A Peep at the House of Representatives in Albany—“The Chair is but a Man,” &c.—Sailing down the Hudson—Dr. Spring—His Morning Sermon—Afternoon Service—Gough the great Lecturer—The Tract House and Steam-presses—May-day in New York—Staten Island—Immigrants—A hurried Glance.
On the 22nd we left Utica at 11 A.M., and reached Albany at 5 P.M. At Schenectady Mr. Delevan got into the same carriage with us; and we had his company to Albany. He had caused to be put into the hand of every passenger by that train a tract on the claims of the Sabbath, a large number of which he had printed at his own expense. He spends an immense fortune in doing good, chiefly by means of the press.
In the evening I strolled out to see a little of Albany, the capital of the State of New York. I gazed with interest on Dr. Sprague’s Church, and wandered until I came to a large building brilliantly lighted. It was the State House or Capitol. The legislature was then in session. I marched on, and got in without the least hinderance. There was no crowd and no stir about the doors. A simple rail divided the part allotted to the spectators from that which was used by the members. About a hundred of the latter were present. The Senate, whose hall was in another part of the same building, had been adjourned till next day. This was the House of Representatives; and they seemed to be in the midst of a very angry discussion. Their cheeks swelled with rage, or with—quids of tobacco. A spittoon, constantly used, was placed by the side of each member. They were rebelling against the speaker; and, of all mortals, I never saw one in a more unenviable position than he. All that his little hammer, his tongue, and his hands could do was of no avail. The storm raged. The words “honourable member,” “unparliamentary,” “order,” “chair,” and “in-quiry,” were bandied about in all directions. One of the “honourable members,” rushing out past me, said with a loud voice, “I’ll go and get a segar,” &c. At last the speaker—poor fellow!—in tones of humiliation and despair said, “The chair is but a man; and, if we err, we are ready to acknowledge our error.”
The next day we left by the steam-boat “Roger Williams,” and sailed down the majestic Hudson to New York, a distance of 145 miles; fare one dollar each. This river has so often been described by travellers that I need not repeat the attempt.
The following day was Saturday. In the afternoon I met Dr. Spring at the Tract House. After the usual salutation, he said, “Shall we hear your voice at our place to-morrow afternoon?”—“I have no objection, sir,—what time does your service commence?” “At 4 o’clock.”—“Very well.” “Where shall I find you?”—“Where will you be?” “I shall be in the pulpit five minutes before the time.”—“Oh! very well, very well.”