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   CHAPTER VI.     Table of Contents    CHAPTER VIII.

Lossing, Benson J. The Hudson from the wilderness to the sea. (1866)


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The grounds around Van Rensselaer Manor House extend from Broadway to the river, and embrace a large garden and conservatory. There in the midst of rural scenery, the sounds of a swift-running brook, and almost the quietude of a sylvan retreat, the "lord of the manor of Rensselaerwyek," the lineal descendant of Killian, the pearl merchant, and first Patroon, was living when our sketch was made in elegant but unostentatious style--a simple Republican, without the feudal title of his progenitors, except by courtesy. Within the mansion are collected some exquisito works of Art, and family portraits extending in regular order back to the first Patroon. At the head of the great staircase leading from the spacious hall to the chambers was a portion of the illuminated window which, for one hundred and ninety years, occupied a place in the old Dutch Church that stood in the middle of State Street, at its intersection by Broadway. It bears the arms of the Van Rensselaer family, which were placed in the church by the son of Killian.

[Illustration : VAN RENSSELAER'S ARMS.]
That old church, a sketch of which, with the appearance of the neighbourhood at the time of its demolition in 1805, is seen in our picture, was a curiously arranged place of worship. It was built of stone, in 1715, over a smaller one erected in 1656, in which the congregation continued to worship, until the new one was roofed. There was an interruption in the stated worship for only three Sabbaths. It had a low
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gallery, and the huge stove used in heating the building was placed upon a platform so high, that the sexton went upon it from the gallery to kindle the fire, implying a belief in those days that heated air descended, instead of ascending, as we are now taught by the philosophers. The pulpit was made of carved oak, octagonal in form, and in front of it was a bracket, on which the minister placed his hour-glass, when he commenced preaching. From the pulpit shone in succession those lights of the Reformed Dutch Church in America, Dominies Schaats, Delius, the land speculator, Lydius, Vandriéssen, Van Schie, Frelinghuysen, Westerlo,
and Johnson. And from it the Gospel is still preached in Albany. With its bracket, it occupies a place in the North Dutch Church, in that city.

The bell-rope of the old church hung down in the centre of the building, and upon that cord tradition has suspended many a tale of trouble for Mynheer Brower, one of its sextons, who lived in North Pearl Street. He went to the church every night at eight o'clock, pursuant to orders, to ring the "suppawn bell." This was the signal for the inhabitants to eat their "suppawn," or hasty-pudding, and prepare for bed. It was

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equivalent in its office to the old English curfew bell. On these occasions the wicked boys would sometimes tease the old bell-ringer. They would slip stealthily into the church while he was there with his dim lantern, unlock the side door, hide in some dark corner, and when the old man was fairly seated at home, and had his pipe lighted for a last smoke, they would ring the bell furiously. Down to the old church the sexton would hasten, the boys would slip out at the side door before his arrival, and the old man would return home thoughtfully, musing upon the probability of invisible hands pulling at his bell-rope--those

"People--ah, the people,
They that dwell up in the steeple
All alone.
And who, tolling, tolling, tolling,
In that muffled monotone,
Feel a glory in so rolling
On the human heart a stone;
They are neither man nor woman,
They are neither brute nor human,
They are ghouls!"

Albany were a quaint aspect until the beginning of the present century, on account of the predominance of steep-roofed houses, with their terraced gables to the street. A fair specimen is given in our Street View in Ancient Albany, which shows the appearance of the town at the intersection of North Pearl and State Streets, sixty years ago. The house at the nearer corner was built as a parsonage for the Rev. Gideon Schaats, who arrived in Albany in 1652. The materials were imported from Holland,--bricks, tiles, iron, and wood-work,--and were brought, with the church bell and pulpit, in 1657. "When I was quite a lad," says a late writer, "I visited the house with my mother, who was acquainted with the father of Balthazar Lydius, the last proprietor of the mansion. To my eyes it appeared like a palace, and I thought the pewter plates in a corner cupboard were solid silver, they glittered so. The partitions were made of mahogany, and the exposed beams were ornamented with carvings in high relief, representing the vine and fruit of the grape. To show the relief more perfectly, the beams were painted white. Balthazar was an eccentric old bachelor, and was the terror of all the boys. Strange stories, almost as dreadful as those which cluster around the name of Bluebeard, were told of his fierceness on some occasions; and the urchins,

