« IndietroContinua »
skirmishers drove our people from their His biographer, after copying this acposition behind the dwelling. Since count, adds : “ How brilliant soever the then it had known many guests. Howe, company, how cheerful the repast, its Clinton, Kniphausen, Percy, were shel- memory must ever have been fraught tered by its roof. The aged owner, with sadness to both host and guests. with his wife and daughter, remained; It was the last occasion of André's but they had always an officer of dis- meeting his comrades in life. Four tinction quartered with them; and, if short days gone, the hands then clasped a part of the family were in arms for by friendship were fettered by hostilo Congress, as is alleged, it is certain that bonds; yet nine days more, and the others were active for the Crown. Sam- darling of the army, the youthful hero uel Kip, of Kipsburgh, led a cavalry of the hour, had dangled from a gib
, troop of his own tenantry with great bet." * gallantry in De Lancey's regiment; and, After the Revolution the place redespite severe wounds, survived long mained in its owner's possession, for his after the war, a heavy pecuniary sufferer age had fortunately prevented him from by the cause which, with most of the taking any active part in the contest. landed gentry of New York, he had And when Washington, in the hour of espoused."
his triumph, returned to New York, he In 1780 it was held by Colonel Wil- went out to visit again those who, in liams, of the 80th royal regiment; and 1776, had been his involuntary hosts. here, on the evening of the 19th of Dr. Francis relates an interesting little September, he gave & dinner to Sir incident which occurred at the visit: Henry Clinton and his staff, as a part- “On the old road towards Kingsbridge, ing compliment to André. The aged on the eastern side of the island, was owner of the house was present; and, the well-known Kip's Farm, preëmiwhen the Revolution was over, he de- nently distinguished for its grateful scribed the scene and the incidents of fruits—the plum, the peach, the pear, that dinner. At the table, Sir Henry and the apple--and for its choice culClinton announced the departure of ture of the rosaceæ. Here the élite often André, next morning, on a secret and repaired, and here our Washington, now most important expedition, and added invested with Presidential honors, made (what we have never seen mentioned in an excursion, and was presented with any other account, and showing what the rosa gallica, an exotic first introwas to have been André's reward), duced into this country in this garden “ Plain John André will come back Sir -fit emblem of that memorable union John André."
of France and the American colonies in André-it was said by. Mr. Kip—was the cause of republican freedom.” + evidently depressed, and took but little In 1851 this old place was demolishpart in the merriment about bim; and ed. It had then stood two hundred and when, in his turn, it became necessary twelve years, and was the oldest house for him to sing, he gave the favorite on the island. It was swallowed up by military chanson attributed to Wolfe, the growth of the mighty metropolis, who sang it on the eve of the battle of and Thirty-fifth-street runs over the Quebec, in which he died :
spot where once stood the old mansion. Why, soldiers, why
A short time after it was deserted, the Should we be melancholy, boys?
writer made his last visit to it, while Why, soldiers, why,
most of it was still standing, and the Whose business 'tis to die!. For should next campaign
stone coat-of-arms over the hall-door Send us to Him who made us, boys, was projecting from the half-demolished We're free from pain; But should we remain, A bottle and kind landlady
# “Life of André," p. 268. Makes all well again.
"Old New York”-Anniversary Discourse be
fore the New York Historical Society, Nov. 17, * “Life of André," p. 267.
1857, by John W. Francis, M. D., LL.D.
wall. As he stood in the old dining their chief's family than did these sable room, there came back to him visions retainers in New Amsterdam. In doof the many noble and chivalrous men mestic affairs they assumed a great freewho, in the last two centuries, had dom of speech, and, in fact, family affeasted within its walls. But all these, fairs were discussed and settled as fully like the place itself, now live only in in the kitchen as in the parlor. The the records of the past.
