Land and Freedom: Rural Society, Popular Protest, and Party Politics in Antebellum New York

By Reeve Huston | Go to book overview

Chapter 4
ORIGINS OF THE ANTI-RENT
MOVEMENT, 1839–1844

The Committee
and the Landlord

On May 22, 1839, twenty-five men, respectfully dressed in their Sunday best, met in the Hudson River town of Watervliet. When their horses and carriages had been stowed at Dunbar's tavern, they walked together to the manor office of Stephen Van Rensselaer IV, the new proprietor of the West Manor of Rensselaerwyck. They were expected. Earlier in the month, one of their members, Egbert Schoonmaker of Knox, had written to request a meeting with the young proprietor. Douw Lansing, Van Rensselaer's agent, had replied that this would be a convenient time for the patroon to meet. 1

The men had come to negotiate a compromise in the looming crisis between Van Rensselaer and his tenants. They were from the five hill towns of the West Manor, where relations between the Van Rensselaers and their tenants were most volatile. In these towns, resistance to the Van Rensselaers had been most intense since 1820, and it was there that tenants' debts to the patroon were greatest. 2

The death of Stephen Van Rensselaer III in January had shattered any hope that the growing conflict over back rents, quarter sales, and timber rights would subside. The patroon's will had saddled his heirs, William and Stephen IV, with $400,000 in debts. By year's end, Stephen raised $35,000 by mortgaging the manor house at Watervliet. With this money, he paid some of the most urgent debts of the estate but left a mass of creditors unsatisfied. William's finances tottered on the edge of collapse. Whenever one of his many notes fell due, he sent his agent, Casparus V. Pruyn, scurrying in search of a new loan to pay off the old one. When the property taxes on the East Manor came due in early 1839, Pruyn was forced to sell a hoard of gold to pay them, for no cash or credit could be found. 3

The new loans merely bought William and Stephen time. The only way to end the cycle of indebtedness was to dun the tenants for their back rents—

-87-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Land and Freedom: Rural Society, Popular Protest, and Party Politics in Antebellum New York
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 291

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.