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ONE DOLLAR A YEAR.

NEW SERIES-PUBLISHED SEMI-MONTHLY.

PAYABLE IN ADVANCE.

EDITED BY A. B. STREET, $. 9. RANDALL AND JAS. HALL.

BY ALFRED B. STREET.

VOLUME IV.]
ALBANY, SATURDAY, JUNE 15, 1844.

[NUMBER 1. Glimpses of the Early History of Albany.

Sent, together with Adrian Blok, by the Amsterdam Li

censed Trading Company, to secure by fortifications the An Autumn day, in the year 1614, was brightening possession of the “Great River,” and to prosecute disthe boundless forests of a newly discovered region, as a

coveries in the neighboring region, he had sailed, in Dutch vessel made its way up the “Great River of the company with the other, in the beginning of the year Mountains,” so named by Hudson, after the sails of the

above stated, (1614.) Whilst about that part of the Half-Moon had been pictured on its surface. As the coast, called New-Holland by Hudson, and Cape Cod ship passed by promontory, cove, and island, the fierce by the English, he was rejoined by Blok, who had arMohawk on his war-path, and the shrinking Mahikander

rived at Man-a-ha-ta, (so called by the natives,) and, from his covert, beheld equally with amazement, this losing his ship by fire, had built a yacht, and passed second apparition of the “Great Bird with white wings” he again found his comrade. Blok, leaving his yacht to

through Oost River or East River, to the place where upon their solitary waters. With equal wonder, blended with admiration, did the Schipper and crew behold a fishing party, embarked in the vessel of Christianse, the unusual and beautiful scenes around them. The fo

and, together they prosecuted some farther discoveries, rests were decked with those splendid tints, that, no

before their course was shaped for the Hudson river, the where, gleam so brightly, as in our own bright land. destination of the two expeditions. No Man's Land, As far, upon each side, as the sailor at the mast-head and Block Island, Narragansett Bay, the Connecticut, could see, were those colors glowing, a jewelled ocean.

called by them the Fresh River, and the Housatonic, Before the prow, still stretched the river expanding

which they denominated the “ River of the Red Mounand contracting -- the gleaming sail frightening the tain,” were amongst the discoveries they made before duck sporting upon the water, and the deer drinking they parted the waters encircling the Indian Paggank, from the bank-side. The stories told by Hudson, and now known as Governor's Island, and also washing the his men, of the wonders they had seen, although mar

base of Long Island, named by the natives Sewanhacky, vellous indeed to the ears of the staid and sober Hol. or the Island of Shells. landers, were found by the present voyagers, to be even

It was in the autumn of the same year, as before staexceeded by the reality. After passing the place where ted, that Christianse made his way up the Hudson rithe “ Half-Moon” dropped anchor, and sent its boats to ver, to the place where we left him, for this brief reexplore the upper waters of the river, (which is sup

trospective glance. posed to be about the spot where the city of Hudson

Upon the Island where he moored, he commenced imnow stands,) the channel became narrower, and the mediately to raise a fortification. This caused, doubtislands more numerous, until, as the sunset fell, the less, great excitement amongst the red inhabitants of Schipper looked for a spot to moor his vessel for the the region. The Iroquois trapper, snaring his beaver night. He had now reached nearly as far as the boats upon the little streams that coursed through the ravines of the “Half-Moon” had penetrated; bars and shallow of the spot, spread the tidings amongst his tribe at Connwaters had, within a few miles, compelled him frequent- ughharie gughharie, that beyond the Pine Plains, a comly to sound the lead—the banks approached still nearer, pany of Pale faces were erecting a fort; and the Delaware and every thing betokened that his voyage in his light hunter, chasing the deer upon the hills of the opposite yacht must speedily come to an end. As the last ray side, gave also the alarm to the members of his nation. glittered upon the water, the vessel was turned towards Nevertheless, the work progressed—the warlike Mothe shore. Before the eye of the Schipper the land rose hawks or men of bloud, having been propitiated by Hudto a considerable elevation, leaving a strip of flat imme- son, and holding in subjection the neighboring tribes, diately upon the river side—which elevation was divi- not interfering. On the contrary, the wild chieftain, ded into several ravines, through which streams emp- leaning upon his bow, and witnessing the skill and tied into the river. The shore was winding. At the speed with which the “Charistooni” or “Iron WorkNorth, the channel made an elbow, with a back ground ers” (for so he had named the strangers,) erected their of mountain on the East, the land was reared into a fortress, and, when completed, saw the strength with ridge—while, immediately in front of his prow, was a which it was built, and heard the thunder of its guns, long low island. After gliding along the bushes of the whose bolts could prostrate the tallest trees of the folatter place for a few moments, the grapnel was cast, rest, had his admiration, if not fears, excited, for those the vessel stopped, and the Schipper with his mate, who possessed so much knowledge, and were gifted followed by his crew, planted their feet upon an earth with such terrible means of power. which had never before received the print of civilized The fortification, when finished, was surrounded by

