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names and residences of the sufferers being given, occasioned by drinking too copiously of cold water while overheated, principally though not wholly among labouring men.
in the American newspapers it is common to see the gravest evils treated with ridicule by the quaint wit of the editors. Thus the journals seemed for some days to compete with each other for the palm of superiority as to the most ingenious points of view in which this excessive heat of the season could be exhibited. There were, accordingly, paragraphs beginning with the words “ hissing hot," “ frying hot,» « boiling hot, and so on; but the prize seemed to be carried off by a New-Orleans editor, who, under the head of “ melting hot,” stated that so great was the heat at NewOrleans, that "any person choosing to put his head out of the window might see whole suits of clothes, in large numbers, walking empty through the streets, the original wearers of the garments having been entirely melted away!"
There is one circumstance which greatly increases the effect of the heat in driving through the American streets, namely, the excessive roughness of the pavement, and the consequent shaking and jolting experienced even in the best-made carriages. It had several times the effect of producing in me double the amount of suffering (uniting the heat of violent motion with the heat of the atmosphere) which would have been felt on a smooth road. I had frequently before thought that there was nothing in which American cities were so inferior to English towns of a similar size as in their central pavements--the side or foot pavements are quite as good; but I was never so forcibly struck with this as at Albany, where the steepness of the streets, ascending from the river to the Capitol Hill, and the excessive rudeness and roughness of the pavements, caused such an incessant and deafening din, in the noise of carriages and carts, as they rattled over the rounded and uneven points of the projecting stones, and shook me with such sudden and violent oscillations from side to side, and backward and forward, in constant motion, as to produce more fatigue and discomfort in a ride of one mile, than would be felt at the same temperature in a ride of ten through any of the streets of London. The rattling noise, indeed, often reminded me of the quaint conceit of Monk Lewis in his poem of the Fire King, in which, when describing that personage,
he says, if I remember the words rightly, " His teeth they did clatter, as if you should try
To play the piano in thimbles." This evil might be easily remedied by the use of wooden pavements in perpendicularly inserted octagonal blocks, such as have been partially, but successfully, tried in New-York and Philadelphia ; and, considering the cheapness and abundance of wood in this country, there is little doubt but that, before long, this mode of pavement will be very generally adopted in all level streets; while
a much more smooth pavement of granite, such as is used in the best streets of London, might be adopted for ascending or descending streets, for this material is also abundant in most parts of the country.
Albany is singularly deficient in the number of its benevolent institutions, compared with the other cities of America, or with the extent of its own population, wealth, and resources. The only one of interest or importance is the Orphan Asylum, which I went to visit with one of the directors, and with which I was much pleased. The building is a large brick edifice on the western edge of the town, advantageously situated for the health and comfort of its inmates. The edifice cost about 20,000 dollars, which was raised by private subscription, a few individuals contributing half of the sum required, in payments of 2500 dollars or £500 sterling each, and the rest being readily obtained from the inhabitants generally.
The building is enclosed with a spacious and excellent garden of fruits, vegetables, and flowers, which the orphans cultivate themselves; and about five acres of ground afford them pasture for cows, and spacious and airy play-grounds.
Though called an orphan asylum, the directors have found it advisable to take in destítute little children who had one parent liv. ing, but that parent unable to provide for its offspring, as in the case of destitute widows; and sometimes where both parents were alive, but where the father being a drunkard, and the mother scarcely able to maintain herself, the little children were really as badly off as if both father and mother had been in the grave. I was assured by the director, Mr. Wood, that in an investigation which he deemed it his duty to make previously to preparing one of the last annual reports, he had found that in fully nineteen cases out of every twenty, the little children, whether orphans or otherwise, were destitute and helpless entirely because their fathers or mothers, or both, had been persons of intemperate habits, and expended what they ought to have bestowed on their children in intoxicating drink.
There are at present about 100 children in the Asylum, from 3 to 10 years of age. At their entry, if there be any persons who have a claim to them by relationship or otherwise, the consent of such person is obtained to the giving up the child wholly to the direction of the Asylum till it shall be 21 years of age. The child is then provided with food, raiment, and lodging, and receives a plain, but religious education. Their diet is wholly vegetable; and this is found, by some years' experience, to be not only sufficiently nutritious to ensure all the required strength, but superior to animal diet in its being less likely to engender diseases, the average health of the children, notwithstanding the destitute condition in which many of them are taken in, being greater than the average condition of any similar number not so fed. They work in the garden with great cheerfulness, cultivating their own food; and this,
again, while it is a pleasurable and even instructive recreation, is found highly favourable to their health.
During our visit, which was just before sunset, the little children were assembled to go through some of their exercises, and a little fellow of about seven years old, being directed to step out of the ranks for the purpose, was requested to commence the examination He began to question them on geography, and they really evinced considerable knowledge for their age. They sang also prettily and in good time. At the close of these exercises another youth of about the same age was invited to repeat an address which he had delivered at the last anniversary; and as it is characteristic of the style of thought and sentiment with which all the early lessons of the American youth abound, I transcribe it from a copy furnished at my request
. The young orator, advancing to the front of the floor, said:
“America, my native country, was unknown to the white man a little more than 300 years ago, but now, what is her history?' It is but 217 years since our pilgrim fathers fled from their homes in the storm of persecution, and found, in this then wilderness world, an asylum, a peaceful retreat. It was for Christian liberty they fled; and it was then that they first sowed in this soil those seeds of freedom which have since so fertilized our happy land. Though England held her sovereign power to rule a while, her dominion was but short; and we bless the glorious day when our patriot fathers, aroused by noble indignation, broke the chains of tyranny that were too long imposed upon them; and then liberty, sweet liberty, smiled on all these states. But what has our freedom cost? The toils, the suffering, and the death of many a valiant friend of human rights. Their sacrifices dearly purchased for us the gift which we cannot too highly value. And will you, our fathers now, continue to guard her sacred rights till we, your sons, shall stand up in your stead to defend her cause? Yes! I know you will; and though war and tumult rage both north and south of us (alluding to the insurrection in Canada and the Indian warfare in Florida), yet on us shall peace and plenty still continue to smile.”
