Along the Hudson and Mohawk
The 1790 Journey of Count Paolo Andreani
Edited and translated by Cesare Marino and Karim M. Tiro
2006 | 128 pages | Cloth $39.95
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Table of Contents
Introduction: A Bridge to America: Count Paolo Andreani and His Journal
Journal 1790, by Paolo Andreani
—From New York to King's bridge
—[King's Bridge to Albany]
—Of the City of Albany
—From Albany to the Six Nations
—Of the Tuscaroras
—Of the Onondagas
—From Albany to the Mineral Springs near Saratoga
—Of the Valley of New Lebanon, Of the Mineral springs, and of the Quakers called Shakers
—Of the Town of Udson
—Of West Point
Epilogue: "An Incredible Number of Enemies": The Betrayal of Paolo Andreani
Appendix: Letters, 1790-1791
Excerpt [uncorrected, not for citation]
From mid-August to mid-September 1790, count Paolo Andreani of Milan undertook a month-long journey through New York State and eastern Iroquoia. Andreani kept a journal of his observations of the human and physical landscape, as well as the daily details of his progress up the Hudson and Mohawk rivers. He likely intended to publish it in some form, for afterwards he produced a partially edited, annotated, and illustrated version, copied out carefully in his own best hand. Although the journal never appeared in print, the manuscript may well have circulated among members of his family and his network of personal acquaintances in Italy. Because there is no evidence of its translation into French or English, however, it is unlikely that it circulated among his wider circle of correspondents, which included Francisco de Miranda and the Duke de la Rochefoucauld-Liancourt.
No copies of Andreani's original field notes seem to have survived. Nor, with a single exception, have the illustrations alluded to in the text. They may have been seized by the count's many unhappy creditors. Alternatively, they may have sunk in the Atlantic along with some minerals and "other natural curiosities" Andreani sent his brother on an ill-fated vessel; or in a New York river when Andreani's sled fell through the ice, taking with it papers, scientific instruments, and three horses. However, Andreani's fair copy of his travel journal, which runs to 119 numbered pages, survived, and some time in the twentieth century it became the possession (along with several other Andreani journals and papers) of one of Andreani's descendants, Count Antonio Sormani Verri of Milan. In the early 1950s, Count Sormani authorized Professor Antonio Pace, who was then conducting research in Italy, to have the Giornale 1790 microfilmed. Subsequently, as a symbolic return of Count Andreani to America, Pace deposited a microfilm copy of the document in the collections of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, of which Andreani had been elected a member more than a century and a half earlier. Until today, the Giornale has remained virtually unknown and unused and it has never before been translated, edited, and annotated in its entirety.
We have also reproduced a number of Andreani's American letters to his friend, Miranda, and his brother, Gian Mario Andreani. They provide valuable information about those parts of Andreani's visit to America outside the period covered by his diary. These letters also include observations and opinions that Andreani felt inappropriate for his journal. This volume ends with Andreani's departure for Canada in 1791. We are presently collecting the fragments of his extant writings from the remainder of his travels, which took him as far as present-day Minnesota, for future publication.
A Bridge to America: Count Paolo Andreani and His Journal
Count Paolo Andreani began the journal of his 1790 trip at the northern tip of Manhattan Island. He proceeded to traverse a wooden bridge to reach the present-day Bronx, or, as he put it, "to enter the continent." Travelers of Andreani's day were acutely aware of the fact that the City of New York (then confined to the southern end of Manhattan) lay off the coast of North America, separate from the mainland.
Andreani's understanding of geography suggests important differences between his universe—both physical and mental—and our own. He presents us with a long-lost rural world, and he shows it to us from seemingly strange angles. Although he was surrounded by grand vistas, his gaze was often oriented toward rocks and minerals on the ground. His propensity to measure temperature, atmospheric electricity, and even people, seems to border on the obsessive. A dog died, he tells us, precisely forty-two minutes after being bitten by a rattlesnake with twenty-nine "knots" in its tail. Even the absence of numbers disturbed him: he railed against the therapeutic use of the springs at Saratoga "while there is not a thorough analysis of them of any sort."
Andreani was not alone in his enthusiasm for numbers. His observations reflect the esprit géometrique that suffused educated Europe, and the Italian states in particular, in the eighteenth century. Since numbers held out great promise to illuminate the workings of the natural and social orders, enlightened men and women took to measuring everything from air pressure to population. The United States would catch this fever later in the decade, in part due to the influence of persons like Andreani. Jefferson, who shared rock samples with the count, wrote a colleague that "There is a Count Andriani of Milan here who sais there is a work on the subject of weights and measures published by Frisi of Milan."
Scientific inquiry became the basis of Andreani's relationships with the Founding Fathers, who, like many learned Americans, considered themselves students of the laws of nature. The range of possible topics of discussion may be gleaned from the titles of a series of unpublished scientific studies produced by Andreani in the form of letters. These included "The impact of the sun on various substances," "Brief instructions for capture of butterflies," and "Method for the manufacture of sealing-wax."
The suitability of the travel journal for the purposes of scientific observation enhanced its appeal to Andreani and his fellow citizens of the Republic of Letters. In his 1790 journal, Andreani surveyed minerals and rocks he encountered, much as fellow Milanese Luigi Castiglioni had done with American flora. In so doing, Andreani was participating in a controversy over the origin of rocks. Did they owe their composition to volcanic heat, as Nicolas Desmarest and other "Vulcanists" asserted? To a process of slow cooling and consolidation under the crust, as "Plutonists" like James Hutton claimed? Or were they created from water, as "Neptunist" Abraham Werner charged, citing the Great Flood? Andreani fell into the last camp, as suggested by his Wernerian identification of gneiss as a "primitive" rock. His Neptunist sensibilities also were visible in his description of "big boulders…most of which were probably transported from far away by the waters of the river, or by some great upheaval" at Manhattan, as well as his reference to "banks" when describing the glacial landscape of the Albany Pine Bush.
Although scholars have paid considerably more attention to botany than the nascent discipline of geology during this period, both were engaged in a global classification project whose goal was to survey natural phenomena in order to expose nature's system. Indeed, the father of binomial taxonomy, the Swede Linnaeus, had proposed an organizational scheme for the mineral kingdom to complement his celebrated botanical one. But rocks and minerals were heavy, and the formations in which they were found were often of greater significance than the samples themselves. Thus, as historian Martin Rudwick has pointed out, the relative difficulty of extracting meaningful mineral samples challenged science's "indoor culture" and promoted fieldwork more than zoology or botany.
