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Foreword ^5


I The Meaning of the Week 23

II The Trysting of the Fleet 28

III A City's History Retold 39

IV The Passing of Armed Men 47

V The Flight of the Man Bird 52

VI The Assembling of the Old Masters • •• • 57

VII The Captains and the Kings Depart .... 62

Officers of the Hudson-Fulton Celebration

Commission ^7




1 The Water Gate Frontispiece

II Title Page 7

III The "Half Moon" 15

IV Church of St. Ethelburga 20

V The Court of Honor 23

VI The "Clermont" 64



A LTHOUGH bookmaking does not lie strictly within the

/ \ province of the Society of Iconophiles, its active mem-

/ \ bers, upon whose shoulders rests the responsibility of

its management, feel that no apology is necessary

for the appearance under its imprint of the following pages.

They assume that the Society is not only justified in issuing

this monograph, but that it was incumbent upon it to make a

printed note of this, the greatest civic celebration, in some at

least of its varied features, that the New or Old World, in Ancient

or Modern times, has ever witnessed, and so they commissioned



Mr. Gustav Kobbe to prepare this succinct but comprehensive
account of the monster week-long fete.

To this commemorative celebration we invited the civilized
nations of the earth, and when their representatives came in
response from the four points of the compass, few if any of them
— we venture to say — failed to find someone to welcome them
in their native tongues, so strikingly in this respect does New
York resemble its foster-mother-city of Amsterdam, which Fene-
lon thus described two hundred years ago:

"When one beholds this City, one is inclined to believe that
it is not the City of a particular people, but the Common city of
all the peoples of the earth and the center of their commerce."

One important feature is lacking in the remembrancer we
have made of the Hudson-Fulton Celebration — a portrait of
Henry Hudson; but so far as known no authentic picture, either
painted or engraved, of the "superb seaman" exists, notwith-
standing one, so-called, has been scattered over the length and
breadth of the City during these festival days. It was copied
from a painting of which the Municipality of the City of New
York is the proud possessor, and which has done duty heretofore
as a portrait of Christopher Columbus.

The common belief long entertained by collectors of prints
relating to the History of the City of New York that no portrait
of Henry Hudson exists, is newly confirmed by the thorough
investigations made in Holland and elsewhere by the American
Numismatic Society in connection with the official medal of the
Hudson-Fulton Celebration designed by Emil Fuchs of London,
under the direction of that Society. From the interesting de-



scription of this medal, written by Mr. Edward D. Adams,
Chairman of the Society's Committee on the Publication of
Medals, we take, by permission, the following paragraphs:

"In portraiture the medal is limited to the bust of Robert
Fulton, reproduced by the kind permission of his grandson,
from the painting by the American artist, Benjamin West, now
in possession of Robert Fulton Ludlow.

"In the case of Henry Hudson, it was concluded after most
diligent search and inquiry, at the British Museum and at the
museums of Holland, as well as, of course, at the office of the
English Muscovy Company and of the Dutch East India Com-
pany, former employers of Hudson, that no authentic portrait
of Henry Hudson exists. While it would have been easy to
appropriate a type of an English seaman of that date for an
imaginative portrait, it was thought best, in the interest of per-
manent historical records, as such a medal must necessarily be,
not to introduce into the design anything that required the
explanation that it really was not what it pretended to be. The
absence of any portrait of Hudson is undoubtedly due to the
tragedy of his last voyage and the long concealment of his

Within Bishopsgate, London, there stands, surrounded by
"parasitic business buildings," a little church, formerly dedicated
to the Virgin Daughter of Ethelbert, King of Kent, which is
mentioned in English history as early as the XIV century. It
shelters to-day an active church organization, whose watchword
is "Christian Charity" in the broadest sense of the term. Its
doors stand open daily from high noon to four o'clock, and this



cordial and catholic invitation to enter them is extended to the
wayfarer and passerby :

"any persons, who in the clash of creeds
are being drawn to the inner light, are
invited to join their fellows at st. ethel-
burga's church."

