Travels through the
United States of North America,
the Country of the Iroquois, and Upper Canada,
In the years 1795, 1796, and 1797
by the Duke de la Rochefoucault Liancourt
WITH AN AUTHENTIC ACCOUNT OF LOWER CANADA.
THREE MAPS, SEVERAL TABLES, &c.
Printed by T. Gillet, Salisbury-Square,
FOR R. PHILLIPS, NO. 71, PAUL’S CHURCH-YARD; SOLD BY
T. HURST AND J. WALLIS, PATERNOSTER-ROW, AND
BY CARPENTER AND CO. OLD BOND-STREET.
Transcribed by Vernon Aldrich from a copy of the original book located in the State Library at Albany
The following is an excerpt from his three volume set of his travels
At the distance of nine miles from Stockbridge, the traveler enters the state of New York; and, after having traversed two or three townships, he arrives at Kinderhook. In the country which he now traverses, each township presents the same kind of soil, of culture, consequently of produce and of business, as the preceding. Above one half of the population of Kinderhook are Low Dutch or descendents of Low Dutch. These people are not hasty to change old habits for new; accordingly they till and cultivate the land in the same manner now as they did a hundred years since.
It appears manifestly evident that the farmers of New-England have a considerable advantage over them in point of produce; yet the conviction of evidence is not sufficient to make them deviate from their old track. They sow large quantities of grain, especially of Indian corn, exhaust their lands, and have small crops. Few of them keep extensive meadows, as is the general practice of the farmers come from New-England—a mode of cultivation, besides, to which the soil seems best adapted, and which is the most certain and most solidly advantageous to the judicious farmer who pursues it. Land in the township of Kinderhook is worth twenty dollars the acre in fine farms. Workmen are scarce, and are paid from twelve to fifteen dollars per month.
Five miles farther, we arrive at Kinderhook-landing, the place to which the productions of all the lands on this side the Green Mountains are conveyed for embarkation on the North River, such as salt meat, wheat, Indian corn, cider, cheese, butter, potatoes, pot-ash, flax-seed, &c. All this produce is brought down in light wagons which travel rapidly, and is embarked in sloops which here take in their entire lading, or supply what is wanted to the cargoes which they were unable to complete at Albany. The different articles are generally purchased in the country where they were raised, by merchants of New-York or even of the vicinity; but it sometimes also happens that the farmers themselves, expecting to find a more advantageous market at Kinderhook, convey their commodities hither, and either sell them here or send them on their own account to New-York, paying the freight.
The village of Kinderhook-landing is a pretty assemblage of small and mean-looking houses. Six or seven sloops belong to this place. Salt beef is here inspected, and certified to be fit for exportation: that of prime quality costs six dollars the hundred weight. Flax-seed is sold for eighteen shillings the bushel, but requires to be again cleaned and freed from its dust before it be deemed fit for exportation. The wheat of the country, which is of beautiful quality, does not at present bear a greater price than thirteen shillings the bushel; in consequence of which, fine flour sells no higher than eight dollars and one shilling per barrel. A fortnight since, the price was a quarter more: but the causes of so material a difference are here unknown.
The country between Kinderhook and Hudson is beautiful: it is somewhat hilly; but those inequalities in the ground are only small eminences, all well cultivated. Here, as .in every other part of the country, the majority of the inhabitants are Dutch, descended from the first colonists who settled in these parts in 1636; the remainder are emigrants from New-England.
The town of Hudson was begun in 1784, and now contains above four hundred houses, all neat and well-built. Its population amounts to nearly three thousand souls, of whom about two hundred are slaves. Few towns in the state of New-York have experienced so rapid an increase: but during the last two years that increase seems to have been stopped in its progress. The town rises about a hundred feet above the river: its streets intersect each other at right angles, according to the plan adopted in the new towns. Of all those which are built on the North River, this is the only one which carries on a direct foreign trade. Vessels of every size can come to its wharfs, while the obstructions in the course of the river at the distance of twenty miles higher prevent vessels of more than eighty tons from going up to Albany. The trade of Hudson consists in the produce of the soil, the productions of tanneries, of forges, of a very fine rum distillery—in train-oil (four vessels, belonging to the merchants of this place, being employed in the whale-fishery)—and, finally, in the re-exportation of West-Indian commodities.
