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Francis Smith Eastman.

A history of the state of New York, from the first discovery of the country to the present time online

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Book ' E\^



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HISTORY



STATE OF NEW YORK,



FROM THE



FIRST DISCOVERY OF THE COUNTRY



PRESENT TIME



BY F. S. EASTMAN,



DESIGNED FOR THE USE OF SCHOOLS J^NIfcri^B-P^MILIES.

NEW YOrS^', .

PUBLISHED BY E. iBLrS^S*.

SOLD BY HIM, AND COLLIK-S AND CO.', WHITE, GALLAHER AND
WHITE, COLLINS AND HANNAT, NEW YORK ; W. C. LITTLE,
ALBANY; HASTINGS AND TRACY, AND WILLIAM WIL-
LIAMS, UTICA; BEMI3 AND WARD, CANANDAIGUA;
E. PECK AND CO. ROCHESTER; AND DAY, FOLLET
AND HASKINS, BUFFALO;

1828.



/



SOUTHERIV DISTRICT OF IVEW YORK, S8.

Be it remembered, that on the twentieth day of October,
A. D. 1S28, in the fifty third year of the Independence of the United
States of America, Jajiies Conner, of the said District, has
deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he
claims as proprietor, in the words following, to wit :

'■': A History of the State of New York, from the first discovery of
the country to the present time."

In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States,
entitled " An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing
the copies of maps, charts and books, to the autliors and pro-
prietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned ;'*
and also to an act, entitled, " An act supplementary to an act,
entitled an act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the
copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors
of such copies during the times therein mentioned ; and extending
the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving and etch-
ing historical :ind other prints."

TTRvn T TivTTQ \ ^^^^^^ of the Southern
FRLD.J.BETIS,^^.^^^.^^ o/^Veio York.






€OI?^TE]^TS.



Preface,



CHAP. I.

NATURAL GEOGRAPHY.

Boundaries. Situation and Extent. Climate. Face of the Country.
Mountains. Soil and Productions. Rivers. Lakes. Isl-
ands, • •

CHAP. n.

NATURAL GEOGRAPHY — CONTINUED.

Mineralogy. Salt Springs. Medicinal Waters. Botany. Natural
Curiosities, 1^

CHAP. HI.

NATURAL GEOGRAPHY — CONTINUED.

JVative Animals.

Mastodon. Moose. Bear. Wolf. Cougar. Wolverene. Cata-
mount. Wildcat. Raccoon. Martin. Deer. Fox. Hare.
Rabbit. Porcupine. Woodchuck. Skunk. Weasel. Squirrel.
Mouse. Ermine. Beaver. Musk-Rat. Mink, Otter. Fish.
Birds. Insects. Serpents, and Reptiles, . . . .19

CHAP. IV.

VIEW OF THE COUNTRY AT THE TIME OF ITS DISCOVERY BY
HUDSON.

State of the country. Aborigines. Iroquois. Their Confederacy.
Antiquities, Inference. Their authors, and origin of the Indian
race, 30



IV CONTENTS.

CHAP. V.

DISCOVERY AND SETTLEMENT.

Discoveries of Columbus and the Cabots. Great River discovered
by Hudson. Hudson detained in England. Dutch trade to the
Great River. Licensed Trading Company. First Settlement.
West India Company. New Netherland. First Governor. Van
Twiller's Administration. Kieft Stuyvesant. New Netherland
surrendered to the English, 41

CHAP. VI.

FROM 1665 TO 1710.

Administration of Nichols. Lovelace. New York retaken by the
Dutch, and soon after restored to the English. Andros. Don-
gan. Revolution. Leisler. Sloughter. Bellomont. War with
the French, &c. 53

CHAP. VII.

FROM 1710 TO 1743.

Hunter's administration. Expedition against Canada. Administra-
tion of Burnet, Montgomery, Crosby, and Clarke, . . 64

CHAP. VIII.

FROM 1743 TO 1760.