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when they saw him in the streets, would give him the whole side-walk, for he made them think of the ogre, growling out his

'Fee, fo, fum,
I smell the blood of an Englishman

He was a tall, spare Dutchman, with a bullet head, sprinkled with thin white hair in his latter years. He was fond of his pipe and his bottle, and gloried in his celibacy, until his life was 'in the sere and yellow leaf.'

Then he gave a pint of gin for a squaw (an Indian woman), and calling her his wife, lived with her as such until his death."

On the opposite corner was seen an elm-tree, yet standing in 1860, but of statelier proportions, which was planted more than a hundred years before by Philip Livingston, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, whose dwelling was next to the corner. It was a monument to the planter, more truly valued of the Albanians in the heats of summer, than would be the costliest pile of brass or marble.

Further up the street is seen a large building, with two gables, which was known as the Vanderheyden Palace. It is a good specimen of the

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external appearance of the better class of houses erected by the Dutch in Albany. It was built in 1725, by Johannes Beckman, one of the old burghers of that city; and was purchased, in 1778, by one of the Vanderheydens of Troy, who, for many years, lived there in the style of the old Dutch aristocracy. On account of its size, it was dignified with the title of palace. It figures in Washington Irving's story of Dolph Heyliger, in "Bracebridge Hall," as the residence of Heer Anthony Vanderheyden;
and when Mr. Irving transformed the old farmhouse of Van Tassel into his elegant Dutch cottage at "Sunnyside," he made the southern gable an exact imitation of that of the palace in Albany. And the iron vane, in the form of a horse at full speed, that turned for a century upon one of the gables of the Vanderheyden Palace, now occupies the peak of that southern gable at delightful "Sunnyside."

Kalm, the Swedish traveller, who visited Albany in 1748 and 1749, says in his Journal,--"The houses in this town are very neat, and partly built with stones, covered with shingles of the white pine. Some are slated with tiles from Holland. Most of the houses are built in the old

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way, with the gable-end toward the street; a few excepted, which were lately built in the manner now used..... The gutters on the roofs reach almost to the middle of the street. This preserves the walls from being damaged by the rain, but it is extremely disagreeable in rainy weather for the people in the streets, there being hardly any means for avoiding the water from the gutters. The street doors are generally in the middle of the houses, and on both sides are seats, on which, during fair weather, the people spend almost the whole day, especially on those which are in the shadow of the houses. In the evening these seats are covered with people of both sexes; but this is rather troublesome, as those who pass by are obliged to greet everybody, unless they will shock the politeness of the inhabitants of the town."

Kalm appears to have had some unpleasant experiences in Albany, and in his Journal gave his opinion very freely concerning the inhabitants. "The avarice and selfishness of the inhabitants of Albany," he says, "are very well known throughout all North America. If a Jew, who understands the art of getting forward perfectly well, should settle amongst them, they would not fail to ruin him; for this reason, no one comes to this place without the most pressing necessity." He complains that he "was obliged to pay for everything twice, thrice, and four times as dear as in any other part of North America" which he had passed through. If he wanted any help, he had to pay "exorbitant prices for their services," and yet he says he found some exceptions among them. After due reflection, he came to the following conclusion respecting "the origin of the inhabitants of Albany and its neighbourhood. Whilst the Dutch possessed this country, and intended to people it, the government took up a pack of vagabonds, of which they intended to clear the country, and sent them, along with a number of other settlers, to this province. The vagabonds were sent far from the other colonists, upon the borders toward the Indians and other enemies; and a few honest families were persuaded to go with them, in order to keep them in bounds. I cannot in any other way account for the difference between the inhabitants of Albany and the other descendants of so respectable a nation as the Dutch."

