Memoirs of an American Lady*

Anne Mc Vickar Grant's Memoirs of an American Lady recalled a portion of her childhood days during the 1760s when she was the guest and protege of Madame Margarita Schuyler - the "friend" she introduced to her readers as the "American Lady."

Her memoir first took the form of a letter sent in 1808 to Sir William Grant. It stated: "The Principal object of this work is to record the few incidents, and the many virtues, which diversified and distinguished the life of a most valued friend." She was referring to Madame Schuyler - her host and mentor from the 1760s!

Although Anne Grant's reminiscent reporting contains many errors of fact, it is nonetheless fascinating reading and has been used extensively by historians and antiquarians for almost two hundred years. With the special effort of intern Juandrea Bates, we now present excerpts from Anne Grant's memoir on this website.

Chapters 11-20

[pages] Chapter XXI: "Distinguishing Characteristics of the New York Colonists, to what owing Hugonots and Palatines, their Character"

But to return to the superior moral and military character of the New York populace. It was in the first place owing to a well regulated piety, less concerned about forms that essentials. Next, to an influx of other than the original settlers, which tended to render the general system of opinion more liberal and tolerant. The French protestants, driven from their native land by intolerant bigotry, had lived at home excluded alike from public employments and fashionable society. Deprived of so many resources that were open to their fellow subjects, and forced to seek comfort in piety and concord for many privations, self-command and frugality had been in a manner forced upon them; consequently they were not so vain or so volatile as to disgust their new associates; while their cheerful tempers, accommodating manners, and patience under adversity, were very prepossessing.

These additional inhabitants, being such as had suffered real and extreme hardships for conscience-sake from absolute tyranny and the most cruel intolerance, rejoiced in the free exercise of a pure and rational religion, and in the protection of mild and equitable laws, as the first human blessings; which privation had so far taught them to value, that they thought no exertion too great as to preserve them. I should have formerly mentioned, that, besides the French refugees already spoken of, during the establishment of the British sovereignty in this part of the continent, a great number of the protestants, whom the fury of war and persecution on religious accounts had driven from the Palatinate, during the successful and desolating period of the wars carried on against the unhappy country by Lewis the Fourteenth. The subdued and contented spirit, the simple and primitive manners, and frugal, industrious, habits of these genuine sufferers for conscience-sake, made them an acquisition to any society which received them, and a most suitable infusion among the inhabitants of this province; who, devoted to the pursuits of agriculture and the Indian trade, which encouraged a wild romantic spirit of adventure, little relished those mechanical employments, or that petty yet necessary traffic in shops &c. to which part of every regulated society must needs devote their attention. These civic toils were left to those patient and industrious exiles; while the friendly intercourse with the original natives had strongly tinctured the first colonists with many of their habits and modes of thinking. Like them, they delighted in hunting; that images of war, which so generally, where it is the prevalent amusement, forms the body to athletic force and patient endurance, and the mind to daring intrepidity. It was not alone the timorous deer or feeble hare that were the objects of their pursuit; not could they in such an impenetrable country attempt to rival the fox in speed or subtlety. When they kept their ”few sheep in the wilderness,” the she bear, jealous for her young, and the wolf, furious for prey, were to be encountered for their protection. From these allies, too, many who lived much among them had learnt that fearless adherence to truth, which exalts the mind to the noblest kind of resolution. The dangers they were exposed to of meeting wandering individuals, or parties of hostile Indians, while traversing the woods in their sporting or commercial adventures, and the necessity that sometimes occurred of defending their families by their own personal prowess, from the stolen irruptions of detached parties of those usually called the French Indians, had also given their minds a warlike bent; and as a boy was not uncommonly trusted at nine or ten years of age with a light fowling-piece, which he soon learned to use with great dexterity, few countries could produce such dexterous marksmen, or persons so well qualified for conquering those natural obstacles of thick woods and swamps, which would at once baffle the most determined European. It was not only that they were strong of limb, swift of foot, and excellent marksmen --- the hatchet was as familiar to them as the musket; and an amateur, who had never cut wood but for his diversion, could hew down a tree with a celerity that would astonish and abash a professed wood-cutter in this country; in short, when means or arguments could be used powerful enough to collect a people so uncontrouled and so uncontroulable, and when headed by a leader whom they loved and trusted, so much they did Colonel Schuyler, a well armed body of New York provincials had nothing to dread but an ague or a ambuscade, to both of which they were much exposed on the banks of the lakes, and amidst the swampy forests, through which they had to penetrate in pursuit of an enemy; of whom they might say with the Grecian hero, that “they wanted but daylight to conquer him.” This first essay in arms of those provincials, under the auspices of their brave and generous leader, succeeded beyond their hopes. This is all I can recollect of it. Of its destination I only know that it was directed against some of those establishments which the French began to make within the British boundaries. The expedition only terminated with the season. The provincials brought home Canadian prisoners, who were kept on their parole in the houses of the three brothers, and became afterwards their friends; and the Five Nations brought home Indian prisoners, most of whom they adopted, and scalps enough to strike awe into the adverse nations, who were for a year or two afterwards pretty quiet.

[pages] Chapter XXII: "A Child still-born - Adoption of Children common in the Province - Madame’s Visit to New York"

Mrs.Schuyler had contributed all in her power to forward this expedition; but was probably hurt, either by the fatigue of receiving so many friends, or the anxiety produced by parting with them under such circumstances; for soon after the colonel’s departure she was delivered of a dead child, which event was followed by an alarming illness; but she wished the colonel to be kept ignorant of it, that he might give his undivided attention to the duties in which he was engaged. Providence, which doubtless had singled out this benevolent pair to be the parents of many who had no natural claim upon their affection, did not indulge them with any succeeding prospects of a family of their own. This privation, not a frequent one in this colony, did not chill the minds or narrow the hearts of people, who, from this circumstance, found themselves more at liberty to extend their beneficence, and enlarge that circle which embraced the objects of their love and care. This indeed was not singular during that reign of natural feeling which preceded the prevalence of artificial modes in this primitive district. The love of offspring is certainly one of the strongest desires that the uncorrupted mind forms to itself in a state of comparative innocence. Affecting indifference on this subject is the surest proof of a disposition either callous, or led by extreme vanity to pretend insensibility to the best feelings of nature.

To a tie so exquisitely tender, the pledge and bond of connubial union; to that bud of connubial union; to that bud of promised felicity, which always cheers with the fragrance of hope the noon-day of toil or care, and often supports with the rich cordial of filial love and watchful duty the evening of our decline, what mind can be indifferent. No wonder the joys of paternity should be highly relished where they were so richly flavoured; where parents knew not what it was to find a rebel or a rival in a child; first, because they set the example of simplicity, of moderation, and of seeking their highest joys in domestic life; next, because they quietly expected and calmly welcomed the evening of life; and did not, by an absurd desire of being young too long, inspire their offspring with a premature ambition to occupy their place. What sacrifices have I not seen made to filial piety! How many respectable (though not young) maidens, who, without pretending a dislike to marriage, have rejected men whom their hearts approved, because they would not forsake, during her lifetime, a widowed mother, whose sole comfort they were!

For such children who, that hopes to grow old, would not wish? A consideration which the more polished manners of Europe teach us to banish as far as possible from our minds. We have had leaned to check this natural sentiment, by finding other objects for those faculties of our minds, which nature intended to bless and benefit creatures born to love us, and to enlarge out affections by exciting them. If this stream, which so naturally inclines to flow downwards, happened to be checked in its course for want of the usual channel, these adepts in the science of happiness immediately formed a new one, and liked their canal as well as a river, because it was of their own making. To speak without a metaphor, whoever wanted a child adopted one; love produced love, and the grafted scyon very often proved an ornament and defence to the supporting stock. But then the scyon was generally artless and grateful. This is a part of the manners of my old friends which I always remember with delight; more particularly as it was the invariable custom to select the child of a friend who had a numerous family. The very animals are not devoid of that mixture of affection and sagacity, which suggests a mode of supplying this great desideratum. Next in that prince of cats, the famous cat of Whittington, I would place the cat recorded by Dr. White in his curious natural history, who when deprived of her young, sought a parcel of deserted leverets to suckle and fondle. What an example!

The following year produced a suspension of hostilities between the Provinces and the Canadians. The colonel went to New York to attend his duty, being again chosen a member of the Colonial Assembly. Mrs. Schuyler accompanied him; being improved both in mind and manners since her marriage, which, by giving her a more important part to act, had called forth her powers, she became the center of a circle by no means inelegant or uniformed; for society was there more various and more polished than in any other part of the of the continent, both from the mixture of settlers, formerly described, and from its being situated in a province most frequently the seat of war, and consequently forming the headquarters of the army, which, in point of the birth and education of the candidates footing from what it has been since. I was then a much narrower range, and the selection more attended to. Unless a man, by singular powers or talent, fought his way from the inferior rank; here was hardly an instance of a person getting even a subaltern’s commission whose birth was not at least genteel, and who had not interest and alliances. There were not so many lucrative places under government. The wild field of adventure since opened in the East was scarcely known; a subaltern’s pay was more adequate to the maintenance of a gentleman; and the noblest and most respected families had no other way of providing for such younger brothers, as were not bred to any learned profession, but by throwing them into the army. As to morals, this did not perhaps much mend the matter. These officers might in some instances be thoughtless, and even profligate, but they were seldom ignorant or low bred; and that rare character called a finished gentleman, was not unfrequently to be found among the higher ranks of them; who had added experience, reading and reflection to their original flock of talents and attainments.

[pages] Chapter XXIII: "Colonel Schuyler’s partiality to the military children successively adopted. ____ Indian character falsely charged with idleness"

It so happened that a succession of officers, of the description mentioned in the preceding chapter, were to be ordered upon the service which I have been detailing; and whether in New York or at home, they always attached themselves particularly to this family, who to the attractions of good breeding and easy intelligent conversation added the power, which they pre-eminently possessed, of smoothing the way for their necessary intercourse with the independent and self-righted settlers, and instructing them in many things essential to promote the success of the pursuits in which they were about to engage. It was one of aunt Schuyler’s many singular merits, that, after acting for a time distinguished part in this comparatively refined society, where few were so much admired and esteemed, she could return to the homely good sense and primitive manners of her fellow citizens at Albany, free from sastidiousness and disgust. Few indeed, without study or disign, ever better understood the art of being happy, and making others so. Being gay is another sort of thing; gaiety, as the word is understood in society, is too often assumed, artificial, and produced by such an effort that, in the midst laughter, “the heart is indeed sad.” Very different are the smiles that occasionally illume the placid countenance of cheerful tranquility. They are the emanations of a heart at rest; in the enjoyment of that sunshine of the breast, which is set forever to the restless votaries of mere amusement.

