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A ME RICA,
HISTORICAL, STATISTICAL, AND DESCRIPTIVE.
Early History of the Settlement of Albany.-First Voyage of Hudson up the North
River.Foundation of the Fort and City of Albany. -Collisions of the Dutch with the English.-Grant of the Territory by Charles II. to the Duke of York.-Surrender of Albany to the British. Increase of Population by the Decennial Census.-Causes of the rapid Prosperity of Albany.-Size in Area, and Extent in Resources, of the State.-Comparison of Surface with England and Wales. --Vast Scale of the United States of Ainerica. Increase of Population in the State of New York.-Probable Augmentation of Territory and Inhabitants.-State Canals: Length, Cost, and Profits on them.-Railroads : Extent and Cost-Early Corporation Records of Albany.Latest Cominercial and Manufacturing Statistics.-Agricultural Statistics.- Increase in the Banks of the State of New York, of each Kind.-Statistics of Education ; Amount of Funds.-Topography of Albany.-Site and Position.--Plan and Arrangement of Streets and Squares.- Contrast between ancient and modern Houses.-Shops or Stures, Hotels and Boarding houses.
ALBANY ranks among the very earliest settlements of the Europeans on the Continent of North America, having been first settled by the Dutch so early as the year 1612. It was but three years before this, 1609, that the celebrated English navigator, Hudson, then in the service of the Dutch East India Company, set sail from the Texel in Holland, in search of a northwest passage to India. He was unable to accomplish this object, and on abandoning it as impracticable, he steered southward, and entering the bay of the Chesapeake, there saw the first settlement of the English at Jamestown, in Virginia. He afterward sailed for the Delaware, off which he anchored, and proceeded from thence to Long Island, entered the bay of New-York, and sailed up the North River, as it was first named, or Hudson, as it is now called after its first discoverer.
While we were on our passage up from New-York to Albany, I was repeatedly led to consider what must have been the feelings of the intrepid commander and his enterprising crew at the scenes of beauty and fertility which were perpetually opening upon their sight during their advance up the stream, which they had every reason to believe that they were the first among Europeans to see and admire. Their delight must have been excessive ; and the enthusiasm and triumph of the moment must have been worth a year of peril to purchase.
It is said that, though at the first entrance of Hudson into the Bay of New-York, some of the tribes then occupying Long Island evinced their hostility to his farther progress by attacks in which
some of his men were killed and others wounded, yet that, as he advanced up the river, he found the Indians less hostile ; expressing, by looks and signs, their disposition to give him welcome, and testifying their friendly spirit by presents of fruits and flowers.
The report which Hudson and his companions gave, when they returned to Holland, of the size and character of the river, induced the Dutch merchants to form an association for opening a traffic upon it; and the Dutch government granted to this association a monopoly of this trade for a certain period. It was by this company that the first settlement was formed where Albany now stands, on a spot then called by the Indians Schaunaugh-ta-da, or Once the Pine Plains. The Dutch here built a fort, which was commanded by Henry Christaens. It was first called Aurania till 1620, then Beverwick till 1625, then Fort Orange till 1647, and then Williamstadt till 1664. It was at once a fort and a factory of trade, and, like other places of this description, advanced gradually in population and commerce.
It is worthy of remark, that the English Puritans who first settled in Massachusetts originally intended to have sailed from Leyden, where they were in exile in 1620, for the Hudson River, on whose banks they contemplated making their home. But the Dutch, anxious to prevent any English settlers intruding upon their own colonists, and at the same time unwilling to make any formal opposition to their voyage for fear of offending the British, are said to have bribed the Dutch captain, in whose ship they embarked from Holland, to carry them so far to the northward that they could not reach the river; and hence their first landing and settlement was made on the coast of Massachusetts.
It was in 1621 that the foundation of the city of Albany was first laid by the Dutch West India Company, who about the same time founded the City of New Amsterdam on the island of Manhattan, where New-York now stands. The Dutch settlers at Albany extended themselves gradually from hence eastward into Connecticut, and coming there into collision with the English, disputes arose among them on subjects sufficiently trivial and ludicrous. A formal record of the alleged grievances was kept by the Dutch, and Mr. Grahame has preserved, in a note to his interesting and valuable history, an extract from this chronicle, in which, as he truly says, “ the insignificance of many of these complaints, and the homeliness of the subject matter of others, contrast somewhat ludicrously with the pompousness of the titles and the bitter gravity of the style." Among them are the following:
April 25, 1640.-Those of Hartford have not only usurped and taken in the lands of Connecticut, but have also beaten the servants of their High Mightinesses and the honoured Company with sticks and ploughstaves--in hostile manner-laming them; and, among the rest, struck Ever Deukings a hole in his head with a stick, so that the blood ran very strongly down his body."