Albany was settled by the Dutch, and is the oldest of the permanent

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European settlements in the United States. Hudson passed its site in the Half-Moon, in the early autumns of 1609; and the next year Dutch navigators built trading-houses there, to traffic for furs with the Indians. In 1614 they erected a stockade fort on an island near. It was swept away by a spring freshet in 1617. Another was built on the main: it was abandoned in 1623, and a stronger one erected in what is now Broadway, below State Street. This was furnished with eight cannon loaded with stones, and was named Fort Orange, in honour of the then Stadtholder of Holland. Down to the period of the intercolonial wars, the settlement and the city were known as Fort Orange by the French in Canada. Families settled there in 1630, and for awhile the place was called Beverwyck. When James, Duke of York and Albany (brother to
[Illustration : FORT FREDERICK.]
Charles II.), came into possession of New Netherland, New Amsterdam was named New York, and Orange, or Beverwyck, was called Albany.

In 1647 a fort, named Williamstadt, was erected upon the hill at the head of State Street, very near the site of the State Capitol, and the city was enclosed by a line of defences in septangular form. In 1683 the little trading post, having grown first to a hamlet and then to a large village, was incorporated a city, and Peter Schuyler, already mentioned (son of the first of that name who came to America), was chosen its first mayor. Out of the manor of Rensselaerwyck a strip of land, a mile wide, extending from the Hudson at the town, thirteen miles back, was granted to the city, but the title to all the remainder of the soil of that broad domain was confirmed to the Patroon. When, toward the middle of the last century, the province was menaced by the French and Indians, a strong quadrangular fort, built of stone, was erected upon the site of that

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of Williamstadt. Within the heavy walls, which had strong bastions at the four corners, was a stone building for the officers and soldiers. It was named Fort Frederick; but its situation was so insecure, owing to higher hills in the rear, from which an enemy might attack it, it was not regarded as of much value by Abererombie and others during the campaigns of the Seven Years' War. From that period until the present, Albany has been growing more and more cosmopolitan in its population, until now very little of the old Dutch element is distinctly perceived. The style of its architecture is changed, and very few of the buildings erected in the last century and before, are remaining.

Among the most interesting of these relies of the past is the mansion erected by General Philip Schuyler, at about the time when the Van Rensselaer Manor House was built. It stands in the southern part of the city, at the head of Schuyler Street, and is a very fine specimen of the domestic architecture of the country at that period. It is entered at the front by an octagonal vestibule, richly ornamented within. The rooms are spacious, with high ceilings, and wainscoted. The chimney-pieces in some of the rooms are finely wrought, and ornamented with carvings from mantel to ceiling. The outhouses were spacious, and the grounds around the mansion, so late as 1860, occupied an entire square within the city. Its site was well chosen, for even now, surrounded as it is by the city, it commands a most remarkable prospect of the Hudson and the adjacent country. Below it are the slopes and plain toward the river, which once composed the magnificent lawn in front of the general's mansion; further on is a dense portion of the city; but looking over all the mass of buildings and shipping, the eyes take in much of the fine county of Rensselaer, on the opposite side of the river, and a view of the Hudson and its valley many miles southward.

In that mansion General Schuyler and his family dispensed a princely hospitality for almost forty years. Every stranger of distinction passing between New York and Canada, public functionaries of the province and state visiting Albany, and resident friends and relatives, always found a hearty welcome to bed and board under its roof. And when the British army had surrendered to the victorious republicans at Saratoga, in the autumn of 1777, Sir John Burgoyne, the accomplished commander of the

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royal troops, and many of his fellow-captives, were treated as friendly guests at the general's table. To this circumstance we have already alluded.

