Archive for the ‘Schieffelin, Hannah Lawrence’ Category

“Niagara Falls: the grandest sight imaginable”

The article I wrote for the online Journal of the American Revolution has appeared. “Niagara Falls: the grandest sight imaginable” is in the August issue and can be found here. I enjoyed doing it as it involved more research into primary sources—I had to include the observations of a few men in addition those of the women (which I already had as a result of my work on the book In the Words of Women). Do have a look. You might want to subscribe to this Journal which is relatively new; it has a number of interesting articles in each issue. I’m searching for another topic on which to write a piece.

The illustration is a watercolor of Niagara Falls from the Canadian side painted by Elizabeth Posthuma Gwillim Graves Simcoe in 1791.

posted August 27th, 2015 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Ashby, George,Izard, Ralph,Niagara Falls,Powell, Ann,Primary sources,Research,Schieffelin, Hannah Lawrence,Simcoe, Elizabeth,Weld, Isaac Jr.

Look for … “The fall . . . is the grandest sight imaginable”

Do check out the online Journal of the American Revolution. An article I wrote about Niagara Falls titled “The fall . . . is the grandest sight imaginable” will be published in the August edition. It includes descriptions of the Falls by several visitors, both men and women (among them Hannah Lawrence Schieffelin, Anne Powell, and Elizabeth Simcoe) who journeyed to see the cataract that was already famous in the eighteenth century. I’m sure you will find other items to pique your interest.

posted July 23rd, 2015 by Janet, comments (1), CATEGORIES: Niagara Falls,Powell, Ann,Primary sources,Schieffelin, Hannah Lawrence,Simcoe, Elizabeth

“This is the scene of gay resort”

Hannah Lawrence, whose Quaker family had remained in New York City during the British occupation, favored the patriots over the “unwelcome invaders.” (See previous post.) She especially deplored the conduct of British soldiers who frequented an area near Trinity Church where prostitutes offered their services. She penned this poem, anonymously, had it printed on broadsheets and dropped them on the streets in the neighborhood. This was a treasonous act and had she been identified as the author she might have hanged for it.

On the Purpose to which the Avenue Adjoining Trinity Church has of late been dedicated, 1779

This is the scene of gay resort,
Here Vice and Folly hold their court,
Here all the Martial band parade,
To vanquish—some unguarded Maid.
Here ambles many a dauntless chief
Who can—oh great ! beyond belief,
Who can—as sage Historians say,
Defeat—whole bottles in array!

Heavens! shall a mean, inglorious train,
The mansions of our dead profane?
A herd of undistinguish’d things.
That shrink beneath the power of Kings!

Sons of the brave immortal band
Who led fair Freedom to this land,
Say—shall a lawless race presume
To violate the sacred Tomb?
And calmly, you, the insult bear—
Even wildest rage were virtue here.

Shades of our Sires, indignant rise,
Oh arm! to vengeance, arm the skies.
Oh rise! for no degenerate son

Bids impious blood the guilt atone,
By thunder from the ethereal plains.
Avenge your own dishonored Manes,
And guardian lightnings flash around,
And vindicate the hallow’d ground!

Ironically, a British soldier by the name of Jacob Schieffelin was billeted at the Lawrence house. Hannah fell in love with him; they married and departed for Canada. Even though her father disapproved, relations between Hannah and her family were not severed. The Schieffelins returned to New York City after the Revolution and Jacob went into the drug business with Hannah’s brother. Schieffelin’s real estate interests extended to northern Manhattan where he, with his brothers-in-law, laid out a village, in the vicinity of what is today West 125th Street and Broadway, called Manhattanville. Streets were named for family members and St. Mary’s Episcopal Church was constructed there. Near the front door of the present church is the vault wherein lie Jacob and Hannah Schieffelin.

