The view presented on leaving the city of New York, on our voyage up the river to Albany, is grand and extensive; embracing in the direction of the sea, parts of Long Island, and Staten Island, and the Narrows, with the fortifications on the two former, commanding the latter, and the strong fortifications guarding the approach to the city upon Governor's, Bedlows and Ellis islands. The bay of New York spreads to the southward, and is about eight miles long, and from one and a half to five and a half broad. It is one of the finest harbours in the world, generally open for vessels at all seasons of the year, the currents being so strong that the most severe winters rarely obstruct it with ice for more than a few days.
The Highlands or Fishkill mountains, which first appear about forty miles above New York, attract notice from their grandeur and sublimity, as well as from their association with some of the most important movements of the Revolution. The chain is about sixteen miles in width, and extends along both sides of the Hudson to the distance of twenty miles. Dr. Mitchell has advanced a theory in regard to these Highlands in connection with the Hudson, which has found an able advocate in the talented Mrs. Phelps of Albany. According to their view, this thick and solid barrier in ancient times impeded the course of the water, and raised a lake which might vie with those on the northern frontier of our country. The waters of this lake, they urge, wrought by constant wearing, or a sudden eruption of nature, have severed the mountain chain, and rushed onward to the bosom of the ocean at New York Bay. The theory is by no means inconsistent with the highest authorities in geology.