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New York Public Library 

Astor, Lenox and Ttlden 

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I pray you, let us satisfy our eyes 

With the memorials and the things of fame 

That do renown this city." 

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IV Contents. 


churches — Baptist church — Moravian church — German Re- 
formed church — Methodist churches — Roman Catholic church — 
Independent Congregational church, 124 


Theatres in the city previous to 1789— The John Street Theatre — 
The Old American Company — Plays acted during the year 1789 
— Plays by American authors — Theatrical controversies — Nat- 
ural curiosities and wax-works — Musical entertainments, • .166 


Columbia College — Controversies with regard to its establishment — 
College professors — Commencement exercises in 1789 — Schools 
— Music — Dancing-masters — Literature — Science — Books and 
bocrksellers — New York Society Library — Artists — Newspapers 
and editors, 189 


Messengers appointed to notify the President and Vice-President 
of the United States of their election — Congressional commit- 
tees to receive them in New York — ^John Adams' reception and 
installation in office — The Presidential Barge — Reception of 
George Washington in New York City — Dr. Cogswell's account 
of it — Extracts from Miss Morton's Diary — The President's 
house — Discussion with regard to the President's title — Ar- 
rangements for his inauguration — The inaugural ceremonies — 
Contemporary accounts of the event — Washington's household 
expenses — The Assembly Ball — Addresses of congratulation — 
Mrs. Washington's arrival in New York — Incidents in Washing- 
ton's life while in New York — Comparison between New York 
City in 1789 and in 1889, 214 

General Description of the City. 

On the first day of January 1789 New York City had not 
yet fully recovered from the effects of the great fires of Sep? 
tember 21st 1776 and of August 3rd 1778 nor from its occu* 
pation by the British during seven years which ended on the 
25th of November 1783. Three of the city landmarks had not 
yet been fully restored. Trinity Church was not completely 
rebuilt ; the Lutheran Church which had stood on the southr 
ern corner of Rector Street and Broadway was a mass of ruins 
known as the Burnt Lutheran Church ; and the Middle Dutch 
Church was still in the hands of its rebuilders. Improve- 
ments, however, had been actively begun, and the poverty 
caused by the Revolution was now considerably amended. 
In 1785 John Thurmian, a city merchant, wrote: "Many of 
our new merchants and shopkeepers set up since the war have 
failed. We have nothing but complaints of bad times. In 
Philadelphia it is worse. Yet labour is very high and all arti* 
cles of produce very high. Very small are our exports. 
There is no ship building, but house building in abundance, 
and house rent remains high. Law in abundance, the Tres- 
pass Act is food for the lawyers — yet we say there is no 
money. Feasting and every kind of extravagance go on-^ 
reconcile these things if you can. Gloomy joys." In a paper 
published by the American Philosophical Society in 1843 
Samuel Breck also writes as follows : " In the month of June 
of the year 1787, on my return from a residence of a few 
years in France, I arrived at that city, and found it a ne- 
glected place, built chiefly of wood, and in a state of prostra- 
tion and decay. A dozen vessels in port; Broadway from 
Trinity Church inclusive down to the Batter)'^, in ruins, owing 

> > -> 

6 New York City in 1789. 

to a fire that had occurred when the city was occupied by the 
enemy, during the latter part of the war. The ruined walls 
of the houses standing on both sides of the way, testifying to 
the poverty of the place, five years after the conflagration ; 
for although the war had ceased during that period, and the 
enemy had departed, no attempt had been made to rebuild 
them. In short, there was silence and inactivity ever3nvhere ; 
and the whole population was very little over 20/X)0." Mr. 
Breck's chronology with regard to the fire was several years 
out of the way, but the matters which fell under his own ob- 
servation were, without doubt, stated with substantial accu- 

The year 1788 saw a change in the desolation which had 
followed the war, and in 1789 New York, the Capital of the 
United States, was larger in size and more prosperous in 
business than ever before. It was somewhat irregular in 
shape, its main portion being on the east side of the island. 
The houses were not built closely together, but were scat- 
tering and surrounded by gardens. From the west side of 
Broadway to the west side of Greenwich Street, which was 
then the street nearest to the North River, the ground was 
more or less closely built upon from the Bowling Green to 
the south side of what is now Reade Street. Beyond Reade 
Street the only buildings were the Hospital and a few scat- 
tered houses, one of which, on the west side of Broadway a 
short distance below the line of the present Leonard Street, 
was a Congregational meeting-house. On the east side of 
the island the city extended somewhat farther north, its 
limit being the south side of Bayard's Lane, which in 1807 
received its present name of Broome Street. The south side 
of this street was built upon from Mulberry Street on the 
west to the present Suffolk Street on the east, and a line 
drawn from the southwest corner of Broome and Suffolk 
Streets to the northwest corner of Cherry and Pike Streets 
would approximately mark the northeasterly limit of the city 
in 1789. North of the present line of Reade Street no streets 
were laid out between the North River and Mulberry Street, 
with the exception of Greenwic!i Street and Broadway, and 

• • • 

• •• • t 

• • • 


General Description. 7 

upon them there were but few houses. Along the East 
River, Front Street was the street nearest to the water from 
Whitehall Street to its end at Burling Slip, whence Water 
Street extended along the river as far as the foot of James 
Street. Beyond that point Cherry Street was nearest to the 
river and there were but few buildings on its water side. It 
extended to about the present Pike Street, beyond which was 
a large swamp, and the country residence of Mr. Rutgers. 

In 1786 the population of the city was estimated to be 
23,614, and the number of houses 3,340. According to the 
census of 1790 the population of the city and county was 
8,500 white males, over sixteen years of age ; 5,907 males 
under sixteen ; 1 5,254 white females ; i loi other free persons ; 
2,369 slaves; total, 33,131 inhabitants. This, however, in- 
cluded Harlem, which, properly speaking, was not a part of 
the city. Another calculation, printed in the newspapers, 
made the number of inhabitants 30,022, classified as Free- 
holders of ;^ioo, 1209; Freeholders of ;^20, 1221 ; Tenants of 
40s., 2661; Freemen, 93; Males, 13330; Females, 14,429; 
Slaves, 2263. This calculation practically omitted the inhabi- 
tants of Harlem and probably was a tolerably accurate enu- 
meration of the inhabitants of the city itself in 1790. In 1789 
the number of inhabitants of the city proper might be placed 
at 29,000 and the number of the houses at 4,200, the city di- 
rectory, published on the 4th of July 1789 by Hodge, Allen 
and Campbell, containing the names of about 4100 house- 
holders. Among the buildings were a number of the old 
Dutch houses with lofty peaked roofs and their gable, ends to 
the street, but the prevailing style of architecture was English. 
Noah Webster, in an article which appeared in the American 
Magazine in March 1788, writes that the houses were for the 
most part built of brick with tiled roofs, but the advertise- 
ment of the Mutual Assurance Co. in 1789 states that they 
were chiefly framed buildings with brick fronts, which was 
probably the case, although in 1761 the legislature had enacted 
that none other thaft stone or brick houses should be erected 
south of about the present Duane St. after the ist of January 
1766. The time was afterwards extended to January ist 1774, 

