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Copyright, 1893, by the 
New- York History Company 

• • . • -•••■• 
. • • -• • • . - 

. • - • • 

'* • 

• • • 

• • 

• • 





• ,• - 


THE P\Pt-: ^ '- i ■-.•■E£5^""; 

PLEASE R\.N':*_z'r:z:^ 

Manna-hata, the handsomest and most pleasant country that man can 
behold. Henry Hudson. 

The Island of New- York is the most beautiful island that I have ever 
seen. Hessian Officer, in '* Stone's Revolutionary Letters," 1891. 

She is a Mart of Nations. . . . The crowning city, whose merchants are 
princes, whose traffickers are the honorable of the earth. Isaiah, xxiii. 

History maketh a young man to be old, without either wrinkles or gray 
hairs, privileging him with the experience of age without either the infirmi- 
ties or inconveniences thereof. Thohas Fuller. 

This is a great fault in a chronicler, to turn parasite : an absolute history 
should be in fear of none ; neither should he write anything more than 
truth, for friendship, or else for hate, but keep himself equal and constant 
in all his discourses. Simon N. H. Linguet. 

Industrious persons, by an exact and scrupidous diligence and obser- 
vation, out of the monuments, names, words, proverbs, traditions, private 
recordes and evidences, fragments of stories, passages of bookes that 
concern not story, and the Uke, we doe save and recover somewhat from 
the deluge of Time. Francis Bacon. 

They who make researches into Antiquity may be said to passe often 
through many dark lobbies and dusky places before they come to the Aula 
luciSf the great hall of light ; they must repair to old Archives and peruse 
many molded and moth-eaten records, and so bring to light, as it were, 
out of darkness, to inform the present world what the former did, and 
make us see truth through our Ancestor's eyes. James Howell. 

I was surprised to find how few, if any, of my fellow-citizens were aware 
that New- York had ever been called New Amsterdam, or had heard of the 
names of its early Dutch governors, or cared a straw about their ancient 
Dutch progenitors. . . . A lustory to serve as a foundation, on which other 
historians may hereafter raise a noble superstructure, swelling in process 
of time, until Knickerbocker's New- York may be equally voluminous with 
Gibbon's Rome, or Hume and Smollett's England. Washington Irving. 



New- York City under American Control — From the Confedera- 
tion TO the Constitution, 1783-1789. 

Professor Henry Phelps Johnston^ Ph, 2>. 1 

Changes in the Population Before and After the Evacuation — Less Eng- 
lish and Dutch since 1783 — Domestic and Foreign Immigration — Reestab- 
Ushment of the City Government — Temporary Council in Control until 
February, 1784 — First City Corporation Officers of the American Period — 
Their Character — Rights and Privileges of the Citizens as Freeholders and 
Freemen — Interior Life of the City — Industries, Societies, Amusements, 
Luxuries — Exterior Appearance of the Town — Streets, Public Buildiugs, 
Coffee-Houses, Means of Protection — Local Politics, or the Treatment of 
Tories by the Whigs — Hamilton's Position — John Jay and the Governor- 
ship — National Politics, or the Constitutional Period — Attitude of the City 
on the Question of Enlarging Federal Powers — Action of the Merchants — 
Hamilton and the Conventions — The ** Federalist" — The City Delegates at 
the State Convention, Poughkeepsie — Their Speeches, Influeuce, and Final 
Victory for the New National Constitution — Rejoicings and the Federal 
Procession in the City — Dutch Medals on the American Revolution. 


New- York as the Federal Capital, and during Washington's First 
Term, 1789-1793 Moncure 2>. Conway. 45 

The City in a Poor Condition at Washington's Inauguration — The City 
Hall Converted into a Federal HaU — Members of Cong^ress Disparage their 
Accommodations — Washington Arrives in New- York Amid Enthusiastic 
Greetings — The Inaug^iration and Attending Ceremonies — Mrs. Washing- 
ton's Estimate of Life in New-York — The President and his Social Obliga- 
tions—Caricatures and Party Spirit — Cincinnati and Tammany, and Other 
Societies — Newspapers — ^Washington's Mode of Opening Congress — The 
President's Residence and the Mansion on the Site of Fort George — The 
Slavery Question— The Site of a Federal Capital Determined — Indian Chiefs 
visit New-York — Congress and Government Remove to Philadelphia — The 
''American Museum" — The Bank of New- York Incorporated — A Columbia 
College Commencement — Tontine Association and CofPee-House— The Third 
Centenary of the Disciovery of America Celebrated in 1792 — Jay Counted 
Out at the Election for Governor —Virtuous Ordinances by the City Council 
—The Walter Franklin Family. 



Society in New- York in the Early Days of the Republic. 

The Editor. 87 

A "Dinner and Supper List for 1787 and '88"— Character of New-York 
Society in those Years — The Secretary for Foreign Affairs under Congress— 
Mrs. John Jay — The French Court and the French Capital — The Representa- 
tives of the New- York Bar — ^Hamilton and Burr in Society — Mrs. Hamilton — 
Chancellor Livingston — Prominent Clergymen of Various Denominations — 
Bishop David Provoost — Some Members of the Medical Prof ession — Old 
Knickerbocker Families— Revolutionary Officers and Members of Congress 
— The Leading Ladies of the Day —President of Congress — The Carps Dip- 
hmaMque — Foreign Travelers: Brissot de Warville — The President of the 
United States: His Title and Lifluence upon Social Circles — His Recep- 
tions called *' Levees" — The "Three Hundred" — Dress Worn by Ladies and 
Gentlemen — A Memorable Ball at the French Minister's — A Last Glimpse 
at the Society of that Day. 


The Closing Years of the Eighteenth Century, 1793-1800. 

The Rev, Daniel Van Felt, A. M. 113 

Changes in Material Conditions Within a Single Lifetime — The Eigh- 
teenth Century in the American Colonies — Mayor Richard Varick and Muni- 
cipal Affairs During the Closing Period — The City's Budget in 1800 — The 
French Revolution and its Sympathizers Here — New- York Ceases to be the 
Capital of the State — The City Turns the Scales in the Presidential Election 
of 1800 — Death of Washington, and Funeral Ceremonies in New- York — The 
Appearance of the City at this Time as Described by Foreign Observers — 
Th6 Yellow Fever Visitations of 1791, 1795, and 1798 — Experiment in Steam 
Navigation on the Collect — ^Associations for Literary, Benevolent, and other 
Purposes — New-York Society and Popular Amusements — Races on the 
Bowery — Behavior at the Theater — Commercial Advantages and Prosper- 
ity — No " Down-town " a Hundred Years Ago — " London in Miniature " 
— List of Houses and Lots valued at £2000 and over in 1799. 

The Opening op the Nineteenth Century, 1801-1807. The Editor. 153 

A Glance Backward — Great Cities of the World at the Beginning of the 
Nineteenth Century — The Presidential Election Excitement Early in 1801 
— The Tie Between Jefferson and Burr — The Duel Between Hamilton and 
Burr — Consequences to Burr — The Founding of the Public-school Sys- 
tem of New- York — Generous Support by the State Legislature and the 
Corporation — Churches Enlarged, Altered, and Newly Built — The Disap- 
pearance of Worship in the Dutch Language — St. Paul's and St. John's the 
only Relics of this Period — Mayors Edward Livingrston, De Witt Clinton, 
and Marinus Willett — War with and Defeat of the "Barbary Powers" 


— Items of Local Interest: College of Physicians and Surgeons, News- 
papers, Huguenot Church, Insurance Companies — Market-places Visited 
by the Country People — Strange Street Cries of Venders — The Change in 
the Conditions of Society — Class Prestige Disappears — Weehawken Duel- 


The Beginning op Steam Navigation, 1807-1812. 

Charles Burr Todd. 184 

Earliest Attempts at Steam Navigation — Robert Fulton: His Birth and 
Youthful Experiments — Goes to England to Study Art under Benjamin 
West — His Attention is Turned to Steam Navigation— His Book on Canals 
— Fulton Meets Joel Barlow in Paris — Fulton Returns to America — Ameri- 
can Inventors who Preceded Fulton Failed in Practical Application — John 
Stevens and his Screw Propeller — Connection of Chancellor Livingston 
with Fulton — Experiments on the Seine at Paris — The Clermont Goes Up 
the Hudson to Albany and Back — Steam Ferry-boats — Parties in New- 
York and the Embargo — Threats of War, and Fortification of the City — 
The New-York Historical Society Celebrates the Two-hundredth Anni- 
versary of the Discovery of the Hudson — City Hall in the Park Completed 
— New Churches Built — The Laying Out of Streets — State Election of 
1811 — Early Steps to Build the Erie Canal — Public School No. 2 — New- 
York Orphan Asylum Founded — The Chartering of a Bank — ** Salmagundi" 
and *^ Knickerbocker's New-York "— Cockloft Hall. 


New- York in the Second War of Independence, 1812-1815. 

John Austin Stevens, 219 

England's Hope of Reconciliation with the Colonies — Political Situation 
and Progress of Negotiations with England — Growth of American Ton- 
nage — Impressment of American Sailors by Great Britain — British Frigate 
Fires on American Ship, 1806 — The Famous Orders in Council — Ruinous 
Elffects of the Embargo Act of 1807 — Ambition of Clay and Calhoun — Madi- 
son's Message to Congress — New- York Merchants' Memorial — Death of 
Governor George Clinton — War Declared Against Great Britain, 1812 — Or- 
ganization and Preparations of the Committee of Defense — Enthusiasm of ■ 
Seafaring Men for the War — Naval Engagement of Captain David Porter 

— The Constitution Defeats the Guerri^re — Decatur Captures the Macedo- 
nian — Great Britain's Mortification— The Wasp Defeats the Frolic — Mili- 
tary Organizations, Arsenals, and Forts — American Reverses in Canada — 
Battle of Queenstown — New-York Merchants' Grievances —Lake Defenses 

— Capture of Toronto and Fort George— Perry's Victory, 1813 — British 
Successes on Land — The Chesapeake Defeated by the Shannon — Blockade 
of the Port — Reception of General Harrison — Canadian Campaign under 
Scott— Second Invasion of New- York State— Public Action for Improving 
Defenses of the City — Treaty of Ghent — Lawrence and Ludlow. 

• • • 



TiiK Rkturn of Peace, and the Completion op the Erie Canal, 
1815-1825 William L. Stone. 295 

The Effect of the Announcement of Peace — Packet Lines Established — 
Hevitro Weather — Removal of General Richard Montgomery's Remains 
from Quebec to New- York — Ball to General Andrew Jackson — Burning of 
the Old Park Theater— New- York Bay Frozen Over in 1820— Yellow Fever 
in the (yity — Visit of Lafayette to the United States, and His Reception in 
Now- York — Erie Canal Celebration — History of the Enterprise — First 
Canal-boaty the Heneca Chief, leaves Buffalo — Description of the Celebra- 
tion — Land and Naval Processions — Magnificent Appearance of the Fleet 
— The ( JriH^k RobollioTi — Large Amounts of Money Subscribed in New- 
York for the Relief of the Greek Patriots — First Gas-pipes Laid. 


The BEQiNNiNa op New- York's Commercial Greatness, 1825 - 1837. 

John Austin Stevens. 334 

The Tontine Coffw House and Chamber of Commerce — Increase of Trade 
owing to Opening of Erie Canal — Commerce of New- York — Larger Build- 
ings Kn»otod — Mayors Philip Hone, Walter Bowne, and Gideon Lee — First 
Appiuiranoe in the City of Asiatic Cholera, 1832 — The Election and Aboli- 
tion Hiot8, 18IM: — Procession and Ceremonies in Memory of Lafayette — 
Stone-cutters' and Five Points Riots, 1834-35 — Croton River Aqueduct 
IWidiKi Upon -On^t Fire of 1835— Flour Riot, ia37— The Banks of New- 
York, includinir Savinirs-banks — The Farmers' Fire Insurance Company — 
InHuence of Fret* Trade on the National Election — Albert Gallatin's Policy 
->The National Hank of New- York Established — The Bank of the United 
StAtt^ AectH>ts a Charter from Pennsylvania — Enormous Licrease in the 
Issue of Paper Oirrenoy— Sharp Reaction — The New- York Banks Suspend, 
May, 18^)7 — Oimeral Suspension of United States Banks — Convention of 
Bank IX4e|rate« from Seventeen States Meets in New-Tork — Favorable 
I V>speet» ^ - Resumption of Specie Payments by the New- York Banks, May, 
IS38 -The Hank of Commerce Established -~ The New- York University 
Founder) — Literary Si>eiety : •* The Oub ^ Organiied — Polish Exiles Arrive 
in New- York — Fashionable Localities and Walks — Favorite Caf^ — Cele- 
bratiHl Schoob and Institutes ~ Death of Chariotte Canda— The Freedom of 
Uie City. 


Trs YraR8 or Ml^XU^PAL Vuk)R, 1S37'- 1S*7* J. Eiifmpdem Ihmghertf. 364 

PiMiwtl WelvrtxMT Vi^fits New-York — AppeMnne^ <rf the Stivets — Notable 
llou!ii<>« — Iwpnnxmienls^ in RebuikUnij; Following th^^ Fire <if 1S35 — Parks 
Mhl S«)iuure« INiblk" Hall^ lieltti>^|9illerie«k Hotels^ and Tbeattti« — Ball 
in lUuHvr tvf CiiarW l>k»k»iis — Intr(>duetk\ii of l«»s — Oioivlwis — Chibs — 
liAttt^mtxirv of iKk* Db^ — N«i'W«|«i|>t>i^-- lY«!Kk«t HamsiMiV IV«ili a3»d 
I\i«K4rad^^lajgx«axid llor$vHwr« laut^doced — OMidlrttiAMtt of t^FVcMuth 


Avenue Tunnel — Immig^tion and its Factors — Its Effect on Local Poli- 
tics — The Native American Movement — First Elected Mayor, Cornelius W. 
Lawrence — The Council of Appointment — Suffrage Restrictions — All 
Property Qualifications for City Voters Abolished in 1842 — City Conven- 
tion Amends City Charter, 1829 — Charter Elections — High Character of 
Municipal and Judicial Officers — Charter of 1830 Provides for Departments 
in City Government — Early Police Systems — Municipal PoUce Act Passed, 
1844 — Jacob Hays, the Last High Constable — Origin and Establishment 
of the Public-school System — Conflict between Protestants and Romanists 
over State Funds — City Pumps, Springs, and Water Supply — Croton Aque- 
duct Commissioners Appointed — Major Douglass's Plans Approved, and 
Work Begun — Water Admitted into Aqueduct, June, 1842 — Grand Cele- 
bration upon Completion of Aqueduct — Fashionable New- York Moving 
Up-town — Luxurious Living Indulged in — Distinguished Foreigners Ar- 
rive in the City — The Presidential Canvass of 1844 — Invention of the Tele- 
graph Perfected — Morse's Efforts to Obtain Patents in Europe — Election 
of Polk — War with Mexico — Great Fire of July, 1845 — Gotham as Ap- 
pUed to New- York. 


Telegraphs and Railroads, and their Impulse to Commerce, 1847 - 
1855 Charles Burr Todd. 413 

Commercial Development — First Telegraph Line Opened — Succeeding 
Lines Established — The Erie Railroad — Preliminary Survey — First Sec- 
tion Opened — Ceremonies on Completion of Entire Line, 1851 — Receiver 
Appointed and Reorganization Effected — Second Receivership, and Sub- 
sequent Reorganization — The New- York Central and Hudson River Rail- 
road: Its Charter and Construction — The Pennsylvania Railroad — The 
Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad — The West Shore Railroad 
— The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad — Discovery of Gold in California — 
The Chpper Ships and their Remarkable Voyages — The Yacht America 
and her Famous Race — The Great Ship-building Yards — The Century 
Club, and Gkdlery of Fine Arts — Passage of the New City Charter — The 
Astor Place Riot — Asiatic Cholera Again Visits the City — The Astor 
Library Opened — Philanthropic Societies Organized — The New- York Free 
Academy Opened — The Children's Aid Society Begins its Work — St. 
Luke's and the Demilt Hospitals Built — Young Men's Christian Association 
Formed — Arrival of Jenny Lind — The Grinnell Expeditions under De Ha- 
ven and Kane — The Central Park Decided Upon — The Crystal Palace 
Built — The Clearing House Association — The City Markets. 


Premonitions op the Civil War, 1855 - 1860 .... Eugene Laivrence. 447 

Condition and Progress of New- York City in 1856 — The City Prosperous 
— Severe Cold all over the Country — Central Park Progressing — Original 
Plans for Parks in the City — MetropoUtan Museum of Art and Other Build- 
ings Added to the Park — Battery Park Neglected — Incidents in the City 
—The Chief Newspapers of the Day — The Burdell Murder — The " Five 


Points" — Creation of the Metropolitan Police — Mayor Wood's Opposition 
and Resistance — A Riot Averted — The Advent of the Metropolitan Police 
to Power Causes Numerous Riots — The Commercial Panic of 1857 — Gradual 
Recovery from Financial Depression — Resumption of Specie Payments — 
Crime and Disorder — The " Dead Rabbit" Riot — The Astor Library and 
Cooper Institute — Readings and Lectures by Noted Speakers — Proposed 
Introduction of Slavery into Kansas Creates Political Excitement in New- 
York — Aspect of Broadway in 1858 — Laying of the Atlantic Cable, and 
Grand Celebration in the City — Burning of the Quarantine Buildings on 
Staten Island — Revival of the Slave Trade — General Condition of Affairs 
in 1859 — Visit of the Prince of Wales — Peril of Free Institutions, 1860 — 
Lincoln's Election — Plans of Disunionists — Southern Preparations for 
Civil War — Vacillation of Buchanan — Evacuation of Fort Moultrie. 


New- York in the War for the Union,1861 - 1865. 

Gen. T. F. Rodenhough, U. S. A. (Retired). 478 

The Empire City Furnishes Sinews of War — The Pine Street Meeting 

— General Dix Appointed Secretary of War — His Famous Despatch — 
General Scott and President Buchanan — President Lincoln Assumes 
the Presidency — The Sixth Massachusetts Regiment Passes Through the 
City — Great Meeting in Union Square — Patriotism of the Citizens — Large 
Sums of Money Raised — Thurlow Weed Assists the President — Union De- 
fense Conmiittee Organized — Departure of the Seventh Regiment, April 
19, 1861 — Other New- York City Regiments Leave for Washington — Com- 
modore Vanderbilt Presents a Steamer to the Government — Patriotic Ac- 
tion of New- York Women — Organization of the United States Sanitary 
Commission — Southern Disappointment at New- York's Loyalty — Foreign 
Correspondents in the City — The Government Arrests Disloyal Persons 

— Lieutenant-Colonel Martin Burke in Command of Fort Lafayette — 
President Lincoln Invites Three Eminent Citizens to Represent the Govern- 
ment Abroad — Call for Volunteers — The Enrolment Act — The Draft 
Riots, 1863 — The Seventh and other Regiments Ordered to Return to New- 
York — A Forged Proclamation by the President Published — Arrest of the 
Author — Metropolitan Fair in Aid of Sanitary Commission, April, 1864 — 
Assassination of President Lincoln, and Mass Meeting in New- York — No- 
table New-Yorkers who Died for their Country — Gallant Leaders of Both 
the Army and Navy — MiUtary Organizations Recruited Wholly, or in Part, 
in the City and County of New-York — Compilation from Colonel Phis- 
terer's " New York in the War of the Rebellion." 


Recovery from War — Tweed Ring — Speculation and Reaction, 
1865-1878 Arthur E. Bosticick, Ph. D, 518 

New- York at the End of the Civil War — Activity in Building, and Local 
Improvements — Rapid Growth of the City — New Streets and Avenues 
Opened — Introduction of the Passenger Elevator — First Apartment-houses 


Erected — Blast River Bridge Begun — Underground Roads Projected 
—The Elevated Railroads — The Raihroad Viaduct on Fourth Avenue — 
The Atlantic Cable Successfully Laid, 1866 — Admiral Farragut Leaves 
New- York with a Squadron — Volunteer Fire Department Abolished, 1865 
— Steam Fire-engines Introduced — Board of Health Established, 1866 — 
Cholera Again Visits the City — Dock Department Created, 1870 — The 
Orange Riot, July 12, 1871 ; Many Killed and Wounded on Eighth Ave- 
nue — John T. Hoffman — Formation of the Society for the Prevention 
of Cruelty to Animals — Societies Formed for the Suppression of Vice, for 
the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and for the Prevention of Crime — 
Visits of Prince Arthur and Grand Duke Alexis — The Chicago Fire and 
New- York's Contribution — Concentration of State Power at Albany Works 
Injury to New- York — Best Elements of the Democratic Party Not Repre- 
sented in its Councils — The Tammany Society Controls the Politics of Emi- 
grants — William M. Tweed and his Methods — Origin of the Tweed Ring 
— Peter B. Sweeny — Richard D. Connolly — The Ring Judges — Demoral- 
ization of the Press — Fraudulent Naturalization — A. Oakey Hall — The 
Ring in Control — The County Court-house Fniuds — The Tweed-Frear 
Charter — The Rochester Convention, 1870 — Increase of City Debt — At- 
tacks on the Ring by the Press — James O'Brien Secures Information — 
Watson's Death — The *' Times " Publishes the City's Accounts — The Com- 
mittee of Seventy — Disposition of the Plunder — Ci\41 Actions Begun 
Against Members of the Ring — Tweed Imprisoned — His Escape and Sub- 
sequent Capture — The New City Charter — The Panic of 1873 — Failure of 
Prominent Houses — Stock Exchange Closed — The One-hundredth Anni- 
versary of American Independence — Emperor of Brazil Visits New- York. 


New-York During the Last Fourteen Years, 1879-1892. 

The Rev. Ashhel G, Vermilye, D. D. 570 

Retrospective Review — The Genesis of the East River Bridge — Roebling's 
Engineering Triumph — Difficulties to be Overcome — Completion of the 
Great Work — Magnitude of its Passenger Traffic — Description of Hell 
Gate — Attempts at Removing its Obstructions — The Hallett's Point Reef : 
Its Destruction September 24, 1876 — The Harlem River Improvements — 
Catting through Dyckman's Meadows — Revival of Architecture : its Pro- 
gress — High Office-buildings — Passenger Elevators — Apartment-houses 
— Up-town Movement of Large Institutions — The New- York University : 
Its Associations and Contemplated Removal — Source of Columbia Col- 
legers Wealth — Cathedral of St. John the Divine — The Methodist Book 
Concern — Rapid Transit Discussed — The Streets ReHeved of Telegraph 
Poles — The Electric-subway System — The Blizzard — Death of Roscoe 
Conkling — Overworked Switchmen — The Statue of Liberty — The Cen- 
tennial of Washington's Inauguration — The Columbus Celebration — The 
Presence of Tramx>s in the PubUc Squares — Schools and Schoolmasters — 
Nelson the " Blind Teacher " — Professor Anthon and His Characteristics : 
His Original Mode of Punishment — Requirements of the Education of To- 
day — Methods of Columbia and Barnard Colleges — The Condition of, and 
Attendance at, the Public Schools — Women on the Board of Education 
— ^The Public Schools Intended to Reach the Poorest, and all Nationalities — 

• • 


Charitable Societies — Lodging-houses and Industrial Schools for Girls and 
Boys — The Children's Aid Society's Work — The New " Charity Exchange" 
on Fourth Avenue — Changes in Length of Summer Vacations — The Un- 
rest which Characterizes the People — The Cholera Scare — Strikes of the 
Laboring Classes — Bdsum^ of the Period. 


Constitutional and Legal History op New- York in the Nine- 
teenth Century Robert Ludlow Fowler. 615 

The Constitutional Conventions of 1821 and 1S46 — The Convention of 
1801 — Opposition to the Convention of 1821 — Final Decision in its Favor 
— The Supreme Court of Judicature — Chancellors Kent and Lansing, and 
Their Administrations — Kent's Aims and Work — The Courts of Errors 
and Probates — Condition of New-Tork State in 1821 — New England In- 
fluence Perceptible in Politics — Names of Prominent Delegates to the Con- 
vention of 1821 — Debates in the Convention — The Basis of the Franchise 
Enlarged — Changes in the Judicial Establishment — The BiD of Bights 
Sections^The Act of 1823 Authorizes Courts of Equity — The Bevised 
Statutes ~ The Bevision of 1821 ~ The Act of 1825 — The Bevisers' Work 
Considered and Described — Definition of the Term " Common Law " — Fur- 
ther Changes Made in the Ancient Courts — Effect of Foreign Immigration 
upon the Bixly Politic — Disturbances Connected with the Great Grants of 
iMd — The Convention of 1846 — Provisions of the New Constitution — 
Court of Appeals ideated — Many Minor Changes Adopted — Jurisdiction 
of the Various Courts — Determination of the Private Jural Belations of all 
Citiieiis of the State — Status of a Citiien of New-Tork City — Conchision. 

Table op Dat^ in New-York History 661 



Alexander Hamilton ... ... Trumbull Frontispiece. 

Mrs. John Jay Unknown Pace 87 

Robert R. Livingston . Stuart " 219 

De Witt Clinton Inman *' 834 

John Jacob Astob Stuart ** 447 

John Adams Dix Brady " 518 


Address op Returned Exiles, and Washington's Reply 4, 5, 6 

Map of Livingston Manor, 1714 Pace 19 

Washington's Reply upon Receiving Preedom of the City ... 23, 24 

Fac-simile of Last Page of the Federal Constitution 36 

Map of New-York, 1789 53 

Fao-simile of Roll for Attorneys, with Autographs 60 

Fac-simile of the De Lancey Proclamation Face 69 

Chiefs of the Creek Indians 74 

Fac-simile of a Letter by Marinus Willett 77 

Eighteenth-Century Coins and Currency 112 

St. Memin's View op New- York in 1798 127 

Map op New- York, 1797 Pace 130 

Fac-simile op Order op Washington's Funeral Procession . . . 132 
Fac-simile of Page of the " Commercial Advertiser," 1797 .... 149 
Fac-simile Page of Minutes of New-York Historical SociETy . . 178 
Plan op New-York, Showing the Made and Swamp Land .... 197 

Map of the City of New-York in 1808 Pace 208 

Map op Harlem Heights and Plain, 1814 281 

Interior of Park Theater, November 7, 1822 Face 306 

Illumination of the City Hall upon Completion op Erie Canal . 325 

St. Paul's Church and Broadway in 1831 358 

Pine Street Meeting Signatures Pace 480 

Two Great Questions. (The Tweed Ring) 549 

" What are you going to do about it t " (The Tweed Ring) Face 556 

Centennial Souvenir issued in April, 1889 591 

New-York City and Harbor in 1892 611 


Great Seal of New-York 2 

Portrait op Red Jacket 3 

The RoTAii Savage 7 

Portrait and Autograph of Rev. Charles Inglis 8 




Autograph op Robert Lenox 10 

Portrait and Autograph op Pierre Van Cortlandt 11 

Portrait and Autograph op Marinus Willett 13 

Pao-simile op a Freeman's Certipicate 14 

Portrait and Autograph op John Pintard 16 

The Lispenard Meadows 17 

Portrait and Autograph op Lady Catharine Duer 20 

New-York Sleigh op 1788 25 

Portrait asd Autograph op Noah Webster 26 

Prom a Contemporary Broadside 29 

Portrait and Autograph op George Clinton 31 

Colonel Lamb's Mansion 32 

Autograph op John Watts (Sr.) 34 

Autograph op Anne Watts . . 35 

Portrait and Autograph op Gouverneur Morris 39 

Procession in Honor op the Federal Constitution 40 

Grand Federal Banquet 41 

Dutch Medals on the American Revolution, 1 43 


The Franklin House 47 

President Washington's Reception at New-York 50 

Washington Taking the Oath 55 

Portrait and Autograph op Mrs. Washington 57 

Portrait and Autograph op William Dunlap 65 

*^ Gazette op the United States'' (Fac-simile op Part op a Page) 66 

City and Manhattan Banks and the McEvers House 71 

The Government House 79 

Fao^simile op Certipicate op Election 81 

Portrait and Autograph op Joseph Brant 83 

Mile-stones op the Eighteenth Century 84 

Fac-simile op Washington's Note to Mrs. Jay 88 

Portrait and Autograph op Mrs. Rupus King 91 

Liberty Hall, Birthplace op Mrs. John Jay 92 

Portrait and Autograph op Rev. John Livingston 93 

Portrait op James Kent in Youth 95 

Portrait and Autograph op Mrs. Alexander Hamilton 96 

Portrait and Autograph op Egbert Benson 97 

Fac-simile Autograph Order op Mrs. James Alexander 98 

Portrait and Autograph op Rev. Dr. John Rodgers 99 

Portrait and Autograph op Bishop Samuel Provoost 100 

Portrait and Autograph op Mrs. Stephen Van Rensselaer . . . 101 

Portrait and Autograph op Euas Boudenot 102 

Portrait and Autograph op Colonel John Bayard 103 

Portrait op Mrs. James Beekman 104 

Portrait and Autograph op Sir John Temple 106 

Portrait and Aittograph op Lady Temple 107 

Portrait op Philip Livingston 109 

The Temple Arms 110 



Residence op Lord Stirling Ill 

Autograph of Mrs. John Jay Ill 

New-York Near the Close op the Eighteenth Century 113 

View Across the North River in 1796 115 

Pao-simile op Order Signed by Mayor Varick 117 

Portrait and Autograph op James Pairlie 118 

Portrait and Autograph op Edmond C. GenSt 121 

Portrait op Mme. Edmond C. GenIit 122 

The Temple Monument 124 

Stone Pound in City Hall Park 125 

Portrait op Mrs. William Jackson 131 

Portrait and Autograph op Mary Philipse Morris 134 

Autograph op James De Lancey 135 

Cato's House on the Boston Road 137 

Fao-simile Notice op Meeting op Society Library Trustees . . . 140 

New- York Society Library, 1795 143 

Portrait and Autograph op General Matthew Clarkson .... 144 

Corner-stone op Park Theater 147 

Portrait and Autograph op John Adams 153 

Portrait and Autograph op Mrs. John Adams 154 

View op Bedpord House 156 

Portrait and Autograph op James A. Bayard 157 

Portrait and Autograph op General Morgan Lewis 158 

Portrait and Autograph op Aaron Burr 159 

Portrait and Autograph op Theodosia Burr 160 

Hamilton's Residence, " The Grange " 161 

The Hamilton-Burr Duel 163 

Richmond Hill Mansion 164 

Hamilton's Tomb in Trinity Churchyard 165 

Portrait and Autograph op Governor Daniel D. Tompkins . . . 167 

New- York at the Beginning op the Nineteenth Century .... 169 

Portrait and Autograph op Rev. Dr. John H. Livingston .... 170 

Portrait and Autograph op Rev. Dr. William Linn 172 

The Bayard Country House in Harlem 173 

St. John's Church, Varick Street - 174 

Portrait and Autograph op Edward Livingston 175 

Portrait and Autograph op Samuel Bayard 179 

New- York Stage-coach 180 

The Hamilton Monument 182 

Portrait and Autograph op Robert Pulton 185 

Portrait and Autograph op Joel Barlow 186 

The Steamer Clermont ^ 187 

Portrait and Autograph op Dr. Samuel L. Mitchill 189 

The Clermont *prom an Advertisement' 191 

Clermont Manor-house 192 

Fao-similiE op Letter Written by Robert Pulton 194 

Brooklyn Perry Ticket 196 

Portrait and Autograph op Jacob Radclipp 200 



Portrait and Autograph of Dr. David Hosack 201 

St. James Church in Hamilton Park, 1810 202 

Broadway at Canal Street, 1812 204 

Map op the " Common Lands " Belonging to the City 205 

The City Hall in the Park, 1812 207 

First Free-school Building 209 

The Rutgers Mansion 210 

Portrait and Autograph of Washington Irving 211 

Cockloft Hall and Summer-house . 212 

Fac-simile op Title-page op " Knickerbocker's New-York ^ . , . . 213 

Fac-simile of Bill for Passage on River Sloop 214 

New- York County Seal 214 

Portrait and Autograph of James K. Paulding . 216 

De Peyster, Roosevelt, and Pell Arms 218 

Escape of the Frigate Constitution 219 

Bible upon which Washington was Sworn 220 

Portrait of Mrs. Robert R. Livingston 221 

Washington's Writing-table 223 

The Livingston House 224 

Gold Ring Containing Washington's Hair 225 

Member of General Assembly's Order for Pay 227 

Portrait and Autograph of Albert Gallatin 228 

Portrait and Autograph of Ebenezer Hazard 230 

Portrait and Autograph of Richard Bassett 232 

Forts Fish and Clinton, 1814 234 

Portrait and Autograph of General Jacob Morton 237 

The Kissing Bridge 239 

The Smith House, Haverstraw 241 

Portrait and Autograph of Captain Isaac Hull 242 

The Frigate Constitution 243 

Billet-head op the Constitution 244 

" A Wasp on a Frolic ^ 247 

Portrait and Autograph op Major Wiujam Jackson 248 

Tower at Hallett's Point 250 

Washington Hall, Broadway 252 

Henry EcKFORiys Residence 253 

View op Spuyten Duyvil 255 

Portrait and Autograph op Gen. Stephen Van Rensselaer .... 256 

Fort Gansevoort — ** The Old White Fort ^ 259 

The Clarkson Arms 260 

Portrait and Autograph op Colonel William S. Smith • 261 

Portrait op Robert Livingston . 263 

Portrait and Autograph op Commodore Stephen Decatur 264 

Portrait and Autograph op General Alexander Macosib 265 

Portrait and Autograph op Lieutenant Wiluam H. Allen .... 266 

Washington's Inaugural Chair 269 

Portrait and Autograph op Colonel Henry Rutgers 271 

Tomb op Captain James Lawrence 272 



GK)LD Snuff-box Presented to John Jay 274 

PREsroENT Washington's Desk 277 

Portrait and Autograph of James Madison 278 

Portrait and Autograph of Mrs. James Madison 279 

Fulton the First, Steam War Vessel 280 

Portrait and Autograph of Colonel Tobias Lear 282 

Fac-simile of Livingston Deed 286 

Residence of the American Commssioners in Ghent 289 

New- York and Brooklyn Perry Commutation Notice 290 

Seals and Signatlties of American Peace Commissioners 291 

Portrait and Autograph op Captain James Lawrence 293 

Morris, Chauncey, and Lawrence Arms 294 

Portrait and Autograph of John Stevens 295 

Medal Commemorating Peace 296 

Portrait of Mrs. John Morton 297 

Autograph of Mayor John Ferguson 298 

View of Mrs. Murray's House, Murray Hill 299 

Portrait and Autograph of Lindley Murray 300 

The Van Cortlandt SucIar-house 301 

The Shakespeare Ta\^rn 302 

Signature of Mrs. E. C. Gen6t 303 

View of Jersey City in 1820 305 

Autograph of Mayor Stephen Allen 306 

Portrait and Autograph op General Jacob Brown 307 

The Lafayette Medal 309 

Portrait and Autograph op General John Armstrong 310 

Bayard Punch-bowl 311 

Portrait and Autograph of James Tallmadge 312 


Provoost and Chapel Streets, 1826 315 

Murray Street and Dr. Mason's Church in 1822 317 

Portrait and Autograph of Mrs. De Witt Clinton 318 

Portrait and Autograph of Samuel Verplanck 320 

Autograph of Cadwallader D. Colden 321 

North Esd of the City Hall Park, 1825 323 

Portrait and Autograph of Rev. Dr. John N. Abeel 327 

Manhattan Reservoir, Chambers Street 328 

Bath Ticket, 1819 330 

The Leggett House 331 

Portrait and Autograph of Captain Paul Jones 332 

St. Peter's Church 333 

Autographs of Invited Guests, Erie Canal Celebration 333 

The Verplanck House 335 

Portrait and Autograph of Gulian C. Verplanck 336 

Portrait and Autograph op Philip Hone 337 

Portrait and Autograph op Walter Bowne 338 

Autograph of Gideon Lee 338 

The New-Yobk Hospital 339 

• • • 



The Verplanck Crest 340 

Portrait and Autograph op Dr. John W. Prancts 341 

The Provost Jah. . 342 

Chateau La Grange 343 

Masonic Hall, 1830 345 

Portrait and Autograph of Rev. Dr. William Berrian 346 

The Bridewell, City Hall Park 349 

Pao-simile of Signatures from Order op the Cincinnati 350 

Portrait and Autograph of Judge William Jay 351 

Portrait and Autograph op Rt. Rev. Benjamin Moore 353 

The New- York Society Library 354 

City Hotel, Trinity Church, and Grace Church, 1831 355 

Residence of Bishop Moore 357 

Portrait and Autograph op Christopher Colles 359 

Contoit's Garden, Broadway, 1830 360 

The Canda Monument 361 

Portrait and Autograph of General William J. Worth .... 364 

Bunker's Mansion House, Broadway 365 

Dutch Church in Garden Street 366 

Portrait and Autograph op Rt. Rev. John Henry Hobart .... 368 

The Beverly Robinson House 369 

Autograph of John Wilkes 370 

Portrait and Autograph of Samuel Jones 371 

Autograph of Elizabeth Izard 372 

Portrait and Autograph of Chancellor Samuel Jones 373 

Autograph of P. G. Stuyvesant 374 

The Bleecker Arms 375 

Broadway, East Side, between Grand and Howard Streets . . . 376 

Autograph op Mayor Aaron Clark 377 

Autograph op Mayor Isaac L. Varian 378 

Autograph of Mayor Robert H. Morris 378 

Portrait and Autograph of Jonathan I. Coddington 379 

Autograph of Mayor William P. Havemeyer 380 

Autograph op Mayor Andrew H. Mickle 380 

The Poulke Residence 381 

John Pintard Book-plate 382 

Portrait and Autograph of Dr. Ebenezer Crosby 383 

Autograph op William B. Crosby 384 

St. Patrick's Cathedral, 1815 385 

Autograph of Recorder Richard Riker 386 

Portrait and Autograph of Governor William C. Bouck .... 387 

Portrait and Autograph of Jacob Hays 388 

Autograph of Robert Benson 389 

UfioLisE Du St. Esprit 390 

Portrait op Mrs. Harriet Bayard Van Rensselaer 391 

St. John's College, Pordham 392 

Autograph of Archibald Gracie 393 

Autograph of Charles Wilkes 394 



Portrait and Autograph op Laura Keene 395 

Portrait and Autograph op Robert L. Stevens 396 

The Gardiner Arms 397 

Portrait and Autograph op Governor De Witt Clinton .... 398 

Portrait and Autograph op David Gardiner 399 

Teu: Sturgis Arms 400 

Portrait and Autograph op Mrs. De Witt Clinton 401 

Croton Water Procession, 1842 402 

Portrait and Autograph op Henry C. Murphy 403 

Opening op the Fountain, City Hall Park, 1842 404 

Manhattan Reservoir, 1846 405 

Portrait and Autograph op Samuel P. B. Morse 406 

Portrait and Autograph op Andrew Jackson 407 

General Worth's Residence 408 

Proposed Washington Monument 409 

Castle Garden as it Appeared in 1850 413 

Portrait and Autograph op James H. Hackett 414 

The Kip Arms 415 

Portrait and Autograph op Matilda Heron 417 

Autograph op Mayor Caleb S. Woodhull 418 

Burnham's Hotel 419 

Autograph op Mayor Ambrose C. Kingsland 420 

Portrait and Autograph op Governor John Young 421 

The Jay Arms 422 

The Clipper Ship Dreadnaught 423 

Portrait and Autograph op John C. Stevens 424 

The Yacht America, Winner op the Queen's Cup 425 

The America's Cup 426 

The American Youth and Master Johnny 427 


Autograph op Mayor James Harper 429 

Portrait and Autograph op John J. Audubon 430 

AuDi^BON's Residence 431 

St. James Lutheran Church 432 

Autograph op Mayor Jacob A. Westervelt 433 

Portrait and Autograph op Anna Cora Mowatt 434 

Autograph op John Jacob Astor 435 

Portrait and Autograph op Charles Astor Bristed 436 

Pont Hill, Forrest's Castle 437 

Portrait and Autograph op Rev. Dr. William A. Muhlenberg . . 439 

Portrait and Autograph op Jenny Lind 440 

Portrait and Autograph op Kossuth 441 

Portrait and Autograph op Henry Grinnell 443 

The New-York Crystal Palace 444 

Soldiers' Monument in Trinity Churchyard 445 

La Grange Terrace, or Colonnade Row, in Lafayette Place . . 446 

Pobtrait and Autograph op James W. Beekman 448 

The Madison Square Cottage 449 



Payette Street Baptist Church . 451 

Elias Boudinot Book-plate 453 

Portrait and Autograph op John Jay 454 

The Old Park Theater 457 

Autograph of Mayor Fernando Wood 458 

Portrait and Autograph of Edgar A. Poe 459 

Portrait and Autograph of Charles Penno Hoffman 460 

Autograph of Mayor Daniel P. Tiemann 462 

The Washington Chair 463 

The Pierrepont Arms 465 

Portrait and Autograph of Cyrus W. Pield 466 

Second John Street Methodist Church 468 

The Rutherford Arms 469 

The Steamship Great Eastern 471 

Castle Point, the Residence op Mrs. Stevens 472 

Entrance to Castle Point 473 

The Schieffelin Arms 474 

View near Porty-second street 475 

Portrait and Autograph of William H. Seward 476 

The Gallatin Arms 477 

Autograph of Wm. P. Brady 477 

Portrait and Autograph of Charles O'Conor 479 

Pac-simile of General Dix's Celebrated Despatch ....... 481 

Portrait and Autograph of General Winfield Scott 482 

Pac-simile of Major Anderson's Despatch 485 

Alexander T. Stewart's Residence 486 

Portrait and Autograph of Mrs. John Tyler 489 

Portrait and Autograph of Admiral John L. Worden 492 

Portrait and Autograph of Mrs. Botta 495 

View of Port Lafayette, 1861-65 498 

Autograph of Mayor George Opdyke 503 

The Old Brick Church 505 

Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Arch 508 

Autograph op Ulysses Hiram Grant 509 

Portrait and Autograph of Preston King 510 

Autograph of Mayor C.Godfrey Gunther 511 

Portrait and Autograph of Mrs. Caroline M. Kirkland .... 512 

Sheridan at Winchester 513 

Portrait and Autograph of Dr. Peter Wilson 519 

Vauxhall Garden 520 

The Tontine Coffee House 522 

Portrait and Autograph of Daniel Embury 523 

The National Academy of Design 525 

Portrait and Autograph of Mrs. Daniel Webster 526 

Terrace and Lake, Central Park 529 

Chltrch of the New Jerusalem 530 

Portrait and Autograph of Horace Greeley 531 

The Pemale Normal College 532 



AiTOGRAPH OP. John T. Hoffman 535 

Portrait and Autograph op Henry Bergh 536 

Autograph op Thomas Coman 537 

Collegiate Reformed Church 538 

Bridge and Lake, Central Park 539 

Autograph op Mayor A. Oakiy Hall 541 

Arsenal and Menagerie, Central Park 542 

Broadway, North prom Post-Opfice 545 

New- York County Court-House 546 

The Mall, Central Park 547 

Broadway, North prom Leonard Street 551 

The Lovers' Walk, Central Park 552 

The New- York Post-Opfice 555 

**What are You Laughing at?" (The Tweed Ring) 558 

"To Whom it may Concern'' (The Tweed Ring) 563 

Autograph op Mayor William H. Wickham 565 

Liberty Enlightening the World 566 

Autograph op Mayor Smith Ely, Jr 567 

New-York Docks, East River 569 

The East River Bridge 571 

The East River and New-York Bay, prom the Bridge 572 

The Verplanck House, 1892 574 

Hell Gate. — ^Excavations at Hallett's Point 575 

Hell Gate. — Blowing up Hallett's Point Rocks 576 

The Harlem River Improvements, Northwest prom Kingsbridge 

Road 577 

The Harlem River Improvements, West prom Kingsbridge Road . 578 

The Vanderbilt Residences 579 

New-York Bay, Battery Park, and Governor's Island 580 

Autograph op Mayor Edward Cooper 580 

High Bridge and Washington Bridge 581 

Cathedral op St. John the Divine 583 

Autograph op Mayor William R. Grace 584 

The Bowery, North prom Grand Street 585 

Electric Subway Man-hole 586 

Washington Building and Produce Exchange 587 

Washington Memorial Arch 588 

Columbus Monument 590 

The Columbian Celebration Medal 593 

St. James Church 594 

Autograph op Mayor Abram S. Hewitt 595 

Fourteenth Street, West prom Unipn Square 596 

Madison Square Garden 597 

** Times,^ " Tribune," " Sun," and " World" Buildings, Park Row . . 598 

The Terrace, Central Park 599 

Portrait and Autograph op Rev. Thomas E. Vermilye 600 

Park Avenue, North prom Thirty-fourth Street 601 

Autograph op Mayor Franklin Edson 602 



United States Cruiser New- York 603 

The Battery, 1892 604 

The Bowling Green, 1892 605 

Autograph op Mayor Hugh J. Grant 606 

Wall Street in 1892 607 

The Post-Ofpice and Park % 608 

The Audubon Monument 609 

Autograph op Mayor Thomas P. Gilroy 610 

Tomb op General Grant 613 

Portrait and Autograph op Smith Thompson 617 

Portrait and Autograph op Andrew Kirkpatrick 622 

Portrait and Autograph op William Paterson 627 

Portrait and Autograph op Benjamin F. Butler 630 

Portrait and Autograph op Josla^h Ogden Hoppman 633 

Portrait and Autograph op Samuel J. Tilden 642 

Portrait and Autograph op William M. Evarts 647 

Portrait and Autograph op Roscoe Conkung 651 

Portrait op Thomas J. Oakley 654 

Portrait and Autograph op David Dudley Field 657 




PON the evacuation of New- York by the British forces, 
November 25, 1783, the city entered upon the third and 
modern period of its history. Successively Dutch and 
English, it was now to put on its distinctively American 
exterior, and shape its course along new lines defined by new condi- 
tions. Not all the original features, however, were to disappear. Ele- 
ments of the old stock survived, and fundamental characteristics left 
their traces. If, politically, the transitions from one power to another 
have been violent, socially, and to a greater extent institutionally, a 
certain continuity has been preserved. Derived from a common Teu- 
tonic ancestry, each group of inhabitants has perpetuated its predeces- 
sor in whole or in part, while each change has effected little more 
than to introduce or evolve a new phase of Teutonic life. The quiet in- 
vasion of the city in later days, under the guise of a vast immigration 
from the Old World, encouraged by the opportunity and responding to 
the spirit of the age, has fastened a cosmopolitan character upon us ; 
but the family identity is retained. Cosmopolitan New- York con- 
tinues, by absorption, to be essentially American. It is marked, un- 
mistakably, by the inherited brand. 

In the development of events interest attaches to what appear to 
be beginnings — to the new order of things. One may sometimes see 
inspiration at work here. As against the hardships, struggles, distrac- 
tions, and quarrels inevitable in the changes and movements of com- 
munities, tlie underlying resolution and confidence are bound to assert 
themselves ; and these attract The first years of the city's American 
career are an iUustration ; discouragement and comparatively slow 
advance will be succeeded by great strides forward. In 1784 the 
** plant " consisted of a partially ruined town, straitened resources, an 
unsettled foreign trade, debts, and hampered enterprises. In 1789 the 
city was on its feet and conscious of future unlimited expansion. 
vouin.— 1. 1 


The work in hand for this initial period was not so much a work of 
reconstruction as one of restoration — restoration under a new impulse. 
We can follow the process and appreciate the results. First of all, the 
population, — who were the first American New-Yorkers, what their 
numbers, affiliations, quality, sympathies I Then the municipal gov- 
ernment — its reestablishnaent, the extent and source of its powers, its 
new personnel, its agency in lifting the city 
out of the depths. Then all the activities — 
the revival of trade and manufactures, the 
growth of industries, the status of the pro- 
fessions, education, religion, societies, and 
the general life of the city. And finally, the 
looal politics of the time, and the larger ques- 
tion of a national constitution, with the influ- 
ence which the metropolis will have in secur- 
ing the adoption of that famous instrument. 

OEEAT BEAL OF KEW-TOEK, „.„ . ,, ,. , ,,. 

By foUowmg out these bnes, the old city of a 
century ago wiU come into view, in perspective at least, as the new 
growth of that day and the true foundation of modem New- York. It 
was the latest prototype of what is, and so far its history becomes a 
piece of domestic reminiscence. 

How far did the Revolutionary war affect the number and composi- 
tion of the city's population t That it suffered a material loss, and a 
loss mainly on the side of the original patrician stock, is a well-known 
fact. The population of 1784 and after was less old English and 
Dutch than it had been in 1775. While the middle, industrial classes 
changed to a certain extent, the decrease was felt most sensibly among 
the conservative, loyalist, highly respectable, and what may be called 
the churchly families of the city. In the rush of the new life that 
set in after the first interval of depression, the population assumed 
more of the " young American " character, with its nervous activity 
and practical bent, and rapidly pushed the city along tow(ird its 
destined preeminence. 

The change dates from the summer of 1776, when military opera- 
tions opened in this vicinity. New- York then contained a population 
of some twenty-five thousand souls — the streets lined wili about 
thirty-five hundred houses. The exodus began with the arrival of the 
enemy in June. Those who had homes or friends in other places, and 
the more timid element generally, left before the battle of Long Island 
in August. That disaster rendered New- York untenable, and by the 
time of the American retreat, on September 15, more than seven 
eighths of the residents had abandoned the city. The number ac- 
knowledging allegiance to Great Britain in October following was 
about nine hundred, which presumably included Ihe greater portion 


of the male inhabitaute who Temained with the enemy. From thiB 
date the successes of the latter, followed by reaction of sentiment in 
this neighborhood, and the constant expulsion of disaffected persons 
from the American lines, gradually set the flow of population back 
again to the city. Of the old population, however, it is improbable 
that a large proportion returned. The new element was conspicuously 
a refugee element — loyalists of all classes, the wealthy especially, who 
had been forced from all parts of the country to seek British military 
protection in New- York. They came from New England, from the 
towns on the Hudson, from the Middle States, and from the South. 
There were "Jersey refugees," and 
"Maryland refugees," and "CaroUna 
refugees," occupying vacant Whig 
houses or living like squatters in 
and about the town. In February, 
1777, Governor Tryon could report 
that the number of men subscribing 
to the oath of allegiance had risen 
to three thousand, with scarcely a 
hundred remaining who had not 
taken it. The evacuation of Phila^ 
delphia in the following year, and 
repeated accessions, swelled the list 
until, in 1780, the number of volun- 
teers between seventeen and sixty 
years of age, enroUed in the city 
eompani^ during the alarm of that 
winter, was five thousand five hundred. The increase continued, and 

■ at the cessation of hostilities in 1782 the British were burdened in 
New- York with a sympathetic and largely dependent population of 
about thirty thousand men, women, and children, one quarter of 
whom niay have been residents in 1775. Among these were many 
British merchants and sutlers who had come from England and 
settled in the city in the expectation of realizing large profits and 
monopolizing the import trade on the return of peace. 

The transformation thus produced during the war was to be suc- 
ceeded by another at its close. The passions excited by the protracted 

■ struggle became responsible for the loss to America of a large and 
valuable element among her people. Neighbors who had sought to 
dratroy each other for seven years could not remain neighbors. The 
victorious party was bound to indulge its triumph in a demand for 
justice or retribution upon those who had so long been the "unnat- 
ural" enemies of the country, and the latter dared not remain. Thou- 
sands of loyalists, as stated in the previous volume, exaggerating 


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NEW-YORK orrr under American cohtbol 7 

their alarms and fears, left their old homes or their refuge Id New- 
York and went "beyond sea," wherever they could find shelter, pro- 
tection, and the promise of an opportunity to recover themselves. 
They dispersed in families and companies, and were furnished with 
transportation by Sir Guy Carleton, the last British commander-in- 
chief in New- York, who assured them of lands and temporary support 
by the home government. They settled at Annapolis Royal, Nova 
Scotia, at St John's, Halifax, Montreal, Quebec, and other points in 
the Dominion. Some went to the Ber- ^^ — ^ 

mudas and Bahamas, some to the "West ./ ^ ^^. 

Indies, and many more to the mother- / ^■t^'v. t- \ 
country. Numerous descendants of these f •^5L=^^t\*' \ 
old colonial Americans, who opposed the / .^Bfir wm Wa \ 
Revolution and went into exile, may be , JjpT''*- Jifflft^N^^ 
found to-day at these distant points. In l=^^^^' ^!|^"^,', 1^^^/ 
Nova Scotia they appeared in the r61e of ^^^^^^SS^^^M^^^ 
settlers, building up new communities for ^ E ^ S^ ^jfTiaj^i-^-^T^ 
that province, which so impressed Carle- . ..-?~~=- - 

ton that in an unpublished letter to Lord ~" — -^^ 

North, dated at New-York, October 5, 

1783, he trusts that "liberal measures of sound pohey will be im- 
mediately adopted and steadily pursued" in their interest. Above 
all, he believed that they should be granted an "expUcit exemption 
. from all taxation, except by their own legislature" — a clear recogni- 
tion on his part of the effect our Revolution would inevitably work 
on England's restrictive colonial system. 

As the Tories withdrew from New- York, the newly baptized Amer- 
ican, the man of the Revolution, who had been patiently anticipating 
the occasion, proudly marched in to reoccupy and possess the old 
city. In reality the transfer had been going on by mutual agreement 
for some months before the formal evacuation of November 25. 
Permission was granted by the British authorities to Americans to 
enter the place for business purposes, or to prove title to property 
belonging to them before the war. There was accordingly much 
going back and forth during 1783. But not aU the old American 
population could return. It had suffered from the experiences of the 
war no less than the loyalists. With the abandonment of the city in 
1776, the "rebel" inhabitants had dispersed in every direction. Many 
retired to the upper counties of New- York, and scattered through the 
towns and villages. The families of the men who entered the service 
were cared for by local committees, while others attempted self-sup- 

■ Among the paparm of General PhllJp Schuyler Bpeoting Uie deTtce of the coDttneDtal flag ndsed 

there waa preaerTad a mter-oolor eketoh of the at the samp opposite Boston, In January, 1776, 

Ameriaaa aloop-of wkt of ths abore ubiub. It ia while the American forcee yivn besieging that 

«ttling the mooted qnaEtton re- city. Editob. 


port as they could. Not a few found their way into New England, 
especially into western and central Connecticut, or into New Jersey 
among the hills. The exodus entailed ruin of fortunes, loss of occu- 
pation, separation of families, and seven years of distress. " You can 
have no idea," writes an elderly lady, in 1782, "of the sufferings of 
many who from affluence are reduced to the most abject poverty, and 
others who die in obscurity." Obviously, now that New- York was 
again open to them, comparatively few could return immediately, if 
at all. The limited number who owned lands and houses in the city 
went back, and others who possessed the i-eady means followed ; but 
the mass of those who had formerly 
paid rents and carried on the minor 
trades found it impossible to change 
their situation again. Their places 
were eventually taien by strangers. 
When New- York, accordingly, passed 
ioto American hands, toward the close 
of 1783, we find its population greatly 
diminished and changed as compared 
with that of 1775. For the six months 
following it could not have exceeded 
twelve thousand. Three years later 
it had risen to twenty-four thousand. 
The twelve thousand represented that 
portion of the Tory, British, mercan- 
tile, and lukewarm element that had 
resolved to remaiD, and the incoming 
Americans. At first the former out- 
numbered the latter. "The loyalists are more numerous and much 
wealthier than the poor, despicable Whigs," says a Tory writer in 
December, 1783, not a month after the evacuation. But the Whigs 
were masters. Altogether it was a changed and sorry representa- 
tion of ante-war New-York. Old and well-known families were 
missing and missed on both sides. "Ah!" wrote Jay to bis former 
friend, Van Scbaack, at this time, " if I ever see New York again 
I expect to meet with the shade of many a departed joy ; my heart 
bleeds to think of it." Among prominent expatriated royalists, for- 
mer residents of the city, were such men as William Smith, the his- 
torian and chief justice of the province ; Rev. Dr. Charles Inglis, 

1 The Rey. Owrles IngUi was a native of Iiv persiBted in retajniog the cbosea In the prftyere 

l&ad. He come to America as a mlBsloDary In 1759, which mentioned the Idngsnd rofol family. Be 

and In 1T65 he became assistant mlniater of Trinity left New- York in 1776, but was rector of Trinity 

Cbuivh, this eitf. He was In violent opposition during the British occupation. At the evacuation 

to the revolutionary BentlmentB of the colonists. he retired to Halifax, became Bisbop of Nova Seo' 

and a pampblet written ag^natPalne's "Common tiain IT8T. and died in 1816. Hewi 

Senae " was burned by the Sons of Liberty. He bishop by his son John. 


rector of Trinity Church; Thomas Barclay and William Axtell, mer- 
chants ; Colonel Edmimd Fanning, and others, who found new homes 
in Nova Scotia. The Hon. Andrew Elliot, Judge Thomas Jones, 
William Bayard, George Ludlow, Colonel Eoger Morris, and the Hon. 
James De Lancey were among those whose estates were confiscated 
by the legislature of New- York during the war, and who ended their 
days in the mother-country. Bayard, on leaving New-York, com- 
plained bitterly that "the rebels" had confiscated every shilling of his 
valuable property.^ The immense De Lancey estate, lying on the east 
side of the city along the general line of Grand street, and which was 
sold under forfeiture after the war, accommodates to-day three hun- 
dred thousand inhabitants of the city with homes. Among the Whigs 
whom New- York was not to see again the most distinguished was 
Philip Livingston, member of Congress and a signer of the Declara- 
tion of Independence, who died at York, Pennsylvania, in 1778. Gen- 
eral John Morin Scott, secretary of state for New-York, one of the 
active patriots representing the city both in the field and in the 
legislature during the memorable contest, died about three months 
after the evacuation. 

Bereft of more than half its original inhabitants, the remaining 
half divided into two distinct elements, in part bitterly hostile, and 
with trade relations and present resources precarious and meager, — 
the old town for the time being little resembled its former prosperous 
and hospitable self. As the immediate result of the war, we have a 
sifting process and a lull. Six years more, and the population will be 
thirty thousand. Apart from the natural increase, there will be in- 
crease by immigration both home and foreign. The home immigrant 
will be principally the rural New-Yorker, the New-Englander, and the 
Jerseyman. It was in those early years that the city began to attract 
and absorb that native American material which has continued to 
flow from other places ever since. It was then, in 1783, that Alex- 
ander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, among the first, settled here in the 
practice of the law ; a little later, James Kent, the future chancellor ; 
Rufus King, of Massachusetts, and James Watson, of Connecticut, 
two of the city's early United States senators ; William Samuel John- 
son, president of Columbia ; Francis Childs and Thomas Greenleaf , 
editors and printers ; Drs, McKnight and Cogswell, and many others, 
including Revolutionary officers, whose numerous descendants are 
counted to-day among our old New-Yorkers. As to the foreign im- 
migrant, he was always with us. Before the Revolution, the Scotch,^ 

1 His New- York and Hoboken estates were sold aware branch of the Bayard family, and at his 

under the eonllBeation aet The latter was par- death, in 1868, left her the estate, worth many 

ehased in 18M by Cmptain. John Stevens, and in dne millions. Editor. 

time paMsd to l&ia son, Edwin A. Stevens. He 2 Deserving of conspicuous notice among the 

married for hia aeeond wife a member of the Del- Scotch immigrants is Robert Lenox. He was bom 



Irish, French, and German elements were broadly recognized. After 
the war the immigration appears to have been mainly Irish, and a 
considerable number arrived during this period, though more went 
to Pennsylvania. Two hundred foreigners were naturalized in this 
city as early as May, 1784. A letter from Belfast of this date says : 
"The passengers now going, and who have since the conclusion of the 
r^j^^^ jy^ American War sailed from this port in such pro- 
Ul/ril ' IA/I^^<li^ digious numbers, are not the refuse of the country. 
No, they are those that form the yeomanry of the land.'' From Ger- 
many came, in 1783, young John Jacob Astor, who was to lay the 
foundation of that enormous private wealth with which the family 
name is associated. 

Passing to the municipal government of New-York for this period, 
we shall find the old colonial forms preserved and continued. There 
was simply a transfer of authority from English to American hands ; 
and this was effected without friction or disorder. The original 
charter under which the city had been governed since 1686, or, in its 
amended form, since 1730, had been disturbed by neither party during 
the war, except so far as British military rule prevailed, and it was 
still operative in all its parts. Its revision upon the basis of the 
advanced political theories of the colonists was yet to be agitated, 
and upon the entry of the Americans it only remained to rehabilitate 
the corporation through some authorized agency. The occasion had 
been provided for. As early as October 23, 1779, by act of the State 
legislature, a body was created, known as the council for the southern 
district of New-York, which was charged with the duty of assuming 
control of the city and neighboring counties immediately upon the 
withdrawal of the enemy. It was empowered to preserve order ; to 
prevent the monopoly of the necessaries of life; to impress fuel, 
forage, horses, teams, and drivers into its service; to supply the 
markets with provisions and regulate prices ; and to superintend the 
election of members of the l^islature and city officers, at which dis- 
affected persons were not to be allowed to vote or stand as candidates. 
The members consisted of the governor, G^eorge Clinton; the lieuten- 

in Kirkcudltriicbt, a fc«porl town on iht KNitb> 
wtMit bonWr of Scotland. 4n 1739, and donnir the 
H«vol\itlon vas placed in the charge of an nnekiy 
a <K4iiniiMianr in the British svrrice. vho came to 
lhi« tHHintrr in 177CL At the ckwe of the war. 
RoWn lA^n€lS nettled in New- York and en^iafred 
in the £a«t India trade. Mxm amawTOur a laree for- 
t^ii«» f\«r Ihuae da3r«. Hi« hanneas trans»rtiofis 
MMTi^MiM^ fvur nuoiT Tears those of any merchant 
ilk thi* iMly uf that period. In ms he 
aKmi thirty acrr* Wtwren Fourth and Fifth 
iA\MGfc and Sixty-«ighth and Serentr-foorth 
whWh ti«<4Mu«> what wm» known as the Lcaox farm. 
irW Y^h^ paid was |«KNL For a portion oi this 

property his only son James, who inherited it when 
his father died in 1^39. receiTed some three mil- 
lions <rf d<dlars between 1870 and 1880, and at his 
denth in the latter year posaeeaed sereral acres of 
the old farm, the raloe of which, together with 
what he had gi^en to the Lorax Library and 
the Preebyterian HospltaL was folly four mil- 
lions^ Mr. Robert Lmmx was, like his son, a fnneat 
benefactor to the Piesbyterian Chorrh, and for 
fifteen years was president of the St. AiHtrew So- 
ciety. — lus immediate pt e d e c ess uiA bdnir Chan- 
cellor LiriniESton and Waller Kn&erford. 
portrait is preserred in the 



anfc^overnor, Pierre Van Cortlandt; the chancellor, Robert R. Living- 
ston ; Judges Robert Yates and John Sloss Hobart, of the State Supreme 
Court; John Morin Scott, secretary of state; Egbert Benson, attorney- 
general; the State senators of the southern counties, Stapheu Ward, 
Isaac Stoutenburgh, James Duane, and William Smith, and the 
assemblymen of the same district. The judges of the district were 
also to serve, but none had been appointed. Seven members of the 
council, of whom the governor was always to be one, constituted a 
quorum. For the city's guardianship, temporary or permanent, the 
most punctilious community could 
not have made a more noteworthy 
selection. On Evacuation Day they 
rode into the city four abreast, and 
next in order after Washington and 
the governor at the head of the 

Occupying the council-chamber in 
the old City Hall in Wall street, this 
provisional body, with James M. 
Hughes as secretary, entered at 
once upon its duties. The original 
records of its proceedings have dis- 
appeared, but from certain of its 
published ordinances, and from ref- 
erences in the papers of the day, 
the features of its administration 
can be outlined. Protection and re- 
lief for the daily increasing population were the first care. With the 
^d of the light infantry battalion of the continental army, which re- 
mained in the city under General Knox and Major Sumner for some 
weeks after the evacuation, oi-der was maintained and the necessary 
regnlations enforced. The first ordinance, issued November 27, re- 
lated to great abuses " in the sale of bread." Thereafter a loaf was 
to weigh two pounds, eight ounces, avoirdupois, made of good mer- 
chantable flour, and each loaf marked with the initial letters of the 
baker, price " eight coppers." All new-comers were to register their 
names and places of abode, be they housekeepers or boarders. Li- 
censes were granted, weighers, measurers, firemen, and watchmen ap- 
pointed, thieves and robbers confined, and all the hundred other 
requirements of city oversight fulfilled. 

The first steps toward the restoration of the regular city govern- 
ment were taken early in December, when the council authorized an 
election of ward oflScers or board of aldermen. The election occurred 
on the 15th of the month, xmder the old viva voce method, — the ballot 



not being introduced until 1804, — and seven aldermen, one from each 
ward, were chosen, whose names, with those of the assistant alder- 
men, who were doubtless elected at the same time, appear in the list 
of corporation officers given below. This incomplete body — incom- 
plete so far as no mayor had been appointed — organized with John 
Broome as president, and assumed the government of the city under 
the title of the aldermen and common council. The provisional council 
still continued its functions, as, by the terms of the act of 1779, it 
was required to do for sixty days after the evacuation, but the details 
of city management were clearly left to the new body. Seven weeks 
later the organization of the government was completed. The com- 
mon council and many citizens petitioned the governor to appoint 
James Duane mayor of the city, and on February 7 the appointment 
was made — the governor and board of appointment, authorized by 
the State constitution, exercising in this case the right of nomination 
vested in the colonial governors and their councils. On February 9 
Duane was formally installed as mayor, at a special meeting of the 
city council held at the house of "Mr. Simmons,^ — John Simmons, 
innkeeper, in Wall street, near the City Hall — where he took the oath 
of office in the presence of that body, and of the governor and Ueu- 
tenant-govemor of the State, representing the State provisional coun- 
cil, whose duties now ceased. The city corporation was thus restored 
in all its forms and offices, as follows : 

First American city government of New- York, 1784 : Mayor, James 
Duane; Recorder, Richard Varick; Chamberlain or City Treasurer, 
Daniel Phoenix ; SheriflE, Marinus Willett ; Coroner, Jeremiah Wool ; 
Clerk of the Common Council, Robert Benson. 

Aldermen : Benjamin Blagge, Thomas Randall, John Broome, Wil- 
liam W. Gilbert, William Neilson, Thomas I vers, Abraham P. Lott. 

Assistants: Daniel Phoenix, Abraham Van Gelden, Thomas Ten 
Eyck, Henry Shute, Samuel Johnson, Jeremiah Wool. 

These first "city fathers" of the new regime were representative 
citizens. James Duane, the mayor, was a man of wealth and high 
social and political standing. During the Revolutionary war he served 
as a member of the New-York provincial congress, of the Continental 
Congress, and of the State senate, and was elected a delegate to the 
New-York constitutional convention of 1788. He served as mayor 
until 1789, and was soon after appointed by Washington the first 
United States judge of the district of New-York. His city residence 
in Pine street had been practically destroyed during the British occu- 
pation, while his farm establishment on the general line of Twentieth 
street, east of Broadway, escaped injury. The latter was known as 
"Gramercy Seat^ and included the present park of that name, this 
being a corruption of the Dutch name " Krom messie " (crooked little 



knife), given to a creek running through the land. In his letter of 
acceptance of the mayoralty, Duane requested that in view of the 
severity of the season and prevailing distress, the public entertain- 
ment usually given on the investiture of the office be dispensed with. 
He also presented twenty guineas for the relief of his " suffering fel- 
low-citizens." The recorder, Rich- 
ard Varick, who succeeded Duane 
as mayor, had been Washington's 
private secretary during the latter 
part of the war, and in later life 
was for many years president of 
the American Bible Society. The 
sheriff. Colonel Willett, had dis- 
tinguished himself in various ac- 
tions at the head of one of the 
New-York continental regiments, 
while Phoenix, "Wool, Broome, 
Neilson, Lott, Ivers, and others 
of the common council, were old 
merchants and prominent mem- 
bers of the Chamber of Commerce. 
The first meeting of the common 
council, as completely oi^anized, 
was held on February 10, 1784. 
On March 16 it was voted to 
change the city seal by erasing the imperial crown and substituting 
the crest of the arms of the State of New- York, that is, " a repre- 
sentation of a semi-globe with a soaring eagle thereon." 

In its outward forms the city government reflected its English 
derivation. The conditions of citizenship also remained the same for 
many years, and so far presented a contradiction. The citizen of the 
State of New- York was politically a freer man than the citizen of the 
city of New- York. Suffrage rights were not the same for each. Under 
the new State constitution of 1777, while the property qualification 
required of voters for State officers varied, for assemblymen it was 
moderate. The voter must pay assessments and a nominal house 
rent of five dollars. To enjoy municipal privileges, to be able to vote 
and to stand as a candidate for the office of alderman, it was neces- 
sary to be either a "freeholder" or a "freeman" in the ancient English 
sense. The ^'freeholder" was a real-estate owner; he must possess 
land of the annual value of at least forty shillings. Ordinary tenants, 
rent-payers, (!onld not vote ; and these restrictions limited the voters 
ctf this class to a small number. The census of 1790 shows that out 
at a popnlation of thirty thousand there were but 1209 freeholders of 


£100 valuation or over; 1221 of £20, and 2661 "forty-shilling^ hold- 
ers. Property interests — something like a landed aristocracy — con- 
trolled municipal elections. The inconsistency of this system with the 
general leveling principles on which the Revolution had been fought 
out, was occasionally referred to. As early as March 31, 1785, some 
one writes to the " New-York Packet '^ : " K you look into the corpora- 
tion you will find men whom you both feed and clothe, that you have 

James Duane, Efquire, 

N«w.Yo«,p* MAYOR, 

Andthe ALDERMEN of the Qtyof NEW-YORK. 

10 alito whom the/kPrefenUjhattcpmetfind Greeting : 

N O W Y E. That ^e^ifHC^cU^^e^^ /^-^i..*;^^^ 

is admitted^ieceiredand allowed aP R EEMANandCITIZE Nof tfaeiajd City; 
lDHave» Hold, Uie and Enjoy all the Beaefit8» Privileget» Franchiies and Immunities whatibcver» 
granted or bdongihg to tlie fiid City* In TssTiMomr wfaeieof. the laid Mayor and Aldermen 
fcarecauied the Seal of the laid City to be bereonto affixed. WITNESS JAMES DUANE, 

E%iiire, Mi^or* ^isr4c^iZ!^^t^f^ Dty of ./it^^ in tfacTear of onr Lord 

^i/^ and oftbeSoYeitignty tad Ind^cndenceof the State the 



no power to elect. Is this right or wrong t Common sense gives the 
answer." The agitation will wax warm about 1800, and in 1804 the 
charter will be so amended that all New-Yorkers paying twenty-five 
dollars rent per year and taxes may vote for aldermen ; but it will 
not be until 1833 that they secure the right to elect their own mayor. 
The "freemen,'* who were not so numerous as the "freeholders," 
were likewise a relic of the Old World municipal system. They repre- 
sented residents not owning real property, who, nevertheless, as mer- 
chants, traders, artisans, and workmen, contributed to the wealth of 
the city, and on whom the city corporation conferred the rights of 


citizenship on the payment of fixed fees. Such persons were made 
"free of the city.^ Among the Dutch they had been called " burghers '^ 
of the lesser right. During Mayor Duane's term a considerable 
number of "freemen" were admitted to the suffrage, including la- 
borers, bakers, shoemakers, carpenters, tailors, weavers, tanners, 
blacksmiths, butchers, grocers, cabinet-makers, cartmen, ironmongers, 
and tradesmen generally. When admitted to this privilege, mer- 
chants paid five pounds, and others twenty shillings, to the corpora- 
tion, and fees ranging from one to eight shillings to the mayor, 
recorder, clerk and bell-ringer of the mayor's court. They also took 
oath that they would be " obeisant and obedient'' to the city officials, 
" maintain and keep the said city harmless," and report and hinder all 
"unlawful gatherings, assemblies and conspiracies" against the peace 
of the good people of the State. 

This custom of creating "freemen" died out early in the present 
century, and was formally abolished in 1815, except so far as the 
honorary right was conferred. Distinguished persons were pre- 
sented with the freedom of the city down to a recent date, the roll 
being adorned with the names of Washington, Lafayette, Jay, Clin- 
ton, Steuben, Gates, Hamilton, the naval heroes of the 1812 war, and 
representatives of the war for the Union. The "freedom" in such 
cases was presented in the form of an address from the corporation 
inclosed in an elegant gold box. In Washington's reply to the address 
transmitted to him in December, 1784, it is possible that we have the 
origin of the title New- York enjoys as the "Empire State." His words 
were sympathetic and hopeful : " I pray that Heaven may bestow its 
choicest blessings on your City; that the devastations of war in 
which you found it may soon be without a trace ; that a well regu- 
lated and beneficial commence may enrich your citizens ; and that 
your Stdte (at present the seat of the Empire) may set such examples 
of wisdom and liberality as shall have a tendency to strengthen and 
give permanency to the Union at home, and credit and respectability 
to it abroad." ^ 

The interior life of the new city had its interesting phases. In the 
general activities an earnest start was made, although fortune failed 
to smile on every initial effort. The Chamber of Commerce, organ- 
ized in 1768, and kept up by the British and resident merchants dur- 
ing the war, was incorporated by the New-York legislature, April 
13, 1784. Its first president under the new charter was John Alsop; 
vice-president, Isaac Sears; treasurer, John Broome; secretary, John 
Blagge; and its first members were Samuel Broome, George Embree, 
Thomas Hazard, Cornelius Ray, Abraham Duryee, Thomas Randall, 
Thomas Tucker, Daniel Phoenix, Isaac Roosevelt, James Beekman, 

1 See ftw-oiiiiile of this letter on pages 23 and 24. 



Eliphalet Brush, John B. Kip, Comfort Sands, Nathaniel Hazard, 
Jeremiah Piatt, Gerardus Duyckinck, Abraham P. Lett, Benjamin 
Ledyard, Anthony Griffiths, William Malcolm, Robert Bowen, John 
Berriaa, Jacob Morris, John Franklin, Abraham Lott, James Jarvis, 
Henry H. Kip, Archibald Cnrrie, Stephen Sayre, Jonathan Lawrence, 
Joseph Blaekwell, Joshua Sands, Viner Van Zandt, David Currie, 
Lawrence Embree, and Jacobus Van 
Zandt. The influence which this body, 
with its growing membership, exerted 
upon the affairs of the city, and espe- 
cially in shaping its policy during the 
constitutional period, will be seen to 
have been quite marked. Most of the 
mercantile houses and offices, with the 
docks and shipping, were to be found 
on the east side of the town, near and 
along the East River. About 1788, as 
many as one hundred vessels might be 
seen at any one time discharging or 
taking in cargoes, but not all flying 
the American flag. The first Ameri- 
^ ^ /^ can merchantman bound for Canton 

t^/^^ d^i^'V^Cu^C^ was the Empress of China, Captain 
Green, which left port February 22, 

1784, and reached her destination August 30. She returned May 11, 

1785, after having made a paying venture. Congress passed a resolu- 
tion expressing satisfaction at this successful attempt to establish 
a direct trade with China. The ship Betsy sailed about the same 
time for Madras. Packet-ships, American, British, and French, kept 
up communication between New- York and European ports. There 
was but one bank in the city during this period — the Bank of New- 
York, established early in 1784, largely through the efforts of William 
Duer and General Alexander McDougall, who was its first president 
until his death on June 8, 1786. Isaac Roosevelt became its presi- 
dent in 1789. In April, 1787, a Mutual Fire Assurance Company 
made its appearance, which John Pintard, afterward prominent in 
many enterprises, had been chiefly instrumental in organizing; he 
was its first secretary. The General Society of Mechanics and Trades- 
men was established August 4, 1785, with the object of promoting 
mutual fellowship and confidence among all mechanics, preventing 
litigation between them, extending mechanical knowledge, and afford- 
ing relief to distressed members. Anthony Post was chairman. There 
were societies for promoting useful knowledge, for the relief of 
distressed debtors, and for manufacturing pmposes. The social or- 


gauizations, or the societies of St. Andrew, St. George, and St. Pat- 
rick, with a German and musical society and masonic lodges, all had 
an txisteuoe or their beginning in those early years. The New- York 
branch of the Cincinnati Society of Revolutionary Officers maintained 
an active life, and regularly celebrated Independence Day with an 
oration, a dinner, and toasts. General McDougall and Baron Steuben 
were its first two presidents. The Society foi" the Manumission of 
Slaves, organized in 1785, held its fii-st quarterly meeting on May 12 
of that year at the Coffee House, when John Jay was elected presi- 
dent; Samuel Franklin, vice-presidont; John Murray, Jr., treasurer; 
and John Keese, secretary. Its members advocated the gradual 
emancipation of slaves, and their protection as freedmen. Some set 

their slaves free " at proper ages," and denounctd the separatmu of 
families by exportation of individuals for sale m the Southern States. 
In June, 1788, Jay wrote to Granville Sharp, the English philanthro- 
pist: "By the laws of this State, masters may now liberate healthy 
slaves of a proper age without giving security that they shall not 
become a parish charge ; and the exportation as well as importation 
of them is prohibited. The State has also manumitted such as be- 
came its property by confiscation; and we have reason to expect that 
the maxim that every man, of whatever color, is to be presumed to 
be free until the contrary be shown, will prevail in our Courts of jus- 
tice. Manumissions daily become more common among us, and the 
treatment which slaves in general meet with in this State is very little 
different from that of other servants." 

The professions were revived under the new auspices, but without 
material change in practice and methods. Lawyers were numerous, 
aod the deranged state of things after the war made litigation lucra- 

1 ThU representation of Iilspenard's Headows 
wan drawn by Dr. Alexander Andersen in 1TS5, 
and ma taken from the rite of ibe St. Niebolu 


tive. The names of forty-two are given in the City Directory for 
1786. Hamilton's office was at 58 Wall street; Burr's at 10 Little 
Queen street; Morgan Lewis, 59 Maiden Lane; Eobert Troup, 18 
Smith street ; Richard Varick, 46 Dock street ; Edward Livingston, 
51 Queen (now Pearl) street. Among the few masters in Chancery 
were John Jay, 8 Broad street ; John Broome, 6 Hanover Square ; 
William M. Hughes, 20 Golden Hill, or John street ; and Edward 
Dunscomb, examiner, 83 Wall street. The chancellor, Robert R. Liv- 
ingston, conducted the limited business of his court at his residence, 
No. 3 Broadway. The Hons. Richard Morris and John Sloss Hobart 
were two of three judges of the State Supreme Court of Judicature, 
who resided in New- York or its immediate vicinity. For local cases 
the mayor's court, the oldest in the city, was the only resort, and it 
became the nm^sery of all the legal talent that distinguished the bar 
of New-York of that day. " Ignorant pretenders," we are told, found 
little chance of making their way at law on account of the number 
of critical examinations required of candidates for the higher courts 
and the time of study called for by the rules of admission to the bar. 
The New-York Medical Society, of which the well-known Dr. John 
Bard was president, was exceptionally strong in the character of its 
membership. Several of the surgeons and physicians had lately served 
in the army. Dr. John Cochrane having been medical director of the 
continental line, and Drs. Charles McKnight, James Cogswell, and 
others, regimental or hospital surgeons. Dr. George Christian Authon 
had long been identified with the British army, and during the Revo- 
lution was stationed for a time as post surgeon at Detroit. He settled 
with his family in New- York in 1784, and died here at an advanced 
age. Among his sons was the late Professor Charles Anthon, the clas- 
sical scholar. Among others were Drs. Benjamin Kissam, William P. 
Smith, Nicholas Romaine, James Tillary, Samuel Bradhurst, " physi- 
cian and apothecary," Samuel Bard, and J. R. B. Rodgers. Dr. Mason 
Pitch Cogswell, subsequently the eminent Hartford physician, prac- 
tised in New- York at this period, and was a member of the Medical 
Society. Still another member was the distinguished Samuel Latham 
Mitchill, who, as physician, scientist, professor, and United States 
senator, became one of the ornaments of the city and the nation.^ 
With the doctors we also have the quacks, one of whom offers to heal 
almost every ailment, from palsy to bums and toothache, with elec- 
tricity — "no cure no pay." 

1 One of Mitchill*8 ewrliwt scientific papers was shores of Long Island west of Whitestone, he 

published in New-York in 1787. with the title, «* Ob- says : ** There is a tradition among that race of 

servations, Anatomical, Physiological and Patho- men who, previous to the Europeans, possessed 

logical, on the Absorbent Tubes of Animal Bodies, this tract of country, that at some distant period 

to which are added Geological Remarks on the in former times, their ancestors could step from 

Maritime Parts of the State of New-York.'' Treat- rock to rock and cross this arm of the sea at Hell 

ing briefly on the latter pointy espedally of the Ckkte.** 


1 k 1 : 


I 51 1 III 

ii I ^^^« 

^i! H ! ill i 

4 ifllll 



As to educational institutions, it is interesting to note that steps 
were taken, very soon after the evacuation, to put King's College, now 
Columbia — the only college in the State — on a good working basis 
again. During the war the building had been used as a hospital by the 
British, who had rifled its library. The president, the Rev. Dr. Benja- 
min Moore, had given instructions in a private house, and a nominal 
faculty was continued, but little appears to have been accomplished. 
On May 1, 1784, the legislature passed an act altering the charter of the 
institution and placing it under the State Board of Regents provided 
for at the same time. The last provision of the act reads: "That the 
College within the City of New- York, heretofore called King's College, 
be forever hereafter called and known by the name of Columbia 
College." Yoimg De Witt Clinton was the first student who entered 
under its new name. A faculty of professors carried out the cur- 
riculum until 1787, when William Samuel Johnson, son of the first 
president, was elected to the presidency. The first commencement 
was held April 11, 1786, after "a lamented intei-val of many years"; 
and on this occasion Congress and both houses of the State legisla- 
ture adjourned to attend the exercises. College Place of to-day — 
Barclay, Church, and Murray streets — marks the site of the original 
structure, which was long and wide, three stories high, built of free- 
stone, with a very high fence around it. Private schools also ap- 
peare<l, but it cannot be said that any special interest was taken by 
the public in the cause of education at this date. 

The religious denominations remained of nearly the same relative 
strength as before the war. There were the three Dutch Reformed 
churches, which had been turned into hospitals, storehouses, and 
riding-schools by the enemy during the Revolution, and shamefully 
abused. The Middle Church required extensive repairs, and was not 
reopened until 1790. The pastors during this period were the Rev. 
Dr. John Henry Livingston and Rev. Dr. William Linn. The Pro- 
testant Episcopal Church was represented by three parishes — Trinity, 
St. PauPs, and St. George's. Trinity Church was destroyed by the 
great fire of September, 1776, and it was not until August 21, 1788, 
that the corner-stone for a new building was laid. Some excitement 
was ocxiasioned at the time of the evacuation of the city by the 
action of the Tory element in the parish in electing the Rev. Dr. Ben- 
jamin Moore rector, to succeed Dr. Inglis, who had left with the refu- 
gees for Nova Scotia. When the Whigs took possession of the town, 
the Trinity members among them appealed to the legislature and 
succeeded in obtaining full possession and reversing the election. 
Their choice fell on the Rev. Dr. Samuel Provoost. The four Presby- 
terian churches, one of them built in 1787, had for pastors such men 
as Eev. Dr. John Rodgers, Rev. John McKnight, Rev. Dr. John Mason, 



and others not permanMitly settled. Of Dr. Eodgers, Rev. Manasseh 
Cutler, visiting New- York in the interest of the Ohio Company, wrote 
in 1787: "He is certainly the most accomplished gentleman for a 
clergyman, not to except even Dr. Cooper, that I have ever been 
acquainted with. He lives in elegant style, and entertains company 
as genteelly as the first gentlemen in the City. This he may well do, 
for his salary is 750 pounds, and his per- 
quisites upwards of 200 more." There 
were, m addition, two German Luther- 
an churches, one Moravian church, one 
Methodist, one Baptist, one Roman Cath- 
olic church, one Friends' meeting-house, 
and one Jewish synagogue. 

On its strictly social side, New- York 
life had always been attractive. Less 
provincialism existed here than at any 
other center in the colonies. Strangers 
and foreigners alike remarked on the hos- 
pitality of the people. What with the 
State legislature meeting in the city, and 
Congress following early in 1785, with 
foreign miuistei-s, consuls, and merchants 
entertaining, handsomely, society estab- 
lished itself in full feather. Distin- 
guished men and old families gave tone 
to it. More than one member of Congress 
from other States found their future part- 
ners within the charmed circle. James Monroe, the future president, 
married the daughter of Lawrence Kortwright ; Rufus King, of Boston, 
the daughter of John Alsop; and Elbridge Gerry, the daughter of James 
Thompson, who is flatteringly referred to as "the most beautiful 
woman in the United States." A visitor at Colonel William Duer'H 
house states that he hved in the style of a nobleman, and had fifteen 
different sorts of wine at dinner. His wife, Lady Kitty, daughter of 
General Lord Stirling, late of the continental army, and a person of 
most accomplished manners, was observed to wait upon the table from 
her end of it, with two servants in lively at her back'. But it hap 
been estimated that less than three hundred families affected society 
life at this time, and these were of different grades. 

This sumptuous tendency did not escape criticism. As a whole, the 
town was hard pushed for a living during these early years. The item 
of house-rent alone was claimed to be out of all proportion to the con- 
dition of business and the average of incomes. Before the war the 
highest rental was one hundred pounds ; now nearly double that sum 




was demanded. Seventy pounds and taxes was the figure for a mod- 
ei*ate house in Wall sti'eet in 1786. House-owners, then as now, held on 
for a rise, and declined to let houses at lower rates even when assured 
that they would stand empty a good part of the year. Rent-day proved 
distressing beyond its proverbial reputation. Money was scarce. 
"Cash! Cash! O, Cash!" exclaims a writer to the press, "why hast 
thou deserted the Standard of Liberty ! and made poverty and dissi- 
pation our distinguishing characteristic I ^ The inability of the con- 
gross of the confederation to regulate commerce accounted largely for 
the slow financial recovery which marked the period. 

These straitened lines presented a contrast to society drift, and 
rebuked it. Luxuries, pleasures, and amusements were coming into 
favor more and more, distm'bing the peace of mind of sensitive, 
frugal, hard- worked people, and shocking church society. The ten- 
dency was unmistakable, but hardly unnatural or extravagant. It 
had developed alarmingly in Philadelphia during the later years of the 
war, and New- York was now feeling something of the same reaction 
without faring worse. Society and fashion, like everything else, were 
simply reinstating themselves after the wreck of the war. John Jay, 
who had seen enough of high life abroad for four years, was not espe- 
cially depressed by the signs at home, when he could discourage La- 
fayette's wife from coming to America in 1785, as she proposed, by 
infoiming her that we had few amusements here to relieve trav- 
elers of the monotony of a visit. " Our men for the most part," he 
assures her, " mind their business and our women their families ; and 
if our wives succeed (as most of them do) in * making home man's best 
delight,' gallantry seldom draws their husbands from them. Our cus- 
toms, in many Respects, differ from yours, and you know that whether 
with or without reason, we usually prefer those which education and 
habit recommend. The pleasures of Paris and the pomp of Versailles 
are unknown in this country." No doubt of this ; but people, never- 
theless, said, and printed it in the papers, that the ton of New- York 
ou^ht to set simpler habits and fashions to the public. 

The taste for luxuries was increased by the varied importations of 
the foreign merchants. The assortment was attractive. Wines and 
liquors of many bj'ands were advertised freely. At the " Universal 
Store "in Hanover Square, kept by Randall, Son & Stewart, one could 
buy almost everything, from broadcloths and carpets to nails and 
cheeses. Leonard Kip's line of dry-goods included "shalloons, durants, 
tammies, antaloons, moreens, dorsetseens, satins, persians, taflfities 
and the like." At No. 11 Queen street, Patrick Hart & Company 
announce ** London consignments of taboreens, rattinets, black and 
colored callimancoes, checks, jeans, thread and silk hose, Irish linens 
of all prices, shoes with common and French heels," and much more. 


The expansive dresses of the women also came in for censure. " The 
article I mean to take notice of,'* writes a critic, in 1784, "is the hoop, 
which is now so universally worn, that it is impossible for a person to 
walk the streets without being frequently turned out of the way and 
exposed to the annoyance of carts and coaches.'' A father adds that 
he cannot afford it for his daughters. With the varieties of head-gear, 
silk stockings, powdered wigs, and lessons in dancing and etiquette, 
such life proved more or less expensive — unduly so for the times, 
complained the wage-earners. 

The question of extravagance and amusements seems to have stirred 
public feeling very generally when, in the fall of 1785, it was proposed 
to revive the theater in the city. The theater building of colonial 
times still stood on John street, a short distance east of Broadway, 
where before the war Lewis Hallam, a popular actor of the old 
American company, who afterward was also its manager, drew re- 
spectable audiences. It was a quaint wooden affair, with a gallery 
and a double row of boxes in addition to the pit. As Congress had 
recommended the closing of places of amusement during the contest, 
and Washington had issued orders threatening dismissal upon all 
officers who engaged in theatrical .entertainments, Hallam and his 
troupe went to the island of Jamaica, and amused its inhabitants un- 
til the peace opened the door for his return to America. His return, 
however, was far from welcomed by the element which had been 
harboring anxiety over the moral health of New-York. It protested 
against the revival of the drama, and succeeded in giving the city a tem- 
porary sensation. The controversy entered the newspapers, and the 
theater became the talk of the town. What was said on both sides 
can be readily imagined, but what is of special interes*t to the modem 
reader are the glimpses afforded here and there in the discussion of 
certain phases in the social status. Thus an appeal against the revival, 
published by some reformer through the ** Packet,'' is quite in point: 
"Are the families in this city,'' he asks, " of whatever rank, as rich 
now as they were before the war t Are there not many who have 
advanced a great part of their estates to their bleeding country during 
the contest, who are not yet repaid t Have not many of our most 
respectable families, to maintain the credit of our continental money, 
which was then supporting our army against the Britons, received all 
their outstanding debt« in that money, and thereby become nearly 
ruined? And do not many of them, besides their losses, owe large 
sums upon debts they contracted before the war t Have not repairs 
and entering anew into some line of business exhausted their de- 
ranged finances, and proved an exertion almost beyond their strength? 
And are gentlemen in such a situation fit to indulge themselves, their 
wives or children, in expensive amusements? Have not some hun- 



dreds of citizens had their houses burned down while the British 
army lay in New York! Are not multitudes obliged to take up money 
upon interest to build a little hut or else pay rent superior to their 
earnings? Is there not a general complaint of the unhappy situa- 
tion of our merchants, of the distress attending our commerce, and 


of the balance of trade being heavily against us — heavily in impor- 
tations not only of necessaries, but also of articles of luxury, and 
scarce anything to make a remittance with f And is a play-house 
proper for a city in such a situation? Are 
our taxes paid upt Are uot the wheels of 
goverumeut clogged for want of money I 
Have you a single ship of war to guard your 
coasts or even defend your city from the in- 
sults of one armed vessel!" And in all this 
there is much to read between the Hnes. The 
theater, nevertheless, was reestablished. Of 
course there were the usual jugglers, mountebanks, waxworks, and 
harlequin farces about town to amuse shilling sight-seers. 

As to recreations and resorts, nothing irresistibly inviting offered. 
The beats of summer found most New-Yorkers at home; but there 
were pleasant excursions on the island. A small party could ride out 
to Murray Hill in a hired carriage, and be gone half a day, for four- 
teen shillings; two shillings more if they kept on to Grade's Point, 
opposite Hell Gate. Sixteen shillings to go up the west side to 
Apthorpe's, at Ninety-second street, lately Elm Park. From that 
point one could walk a mile beyond, along the old Bloomingdale road, 
and find himself on "Harlem Heights battle-field," about One Hun- 
dred and Fifteenth to One Hundred and Twentieth street, just west 
of present Morningside Park. The fine orchard through which 
Knowlton's rangers, and Leitch's Virginians, and other troops under 
Greene, Clinton, and Putnam, chased the choicest of the redcoats on 
September 16, 1776, was still standing; so also was Jones's stone 
house at One Hundred and Seventh street, near Riverside drive, 
where the British Adjutant-General Kendall tells us the fighting first 
began, and near where we know it ended. To go to Harlem, a day's 
excursion, would cost thirty-eight shillings; to Kingsbridge, forty. 
As to Long Branch and Saratoga, their attractions were known and 
were beginning to draw. In 1789, about a dozen respectable persons, 
including two or three New-Yorkers, were stopping at a wretched 
tavern at Saratoga. " There is no convenience for bathing," writes 
Elkanah Watson, the traveler, "except an open log hut, with a large 
trough, similar to those in use for feeding swine, which receives the 
water from the spring. Into this you roU from off a bench." About 
the same time an advertisement appeared in one of the New- York 
papers, offering an elegant farm for sale "at the place called Long 
Branch, near Shrewsbury, in Monmouth County, in the State of New 
Jersey.** It was described as most charmingly situated for a gentle- 
man^ country-seat, or for a house of entertainment for "the gi-eat 
cooconrse of people that every year fly to this sweet spot from the 


fatigues of business and the want of health to inhale pare air and 
taste trae delight." 

In ite exteTior appearance the city steadily improved upon the con- 
dition in which the British left it in 1783. The burned districts, the 
ruined churches and public buildings, the dilapidated residences, 
stores, and docks, and the wretched streets, were for months a con- 
stant eye-sore. By 1786 much had been done in the way of clearing 
up, repairing, and building ; much more by 1789. The greater portion 
of the town still lay east of 
Broadway and stretched out 
to Grand street. As the houses 
were not very high, and garden 
fronts and open spaces inter- 
vened, Broadway commanded 
a delightful prospect of the 
Hudson. There were as yet 
few stately residences on it. 
"In this street," says Rev. Dr. 
Manasseh Cutler, in 1787, "the 
gentry ride every morning and 
afternoon in their carriages, 
which are generally very grand 
and are principally coaches, 
chariots, and phaetons. The 
common people ride in open 
chairs." Wall street was much 
more "elegant." William was 
the dry-goods street. Pearl street, then Queen, surpassed any in the 
city, being wide, and more than a mile and a half long. "The build- 
ings are grand, from four to sis stories high, and the sides of the 
street within the posts are laid principally with free-stone sufficiently 
wide for three persons to walk abreast." Noah Webster t«lls us that 
in 1786 not many houses remained "built after the old Dutch style." 
The new bouses going up were frame or brick; or, as the insurance 
statements represent, most of them were "framed buildings, with 
brick or stone fronts and the sides filled in with brick." Water 
privileges were limited. "Most of the people," says Webster, "are 
supplied every day with fresh water conveyed to their doors in casks 
from a pump near the head of Queen street, which receives it from a 
pond almost a mile from the city." This pond was the "Collect," long 
snce filled in, and on the site of which now stands the Tombs. 

Public buildings were few. The City Hall stood on the northeast 
comer of Wall and Nassau streets, having been erected in 1700. 
When Congress assembled in New- York in 1785, the city authorities 

^y^tp-£uA^ /7&^^^€e^ 


gave up the use of the greater part of it to that body. The main hall, 
or " Congress chamber," was at the east end of the second floor. On 
an elevated platform on the southern side stood the president's chair, 
lined with red damask silk, and over it a curious canopy fringed with 
8ilk, with damask curtains falling to the floor and gathered with 
silken cords. The chaii'S for the members were mahogany, richly 
carved, and trimmed with red morocco leather. In front of each chair 
stood "a small bureau table.'' The walls were hung with the portraits 
of Washington and the king and queen of France. The mayor's office 
was on the first floor ; the common-council chamber at the west end 
of the second floor. Upon the adoption of the federal constitution 
by the several States, or in* the fall of 1788, the "city fathers" resolved 
to appropriate the entire building to the use of the new government, 
and Major L'Enfant, a French engineer, was intrusted with the work 
of remodeling it. Thereafter it was known as the "New Federal 
Hall," and passed criticism as the most imposing structure in the 
country. It cost about $65,000. At the other end of the city, or on 
the common, stood the jail, now the Hall of Registry ; the almshouse, 
on the site of the present court-house ; and west of it, on Broadway, 
the bridewell, or main prison for criminals. Near the jail had been 
erected, apparently in 1784, a gallows tastily inclosed in a kiosk-like 
structure, which a stranger took to be a summer-house. Six persons 
could be executed in it at a time without exposure to the public gaze. 
In 1785 the death sentence was passed on a negro horse-thief, a noted 
burglar, and a city watchman found guilty of robbery while on duty 
at night. Mentioning the first execution, without giving details, the 
editor of the " Packet " observed that the criminal, in his taking oflf, 
"had relieved many worthy inhabitants from unremitted apprehen- 
sions of occult danger." 

Inns, taverns, coflfee-houses, were scattered about the city, some of 
them associated with stirring local events, as the headquarters of the 
"Sons of Liberty " and political societies. The City Tavern, Fraunces' 
or Francis' Tavern, Cape's, the Bull's Head, Loggett's and Day's, near 
Harlem, were all well patronized. At Fraunces', at Pearl and Broad 
streets, o<^curred the parting scene between Washington and his offi- 
cers, as he was leaving New- York on December 4, 1783, to surrender 
his commission to CongresiS at Annapolis. Since Evacuation Day he 
had been the guest of Chancellor Livingston. One of his favorite 
officers, Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge, as already cited in the preced- 
ing volume, describes the farewell moment in a feeling manner. 

The first American post-office in the city opened November 28, 
1783, at No. 38 Smith street, in the house fonnerly occupied by Judge 
Horsmanden. William Bedlow was postmaster, being a deputy 
under Postmaster-Gteneral Ebenezer Hazard, then at Philadelphia. 


The first American newspapers were the New- York "Weekly Journal,'' 
published by John Holt, who returned with his paper to the city in 
the fall of 1783, and was succeeded by Thomas Greenleaf ; the semi- 
weekly " Packet," published by Thomas Loudon, January, 1784 ; the 
" Daily Advertiser," by Francis Childs, begun in the spring of 1785. 
In January, 1788, Noah Webster established his monthly " American 
Magazine," devoted to essays on all subjects, " particularly such as 
relate to this country." 

From fires, crime, and the negligence of officials the city was only 
passably protected. There were some fourteen or fifteen old-style 
fire-engines, each pumped by about a dozen men, while citizens with 
buckets supplied the water from wells. • Watchmen patrolled the 
streets at night, but robberies and knock-downs were not uncommon, 
and, in the absence also of good lamps, there was not much passing 
at late hours. The ordinary city force was inadequate to cope with 
a mob, as appeared in the case of the " Doctors' Riot," which suddenly 
broke out on April 13, 1788, when the militia and citizens alone could 
restore quiet. The mob had been excited to violence by a boy's re- 
port that he had seen physicians or medical students dissecting dead 
bodies in the hospital, a practice which stirred up a general revulsion. 
Several persons were killed or wounded during the riotf among the 
latter John Jay, who with others endeavored to quell the disturbance. 

Our earliest local political disputes in the American period were the 
immediate outgrowth of the war. It was a case where feelings and 
sensibilities were keenly touched, and as time sooner or later softens 
human nature in this regard, the issue did not long continue. Plainly 
stated, it was a question whether the Tories who remained in the city 
had any rights the Whigs were bound to respect. Chancellor Living- 
ston clearly defined the parties as they stood in January, 1784. First, 
the Tories themselves, who " still hope for power under the idea that 
the remembrance of the past should be lost, though they daily keep it 
up by their avowed attachment to Great Britain." Second, the violent 
Whigs, who were for "expelling all Tories from the State, in hopes by 
that means to preserve the power in their own hands." Third, those 
who wish " to suppress all violences, to soften the rigour of the laws 
against the loyalists, and not to banish them from that social inter- 
course which may, by degrees, obliterate the remembrance of past 
misdeeds ; but who, at the same time, are not willing to shock the 
feelings of the virtuous citizens that have at every expense and hazard 
fulfilled their duty " to the country in the recent struggle. The more 
determined Whigs organized a " Whig Society," whose object was to 
urge the removal of certain influential, ojffensive Tories from the 
State. The society's president was Lewis Morris, and its secretary, 
John Pintard. Outspoken views, public meetings, and petitions to the 


legislature followed, but the status of the Tories was not eventually 
disturbed. The measure which aflfected them most seriously was the 
trespass act, by which all Whigs who had been obliged to fly from 
their homes in consequence of the enemy's invasion could bring an 
action of trespass against those who may have entered and occupied 
their houses under the enemy's protection. Many Tories had done 

At a very numerous and re/pectable Meetings 
held at Corres Hotel, on Monday Evening the 

23^ April, 

JOSEPH HALLETT, Efq. Chairman, 

'n ESOLVED, unanifnouny. That this meeting do concur in the followinjnomi- 
^*^ nation of GOVERNOR, LIEUT GOV SENATORS for the fou them dif- 
trifl, and ASSEMBLY. MEN, for the city and county of New- York, to be fup- 
ported at the enfuing ele^ion. 






By Order of the Meeting, 

JOSEPH H A L L ETZ Chairman. 


this, and were held to be liable. In one case, however, that of Eliza- 
beth Batgers against Joshua Waddington, a wealthy Tory, a decision 
was rendered in favor of the latter in the mayor's court, on the gen- 
eral ground that the State act was in violation of the provisions of 
the treaty of peace, under which Tories were protected in property 
rights. This caused great excitement, especially as Waddington's 
counsel was none other than Alexander Hamilton, who, as a distin- 
guished officer in the continental army, could be supposed to have 
none but the most pronounced Whig sympathies. But with Hamilton 
the war was over, and he discountenanced harsh measures toward 


those who would in time assimilate with and be lost in the mass 
of the people. This position he maintained in some able articles 
contributed by him to the press, over the signature of "Phocion," 
and to which Isaac Ledyard replied over the signature of " Mentor.** 
Hamilton's broad, statesmanlike views left their impression, though 
his professional course excited the anger of his opponents. So bitter 
were the feelings of some of the more violent among them, that they 
secretly determined to challenge him one by one to a duel until he 
fell. When Ledyard heard of this, he immediately prevented the exe- 
cution of the scheme. This extreme hostility to the Tories died out 
in the course of a year or two, and soon disappeared in the greater 
question of the national constitution which was beginning to engage 
public attention. 

State issues or politics were yet to become prominent. The war 
governor, Clinton, had held ofl&ce for eight years, and opposition in- 
terests were bound to show their strength in time. The first attempt 
was quietly made in 1785, when General Schuyler sounded John Jay 
as to his willingness to run against Clinton for the governorship at 
the next election. The general charged that Clinton was striving to 
maintain his popularity "at the expense of good government,'^ and 
that reform demanded a change in the office. "But who," he asks, 
"is to be the person? It is agi'eed that none have a chance of suc- 
ceeding but you, the chancellor or myself. The second, on account of 
the prejudices against his family name, it is believed, would fail. . . . 
I am so little known in the southern part of the State that I should 
fail there." Jay was accordingly the only available candidate, and 
Schuyler believed he would seciu-e the election by "a great majority." 
But Jay declined. That he was then the most distinguished citizen in 
New- York would have been conceded. The many services he had 
rendered the State as a member of conventions and committees; in 
the wider sphere of the Continental Congress, of which he was once 
president; his diplomatic labors abroad as minister to Spain and as 
one of the commissioners to conclude the treaty of peace in 1783 ; his 
present position as the secretary for foreign ajffairs of Congress; — all 
combined to put the State under a special obligation to him as a public 
character. At this juncture, however, he stood aloof from local or State 
controversies, and thereby rendered another service in not precipitat- 
ing a party issue which would have worked unfavorably upon the 
constitutional problem of the near future. " If the circumstances of 
the State were pressing," he replied to Schuyler, " if real disgust and 
discontent had spread through the country, if a change had in the 
general opinion become not only advisable but necessary, and the 
good expected from that change depended on me, then my present 
objections would immediately yield." He was not impressed with the 



aecessity in the case, and furthermore felt that it was hie duty to con- 
tinue ID the service of Congress at that time. At a later date the gov- 
ernorship will be his. 

In the larger field of national politics or of national reorganization, 
the city played a conspicuous part and exercised a decisive influence. 
It will ever be to her honor that in the emergency through which our 
federal constitution passed at its adoption, New- York kept the State 
true to its best interests by powerfully 
assisting in bringing its unwiUing con- 
vention to ratify that instrument and 
insure the formation of our "more per- 
fect" Union. 

The issue in New- York, at its cul- 
mination in 1788, took a sectional turn 
The city and its environs favored con- 
centration of authoiity in a strong iia- 
tioual government; the State at large 
preferred the Confederation, with such 
amendments or revision as immediate 
exigencies demanded. In the contest 
for the new constitution as finally pie 
sented, the city triumphed by tonvert- 
ing the State; she triumphed through 
the wise and well-directed action of lier 
merchants, through the superior ability, 
persistence, and unremitting zeal of her 
del^ates, and through the moral sup- 
port of both on the part of a large ma^ 
jority of her eitizens. One of the toasts offered at the first public 
dinner in the city after the war — that given by Governor Clinton on 
Evacuation Day — seemed to serve as the key-note of local sentiment 
throi^h the following years : "May a close Union of the States guard 
the tomple they have erected to Liberty." 

The history of the national movement in this State may be traced 
to the action of the legislature on July 21, 1782, when, in response to 
a resolution of Congress of May 22 preceding, ik gave expression to 
certain decided views and convictions on "the state of the nation." 
It resolved that the general situation respecting foreign and financial 
matters was " in a peculiar manner" critical, threatening the subver- 
sion of public credit and exposing the common cause to "a precarious 
issue.* It resolved further that " the radical source of most of our 
embarrassments is th^ want of sufficient power iu Congress to effec- 
tuate that ready and perfect cooperation of the different States, on 
which their immediate safety and future happiness depend"; and it 


proposed to Cougress " to recommeDd, and to each State to adopt the 
measure of assembling a general convention of the States, specially 
authorized to revise and amend the Confederation, reserving a right 
to the respective legislatures to ratify their determinations." Con- 
gress postponed action upon this recommendation, which operated 
unfortunately in New- York ; for duiing the next five years delega- 
tions and opinions underwent a change throughout the State, and it 
was only by the most strenuous efforts that it was kept true to its 
first professions. Those were the gloomy, distracting years after the 
war, when the weakness of the Confederation made it impossible to 
regulate trade and commerce, and its 
defects opened up the question of the 
reconstruction of the Union under cir- 
cumstances which made it difficult to 
discuss it dispassionately. The situa- 
tion was not an unnatural one. It was 
a transitional period. The States had 
been living together for seven years on 
a war basis ; peace, with its new require- 
ments, now called for a readjustment of 
the supports, and this could not be done 
without a disturbing effort. In New- 
York a variety of influences combined 
to complicate the difficulties in the case. 
A strong State pride developed as the question of surrendering furthei 
powers to the Uuion was agitated ; jealousy and fear of such a Union 
increased; jHsrsons and parties in power held tenaciously to the sov- 
ereignty which they were enjoying in a practically independent State; 
and the State's legislation looked toward autonomy. All this was 
more or less true of every State. In New-York it was marked. Not 
that any such thing as a disunion sentiment found expression; but, in 
the absence of a binding national tie, local predilections governed. 

For this state of feeling the governor, George Clinton, and his large 
body of friends and supporters were mainly responsible. The gov- 
ernor himself was a strong character. A partizau in one seuse, he 
was eminently public-spirited in another. He was loyal to the Union 
and the Confederation, but his hopes and his pride centered on his 
State. To make that great and prosperous was his first ambition; 
and his policy and wishes were reflected in the proceedings of the 
State legislature. By the year 1788 New-Yoi'k was exercising all but 
national sovereignty. She had a well-organized militia; she ap- 
pointed boundary commissions ; she issued a paper currency ; she 
levied duties; she maintained custom-houses. Under the act of No- 
vember 18, 1784, one custom-house was established at the port of New- 



York and another at Sag Harbor, on Long Island. Collectors, 
surveyors, gangers, weighers, and tide-waiters were appointed. The 
first collector for New-York was Colonel John Lamb, who com- 
manded the first regiment of continental artillery during the war; 
and the surveyor was Colonel John Lasher, of one of the early city 
regiments of levies. Under the impost act of the same, date, many 
articles were made dutiable. Sixpence duty was levied on every 
gallon of Madeira wine brought into the State, and threepence on 
other wines; twopence on every gallon of rum, brandy, or other 
spirits, if imported in vessels owned by citizens of any of the United 
States, but a double duty for vessels with British registers. There 
were duties on carriages, chariots, sulkies, gold and silver watches, 
scythes, saddles, hollow ironware, women's leather or stujff shoes, 
starch, hair-powder, cocoa, teas, coals, bricks, wools, furs, and similar 

But this system had serious defects — defects that were the most 
sensibly felt by the commercial element throughout the country. A 
prosperous trade was wanting. There was no power to regulate it. 
Congress might propose treaties of commerce with foreign powers, 
but lacked ability to enforce them. No uniform system of duties could 
be imposed when each Stato was devising a tariff of its own. New- 
York might draw up an elaborate schedule, but this did not establish 
the New- York merchant's credit in London; it failed to open the 
West India ports to his vessels. The one remedy in the case was to 
confer the necessary powers upon Congress — "let Congress, and Con- 
gress alone, regulate foreign trade and commerce." 