Ethnology also took Europeans out of doors. Because Europeans thought Native Americans were closer to nature, they placed them under natural history's jurisdiction, along with plants, animals, minerals, and the weather. As objects of scientific inquiry, Indian bodies and societies became important to the larger debate over the continent's prospects and limitations, aptly termed the "dispute of the New World." Roughly speaking, one camp was defined by the works of the Count de Buffon, who argued that the American climate limited its natural productions and, by extension, the potency of its inhabitants. The opposing camp was composed of Rousseau and his followers. By the time of Andreani's visit, they had been joined by the early American republic's nationalist elite, who were keen to refute the aspersions cast on the continent. Andreani did not fit neatly into either camp, but his observations were conditioned by the agendas and arguments of both.
In addition to its scientific purpose, the journal format retained its function as a guide to advise readers which roads, inns or taverns to seek out-and which to avoid. The inclusion of prosaic details and personal anecdotes imparted the journal with a potent sense of time and place which served to underscore the fact that the writer really had been there. After all, it was far from unheard-of for someone to produce a narrative of a place he or she had never visited, a product partly of fantasy, partly of plagiarism. As we shall see, there was a bit of both here as well.
"The Dædalus of Italy"
Paolo Andreani was born on May 27, 1763, in the family palace near the famous Duomo, in the city of Milan. Today it is the Palazzo Sormani and the seat of the Biblioteca Comunale Centrale. He was the third male child of Count Giovanni Pietro Paolo Andreani, a prominent nobleman and a senator of that city, and Countess Cecilia Sormani, also of old aristocratic Milanese stock. Paolo Andreani grew up in a Milan where the winds of the Enlightenment and social liberalism and reformism were blowing against the still-entrenched old order. New advances in the fields of science and philosophy fascinated the rising generation of European aristocrats who often struggled to fully understand and embrace the changes that were taking place. Andreani's life and writings reflected the ambiguities and contradictions of his loyalty to his old aristocratic heritage and his sincere interest in the advancement of science and in progressive philosophical theories.
While privileged in social and economic terms, Paolo's infancy and youth were marked by a series of personal tragedies that undoubtedly affected his emotional development and the course of his adult life. Paolo's mother died when he was only an infant. In 1772, at nine years of age, he lost his father and the following year his eldest brother, Antonio, who died at age twenty. Thereafter, Paolo's two sisters, Maria Josepha and Daria left the family palace and entered a monastery. Paolo became the charge of his only remaining brother, the Count Gian Mario, three years his elder, who from that day on acted as his surrogate father.
The family's tragedies did not affect its finances, and the surviving Andreanis, under the able leadership of Gian Mario, retained considerable family wealth. Following the custom of the times, Paolo's first formal education was by a private tutor, and he soon manifested a bright and inquisitive mind. According to Andreani's most recent biographer, at sixteen years of age, "cavalier Paolo…already enjoyed wide fame for his studies in philosophy, ecclesiastical and secular history, poetry, letters and mathematics." In 1779, he was admitted under the pastoral pseudonym of Caridemo Peliaco to the Saggio Collegio d'Arcadia ("the Wise College of Arcadia"), a highly reputed Italian society of literati who delved into bucolic poetry. The previous year Paolo had entered the College of Modena, a prestigious boarding school for aristocratic Milanese youth. However, it was not long afterwards that Andreani began to enjoy his own scientific experiments more than the literary rambles and theoretical dissertations of his professors. Paolo's fascination with the natural world and the hard sciences led him in 1780 and 1781 to ask brother Gian Mario to transfer him from Modena to the famous Royal Academy of Turin, where he wished to pursue his studies of physics, mathematics, astronomy, mineralogy, and science generally, under a more progressive faculty.
For some reason the transfer did not take place. By 1782, Paolo had grown restless in Modena. Approaching his twentieth birthday, he was eager to see the world and continue his experiments independently. Andreani submitted a formal request to pope Pius VI begging the Holy Father to authorize him to acquire and read historical, literary, philosophical, and scientific treatises and books that had been censored by the Church. He justified his demand on the basis of his eagerness to enrich his knowledge in the various fields of the natural sciences, history, and letters. The request was granted with a few exceptions, including astrology and the works of Machiavelli.
Andreani's first major investment in scientific experimentation bore spectacular results. On the 13th of March, 1784, he astonished a large assembly of family, friends, Milanese authorities, prominent men, and local peasants at his brother's villa in Moncucco, on the city's outskirts, with a successful flight in a hot air balloon. Following a private trial lift-off on February 25 [fig. 1], Andreani's "magic flight" was the first public one of its kind outside France. Inspired by the recent successful flights of the Montgolfiers in France, Andreani had hired a trio of craftsmen-the brothers Agostino, Giuseppe, and Carlo Gerli—to build what the Gazzetta Enciclopedica di Milano would describe as a "Gran Macchina aerostatica"—a great flying machine. This macchina volante carried Andreani and two carpenters who worked for the Gerli brothers to an altitude of about 800 meters. Owing to the clouds that filled the wintry Milanese sky, the three aeronauts disappeared for some time from the sight of the assembly. The balloon traveled east before landing safely in the countryside about five kilometers away. While the carpenters attended to the balloon, Andreani jumped on a horse and headed back; halfway home, he was picked up by a carriage and returned to a triumphant welcome at Gian Mario's villa and, later that day, at Milan's opera house La Scala, where he was hailed as the "Dædalus of Italy." The flight was mentioned as far away as Philadelphia.
Andreani's flight was more than a flamboyant aristocratic indulgence. It was validated by the scientific ethos of his day. Balloons were regarded as integral to advances in meteorology, which was widely touted as the key to public health and economics. By quite literally broadening the aeronaut's horizons, balloons supplied the new and potentially revolutionary perspectives on the world that had given force to the travel impulse since the Renaissance. If the conspicuousness and daredevilism of the feat attracted wide public attention and acclaim, well, the aeronaut would just have to bear it.
If fame was Andreani's lot, it was nevertheless tinctured by notoriety. In the absence of parental control and domestic obligations and responsibilities, Andreani frequented venues involving gambling and women. His relationship with a certain signora Chiavacci bordered on the scandalous, and he lost great sums of money at the card tables of Venice. Andreani's gambling was a constant source of vexation for his brother, who more than once had to supplement Paolo's already-adequate annuity, and even rescue him from near-bankruptcy. Thus, when Andreani asked Gian Mario for money to purchase scientific instruments, his elder brother was probably relieved. The staid, sober quality of Andreani's travel journal may have served to reassure at least one of its readers of the author's seriousness and reliability.