Sixteen or eighteen vessels of different sizes are employed in foreign commerce; and five or six sloops are constantly engaged in the domestic trade between Hudson and New York, and convey to the latter the country produce which is not directly exported from Hudson to foreign countries. The town is inhabited by families from New-England, of whom a considerable number are from Rhode-Island. I had letters for Mr. Jenkins here, a quaker from Nantucket, and one of the founders of the town, of which the soil was purchased by a company of thirty persons. He alone possesses five shares in that company, of which few of the other partners have above two, and several only the half or quarter of a share.
The politics of this place, and particularly of the quakers, are universally anti-british.
The present price of ship-building at Hudson, is twenty dollars per ton, including the timber and workmanship; ready for sea, fifty dollars per ton. The timber comes from the upper part of the river, and is excellent white oak. The purchase of town-lots, which are fifty feet in front and a hundred and twenty in depth, is from three hundred and forty to thirteen hundred and thirty dollars, according to their situation. The adjoining lands, in farm-lots above half-cleared, may be bought for ten dollars the acre, and are good soil. Workmen are scarce, and must be paid fourteen dollars per month. The price of wheat is here regulated by that which it bears at Albany and New-York: at present it is thirteen shillings in the former of those towns, and fourteen in the latter.
Hudson is a port of entry, and has a collector of customs since 1795. But, to guard against fraud, vessels coming from foreign parts are obliged to stop and make their manifest at New-York, where the collector sends an officer on board if he think proper. Thus the manifests are principally made at the New-York custom-house. The value of the exports from Hudson, as registered at the custom-house of that place, was, in 1795, only three thousand five hundred dollars.
A bank is established at Hudson, under the name of Columbia. Its capital, which, by the law for its incorporation, is restricted to a hundred a hundred and sixty thousand dollars, consists of four hundred shares, of four hundred dollars each.
SPERANZA. — FREEHOLD. — MAJOR PREVOST.—MONSIEUR ROUERE.
On the opposite side of the North-River stands the new town of Lambsburg, to which its founders have also given the modest name of Speranza (Hope). This town, which for a number of years had contained but a single and pitiful house, cannot really date its origin beyond last year. At present there are fifty houses erected in it: shops are opened; merchants are established. A brig is already built, and employed in trade between Speranza and New-York. This infant town will, beyond all doubt, experience a considerable increase: it enjoys, in common with all the other towns built on the western bank of that beautiful river, the advantage of an extensive back country, which, in proportion as it becomes cultivated, will furnish immense quantities of produce, that cannot find any more convenient or certain vent than the North-River. But those countries are yet for the greater part desert wildernesses, where the houses are few and dispersed. This is a common obstacle which operates against all the towns, and for the present prevents any extraordinary prosperity of their commerce. But, in addition to it, Speranza will moreover have to conquer the habit in which the farmers have been of carrying their produce to the neighboring towns that have been longer established. The owners of the town-lands are now engaged in the formation of a road, which, joining at the distance of twenty miles the road that leads from Genessee, will render the communication with Speranza more easy than that with the other towns, and must, when finished, cause a preference to be given to the former: the work is in great forwardness. The proprietors are the messieurs Livingstons of New-York. The town-lots, each containing a quarter of an acre, already bear the price of two hundred dollars.
Colonel Burr had given me a letter to Major Prevost, who lives in the township of Freehold, sixteen miles distant from Hudson. Above one half of the journey is performed on the new road, which is the finest part of it: the remainder of the way is over mountains, rocks, swamps; in short, it is such as the generality of the roads are in the new countries of America. In this tract the number of settlements is very scanty; and these are of the meanest appearance, and absolutely in their infancy. Few houses have above twenty acres of ground cleared around them; and many have much less. They are all log-houses: the majority of the new settlers (and they are the better class) have immigrated from Connecticut.
Major Prevost has a neat little house built on a tract of nine thousand acres, which belongs to him. He is son of that General Prevost, employed in the British service, who distinguished himself by the defense of Savannah, and disgraced his character by the burning of many American towns. Previous to the revolution, he had received from the king of England a grant, to himself and his son, of about forty thousand acres of land in different provinces of America. That son has during thirty-six years been a constant resident in the United States. Before the commencement of the war, he had married a young lady of Philadelphia; and he lived a considerable time in Pennsylvania, on a farm which he turned to good account. But a part of his property became involved in consequence of debts contracted by his father-in-law and himself: he had a numerous family to provide for, and was unable to recover a considerable portion of the lands to which he was entitled: he therefore adopted the resolution of retiring to that part to which his claim was the least contested, there to live with economy, and patiently await the moment when, recovering his other possessions, he would be certain of leaving a decent fortune to his children. He has lost his first wife, and married a second at Katskill, by whom he already has three children. He has six others by the former marriage, of whom two have long been and still continue in the British service.
