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No. September, 1871 - Vol. XLIII


    Montauk Point - the eastern extremity of Long Island - is a region comparatively unknown, except to a few sportsmen, attracted thither by its very wildness, and to such tourists as find especial charms in its seclusion, and in the bold and picturesque scenery of its defiant promontory, upon which the wild Atlantic incessantly beats, and sometimes with tremendous violence. We had been informed that these tourists had a "hard road to travel," leading, after all, only to a -"wild, desolate country, infested by mosquitoes and snakes."
    Nevertheless I was glad to escape from the monotony of every-day routine. and, with two congenial friends, venture forth upon this tour, which, whatever might be the difficulties attending it, was certainly unhackneyed. No sedulous Murray or Fetridge had preceded us.  Even Harpers Magazine - that universal cyclopedia of' travel, discovery, and adventure, which had explored the most secret recesses of Africa, the arctic mysteries, the isles of the Pacific, and the wilderness beyond the "high Rockies"--had, by a sort of telescopic instinct, overlooked this brave little headland right under its nose. Neither pen nor pencil had taken oft' the edge of the novelty and romance of our terra incognita.
    We chose a beautiful October afternoon of last autumn for the commencement of our excursion. We took the boat for Sag Harbor. The last bell expressed our glad adieus to the dusty metropolis, the gang-plank was taken aboard, and our pretty little steamer - the Eastern City was soon out in the stream, heading eastward. Rounding Corlaer's Hook, we passed the Brooklyn Navy-yard on our right, with its ship--houses and spacious workshops; the quaint hull of the old line-of-battle ship Vermont, standing out in marked contrast with the more graceful models of our modern ships of war and Ericsson's "cheese-box" monitors. What manifestations of life and incessant activity throng the river, which is swarming with caft of every description--stately three-masted schooners, sloops, fishing--smacks, and ferryboats, and, darting hither anti thither, the lively little tugs, always in haste, and seemingly out of breath! Here we are passing the old Novelty Works on our left, now almost silent and lifeless, where, years ago, the machinery of the pioneer ocean steamers--the Washington, and the Collins ships--was manufactured. In those days both shores of this East River were lined with ship-yards in full operation. We pass Blackwell's and Randall's islands--devoted to the noble charities of New York city--and through Hell Gate, soon, we hope, to be deprived of its ancient terrors, as the government engineers are silently boring their way into and under the solid rock, expecting by one blast to destroy this perilous reef. With Ravenswood and Astoria on our right, we thread our way by and around the lovely wooded points out into Flushing Bay. Then past Riker's Island and beautiful Whitestone, with its charming bay--the place of rendezvous of the New York Yacht Fleet--and directly we are abreast of Fort Schuyler, frowning with heavy guns from its battlements. Past the fort, out into Long Island Sound. On the left, and westward, lies City Island, famed for its oysters.
    All this time we have been passing through a fleet of eastward-bound vessels, that, sped by a fair tide and favorable wind, reaches to the dim horizon. Looking backward to the setting sun, what a flood of beauty fills our view, vividly bringing to our mind those radiant verses of Samuel Longfellow:
"The golden sea its mirror spreads
     Beneath the golden skies,
And but a narrow strip between
      Of land and shadow lies.
"The cloud-like rocks, the rock-like clouds'.
     Dissolved in glory float,
And, midway of the radiant flood,
     Hangs silently the boat.
The sea is but another sky,
     The sky a sea as well,
And which Is earth, and which the heavens,
     The eye can sesrceiy tell.
"So when for us life's evening hour
     Soft-fading shall descend,
May glory, born of earth and heaven,
     The earth and heavens blend.
"Flooded with peace the spirit float, 
     With silent. rapture glow,
Till where earth ends and heaven begins 
     The soul shall scarcely know."
     The sun has gone, and as the twilight deepens, the full, silver-faced moon rises above the picturesquely wooded "Sands Point ;" and the Star in the light-house grows in brilliancy as the darkness increases. We are loath to leave the deck, but supper is ready, and our appetites sharpened by the fresh air, persuade us to go below.
     One hour later the pageant of the evening had dissolved, and now  the moon looks down, throwing her silvery light in gentle ripples to our feet.   The air is full of mystic softness. Our artist friend talks of the  Mediterranean, of ' ter than we had anticipated, winding through Capri--its rocks and grottoes--of Venice, of Turner, the great interpreter, of life in Rome; and art, with all its inspiring memories, crowds upon us. The bachelor of our party chants in a Minor key,
"Ask me no more: the moon may draw the sea;
       The cloud may stoop from heaven and take the
        With fold to fold, of mountain and of cape;
But, oh, too fond, when have I answered thee?
                                                        Ask me no more."
    Our cigars are ashes. "Good-night! Good-night!"