It is here that New- York city followed the course that reflects so 
creditably upon her. As between the policy which the State as such 
was pursuing and the policy which the general government should 
be empowered to pursue, she set herself in line with the latter. Her 
merchants and her distinguished lawyers and statesmen were the 
salvation of both city and State. The merchants agitated trade re- 
quirements. There was an abundance, indeed a surplus, of foreign 
goods in town during those early years from 1784 to 1787, but they 
were largely the importation or consignments of British merchants 
of ample means, who could wait for a market. The American Whig 
merchant, entering mercantile life anew, found himself at a disad- 
vantage, and he saw little relief under the existing system. The 
merchants in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Charleston were 
in the same predicament, and all expressed themselves alike. By the 
spring of 1785 the situation had become all but unendurable. On 
March 7 a memorial was published, to be signed by residents of 
New- York, praying the legislature to pass the impost act of Congress 
and to recommend the regulation of commerce by that body. Under 

Vol. m.— 3. 


the former act, which had been hanging fire since its passage in 
April, 1783, Congress would hkve been able to pay the interest on the 
public debt. New- York alone of all the States refused to approve 
it. Sentiment in the city favored the measure. On March 14 the 
Chamber of Commerce came forward with another and a more for- 
mal petition to the legislature, signed by its president, John Alsop, 

calling attention to the failure of the individual 
1 States to regulate trade for the common benefit. 
They could not possibly so regulate it, because, 
in the words of the petition or memorial, — "Ist, 
not being enabled to form treaties, trade cannot in their hands be 
made the basis of commercial compacts ; 2d, because no regular sys- 
tem can be adopted by thirteen different Legislatures pursuing differ- 
ent objects, and seeing the same object in different lights ; and 3d, be- 
cause if it even were to be presumed that they would at all times and 
in every circumstance sacrifice partial interests to the general good, 
yet the want of harmony in their measures and a common force, would 
forever defeat their best intentions." In consequence of this loose 
system, the merchants observed with concern that trade, "the gi*eat 
spring of agriculture and manufactures," was languishing "under 
fatal obstructions" and daily on the decline. The legislature made no 
recommendations on these petitions ; but public opinion continued to 
assert itself. In the following May, Boston voted, in town meeting, 
that, as peace had not brought plenty, and foreign merchants were 
monopolizing commerce by crushing out the American carrying- 
trade. Congress should be invested with power competent to the wants 
of the country. In Philadelphia a committee of thirteen merchants 
was appointed to stir up the State authorities to the same end. The 
Boston people went further, as in early war days, and invited the 
cooperation of the New- York merchants ; whereupon the Chamber of 
Commerce and "many other citizens," following up their March 
memorials, called a meeting of merchants and "other inhabitants" at 
the Exchange, June 15, at which Alderman John Broome presided. 
Their former sentiments and views were reiterated in a body of res- 
olutions, and a committee was appointed to correspond with the sev- 
eral counties in the State and with committees in other States, in the 
hope that " a free and reciprocal communication of opinions " would 
rouse the country to action. The committee was composed of the 
most prominent merchants in the city. To the committees in other 
States it was proposed that they should severally take measures to 
induce their respective legislatures to confer the necessary powers 

1 The autogrrephs of John Watts, Sr.; and Anne sented by their great-grandson. General John' 
Watts, his wife, are exceedingly rare. They were Watts De Peyster, to the New-York Historical So- 
only to be obtained by tracing their signatures as ciety. By his courtesy permission was granted to 
found on the valuable documents recently pre- trace them. Editob. 


on Congress. " Our Un\pn," said the New- York committee, " is the 
basis of our grandeur and our power." To the counties of the State 
the committee represented that if commerce languished, agriculture 
would feel a corresponding effect. " By the Union of the farmer, the 
merchant and mechanic," they wrote, " we have, in the most danger- 
ous crisis, been able to withstand the open force of our enemies ; and 
if this spirit still actuates us, we shall soon convince them that their 
insidious politics in peace are of as little effect." The farmer was 
accordingly urged to send assemblymen with federal views to the 
next legislature. 

What effect these appeals produced at large it would be difl&cult 
to determine, but they kept the subject uppermost in popular discus- 
sions and clearly strengthened sentiment in New- York. The papers 
in the city, notably the "Packet" and the "Journal," published the 
effusions of correspondents at intervals, which indicated the inter- 
est felt. "What is to be done!" inquires " Consideration" in March, 
1785 ; and answers, " All the States must give Congress ample powers 
to regulate trade, . . . likewise all other powers necessary for an 
active and firm Continental government." But "Rough Hewer, Jr.," 
who was known to be Abraham Yates, a pithy writer on the other 
side, declared that histoiy had established the fact that republicanism 
can flourish in small states only, and expressed a dread of " a mighty 
Continental Legislature," which in time would merge and swallow up 
the rights of the States. "Unitas" called for assemblymen who could 
discern with precision " in what particular a ^ * H jT) 
local must give way to a more general advan- //^^^^Tx^/x^W^ 
tage,"and could appreciate the benefits of a gen- 
eral union. " The chain," he exclaims, " should be of adamant, indis- 
soluble, eternal ! Should this chain ever be broken, good God ! what 
scenes of death and misery lurk under the dreadful event." " Sydney," 
on the other hand, saw nothing but despotism and an oligarchy in a 
congress which could control a revenue exacted from the States by its 
own agents : " K you put the sword and the purse into the hands of 
the supreme power, be the Constitution of that power what it may, 
you render it absolute. Congress already have the sword vested in 
them; the single power wanting to make them absolute is that of 
levying money themselves. When this is compassed. Adieu to Lib- 
erty ! " Such contributions to the press, however, appeared too infre- 
quently to enable us to judge of the strength of parties at this date. 
The discussion went on in the coffee-houses and clubs, and two years 
later the fruits will be seen in test elections. 

In the following year (1786) the situation improved so far as agita- 
tion led to action. Virginia came forward with her proposition for a 
convention at Annapolis, Maryland, " to consider how far a uniform 

L 3 ji 

The fenators and reprefentatives beforementioned, and tbe membcrt of the fereral fUle Itgrf. 
htures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the feveralStuet; 
fhall be bound by oath or aflirmaCion, to fupport this conflitntion; but no religious tefl fliall ever 
be required as a qualincation to any o(Hce or public trud under tbe United States* 


The ratification of tbe conventions of nine States, ihall be fufficteoi for tbe eflabliihment of 
this conflitution between tbe States fo ratifying the lame; 

Done in Convention, by the unanimous confent of the 

Slates prcfent, the fcventecnih day of September, In the year of our Lord one thoufand fcved 
hundred and cightv-feven,«nd of the Independence of tbe United States of America (be twelfth. 
In witnefs whereot we have hereunto lubfcribed our Names. 


And Deputy from V i r g i n i a.' 

George Read^ 

New.Hampshue. Jfc^c5w 





C Nathaniel Gorbanti 

X^Rufus King. 

r William Samuel Johnforif 

J Roger Sherman, 
Alexander Hamijton* 
William Living/i^n, 
David Brearle/^ 
William Paterfin^ 
Jonathan Dayton* 

[^Benjamin Franklin, 
Thomas M'Jlin^ 
Robert Morris^ 
George Chmer^ 
Thomas titx/imonsp 
ared Inter foil ^ 
ames Wil/on, 
uverneur "Morris. 



Gunning Bedford^ Juni^t 

John Dkkinjffn^ 

Rubard Bafett, 

Jacob Broom. 
C James Mr Henry ^ 
^Daniel of St, Tbo Jemfer. 
Q Daniel tarroL 

C John Blair ^ 


James Madtion^ Jwiivr. 
tWilliam Blount^ 
North-Caeolina < Richard Debbs Spatgbt, 

(Hugh Williamson, 
r John Rulledge, ' 

Q Pierce Butler, 
C WilUam Few^ 
iMrabam BoldwiM, 


Attcit; William Jacison, Seceeta-rt* 

In CONVENTION, Monday September 1 7th, 1 787. 

The State? of New-Hampfliire, MafTachufetts, Connefticut, Mr. 
jF/iiw/7/<?« from New- York, New- Jerfey, Pennfylvania, Delaware, 
Maryland, Virginia^ North-Carolina, South-Carolina and 
Georgia : 


tfHAT the preceding Conjlitution he laid be/ire the United States in Congrefs afembled^ and that it it 
tbe opinion of this Convention^ that itjhould afterwards befubmitted to a Convention of Delegates f 
thofen in each Stati by tbe People thereof under tbe recommendation of its Legiflature^ for tbetr ajfent 
and ratification ; and that each Convention affenting to, and ratifying the fame, fbcutdgivt Notice tSerc' 
of to tb( United States in Congrefs affembled, 

Rcrolved, That it is the opinion of this Convention^ that as Joan as the Conventitntt of nine States fhall 
have ratified ibis Con/iitvtion, the United Statet in Congrefs ajjembled fbouUk^ix a day oji vtbicb 
ElcOors Jhould be appointed by the States which Jhall bavf ratified tbefame^ and a da^ on which the 
EU^ors fljould affemhle to vote for tbe Pcefident^ and tbe time and place for commencing proceedings 
under this Conjlitution. That after fucb publication tbe Eleflort Jbould be appointed ^ and the Senators 
and Reprefentatives eleOed : That the Electors Jfyould meet on tbe day fixed for the EUdion of the Ptefi" 
dent, andfhould tbetr votes certified, figned^ fealed and direded^ as tbe Con/Htu(ton requires, 
to tbe Secretary of the United States in Congrefs affembledf that the Senators and Reprefentatives Jhonid 


e at tbe time and place aj/igned; that the Senators Jbould appoint a PrefidsAt ^ the Senate^ for tbe 
fole purpofe of receiving, opening and tounting tbe votes for Prefident ; and, J bat afttr he fhall be chofen, 
the Congrefs, togetbet with tbe prefident, flmld, without diloy, proceed to execute this Confiitution, 

By the unanimous .Order of the Convention, 

George ,Washington, Prefident. 

PVf/liam y^fif/5;», Secretary 



system in their commercial regulations may be necessary to the com- 
mon interest and permanent harmony " of the States. The convention 
met on September 11, with commissioners present from but five 
States — Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New-York. 
Their action resulted in the assemblage of the famous constitutional 
convention at Philadelphia in the following year. In each of these 
bodies New- York city found its representation in the person of Alex- 
ander Hamilton ; or, while being a representative of the State, he 
more nearly reflected the sentiment of the city, which was largely 
coincident with, and influenced by, his own. The possibilities that lay 
in the Virginia call immediately absorbed his attention. His own 
proposition for a convention, broached as early as 1780, was a sufficient 
assurance that all his sympathies would be aroused by any movement 
that might be utilized for national ends ; and the present opportunity 
was not to be lost. The Annapolis proposition came in January, 
1786. Hamilton then determined to make one more effort to induce 
the State to accede to the impost act of Congress, which would be an 
entering wedge toward granting general powers to the government ; 
or failing in this he hoped to secure the appointment of commissioners 
to the Annapolis convention. One of his intimate friends was Colonel 
Robert Troup, formerly aid to General Gates, at this date a rising 
lawyer in the city, and later judge of the United States district court 
of New- York. He seconded Hamilton's efforts. " In pursuance of the 
latter^s plan," says Troup at a subsequent date, " the late Mr. Du^r, 
the late Colonel Malcolm and myself were sent to the State Legislature 
as part of the City delegation, and we were to make every possible 
effort to accomplish Hamilton's objects. Duer was a man of com- 
manding eloquence. We went to the Legislature and pressed totis 
viribus the grant of the impost agreeably to the requisition of Con- 
gress. We failed in obtaining it. The resolutions of Virginia were 
communicated by Governor Clinton the 14th of March. We went all 
our strength in the appointment of commissioners to attend the Com- 
mercial Convention, in which we were successful. The commissioners 
were instructed to report their proceedings to the next Legislature. 
Hamilton was appointed one of them. Thus it was that he was the 
principal instrument to turn this State to a course of policy that saved 
our Country from incalculable mischiefs, if not from total ruin."^ The 
other commissioner was Egbert Benson, then attorney-general of the 
State, who was in perfect sympathy with the objects of the proposed 
convention, and who turned his business before the Supreme Court 
at Albany over to a friend, to hurry on with Hamilton to Annapolis. 
The outcome of the brief convention at Annapolis was an urgent 
recommendation for the meeting of a more representative body at 

I John C. Hamilton's " Life of Hamilton." 


Philadelphia in the following spring. Hamilton^ as Benson tells us, 
was the author of the address to this effect sent to Congress and the 
individual States. The work of the Philadelphia convention is a 
matter of history. The delegates to that body from New- York State 
were Judge Eobert Yates, John Lansing, Jr., and, again, Hamilton. 
By the withdrawal of the two former from the convention, on the 
ground that it was proposed to formulate a new constitution instead 
of revising the existing one, Hamilton remained alone as the State's 
representative. The measure of his influence in the convention may 
be seen in the national character of the constitution. 

There yet remained the problem of the adoption of the new instru- 
ment by the States; and here, so far as New- York is concerned, the 
value of the labors of distinguished men of the city appears to highest 
advantage. The struggle for the constitution in the State convention 
was not less earnest and critical than the effort at its framing. What- 
ever the situation might have been elsewhere, it was well known that 
in New- York ratification could not be secured without a close and 
determined contest. " True it is," wrote Gouvemeur Morris to Jay, 
October 30, 1786, "that this city and its neighborhood are enthusiastic 
in the [federal] cause, but I dread the cold and sour temper of the 
back counties." This sour temper was in reality the Clintonian dis- 
position to resist centralization in the general government. There 
still survived what Morris called the old "Colonial oppositions of 
opinion," the strong, inherited local feeling, which it was necessary 
to overcome; and the men of the new order of things set to work to 
overcome it. The first work in hand was to parry the adverse criti- 
cisms upon the proposed constitution, which appeared soon after the 
adjournment of the Philadelphia convention. The anti-federalist 
"Journal " for a while abounded with them, over the signatures of 
. " Cato," " Brutus," " Old Whig," " Centinel," " Cincinnatus," and the 
like. A " Son of Liberty," writing from Orange County, denounced 
the Philadelphia outcome as " a preposterous and new fangled sys- 
tem." Some saw in it the loss of State independence, others the 
ascendancy and control of a government class, others a menace to 
privileges and personal liberty in the absence of a bill of rights. 

It was at this juncture that Hamilton and his associates appeared 
in the field with their great defense and exposition of the constitution 
in the " Federalist " papers. It is to the local controversy in the city 
and State that we owe that lucid and authoritative commentary on 
our fundamental law. Of the eighty-five numbers of the work that 
were published, all of them over the signature " Publius," Hamilton 
wi'ote sixty-three, Jay five, Madison (then a member of Congress in 
New- York) thirteen, and three were the joint production of Hamilton 
and Madison. The first number was printed in the " Independent 


Journal, or Weekly Advertiser " on October 27, 1787, and thereafter 
the articles appeared, soraetimes two iu the same issue, in the 
** Packet" and other papers, continuing through the summer of 1788.' 
The New- York State convention had been called to meet at Pough- 
keepsie on June 17, 1788. Delegates were nominated in the counties 
early in April, and repi*esentative men 
were put forward. All felt the im- 
portance of the discussion and the 
decision. It was at about this time 
that John Jay reinforced the "Feder- 
alist" papers with "An Address to 
the People of the State of New- 
York," which he issued anonymously 
in pamphlet form. It had its effect 
in strengthening federal views, and, 
according to a eontemporaiy letter, 
would doubtless have couverted many 
an lionest anti-federalist in the upper 
counties had it appeared earlier. " The 
proposed government is to be the gov- 
ernment of the people," he wrote; and 
iu 1793 he reiterated this sentiment as 
chief justice of th» United States, in his opinion on the suability of 
the State: "The people, in their collective and national capacity, 
established the present Constitution." Two sets of delegates for the 
State convention were nominated for the city and county of New- 
York. Jay and Hamilton appeared on both tickets. Who the candi- 
dates were, how they were put in nomination, and on what platform, 
appears from the announcement of the ticket itself, issued in the city 
papers, in the following form : 



A number of your Fellow Citizens, deeply impressed with the importance of the 
Crtas, and convinced that it is your and their interest at the present jnnotore, by men 
nnequivocaUy attached to the establishment of a firm national Goverument, beg leave 
Teq>ectfally to recommend to your support and choice, the following persons as dele- 
gates to the Convention. 

John Jay, Richabd Mobbis, Robert R. Liv-tngston, 

John Sloss Hobabt, James Ddane, Alexander HAiin.TON, 

Richabd Harrison, Isaac Roosevelt, Nicholas Low. 

1 The heading of the ttrat number read aa follows : 

For the "Independent JoumaL" 

Thb federalist, No. 1. 

H> tMt iVopto of Iht Slatt of jVew York. 



We flatter ourselves the characters proposed will uaite the suffrages of all those who 
sincerely have at heart "That which appears to be the greatest interest of every troe 
AmericaD — the consolidation of oar Union, in which is involved our prosperity, feli- 
city, safety, perhaps our national e«iatence." . . . Those who have in view the 
same object with ourselves, cannot but be sensible of the great importance of una- 
nimity on the present occasion, and will consequently be on their guard against the 
artifices which already begin to be practised for the purpose of dividing them. In 
supporting the present nomination let One and All he onr Motto, It is not only of 
consequence that men of proper characters and sentiments should be chosen, but that 
the sense of the citizens should also appear in the choice. This will give weight to 


the exertions of your representatives, and manifest to the world that n 

of State influence and State interest can induce the Patriotic and Independent Electors 

of the City to betray the cause of the Union. 

By Order of Ike Meeting, 

Thoiias Raxdaiaj, Chairman. 
New York, April 8, 1788. 

This ticket was elected with a clean sweep. Jay received the high- 
est number of votes, or only one hundred and one less than the total 
cast, — 2735 out of 2836. Hamilton, Morris, Hobart, and Livingston 
were less than thirty votes behind. The highest anti-federal vote was 
but 134. But the upper counties were overwhelmingly anti-federalist; 
and when the convention met, their majority out of fifty-seven mem- 
bers was found to range from twenty-five to thirty. When the con- 
vention adjourned, July 26, after deliberating forty days, this majority 



had been reduced to a minority. The convention adopted the consti- 
tution by a majority of three votes — a result due almost wholly to 
the abilities, character, personal force, and effective appeal of the dele- 
gates from New- York city. Hamilton, Jay, and Livingston bore the 
honors of the debate.^ In dealing with this whole question of a 
stronger government, from the Annapolis to the Poughkeepsie con- 
vention, Hamilton's services were the most conspicuous. 

Although the Poughkeepsie convention had adopted the constitu- 
tion in a certain sense provisionally, and called for its amendment by 
a new national convention, the final ratification was binding, and the 
State joined the circle as 
the "eleventh pillar" of 
the Union. This result 
was in itself a triumph 
for the federalists, and 
when the news reached 
the city, on Saturday 
evening, July 26, great 
was the rejoicing. Men 
cheered, bells were rung, 
and impromptu proces- 
sions were formed which 
marched to the bouses 
of the several delegates "^""^ federal banquet." 

to dieer again. When the delegates themselves returned to town, 
they were personally complimented in the same way, with the ad- 
dition of a salute of eleven guns for each member. " In short," says 
the *' Packet," " a general joy ran through the whole City, and sev- 
eral of those who were of different sentiments drank freely of the 
Federal Bowl and declared that they were now perfectly reconciled 
to the new Constitution." The result was received in Philadelphia 
with " a glorious peal from Christ Church bells." 

A feature and expression of the intense interest felt throughout the 
country in the fate of the constitution were the popular federal pro- 


1 RvpoTtliiK tl>e proceedtDgB at Poughkeepsie 
thf Packet" of July 13, 1TB8, nyg: "We are in 
formed that on Satorday last the Hon. Mr. Ja;, 
Clianiwllor LivingMou and Colonel Hamilton, 
mllf addmaed themaelTes to our State cod' 
tioninamatfterly, animated and pathetic mani 
which. It 1* said, made aenalUe impresHlonH on 
Ibr mindfl of nieh anti-federal members who hare 
not fet rmdered their eonception entirely ulloiin 
by preconorived prejiidie«i ta the voice of truth." 

* One feature of the eelebratioa, as mentioned 
Id the text, was a irrand banctnet, at the Bayard 
eoontry^ioiue. in the Tldnity of Orand street and 
the Bowery. Ccora were laid for no lean than Ave 
thMuaod peraona. At a laUe aomewhat raised 

above the oUierB. sat the Preaideat and members 
of Congtess. The pavilion under which this great 
company were seated terminated Id a dome over 
this table, and here stood Fame Boundinti upon 
her trumpet the beginning of a new era. Around 
the daU upon which theiie Heetti of honor were 
placed, ten tablei were arranged like radii of a 
semicircle, represenling the ten States which had 
aiiopted thp Constitution, Each table bore an 
OMUtcheoD inscribed with the armn and names of 
a State ; while the colors of the French Monarchy 
and of the Dutch Republic, and of whatever other 
nations had aided or flyrapathiied with the Ameri- 
can cBuse,were liberally blended with the brilliant 
"Stars and Stripes." Editor. 


cessions held at different placog, notably Philadelphia, Boston, Charles- 
ton, and New- York. The New- York procession was the last and 
grandest. It was held July 23, in honor of the adoption of the 
constitution by ten States, and exceeded all previous demonstrations 
in the country. There were over six thousand men in the line, repre- 
senting all degrees, professions, trades, and interests. Each one of 
the ten divisions included representations, flags, designs, and emblems 
of commerce and labor. There were foresters, plowmen, farmers, 
gardeners, millers, bakers, brewers, distillers; coopers, butchers, tan- 
ners, cordwainers; carpenters, farriers, peruke-makers and hair-dress- 
ers; whitesmiths, blacksmiths, cutlers, masons, bricklayers, painters, 
glaziers, cabinet-makers, upholsterers, civil engineers; shipwrights, 
joiners, boat-builders, sailmakers, riggers ; printers, binders, cartmen, 
coachmakers, pewterers, goldsmiths and silversmiths, tobacconists, 
chocolate-makers ; saddlers, harness-makers, founders ; lawyers, phy- 
sicians, professors, students, societies, the Cincinnati, merchants and 
clergymen. Near the center of the procession the fuU-rigged man-of- 
war or "federal ship" Hamilton, carrying thirty-two guns, with a crew 
of thirty men, complete in all its appointments, and drawn by twelve 
horses, attracted a continuous gaze of admiration from the throngs 
along the streets. Commodore Nicholson commanded. The costumes, 
dress, implements, and general paraphernalia of the exhibitors and 
participants made the whole immensely pleasing and imposing. The 
entire day was given up to the festivities ; for, after the parade had 
passed from the common down Broadway and around through the 
streets on the east side, it moved out into the Bowery to Bayard's 
grounds, where a temporary building, consisting of three grand pavil- 
ions, had been erected for a civic and popular feast. Tables were set 
for five thousand persons. We are told, in the carefully prepared 
account of the procession published later, that, "as this splendid, 
novel and interesting exhibition moved along, an unexpected silence 
reigned throughout the City, which gave a solemnity to the whole 
transaction suited to the singular importance of the cause. No noise 
was heard but the deep rumbling of carriage-wheels, with the neces- 
sary salutes and signals. A glad serenity enlivened every counte- 
nance, while the joyous expectation of national prosperity triumphed 
in every bosom." 

Yet it is to be remembered that while the citizens of New -York 
were thus celebrating the forming of the nation, their own State was 
not yet a part thereof ; it was three days after this ere they knew 
that the constitution had been adopted at Poughkeepsie. An elabor- 
ate ode published at the time, in commemoration of the services and 
in recognition of the personal greatness of Washington, Franklin, 
and Hamilton, expressed the prevailing sentiment and hopes of 


the people of New-York. To addressed itself with t 

Hoes : 

And thou, 

Out City's boast, to whom so much we owe. 
In whom, the last and yoougest of the three, 
No common share of excellence we see, 
In every grateful heart thou hast a place, 
Nor time nor circumstance can e'er erase I 
All hail, ye champions in your country's Cause! 
Boon shall that country ring with your applause. 

Discord shall cease and perfect Union reign, 
And all confess that sweetly powerful chain, 
The FetPral system, which at once unites 
The Thirteen States and all the people's rigbtft. 

Under this inspiration, with its union feeling deepened by the 
course of events, the city now entered, in the year 1789, into the 
constitutional period of its history — the period of nationality and 
of commercial prosperity. 


The medals of which representations appear on this and tbe next pa^ are preserved 
in the Boyal Mnaeum at The Hague, Holland. By reason of their interest to the citizens 
of the United States, our Minister Plenipotentiary there, Samuel R. Thayer, Esq., re- 
quested and was courteously granted permission to have copies of each medal struck 
off in zinc. These he sent to the Department of State at Washington, D. C, accom- 
panied with A despatch to Secretary Blaine, giving an historical and descriptive ac- 
count of each medal, and asking the privilege of presenting one set to the department, 
and one to each of several historical societies of tbe country. During his recent visit 
to the United States, Ur. Thayer presented the editor of this work with a set of tbe 
medals. The description of them, 
as cited from tbe despatch to the 
State Department, b as follows: 

I. "The first medal in thi 
series referred to was de«gned to I 
commemorate tbe reoc^nitioa of ' 
American Independence by tbe 
Province of FUesland on the 26th 
of February, 1782, a description 
of which is as follows: On the obverse side is a male figure personating a Fririan 
in ancient costume, joining right hands with an American, represented by a maiden 
in aboriginal dress, standing on a scepter with her left band resting on a shield 
bearing the inscription [in Dutch]; 'The United States of North America'; while 
with his left band the Frisian signals his rejection of an ohve branch offered by a 
Bnton, represented by a muden accompanied by a tiger, tbe left band of the maiden 
resting on a ahield having the inscription; 'Great Britain.* On the reverse side 
is tbe figure of an arm projecting from tbe clouds holding the coat of arms of the 


province of FrieBland, under which is the inBoiiption [in DntchJ; *To the States of 
Friesl&nd ia grateful reeo^nition of the Acts of the Asaembly, in Febrnary and 
ApiH, 1782, by the Citizens' Club of Leea warden. Liberty oMd Zeol,'" II. "The second 
medal in the series was struak off by order of the States General in commemoration of 

its rect^nition of the Indepen- 
dence of the United States. On 
the obverse side of the medal 
will be found the United 
States and the Netherlands, 
represented by two maidens 
equipped for war, with right 
hands joined over a burning 
altar. The Dutch maiden is 
placing an emblem of freedom on the head of the American, whose right foot, at- 
tached to a broken chain, rests on England, represented by a tiger. In the field of 
the medal are the words : ' Libera Soror. Solemni Deer. Agn. 19 Apr. MDCCT.XXXTL' 
On the reverse side is the figure of a tmicom lying prostrate before a &te«p rock 
against which he has broken his horn; over the figure are the words: 'Tyrannis 
virtute repulsa,' and underneath the same the words: *Sab Qalliie aDspiciis.'" m. 
" The third medal in the series was made to conunemorate the Treaty of Commerce 
and Navigation entered into between the United States and the Netherlands the 7th 
of October, 1782. On its obverse side stands in relief a monumental needle bearing 
the Amsterdam Coat of Arms, 
upon which a wreath is being 
placed by a figure representing 
Mercury; underneath the coat 
of arms is a parchment bearing 
the inscription: 'Pro.Dro.Mvs.' 
France, symbolized by a crowing 
cock, stands beride the needle 
pointing with a conjurer's wand 
to a horn of plenty aud an an- 
chor. Over all are the words: ' Justitiam et non tenmere divos.' On the reverse side 
b an image of Fame riding on a cloud and carrying the arms of the Netherlands and 
the United States, surmounted by a naval crown ; the figures are covered by the fol- 
lowii^ words: 'Faustissimo foedere jimctae JMe VII. Ootob MDCCLXXXII.' " 




i HE fourth day of March, 1789, — the day set for the assem- 
liling of the first Congress, — found the city of New-York 
rith about thirty thousand inhabitants. It was aUve to 
tlie honor and advantages of being the first national cap- 
ital, but had not been given sufBcient notice of the approaching dig- 
nity to make itself at once perfectly presentable for the inauguration. 
At this distance of time there is, for the historic imagination, a certain 
picturesqueness in the contrast between the splendor of the presiden- 
tial pageant and the antiquaiian frame in which it was set. The 
streets, poorly paved and sparsely lighted; the uncleanly wharves; the 
freedom of the city enjoyed by pigs and dogs ; the ragged rows of 
wooden or brick-faced houses ; the blackened ruins lingering from 
the great fire of, 1778 ; dilapidated Fort George, used for stables, and 
its filthy earthwork, the Battery: these and other dismal features 
suddenly became conscious of themselves on the eve of the inaugura- 
tion of the republic. A sardonic bit of gaiety was visible in the 
Chinese pagoda enshrining the gallows, which stood between the 
jail and the almshouse, with stocks and whipping-post adjacent, in a 
beautiful grove, where now stands the City Hall. It was to be a good 
many years before the laws could become conscious of their barbarism. 
John Shelvey, the public whipper, had enough lashing to do for his 
$87.50 per annum ; ten different offenses were punished with death ; 
the slave-market was active. There were more than two thousand 
slaves in the city. " The sewerage system of the City," says Mr. 
Thomas E. V. Smith, " consisted of the negro slaves, a long line of 
whom might be seen late at night wending their way to the river, 
each with a tub on his head."' The inevitable accompaniment of sla- 
very, a large pauper population, was represented in crowded quarters 
with many pallid and barefoot women. 

Amid these somber things stood a few mansions, familiar to us in 
old pictures, with a dignity and charm of their own. In them dwelt 

1 ■- The City of New To* In the jeai of Washington's Inaaguration, 1789," p. 9. 


the gentlemen who did their best to improve the city, and among 
other things generously raised thirty-two thousand dollars to turn 
the old City Hall into a capitol. This edifice (where the subtrea- 
sury now stands) was a monument of both British vandalism and 
British benevolence. In it had been the public library whose nucleus 
was (as has been related on a previous page) of English origin (1700), 
and which during the British occupation was plundered and scattered. 
In 1789 the charter was confirmed, and the Society Library, now 
located in University Place, founded anew. The State and municipal 
authorities were unwearied in their services for the emergency. The 
city records — carefully kept, and now politely shown to the investi- 
gator — should be printed as an instruction to modem councils in the 
amount of good work that may be achieved in a brief time. It is not 
quite pleasant, indeed, to find that these extraordinary expenses were 
met by lotteries, even though the highest prize of the first (three 
thousand pounds, a pound then being equal to $2.50) was won by two 
poor girls. And it is sad to know that although the public-spirited 
gentlemen who advanced thirty-two thousand dollars were repaid, the 
artist who planned and superintended the work was never paid at all, 
though mainly by his own fault. This was Major Pierre L'Enfant, a 
French engineer, who in the American Revolution had been an aide 
of Baron Steuben. On October 12, 1789, the common council, in 
acknowledgment of the major's architectural and decorative services, 
conferred on him the freedom of the city, and ten acres near the city, 
in the region where now Third Avenue crosses Sixty-eighth street. 
It was a remote territory, and Major L'Enfant declined such poor 
compensation. He desired money, but scorned the $750 offered him, 
and in the end got nothing; which was a pity, for few foreign 
names stand so well in our national history as that of Major L'Enfant. 
He came to America in 1777, fought gallantly throughout the war, 
was severely wounded in 1779 at Savannah, and received the rank of 
major in 1783. He is credited with having designed the steeple of 
St. Paul's (New-York) ; he did design the medal of the Cincinnati ; 
and assisted in planning Washington city. He died June 14, 1825, in 
Prince George's County, Maryland. 

Federal Hall possessed considerable beauty. It had a grand ves- 
tibule, paved with marble, with arches and pillars in front; the 
senate chamber had an azure ceiling resplendent with the sun and 
thirteen stars (though North Carolina and Rhode Island had not yet 
entered the Union) ; the vice-president's chair was under a canopy of 
crimson damask, above it the United States arms. From this chamber 
three windows opened on a balcony overlooking Wall street. The 
hall of representatives was larger, and had symbolic decorations; 
but the plainness of the speaker's chair, compared with the canopied 


seat of the vice-president, and other items, were enough to make 
the building symbolical to the anti-federalists of aristocracy. One 
party declared it the finest building in the world, the other described 
it as a mongrel affair paid for by lottery. On May 15, 1812, Mr, Jin- 
niogs bought for four hundred and twenty-five dollars the materials 
of the edifice which, twenty-two years before, had been repaired at a 
cost of over sixty-five thousand dollars. 

On February 2 the corporation was authorized to raise by taxation 
six thousand pounds for the poor, the street improvements, and the 
bridewell ; also four thousand pounds for watchmen and street-lamps. 
On February 28 regulations for 
ferries were formed and passed 
by the legislature. There were 
to be boats always ready on 
both sides of the rivers, each 
passenger to pay two pence, 
infants free. Women were al- 
lowed to carry as much as their 
aprons could hold of the articles 
scheduled, as nearly all articles 
were. Meantime the common 

councU attempted to clear the ^^ ^^^„^^„ ^ouse. 

streets of pigs by their forfeit- 
ure if found therein ; grappled with footpads ; repaired the fire- 
engines, attended to the markets, ordering that they should be 
opened daily except on Sundays; increased penalties on unwhole- 
some provisions; in fact, did all that such public-spirited and com- 
petent men as Mayor James Duane, Recorder Richard Varick, SherifE 
Robert Boyd, and Chamberlain Daniel Phoenix were expected to do 
in view of the great emergency. 

Edmund Randolph, the first attorney-general, having come on from 
Williamsbui^, Virginia, in advance of his family, writes to bis wife ; 
*' I have a house at a mile and a half or thereabouts from the Federal 
Hall ; that is, from the most public part of the city. It is, in fact, in 
the country, is airy, has seven rooms, is well finished and gentleman- 
like. The rent, £75 our money {$250). Good water is difllcult to be 
found in this place, and the inhabitants are obliged to receive water 
for tea, and other purposes which do not admit brackish water, from 
hogsheads brought about every day in drays. At our house there is 
an excellent pump of fresh water. I am resolved against any com- 
pany of form, and to live merely a private life. I confess I [torn] our 
hoose in Williamsburg [torn] pleasing to me than [torn]." This defi- 
ciency in the water-supply was formidable. The city depended chiefiy 
on a pamp in Chatham street fed from a pond (the "Collect") where 


the Tombs prison now stands — a pond of uncanny reputation in New- 
York folk-lore. Early in the year 1789 a correspondence took place 
between the common council and the State legislature concerning 
the invention of Rumsey for supplying towns with water. It was 
proposed by the Rumseyan Society of Philadelphia to apply the 
invention to New- York. The steamboat which Washington saw 
launched by James Rumsey on the Potomac was little thought of 
compared with his steam-pump; but the city could not afford the 
expense of it, and the " tea-water'' carts continued their rounds. 

The ambition of men in 1789 was provincial. They looked upon a 
migration to New- York as expatriation. Remote congressmen came 
reluctantly, and their complaints after arrival savor of homesickness. 
" This town," grumbles Governor Page, "is not half as large as Phila- 
delphia, nor in any manner to be compared to it for beauty and 
elegance. Philadelphia, I am well assured, has more inhabitants than 
Boston and New York together. The streets are badly paved, dirty 
and narrow, as well as crooked and filled up with a strange variety of 
wooden, stone, and brick buildings, and full of hogs and mud. The 
College, St. Paul's Church, and the Hospital are elegant buildings. 
The Federal Hall in Wall street is also elegant." Senator Maclay, of 
Pennsylvania, finds the streets ripped up, the climate variable, the 
wealthy citizens inhospitable, the people vile; but he wrot^ very dif- 
ferently when he was going away next year. 

March 4, the day appointed for the opening of Congress, had 
brought to New- York eight senators and thirteen representatives. 
From day to day the two chambers met only to adjourn. The pro- 
longed failure to obtain a quorum was disheartening to Washington. 
" The delay," he writes to Knox, " is inauspicious, to say the least of 
it, and the world must condemn it." On April 1 the house had a 
quorum of thirty, and elected Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, of 
Pennsylvania, speaker. On April 4 twelve senators appeared, and 
John Laugdon, of New Hampshire, was chosen presiding officer. 
Washington received the whole sixty-nine electoral votes for presi- 
dent, and John Adams thirty-four for vice-president. Charles Thom- 
son was sent to inform Washington, and Sylvanus Bourne to inform 
Adams, of the result. Three daj-^ lat^r a noisy conflict took place in 
New- York city and Westchester County, which made one congres- 
sional district, for this seat, in which the federalist, John Lawrance 
(lawyer), was elected over John Broome (merchant). The city vote 
for Lawrance was 2255 against 280; in Westchester County 163 
against 92. Tlio anti-federalists, as they were called, could have 
shown larger niunbers against a less popular man. For this first 
congressman of New- York city had been on Washington's staff as 
judge-advocate in the Revolution; had ser\'ed in the Continental 


Congress (1785-87), and was a State senator at the time of his election 
to Congress in 1789. John Lawrance, a native of England, who came 
to this country at seventeen, was subsequently United States circuit 
judge and United States senator (1796-1800). He died in New- York, 
November 7, 1810. 

John Adams left Boston, April 13, and was met on the 20th at 
Kingsbridge by members of Congress and a civic escort of Light 
Horse (Captain Stakes), his arrival being announced by guns at the 
Battery. He was escorted to the residence of John Jay, 133 Broad- 
way, where he was for some time a guest. On the 21st, Senators 
Caleb Strong, of Massachusetts, and Ealph Izard, of South Carolina, 
conducted Adams to Federal Hall. Adams's coachman assumed ma- 
jestic airs toward the common folk, and unluckily affronted some 
youths of Columbia College, who happened to be Southerners — John 
Randolph of Roanoke, and his brother Richard. Adams was met at 
the senate door by Langdon, and conducted to the chair, where he 
made an unprepared address. The constitution having only pro- 
vided a presidential oath, neither the vice-president nor the senators 
took any oath until June 3. 

On March 30 Washington wrote to Madison, in New-York, that he 
had declined an invitation to stay with Governor Clinton, — "As I 
mean to avoid private families on the one hand, so on the other I am 
not anxious to be placed early in a situation for entertaining." The 
president was already beset by oflSce-seekers, all politely put off, and 
was anxious to incur no personal obligations. As he declined Gov- 
ernor Clinton's in\dtation, so he declined that of John Jay. Congress 
requested Mr. Osgood to prepare the Franklin House, which had been 
used by presidents of Congress, for Washington's reception. 

On April 16 the president left Mount Vernon, — "with feelings," 
as he wrote General Knox, " not unlike those of a culprit who is go- 
ing to his place of execution," — and, retarded by ovations, a week 
later entered New-York. Among those who crowded around Wash- 
ington, on his triumphal progress through Philadelphia, was a newly 
naturalized mechanician from England, John Hall. In a letter of his, 
now before me, to a friend in England, Hall says : " The General, now 
our King by the name of George the First, has passed through this 
City to New York in the most popular manner. I hope your King 
will never m6re cry out on the distraction of these colonies. It has 
come home to him with a vengeance. And the Bishop of Canterbury 
says the Lord has smitten him for the sins of the people ! I hope 
neither thee nor thine are concerned in the affair: if you are, the Lord 
mend you ! The prayer from the synagogue is more sublime than 
the above Canterbury tale." This young radical could little imagine 
the historic coincidence marking that St. George's Day, April 23, in 

Vol. nL— 4. 



England and America. While George in. was moving in grand pro- 
cession to St. Paul's, London, to offer thanksgiving for the restoration 
of his sanity, the American George was moving toward a St. Paul's 
in New-York, where thanksgivings were also to be offered. The 


widely parted processions moved to the same anthem, so far as the 
music was concerned. Beside the decorated barge on which Wash- 
ington crossed to the city sailed a sloop on which a large choir of gen- 
tlemen and ladies sang the ode prepared by Mr. Low, contaihing the 
much-admired lines : 

Par be the din of anns, 

Henceforth the Olive's chamu 

Shan War preclude : 

These shores a head shall ovd, 

Unsullied by a throne, — 

Oar much loved Washington, 

The Great, the Oood! 

If in the spectators witnessing the London procession there were mis- 
givings that the king's recovery might be followed by the nation's 
relapse, similar misgivings were not absent from many who witnessed 


the entrance of the unanimously elected president. But they were 
strongest in his own breast. In his diary he wrote: "The display 
of boats which attended and joined us on this occasion, some with 
vocal and some with instrumental music on board ; the decorations of 
the ships, the roar of cannon and the loud acclamations of the people 
which rent the skies, as I passed along the wharves, filled my mind 
with sensations as painful (considering the reverse of the scene, which 
may be the case after all my labors to do good) as they are pleasing.'' 

The president had been received on the Jersey shore by a com- 
mittee of Congress and representatives of the State and city. These 
were distributed on six barges, the gay fleet being under command 
of Commodore Nicholson. The president's barge, fifty feet long, hung 
with red curtains, festooned, was rowed by thirteen pilots in white. 
The display of decorated ships, their yards manned, the salutes from 
foreign flags, the thunder of guns, the Spanish man-of-war Galveston 
saddenly displaying the twenty-eight colors of all nations, the shores 
crowded with gaily dressed people, the companies with their banners, 
made this the most memorable pageant in the early history of New- 
Yoilc Washington was at times overcome with emotion, especially 
when he stepped on the carpeted wharf (Murray's) near the foot of 
Wall street; for there he was met by old comrades, who had struggled 
in ** the times that tried men's souls," and who could share with him 
the joy of this consummation of their sufferings and courage. The 
president was dressed in the same " blue-and-buff " which John Adams 
remarked when the Virginia colonel appeared in Congress, before he 
was made commander. It had then no martial signiflcance, such as 
some historians have ascribed to it ; it was the uniform in which he 
had served his king, and was still ready to serve him if he were faith- 
ful to freedom and justice. But time had given the costume historic 
meaning : for it is to be noted that the lovers of liberty in England 
were called " the Blue-and-Buffs." 

The president was welcomed at the wharf by the governor and 
State and municipal officers, the whole military and civic resources of 
the city being drawn on for the grand procession which accompanied 
the president. The French and Spanish ambassadors rode in their 
carriages, in homage to the president, who was on foot: weary of riding, 
he declined the carriage awaiting him. The procession escorted him 
to the Franklin House (3 Cherry street), where the president found 
but brief repose, for he presently went off to dine with the governor.* 

A letter from Sarah Robinson to Kitty F. Wistar,- dated "New-York, 
30th of the fourth month 1789," gives an account of the arrange- 

i In the De Peyster House, Queen street, nearly lin House, married to Rowland Robinson, a mer- 

opposito Cedar. chant of New-York. The Kitty F. Wistar to whom 

3 The Sarah Bobinsofn mentioned in the text was the letter was addressed was a daughter of Mary 

adaughterof a brother of the owner of the Frank- Franklin and Caspar Wistar, of Pennsylvania. 



ments made in the Franklin mansion for the president and his family: 
"Great rejoiceing in New- York on the arrival of General Washington; 
an elegant barge decorated with an awning of satin, twelve oarsmen 
dressed in white frocks and blue ribbons, went down to E. Town 
[Elizabeth Point] last fourth day [Wednesday] to bring him up. . . . 
Previous to his coming, Uncle Walter's house in Cherry street was 
taken for him, and every room furnished in the most elegant manner. 
Aunt Osgood and Lady Kitty Duer had the whole management of it. 
I went the morning before the General's arrival to look at it. The best 
of furniture in every room, and the greatest quantity of plate and 
china I ever saw; the whole of the first and second stories is papered 
and the floors covered with the richest kind of Turkey and Wilton 
carpets. The house did honor to my Aunts and Lady Kitty, they 
spared no pains nor expense on it. Thou must know that Uncle Os- 
good and Duer were appointed to procure a house and furnish it, 
accordingly they pitched on their wives as being likely to do it better. 
I have not yet done, my dear. Is thee not almost tired T The evening 
after His Excellency arrived, there was a general illumination took 
place, except among friends [Quakers] and those styled Anti-Feder- 
aliste. The latter's windows suffered some, thou may imagine. As 
soon as the General has sworn in, a grand exhibition of fireworks is 
to be displayed, which, it is expected, is to be to-morrow. There is 
scarcely anything talked about now but General Washington and the 
Palace.'* * The latter term was no doubt a republican sarcasm. 

From the time of the president's arrival until his oath of oflSce, his 
time was occupied with receptions. Meanwhile Congress had been 
torn with dissensions as to how he should be received, and with what 
title, the disputes being continued to the very moment of the presi- 
dent's appearance at their door. Old Fort George had thundered its 
salute — nearly its last — to the sunrise of April 30, the church bells 
had rung, prayers had been offered. At noon the oflScial escort had 
gathered at the president's door. Congressmen, cavalry, artillery, 
grenadiers, light infantry, Scot<3h Highlanders, German companies, 
gentlemen in carriages, people on foot, made a vast procession, which 
at one o'clock formed an avenue up to the Federal Hall, through 
which Washington passed in his carriage, in which also sat Colonel 
Humphreys and Tobias Lear. Arriving in the senate chamber. 

The Franklin House became the property of Sam- 
uel Osgood^ the postmaster-general, through his 
marriage with the widow of the owner. Walter 
Franklin. Hence arises the **Aunt Osgood" re- 
ferred to in the letter. This lady was a daughter 
of the Quaker Daniel Bowne, of Long Island. 

1 The original is in possession of Admiral Frank- 
lin, U. S. N.y who favored the editor with a copy. 
The barge, so beautiful in New-York, was seen 

in distant re^ons as a dark corsair, being identi- 
fied by rumor as the '' Federal Ship Hamilton'' 
carried through the streets in the previous year, 
on the adoption of the constitution, when the 
riots occurred. That the anti-federalists in the 
city had not quite recovered their good humor 
was shown by their dark windows. The common 
council had (April 22) especially recommended 
illuminations between 7 and 9 p. m.. and ordered all 
bells to be rung. 


f II W i 


Washington passed up, bowing to the members, to a seat between 
the vice-president (right) and the speaker (left). 

The statue of Washington at the subtreasury has for its pedestal 
a stone said to be that on which he stood while taking the oath. This 
is all that remains of the edifice from whose balcony the Declaration 
of Independence was read in 1776, where the Continental Congress 
had last sat, and the new United States government began. There is 
a legend that just before the oath was administered, it was discovered 
that there was no Bible in Federal Hall, and that Chancellor Eobert 
R. Livingston, grand master of freemasons, despatched a messenger 
to bring one from St. John's Lodge. Washington wore his sword^ 
and was dressed in clothing of American manufacture; his matal 
buttons bore eagles, each cuff-button thirteen stars. It was not his 
fault that he had to kiss a London Bible (1767) containing a por- 
trait of George II. On the balcony many of the chief men of the 
nation stood beside him. Hamilton observed the scene from the 
window of his house, nearly opposite. The streets and the roofs 
were thronged. The president was overcome at the enthusiasm, and 
laid his hand upon his breast in token of helplessness to address the 
multitude. When he had kissed the book, the chancellor proclaimed 
to the pectple, " It is done I ^ then cried, " Long live George Washing- 
ton, President of the United States I " A flag raised to the cupola of 
Federal Hall signaled the battery ; its thunder of guns was followed 
by bells throughout the city, and universal shouts. After the presi- 
dent had returned to the senate chamber, and his inaugural address 
been there delivered, — with an awkwardness not unbecoming a man 
of deeds, — all repaired to St. Paul's Chm'ch, where services were con- 
ducted by Bishop Samuel Provoost, of the Episcopal Church of New- 
York. Earlier in the day services were also held in the churches of 
some of the other denominations. 

A profound impression was made by the passage in Washington's 
inaugural address which declared his intention to continue the course 
he had adopted while in military service, of receiving no payment. 
This is the more remarkable as Washington was at the time in pecu- 
niary straits. He was compelled to borrow of Captain Richard Con- 
way six hundred pounds to pay his debts in Virginia and go on to 
his inauguration. He receded from this resolution, but his declara- 
tion flew over the world. Thomas Paine proudly proclaimed it in 
London, and remarks in his "Rights of Man": "The character and 
services of this gentleman are suflicient to put all those men called 
kings to shame. While they are receiving from the sweat and labors 
of mankind a prodigality of pay, to which neither their abilities nor 
their services can entitle them, he is rendering every service in his 
power, and refusing every pecuniary reward." This, written nearly 



three years after the inauguration in New- York, shows that the recon- 
sideration was not known. 

Samuel Fraunces, keeper of the inn which had been Washington's 
headquarters in former years, was made his household steward. The 
president's private secretary was Robert Lewis, a younger son of 
Washington's only sister, — a handsome youth, whose diary (in pos- 
session of his descendant Mrs. Ella Bassett Washington) showed that 
he ver>' much enjoyed 

the fashion and gaieties 
of New- York. The presi- 
dent had to diill him 
iQ punctuality. On one 
occasion when Robert 
laid the blame on his 
watch, his uncle said: 
"You will have to get 
a new watch, or I a new 
seoretarj-." The presi- 
dent had, indeed, to drill 
New- York society in 
punctuality. In Fenno's 
"Gazette" of May 30 the 
following hint appeared : 
*'The President's Levee yesterday was attended by a numerous and 
most respectable company. The circumstance of the President's 
entering the Drawing Room at 3 o'clock not being universally known 
occasioned some inaccuracies as to the time of attendance." 

From April 23 to May 14, Congress was mainly occupied with the 
subject of titles. On the latter date the senate concurred with the 
determined stand taken by the house against titles. The vice-presi- 
dent was compelled to call Washington "President," when reading the 
senate's answer to his speech, and to describe the speech as "excellent" 
instead of "most gracious." But he (Adams) on this occasion refused 
to sit in the president's presence, though twice requested by Wash- 
ington to do so, and although the senators with him did so, or as 
many as could find chairs. This occurred on May 18. The president 
would probably have regarded it as unconstitutional for him to ex- 
press an opinion on titles while the question was pending, but his 
silence and the course of Lee gave an impression that he was favor- 
able to titles. Fenno's "Gazette of the United States," regarded as 
the government organ, assumed the style of the English "Court Ga- 
zette," Its court news included (May 30) the following : " The principal 
ladies of the City have, with the earliest attention and respect, paid 
their devoirs to the amiable consort of the President, viz., the Lady 


of his Excellency the Governor, Lady Sterling, Lady Mary Watts, 
Lady Kitty Duer, La Marchioness [sic] de Brehan, the Ladies of the 
Most Hon. Mr. Langdon, and the Most Hon. Mr. Dalton, the Mayoress, 
Mrs. Livingston of Clermont, Mrs. Chancellor Livingston, the Miss 
Livingston's [sic]^ Lady Temple, Madame de la Forest, Mrs. Mont- 
gomery, Mrs. Knox, Mrs. Thompson, Mrs. Gerry, Mrs. Edgar, Mrs. 
McComb, Mrs. Lynch, Mrs. Houston, Mrs. Griffin, Mrs. Provost, 
the Miss Bayards, and a great number of other respectable charac- 
ters.'' Lady Kitty's title was understood, and seemed a defiance of 
the House of Peers, which had refused her father's claim to be Lord 
Stirling ; but why some of the others should be " Ladies," while the 
wife of the secretary of war was plain " Mrs. Knox," or why not " Mbs. 
Senator " as well as " Mrs. Chancellor," and so on, seemed to be court 
mysteries. Child's " Daily Advertiser " reprinted from the " Albany 
Register " a clever article which declared " La Marchioness " the only 
title properly given, and proceeded with amusing quotations from a 
court journal of 1800. 

Mrs. Washington did not reach New- York until May 28. The inau- 
guration ball had been postponed a week in hope of her arrival, but 
she could not make her arrangements for it. After she had started, 
with her two grandchildren, and under charge of the president's 
nephew, Robert Lewis, they were delayed by a carriage accident. 
She was received with demonstrations of respect along her route. At 
Elizabeth Point she was met by the president, Hon. Robert Morris, 
and other eminent men, and entered the same barge which had con- 
veyed her husband to New- York. Their approach was greeted by 
guns, and an enthusiastic crowd. 

The subject of etiquette gave the president much anxiety. At heart 
he was a plain Virginia farmer, and formalities were irksome to him. 
But he was impressed by the necessity of presenting to the world an 
elegant republican regime and submitted questions on the subject to 
Adams, Madison, and Hamilton. Their diverse opinions were con- 
fusing, and the president and his wife were compelled to solve the 
problems as best they could. They held " drawing-rooms " between 
eight and nine every Friday evening. Wild reports of the " court " at 
New- York were spread throughout the country. In reply to a letter 
from his old friend David Stuart, of Virginia, mentioning some of 
these, the president (July 14, 1789) says that public business had ne- 
cessitated a rule that he should return no visits, and that his enter- 
tainments should be confined to oflScial characters, and strangers of 
distinction. " So strongly had the citizens of this place imbibed an 
idea of the impropriety of my accepting invitations to dinner, that I 
have not received one from any family (though they are remarkable 
for hospitality, and though I have received every civility and atten- 


tiou possible from them) since I came to the City, except dining with 
the Governor on the day of my arrival. It is to be lamented that he 
(Adams) and some others have stirred a question [titles] which has 
given rise to so much animadversion, and which I confess has given 
me much \ineasiness lest it should be supposed by some (unacquainted 
with facts) that the object they had in view was not displeasing to me." 
The president occasionally made calls on the vice-president, or very 
eminent official people, but had to be careful about public appear- 
ances. " Received," says his diary, " an in\'itation to attend the 
funeral of Mrs. Roosevelt (the wife of a senator of this State) but de- 
clined complying with it — first, because the propriety of accepting 
an invitation of this sort appeared very questionable, and secondly, 
(though to do it in this instance might 
not be improper) because it might be 
difficult to discriminate in cases which 
might thereafter happen." Mrs.Wash- 
ingtou for some time called on none. 
The first year of this lady's term as 
president's wife was a sort of martyr- 
dom. She made a good impression 
on those who met her, but she was in 
no sense a woman of the world, and 
was shy amid the circle of remark- 
ably brilliant ladies in political so- 
ciety. Of her personal appearance a 
mistaken impression prevails, through 
the error of Sparks in giving out a 
portrait of Washington's sister as that . 

of his wife. This has been reproduced ^^ 'Pya/^'^y^iA^ J^^^-^ 
by Griswold and others. Of Mrs. ^ f^ 

Washington many portraits exist. She was small in stature, her pro- 
file clear-cut, and her expression amiable. She dressed richly, and 
her manners were of well-bred simplicity. It is plain from the let- 
ters both of herself and the president that they were for a time 
grievously homesick in New- York, and suffered from the unneces- . 
sary restraints of an ill-advised etiquette. Writing to a friend in 
Virginia (Stuart) who had alluded to rumors of presidential pomp, 
the president says that his Tuesday callers do not sit down because, 
first, it is unusual, and secondly, the room would not hold enough 
chairs. The dignity of office, he says, " God knows has no charms 
for me. I had rather be at Mount Vernon with a friend or two 
about me, than to be attended at the seat of government by the 
officers of state and the representatives of every power in Europe." 
Yet he was often denounced for his monarchical proclivities. 


The following pathetic letter from Mrs. Washington was wi'itten to 
Mrs. Fanny Washington, then keeping house at Mount Vernon : 

" New York, Oct. the 22d, 1789. 

" My dear Fanny, — I have by Mrs. Sims sent you a watch ; it is one of the cargoe 
that I have so long mentioned to you, that was expected, I hope it is such a one as will 
please 3'ou — it is of the newest fashion , if that has any influence on your taste, the 
chain is of Mr. Lear's choosing and such as Mrs. Adams the Vice president's lady and 
those in the poUte circle wear. 

" Mrs. Sims will give you a better account of the fashions than I can — I Hve a very 
aull life hear and know nothing that passes in the town — I never goe to any public 
place — indeed I think I am more like a State prisoner than anything else ; there is 
certain bounds set for me which I must not depart from — and as I cannot doe as I 
like, I am obstinate and stay at home a great deal. 

" The President set out this day week on a tour to the eastward ; Mr. Lear and Major 
Jackson attended him — my dear children has had very bad colds but thank God they 
are getting better. My love and good wishes attend you and all with 3'ou — remember 
me to Mr. and Mrs. L. Wn. [Lund Washington] how is the poor child — kiss Marie, I 
send her two little handkerchiefs to wipe her nose. Adue." 

To Mrs. Mercy Warren, whom she had met at Cambridge thirteen 
years before, she writes: "I sometimes think the arrangement is not 
as it ought to have been, that I, who had much rather be at home, 
should occupy a place with which a great many younger and gayer 
women would be extremely pleased.'' One may speculate as to what 
might have been the effect on the political aspirations of the American 
women, had one so imbued with them as Mercy Warren, or, still more, 
Abigail Adams, been wife of the first president. Meanwhile Mrs. 
Adams, who in 1776 wrote to her husband of the rights of women to 
representation, was enjoying " The Mansion ^ on Richmond Hill, and 
the freedom of New- York. Of her new home she writes : " In natural 
beauty it might vie with the most delicious spot I ever saw. It is a 
mile and a half distant from the city of New York. The house stands 
upon an eminence ; at an agreeable distance flows the noble Hudson, 
bearing upon its bosom innumerable small vessels laden with the 
fruitful productions of the adjacent country. Upon my right hand 
are fields beautifully variegated with grass and grain, to a great ex- 
tent like the valley of Honiton in Devonshire. Upon my left the city 
opens to view, intercepted here and there by a rising ground and an 
ancient oak. In front, beyond the Hudson, the Jersey Shores present 
the exuberance of a rich, well-cultivated soil. In the background is a 
large flower-garden, enclosed with a hedge and some very handsome 
trees. Venerable oaks and broken ground covered with wild shrubs 
surround me, giving a natural beauty to the spot which is truly en- 
chanting. A lovely variety of birds serenade me morning and even- 
ing, rejoicing in their liberty and security.'* From which one may 
gather not only that the corner of Charlton and Varick streets was 


different a hundred years ago, but that the lady, like the serenading 
birds, was also rejoicing in her liberty and security.^ The ladies were 
accustomed to present themselves in large numbers in the gallery of 
the House of Representatives. In a letter to David Stuart the presi- 
dent says : " Why they (the Senate) keep their doors shut, when act- 
ing in a legislative capacity, I am unable to inform you, unless it is 
because they think there is too much speaking to the gallery in the 
other House, and business thereby retarded." 

The sequelae of royalism having been cleared, so far as it could 
be done, by Congress, the fateful question of human rights, as repre- 
sented in the negro slaves, confronted it. The first challenge of 
slavery, in the new government, came from Virginia. During the 
first tariff discussion, eai-ly in May, the Hon. Josiah Parker of that 
Stat« moved an amendment imposing a duty of ten dollars on every 
slave imported. He expressed the hope that "Congress would do all 
in their power to restore to human nature its ancient privileges; to 
wipe off, if possible, the stigma under which America labored ; to do 
away with the inconsistency in our principles justly charged upon us, 
and to show by our actions the purer beneficence of the doctrine held 
out to the world in our Declaration of Independence.'' Parker's mo- 
tion — made within a few steps of a slave-market — was seconded by- 
Theodoric Bland, and supported by James Madison, both of Virginia. 
It was bitterly opposed by Jackson of Georgia, who declared the negroes 
better off in the South than they were in Africa. "Virginia," he said, 
** an old and settled State, has her complement of slaves, and, the 
natural increase being sufficient for her purposes, she is careless of 
recruiting her numbers by importation." But he asked if Virginia 
would free her slaves, and said that " when the practice comes to be 
tried, then the sound of liberty wiU lose those charms which make it 
grateful to the ravished ear." Had the ten dollars import duty on 
negroes been adopted, American history might have been less tragical. 
But this proposal of Virginia was defeated by two Northern men dis- 
tinguished for anti-slavery sentiment. Roger Sherman, of Connec- 
ticut, approved of the object of Parker's motion, but " could not 
reconcile himself to the insertion of human beings as a subject of 
import among goods, wares and merchandize." Fisher Ames, of 
Massachusetts, " detested slavery from his soul, but had some doubts 
whether imposing a duty on such importation would not have an 
appearance of countenancing the practice." By these sentimental 
objections the practical measure was defeated. 

The inaugural address of the president made a profound impres- 
sion on the religious sentiment of the country. Some jealousy may 
have been felt at the official recognition by Congress of the Episcopal 

1 Mrs. Lamb*8 •'ffistory of the City of New-York." See also Dr. Francis's **OId New-York," p. 17. 





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c^^i'.rv, '"•y,^. -^r**^ •*«'■ y^^. 




Church, in the selection of St. Paul's for the services on the day of 
inauguration ; that, however, was not ascribed to the president, and 
all denominations were moved by the solemn religious utterance in 
his address. The first response came from the Methodist Episcopal 
Church. In the old John street church, their only one in the city, of 
which Rev. John Dickens was minister, services tfad been held at nine 
on the morning of the inauguration. On May 28 the New- York con- 
ference began a session in that church. There were only twenty 
ministers in it, but among these were men of weight. The bishops 
present were Asbury and Coke, who had visited Washington at Mount 
Vernon, and received from him a pledge that he would use his in- 
fluence with the Virginia assembly to " secure the emancipation of 
the slaves." With another present, the Rev. Thomas Morrell, of Eliza- 
l>eth, N. J., Washington had special associations. Morrell, a young 
major in the Revolution, had been wounded in leading the advance 
at Flatbush, and Washington had detailed six soldiers to carry him 
to his father's home in Elizabeth. On May 29, in pursuance of a 
resolution of the conference and an arrangement with the president, 
]tf orrell introduced the two bishops, and cordial addresses were inter- 
changed. A sharp controversy followed this action of the Methodist 
Conference relative to Dr. Coke's opposition to the American cause 
in England. Bishop Coke had sailed (June 5) for England, where he 
was assailed for disloyalty, while Morrell was maintaining (in the 
"Daily Advertiser") that he (Coke) had accepted the new order of 
things. But it was not so easy to defend the anti-American mani- 
festos of John Wesley. 

The mayor was annually appointed by the governor. In the earlier 
part of 1789 the mayor was James Duane, who had held the office 
since 1783 ; but in September he was appointed the first judge of the 
United States District Court of New- York, and was succeeded by 
Richard Varick (who held the office until 1801). Varick, who resided 
at 11 Pearl street, had previously been recorder. He enjoyed the per- 
sonal friendship of Washington. His successor as recorder was 
Samuel Jones, an eminent lawyer, a trustee of the Society Library, 
and active in city affairs. Aaron Burr, whose private office was 10 
Cedar street, was elected attorney-general. Twenty-eight attorneys 
were admitted to-the bar in 1789, making the total number of lawyers 
in the city one hundted and twenty-two. 

On Saturday, May 9, the mayor and corporation exchanged formal 
addresses with the president. On the same evening the Black Friars 
Society enjoyed their annual banquet, among the toasts being " Our 
noble order of honesty,'' "Virtuous nuns to honest friars," and " The 
mother friary of Europe." On June 24 the Knights Templar cele- 
brated the "Festival of St. John the Baptist," a sermon being preached 



at 12.30 p. M. The lodges represented were seven in number, and 
were styled respectively Jamaica, Holland, Hiram, St. John's, St. Pat- 
rick's, St. Andrew's, and Independent Royal Arch. 

Mr. Thomas E. V. Smith seems to give some credit to an English 
report that on the birthday of George III., June 4, 1789, the president 
celebrated that monarch's recovery, A letter dated June 6, after- 
ward printed in a London paper, says: "His Excellency General 
Washington our new Congressional President, and perhaps I might 
add Dictator of America for hfe, gave a very sumptuous entertain- 
ment on Thursday the 4th, on account of the recovery of his Majesty 
the King of Great Britain ; the Envoys of England, France, Holland, 
and Portugal, and persons of the first distinction were present. This 
very handsome respect to the British Monarch will doubtless be re- 
ceived as it deserves." The English government had no envoy in 
America, but only a consul-general (Sir John Temple). It is diflScult 
to believe that Washington gave such an entertainment, or that it 
would or could have been kept secret. The foreign representatives 
in 1789 were Don Gardoqui (Spanish), the Count de Moustier 
(French) and Louis Otto (Cbarg6 d'Aflfaires), Francis Van Berckel 
(Holland), and Richard Sonderstrom (Sweden). Sir John Temple was 
popular in New- York, and entertained handsomely. The entertain- 
ment given in the president's honor, May 14, 1789, by Count de 
Moustier (whose house was kept by his sister, Madame de Brehan), 
has become historic through the description given in Griswold's 
"Republican Court." 

According to a masonic tradition, Washington kissed the open 
Bible on a page, now carefully marked, adorned with a picture of 
Issachar as " a strong ass, couching down between two burdens." * 
There is no doubt that America and its president were between two 
burdens, and that they were formidably displayed from the first in 
New- York. One of these burdens was anti-federalism, the other a 
federalism which seemed eager to invest the republic with the pomp 
and circumstance of royalty. In an unpublished historical fragment 
Edmund Randolph says : . " It was expected, at the commencement of 
our revolutionary government, that these gaudy trappings would be 
abandoned. They were retained indeed by usage, not by any authori- 

1 Genesis xlix. 14. One must almost suspect in 
this legend the invention of some political philos- 
opher of the time who had remarked the profane 
caricature representing Washingrton's "Entry** 
seated on an ass led by David Humphreys. In 
"The Century Magazine'' for April, 1889, there is 
an admirable engraving of the open Bible, and a 
full description of it, with its inscriptions as added 
by St John's Lodge. A letter of John Armstrong 
to General Gates, dated New-York, April 7, 1789, 
says: "A caricature has already appeal^ called 

* The Entry/ full of very disloyal and profane 
allusions. It represents the General mounted on 
an ass, and in the arms of his man Billy Humph- 
reys [Colonel David Humphreys, aide^e-camp, 
who accompanied Washingrton from Mount Ver- 
non to New-Tork] leading the jack, and chanting 
hosannas and birthday odes. The following coup- 
let proceeds from the mouth of the devil : 

* The glorious time has come to paj«s 
When David shall conduct an ass.* " 


tative recognition, nor yet from any admiration of the empty baubles 
in the country of our origin, or an anti-republican tendency in the 
p>eople ; but they may be ascribed to a degree of pride which would 
not suffer the new government to carry with it fewer testimonies of 
public devotion than the old." But democratic sentiment was exas- 
perated by the proposal (already mentioned) to institute titles, sprung 
upon Congress immediately after its organization. The vice-presi- 
dent's warm demand for titles had been seconded by Senator Richard 
Henry Lee, of Virginia, who moved that a resolution on the subject 
should be transmitted to "the Lower House" — a phrase not soon for- 
gotten. A committee of the Senate reported that the executive should 
be styled " His Highness the President of the United States, and Pro- 
tector of their Liberties." Among the titles suggested were " His 
Majesty," " His Elective Majesty," " High Mightiness." It is said that 
the president asked Speaker Muhlenberg what he thought of the title 
" High Mightiness," and that Muhlenberg said it might do for a tall 
man like himself, but if a little president should be elected it would 
sound rather ridiculous. Lee's supercilious phrase, "the Lower 
House"; the vice-president's proposal to thank the president for 
" his most gracious speech," and his remark, when this was ridiculed, 
that " could he have thought of this he never would have drawn his 
sword" — the whole discussion, threw the country into agitation. John 
Randolph of Roanoke, then a student in Columbia College, was pre- 
cocious enough in radicalism to fill Virginia with alarm. The vice- 
president's speeches about titles made him feel in the "spurning" of 
his brother Richard by Adams's coachman (April 22) something sym- 
bolical. The royalist whip was cracked over the head of the citizen. 
He detected " the poison under the eagle's wings." " I saw the coro- 
nation (such in fact it was) of General Washington." Soon after young 
Randolph was in Richmond, and Edmund Randolph, in a letter to 
Madison (July 23, 1789), mentions a report of the president's " total 
alienation (in point of dinners) from the representatives." On the 
other hand, it is said by the same statesman, in a letter of September 
26 : " The President is supposed to have written to Mr. Adams, while 
titles were in debate, that if any were given he would resign." 

The two burdens between which the new government, like Issachar, 
was beginning to couch found some representation in the Society of 
the Cincinnati and that of Tammany. It is true that men of all par- 
ties belonged to these societies; nevertheless, the Cincinnati, making 
membership hereditary, had come to be regarded as aristocratic, and 
Tammany had been evolved to counteract it. Washington had been 
induced to remain president of the Cincinnati only on its promise 
(never fulfilled) of abolishing the hereditary feature. This society 
bad a large influence in New-York, where it had about one hundred 


and eighty members. • Senator Maclay not^s in his diary (May 1, 1789) 
the continuance of a party which, in the Eevolution, "cared for noth- 
ing else but a translation of the diadem and sceptre from London to 
Boston, New York, or Philadelphia,'' and adds : " This spirit they de- 
veloped in the Order of Cincinnati, where I trust it will spend itself 
in a harmless flame and soon become extinguished." But on July 4 
the New-York branch of the society elected Baron Steuben president, 
Alexander Hamilton vice-president. Major John Stagg secretary, 
and Colonel Richard Piatt treasurer. These were strong men. John 
Stagg had served in the Continental army, also in the New -York 
assembly (1784 and 1786), and was now major of the City Legion and 
city surveyor. Colonel Piatt had also a Eevolutionary record. The 
society sent a committee with Fourth -of -July congratulations to 
the president, vice-president, and speaker, aft^r which it attended St. 
Paul's, where Hamilton pronounced a eulogium on General Nathaniel 
Greene to an audience including magnates of the government and 
their families. Washington was ill, but his wife was present. A 
grand banquet with thirteen toasts followed at the City Tavern. 

The St. Tammany Society had hitherto been a rather feeble survival 
from the Revolution. The name of the pacific chief of the Delawares 
(who signed the treaty with Penn, and had been largely invested 
with mythology), Tammany, — canonized, as an offset to the foreign 
saints Andrew, Patrick, and George,— was adopted for a patriotic 
society that latterly had little purpose.* But in May, 1789, the organ- 
ization in New -York city was strengthened, and the "Columbian 
Order ^ added to its name* Its officers were to consist of native-bom 
Ame^cans, while adopted citizens were eligible to the honorary posts 
of "warrior'' and "himter.'' The officers were one grand sachem, twelve 
sachems, one treasurer, one secretary, and one doorkeeper, the society 
being divided into thirteen tribes, each representing a State and being 
governed by a sachem, and containing one honorary warrior and one 
hunter. The society at the outset included men of all parties, and did 
not take a prominent part in politics. In 1789 its meetings were held 
at Fraunces' Tavern, but it celebrated May 12 (old May-day) in tents 
erected on the banks of the Hudson River, about two miles from the 
city, where a large number of members partook of an elegant enter- 
tainment, served precisely at three o'clock, after which there were 
singing and smoking and universal expressions of brotherly love. 

The society also had a curator of property ("sagamore"). John 
Pintard, one of the few fashionable gentlemen among them, was the 

1 An interesting history of the Tammany So- nated as Blossoms, Fruits, Snows, Hunting:. The 

ciety, by R. G. Horton. is given in the Manual of months were ''moons.** A Tammany letter might 

the Common Council of New -York, 1865. It is be dated: ''Manhattan, Season of Fruits, 17th day 

curious that this society should have anticipated of the 7th moon, year of discovery 300th, of inde- 

the French revolutionists in their wish to alter pendence 16th, of the institution 3d." 
the names of the seasons, which Tammany desig- 



tirst Bagamoi*e. Although no partizanship was at first tnanlfeBt, there 
are few indications of federalist or fashionable patronage. " Fashion- 
able Society," says Smith, "in New- York in 1789 seems to have con- 
sisted of about three hundred persons, as that number attended a ball 
on the 7th May at "whieh Washington was present." The common 
folk had to form their own social circles, and their own organizations, 
which must naturally pass into a 
democratic evolution. Tammany 
was the American positive pole to 
the Cincinnati's negative pole; and 
in their relative importance to-day 
our national history may be studied. 

During the first year of Congress 
three hundred and thirty tavern 
licenses were granted {30s. each), 
and gambling (Pharaoh) was pretty 
general Prices ran high, and trade 
societies were refurbished. The 
foreign societies — St. Andrew's,^ 
St. George's, St. Patrick's — shared 
the national enthusiasm. There 
was one social club — the Black 
Friars. There were twenty-two 
church edifices. The gi'eat institu- 
tion was Columbia College. At the 
commencement on May 6, 1789, 
the President of the United States 
att«ndedf and the chief members 
of both National and State governments. The number of students 
was between thirty and forty. There were more than fifty schools 
in the city. Literature appears to have been represented by Philip 
Freneau, captain of a merchant vessel; Samuel Low, bank clerk; 
and William Dunlap, playwright. There were, however, twelve pub- 
lishing-houses, one of which {Robert Hodge's) announced on February 
4, 1789, the " First American Novel," which was entitled, *' The Power 
of Sympathy, or the Triumph of Nature." 

The newspapers pubhshed in New-York in 1789 were : The " New- 
York Packet," published three times a week, at two dollars a year, 
by Samuel Loudon, 5 Water street; the "New- York Journal," 
weekly, two dollars, by Thomas Greenleaf, 25 Water street ; the " Daily 

■ Among the (artieBt chuiteble o^anlzntioiu Barclay, fourth; and the Earl of Stirling, fifth. 

of New-Tork dty 1b St. AndreVs Society, oi^ It la still an influential and useful orgamiBtion. 

ganlieif in 1T56, of which Philip LlvlngRton, the and tbe oldeHt among eiistiog societleB of its 

Rgner. waa tint preeideiit; Dr. Adam Thomp- character. EtilTOB. 

•on. second ; John Horln Soott, third ; Anthony 

Voi- HL — 5. 



Advertiser," six dollars, by Francis Childs, 190 Water street; the 
" Daily Gazette," by McLean, 41 Hanover street, at the sign of "Frank- 
lin's Head"; the "Gazette of the United States," biweekly, three dol- 
lars, by John Fenno, 9 Maiden Lane, These publishers were also 
considered editors of their papers. The laws of the United States 
were printed by Francis Childs and sold at one dollar per one hun- 
dred pages. Greeoleaf was printer for the State. 

On May 11 and 12, 1789, the Bank of New-York (established in 
1784) elected the following officers : President, Isaac Roosevelt ; vice- 
president, William Maxwell; cashier, William Seton ; directors, Nich- 

le-ta/lnt — ITi/^Vv • 


olas Low, Joshua Waddington, Daniel McCormick, Thomas Bandall, 
Comfort Sands, Robert Bowne, Samuel Franklin, Thomas B. Stough- 
ten, William Constable, William Edgar, and John Murray. This bank, 
the only one in the city, prayed for incorporation on July 3, but was 
not chartered until two years later. The money was pounds, shil- 
lings, and pence; the dollar being worth eight shillings. 

One of the events of 1789 was the composition of the air " Hail 
Columbia," by a German named Fayles, leader of the orchestra in 
John street theater. It was called "Washington's March," and was firat 
played November 24, while the president and his wife (persistently 
styled Lady Washington) were passiog to their box. The air was re- 
peatedly encored, and the well-known song afterward adapted to it. 


The illness which had prevented the president from making his 
appearance at the celebration of Independence Day, 1789, was a dan- 
gerous carbuncle. His mother, whom he had visited at Fredericks- 
burg before leaving Virginia, was suffering from a tumor, and was in 
great anxiety about him. In July the Rev. Mr. Urquhart of that re- 
gion came to New- York, bringing a letter from the president's sister, 
Betty Lewis, in which (July 24) she says that although they had heard 
that he was recovering, and " would shortly be able to ride out,'' his 
mother must hear from him. " She will not believe you are well until 
she has it from under your own hand." News of his mother's death 
reached him September 1, when he was entertaining Governor St. 
Clair and Baron Steuben at dinner. Parson Ryan brought a letter 
from Fredericksburg stating that Mary Washington had died on 
August 25. The president retired from the table, and remained for 
some time in his room alone. He wrote a touching letter about his 
mother to his sister. On October 18 the president left New- York 
for his tour in the Eastern States, returning November 13. Con- 
gress had adjourned on September 29, 1789, after passing twenty- 
seven acts. The discussions had been heated, the city excited, and 
the residents enjoyed the repose following the adjournment. The 
president's appointments to office included some of the strongest 
New-York men. Alexander Hamilton was made secretary of the 
treasury, and William Duer assistant secretary. John Jay was ap- 
pointed chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, Samuel Os- 
good postmaster-general, and Gouverneur Morris (already in Europe) 
was intrusted with a sort of undefined mission to negotiate with the 
British government on various issues. John Lamb was made collector 
of the port, Benjamin Walker naval officer, and John Lasher sur- 
veyor. These local appointments were popular, the three gentlemen 
being eminent for their public spirit. 

The closing event of the year for the populace was the arrival of the 
president's coach from England. It was globular, canary-colored, gay 
with Cupids and nymphs of the seasons, and emblazoned also with the 
Washington arms. On December 12 the president's diary says: 
** Exercise in the coach with Mrs. Washington and the two children 
(Master and Miss Custis) between breakfast and dinner — went the 
fourteen miles round " (the old Bloomingdale Boad, nearly as far as 
where Grant's tomb now stands; then to Kingsbridge, returning by 
the Boston Boad). Probably the event so briefly entered in Washing- 
ton's diary was graphically described in many letters. With his four 
(or sometimes six) bays, his liveried driver, postilion, and outriders, 
the president seemed to defy both the puritanism and the anti-feder- 
alism of the country, even more than with his velvet and purple 
satin costumes. This celebrated coach, after the president's death. 


remained an archaic curiosity at Mount Venion, for it could not 
move on Virginia roads. Ultimately it was given to the late Bishop 
Meade to be cut up into little boxes and other relics for sale at church 
fairs. The seat and steps were made into an ornamental retreat in 
the garden of the bishop's sister, in Clarke County, Virginia, where 
it remained until the day of desolation. 

Three entries from Washington's diary may be given in closing our 
account of 1789: "Friday, Dec. 25, Christmas Day. Went to St. 
Paul's Chapel in the forenoon. The visitors to Mrs. Washington this 
afternoon were not numerous but respectable. Monday, Dec. 28. Sat 
all the forenoon for Mr. Savage, who was taking my portrait. Tues- 
day, Dec. 29. Being very snowing not a single person appeared at 
the Levee." The days of rubber shoes had not yet come. 

On January 8 the president opened Congress in state, proceeding 
thither in his new English coach, with six horses, preceded by Colonel 
Humphreys and Major Jackson, in uniform, mounted on white horses, 
the cavalcade being followed by Lear and Nelson in a chariot, and 
Robert Lewis on horseback. The president was conducted by door- 
keepers to the Senate, where the representatives were also present. 
All arose as he entered, and stood while he read his speech. The an- 
swers to his speech were received at the president's house on January 
14, to which the members proceeded in coaches. After the ceremony 
the president entertained a number of the members at dinner. 

Congress had paid eight thousand dollars for the expenses of Mr. 
Osgood in repairing and furnishing his house for the president's resi- 
dence ; but early in the following year the owner, who had been living 
three miles away, desired to resume his city mansion. The president 
paid rent to Osgood up to May 1, though on February 23 the presi- 
dent had finally removed to the McComb mansion on Broadway, a 
little below Trinity Church. This house had been occupied by Louis 
Otto, the French Charg6 d'Aflfaires. It was one story higher than 
Osgood's house, and in every way more commodious. Washington 
purchased some of Otto's furniture. This was the finest private build- 
ing in New-York; diuing Washington's residence it was called the 
Mansion House, and it was subsequently known as Bunker's Hotel. 
It is said that Andre and Benedict Arnold once met there. 

The slavery question again arose in Congress. On February 11, 
1790, a petition of Quakers was submitted to the house, praying that 
it would exert its endeavors to the full extent of its powers against 
slavery, and especially against the slave-trade. On the following day 
a similar memorial was presented from the "Pennsylvania Society 
for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery," signed by Franklin, and sup- 
posed to be written by him, — the last thing he ever wrote. He died 
April 17. Tucker of South Carolina and Jackson of Georgia were 

His Majefty 
over the Provincp 
w America. 


By the Honourable 

Governor and Commanc r in Chiefs in a 
?/" New-York, and the Territor ts depending tber^n 


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■fha OCcoi dwiciii, ireh tt cammuided ind Kquiml to ippHbiiHl the fud Vvimtu kctir. ?ii* 
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lobinbfa lidiH or ih«ii tbc bidOtleiidcn ibUk Rwc ibrrikid i ind ihcminil c<i : o< tbem to 

CulMr, Jnll 

id >» Ri> MiicCj'! SubjiOi 
n^editrtCaumici, vhg vs hcfcbr 

GIVEN -rndtrmjaM 

June, Ojm nmfaJ 

Ltri GEORGE iht 

tf lit Ftilb, iwififi 

Bf Hb Honour*! Comnund, 

r, lira 7^ fti HMfi, HnJntt Brtfi, 7^ 
r Ttjl^, Ik.JiJri't y.Srf/iiUii Vani fo 
«. in iheHn^na of dm of Hii MiJcIIt'' 

bi<H|ht to Ju 


mn Gc 


tttlAOmfU^DUil^,, 1 

iJ Stti 41 Ana, at Fott-Kjwnc, in lit Cilj if 
) HatdttJ nd Fifty SnUm, u «fa Tbiriiilt Tiar 
mi, Ij Iht Crtti if GOD, </Grul-B(iuln, iiix 


GOD Save the KING. 

OBiulbed oith ibe ulmoS Kinu< 
Counilt) of AOm ind Dwi^ 

i-Voik, tir Eighlk Dt/ tf 
ihi Kdi;n >/ —r Smtrift 
Hi lielind, K'tt Defniir 


Fao-fttnile of proolammtloD warning i1 
Uvlngiton Huior ; lamed If ^ ' 
(mor de I^ooe;. From &ti 


— flf "The UrtnintoiM of CalleniUr.wtd 

^Cvleti,'* London, 1890. Bditob. 


acrimonious in opposition, the latter going into the Biblical argument 
in support of slavery which became so familiar at a later day. Scott 
of Pennsylvania said that if he were a federal judge in the South he 
would go as far as he could to emancipate them. Jackson retorted 
that "perhaps even the existence of such a judge would be of short 
duration.'^ This memorable debate ended, on March 23, in the asser- 
tion of congressional power over the subject, but postponing action, — 
the ultimate action being little foreseen by the first Congress. 

New- York was anxious to remain the national capital. On March 
25, 1790, Trinity Church, rebuilt, was consecrated, and a canopied 
pew set apart for the president. On March 10 the State assembly 
provided for greater cleanliness and sanitary care about the city 
wharves. On March 16 it was enacted "that all that part of Fort 
George, in the City of New York, and the lands adjoining there- 
abouts, belonging to the people of this State [limits here defined], 
shall be and hereby are declared to be forever reserved for the pur- 
pose of erecting public buildings, and such works of defence as the 
Legislature shall from time to time direct; and further, that the same 
shall not at any time or times hereafter be sold or appropriated to 
or for any private use or purpose whatever.^ It was further ordered 
that the mayor and corporation demolish Fort George and level the 
grounds, and erect a new bulkhead at the Battery. It is then in- 
trusted to Gerard Bancker, Eichard Varick, and John Watts (the last 
royal mayor of New- York) to cause new buildings to be erected for 
the State government, "and to be applied to the temporary use of the 
President of the United States of America, during such time as the 
Congress of the United States shall hold their session in the City of 
New- York.'' For these purposes the commission may draw on the 
State treasurer for eight thousand pounds. Further provisions were 
made for improving the road to Harlem, where Lewis Morris is 
authorized (March 31) to bridge Harlem Eiver, without suffering any 
competition from ferries. 

The work of clearing away Fort George was begun, and the presi- 
dential mansion was rapidly rising, when New- York's famous citizen, 
Alexander Hamilton, was bargaining away for a national object the 
city's chances of remaining the capital. There had been from the first 
a keen competition among variout sections for this advantage, and 
the contest had graduaUy become one between New- York, Pennsyl- 
vania, and the banks of the Potomac. The Southern States were 
vehement for the Potomac location, and the name of the president 
was freely used in promoting this project. Hamilton, secretary of the 
treasury, regarded it as a financial necessity that the national govern- 
ment should assume the debts of the several States to England. This, 
however, was naturally opposed by the States which had paid a por- 


tion of their debts, but which, by •^assumption,'' would be compelled 
to share the burden of States that had not so paid. The quarrel in 
Congress on these two points — assumption, and the location of the 
national capital — became extreme, and menaces of disunion had 
already become familiar in Federal Hall. When the discord was at 
its height, Hamilton met Jefferson on his way to the president's 
house, and the two walked up and down before that house for a half- 
hour conversing about the situation. This talk ended with the arrange- 
ment of a small dinner company at Jefferson's house on the following 
day, at which Alexander White, of North Carolina, and Eichard Bland 
Lee, of Virginia, agreed to vote for assumption, though before they 
had voted against it, on condition that Hamilton would secure votes 
enough to locate the capital where it now stands. At one time 
(June 28) the senatorial vote had gone in favor of New-York as the 
permanent residence by 13 to 12. On July 16, the act for the re- 
moval to Philadelphia, and afterward to the Potomac, was signed 
by the president. But the woric on the mansion in New- York 
continued with unabated vigor.' 

An act of assembly of March 31, "for the further encouragement 
of literature," set apart Governor's Island, and some lands in Clinton 
County, for the benefit of Columbia College, and one thousand 
pounds in money. The general paving of streets, ordered in the 
spring of 1789, was coming to something like completeness. Little 
"Oister Pasty Street" was altered (Exchange Alley, now called Tin- 
pot Alley); Barclay, Little Dock, Front, William, Gteorge, Water, 
Chatham, Greenwich, Murray, Beekman streets, began to be paved in 
whole or in part. The Bowling Green, which had been a sort of 
lumber place, and had held the wrecked federal ship "Hamilton," 
had been cleared away and fenced in July of the previous year. The 
common lands had been industriously sold, and new houses and 
gardens appeared in the suburbs. 

On June 2, 1790, occurred the first funeral of a member of Con- 
gress — the Hon. Theodoric Bland, of Virginia, who died June 1, in 
his forty-ninth year. It was attended by Congress and by the State 
and city authorities, also by the Cincinnati. The occasion was espe- 
cially memorable for the manifestation of friendliness between the 
Protestant Episcopal and the Dutch Reformed churches. After 
Trinity Church was burned the Dutch Reformed Church invited the 
congregation to use its edifice. At the funeral of Theodoric Bland, 
which was held in Trinity Church, Bishop Provoost conducted the 

1 *' We then walked to view the demolition of vaults in a chapel which once stood in the fort. 

Fort George ; the leaden coffin and remains of The chapel was bnmed down about fifty years ago 

Lord and Lady Bellamont, now exposed to the and never re-built. The leveling of the fort 

sun after an interment of about ninety years, and digging away the foundations have uncovered 

They and many more have been deposited in the vaults." Maclay's Diary, June 19, 1790. 



services, the sermon being delivered by the pastor of the Dutch 
Reformed Church, the Rev. Dr. William Linn, who enjoyed celebrity 
as an orator. 

Independence Day, 1790, was celebrated on Monday, July 5. Con- 
gress, the Cincinnati, and the State and municipal authorities waited 
on the president, after they had all listened to an oration in St. Paul's 
Church by Brockholst Livingston. "The Grand Sachem," says a 
paper, "and Fathers of the St Tammany Society were honored with 
an invitation to 
dinner by the 
members of the 
Cincinnati, and 
the evening was 
spent with that 
mutual goofl 
humor and joy 
which it is hoped 
will ever be the 
concomitants of 
a day so remark- 
able in the an- 
nals of America." 
be reckoned with. 


Tammany had thus rapidly become a power to 
Probably Jefferson, who had assumed his duties 
as secretary of state on March 21, had something to do with the 
rapid development of the society. The sagamore was a vigorous 
Jeffersonian. This was John Piiltard, the Tammanyite of highest 
social position; also a scholar. Pintard was editor of the "Daily 
Advertiser," assistant assessor of the city council, and assemblyman. 
Under his leadership the society could lose no opportunity, and one 
presently offered, for making a fine impression on the public mind. 
Colonel Marinus Willett had gone in March, 1790, on a mission to the 
Creek Indians in the South, and early in July news came that he was 
on his way to New- York with the chief (McGillvray) of the hostile 
tribe, and twenty-eight warriors, who would make a treaty of peace. 
This important company traveled northward at the public expense, 
greeted at every stage by vast crowds, and were met by the Sons of 
St. Tammany dressed in aboriginal style. The Sons of St. Tammany 
had charge of them, conducted them to the houses of the president 
and secretary of war, and showed them the sights of New-York. At 
a grand entertainment (August 3) Grand Sachem Hoffman addressed 
the Indians in glowing terms, which were duly translated for them. 
" The Spirits," he said, " of two great Chiefs are supposed to walk 
backwards and forwards in this Great Wigwam, — Tammany and 
Columbus. Tradition has brought us the memory of the first. He 


was a great and good Indian Chief, a strong warrior, a swift hunter, 
but, what is greater than all, he loved his country. We call ourselves 
his Sons." The sagamore Pintard produced the richly ornamented 
calumet, which was smoked by all in turns. The Indian chief. con- 
ferred on the grand sachem of Tammany a title which did not seem 
to be included in the society's general hatred of titles — " Taliva Mico'^ 
(Chief of the White Town). The President of the United States was 
toasted as " The Beloved Chieftain of the Thirteen Fires.'' 

The president was deeply interested in all this ; for the Indians in 
the Carolinas, Florida, and Georgia, instigated, it was thought, by 
the Spaniards, had given much trouble to the whites, and probably 
received as much. Chief McGillvray was made a member of the St. 
Andrew Society. On July 27 the chiefs were present with Washing- 
ton at a grand military review, and on another occasion he gave 
them a dinner. The president's last visit to Federal Hall was to sign 
a treaty with these Indians. He rode in his coach-and-six, with all 
pomp — even the horses' hoofs painted. Addresses were interchanged 
between the president and Chief McGillvray, who received a present 
of wampum and a symbolical package of tobacco — Washington's 
substitute for the calumet. The ceremony ended with a song of 
peace, in which all, including the president, joined. The Sons of 
St. Tammany, in costume, managed the business, and the society had 
made its mark. 

In November, 1789, Colonel John Trumbull, who had been study- 
ing with Benjamin West in Europe, returned to America, and soon 
after became the artistic "lion" in New- York. On February 10, 
1790, he began his studies of Washington for his battle-pieces of 
Trenton and Princeton. On March 1 the president's diary says:. 
"Exercised on horseback this afternoon, attended by Mr. John 
Trumbull, who wanted to see me mounted." The sittings ended on 
March 4. In November, 1789, and January, 1790, Washington also 
sat to Edward Savage for the portrait now at Harvard College. On 
July 19, 1790, the common council requested the president to per- 
mit Trumbull to paint his portrait, " to be placed in the City Hall as 
a Monument of the Respect which the inhabitants of this City bear 
towards him." To this the president responded favorably, and the 
work is now in the City Hall. A similar request was made of Gov- 
ernor Clinton, August 16, and consented to. For the president's 
portrait Trumbull was paid, in September, 1790, £186 13^. 4rf., and in 
May of the following year the same amount for Governor Clinton's 
portrait — thought by some his finest work. While Trumbull was 
engaged on the president's portrait, Washington brought some of the 
Creek chiefs to see it. One of them looked behind, and was amazed 
to find the surface flat. " I had been desirous," says Trumbull, " of 



obtaining portraits of some of their principal men, who possessed a 
dignity of manner, form, countenance, and expression worthy of the 
Roman senators ; but after this I found it impracticable ; they had 
received the impression that there must be magic in an art which 
could render a smooth flat surface so like to a real man. I, however, 
succeeded in obtaining drawings of several by stealth.'' These draw- 
ings are given in Trumbull's autobiography, with the various signifi- 
cant names of the chieftains. 

Congress adjourned August 12, to meet in Philadelphia for a ten 
years' residence. Senator Maclay writes in his diary : " The citizens 
of Philadelphia (such is the strange infatuation of seK-love) believe 
that ten years is eternity to them with respect to the residence, and 
that Congress will in that time be so enamored of them as never to 
leave them ; and all this with the recent example of New- York before 
their eyes, whose allurements are more than ten to two compared 
with Philadelphia." There is no doubt that, when it came to the 
pointy the members of Congress felt rather gloomy in leaving the 
only large city which at that time had a good theater or anything in 
the way of fashionable life. 

Toward the latter part of their residence in New- York the presi- 
dent and his family had enjoyed life more freely than before. The 
president had a pleasant outing of a week on Long Island, revisiting 
the old battle-field, and Mrs. Washington made a pleasant excursion 
with her grandchildren, accompanied by Mrs. Jay, to Morrisania, 
where they breakfasted with General Lewis Morris. On another 
occasion, in July, there was a sort of picnic to Fort Washington. 
The party consisted of the president and his wife, the vice-president 
and his wife, their son, and Mrs. Smith, Secretaries Hamilton and 
Knox and their wives. Secretary Jefferson, Tobias Lear, Robert 
Lewis, and one or two others. Washington surveyed the old grounds 
with keen interest. A dinner was prepared and brought out to them 
by Mr. Mariner, a farmer occupying the Roger Morris mansion (now 
better known as Jumel House, near 161st street), where they alighted 
on their return drive. The repast was enjoyed in the open air. 

On August 28 the president gave his last state dinner, the guests 
being Governor Clinton and the mayor and corporation. On this 
occasion he expressed his great reluctance at leaving New- York, and 
Mrs. Washington uttered expressions of the same kind. They told 
their guests that they would leave on the 30th, but desired that it 
should not be made known. Such, at any rate, is the traditional 
explanation of the comparative smallness of the crowd that witnessed 
his departure. A procession of the State and municipal officers con- 
ducted the president and his family to McComb's Wharf', North 
River. They stepped on the same barge that had brought them ; a 




salute of thirteen guns was fired. The president, in response to the 
cheers of the people, waved his hat, and said, " Farewell.'' He never 
saw New- York again. 

On August 12 Mayor Varick presented to the city council a letter 
from Vice-President Adams conveying an order of the Senate that 
the furniture of their chamber should remain for the use of the cor- 
poration, with an expression of their thanks "for the elegant and 
convenient accommodation provided for Congress." An exactly sim- 
ilar note from Speaker Muhlenberg was presented on behalf of the 
House of Representatives. The letters seem to have been received 
in silence. Possibly the coimcil expected more substantial reward, 
which, however, the youngest of them did not live to see. On Octo- 
ber 5 the mayor informed the council that the gentlemen who pro- 
vided the president's barge proposed to present it to the corporation. 
The mayor was "requested to thank the gentlemen for their inten- 
tion, and to inform them that as this Board can have no use for the 
said Barge, they decline the acceptance of her." The vacated rooms 
of the City Hall were eagerly sought for. On September 10, 1790, 
St Tammany petitioned for and obtained the use of a room for an 
American museum. On October 14 the Medical Society was allowed 
to use the council-chamber; Dr. Nicholas Romaine gave medical 
lectures there a year or so later. The St. Caecilia Society, and the 
Uranian Society were assigned certain evenings. The city clerk's 
oflSce was eventually removed to the building, for the better preser- 
vation of the public records, to which the common council was for- 
tunately wise enough to pay special attention. 

On December 11, 1790, the aldermen and assessors who had charge 
of the census of "Electors and Inhabitants" were paid at the rate of 
145. per one hundred inhabitants in Harlem, 12^. in the Bowery, 10^^ 
in other wards. The number of inhabitants given were : South ward, 
1756; Dock ward, 1854; East ward, 3622; West ward, 6054; North 
ward, 4596 ; Montgomerie ward, 6702 ; Bowery ward, 4819 ; Harlem 
division, 503. The year 1790 had proved prosperous for the city. 
There had been 410 tavern licenses, bringing in £779, and the market 
fees had largely increased. So Mayor Varick, in addition to his 
modest salary (six hundred pounds, diminished by his consent from 
Duane's eight hundred pounds), had seven hundred pounds in fees. 

The ball was over, the prince vanished ; for a time it had seemed as 
if the city, like Cinderella, would return to its ashes. But this was 
not to be the case. For the remainder of the year 1790 it enjoyed the 
blessing of having no history; but early in January there were indica- 
tions that New- York was to be a center of political excitement. The 
State assembly met here on January 3. John Watts was elected 
speaker. The governor addressed the assembly in person. Straight- 


way a keen contest for the senatorship took place between Aaron 
Burr and Philip Schuyler. Burr was chosen by a majority of ten in 
the senate, and five in the house. General Schuyler's loss of the seat 
he had held in the first Congress was felt as a terrible blow to the 
federal party, the result having been partly brought about by the 
defection from that party of Chancellor Livingston and his brother- 
in-law Morgan Lewis. Morgan Lewis was elected State attorney- 
general in Burr's place. It very soon appeared that John Pintard, 
the Tammanyite radical, had become a popular leader in the legis- 
lature. Melancthon Smith, a Tammanyite of the same type, was 
also in the assembly. There are indications in the public press that 
in 1791 there was a good deal of agitation on the slavery question. 
Greenleaf s paper published several letters against emancipation, and 
one of these complains of the free negroes, — "the vices and promis- 
cuous number of these black republicans.'' On Washington's birth- 
day there was again cordiality between the Sons of Tammany (Grand 
Sachem Josiah Ogden Hoffman) and the Cincinnati, which had sent 
conmiittees to congratulate each other. Nevertheless, this politeness 
preceded a duel between the federal and the democratic parties, — 
the latter name having come into use as a kind of epithet for enthu- 
siasts of the rising revolution in France. The newspaper combat, 
which had lasting effects, was caused by the publication of Thomas 
Paine's "Rights of Man." This work was printed in London, with a 
dedication to Washington. It was published in America with a pre- 
liminary note of high approval written by the secretary of state. Its 
publication raised a storm of replies from the federalists, in which 
Jefferson was severely handled. John Pintard published the whole 
of Paine's work in the "Daily Advertiser" (May 6-27), and also the 
celebrated letters in reply ♦by "Publicola." These letters, written by 
young John Quincy Adams, were attributed to the vice-president. 

It is pleasant to find that amid this raging controversy Tammany 
had time to establish an American museum, the basis of our Histori- 
cal Society. In the " Daily Advertiser " for May 25, 1791, a full state- 
ment of the project, begun in September, was given. "The intention 
of the Tammany Society, or Columbian Order, in establishing an 
American Museum being for the sole purpose of collecting and pre- 
serving whatever may relate to the history of our country, and serve 
to perpetuate the same, as also all American curiosities of nature and 
art." It is stated that the corporation had granted a room in the City 
Hall, which would be open at all times to the Sons of Tammany, and 
to the public on Tuesdays and Fridays. Any article for exhibition 
sent there, or to John Pintard, 57 King street, will be taken care of. 
The trustees are: William Pitt Smith, chairman ; James Tylee, John 
R. B. Rodgers, Jacob Morton, EflBngham Embree ; William W. Gil- 







^' ^i2^^^^ 


bert, treasurer ; Gardner Baker, keeper. It seems that Pintard had 
moved eminent personages in Boston in the same direction, the result 
being the establishment of the Massachusetts Historical Society some- 
what earlier in 1791. "To Pintard is due the honor of originating 
both ; indeed, he may with justice be pronounced the Father of His- 
torical Societies in this country.'' ^ 

A number of acts interesting to the city were passed by the legis- 
lature in 1791. March 21, 1791, the Bank of New- York was incor- 
porated, under the temporary directors: Isaac Roosevelt, William 
Maxwell, Thomas Randall, Daniel McCormick, Nicholas Low, William 
Constable, Joshua Waddington, Samuel Franklin, Comfort Sands, 
Robert Bo wne, Gulian Verplanck, John Murray, and William Edgar. 
There was to be a ballot for directors on the second Monday in May. 
The total amount of the debts of the said corporation must not exceed 
thrive times the sum of the capital stock subscribed, — for this the 
directors being held responsible in " their natural and private capaci- 
ties.'' On May 18 Verplanck was elected president, Rufus King being 
added to the directors, who were elected as previously appointed. 
Oil March 24 the regents of Columbia College were empowered to 
OHtablish a College of Physicians and Surgeons. This new college 
was never to hold property of more than sixty thousand pounds 
value (New- York currency). The regents were to appoint professors 
and (uniter degrees. An act was passed for erecting a building for 
tJie preservation of the records and public papers'of the State. 

Despite severe newspaper attacks on the lottery system, the city 
(Miutinued to raise money in this way. At the same time it was 
severe on private citizens who engaged in similar enterprises. At 
the April term of the Supreme Court of Judicature for the State, 
William Thompson (city) was fined £94 14^. and costs, and Gabriel 
Leggett £510 and costs, for attempting to dispose of goods and wares 
by lottery. The common council also sometimes made mistakes. 
On May 20 it ordered all bow-windows, displays of goods, and trees, 
ill front of houses, which impeded the view of the streets, to be re- 
moved ; one week later, after an outcry from the city, the order was 
repealed as regarded trees. 

The corporation had to deal with a riotous element. On February 
17, 1791, Robert J. Livingston reported for the grand jury that they 
hud inquired into a recent mob. Thirty foreign sailors had with 
l»ludgeous attacked Captain Culbertson and eight other watchmen, 
who, "though scarcely one-fourth of the number of the armed mob, 
not only faced them with intrepidity, but gallantly conducted six of 
the rioters to confinement and put the rest to flight.^ On February 
25 tho city council conferred the freedom of the city on the " Honor- 

i Mm. Larab'H •• HiJitory of the City of New-York/ 2: 508. 




able Horatio GJates, Esq.," who had just become a resident, for which, 
May 2, General Gates returned thanks. On October 4 the seven city 
wards were more equally divided, and numbered. The winter was 
severe, and firewood was generously given to the poor. The year 1791 
was prosperous. The 
exports of New- York 
amounted to $2,505,465. 
The city had raised 
seven thousand five 
hundred pounds by a 
lottery, and was starts 
log another. Bedlow's 
Island was let for 
twenty-three years at 
ten pounds per annum. 
One hundred lots on 
and near Broadway, 
each one hundred feet 
by twenty-five, sold for twenty-five pounds each. The council 
ordered disbursement for the poor, the bridewell, and criminals, 
repairing roads and improving and cleaning streets, eight thousand 
pounds ; for improvements at the Battery and in front of the Gov- 
ernment House, three thousand pounds; for the watch and lamp 
departments, four thousand pounds. In A^^fust the Bowery was 
taken in hand, and an order issued for its "regulation" from the 
head of Catherine street to St. Nicholas street. 

The conservatism of the corporation was illustrated in October, 
1791. At the aldermanic elections of September 29, William S. Liv- 
ingston, chosen an assistant assessor, was said to be neither a 
freeman nor a freeholder. Summoned before the board (October 12), 
Livingston urged that though he was not a freeman he ought to be, 
as his father and grandfather were ; and that he had served a regular 
vlorkship in the city as attorney-at-law. He also expressed the opin- 
ion "that this Board could not legally enter into the consideration or 
iletennination of any question with respect to the qualification of a 
member elect whose time of service did not commence until the four- 
twuth inst., when he supposed the present Board would die a politi- 
cal death." The board overruling these pleas, Livingston declared 
that he was a freeholder, but could not prove it except by his oath. 
Tlie board unanimously declared that the unsupported oath was 
"isuffif'ient, and Livingston's name was dropped. The scat was 
si^anied to John Van Dyke, who had the largest number of votes 
1*^1 fo Livingston. Colonel Livingston was a municipal reformer, 
*'"' introduced into the legislature a bill for making the office of 


mayor elective. In the same month (March 14, 1792) he secured the 
incorporation of the '*GI-eneral Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen 
of the City of New- York'' — the delay of which, since the foundation 
of the society in 1785, had angered its members. 

The commencement of Columbia College took place on May 7, 1791, 
and there is found among the speeches of the young graduates some 
reflection of public issues. Pierre E. Fleming speaks on " Arbitrary 
Power ^ ; William T. Broome on " The Late Revolution in France " ; 
John W. Milligan on " Faction ^ ; Thomas L. Ogden on " The Rising 
Glory of America." All of these were of New- York city. The pro- 
vincial youth seem to have maintained the old commencement 
themes, among which are found on this occasion, "The Improve- 
ment of Time," "Sympathy," "The Beauties of Nature," "On the 
Importance of the Fair Sex." 

Among the notable institutions of this period was the Tontine 
Association — a sort of mutual insurance and loan company formed 
by the merchants. On March 12 John Watts and others petitioned 
for the privilege of adding to the Tontine Coffee House (comer of 
Wall and Water streets) a piazza, which must extend over the side- 
walk. This was refused, but on May 11 permission was given for a 
piazza to extend six feet over Wall street sidewalk. The leading 
citizens appear to have been generous. Abijah Hammond presented 
the council with a well-boring machine, which he had imported from 
Boston. The council was much concerned about wells, and had an- 
nounced that it would contribute for every well sunk by its consent 
at the rate of one dollar per foot. It accepted Hammond's gift, and 
ordered that sixty pounds should be advanced to try the apparatus in 
sinking a well near the City Hall. The Hon. John Jay presented the 
city council with the free right to regulate streets through his land on 
Great Q-eorge street, and offered to release any part of his land that 
might be encroached on in cutting a canal from Fresh Wat^r Pond to 
the North River. 

Washington's Birthday, 1792, witnessed a revolution in a branch of 
Columbia College, which now had one hundred and fifty-six students, 
besides fifty-six medical students. The medical students offered 
their resignation in a body, because they were not " protected and 
cherished in the prosecution of their studies." The trustees refused 
to accept their resignation, but were notified by the students that they 
no longer considered themselves connected with the college, and if in- 
terfered with would appeal to the justice of their country. Dr. Samuel 
Bard was dean of the medical college, of which, indeed, he was the 
founder. The trouble may have been due to some enthusiasm for 
Dr. Nicholas Romaine, who, for some reason (perhaps his religious 
liberalism), had been left out of the faculty. This physician appears 



to have founded a school of his own. On April 30 the city council 
granted the use of a room in the City HaU to Dr. Eomaine for 
medical lectures, though a similar request of Dr. Micheau (May 16) 
was refused. Of Micheau, a French refugee who came to New- York 
in 1791, a lively account is given in Dr. Francis's " Old New- York.'' 


He seems to have been unpopular among the doctors, one of whom 
persuaded Dunlap to have him caricatured on the stage, for which that 
ih-amatist received a severe personal assault. 

The great event of the city in 1792 was the celebration of the third 
centenary of the discovery of America. The following is from a con- 
temporary report: 

The 12th inst. (October, 1792), beinp: the commencement of the IVth Columbian 
(^entuaiy , was observed as a Centuary Festival by the Tammany Society, and celebrated 
in that style of sentiment which distinguishes this social and patriotic institution. . . . 
An elegant oration was delivered by Mr. J. B. Johnson, in which several of the prin- 
cipal events of the life of this remarkable man were pathetically described, and the 

The above fac-siraile is that of a part of the cer- 
tificate' of election of George Clinton as governor, 
Herre Van f 'ortlandt as lieiitenant-govemor, and 
of the variouH State senators in 1780. The gentle- 

VoL. III.— 6. 

men whose names are appended were a joint com- 
mittee of the senate and assembly to canvass and 
count the votes. The original is in the possessi(m 
of General J. Watts De Peyster. Editor. 


ioterestang consequenoes to which his great achievement had abeady and must still 
conduct the affairs of mankind, were pointed out in a manner extremely satisfactory. 
During the evening's entertainment, a variety of national amusement was enjoyed. 
The following toasts were drank : 

1. The memory of Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of the new world. 2. 
May the new world never experience the vices and miseries of the old ; and be a happy 
asylum for the oppressed of all nations and of all religions. 3. May peace and liberty 
ever pervade the United Columbian States. 4. May this be the last Centuary Festival 
of the Columbian Order that finds a slave on this globe. 5. Thomas Paine. 6. The 
Rights of Man. 7. May the IVth Centuary be as remarkable for the improvement and 
knowledge of the rights of man as the first was for discovery and the improvement 
of nautic science. 8. Lafayette and the French nation. 9. May the liberty of the 
French rise superior to all the efforts of Austrian despotism. 10. A Burgoyning to 
the Duke of Brunswick. 11. May the deliverers of America never experience that in- 
gratitude from their Country which Columbus experienced from his King, 12. May 
the Genius of Liberty, as she has conducted the sons of Columbia with glory to the 
commencement of the IVth Centuary, guard their fame to the end of time. 13. The 
Day. 14. Washington, the deliverer of the new world. 

Among the patriotic songs was an ode composed for the occasion, 
— beginning : 

Ye sons of freedom, hail the day 
That brought a second world to view; 

To Great Columbus' mem'ry pay 
The praise and honor justly due. 

Chorus — Let the important theme inspire 
Each breast with patriotic fire. 