"We were received by the good General Schuyler, his wife and daughters," says the Baroness Reidesel, "not as enemies, but as kind friends; and they treated us with the most marked attention and politeness, as they did General Burgoyne, who had caused General

Schuyler's beautifully-finished house to be burned. In fact, they behaved like persons of exalted minds, who determined to bury all recollections of their own injuries in the contemplation of our misfortunes. General Burgoyne was struck with General Schuyler's generosity, and said to him, 'You show me great kindness, though I have done you much injury.' 'That was the fate of war,' replied the brave man, 'let us say no more about it.'"

"The British commander was well received by Mrs. Schuyler," says the Marquis De Chastellux, in his "Travels in America," "and lodged in the best apartment in the house. An excellent supper was served him

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in the evening, the honours of which were done with so much grace that he was affected even to tears, and said, with a deep sigh, 'Indeed, this is doing too much for the man who has ravaged their lands and burned their dwellings.' The next morning he was reminded of his misfortunes by an incident that would have amused any one else. His bed was prepared in a large room, but as he had a numerous suite, or family, several mattresses were spread on the floor, for some officers to sleep near him. Schuyler's second son, a little fellow, about seven years old, very arch and forward, but very amiable, was running all the morning about the house. Opening the door of the saloon, he burst out a laughing on seeing all the English collected, and shut it after him, exclaiming, 'You are all my prisoners!' This innocent cruelty rendered them more melancholy than before."

Schuyler's mansion was the theatre of a stirring event, in the summer of 1781. The general was then engaged in the civil service of his country, and was at home. The war was at its height, and the person of Schuyler was regarded as a capital prize by his Tory enemies. A plan was conceived to seize him, and carry him a prisoner into Canada. A Tory of his neighbourhood, named Waltemeyer, a colleague of the more notorious Joe Bettys, was employed for the purpose. With a party of his associates, some Canadians and Indians, he prowled in the woods, near Albany, for several days, awaiting a favourable opportunity. From a Dutch labourer, whom he seized, he learned that the general was at home, and kept a body-guard of six men in the house, three of them, in succession, being continually on duty. The Dutchman was compelled to take an oath of secrecy, but appears to have made a mental reservation, for, as soon as possible, he hastened to Schuyler's house, and warned him of his peril.

At the close of a sultry day in August, the general and his family were sitting in the large hall of the mansion; the servants were dispersed about the premises; three of the guard were asleep in the basement, and the other three were lying upon the grass in front of the house. The night had fallen, when a servant announced that a stranger at the back gate wished to speak with the general. His errand was immediately apprehended. The doors and windows were closed and barred, the family

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were hastily collected in an upper room, and the general ran to his bedchamber for his arms. From the window he saw the house surrounded by armed men. For the purpose of arousing the sentinels upon the grass, and, perhaps, alarm the town, then half a mile distant, he fired a pistol from the window. At that moment the assailants burst open the doors, and, at the same time, Mrs. Schuyler perceived that, in the confusion and alarm, in their retreat from the hall, her infant child, a few months old,
had been left in a cradle in the nursery below. She was flying to the rescue of her child, when the general interposed, and prevented her. But her third daughter (who afterwards became the wife of the last Patroon of Rensselaerwyck) instantly rushed down stairs, matched the still sleeping infant from the cradle, and bore it off in safety. One of the Indians hurled a sharp tomahawk at her as she ascended the stairs. It cut her dress within a few inches of the infant's head, and struck the
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stair rail at the lower turn, where the scar may be still seen. At that moment, Waltemeyer, supposing her to be a servant, exclaimed, "Wench, wench, where is your master?" With great presence of mind, she replied, "Gone to alarm the town." The general heard her, and, throwing up the window, called out, as if to a multitude, "Come on, my brave fellows! surround the house, and secure the villains!" The marauders were then in the dining-room, plundering the general's plate. With this, and the three guards that were in the house, and were disarmed, they made a precipitate retreat in the direction of Canada.

The infant daughter, who so narrowly escaped death, was the late Mrs. Catherine Van Rensselaer Cochran, of Oswego, New York, who was General Schuyler's youngest and last surviving child. She died toward the close of August, 1857, at the age of seventy-six years.