George Clinton appointed Governor. War with France. Expedition
against Louisburg. Incursions of the French and Indians. Ope-
rations of the war in 1746. Capture of the French fleet. Indian
depredations. Termination of the war. Osborne appointed
Governor, dies, and is succeeded by Delancey. Hostilities again
commenced with the French. Colonial Convention. Hardy
appointed Governor. Colonies prosecute the war, . . 77

CHAP. IX.

CONTINUATION OF THE FRENCH WAR.

Formal declaration of war. Campaign of 1756, and capture of Oswe-
go. Campaign of 1757, and capture of Fort William Henry.
Expedition against Ticonderoga. Capture of Fort Frontenac.
Campaign of 1759. Surrender of Ticonderoga and Crown Point.



CONTENTS. V

Capture of Niagara. Wolfe's expedition against Quebec. War
terminated in 1760 by the entire conquest of Canada, . . 91

CHAP. X.

FROM 1760 TO 1775.

Prospects of the Colony. Controversy relative to the New Hamp-
shire Grants. Opposition from the settlers. Stamp Act. Con-
gress at New York. Disturbances occasioned by the Stamp Act.
Stamp Act repealed. Assembly restrained. Further attempts to
tax the Colonies. Controversy with the Grants becomes serious.
Parties prevented from proceeding to hostilities by the contro-
versy with Great Britain, lOS

CHAP. XI.

COMMENCEMENT OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR.

Origin of the controversy with Great Britain. State of affairs in the
colony. Convention appoint delegates to the Provincial Con-
gress. War breaks out at Lexington. Disturbances in New
York. Capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point. Gov. Tryon
arrives. Expedition against Canada. Surrender of Chambly,
St Johns and Montreal, Montgomery appears before Quebec.
His death. Inhabitants of Tiyon county disarmed. Provincial
troops enter New York. Americans evacuate Canada. Decla-
ration of Independence, 114

CHAP. XII.

THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR. FROM 1776 TO 1778.

Disposition of British and American troops at New York. Battle on
Long Island, Amei'icans evacuate New York. Americans con-
tinue to retreat. Fort Washington taken by the British. Ope-
rations on Lake Champlain. Convention adopt the State Con-
stitution. Commencement of the northern campaign in 1777.
Invasion of Burgoyne. His capture. Enterprise of Clinton.
State Government organized, 126

CHAP. XIII.

REVOLUTIONARY WAR, CONTINUED TO ITS TERMINATION.

Legislative proceedings. Revival of Controversy relative to the
Grants. Treaty of Alliance with France. British army conrpn



VI CONTENTS.

trated at New York. French fleet arrives. Campaign of '79.
Operations at Stoney Point and Verplank's. Expedition against
the Indians. Campaign of 1780. Depredations of the Royal
Army. Arnold's Treachery. Campaign of '81. Capture of
Cornwallis. * Independence acknowledged, . . . 141

CHAP. XlV.

FROM 1783 TO 1812.

Condition of the country at the close of the war. Organization of
the General Government. Internal concerns of the State. Set-
tlement of the Vermont controversy. Agriculture, Arts, Manu-
factures, and Commerce. Civil Policy. Attention of the Legis-
lature directed to the subject of Internal Navigation, . . 163

CHAP. XV.

WAR WITH GREAT BRITAIN.

War declared. Preparation for the invasion of Canada. Battle of
Queenstown. Capture of York and Fort George; Operations
on the Lakes. Battles of Bridgewater, Chippewa and Platts-
burg. Termination of the war. Commencement and completion
of the Northern and Erie Canals, .... 187

GENERAL VIEWS.

Constitution and Laws. Political divisions. Cities and Villages-
Agriculture, Manufactures, Commerce, Canals. Banks. Mili-
tia. Education. Literary Institutions. Religion. Population.
Character, 209

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

Sketches of the lives and characters of some distinguished men in
the colony and state of New York, .... 254

List of the Governors and Lieutenant Governors of the Colony and
State of New York, with the time of their appointments, . 278



PREFACE



The present volume is offered to the citizens
of New York as a humble contribution to the
means of educating youth. It is the opinion
of the Compiler that History may be most
successfully taught, by beginning with details
concerning the spot where the pupil lives. —
The knowledge also of what belongs to the
story of " our own, our native land," is not only
interesting, but in the highest degree useful
and necessary.

