“Mr. Durant,” by James (from Parley’s Magazine, September 14, 1833; p. 18)
I went with my brother to Mr. Meek’s garden last Thursday to see Mr. Durant and his balloon. The day was very pleasant, and the sky bright and clear. There were vast crowds of people assembled, and I could see several women and children on the tops of the houses, all looking out for the balloon. I was afraid some of them would tumble off.
Several little balloons, with no one in them, were sent up first. After we had waited some time, we saw that Mr. Durant was getting ready to start. The balloon was tied down to the ground by cords, and seemed to be trying to get away. At about five o’clock, Mr. Durant took his seat, in the car, as it is called. The people now began to shout, and hurrah, and crowd forward to get a sight of him. My brother placed me on his shoulders, so that I was as tall as any of them.
At last the cords were cut, and my heart beat as if I were going up in the air myself. The people shouted, and I shouted, and every body shouted. Mr. Durant waved a flag as he rose. The balloon rose up like a bird, and sailed away till it seemed like a speck. At last it flew out of sight; and, taking me down from his shoulders, my brother returned home with me.
The next day, we heard that Mr. Durant alighted, safe and sound, about eleven miles from Albany. He let off two carrier pigeons, with pieces of paper tied about their necks, but the silly pigeons were frightened, and were found the next day in their coops. One of them was trying to bite off the string about his neck and both of them seemed very tired.