8 New York City in 1789. 

but on the 2nd of May in that year nearly 3000 citizens peti- 
tioned for the repeal of the act, and, although their petition 
was not granted, the act was probably not strictly enforced. 
The streets were many of them narrow and crooked, Water 
and Queen (Pearl) being in some places too cramped to allow 
the building of sidewalks. On the 2ist of March 1787, how- 
ever, the Legislature had authorized the Common Council to 
lay out new streets and to improve those already existing, and 
in 1788 improvements were begun. The act provided that 
streets already laid out should not be made wider than four 
rods Tibr narrower than two rods, and that the Kingsbridge 
Road should not be made narrower than it was at that time, 
nor in any part less than four rods wide. In all cases of per- 
sons meeting on the highway, those going out of the city 
northward were to make road for those coming in southward 
under a penalty of forty shillings fine for each failure to do so. 
In August 1784 the Common Council had also expressed its 
determination to strictly enforce the city ordinances with re- 
gard to the care of the streets, but in May 1788 the Grand 
Jury reported them to be dirty and many of them impassable, 
and an ordinance published in April 1789 added several new 
requirements in this regard. The footpath on each side of the 
street was to be one-fifth the width of the street, paved with 
brick or flat stone, and curbed ; the other three-fifths were to 
be a cartway, properly arched, and to be paved and kept in re- 
pair by the householders under a penalty of forty shillings 
fine. Driving, sawing wood, and leaving coal on the side- 
walk, or otherwise obstructing it, were strictly forbidden ; no 
posts were to be erected except at the intersection of streets, 
and a penalty of £^ was attached to the offence of planting 
trees south of the Fresh Water and of Catherine St. except 
in front of churches and other public buildings. Another im- 
portant provision of this ordinance was that on every Friday 
between the first day of March and the first day of December 
each householder should cause the dirt from his yard, cellar, 
and the street in front of his premises to be gathered near the 
gutter before ten o'clock in the morning, and have it removed 
before twelve o'clock the next day under a penalty of fiye 

General Description. 9 

shillings fine. The enforcement of this ordinance was en- 
trusted to James Culbertson, the high constable, and that 
worthy published a card in the newspapers stating that he 
should perform his duty without respect of persons. But his 
efforts do not seem to have been altogether successful, for, in 
the Daily Advertiser of December 19th 1789, there appeared 
a call to the high constable, the echoes of which are still to 
be heard : "AWAKE THOU SLEEPER, let us have clean streets 
in this our peaceful seat of the happiest empire in the uni- 
verse. That so our national rulers and their supporters may 
with convenience and decency celebrate a merry Christmas 
and a happy New Year." The sanatory arrangements of the 
houses had evoked the highest praise from Brissot de War- 
ville, a young Frenchman who had visited the city in 1788, 
but the sewerage system of the city was extremely primitive. 
It 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. Street lamps had been introduced in 1762 
but the lighting of them was regulated by the moon, and there 
were frequent complaints of the darkness of the streets at 
night. On the 3rd of December 1788 a standing committee 
of the Common Council was appointed to attend to the erec- 
tion of new street lamps and to put them on the houses in- 
stead of on posts, wherever it was possible to do so, but the 
committee does not seem to have been able to keep the lamps 
lighted, as, on the 31st of the same month, the firemen pre- 
sented a complaint that their work at a recent fire at one 
o'clock at night had been greatly impeded by the fact that 
most of the lamps had gone out. The matter was referred to 
the committee, but again in 1789 an unfortunate citizen in- 
formed the public that in coming home one stormy night in 
June he had run into a pump in Nassau Street not a hundred 
perches from the Mayor's house and had received a severe con- 
tusion on his head, there being not alighted lamp nor a watch- 
man in sight. During the year 1789 Abraham Van Gelder 
received about ;f 33 a month for the lighting and cleaning of 
the lamps, the pound being worth about two and one half 
dollars of the present money. Mr. Van Gelder died in Jan- 

lO Neiv York City in 1789. 

•uary 181 5 aged 81 years. The most elevated street in the 
city was Broadway, which had received that name about the 
year 1674, extending from the Bowling Green to St. Paul's 
Chapel, above which it was called Great George Street. Its 
original course above St. Paul's Chapel had been along the 
present Park Row and Chatham Street to the Bowery, and in 
1789 the portion of it called Great George Street extended 
only to the present Broome Street and was very sparsely built 
upon. One of the most northerly buildings upon it was the 
house of David M. Clarkson which stood on the east side of 
the street about the middle of the present block between 
Leonard and Franklin Streets. It was a two-story house 
about thirty feet wide surrounded by a large garden, the 
property having a frontage of about 160 feet on Great George 
Street and a depth of about 380 feet. On the west side of 
the street a short distance below the present Leonard Street 
was a building which in November 1789 was first occupied as 
a Congregational church, and below this, on a plot of ground 
440 feet by 455 feet, afterwards bounded by Broadway, An- 
thony, Church, and Duane Streets, stood the Hospital. The 
erection of this building had been begun on the 27th of July 
1773, the basement walls being of brown stone and the upper 
portion of blue stone, but it had no sooner been completed 
than the interior was destroyed by fire on the 28th of Febru- 
ary 1775 at a loss of £^000, and although immediately rebuilt, 
it had never served its original purpose. The Provincial Con- 
gress ordered it to be used as a barracks in April 1776 and the 
British afterwards used it for the same purpose. The Govern- 
ors of the Hospital, twenty-six in number, held a charter 
granted June 13th 1771, but during the Revolution they had 
merely held elections of officers, and lack of funds prevented 
the opening of the building as a hospital until the 3rd of Janu- 
ary 1791 when eighteen patients were admitted, the Legisla- 
ture, on the 1st of March 1788, having granted to the Govern- 
ors ;^8oo annually for four years out of the excise revenue of 
the city. In 1788 a part of the building was used as a dissect- 
ing room and on the 13th of April in that year it had been 
stormed and dismantled by the mob in the " Doctors' Riot ; " 

General Description. 1 1 

but in 1789 it was apparently entirely unoccupied and in June 
was offered as a temporary place of meeting for the Legislature 
or the Courts. The officers of the Board of Governors of the 
Hospital in 1789 were Richard Morris, president, Isaac Roose- 
velt, vice-president, Henry Haydock, treasurer, and John 
Keese, secretary. The old building ceased to be used for 
hospital purposes in February 1870. 

Below the Hospital, on the northeast corner of the present 
Duane Street and Broadway stood an old brewery, and farther 
south on the east side of Great George Street opposite what 
was then the end of Reade Street was the old Negroes* 
Burying-Ground, occupying about 400 feet on Great George 
Street with a depth of about 600 feet. The next place of im- 
portance was that known before the Revolution as Mon- 
tagnie*s Garden, No. 317 Great George Street, situated on 
the west side of that street near the north corner of Murray 
Street. In the stirring times before the Revolution it had 
been the headquarters of the Liberty Boys and the scene of 
conflict between them and the British soldiery, and after Mr. 
Montagnie's death had been kept by his widow. In June 
1785 an advertisement appeared stating that Henry Kennedy 
had taken " the well known Mead House, the sign of the Two 
Friendly Brothers, late occupied by Mrs. Montanye " with 
gardens attached, but in February 1786 it was again advertised 
to be let, and in 1789 it was apparently kept by Jacob de la 

Among the few residents on Great George Street in 1789 
were at No. i, on the present site of the Astor House, Walter 
Rutherford ; No. 2, Lewis Scott, State Secretary ; No. 3, 
William Warner, livery stable ; No. 5, Miss Moore ; No. 6, 
Charles Warner, coach-maker, and James Warner, harness- 
maker. Number 8 was at the corner of Robinson Street 
(Park Place), and near Murray Street was John Walker's 
ball-court ; John Leonard lived at No. 36 ; John Nourse at 
No. 42 ; and No. 43 was the residence of Lewis Nichols, cab- 
inet-maker. Number i Great George Street had been built 
before the Revolution by Major Walter Rutherford, a Brit- 
ish army officer, who occupied it for many years ; and No. 