older servants, indeed, exercised as full Such was life in those early days control over the children of the family among the colonial families in the coun- as did their parents. As each black try and the city. It was simple and child attained the age of six or seven unostentatious, yet marked by an afilu- years, it was formally presented to a son ence of every thing which could minis- or daughter of the family, and was his ter to comfort, and also a degree of ele- or her particular attendant. This union gance in the surroundings which cre- continued often through life, and of ated a feeling of true refinement. So stronger instances of fidelity we have ciety was easy and natural, without the never heard than were exhibited in some struggle for precedence which now is so of these cases. Fidelity and affection, universal; for then every one's antece- indeed, formed the bond between masdents were known, and their positions ter and slave, to a degree which can were fixed. The intermarriages, which never exist in this day with hired serfor more than a century were taking vants.* place between the landed families, This state of things continued far bound them together and promoted a down into the present century. In the harmony of feeling now not often seen. writer's early day his father owned There were, in that day, such things as slaves for domestic servants, and he old associations, and men lived in the well remembers, when visiting the place past, instead of, as in these times, look- of a relative on the Hudson River, seeing only to the future.
ing the number of slaves about the The system of slavery, too, which house. At that time, however, the sysprevailed, added to the ease of domes- tem was just going out; it had lost its tic life. Negro-slaves, at an early day, interesting features, and the slaves, still had been introduced into the colony, remaining at these old places, had beand every family of standing possessed come a source of care and anxiety to some. They were employed but little their owners. as field-laborers, but every household The charm of life in that day was its had a few who were domestic servants. stability. There was no chance then Like Abraham's servants, they were all for parvenuism-no stocks in which to “ born in the house." They shared the dabble, no sudden fortunes made. There same religious instruction with tbe was but little commerce between the children of the family, and felt, in every colony and the mother-country, and men respect, as if they were members of it. who embarked in this business were This mild form of slavery was like the contented to spend their lives in acquirsystem which existed under the tents ing a competence. They never aspired of the patriarchs on the plains of Mam- to rival the landed families. With the re, and there certainly never were happier people than those“
men-servants # "Almost every family in the colony owned and maid-servants.” They were seldom
one or more negro-servants; and, among the richer
classes, their number was considered a certain eriseparated from their families, or sold. dence of their master's easy circumstances. About The latter was reserved as an extreme the year 1703-a period of prosperity in wealth
and social refinement with the Dutch of New Amcase for the incorrigible, and a punish
sterdam-the Widow Van Courtlandt held fre ment to which it was hardly ever neces- male slaves, two female, and two children; Colonel sary to resort.
De Peyster had the same number; William BeckThe clansmen of Scotland could not
man, two; Rip Van Dam, six; Mrs. Stuyvesant,
Mrs. Kip, seven; David Provoost, three, take more pride in the prosperity of &c."--Stone's “History of New York," p. 90.
latter, life flowed on from one genera- the very finest materials, toast and bread tion to another in the same even way. and butter in great perfection. After They lived on their broad lands, and breakfast a plate of beautiful peaches, when they died, the eldest son inherit- another of pears, and a muskmelon, ed the family residence, while the oth- were placed on the table.” ers were portioned off with farms be- It is evident, however, from his Jourlonging to the estate, but which it could nal, that he saw little of the best famiwell spare. On their carriages and their lies. He was not in a situation to be silver were their arms, which they had fêted by them, for they had no sympabrought with them from Europe, by thy with the object of his journey. His which every one knew them, which were principal entertainers were two lawyers used as matters of course, and were dis- -Scott and Smith-who had grown tinctions no one ventured to assume, wealthy by their profession. Among unless entitled to them. Sometimes all he mentions as extending civilities these were carved in stone and placed to him, the only persons belonging to over their doors. This was the case the aristocracy of the city were some with the Walton House, which we be- members of the Livingston family, who, licve is still standing in Franklin Square even then, were putting themselves for(Pearl-street); and, as we have already ward as leaders in the coming movementioned, with the Kip's Bay House. ment. The windows of the first Dutch church The Revolution broke up and swept built in New York were filled with the away this social system. It ruined and arms of the families at whose expense drove off half the gentry of the provit was erected.