It was with this expanded platform of knowledge that Andreani pursued his scientific research, particularly in the fields of mineralogy, geography, and meteorology. Before undertaking his American voyage, Andreani had already journeyed extensively throughout Italy and visited France, England, Scotland, the Netherlands, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. From 1784 to 1787 he traveled back and forth between Paris, London, Rome, and Naples. In 1784 he visited Scotland with naturalist James Smithson (after whom the Smithsonian Institution is named) and the noted French geologist Faujas de St. Fond. In 1786, Andreani toured the Mediterranean, visited the islands of Malta and Sicily, and climbed Mount Etna to conduct mineralogical and atmospheric research. In 1788 he performed a daring ascent of the famed Mont Blanc to conduct similar scientific experiments in the footsteps of Swiss scientists Jean-André Deluc and Horace-Bénédict de Saussure, both of whom he admired, and had preceded him in that alpine endeavor. That same year he returned to England and this time visited Ireland as well. To the aggravation of his brother and creditors, Andreani's curiosity frequently outpaced his finances. Nevertheless, his gaze was already directed towards America. He arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in May 1790, and he soon traveled to New York, where he began the journey described in the present diary.
"The bearer of the present letter"
As was customary, before departing from Europe, Andreani obtained numerous letters of introduction to prominent men of letters, science and politics in North America. One of the first such notes was drafted in Paris in March 1790 by fellow Italian Filippo Mazzei, a long-time personal friend of both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Mazzei reminded Madison that he was "rather scrupulous" about such letters, and predicted Madison would be able to discern the young count's merit on his own. He commended Andreani to Madison's guidance as to "which persons may be more congenial for him to meet, and who may receive reciprocal satisfaction," particularly persons sharing his interest in physics and natural history.
Early in the spring of 1790, Andreani traveled from France to England to make the final arrangements for his departure and here, too, he acquired additional letters. That April in London, historian and philosopher Richard Price drafted a note to Ezra Stiles, president of Yale College, in which he described Andreani as "a Nobleman of character and consequence from Milan and a friend to liberty whose zeal and curiosity have determined him to visit the United States." Price used the opportunity of the count's travel to ask him to make a personal delivery on his behalf. He conveyed to Jefferson a political pamphlet by the noted French revolutionary and mathematician, the Marquis de Condorcet.
Andreani also received a letter addressed to George Washington from John Paradise of Oxford University, with whom the Italian shared an interest in linguistics. Paradise, who had studied at the University of Padua, likewise saw fit to use Andreani as a courier. He asked Andreani to personally deliver to Washington "an ode" by Count Vittorio Alfieri. This fulfilled a request from the author himself. Paradise wrote Washington that Andreani was "a nobleman from Milan, highly distinguished by every valuable endowment, and deserving of the honour of being presented to you." Paradise and his American wife, Lucy Ludwell Paradise, lauded Andreani in similar terms in letters to Jefferson. She portrayed Andreani as "a learned amiable Nobleman…worthy of every attention," and invited her distinguished countryman to "take the trouble to introduce Count Andriani by letter to our Friends in Virginia &c. &c. &c."
Since Andreani also planned to travel extensively through Canada, he obtained letters from its former governor, the Swiss-born Sir Frederick Haldimand. Haldimand had played a crucial role in the establishment of the Six Nations reserve where the Iroquois Loyalists had settled after the Revolutionary War, and one of his letters was addressed to the Mohawk leader Joseph Brant.
Falmouth to Halifax
Andreani sailed from Falmouth, England, on April 13, 1790, aboard the packet Duke of Cumberland. "Wind from the North-Northeast. Dark sky and light winds," he wrote in his separate Giornale di bordo, a small log-book of his first transatlantic crossing, in which he recorded mostly latitudes, atmospheric conditions, and occasional encounters with other vessels. The long voyage was uneventful, except on May 16, when the ship encountered a dangerously powerful storm: "at 4pm lightning, thunder, and seas so rough that the waves reached twice the height of the Main mast. After we lowered all the sails we were ready to cut down the masts, but shortly thereafter the storm ended!" The ship reached the coastal waters of Canada on May 25 and entered the port of Halifax the following morning. That evening, Andreani wrote Gian Mario to inform him of his safe landfall in North America. "We arrived here this morning," he wrote, "always followed by the brisk winds that accompanied us for the forty-four days that our entire voyage lasted." He expressed disappointment that he could not accept the unexpected invitation of British Admiral Richard Hughes to sail with him on the flagship Adamant from Halifax north to the Gulf of St. Lawrence and thence upriver to Quebec City. Lacking letters of credit in that region of Canada, Andreani felt he had to decline.
Halifax held one more surprise in store for Andreani. He informed Gian Mario that five Native chiefs from the southeastern U.S. had just arrived on their way to London to petition the crown for protection against the Spanish. Andreani wrote,
I had lunch with them today at the Governor's, and as they speak a little Spanish thus I could converse with them. The portrait they paint of the oppression they suffer is truly frightening. One thousandth of the truth in their story would today reflect on Spain with horror.
We learn from a long letter that Andreani sent to Venezuelan revolutionary Francisco de Miranda that three of the five were Cherokees. The others were Creeks. They were the delegation led by American Tory William Augustus Bowles to petition George III for aid against Spanish Florida. Andreani remarked that the threat of a war between England and Spain-a distinct possibility at that moment-might favor the Natives' stated aspirations to free themselves from Spanish control.
Paolo Andreani remained in Halifax a few more days, just long enough to recover from the voyage and record a few observations of the Canadian seaport in his journal. "Halifax has about seven or six thousand souls," he wrote, adding that "the houses, without exception, are built with wood: some not just properly, but with elegance." He noted that "the main streets are wide and well laid out but poorly paved." He reported that fishing was the principal economic activity, and a few hundred vessels, mostly British but some American, were engaged in harvesting the rich stocks of baccalà, or cod. In sharp contrast to the bountiful sea was the surrounding land, which was stony and infertile. Andreani noted that Nova Scotians had to import flour, meat, and tea from Boston, which drove up prices. Halifax was otherwise a well-stocked arsenal serving the British fleet in North America, and Andreani closed his brief commentary on the place by praising George III for the generosity he demonstrated towards the American loyalists who sought refuge in Canada: "many of them," he concluded, "have positively gained in abundance." Interestingly, he reversed this assessment when writing Miranda from New York: "When I compare the coast of Nova Scotia with the beautiful surroundings of this city," Andreani wrote in July, "I can only lament the fate of the royalists, who were obliged to expatriate. A wonderful lesson for all who support the ambitious and despotic views of Kings!" Perhaps relief from the sea voyage had given Halifax a particular luster that was corrected by subsequent experience. Perhaps Andreani had written what he did at the time out of concern his writings would be seen by a British official. However, Andreani may also have simply been currying favor with the Venezuelan revolutionary.