12 New York City in 1789. 

2 had been confiscated from Colonel Axtell/ also of the 
British army, and by Act of March 29th 1784 appropriated to 
the use of the State Secretary who occupied it until the re- 
moval of the State Government to Albany in 1797. To the 
west of Great George Street, above Reade Street, there were 
few buildings east of Greenwich Street. Church Street ran, 
as a lane, about to the present Anthony Street, and there 
ended. No other streets were laid out between it and Green- 
wich Street, the land being largely a swamp. 

To the east of Great George Street and approximately 
bounded on the west by the present Centre Street, on the 
south by Duane Street, and on the north and east by Pearl 
Street, was a small pond which connected on the north with 
the Collect or Fresh Water Pond, the latter occupying the space 
now approximately bounded by Franklin, Elm, Worth, and 
Baxter Streets, including the site of the Tombs or, more prop- 
erly speaking, the Halls of Justice. North of the Collect 
were swamps and bogs through which its outlet ran north- 
west to the present crossing of Broadway and Canal Street, 
where it was spanned by a bridge, and thence flowed nearly 
along the present line of Canal Street into the North River. 
Between the two ponds, on what was once a small island, 
stood a powder-house which in June 1788 was leased for three 
years at an annual rent of ;^42, and which disappeared by the 
summer of 1791. In winter the Collect was used as a skating- 
pond, and one of the uses to which it was put in summer 
appears from a complaint published in the New York Packet 
of August 19th 1784 that, in that warm and dry season, a 
great number of people assembled around the pond whence 
the tea-water was drawn and washed their dirty linen therein. 
Before the Revolution an attempt had been made to introduce 
a system of waterworks, and in 1776 a reservoir had been 
completed by Christopher CoUes from which the water was to 
be distributed through wooden pipes. It was situated on the 
east side of Broadway between the present Pearl and White 
Streets and the water was to be pumped into it from wells, 
but the Revolution put an end to the scheme. On January 
29th 178S a petition to the Comnion Council appeared in the 

, General Description. 13 

New York Packet praying that the houses might be supplied 
with water through pipes, provided that the average tax for 
-that purpose should not exceed 26 shillings for each house. 
According to this plan the annual expense was to be ;^4i6o, 
to be raised by a tax of 40s. on 1000 houses, 26s. on icxx) 
more, and los. 2d. upon 1200 more, the total number of 
houses to be furnished with water being estimated at three 
thousand two hundred. And again on the 30th of January 
.1789, the Mayor presented to the Common Council a letter 
which he had received from the Rumseian Society of Phila- 
delphia stating that Mr. Rumsey had invented an engine far 
superior to any other for supplying towns with water, that he 
had applied to the Legislature for the exclusive right to put 
such engines in operation, and that the Corporation would do 
.well to make immediate arrangements for the use of the 
engine or to complete the contract for it during the following 
summer. The state of the city finances, however, forbade 
such an investment, and for a number of years the greater part 
of the city water continued to be supplied by the Tea Water 
Pump, which stood in Chatham Street a little to the north- 
east of the end of Queen (Pearl) Street. The water was 
carried around the city by " tea-water men " in carts built for 
that purpose, the price being 3d. a hogshead of 130 gallons at 
the pump. The well in which this pump stood was fed from 
the Collect, and was about twenty feet deep and four feet in 
diameter, the average quantity of water drawn from it daily 
being about no hogsheads. In hot weather as many as 216 
hogsheads were drawn in a day, and it is said that there were 
never more nor less than three feet of water in the well. 
The Collect having been granted to Anthony Rutgers in 1733, 
the city purchased his heirs* interest in it for ;^I50 in 1791, 
and, after becoming an unmitigated nuisance^ it was filled up 
between the years 1800 and 18 10. 

The Park, which had been enclosed with a wooden fence 
in 1785, extended in triangular shape from Vesey to Murray 
Street, and north of it, about on the northerly line of Murray 
Street, stood the Bridewell, Almshouse, and Jail, in a row 
facing south. The Bridewell, or criminal prison, which stood 

14 New York City in 1789. 

nearest to Great George Street, was erected in 1775, accord- 
ing to plans furnished by Theophilus Hardenbrook, and had 
been paid for by a lottery in which the city bought a thou- 
sand tickets. It was a long two-story building constructed of 
gray stone, the keeper and his assistants occupying the first 
floor, and the second floor being divided into two wards, one 
of which, for the keeping of less desperate criminals, was called 
the Upper Hall and the other the Chain Room. During the 
Revolution the British had used the building as a prison, and 
its use as such was continued until 1838 when it was torn 
down and some of the stones were used in the construction of 
the present Tombs. To the east of the Bridewell, about on 
the site of the present City Hall was the Almshouse, a two- 
story gray stone building, fifty-six feet in front by twenty- 
four feet deep, erected in 1736, at an expense of ;^I22 los. 
and demolished va 1797. These institutions were under the 
care of thirteen commissioners whose proceedings were inves- 
tigated annually by the Common Council and apparently re- 
quired some supervision, as in May 1788, a committee of the 
Common Council, appointed to investigate a charge that the 
Commissioners had furnished bad butter and flour, found that 
the statement was true. This, however, was said to have 
happened accidentally; but in February 1790, Willett Sea- 
man, one of the commissioners, was ordered to take back a 
quantity of poor shoes which he had furnished to the Alms- 
house and to refund the money which had been paid for 
them. The expenses of the Almshouse during the year 
amounted to about ;^3700 or $9250, those of the Bridewell 
being considerably less. The vagrants confined in the latter 
were employed in August in cleaning out the drains beneath 
the Exchange and the Fly Market, the Common Council 
having petitioned in October 1788 for the enactment of a 
law providing for hard labor by vagrants both within and 
without doors. Beyond the Almshouse stood the Jail, or 
debtor's prison, a rough stone building three stories high, sur- 
mounted by a large cupola containing a bell. A corridor ran 
through the middle of the building, and one side of the sec- 
ond floor was used as a chapel. In 1830, the Common Coun- 

General Description. IS 

cil decided to reconstruct this building for the use of the Reg- 
ister of Deeds, and the cupola and top floor were re- 
moved, the exterior stuccoed, and the present porticoes put 
up, the changes being completed in 1832 when the building 
was occupied by the offices of the Surrogate, Register, Comp- 
troller, and Street Commissioners. The Register's Office 
alone has occupied it since 1870 when further changes were 
made in it. The practically endless imprisonment of debtors 
was greatly modified by an Act passed February 13th 1789 
limiting imprisonment for debts of ;^io or less to thirty days, 
and that for larger amounts to three months, provided that 
the debtor would make oath that he had no property where- 
with to pay his debts, but these unfortunates still led a mis- 
erable existence. On the 9th of April 1788 the Common 
Council accepted an offer from John Pearsee the keeper of 
the jail to feed the prisoners at 8d. a day each, but the 
meagre fare which they received from this source was supple- 
mented by contributions of food from the Society for the re- 
lief of Distressed Debtors which had been founded January 
26th 1787. According to the original plan this society was to 
consist of twenty-four members who were to meet on the sec- 
ond Friday in every month and to choose a president at each 
meeting, wh;le the secretary and treasurer were to be chosen 
annually and a committee of three members was to be chosen 
to visit the jail at stated times, one of its members retiring 
from office each month. In 1789 the officers of the society 
. were 

President^ Rev. Dr. John Rodgers. 
Vice-president^ Dr. James Cogswell. 
Treasurer^ Richard Platt. 
Secretary, Moses Rogers. 

