OBSERVED IN HONOR OF THE COMPLETION
GRAND ERIE CANAL
UNITING THE WATERS OF THE GREAT WESTERN LAKES WITH THE ATLANTIC
BEGUN AT BUFFALO, ON THE TWENTY-SIXTH OF OCTOBER, A.D. EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIVE,
AND ENDED IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK, ON THE FOURTH DAY OF NOVEMBER, FOLLOWING.
AT THE REQUEST OF THE COMMITTEE OF THE CORPORATION OF THE CITY OF
BY WILLIAM L. STONE.
"Ye shades of ancient heroes! Ye who toiled
"Through long successive ages to build up
"A laboring plan of state; behold at once.
"The wonder done!
In collecting and arranging for publication, in order to secure, as far as possible, from the ravages of time, or the hazard of accident, the various official documents connected with a celebration, unrivalled, it is believed, both in extent and splendour, it seems befitting that a separate Memoir should be drawn up, which shall combine, in one succinct view, all the leading particulars from the commencement to the conclusion. But to perform this duty with a due regard to accuracy of detail, combining, moreover, a sufficient quantum of descriptive matter to render it interesting, without swelling the Narrative to a much greater length than could be wished, is a task difficult, if not impossible.
It is thought, however, that even prolixity may be pardoned, when we consider the magnitude of the work, and the joy and enthusiasm spontaneously manifested by that people by whose resources and energies it has been accomplished -- the people of a SINGLE STATE, in the fiftieth year of its independence, unaided and alone, without foreign revenue, or the imposition of oppressive exactions by the Government. Nor was this joy ill-timed or excessive. For a single State to achieve such a victory -- not only over the doubts and fears of the wary, but over the obstacles of nature -- causing miles of massive rocks at the mountain ridge to yield to its power -- "turning the tide of error as well as that of the Tonnewanta -- piling up the waters of the mighty Niagara, as well as those of the beautiful Hudson -- in short, causing a navigable river to flow with gentle current down the steepy mount at Lockport -- to leap the River of Genesee -- to encircle the brow of Irondequot as with the laurel's wreath -- to march through the rich fields of Palmyra and Lyons -- to wend its way through the quicksands of the morass at the Cayuga -- to pass unheeded the delicious LICKS at Onondaga -- to smile through Oneida's verdant landscape -- to hang upon the arm of the ancient Mohawk, and with her, after gaily stepping down the cadence of the Little Falls and the Cahoes, to rush to the embrace of the sparkling Hudson," -- and all in the space of eight short years, was a work of which the oldest and richest nations of Christendom might well be proud.
Intelligence having been received by the Corporation of New York, from the acting Canal Commissioners, that the gigantic work would be completed and prepared for navigation on the twenty-sixth of October, measures were immediately taken by that body, in connexion with the principal cities and villages along its extended line, for the celebration of the event, in a manner corresponding with its magnitude and importance; and in order that our fellow-citizens at the West might be duly apprised of the feelings of the metropolis on the occasion, a Committee, consisting of Alderman King and Alderman Davis, was dispatched to Buffalo, to tender the hospitalities of our City to the several Committees which might be appointed on the route, to participate in the festivities of the occasion. But to guard against the disappointment that might arise from any unforeseen accident, which might have retarded the work beyond the specified time, arrangements were made for the firing of a grand salute, to be commenced at Buffalo, at a given hour, and continued to New York, by guns stationed at suitable points along the whole intermediate distance. The Committee arrived safely at Buffalo, where they were received with a cordial welcome, and found the Canal completed, and every thing prepared for the commencement of the celebration.
Early on the morning of the twenty-sixth of October, the appointed day, the village thronged with the yeomanry of the country, who, alive to the subject, had assembled in vast numbers to witness the attendant ceremonies of the departure of the first boat. At about nine o'clock the public procession was formed in front of the Court House, in which the various societies of mechanics appeared, with appropriate badges and banners to distinguish each; the whole preceded by the Buffalo band, and Capt. Rathburn's Company of Riflemen, and followed by the Committees, strangers, &c. Thus formed, the procession moved through the street to the head of the Canal, where the boat, Seneca Chief, elegantly fitted, was in waiting. Here the Governor and Lieut. Governor of the State, the New York Delegation, with the various Committees from different villages, including that of Buffalo, were received on board, and after mutual introductions in the open air, Jesse Hawley, Esq. delivered an Address, brief, and peculiarly appropriate, in behalf of the citizens of Rochester. He was deputed "to mingle and reciprocate their mutual congratulations with the citizens of Buffalo on this grand epoch." The Canal, as a matter of State pride, was spoken of with much felicity -- "A work that will constitute the lever of industry, population, and wealth to our Republic -- a pattern for our Sister States to imitate -- an exhibition of the moral force of a free and enlightened people to the world." Mr. H., at the conclusion of his Address, paid a tribute to "the projectors who devised, the statesmen who assumed the responsibility of the undertaking, at the hazard of their reputation, the legislators who granted the supplies, the commissioners who planned, the engineers who laid out, and the men who have executed this magnificent work; -- their memories are commended to posterity. To this Address a suitable reply was made by Oliver Forward, Esq. in behalf of the citizens of Buffalo.
Every thing being prepared, the signal was given, and the discharge of a thirty-two pounder from the brow of the terrace announced that all was in readiness, and the boats under way! The Seneca Chief, of Buffalo, led off in fine style, drawn by four grey horses, fancifully caparisoned, and was followed by the Superior, next to which came the Commodore Perry, a freight boat; and the rear was brought up by the Buffalo, of Erie. The whole moved from the dock under a discharge of small arms from the Rifle Company, with music from the band, and the loud and reiterated cheers from the throng on the shore, which were returned by the companies on board the various boats. The salute of artillery was continued along from gun to gun, in rapid succession, agreeably to previous arrangements; and, in the short space of one hour and twenty minutes, the joyful intelligence was proclaimed to our citizens.
The news having been communicated in the same manner to Sandy Hook, and notice of its reception returned to the city, the return salute was commenced at Fort La Fayette, by a national salute, at twenty-two minutes past eleven o'clock. After the national salute from that fortress, at thirty minutes past eleven o'clock, a repeating gun was fired from Fort Richmond, and followed at Governor's Island and the Battery, at thirty-one minutes past eleven o'clock, A.M.; and the sounds of our rejoicing were then sent roaring and echoing along the mountains and among the Highlands, back to Buffalo, where the answer was received in about the same time occupied by the sound in travelling to the Ocean. Meantime, at Buffalo, the festivities proceeded. The boats having departed, the procession returned to the Court House, where a finished Address was delivered by Sheldon Smith, Esq., after which an original Ode, written for the occasion, was sung to the tune of "Hail Columbia." A public dinner succeeded; and the festivities of the day were closed by a splendid Ball, at the Eagle Tavern, where beauty, vieing conspicuously with elegance and wit, contributed to the enlivening enjoyment of the scene.
The Seneca Chief was superbly fitted up for the occasion, and among other decorations her cabin was adorned with two paintings, of which the following is a description. -- One was a view of Buffalo Harbour, a section of Lake Erie, Buffalo Creek, and its junction with the Canal, &c.; the whole representing the scene exhibited at the moment of the departure of the Seneca Chief. The other was a classic emblematical production of the pencil. This piece, on the extreme left, exhibited a figure of Hercules in a sitting posture, leaning upon his favourite club, and resting from the severe labor just completed. The centre shows a section of the Canal, with a lock, and in the foreground is a full length figure of Gov. Clinton, in Roman costume; he is supposed to have just flung open the lock-gate, and with the right hand extended, (the arm being bare,) seems in the act of inviting Neptune, who appears upon the water, to pass through and take possession of the watery regions which the Canal has attached to his former dominions; the God of the Sea is upon the right of the piece, and stands erect in his chariot of shell, which is drawn by sea-horses, holding his trident, and is in the act of recoiling with his body, as if confounded by the fact disclosed at the opening of the lock; Naiades are sporting around the sea-horses in the water, who, as well as the horses themselves, seem hesitating, as if half afraid they were about to invade forbidden regions, not their own. The artist is a Mr. Catlin, miniature-portrait painter. Besides the paintings, the boat carried two elegant kegs, each with an eagle upon it, above and below which were the words -- "Water of Lake Erie." These were filled from the Lake, for the purpose of being mingled with the Ocean on their arrival in New York. The Committee deputed by the citizens of Buffalo, and attached to this boat, was composed of the following gentlemen, viz. -- Hon. Judge Wilkinson, Captain Joy, Colonel Potter, Major Burt, Colonel Dox, and Doctor Stagg.
In addition to the boats above enumerated, was another, which, with its cargo, was more novel than the whole. This was "Noah's Ark," literally stored with birds, beasts, and "creeping things." She was a small boat, fitted for the occasion, and had on board, a bear, two eagles, two fawns, with a variety of other animals, and birds, together with several fish -- not forgetting two Indian boys, in the dress of their nation -- all products of the West.
At BLACK ROCK the Celebration was commenced previously to the arrival of the Seneca Chief. Early in the morning a very handsomely fitted boat, called Niagara, of Black Rock, started down the Canal, with several respectable citizens and some distinguished guests on board. [From the mouth of Buffalo Creek, the Canal runs close along the Lake shore to Black Rock, and thence along the Bank of Niagara River to the mouth of Tonnewanta Creek, ten miles from Buffalo, with a descent of a half inch in each mile; at the mouth of this Creek is a dam of four feet six inches, and the Canal enters the pond formed by this dam: -- this Creek had a descent of only one foot in twelve miles, and the Canal follows the Creek, or rather the Creek forms the canal these twelve miles, having a tow-path formed along its bank; at the end of this distance, leaving the Creek, a deep cut commences, which extends seven and a half miles, in a North Easterly direction, across what is called the Mountain Ridge, with about three miles of rock, averaging twenty feet in depth, and a descent of a half inch in each mile, to the brow of the mountain.]
This boat remained at Lockport until the Seneca Chief arrived, when it fell into the rear. The Seneca Chief, with the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, and the several Committees on board, arrived at a little after ten o'clock, when a salute was fired; the boat remained a few minutes, and when she departed, hearty cheers were exchanged. In the afternoon, a number of gentlemen sat down to an excellent dinner, at which Wm. A. Bird, Esq. presided. A number of good toasts were drunk, and every thing was conducted in a manner creditable to the enterprising citizens.
AT LOCKPORT -- "the spot where the waters were to meet when the last blow was struck, and where the utility of an immense chain of locks was for the first time to be tested," the Celebration was in all respects such as to do honor to the work itself, and the patriotic feelings of the people. It is here that nature had interposed her strongest barrier to the enterprise and the strength of man. But the massive granite of the "Mountain Ridge" was compelled to yield. The rocks have crumbled to pieces and been swept away, and the waters of Erie flow tranquilly in their place.
At sunrise, on the morning of the twenty-sixth, a salute was fired from the mountain adjoining the locks, and ere long the place was crowded with the citizens of the surrounding country; many individuals, too, from distant parts of this state, and from other states, attended the celebration at this interesting place. At nine o'clock, A.M. a procession was formed, under the direction of General P. Whiting, assisted by Colonel S. Barton, and Major M.H. Tucker, which marched to the grand natural basin at the foot of the locks, where the President and Vice-President of the day, the Canal Commissioners and Engineers, the Visiting Committee, and several distinguished citizens from abroad, embarked on board the packet-boat William C. Bouck; at the same time two hundred ladies were received on board the boat Albany; the rest of the procession embarked in the several boats lying in the Basin. This Basin, connected with the stupendous succession of locks, and the chasm which has been cut through the mountain, is one of the most interesting places on the route, if not in the World, and presents one of the most striking evidences of human power and enterprise which has hitherto been witnessed. A double set of locks, whose workmanship will vie with the most splendid monuments of antiquity, rise majestically, one after the other, to the height of sixty-three feet: the surplus water is conducted around them, and furnishes some of the finest mill-seats imaginable. A marble tablet modestly tells the story of their origin; and, without that vanity, which, though frequently laudable, is often carried to excess, imputes their existence to our Republican institutions.
