Copyright
Hudson-Fulton Celebration Commission.

Historical pageant : Hudson-Fulton celebration, September 25 to October 9, 1909 online

. (page 4 of 5)
Online LibraryHudson-Fulton Celebration CommissionHistorical pageant : Hudson-Fulton celebration, September 25 to October 9, 1909 → online text (page 4 of 5)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


and was the signal for open hostilities. The Sons of Liberty assembled,
seized arms and distributed them. Business was at a standstill and the
royal officials and troops stationed in the city were helpless. A provisional govern-
ment was vested in a Committee of One Hundred.

The incident portrayed here was only one of many episodes of this period.
British troops were ordered to reinforce the royal force, rapidly becoming beleag-
uered in Boston, and such was the state of affairs that permission had to be asked of
the above Committee to allow the troops to embark. The permission granted did
not allow them to carry any spare arms.

Early on June 6, 1775, the troops began to march from their barracks (present
City Hall Park), with several cartloads of spare arms. Willet, with a little knot of
patriots, determined to prevent the removal of the arms, and on Broad Street they
halted the British. To the commanding officer, Major Isaac Hamilton, Willet
explained his action. The gathering crowd deprecated the act, but John M. Scott,
a member of the Committee of One Hundred, exclaimed: "You arc right, Willet,
the Committee has not given them permission to carry off any spare arms." The
carts were, therefore, detained and the muskets were afterward used in arming the
New York Colonial troops. To Marinus Willet should be given great credit for
his bravery and patriotism at a critical period of the war.

This event is commemorated by a tablet erected by the Sons of the Revolution at
the corner of Broad and Beaver streets.



iH^




ATA meeting held in New York, after the repeal of the Stamp Act, a petition

/*% was signed praying the Provincial Assembly to erect a statue in honor of the

"Great Commoner" Pitt. Pitt had been instrumental in Parliament in

securing the repeal and was idolized by the people. The Assembly complied and

also voted an equestrian statue of the King, George III. Both were erected in 1770,

having been brought over from England in the same sailing vessel.

The statue of Pitt was of marble, that of the King of gilded lead. Pitt's statue
stood near Wall and William streets, while the King's was placed in Bowling Green.

The float shows the Americans pulling down the statue of George III in 1776.
It had no stirrups — a singular omission of the artist. The statue was hacked to
pieces and melted into bullets for the American Army. The marble slab was
later used as a tombstone for a British officer. The Revolutionists, in their
hatred for the crown, destroyed almost every other visible symbol of royalty in
the city, but overlooked the three feathers of the Prince of Wales, which were over
the pulpit of St. Paul's Chapel and which remain to this day, having looked down
on President Washington when he went to that church to supplicate the Almighty
immediately after his inauguration.

When the Loyalists controlled the city they mutilated the statue of Pitt by de-
stroying its head.

By a strange fatality the existing remnants of the statue of George III, with the
slab on which it stood, now occupy a place in the same room with the mutilated
statue of Pitt in the New York Historical Societv Building.



39




IN APRIL, 1776, the Continental Congress recommended that the colonies adopt
such a government as would lead to the happiness and safety of the people.
Toryism was yet strong in New York, but the people favored the movement b\-
a large majority and elected a new convention. It assembled at White Plains in
July to frame a State Constitution and to exercise all the powers of government until
that duty was done. In August, 1776, the convention appointed a committee, of
which John Jay was chairmian, to draft a constitution. From September, 1776, to
February, 1777, the convention met in Fishkill and made progress in formulating
the instrument. In the latter month the convention moved to Kingston. There the
draft of the Constitution, in Jay's handwriting, was submitted on March 12, 1777.

The Representatives were then sitting in a stone house on the corner of Main and
Fair streets. This house escaped the flames when Kingston was burned by British
incendiaries in the autumn of the same year.

Under consideration for more than a month, action was suddenly taken upon it
on April 20 in Air. Jay's absence at his mother's deathbed.

On April 22 the Constitution was i)ublished, after the manner of the times, ])\-
reading it to the members of the convention and to the people. For this latter jmr-
jjose Robert Benson, the secretary, standing on a barrel in front of the court house in
Kingston, read the document in his clear voice to the assembled multitude.

