Obrázky stránek
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

descendants are still in possession of their ancient patri-
mony. Amongst these is the respectable family of the
Van Rensselaers. They possessed, by patent, large
tracts of land which they leased out to the poor; they
were called patroons, which means landlord; they still go
by that name. The present patroon of Albany is Gen.
Stephen Van Rensselaer, one of the most worthy of the
human race. But to return to Mrs. G.-" There was one
wide street in Albany which run parallel with the river.
The space between the street and the river was laid out
into gardens. There was another street which run east
and west, (now called State-street,) this street was
still wider than the other. In the middle of this street
stood all their public buildings. In the centre of the
town rose a steep hill; this last street passed over the
hill and descended rapidly towards the river; at the
bottom of this descent, stood the old low Dutch church.*
In the winter season the young people used to amuse
themselves by sleighing (so they do now,) down this
hill, the sleigh being pulled by themselves instead of hor-
ses. I have enjoyed much pleasure in standing near
(continues: Mrs. Grant,) and contemplating this patri-
archal city; these primitive beings were dispersed in
porches, grouped according to similarity of years and
inclination; at one door young matrons, at another the
elders of the people; atla third, the youths and maidens,
gaily chatting or singing together; while the children
played around the trees, or waited by the cows (who
wore little tingling bells,) for the chief ingredient of
their supper, which they generally ate sitting on steps,
in the open air." "In my time," (continues the same
author,)" one of those vallies was inhabited by a
Frenchman; his residence was called a hermitage. The
Albanians respected him as something supernatural;
they imagined that he had retired to that sequestered
spot from having committed some deed in his life time;

*This, the oldest church in the Union, has very recently been pulled down as a nuisance; it was scarcely one story high, with painted glass in the windows. This painted glass was thus described to me by a lady of Albany :-Every member of the church, that is, the heads of families, had the escutcheon of his family, or his diploma, if a professional mang painted on a page of glass, with his name, &c.)

they considered him, however, in the light of an idolater, because he had an image of the Virgin Mary. There was always a governor, a few troops, and a small Court in Albany."


Albany is in latitude 42 deg. 38 min. N., at the head of tide water. Besides the public buildings already notic ed, it contains 2,000 houses and 17,000 inhabitants. It is governed by a Mayor, Recorder, aud ten Aldermen. The streets are paved and lighted. It is the oldest city in the United States, next to Jamestown in Virginia. Secretary Yates and Mr. Moulton are now engaged in writing a complete history of this state. From the ability and talents of these gentlemen, and their indefatiga. ble researches we may expect the best compilation that has ever been published. Mr. Yates, the present Secretary of State of New-York, is said to be a gentleman of high literary attainments; and, from his appearance, I would suppose him justly entitled to the character. He is apparently about thirty years of age, middling stature, and fine figure; his manners very suasive, his countenance mild and pleasing. Mr. Moulton is also a gentle. man of very interesting manners. But of all the gentlemen I met with in Albany, I was most pleased with Gen. Van Rensselaer, the present member of Congress, and Mr. Southwick, the poet. Of Gen. Van Renselaer lit tle may be said, his actions speak his praise wherever he is known, and even where he is not. He lives at the northern extremity of Market-street, quite out of the ci ty. His house fronts the end of the street, and stands near the Hudson. It is the finest building in the vicinity; the ground, shrubberies, gardens and walks attached to it are laid out in a style of taste, and elegance worthy its generous owner. The ancestor of this great and good man owned twelve miles square adjoining Albany, grant. ed to him by the states of Holland. He leased those lands out, "while water ran, or grass grew," exacting the tenth sheaf of grain the land produced. He reserv. ed to himself a large demesne, which has descended to the present patroon, as the general is called. He is in every respect worthy his princely fortune; being one of those rare few who may truly be said to lay up treasure

[blocks in formation]




rad of


s. It


t city

ged in


aliga. on that


an of







5, and er lit


at the

the ci




Forthy good





led to

e is in one of


in heaven. Perhaps no man of the present age can equal him in acts of charity and benevolence. His house is the resort of the poor and the distressed, both strangers and citizens. His purse and his heart are alike open to all, he turns none empty away. When he is absent, which is a great part of the year, his strict orders to his steward are to relieve the poor. He has a great number of tenants, many of whom often fall short of their rent, and relate their inability to pay; when he has heard their story, he, like Henry the fourth of France, pulls out his purse and divides the contents with them. In short, he is the idol of the poor, and the admiration of all who know his worth. This amiable man is advanced in years. In his person he is tall, slender, and perfectly shaped, his eye a deep hazel, his countenance what his actions bespeak, the very milk of human kindness.* Mr. Southwick though not possessed of a princely fortune, has a princely heart, and "though his portion is but scant, he gives it with good will." Mr. S. once a man of independence, has suffered shipwreck, and in the decline of life has to struggle with untoward fortune, encumbered with a numerous family. He is one of your warm hearted yankees, though long a resident of this place, the victim of a too generous heart. His misfortunes it is thought, drew from him that beautiful poem, "the pleasures of poverty." He is at present vending lottery tickets, in a passage scarcely wide enough to turn about in. He laughs at the incident, (speaking very fast,) and says he must be going to heaven; "I am in the straight and narrow way." He has nine (if not more) sons, the handsomest youths I ever saw, and he himself is the handsomest man I have seen in this state.