When the grand salute from Buffalo East, had passed, the boats commenced ascending through the locks; and during their ascension they were greeted by a continued discharge of artillery, and the cheers of hundreds of joyous citizens. When the boats had ascended, the Throne of Grace was addressed by the Reverend Mr. Winchell; after which an appropriate Address, "such a one as the great event demanded," was delivered by J. Birdsall, Esq. After the Address the boat started for Tonnewanta Creek. The cannon used on the occasion were those with which Perry conquered upon Erie -- the gunner was a Lieutenant who had belonged to the army of Napoleon -- and the leader of the band was the cabin-boy of Captain Riley, who suffered with him in his Arabian captivity. During the passage the company were introduced to the venerable ENOS BOUGHTON, of Lockport, the pioneer of the Western District -- the man who planted the first orchard and built the first framed barn West of Utica! The procession of boats halted at Pendleton, where it was joined by the boat from Buffalo, having on board the Governor, Lieut. Governor, and the Committees from New York, Albany, and Buffalo, and several other boats. The company then returned to Lockport, where they were received by a discharge of artillery. A well provided table was spread at the Washington House, to which the guests and citizens repaired. -- D. Washburn, Esq., presided, assisted by Messrs. E. Boughton, H.W. Campbell, A. Lexton, and B. Barton, as Vice-Presidents.
Night set in before the expedition left the rugged scenery of Lockport; but continuing on their way the boats were welcomed at HOLLEY, on the morning of the twenty-seventh, by the firing of cannon, and other testimonials of joy. After an Address, the Committee received the congratulations of a number of ladies and gentlemen. At nine o'clock they reached BROCKPORT, where similar ceremonies were observed. The bank of the Canal was for some distance lined with spectators, who received the Committees with the most enthusiastic huzzas, and the discharge of cannon.
At NEWPORT, (Orleans County,) the inhabitants rejoiced in the jubilee on the twenty-sixth ultimo, and expressed their feelings on the occasion by the usual demonstrations. A procession was formed at Sickels' Hotel, under the direction of Mr. W. Hopkins, Marshal of the day, which moved to the school-house, where a large and respectable audience were highly interested with a pertinent and excellent address by G.W. Fleming, Esq. The procession was again formed, and returned to the Hotel, where a goodly number of gentlemen partook of a superb dinner. After the cloth was removed several patriotic toasts were drunk, accompanied with the discharge of artillery. But the patriotism of the citizens was not exhausted on this occasion; and, on the following day, the procession of boats was received with a hearty welcome.
At ROCHESTER, too, a rich and beautiful town, which, disdaining, as it were, the intermediate grade of a village, has sprung from a hamlet to the full grown size, wealth, and importance of a city, the interesting period was celebrated in a manner equally creditable to the country and occasion. There was considerable rain at Rochester on the day of the Celebration; yet such was the enthusiasm of the people, that a two o'clock, eight handsome uniform companies were in arms, and an immense concourse of people had assembled. The companies were formed in line upon the Canal, and on the approach of the procession of boats from the West, commenced firing a feu de joie, which was continued until they arrived at the aqueduct, [After descending the Locks before mentioned, at Lockport, the Canal takes an Easterly direction, about one to three miles South of the Alluvial Way, or Ridge Road, with the descent of a half inch in each mile to the Genesee River, at Rochester -- sixty-three miles; in this distance it passes over several aqueducts and deep ravines, and arriving at the Genesee, crosses over that river in a stone Aqueduct of nine arches, each of fifty feet span, and two other arches and aqueducts of forty feet each, one on each side of the river, over the Mill Canals.] where the boat called the "Young Lion of the West," was stationed to "protect the entrance." The Pioneer boat on approaching was hailed from the Young Lion, and the following dialogue ensued:--
Question. -- Who comes there?
Answer. -- Your Brothers from the West, on the waters of the great Lakes.
Q. -- By what means have they been diverted so far from their natural course?
A. -- By the channel of the Grand Erie Canal.
Q. -- By whose authority, and by whom, was a work of such magnitude accomplished?
A. -- By the authority and by the enterprise of the patriotic People of the State of New York.
Here the "Young Lion" gave way, and "the brethren from the West" were permitted to enter the spacious basin, at the end of the aqueduct. The Rochester and Canandaigua Committees of Congratulation then took their places under an arch surmounted by an eagle, and the Seneca Chief, having the Committees on board, being moored, General Matthews, and the Honorable John C. Spencer, ascended the deck and offered to the Governor the congratulations of the citizens of their respective villages, to which an animated and cordial reply was given. The gentlemen from the West then disembarked, and a procession was formed, which repaired to the Presbyterian Church, where an appropriate prayer was made by the REV. MR. PENNY, and an address pronounced by TIMOTHY CHILDS, Esq. The address of Mr. Childs was an able and eloquent performance, clothed with "words that breathe, and thoughts that burn." It was listened to with almost breathless silence, and greeted at its close with three rounds of animated applause. After the address, the company repaired to Christopher's Mansion House, partook of a good dinner, and drunk a set of excellent toasts. General MATTHEWS presided, assisted by JESSE HAWLEY and JONATHAN CHILDS, Esqrs. At half-past seven, the time fixed for the departure of the guests, the company reluctantly rose from a board where the most generous sentiments were given and received with unequalled enthusiasm, and the Governor and the several Committees were escorted to the Basin, and embarked amidst the congratulations of their fellow-citizens. The celebration was concluded with a grand ball, and a general illumination; and nothing occurred to mar the pleasure of the day. The following gentlemen embarked in the "Young Lion of the West," as a Committee for New-York, viz. -- Elisha B. Strong, Levi Ward, O.V.T. Leavett, Wm. B. Rochester, --- Hulbert, A. Reynolds, A. Strong, R. Beach, E. Johnson, and E.S. Beach, Esquires.
PALMYRA. -- The expedition arrived at Palmyra, on Friday, the twenty-eighth. [After passing the Genesee at Rochester, turning a little to the South, the Canal receives a navigable Feeder, or branch Canal, from the river above the Rapids and the Falls, two miles in length, and turns Eastward, two miles, to a Lock of seven feet four inches descent: thence level a quarter of a mile, to a Lock of seven feet four inches descent: thence level a quarter of a mile, to a Lock of seven feet four inches descent: thence level a half a mile, to a Lock of seven feet four inches descent: thence level eight and a half miles, to a Lock of eight feet descent, passing by Pittsford: thence level one mile, over the high embankment at Irondequot, and passing on the same level fourteen miles, to a Lock of ten feet descent in the west part of Palmyra: thence level three-quarters of a mile to a Lock descent of ten feet: thence level twelve miles, passing an Aqueduct over Mud Creek, above the village of Palmyra, and passing the village, to three Locks of eight feet descent each. The "navigable feeder" noticed above, enables boats from the Canal to ascend the Genesee River from seventy to ninety miles above Rochester.] In Macedon, about two miles west of this village, an arch had been erected over the Canal, the night previously, by Judge Hallett, who has exchanged his pleasant retreat on the borders of the Ontario, for a more conspicuous seat on the line of the Erie Canal. On one side of the arch was written, "Clinton and the Canal," and on the other side, "Internal Improvements." They were addressed, in behalf of the citizens of the village, by Judge Hallett, to whom his Excellency made an appropriate reply. The procession then preceeded to the Hotel, and partook of an excellent breakfast, which had been prepared by Mr. St. John. They departed thence at nine o'clock, A.M., reaching Newark at eleven, A.M. Here they received the greetings of the surrounding country.
LYONS. -- This is a delightful village, and the shire town of the county of Wayne. The expedition approached its confines at about two o'clock, P.M., and was received under a discharge of artillery. [From the Locks, after passing Palmyra, the Canal runs level six miles to Mud Creek, above the village of Lyons, to a Lock of ten feet descent, and a large stone Aqueduct of three arches, of thirty feet span each, over the Creek. Thence level four and a half miles, to the village of Lyons, and a Lock of six feet.] A procession was formed, which repaired to the principal hotel, where congratulatory addresses were reciprocated, and a dinner provided. At this place an address was made to the committee by a deputation, consisting of thirty individuals, from the village of Geneva. They departed from Lyons at four o'clock, P.M., being saluted with cannon, and cheered by huzzas.
At CLYDE, (formerly called the "Block House," [Leaving Lyons, [original text has "Palmyra"] the Canal runs level four and a half miles to a Lock of seven feet descent: thence level four miles to the village of Clyde, and a Lock of five feet descent.]) near the Western verge of the Cayuga Marshes, refreshments were provided, and a mutual interchange of rejoicings took place. Proceeding onwards the procession entered MONTEZUMA [From Clyde to this place, the Canal runs level five miles, to the Western edge of the great Cayuga Marshes, and a Lock of nine feet descent, to the level of the water of Seneca River: thence level through the Canal as formed in the Marshes, and through the water of the River, six and a half miles to Montezuma, on the East side of the Seneca River, and a Lock of seven feet ascent, the first from Lake Erie.] at half-past ten o'clock, P.M. The town was handsomely illuminated, and a display of fire works was given on their approach. Over the lock was a very pretty illuminated arch, having, on one side, the inscription, "De Witt Clinton and Internal Improvements." On the reverse, "Union of the East and the West." At midnight they reached BUCKVILLE, and found the place brilliantly illuminated.
At PORT BYRON, the dawn of the twenty-sixth was ushered in by the firing of cannon. A few minutes past ten, the cannon at Clyde and Montezuma announced the completion of the Canal; -- the intelligence was sent on by the cannon at Port Byron, and in one hour and thirty-three minutes, the sound was returned from New York. A procession was formed at one o'clock, which proceeded to the dry dock. On their return, the citizens sat down to a dinner, served up in fine style. Among the articles which graced the table, was a fat ox, roasted whole. R. Watson, Esq., presided, assisted by C. Reed and H. Rathbone, Esqrs. The Reverend Mr. Gibbs officiated as Chaplain. On the removal of the cloth the company was briefly and appropriately addressed by C. Reed, Esq., after which many excellent toasts were given. Preparations were also continued for giving a proper reception to the pioneer boats, and conferring due honors upon their passengers. The ladies, always patriotic, were among the foremost in their exertions on the occasion. As the arrival was necessarily in the evening, a ball room was handsomely decorated, and from thirty to forty ladies, arrayed in their sweetest smiles and most beautiful attire, awaited the happy moment when they could "trip the light fantastic toe," with the expected strangers. The bridge was superbly decorated. An arch was sprung its whole length, surmounted with evergreens, and gracefully festooned with the twining ivy, and intertwined with flowers of beautiful and various dies. A large, and well executed transparency exhibited the following inscription:-- "July 4, 1817" -- "Congratulations of the Village of Port Byron, October 29, 1825." The boats from the West were welcomed at the bridge with vollies of musketry, and a handsome display of fire works. When they departed, an illuminated balloon was sent up, which rose majestically, and took an easterly direction, along the line of the Canal. A beacon was constantly blazing on the high hill south of the village, and the principal buildings were handsomely illuminated.