    The next morning, on waking, we found the boat fast at her dock in Sag Harbor, and the stage waiting. We concluded to go on at once and breakfast at East Hampton, and were soon rolling out of the old town, which years ago below enjoyed a prosperous business, owning and sending to sea forty vessels engaged in whaling, and one hundred and thirty in the cod-fishing and coasting trade. Our road left the town in a  southeastward direction, and proved much better than we had anticipated, winding through a young growth of dwarf oak and pine, and with only one house for five miles of the way, As we approached East Hampton the woods gave place to clearings and cultivated fields. Presently, at a turn in the road, we caught a glimpse of the old church spire above the roofs and foliage; and passing through a beautiful lane, that reminded us of some of Birket Foster's bits of English landscape, we entered the main street, which is twiee the width of Broadway, carpeted with emerald-green turf, with wagon ruts running through the centre. Weather-beaten houses stood close to the foot-paths, embowered in foliage; and here and there we saw large flocks of geese stretching in undulating lines across the road. Passing the first church, shingle-covered, rotten and crumbling with the wear of one hundred and fifty-three years, its bent and rusty vane creaking in the wind, just across the street stands "Clinton Academy," once holding high rank among the educational institutions of the State and here, in close proximity, is the birth-place of J. Howard Payne, anthor of "Home, Sweet Home." In the distance we catch a view of the great arms of a windmill moving slowly, "Its delicate white vans against the sky, So soft and soundless, simply beautiful."
    Our driver put us down in front of the hospitable house of Mr. --, one and a half hours from Sag Harbor; and here, while breakfast is being prepared, let us take a backward glance at East Hampton, and ascertain what manner of men settled this quaint, drowsy old village, gray and moss-covered with age,  and telling of pre-Revolntionarv times.
    We learn that at the time the great struggle between king and Commons was beginning in  England--during the time of John Hampden and Milton--a hand of Puritan neighbors, mostly farnmers. Ieft their comfortable homes in Maidstone, Kent, on the river Medway, thirty miles from London. They first landed at Salem, Massachusetts, and a short time afterward found their way to the easterly end of Long Island, and founded the town of East Hampton in the year 1649, purchasing the lands from the Indians as far east as Montauk for the sum of £30 4s. 8d. sterling. It was then an unbroken wilderness, and the Indians were numerous on every side. On the east, at "Montaukett," the royal Wyandanck swayed the sceptre; on the north, at Shelter Island, his brother, Poggotacut, ruled the tribe of "Manhassetts ;" and a third brother ruled over the "Shinecocks." And here, in the dark and gloomy forest, in silence unbroken save by the Indian war-whoop, the cry of the wild beasts, or the solemn roar of the ocean, they made their earthly home, and laid the foundations of a government insuring to all the people the largest civil and religious liberty.
"Amidst the storm they sang;
     And the stars heard and the sea:
And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang 
     To the anthem of the free.
"The ocean eagle soared
     From his nest by the white wave's foam, 
And the rocking pines of the forest roared:
     This was their welcome home."
    One hundred and twenty-five years later the sons of this good old stock voted, Jttne 17, 1774, to "co-operate with our brethren in this colony to defend our liberties." During the Revolutionary war the town suffered many heavy blows; but through the long seven years of hardship and struggle it is not known that any Tory ever made his home on its sacred soil. "The intelligence and morals of her people and the genius of her sons have been among the brightest ornaments of the Empire State."
    The "old church" represented in the vignette was built in 1717. The bell and clock are over a century and a quarter old. Its first pastor received for his support "forty-five pounds annually, lands rate free, grain to be first ground at the mill every Monday, and one-fourth of the whales stranded on the beach." On the death of Dr. Buel, the third pastor, in the year 1799, Rev. Lyman Beecher was settled over the church. Referring to Dr. Beecher's autobiography, we do not find that he makes any positive statement as to the addition made to his income through the misfortunes. of "stranded whales;" but we do learn, however, that ''as late as about 1700 it is said that a woman named Abigail Baker, in riding from East Hampton to Bridgeharnpton, saw  thirteen whales along the shore between the two places." Dr. Beecber married immediately after his settlement, and the following narrative, communicated to his children, allows the difficulties which he and his wife encountered in setting up housekeeping. "There was not a store in town, and all our purchases were made in New York by a small schooner that ran once a week. We had no carpets; there was not a carpet from end to end of the town. All had sanded floors, some of them worn through. Your mother introduced the first carpet. Uncle Lot gave me some money, and I had an itch to spend it. Went to a vendue, and bought a bale of cotton. She spun it, and had it woven; then she laid it down, sized it,
and painted it in oils, with a border all around it, and bunches of roses and other flowers over the centre. She sent to New York for her colors, and ground and mixed them herself. The carpet was nailed down on the garret floor, and she used to go up there and paint. She took some common wooden chairs and painted them, and cut out figures of gilt paper, and glued them on and varnished them, They were really quite Pretty."
    H. B. Stowe. "That carpet is one of the first things I remember, with its pretty border."
    CHARLES. "It lasted till my day, and covered the east room in our Litchfield home."
    H. B. STOWE. ''Well, father, what did East Hampton folks say to that ?"
    "Oh. they thought it fine. Old Deacon Tallmadge came to see me. He stopped at the parlor door, and seemed afraid to come in. "Walk in, deacon, walk in,' said I. Why, I can't,' said he, "thout steppin' on't.' Then, after surveying it a while in admiration, 'D'ye think you can have all that, and heaven too?"
Part Two