According to the laudable custom of the country they took home a child, whose mother had died in giving her birth, and whose father was a relation of the colonel’s. This child’s name was either Schuyler or Cuyler, I do not exactly remember which; but I remember many years after as Mrs. Vander Poolen; when, as a comely contented looking matron, she used to pay her annual visit to her beloved benefactress, and send her ample presents of such rural dainties as her abode afforded. I have often heard her warm in her praises; saying how useful, how modest, and how affectionate she had been; and exulting in her comfortable settlement, and the plain worth, which made her a blessing to her family. From this time to her aunt’s death, above fifty years afterwards, her house was never without one, but much oftener two children, whom this exemplary pair educated with parental care and kindness. And whenever one of their protégées married out of the house, which was generally at a very early age, she carried with her a female slave, born and baptized in the house, and brought up with a thorough knowledge of her duty, and an habitual attachment to her mistress; besides the usual present of the furniture of a chamber, and a piece of plate, such as a tea-pot, tankard, or some useful matter, which was more or less valuable as the protégée was more or less beloved: for though aunt Schuyler had great satisfaction from the characters and conduct of all her adopted, there were, no doubts, degrees of merit among them, of which she was better able to judge than is she had been their actual mother.

There was now an interval of peace, which gave these philanthropists more leisure to do good in their own way. They held a three-fold band of kindness in their hands, by which they led to the desirable purpose of mutual advantage; three very discordant elements, which were daily becoming more difficult to mingle and to rule; and which yet were the more dependent on each other for mutual comfort, from the very causes which tended to disunite them.

In the first place, the Indians began to assume that unfavourable and uncertain aspect, which it is the fate of man to wear in the first steps of his progress from that state where he is a being at once warlike and social, having few wants, and being able, without constant labour or division of ranks, to supply them; where there is no distinction, save that attained by superior strength of mind and body; and where there are no laws, but those dictated by good sense, aided by experience, and enforced by affection, this state of life may be truly called the reign of the affections: the love of kindred and country, ruling paramount, unrivalled by other passions, all others being made subservient to these. Vanity, indeed, was in some degree flattered; for people wore ornaments, and were at no small pains, to make them. Pride existed: but was differently modified from what we see it; every man was proud of the prowess and atchievements of his tribe collectively; of his personal virtues he was not proud , because we excel but by comparison; and he rarely saw instances of the opposite vices in his own nation, and looked on others with unqualified contempt.

When any public benefit was to be obtained, or any public danger to be averted, their mutual efforts were all bent to one end; and no one knew what it was to withhold his utmost aid, nor indeed could in that stage of society have any motive for doing so. Hence, no mind being contracted by selfish cares, the community were but as one large family, who enjoyed or suffered together. We are accustomed to talk, in parrot phrase, of indolent savages; and to be sure in warm climates, and where the state of man is truly savage, that is to say, unsocial, void of virtue and void of comforts, he is certainly an indolent being; but that individual, in a cold climate, who has tasted the sweets of social life, who knows the wants that arise from it, who provides for his children in their helpless state, and where taste and ingenuity are so much improved, that his person is not only clothed with warm and seemly apparel, but decorated with numerous and not inelegant ornaments; which from the scarcity and simplicity of his tools, he has no ready or easy mode of producing: when he has not only found out all these wants, which he has no means of supplying but by his individual strength, dexterity, and ingenuity, industry must be added, ere they can be all regularly gratified. Very active and industrious, in fact, the Indians were in their original state; and when we take it into consideration, that beside all these occupations, together with their long journies, wars, and constant huntings and fishing, their leisure was occupied not only by athletic but studious games; at which they played for days together with unheard-of eagerness and perseverance; it will appear they had very little of that lounging time, for which we are so apt to give them credit. Or if a chief occasionally after fatigue, of which we can form no adequate idea, lay silent in the shade, those striking Frenchmen who have given us most details concerning them, were too restless themselves to subdue their skipping spirits to the recollection, that a Mohawk had no study or arm chair wherein to muse and cogitate; and that his schemes of patriotism, his plans of war, and his eloquent speeches, were all like the meditations of Jacques, formed “under the greenwood tree.” Neither could any man lounge on his sofa, while half a dozen others were employed in shearing the sheep, preparing the wool, weaving and making his coat, or in planting the flax for his future linen, and flaying the ox for his future shoes; were he to do all this himself, he would have little leisure for study or repose. And all this and more the Indian did, under other names and forms. So that idleness, with its gloomy followers ennui and suicide, were unknown among this truly active people: yet that there is a higher state of society cannot be denied; nor can it be denied that the intermediate state is a painful and enfeebling one.

Man, in a state of nature, is taught by his more civilized brethren a thousand new wants before he learns to supply one. Thence barter takes place; which in the first stage of progression is universally fatal to the liberty, the spirit, and the comforts of an uncivilized people.

In the east, where the cradle of our instant nature was appointed, the climate was genial, its productions abundant, and its winters only sufficient to consume the surplus, and give a welcome variety to the seasons. There man was either a shepherd or a hunter, as his disposition led; and that perhaps in the same family. The meek spirit of Jacob delighted in tending his father’s flocks; while the more daring and adventurous Esau traced the wilds of mount Seir, in pursuit both of the fiercer animals who waged war upon the fold, and the more timorous who administered to the luxury of the table.

The progress of civilization was here gradual and gentle; and the elegant arts seem to have gone hand in hand with the useful ones. For we read of bracelets and ear-rings sent as tokens of love, and images highly valued and coveted; while even agriculture seemed in it infancy.

[pages] Chapter XXIV: "Progress of Civilization in Europe. --- Northern Nations instructed in the Arts of Life by those they had subdued.

Population extending to the milder regions of Europe, brought civilization along with it; so that it is only among the savages (as we call our ancestors) of the North, that we can trace the intermediate state I have spoken of. Amongst them, one regular gradation seems to have taken place; they were first hunters, and then warriors. As they advanced in their knowledge of the arts of life, and acquired a little property, as much of pastoral pursuits as their rigorous climate would allow, without the aid of regular agriculture, mingled with their wandering habits. But, except in a few partial instances, from hunters they became conquerors: the warlike habits acquired from that mode of life raising their minds above patient industry, and teaching them to despise the softer arts that embellish society. In fine, their usual process was to pass to civilization through the medium conquest. The poet says,

"With noble scorn the first fam’d Cato viewed Rome learning art from Greece, which she subdued.”

The surly censor might have spared his scorn, for doubtless science, and the arts of peace, were by far the most valuable acquisitions resulting from their conquest of that polished and ingenious people. But then the savage hunters of the north became too numerous to subsist on their deer and fish, and too warlike to dread the conflict with troops more regularly armed, they rushed down, like a cataract, on their enfeebled and voluptuous neighbours; destroyed the monuments of art, and seemed for a time to change the very face of nature. Yet dreadful as were the devastations of this flood, let forth by divine vengeance to punish and to renovate, it had its use, in sweeping away the hoarded mass of corruption with which the dregs of mankind had polluted the earth. It was an awful , but a needful process; which, in some form or other, is always renewed when human degeneracy has reached its ultimatum. The destruction of these feeble beings, who, lost to every manly and virtuous sentiment, crawl about the rich property which they have not sense to use worthily, or spirit to defend manfully, may be compared to the effort nature makes to rid herself of the noxious brood of wasps and slugs, cherished by successive mild winters. A dreadful frost comes; man suffers, and complains; his subject animals suffer more, and all his works are for a time suspended: but this salutary infliction purifies the air, meliorates the soil, and destroys millions of lurking enemies, who would otherwise have consumed the productions of the earth and deformed the face of nature. In these barbarous irruptions, the monuments of art, statues, pictures, temples, and palaces, seem to be most lamented. From age to age the virtuosi of every country have re-echoed to each other their feeble plaints over the lost works of art; as if that had been the heaviest sorrow in the general wreck; and as if the powers that produced them had ceased to exist. It is over the defaced image of the divine author, and not merely the mutilated resemblance of his creatures, that the wife and virtuous should lament! We are told that in Rome there were as many statues as men: had all these lamented statues been preserved, would the world be much wiser or happier? A sufficient number remain as models to future statuaries, and memorials of departed art and genius. Wealth, directed by taste and liberality, may be much better employed in calling forth, by due encouragement, that genius which doubtless exists among our cotemporaries, than in paying exorbitantly the vender of fragments.

“Mind, mind alone, bear witness earth and Heav’n
The living fountains in itself contains
Of beauteous and sublime.”

And what has mind atchieved, that, in a favorable conjuncture, it may not again aspire to? The lost arts are ever the theme of classical lamentation; but the great and real evil was the loss of the virtues which protected them; of courage, fortitude, honor, and patriotism: in short of the whole manly character. This must be allowed, after the dreadful tempest of subversion was over, to have been in some degree restored in the days of chivalry: and it is equally certain that the victors learnt from the vanquished many of the arts that support life, and all those which embellish it. When their manners were softened by the aid of a mild and charitable religion, this blended people assumed that undefined power, derived from superior valor and superior wisdom, which has so far exalted Europe over all the regions of the earth. Thus, where a bold and warlike people subdued a voluptuous and effeminate one, the result is, in due time , and improvement of national character. In similar climes and circumstances to those of the primeval nations in the other hemisphere, the case has been very different. There, too, the hunter, by the same graduation, became a warrior; but first allured by the friendship which sought his protection; then repelled by the art that coveted and encroached on his territories; and lastly by the avarice which taught him new wants, and then took an undue advantage of them; they neither wished for our superfluities, nor envied our mode of life; nor did our encroachment much disturb them, as they receded into their trackless coverts as we approached from the coast. But though they scorned our refinements; and though our government, and all the enlightened minds amongst us, dealt candidly and generously with all such as were not set on by our enemies to injure us, the blight of European vices, the mere consequence of private greediness and fraud, proved fatal to our very friends. As I formerly observed, the nature of the climate did not admit of the warriors passing through the medium of a shepherd’s life to the toils of agriculture. The climate, though extremely warm in summer, was so severe in winter, and that winter was no long, that it required no little labor to secure the food for the animals which were to be maintained; and no small expense in that country to procure the implements necessary for the purpose of agriculture. In other countries, when a poor man has not wherewithal to begin farming, he serves another; and the reward of his toil enables him to set up for himself. No such resource was open to the Indians, had they even inclined to adopt our modes. No Indian ever served another, or received assistance from any one except his own family. ‘Tis inconceivable, too, what a different kind of exertion of strength it requires to cultivate the ground, and to endure the fatigues of the chace, long journies, &c. To all that induces as to labour they were indifferent. When a governor of New York was describing to an Indian the advantages that some on would derive from such and such possessions; “Why,” said he, with evident surprise, “should any man desire to possess more than he uses?” More appeared to his untutored sense an incumbrance.

I have already observed how much happier they considered their manner of living than ours; yet their intercourse with us daily diminished their independence, their happiness, and even their numbers. In the new world this fatality has never failed to follow the introduction of European settlers; who, instead of civilizing and improving, slowing consume and waste; where they do not, like the Spaniards, absolutely destroy and exterminate the natives. The very nature of even our most friendly mode of dealing with them was pernicious to their moral welfare; which, though too late, they well understood, and could as well explain. Untutored man, in beginning to depart from that life of exigencies, in which the superior acuteness of senses, his fleetness, and dexterity in the chace, are his chief dependence, loses so much of all this before he can become accustomed to, or qualified for, our mode of procuring food by patient labour, that nothing can be conceived more enfeebled and forlorn than the state of the few detached families remaining of vanished tribes, who, having lost their energy , and even the wish to live in their own manner, were slowly and reluctantly beginning to adopt ours. It was like that suspension of life which takes place in the chrysalis of insects, while in their progress towards a new state of being. Alas! The indolence with which we reproach them, was merely the consequence of their commercial intercourse with us; and the fatal passion for strong liquors which resulted from it. As the fabled enchanter, by waving his magic wand, chains up at once the faculties of his opponents, and renders strength and courage useless; the most wretched and sordid trader, possessed of this master-key to the appetites and passions of these hard-sated people, could disarm those he dealt with of all their resources, and render them dependent, --nay dependent on those they scorned and hated. The process was simple: first, the power of sending, by mimic thunder, an unseen death to a distant foe, which filled the softer inhabitants of the southern regions with so much terror, was here merely an object of desire and emulation; and so eagerly did they adopt the use of fire-arms, that they soon became less expert in using their own missile weapons. They could still throw the tomahawk with such an unerring aim, that, though it went circling through the air towards its object, it never failed to reach it. But the arrows, on which they had formerly so much depended, were now considered merely as the weapon of boys, and only directed against birds.