At WEEDSPORT, the company from the West were also greeted by a splendid illumination, and the firing of artillery. The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and the several Committees were escorted to Hanford's, where they partook of refreshments, and received the congratulations of the citizens of Auburn and Weedsport, through the Committees of those places, to which the Governor replied, and expressed the high satisfaction which his friends and himself experienced at their reception. At this place arrangements had been made for the celebration; but it did not take place, in consequence of an unfortunate accident, by which two valuable young men lost their lives. Shortly after the landing of the gentlemen from the West, a twenty-four pounder was accidently discharged, and Mr. Remington and Mr. Whitman, who were acting as gunners, were instantly killed.
SYRACUSE. -- The floating procession reached this place at two o'clock, P.M., of the twenty-ninth. [From Port Byron, the canal runs level one and a half miles and a Lock of nine feet ascent; thence level four miles to Buckville, and a Lock of nine feet ascent, with an Aqueduct over Owasco Creek, of four arches, twenty feet each; thence level to Jordan, a Lock of eleven feet ascent, and a stone Aqueduct of three arches over Skaneateles outlet: thence level twelve miles to a Lock of eleven feet descent, and a stone Aqueduct of two arches, thirty feet each, over Otisco Creek: thence level seven miles, passing by Geddesville, to a Lock of six feet descent: thence level, passing by Syracuse, and over Onondaga Creek, by a stone Aqueduct of four arches, thirty feet span each, one and a quarter mile to a Lock of six feet ascent. At this place (Syracuse) there is a lateral canal, or side cut, of one mile and a half, leading down to the old village of Salina. There are capacious Basins at each end. This Canal is to be connected with Oneida Lake, and thence through the Oswego Canal with Lake Ontario.] A very large concourse of citizens had assembled to greet their arrival. The Honorable JOSHUA FORMAN, in behalf of the Syracuse Committee, addressed, in highly appropriate terms, the distinguished guests on board. He was replied to by Governor Clinton, in his usual felicitous style. The guests were then escorted to Williston's Mansion House, where a large number partook of an excellent dinner, and drunk many good toasts. Immediately after dinner the guests were escorted to the boat, which proceeded on her voyage, under the discharge of cannon. Judge Forman here joined the Committees as a representative of the village of Syracuse to New York.
MANLIUS. -- The citizens of Manlius and its vicinity, celebrated the event in a praise-worthy manner. At an early hour, a fine battalion of artillery assembled at Fayetteville, under the command of Colonel Thos. Moseley, and marched to Manlius, where at twelve o'clock, salutes were fired, &c. The citizens in procession, preceded by the artillery, then marched to the house of D.B. Bickford, where they fared sumptuously. The company, in the mean time, were addressed in handsome terms, by N.P. RANDALL, Esq. Silvanus Tonsley, Esq., presided, assisted by W.P. Haunton, Esq. Nothing occurred to cloud in the least the festivities of the day. [Five miles North West of Manlius, on the Seneca turnpike, is the village of Orville, which has the benefit of a side cut from the Canal. At the village of Chitteningo, also, in the town of Sullivan, there is a lateral Canal of a mile and a half, with four locks of six feet each, opening a water communication to the quarries of gypsum and water-lime.]
ROME. -- The proceedings at this place on the twenty-sixth, were of a singular character, partaking of joy and sorrow, of chagrin and satisfaction. It will be remembered that the inhabitants of Rome contended for the location of the Canal through their village, instead of the route finally determined on, not so much as a matter of justice to them, as one of expediency and economy. Their hopes were frustrated, and they have never ceased to feel that they have been dealt by unjustly; and to manifest these feelings, they commenced their celebration by forming a procession in front of the hotel, at eleven o'clock, A.M.; uniform companies of citizen-soldiers preceded -- immediately after them followed a black barrel (filled with water from the old canal, which passes through Rome,) supported by four men -- the citizens followed; and in this order, with muffled drums, they marched to the new Canal, into which they poured the contents of the black barrel. They then, in quick time, returned to Starr's hotel, where they put aside their ill humor, and joined with heart and hand in celebrating the event which had on that day congregated thousands of their fellow citizens. An excellent dinner was provided, at which Dr. A. Blair presided, assisted by S.B. Roberts, Esq. as Vice-President. Many toasts were given, indicating that the people of Rome, however much they have been disappointed, are not behind any of their fellow-citizens, in appreciating the value of the Canal as a state and national work, and in giving honor "to whom honor is due." On Sunday the thirtieth, the boats from Lake Erie reached Rome, when the citizens visited the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and the gentlemen on board, reciprocated the usual courtesies, and after a visit of an hour, the boats departed.
At UTICA, the boats arrived a half-past twelve o'clock on Sunday the thirtieth. [At the distance of one mile from Syracuse, (the place of our last note but one), the Canal ascends two Locks of ten feet each. Here commences the long level of sixty-seven and a half miles, passing through the towns of Salina, in which it commences, Manlius, Sullivan, Lenox, Verona, Rome, &c. to Frankfort in Herkimer County, where it terminates, near Myers' Creek, by a Lock of eight feet descent; on this long level, it passes over the Butternut, Limestone, Chitteningo, Canasaraga, Oneida, Wood, Oriskany, and Sadaquada Creeks, by Aqueducts of various extent, having, in its course, crossed Madison and Oneida Counties, a part of Onondaga, and entered the County of Herkimer.] The Committees and high officers in company, were received by a deputation from the village corporation, and conducted to church in the afternoon. At eight o'clock on Monday morning, a procession, the most numerous ever known in Utica, including several well-uniformed and disciplined corps of troops, moved from Mr. Shepherd's Hotel to the Academy, under the orders of Col. Smith, where a congratulatory address was delivered by Judge Bacon, in behalf of the citizens of Utica, to which his Excellency Governor Clinton replied. Of the manner in which they were delivered, it was observed that Judge Bacon, who always does such things well, was never more happy. Governor Clinton was sensibly affected, and delivered his reply with much feeling. The address expressed in a forcible and eloquent manner the congratulations of the citizens of Utica, and paid appropriate and merited compliments to all those who had planned, or assisted in the execution of the stupendous work. The reply of the Governor contained a well turned and well merited eulogium on the Honorable Judge Platt, who, by his exertions in the Senate, and in the Council of Revision, afforded powerful and efficient aid to the cause of the Canals; and to whom, also, we were first indebted for the favorite and popular expression of "The Young Lion of the West." Judge Platt and Doctor Alexander Coventry here joined the Committees as delegates from Utica, to represent them during the remainder of the fete.
LITTLE FALLS. -- From Utica to the Little Falls, [From the last mentioned Lock in Frankfort, the Canal runs level one mile to a Lock of eight feet descent: thence level half a mile to a Lock of eight feet descent: thence level two miles and a half to a Lock of eight feet descent, after passing an Aqueduct of two hundred feet in length: thence level a quarter of a mile, to a Lock of eight feet descent: thence level one mile and a half, to a Lock of nine feet descent, into a part of the old Canal, running through a portion of the German Flatts: thence following that Canal one-third of a mile, leaving it and continuing three miles, to a lock of eight feet descent: thence level three miles, to the head of the Little Falls, whence are five Locks, each of eight feet descent, in the distance of one mile.] a distance of twenty-three miles, the country is rich and populous; but there are no villages at which any combined or formal manifestations of respect for the passing strangers, or joy for the completion of the great work, could be exhibited. Hundreds of the yeomanry, however, flocked to the banks of the Canal; and where groups were collected did not fail to send forth the cordial and loud huzza. Next to the Mountain Ridge, before described, the construction of the Canal at the Little Falls, was the most formidable labor executed. During some mighty convulsion of nature, the waters of the West, at a former period, evidently tore for themselves a passage through what previously had been a barrier of mountain granite. The hills rise on either side to a height of near five hundred feet, and at one point the cragged promontories approximate nearly to the toss of a biscuit. Through this chasm the Mohawk tumbles over a rocky bed, and falls, in the distance of half a mile, to the depth of forty feet. The old Canal of the Inland Lock Navigation Company, was constructed on the north side of the Rapids, which affords the more favorable route. The Erie Canal runs on the south side, the bed of which was excavated in the solid rock. The view is exceedingly wild and picturesque. Above, the rocks impend in a rugged and fearful grandeur; while beneath, the foaming torrent of the Mohawk dashes from rock to rock, until it leaps into a basin of great depth, and then steals tranquilly through the rich vale extending to the falls of the Cahoos. The village stands upon the north side, and is connected with the Canal by a stupendous aqueduct, thrown over the river by means of three arches, viz. -- an eliptical one of seventy feet, embracing the whole stream in an ordinary state of its waters, with one on each side of fifty feet span, elevating the surface of the Canal thirty feet above that of the river. It was already evening when the boats reached this interesting region; but bonfires blazed upon the crags and brows of the mountains, and at the junction of the aqueduct with the Canal, they were met by a Committee, and an able address was delivered by George H. Feeter, Esq., to which a suitable reply was made. The party was then invited over to the village, where a banquet was spread at M'Kinnister's Hotel. Having tarried as long as their time would allow, they took their leave amidst the cheers of the citizens, and departed under a salute of artillery.
Leaving Little Falls, and pursuing their journey in the dead of night, several of the ancient villages, such as Fort Plain, Palatine, &c. were deprived of the opportunity of giving utterance to their feelings; but on the morning of the first of November, which was a clear and delightful day, the people of the intermediate towns, to Schenectady, manifested great joy and enthusiasm, which was proclaimed by every means within their powers. [From the Little Falls the Canal runs level five miles, to a Lock of eight feet descent, in Danube: thence level four miles to a Lock of eight feet descent: thence level three miles and three quarters, to a Lock of seven feet descent, near Otsquaga Creek: thence level three miles and a quarter, to Canajoharie Village, and a Lock of six feet descent: thence level twelve miles, to a Lock of seven feet descent, in Charleston: thence level four miles and a half, to the bank of Schoharie Creek, and a Lock of six feet descent: thence crossing the Creek by a dam three-quarters of a mile, to a Lock of four feet descent, in Florida: thence level three miles, to a Lock of eight feet descent: thence level five miles and a quarter, to two Locks, each of eight feet descent, with a small pond between them: thence level six miles, to a Lock of eight feet descent: thence level three miles, to a Lock of eight feet descent: then level half a mile, to a Lock of eight feet descent, in Rotterdam: thence three miles level, to the City of Schenectady.]
At SCHENECTADY, according to the published arrangements, the boats were to have arrived at five o'clock, P.M. of Tuesday. Here, however, it seems there were some "private griefs," which we "know not of," and which induced the publication in the leading paper of that city, of the projet of a funeral procession, or some other demonstrations of mourning, and no preparations for the reception were made by the Corporation. Yet it does not follow that there was a general want of good feeling; on the contrary, news was received that the arrival would be some hours sooner than had been anticipated. The result was, that a goodly concourse of people were speedily assembled; some field-pieces were stationed at a suitable point to honor the strangers with a salute, and the "College Guards," were quickly in uniform and on duty. This corps is formed of students in Union College, and appeared in a handsome grey uniform. At about three o'clock the boats hove in sight -- they were welcomed by a salute -- and the literary soldiers fired a feu de joie. The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Committees were respectfully received by the principal citizens, and conducted to Given's Hotel, where a well provided table was spread, and the company partook of a dinner, at which Mr. De Graaf presided. There were no cheers, nor, on the contrary, any audible murmurs. On the whole it was a rather grave reception. At four o'clock the company re-embarked, and proceeded on their way. A drizzling rain came on; but the College Guards, who accompanied the boats to the street which leads to the buildings of this flourishing University, were not unprovided with defence; each drew a blanket from his knapsack, and in a moment the graceful youths were metamorphosed in their apparel to the appearance of a band of Indians.