His presence has considerably enhanced the value of his lands, of which he has sold all that he did not choose to retain in his own possession. The price is from three to six dollars the acre, according to their situation. The soil is in general good. He has erected a corn-mill, a saw-mill, and one for grinding tanner's bark. These he keeps in his own hands; and he seems to conduct his affairs with a considerable portion of intelligence. Major Prevost, a native of Switzerland, has all the frankness of an honest Switzer and of a genuine honest Englishman. He appears to be an excellent father; of which his present mode of life is a proof. He is beloved by his neighbors, seems just and impartial in his opinions, speaks well of the American government, and is a good-natured and agreeable man. He has displayed a noble instance of generosity and sensibility in the notice he has taken of a distressed Frenchman, a monsieur Rouere, whom he discovered at Hudson in extreme poverty. This Frenchman, formerly a marechal-des-logis in the king’s body-guard, and now sixty years of age, has acted like a man of honor and delicacy, and, far from trespassing on the generous disposition of Mr. Prevost, declines his kindnesses as far as he can. Three hundred dollars received from his family, together with a sum raised by the sale of some watches and articles of jewelry which he had brought with him, have enabled him to purchase a small farm of thirty acres, of which only fifteen are cleared. Here he labors from morn to night like a young man, contents himself with the sustenance of milk and potatoes, forgets his misfortunes, and renders himself worthy of the esteem of all those who set any value on delicacy of sentiment.
The late treaty with England has inspired Mr. Prevost with the hope of regaining possession of all the lands to which his title is disputed by the states in which they lie, or by different individuals who have usurped them under various pretexts, and hold them without any real right. But this will require a succession of steady exertions continued during several years: it will be necessary to attend the various tribunals before which those claims will be brought under discussion, and to urge the speed of lawyers who are heavily laden with business. Many of his opponents who have taken possession of his lands, are influential men: he is the son of a British general, and has himself borne arms in America in opposition to the revolution: he has two sons in the service of England: all these facts, I grant, do not in the least impair the justice of Mr. Prevost’s claims, which to me appear incontrovertible: but justice is what people often find it most difficult to obtain from the ministers of justice, especially in this country when the question relates to lands; and Major Prevost must unavoidably have to encounter numerous prejudices and prepossessions operating to his disadvantage.
During my stay at Freehold there was no mention of politics. I could easily guess the political sentiments of the major and his family: but, if I had entertained any doubt on the subject, it would have been completely removed by observing the avidity with which they read Peter Porcupine *.
(* A Philadelphia paper conducted by an Englishman, which first made its appearance during the last year, and in which, amid a torrent of outrages and calumnies promiscuously poured out, with some wit but much vulgarity, against every individual who is not enrolled under the English banner, it is laid down as an axiom of political doctrine that America cannot do better than to place herself in a state of dependence on the cabinet of Saint James’s.)
On the whole, it is impossible to experience any-where greater civilities than I received from Major Prevost and his family, accompanied by great simplicity, and by that pleasing manner which renders such behavior still more agreeable. My stay with them was prolonged by a slight indisposition, which afforded me a new proof of the interest that Monsieur Guillemard feels for me. At this time he was at Albany, where being informed of my illness, he hastened to me with a friendly kindness which in him is invariable; for he shows greater constancy in his affections than in his projects. This little sickness was only a tertian fever, of which I have experienced several attacks during the course of my travels, and from which, on this as on former occasions, I was relieved by strong doses of Jesuits’ bark.
The road from Freehold to Katskill is all bordered with habitations more or less recent, but all of very late date. Land however is sold at pretty high prices in this tract. At Shinglekill, where we dined on the 31st of October, on our way from Freehold to Katskill, the price of uncleared ground is from six to seven dollars the acre; farms, having one fourth cleared, are sold at ten or twelve.
Intermittent fevers are very common in these parts in the autumnal season; and it is even asserted that during the last three years they have been more than usually frequent. They had been very prevalent at the commencement of the settlement, and had become less so for some years back. As the inhabitants can assign no reason for this return of insalubrity, they attribute it to "something in the air." But what happens here is very usual in new countries, which, until they be entirely or in great measure cleared, become more unhealthy, probably in consequence of the exhalations from the putrid substances with which the earth is covered, and from the stagnant waters, to which the action of the sun is admitted by the partial clearance of the soil.