So far as the Compiler of this volume is in-
formed, there is no work on the History of
New York, susceptible of introduction into
schools, or capable of conveying, even to mature
minds, an outline of the subject. An attempt
therefore to supply what seems an obvious
blank in the list of books for education, in this
State, vi'ith whatever degree of success it may
be executed, it is thought will be looked upon
with favor.

In preparing the work, the Compiler could
of course aim only to give an abstract of the
subject; and his endeavor has been therefore
merely to exhibit the principal events which be-
long to the History of the colony and State of



Vlll PREFACE.



New York, in the most simple terms. He has
adopted the plan of several popular historical
works, in giving two sizes of type, the principal
features being in large, and inferior details in
smaller, type. He has also, to avoid swelhng
the size of the volume, inserted a few articles
in a still smaller type.

It will be seen by the references, that the
compiler has made free use of the works of
various authors ; he pretends to little originality
and offers his production to the public in the
sincere hope that it may prove useful.

It is perhaps proper to make one further
remark. In a v/ork of this nature, it seemed
that the Compiler should not seek minutely to
detail the policy or exhibit the springs and
motives of government, but should in general
restrict himself to a plain exhibition of facts
and events. It would be in vain to make a
pupil comprehend the tangled maze o^ politics^
even if it could be developed within the limits
necessarily assigned to the present volume.
The intricacies of the machine of government
form a study which belongs to riper years,
and more mature minds, and is therefore left
for some other historian.

It is probable that some inaccuracies may
be noticed. If the work is well received, it
will be the compiler's care to render future
editions more w^orthy of pubUc favor.



HISTORY OF NEW YORK.

CHAP. I.
NATURAI. GEOGRAPHY.

Boundaries. Situation and Extent, Climate,
Face of the Couyitry, Mountains, Soil and
Productions, Rivers. Lakes, Islands,

Sec. I. Boundaiies, New York is bounded
by Pennsylvania^ New Jersey, and Long Island
Sound on the South. Connecticut, Massachu-
setts, Vermont, and Lake Champlain on the
East. Lower Canada, the St. Lawrence^
Lake Ontario, Niagara river. Lake Erie, and
Pennsylvania on the North and West.

Sec. ti. Situation and Extent, This state is
situated betv/een Lat. 40° 40^ and 45^ North,
and between Long. 73° and 79° 66' West. The
length of the state on the parallel of 42° is 340
miles, and the greatest breadth from north to
south 304. It contains, exclusive of islands,
about 45,000 square miles. It is one of the
largest of the United States, and the only one,
which extends from the Atlantic to the western
Lakes.



I. How is New York bounded?

II. How is it situated? What is its extent? How many

square miles does it contain ? What is its size compared with the

other states ?

1



>J HISTORY OF NEW YORK.

Sec. III. Climate, New York, extending
through more than four degrees of latitude,
presents a considerable diversity of climate,
it is cold in the north towards the St. Law-
rence ; but milder in the southeast, and in the
country lying on the shore of Lake Ontario.
The greatest range of the thermometer is from
24° below to 95° above the cipher of Faren-
heit.

The climate of the counties between Lake Ontario and
Pennsylvania is much warmer, than that of those farther
east in the same latitude. The earliest forest trees in this
tract put forth their leaves about the first of May ; and the
oak and other late trees by the 20th.

The shallow ponds and brooks usually freeze in Octo-
ber, and snow commonly falls by the last of November,
but seldom during the winter exceeds a foot in depth.
Cattle are sometimes kept in pastures till January, and on
the Genesee flats nearly the whole winter.