There was set up in the hall an illuminated obelisk. At the base 
a globe, emerging from clouds and chaos, presented a rude sketch of 
America as a wilderness. At the top stood History drawing up a 
curtain and revealing: 1. A commercial port, and Columbus instructed 
by Science, who presents him with a compass and points to the set- 
ting sun. 2. The landing of Columbus, the natives prostrate around 
him. 3. Columbus at the court of Spain, pointing out on a map his 
discovery to Ferdinand and Isabella. 4. Columbus in chains; Liberty 
appears to him, the emblems of despotism and superstition crushed 
under her feet. She intimates the gratitude of posterity by pointing 
out the monument set up by the Sons of Tammany, or the Columbian 
Order. On its pedestal Nature is seen caressing her various progeny. 
The Indians are seen mourning over the urn of Columbus. Near the 
chained Columbus is seen the inscription, **The Ingratitude of Kings.** 
On two sides the eagle is seen prone, supporting the arms of Isabella 
and the arms of Genoa. But above the eagle soars, grasping in its 
talons a scroll inscribed "The Rights of Man." A year later this 
transparency was announced for display in Bowen's Museum and 
Wax Works, at the Exchange, where it was " surrounded with four 
beautiful female figures.*' ^ 

1 Dr. George H. Moore, in the ** Magadne of American History," October, 1889i 



It will be observed by the large place given in the Columbian 
"Centuary" toasts to Paine and the "Rights of Man," that Tammany 
had become enthusiastic for democracy. The radicalism of Jeffer- 
son — afterward entitled Great Grand Sachem — was represented by 
Governor George Clinton. In the year 1792 occurred the famous 
contest for the governorship between Clinton and Chief Justice Jay. 
One of the principal polling-places was Trinity Church, and it is 
probable that the sacred edifice was never before or since surrounded 
by so many raging citizens as in that conflict. Although the "democ- 
racy," as the republicans were called by enemies, said much about the 
rights of man, one of the points urged against Jay was his anti- 
slavery sentiments; his adherents had to protest against the slander 
that he wished to liberate the slaves in New-York. It was also circu- 
lated that he had said there ought 
to be two classes — the rich and the 
poor. Another point against Jay 
was that he still held on to bis place 
on the supreme bench while run- 
ning for governor. The acrimonious 
character of the contest was inten- 
sified by its result in a disputed 
election. It turned on the ques- 
tion whether an annually appointed 
sheriff could continue to fulfil his 
functions as protector and doUverer 
of the ballot-box and votes after his 
term of office had ended, his suc- 
cessor having not yet qualified. It 
was agreed to refer tlie question 

to the New- York senators, Aaron - ^ ^ 

Burr and Rufus King, who were to f^if, ^ ^^^'^^^^ 

choose a third if they could not ^ ) 

agree. They selected the attomey- 

neneral of the United States, Edmund Randolph, who decided that, 
as the office of sheriff was governed by English law, it would have 
to be determined by English precedents. These were against Jay. 
The canvassers were thus compelled to throw out the votes of 
Otsego County, and Clinton was declared the governor. The fed- 
eralists were furious, and New- York city was on the verge of civil 
war. Public meetings were held in the City Hall, — where they 
were allowed between twelve and four in the afternoons only, — but 

I .Tmcpb Bnnt'a Indisn name was ThnyeDda- 
neKiv. He tought vigorously ftgainst the Amert- 
eajifl duriDK Ihe RcTolntion, but Bfterward waa 
Itrp^ljr iDstrumental in pacifyiog hia (ndlan 

;e to etTect a treaty witli 



they overflowed into the streets. A great dinner was given to Jay. 
It was generally felt that Jay^s presidential aspirations depended on 
the result of this election, and a determined effort to unseat Clinton 
was made by his opponents in the legislature. But Clinton was be- 
lieved to have been ill used, and carried the entire vote of the State 
for the vice-presidency, which he nearly gained. Hamilton had 
during the summer of 1792 written in Fenno's paper (the " Gazette ^ 
terribly severe attacks on Jefferson and Madison. They were anony- 
mous, but their authorship was well known. They were replied to by 
(as is now known) Edmund Eandolph. At the center of this excit- 
ing controversy was the struggle between France and England to 
gain the support of the United States administration. New- York 
was in ferment. Secret political clubs were formed by the republi- 
cans (called ''Jacobin'' by the federalists), and the democratic party 
reached an organization it has never lost. 

But meanwhile the city council seemed to incline to intrench itself 
anew in virtue and piety. It ordered in the beginning of 1793 that 
the current expenses, fifteen thousand pounds, should be raised by 
taxation (not lottery), and that the law of Sabbath observance should 
be published in the papers, and the police admonished to take care 
that it should be more strictly enforced. This may have been partly 
due to the large number of Frenchmen who had come to New -York 
since the disturbances in their country, and brought with them new 
customs. These new inhabitants greatly influenced the politics of 
the city. But it is due to the corporation to say that during this agi- 
tated period of the city's history, which reached a frantic pitch with 
the triumphal reception of the French ambassador. Citizen Gtenfit, 
the mayor and council maintained their creditable traditions for 
industry and justice. 




I ■ 



City Hail 



1 These mile-stones remind us of a past century, 
when the Bowery and Third Avenue were the 
Boston Post Road. Strange to say. these relics 
of an earlier period still remain. The one-mile 
stone is in the Bowery opposite Rivington street ; 

the two-mile stone stands near Sixteenth street; 
the four-mile stone, near Fifty-seventh street; and 
the five-mile stone, near Seventy-seventh street 
They are all of granite, and the inscriptions are 
faint on some, hut still legihle. Edxtob. 



The interest that attaches to the Franklin House; the first official residence of 
President Washington, and which was thus the earliest executive mansion, justifies 
some curiosity as to its inmates or owners, before it was honored by this distinguished 
occux>ancy. We quote, therefore, an extract from the personal reminiscences recorded 
by ^Irs. Mary Robinson Hunter, the wife of the United States minister to Brazil, 
written at Rio de Janeiro in 1845. Mrs. Hunter was the daughter of Sarah FVanklin 
(who married William T. Robinson), a daughter of Samuel Franklin, one of the brothers 
of Walter Franklin, who built the house named after him : 

'' My mother's grandfather on her father's side [the father of Walter Frankhn] was 
a wealthy farmer of the State of New- York, bom of an English father and a Dutch 
mother. They had a large family of sons of whom my grandfather [Samuel] was the 
youngest, and two daughters. Of five sons I can speak, having known them all as a 
child, and all treating me with overweening love and indulgence. James, the eldest, 
followed the occupation of his father, and inherited the homestead. He married a 
lady of high breeding, who used to come down from the country once a year to visit 
the families of her husband's brothers, who were settled as merchants, three in New- 
York, and one in Philadelphia. I well remember the awe her presence inspired among 
us children ; the rustling of her silk, and her high -heeled shoes making her figure more 
eommanding, and the reproach her never-ending knitting cast upon us idle and in- 
dulged children. 

** Walter, John, and Samuel resided in New- York. They inherited large fortunes 
from their parents, which they put into trade, and the produce of China and other 
countries was wafted to our shores in their ships. Walter retired with an immense 
fortune from the firm, lived in the style of a nobleman, and drove an elegant chariot. 
On an excursion to Long Island, driving by a country house, he saw, milking in the 
barnyard, where thirty cows had just been driven in at sunset, a beautiful young 
Quaker girl. He stopped, beckoned her, and asked who occupied the house. With 
frreat simplicity, and without embarrassment, she replied, ' My father, Daniel Bowne. 
Wilt thou not alight and take tea with him ?' My uncle accepted the invitation, intro- 
duced himself, was well known by reputation. He conversed with the farmer on the 
appearance of the farm, on his fine cows, etc., but not a word about the fair milkmaid. 
Pref^ently the door opened, and she came in to make tea for the * city friend,' when her 
father said, * Hannah, this is friend Walter Franklin, from New-York.' She blushed 
def^ply, finding he made no allusion to having seen her before. The blush heightened 
her loveliness. She had smoothed her hair, and a fine lawn kerchief covered her neck 
and bosom. After three visits he asked her in marriage, and the fair milkmaid was 
seated by his side in the chariot on her way to take possession as mistress of the most 
eVj^nt house in the city, in Cherry street, near the comer of Pearl. She had a nu- 
merfjiis family of beautiful daughters. They swerved from the simplicity of Quaker- 
Wu\, and became worldly and fashionable belles. The eldest, Sally, married a very 
wealthy man of the name of Norton, I believe of English birth, who was heir to an 
vmraense fortune, left him by a Mr. Lake, who lived near New-York. The second, 
^laria, was the wife of De Witt Clinton. The third, Hannah, married his brother, 
^eor^e Clinton. They all had children. Their mother was left a widow just before 
the third daughter was bom, — my uiicle Walter dying and leaving a rich young widow 
and twmty thousand pounds to each of his daughters. His widow afterwards married 
a very respectable Presbyterian named [Samuel] Osgood, who held some post under 
govemmont [postmaster-general] — commissary of the army in Washington's time, 
1 ^ Ave. She had a number of children by Osgood. The eldest, Martha, married a 



brother of the famous Genet [miniBter from the French Republic]. My uncle Walter's 
house is now [1845] the Franklin Bank, named after its builder and owner.?^ 

It is a matter of regret that there is no vestige of the house left to-day. The only 
Unk to connect this historic mansion with the present is the name of the triangular 
space formed by the junction of Pearl and Cherry streets. This is the well-known 
'^ Franklin Square,^ made famous by Harper and Brothers' publishing house, and is 
overshadowed by the lofty and vast structure of the Brooklyn Bridge. 




\ HE choice of New- York for the sittings of Congress gave 
to that old home of the Dutch and Huguenots, hardly re- 
covered from the war, a new dignity, and enlarged oppor- 
tunities for social intercourse with senators, members, and 
high officials coming from the various States of the American Union, 
whose differing colonial antecedents were associated with the best 
blood and the eventful history of Europe. 

There is within reach an opportunity of gaining an exact and mi- 
nute acquaintance with social events, and the personages who made 
them what they were, in the early days of our republic. By a happy 
chance there has been preserved Mrs. John Jay's " Dinner and Supper 
List for 1787 and '8" — a period when her husband was secretary for 
foreign affairs for the Continental Congress. The names which the list 
furnishes, together with the memoranda afforded by occasional private 
correspondence, and the published notes of European travelers touch- 
ing that interesting period, contribute to give a picture, that already 
possesses an historic interest, of the social circles of New-York during 
its brief existence as the national capital under the articles of confed- 
eration, and for two sessions of the first Congress under the constitu- 
tion. Armed with this list, and some concomitant documentary or 
printed aids, we can look in upon the banquet-halls of the substantial, 
spacious mansions of that day, — owned or occupied by magnates of 
the repuWic, of the State, of the city, of the diplomatic circles, and of 
society itself, — and people them again with those who were accustomed 
to gather there. "We can glance along the festive boards, and observe 
who of note at home or abroad met in those days around them. 

The society of New- York at that time, despite the comparative 
insignificance of the city in extent and population, and all that it had 
Buffered during the war, presented more strikingly than in after years, 
when domestic and foreign immigration had made it a common center, 
those distinguished characteristics, derived from its blended ancestry 



and colonial history, that are still discernible in the circles of the 
Knickerbockers, and which recall alike to Americans and to Euro- 
peans the earlier traditions of the national metropolis. While here and 
there might be found members of a family which, misled by mistaken 
convictions, had during the war sided with the mother-country, or 






'ftKl» A 

„, '^^f 


had timidly endeavored to preserve an inglorious neutrality, the tone 
of society was eminently patriotic, and worthy of the antecedents of 
an ancestry representing, in the words of an English historian, "the 
best stock of Europe who had sought homes in the Westei'n world, 
and in whose forms of government, chai-ter, provincial and even pro- 
prietary, may be discerned the germ^ of a national liberty.^ With the 
culture and refinement of a class thus happily descended and fortu- 
nately situated was blended that love of country which lends dignity 
to wealth, and respectability to fashion. 


As host and hostess at the dinners and suppers for which the list 
before mentioned was composed, Mr. and Mrs. John Jay would de- 
serve to be singled out for notice before we devote attention to the 
other social liuninaries. But there was another reason why they 
figured so centrally in the social events of that day. John Jay was 
now secretary for foreign affairs. To relate his pre\dous services as 
patriot, chief justice of the State, minister to Spain, and commis- 
sioner for peace, would be supei-fluous in this chapter. But it is 
worth while to emphasize the significance of his position as foreign 
secretary. In the inchoate condition of continental government, when 
Congress was at the head, but was itself without very clearly defined 
powers; when there was not any one person endowed with the chief 
executive functions — the secretary for foreign affairs was really the 
only concrete expression of the government by, of, and for the people, 
which had just. been wrested from Great Britain, to which other 
nations could at all clearly address themselves. He, too, was the 
person to whom the several States must look as the link for communi- 
cation between themselves and that delusive thing — the general gov- 
ernment. Hence, John Jay's position made him in effect the chief of 
state. It was not very unlike that of John of Banieveld or John 
De Witt in the days of the Dutch republic, whose various members 
would not resign their sovereignty to a chief or president, whose 
stad-holder mainly led the national armies, but whose land's advo- 
cate or grand pensionary — i. e., the principal civil functionary— was 
the man who received the ambassadors of foreign princes and in- 
structed the republic's ministers at foreign courts, and thus to all the 
world abroad was conspicuously first among all her citizens. Being 
thus similarly placed, it became John Jay's duty to do the honors for 
his country, and his wife was eminently fitted to assist him in the per- 
formance of that duty. As there has been no occasion in previous 
chapters to give an account of her, it will be proper to do so here. 

Her maiden name was Sarah Van Brugh Livingston, her father 
being William Livingston, governor of New Jersey, and he the grand- 
son of Robert Livingston, the founder of the family in America. Her 
mother was Susanna French, the granddaughter of Philip French, 
mayor of New- York in 1702, and who joined Colonel Nicholas Bayard 
in that address which caused the latter's conviction of high treason. 
Sarah was the fourth daughter, bom in August, 1757. She inherited 
some of her father's finest traits, intellectual and moral, which were 
developed by a very careful education. But with the father's stern 
patriotism and resolution she blended features of gentleness, grace, 
and beauty peculiarly her own. The delicate sensibility occasionally 
exhibited in her letters seems to have come from her mother. Her 
marriage to John Jay took place on April 28, 1774, in the midst of 


the agitations that foreboded the shock of the Bevolution, and abnost 
exactly one year before the battle of Lexington, She was then not 
quite eighteen years old, while Mr. Jay was twenty-eight. Up to this 
time he had held no public oflBce, excepting that of secretary to the 
royal commission for settling the boundary between New- York and 
New Jersey. But now, before the honeymoon was complete, in May, 
1774, Jay was called to take part in the first movements of the Revo- 
lution. His public duties as member of the New-York provincial 
congress, of the New-York conmiittee of safety, and of the Conti- 
nental Congress, kept him constantly separated from his young wife. 
But finally a post of honor, yet of difficxdty and danger, was given 
him, which enabled the youthful pair to be more constantly together, 
although far distant from friends and country, and which at the same 
time was to furnish Mrs. Jay with excellent opportunities for training 
to successfully occupy the position of first lady in the land during 
the decade following the declaration of peace. 

On October 10, 1779, Mr. Jay, having been appointed minister to 
Spain, sailed in the congressional frigate, the Confederacy, accom- 
panied by Mrs. Jay, by her brother, Colonel Brockholst Livingston, 
afterward a judge of the Supreme Court of the United States, as his 
private secretary, and by Mr. William Carmichael, a member of Con- 
gress, as his public secretary. After a rather quiet life in Spain 
came a residence of several years at or in the vicinity of Paris, while 
her husband was engaged with Franklin and Adams in negotiating 
the peace which confirmed American independence. Did space or 
scope here permit, we should be tempted to blend with this sketch 
something more than a mere glance at the historic memories of the 
period connected with the peace negotiations, in which Mrs. Jay was 
almost a participant, from her intimate association with the nego- 
tiators, who frequently met at her apartments. There is no page 
certainly in our foreign diplomacy to which the intelligent American 
reader will ever recur with more national pride and interest than that 
which records the progress and resxdt of these negotiations. Mean- 
while, the scenes and the society amid which Mrs. Jay lived for nearly 
two years presented a brilliant contrast to the trials and hardships to 
which she had been subjected by the war at home, as well as to her 
more retired life during their residence at Madrid. As Mr. Jay de- 
clined to accept the courtesies of the Spanish court except as the 
minister of an independent nation, and as Spain would not recognize 
him as such, it is probable that Mrs. Jay never appeared at the royal 
assemblies. At Paris everything was different. History has made us 
familiar with the Paris of that period, so interesting as presenting 
the last pictures of the pride and splendor that were still unconscious 
of the impending revolution. 



Marie Antoinette, now in her twenty-ninth year, but four years the 
senior of Mrs. Jay, still justified by her grace and beauty the enthusi- 
astic encomiums of her contemporaries. Mrs. Jay wrote of her : " She 
is so handsome, and her manners are so engaging, that almost forget- 
ful of Republican principles, I was ready, while in her presence, to 
declare her bom to be a queen." 
The fantasies of fashion, says a 
court historian, revealed the spirit 
of France as capricious and change- 
able. The queen and her intimate 
friends, especially the Gomtesse 
Diane de Polignac and the Mar- 
quise de Vaudrienne, changed the 
mode day by day. The women 
wore the hair most fantastically 
raised in a pyramid, and this high 
edifice was crowned with flowers, 
as if it were a garden. It is both 
apt and important, in this connec- 
tion, to get a view of the Parisian 
mode from Mrs. Jay's own band: 
"At present the prevailing fash- 
ions are very decent and very 
plain; the gowns most worn are 
the robes k I'Anglaise, which are /^ 
exactly like the Italian habits that 
were in fashion in America when 
I left it ; the Sultana is also & la 
mode, but it is not expected that 
it will long remain so. Every lady makes them of slight silk. There 
is so great a variety of hats, caps, cuffs, that it is impossible to de- 
scribe them. I forgot that the robe h I'Anglaise, if trimmed either 
with the same or gauze, is dress; but if untrimmed must be worn 
with an apron and is undress." 

The two circles of society where Mrs. Jay was entirely at home in 
Paris were those which were to be found in the hotels of La Fayette 
and Franklin. Among the first to congratulate her on her arrival 
there were the Marquis and Marquise. If the circle she met at the 
Hotel de Noailles was marked by its aristocracy of rank, that which 
surrounded the venerable philosopher at Passy was no less celebrated 
for happily blending the choicest and the most opposite elements of 
the world of learning, wit, and fashion. Among the more intimate 

I Un. King ma Om oulj danghtar of John tbe ^raee of ber maniiera; her mtnd, too. was 
AlMp. a promloent New-ToA morobant. She highly cDlUvatod, and she was among thoae who 
vaa remarkable for her beaatj, gentlenen, and adorned American Bociety. EniTOit. 



friends of Franklin were Turgot, the Abb6 Raynal, Rochefoucauld, 
Cabanis, Le Boy, Mably, Mirabeau, D'Holbach, Marmontel, Neckar, 
Malesherbes, Watelet, and Mesdames* de Genlis, Denis, Helvetius, 
Brillon, and La Reillard. Thus among men and women of wit, wis- 
dom, and beauty, amid the smiles of royalty and the ceremonious 
conventionalities of the court and courtly circles, Mrs. Jay was being 
prepared at the capital of the world of fashion for her prominent part 
in the capital of the nascent republic. On July 24, 1784, after an 
absence of more than four years and a half, she arrived in New- York 
with her husband and children. Before their arrival Jay had already 
been appointed secretary for 
foreign affairs. As was stated 
on a preceding page, there be- 
ing then no president of the 
United States, and the secre- 
tary having charge of the whole 
foreign correspondence, as well 
as of that between the general 
and the State governments, his 
position has been well described 
by some one as "unquestion- 
ably the most prominent and 
responsible civil office under the Confederation." The entertaining of 
the foreign ministers, officers of government, members of Congress, 
and persons of distinction, was an important incident, and Mrs. Jay's 
domestic duties assumed something of an official character. But her 
long residence near European courts, and her recent association with 
the brilliant circles of the French capital, assisted her to fill with ease 
the place she was now to occupy, and to perform its graceful duties 
in a manner becoming the dignity of the republic, to whose fortunes 
she had been so devoted. 

The house which was thus made the center of the social world in 
New- York deserves a moment's attention. The home of the Jays for 
one or two generations had been in Westchester County. At the 
age of forty the father of John Jay, having already acquired a com- 
petency in mercantile pursuits, retired from business and from New- 
York to settle in comfort at a country house and farm at Rye. Jay's 
mother was a Van Cortlandt, through whom the estate at Bedford fell 
into his possession. At Rye he was bom and brought up. On bis 
marriage the occupations and duties to which the troubled times 
called him, as has been noted, prevented the youthful pair from estab- 
lishing a home of their own. Mrs. Jay, during the almost continuous 
separation from her husband, passed the greater part of the time at 
the residence of her father, the governor, at Liberty Hall, Elizabeth- 


towu. New Jersey. But occasional visits were made also to her hus- 
band's parents at Rye, in Westchester County, New- York. There 
was no opportunity for setting up a permanent establishment until 
the return from Europe in 1784, when Jay's official duties required 
bis presence in New-York city. He then built or rented a house in 
Broadway, which in the directory for 1789 is marked No. 133; but it 
is somewhat difficult to identify the 
esact location, since there was then 
no regularity about the numbers of 
houses. "Thus No. 33 was at one of 
the comers of Cortlandt Street ; No. 
29 was near Maiden Lane ; and No. 
58 was nearly opposite to it ; No. 62 
was at the comer of Liberty Street ; 
No. 76 was nearly opposite the City 
Tavem,which was between the pres- 
ent numbers 113 and 119; and No. 
85 was nearly opposite to Trinity 
Church. Odd and even numbers were 
given to houses without regard to the 
side of the street upon which they 
stood, and in some cases two houses 
bore the same number."' The present 
location of No. 133 Broadway, if 
there were such a number,* should 
be between Cedar and Liberty streets, then respectively known as 
Little Queen and Crown streets. The only Jay house in Broadway 
which I know of was of granite — I think a double house with plain 
exterior on the east side of Broadway, below Wall street, which by 
Jay's will (he died in 1829) was left to his son Peter Augustus Jay, 
who sold it. The purchaser erected upon the premises three or four 
stores, which were used for the storage of government supplies. 

The names that are preserved in so interesting a manner upon Mrs. 
Jay's lists fall naturally into groups, and are to be studied to the best 
advantage as thus arranged. The bar of New- York shall be noticed 
first. It gave to the salons of the day an array of names never since 
surpassed in our juridical history: James Duane, Richard Harrison, 
Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, Morgan Lewis, Robert Troup, 
Robert E. Livingston, Egbert Benson, John Watts, Gouverneur 
Morris, Richard Varick, John Lansing, Josiah Ogden Hoffman, and 

I ThomMB.V.Siiimii"Ilew-YoA City In 1789." Botterdsro. He was the lather o( Bobert LiTing- 

I John Lirtngitoii, a ScOttUb Preabrterlan dl- Bton, founder of the American family. The <rtg- 

Tinet WM « member of the General AmemblieB, nette in from a painting in the posBesaion of Mre. 

and tD leSO, one ot tbe eommlarioiien from the Bobert Kaliiton Oosbjr of New-York, a daughter of 

Chnieli of SeoUaod to Charia IL, then at Breda. Col. Henry Llvingslon of Po'keepsie. Editor. 

Bauiltbed In 168S Cor non-eonfivmltjr.he dlM at 'The number next to n9iD Broadway la 135. 


James Kent. At various times they appeared onder the hospitable 
roof of the Jays, and in turn met at the tables of other dignitaries of 
their own or other professions; and it will be proper to take a more 
particular glance at each of those named in the group above. James 
Duane was at this time fifty-six years old, and in the full vigor of his 
powers. He had been mayor of the city since 1784, a position which 
he yielded in the year 1789 to his colleague in the profession, Richard 
Varick, now city recorder. His wife was a daughter of Colonel Robert 
Livingston. He had been diligent in the cause of the republic, but 
withal conservative in his temperament, of exactly the position in all 
the Revolutionary movements that John Jay, his frequent host, occu- 
pied throughout. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress 
when it first met, and remained a member of it all through its ex- 
istence. He was elected a member of the senate of the State for the 
terms 1782 to 1785, and again in 1789 to 1790. He was appointed 
United States judge for the district of New-York in 1789, serving till 
1794, and in 1797 he died. His residence was at No. 17 Nassau street, 
and therefore within a short distance of Mr. Jay's. His presence lent 
dignity to every gathering of celebrity of that day, either as mayor. 
United States judge, or State senator, which honors were all upon 
him in the year 1789, and some of them in 1788, the period to which 
the list has reference. Richard Harrison was not quite forty years 
of age when he was wont to meet his friends at Secretary Jay's table, 
and he remained a prominent figure in the government, which was 
then yet to be initiated, until far into the present century. He was 
made auditor of the treasury by Washington in 1791, held that posi- 
tion until 1836, and died in Washington in July, 1841, at the age 
of ninety-one. He owned an estate in New-York which was then far 
from the heart of the city, but which can be roughly described as 
corresponding to-day to the block between Eighth and Ninth avenues 
and Thirtieth and Thirty-first streets. His residence in 1789 was at 
11 Queen (or Pearl) street, above Hanover Square. In the profession 
of the law he greatly distinguished himself, and on the strength of 
that distinction he was invited to prominent houses in 1788 and 1789, 
as his official life had not then begun. 

The two names that next claim attention naturally fill one with a 
mingled sensation of pleased and painful surprise — pleased to observe 
that these two brilliant minds could meet together in friendship and 
brighten a gay company with their undoubted talents; painful because 
of that future fatal day, which was mercifully veiled from their view, 
but which posterity can never forget when their names are mentioned. 
They were the leading lawyers of their day, often opposed, sometimes 
united, on cases; but with a generous rivalry between them, we may 
be sure. It was not on professional grounds that antagonism arose. 


It was the baneful influence of politics, and the lines that Anally 
divided them had not yet begun to be drawn, or not very distinctly 
at least, when they met in Jay's drawing-rooms, for the federal gov- 
ernment had then not yet started upon its 
career. We are concerned, therefore, with 
their social qualities just here. Burr's were 
eminent: bis engaging manners made him a 
power when his legitimate political life bad 
suffered a hopeless shipwreck. And M. 
Brissot de Warville, who met him frequently 
in the salons of the day, records with enthu- 
siasm his favorable impressions. The wife 
of Burr, ten years his senior, whom he called 
*' the best woman and the finest lady I have 
ever known," does not appear upon the 
dinner-list. It is not likely either that she 
received at her own house, as the dread '""=' '"'"' "" ^"^=- 
disease (cancer) that carried her off five or sis years later may have 
been already at work. The more celebrated daughter, Theodosia, 
whose brilliant gifts made her a "queen of American society" later, 
was then but a child. 

Of Hamilton little need here be said. The vivacity of his French 
blood would make him a welcome guest at every sociid gathering, and 
the wit and wisdom of his conversation would flow with equal readi- 
ness there, as on the more serious occasions of the public debate 
before popular assemblies or in senatorial halls. As a bit of gossip, no 
doubt picked up in just such drawing-room circles, M. de Rochefou- 
cauld Liancourt (afterward the Due de Rochefoucauld) mentions 
the following concerning Hamilton: "Disinterestedness in regard to 
money, rare everywhere, very rare in America, is one of the most 
generally recognized traits of Mr. Hamilton; and although his actual 
practice might be very lucrative, I learn from his clients that their 
sole complaint against him is the smallness of the fees which be asks 
of tbem." ^ It is also well known that Mrs. Hamilton was a daughter 
of General Philip Schuyler, of Albany, and thus in her veins flowed 
the blood of one of the noblest colonial families, distinguished in the 
history of the province for more than a century. From a letter of 
one lady to another — from Miss Kitty Livingston to her sister, Mrs. 
Jay, while the latter was in Madrid — we obtain a pleasant glance into 
the incipiency of this happy nnion.' It is dated at Trenton, May 23, 
1780, and contains this passage: "Oeneral and Mrs. Schuyler are at 
Morristown. The general is one of three that compose a Committee 
from CongreBS. They expect to be with the army all summer. Mrs. 

1 "VoTBca dau let BtBta'Vnli d'AmMqae, 1T9G, 1798, 1T9T " (S vola., PstIbI, T : 160. 



Schuyler returns to Albany when the campaign opens. Apropos, 
Betsey Schuyler is engaged to oar friend Colonel Hamilton. She has 
been at Morristown, at Dr. Cochrane's, since last February." A con- 
temporary aceonnt of Mrs. Hamilton, at the very time when her name 
was put down on the dinner-list, occurs in the pages of M. BriBsot de 
Warville: "A charming woman, who joins to the graces all the candor 
and simplicity of an American wife." Her own hospitalities were dis- 
pensed at her house, located on the comer of Broad and Wall streets. 
Burr's residence at this time was scarce 
a stone's throw distant, at 10 Nassau 
street. Bichmond Hill had either not 
as yet come into his possession, or was 
nsed only in snmmer as a country- 
seat. In 1789 it was occupied by Vice- 
President John Adams. 

Continuing to east the eye along the 
list of legal celebrities given above, 
we are reminded that then the city of 
New-York, besides being the federal 
capital, was also the capital of the 
State. Here, therefore, resided the 
chancellor, Robert E. Livingston, of 
the Clermont branch of that numer- 
E'j ous family. His residence was No. 3 
Broadway. It fell to his share to ad- 
minister the oath of office to President 
Washington; and after he bad repre- 
sented our nation at the court of the 
great Napoleon, winning the latter^s 
admiration, and doing signal service to 
bis native land In negotiating the purchase of Louisiana, be immor- 
talized his name above all these other causes by actively pushing 
to success Fulton's invention for navigating vessels by steam, the 
Clermont bearing the name of his estate on the Hudson. Egbert 
Benson, another member of the group of lawyers, was the first attor- 
ney-general of the State, holding the office from 1777 to 1789. Aft«r 
that he was a judge of the Supreme Court of New- York, and, living to 
a good old age, became the first president of the New- York Historical 
Society. Another name high in the annals of the State government 
is that of Morgan Lewis. After an honorable career as soldier, no 
sooner were actual hostilities over than he resigned from the army 
and began his civil career. "He was so impatient," observes his 
granddaughter, Mrs. Delafield, "to resume the study of the law that 
ho returned to New- York before the British troops had vacated the 

■&. ^'*«/*>»*'^^»'T_^ 


town." There was some risk in this proceeding, for on the eve of the 
departure of the British there appeared good veaaon to expect a con- 
flagration. But the danger blew over, and Lewis, as well as Hamil- 
ton and other young lawyers, soon had his hands full of business. 
Moi^au Lewis was married to a sister of Chancellor Livingston. He 
became attorney-general of the State in 1791, then chief justice, and 
in 1804 defeated Burr as candidate 
for governor. Though Lewis was 
no longer of Hamilton's pai-ty, it 
was through Hamilton's efforts that 
no part of the broken federalist 
ranks went over to Burr; and out of 
this gubernatorial contest grew the 
({uarrel that terminated so disas- 
trously to both men. 

An honored place in the circles of 
N'ew-York society was due also to 
John Lansing, who had been mayor 
of Albany, and was still a resident 
of that town, but who was in New- 
York as speaker of the State assem- 
bly. He succeeded Livingston as 
chancellor, and was in turn suc- 
ceeded by James Kent. Gouvemeur 
Morris, too, a lawyer, but preeminently a financier, the colaborer 
in the difficult and desperate days of republican finances with his 
namesake (but not kinsman) Robert Monris, would ride into town 
from Morrisania, which he had just purchased, and be welcomed for 
his patriotic services, as well as for his descent from some of the 
oldest colonial families — from Gouverneur, the sou-in-law of Jacob 
Leisler, and from the chief justice of the province when it was still a 
royal possession. In December, 1788, however, he went t^ England ; 
and while there was appointed minister to France, serving in that 
post at the beginning of the Reign of Terror. It was also something 
deeper than the amenities of social life which brought Gouvemeur 
Morris under the roof of Secretary Jay. Once, while the latter was 
in Europe, Morris hastily despatched this note, speaking volumes 
for the affection which prompted it : " Dear Sir, — It is now within a 
few minutes of the time when the mail is made up and sent off. I 
can not, therefore, do more than just to assure you of the continu- 
ance of my love. Adieu." Of the remaining names we need only 
note that Robert Troup was a lifelong friend, from college days, of 
Hamilton, and born in the same year ; that John Watts had received 
back the estate which his father's "loyalty" had forfeited; and that 

VoL-HL— 7. 



Richard Varick, at first recorder, succeeded James Duane as mayor of 
the city. Josiah Ogden Hoffman and James Kent were both in their 
youthful vigor ; the latter admitted to the bar in 1785, and thus just 
commencing the career that gave him, while yet living, a world-wide 
reputation as advocate and jurist. 

Pursuing our review of the contributions from professional life to 
dinner-tables and social circles, a glance may be taken at the minis- 
ters and physicians eminent in those days. Of the Reformed (Dutch) 

•"'^sen^raatai^frt ^^ &^^^^=>w»^^PZ8^ 

<^a^^^ ^^ /^.e^. .^^ 



Church the pastors were Dr. John Henry Livingston and Dr. William 
Linn; these preached exclusively in English, and were themselves 
not even of Dutch extraction. But in the old Garden Street Church 
there worshiped a remnant who still loved to hear the mother- 
tongue, and Dr. Gerardus Kuypers ministered to them ; but he made 
no practice of mingling with high society. Dr. Livingston, however, 
was intimately connected, as his name indicates, with the most promi- 
nent official and social circles, Mrs. Jay herself being a Livingston. 
He had also married a Livingston, the daughter of Philip, the " signer ** 
of the Declaration, who had a house on Brooklyn Heights at the 
beginning of the war. The doctor's tall and dignified figure and high 
breeding would make him a notable addition to any company ; his 
colleague. Dr. Linn, too, was a man of note, having the reputation of 
being by far the most eloquent preacher in New- York and even in 

The above is a fac-simile of an order written by Mary Alexander, wife of James Alexander, and 
mother of Lord Stirling. The original is in the possession of Miss Jay. 


the Uuited States. In 1789 he was elected chaplain to the House of 
Representatives, the first to occupy that office. 

Both the Presbyterian ministers, Drs. John Bodgers and John 
Mason, appear on the dinner-list. Dr. Eodgers was pastor of the Wall 
Street and "Brick Meeting" churches, which were united under one 
government. The latter church stood 
on the site of the " New-York Times " 
and the Potter buildings, or the tri- 
angular block bounded by Beekman 
and Nassau streets and Park Bow. 
Dr. Eodgers was a native of Boston, 
au ardent patriot during the war, and 
having served as brigade chaplain, 
he must have been on terms of famil- 
iar acquaintance with most of the 
officers of the Revolutionary army 
who were now prominent in civil life. 
He would be welcomed in society, 
therefore, and also for the reason 
that he felt entirely at home in such 
surroundings. "He was elegant in 
manners but formal to such a degree 
that there is a tradition that the last thing which be and his wife 
always did before retiring for the night was to salute each other with 
a bow and a courtesy." As to his personal appearance, " he is de- 
scribed as a stout man of medium height who wore a white wig, was 
extremely careful in his dress, and walked with the most majestic 
dignity." Dr. Mason was pastor of the Scotch or Covenanter Presby- 
terian Church, located on the south side of Cedar street, between 
Nassau and Broadway, now represented by the church on Fourteenth 
street, near Sixth avenue. He, too, had been a zealous patriot, and 
served for some years as chaplain at "West Point. He was a near neigh- 
bor of Dr.Linn's, living at 63 Cortlandt street, while the lattei-'s number 
was 66. He was of medium stature, earnest and solid in his pulpit 
efforts rather than eloquent, born and educated in Scotland, and a 
stout opponent there of state interference with the choice of ministers 
by congregations. His manners were polished, as of a man who had 
mingled much with people of distinction on both sides of the ocean. 

Of the Episcopal clergy we find on the list the name of Dr. Benja- 
min Moore, who was now rector of Trinity, but had at one time been 
removed from the position because Tory votes had put him into it. 
He lived not far from the church, at 46 Broadway. But chief among 
them as a social figure, by reason of his office as well as because of 
his social qualities and undoubted patriotic sympathies, was the "easy, 



good-tempered, geutlemanly, and scholarly Dr. Provoost-, Bishop of 
New- York, — a chaplaiu of Congi-ess, and a welcome guest at the din- 
ner table of his friends." The doctor had been devoted to the Ameri- 
can cause, was a native of the city, and of Dutch or combined Dutch 
and Huguenot descent For even then the city presented the curious 
" contradiction in circumstances," so often repeated since and seen 
to-day, that in the Dutch pulpits stood men without a particle of 
Dutch blood in their veins, while in the Episcopal churches the purest 
Knickerbockers led the devotions of the people. The bishop was in 
every respect a most estimable and agreeable person ; and, in addi- 
tion to liis Hebrew, classic, and ecclesiastical lore, he is said to have 
been familiar with French, Qerman, and Italian. It is even affirmed 
that as a literary recreation — and the circumstance seems more sig- 
nificant In view alike of his Epis- 
copal duties and the times — he 
had made a new poetical transla- 
tion of Tasso. He was in a posi- 
tion, therefore, to flavor his con- 
versation at social gatherings with 
the elegancies of modem literature, 
as well as to edify men with "the 
weightier matters of the law." He 
was a neighbor of the Rev. Dr. 
Eodgers, who lived at 7 Nassau 
street, while the bishop resided at 
No. 2. In person it is recorded of 
him that he had a round, full face, 
was rather above the medium in 
stature, of portly figure, and very 
dignified in demeanor." He was a 
public-spirited man, hospitable, and so liberal to the poor as to in- 
fringe rather too deeply upon his moderate salary of seven himdred 
pounds per annum, with house rent-free; the pound in America then 
being of the value of but about two and a half dollars. 

The medical profession was represented at that day by Dr. John 
(.'litu'ltuu, Drs. John and Samuel Bard (father and son, who operated 
at tho lauciug of a cai-buncle from which Washington suffered during 
liis rt'sideuce in the Franklin house). Dr. Wright Post, Dr. Richard 
lliiiley, Dr. Benjamin Kissam, Dr. Johnson, Dr. Jones, Dr. Nicholas 
Roiimino, Dr. Charles McKnight, Dr. James Tillery, and several 
ntliers. The whole membership of the Medical Society in 1789 
uinouLited to twenty-eight. On the dinner-list appear only the names 
of Ura. </harlton, Kissam, and Johnson. Dr. Charlton lived at 100 

t Wilaon's "Centennial HlHtoiy of the Diocese of New- York," p. 127. 

CL^^n "^ JWtTWs'^ 


Broadway, and thus within easy call of Jay's house, aii4')ie may have 
been the family physician.' Under one date on the iist;-.the only 
guests for dinner are Dr. and Mrs. Charlton, and this little repast, 
almost en fam'dle, would 
lend support to the theory. 
But the name most fre- 
quently occurring is that 
of Dr. Johnson. Dr. Ben- 
jamin Kissam may have 

been the father of the ■ aj* -— xap^'' 

more celebrated Dr. Rich- ^ i^^^i^ -^ 

ard Sharpe Kissam, who 
graduated at Edinburgh 
ia 1789 and began prac- 
tice in New- York in 1791. 
The former resided at 156 
Queen (now Pearl) street ; 
to judge from the num- 
ber — counting above 
Hanover Square — the 
doctor's house must have ^.^^^^-^t^ff^^Si. ^w-^*- ^Ss'^^.^-.^;^^ 
been a few blocks above 

Franklin Square. It is surprising that some of the greater lights of 
the profession — so eminent a surgegn as Dr. Wright Post, for one — 
were not found more frequently at the social gatherings of the day. 
It would be singular if they appeared elsewhere and were not among 
the houored guests at Secretary Jay's. 

Prominent upon Mrs. Jay's list are, of course, the names of the old 
New- York families — the Bayards, the Beekmans, the Crugers, the De 
Peysters, the Livingstons, the Morrises, the Schuylers, the Van Homes, 
the Van Corilandts, the Van Eensselaers, the Verplancks, the Wattses. 
^Tiile some of these furnished men for high positions in the service 
of the nation, the State, or the city, their position in society was 
assured, independently of that, by the descent from those who bore 
these names with honor from the earliest colonial times, as well as by 
the possession of ample wealth and the refinement which several gen- 
erations of affluence will naturally bestow. Hence the majority of 
the names just mentioned owed their prominence solely to social dis- 
tinction. But now that New- York was the capital of the Confederacy, 
the social sphere comprised names of honor and fame from other 
parts of the country. By the presence of the Congress in the city 
some of the most eminent of the statesmen and generals of " the old 

102 .■'.,_'■•■ mSTOBY OF NEW- YORK 

thirteen " whQ'-Lad helped to vindicate the independence and lay deep 
the fouDdi^^^n of the republic, mingled with her sons and daughters. 
Among"t^e names of Mrs. Jay's list, therefore, may be found those of 
John'tfljigdon and Paine Wingate, from New Hampshire : the former 
to bg'the first president of the United States Senate in 1789, biding 
^e amval of John Adams ; the latter destined to reach the extraor- 
..'•^inary age of ninety-nine years, having been bom in 1739 and dying 
-.''in 1838; — Boger Sherman and Benjamin Huntington, of Connecticut; 
■ EUas Boudinot and John Cadwallader, of New Jersey ; Robert Morris 
and George Bead, of Pennsylvania ; Charles CarroU, of Maryland ; 
William Grayson, Theodoric Bland, and James Madison, of Virginia ; 
Pierce Butler, Ralph Izard, Daniel Huger, and Thomas Tudor Tucker, 
of South Carolina ; and William Few, of Georgia. Truly a brilliant 
galaxy of names, well known, just fresh from the political and military 
fields of contest, and adding now, 
or soon to add, new laurels to their 
fame in the more subtle conflicts 
which were to construct and per- 
petuate a strong federal republic 
out of the feeble and incoherent 
materials of the Confederation.' 

These gentlemen were, in many 
cases, accompanied by their fami- 
lies, representing in part the higher 
circles of New England, Philadel- 
phia, Baltimore, and the south. 
The letters of the day which have 
been preserved, both of Americans 
and Frenchmen, allude frequently 
to the grace, beauty, and attrac- 
tiveness of many women then in 
society. Among them were Lady 
Mary Watts and Lady Kitty Duer — 
in reality, and according to a more 
republican nomenclature, Mrs. John Watts and Mrs. William Duer. 
They were the daughters of William Alexander, real, or at least 
titular, Earl of Stirling; and there was enough of old-time courtli- 
ness left in the States to defer to English usage and apply to them 
the title of "Lady," as above. So there was also Lady Christiana 
Griffin, the wife of Cyrus Griffin of Virginia, the president of the 

1 Among the prominent memben of the Conti- Isder, Joha Cleve Sfnunea. and Jodnh Hom- 

nenUl CongreM of this period who were well blower, of New Jersey; Colonel John BsyKni, 

known in New-Tort Bodety were John H»neock. WllUam Henry, Genend Arthur St. Clair, and 

Theodore Sedfnriok, and Rufus KlDg, of Hassachu- Jamec Wilson, of PennsylvAla ; James Monroe 

setta ; John L. Lawrene^, Helancthon Smith, and and Richard Henry Iiee. of Virginia, and Charles 

Pvter W. YatM. of Naw-York ; Lambert Cadwal- t^nokney, of South Carolina. Editob. 



Contineutal Congress ; she belonged to a noble Scottish family. Mrs. 
Ralph Izard, though from South Carolina, was at home in New- 
York society, where she had many relatives, for her maiden name 
was Alice De Lancey, and she was the niece of the whilom chief jus- 
tice and lieutenantrgovernor. Soon after her marriage her husband 
took her to Europe, where he was 
engaged to some extent in the 
diplomatic service of the Confed- 
eration. 3Irs. Alexander Hamil- 
ton has already been referred to. 
We may mention briefly Mrs. 
James Beekman, who was Miss 
Janet Keteltas; Mrs. Theodore 
Sedgwick, formerly Miss Pamela 
Dwight; and Miss Wolcott of 
Connecticut, who afterward be- 
came Mrs. Chauncey Ooodrich. 

To the groups already pre- 
sented there must be added one 
that formed a very essential ele- 
ment of social life in that day, 
namely, the small circle of diplo- 
mats accredited to the United 
States, among whom may be 
logically counted also the occa- 
sional European travelera who were attracted by the rising greatness 
of the young republic, and from whose memoirs may be gathered so 
vivid a picture of the social events at which they assisted and the 
"society people" whom they met. We are enabled to look in upon 
one of these events by means of the dinner-list and of a letter writ- 
ten by a lady who was a participant. Mrs. WilHam S. Smith, the 
daughter of John Adams, writes to her mother and tells her that 
Mrs. Jay gives a dinner to the diplomatic corps on Tuesday evening 
of every week. On May 20, 1788, this lady attended one of these 
dinners, and on the next day discourses of it in the following style; 
"Yesterday we dined at Mrs. Jay's in company with the whole corps 
diplomatique. Mr. Jay is a most pleasing man, plain in his manners, 
but kind, affectionate, and attentive; benevolence is stamped in every 
feature. Mrs. Jay dresses showily, but is very pleasing on a first 
acquaintance. The dinner was a la Fran^aise, and exhibited more 
of European taste than I expected to find." 

1 Colonel John ttjvri wm bom In 1738, uid of tlie Continental CongreBs. He 
dl«d in IWT. He dlstiiipulslied himself dnrioR from StUTveBsnt's sister, and w&b the repreaenta- 
the BeTolDtlaii, and In ITS3 itm elected b nembeT tive of th« oldest branch of the Bayaid famllr. 



Now let us observe who were actually present at this dinner. 
Attention is due first of all to the president of Congress, Cyrus Grif- 
fin. On the list he is often merely referred to as President, or 
Mr. President, so that, if dates are not watched closely, we are apt to 
think of the great Washington. His position in the country, as well 
as in society, deserves a moment's consideration. He was undoubt- 
edly the first citizen. Brissot de Warville, the stanch French repub- 
lican, happy to be in a country where his fond ideals were in actual 
operation, says of the office: "A presi- 
dent of Congress is far from being sur- 
rounded with the splendor of European 
monarchs; and so much the better. He 
is not durable in his station; and so 
much the better. He never forgets that 
he is a simple citizen, and will soon 
return to the station of one. He does 
not give pompous dinners; and so 
much the better. He has fewer para- 
sites, and less means of eoiTuption." 
The vivacious Frenchman might have 
added another tant mieitx to the last 
item. But although one of these 
characteristic comments was attached 
to the lack of pompous dinners, still 
Mr. Griffin felt called upon to give 
dinners of some kind. At one of 
these Brissot was present, and he 
has recorded that fact with some 
circumstantiality. "I should still be wanting in gratitude," he says, 
"should I neglect to mention the politeness and attention showed me 
by the President of Congress, Mr. Griffin. He is a Virginian, of very 
good abilities, of an agreeable figure, arable and polite. ... I re- 
marked that his table was freed from many usages observed else- 
where; no fatiguing presentations, no toasts, so despairing in a 
numerous society. Little wine was drank after the women had re- 
tired. These traits will give you an idea of the temperance of this 
country : temperance, the leading virtue of republicans." 

The president was, of course, accompanied by his lady, sometimes 
playfully called the " presidentess" in the correspondence of those 
days. Passing now to the American guests before we single out the 
diplomats, we notice that, besides Mrs. Colonel Smith and her hus- 
band, there are General James Armstrong, the defender of German- 
town in 1777; Mr. Arthur Lee, active in diplomatic work abroad 
during the Revolution; Mr. and Lady Mary Watts; their son and 



daughter-in-law; Mr. William BiDgham, of Philadelphia, reputed the 
richest man in Pennsylvania, and celebrated for the magnificent 
hospitality dispensed by him and his beautiful wife at their own 
home; Mr. Daniel McCormick; and Mr. John Kean, delegate to the 
Continental Congress since 1785 from South Carolina, yet voting 
against the extension of slavery to the northwestern territory. 

First among the diplomats on the list, and presumably at the din- 
ner on this 20th of May, appears the minister of France, the Marquis 
de Moustier. Eleonore Francois Elie, Marquis de Moustier, was sent 
to America in 1787. Throughout his career he was a devoted and 
self-sacrificing adherent of the Bourbons, and suffered greatly on that 
account. But it led him into the mistake of making himself disa- 
greeable in his official capacity here, inasmuch as he gave too much 
evidence of despising the republic which his own master had helped 
to establish. Yet, whether a welcome guest or not, as a member of the 
diplomatic corps he could not well be left out of the invitations. 
Quite diflferent was the case with Don Diego de Gardoqui. '* In the 
summer of 1785 the Court of Spain appointed practically a resident 
minister to the United States, though under the modest title of 
encargado de negocios^ with a view to settle the controversy about the 
navigation of the Mississippi, which had been guaranteed to the 
United States by the treaty of peace; also to arrange a commercial 
treaty."* Though representing a more intense despotism, and a 
government which had diligently shunned all intercourse with our 
country during the war, De Gardoqui became exceedingly popular in 
Now- York, and his departure in 1789 was greatly regretted. He re- 
sided at No. 1 Broadway, and De Moustier was a near neighbor, his 
house also facing the Bowling Green. 

The Spanish diplomat seems to have been unaccompanied by a 
lady, but with the French minister came his sister, the Marquise 
de Brehan ; a near relative of hers must have been the Comte de Bre- 
han, who also appears on the list for this date, unless it is in error 
about the title ; perhaps the " comte " was really the Marquis de Bre- 
han and the brother-in-law of De Moustier; or the marquise was 
only a comtesse. Besides the minister, France had a charge d'affaires 
to represent her, M. Louis G. Otto. He had come to America in 1779, 
and evidently liked republican ways and people, for he married a 
Miss Livingston, a relative of Mrs. Jay's. He afterward be<5ame 
Count de Mosloy. A sister republic was among the first to recognize 
the American commonwealth, and the ink was hardly diy upon the 
treaty of 1783 when Francis P. Van Berckel presented his credentials 
as minister plenipotentiary from the United Netherlands to the 
United States. He was a widower, but the honors of his domestic 

1 George Pellew's ** John Jay." p. 232. 



establishment were borne by his daughter, Miss Van Berekel. There 
was as yet no minister from England, but the nearest in rank and. 
functions to that position was that of consul-general, and Sir John 
Temple held that office at this time. He had been lieutenant-governor 
of New Hampshire from 1761 to 1774, and, strangely enough, in view 
of hia present post, was removed for too gi-eat an "inclination toward 
the American cause." He was a native 
of this country, and had married a 
daughter of Governor James Bow- 
doiu, of Massachusetts. They were 
both at the dinner of May 20. 

Among the distinguished foreigners 
on Mrs. Jay's list is found the name 
of M. Brissot de "WarviUe, from whose 
well-known work on America we have 
already quoted more than once. It 
was written on his return to Europe; 
and while the first volume (in the 
English translation) is devoted to an 
interesting account of his voyage to 
and experiences in this country, the 
second treats almost exclusively of 
commercial matters. He had come 
over especially to make a study of 
these, in order to establish, if possible, improved mercantile rela- 
tions between France and America. Brissot had been bred to the 
profession of the law, but in the stirring times preceding the Revolu- 
tion had drifted into journalism. When the outbreak finally occurred 
he was on the side of conservative patriotism, and of the party of 
the Girondists. He opposed the execution of the king, and in con- 
sequence he, together with several other Girondists, was arrested on 
October 3, 1793, and guillotined on the 31st. Brissot had brought to 
Mr. Jay from La Fayette a letter commending him as a writer on the 
side of liberty, and as one of the founders of the society in behalf of 
the blacks; for Jay was well known to be an autislavery man. On 
September 2, 1788, he dined at the secretary's table. 

A marked influence was wrought upon the social world in New- 
York by the inauguration of the federal government, and the resi- 
dence here of the president of the United States. With the latter^ 
advent, the prominence of Jay, especially as regards diplomatic eon- 

ITheportnit of sir JdhDhu been copied from her grsndsoD, the late Grenville Temple Wln- 

ft photograph, made In 1890, of the origliud paliit- tbrop, now in the keeping of Hon. Robert C. 

ing In the posseaaion of his gmidsoii, Oie Hod. Wlothrop. These pointing* &re from the huid 

Bobert C. WiDthrop, of Boston, Hus. Th»t of of the celebrmted p(>^trai^pftlnM^, Qllbert Stuart. 

hadj Temple wu made in like manner from a The death of Sir John occurred In 1798. Ladf 

photoicraph of Che original Id Che poaaeulon of Templedied in 1809. See alaanote on p. 124 




Dectious, gave way to the distinctive, as well as distinguished, head 
of the republic And from the social standpoint it is interesting to 
consider, first of all, the discussion which took place about the title, or 
mode of address, proper to the president. Some suggested "Most 
Serene Highness," or " Serene Highness," thinking it a safe appella- 
tion inasmuch as none of the rulers in Europe bore it. Madison 
gave it as his opinion that the chief magistrate should he spoken of 
simply as the president. General Muhlenberg, with an eye to the 
high-sounding title assumed by the 
States General of the Dutch repub- 
lic, suggested "High Mightiness"; 
but "Washington was never quite cer- 
tain whether Muhlenberg was in jest 
or in earnest. Speaking on the sub- 
ject at the president's table, Muhlen- 
Ijerg remarked aptly: "If the office 
could always be held by men as 
large as yourself, it would be appro- 
priate; but if by chance a president 
as small as my opposite neighbor 
were elected [he might have referred 
to Hamilton] it would be ridicu- 
lous." Bancroft informs us that 
wheu the style, "The President of 
the United States of America," was 
determined on, " the clause that his 
title should be ' His Excellency' was 
still suffered to linger in the draft."' 
This unwritten and therefore extra-constitutional title, however, was 
the one finally fixed upon. In the furor of French sympathy excited 
by the first outburst of the Revolution, the adherents of the demo- 
cratic clubs inveighed against this title. 

Their republican wrath rose also to a high pitch of fervor against 
the president's receptions, which society, at his own instance, called 
" levees," smacking thus most unsavorily of monarchical institutions 
in Europe. The stately and majestic president loved these courtly 
manners. When he had a message to dehver to Congress, he did not 
intrust it to a page or a messenger, but rode to Federal Hall in a 
coach and six, with outriders besides. Yet he could be plain in his 
own house, as befitting the American Cincinnatus. Mr. Paine Win- 
gat* teUs of a dinner the day after Mrs. Washington had arrived in 
New- York: "The chief said grace, and dined on boiled leg of mutton. 
After dessert, one glass of wine was offered to each guest, and when 


"Hiitory of tlie United States," 

: 312 (ed. 1883). 


it had been drunk, the President rose and led the way to the drav- 
ing-room." The president's "levees" were held on Tuesday after- 
noon ; Mrs. Washington received on Friday evening, from eight to ten 
o'clock. At the levees, we are told, "there were no places for the 
intrusion of the rabble in crowds, or for the mere coarse and boister- 
ous partisan, the vulgar electioneerer, or the impudent place-hunter, 
with boots, frock-coats, or ronndabouta, or with patched knees and 
holes at both elbows. On the contrary, they were select and more 
courtly than have been given by any of the President's successors. 
None were admitted to the levees but those who had either a right by 
official station, or by established merit and character ; and full dress 
was required of all." 

It need not be said here that President Washington resided at first 
in the Franklin house, on the present Franklin Square, corner of 
Cherry street. The huge bridge now has one of its piei-s standing on 
or near the spot, and the house has disappeared. Later, he occupied 
the Macomb house, at 39 Broadway, because the other was inconve- 
niently " far out of town." In the appropriate place both of these 
houses have been described. And we are fortunate in having a 
minute account of the house of one of the cabinet officers, the secre- 
tary of war, Major-General Henry Knos, situated at No. 4 Broadway. 
It was advertised for sale in 1789, "a four-story brick house on the 
west side of Broadway [No. 4 at present is on the east side], 314 feet 
wide by 60 feet deep, containing two rooms of thirty feet in length, 
one of twenty-six, three of twenty-three feet." Ample opportunity, 
therefore, in this generous mansion for the gatherings of the society of 
a capital ; for " fashionable society in New-York in 1789," says Thomas 
E. V. Smith, " seems to have consisted of about three hundred pei-sons, 
as that number attended a ball on the 7th of May, at which Washing- 
ton was present." This nmnber bore a fair proportion to the popula- 
tion of the city at that period, and at the same time represented, not 
simply the society of the State of New-York, but that of her sister 
States, in the presence of distinguished statesmen and diplomats, 
whose names, already conspicuous in the republic, are now identified 
with its important history. 

At these gay assemblies the dress worn by ladies and gentlemen 
was modeled then, as now, after the fashions prevailing in London 
and Paris. Brissot de Warville observes: "If there is a town on the 
American continent where the English luxury displays its follies, it is 
New- York. You will find here the English fashions. In the dress of 
the women you will see the most brilliant silks, gauzes, hats, and bor- 
rowed hair. The men have more simplicity in their dress." But that 
France also contributed to set the fashion of that day in New- York 
we may gather from the " New- York Gazette " of May 15, 1789, de- 


scribing several costumes imported from Paris. "One was a plain 
celestial blue satin gown with a white satin petticoat. There was 
worn with it, on the neck, a very large Italian gauze handkerchief with 
satin border stripes. The head- 
dress with this costume was a pouf 
of gauze in the form of a globe, the 
ereneanx or head-piece of which 
was made of white satin having a 
double wing, in large plaits, aud 
trimmed with a large wreath of 
artificial roses which fell from the 
left at the top to the right at the 
bottom in front, and the reverse 
behind. The hair was dressed all 
over in detached curls, four of 
which fell on each side of the neck 
and were relieved behind by a float- 
ing chignon. . . . The newest cos- 
tume consisted of a perriot and 
j)etticoat of gray striped silk trim- 
med with gauze cut in points. A 
large gauze liandkerehief bordered with four satin stripes was worn 
with it on the neck, and the head-dress was a plain gauze cap such 
as was worn by nuns. Shoes were made of celestial blue satin with 
rose colored rosettes."* 

As for the gentlemen, they wore very long blue riding-coats, the 
buttons of which were of steel, the vest, or waistcoat, being at the 
same time of scarlet color, and the knee-breeches yellow. The shoes 
were tied with strings, and low; but gaiters were fastened above them, 
running up nearly to the knee, and made of polished leather. But for 
evening dress the gaiters were omitted, and the legs (more or less 
genuine as to shape) were incased in silk stockings. It was not until 
toward the end of the century that material modifications in the dress 
of gentlemen occurred. The hair was no longer powdered, nor worn 
long and tied in a queue at the back. The locks were worn short, or at 
a length considered proper to-day. For the close-fitting knee-breeches 
and stockings or gaiters upon the legs, loose pantaloons reaching to 
the shoe were substituted. "The women in 1800 wore hoops, high- 
heeled shoes of black stuffs, with silk or thread stockings, and had 
their hair tortured for hours at a sitting to get the curls properly 

1 Philip LlvingBon. Uie secimd Lord of the in 1721-49. He mwried Catherine Van Bnigh of 

Huior, «M bom >t Albuiy, July 9, 1888. Was Albany, and during the later years of hU life 

dcputjr wcTetary of Indian affairs, and afterward entertained with ^reat matcnlflcence. He died in 

(in 1722) secretary. Was a memljerof the prorln- New- York city. Febmary 4, 1749. EoiTOii. 

dal SMemblj from Albany In 1709, and county clerk I Smith's ■■ New-Yorii in 1789, " p. 95. 


crisped. The hoops were succeeded by ' bishops' stufiFed with horse- 
hair. In the early days hidies who kept their coaches often went to 
church in check aprons ; and Watson mentions a lady in PbUadelphia 
who went to a baU, in full dress, on horseback." ^ About the same 
time, dark or black cloth took the place of colored 
staffs for the dress of gentlemen. 

Perhaps it will be of interest to conclude this re- 
view of New- York society with two brief glimpses 
into the actual doings of people in high life, one of 
a private and familiar nature, the other a celebrated 
public occasion. While Mr. Jay was absent in Eng- 
land on the special mission, Mrs. Jay wrote to him 
as follows: "Last Monday the President went to 
Long Island to pass a week there. On Wednesday, 
Mrs. Washington called upon me to go with her to 
wait upon Miss Van Berckel, and on Thursday morning, agreeable to 
invitation, myself and the little girls took an early breakfast with 
her, and then went with her and her little grandchildren to breakfast 
at General Morris's, Morrisania. We passed together a very agreeable 
day, and on our return dined with her, as she would not take a re- 
fusal. After which I came home to dress, and she was so polite as 
to take coffee with me in the evening." The other picture presents 
a fashionable ball given by the French ambassador, the Marquis de 
Moustier, at his residence opposite the Bowling Green, on May 14, 
1789. Although a despiser of republics in theory, he could not very 
well avoid doing the honors of his nation to the great chief of the 
American commonwealth, who had been inaugurated two weeks be- 
fore, and his manner of doing it was altogether worthy of France. 
Elias Boudinoit, of New Jersey, writing of it to a friend, spoke en- 
thusiastically of his experiences there ; and as his description has all 
the flavor of a contemporary and an eye-witness, we give it as it 
appeared in Griswold's "Republican Court": 

"After the President came, a company of eight couple formed in the 
other room and entered, two by two, and began a most curious dance 
called En Ballet. Four of the gentlemen were dressed in French r^- 
mentals and four in American uniforms ; four of the ladies with blue 
ribbons round their heads and American flowers, and four with red 
roses and flowers of France. These danced in a very curious manner, 
sometimes two and two, sometimes four couple and four couple, and 
then in a moment altogether, which formed great entertainment for 
the spectators, to show the happy union between the two nations. 
Three rooms were filled, and the fourth was most elegantly set o£F as a 
place for refreshment. A long table crossed this room from wall to 

1 Mrs. EHet. " Qneeiu of Americsit Sotdetj," p. 149. 



He stands in the midst 

wall. The whole wall inside was covered with shelves filled with cakes, 
oranges, apples, wines of all sorts, ice-creams, etc^ and highly lighted 
up. A number of servants from behind the table supplied the guesta 
with everything they wanted, from time to time, as they came in to 
refresh themselves, which they did as often as a party had done 
dancing, and made way for another. We retired about ten o'clock, in 
the height of the jollity." 

We may properly take leave bf New- York society at a reception, or 
levee, at the president's house in Broadway. " 
of a brilliant circle of 
ladies and gentlemen. 
As guests are pre- 
sented, he does not 
shake hands, but re- 
ceives them with a 
dignified bow. He is 
attired in black velvet 
coat and knee-breeches, 
a white or pearl-colored 
waistcoat showing fine- 
ly underneath the dark 
and flowing outer gar- 
ment. Silver buckles 
glitter at the knees and 
upon the shoes. A long 
sword hangs by his side, 
bright, with a finely 
wrought steel hUt. It is the mark of the gentleman of the day, and 
need not recall the soldier amid these peaceful surroundings. Yellow 
gloves adorn the hands that struck so bravely for liberty. With a 
hngering look of affection and admiration upon the noblest Ameri- 
can that ever breathed, we pass out of the assembly-room, and the 
shadowy forms of the past dissolve. The plain present is upon us, 
a city huge and magnificent, a society possessing a wealth then never 
^ dreamed of, and exhibiting more than princely 

y^^CL \.^^CL*^ Uberality in its contributions to philanthropy, 
^'y art, science, and learning, — a society in whose ex- 
^-^ tending circles are still conspicuous many of the 
Dutch, English, and Huguenot names that lent luster to the early days 
of the repuhhc, when New- York, as the seat of the national govern- 
ment, witnessed the inauguration of Washington and welcomed the 
illustrious membeVs of the first Congress. 







I HE period in the history of the city that now opens is one 
that may be designated as "within the memory of men 
still living." It was the writer's privilege to be on terms 
of intimate friendship for a number of yeai-s with an aged 
lady who was born more than a year before the close of Washington's 
first term ; she died during Mr, Cleveland's presidency. Again, on the 
Sunday preceding the centennial celebration of Washington's inaugu- 
ration in New- York city, the writer was introduced to a lady who on 
that day attained her one hundredth year. Within the compass of one 
such lifetime what vast changes have occurred in the condition of our 
city, as in the aspects of the civilized world ! Though apparently so 
near in the number of the years, at what a great distance in time do men 
seem to be this day from that closing period of the eighteenth century ! " 

These aged persons in their infancy were actually nearer to a date 
even centuries before their birth than they were to their dying hour, 
so far as concerns the mechanical, industrial, and scientific progress 
of society. When they were yet children they would have had to 
travel the sea by ships under sail, or the land by the lumbering stage 

1 Thin Hew wMdmm by an officer of tbePreoch 

' dpet. which took refuge Id New-Tork Harbor when 

pursued by an Engllah fleet. The bouse whose 

roof ia bftrdy seen to rise above the hill on the 

Vol. UL— 8. ' 

left U the Rutgers Mansion, owned by Colonel 
Henry Rutgers, and bequeathed to William B. 
Crosby, prandsoQ of his siater, Catherine Bedlow. 
and tlie father of Dr. Howard Crosby. 


or private carriage drawn by horses, jnat as men did at the end of the 
seventeenth, and sixteenth, and fifteenth centuries. Their honses 
were heated, their homes and the streets of the cities where they and 
their contemporaries lived were lighted (if at all), in much the same 
way as people had done in the middle ages or in the days of the 
Roman republic. It is superflnons to expatiate on the advances in 
these simple matters of every-day necessity, made ere these venerable 
women had attained their half-centory, their threescore and ten, their 
fourscore years. Yet how great an alteration in the very face of the 
worid, in the intercourse of nations, in the conduct of business, in the 
comforts of existence, have the advances in these matter-of-fact affairs 
brought about ! Measured by circumstances and not by years, how 
vast the distance, as was said, between the beginning and the end of 
one such human lifetime; between the New -York of 1892 and that of 
1793 ! It will be our task in this chapter to span that formidable gap, 
and seek to reproduce to the imagination conditions in our city of 
just a century ago. 

The history of the eighteenth century, for the American colonies, 
divides itself into five clearly marked periods. The first may be called 
that of legislative controversy, of the struggle between royal gov- 
ernors and provincial assemblies, which served to deepen the con- 
sciousness of the colonists not only that they were possessed of rights, 
but that they had it within their power to assert those rights. The 
misconduct of one governor of New-York led to a practice on the part 
of the assembly of that province which had in it the germ of self- 
government. Too late was it seen by the English ministry what was 
the significance of granting supplies from year to year and for spe- 
cific objects. When they saw it and wished to remedy their mistake, 
the representatives of the i)eople, equally alive to its advantages for 
themselves, would not abandon it. Then the great English piinciple 
of the power of precedent, which is quite as potent as a written con- 
stitution, riveted the practice upon the province, and it remained 
intact in the face of the most strenuous efforts to overthrow it by 
the governors, spurred on by peremptory instructions from king and 
ministry. It was but a step from these annual grants for specific 
I)urposes to the naming (if it were a salary) of the men who were 
to receive the money, and hence the legislature even learned to 
encroach upon the executive branch of the government. This contest, 
which, as Bancroft remarks, led ultimately to independence, is dated 
by him from the first assembly that met Lord Lovelace, Combury's 
immediate successor, in 1709. 

It lasted with varying success, and with varying degrees of acri- 
mony, through all the later colonial administrations. It had taught 
the people of this colony (and under similar circumstances the same 


lesson bad been learned by the colonists generally) to have some very 
decided feelings about taxation. Whether they must be accused of 
niggardliness, or may be credited with generosity, in the matter of 
grants for the support of the French and Indian or other wars, — one 
thing is certain, the money given in taxes 
was jealously awarded only at the call 
of the proper mode of taxation ; it 
was to be only by the vote, and 

after due deliberation, of their 
representatives. When, therefore 
the stamp act was passed, and it 
was attempted to enforce it, a stoim 
of indignation was aroused, and an m 
surmountable opposition eucountered. 
This is the next marked period of the 
eighteenth century. Legislative con- 
troversies between governors and assemblies were now succeeded by 
popular agitation. The one period or the one movement was but 
the logical outcome of the other. From the confined space and the 
limited numbers of the assembly-room, the controversy between 
popular rights and royal prerogative was carried into the streets, 
into public halls crowded by eager citizens of all claHses. It was 
dangerous to brave such a tide of antagonism to the ministerial pol- 
icy. It would have been wiser to heed the steady remonstrances of 
a people who had long studied political principles, and who had an 
intelligent conception of the correctness of their political standpoint 
in opposing the attempt to tax them without representation. The tax 
itself was nothing to them, no more than Hampden's ship-money was 


to him. But they had not so scrapnloiisly guarded their grants of 
money through nearly two generations without having acquired a 
keen sense of the principles at stake now. The British ministry, how- 
ever, persisted with obstinacy in their course, no doubt equally con- 
vinced that they were right ; the tide of indignation and agitation was 
resisted, with the inevitable result of adding to its force, and precipi- 
tating a rupture. 

Thus the stamj>act agitation led on to the Revolutionary period. 
Political controversy, confined first to legislative chambers, and then 
conducted in the presence of the masses or by organized actions of a 
civil nature for brief moments and on sx)ecial occasions (as in the case 
of non-importation agreements and the boarding of tea-ships), had 
now brought both parties to such a heat in their friction against each 
other that the flames of war necessarily broke forth. The Revolu- 
tionary period occupied but a few years of the century's history, but 
they were momentous years. Distress deep and depressing often hung 
like a low cloud over all the land, but there was discipline in the 
affliction : 

In such a forge and such a heat 
Were shaped the anchors of her hope. 

And there were hours of glory and of pride, which witnessed to the 
strength and solidity bom of the days of darkness. Despair could not 
possess the heart of a people who could thus suffer and thus triumph, 
and victory was theirs at last. The independence which was prophe- 
sied in 1709, which was shaping itself unconsciously and gradually 
through many colonial administrations, which began to acquire con- 
sciousness, albeit even yet with hesitancy and awe, during the stamp- 
act agitation, was now declared, fought for, won, and acknowledged. 
Out of the brief but fierce struggle the thirteen British colonies came 
forth free and independent States. 

But they were not as yet a nation; and thus there opened another 
period in this eventful eighteenth century which, in the estimation of 
thoughtful students of our history, has been denominated "the critical 
period" by preeminence. It covered but one year less than that re- 
quired for the conduct of the Revolutionary war. The task of yield- 
ing to one another was a hard one; the sacrifice of certain individual 
rights long enjoyed and exercised while stiQ in the tutelary condition 
of colonies, was difficult to make now that they had just attained the 
condition of emancipated manhood. So for six years the trial lasted, 
and the future remained uncertain amjd the perils of the present — 
perils growing out of disunion, jealousies between States, actual 
infringements by the stronger upon the rights of the weaker. But at 
last light came; the constitution was framed — "the most wonderful 


work," as Gladstone has said, "ever struck off at a given time by the 
brain and purpose of man." It was also the most conspicuous appli- 
cation — which the continuance of our repubhc has made but the more 
emphatic and illustrious — of the Golden Rule to human government. 
It was one State doing to another State what it would have the 
other do unto itself. Without this mutual sacrifice of rights and prop- 

.31. — ■':. 

erty for the common good, without this political loving of one's 
neighbor as one's self, federal union, and the strong nation which it 
oreated and still perpetuates, would have been impossible. It is at 
the exceedingly interesting juncture when this great feat had been 
accomplished not only, but when one complete teim of its actual 
working under all the appointed forms of its administration — execu- 
tive, legislative, and judicial — had been concluded, confirming the 
excellence and wisdom of its plan, that this chapter takes up the 
current of our city's history. It had been privileg^ to see take place 
within its borders the inauguration of President Washington. In the 
old City Hall — convOTted into a Federal Hall — the Congress had be- 
gun its sessions ; and the Supreme Court of the United States had 
not only erected its august bench here, but upon it had been placed 
John Jay, one of New-York's noblest sons. 

In the same year that Washington was inaugurated, Richard Varick 
received the appointment as mayor of New- York from the governor 
of the State, He held the position till 1801, and thus his mayoralty 
extended throughout the whole of the period now under considera- 
tion. He succeeded James Duane, and was therefore the second 
mayor under the new order of affairs. As eiurly as 1685 we find 
the Rev. Rudolphus Van Variok ministering to the five Dutch con- 
gregations of King's County, on Long Island, who then and for many 
years after could only unitedly support a preacher. In the course 



of time, and as a result of the Anglicizing influences necessarily pre- 
domiuant in the colony, the unmistakahle Dutch prefix, Van, had been 
dropped, and the mayor was content with a plain Varick. For some 
yeai-s he had occupied the office of recorder, so that he was well 
equipped by experience as well as legal knowledge for the place to 
which he had been promoted. In the war of the Eevolation he had 
risen to the rank of colonel, and had formed part of Washington's 
official family, as his private secretary, after Hamilton had somewhat 
hastily resigned. He had doubtless shared in the increase of legal 
business since the evacuation, Tory 
lawyers having been disbarred in 
New- York, so that he had accumu- 
lated a comfortable fortune. At 
least his house in Broadway, where 
he resided, is put down on the tax-het 
for 1799 as valued at three thousand 
pounds, or nearly eight thousand dol- 
lars, as the pound then counted. 

When his administration began 
(1789), the population of the city 
reached twenty-three thousand; it 
had doubled before the end of his 
term. The City Hall, for a short- 
season devoted to federal uses and 
subjected to important alterations 
and embellishments, in order to fit 
it for the occupancy of Congress, 
had now once more reverted to its ori^nal purposes. Yet, while 
ceasing to be the capital of the republic in the autumn of 1790, New. 
York continued to be the capital of the State till January, 1798, and 
the legislature must have utilized the halls set apart for the upper and 
lower houses of the national parhament. But it was not antil early 
in the nest century that the third (and present) City HaU was erected ; 
so that here, on the spot opposite Brodd street, in Wall, still cen- 
tered the direction of the municipal government. And, fortunately, 
there can be gained an accurate idea of the extent of the respon- 
sibilities that rested on the shoulders of the city officials at this time, 
from an estimate of the amount of funds necessary for the support 
of the city's institutions for the year 1800. For the almshouse the 

1 MrJot James FalrHe was the tioii ol * 'Saw- sitlaiiB, and was a ddJE)'''"! eompanloD : hit 

York mercbant. and the (prandson of a Scotch aalllea of wit oft«D cuised outbursts of langh- 

mldshipniBii who BetHed In America early In the tcr from General Washlnyton himself. He mar- 

eightoentl) century. He became aide to Baron ried a danRhter of Chief JuBtice Yates. Tht-iz 

Stenlwn, served wltli that offleer thraivh the daughter Mary waa a favorite with Halleck and 

war, and shared hta home on the land grant In Irving, and, like her father, noted for her wit. 
western New-Tort He held various pnbUc po- EDrrem. 


sum of thirty thousand dollars was required, while for the bridewell 
or workhouse five thousand were needed, and for the support — pre- 
sumably the subsistence — of the prisoners the amount of three thou- 
sand was set apart. The maintenance of a watch, the foreranner of 
the metropolitan police force, cost twenty-five thousand dollars. For 
streets occurs the item five thousand dollars ; but this is independent 
of several other items that would seem to belong properly under this 
heading — such as lamps, to cost fifteen thousand dollars for being 
kept in order and lighted on nights when there was no " light moon," 
and wells and pumps for fire and domestic uses, which required only 
twenty-five hundred dollars. The roads about the city demanded an 
outlay of over seventy-five hundred dollars. 

Amid these clearly defined particulars, some of them obviously 
useful, yet requiring only moderate sums, it is somewhat surprising 
to observe two very vague items, yet with large sums opposite to 
them: these are "contingencies,'' twenty-nine thousand four hundred 
and fifty dollars, and "city contingencies," seventy-five hundred dol- 
lars. The question naturally arises. What could these large contin- 
gencies have been? Tammany was then in existence; was already 
eleven years old, in fact. But it had not developed into the Tam- 
many of these later decades of the nineteenth century. If it had, we 
should not be at a loss to understand why thirty-seven thousand dol- 
lars should have been voted for purposes so curiously unexpressed. 
Still, this sum cannot alarm the New- York mind of the present day. 
The whole city budget, as just enumerated, reached only one hundred 
and thirty thousand dollars. With an addition of but ten or fifteen 
thousand to this amount the city to-day maintains one institution — 
its pride and boast — the College of the City of New- York. 

At the time that is now under notice events of the most exciting 
nature had been and were transpiring abroad, — across the Atlantic 
Ocean, — which had an influence upon opinions and passions within 
our republic so great and powerful as to shake our government to its 
very foundations. New- York city shared in these agitations, and 
became the scene of many outbreaks of sympathy with or antagonism 
against the European nations with whom the republic came most 
closely into contact. It will be remembered that the year of the 
inauguration of Washington was that also of the beginning of the 
French Revolution. In adopting the policy of aiding the American 
colonies, the French king and ministry had, figuratively speaking, 
unwittingly seized hold of that curious Australasian implement, the 
boomerang. Popular rights could not be sustained in America with- 
out awaking attention to their reality in principle; and this would 
emphasize the glaring lack of their application to the population of 
France. No remedy could finally suggest itself to French statesmen 


to allay the distress of their nation but the calling of the States 
General of the kingdom, a body which it had not been thought neces- 
sary to call together for nearly two hundred years. Less than a week 
after Washington's inauguration, or on May 4, 1789, this body met at 
Versailles. After this first step events moved with great rapidity; 
the Bastille fell on July 14 of this same year, and in the next month 
were abolished the unjust exemptions and privileges by which the 
nobility and clergy, holding most of the wealth of the nation, escaped 
the burdens of taxation and cast their crushing weight upon the poor 
and the untitled classes. An avalanche had been set in motion which 
no power could stop. Soon came the Reign of TeiTor, and, in Janu- 
ary, 1793, or about six weeks before the end of Washington's first 
tenn, Louis XVI. was led, like a common felon, to the guillotine. 

The republic of France was now a fact, and this filled with ex- 
treme delight many people on this side of the Atlantic, who only 
remembered that the French armies had aided to establish our own, 
and who did not regard what were the fundamental principles of this 
new republic as compared with that of the United States. It was 
forgotten that license and cruelty and ferocious tyranny of the worst 
kind had established the French republic; it was enough that it was 
a republic at all. But many here were wiser than this. Washington 
and Hamilton and Jay, and men of that stamp, with just as much 
gratitude for what France had done for the United States in the 
past, could only look with abhorrence upon the wrong she was do- 
ing to herself and to the cause of human liberty at present. Unhap- 
pily, these sentiments, so diametrically opposed, were now made to 
enforce diflferences bitter and radical upon questions of home gov- 
ernment. The federalists, the supporters of the administration, being 
known to be out of sympathy with the movements in France, the 
anti-federalists, or republicans, with the greater zest threw their 
sympathies headlong and recklessly on the side of the most violent 

After the death of the king it became a serious diplomatic question 
what should be done about recognizing a minister sent out by the 
new government. But, almost while Washington and his cabinet 
were considering how to act, Edmond Charles GenSt, the new French 
minister, was landing at Charleston, South Carolina. If the presi- 
dent and his party were hesitating, their opponents had fully made 
up their minds. They hailed "Citizen^ Gen§t, scorning to employ 
any other title, with demonstrations of extravagant joy; his progress 
from his place of arrival to Philadelphia was that of a conquering 
hero. Cavalcades of gentlemen went forth for miles out of the towns 
through which he was expected to pass, to escort him. As the min- 
ister representing the monarchical regime was duly recalled, and as 



there was no government in France except that represented by 
GeuSt, there was no objection to receiving his credentials. But the 
citizen seemed to look upon this simple and entirely non-committal 
act of intei*national comity as a complete siuTender of the Ameri- 
can republic to the cause of her sister across the sea; as if a league 
offensive and defensive was thereby concluded against all the lafter*s 
enemies, which then meant a large 
portion of the European world. 
Genet proceeded to issue letters of 
marque and reprisal for privateers, 
and undertook not only to convert 
American vessels with their Ameri- 
can crews into French vessels of war, 
but he forthwith encour^ed attacks 
on British vessels actually within 
our waters, and claimed them as 
prizes of war. When Washington 
indignantly objected, the French 
minister insolently rephed to his 
strictures, and continued his out- 
rageous work. He dared to appeal 
to the people against their presi- 
dent. But now came a reaction. 
Misled by the senseless adulation of 
himself as the representative of the bleeding republic of France, 
Genet had allowed himself to go to the extent of defying Washing- 
ton. GenSt's most violent admirers then began to open their eyes 
to the falsity of their position. Washington demanded his recall, and 
the request was acceded to. But, while Genet the minister was no 
more, GenSt the man remained, and settled in New- York. He had 
married a daughter of Governor Clinton, who, as a republican, was 
of course one of his partizans. As he had been sent out by the 
Girondist faction, who in 1794 were exterminated by the Jacobins of 
the Mountain, it was not quite safe for him to return to France. In 
retirement and obscurity, he passed his days in his adopted country, 
residing in this city, and dying here in 1836. 

It was to be expected that amid this ferment of feeling, preva- 
lent throughout the country, in regard to events in France and the 
actions of the French minister in America, some striking episodes 
would occur in New- York city, the principal harbor of the Union. 
The ship that had conveyed Genfit to these shores, the frigate 
L'Ambuscade, left Charleston soon after landing him there, and 
proceeded northward. She varied the monotony of her coastwise 
passage by chasing British merchant vessels. Entering the Dela- 



ware, she found a British ship, the Grange, lying far up the bay, 
waiting for a favoi-able wind to put to sea. The Frenchman sent a 
solid shot into her rig^ng, which induced the English captain to 
strike his colors, and the Grange was taken as a prize to Phila- 
delphia. The government promptly ordered her to be restored. 
L'Ambuseade, after spending some weeks at Philadelphia, went to 
New- York, arriving there in June, 1794. The citizens here had had 
no opportunity as yet of manifesting their esteem for Minister 
Genet; but now all their pent-up enthusiasm for the French republic 
was devoted to a warm reception of Citizen Bompard, the captain 
of L'Ambuseade, and hia officers and crew. At the same time it 
fanned into fresh flames the antagonism 
between the political parties. As the one 
became ultra-French in the presence of 
the Frenchmen, the other became more 
than reasonably excited against the li- 
cense of republicanism. "The peace of 
the coffee-houses was destroyed," is the 
sententious and significant observation 
of a recent historian. 

At the Tontine Coffee-house in Wall 
street, near Water, a liberty-cap made of 
crimson silk was displayed, bearing the 
inscription " Sacred to Liberty." This in 
itself was a sufficiently innocent action ; 
but there went a defiance with it. The 
"democrats," as the French party called 
themselves, dared the "aristocrats" to 
take it down ; the aristocrats, by the way, 
being such no further than that they upheld the administration, and 
wished it continued under the guidance of the "best men," instead 
of a Jacobin rabble. This party were not slow to respond with a 
declaration that down the cap would have to come. The threat and 
the defiance produced no actual altei-cations; but the two parties 
closely watched each other, and crowds of men, hundreds at a 
time, kept constantly near or in front of the building. Doubtless it 
wotdd have taken but a slight spark to ignite the magazine.' In 
fact, though violence was avoided in the present instance, the news- 
papers of the day record frequent brawls at other occasions and 
times. The sailor element of New- York had always been a turbu- 
lent one, from the good old days of the "protected" pirates down; 
and amid these stirring times they were not likely to be more quiet 
than usual. One day, at the Tontine, a British naval officer, who 

1 "HUtory o( the Peoi^e of the United Sutes," John B. McHaster, 2: 105, 10«, 



had doubtless taken something stronger than coffee, launched out 
into a tirade against the French and their republic. The dignified 
merchants, who most did congregate there, took decided umbrage, 
and the offending Englishman was "hustled into the street." A 
little later, on a Sunday morning, a company of British tars, off on 
furlough, encountered a number of French man-of-war's-men, also on 
recreation bent. A conflict was inevitable, and there might have been 
some fatalities had not the bystanders interfered. 

The French frigate L' Ambuscade figures once more in an episode 
k that has a great deal of the chivalrous and dashing about it, such as 
we naturally associate with men who follow the sea. While she lay 
at anchor in the bay, a report came that a man-of-war had come to 
an anchorage off Sandy Hook. Ere long the bulletin-boards of the 
Tontine Coffee-house bore words of warlike import. The French 
republicans, as is well known, then scorned all titles of distinction. 
The royal family were now merely Capets. Even " monsieur " or " ma- 
dame " was an insult to the perfect equality now established among all 
men. The absurdity was canied even into the aimy and navy. 
Minister Genet was only Citizen Genet, and Captain Bompard re- 
pudiated that distinctive epithet, which one would think almost 
indispensable on board ship, and called himself Citizen Bompard. 
The practice had been caught up by the enthusiasts of the republi- 
can party in the United States, and there were serious discussions as 
to what should constitute the feminine counterpart to citizen, as Mr. 
and Mrs. were no longer to be tolerated. With fine irony the captain 
of the English frigate lying at Sandy Hook, adopting the mode of 
address now in vogue, announced that he — neither Captain nor 
Citizen, but Subject Courtney — would be glad to meet Citizen Bom- 
pard outside the legal limit of three leagues at sea within ten days. 
The challenge was, of course, accepted. People flocked to the shores 
of Long Island, Staten Island, and New Jersey to observe the com- 
bat, which took place beyond the range of vision, but not beyond 
that of hearing. The French frigate remained the victor ; Courtney 
was killed, but his vessel, outsailing L' Ambuscade, escaped capture. 
It may be imagined that the result highly excited the friends of 
France in the city. To add to tlieir enthusiasm, a French fleet of fif- 
teen sail entered the harbor while L' Ambuscade was still in pursuit 
of her defeated antagonist. Thereupon for many days there were 
fSting and the singing of the many stirring patriotic songs of republi- 
can France, some of which were now sung also to English words. 

International relations at this period furnished another cause for 
excitement, agitation, and partizan bitterness. The love of France 
involved the hatred of England. That antipathy to the old mother- 
country was, of course, a legacy also of the Eevolution ; and it was 



not strange that friction growing out of mutual misunderstanding or 
partial violation of treaty obligations should have kept alive hostile 
feelings. Yet it is obvious that, in the very nature of things, success 
for the government and prosperity for the people lay in the direction 
of English methods and English commerce far more than in the 
direction of those of France. At heart, essentially, the daughter 
could not repudiate her origin and expect to live as a nation. The 
friends of strong government, the 
federalists, knew this very well; 
and whatever dislike of England 
may have possessed them, they 
were not blind to the advantages 
of her political principles, or of a 
well-established commercial con- 
nection with her. This entirely 
consistent position afforded a fine 
field for the demagogues, and to 
call the federalists the friends of 
England was their common cus- 
tom, and the easiest as well as 
surest way of exciting the anger 
of an unthinking multitude against 
them. This charge would be espe- 
cially calculated to arouse popular 
fury in the midst of the excite- 
ments produced by the actions of 
Minister Gen&t. 

Just at this juncture, in the 
spring of 1794, President Wash- 
ington sent Chief Justice John Jay 
as special envoy to England, to 
negotiate a treaty of commerce. A 
special mission was a necessary expedient, as complete diplomatic 
relations with our republic had not yet been assumed on the part 
of England. Her official representative in America was still Sir 
John Temple, consul-general at New- York.' 

iSir John djed In ITSS, uid \ns bnried in St. 
Paal'B Church on BmaAvnj, where was tlrnt 
erected the monumeDt of vhlch *n illniitrstioii 
appcATfi In the text. Bis father was Captain 
Robert Temple, of the English anny, who came 
to New England in 171T. mairled Mehltobel Vel- 
Bon, of Boston, and at hli death In 1754 left three 
fu>nft. of whom John was the second. The latter 
was bom in BoBton in 1732. became surreyor- 
general ot the cuatoma and lientenant-KOveraor 
of New HampHhlre, and jnut before the breaUnft 

out of the Revolntionary War was recalled be- 
cause of his sympathy with the colonists. His 
marriage with Governor Bowdoin's daughter has 
been noticed in the previous cbapter. In 1TS6 he 
succeeded a distant kinsman in the ancient bai^ 
onetcy of his family. Sir Johh left fonr cliildrvn. 
of whom the second. Elisabeth Bowdoin. married 
the Hon. Thomas Lindall Wlnthrop. Of her nn- 
merona children, the only survivor at present la 
the well-known patriot and statesman, Hon. Robert 
C. Wtntbrop, of Boston. 


The task before Jay was a difficult and delicate one ; it would have 
been so under any circumstances, but knowing what was the state 
of feeling in his own country, the work intrusted to him was 
peculiarly trying. But perhaps no better man could have been 
chosen to do it than he; his purity of motive so transparent, his 
patriotism so lofty and unselfish, his 
judgment so clear and just, his desire 
to promote the good of his country so 
completely absorbing any meaner or 
narrower ambitions of a personal na- 
ture, that these qualities irresistibly 
impressed even English statesmen with 
the con\iction that what he felt to be 
just and advantageous for both coun- 
tries must in reality be so. Indeed, the marvel was that Jay ob- 
tained so many concessions, which were really of more immediate 
advantage to the United States, although, in the end, the profit of them 
to both countries would become apparent. But the mortal oflEense 
had been committed of retaining the friendship of England, of having 
conciliated instead of exasperating her by a useless display of impo- 
tent anger. France, the ancient ally, had been deserted; and England, 
the oppressor and foe, had been courted. 

A storm of indignant abuse rewarded the distinguished and high- 
minded negotiator for his pains, and met him on his arrival in New- 
York in the summer of 1795. He was accused — it was hardly possible 
to conceive a man more incorruptible by gold than he — of having sold 
his country. He was represented in caricatures, and burned in effigy 
at Philadelphia and New- York. In New- York and Boston mass-meet- 
ings were held and resolutions passed condemning the treaty before 
those presuming to sit in judgment had even had an opportunity to 
read it. The mass-meeting in New- York was held in front of the 
City Hall, and both Mayor Varick and Secretary Hamilton attempted 
to control it, or bring it to reason. Edward Livingston, afterward 
mayor, was caUed to preside. When there was offered a motion for 
adjournment, the wildest confusion prevailed. Hamilton, who had 
never failed to command attention or to sway a crowd by his elo- 
quence, attempted to address the people from the front steps of his 
own house, on the comer of Wall and Broad streets. But the popu- 
lace was too greatly excited to listen to him ; stones began to fly, and 

The above is an illustration of a stone found 
in di^^n^ a trench alonfc the north wall of the 
City Hall, on July 19. 1892. It is about two feet 
lonft:. eighteen inches wide, and about one foot 
deep. Its sin^ificance is doubtful. The inscrip- 
tion *• R. Varick, Esqr.. Mayor. 1796.** cannot l)e 

meant for a tombstone, as he did not die till 1831. 
Nor was this site even thought of for a City Hall 
till after 1801, when he yielded the chair to a suc- 
cessor. It may have formed part of a wall of one 
of the buildinf^ near this spot, such as the Bride- 
well, which was taken down later. 


as one struck the immovable secretary on the forehead, he quietly 
observed: *'If you use such striking arguments, I must retire." And 
retire he did, the mob also soon hastening away from the spot to the 
Bowling Green, where they burned copies of the treaty and unfurled 
the French flag. But Hamilton was not so easily overcome; in a 
characteristic manner he set himself to the task of arguing down 
this senseless opposition. "Publius," once of the "Federalist,'' was 
transformed into "Camillus" four days after the unruly mass-meet- 
ing; and the essays that came from his powerful brain soon brought 
the nation back to reason. 

The treaty was ratified by the senate. Then the president was as- 
sailed by petitions from all parts of the land not to sign it. Wash- 
ington, however, was not to be confused by the noise, nor to be 
moved by the violence of this storm of thoughtless opposition, any 
more than he was wont to be by the noise and fury of a battle. He 
saw the country's good clearly before him; he knew that this treaty, 
with whatever imperfections it might be burdened, would certainly 
secure that good, and his duty thus standing out undimmed before 
him, he was not the man to swerve from it. And reason, too, began 
to reassert herself among the people. The merchants of the country, 
laying aside political prejudice and perceiving the great advantages 
to American commerce which the terms of the treaty secured, every- 
where expressed their approval, and their petitions, sent in to the 
president, served to oflEset the previous condemnation. The New- 
York Chamber of Commerce was among the first to place itself on 
record in favor of the measure. A special meeting was called for 
July 21, 1795, to consider that "which particularly agitated the public 
mind, the Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation between the 
United States and Great Britain." In the minute-book the meeting is 
described as "the most respectable ever held in the Chamber of Com- 
merce (upwards of seventy members being present). After the treaty 
was read, resolutions approving thereof were adopted with only ten 
dissenting voices." The president, as is well known, finally signed 
the treaty, and its provisions became law, with some important 
modifications, and the omission of the article on West India trade. 

In the midst of the violent discussions about the treaty, Jay was 
nominated and elected governor of the State; this important event 
taking place before his return from England. On May 28, 1795, he 
arrived in the city, and on July 1 he was duly inaugurated. On July 
2, by a breach of senatorial etiquette, or the violation of his oath of 
secrecy by one of the senators of the United States, the text of the 
treaty was published in the newspapers. But Jay was now secure in 
his seat of honor ; and it is doubtful whether the knowledge of the 
actual text would have injured him more than the misrepresentations 

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based on mere rumors in regard to its provisions. Perhaps one reason 
why the election went against Governor Clinton was the shameful 
counting out of Jay in 1792. It is a trite saying that history repeats 
itself. Is it of the fall of 1891, or the spring of 1792, that we read : 
" At the election it was soon discovered that the votes for Jay outnum- 
bered those for Clinton. But a returning board, a joint committee of 
the legislature of whom the majority were Clintonians, found the re- 
turns from three counties, which notoriously had gone Federalist, 
were technically defective''!^ The majority thus secured for Clinton 
showed but a paltry figure of one hundred and eight votes. In 1795 
Jay's majority over Robert Yates was nearly sixteen hundred; and on 
his reelection in 1798 he was victorious over Robert R. Livingston by 
nearly twenty-four hundred. 

These gubernatorial contests and their results were of much more 
consequence to New- York city as a part of its history then than now, 
because it was still the State capital. It involved no change of resi- 
dence to the governor now elected, therefore, except from one end of 
the same street to another. In the directory for 1789, Jay's house is 
placed at 133 Broadway, the last or highest number on that thorough- 
fare then. As governor he would be obliged to transfer his house- 
hold gods to the government mansion opposite the Bowling Green, 
whose noble proportions closed the pleasing vista as one looked down 
Broadway toward the bay, and from whose windows in turn a view 
would be gained up that street, terminated by the green fields and 
spreading shade-trees of the common or the park. During the whole 
of Jay's first term he occupied this mansion. The headquarters of 
the federal government had been removed to Philadelphia toward the 
close of 1790, even before this building intended for the use of the 
chief of the nation was completed. Therefore the governor and Mrs. 
Jay reassumed the leading position in the social life of New-York 
which had been theirs while Jay was secretary for foreign affairs under 
the Continental Congress, which made him the chief entertainer of 
the diplomatic corps. But even the subordinate glory — if it were a 
glory — of being the capital city of a State was taken away from 
New-York, and in January, 1798, the seat of government was re- 
moved to the more centrally located city of Albany. 

Some matters enacted by the governor and legislature during this 
period are of such profound interest or vital importance that no 
apology will be needed for a brief reference to them in this history. 
Treating them cumulatively from less to greater, it is to be noted 
that the proclamation of a Thanksgiving Day was initiated for this 
State by Governor Jay. It was announced as an expression of grati- 
tude for the cessation of the yellow-fever plague of 1795, of which 

I "John Jay," by Georfre Pellew, p. 276. 


more anon, and appointed for Thursday, November 26. Political 
opponents, on the alert for faultfinding, bitterly censured this act of 
Jay's. It was deemed of a piece with his aristocratic or federalist 
notions of government — much in excess of his prerogatives as an 
executive officer. Perhaps it was ; perhaps it is such on the part of 
the president from year to year. It may be an infringement upon 
the rights of conscience of those who believe in no God. But as long 
as we are not a nation of atheists, public sentiment will sustain the 
proclamation, though it be extra-constitutional. There is no record 
that the political cavil of 1795 interfered with its hearty observance 
by the people. 

Another singular instance of the repetition of history, even in our 
own city, is furnished by the following citation : " The governor in- 
curred still further odium by refusing to order the flags to be hoisted 
on Governor's Island and the Battery on the anniversary of the Tam- 
many Society ; the reason he gave was, that ' if such a compliment be 
paid to the Tammany, it ought not to be refused to any other of the 
numerous societies in this city and State.' " * Yet Tammany was then 
still an American society, insisting upon the display of no foreign 
flag. In spite of the federalist governor of 1796, and a Democratic 
mayor nearly a hundred years later, the very last St. Patrick's Day 
proved the futility of common sense and fairness in the face of influ- 
ences that govern votes to-day. In this same year (1796) was built a 
penitentiary in this city, on the model of that in Philadelphia ; while, 
equally under the directing thoughtfulness of the governor, the idea 
was given shape of establishing a safe retreat for sufferers from con- 
tagious disease. Bedlow's Island was deemed a favorable spot for 
establishing a hospital for such. But what was of a more permanent 
influence upon morals and manners — a change was made in the 
penal code. Governor Clinton had suggested a reduction in the 
number of offenses that were to have the punishment of death at- 
tached to them. Jay took up this good work and pushed it to final 
action, so that a revision of the code was accomplished. 

In the governor's message to the legislature in January, 1796, in 
which the building of the penitentiary was recommended, there was 
no recommendation of the abolition of slavery. Jay was known, 
however, to be in favor of that cause, was identified with men in 
France who were agitating abolition, and M. Brissot de WarvUle, the 
French patriot and journalist, who was guillotined with a number of 
fellow-Girondists in 1793, came to America in 1789, specially com- 
mended to Jay as a friend of the blacks (awe des noirs). In the ses- 
sion of January, 1796, a bill was introduced by a near friend of the 
governor's which called for abolition. It is a remarkable circum- 

1 Pellew's ** Jay,** p. 325. 
Vol. in.— 9. 


stance that it obtained a tie vote in committee of the whole. The 
chairman's casting-vote was against it, and hence it was lost. But in 
1799 the subject was revived, and the cause of emancipation in New- 
York was carried to success. In April a bill was brought before the 
legislature providing that all negro children bom after July 4 ensuing 
should be free. They must serve an apprenticeship till a certain age 
— twenty-eight in the case of males, and twenty-five in that of females. 
Meantime the exportation of slaves from the State was prohibited. 
The rock upon which all former efforts of this kind had suffered ship- 
wreck had been the difficult and delicate question of compensation 
for the dissolution of human chattels with a price into human beings 
representing no price. But the scheme of gradual emancipation 
avoided this peril and secured the great and noble end. 

Washington's first term ended in March, 1793; the close of his 
second falls within the limit of this chapter. The election of candi- 
dates took place in 1796, and the removal of the great name of Wash- 
ington at once wi'ought confusion. The federalist candidates, John 
Adams and Thomas Pinckney, failed together to exceed the votes of 
the republicans. Adams received only three more votes than Thomas 
Jefferson, and Pinckney was left out. Thus John Adams, the fed- 
eralist, became president, and Jefferson, the republican, vice-presi- 
dent. But in all this New- York city bore no part of special signifi- 
cance. It was different with the next presidential election; then 
some of her most brilliant citizens wrought mightily to turn the scale 
of events within her borders, and city and State became the pivot on 
which the results for the nation turned. Now, too, rises itito national 
prominence for the first time the name of Aaron Burr. His father 
was the Rev. Aaron Burr, president of Princeton College ; his mother 
was a daughter of the famous divine. Dr. Jonathan Edwards. But 
when scarce three years old death had deprived him of both parents. 
Somewhere and somehow a wrong moral twist was given to his edu- 
cation. Yet he was a man of brilliant parts and fascinating manners. 
He had served with distinction in the Revolution, was for a brief 
period a member of Washington's official family, but resigned from 
the army in 1779, and devoted himself to the law. He was sent to 
the State legislature; he was United States senator from 1791 to 1796; 
now in 1800 he comes forward as a presidential candidate. 

Jay, the federalist, had secured the election of governor twice, in 
1795 and in 1798. But in the latter year the republicans gained largely 
in the elections for the legislature, there being a majority of twenty- 
eight for their side in the assembly, and having reduced the federalist 
majority in the senate to eight. This result was attributed to the 
skill and astuteness of Burr. By means of a wide personal acquain- 
tance and a shrewd estimate of men, he knew how to use their veiy 


peculiarities and temperaments for his purposes. The indifferent he 
succeeded iu placing at work; to the zealous he gave direction in 
their euthusiasm. The republican victory in the spring foreshad- 
owed a republican victory on national issues in the autumn, and 
if New- York were gained for 
the anti-federalists, the federal- 
ist candidates were doomed to 
failure. Hence Burr was re- 
warded for his energetic con- 
duet of the State campaign by 
being placed in nomination for 
the national ofBce of president 
or \iee-president. It was at 
this time never quite certain 
who would become president 
and who vice-president. The 
intention might be to relegate 
a man only to the lower dig- 
nity; but if a few more of the 
electors had another purpose 
in mind, or even another man 
for president, the intended vice- 
president would be returned 
finally as chief magistrate. So real was this danger that Hamilton 
was at one time afraid that Adams might be elected in place of 
Washington, and his advice to divert a few votes from Adams to 
prevent this false step was the ground for the subsequent unhappy 
differences between these two great men, involving the final over- 
throw of the federalist power. 

Burr had his mind set on securing the presidency himself, and to 
beat Jefferson, and largely to his efforts, questionable and otherwise, 
the success of the republican party was due. Hamilton exerted him- 
self to the utmost to counteract these efforts ; but in Burr's line of 
action he was more than a match for Hamilton. He was a master of 
intrigue and qtiite unscrupulous. Ward politics were bound to play 
an important part in an election which was to turn upon the vote of 
the State or city of New-York; and in ward politics Hamilton was 
helpless and Burr a giant. "Hamilton was no match for his an- 
tagonist. . . . With voice and pen Hamilton maintained the conflict. 


1 Hra. WlUUm Jackson, h^ EJizkbeUi WUUhk. 
wu a sister of Mrv. Bingham, of Philadelphia. 
Both ladies were distingulahed for their beaut; 
and accompliihnienli. The above picture U 
copied from the porti^t by Ollbert Stuart. 
Her huflbuid, Uajor Jackson, was born in Edi^ 
land in 17S9, came to Amarioa ; wu educated in 

Charleston, S. C, appointed aide to Oeneral Ben- 
jamin Lincoln, and fought on the patriot side in 
the Revolution. He wag one of Washington's 
aides while president, in New-York ; and Surveyor 
of the Port in Philadelphia in 1796. From 1800 
till his death he was secretary of the Societr of 






The 31ft of Decembbr, 1^9* 
By diredUoa of the .Commitee oF. Arrang^nlttt 

Officer and 

Eight Dragoont* 

Sixth Regiment, in PUtooni, by 
the left. 

Eight pieces of Field Artillery; 


Rifle Com'psuiy. 

Militia Officers. 

Officers of the Navy of the Unked 

Officers of the Army pf the United 

Major Gen«. Hamilton and Suite* 


St, Stephen^a Societf* 

Tammany Society. 

Mechanic Society* 

Malbnic jLodges. 

Grand Lodge; 

Manhattail Company* 

New. York (nfurance Company. 

United Infurance Company* 

Branch Bank. 

Bank of Mcw-Toik. 

Chamber of Commerce. 

Marine Sooicty. 

Regents of the Univerfi^. 

Truftees of Columbia College* 

Prefident and Profeflbrs of ditto. 
Phy(ician8 and Surgeons, 
Gentlemen of the Bar. 

Civil Officers of the Gty. 

Civil Officers of the State. 

Lieutenant • Governor. 

Civil Officers of the United Statee 


His Catholic Majefty's Cooful and 
Gentlemen of that Nation. 

His Britannic Majefty's Conful and 
Gentlemen of that Nation. 

Anacreontic and PhilharmoniCySo* 
cieties. - 

Twenty.fbar Girls, in Whit^ Robes. 

Committee of Arrangement. 

The Horfe m Moumix^. 

Cincinnati as Chief Mourners, 
and other Officers of the late var. 

Gorpordition of the Gty. 

fight Dragoons. 
ALL the Proceffion to man:h 
four deep, jezcept the IV^ilitary. 

General. HUGHES^ Is charged 
With the execution of the above or- 
der, fubjed to fuch .further difpo* 
fition as he 0ial1 judge expedient. 

Jas, M. Huffiesy QulrmaP;! ^ 

Ehenexer Sstvensy ] ^ 

facob Morten^ ^'g 

famei Furlie^ ] | 

fobn Sia^^y j'ttmr, J U 

If^tO'Ter^, Decfmker i<t 1709. 



His eloquence was unrivaled ; his arguments, written and spoken, 
were unanswerable; but Burr had the votes. New- York was lost 
to the federalists, and ruin stared them in the face."^ 

But there was one special circumstance, of which Burr rightly or 
wrongly took advantage, whereby Hamilton was made to stultify his 
own best eloquence and argument. As a culmination of many years of 
personal embitterment between President Adams and General Hamil- 
ton, the latter imprudently allowed himself to be goaded into writing 
a letter to Adams in which -he severely arraigned the president's 
public conduct. It was intended to be privately printed and judi- 
ciously circulated, so that the other federalist candidate, Charles C. 
Pinckney, might have votes in excess of Adams and thus be made 
president. Burr resided at 11 Nassau street, and there three gentle- 
men met with him one day to read over together the proof-sheets of a 
remarkable production. It had been procured from the printer, so it 
is charged, by one of these three, Matthew L. Davis, the friend and con- 
fidant and later the biographer of Burr. These four friends carefully 
noted the contents, and made extracts from it for the press ; indeed, 
according to some authorities, reprinted the whole and sowed it broad- 
cast over the land. It was the most effective campaign document in 
favor of the republicans that could have been desired. Jeflferson 
and Bun* came out of the contest far in advance of the federalist 
candidates. They each had 73 votes in the electoral college; Adams 
had 65, Pinckney 64, and Jay 1. There was thus a tie between Jeffer- 
son and Burr, throwing the election upon the House of Representa- 
tives. How this was conducted, and how it resulted in Jefferson being 
made president and Burr vice-president, belongs to the story of the 
next century. 

The only other matter of national import which specially involved 
New-York city, was the brief cloud of impending war with France. 
After bearing with commendable patience numberless indignities, 
after making every effort to preserve the peace, the crisis at last 
came, when no more could be borne with honor, and when all parties 
agreed that arms must be taken up against the former ally. Then 
Washington was called from retirement, made lieutenant-general and 
commander-in-chief; and his first thought was to make as a con- 
dition of his acceptance that Hamilton be his next in command. Ham- 
ilton's genius had already created the treasury of the United States; 
he now laid the lines along which must be constructed the navy and 
army, the militia system of the country, and their mobilization in the 
event of a war. And among the first things which this illustrious citi- 
zen of New- York wished to provide for was the fortification of that 
seaport. There seemed to be nothing of which his fellow-citizens did 

1 Henry Cabot Lodge, "Alexander Hamilton," p. 227. 



not deem him capable. Although not quite within his province in the 
poBition to which Washington had called him, Hamilton was requested 
to draft a plan for these defenses and to superintend their construction. 
But the war-cloud blew over ; except for some brilliant achievements 
by a few of our men-of-war, no actual hostilities were reached. 

Ere the peace was formally restored, the great figure which this 
warlike episode had once more bidden to the forefront passed away 
from the midst of his fond and admiring countrymen. On December 
14, 1799, Washington expired at his 
own home, Mount Vernon. The news 
of the sudden and unlooked-for de- 
mise reached New- York on the 19th, 
and everywhere the signs of mourn- 
ing became evident. On the day 
after Christmas the Chamber of Com- 
merce met in special session "to con- 
sider of some appropriate mode of 
testifying regret for the irreparable 
loss sustained by the nation." A 
committee of three was appointed 
to confer with comraitteea of other 
organizations and arrange for a pub- 
lic demonstration. This took place 
on the last day of the year. An im- 
posing procession, the order and 
composition of which are indicated 
upon the preceding fac-simile of a 
broadside of that very day, marched 
to the chapel of St. Paul's. The 
funeral urn was carried by eight soldiers upon a bier in the form of 
a palanquin six feet long by four wide. Bishop Provoost read appro- 
priate prayers, and the oration was delivered by Gouvemeur Morris- 
It was in St. PanPs that the religious exercises of the inauguration had 
been held, and here Washington had taken a pew and regularly wor- 
shiped during his stay in the Franklin House. While living in the 
Macomb House, near Trinity Church, he attended divine service in 
the latter edifice. In February, when President Adams had appointed 
a day of devotion and prayer in commemoration of the great life 

^^a/f^ '^^7-r-2^' 

1 Hary Phillpie Honis wu the vlfe of Bofcer 
Morris, who served oDder Generala Braddock md 
Loudoun dming the French uid Indiui War. 
She tnuried him in 1758, aod shortly after they 
occupied the well-knomn Morria or Jumel man- 
nion, WiuhlDgtoii'B headqaarten In ITTA. Ab 
her husband was a loyalist, this property was 
eonflscated. She went irlth ber busbuid to 
England, and died there in 182S, at the age of 

nlnety-flre. She was the daughter of ("reder- 
iek Fhillpse, the seoond lord of the manor. 
Mrs. Horris was possessed of great force of 
character, aa well as of remarkable beanty of 
perwm. Tt haa been said, without much foun- 
dation, that Wasbln^on himself was at one 
time greatly impressed with her charms. U he 
had married her. some think she would hara 
made him a loyalist. Bditob. 


begun in that month in 1732, all business was suspended in the city. 
The corporation and the members of the Cincinnati Society attended 
the Dutch Church, and one of the pastors, Dr. William Linn, said to 
be the most eloquent preacher in the United States at that time, de- 
livered a eulogy on Washington. 

