Page images

government, which, in the manner it was conducted until the levolution, was extremely unfavourable to improvements of almost every kind, and particularly in agriculture. The governors were inany of them land jobbers, bent on making their fortunes, and being invested with power to do this, thcy either engrossed for themselves, or patented away to their particular favourites, a very great proportion of the whole province. This, as has been before observed, proved an effetual bar to population, and of course, according to our present hypothesis, has kept down the price of lands, and so prevented improvements in agriculture. It ought to be observed, in this connection, that these over-grown estates could be cultivated only by the hands of tenants, who, having no right in the soil, and no certain prospect of continuing upon the farm which they held at the will of their landlord, had no motives to make those expensive improvements, which, though not immediately productive, would prove very profitable in some future period. The tenant, dependant on his fandlord for his annual support, confines his views and iinprovements to the present year; while the independent freeholder, fecure of his estate for himself and his successors, carries his views into fue turity, and early lays the foundation for growing improvement. But these obstacles have been removed, in a great measure, by the tevolution. The genius of the government of this State, however, still favours large monopolies of lands, which have for fome years back been granted without regard either to quantity or settlement. The fine fertile country of the Mohawk, in Montgomery county, which was formerly possessed by Sir Wil. fiam Johnson, and other land jobbers, who were enemies to the country, has been forfeited to the State, and is now fplit up into freehold estates, and settling with astonishing rapidity.

The foregoing observations will in a great measure account for the great neglect of manufactural improvements. Mr. Smith, in his history of New York, more than thirty years ago, observed, " It is much owing to the disproportion between the number of our inhabitants, and the vast traets still remaining to be settled, that we have not as yet entered upon scarcely any other manufa&tures than fuch as are indilpensably necessary for our home convenience. This fame cause has operated ever since in the same way, though not of late in the fame degree,

Great improvenients in agriculture cannot be expected, unless they are made by a few individuals who have a particular genius for that business, lo long as lands are plenty and cheap ; and

; improvements in manufactures never precede, but invariably

Vol. II,


follow improvements in agriculture. These observations appice

, more particularly to the country. The city of New York costains a great number of people, who are employed in varicos kinds of manufutures. Among many other articles manufactured in this city, are wheel carriages of all kinds, loaf fugar, bread, beer, shoes and boots, saddlery, cabinet work, cutlery, hais, wool cards, clocks, watches, potters ware, particularly fione ware, of which large quantities are shipt to all the southern States in the Union; umbrellas, all kinds of mathematical and musical inftruments, ships, and every thing neceiary for their equipment. Glaís works, and several iron works have been established in different parts of the country, but they never till lately have been very productive, owing solely to the wan: of workmen, and the high price of labour, its necetiary censequence. The internal resources and advantages for thełe 1290Juttoncs, such as ore, wond, water, hearth stone, proper ftua. ti..1s for bioomeries, forges, and all kinds of water works, are immense. There are several paper mills in the State, which are worked to advantage. Tne manufacture of maple sugar, within a few years pait, has become an object of great importance. As many as three hundred chests of four hundred pounds each, were made in the thinly inhabited county of Otsego, in the year 1791; bcfides large quantities, fufficient for consumption, in other newly-fettled parts of the State.

The fitution of New York, with respect to foreign markets, has decidediy the preference to any of the States. It has, at all seasons of the year, a short and easy access to the ocean. We have already mentioned that it commands the trade of a great proportion of the best fettled and best cultivated parts of the C'nited States. New-York has not been un:nindful of her superior local advantages, but has availed herself of them to their full extent.

Their exports to the Well-Indies are, biscuit, peas, Indian corn, apples, onions, boards, Staves, horses, sheep, butter, cheese, pickled oysters, becf and pork. But wheat is a staple commodity of the State, of which no less than fix hundred and seventyseven thousand feven hundred bushels were exported in the year 1775, besides two thousand five hundred and fifty-five tons of bread, and two thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight, tons of flour. Inspectors of lour are appointed to prevent impcfitions, and see that none is exported but that which is deemed by them merchantable. West-India goods are received in return for these

Beldes the above mentioned articles, aje exo ported 'flax-seed, cotton-wool, sarsaparilla, coffee, indigo, rice, pig iron, bar iron, pot ash, pearl ash, furs, deer skins, log.wood, fustic, mahogany, bees-wax, oil, Madeira wine, rum, tar, pitch, turpentine, whale fins, fish, sugars, molasses, falt, tobacco, lard, &c. but most of these articles are imported for re-exportation. The trade of this State has greatly increased since the revolution, and the balance is almost constantly in its favour. The exports to foreign parts, for the year ending September 30th, 1791, consisting principally of the articles above enumerated, amounted to two million five hundred and sixteen thousand one hundred and ninety-seven dollars. This State owned in 1792 forty-fix thousand fix hundred and twenty-fix tons of fhipping, besides which she found employment for about forty thousand tons of foreign vefsels.*

There is an incorporated bank in the city of New York, befides a branch of the national bank ; banks are also established in the city of Albany and at Hudson.


