« PreviousContinue »
The Mink is about 16 inches long, and in general form resembles the weasel. It is of a dark color, and burrows in the vicinity of water. It is still found in most parts of the state.
The Otter very much resembles the mink in form and habits. Its color is not so dark, but its size is much greater. It is now seldom met with.
Neither of these animals, though classed as amphibious, can live any considerable length of time under water. Sec. XIII.
Of Fish, the waters of this state present a numerous list. They are however rapidly diminishing. The Salmon has long since ceased to visit the Hudson. Our western waters supply the salmon of the lakes in great abundance; while the northern abound with several varieties of Trout.
Shoals of Shad and Herring annually visit the Hudson, and the Sturgeon may be said to abound, and is nowhere better, than in this river. In the southern part of this state, the variety of fish is very great, having the stores of the Atlantic. No fish market in the world is better supplied, than that of New York. The Oysters have a high reputation.
Bass, pike, and a considerable variety of others visit Albany, but neither the Hudson or Mohawk can be called good for fish. The Oneida is the best fishing ground of any of our small western lakes,
The muscanunge, black fish, the pike, or pickerel, of the western lakes are much esteemed. The cat fish makes excellent eating, when skilfully dressed.
What is said of the Mink?- -Otter?
habited by a race averse to improvement, rude and uncultivated, as the scenery around them. Over this wide spread profusion of nature's gifts, the Savage held uncontrolled dominion, and found in the deep recesses of the forest a safe and welcome retreat.
The original inhabitants of this state were Indians. The Iroquois,* and the Delawares, a tribe of the Mohekaneews, were in possession at the time of Hudson's discovery. They belong to the great family, which has been denominated the Man of America. In the appearance and countenance of the Indians, there is an uncommon uniformity and resemblance. They all possess nearly the same distinguishing characteristics, and together, constitute a distinct race.
Their persons were tall, straight, and well proportioned. Their skins were red, or copper brown; their eyes were small, black, and very active ; their hair, long, black, and coarse. Their features were regular and well adjusted, but their countenance expressive of wildness, and ferocity. In constitution, they were firm and vigorous, capable of sustaining great fatigue and hardship.
As to general character, they were quick of apprehension, and not wanting in genius. At times, they were friendly, and even courteous.
* Iroquois, The Five Nations. Afterwards, The Six Nations.
By what race was the country inhabited ?
What tribes were in possession at the time of Hudson's discovery ? -To what family do they belong ?--Give a description of their persons.--Of their general character.
In council, they were distinguished for gravity and eloquence; in war, for bravery and address. When provoked to anger, they were sullen and retired ; and when determined upon revenge, no danger would deter them; neither absence nor time could cool them. If captured by an enemy, they never asked life, nor would they betray emotions of fear, even in view of the tomahawk, or the kindling faggot.
Hunting, fishing, and war, constituted the principal employments of the men, and when not engaged in these pursuits, or their occasional amusements, they generally passed their time in a state of absolute inactivity. They were averse to agriculture, and considered it a most degrading avocation. The means of subsistence were mostly derived from the chase, and the spontaneous productions of the earth.
“ The amusements of the men were principally leaping, shooting at marks, dancing, and gaming,-in all of which they made the most violent exertions. Their dances were usually performed round a large fire. In their war dances, they sung the feats which they or their ancestors had achieved ; represented the manner in which they were performed, and wrought themselves up to an inexpressible degree of martial enthusiasm. The females occasionally joined in some of these sports, but had none peculiar to themselves.”
They dressed in the skins of wild beasts, and were fond of ornaments. They arranged the hair in many singular forms, and adorned it with feathers. They perforated the nose and ears, and had pieces of metal, shells, or shining stones attached to them. They painted the face and body with different colors and figures.
Their treatment of females was cruel and oppressive. They were considered by the men as slaves, and treated
What were the principal employments of the men ?- How did they obtain the means of subsistence? What were their amusements ?—How were they dressed ?
-How did they treat their women ?
Sec. xiv. The number of Pirds, that visit this widely extended, and diversified territory, or reside in it, is surprisingly great. Long Island alone presents a catalogue
of more thar. one hundred and fifty species, besides many others, that remain there, but a small part o! the season. The Virginia Nightingale, the most elegant songster of the American forest. with numerous other migratory birds spend the summer in our western regions.
Of Insects, there is a considerable number of varieties. During the warm season, the earth, and atmosphere teem with these specimens of animated nature. They are, however, for the most part, neither venomous, nor otherwise injurious.
Of Serpents, and Reptiles, the number is small. The Rattlesnake is the only one which is poisonous, and its numbers, never great, are rapidly diminishing. The Black snake, Water snakes, small Striped snake, and Green snake, with several others, perfectly inoffensive, are occasionally found.
XIV. What is said of Birds ? Of Insects ?-Of Serpents, and Reptiles ?
VIEW OF THE COUNTRY
AT THE TIME OF ITS DISCOVERY BY HUDSON.
State of the country. Aborigines. Iroquois.
Their Confederacy Antiquities. Inference. Their authors, and origin of the Indian race.
Sec. I. At the period of Hudson's discovery, the country was mostly in an unimproved state. From its general appearance, and from the traditions of its inhabitants, we infer, that it had previously continued in this situation for a łong succession of ages.
No traces of recent civilization enlivened the dreary waste. A few scattered villages comprising a limited number of habitations, of the most imperfect construction, and some feeble and ill directed attempts at agriculture announced the more frequented haunts of savage-life ; but by far the greater part of this extensive territory was covered by an unbroken wilderness.
The several varieties of game, and the spontaneous productions of the earth were everywhere numerous, and abundant. The luxuriance of vegetation evinced the fertility of a soil, which required only the hand of art to render it in the highest degree subservient to the wants of man. But the country was in
What was the state of the country at the time of Hudson's discovery? -What is said of the spontaneous productions of the earth ?
Of the fertility of the soil ?