And now we are prepared to take a closer look at the city itself. 
Having glanced at the world and its agitations during this period — 
and it was one of the epoch-making periods of the world's history; 
having seen what effects these agitations abroad, and the events 
which affected more particularly the republic and the State of which 
our city formed a part, produced upon the denizens of the commercial 
metropolis; the task must now be to regard the city strictly per se^ 
and see what were its appearance, its population, its trials, its tri- 
umphs, and what its people were doing in their local sphere of action. 
In September, 1796, one possessed of the keen sensitiveness of the 
artist — not of the pencil, but in music — traveling through the 
United States, recorded his impres- ^ 

sions at the first view of the city in Ui/^ni>A ^yfo ^ 
this enthusiastic wise: "The city, as ^^;;/^^^^^'^ 
you approach it from the Jersey shore, ^^ 

seems like Venice, gradually rising from the sea. The evening was 
uncommonly pleasant; the sky perfectly clear and serene, and the 
sun in setting with all that vivid warmth of coloring peculiar to 
southern latitudes, illuminated some of the most beautiful scenery in 
nature, on the North River, and adjacent country. For some min- 
utes all my faculties were absorbed in admiration of the surround- 
ing objects! I never enjoyed a prospect more enchanting.''^ How- 
ever true may have been the comparison of New- York to Venice as 
one approaches the city from the bay, the resemblance, of course, 
would have ceased as the traveler landed. 

The record of another traveler (the Rev. W. Winterbotham) of that 
period remains to us, and it is pleasant to look upon the appearance 
of things then through these contemporary eyes. Landing at the 
southern extremity of the island, the view at once would follow 
Whitehall street and Broadway, " the most agreeable and convenient 
part of the city." Ere long the pedestrian would behold on his left, 
where in former days frowned the fort, an elegant brick building, the 
governor's house. Beyond it the walk from the Battery led into the 
broad thoroughfare, seventy feet wide, and rising gently to the 
north. Besides Trinity Church and Grace Chapel, standing near each 
other, this street possessed " a number of elegant private buildings." 
Here dwelt cabinet oflScers in the days of Washington, and foreign 
embassies had their homes opposite the Bowling Green. In 1794 the 

1 *< Tnveli in the United States of America,'' William Priest (London, 1802), p. 150. 



City Hotel was in process of building, on the site of the house of 
Lieutenant-Governor De Lancey, and it was remarked that the slate 
roof upon it was the first in the country. The roofs were in general 
tiled, as in the mother-country; but otherwise the Dutch custom of 
presenting the gable to the street had given way pretty universally to 
the more modern, or the English, mode of construction. The upper 
extremity of Broadway was then soon reached. "It terminates, to 
the northward, in a triangular area, fronting the bridewell and alms- 
house, and commands from any point a view of the bay and narrows." 
Beyond the termination of Broadway, possibly beginning at the upper 
end of the common, or about the present Chambers street, a street ex- 
tended for a few blocks, to near the present Duane or Worth street, 
which then was called Great George street. Here on the west side 
stood the hospital. Broadway impressed not only the English writer we 
have cited; but Rochefoucauld, fresh from the elegant Paris, is also very 
enthusiastic in its praise : " There is perhaps in no city of the world 
a handsomer street than Broadway. By far the greater number of 
houses are of brick, and many extremely fine. Its elevated posi- 
tion, and its situation near the river, and the beauty of its propor- 
tions, render it a choice dwelling-place for the richest citizens ''; and 
of the Battery he says : " This promenade might indeed be kept in 
better order, and made more agreeable for the purposes for which it 
is set aside, by the planting of some trees ; but even such as it is, its 
situation places it above all comparison with any other promenade 
whatsoever.'' ^ 

With almost equal commendation Winterbotham mentions Wall 
street, Hanover Square, Dock street (now Pearl), and William street. 
This was then the center of the dry-goods trade. Water street and 
Pearl (only lately Queen) street are complained of as narrow and low 
in situation ; and that which even now lends a flavor of the quaint 
and antique to this part of the town, was noted by this writer, — the 
irregularity of most of the streets. Yet soon after the peace of 1783 
the corporation had begun to plan the system of parallel streets, cross- 
ing each other at right angles, which now covers the whole of Manhat- 
tan Island. At this period, too, the ravages of the fires of 1776 and 
1778 had nearly disappeared from view, those parts of the city being 
"almost wholly covered with elegant brick houses." And care had 
been taken in grading and paving the streets far beyond previous 
days ; they were " raised in the middle under an angle sufficient to 
carry oflf the water to the side gutters, and footways of brick made on 
each side." Pearl street, however, was too narrow in some places to 
permit this convenience.^ 

1 Vojrage dans les E. U. d'A., 7: 132. « W. Winterbotham, "Historical, Geographical, etc., View 

of the United States of America "* (New-Tork, 1796), 2: 314-320. 


As for the buildings which then adorned these streets, niost of them 
are familiar to the reader of the previous pages. Trinity's tower 
lifted its tall spire above the rest, and the modest Grace Chapel was 
almost beneath its shadow. In Garden street the old Dutch Church 
still stood, and here the mother-tougue was still employed in the ser- 
vices, Dr. GerarduB Kuy- 

pars preaching to a stead- 
ily decreasing number of 
those who clung to the be- 
loved tongue. In 1803 even 
this arrangement was aban- 
doned, the audiences being 
too small, and Dr. Kuypers 
preached in English there- 
after until his death in 
1833. It is unnecessary to 
remind the reader of the 
other Dutch churches — the 

New (then called the Middle) on Nassau street, and the North Church 
on the comer of William and Tultou streets. Long before this, too, the 
Scotch Covenanters had built a church on the south side of Cedar 
street, near Broadway, almost in a line, therefore, with the earliest 
Presbyterian Church in Wall street. As an outgrowth of the latter 
society a new organization was formed which built a church opposite 
the common, on the spot occupied now by the "New-York Times" 
building. At the lower end this same open ground was graced by the 
close proximity of St. Paul's, which, with St. George's in Beekman 
street, completed the group of "up-town churches" of those days.'' 

The population of the city toward the close of this century was 
between fifty and sixty thousand. At the close of the previous cen- 
tury the number was scarcely forty-five hundred.' In the year 1756 
the number of inhabitants had reached over ten thousand; just 
before the Revolution {1771) the number was nearly twenty-two 
thousand; three years after the evacuation it had increased by only 
about two thousand. But then began a rapid increase, so that in 

1 For n«siir half > oentory Ckto Alexander kept wbttsb. 

a hooae of entertainment on the old BogUin post Men M6 

road, about four mllM from the City HaU. It was Women 1,018 

the faahionablB out-of-town resort for tbe young Tonng men and boya S64 

men of the day. Editob. Touog women and ^rU. 899 

1 Tbe paaton of theae ehnrehee are mentioned 3,737 

with M>me parUcnlarity In the preceding chapter. 

1 Valentine. In the Manual for 1863, plaoea the „ 

Bgnre in 1700 at 1,200 ; bat it waa more than that, womeii 

Wlnterbotham, op. dt., p. 320, lays: It la found Bots and sirta 
by a memorandum in one of the old regiatera that 
the number of inhabitants in the city, taken by 
order of the king in tbe year leeC, wai as toDowa : 


1790 there were over thirty-three thousand; and only ten years later 
the figures began to approach sixty thousand. This population was 
compacted together into a space not very extensive. The street 
farthest up-town was still below Canal street on the west side, and 
equally so on the east. 

The maintenance of sanitary conditions among so many people 
within so limited a space was ill understood at this time, both in 
Europe and in America. The better air and less confined conditions 
on this side of the Atlantic may have prevented, to some extent, 
the encroachments of a general epidemic. Yet, throughout the 
eighteenth century, during almost every decade, there was a visita- 
tion from that dreadful scourge, the smallpox. If possible, a worse 
and more fatal plague was that of the yellow fever; and during 
the last decade of the century New- York was more than once vis- 
ited by it. It was first present within the city in the year 1791, 
and carried oflE General Malcolm and some other prominent citi- 
zens; and when Dr. Jame's Tillary described its symptoms to a 
number of physicians, they declared that they had never heard of 
it or seen anything like it. Yet, while it did not cause much loss 
of life, it created sufficient alarm. For when, in 1793, Philadelphia 
was visited by the fever, the authorities adopted strenuous mea- 
sures of quarantine against that city. Ships coming thence were 
forbidden to approach nearer than Bedlow's Island. A day of fast- 
ing and prayer was appointed ; the proprietors of the stage-coaches 
were requested to cease running. People were warned against en- 
tertaining strangers, or buying bedding at auction. 

In the year 1795 the scourge came upon the city, with alarming 
results. On July 19 the first victim died; he was a cabin-boy 
aboard a ship coming from Port au Prince, West Indies. The 
surgeon who attended him died; neit the crew of another vessel 
was attacked, and then a family living on Water street. There 
arose some doubt afterward as to whether the origin of the infec- 
tion was to be traced thus; but the fact of its presence was 
not to be doubted. By October 6 five hundred and twenty-five 
people had died of the dread disease. In November the appear- 
ance of frost caused it to cease; and in gratitude for this Gov- 
ernor Jay appointed Thursday the 26th for a Thanksgiving Day, 
as already noticed. It would seem that the city was not quite 
free from the plague, even in the next year, for the musician Wil- 
liam Priest, in the book cited above, tells us that, in passing 
through New Jersey on his way to New- York, he was warned 
about the yellow fever. "But,'' he added, "the disease is chiefly 
confined to one part of the city, and is effectually prevented from 
spreading at present by the North West wind, which is set in this 


morning (September 18th) with uncommon severity.'' As to the 
eflScacy of this wind, he relates a remarkable circumstance occur- 
ring while he was at Baltimore during the raging of the same 
fever. Under date of October 2, 1794, he writes: "A violent cold 
and penetrating North West wind set in, with uncommon sever- 
ity, which has entirely stopped the infection." And on October 
14: "The inhabitants are returned, and trade is restored to its 
usual course.'' It is to be presumed, however, that frost accom- 
panied Ihe wind. 

But the climax of calamity from yellow fever was reached in 1798. 
This was true not only because it raged worse than at any time before 
in our own city, but because it simultaneously visited Philadelphia, 
Boston, New London, and seventeen other cities along the Atlantic 
border, entered Vermont, and infected even the Grand Isles in Lake 
Champlain. Philadelphia was called upon to mourn over thirty-five 
hundred victims. It began in New York on July 28 or 29, and the 
fli'st to succumb was no less a person than the eminent citizen and 
politician Melancthon Smith, who led the forces of the anti-constitu- 
tional party at the ratification convention at Poughkeepsie just ten 
years before, and who had nobly acknowledged that he was convinced 
by the arguments of Hamilton. He lived in Front street, near Coen- 
ties Slip, on the low made ground which had been rescued from the 
river. This was, therefore, an unheal thful region generally, and it was 
no wonder that the fever commenced here. Every one that could 
fled from the city. Many business men transferred their residences 
or shops to higher ground, in William street or Broadway, and even 
this slight change proved of benefit. But as people began to die by 
the dozen, and two and three dozen, per day, the alarm became wild. 
The deaths during August amounted to three hundred and twenty- 
nine. On September 1 twenty-three persons died ; on the 19th, sixty- 
three funerals were counted ; for the whole month the death-list ran 
up to nine hundred and fifty-four. When it was all over, about the 
middle of November, fifteen hundred and twenty-four people, out of 
a population of about fifty thousand, had died of the fever ; and this 
did not include those who died after they fled and were attacked out- 
side the borders of city or island. 

Out of these evils, however, grew a good : as a result of the scourge 
in 1795 a system of underground sewerage was at once proposed and 
speedily carried out. Yet the plague of 1798 was worse than the 
other, and a yet more frightful visitation was that of 1822. The 
causes were hard to determine with exactness. No doubt a bilious 
condition, superinduced by a malarial state of the atmosphere in low 
places, favored the yellow fever. Hot days, with cool nights and 
mornings, were thought to favor the spread of the disease. Sudden 


changes of temperature were deleterious, and these were apt to occur 
then as well as in these days. Mr. Priest quotes a statement of Jef- 
ferson's: "Our changes from heat to cold are sudden and great. The 
mercury in Fahrenheit's thermometer has been known to descend 
from 92 to 47 in thirteen hours.'' And from a New-York newspaper 
in June, 1796, he made this extract : ** Wednesday, the 14th of May, 
the mercury in Fahrenheit rose to 91 degrees. The Saturday night 
following there was a severe frost. The next Tuesday and Wednes- 
day the mercury rose to 85 degrees ; from the 20th to the 26tli it has 
been nearly stationary, varying only from 60 to 64."* Professor Mac- 
Master, after a minute study of contemporary accounts, has pre- 
sented a most vivid picture of the effect of the prevalence of this 

epidemic upon the popular mind. Speaking of what was thought a 
sovereign remedy or preventive against the fever, a certain "vinegar," 
he remarks : " If the purchaser of the vinegar were a nervous man 
and tormented with hourly fear of being stricken with the fever, the 
spectacle he presented as he sallied forth to buy was most pitiable. 
As he shut his house door he was careful to have a piece of tarred 
rope in either hand, a sponge wet with camphor at the nose, and in 
his pocket a handkerchief well soaked with the last preventive of 
which he had heard. As he hastened along the street he shunned 
the foot walk, kept in the middle of the horseway, fled down the 
nearest alley at the sight of a carriage, and thought nothing of going 
six blocks to avoid passing a house whence a dead body had been 
taken the week before. If he were so unhappy as to meet a friend 
on the way, neither shook hands, but, exchanging a few words at a 
distance, each sought, bowing and scraping, to get to the windward 
of the other as he passed. When at last the shop was reached, 

1 Willism Priest, "Tratvels." etc, pp. 137, 138. 


nothing could induce him to enter while another stood at the counter, 
or was seen approaching on the streef^ 

In a former chapter mention has been made of the connection be- 
tween that famous pond or lake, the Collect, and the sanitary condi- 
tion of the city. Surely the picture drawn by Captain Rutgers in his 
petition to the king was a dreary one ; and when, in 1733, the grant 
of it and its adjoining lands was conferred upon him, he doubtless 
proceeded to improve its character as a health resort by the proper 
drainage, the system of which he had so carefully explained.^ In 
1 791 the city purchased whatever title his heirs still claimed to its 
possession for the sum of one hundred and fifty pounds, which does 
not seem a large amount after improving the property and holding it 
for nearly sixty years. Possibly its reputation for healthfulness had 
not improved, in spite of the efforts of Captain Rutgers. Indeed, one 
pitiless historian, mentioning this purchase in 1791, goes on to say : 
"After becoming an unmitigated nuisance, it was filled up between 
the years 1800 and 1810." Thus its life would seem to be nearly con- 
terminous with that of the century whose close is under consideration 
just now. And this now vanished water, made historic by that wan- 
ton tragedy which led to the Indian wars, claims in this last decade 
of the eighteenth century a more than passing notice ; for upon its 
quiet bosom were performed some of the earliest experiments in 
steam navigation. 

William Alexander Duer, the grandson on the mother's side of 
William Alexander, Lord Stirling, and through her related also to 
Chancellor Livingston, destined to figure so prominently in a later 
event of a similar nature, in an address before the St. Nicholas Society 
on December 1, 1848, gives an interesting account of these experi- 
ments, gathered from conversations with eye-witnesses of them. Gen- 
eral John Lamb informed him that he saw a trial of a steamboat^ 
with a screw propeller at the stem, in the year 1795. This must have 
been an early construction of a model carried to greater perfection by 
John Stevens in 1804. Strange to say, that splendid invention, which 
has made ocean navigation by steam possible to a degree so astonish- 
ing even to-day, was buried in oblivion until 1837, when the idea was 
once more revived, and then later developed into complete prac- 
tical eflSciency by John Ericsson. In the years 1796 and 1797, Mr. 
Duer learned that John Fitch also appeared upon the scene and navi- 
gated the Collect. He had this information from an old mechanical 
engineer residing in Williamsburg (Brooklyn). This person was 
present in the boat and assisted in working the machinery. He 
recollected that Chancellor Livingston as well as Mr. Stevens were 
present at the experiments; and also mentioned another gentleman 

1 '* History of the People of the United States,'' 2 : 128. a See pa^ 189 of the previous volume. 


whom he supposed to be Robert Fulton ; but, as Mr. Duer properly 
observes, this could hardly have been possible, as Fulton at this period 
was studying art under Benjamin West in England. Another state- 
ment may be received with caution : namely, that Fitch propelled his 
boat by means of paddle-wheels at the sides. In some illustrations of 
this incident such a device appears in the picture of the little steamer. 
But Fitch did not utilize this means of propulsion. His paddles were 
huge oars, six on each side, hung upon a cumbersome and lofty frame- 
work. At least this was the kind of construction which characterized 
the boat in which he made a trial upon the Delaware, opposite Phila- 
delphia, at about this same time. Nevertheless, whatever other uncer- 
tainties there may be surrounding this subject, the fact seems plain 
and indisputable that early essays in steam navigation were made on 
our ancient Collect. It was truly a sufficient distinction that it should 
have been the scene of such events. First noted in the city's history 
by a tale of murder, portending greater woes to come, it was a kind 
fate which associated its closing years with an experiment fraught 
with such incalculable blessings to humanity, and the final results of 
which have led more than aught else alone to place this city at the 
pinnacle of commercial prosperity, — to raise it into the magnificent 
proportions wherein it now glories. 

In the midst of this material prosperity, already beginning, and in 
spite of the rise of that commercial spirit of which we sometimes 
complain in these days, it is pleasant to observe that the citizens of 
New- York toward the close of the preceding centuiy found time for 
thinking of the higher needs of man. The countenance given to the 
invention just noticed is proof of this. It is manifest also, in another 
way, from the number of societies that were formed at this period 
for the purpose of advancing the culture of the mind, or the good of 
unfortunate fellow-men, as well as for mutual aid and encouragement 
in the pursuit of any particular trade. Thus, besides the Tammany 
Society, intended to offset the rather aristocratic tendencies of the 
Society of the Cincinnati, and originally embracing men of opposite 
parties, there were the Marine Society, the General Society of Me- 
chanics and Tradesmen, the Manufacturing Society : whose designa- 
tions at once explain their scope and purpose. These were, indeed, 
closely allied with commerce and trade or the outgrowth of them, 
yet they marked a disposition toward neighborly helpfulness which 
kept men from too selfish a pursuit of individual gain, and by so far 
benefited and ennobled the higher nature. More distinct, however, 
was the elevation of tone in the creation of such societies as that 
" for promoting useful knowledge." The members met once a month, 
and under their auspices numerous lectures were provided on a 
great variety of subjects, — scientific, historical, literary, — ^which were 


largely attended, and, it was noted, particularly so by ladies. Signif- 
icant is also the fact that thus early there existed a " Society for the 
Manumission of Slaves and protecting such as have been or may be 
liberated." It was organized in 1780, and a few years later added to 
its benevolent operations the establishment of a school for the chil- 
dren of negroes still slaves who had reached the age of nine years. 
John Jay, to whose heart the subject 
of abolition was very near, was at one 
time president of this society.' 

Another benevolent object found 
numerous supporters, with which, 
however, were mingled again con- 
siderations aflEecting the material 
progress of the city. In 1794 a so- 
ciety was formed for the purpose of 
*' affording information and assistance 
to persons emigrating from foreign 
countries." From this circumstance 
it appears that a considerable tide of 
emigration had already begun to set 
in toward our shores. Young as was 

the republic, the oppressed multitudes of overcrowded and agitated 
Europe had already learned to direct their eyes hither as the haven 
of their hopes, as an asylum of escape from unhappy conditions, and 
as an arena for the unfettered exercise of noble faculties and useful 
capacities held in check where 

Chill penury repressed their noble rage, 
And froze the genial current of the bouL 

Among these emigrants is to be numbered one whose name now is as 
widely known as the city to which he came, and whose fortunes 
indicate the liberal possibilities that lay before these early adven- 
turers. In 1784 John Jacob Astor had come from his little village 
in Germany, a young man with the world quite shut up against 
him in his native land, but with the world all before him, with 
its *' open sesame" to pluck and push and skill, in the republic which 
had but enjoyed its peace for one year. In the latter part of the 
eighteenth century, or the period of which we now write, he occupied 
a store or shop at 81 Queen street. This was about midway between 
Cherry and Monroe, on the east side of Pearl street. Here he sold 
pianofortes, made by his brother in London, and paid cash for skins 
of racoons and muskrats. He also sold furs. Not despising the 

nT,"oU., 2i339; T. E. V. Smith, "New-York In 1789," p. 123. 



day of small things, greater came to him, and his bosiness and the 
city grew together. 

Amid the general interest in intellectual cnlture, it was to be 
expected that the ancient Society Library would find a promising 
field for the revival of its 
operations. Sadly crippled by 
the ruthless treatment and 
shameless purloining of its 
volumes by the British sol- 
diery, it resumed its life after 
the war by occupying once 
more its room in Federal Hall, 
serving then, indeed, as a con- 
gressional library also. But 
in 1795 the association was 
enabled to erect a neat and 
handsome building of its own 
on the comer of Nassau and 
Cedar streets. Columbia Col- 
lege, showing by its name the 
transition in affairs which had 
occurred since it was founded 
as King's College, was now in 
a flourishing condition. One 
hundred students attended its 
classical curriculum, and there 
were fifty medical students about this time. The college faculty con- 
sisted of a president and three professors. As a central luminary this 
chief educational institution was attended by several schools, the best 
among them being the Columbia Grammar School. The Old Dutch 
Collegiate Church School was in active operation, and over sixty 
names of teachers appear in the directories of those years. 

In this connection it is of great importance to observe that New- 
York enjoys the honor of having been the place where was published 
the first novel of America's earliest romance-writer. In 1796 Charles 
Brockden Brown came from his native city of Philadelphia and 
settled in New- York. He was perhaps the first American who ven- 
tured to adopt literature distinctly as a profession. He married a 
daughter of the Rev. Dr. William Linn, of the Collegiate Dutch 
Reformed Church, and in 1798 published "Wieland; or, the Trans- 

I Matthew Cbtrkson wu identUed with many Bnrfcoyne eumpaigu ; and, after the wax, beeune 

notable enterprises of > benevolent oredueationU msJoT-KeDeral of the State militia. At the period 

charHCter, as appesra in the course ot the present under consideration he waa a member of the State 

Tolume. He enlinted as a private In the war of legislature sitting in New-Tork. EnrrOB. 

the Revolution, and served as aide-de-camp In the 


formation.'' It is well to remember this fact, in view of the cir- 
cmnstance that the commercial metropolis is fast becoming also the 
literary, as it is already the publishing, center of the country. A 
list of the newspapers issued at this time includes the "New- York 
Journal,'' the "Daily Advertiser" (the first daily published in the 
city), and the "Daily Gazette," also a daily paper, as its name indi- 
cates. A few more had been established in former years, but were 
unsuccessful Those that remained did not furnish their limited circle 
of readers with more than a series of advertisements of goods in the 
shops, or of auction-sales. In the political controversies of the day 
letters or treatises would be sent in signed by such fanciful names as 
"Publius," "Camillus" (Hamilton's noma deplume)^ or "William Tell"; 
but the editors themselves would rarely indulge in leading articles. 

Just before the beginning of the last decade of the eighteenth 
century, Brissot de Warville, the French journalist and traveler, ex- 
pressed his view of New- York society and manners in these terms : 
"The presence of Congress with the diplomatic body, and the con- 
course of strangers, contribute much to extend here the ravages of 
luxuiy. The inhabitants are far from complaining at it; they prefer 
the splendor of wealth and the show of enjoyment to the simplicity of 
manners and the pure pleasures resulting from it."^ Another chapter 
deals with the higher movements of society, in consequence of the 
attendance of Congress and the establishment of the federal govern- 
ment in this city. But it will be of interest to glance at the more 
popular amusements of the day. Among these the racing of horses 
was a great favorite; and we learn that the place where this pleasure 
was indulged was on the Bowery. The "speedway" began at Chat- 
ham Square. Unless four horses could be entered, a race would not 
be held. Sixteen shillings was the amount of the entrance-money. 
The prizes were not in purses, but at one time an elegant saddle and 
bridle would be offered, at another some equally useful article appro- 
priate to the horse. It is not likely that any other mode of speeding 
the horse was then thought of but that of running, the finer and more 
difficult qualities of trotting being reserved for a later day. 

The hour for the races was invariably one o'clock. When they were 
over there would be ample time, before sunset of a summer's day, for 
the more Select portion of the spectators to pursue a road leading 
to the right from Chatham Square toward the East River, parallel to 
the present East Broadway, until they reached the comfortable Bel- 
vedere House. This pleasure resort, or club-house, stood on an emi- 
nence at about the comer of Montgomery and Cherry streets, or per- 
haps in the center of the block bounded by these and Clinton and 
Monroe streets. The garden would lead down to the river across the 

1 " New Travels,'* etc., 1 : 127. 
Vol. m.— 10. 


space where Water and Front streets have since encroached upon thd 
stream. It was owned by several gentlemen (to the number of thirty- 
three in 1794), and formed a rural retreat and convenience for small 
parties. From its broad veranda the view would sweep over the 
Brooklyn Heights, over Governor's to Staten Island, and the glancing 
waters of river and bay between; or from the rear the still rural 
aspects of Manhattan Island would form a pleasing contrast to the 
river view. In the northern direction from the race-course, along the 
Bowery road, there would be reached a more popular country resort, 
the Vauxhall Garden. Earlier in the century this was near the comer 
of the present Warren and Greenwich streets. But at this time it 
occupied a spot near where the Astor Library stands, between Lafay- 
ette Place and Fourth avenue. This had been a part of the property 
of Colonel Nicholas Bayard. Indeed, the old Bayard mansion itself 
had been utilized, and with some slight changes had been converted 
into a house of entertainment by a Frenchman named Delacroix in 
1798.^ It doubtless failed to equal its London namesake. 

Theatrical performances had become a fixed feature of the city's 
life in the period of which we are treating. For a long time they 
had been steadily opposed and denounced by official action and 
newspaper criticism. After 1766 and until 1798 the old John street 
theater was the only theater in the city. But in the latter year the 
Park Theater was opened, standing opposite the common, in the 
present Park Row. So far as records industriously compiled show, 
there seldom or never was rendered a play by Shakespeare. Sheri- 
dan's "Rivals'' and "School for Scandal" were more than once placed 
upon the boards ; for the rest, most of the plays were by contempor 
rary English playwrights, with an occasional one by an American. 
Among these early dramatic authors was William Dunlap, historian 
of the American theater as well as of New-York city. We have, alas I 
no very favorable account of the behavior of our forefathers at the 
theater. " In the theatres at the North it often happened that the 
moment a well-dressed man entered the pit, he at once became a 
mark for the wit and insolence of the men in the gallery. They 
would begin by calling on him to doff his hat in mark of inferiority, 
for the custom of wearing hats in the theater was universal. If he 
obeyed, he was loudly hissed, and troubled no more. If he refused, 
abuse, oaths, and indecent remarks were poured out upon him."* 
Surely it could not be a very refined audience where such actions 
were habitual. Yet, as the admittance was quite costly for those 
days, it could only have been persons of the better class who were 
enabled to attend. The common people sought their amusements in 

> " Appletons' Cyclopedia of American Biog^raphy," 1 : 198. 
2 MacMaster's '* History People U. S. ,** 2 : 549. 


different quarters. Thus, traveling acrobats would give exhibitions 
on the streets or the common. " Philosophers " would perform 
chemical and electrical experiments, to the great astonishment of the 
unsophisticated. At one time such a show was advertised at Harlem 
village, so that a drive thither, or a long healthful walk of seven or 
eight miles, would be enhanced by this additional entertainment. 

Steadily, slowly as yet, but surely, New-York was meantiine — 
amid all the gaieties of society, amid the more solid enjoyments of 
her literary circles, with a nascent literatm-e and the noble activities 
of philanthropy — advancing toward her destiny. She was to fulfil 
the prophecy of her ancient name. She was 
to be the new Amsterdam of a new republic, 
based on Uberty of government and of con- 
science, and enriched by commerce. Like her 
namesake and prototype, deprived of the ad- 
vantages of being the civil capital of the 
Federal Union, she was still destined to be the 
commercial capital and the metropolis. In 
spite of three or more visitations of the yellow 
fever, which discouraged trade and scattered 
abroad its residents, many for a permanent 
separation, besides carrying thousands to their 
gi'aves, yet did this little town thrive aid grow apace, till it ceased to 
l>e a town and approached the condition of a metropolis. The un- 
rivaled advantages of its geographical and topographical situation 
necessarily made it a commercial center. Such was the conviction 
of observers who saw it then, before the astonishing results of later 
years had arrived to justify their opinion. "This city," says Winter- 
botham, " is esteemed the most eligible situation for commerce in the 
United States. It almost necessarily commands the trade of one- 
half of New Jersey, most of that of Connecticut, and part of that of 
Massachusetts, and almost the whole of Vermont, besides the whole 
fertile interior country, which is penetrated by one of the largest 
rivers in America. This city imports most of the goods consumed 
between a line of thirty miles east of Connecticut river and twenty 
miles west of the Hudson, which is 130 miles, and between the ocean 
and the confines of Canada, about four hundred miles; a considerable 
portion of which is the best peopled of any part of the United States, 
and the whole territory contains at least eight hundred thousand peo- 
ple, or one-fifth of the inhabitants of the Union. Besides, some of the 
other States are jmrtially supplied with goods from New- York. . . . 
In time of peace New- York will command more commercial business 
than any town in the Unit«d States."' 

1 "View of V. S.," etc, 2 : 318, 319. 


No wonder, then, that the streets of New- York presented a lively 
appearance. There were then no "down-town^ and "up-town,'* as 
we have since learned to understand these terms. The attorney, the 
merchant, the shopkeeper, carried on their business in the house 
that was also their dwelling, and the daily exile from home and fam- 
ily in order to attend to business was unnecessary. The parts now 
devoted to business only, where homes, except the humblest, are im- 
known, were then also the haunts of business, but at the same time 
presented the more cheery aspect of ordinary habitation, and betrayed 
the dainty and tidy touch of the housewife. While there were not 
many shops on Broadway, in William, in Broad, in Wall street, and 
others, oflBices and stores and counting-houses were mingled in busy 
array. There was then as yet no South street. But Water and Front 
streets had advanced into the river since the century began, and had 
left Pearl street quite an interior thoroughfare. And here along 
Front street the great ships lay at their wharves. The North River 
shore was still comparatively deserted ; the wide stretch of the bay 
seemed too much like the open sea. So between the Battery and 
Peck Slip was all the wharfage ; above this were the ship-yards. In 
the year 1794 twenty-three hundred and eighty-nine ships and craft 
of various kinds and sizes are recorded as having cleared the port of 
New- York. Common sailors commanded good wages — twenty-four 
dollars a month at least. Indeed, the business brought into town 
by this increasing trade raised all kinds of wages to a comfortable 
amount. House-servants, male and female, received from eight to 
ten dollars a month. " Hatters, two dollars a day. Carpenters, ten- 
pence an hour. Masons, for laying a wall one perch long, one brick 
high, and eighteen inches thick, were paid fourpence.'^ Rents, too, 
increased as people came crowding into the busy town, and board at 
seven dollars a week was considered expensive. 

Even then Wall street was the home of the banks. Where now 
rises the somewhat antiquated building of the Bank of New- York, 
on the corner of Wall and William streets, its humbler predecessor 
stood, built in 1798. Before this its business was conducted at 11 
Hanover Square, and in 1784 it occupied the famous Walton House. 
Even speculation was a thing not then unknown. In 1796 La Roche- 
foucauld writes : " I have learned here that the speculations in grain 
and in flour have disturbed many mercantile houses, have ruined one 
of the principal ones, and will probably ruin some others.**^ Yet 
there was enough solid business done to secure the continuance of 
prosperity ; and in 1799 the Manhattan Company, with its ingenious 
charter, secured by Aaron Burr, began it« career of banking, with 
but a very secondary attention to a water-supply. As is well known, 

!<• Voyage." etc., 5:128. 

MMDAT zwmma, ocrom t, .nr- 


ST'^ -it:^- 









l^nEii, luR InnriEd, , 





..^:5T.""'*~' sr^i.-jirfs'JF;"^ 





-■K^^jV'-^^^^^ „. 



the latter purpose was ostensibly the main one, put forward because 
it was feared the federalists would not give banking privileges into 
the hands of republicans. The increasing commercial transactions 
demanded the operation of these banks. Their hours were from ten 
to one, and from three to five, and discounts were made on certain 
days in the week. As for the money in use, the federal government 
had properly done away with the English currency, and had estab- 
lished a national system of its own. But although the dollars and 
cents were much more easily calculated than the pounds, shillings, 
and pence, the curious persistence of habit is illustrated by the tena- 
city wherewith people clung to the older system — "and nothing can 
be more complex, as they have not a single coin in circulation of the 
real or nominal value of any of them.''* 

It wo^ild seem, therefore, as if mercantile affairs involving the 
handling of large sums, or even the more ordinary interchanges of 
every-day life, would need to be facilitated by the paper of the banks, 
or checks drawn upon them. Some of these present a very primitive 
appearance, and may have been safe enough for the rightful transfer 
of funds in that unsophisticated age, but would not be trusted for a 
single moment to-day. But matters were sure to mend as the years 
advanced. New-York was not yet the money-center of the western 
world, nor yet the queen of American commerce. Nevertheless, 
William Priest said of her in 1796: "New- York is a London in minia- 
ture — populous streets, hum of business, busy faces, shops in style.** 
Let London look to her laurels ! Centuries of undisputed supremacy 
have been hers hitherto. Before the nineteenth century shall be quite 
over, the little provincial, lately colonial, town across the seas will 
be in dangerous proximity to London's greatness, herself vastly in- 
creased since the eighteenth century's close. 

1 William Priest, '* Tnveli,'' ete., p. 66. 


Oerard BaDcker, taonse and two lots. Pearl st. . . 


Daniel Penfleld, house and lot, State street . . 

.. £2,900 

Robert Watte, hoase and lot, 

* • • • 


Archibald Kennedy, 



.. 2,500 

Robert Watte. 



John Watts, 

• • 

.. 2,900 

Matthew Clarkeon, " 


• • K 


Chancellor Livingston, 


.. 9,000 

Robert Wilson, house and three lots, Broad st. . 


John Stevens, 


.. 2,000 

John Bnchanan, house and lot. 



Mary Ellison, 

• • 

. 9,500 

Nicholas Olive, 


• • • • 


Henry White, 


. 9,600 

Benjamin Seixas, * 



Dominiok Lynch, 


.. 9,000 

Nicholas Cmger. * 

• • • * 


Brockholst Livingston, 


.. 9,000 

Peter Delabigarre, * 



William Edgar, 

• t 

. 4.000 

Onlian Ludlow, 



Alexander McComb, 

• t 

.. 2,000 

John Shaw, ' 

Pearl street.... 


Alexander McComb, 

• t 

.. 9,000 

Cary Ludlow, • 

State street 


Ann MoAdam, 


.. s;ooo 

James Watson, * 



Jacob Morton, 


.. 8.0W 

James Watson, ' 



Isaac Clason, 



.. IJ60 


, UTingium, tuBW and tM, BTDadwa; 


£4.001 Junes DunUp, bonte MUl lot. Water itnct .. 
2.MI WUUam H— 

Thomu T«i Erck. 

JilCiWilH LOV. 


nnuid Bnunaa . 


AugBunuVwi CorOui 
JahB B. CbIm, 

ItMT (lnilOD, 

Wiiluw LawroiCf 
Thoma* a. BHdmn, 
SM. il.C. IjTilMnKID. 

Tficlnla* Diper*trr. 

OorneUu* Ray. 
Xilale Dr. Van Zjii 

IilelianI Yat'a. 

ThDiDM MarsioD. 





J..11Q Kee.r. 





National Bank. 


Anlhunr L. BlMck«r 


Jolin UcKi'««>n. 


Entato N. fowenhoT 


'WlUUiD lUualeg. 
Jnho Taylor. 
EstatD Hvorv Kip. 
Andre » Ulttliell, 

John Thnnii 
liDbvn Uuii 
John Hanti 

UUH (]lllH'rtWi>.>.l!.ull. 

3.000 Julin Jni'kMMi, 

1.000 Ealate Pettir Bogert, 

%00O EHalfl PBier Bagerl. 

una Biilwrt\t 

VllUam atnet. tM) Bobert W 


Water itreet .. 2.M0 

WUIIani a 
Ubortj: at 



Robert Hunter, taoote and lot, 

Pearl street.... 


Robert L. Bowue, 




Est. Lawrence Embree, 





Robert Bowne, 




Robert Buwne, 




Widow Sears, 




John Rogers, 



• • - • 


Tredwell Jackson, 


Front street ... 


Joshua Underbill, 


Crane wharf... 


Dr. Browor, 


Water street... 


Peter Bogert, 


Front street . . . 


Elisha and William Colt, 


Crane wharf ... 


Daniel Cotton, 




Robert Hunter, 


Water street... 


WiUett Seaman, 




Ebenezer Stevens, 





Peter Schennerhom, 





Margaret Livingston, 




Jonathan Lawrence, 





Thomas Pearsall, 


Pearl street.... 


John King, 





Moses Rogers, 





Moses Rogers, 





Caleb Frost, 




Thomas Franklin, 





Margaret Livingston, 

• t 


a . . . 


Estate Cromeline, 





Willett Seaman, 





Jordan Wright, 




WiUiam Mintnrn, 




Estate Peter Byvanck, 




Thomas Leggett, 





John Franklin, 




Daniel Dnnscomb, Jr., 





James W. Depeyster, 




James Uallet, Jr., 


Beekman street 


William Kenyon, 



• . . • 


Peter Schennerhom, 

• 1 




Cornelius Schermcrhorn " 




Thomas Burling, 





Peter Middlcmans, 




Cornelius J. IJogert, 





Johnson Patten, 

• 1 



Leffert I^effcrts, 




Robert Carter, 


Nassau street.. 


Mrs. Samuel Hay, 


Fair [Fulton] St 


Robert Robinson, 


WiUiam street. 


Samuel Silford, 





Samuel Silford, 




Estate Jane Moncrief, 





Medcalf Eden, 


Gold street 


Daniel Dunbar, 


Beekman street 


Eben Haviland, 


Pearl street 


Benjamin Ha\ilHnd, 




Samuel Franklin, 




Thomas Eddy, 




Effingham Embree, 


•• • 



WiUiam Robinson, 





Samuel Bowne, 





WiUiam Bowne, 




Widow Pell, 




Edmund Prior, 





James Parsons, 

• t 




Anthony Franklin 




Caleb Lawrence, 





Henry Haydock, 8r., honae 
Widow Bleeoker, 
WillUun Laight, 
Widow Batler, 
Thomas Pearsall, 
Ttaomaa Pearsall, 
Thomas Ash, 
John Blagge, 
John Seemon, 
Jndge Benson, 
Judge Tenbrook, 
Alexander Hosack, 
Robert Benson, 
Doick Leiterts, 
Thomaa Skinner, 
WiUiam Grigg, 
Venline Elsworth, 
Est. SMnuel Beekman, 
WiUiam RuUedge, 
WUliam Rutledge, 
Lott Merkle, 
James Bradley, 
James Mallaby, 
James Bradley, 
Col. Henry Rutgers, 
John F. Roorback, 
James Murray, 
John De Wint, 
Capt. James Nicholson, 
William TnrnbnU, 
Widow Roberts, 
Thomas Brasher, 
Thomas Gardner, 
John McLaren, 
Moses Rogers, 
WiUiam Delaplaine, 
John I. Glover, 
Joseph Hopkins, 
Lewis Pintard, 
WUUam Mintnrn, 
Junes R. Smith, 
Thomas Pearsall, 
John Thompson, 
Abraham Duryea, 
Peter Clopper, 
Nicholas Carmer, 
James Walker, 
Thomas PhilUps^ 
David Masterson, 
Morgan Lewis, 
John A. Wolfe, 
Rnfus King, 
Richard Harrison, 
Abijah Hammond, 
WUliam S. Smith, 
John FrankUn, 
James Roosevelt, 
J. M. Haydock, 
WiUiam Rhinelander, 
Samuel Osgood, 
WUliam Walton, 
WUUam Thompson, 

WUUam Beekman*s est, 
WUUam Bedlow, 

•Dd lot, Pearl street £4,oa 




tt .. 2^ 


" John street 2.00 

.... 2.00 

'* William street. 2,40 

«< 4i ^ Jfl 

• • • . ^ W 

.... 2.50 

" Maiden lane.... 2.30 

.... 4.O0 

.... 2,6fl 

.... 2,00 

.... 2,00 

.... 3,00 

.... 2,00 

** Gold street 2,50 


•* " 2^ 

" " 2,00 

'* Maiden lane.... 8,00 

•• " ]^ 

... i;00 

.... 8,00 

.... 8,00 

.... 2^ 

" WUliam sOttet. 8^ 

.... 2,00 

.... i;io 

.... 2.» 

.... 2J0 

" Gold street 23 

" Pearl street.... 2,70 

.... 8,50 

.... 4,00 

.... 2,00 

.... 2,00 

.... 8.00 

.... 8,0C 

.... 8,50 

•« «• j^ 

.... 8,00 

.... 2,4e 

" Maiden lane.... 2ju 

.... 2^ 

.... 2.C 

•• •• 2,( 

It It * 

II tl O 

•* Broadway 8 

l< tt (T 

«t <l • 

...... « 

" Cortlandt Street 

" Pearl street.... 
tt It 

It It 

" WUliam street. 

•* Cherry street.. 

" Pearl street 

" Chatham (Tea 

Water Pnmp) 

" Cherry street . . 
It tt 


Henry Rutgers £2,500 

John R. Livingston 4.500 

WUliam Lalght 3,000 

Belvidere House 2.500 

Nicholas Gon vemeur 2.000 

WUlism Bancker 2.500 

Samuel Jones 2,000 

Peter Stny vesant 13.000 

Robert Randal 3,000 

HoratioGates 4,000 

Francis B. Wlntlirop.. 

James Beekman 

Josiah Ogden Hoffman 

James Depeyster 

Harman Le Roy 

Charles W. Apthorp. . . 

William Constable 

Rem Rapelje 

George Clinton 

Aaron Burr 



Jj|C S we contemplate the condition of our city in the opening 
days of the nineteenth century, it cannot fail to impress 
us that great and striking contrasts appear as we look 
either backward or forward, — to the not very distant be- 
ginning of the city's history, or to the still nearer period of its present 
grandeur. Two hundred years before, in 1601, Manhattan Island was 
still lying upon the bosom of 
its beautiful bay, a pristine 
verdure adorning its fields 
and forests, and its atten- 
dant islets dotting the sur- 
rounding waters. The foot 
of civilized man had not yet 
trodden its virgin soil; and 
if bis eye had lighted upon 
its charms and had admired 
them for a brief moment, it 
was three quarters of a een- 
turj' since even such tran- 
sient observation bad taken 
place, and the civilized world 
had foi^tten all about it. 
Thus here lay in quiet re- 
pose, unmolested, but also 
unimproved, possibilities for 
human industry, commerce, 
habitation, that only the mar- 
velous realization of the present day can adequately set forth as then 
present. Only the event has proved the matchless prophecy that lay 
hid in contour of shores, in depth of channel, in facility of access, in 
safety of shelter, in beauty of situation, even then of course apparent, 
and which have since made the city and port of New- York the throne 




of American commerce, the metropolis of a hemiBphere. In 1601 
these were still waiting to be seen and appreciated. And fortn- 
nately, eight years later, they were thus seen by the reprMientatives 
of a nation (in fact, of the two nations) that knew far better than 
all others how to make use of these excellent advantages. 

Taking our stand in the New- York of 1801, and casting onr 0ance 
about the world for its great cities, we shall probably find as vast a 
population in Peldn then as now; 
certainly it had its millions, if 
not so many as to-day, and its 
origin is lost in the dim past of 
Chinese history. Then London 
was already great, covering forty 
square miles of habitation, and 
counting a population of nearly 
nine hundred thousand, with a 
history dating anterior to the 
birth of Christ. Paris, the Em- 
peror Julian's favorite residence 
when he was governor of Gaul 
from A. D. 355 to 361, was a large 
city in 1801 ; Berlin, now with 
over a million inhabitants, was 
then an important place, and had 
been a capital since 1163. Am- 
sterdam in 1801 far outnumbered 
its former namesake in popula- 
tion, but it had grown to its 
greatness since the year 1203. 
Here then was a city whose very 
site was unknown two hundred years before the opening of the 
nineteenth century, but destined ere its close to distance beyond 
all comparison the greater part of the cities then most important, 
to surpass Berlin and Paris, and to become a rival to London itself 
for supremacy among the cities of the world. 

At the very opening of the century which has witnessed such won- 
drous advances in every direction as well as in the condition of our 
city, the country was at the height of a most intense political excite- 
ment. The fourth presidential election had just taken place in the 
regular way then provided by the constitution. The persons receiv- 
ing the highest number of votes, without reference to the intentions 
of the voters as to who should be president and who vicerpresident, 
were Thomas Jefferson, of Virginia, and Aaron Burr, of New- York. 
This method at the preceding election had resulted in giving the 


nation a president of one party and a vice-president of another. 
Now it had led to a tie between two men of one party, and no elec- 
tion of a vice-president at all, as that office would fall to the man 
who should be second in the constitutional expedient to relieve the 
tie vote. This would seem a very simple matter, since both the men 
having the highest number of votes were Republicans, or Anti-Fed- 
eralists. But complication arose and excitement ran high, because 
throughout the whole nation those of that party had a most decided 
preference for one as president, and would not tolerate the other 
except as vice-president. And yet, by the provisions of the con- 
stitution, that judgment or preference might easily be reversed. 
Again, the person who was relegated to the secondaiy position in 
the wishes of his fellow Republicans had quite as strong a deter- 
mination to obtain the chief place ; he was not esteemed to be proof 
against sacrificing his party for the sake of the place, and in this cir- 
cumstance lay the opportunity for the Federalists to defeat the desires 
of their opponents and deprive Jefferson of the presidency. 

This was the situation of affairs^ on January 1, 1801, the first day 
of the portentous nineteenth century. On December 4 the electoral 
colleges had met in their several States, and on or before Christmas 
the returns of their votes were known throughout the country. Jef- 
ferson and Burr each had seventy-three ; Adams had received sixty- 
five, and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, sixty-four; John Jay, one. It 
now remained for the House of Representatives to decide whether 
Jefferson or Burr should be the chief magistrate of the republic, and 
the decision was to be had on February 11, or the second Wednesday 
of that month. This interval of six or seven weeks was a period of 
great anxiety to the serious, and one of great clamor and agitation 
on the part of partizans and demagogues. It was the first severe 
strain upon the constitution of the republic. Threats were heard of 
armed resistance in case of disappointed hopes, even when the 
disappointment should be effected along the regular legal lines pre- 
scribed by the fundamental law of the United States. "Federal- 
ists were plainly told," observes Professor MacMaster,-^ and he bases 
his statement upon a thorough search of contemporary newspapers, — 
"that if Aaron Burr were made President, the Republicans would 
arm, march to Washington, depose the usurper, and put Jefferson 
in his place.** ^ It was deliberately calculated what would be the 
chances in such a confiict — how far the rather ridiculously insuffi- 
cient equipment of the Virginia militia^ would go toward enabling 
them to cope with the trained State troops of Massachusetts. There 

i<< History of the People of the United States,'' the VirginiA militiameii* for lack of muflkets, 
2 : 517. went through the exercises of the manual with 

2 It was stated In the Northern newspapers that corn-stalks. 


was some cause for alarm when such discussions were put into print. 
But not only hot-headed men in the ranks were aflEected with wild 
schemes ; the great leaders of the Republican party, such as Madi- 
son, who had done noble work in constructing the constitution, 
broached devices for gaining the mastery of the present situation 
which would have been subversive of all that this glorious document 
had secured. 

In this frame of mind were the people of these United States 
during the first six weeks of the century. Then another week or so 
of culminating intensity of anxiety followed. On February 11 the 
electoral votes were counted in the Senate, and Jefferson formally 

announced the distress- 
ing tie vote, of which the 
whole country had long 
been aware. Then came 
the pai-t for the House 
of Representatives to 
play. Sixteen States 
were at that period rep- 
resented there. Each 
State had one ballot in 
the general vote, and 
that ballot was deter- 
mined by the majority 
in each delegation for 
one or the other candi- 
date. Nine States — a 
majority — were neces- 
sary to constitute a decision. "The political composition of the 
house was such that the Republicans could not control the choice; 
and the Federalists, though of course still more unable to do so, yet 
had the power, by holding steadily together, to prevent any election 
whatever. Momentous as such a political crime would be, neverthe- 
less many influential Federalists soon showed themselves sufficiently 
embittered and vindictive to contemplate it."^ 

The unusual excitement brought a vast concourse of people to the 
capital, which was HI prepared to accommodate such a sudden access 
of population. But since the difficulties of travel were bravely under- 
taken, these interested travelers were not to be frightened by the in- 

' Id 1B01 OoTernor Jay's Becood term ended, yraa a part of the original Van Corllandt maoor. 

He declined a renomlnatlon, and carried ont reso- Although Mrs. Jay wan permitted the eDJoyment 

lutelythe purpose he spend the of this rural retreat for but one year (dting in 

remainder of hia lite in retirement Aatictpaling 1802), the governor apeot a happy aud rcKtful old 

this, be had built a comfortable country-seat at age here, until 1829, when hia death occurred, at 



conTeniences of hotel or tavern life. Floors were good enough for 
beds, and one's own greatcoat was the only bedding to be enjoyed; 
hut happy he who could find even a floor to lie upon, wrapped in his 
overcoat, traveling-blanket, or shawL 

The eventful day having arrived, and the Senate having done its 
work, the voting by States began in due form in the House of Repre- 
sentatives. On the first ballot, eight 
States gave their voice to Jefferson, 
six to Burr, while Vermont and Mary- 
land reported themselves "divided"; 
that is, there was a tie vote in their 
delegations. There was, therefore, no 
election. Six more ballots within a 
brief space brought the house no 
nearer to a result. After a respite 
of scarcely an hour, eight more bal- 
lots were taken^ but without an elec- 
tion. Thus the suspense lasted until 
Monday, February 16, and after the 
thirty-sixth ballot the announcement 
could at last be made that constitu- 
tional methods had been sustained, 
and had sufficed to give the country 
a president who was the choice of the 
majority of the people. In the Mary- 
land and Vermont delegations those 
who had hitherto voted for Burr so as to make a tie and thus to 
divide and lose their vote in the roll of States, now had cast blank 
ballots, leaving a majority in each case for Jefferson, and the count 
of two more States for him. The one delegate from Delaware, James 
Ashton Bayard, a Federalist, but above partizanship, thereupon gave 
his vote for Jefferson, adding one more State for him, and the eleven 
States together constituted a sufficient vote to give him the presi- 
dency. Burr, the New- York politician, whose skill in manipulating 
political forces in his own city had brought him so dangerously near 
thwarting the wishes of his party, became vice-president. But his 
doom was forecast in the moment that this exalted place reached 
him. Distrust was now no longer based on the suspicion, but on the 
certainty, of his untmstworthiness. From the presidential possibil- 
ity he rapidly descended to political nonentity, and to a worse fame 
than even this reverse would have fastened upon him. 

The account of the presidential election of 1800 and 1801 might 
with some reason be suppressed from these pages, although the 
connection of New-York with the occurrences at Washington was 



too intimate to make the omission altogether permissible. But the 
events and the act growing oat of these occurrences, directly and 
logically, which caused the final political extinction of Aaron Bnrr, 
confront us whenever we turn the pages of the records of this period, 
and we cannot avoid them. It began to appear how little credit Burr 
had left in his own party when, at the end of four years, it became 
time to nominate candidates for the ofQces of president and vice- 
president. Jefferson was renominated for the former, but Burr was 
not even mentioned for vice-presi- 
dent, Governor George Clinton's 
name being substituted. At the 
same time, in the spring of 1804, 
a contest for the governorship of 
New- York was at hand, and in this 
Burr saw an opportunity to redeem 
his political standing, or to test his 
power. There being nothing left 
for bim in national politics, he set 
about to secure a nomination for 
governor of New- York. His own 
party, under the influence of the 
Clinton and Livingston families, 
failed to give him this, but nomi- 
nated Chief Justice Morgan Lewis, 
a brother-in-law of the former chan- 
cellor, Bobert R. Livingston. He then hoped to obtain the Federalist 
nomination, but was again disappointed, Chancellor Lansing being 
named by this party. Burr then'posed as an independent, or self- 
nominated candidate, and when Chancellor Lansing declined to run, 
felt certain of having a part of the Republican or Democratic vote, 
and the bulk of the Federalist, diverted to himself. The result of the 
election showed that he had miscalculated. A colossus had risen in 
the way of the governorship : the same who had blocked his dubious 
progress toward the presidency. James Ashton Bayard, of Delaware, 
acting on Hamilton's advice, had ceased to vote for Burr (his one vote 
standing for his State) in the House of Representatives ; and, giving 
it to Jefferson, had turned the tide and made bis elevation to the 
presidency possible. Hamilton now again raised his warning voice 
against Burr amid the ranks of the Federalists, and their votes fell off 
to Lewis, in whose personal integrity they trusted, however bitterly 
opposed on party lines. 

Burr was thus left without any ground to stand on, either in the 
nation or in his own State. He was desperate, and his unscrupulous, 
unbridled temperament easily turned to thoughts of vengeance. 




Hamilton must be taken out of his way; if he were not, his own 
career was a wreck. The dael was his only resort. Should Hamilton 
fall. Burr might hope to rise again in the political world. His own 
case could scarce be worse than it was now if Hamilton's bullet 
should destroy him. Occasion for a quarrel was readily found after a 
heated election contest. Words unworthOy overheard by two eaves- 
dropping adherents of Burr; an account in the newspapers of a re- 
ported conversation at a private table among trusted aesociatee : such 
were the materials for a charge by Burr against Hamilton of im- 
proper language, requiring explanation or denial. The groundlessneBS 
or irrelevance of such a charge, and such a demand based upon it, was 
indicated by Hamilton ; but Burr wished to quarrel, not to argue, 
and bis peremptory demands left no 
opening to avoid the quarrel. The 
point of a challenge, aimed at by 
Burr, was therefore reached. It was 
sent, and could not but be accepted, 
as men then thought and felt. As 
a recent authority remarks, speak- 
ing of Burr's pai-t in this unhappy 
transaction: "With cool delibera- 
tion he set about forcing a quarrel. 
He showed his purpose plainly 
enough by selecting a remark at- 
tributed to Hamilton at the time of 
the caucuses [in a sense, confidential ' 
gatherings, not to be compared with 
the public hustings] held to nomi- 
nate candidates for the governor- 
ship, which was really applicable to 
his general public character, was not 
peculiarly severe, and was perfectly 
inoffensive compared with many of 
the denunciations launched at him by Hamilton only a few years be- 
fore. Hamilton had no desire to fight, but it was impossible to avoid 
it, if he admitted the force of the code of honor, when Burr was deter- 
mined to fix a quarrel upon him."' Upon Hamilton we can fasten no 
such stigma of a desire to do harm. He towered too far above Burr 
in professional ability and success to entertain any jealousy of him 
on that score. He did not oppose Burr's endeavors to secure office 
because he himself wished to attain one ; for, with everything within 
his reach, Hamilton had deliberately turned aside from public life in 
order to improve his fortune, too long neglected while he was serving 

t "AlexudcrHuiillton," by Henry Cabot Lodge, p. 247. 




bis country. He antagonized Burr, both in 1801 and in 1804, in the 
arena of national politics, as in those of the State, purely on grounds 
of a public nature. Secession was in the air then, as it was nearly 
sixty yeara later, only its latitude was then further north. It was in 
the thoughts of the men of New England, and hence we do not find 
the matter emphasized much in the history of that time. Hunilton 
foresaw or suspected that Burr was entirely capable of disrupting the 
Union for the sake of personal ambition ; that he would lead a seces- 
sion much rather than shed his last drop of life-blood (as Hamilton 
would have done) to prevent it. 
The sequel of events has justified 
that suspicion. Hence Hamilton, 
in 1801, preferred to see Jeffer- 
son, the demigod of the Demo- 
crats, in the presidential chair, 
rather than Burr, pledged to the 
Federalists. In 1804 he preferred 
Lewis as governor to Burr, even 
as a nominee of his (Hamilton's) 
own party. In social life he was 
Burr's friend. In a moment of 
distress he came to his aid with 
a loan of ten thousand dollars, 
raised with his characteristic en- 
ergy among bis own friends and 
relatives. It is not clear that this 
indebtedness of Burr's was liqui- 
dated at the time of the duel, and 
it casts a darker shadow upon the 
latter's vindictive course. It was on political grounds solely that 
the two men were ever opposed ; but Burr allowed this opposition to 
awaken within him a personal resentment. " If he could have stifled 
his political aspirations," says one who writes of Burr in a friendly 
spirit, " and returned to the bar, as Hamilton had done, a brilliant 
and honorable career might still have been his; but unfortunately 
he could not endure defeat with patience."" 
The day set for the duel was July 11, 1804, over a fortnight after 

1 Tbeododa Burr vaa the Tice-preBident'H only 
child. She wu bom In 1TS3, and wu carefully 
eduoted under her father's superrliion, her ac- 
qniremeuts even embracing a knowledge of the 
claiNilcs. Her native wit and eminent social a(- 
t^nments nude her a remarkable figure in the 
society of that day. In all of Bdit'h unhappy 
rareer, the matnal devotion and sincere admira- 
tion of father and daughter the one for the other 
afford a pleasant and pathetic relief t« so much 

HaA Is disagreeable. On Burr's return fmm his 
long-ontinued wanderings in Europe In 1SI3, his 
daughter left Charleston in a small sailing-vessel 
to meet him In New-York. The ship was never 
beard of afterward, and either foundered or fell 
into the bands of pirates. Theodoaia bad married 
Joseph Alston, wbo became governor of Sontb 
' "The Story of New-Tork," by Charles Burr 

Todd, p. am. 




the challeoge had been accepted. Attentiou is directed by some 
writers to the contrast between the respective actions of the antag- 
onists during the interval. Barr busied himself in destroying evi- 
dences of several amours ; Hamilton in setting in order his affairs, so 
that his wife and children and his creditors might suffer as little as 
possible from his de- 
mise. Burr diligent>- 
ly spent hours each 
day practising with 
a pistol in shooting 
at a target. Hamil- 
ton was at his of- 
fice, attending to the 
business of his cli- 
ents. The time of 
waiting was an anx- 
ious one for Hamil- 
ton, not because he 
was a coward — un- 
less, indeed, in so far as he was properly made so by those con- 
siderations of home and loved ones which do " make cowards of us 
all." The prolongeld interval had no effect upon Burr's cool delibera- 
tion to put his antagonist out of the way, or perish in the attempt 
Hamilton, in his dying moments, solemnly protested that he bad no 
intention of even shooting at all at the first fire, and that he was in 
doubt about the second fire, should Burr's murderous intent call for 
that. For mere self-defense in that case would have demanded of 
Hamilton to protect himself against what would then have too plainly 
showed itself to be assassination. With our best endeavors and 
strongest desire to remain impartial, it is impossible that these sig- 
nificant contrasts before the fatal event should not prejudice us in 
favor of Hamilton, and make us feel that the imputations of sinister 
motives, whether just to Burr or not, would entirely comport with 
these exhibitions of character on his side. 

On the morning of July 11, shortly after dawn, two boats might 
have been seen crossing the Hudson. For either, the angle of cross- 
ing had need to be very oblique. Weehawken, about opposite Forty- 
second street, was the objective point of both of them. Burr's party, 

1 The cliuteT of trees in tlio ligbt-huid comer 
of the illastratlDD repreaeiits the tbirteeD ^oin- 
trees (Duned after the thlrMeu ori^tiul States) 
plknted by Hunlltou's tnrii huids on the Uwn a 
few rods from the honse. about * jetr before his 
death. TheaetreoB areBtUlrtandlng.andbftvere- 
eentlj been purehaaed with a small plot of ground 
by the Hon. Orluido B. Potter, of New- York, with 
a rlew to their prese t t atlon. In a note to the 
Vol. m.— 11. 

Editor, he sa^B : " I am hopeful that the elt; will 
set apart the whole square, of which my purchase 
Is bat part, as Hamilton Park, as a Just memorial 
of the greateat dttien whom New-Tork has yet 

jriren to the oonntry. 1 am also hopeful that 
Hamilton's dwelling, which Is at present removed 
and connected with St. Luke's Church near by as 
its rector;, may be returned to the place where 
Hamilton built and occupied It." 


the first to take the journey, left the east shore of the river near the 
foot of Charlton street. Hamilton came down from about One Hun- 
dred and Forty-first street, where stood his country house of " The 
Grange," still to be seen at the corner of One Hundred and Fortj^- 
first street and Convent avenue, and now temporarily occupied by 
St. Luke's Episcopal Church. The details of the meeting are too well 
known to be dwelt on here. It need only be mentioned that the 
statement has recently been made, in refutation of the claim that 
Hamilton had no intention of shooting Burr, that, just before firing, 
Hamilton complained of the light, and took time to adjust his glasses 
or spectacles, in order to see better. But there has come to notice 
no documentary or printed evidence to corroborate this rather new 
version of a familiar story. Be this as it may, at the first fire Hamil- 
ton fell, mortally wounded, and Burr stood over the prostrate form 
of his victim, unhurt. 

A hurried departure from the fatal spot followed. Burr's party 
went first. Arrived at Richmond Hill, near the comer of the present 
Charlton and Varick streets, he quietly settled himself to reading in 
his library. A relative arrived from Connecticut, after an all-night 
journey, about seven o'clock. At eight breakfast was served, and 
later the guest left to saunter into the city. Until he saw the com- 
motion in the streets, and was aecosted by an acquaintance and told 
of the tragedy, which has made it a never-to-be-forgotten day in 
New-York history. Burr's companion, at his own breakfast-table, 
knew nothing of the dark deed whose shadow never left this man's 
long subsequent career.^ A few words will suffice to dismiss that 
career from these pages; for its incidents — thrilling and sad some; 
evil, or suspicious of evil, others — took place at too remote a distance 
from this city to warrant minute mention. When an indignant pub- 
lic sentiment took shape in an indictment for murder. Burr escaped 
from the city. When his term as vice-president was at an end, he 
entered upon those mysterious but not clearly traitorous schemes, 
involving the suggestion of a Mexican or Central American empire, 
which finally brought on the trial at Richmond in 1807. A verdict 
of "not proven" left Burr his liberty, but little else. Then came 
years of wandering and penury in Europe. On his return the blow 
struck him of the loss of Theodosia, shipwrecked or slain by pirates 
on her way from Charleston to New-York to join him. Many years 
of life, "unknown, unhonored, and unloved," were yet reserved for 
him ; near the close, a little more unpleasant notoriety connected with 
his marriage of a few months (followed by separation or divorce) with 
Madame Jumel ; and then finally, in 1836, came " the last scene of 
aU," ending this eminently " strange, eventful history." 

1 "Life of Avron Burr.'* by Jamee Parton (New-York, 1864), 2: 13, 14. 



But it is time to follow also the other boat leaving Weehawken. 
It did not return up the river, but crossed obliquely downward. It 
landed at the foot of the present Horatio street, then a part of the 
village of Greenwich. William Bayard, a friend of Hamilton, stood 
awaiting its arrival. Tlie wounded man, who had recovered con- 
sciousness on the way over, was tenderly carried to Bayard's house. 
Hither were hastily summoned the devoted wife and the seven yonng 
chUdren.' All that loving care, all that the best medical science of 
that day, could do, was done to save his life. But it was all in vain : 
the tai^t practice in the Richmond Hill garden had been but too 


successful. The adversary's aim had been at the seat of life, and the 
bullet had struck fatally near it. All the remainder of that day and 
through the night Hamilton suffered greatly ; but on the next morn- 
ing the pain abated, while the exhaustion premonitory of death set in. 
At two o'clock in the afternoon of July 12, Hamilton died. 

And then there was a burst of spontaneous grief from every part 
of the young republic, whose strength, and credit, and incipient glory 
were largely due to him whose head was now laid low. Federalist 
and Republican forgot their political antagonism in the patriotic 
sentiment of regret and sorrow at the country's loss. Not only the 
Cincinnati, his former companions in arms, and generally of the Fed- 
eralist faith, but even the members of the bar, of various political 
opinions, took special measures to indicate their feelings. The latter 



resolved to wear mourning badges for several weeks.' On Saturday, 
July 14, the funeral took place in Trinity Church. Gouvemeur Mor- 
rifi, always Hamilton's friend and admirer, pronounced a funeral ora- 
tion worthy of the occasion, simple, eloquent, just. Indeed, a mere 
recital of the acts of the man's brief life was the grandest enlogium 
that friendship or admiration could possibly have conceived. "Thus 
tragically passed from the scene one of the greatest of the great men 
of the Revolutionary era. ' The Patriot of Incorruptible Integrity, 
the Soldier of Approved Valor, the Statesman of Consummate "Wis- 
.. .--.■—_^- -,-.-- --— . dom.' One reads it on 

his modest tombstone 
in Trinity church- 
yard — a truer pane- 
gyric than most."* 

Yet, even in the fla- 
grant "manner of his 
taking off," Hamilton 
did his country a ser- 
vice. In those anxious 
days when a presenti- 
ment of disaster made 
him fear that he would 
be torn from his fam- 
ily, Hamilton put in 
writing his opinion 
of dueling: "My reli- 
gious and moral princi- 
ples are strongly opposed to the practice of duelling, and it would 
ever give me pain ^ to be obliged to shed the blood of a fellow- 
creature in a private combat forbidden by the laws."* When men 
read the record of this sentiment against a practice which yet the 
writer of it felt bound by public opinion to engage in, that public 
opinion received a shock which awakened it to a due sense of its 
enormity, and the code of honor henceforth became one of dishonor. 
Dueling was doomed in New-Tork and in Northern society. 
The glory of New- York city is her public-school system, unrivaled 

•odetj') uid Burr wvre both picaeDt Hamilton 
mi ukpd to ling hli favorite ballad of "The 
Dmm ~ 1 he hesitated, but. In order to create no 
■nsplcionaa to the coming event, oonsented. Burr 
looked him intentiv In the face irhile he n>ng; it 
la hard to tell with what reelings. 

; Charief Burr Todd. ■■ Story of Kew-ToA." 
p. 390. The pall bearer* were General Matthew 
Oarkson, OliTet Wolcoll. Rjehard Harrtion. Abl- 

On the coffin were placed Hamilton's 
and Bword: his boots and iipurs hung rerereed 
acrom the general's gray horse, which was led di- 
rectly In front of the coffin by two black servants 
dressed in while, with while turbana trimmed 
with hiack crape. 
> -'LifeofAleiander Hamilton." John T.Morse, 



for the excellence and the extent of education placed witliin the 
reach of the poorest of her citizens. The opening of the nineteenth 
century saw the beginning of this good work, the fouudatiou of that 
organized, systematic enterprise in this direction, which has ever 
since characterized it. The history of the school in New-York dates 
l>ack, as has been shown in a 
previous volume, to the year 
1633 ; and the school then 
founded, that of the Dutch 
Reformed Church, was in a 
flourishing condition at the 
period now under discussion, 
and is in existence to-day. 
Under Lord Combury, much 
against that nobleman's wishes, 
the assembly legislated on the 
subject of schools, and the 
matter necessarily attracted 
the attention of men awake 
to the real interests of city or 
province. But the development of this institution was always on a 
narrow line. Instruction in secular knowledge must go hand in hand 
with that in religious things; and in consequence of this, while the 
schools were so largely an appendix of the churches, only the chil- 
dren of the churehly families received the benefit of them. There 
were many of the " outlying " masses — ehurchless even then, as they 
are now — whose children grew up debarred from the advantages of 
education. " By that social gravitation which seems to have always 
been inseparable from compacted communities," says the historian 
of the Public School Society, " the metroiwlis was not exempt from 
the characteristic feature of a substratum of wretched, ignorant, and 
friendless children, who, even though they had parents, grew up in a 
condition of moral and religious orphanage, alike fatal to their tem- 
poral and spiritual advancement and elevation."- This sad picture is 
drawn of the city when it numbered but little over sixty thousand souls. 
Benevolent and far-seeing persons of both sexes perceived the 
wrong and the peril of this condition of things, and set about the 
methods of remedying it. In the second year of the century an 


1 iDHsription on Hamilton's tomb : 

On the Mmth fBC« : To the Hemorj of | Alei- 
■nd« Hamilton, | who died Jnly 12th, 1S04, | 

On the north side : To the Memory of | Aleisn- 
der Hamilton | The Corporattoii of Trinity Church 

StAMsman of Consummate Wisdom | Whote Tal- 
ents and Virtues will be Admired | By Grateful 
Posterity | Long after thin Harlde shall have 
Mouldered Into | Dust | He died July 12, 1S04, 
Atted *7. 

" HUtory of the Public School Society of the 

has erected this | Honument | In Testimony of City of New- York," Williun Oland Bourne, p. 1 
their reapect | for 1 The Patriot of Intormpttble (New-York, 1870). 
Intefrity | The Soldier of Approved Valour | The 


association of ladies belonging to the Society of Friends, or Quakers, 
had contributed of their private means, and established a free school 
for the education of gu*ls. This humble but noble endeavor was the 
genu of the great metropolitan system of public schools to-day. Con- 
fined to one sex only, yet its beneficent effects were clearly apparent, 
and the success within its one-sided and necessarily limited sphere 
so pronounced that it led naturally to undertakings on a larger and 
wider scale. The free school for girls had been three years in opera- 
tion when the idea of extending the principle at its foundation took 
practical shape. No doubt, as in all such cases, men had talked and 
deliberated. The necessity was so pressing, the calamity of ignorance 
so appalling, that the problem of removing the crying shame could 
not be set aside or postponed. Yet all honor to those who began the 
movement. Two gentlemen — let their names be held in bright 
remembrance — Thomas Eddy and John Murray, early in the year 
1805, issued a call for a meeting of all such as would unite in an 
undertaking to provide the means of education for the youth hitherto 
neglected. On the day appointed, February 19, 1805, twelve gentle- 
men met at the house of Mr. John Murray, situated in Pearl street. 
It will need no apology to mention their names, and among them will 
be noticed some already familiar in local history. They were, besides 
Messrs. Eddy and Murray, who called them together, Samuel Osgood, 
Brockholst LiWngston, Samuel Miller, Joseph Constant, Thomas 
Pearsall, Thomas Franklin, Matthew Clarkson, Leonard Bleecker, 
Samuel Russell, and William Edgar. Besides the passing of a reso- 
lution expressive of their conviction of the need and importance of 
the work they had at heart, nothing of a practical nature was done, 
except to appoint a committ<?e to devise plans for the execution of 
their noble design. Less than a week after the first meeting, a second 
was called by this committee, who had thus promptly prepared their 
report. The main recommendation of this report was that application 
be made to the legislature of the State for an act regularly incorpo- 
rating a society to be charged with educational interests in the city. 
A memorial to that effect was drawn up, signed by one hundred 
prominent citizens, and sent to the legislature on February 25. One 
passage read as follows: "The enlightened and excellent Government 
under which we live is favorable to the general diffusion of know- 
ledge ; but the blessings of such a Government can be expected to be 
enjoyed no longer than while its citizens continue nrtnous^ and while 
the majority of the people, through the advantage of a proper early 
education, possess sufficient knowledge to enable them to understand 
and pursue their best interests. This sentiment, which must meet 
with universal assent, was emphatically urged to his countrymen by 
Washington, and has been recently enforced by our present Chief 



Magistrate in his address on the necessity of supporting schools, and 
promoting useful knowledge through the State." 

The measure commended itself so strongly, and was so entirely 
removed above and beyond the plane of party measures, that action 
was promptly and energetically taken ; and on April 9, 1805, the 
legislature passed "An Act to incorporate the Society instituted in 
the City of New York, for the Establishment of a Free School for 
the Education of Poor Children who do not belong to, or are not pro- 
Wded for by, any religious society." Thirty-seven incorporators were 
named iu the bill, the head of 
the list being graced with the 
name of the mayor, De Witt 
Clinton — among the many other 
names of note appearing those 
of Daniel D. Tompkins and Dr. 
Samuel Latham Mitchill. The 
provisions of the act, briefly sum- 
marized, were: that the yearly 
income of the society should 
not exceed ten thousand dol- 
lai-s; that on the first Monday 
of May annually thirteen trus- 
tees should be elected from 
among the members of the so- 
ciety, who should also be resi- 
dents of the city ; that the trus- 
tees should meet on the second 
Monday of every month, seven 
or more to constitute a quorum ; 
that any person contributing 
eight dollars might become a 
member of the society ■ that a contribution of twenty-five dollars 
should entitle to membership and the privilege of sending one child 
to any school of the society; and one of forty dollars, the privilege 
of membership and the sending of two children. The act at the same 
time constituted De Witt Clinton and the twelve gentlemen present at 
the original meeting at Mr. Murray's house the first board of trustees.' 

On May 6 these thirteen trustees met for the election of their 
ofiScers, when De Witt Clinton was chosen president; John Murray, 
vice-president; Leonard Bleecker, treasurer; and Benjamin D. Perkins, 
secretary. The next step in the movement was an elaborate appeal 
to the public to aid the enterprise by the contribution of the funds re- 
quired for the securing of suitable quarters for the school and for the 

I Bonrae'i " HiBtorr Public School Sodcty," p. 5. 


payment of teachers. The funds did not rapidly accumulate, owing 
to various serious impediments, so that fully a year elapsed ere the 
work of the school could finally begin. It is of interest to observe 
that the subscription list is still preserved among the archives of the 
society, and shows the name of De Witt Clinton leading, with the sum 
of two hundred dollars opposite to it. As a result of such liberality, 
th<5 trustees felt justified in appointing a teacher and renting apart- 
ments. The pioneer teacher was William Smith, and the place where 
his labors began a house in Madison street, which was then called 
Bancker. On May 19, 1806, teacher and scholars met under these 
humble auspices. But few were there that first day. After some 
days, however, the number had risen to forty-two, and the increase 
kept on till larger accommodations became imperative. Even before 
the school had initiated its exercises, in April, 1806, Colonel Henry 
Rutgers* had given a lot on Henry street for a school building, and 
soon after gave the adjoining lot besides, the whole of the property 
being valued at $2500. Still, as the work increased, the society felt 
cramped for means. An appeal to the legislature was again made in 
January, 1807, resulting in an act which set aside a certain portion of 
the excise duties for the support of the school. Nor was the corpora- 
tion of the city itself slow in coming to its aid. The quarters in 
Madisou street having become inadequate, and no funds being as yet 
in hand for building a house on the Henry street lots, the "city 
fathers'* presented a building adjoining the almshouse, together with 
five hundred dollars for putting it into proper shape for this new 
purpose. Thus came into existence school No. 1, standing on Chat- 
ham street ; it was provided not only with rooms for classes, but also 
with dwelling apartments for the teacher's family. On April 28, 1807, 
Mr. Smith and his pupils began their sessions here, and before the 
year closed the number of children in attendance had risen to one 
hundreil and fifty. The further account of this interesting movement 
must now be left to a subsequent chapter, and in its more minute 
details to another volume. 

The first ten or more years of the present century were character- 
ized by a noticeable extension in the number of church buildings, or 
the improvement and enlargement of those already built. Some of 
these events took place within the seven years belonging to the scope 
of this chapter. The first church that claims attention is none other 
than that in Ganlen street (now Exchange Place), the third edifice of 
this kind in the order of erection on this island, but really the earli- 
est that can l>e called worthy of the name in point of architecture or 

I This «iime irenercms loT^r of iMucmtion Uter known by his* nune. Tb<? Rev. Dr. Howard Crwby. 
gave #5000 to QueenV OoUegee at Now Brunswick. for i«everal yvarsi a profesaor in the college, was 
K. J., whence that college has ever since been hi* grandnephew. 


proportions. De Vries, the voyager, could find no more exalted term 
for the building at 33 Pearl street, erected iu 1633, than that of 
"barn," as compared with the neat New England meeting-houees; 
and the church in the fort, while of brick or stone, and superior to 
the former, was not such as to impress the beholder. Hence the 
"old" church in Garden street, built of brick trimmed with stone, 
when it was opened for service in 1693, was a conspicuous feature of 
the little town, and quite outstripped the earlier structures that occu- 


pied Trinity's site. After undergoing extensive repairs, with some 
remodeling, in 1766, and again after the Revolution, the church was 
taken down completely, and an entirely new and much finer building 
erected on the spot in 1807. This stood until it was swept away by 
the great fire in 1835 ; and with a little care in the tracing we may 
look upon its ecclesiastical descendants to-day. After the fire the 
congregation determined to separate into two societies. One part 
built a church iu Murray street; the other went to the corner of 
Washington Place, on the east side of Washington Square, adjoining 
the New-York University. Its noble proportions, double towers, and 
walls cut into embrasures at the top, as if it were a eastle or a fort, 
are still to be seen. But denominationally it no longer represents 
the ori^nal congregation, as it was sold to the Methodist Episcopal 
people. For its denominational representative one has to look to the 
church on the comer of Madison Avenue and Thirty-eighth street, 
the successor of the Murray street church. Crowded out by the 
march of business, this society moved to the comer of Fifth Avenue 
and Twenty-first street; but, again pursued by that church-devouring 
demon, their handsome edifice there was sold, and the building at 
Thirty-seventh street, formerly occupied by a Protestant Episcopal 
congregation, purchased. 



Iq the year 1803 there was held in this church the last regular or 
stated service in the Dutch language. The Holland tongue had been 
the first to convey to heaven the worship of pioiis hearts in prayer 
and praise. In it had been sounded forth the gospel in the ears of 
men from the very beginning of colonization in 1626. Even after the 
English conquest in 1664, a whole century elapsed before the Dutch 
congregation called an English-speaking pastor. But after the Eevo- 

lutiou the disappearance 
of the Dutch from ver- 
nacular usage was very 
rapid. Yet in 1789, when 
the old Dutch pastors 
were too aged to continue 
their services, and when 
Drs. Livingston and Linn 
were preaching eloquent- 
ly in the national tongue, 
to the delight of auditors 
of their own and other 
comnianions, it was still 
thought expedient, for 
the benefit of a certain 
portion of the communi- 
cants, to caU a pastor who 
should dispense the ordi- 
nances in Dutch. For 
this purpose the Rev. 
Gerardus Kuypers (after- 
ward D. D.) was called from Paramus, New Jersey, and the ancient 
Garden street church set apart for these services. In 1803, however, 
the audiences attending them had grown so small that Dutch preach- 
ing was abolished, and Dr. Kuypers thenceforth, until his death in 
1833, preached in English. Thus ceased public divine worship in a 
language which had conveyed pious emotions to the throne of grace 
for an unbroken period of one hundred and seventy-seven years. 
But in 1866 the generosity of the collegiate church enabled a Dutch 
church to be organized for the modern emigrants from Holland who 
had made New- York their abode, and hence at this very time regular 
worship in the ancient mother-tongue is still conducted upon this 
island, whose shores it was the earliest to bless with the beneficent 
message of salvation. 

As has been already intimated, one of the most striking indications 
of local changes induced by the growth of our city, of the invasion of 
business houses into the regions of homes, is horded by the history 

S. tM j^<Ajvrtp<f^tm 


of many of our church societies. Who would connect the stately tem- 
ple, graceful in exterior, beautiful and rich in interior, and thronged 
with hearers under the pastorate of the Rev. Dr. Abbot E. Kittredge 
— standing on the corner of Madison Avenue and that broad trans- 
verse avenue, Fifty-seventh street — with the locality of Franklin 
street, near West Broadway t Yet if we take two steps back in its 
annals — first to a period of seventeen years of existence (1854-1871) 
in Twenty- third street, and then to its origin — we shall reach that 
down-town region. And the founding of that church in 1807, it must 
not be forgotten, marked an era in church development for the Re- 
formed (Dutch) denomination in this city. Hitherto there had been 
no congregation of this order, except under the care of that collegiate 
organization whose history dated from 1628. The "North West 
Church,'' as it was called, in Franklin street, was the first congre- 
gation that was independent and separate. Its first pastor was the 
Rev. Christian Bork, a unique character. He had come over among 
the Geiman mercenary troops hired by England to subdue her colo- 
nies. He had concluded to cast in his fortunes with the liberated 
country after the war. The rough soldier was converted, entered the 
ministry, and became a preacher of great spiritual force, whose labors, 
continued through fifteen years, were eminently successful. 

Embracing within our view a territory which then seemed entirely 
unwarranted to be entitled to consideration as a part of the city, an 
account of local events during this period must include the foimding 
of two more Reformed churches, one in Greenwich village, the other 
at Bloomingdale. In 1803 the dwellers at Greenwich began to think 
the journey to the church in Garden street, or to that in Nassau 
street, or even to that in Fulton street, rather too long, and accord- 
ingly they established a church of their own. The yellow fever panic, 
which sent the people by scores into this neighborhood, no doubt 
stimulated the enterprise, and may have been the real occasion for it. 
But after the panic subsided the church remained, and the curious 
observer may look upon its lineal descendant to-day on the comer of 
Bleecker and West Tenth streets, now in possession of a colored Bap- 
tist congregation. Bloomingdale church^ may also have owed its 
origin, in 1805, to the exodus from the city caused by the fear of the 
yellow fever, which prevailed in that year and in 1803. A large piece 
of ground given for a parsonage by a devoted elder finally became 
the means of preserving this society from extinction, when this part 
of the city began to assume the attractive appearance it now pre- 

1 Bloomingdale in the onoxnatopoetio change from lem was named after the city of Haarlem (its name 

the Dutch Bloemendaal. The lower point of the was New Harlem, or Nieuw Haerlem, originally), 

island being called after Amsterdam, other poiats A beautiful village near Haarlem, noted for its 

in the vicinity received names to correspond with horticultural nurseries, gave the name to Bloe- 

the vicinity of the ancient Dutch dty. Thus Har- mendaal, or Bloomingdale. 



sente. The tayiog out of the Boulevard demanded the destruction of 
the old church ; but the immense value which the elder's gift attained 
a few years since has enabled this people to place in the view of New- 
York denizens, on the corner of the Boulevard and Sixty-eighth 
street, a fine example of church 
architecture as the successor of 
the humble viUage church of 
the fifth year of the century. 

During the period now under 
consideration the activity in the 
way of church-building of de- 
nominations other than the 
Duteh Reformed and the Epis- 
copalian was in abeyance or 
suspense— to be revived, how- 
ever, almost immediately sub- 
sequent to it by the Presbyte- 
rians. Notable among Episcopal 
churches erected about this time 
are St. Stephen's, on the corner 
of Broome and Chrystie streets, 
built in 1805, following in the 
wake of population which went 
northward more rapidly on the 
east side than on the west ; and 
Grace Church, on the corner of Broadway and Eector street, built in 
1806, on the site formerly occupied by the Lutheran church. ludeed, 
it seems rather surprising that a church of the same order should 
thus have been placed beneath the very shadow of Trinity. 

Far away from all these churches, clustered and almost crowded 
together within so limited an area below Vesey and Beekman streets, 
there was erected in 1807 a church which has thus far escaped that 
"march of improvement" to which the others have all succumbed. 
Grace Church (down-town), St George's in Beekman street, Christ 
Church in Ann sti-eet, St. Stephen's in Broome street, are no more 
to be found upon the sites that knew them once. Even Trinity is not 
what then it was, though it occupies the same historic spot; but, 
together with St. Paul's, St John's on Vaiick street stands unim- 
paired and unchanged, a monument of earlier times. To a dweller 
at Colt^iie, whose unequaled cathedral reared its walls skyward six 
hundred years ago, a building eighty-five or one hundred and twenty- 
six years old (the ages of St. John's and St. Paul's respectively) may 
seem a very recent product. We of New- York, however, are fain to 
congratulate ourselves that these edifices still abide, when every 

' ' CO-Crz.'-rt^. 


Other church built so loog ago, and many of those erected much 
more recently, have disappeared. 

Trinity Church farm, once, as is known, that of thrifty Anneke 
Jans, stretched along the North River nearly to Thirteenth street. 
About half-way between the parent church and the extremity of this 
extensive property a site was selected for a new church in 1807. It 
seemfd a very unwise selection to many. It added to the surprise 
occasioned by placing a structure which it was reported would cost 
two hundred thousand dollars so far out of town, that so unwhole- 
some a location shoxild have been fixed upon. For there was nothing 
but a marsh to cover the space 
now occupied by that " palace 
of industry," the freight depot 
of the New- York Central Eail- 
road, — to be thus named, not 
indeed for the beauty or re- 
finement of its structure or 
contents, but for the ceaseless 
stir of business and the re- 
markable concentration of a 
vast traffic. As the beautiful 
edifice of the church, with its 

pillared portico, rose on the ^^^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^ ^^^^^ ^^ ^^^^^_ 
one hand, the resoi-t of snakes 

and frogs, and possibly mosquitos, was gradually made to assume 
the attractive appearance of a carefully laid out park, dimly recalled 
now by the generation of middle-aged men and women. In the course 
of years the wisdom of the choice of location was vindicated, as the 
handsomest residences of the towu crowded around the park. Dingy 
and dilapidated as these are in their fallen state to-day, they still 
have enough about them to attest their earlier elegance. And far 
above the changed surroundings the noble steeple of 8t. John's rears 
its graceful, tapering form, showing the flight of time, and sounding 
the hours amid the noisy din, as in the past amid the rural quiet. 

To enlarge on the frequent visitations of the yellow fever scourge 
would constitute a very dreary duty for the historian of the metropo- 
lis. In the previous chapter, those of the last decade of the eighteenth 
century have been duly noticed. The first decade of the nineteenth 
saw their recurrence in many a summer. But that of 1803 deserves 
especial mention, because it afforded the gratifying spectacle of the 
courage and devotion of the city's chief magistrate, Edward Living- 
ston. In 1801, after twelve years of able service, Richard Varick was 
removed from the mayor's office as a result of the complete overthrow 
of the Federalist forces. The council of appointment placed Edward 



Livingston in the chair, the youngest brother of Chancellor Living- 
ston, who had begun the practice of the law in New- York city in 
1785. The Livingstons had cast in their sympathies with the Repub- 
licans, or Democrats, hence upon a member of that family the choice 

of the party in power 
naturally fell. Fortu- 
nately, while polities 
often ruled the hour 
then, as now, in such 
selections, they were 
then, as not now, al- 
most always worthily 
made. In personal 
character, in legal and 
executive ability, in 
social standing and so- 
cial fitness, — no small 
consideration in those 
days, — a better choice 
could hardly have been 
made. The first event 
of note in Mayor Liv- 
ingston's term was the 
laying of the founda- 
tion-stone of the pres- 
ent City Hall, in the 
park, the historic com- 
mon of Revolutionary 
times, a more careful 
description of which 
belongs to a subse- 
quent chapter, which 
shall record its com- 
pletion. In 1803, in 
the month of July, the yellow fever struck the city, so very small in 
population as compared with that of to-day, but so much less pre- 
pared to prevent the spread of an epidemic. Mayor Livingston 
conceived it to be his duty to remain at his post, superintending the 
methods of relief, and ministering to the poor or iU-provided of his 
private means. His visits to hospitals and infected homes at last 
brought him down as one of the victims. Daily crowds surged 
toward the door of his house, at No. 1 Broadway, to inquire the 
progress of the dread malady, to offer assistance, to repay in some 
manner the kindness and the courage which had caused him to faU 




before the scourge. His life was spared, and a long career of useful- 
ness and distinction followed, the threshold to which, however, was 
another severe adversity. Duality in office was not forbidden in 
those times, and Mayor Livingston was also United States district 
attorney. While he was ill a dishonest clerk had made away with 
large government funds under his care as attorney. He at ouce sold 
all his property to make good the loss ; boldly started out on a new 
search after fortune in the territory recently purchased from France 
under the advice and by the 
negotiation of bis brother, the 
former chancellor, then min- 
ister to France; gained fame 
and wealth in New Orleans by 
his distinguished legal talent ; 
was sent to Congress, and un- 
der President Jackson rose to 
be secretary of state. 

On the resignation of Mayor 
Livingston in 1803, the influ- 
ence of the Clinton family 
(who, with the Livingstons, 
divided the patronage of the 
Democratic party) secured the 
appointment of De Witt Clin- 
ton as his successor. He was 
the son of General James Clin- 
ton, and thus the nephew of 
Governor Clinton. He had 
begun public life as private 
secretary to the latter, and, although educated for the legal profes- 
sion, he preferred politics. He was at the present juncture United 
States senator, but resigned his seat, as the office of mayor of New- 
York was both more important aud vastly more lucrative than that 
of senator. The man has made such a mark in the history of the 
city and the State that it is needless to make more extended bio- 
graphical mention of him. Every great enterprise for the public 
good brings his name to the foreground. We have already indicated 
his connection with the founding of the public-school system of the 
city. At a brief accessioti of power by the Federalists in 1807, De 
Witt Clinton was removed from office. Then the well-known uame 
of Marinus Willett for a year figures at the head of the municipal 
government. It was most interesting that the descendant of the 
earliest mayor of New- York should thus have been invested with the 
office exactly one hundred and forty years after the other's retirement. 



In the year 1804 a bill was passed by the legislature of the State 
which instituted some important changes in the chartered privileges 
of the city. The agitations for such changes had been started two 
years before, when letters began to appear in the public prints, calling 
attention to some of the defects of the old charter, dating back to 
Montgomerie's time, or 1730. It was complained that suffrage was 
not suflSciently distributed, that freeholders were allowed to vote, but 
without restricting them to any one ward, so that a man owning 
small pieces of property in every ward was entitled to vote in each. 
From letters in the newspapers, the agitation went on to the calling 
of public meetings, several of which were held at Adams's (later 
Union) Hotel, or Assembly Rooms, at 68 William street. At these, 
other modifications besides the removal of the above grievances were 
proposed, the principal (although rejected) being that the mayor's 
oflBce be made elective, and salaried, instead of subject to payment 
by indefinite fees. As usual, party and faction played their part in 
these discussions, and the motives of both promoters and opponents 
of the measure were impugned. A committee of citizens waited on 
the common council, on January 17, 1803, asking that body to join 
in a petition to the legislature to pass a law effecting the desired 
changes ; but the council not only rejected the proposal, but sent a 
petition asking that the charter be left intact. The citizens then sent 
an independent request directly to Albany. A bill was drawn up in 
accordance therewith, and passed the assembly on March 16, 1803. 
The next year it was taken up again, and now became a law on April 
5, 1804. Among its provisions were the following : that the annual 
charter election should take place on the third Tuesday of November; 
that the voting should be by ballot, instead of viva voce as hereto- 
fore; that the election might continue for more than one day, if neces- 
sary; that polling-places should be appointed in each ward; and 
that no person could vote in any other ward than the one in which he 
resided. The election of a mayor by the people was still distant full 
thirty years. 

As having a very pertinent bearing upon the development of the 
commerce of New-York city, it must not be forgotten that during the 
very years now under notice the nation's relations with the pirati- 
cal Barbary powers of the Mediterranean were being adjusted, and 
were finally put into a condition more honorable than that in which 
they had been left at the close of the preceding century. It was time 
that something should be done to teach these barbaric peoples a 
wholesome lesson regarding our power, when it had come to such a 
pass that one of these despots sent word to the president that oiu- 
payment of tribute meant as much as that we were his servants. On 
the strength of this unpalatable but not very unreasonable theory, he 


had peremptorily sent one of our vessels of war to Constantinople to 
bear his country's quota of revenue to the Sublime Porte. In May, 
1801, Tripoli's ruler cut down the flag-staff of the United States con- 
sulate, — an act equivalent to a declaration of war. Immediately a 
squadron of four vessels was despatched to the scene, under the 
command of Commodore Richard Dale. A second squadron followed 
in February, 1802, composed of six vessels, under Commodore Richard 
V. Morris. But neither of these armaments accomplished anything 
very decisive. As events progressed the government and the people 
became more and more enthusiastic and energetic, and determined to 
push hostilities to the point of the complete and final humiliation of 
these insolent sea-robber states. In these endeavors many a name 
came into prominence, and many a deed was done by our navy of 
which our nation was proud. The war gave rise practically to the 
American navy. It showed what great possibilities were in existence 
for the future of this branch of our service. Another war, close at 
hand, and on a more worthy and dignified scale, raised the navy to 
the height of fame ; but this little war on pirates was its stepping- 
stone and preparation. In 1805 a force of no less than twenty-four 
vessels, under Commodore John Rodgers, was present in the Medi- 
terranean. Tripoli succumbed, the other " powers " were thoroughly 
alarmed, and on June 4, 1805, a treaty was effected which gave secu- 
rity to our shipping in these waters, and allowed commerce to repair 
the cost of the war and the previous losses by piracy.^ 

Brief mention may be made of several items which belong to the 
local history of this period, and which are of interest, but which will 
naturally obtain more extended treatment under appropriate mono- 
graphs in another portion of this work. Columbia College continued 
to flourish under its republican name and in the republican atmo- 
sphere of its present surroundings. In 1801 the Rev. Charles Wharton 
was its president, but was succeeded ere its close in this position by 
Bishop Moore. In 1807 was organized its now famous adjunct, the 
College of Physicians and Surgeons. Originally, however, this insti- 
tution was not connected with Columbia, being established as a rival 
to its " medical faculty.'' Later the two schools were combined into 
one ; but again, subsequently, a separation took place, the College of 
Physicians and Surgeons remaining with Columbia. As an out- 
growth of the benevolent enterprise which had founded the New- 
York Hospital several years before, there was added to its buildings, 
in 1807, one for lunatics. Fourteen years later the fine structure for 
such patients at Bloomingdale, still under the management of the 
hospital, was completed, situated on the ridge overlooking the Hud- 
son on one side, and Harlem Plains and the East River on the other. 

1 '' Narratiye and Critical History of the United States/' 7:36Sjet8eq, 

Vol. ra.— 12. 



y^(^Ji?r^ Juf^i^rtc^ 

y^^^ ^r^ccc»>€ii;9/^ /^^^9^f^rv<f ^ ircx^ ^ Scr^s^' ^c^t^^rty^ f/^e^u/i^ 

cu ^am/p7ti:tC£e/^c' Ar^^vM^f^ a^?^>^ T^L^r^ €0 ^a^€^^ ^^ -^^t*^^- 


The laying of the corner-stone of the present City Hall, in 1803, 
has already been alluded to. In 1804 was founded the Kew-York 
Historical Society, through the enlightened enthusiasm for historical 
research ent^riaioed by Judge Egbert Benson and the merchant John 
Pintard, whose name stands also honorably associated with the pro- 
gress of the New- York Society Library. It was not, however, till the 
celebration on an elaborate scale of the two-hundredth anniversary of 
the discovery of the Hudson (to be duly noticed in the nest chapter), 
that the society attracted any very general attention. Its timely 
erection and intelligent work have been of incalculable benefit in the 
preservation of the earliest records of the his- 
tory of the State aud city. Indeed, its design 
embraced even a wider scope, being, as ex- 
pressed by the founders, "to collect and pre- 
serve whatever may relate to the natural, civil 
or ecclesiastical History of the United States 
in genera! and of this State in particular." It 
may be worth while to call attention also to 
the fact that in 1803 the ancient Huguenot 
Church — "the Eeformed Church of Prance" — 
changed its ecclesiastical order (to comply with if/r/rit/^a. 
a condition attached to a generous benevolence) 
to that of the " Reformed Church of England," becoming a part of 
the Protestant Episcopal communion; but it assumed a French 
name, — "L'Eglise du Saint Esprit," — and has continued to worship 
in that tongue to this day. 

Again, among this medley of items may be inserted that in 1801 
was added to the banks and other financial institutions already con- 
gregating in Wall street, the Washington Fire Insurance Company. 
It was the third organization of this nature, having been preceded by 
the Marine Insurance Company and the Mutual Fire Insurance Com- 
pany, organized just before the close of the previous century. Of the 
seven newspapers that gloried at this time in a daily issue, we notice 
two whose names, if not their management, have continued till now — 
the "Evening Post" and the "Commercial Advertiser." The "Even- 
ing Post," in fact, dates (so far as its designation goes) back to 1746 ; 
being the third in order of establishment after Bradford's "Gazette" 
(1725) and Zenger's "Journal" (1733). But it was discontinued for 
lack of patronage before the Revolution. On November 16, 1801, 
came forth the first issue of its present namesake. 

A glimpse at the social aspect or condition of the city may serve as 
a proper conclusion to this chapter. The Dutch city was now enter- 
ing upon its third century of Ufe, yet more than a few vestiges of its 
foreign origin remained. The domestic architecture still bore faint 

180 HisrroBY of new-yobk 

witiiaw to it here and there. Until 1803, as was noted, ererj Sab- 
butli day found worshipers in the Garden street chnrch listening to 
Uuttfh pntui^hing, and singing heartily the Gregorian chant of Dntch 
pttalmody. But after this sign of the past had been done away, still 
uiKin the market-places,' where congregated the countrymen from 

thoir furmti on Long Island, in New Jersey, in Westchester Coontj-, 
oiu» Imd great nt»e(l of a kuowltnige of Dutch to be quite safe in 
a biti^:aiu. Thither came the Vanden'eers, and Byders, and Ra- 
paljes ; the fiogerta, and Hoppers, and Van Embm^ ; the BlauTclts 
and Vftu Houtens, — just as the obserrant New-Yorker of to-day may 
still see thos«> names upon the huge farm-wagons crossing by the 
ferries in the (>arly hours of morning, or standing all night along 
Greeuwioh strt>et, between Washington and Clinton markets. This 
"persistenw" of the Dut4'h "type"* also brought about a unique and 

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(iMkHtB* Mnwt. stkvr m> Tnn Ibt BnlFi B«^ ia tba Bowvrr. 

: TW ■burr UhBInti« tvpnwato • «M#<^ anrt* onnohv Ik* Banrr TWMur -rf hwv itan. 

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II to twtiwwd ftwM a itlBvl^ aad* " «ilk A* vMnoi ¥t a dour to ibt iw. 


curious feature — the street cries of venders. Any one who has been 
in Holland, and has given any attention to the cries — rich in variety 
of pitch and volume, if not in melody — heard upon the streets of its 
larger cities, may gain some idea of what the long-suffering ears 
of the earlier dwellers in New- York had to endure, when, in addition 
to the scope in shrieks and calls afforded by the mother-tongue, com- 
binations with the imperfectly possessed English furnished a wider 
range for this emission of strange sounds. 

Passing from such "genre'' or familiar aspects of society to its 
more dignified conditions, at the beginning of this century, perhaps 
no more concise summary of these can be presented than in the 
words of another: "The divisions between the upper, middle, and 
lower classes were sharply marked. The old families formed a rather 
exclusive circle, and among them the large land-owners still claimed 
the lead, though the rich merchants, who were of similar ancestry, 
much outnumbered them, and stood practically on the same plane. 
But the days of this social and political aristocracy were numbered. 
They lost their political power first. . . . The fall of this class, as a 
class, was not to be regretted; for its individual members did not 
share the general fate unless they themselves deserved to fall. The 
descendant of any old family who was worth his salt still had as fair 
a chance as any one else to make his way in the world of politics, of 
business, or of literature ; and according to our code and standard, 
the man who asks more is a craven.'' ^ 


Few Btrangers came to New- York fifty years ago without visitmg the celebrated 
dueling-ground on the romantic bank of the Hudson, about two miles above the 
Hoboken Ferry. It was a grassy ledge, or shelf, about twenty feet above the water, 
and only sufficiently large for the fatal encounters that frequently occurred there in 
the old dueling days, being about two yards wide, by twelve in length. From this 
celebrated spot there was a natural and almost regular flight of steps to the edge of 
the rocky shore where a landing was effected. This singularly isolated and secluded 
spot was reached by small boats, being inaccessible to foot-passengers along the shore, 
except at very low tide. No path led to it from the picturesque heights of Wee- 
hawken, whose beauties have been sweetly sung by Halleck, and are familiar to all, or 
nearly all, New-Yorkers ; but the ground was sometimes reached from above by ad- 
venturous persons who descended the steep, rough, and wooaed declivity. 

1 Theodore Roosevelfs "New-York," pp. 166, of an old New- York family, "who is worth his 
167. Mr. Booeevelt is himself an illustration of salt,'' in the estimation not only of his native city 
how far ability and worth may carry a descendant or State, but also in that of the nation. 



It wu to this spot that the Aery Tybalts resorted for the uettlement of difficulties 
aooording to the " code cA honor" prevailiag at tlie begioning of the nineteenth oen- 
tniy. These angh combats were, chiefly by reason of the inflamed state of political 
feeling, of frequent oeonrrenoe, and very seldom ending withoat bloodshed. Here 
oocnrred the meetings referred to by Byroa, when he says : 

It !■ ft atrftnge quick Jar npon the ear. 
Thkt cocking of a pistol, when joa know 
A moment more will bring tbe light to bear 
Upon yonr pemn, twelve yards off, or so: 
A geDtlemuily distance, not too aon, 
If you have got a former Wend or foe ; 
But, >fter being llred Kt onoe or twice, 
The ear becomes more Irish and leas nice. 


It iras at the Weebawken dneling-ground that Philip Hamilton, at the age of 
twenty, vas killed, Kovember 23, 1801, in an " affair of honor," by Geoi^ J. Eaoker, 
like his viotim, a promising young lawyer of New- York ; it was liere, in the year fol- 
lowing, tliat a Mr. Bird was shot throogh the heart, and, 
springing up several feet from the gronnd, fell dead ; here 
Benjamin Price was killed by Captain Green, of the British 
army ; and it was in this justly celebrated place tliat Alexf 
ander Hamilton fell, at seven o'clock on Wednesday morn- 
ing, July 11, 1801, on the very spot where his eldest son 
had been killed. Several months after the duel, the St. 
Andrew's Society of New- York, of which the lamented 
patriot had been the preudent, erected npon the ground 
a marble monument, and surrounded it with an iron rail- 
ing. Every summer thonaauds of strangers visited the 
spot. As the years glided past, the railing was torn down 
by vandal bands, and the wb(de structure gradually re- 
moved, piece by piece, as souvenirs, till at length no ves- 
tige of it remained on the ground which it commemorated. Two granite blocks, 
inscribed with the names of Burr and Hamilton, deeply cut in the stone, and tbe 
former dated 1804, marked the positions where they stood face to face on that bright 
but fatal July morning, sixty-five years aigo. 

President Nott of Union Collie, in an address on the death of Hamilton, delivered 
at the time, thus referred to the dneling-ground : " Ah I ye tia^c shores of Hoboken, 
crimsoned with the richest blood, I tremble at the crimes you reoord agunst us, tbe 
annual regitilet of murders which you keep and send np to God! Place of inhuman 
cruelty 1 beyond the limits of reason, of duty, and of religion, where man a 
more barbarous nature, and ceases to be man. What poignant, lingering a 
thy lawless combats oooadon to surviving relatives I Ye who have hearts of pity, ye 
who have experienced the anguish of dissolving friendship, who have wept, and still 
weep, over the mouldering ruins of departed kindred, ye can enter into this reflection." 
A few summers since, the writer Tinted the romantic and secluded spot, in com- 
pany with the poet Halleok, who was well acquainted with all the actors in the 
tr^edy exc^t General Hamilton, and who pointed out the positions of the principals, 
and the old cedar-tree under which Hamilton stood while the seconds, Judge Na- 
thaniel Pendleton and mlliam P. Van Ness, a young lawj-er, were arranging the pre- 
liminaries, and Dr. David Hosaok. Matthew L. Davis, and the boatmen sal in the 
two boats, awaiting the result of the duel which ended so tragicaQy. Periiaps, ance 
the world b^an, no hostile meeting in an " affair of honor " ever created greater 


excitement — certainly none that have occurred in this country — than the deadly en- 
coonter between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. 

On a bright May morning of the present year we revisited the ancient dueling- 
ground; but, alas, it had been swept out of existence by that ^' villainous alteration 
miscalled improvement,''^ Nothing remains to mark the spot but a weather-beaten 
stone on which the name Hamilton has been almost obliterated by the winds and 
rains of heaven. In place of the narrow ledge, there is now a broad track, over 
which the trains of the West Shore railroad will soon be thundering northward to Fort 
Lee and farther on to Albany, awakening the echoes from the picturesque Wee- 
hawken heights and the lofty Highlands of the Hudson. 

*' Let me hope, I pray you,^ wrote Fitz-Greene Halleck to a lady friend at Fort 
Lee, a few years ag^, ^' that, while I live, you will not allow any person, whom I 
refrain from naming (the same person who entered, of old, the only paradise on earth 
to be compared to Fort Lee, in the shape of a rattlesnake, and played the very devil 
there), to come, in the shape of a railroad locomotive, screaming his way through 
your garden, up to a crystal palace on the top of the Palisades, at the rate of forty 
miles an hour.^ The i>oet's prayer was realized ; he did not live to witness this much- 
needed modem improvement, and to have his heart saddened by what he would have 
deemed a desecration of the fondly cherished scene so indelibly impressed upon his 

The venerable cedar-tree against which Hamilton leaned, as he gazed sadly for 
the last time on the distant city which held all that was dear to him in this world, has 
been cut down and thrown into the river, and the place changed beyond all recog^tion. 
Looking around for the memorials of past days, we at length discovered the granite 
block inscribed with the name of Hamilton ; but the other was not to be found, nor 
the numerous rocks, which we had seen on our former visit, decorated* with the 
names or initials of persons who had made pilgrimages to the place. 

A gang of laborers were at work near the spot, and to their foreman we addressed 
an inquiry about the granite block inscribed '^ Burr, 1804." The conversation ran as 

Writer. — Have you seen a large stone here similar to this one marked Hamilton f 

Foreman. — Yes. 

Writer. — Was it marked with the name of Burr, and dated 1804 f 

Foreman. — It was. 

Writer. — Do you know where it ist 

Foreman. — Yes. 

Writer. — Can you point it out to met 

Foreman. — Well, I guess not, seeing it 's underground. It 's been used as a corer- 
ing-stone in a culvert just above here. 

Writer. — Could you not have made use of another stone, and allowed the interest- 
ing memorial to remain? 

Foreman. — Why, yes; and I told the boss he 'd better lay it alongside of t'other 
granite block; but he said that Burr was a mean cuss, anyhow, and not of much 
account, and he guessed it would be more useful doing duty as a covering-stone than 
perpetuating his memory. — The Editor, in '^Appleton's Journal," June, 1869. 




j HE great event of the first decade of the century in its 
bearing upon the interests of New- York was the success- 
ful application of steam to the propulsion of vessels. 
Indeed, so great an influence did this exert upon the 
city's subsequent growth tliat we feel justified in giving in detail 
the sueeessive steps of its development. The problem had engaged 
the attention of mechanicians for centuries. Papin, as early as 1690, 
in a printed book, had advocated steam as a universal motive-power, 
and had given a rough draft of a paddle-wheel steamer. He even went 
so far as to construct a model steamboat, which was tried in 1707 
upon the river Fulda, near Cassel, but does not seem to have been 
successful, as nothing farther was heard of it. 

The next attempt of the kind was the "marine engine" of Jona- 
than Hulls, 1736, intended for towing ships. This craft was notice- 
able for its use of the stem-wheel, still conmion on Western steam- 
boats, power being conveyed to it by means of bands. William 
Henry, a native of CJhester County, Pennsylvania, moved a model 
boat by steam on Conestoga Creek, near its entrance into the Susque- 
hanna River, in 1763. 

Two years later, in 1765, there was bom of humble parents at Ful- 
ton, Pennsylvania, near the scene of this experiment, a boy, Bobert 
Fulton, who, combining and improving upon the efforts of all who 
had gone before him, invented the first successful steamboat, and 
inaugurated a new era of commercial development and prosperity. 
Fulton was, no doubt, familiar with the model built and tried by 
Henry near his home in 1763. In 1779, at the age of fourteen, he 
began his experiments with boats by aflSsing a paddle-wheel to 
his fishing-boat, the latter being moved by man-power. At the age 
of seventeen, having exhibited fine powers as an artist, he removed 
to Philadelphia to' study art, and there gained the friendship of Ben- 
jamin Franklin and other important persons, by whom he was en- 
couraged to proceed to London and pursue his art studies under the 


patroaage of BeDJamin West^ the famous American painter. By 
West he was introduced to two noblemen — the Duke of Bridgewater 
and the Earl of Stanhope; the former owner of extensive coal-mines 
at Worstey, to which he had constructed a canal from Manchester; 
the latter inventor of the Stanhope printing-press and greatly inter- 
ested in mechanics and engineering. 