To this diminutive edifice, known in his time as the "Mari-
ner's Church" and "noted for its short services for city men,"
Hudson and his crew, we are told, repaired to partake of the Sacra-
ment before sailing under the direction of the Muscovy Company
of London to attempt a passage across the North Pole to the
Eastern parts of Asia. Here, if they have not been removed
since Augustus Hare took his walks in London and wrote about
them so entertainingly, one may look upon the fine fragments of
XIII Century stained glass through which the light streamed
down upon the kneeling figures of Hudson and his brave men,
and this is the nearest approach we can make, it would ap-
pear, to the personalities of the Captain and crew of the Half

If Crispin de Passe, the skillful engraver of the portrait of
Captain John Smith — Hudson's contemporary and close friend —
had foreseen Hudson's equal or greater future fame, and realized
that his was "One of the few, the immortal names, that were
not born to die," then, indeed, we hopefully might search the
print shops for a "graven effigy" of the Discoverer of the Grate
River of the North, and the man who, moreover, according to
John Fiske, started two great industries, the Spitzbergen whale
fisheries and the Hudson Bay fur trade.


Until the last decade or so, few citizens of New York have
displayed an overweening fondness for, or interest in, the history
of their City or in the "things that do exalt it." At least they
have not shown that practical interest which manifests itself in
a search for, and preservation of, memorials of the past of this
great Metropolis. Whatever interest has been felt must have
been of a dormant nature, which now — in this great celebration
with its music, pageantry, millions of electric lights, pyrotechnics,
and the booming of great guns — has, like a slumbering volcano,
burst all bounds and carried everything before it in its patriotic
onward and upward rush.

It was a remarkable spectacle that the streets of New York
presented during the week of the never-to-be-forgotten Hudson-
Fulton Celebration of the year 1909, and by far the most
impressive part of it was, not the show itself, but the dense and
orderly throngs of human beings — the sea of human faces — that
lined the six-mile route of each day's procession, as it wound its
way from i loth Street and Central Park West to the Washington
Arch at the foot of Fifth Avenue.

In addition to the remarkable collection of Dutch paintings
of the Seventeenth Century, Colonial furniture, silverware, etc.,
to which Mr. Kobbe refers at length in his account of the Great
Celebration, interesting exhibitions were held by a number of
other Societies and Institutions — of rare and valuable prints,
Maps, Autographs and other objects, animate and inanimate,
illustrating New York, its Past and Present, the Discoveries and
Explorations of the Continent and the introduction of steam navi-
gation. Among them were the following: American Geograph-
ical Society, Museum of Natural History, Society of Mechanical



Engineers, City History Club of New York, Colonial Dames of
the National Society of the State of New York, College of the
City of New York, National Arts Club, New York Historical
Society, Botanical Garden, Zoological Park, Genealogical and
Biographical Society, Washington's Headquarters (The Jumel
Mansion, Roger Morris Park), The Brooklyn Institute, Long
Island Historical Society, and the Staten Island Association of
Arts and Sciences Public Museum. The list, if completed, would
include about every Association of an Antiquarian, Literary,
Artistic, Historical and Scientific character in Greater New
York, and conclusively demonstrate the widespread interest
evoked throughout the community by the Hudson-Fulton
Memorial Celebration.







PEACE hath its pageantry no less than war. Therein
hes the deeper significance of the Hudson-Fulton
Hudson, an explorer; Fulton, an inventor — yet no
triumph to a Caesar returning victorious from war has equalled
in magnitude the pageant that for a week unfolded itself before
the eyes of the great city on the bank of the river named after the
explorer and first navigated by steam through the genius of the

Before this celebration, America's nearest approach to a
Roman triumph was the Dewey parade. But, fine as that was—
the forces it marshalled, the crowds that watched it, were insig-



nificant as compared with the plan, scope and execution of the
Hudson-Fulton Celebration.

And there is another aspect which gives further significance
to it. A triumph, such as Rome gave its victorious generals, is
an immediate thing, organized and carried out while the popular
imagination still is fired with the greatness of an achievement
environed by the pomp, circumstance and panoply of war. A
triumph is a thing born of the excitement of the moment, a flash
of popular enthusiasm, a flame often fanned by a government
seeking to make itself more stable through the public's tribute
to the commander of its returning army.