Albany was made the political metropolis of the State of New York early in the present century, when the Capitol, or State-House, was erected. It stands upon a hill at the heat of broad, steep, busy State Street, one hundred and thirty feet above the Hudson, and commands a fine prospect of the whole surrounding country, especially the rich agricultural district on the east side of the river. In front of the Capitol is a small well-shaded park, or enclosed public square, on the eastern side of which are costly white marble buildings devoted to the official business of the State and city. The Capitol is an unpretending structure, of brown free-stone from the Nyack quarries, below the Highlands. It is two stories in height, and ornamented with a portico, whose roof is supported by four grey marble columns of the Ionic order, tetrastyle. The building is surmounted by a dome supported by several small Ionic columns, and bearing upon its crown a wooden statue of Themis, the goddess of justice and law. Within it are halls for the two branches of the State legislature (Senate and General Assembly), an executive chamber for the official use of the Governor, an apartment for the Adjutant-General, and rooms for the use of the higher state courts.

Immediately in the rear of the Capitol is the building containing the State library, which includes nearly forty thousand volumes, and some valuable manuscripts. It is a free, but not a circulating, library.

Albany contained only about six thousand inhabitants when it was

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made the State capital, and its progress in business and population was very slow until the successful establishment of steam-boat navigation on the Hudson, and the completion of that stupendous work of internal improvement, the Eric Canal, by which the greatest of the inland seas of the United States (Lake Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior) were connected by navigable waters with the Atlantic Ocean, through the
[Illustration : THE STATE CAPITOL.]
Hudson River. The idea of such connection had occupied the minds of sagacious men for many years, foremost among whom were Elkanah Watson, General Philip Schuyler, Christopher Colles, and Gouverneur Morris; and thirty years before the great work was commenced, Joel Barlow, one of the early American poets, wrote in his Vision of Columbus--

"He saw as widely spreads the unchannelled plain,
Where inland realms for ages bloomed in vain,
Canals, long winding, ope a watery flight,
And distant streams, and seas, and lakes unite.
"From fair Albania tow'rd the failing sun,
Back through the midland lengthening channels run;
Meet the far lakes, their beauteous towns that lave,
And Hudson joined to broad Ohio's wave."

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The Erie Canal enters the Hudson at Albany. Its western terminus is the city of Buffalo, at the east end of Lake Erie. The length of the canal is 360 miles, and its original width was forty feet, with depth sufficient to bear boats of eighty tons burden. It was completed in the year 1825, at a cost to the State of nearly eight millions of dollars. The business demands upon it warranting an enlargement to seventy feet in width, work with that result in view has been in progress for several years. It flows through the entire length of the beautiful Mohawk valley, crosses
[Illustration : CANAL BASIN AT ALBANY.]
the Mohawk River several times, and enters Albany at the north end of the city.

Near where the last aqueduct of the canal crosses the Mohawk River, the rapids above Cohoes Falls commence. The Indians had a touching legend connected with these rapids, that exhibits, in brief sentences, a vivid picture of the workings of the savage mind.

Occuna, a young Seneca warrior, and his affianced were carelessly paddling along the river in a canoe, at the head of the rapids, when they suddenly perceived themselves drawn irresistibly by the current to the

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middle of, and down, the stream towards the cataract. When they found deliverance to be impossible, the lovers prepared to meet the great Master of Life with composure, and began the melancholy death-song, in responsive sentences. Occuna began: "Daughter of a mighty warrior! the Great Manitore [the Supreme God] calls me hence; he bids me hasten into his presence; I hear his voice in the stream; I perceive his Spirit in the moving of the waters. The light of his eyes danceth upon the swift rapids."

The maiden replied: "Art thou not thyself a mighty warrior, O Occuna? Hath not thy hatchet been often bathed in the red blood of thine enemies? Hath the fleet deer ever escaped thy arrow, or the beaver eluded thy pursuit? Why, then, shouldst thou fear to go into the presence of Manitore?"