Stanhope' had invented several improvements in canal-locks, and 
with the Duke of Bridgewater turned Pulton's attention at this time 
to the subject of canals and steam navi- 
gation. The latter published during this 
period a treatise on canals, and frequent 
reference is made in his manuscript to 
the subject of steam navigation. Copies 
of the treatise were sent to the Presi 
dent of the United States, the Seere 
tary of the Treasury, and the 0overnoi 
of New- York, with a letter calling the 
attention of those oflBcials to the advan 
tages that canals would confer on the 
United States. In his letter to the gov 
ernor he pointed out the superiority of 
canals over turnpike-roads, then rapidly 
being constructed, for the transportation 
of freight It was claimed by his bio- 
grapher, Mr. Reigart, that Fulton first 
conceived the idea of a canal connecting 
the head waters of the Hudson with the great lakes, and published it 
in a letter to the American government on the subject of a projected 
canal between the Mississippi River and Lake Fontchartrain. 

In 1797 Fulton went to Paris, and there meeting Joel Barlow, the 
American poet, philosopher, and diplomat, was invited by him to take 
up his residence in the latter's mansion. Barlow was as much inter- 
ested in the development of the steamboat and the canal as Fulton. He 
had the acumen early to discern how both, by facilitating speedy and 
cheap communication between distant ports, would prove of vital im- 
portance to his country, and now entered heartily into Fulton's experi- 
ments with the steamboat, advancing the necessary funds. A model 
boat was constructed, and soon after Barlow, visiting the national 
depot of machines, saw there an exact model of this trial boat, as he 
wrote, the Iatt«r, "in all its parts and principles, a very elegant model. 
It contains your wheel oars precisely as you have placed them except 
that it has four wheels on each side to guide round the endless chain 
instead of two. The two upper wheels seem to be only to support the 
chain ; perhaps it is an improvement. The model of the steam-engine 



is iu its place, with a wooden boiler, cylinder placed horizontal, every 
thing complete. I never saw a neater model. It belongs to a com- 
pany at Lyons who got out a patent about three months ago." Mont- 
golfier, whom he encountered in the depot, told him that the company 
had issued stock to the amouut of two million francs for bailding 
boats and navigating the Rhone, and had already spent six hundred 
thousand francs in establish- 
ing their works at Lyons. The 
enterprise, however, proved a 

In one of his letters to Bar- 
low, written during this time, 
Fulton predicted a speed of 
sixteen miles an hour for his 
steamboat, to which Barlow 
replied, "I see without con- 
sulting Parker that you are 
mad." In 1805, Mr. Barlow 
returned to America and took 
up his rosidence at Kalorama, 
a beautiful country-seat in 
Georgetown, on the outskirts 
of Washington. Here Fulton 
joined him early in 1807, and 
set himself to preparing a 
steamboat which should be 
successful commercially as 
well as mechanically. In pre> 
paring this there is little doubt that he made use of the ideas and 
mistakes of other inventors who had been at work for years on the 
same idea. Bumsey, an American inventor, in 1784 had propelled a 
boat by a jet of water forced out of the stem by pumps worked by 
steam-power. John Fitch, of Philadelphia, had constructed a steam- 
boat in 1787 which made several passages between Philadelphia and 
Burlington, at the rate of four miles an hour. But he could find 
no capitalists willing to furnish the capital necessary to build the 
pioneer boats, and the inventor died at last in the depths of penury. 
Nathan Bead constructed in 1789 a steamboat with which he crossed 
an arm of the sea at Danvers, Massachusetts. Elijah Ormsbee, a 
native of Connecticut, constructed a rude steamboat in 1792, that 
plied on the Pawtucket River for several weeks, at a rate of three 
or four mites an hour. But he could secure no funds to construct a 
larger craft, and, abandoning his idea, went back to his carpenter's 
bench. Samuel Morey, of Connecticut, is said to have buUt a steam- 

BEonnnNa of steam navigation 


; cu:ruokt. 

boat which made the voyage from Hartford to New- York, and was 
examined there by Chancellor Livingstou, Judge Livingston, John 
St«vens, and others. In 1797 Morey built a steamboat at BoMen- 
town, New Jersey, and ran it 
to Philadelphia. It had two 
wheels, one on each side, with 
a shaft running across the 
deck, turned by a crank in 
the center. Morey, who died 
in 1843, never ceased to claim 
that Fulton stole the idea of 
the Clermont's propelling ma- 
chinery from bim. Nicholas 
J. Koosevelt, in a petition to 
the legislature of New Jersey, 
claimed to be the true and 
original inventor and discoverer of steamboats with vertical wheels. 
He declared, supporting his statement with an affidavit, that about 
1781 or 1782 he constructed a wooden model of a steamboat, the 
vertical wheels of which were propelled by springs of hickory or 
whalebone acting upon the wheels by a band.' 

One other inventor preceding Fulton claims our attention, from 
the fact that he proposed to drive his boat by twin screws pro- 
pelled by a high-pressure engine; thus inventing the screw forty 
years before it came into general use and before the principle of the 
paddle had been demonstrated to be successful. This inventor was 
Captain John Stevens, of Hoboken ; his boat was fourteen feet wide 
by sixty-eight long; its machinery is still preserved in the Stevens 
Institute at Hoboken, where the curious reader may study it at leisure. 
Many experiments were also made, as we have seen, in England and 
on the Continent. That Fulton was familiar with all these devices 
is doubtful. How much he borrowed from others is a vexed question; 
but this much is certain : he built the first steamboat to make regu- 
lar trips, carrying passengers and freight, and proving commercially 
so profitable to her owners that fleets of successors and rivals soon 
sprang into being. He is, therefore, fairly entitled to be considered, 
as he has been called, the father of the steamboat. 

Fulton's first successful boat was the Clermont. While in France 
he had had the good fortune to meet Robert R. Livingston, then 
American minister to the Fi-ench court. This gentleman was a mem- 
ber of that Livingston family many times referred to in these pages, 
a jurist and statesman of high reputation. Born in the city of New- 
York in 1746, he was thirty years of age when the second Continental 

1 "Appletona' CydopwdU of American Biognphy/'S: 317. 


(Umffr^rsm nat in Philadfrlphia, and as a member of that body was one 
(d the rfomrnittee r>f five to draft the Declaration of Independence. 
He wan anavoidahly a(j«ent, however, on the Fonrth of July, 1776, 
n(f that h'm name (htisf^ not appear among the signers of that immortal 
iriKtniment; but he wa8 active in support of the patriot cause, having 
nt^rv^A an a raemb^jr of Congress in 1780, and as secretary for foreign 
afTairs from 17H1 t/> 178^}. His services to bis State were as great as 
thoM^9 t^i his iifmniry. Ue was a member of the convention that, in 
1777, fram^j^J the first State constitution of New-York; and he was 
the first chanr^ellor of New-Tork, holding the office until 1801, from 
whi^^h cauH«; he is gf5nerally called in history Chancellor Livingston. 
In this capa^^ity he will >>e remembered as having administered the 
oath of ofHr^5 to Washington at his first inauguration in 1789, the 
only Statue official to whom this honor has fallen. He was appointed 
Unit49d Stftf^5S minister to Prance in 1801, and retained the posi^on 
until 1H04, when he resigned and returned to New-York, having 
negotiaUxl, in 18(K{, the [lurchase of the territory of Louisiana from 
the French goveniment. 

But (Jhancellor Livingston's services as statesman and jurist were 
not more valuable, perhaps, to his country than the results attained 
by his interest in its material development, especially in the steam- 
t><)at and (;unaL '4Te applied himself with uncommon energy and 
persnveran(?e, and at great expense, to constructing vessels and 
mai^hiiiery for that kind of navigation,'^ says his biographer, Cad- 
wallader I). Coldon. "As early as 1798 he believed that he had 
ac(H)mplished his object, and represented to the Legislature of 
N(^w-York that ho was possessed of a mode of applying the steam- 
engine to propel a boat on new and advantageous principles: but 
that ho was (h?t<^rrod from carrying it into effect by the uncer- 
tainty and hassard of a very expensive experiment unless he could 
bo assuro<l of an exclusive advantage from it should it be found 
BU(UM»HHful. The Legislature, in March, 1798, passed an act vesting 
Mr. Livingston with the exclusive right and privilege of navigat- 
ing all kinds of botits which might be propelled by the force of 
fire or sUmm on all the waters within the territory or jurisdiction 
of tht^ HtaU^ of New- York for the term of twenty years from the 
passing of the act : upon condition that he should, within a twelve- 
month, build such a lK>at>i the mean of whose progress lAould not be 
less than four miles an hour.** 

The bill, introduced by Dr. Samuel L. Mitchill, of New-York, was 
reeeiviHl as a j<>ko by l>oth houses, scarcely a member of which be- 
lieveii that stonm could ever l>e made to supersede sails ; and after it 
had Ihhmi ridiculiHi and made the subjei*t of numei'ous witticisms, it 
was i>ass(Hl, as it would have Ih^u probably had the monopoly been 


for a thousand yeai's, — the franchise, in the opinion of the legislature, 
being without value. 

Livingston at once built a steamboat of thirty tons burden, but on 
her trial trip she failed to develop the necessary speed, and did not 
therefore meet the requirements of the law ; the projector's departure 
for France about this time led to the temporary abandonment of the 
enterprise. In France, however, Livingston met Fulton and Barlow, 
as we have seen, and his interest 
iu steam navigation was revived. 
After many conferences and ex- 
periments, the two former deter- 
mined to build a pioneer boat at 
their joint expense, Mr. Barlow 
finding the necessary funds for 
Fulton. In April, 1802, the lat- 
ter accompanied Mrs. Barlow to 
the famous baths at Plombi^res 
as her escort, and there busied 
himself by constructing with his 
own hands several models of 
steamboats. Ou his return to 
Paris, in the autumn, the con- 
struction of a steamboat was 
begun on the Seine, which was 
finished in the spring of 1803. 

A day had been fixed for the trial, ^^^ J^^^i^^^^i^^^ 
and a party of friends and scien- 
tists was invited to witness it; but, unfortunately, the night before 
a gale swept down the Seine where the boat lay moored to the bank, 
and the machinery being too heavy for the frame, the boat capsized 
and sank, to the disappointment of her constructor. 

Fulton, undismayed, at once began the work of raising her, and 
within twenty-four hours had the machinery upon the bank very 
little injured ; the hull, however, was entirely ruined, so that it had to 
be replaced by a new one. Summer was well advanced when this was 
accomplished ; but, early in August, Mr. Fulton had the pleasure of 
inviting the oflScers of the French National Institute, with other dis- 
tinguished citizens of Paris, to witness her trial trip ou the Seine. 
The boat was sixty-six feet in length and eight feet in width, and was 
moved by paddle-wheels on the sides. The trial proved satisfactory 
in every respect, except that she did not develop as much speed as her 
builders expected. This Fulton attributed in part to lack of power in 
the engines, and in part to a faulty construction of the hull; but with 
characteristic energy he at once set about remedying the defects. 


The two, Fulton and Livingston, now decided to build a larger and 
much stronger boat for the navigation of the Hudson River. The 
former at once ordered a larger and more powerful engine from 
Messrs. Boulton and Watt, the famous engine-builders of Birming- 
ham, England, his contract stipulating that it should be delivered 
in America by 1805, although it did not arrive until after Fulton's 
return in 1806. The hull they decided to build in New- York. Mr. 
Livingston also secured, through the aid of his friends, a renewal of 
the exclusive privilege of navigating the waters of the State by steam 
— ^Fulton's name being associated with his in the new grant, the two 
being joint grantees. The condition was that they should, within two 
years, produce a steamboat of at least twenty tons burden, capable of 
moving against the current of the Hudson at a rate of at least four 
miles per hour. A lat^r act extended the time to April, 1807. 

Mr. Livingston is said by several authorities to have furnished the 
funds for building the boat, and Colonel Thomas W. Knox, in his re- 
cent excellent life of Fulton, repeats the statement. It is probable, 
however, that the funds for the model of the Clermont were contrib- 
uted in part by Joel Barlow, and for the large boat by several part- 
ners. While Fulton was at Plombi^res in 1802, Joel Barlow wrote 
him : " My project would be that you should pass directly over to 
England, silent and steady, make Chapman construct an engine of 
twelve inches while you are building a boat of proportionate size. 
Make the experiments on that scale all quiet and quick. If it answers, 
put the machinery on board a vessel and go directly to New-York 
(ordering another engine, as large as you please, to follow you), then 
secure your patent and begin your operation, first small, and then 
large. I think I will find you the funds without any noise for the 
first operation in England, and if it promises well you will get as 
many funds and friends in America as you want. I should suggest a 
small operation first for several reasons: it can be made without 
noise; there must be imperfections in the first trial which you can 
remedy without disgrace if done without noise ; you can easier find 
funds for a small experiment." Livingston returned to America 
in 1805, Joel Barlow in July of the same year, Fulton in November, 
1806. The latter was then in funds, having from vested funds, as he 
wrote Mr. Barlow, **five hundred pounds sterling a year, with a steam- 
engine and pictures worth two thousand pounds.** 

Fulton, heeding Barlow's advice, bad brought with him a miniature 
engine, and hastening to the latter^ country-s^Mit, near Washington, 
constructed there a model of the larger Clermont* which the two 
friends tried on the quiet watei^ of Rook Creek, which flowed through 
the grounds. The trial proving satisfactory, Fulton and Livingston 
next began building, at the ship-yaixl of Charles Brown, on the East 

BEannnNO of steam navigation 191 

River, a la^e full-powered steamboat, 130 feet long, 16i feet wide, 
4 feet deep, and of 160 tone burden by the custom-houBe regula- 
tions then in force. The wheels were fifteen feet in diameter, with 
paddles four feet in lei^h and two feet in dip. The boiler was twenty 
feet long, seven feet deep, and eight feet wide. The steam-cylinder 
was twenty-four inches in diameter, and bad a stroke of four feet. 
It was not until August, 1807, that 
she was ready for her preliminary 
trip, which was made at an early 
hour, from the ship-yard to the Jer- 
sey shore. Pew people, except the 
crews of vessels at anchor in the ; 
harbor, witnessed it; and these, 
seeing a vessel moving through the '^""^ *" "'™"«^"'='™- 

water without the aid of sails, and, indeed, without masts on which 
to spread them, regarded the strange craft with superstitious awe, aa 
something uncanny. A few days later her trial trip was made in the 
presence of a large company of invited guests, including several 
members of the legislature : among them Dr. Mitchill, the gentleman 
who had secured the first concession for Mr. Li\ing8ton in 1798. 

Of this trial trip Mr. Golden has given the following description : 
'* Nothing could exceed the surprise and admiration of all who wit- 
nessed the experiment. The minds of the most incredulous were 
changed in a few minutes. Before the boat had made the progress 
of a quarter of a mile, the greatest unbeliever must have been con- 
verted. The man who, while he looked on the expensive machine, 
thanked his stars that be had more wisdom than to waste his money 
on such idle schemes, changed the expression of his features as the 
boat moved from the wharf and gained her speed ; his complacent 
smile gradually stiffened into an expression of wonder. The jeers of 
the ignorant, who had neither sense nor feeling enough to suppress 
their contemptuous ridicule and rude jokes, were silenced for a mo- 
ment by a vulgar astonishment, which deprived them of the power of 
utterance, till the triumph of genius extorted from the incredulous 
multitude, which crowded the shores,. shouts and acclamations of 
congratulation and applause." 

The trial showed to Fulton a defect in the paddle-wheels, the buck- 
ets of which dipped too deeply in the water. This having been reme- 
died, a second trial showed great improvement in the speed. The 
boat was then advertised to run between New- York and Albany, for 
the conveyance of passengers and freight. She was named the Cler- 
mont, after Chancellor Livingston's beautiful country-seat on the 
Hudson. The day of the first sailing of the Clermont has been vari- 
ously given, but it was probably on Monday, August 11, 1807. On 


his return from Albany, Mr. Pulton gave, in the "American Citizen" 
of New- York, the following official account of the trip : 

I arriTed this afternoon, at four o'clock, in the steamboat from Albany. Aa the 
aaooess of my experiment ^vea me fpreat hopes that saoh boats may be rendered of 
f^reat importance to my country, to prevent erroneous opinions, aod give Bome satis- 
faction to the friends of useful improvements, yon will have the goodness to publish 
the following facts : 

I left New- York on Monday at one o'clock, and arrived at Clermont, the seat of 
Chancellor Livingston, at one o'clock on Tuesday : time, twenty-four hoois ; distance, 
one hundred and ten miles. On Wednesday I departed from the Chancellor's at nine 
in the morning, and arrived at Albany at five in the afternoon : distance, forty miles ; 
time, eight hours. The sum is one hundred and fifty miles in thirty-two hours — 
equal to near five miles an hour. On Thursday, at nine o'clock in the morning, I left 
Albany, and arrived at the Chancellor's at six in the evening. I started from thence 
at seven, and arrived at New-York at four in the afternoon : time, thirty hours; space 
run through, one hundred and fifty miles — equal to five miles an hour. Throughout 
my whole way, both going and returning, the wind was ahead ; no advantage could 
be derived from my sails. The whole has, therefore, been performed by the power of 
the steam-engine. 

To his friend Mr. Bartow he wrote with more freedom and ani- 
mation: "My steamboat voyage to Albany and back has tamed out 
rather more favorable than I had calculated. ... I overtook many 

sloops and schoouers 
beating to windward, 
and parted with them 
as if they had been at 
anchor. . . . The morn- 
ing I left New York 
there were not perhaps 
thirty persons in the 
city who believed that 
the boat would ever 
move one mile an hour, 
c«aMo«T MAKoa-HoraE. ^^ ^e of the least util- 

ity! While we were 
putting off from the wharf; which was crowded with spectators, 
I heard a number of sarcastic remarks. This is the way in which 
ignorant men compliment what they call philosophers and projectors. 
... It will give a cheap and quick conveyance to the merchandise 
on the Mississippi, Missouri, and other great rivers which are now 
laying open their treasures to the enterprise of our countrymen; and 
although the prospect of personal emolument has been some induce- 
ment to me, yet I feel iofinitely more pleasure in reflecting on the 
immense advantage my country will derive from the invention."' 

■ C. B.Todd."Ufeof J«f4Butow.''p.333: J. F. RdcHt. "Ufvof Robert FnlUD." p. 174. 


An eye-witness of the progress of the Clermont up the Hudson has 
given this account of it: 

In the early autumn of the year 1807, a knot of villagers was gathered on a high 
bluff just opposite Poughkeepsie on the west bank of the Hudson, attracted by the 
appearance of a strange dark-looking craft which was slowly making its way up the 
river. Some imagined it to be a sea-monster, while others did not hesitate to express 
their opinion that it was a sign of the approaching judgment. What seemed strange 
in the vessel was the substitution of lofty and strange black smoke-pipes rising from 
the deck instead of the gracefully tapered masts that commonly stood on the vessels 
navigating the stream, and, in place of the spars and rigging, the curious play of the 
walking-beam and pistons, and the slow turning and splashing of the huge and naked 
paddle-wheels, met the astonished gaze. The dense clouds of smoke, as they rose wave 
upon wave, added still more to the wonder of the rustics. 

This strange-looking craft was the Clermont on her trial trip to Albany; and of 
the little knot of villagers above mentioned, the writer, then a boy in his eighth year, 
with his parents, formed a part: I well remember the scene, one so Well fitted to 
impress a lasting picture upon the mind of a child accustomed to watch the vessels 
that passed up and down the river. The forms of four persons were distinctly visible 
on the deck as she passed the bluff — one of whom doubtless was Robert Pulton, who 
had on board with him all the cherished hopes of years, the most precious cargo the 
wonderful boat could carry. On her return trip the curiosity she excited was scarcely 
less intense — the whole country talked of nothing but the sea -monster belching forth 
fire and smoke. The fishermen became terrified and rowed homewards; for they saw 
nothing but destruction devastating their fishing grounds; while the wreaths of black 
\Tipor and rushing noise of the paddle-wheels foaming with the stirred up waters pro- 
duced great excitement among the boatmen until the character of that curious boat, 
and the nature of the enterprise she was pioneering, had been ascertained.^ 

Some few alterations and repairs were suggested to Fulton by this 
experimental passagfe, such as boarding up the sides, decking over the 
boiler and works, furnishing each cabin with twelve berths, and 
strengthening many parts of the ironwork. All through the autumn 
the Clermont continued to run as a packet, her quick and regular 
passages and the novelty of the trip usually attracting a full com- 
plement of passengers. This awakened the jealousy of the owners of 
sailing vessels, who sued out an injunction restraining Fulton from 
making use of the steamboat, on the ground that the navigation of 
the river from use immemorial belonged to them. This case, absurd 
as it seems, was one of the causes ceUhr^es of the day, Daniel Webster 
being retained as counsel for the defendants, who won their case, as 
they deserved. Wilful attempts to destroy the vessel by running 
afoul of her and in other ways were also made. At last the legisla- 
ture was appealed to, and at its session of 1807-8 passed a law add- 
ing five years to the exclusive privilege of Fulton and Livingston 
for every new boat added, provided the whole term did not exceed 
thirty years, and appending a clause declaring that all combinations 
to destroy the Clermont or any other steamboat, and all wilful 

I Reigaifs "Fulton,'* pp. 175, 176; extract from letter of H. Freeland, dated January 4, 1856. 
Vol. m.— 13. 


attetnpto to injure them, were public crimes, punishable by fine and 

The patentoeB were also exposed to untold annoyance and loss bj 
attaeltH upon their patent rights, and npon the exclusive privilege of 

X>/f/i^ P^tU-t-L, A^O^ AV^i«-V A- **t^-r*<^£.tL^i^^^^Zj^,,^/t.,^^ 


'^"^^^^-''feit^^*** (/•'ie**-*^ 


FA<^*nm,« or lrtu wwmx »t M»nn- mTox. 

navigation that had been given them. Men who had lai^^bed at the 
)we)v>8terv>us littie craft on the stocks now hastened to secnre pat^its 
on the most obvious ii'i-r^v, m, tits, many of them added by Fnlton 
himself, and sn^me of them already covered by his patents.' Finan- 
<qers wh«^ had scoffed at the {dan of moving boats by st««in, and had 


refused it financial aid, now scented a golden shower, and suddenly 
discovered that Fulton's exclusive privilege was a monopoly, resolved 
that monopolies were dangerous and illegal, and proceeded to break 
this one by establishing rival lines of boats. The two inventors, in- 
stead of sitting down to enjoy the fruits of their hard-earned victory, 
were engaged in constant lawsuits to preserve what had been won, 
precisely as was the case with Morse half a century later. 

Fulton's first patent for improvements in moving boats by steam 
was dated February 11, 1809. Two years later he secured a second 
patent, covering boats and machinery. Others, however, had pre- 
ceded him in taking out patents on his own inventions. One of the 
most notable of these was a " pendulum-boat," constructed by an 
ingenious gentleman of New-York, with paddle-wheels intended to be 
moved by the oscillations of a pendulum. While the boat was on the 
stocks, and the wheels met only the resistance of the air, this motor 
worked to perfection ; but when in the water it was found that the 
pendulum could not move the wheels, except by the application to it 
of a great power ; and steam being the only thing available, a steam- 
engine was introduced, and employed to move the pendulum, which, 
in turn, moved the paddle-wheels. For this contrivance the genius 
obtained a patent ; and as Fulton had proven the commercial future 
of the steamboat, he had no diflSculty in organizing a company to 
place boats of this design in commission. Fulton and Livingston 
sued in the United States Circuit Court for an injunction, but the 
judge decided that he was without jurisdiction, and the case was car- 
ried to the State Court of Chancery. The chancellor, however, after 
hearing arguments on both sides, refused to grant an injunction. 
The plaintiffs then appealed to the Court of Errors, which, for this 
case, was composed of the State Senate and the five judges of the 
Supreme Court ; and that body, in the winter of 1812, unanimously 
reversed the decision of the lower court, and ordered a perpetual in- 
junction. To prevent further violation of the laws of this character, 
the legislature of 1811 enacted a law providing more stringent penal- 
ties for their infringement ; but this could not wholly restrain eager 
rivals, and Fulton's last days were embittered, and his end no doubt 
hastened, by the struggle to secure for himself a part, at least, of the 
fruit of his long years of labor and experiment. 

Meantime the Clermont had been improved, and had begun run- 
ning as a regular packet between New- York and Albany, making the 
round trip in seventy-two hours. As the sloops and schooners, here- 
tofore the only packets, were from four to seven days in making the 
distance between New- York and Albany, her superiority was mani- 
fest^ and the traveling public hastened to patronize her. When one 
reflects that for one dollar the passenger may now be transported on 


palatial steamerE iu a single day or night from one city to the other, 
the fares seem high enough to have proved remunerative.' 

The great achievement was almost unheralded by the press. In the 
"Commercial Advertiser," the leading newspaper of New -York at that 
time, we do not find a single reference to it, except that PiUton's letter 
to the "American Citizen" is reprinted. In the "Gazette" of August 
22 is this simple announcement: 
" Mr. Fulton's new invented steam- 
boat yesterday returned to this city 
from Albany, having performed the 
passage to and from that place iti 
little more than four days." On 
October 5, the "Albany Gazette" 
said: "Mr. Fulton's new steam- 
boat left New- York on the 2d, at 
10 A. H., against a very strong tide, 
FiBKY TicKKT. ^^^ rough watcr, and a violent 

gale from the north. She made a 
headway against the most sanguine expectations, and without being 
rocked by the waves." The editors of that day seem to have con- 
sidered the project too chimerical to be worthy of attention, or per- 
haps they thought their readers more interested in the trial of Aaron 
Burr, then taking place at Richmond, and in the exciting moves on 
the European chessboard then in progress. 

Other boats were soon built — the Car of Neptune, a boat of two 
hundred and ninety-five tons measurement, in 1808 ; the Paragon in 
1811; and others the dates of whose construction have not been pre- 
served. The later development of the steamboat, and the fierce com- 
petitions to which it gave rise, will be narrated in another chapter. 
The history of the invention of the steam ferry-boat, however, prop- 
erly belongs to this period. 

Up to 1812 the only means of ferriage across the North and East 
rivers were " horse-boats," small craft moved by paddle-wheels which 
were turned by four horses walking around a shaft on board the boat. 
The fare, we read, was four cents. Pulton, in 1811, began the con- 
struction of two steam ferry-boats for the North River, and completed 
both in 1812. Others soon followed for the East River. Cadwallader 
D. Golden, in his life of Fulton, describes them as having been twin 

ITheTVWvu foOoirm: Pinm yew-Tort t«V«^ u)f Ot linw. •« foDoin; Npwbnn: (It honnl. 13; 

pluMk'* Point, ta; VtM PeinX. C50: Kewtarc. PaoKUuvpiite (IT hooral. M; Empiu |3D hoan). 

•3: Pgoxliktvpil*. 13.50 : Hndaon. IS : Albuy.«7. tS; BiMboo iW honrsl. IS.SO: AlbuT |36 faonn). 

Pae a aig m otliFr thui tliofF hound to lb« nfmbr |7. Tbls aehrdnir is pnfanci by tlw f<dloiriiiK 

l>iidiiMr*«vracluiivtdoi!*doll*rprrtimityml)nL annoanraiwiit: "ThvN'ortb Kth nMmlKttt will 

An BdTTrtisnnnt In (hp "Altany f)uFttF''(thr Imtt Panta* Rook on PndaT. 4lh of Sefitember. 

mij one we bkn> bMO kblr to flnd in N««-Tork •:<>«. v.. uid tnivr ml Albaoy at 9 in t]ip mt\rr- 

«r Albany Joomabl. dated SeptHnhrr I. 1i«>7. noun. Prnvinonii. pMid btttks. and aMaauaod*- 

(In* a dlfcuat tMp of fU*. and aho the schcd- tion* are pntrtdfd." 


FJ.A^ of tlie IITT of NEl^ YORK 


boats, each being two complete hulls united by a deck or bridge, 
sharp at both ends, so that they could move with equal facility back- 
ward or forward, or retrace their course without turning. Fulton 
also invented for them the floating or movable dock, and the method 
by which the boats were brought to them without shock. 

In the "American Medical and Philosophical Register" for Octo- 
ber, 1812, Fulton gave a description of these boats, from which we 
cite the following : " The boat which I am now constructing will 
have some important improvements, particularly in the power of the 
engine to overcome strong ebb tides: from which again other im- 
provements will be made as in all new inventions. The present boat 
crosses the river — ^which is a mile and a half broad — when it is calm, 
in fifteen minutes. The average time is twenty minutes. She has 
had in her, at one time, eight four-wheel carriages, twenty-nine horses, 
and one hundred passengers, and could have taken three hundred 
persons more." Except in the increased power of her engines, the 
modern ferry-boat shows little improvement over the pioneers of 1812. 

Fulton's great invention would probably have attracted more atten- 
tion but for the unrest and upheavals in the political and business 
affairs of the city. The embargo act of December 22, 1807, passed 
by Congress, on Jefferson's recommendation, to force the repeal of 
the Berlin and Milan decrees of Napoleon, and of the British orders 
in council, had the same effect as a blockading of American ports. 
New- York, being the chief commercial city of the Union, was most 
severely crippled by the act. Her immense trade with South and 
Central America, and the East and West Indies, was practically inter- 
dicted, as well as that with France and England, since any vessel 
trading with either was exposed to capture and condemnation. Ware- 
houses were closed, clerks discharged, grass grew upon the silent 
docks, costly ships that had been the pride of the seas chafed at the 
piers, or went to decay in the harbor ; while incomes that had been 
sufficient to maintain their possessors in lavish style dwindled to 
almost nothing. Farmer and artisan alike were debarred from the 
markets of the world. 

The Federalists and Republicans were the two chief parties in the 
city at this time, although there were many warring factions com- 
posed of partizans of the leading families. The Federalists de- 
nounced the embargo act without stint, both from self-interest and 
because it was a measure of the opposite party. They said it would 
not effect the desired end, the purpose of both belligerents being to 
force the United States to declare war against one or the other; that 
neither nation would suffer seriously from the interdiction; and that 
it was therefore as useless as it was mischievous. The Republicans, 
on the other hand, maintained that the embargo policy prevented the 


capture of our vessels, and kept us from being embroiled in the war 
then raging between the two nations. 

The "American Citizen,'^ the organ of the Clintonians, bitterly op- 
posed the measure. A public meeting was held in New-York in 1808, 
at which speeches were made denouncing the policy of the party then 
in power, and resolutions calling for the repeal of the embargo were 
passed. The Clintonian faction triumphed in the local election of 
February, 1808, and De Witt Clinton was restored to the mayoralty 
of the city. He had been removed in 1807 by the council of appoint- 
ment, and Marinus Willett appointed in his place. Pierre Cortlandt 
Van Wyck, the former recorder, was also restored to his ofl&ce, the 
incumbent, Maturin Livingston, being removed. 

In 1809 Jefferson, as one of the last acts of his administration, con- 
sented to a repeal of the embargo act except in the case of Great 
Britain and France, and the substitution of non-intercourse instead, 
and the city's business and prospects improved. Domestic manu- 
factures revived, especially the woolen manufacture. There was also 
great activity in erecting new fortifications and strengthening old 
ones designed for the defense of the city; for England, by her orders 
in council leveled against our commerce, and by insisting on her right 
to search American vessels and impress all seamen of her nationality, 
whether naturalized or not, found on board of them, was becoming 
so aggressive that war seemed imminent. In 1807, we read, govern- 
ment decided "to enlarge the works on Governor's Island, to erect a 
powerful marine battery on the north-west point of that island, ex- 
tend the works on Ellis Island, and erect a strong fort with two or 
three tiers of guns on the battery." 

Madison succeeded Jeflferson as president on March 4, 1809, and 
the strife of parties grew less intense, although the war-cloud still 
loomed portentous. In the election of 1809 the Federalists carried the 
State of New- York, and the new council of appointment chose Jacob 
Badcliff mayor in place of De Witt Clinton, and Josiah Ogden Hoff- 
man recorder instead of Pierre Cortlandt Van Wyck. At the next 
election, however, by a combination of the Clinton and Livingston 
factions, the Republican ticket was elected, and Clinton and Van 
Wyck were restored to their oflBces. 

One of the events of this summer of 1809 was the celebration, by 
the New- York Historical Society, of the two-hundredth anniversary 
of the discovery of the island of Manhattan by Henry Hudson. This 
society had been organized so recently as 1804 by men of the highest 
standing in letters, art, and scholarship in New-York, and was already 
beginning to make its influence felt by inculcating a love for histori- 
cal research, and by its efforts to preserve the annals of the city and 
colony. For the anniversary celebration the city fathers tendered the 



use of the large "front court-room" of the City Hall, where the liter- 
ary exercises were held on September 4, 1809, Governor Tompkius, the 
mayor and corporation, and a large company of distinguished citi- 
zens being present. The chief feature 
of the day was a "learned and in- 
teresting discourse" by the Rev. Dr. 
Samuel Miller, one of the founders 
of the society. 

After the address the members of 
the society and invited guests pro- 
ceeded to the City Tavern on Broad- 
way, and "at 4 p. M. sat down to an 
elegant dinner prepared by Messrs. 
Fay and Gibson, consisting of a vari- 
ety of shell and other fish with which 
our waters abound, wild pigeons and 
succotash (Indian com and beans), 
the favorite dish of the season, with 
the different meats introduced into 
this country by the European settlers.^ 
The toasts proposed at this dinner, pre- 
served in the records of the society, are interesting, some as showing 
the mode of thought of our forefathers, others as illustrating the 
trend of public sentiment at that time. They were: 

"ChristopherColiunbus, the discoverer of America. Hia monament is not inscribed 
with his name, yet all nations recognize it. Hia fame covers half the globe and its 
summit reaches beyond the clouds." "Qaeen Isabella of Spain — The magnanimous 
and munificent friend and patron of Columbus." "John and Sebastian Cabot —The 
contemporaries of Columbus and the discoverers of North America." "John. Vena- 
sano — HiH enterprising genius, and his visit to this part of the country deserve to be 
better known." "Henry Hudson — The enterprising and intrepid navigator. Though 
disastrous his end yet fortunate his renown, for the majestic river which bears hb 
name shall render it immortal." "The Fourth of September, 1609^ The day on which 
Hudson landed on our shores." " Wonter Van Twiller— The first Governor of New 
Netberland." " Peter StnyveBaat — The last Dutch Governor, an intrepid soldier and 
faithful officer." "Bichard Nicolls — The First English Qovemor of the Provinoe of 
New- York." "George Clinton — The first Governor of the State of New- York." 
"William Smith — The historian of New-York." "Richard Haklnyt and Samuel 
Pnrcfaas — May future compilers of historical doooments emulate their diligence and 
fidelity." "William Smith, Cadwallader Colden, Samuel Smith, Jeremy Belknap, and 

I Mlnntes of tbe New-Tork Hlstorlckl Sodety. vhile Rtill ■ y ountt man wiu raised to tbe bench of 

1 : 23. Qie Supreme Court. Therenpon he took up hi« 

: Mayor Badeliff wts the bod of William Rad- resldeDce Id New-Tork City ; but eventually re- 

cliff, > oaptain of militls at the beginning of tbe signed from tbe beneb and Temmed practice 

le to the rank of brigadier 

U appointed mayn-, holding tbe poaition 

, studied law. and began practice * 

h was the oldeet of one year; and again in t^e years ISIG, 1S16, ■ 

Poughkeepvle. He ms eminently m««e«aful, and during hia mayoralty. 

181T. Tbe population of tbe dty reached IW.OOO 



George itichards Mmot— American historians. They have merited the gratitude of 
their coantry." "The United States of America— May our prosperity ever confirm 
the belief that the discovery of onr country was a blessing to mankind." " The State 
of New-Yoi^ — May it ever be the pleasing task of the historian to record events that 
shall evince the wisdom of her Legislature, and display the virtue of her people." 
*' The Masaachnsetts Historical Society, which set the honorable example of collect- 
ing and preserving what relates to the history of oar country." "Our Forefathers — 
To whose enterprise and fortitude uader Providence we owe the blessings we enjoy." 

After the governor and mayor had retired, 
certain volunteer toasts were offered, as fol- 
lows: By William Johnson (the chairman) — 
" The Governor of the Stato of New- York." 
By John Kntard— "The Mayor and Corpora- 
tion of the City of New- York." By Dr. Sam- 
uel L. Hitohill — "A speedy termination of our 
foreign relatdons." By Simeon De Witt— "May 
our successors a century hence celebrate the 
same event which we this day commemorate." 
By Dr. David Hosack — " The memory of Saint 
Nicholas. May the virtuous habits and simple 
manners of onr Dutch ancestors be not lost in 
the luxuries and reflnetnents of the present 
time." By Ju<^e Pendleton —" May the same 
virtues and the same industry combine in our 
land which have converted an Indian cornfield 
into a Botanic Garden." By Josiah Ogden 
Hoffman- "Egbert Benson, onr absent and 
respected president." By Colonel Curtonius — 
" Pierre Van Cortlandt, 
Governor of the State o: 

Galen, Swedish Consul — " The mouth of the Hudson. May it soon have a sharp set 
of teeth to show in its defense." By the recordi:^ secretary (Mr. Pintard)— " The 
American Fair, without whose endearing society this western world, the rich inheri- 
tance from our enterprising ancestors, would still be a wilderness indeed." 

The occasioD proved of great benefit to the infant society, as it 
directed public attention to it and greatly increased its prestige. 
Among the notable men proposed for membership at this time were 
Oliver Wolcott, David B. Ogden, William Paulding, Jr., Washington 
Irving, and Richard Riker, later recorder. At the same time Lind- 
ley Murray, Noah Webster, Charles Brockden Brown, George Gibbs, 
Timothy Alden, Rev. Dr. Jedediah Morse, Rev. Dr. John Elliott, Rev. 
Dr. William Samuel Johnson, Rev. Dr. Benjamin Trumbull, Dr. Tim- 
othy Dwight (president of Yale College), Rev. Samuel Stanhope Smith 
(president of Princeton College), Josiah Quincy, and Vice-President 
CJeorge Clinton were elected honorary members. 

Dming this period the present City Hall was built, the corner-stone 
having been laid by Edward Livingston in 1803. The front and side 
walls were of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, marble, and when finished, 
in lftl2, it was pronounced the finest public edifice in the United 

By Colonel Curtonius — , — - 
idt, the first Lieutenant- (^^c<.<^-t,jrC .^^'tt****^ 
e of New- York." By Mr. ^ 



Htates. The City Hall Park during this period is described as hav- 
ing been a Iteautifut place, the walks and grass-plots being trimly 
kept, and ahatled by groves of elm, poplar, willows, and catalpas. 
Fronting upon it were some notable edifices — the Park Theater, Dr. 
Hpring'H Brick Church, Tammany Hall, the Xew-York Gardens, Me- 
chanioB' Hall, and the London HoteL There were also a Shakespeare 
gallery and an English and French reading-room. The Park Theater 
was then the fasliionable place of amusement Here, in November, 
1810, the English actor George Frederic Cooke appeared in "King 
Richard III.," and attracted large audiences, the crush being so great 
that many ladies and gentlemen gained their boxes by entering an 
alley in the rear of the theater. 

It was a period of church-building, changes, and removals. The 
UpiscopalianB at this time led in the number of church edifices, 

having foiuteen, includ- 
ing chapels. St. James 
Church was erected 
some two miles east of 
St Michael's, in 1810. 
The Rev. Dr. Samuel F. 
Jarvis served as rector 
of both until he was 
appointed Professor of 
Biblical Learning in the 
New General Theologi- 
cal Seminary, in 1818. 
Calvary Church was 
founded the same yeai- 
as St Michael's— 1810— 
through the devoted la- 
bors of the Rev. Ben- 
jamin P. Aydelott The church edifice stood near Corlaer's Hook. 
The most notable church in the city in 1810 was Dr. Gardiner 
Spring's Brick (Presbyterian) Church, which stood on or near the 
present site of the "Times^ building. Dr. Spring was one of the 
most celebrated pulpit orators of his day, and served as pastor of 
the Brick Church for fifty years, notwithstanding the fact that dur- 
ing this period he received invitations to become president of Hamil- 
ton and Dartmouth colleges in turn. The Wall Street Presbyterian 
Church was rebuilt in 1810, and greatly enlarged. The Orange Street 
Chnrefa was fonnded in 1809, and in 1810 the congregation began 

1 It nood on the dt» «f th» Nerraml OciU««k^ on l>44 on Lrnoz HilL ronm at Madisoo ATennp 
DlZtj^nlnlh MnM. itMir Puk Avroina. Tbr ptm- mid SeTrntT-Ant HH ' MI . Bfar thr Lraoi Utmry. 
*at aad Ab< St. Juar* Chnrph mM rrrrtvd in EDimB. 



building a church edifice in Spring street, near Varick. At the same 
time the Third Associate Church began building an imposing stone 
structure on Murray street, nearly opposite Columbia College. The 
latter was completed in 1812, the able and eloquent Dr. John M. 
Mason becoming its first pastor. The Methodists and Baptists were 
not idle during this period. The former built two new church edi- 
fices — the Allen street and the Bedford street churched. The Bap- 
tists built the Mulberry Street Church and the North Beriah Church. 

Although the embargo act and the rumors of war led to the stagna- 
tion of trade, the city continued to grow during this period at a pace 
which nothing could retard. Old streets were "regulated," widened, 
and paved. New streets were laid out; large tracts of outlying lands 
came into the market, were sold, surveyed, divided into city lots, and 
covered with shops and residences. The lands of Trinity Church on 
the west side were the first to be taken up and settled, that corpora- 
tion having generously presented to the city all the lands required for 
streets through its property. In 1808 alone it ceded to the city for 
this purpose land for Greenwich street from Spring street north to 
the limit of its property, for Hudson street from North Moore street 
to Vestry street, for Washington street from Christopher street to the 
Hudson River, for Varick street from North Moore street to Vestry 
street, for Beach street from Hudson to the eastern limit of its prop- 
erty, for Laight street from Hudson to its eastern boundary, for 
Vestry street from Greenwich street to its eastern boundary, for Des- 
brosses street from Greenwich street to the Hudson River, for Le 
Roy street from Hudson street to the Hudson River, for King, Charl- 
ton, Van Dam, Clarkson, Hamersley, Barrow, and Morton streets, as 
far east and west as the church lands extended, for an alley twenty- 
five feet wide in the rear of St. John's Church, and for another of the 
same width from Beach street to Laight. 

At Canal street the engineers were confronted with one of the most 
difficult problems encountered in the laying out of the city, and few 
urban sites have presented greater obstacles to engineers than the 
hills, crags, and swamps of Manhattan Island. The whole course of 
the modem Canal street was then low, marshy ground partially over- 
flowed in the wet season, — so low indeed that during high tides it was 
asserted that the waters of the East River and the Hudson met in the 
center of the island. Small brooks, rising at about the present inter- 
section of Broadway and Canal, flowed sluggishly, the one east into 
the East River, the other west into the Hudson. By 1808 the line of 
houses along the Bowery had crept up as far as Bond street. Canal 
street had been laid out by various boards of engineers, and as many 
plans for opening it had been suggested and discussed, without the 
city and the landowners being able to agree upon any. The plan 



that met with most favor was a canal, one foot below low-water mark, 
passing from the East River to the Hudson, which could be made to 
drain so much of the Collect as had not been filled in, and would also 
carry off the waterflow from the slopes on the north and south. Wide 
streets were proposed on both sides of the caual. 

A petition was at length presented to the legislature, asking that 
commissioners might be appointed to regulate and open the street. 
Gouvemeur Morris, Simeon De Witt, and John Rutherford, who had 

been appointed 
by the a«t of 
legislature of 
April 3, 1807, 
" Commissioners 
of streets and 
roads in the City 
of New- York," 
refused to serve 
on this commis- 
sion, and a spe- 
cial commission 
was appointed 
by the legisla- 
ture for the pur- 
pose. This body 
adopted the plan 
of the canal be- 
fore proposed, and the street when finally opened showed an open 
canal in its center, its banks set with shade-trees, and with a broad 
thoroughfare on either side, the whole having a width of one hun- 
dred feet. As the city grew this canal was arched over with brick 
and became a sewer, the trees were cut down, and the present wide 
and busy street was the result. About the same time the Collect, 
into which all the surplus material from the grading of streets and 
lots had been dumped, was filled up and erased forever from the map 
of the city. The region around it, however, remained unsettled and 
comparatively valueless for several years. 

The commission of 1807, before referred to, did so great a work for 
the city that its labors and their results should be described at length. 
In its province its powers were practically unlimited, and could have 
been safely conferred only on men of the utmost probity and judicial 
integrity. The commissioners had "exclusive power to lay out streets, 
roads, and public squares of such width, extent, and direction, as to 
them shall seem most conducive to the public good, and to shut up 
streets not accepted by the Common Council within that part of said 



city of New- 
York to the 
northward of a 
line comTDenc- 
ing at the wharf 
of George Clin- 
ton on the 
Hudson River, 
thence running 
Road, Green- 
wich Lane and 
Art Street to 
the Bowery > 
Road, thence o 
down Bowery ^ 
Road to North " 
Street, thence n 
through North | 
Street in its i 
present diree- t 
tion to the East | 
Biver." ' ' 

between tlie three- and 
the Bli-Qiile atone be- 
loniclDg t4> the corpora- 
tioQ ot the dtjc. The 
"Uiddle Rowl" WH 
Intended to be one 
hundred feet wide, the 
othen Biity feet SBch. 
- PitMoy Road ran 
from Fonrtepnth street. 
between Seventh and 
Eighth BTenuea, north 
and north west, nntil 
it entered Portr-eee- 
ond street, between 
Eighth and Ninth ave- 
nues. Oreetiwloh I^ne 
ran from Hndaon Btver 
northeast and eaM 
along the preaent lines 
oT OanaevooTt Mreet 
and Greenwich Avenoe 
to AirtOT Place. Art 


The leading streets and avenues were to be at least sixty feet wide. 
They could take land needed for streets and squares by right of emi- 
nent domain, leaving the question of damages to be settled by com- 
missioners, from whose decisions there could be no appeal to the 
courts ; and could enter upon lands, cut trees, and do other damage 
when necessary in performing their functions. They were to cause 
surveys and accurate maps to be made of all lands seized by them, 
and provide three copies — one for the secretary of state, to be of 
record; one for the clerk of the city and county of New- York; and 
one for the mayor and aldermen of the city. They were to be sworn 
to the faithful discharge of their duties. The commissioners, in lay- 
ing out the city, after much discussion decided to adopt the rectangu- 
lar system, chiefly because of "the greater economy and convenience 
in building," so that New- York owes her tame and ugly lay-out into 
square blocks chiefly to questions of economy and convenience. The 
avenues were made one hundred feet wide ; such of them as could be 
extended to the village of Harlem were numbered west from First 
Avenue, which passed "from the west of Belle vue Hospital to the east 
of Harlem Church.'' Twelfth avenue, the last, "ran from the wharf 
at Manhattanville along the shore of the Hudson River, in which it 
was lost." From First to Second Avenue was 650 feet; from Second 
to Third, 610 feet; up to Sixth Avenue the space between each was 
920 feet; west of Sixth Avenue, 800 feet. Fifth Avenue was called 
Manhattan Avenue or Middle Road. East of First Avenue were four 
short avenues, designated A, B, C, and D respectively. 

The cross streets were laid out up to One Hundred and Fifty-fifth, 
First street running from Avenue B to the Bowery, and One Hun- 
dred and Fifty-fifth street from Bussing's Point to the Hudson 
River. These streets were laid out sixty feet wide, except Four- 
teenth, Twenty-third, Thirty-fourth, Forty-second, Fifty-seventh, 
Seventy -second. Seventy- ninth. Eighty-sixth, Ninety-sixth, One 
Hundred and Sixth, One Hundred and Sixteenth, One Hundred 
and Twenty-fifth, One Hundred and Thirty-fifth, One Hundred 
and Forty-fifth, and One Hundred and Fifty-fifth, which were 
one hundred feet wide. They reserved ground for a public mar- 
ket, 3000 feet long by 800 wide, lying between Tenth and Sev- 
enth streets. First Avenue, and the East River; for a reservoir 
between Eighty-ninth and Ninety-fourth streets, Fourth and Fifth 
avenues; for a parade between Twenty-third and Thirty-second 
streets, Third and Seventh avenues (1350 yards long by 1000 
wide); and four public squares or parks — Bloomingdale, Man- 
hattan, Reservoir (which was to be used for a park until needed 
for its special use), and Harlem — modest forerunners of the noble 
Central Park which was to follow fifty years later. 



Accompanying the maps were certain remarks and explanations 
by the commissioners, some extracts from which will be interesting 
to the reader of to-day: "To some it may seem a matter of suiprise 
that the whole island of Manhattan has not been laid out as a city. 
To others it may be a subject of merriment that the Commissioners 
have provided space for a greater population than is collected at any 
spot on this side of China, They have in this been governed by the 
shape of the ground. It is not improbable that considerable numbers 
may be collected at Harlem before the high hills to the southward of 
it shall be built upon as a city, and it is improbable that for centuries 

to come the ground north of Harlem flats will be covered by houses. 
To have come short of the extent laid out might therefore have de- 
feated just expectations, while to have gone further might have fur- 
nished materials to the pernicious spirit of speculation." But the 
commissioners builded better than they knew. Barely eighty years 
have passed since these words were written, yet Harlem flats is a 
compact mass of houses, and the city limits have been extended 
nearly ten miles beyond — fact thus again distancing the utmost 
stretch of fancy. 

The State election of April, 1811, was notable for the open revolt of 
the Tammany Society against the regular candidate of its party for 
lieutenant-governor — De Witt Clinton. On learning of the nomination 
of Clinton, the Tammany Society met at once and passed resolutions 
with a preamble setting forth that they believed Mr. Clinton to have 


personal and private interests aside from those of the Republican 
party, and that he was bent upon ^^establishing in his person a ptiriii- 
cious family aristocracy.'' They therefore nominated Colonel Mari- 
nus Willett for lieutenant-governor in opposition to Mr. Clinton, and 
appointed Dr. Mitchill, Matthew L. Davis (the biographer of Aaron 
Burr), John Ferguson, and others a committee to secure his election. 
Colonel Nicholas Fish was the nominee of the Federalists. When the 
result of the voting was announced, the extent of their labors became 
apparent. Fish received in the city two thousand and forty-four 
votes, Willett six hundred and seventy-eight, and Clinton but five 
hundred and ninety. Had the result depended on the city's vote 
alone, Clinton would have been defeated; but his great talents and 
eminent services gained him suflScient votes throughout the State 
to counterbalance the loss in the city, and he was elected. 

A fire occuiTcd in New- York in May, 1811, which for years was 
spoken of as "the Great Fire." Between eighty and one hundred 
large buildings were burned, and for a time it seemed as though the 
whole city would be destroyed. It began on Chatham street, near 
Duane, on a Sunday morning, and was fanned by a high wind blow- | 
ing at the time. While it was raging the spire of the Brick Church 
caught fire from flying embers, and for some moments it seemed to 
the spectators that the famous structure was doomed. No ladders or 
fire-engines could reach the spot, yet a single hand could have dashed 
down the brand and extinguished the flame. A sailor in the crowd, 
quick to perceive the situation, gained access to the roof, climbed the 
tall steeple by the aid of the lightning-rod, and extinguished tlie 
brand by beating it with his hat; while the multitude below cheered 
the act lustily as being that of a hero. This done, ho descended to 
the gi'ound, and was lost in the crowd; nor could he be induced to 
come forward and disclose his identity, although a reward was voted 
by the oflScers of the church in gratitude for the timely act. 

The project of water communication between the Hudson and the 
great lakes divided public interest with the growing certainty of war 
with England during the years 1811 and 1812; or, more properly 
speaking, the prospect of war with England turned men's attention 
more and more to our inland commerce and to its possibilities and 
necessities. Christopher Colles, soon after the Revolution, set on foot 
certain experiments intended to make the Mohawk a navigable water- 
way. General Philip Schuyler had proposed a system of locks to 
surmount the cataracts of the Mohawk at Little Falls, and a canal 
about two and three-fourth miles long, having five locks, had been 
built as early as 1796 to demonstrate the feasibility of the plan. In 
1791 the legislature of New- York had appointed commissioners to 
survey the region between Wood Creek, which falls into Lake On- 



tario, and the Hudson, and to report as to the cost of making canals 
between the two streams. In 1792 the le^slature incorporated the 
"Inland Navigation Company," of which General Schuyler was the 
first president, and which in 1797 had connected Wood Creek with 
the Mohawk, and a few years later had carried its improvements so 
far that boats could pass from Schenectady into Oneida Lake. 

Gouverneur Morris, so far as we find, was the first to put upon 
paper the project of a canal from the Hudson to Lake Erie. After a 
journey down the St. Lawrence through Lake Ontario, and by land 
to Lake Erie, he wrote 
in 1801 to John Parish ^ ~ 

that a large commerce 
would at no distant 
period whiten those 
inland seas, and that 
one tenth of the cost 
to Britain of the last 
campaigu would have 
enabled ships to sail 
from Loudon through 
the Hudson River to 
Lake Erie. This gen- 
tleman, in company 
with Jesse Hawley and James Geddes, published mauy essays and 
communications on the general subject in the State press. The 
latter, in 1810, gave the surveyor-general, Simeon De Witt, an ex- 
haustive report of a survey he had made on his own responsibility, 
which was laid before the legislature, and that body appointed a com- 
mission, of which Gouverneur Monis was chairman, " to explore the 
whole route for inland navigation from the Hudson Eiver to Lake 
Ontario and to Lake Erie." 

This commission reported in the spring of 1811 that the survey 
had been performed, and that the project was entirely feasible; 
whereupon the le^slature passed an act investing the commission- 
ers with "power to manage all matters relating to the navigation 
between the Hudson and the lakes," and added Chancellor Livingston 
and Robert Fulton to the commission. The body was authorized to 
apply for aid to Congress and to other States, to negotiate with the 
Inland Lock Navigation Company for the purchase of its charter and 
property, and to ascertain if a loan of five millions of dollars could 
be negotiated. The commission applied to Congress for aid, but met 
with a cool reception, although Gouverneur Morris and De Witt 
Clinton appeared for it in person. It was admitted that the project 
was of national interest and importance, but it was said that nothing 

Vol. III.— U. 



<v>ulfl be douft for Xew-York that was not done for the other States, 
and thft application, without being rejected, was never acted upon. 
Thift lukewannnetMi on the part of Congress, and the breaking out of 
tlifc war of 1812, with the opposition of many in the State, who re- 
gardful the tmtt'Timse as chimerical in the extreme, deferred the com- 
pletion of the mighty project until another generation of men had 
trtiuus ujMjn the sfteiie. 

On Docetiiber 11, 1809, the first free-school building in Xew-Tort 
was d()dicate<l. The corporation l)y which it was erected — known as 
tho "Free School Society of the City of Xew-Tork" — had been 
f<ninded in lfi05, as was shown in the previous chapter. In 1808 the 
dmrter was altt-red, the cor[K>ration taking the name of the **Free 

School Society of the 
City of New-Tork." 
The same year, the 
school having out- 
grown its quarters in 
the building near the 
almshouse, the edifice 
before mentioned was 
built on a large lot in 
Chatham street, also 
given by the city. 
This first public-school 
building in Xew-York 
was of brick, and 
rm RiTaKHs MAxsioK. contained one lar^ 

Bchool-room proper, 
cajtablo of accommodating five hundred pupils, a trustees' room, 
Hjiartmt'nts for the teacher, and a second and smaller school-room 
that would accommodate one hundred and fifty pupils. The feature 
of the dwiicatory exercises was an address by De Witt Clinton, in 
which he statwl the iibjwt of the society to be, not the founding of a 
single Hcaileniy, but the establishment of schools. Colonel Rutgers's 
gift (»f two K»t8 on Henrj- street was coupled with the condition "that a 
KchiHtl building should be erected on the site donated before June, 
1811. Thirteen thousHud dollars were promptly subscribed by the 
citizi'us of Kew-York, and the comer-stone of the second structure 
was hiid by Colonel Rutg\'r» on N'ovember 11. 1810, in the presence of 
a large ci>nii>aiiy. In 1811 the vestry of Trinity Church gave two 
largt> lots on the comer of Hudson and Grove streets for a thirl 
whtHtl buiUliug. There were sis of these public-school buildings in 
the city by It^iTi. and that year the legislature changed the name of 
the society f ixmu '* Kr<v Scho*.>l Society " to " Public School Socieiy." 



At the same time that the public schools were slowly growing into 
form, one of those noble charities which have been the pride and 
boast of New- York was foimded, the New- York Orphan Asylum 
Society. This was the work 
of several cultivated and 
benevolent ladies, — Mrs. 
Isabella Qraham and her 
daughter, Mrs. Joanna Be- 
thuue, Mrs. Sarah Hoff- 
man, Mrs. Alexander Hamil- 
ton, and others, — ^who called 
a public meeting on the 
15th of March, 1806, for 
the organizing of the so- 
ciety. Its first asylum stood 
on an acre of ground in 
Bank street, a plain sub- 
stantial structure fifty feet 
square, erected at a cost of 
twenty-five thousand dol- 
lars. The society was not 
able to meet the entire 
amount at the time of 
building, but the debt was soon discharged by the donations and 
gifts of philanthropic persons. In 1840 the society, by selling its 
down-town property at a greatly increased price, and aided by a 
generous public, was able to build the noble *nd well-appointed 
edifice on the banks of the Hudson, at Seventy-fourth street. 

Early in the year 1812 a bill was introduced in the legislature 
which convulsed the State, and so stimulated partizan feeling as to 
threaten, in the minds of some, the stability of government itself. 
The disturbing cause was nothing more terrible than a bill to charter 
a Bank of North America in New- York city, with a capital of six 
millions of dollars, four hundred thousand of which were to be devoted 
to the common-school fund ; one hundred thousand for the support 
of acadcTnies and colleges; a hundred thousand more to be paid into 
the State treasury after tWenty years, provided the corporation should 
be given a monopoly of banking in the State during that time; one 
million to be loaned to the State, to be used in the construction of 
canals; and an equal sum to manufacturers and farmers throughout 
the State for the promotion of manufactures and agriculture — in some 
of its features much like the subtreasury scheme of modern enthusi- 
asts. The bill was made a party issue at once — the Federalists sup- 
porting it with great unanimity, the Republicans as a party opposing 

'V'^*''*^*'*'^'^*'^— -'^^^■■2-''»-*t-^_^ 


uiaroBi uF SEW-yoBK 

it, altliouglj tUwi-e wbiv mtiuy of tlie wealthi«' uud luort influential 
leaduri> wliu wwif opeuly ur Be<;i'«tly iu I'uvui- of it. 

Tli*; Kojjublicttufc, led liy (ja<veruui- JJauiel 1). Tomjtkiiifc. }njint«l 
tc tLe ixtwei* witjUled iu politiuif by tlif old I'uit^d Btetet £aiik. 
wbubt:- tibattei- hud L»ut junt bvuu ubi-u^;«d uft«r u bitter strug^ 
gle, aud to tbe Maubattau Bauk. created l»y Aaron Burr in 179f» 
uudttr the gvas^ of a water wnupauy. aud deiioiineed Be^-atal of tbe 
j>i-opy«itiou>; of tbe prebeut bobuuie ae Uaug worse tiiau either. At 

an early stage of 
tbe «oiite«t it be- 
uaiue erideut tiiut 
tbe bil] w<iiild jiaB& 
many interest*- l>e- 
htp martiiiided in 
favor of it. aod 
Governor Tomi»- 
fciiis resort*"! tti 
an eiptedieDT of 
doabtful utility, 
and withont p.K- 
cedent, to defeat 
■Tf-wo"!^ : it. He used the 

power '.-oiifeiTed oq him by 
tli« eouwtitutioii of Xew-York, and 
pror-^tKHcd tbB lujcinlature for sixty days, 
itlli^fiini; in deferiw of bis aetioD that many 
of I ltd tiiftmljorH bad been bribed. The 
grim(i?»it (ixr;it(tiin>iit utt'snded the reading of 
ift govftnior'H mi^Hwifci- diBmissiDg the legis- 
l*i|i>rb for eixty il»yn. Orators in favor of the 
bauk i;liarg<jd timl TotiipkiiiB hod an nyo on the presidency, and 
was uoekiiig to iiiaka tsapital for hirasolf by his heretofore unheard-of 
action, tiud to dufeat the uniniiiution of Cliutoii, whose canal schemes 
it wati believed doiumitted hint to the support of the bauk. For a 
tiuiis the upiHiaiiig iiartitia were at the point of blows; but the legis- 
lature was dinsolved, ami on ro»*oiivening on May 21 did what might 
have been exjtected — at ontie jtasHed the bill ohartering the Bank of 
Ameriea. Oliver Wol«(ttt, late neeivtary of the treasury, became its 
first pretiident. 

I Oiiring tbe Srot deuule u( theceulury It icu IMTS, u^y*: "Tbe old plxv n«*r Newark, in New 

thit )iru]H;rty u( QuuVBrneur KfUitik. aud WK« a Juney. rhritleued 'O^kktft Hall' br Str- Irriiifc. 

(STiiritK n-soTt with its yuuD)( uwuer. Ihu IrviogK. wax («ll«l Mouui Pl«uu>t. Thv faoius ns loilt 

Paulding, Caplaln Porlur. tatliur <il Ihn lalt> Ad- by Slpholu Oouveraeur. tcmidsoti of Atvaham 

■nlral. Henry Breyuort. itud othnrii, whonudu iho lIouTvrDtnir, who married the da<^dit«r «r Jacob 

aarlent laaiuluD gajr with their fun aud (ruUc LviHler." EvnoK. 

Kemble, In a note to the Editor datvd IVbruary. 







Among mtny Surprising and Curious Mauers« the Unutterable 
Ponderiiigs of Walter tkb Doubtsb* the Disastrous 
Projects of William tbjc TestYi atid the> Chivatric 
Achievments of PfiTAft tub Hbadstronc, the three 
Dutch Governors of New Amsterdam i bemg the oKly 
Authentic History of the Times that ever hath heen« or ever 
wiU be Published. 

During the period under consideration, literature had flourished as 
never before in the history of the city. In 1807 a young man named 
Washington Irving was living with his mother on William street, 
writing clever articles for the "Morning Chronicle,'* edited by his 
brother, Dr. Peter Irv- 
ing, and quite unknown A HISTORY 
to fame. Boarding with 
his sister, the wife of 
William Irving, brother 
of Washington Irving, 
was a young clerk in the 
loan-office, of fine liter- 
ary ability — James Kirke 
Paulding. The two young 
men became fast friends, 
and in summer were in 
the habit of leaving the 
heated city and going 
out to the old Gouvem- 
eiir mansion on the banks 
of the Passaic, a short 
distance above the city 
of Newark. Here the 
plan of a rollicking, half- 
humorous, half-satirical 
publication, mirroring 
the fashions and follies 
of the town, was con- 
ceived, and the first num- 
ber largely written. The 
new publication — called 
"Salmagundi'* — was is- 
sued on January 24, 1807, 
and at once took the city 
by storm. Its purpose 
was announced to be " to 
instruct the young, reform the old, correct the town, and castigate 
the age''; and it did this so effectually, yet with so much bonJiomie 
and good humor, that it became the talk of polite society, and much 
interest was aroused as to the identity of its authors. 

The same year Washington Irving, assisted by Dr. Peter Irving, 
commenced his immortal work, " Knickerbocker's History of New- 
York," in reality a burlesque on the " Picture of New-York " recently 
published by Dr. Samuel L. Mitchill, but written with so much veri- 


£^e tiuaiteui me in mitfier (acp, 
XHe ftomt mtt ktaartciD sm Den Bdg« 


VOL. n. 





nmilitnde and appearance of truth as to be accepted tor sober fais- 
torj by many intelligeiit readers. Knielerboeker^ History first 
appeared in 1809. Its charm is perenniaL It has left its imi»«es 
npon the eariy history of the great city. Whatever may be later 


said or written, the term,'*Kmekerbocker'' wiU still cling to the early 
Datch settlers of Manhattan, and their manners, customs, and charac- 
teristics will, in the popular eye, remain snch as were pictured in the 
pages of IHedricb Elmckerboeker. 



Sixty-six years ago the village of Newark — the Newark of Arohy Gifford's day 
— and New- York were connected by a quartette of stages, drawn by four horses; 
and in one of the four lumbering vehicles was often seen, on summer Satiirday after- 
noons, a party of gay, rollicking young New-Yorkers, who were deposited at the gate 
of an old mansion which, with its surrounding twenty or more acres, was then known 
as the '* Gouvemeur Place.'^ '* The place," says James K. Paulding, '^ was pleasantly 
situated on the banks of a pastoral stream ; not so near town [New- York] as to invite 
an inundation of idle acquaintances who came to lounge away an afternoon, nor so 
distant as to render it an absolute deed of charity or friendship to perform the jour- 
ney." In the year 1795 this property, situated about a mile to the north of Newark, 
on the Belleville road, was inherited by Gouvemeur Kemble from his uncle Isaac 
Gouvemeur, whose portrait, painted by Stuart, occupies the place of honor in the 
dining-hall of Mr. Kemble's residence at Cold Spring, variously designated by his 
friend Washington Irving as "Bachelor's Hall," "Bachelor's Nest," "Bachelor's 
Elysium." Mr. Kemble, in a letter to the writer, dated February 6, 1872, says : " The 
old place near Newark, in New Jersey, christened Cockloft Hall by Mr. Irving, was 
caUed Mount Pleasant. The house was built by Nicholas Gouvemeur, grandson of 
Abraham Gouvemeur, who married the daughter of Governor Jacob Leisler. At the 
death of Nicholas the property passed into the possession of his brother, Isaac Gou- 
vemeur, from whom I inherited it, in 1795, and sold it, I think, in 1837 or '38." 

The interesting old country-house, which was also loiown as Mount Pleasant, was 
a plain two-story building of wood, with wings to the first floor. A honeysuckle 
porch met the view from the road, between which and the house was the garden ; on 
the opposite side a sloping lawn, studded with apple-trees, extended to the river. 
Entering by the east door was " The Chinese Saloon," while from each side doors 
opened into the wings, forming a suite of rooms some sixty feet in length. Above 
were several quaint chambers respectively known as the " Green Moreen," the "Red 
SUk," the " Pink Chintz," and the " Blue Chintz "— all filled with antique fumiture, 
and the rooms on the first floor were adorned with family portraits. The only regular 
tenants of the venerable mansion at the time of which we are writing were two old 
family servants, known as Daddy and Mammy Jacobs, and a negro boy. 

The merry blades who made the old mansion gay with their fun and frolic were the 
young owner, who was dignified with the title of " the Patroon " ; James K. Paulding, 
known as "Billy Taylor"; Henry Brevoort, Jr., as "Nimcle"; Ebenezer Irving, as 
" Captain Great Heart " ; " Sinbad " was the title given to David Porter, father of the 
present admiral; Richard McCall, familiarly known as Dick McCall, was dubbed 
" Ooromdates " ; Henry Ogden was called "the Supercargo"; Peter Irving, "the 
Doctor " ; and his brother, Washington, who, having no secondary title, it is believed, 
had furnished his companions with aliases. This roystering coterie of jolly young 
fellows were variously designated by Peter Irving as the " Nine Worthies," by Wash- 
ington as the " Lads of Blilkenny," and by Paulding as the " Ancient and Honorable 
Order" and the "Ancient Club of New- York." 

In Irving's Life it is stated that "the house was full of antique fumiture, and the 
walls were adorned with family portraits. The place was in charge of an old man 
and woman, and a negro boy, who were its sole occupants, except when the nine, 
under the lead and confident in the hospitality of the Patroon, as they styled its 
possessor, would saUy forth from New- York and enliven its solitude by their mad- 
cap pranks and juvenile orgies." Paulding's biographer, in writing of the old man- 
sion, says: "The Green Moreen [chamber], which occupied the southwestern angle 



of the seoond story, seems to Iiave been the favorite bachelors' quarters. Fast by 
its western window, on the southerly dde of the stoop, ^rew an immense honey-cherry 
tree, to the fruit of whioh the birds were extremely partial ; and it is averred that 
these lazy dogs of Salma^ndians would lie in bed there and shoot them. Into this 
tree ' Billy Taylor ' (Paulding) onoe incautiously climbed, and the rest of the roaring 
boys, having detected him there, pilfering, pelted him bitterly before they allowed him 
to descend ; and, doubtless, it was a reminiscence of it that suggested one of the finest 
papers in the second series of ' Salmagundi.' . . . Many were the rare doings and the 
absurd pranks in and about the house, of which the trials at jumping and the games 
of leap-frog were of the least." On one ooeajdon a member of the coterie, for some 
breach of club law or other social offense, was arraigned before a grand court of in- 
quisition and solemnly adjudged to the horse- 
pond, the judges promptly carrying out the 
sentence in person. 

Another interesting feature of Gouver- 
neur Place was a summer-house, situat«d in 
the orcliard, not far distant from the river. 
The author of a pleasant reminiscence ' gives 
an agreeable description of it: "The old 
man" (who serves the purpose of the nar- 
rator) " sighed, and, turning away bis head, 
he led the way to a small building stand- 
ing not far from the river's brink, and near 
an artificial basin or pond, into which, as the 
tide was full, the Passaic was pouring some 
of its surplus waters through a narrow sluice. 
It was octagonal m shape, about eighteen 
feet in diameter, containing only one apart- 
ment, with a door facing the river on the 
east, and bavmg windows opening toward 
each of the other three cardinal points. It 
was built of stone, and had been originally 
weatherboarded ; althoi^h most of the boards 
had fallen off. It had evidently been con- 
structed with great care, being fully plastered 
within and papered, having an ornamental 
cornice and chair-board, an arched doorway, and out-stone steps — all indicating a 
fastidiousness of finish not ordinarily found elsewhere than in dwellings ; but it was 
far gone toward utter ruin, the window-sashes being all out, the door gone, and the 
mutilated woodwork showing it to be a resort only of the idle and the vicious. On 
looking to my companion for an explanation, he said : ' This, sr, was the Cockloft 
summer-house, and this the fish-pond, which Irving mentions when giving the por- 
trait of the old proprietor. You may remember the passage : " An odd notion of the 
old gentleman was to blow up a large bed of rocks, for the purpose of having a fish- 
pond, although the river ran at about one hundred yards distance from the house and 
was well stored with fish ; but there was nothing, he said, like having things to one's 
self. And he would have a summer-house built on the mat^^ of the fish-pond ; he 
would have it surrounded with elms and willows ; and he would have a cellar dug 
under it, for some incomprehensible purpose, which remains a secret to this day.'* As 
I remember it, in the days of my youth,' continued my aged friend, ' with its window- 
seats and lockers, I think it requires no " Will Wizard " to solve the mystery of the 
cellar ; but that there the bottles were kept that were wont to surrender their exhilarat* 
1 WilUun A. Whitehrad, Ewi-, in Kewuk "AdvertiKr," NoTeDit>er 30. 1S39. 



Winfleld Heoit pronotmecd tb« glowing enloginiii on Kemble " that be ma the most 
perfect gentlemui in the United State*"; and when Washington Irving and Eemble 
met tirr the la«t time, at Hnnnxnde, in the mmmer of 18SB, on tetnniing to the parlor, 
after partingat the honermckled porch, "his [Irring'B] eyes were filled with tears," says 
hi* Mographer, " and he bnnt fortii with a gnsh of feeling : ' That is raj friend of early 
life— always unchanged, always like a brother; one of the noblest beings that ever 
wera created. Hi* heart Is pure gold.'" — ThzEditob, in " Independent," Uay, 1872. 






yi BEAT BRITAIN, driven to acknowledge the political in- 
dependence of the United States, even in the hour of 
defeat cherished hopes of a reconciliation, if not a re- 
iiion, with a part of her old colonies. In the negotiations 
for peace her statesmen had naturally seen the sectional jealousies of 
the American commissioners, and discerned in them the germs of dis- 
cord which might mature to a disruption of the new western empire — 


a disruption from which she hoped to profit. The British ministry 
observed the antagonism of the different sections of the new nation 
to each other — an antagonism which had no place or reason under 
the colonial system, but was a consequence of their new condition. 



If all that was desired could not be wrested from Great Britain, each 
section was naturally tenacious of what it held to be vital to itself. 

It is interesting to note in this, the dawn of the republic, the slight 
dark spot on the horizon which developed into the dark cloud of civil 
war — the political struggle between theNortheast and the Southwest; 
the one for a conservative limitation, the other for an unrestricted 
territorial expansion. In the negotiations themselves Adams alone 
represented an immediate vital sectional interest: that of New Eng- 
land in the fish- 
eries. The com- 
munities from 
which Franklin 
and Jay came 
were not direct- 
ly concerned 
except in the 
matter of the 
boundary and 
frontiers. Nei- 
ther of these 
wise, patriotic 
[ men was gov- 
erned by any 
narrow or self- 
ish considera- 
tion. Henry- 
Laurens at the 

' ~ " "" ■ ' ' close gave a 

discordant note in a demand for a clause prohibiting the carrying 
away of negroes by the British troops on their evacuation. The 
British commissioners were ready to grant the " liberty " of the fish- 
eries, but hesitated long before they would concede the " right " on 
which Adams insisted. The third article of the "provisional treaty" 
secured to the United States this " right " of fishery, as also the liberty 
of the coasts of the English banks; the eighth established the Mis- 
sissippi River to be forever open to the citizens of both countries. 

In the course of the negotiations England had resisted! any inter- 
meddhng of France. Lord Sbelbume held it to be the true policy of 
Great Britain to settle her differences with her kinsmen without out- 
side interference. Pride dictated that such concessions as must be 
made should seem voluntary and not forced. The wisdom of this 
policy in the removal of any probable cause of friction in her i-elations 


with New England was later seen. But while Great Britain tardily 
and grudgingly acknowledged the political independence of her 
former colonies, her policy was set on maintaining her own commer- 
cial supremacy. The old restrictions on the trade of the American 
continental seaports with the British West India Islands were main- 
tained. Her statesmen little dreamed that there were no bounds to 
the horizon of American commerce, and that within a little more than 
a year from the day when the treaty was signed an American ship 
was to carry the flag of the Union to the China seas. The right of 
search for British seamen on board 
of .\meriean vessels is not men- 
tioned in the articles of peace. 

The instant need of Great Bri- 
tain was tranquillity at home and 
abroad, by which her fioances might 
be reorganized and the future ex- 
pansion of her trade determined. 
This great undertaking had fallen 
to Pitt, A commercial treaty with 
France and a convention with Spain 
settletl all standing disputes con- 
cerning settlements on the coasts 
of America with that power; this, 
followed by treaties of alliance with 
the United Provinces and with Prus- 
sia, secured the peace of Europe, 
and left the western powers free to 
oppose the ambitious schemes of 
Kussia with the aid or connivance of Austria, and establish fii-mly a 
balance of power for the mutual security of European states. There 
were elements in motion, however, the forces of which were but ill 
gauged by the most far-seeing statesmen and philosophers — an in- 
ternal convulsion which, in its upheaval, was to destroy the strata 
and change the face of modern society. The torch of liberty may 
be said to have been lighted in America. It was rekindled in 
France in 1789. It became a burning brand when the dissolution 
of the monarchy was decreed by the national convention after a 
scene of carnage in 1792. In the struggle of principles which fol- 
lowed, it was not possible for any of the great- powers of the Old 
World either to maintain neutrality or to hold itself aloof. One after 
the other they were actively involved. The breaking out of the 

1 Mn. Llviogstoa wm ilargaxvt, daughMr of She was the mother of ChaDcellor LirlDgston. 
Colonel Henrr Beekmui of DnehesB Couaty. *iiil The vignette is copied from a well-preserved por- 
resided on BnMdwsy Dear the BovUnK Green, trait by Qilbert Stuart. Editob. 


222 mSTOBY OF new-york 

French Eevolution instantly divided England. Fox warmly espoused 
the cause of liberty; Burke denounced the summary reversal of the 
established orders of government and society. With these great 
leaders at variance, there was an irreconcilable schism in the Whig 
ranks. Pitt profited by their dissensions, but kept a discreet silence 
on the merits of the Eevolution — a cautious reserve in which he was 
imitated by his ministers. But when a powerful society sprang up, 
under the name of the " Friends of the People ^ (a significant adapta- 
tion of the name of the famous French organ ^^DAmi du Peuple% 
which included men high in political and literary ranks as well as 
members of Parliament, and which organized a movement for reform 
in representation; and when still another, the London Corresponding 
Society, composed chiefly of tradesmen, demanded universal suffrage 
and annual parliaments, Pitt showed his hand by a royal proclama- 
tion against the distribution of seditious writings and illegal corre- 
spondence. In his defense of the proclamation he took occasion to 
denounce the " daring and seditious principles which had been so in- 
sidiously propagated amongst the people under the plausible and 
delusive appellation of the Rights of Man.'' 

The decree of the French government opening the navigation of 
the Scheldt, in contravention of former agreement, touched England 
at her most sensitive point; and although the French ambassadors 
sought to convince Pitt that while the decree was irrevocable, it was 
not intended to apply to England, the act itself was sufficient. War- 
like measures were adopted. The execution of Louis XVI. ended all 
hesitation, and the French ambassador was at once ordered to leave 
the British dominions. The French replied with a formal declaration 
of war. In the long contests of the eighteenth century, France had 
always the aid of Spain under the family compact of the house of 
Bourbon : an aid of incalculable value on the sea. Now she was to 
encounter single-handed the vastly superior naval force of Great 
Britain. Yet the great discrepancy of force by no means secured 
England and her possessions from the depredations of an innxmier- 
able fleet of French privateers. 

In this condition of affairs the United States saw her opportunity. 
The adoption of the constitution had consolidated the States into a 
nation, and there was a universal desire to profit by the advantages 
which the change promised. The chain of causes which was to divert 
the carrying-trade into the hands of her young marine was complete. 
The vast naval superiority of Great Britain compelled France to resort 
to privateers. The success of the privateers determined the change 
of traffic to a neutral flag. The United States was the only maritime 
nation to which neutrality was possible. The change was immediate. 
From a total of twenty million dollars value in 1789, the exports from 


the United States to England and France had reached in 1800 the 
amount of seventy millions, of which nearly forty-seven millions were 
of articles of foreign product. American tonnage was already over 
nine hundred thousand tons, and second only to that of Great Britain; 
and of this nearly seven hundred thousand tons were eng^ed in the 
foreign or oceanic trade. In this department New- York had already 
far outstripped all her American rivals, having one sixth of the whole, 
and much more thaa Pennsylvania, which was second on the roll. 

Neither of the belligerent powers looked with complacency on this 
rapid development of the maritime resources of the United States. 
France chafed because of what she held to be American ingratitude 
in standing aloof from 
her in her struggle for 
freedom from monarebi- 
cal rule; Great Britain, 
alanned at the growth of 
a new naval power which 
threatened her suprem- 
acy, had the additional 
chagrin of seeing her 
late rebellious colonies 
taking profit from her 
own distresses, and as- 
suming the carrying-trade of the world. Lord Nelson, the sailor hero 
of Great Britain, foresaw the maritime struggle. It is relate of him 
that, after seeing the evolutions of an American squadron in the Bay 
of Gibraltar during the Tripoli war, he said: "There was in those 
transatlantic ships a nucleus of trouble for the maritime power of 
Great Britain. We have nothing to fear from any thing on this side 
of the Atlantic; but the manner in which those ships are handled 
makes me think that there may be a time when we shall have trouble 
from the other." 

WhUe the United States was profiting by her mercantile advantages 
as a neutral in a material sense, she was forced to submit to many morti- 
fications to her national pride. Chief among these was that caused by 
the constant impressment of sailors from on board her ships by British 
commanders. When Great Britain entered upon the struggle with 
France in 1793, she had one hundred and twenty ships of the line and 
more than one hundred frigates. When Napoleon controlled the 
powers of the Continent the war assumed colossal dimensions, and the 
naval armaments of Great Britain increased until it is estimated that 
her navy reached one thousand vessels. To maintain the crews of her 



squadrons she had never hesitated to resort to the press-gang j and 
desertions were, of coarse, constant and inevitable. Daring the 
American war British admirals on the Atlantic stations found it diffi- 
cult to maintain force sufficient to handle their ships, and were com- 
pelled to personal sacrifice to obtain men. Then their only competition 
was from the American privateersmen with their hazardous and 
perilous service; but now the 
prosperous American merchant- 
men outbid them with higher 
pay and a more generous treat- 
ment. The British admiral has 
never owned to a higher law 
than that "might makes right." 
Necessity no less than conve- 
nience led him to execute the law 
as he chose to understand it, 
and the " right of search " was 
sedulously practised. This was, 
of course, in gross violation of 
American sovereignty. The of- 
fense was aggravated when, as 
often happened, an American- 
bom seaman was taken from 
under his own flag on the asser- 
tion of a British lieutenant that he had served under the king. 
Further, Great Britain claimed that no subject of hers could shift 
his allegiance, or take military or naval service with any other 
power. The British government, moreover, asserted as the rule of 
search that the burden of proof that he was not a British subject 
or a British deserter lay upon the sailor claimed by the boarding 
officer. Yet the goveroment of the United States submitted to the 
practice, and confined its complaints to cases of gross injustice. 

The United States asked only to be let atone. Jefferson, who had 
no desire for war, formulated this request, but neither of the belli- 
gerents was inclined to this rose-colored view. France wanted our 
assistance, and, failing to coax. Napoleon sought to drive us to grant- 
ing it. England cared nothing for our alliance, bat was jealous of 
our prosperity, and wanted our able seamen. France began her dep- 
redations on our commerce in 1799 and 1800. Eogland continued 
her agressions with occasional intermissions. Jefferson, in his mes- 

l This bonse ■was owiunI by Peter Van Bm^cb ton came up from New-York to confer with h&n, 

LlTiugiton. It li sitoated Dear Dobbs Ferry, on and with George Clinton, then go-vemor of the 

the Hudson. WaabinKton extablisbed bis head- State, on the sabjeet of prisoneni of war. the dis- 

<iuarten there towaid the eloae of the BeTotn- pooal or treaboent of loyaliata, and the eracoation 

tlon, and In NoT«nber, 1783. General Qny Carie- of the city. Editob. 


sage of 1804, had hopes of more amicable relations ; but his message 
of December, 1805, made sad mention of his disappointments : " Our 
coasts have been infested and our harbors watched by private armed 
vessels, some of them without commissions, others with those of legal 
form but committing piratical acts far beyond the authority of their 
commissions. They have captm'ed in the very entrance of our har- 
bors, as well as on the high seas, not only the vessels of our friends 
coming to trade with us, but our own also. They have carried others 
off under pretence of legal adjudication ; but not daring to approach a 
court of justice they have plundered and sunk theirs by the way, or 
in obscure places where no evidence could arise against 
them; maltreated the crews and abandoned them in 
boats in the open sea, or on desert shores, without 
foo<l or covering." In January, 1806, he sent in a 
further message, accompanied by "the memorials of ^^^^ ring.i 
several bodies of merchants in the United States." In accordance 
with his desire. Congress passed a non-importation act, to apply to 
certain articles of British manufacture, whether imported directly 
from Great Britain or from other places. 

On April 25, 1806, less than a month from the passage of the act, a 
bolder and more direct outrage was committed in New-York waters. 
The British frigate Leander, commanded by Captain Whitby, cruis- 
ing off the mouth of the harbor near Sandy Hook, fired into the 
American sloop Richard, a coasting- vessel, and killed one of her crew. 
The body was brought up to the city of New-York and buried at 
public expense. The citizens, excited by this uncalled-for insult, de- 
manded reparation. The Leander was ordered from our waters, and 
her captain threatened with arrest should he presume to land on our 
shores. So also was the British sloop of war Driver. But so little 
was Jefferson's proclamation regarded, that the latter vessel, which 
carried but eighteen guns, returned the next year to Charleston Har- 
bor,- defied the civil authorities, and denounced the president in an 
insolent letter, in which her captain demanded water, which was 
ignominiously supplied. Captain Whitby was called home to Eng- 
land, tried by comi; martial, and acquitted without even a reprimand. 

The hollow peace of Amiens of 1802 was of short duration. Within 
a few months of its signature the British ambassador left Paris, and 
orders were at once issued by the English cabinet for the seizure of 
the ships of France and of her allies in British ports. The conti- 

1 This ring, containing Washington's hair, was him, the captain wrote a letter, which he dated at 
by him presented to Mrs. James Madison, and is *' Rebellion Roads, Charleston." Among other 
now the property of Mrs. Edwards Pierrepont of things- he said that ** the proclamation of the Presi- 
New-York. Editob. dent would have disgraced even the sanguinary 

2 Charleston Harbor seems to have been denomi- Robespierre, or the most miserable petty state in 
nated ** Rebellion Roads '* by the English. In an- Barbary." Editob. 
Bwer to the proclamation, when it was served upon 

Vol. m.— 15. 


nental struggle assumed vast proportions, and in the duel between 
France and England the rights of neutrals were wholly disregarded. 
Great Britain again asserted the rule which she had attempted to 
establish in 1756, which forbade neutral nations to trade with the 
colonies of a belligerent power from which they were excluded in 
time of peace. In this Great Britain asserted herself to be the arbiter 
of international maritime law. On May 17, 1806, the ministry issued 
the first of the famous Orders in CounciL This declared the French 
coast to be in a state of blockade. American vessels were admitted 
to carry cargoes to certain ports only, these cargoes to be only of 
the growth of the United States or of British manufacture. Napo- 
leon, whose career of conquest was at its height after the battle of 
Jena, on November 28, 1806, issued from Berlin, the conquered capital 
of Prussia, the no less famous " Berlin decree," which declared the 
British isles in a state of blockade, and forbade all trade with the con- 
tinental ports. Both of these documents were to all intents " paper 
blockades,'* and by all just conception of international law inoperative 
as far as neutrals were concerned. They interfered with but did not 
whoUy check American vessels from sailing with cargoes both from 
French and English ports, though the ocean voyage through the 
British squadrons was hazardous. Gradually American trade was 
being narrowed to their own coasting business. Nor was this, as has 
been stated, unrestrained. British ships prowled on our coasts and 
overhauled the peaceful merchantmen of the United States in quest 
of seamen. The United States bill for damages increased rapidly, but 
the day of demand was as yet postponed to a more convenient season. 
The United States hesitating or failing to resist Napoleon's Berlin 
decree, a further and more restrictive order in council was issued by 
Great Britain, January 7, 1807, forbidding trade between any two 
French ports, or ports of allies to France, which struck directly at the 
American carrying-trade. On November 10, 1807, a further order in 
council was issued, the avowed purpose of which was to compel all 
nations to give up their maritime trade, or accept it through British, 
or through vessels under British, license. 

In the interval between these orders British insolence went a step 
further. On June 22, 1807, the English man-of-war Leopard over- 
hauled the American frigate Chesapeake, Captain James Barron 
commanding, while cruising off Hampton Boads. An officer of the 
Leopard was received on board the Chesapeake, who delivered an order 
from Vice- Admiral Berkeley, on the Halifax station, to " search for 
deserters." Captain Barron declining to allow such a procedure, 
the Leopard opened upon the Chesapeake an entire broadside, killing 
three and wounding eighteen men. Captain Barron, totally unpre- 
pared, was only able to fire a single gun in reply. The captain of 


the Leopard refused to accept a surrender of the Chesapeake, but sent 
on board an officer, who had the crew mustered and took away four 
men whom he claimed as deserters. Three of these men were native- 
bom American citizens. The fourth had run away from a sloop of 
war, and was forthwith hanged at Halifax. The people throughout 
the United States were greatly enraged by this high-handed act. 
Jefferson said he had not " seen the country in such a state of exasper- 
ation since the battle of Lexington.'' Captain Barron was tried by 

P H I L AD E L?HlA,i^^^^^y^^iyjy. 

pAY to^S^^^^^y^ — Efquirc,^^^^/^56^ 

i^^^y/^.u.^t^^:^ ^-^ 

for his Wages for cx^J^jt.^^ 4^^#^^i$^Scrvicc m the General 

Affcmbly, and /Cc/s^ f^yj^^^^J /^^^^^!^^^^^^ 

_ for his travelling Charges for £^^^^(„,<^^!!^ 


"y^ (J/^^/0a^arz^ P E A K E R. 



court martial, convicted of neglect of duty in not having his ship pre- 
pared for action, and deprived of rank and pay for five years. 

The British followed up the January order in council by the bom- 
bardment and destruction of Copenhagen and the seizure of the Danish 
fleet on July 26, without even the formality of a declaration of war. 
This lawless act aroused the indignation of Eussia, and perhaps more 
than any other event engaged the sympathy of the lesser powers for 
the United States as the only nation which promised relief in the 
future from the maritime despotism of the Mistress of the Seas. 

Reparation for the Chesapeake outrage was at once demanded, and 
became the subject of dilatory negotiation. This question, and infor- 
mation from Mr. John Armstrong, the American minister at Paris, of 
the strict interpretation of the French and British decrees, caused 
President Jefferson to call Congress together on October 26. Al- 
though the order in council of January had proclaimed a general 
British blockade of continental ports and forbade trade in neutral 

1 Beduoed fae-Bimile of the original, in the possession of the Editor. 




vessels unless they first went into British ports and paid duty on 
their cargoes, Jefferson awaited the answer to the demand in the mat- 
ter of the Chesapeake outrage before asking any special legislation. 
^— . In the second week of December, 

the answer of the British gov- 
ernment arriving, with informa- 
tion that a special envoy would 
be sent over, Jefferson sent in a 
message with documents, show- 
ing, as he stated, "the great and 
increasing dangers with which 
our vessels, our seamen, and 
merchandize are threatened on 
the high seas and elsewhere from 
the belligerent powers of Europe; 
and it being of great importance 
to keep in safety these essential 
resources, I deem it my duty to 
recommend the subject to the 
j^// — *— /^^ y^^T* — ' consideration of Congress, who 
^^OOe^ ya^^CiU'^^ ^^ll doubtless perceive aU the ad- 
vantages which may be expected 
from an inhibition of the depai'ture of our vessels from the ports of 
the United States." 

In response to this direct advice an embargo act was immediately 
passed by the Senate and, with but little delay, by the House (Decem- 
ber 22, 1807), — in both by large majorities. This measure is now con- 
fessed by men of all parties to have been inoperative where it was 
intended to act upon foreign nations, and suicidal to American com- 
merce. Mr. Armstrong wrote from Paris that it was "not felt," 
and " in England it is forgotten." In the United States its ruinous 
effect was instant. Forbidding the export of American products 
not only in our own but also in foreign bottoms, it annihilated 
American commerce and set adrift the large number of able seamen 
who were needed for our own protection. Beyond this, it enhanced 
the cost of living by cutting off the supply of fish which entered 
largely into the food consumption of our seaboard population. It in- 
terfered directly with the business of five millions of people. Amei^ 
ican ships abroad remained there to escape the embargo. Some 
entered into a contraband trade with France, carrying over British 
goods under false papers; but such subterfuge did not long escape 
the vigilance of Napoleon, who in the spring of 1808 issued the 
Bayonne decree authorizing the seizure and confiscation of all Amer- 
ican vessels. It mattered not, he said, whether the ships were English 


or American. If English, they were those of an enemy; if American, 
they had no business, under the embargo act, out of American waters. 
This was a step in advance of the decree he issued from Milan on 
December 17, 1807, which had forbidden trading with Great Britain 
by any nation, and declared all vessels thus engaged and all submit- 
ting to search by a British man-of-war to be lawful prizes. 

The eflEect of the legislative blunder of the embargo act was soon 
apparent. It divided the United States into two hostile camps, and 
commerce came to a standstill. From one hundred and eight million 
dollars value in 1807, the exports of the United States fell to twenty- 
two millions in 1808 — a single year. Those of New-York fell to less 
than six millions. The suflfering caused by such a shrinkage could 
not be other than intense. In the commercial cities the strain was 
terrible. Three months of the embargo had brought numbers of the 
merchants and domestic traders to bankruptcy, and more than five 
himdred vessels lay idle at the docks of New- York alone. Of the 
triumvirate who ruled the Republican party and controlled the legis- 
lation of the United States at that period. President Jeflferson, James 
Madison, aud Albert Gallatin, the latter, then secretary of the trea- 
sury, alone from the beginning opposed a permanent embargo. Jef- 
ferson, inclined to peaceful measures, justified the act as tending to 
save our ships and seamen from capture by keeping them at home. 
Madison, holding colonial traditions, had faith in the force of a non- 
importation act, prohibiting the introduction of the produce of any 
nation whose acts were unfriendly while yet at peace with ourselves. 
Gallatin held a permanent embargo to be a useless interference with 
the rights of individuals, and at best a poor response to that " war 
in disguise,^ as he termed it, which Great Britain was unremittingly 
waging. Gallatin was the first to decide for war as the only remedy 
for American grievances, the only restorative for American honor. 

Madison's policy to exclude all British and French ships from 
American ports and to prohibit all importation except in American 
bottoms, was not acceptable to Congress, and in the spring of 1810 
an act was passed excluding only the men-of-war of both nations, 
but suspending the non-importation act temporarily, or for three 
months. Power was given to the president to reestablish it against 
either nation which maintained while the other withdrew its obnox- 
ious decrees. The same month Napoleon ordered the confiscation 
of all American ships either detained in France or in the southern 
ports of the Atlantic and Mediterranean under his control, which 
entailed a loss to American merchants in ships and cargoes estimated 
at forty millions of dollars. In December, 1810, the American ship 
General Eaton, of Portsmouth, N. H., from London and the Downs 
for South Carolina, was taken by two French privateers and carried 



into Calais. Diplomacy grew much confused in tlie passage and re- 
peal of the decrees and' counter-decrees abroad, non-importation and 
non-intercourse acts at home, until war alone sufficed to cut the 
Gordian knot. The non-ijitercourse, act with England, passed by 
Congress in the spring of 1811, was the last act of the diplomatic 
skinnish, and pointed directly to war. 

Immediately after Congress rose in May, another unpremeditated 
colUsion between an American and an English man-of-war raised 
the pubUc temper to "fighting pitch." 
Since the affair of the Chesapeake the 
officers of the young navy of the United 
States had kept ceaseless watch for an 
opportunity to wipe out the disgrace to 
the service and the flag. All of our 
vessels were held at home, even those 
in the Mediterranean being recalled. 
The country had now in active ser- 
vice twelve vessels, viz. : three forty- 
fours, the Constitution, the President, 
and the United States; the Essex, of 
thirty-two, and the John Adams, of 
twenty-eight guns ; the Wasp and the 
Hornet, of eighteen; the Argus and 
the Siren, of sixteen; the Nautilus, the 
Enterprise, and the Vixen, of twelve 
guns. Since the reduction of the naval 
force in 1801, not a single frigate had been added to the navy ; the 
ships of the line authorized in 1799 having been entirely aban- 
doned. Jefferson's flotilla of gunboats, never of any use, were not 
called into service, and may be disregarded. Their only possible 
use might have been to prevent blockades, but even this was not 
resorted to. The English increased then- force of cruisers on the 
American coast, but kept at a respectful distance from the land, no 
longer impressing men or detaining ships. The British government 
did not desire open war, and collisions were avoided, their purpose of 
intercepting American commerce being served by a constant patrol 
of the seas from Halifax to the Bermudas, the line of travel of even- 
trader which crossed the Atlantic. 

In the spring of 1811, Commodore John Rodgera, the senior officer 
of the navy afloat, whose pennant was then flying from the President, 
Captain Charles Ludlow, which lay at anchor in Annapolis Bay, was 

1 Thu portrait of EbeoeKur Haiftnl. an avcom- pastel hj Dnrlvler. now in the posMssloti of hli 
plished author.postiuBBl^rof New-York, andtator son-in-law, the venenible Rev. nr. Thomu E. 
poMniMter-piDtral of the United States, ts from a Vermllfe of New-Torli. Editos. 


informed that a man had been impressed from an American brig close 
to Sandy Hook, by an English frigate supposed to be the Gueni6re, 
of thirty-eight guns, Captain James R. Dacres. The commodore at 
once went on board his pwn vessel and passed the capes soon after 
May 1, to inquire into this now unusual procedure. On the 10th, a 
man-of-war was sighted about six leagues from land, to the southward 
of New-York. On nearing each other, shots were exchanged; a 
broadside followed from the stranger, which did little damage, and 
was answered by a broadside from the President with fatal results. 
Satisfied with disabling his enemy, Commodore Rodgers did not push 
his conquest. The next morning the vessel was found to be his Bri- 
tannic majesty's ship Little Belt, of eighteen guns. There was, as 
usual when the British were the suflferers, a dispute as to the ag- 
gressor in firing the first shot. A formal court of inquiry justified 
Commodore Rodgers in his course. 

Before the close of the year 1811 the demand for vigorous measures 
grew into a clamor for war with England. The young spirits in Con- 
gress, Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun, were eager and impatient. 
Clay represented the assertive, independent, aggressive element. 
The control of the Mississippi from its source to its mouth did not 
satisfy their ambitious ideas ; nothing less than the invasion and con- 
quest of Canada was in their minds, and this they supposed they 
could achieve by their own militia. The delay of Great Britain in 
the surrender of the western ports, and her constant intrigues with 
the Indian tribes on the frontier and covert support of their schemes, 
were a natural and constant source of irritation. Their military 
ardor and confidence had been heightened by the signal defeat of 
the Wabash tribe at Tippecanoe on November 7, 1811, by General 
William Henry Harrison, with a party of regulars and Kentucky 
militia. Thus, while the seaboard communities dreaded an open 
war with England, the whole interior population were eager, even 
anxious, for a struggle which they believed would end in the final 
establishment of the rule of the United States over the entire terri- 
tory of North America. The germ of the conflict of opinion between 
the New England States, nearly all maritime, and the West, whose 
only maritime interest was for the freedom of the lakes, which came 
to the surface in this session of Congress, grew with formidable 
rapidity, and later nearly rent the Union in twain. 

President Madison, in his message of November 5, 1811, announced 
his reasons for calling Congress together (by proclamation of July 24, 
1811) before the usual date of assemblage to be "the posture of 
foreign affairs,'' and " the probability of further developments of the 
policy of the belligerent powers towards this country which might 
the more unite the national councils in the measures to be pursued." 


1 *rW!*tH. Muil "tl*" - ^rrh^p - 



'ttO) ol 



IV U**.»« 

.»/.-i r'ti..!i rvUit .!»■.-■• i*.-^**!! niT iniimutr?*; 

(■/•^■isr-i/,. v.? *K * ,iv.mftnn Tiwo. iHsar ^- 
p-^/-fM ■' "CM '•*'1**T*^ IT*!** pnz iaw oic-re 
t'li/tff'f^f* *--i*miT.\<x.^ *Jmaz EriEain. in- 

fitii) u<ifUtfitt/<^utf* f4 ^'nfrsA BritaiiL, when 
imtii-'f }ty iit'.uiTti\h, inw* markeu shnt 
nu_H'uiil flx-ffi Iry \ti:T i:Mi*imj, and the 
(''ffilMl HUyU'n wan (fiven to understand 
l.lifH III Mif> MKint) t.iriio "a continuance of 
lliolr null liitprirfiirtirtn af^t would lead to 
tHKiiniih-A iif rolitliiilioii.'* The president 
fiillt'il Mtli>i)<inti to ivci'iit -wrongs, and to 
llitt "bi'i'iu'W dt'iMKHlory to the dearest of 
ttiti' iittlitiiiiil ri)tltt>S inid vexatious to the 

y I ii»imlnc »'»mi"«»o »»f our tnuUs" which had 
W\A\ \\&\\\\ \vihnv«MHt on our coasts and 

UrtiK^i'*, <^\\^. ('*»iio»l»rl.v k> the encounter of 

A \'^^w^^U*»^^^^ ^M' ttxo "r^'VTv»;w »«d unexpected 
»' M>s^*^ »5^'' nv*.*.-- »■* »V l>.;ti(vi i^ttiT*;.' He an- 

■ '►■s.« t>w. »v\vi»,s%« T*.!*"?^- V .■\'wr,Ti>eT3.">T-:iiSl a 
(M. I.*,- \\»- ,v\V\v? :rto wsw*. rhft! rh: lim? rtf wu 
-> vi ■•> -K- ^.W'-vw -v A ^^4r»l'v late "l"**! -ffiL- 
,>.«v. ^« .V .vvtvv w"^ ■**«: »- »->--*a j'fijisfccinr -t 
"■ 'vv'vv ■"• 'K- >x.ii.»i«> Ti» — tijvr \m!. n»a7T*ii-c 


dragged since 1807. Lord Erskine's agreement to settle the affair in 
1810 had been repudiated by his chief, Mr. George Canning, the Eng- 
lish secretary for foreign affairs, and Francis James Jackson, who 
had been sent out to take his place, had been rejected as a persona 
non grata by Madison. The act of the Leopard was now disavowed 
by the British government.^ 

In the debate on the military bill which ensued on the message, Mr. 
William B. Giles, senator from Virginia, declared that New- York and 
New Orleans would be the points attacked by Great Britain, and 
called on the Senate to defend New- York with all the judgment and 
skill at their command, fill the fortifications with the full complement 
of troops amply provided, call on the local militia, "and yet he 
should not be surprised if the British should get possession of that 
city." In the course of his remarks he said that the English had in 
Canada seven to ten thousand regular troops, and twelve to fifteen 
thousand well-appointed, well-furnished militia, di*awn from a popu- 
lation of nearly three hundred thousand souls, a force which it would 
need twenty thousand men to subdue.'- He pointed out that in 1776 
we had 46,691 regulars in the field, exclusive of militia. 

On December 3, the committee on foreign relations reporting to the 
House of Representatives that there were but three alternatives left to 
the United States by the belligerents, — viz., "embargo, submission, or 
wai*,'' — it was resolved, by a vote of 128 to 62, " that the United States 
cannot, without a sacrifice of their rights, honor and independence, 
submit to the late Edicts of Great Britain and France." On the 2d, 
the Senate resolved " to interdict commercial intercourse between the 
United States and Great Britain and France and their dependencies,'' 
which carried letters of marque and reprisal. The affirmative vote, in 
which the senators from New-York joined, was 21 to 12. The same 
bill was passed in the House by a vote of 74 to 33, Nicholas, Calhoun, 
and Clay voting against the letters of marque. In the course of the 
debate Giles charged that JeflEerson had intended and Madison did in- 
tend to allow the English to take New Orleans, and trusted to the West 
to defend it. 

The country now began to pronounce itself. North Carolina was 
the first to speak. On December 31, 1811, the general assembly 
passed resolutions approving the sentiment contained in the message 
of the president, and unanimously pledging cooperation in the eflfec- 
tual enforcement of such "measures as may be devised and calculated 
to protect the interests and secure the union, liberty, and independence 

1 The president also communicated a memorial advantages have an intimate connection with ar- 

ofOouvemeur Morris and other commissioners on rangements and exertions for the general secu- 

the opening of canal navigation between the rity." 

great lakes and the Hudson River, a project of *•! The population of the United States was, by 

which he expressed approval because '* some of the the census of 1810, 7,239,903. 



of the United States." The general assembly of Virginia adopted 
resolutions on January 25, which referred only to the wrongs com- 
mitted by Great Britain under the orders in council. They de- 
clared "that however we value the blessings of peace and however we 
deprecate the evils of war, the period has now arrived when peace 
as we now have it is disgraceful and war is honorable." 

The months of January and February, 1812, passed by, and Madi- 
son was still in doubt, hesitating as to the course to pursue. He 
gradually yielded to the pressure of the war party, and, fortified by the 

_^ declaration of his own 

State, on April 1 he 
sent to Congress a brief 
message recommending 
the immediate passage 
of an act to impose " a 
general embargo on all 
vessels now in port or 
hereafter for the period 
of sixty days." The 
measure, passed in secret session, was soon known, and many vessels 
got to sea before it was ofBcially promulgated. It was intended as 
a note of preparation for war, was so acknowledged to be, and was 
so understood. The period was extended to ninety days. The first 
congressional district of Pennsylvania adopted resolutions in May, 
" approbating the measures of the Government in the preparation 
for war." The citizens of Arundel County, Maryland, on June 9, 
1812, adopted resolutions i-eeommending "the adoption of such 
measures as may place our country in a state of maritime defence 
and procure a redress of wrongs from the belligerent nations." 

There was a different feeling in New-York and the New England 
States. On June 9, Mr. Abraham Smith of New-York presented a pe- 
tition of the most important merchants ' of the eity, praying for a 
" continuation of the embargo and non-importation acts as a substi- 
tute for war with Great Britain."' On June 12 a memorial was 


1 Xt'morlal of ^^fle■ York Mfrekatilii. June 9, 1813. 

The Hemoriil of the Bubseribing HerchaEitii and 
otbera inhabltaDta of the City of Nev-Tork ru- 
speetfull; ahoireth. 

That your memorialiatH feel In common with the 
rest of their fellow-citizens >>n anilous solicitude 
tor the honor and interest of their country tind an 
equal determination to assert and maintain ibem. 

That your niemorioiiuls believe 

n opera 

n will 

a it prevents the calan 

be renewed, but by the repeal of the Orders in 
Conneil, the dlatreBa of their merphanta and man- 
nfaeturera, &c,, thatr Inability to support their 
armiesin Spain and Portugal, will probably compel 
them to that measure. Your memorioliata ieit 
leave to remark that Buch effects are even now 
vlsibli!, and It may bo reasonably hoped that a 
continuance of the embargo and non-importation 
laws a tew months beyond the fourth day of July 
next win effect a complete and bloodiest triumph 
of our rights. 

Tout memorialiatii, therefore, respectfully soli- 
cit of your honorable body the pasaa^ of a lav 
continuing the embargo and giving to the Prasi- 
deut of the United States power to dlaeontlnue 


presented, together with a resolution of the commonwealth of Massa- 
chusetts, which also deprecated war, reading as follows: ^^Besolvedj 
As the opinion of this House, that an oflEensive war against Great 
Britain under the present circumstances of this country would be in 
the highest degree impolitic, unnecessary, and ruinous ; that the great 
body of the people of this Commonwealth are decidedly opposed to 
this measure, which they do not believe to be demanded by the honor 
or interests of our nation.^ 

The feeling in the New England States generally was opposed to 
a declaration of open war, and certainly the administration of Mr. 
Madison took no pains to change its current.^ A memorial of five 
hundred and thirty-five merchants of Boston, praying for the re- 
peal or such modification of the non-importation act as would enable 
"them to receive their property now in Great Britain or her de- 
pendencies,^ was rejected by the Senate by a vote of 13 to 6, the 
legislation asked being judged inexpedient. Ehode Island was more 
plain-spoken, and on June 9 instructed her senators "to oppose all 
measures which may be brought forward to involve the country in war." 

It would be difficult at this distance of time to understand this in- 
difference of the maritime section of the countiy to measui*es in de- 
fense of their own dearest rights, did we not take into account the 
violence of political feeling at this period. The overthrow of the great 
Federalist party — the party of Washington, and Adams, and Hamilton 
— still rankled in the minds of their followers. This resentment 
was aggravated by the radical political opinions held by the con- 
verts to the new doctrines of equality formulated in France in the 
declaration of the rights of man in 1789. These were heartily 

the whole of the restrictive system on the rescind- 
ing of the British Orders in CounciL 

The conduct of France in burning our ships, in 
sequestrating our property, entering her ports, 
expecting protection in consequence of the prom- 
ised rep^ of the Berlin and Milan decrees, and 
the delay in completing a treaty with the Amer- 
iean minister, has excited great sensation and we 
hope and trust will caU forth from your honorable 
body such retaliatory measures as may be best 
calculated to procure justice. 

John Jacob Astor, 
Samuel Adams, 
Howland & Qrinnell, 
Edward Slosson, 
Israel Gibbs, 
Isaac Clason, 
John Slidell, 
John K. Townsend, 
Andrew Ogden & Co., 
Thomas Storm, 
Amos Butler, 
Ebenezer Burrill, 
Isaac Heyer, 
Ralph Bulkley, 

Samuel Bell, 
John F. Delaplaine, 
Peter Stagg, 
David Taylor, 
William Adee. 
John T. Lawrence, 
Joseph W. Totten, 
Isaac Schermerhom, 
Alexander Ruden, 
Joseph Otis, 
Lewis Hartman. 
Qarret Storm, 
George Bement, 
Stephen A. Rich, 

Abraham Smith, 
Thomas H. Smith, Jr., 
Andrew Foster, 
Jacob Barker, 
William Lovett, 
William Edgar, Jr., 
Samuel Stillwell, 
Jacob P. Giraud, 
John Hone, 
John Kane, 
Amasa Jackson, 
William J. Robinson, 
Joseph Strong, 
Abraham S. HaUett, 

Joshua Jones, 
Frederick Giraud, Jr., 
Robert Roberts, 
John Crookes, 
Hugh McCormick, 
John Depeyster, 
Gilbert Haight. 
James Lovett, 
Leffert Lefferts, 
Augustus Wynkoop, 
John W. Gale, 
Thomas Rich, 
Samuel MarshaU, 
Elbert Herring. 

1 Tyler, in his " Parties and Patronage in the 
United States" (New-York, 1891), remarks: 
''Some idea of the national demoralization oc- 
casioned by the acts of the Federalists may be 
gained from the fact that the capture and impris- 
onment by the English of six thousand of our citi- 
zens cost the New England States (among the 
first to resist the tyranny of the British in 1775) 
not one half the concern that the restrictions of 
the embargo did for a single year." Editor. 