New York, Capital of the New Nation
Eager to commence his tour of the United States, Andreani boarded the Duke of Cumberland again for New York, where he arrived on June 6. His first month went well enough that he could write Gian Mario, "Here I am among good people who love foreigners, and receive them with hospitality." With Congress in session, the federal government was in full swing. This permitted Andreani to circulate among the nation's political elite, although avoiding doing so in the city of 30,000 might have been a greater feat. Indeed, as a guest at Vandine Ellsworth's Boarding House on Maiden Lane, he lodged under the same roof as Jefferson and Madison.
However, Andreani had grown weary of life in the capital even as he penned the brief compliment to New York to his brother and praised its setting. Miranda had led him to expect an atmosphere of refreshing republican simplicity. Now Andreani informed Miranda that "things have changed since your visit, and have changed rapidly, and…not for the better." He was highly critical of the partisan atmosphere and the court that had sprung up around Washington which "although miserable, I dare say ridiculous, is nonetheless a Court." It was not that Washington had wished it so, Andreani noted, and spoke of "that veneration for him that I will have forever." He likewise praised Alexander Hamilton, Henry Knox, and William Duer as "the best men in the world" for their hospitality. Andreani was particularly impressed by Hamilton, whose plans reflected both "enlightenment" and "justice" in his estimation. But Hamilton was "oppressed by the whole world"-and particularly by Andreani's fellow lodgers, Jefferson and Madison. While Andreani respected Madison as "the most educated man that I have met here," he thought Jefferson exceedingly proud, and claimed the Virginian "brought from Europe everything bad that he saw there." No one, however, was worse than Adams, whom Andreani described as "the most pompous man that I know and the most selfish." "God prevent that he become president!," Andreani even exclaimed. The disregard was mutual: Adams later wrote that the count had failed to make a good impression, so he "had paid him but little Attention." Since these observations were personal and referred to powerful individuals, Andreani urged Miranda to keep them in confidence. After all, having been in the United States only a short time, he admitted "I could very well have been mistaken in a hasty judgement." Andreani had good reason to request discretion with regard to the contents of that letter, as he would learn after his trip through New York and Iroquoia.
Andreani expressed a longing to return to his scientific research. He did not resume it for more than a month, until after Congress adjourned, although he did make a trip to New Haven to visit Ezra Stiles, the president of Yale College, and a fellow number-lover. One reason for his delay was probably the good fortune he had to encounter a diplomatic delegation sent out from the Creek Nation. This one was considerably larger than the group he enountered in Halifax-numbering about thirty-and was led by mixed blood chief Alexander McGillivray, who was Bowles' rival. A treaty between the Creeks and the United States was concluded on August 7 and received the consent of the Senate shortly thereafter. At precisely noon on the thirteenth, the Pennsylvania Packet reported, it was "solemnly ratified by the contracting parties, in Federal Hall, in the presence of a large assembly of citizens.—The vice-president of the United States—the great officers of State—his excellency the governor—and of several members of both houses of Congress." Washington signed the treaty, gave a speech, and presented the Creeks with beads and tobacco. After McGillivray gave a speech on behalf of the Creeks, the "shake of peace" took place, with "every one of the Creeks passing this frindly salute with the president" and performing a "song of peace." Andreani struck out for Iroquoia the next day.
Up the Udson
As Andreani bumped his way up the Hudson by stage, he described a region on the eve of a radical transformation. The inhabitants of New York State and Iroquoia stood on the threshold of a vast economic and demographic change, but they had not yet crossed it. The world Andreani described hardly existed two decades later. Within that time, Albany's population would triple, and New York City would surpass Philadelphia as the nation's preeminent port.
Andreani's observations acknowledged the state's potential, but also the distance to be traveled before it was realized. In the wake of the Revolution, New York State remained a backwater. The 1790 census put New York's population at 340,120-placing it behind Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina. On a practical level, Andreani's description of his journey suggests some of the challenges farmers and merchants faced moving their goods to market. Although Andreani described the roads as "by their nature good," maintenance was uneven, and his progress was slowed by rocks, mountains, and mud. In order to find a passable road along the Mohawk River, Andreani had to make multiple crossings which were not always without risk. We see quite clearly why it cost as much to ship goods a few miles inland as it did to ship them across the Atlantic. Andreani's trip from Kingsbridge to Albany took nearly a week-although of course he stopped to chip, fire, and otherwise examine the rocks and minerals along the route. Three to four days was a more usual length, but a day of travel often began around three A.M. and concluded around ten P.M.
Travel by sloop was more comfortable, more expensive, but not necessarily much faster. The weary stage traveler may not have spent much time at the inns along the way, but the enervating quality of carriage travel doubtless magnified their importance. Andreani's principal complaints here were that food was generally lacking and the lodging was substandard: "Unfortunately we found nothing but some milk, and some moldy bread; and a miserable bed." His observation reminds us of the tenuous nature of rural prosperity. Seasonal food shortages and uncertain harvests were common and tempered farmers' commitment to market-oriented production until infrastructure improved, New York City blossomed, and the United States became more tightly wound into international markets.
Such anxieties, and a lingering perception that one family's fortune meant another's famine, informed periodic rioting directed against the large landowners of the Hudson Valley. They also dovetailed with the egalitarian strains of revolutionary ideology. All these elements were present in Andreani's humorous encounter with a German farmer. It is one of the few places in Andreani's diary where he makes room for another's voice. The farmer, upon learning that Andreani's purpose in visiting America was primarily self-fulfillment, muttered, "Damn rascals of people [noblemen]...who let others work while they have fun." Yet we quickly perceive that Andreani gave the man voice only in order to allow himself the last word. He proceeded to place his finger squarely on the central paradox of the new nation. Andreani observed that backcountry folk felt "necessity of maintaining an equality of fortune; while they on the other hand purchase slaves that they force to hard labor...."
The institution of chattel slavery was much in evidence along Andreani's tour, particularly in Dutch-dominated areas. New York's slave population in 1790 stood at 21,324, far higher than any of its neighbors. In Ulster County, slaves accounted for fully ten percent of the population. When Andreani cited the high price of free labor (no less than a pezzo duro—or Spanish dollar—a day), he identified the importance of slavery to New York's economy. Because slaves represented such significant assets to New York's small farmers, the Revolution was not sufficient to overturn their status. Indeed, the state legislature did not pass an emancipation statute until 1799, and even then, the process it specified was agonizingly gradual. Andreani stated that the labor and punishment of northern slaves were harsh. This assessment put him at odds with other European observers of his day, including LaRochefoucauld-Liancourt, Mazzei, and Brissot de Warville. The discrepancy may be partially attributed to the fact that it was Andreani's first personal encounter with a slave society. To the extent that Northern slaveholding appeared benign, it was so only by contrast to the southern or West Indian varieties. Historian Shane White has documented the violence of the practice of slavery in early national New York, and his findings suggest Andreani's emphasis was not misplaced.
