Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

They rejoice, that while their counsellors are settling a peace at Muskingum, and you are here labouring for their good, tranquillity will be spread over the whole country. (Six strings of wampum.)

Then Good Peter added,

BROTHER,

Possess your mind in peace. You are sensible that in affairs of importance, omissions may be made, and that a person is allowed afterward to correct them.

You have greatly encouraged us, by promising to watch over our peace, and to provide for our welfare. It is probable, that when we have completed our business here, some bad men may break over the fence you have set around us. There are, excuse us brother, some bad men among the white people of this island ; they may not hear your voice as far as our country: we therefore propose that Peter Ryckman, our child, may live among us in your behalf, look at our affairs, and watch over our interests.

You have now heard our minds, and the resolutions we had formed before we left our country. I only act here as an agent, by the request of my brothers, the Cayugas, and I am now released from my engagements.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY,

December 6th, 1812. RESOLVED, That the thanks of this Society be presented to the Honourable GOUVERNEUR MORRIS, for the Discourse delivered by him; this day, before the Society ; and that the Honourable De Witt CLINTON, the Reverend Doctor MilLER, and Doctor David Hosack, be appointed a Committee to convey the same, and to request a copy for publication. .

Extract from the minutes,

JOHN PINTARD,

Recording Secretary.

A

DISCOURSE, &c.

Mr. President, and
Gentlemen of the Historical Society,

It was my purpose, in obeying your orders, to make a sketch of our history from the year 1763 to the year 1783, and compare our condition at the close of two victorious wars, in both of which this state was distinguished among her brethren as the principal theatre and greatest sufferer. This important period, of twenty years, marked by one of those events on which history delights to dwell, will, I trust, be related with philosophic impartiality by some future Hume, to amuse and instruct posterity, when their ancestors shall have mouldered to dust. But reflection told me the time was not yet arrived. Moreover, the bounds of a discourse like this are too narrow to embrace the more prominent incidents and characters. Another circuinstance contributed to deter me : however rapid and concise the narrative, egotism could not wholly have been avoided. This circumstance not only forbade the attempt first contemplated, but raised difficulties, which I feared to encounter, in selecting some anterior term. Connected, by the ties of consanguinity, with persons deeply engaged in those feuds by which, at an early day, the colony was agitated, I trembled lest duty and affection

should wrong the memory of their foes: lest some incautious word of praise or blame should obscure the lustre of truth. I must therefore entreat your pardon, that shunning what may be deemed the more proper course, I venture to present some reflections on prominent historical facts and geographical circumstances which distinguish our state.

On a cursory glance at the map of North America, our eye is caught by that deep indent, where Long Island (whose eastern point lies between thirty and forty leagues west of the south end of Nantucket shoal) after stretching thirty leagues, on a course but fifteen degrees to the southward of west, is separated by a deep bay from the main land, whose general direction, from Sandy Hook to Cape Hatteras, is but seventeen degrees to the westward of south. The upper end of that bay, divided from the lower by Staten Island, is nearest to the valley which embosoms the great lakes, the St. Lawrence, and the Mississippi, of any seaport on the Atlantic ; and the hills which intervene are neither so numerous, so lofty, nor so steep, as those by which other routes are obstructed. The city of NewYork, at the head of this bay, from causes which will probably, endure as long as the earth itself, is generally accessible; and the navigation to it is frequently open when that of more southern situations is barred by frost. The channel on the west end of Long Island, though broad and deep, may be so obstructed as to frustrate hostile attempts. The other channel, whose mouth is two degrees to the eastward, and therefore of easier and safer ac.cess in dark bad weather, presents a secure and pleasant passage till within eight miles of this city. There a rapid whirlpool and projecting rocks (our Scylla and Charbydis) render it so narrow and difficult, that, although perfectly safe at a proper time, and with a good pilot, it inay easily

« AnteriorContinuar »