British Views of Nineteenth-Century New York
Edited by Roger M. Haydon
Winner of the 1982 John Ben Snow Manuscript Prize
After the War of 1812, British travelers, intensely curious about the United States, poured across the Atlantic. Hundreds published their impressions in lively, quarrelsome books that infuriated and enchanted Americans and Britons alike. Most of these volumes have been out of print for a century or more.
Here Roger Haydon brings together forty-two excerpts from one generation of these travelers' accounts, between 1815 and 1845, when New York State was a microcosm of the country. In his introduction and prefaces to each selection he describes the kinds of tourists who visited and how they traveled, assessing the general accuracy of their accounts, and provides pertinent background information.
The readings follow the period's most popular itinerary—up the Hudson Valley through Albany and its environs on to the spas and the Champlain Valley, across the state via the Erie Canal, the Genesee Valley, and the Finger Lakes to the Niagara Frontier, and down into the Southern Tier—to record in vivid detail the generation that saw New York State come to dominate the nation. In Upstate Travels, these travelers' voices are accessible again to entertain and inform all who are interested in New York history. Bibliography, index, and dozens of period illustrations are included.