The aggressive egalitarianism of Andreani's host was not exceptional, either. When Englishman William Strickland asked an Irish innkeeper in Albany to hold his horse in 1794, he said the man began "pouring out a volley of oaths; I was damned for an English Aristocrat, and assured that he would not have held a horse for the King of England; that he was a much better man than myself, being a freeman and a republican, while I was but an English Slave." For his part, Hector St. Jean de Crèvecoeur, who lived in the Hudson Valley, noted somewhat ruefully that Americans were apt to forget "that mechanism of subordination... and sometimes apt to forget too much." According to historian Richard Bushman, these years saw the introduction of the use of the word aristocrat as an insult. Such attitudes went hand-in-hand with the rise of "people's men" to political power. While colonial elites like the Schuyler and Van Rensselaer families still possessed considerable political might, they had to make room for their social lessers, such as the governor at the time of Andreani's visit, George Clinton.
Andreani's political views remain muted in his journal, although there was interest in such matters in Italy. On the same day in 1784 that Andreani made his celebrated flight, the Tuscan Gazzetta Universale enthused that in the United States "the form of the republican government is wonderfully perfecting itself, in politics as in commerce." Although he commented on economic matters in passing, Andreani limited his political expostulations to his private correspondence-and even here he was selective in what he said to whom-because he assumed the circulation of his letters would be more limited than his journal. In any case, in contrast to Brissot, Andreani had not come to study American society and politics, but to study nature. And unlike Crèvecoeur or the refugees from the French Revolution, Andreani never considered making America his home, so he never felt implicated in its affairs. His attitude towards popular politics can probably be gauged best by his reaction to news of revolutionary events in France. Writing his brother the year before he departed for America, he had expressed both his dislike for the French mob and his hope that his fellow Milanesi would remain happy and tranquil, entertained by performances at La Scala.
Albany had received a bad rap from many colonial visitors, it was not yet the state capital, and Andreani felt little urge to revise its image. Since Andreani did not consider descriptions of urban life the proper province of a naturalist, he more or less parroted the account published by New England minister-geographer Jedidiah Morse (who had in turn obtained much of his information by correspondence). Andreani repeated Morse's claim that Albanians had a reputation for inhospitality, as well as his complaint about the filthiness of the streets. With a few enhancements, Andreani repeated Morse's condemnation of Dutch tavern culture and marital and funerary rites, all of which involved much drinking.
Andreani was careful to include a disclaimer that in these cases he was relating things he had not seen, but the description "was solemnly confirmed by General Schuyler an inhabitant and a man of culture." Andreani did move beyond Morse to make some observations on matters closer to his heart-and he took care to specify that these observations were his own. Of the public buildings in the city, he made special note of the prison:
When we visited it there were about twenty inmates, the majority for debts. They are badly kept, without any humanity whatsoever. The building structure contributes to aggravate their punishments....Andreani's awareness of the prisons (as opposed to, say, churches) throughout his travels doubtless owed much to the general Enlightenment interest in penal reform, whose principal exponent, Cesare Beccaria, hailed from Milan and moved in the same circles as his younger compatriot.
Andreani also contributed an extensive discussion of Albany's climate, complete with a table of twenty-two monthly highs and lows of both temperature and humidity. European expansion had renewed learned speculation regarding the relationship between climate and everything from health to culture to government. Reliable and comparable meteorological instruments were of relatively recent invention, and hopes were high that systematic observation would reveal patterns of high predictive validity. The implications for agriculture were obvious, and climate was a public health concern of the first order. Hippocratic assumptions that air played a central role in health were widely held, as in Andreani's conclusion at Albany that "the great daily variation in the temperature of the climate could influence the physical constitution of individuals if they did not preserve themselves by always wearing stroud."
Axes along the Mohawk
Weather and health were also directly linked to land use: it had been a common assumption that America was more humid because it was a "new" continent, its forests still standing and its land not yet under extensive cultivation. Documenting the trials of settlers clearing land in the Mohawk valley, Andreani spoke of "the illnesses that are usually caused by the first exhalations of the odors of a virgin soil." Clearing fields was the primary activity in which the thousands of migrants who swarmed to central New York from New England were engaged. Andreani's description shows why, as historian Alan Taylor has put it, "the Yankees had earned a collective reputation as the most skilled handlers of the axe in America." Trees were felled for houses, for barns, to let sunlight fall on crops, and, ultimately, to clear fields. This was a family project, Andreani explained, "and nothing is more arduous than the workload they have to endure for the first two years...." He described trees in excess of 120 feet long being consigned to the flames. Such was the scale of the burning that Quaker Jacob Lindley, traveling up the Mohawk three years later, commented that he "was much perplexed for miles, with the continued smoke from the fires on shore."
There was, however, one kind of tree the settlers valued standing more than felled. At Fall Hill, Andreani noted that "In these neighborhoods every farmer cultivates a number of Erables' called in English Maple tree...." Andreani proceeded to devote particular attention to an unusual industry whose expectations could not have been higher, and which would never be fulfilled: maple sugaring. Although Andreani stated that the sugar was collected to satisfy household needs, many hoped it would supplant its cane counterpart and even bring an end to West Indian slavery. While Brissot proclaimed that Quaker efforts to perfect this product had been successful, Andreani concluded that the new commodity was not competitive in terms of either price or quality.
That the practice of maple-sugaring was nevertheless so widespread at the time of Andreani's visit speaks volumes about land speculators' enthusiasm for anything that would raise land values, as well as settlers' desperation for anything that would bring quick cash. Indeed, such was the irrational exuberance of maple sugar's boosters that Philadelphia physician Benjamin Rush stated that "It has been said, that sugar injures the teeth, but this opinion now has so few advocates, that it does not deserve a serious refutation." Yet the predictions of maple sugar's profitability were discredited as surely as Rush's position on tooth decay. Although maple sugaring did not die out, its highest hopes proved short-lived. Thus, during his brief visit to the Mohawk Valley, Andreani witnessed and recorded a fleeting moment in its economic history.
Whatever maple sugar's shortcomings, the valley was nevertheless transformed by human activity. When Andreani visited Fort Plain, it was only with difficulty that he could make out the plan of the fortifications that had been in use only three or four years earlier. They had since been taken apart to rebuild the town, which had been largely destroyed during the war. Andreani captured the postwar scene with his comment that "The roads were covered with men, women, livestock and farm tools of the new colonists." While he had acknowledged the progress of cultivation in the Hudson Valley, the dynamism and human presence in his description of the Mohawk Valley presents a contrast that reflected the separate demographic and economic trajectories the two regions would follow right through the Canal era.