Thus was one strong link forged in the chain of dependence; next, liquor became a necessary, and its fatal effects who can detail! But to make it still clearer, I have mentioned the passion for dress, in which all the pride and vanity of this people was centered. In former days this had the best effect, in being a stimulus to industry. The provision requisite for making a splendid appearance at the winter meeting for hunting and the national congress, occupied the leisure hours of the whole summer. The beaver skins of the last year’s hunting were to accurately dressed, and sewed together, to form that mantle which was as much valued, and as necessary to their consequence, as the pelice of sables to that of Eastern beshaw. A deer skin, or that of a bear, or beaver, had their stated price. The boldest and most expert hunter had most of these commodities to spare, and was therefore most splendidly arrayed. If he had a rival, it was in him whose dexterous ingenuity in fabricating the materials of which his own dress was composed, enabled him to vie with the hero of the chace.

Thus superior elegance in dress was not, as with us, the distinction of the luxurious and effeminate, but the privilege and reward of superior courage and industry; and became an object worthy of competition. Thus employed, and thus adorned, the sachem or his friends found little time to indulge the stupid indolence we have been accustomed to impute to them.

Another arduous task remains uncalculated: before they became dependent on us for the means of destruction, much time was consumed in forming their weapons; in the construction of which no less patience and ingenuity were exercised than in that of their ornaments: and those 100 were highly embellished, and made with great labour out of flints, pebbles, and shells. But all this system of employment was soon overturned by their late acquaintance with the insidious arts of Europe; to the use of whose manufactures they were insensibly drawn in, first by their passion for fire-arms, and finally, by their fatal appetite for liquor. To make this more clear, I shall insert a dialogue, such as, if not literally, at least in substance, might pass betwixt an Indian warrior and a trader.

[pages] Chapter XXV: "Means by which the Independence of the Indians was first diminished"

Indian.---- “Brother, I am come to trade with you: but I forewarn you to be more moderate in you demands than formerly.”

Trader.—” Why, brother, are not my goods of equal value with those you had last year?”

Indian.---“Perhaps they may; but mine are more valuable because more scarce. The great spirit who has withheld from you strength and ability to provide food and clothing for yourselves, has given you cunning and art to make guns and provide scuara ; and by speaking smooth words to simple men, when they have swallowed madness, you have by little and little purchased their hunting grounds, and made them corn lands. Thus the beavers grow more scarce, and deer fly father back; yet after I have reserved skins for my mantle, and the clothing of my wife, I will exchange the rest.”

Trader.--- “Be it so, brother; I came not to wrong you, or take your furs against you will. It is true the beavers are few, and you go further for them. Come, brother , let us deal fair first, and smoke friendly afterwards. Your last gun cost fifty beaver skins; and you shall have this for forty; and you shall give marten and raccoon skins in the same proportion for powder and shot.”

Indian.—“Well, brother, that is equal. Now for two silver bracelets, with long pendent ear-rings of the same, such as you sold to Cardarani in the strugeon month last year. How much will you demand?”

Trader.—“The skins of two deer for the bracelets and those of two faws for the ear-rings.”

Indian.--- “That is a great deal ; but wampum grows scarce, and silver never rusts. Here are the skins.”

Trader.--- “Do you buy any more? Here are knives, hatchets, and beads of all colours.”

Indian.--- “I will have a knife and a hatchet; but must not take more: the rest of the skins will be little enough to cloths the women and children, and buy wampum. Your beads are of no value, no warrior who has slain a wolf will wear them .”

Trader.--- “Here are many things good for you, which you have not skins to buy ; here is a looking-glass, and here is a brass kettle, in which your woman may boil her maize, her beans, and above all her maple sugar. Here are silver broaches, and here are pistols for the youths.”

Indian.—“The skins I can spare will not purchase them.”

Trader.—“You will determines, brother; but next year you will want nothing but powder and shot, having already purchased your gun and ornaments. If you will purchase from me a blanket to wrap round you, a short and blue shroud for your under garments to yourself and your woman; and the same for leggings, this will pass the time, and save you the great labour of dressing the skins, making the thread, &c. for your clothing: which will give you more fishing and shooting time, in the sturgeon and bear months.”

Indian.--- “ But the custom of my fathers!”

Trader.—“You will not break the custom of your fathers, by being thus clad for a single year. They did not refuse those things which we never offered to them.”

Indian.---“For this year, brother, I will exchange my skins; in the next I shall provide apparel more befitting a warrior. One pack alone I will reserve to dress for a future occasion. The summer must not find a warrior idle”

The Terms being adjusted and the bargain concluded, the trader this shews his gratitude for liberal dealings.

Trader.--- “Corlaer has forbid bringing scaura to steal away the wisdom of the warriors; but we white men are weak and cold; we bring kegs for ourselves, lest death arise from the swamps. We will not sell scaura; but you shall taste some of ours in return for the venison with which you have seated us.”

Indian.--- “Brother, we will drink moderately.”

A bottle was then given to the warrior by way of present; which he was advised to keep long; but found it irresistible. He soon returned with the reserved pack of skins, earnestly urging the trader to giver him beads, silver, broaches, and above all scaura, to their full amount. This, with much affected reluctance at parting with the private stock, was at last yielded. The warriors now, after giving loose for a while to frantic mirth, began the war-whoop, made the woods resound with infuriate howlings; and having exhausted their dear-brought draught, probably determined, in contempt of that probity which at all other times they rigidly observed, to plunder the instruments to their pernicious gratification. He, well aware of the consequences, took care to remove himself and his goods to some other place; and a renewal of the same scene ensued. Where, all this time, were the women, whose gentle counsels might have prevented these excesses? Alas! Unrestrained by that delicacy which is certainly one of the best fruits of refinement, they shared in them, and sunk sooner under them. A long and deep sleep generally succeeded; from which they awoke in a state of dejection and chagrin, such as no Indian has ever experienced under any other circumstance. They felt as Milton describes Adam and Eve to have done after their transgression. Exhausted and forlorn, and stung with the consciousness of error and dependence, they had neither the means nor the desire of exercising their wonted summer occupations with spirit. Vacancy produced languor, and languor made them again wish for the potion which gave temporary cheerfulness . They carried their fish to the next fort or habitation to barter for rum. This brought on days of frenzy, succeeded by torpor. When again roused by want to exertion, they saw the season passing without the usual provision; and by an effort of preserving industry, tried to make up for past negligence; and then worn out by exertion, sunk into supine indolence, till the approach of winter called them to hunt the bear; and the arrival of that, (their busy season,) urged on their distant excursion in pursuit of deer. Then they resumed their wonted character, and became what they used to be; but conscious that acquired tastes and wants, which they had lost the habit of supplying themselves, would throw them again on the traders for clothing, &c. they were themselves out-straining every sinew to procure enough to peltry to answer their purpose, and to gratify their newly acquired appetites. Thus the energy, both of their characters and constitutions, was gradually undermined; and their numbers as effectually diminished, as if they had been wasted by war.

The small-pox was also so fatal to them, that whole tribes on the upper lakes have been entirely extinguished by it. Those people being in the habit of using all possible means of closing the pores of the skin, by painting and anointing themselves with bears’ grease to defend themselves against the extremity of cold, to which their manner of life exposed them; and not being habitually subject to any cutaneous disease, the small-pox rarely rises upon them; from which it may be understood how little chance they had of recovering. All this I heard Aunt Schuyler relate, whose observations and reflections I merely detail.

[pages] Chapter XXVI: "Peculiar Attraction of the Indian Mode of Life - Account of a Settler who resided some Time amoung them"

In this wild liberty, habits of probity, mutual confidence, and constant variety, there was an undefinable charm, that while they preserved their primitive manners, wrought in every one who dwelt for any time amoungst them.

I have often heard my friend speak of a old man who, being carried away in his infancy by some hostile tribe who had slain his parents, was rescued very soon after by a tribe of friendly Indians, who, from motives of humanity, resolved to bring him up among themselves, that he might, in their phrase “learn to bend the bow, and speak truth.” When it was discovered some years after that he was still living, his relations reclaimed him; and the community wished him to return and inherit his father’s lands, now become more considerable. The Indians were unwilling to part with their protégé; and he was still more reluctant to return. This was considered as a bad precedent; the early settlers having found it convenient in several things regarding hunting, food, &c. to assimilate in some degree with the Indians; and the young men occasionally, at that early period, joined their hunting and fishing parties. It was considered as a matter of serious import to reclaim this young alien; lest others should be lost to the community and to their religion by following his example . With difficulty they forced him home; where they never could have detained him, had they not carefully and gradually inculcated into his mind the truths of Christianity. To those instructions even his Indian predilections taught him to listen; for it was the religion of his fathers, and venerable to him as such: still, however, his dislike of our manners was never entirely conquered, nor was his attachment to his foster fathers every much diminished. He was possessed of a very sound intellect, and used to declaim with the most vehement eloquence against our crafty and insidious encroachments on our old friends. His abhorrence of the petty falsehoods to which custom has too well reconciled us, and those little artifices which we all occasionally practice, rose to a height fully equal to that felt by Gulliver. Swift and this other misanthrope, though they lived at the same time, could not have had any intercourse, else one might have supposed the invectives which he has put into the mouth of Gullliver, were barrowed from this demi-savage; whose contempt and hatred of selfishness, meanness, and duplicity, were expressed in language worthy of the dean. Insomuch, that years after I had heard of this singular character, I thought, on reading Gulliver’s asperities after retuning from Hounyhnhamland, that I had met my old friend again. One really does meet with characters that fiction would seem too bold in pourtraying. This original had an aversion to liquor, which amounted to abhorrence; being embittered by his regret at the mischiefs resulting from it to his old friends, and rage at the traders for administering the means of depravity. He never could bear any seasoning to his food; and despised luxury in all its forms.

For all the growing evils I have been describing, there was only one remedy, which the sagacity of my friend and her other self soon discovered; and their humanity as well as principle led them to try all possible means of administering. It was the pure light and genial influence of chistiantiy alone that could cheer and ameliorate the state of these people, now, from a concurrence of circumstances scarcely to be avoided in the nature of things, deprived of the independence habitual to their own way of life, without acquiring in its room any of those comforts which sweeten ours. By gradually and gently unfolding to them the views of a happy futurity, and the means by which depraved humanity was restored to a participation of that blessing; pride, revenge, and the indulgence of every excess of passion or appetite being restrained by the precepts of a religion ever powerful where it is sincere; their spirits would be brought down from the fierce pride which despises improvement to adopt such of our modes, as would enable them to incorporate in time with our society, and procure for themselves a comfortable subsistence in a country no longer adapted to supply the wants of the houseless rangers of the forest.