Axr^//i»MA/ji K/y A^^'^m^ mA *^iuyjrt<^rf fcy ihik <w«a«TaaiiT«- admirers of 
^■M iWif.'i^h f'/ff*k^^U*t^i^m^ ti^t: nmu fn^ntr^ ^4 viudbi HaaiuhiQ«i had 
fif^tU^} ffff t^f ff^u^ ^t)0^f^. iutert^titMi^ and immrjctal inistmmeiite, 
iU^fUali i\^V ^^^< ^''///^AMdU^jflt^ fr<(^^ ri/>lt tyjr any m^aos amOar either 

^UiUi »->Mv i¥^o f^%ir4fff$iiu^ iA xSiH I'rjiwi were thus rangiDg them- 
^(jy^cii M^^/^rr Umy t/^iiiMrfM //f |^5a/?^? arid </f war^ the great eontroUing 
Us\M\^^ ¥^Sf%U^ I'^mmiHuSyM"^ </f N^fW-York and Penn-sylvania were as yet 
\\^<*i\\^\\u\i^ ^nSA'MwS^ M%i\ it%\H*A^itxx\i. New- York was divided in sen- 
\\\\m\\i S^/wliitrit w^trM IJmj |K;litw;ttl linf;« as strictly drawn as in New- 
VorJi ^'JJyi TImi <II vinloriN wiir<j n<it nK;«nt The adoption of the eonsti- 
MHlnn ImmI only Iwtitn vwrvM liy tho jMjrsistence of Jay, the magnetism 
mC ll«Miilloii| M\\\ IliM iH^r^wmiil lippoals of Washington himself. The 
mfiliM nf Ihn KM(l(imliNU hml Immsii hImco recruited from those who 
MppMttMil IImi oofiMiliiillon, \w\{\ for th<< logical reason that they repre- 
mmkImiI Him MwiHlilUlMMl c^nlnr, Thn luiided proprietors were almost 
|m h iimii I'^MdMrnllNlN nnlil ilu^ houHo of Livingston, for some personal 
Hl1*hMi)| WMiil nvor with ItH lioHt. of followers to the Republicans. Able 
w^ llniuillon WHN UN H loudor, ho found in Governor George Clinton, 
WMwhiiiHlouV ninluHlHy in oounoil as in war, an opponent of towering 
ftlrohtflhi (ounoloUM nnd Indopondont^us was natural to the Scotch-Irish 
^\\\\\ U\>\\\ whloh ho HprunK* ^^^^^ autonomy of the State he had failed 
\\\ woon^Hi in tho jH^uOur yt^u*ninir for a nation; its independence he held 
ts\A \\\ *rho nmrrlt^t^^ of hi?* ila\i^htor with Oen^t, the French minister, 
\\\\\ \\\\\\\^\\ U^ hi** l^^nnor tho ontir^^ FnMioh j^arty. He had no love 
l\vv Now IC^^IhiuI^ Uhhi\iw \^ hor t'^iionviohmeuts on what was claimed 
Now- Yv^'>K l^^i'i"U\^i\v \\\ \\\^ Uwuj^shir^^ grants — a bone of contention 
whiv^h \VH3* H U>iJ^\v v^f tho \HJ\nu<id jH^rkHl* To him must be ascribed 
ihvN nM\^I vNit lU\^ lU^UUh l^^u U^ 5i%>|>^niit^ Nte^w England from the rest 
sMf <>\N^ ^'>HVs^^ ^>i iW HV*^^Wl4\UHmt v>lf <i Uu^ of mititanr po6ts ak>ng the 
HvVi^^H ^^si iW v^^l^*^ sslt l^w t>^>ir5e^ *ekI Ohauoaplain. While the 
l^v^* ^N^xNA ssiT ^NV\^^^^^is^k^ tW ii*sU|vuvtiu^ w^' wv'w soandiBg; George 

^x^ W^'MK ^^s^ ll!^*^ (iU>!tl v^JT >|;Mfe^*t^ v&nL ^bt^*? yv(5 la oi&i^ afi hfe hoase 
^>A \\ ^xfc^iiV^fNvJi!^, v^ - V^^«fit AV l^tiv Hij^ vfeifcUiL w;fc> wpcrtied K> nhte Sedale 
s\\ vvx ^\vxisV,^u^ \^^^ \\USi*itt Itwrm Cbfcw$,>oJL aji»i T*o tij* Hoi^^i^ by 

v»,vvi^i^^\v ^Vv^a^ vX^-'WcttviWk ^^5v >f«fttttis5^ wvw ii/m/r-a at N^W'-Torfc 

v*ii;>i^4^\ .Ki^i. s-aW, v^ttiv '^>^«tKAi ;^f ':iK^ ^*it> rjrikt «iit in •ii* t^ot^ xosi 
H;xibJ\iKv V vi>/ '*^Hi ^!>V5V3>> •^^•rtii .'UOf^ni tt Wur >tr»i^a. -viiH!** aa 
s,s*^^vs^ %«^x ji,<i\vi^ >> v^i^^?«**»vitr M»>rf**^ >iiinru%?^ -vt^w ±?^l ir^m. 


Geoi^ Clinton had been Madison's most formidable competitor for 
the presidency in 1808. At his death the scepter of his controlUng 
influence passed to his nephew, De Witt Clinton, who was at the time 
mayor of the city. That gentleman's leanings were, however, toward 
the Federal opinions, though, 
in reviewing his independent 
career, it is difficult to assign 
him to any single party ex- 
cept that which in the fluctu- 
ating politics of New-York 
city he himself founded. He 
also became a candidate for 
the presidential succession; so 
was James Monroe, secretary 
of state at this period. Both 
of these aspiring men were 
eager for war, and it has been 
said that their rivalry forced 
Madison's hand in the de- 
claration of war. In the in- 
terim between April 1, when 
he transmitted his message 
recommending an embargo, 
and June 1, when he sent in 
the message for war, Madison received his second nomination from 
the congressional caucus of the Republican party. The period of elec- 
tion fell in the autumn of the year 1812. 

Madison's war message of June 1 was at the same time an insult 
and a defiance to the New England Federalists. Among the causes 
for an appeal to arms he included the charge of " a cooperation be- 
tween the Eastern Tenth and the British Cabinet" He intimated that 
an agent had been sent by the British government to Massachusetts 
to intrigue " with the disaffected for the purpose of bringing about 
resistance to the laws and eventually, in conceri, with a British force, 
of destroying the Union and adding the Eastern States to her Canada 
provinces." The Federal party had complete control in the five States 
of New England. New-York and New Jersey were rapidly drifting in 
the same direction. Under the sharp stimt^us of Clay's oratory, the 
war measures were hurried through Congress, and on June 19 Madi- 
son issued his formal proclamation of war against Great Britain. 

The news of the declaration of war reached New- York at nine 
o'clock on the morning of Saturday, June 20, 1812. A private letter 
of the 17th brought news that the question had been decided in the 
Senate of the United States by a vote of 19 to 12. The same mail 

diubt)- )/ltum 


'iU0JHi ^m ii*^. tAUiftuff^Hi ^A itfai^ IMfa; wirib tlK- aiu&iMmeieBDaBt. and an 
t^^ffMm Mffir^i $Kt ti0r ^tma^ tum^ witihi oflfenl iMjike to General 
4ff9f4^fU HU^nufi^'^if ^^ufusuiAer fA ibfi trofjp^ and defensa in and 
fM^f ft^i^r h/nfU/f </f ?ir^^«r-V^>rl^ irfarj«e bieadqiiafters were at the fort 
off Umt tUiiUrry, At tuM-pou^ nine this cffic«r issoed Ids general 
ifftUrfn^^ with ih^? ann/jtui^iii^^nkent to the tror>p& Mcflsengers paaeed 
Uir//M((h f^Mr fMy hUmi Um ffcAftcli tor the northern frontier and die 
^ttmi, (h^wtrnl HU^nntifsUl^ General Ebenezer Stevens, Colonel Jona- 
iUitii WMIJMrrm, (>/l//rieI P#?t/5r P, Schuyler, and other militarT ofll- 
^<4trM w^ffit ou Umrd the President, Commodore Bodgers's flag-ship, at 
UhoUf Mu\ lUh ArtftiH WHH at once put under way. 

**ThM iUtlntuinau^ {(fiiiUA by Charles Holt), issaed that after- 
hnifti^ itxpri^M^t^l the (general regret that Congress had procrasti- 
imUui i\w ihu'Jumtiori until the New-York legislature, which was sit- 
iUttt lit Alhany, Mlioiihl have mljoumed, and the express which went 
out in I'hn morning <eould hardly reach the State capital in time to 
(irnvntit lU diNpdrNion. Their time expired on July 1. " The Colum- 
hhui/' In Ihn Name jmhuc^, nia<h^ answer to the slurs cast on New- York 
for ** want of pulillc? npirit and ardor in the general defence'*: "The 
Hiato of Nnw-Vork, wo venture to declare, has expended more money 
on foi'l'liloallonHi nannon, anns, ammunition, and military stores than 
all tho otiior HtaioH in the Union in their individual capacities since 
tlio adoption of Iho fodoral constitution; and can furnish more of the 
IniplonionlH of war of hi^r own property at an hour's notice than all 
thu ot lu»r HUUt^K togt^thtM*,** Tlio frigates Congress and United States, 
fiHMU Ihuuptou lioadH, and tlio United States brig Argus, from the 
holawHhs uudor i^inlorw tvonx the government, arrived the day pre- 
vlouH, Tho Hrltinh fingate Holvidora and sloop of war Tartarus, which 
Wt^iH^ oruiMlug iU4 tho Fitihiug Itanks, stood off on their appearance. 

Th** ut^xt d^y it wa8 known that the legislature of the State had 
mljouru^Hl ou tho Kridav i^rtHHHiiug, June li\ the very day of the presi- 
d^^utV ^v^^^^Uumtu^u Tht^ *S^Kvang jKHut of the n^otiations" was 
M^U'^\ \\\ \\\^ iu^WH|va|H^r^ tv> U^ the (Hv^ti\*e and official declaration 
\vf Mi\ l^\v»tvi\* th^^ Uriti^i iwiuiston that ^(Jreat Britain wiH not 
v^'UhxI^^w h\n' vxr\Uvw iu wutunl until Prance shall release the whole 

m^ %^uu^ iXV iKnunrt^l St^wii^ ixf ih** militia^ communicated to the 

V \^^.tMM«a VV>JM>^ UV4NA»4^MWNNMNk \^>lr\'V«^ ^ K^T^tNlt «rf %hi» rMM& J»lWt*0» M T<m kftTV a light 



common council General Bloomfield's general order, and added: "I 
shall be happy in cooperating with the honorable corporation in 
any measnres which appear advisable for the more complete protec- 
tion of the city." On Monday, the 22d, the common council en- 
larged their committee of defense by adding the recorder, Messrs. 
Augustine H. Lawrence, Elisha W. King, and George Wilson, and 
Alderman George Buckmaster. The original committee of defense, 
appointed December 2, 1811, consisted of Aldermen Nicholas Fish, 
John Morse, Peter Mesier, and Thomas Carpenter, and Assistant Alder- 
men Samuel Jones, Jr., Peter Hawes, 
and John Drake. Their term of 
service was that of the body from 
which they were drawn, — viz., for 
three years, — and expired in Decem- 
ber, 1814. There was a strong mili- 
tary party in New- York. The So- 
ciety of the Cincinnati had about 
fifty members of the New- York 
State branch resident in the city. 
Its oflScers were Colonel Richard 
Varick, president, and Colonel Ebe- 
nezer Stevens, of the 2d New- York 
Continental Artillery (who now com- 
manded the artillery of the State 
with the commission of major-gen- 
eral), vice-president. Among the 
members were Colonel Aaron Burr; 
Matthew Clarkson, major and aide- 
de-camp ; General Benjamin Lincoln ; Philip Van Cortlandt, the colo- 
nel of the 2d New- York Continentals; Major Nicholas Fish, of the 
Light Infantry ; Colonel Morgan Lewis ; Lieutenant-Colonel Brock- 
hoist Livingston; Lieutenant-Colonel Marinus Willett; and on the rolls 
the well-known New-York names of Bleeeker, BurraU, Codwise, Duns- 
combe, Fowler, Giles, Graham, Hammond, Hutton, Leggett, Pendleton, 
Piatt, Popham, Steddiford, Stewart, Swartwout, Troup, and Van Dyck. 
The feeling in New- York had been general in opposition to the 
declaration of war. The newspapers voiced that opinion, but the die 
once cast, their determination to support the administration in- 
creased. The RepubUcan general committee, Jonathan Thompson, 
chairman, and John L. Broome, secretary, issued a call for a general 
meeting in the park. The Federalists in the city, who outnumbered 

I The Klnliig BridftB ma dtnated at Flftlsth It. In lB60it flnallf disappeared from among the 
nraet and Seeond ATenne, croaalnK ■ nnall creek old landmarks. Drake aiid Halleck celebrated it 
or brook. The old Boston Poat Boad pasBod over In vene. Eonoa. 

Kissma BBWOB.i 


the Republicans, naturally held aloof, while there were dissensions 
in the Republican ranks, the Clintonian branch being larger than 
the Madisonian. The meeting, by design or inadvertence, was only 
partially advertised in the newspapers. The gathering, variously 
estimated from seven to fifteen hundred, was small when the gravity 
of the situation is considered. It was held in the park at noon on 
Wednesday, June 24. Colonel Henry Rutgers was called to the chair, 
and Colonel Marin us Willett was named secretary. The act of Con- 
gress and the president's proclamation were read, and a preamble and 
resolutions, which are said to have been drawn by Colonel Rutgers, 
W(»re submitted and unanimously adopted. These declared the neces- 
sity and justice of the war, approved the course of the government, 
and pledged in support " their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred 
honor.'* They read as follows : 

In ono of tlioso awful and interesting moments with which it has pleased heaven 
tliat StatoH and Kingdoms should at times be visited, we consider ourselves now 
oonvokod to express ou( calm, decided, and animated opinion on the conduct of our 

Peace has ever been considered one of the greatest blessings that an all bountiful 
Cnuitor has vouclisafed to man upon earth, while war has ever been designated as the 
scourge of nations ; but the same All wise Providence has likewise permitted that in 
the events of time such circumstances should accrue to nations as would render it not 
only ntcfsmry^ but an absointe dnfy to abandon the comforts and delights of x>eace in 
order that by a solemn appeal to arms they may be enabled to secure to themselves 
equally* important blessings: that by encountering for a time the disasters and vicis- 
situdes of war they may secure to thrmsei€>es and transmit to their posterity those in- 
valuable advantages to which by the laws of nature, of nations and of Gk>d they as 
indo|Hmdent governments are justly entitled. 

When a retro8i>eot is taken of the last Twelve years of our history we find reeorded 
there the violation of one Sacred right after another. We behold one continued 
serit^ of insults — one long succession of oppressions ; our government with the true 
spirit of a republic, patiently sustaining while temporarily remonstrating nntO indig- 
nity has iH^n heaped on indignity and injury heaped upon injury. With a rdnctance 
conmu>n only to such as duly appreciate the blessings of peace, have they calmly 
endiut^d and pen»ev«ringiy negotiated under a pious but vain e^>eetation that reastm 
and expostulation would at length bring the nations injuring us to a sense of equity, 
and theivby avert the necessity of a resort to those ulterior measures ahrmjra direful 
in their operation even to that party which is most successfuL 

Our governments mild and peaceful in its very nature, and d^encdess on Hie ocean, 
has endeavored* in the v»t spirit of meekness, by eveiy wise and at the same time 
soothing expedients to convince \he belligerent nations of the justice of our councils: 
of our anient wish to ccmduct in all things agreeaUy to the cstabltsfacd tisages of 
nations* and in such a manner as to give them no jost canse of off»iee; but knowing 
our maritime w^eakncss in comparison with their strength* they have tnmcd a deaf 
ear to the equity of our demands: and with the insolence ccmmon to snpetiar and 
artntnunr power* have $«c^ accumulated the catalogne of our vroi^rs* that kager forbear- 
ance w\>uM be attended with the ah»4utc prMttation of oar natioiial chander: an 
abandonment of the rights of an independent repnb& : and would reader our govenK 
ment nnw\>rthy of the con^dence of its own citiiens and of die reispcei of tke wvrid. 


Our troveTTunent therefore with all cahn deliberation and with that wiemn ddaj/ 
that ever attends those who are forced reluctantly from their tranquil and beloved 
abodes to laonoh on a perilous and tempestuous ooeao have finally resigned the 
peace of the count)? into the hands of the f^feat Dbposer of all events— ~ and under 
His banner with a perfect oonviction of the equity of their cause they have declared 
this country to be at war with Great Britain. 

Therefore Resoicei That we have viewed with pleasure and approbation the increasing 
efforts of our government to preserve to our country the blessings of peace; that we 
duty appreciate their able negotiations and admire their unwearied patience to pro- 
mote so important an end ; and that we consider them standing justified in the eyes 
of their fellow citizens in all the restrictive 
measures to which they have resorted as 
temporary expedients, with the hope of pre- 
venting thereby the evils of War. 

BexolBed That while solicitous of peace and 
ardently attached to its blessings, we believe 
that the crisis had arrived when it could 
be no longer with honor retained ; that we 
therefore hold our government justified in 
its appeal to arms against Great Britain and 
yield to its decision our unqualified and de- 
cided approbation. 

Resolred That as our government has now ^^^ ^^^^^^ hq^se, uavekstkaw.i 

appealed to the world, it becomes the duty 

of all good citizens at such an eventful period to lay aside all party animosity and 
private bickering, to rally as becomes brethren equally involved in the welfare of their 
common country around the National Standard and to yield to their government an 
undivided support. 

Besolvtd That in placing our reliance in the Most High and soliciting his benediction 
on our just cause we pledge to our government in support of our beloved country our 
lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor. 

Copies of these resolutions were sent to the president and both houses 
of Congress, and duly published in the press. 

However reluetant the men of property may have felt to undertake 
a war with Great Britain, whose enormous resources the continental 
wars had developed, and whose navy, since the victory of Nelson at 
Trafalgar in 1805, held undisputed sway over both oceans, the war 
was hailed with joy by thousands of adventurous spirits and the large 
class of seafaring men who now for many years had been without 
congenial or profitable occupation. Money and ships were at once 
forthcoming, and within four months after the declaration of war 
twenty-six privateers were fitted out from the port of New- York, 
armed with two hundred and twelve guns, and manned by twenty- 
two thousand and thirty-nine men, experienced and daring. From its 
earliest history, as these pages have recited, privateering was a favorite 

1 At tlie hofue of Joshuft Hett Smith, ton of on the momitig of Augaet 22, 1780. nnd ursnged 
WlUlam Smith, the hlatorlui, etudfnn; on what the plan of the surrender of West Point, The 
is DOW called Treason Hill, near HaTeTBtnw, on house can be Been from the river. BDitOB. 

the Bndsoa, Major Andri met General Arnold, 
Vol. in.— 16. 



venture of New- York citizens. Their seamen were especially quali- 
fied for the management of the fast craft which this service demanded, 
and for the handling of light guns usually carried by this class of 
vessels. The Sandy Hook pilots brought their seamanship, and the 
Long Island whale-boat men of the Revolution retained their tradi- 
tions of bold enterpiise. In the colonial days the scions of the best 
stock not only fitted out but 
themselves sailed privateers 
on the Spanish main, and 
since the opening of the 
China trade a sea voyage to 
the distant Orient was not 
an unusual preparation for a 
merchant CM"eer, — sometimes 
maintained for years in their 
employment as supercargoes 
on the long trading voyages 
which were then the habit of 
trade. Moreover, the danger- 
ous commerce with the West 
India Islwids, which swarmed 
with buccaneers from every 
clime, had familiarized them 
with the very kind of action 
which was needed. They conld 
"hunt with the bounds or run 
with the hai'ea'' of the sea. In the It«vo]ution they had not hesitated 
to attack men-of-war on the station at Sandy Hook, and to ran large 
packets on the reefs was not a singular feat The ardor of New- 
York in this direction was kept up by the constant repair of tlie war- 
ships of the United States to the anchorage in the lower bay. In the 
very first days of the war of 1812, a notable incident enconraged their 
belief in their ability to cope with the skilled captains and the trained 
tars of Admirals Nelson and Collingwood. 

It has been stated already that the young leaders of the war party in 
Congress looked to successes on land and territorial conqnest, and had 
an indifference to the field which the ocean afforded. And yet the 
triumphs of our young fleet in the Revolution, the alarm whidi John 
Paul Jones excited in English homes, and, later, the briUifmt achieve- 
ments in the Mediterranean, the heroes of which were stiU in the 
prime of their service, might have inspired better connaeL Madison's 
cabinet were said to have without exception opposed the increase and 
use of our navy; indeed, somewhat after Jefferson^ idea in imposing 
the embaigo, — to save oar vessels by laying them np. The advice 



of Captains Charles Stewart and William Bainbridge, who happened 
to be in Washington at the time of the declaration of war, deter- 
mined Madison to bring the navy into active service. One of the 
chief causes of the war being the impressment of our seamen, it seems 
to-day surprising that their ardor in defense of "Free Trade and 
Sailors* Rights" — the cry under which our greatest triumphs were 
won — should have been either passed by or deprecated.' 

The president's proclamation reached Commodore Eodgers at New- 
York on the 20th. With it came orders to sail on a cruise against the 
enemy. His squadron consisted of his own ship, the President, 44 ; 
the United States, 
44,Captain Stephen 
Decatur; the Con- 
gress, 38, Captain 
Joseph Smith ; the 
Hornet, 18, Captain 
James Lawrence ; 
and the Argus, 16, 
Captain Arthur 
Sinclair — in all five 
ships, carrying 160 
guus. The British 
force cruising off 
the coast consisted 
of eight men-of- 
war, carrying 312 guns, with a number of corvettes and sloops: quite 
enough to watch American movements and make any concerted ac- 
tion or descent either on the Canadian coast or the West India 
Islands hazardous if not impracticable. The United States could ill 
afford to try the issue of a single naval action with a superior force. 
Rodgers was aware that the homeward-bound plate fleet had sailed 
from Jamaica on May 20, under convoy of two small vessels carrying 
together 44 guns, which he might strike in the Gulf Stream. 

Within an hour from the time that he received his instructions, 
Commodore Rodgers, who was in entire readiness, put to sea. He 
passed Sandy Hook with his squadron on the afternoon of June 21, 
and ran southeast. An American sail, spoken that night, reported 
having seen the Jamaica ships. The squadron crowded sail. Early 

ITbe bewitlfiil American ship of war AlUknce, 
whlcb bad been pronounced a perfect fiimte by 
the Ugh aathority of the Frencb eonstruetian and 
Ii»*al men, waa the last of tbn BeTolntionary 
■laTy. and was eold In 1T85. In 1T9i. in i-j>u- 
■eaiuenoe of the Algerine Bpoliadons, CoDgress 
ordered four frigates of U and two of 36 gam. 
Two of the flrat and one of the aecond clan were 
built. In 1798, the United States had but three 

frigatea, the Constitution, tlie United States, and 
the Canatellation. After the affair ot the Chesa- 
peake In 1807, Pret^ent Jefferson, with an ap. 
parent distroEt of our ships, asked Congreaa for 
no more, hut recommended the building ot addi- 
tional ^nboata, which carried the number up 
to two hundred and fifty-seven. It waa not till 
1808 and 1809 that a number of ikew frigates were 
ordered and soon after oompleted. 


ill thf! iiioriiiiig of the 23d an enemy's frigate was descried, and a 
gitnitral ehase was made. The President, a fast ship, soon distanced 
the rest of the squadron. The wind failing, Rodgers, despairing of 
overliaiiliiig the frigate, opened with his chase guns. He discharged 
thoforooasth* gun himself. This was the first shot fired in the war. The 
fourtli firo nxi)loded one of the battery guns, killing and wounding 
sixteen men, and throwing into the air the forecastle 
de(ik, on which Rodgers was standing. One of the 
(ioniniodoro's legs was broken in his fall. The British 
commander lightened his ship by throwing overboard 
his boats and his water-tanks, and got away. It 
proved lator to have been the frigate Belvidera, 36, 
Captain Byron. On July 1 the squadron struck the 
wak4^ of the Jamaica vessels, which they recognized 
by tho tropical debris (fruit, etc.) which floated on the 
sea, to the eastward of the Banks of Newfoundland. 
jM^^r^ Oil July 9 an English letter of marqne was taken by 
^^^^^ tlie Hornet, Captaiu Lawrence, and it was learned that 
Bii.i.KT.iiKAit.i jIj^, Jftniaica fleet, eighty-five sail, was seen the night 
iH'fiire, mulor convoy of a frigate, a sloop of war, and a brig. The 
cIiHsc was aliaiidoncd on the 13th, within a day's sail of the chops of 
the riitninel, luut Rcxlgers returned to Boston by way of the Western 
Islands and tho Oraiul Banks. The result was meager — seven mer- 
chaiitnien taken and one American recaptured. The cruise lasted 
seventy days. 

The n'jKtrt of the Belvidera caused Captain Sir Philip Bowes Vere 
Bn>ke, of the Slianiion, senior officer of the British squadron, to con- 
eiMitnile it at ouw. in the hope of intercepting Bodgers*s return. It 
hoveriHl off New- York t>arly in July, and made several captures — 
among others of the Xautilus, 14, which left the harbor soon after 
K(Htg«.*rs in the hoiH> of taking some English ludiaman, fell in with the 
British stiuadron the next day, and. uoable to get away, struck to the 
i^hannon. This was the first war vessel taken ou either side in this 
»H^nt<'st> The Xautihis had made a proud re^'ord in the Tripoli war. 

When the w»r ojH>n*Hl. the Essex. 38. was in Xew-York harbor 
tindersx>ing r»'i*«ir, She was ordered to sea with an armament of 
e«m>«»d<'s only, in spite of the pn.*>sts of Captain David Porter, her 
iHxniimndei', and put out of harK«r ou July ^ On her foretopgallant- 
niast she I'ame^l a white flag tetterv^l iu blue. ** Free Trade and Sailors' 
Kijrftts,' !"»« the Uth she fell in with the Minerva. 32. convoying 
s^'wn tr*'H>j>-traus(M'>rts, <\aoh with aK'vut two hundred men on board. 

»«» t. yma *tt H<T«tttB- TV" «■» »J»p» ""V *»'' 1*'l— MM » w^ w> wi T «rt tm » pan ai ikr head 


Ou the way from Barbadoes to Quebec, Porter cut out one of the 
transports, took out her men, and stood back for a fight. The 
Minerva declined an action. Porter's men were thoroughly trained 
as boarders, but the short range of his guns did not permit of his 
cutting out the Minerva. One of the youngest of the midshipmen of 
the Essex on this cruise was David Glasgow Farragut, whose fam^ 
to-day almost rivals that of England's great admiral. On August 13 
the Essex overtook and captured the British sloop of war Alert, which 
she disarmed and sent in as a cartel to St. John's. The Essex returned 
to New-York on September 7, having made ten prizes containing four 
hundred and twenty-three men. 

In this month of July, also, the Constitution, 44, Captain Isaac Hull, 
returned from a run to Europe, and sailed into the Chesapeake, where 
a new crew was shipped, many of whom had never been on board a 
vessel of war before. On the 11th she left Annapolis and stood to 
the northward. On the 17th she fell in with the Guerriere, Captain 
Dacres, which had joined Broke's squadron. The Nautilus had been 
taken by them the day before, and was now manned by a British 
crew and flying British colors. Only by the exercise of the greatest 
ingenuity, by coolness and precision and the steadiness which Hull 
had already obtained from his fresh men, was the noble frigate ena- 
bled to extricate herself from the formidable net into which she had 
fallen. The three days' chase and the escape are historic in the 
American navy. Hull had fairly outmanoeuvered Broke and Byron. 
Soon after the chase the British squadron separated, and Hull went 
into Boston on July 26. On August 2 the Constitution sailed in an 
easterly course, but met no enemy. Cruising along the coast of Nova 
Scotia from the Bay of Fundy to Newfoundland, she took her station 
off Cape Eace. Here she captured two British brigs and recaptured 
an American one, but a British sloop of war escaped. 

On the 19th, cruising south, Captain Hull heard from a Salem priva- 
teer of a British frigate still further to the southward. Standing in 
that direction, he found the stranger to be the frigate Guerriere, 
Captain Dacres, this time alone. The Englishman hauled up his 
courses and took in part of his sail, and made ready to engage. 
Hull made his own preparations with the greatest deliberation, cleared 
for action, and beat to quarters. At five o'clock in the afternoon the 
Guerriere hoisted three English ensigns and opened fire. The Con- 
stitution set her colors one at each masthead and one at the miz- 
zen-peak. Hull answered the English fire with a few guns as they 
bore. The Englishman showing a disposition for a hand-to-hand fight, 
yard-arm and yard-arm, the Constitution drew closer, and in a few 
minutes, as the ships were side to side, the Guerrifere's mizzenmast 
came down, shot away. As the vessels touched, both crews prepared 



to board, but the fire was so hot and the sea so heavy that neither 
party succeeded. As the Constitution shot ahead the Guerri^re's 
foremast fell, and, carrying with it her mainmast, the proud ship lay 
a helpless wreck. As the Constitution returned to deliver a raking 
fire, the enemy's colors were lowered. The next morning, the Guer- 
ri^re having four feet of water in her hold, Hull sent on board and 
took off the prisoners. The wreck was set on fire and soon blew up. 
Hull, encumbered with his prisoners, returned to Boston, where he 
arrived on the 30th. He brought in two hundred and sixty-seven 
prisoners, among whom were ten Americans who had refused to fight 
their countrymen. Hull himself brought the intelligence of his vic- 
tory. He announced it to the secretary of war by despatch from 
" United States frigate Constitution, off Boston Light.** When the 
frigate arrived in the harbor she was met by a flotilla of gaily deco- 
rated boats, and Hull was greeted on his landing by an immense 
assemblage and welcomed to a splendid entertainment by the prin- 
cipal citizens of both parties. 

From Boston Hull made a progress almost triumphal. He reached 
New- York city early in September, where he was received with 
equal enthusiasm. Dacres's desire to meet an American frigate was 
already known in New- York.* A subscription was raised and swords 
purchased by the citizens of New- York and presented to Hull and his 
ofiicers. Hull was voted the freedom of the city by the common 
council on the 7th, and on the 14th he was requested to sit for his 
portrait to be placed in the picture-gallery of the City Hall,^ known 
as the Governors' room, where the portraits of the several governors 
of the State are preserved, as also those of Washington and other 
distinguished persons. From New- York Captain Hull proceeded 

1 Three days l)efore the action^ the John Adams, 
Captain Fash, from Liverpool, was spoken by 
the English frigate. Upon Fash*8 register, which 
he deposited in the New- York custom-house, the 
following lines were found written : ** Captain 
Dacres, commander of his Britannic Mi^esty-s 
frigate Guerriftre, of 44 guns, presents his com- 
pliments to Commodore Rodgers, of the United 
States frigate President, and will be very happy 
to meet him or any other American frigate of 
equal force to the President, off Sandy Hook, for 
the purpose of having a few minutes* tite-^He." 

- *' At a Common CouncU, held the 7th day of 
September, 1812. the Common Council of the City 
of New- York, considering a naval establishment 
all important to the protection of our commerce 
and to the defence of our country and viewing the 
recent capture of the British Frigate Guerriftre by 
the American Frigate Constitution as not only il- 
lustrating the advantages of a navy, but as reflect- 
ing the highest honor on the intrepidity and skill 
of Captain Hull, his officers and crew. Esteem it 
their duty as the Municipal Government of this 
great commereial eity to express their sentiments 

on this occasion, and to present the thanks of the 
Citizens of New- York to the gallant officers and 
seamen who achieved this brilliant victory, and 

**Bfwlve That the Freedom of the City be pre- 
sented to Captain Hull in a golden box witli an 
appropriate inscription. And that his Honor, the 
Mayor, be requested to forward the same with a 
copy of these resolutions." 

"At a Common Council held the 14th day of 
September, 1812, Ifesolved That as an additional 
tribute of respect from this Corporation to Cap- 
tain Hull, he be requested to honor them with a 
sitting for his portrait to be deposited in the pic- 
ture-gallery of the City Hall, and transm i tted to 
posterity as a memorial of the high sense enter- 
tained by this Corporation of the brilliant victory 
obtained by the United States Frigate Constita- 
tion. under his command, over the British Frig- 
ate Guerri^re, Captain Dacres, in his action on 
the 19th August. 1812." ** Burghers and Freemen 
of New-York," New-York Historieal Society Col- 
lections, 1885. pp. 366, 369. 


to Philadelphia, where the citizens in general meeting voted to him 
" a piece of plate of the most elegant workmanship, with appropriate 
emblems, devices, and inscriptions," and a like piece of plate to Lieu- 
tenant Charles Morris, in the name of the 
citizens of Philadelphia. 

On bis return to New- York from his south- 
ern tour, the ceremony of presentation of the 
freedom of the city to Captain Hull took 
place in the mayor's office at the City Hall, 
on December 28. A committee, consisting 
of Aldermen Fish and Mesier, and General 
Jacob Morton, introduced the commodore, 
when Mayor De Witt Clinton rose and ad- 
dressed him. The mayor then presented the 
certificate of election to the freedom of the 
city, and a gold box finely embossed and 
chased, with the scene of the battle engraved in enamel. Hull replied 
briefly in a modest manner, and the freeman's oath was administered. 
The Constitution, from her wonderful exemption from damage by the 
enemy's guns, was already familiarly known as "Old Ironsides."* 

I A Btlrring song, now Klmost forgotten, com- 
memorstliig tbe victory of the Wup over the 
Pmlie, WM mug in public gatheringn and in the 
streets', one vene condudlng vith tho linen: 

a Fratic." 

Mr. Chvte*. k Philadelphia artial, published > 
colored carloture, of which tbe above is a re- 
dnced f nc-gimlie. Edjtob. 

A t a CDnunon CouDcU held the SStb day ot De- 
oen)ber,lS12. The Bokrd assembled In tbe Uayor's 
OAce. De Witt ClintoD, Mayor. PreHident. 

Upon metioti, the Common Council adjourned 
to Uietr Chunber, for tbe purpose of conferring 
upon Captain IsaM Hull of tbe United States 
Frigate Constdtution the Freedom of the CMty, 
ai^reeably to a former Resolution. 

It being announced that Captain Hull was In 
waiting, a Committee, consistiiig of Alderman Pish, 
Mr. Lawrence and the Clerk of the Common Coun- 
cil, were deputed to Introduce Captain Hnll Into 
the Common Council Chamber. This was accord- 
ingly done, when bis Honor addressed Captain 
Hull as follows; 

Id bebalf of tbe Common CoancU I have the 
Honor of presenting you with the Freedom of this 
City and oommunicaUng their high sense ot the 
courage and skill displayed by yonrself , your o(B- 
cers, and crew in tbe capture of the British Frigate 

Deeds of valor and achievements of glory are, at 
all times, cherished by panriotism and rewarded by 
tme policy, bnt when we consider that our recent 
victories on theooean have exhibited the American 
n the most interesting light, have cie- 
weharacterintbeannala of naval warfare, 

and have been the principal means of establishing 
our navy on a respectable and permanent basis, it 
mu^t be universally admitted Uiat actors In these 
scenes of heroism are preeminently entitled to the 
gratitude ot their Country. 

That Commerce la essential t« our prosperity, 
that it cannot flourish without protection, and 
that it cannot be protected without a navy, are 
truths too evident to be denied, and too impor- 
tant not to be appreciated by tbe intelligence and 
public spirit of America. 

We cannot withhold on this occasion our appro- 
bation of your generons and Iwaevolent treatment 
of tbe vanquished. It demonstrates the natural 
alliance between courage and humanity, and in 
mitigating the calamities of war. it reflects honor 
on our national character. 

The Freeman's oath, as prescribed by Law, was 
(hen administered to Captain Hull by the Mayor, 
and the certlflcate thereof, enclosed in a superb 
Oolden Boi prepared with suitable Emblems, were 
delivered 1« him. 

Captain Hull expressed the deep sense he felt 
St tbe honors thus conferred upon bim. That Boi 
and its highly valued contents, be pledged himself 
to preserve as an incentive to his lealous and 
most strenuous eiertions in the cause of bis conn-' 
try wherever future Bood fortune should afford 
him an opportunity. To have it believed, he said, 
by so highly respectable a body as the Corporation 
ot the City of New-Tork, that an action ot bis had 
contributed to so desirable an event Be Che esub- 
llshment ot a navy on a perioanent Basis, was a 
source ot pleasing reflection which would only 
cease with life. 

After which Captain Hull retii«d. — "Bnr|^ers 
and Freemen of New-York," pp. 371-370. 



The effect of this victory was startling on both sides of the Atlan- 
tic. In the twenty years during which Great Britain had been at war 
with almost every continental power, and in the course of "about 
two hnndred single conflicts," her ships had been defeated but five 
times. American ships and American seamanship were spoken of in 
contempt. The Constitution had been ridiculed by the British press 
as a "bunch of pine boards under a bit of striped bunting." She had 
now outsailed England's finest ships and reduced to a wreck one of 
her choice frigates. Only a short time before a London newspaper 
had said: "There is not a frigate in the 
American navy able to cope with the 
Guerri^re." On hearing the news of the 
action, the London "Times" said: "It 
is not merely that a British frigate has 
been taken after what, we are free to 
confess, may be called a brave resist- 
ance, but that it has been taken by a 
new enemy, an enemy unaccustomed 
to such triumphs and hkely to be .ren- 
dered insolent and confident by them. 
He must be a weak politician who does 
not see how important the first triumph 
is in giving a tone and character to the 
war. Never before in the history of the 
world did an English frigate strike to 
an American ; and though we cannot 
say that Captain Dacres under all cir- 
cumstances is punishable for this act^ 
yet we do say there are commanders in the English navy who would 
a thousand times rather have gone down with their colors flying than 
have set their brother officers so fatal an example." Stress has been 
here laid upon this memorable contest because it was the first of a 
glorious series of naval triumphs which together forever destroyed 
the belief, which in England was settled as a religious faith, in Brit- 
ish invincibility at sea. 

Hull, immediately after his two exploits, gave up his command, in 
order that others might reap their share of laurels. At this time 
there were a number of gallant officers without a ship to command. 
He was succeeded in the Constitution by Captain William Bainbridge, 
one of the heroes of the Tripoli war. Raised to the rank of com- 
modore, Bainbridge was transferred from the frigate Constellation, 

1 Major WiUiun J ^kwiD wh »idB uid AMretejy *Mi«t«r; of the Society of the (^oclaiiatL The 

to Wuhtnfttoii during Ub midenee. u pmident. portrait is copied from ■ miuiMure by Chaiira 

Id NeV'ToA. Later he was a«*iatant Hcretary WiUson Pralt. His pietnre was alao painted by 

of war, and for more than a aoartcr of a eenbuy TnunbuU. ElMVOB. 


38 guns, then fitting for sea at Washington, and placed in command 
of a squadron consisting of the Constitution, which was thoroughly 
refitted at Boston; the Essex, 32, Captain Porter; and the Hornet, 
18, Captain Lawrence. Bainbridge hoisted his pennant on the Con- 
stitution on September 15 at Boston harbor, where the Hornet was 
also lying. The two ships sailed to the southward on October 26; 
Porter, who was with the Essex on the Delaware, receiving orders 
to rendezvous at the island San Jago. 

Before Commodore Bainbridge was ready for sea, Commodore 
Rodgers, whose squadron was also in Boston, left that port on 
October 8 with the President, United States, Congress, and Argus, 
On October 12 the frigate United States, which, like the President 
and the Constitution, carried forty-four guns, separated from the 
squadron, — Captain Decatur, who commanded, taking an eastward 
course. On October 25 she fell in with the British thirty-eight- 
gun frigate Macedonian, Captain John S. Carden. The English ship 
was in admirable order: so well manned and armed that when the 
news of the capture of the Guerri^re was known in England she 
was pronounced to be the one British frigate of a force to cope 
with the American forty-fours. Captain Carden, among the brav- 
est and ablest of English seamen, believed in her superiority. His 
men were in high discipline, and had been constantly engaged in 
action before this cruise. Though rating thirty-eight, she carried 
forty-nine guns, and was a much faster vessel than the United States. 
Notwithstanding these advantages, if not superiority, in an action 
the closing incidents of which did not take more than seventeen 
minutes, and during which the ships were never close enough for 
the effective use of grape or musketry, the Macedonian, by the better 
gunnery of the United States, received nearly one hundred shots in 
her hull, and, being reduced to a complete wreck, struck her colors. 
Eight American seamen were found on her rolls. They had been 
compelled to fight, and three were killed. The others joined the 
American service, as did also a fine French band which had been 
captured from a French frigate and had been duly impressed after 
English fashion. So little injury was done the United States that 
she was ready for action again in half an hour. The Macedonian was 
refitted with jury-masts, was safely brought in through the fleets which 
blockaded our coasts, put in to Newport, but soon after joined the 
United States, which Decatur took in to New London on December 4. 

Following so closely upon the triumph of the Constitution, the joy in 
America and the mortification in Great Britain were equally intense. 
Canning said in parliament that it was a matter " that could not be 
thought too deeply of. . . . The spirit of our [the English] seamen had 
been unconquerable, and any diminution of the popular opinion with 


respect to that glorious and triumphant spirit was to his mind a dread- 
ful and alarming consideration." The State legislatures of New- York 
aud Massachusetts passed resolutions of compliment to Decatur and 
his officers. Those of Pennsylvania and Virginia each voted liim a 
sword, as did the city of Philadelphia, The city of New- York, from 
whose port Decatur had sailed and where fae 
was daily expected to arrive with his prize, 
was greatly excited, and prepared for him 
triumphal honors. The corporation of the 
city, as in the case of Hull, tendered him 
the freedom of the city in the usual gold 
box, ordered his portrait for their gallery, 
named a committee — Aldermen Fish, Peter 
H. Wendover, and Lawrence — to arrange for 
a dinner to all the naval heroes, directed the 
display of the national flag from the City 
Hall, requested General Morton, the military 
commander, to order a national salute, the 
captains of vessels in the harbor to hoist 
their colors, and that all the bells in the city be rung for one hour. 
Nor were the warrant officers forgotten. The corporation voted to 
give them and the crew of the United States a dinner on board the 
ship, should Commodore Decatur consent. 

While the senior officers with the large ships were winning glory, 
there occurred otie lesser affair which rivaled either of the more im- 
portant actions in dash and seamanship. On October 13 Captain Jacob 
Jones sailed from the Delaware in the sloop of war Wasp, 18 gons. 
Her object was to overhaul a fleet of fourteen merchantmen which 
left the bay of Honduras in September, bound for England, under 
convoy of the British sloop Frolic, 19 guns. On the 18th the fleet was 
in sight. A sharp action ensued, which ended in the vessels coming 
together, when the Wasp's crew boarded the Englishman without op- 
position. Of the Frolic's crew of one hundred and nineteen men not 
twenty were unhurt. The flag was lowered by Lieutenant Biddle of 
the Wasp with his own hand. This was an even contest, and the 
success of the Americans was again due to their superior gunnery. 
Unfortunately, Captain Jones could not bring his prize into port. 
Fallen in with a few hours later by the Poietiers, a British seventy- 
foiu", Captain Jones, with the Wasp and her prize, was taken into 
Bermuda. The merit of the action was none the less. The officers 
were promoted ; Congress voted gold and silver medals to the captain 
and officers, and two thousand five hundred dollars prize-money. The 
State of Delaware voted Captain Jones a sword and a piece of plate. 
The corporation of the city of New-York, on November 3, on the 


motion of Alderman Lawrence, voted him a sword and the freedom 
of the city. 

Lieutenant Hamilton, son of the secretary of the navy, carried 
Decatur's report of his victory to Washington. He reached there on 
the evening of a grand ball to the officers of the navy. Commodore 
Hull was present, and Captain Stewart of the Constellation. The 
ball-room was decorated with the colors of the Guerrifere and the 
Alert, which were presented to Mrs. Madison, the wife of the presi- 
dent, by Captains Hull and Stewart. The president sent a message 
to Congress, which on its receipt voted gold medals to Hull, Decatur, 
and Jones, and, in more effective compliment to the navy, authorized 
the construction of four ships of the line and six frigates like the 
Constitution and United States. The arrival of the United States 
and Macedonian in New-York was delayed by the difficult passage of 
Hell Gate. The city authorities, impatient of the delay, while the 
press of the country was ringing the praises of the victors, induced 
Decatur to leave his vessels in Long Island Sound and come up to 
the city on Tuesday, December 29, 1812, to the entertainment pre- 
pared. This banquet was given at the City Hotel, which stood at 
the comer of Broadway and Thames street, on the site of the Old 
Province and State Arms, and was now kept by Gibson. Hull, who 
had received the freedom of the city the day before, was also present. 

At five o'clock five hundred gentlemen sat down. The mayor pre- 
sided. The room was decorated as a " marine palace.'' It was " col- 
onnaded round with the masts of ships entwined with laurels and 
bearing the national fiags of all the world. Every table had on it a 
ship in miniature with the American flag displayed. In front, where 
the president sat with the officers of the navy and other guests, and 
which was raised about three feet, there appeared an area of about 
three feet by ten covered with green sward, and in the midst of it 
was a lake of real water in which floated a miniature frigate. Back 
of all this hung the main-sail of a ship twenty-three feet by sixteen 
feet." Decatur and Hull sat respectively on the right and left of the 
president. At the toast " To our Navy " the great mainsail was un- 
furled, and displayed an immense transparency representing the 
three recent naval victories in honor of which the magnificent 
dinner was given. 

The Macedonian was brought into port on January 1, 1813, where 
the citizens greeted her with great joy as a New Year's gift. New 
Year's was always the whitest of white days in the calendar of the 
New-Yorker of earlier days. On Thursday, January 7, the corpo- 
ration of the city entertained the crew of the United States in the 
same banquet-room, the decorations of which had been retained. 
This interesting feast was directed by Aldermen John Vanderbilt, 



Buckmaster, and King. Alderman Vanderbilt delivered the address 
of wL'lcome Ut the sailors, of whom there were about four hundred 
present. They had marched to the hotel in a sort of popular tri- 
uiuph. After ilinner Decatur brought in an invitation to attend the 
theater. The drop-<>urtain represented the fight of the United States 
and the Macedonian ; the orchestra played national airs, and a band 
of (ihildren bore transparencies with the letters of the alphabet which, 
grouped, formi4 the names of Hull, Jones, and Decatur.' 

Yi't another was to be added to the glories of this opening of what 
is sometimes called the second war of American independence. 
Commodore Biiiubridge, in the Constitution, accompanied by Law- 
rence ill the Hornet, sailed from Boston on October 20. Leaving the 
Hornet ofF Ban Balvador to lie in wait for the British sloop of war 
Boune Citoyoiine, which was about to sail for England with a large 
freight of specie, — one half million pounds, — Commodore Bainbridge, 
on the 29th, fell in with the British frigate Java, .38 guns, bound for the 
East Indies with a number of 
officers. A hot action en- 
sued, which lasted nearly two 
hours — an action of manoeu- 
ver within musketry range, 
in which the Constitution, 
suffering little herself, delib- 
erately silenced all of the en- 
emy's guns by her own su- 
perior handling and gunnery. 
At the end of the action the 
Java was "a riddled and en- 
tirely dismasted hulk." Ow- 
ing to his loug distance from port and the badly disabled state of 
the prize, Bainbridge destroyed the Java on January 3, and, first 
making San Salvador, where he landed and paroled his prisoners, 
sailed ou January 6, 1813, and reached Boston on February 23. At 
San Salvador he left Lawrence in the Hornet That gallant officer 
had sent a I'halleuge to the British commander of the Bonne Cito- 
yenne, pledging non-interference, with the fight he proposed, by the 
Constitution. But the oombat was declined. 

Lawrence continued the blockade until the arrival of the British 
man-of-war Montagu on January 24 drove him into port As night 
oame on he wore ship and stood out unmolested into the open sea, 
taking prizes. On February 24, off the mouth of the Demerara Kiver, 
he fell iu with two British brigs of war — the Espi^e. IS guns, at 


1 The MbswIihumb w 

I pl>u«d uwtw the sommaiut ot CkpWa Jobm. vhilB Mall muiiiT t&s ontm 


anchor; the Peacock, 24 guus. Colors were hoisted ou both sides, 
and a hot fire was begun by broadsides at half pistol-shot and 
musketry from the tops. In just fourteen minutes the Peacock 
surrendered, hoisting her ensign union down as her mainmast went 
by the board. Lieutenaut WiUiam B. Shubrick, sent on board, re- 
ported her sinking. A second boat's crew from the Hornet endea- 
vored to save the vessel, but 
she suddenly settled and sank, 
carrying with her some of her 
hands who were rummaging 
below. The Hornet's victory 
again was due to the superior 
handling of the guns. The 
Espi^gle lay in sight, but did 
not come out, and Captain 
Lawrence, crowded with his 
prisoners and short of water, henby eckfordb house. 

stood for home, and anchored in Holmes' Hole at Martha's Vineyard 
on March 19. It may here be said that the oflRcers of the Peacock, on 
their arrival in New- York, published a card of thanks to the officers of 
the Hornet. In every one of these four victories the conquered Eng- 
lishmen bore testimony to the courteous consideration of their captors. 

The same honors paid to their predecessors in victory were voted 
to Bainbridge and Lawrence. On the arrival of the Constitution, 
Captain Bainbridge, on February 15, was received with tumultuous 
applause by the citizens of Boston. Rodgers and Hull accompanied 
him in the procession to the Exchange Coffee House. Thanks were 
voted by the legislature, then in session, and a grand banquet given 
on March 2 at the Exchange Coffee House. March 1, 1813, the com- 
mon council of New- York presented to Commodore Bainbridge the 
freedom of the city and ordered his portrait for their gallery, and on 
March 29 paid the same honors to Captain Lawrence. Other States 
joined in these demonstrations, and Congress voted thanks, medals, 
and prize-money because of the necessary destruction of the prizes. 

During all this period the harbor of New- York was closely block- 
aded by the British men-of-war; even our frigates could not i-un the 
gauntlet, availing themselves of the narrow and dangerous strait of 
Hell Gate to the Sound. Once in the open sea beyond Montauk, they 
had opportunities to find or force an offing. It was fortunate for the 
administration of Mr. Madison that these naval successes occurred at 
the beginning of the contest. They inspirited the war party in the 

'Henrj Elckford was u eminent ship-builder, other literary men were freqaent guests during 
at whose house In Love Lane, near the present the second dee*de of the eentiuy. Drake married 
Twentr-flrst street I>e Kay, Drake, Halleck. and Hr. Ecltfont'a daughter. EDrron. 


very places which Madison's cabinet and the Western politicians had 
ignored, disregarded, and even insulted in their declarations. The 
ships they proposed to shut up in port as unable to defend them- 
selves had humbled British pride, while the land forces had made 
but a soiTy beginning in the proposed conquest of Canada. In the 
first six months of the war there had been as many encounters with 
British cruisers, in every one of which the United States were the 
victors. Moreover, over three hundred British merchantmen had 
been captured and brought into port, including those taken by 
New- York and other American privateei-s. 

The Veteran Corps of Artillery was the first organization to volun- 
teer in New- York. They were commanded by John Delamater, who 
had served in the militia during the Revolution. They were invited 
by notice to meet at the new arsenal in Hubert street, and to take 
their station at the North Battery at the foot of that street. They 
assembled and took possession of the fort, by permission of General 
Bloomfield. The uniformed corps of militia, in April, 1812, consisted 
of ten regiments in two brigades, one battalion of riflemen, three 
regiments of artillery, one squadron of cavalry, one company of fly- 
ing artillery, and the company of veteran artillery already mentioned 
— in all about three thousand men. The population of the city was 
about ninety-eight thousand persons, of whom fifteen hundred were 
slaves. The number subject to military duty was about twelve 
thousand men. The two brigades were commanded by General 
Peter P. Van Zandt and Gteneral Gerard Steddiford; the artilleiy, 
by General Morton — all three veterans of the Revolution. Major 
James Warner commanded the city cavalry, and Lieutenant-Colonel 
Francis McClure the riflemen. On April 21, 1812, Gk)vemor Tomp- 
kins issued his orders for the State military formation from his 
headquarters in New- York city. 

There were four arsenals in the city in 1812 — the State arsenal, 
comer of Elm and Franklin streets; the United States arsenal on 
Bridge street near the South Battery; the United States magazine 
and arsenal at the foot of West Twelfth street; and the United 
States arsenal on the Parade, now Madison Square, at the jimction 
of the old Boston Road and the Middle Road. These buildings were 
two or three stories high, of stone and brick, well constructed, and 
inclosed by high waUs. There were two forts, one about one him- 
dred yards in front of the Parade at the Battery, connected with it by 
a drawbridge. OflScially known as the Southwest Battery, it was 
called, after the war. Castle Clinton. It was built about the year 
1811, on the plans of Lieutenant Joseph G. Totten, of the United 
States Engineers. This was the military headquarters. Off Hu- 
bert street, in the Hudson, was the North Battery, about two hun- 


dred yards from the shore, to which there was a drawbridge thirty 
feet wide. It could carry twenty heavy guns in one tier. Its fire 
crossed with that of the Southwest Battery. Later it was called 
the "Eed Port" 

Outside of the city were several works — Castle Williams, on Gov- 
ernor's Island (on its westward projection); Fort Columbus, on the 
middle of the island; Fort Wood, on Bedlow's Island (a mortar-bat- 
tery); on Ellis or Oyster Island, a circular battery mounting four- 
teen heavy guns. On 
the eastern shore of 
Staten Island there 
were three batteries 
ready for garrison — 
Fort Richmond, Fort 
Morton, and Fort Hud- 
son. All three would 
be later commanded 
by Fort Tompkins, not 
yet above the founda- 
tion. These works had 
all been built by Col- 
onel Jonathan Wil- 
liams, of the Second 
United States Artil- 
lery, and chief engineer 
of the United States. 
Together they carried two hundred and eighty-four guns, and re- 
quired a force of three thousand seven hundred gunners. The forts 
in the harbor were under command of Colonel Heni-y Burbeck, and 
the navy-yard and flotilla were commanded by Captain Isaac Chaun- 
cey. On July 12, 1812, the common council received a report from 
the governor of the State and the secretary of war favoring further 
fortifications. On June 27 the governor directed General Stevens, by 
division orders, to require General Morton to order out such part 
of the artillery not already called for upon the requisition of Gen- 
eral Bloomfield. In this order the governor says: "His Excellency 
confidently hopes that the General [Stevens] will exert his talents, 
his influence, and his official authority to produce a vigorous prose- 
cution of the war." 

The Fourth of July was celebrated with " a degree of splendor," 
says the " Columbian," " never witnessed at any former period on the 
occasion." There was a review before noon by Generals Bloomfield, 
Stevens, and Morton, and a parade on the Battery, followed by an 
address in the evening by John Anthon, before the Washington and 



Hamilton societies at Washington Hall. On July 8 arriTed news of 
Napoleon's decree from St. Cloud, April 26, 1812, declaring '* the de- 
crees of Berlin and Milan are definitely (from the first of November 
last) considered as no longer in force as far iis regards American 
vessels," destroying the last cause of 
complaint against France, and the 
one strong ailment of the Federal- 
ists against the war with Great Bri- 
tain as one of the aggressors on 
American rights. 

It is curious to read in the " Co- 
lumbian" of July 9 a proposal by 
"one of 16^ to place cannon on 
every wharf within a covered way 
protected by cotton-bales, the device , 
abandoned by Jackson at the close 
of the war. July 3 was observed as 
a day of fasting and prayer by 
recommendation of Governor Tomp- 
kins. In August the first double 
steamboat was put on the Powles 
Hook ferry, and excited great ad- 
miration. On August 14 there was 
artillery practice in the harbor, the 
tai^t being a hulk provided by Governor Tompkins. The practice 
showed that 254 out of 314 shot took effect, the hulk being fired by 
hot shot from one of the militia commands. On the same day Gen- 
eral Bloomfield was relieved from the command at New-York by the 
secretary of war, and General John Armstrong appointed to the post. 
Notwithstanding the blockade of New- York by a British squadron 
of five vessels carrying two hundred and ten guns, besides many 
smaller armed craft, there arrived between April 6 and August 22, 
1812, no less than one hundred and forty-two ships, eighty-four 
brigs, and forty schooners, some with British licenses. The first 
privateer, the Bunker Hill, left the port on July 6, 1812. Before the 
middle of October, twenty-six privateers, carrying two hundred and 
twelve guns and two thousand two hundred and eighty-nine men, 
had left the port, taking their course through Long Island Sound 
towani the British cruisers. Of these the lai^st was the General 
Armstrong, which carrieti eighteen long nines and a twelve-pounder, 
and was manned by one hundred and fifty men. These vessels were 
ohiefiy built in New- York, where there were three large ship-yards : 
that of Adam and Noah Brown, on the East River at Houston street; 
that of Christian Bergb, on the East River near Gonvemenr^ Slip, 


where the President was built ; and that of Henry Eckf ord, on the 
East River near that of Bergh, who built the fleet on the lakes. 
The Oneida, Commodore Chauncey's flag-ship, was also built by him. 
Napoleon greatly assisted the privateers by an order that all prizes 
taken by Americans should be received in French ports on the same 
terms as though captured by French vessels. Soon the British 
Channel swarmed with American privateers, who had a close shelter 
in the French ports near by. There were numerous militia reviews 
during the year, the most notable of which was on the anniversary 
of the evacuation of the city by the British. There was a general 
parade, and in the evening a large company, including Governor 
Tompkins, Generals Armstrong, Morton, and Paulding, dined at 
Mechanics' Hall, comer of Park Place and Broadway. 

When Congress met on November 2, 1812, in conformity with the 
act passed at the preceding session providing the time for the next 
meeting. President Madison sent in a message which gave but sorry 
satisfaction to the hopes of the military party. He announced that 
prior to the declaration of war a force had been sent to the Michigan 
territoiy " to intercept the hostile influences of Great Britain over the 
savages and obtain the command of the Lake in that part of the 
Canada borders.'' This force, under command of William Hull, Gov- 
ernor of the Territory of Michigan, who had been made a brigadier- 
general, consisted of regulars and volunteers, in number about two 
thousand men. By some blunder in the war department the decla- 
ration of war was nearly two weeks on the way to him, and was 
known in Canada some days earlier. His orders to. take possession 
of Maiden, fifteen miles below Detroit on the Canada side of the 
river, reached him at Detroit on July 9. He crossed on the 12th 
and issued a proclamation to the Canadians, which was of no effect. 
Being without artillery, the capture was decided to be too hazardous 
an undertaking, and he recrossed the river on August 7. The enemy 
had already anticipated his attempt at invasion by the seizure of the 
American post at Mackinaw, commanding the strait between Lakes 
Huron and Michigan, which capitulated on July 10 : an aflfair doubly 
important because of its influence on the Indian tribes. The British 
colonel, Henry A. Proctor, receiving reinforcements, and joined by 
the savages, defeated Hull's detachments, and Hull, disheartened, re- 
treated to Detroit. Meanwhile Fort Dearborn, which stood at the 
mouth of the Chicago River, on ground which is now within the 
limits of the city of Chicago, was abandoned by Hull's orders, and 
the captain commanding the small garrison was on his retreat when 
his force was ambushed by the Indians and compelled to surrender, 
many of the women and children being mercilessly scalped, and the 

savage trophies carried to Colonel Proctor, who had offered a pre- 
voL. m.— 17. 


mium for American scalps. On August 15, the British general, Isaac 
Brock, who had assumed command at Fort Maiden, with his force, 
in which were six hundred savages under the lead of Tecumseh, the 
famous Indian chieftain, marched on Detroit. On Brock's arrival 
before the fort the white flag was hung out, and Hull surrendered 
the fort and garrison and the whole Territory of Michigan, of which 
he was governor. This occurred on August 16, and terminated the 
miserable campaign. Three days later the naval commander of the 
Constitution redeemed the honor of the flag and the name of Hull, 
which had otherwise become a byword in American history for in- 
competency or cowardice. 

Tecumseh, who seems to have followed the example of Pontiac 
in an endeavor to unite all the neighboring tribes to recover their 
hunting-grounds on the northwestern territory, flushed with the suc- 
cesses before the forts at Mackinaw, the Chicago River, and Detroit, 
planned desultory attacks on the other frontier posts. In August a 
force of Kentuckians, raised to reinforce Hull, had been placed under 
command of General Hamson, the victor of Tippecanoe. On the fall 
of Detroit it was marched through the Ohio wilderness to the relief 
of Fort Wayne, where Captain Aaron Bhae was closely beset by a joint 
force of British and Indians. This was the scene of Josiah Harmar^s 
defeat in the Miami campaign of 1790. On the approach of Harrison's 
relieving force the besiegers withdrew. Fort Harrison, which stood on 
the Wabash River on the site of the present city of Terre Haute, was 
held by Captain Zachary Taylor with a small force. Invested by the 
savages and the blockhouse set on fire, the post was stoutly held, and, 
after a hot struggle, the attempt to capture it was foiled. This oc- 
curred on September 3. Fort Madison, which stood on the bank of the 
Mississippi near the site of the city of St. Louis, was attacked on Sep- 
tember 5 by a force of two hundred Winnebago Indians. It was 
ably defended by Lieutenant Hamilton, and on the 8th the savages 
withdrew. Besides these concerted attacks there were sundry skir- 
mishes with the Indians, the most noted of which was that of Colonel 
Ball with a mounted command on the bank of the Sandusky, in which 
the chiefs f elL This chastisement insured the quiet of the settlements 
for many years. 

The invasion of Canada was not abandoned because of HulPs sur- 
render. On the night of September 20 Captain Benjamin Forsyth 
took a party of Americans from Cape Vincent by water to the village 
of Gananoqui, where, after a skirmish in which he defeated the oppos- 
ing force, he burned the military storehouse and returned to the 
American shore. On October 2 the Canadians replied with a much 
more formidable expedition against Ogdensburg. They crossed the 
river from Prescott opposite, in forty boats, under the escort of two 



guuboatiS ; the movement being covered by the fire of the British bat- 
teries at Prescott. General Jacob Brown, who commanded at Ogdens- 
burg, with the American battery and a company of riflemen received 
the flotilla so warmly that it returned to Prescott without having 
made a landing. 

The force with which General Brock took Detroit included two 
British war vessels. To these the surrender added the American 
brig of war Adams, which the British named the Detroit. This 
leaving the United States with- 
out any force on the upper 
lakes, Lieutenant Jesse D. El- 
liott of the navy was sent to 
Buffalo to organize a flotilla, 
and a detachment of men was 
ordered up from New- York 
city, where seamen were abun- 
dant. In October the Detroit and a smaller vessel, the Caledonia, 
which had done service at the capture of Mackinaw, came down Lake 
Erie and anchored off Fort Erie. On the night of the 8th they were 
surprised by Lieutenant Elliott. The Caledonia was run ashore and 
secured, the Detroit captured. Elliott fought the British batteries 
from the captured vessel, but finding he could not tow her out of 
their reach, and the vessel drifting ashore on Squam Island, he aban- 
doned her, carrying off his prisoners. Boarded by a British party, 
they were driven off by the American batteries, and she was thus the 
point of fire for both sides. In the night she was again boarded by 
the Americans and burned. 

After the capture of Detroit the British force employed was with- 
drawn to the Niagara River, which became the scene of the autumn 
campaign. General Stephen Van Rensselaer, in command of the 
American forces, planned an expedition to capture Queenstown, which 
commanded the end of the portage between Ontario and the upper 
lakes. The American force was six thousand men — regulars, militia, 
and volunteers. On October 13, after some previous blunders and 
one unsuccessful attempt, a crossing was made. Two hundred regu- 
lars under Lieutenant-Colonel John Chrystie, and the same number 
of militia under Colonel Solomon Van Rensselaer, were to cross before 
daybreak and storm the heights. Lieutenant-Colonel Winfield Scott 
placed a battery on Lewiston Heights to protect the crossing. The 
regulars and a few of the militia had crossed, when they were met at 
the landing by a force of the enemy. Pushing on, line was formed 
by Captain John E. Wool at the foot of the heights, when they were 
attocked in front and on flank. Though without artillery. Wool stood 
his ground. Van Rensselaer's militia on the left were less severely 


treated. Both Wool and Van Rensselaer were badly wounded. The 
Americans fell back to the river to reform, and were reinforced. By 
a skilful movement Wool turned the British battery, which he cap- 
tured so suddenly that General Brock, who was standing near, had 
not time to mount his horse, and at sunrise the American flag was 
flying over the works. 

Brock ordered up reinforcements from Fort George, but without 
waiting their aiTival took the lead of the defeated troops and moved 
up the slope to recapture the works. They were repulsed by a charge 
of bayonets. As Brock rallied his men for a second assault, he fell, 
mortally wouuded. All attempts to avenge his death were in vain. 
Soon after Scott and General William Wadsworth arrived with re- 
inforcements. Wool, weak with loss of blood, turned over the com- 
mand to Scott. The British general Roger H. 
Sheaffe brought up the reinforcements from Fort 
George, but General Van Rensselaer could not 
persuade the militia to cross the river to Scott's 
support. Scott held his ground against a flank 
attack by the Indians, who were under command 
of John Brant, son of the famous Mohawk chief 
Thayendanegea (or Joseph Brant), which he re- 
c LARKsoN ARMS. ^^^^ ^^ ^^^ bayouet. General Sheaffe bringing 

up his whole force, Scott was compelled to retreat, but finding escape cut 
off, all the boats haying been allowed to float down the river, or to be 
taken by the enemy, he surrendered his force, carrying the flag of truce 
thi'ough the Indian line in person. Thus ended the battle of Queens- 
town, where, as with Francis the First at Pavia, "all was lost but honor.** 
The stoppage of trade was not the only grievance to the merchants 
of New- York. This was imavoidable in a state of war; but their 
property was seized also under what were in many cases wholly 
innocent breaches of the law. Mr. Madison, in his message of No- 
vember 4, 1812, called attention to this subject : "A number of Ameri- 
can vessels which were in England when the revocation of the orders 
in council took place, were laden with British manufactures, under an 
on'oneous impression that the non-importation act would immediately 
cease to operate, and had arrived in the United States.** The for- 
feitures incurred under the act were not remitted by the officers of 
the government, and Mr. Madison asked Congress to consider the 
subject in the light of equity and the public interest. Madison accom- 
panied his message with petitions for remission from the leading 
merchants of New- York, Boston, Philadelphia, New Haven, Rich- 
mond, and Albany. The New-York memorial was plain-spoken: 
" Tlie citizens of New-York had no idea that under the hard circum- 
stances of their case their own government would either forfeit their 


property or mulct them when they intended no violation of the laws 
of the country." The memorial was accompanied by aflSdavits.' 

The congressional committee reported that it appeared that the 
orders in council were revoked by Great Britain June 23, 1812, and 
that the declaration of war only reached England on July 30. There- 
upon a tempwrary embargo had been laid on American vessels, but 
the next day they were permitted to con- 
tinue to take cargoes of British merchan- 
dise consigned to the United States, being 
provided for that purpose with " licenses 
protecting them, notwithstanding the ex- 
isting hostilities, against capture by Brit- 
ish cruisers." The time of obtaining li- 
censes was limited to September 15, 1812. 
Congress declined to legislate, and turned 
the matter over to Albert Gallatin, the 
secretary of the treasury. Gallatin, in 
reply, recommended that the one half of 
the forfeitures that would fall to the 
share of the collectors should be re- 
mitted, but that the United States should 
benefit by the extra profit secured on 
their importations and retain at least so 
much of its half of the fines. Among 
the New-York merchants examined by 
the congressional committee were John G. Coster, John Mason, Wil- 
liam Irving, and Abram R. Lawrence. Mr. Irving testified that 
for some of the English goods there was "a ravenous demand," 
army contractors bidding one over another. Mr. Coster had imported 
to the amount of £20,000 sterling. But while, notwithstanding these 
grievances, New- York sustained the war with patriotic enthusiasm, 
Mr. Madison bad to report "that Massachusetts and Connecticut 
refused to furnish their required contingents towards the defence of 
the maritime frontier." 

It is a question whether Great Britain ever during this contest 
entertained any purpose of general conquest or of subjugating any of 
the parts of the United States. Her designs on New Orleans were 

I AfltdrnvltB In matter at forfeiture before com- 
mittee of Congreaa, November, 1S12 : CbarleH Os- 
borne, ComellDi Beyer, H. Van Wagenen, John 
StoDlenbnrKh, Willlun Irring. Nathaniel Rleh- 
arda, John Dodgeon, John Howatt. Jr.. Eljphalet 
WfIllaIn^ Bobert C. Cornell. John B. Dash, Ben- 
luDin W. Dwlgbt, John R. WUlis. Isaac Car;, 
Jowpb Cornell. Wllliun W. Hott, James JeoklnB, 
Franola B. Wlnthrop. Jr., Hoaes Judah, Garret 
B. AbeeL Edward hji«, Qeorge Newbold, Sea- 

buiy Tredwell. Leonard Kip, James J. Rooserelt, 
Cbarles Smith, Jr., Bobert I>ee, Ebeuezer Irving, 
Jameg S. Bailey, Joseph Cortla, Henry King. 

2 Colonel WlUUm Stephens Smith, a native of 
New- York city, married the only daughter of 
John Adams. He vas ^de-de-camp to Washing* 
ton, and in 1813-15 waa a member of Congress. 
For many years he was president of the State 
Society ot the Cincinnati. The portndt is copied 
from die painting by StnarU Editob. 


ev\fip(j)t later, and there was no donbt a v£^^e bnt nndfielared hope 
that by a starvation proeess she might isolate New F.ngJATiH from lie 
CTnion and perhapi9 attach her to her Canadian dominiona. To the 
union of the 8tat;e« New- York was, by her position^ irrevoeably com- 
mitted, and she early rer^ognized the vast amount of te r r ilor y it en- 
abled her to r»ommand for her trade. The old Anti-Federalist idea of 
autonomy had been long abandoned by her. 

The faihire of the two Canadian campaigns of 1912 bron^t New- 
York far»e to face with the problems of the lake defenses. En^and 
precedf*d uh in a naval force on these great inland seas. In 1808, 
nnfler the general authority to construct gnnboats, the president had 
empowered Lieutenant Melanchton T. Woolsey to contract for two 
vf^HwelR on Lake CTiamplain and one on Lake Ontario. The latt^*, a 
regular brig of war, was armed in the spring of 1809 with sixteen 
twf^nty-four pounders. A temporary arrangement being made with 
Rngland, however, the vessel, which was named the Oneida, was not 
put on the lake till the next year. The British had several vessels, 
of which the Royal George, of twenty-two guns, was the largest. In 
July, 1H12^ the British fleet had made an attempt to take the Oneida 
at Hackett^s Harbor, but Commander Woolsey, taking position with 
her at the entrance to the harbor, easily drove the enemy off. In 
Oct/>^>er, 1812, Captain Isaac Chauncey took up from New-York a 
tfrroA of officers, seamen, and ship-carpenters, and a quantity of naval 
stoTf!S. He purchased and fitted a number of schooners, which, with 
the Oneida, carried forty guns and four hundred and thirty men. 
Before winter set in he chased the Boyal George into Kingston, 
attai^ked the batteries, and cut out two small prizes, and about the 
same time an expedition crossed from Black Bock, and assaulted and 
mpUmu] tho batteries at the head of Niagara River. 

The (^losing of the harbors by the ice put a stop to all active oi)era- 
tions) but tmtnorous vf^ssels were built, and when navigation opened 
in the spring of 1813, General Henry Dearborn, commanding the 
land forcns, and Commodore Chauncey were ready for fresh oper- 
ations. A joint military and naval expedition undertook the capture 
Iff York (now Toronto), the capital of Upper Canada, where the Brit- 
ish, iindor (Hinunand of Oeneral Shoaffe, had one large vessel, the 
lioyal (loorge, and wore building another. It sailed, fourteen vessels, 
on April ilR. T\w town was captured on the 27th, after an action in 
whh'h Major Benjamin Forsyth, with the American riflemen, distin- 
gulshotl hltnsolf, and Oonoral Zebulon M. Pike, commanding the 
foives, WHS mortally wounded. The British military stores were de- 
stniyod, and tho vossel on the stocks set fire to by Sheaffe. The 
g\>vennnoni bttiUlings won> burnoii by the Americans — an unfor- 
tutrnlo priHHHlonU Tho Uoyal Gei>rge had sailed two days before. 


The capture of Fort George, on the western side of the Niagara 
River, two miles from its mouth, was theu undertakeu by Dearborn. 
The American troops were commanded by General John P. Boyd, 
who succeeded General Pike. Major Forsyth commanded the rifle- 
men, Colonel Alexander Macomb the artillery, Colonel Moses Porter 
the light artillery, Commodore Chauncey, who had brought down 
supplies and a reinforcement from Sackett's Harbor, directed the 
fleet, and Captain Oliver Hazard Perry had hurried to the scene 
from Lake Erie to take part in the 
action. The troops were landed 
on the 27th. Colonel Scott, sup- 
ported by the light artillery, car- 
ried the heights, and, the first 
man to enter Fort George, he 
hauled down the colors with his 
own hand. In the absence of the 
American force at the western end 

of Lake Ontario, the British gen- ^^^^^^ _ .^^^^ 
eral Proctor and Sir James Yeo, ^^^^^^B^a^^^^^ . '^ 

who commanded the fleet (four 
war vessels, a brig, two schooners, 
and two gunboats), attempted a 
surprise of Sackett's Harbor at 
the eastern end. The enemy ap- 
peared off the harbor on May 28, 
1813, captured twelve of nineteen 
boats which were bringing up re- 
inforcements to the Americans from Oswego, and landed on the 29th. 
The day was nearly lost when General Brown retrieved its fortunes, 
and the British took to their boats. Fortunately the Americans had 
themselves set fire to their stores and vessels. 

Other minor actions followed in the course of the summer: A night 
aflfair at Stony Creek, where, in an indescribable confusion, both the 
American brigade commanders were made prisoners, and the British 
general lost his way in the woods. The American troops, however, 
made a safe retreat to Fort George. An attempt to surprise the British 
depot of supplies at Beaver Dam, seven miles from Queenstown, re- 
sulted in an ambush from which the lieutenant-colonel commanding 
extricated himself with skill, only to fall into a ridiculous snare. Duped 
by a trick, he surrendered to an insignificant force, and had the mor- 
tification to see his men, in spite of the terms of capitulation, stripped 
of their clothing by the savages. The country was indignant at this 



disgrace, and General Dearborn, who commanded the northern de- 
partment, was removed.' 

The third affair was an attack on Black Rock, near Buffalo, where 
the Americans had a dockyard and storehouses. The surprise, led by 
the British lieutenant-colonel Bisshop, was complete; the buildings 
were fired, guns spiked, and the spoliation nearly complete when an 
American force, hastily gathered by General Robert B. Porter, put 
an end to their operations and drove them in disorder to their boats. 
Commodore Chauncey, during this summer, repeatedly tried, in vain, 
to bring Sir James Yeo to a decisive naval encounter. This officer 
declined invariably, seeking refuge under the guns of the British fort 
On October 8, Chauncey caught a squadron of seven gunboats used 
by the enemy as transports, of which he took and brought in five 
with their cargoes of troops. The cam- 
paign closed with Lake Ontario essentially 
in American possession. 

Meanwhile a memorable naval en- 
counter had given the United States 
similar command of Lake Erie. In the 
winter of 1812-13, two large brigs, to 
mount twenty guns each were laid down 
at Presque Isle (now Erie, Pennsylvania), 
where there is a fine harbor; a force of 
ship-carpenters was sent up from New- 
York city, and several schooners and 
gunboats were there constructed. The 
timber was felled from neighboring woods 
and used green. All the other material, 
. iron and naval stores, was transported by 

i^^,^A^*\^»ctKZZZ^ land, chiefly from New- York, on wagons. 
A low-wat«r bar protected the harbor, and 
prevented the entrance of the British cruisers which held the Lake 
and hung off the port. Captain Perry, who was then in command of 
the flotilla of gunboats at Newport, Rhode Island, seeing no chance 
of getting to sea in a sloop of war, volunteered for the lake service, 
and was ordered to take command on Lake Erie. He arrived at 
Buffalo in March, 1813, with a nimiber of officers and a few men. He 
aided Commodore Chauncey in the disembarkation which captured 
Fort George. The fall of this post brought ou that of Fort Erie, 
and left the Niagara frontier in control of the American army. 
Perry now repaired to his own command, and by June 12 had gotten 

I Heuy Dearborn «u a dlstingruiahed oSoer ot decided tbe bkttle of Stillwater (or Santo^). He 
the Bevolntlon, It was the rorps o( bayonets on- wu Jeffereon'a seeretuy of war through his two 
der hla commaiid which, with Morxaii'i rlllemeD, admiiilstratkms. 


the vessels detained on the Niagara River past the enemy's batteries. 
These vessels consisted of four schooners (cue a prize) and a sloop. A 
few days after, he sailed from the outlet of the lake for the harbor of 
Presque Isle, sUpping by the British fleet, which were in the offing, 
unobserved uutil it was too late to intercept him. The two brigs laid 
down at Presque Isle in the winter and launched in May were now 
nearly ready for sea. They were 
the Lawrence, on which Perry 
hoisted his flag, and the Ni^ara. 
The schooners also were in the 
water. The bar, hitherto a pro- 
tection, was now a serious ob- 
stacle to getting out the brigs. 
It had but seven feet of water, 
and was half a mile outside the 
harbor. The Lawrence, lifted 
over by an ingenious contriv- 
ance, received her armament out- 
side, and her guns were instantly 
trained broadside on the enemy. 
The Niagara was taken over 
with less difficulty, the schooners 
passed easily, and when the Brit- 
ish fleet appeared on the morning 
of Monday, August 5, Perry had nine vessels, carrying fifty-five guns 
and four hundred men. Hardly was his squadron in the water when 
Captain Robert H. Barclay, who commanded the British fleet, — six 
vessels, carrying sixty-five guns and about the same number of men 
as the Americans, his flag-ship being the Detroit, of 19 guns, — sailed 
up the lake. Perry followed in pursuit, and after cruising several 
days, went into Put-in Bay, where he drilled his men with muffied 
oars for a boat attack. 

On September 10, the British squadron was seen and signals given 
by Perry to get under way. This time the enemy formed into line. 
Perry did the same, and, as he approached, displayed a blue flt^ on 
which was the legend, " Dont give up the ship." Action having begun, 
the enemy's heaviest ships concentrated their fire on the Lawrence, dis- 
abling her, and killing so many of her men that she dropped out of the 
fight, and Perry transferred his flag to the Niagara — Captain Elliott, 
her commander, passing down the line of the American vessels in a 
small boat with Perry's order to close up to half pistol-range, and 
taking command himself of one of the last vessels. A confusion in a 
manoeuver of the English vessels gave Perry the opportunity to sail 
through the enemy's line, delivering broadsides from both sides. A 



close action ensued, and the British colors were shortly struck. Perry 
at ouue seut to G-oneral Harrison, who commanded the noriihwestem 
army, a despatch announcing his victory : " We have met the enemy, 
atid they are ours : two ships, two brigs, one schooner, and one sloop." 
In this sanguinary encounter, a number of Perry's men were negroes. 
Congress voted gold medals to both Perry and Elliott, whose great 
aorvices P(>rry generously acknowledged in his official report. 

On October 23, Perry's squadron trans- 
ported General Harrison's army to Buf- 
falo, and on the 25th Perry resigned the 
command of the upper lakes to Captain 
Elliott and returned to the seaboard, 
where he was commissioned captain, his 
commission dating the day of his vic- 
tory, and soon after appointed to the 
command of the Java, a new frigate fit- 
ting out at Baltimore. By the capture 
of the British fleet the waters of the 
lakes on the New- York border were en- 
tirely cleared of the enemy, and the re- 
joicings in the city were great. The 
common council, on October 4, tendered 
Commodore Perry the freedom of the 
city in a gold box, and requested him to 
sit for his portrait Mayor Clinton, in 


T^^n.^^ _-.-^%i*^ transmitting the resolutions to the com- 
^ modore at Newport, alluded to the battle 

of Lake Erie as "an event without parallel in the annals of our 
country, which gives you distinguished rank among the celebrated 
lueu that reflect lustre on the American uame, and which has dis- 
{tensed the blessings of security and tranquillity to a most important 
and e:ctensive portion of the United States." 

At the time of Perrj-'s victory General Harrison had completed his 
plan of eam{taigu. Governor Isaac Shelby, the old hero of the Revo- 
lution, was on the march in person with eleven regiments of Kentacky 
luouutetl volunte^^rs, who had flocked to his standard when they heaid 
of the battle of Lake Erie. Pressing on. he reached the lake on 
SeptemWr 14, in time to meet a part of Perry's squadron ; the re- 

1 Anoay ik* atmmvr* of A* jrw IMS nay b* U ikiitr dars be had dg alnj^ " * tvi 

WMtlk«*<llW>aaaf tbr Arirwk.Bwitbrd(uks( Mwvbwitwn. ^t the «*d o< ihst tii 

UnttWMBI WitSaM H. AUnl ntMMMifiBC her. bM the Prtku of Uw Briiitk narr 

TW Arvw W« X»w-Y«* ua Jita* IS. nuT^iiMe 1*M- U >»>» »>"»• mmIm <luck . 

M Ptukw. Kh»iKa( Briuik nntisH-f. ihr saRwiv- Hr «»• h«ui«<] M Ptvasvik vith wOitarr boBon. 



mainder of the army arriving on the 15th and 16th. The embar- 
kation began on the 20th. On the 25th five thousand men were 
encamped upon the Middle Sister Island. On the 27th Harrison's 
address to the men was read on each vessel, and the fleet of sixteen 
armed men-of-war and one hundred boats moved up into the Detroit 
River. Perry commanded the water movements, Harrison those of 
the army. Landing a few miles below Maiden, the army marched on 
that town, Governor Shelby in advance. The town was evacuated, 
and the public buildings were in flames. Colonel Richard M. Johnson 
with his mounted regiment reached Detroit shortly after, and crossed 
to Sandwich. A land march in chase of the flying British was agreed 
upon, while Perry sent a part of his squadron in pursuit of the 
vessels which had taken the artillery and baggage up Lake St. Clair. 
Perry followed in person to the mouth of the Thames, and, landing, 
found General Harrison. General Proctor, constantly flying, to the 
disgust of Tecumseh, at last made a stand on the river Thames, and 
awaited the approach of the Americans in battle order on the morn- 
ing of October 5. Harrison, accompanied by Commodore Perry and 
Colonel Lewis Cass, took a post on the right of the American army 
near the river. At the call of a bugle the advance moved forward. 
The cavalry dashed into and broke the first and second British lines, 
and, wheeling right and left, attacked the rear. Proctor's army sur- 
rendered as fast as they could throw down their arms. Proctor him- 
self fled in his carriage. The bugle ordering the attack on the right 
was answered by a bugle on the left, and Colonel Johnson led his 
mounted men against Tecumseh's savages. There was a hand-to-hand 
fight, but, reinforcements coming up, the Indians broke for the forest. 
Tecumseh, the last great Indian chief, was slain — tradition says by 
Johnson's own hand. 

This total annihilation of the British army west of Ontario, added to 
the victory on Lake Erie, by which all that Hull surrendered was recov- 
ered and the honor of the flag restored, was hailed with delight every- 
where. Not the least of its consequences was the total breaking up 
of the Indiati confederacy of the Northwest, desertion of their British 
allies, and kinder feelings to the Americans because of their humane 
treatment by Harrison. In New- York, on October 23, the new City 
Hall was splendidly illuminated, as also Tammany, Washington, and 
Mechanics' Halls, the theater, and numerous private residences. On 
one of the windows of the City Hall was a transparency with " Don't 
give up the Ship.'' In front of Tammany were a portrait of Harrison 
receiving hostages from the Indians aifd a representation of the battle 
of Lake Erie. The expedition for which Harrison's troops were em- 
barked on their return by Commodore Perry was intended against 
the British at Burlington Heights, on the west side of Lake Ontario, 


but the purposes of the war department changing, they were moved 
in November to Sackett's Harbor, after which General Harrison joined 
his family at Cincinnati. 

The military operations of 1813 were not to close without a bitter 
disappointment to the country and fresh alarm to the State of New- 
York. General Armstrong, a veteran of the Revolution and at the 
time secretary of war, planned in February, 1813, a campaign for 
the conquest of Lower Canada by the capture of Montreal The 
northern army was in two wings: the left at Sackett's Harbor, under 
command of General James Wilkinson, a Revolutionary officer who had 
seen much service ; the right at Plattsburg, under command of Gen- 
eral Wade Hampton. Wilkinson, an old personal friend and compan- 
ion in arms of Secretary Armstrong, was to lead the invading force, 
and Hampton was expected to support the movement. Unfortunately 
there was no good feeling between the commanders, Hampton main- 
taining that his was an independent command. The consequences 
were naturally disastrous. 

Wilkinson, assembling the troops from Fort George on the Nia- 
gara, gathered his forces at Grenadier Island, near the outlet of the 
lake into the St. Lawrence. Hampton was to march to the north- 
ward and join forces with him at the mouth of the Chateaugay, when 
together they were to move on Montreal. On October 5 Wilkinson 
moved his force down the St. Lawrence. The line of boats was five 
miles long. The British batteries at Prescott were run by night, but 
others being met with posted along the bank. Colonel Ma<K>mb, 
with a picked corps, supported by Forsyth's riflemen, the cavalry, 
and General Brown's brigade, crossed the river to clear the bank. 
They were constantly engaged. Soon the Americans' rear was dis- 
turbed by a force from Kingston which Commodore Chaunoey had 
failed to prevent leaving that harbor. On the 10th the expedition 
reached the Long Rapid, where it was disembarked. The British con- 
centration was now complete in the rear, and was supported by gun- 
boats. A battle was inevitable. General Wilkinson being too ill to 
leave his bed. General Boyd took command. The British advance 
was attacked and routed by General Robert Swartwout's brigade, 
which then fell on the British right, and General Leonard Covington 
on the British left. The day was raw; the ground, rough and heavy, 
was fought over back and forth. General Covington fell, mortally 
wounded. After an engagement of two hours the American reserves 
were brought up, and the British making no further demonstration, 
the Americans retired to their t)oats. 

Although not a defeat, this affair, which is called the battle of Wil- 
liamsburg or Chrystler's Field, was not a victory. On this field Lieu- 
tenant William J. Worth, later a hero of the Mexican war, was 


distinguished Without further regard to the danger to his rear, Wil- 
kinson resumed his movements and passed down the Grand Rapids. 
At Cornwall he received despatches from General Hampton with 
word from that officer that he would not join the expedition or take 
any farther part in the invasion of Canada. Hampton had heen 
ignominiously repulsed in a forward movement down the Chateaa- 
gay. Ou receipt of these despatches, it was decided by Wilkinson 
in a council of war to ascend Salmon River and go into winter quar- 
ters. This ended the elaborate but ill-judged campaign. 

The British general Gordon Drummond took immediate advantage 
of the situation which the weakening of the force in Fort George 
and in the Niagara River afforded 
him. Recalling the troops which 
Wilkinson's stoppage of opera- 
tions released, he moved on Fort 
George, which the American gen- 
eral MeClure immediately aban- 
doned, firing the village of New- 
ark on his retreat. The term of 
the militia had expired on Decem 
ber 9, and MeClure's force was 
reduced to sixty men. Drum 
mend, taking possession of the 
but partially destroyed village, 
where he found tents, artillery, 
and abundant ammunition uu 
injured, on the night of Decem 
ber 18 crossed the Niagara River, 
surprised Fort Niagara, marching 
in through the open gate, and bayoneted the gamson in their sleep. 
The same day the British general Phineas Riall came from Queens- 
town to Lewiston, which he sacked and burned; the savages commit- 
ting their usual atrocities. Prom Lewiston Riall marched through 
the villages of Youngstown, Tusearora, and Manchester {now Niagara 
Falls), all of which be destroyed, driving the inhabitants houseless 
into the woods in the cold, inclement season. Checked, however, by 
the destruction of the bridge over Tonawanda Creek, Riall retraced 
his march and crossed back to Canada. 

General Amos Hall, of the New-York militia, hurried to Buffalo, 
which was in wild alarm. A force gathered of about two thousand 
men, but partly armed and almost undisciplined. On December 29 
General Riall, sent over by Drummond, attacked the American camp 



with a body of regulars and Indians. General Hall's militia fought 
well, but, their center being broken, became disheartened and could 
not be rallied even to defend the village and bring away the women 
and children. Lieutenant David Riddle, of the United States r^u- 
lars, with eighty men, being refused aid by Hall, redeemed the honor 
of the United States army by going in unsupported and saving the 
arsenal stores. Buffalo and Black Bock were sacked and burned, and 
the inhabitants massacred without mercy. The gains of the year 
were all lost save the Territory of Michigan, which Harrison had 
retrieved at the battle of the Thames. The cost of these northern 
campaigns was enormous. "It was estimated that the conveyance 
of each cannon to Sackett's Harbor had cost a thousand dollars. 
The flour for Harrison's army, by the time it reached the troops, 
had cost a hundred dollars a barrel." This is not surprising when 
it is remembered that through the vast unsettled country of New- 
York and Ohio the supplies were all carried on packhorses, while 
the forage to feed them was carried on other horses. 

The year 1813 was, in its history, as checkered on the ocean as on 
the land. It could hardly be expected that the career of triumph of 
1812 would be continued without interruption. One of its disasters 
came home to the hearts of the people of New- York. Captain Law- 
rence, on his return from his dashing cruise in the Hornet, which 
he made by Holmes' Hole and through Long Island Sound to New- 
York without meeting an enemy, was transferred to the frigate Ches- 
apeake. This vessel had just returned from a long cruise, and was 
lying in Boston harbor, where the blockade was but loosely main- 
tained, the President and Congress having both gotten an offing 
without interference; and it seemed as though the officers of the 
British frigates Shannon, 38, and Tenedos, 38, which were on the 
station, did not desire a meeting. When the Chesapeake was ready 
to sail, however, the Shannon, Captain Broke, appeared in the off- 
ing. He had that day sent a challenge to Captain Lawrence to 
meet him at some latitude and longitude to be agreed upon, — a mes- 
sage which Lawrence did not receive, else he might have fought un- 
der other conditions. On the forenoon of June 1, 1813, the Shannon 
appeared in the bay. The Chesapeake was then lying in President 
Boads. Her crew was somewhat disaffected because of unpaid prize- 
money. At noon she lifted anchor and stood out. Lawrence, be- 
cause of the state of his crew, to whom he was a stranger, having 
joined his ship only a few days before, reluctantly ordered his decks 
cleared for action. As the first gun was fired the excitement in Boston 
was intense, the population of the city thronging to the housetops.* 

1 The mother of the writer of these iMges, then a girl of fourteen, related to him that from the 
roof of her father's hoose on Fort Hill she heard the guns and saw the smoke of the action. 


After a short and sangaiuary conflict, which closed with the boarders 
of the SbanDOD passing through the Chesapeake from stem to fore- 
castle without serious resistance, — Lawrence having fallen mortally 
wounded at the critical moment when the ships fouled, and all his 
officers being incapacitated, — the Chesapeake surrendered. The last 
orders of Lawrence as he was carried below, shot a second time and 
through the body, were "Tell the men to fire faster and not give up 
the ship. Fight her till she sinks." As soon as the action was over 
both ships made sail for Halifax. Cap- 
tain Lawrence died of his wounds on June 
6. His lieutenant, Ludlow, also died of his 
wounds, a few days later. 

The withdrawtd of the British cruisers 
from the blockade of Boston harbor, whOe 
New- York and the Chesapeake were so 
effectually closed that it was impossible 
even for the frigates to get out, excited 
an uneasy and Jealous feeling in these 
ports. In December, 1813, President 
Madison informing Congress that a con- 
traband trade was carried on at Boston 
and that the British frigates when off the 
coast had been supplied from the shore, a ^^ ^y 

fresh embargo was laid on the exportation /Z^-^^-t^ .^i*^^,,,^-*^ 
of goods of any character, produce, live- /y 

stock, and specie. The balance of the naval account for the year 1813 
was, however, greatly to the credit of the United States. The Ameri- 
cans had taken twenty-sis British men-of-war of five hundred and 
sixty guns. The British had taken seven American men-of-war of 
one hundred and nineteen guns. 

But few British ships of war were on the northern Atlantic coast 
in 1812, but in January, 1813, an English squadron, under Admiral 
Sir John Borlase Warren, was reported off Sandy Hook. The United 
States flotilla of gunboats, under command of Commodore Jacob 
Lewis, was unable to get from the station on the East Biver to the 
lower bay because of the ice. On January 22 the enemy's ships were 
seen off the lighthouse at Sandy Hook, and the city was in alarm. 
The forts were ready, except the new construction not yet finished. 
The volunteer regiments accepted by the government for defense of 
the harbor and city were enlisted for one year for that service only. 
There were several independent companies: one of infantry, the 
" Iron Grays," ' of seventy men, commanded by Captain Samuel Swart^ 

I AmonK the iMt torvlTon of i 
mired uid f MhloDsble corps ireie Plti-are<me Hal- 
leek,— who edebnted It In am 

Blbby, Stephen Cembrelltig. Dr. Edwvd DelaAf Id, 
HickeoD W. Field, James W. Oenrd, and Ocneral 
Charles W. Saodford. Editob. 


wout ; one of cavalry, the New- York Hussars, commanded by Cap- 
tain William Craig. In these companies were enrolled many promi- 
nent citizens. On March 13 a veteran corps of artillery was organized 
under Captain John McLean. A marine corps was formed by the 
shipmasters and mariners. On March 15, by Governor Tompkins's 
report, there were about thirty-five thousand troops in actual service. 
He stated that twelve thousand men were needed for a defense of the 
city and harbor. 

On March 20 signals announced the approach of a fleet of ships. 
The batteries were manned, the flotilla ready for sailing, and the new 
fort at Saudy Hook, with some heavy guns mounted, was in charge 
of five hundred Jersey Blues 
who encamped near by. The 
vessels proved to be merchant- 
men. The Sea Fencibles, com- 
posed of mariners, sailors and 
boatmen, commanded by Cap- 
tain Lewis, with the nominal 
title of commodore, by the spring 
of 1813 had increased to one 
thousand men. General Arm- 
strong, who from August, 1812, 
had commanded in New- York, 
was appointed secretary of war 
TOMB OP CAPTAIN LAWH«,cK. JauoaTy 13, 1813. The com- 

mand then fell to Colonel Bur- 
beck of the United States Artillery. He was an able officer of the 
Revolution from the beginning to the close, and had later seen service 
on the western frontier. In February the recruiting service of the 
United States in New- York city was placed under the direction of Col- 
onel Jonas Simonds and Colonel Macomb, who was later transferred to 
frontier service in the Niagara district. Colonel Simonds commanded 
the Sixth United States Infantry, Colonel Macomb the Third Unit«d 
States Artillery. Many of their officers were of New- York. On 
March 20, General George Izard of South Carolina was assigned by 
President Madison to the command of New- York city, and made his 
headquarters at Castle Clinton, later Castle Garden. Breastworks 
were erected on the water-line about the Battery Parade. There was 
at this time a public garden in the Battery Park. State street and 
the lower end of Broadway were the site of fine private residences. 
In February, 1813, De Witt Clinton was reappointed mayor of the 
city by the council of appointment, which was then Federalist. Clin- 
ton's leanings were in that direction, but both parties, Federalists and 
Republicans, were content with his management of public afiEairs. 


The disastrous result of the Bussian campaign freeing a large 
number of British ships from the continental service, the enforcement 
of the blockade of the United States became closer, and fears of in- 
vasion were entertained at all of the large seaports. The fortifica- 
tions about New- York were strengthened in May. At the close of 
the month the British blockading vessels were ordered to admit no 
more neutral or licensed trading vessels by the passage of Long 
Island Sound. On May 24, Alderman Fish, from the committee on 
defense, presented a draft of a memorial to the general government 
inviting their attention to the inadequate number of United States 
troops in the forts. The memorial was adopted, and Alderman 
Mesier and Assistant Alderman King were appointed a committee to 
present it to the president and Congress. It read as follows : 

To the Honorable the Senate and House of Bepresentativea of the Congress of the United 

The Common Council of the City of New-York, in behalf of the people of the city, 
most respectfully represent that having made application to different constituted 
authorities for the protection of this city, and still finding it in a very critical and 
exx>osed situation, they consider it their solemn and indispensable duty to make this 
representation as the last resort to the constitutional guardians of the common 
defence and general welfare. When the Constitution of the United States guarantees 
each State against invasion it undoubtedly declares that all the means or the . 
powers of the National Government shall be used for the purpose of defence. In 
calling upon the Senate and House of Representatives to perform the guarantee en- 
joined by the federal compact we wish to be explicitly understood that we solicit no 
X>artial indulgence or particular favor. 

The great portion of the revenue which is collected in this city; the valuable com- 
merce which is here carried on ; the immense wealth which is here accumulated, and 
the extensive and severe distress which might be produced in this part of the Union, 
must render it an object of the first importance to the policy as well as the cupidity 
of the enemy to make a successful attack upon this place, and when it is consid- 
ered that hostile ships of war are at this moment cruising within twenty-five miles of 
this city and that with a favorable wind ships of the line can come up to our wharves 
in two hours from the ocean, it must be admitted that there is as great if not greater 
reason to apprehend danger here than at those places on the waters of the Delaware 
and Chesapeake which have been menaced by the approach of the enemy. 

With full confidence in the commanding officer assigned to this place, and without 
the most distant intention of criminating any branch of the government, we still deem 
it our duty to state in the most explicit manner that we are now in a more dangerous 
situation than we have been in for a number of years. The number of men stationed 
in the different forts is wholly inadequate, and no call has been made on the Militia to 
supply the deficiency. In this last respect we are peculiarly situated, for while less 
exposed places in other parts of the United States are garrisoned at the expense of 
the United States, we are deprived of this mode of defence ; and while we readily 
admit that larg^ expenditures have been made for the erection of fortifications in this 
port, yet we are at the same time constrained to state that the important works at 
Hendrick's Reef, on the adjoining heights of Long Island, at Sandy Hook, at the 
Battery on this island, and at Fort Gansevoort are in a very imperfect state ; and the 
pass to this City by the Sound is entirely undefended, and it is well understood that a 
Vol. ra.— 18. 

274 mSTOEY OF new-yobk 

ship of the line oan approach us in diat direction with very inconsideTable risk as to 
the navigation. 

To enter into a more detailed account of our sitnation would be unnecessary aud 
perhaps improper, but as we consider the object of this memorial of the highest im- 
portanc« to the prosperity of this City and the extensive Country with which it is con- 
nected by commerce and the ties of mutual interests, we have authorized a committee 
of this board to repair with it to the seat of government, and to make such other re- 
spectful representations as the emei^enoy of the case and our very critical situation 
imperiously require, and they will be specially chargeable to state to your honorable 
body that every measure in the power of your memorialists will be promptly adopted 
to promote the means of defence presented by the General Government, and we are 
fully persuaded that our fellow citizens will also cheerfully and unanimously cooperate. 

The new Congress met on this day (May 24). New- York was 
represented by Egbert Benson and Jotham Post, Jr., both Federal- 
ists. The platform on which they were elected was " Liberty, Peace 

and Commerce." 
The State was 

the Senate by 
Bufus King and 
Obadiah German. 
Governor Tomp- 
kins was reelect- 
ed for three years 
in April, and on 
May 31, without 
waiting for action 
by Congress, he, 
by general orders, 

directed all commanders of brigades to fix places of rendezvous in 
ease of invasion, and report to General Stewart, whose orders were 
to be " implicitly obeyed by all militia officers within the southeni 
district." In consequence there was an immediate thorough oi-gan- 
ization of the several commands, and regulations were devised and 
published to meet all probable contingencies. 

All parties celebrated the Fourth of July, but there was little har- 
mony on the occasion. The 4th falling on Sunday, the celebration 
was held on Monday, the 5th. General Morton's brigade, and Major 
James Homer's squadron of cavalry paraded early in the day, inde- 
pendently. Marching to the Parade on the Battery, they were there 
dismissed. The Tammany Society, or Columbian Order, was active in 
its demonstration, but the numbers were reported as small. They 
had abandoned their old badges and wore no buck-tails on their hats. 


The atrocities of the Indians on the frontier made it politic for them to 
discard the Indian costume which they usually wore on this day. The 
Federalist organizations, the Washington, Benevolent, and Hamilton 
societies, were in full force. The Veteran Corps of Artillery wore 
V)adges of mourning on their swords in respect to the memory of 
General Pike and Captain Lawrence, the latest victims of the war. 
This was the only military body which took part in either of the 
civic processions. It marched with Tammany at the call of Captain 
McLean. Both celebrations ended with a grand dinner. The Federals 
dined at Washington Hall, where about three thousand people were 
assembled. The Rev. Dr. John Mason of the Presbyterian Church 
opened the proceedings with prayer, and the address was by Gouver- 
neur Morris, Federalist in tone but thoroughly patriotic in spirit. 

The first notice of the declaration of blockade came from Thomas 
Barclay, late British consul, now British agent for the exchange of 
prisoners. On July 2 he notified John G. Bogert, the Russian vice- 
consul, of the proclamation of Admiral Warren, in accordance with 
the Regent's orders of May 26, declaring the " ports of New- York, 
Charleston, Port Royal, Savannah and the River Mississippi to be in 
a state of strict and vigorous blockade ; and that the blockade will 
be enforced by his Majesty's ships of war in Long Island Sound, off 
Sandy Hook, and elsewhere." At the end of July the British had on 
our coast eighty vessels of war. Robert Fulton had invented tor- 
pedoes for the destruction of vessels, and Congress had in March 
authorized the payment of the value of any English vessel thus de- 
stroyed by individuals not in the United States service. In June a 
schooner, the Eagle, was fitted out with explosives of another char- 
acter. Sailing up the Soimd, she was designedly allowed to fall iuto 
the hands of the boats of the British frigate Ramillies, and being 
brought alongside the man-of-war, blew up, killing an officer and ten 
men. Sir Thomas Hardy, commander of the Ramillies, was indig- 
nant, and threatened dire vengeance against every American vessel 
that should fall into his hands. Repeated attempts to destroy the 
Ramillies kept the Commodore in constant motion, and in August he 
threatened to fire the towns on the coast of the Sound. There was 
a constant petty trade going on with the British ships off Gardiner's 
Bay blockading New London, by which they were supplied with fresh 
provisions: an abuse which caused the secretary of the navy to issue 
a stringent order on July 20. 

In view of the many disasters of the campaign. President Madison, 
in August, designated September 9 as a day of "humiliation, fasting 
and prayer." In accordance with the proclamation, the common 
council requested the citizens to desist from labor and business on 
that day. The day precedifag, the mayor and common council went 


in a small boat to review the flotilla of gunboats under Commodore 
William Lewis, stationed at Spermaceti Cove, below Sandy Hook, and 
to inspect the fortifications. While the review was in progress news 
came that the British ships were approaching New-York by way of 
the Sound, and a frigate and sloop of war had anchored off Eye 
Neck, ten miles east of New Rochelle. The flotilla instantly em- 
barked their field-pieces and, twenty-six in number, stood up the bay. 
Passing through Hell Gate in the night, they came within range of 
the nearest British frigate about noon. The man-of-war sailed toward 
the flotilla and fired a number of shots. The range was too long for 
the artillery of the gimboats to do any execution. The British then 
stood away to the eastward, and the flotilla returned to Sandy Hook. 

On the morning of September 13, the bodies of Lawrence and Lud- 
low arrived at Harlem overland from Salem. They were taken by 
water and placed on board the Alert, lying off the navy-yard. The 
colors in the harbor were all displayed at half-mast. The common 
council, on the 14th, ordered a funeral procession, the details of which 
were announced in the newspapers in black-bordered columns. The 
original route was designated to be from the Battery through State, 
Whitehall, Pearl, and Wall streets to Trinity Church; but in view of 
the great number of societies who applied for place in line, the route 
was changed to be from the Battery through Greenwich street to 
Chambers street and Broadway to Trinity Church. The line was 
formed at ten o'clock in the morning, but, says the " Columbian'' (the 
evening paper), "so unusual was the concourse which assembled to 
pay the last public tribute of respect to our gallant countrymen and 
follow their remains to their final repose, that the solemn duties were 
not yet performed nor the line of march completed when our paper 
went to press." Twenty to thirty thousand people are said to have 
gathered along the line of march, the weather being exceptionally 
fine. The burial services were conducted by Bishop John Henry 
Hobart. Among the marines in the procession were part of the crew 
of the Hornet when the Peacock struck to Lawrence. The proces- 
sion was estimated to have included six thousand persons marching 
four abreast. On this sad occasion the rival Federalist and Republican 
societies hushed their discords. 

On October 20 General Dearborn superseded General Lsard in 
command of the military district of New-York. That day the British 
ships again appeared in the Sound, near the city, and committed some 
petty depredations, and again Commodore Lewis took up his flotilla 
from the bay. The British had already withdrawn on his arrival. 
Evacuation Day was celebrated this year with unusual animation, 
the veterans taking a leading part. They dined, after performing 
the duties of the day, at the old Revolutionary hostelry, Fraunces' 


Tavern, This was the last military parade of the year. General 
Morton's brigade and Major Warner's squadron were reviewed ou the 
Battery by Generals Dearborn, Stevens, and Morton. There was a 
public dinner by the common council, and subscription dinners at 
Tammany Hall and Washington Hall. 

General Harrison arrived in the city after his successful campaign 
ou November 28. When, in October, resolutions were introduced in 
the common council for the gift of a sword and the presentation 
of the freedom of 
the city to Gene- 
ral Harrisou, they 
were defeated by 
the Federalists, by 
a vote of twelve 
to five, for some 
political reason 
not now easy to 
understand. An 
election had since 
taken place, which 
had resulted in an 
equal division of 
the board of alder- 
men and assist- 
ants between the Federalists and RepubUcans. Mayor Clinton had a 
casting-vote, and, as has been stated, was a Federalist. So was Re- 
corder Josiah Ogden Hoffman. Governor Tompkins received General 
Harrison with great distinction. The State Eepublieau committee en- 
tertained him with a grand dinner at Tammany Hall. Colonel Rutgers 
presided. The military dignitaries were present, but the mayor was 
not. The FederaUsts, not to be outdone, gave a dinner to Commodore 
Bainbridge, in honor of his victory in the Constitution over the 
Java. General Stevens gave the first volunteer toast, " The President 
and Congress at sea. May the message and reports from them be in 
the spirit of the Constitution."- The Republicans retorted with a 
dinner to Commodore Perry on January 14, 1814. The board was 
not, however, graced by high officials, civil or military. Governor 
Tompkins was busy at Albany, and the army officers were convened 
there also for the court martial of General Hull, 

In December, 1813, Don Thomas Stoughton, Spanish consul at New- 

1 Used by Oeneral WuhiogtoD tn Federal Hsil, petrBt«d a pun, the point o( which lay in the fact 
Wall street, and now to be seen in the Governors that the Prraident and Congress were the re- 
Room, City Hall, New-York. Editor. spectire nunee of two United States frigate* 

-It nuiy be aa well to note hurt that Qenenl which had mcceeded in miming the blockade, 

Stevens, In offering this toast, intentionally per- See page 2T0. Editob. 



York, received official notice that Admiral Warren had, on December 
2, declared that after the 6tb no vessels should be pennitted to leave 
Long Island Sound. The bays and ports on the Long Island shore 
of the Sound were all occupied, but no molestation was given to the 
inhabitants. This ended the career of the New- York privateers. As 
New- York depended on this coastwise trade for supplies in food and 
clothing, the close blockade, at a time of year when land transportation 
was difficult, was excessively annoying. 

Governor Tompkins, who had presided over the affairs of New-York 
since 1807, arranged at Albany, during the winter of 1813-1814, with 
Colonel Winfield Scott the plans of a campaign for the relief of the 
border in the spring of 1814. Scott was 
made brigadier-general in the United 
States army. Taking command of the 
troops at Plattsburg, Scott moved to the 
Niagara, while General Brown went to 
Sackett's Harbor. Western New- York 
was then a wilderness. Arrived at Buf- 
falo, Scott formed a eamp of instruction. 
Toward the end of June, General Brown 
arrived at Buffalo, and a plan being con- 
certed, the troops crossed the Niagara 
River from Black Bock on July 3, and, 
landing in two columns, one below and 
one above Fort Erie, invested the place, 
which at once surrendered. On the 4th 
^/z/'CA,^ c-^ ,..*?C^ ' Scott marched on Chippewa. General 
"^"^^ Eiall did not await his arrival, but, tak- 
ing the initiative, moved his army forward and attacked the Ameri- 
cans on the plain of Chippewa early in the morning of July 5. By 
able generalship and a skilful tactical movement at the critical 
moment, Scott gained a complete victory, the British retreating across 
the river. 

