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This strait, which is at least twenty miles in length, occupied us about two hours in passing ; but there are few spots on the globe where for such a distance there is a more continued scene of beauty, at this season of the year at least, when everything appeared in its best dress. "On both the shores, distant from each other from two to four miles in different parts, the vegetation was in the highest degree of luxuriance; and the frequency with which new settlements, small in extent, but neat and picturesque in their aspect, appeared to peep through the foliage, added much to the beauty of the scene.
In this way we passed Elizabethtown on the left, in NewJersey; the recent but flourishing little watering-place of New-Brighton, on Staten Island, on our right, with the Pavilion Hotel, public baths, and private dwellings, built like groups of Greek temples rather than marine villas, and from their pure white exterior looking like edifices of Pa. rian marble. We had also a distant view of Newark, in New Jersey, one of the prettiest towns in the country. At length we opened the Bay of New York, with the Quarantine Ground, the Narrows, ships at anchor, outward bound, schooners and small craft beating across the waters, Bedlow's Island, Governor's Island, Brooklyn on the Heights, and the City of New York right ahead, forming altogether one of the most extensive, varied, and delightful marine pic. tures that the
could survey. I had thought the entrance to the Bay of New York, from the Atlantic, when we passed through the Narrows in October, extremely beautiful; and I did not think it less so when approaching it from the Straits of Staten Island in June. The city, too, preserved all its imposing aspect. The numerous spires and steeples of the churches; the Battery, with its trees, now in full foliage; the countless boats, sloops, and schooners emerging from the East River on the one hand, and from the North River on the other; with the forest of masts fringing the edge of New York, at the wharves on either side of the shore, and the distinctive signals of the several packets and other large vessels engaged in the foreign trade, all made up a lovely and animating picture. It furnishes a striking
. contrast to the general absence of ships and vessels in the harbour of Baltimore and the river of Philadelphia, and gave me still higher ideas than I had entertained before, of the great maritime superiority of New York to both these cities, partly from her closer proximity to the ocean, and accessibility of inlet and outlet throughout the year, and still Vol 1.3 M
SECOND VISIT TO NEW-YORK.
more, perhaps, from the capaciousness and security of her waters, and the magnificent avenues of the East River and North River, by which her smaller craft can penetrate at once into the very heart of the country.
We landed from the steamboat at half past one; but found the city so full of strangers, it being the season when persons come up from the South to enjoy the cooler climate of this and the more Northern parts, that we were four hours in searching from hotel to hotel in every part of the town, and this in the midst of a violent thunder-storm, with vivid lightning and torrents of rain, before we could get even a single sleeping-room disengaged. We at length obtained this at the Waverley Hotel in Broadway, and here made our home for the present.
During my stay in New-York I suffered a second illness, not having sufficiently regained my strength from the fever in Philadelphia before I resumed my journeys. I was accordingly detained here for a week, and only able at the close of it to see a few of the many friends we had left here, whose cordiality we found unabated. We paid a short visit to the Great Western steamer, which had just arrived at New-York on her second successful voyage across the Atlantic. Her size, accommodation, but, above all, the machinery of her truly magnificent engines, formed altogether a splendid triumph of art, honourable to the projectors and to the nation, besides being gratifying in a moral point of view, bringing England and America so much nearer to each other in time. This increased facility of intercourse cannot fail to lead more Englishmen to visit the United States, and more Americans to visit England than heretofore, and thus hasten the breaking down of those antinational prejudices which still linger in each against the inhabitants of the other, and may every year thus strengthen the bonds of peace and amicable relations of commerce and good-will between all the nations of the globe!
DEPARTURE FOR ALBANY.
Departure for Albany.-Voyage up the Hudson.-Hoboken, Weehawken, and the Pali
sadoes.—Tappan Bay.-Grave of Major André.-State Prison for Criminals at Sing. sing.- Picturesque Scenery of the Highlands.—Military Academy at West Point. Monument to the Polish Patriot, Kosciusko.–Polopell Island, and Breakneck Hill. --Flourishing Town of Newburgh.- The Beacon Hills, extensive Prospect thence.
- Town of Poughkeepsie, Manufactures there.- Landing at the Village of Catskill. -Stage Route from the Village to the Mountains.-Excessive Roughness of Arneri. can Roads.-Beautiful Appearance of the Country.-Steep Ascent of the Mountains. -Tremendous Storm of 'Thunder, Lightning, and Hail.-Gentleness and Humanity of the Drivers.-Road on the Edge of a Precipice.-Complete envelopineut in Mist, second Thunder-storm.- Arrival at the Hotel called the Mountain House.- Description of the Hotel, American Cookery.-Splendid Daybreak on the Mountain-top. Singular Sea of Clouds beneath the Spectator.--Sublime Picture of Sunrise. ---Effects of Sunlight on the beautiful Picture.-- Gradual breaking away of the Clouds and Mist. -Herschel's Theory of the Spots on the Sun.-Glorious Prospect under the meridian Day.-Resemblance to the plain of Damascus.- Waterfall of 260 feet near the Mount. ain House. - Leave the Mountain for the Landing.place.-Character of the Scenery above Catskill.-City of Hudson and Village of Athens.-Associations of celebrated Classical Names.-Defective Nomenclature of the Towns of America. - First Ap. proach to Albany from the South-Interesting Appearance of the City.–Triumph of Steam Navigation - Affecting Account of Fulton's Experimental Voyage.-Land. ing at Albany, and comfortable Home.