The narrow policy of many looked coldly on this benevolent project. Hunters supplied the means of commerce, and warriors those of defence; and it was questionable whether a christain Indian would hunt or fight as well as formerly. This, however, had no power with those in whom christianity was any thing more than a name. There were already many christain Indians; and it was very encouraging that not one, once converted, had ever forsaken the strict profession of their religion, or ever, in a single instance, abandoned themselves to the excesses so pernicious to their unconverted brethren. Never was the true spirit of christianity more exemplified than in the lives of those comparatively few converts; who about this time amounted to more than two hundred. But the tender care and example of the Schuylers co-operating with the incessant labours of a judicious and truly apostolic missionary, some years after greatly augmented their numbers in different parts of the continent: and to this day, the memory of David Brainard, the faithful labourer alluded to, is held in veneration in those districts that were blessed with his ministry. He did not confine it to one people or province, but traveled from place to place, to disseminate the gospel to new converts, and confirm and cherish the truth already planted. The first foundation of that church had, however, as I formerly mentioned, been laid long ago: and the examples of piety, probity and benevolence set by the worthies at the Flats, and a few more, were a very necessary comment on the doctrines to which their assent was desired.

The great stumbling block which the missionaries had to encounter with the Indians, (who, as far as their knowledge went, argued with great acuteness and logical precision,) was the small influence which our religion seemed to have over many of its professors. “Why,” said they, “if the books of truth, that shews “the way to happiness, and bids all men do justice, and love one another, is given both to Corlaer and Onnonthio , does it not direct them in the same way? Why does Onnonthio worship, and Corlaer neglect, the mother of the blessed one? And why do the missionaries blame those for worshipping things made with hands, while the priests tell the praying nation , that Corlaer and his people have forsaken the worship of his forefahers: besides, how can people, who believe that God and good spirits view and take an interest in all their actions, cheat and dissemble, drink and fight, quarrel and backbite, if they believe the great fire burns for those who do such things. If we believed what you say, we should not exchange so much good for wickedness, to please an evil spirit, who would rejoice at our destruction.”…..To this reasoning it was not easy to oppose any thing that could carry conviction to untutored people, who spoke from observation and the evidence of the senses: to which could only be opposes scripture texts, which avail not till they are believed; and abstract reasoning, extremely difficult to bring to the level of an unlearned understanding. Great labor and perseverance wrought on the minds of a few, who felt conviction, as far as it is to be ascribed to human agency, flow from the affectionate persuasion of those whom they visibly beheld earnest for their eternal welfare; and when a few has thus yielded, the peace and purity of their lives, and the sublime enjoyment they seemed to derive from the prospects of their faith openly into futurity, was an inducement to others to follow the same path. This abstractly from religious considerations to endless futurity, is the true and only way to civilization; and to the blending together the old and new inhabitants of these regions. National pride, rooted prejudices, ferocity, and vindictive hatred, all yield before a change that new moulds the whole soul, and furnishes man with new fears and hopes, and new motives for action.

[pages] Chapter XXVII: "Indians only to be attaché by being converted - The abortive Expedition of Mons. Barre - Ironical Sketch of an Indian"

Upon the attachment the Indians had to our religion was grafted the strongest regard to our government, and the greatest fidelity to the treaties made with us. I shall insert a specimen of Indian eloquence, illustrative of this last; not that I consider it by any means so rich, impressive, or sublime as many other that I could quote, but as containing a figure of speech rarely to be met with among savage people, and supposed by us incompatible with the state of intellectual advancement to which they have attained. I mean a fine and well supported irony. About the year 1868, Mons. Barre, the commander of the French forces in Canada, made a kind of inroad, with a warlike design, into a precints claimed by out Mohawk allies; the march was tedious, the French fell sick, and many of their Indians deserted them. The wily commander, finding himself unequal to the mediated attack, and that it would be unsafe to return through the lakes and woods, while in hourly danger of meeting enemies so justly provoked, sent to invite the Sachems to a friendly conference; and, when they met, asserted in an artful speech that he and his troops had come with the sole intention of settling old grievances, and smoking the calumet of peace with them. The Indians, not imposed on by such pretences, listened patiently to his speech, and then made the answer which the reader will find in the notes . It is to be observed, that whoever they considered as the ruling person for the time being in Canada, they styled Onnonthio; while the governor of New York they always called Corlaer.

Twice in the year the new converts came to Albany to partake of the sacraments, before a place of worship was erected for themselves. They always spent the night, or oftener two nights, before their joining in this holy rite at the Flats; which was their general rendezvous from different quarters, There they were cordially received by three brothers, who always met together at this time to have a conference with them on subjects the most important to their present and future welfare. These devout Indians seemed all impressed with the same feelings, and moved by the same spirit. They received with affectionate cordiality, and accommodated in a manner quite conformable to their habits, in the passage, porch, and offices; and so deeply impressed were they with a sense of the awful duty that brought them there, and the rights of friendship and hospitality, and at this period become so much acquainted with our customs, that though two hundred communicants, followed by many of their children, were used to assemble on those occasions, the smallest instance of riot or impropriety was not known amongst them. They brought little presents of game, or of their curious handicrafts, and were liberally and kindly entertained by their good brother Phillip, as they familiarly called him. In the evening they all went apart to secret prayer; and in the morning, by dawn of day, they assembled before the portico; and their entertains, who rose early to enjoy, unobserved, a view of their social devotion, beheld them with their mantles drawn over their heads, prostrate on the earth; offering praises and fervent supplications to their Maker. After some time spent in this manner, they arose, and seated in a circle on the ground, with their heads veiled as formerly, they sang an hymn, which it was delighted to hear, from the strength, richness, and sweet accord of their uncommonly fine voices; which every one that ever heard this sacred chorus, however indifferent to the purport of it, praised as incomparable. The voices of the female Indians are particularly sweet and powerful. I have often heard my friend dwell with singular pleasure on the recollection of those scenes, and of the conversations she and the colonel used to hold with the Indians, whom she described as possessed of very superior powers of understanding; and in their religious views and conversations, uniting the ardour of proselytes with the firm decision and inflexible steadiness of their national character. It was on the return of those new christains to the Flats, after they had thus formerly sealed their profession, that these wise regulations for preserving peace and goodwill between the settlers (now become confident and careless from their numbers) and the Indians jealous with reason of their ancient rites, were concluded.

[pages] Chapter XXVIII: "Management of the Mohawks by the Influence of the Christian Indians"

The influence these converts had obtained over the minds of those most venerated for wisdom among their countrymen, was the medium through which this patriot family, in some degree, controlled the opinions of that community at large, and kept them faithful to the British interests. Every two or three years there was a congress held, by the deputies from New York, who generally spoke to the Indians by an interpreter; went through the form of delivering presents from their brother the great king, redressing petty grievances, smoking the calumet of peace, and delivering belts, the pledges of amity. But these were mere public forms; the real terms of this often renewed amity having been previously digested by those who far better understood the relations subsisting between the contracting parties, and the causes most likely to interrupt their union. Colonel Schuyler, though always ready to serve his country in exigencies, did not like to take upon himself any permanent responsibilities, as a superintendent of Indian affairs, as it might have diminished that great private influence which arose from the general veneration for his character, and from a conviction that the concern he took was voluntary and impartial; neither did he choose to scarifies that domestic peace and leisure, which he so well knew how to turn to the best account, being convinced that by his example, and influence, as a private gentleman, he had it in his power to do much good of a peculiar kind, which was incompatible with the weight and bustle of public affairs, or with that hospitality which, as they managed it was productive of so many beneficial effects. I have already shewn how, by prudent address and kind conciliation, this patriotic pair soothed and attached the Indians to the British interest. As the country grew more populous, and property more abundant and more secure, the face of society in this inland region began to change. They whose quiet and orderly demeanor, devotion, and integrity did not much require the enforcement of laws, began now to think themselves above them. To a deputed authority, the source of which lay beyond the Atlantic, they paid littler deference; and from their neighbors of New Hampshire and Connecticut, who bordered on their frontiers, and served with them in the colonial wars, they had little to learn of loyalty or submission. These people they held in great contempt, both as soldiers and statesmen; and yet, from their frequent intercourse with those who talked of law and politics in their peculiar uncouth dialect incessantly, they insensibly adopted many of their notions. There is a certain point of stable happiness at which our imperfect nature merely seems to arrive; for the very materials of which it is formed contain the seeds of its destruction. This was the case here: that peaceful and desirable equality of conditions, from which so many comforts resulted, in process of time occasioned an aversion to superiors, to whom they were not accustomed, and an exaggerated jealousy of the power which was exercised for their own safety and comfort. Their manner unsophisticated, and their morals in great measure uncorrupted, led them to regard with unjustifiable scorn and aversion those strangers who brought with them the manners of more polished, though less pure, communities. Proud of their haughty bluntness, which daily increased with their wealth and security, they began to consider respectable and polite behavior as a degree of servility and duplicity; while they revolted at the power exercised over themselves, and very reluctantly made the exertions necessary for their own protection, they shewed every inclination to usurp the territories of their Indian allies; and use to the very utmost the power they had acquired over them, by supplying their wants.

At the liberal tables of Aunt Schuyler, where there was always intelligence, just notions, and good breeding to be met with, both among the owners and their guests, many had their prejudices softened down, their minds enlarged, and their manners improved. There they met British officers of rank and merit, and persons in authority; and learnt that the former were not artificial coxcombs, not the latter petty tyrants; and they would otherwise be very apt to imagine. Here they were accustomed to find authority respected, on one hand, and on the other to see the natural rights of man vindicated and the utmost abhorrence expressed of all the sophistry by which the credulous were missed by the crafty, to have a code of morality for their treatment of heathens, different from that which directed them in their dealing with christains. Here a selection of the best and worthiest, of the different characters and classes we have been describing, met; and were taught, not only to tolerate, but to esteem each other: and it required the calm, temperate wisdom, and easy versatile manners of my friend to being this about. It is, when they are called to act in a new scene, and among people different from any they had known or imagined, that the folly of the wise and the weakness of the strong become discernible.

Many officers justly esteemed, possessed of capacity, learning, and much knowledge, both of the usages of the world, and the art of war, from the want of certain habitudes, which nothing but experience can teach, were disqualified for the contempt with which they regarded the blunt simplicity and plain appearance of the settlers, were not amenable to their advice on these points. They were not aware of how much they were to depend on them for the means of carrying on their operations; and by rude or negligent treatment so disgusted them, that they withheld the horses, oxen, waggons, &c, which were to be paid for, merely to shew their independence; well knowing the dreaded and detested military power, even if coercive measure were resorted to, would have no chance for redress in their courts; and even the civil authority were cautions of doing any thing so unpopular as to decide in the favor of the military. Thus, till properly instructed, those bewildered stranger were apt to do the thing of all others that annihilates a feeble authority; threaten where they could not strike, and forfeit respect where they could not enforce obedience: a failure of this kind clogged and enfeebled all their measures; for without the hearty co-operation of the inhabitants in furnishing pre-requisites, nothing could go in a country without roads, or public vehicles, for the conveyance of their warlike stores. Another rock they were apt to run upon was, a neglect of the Indians, whom they neither sufficiently feared as enemies, nor valued as friends: till taught to do so by maturer judgments. Of this, Braddock’s defeat was an instance; he was brave, experience, and versed in all military science; his confidence in which occasioned the destruction of himself and his army. He considered those counsels that warned him, how little manoeuvres or numbers would avail in the close prison of innumerable boughs, as the result of feeble caution; and marched his army to certain ruin, in the most brave and scientific manner imaginable. Upon certain occasions there is no knowledge so valuable as that of our own ignorance.