Its charitable work seems to have been very successful as 
on the nth of May 1789 it acknowledged the receipt of 1500 
pounds of fresh beef which it had received from an unknown 
person between the 17th of February and the 30th of April, 
and in December 1789 the prisoners returned thanks for a 
contribution of fifty guineas from the President of the United 


16 New York City in 1789. 

States. The secretary of the society, however, published a 
(Card stating that the society had not authorized the announce- 
ment of the President's gift, as he had requested that it should 
be kept secret. On the 25th of October 1789 a charity ser- 
mon for the benefit of the society was also preached in the 
North Dutch Church, probably by Dr. Linn who was one of 
its founders. 

Between the Jail and the Almshouse stood the Gallows in 
a gaudily painted Chinese pagoda erected in 1784, which, 
under the barbarous laws then existing, was put to frequent 
use, as by Acts passed in February 1788 the penalty of death 
"was attached to the crimes of treason, murder, forgery, coun- 
terfeiting, rape, forcible detaining of women, robbing a church, 
housebreaking by day or night if the house were occupied, 
robbery, wilful burning of any house or barn, and malicious 
maiming. An Act of February i6th 1787 provided that no 
person should be taken or imprisoned upon the appeal of a 
woman, for the death of any other than of her husband. Dur- 
ing the year 1789 the Court of Oyer and Terminer imposed ten 
isentences of death, all for burglary, robbery, and forgery, five 
executions taking place on the 23rd of October. Near the 
gallows also stood the whipping-post and stocks for the pun- 
ishment of minor offences, the public whipper, Joseph Shelvey, 
receiving a yearly salary of £2^ for his services. By Act of 
March 24th 1787 larceny was to be punished by such corporal 
punishment as the court might direct, but, if by whipping, not 
to exceed thirty-nine lashes in one day. In February 1788, t 
the Justices of the Sessions were also authorized to punish 
disorderly persons and vagrants by six months imprisonment 
and whipping at such times as they might consider proper ; 
but in February 1789 the Act was modified by adding hard 
labor to the imprisonment, and leaving the whipping part of 
the punishment to the discretion of the court. An example 
of this kind of punishment was given in February 1789 when 
Oeorge Talbot and Richard Howard, for grand larceny, were 
sentenced to one month's imprisonment and to receive twenty 
lashes at the cart's tail on three successive Mondays, near the 
^Exchange, the Fly Market, and the Peck Slip Market. At 

General Description. 17 

the same time others were sentenced to 39 lashes for petit lar- 
ceny, and one month's imprisonment and 39 lashes for grand 
larceny. The penalty of death was confined to the crimes of 
treason and murder only by Act of March 21st 1801 and 
whipping was dropped from the punishment of larceny at the 
same time. 

In the rear of these city buildings, upon the present line 
of Chambers Street, were the Upper Barracks which had 
been used by the British. In January 1790 the Common 
Council ordered them to be sold and removed by the ist of 
June, but they appear on the map of 1791. 

Broadway in 1789 was of less importance both as a place 
of business and of residence than were the streets to the east 
of it. It was paved from the Bowling Green to Vesey Street 
but its grading was probably very bad. The method of regu- 
lating and paving the streets at that time is well illustrated 
by proceedings in the Common Council in 1788 with regard 
to this street. On the 9th of April the clerk was ordered to 
prepare an ordinance for the digging down and paving of 
Broadway, Verlittenbergh (Exchange Place), and New Streets, 
according to the proposed regulation of those streets reported 
August 23rd 1786. On the 21st of May complaint was made 
that the arch of the pavement then being laid descended too 
much toward the houses, and a surveyor was ordered to ar- 
range the matter satisfactorily to the property owners. On 
the 23rd of May he reported that the arch of the street was 
six inches too high, and would now be lowered to eighteen 
inches. But later in the year another complaint was made 
by Mrs. McAdam which was referred to a committee who 
made a report on the 27th of October. Their statement was 
that the distance from the northeast corner of the Lutheran 
Church lot on the corner of Rector Street to the south line 
of Mrs. McAdam*s lot was 255 feet, and that the descent was 
4 feet \\\ inches, while the distance from Mrs. Mc Adam's lot 
to the pump opposite Mr. McComb's house was 151 feet and 
the ascent i foot 4 inches. Upon this statement it was re- 
solved that the ground opposite the pump at Mr. McComb's 
be taken down six inches, and the pump removed ; that the 

1 8 New York City in 1789. 

pavement on the west side of Broadway be taken up and re- 
laid with regular descent from the Lutheran Church past Mr. 
McComb's door ; that the east side of Broadway at Verlitten 
Hill be raised twelve inches, and continued with proper 
descent down the same ; and that John Stagg should be em- 
ployed to do the work and should receive for it ;^I20, and the 
necessary amount of sand. A motion was then made that 
John McComb, the city surveyor who then had the work in 
charge, be removed from office for incapacity, but action upon 
it was postponed, and he was afterwards promised a hearing, 
which was apparently satisfactory to the Common Council. 
Public pumps stood in the middle of Broadway for many 
years after 1789, it being the usual custom for the house- 
holders to dig the well and for the city to contribute ;^io 
toward the building of the pump. 

The most noteworthy buildings on Broadway in 1789 
were St. Paul's Chapel, the City Tavern, Trinity Church, the 
McComb mansion, and the Kennedy mansion. A description 
of the churches will be found in another chapter. The City 
Tavern, a wooden building which stood on the west side of 
the street, between Thames and Little Queen (Cedar) Streets 
on the site of the present Boreel Building, was the prin- 
cipal hostelry of the city, its long-room being used for soci- 
ety dinners, lectures, and various public amusements. In 
December 1789 the Common Council also made arrange- 
ments for its use by the courts, as the Exchange, in which 
they had been held, was to be used by the Legislature. The 
building had first been used as a dwelling house but was 
opened as a tavern by Edward Willet in 1754, his successors 
down to the Revolution bearing the names of Crawley, Burns, 
Bolton, and Hull. During part of the war it was kept by 
one Hicks, who was succeeded in 1781 by Charles Roubalet, 
and in October 1783 it passed into the hands of John Cape, 
who advertised it in April 1784 under the title of " The 
State Arms of New York at No. 18 Broadway." In February 
1786 Mr. Cape, having fallen into financial troubles, ab- 
sconded, and the contents of the tavern having been sold by 
the sheriff, it passed to the management of Joseph Corre, who 

General Description. 19 

advertised that private families might advantageously place 
their cooks under his instruction. In April 1788 Mr. Corre 
removed elsewhere, and the City Tavern passed into the 
hands of Edward Bardin, an experienced innkeeper, under 
whose mans^ement it remained until 1793 when the building 
was demolished to be replaced by the Tontine City Hotel. 