Monsieur Guillemard and I—for we now travel together—had a letter from Major Prevost to Mr. Bogardus, his father-law. The latter is also an old American royalist, an enthusiastic admirer of Peter Porcupine, and impressed with a belief that America would be much more rich and prosperous and happy if she still enjoyed the honor of belonging to his majesty George the Third. But, considered in every other light, he is a generous and excellent man, extremely hospitable, and one with whose behavior we have the greatest reason to be satisfied. He inhabits a small house on the opposite bank of the creek to that on which stands the little town of Katskill. To this house is attached a farm of three hundred acres. He purchased the whole for three thousand dollars six years since, and could now sell the property for ten thousand. It is true he has made considerable improvements on the spot: at the time of his purchase there were only eight houses in the town, whereas at present it contains about a hundred, of which some have a good appearance.
Seven vessels, mostly sloops, belong to this little town, and are constantly passing and repassing between Katskill and New-York. A single brig, of a hundred and fifty tons' burden is employed during the winter in the West-India trade, and even goes to Europe: it is owned by Mr. Jenkins, of Hudson.
Katskill, like all the other towns similarly situated, receives the produce of the back country: but a natural gap in the Blue Mountains, which obliquely separate the countries watered by the Susquehannah at the commencement of its course from those watered by the North-River between Albany and Katskill, renders the communication with this latter place more easy.
We have been informed that pot and pearl ash, which are a considerable article in the trade of new countries under clearance, are brought to Katskill from the distance of above a hundred and fifty miles. The pot-ash is sold at present for a hundred and seventy-five dollars the ton. The usual price is a hundred. To produce a ton of pot-ash, are required from five to seven hundred bushels of ashes, according to their quality: and, in all the parts which I have lately traversed, the ashes are sold at one shilling the bushel. The pot-ash is inspected before it be admitted to exportation: yet, whether through want of skill or want of strictness in the inspector, it is often found to contain lime. It is distinguished into first and second quality. Salt beef is distinguished into prime, second, and ordinary; pork, into prime and ordinary.
Katskill is built on a little hill which separates Katskill creek from the North-River, into which the former discharges its stream at the extremity of the hill. The majority of the houses are situate on the side next the creek, where the embarkations take place; some however are on the side next the great river. The property of the ground on which the town stands is disputed by three claimants; but the possession is held by one of the parties, Clark and company, by virtue of an old patent that he has purchased, and on which the others ground their claim. Meantime the inhabitants hold their lot under Clark, whom they consider as the lawful proprietor. But this existing dispute, which the others are in no haste to bring to a decision, prevents many persons from coming forward as purchasers. The lots, however, produce a good price, whenever they are exposed to sale: they contain each half a rood, and are sold so high as three hundred and seventy-five dollars. The mouth of the creek is not more than a quarter of a mile distant from the town.
Katskill stands at the distance of a hundred and twenty miles from New-York; and the waters, which during the prevalence of the strong southerly winds become absolutely salt, are at all times of the year brackish. The tide goes up as far as Hudson.
Workmen at Katskill are paid thirteen dollars per month, and are not easily procured. Here is a regular market, where beef is sold at eight pence the pound.
Along the North-River is carried on a great trade in planks: but here, as in Massachusetts and the district of Maine, the planks do not contain twice the thickness of the boards: their dimensions vary in different places: they are an inch and half thick at Albany, an inch and quarter at Katskill. It is on these dimensions that all are made which do not particularly specify otherwise. The boards are an inch thick, and, of such dimension, are sold at thousand feet; planks, sixteen dollars and two shillings; shingles, seven dollars and half per thousand; barrel-staves, seventeen dollars and half. The staves are of oak; all the rest, of yellow fir. Hemlock-bark, of which large quantities are also purchased for the tanneries of the country and those of New-York, is sold at four dollars the cord. At Katskill are built the stoops employed in the trade between that place and New-York. At present their price is from forty-three to forty-five dollars per ton, ready for sea: they are generally of from seventy to ninety tons’ burden.
Horse-races are common in the state of New-York. There was one beyond the river on the day that we stopped at Katskill. Although it was but an indifferent race, and this part of the country is not inhabited by wealthy people, the bets made on the occasion exceeded the sum of four thousand dollars. The best races are said to be at Poughkeepsie, at the distance of fifty miles lower down: they take place on regularly stated days, and I have been assured that the wagers sometimes amount to eight thousand dollars. The horses that run there are used for no other purpose; and their price is from twelve to sixteen hundred dollars. We have also been informed that the strictest honor does not prevail at those races.
