Memoirs of an American Lady With Sketches of Manners and Scenery in America, as They Existed Previous to the Revolution
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AN AMERICAN LADY.
Among the scenes of peculiar interest the Americantraveller is, as it were, under a patriotic obligation tovisit while abroad, may be mentioned the birth-place ofColumbus near Genoa, Cave Castle, the mansion of theWashington family in the Wolds of Yorkshire, and theabode at Edinburgh of the venerable authoress of“Letters from the Mountains.” In acknowledgmentof what we all owe to her, and as a heartfelt tribute ofadmiration, and affection for her talents, and virtues, thepresent work being out of print, the opportunity of republishingwhat so much identifies Mrs. Grant of Laghanwith our country, is gladly seized upon by one whosince one of those pilgrimages has long enjoyed the benigninfluence of her society and correspondence. Thesimple circumstances she relates of herself, and the gentlespirit of the whole work render it unnecessary todeprecate criticism; and the praise of Southey whopronounced the “description of the breaking up of theice in the Hudson,” as “quite Homeric,” must bespeakfor it a favourable perusal. As a picture, taken at thedawning of the Revolution, of the clouds which thenpassed along to have vanished otherwise forever, and asone in a series of works shedding light upon that momentousperiod of which the “Pioneers” is its naturalsuccessor, its reappearance must be a welcome event inthe marshalling of American literature now in progress.
It is very probable that the friends, by whose solicitationsI was induced to arrange in the following pages myearly recollections, studied more the amusement I shouldderive from executing this task, than any pleasure theycould expect from its completion.
The principal object of this work is to record the fewincidents, and the many virtues which diversified anddistinguished the life of a most valued friend. Thoughno manners could be more simple, no notions more primitivethan those which prevailed among her associates,the stamp of originality with which they were marked,and the peculiar circumstances in which they stood, bothwith regard to my friend, and the infant society to whichthey belonged, will, I flatter myself, give an interest withreflecting minds, even to this desultory narrative; andthe miscellany of description, observation, and detailwhich it involves.
If truth, both of feeling and narration, which are itsonly merits, prove a sufficient counterbalance to carelessness,laxity, and incoherence of style, its prominentfaults, I may venture to invite you, when you unbendfrom the useful and honourable labours to which yourvaluable time is devoted, to trace this feeble delineationof an excellent, though unembellished character; andof the rapid pace with which an infant society has urgedon its progress from virtuous simplicity, to the dangerous“knowledge of good and evil:” from tremulous imbecilityto self-sufficient independence.
To be faithful, a delineation must necessarily beminute. Yet if this sketch, with all its imperfections,be honoured by your indulgent perusal, such condescensionof time and talent must certainly be admired,and may, perhaps, be imitated by others.
I am, sir, very respectfully,
Your faithful, humble servant,
London, Oct. 1808.
|I.||Province of New-York—Origin of the settlement at Albany—Singular possession held by the patron—Account of his tenants||19|
|II.||Account of the Five Nations, or Mohawk Indians—Building of the Fort at Albany—John and Philip Schuyler||22|
|III.||Colonel Schuyler persuades four sachems to accompany him to England—Their reception and return||27|
|IV.||Return of Colonel Schuyler and the Sachems to the interior—Literary acquisitions—Distinguishes and instructs his favourite niece—Manners of the settlers||30|
|V.||State of religion among the settlers—Instruction of children devolved on females—to whom the charge of gardening, &c. was also committed—Sketch of the state of the society at New-York||34|
|VI.||Description of Albany—Manner of living there—Hermitage, &c.||37|
|VII.||Gentle treatment of slaves among the Albanians—Consequent attachment of domestics—Reflections on servitude||41|
|VIII.||Education and early habits of the Albanians described||46|
|IX.||Description of the manner in which the Indian traders set out on their first adventure||52|
|X.||Marriages, amusements, rural excursions, &c. among the Albanians||62|
|XI.||Winter amusements of the Albanians, &c.||68|
|XIII.||Progress of knowledge—Indian manners||79|
|XIV.||Marriage of Miss Schuyler—Description of the Flats||87|
|XV.||Character of Philip Schuyler—His management of the Indians||92|
|XVI.||Account of the three brothers||96|
|XVII.||The house and rural economy of the Flats—Birds and insects||98|
|XVIII.||Description of Colonel Schuyler’s barn, the common, and its various uses||104|
|XIX.||Military preparations—Disinterested conduct, the surest road to popularity—Fidelity of the Mohawks||108|
|XX.||Account of a refractory warrior, and of the spirit which still pervaded the New-England provinces||112|
|XXI.||Distinguishing characteristics of the New-York colonists, to what owing—Huguenots and Palatines, their character||115|
|XXII.||A child still-born—Adoption of children common in the province—Madame’s visit to New-York||118|
|XXIII.||Colonel Schuyler’s partiality to the military children successively adopted—Indian character falsely charged with idleness||122|
|XXIV.||Progress of civilization in Europe—Northern nations instructed in the arts of life by those they had subdued||126|
|XXV.||Means by which the independence of the Indians was first diminished||133|
|XXVI.||Peculiar attractions of the Indian mode of life—Account of a settler who resided some time among them||137|
|XXVII.||Indians only to be attached by being converted—The abortive expedition of Mons. Barre—Ironical sketch of an Indian||142|
|XXVIII.||Management of the Mohawks by the influence of the christian Indians||147|
|XXIX.||Madame’s adopted children—Anecdote of sister Susan||152|
|XXX.||Death of young Philip Schuyler—Account of his family, and of the society at the Flats||159|
|XXXII.||Resources of Madame—Provincial customs||172|
|XXXIII.||Followers of the army—Inconveniences resulting from such||177|
|XXXIV.||Arrival of a new regiment—Domine Freylinghausen||182|
|XXXV.||Plays acted—Displeasure of the Domine||187|
|XXXVI.||Return of Madame—The Domine leaves his people—Fulfilment of his predictions||192|
|XXXVII.||Death of Colonel Schuyler||197|
|XXXVIII.||Mrs. Schuyler’s arrangements and conduct after the colonel’s death||201|
|XXXIX.||Mohawk Indians—The superintendent||205|
|XL.||General Abercrombie—Lord Howe||210|
|XLI.||Total defeat at Ticonderoga—General Lee—Humanity of madame||216|
|XLII.||The family of madame’s sister—The death of|