The McComb mansion, on the west side of Broadway, was 
built in 1786 by Alexander McComb, as a residence, and in 
1790 was occupied by Washington as a presidential mansion, 
its rent being $2500 a year. In later years it became a part 
of Bunker's Hotel at No. 39 Broadway. 

No. I Broadway, known as the Kennedy mansion because 
of its ownership by Capt. Archibald Kennedy of the English 
navy, who married into the Watts family, was one of the fin- 
est houses in the city, being a spacious two story and attic 
brick building with the entrance in the middle and two win- 
dows on each side of it, the frontage on Broadway being fifty- 
six feet. The block upon which it stood escaped the fire of 
1776, and during the Revolution this house is said to have 
been occupied by a Mrs. Loring as a fashionable boarding- 
house. After the Revolution, it is said to have been occupied 
for a time by Isaac Sears, a merchant, who was commonly 
known as "King Sears" from his daring leadership of the 
Liberty Boys. In 1785, however. King Sears was over- 
whelmed with debt, and having on the 3rd of February made 
an assignment of his interest in the assets of the firm of Sears 
and Smith to his partner, Pascal N. Smith, took advantage of 
his immunity from arrest as a member of the Assembly and 
sailed for China, where he ended his stormy career on the 28th 
of October 1786. In 1789, and perhaps before that year, this 
house was occupied by Don Diego de Gardoqui, the Spanish 
Ambassador, and in 1790 it was occupied by Mrs. Graham's 
fashionable boarding-school for young ladies. In after years 
it was the residence of Nathaniel Prime, was later turned into 
the Washington Hotel, and was finally demolished for the 
erection of the present Washington Building. 

The Bowling Green had been enclosed as a park as early 
as 1733, and near its lower end stood in 1789 the foundation 

20 New York City in I7%g, 

of the statue of George III. erected in 1770 and demolished 
at the declaration of independence. This foundation was not 
torn up until 18 18, and the stone base of the statue, after serv- 
ing as a gravestone and as a door step, is now in the possession 
of the New York Historical Society, together with the tail of 
the king's horse. In 1789 a committee of the Common 
Council was appointed to put the Green in order and to rent 
it, and it is said that their duty also included the removal of 
the " Federal Ship Hamilton," a miniature 32 gun frigate, 
thirty feet long and ten feet wide, which had been used in the 
Federal Procession on the 23rd of July 1788, and then depos- 
ited in the Green. The Bowling Green was oval in shape, 
with the smaller end toward the north, and was about 220 
feet long by 130 feet in its widest part. The statue of George 
III. stood about 50 feet from its lower end, which was on a line 
with the present north side of Battery Place. Directly below 
the Bowling Green was Fort George, the distance from the 
lower end of the Green to the north line of the enclosure of 
the Fort being 150 feet. By an Act passed March 29th 1784 
the Fort had been placed under the control of the Governor, 
but in 1788 a dispute arose between the State and City au- 
thorities as to which held title to the premises. The At- 
torney General reported that there was no doubt as to the 
State's title, and from a survey of the property, made in 1788, 
the following description is made with approximate accuracy 
as to distances. The Fort was a rectangle with large solid 
five-sided bastions at its corners, its parapet consisting of a 
wall of masonry from eight to ten feet thick, banked with 
a mound of earth about fifteen feet thick on its easterly and 
southerly sides and of about twice that thickness on the 
westerly side, the distance of which from the water's edge was 
about 200 feet. The curtains of the Fort were about 140 feet 
in length on the east side, and about 145 feet on its southerly 
and westerly sides. The bastion at its northwest corner was 
complete, but the left face of its northeast bastion was but 
half finished and its left flank was entirely wanting. The 
distance between the flanked angles of the bastions was 305 
feet on the east side of the fort, 340 feet on its south side, and 

General Description. 21 

320 feet on its west side. The side toward the Bowling 
Green was not fortified. Inside of the Fort, close to its west- 
erly wall, was a barracks 100 feet long by 20 feet deep ; near 
what should have been the left shoulder angle of its northeast 
bastion was a small stable ; and just outside of the right face 
of its northwest bastion was a larger stable. On the corner 
of Whitehall Street and the present Bowling Green, was the 
old office of the Colonial Secretary, a building 55 long by 30 
feet deep, which faced on Whitehall Street. Entrance was 
apparently made to the Fort through a passage along the 
southerly end of this building leading into the incompleted 
left face of the northeast bastion. On the easterly and south- 
erly sides of the Fort were large gardens. The whole struct- 
ure in 1789 was in a state of dilapidation and decay, and was 
worthless for purposes of defence, if it had ever possessed any 
such value. What had once been an earthwork, and still con- 
tained guns, was known as the Battery and extended from 
what was known as Eld's corner, on the south line of Battery 
Place, along the water's edge to Whitehall Slip, there being 
three bastions in that distance of about 1450 feet. On the 
loth of June 1789 the Common Council appointed a commit- 
tee to confer with the Assemblymen from the city as to the 
best means of obtaining for the city's use the lands at the 
Fort, Battery, and Nutten (Governor's) Island, which were 
then controlled by the State. The result of this conference 
was the adoption of a resolution by the Legislature, in July 
1789, that the ground upon which the Fort stood should be 
reserved for public use, and that a house for the use of the 
President of the United States should be erected upon part 
of it, the necessary provision for such a building to be made 
at its next session. It also requested the Governor to direct 
that Broadway should be continued through the Fort, so 
much of that building as obstructed, to be removed at state 
expense. In accordance with this resolution the Governor 
and the Common Council viewed the ground on the 30th of 
July 1789, and the Governor proposed to remove, at state ex- 
pense, so much of the Fort as obstructed the line of Broadway 
to the river, and that the city should erect bulkheads " from 

22 New York City in 1789. 

Eld's corner to the Flat Rock" to receive the dirt from the 
Fort and thus enlarge the area of the Battery. The Common 
Council at once agreed to this and, on the 12th of August, 
decided that a bulkhead should be immediately built from 
Kennedy's Wharf, which was apparently near Eld's comer, to 
the northwest bastion of the Battery, a distance of about 210 
feet. The work was done by Elias Burger, jr., for ^^378 or 
$946, and seems to have proceeded quite rapidly as, in No- 
vember, the newspapers announced that half of it had been 
completed, and that it was hoped that in the Spring a beauti-^ 
ful circuitous street would be completed around three-quarters 
of New York by way of Greenwich Street to Whitehall, and 
thence along the East River on the Albany Pier. 