At the Flats, the self-righted boor learned civilization and subordination: the high bred and high spirited field officer gentleness, accommodation, and respect for unpolished worth and untaught valour. There too, the shrewd and, deeply reflecting Indian learnt to respect the British character, and to confide in that of the settlers; by seeing the best specimens of both acting candidly towards each –other, and generously to himself.

My friend was most particularly calculated to be the coadjutor of her excellent confort, in thus subduing the spirits of different classes of people, strongly disposed to entertain a repulsive dislike of each other; and by leading them to the chastened enjoyment of the same social pleasures, under the auspices of those whose good will they were all equally convinced of. She contrived to smooth down asperities, and assimilate those various characters, in a manner that could not be done by any other means.

Accustomed from childhood, both from the general state of society, and the enlarged minds of her particular associates, to take liberal views of every thing, and to look forward on all occasions to consequences, she steadily followed her wise and benevolent purposes, without being attracted by petty gratifications, or repelled by petty disgusts, Neither influenced by female vanity, or female fastidiousness, she might very truly say of popularity, as Falstaff says of Worcester’s rebellion, “it lay in her way and she found it;” for no one ever took less pains to obtain it; an if the weight of solid usefulness and beneficence had not, as it never fails to do in the long run, forced approbation, her mode of conducting herself, though it might greatly endear her to her particular associates, was not conciliating to common minds. The fact was, that though her benevolence extended through the whole circle of those to whom she was known, she had too many objects of importance in view to squander time upon imbecility and insignificance. Not could she find leisure for the routine of ordinary visits, or inclination of the insipidly of ordinary chit chat.

If people of the description here alluded to could forward any plan advantageous to the public, or to any of those person in whom she was particularly interested, she would treat them occasionally with much civility: for she had all the power of superior intellect without the pride of it; but could not submit to a perpetual sacrifice to forms and trifles. This, in her, was not only justifiable, but laudable; yet it is not mentioned as an example, because a case can very rarely occur, where the benefit resulting to others, from making one’s own path, and forsaking the ordinary road, can be so essential; few ever can have a sphere of action so peculiar or so important as her’s; and very few indeed have so sound a judgment to direct them in chusing, or so much fortitude to support them in pursuing, a way of their own.

In ordinary matter, where neither religion not morality is concerned, it is much safer to trust to the common sense of mankind in general, than to our own particular fancy. Singularity of conduct or opinion is so often the result of vanity or affectation, that whoever ventures upon it ought to be a person whose example is looked up to by others. A person too great to follow, ought to be great enough to lead. But though her conversation was reserved for those she preferred, her advice, compassion, and good offices were always given where most needed.

[pages] Chapter XXIX: "Madame’s adopted Children - Anecdote of Sister Susan"

Years passed away in this manner, varied only by the extension of that protection and education, which they gave to a succession of nephews and nieces of the Colnel and Mrs. Schuyler. These they did not take from mere compassion, as all their relations were in easy circumstances; but influenced by various considerations, such as, in some cases, the death of the mother of the children, or perhaps the father; in others, where their nieces or nephews married very early, and lived in the houses of their respective parents, while their young family increased before they had a settled home; or in instances where, from the remote situations in which the parents lived, they could not so easily educate them. Indeed the difficulty of getting a suitable education for children whose parents were ambitious for their improvement, was great; and a family so well regulated as her’s, and frequented by such society, was in itself an academy, both of the best morals and manners. When people have children born to them, they must submit to the ordinary lots of humanity: and if they have not the happiness of meeting with many good qualities to cultivate and rejoice over, there is nothing left of them but to exert themselves to the utmost, to reform and ameliorate what will admit of improvement. They must carefully weed and prop; of the soil produce a crop both feeble and redundant, affection will blind them to many defects; imperious duty will stimulate them, and hope, soothing, however deceitful, will support them. But when people have the privilege, as in this case, of chusing a child, they are fairly entitled to select the most promising. This selection, I understood always to have been left to Aunt Schuyler; and it appeared, by the event to have been generally a happy one. Fifteen, either nephews or nieces, or the children of such, who had been under her care, all lived to grow up and go out into the world: all acted their parts so as to do credit to the instruction they had received, and the example they looked up to. Besides these, they had many whom they brought for two or three years to their house to reside; either because the family they came from was at the time crowded with younger children, or because they were at a time of life when a year or two spent in such society, as was there assembled, might not only form their manners, but give a bias to their future character.

About the year 1730, they brought home a nephew of the colonel’s, whose father having a large family, and having, to the best of my recollection, lost his wife, entirely gave over the boy to the protection of this relation. This boy was his uncle’s god-son, and called Philip after him. He was a great favourite in the family; for, though apparently thoughtless and giddy, he had a very good temper, and quick parts; and was upon the whole an ingenious, lively and amusing child. He was a very great favourite, and continued to be so, in some measure, when he grew up.

There were other children, whose names and relations to my friends I do not remember, in the house at the same time; but none that staid so long, or were so much talked of as this. There certainly never were people who received so much company, made so respectable a figure in life, and always kept so large a family about them, with so little tumult or bustle, or indeed at so moderate an expense. What their income was I cannot say; but am sure it could not have been what we should think adequate to the good they did, and the hospitality and beneficence which they practiced: for the rents of lands were then of so little value, that, though they professed a considerable estate in another part of the country, only very moderate profits could result from it; but indeed, from the simplicity of dress, &c. it was easier though in that respect, too, they preserved a kind of dignity, and went beyond other in the materials, though not the form of their apparel. Yet their principal expense was a most plentiful and well ordered table, quite in the English style; which was a kind of innovation; but so many strangers frequented the houses of the three brother, that it was necessary for them to accommodate themselves to the habits of their guests.

Peter being in his youth an extesive trader, had spent much time in Canada, among the noblesse there; and had served in the continental levies. He had a fine commanding figure, and quite the air and address of a gentleman, and was, when I knew him, an old man.

Intelligent and pleasing in a very high degree, Jeremiah had too much familiar kindness to be looked up to like his brother. Yet he also had a very good understanding, great frankness and affablility, and was described by all who knew him, as the very soul of cordial friendship and warm benevolence. He married a polished and well educated person, whose parents (French protestants) were people of the first fashion in New York, and had given with her a good fortune, a thing very unusual in that country. They used in the early years of their marriage, to pay a visit every winter to their connexions at New York, who passed part of every summer with them. This connexion, as well as that with the Flats, gave an air of polish, and a tincture pf elegance to this family beyond others; and there were few so gay and social. This cheerfulness was supported by a large family, fourteen, I think, a very promising children. These, however, inheriting from their mother’s family a delicate constitution, died one after another as they came to maturity: one only, a daughter, lived to be married; but died after having had one son and one daughter.

I saw the mother of this large family, after out-living her own children, and a still greater number of brothers and sisters, who had all settled in life, prosperous and flourishing, when she married; I saw her a helpless bed-ridden invalid; without any remaining tie, but a sordid grasping son-in-law, and two grand-children, brought up at a distance from her.

With her, too, I was a great favourite, because I listened with interest to her details of early happiness, and subsequent woes and privations; all of which she described to me with great animation, and the most pathetic eloquence. How much a patient listener, who has sympathy and interest to bestow on a tale of woe, will hear! And how affecting is the respect and compassion even of an artless child, to a heart that has felt the bitterness of neglect, and known what it was to pine in solitary sadness! May a bleak day have I walked a mile to visit this blasted tree, which the storm of calamity had stripped of every leaf! And surely in the house of sorrow the heart is made better.

From this chronically of past times, I derived much information respecting our good aunt; such as she would not have given me herself. The kindness of this generous sister-in-law was indeed the only light that shone on the declining days of sister Susan, as she was wont affectionately to call her. What a sad narrative would the detail of this poor woman’s sorrows afford! Which, however, she did not relate in a querulous manner; for her soul was subdued by affliction, and she did not “mourn as those that have no hope.” One instance of self-accusation I must record. She used to describe the family she left as being no less happy, united, and highly prosperous, than that into which she came: if, indeed, she could be said to leave it, going as she did for some months every year to her mother’s house, whose darling she was, and who, being only fifteen years older than herself, was more like an elder sister, united by fond affection.

She went to New York to lye in, at her mother’s house, of her four or five first children; her mother at the same time having children as young as her’s: and thus caressed a home by a fond husband, and received with exultation by the tenderest parents; young, gay, and fortunate, her removals were only variations of felicity; but gratified in every wish, she knew not what sorrow was, nor how to receive the unwelcomed stranger, when it arrived. At length she went down to her father’s, as usual, to lye in of her fourth child, which died when it was eight days old. She then screamed with agony, and told her mother, who tried by pious counsel to alleviate her grief, that she was the most miserable of human beings; for that no one was capable of loving their child so well as she did her’s, and could not think by what sin she had provoked this affliction: finally, she clasped the dead infant to her bosom, and was not, without the utmost difficulty, persuaded to part with it; while her frantic grief outraged all decorum. After his, said she, “ I have seen my thirteen grown up children, and my dear and excellent husband, all carried out of this house to the grave: I have lost the worthiest and most affectionate parents, brothers, and sisters, such as few ever had; and however my heart might be pierced with sorrow, it was still more deeply pierced with a conviction of my own past impiety and ingratitude; and under all this affliction I wept silently and alone; and my outcry or lamentation was never heard by mortal.” What a lesson was this!

This once much loved and much respected woman, have I seen sitting in her bed, where she had been long confined, neglected by all those whom she had known in her better days, excepting aunt Schuyler. Who unwieldy and unfit for visiting as she was, came out two or three times in the year to see her, and constantly sent her kindly tokens of remembrance. Had she been more careful to preserve her independence, and had she accommodated herself more to the plain manners of the people she lived among, she might in her adversity have met with more attention; but too conscious of her attainments, lively, regardless, and perhaps vain, and confident of being surrounded and admire by a band of kinsfolk, she was at no pains to conciliate others; she had, too, some expensive habits; which, when the tide of prosperity ebbed, could meet with little indulgence among a people who never entertained an idea of living beyond their circumstances.

Thus, even among those unpolished people, one might learn how severely the insolence of prosperity can be avenged on us, even by those we have despised and slighted; and who perhaps were very much our inferiors in every respect: though both humanity and good sense should prevent our mortifying them, by shewing ourselves sensible of that circumstance.

This year was a fatal one to the families of the three brothers. Jeremiah, impatient of the uneasiness caused by a wen upon his neck, submitted to undergo an operation; which, being unskillfully performed, ended fatally, to the unspeakable grief of his brothers and of aunt, who was particularly attached to him, and often dwelt on the recollection of his singularly compassionate disposition, the generous openness of his temper, and peculiar warmth of his affections. He, indeed, was “taken away from the evil to come,” for of his large family, one after the other went off, in consequence of the weakness of their lungs; which withstood none of the ordinary diseases of small-pox, measles, &c. till in a few years, there was no one remaining.