a ditch or moat, eighteen feet wide, garrisoned by a The spot where the craft was moored, is the narrow dozen soldiers, and mounted by two brass pieces and fat island, immediately below the lower ferry of Alba- eleven “steen stucken,” or stone guns, which consistny, and the Schipper was Hendrick Christianse, under ed of iron bars, longitudinally laid, hooped, and so callwhose auspices the first permanent settlement, not only ed, because loaded with stone, instead of iron ball.in the vicinity of this city, but in our State, was made. (Christianse now took upon himself the duties of his

man.

ta.

station. He was called the “Opper Hoofdt” or Chief and from it sprung the Amsterdam Licensed Trading Commander of the licensed traders, and Jaques or Ja- Company, a part of thc East India corporation. Under cobus Elkans was made his Lieutenant, or Commissary. the auspices of this company, Blok and Christianse He exercised a supremacy over the whole river, a fort sailed upon their explorations, the result of which, having also been erected upon the island of Man-a-ha- among other things, were the founding of New-York

He probably divided his time between the two and Albany. These explorations were, most probably, places, and bent his attention to the prosecution of the next to Hudson's, although it is asserted that adventuFur trade.

rers found their way to the river in 1611, the next year The importance of this trade was deeply felt from the after the discoverer unlocked its waters. Be that as it beginning