The whole plot of ground included in the premises belong- 
ing to the Fort extended from the north corner of the Secre- 
tary's Office southerly 395 feet along the west side of White* 
hall Street to the lower end of a small building at the corner 
of the land of Capt. Thomas Randall, thence nearly due west 
about 425 feet to a point which had formerly been the shore 
line, and thence northerly about 400 feet to Eld's corner on 
the south line of the present Battery Place, and along it 430 
feet to Whitehall Street. By an Act passed on the i6th of 
March 1790 the portion retained by the State was defined as 
extending the whole length on Whitehall Street, and about 
192 feet from the comer of that street along Battery Place, 
its westerly boundary being a line about 360 feet long which 
terminated nearly at the flanked angle of the southwest bas^ 
tion of the Fort, whence its southerly line ran nearly due east 
to Whitehall Street. This portion included the whole of the 
Fort, with the exception of its northwest bastion and a por- 
tion of its western parapet; all the remaining land at the 
Battery belonging to the State was, by the same Act, vested 
in the City Corporation to be used for buildings and purposes 
of defence only. 

The plan of erecting the President's House on the site of 
the Fort met with some opposition on the ground that it 
might easily be destroyed by the guns of some adventurous 
cruiser. A complainant in the New York Journal of August 

General Description, 23 

6th 1789 stated that the site was poor on account of the neigh- 
borhood, and that " this valuable property should stand alone 
in some spacious square with gardens and court annexed, on 
account of magnificence, beauty, salubrity and safety." He 
suggested as a proper site the Spring Garden, Rutger's farm, 
or what was formerly Delancy's, These objections, however^ 
were not heeded and the construction of the new building, 
on the site of the six brick buildings now occupied by steam- 
ship offices facing the lower end of the Bowling Green, was 
placed in the hands of three commissioners, John Watts, 
Richard Varick, and Gerard Bancker, its first stone being laid 
on the 2 1 St of May 1790. The State granted ;^8ooo for its 
construction, but it was never occupied by the President, as 
the seat of the National Government was removed to Phila- 
delphia before its completion ; but the Governor occupied it 
for some years and it was afterwards used as the custom-house. 
In levelling the ground at the Fort several old relics were un- 
earthed, including Dutch tobacco-pipes of rude workmanship, 
the remains of a brass-hilted sword, and a few coins, one of 
which bore the date 1605. In removing the earth where the 
old Dutch chapel had stood, a number of bones were dug up 
and three burial vaults were discovered, in the first of which 
was found the coffin-plate of Lady Elizabeth Hays, wife of 
Governor Hunter, who died August 8th 17 16, The second 
vault contained pieces of four or five coffins, one of which 
made of lead, bore the escutcheon of the Coote family of Ire- 
land and was identified as that of Lord Bellamont who died 
in 170 1 ; the third vault contained but a few bones. A square 
stone was also found in the foundntions of the Fort among 
the ruins of the old chapel, bearing the inscription in Dutch, 
" In the year of our Lord 1642, William Kieft, Director-Gen- 
eral, caused the Congregation to build this Church." This 
stone was preserved in the Garden Street Dutch Church 
until its destruction by fire in 1835. 

Below the Fort property was a plot of ground extending 
along Whitehall Street about 125 feet to the corner of Pearl 
Street which ran one block west of Whitehall Street to the 
water's edge. Below it was another block of about 200 feet 

24 New York City in 1789. 

on Whitehall Street, the lower boundary of which was called 
Copsie Street, which ran one block west of Whitehall Street, 
and marked the original shore line. On its south side were 
the Lower Barracks, which in 1789 were apparently used as 
dwelling houses, the building being about 210 feet long by 25 
feet deep, with an ell about 70 feet long at its west end. The 
space of about 240 feet from the front of these Barracks to the 
southern extremity of the island was apparently unoccupied, 
with the exception of one small house on the west side of 
Whitehall Street. 

The houses on Broadway were not numbered by any regu- 
lar system and the street numbers in 1789 can be used in few 
instances for the present identification of the sites of build- 
ings. Thus, No. 33 was at one of the corners of Cortlandt 
Street ; No. 29 was near Maiden Lane and No. 58 was nearly 
opposite to it ; No. 62 was at the corner of Liberty Street ; 
No. 76 was nearly opposite the City Tavern which was be- 
tween the present numbers 113 and 121; 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 first systematic numbering of the houses 
was proposed in 1790. Many of the citizens changed their 
residence during the year, but from the City Directory for 
1789 and from newspaper advertisements in that year, all the 
inhabitants upon Broadway and the number of their houses 
at that time appear to have been as follows : 

No. » No. 

1. Don Diego de GardoquL 11. Elizabeth 6. Hatter. 

2. John King, shoemaker. Benjamin Groves. 

3. Robert R. Livingston, 12. Mrs. Ball, dry nurse. 

chancellor. Derril Mack, shoemaker. 

4. Mrs. Montcrieff, schooL 

5. Mrs. Cortlandt 13. Widow Ingram. 

6. Mrs. McAdam. Mrs. White. Henry King, carpenter. 
7- 14. — Battow, upholsterer. 

8. Henry White. Abraham Benzaken, tailor. 

9. Garret Heyer, shoemaker. 15. Hercules Wendover, tavern. 
lo. Gen. Maunsel. i6. Widow Barham, porterhouse. 

General Description. 


















Dinah Clark, washerwoman. 
George Walker, cake shop. 

Richard Anderson, grocer. 
John Wickman, attorney. 
Philip Jacobs, shopkeeper. 
Henry Whiteman, shopkeeper. 
Widow Bailey, boarding-house. 
William Allen, gunsmith. 

Nicholas Bogart. 

Samuel B. Webb. 

Cornelius Bogart. 

John Amory, whipmaker. 

Hay man Solomon, shopkeeper. 

Nicholas Bogart, shopkeeper. 

Peter Jay Munro, attorney. 

Ebenezer Hazard, postmaster- 

Daniel McLaren, shopkeeper. 

John Stoutenburgh, merchant. 

Frederick Ransier, cooper. 

John Bogart, ironmonger. 

John Miller, hairdresser. 

Thomas Mullet, merchant 

Jacobus Bogart, baker. 

James Bond, blacksmith. 

Pascal N. Smith, merchant. 

Samuel Jones, attorney. 

Jacob Resler, chandler. 

Frederick Heerman, druggist. 

Leonard Rogers, breeches- 

John Fawpel, peruke-maker. 

Henry Frederick, breeches- 

John Hoffman, dry goods. 

John Pierce, shopkeeper. 

William Ross, harness-maker. 

John Jones, dry goods store. 

John Mills, shoemaker. 

Sylvester Buskirk, tinware. 

Thomas Lefoy, hatter. 

Cato Railmore, fruit shop. 


40. J. W. Gilbert, storekeeper. 
Frederick Merchant, shoe- 

William Parker, tailor. 

41. John King, shoemaker. 

42. Sigismund Hugget, grocer. 

43. James Hallett, coachmaker. 

44. John McKesson, clerk of 

Supreme Court. 

45. Blaise Moore, tobacconist. 

46. Rev. Benjamin Moore. 

47. Robert Dodds, silk-dyer. 

48. John Houseman, shopkeeper. 

49. John Glover, dry goods store. 

50. Peter Ritter, ironware and 



52. William Deane, coachmaker. 

53. Benjamin Haight, saddler. 

54. McLeod & Masterson, shop. 


56. Widow Colley, boarding-house. 

John Dover, storekeeper. 
David Cation, storekeeper. 