Public affairs required a speedy organization of a State government, so that the
l)rovisions of the Constitution were not submitted to the people at large but were
ado[)ied by their Representatives only.



4(J




AFTER the battle of Monmouth, 1778, Clinton slipped away and sought
refuge in New York. Washington posted his army accordingly and watched
'^ the enemy, striving always to guard the Hudson to prevent the British sep-
arating the colonies.

In June, 1779, Clinton took possession of Stony Point and Verplanck Point and
fortified them. These two points were connected by what was known as the King's
Ferry, and Washington and his army crossed the Hudson more than once at this
point. Its military importance can be only roughly realized at this day, as Clinton
by such flank movements might soon control the Hudson.

Having decided to check this movement Washington sent for Wayne and laid his
plan before him. Tradition says that Wayne answered : " I will storm hell if you will
plan it." This shows the confidence the army had in Washington.

So on July 15, 1779, Wayne led about twelve hundred men secretly through a
mountain pass to the neighborhood of Stony Point. Just before midnight he ap-
proached the almost impregnable position of the British in three columns. The
middle and left columns crossed a marshy strait by a narrow causeway. The right
column, led by Wayne himself, waded the river up to their waists. At midnight the
right and left columns, with fixed bayonets and unloaded muskets, carried the fort
by storm, the only firing by the Americans being done by the middle column as a
feint.

It was one of the most gallant and brilliant feats of arms of the war. There
Wayne won his name of "Mad Anthony."



41




BENEDICT ARNOLD commanded the post of West Point in 1780. In 1778
he was in command at Philadelphia, but lived beyond his means. Tried by
court martial he was sentenced to be reprimanded by Washington, which
order was carried out in the gentlest manner.

A deep sense of injury ever after possessed him, and finally led him to become a
traitor to his country. Opening correspondence with the enemy he arranged to
surrender the post at West Point, valuable to the Americans not only from its mili-
tary position, but also on account of the quantities of food and stores assembled there.

A personal interview was desired to effect Arnold's foul purpose and Major
Andre was selected in behalf of the British to settle the details. Andre ascended the
river in the sloop of war Vulture and met Arnold on shore at night not far below
Haverstraw, on September 20, 1780.

Day dawned, and the arrangements were completed at Joshua Hett Smith's
house near Stony Point, within the American lines. All was now settled. Clinton
was to attack West Point, and Arnold, after a show of resistance, would surrender.
Meanwhile the Vulture had been dri\'en away by cannon shots from Croton Point.

Andre, disguised in citizen's clothes, crossed the King's Ferry with a pass made
out for John Anderson, signed by Arnold. Andre had concealed the plans of West
Point in his stockings. Riding alone on the highway near Tarrytown he was halted
by three militiamen — Paulding, Van Wart and Williams. Arousing suspicion he
was searched and the telltale papers found. He was detained, tried and finally exe-
cuted at Tappan on October 2, 1780.



42




THE American Army under Washington arrived at New Windsor, near New-
burgh, in October, 1782, and went into winter quarters there. The troops
erected a building sufficient to contain a brigade of troops and which was
subsequently known as "The Temple.' It was completed and opened on the
anniversary of the French Alliance, February 6, 1783.

The portal of "The Temple" and sections on each side are shown on the float.
In front are the officers discussing the founding of the Cincinnati.

In this building, on ]\Iay 10, 1783, the Society of the Cincinnati was instituted by
the officers of the American Army, among whom were Gen. William Heath, second
in command of the Army, John Knox, Baron Steuben, Nathanael Greene, Horatio
Gates and Anthony Wayne. Washington was not present, but later, like man\-
other officers, subscribed to the document.

This institution, founded in the tield after eight years of bloody warfare, was to
perpetuate the mutual friendships which had ensued. To continue its organization
the eldest son of members or of officers eligible to membership were entitled to join.

The French officers who fought as allies were also constituted members.

This society remains to the present time as it was promulgated by the officers of
the American Army, and during its period of existence has appropriated hundreds of
thousands of dollars for the relief of unfortunate members, their widows and
children. The restriction of membership to the eldest son of the eldest son of an
officer of our Revolutionary Army has made it one of our most select patriotic
societies.



43




IN 1795 John Jay, the newly elected Governor of New York, arrived from
England with a new treaty, rendered necessary by the repeated violations of
the former treaty alleged by each nation against the other.