The poem and portraits can be found HERE. The portraits were up for auction in 2013; the buyer is unknown. For information about Jacob Schieffelin’s business activities consult this LINK. Also see Manhattanville.

posted April 6th, 2015 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: British soldiers,New York,Poetry,Quakers,Schieffelin, Hannah Lawrence

“Address’d to a Canary Bird”

Since April is poetry month, it is only right that a poem or two appear on this blog. Hannah Lawrence (1758-1838) was the high-spirited, independent-minded daughter of John Lawrence, a New York City Quaker and merchant. In spite of the fact that her sympathies were with the Americans during the Revolution, she married Jacob Shieffelin, a Philadelphia-born loyalist serving in the British army during the occupation of New York City. Against her father’s wishes and the members of the Quaker meeting, it should be said. (See another post about Hannah Lawrence Schieffelin here). Hannah was a poet. Under the name of Mathilda, she wrote in 1774:

Address’d to a Canary Bird.

Pensive warbler cease thy fear
Charmer there’s no danger near
Rest contented, quite secure
From the Ills thy race endure.
If you wing the open air
Ah! what woes await you there!
All the agonizing pains
That the Parents heart sustains
When some Cruel Bird of prey
Bears your new-fledged young away.
Though the skies are now serene
Soon a cloud may change the scene,
Sudden furious winds arise,
Vapours sadden all the Skies
Fiery pointed lights display
Through the gloom a dismal day.
Tremendous thunders roar aloud
From the dark and threatning cloud:
Where, dear trembler, wouldst thou fly
From the inclement raging Sky?
With the object of thy love
Wouldst thou seek the shady grove,
If it, haply kind, will grant
The needful shelter that you want.
Lovly warbler, rest content,
All those cruel Ills prevent.

The poem is from Notebook of Poems by Matilda New York 1774, number I, in the Schieffelin Papers, Box 7, New York Public Library, Manuscripts.

posted April 2nd, 2015 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Poetry,Schieffelin, Hannah Lawrence

“the greatest effort of Nature”

Hannah Lawrence Schieffelin kept a diary when she and her husband traveled to Quebec and Detroit in 1780–1781. Here is her account of a visit to Niagara Falls which she thought lived up to its reputation as “the greatest effort of Nature.”

I proceeded … by slow and intricate windings up that rugged mountain, and contemplated the native wilderness of the scene through which we passed, till my ears were struck with the approaching sound of the falling torrent, and a sudden shower gave us to know that it could not be far distant, while innumberable isicles shook from the trees, on our heads, at every breath of wind, and were as quickly replaced by the constant succession of vapours condensing on the branches.

A considerable River first appeared, rolling down a gradual descent, and forming with the rapidity of its motion over the broken rocks, as we approached nearer the bank which had been worn away to an amazing depth, we were struck with motionless astonishment at the stupendous object that met our veiw, neither our surprize nor the deafening noise we heard, would admit of exclamation, we therefore stood gazing in silent awe and admiration. The whole River rushing abruptly down a terrific precipice, and rebounding in shattered particles, from the violence of its fall on said rocks, to nearly the height from whence it had precipitated itself. The earth seemed to tremble at the shock, and our sinking hearts corresponded with the idea. …

We prepared to descend [the path] to a level with the River … this with great difficulty, caution and the assistance of poles to prevent slipping we effected. … one of the gentlemen … then led me to a point of the rock that projected out in front of the Fall, from whence I could see the River descend as it were from the clouds, and with my eye follow its course, from its first rushing over the top, till it reached the margin of the stream below. … I grew giddy at the veiw. …

This excerpt is from In the Words of Women Chapter 9, page 263. The image above dates from 1774, a few years before the Schieffelins’ visit. It is an engraving published in London by the artist Richard Wilson, based on a sketch made at the falls by a British artilleryman, Lt. Pierie, in 1768. It is part of the Charles Rand Penney Collection of images of Niagara Falls.

posted January 12th, 2012 by Janet, comments (1), CATEGORIES: Niagara Falls,Schieffelin, Hannah Lawrence,Travel

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