Andreani and the Iroquois
The trajectory of the Iroquois during these years was considerably different; it was a steep descent. Although Andreani described some of the social disorder that attended the dispossession of the Natives, such as alcohol abuse, he seemed generally oblivious to their recent history. In fact, the Oneidas and Onondagas had lost the vast majority of their territories-literally millions of acres-to the state of New York within only the previous five years. The Oneidas' missionary, Samuel Kirkland, who was one of Andreani's principal informants about Iroquois life, may have downplayed these treaties because of the active and controversial role he had played in some of them. However, there were enough negative representations of Native cultures in circulation to explain their condition to the count's satisfaction without having to delve too deeply into more direct causes.
In his description of the Oneidas, Tuscaroras, and Onondagas, Andreani generally adhered to the atemporal, impersonal "manners and customs" format that had governed European representations of cultural others since the sixteenth century. Although there were significant continuities between Andreani's description of the Albany Dutch, the Shakers, and the Iroquois, that of the latter was particularly detailed. In fact, Andreani's Iroquois ethnography followed an implicit script. It was no coincidence that he addressed many of the questions Scotsman William Robertson posed when he researched his influential History of America (1777). Collecting information by correspondence, Robertson had asked informants in America if the Natives' physical constitutions were
as vigorous and robust as those of the inhabitants of similar climates in the ancient continent? Was the absence of a beard natural to the Indian? Was he defective in animal passions, the passion of love for example? What was his attitude in regard to parental affection or filial duty? What ideas did he have of property? And what conception did he entertain of a future life?Benjamin Rush, who had met Andreani only days earlier, posed a similar list of questions to McGillivray in New York City. Rush's and Robertson's questions derived from longstanding ethnographic precedent, but the "dispute of the New World" infused particular categories, especially physiological ones, with greater importance. Thus, Andreani's ethnography reflected not just what he happened to see, but what he came to see-like lactating women and their children, for example. Dutch naturalist Cornelius De Pauw had asserted that the relatively long period that Native American children were breast-fed contributed to degeneracy and lack of vigor. Andreani accordingly claimed he "observed a child of twenty-seven months, who was nourished entirely of the mother's milk, and under the appearances of robustness, and of good health, he absolutely could not stand on two feet." Andreani likewise reported that the Oneidas had little body hair, a fact which had been cited as evidence of Native effeminacy.
It should not, however, be inferred that Andreani was in the degenerationists' camp. For example, his observation that "Among themselves in the family they love each other greatly, and their filial love is no less than that which exists among ourselves," refuted the assertion that Natives' lack of vigor even extended to emotion and expression. Andreani never committed himself to one or the other side of the debate, and therefore felt less pressure to suppress contrary observations.
That is not to say that he was shy about passing a negative judgment against the Natives. He did precisely that when he observed that
Sometimes a simple action that would be everywhere deemed as madness, may among the Oneida Indians lead one to be esteemed a chief, f.[or] e.[xample], one who crossing an immense territory arrives in a faraway nation, [and returns] carrying some sign of his arrival there….Andreani looked in the mirror but apparently failed to recognize his reflection. His own travel asserted his status as a nobleman in European society, where the voyager (and especially the voyager-collector) had become a heroic figure. Where there was consensus among Europeans that Native culture was deficient, Andreani didn't depart from it, as in his comment that "The Oneidas are like all Indians, lovers of laziness." Andreani agreed that Native land use practices were inferior and uncritically repeated the customary condemnation of the "hardest labor in the field" which Native women performed and contrasted it with the idleness of the men. Nevertheless, Andreani also acknowledged the political and social privileges women enjoyed, so he at least provided the reader with evidence at odds with his conclusions.
Despite the formulaic manner in which Andreani recorded his stay at Oneida, there is an undercurrent of good cheer in his description. Andreani did not hesitate to record the faults and foibles of New York inns and innkeepers, but said of the Indians generally (and of Skenandoah, his host at Oneida, in particular) that "it is truly to be admired the earnest attention they express on the occasion of the visit of a stranger." Andreani seemed to reciprocate this hospitality with an enthusiasm that went beyond the norm for Europeans. After hearing the Oneidas sing, he wrote rather casually in his journal that "we were in general surprised by…the agreeable melody of the singing of the psalms, rendered in their language." Yet the journal kept by missionary Kirkland suggests the praise Andreani gave out in person was much amplified. According to Kirkland, Andreani said he considered "the melody of their musick & fine soft voices" to be "equal to any he ever heard in Italy." When Kirkland related "this high compliment" to participants of an evening singing-meeting, "one of them replied that he thought "it was too much for Indians." The discrepancy between Andreani's and Kirkland's accounts of the Italian's reaction to Oneida singing may simply be a function of Andreani's laconic writing style. It may also reflect the peculiar combination of humility and boastfulness a missionary required to retain both his holy credibility and his employment. But if the word- and phrase-list that Andreani compiled is any guide to his comportment, we may conclude that he was indeed an ingratiating guest.
Literary critic Laura Murray has argued recently that word lists such as these "convey the tenor and lineaments of the dealings, disputes, and chit-chat that characterized relations between Aboriginal and white people far away from life in the metropolis or farming settlement." Compared with other such compilations, Andreani's exhibits a disproportionate concern with pleasantries. It stands in sharp contrast not just with the take-me-to-your-leader and which-way-to-the-food terminology famously translated for Captain John Smith, but also the standard comparative-linguistic fare served up by the travelers, traders, and missionaries of Andreani's own day. While some of the phrases he supplied were narrowly utilitarian, he apparently wanted to tell the Oneidas, "This dish is very good," "I hope you would not want to trouble yourself," and "I love this country very much." In dealing with people whom he referred to as "semicivilized savages," Andreani needed to say, "I thank you for your civility." He also translated that rare gem in European vocabularies of Indian languages: "Please." Indeed, Andreani carried his pleasantries to the point of absurdity. Among the phrases useful to this traveler were "I love your daughter," "She is truly beautiful," and "If I were an Indian I would marry her."
Andreani's description of a lacrosse match suggests the historical utility of his reportage, as well as its limits. His comprehension of the nuances of the game raises questions: describing its object, he made no mention of goals. As he understood it, the players sought "to make a certain number of rounds of a large field" in possession of the ball. Nevertheless, the sketch of a lacrosse stick in the middle of a line of text provides a striking example of the value of his observations. Anthropologist and lacrosse historian Tom Vennum has noted that this drawing is the earliest extant visual image of a lacrosse stick, and one that "should offer no surprises to anyone familiar with early forms of the northeastern hickory stick…." Andreani's description of the crowd is likewise consistent with other reports. He noted that "a great sum" was often staked on the outcome and that when the wagers were high, "then the women are present, and they proceed with horrible yells to incite the party in which they have interest."