The shades of night set in soon after the boats crossed the aqueduct leading over the Mohawk, into the county of Saratoga. The night was dark and dreary, and a view of the sublime scenery of the Cahoos Falls, and the formidable range of locks by which the Canal descends into the vale of the Hudson, was entirely lost, much to the regret of those who were not already familiar with that region of rich and picturesque scenery. At two o'clock, A.M., the boats made a halt, and day-light found the company at the half-way house between Troy [In Wetervleit, opposite the city of Troy, there is a lateral Canal, or side-cut, which descends by means of two Locks of eleven feet each, into the Hudson, and thus opens that flourishing city to a full participation of the benefits of both the Erie and Champlain Canals.] and Albany, lately, and for a long time, kept by the heroic landlady, who several years since shot a desperate robber, in the act of plundering her house, in the night.
"The dawn was overcast, the morning lowered
"And heavily in clouds brought on the day
"----------------------------------- big with the fate"
of multitudes who had long been anticipating the pleasure of a visit to the capital of the State, and a participation in the festivities of the day. A cold north-west wind, however, soon sprung up, sweeping the mists before it, and rolling away the clouds. The consequence was, that even at this distance from the city, the indications betokened a large assemblage.
The company remained at this spot until near ten o'clock, and, in the mean time, an excellent and plentiful breakfast was served up by the landlord. A message was also received at an early hour, from Major Talcott, commanding the United States Arsenal at Gibbonsville, expressing his regret at the boats should have passed his station so many hours before the expected time, as it had been his intention to honor them with a salute. An answer was returned with an invitation for the Major and his Officers to join the expedition, which was promptly accepted. Departing for Albany, it was soon found that there was a general ingathering in the direction of the ancient capital. The banks of the Canal were lined with people, and the roads were filled with horses and carriages, galloping and whirling towards the scene of the anticipated festivities.
ALBANY. -- At the lock above the mansion of the Patroon (General Stephen Van Rensselaer) the boats were met by Alderman WYCKOFF, and Assistant Alderman HONE, of the Committee of the New York Corporation, who were received on board, and the boats proceeding rapidly on, arrived at the last lock at half-past ten, A.M. [The Canal continues the same level from Schenectady, four miles, through Niskayuna, to an Aqueduct over the Mohawk River, seven hundred and forty-eight feet in length, between the abutments, supported by sixteen piers, twenty-five feet above the river; and immediately after passing the Aqueduct there are three Locks, each of seven feet descent, in Half Moon, a few rods below Alexander's Mills, and the Bridge: thence level two miles, to a Lock of seven feet descent: thence level one mile and a half to a Lock of seven feet descent: thence level three miles and a half, to a Lock of seven feet descent: thence level five miles, passing over the Mohawk River by an Aqueduct of nineteen hundred and eighty-eight feet in length, between the abutments, resting on twenty-six piers: thence about three miles to four Locks, of eight feet descent each, in Watervleit: thence level one mile and a quarter to a little below the Cahoos Falls, to two Locks, of nine feet descent each: thence one mile and a quarter level, to three Locks, and a descent of twenty-six feet: thence level one mile and a half, to seven Locks, of eight feet descent each; here a Feeder comes in from the Mohawk, and connects the Erie with the Champlain Canal, and there are two Locks, of eleven feet descent each: thence level seven miles, to a Lock of eleven feet descent: thence level one mile and a half, to a point in the rear of the old State Arsenal, where there is a small Basin, and a Lock of eleven feet descent, to the tide waters of the Hudson, and into the great Basin, in the City of Albany. The Locks are ninety feet long between the gates, fifteen feet wide, built of the most durable stone, well cut and coursed, and laid in water-lime. The courses are never less than eight inches faces, very few less than twelve, and from that to thirty inches.] Twenty-four pieces of cannon were planted on the pier, from which a grand salute was fired as the boats passed from the Canal into the basin, down which they proceeded, towed by yawls manned by twenty-four masters of vessels, and cheered onward by bands of music, and the huzzas of thousands of rejoicing citizens, who crowded the wharves, the south bridge, the vessels, and a double line of Canal boats, which extended through the whole length of the basin. Having passed the sloop lock, they returned up the river as far as the south bridge. Here the company were received by the city committee, and escorted to Rockwell's Mansion House, where congratulations were exchanged. A procession was then formed under the direction of Maj. Taylor, Capt. Bradt, and W. Esleeck, Esq. in the following order: -- Twenty-four cartmen, with carts loaded with western produce, each with a flag designating the articles conveyed; -- cartmen on horseback, preceded by their Marshal, R. M'Clintock; -- a band of music; Sheriff and Staff; Corporation; Governor and Lieutenant Governor; Canal Commissioners; Engineers and Assistants; Collector of Tolls; Revolutionary Officers and Cincinnati; Surveyor of the Port; Committees; Judicial Officers of the State and of the United States; Secretary of State and Surveyor-General; Attorney General; Comptroller; Treasurer; Adjutant General and Judge Advocate General; Officers of the Army and Navy; Chamber of Commerce; Military Association; Societies; Strangers and Citizens. The procession passed through several of the principal streets, to the Capitol. Here the exercises commenced in the Assembly Chamber, with an appropriate prayer. An ode was then sung, written for the occasion by JOHN AUG. STONE, of the Albany Theatre. The vocal arrangements were under the direction of Mr. Harris, Professor of Music, aided by the orchestra of the Theatre. PHILIP HONE, Esq. in behalf of the Corporation of New York, then rose and addressed the Chairman and the assembled citizens. He glanced rapidly at the history of the great work, from its conception to its completion, and declared his instructions to invite the Corporation of Albany, together with the several Committees then assembled, to proceed with the boats to the city which he had the honor to represent. In performing this office, he assured them they would be received as welcome guests, and requested to unite with the municipal authorities in the celebration of the joyful event.
When Mr. Hone had concluded, WM. JAMES, Esq., of Albany, in behalf of his fellow-citizens, delivered a congratulatory address. He made a happy allusion to the sensations which the completion of the Canal is so well calculated to excite in the bosom of every intelligent citizen, "an event which associates our respective interests with the glory of our country." The congratulations of the patriotic citizens of Albany, to whose early influence and efficacious assistance, we are so much indebted for the commencement and progress of the great work, were next expressed, and a cordial invitation extended to the stranger-guests to partake in celebrating the auspicious event. Mr. J. then directed the attention of his gratified auditors to those considerations to which a contemplation of the grand work is well calculated to lead the enlightened mind -- the resources which it had developed, and which it would continue to call into action -- its general benefit, "embracing in its progress the prosperity and welfare of all" -- and its influence and consequences upon mankind. Allusion was also made to the state of the western country, "when forests covered the sites of the now splendid towns of Utica, Geneva, Canandaigua, and Buffalo," and "when the dismal and savage trackways led through forbidding forests, where now stand the flourishing towns of Syracuse, Auburn, Rochester, and many other places, celebrated for the elegance and refinement of their inhabitants, the grandeur of their scenery, seats of learning," &c.; and a happy contrast was drawn between their former and present state. A glowing picture of the future greatness and happiness of our western and north-western territories was presented; and the glory of the nation, its territory, its institutions, its wealth, its liberty, and its spirit in local and general improvement, successively furnished themes for the imagination of the orator; who acquitted himself in a manner truly praise-worthy and honorable to those citizens who selected him to deliver their sentiments.
Mr. James having concluded his address, the Committees from the West arose, and with them Lieutenant Governor TALLMADGE, who returned their acknowledgements for the kind manner in which they had been received, in his usual forcible, happy, and eloquent manner.
The Assembly Chamber, in which these exercises took place, was tastefully decorated for the occasion. On the right of the Speaker's chair, hung a portrait of George Clinton, and on the left that of De Witt Clinton. Over the chair hung a full-length portrait of "The Father of his Country," surmounted by the bird of victory grasping his thunder. The benediction was pronounced by the Reverend Mr. Lacy; after which the procession again formed, and moved through various streets, to the bridge, which was superbly decorated, to partake of a collation.
At the west end of the bridge was the entrance, composed of five pointed gothic arches, rising above each other on each side of the grand centre arch. Those on the extreme right, and left, were twelve feet in height, and six feet in width, and presented a full view to the spectator. The two intermediate arches on either side of the centre, were fourteen feet in height by seven feet in width, and formed an angle with the others, thus showing a kind of perspective, and causing the centre arch to recede about six feet. The arches were supported by two pilasters, capped with gothic turrets, and the pannels decorated with delicate evergreens, in a style corresponding to that highly ornamental order. The centres of all the arches terminated in richly gilded and appropriate ornaments. The back ground of all, except the centre, was filled with shrubbery, presenting to the view a resemblance to the entrance of a garden. Passing through the arch were found lines of shrubbery fancifully arranged on both sides of the bridge, and forming curves from the arch to the draw-bridge. Standards, bearing the national arms, waved on both sides of the bridge. At the four corners of the draw-bridge were erected four masts, forty feet in height, decorated with evergreens, and rigged with flags, arranged as sails, emblematical of the termination of the Canal, and of the commencement of river navigation. Proceeding onward, the guests passed under three circular arches, the centre one of which bore the words, "GRAND ERIE CANAL;" that on the left hand was inscribed, "JULY 4th, 1817;" and that on the right, "OCTOBER 26th, 1825." They were all ornamented in a similar manner, with evergreens, and formed the entrance to an immense hall, covered with an awning, and furnished with two lines of tables, each one hundred and fifty feet in length, and sufficient for the accommodation of six hundred guests. This terminated in an elegant circular marquee, surmounted with the national flag, calculated to contain about sixty persons. One part of the design struck the writer as remarkably beautiful. The two lines of tables were placed at such distances from the sides of the bridge, as to allow the marshals to conduct the procession, formed in double files, up the centre avenue between the table, to the marquee, and there separating to the right and left countermarching to their respective seats at the table; thus placing the marshals in such a situation as to allow them to form the procession on retiring, in the same order as it entered, without any change of companions on the part of the guests.
The table was filled with a rich collation, consisting of the most choice viands of our climate, with a plenty of the "ruby bright" wines of the best vineyards of Europe. The repast was prepared by Mr. Thomas Welch.
The late Lieutenant Governor TAYLOR, and Judge SPENCER, presided at the table, assisted by Martin Van Buren, Benjamin Knower, John Townsend, Allen Brown, Teunis Van Vechten, Elisha Jenkins, Ebenezer Baldwin, and Richard I. Knowlson, Esquires.
In the evening the Capitol and Theatre were brilliantly illuminated. In front of the Capitol was a large transparency, with the motto -- "Peace and Commerce." It represented a wide landscape, exhibiting the varieties of field and meadow, hill and dale. Winding its way through this, was a Canal, on the bosom of which were two boats, drawn by three horses each. Over the door, within the portico, was another transparency, representing an Eagle, with emblems of war and peace. Motto -- "1776." Over the stairway, within the great hall, as you ascend to the gallery, were the words -- "The Grand Work is Done!" And at the head of the first flight of stairs, hung a broad painting of the Arms of New York, enwreathed with evergreens. The several Committees collected in Albany on this occasion, attended the Theatre in the evening. During an interval between the acts, a beautiful Canal scene, got up for the occasion by Mr. Gilfert, was exhibited and warmly cheered. The representation of locks, canals, &c., with boats and horses actually passing, was admirably done. Between the pieces which composed the evening's entertainment, an ode was recited by Mr. Barrett, in his happiest manner, written for the occasion by James Ferguson, Esq. Thus terminated a day which will long be remembered in Albany as the memorable second of November, eighteen hundred and twenty-five.