ince. The social history, indeed, of In 1774, John Adams, on his way to that event has never been written, and attend the first Congress, stopped in never will be. The conquerors wrote New York. The honest Bostonian was the story, and they were mostly “new very much struck with “the opulence men,” who had as much love for those and splendor of the city,” and “the they dispossessed as the Puritans had elegance of their mode of living," and, for the Cavaliers of England, whom, in his Journal, freely records his admi- for a time, they displaced. In a pasration. He speaks of “the elegant sage we have quoted from Sargent's country-seats on the island;" the Broad “Life of André," the author says: Way, a fine street, very wide, and in a Most of the landed gentry of New right line from one end to the other of York espoused the royal cause." And the city;” “the magnificent new church it was natural that it should be so, for then building, which was to cost £20, most of them had for generations held 000;" the Bowling Green, which he office under the Crown. Their habits describes as “the beautiful ellipse of of life, too, had trained them to tastes land, railed in with solid iron, in the which had no sympathy with the level. centre of which is a statue of His Ma ling doctrines inaugurated by the new jesty on horseback, very large, of solid movement. They accordingly rallied lead, gilded with gold, on a pedestal around the king's standard ; and, when of marble, very high.” He records that it went down, they went down with it, “the streets of the town are vastly more and, in many cases, their names were regular and elegant than those of Bos- blotted out of the land. ton, and the houses are more grand, as We once read, in an old number of well as neat.”
Blackwood's Magazine, some discussion The most amusing display is when he about the impolitic course pursued by is invited to one of these country-seats, England towards her colonies. The “ near Hudson's River." He writes : remarks about the manner in which she “A more elegant breakfast I never saw; lost her American colonies were pecurich plate, a very large silver coffee-pot, liarly judicious. The writer says the a very large silver tea-pot, napkins of Government should have formed an
aristocracy in America, by giving titles, Hugh Wallace, a member of the Counand thus gathering the great landed cil, to Sir William Johnson, "prevails proprietors about the throne by new in the House greatly, and they have ties. These extensive landholders, pre- given the Livingstons' interest proof of vious to the Revolution, were as able to it, by dismissing P. Livingston the keep up the dignity of a title as were House, as a non-resident.” It was an the English nobility of that day; and old feud, therefore, which, at the Revothe effect which would have been pro- lution, induced them to take different duced, in the strengthening of their sides. loyalty, is obvious. Had the head of To the popular side, also, went the the Livingston family been created Earl Jays, the Laurences, a portion of the of Clermont, and that of the Laurences Van Courtlandts, who were divided, a been made Lord Newtown, would they part of the Morris family, which was have taken the side of the Revolution- also divided (while Lewis Morris was istsWe trow not. Instead of this, one of the signers of the Declaration these powerful landed families were of Independence, his brother, Staats neglected, until some of them became Morris, was a General in the British embittered against the Government. No army, and married the Dowager Duchtitle, as a mark of royal favor, was giv- ess of Gordon), the Beekmans, and some en to a single American, except a baro- few others. The “Patroon ”—Mr. Van netcy to Sir William Johnson.
Rensselaer – was fortunately a minor, of the few landed families who took and therefore, not being obliged to take the popular, side, perhaps the Living- either side, saved his manor. Many of stons and Schuylers occupied the lead- the prominent leaders were from new ing position. The former had not been families, made by the Revolution. An in favor with the Government, but were upturning of this kind is the time the political antagonists of the De Lan- for new men. Peculiar circumstances ceys, by whom they were excluded from brought some forward who otherwise office. They therefore welcomed the would have had no avenue for action new order of things.