These were melancholy inroads on the peace of her, who might truly be said , to “watch and weep, and pray for all; “ for nothing would exceed our good aunt’s care and tenderness for this feeble family; who seemed flowers which merely bloomed to wither in their prime; for they were, as is often the case with those who inherit such disorders, beautiful, with quickness of comprehension, and abilities beyond their age.

[pages] Chapter XXX: "Death of young Philip Schuyler.--- Account of his Family, and of the Society at the Flats"

Another very heavy sorrow followed the death of Jerimiah; Peter, being the eldest brother, his son, as I formerly mentioned, was considered and educated as heir to the colonel. It was Peter’s house that stood next to the colonel’s; their dwellings being arranged according to their ages, the youth was not in the least estranged from his own family (who were half a mile off) by his residence in his uncle’s, and was peculiarly endeared to all the families, (who regarded him as the future head of their house,) by his gentle manners and excellent qualities. With all these personal advantages, which distinguished that comely race, and which give grace and attraction to the unfolding blossoms of virtue, at an early age he was sent to a kind of college, then established in New Jersey; and he was there instructed, as far as in that place he could be. He soon formed an attachment to a lady still younger than himself, but so well brought up, and so respectably connected, that his friends were greatly pleased with the marriage, early as it was, and his father, with the highest satisfaction, received the young couple into the house. There they were the delight and ornament of the family, and lived amongst them as a common blessing. The first year of their marriage a daughter was born to them, whom they named Cornelia; and the next, a son , whom they called Peter. The following year, which was the same that deprived then of their brother Jeremiah, proved fatal to a great many children and young people, in consequence of an endemial disease, which every now and then used to appear in the country, and made great havoc. It was called the purple or spotted fever, and was probably of the putrid kind: be that as it may, it proved fatal to this interesting young couple. Peter, who had lost his wife but a short time before, was entirely overwhelmed by this stroke: a hardness of hearing , which had been gradually increased before, deprived him of the consolations he might have derived from society. He encouraged his second son to marry; shut himself up for the most part in his own apartment; and became, in effect, one of those lay brothers I have formerly described. Yet, when time had blunted the edge of his keen affliction, many years after, when we lived at the Flats, he used to visit us; and though he did not hear well, he conversed with great spirit, and was full of anecdote and information. Meanwhile, Madame did not sink under this calamity, though she felt it as much as her husband, but supported him; and exerted herself to extract consolation from performing the duties of a mother to the infant who was now becoming the representative of the family. Little Peter was accordingly brought home, and succeeded to all that care and affection to which his father had formerly been the object, while Cornelia was taken home to Jersey, to the family of her maternal grandfather, who was a distinguished person in that district. There she was exceedingly well educated, became an elegant and very pleasing young woman, and was happily and most respectable married before I left the country, as was her brother very soon after. They are still living; and Peter, adhering to what might be called, eventually the safer side, during the war with the mother country, succeeded undisturbed to his uncle’s inheritance.

All these new cares and sorrows did not in the least abate the hospitality, the popularity, or the public spirit of these truly great minds. Their dwelling, though in some measure become a house of mourning, was still the rendezvous of the wife and worthy, the refuge of the stranger, and an academy for deep and sound thinking, taste, intelligence, and moral beauty. There the plans for the public good were digested by the rulers of the province, who came, under the pretext of a summer excursion for mere amusement. There the operations of the army, and the treaties of peace or alliance with various nations, were arranged; for there the legislators, of the state, and the leaders of the war, were received, and mixed serious and important counsels with convivial cheerfulness, and domestic ease and familiarity. “Tis not to be conceived how essential a point of union, a barrier against license, and a focus, in which the rays of intellect and intelligence were concentrated, (such as in this family,) were to unite the jarring elements of which the community was composed, and to suggest to those who had power without experience, the means of mingling in due proportions its various materials for the public utility. Still, though the details of family happiness were abridged, the spirit that produced it continued to exist, and to find new objects of interest. A mind, elevated by the consciousness of its own powers, and enlarged by the habitual exercise of them, for the great purpose of promoting the good of others, yields to the pressure of calamity, but sinks not under it; particularly when habituated, like these exalted characters, to look through the long vista of futurity towards the final accomplishments of the designs of Providence. Like a diligent gardener, who, when his promising young plants are blasted in full strength and beauty though he feels extremely for their loss, does not sit down in idle chagrin, but redoubles he efforts to train up their successors to the same degree of excellence. Considering the large family she (Madame always had about her, of which she was the guiding star as well as the informing soul, and the innocent cheerfulness which she encouraged and enjoyed; considering, too, the number of interesting guests whom she received, and that complete union of minds, which made her enter so intimately into all the colonel’s pursuits, it may be wondered how she found time for solid and improved reading; because people, whose time is do much occupied in business and society, are apt to relax, with amusing trifles of the desultory kind, when they have odd half hours to bestow on literary amusements. But her strong and indefatigable mind never loosened its grasp; ever intent on the useful and the noble, she found little leisure for what are indeed the greatest objects of feeble characters. After the middle of life she went little out; her household, long since arranged by certain general rules, went regularly on, because every domestic knew exactly the duties of his or her place, and dreaded losing it, as the greatest possible misfortune. She had always with her some young person, “who was unto her as “daughter;” who was her friend and companion; and bred up in such a manner as to qualify her for being such; and one of those duties it was to inspect the state of the household, and ”report progress,” with regard to the operations going on in the various departments. For no one better understood, or more justly estimates, the duties of housewifery. Thus, those young females , who had the happiness of being bred under her auspices, very soon became qualified to assist her, instead of encroaching much on her time. The example and conversation of the family in which they lived, was to them a perpetual school for useful knowledge, and manners easy and dignified, though natural and artless. They were not indeed embellished, but then they were not deformed by affectation, pretensions, or defective imitation of fashionable models of nature. They were not indeed bred up “to dance, to dress, to roll the eye, or troul the tongue;’ yet they were not lectured into unnatural gravity, or frozen reserve. I have seen those of them who were lovely gay, and animated, though, in the words of an old familiar lyric, “Without disguise or art, like flowers that grace the wild, Their sweets they did not impart whene’er they spoke or smil’d.”

Two of those to whom this description particularly applies, still live; and still retain not only evident traces of beauty, but that unstudied grace and dignity which is the result of conscious worth and honour, habituated to receive the tribute of general respect. This is the privilege of minds which are always in their own place, and neither stoop to solicit applause from their inferiors, nor strive to rise to a fancied equality with those whom nature or fortune have placed beyond them.

Aunt was a great manager of her time, and always contrived to create leisure hours for reading; for that kind of conversation, which is properly styled gossiping, she had the utmost contempt. Light superficial reading, such as merely fills a blank in time, and glides over the mind without leaving an impression, was little known there; for few books crossed the Atlantic but such as were worth carrying so far for their intrinsic value. She was too much accustomed to have her mind occupied with objects of real weight and importance, to give it up to frivolous pursuits of any kind. She began the morning with reading the Scriptures. They always breakfasted early, and dined two hours later than the primitive inhabitants, who always took that meal at twelve. This departure from the ancient customs was necessary in this family, to accommodate the great numbers of British as well as strangers from New York, who were daily entertained at her liberal table. This arrangement gave her the advantage of a longer forenoon to dispose of. After breakfast she gave orders for the family details of the day which, without a scrupulous attention to those minutiae which fell more properly under the notice of her young friends, she always regulated in the most judicious manner, so as to prevent all appearance of hurry and confusion. There was such a rivalry among domestics, whose sole ambition was her favor, and who had been so trained up from infancy, each to their several duties, that excellence in each department was the result both of habit and emulation; while her younger protégées were early taught the value of importance of good housewifery, and were sedulous in their attention to littler maters of decoration and elegance, which her mind was too much engrossed to attend to; so that her household affairs, ever will regulates, went on in a mechanical kind of progress, that seemed to engage little of her attention, though her vigilant and overruling mind set every spring of action in motion. Having thus easily and speedily arranged the details of the day, she retired to read in her closet, where she generally remained till about eleven; when, being unequal to distant walks, the colonel and she, and some of her elder guests, passed some of the hotter hours among those embowering shades of her garden, in which she took great pleasure. Here was their Lyceum; here questions in religion and morality, too weighty for table talk, were leisurely and coolly discussed; and plans of policy and various utility arranged. From this retreat they adjourned to the portico; and while the colonel either retired to write, or went to give directions to his servants, she sat in this little tribunal, giving audience to new settlers, followers of the army left in hapless dependence, and others who wanted assistance or advise, or hoped she would intercede with the colonel for something more peculiarly in his way, he having great influence with the colonial government. At the usual hour her dinner-party assembled, which was generally a large one; and here I must digress from the detail of the day to observe, that, looking up as I always did to Madame with admiring veneration, and having always heard her mentioned with unqualified applause, I look often back to think what defects of faults she could possibly have to rank with the sons daughters of imperfection, inhabiting this transitory scene of existence, well knowing, from subsequent observation of life, that error is the unavoidable portion of humanity. Yet of this truism, to which every one will readily subscribe, I can recollect no proof in my friend’s conduct, unless the luxury of her table might be produced to confirm it. Yet this, after all, was but comparative luxury. There was more choice and selection, and perhaps more abundance at her table, than at those if the other primitive inhabitants, yet how simple were her repasts compared to those which the luxury of the higher ranks of this country offer to provoke the fated appetite. Her dinner-party generally consisted of some of her intimate friends or near relations; her adopted children, who were inmates for the time being; and strangers sometimes invited, merely as friendless travelers, on the score of hospitality, but often welcomed for some time as stationary visitors, on account of worth or talents, that gave value to their society; and, lastly, military guests, selected with some discrimination on account of the young friends, whom they wished not only to protect, but cultivate by improving association. Conversation here was always rational, generally instructive, and often cheerful. The afternoon frequently brought with it a new set of guests. Tea was always drank early here; and, as I formerly observed, was attended with so many petty luxuries of pastry, confectionary, &c. that it might well be accounted a meal by those whose early and frugal dinners had so long gone by. In Albany it was customary, after the heat of the day was past, for the young people to go in parties of three or four, in open carriages, to drink tea at an hour or two’s drive from town. The receiving and entertaining this sort of company generally was the province of the younger part of the family; and of these parties many came, in summer evenings, to the Flats, when tea, which was very early, was over. The young people, and those who were older, took their different walks, while Madame sat in her portico, engaged in what might comparatively be called light reading, essays, biography, poetry, &c. till the younger party set out on their return home, and her domestic friends rejoined her in her portico, where, in warm evenings, a slight repast was sometimes brought; but they more frequently shared the last and most truly social meal within.

Winter made little difference in her mode of occupying her time. She then always retired to her closet to read at stated periods.