The fever and ague is the most common disease through-
out the state. It prevails on the Hudson, lake Cham-
plain, on the Mohawk and the St. Lawrence, on the Che-
nango and the Oswego, on the Genesee and the Niagara.
This disease is however becoming less frequent, than
formerly, and in many places, where but a few years since,
its r>revalence was severely felt, it now very seldom oc-
curs.

The country, betv/een Pennsylvania and lake Ontario,
is the most unhealthy partofthe state. Malignant bilious
fevers are common, and prove extremely prejudicial to
stranfrers. This is particularly true on the banks of the
Genesee, and on the low lands in the vicinity of the lakes.
They sometimes occur between the Champlain and the
St. Lawrence.



III. What is said oftlie climate ? Of the. counties between Lake

Ontario and Pmnsylvania ? What is the most common disease?

Where does it prevail ? ^What is said of this disease ? What

is the most unhealthy part of the slate? What fevers are

common ? — —In what other parts do they occur?



NATURAL GEOGRAPHY. 3

Sec. IV. Face of the Country, The face of
the country exhibits an interesting variety, but
is less nnountainous, than many other parts of
America. The Catskill Mountains in the
eastern part of the state are the principal range.
The western part generally presents a level, or
moderately undulating surface.

The southeastern part of the stale particularly between
the Hudson and Chenango, may be characterized as moun-
tainous. A narrow tract near the Pennsylvania line is
generally hilly. From this to lake Ontario the country
is mostly level, and contains no elevation deserving the
name of a mountain.

The northwestern part of the state, between lakes Erie
and Ontario, presents a remarkable singularity of surface.
Lake Erie is more than 300 feet above lake Ontario, and
the country around proportionably higher. The descent
towards lake Ontario is not irregular and imperceptible ;
but is made by three successive pitches, or steeps, with a
wide interval of level land between ihera.

The upper, or southern pitch commences at Buffalo, at
the mouth of lake Erie, and runs north of east stretching
round the mouth of Canandaigua lake to the west side of
the Seneca, thence south to the high grounds of the
Tioga.

The middle pitch commences at the Falls of Niagara,
and, after an eastern course of about 50 miles, takes a
southerly direction to the Genesee; thence north of the
Seneca, Cayuga, Skeneateles, and Otisco lakes, and in
an eastern direction to the hills, from whose southern de-
clivities, flow the Chenango andUnadilla.

The northern, or lower pitch branches from the middle
one near the Eighteen Mile Run, (a stream, which
empties eighteen miles east of the Niagara,) and diverg-



IV. What is said of the face of the country ? What is the princi-
pal range of mountains ? What is said of the western part of the

state? What part of the state is mountainous 7 What part

M hilly, and what level 7 What singularity of surface in the

northwestern part 7 — —Describe the southern pitch. The middle.

The northern. ^



4 HISTORY OF NEW YORK.

ing northward, proceeds with a progress sometimes in-
distinct to the lower falls of the Genesee, thence eastward
to, the falls of the Oswego, 12 miles from its mouth.

The northeastern part of the state is generally hilly ;
and the height of land betwen Champlain, and the St.
Lawrence presents a range of mountains of considerable
elevation. A tract about 30 miles wide on the banks of
the St. Lawrence is uneven. At that distance it becomes
rough and broken.

Sec. v. Soil and Productions. The soil of
New York is generally fertile, and well adapted
to the purposes of agriculture. The country
between the Seneca and Cayuga lakes, the
valley of the Chenango, the extensive flats of
the Genesee, and the lands along Black river,
in richness of soil are second, perhaps, to none
in America.

West of the Genesee the soil is less uniformly good.
That near lake Ontario is the best. An extensive tract,
in the eastern part of the state, including the counties of
Rensselaer, Columbia, Green, Schoharie, Albany and
Schenectady is but indifferent. The country along the
Mohawk west of the Oneida village is very rich. The
plains of Herkimer have long been justly celebrated for
their fertility.

Wheat is the most important production, and
is extensively cultivated throughout the state.
It is raised on the flats of the Genesee with
unparalleled facihty, and in quality surpassed
by none.