Thursday morning arrived, and a more beautiful day never dawned upon our land. It seemed as though a benignant Providence, smiling upon the labors and triumphs of human genius and enterprise, had purposely chained the storms in their caverns. The hour of nine was appointed for the departure of the fleet, but by some unavoidable delays it near ten before every thing was prepared. In the meantime the city and surrounding country poured forth its population in immense numbers, to view the beautiful spectacle. There were by thousands and thousands more people out than on the preceding day. The docks, stores, and vessels, along the whole river in front of the city, presented thick masses of people. The several steam-boats formed in their proper order, gorgeously decorated, were ranged in a line, and a brisk north-west wind caused the gay banners and streamers to flutter in the air, so as to be seen to the best possible advantage. And the beauty of the scene was still further heightened by the large columns of steam rushing from the fleet, rising majestically upwards, and curling and rolling into a thousand fantastic and beautiful forms, until mingled and lost in surrounding vapors. Every boat was filled with passengers, and each was supplied with a band of music. The delight, nay, enthusiasm, of the people, was at its height. Such an animating, bright, beauteous and glorious spectacle had never been seen at that place; nor, at that time, excelled in New York. About fifteen minutes before the departure of the fleet, the Chief Justice Marshall, from Troy, came gaily down the river, as richly decorated as the ship of the Admiral himself, having the Niagara, of Black Rock, in tow. On board of this boat, also, was a fine band, and a large number of the most respectable citizens of Troy. At a given signal, the fleet was under way in a moment; and the Albanians, with long and reiterated cheers, took leave of such a spectacle as their eyes will never more behold.
The fleet consisted of the following steam-vessels, viz.: -- The Chancellor Livingston, Capt. Lockwood under the special direction of Charles Rhind, Esq., acting as Admiral, assisted by Commodore Wiswall, as Captain of the fleet, having in tow the elegant Canal packet-boat, "The Seneca Chief," of Buffalo; the Constitution, Captain Bartholomew, having in tow the Rochester boat "Young Lion of the West." -- On board of this boat, among other productions of the West, were two living wolves, a fawn, a fox, four racoons, and two living eagles. Noah's Ark, from Ararat, having the bears and Indians, fell behind, and did not arrive in Albany in season to be taken in tow. Next came the Chief Justice Marshal, Captain Sherman, having in tow the "Niagara," from Black Rock. Then followed the Constellation, Captain Cruttenden; the Swiftsure, Captain Stocking; the Olive Branch, Captain Moore, having in tow the safety-barge Matilda; and the Richmond, Captain Cochran. The Saratoga, Captain Benson, being a small and swift boat, acted as a tender on the voyage from Albany -- landing and taking in passengers from all the boats and landing places. She sported about like a dolphin -- now in the wake of one boat, now along side of another, and now shooting a-head of the whole, with her flags streaming gracefully in the breeze.
The appearance of the fleet from the different points along the shore was gay and animating. As it passed down the river, the boats, constantly varying their relative positions, -- the foremost lying by to wait for the others to come up, and all of them decorated with flags and streamers, -- presented a grand and splendid spectacle. This was particularly the case among the group of islands between Albany and Coeymans; and the scene from the Admiral's boat, as the passengers looked back among the islands, and along the crooked channels, was truly enchanting. Now a vessel in the richest attire, shot from behind a copse upon some little island, -- and now another disappeared behind a second. At times, a boat, at some distance astern, appeared to be swiftly darting across the river; and again, at another point could only be discovered the variegated flags and streamers through the intervening though scattered shrubbery, whose verdure had lost its freshness and been speckled with pale red and yellow by the early autumnal frosts. And now again, when the broad bosom of the Hudson was unbroken from bank to bank, the whole squadron appeared in line, like a fleet from the dominion of the fairies. Thousands of the inhabitants crowded to the shore to admire and welcome the novel procession. Signal guns were posted on various heights, to give notice of its approach; and salutes from cannon or musketry were fired from every village. At Coeymans, New Baltimore, Kinderhook-Landing, and Coxsackie, great numbers of people were assembled, who cheered the passing multitude. Indeed, after Alexander of Macedon had carried his arms into India, he did not descend the Indus with greater triumph, or make a prouder display.
At Hudson, which is finely situated for such an exhibition, many thousands of citizens had collected. The shores, and the brow of Prospect Hill, were covered with people; and the colonnades of the "round house," were filled with ladies, whose snow-white handkerchiefs fluttered briskly in the breeze. The river here expands to a breadth of nearly two miles. The country on both sides rises gradually from the river -- particularly on the west, to the base of the Catskill Mountains. No finer view of these lofty mountains is obtained that at Hudson; and when we include Mount Merino, on the eastern side of the river, with the broad sweep of woods, and meadows, and fields, on the other side, the landscape, embracing mountain, wood, and water scenery, uniting at once the sublime and beautiful, is perfect. The frost had changed its soft and early verdure, and decked it in the richly variegated and changing livery of autumn. It was not viewed, however, in a cold and cheerless day, but gazed upon under the genial influence of a mild autumnal sun, amidst a scene of gaiety and animation which imparted life and beauty and sublimity to all. The Saratoga touched at the dock, where the municipal authorities were in waiting, hoping that the fleet would stop a short time, and allow the committees to go ashore, and partake of a collation which had been provided for the occasion. But time would nor permit, and the fleet passed down under a salute of artillery posted on the hills, which was answered from the cannon at Athens, directly opposite.
At CATSKILL, a salute was fired from the hill behind which, and almost invisible from the river, this busy and thriving village is entrenched. A military company was paraded on the point (so called), and fired repeatedly, while the boats lay to for the Saratoga to take off passengers. The afternoon was fine, and the banners waving gracefully in the breeze, and gaily dancing in the sunbeams, presented a scene of beauty at once novel and picturesque.
While passing REDHOOK LANDING, where the same curiosity and interest were exhibited by the assembled people, dinner was announced. Alderman King presided, assisted by Alderman Davis, Assistant Alderman Hone, and Alderman Wyckoff, as Vice Presidents. The fare was sumptuous, the wines good, and many a bumper was turned off to the patriotic sentiments elicited by the occasion, intermingled with national and other appropriate songs. Immediately after dinner, a committee from the Chancellor Livingston, (the flag ship,) was put off in a small boat, to pay complimentary visits to the other boats of the squadron, and the like civilities were returned.
Before reaching HYDE PARK, evening had thrown her shadows over us; and instead of the gay attire which had rendered the fleet so beautiful by day, the boats were now decorated with lights, each having a different number for the sake of distinction. The flag ship, the Chancellor, bore a great number of lanterns, arranged in the form of a triangle, and must have made a brilliant appearance. And if the spectators on shore had been gratified during the day by views of the flotilla, the passengers on board the latter were now amply repaid by the splendor of the bonfires and illuminations along the shore. The first of the kind which was seen, was the mansion of James D. Livingston, Esq., of Hyde Park, the whole front of which was illuminated. Capt. Sherman, moreover, of the Chief Justice Marshall, had timely provided himself with a supply of rockets, which being thrown up at intervals, now sporting through the gloom like a comet, and now bursting and descending in showers of dazzling stars, produced a fine effect. At several points along the river, bonfires were blazing, and the flash and roar of cannon were seen and heard, which were answered by cheers from the boats and the firing of cannon in return.
As the flotilla approached POUGHKEEPSIE, it was apparent that the citizens of that flourishing village were prepared to welcome it with the warmest demonstrations of joy. Upon an eminence on each side of the landings, huge signal-fires were lighted, which cast a broad red glare over the hills, and gleamed widely upon the waters. The effect, as seen from the water, was very grand. The red light bursting fitfully through the trees as the boats glided by, the human figures moving in every direction athwart the fires, the illuminated buildings, the thunder of cannon, the brilliant moving lights of the steam-boats, all seen and heard in the silence and darkness of night, could not fail to make an impression on every beholder, such as will not soon be forgotten.
At NEWBURGH, cannon were fired; the village was partially illuminated, and a committee of congratulation came on board.
At WEST POINT, a salute of twenty-four guns greeted the arrival of the first boats in the line; and another of the same number was fired while the last boats were passing. In the meantime, great numbers of rockets were sent up; and cheers resounded merrily, both from the hills and the boats. During these tokens of rejoicing, some of the boats were busily engaged in receiving on board the officers, as guests of the Corporation; and as soon as this was accomplished, the whole flotilla proceeded with all expedition to New York. The guests and passengers on board now retired, and in the morning awoke opposite the city, to greet the beautiful dawn of a day long to be remembered in the annals of our state and country.
The long expected fourth of November -- a day so glorious for the city and state, with all its "pomp and circumstance," came and passed; and the incidents, like the fragments of a splendid vision, are yet floating, in bright and glowing masses, through the imagination. But the pageant was too brilliant, and the scenes too various, for the memory to retain more than certain vague impressions, no less beautiful than indistinct. Those who saw the magnificent scene, will at once admit that it cannot be painted in language; and those who had not that happiness, must content themselves with the assurance, that the best endeavours of the writer to convey to them an adequate idea of its grandeur, will fail. The poet, by giving full sway to his imagination, may perhaps partially succeed in conveying the various impressions imbibed on the occasion, and some detached parts of the scene might possibly be used to advantage by the painter who unites skill with genius. But we repeat, that the narrative, in humble prose, will fall short of a just representation.
The grand fleet arrived in our waters from Albany before day-light, and came to anchor near the State Prison. The roar of cannon from different points, and the merry peals of our numerous bells, greeted the sun as he rose in a cloudless sky. In a few moments afterwards, signals were given by the flag ship, and the various flags, banners, and other decorations, were ran up as if at the sudden command of a magician. Shortly afterwards, the new and superb steam-boat WASHINGTON, Captain E.S. Bunker, bore proudly down upon the fleet, heaving up the foaming billows as though she spurned the dominion of Neptune. In the language of the Noble Bard --
"She walked the waters like a thing of life,
"And dared the very elements to strife."
She bore the great banner of the Corporation, representing in dark figures, the arms of the city upon a snow-white ground. The Washington was an entirely new boat, chartered for the occasion, of large dimensions, beautiful model, and superbly finished throughout, -- uniting all the improvements in steam-boat architecture. The design of the tafrail represented the renown of Washington and Lafayette. The centre was a trophy of various emblems -- the laurel and the olive -- standards -- swords -- the balance -- the caduceus of Mercury, &c. The trophy was surmounted with a bald eagle. Each side of it was decorated with a bust -- on the right, that of Washington -- on the left, the bust of Lafayette. The former was crowned with the civic wreath and the laurel, the latter with the laurel only. The Genius of America was crowning her hero, and the spirit of Independence, waving the flaming torch, binding the brow of Lafayette. Each of these figures was attended with emblematic medallions of Agriculture and Commerce. The whole was based on a section of the globe, and the background was a glory from the trophy. The corners of the tafrail were each filled with a cornucopia, which gracefully completed the design, on which neither painting nor gilding had been spared to enhance the effect. She ran along side of the Chancellor, and a Committee of the Corporation, with the Officers of the Governor's Guard, came on board to tender his Excellency their congratulations on his arrival in our waters, from those of Lake Erie. In performing this duty, Alderman COWDREY made a handsome and pertinent address, in behalf of the Common Council, to which his Excellency made a reply in behalf of himself and his associates in the great work, and the several persons and bodies who had been welcomed to the shores and waters of New York, and to whom the hospitalities of the city had been so cheerfully tendered. To the Officers of the Guards, headed by Col. BRETT, the Governor also expressed his gratitude and thanks for their prompt attention on the occasion.