After his twenty-two page description of the Oneidas, Andreani dispatched the Tuscaroras with a terse paragraph. He wrote, "If we shall say but a few words about this nation, it is because in reality she differs very little from that of which we have spoken, as well for the brief residence we have made among them." And, indeed, he did write "but a few words," mostly about their migration from the Southeast in the early eighteenth century. With regard to the Onondagas, he asserted that that nation "differs little in customs from these other ones, except in the religion." His description ran six pages. What appears to be Andreani's impatience was actually an effect of his taxonomic method. Like some eighteenth-century botanists, he began with a single specimen, described it thoroughly, and described subsequent ones purely in terms of their differences relative to the first. However, the categories of contrast were not pistils and stamens, but architecture and communal religious rituals. Although Andreani did not make the point explicitly, the conservatism of the Onondaga nation vis-à-vis the Oneidas was thrown into high relief. Andreani's approach tended to overstate differences along national lines; there were conservatives among the Oneidas and a European-oriented element among the Onondagas. However, the fact that architectural and ritual efforts are inherently communal suggests the difference was more likely to be real, even if overstated.
Andreani's description of the white dog sacrifice reinforces this image of Onondaga conservatism in 1790. According to Andreani, he did not witness the sacrifice personally because the Onondagas were practicing it exclusively as part the Midwinter ceremonial. Extant descriptions of this ceremony corroborate Andreani's, which stands as the sole documentation of its practice outside the Seneca nation for most of the second half of the eighteenth century. It is doubtful that Andreani received this information from another published source, because his description more closely resembles later ones than those available to him at the time. When a Mohawk prophet at Grand River, Upper Canada, revived the rite in 1798, he was said to have claimed that "the Upholder of the Skies" had "made grievous complaints, of the base and ungrateful neglect of the Five Nations (the Senecas excepted) in withholding the homage due to him and the offerings he was wont to receive from their fathers as an acknowledgment for his guardianship." When the revival was exported to Oneida, it ended a thirty-plus year hiatus for the white dog sacrifice there.
Generals, Doctors, and Shaker Elders
Although visiting Native communities was one of the principal reasons Andreani traveled to America, he did not consider his visit to New York complete until he examined two other sites of scientific interest, the springs at Saratoga and New Lebanon. Andreani observed that "As a reward for the philosophical [i.e., scientific] objects that are lacking on this side [of the river], the traveler walks continuously on historic terrain because this was the field on which the American Troops distinguished themselves for the first time during the last bloody war." Although the search for natural phenomena dictated Andreani's itinerary, he dutifully attended to landscapes of military significance around Saratoga, on Manhattan Island and at West Point.
While Andreani did not consider his observations on military matters to be "philosophical" in nature, warfare was also understood to be subject to universal laws discoverable through systematic observation. It was the role of the officer to comprehend and apply these laws. Whereas in previous centuries the aristocracy legitimated its dominance of military institutions on the basis of heroism, virtue, and honor bred by high social station, now education and technical competence played an expanded role. The relationship between science, militarism, and aristocracy was therefore mutually reinforcing. Indeed, while Andreani's balloon flight was an aristocratic conceit with a scientific rationale, the strategic potential of balloons for intelligence-gathering and for battle was an early and obvious impetus to their development. And if development of one's military knowledge was not sufficient reason to visit the battlefield, La Rochefoucauld noted that "If you love the English, are fond of conversing with them, and live with them on terms of familiarity and friendship, it is no bad thing if occasionally you can say to them, 'I have seen Saratoga.'"
Andreani examined the landscape around Saratoga carefully. Although he did not go into the same level of detail as had the Marquis de Chastellux, Andreani's account is comparable to that of Miranda, who probably encouraged him to visit because, as the Venezuelan put it, "it is so well preserved that any intelligent person can form from it a full picture of the event." As elsewhere, Andreani took particular interest in fortifications and the position of encampments. He partially absolved Burgoyne of incompetence, and was critical only of the general's failure to seize an opportunity by not pursuing Schuyler after taking Fort Ticonderoga. Nevertheless, Andreani's assessment was that even if Sir Henry Clinton had shown up to relieve his compatriot the outcome might not have been different.
Andreani conserved some of his bile for the medical practitioners and self-medicating laypersons at the springs. Andreani observed sternly that
many come here to drink them or to take them as bath without knowing what medicine they are applying to themselves, and we ourselves have found various sick people for whom different remedies were necessary. What the result of such carelesness could be is easily understood without any further detail.His complaints were nothing new. For centuries, physicians and scientists had complained about their lack of control over popular water therapies, and their warnings had been ignored for just as long. In 1783, a Massachusetts doctor who entertained a high opinion of the efficacy of Saratoga water suggested that "It may afford an agreeable amusement to any gentleman of ability and leisure, to prosecute…inquiries" into the properties of the waters. Andreani took samples, commented upon the geologic context of the springs, and performed a number of simple experiments to ascertain the water's temperature and composition. However, we have no evidence to suggest that he went on to perform the more detailed analysis considered so important.
From Saratoga, Andreani traveled to New Lebanon Springs, near the Massachusetts border. Andreani performed the same tests upon the waters there, which he said tasted less pungent than Saratoga's. Andreani again took the opportunity to criticize people's willingness to subject themselves to waters of unknown content. However, he kept these comments brief, and proceeded to something he found more intriguing still: the nearby settlement of Shakers.
While the Shakers were accused of diabolism by some of their critics, Andreani's disdain for them did not spring from his own religious scruples. Consistent with the prevailing deism of the Republic of Letters, Andreani had remained silent upon matters of religion (with the exception of the beliefs of the Iroquois) until he reached New Lebanon. Andreani acknowledged the superiority of Shaker manufactures but regarded their doctrines as incoherent and their form of worship as positively nonsensical. The "extravagance" of Shakerism provoked the journal's most animated chapter. Andreani quoted the inchoate speech of the leader of the religious service he attended and described his strange gesticulations. Andreani's protests that the Shakers were indeed as he described them imply his expectation that his diary would be read by others. To bolster his credibility, Andreani reviewed the sources of his information (manuscripts, interviews with their leaders) and explicitly raised his evidentiary standards. He declined to speculate what went on behind the closed doors of an "advanced" Shaker service "because having to rely on the testimony of one who perhaps never entered it, we would be subject to error." He limited his comments to the general service he was allowed to attend. Such a prohibition would have precluded his description of the Iroquois white dog ceremonial, as well as the weddings and funerals of the Albany Dutch.