Societies for improvement in knowledge or humanity in this State are rapidly increasing; in the city of New York are the following societies. First “ The society for promoting useful knowledge.” This society is upon an establishment fimilar to other philosophical societies in Europe and America, but it is not incorporated. The members meet once a month. Secondly, * The society for the manumission of slaves and protecting such of them as have been or may be liberated." This society meets once a quarter. Both these societies consist of gentlemen of the first character in the city, and of some in other parts of the State, Besides these there is a marine society, a society for the relief of poor debtors confined in gaol, a manufacturing society, an agricultural society lately established, of which the members of the legislature are ex oficiis members, a medical society, and a humane society.

On the 22d of May, 1794, a society was instituted at New. York, for the purpose of " affording information and assistance to persons emigrating from foreign countries." The following resolutions and constitution will fully explain the laudable objects of this Society.

The great increase of American commerce must have made a very considerable addition to the shipping of this city since the above period.

" At a refpe&avle meeting, held in the rity of New York, for the

purpose of confidering on the propriety of etablifing a fociety for the information and alfance of persons emigrating from foreign countries,

" It was unanimously resolved, that from the great increase of enigration from Europe to the United States, it is highly expedient to form such an institution.

“ In conformity to the above resolution, a society was instituted on the 22d of May, 1794. The following is the plan of their constitution.

“ WHEREAS, from the oppresions of many of the govern. ments of Europe, and the public calamities likely to ensue, perfons of various descriptions are migrating to the United States of America for protection and safety ; And

" Whereas emigrants, upon their first arrival in these States, frequently sustain inconveniencies in consequence of their being unacquainted with the manners and customs of the country, and the noft cligible mode of establishing themselves in their leveral profeflions.

“ We, the subcribers, agree to form ourselves into a society, for the purpose of affording information and encouragement to persons of the above description ; and for the better effecting these objects, adopt the following


« 1. This society shall be known and diftinguished by the name and description of “The New-York fociety for the information and a listance of persons emigrating from foreign countries."

* 2. The society shell meet regularly the first Thursday in every month, or oftener if neceflary, al such time and place as they may appoint,

" 3. No person shall be adınitted into this society but upon the recommendation of two members, and with the consent of a majority ; to be taken by ballot at the meeting of the Society inmediately succeeding that, at which such perlon shall have been proposed.

" 4. The officers of this Society shall confit of a president, vice president, treasurer, physician, register, fecretary and a committee of conference and correspondence, to be elected by ballot every six months.

" 5. The comınittee of conference and correspondence in all con bit of twelve members, of whom the trealarer, physician, register and secretary for the time being shall be members : four of the remaining eight members fhall go out every three months; they shall correspond with individuals and public bodies for proinoting the objects of this Institution; and upon the arrival of emigrants, shall afford them such information and assistance as their respective circumstances may require, and the funds of the fociety enable them to grant.

" 6. This Consitution shall not be altered except such alteration be proposed at one meeting, and agreed to at the next succeeding meeting, by three fourths of the members present.

7. No new bye-laws shall be made, nor any alteration iş the existing ones, unless proposed at one meeting, and agreed to at the next, by a majority of the members present.

Published by Order of the Society,

Wm. Sing, President,


Until the year 1754, there was no college in the province of New-York. The state of literature, at that time, I shall give in the words of their historian ;* 4. Our schools are in the lowest order; the instructors want instruction, and through a long and Mhameful neglect of all the arts and sciences, our common speech is extremely corrupt, and the evidences of a bad taste, both as to thought and language, are visible in all our proceedings, public and private." This inay have been a just representation at the time when it was written ; but much attention has since been paid to education. There are eight incorporated academies in different parts of the State ; and we are happy to add, that the Icgislature have lately patronized collegiate and academic educarion, by granting a large gratuity to the college and academies in this State, which, in addition to their former funds, renders their endowments handsome, and adequate to their expenditures. The legislature have likewise appropriated the sum of 30,000 pounds per annum for the purpose of establishing schools i hroughout the State ; a school at least to be kept within the limits of every four miles square.

King's college, in the city of New York, was principally founded by the voluntary contributions of the inhabitants of the province, allisted by the General Allembly, and the corporation of Trinity Church ; in the year 1754, a royal charter (and grant of money) being then obtained, incorporating a num

* Smith's History of New-Yor

« PreviousContinue »