Many parts of the state are well adapted to grazing.
Maize, rye, and barley are generally cultivated with suc-

What is said of the northeastern part 7

V. What is the character of the soil ? What parts remarkably-
fertile ? What is said of the soil west of the Genesee? WJiat

part is best? M^hat part is mentioned as indifferent?

What is said of the country along ihe Mohawk ?

What is the most important production ?



NATURAL GEOGRAPHY. »>

cess. In the counties southeast of the Chenango, the
hills are covered with fine timber, and when cleared af-
ford excellent pasture. The intervening valleys produce
grass, and the various kinds of grain in abundance.

Sec. VI. Rivers. This state contains many
noble streams, and is watered by some of the
most celebrated rivers of America. On the
western and northern boundaries are the Ni-
agara and the St. Lawrence. The Allegany,
Susquehannah, and Delaware rise in the south
part of the state. The western part contains
the Genesee, Oswego, and Black rivers ; and
the eastern part the Saranac, Hudson, and
Mohawk.

The Niagara river is the outlet of lake Erie, and runs
north about 30 miles to lake Ontario ; embracing Grand
and Navy islands, and receiving the Tonnewanta creek
from the east. Three miles from lake Erie, it is 7 fur-
longs in width, and its average depth 21 feet, with a cur-
rent of 6 miles an hour.

Eighteen miles from lake Erie, are the celebrated Falls
of Niagara. For a mile above the great pitch, the bed
of the river sinks gradually 57 feet, causing grand and
fearful rapids. It is then suddenly depressed, forming a
precipice of about 160 feet from bank to bank. On the
brink of the precipice is a small island,* which divides
the stream, and presents, for 150 yards, a perpendicular
front of rock, fragments of which lie in confusion at
its base.

Table Rock is on the Canada bank, and presents the
most interesting view of this sublime spectacle. Looking
up the river, you behold it tumbling with strange mag-
nificence over the ledges of rocks, which from this point

* Goat Island.

What other productions ate menlionedl

VI. What is said of the rivers of this state ? What rivers on the

northern and western boundaries ? What rise ^in the south part?

What are contained in the western part ? In the eastern I

Describe the J\^ia^ara.~ Give some account of the Falls.

1*



O HISTORY OF NEW YORK.

appear close together, and to constitute a single unbroken
cataract. The immense mass of waters, greatly increased
in rapidity by this descent, and still more by the contrac-
tion of the river, rolls with an almost instantaneous mo-
tion to the brow of the precipice, and shoots many yards
beyond, as it falls over it into the abyss below.

If you then dare approach the verge of the rock and
look down into this " hell of waters " you behold its bil-
lows of foam bounding in agony, and sending up columns
of mist to the very clouds; while the depth of this tre-
mendous chasm, the roar of the cataract, above all, the
inconceivable exertion of power, overwhelm the mind with
emotions of sublimity and grandeur.

The quantity of water passing the falls is estimated at
G70,"3o5 tons per minute, and the width of the stream, in-
cluding the island, at 1410 yards. The channel on the
American side of the island is the widest, and has the
greatest perpendicular descent ; though four fifths and
]>erhaps a still larger proportion of the waters pass on the
Canadian side.

The depth of the river beneath the fall is probably far
greater,- than its height; since the tallest trees descending
perpendicularly are lost for several minutes beneath the
water, before they reappear. The banks of the river be-
low are on both sides perpendicular, of solid rock, and of
the same height with the falls. They continue about the
same height 7 miles to dueenstown.

The St. Lawrence is the outlet of lake Ontario, and
for a considerable distance constitutes the northern boun-
dary of New York. If considered as rising at the
source of the St. Louis, it is 2000 iniles in length, and in
its quantily of water surpassed by no river in North Amer-
ica.

The Hudson rises in the northern part of the state, be-
tween lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence, and runs
south 250 miles to the Atlantic. It is navigable for ships
130 miles to Hudson, and for sloops 36 miles further to
Troy. The tide in this river flows 160 miles.

