort in their hands. But neither the teacher or the pupils interrupt the reader until he has finished the paragraph; any of the pupils, or all of them must point out the errors, either in emphasis or pronouncing; he then reads the same over again and again, until he is perfect. After which all the pupils read the same paragraph together, with an audible voice, observing the most uniform exactness in prosody, emphasis and cadence.
Library. Respecting the public library of Albany,
am unable to say any thing. The Librarian, (the greatest boor except two in Albany,) would neither let me examine the books, or show me the catalogue. A gentleman who was present, however, informed me that it contained 4,000 volumes. It appears that strangers are not allowed to sit in it and read, which liberty is common in other public librarics.
Museum. The Museum of Albany is a tolerable collection, much more so than I anticipated; but after sceing the museum of Philadelphia, it had not enough of interest in it to amuse. The mischievous boys adverted to sundry tricks to surprise me, while passing through the apartments, by ringing bells, raising Samuel from the dead, &c.; and though they failed in their attempts to frighten me, they succeeded in the case of some gentlemen and ladies. There are a number of wax-figures in the museum; amongst which is the execution of Louis XVI. of France. Louis, all pale and emaciated, is scated with a guard standing round him, and others on horseback. A hideous blood-thirsty figure is setting with his eye on a watch, which lies before him; he is watching the minute-hand to ascertain the fatal moment. Robes pierre is also present, out-looking vengeance itself. The scaffold upon which Louis is to suffer, stands near; both that, and the steps leading to it, are covered with black. The proprietor of the museum is justly entitled to the patronage of the public, were it only for his obliging manners, though there is sufficient matter of entertainment in the museum, even for those who have seen richer collections. Here, as at Philadelphia, you pay but
Kninckerbocker Hall.-Knickerbocker Hall, and the New Theatre, are alike conspicuous as specimens of taste, in size and architecture. The first is a spacious assembly room, fitted out in a style worthy the capital city of New-York. It contains a long ball-room, with a splendid orchestra, also dressing-rooms and supper apartments, all of which are superbly furnished. Assemblies are held here twice in each week, to which the fashionable and the enlightened of both sexes repair for amusement. It is under the direction of the first gentlemen in the city.
The new theatre, just finished, is one of the finest buildings in this or any other city, and promises fair to beguile the gloom of the long winter nights of this region. Markets. There are two market-houses in Albany, nearly in the centre of the city. Nothing is sold in market during the winter, but meats; vegetables are sold out of carts and waggons, in the streets, very cheap.
Manners and Appearance.-Albany embraces three distinct classes of people. The first class comprises the executive officers of the government, the supreme judges, the gentlemen of the bar, the physicians, and a few of the reverend clergy, with the principal merchants of the city. These constitute the first circle, take them on what ground you will; amongst them are the Clintons, the Van Rensselaers, the Taylors, the Lansings, the Spencers, the Woodworths, the Laceys, the Chesters, the Ludlows, and the celebrated De Witt family, with many others, whose talents may rank them with the first men of any country. The second class comprises shop-keepers. mechanics, clerks, &c. &c. This, the middle class, constitute the religioso of the place, and are people of moderate pretensions on the score of philosophy and learning. Between these and the better sort, the line of distinction is strongly marked---the one, as remarkable for intelligence, affability, and liberality of sentiment, as the other is for bigotry,harsh and uncourtly manners.In those you find cheerfulness, hospitality, and highly polished manners; in these a grim, cold, contracted deportinent, in all they say or do. This is not the effect of religion, but the want of it. The reign of bigotry, however, is short in Albany; that attention which is bestow ed on education, will, in a few years, compel it to fly to some other region-it is a monster that cannot endure the light. In all the towns I have visited, I have not found education in a more flourishing condition than in Albany. Guess my astonishment at seeing little boys, and even little girls with Euclid in their hands. The last and third class of citizens, are mostly foreigners, who rank with blacks and sailors; having little commerce with the respectable citizens.
The churches of Albany are very splendid indeed,
particularly the north Dutch; it is second to none I have seen in my travels; its glittering domes are the greatest ornaments of the city. The south Dutch is also a splendid building; the furniture is superb in all, and the music fine. Their clergy rank high in theology, being men of the first literary attainment. no respecter of sect or party, I went to hear them all, and was much disappointed at the display of eloquence. Amongst their first preachers stands the Rev. Dr. C. Rev. L. Lacey, and Ferris. Dr. C. is an orator of the first class. But of all their clergy, I was most pleased with the Rev. Mr. Lacey, of the Episcopal church; a man of the most captivating manners; his modesty and christian meekness, incontestibly proves his devotion to his divine master.
History. In tracing the history of Albany to its origin, we discover the commencement of the state, as the first permanent settlement was effected at this place. Albany was settled by the Hollanders, in 1614; they built a fort, a store-house, and a church, the commencement of the present city. The name of the commander "Christians," which has been mentioned. It is matter of much regret that the history of New-York is very imperfectly known, the original account being kept in Holland, in the Dutch language; by the change of masters which took place, and through the most unpardonable neglect on all hands, much of the most interesting history of New-York is lost. In Mrs. Grant's letters F found a few particulars relating to Albany, and its primitive inhabitants. She mentions this fort, as being at one time occupied by an independent company, commanded by Captain Massy, the father of Mrs. Lennox, the celebrated protege of Doctor Johnson. She also makes mention of Colonel Philip Schuyler, a most enlightened gentleman, who first settled what is called the Flats,* where he displayed great power of mind in maintaining peace and harmony with the Indians. She likewise makes honourable mention of the principal families who settled this part of the state, many of whose
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