As the weather continued sultry, and I derived less ben. efit from medicine than it was thought likely I should do from change of air, I was advised by my physician to em. bark at once upon the Hudson River, and go straight to the village of Catskill, without halting at any intermediate point, but, on landing there, to ascend the mountains, and pass a night or two at the Mountain House, the elevation of which secures a cool and bracing atmosphere, while all the lower parts of the country are steeped in sultry heat.
On the morning of Saturday, the 23d of June, we accordingly embarked at seven o'clock on board the steamer for Albany, and found there between four and five hundred passengers bound up the river. X The vessel was of large size, with ample accommodations and engines of great power, so that her average speed when under way was not less than fourteen miles per hour.
Leaving the wharf at the foot of Barclay-street, we proceeded upward on our course, having on our right the continuous lines of wharves, ships, steamers, and small craft, which fringe the western edge of New York, as the larger vessels do the banks of the East River on the other side of the town. At every hundred yards, and often less, we met schooners and sloops under sail, coming down the Hudson with a leading wind from the eastward, while as many were
passed by us upward-bound; the number of these small craft-with their clean, well-cut, and well-trimmed sails, and vanes lengthened out into broad pennants, after the manner of the Dutch, from whom this custom is no doubt derived—being sometimes as many as a hundred, all in sight at once, and giving great life and animation to the scene.
We passed the hills of Hoboken on our left, scattered over which were many beautiful villas, the country-seats of opulent merchants and others from New York; the position of Hoboken combining the advantages of fine air, extensive view, beautiful woods, and close proximity to the city, there being a steam ferry-boat that crosses the Hudson at this point continuously throughout the day.
A little above this, on the same side of the river, and distant from the city about six miles, is a spot called Weehawken, which is memorable as the usual duel-ground of this quarter. It is close to the river's edge, and screened in from the land-view by surrounding rocks, which give it the privacy usually sought in such encounters. Here it was that the well-known General Hamilton fell in a duel with the then notorious, and, it may now be added, infamous Colonel Burr. The St. Andrew's Society of New York erected a monument to the memory of the general, which continued for some years to occupy the spot where he fell; but since the removal of his remains to the burial-ground of Trinity Church in Broadway, the monument has been removed also, and one has been erected to his memory near the church named.
About two miles beyond this, and eight from New York, the western bank of the river begins to assume a very remarkable appearance, presenting all along, on that margin of the stream, a perpendicular wall of rock, varying from 100 to 500 feet in height, sometimes perfectly bare, and sometimes partially covered with brushwood, but always show. ing the perpendicularity which constitutes its most striking feature, and carrying along on its summits the sharp and broken edge of a precipice, while at the foot of the cliff below there is often neither beach nor platform, so that the river bathes the solid wall of rock as it rises perpendicularly from the stream.
These cliffs extend for nearly twenty miles along the western bank of the Hudson, and are called “ The Palisa. does," a name given probably from the ribbed appearance of some parts of the cliff, which seem like rude basaltic coltmns, or huge trunks of old and decayed trees, placed
close together in a perpendicular form for a barricade or defence. The
water is deep close to their very feet, being what is called, in nautical language, "a bold shore;" and the small sloops and schooners that navigate the stream were often so close to the cliffs that a biscuit might be thrown on shore from them; sometimes, indeed, it would seem as if they were determined to run their bowsprits into the rock, as they did not tack till their stems were within a few feet of the cliff, making their evolutions interesting and picturesque.
Here and there, however, a break in the cliffs would show a little bit of lawn sloping down to the stream, and a pretty little cottage peeping out from the wood in which it was imbosomed; and sometimes, at the foot of a narrow ravine, would be seen an humble shed, either of a river-fisher. man, a quarryman, or some other labourer to whom this locality was acceptable. The opposite or eastern bank of the river was only of moderate height, cultivated, wooded, and dotted over with dwellings at intervals, so as to contrast agreeably with the western cliffs.
In the course of our progress along these palisadoes, and about four miles after their commencement, there were pointed out to us the sites of two remarkable forts, one of them called Fort Lee, which stood on the very edge and summit of the western cliffs, at an elevation of 200 feet above the level of the rive, and the other called Fort Washington, which stood on the opposite side of the stream, on a moderately elevated hill. This latter fort was taken by the British in 1776, and the garrison, consisting of 2600