This duty having been performed, and there being an hour to spare, the several boats entered their respective docks, and came to anchor at the places assigned them, to give their numerous passengers an opportunity to prepare for the enjoyments of the day agreeably to their various inclinations.
The escorting fleet got under way, and passed the British Sloops of War Swallow, Captain Baldock, and Kingfisher, Captain Henderson, dressed for the occasion, and bearing the American flag in company with the cross of St. George. A salute was fired from these ships, which was returned from the fleet.
Not the least pleasing of this morning scene, was the packet-ship Hamlet, Captain Candler, prepared by the Marine and Nautical Societies, appearing at sunrise, in the North River, superbly dressed in the flags of various nations, interspersed with private signals, and the number-flags of the different members. She made a most splendid appearance during the whole day. At eight o'clock, these Societies met on board the steam boat Fulton, Captain R. Bunker, lying at Fulton Street Wharf, (East River,) and were conveyed on board of the ship, where Captain J.G. Collins, assisted by his officers, took the command. Commodore Chauncey politely sent an officer and twenty men from the Navy Yard, to assist in the duties of the ship. And before they landed, an excellent collation, prepared for the occasion by the joint committees of the two societies, was spread, of which all on board partook -- to the number of one hundred and twenty-five.
At half-past eight o'clock, the Corporation, and their invited guests, assembled in the Sessions Room at the City Hall, and at a quarter before nine, proceeded to the steam-boats Washington, Fulton, and Providence, stationed at the foot of Whitehall Street. At the same place was also stationed the Commerce, Capt. Seymour, with the elegant safety-barge, Lady Clinton. This barge, with the Lady Van Rensselaer, had been set apart by the Corporation, for the reception of the invited ladies, with their attendants. The Lady Clinton was decorated with a degree of taste and elegance which was equally delightful and surprising. From stem to stern she was ornamented with evergreens, hung in festoons, and intertwined with roses of various hues, China astres, and many other flowers alike beautiful. In one of the niches below the upper deck, was the bust of Clinton, the brow being encircled with a wreath of laurel and roses. Mrs. Clinton, as well as many other distinguished ladies were on board of the barge, which, though the party was select, was much crowded. Capt. Seymour, however, paid every attention to his beautiful charge; every countenance beamed with satisfaction, and every eye sparkled with delight.
A few minutes after nine o'clock, the whole being on board, the fleet from Albany, as before mentioned, led by the flag ship of the Admiral, came round from the North, and proceeded up the East River to the Navy Yard, where salutes were fired, and the sloop of war Cyane, was dressed in the colors of all nations. While here, the flag ship took on board the officers of that station, together with their fine band of music. The officers stationed at West Point, with the celebrated band from that place, having been received on board the preceding evening, were likewise on board of the Chancellor Livingston. On returning from the Navy Yard, the steam-boat Ousatonic, of Derby, joined the fleet. The wharves and shores of Brooklyn, the Heights, and the roofs of many buildings, were crowded with people to an extent little anticipated, and only exceeded by the thick masses of population which lined the shores of New York, as far as Corlær's Hook. The fleet having arrived between the East end of the Battery and Governor's Island, was joined by the ship Hamlet, before-mentioned. While the commander was signalling the various vessels, and they were manœuvring about to take their stations, the spectacle was beautiful beyond measure. Long before this time, however, our City had been pouring forth its thousands and tens of thousands; Castle Garden, the Battery, and every avenue to the water, were thronged to a degree altogether beyond precedent. The ships and vessels in the harbor were filled, even to their rigging and tops. And the movements, in forming the order of the aquatic procession, gave opportunity to all, to observe the several vessels in every advantageous and imposing situation. Loud cheers resounded from every direction, which were often returned. Every thing being in readiness, and every boat crowded to the utmost, the fleet, taking a semi-circular sweep towards Jersey City, and back obliquely in the direction of the lower point of Governor's Island, proceeded down the bay in the order detailed in the official report of the Admiral; -- each boat and ship maintaining the distance of one hundred feet apart.
The ship Hamlet was taken in tow by the Oliver Ellsworth and Bolivar, and assumed and maintained its place in splendid style. Four pilot-boats were also towed by other steam-boats, together with the following boats of the Whitehall Watermen, all tastefully decorated, viz. -- The Lady of the Lake, Dispatch, Express, Brandywine, Sylph, Active, and Whitehall, Junior.
The sea was tranquil and smooth as the summer lake; and the mist, which came on between seven and eight in the morning, having partially floated away, the sun shone bright and beautiful as ever. As the boats passed the Battery they were saluted by the Military, the Revenue Cutter, and the Castle on Governor's Island; and on passing the Narrows, they were also saluted by forts Lafayette and Tompkins. They then proceeded to the United States' schooner Porpoise, Captain Zantzinger, moored within Sandy Hook, at the point where the grand ceremony was to be performed. A deputation, composed of Aldermen King and Taylor, was then sent on board the steam-boat Chancellor Livingston, to accompany his Excellency the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and the several Committees from Buffalo, Utica, Albany, and other places, on board the steam-boat Washington.
The boats were thereupon formed in a circle around the schooner, preparatory to the ceremony; when Mr. Rhind, addressing the Governor, remarked "that he had a request to make, which he was confident it afford his Excellency great pleasure to grant. He was desirous of preserving a portion of the water to be used on this memorable occasion, in order to send it to our distinguished friend, and late illustrious visitor, Major General Lafayette; and for that purpose Messrs. Dummer and Co. had prepared some bottles of American fabrick for the occasion, and they were to be conveyed to the General in a box made by Mr. D. Phyfe, from a log of cedar, brought from Erie in the Seneca Chief." The Governor replied, that a more pleasing task could not have been imposed upon him, and expressed his acknowledgements to Mr. Rhind, for having suggested the measure.
His Excellency Governor CLINTON then proceeded to perform the ceremony of commingling the waters of the Lakes with the Ocean, by pouring a keg of that of Lake Erie into the Atlantic; upon which he delivered the following address:--
"This solemnity, at this place, on the first arrival of vessels from Lake Erie, is intended to indicate and commemorate the navigable communication, which has been accomplished between our Mediterranean Seas and the Atlantic Ocean, in about eight years, to the extent of more than four hundred and twenty-five miles, by the wisdom, public spirit, and energy of the people of the state of New York; and may the God of Heavens and the Earth smile most propitiously on this work, and render it subservient to the best interests of the human race."
Doctor MITCHILL, whose extensive correspondence with almost every part of the world, enables him to fill his cabinet with every thing rare and curious, then completed the ceremony by pouring into the briny deep, bottles of water from the Ganges and Indus of Asia; the Nile and the Gambia of Africa; the Thames, the Seine, the Rhine, and the Danube, of Europe; the Mississippi and Columbia of North, and the Oronoko, La Plata, and Amazon of South, America. The learned Doctor availed himself of this occasion to deliver the peculiar and interesting address which will be found in this collection, and which so happily illustrates the uses of types and symbols. The Honorable CADWALLADER D. COLDEN then presented to the Mayor the able Memoir upon the subject of Canals and Inland navigation in general, which forms the first part of the present volume.
Never before was there such a fleet collected, and so superbly decorated; and it is very possible that a display so grand, so beautiful, and we may even add, sublime, will never be witnessed again. We know of nothing with which it can be compared. The naval fete given by the Prince Regent of England, upon the Thames, during the visit of the Allied Sovereigns of Europe to London, after the dethronement of Napoleon, has been spoken of as exceeding every thing of the kind hitherto witnessed in Europe. But gentlemen who had an opportunity of witnessing both, have declared, that the spectacle in the waters of New York so far transcended that in the metropolis of England, as scarcely to admit of a comparison. The day, as we have before remarked, was uncommonly fine. No winds agitated the surface of the mighty deep, and during the performance of the ceremonies, the boats with their gay decorations, lay motionless in beauty. The orb of day darted his genial rays upon the bosom of the waters, where they played as tranquilly as upon the natural mirror of a secluded lake. Indeed the elements seemed to repose, as if to gaze upon each other, and participate in the beauty and grandeur of the sublime spectacle. Every object appeared to pause, as if to invite reflection, and prepare the mind for deep impressions -- impressions, which, while we feel them stealing upon the soul, impart a consciousness of their durability. It was one of those few bright visions whose evanescent glory is allowed to light up the path of human life -- which, as they are passing, we feel can never return, and which, in diffusing a sensation of pleasing melancholy, consecrates, as it were, all surrounding objects, even to the atmosphere we inhale!
The head of the land procession, under Major General Fleming, Marshal of the day, assisted by Colonels King and Jones, Major Low, and Mr. Van Winkle, had already arrived on the Battery, where it was designed the whole should pass in review before the Corporation and their guests, and the spectators on board of the other boats, which lay to near the shore, to afford an opportunity of witnessing the cars, and banners, and other decorations of the several societies, professions, and callings, who had turned out in the city in honor of the event commemorated. The Washington and Chancellor Livingston, ran into the Pier No. 1, in the East River, and landed the Corporation and their friends, at the proper time for them to fall into the rear of the procession. The fleet then dispersed, each vessel repairing to its own moorings; and thus, without a single accident to alloy the festivities of the day, ended an agreeable fete, unrivalled in beauty and magnificence, we fearlessly aver, in the annals of the world.
This narrative would probably be considered incomplete, were it not to include a notice of that part of the pageant which was exclusively confined to the city. And yet a minute description can hardly be deemed necessary, since the ample report of the Marshal of the Day is included among the papers collected in this volume. To be as brief as possible, therefore, we will state, in general terms, that the procession through the city, although it could not, from the very nature of things, present to the eye the bright and glowing images which ravished the senses upon the water, was yet such as to reflect the highest credit upon our city, the societies, and individuals, whose patriotism induced them to bear a part, and the occasion which called them forth.