EARLY TROUBLES OF THE DUTCH AND ENGLISH.
“ June 24, 1641.--Some of Hartford have taken a hog out of the common, and shut it up out of mere hate or other prejudice, causing it to starve for hunger in the stye.”
“May 20, 1642.-The English of Hartford have violently cut loose a horse of the honoured Company that stood bound upon the common.”
“May 23, 1642.-The said English did again drive the Company's hogs from the common into the village and pounded them.”
September 16, 1642.-Again they sold a young pig which had pas. tured on the Company's lands."*
While these grievances were complained of by the Dutch, the same historian records a curious ground of complaint against the latter, and the Swedes, who had settled parts of the country, with them. It was said that several of the Indians attended the religious assemblies of the Europeans," but with so little edification that they expressed their amazement at the ill-breeding of the orator who could exercise the patience of his tribe with such lengthened harangues without repaying their civility by a distribution of brandy.”
In 1664, Charles II., most unjustly seeking to provoke the Dutch into a war, asserted a claim to the whole of their settlements on the Hudson, under the title of the New Netherlands, and made a grant, by charter, of the territory then actually occupied by the Dutch to his brother, the Duke of York. Stuyvesant, the Dutch governor, when he heard of this, and of the subsequent intention to enforce the claim by arms, put himself in the best posture of defence he could ; and when he received the summons of the English commander to surrender, cominunicated to him by a deputation, after remonstrating with hire in vain as to their unjust pretensions, he ended by saying, “ As couching the threats in your conclusion, we have nothing to answer, only that we fear nothing but what God (who is as just as merciful) shall lay upon us, all things being in his gracious disposal; and we may be as well preserved by hiin with small forces as by a great army: which makes us to wish you all happiness and prosperity, and recommend you to his protection." The issue was, however, the ultimate surrender of NewYork and Albany to the British authorities, which took place in October, 1664; and in 1667 the territory was formally ceded by the Dutch to the British, in exchange for the colony of Surinam, which the Dutch had taken from the English.
The increase of population in Albany, from the earliest period at which any census appears to have been taken, up to 1830, the last year of the decennial numbering of the people, may be seen from the following figures : In 1790 it was 3498; in 1800, 5349 ; in 1810, 9356; in 1820, 12,630; in 1830, 24,238. At present it is thought to exceed 30,000; and by 1840, the next year of the census, will probably be 40,000, more than ten times its numbers fifty years ago
* Grahame's History of the United States, vol. ii., p. 165.
The rapid prosperity of Albany is not so much to be attributed to the fact of its being the legislative capital of the State of New-York, for which its position is well adapted, as to the advantage it enjoys as the chief port of entrepôt for almost all the exports and imports of the great maritime emporium at the mouth of its river, New-York. This was the case to a certain extent before the opening of the internal canals; but since these great channels have opened a highway from the Hudson to the lakes of the West, and by them to the noble rivers Ohio and Mississippi, down to the Gulf of Mexico, and by the Arkansas and Red River to the foot of the Rocky Mountains, while Lake Champlain extends its water-carriage towards the banks of the St. Lawrence, and the Hudson opens a way to the Atlantic ; since these united advantages have been enjoyed by Albany, her wealth and population bave grown with greatly increased rapidity; and the names of De Witt Clinton, the first projector of the internal communication, and of Fulton, the originator of steam navigation, are justly held in the highest veneration in the spot so much benefited by their joint labours.
The State of New York, of which Albany is the capital, is called by all Americans the Empire State, from its territorial extent, its vast resources, its enlarged commerce, its population, and consequent legislative influence. Its territory is 316 miles in length and 304 miles in breadth. It contains 47,000 square miles, or 31,080,000 acres. It is therefore larger in area than England, Wales, and the Isle of Man united, as these are computed by Arrowsmith, in his Geography, to contain only 43,990 square miles. The vastness of the scale of the United States of America may be judged of from this fact, that this one single state out of twenty-six, of which the whole Union is now composed, is larger than England and Wales ; while nearly half the other states are equal to it in size, and some of them, as Virginia, are still larger. The length of the territory belonging to the United States, and over which the government of Washington has lawful jurisdiction, is 3000 miles, from Passamaquoddy, in Maine, to the shores of the Pacific ; and its extreme breadth, from the Lake of the Woods in the north to the southern point of Florida, 1700 miles; so that it has an outline or border of about 10,000 miles in extent, and contains within its area the immense surface of 2,300,000 square miles, or more than fifty times the area of England and Wales, as given before. When it is considered that this vast territory is washed on nearly all its borders by the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans; that its lakes are the most extensive and its rivers the largest in the world ; that it has every variety of soil and climate in the several zones it fills; and that there is no country upon earth in which facilities of communication, by railroad and steamboat, are so great as in this; that education is more general, in