Katskill, so denominated by the Dutch who made the first settlement on the spot, was, by the Indians, called Katsketed, which in their language signified "a fortified place." No foundation for that name can be discovered in the appearance of the country: and it is moreover well known that the Indians, especially at that time, erected no fortifications. The great quantity of human bones, hatchets, tomahawks, and arrows, found buried in the earth around Katskill, prove at least that this place formerly was the principal seat of some considerable tribe.
The cultivation of the soil in the vicinity of Katskill is indifferent; the lands do not, on an average of years, produce above twelve bushels of wheat per acre, though the soil is tolerably good. Those belonging to Mr. Bogardus, having greater attention bestowed on them, yield him from thirty to thirty-five.
There has occurred this year on a part of his estate a pretty remarkable phenomenon. All this tract of country is a succession of little hills, or rather small elevations, detached from each other, and only connected a little at the bases. One of those hills, the nearest to Katskill-creek, and elevated about a hundred feet above the level of the creek, suddenly suffered a sinking of more than one half of its declivity. It might have measured about a hundred and fifty feet from its summit to the extremity of its base, following the line of inclination. A breadth of about eighty fathoms fell in, beginning at about three or four fathoms from the top. The sunken part gave way all on a sudden, and fell so perpendicularly that a flock of sheep, feeding on the spot, went down with it without being overturned. The trunks of trees that remained on it in a half-rotten state were neither unrooted nor even inclined from their former direction, and now stand at the bottom of this chasm of above four acres in extent, in the same perpendicular position, and on the same soil. However, as there was not sufficient space for all this body of earth, which before had lain in a slope, to place itself horizontally between the two parts of the hill that have not quitted their station, some parts are cracked and as it were furrowed. But a more striking circumstance is, that the lower part of the hill, which has preserved its former shape, has been pushed and thrown forward by the sinking part making itself room—that its base has advanced five or six fathoms beyond a small rivulet which before flowed at the distance of above ten fathoms from it—and that it has even entirely stopped the course of its stream. The greatest elevation of the chasm is about fifty or sixty feet: in its sides it has discovered a blue earth exhibiting all the characteristics of marl, and which, from the different experiments that Mr. Bogardus has made with it in several parts of his estate, seems to possess all its virtues. In some of the strata of this marl is found sulphat of lime in minute crystals.
It is not known what may have been the cause of this event, which the people here attribute to the operation of water, without well knowing why; for the inhabitants of Katskill are neither deep-read, nor versed in natural philosophy, nor addicted to observation. This sinking took place on the first of June of the present year, unattended by any noise, at least by any that was sufficiently loud to be heard either at Mr. Bogardus’s house which is but three hundred fathoms distant from the spot, or in the town, which is separated from it only by the narrow stream of the creek.
Mr. Bogardus does not bestow on his neighbors so favorable a character as I have heard given to the inhabitants of the country in every other part of America: he describes them as mischievous and thievish; I know not whether upon good grounds, or whether he does not extend to the whole neighbourhood this general accusation of thievishness in consequence of a few apples and peaches that have been stolen from him—or whether his predilection for England may not have personally exposed him to some unpleasant treatment.
One fact however may be adduced in support of Mr. Bogardus’s opinion. A bridge over a creek at two miles from Katskill has lately been burned; and the country people think the deed was perpetrated with a view of promoting the private interest of a particular inn.
A wish to avoid the inconvenience of twice more crossing the North-River induced us to prefer the western road, though less frequented than the other. Between Katskill and Kingston the road all along runs between that beautiful river to which the traveler often approaches, and the Katskill mountains, which are several miles distant. As far as Sagodus-creek, the country is thickly inhabited: in many places the farms are of considerable extent: the banks of the river are almost every-where laid out in meadows; the lands farther distant arc appropriated to the production of grain of every kind. You frequently discover very beautiful prospects—extensive, agreeable, rich, on the side toward the river—serious, romantic, magnificent, toward the mountains, whose forms are grand and variegated. You pass Sagodus-creek in an indifferent boat, and enter a forest of white pines growing on a sandy plain, from which you do not emerge till within two miles of Kingston, that is to say, for the space of seven or eight miles.