The civic procession was composed of the several benevolent and mechanic societies of our city; the fire department; the merchants and citizens; the officers of the State Artillery and Infantry, in uniform; the literary and scientific institutions; the members of the bar; the members of many occupations and callings not formally organized into societies, accompanied by fine bands of music, exclusively of the Corporation, their associate committees and distingished guests, who fell in the rear of the procession, as before mentioned, at the Battery. This procession, the largest of the kind ever witnessed in America, commenced forming in Greenwich-street, six abreast, at nine o'clock, A.M. -- the right resting in Marketfield-street, near the Battery -- and extending to the distance of more than a mile and a half. The line of march was taken up at half past ten. Its first movement was a countermarch of the whole column upon the right wing. By this manúuvre, every society and division was brought into such close approximation with each other, as to afford every individual a distinct view of the whole. The procession moved from Greenwich-street through Canal-street into Broadway -- up Broadway to Broome-street -- up Broome-street to the Bowery -- down the Bowery to Pearl-street -- down Pearl-street to the Battery -- over the Battery to Broadway -- and thence to the City Hall. Along the whole extensive line of march, the spectacle was of a most imposing and animating description. Every society and occupation seemed to have been engaged in a laudable strife, regardless of the expense, to excel each other in the richness of their banners, and the beauty and taste exhibited in their badges and other decorations. Nor had the money of the societies been expanded, or the skill of the artists of our city exercised, in vain. For never did a more imposing array of banners, of exquisite design and magnificent appearance, stream and flutter in the breeze. Many of the societies, likewise, had furnished themselves with cars of gigantic structure, upon which their respective artizans were busily engaged in their several occupations. The ornaments of many of these cars were curiously wrought, and they were otherwise beautifully and splendidly decorated. The richest Turkey or Brussels carpets covered the floors of some, whilst the costly gilding of others reflected back the golden rays of the sun with dazzling effulgence. [For a particular description of the several cars, banners, and badges, the reader is referred to the report of the Marshal of the day above alluded to.] The eye of beauty, too, gazed with delight upon the passing scene; for every window was thronged, and the myriads of handkerchiefs which fluttered in the air, were only rivalled in whiteness by the delicate hands which suspended them; while the glowing cheeks, the ingenuous smiles of liveliness and innocence, and the intelligence which beamed brightly from many a sparkling eye, proclaimed their possessors worthy of being the wives, mothers, and daughters, of freemen. It was in fine a proud spectacle; but language fails in attempting its description -- much more in imparting to paper the sensations which it created. It is not difficult to describe individual objects correctly, but it is impossible to portray their general effect, when happily grouped together. It is amid scenes like these -- a faint gleam of which can only be conveyed to the future antiquary or historian -- that the mind is absorbed in its own reflections -- musing in solitude, though surrounded by the gay and the thoughtless -- and literally lost in its own imaginings.
The festivities of the day were closed in the evening by illuminations of the public buildings and the principal hotels, upon many of which appropriate transparencies were exhibited. The illumination of the City Hotel contributed largely to the brilliant appearance of Broadway. Great taste was also displayed in the illumination of the New York Coffee House. The front in Sloat Lane presented a brilliant wreath, encircling the letter "C." The front, in William-street, displayed the words "Grand Canal," in large and glowing capitals. We do not remember to have seen a more original and beautiful method of illuminating, than that adopted at this establishment. Peale's Museum presented a beautiful transparency -- rays of glory, containing a motto, illustrative of the dependence of the fine arts upon the success of commerce. Scudder's Museum likewise, was brilliantly illuminated, and a very large and beautiful transparency was exhibited in front. The Park Theatre was illuminated, and also exhibited appropriate transparencies without, while within, an interlude, composed for the occasion by Mr. Noah, with scenery specially prepared for the occasion, was received with great applause. A similar production from the pen of Mr. Woodworth, was played at the Chatham Theatre, and was likewise well received. The house of Mr. Seixas, in Broadway, was illuminated, and an appropriate transparency, representing Fortune embarking on board of a Canal-boat, loaded with bags of money, and several appropriate emblematical devices, were exhibited. At "the Lunch," a transparency was exhibited representing the Canal-boat "Seneca Chief," receiving on board his Excellency the Governor, the Buffalo Deputation, Indian Chiefs, &c., preparatory to her passage from Lake Erie into the Canal. But the City Hall was the grand point of attraction, and too much praise cannot be given to our Corporation for the great exertions which they made to contribute to the enjoyment and festivities of the day. The City Hall, under their direction, was superbly illuminated, the front presenting a very magnificent transparency, on which were painted interesting views of the Canal, columns with the names of worthies, figures emblematical of the occasion, &c. The fire-works prepared by Mr. Wilcox, far exceeded the public expectation, and were unrivalled of the kind. Such rockets were never before seen in New York. They were uncommonly large. Now they shot forth alternately showers of fiery serpents and dragons, "gorgons, and hydras, and chimeras dire;" and now they burst forth and rained down showers of stars, floating in the atmosphere like balls of liquid silver. The volcanic eruption of fire-balls and rockets with which this exhibition was concluded, afforded a spectacle of vast beauty and sublimity. They were sent up apparently from the rear of the Hall to a great height, diverging like rays from a common centre, then floating for a moment like meteors of the brightest light, and falling over in a graceful curve, presenting a scene magnificent and enchanting. The Park was filled to overflowing; not less that eight or ten thousand admiring spectators [original text has "spectarors."] were collected in it to view the splendid display which the Corporation had prepared so munificently for their fellow-citizens.
Thus passed a day so glorious to the state and city, and so deeply interesting to the countless thousands who were permitted to behold and mingle in its exhibitions. We have before said that all attempts at description must be utterly in vain. Others can comprehend the greatness of the occasion; the Grand Canal is completed, and the waters of Lake Erie have been borne upon its surface, and mingled with the Ocean. But it is only those who were present, and beheld the brilliant scenes of the day, that can form any adequate idea of their grandeur, and of the joyous feelings which pervaded all ranks of the community. Never before has been presented to the sight a fleet so beautiful as that which then graced our waters. The numerous array of steam-boats and barges, proudly breasting the billows and dashing on their way regardless of opposing winds and tides; the flags of all nations, and banners of every hue, streaming splendidly in the breeze; the dense columns of black smoke ever and anon sent up from the boats, now partially obscuring the view, and now spreading widely over the sky and softening down the glare of light and color; the roar of cannon from the various forts, accompanied by heavy volumes of white smoke, contrasting finely with the smoke from the steam-boats; the crowds of happy beings who thronged the decks, and the voice of whose joy was mingled with the sound of music, and not unfrequently drowned by the hissing of the steam; all these, and a thousand other circumstances, awakened an interest so intense, that "the eye could not be satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing." We rejoiced; and all who were there rejoiced; although, as we looked upon the countless throng, we could not but remember the exclamation of Xerxes, and feel that "an hundred years hence, not one of all that vast multitude will be alive." The splendor of beauty, and the triumph of art, serve to excite, to dazzle, and often to improve the condition and promote the welfare of mankind: but the "fashion of this world passeth away:" beauty and art, with all their triumphs and splendors, endure but for a season; and earth itself, with all its lakes and oceans, is only as the small dust of the balance, in the sight of Him who dwells beyond the everlasting hills.
On Saturday, the fifth of November, Mr. Rhind and Commodore Wiswall gave a splendid entertainment to the Committees from the West, and the Captains and Officers of the several steam-boats who had borne a part in the celebration from Albany to this City, and on the preceding day. This entertainment was served on board of the "Chancellor Livingston." It was designed as a plain republican feast, but was nevertheless rich and bountiful, comprising the choicest viands and delicacies of our markets. A number of patriotic sentiments were given, and the company was further cheered and enlivened by appropriate songs. It was indeed a "feast of reason and flow of soul."
On Monday evening, the seventh of November, the festivities of our city were appropriately concluded by a ball, which was given in the Lafayette Amphitheatre, in Laurens-street, by the officers of the militia, associated with a committee of citizens. The circus-buildings, comprising a spacious stage used for dramatic representations, was enlarged by the addition of an edifice in the rear, which had been used for a riding school. These were connected in such a manner as to form an area of much greater extent than that of any other ball-room in the United States, being nearly two hundred feet in length, and varying from sixty to near one hundred feet in width. The usual entrance to the circus from Laurens-street, was closed up, and new entrances opened from Thomson-street, in the rear, through the riding school. The front was brilliantly illuminated, presenting in large letters, formed by bright lamps, extending over the doors across the building, the words, "The Grand Canal." The whole area within was newly floored for the occasion, and divided into three compartments by the original division of the audience part of the circus, the stage, and the additional building on Thomson-street. Of these we shall speak in order, but briefly. The two tier of boxes were preserved, and decorated for the accommodation of that part of the company which chose to retire and be spectators of the busy assemblage below. Access was obtained to them through a flight of steps in the middle of the boxes, of which the centre one had been removed. The dome in this part of the hall was ornamented with green wreaths, which were appropriately festooned with beautiful and various flowers, sweeping gracefully to the pillars which supported the boxes, terminating at and around them. Above the proscenium were the names of the engineers who have been employed in the construction of the Canal, viz. -- Briggs, White, Geddes, Wright, Thomas; opposite these, and in the centre of the circle of boxes, was a bust of Washington, surrounded with evergreens, and around were inscribed the names of the past and present canal commissioners, Hart, Bouck, Holly, De Witt, North, Livingston, Fulton, Clinton, Van Rensselaer, Morris, Eddy, Young, Seymour, Porter, Ellicott.
But entrancing above all other enchantments of the scene, was the living enchantment of beauty -- the trance which wraps the senses in the presence of loveliness, when woman walks the halls of fancy -- magnificence herself -- the brightest object in the midst of brightness and beauty. A thousand faces were there, bright in intelligence, and radiant with beauty, looking joy and congratulation to each other, and spreading around spells which the loves and the graces bind on the heart of the sterner sex.
It only remains to speak of the ladies' supper-room, which was separated from the large apartment, by flags elegantly festooned, and raised at the given signal. Mirrors, and splendid lights, and emblems, and statues, and devices, beyond the writer's abilities to describe, ornamented this part of the house in common with the rest. Upon the supper table was placed, floating in its proper element, (the waters of Erie,) a miniature canal-boat, made entirely of maple sugar, and presented to Governor Clinton by Colonel Hinman, of Utica. The refreshments were excellent, and considering the vast numbers who were to partake of them, very plentifully provided. At a seasonable hour the company retired, with memories stored for future conversation, with the events, and decorations, and splendors of "The Grand Canal Ball."
During the visit of the western committees, they received every attention from the Corporation. They were accompanied by committees on visits to our principal institutions, and a dinner was given them at Bellevue. They remained several days enjoying the hospitalities of the city; and when they departed with their boats for the West, they were furnished with a keg of water taken from the "briny deep," for the purpose of being mingled with the waters of Lake Erie. The keg was handsomely ornamented with the arms of the city, over which were the words, in letters of gold, "Neptune's return to Pan," and under the same, the words, "New York, 4th Nov. 1825." Upon the other side of the keg were the words, "Water of the Atlantic."
The Seneca Chief arrived at Buffalo, on Wednesday, November the twenty-third, after a quick and prosperous passage. The committee was received with a hearty welcome, and it was resolved to complete the grand ceremonies by mingling the waters on Friday the twenty-fifth. Accordingly, on that day, a large and respectable number of ladies and gentlemen, with the village band of music, repaired on board the boat, at the upper dock, and were towed from thence through the basin into the Lake, by several yawl boats, which were politely furnished by the masters of the different vessels then lying at the wharves. At ten o'clock, A.M., the ceremony of mingling the waters, under a salute from Captain Crary's artillery, was performed by Judge Wilkeson, who delivered an appropriate address on the occasion; after which the boat was towed back to the dock, and the company dispersed with all those feelings of gratification which the interesting ceremony was calculated to produce. In the evening, the gentlemen of the village assembled at the Eagle Tavern, and unanimously passed sundry resolutions expressive of their sincere acknowledgements for the polite and hospitable treatment their committee had received from the corporation and citizens of New York and Albany, and the respective villages along the whole line of the Canal.
Thus was the proud festival and the attendant ceremonies concluded. And thus has closed one of the greatest, happiest, proudest, most propitious scenes, our state has ever witnessed. Excepting that day on which she joined the national confederacy, there is none like it. What visions of glory rush upon the mind, as it attempts to lift the curtain of futurity and survey the rising destiny of New York through the long vista of years to come! For, whatever party rules, whatever political chief rises or falls, agriculture, manufactures and commerce, must still remain the greatest of our concerns; and by the opening of the Canal, these three great vital interests are all most eminently promoted. What a wide spread region of cultivated soil has already been brought within the near vicinity of the greatest market on our continent! How many manufacturing establishments have had the value of every thing connected with them doubled by this "meeting of the waters!" How vastly have the internal resources of this metropolis been in one day practically extended! Without adverting to the cheering prospects of future times, how much has been already effected at this present hour, in the enhancement of the total value of the whole state! If we justly consider the Hudson, flowing through the densest population and best cultivated territory, an invaluable blessing, and indeed, a leading feature of our local advantages, what must be the opening of a new and additional river, twice the navigable length of the Hudson, and traversing a region, whose population and agricultural wealth will soon rival, and even surpass, those of its banks? A river which, in one year more, will carry our trade to the foot of the Falls of St. Mary, and will eventually give us access to the most remote shore of Lake Superior.