How different this celebration! As different in spirit and
conception as are the shallows that murmur from the depths that
are dumb. This was no popular acclaim of an achievement of
yesterday. It was three hundred years ago that an obscure
little vessel turned its prow up the river that now bears the name
of its navigator; and it was two years more than a century ago
that the country folk, scattered along the banks of that same
river, watched, with amazement and fear, a strange craft make
its way up stream under the propulsion of steam. Thus New
York, and through it the New World, celebrated two peaceful
achievements, one of three centuries, the other of a century ago,
and celebrated them in a manner that thrust a "triumph" as
such, into the background.

Moreover, it was a celebration with which the whole world
thrilled in response, for the world appreciates now the bearing
that the discovery of the Hudson River and the practical applica-
tion of steam to navigation have had upon its progress. That
progress was emphasized by details of the celebration. In 1609,



when night enveloped the Half Moon, a lantern, dimly discernible
for a short distance, burned at its masthead. In 1909 a battery
of searchlights of more than a million candle power, and capable
when united of shooting a ray fifty miles through the night, was
a feature of the celebration.

Hudson found an Indian village where to-day the "peaks of
Manhattan" pierce the sky. This contrast was shown by floats
in the historical pageant, on which tepee and skyscraper, as well
as Fulton's steamboat and the swift ocean steamship of to-day,
were represented.

In a curiously interesting way the names of Hudson and Ful-
ton were most appropriately linked in this celebration, for while
one was an explorer and the other an inventor, both had to do
with navigation, and what Fulton achieved can be expressed by
stating that while it took Hudson thirty-four days to cross the
Atlantic, when he sailed back from Sandy Hook to Dartmouth,
it was Fulton's invention that a century later made possible the
four-day crossings of the Lusitania and Mauretania. In fact,
during celebration week the Mauretania arrived at this port with
another clip off her record; while a kind of ship that neither Hud-
son nor Fulton ever dreamed of, the aeroplane of Wilbur Wright,
sailed through the air from Governor's Island to Grant's tomb
and back.

And now, just one more, and perhaps the most interesting,
general consideration of the subject that the event forces upon
the mind. What New York celebrated in Hudson's case abso-
lutely was the triumph of a failure. When Hudson sailed up the
Cahohatea, as the Indians called the river which now bears his
name, he was in quest of a northwest passage to China. In that



quest he failed wretchedly, and in further pursuing it met a mis-
erable end in Hudson Bay. But mark the triumph that has
sprung from failure. His discovery of the river led to the found-
ing at its mouth of the little Dutch trading post from which has
grown the greatest city of the New World and one of the great
cities — some think the greatest — of the whole world.

Reviewing the celebration in its entirety, it may be said that,
with an intelligent grasp of its opportunity deserving of recog-
nition, the Commission sought to accomplish something higher,
something more lasting than simply to make a populace stare in
open-eyed wonder. It saw a means, through a series of parades
and pageants, to furnish New Yorkers, by means of visual instruc-
tion, with a great object lesson in the history and development
of their city. What that would have meant — if successfully
carried out — to the great proportion of New York's foreign-born
population is obvious; and it is a question if such instruction
is not needed quite as much by the native population of a city
which, more than any other probably, is concerned with the pres-
ent rather than with the past.

The chief public features of the celebration were the naval
parade of Saturday, September 25th, when the reproductions of
the Half Moon and the Clermont passed up the river through a
lane of saluting warships; the historical pageant of Tuesday, Sep-
tember 28th; the military parade of Thursday, September 30th;
and the carnival pageant on the night of Saturday, October 2d.
In this series the historical pageant was planned as a great ^edu-
cational feature. It was intended to be observed that as float
after float went by, the progression was historical — from the days
when the Iroquois had their wigwams on Manhattan to the mid-