Amongst the great men of Albany, it will be expected, particularly by my western friends, that I am not to overlook one whose fame is held in veneration by them; I mean Governor Clinton. His Excellency De Witt Clinton, the present governor of New-York, is about fifty years of age; he is six feet (at least) in height, robust, and a little inclined to corpulency; he is straight and


[ocr errors]

* Mr. V. R. seems to consider himself as nothing more than a steward put here for the benefit of others.

[ocr errors]

well made; he walks erect with much ease and dignity;
his complexion is fa.r, his face round and full, with a soft
dark gray eye, his countenance mild and yielding; he
regards you in silence, with a calm winning condescen-
sion, equally removed from servility and arrogance,
while it inspires the beholder with admiration and re-
spect. His whole deportment is dignified and comman-
ding, with all the ease and grace of an accomplished
gentleman. Like all men of sense, he uses few words.
I had two interviews with him, during which I never saw
him smile, nor did he speak half a dozen words; in short,
the predominant traits in his countenancé, are benignity,
and modesty, lighted by 'genius. To a mind highly en
dowed by nature, he has added a rich store of practical
and theoretical knowledge: in few words, Governor
Clinton is a man of great size, great soul, great mind,
and a great heart. To him may be applied that line of
Thomson; 66
serene, yet warm; humane, yet firm his
mind."-Perhaps his best eulogium is "The Governor
of New-York." De Witt Clinton, Jun. about twenty.
five years of age, promises fair to rival his father, in those
qualities which constitute a great man. Fame begins to
whisper his growing merit, and predicts the natural re-
sult of genius, improved by education. He is tall, and
comely in his person, fair complexion, his features regu-
lar and handsome, his visage thin, his countenance soft,
though luminous and pleasing. In his manners he is still
more fascinating than his father. The ancestors of this
distinguished family, were originally of Ireland; we
hear of them, from their first arrival down to this day,
filling the first offices of their country. Besides Mr. Š.
I met with many yankees in Albany, whose generosity
and benevolence overwhelms a stranger with obligation
and delight. Amongst these, I cannot forego a remark
on O. Kane, Esq. His magnificent mansion and pleasure-
grounds, may well be styled an earthly paradise. He
lives at the southern extremity of the city, in a most su-
perb building, which stands upon an eminence, with an
extensive shrubbery in front, descending towards the
Hudson. This shrubbery is enclosed by a parapet, and
communicates with Market-street by an avenue leading

[blocks in formation]


a soft



nd re


er saw

from the front of the building. In the rear of the mansion are the gardens: the beauty and magnificence of the whole plan taken together, of this delightful spot, is only equalled by its generous and hospitable owner.

It was my design to enliven these sketches with anecdotes, and detached incidents of daily occurrence, such as the gossip of the day, &c., but the principal subjects have so increased upon my hands, that I find it impossiwords. ble. I cannot, however, resist an anecdote of two countrymen at the theatre. They were in the same box with short, myself, and it appeared from their conversation, they ignity, had never witnessed a stage performance before. They ly en were both well dressed, the one a young, the other a actical midlde aged man. The young man assumed a knowlvernor edge of the world, and explained to his friend the meaning of the wonders before them. "What is all them there things for, that's upon the doors, or whatever they are, that looks like they are painted, but I suppose that's the play," says the elderly man to his friend: ") no, () wenty that's jest, I don't know what it's done for, but it isn't the play," replied the friend: "You'll see live people a playing, and running about like mad, and making love, and making speeches, and the most funnyest things that ever you saw; John Steward says it will make you split your sides with laughing." "What's all them people soft, doing down there?" (pointing to the pit,) said the first,


line of

rm his



gins to


ral re

, and


is still

of this


O they're the players, you'll see um begin presently; (looking at his watch) it's most time." Thus the one continued to inquire, and the other to explain, until their sday, patience became exhausted: the commencement of the Mr. S. play, being from some cause protracted nearly an hour

; we


gation cmark


. He

Ost su

ith an

Es the

t, and


beyond the time mentioned in their bills, they in a vio-
lent passion, at being cheated out of their money by a
set of lazy fellows, that just made fun of them, were ac-
tually about to quit the box, when the bell rang, and I
informed them the players were coming on the stage;
at this moment the curtain flew up, and our fascinated
strangers were amply compensated for the delay. It
was amusing enough to hear them during the perform-
ance," that's a tarnation pretty gall, is'nt she," all
aloud. When the actress (as was sometimes the case,)

« PředchozíPokračovat »