In conversation she certainly took delight, and peculiarly excelled; yet did not in the least engross it, or seem to dictate. On the contrary, her thirst of knowledge was such, and she possessed such a peculiar talent for discovering the point of utility in all things, that from every one’s discourse she extracted some information, on which the light of her mind was thrown in such a direction, as made it turn to account. Whenever she laid down her book she took up her knitting, which neither occupied her eyes not attention, while it kept her fingers engaged; thus setting an example of humble diligence to her young protégés. In this employment she had a kind of tender satisfaction, as little children, reared in the family, were the only objects of her care in this respect. For those, she constantly provided a supply of hosiery till they were seven years old; and, after that, transferred her attention to some younger favourite. In her earlier days, when her beloved colonel could share the gaieties of society, I have been told they both had high relish for innocent mirth, and every species of humorous pleasantry; but in my time there was a chastened gravity in her discourse, which, however, did not repulse innocent cheerfulness, though it dashed all manner of levity, and that flippancy which great familiarity sometimes encourages amongst young people, who live much together. Had Madame, with the same good sense, the same high principle, and general benevolence towards young people, lived in society, such as is to be met with in Britain, the principle upon which she acted would have led her to have encourage in such society more gaiety and freedom of manners. As the regulated forms of life in Britain set bounds to the ease that accompanies good breeding, and refinement, generally diffused, supplies the place of native delicacy, where that is wanting, a certain decent freedom in both safe and allowable. But, amid the simplicity of primitive manners, those bounds are not so well defined. Under these circumstances, mirth is a romp, and humour a buffoon; and both must be kept within strict limits.

[186] Chapter XLIII "Further successes of the British arms — A Missionary — Cortlandt Schuyler"

THE conquest of Oswego, which was this year (1759) retaken from the French by General Bradstreet, contributed to revive the drooping spirits of the army and the patriots; and it was quickly succeeded by the dear-bought conquest of Quebec. Though Madame had never seen General Wolfe, she shared the general admiration of his heroism, and the general sorrow for his loss, in a very high degree. She, too, was conscious that the security and tranquillity purchased by the conquest of Quebec, would, in a manner, loosen the bonds which held the colonists attached to a government which they only endured while they required its protection. This led to consequences which she too clearly foresaw. The mind of Mrs. Schuyler, which had been greatly agitated by the sad events at Ticonderoga, now began, in consequence of the late successes, to become more composed, and to turn itself to objects of utility, as formerly. What she had done, and made others do for the orphans and widows that

[187] had become such in consequence of the attack on the lines, could scarce be credited. No one would suppose a moderate fortune like hers, could possibly be equal to it. She had at this time too much satisfaction in seeing the respective churches (in all which she was deeply interested) filled by persons who did honor to their profession. A young clergyman named Westerloe, succeeded Domine Freylinghausen, after an interval of three or four years, during which the charge was irregularly filled. This young man had learning, talent, and urbanity; he had all the sanctity of life and animated eloquence of his predecessor, without his love of power, his bustling turn, or his eagerness for popularity ; he was, indeed, a person of very singular merit, but studious and secluded, and unwilling to mix with strangers. To Madame, however, he was open and companionable, and knew and valued the attractions of her conversation. Dr. Ogilvie was the English Episcopal minister, who, under the name of Indian missionary, and with a salary allowed him as such, had the charge of performing duty in a church erected for that purpose in town, to strangers, and such of the military as chose to attend. The Christian Indians, who were his particular charge, lived at too great a distance to benefit by his labors. The province, however, allowed a salary to a zealous preacher, who labored among them with apostolic fervor, and with equal disregard to the things of this world. Dr. Ogilvie was highly respected, and, indeed, much beloved by all who were capable of appreciating his merit. His appearance was singularly prepossessing; his address and manners entirely those of a gentleman. His abilities were respectable, his doctrine was pure and scriptural, and his life exemplary, both as a clergyman and in his domestic circle, where he was peculiarly amiable ; add to all this a talent for conversation, extensive reading, and a thorough knowledge of life. The doctor was, indeed, a man after Madame's own heart; and she never ceased regretting his departure to New York, where he was settled two years after. For Stuart* she had the utmost veneration. Perfectly calculated for his austere and uncourtly duties, he was wholly devoted to them, and scarce cast a look back to that world which he had forsaken, • A pious missionary in the Mohawk country.

[188] Yet he was, on various accounts, highly valued by Madame ; for since the appointment of the superintendent, and more particularly since the death of the colonel, he became more important to her, as the link which held her to the Mohawks, whom she now saw so much more seldom, but always continued to love. The comprehension of her mind was so great, and her desire for knowledge so strong, that she found much entertainment in tracing the unfoldings of the human mind in its native state, and the gradual progress of intellect when enlightened by the gentle influence of pure religion ; and this good father of the deserts gratified her more by the details he was enabled to give of the progress of devotion and of mind among his beloved little flock, than he could have done by all that learning, or knowledge of the world can bestow. Again the Flats began to be the resort of the best society. She had also her nephews in succession ; one, a brother of that Philip so often mentioned, (since better known to the world by the appellation of General Schuyler,) had been long about the family. He was a youth distinguished for the gracefulness of his person, and the symmetry of his features. He was a perfect model of manly beauty, though almost as dark as an Indian. Indeed, both in looks and character, he greatly resembled the aborigines of the country. He seemed perfectly unconscious of the extraordinary personal advantages which he possessed ; was brave, honorable, and endowed with a very good understanding, but collected within himself; silent, yet eloquent when he chose to interest himself, or was warmed by the occasion ; and had such stainless probity, that every one respected and trusted him. Yet he was so very indifferent to the ordinary pleasures and pursuits of life, and so entirely devoted to the sports of the field, that when his aunt afterwards procured him a commission in a marching regiment, hoping thus to tame and brighten him, he was known in Ireland by the name of the handsome savage. This title did not belong to him in the sense we most often use it in, for his manners were not rude and harsh in the least; though an air of cold austerity, which shaded his fine countenance, with his delight in solitary amusements, led the gay and social inhabitants of the country in which he resided, to consider him as unwillingly rescued from his native forests. This youth was named Cortlandt, and will be more particularly [189] mentioned hereafter. That eccentric and frolicsome boy, whose humorous sallies and playful flights were a continual source of amusement, was also a frequent guest, but did not stay so long as his elder brother, who certainly was, of all aunt's adopted, the greatest favorite, and became more endeared to her, from being less successful in life than the rest of his family. In a council held between their relations and Madame, it was decided that both Cortlandt and Cornelius should try their fortune in arms. Cortlandt was made an ensign in an old regiment, and went over to Ireland. Cornelius, a year after, got a commission in the 55th, then commanded by that singularly worthy and benevolent character, Sir Adolphus Oughton. The mayor was highly respected for his wisdom ; yet his purchasing a commission for so mere a boy, and laying out for it a sum of money which appeared large in a country where people contrived to do very well with wonderfully little of that article, astonished all his countrymen. Conscious, however, of his sou's military genius, and well knowing that the vivacity that filled his grave kinsmen with apprehension, was merely a lambent flame of youthful gayety, which would blaze without scorching, he fearlessly launched him into a profession in which he hoped to see him attain merited distinction. The excellent patroness of all these young people had the satisfaction of seeing every one brought up under her auspices, (and, by this time, they were not a few,) do honor to her instructions, and fill their different stations in a manner the most creditable and prosperous ; while she was often surrounded by the children of those who had engaged her earliest cares.

CHAPTER XLIV. Burning of the house at the Flats.—Madame's removal.—Journey of the Author. IT was at this time, when she was in the very acme of her reputation, and her name was never mentioned without some

[190] 190 SKETCHES OF MANNERS added epithet of respect or affection, that her house, so long the receptacle of all that was good or intelligent, and the asylum of all that was helpless and unfortunate, was entirely consumed before her eyes. In the summer of this year, as General Bradstreet was riding by the Flats one day, and proposing to call on Madame, he saw her sitting in a great chair under the little avenue of cherry-trees that led from her house to the road. All the way as he approached he had seen smoke, and at last flames, bursting out from the top of her house. He was afraid to alarm her suddenly ; but when he told her, she heard it with the utmost composure ; pointed out the likeliest means to check the fire ; and ordered the neighbors to be summoned, and the most valuable goods first removed, without ever attempting to go over to the house herself, where she knew she could be of no service ; but with the most admirable presence of mind, she sat still with a placid countenance, regulating and ordering every thing in the most judicious manner, and with as much composure as if she had nothing to lose. When evening came, of that once happy mansion, not a single beam was left, and the scorched brick walls were all that remained to mark where it had stood. Madame could not be said to be left without a dwelling, having a house in Albany rather larger than the one thus destroyed. But she was fondly attached to the spot which had been the scene of so much felicity, and was rendered more dear to her by retaining within its bounds the remains of her beloved partner. She removed to Pedrom's house for the night. The news of what had happened spread everywhere ; and she had the comfort of knowing, in consequence of this misfortune, better than she could by any other means, how great a degree of public esteem and private gratitude she had excited. The next day people came from all quarters to condole, and ask her directions where and how she would choose to have another house built. And in a few days the ground was covered with bricks, timber, and other materials, brought there by her friends in voluntary kindness. It is to be observed that the people in the interior of New York were so exceedingly skilful in the use, not only of the axe, but of all ordinary tools used in planing and joining timber, that with the aid of a regular carpenter or two to carry on the nicer

[191] parts of the work, a man could build an ordinary hoi se, if it were a wooden one, with very few more than his own domestics. It can scarce be credited that this house, begun in August, was ready for aunt's reception against winter, which here begins very early. But General Bradstreet had sent some of the king's workmen, considering them as employed for the public service, while carrying on this building. The most unpleasant circumstance about this new dwelling, was the melancholy hiatus which appeared in front, where the former large house had stood, and where the deep and spacious cellars still yawned in gloomy desolation. Madame, who no longer studied appearance, but merely thought of a temporary accommodation, for a life which neither she nor any one expected to be a long one, ordered a broad wooden bridge, like those we see over rivers. This bridge was furnished with seats like a portico, and this, with the high walls of the burnt house, which were a kind of screen before the new one, gave the whole the appearance of an ancient ruin. Madame did not find the winter pass comfortably. That road, now that matters were regularly settled, was no longer the constant resort of her military friends. Her favorite nieces were too engaging, and too much admired, to leave room to expect they should remain with her. She found her house comparatively cold and inconvenient, and the winter long and comfortless. She could not now easily go the distance to church. Pedrom, that affectionate and respected brother, was now, by increasing deafness, disqualified from being a companion; and sister Susan, infirm and cheerless, was, for the most part, confined to her chamber. Under these circumstances she was at length prevailed on to remove to Albany. The Flats she gave in lease to Pedrom's son Stephen. The house and surrounding grounds were let to an Irish gentleman; who came over to America to begin a new course of life, after spending his fortune in a fashionable dissipation. On coming to America, he found that there was an intermediate state of hardship and self-denial to be encountered, before he could enter on that fancied Arcadia which he thought was to be found in every wood. He settled his family in this temporary dwelling, while he went to traverse the provinces in search of some unforfeited Eden, where the rose had no thorn, and the curse of ceaseless la-