The authors and builders -- the heads who planned, and the hands who executed this stupendous work, deserve a perennial monument; and they will have it. To borrow an expression from the highest of all sources, "the works which they have done, these will bear witness of them." Europe already begins to admire -- America can never forget to acknowledge, that THEY HAVE BUILT THE LONGEST CANAL IN THE WORLD IN THE LEAST TIME, WITH THE LEAST EXPERIENCE, FOR THE LEAST MONEY, AND TO THE GREATEST PUBLIC BENEFIT.
Extract from the Buffalo Journal, Nov. 29, 1825.
RETURN OF THE SENECA CHIEF TO BUFFALO.
The boat arrived in our harbor, from the Atlantic, on Wednesday the twenty-third instant, after a pleasant and quick passage, laden with a rich cargo of merchandize from New York, having on board a goodly number of passengers, a healthy crew, and an elegant keg filled with water taken from the "briny deep," which was presented by the Corporation of New York to the citizens of this village, for the purpose of being mingled with the waters of Lake Erie. This keg was handsomely ornamented with the arms of the city, over which were the words, in letters of gold "Neptune's Return to Pan," and under the same, the words "New York, 4th Nov. 1825." Upon the other side of the keg were the words "Water of the Atlantic."
After welcoming the return of the boat, with the Buffalo Committee, it was resolved that the ceremony of mingling the waters should take place on Friday, the twenty-fifth instant. On that day a large and respectable number of ladies and gentlemen, with the village band of music, repaired on board the boat, at the upper dock, and were towed from thence through the basin into the Lake, by several yawl boats, which were politely furnished by the masters of the different vessels then lying at the wharves. At ten o'clock, A.M. the ceremony of mingling the waters under a salute from Captain Crary's artillery, was performed by Judge Wilkeson, who delivered the following address:--
"The joyful event of the completion of the Erie Canal was a few days since announced to us, since which we have heard or witnessed the congratulations of a grateful people, and the honors which seem, by a simultaneous impulse, to have been awarded to the founders of this great work.
"The delegation sent by you, in the first boat from the Lake, to receive and reciprocate the civilities upon the borders of the Canal and the Hudson, have performed the duties assigned to them, and from the Western Seas to the Atlantic, have had the gratification of beholding all the evidences of public gratitude, which could be elicited by one continual round of joy and festivity.
"It would be ungrateful in the Committee, not to notice the hospitality which distinguished their reception at the great commercial emporium of our country. There, in pursuance of arrangements marked with peculiar splendor and magnificence, the waters of the Lake were mingled with those of the Ocean; and we, in return, now unite those of the Ocean with the Lake.
"This, fellow-citizens, closes the ceremonies which have grown out of an event hereafter to be held in grateful remembrance, and commemorated by annual demonstrations of gratitude, as one of the most important which has distinguished the history of mankind, and one from which not only the present, but generations yet unborn, even to the latest posterity, are to derive innumerable blessings."
After which the boat was towed back to the dock, and the company dispersed, with all those feelings of gratification which the interesting ceremony was calculated to produce. In the evening, the gentlemen of the village assembled at the Eagle Tavern, and unanimously expressed the following sentiments:--
"RESOLVED, -- That the citizens of this village do with unfeigned pleasure tender to the Corporation and citizens of New York, their sincere acknowledgements for their very polite and hospitable treatment to the Committee from this place, in the late celebration.
"RESOLVED, -- That the Corporation, Committees, and citizens of Albany, are entitled to the like thanks and acknowledgements, for their highly esteemed and patriotic conduct on the same occasion.
"RESOLVED, -- That it is due to the different Committees and citizens of their respective villages on the whole line of the Canal, who were engaged in the late proud celebration, to acknowledge the exceeding kindness and hospitality to the Committee and guests on board the "Seneca Chief," while performing her first voyage from Lake Erie to the Atlantic.
This sketch is taken from the Genesee level, representing the village of Lockport as it first bursts upon the eye when approaching it from the East. After passing over a monotonous level of sixty-two miles without a lock, the eye of the traveller is suddenly arrested by a formidable terrace of rocks, about eighty feet in height, forming the Eastern extremity of the "Mountain Ridge." The Canal enters this terrace, a distance of seventy or eighty rods, through a natural ravine, forming a convenient harbor for an hundred boats, or more.
The terrace presents itself here in the form of two capes or promontories, with an abrupt elevation of eighty feet; the one on the right hand remains in a perfect state of nature; the one on the left has been cut away for some distance for the purpose of forming an embankment on the opposite side of the Canal.
Approaching Lockport from the East nothing of the village can be seen until the boat is just doubling this cape, when in an instant the whole scene opens to view, and the sound of the bugle announces its approach.
The singularly romantic appearance of this place, with its striking contrast and sudden transition from the tedious monotony of the country below, must fill the mind of every traveller with peculiar delight as he approaches it from the East. The abrupt eminence seen in the left of the sketch is denominated by the village "Prospect Hill." It appears at first sight to overlook the village, but is only of equal height, being the summit level of the Mountain Ridge.
Drawn from nature and lithographed by Geo. Catlin, Esq.
This sketch, taken from the top of the terrace, presents a more general view of the village and harbor.
From the singular and appropriate form of this basin it would almost seem as if nature had formed it for the purpose to which it is now applied. At its head it is of a circular form, and surrounded by a rampart of rocks; its form is somewhat similar to a funnel, its banks describing about two-thirds of a circle. The declivity of the hill to the basin is such as to admit of a tolerably easy ascent and descent for the transaction of business, and affords the finest advantages for the location of manufactories, for the operation of which there will be an abundant supply of water discharged through a waste gate at the head of the locks, with a fall of sixty feet.
In this view are distinctly seen the fine double locks by which the Canal lifts itself sixty feet to the summit level of Lake Erie. To prevent the detention of boats the locks are made double, one tier being exclusively for the purpose of boats ascending, the other for descending. At the summit of these locks the Canal commences its course to the Westward, cut through solid rock for three miles, varying from twenty to thirty feet.
The village, as will be seen in this sketch, is situated on both sides of the Canal, immediately above the locks; its foundation is on solid rock, but in most parts covered with a light soil. It contains about fifteen hundred or two thousand inhabitants, and a few of its buildings are remarkably fine, being built of stone; the remainder are built of logs, and intended only for temporary use.
Drawn from nature and lithographed by Geo. Catlin, Esq.
This sketch is a representation of the Canal on the upper level, exhibiting the interior perspective of the excavation one mile West of Lockport, shewing the stratification of the rocks, and the manner of towing boats through the excavation.
A ride through this chasm for three miles, on a Canal-boat, between those formidable walls of solid rock, where nothing is to be seen above their summits, though in the midst of a forest, is calculated to excite in the susceptible mind the most pleasing and singular sensations. These walls are from twenty to thirty feet high, and all the way perpendicular, though their surface is extremely uneven by the fracture in blasting.
Except for a few feet in thickness at the top, the whole wall is formed of geodiferous limestone rock, containing in its cavities the most beautiful colors of crystalization, on which the passing stranger is continually catching his eye and reluctantly passing.
The tow-path in the deepest cutting is about one-third of the distance down the wall, and sufficiently wide for two horses to pass; the outer extremity of it is secured by a sill of hewn timber, which is a security for the horse, and gives freedom to the tow-line which slides over it.
Drawn from nature and lithographed by Geo. Catlin, Esq.
This sketch gives a representation of the highly interesting manner in which this great work was performed, shewing all the means of excavating in full operation. The excavation being entirely in solid rock, for three miles, it was consequently effected by boring and blasting only; for this purpose from ten to fifteen hundred men were employed for several years; most of them were employed within the excavation, and the requisite number without, for the purpose of disengaging the stone from the Canal. The principle means of raising the stone were the cranes represented in the sketch.
These cranes are an ingenious application of mechanics to a horse power, enabling him to raise a ton weight or more from the bottom of the Canal, and discharge it in huge piles at a distance of sixty or seventy feet from the excavation, and fifty feet above its banks. They were generally set a regular distances from each other, (sixty or seventy feet,) and fifteen or twenty feet from the Canal, allowing the extremity of their gibs to describe about to the middle of the chasm.
These cranes were some of them made double, which not only seemed to accelerate their operations, but to add materially to their strength. They were worked by a horse, whose power upon the axle, by means of a lever, was very great. The gib was so constructed as to act with great ease around the arbour, and where the weight was raised to its proper height, one man, by a line descending from the extremity of the gib, would easily describe the machine as to bring the weight down directly over the heap where it was discharged, and easily return it by the same means.
Each of these cranes formed a heap of rocks, as seen in the sketch, and when in full operation for three miles in length, and the work progressing under the hands of fifteen hundred men, under a continual cloud of smoke, and almost incessant explosion of rocks, produced a novel and interesting scene.
Since the completion of the Canal these cranes have all been destroyed, and nothing remains along the banks of the Canal except those huge piles of rocks, as seen in the sketch, extending for three miles. As nothing of these are to be seen from the Canal-boat, while passing through the excavation, I would recommend to the curious and romantic traveller to spend a day along these banks, where he can easily amuse himself among the beautiful minerals with which these heaps abound.
Drawn from nature and lithographed by Geo. Catlin, Esq.
As at Albany the Canal commences, so at Buffalo it terminates; along the bottom of the terrace on which the town is seated, it is seen, until it communicates with the harbor in the creek.
This was drawn from nature and lithographed by Geo. Catlin, Esq.
From the terrace the view extends over the Canal, terminating in the basin, the creek and harbor, the shipping and lighthouse, with the long breakwater projecting into Lake Erie; on the horizon, in the centre, is the expanse of that Lake; on the right of the picture is the American, and on the left of it the Canada shores.
This was drawn from nature and lithographed by Geo. Catlin, Esq.
This view was taken from a Canal-boat, and represents the scene where the two artificial rivers of our State unite; it is herewith given for the purpose of conveying to those unacquainted with its locality, and idea of its scenery.
This subject was drawn on the spot by a gentleman competent to the task; drawn on Lithographic stone by Mr. Felix Duponchel, and printed at the press of Mr. Imbert.
This subject is taken from a Canal-boat, in passing across the great dam which has been made across the Mohawk River, for the purpose of enabling the boats on the Northern Canal to pass the river on a level. The beautiful scenery surrounding the Cahooes has long been the subject of admiration to the traveller of taste; the romantic wildness of the banks of the Mohawk can hardly be surpassed. This View is taken at the moment the Falls first appear, and is decidedly the most picturesque point from which they can be seen; as the Canal-boat progresses in the Basin, the elongation of the covered bridge below is fully relieved by the white foam of the more distant Falls.
The Basin, from whence this View is taken, is not the least admirable effort of art over nature which the traveller beholds in the construction of our Canals.
This View was taken on the spot by the same gentleman who favored us with that of the "Junction of the Western and Northern Canals," drawn on Lithographic stone by Mr. Felix Duponchel, and printed by Mr. Imbert, 79, Murray Street.