On the 7th the American army crossed Chippewa Creek and marched 
on Fort George. This place General Brown found too strong for re- 
duction, except by siege-guns, and marched his forces back to Queens- 
town. On the 25th, learning that the enemy had sent a force across to 
LewistoD, Scott was sent forward on the road to the falls to threaten 
the forts and force their return. Not far from Table Rock, British 
officers were seen on horseback, and soon after the enemy was met 
in Lundy's Lane in superior force. Scott held his ground, capturing 
General Riall and his staff, until he was reinforced at dusk by General 
Brown. Notwithstanding the darkness, the action continued hotly. 
Generals Brown and Scott both being wounded, Gleneral Eleazar W. 


Ripley took the command, repulsing every assault until the British 
with(h«w, and an hour later he was at Chippewa with the entire 
American force and all the wounded. Soon after he withdrew to 
Buffalo, and the troops were posted at Fort Erie. General Drummond 
now took command of the British troops, and, after busy preparation, 
marched on Fort Erie, which he attempted to storm. The assaulting 
columns were all repulsed with heavy loss. A siege was then begun 
by regular approaches, but the works were surprised by a sortie of 
the Americans, the guns dismounted, 
and the magazine exploded after a 
sanguinary struggle. On September 
21, General Drummond raised the 
siege and withdrew beyond the line 
of the Chippewa. In October Fort 
Erie was dismantled, and the Ameri- 
cans recrossed the Niagara to the 
United States side. 

Meanwhile, interesting events had 
occurred at the eastern end of the 
American line. In February, Gen- 
eral James "Wilkinson, whose army 
lay at French Mills, moved it to 
Plattsburg on Lake Champlain, 
whence, on March 3, he marched into 
Canada with four thousand men. Ho 
found his progress blocked by a small force strongly posted on the 
Sorel in a stone mill and blockhouse. Finding it impossible to dis- 
lodge them except by heavy guns, which the condition of the roads 
prevented his bringing up, General Wilkinson abandoned the expe- 
dition and returned to Plattsburg. This aggressive movement was 
replied to by a series of petty attacks. InMay Sir James Yeo, with his 
fleet, and General Drummond made a concerted movement on the 
dilapidated works at Oswego. The fort was gallantly defended, but 
at last abandoned. The British, finding that the strength of the 
village of Oswego on the opposite shore of the river was not what 
they had expected, withdrew. A few days after a British squadron 
threatened Charlotte, at the mouth of the Genesee Eiver. General 
Porter removed the women and children and called in the militia, 
whereupon the ships bombarded the town, after which they withdrew. 
In May also two British gunboats, attempting to capture a flotilla 
oL which were the guns destined for a new war vessel building in 
Sackett's Harbor, fell into a snare and were captured, and the guns 
safely taken in. They were for the Mohawk, which, launched on 
June 11, 1814, brought up the number of Chauncey's squadron to 




nine vessels, carrying two hundred and fifty-one guns. In August 
General Izard, who had succeeded Wilkinson in command, marched 
from Plattsburg to the Niagara River, which he crossed with about 

eight thousand men to 
attack General Dnun- 
mond on the Chippewa. 
After a skirmish Drum- 
mond withdrew to Fort 
Geoi^e and Burlington 
Heights, and Izard, un- 
enterprising, retired on 
Black Rock. 

The British govern- 
ment inNovember, 1813, 
driven to the wall by 
the second offer of me- 
diation by their great 
ally, the Emperor of 
Russia, made proposals 
to James Monroe, then 
secretary of state, to 
treat directly with the United States, and commissioners were ap- 
pointed to meet the American commissioners at Ghent. There seems 
little doubt that these negotiations were retarded on the British side, 
while one great effort was made to rectify their Canadian frontier 
by the conquest of that strip of land which Clinton had secured for 
the State of New- York, and which lay along the waters of Champlain. 
The British plan of operations was essentially that pursued by Bur- 
goyne in 1777 (then known as the king's plan). The British army in 
Canada was reinforced by veterans of the Peninsular war, and Sir 
George Prevost was ordered to pursue Burgoyne's route. Taking ad- 
vantage of the absence of Izard on his Niagara exi)edition, Prevost 
issued a proclamation to the American settlers near Lake Champlain, 
calling on them to renounce allegiance to the United States; and on 
September 1 he crossed the border on what has been called the sec- 
ond invasion of New- York. Like Burgoyne, he found his march im- 
peded by felled trees, choked streams, and broken bridges. Moving 


I Notable among the defenseB proTided for the 
city WM > Btoam wfti^vaasel, planned by Hohert 
Fulton, *Dd called Pulton the Finit. Her keel was 
bdd In June, ISU, and she was lannched irith 
gnM, public reJolelDga on October 29. Her ma- 
cblneiy was then put aboard, under Pnlton's peiv 
sonal dlreetioDS, and It was aa a result of over- 
nertion in oonneotion with this labor that tlie 
Inventor died in February, ISIS. In Hay the 
mMhiiiery was tested, and on July i a snceeas- 

(ul trip was made to the ocean and back. Not tJD 
Septomber. however, was her armament oom- 
pleted, and then war had long ceased. She was a 
structure reatluK upon two boats and keels, sepa- 
rated from end to end by a channel fifteen feet wide 
and siity-aii feet lan)r- One of these boata eoo- 
t^ned the boiler, the other the machinery. The 
paddle-wiieel was placed In the space between. 
With her full armament on board, ahe attained • 
speed of Bve and a half miles in bonr. KtttWM. 



1 '' 



slowly, while waiting the arrival of the fleet on Lake Champlain, 
under Commodore George Downie, he reached Platt8hm*g on the 6th. 
Plattsburg was held by General Macomb with a force of fifteen hun- 
dred men. The fleet arrived on the 11th at the foot of the lake, and 
eight thousand men advanced to the assault. The attempt to ford 
was made at three places, but repulsed at each. The success of the 
American resistance was, however, determined by a naval battle, one 
of the most celebrated in our history, and curious in the annals of 
marine encounters from its peculiar features. 

The fleet which Commodore Downie brought to enter the bay was 
materially greater than that of Captain Thomas McDonough, who 
*-^, ^ commanded the American squad- 
ron. Downie's chief reliance was 
on bis flag-ship, the Confiance, 
which carried a frigate armament 
of thirty long twenty-fours on a 
heavy-gun deck. The British flo- 
tilla consisted of sixteen vessels, 
with ninety-five guns, and one 
thousand and fifty men ; the 
American, of fourteen vessels, with 
eighty-six guns, and eight hundi"ed 
and fifty men. McDonough had 
determined to fight at anchor, and 
so placed his ships that the British 
could only win a passage by forcing 
it under a broadside fire. His flag- 
ship, the Saratoga, he ingeniously 
arranged so that, by a kedge-anchor 
and hawsers on the quarters, he 
could bring her broadside to bear 
in any desired direction while her 
bow remained stationary. The English advanced in steady line, and 
a terrible broadside fire was opened on either side, that of the Con- 
fiance sweeping the Saratoga's deck, and for a moment checking her 
response till the dead and wounded were sent below. McDonough's 
ingenious arrangement enabled him to cripple his heavier antagonist, 
the Confiance, who clung closely to him until, after a fight of over two 
hours, the British colors came down. Commodore Downie bad fallen 
early in the action. The victory was complete. General Prevost gave 
up his plan of campaign, and returned hastily to Canada. Thus ended 

I Colonel Tobias Lear, who died In 1816. waa for matic podtlons. Bis portrait is copied (rom a 
■erenl years private secretary to Waahinf^D in miniature in (lie pOHSeBrian ot a ^TanddaDgbter. 
New-Yorlc and elsevhere. and filled various diplo- He was related to Mrs. Wasbiogtoo. Edftob. 


the second invasion of New- York State. Her northern frontier was 
once more secure, nor was it again disturbed during this war. 

The city of New- York, which had been anxious since the beginning 
of the year, began to breathe again more freely. The common 
council tendered to Captain McDonough the usual honors of the free- 
dom of the city and the addition of his portrait to their gallery ; on 
September 26, and on October 10, complimented General Brown in 
the same manner for his victory on the Chippewa; and on November 
21 extended similar honors to General Macomb for his services on 
the frontier in command " of a small army acting in concert with a 
body of militia hastily assembled from the State and Vermont.'' 

Privateering, as has been stated, was always a favorite profession 
in the city of New- York. Of the two hundred and fifty-one commis- 
sions in the entire war. New- York sent out fifty-five, — a number only, 
and that but slightly, exceeded by Baltimore. They were similar if 
not alike in size and armament, fast sailers, and earned an eighteen- 
pound gun mounted in swivel on deck. The most celebrated of those 
which sailed from New- York were the Governor Tompkins, which 
took the Mary Ann off the Madeira Islands with a cargo valued at 
sixty thousand dollars. Soon after this capture she chased a large 
vessel, which proved to be a British frigate. The little vessel was 
severely handled, but by the use of her sweeps got away. A still 
more notable affair was the capture, by the General Armstrong of 
New- York, of the Queen, armed with sixteen guns, and carrying a 
cargo valued at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars. On an- 
other occasion the Armstrong engaged, off Surinam, what she sup- 
posed to be an English privateer, but turned out to be an English 
frigate carrying twenty guns. After an action of three quarters of an 
hour, the Armstrong got away. In July, the Yankee, a fishing-smack, 
was fitted out in New- York harbor to capture the British sloop of 
war Eagle. A calf, a sheep, a goose, and three fishermen were placed 
on deck, while below lay forty men with muskets. Overhauled by 
the Eagle, and ordered to report to the commodore, at the signal- 
word ^^ Lawrence!^ the men concealed rose together, fired, and at one 
volley killed three of the enemy, and drove the rest below. The sloop 
of war struck without firing a gun, and was taken up to New- York, 
where the people were crowded on the Battery celebrating inde- 
pendence. Little wonder that the British people, exasperated to 
madness, demanded the annihilation of the American navy, and that 
English newspapers urged that American merchantmen should be 
compelled to exhibit in large letters on their mainsails : " Licensed 
to carry guns pursuant to a British act of Parliament " ; and this only 
to protect them against the pirates of the Mediterranean or the la- 
drones of China. 



The declaration of war found the city of New- York in a poor state 
of defense, notwithstanding the efforts of the general government. 
In the year 1798, when war was daily expected with France, the sub- 
ject of the fortifications received careful study. The opinions of the 
old officers were obtained and compared. Aaron Burr favored a system 
of martello towers, but Mangin's plans were essentially adopted. A 
military command was appointed, with Hamilton at its head. G-ov- 
emor Jay called a special meeting of the legislature at Albany, which 
provided the means, and the mayor and citizens of New- York aided in 
the raising of funds in accordance with the provisions. The war 
scare over, the same apathy prevailed imtil the affair of the Leander 
caused a temporary alarm. In 1807 the city was defenseless, the 
Narrows and the Hell Gate passage being without a fortification. In 
the spring of that year the general government, alarmed at the drift of 
our foreign relations, began a systematic work of harbor fortification, 
but it had dragged slowly. As the blockade which the British now 
established became more rigid, the citizens took alarm. In May, 1813, 
Senator Ruf us King presented a memorial from the New- York com- 
mon council praying that measures might be adopted for their greater 
security and protection. This petition was referred to the secretary 
of war. General Armstrong. The common council, in the summer of 
1814, issued a public call to a general public meeting to concert mea- 
sures of defense. 

In pursuance of this call, the citizens gathered in the park in front of 
the City Hall on August 11, 1814. Colonel Eutgers was chosen chair- 
man, and Oliver Wolcott, Adams's secretary of the treasury, secretary. 
A committee was appointed, consisting of Drs. Samuel L. Mitchill and 
William J. McNevin, with Messrs. Wolcott, Eichard Eiker, Anthony 
Bleecker, and William Sampson, to draft resolutions. Colonel Willett 
made a spirited address, at the close of which Eiker presented the 
resolutions, which were unanimously agreed to. They pledged union 
in arms, a defense to the last extremity, and urged all classes to en-, 
roll in the militia or the naval service, and to aid in the prosecution 
of the public works.* 

1 New-Tork ResolnHons, Aagost 11, 1814 : 
BeMlvedy That the dtisens here assembled will, 
to the last extremity, defend their city. Resolvedy 
That we will unite ourselves in arms with our 
brethren of the coimtry, and on the first approach 
of the enemy, make it a common oausb. Mesolvedt 
That humbly confiding in the favor of the Almighty, 
we hope to prove ourselves not unworthy of that 
freedom won by the heroes of the Revolution ; and 
trust that the enemy they vanquished will receive 
from us a similar defeat. Resolved^ That we highly 
approve of the measures for pubUe defence which 
have been devised by the government of the United 
States, by his excellency the governor of the 
State, and by the corporation of this City ; and that 

we will cooperate in carrying the same into eifec- 
tual execution. Resolved^ That it be recommended 
to the dtisens generally, to meet, as soon as may 
be practicable with convenience, in their respec- 
tive wards, for the purpose of electing discreet 
and efficient committees to promote the execution 
of the following objects. 1. To complete the vol- 
untary enrollment of persons exempted by law 
from military service. 2. To encourage the en- 
rollment of seafaring citizens for service in the 
harbor or as artillerists ; and 3. The enrollment 
of citisens for voluntary labor on the public works. 
B^Mlved, That it be the special duties of the ward 
committees to provide, under the direction of the 
corporation of the City, for the relief and protec- 



In August, 1814, a committee of young gentlemen issued an address 
to the spirited and patriotic young men for the organization of the 
militia. It was signed by Isaac Merrick, David Ludlow, Stephen 
Keen, John M. Elliott, George Lovejoy, and S. B. Brega. The purpose 
was to raise a battalion of volunteer infantry. A part of the plan is 
curious. "A cheap, neat and becoming uniform is fixed upon, calcu- 
lated rather to give a soldierly appearance than to attract and please 
the eye of childhood. It is simply as follows: A blue broadcloth round- 
about, narrow rolling collar, single-breasted, buttoned in front with 
bell buttons, a row on each side the collar — will cost about fifteen 
dollars. Beaver of a straight crown, about nine inches high, helmet 
front, diminishing gradually towards the back, leaving there only half 
an inch brim ; a waving red plume, the staff of which is supported by a 
stripe of broad gold lace running from the base or rim of the hat 
and forming a cockade near the top with a narrow band of lace — 
will cost at the utmost not more than ten dollars. Cartouch box 
covered with red morocco, secured round the waist by a belt of the 
same to which the bayonet's scabbard will be affixed — will cost five 
dollars''; — the total cost of the outfit so far being thirty dollars. Yel- 
low nankeen pantaloons, black handkerchief, boots, together with a 
musket, completed the equipment. The roll was in the hands of Mr. 
George Asbridge at No. 9 William street, corner of Beaver street. 
A reference to Longworth's directory shows that this Asbridge was 
a printer. 

The resolution adopted for the enrolment of voluntary labor to 
complete the defenses was responded to with enthusiasm. The me- 
chanics, who from the days of the Stamp Act had been ardently 
patriotic, turned out in organized bodies to aid in digging and con- 
structing the fortifications. Militia companies were raised, and offices 
for the enlistment of sailors opened. Castle Clinton — later well known 
as Castle Garden, because applied to purposes of popular amuse- 
ment — was built at the southwest point of the island. A battery, 
which was named the North Battery, was thrown up at the foot of 
Hubert street, and Fort Gansevoort at the foot of Gansevoort street. 
Fort Columbus was built on Governor's Island, where General Stevens 
had erected the earthwork and barracks in 1798 ; and Castle Williams 
on the same island. On Bedlow's Island a strong star fort was 
erected (now the site of Bartholdi's noble and gigantic statue of 
Liberty), and on Ellis Island a circular battery. The Staten Island 

tion of the families of such persons as may be mote concord, and will discoantenance all attempts 

absent on public daty, and also, to provide in the to weaken the patriotic eif orts of good citisens. 

best manner practicable, for the protection of Hesdved, That we will endeavor to discover and 

such helpless persons and their property, as in subject to the animadversion of the laws, all per- 

case of alarm may be desirous of moving into the sons who shall be concerned in any illicit com- 

country. Hesolvedf That we will endeavor to pro- merce or improper intercourse with the enemy. 






shore was commanded by Fort Eichmond, 
a strong construction of stone on the high 
ground ; Fort Tompkins, on a still greater 
elevation in the rear; and Fort Hudson, 
nearly on the shore-line below. As the 
passage at the Narrows is very short, as 
the name implies, and the channel draws 
close under the Staten Island highland, 
these afforded an almost sure defense. 
On the opposite side, in the upper bay, 
was Fort Diamond, later Fort Lafayette, a 
still stronger work built on made ground 
and commanding the water-line. To- 
gether these mounted five hundred guns, 
and amply protected the entrance against 
any floating armament of the period. 

The entrance from the East River to the 
Sound just west of Hell Gate was com- 
manded by Fort Stevens on the Long 
Island shore at Hallett's Point, named 
after General Stevens, who superintended 
its construction, and whose country-seat 
was at Mount Bonaparte, the old Hallett 
farm being at Hallett's Cove near by. 
This low stone battery was again com- 
manded by a round tower on high ground 
in the rear; opposite, across the stream, 
whose rapid waters, surging around numer- 
ous rocks, rendered passage dangerous ex- 
cept to skilled pilots, was a similar work 
at Benson's Point. Strong works guarded 
McGowan's Pass on the Harlem road and 
the pass on the western side of the island 
on the Bloomingdale road, a Une of block- 
houses being thrown up between. 

In August a requisition was made by 
Congress for twenty thousand men to be 
stationed in and about the city. The cor- 
poration of New-York raised the neces- 
sary funds, under pledge of reimbursement 

Fao-simlle of ft portion ot an origlnkl deed In the hand- 

wrltinfc at the Rev. John Livingiton of AnomiD. at Luutrk. 
June 27, 1624. Be was the father of Bobert LiiTioggtan. 
founder of the famous New-York family. This ancient and 
Interetiting document la among tbe archlvei of Coliinm House. 
SttrlingBhire, Scotland. Editob. 


by the United States. Enlistment proceeded with such speed that by- 
September 1 all the artillery and infantry of the city and county 
were consolidated and mustered into the United States service, under 
their own oflScers, their pay, rations, and regulations being those of 
the regulars. Governor Tompkins and General Morgan Lewis were 
the post commanders. The entire detachgd division was placed 
under the command of General Stevens.^ The seamen enrolled were 
placed under command of Commodore Decatur, who, on the transfer 
of Commodore Rodgers to the Guerri^re in the spring of 1814, had 
been assigned to the command of the President, — the United States 
(his old ship), and the Macedonian, his prize, having been removed up 
the Thames above New London in April of that year and dismantled. 
Here he had been joined by Captain James Biddle, who brought 
down the Hornet from New London, passing the close blockade with 
consummate skill and safety. 

The idea was general that New- York would soon be attacked by a 
powerful expedition of land and sea forces, and a descent was daily 
expected. The cruise of the President was therefore countermanded, 
and Decatur was ordered to remain in the city and take entire charge 
of the naval defense. Advantage was taken of Decatur's presence in 
the city to confer on him the municipal honors voted to him by the 
common council. On November 14 a committee, consisting of Alder- 
men Peter Mesier and John Munson, introduced him to the common 
council at the City Hall. Mayor Clinton, in his address to him, said that 
" the city looked to him as one of her most efficient protectors in the 
hour of peril ^ ; and, alluding to the many successes at sea, said : " Sir, 
during the Revolutionary War, our contest with France and the Bar- 
bary powers, and in the present war with Great Britain, the gallantry 
and skill of our seamen have been constantly gaining upon the admira- 
tion of mankind. Wherever they have approached an Enemy victory 
has almost invariably attended the American flag. The Great Lakes, 
the Mediterranean Sea, the British Channel, the Atlantic and Pacific 
Oceans, bear witness to their illustrious exploits, and they have ele- 
vated America to the pinnacle of naval glory.'' When Decatur left 
the hall he was saluted by the citizens who had " assembled to wit- 
ness the honors paid to their gallant countryman." The number of 
men enrolled for the force under his orders, including man-of-war's- 
men on the ships and gunboats, and the Sea Fencibles, — a kind of 
naval militia, — exceeded five thousand. These Decatur thoroughly 

1 This officer had served in the Continental army 
from Banker Hill to Torktown. He entered New- 
Tork on the day the British evacaated the city, 
as lieutenant-colonel of the Second Continental 
Artillery, which was essentially a New-Tork re- 
giment. Entering into hnxiness, he was at this 
time one of the leading merchants of the city. 

After the death of Hamilton, he was the acknow- 
ledged head of the veteran Revolutionary element 
of the city. While not partisan, his sympathies 
were with the Republican party. He had been 
Lafayette's chief of artillery, and his house was 
the rendezvous of many French officers and gen- 
tlemen who visited New-York. 

( I I 

. V-'. iJilJi 

..1! 'j: •Li»e erew of the President 

-. .-' :'?u in person. His squadron 

.. -:--Mj.n. 'yl guns; the new sluop 

. - • \:»i:i?. Destined tor the East 

. ...• •» r J :i»v bay, closely blo(.*kaded by 

.. ...i.-;.rp' irilled several hours a day, 

rw, tuf regiments onee a week, the 

-ii»-i if t '^:evens, who was a strict disci- 

., -vMf -Sired them in parade three or 

-ii iipre months' serv^ice. In a grand 

...iviii> at the close of the cami^aign, 

Miiv-riiree thousand men, — all, exccjit 

;;.LiicU>, being volunteers. The army of 

I tie frontier of the State, but New- 

. ^i>k:ii and amply able to defend her 

• iiu war De Witt Clinton held the office 

m* war in the beginning, and in fact the 

,, . i iie Republican party in 1812, against 

> - u> • « »r« iial and patriotic in his supi)ort of all 

'. . fit Ivepublican party was divided into two 

. .^, viiv> had their headquarters in Tammany 

.-^IlI: and the Clintonians, or Martling-men, 

;'uUi ..»i: meeting at Martling's Long Room." 

.^ llni^iuud as to the propriety and policy of 

. vi -ciii, caused distrust in AVashington as to 

•iv'ii, which in its turn caused apprehension in 

iv -i 'iie conditions of peace they might be left 

• .i> Britain. A committee of the Massachusetts 

.. . iic sttite of public affairs, suggested that the 

. -iost'cution of the war should be retained for 

. oi expended elsewhere. A (convention from 

.. > vii.> recommended, to provide "some mode of 

ir«*umstanc(*s and exigencies of those States.'* 

. :•: at 'U^irates from every New England State met 

. .. . 'Ai'K'V \.\ 1S14. The sessions were held with closed 

.. ..arm throughout the country. The convention 

:, 'iiaiiary 5, and made a report which, ill-judged 

ua.-s, wont no further than to propose amend- 

. .. i.uiiioIh Hiid tho in ISIO. and thou only by ont» stTrion of the «lonii- 
^jud thf mayor- imnt oriranizatiou. The FtiltTalists .>»tfailily tlf- 

olintMl aftrr x\w iva***.*. their Wst oU'mt*nt !*up|»orT- 
I- ;uIoj«IihI l>y the ill;: Do Witt Clinton in the >*iilise4Uent polirioal 
iw . h:uler eUvtion stnijnrles in the city ami State. 


ments to the Constitution of the United States restricting the powers 
of Congress and of the executive to declare and make war, etc. The 
evils which this separatist movement might have caused were hap- 
pily averted by the signing of the peace. New- York, thoroughly 
loyal to the Union although the greatest sufferer by the war, cut off 
as she was from the contraband trade, was profoundly disturbed by 
this agitation on her eastern border. 


From the beginning of the war the support of the treasury of the 
United States came chiefly from the Middle States. Of the loan of 
sixteen millions authorized by Congress in December, 1812, New- York 
took $5,720,000, Pennsylvania $6,a')8,400, Maryland $2,393,300, while 
New England subscribed for but $486,700, and the Southern States 
$541,000, together but little over one million dollars. The extremely 
small subscription in New England (Boston taking but $75,300) can 
only be explained by a fixed detei-mination not to support the war, 
based on a belief in the dissolution of the Union. The influence of 
Mr. Ghtllatin saved the loan, David Parish and Stephen Girard in 

Vol. m.— 19. 

ilL-jTuKl" wf yEW-rOHK 

i jnd Brooklyn Ferry. 

■ ill! .im:.'>i> A^t'.r ill Xew-York, all personal friends 
XV. ;Lkiuu; '<v._t ten millions for themselves and 
:ir';f <>L i]ini>^. mou were foreign-boru. Tliis was 
iiiitui:iui miasactiou. Between June 1, 1811, and 
if-i-* in -Ik' Massacliusietts banks increased from 
..HHi iu til:.' lutter year. Of the $41,010,000 sui»- 
i!i'-in in various ways from the beginning of the 
;;,. ..[L'i ■■! the year 1814, — the Eastern States con- 
■-.:•■ Middle States :fa5,790,000, the Southwesteni 
ii.i. ^:i'>p*'iVfi-. four fifths of the floating debt on 
i> '.if\<\ ^'^^ the eilies of New- York, Philadeljihia, 
; |;>;irii*t 111' (.\»himbia. An application of the text, 
"Where your treasure is, there will 
your Iieart be also," seems not inap- 
propriate ill a review of this selfish 
public policy. The capture of Wash- 
ington by the British in August, 1814, 
[irwipitated a generaV suspeusiim cif 
the banks of the United States, in- 
I'luding those of New- York city. Tlie 
depression of the currency in New- 
,- y. :hB swm F«Tr)L-BoK, York was from seven to ten per cent. 
K ,-b.knbm, -iM «e luihori- (much less than the average of that 
"yRtjE Hicits, BnwkijB, i" otfaer cities). The price of couimod- 
L.HN MNrARD.s2wdt-«. jties increased one half. The banks 
Vvia^u!" $10 00 of New England, continuing their 
*"*"''* 6iD. *" policy, within a little over a year drew 
to their vaults over eight millions of 
.'lu- hidf the entire stock of the United States. 
.s undertaken in England for peace had not ))eeii 
iluiuks to the vigorous defense of New- York ten-itory, 
LU'sts wliivh'(ii"eat Britain might pretend to claim under 
' .'i' tlif nil possidetis (hold what you possess) — a claim 
:idviiiiceil by Loi-d Batlmrst, the American commission- 
vniiipunily ivfused to admit. Upon this Lord Liverpool 
(I «'U ;i vijjorous prosecution of the war with the ti-oops now 
ill Kurope, when "Wellington frankly told him that the 
■M ii.> u-iritory in the United States in other than temporary 
I. 'I'lu' news of the burning of Washington did not diseour- 
sinii^ilii-ni'd the American commissiouei-s in their deter- 
I.' -.unviiiler nothing. The treaty of Ghent was signed on 
, il;i_\. 1S14, on the Imsis of the American instructions, viz., 
'fiio iiiilc bclliun. Neither eountiy gained or gave up any- 
;<.>il)in){ was said of the employment of the savages, nothing 




conceded as to the 
impressment of sea- 
men; no concession 
CD the other hand as 
to the navigation of 
the Mississippi, or 
the fisheries. Yet the 
United States had 
received another les- 
son as to the impor- 
tance of union, and 
England had learned 
to respect the flag 
which now floated 
over her conquered 
frigates. The lesson 
taught her regulars 
at the battle of the 
Chippewa was re- 
peated at New Orle- 
ans by General An- 
drew Jackson sev- 
eral days after the 
peace was signed. It 
was fortunate, as it 
completed the asser- 
tion of the sover- 
eignty of the United 
States over every 
inch of its territory, 
not by agreement 
in articles, but by 
the supreme arbitra- 
ment of arms. 

The glorious news 
of the battle of 
New Orleans reached 
New- York city on 
February 6, 1815. In 
the midst of the 
rejoicings for this 
satisfaction for the 
burning of "Washing- 
ton, the still more 


satisfactory news of the signing of the treaty of Ghent was received 
in the city on the night of Saturday, February 14, 1815. The treaty 
itself reached the city by express in twenty-six hours from Washing- 
ton on the 25th. There were universal rejoicings. There were din- 
ners by all the societies and a grand public dinner on Washington's 
birthday, the committee upon which comprised such men as Au- 
gustus M. Lawrence, John A. Bang, Jonathan Goodhue, Philip Hone, 
Dominick Lynch, George BrinckerhoflE and William Neilson, Jr. And 
on the same appropriate day a general illumination was ordered by 
the common council and universally obeyed by the citizens. The war 
wafi over. Discord was hushed, and an era of peace and good will 
was entered upon. 


So far as known, the last survivor of the famous engagement between the Shannon 
and Chesapeake in Boston Harbor, seventy-eight years ago, is Sir Provo William 
Parry WalHs, G. C. B., who, since the death of Sir Q^orge Sartorius in 1885, has been 
the senior admiral of the British navy. He has just completed a century of existence, 
having been bom in Halifax, Nova Scotia, April 12, 1791. As he was entered on the 
books of the navy in May 1, 1795, he has been in the naval service for ninety-six years! 
Sir Provo may be said to have been the actual captor of the always unfortunate Chesa- 
peake, the first lieutenant of the Shannon having been killed and Captain Broke seri- 
ously wounded, so that the command devolved upon WaUis, the second lieutenant, who 
carried his own frigate and her prize, the Chesapeake, into Halifax, where, among the 
thousands awaiting their arrival, was his own father, then chief clerk in the navy-yard. 
For young Ludlow, the second officer of the American frigate, who was mortally 
wounded in the engagement, Wallis did everything in his power, and he was among 
tlic* chiol! mourners at his funeral in Halifax. 

lu a letter addressed to the writer, dated February 18, 1890, from his estate in the 
south of Kngland, Sir Provo says : '^ I regret to state that I cannot give you any ac- 
count of C'ttptaiu James Lawrence more than to say that we on the Shannon thought 
him a galiaut fellow, who brought the Chesapeake into action in first-rate style, who 
was mortally wounded, and I never saw him alive. Lieutenant Ludlow lived for about 
ten days after our arrival at Halifax, but died, to the great regret of all of us. He 
was a fine, gentleman-like fellow, and they are both deserving of being kept in mem- 
ory by their countrymen.'' 

WaUis was a midshipman on the Cleopatra when captured after a long action, in 
ItiOo, by the French frigate ViUe de Milan. For his gallantry and good conduct in the 
affair in Huston Harbor, June 1, 1813, although only twenty-two, he was made a com- 
maiitit^r, recHilviHl the thanks of the British government, and was soon after given the 
ciiuiUiHud of a Mtnall ship of war, the youngest officer of the British navy then enjoy- 
ing tiiat (iistluotion* All this, it should be remembered, happened before the battle of 
Wuturlud was fought, and but a few yeiurs later than the death of Lord Nelson at Tra- 
falgar* lu IH47 Wallis was appointed aide-de-camp to the queen. Four years later 
bu wa^ mailti an admiral, and in 1857 was sent out as commander-in-chief on the At- 
li^utic aof^si ot AmoiioAf hoisting his flag on board the line-of-battle-ship Cumberland. 

NEW-XORE: in the second WAB with great BRITAIN 293 

In 1860 the admiral wu created a K. C. B., soon afterward a 0. C. B., and in 1863 ar- 
rived at toll flag rank as admiral of the fleet. As already mentioned, Sir Provo has 
been for the last six years the father of the British navy. Until a very recent date 
he was one of the dock commissioners of Southampton, and the venerable sailor is 
still in the enjoyment of a fair measure of health and strength for a man who is almost 
as old as the Constitntion of the United States, and who was a sturdy lad of nearly 
nine when Oeoige Washington died in the last month of the year 1799. 

Among the many souvenirs of his long life of a century there is, perh^s, none 
that Sir Provo appreciates and values so highly as a beautiful sword presented to him 
fay the commander of the Shannon for his gallantry in 
the action with the Chesapeake. A few lines concerning 
this gallant officer and good friend of Sir Provo's will 
perhaps form a snitable pendant to this brief notice of 
the aged admiral. 

Philip Bowes Vere Broke was bom at Broke Hall, 
near Ipswich, September 9, 1776. He was bred to the 
sea, from the age of twelve, and, after passii^ through 
all the intermediate grades, was promoted to a captaincy 
in 1801. He was placed in command of the Shannon six 
years later, and sailed for Halifax in August, 1811. On 
the flrst day of June, 1813, after having sent a challenge 
to Captain Lawrence, which he never received, and while ^ - 

cruising off Boston, he fell in with the Chesapeake. A ,-*^o<ie^fc. 
severe engagement ensued, during which Lawrence was ^ 
twice wounded. Broke, at the head of fifty or sixty men, boarded the American 
frigate, and sncceoded in driving the survivors of the crew below, but was himself 
disabled for life by a blow on the head from the butt-end of a musket. For this vic- 
tory, which greatly elated the enemy, several of whose frigates we had recently cap- 
tured, Broke was knighted, and the Tower of London guns were fired. Sir Philip 
never went to sea again, but hved for nearly three decades the life of an English 
country gentleman at Broke Hall, and died in Loudon, January 2, 1841. 

James Lawrence, who possessed what old Fuller quaintly calls " a handsome man 
case," and was one of the most gallant ofQcers of the war of 1812, was bom at 
Burlington, N. J., October 1, 1781, being five years younger than Broke. He entered 
the navy in 1798, and in 1811 attained to the rank of captain. Early in the second 
war with England, when in command of the Hornet, he won a great victory over the 
Peacock. After this success, Lawrence was given command of the frigate Chesa- 
peake. A few days after his arrival in Boston the Shannon appeared in the offlng, 
and the Chesapeake immediately went out to meet her. After exchanging a few 
broadsides, the Chesapeake fouled the Shannon; Lawrence fell mortally wounded, 
and was carried below, saying, "Don't give up the ship." Captain Broke saw his 
opportunity and boarded the Chesapeake, whose flag was soon after hauled down. 
Several incidents of the action show that the crew of the Chesapeake were lacking in 
discipline. They were for the most part newly shipped and imperfectly tromed, while 
the Shannon was noted for excellent gunnery practice, and her oapt^n had supplied 
sights for the guns at his own expense. In size and armament there was not much 
disparity between the ships. Neither was seriously injured during the action, but the 
loss of the Chesapeake was forty-four killed and ninety-nine wounded, while the 
Shannon's total loss was only eighty-five. The remains of Lawrence and Ludlow 
were restored to their conntty, by whom they were received with public honors and 
buried in state in Trinity churchyard. New- York city. The bitter disappointment 
that was oanaed by the loss of the Chesapeake might have led the public to criticize 
the eonduot of Lawrence in accepting a contest for wliich he was so poorly prepared, 



had it not been for his trag^o fate and his dying injnnctioni ''Don't give np the 
ship.'' K he erred in admitting chivabrio traditions into modem warfare, it must not 
be forgotten that he associated with them both courtesy and humanity in the very 
highest degree. 

When Lawrence fell, there being no first officer on board the Chesapeake, the com- 
mand devolved upon Augustus C. Ludlow, the second lieutenant, who was almost 
immediately mortally wounded, as were also Lieutenant James Broome, U. S. M. C, and 
Courtlandt Livingston, a midshipman. Ludlow, after the surrender of the frigate, 
was removed to the Shannon, where he became an object of solicitude to Second 
Lieutenant Wallis, who left nothing undone to save the life of the young sailor of only 
twenty-one, Ludlow being but a few months his junior. He was bom in Orange 
County, N. Y., and came of a fighting family, being the youngest of four brothers, 
all holding commissions in the United States navy. He was with Lawrence in the 
Hornet when the great victory was gained over the Peacock, and he now shares the 
same grave with the hero in Trinity churchyard. Justice Story, in his glowing 
eulogy on Lawrence and Ludlow, well says: ''Nor can we forget the gay, the gallant, 
and nobJe-hearted Ludlow. Though the history of his life be short, yet it can never 
be uninteresting to those whose hearts beat high with the love of their country. 
Scarcely was he twenty-one years of age, when, like the blooming Euryalus, he accom- 
panied his beloved commander to battle. Never could it have been more truly said: 

** His amor unus erat, pariterque in bella raebant. 

" He was, indeed, worthy of the confidence and friendship of Lawrence. His soul 
was formed for deeds of active valor and martial enterprise. . . . The bodies of 
these heroes may molder away and become indistinguishable from the common mass 
of mortality, but their spirits, we trust, shall repose in the bosom of heaven, and their 
fame, their spotless fame, shall perish but with the country of their birth." — The 
Editor, in "Illustrated American," June, 1891. 






J HE conduct of New -York city during the war of 1812, in 
^'iew of the severe blow she had received to her com- 
mercial prosperity, was no shght proof of patriotism ; for 
many of her citizens who, at the beginning of the war, 
were rich, found themselves, when the treaty of peace was signed on 
December 24, 1814, ruined. The condition in which New -York was 
at the close of the war, as well as the 
extravagant demonstrations of joy 
with which the news of the termina- 
tion of hostilities was received, is 
thus graphically described by the lat« 
Francis Wayland, president of Brown 
University, who was an eye-witness of 
the scene : 

" It so chanced that, at the close of 
the last war with Great Britain, I was 
temporarily a resident of the city of 
New- York. The prospects of the na- 
tion were shrouded in gloom. We had 
been, for two or three years, at war 
with the mightiest nation on earth, 
and as she had now concluded a peace 
with the continent of Europe, we were 
obliged to cope with her single-handed. 
Our harbors were blockaded ; communications coastwise between our 
ports were cut off ; our ships were rotting in every creek and cove 
where they could find a place of security ; our immense annual pro- 
ducts were mouldering in our warehouses ; the sources of profitable 
labor were dried up; our currency was reduced to irredeemable 
paper ; the extreme portions of our country were becoming hostile 
to each other; and differences of political opinion were embittering 
the peace of every household ; the credit of the Government was 



exhaoBted ; do one could predict when the contest would tenninate, 
or discern the means by which it conld much longer be protracted. ' 
" It happened that, on a Sunday afternoon in February, 1815, a 
ship was discerned in the offing, which was supposed to be a cartel, 
bringing home our Commissioners at Ghent from their nnsnccessful 
mission. The sun had set gloomily before any intelligence had 
reached the city. Expectation became painfully intense, as the 
hours of darkness drew on. At length, a boat reached the wharf, 
announcing the fact that a treaty of peace had been signed, and was 
waiting for -nothing but the action of our Government to become a 
law. The men on whose ears these words first fell, rushed in breath- 
less hast« into the city, 
to repeat them to their 
friends, shouting, as 
they ran through the 
streets, ' Peace ! Peace ! 
Peace!' Every one who 
heard the sound re- 
peated it. From house 
to house, from street to 
street, the news spread 
with electric rapidity. 
The whole city was in commotion. Men, bearing lighted torches, 
were flying to and fro, shouting like madmen, 'Peace! Peace!' When 
the rapture had partially subsided, one idea occupied every mind. 
But few men slept that night. In groups they were gathered in 
the streets, and by the fireside, beguiling the hours of midnight by 
reminding each other that the agony of war was over, and that a 
worn out and distracted country was about to enter again upon its 
wonted career of prosperity." 

At the time that the news of peace was received, Samuel G. GK)od- 
rich happened also to be in the city. Speaking of the joyful effect 
produced, he adds similar testimony to that of President Wayland. 
" I had gone in the eveniug," he writes, " to a concert at the City 
Hotel. While listening to the music, the door of the concert-room 


1 The following lines, entitled "Hard Tiroea." *re 
quoted fnun > Neir-Tork nempaper. pabliahed In 
New-York dtj at the close of the war of 1S12 : 

"No buBlneaa stirring, all things at a stand, 
People complain they have no cuh in hand. 
'Dull times' re-ecboea now from every quarter, 
Even from father to the son and danghleT. 
Herchanta ciy out. ■ No mone; to he had,' 
OrocKTS say tiie ' times are very bad ' ; 
Mechanics work, but they can get no pay, 
Beaux dress genteel, and ladies, too, are gay. 
Cash very scarce, dancing twice a week — 
Buslneu dull — amusemeuts still we seek. 

Some live ifwhlle, and then, perhaps, dieyfail, 
While many run in debt and go to Jail. 
The females must have ribbons, gause. and lare. 
And paint besides, to smooth a wrinkled &»: 
The beaux will dress, go to the ball and play, 
Sit up all night, and Uy in bed all day. 
Bmsh np an empty pato, look smart and prim. 
Follow each trifling fashion or odd whim. 
Five shillings will buy a good fat gooae. 
While turkeys, too, are offered Bt for ass. 
Are those bad times, when persons will profess 
To follow fashions, and delight In dren t 
No ! times are good, bat people are to blame. 
Who spend toomuch,Bnd}nitIy merit shame.' 


was thrown open, and in rashed a man breathless with escitement. 
He mounted on a table, and swinging a white handkerchief aloft, 
cried out, ' Peace I Peace ! Peace I ' The music ceased ; the hall 
was speedily vacated. I rushed into the street, and oh, what a 
scene ! In a few minutes, thousands and 
tens of thousands of people were march- 
ing about with candles, lamps, torches, 
making the jubilant street appear like a 
gay and gorgeoxis procession. The whole 
night Broadway sang its song of peace. 
We were all Democrats, all FederaUsts! 
Old enemies rushed into eaeh other's arms; 
every house was in a revel; every heart 
seemed melted by a joy which banished 
all evil thought and feeling. On Monday 
morning I set out for Connecticut. All 
along the road the people saluted us with 
swinginif hats and cries of rejoicing. At 

", ° . ,, , " . , MSB. JOHN MOBTOK.l 

one place, m rather a lonesome part of the 

road, a schoolmaster came out with the whole school at his heels to 
ask us if the news were true. "We told him it was; whereupon he 
tied his bandanna handkerchief to a broom, swung it aloft, and the 
entire school hosannaed, ' Peace ! Peace ! ' " 

Nor were the effects of the peace confined merely to natural oul^ 
bursts of delirious delight or to sentimental gushes of feeling. An 
increased material prosperity was at once apparent. Under the 
changed condition of affairs every industry, as if touched by the wand 
of an enchanter, awoke to new life and vigor. Instead of "ships 
rotting in every creek and cove," as so graphically described by Dr. 
Wayland, the different ship-yards of the city resounded from morning 
till night with the blow of the hammer, as keel after keel of new 
vessels was daily laid; in place of our "immense annual products 
mouldering in our warehouses," vessels could not be built or chartered 
fast enough to convey these products to foreign consumers; and in 
lieu of the "sources of profitable industry being dried up," the streets 
were filled with artisans plying their several vocations, and with 
laborers going to and from their daily toil. In the counting-houses, 
where a short time previous a few clerks yawned languidly over their 
desks, all was bustle and animation, as, briskly engaged with foreign 
correspondence, their faces beamed with satisfaction at the prospect 
of services being well requited. New buildings, public and private, 

1 Mrs. Harla Sophia Horton, motber of Qeoeral aged ninety-four years. Prom a pih-tnit made by 
Horton. who died ■! the hou*e of her soD-iD-law, Cliarlea Balthazar Julien F^rre de St. H6mlD in 
Preddent Qulney ot Harvard Universlt;, In 1832, New-Tork in IT97. Editos. 



sprang up in different sections of the city with marvelous celerity; 
and the wharves, no longer green with mold, and tenanted solely by 
the water-rat, were lined with ships waiting only for favoring gales to 
whiten the ocean with their sails, and bear the flag of the United 
States into ports where for so long it had been unseen and almost 

totally forgotten. The city, no longer a "de- 
rJ^ "" Je^^cc-*/ ^ serted village," presented the appearance of an 
ex ' ^""^^ immense hive teeming with human bees, in 

which no drones were either known or allowed. Squalor had given 
place to splendor, poverty to affluence; a full tide of prosperity had 
set in, and shrewd speculators, who knew how to take advantage of 
its flood, were making rapid fortunes. 

In short, notwithstanding the terrible drain upon the financial 
resources to which she had been subjected during the war, and the 
crippling of her commerce. New- York bore the strain nobly. In this 
same year (1815) Mr. Isaac Bronson, in a pamphlet entitled "An 
Appeal to the Public," stated the active capital of the banks of the 
city to be $13,515,000. It may also be truly said of the New-York 
banks at this period, as well as in 1839, 1857, and the late civil war, 
that they spared no effort to keep the country on a specie basis, and 
to avert the calamities which have fallen upon it from excessive issues 
of paper — a disaster to which the old quotation may fitly be applied: 

. f aoilis descensus Avemi ; 

Sed revocare gradmn, 
Hoc opus, hie labor est. 

No sooner was the treaty of peace signed than the great continental 
powers hastened to stretch forth a helping hand to the republic; and 
every nation in Europe was anxious to solicit her trade. Great Britain 
alone, chafing under her defeat, remained for a long time sullen, and 
by unfriendly legislation endeavored to cripple the commerce of the 
United States in general, and that of New -York city in particular. 

Indeed, almost ruined as the city had been by the war, such were 
her internal resources that she recovered rapidly. On March 26, 1819, 

1 The influential political opponents of De Witt 
Clinton succeeded, in 1815, in displacing him as 
mayor and haying John Ferguson, who was grand 
sachem of the Tammany Society, appointed in his 
place. This was done with the understanding that 
Ferguson was shortly to resign, be made surveyor 
of the port, and that Jacob Radcliff was to be 
named as mayor. Accordingly Ferguson occu- 
pied the position only from March to June. Rad- 
cliff, who had been mayor in 1810, continued in 
the office till 1818, when Cadwallader David Golden 
reeeived the aopointment. He was the grandson 
of the lieutenant-governor, and was bom at the 
family seat near Flushing, L. I. The grandfather, 
and David Golden, the father, were lojralists, the 

latter removing to Ehigland in 1784. The grrand- 
son, however, returned, practising law in New- 
Tork city, and about 1796 was appointed district 
attorney. In the war of 1812 he served actively 
as a colonel of volunteers. Upon relinquishing 
the mayoralty he was elected a member of Con- 
gress. He cordially encouraged all movements 
for the promotion of educational or industrial ob- 
jects, published a memoir of the Erie Canal, was 
superintendent of the Morris Canal, and wrote the 
life of Robert Fulton, to whom he had given sub- 
stantial support when so many ridiculed his great 
invention. Mr. Golden married Maria, youngest 
daughter of Bishop Provoost, and died in 1834. 



the first savings-bank was incorporated. Its name was the "Bank 
for Savings of the City of New-Tork," and its plan was devised by 
John Pintard, to whose sagacity New- York owes so many of its most 
useful and thriving institutions. The deposits of this savings-bank 
from July 3 to December 27, 1819, reached the sum of $153,378, 
representing 1527 depositors. Three years after (1822) the first life 
insurance was also es- 
tablished in the city, ^^HH^I^HJ^HHHB^CV^ \ 
under the name of the ^^^^^^^^HBBS^^V^ ^^ .-i'-^] 
"Mechanics' Life Insur- 
ance and Coal Com- 
pany." Its act of incor- 
poration, which bears 
date February 28 of 
that year, carried with 
it the "power to make 
insurance upon lives, to 
grant annuities, and to 
open, find out, discover, 
and work coal beds 
within this State." A 
further example, moreover, of the rapidity with which the city, as 
well as the United States generally, recovered from the baneful effects 
of the war may be found in the fact that the amount of revenue 
collected by the United States government rose from $4,415,362 in 
1814, to $37,695,625 in 1815, of which $16,000,000 was derived from 
the port of New- York alone.* In 1816, also, the famous "Blaek-Ball 
Line" of packets to Liverpool was established, and in 1824 the line 
to Havre, the latter employing twelve ships; in addition to which 
there were weekly lines to Savannah, Charleston, Mobile, and New 
Orleans. The average time tfdien by the "Black-Ball" packets out- 
ward was twenty-two days, and the homeward voyage twenty-nine 
days. Steam, however, was in a very short time to change the en- 
tire mode of ocean navigation, as well as that of land travel. 

The winter of 1817 was unusually severe. As late as February 15 
the Hudson River was frozen over from the city to the New Jersey 

I Hn. Murray was the wife of Robert Hnrrsy, 
and mother of Lindlef Huiray, tbe srammarlan. 
Her husband wu one of the toremost Quakers in 
eommercla] circles in the city. His conntry-seat 
(reprtaeuted above) was Dear Fourth Arenue and 
Thirty-seventh street, amid spacious ftround*. — 
the present Grand Cential Station oocupyinft 
what was then one of his oom-flelds. It waa here 
that the chief British offlcers were so charmingly 
entertained by Hra. Hurray for two hours, while 
General Putnam with a large detachment of the 

Continental army. reD'eating in fcreat haute be- 
fore a superior force, successfully reached the 
main bod; at Harlem Heights. The section of the 
city from Thirty-fourth to Forty-second streets 
and from Leiin^n to Sixth avenues is generally 
known as Murray Hill. Editob. 

2 In the fiscal year ending June 30, 1875, the 
total amount of the revenue from cnitoms for the 
United States was n5T.I6T,722, of which (IM.SOT,- 
786 was received from the port of New-York — 
more than two thirds of the total amount 



side, SO that people crossed on the ice from shore to shore. "Several 
gentlemen," records the "Evening Post" for February, "set out for a 
sieigh-ride on the ice from Flushing to Riker's Island, where they 
arrived in safety. This was the first 
^j ^-- . , ^ Mfc sleigh that was ever known to visit 

i*''*-*x.73^ the island, and, as it passed down 

the bay, it di-ew forth numbers of 
i Hj^'" TliiMML people on the shore to view so 

r ™ a^P^ singular an event." ' The succeed- 

ing year (1818) also witnessed the 
same intensity of cold. Long Island 
Sound being entirely closed by ice 
between Cold Spring and the Con- 
necticut shore. The Hudson like- 
wise was again frozen so firmly that 
heavy teams crossed to the Jersey 
side. Many persons, like the Cana- 
'^f^^^W^~~ T dians when the ice-pont forms on 

the St. Lawrence between Quebec 
and Point Levi, sought to make gain 
' .^^MtTT-^t^ **"*" **^ ^^^ unusual circumstance. 
^" Accordingly, they erected tents on the 
ice, and sold in them liquor, roasted clams and oysters. An attempt 
was also made to roast an ox, but the experiment failed, on account of 
the ice becoming weak near the furnaces where the cooking was done.* 
In the same year (1818) the legislature of New-York — De Witt 
Qinton, Governor — ordered the remains of General Montgomery to 
be removed from Canada to New-York city.* This was in accordance 

I Id this oODDectton H will be reooUed that in would be eoodder«d reni&rlubl; ehekp. The tol- 

the winter of 1780-81 Qie cold wks ao IntaiuM u lowing are quotations taken by the wiitar ftom 

to freece the b*y solid from New-Tork city lo the " Colnmbiui " of December S, ISIB : 

Staten Island— thnj enkbUng Sir Senry Clinton Beat beef, per lb 134e. 

to bring up heavy artillery from Staten Island to " " " ewt tTtofli 

New-York. Pork, per lb lOe. 

* An smurfng aneodoto was told at this time of " " owt (8 

a certain Jeremlali Batman, aroimd whose t«nt the Veal, per lb 10c 

Ice bad become quite tbln from the effects of the Mutton, " 8e. 

stove and several days of mild weather. One of Turkeys (good), apiece $1.56 

bis customers, happening to Bt«p apon a weak Fowls, perp^r , .Sfe 

spot ontidde the tent, broke through, and was Qeese, apieee 90c to S6c 

struggling In the water, whAi a friend pat bis Butter, fresh 33c 

head tndde of Batman's tent, saying; "Jerry, " In Brkins 23cta26c 

there is a man gone down yonr »llar1" "Is It Potatoes, per bbl SGc 

sol" asked Jerry. " Then it is about time for me Turnips, ■' ■' 31& 

to leave these premises. " The man, however, was CabbMjee, per 1000 W to<T 

finally extrleatod, the tent struck, and all were Wood, oak, per load tS.2i 

safely taken to the New-Tork shore on a sled. •' walnut, " aSO 

On account of this severe winter provtsions " pine, " 1.G2U 

were considered very dear. At the present day. > A correspondent of the New-Tork ■' Conuner- 

however,— and let the reader notice in any news- clal Advertiser " of July 7, 1818, writing from 

paper the daily prices ohtalning In Waahlikgton Quebec, and referring to this event, says; "Aftw 

Market, for instance, — the prices that then ruled resting In peace for forty-two years within the 


with the wishes of the Continental Congress, which, in 1776, had 
voted the beautiful cenotaph to his memory that now stands in the 
front (or rather the rear ' ) wall of St. Paul's Church in Broadway. 
When the funeral cortege reached Whitehall, N, Y., the fleet stationed 
there received it with appropriate honors; and on Saturday, July 4, 
they arrived in Albany. After lying in state in that city over Sun- 
day, the remains were taken to New- York, and on Wednesday, July 
8, deposited, with military honors, in their final resting-place at St 
Paul's. Governor Clinton, with that deUcaey for which he was 
always remarkable, had informed Mrs. Montgomery when the steam- 
boat Eichmond, with the body of her 
husband, would pass her mansion on the 
North River. At her own request, she 
stood alone on the portico at the mo- 
ment that the boat passed. It was now 
more than forty years since she had 
parted from her husband, and they had 
been married only two years; yet she 
had remained as faithful to the memory 
of her "soldier" (as she always called 
him) as if alive. The steamboat halted before the mansion, the band 
played the " Dead March," a salute was fired, and the ashes of the 
venerated hero and the departed husband passed on. The attendants 
of the Spartan widow now appeared, but, overcome by the tender 
emotions of the moment, she had swooned and fallen to the fioor.* 
The gallant dead, though surrounded by the turmoil of a busy city, 


walls uid ooder the sod of this gurlson, the 
akeleton of Oecenl MoD^:oiiieT7 wu on Saturday 
Ikit raised from its place of depoait, and took Its 
departure for New- York, where it ia desCiiied to 
a more distlD^ished place of intermeDt in tlie 
Church of St. Paul of that city." 

t It is really the rrar wall of St. Paul's, dnee 
the church waa intended when built to /nm/ on 
the HudBon River. 

I The Van Cortlandt suiw-house waa used aa 
m prison durlot; the KeTolution. It stood adjoin. 
Ing the northweat vmer of Trinity churchyard. 
Of the three snf^ar-houses which became historic 
by reaaon of this usatce, Livingston's, on Liberty 
street, was destroyed in 1840 ; Van Cortlandt's was 
demoliahed in 1852; and Rhinelander's, aa noted 
in the preceding Tolnme, waa not torn down dll 
the present year — 1892. EDITOR. 

) Janet Livingston, the sister of the distin- 
guished Chancellor Llvingaton, and the wife of 
General Montgomery, met the latter when he waa 
a captain In the Britisb army, on his way to a dis- 
tant fronder post. The meeting left mutual 
tender ImpresaliHis. Returning to England soon 
after. Montgomery disposed of bis commisHlon, 
and, emigrating to New-York, married the object 
of hll attachment. But their vlslona of an tldpated 
happlnesa. upon a farm at IQilnebeck-on-the- 

HudsoQ, were soon ended. He waa caUed npon to 
serve as one of the eight brigadier-generals In the 
Continental army. He accepted sadly and with 
misgivings, declaring that "the wiU of an op- 
preMed people, compelled to choose between lib- 
erty and slavery, must be obeyed." His eicellent 
wife made no opposition; and. accompanying him 
as far as Saratoga (now Schuylerville, N. Y.), re- 
ceived hla last asHnrance. "You shall never liave 
cause to blush for your Montgomery." Nor did 
she ; for he (ell brevely at Quebec. In person 
General Montgomery was tall, graceful, and of 
manly address. At the time of bis death be was 
only thirty-nine years of age. Shortly after the 
occnrrence narrmled in the teit Mrs. Montgomery 
wrote to a niece as follows r " However gratUylng 
to my feelings, every pang I felt was renewed. 
Tbe pomp with whkb the funeral was conducted 
added to my woe. When the steamboat passed 
with slow and solemn movement, stopping before 
my house, the troops under arms, the dead march 
from the muJBed drum, the mournful music, the 
splendid coffin canopied with crape and crowned 
with plumes — you may conceive my anguish, I 
cannot describe it. Such voluntary honors were 
never before paid to an individual by a Republic, 
and to Governor Clinton's monlfleence much la 



is still (1892) permitted to rest beneath the turf made radiant by the 
unsullied blossoms of early spring. The brave Wolfe, who fell on 
nearly the same spot sixteen years previons, sleeps within the splen- 
did mausoleum of Westminster Abbey. Bat as we stand over the 
unpretentious grave of Montgomery, we recall the quaint and beau- 

tiful language of Ob- 

/^ ~~\ borne "He that lieth 

under the herse of 
heavenne is convert- 
ible into sweet herbs 
and flowers, that maye 
rest m bosoms that 
wolde shrink from the 
ugly bugs which may 
be found crawling in 
the magnificent tomb 
of Henry the VII." 

On February 22, 
1819, a grand ball was 
given by theFourteenth 
Regiment, in honor 
of General Andrew 
Jackson, at the City 
Hotel.* The ball was attended by tlie general in person, and was 
far ahead, in elegance and brilliancy, of anything of the kind before 
known in the city. The large dining-room of the hotel was crowded, 
and the toast "To General Jackson; so long as the Mississippi rolls 
its waters to the ocean, so long may his great name and glorious 

I The Shkkespeue TsTem stood on the comer ot 
Fulton ind Naswu streela, where, until lately, wu 
■Ituated the " CommerclAl Advertlaer " buildlDg. 
recently deBtro;ed b; fire. "It WKS origizuJlf a 
low. old-faahioned, niaaslve edifice, built of smMl. 
yellow biick«, two etoriea high, with dormer-wln- 
dowa on the roof. . . . The building wns erected 
mmny years before fbe BerolutloD, but in 1822 a 
modern extensloa on FnlloD street, three stories 
Ugh, was added. Thomas Hadgldnwin, whose 
brother John was at one time manager of the Old 
Park Theater, bonght the boose In 1808, and 
under >i<'" It soon became and long continued a 
great reeort tor the wits of the day. . . . The 
' Shakespeare Tavern.' in fact, wss to New-York 
what the 'Hermald' was to London in the days 
of Shakespeare, or later the ' St. James Ck>(ree- 
honae,' and the 'Turk's Head,' in the time of 
Reynolds, Qanick, and Goldsmith. . . . Here 
De Witt Clinton was wont to discuss his pet pro- 
ject, the Erie Canal-, here PItitOreene Halleck, 
and Sands, and Pendval, and Paulding, and 
Willis Gaylord Clark met in soolal conTerse, and 
pMMd many a merry Jest and brilliant repartee. 

, . . Henceforth let no one say that New- York has 
DO memories save those of the temples of the 
money-changer." (History of New-York City, by 
William L. Stone, Jr., pp. 4SS-490.) The Shake- 
speare TaTem, upon (the death of Hodgklnaon. 
passed Into the hands of his relatlTe, James C. 
Stoneall, "by whom the Interior was remodeled 
and modernized, and It couttnued to maintain its 
wonderful reputation and popularity until the 
building was demolished in 1836. For more than 
a quarter of ■ centory the Shakespeare Tavern 
was a favorite place of resort of the flrM dUzens 
of the dtf , and was dlstlngulBhed for the superior 
character of ita refreshments and the quiet com- 
fort which pervaded the entire estAbliahment. 
Merohants, politicians, and artlBta of distinction 
gathered, by day and by night, beneath its hospi- 
table roof, and it was ttie acknowledged mtlitaj? 
headqaartcrs ot all the leading organiaatlotu in 
the city" (History of Che Seventh Begiment of 
Naw-York, by Colonel Emmons Clark). £]>noB. 

1 The City Hotel, the principal pnblle hovse in 
the city, and called before and during the Bevo- 
lutlon the City Tavon, belonged to the De I^n- 


deeds be remembered,'' was replied to by the general, who proposed 
^ De Witt Clinton, Governor of the great and patriotic State of New- 
York,'' to the utter confusion of the " Buckt&ils," who regarded Clin- 
ton as their bit- jf n ^ 
terest foe. Gen- ^^y^^ ^ (f -^x^-e^^ ^ut^^^^pth Ajr^ 
eralJackson,per- ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ 
fectly independ- V^^^-^^^-^^^^x^b^/l^^ ;^ (jy^fy^ ^^^t^C^ 
ent of all parties, > 
had conceived a great admiration for Mr. Clinton, although he was 
at that time personally unacquainted with him — hence the toast. 
Upon this toast being given, the greatest confusion ensued, amid 
which the general left the room.* 

Nor was this ball the only compliment paid to Jackson. On his 
first arrival in the city he was received with great 6clat by the muni- 
cipal authorities, and with well-deserved honors at the hands of the 
people. A military review was given him on the Battery, and the 
freedom of the city in a gold box in the park. He was afterward 
escorted by a regiment of cavalry to visit the venerable General Ebe- 
nezer Stevens, then living, at an advanced age, on Long Island, near 
Hell Gate. Stevens had commanded the American artillery during 
the battles preceding the surrender of Burgoyne at Saratoga, and 
Jackson had defeated Sir Edward Packenham and a greatly superior 
force at New Orleans. More than half a century had elapsed between 
the two great events, and the visit of the young and popular general 
was a graceful compliment paid to the venerable warrior of another age. 

eey estate, and was Bitnatod on the west side of (the editor of which was Fitz-Greene Halleck, the 

Broadway, occupying the present site between celebrated "quix" and satirist of that day). In 

Cedar and Thames streets. It is said that John • the first number of the '* Croaker " appeared the 

Adams, when a delegate to the first Continental following lines by Drake: 

Conpe.^ stopped here on W« way through New- „ j ,^ ^j^ „, q^^^^ J«jk»on'8 toast; 

l!^ ^^^^^ »^S!.° ^r 4 ^ CmuU« "« """'Kht to me ; 

" The Bmich of Grapes" During the Berolution- ^„, ^^ j ^^ ^^^ ^^ ^^ 

«y war it wa« also known by the name ofj' Buba- ^^^^ ^, j^^^ ^ „ 
let 8," and was a great and favorite resort of the 

military. In 1784 It passed into the hands of Halleck, also, took his full share in the fun. One 

John Cape, and was called in his advertisements ^f j^jg earliest contributions to the " Croaker," en- 

the " State Arms of New-York." The house had titled " The Freedom of the City in a gold box to 

a large ball-room where dancing assemblies were ^ gj^nt General," is in his happiest vein. One 

held, as were also subscription balls under the gtama from another of his productions on the 

direotion of managers. The assemblies were re- ^am^ topic is here given. The poem is entitled 

newed at the close of the Revolution, the first *«The Secret Mine, sprung at a late supper." 
being held on the evening of Thursday, December 

18, 1783. The celebrated loyalist editor, James " The songs were good, for Mead and Hawkins 

Bivington, in announcing this ball, stated that he sung 'em, 

bad "for sale a supply of white dancing ^oves The wine went round, 'twas laughter all and joke; 

for gentlemen, sUk stockings, dress swords and When crack ! the General sprung a mine among 

elegant London cocked hate." It was sarcasti- 'em, 

cally remarked at the time that these " were prob- And beat a safe retreat amid the smoke, 

ably the stock of the outgoing officers of the As fall the sticks of rockets when you fire 'em, 

British army." So fell the Bucktails at that toast accurst, 

1 Conversations by the writer with the late Looking like Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, 

General Prosper M. Wetmore. This ball called When the firm earth beneath their footsteps 

forth several squibs andcritidsms from '* Croaker" burst." 


The following year (1820) witnessed the burning of the old Park 
Theater (on Park Row, near Ann Street)/ which occurred on May 25 
of that year ; and such was the fierceness of the fire that scarcely an 
article of the wardrobe or the scenery was saved. The flames were 
so brilliant as to illuminate the entire city, causing the tall spires of 
Trinity and St. Paulas to stand out in bold relief against the sky. In 
a very few minutes after the alarm was first given, thousands of the 
citizens had gathered 4ipon the housetops gazing mournfully upon 
the scene. The fire department, conscious of the numerous witnesses 
of its efforts, exerted itself nobly, but to no avail, and the following 
morning showed nothing but charred ruins. Nor was the sadness 
with which this calamity was received unreasonable. No spot at 
that time was surrounded by such hallowed associations, nor cpnse- 
crated by so many endeared recollections, as the old Park Theater. 
Here had Prospero and Caliban, summoned by the wild fancy of 
Shakespeare, hushed the assembled multitude to silence; or, again, 
Dogberry convulsed them with laughter. It was at this place that 
that curious scheme of a "Beefsteak Society" — modeled after its 
celebrated prototype in London — was first devised by the witty 
harlequin Rich. Here were held the adjourned meetings of the 
"Shakespeare Tavern," and the "Belvedere Club,"^ and, in "ye olden 
tyme," were seen on its boards, Kemble, Babcock, Ludlow, Seton, 
Hoffman, Kean, Mathews, and the elder Booth. Upon its stage, 
also, were performed for the first time in America many of the plays 
of the most distinguished writers whose names were then, as they 
are now, household words. Sheridan's " School for Scandal," Gold- 
smith's " She Stoops to Conquer," and Charles Lamb's most witty 
productions were here first introduced to an American audience. 
Within its walls, also, diplomatists, authors, scholars, and men cele- 
brated in every department of life had come to pass away a leisure 
hour, and while doing so had gleaned many hints that have contrib- 
uted greatly to their success. That its loss was greatly deplored is 
evident from the tone of the newspaper press after the event. " But 
why," said a New- York newspaper in commenting upon and apos- 
trophizing its loss the day after, "dwell longer upon the event t 
Thy shrine, around which poets, statesmen and philosophers have 
loved to linger — the home of the muses, the delight of the gay — no 
longer meets and cheers our vision. Thy sacred walls, within which 
have so often been gathered the choicest spirits of the time, have 
crumbled beneath the hand of the destroyer. No longer shall our 

1 Opened on January 29, 1798. which there was a beautifal view of the East 

2 Erected in 1792. at the comer of Cherry River and Long Island. Attached to the house 
and Montgomery streets. The club building com- were bowling-alleys with gravel walks and shrub- 
prised a ball-room with a music-gallery, bar-room bery elegantly laid out and cared for. It was a 
and bedrooms, and had a large balcony from fashionable and popular resort. 


citizens be permitted to drink from thy classic fountains the sparkling 
intellectual draughts which thou, a second Ganymede, wast wont to 
serve; nor shall they ever again gaze upon thy Ionic portals. Yet, 
it was something noble ; it was in harmony with thy character to 
perish thus gloriously. Time, with his mouldering fingers, was not 
allowed to pollute thee with his touch, nor yet to wither thy unfad 
ing laurels Think not that thou shalt be forgotten ! Thy site i"* 
clas'dc ginuud ' Everj stone of thee is im 
mortal Like the Dragon's teeth of old, 
V th> ruins t>hall n o instinct wath life, 

proclaiming thy und\ ing 
=T-*^,A^^^ fame Thou shalt be 

~ ^ -5:?^ ^ fl. household 

"word which children "^hall lisp around 

the health and fireside and as sue 

ceeding ages shall roll awiiv and the 

ivy clings to th\ mouldeiing toweis m 

shall the ramd'* of mm clm^ t*) th\ iuemor\ "iS(^ 

and embalm thee in their heart of hearts " 

The writer's prophecy was not, however, destined to be fulfilled, for 
the ivy of which he so feelingly speaks had not even time to take 
root — much less to cling to its "mouldering towers" — before a new 
theater arose, the succeeding year, upon its site, the builders of 
which were John Jacob Astor and John K. Beekman.' On account, 
however, of the yellow fever, it was soon afterward closed, and so 
remained until the autumn of 1822, when it was again opened by the 
appearance of the justly distinguished actor Mathews. In com- 
menting upon this event, the New-Tork "Commercial Advertiser" of 
November 8, 1822, says : " We last night paid our dollar to witness 
this gentleman's far-famed exhibitions, and confess that we do not 
regret the time or the money spent. The house was so crowded that 

1 Mr. Beekman and Mr, Astar were joint proprletora of the Park Theater. The former, from 
Ub lore of theatricalB, wa« famillariy known as " Theater Jack." EnrroK. 
Vol. m.— 20. 



it was with great difficulty we could procure a seat, and amidst so 
large an audience we could not discover even a whisper of disappro- 
bation. Mr. Mathews played * Goldfinch^ in the ^Road to Ruin.' The 
popular farce of * Monsieur Tonson ' was performed for the first time, 
^^ and Mr. Mathews supported the 

--Z^^S^ /^J^^^Tz. ..y^k^s^ principal Character with great 
jf ^c-c-^^i.-^ eclat. His comic songs and 

^ imitations were the best we 

ever heard ; and in consequence of his variations, on being encored, 
the audience seemed disposed to sit all night and enjoy this species 
of entertainment." ^ See picture on the opposite page. 

The winter of 1820-21, like that of 1817-18, was one of excep- 
tional severity. Indeed, for many years previous such intense and 
steady cold weather had not been known — even within the memory 
of that mythical individual, "the oldest inhabitant A New-York 
newspaper of that day, — the "American'' for January 22, 1821, — 
speaking of this, says : " The weather, after twenty-one days of steady 
cold, began to moderate on Saturday afternoon (the 20th). On Satur- 
day morning^ Long Island Sound was crossed upon the ice from 
Sands' Point to the opposite shore, a distance of eight miles. The 
price of oak wood was up to five dollars a load, Saturday." • Three 
days afterward the same paper states : " The cold still continues in- 
tense: both the North and East Rivers were crossed on the ice; and 
the bay is nearly filled with floating ice, which will probably be closed 
by another cold night, and our harbor shut up for the first time in 
forty years," * On the next day : " The North River continues to be 
crossed with safety on the ice ; the distance between the two shores 
has been measured and found to be a mile from [the foot of] Cort- 
landt street to Bowie's Hook [Paulus Hook, Jersey City].* The Ho- 

1 The mayor at this time was Stephen Allen, 
who held the place in 1821 and 1822. He began 
life as a sailmaker, engaged later in mercantile 
pursuits, and having acquired considerable wealth, 
was thenceforth identifted with financial enter- 
prises. After he ceased to be mayor he was 
elected State senator, serying many years, and 
making himself especially useful as a member 
of the Court of Errors, although without profes- 
sional legal training. "The natural talent of 
Mr. Allen was such as at once to give him clear 
and distinct views of the most subtle questions 
brought before the court.'' At the age of eighty 
years he died, in 1852, having enjoyed for some 
years retirement from both business and political 
life, years chiefly spent at his beautiful country- 
seat at Hyde Park on the Hudson. Editob. 

s There is at the present time (1892) a water- 
color painting in the possession of the New- York 
Historical Society which is of local historical 
value. The reproduction on the opposite page is 
accompanied by a key. All of the audience are in- 
tended for likenesses ; and among them are Dr. 

and Mrs. Samuel L. Mitdhill, WUUam Baymrd, 
Henry Brevoort, James Eirke Paulding, and other 
prominent New-Torkers. Fits-Greene Halleck« a 
great lover of the theater, is omitted from the 
picture, owing to his absence in Europe at the 
time it was taken. Editob. 

s Compare this with previous note (p. 900), where 
oak wood is quoted at 12.25 a load. 

4 Referring to the last time (1781) when, as men- 
tioned in a previous note, the bay was fhwen from 
the Battery to Staten Island, allowing Sir Henry 
Clinton to bring up on the ioe from that Island to 
the city his heavy artillery. Still, it should be re- 
membered that often since then our harbor and 
river would have been closed were it not for our 
ferry-boats day and night constantly passing from 
shore to shore, and thus breaking up the ice. 

^ Since then, Jersey City has been filled in for two 
blocks from the original Paulus Hook to the pres- 
ent Hudson street. Hence the width of the river, 
from ferry to ferry, is, perhaps, five hundred feet 
less than a mile. 


boken ferry-boat, with fifty-seven peraons and twenty-three horses on 
board, drifted, on Wednesday evening, below Governor's Island, and 
was enclosed in the ice, where she now remains. The people suffered 
mach from the cold during the night, although none were frozen." 
The same paper, also, on January 27 says : " More than a thousand 
persons crossed the North River on the ice ; produce of every kind 
was taken over in sleds ; and hun- 
dreds were seen skating in the 
middle of the river. There came 
up, also, yesterday, from Staten 
Island, on the ice, a boat and 
seven men, viz. : John Vanderbilt,' 
A. Laurence,William Drake, Lewis 
Farnham, Robert Davis, and Mr. 
Wainwright. The mail for Staten 
Island was yesterday taken down 
over the ice by Daniel Simonson 
and Joseph Seguine. Many per- 
sons at the same time walked from 
Long Island to Staten Island, — 
such a circumstance has not been 
witnessed before since the winter 
of 1780-81, when heavy ordnance 
were conveyed on the ice from 
Staten Island to New- York." This protracted cold weather caused 
much suffering among the poor, and led to the establishment of soup- 
houses, through the generosity of many of the butchers. Collections 
were also taken up in the churches for the benefit of the suffering, 
one of which is noticed in a newspaper as amounting to the very 
handsome sum of $2106.46.'' 

In the successive years of its existence, the city of New- York had 
been visited by war, and fire, and famine ; and now the scourge of 
pestilence was to be added. In 1819 the city was visited by yellow 
fever, which shortly disappeared, only to return with increased vio- 
lence in the fall of 1822. J. Hardie, in his account of the fever at 
this time, writes: "Saturday, the 24th of August, our city presented 
the appearance of a town besieged. From daybreak till night one 
line of carts, containing boxes, merchandise, and effects, were seen 
moving towards 'Greenwich Village' and the upper parts of the city. 
Carriages and hacks, wagons and horsemen, were scouring the streets 
and filling the roads; persons, with anxiety marked on their coun- 
tenances, and with hurried gait, were hustling through the 'streets. 
Temporary stores and offices were erecting, and even on the ensuing 

I The tMher of the l>t« Cornelioa VuiderUh. i "The Hutet Book," by ThoniH P. Devoe. 



day (Sunday) carts were in motion, and the saw and hammer busily 
at work. Within a few days thereafter, the custom-house, the post- 
office, the banks, the insurance offices, and the printers of news- 
papers located themselves in the village, or in the upper part of 
Broadway, where they were free from the impending danger ; and 
these places almost instantaneously became the seat of the immense 
business usually carried on in the great metropolis."^ "You cannot 
conceive," writes Colonel William L, Stone, at that time editor of the 
New-York "Commercial Advertiser," under date of September 26, 
1822, to his wife, then at Saratoga Springs, " the distressing situation 
we are in, and also the whole town. The fever is worse every hour. 
I saw the hearse pass the office an hour ago with seven sick in it. 
Thus the dead are carried to the grave, and the sick out of town — to 
die — on the same melancholy carriages." And again, about a month 
after, he writes, under date of October 10, to his wife as follows: 
"As to the fever, my dear Susan, I cannot say that it is any better. 
On the contrary, it rages sadly, and grows worse every hour. There 
are many sick and dying, especially in the lower part of the city, who 
would not move, and the physicians will not visit them. I know 
several who have died without a physician. Old Mr. Taylor, for in- 
stance (soap and candles. Maiden Lane), would not move, and is now 
in his grave." On the nineteenth of the same month, he writes 
again to his wife : " I believe I told you in my last letter that I did 
not think the fever was any better. The result has proved the cor- 
rectness of what I wrote. The disease rages with fresh violence, as 
you will perceive by the reports in the * Commercial' which I send to 
you by this same mail. When it will please heaven to cause it to 
abate, is more than mortal can tell. A severe, nipping frost, I have 
no doubt, will check it, and yet I hope that we shall be able to re- 
move back [i. e.j from Greenwich Village] by the first of next month." 
The cold weather of 1822 and 1823, however, did not, as the writer 
hoped, check the disease ; and during the succeeding summer its rav- 
ages became so frightful that all who could fled the city. Colonel 
Stone, however, remained at his post, and fortunately escaped the 
disease. During this dread time, however, business was entirely sus- 
pended ; and, like the time of the plague in London (so graphically 
described by De Foe), the city presented the appearance literally of a 
deserted city — with no sounds save the rumbling of the hearses, as. 

1 The visits of the yellow fever in 1798, 1799, 
mad 1805 tended much to increase the formation 
of a village near the Spring street market and 
one, also, near the State prison; hut the fever 
of 1822 built up many streets with numerous 
wooden buildings, for the use of the merchants, 
banks (from which Bank street took its name), 
offices, etc ; and the celerity of putting up those 

buildings is better told by the Rev. Mr. Marcellos, 
who informed me that ''he saw com growing 
on the present comer of Hammond and Fourth 
streets, on a Saturday morning, and on the follow- 
ing Monday ' Sykes & Niblo* had a house erected 
capable of accommodating three hundred board- 
ers." Even the Brooklyn ferry-boats ran up here 
daily. *' The Market Book," by Thomas F. Devoe. 


at the dead of night, they passed through the empty streets to collect 
the tribute of the grave. By November 2, 1823, however, the fever 
had disappeared ; the inhabitants again returned to their homes ; the 
banks and the custom-house, which had been removed during the 
fever to Greenwich Village, ' on the outskirts of the city, moved back 
to their customary places ; and businesB and social intercourse once 
more flowed in their accustomed channels. 

The two following years (1824, 1825) were to witness two august 
celebrations in New-Tork city. The first was in the summer of 1824, ■ 

on the occasion of the second visit of General Lafayette to the United 
States, in his sixty-eighth year; and the second was in honor of the 
completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, by which the waters of Lake 
Erie were connected with those of the Atlantic. 

On Sunday, August 15, General Lafayette, accompanied by his sou, 
George Washington Lafayette, and his secretary, Auguste Le Vas- 
seur, arrived in New-Tork bay in the ship Cadmus. As the ship 
passed through the Narrows a salute was fired from Port Lafayette, 
and the national flag was immediately hoisted and displayed during 
the day on all the public buildings in the city. On landing at Staten 
Island, the august guest was conducted to the country residence of 
Daniel D. Tompkins, Vice-President of the United States, where he 
spent the day receiving calls. 

Lafayette had no idea, not even a suspicion, of the welcome which 
awaited him on this side of the Atlantic. At least, such is the infer- 
ence, not only from the statement of Lafayette to my father, the late 
William L. Stone, but from an incident told by one of the actors in it 
to Mayne Reid, by whom, in turn, it was narrated to the writer. 
Lafayette had left France after nearly half a century's absence from 
the United States, and without any intimation that he was to have a 



public reception in America. The gentleman who gave the narration 
to Captain Eeid — a well-known Boston merchant — chanced to be a 
fellow-passenger on the voyage, which was made in a packet-ship 
sailing from the port of Havre.' 

While crossing the Atlantic, this gentleman had many opportuni- 
ties of conversing with the French marquis and his son Washington. 
AH on board know that our old ally, though a nobleman, was not 
rich; and, in his conversations with 
his fellow-passengers, he showed him- 
self very solicitous as to his pecuniary 
means, making many inquiries about 
the prices of living and traveling in 
America, and seemed very anxious on 
this account, as if fearing that his 
purse might not be sufficient for a 
very extended tour of travel through 
the Unit«d States. Indeed, the Ameri- 
cans who were on board the packet, 
having been long absent from their 
country, had themselves no idea of 
the grand honors in store for their 
. distinguished fellow-passenger. The 

A/h^f^^^^^*^ gQii^l^^^Dt '° tis subsequent conversa- 

tion with Captain Eeid, admitted that 
he himself had no conception of what was to happen, and did occur, 
on this side. Feeling an interest in Lafayette, he had invited him 
and his son, in the eveut of their visiting Boston, to make his house 
their home. In due time the French packet came in sight of the 
American coast, and lay to at Sandy Hook, waiting for a favorable 
wind to enter the bay of New- York. Near the Narrows she was ap- 
proached by a rowboat, in which were two gentlemen in plain civil- 
ian dress, who, after holding a private conference with the captain, 
reentered their small boat and put off. No one on board the packet, 
except the skipper himself, knew to what the conference related. 

After passing through the Narrows and coming alongside of Staten 
Island, the French ship cast anchor. This was a surprise to the pas- 
sengers, who supposed they were going directly to the city. They 
were consequently chagrined at being thus delayed after their long 
sea voyage, and many were heard to murmur at it. While in this 
mood they observed a long line of vessels coming down the bay. 

1 The CoD^reM of the UnfMd States, some should be held In r«)Mlinesa for his conTcjaiicc 

monthK bpfore. upon leuninK that it was the in- vhenoTer it Hfaoiild suit his conTenleDce to em- 

tention of Lafayette to visit this country, had baric This honon however, the marqoii ia- 

onanimonsly passed a resolatloD tovltinfi blm to alined, and took passage from Havre to Knr- 

onr sbOTM, and direoting that a national ship York on July 13, 1B21. 



There were steamboats and sailing craft of all kinds, forming a 
considerable fleet. They were following one another, with manned 
yards, and flags flying, and bands of music (entirely impromptu), as 
if upon some gala procession. The passengers on board the French 
packet were surprised — Lafayette not the 
least. "What does it meanf^ asked the mar- 
quis. No one could make answer. "Some 
grand anniversary of your Republic, mes- 
sieurs^^ was the conjecture of Lafayette. Fi- 
nally, about noon, the gaily decked vessels ap- 
proached; and it was seen that they were all making for the French 
ship, around which they soon gathered. Presently one of the steam- 
boats came alongside, and a number of gentlemen dressed in official 
costume stepped on board the Cadmus. Among them were General 
Jacob Morton, William Paulding, the mayor of the city,^ and several 
members of the common council. Not until they had been some 
time on the deck of the packet and her captain had introduced them 
to Lafayette, did the modest old soldier know that a grand ceremo- 
nial was preparing for himself. The tears fell fast from his eyes as 
he received their congratulations; and, on shaking hands with his 
fellow-passenger — the Boston merchant and the narrator of this to 
Mayne Reid — at parting, he said: ^^ Monsieur: I shall love New- 
York so well that I may never be able to get away from it to 
pay you a visit in Boston. Pardieu! This grand B^piiblique — this 
great people I '*' 

. The object of this early call upon the marquis — before he had 
landed — was to exchange greetings, and to communicate to him in- 
formally the plan that had been made for his reception on the next 
day. The following arrangements were published in the New- York 
morning papers of Monday: "Arrangements of the Corporation for 
the Reception of the Marquis de Lafayette: The Committee of Ar- 
rangements of the Corporation have the pleasure to announce to their 
fellow-citizens the arrival of the distinguished guest of their country, 

i This beautiful punch-bowl, belonging to CoL 
John Bayard, and now in the posseesion of his 
descendant, Mrs. Jas, Grant Wilson, was fre- 
quently used in entertaining Washington, Lafay- 
ette, and other Revolutionary worthies. It is in 
perfect preservation. Editor. 

2 William Paulding received his first appoint- 
ment as mayor in the year 1823. He ser\'ed also 
during 1824, and again in the years 1826 and 1827. 
He was a nephew of that John Paulding of Tarry- 
town who made himself famous by the capture of 
Major Andr^, and the refusal of the great bribe 
which the latter offered for his release. Mayor 
Paulding was bom at Tarrjrtown, came to New- 
Tork about 1796, engaging in the profession of the 
law, and soon established a lucrative practice. 

Early in the present century he married a daugh- 
ter of Philip Rhinelander. During the war of 
1812, Mr. Paulding was earnest in his efforts to 
awaken a military spirit among the citizens, and 
he rose to the rank of brigadier-general of militia. 
He was elected to Congress in 1811, but his mili- 
tary duties prevented him from attending the last 
session. He resided in one of the finest blocks in 
the city, known as Paulding's row, in Jay street, 
on the comer of Greenwich. In his old age he re- 
tired to his country-seat on the Hudson, near Tar- 
rytown. where he died in 1854. EnrroR. 

3 It is pleasant to know, as a sequel to this, 
that when Lafayette visited Boston, he was a 
guest at dinner with his old friend the *' Boa- 
ton merchant." 



the Marquis de Lafayette. The following are the arrangements made 
for his reception in the City. The Committee of Arrangements of the 
Corporation, the GJenerals, and other officers of the United States 
Army, the officers of the Navy, the Major-Generals and the Briga- 
dier-Generals of the Militia, the President of the Chamber of Com- 
merce, and the committee from the Society of the Cincinnati, will 
proceed, at nine o'clock this 
mommg, the 16th, to Staten 
Island, where the Marquis is 
lodged, and escort him to the 
City. They wiU be accompanied 
to the Battery by the steam- 
boats, all with decorations ; ex- 
cept that in which the Marquis 
is embarked, which will only 
have the flag of the United States 
and the State flag of New- York, 
bands of music being on each. 
The embarkation of the Mar- 
quis will be annoanced by a 
saluto from Fort Lafayette and 
the steam-ship Robert Fulton. 
The forts in the harbor will 
also s^ute as the boats pass. 
The masters of vessels are re- 
Sc ^Jy\ ^ quested to hoist their flags at 
mast-head, and, when conve- 
nient^ to dress their vessels. The bells of the city will be rung from 
twelve to one o'clock. The committee request that no carriages or 
horses, excepting those attached to the military and the procession, 
appear south of Chambers on Broadway, Marketfleld Street or White- 
ball Street, between the hours of eleven and two. The portrait-rooin 
in the City Hall is appolDted to the use of the Marquis, where, dur- 
ing his stay, he will, after this day, between the hours of twelve and 
two, receive the visits of such of the citizens as are desirous of pay- 
ing their respects to him." 

In accordance with this programme, about half-past twelve o'clock, 
the entire naval procession got under way, and proceeded to the city. 
The embarkation at Staten Island was annoanced by a salute from 
the shore, which was responded to by Fort Lafayette, and by the 
steamship Robert Fulton. The beauty and interest of the scene 
which the vessels afforded to the thousands of spectators, who were 
viewing it from the Battery, can be bettei; imagined than described. 
The steamboat Chancellor Livingston, with her venerable and 

J ot,.i-^»--vT, 6^3^:* 


honored passenger, was escorted up the bay by the splendid steam- 
ship Robert Fulton, manned by two hundred United States sailors 
from the Navy-yard, and the steamboats Oliver Ellsworth, Connecti- 
eut, Olive Branch, and Nautilus, each haying on board a large party 
of ladies and gentlemen and a band of music — the whole forming, as 
they approached the city, one of the most imposing and splendid of 
aquatic spectacles. The lofty appearance of the steamship Robert 
Pulton, as she proudly " walked the waters," leading the van of the 
procession, — her yards manned by sailors, and elegantly dressed from 
the water to the tops of her masts with the flags and signals of all 
nations, — presented a sight which not only was never forgotten by 
those who witnessed it, but which has never been excelled nor even 
approached (with the single exception of that of the Erie Canal) by 
any aquatic procession since.* The ship Cadmus, towed by the 
steamboats, brought up the rear, her towering spars decorated in the 
most elegant and fanciful manner with flags and signals. She moved 
majestically, as if conscious of the veneration which was being testi- 
fied for the noble patriot she had conveyed to our shores. As the pro- 
cession passed Governor's Island an appropriate salute was fired from 
the guns of Castle Williams. 

On arriving in the city, the marquis landed at Castle Garden on 
carpeted stairs prepared for the occasion, and under an arch richly 
decorated with flags and wreaths of laurel. On stepping ashore, 
a major-general's salute was fired from a battery of field artillery, a 
national salute from the revenue-cutter and from the United States 
brig Shark, at anchor ofif the Battery, and one from Fort Columbus. 
Upon entering Castle Garden, the marquis was greeted with loud and 
prolonged cheers from the assembled thousands, and salutations from 
a large number of the friends of his youth; thence he proceeded 
with the committee and the military and naval oflScers to review the 
troops drawn up in line under the command of Major-General James 
Benedict. The muster was, on this occasion, unusually full and splen- 
did, the corps vjdng with one another in paying a tribute of respect to 
the soldier of the Revolution — the friend and companion of Washing- 
ton. After the review the marquis entered a barouche, drawn by four 
horses, and was driven up Broadway to the City Hall. The houses to 
the roofs all along the line, on both sides of that street, were filled 
with spectators, and the sidewalks were also occupied by a dense 
crowd ; and to the incessant huzzas of the multitude, graceful females 
signified their welcome by the silent, but not less grateful and affect- 
ing testimony of the waving of handkerchiefs. Never on any pre- 
vious occasion had there been witnessed such a spontaneous outburst 

> This statement is entirely within bcmnds — the spectacle on the occasion of the centennial of 
Washington's inauguration, and the Columhus eelehration of 1892, not excepted. 


of respect and affection, nor such a universal assemblage of the 
heanty, fashion, and splendor of the city.' 

Upon arriving at the City Hall, the marquis was conducted to the 
common-council chamber, where the corporation of the city were 
assembled. The members rose at hie entrance, and their chairman. 
Alderman George Zabriskie, introduced him to the mayor, who weU 
comed the city's guest in an appro- 
priate speech. At its conclusion La- 
fayette responded as follows: 

8ib: While I am ho affectionately recraved 
by the citizens of New- York and their worthy 
repreaentativea, I feel myeelt orerbni-dened 
with inexpressible emotions. The si^t of the 
American shore, after so long an absence ; the 
recollection of the m&ny respected friends and 
dear companions no more to be fonnd on this 
..>,..■.» r.«-™» « land; the pleasure to reoognize those who sor- 

Vive; this immense conoonrse of a free Bepab- 
lioau population who so kindly welcome me; the admirable appearaaoe of the tvoops; 
the presence of a corps of the national navy, — have excited sentiments to irtdeh no 
human language can be adequate. You have been pleased, sir, to allnde to the hap- 
piest times, to the unalloyed enjoyments of my public life; it is the pride of my life to 
have been one of the eorUest adopted sons of America. I am proud, also, to odd that, 
upward of forty years ago, I have been particulaiiy honored with the freedom of this 
city. I beg you, Ur. Mayor, I b^ yon, gentiemen, to aooept yourselves, and to tana- 
mtt to the citizens of New-Tork, the homage of my everiastin^r gratitude, devotion, 
and respect. 

At the conclusion of this address, which was received with the most 
enthusiastic demonstrations, the marquis, attended by the mayor and 
common council, retired from the council-chamber to a platform in 
front of the City Hall, where they received a marching salute fipom the 
troops. The common council then accompanied their guest to the 
City Hotel (where rooms had been fitted up for his reception), and 
partook of a sumptuous dinner. What must have been the feelings 
which warmed the bosoms of his entertainers when they reflected to 
whom these honors were given ! — that it was to a man who, in his 
youth, had devoted his life and fortune to the cause of their country ; 
who willingly and most cheerfully had shed his blood in the acquire- 
ment of its independence, and, through all the desponding scenes of 
the Revolution, never forsook the side of his and their country's 
father, the beloved Washington ! 

I The only other occBaioDB vhen this demon- > The two BUiff-lloiw representAd above were 

Btrmtion was nearl; — though oot qnite — equaled made (Tom the oak of the frigate CouBtitnlkni. 

In the dty of New-York, were those of the cele- when she was flrst rebuilt, after the war of 1SI2. 

bration of the opening of the Croton aqaeduct. They were formerly the property of tlie hero 

■nd the fonernls of Presldeat WilliBm Henry Commodore Hull, and are now in the poiiiiiiiiiiliiii 

Harrison and of Vloe-Prealdent Henry Wilaon. of the Editor of tbla work. 


In the evening, the fronts of the City Hall, the City Hotel, and other 
public and private buildings were brilliantly illuminated; the theaters 
and public gardens displayed transparencies and fireworks; rockets 
blazed from the different housetops; and an immense balloon was 
sent up from Castle Garden, representing the famous horee Eclipse 
mounted by an ancient knight in armor. Hilarity reigned supreme. 
On the afternoon of Wednesday, the 18th, General Lafayette, accom- 
panied by his son, visited the Navy-yard — dining with the comman- 
dant and a few invited guests; and, in the evening of the same day, 
went to the rooms of the New- York Historical Society. A large 

number of distinguished citizens had collected at the latter place to 
meet him, and, on his entrance into the room, he was conducted by 
Doctor David Hosack and General Philip Van Cortlandt to the chair 
that had once been the seat of the unfortunate Louis XVI- Over the 
chair, and decorated with Revolutionary emblems, was hung the por- 
trait of Lafayette, painted for General Stevens in 1784. Thus was an 
opportunity afforded the audience of gazing at the same time upon the 
young and chivalrous warrior of the Revolution, and upon the same 
man who, by forty years' hard service since, had ripened into an old 
age full of wisdom and honors, without having tarnished the blight 
escutcheon of his justly deserved fame by a single act. 
As soon as Lafayette had taken his seat. Doctor Hosack, in a grace- 

l Tlw UlnstntioD in the text 1b kfler one of tbe 
view* KiTenin J. Hllborf ■ " PleturewiDe Sketches 
tn AmeiicK," published In Pftrls In 1826. There 
is Uttle donbt that intereat Id Fnnoe In such 
iketehM WM (timnlAWd by the MVDunts ot the 

reception which had been recenll; uxorded to 
LsfBTBtte, Provoost utreet Is now Frankbn street, 
■nd Chapel street is named Church. Editoii. 

2 Presented to the New-York Historical Sodetr 
by QoDvemeor Morris. 



ful address, tendered him his election as an honorary member of the 
society ; to which the general responded in the following words : 

Sir: With the most lively gratitude, I receive the honor which the Historical 
Society of New- York has conferred in electing me one of its members. Permit me, 
also, thankfully to acknowledge the flattering manner in which you are pleased to 
announce this mark of their benevolence. The United States, Sir, are the first nation 
in the records of history who have founded their Constitution upon an honest investi- 
gation and clear definition of their national and social rights. Nor can we doubt 
that, notwithstanding the combinations made elsewhere by despotism and aristocracy 
against those sacred rights of mankind, immense majorities in other countries shall 
not in vain observe the happiness and prosperity of a free, virtuous, and enlightened 

The next day was spent in visiting the Academy, of Arts, and in 
receiving the calls of the members of the bar, the French residents of 
the city, and all citizens who desired to pay their respects. 

At an early hour on the following morning, the city again presented 
a scene of bustle and activity, preparatory to the departure of La- 
fayette and suite for Boston. At seven o'clock, the horse-artillery, 
commanded by Colonel Arcularius, paraded in Broadway in front of 
Washington Hall, and, at eight o'clock, took up their line of march to 
Harlem, in order to precede the escort which was to accompany the 
marquis to that village. This escort consisted of a squadron of cavalry, 
the corporation in carriages, and a number of citizens mounted. The 
general breakfasted with Mayor Paulding, at half-past seven, and 
repaired immediately after to the City Hotel, whence the entire cav- 
alcade, under the command of General Prosper M. Wetmore, as bri- 
gade-major, moved up Broadway to Bond street, and thence up Third 
Avenue.^ The streets were thronged with people, and the general 
rode uncovered, and repeatedly returned their expressions of kindness 
and attachment by bowing. " Thus, for the present,'' said the " Com- 
mercial Advertiser," " have closed the attentions of our citizens to 
this excellent man. The arrangements of our civil and military 
officers were judicious and well executed; and we are told that the 
General has not only been highly gratified, but happily disappointed, 
in the reception with which he has met. The General's journey will 
be rapid, as he intends being at Harvard Commencement on Tuesday 
next. His stay at the eastward must also be short, as he has engaged 
to be in Baltimore on the 15th proximo."^ On his passage through the 

^ Conversations of the writer with the late Gen- 
eral Wetmore. 

2 At this time there was a great rivalry between 
Philadelphia and New- York as to which city 
should receive the marquis more splendidly. A 
correspondent, writing to the "Commercial Adver- 
tiser " at this time, says : " The great object here 
seems to be to rival the reception given to the 
General in New-Tork ; and, so far as it respects 

the military parade, the display of paintings, ban- 
ners, arches, Ac, they will succeed ; for the very 
good reason that we had but 'twenty-four hours to 
make our preparations, and they have had more 
than thirty-four days. But nothing that can be got 
up here can equal, or come anywhere near, die 
naval fits in the harbor of New-Tork. 

'* There are many splendid triumphal and civic 
arches erected here, and the streets through which 


city on September 10, on his way south, he was given a grand con- 
cert of sacred music at St. Paul's. 

" Such," writes Colonel Stone, in closing an account of the ovation, 
"is a faint outline of the proceedings of the last few days, which shine 
proudly in the annals of our country, — proceedings which were more 
brilliant than any that had ever been witneBsed 
in America, and which will rarely, if ever, he 
equaled. They were proud days for the cause 
of enlightened and liberal principles. No ful- 

some adulation was here extorted by the power or splendor of royalty, 
but every feeling and every movement were the spontaneous bursts 
of admiration and gratitude for the character and eervices of a great 
benefactor of the whole civilized world, come among us in a private 
capacity, and in the unaffected -attire of republican simplicity."' 

Uie Qeneral ta to pass »re lined witfa apectktora. 
The wtndoiTR of the hcnuea are tilled, anil there are 
UiDiuBDda of speetatora Id the boiea, or Mmponry 
atagea. which have been erected for the purposen 
of private ■eeommodatioQ and priTate (tain- There 
■eate are let at from twenty -five to fifty cents each, 
and not for three or four dollars as haa been re- 
ported in Nev-York. And they are not weU filled, 
notwilhetaiidliig the trifling expense. There are 
many soeietiea out to-day, handaomely dreBsed. 
aod the proceaaian will be much lai^er than haa 
erer been vltDeeiied In America. 

" It is nippoeed that the Qeneral will arrlTO at 
tiie Ball of the Declantton of Independence [In- 
dependence Sail] at about four o'elook. Here he 
win be rMeived by the Corporation, and presented 
(o the principal citiiens, who have the good for- 
tone to he gueeta. AlW which he will return to 
hU lodginga at IlK Handon House. To-morrow 

the General dines with the Corporation. On Sat- 
urday he attends a Hasonio festival. On Monday 
eveninif he attends a Grand Civic Ball, and departs 
for the South on Tuesday." 

1 Colonel Stone here speaks feellnBly, havinft be- 
come a great personal admirer of the marquis dur- 
ing his visit to the United States. Together with 
Thnrlow Weed, he aoeompanled Lafayette on bis 
tour through New- York State; and It was while 
Lafayette was stopping at Saratoga Springs that 
the following Incident occurred. It chanced that 
the day before the marqaia's depsrtare from Sar- 
atoga, be was on the piaua of the United States 
Hotel, surrounded by a group eonslBtlng of Mrs. 
Bush, of Pblladelpbla; Mrs. Harrison OrayOUs, 
of Boston ; Madame Jumel, of New- York ; Thur- 
low Weed, and Colonel Stone, As the company 
was about to break up, l>afayette, shaking bands 
with Colonel Stone and Mr. Weed, aaked them if 



The project of a gi-and canal conDecting the great lakes of the in- 
terior with tide-water was the first thought of the eity after the peace. 
General Washington and Governor George Clinton, as early as the 
summer of 1783, on their trip to Saratoga Springs and through the 
Mohawk Valley, had considered the feasibility of a canal from Os- 
wego, by way of Wood Creek, to Albany. Two years later (1785) 
Christopher Colles, an ingenious mechanician, had memorialized the 
legislature of New- York for the establishment of a canal to connect 
the Mohawk with the Hudson; and, in 1792, a company was char- 
tered which in five years opened the passage from Schenectady to 
Oneida, intending to continue it 
to Lake Ontario, for which exten- 
sion the route had been surveyed 
in 1791. But it was not until 1810 
that the canal project fonnd its 
great advocate in De Witt Clin- 
ton, whose memorial on the sub- 
ject, signed by many prominent 
men of the city, gave a fresh im- 
petus to the movement 

It was, accordingly, most fitting 
that the city which had not only 
originated but had so nobly sup- 
ported the project of the Erie 
Canal from its beginning, should 
take the chief part in the cere- 
monies attending its realization. 
Probahly no project of internal 
rt'tk. C^^ ^ ^n. C^'n^^ improvement ever met with such 
bitter and malignant opposition as 
that of the Erie Canal ; and, great as was the assistance given to the 
canal project by the act of the New- York legislature of April, 1811, the 
ohstacles in the way of its successful completion were by no means 
removed. The same incredulity as to the practicability of the canal, 
and the same apprehensions as to the capacity of the State to famish 
the means to complete it, continued to raise a fierce opposition in the 
legislature against any appropriation for carrying out the work which 


he could be of sorrico to diem In return for th^ 
■ttention to him. 

" All that Mr. Weed and myself dealrB," repUed 
Crionel Stone, "is s lock of yoor hair." 

"You shall hftve it. gentlemen," answered the 
fteneral; "but aa I have made a vow that man 
Shalt never cot m; hair more, I Burrender myself, 
my dear madame, Into your hands." 

As he said Oila he took the edssors from Colonel 
Stone and gnwefnllyBaTe them to Mn. Rush. 

He then ndsed his wig, and Hrn. Bnali, cnttlnc 

off three locks of the anowy-whlta hair, kept Ona 
herself and handed the other two to Colonel Stone 
and Mr. Weed. The scene made ■ lastln{[ impres- 
sion on all who witnessed It This lock nA hair I 
still have, and treasure it as a most predons idle. 
> From a painting in the poeaesslon of her 
grandson De Witt Clinton Jones, Esq. . to whom I 
am indebted for several other family portraits. 


it had itself authorized. Mauy attempts were accordingly made to 
arrest, or at least to curtail, the project ; and often, during the pro- 
gress of the undertaking, it seemed as if it would be completely aban- 
doned. Party spirit at that time ran high, and the greatest effort on 
the part of its supporters was required to persuade the people of the 
State to give it their support at the polls. In accomplishing this re- 
sult, the New- York "Commercial Advertiser,^ the oldest newspaper 
of New- York city,^ gave powerful aid. That paper, which had al- 
ways been the organ of the Federalists, became, upon Colonel Stone 
assuming its managemeuit in 1820, a stanch advoisate of the Clinton- 
ians. A strong personal friendship for Governor De Witt Clinton on 
the part of its editor, together with a firm conviction of the necessity 
for a canal through the interior of New- York State, led to the posi- 
tion thus assumed. The trials and rebuffs experienced by Clinton and 
his supporters in pushing the canal project, and the energy which 
fought it through to a triumphant end, are matters of history. 

The Erie Canal was completed in the fall of 1825. At ten o'clock 
on the morning of October 26 of that year the first canal-boat, the 
Seneca Chief, left Buffalo, having on board Governor Clinton, Joshua 
Foreman, Colonel Stone, Chancellor Livingston, Thurlow Weed, and 
General Stephen Van Rensselaer ; and the booming of cannon, placed 
at intervals of a few miles — within hearing distance — along the en- 
tire line of the canal from Buffalo to Albany, and thence along the 
banks of the Hudson to Sandy Hook, announced the successful ter- 
mination of the enterprise — the final union of the great lakes with 
the Atlantic, and the presage of the power and wealth of New- York 
city as the great gateway of the western hemisphere.^ 

In New- York city, especially, this event was celebrated by extra- 
ordinary civic and military ceremonies ; and the citizens gave them- 
selves up to the wildest demonstrations of joy. Nor was this joy 
ill-timed or excessive. " For a single State to achieve such a victory, 
not only over the doubts and fears of the wary, but over the obstacles 
of nature, causing miles of massive rocks at the mountain-ridge to 
yield to its power, turning the current of error as well as that of the 
Tonawanda, piling up the waters of the mighty Niagara as well as 
those of the beautiful Hudson; — in short, causing a navigable river 
to flow with gentle current down the steepy mount of Lockport ; to 
leap the river of Genesee ; to encircle the brow of Irondequoit as with 
the laurePs wreath ; to march through the rich fields of Palmyra and 
of Lyons ; to wend its way through the quicksands of the morass at 
the Cayuga; to pass unheeded the delicious licks at Onondja; to 
smile through Oneida's verdant landscape ; to hang upon the arm of 

1 The oldest, that is, then in existence. 
2 The time taken for the sound to come from Buffalo to Sandy Hook was one hour and a half. 


the ancient Mohawk, and, with her, after gayly, stepping down the 
cadence of the Little Falls and the Cohoee, to rush to the embrace of 
the sparkling Hudson — and all in the space of eight short years — 
was a work of which the oldest and richest nations of Christendom 
might be proud." Colonel Stone, as one of the most zealous cham- 
pions of the Erie Canal, was appointed to write the "Narrative of the 
Erie Canal Celebration," receiving a 
silver medal and a box (made out of 
the timber of the Seneca Chief) from 
the common council of New-York 
cit^, together with the thanks of that 

The naval and land processions in 
the city on this occasion were unique, 
and, withal, were projected and car- 
ried out on a truly magnificent scale. 
The grand fleet arrived by a precon- 
certed plan in the waters of New- 
York bay before daylight on Novem- 
ber 4, 1825; and the roar of cannon 
from different points and the peals of 
numerous church bells greeted the 
y ushering in of sunrise. Shortly aft«r- 
"^^^ ward signals were hoisted by the flag- 
ship of the squadron, in response to which the new and superb steam- 
boat Washington bore proudly down to welcome the fleet. She tbd 
alongside the Chancellor, and a committee of the corporation of the 
city, with the officers of the governor's guard, came on board to 
tender his Excellency Governor Clinton their congratulations on his 
arrival in New- York waters from those of Lake Erie. At half-past 
eight the corporation and their guests proceeded to the steamboats 
Washington, Fulton, and Providence, stationed at the foot of White- 
hall street. At the same place was also stationed the Commerce, with 

Sis/aymy^ u'iy^^<^ 

< Colonel Stone's narrative of tfae celebration, 
from which the above citation is rasde. wae pub- 
lished by the cominoD muncll ander the title 
of the "Grand Erie Caoal Celebration, " aecom- 
panied by a memoir of the ureal work by Cad- 
wallBder D. Golden. In connection with the Erie 
Canal, and ite Influence in building up the Interior 
towns of the State, Colonel Stone waa wont to 
relate the following anecdote : In 1820 he visited 
Syraciue witb Joshua ForMnan, the founder of 
that city, and one of the earliest and most lealous 
friends of the Erie Canal. "I lodged for the 
ntebt." says Colonel Stone, "at a miserable tav- 
ern, thronged by a company of salt-boilers (Tom 
Salina, forming a group of about as rough-look- 
ing specimens of humanity as I had ever seen. 
Thdr wild visages, beards thick and long, and 

matted hair, even now rise np In dark, distant, 
and pietnreaque effect before me. It was in Oe- 
tober, and a flnrry of snow dorlng the night had 
rendered tbe morning aspect of the country more 
dreary than the evening Ijetore. The few hoium, 
standing npon low and nkarshy ground, and mr- 
rounded by trees and tangled thickets, presented 
a very uninvltiiig scene. 'Hr. Foreman.' said L 
' do yon call this a village t It would make an owl 
weep to fly over itP 'Never mind,' said he, bi 
reply, 'you will live to see It a city yetl"* Colooel 
Stone did, indeed, live to see It a city, when he 
wrote the above in 1B40, with a mayor and aldel^ 
men, and a population of more than twelve tboo- 
sand souls, Editok. 

t From a painting In the possession of bis de- 
scendant William E. Ver Pbook, E^., of fiahkilL 


the elegant safety-barge Lady Clinton. This barge, with the Lady 
Van Rensselaer, had been set apart by the corporation for the recep- 
tion of the invited ladies and their attendants. The Lady Clinton 
was decorated with a degree of taste and elegance that was equally 
delightful and surprising. From stem ^^ d jl, Cl^^a^ 

to stern she was ornamented with ever- ^^'^^^^ ^b 

greens hung in festoons and intertwined with roses of various hues, 
China asters, and many other flowers alike beautiful. In one of the 
niches below the upper deck was the bust of Clinton, the brow being 
encircled with a wreath of laurel and roses. Mrs. Clinton and many 
other distinguished ladies were on board of the barge, which, though 
the party was select, was crowded. Captain Seymour, however, paid 
every attention to his beautiful charge; every countenance beamed 
with satisfaction, and every eye sparkled with delight. 

Meanwhile, as if ^olus and Neptune had entered into a compact to 
make this occasion as joyous as possible, the sea was as tranquil and 
smooth as a summer lake; and the mist which came on between 
seven and eight in the morning having partially floated away, the 
sun shone bright and beautiful. As the naval procession filed past 
the Battery it was saluted by the military, the revenue cutter, and 
Castle Williams on Governor's Island; and, on passing the Narrows, it 
was also saluted by Forts Lafayette and Tompkins.^ It then pro- 
ceeded to the United States schooner Porpoise, Captain John P. Zant- 
zinger, moored within Sandy Hook, at the point where the grand 
ceremony was to be performed. A deputation, composed of Aldermen 
Elisha W. King, Davis, and Jacob B. Taylor, was then sent on board 
the steamboat Chancellor Livingston, to accompany his Excellency 
the Governor, the Lieutenant-Governor, and the several committees 
from Buffalo, Utica, Albany, and other places, on board the steam- 
boat Washington. 

The boats were thereupon formed in a circle around the schooner, 
preparatory to the ceremony; when Charles Ehind, addressing the 
governor, remarked " that he had a request to make which he was 
confident it would afford his Excellency gi-eat pleasure to grant. He 
was desirous of preserving a portion of the water used on this memo- 
rable occasion, in order to send it to our distinguished friend and late 
illustrious visitor, Major-General Lafayette; and for that purpose 
Dummer and Co. had prepared some bottles of American fabric for 
the occasion, and they were to be conveyed to the general in a box 
made by D. Phybe from a log of cedar brought from Erie in the canal- 
boat Seneca Chief." The governor replied that a more pleasing task 
could not have been imposed upon him, and expressed his acknow- 
ledgment to Mr. Rhind for having suggested the measure. 