Occuna responded: "Manitore regardeth the brave--he respecteth the prayer of the mighty! When I selected the from the daughters of thy mother, I promised to live and die with thee. The Thunderer hath called us together.

"Welcome, O shade of Oriska, great chief of the invincible Senecas! Lo, a warrior and the daughter of a warrior come to join you in the feast of the blessed!"

Occuna was dashed in pieces among the rocks, but his affianced maiden was preserved to tell the story of her perils. Occuna, the Indian said, "was raised high above the regions of the moon, from whence he views with joy the prosperous hunting of the warriors; he gives pleasant dreams to his friends, and terrifies their enemies with dreadful omens." And when any of his tribe passed this fatal cataract, they halted, and with brief solemn ceremonies commemorated the death of Occuna.

A capacious basin, comprising an area of thirty-two acres, was formed for the reception of the vessels and commerce of the canal, and in safe harbour for its boats and the river craft, in winter, by the erection of a pier, a mile in length, upon a shoal in front of the city. It was constructed by a stock company. The basin was originally closed at the upper and lower ends by lock-gates. These were soon removed to allow the tide and currents of the river to flow freely through the basin, for the dispersion of obstructions. When the Western Railway from Boston to

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Albany was completed, a passage was made through this pier for ferryboats, the bridges not being sufficient for the accommodation of travellers and freight. The pier was also soon covered with storehouses; and when the Harlem and Hudson River Railways (the former skirting the western borders of Connecticut, eighteen or twenty miles east of the Hudson, and the latter following the river shore) were finished, and their termini were fixed at the point of that of the Western Railway, the opening in the pier was widened, and ferry-boats made a passage through continually.

These roads, with the great Central Railway extending west from Albany, and others penetrating the country northward, together with the Champlain Canal, have made that city the focus of an immense trade and travel. The amount of property that reaches Albany by canal alone, is between two and three millions of tons annually; of which almost a million of tons, chiefly in the various forms of timber, are the products of the forests. The timber trade of Albany is very extensive, amounting in value to between six or seven millions of dollars annually. Manufacturing is carried on there extensively; and the little town of six thousand inhabitants, when it was made the State capital, about sixty years before, comprised in 1860 almost seventy thousand souls.

It is not within the scope of our plan of illustrating the Hudson to do more than offer a general outline of its various features, as exhibited in the forms of nature and the works of man. We leave to the statistician the task of giving in detail an account of the progress of towns and villages, in their industrial operations and the institutions of learning. We picture to the eye and mind only such prominent features as would naturally engage the observation of the tourist seeking recreation and incidental knowledge. With this remark we leave the consideration of Albany, after saying a few words concerning the Dudley Observatory, an establishment devoted to astronomical science, and ranking in its appropriate appointments with the best of its class of aids to human knowledge.

The Dudley Observatory was projected about eight years ago, and is nearly completed. It is the result of a conference of several scientific gentlemen, who resolved to establish at the State capital an astronomical observatory, that, for completeness, should be second to none in the world.

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General Van Rensselaer, the present proprietor of the Manor House, at Albany, presented for the purpose eight acres of land upon an eminence north of the city. This preliminary step was followed by Mrs. Blandina Dudley, widow of a wealthy Albany merchant, who offered twelve thousand dollars towards the cost of erecting a building. Those having the matter in charge resolved to call it the Dudley Observatory, in honour of the generous lady. She subsequently increased her gift for apparatus and endowments to seventy-six thousand dollars. The chief spring of her
generosity was a reverential respect for her husband. With wisdom she chose this instrument of scientific investigation to be his enduring monument. Others made liberal donations, trustees were appointed, a scientific council, to take charge of the establishment, was formed, and the building was commenced in the spring of 1853. A great heliometer, named in honour of Mrs. Dudley, was constructed; and Thomas W. Olcott, of Albany, who took great interest in the enterprise from the beginning, contributed sufficient money to purchase the splendid meridian circle by Pistor and Martin, of Berlin, the finest instrument of the kind in the world.
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It is called the Olcott Meridian Circle. The whole establishment was to have been placed under the superintendence of the eminent Professor Ormsby M. Mitchel, of Ohio. The Civil War broke out, and Mr. Mitchel, animated by patriotic zeal for the salvation of his country, entered the military service, for which he had been educated at West Point, and was made a general officer. While in command of the "Department of the South" at Beaufort, South Carolina, he died from the effects of yellow fever.