The Mohawk rises in the northern part of Oneida
county 8 miles from Black river. Its course is south of

Describe the St, Lawiencc. The Hudson. The Mohawk.



NATURAL GEOGRAPHY. 7

east 150 miles to the Hudson. It runs in a deep ravine,
and is wild and impetuous. There is generally along
its banks a vale of rich soil, but in many places, spurs
from the neighboring hills project themselves to the shore
of the river.

The chief tributaries of the Mohawk from the north are*
Great and Little Canada creeks. The former empties at
Herkimer, and the latter 13 miles below. They run in
deep ravines, are long, rapid and unnavigable. On the
south, the Schoharie descending from the Catskill moun-
tains rolls northward with the impetuosity of a torrent,
and joins the Mohawk at Fort Hunter.

The Genesee rises in Pennsylvania, and pursues a
northerly course of 120 miles to lake Ontario. It has
several interesting cataracts. At Rochester is a perpen-
dicular descent of 96 feet. In spring this river is a tor-
rent ; in autumn, it is nearly dry.

The Oswego is formed by the union of the Oneida and
Seneca rivers, and runs northwest 45 miles to lake Onta-
rio. Through the Oneida river, it receives the waters of
the lake of that name, and through the Seneca river the
waters of the Seneca, Cayuga, Owasco, Skeneateles, and
Otisco lakes. The courses of these branches are very
irregular.

Black river rises near the source of Great Canada creek
and after an irregular course of more than 100 miles falls
into lake Ontario. The Oswegatchie, Racket, and 'seve-
ral other considerable rivers fall into the St. Lawrence.

Big Chazy, Saranac, and Sable rivers fall into lake
Champlain. The Chenango and Tioga are branches of
the Susquehannah. Cataraugus and Buffalo creeks are
considerable streams falling into lake Erie. The Tonne-
wanta after a course of 40 miles falls into the Niagara.
It is navigable for boats 28 miles.

Sec. VII. Lakes, Erie, Ontario, and Cham-
plain, each form a part of the boundary of
He\Y York. In the interior are several lakes

Describe the Genesee. The Oswego. — —Black river. What

others are mentioned ?

VII, \A'hat Lakes form a part of the boundary of New York? What

in the interior ?



O HISTORY OF NEW YORK.

inferior in size, but generally adapted to the
purposes of internal navigation. Oneida,
Seneca, and Cayuga are among the most
important.

Lake Erie is 200 miles long, and 710 in circumference.
It contains a large number of islands, and abounds with
fish. It is of more dangerous navigation than the others
on account of the rocks, which project into the water for
many miles together, from the northern shore, affording no
shelter from storms, which, at some seasons, are very fre-
quent.

Lake Ontario is of an oval form about 160 miles in
length, and 450 in circumference. Its banks are in many
places precipitous. The southern shore is covered prin-
cipally with beech trees, and the soil appears fertile. This
lake abounds with several varieties of fish. Lake Cham-
plain is 100 miles in length, and from I to 25 in breadth.

Lake George is 37 miles long, and from 1 to 7 broad.
On each side it is skirted by lofty mountains. Its banks
are uncommonly handsome, and the water so transparent,
that the bottom is visible at almost any depth. It embo-
soms more than 200 beautiful islands, most of which are
covered with groves of pine, cedar, and hemlock. It falls
into lake Champlain by a channel 3 miles in length, dur-
ing which its waters descend more than 100 feet.

Oneida lake is 20 miles long, and 5 broad. From the
south it receives the waters of Cazenovia lake through
the Cbitteningo.

Seneca lake is 40 miles long, and from 2 to 3 wide.
Its outlet, the Syracuse runs north of east 12 miles, and
falls into Cayuga lake near its mouth. Crooked lake is

15 miles long, and from 1 to 2 wide. A short stream
connects it with the Seneca.

Cayuga lake is 40 miles long, and from 2 to 4 broad.


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Online LibraryFrancis Smith EastmanA history of the state of New York, from the first discovery of the country to the present time → online text (page 1 of 23)