This treaty, which bound the United States to a strict neutrality in all wars be-
tween England and other nations, was denounced by the RepubHcan party as a
shameful repudiation of the obligation due by the country to France, and President
Washington was besought to refuse ratification.

In New York the Federalists were the stronger in wealth, the Republicans in
number.

On July 18, 1795, a public meeting was called to consider the Jay treaty, and the
Federalists resolved to present both sides of the question to the populace. A large
crowd gathered in front of the City Hall to hear the arguments.

Aaron Burr and Brockholst Livingston appeared as leaders of the opposition.
Alexander Hamilton and Richard Varick stood for the Federalists and the treaty.

The Federalists at first took the lead in the meeting, electing a chairman. Then
they proposed to adjourn the meeting. The Republicans opposed this. A motion
was made to leave the matter to the decision of the President and the Senate, and
the question being taken, both sides claimed a majority.

A scene of violence followed, whereupon Hamilton mounted the stoop of an okl
Dutch house, which stood on the corner of Wall and Broad streets, and attempted
to speak in defense of the treaty, when he was knocked down from where he was
speaking and dragged through the street by the excited multitude.



44





MANY of the forms of punishment which were employed in New York in the
early days arc now obsolete. The most terrible was burning at the stake,
as was excmpliiled during the terror of 1741. For what was regarded a
lesser degree of crime plain hanging was practised upon a gibbet, which when not
in use was kept publicly exposed as a warning to evildoers. Imprisonments for
various periods came next in severity. There were five other forms of punishment,
however, adapted to lesser crimes, which depended for their efficacy less upon their
duration and severity than upon the public ridicule to which the victims were sub-
jected. The most painful of these was the whipping post, to which the culprit was
tied while he was publicly flogged. In the old Fort Amsterdam which stood at the
foot of Bowling Green military malefactors were punished by being compelled to
"ride the wooden horse" — a mild form of torture about equivalent to "riding the
rail." Corporal Hans Stein was thus punished in 1639 for neglecting duty to ffirt
with an Indian woman. In 1648 private Jonas Jonasen, for robbing hen roosts,
was condemned to work chained to a wheelbarrow. More uncomfortable and
ridiculous than actually painful was punishment in the pillory or in the stocks,
which were erected in suggestive proximity to the gibbet. Least painful and most
ridiculous of all was the ducking stool, reserved for common scolds in New York
as well as elsewhere. The ducking stool was variously constructed, but consisted
essentially of a long crossbeam, like a well sweep, to one end of which was attached
a seat. In the latter was placed the culprit, who was repeatedly ducked into some
body of water, by the side of which the apparatus was conveniently erected.



45





THE election of our first President was done very quietly, as there was no op-
position. The eyes and hearts of all instinctively turned toward Washing-
ton as the fittest man to guide the Ship of State on its first perilous voyage.
He received every vote of the electoral college. John Adams was chosen \'ice-
President.

The Continental Congress having designated New York as the capital, the City
Hall on Wall Street, at the foot of Nassau Street, was fitted up for the use of the
national legislature.

The new Government was to have been organized on ]March 4, 17S9. That
auspicious day was greeted with the ringing of bells and booming of cannon, but
owing to the horrible condition of the roads but few members of Congress were
present. It was April 6 before a quorum was assembled, and the two houses j)ro-
ceeded to count the electoral vote for President and \'ice-President.

The Vice-President-elect reached New York on April 21 and General Washing-
ton two days later. His journey from Mount Vernon was a continuous ovation.
At Elizabcthport he was met by a committee from Congress and conveyed in a barge
to the foot of Wall Street, where he was welcomed by the authorities, and in pro-
cession he was conducted to the oflicial residence in Cherry Street, near Franklin
Square, then the fashionable part of the city.

At noon, April 30, the City Troop escorted Washington from this house to the
City Hall, and there, on the balcony, the oath of oftke was administered to him by
Chancellor Livingston.



^



4tj




IN THESE modern days of automatically propelled vehicles, when the gradual
disappearance of the horse from the streets of the metropolis seems to fore-
shadow the time when the form of that useful animal will be seen only in the
product of the museum taxidermist's art, the old coach of Colonial days is a veritable
curiosity.