57. David Coutant, chairmaker. 
Theodorus J. Hamilton, grocer. 
Henry Roome, storekeeper. 

58. Jacob Morton, attorney. 

59. James Kipp, brass founder. 

60. Mrs. Bowie, shopkeeper. 
Anthony Latour, barber. 
Widow McKinley. 

61. John B. Dash, jr., hardware. 

62. Sebastian Bauman, grocer and 


63. Christopher Beekman. 

Mrs. Sebring, boarding-house. 

64. Alexander Hamilton, shoe- 


65. James Anderson, shoemaker. 

66. Abraham Brown, tailor. 

67. Thomas Grindell, pewterer. 

68. John B. Dash, sr., hardware. 

69. Ephraim Ross, tavern. 


New York City in 1789. 















Mary Dixon. 

Widow Hoffman, shopkeeper. 

John Jackson, carpenter. 

James Nesmith. 

William Roberts, cordwainer. 

Joseph Quinnion, tailor. 

John Jackson, shopkeeper. 
Mrs. Carter, young ladies' 

Baptist Gilliaux, hairdresser. 

John Stackler, blacksmith. 
Thomas Parsell, coachmaker. 

William S. Livingston, 

Mrs. McCuUen, boarding- 
James Jarvis. 

Peter Deschent, fruit shop. 
Archibald McCullum, saddler. 
Malcolm Campbell, school. 
Joseph Harden. 
James Tillery, M.D. 
John Van Gelder, tailor. 
Mrs. Bayard. 

David Campbell, attorney. 
W. G. Forbes, goldsmith. 



90. Lawrence Kortwrighti 


91. John Foxcroft, agent for British 


93. John H. Merkle, goldsmith. 
John Nixson, cookshop. 

94. Widow Laycock. 

95. Walter Livingston, attorney. 

96. John Cochrane, M.D. 

97. Mrs. James. George TumbulL 

98. Thomas Ellison. 

99. Robert Melvin, carpenter. 
Joseph Nourse, register of the 


100. John Charlton, M.D. 

Peter McKinnion, hairdresser, 
loi. James Hill, painter. 
102. James Hill, jr. 
104. John Slidell, chandler. 

Thomas Ten Eyck, merchant. 
105— 117. 

118. Anthony Bolton, shoemaker. 

119. William Heyer. 

120. John Rogers, merchant. 
121 — 132. 

133. John Jay. 

Among the residents whose street numbers do not appear 
in the Directory were M. du Moustier, the French minister, 
who resided near the Bowling Green; Gen. Henry Knox, 
who resided in 1787, at No. 4 Broadway, and probably occu- 
pied the same house in 1789; Alderman William W. Gil- 
bert ; Widow Van Cortlandt, on the comer of Thames Street 
now occupied by the Trinity Building ; James Thompson, 
merchant, comer of Thames Street ; Manasseh Salter, shop- 
keeper ; and William Wilmerding, storekeeper, comer of Dey 
Street. Elbridge Gerry and William Smith, congressmen 
from Massachusetts, also lived on Broadway, the former at 

General Description. tj 

the comer of Thames Street with his father-in-law James 
Thompson, and the latter next door to the Spanish Minister, 
Senator Ralph Izard of South Carolina lived opposite the 
French Ambassador. The east side of Broadway below Wall 
Street had been swept by the fire of 1776 and had been re- 
built with cheap frame buildings but these were beginning to 
be replaced by fine residences, and, a few years later, the 
lower part of Broadway became one of the most fashionable 
places of residence. The house occupied by Gen. Knox, the 
Secretary of War, which was advertised for sale in the latter 
part of 1789 was probably a fair representative of the better 
class of dwelling houses at that time. It was described as a 
four story brick house on the west side of Broadway, 31^ feet 
wide by 60 feet deep, containing two rooms of thirty feet in 
length, one of twenty-six feet, three of twenty-three feet, and 
two of twenty feet, besides four other rooms with fireplaces, 
and four smaller ones without them. On the ground-floor 
there was a large servant's-hall which communicated with the 
area, and a kitchen 20 ft. by 30 ft. in dimension. In the rear 
of the house there was a piazza thirty feet long by ten feet 
wide and the back yard contained a good well, cistern, and 
ash-house. The lots ran back about 500 feet to the end of a 
wharf on Greenwich . Street, and upon one of them, fronting 
upon Greenwich Street, was a coach-house twenty-eight feet 
four inches wide. 

No houses were allowed to be erected in the city unless 
the property was previously surveyed by a city surveyor, the 
penalty for disobedience of this rule being a fine of £^y and 
by ordinance of April isth 1789 no stoop was to extend more 
than six feet nor any bow-window more than twenty inches 
into any street. The City Surveyors were Isaac Stoutenburg, 
jr., Dey Street near Broadway; John McComb, 21 Smith 
(William) Street ; Evert Bancker, 3 Fair (Fulton) Street ; and 
Charles T. Goerck, 20 Gold Street. The transfers of real es- 
tate on Broadway in 1789 were very few. Among the deeds 
recorded in that year, but dated two or three years before, 
was one conve)ring for £jQO a plot of ground on the north- 
west corner of Broadway and Lilterty Street twenty-five feet 

28 New York City in 1789. 

wide by ninety feet deep, with a smaller plot in the rear, 
while another lot in the same neighborhood, thirty-eight feet 
wide by ninety feet deep, was sold for ;f 600. A plot on the 
west side of the street, probably some distance below Wall 
Street, having a frontage of 105 feet and a depth of 270 feet 
to high water, running thence to low-water mark and thence 
2CO feet into the North River, was sold for ;£'3,200. A 
Church Farm lot twenty-five feet wide by 108 feet 9 inches 
deep on the west side of- Broadway between Warren and 
Murray Streets brought ;£^240, and £\^o were paid for a lot 
33 feet wide by 190 feet deep on Great George Street in the 
neighborhood of the Collect. 

The cross streets on the west side of Broadway were 
nearly the same as at the present time but in a few cases had 
different names. Duane Street, which extended but one 
block west of Broadway was called Barley Street ; Park 
Place was called Robinson Street and was not cut through 
the block then occupied by Columbia College; Fulton Street 
on that side of the city was called Partition Street, while 
Liberty and Cedar Streets were known respectively as Crown 
and Little Queen Streets. Exchange Place on the west side 
was known as Oyster Pasty Lane, and the present Morris 
Street was called Beaver Lane. West Broadway and Col- 
lege Place ran only from Reade to Barclay Street and were 
called Chapel Street, while Church Street extended only 
from Reade to Fulton Street. The street corresponding to 
the present New Church Street extended from Liberty 
Street to Exchange Place and was known as Lumber Street. 
Improvements in these streets had been begun in 1788 and 
during that and the following year Barclay, Vesey, Partition, 
Cortlandt, and Lumber Streets and Oyster Pasty Lane were 
ordered to be paved. Among the residents on Cortlandt 
Street were at No. i, William J. Elsworth, pewterer, and Dr. 
Edward Eager ; No. 46, James Prince, merchant ; No. 49, 
Samuel Fraunces, tavern ; No. 63, Rev. Dr. John Mason ; and 
No. 66, Rev. Dr. William Linn. 