die of the last century. For reasons, which will be stated later,
this pageant did not wholly meet expectations. In fact, it may
be said, that the otherwise laudable spirit in this country which
prompts the subordination of the military to the civic, allowed
the civilian element too much scope in the celebration. It marred
the historical pageant. The naval parade, too, would have been
far more effective if the seventy-eight warships, instead of being
at anchor and forming a line for the Half Moon and Clermont to
pass in review— while the actual parade consisting of a numerous
and motley array of merchant craft passed around the warship
formation— had steamed up the river and, with the exception of
the Half Moon and Clermont, constituted the sole feature of the
parade. One does not get seventy-eight warships together every
day. It was the greatest fleet of its kind ever assembled, save
in the English channel when England herded her own, and the
greatest international fleet ever assembled anywhere. Yet this
fleet, the possible sight of which steaming up the river almost
staggers the imagination (and, unfortunately, still is left to the
imagination) lay strung out at anchor, its majesty dissipated,
and playing second fiddle to a lot of excursion boats, tugs and

But those details in which the plans of the Commission failed
to come up to expectation, served to bring into greater relief the
most conspicuous success of the celebration and its most inspiring
feature, which we Americans may well be proud to have seen
displayed before our recent visitors from foreign shores. That
was the crowd that watched it. Whether solidly massed on the
slope of Riverside Park and Drive, or jammed along the line of
pageant and parade, its patience often sorely tried yet never giv-



ing way, its behavior was exemplary. Thus, intended to com-
memorate two triumphs of civilization, the celebration itself pro-
duced a third — a triumph thoroughly American and interpre-
tive of the genius of the Republic, which, through its guaranty of
personal liberty, also has driven home the lesson of individual



THE celebration was felt in the air for more than a week
before it actually began. The building of the Court
of Honor at Fifth Avenue from Fortieth to Forty-
second streets, and of the Water Gate at i loth Street
and the Hudson River, the blossoming out of bunting and fes-
toons of electric lamps on buildings and stands, and the booming
of saluting guns from forts and arriving warships, to say nothing
of the many evident strangers in town, all tended to key up the
interest in events impending. First among the foreign squad-
rons to draw sightseers to the West Side were the French battle-
ships, La Liberie, La Veriie and La Justice, all with the low-set,
grim, bull-dog look the artistic French know how to impart to
their sea-fighters.

It was the day before the celebration opened that a white and
a dark gray fleet were added to the long line of warships anchored
in the Hudson. It was then that amid firing of cannon the Ger-
man and British ships passed up bay, harbor and river and swung
to their anchors. The Victoria Louise came in first, followed by



the Hertha, the Dresden and the Bremen. The Presidente Sarmi-
ento, the Argentine training ship, an earher arrival, saluted the
German flag off Tompkinsville and was answered, and off Gov-
ernor's Island the German squadron fired twenty-one guns as the
American flag was run up to the foremast head; and there was
more firing up the river before the cruisers anchored.

The first real excitement, however, came with the arrival of
the English squadron. It was not more than two hours after the
Germans had passed up that England's line of great gray armored
cruisers was sighted coming through the Ambrose Channel, led
by the Inflexible, of 17,250 tons, with the flag of Sir Edward Ho-
bart Seymour, Admiral of the fleet, whipping at the main truck.
The Drake, of 14,100 tons, bearing the flag of Rear Admiral
Frederick T. Hamilton; the Duke of Edinburgh, 13,550 tons, and
the Argyll, 10,850 tons, were the ships that followed.

The long, lean "Dreadnought cruiser," the Inflexible, with her
eight twelve-inch guns and armored sides, and driving at full
speed up the harbor, seemed to have nearly her whole comple-
ment of more than seven hundred men on deck, a line of white
at attention, as she was saluted and returned the salute of the
little Argentine ship. But it was when the crowd that had as-
sembled at the Battery and other shore fronts saw the four ships
of the British fleet salute the American flag off Governor's Island
that the big Dreadnought cruiser and the ships she led showed
"how to do it." Eighty-four guns spoke in unison, and the
squadron with the highest ranking officer of the combined fleets
in the celebration passed on up the river, receiving salutes from
the Mayflower, the Mexican, Italian, French, German and Dutch
warships, and, finally, from the Connecticut. The American fleet



had peculiar reasons for welcoming the British admiral. There
must have been officers and men in our fleet who had served un-
der him in 1900, when he led that forlorn hope in the attempt
to relieve the Pekin legations, a gallant little band made up of
complements from warships of several nations that vainly tried
to fight its way to the capital. Our own fleet made a fine show-
ing. But although the Inflexible technically was only a cruiser,
and we had sixteen battleships in line, she was the most powerful
ship of war at the celebration.