The Beekman coach used by Washington was a beautiful specimen of coach
architecture, with its curving lines and decorative embellishments. Washington
generally traveled on horseback. He was so much at home in the saddle that
man and beast seemed to be one creature — a veritable centaur. On state occasions,
however, he condescended to the luxury of coach riding. On April 30, 1789, when
he was escorted from the first Presidential Mansion on Cherry Street to the Federal
Hall, to be inaugurated as first President of the United States, the center of the
procession was occupied by the "President-elect in a chariot drawn by four horses."
Five and a half months later, when he made the first formal Presidential progress to
Boston and New Hampshire, he set out in his own chariot, drawn by four handsome
horses and attended by his two personal secretaries, Tobias Lear and ]\Iajor
Jackson, on horseback. This mode of travel was less comfortable and less expedi-
tious than the modern steam and electric train, with its sleeping, dining and parlor
accommodations, but it was certainly more picturesque. The float representing
Washington's coach, therefore, reminds the beholder not only of our national hero,
but also recalls the more leisurely-going Colonial period, when men did not try to
crowd into one lifetime the energy and achievements of two or three.



47




NATHAN HALE is known to every American as the author of the famous
phrase, " I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country." He
uttered this sentiment when, just before he was to be shot as a spy, he was
asked if he had any statement to make. It was a fitting close to an intensely patri-
otic life.

Nathan Hale was born at Coventry, Conn., in 1750, and studied at Yale College,
graduating with high honors in 1773. He taught school until the outbreak of the
Revolution, first at East Haddam, till March of 1774, and then at New London till
July I, 1775, when he became a first heutenant in a Connecticut regiment. His first
service was in charge of a recruiting station at New London, then he took part in the
siege of Boston and was promoted shortly afterward, first to captain-lieutenant and
later formally commissioned a captain in the regular Continental sers'ice.

Shortly after he went to New York with Heath's brigade.

Early in September he volunteered to visit Long Island and New York to secure
some much-needed information regarding the enemy, and which could only be
secured by a spy within its lines. Disguising himself as a Dutch schoolteacher he
entered the British lines, obtained the desired information, and was all ready to
return when, on the night of September 21, he was recognized as an enemy and
captured.

He was given no consideration and no time, but was shot the following morning.
His requests for a Bible and minister were denied him, and farewell letters which he
wrote, to be sent to his relatives, were burned before his eyes.



48




\ >



t



ON NOVEMBER 25, 1783, the British troops were withdrawn from New
York City and the American army took possession. During the next
few days the Commander-in-Chief was tendered many receptions. On
December 4 Washington bade farewell to his officers in the Long Room of
Fraunces' Tavern at Pearl and Broad streets. Col. Tallmadge, describing the
scene, says :

"We had been assembled but a few moments when His Excellency entered the
room. His emotion, too strong to be concealed, seemed to be reciprocated by every
officer present. After partaking of a slight refreshment in almost breathless silence
the General filled his glass with wine and turning to the officers said : ' With a heart
full of love and gratitude I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your
latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious
and honorable.' After the officers had taken a glass of wine the General added :
' I cannot come to each of you, but shall feel obliged if each of you will come and
take me by the hand.' General Knox, being the nearest to him, turned to the
Commander-in-Chief, who, suffused in tears, was incapable of utterance but grasped
his hand, when they embraced each other in silence.

"In the same affectionate manner every officer parted from his Commander-in-
Chief. Washington now left the room and proceeded between lines of soldiers to
his barge at the foot of Whitehall Slip, embarked and, taking off his hat, waved a
final farewell to the assembled multitude."

Fraunces' Tavern is preserved by the Sons of the Revolution.



49




AC CORDING to Washington Irving's tale Rip Van Winkle, an intemperate
r\ but good-natured Dutchman, and his dog Wolf wandered off into the
Catskills for a day's shooting. Night came on and before turning home-
ward Rip threw himself down to rest upon a grassy knoll above a rocky precipice.
Looking down into the shadowy glen he saw a strange figure dressed in ancient
Dutch fashion toiling up the mountain side, bending under the weight of a
huge cask. Rip followed him to an opening in the mountains, where a company of
quaint personages were playing at bowls. The latter invited Rip to drink with
them, and he had no sooner tasted the liquor than he fell into a deep slumber, from
which he woke to fmd that he had slept for twenty years.