The coupling of practical sophistication and efficiency with "fanaticism" disquieted Andreani. The Shakers' material lives suggested the triumph of rationality; but unreason, rather than being vanquished, turned out to be its motive force. "How," Andreani asked, "can one ever unite…customs so excellent to craziness so strange…?" In the absence of an answer, he consoled himself that the question would disappear with time: if they adhered to their vow of chastity, he noted, "this absurd and strange sect will be of but brief duration."
Perhaps a tranquil sloop ride back down to New York City helped Andreani digest what he had just seen. That he recorded relatively little of this part of his trip indicates his return was via water. The journal ends abruptly, with Andreani's terse description of West Point. He noted its strategic importance, which had compelled Congress to authorize its purchase from its owner while Andreani had been in New York City. Whereas Miranda found much to inspect and many officers there in 1784, Andreani found the garrison reduced to "twenty men." He commented upon some rocks, but finding himself unable to go further inland and make more scientific observations, he terminated his journal.
A Different Window
It would be overreaching to claim that Andreani's diary embodied some kind of essential Italian or Milanese sensibility, even if his flattering and flirtatious phrase-list may invite speculation. Andreani's aristocratic social milieu transcended national boundaries, and the scientific subculture of which he was a part positively flouted them. Nevertheless, like other Italian writers in the eighteenth century, Andreani was less prone to gravitate to either pole of the "dispute of the New World" than his French or English counterparts. Generally speaking, Italian representations of America were less polemical and ideologically driven. The impulse to nostalgically idealize Native Americans or Euro-American subsistence farmers was muted by the fact that even cosmopolitan Milan was underdeveloped by the standards of France or England. Nor was Italy deeply implicated in North American colonialism, either directly or indirectly through emigration or investment. Thus, in Italy the ranks of both America's promoters and opponents remained relatively thin. That is not to say Italian writers like Andreani were more accurate, but the conditions were more auspicious.
Andreani's visit came at a crucial time. Andreani's journal of his tour provides snapshots of the expansion and transformation of New York State during a transitional period. He captures aspects of regional development that were nascent, such as the integration of most of Iroquoia into the United States. Other elements, such as the predominance of the Dutch in Albany, were fading but still highly visible markers of the colonial era. Finally, Andreani documented some transformations were anticipated but unrealized, such as the maple sugar industry. From Andreani's perspective, the transformation of New York into the Empire State appears anything but foreordained.
Of course, Andreani's observations apply beyond New York's borders: much of what he described reflected conditions that existed nationally. His description of the anti-elitism of New York's backcountry population corresponds closely with that of other regions. Castiglioni, traveling in North Carolina a few years earlier, took note of that phenomenon in terms strikingly similar to Andreani's. The plight of Iroquois communities consigned to small reservations was likewise replicated everywhere as the pace of aboriginal dispossession accelerated. Indeed, at the beginning of the twenty-first century we may ponder why some of Andreani's descriptions ultimately resonate not only across the continent, but across two centuries of American history as well.
Notes on the Translation and the Text
"Traduttori, traditori," or "translators, traitors," goes an old Italian literary proverb, emphasizing that even the best translations ultimately violate the true meaning and spirit of the original. Every lingua, both spoken and written, has its idiosyncrasies, its inner meanings that cannot be transferred into another idiom without altering or even losing something of the original in the process. Translations can be even harder when they attempt to reconcile and transfer meanings from an old foreign vernacular, as is the case in the present edition of Andreani's Giornale. It has already been pointed out by Italian students of Paolo Andreani that the Milanese count had a quite peculiar writing style. Adding to this was the fact that, as in other cities and towns throughout Italy, don Paolo's Milan made wide use of a local dialect (known as meneghino), to which was added some basic Latin. Knowledge of "proper" Italian was quite approximate, and even that was uncertain, since the language was not yet standardized.
Andreani's Giornale reflects such a linguistic approximation and, as a result, the combination of dependent clauses (so typically Italian), uneven punctuation, and the pervasive use of double negatives occasionally blur the meaning of sentences. Andreani's idiosyncrasies also include his frequent doubling of consonants in many words that needed them neither then nor today (e.g., gellato [frozen], dannaro [money], nubbi [clouds], ferrite [wounds]). Equally perpelexing, he reduced them to one where he should have retained two (e.g., spectacolo [show], malatie [illness], slite [sleds]). Other orthographic nuances include Andreani's use of the consonant j (called i lunga ["long i"] in Italian) instead of the normal vowel i, once popular in the presence of diphthongs (e.g., caldaja [furnace], ajuto [help]), or in the plural form of words ending in the unaccented "io" (e.g., figlj [sons], consiglj [councils]) where Italian normally employs the i. Additionally, the count often replaces the correct consonant s with the improper z (e.g., diverze [different], sparza [sparse], prezentare [to present or introduce]). While such anomalies are apparent to the Italian reader, they are obviously not reflected in the present translation.
Furthermore, throughout the Giornale, Andreani, who is otherwise meticulous in his mineralogical and meteorological observations, shows a general inconsistency with the correct orthography of proper nouns, surnames, toponyms, tribal names, and cardinal directions. In such instances, Andreani's original spellings have been retained. The reader will quickly appreciate that we have attempted to retain the original style of the text, idiosyncratic as it was.
The translation from Italian to English was prepared by Cesare Marino, but incorporates various recommendations regarding contemporary vocabulary by Karim Tiro. Translations of Andreani's French letters to Miranda were undertaken collaboratively. We have included translations and retranslations of Iroquoian words when they appear significant. These were prepared by Roy Wright, whose initials appear in parentheses in those footnotes. Roy's contribution demonstrates quite dramatically the potential of Native-language words as historical sources.
We do not know exactly when Andreani wrote his Giornale. He most likely drafted it in its present form upon his return to New York in the late summer of 1790, and even possibly later in the fall, after he resettled in Philadelphia. Since Andreani mentions eating bear meat during his travels to the Great Lakes in 1791, we know that he edited and amended the Giornale sometime after that second long trip. However, because the reference to the bear meat was inserted as an interlineated note, rather than interpolated into the original text, we conclude that the temporal integrity of the 1790 diary was retained.
It is important to note that this translation has been based in its entirety been upon the manuscript. Around 1940, count Antonio Sormani Verri produced a typescript of the section describing Native peoples that does not always adhere to the manuscript. Some of the inconsistencies present in this typescript were later transferred to the translation by Elisabeth Ruthman under the title "Travels of a Gentleman from Milan, 1790."
In order to avoid encumbering the text with a profusion of footnotes, we have generally limited our intervention to translating foreign and technical terms and identifying individuals and places where they are unclear or little known. Although there are details and interpretations that bear correction or expansion, we have usually refrained from doing so except where clarity requires. The reader will observe that we have departed from this rule where, in our judgment, the information significantly enhances understanding of or interest in the text.