1 Since changed to Fort Wadsworth. 
Vol. III.— 21. 


His Excellency De Witt Clinton then proceeded to perform the 
ceremony of commingling the waters of the lake with the ocean, by 
pouring a keg of those of Lake Erie into the Atlantic; upon which he 
delivered the following address: " This solemnity, at this place, on the 
first arrival of vessels from Lake Erie, is intended to indicate and 
commemorate the navigable communication which has been accom- 
plished between our Mediterranean Seas and the Atlantic Ocean in 
about eight years, to the extent of more than four hundred and 
twenty-five miles, by the wisdom, public spirit, and energy of the 
people of the State of New York; and may the God of the Heavens 
and the Earth smile most propitiously on this work, and render it sub- 
servient to the best interests of the human race ! ^ 

Dr. Mitchill, whose extensive correspondence with every part of 
the world enabled him to fill his cabinet with articles rare and 
curious, then completed the ceremony by pouring into the briny 
deep bottles of water from the Ganges and Indus of Asia ; the Nile 
and the Gambia of Africa; the Thames, the Seine, the Rhine, and 
the Danube of Europe ; the Mississippi and Columbia of North, and 
the Orinoco, La Plata, and Amazon of South America. Cadwallader 
D. Golden then came forward and presented to the mayor an able me- 
moir upon the subject of canals and inland navigation in general 

Indeed, as Stone, in his narrative, says : " Never before was there 
such a fleet collected, and so superbly decorated ; and it is very pos- 
sible that a display so grand, so beautiful, and we even add so sub- 
lime, will never be witnessed again.* We know of nothing with which 
it can be compared. The naval fete given by the Prince Eegent of 
England, upon the Thames, during the visit of the allied sovereigns 
of Europe to London, after the dethronement of Napoleon, has been 
spoken of as exceeding everything of the kind ever witnessed in 
Europe. But gentlemen who had an opportunity of witnessing both, 
have declared that the spectacle in the waters of New-York so far 
transcended that in the metropolis of England as scarcely to admit of 
a comparison. The day, as we have before remarked, was uncom- 
monly fine. No winds agitated the surface of the mighty deep ; and 
during the performance of the ceremonies, the boats, with their gay 
decorations, lay motionless in beauty. The orb of day darted his 
genial rays upon the bosom of the waters, where they played as tran- 
quilly ^as upon the natural mirror of a secluded lake. Indeed, the 
elements seemed to repose, as if to gaze upon each other, and par- 
ticipate in the beauty and grandeur of the sublime spectacle. Every 
object appeared to pause, as if to invite reflection and prepare the 
mind for deep impressions — impressions which, while we feel them 
stealing upon the soul, impart a consciousness of their durability. 

1 Up to the present time the writer's conjecture has been proved correct. 


It was one of those few bright visions whose evanescent glory is 
allowed to light ap the path of human life — which, as they are pass- 
ing, we feel can never return ; and which, in diffusing a sensation of 
pleasing melancholy, consecrate, as it were, all smrounding objects, 
even to the atmosphere we inhale." 

Another circumstance connected with these demonstrations of good 
feeling must not be omitted : On boai*d of the Swallow an elegant 
breakfast was given, in honor of the occasion, by her commander, 
Lieutenant Baldock, to a numerous company of ladies and gentlemen, 
on which occasion was tastefully displayed a series of elegant and 

appropiiate drawings in water 
colors, representing Britannia, Columbia, the Eagle, the Lion, and an 
English and an American sailor, Neptune, Liberty, and the flags and 
shields of both nations, all classically arranged, denoting good feeling, 
fellowship, and union of sentiment. There were also round one of 
the devices for a tower two designs of canal-basins, with double 
locks — one as coming through Welsh mountains, the other as 
through American mountains of granite; and on their basements 
were conspicuously inscribed " Clinton and Bridgewater," in honor of 
men whose pursuits in each country were so similar. The whole was 
designed by John R. Smith, and executed by him and an assistant.' 

Meanwhile, the head of the land procession, under General Augustus 
Fleming, marshal of the day, assisted by Colonels King and 'Jones, 
Major John Low,' and Mr. Van Winkle, had already arrived on the Bat^ 
tery, where it was designed the whole should pass in review before 

I It wcmld be eitrenielj Interesting if one could venir— to be preSBTTed h> long u New- York dty 

know where tbcH wrtor^olor paintings »re now Bhall endnra u » city — they wonld be simply 

to be found : for tbey most, of coniwi, bave been prieeless. 

d<>poritcd In K>me public inBtitntioQ. I have, i Tbe bwiker, and father of Hr. Able! A. Low, 

bowcver, ssArohed for tbem iji yaln. As a son- the eminent Eaat India merehftnt. 


the corporation and their guests, and the spectators on board of the 
other boats, which lay to near the shore to afiford an opportunity of 
witnessing the cars, and banners, and other decorations of the several 
societies, professions, and callings which had turned out in the city in 
honor of the event commemorated. The Washington and Chancellor 
Livingston touched at Pier No. 1, in the East Eiver, disembarking the 
corporation and their friends at the proper time for them to fall into 
line in the rear of the procession. The fleet then dispersed, each vessel 
repairing to its own moorings; and thus, without a single accident to 
alloy the festivities of the day, ended an agreeable fete^ unrivaled in 
beauty and magnificence in the annals of the United States, and 
perhaps of the world. Indeed, the magnificence of this naval pageant 
is worth dwelling upon, since, in all of the different land and aquatic 
processions of recent years, the palm, by universal consent, has in- 
variably been awarded to those upon the land. 

The civic procession was composed of the several benevolent and 
mechanical societies of New- York city, the fire department, the offi- 
cers of the State artillery and infantry in uniform, the literary and 
scientific institutions, the members of the bar, the members of many 
occupations and callings not formally organized into societies, ac- 
companied by fine bands of music, exclusive of the corporation, their 
associate committees and distinguished guests, who fell into line in 
the rear of the procession, as before mentioned, at the Battery, This 
procession, the largest of the kind ever witnessed in America, began 
forming, six abreast, in Greenwich street, near the Battery, and ex- 
tended to the distance of more than a mile and a half. The line 
of march was taken up at half-past ten. Its first movement was 
a countermarch of the whole column upon the right wing. By this 
manoeuver every society and division was brought into such close 
proximity to each other as to afford every individual a distinct view 
of the whole. The procession moved from Greenwich street through 
Canal street into Broadway, up Broadway to Broome street, across 
Broome street to the Bowery, down the Bowery to Pearl street, 
down Pearl street to the Battery, over the Battery to Broadway, 
and thence to the City Hall. Along the whole extensive line of 
march the spectacle was of a most imposing and animating de- 
scription. The various societies and occupations seemed to have been 
engaged in a laudable strife, regardless of expense, to excel each other 
in the richness of their banners and the beauty and taste exhibited 
in their badges and other decorations. Nor had the money of the 
societies been expended, or the skill of the artists of our city exer- 
cised, in vain. For never did a more imposing array of banners of 
exquisite design and magnificent appearance stream and flutter in the 
breeze. Many of the societies, likewise, had furnished themselves 


326 mSTOBY OF new-york 

with cars of gigantic structure, upon which their respective artisans 
were busily engaged in their several occupations. The ornaments 
of many of these cars were curiously wrought, and they were other- 
wise beautifully and splendidly decorated. The richest Turkey or 
Brussels carpets covered the floors of some, whilst the costly gild- 
ing of others reflected the golden rays of the sun with dazzling eflful- 
gence. The eye of beauty, too, gazed with delight upon the passing 
scene; for every window was thronged, and the myriads of hand- 
kerchiefs which fluttered in the air were only rivaled in whiteness 
by the delicate hands which suspended them; while the glowing 
cheeks, the ingenuous smiles of loveliness and innocence, and the 
intelligence which beamed brightly from many a sparkling eye, pro- 
claimed their possessors worthy of being the wives, mothers, and 
daughters of free men. 

The festivities of the day were closed in the evening by illumina- 
tions of the public buildings and the principal hotels, upon many of 
which appropriate transparencies were exhibited. The illumination 
of the City Hotel contributed largely to the brilliant appearance of 
Broadway. Great taste was also displayed in the illumination of the 
New-York Coffee House. The front in Sloat Lane presented a bril- 
liant wreath encircling the letter "C." The front in William street 
displayed the words "Grand Canal" in large and glowing capitals. 
We do not remember to have seen a more original and beautiful 
method of illuminating than that adopted at this establishment. 
Peale's Museum presented a beautiful transparency — rays of glory, 
containing a motto illustrative of the dependence of the fine arts 
upon the success of commerce. Scudder's Museum, Ukewise, was 
brilliantly illuminated, and a very large and beautiful transparency 
was exhibited in front. The Park Theater was illuminated, and also 
exhibited appropriate transparencies without; while within an inter- 
lude, composed for the occasion by Mr. Noah,^ with scenery specially 
prepared for the occasion, was received with great applause. A simi- 
lar production, from the pen of Samuel Woodworth,^ was played at the 
Chatham Theater, and was likewise well received. The house of Moses 
B. Seixas, in Broadway, was illuminated, and an appropriate transpar- 
ency, representing Fortune embarking on board of a canal-boat 
loaded with bags of money, and several appropriate emblematical 
devices were exhibited. At "The Lunch'' a transparency was shown, 
representing the canal-boat Seneca Chief receiving on board his Ex- 
cellency the Governor, the Buffalo deputation, Indian chiefs, etc., 
preparatory to her passage from Lake Erie into the canal. But the 
City Hall was the grand point of attraction, and too much praise 
cannot be given to our corporation for the great exertions which 

1 Mordecai M. Noah, tho author and journalist. 2 The author of '' The Old Oaken Bucket/' 


it made to contribute to the enjoyment and festivities of the day. 
The City Hall, under its direction, was superbly illuminated, the 
front presenting a very magnificent transparency, on which were 
painted interesting views of the canal, columns with the names of 
worthies, figures emblematical of the occasion, etc.' The fireworks, 
prepared by Mr. Wilcox, far exceeded the public expectation, and 
were unrivaled of the kind. Such 
rockets were never before seen in 
New- York. They were uncommon- 
ly large. Now they shot forth al- 
ternately showers of fiery serpents 
and dragons, gorgous and hydras, 
and chimeras dire; and now they 
burst forth and rained down show- 
ers of stars, floating in the atmo- 
sphere like balls of liquid silver.^ 
The volcanic eruption of fire-balls 
and rockets, with which this exhi- 
bition was concluded, afforded a 
spectacle of vast beauty and sub- 
limity. They were sent up appar- 
ently from the rear of the hall to 
a great height, diverged like rays 
from a common center, then, float- 
ing like meteors of the brightest 
light, they fell in graceful curves, 
presenting a scene magnificent and 
enchanting. The park was filled to overflowing; not less than ten 
thousand admiring spectators having collected in it to view the 
splendid display. 

" Thus passed," says Stone, " a day so glorious to the State and 
city, and so deeply interesting to the countless thousands who were 
permitted to behold and mingle in its exhibitions. We have before 
said that aH attempts at description must be utterly in vain. Others 
can comprehend the greatness of the occasion. The Grand Canal is 


I The aty HaD waa iUuminated with 1542 wu 
ondlM. 4M lamps, and 310 variegated lamps, 
total 2306. To eelipae tbia great effusion of liftbt 
was not within the power of ordinary flreworks. 
hmee eitraordlnaiy means were employed, con- 
slstlDg of 13 eompoanded verbea, each contaiDlDg 
5B pounds of brUllant Chinese and. diamond flres, 
which changed »lt«rnately. These flres were sup- 
ported by a background of spur Are, which pro- 
jected 1500 brllUaat start, InterKctloe each other 
la fanciful directions. During the evening were 
projected 320 foor-pound rockets, 30 nine-pound 
and 21 twenty-poand roekela, total 374; supple- 

mented by a great variety of minor amusing 
pieces, I'hI« page 32B. Editob. 

3 It would seem as If our pteMut Areworks, 
splendid as they are, are in no wise superior to 
those of seventy years since. 

) Dr. John Nellson Abecl, D. D.. was bom in 
the city of New- York in 1T69, and was the son of 
Colonel James Abeel, who served throuch the 
Revolutionary war on Waahlngton'n staff. He 
was appointed one of the ministers of the Col- 
legiate Church in 1795, remaining in that office 
until his death ; and he was one of the founders 
of the New-Tork Historical Society. Editor. 


completed ; and the waters of Lake Erie have been borne upon its 
surface, and mingled with the ocean. But it is only those who were 
present and beheld the brilliant scenes of the day, that can form any 
adequate idea of their grandeur, and of the joyous feelings which 
pervaded all ranks of the community. Never before had been pre- 
sented to the sight a fleet so beautiful as that which then graced our 
waters. The numerous array of steamboats and barges proudly 
breasting the billows, and dashing on their way regardless ot oppos- 
ing winds and tides; the flags of all nations, and banners of every 
hue, streaming splendidly in the breeze; the dense columns of black 
smoke ever and anon sent up from the boats, now partially obscuring 
the view, and now spreading widely over the sky and softening down 
the glare of light and color ; the 
roar of cannon from the various 
forts, accompanied by heavy vol- 
umes of white smoke, contrast- 
ing finely with the dark smoke 
of the steamboats; the crowds 
of happy beings who thronged 
the decks, and the voice of 
whose joy was mingled with the 
sound of music, and not unfre- 
quentiy drowned by the hissing 
of the steam : all these, and a thousand other circumstances, awak- 
ened an interest so intense that the eye could not be satisfied with 
seeing, nor the ear with hearing. We rejoiced, and all who were 
there rejoiced; although, as we looked upon the countless throng, 
we could not but remember the exclamation of Xerxes, and feel that 
'a hundred years hence not one of all that vast multitude will be 
alive.' The splendor of beauty and the triumph of art serve to ex- 
cite, to dazzle, and often to improve the condition and promote the 
welfare of mankind; but the 'fashion of this world passeth away'; 
beauty and art, with all their triumphs and splendors, endure but 
for a season; and earth itself, with all its lakes and oceans, is only 
as the small dust of the balance in the sight of Him who dwells 
beyond the everlasting hills."' 

On Monday evening, November 7, the festivities of the city were 
appropriately concluded by a ball, which was given in the Lafayette 
Amphitheater, in Laurens street, by the officers of the militia, asso- 

iThU remark Is brought home to ufl continually our ferry-boBta snd see the cniwda ranraing to 

In oar own eiperipnoe. Ag the writer mys, prob- Bud fro, give t, tbonsbt to the fact that of aO 

ably no one who witnessed this celebration — an- these human beings a few short years will see 

lees it was tlie babo in arms carried by some them in their Rraves, Indeed, as Grmy has well 

mother who herself wished to view the procea- said in Ms Immortal elegy, neither "storied nm" 

^n — now lives. It is, of coarse, a melanehoiy nor "animated bust" can call back the fleeting 

thought; and yet how many who d^y cross on bnath, nor the flattery of inseripttons, deMrrcd 



eiated with a committee of citizens. The circus building, compris- 
ing a spacious stage used for dramatic representations, was enlarged 
by the addition of an edifice in the rear, which had been used for a 
riding-school. These were connected in such a manner as to form an 
area of much greater extent than that of any other ball-room in the 
United States, being nearly two hundred feet in length, and varying 
from sixty to about one hundred feet in width. The usual entrance to 
the circus from Laurens street was closed up, and new entrances opened 
from Thompson street, in the rear, through the riding-school. The 
front was brilliantly illuminated, presenting in large letters, formed 
by bright lamps extending over the doors across the building, the 
words " The Grand Canal." The whole area within was newly floored 
for the occasion, and arranged in three compartments by the original 
divisions of the audience part of the circus, the stage, and the addi- 
tional building on Thompson street. Of these we shall speak in 
order, but briefly. The two tiers of boxes were reserved, and deco- 
rated for the accommodation of that part of the company which chose 
to retire and be spectators of the busy assemblage below. Access 
was obtained to them through a flight of steps in the middle of the 
boxes, of which the center one had been removed. The dome in this 
part of the hall was ornamented with green wreaths, which were 
appropriately festooned with beautiful and various flowers, sweeping 
gracefully to the pillars which supported the boxes, terminating at 
and around them. Above the proscenium were the names of the 
engineers who had been employed in the construction of the canal, 
viz.: Briggs, White, James Geddes, Benjamin Wright, David Thomas. 
Opposite these, and in the center of the circle of boxes, was a bust of 
Washington, surrounded with evergreens, and around were inscribed 
the names of the canal commissioners : Eli Hart, William C. Bouck,* 
Myron Holley, Simeon De Witt, William North, Robert R. Livingston, 
Robert Fulton, De Witt Clinton, Stephen Van Rensselaer, Gouverneur 
Morris, Thomas Eddy, Samuel Young, Henry Seymour, Peter B. 
Porter, and Joseph EUicott. 

** From the roof," says Stone, "splendid chandeliers added their blaze 
of light to the numberless lamps which hung nearly parallel to the 
upper boxes. Passing into the upper apartment, the eye was met by 
a scene of equal splendor. One side of this room, which is the stage 
of the theater, was formed by a beautiful piece of scenery represent- 

or undeserved, '^soothe the dull, cold ear of 
death *" ; and it is also a sad, a melancholy reflec- 
tion, how very short a period do nearly all the 
memorials reared to the memory of the dead by 
the hand of surviving friendship and affection 
endure ! A few, a very few brief years, and the 
heiMistone has sunk, the slab is broken, the short 
column or pyramid overturned; and yet, while 

they do remain, they are often mementos of 
interesting incidents or endearing recollections. 
For a letter from Colonel Stone to Dr. Hosack 
upon the legislative proceedings of 1816-17, in 
regard to the Erie Canal, see Hosack^s '* Memoir 
of De Witt Clinton." 

1 Afterward governor of New- York State, hav- 
ing been elected in 1843. 


iiig the interior of an elegant chamber, with proper doors, hand- 
somely ornamented. The other side was occupied by a band of music, 
placed behind a species of turret, od the face of which arches were 
skillfully painted, and in the distance of which landscapes were repre- 
sented. Here was also hung the painting, spoken of near the b^in- 
ning of this narrative, from the cabin 
of the canal-boat, faithfully represent- 
ing the whole arrangement in that 
f~^^----^^^ifif^.^;z-.i place. The music of the band, which 

SJ^d^^^a/Tj^^r-^ was placed here, was excellent, and we 

i- i>, ' lu T i ^j j u , ■■' a^ l/h..,,. discovered that the bugle-notes were 
those of "WiUis of West-Pomt Our 
national stripes were suspended from 
the center and tastefnlly looped up 
from the extremities of the ceiling, forming a complete circumference 
of regular semicircles, meeting in a common center. Here, also, were 
lamps and chandeliers, and wreaths of flowers, and garlands of roses. 
But it was to the third apartment that the exertions of the committee 
were directed. Imagine in a large hall, collected and displayed in one 
grand view, the flags and emblems and costly decorations, which, in 
a continued procession, called forth such enthusiasm of admiration. 
Imagine them presented in one overwhelmiug view blazing with light, 
and bright with reflected beauty; and when a proper idea is formed 
of the complete enchantment of the scene, add to this, in one pro- 
digious mirror, the whole reflected back in trebled brilliancy, doubling 
the immense area, including the thousand lights in tenfold greater 
^lendor. Floods of light were poured forth from every point, which 
were glanced back by the glittering array of the military, and a 
thousand other objects of brilliant reflection. 

" But entrancing, above all other enchantments of the scene, was 
the living enchantment of beauty — the trance which wraps the senses 
in the presence of loveliness, when woman walks the halls of fancy — 
magnificence herself — the brightest object in the midst of brightness 
and beauty. A thousand faces were there, bright in intelligence and 
radiant with beauty, looking joy and cougratulation to each other, and 
spreading around the spells which the Loves and the Graces bind on 
the heart of the sterner sex. 

"It only remains to speak of the ladies' supper-room, which was 
separated from the large apartment by flags elegantly festooned, and 
raised at the given signal. Mirrors, and splendid lights, and emblems, 
and statues, and devices, beyond the writer's abilities to describe, or- 
namented this part of the house in common with the rest. Upon the 
supper-table was placed, floating in its proper element (the waters of 
Lake Erie), a miniature canal-boat, made entirely of maple-sugar, and 

betuhn of peace, and completion of ebie canal 331 

presented to Governor Clinton by Coloael Hinman of Utica. The re- 
freshments were excellent; and, considering the vast number who 
were to partake of them, very plentifully provided. At a seasonable 
hour the company retired, with memories --— ^^ ._ 

stored with the events, and decorations, and 
splendors of the Grand Canal Ball." 

That this joyous and amazing demonstra- 
tion was commensurate to, and fully war- 
ranted by, the occasion which had called it 
forth, the steady increase of the productive- 
ness of the State affords conclusive proof. 
Many of the supporters of the "Big Ditch," 
who at the time were regarded aa enthusi- 
astic and visionary, have lived to see their 
most sanguine predictions more than real- 
ized, as well as the complete refutation of 
the opinion which one of our greatest 
, statesmen, whose zeal for internal improve- 
ments could not be questioned, was known 
to have expressed, that this enterprise had 
been undertaken a hundred years too soon, 
and that, until the lapse of another century, the strength of our popula- 
tion and of our resources would be inadequate to snch a gigantic work. 
While, however. New- York city was thus vindicating her claim to 
a place in the van of internal improvements, she did not hesitate to 
take the lead, also, in extending aid to a nation at that time strug- 
gling for its release from the thraldom of an oppressor. Greece was 
at this period writhing under the heel of the sultan. In the first 
three years of the war that nation had received no material aid, either 
in men or money. This arose, probably, from the fact that at this 
time the Greeks were in no need of assistance. Fighting with en- 
thusiasm and upon their own soil, they had beaten off the Turkish 
hordes, and cleared most of the country of their oppressors. In this 
year, however, affairs wore a different aspect. Byron, their great 
friend and champion, had died the year before, and the dark days of 
the revolution had begun. The Egyptian vizier had responded to 
the appeals of the sultan, and his son, Ibrahim Pasha, landing an 
organized and regular army on the Peloponnesus, swept everything 
before him. In less than two years the Greeks were driven from the 
plains and all the open country to the caves and recesses of the moun- 
tains, retaining only here and there a fortress. As it was a war with- 
out quarter, every one fled; for surrender was death to every man 



and dishonor to every woman. Two seasons brought them to the 
point of starvation. Their vines had been pulled up, their olive-trees 
burned, their fields desolated, their flocks slain and eaten. Snails and 
sorrel were their only food; and the only alternative left, on the part 
of the Greeks, was starvation or submission. Guerrilla bands alone 
hovered around the flanks and rear of the invading hosts. At this 
point Dr. Samuel Or. Howe, urged by a pure philanthropy, set out for 
Greece. After experiencing many vicissitudes and languishing for 
several months in a Prussian dungeon, he at length landed upon the 
Peloponnesus alone, from an Austrian vessel going to Smyrna. As 
there was, however, no organization 
among the Greeks, he could do no- 
thing; and he accordingly returned 
to the United States to obtain aid. 
On his arrival at Boston, he found 
that Greek committees, under the 
lead of Edward Everett and Daniel 
Webster, were already formed ; and^ 
after doing what he could to organ- 
ize efforts for raising supplies, be 
. came to New- York, at the solicita- 
tion of Colonel Stone, with whom he 
had been for a long time in corre- 
spondence, with a view to this end. 
Colonel Stone now threw himself 
heartily into the good work. He 
roused his fellow-citizens through 
his paper, the " Commercial Advertifler," issued stirring appeals for 
aid, depicted in vivid colore the sufferings of the Greeks, and got up 
private meetings composed of the wealthy men of New-Tork city, at 
which large amounts of money were obtained. After doing all that 
could be done in the city, he accompanied Dr. Howe upon a tour up 
the Hudson River and through the western towns of the State, 
preaching a sort of crusade for the relief of the Greeks. 

The general results are well known. Through the efforts of those 
persons who have been mentioned, the citizens of New-Tork city and 
State contributed most liberally; ships were purchased, and large 
amounts of grain, flour, clothing, and money were obtained, for- 
warded, and distributed among the starving people of Greece, which, 
by the immediate relief thus brought, and by the moral support thus 
given at the most critical period of the Greek revolution, helped 
materially to aid their cause. 

In closing the history of this year, it only remains to say that in 
May the first gas-pipes were laid by the New-York Gas-light Company, 


which had been incorporated in 1823. No system for lighting the 
streets was introduced until 1697, when the aldermen were charged 
with enforcing the duty that "every 
seventh householder, in the dark time 
of the moon, should cause a lauthorn 
and candle to be hung out of his 
window on a pole — the expense of 
which to be divided among the seven 
families." At a later period the prin- 
cipal streets of the city were lighted 
with oil-lamps. The firat gas-pipe in- 
novation extended on either side of 
Broadway, from Canal street to the 
Battery, and soon grew into public 
favor, so that, in 1830, the Manhattan 
GJas-light Company was incorporated 
with a capital of $500,000— an im- 
mense sum in those times — to supply 
the upper part of the island.* 

Ughta, one of the audleooe, a prominent Democnt, 
strucli one of tbe new nilpbuT locofoco matcliea 
■nd lighted the gas. A wag. irho had observed the 
oecurrence, aftemard called the paHy Lotofoeo — 
which name adhered, (or many years, to the 
Demoeratlo party, eepeelally in New-York State. 
t The BiBt Roman Catholic church built in 
New-York dty, situated in Barclaj' Htreet. on 
tbe comer of Church. Editok. 

It la perhaps worth while 
calling attention to the origin of the name Loeafoat 
■aappliedtothsDenacratlcparty. InHammond's 
'■Politieal History of New-York" It will be seen 
tliat the loeofooo matehea gave the name to the 
Demoeratie party. The ease was this : Upon the 
introduction of gas into the city, tbe old Park 
Theater being lighted for the flrat time, and a dif- 
ficulty experienced in lighting the stage (gas) 

•plAn. SuuKjUc UcUMft. /xmi^ Mtjti^t^ 






HE meeting-place of the merchants had been, since 1792, 
the Tontine Coffee House, erected under their auspices in 
that year. In 1825 the corner-stone of a new edifice was 
laid in Wall street. It was opened for business in May, 
1827, having cost two hundred and thirty thousand dollars. The post- 
oflSce was in this building. The Chamber of Commerce had its 
rooms here, and there were numerous offices for brokers on the base- 
ment floor. The merchants occupied offices in the galleries. The prin- 
cipal room or exchange was of oval form, in the center of the building. 
Here were posted the various notices which interested the merchants 
generally : such as the arrival and departure of vessels, signaled by 
a telegraph which received and replied to signals from the station at 
the Narrows. 

At this, the beginning of the second quarter of the century, New- 
York was the principal mart for the products and manufactures of a 
large part of the Eastern States, of New- York State, and New Jersey, 
and of the Southern section of the Union. The city soon began to 
feel the enormous stimulus to her trade caused by the operation of 
the Erie Canal. This great work of internal improvement was for- 
mally opened, as noticed in the preceding chapter, on October 26, 
1825. It brought to her the control of the trade of the great lakes, 
and the vast and prolific regions which bordered upon them, as well 
as that of the valleys of the Ohio and of the Mississippi. The 
Champlain Canal, finished in 1823, was the outlet for the produce of 
a large section of country bordering on Lake Champlain. It began 
at Whitehall, at the head of sloop navigation on that large body of 
water. These two waterways, connecting with the Hudson, consti- 
tuted an extent of navigation of seven hundred and eight miles (Hud- 
son and Champlain, 345 miles ; Erie, 363 miles). Besides, there was the 
great chain of lakes, with which communication was now established, 
affording a navigation of sixteen hundred and twenty-five miles, of 
which over eleven hundred miles were within the limits of the State 



of whicli New- York city was the only ocean outlet. It is not difficult 
to uudci-stand the exultant joy of the citizens of New- York at the final 
completion of these magnificent monuments to the genius of the states- 
men and the enterprise of the people of the great commonwealth. It 
definitely assured the ^^^ y_...__..^„_. - ^ 

supremacy of the city ^^CHH^^P^^ ^ -^ 

as the commercial em- J^H^^^SIfc .^ B "^ 

porium of the western 
continent. Becoming 
the outlet of a vast ter- 
ritory, it followed nat- 
urally that New- York 
should become also the 
point at which the sup- 
plies for that territory 
would be obtained, as 
well as the financial cen- 
ter of exchange for do- 
mestic as well as foreign 

commcTce. The amount of tonnage wliich the Erie was capable of 
transporting with locks all double was estimated at 3,024,000, iuclnd- 
iug botli descending and ascending trips. In 1826 the toll on imports 
on the Erie and Champlain canals was $762,000; in 1827, $859,000. 

The value of the merchandise laden and unladen at the port of 
New- York at this period (1825-28) was seventy to one hxmdred mil- 
lions of <lollars, and the number of merchant vessels in port varied 
from five to seven hundred in busy seasons, besides fifty steamboats. 
The number of arrivals from foreign ports averaged fourteen hun- 
dred, and of coasting vessels four thousand, per annum. Goodrich, 
in his " Picture of New- York " (1828), estimated '* the anivals at and 
departures of steamboats from this port during the year, or season 
of about forty weeks, supposing each boat to make but two trips a 
week both ways, to amount to six thousand four hundred ; and if an 
average of fifty passengers is allowed per trip, the number will be 
320,000." He considered this to be a low estimate, as during the sum- 
mer travel the Hudson River steamboats frequently carried from 
two hundred to three hundred passengers. Great numbers were con- 
stantly arriving also by coasting vessels and from foreign ports ; " the 
aggregate of the latter description during the last twelve months is 
22,00(); those by ships, sloops and coasters, generally from southern 
aud eastern ports, and the river craft, amount to an immense number." 
The port was admirably adapted to this mode of communication. 
There was an ample depth of water at every wharf. The line of ship- 
ping ran from the Battery to Corla«r's Hook on the East River, and 


to the North Battery (foot of Hubert street) on the Hudson, an extent 
on the two water-frontB of three miles. The principal slips were Coen- 
ties, Old Coffee House (at the foot of Wall street), Beekman, and Peck 
slips. South street was the site of the wharves for the large shipping. 
The provision-boats from Long Island lay off Pulton, and those from 
New Jersey off Washington, Market. 

Not till 1825 did New- York recover from the depression of the em- 
bargo period and the war of 1812-15. In the decade from 1796 to 1806, 
the most prosperous years, nearly one quarter of the total exports of 
the United States were from this port. The exports of 1806 were not 
again equaled in amount until 1825. In 
1827 fourteen hundred and fourteen ves- 
sels arrived from foreign ports, of which 
three hundred and eighty-six were ships, 
six hundred and nine brigs, and three 
hundred and eighty-one schooners. In 
1827 the tonnage of vessels built in New- 
York amounted to twenty-nine thousand 
one hundred and thirty-seven, divided 
among twenty-three ships, three brigs, 
and twelve steamboats. The cotton trade 
of the South for Europe, and that of 
the New England manufacturing States, 
passed through this city. In 1827 there 
were received 215,705 bales, of which 
191,626 were exported, and 24,000 taken 
by manufacturers. The value of the im- 
ports for New- York in the year 1825 was 
$50,024,973, of which over $48,000,000 came in American vessels; that 
of the exports was $34,032,279, of which over $19,000,000 in American 
vessels, — in all a total foreign trade of $84,057,252, of which over 
$67,000,000 in American vessels. Goodrich gives an interesting his- 
torical comparison of the trade at this period : " In the three years 
preceding the celebrated embargo of Mr. Jefferson's administration 
the exports of New- York averaged $23,869,250 per annum ; and in 
those years preceding the last war, $14,030,035 ; and during the years 
1825-6-7 the average has been $26,000,000." 

The most striking changes in the physical features of the lower part 
of New- York city — that below the park — date from the beginning of 
the second quarter of the century. Gulian C. Verplanek, to whom 
New- York is indebted for many curious and interesting reminiscences, 
returning from a long absence in 1829, noted the changes which had 
taken place in his time, in two letters published in the " TaUsman " 
(1829-30), under the nom de plume of Francis Herbert : 



Pine street [he writoe] is sow full of blockx of tall maaBive buildings which over- 
shadow the narrow passage between and make it one of the gloomiest streets ia New- 
York. The very brieks there look of a darker hue than in any other part of the city. 
The rays of the sun seem to come through a yellower and thicker atmosphere ; and the 
shadows thrown there by moonlight seem of a blacker and more solid darkness than 
olaewhere . . . Itwaanotthusthirtyorfortyyearsago. Shops were on each side of the 
way — low oheerfol-lookii^ two-story buildings of light colored brick or wood painted 
white or yellow, and which scarcely seemed a hindrance to the air and sunshine. 

There were maDy and important changes in the municipal economy 
of the city at this period. Besides the Merchants' Exchange, the 
foundations of which were laid in Wall street in 1825, a new 
Presbyterian church waa 
the same year built in 
Bleecker street, which 
sufficiently shows the 
rapid trend of the popu- 
lation upward on the 
island. A new building 
was also erected for the 
savings-bank in Cham- 
bers street. The city was 
this year divided into 
twelve wards. The free- 
school system was altered 
to that of public schools 
which took pay from 
scholars at the rate of 
twenty-five cents to one 
dollar each quarter. In ■ 
January, 1825, Philip 
Hone was appointed 
mayor. This gentleman, well known in public life as a Whig leader, 
the companion of Daniel Webster, and in private intercourse as an 
elegant host and leader of fashion, has left a charming diary of his life 
and times. Mayor Hone was a native of this city, his father having a 
mercantile business in John street. Early in life he engaged in the 
auctioneer business, in partnership with his brother John. They each 
amassed a considerable fortune, which was employed by Philip Hone 
in the encouragement of many enterprises of a benevolent or educa- 
tional character. The Mercantile Library, founded in 1820, owed 
much to his liberality in the erection of its building on Astor Place, in 
the year 1830. He held the office of mayor for only one year. Under 
Pivsident Zachary Taylor, Mr. Hone was appointed naval officer of 
the port of New- York, a post in which he continued till his death, in 
1851, at his house, comer of Broadway and Great Jones street. 

Voi_III.— 22. 


The immediate successor of Mr. Hone in the mayoralty was William 
Paulding, who had already been mayor in the years 1823 and 1824, as 
before noticed, aad who now occupied the position for the years 1826 
and 1827. In 1828, Walter Bowne was appointed, and he was annually 
reappointed until 1833. He was a descendant of the well-known and 
highly estimable Quaker family of tbe Bownes, of Flushing, Long 
Island. At the age of maturity he left 
the paternal farm and engaged in the 
hardware business in New- York, meet- 
ing with great success. His store was 
located at the comer of Burling Slip 
and Water street. In politics Mr. 
Bowne was a Democrat, and before his 
appointment as mayor had represented 
the city as State senator for three suc- 
cessive terms. He died in 1846, at the 
age of seventy-six. During his term 
the population of New-York reached 
the figure of two hundred thousand. 

The last mayor to be appointed to 
the position was Gideon Lee, who 
served only during the year 1833. He 
was bom at Amherst, Massachusetts, 
in 1778. Left an orphan, he began life on an uncle's farm, and after 
a checkered career with greatly varying fortunes, he at last estab- 
lished a profitable leather business in New- York. In 1822 he entered 
upon public life as a member of the State legislature. Retiring from 
business in 1836, he was soon after elected to Congress, and died in 
1841, at Geneva, New- York, where he had purchased a country-seat, 
which continued in the possession of his family till a recent period. 
His business is still carried on in the "Swamp" by his youngest son, 
who succeeded his brother-in-law, Charles M. Leupp. 

In 1832 New- York was visited for tbe first time by the Asiatic 
cholera. It made its appearance in a house in Cherry street, near 
James street, on June 25, 1832. By July 3 public alarm was excited 
to such a degree that the Board of Health 
appointed a special medical council to de- 
vise proper measures in the emergency. 
This council consisted of Dr. Alexander 
H. Stevens, president ; Drs. Joseph Bayley, 
Gilbert Smith, John Neilson, William J. McNeven, Hugh McLean, 
Richard K. Hoffman, to whom after a few days was added Dr. Anthony 
L. Anderson. Their acknowledged skill quieted public apprehension, 
and they continued to superintend the public medical arrangements 




until the decline of the epidemic. Within a week four large public 
hospitals were organized, to which a fifth was later added. Duriog 
the nine weeks from July 1 to September 1, there were treated iu these 
2030 patients, of which 852 died, fiesides these, there was a medical 
station established in each ward, where prompt attention was assured 
to every applicant. The total number of cases in the city, including 
those in the hospitals as well as those reported to the Board of Health, 
was 5835, aud of deaths 2996. It was at its height on Jidy 21, three 
weeks after its appearance. This is a much greater mortality than 
appears, as it must be remembered that this was the summer season, 
when a lai^e number of the 
penuanent population left the 
city for the seaside or the vil- 
lages of the interior above the 
Highlands. The condutit of 
the gentlemen of the city iu 
this time of distress was be- 
yond all praise. The New- 
York Hospital, which then oc- 
cupied its beautiful grounds 
on Broadway between Keade and Duane streets, opposite the opening 
of Pearl street, was under the management of a board of goi'emors, 
to belong to which was one of the most esteemed honors of a New- 
Yorker. Daily throughout this ^ason they attended personally to 
their voluntary duties, and by their steadfastness greatly encouraged 
the suffering citizens. 

In 1834 the city was visited by a calamity of another character. 
So many were the disturbances of the peace that this has received 
the name of the " year of riots." It was the first year in which the 
election of mayor was effected by the popular vote. The candidates 
were Guhan C. Verplanck on an independent ticket, and Cornelius 
W. Lawrence on that of Tammany. There was a serious split in the 
Democratic ranks, a large number of whose members supported the 
independent ticket. The elections in that day were conducted after 
the old fashion, the polls being held open for three successive days. 
This, at a period of great popular excitement, gave ample opportunity 
for the development of street brawls and organized attacks by the 
more violent partizans. Toward noon of April 10, 1834, the distur- 
bances in the Sixth Ward, always the home of a motley population, 
took an alarming form. There being no registration of votes, the 
polls were at the mercy of an audacious mob. Party feeling ran 
exceedingly h^h at this period, because of the opposition to Jack- 
son's financial policy, which had little favor with the conservative 
element of New- York, but was ardently supported by the Tammany 



party. In the Sixth Ward the tumult rose to the wildest pitch ; a num- 
ber of the Jackson Democrats seized the polls, destroyed the ballots, 
and sacked the room where the polling was held. During the day 
raids were made on the gun-shops in Broadway. An alarm spread- 
ing that the mob was about to attack the State arsenal, which stood 

on the block between Centre, Elm, Franklin, and White 
streets, the better class, fearful of the inefficiency of the 
police, rallied for its protection, and prevailed upon 
the mayor to call in the aid of the military. 

In the evening the Whigs, determined to maintain 
their rights, gathered in large and resolute force (esti- 
mated at from four to five thousand men) at Masonic* 
Hall, and voted to meet early the next day "and re- 
pair to the Sixth Ward poll for the purpose of keeping 
it open to all voters until such time as the official au- 
thorities may procure a sufficient number of special con- 
stables to keep the peace.^ Other meetings were held in 
the fourteen wards, and the next morning all the polls 
were guarded by large bodies of well-disposed citizens. 
The morning of the third day displayed the determina- 
tion of the rough element of the city to do mischief. 
Some sailors, in the Whig interest, parading the city 
with a miniature of the frigate Constitution in full rig, were fallen 
upon and beaten in Broadway opposite Masonic Hall. The mayor, 
intervening, was personally injured, several of the city watch were 
badly hurt, and the hall was forced. Hearing of this outrage, the 
Whig inhabitants issued from their quarters, and as crowds kept 
gathering, the mayor held a consultation, and it was resolved to 
declare the city in a state of insurrection and to call on the military 
for aid. The United States authorities in the forts and on the station 
declining to interfere. General Jacob Morton directed General Charles 
W. Sandford to call out the city militia. 

Order being established, the election proceeded, resulting in the 
choice of Mr. Lawrence * by a small majority. Later it was an- 
nounced that the Whigs had elected the common council. Says the 
historian of the great riots of New- York: "As the news passed 
through the immense concourse, a shout went up that shook Wall 
street from Broadway to the East River. It rolled back and forth 
like redoubled thunder." The Twenty-seventh Regiment,^ under 
Colonel John Stevens, had early taken possession of the arsenal, and 


1 The mayor's full name was Cornelius Van 
Wyck Lawrence. He was bom in 1791, and at- 
tained the ag^ of seventy years. Previous to his 
election as mayor, he was a member of Cons^ss, 
and under President Polk was appointed collector 
of this port. For twenty years he was president 

of the Bank of the State of New- York. He mar- 
ried Lydia A., his cousin, daughter of Judge 
Ef&ngham Lawrence. Editor. 

2 Now the famouK Seventh Regiment, its nu- 
merical designation having been changed in 1847. 


THE BEaismNO OF new-yobk'h cuhmekcial okbatness 341 

relieved the independent collection of citizens. This is said to have 
estahlished the confidence of the good people of New- York in the 
power and wiUingneBS of the National Guard to protect the property 
and lives of the citizens and to secure the public peace. The com- 
mon council passed a vote of thanks to "the individuals who thus 
nobly sustained their reputation as citizen soldiers, and proved the 
importance and the necessity to the city of a well-disciplined militia 
in time of peace, as well as in time of war." General Morton, in 
his general orders, added: "The Major-general doubts not that the 
corps will still continue to perform 
their duties ; they will be sustained 
by their fellow-citizens, who will see 
in them, not the array of an uncon- 
trolled force, but a power directed 
by the venerable majesty of the 
laws in the persons of the magis- 
trates." This riot, for many reasons 
famous, is generally known as the 
"election riot." 

The Abolitionists, a small and in- 
considerable body, were beginning, 
in the agitation of poUtics, to attract 
public attention to their opinions 
and purposes. Attempts had been 
made by the friends of William 
Lloyd Garrison, in the autumn of 
1833, to promote an antislavery 
i^tation by public meetings and 
addresses. There was a large business class in New- York city di- 
rectly concerned in trade with the Southern States, and naturally 
opposed to any exciting discussion of this subject; and, moreover, 
the sympathies of the great body of Democrats were with the strict 
constructionists of the constitution, who held slavery to be beyond 
the pale of any jurisdiction, except that of State sovereignty. In the 
unruly element of this, as of all large cities, there were always men to 
be found ready for violent measures, especially in any cause that had 
the support of popular favor. An attempt to break up an abolition 
meeting in October, 1833, had resulted in the summary dispersal of 
the small attendance. In July, 1834, an assemblage of colored per- 
sons gathered at Chatham street chapel to listen to a sermon from a 
negro preacher. They were ordered from the building, but, having 


1 Dr. PrmsciB wu k celebTkted phf dcl&n, and 
nun of wide ealtara. His " Old New-York." > 
jlome of cbknniDK nmlnlNeDces of the lint 

itlity yearn of tlie < 
and containa a mei 

T. Tuckermaii 


paid their rent, refased, and, resisting ejectment, the church was 
cleared by an excited crowd. Lewis Tappan, who was present at the 
chapel, was followed to his home in Rose street with hooting and 
threats, and bis house was stoned. His name had been attached to 
the call for the meeting in the autumn preceding. The blacks, 
alarmed for their personal safety, dispersed. 

. The next evening the mob broke open 

^ the chapel door, held an extempore meet- 

ing, and on its breaking up proceeded 
with shouts to the Bowery Theater, whose 
stage manager was obnoxious to them 
because an Englishman and accused of 
remarks uncomplimentary to America on 
THB PROVOST JAIL I ^^^ subjoct of sUivery, — Great Britain be- 

ing the headquarters of the antislaverj' 
movement. Forcing the dooi"s, the excited mob took -possession of 
the theater. Interfered with by the arrival of the police, and eager 
for some object on which to vent tbeir excitement, they rushed to the 
house of Nathan Tappan, a brother of Lewis, in Rose street, which 
they broke into and sacked. After a fight with the city watchmen, 
they made a bonfire of the dilapidated furniture. Other petty riots 
followed, with similar scenes of destniction of the property of Abo- 
litionists, until Mayor Lawrence issued a proclamation calling on all 
good citizens to aid in maintaining the peace. Large bodies of troops 
were gathered at the arsenal, City Hall, and other public buildings. 

On the night of July 11, the mounted patrol having failed to disperse 
the roving mob which had attacked the churches of the Rev. Dr. 
Samuel H.,Cox, in Laight street, and of the Rev. Henry Q. Ludlow, io 
Spriog street, the military were called upon, and the Twenty-seventh 
Regiment of the National Guard, under Colonel Stevens (the same 
which had been called upon in the election riots), marched upon the 
tioters. The latter bad thrown up double barricades, which were 
stormed and carried, the obstructions scattered, and as the militia 
moved to the word "Forward" in solid column, the mob broke in every 
direction. Meanwhile there was another great gathering at the Five 
Points, where the mob committed depredations and burned buildings 
indiscriminately. During the night the rioters were reported to have 
concerted risings, and in the morning the mayor issued a second 

1 The ProvoBt Jail is now the Hmll o( Reconim 
IM wkIIs reidftinlDS kh the; were, but ita front 
and rear haTing been adorned with cnloniiBdea in 
the Btyl^ of a Qreek lemple. It wax built In 
ITBS. Deton- sod after the Revolution it was 
oied H4 a debtoni' prison. I>urlDK the Revolu- 
tion prlsonom of war were conflned here, and ral>- 
Jeeted to the erueme<i of ProvoHt Haishal WilUam 

CunninKham. In 1S30 it Oeased to be oiied aa a 
ptiaon. the procera oF rveonBtruction beioK then 
begriD. but not tilt 1835 was It ready tor Its new 
purpoKS. At the time of the RerolutioD. "it 
had two lobblpa. with strong burteadea between 
the external and internal one. A ffr^ted door was 
at the bottom of the M&lr* leading to the aenmd 
and third floora." EbtlOH. 


proclamation to the citizens to report to him for organizatioii into 
companies to aid the police. The volunteer military companies and 
the fire companies tendering their assistance, the backbone of the 
riot was broken, and a hundred and fifty of the ringleaders were 
lodged In jail. 

One of the most Interesting public events of this year was the pro- 
cession on Jnne 26, in respect to the memory of .General Lafayette, 
the last general officer of the Revolution. General Lafayette was no 
stranger to the people 
of New- York. There 
were some of his com- 
panions in arms still 
living, who had wel- 
comed his arrival here 
in 1784, when he re- 
ceived the freedom of 
the city; and it was 
just ten years since his 
last visit, when he was 
again the guest of the 
city. His death in 
France, on May 20, was 
announced by General 
Morton in division orders on June 21. The common council ordered 
the ceremonial proceedings. The city buildings and numerous public 
and private houses were draped with mourning insignia. A proces- 
sion, in which the military was specially distinguished for its admir- 
able tenue, moved from the City Hall to the Castle Garden; in it were 
carried the urn and the eagle which formed a part of the decorations 
at the funeral of Washington. At Castle Garden an address was 
delivered by Frederick A. Tallmadge, and in the evening the urn 
was remov^ by torch-light, attended by a solemn civic and military 

Still another riot disturbed the peace 6f the city. This,known as the 


I From u orfgilMl diBwing In the pouendon of 
th« Editor, who la Indebted to Mrs. Jnlla Clinton 
Jonea fot the following nnpnbliahed letter ad- 
dressed to her nnde Cbariea Clinton. eiprewtDg 
sympathr (or the death of his father, De Witt 

" Pabib, Uareh 30, 183R. 

"Ut Dkab Sib: Tour partlcQlM' and friendl; 
attentions to me, make 70U the natural orj^n of 
the melancholj and adecUonate feelings, which I 
wish to be conveyed to the family of your la- 
mented father. I re^cret the mournful and un- 
expected event, as an immeose }o»» to the public 
and a ^rsat personaJ eaoae of grief to me. Bound 
as I was to the memory of roy two b^oreai 

Revolutionary eompanions. your grandtatber and 

granduncle, I had found a peculiar gratiflcatioD 
in the eminent lalenia and services of their son 
and nephew, and in his bind and liberal corre- 
spondence, until personal and grateful acquain- 
tance bad impressed me with all the feelings of a 
more intimate frieodahip. I beg you to be to your 
afflicted family the interpreter of my deep sym- 
pathies, and to believe me forever, 

" Your most sincere friend, 


" Colonel CHABI.KS Cijnton, 

"p. S.— My son and 1* Vassaur beg to be 
moomfully remembered." 


** Five Points riot,'' broke out in the summer of 1835. It was an. out- 
come of the election brawls of the two sections of the Democratic party 
and the fierce antagonism between the Irish and Americans. The an- 
nouncement that an Irish regiment, under the name of the O'Connell 
Guards, was to be organized in the city, aroused the native American 
spirit to indignation. On Sunday, June 21, rioting began simultane- 
ously in several parts of the city, the principal scene of action being 
the Sixth Ward, in Pearl street, near Chatham. Many prominent 
citizens were badly injured in their attempts to keep the peace, but 
order was at last restored by the police without the aid of the military, 
to which there had been more recourse latterly than augured well 
for civil government. The "stone-cutters' riot," which happened in 
August, 1834, was caused by the employment of the State prisoners 
at Sing Sing to hew marble with which to construct buildings in this 
city by the contractors for the University building. The mob was 
dispersed by the Twenty-seventh Regiment, which for four days and 
nights lay under arms in Washington parade-ground. 

At the spring election of 1835 a most serious question was sub- 
mitted to the decision of the people. New- York had never enjoyed 
any proper and reasonably assured water-supply for a population of 
her extent and promise. The tea-water works, which were put up in 
1786 at the Collect pond, or Fresh Water, had supplied the city by 
casks until 1799, when the Manhattan Company was chartered to bring 
a supply from the Bronx River. A pump was built near the Collect and 
wooden pipes laid through the streets, but the Manhattan Company 
never tapped the waters of the Bronx, and the city was forced to con- 
tent itself with the old Collect supply, with the additional convenience 
of the wooden pipes and the street pumps, which were not infrequent. 
It was now decided by popular vote, by a large majority, to construct 
an aqueduct from the Croton River, an undertaking of great magni- 
tude in those days, considering that the distance the water had to be 
conveyed was forty miles. This project had been carried through the 
common council by the persistent energy of Samuel Stevens, for 
many years a representative of the Second Ward as alderman and 
assistant alderman. His name appears first among those of the com- 
missioners on the tablet set up at the Forty-second street reservoir 
in 1842, on the completion of that colossal enterprise. 

In 1835 the city was visited by one of the most terrible calamities 
in her history. A fire broke out on the night of December 16 of 
that year, which raged fiercely for two nights, and was not extin- 
guished till the third day. In its course along Wall street, the line 
of the East River, and returning to William and Wall streets, it em- 
braced a large irregular triangle of ground, an area of thirteen acres, 
covered by six hundred and ninety-three houses and stores, with 


property valued at eighteen millioas of dollars.' Among the huild- 
ings was the fine marble Exchange in Wall street, and the South 
Dutch Church in Garden street. The stores were mostly wholesale. 
The fire-insurance companies of the city, al- 
most without exception, went down under 
the blow. The weather was intensely cold; 
the insufficient supply of water froze in the 
pipes and hose, thus paralyzing the labors 
of the citizens. The horrors and sufferings 
of this night exceed description. The gen- 
tlemen of the city were all on the ground, 
and the properties of the Wall street insti- 
tutions were moved and moved again before 
final safety was secured. Yet, as in previ- 
ous periods of distress, the energy of the 
citizens was equal to the emergency ; and 
New-Tork, within an incredibly short period, rose from its ashes 
i-ttbuilt and vastly improved. The buildings erected were of a supe- 
rior character, and the streets themselves were somewhat changed 
for the better. 

In 1837 the city added another to its series of riots. Various 
causes had occasioned a short supply and high prices for flour and 
wheat at this period. A short crop, followed by a speculation in part 
occasioned by the abnormal condition of the currency, had brought 
up the price of flour from seven to twelve dollars per barrel. News 
was circulated of a short crop in Virginia, and of an immediate 
short supply in New- York. The price of meat went up next, and 
t!oal advanced to ten dollars a ton. A public meeting was called to 
consider the situation, but it was one of those problems that no 
public meeting can solve. The news that the commission-houses in 
Washington street were holding back and increasing their stocks 
caused a bad feeling in the laboring classes. On February 10, 1837, 
a placard reading, " Bread, Meat, Rent, Fuel ! The voice of the 
people shall be heard and prevail," summoned a foeeting at the City 
Hall park at four o'clock in the afternoon. The placard was signed 

I Mr. Gabriel P. Diaosmy, ku eys-witneM of tbis 
terrible evnit, and wbo hu left on record an ex- 
tended and mhmte deBciiptloa of It, fumlahm the 
following statement of the exact number of houeee 
bomed on tbe TarlonB atreets: 

W»U rtreet 38 

South " 76 

l^ont " ... BO 

Water " 76 

Pearl ■■ 79 

BicbaDge alley 31 

WilUam street U 

Old Slip 33 

Stone street 40 

Hill (now S. WilUam) street 3H 

Beaver street 23 

Hanover " 16 

CoentleB Slip 16 

Hanover Square 3 

Curler's alley 20 


■,..■.■/■•, ■^rf.',-t''*\riv. '''' ^t^C^.txyt. aiui applicable to make ^ood any 
.'.>^:>Y ■!• 'Iff 'rf fM'ilnn: Th^ oM»)*t rmnk in rhe city, the Bank of 
'■. f/ V'.rl' fTHP (»r"«fKl«l '.v*-r r-fjr Comrfina Heyer as president, and 
^.(.n.'.f./ ('. Mrtk^y «« ''Wfhi*^. Anwm(f its riireetora were Gardner G. 
If', '/l/.(('), C'tT K'-tp^trm'Th^-ni, ClhArl** M*TEver!>, John Oothont. Hol>- 
( (t Mnitlftri'l, (l"itry (t«'"k«mri, ^>lw«rd R-Jones, and Robert Bensoo. 
It. .ncKftl //iirt <ltfMt,m)U. Tli'i Bank of America was presidetl over 
I.,' Mciitf*" Nc*)i(.l(l. (U Unipfl C)f clirfw^irs were George Griswold. 
Illi'tilii'ti Wliihii-v, .lotinMifiri (U>rn\hn(\, Benjamin L. Swan, Peter 
t ,, t.iliti \V fi»nv)M, hihI Hiimii«-I M. Fox. The capital was 

I It. > tMIIUiil IMililM 


^1,000,000. Mr. Newbold was an autocrat among the bank presidents, 
and had matters much his own way until the establishment of the 
Bank of Commerce, in 1839, which gi-adually took the lead, and after 
his death, by its great strength, and the ready availability of its funds 
through a system of short discounts, served as a kind of check upon 
the banking system of the city. 

The Bank of the State of New- York was under the management of 
Cornelius W. Lawrence, with Eeuben Withers as cashier, and in the 
board were Isaac Townsend, John Stewart, Charles A. Davis, Charles 
Deuison, Henry W. Hicks, and Ferdinand Suydam. In the City Bank 
were Thomas Bloodgood, president, and among the directors Richard 
M. Lawrence, Benjamin Corlies, Joseph Foulke, David Parish, Abra- 
ham Bell, Henry Delafield, and John P. Stagg. The Manhattan 
Company was presided over by Robert Gelston, and in the board 
were found the names of John G. Coster, Jonathan Thompson, James 
McBride, David S. Kennedy, William B. Crosby, William Paulding, 
Thomas Suffem, James Brown, and Recorder Richard Riker. The 
Mechanics' Bank had John Fleming for president, and for directors 
Jacob Lorillard, Gabriel Furman, Henry C. Dedham, George Arcula- 
rius, and Shepard Enapp. The Merchants' was managed by John T. 
Palmer, president, and Walter Mead, cashier, with Henry I. Wyck- 
oflf, James Heard, David Lydig, Peter T. Nevins, Benjamin Lyman, 
and John D. Wolfe. The National Bank was managed by Albert 
Gallatin, Jefferson's and Madison's secretary of the treasury, whose 
financial ability was supreme, and of world-wide fame from his mas- 
terly management of the national finances. In his board were Wil- 
liam B. Astor, Seth Grosvenor, Dudley Selden, and Elisha Riggs. The 
Phenix Bank had Henry Cary for president, and John Delafield as 
cashier. Among the directors were Henry Parish, James W. Otis, 
Garrett Storm, Moses H. Grinnell, and Robert Ray. The Union Bank 
had Abraham G. Thompson for president, and Samuel I. Howland, 
Morris Ketchum, and Mortimer Livingston in the management. All 
of these banks were in Wall street. The names here given are those 
of the men who were at the head of the great commercial and finan- 
cial enterprises of the djy — every one representative, and familiar as 
the alphabet to every New-Yorker of the passing generation. The 
Chemical Bank, a private institution, almost a family strong box, was 
managed by John Mason, president, in person, with his kinsman Isaac 
Jones, Gideon Tucker, and Thomas W. Thome at the green table 
where discounts were made and high finance discussed by a select 
few. Owing to the fact that the country was developing its material 
resources in great measure with capital borrowed from Eui-ope, — the 
balance of trade setting against the United States at this period, 
yearly increasing our indebtedness abroad, — New- York Was at any 


time liable to a demand for gold from Europe. The value of the 
strong institutions was then seen, as well as the wisdom of separat- 
ing the earnings of the laboring class from the general fund. 

Mention, therefore, must not be omitted of the several savings- 
banks which, with their conservative management, played an im- 
portant part in those days of financial fluctuations. The New-York 
Bank for Savings, the first in New- York and in the United States, 
founded in 1819, was still directed by John Pintard, one of its original 
projectors, with Peter Augustus Jay and Philip Hone as first and sec- 
ond vice-presidents, and a board of the highest ability, experience, and 
respectability. There were in this year (1837) 26,427 open accounts, 
entitled to $3,533,716.88. David Cotheal was the president of the 
Bowery Savings Bank, George Suckley of the Greenwich, Benjamin 
Strong of the Seamen's, with Pelatiah Perit as one of the vice-presi- 
dents and Caleb Barstow as the secretary. The fire-insurance com- 
panies were twenty-six in number, most of them badly crippled by 
the losses of 1835, and some lately reorganized by assessments or 
contributions to stock. The Farmers' Fire Insurance Company was 
the only trust company in the city, no others having been organized 
at that time. It is now better kAown as the Farmers' Loan and 
Trust Company. 

The national election of 1832 turned, in a great measure, upon the 
question of free trade. The condition of the national finances was 
favorable to a dispassionate discussion of the principle. The national 
debt was nearly extinguished. The rapid growth of the country had 
so increased its revenues that the secretaries of the treasury who fol- 
lowed Albert Gallatin, adhering to his lines of policy and administra- 
tion, had been able to extinguish the last remains of the extraordinary 
expenditure occasioned by the war of 1812. Louis McLane, Secre- 
tary of the Treasury, in his report of December, 1832, on the finances, 
announced that the dividends derived from the bank shares held by 
the United States were more than were required to pay the interest, 
and that the debt of the United States might therefore be considered 
as substantially extinguished after January 1, 1833. Mr. Gallatin, 
the advocate of this policy of extinction, wljich seems to have been 
since accepted by our financial ministers irrespective of party, was 
now a resident of New- York. Soon after his return from his last 
mission to England he settled permanently in the city, taking a house 
in Bleecker street in 1829. Here he became one of the leading figures 
of interest. His long exi)erience of public men and public affairs on 
the two continents of Europe and America rendered his conversation 
instructive, and his counsel was eagerly sought on a large variety of 
subjects, — financial, scientific, literary, and even political, though he 
had withdrawn from active interest in this direction. 



In advocatlDg the policy of extiDctiou of the national debt and of 
a corresponding economy in the national expenditure, Mr. Gallatin's 
purpose was a reduction of the revenue by a lowering of the tariff. 
As the election of 1832 approached, and parties began to formulate 
their platforms, the advocates of a protective tariff, with a consequent 
national expenditure for internal improvements, and of a tariff for 
revenue only, drew their lines more closely. Ou September 3, 1831, a 
convention of the advocates of free trade, without distinction of party, 
met in Philadelphia. Two hundred and twelve delegates appeared. 
New- York was represented by Albert Gallatin, Preserved Fish, John 
Constable, John A. Stevens, Jonathan Goodhue, James Boorman, and 
Jacob LoriUard. GaUatin was 
the soul of the convention, 
and was chairman of the com- 
mittee of fourteen, one from 
each State represented, which 

drafted the "Memorial to the l^lHtlri^^l^l^yi^V'^'i^ 
People." Its conclusions were 
that a tariff of twenty-live per 
cent, was ample, as experience 
had proved, for all the legiti- 
mate purposes of government. The nou-partizan nature of this con- 
vention appears from the presence of Gw>dhue and Stevens, of New- 
York, both of whom were faithful adherents to the great fundamental 
principles of the Whig party. The recent attempt to make unbelief 
in or support of an economic doctrine a condition of party fealty had 
not then been formulated. 

In 1832 Mr. GaUatin accepted the presidency of a bank in New- 
York, the subscription to the stock of which (amounting to seven 
hundred and fifty thousand dollars) was completed by Mr. John Jacob 
Astor under stipulation that Mr. Gallatin should supervise its man- 
agement. This was the National Bank of New- York. The idea of this 
arrangement was to secui'e to New- York the benefit of Mr. Gallatin's 
great experience and intimate connection with financiers abi-oad. New- 
York was rapidly becoming the financial center of the commercial 
system of the United States, and the financial system of the republic 
was now about to imdergo a radical change. In December, 1833, 
Roger B. Taney, Secretary of the Treasury, reported to Congress that 
he had directed the removal of the deposits of the government from 
the Bank of the United States and placed them in banks designated 
by himself. In his annual report, Taney named as one of the reasons 
for this removal that the bank had used its money for electioneering 
purposes, and that he "had always regarded the result of the last 
election of President of the United States as the declaration of a 


majority of the people that the charter ought not to be renewed.' 
That election had reelected Jackson to the presidency. Taney said 
further that "a corporation of that description was not necessary 
either for the fiscal operations of the government or the general con- 
venience of the people." Mr. Gallatin, on the other hand, had always 
been a steadfast friend of the Bank of the United States. He had 
only recently, in a masterly paper published in 1830 in the "American 

■' ' ' * ^ - ■ ^ 



•-»-v '^ 


Quarterly Review," shown that from the year 1791 the operations of 
the treasury had, without interruption, been carried on through the 
Bank of the United States without loss, except in the years 1811 to 
1814, when the mismanagement of the State banks had brought on 
the financial disaster of the latter year, and compelled the re-charter 
of the semi-governmental institution. There was no such thing, how- 
ever, as resistance to Jackson's views. In December, 1835, Levi 
Woodbury, Taney's successor in the treasury department, reported 
" an unprecedented spectacle presented to the world of a government 
virtually without any debts and without any direct taxation." But 
the conservative instrument by which this happy condition had been 
attained was now stripped of its influence. Moreover, the surplus 

THE BEaunnNO of new-yobk's commercial obeatness 351 

revenues of the United States, about thirty-seven millions of doUars, 
iiad been distributed among the several States. 

On the expiration of its charter in March, 1836, the renewal of 
which Jackson had imperatively refused, the Bank of the United 
States accepted a charter from the State of Pennsylvania. It was still 
the one great financial institution of 
the coantry, but its management was 
no longer the same. It had the power 
for evil, and no longer the influence 
for good, in general affairs. In the 
same manner as in 1811, after the 
withdrawal of the control of the 
Bank of the United States, the State 
banks ran a wild career of specula- 
tion. Prom 1830 to 1837, three hun- 
dred new banks sprang up, with an 
additional capital of one hundred and 
forty-five millions of dollars — doub- 
ling, as twenty years before, the 
banking capital of the country. The 
Bank of the United States, of Penn- 
sylvania, under the direction of Nich- 
olas Biddle, was swept along in the 
resistless tide. As one scheme after another of industrial or laud 
speculation was floated, this institutiou found itself compelled to 
dangerous financial expedients. Abandoning its le^timate business 
of discount and deposit, it sent an agent to New Orleans to buy up 
the cotton crop of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama as a basis for 
foreign exchange. The Barings, alarmed for the supply of the Eug- 
lish cotton manufacturers, sent to New Orleans John A. Stevens of 
New- York. With the superior facilities of their great credit, Mr. 
Stevens had no difficulty in securing the choice of the market, and, 
moreover, righting the ratio of exchange by the purchase of the best 
Northern and Western notes ; the difference in exchange between New 
York and New Orleaas ranging as high as twenty-seven per cent., — 
a condition of things impossible in the days of the old Bank of the 
United States with its established branches. 

The volume of the general banking circulation of the country was 
still further swelled by the deposits of the revenues of the United 



1 Judge ivj, Bon at Chief Juntlce Jay. bom June 
16, 17R9 : died October 14. 1858. He vu a <Il«tln- 
gQiBhed jurist and author, and took active part in 
antislaTery labon. Horace Qreeley said of him: 
"To Judge William Jay the future wiU (jlve the 
credit of having been one of the earliest advooat«s 
of the modem antislaveiy movemcDta. which at 

this moment influence k> radlfally the religion 
and the philanthropy o( the oountry, and of hav- 
inu guided by his writinga. In a large meanure. 
Ihe direotion which a cause so Important and so 
conBervative of the best and moat precious righta 
of the people should take." Enrroit. 


States. Secretary Woodbury became alarmed for their safety. In 
December, 1836, he reported the paper currency of the country to 
have increased since the removal of the deposits from the Bank of 
the United States from eighty millions to one hundred and twenty 
millions of dollars, or forty millions in eighteen months ; and the bank 
capital in the same period to have increased from two hundred to 
three hundred millions of dollars. The flush times were at the flood. 
Importations augmented. Suddenly a check came. . The balance of 
trade turned against the United States to a sum of one hundred and 
fifty millions, and coin was shipped abroad to liquidate the account. 
But as the entire amount of specie in the country did not exceed the 
sum of seventy-three millions, the reaction was sharp. The contrac- 
tion which set in was still further heightened by the withdrawal by 
Mr. Woodbury of the government deposits from the selected deposi- 
taries, or "pet banks,^ as they were termed. Had there been any 
government debt to attract a foreign investment, the situation might 

have been tempered. It must not be forgotten that at 
^j^ this period the United States was not a specie-produc- 
ing country. It accumulated only as the result of a sound financial 
policy. It could not be retained when demanded by Europe, except 
by a general suspension. The result was unavoidable. 

On May 10, 1837, the New- York banks suspended. Mr. Gullatin's 
bank went down with the rest. It is idle to suppose that any single 
bank can maintain itself against a general suspension. It may liqui- 
date, become a bank of deposit, paying out in the currency it re- 
ceives, but it cannot maintain itself on a specie basis when gold is at 
a premium, or hold its relations with its sister institutions except on 
a basis of common accord. A general suspension of all the banks of 
the United States followed. It was under these circumstances and 
at this period that Mr. Woodbury devised the United States sub- 
treasury, which he recommended to Congress as a plan of "keeping 
the public money under new legislative provisions without using 
the banks at all as fiscal agents.'' This has been described as "a 
new departure in treasury management and a further evolution in 
American finance." Its advantages have been incalculable. In fact, 
it was the only alternative to a national bank under government 
control, after the general plan of the great European government 

Mr. Gallatin, unable to prevent the suspension, immediately set 
himself to work to bring about a partial liquidation and an early 
resumption. He had the hearty cooperation of the able men who 
then controlled the banks of the city. On August 15, 1837, the 
officers of the New- York banks, in general meeting, appointed a 
committee to call a convention of the principal banks to agree 


upon a time for a resumption of specie payments. This commit- 
tee, on August 18, addressed a cii-cular to the principal banks in 
the United States, inviting the expression of theii' wishes as to 
the time and place for a convention, suggesting New-Tork as the 
place, and October, 1837, as the time. The law of the State of 
New- York dissolving any bank as a legal corporation in ease of 
its suspension for one year, it was imperative that resumption in 
New- York must take place before 
March 1, 1838. In the circular the 
New- York banks committed them- 
selves to no definite plan nor to 
any specified day, but expressed the 
opinion that the fall in the rate of 
exchange indicated an early return 
of specie to par, when resumption 
could be effected without danger. 
In fact, the collapse of the vast pa- 
per fabric had been so sudden that 
it carried with it in its fall the entire 
scheme of land speculations, which 
was the particular craze of this 
exciting period. 

The banks of Philadelphia, no 
doubt infiuenced by the tottering 
Bank of the United States, of Penn- 
sylvania, whose transactions affected 
the entire State, on August 29 de- 
cided, in general meeting, that it was inexpedient to appoint dele- 
gates to the New- York convention. Understanding this condition, 
the New- York committee invited a meeting of delegates on Novem- 
ber 27, 1837, in New- York. Delegates from banks of seventeen 
States and the District of Columbia appeared. On the 30th a reso- 
lution was brought in recommending a general resumption on July 
1, 1838, with privilege to any banks that felt it to be necessary to 
resume earUer. This was to cover the New- York condition. The 
Pennsylvania banks rephed, condemning the idea of immediate rei 
sumption as impracticable and, in the absence of delegates from 
Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee, as unwise. It has 
been seen that the entire southwestern system of banking and cur- 
rency had descended to the Bank of the United States, of Pennsyl- 
vania, from the old bank. The convention met again on December 2, 
when an adjouniment was carried to April 11, 1838, when delegates 

1 nahop Benjamin Hoore. of die Protestant Episcopal Churrh, mirceeded Blahop Provooat in 
1801. Ha VMalM president of Colnmbla College from 1801 to 1811. Editok. 
Vol. nL— 23. 



from the banks not represented were invited to attend. As in all 
cases where such conventions are controlled by numbers, the weaker 
institutions for a time protracted the debate, dreading the conse- 
quence of a resumption, which is as 
severe upon the weak as suspension 
is upon the strong. It was evident 
that Mr. Biddle had the power of 
postponement. The Boston banks 
had joined forces with those under 
Biddle's influence. Meanwhile ex- 
change on London, the true par of 
which was 109J, had fallen from 
' ^"^^ "^'^^^ 121 to 111, a rate about 2J per 

cent, below specie par, New- York bank paper being at a discount of 
5 per cent. The export of specie had ceased. 

High authority in Pennsylvania giving the opinion that the banks 
of that State were in a condition to resume, Mr. Gallatin's committee 
made a general report on December 15. On February 28, a further 
report from the same source showed that the liabilities of the New- 
York banks had been reduced more than twelve and one half mil- 
lions, or fifty per cent., and that, with the support of the community 
and the State authorities, they could resume on May 10, 1838. A 
general meeting of citizens joyfully ratified this decision. On April 
11, the general convention again met in New- York, the Philadelphia 
banks once more declining to attend. A letter from Secretary Wood- 
bury engaged the support of the United States treasury. A com- 
mittee of one from each State recommended the first Monday in 
October as the earliest day, but the general body could not be 
brought to a date so early, and finally fixed upon January 1, 1839. 
The New- York banks would have accepted July 1, 1838, as a day for 
general resumption, and would have postponed it till then if that 
date had been set; but this being refused they resumed alone on 
May 10, 1838. The banks of the country were compelled, by the 
force of public opinion, to resume on July 1. The terrible contrac- 
tion was fatal to the Bank of the United States, of Pennsylvania, 
which, after desperate struggles to redeem itself from the meshes, 
closed its doors in October, 1839, carrying with it the entire banking 
system of the southern and southwestern States. With it ended the 
last hope of the friends of a United States bank as a fiscal agent of 
the government. 

With the failure of this hope came the desire for a powerful insti- 
tution in New- York to serve as a check on the banks, — an institution 
with a large capital, controlled by men removed somewhat from the 
temptations of active business, which should hold a large reserve, 


confine itself to short discounts, and consider absolute safety rather 

than profit as the purpose of the bank. Mr. Samuel B. Enggles, by 

his active exertions at Albany, secured the passage of a free banking 

law in 1838, under which the Bank of Commerce went into opera^ 

tion in that year. The presidency of this bank was tendered to Mr. 

Gallatin, but he declined. He had already resolved to withdraw from 

active business, and in fact resigned the presidency of the National 

Bank of New- York in June, 1839. Samuel Ward was chosen 

president of the 

Bank of Commerce 

This gentleman ' 

died in the first 

year of office, and 

John A. Stevens 

■was chosen in his 

place. Mr. Stevens 

conducted the bank 

with eminent sue 

cess until after the 

close of the civil 

war, holdiag m 

that critical period 

of oar national 

finances the most intimate relations with Salmon P Chase, the worthy 

successor of Hamilton and Gallatin in the department of the treasury 

of the United States. 

Mr. Jefferson, in his message of 1806, recommended a national 
university for education in the higher sciences, but Mr. Gallatin, then 
a member of his cabinet, thought the time little propitious and the 
scheme not likely to find popular favor. An old companion of Galla- 
tin in Geneva had even conceived the idea of transporting the entire 
University of Geneva to the United States, and had broached this 
in letters to Jefferson and Adams. But as the country developed 
Gallatin thought the plan, often referred to in his conversation and 
correspondence with the " Sage of Mouticello," not impossible of 
attainment. This was, to use his own words, *' the establishment of 
a general system of rational and practical education fitted for all and 
gratuitously open to all." New- York, already a great and a rapidly 
growing city, offered the most promising field for a gi-and national 
university on a broad and liberal scale. There was much difficulty 
in obtaining teachers in the lowest branches of education in the 
public schools. Great learning and the teaching faculty are not 
always, nor indeed often, found in the same person. Governor Enos 
T. Throop, in his message to the legislature of the State of New- York 



in 1830, called attention to this deficiency, but recommended no 
remedy. It was evident, however, that if such an institution were to 
be formed, it must be by private enterprise. From the colleges eon- 
trolled by religious prejudice neither aid nor sympathy was to be 
expected. The colonial jealousies of Church of England men and 
Presbyterians were still strong, and, moreover, there was a distmst 
of scientific investigation as tending to undermine belief in the 
accepted letter of scriptural faith. 

To Mr. Gallatin's personal appeals for support abundant subscrip- 
tions of money and scientific material were instantly forthcoming. 
The literary societies all over the United States were enthusiastic at 
the proposal. In October, 1830, a convention of more than one hun- 
dred literary and scientific gentlemen arrived in the city, delegates 
from every section of the country. The result of their conference, 
which was held in the common-council chamber at the City Hall, 
was the foundation of the New-York University. Mr. Gallatin was 
the president of the first council, but finding that, as in Columbia 
College, the clergy had obtained control of the new institution, be 
abandoned the idea he had conceived of endowing the city of New- 
York with a great American Sorbonne. 

The upper class of society was clustered at this time in the streets 
which surrounded the academic block, on which old King's College 
was first built. Barclay and Murray streets. Church street and Col- 
lege Place were the confines, which extended as high as Chambers on 
the north, and on the blocks between Greenwich street and Broad- 
way as far as the Battery. There were residences outside these limits, 
but this was the best-inhabited section. There was a charming liter- 
ary coterie at this time in New- York, of which Columbia College was 
the center. The fame of one of these societies or gatherings, '*Th^ 
Club,'' has almost disappeared. An account of it, written by Dr. John 
Augustine Smith in the letter of invitation to Mr. Gallatin to join the 
company, November 2, 1829, deserves to be recorded among the 
memorials of this city : 

Nearly two years ago some of the literary gentlemen of the city, feeling severely 
the almost total want of intercourse among themselves, determined to establish an 
association which should bring them more frequently into contact. Accordingly they 
founded the '^ Club/' as it is commonly called, and which I believe I mentioned to you 
when I had the pleasure of seeing you in Bond street. Into this "Club" twelve 
persons only are admitted, and there are at present three gentlemen of the bar, Chan- 
cellor Kent, Messrs. Johnston and Jay ; three professors of Columbia College, Messrs. 
McVickar, Moore, and Renwick; the Rev. Drs. Wainwright and Mathews, the former 
of the Episcopal, the latter of the Presb3rterian Church; two merchants, Messrs. 
Bosworth and Goodhue ; and I have the honor to represent the medical faculty. Our 
twelfth associate was Mr. Morse of the National Academy of Design, of which he was 
president, and his departure for Europe has caused a vacancy. For agreeableness of 


converaaitioii there is nothing in New- York at all comparable to our institution. We 
meet once a week, no officers, no formalities ; invitations when in case of intfiUigent 
and distingoiahed strangers, and after a light repast, retire aboat eleven o'clock. 

Cliaucellor Kent had been the one center of attraction at these 
meetings, but Mr. dallatin brought in a more varied conversation. 
Indeed, in this art he is said to have had no rival on this side of the 
Atlantic, and Talleyrand alone on the other. Naturally the member- 
ship of the elub changed. About the year 1837 it numbered Professor 
Henry J. Anderson, John A. Stevens, Gallatin's countryman Henry 
C. De Bham, the Swiss consul, John Wells, Samuel Ward, Gulian C. 
Verplanck, and Charles King. New-York has not seen a literary 
symposium more de- 
lightful, more instruc- 
tive, more dignified 
than the gathering at 
these meetings. The 
old-time simplicity 
was maintained in 
elegant surroundings. 
The elub met at the 
housetf of the mem- 
bers on winter even- 
ings. Supper was at 
nine o'clock. The rule 
was absolute that only 
one hot dish should 
be served; but the 
ladies managed to 
evade the regulation 
by sundry subter- 
fuges. Nor did they alisolutely submit to exclu- 
sion. On one occasion Miss Sarah Moore, the sister 
of Professor J^athaniel F, Moore, of the college, surprised the com- 
pany with an impromptu dish sent into the house of her friend with 
an elaborate effusion on the matter of the intruding delicacy, which 
was found sufficient apology. On another this ingenious and admir- 
able lady met the withdrawing guests with an impromptu of another 
character — this time in the form of four Italian trovatori, with their 
national instruments, posted at the door. 

New- York was the favorite refuge of the political exiles of every 
laud. In 1834 there came quite a number of Poles, among whom was 
£tsko, a nephew of Kosciusko. A committee was formed to collect 
funds, and the exiles were quartered on the willing inhabitants. 
Among the papers of Mr. Gallatin, who was the chairman of the 

THE BEOINNINa OF new-yokk's commebcial gbeatness 359 

committee, preserved in the New- York Historioal Society, there is a 
list of names ending in ski; to each is affixeil a, number and an allot- 
ment No. 182, one Szelesegynski, was taken by Mr. Gallatin himself 
to look after horses. From their temporary homes these uufortiuiatos 
were sent into the interior as fast as places could be found for them. 
All were provided for in this manner except fourteen boys, for whom 
a subscription was taken up, Cougress assigned n tract of land in 
Qlinois to these exiles from oppression. 

Warren street has been named as about the upper limit of ultra- 
fashionable residence before 1837. Two houses built of marble on 
Chambers street about this period were considered foolish extrava- 
gances, because too high up-town. The 
Sunday walk of the ladies was from the 
south corner of Warren street down 
Broadway to Grace Church, below Triu- 
ity, and return. Children were taken 
each morning to play and to enjoy the 
fresh air on the Battery, then as lovely 
a spot as heart could desire. There was 
a colony about St. John's Park, and in 
the neighborhood of Varick and Laight 
streets; but it was considered remote. 
The New-Yorker of that day, whether 
of Holland stock or not, had the lethar- 
gic traits of that old race. A walk from 
the park to the sycamoi"es which stood 
on the west side of Broadway at about 
Twenty-sixth street was considered to be a feat of pedestrianlsm 
suited only to athletic youths. Hot corn and ice-cream were carried 
about the streets on summer evenings, and eagerly purchased by the 
citizens, who not infrequently took the evening breeze on their front- 
door steps. Nor was it considered below the diguity of a gentleman 
to drink a dranght, or, taking off his hat, to cool his hea<l of a seeth- 
ing day, at the town pumps. Fires were numerous, and one of the , 
chief pleasures of the New-Yorker was to "run with the engine." It 
was considered a privilege to bo pennitted to take a hand at the 
hose on some great " washout " between rival engines. The assemblies 
or subscription balls were dignified affairs, and the waltz was as yet 
unknown ; but the highest in name and fashion did not disdain to 
take the broidered scarf and display the graces of her motions in the 
dance of the bayadere. 

' Chrlntopher Collc^ who U nienrioned In pre- 
rloiu ehmpten of thin Tulaint. i1li>d la tblH r.lty 
In 1821. The vignette U copied from a painting 

the piwsciwioii of tlir Ncw-York Gi>D.Ml..gical 
.1 Biojrrupliii^iil S-H^lfty. Hi- i« still n-|.n.-wiited 
re by <lvsreuilaiitti. Kuitiim. 


The Caf6 FranQais, in Warren street, was the resort of the wits of 
the city. Here the poets Halleck and Hoffman were daily visitors, 
and many are the legends of this famous spot. It was here also that 
the Siamese twins took up their abode on their first visit to New- 
York. This quiet room was 
favored only by the chosen 
gentler spirits. The gayer 
bloods, who loved ^are and 
glitter and the noise of Broad- 
way, patronized the Cafe de 
Mille Colonnes, where music 
was had with the coffee or 
juleps or ices of the period- 
It was at this time also that 
Delmonieo started on his suc- 
cessful career. He had the 
favor of Gallatin at once as 
his compatriot and as a lover 
of good cheer, of which he 
had shared the best, if not an 
epicure in the narrow sense of 
the word. Never had caterer 
such a field for his art, with 
the product of every zone 
cheap and in bountiful profusion close at hand. And never did ca- 
terer better improve his opportunities, teaching the inhabitants of 
this new world the culinary habits of the old, and revolutionizing 
the processes of the old by the devices suggested by the various and 
admirable customs of hospitable citizens of old New-Tork. 

Among the schools of the period most in vogue was the grammar- 
school for boys. This stood in Murray street, on the college block, 
and was presided over by Professor Charles Anthon, of Columbia Col- 
lege, better known to literary fame as the translator of Lempri^re's 
*' Classical Dictionary," which, with the " Gradus ad Pamassum," was 
a favorite study of lovers of Roman and Grecian history and legend, 
and of easy quotations in the Latin vernacular. Professor Anthon, 
with his pearl-colored, tight-fitting cloth trousers, and his light cane, 
was an admired and dreaded character. To reach the fit of the one 
was the ambition of the youthful postulant, as much as the descent 
of the other was his dread. There was a legend current about this 
schoolmaster, that he breakfasted daily on twelve hMxi-boiled eggs, 
and that his morning exercise was taken on the bodies of the gram- 
mar-school boys. He may have been rough, but he was not brutal, 
and no one was ever seriously damaged in these morning exercises. 

COHTOIT'8 garden, BROADWAY, 1880. 


Befiides this there was the French Institate in Back street, kept by 
the brothers Louis and Hyacinth Peuquet No young gentleman 
was considered to have completed his preliminary education until he 
had mastered the French language. The Peuquets were well-bred 
gentlemen. Louis, the elder, carried a ball received at the battle of 
Waterloo, which made him an unpleasant master of a wet day. 
Hyacinth was an excellent mathematician, and no youth left his 
school without a thorough traiuing in the science of "fractions." 

There were two equally celebrated schools for the education of 
young ladies. Before 1837 Mrs. Mary OkiU, a lady of refinement, the 
daughter of Sir James Jay, 
had her institution in Bar- 
clay street. Here almost every 
young miss of distinction in 
the city had her first train- 
ing, and many completed their 
education under her guidance. 
But there were other families 
who preferred that the finish- 
ing touches should be acquired 
by attendance at a French 
school. Of these there were 
two of social renown, that of 
Madame Fulgence Chegaray, 
and that of Mr. Charles Cauda. 
Mr. Cauda also was a soldier 
of the empire, and was fond 
of relating his terrible experi- 
ence on the return from Mos- 
cow. The scions of this fam- 
ily are well-known citizens of 
New- York, and one of the 
beat-remembered and saddest episodes of New-York life was the 
death and funeral of the accomphshed daughter of Mr. Canda, killed 
by Ijeiug thrown from her carriage on her return from an evening 
entertainment. Both sexes were taught dancing by Monsieur Charu- 
aud, whose method was thorough in the training of the body, as 
well as in grace of motion. Traditions of his amiability and skill 
remain with three generations of New-Yorkers, whom the veteran 
taught up to the age of fourscore. Others trod in the footsteps of 
these admirable instructors, but New- York has never seen institutions 
of a higher character than those which marked this interesting decade. 




The bestowal of this mark of esteem is so frequently mentioned in the preceding 
chapters, that it seems proper to collect some account of the practice and its signifi- 
cance, and to give a list of those threescore persons who have thus been honored from 
the time of Lord Combury, the first to whom it was given, to the present time — 
January, 1893 — a period of nearly two centuries. 

I. Of the freedom of the city, Chancellor James Kent says : " The 20th and 21st 
sections of the Montgomerie Charter gave to the Mayor and four or more Aldermen 
the power to make free citizens of the City, on payment of a fee not exceeding £5. to the 
use of the corporation. This was only a repetition of the power conferred by Governor 
Dongan's charter. . . . This chartered power has ceased [Kent wrote in 1836] to be 
of any importance, and is used only as a testimonial of respect or gratitude, on the 
part of the corporation, towards persons in high station, or who may have entitled 
themselves to the honor by personal merit, or some distinguished service. There are 
many instances in the annals of the corporation of this mode of reward. But the ad- 
mission to the freedom of the city was, at the date of the charter, not only a token of 
honor, but a g^nt of substantial benefit. By making a person a freeman of the city, 
he became entitled to all its municipal privileges ; and, among others, to the right of 
voting for, and of being voted to, corporate offices, which right belonged only to corpo- 
rate freemen and to freeholders, until the Charter was altered by statute, in 1804.^ 
("The Charter of the City of New- York, with notes," New- York, 1836, pp. 152, ei seq.) 

II. The following oath was required of those who acquired the privileges of free- 
men : ** I, , do swear. That I, as a Freeman of the city of New- York, will be 

obeisant and obedient to the Mayor, and other Ministers or Peace Officers of the said 
city ; the franchises and customs thereof I will maintain, and keep the said city harm- 
less as much as in me lieth. I will know of no unlawful gatherings, assemblies, or 
meetings, or of any conspiracies against the peace of the people of the State of New- 
York, but I will warn the Mayor, or other Magistrate thereof, or hinder it to the ut- 
most of my power. All these points and articles I will well and truly maintain, and 
keep according to the laws and customs of the said city. So help me God." (" New- 
York Historical Society Collections," 1885, p. 240.) 

m. On pages 246, 247 of this volume there have been given in foot-notes the ad- 
dress and proceedings at the presentation of the freedom of the city to Captain Isaac 
Hull, of the Constitution, in recognition of his victory over the Guerri^re. It will be of 
interest, also, as a specimen of similar documents delivered to other x>ersons, to present 
the certificate of the grant to George Washington : 

'^ By James Duane Esquire, Mayor, and the Recorder and Aldermen of the City of 
New-York. To all to whom these Presents shall come or may concern. Greeting. 

*^ Whereas His Excellency George Washington, late Commander in Chief of the 
Armies of the United States of America, by a series of the most illustrious Services is 
entitled to the Respect, Gratitude, and Applause of every Heart which is truly Ameri- 
can 'y And as none can have greater Reason to cherish the most honorable and affec- 
tionate Sentiments towards him than the Citizens of the State of New- York ; So we 
have the fullest Confidence that there is no State in which they are more generally 
and emphatically felt. Flattering ourselves that, convinced of this Truth, His Excel- 
lency may be pleased to have his name enrolled among the Citizens of a Metropolis for the 
Recovery of which so much of his Care and Solicitude have been employed : Now there- 
fore know ye that we, considering that Effusions of public Esteem are the most welcome 
Tribute to a patriot mind, have admitted and received, and by these Presents Do ad- 
mit and receive, his said Excellency to be a Freeman and Citizen of the said City. 




'' To hold, exeroise, and enjoy all the Rights, Privileges and Immunities to the Free- 
dom and Citizenship of the said City incident and appertaining as a permanent Proof 
of the admiration we feel for his exalted Virtues, for the Wisdom, Fortitude and 
Magnanimity which he has so gloriously displayed thro' all the Vicissitudes and Em- 
barrassments, thro* all the alternate Scenes of prosperous and adverse Fortune, pro- 
duced in the Progress of an arduous and difficult War. And finally for that patriotic 
Heroism which, after having been an essential instrument in giving by the Divine 
Blessing Liberty and Independence to the thirteen Republicks, hath led him to retire 
with Chearf ulness from the Head of a victorious Army to the modest Station of a 
private Citizen. 

^' In Testimony of these Truths and to perpetuate them to our remotest Posterity, 
we the said Mayor, Recorder, and Aldermen have caused these Presents to be entered 
on our pubhc Records, and our common Seal of the said City, enclosed in a golden 
Box, to be hereunto affixed. Witness James Duane Esq'', Mayor of the said City, this 
2d Day of December in the Year of our Lord 1784, and of the Independence of the 
State the ninth." (" At a Common Council held the 2d Day of December, 1784," from 
the Records at the City Hall. N. Y. Hist. Soc. Coll., 1885, pp. 267, 268.) 

The letter which Washington wrote in acknowledging the receipt of this certificate 
and the gold box containing it, appears in facsimile on pages 23 and 24 of this volume. 
IV. A list of the names of those upon whom the freedom of the city has been be- 
stowed, together with the dates, is here given : 

Viacount Combury Dec. 1, 

Earl Lovelace March 1, 

Ctovemor William Hunter June 16, 

Governor William Burnet Sept. 26, 

Captain Peter Solgardi Aug. 6, 

Captain Coril MayneS Oct. 16, 

Governor William Coeby Aug. 9, 

Lord Augustus Fits Boy Oct. 23, 

Mi^or Alexander Cosby s Aug. 27, 

Thomas Freeman' ** 

Captain Matthew Norris Nov. 4, 

Captain Robert Long ** 

Andrew Hamilton, of Philadelphia. . Sept. 29, 

Daniel Horsmanden Jan. 17, 

Governor Gteorge Clinton Sept 30, 

Captain John Burglss^ June 28, 

Honorable William Shirley Aug. 11, 

Sir Danvers Osbom Oct. 10, 

Sir Charles Hardy Sept. 10, 

General Jeffrey Amherst Nov. 27, 

Governor Robert Monckton Oct. 31, 

Governor Henry Moore Nov. 21, 

William Davis5 June 10, 

The Earl of Dunmore Nov. 13, 

Governor WUliam Tryon July 18, 

General Thomas Gage June 7, 

Marquis de La Fayette Sept. 14, 

George Clinton Sept. 22, 

John Jay Oct, 4, 

Baron Steuben Oct. 11, 





George Washington Dec. 2, 1784. 

Pierre Charles I'Enfant « Oct. 12, 1789. 

Horatio Gates Feb. 25, 1791. 

Alexander Hamilton Mar. 16, 1795. 

Robert Pulton Aug. 10, 1812. 

Isaac Hull Sept. 7, 1812. 

Jacob Jones Nov. 30, 1812. 

Stephen Decatur Dec. 17, 1812. 

William Bainbridge Mar. 1, 1813. 

James Lawrence Mar. 29, 1813. 

OUver H. Perry Oct. 4, 1813. 

Thomas McDonough Sept 26, 1814. 

Jacob Brown Oct 10, 1814. 

Alexander Macomb Nov. 21, 1814. 

Charles Stewart June 5, 1815. 

Andrew Jackson Feb. 23, 1819. 

George Washington de La Fayette. .Aug. 18, 1824. 

Martin Van Buren Mar. 23, 1829. 

Daniel T. Paterson June 27, 1832. 

Winfleld Scott April 23, 1847. 

Zachary Taylor '• " 

Matthew C. Perry July 24, 1848. 

Frederick Jerome ^ Sept 18, 1848. 

David Cook Jan. 4. 1850. 

Robert Creightou Jan. 19, 1854. 

Edwin J. Low 8 ** 

Robert Anderson April 22, 1861. 

Thurlow Weed July 7, 1862. 

David G. Farragut Aug. 17, 1864. 

Andrew Johnson Aug. 27, 1866. 


1 For capturing a pirate vessel. 
- For driving away pirates from New England 

3 Freeman was the son-in-law of Governor Cosby. 

4 For capturing a privateer. 

5 For having presented a portrait of William 
Pitt to the common council. 

^ An engineer ofHoer who came to this country 
with Lafayette and served with distinction in the 

army, afterward drawing the plan of the city of 

7 A common seaman who had displayed great 
heroism during a shipwreck, and had saved many 

8 This and the two preceding persons were cap- 
tains of vessels, who had been the means of res- 
cuing hundreds of shipwrecked people at sea, at 
great risk to themselves. 




^ N Mareh 4, 1837, beneath a cloudless sky, President Van 
Buren read his inaugural address to the thousands assem- 
bled before the Capitol at Washington. On the 15th of 
the same month, Daniel Webster visited the city of New- 
Tork, to receive an ovation from the Whigs of the metropolis for his 
opposition to the principles which had again tiiuniphed in Martin 
Van Buren's election. Webster traveled from Philadelphia to Perth 
Amboy by the newly 
opened Camden and Am- 
boy Railway. A commit- 
tee of New- York's most 
prominent Whigs, appoint- 
ed to make arrangementp 
for his reception, met him 
on his arrival at Perth Am- 
boy, where bo was taken 
on board the steamer ehar- 
^W "^^ 1 "^^I'^^^^'^w -^-B- tered by the committee and 
__^;^*^ -^ jV ^rTtf^ conveyed to New- York city. 

■•r^t^j V -^1 "^ ^lli' -^^ immense concourse of 

.'^ / / 'llljl pfiopl* assembled at the 

tM ^' ^ _^r ~^\ iW^ Battery to greet the "De- 

\^ ^ ^f ^ ''^ fender of the Constitution." 

F Upon landing he was placed 

" in a barouche with DaWd 

B. Ogden, Philip Hone, and 
Peter Sta^, and driven to 
the American Hotel, amid 
the cheers of the throngs which lined his route from the Battery to 
the hotel. In the evening between four thousand and five thousand 
persons, chiefly Whigs, were gathered in Niblo's Saloon to hear the 
great orator upon the issues of the time — the National Bank and the 




methods of Jackson and of hie successor. On the following day a 
public reception was tendered him in the City Hall. 

The city which Webster visited in 1837 had few of the features of 
the metropolis of to-day. It had then a population of about 300,000, 
the census taken by the mayor's marshals in 1835 showing upward 
of 270,000. Near the Battery, at which the great Whig statesman 
disembarked, stood Castle Garden, then situated upon an insular 
moimd of earth, ap- 
proached from the Bat^ 
tery by a bridge. This 
historic structure, on- 
ginaUy Castle Clinton, 
had in 1822 been ceded 
by the United States to 
the city, at which date 
it received its present 
name. For years after 
the cession it was rented 
as a place of amuse- 
ment, and distinguished 
singers, among whom 
may be enumerated 
Madame Malibran and 
Madame Grisi, have here 
delighted thousands of 
old New-Yorkers. As he 
rode up Broadway, the visitor may have had pomted out to him 
the house, long since razed, where Sir Henry Chnton had his 
headquarters during the Revolutionary War, but at this time the 
home of Edward Prime, of the banking-house of Prime, Ward & 
King, whom Webster doubtless met, and whose firm was destined to 
play an important part in the impending financial crisis of 1837. 
Nor could the successful advocate in the great case of Gibbons v. 
Ogden have failed to notice the adjoining house, once the borne of 
Robert Fulton, with whose invention one of his most brilliant legal 
triumphs was associated. In the brick row then fronting Bowling 
Green lived Stephen Whitney, perhaps the wealthiest man of the 
city, and Jacob Hone, who, with his brother Philip, had amassed a 
fortune as an auctioneer. The house where Washington Ir\ing once 

> Bunker's Mantdon House, a famous botel. was 
situated at No. 39 Broadway, aad was a large 
double 'brick house, erected In ITSC hy O^iteral 
Alexander Macomb as a residence for himself. It 
was s most eonif ortaWe and weU-conducled hotel, 
and was patronixed lar^ly by Southern families. 
Bunker, who was noted for Us affabillt;' to bis 

grew rich rapidly, and eventually sold 
Ibe property and retired from bijainess. Moulton. 
In his ■■ History of New-York," nays, according to 
tradition, that thU bouse xtood on the site of the 
first erection of any kind by the Dutch on Man- 
hattan Island. This consisted of a small redoubt, 
built In 16IS. Editor. 



resided was within sight, near the corner of State and Bridge streete, 
while No. 17 Whitehall street was still the home of bis brother-in-law, 
the distinguished author of " The Backwoodsman," James K. Paul- 
ding, soon to be called to a place in Van Buren's cabinet as secretary 
of the navy. Numerous private residences were to be found upon 
Broadway below and above Wall street. About this marvelous thor- 
oughfare — for such Broadway was even then — banks were not more 
thickly clustered than churches. Grace Church stood on the comer 
of Rector street and Broadway; 
and at No. 11 Wail street, the old 
Presbyterian church, in which wor- 
shiped the society that, in 1844, 
built the church on Fifth Avenue, 
between Eleventh and Twelfth 
streets. Near Grace Church stood 
Trinity, but not the Trinity fa- 
miliar to the present generation. 
The Trinity of 1837, which was not 
the oiiginal edifice, but the third 
church upon this site, was com- 
pleted in 1788, and was now near- 
ing its end. In 1839 it was taken 
down, and it was replaced in 1846 
by the present noble structure. As the mention of the second temple 
would to the Jew have suggested the more splendid glory of the de- 
parted temple of Solomon, so the second Trinity recalls the former 
church, built in 1696, as the old historian records it, " very pleasantly 
upon the banks of the Hudson River," for the beach upon which the 
waters of the river once broke is now covered by gravestones. In 
Wall street, upon the site of the old Federal H^ were reared the 
outlines of an unfinished structure, designed for the custom-house, 
and for many years occupied as such, but now the subtreasnry. The 
old Merchants' Exchange, erected between 1825 and 1827 by the Mer- 
chants' Exchange Company, which was incorporated in 1823, with a 
capital of $1,000,000, had been destroyed in the great fire of Decem- 
ber, 1835, together with Ball Hughes's celebrated statue of Hamilton, 
which stood in the rotunda, and to save which most heroic efforts 
were made. The present Merchants' Exchange was begun in 1836, but 
was not finished until 1842. Upon a later visit, in 1842, Mr. Webster 
found it still incomplete. On the east side of Nassau street, between 
Cedar and Liberty, stooil the Middle Dutch Church, an object familiar 

1 The Garden Street Cbnrch (■Jterw*Td called 
the Sonth Chiir«h) waa built in 1693, in Garden 
atreet, now EzchftDfce Place. The original edifice 

was of wood, and ' 
1TT6, and in 1807 
Id the aboTe 


until 1882. Erected in 1729, it was for many years consecrated to the 
service of the Gkxi for the privilege of worshiping whom the Puritans 
of Holland so long and triumphantly withstood the armies of Alva 
and his son. The transfer of the government of Peter Stuyvesant's 
city to the Duke of York produced no change in its sacred character; 
bat, during the Revolutionary days, it was used by the British as a 
place for the confinement of American soldiers.* Peace being restored, 
religious worship was resumed and continued until 1845, when the 
building was leased to the United States and convert6d into a post- 
oflBce ; for the merchants of that day had successfully objected to a 
post-office as far up-town as the City Hall. The old South Dutch 
Church had been consumed in the great fire of 1835, but the North 
Dutch Church, erected upon the northwest corner of Fulton and Wil- 
liam streets, was, like St. George's Chapel in Beekman street, a famil- 
iar object until within a few years past. 

The city, in 1837, and for several years afterward, was in a state 
of chaos, owing to the extent of building operations. New structures 
of brick or stone were replacing the old wooden architecture, or 
rising from the ruins caused by the fire of 1835. As the " Mirror ^ 
said, it reminded the observer of the famous city of Dido, where ^neas 
witnessed the incessant activity of the masons and architects of Tyre. 
The exodus of the wealthy from the lower parts of the city, within a 
few years to become general, had hardly yet commenced. Park 
Place, Murray, Warren, Chambers, Franklin, and White streets, and 
upon the east side East Broadway, were, besides Broadway, the chief 
abodes of fashion. A few elegant mansions had been built about 
University Square, or in lower Fifth Avenue. The City Park em- 
braced the land upon which the post-office now stands, and was cov- 
ered with ample shade-trees. To the west of the City Hall, then 
considered one of the finest public buildings in New-York, was the 
old jail or bridewell. The new City Hall, the brown stone building 
to the east of the present county court-house, was at this time, and 
for many years afterward, occupied by the justices of the United 
States District and Circuit Courts, and by the justices of the Marine 
Court and Common Pleas. The Hall of Records has been so many 
times altered that our modem busy man forgets its transformations, 
although he deplores its ugliness ; but the old building merits atten- 
tion, not only for the records it contains, but for the record of which 
it is the witness. At one time the headquarters of the infamous Cun- 
ningham, in which so many gallant patriots were confined during the 
occupation of the city by the British, the building in 1830 became the 

1 It was in this church that the semi-centennial oc<;asion was the venerable John Quincy Adams, 

celebration of Washin^rton's inaugniration took then seventy-two years of age. The ceremonies 

place on April 30, 1839, under the auspices of the at the church were followed by a grand dinner at 

New-York ffistorical Society. The orator of the the City Hotel. 


depository of the county records, and in the year 1832 was used as 
a cholera hospital. Later again it was renovated and remodeled, a 
new facade with Ionic columns erected, and in the days of which we 
write it was one of the landmarks of the city. 

New- York was at this time deficient in public parks. Bowling 
Green was an inclosure sacred to the aristocrats who dwelt near it; 
St John's Park, or Hudson Square, with its fiue trees, was also main- 
tained in trim state for the exclusive use of the occupants of the sur- 
rounding mansions. The houses about this park were English in 
their architecture, usually double, and of two stories in height, with 
fronts of yellowish brick, contrasted with brownstone porticos antl 
trimmings. An air of elegant uniformity pervaded this neighbor- 
hood, and **the continuous long 
lines of iron palisades both ai'ound 
the square and before the area of 
every house, and up the several 
door-steps," said a writer of the 
time, "give a peculiar aspect of 
European style and magnificence." 
With the exception of Vauxhall 
Park, . the Battery was the only 
popular pleasure-ground. Vauxhall 
Gardens, the " favorite resort of 
the democratic masses," occupied a 
large part of the block bounded by 
Fourth Avenue, Fourth street, La- 
fayette Place, and Astor Place, in- 
cluding the site of the Astor Li- 
braiy. Washington Square was then 
the parade-ground, upon which the 
militia was reviewed. It had pre- 
viously been used as the Potter's Field. Union Square was well out 
of town. Gramerey Park, which owes its existence to the munificence 
of the late Samuel B. Buggies, although designed before 1837, was not 
laid out or improved until about 1840. One of the attractions of this 
square, in its early days, was a fountain erected at a cost of $3000. 

Washiugton Hall, erected by the Federalists in their palmy days, 
was situated where the Stewart marble building now stands. Stew- 
art's Chambers-street store was not opened until 1845. On the east 
side of Broadway was the Masonic Hall, long deemed, next to the 
Merchants' Exchange, the finest stmeture in the city. Columbia Col- 
lege was then in College Place, and the University of the City of New- 
York had not yet removed to its new building upon Washington Square. 
The New- York Society Library occupied rooms in the Mechanics' 


Society building in Chambers street, awaiting the completion of its 
new home on the comer of Broadway and Leonard street. The 
Mercantile Library was at Clinton Hall, which was then situated on 
the southwest comer of Nas- 
sau and Beekman streets, the 
site lately occupied by the 
Nassau Bank, now by Temple 
Court, In this hall at that 
day, and for several years 
later, the young National 
Academy of Design exhibited 
the pictures of Allston, log- 
ham, Morse, and West, while 
at the more ample galleries 
of the American Art Union, 
at No. 497 Broadway, might 
have been seen about this period "The Passing of a Summer 
Shower" by Durand, or Leutze's "Landing of Columbus.* 

The hotels of the city were few in number, and, considering its size, 
the accommodations which the town could furnish to travelers were 
far from adequate. The City Hotel — according to Dayton, "without 
an equal in the United States" — held the first place; but the recently 
erected Astor House soon rose to a position of primacy, and here were 
given many great dinners, notably those to the Prince de Joinville and 
Lord Ashburton. The Irving House was on the comer of Chambers 
street and Broadway; the American House at 135 Fulton street; in 
Broad street was the Exchange Hotel ; in Park Row, Love joy's; inNas- 
sau street, Tammany Hall, although then the headquarters of the Loco- 
focos, as the Whigs of the time were fond of styling all Democrats, 
dispensed hospitality upon the European plan. The elder Delmonico 


1 The BeTeil; Boblason House vim Blta>t«d on 
thv east bank of the Hodaon, nearly opposite West 
Pcdnt, and mu erecled about 1T50 b; Colonel 
Beverly Bobinaon, whose father, John Kobinson, 
waa prealdeiit of the colony of VirginiA after the 
retirement of Oovemor Ooocb. Itn groundB, 
eomprialng a thonsand acreB. came to hiiu thron^th 
his Tnarrlam^th Susanna, daughter of Frederick 
PhlHpae, the seeoad proprietor of the manor, and 
giiter of Mn. Roger Morris. Colonel Robinson 
■erred with dlatinctlon as a m^or In the British 
army, nnder Wolfe, at the slorminft of QQehec. 
Opposed to the separation of the colonies from 
Enftland, he removed to New-York, raised the 
Loyal American ReKlment. and hecamnitA colonel- 
He played a consplcaous part in behalf of the 
royalists in many important matters, and his 
home on the Hadson wan Arnold's headqnarters 
while planning his treachery with Andr*. In which 
Colonel Bobintiou was concerned. At the close 
of the war, his large eatatea, Including ■' Beverly," 

Vol. m.— 24. 

were conflscat«d and sold. The old mansion was 
replete with memories of colonial days. Wash- 
ington made use of it continually ; Piitnani had 
hia headquarters there also, as did other generals 
of the Ameriean army. It was for a long time in 
the possession of the Arden family, and was pur- 
chased about 1B73 by Hamilton Pish, who pre- 
served it unaltered until its destruction by flre, 
March IT, 1S92. For many years the old mansion 
was the residence of a member of his family. It 
was pleasantly situated near the foot of Sngar- 
Loaf Mountain, named by the first Duteh settlers 
Siiikfr Urood lirrg, also the property of Mr. Piab. 
who writps to the Editor, under date of August 2, 
1892: "The name is of ancient data, derived, as 
I have long since understood, from its shape, pre- 
senting on approach from the south by the river 
the point«d shape of the old-fashioned loaves of 
9uga.T. more familiar to those who (Hke me) num- 
ber their years at eighty-four, than to the younger 


and his rival, Guerin, — now but a name, — had just settled in the city; 
but the famous restaurant-keeper was Windust, whose basement in 
Park Row, not far from the Park Theater, was the resort of literary 
and theatrical people, among whom Thomas A. Cooper, Edmund Eean, 
Junius Brutus Booth, the Wallacks, and the Eembles were the most 
noted. After the curtain had fallen for the evening, hosts of auditors 
visited Windust's to catch a nearer glimpse of the celebrities of the 
stage. Before 1837, Windust, having become rich in the humble 
basement where wits and players long assembled, moved to more am- 
bitious quarters, and opened the famous Athenaeum, at the comer 

of Broadway and Leonard street, in the very heart of 
fashion. But the patronage which reminds us of the 
London coflfee-houses in the days of Johnson and Goldsmith, and 
which had made Windust rich and famous, did not follow him in 
his new venture, and before many years the AthensBum was closed. 

" Last week,'' said the " Mirror " in September, 1837, " was a memora- 
ble one, for it was the first occasion in Gotham when eight theaters 
were in operation at the same time." Among the theaters of the day 
the Park easily held the first place, and was the ** old Drury ^ of New- 
York. Its site was at No. 21 Park Row. Here, during this decade, 
could have been heard Ellen Tree (who visited America in 1836), Mr. 
and Mrs. Keeley, Charles Kemble, the Keans, Tyrone Power, Conway, 
Macready, and the Ravel family. Here was first publicly sung 
Payne's "Home, Sweet Home." Fannie Elssler, who visited New- 
York in 1840, here acquainted the staid Knickerbockers with the 
ballet, and her dancing in " la Tarentule " and in " la Sylphide " capti- 
vated audiences little accustomed to the pas seul. Henry Clay, upon 
one of his visits to the city, is said to have enjoyed one of these ballets. 
At the National,* Charles Kean played Hamlet, Macbeth, and Claude 
Melnotte ; and Forrest, Lear and Richelieu, besides whom were other 
histrionic celebrities at the Franklin, the Broadway, or Euterpeau 
Hall. The dramatic taste of the metropolis was never purer, nor 
the acting superior. 

One of the most famous theaters of the time — famous not so much 
as a dramatic success as because of its site — was Richmond Hill, 
located on the comer of Varick and Charlton streets. The theater 
consisted of the old mansion-house of Aaron Burr with the addition 
of a building constructed in its rear, and at its opening a prize was 
offered for the best dedicatory poem. The judges assembled in one 
of the old rooms where in Butt's days had gathered Talleyrand, the 
philosopher Volney, and other celebrities of the time. Gulian C. 

I The National, ori^nally desired for an opera- beinf? in September, 1839, the sooond in May. 1841. 
house, was at Church and Leonard Rtrcets. It * Its manaf^r. Jamefl W. Wallack, was a well-known 
was twice consumed by