opened before them. Alexander Hamil. Religion, in those days, had a good ton, for example, had just arrived in deal to do with the state of parties. New York, a young man from the West As far back as 1745, the De Lanceys Indies, when the popular outbreak gave were the leaders of the Church of Eng- him, at a public meeting, an opportuland party, and the Livingstons of the nity of exhibiting his peculiar talents. Dissenters. Religious bitterness was The history of a single family will added, therefore, to that which was show the course of events. Probably political. “In 1769” (says Stone, in his the most powerful family in the State, “ Life of Sir William Johnson ”), “the before the Revolution, was that of the contest was between the Church-party De Lanceys. Descended from the ancien and the Dissenters, the former being noblesse of France, and holding large led by the De Lanceys and the latter possessions, they had exerted a greater by the Livingstons. The Church, hav- influence in the colony than any other ing the support of the mercantile and family. James De Lancey administered masonic interests, was triumphant; and the government of the colony for many John Cruger, James De Lancey, Jacob years, till his death, in 1760. Most of Walton, and James Jauncey, were elect- the younger members of the family ed by the city.” During the election a were in the British army, previous to song was published in the German lan- the Revolution. When that convulsion guage, which became very popular with took place, they, of course, remained the Germans, the chorus of which was : loyal, and became leaders on that side. “ Maester Cruger, De Lancey,
Oliver De Lancey was a Brigadier-GeneMaester Waltou and Jauncey."
ral, and organized the celebrated corps “The De Lancey interest,” wrote styled “De Lancey's Battalion." His
Gne mansion at Bloomingdale was burn- father. He advertised in the New York ud, in consequence of his adherence to
papers, requesting an interview with the royal cause. They forfeited their his unknown correspondent, but there broad lands, and their names appeared was no response, and he heard no more no more in the future history of the from him. State. Some fled to England, where Some branches of this family remainthey held high offices, and their tombs ed in New York, and we cannot point are now to be seen in the choir of Bey- to a more striking evidence of the erley Cathedral. Sir William De Lan change wrought by the Revolution than cey died at Waterloo, on the staff of the the fact that, since that event, the name Duke of Wellington. Just two months of De Lancey, once so prominent, is previous, he had been married to a never found in the records of the Govdaughter of Sir Benjamin Hall; and ernment. It is in the Church only that his friend, Sir Walter Scott, thus al- it has acquired eminence, in the person ludes to him in his ode, “ The Field of of the former distinguished Bishop of Waterloo":
Western New York.
This is the kind of story which might De Lancoy changed Love's bridal wreath For laurels from the hand of death.
be told of many other loyalist families.
Ruined by confiscations, they faded out The son of General De Lancey, Oliver of sight, and, being excluded from poDe Lancey, Jr., who succeeded André litical office, they were forgotten, and as Adjutant-General of the British army their very names would sound strange in America, rose through the grade of in the ears of the present generation of Lieutenant-General to that of General, New Yorkers. Many years ago, in the and died, at the beginning of this cen- old country-house of a relative, the tury, nearly at the head of the English writer amused some days of a summer army-list.
vacation by bringing down from the In 1847 the late Bishop of Western dust of a garret, where they had reNew York (William Ileathcote De Lan- posed for two generations, the letters cey) told the writer a curious story of of one of these refugees, who, at the behis recovery of some of their old family ginning of the Revolution, was obliged papers. In the Spring of that year, be- to seek safety on board a British shiping in New York, a package was hand- of-war off New York harbor (from ed to the servant at the door by an old whence he writes his farewell, comgentleman, on opening which the Bish- mending his wife and children to the op found an anonymous letter directed care of the family), and then made his to him. The writer stated that, being home in England, until, as he hoped, in England between thirty and forty " these calamities be overpast.” It was years before, he found some papers re- sad to read his speculations, as night lating to the De Lancey family among after night he attended the debates in some waste paper in the house where he Parliament and watched the progress was staying; that he had preserved of the war, and, to the last, confidently them, and, seeing by the newspapers trusted in the success of the royal arms, that the Bishop was in the city, he now which alone could replace him in the enclosed them to him. These the Bish- position from which he had been driven op found to be : 1st, the commission of into exile. When these hopes were ulJames De Lancey as Lieutenant-Gov- timately crushed, a high appointment ernor of the colony; 2d, his commis- was offered him by Government, but he sion as Chief-Justice of the colony; 3d, preferred to return to his own land to the freedom of the city of New York, share the straitened circumstances of voted to one of the family in 1730 ; 4th, his family, and be buried with his fatha map of the lands owned by them in West Chester county and on New York The withdrawal of so many of the island, prepared by the Bishop's grand- gentry from the country, and the world.