[192] bor had not begun to operate. Madame found reason to be highly satisfied with the change. She had mills which supplied her with bread, her slaves cut and brought home firewood, she had a good garden, and fruit and every other rural dainty came to her in the greatest abundance. AH her former proteges and friends in different quarters delighted to send their tribute; and this was merely an interchange of kindness. Soon after this removal, her eldest niece, a remarkably fine young woman, was married to Mr. C. of C. manor, which was accounted one of the best matches, or rather the very best in the province. She was distinguished by a figure of uncommon grace and dignity, a noble and expressive countenance, and a mind such as her appearance led one to expect. This very respectable person is, I believe, still living, after having witnessed among her dearest connections, scenes the most distressing, and changes the most painful She has ever conducted herself so as to do honor to the excellent examples of her mother and aunt, and to be a patron of steadfast truth and generous friendship, in the most trying exigences. Her younger sister, equally admired, though possessing a different style of beauty, more soft and debonair, with the fairest complexion, and most cheerful simplicity of aspect, was the peculiar favorite of her aunt, above all that ever she took charge of; she. too, was soon after married to that highly esteemed patriot the late Isaac L., revered, through the whole continent, for his sound good sense and genuine public spirit. He was, indeed, " happily tempered, mild, and firm;" and was finally the victim of steadfast loyalty. It now remains to say how the writer of these pages became so well acquainted with the subject of these memoirs. My father was at this time a subaltern in the 55th regiment. That corps was then stationed at Oswego; but during the busy and warlike period I have been describing, my mother and I were boarded in the country below Albany, with the most worthy people imaginable; with whom we ever after kept up a cordial friendship. My father, wishing to see his family, was indulged with permission, and at the same time ordered to take the command of an additional company, who were to come up, and to purchase for the

[193] regiment all the stores they should require for the winter; which proved a most extensive commission. In the month of October he set out on this journey, or voyage rather, in which it was settled that my mother and I should accompany him. We were, I believe, the first females, above the very lowest ranks, who had ever penetrated so far into this remote wilderness. Certainly never was joy greater than that which filled my childish mind on setting out on this journey. I had before seen little of my father, and the most I knew of him was from the solicitude I had heard expressed on his account, and the fear of his death after every battle. I was, indeed, a little ashamed of haying a military father, brought up as I had mostly been, in a Dutch family, and speaking that language as fluently as my own; yet, on the other hand, I had felt so awkward at seeing all my companions have fathers to talk and complain to, while I had none, that I thought upon the whole it was a very good thing to have a father of any kind. The scarlet coat, which I had been taught to consider as the symbol of wickedness, disgusted me in some degree ; but then, to my great comfort, I found my father did not swear; and again, to my unspeakable delight, that he prayed. A soldier pray! was it possible ? And should I really see my father in heaven ? How transporting! By a sudden revolution of opinion, I now thought my father the most charming of all beings; and the overflowings of my good-will reached to the whole company, because they wore the same color, and seemed to respect and obey him. I dearly loved idleness too, and the more, because my mother, who delighted in needlework, confined me too much to it. What joys were mine ! to be idle for a fortnight, seeing new woods, rivers, and animals, every day; even then the love of nature wag, in my young bosom, a passion productive of incessant delight. I had, too, a primer, two hymns, and a ballad; and these I read over and over with great diligence. At intervals my attention was agreeably engaged by the details the soldiers gave my father of their manner of living and fighting in the woods, &c.; and with these the praises of Madame were often mingled. I thought of her continually ; every thing great I heard about her, even her size, had its impression. She became the heroine of my childish imagination ; and I thought of her as something both awful and

[194] admirable. We had the surgeon of the regiment and another officer with us; they talked too of Madame, of Indians, of battles, and of ancient history. Sitting from morning to night musing in the boat, contemplating my father, who appeared to me a hero and a saint, and thinking of Aunt Schuyler, who filled up my whole mind with the grandeur with which my fancy had invested her; and then having my imagination continually amused with the variety of noble wild scenes which the beautiful banks of the Mohawk afforded, I am convinced I thought more in .that fortnight, that is to say, acquired more ideas, and took more lasting impressions, than ever I did in the same space of time, in my life. This, however foreign it may appear to my subject, I mention, as so far connecting with it, that it accounts, in eome measure, for that development of thought which led me to take such ready and strong impressions from Aunt's conversation when afterwards I knew her.

CHAPTER XLV. Continuation of the Journey.—Arrival at Oswego.—Regulations, Studies, and Amusements there. NEVER, certainly, was a journey so replete with felicity. I luxuriated in idleness and novelty; knowledge was my delight, and it was now pouring in on my mind from all sides. What a change from sitting down pinned to my sampler by my mother till the hour of play, and then running wild with children as young, and still simpler than myself. Much attended to by all my fellow-travellers, I was absolutely intoxicated with the charms of novelty, and the sense of my newfound importance. The first day we came to Schenectady, a little town, situated in a rich and beautiful spot, and partly supported by the Indian trade. The next da)' we embarked, proceeded up the river with six batteaux, and came early in the evening to one of the most charming scenes imaginable, where Fort Hendrick was built; so called, in compliment to the principal sachem, or king of the Mohawks. The castle

[195] of this primitive monarch stood at a little distance on a rising ground, surrounded by palisades. He resided, at the time, in a house which the public workmen, who had lately built this fort, had been ordered to erect for him in the vicinity. We did not fail to wait upon his majesty; who, not choosing to depart too much from the customs of his ancestors, had not permitted divisions of apartments, or modern furniture to profane his new dwelling. It had the appearance of a good barn, and was divided across by a mat hung in the middle. King Hendrick, who had indeed a very princely figure, and a countenance that would not have dishonored royalty, was sitting on the floor beside a large heap of wheat, surrounded with baskets of dried berries of different kinds; beside him, his son, a very pretty boy, somewhat older than myself, was caressing a foal, which was unceremoniously introduced into the royal residence. A laced hat, a fine saddle and pistols, gifts of his good brother the great king, were hung round on the cross beams. He was splendidly arrayed in a coat of pale blue, trimmed with silver; all the rest of his dress was of the fashion of his own nation, and highly embellished with beads and other ornaments. All this suited my taste exceedingly, and was level to my comprehension. I was prepared to admire King Hendrick, by having heard him described as a generous warrior, terrible to his enemies, and kind to his friends : the character of all others calculated to make the deepest impression on ignorant innocence, in a country where infants learned the horrors of war, froni its proximity. Add to all this, that the monarch smiled, clapped my head, and ordered me a little basket, very pretty, and filled by the officious kindness of his son with dried berries. Never did princely gifts, or the smile of royalty, produce more ardent admiration and profound gratitude. I went out of the royal presence overawed and delighted, and am not sure but what I have liked kings all my life the better for this happy specimen, to which I was so early introduced. Had I seen royalty, properly such, invested with all the pomp of European magnificence, I should possibly have been confused and over-dazzled. But this was quite enough, and not too much for me; and I went away, lost in a revery, and thought of nothing but kings, battles, and generals, for days after.

[196] This journey, charming my romantic imagination by its very delays and difficulties, was such a source of interest and novelty to me, that above all things I dreaded its conclusion, which I well knew would be succeeded by long tasks and close confinement. Happily for me we soon entered i upon Wood-creek, the most desirable of all places for a traveller who loves to linger, if such another traveller there be. This is a small river, which winds irregularly through a deep and narrow valley of the most lavish fertility. The depth and richness of the soil here were evinced by the loftiness and the nature of the trees, which were hickory, butternut, chesnut, and sycamores of vast circumference as well as height. These became so top-heavy, and their roots were so often undermined by this insidious stream, that in every tempestuous night some giants of the grove fell prostrate, and very frequently across the stream, where they lay in all their pomp of foliage, like a leafy bridge, unwithered, and forming an obstacle almost invincible to all navigation. The Indian lifted his slight canoe, and carried it past the tree ; but our deep-loaded batteaux could not be so managed. Here my orthodoxy was shocked, and my anti-military prejudices revived, by the swearing of the soldiers ; but then, again, my veneration for my father was if possible increased, by his lectures against swearing, provoked by their transgression. Nothing remained for our heroes but to attack these sylvan giants axe in hand, and make way through their divided bodies. The assault upon fallen greatness was unanimous and unmerciful, but the resistance was tough, and the process tedious ; so much so, that we were three days proceeding fourteen miles, having at every two hours' end at least a new tree to cut through. It was here, as far as I recollect the history of my own heart, that the first idea of artifice ever entered into my mind. It was, like most female artifices, the offspring of vanity. These delays were a new source of pleasure to me. It was October ; the trees we had to cut through were often loaded with nuts ; and while I ran lightly along the branches to fill my royal basket with their spoils, which I had great pleasure in distributing, I met with multitudes of fellow-plunderers in the squirrels of various colors and sizes, who were here numberless. This made my excursions amusing. But when I

[197] AND SCENERY IN AMERICA. 197 found my disappearance excited alarm, they assumed more interest: it was so fine to sit quietly among the branches and hear concern and solicitude expressed about the child. I will spare the reader the fatigue of accompanying our little fleet through " Antres vast and deserts wild ;" only observing, that the magnificent solitude through which we travelled was much relieved by the sight of Johnson Hall, beautifully situated in a plain by the river; while Johnson Castle, a few miles further up, made a most respectable appearance on a commanding eminence at some distance. We travelled from one fort to another ; but in three or four instances, to my great joy, they were so remote from each other that we found it necessary to encamp at night on the bank of the river. This, in a land of profound solitude, where wolves, foxes, and bears abounded, and were very much inclined to consider and treat us as intruders, might seem dismal to wiser folks. But I was so gratified by the bustle and agitation produced by our measures of defence, and actuated by the love which all children have for mischief that is not fatal, that I enjoyed our night's encampment exceedingly. We stopped early wherever we saw the largest and most combustible kind of trees. Cedars were great favorites, and the first work was to fell and pile upon each other an incredible number, stretched lengthways ; while every one who could, was busied in gathering withered branches of pine, &c., to fill up the interstices of the pile and make the green, wood burn the faster. Then a train of gunpowder was laid along to give fire to the whole fabric at once, which blazed and crackled magnificently. Then the tents were erected close in a row before this grand conflagration. This was not merely meant to keep us warm, though the nights did begin to grow cold, but to frighten wild beasts and wandering Indians. In case any such, belonging to hostile tribes, should see this prodigious blaze, the size of it was meant to give them an idea of a greater force than we possessed. In one place, where we were surrounded by hills, with swamps lying between them, there seemed to be a general congress of wolves, who answered each other from opposite hills in sounds the most terrific. Probably the terror which

[227] His brother Cortlandt, (the handsome savage,) who had, by her advice, gone into the army, had returned from Ireland, the commander of a company; ...

[234] Cortlandt Schuyler, the general's brother, and his sprightly, agreeable wife, were now, as well as the couple formerly mentioned, frequent visitors at ...

[242] Her nephew, Cortlandt Schuyler, who had been a great Nimrod ever since he could carry a gun, and who was a man of strict honor and nice feelings

[272] But still she had her sister W., and soon acquired a new set of children, the orphan sons of her nephew Cortlandt Schuyler, who continued under her care for ...

[274] Cortlandt Schuyler, she took home his two eldest sons, and kept them with her till her own death, which happened in 1778 or 1779. I know, too, that like the ...

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From Memoirs of an American Lady (first published in 1808) two volumes, consecutive pagination; beginning of edition pages shown in [brackets]. The original punctuation is variable and has been retained!

Page references are to the two-volume edition published in 1901 and including extensive annotation by James Grant Wilson.


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first posted: 12/15/03; last revised 1/5/04