After this a hymn was sung by all the children, standing, to the air of “God save the King," the first stanza of which was as fol
“My country! 'lis of thee,
Of thee I sing.
Let freedom ring."
nie bl. of
int the 75
of America. The subsequent exercises of their schoolbooks reiterate all this in later youth, and early initiation into political doctrines follows soon after, by pupils, almost as soon as they have completed their studies, becoming members of Young Men's Conventions, held from time to time to declare adherence to certain political principles, and organize plans of action. The impressions thus become so deep and permanent that there is no subsequent danger of their obliteration; for in politics, as in morals and religion, more depends on the first impressions planted in early youth, and the frequent repetition of them from thence to manhood in one unbroken chain, than upon the reasoning powers of individuals; and thus it is that national faiths, habits, and forms of government are so continually preserved from generation to generation.
The annual expense of this asylum for feeding, clothing, and educating 100 orphans, is about 3000 dollars or £600 annually, being about 50 cents or two shillings sterling per head per week; and the funds for this are readily obtained by subscriptions in the city, as the asylum is a favourite charity. Every suitable opportunity is taken to place the children out at the proper age in advantageous situations in life; and hitherto the institution has been a great blessing to the destitute objects of its care, and an honour to its directors and supporters.
The last of the public institutions we saw in Albany was the Museum, which has been spoken of as one of the best in the country. We found it inferior, however, to any we had yet seen, in the limited extent and variety of its collections, as well as in the defective arrangement and inferior quality of almost everything belonging to it.
Excursion to the Shaker Village of Niskyuna.-Description of their Place of Worship.
- Arrangement for the Reception of Strangers.-Costume of the Shakers, Male and Female. -Silent Commencement of their Devotions.-Address of one of the Male Elders.--First Hymn sung by all the Worshippers.--Address of a second Elder to the Visiters.--Attitude of Kneeling, and Invitation to the Angels.- Defence of the Char. acter of the Institution.-Speech of one of the Female Elders.--Commencement of the devotional Dancing.-Gradually increasing Fervour of their Devotion.--Hymns to Quick Song.tunes, and a Gallopade.-Extravagant Evolutions of the Female Dancers.-Comparison with the whirling Dervishes of Damascus.-Fanaticism of Chris. tians, Mohammedans, and Hindus.
On Sunday, the 15th of July, we left Albany at nine in the morning, on a visit to the establishment of the religious sect called “The Shakers," at Niskyuna, a distance of eight miles from Albany in a northwest direction. Having a comfortable open car
riage and a good pair of horses, our journey was easy and agreeable. A great part of the road was bordered with a rich variety of wood, and other parts showed extended tracts of cultivation; while the range of the Catskill Mountains to the south formed an interesting feature in the general picture. The sky was bright, the heat not oppressive, the thermometer at 80° in the town and 75° in the country, and the perfume of the shrubs and flowers delightful
We arrived at the village of Niskyuna about half past ten, just as the community were assembling for worship, and saw several lines or files of males and females walking in pairs through the fields towards the place of meeting. We entered with them the place of worship, which was a plain room of about 50 feet long by 25 feet broad, without pulpit, pews, curtains, or any kind of furniture; plain benches being provided for seating the Shakers themselves, as well as the strangers who came to see
them. Every part of the building or room was in the utmost perfection of cleanliness, and not a speck or particle of dust or dirt was anywhere visible.
For the strangers a number of benches were placed, to accommodate about 200, and there were fully that number of visiters from the neighbouring country present. Of these, the males had to enter by one door and the females by another, and each to remain separate during the service. Of the Shakers who joined in the worship there were about 100 males and 100 females. These entered also by different doors, and ranged themselves on benches in oblique lines from each end of the room till they nearly met each other, when the space between the front row of each sex was triangular, the apex of the triangle being the place from whence the speakers addressed the assembly on the floor. The constantly widening space caused by the diagonal lines of the two front rows, left an opening by which all the strangers who came as spectators could see the persons and countenances of those who joined in the worship clearly and distinctly.
The males included several boys from 7 or 8 years old to 14, and so upward to young men of 20, middle-aged of 30 and 40, and elders of 50, 60, and 70; and there was the same diversity of ages among the females. But, notwithstanding the difference of age in each, they were all dressed in one uniform fashion.
The dress of the men consisted of a white shirt, collar, and white cravat, loose trousers, and large waistcoat of a deep maroon-coloured stuff, like camlet or bombazin ; the trousers were so long as to touch the shoes, but there were neither straps to keep them down, nor braces to suspend them upward. The waistcoast was of the oldfashioned cut of the court-dress used a century or two ago : single-breasted, with a deep waist cut away diagonally in front, and with long, low pockets. The waistcoat was not buttoned, but hung loose, showing the entire front or bosom of the shirt, and no