The Dudley Observatory is upon the highest summit of the grounds, and commands an extensive view of the Hudson and the adjacent country. It is cruciform, with a front of about eighty feet, and a depth of seventy-five feet. Its massive walls are of brick, faced with brown freestone. All the arrangements within, for the use of instruments, are very perfect. In a large niche opposite the entrance door is a marble bust of Mr. Dudley, by Palmer, the eminent sculptor, on the pedestal of which is the following inscription:--


In the Clock-room of the Observatory is the apparatus by which a "time-ball" on the top of the State Capitol, a mile distant, is dropped at precisely twelve o'clock each day, and bells are also rung at the same instant in the senate and assembly chambers. The ball is seen in our sketch of the Capitol. It is four and a half feet in diameter, is mounted on the flag-staff, and is raised each day at ten minutes before twelve. The force of the fall is broken by spiral springs at the foot of the flag-staff. Another but smaller time-ball is dropped at the same instant in Broadway, in front of the telegraph-office, and hundreds of persons may be seen daily holding their watches at the approach of the meridian moment, to regulate' them by this unerring indicator.

Immediately opposite Albany is the commencement of fine alluvial "flats," almost on a level with the Hudson, and subject to overflow when floods or high tides prevail. At the head of these "flats" lies the village of Greenbush (Het Greene Bosch, "the pine woods," in the Dutch

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language), which was laid out at the beginning of this century. It has since crept up the slope, and now presents a beautiful rural village of almost four thousand inhabitants. Many business men of Albany have pleasant country residences there. About a mile from the ferry is the site of extensive barracks erected by the United States government as a place of rendezvous for troops at the opening of the war between Great Britain and the United States in 1812. Provision was made for six
thousand soldiers; and their General Dearborn, the commander-in-chief of the United States army, had his quarters for some time. On this very spot Abercrombie and Amherst collected their troops above a hundred years ago, preparatory to an invasion of Canada, or, at least, the capture of the French fortresses on Lake Champlain; and from that same spot went companies and regiments to the northern frontiers in 1812--14, to invade Canada, or to oppose an invasion from that province, as circumstances might require. No traces now remain of warlike preparation. The
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peaceful pursuits of agriculture have taken the place of the turmoil of the camp, and instead of the music of the shrill fife and the sonorous drum that came up from the river's brink, when battalions marched away for the field, the scream of the steam-whistle, the jingle of bells, and the hoarse breathings of the locomotive are heard--for at Greenbush are concentrated the termini of four railways, that are almost hourly pouring living freight and tons of merchandise upon the vessels of the Albany ferries. Buildings of every description for the use of these railways are there in a cluster, the most conspicuous of which is the immense many-sided engine-house of the Western Road, whose great dome, covered with bright tin, is a conspicuous object on a sunny day for scores of miles around.

The Hudson River Railway is on the east side of the stream, and follows its tortuous banks all the way from Albany to New York, sometimes leading through tunnels or deep rocky gorges at promontories, and at others making tangents across bays and the months of tributary streams by means of bridges, trestlework, and causeways. Its length is 143 miles. More than a dozen trains each way pass over portions of the road in the course of twenty-four hours, affording the tourist an opportunity to visit in a short space of time every village on both sides of the river, there being good ferries at each. The shores are hilly and generally well-cultivated; and the diversity of the landscape, whether seen from the ears or a steamer, present to the eye, in rapid succession, ever-varying pictures of life and beauty, comfort and thrift.

   CHAPTER VI.     Table of Contents    CHAPTER VIII.