In time Rip's adventures became the talk of the village, whose oldest inhabitant
affirmed that it was a fact, handed down from his ancestor, the historian, that the
Catskill Mountains had always been haunted by strange beings; that it was
affirmed that Henry Hudson, the discoverer of the river and country, kept a kind of
vigil there every twenty years, with his crew of the Half Moon, being permitted in
this way to revisit the scenes of his enterprise and keep a guardian eye upon the
great river called by his name ; that his father had once seen them in their old Dutch
dresses playing at ninepins in a hollow of the mountains, and that he himself had
heard one summer afternoon the sound of their balls, like distant peals of thunder.

This is probably the most famous legend of the Hudson Valley and has been
particularly endeared to the American people by the impersonation of the title
character by the late Joseph Jefferson in the play of "Rip Van Winkle."



50






SLEEPY HOLLOW is a charming vale just north of Tarrytown through
which runs the Pocantico River. It was a favorite haunt of Irving.

The church at Sleepy Hollow, erected by the Lord of the Manor of
Philipse, is the oldest church in this part of the country. Irving, in one of his
deftly drawn sketches, has given us the legend of the locality.

Ichabod Crane, a New England schoolteacher, aspired to the hand of Katrine,
daughter of Baltus Van Tassel, and in so doing incurred the rivalry of Brom Bones.
After feasting at Van Tassel's fireside homestead tales of eerie things were told, not
the least spookish being Brom Bones's adventure with a headless horseman. As
Ichabod, heavy hearted, pursued his way homeward among the lofty hills above
Tarrytown all the tales of ghosts and goblins which he had heard now crowded
upon his imagination. He passed through a wooded glen known as Wiley's Swamp
and approached with thumping heart the rough log bridge which spanned the
stream. Just then, in the shadow of the grove, he beheld something huge and mis-
shapen, which, with a scramble and a bound, jumped into the middle of the road.
An instant later Ichabod with horror saw in relief against the sky a gigantic traveler
muffled in a cloak. The horseman was headless but carried his head in his hand !

The bridge was in sight, with the church beyond, and dispelled Ichabod's fears.
Spurring over the bridge Ichabod looked behind, hoping to lose his ghostly visitor.
But no ; the goblin, rising in his stirrups, hurled his head at him.

The next day Ichabod's horse returned home without his saddle. Ichabod was
never found.



51




T



MODERN PERIOD

(HIS car introduces the historical floats depicting scenes in the United States
and Modern Period. The growth of the Commonweahh during this
period cannot adequately be portrayed in a short pageant like this, and
only a few salient events have been selected. Of the subjects presented by the
city's history in this period there can be no doubt of the cardinal importance of
the two relating to the Hudson Ri\er — the inauguration of steam navigation and
the opening of the Erie Canal. Both of these achievements had a powerful et'fect
upon the commerce of the city of New York and contributed immeasurably to
its upbuilding. Their effect, however, was more than local. While in one sense
they increased the im])ortance of the Hudson River, yet in another they diminished
it, for by lengthening its water communications to the Great Lakes on one side
and by facilitating its ocean communications on the other, they have made the
river a comparatively short link of 150 miles in the longer route by which the
products of the West are carried from lakes Superior and Michigan to Europe.

Many men contributed to the success which was fmally achieved in the
successful establishment of steam navigation, and many men contributed to the
success of the then stuj)endous j)roject of building the Erie Canal, but those
who contributed most to those two achievements are the two men whose names
are sj)ontaneously recalled by the sight of the representations of the Clermont and
the canal boat — Robert Fulton and De Witt Clinton.




ROBERT FULTON was born on November 14, 1765, in Little Britain, Pa.,
but his family moved to Lancaster, Pa., when he was three years old. There
he went to school and developed two traits seldom found in one person — the
love of art and of mechanics. Known publicly for his mechanical genius his ability
as an artist is overlooked. No one who visits the exhibit of his works held at


1 2 4

Online LibraryHudson-Fulton Celebration CommissionHistorical pageant : Hudson-Fulton celebration, September 25 to October 9, 1909 → online text (page 4 of 5)