Kingston—formerly called Esopus, a name still used by the country people—is the chief town of Ulster county, and built on a creek of that name (the same which at some distance assumes the appellation of Sagodus, and which we had passed in the morning) in a beautiful little plain bounded on the west by that same mass of mountains which here too are still called the Katskill mountains. The place of embarkation is two miles lower down, near the North-River, at the mouth of Redout-creek. This town was burned on the sixteenth of October 1777 by General Vaughan, who had no other motive for his conduct than the lust of devastation. At that time it contained a hundred and forty houses: nor did more than a single barn escape from the effects of his infernal barbarity. That expedition, which none of the inhabitants had expected, deprived them of every article contained in their houses; and they were unable to save any thing except their lives. In the course of the same autumn two or three houses were already rebuilt, and the remainder were restored in the following summer. As they were almost all stone houses, the former walls had remained standing, and facilitated this speedy renovation of the town. It now consists of about a hundred and fifty houses, and carries on the same kind of trade as the other towns situated, like it, on the western bank of the North-River; but not being so conveniently circumstanced as Katskill for communication with the back country, its commerce is less extensive, though this will be considerably increased by the natural operation of time in spreading population through those tracts, which are now for the greater part un-inhabited.
Six sloops belong to the town, which are employed in carrying to New-York the produce that it receives, some articles of which, as timber, beef, pork, corn, do not come from a greater distance than between thirty and thirty-five miles. Flax-seed is brought from the banks of the eastern branch of Delaware, that is to say, from the distance of seventy miles. As far as the mountains, the lands which environ the town, and are called Flats, are of the best quality, and are sold for ninety dollars the acre; those which lie toward the centre of the Flats, from five to thirty-five dollars. The inhabitants of the town being for the most part of Dutch descent, the Low-Dutch language is more familiar here than the English. There is no regular market in this town, though it contains a school, an academy, a court-house, a prison, and a Dutch-Lutheran church. When beef can be procured, it costs six pence the pound.
We had letters to Mr. Van Grosbeck, one of the principal shop-keepers in the town, and formerly a member of Congress. To those letters we were indebted for an invitation to tea, the smoking of some segars, a few glasses of wine, and a great portion of complaisance in answering our questions: but this part of the country furnishes few objects of inquiry. Mr. Van Grosbeck seems a good kind of man, and very temperate in his politics, which appear to interest him less than the concerns of his mop. An old physician, on the contrary, whom we met at his house, bestows more attention on politics than on medicine. He is a decided republican, whose suspicious distrust seems incapable of being allayed. He bears a name which is celebrated in the annals of liberty--that of De Witt—and says he is descended from the famous John De Witt.
Mr. Van Grosbeck, in principle a federalist, but very tolerant in his politics, is the intimate friend of Colonel Burr, whose portrait, executed by a lad of the town, he has hanging over his chimney-piece. Mr. Burr, having discovered in that youth a great disposition for painting, procured for him such lessons in the art as America was capable of affording, and has, at his own expense, lately sent him to France and Italy to study the great models and receive the best instructions. The life of Colonel Burr is marked with similar traits of beneficence and generosity.
From our windows we discover, though above seven miles distant, the light of a conflagration in the woods, which has already lasted eight days. Such accidents are very frequent in the clearing of lands by the aid of fire. The slightest inattention suffers the blaze to spread beyond the intended bounds: in which case it is impossible to extinguish it, especially at this time when the drought and the falling of the leaves furnish it with the means of rapidly extending its ravages. It also frequently happens that conflagrations are caused in the woods by the hunters, who, for the purpose of more certainly killing the deer, surround with fire the places where they suppose them to be. Some of these lines of fire are several miles in circumference; their breadth is inconsiderable; for, however narrow they may be, the deer never cross them. The hunters generally adopt the necessary precautions to prevent the flame from communicating: but sometimes those precautions are neglected: sometimes also, although they have been observed, a sudden wind spreads the fire, which often consumes the entire enclosure, and even great tracts beyond its bounds, involving in the conflagration all the settlements and houses it meets in its way, and thus reducing many families to ruin.
Lime-stone is very common in this part: the inhabitants have already begun to burn large parcels of it, and send it to the neighboring islands. At Poughkeepsie is burned a great quantity, which is sold at New York for a shilling the bushel. This circumstance, which is highly advantageous to the country, may possibly clash with General Knox’s speculations on his lime from the district of Maine.—The freight of corn from Kingston to New-York is six pence per bushel; to Albany, it is ten pence.A considerable traffic in salt fish is carried on at Kingston. The small bay near the landing-place facilitates the fishery of shad, herrings, and salmon, which come up Hudson’s-River in abundance in the spring season, and to the catching of which the inhabitants of this tract are more attentive than those of any other part on the banks of that river.
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