may, no permanent impression was made upon the reAbout the period of which I write, Holland held, gion, until the successful voyages in 1614. above all other nations in Europe, sway over the ocean. Fully alive then, to the importance of obtaining the Her commerce was enormous. Twenty thousand ves- control of the fur trade, Christianse bent his efforts in sels and over two hundred thousand mariners navi- that direction. Soon, channels were opened to his gated the waters of the Mediterranean, Baltic and wishes, through that great and powerful confederacy, the Indian Ocean, as well as the coasts of Great Bri- the Iroquois, or Five Nations. The wild Seneca from tain, Africa and the West Indies. Her republican flag the plunging waters of Niagara, the famed Onondaga, drooped by the calm orange scented shores of the Paci. from the canton which held the central council fire of fic Islands, and fluttered wildly in the blasts and amid the nation, the Oneida and Cayuga, from their fertile the ice-bergs of the Arctic circle. Standing upon her fields and beautiful lakes, and the lordly Mohawk, from small domain of only 400,000 morgen, (nearly eight hun- his green valley, all came laden to the Castle Island dred thousand acres)—a domain which she had also fort, with their rich furs, to exchange for the baubles wrested from Neptune, she wielded the trident of the and trinkets of civilized life. Nor these alone. Their discomfited God beyond all competition. Her own en- minds were rankling with their defeat, upon the banks terprise and industry, were also seconded by adventi- of Lake George, five years before, from the hands of the tious aids. Her thirty years war with Spain for inde- Adirondacks, caused by the fire arms of Champlain, and pendence, had brought within her borders many active they naturally looked to these weapons, as a means of and restless spirits, whom the peace, just concluded, turning the tide of fortune against their hereditary foes, deprived of occupation. These gladly embraced any and building up their own power. The native sagacity opportunity whereby they could gain subsistence and of these wonderful tribes, which had induced them to have a theatre for the exercise of their martial and fiery form their wise confederacy, taught them that, with qualities. No country was too distant, no enterprise too these instruments, whose voices of thunder and tongues hazardous, for their daring and reckless courage. With of flame sent death quick as the lightning from Heasuch materials, added to her own resources, Holland ven, they might soon exercise uncontrolled supremacy was not slow in gaining the position we have just de- over the wilderness. So thinking, they obtained the scribed. The city of Amsterdam, containing one-fifth of fire arms, which obtaining led to the most momentous the population of the province of which it was the chief | results. It made the Iroquois, for a century, the most city, took the lead in the maritime operations of the peri- powerful people on the North American continent, enaod. In pursuance of these operations, a society called the bling them to stretch their protection over the English Dutch East India Company had been formed, of whose colonies, to whom the Dutch bequeathed the friendship directors those resident in Amsterdam were the most with which they had inspired the forest warriors. influential. The phantom of a north passage to India In 1617, in consequence of the spring freshets in the possessed, particularly, the minds of the commercial river, inundating the island, Christianse found it necommunity. To test the reality of the supposition, the nessary to abandon the redoubt, and erect a new one Amsterdam directors of this company had sent Hudson upon a tongue of land forming the south bank of the upon his voyage, who, though failing in this object, Norman's, or, as it was then named, Noordtman's kill; achieved the discovery of the river which bears his a small stream emptying into the Hudson at the lower name, and brought back won ful, but true, accounts point of the island. This tongue of land was called by of the region. Not only did he bring accounts, but he the Indians Ta-wass-a-gun-shee, or look-out hill, and is showed specimens of the riches of the country.- at present known as “Kiddenhooghten,” or Kidd's Amongst these specimens were the beautiful furs of the heights, from the tradition that the celebrated pirate, forests, streams and lakes of the magic land, which the whose achievements have been so often told, there setalisman of his daring had made known to the world. creted his money in one of his expeditions up the river. They filled the minds of the sober Hollanders with as- This tradition is still credited in the neighborhood, many tonishment and admiration. Obtained heretofore at a winter's hearth being cheered by its recital; and the great cost, and with much difficulty, from the traders lantern of the money-digger has often gleamed upon the in the north of Europe, they now saw them ready for hill at midnight, looking like a star to the eye of the those who had the energy and will to grasp them. Ap- steersman, as his sloop drifted, slowly, around the bold preciating the advantages resulting from the traffic in foot of Van Wie's Point. In summer, it is green with these articles of luxury, the members of the East India pleasant grass, its western side clothed in forest, the Company obtained a monopoly of the trade upon the ri- little Norman's kill stealing at its base, and mingling ver, which they had been the means of discovering.– the dashing sounds of its dam, with the clack of the This monopoly was to exist for four successive voyages, Igrist-mill, and the rumble of the waggon wheel, from the winding hill, over its bridge. It is one of the many nakwak, by which title he designates the Dutch, who beautiful spots that surround Albany; and, in a summer had so suddenly appeared from the bosom of the great afternoon, when the long brush of the sinking sun has skimming-bird of the waters. Near the humbled Delapainted the scene in picturesque tints, when each tree ware, stand the haughty chiefs of the Aganuschioni, is casting its shadow, when the domes of the city spar- with their totems of the bear, wolf and turtle, tattooed kle in the light, and the opposite hills are bathed in upon their skin,-and, mingling freely with their tawpurple with the glittering river in the midst, the heart ny brethren, are the soldiers of Christianse, with their leaps with gratitude to that God who has given life to huge muskets, broad slouched hats and leathern douHis creatures, and intellect to enjoy His blessings. blets. The fort, with its cannon frowning upon the