The line of warships extended from Forty-seventh to 2226.
Street, and, according to nationalities and the order of anchorage,
this great international fleet was made up as follows: Mayflower
and Newport, American; Mexico, Morelos; Argentine Republic,
Presidente Sarmiento; Italy, Etna and Etruria; France, La Liberie,
La Verite and La Justice; Germany, Bremen, Dresden, Hertha,
Victoria Louise; Holland, Nieue Amsterdam (merchantman) and
Utrecht; Portsmouth (New Jersey Naval Reserve); England, y^r^)'//,
Duke of Edinburgh, Drake and Inflexible; United States, Idaho,
Mississippi, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Louisiana, Kansas,
Vermont, Connecticut, Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin, Virginia, Rhode
Island, Nebraska, New Jersey, Georgia, Montana, North Carolina,
New York, Birmingham, Salem, Chester.

Rear Admiral Seaton Schroeder, with the Connecticut as flag-
ship, commanded the American fleet; Grand Admiral von Koester,
with the Victoria Louise as flagship, commanded the German
squadron; and Admiral Le Pord the French. The United States
had many smaller war craft and vessels connected with the Navy
and the Revenue Marine acting as escorts and in other capacities.

It was estimated that the combined fleet reached a total of


more than 450,000 tons. In the main batteries of the ships there
were 4 thirteen-inch, 80 twelve-inch, 10 ten-inch, 8 9.2-inch, 4
8.2-inch, 109 eight-inch, 34 7.5-inch, 83 seven-inch, 21 five-inch,
and 54 four-inch guns, making a grand total of 407 guns in the
main batteries of these ships alone. With the smaller guns this
number was trebled.

The tonnage of the combined fleets was as follows:

Great Britain 55J50

United States 301,400

Germany 12,000

France 54,000

Austria (estimated) 15,000

Italy 5,800

Netherlands 3»950

Argentine 2,750

Cuba 2,500

Mexico 500

Total 453,650

From 25,000 to 30,000 officers and men were required to man
the fleet.

Such was the line of warships at anchor in the Hudson River
Saturday, September 25, 1909, the day of what the Commission
termed the naval rendezvous and manoeuvre, the word "parade"
being reserved to designate the passage of the Half Moon and
Clermont and an escorting fleet to Newburg the following Friday.
Whether it was that the Half Moon caught the spirit of unrest
that pervaded the city or decided to become a warship on her



own account, she suddenly was seized with a fit of cantankerous-
ness on the very morning that opened the celebration, and came
very near to spoiling it by her extraordinary exploits.

It had been a question whether the Half Moon would use her
sails or depend upon towing. The Clermont, of course, was to
steam under her own power. Two hours before the start up the
river, when the two vessels were being escorted to a point off
Stapleton, S. I., the Dutch naval officer. Lieutenant Willem Lam,
who was made up to impersonate Hudson, "even" as one news-
paper writer put it, "to the largest display of unharvested whisk-
ers recently seen in these parts," decided that the stiff breeze
from the north warranted his casting off the tow line. This done,
the eighteen Dutch sailors on the Half Moon's deck, all garbed
in the style of two centuries ago, but accustomed to manoeuvre
on the deck of a modern warship and not on that of a self-im-
provised seventeenth-century one, laboriously dropped the great
square sails of the fore and mizzen masts into position and slapped
her full into the wind. The result was that she cut through the
water at a rate that surely would have lowered Hudson's record
in crossing the Atlantic. It would have been a fine sight, but

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Online LibraryGustav KobbéThe Hudson-Fulton celebration, MCMIX → online text (page 1 of 4)