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History, Buffed

To the Editor:

The review of a recent biography of Sir William Johnson [Books, Nov. 10] has many flaws, surely reflecting the book under review:

General Johnson’s British colonials and Indian allies did not lose a “foray at Lac Saint Sacrament” but won the battle of Lake George. Johnson’s contribution to the capture of Montreal was trivial.

His last mistress was the Mohawk Molly Brant.

Sir William was not baronet of New York, but of Nova Scotia.

That Johnson’s skill at handling Indians derived from his Irish background is a fantasy of the Irish biographer. Apart from his neglect to acquire a gentlewoman wife, Johnson was a typical member of the British upper class. Many of the most effective British Indian agents were Scots and Germans. To be sure, Johnson was a consummate politician; he could manage a crowd more unruly than Indians—the Dutch of Albany.

Many of the New York state holdings of Johnson’s papers were burned in 1911. Fortunately, most of them and many more are printed in the 15 volumes of the New York State Library’s “Papers of Sir William Johnson,” available at most libraries. One of the editors, Milton Hamilton, wrote a plodding and incomplete but accurate biography of Johnson, also readily available.

B. Bruce Briggs


I’ve Got One

To the Editor:

From Rick Marshall’s story “Who Can Complain?” [Newsfront, Nov. 23] it seems that, using the Albany Police Department’s definition of a complainant (according to APD spokesman Detective James Miller), in the case of the late David Scaringe, there would be no complaint.

It seems to be the intention of the APD to tighten the qualifications as to who may file a complaint (against them). It is ludicrous to allow a public body to eliminate witnesses from the class of citizens who might file a complaint. Does a citizen, who witnesses a police officer committing a “victimless crime,” then have no standing to complain? What if the officer threatened them? Does the officer’s knowledge that there is a witness carry enough of an implicit threat that the witness might file on those grounds? Would such a victim then have the burden of proof to show that he/she was harmed, or how much? And was thus actually a victim?

If I understood Miller, only a “victim” can complain, so there can’t be a complainant if there are no survivors. That fails to reassure me. They only have to decide to “Leave no complainants.” Joe Stalin would have loved it.

Perhaps, if Jermaine Henderson learns of this policy, he will be glad he got out of that police garage alive.

Steven B. Tesser


A Small Price

To the Editor:

To the good people of Albany and Metroland, please stop now. I have read your review of Angelo’s 677 Prime Steak House [Food, Nov. 10] and I deplore you all to stop with your criticisms. A reader wrote recently [Letters, Nov. 3] complaining about the price of the food. Yes it is expensive. No, he does not need to eat there, though I do note that he went there at someone else’s expense. I have lived in the area for two years now and I have been waiting for a restaurant like this to come along. I have eaten there several times and it is comparable to the great steakhouses of America. No, I could not afford to eat there very often, but it is good to have it in the city as an alternative. The writer states that he could get similar steaks elsewhere. Where is he going to go? The Colorado Mine Co.? The Golden Corral? Something finally has opened in Albany that is good for the city and its citizens. Do not continue to denigrate it. The owner has attempted to open a first-class establishment in a city that has died. It is CPR for a dying downtown. He should be praised for his courage and conviction to bring something good to the city. Hopefully others will follow and re-create a city worthy of being a state capital. If you don’t like it, keep it to yourself and go stand in line at an Applebee’s or a Ruby Tuesday!

Brian Steckel, M.D.



In “Election Round-up” (Trail Mix, Nov. 10), we erroneously stated that Corey Ellis was the first person elected to the Albany Common Council not on the Democratic line since 1929. In fact he was the first person elected to the Common Council on the ballot line of an established party other than Democrat. Mayor Jerry Jennings was first elected to the Common Council as an independent. Subsequently, he was elected as a Democrat.

In “Time for a Two-Party System” (Looking Up, Nov. 17), Mark Dunlea was identified as the chair of the state Green Party. He is no longer the chair, just an active member. He was Alice Green’s campaign manager in her run for Albany mayor this year.

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

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