At the fort of the traders, upon this hill, a very im- scene, stands upon its sweeping glacis with a backportant event, as connected with the settlement of the ground of leafy forest, through the branches, of which city occurred. After Christianse planted himself upon are discovered bright glimpses of the river, and the the island, he found two distinct savage nations occu- winding stream. A few Indian canoes, lurk beside the pying the regions extending to the east and west banks hollow banks of the latter, and the yacht of Christianse of the Hudson river. These were the Iroquois, inha- is moored at the intersection with the former. biting the latter, and the Mahiccanni, a branch of the This treaty, though full of advantages to the Dutch, Lenni Lenape, the former. The Lenape, who styled and Iroquois, was productive of the most disastrous rethemselves the “Grandfather of Nations,” had origi- sults to the Lenni Lenape or Delawares. They were ally been powerful, and their descendants had extended induced to place themselves under the protection of the themselves from the great council fire kindled upon the confederacy; in fact, to declare themselves women. In head waters of the Delaware to the Hudson, the Con- their metaphorical language, the belt of peace was laid necticut and the Atlantic coast, immediately east, under over their shoulders, one end of which was to be held the names of the Pequods, Warnpanoags and Mahic- by the Dutch, the other by the Iroquois. The tomacanni, which in their turn were subdivded, into differ-hawk was trod into the earth, the Dutch declaring they ent tribes, under different appellations.

would build a church over it, and that none should dig The Mahiccanni, or River Indians, being the nearest it up without overthrowing the church and incurring to the Kayingahaga or Mohawks, the most martial tribe the resentment of the builders. The consequence of of the Iroquois, were continually involved in war with this protection was the utter prostration of the Lethem, and the flame of animosity extended to all the nape spirit, and the resulting dismemberment, wastbranches of the other nations. But the stern qualities, and ing away and destruction of the nation; while the the superior advantages of the confederated tribes, so far Iroquois confederacy, grasping the musket and tramtriumphed in the innumerable contests, that the Lenni pling upon its red neighbors, towered in strength, unLenape were disposed to yield the supremacy, and par- til its plumed head nodded its sway over the forests, ticularly the Mahiccanni, who, by their position, were from the pine trees of Maine to the magnolias of Flomore exposed to the quintuple attacks of their united rida. The Dutch also, nestling at its side, became enemies. Wasted in numbers, and humbled by defeat, more confident and more numerous, and prosecuted at last, about the year 1617, the remnants of the Lenni their principal object, the fur trade, with assiduity and Lenape and Mahiccanni, listened to a proposal, whereby success. Christianse continued to exercise authority they glided, rapidly, downward to ruin and degradation over the two points of the river, his yacht gliding freThis was, to confirm a treaty between themselves, the quently up and down the channel now dropping its Dutch and the Iroquois, establishing peace between the sails to the sudden thundergust of the Highlands-now parties. For this purpose, the two Indian nations sent lazily lapsing along the calm waters, its creaking tiller their deputies to the Fort of the Norman's Kill. So so- waking the echoes of the shores, and now, lying at its lemn and of such momentous importance, was this treaty anchor in the dark breathless nights, its long boom inconsidered by the Iroquois, that they sent as their re- terlocking with the forest branches upon the banks. A presentatives, chiefs, the highest in rank and authority, voyage at that period, and for two centuries after, was bearing the names of those delegates who, a century a matter of days and sometimes weeks, instead of the before, instituted the confederacy between the tribes. few hours now taken by the dart-like and graceful These chiefs were five in number, one from each of the steamboat. five nations. These were,

At home, the public mind became more and more Tekanawitagh of the Mohawks.

awakened to the subject of extending commerce-of Otatsighte of the Oneidas.

colonization, and of improving the advantages of the T'hatodarho of the Onandagas.

discoveries that had been made. The regions of the S'hononawendowane of the Cayugas, and Hudson river were particularly the object of attention. Kanniadarioh of the Senecas.

The noble avenue of waters penetrating, in navigable Let us for a moment fancy to ourselves the incidents grandeur, through such a diversified extent of country, attending the execution of this treaty. The warrior of and the rich productions in which it abounded, particuthe Lenape, with the totem of the tortoise upon his larly furs,—might well arouse a spirit of anxiety as to breast, looks around him with an air, the original bold- the farther development of such resources. ness of which is chastened by misfortune. He sees These objects were more effectually obtained by a soupon the one hand, the dreaded “Sankhiccanni” or the ciety which was now organized, more comprehensive in “fire-workers," as he calls the Mohawks, from the fire- its outlines and perfect in its details, than any previously arms they had begun to carry—the other, the Swan-formed. This was the Dutch West India Company. It

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