One of the streets upon which the greatest improvements 
were being made was Greenwich Street, which ran close to 

General Description^ 29 

the water's edge from the Battery to Cedar Street, but from 
that point to Reade Street was separated from the North 
River by short blocks filled in on its west side. In May 1788, 
a part of it was being regulated and in July of the same year, 
the Common Council ordered the paving of it from Cort- 
landt to Barclay Street. Subsequently this work was ordered 
to be extended to Warren Street, and by the 29th of Sep- 
tember, 1789, it had progressed so far that a committee of the 
Common Council was appointed to. investigate the error in it. 
The street was also apparently widened as a number of old 
buildings were removed from the line of it, and commissioners 
during the year 1789 awarded about ;^i9SO to property own- 
ers for injury caused to their premises by the improvements. 
The commissioners themselves, five in number, asked for but 
$120 for their services. Among the places of business on 
Greenwich Street were that of Frederick and Philip Rhine- 
lander on the corner of Barclay Street, and the store of Isaac 
Stoutenburgh and Son, on the corner of Dey Street. In 
June 1789, the corporation of Trinity Church announced the 
sale at auction of two lots on the corner of Greenwich and 
Murray Streets with the house lately occupied by Mr. Rich- 
ard Deane, and also the much-admired lots called Vaux Hall, 
which were one hundred feet square with buildings and gar- 
dens bounded in part by Warren Street. Another advertise- 
ment of the sale of a distillery on Greenwich Street describes 
it as the growing part of the city. 

Pearl Street, which was originally on the water-line, in 
1789 bore that name only from the present State Street to 
Broad Street. From Broad Street to Wall Street it was 
called Great Dock Street, and thence to its end at Chatham 
Street it was known as Queen Street, a name which it re- 
ceived in 1695 and retained until toward the close of the last 
century. In 1788 and 1789 it was regulated and paved from 
the present Oak Street to Coenties Alley. A number of the 
chief merchants had their residences and places of business 
in the part of it known as Great Dock Street, while the part 
known as Queen Street shared with Water Street and Han- 
over Square the principal business of the city. The highest 


New York City in 1789. 

street number given to a house on Great Dock Street by the 
city directory of 1789 is fifty-six. A few of the residents on 
that street were as follows : 


2. Josiah Ogden Hoffman, 

9. Fanner & Bishop, store, 
la Abraham Brinkerhoff, store. 

11. Atwood & Tronson, iron. 

12. J. B. CoUeSy iron. 

Nicholas Hoffman & Son, 


13. Robert C. Livingston. 


14. Johnston & Ogden, 

17. Christopher Beekman, tavern. 
19. Abraham Maziere. 
35. Gulian Verplanck. 

39. William Constable & Co., 


40. William Neilson, merchant. 

41. Hill & Ogden, merchants. 

At No. 15 was Mrs. Dunscomb's boarding-house which was 
patronized by Caleb Strong, Fisher Ames, Theodore Sedg- 
wick, and George Leonard of Massachusetts. On Queen 
Street the highest street number was 244 and some of the 
residents were : 


I. James Rivington, bookseller & 

4. William Bayard, merchant. 

8. Joshua Waddington & Co., 


9. Isaac Desbrosses. 

II. Richard Harrison, attorney. 
13. Samuel Dunlap, store. 

William Dunlap, portrait 

1 5 . Alexander Robertson, merchant. 

James Smith, merchant. 
17. George Scriba, merchant. 
21. John Keese, notary public. 

24. John J. Glover, merchant. 

25. Nicholas Brevoort, iron. 

26. Alexander Dunlap, iron. 

37. George Bowne, merchant. 

38. John Bard, iron. 

39. Robert BoA^ne, merchant. 
43. Pearsall & Embree, watches. 


44. James Scott, merchant 

50. Thomas Franklin, merohant. 

51. Edward Livingston, attorney. 

52. Walter Buchanan, merchant. 
Jacob Leroy & Son, merchants. 

56. Willet Seaman, merchant. 

67. William Walton. 

68. Jared Walton. 

73. James Roosevelt, merchant 
79. Ephraim Brasher, goldsmith. 
98. Solomon Hull, soap-boiler, 
loi. White Matlack, brewer. 

155. John Murray. 

156. Benjamin Kissam, M.D. 
159. James Roosevelt & Son, 

162. John Lawrence, merchant. 
168. Peter Byvanck, iron. 
171. James Cogswell, physician. 
173. James W. Depeyster, 


General Description. 31 

No. No. 

175. William Depeyster, dry goods, 212. Alsop & James Hunt, 

177. Peter & James Burling, leather. 

leather. 213. John Thompson, merchant. 

181. Streatfield & Levinus 215. William Wilson, merchant. 

Clarkson. 222. David Provoost, merchant. 

183. Samuel Franklin, merchant. 223. Lyde & Rogers, merchants, 

184. Murray & Sansom, merchants. 227. Effingham Lawrence, 

185. Effingham Embree. druggist. 

189. William Kenyon, merchant. 228. Besley & Goodwin, 

190. William & Samuel Bowne, druggists. 

merchants. 233. George Lewis & Co., 

191. De Luze, de MontmoUin & Co. merchants. 

193. Edmund Prior, merchant. 234. Andrew Mitchell, merchant. 

194. James Parsons & Son, 235. Robert Lenox, merchant. 

merchants. 236. George Douglas, jr., merchant. 

196. Embree & Lawrence, iron. 237. Robert Hodge, bookseller. 

197. Henry Haydock, merchant. 238. Hay Stevenson & Co., 

200. William Laight & Co., merchants. 

merchants. 239. M'Farran & Dunlap, 

201. Hallet & Brown, iron. auctioneers. 

202. William Robinson, merchant. 240. James Beekman, merchant. 

203. Thomas Pearsall & Son, 241 . Jacob & Philip Marks, 

merchants. merchants. 

205. Pearsall & Pell, merchants. 244. Frederick Jay, auctioneer. 

By an Act passed on the 29th of March 1784 the Commis- 
sioners of Forfeitures were ordered to set apart such a house 
as the Governor might choose for a residence, and his choice 
fell upon the house Number 10 Queen Street, opposite the 
end of Cedar Street, which had been confiscated from Henry 
White. On the ist of May 1786 the Commissioners were 
ordered to sell this house, and it was conveyed by them to 
Henry White, jr., by deed dated June 19th 1786, but the 
Governor apparently continued to reside in it, paying a rent 
of ;^300 a year. It was a two-story and attic house, five win- 
dows wide, with a sloping tiled roof, containing five dormer 
windows. The house on Pearl Street which has received the 
most attention in history was the Walton mansion on the 
east side of Franklin Square, and afterwards known as No. 
326 Pearl Street. This house was built about the year 1754 
of brick, which are said to have been brought from Holland, 

32 New York City in 1789. 

trimmed with brown stone. It was fifty feet wide, with three 
stories and an attic, above which was a slightly sloping roof 
adorned with a balustrade in front. The entrance was in the 
middle of the building with spacious drawing-rooms on each 
side of it, the elegant woodwork and decoration of the inter- 
ior making it one of the finest mansions in the city. Its 
builder was William Walton, an old merchant of the city, 
who, at his death, left it to his nephew William Walton, who 
was its owner in 1789 but resided himself at No. 67 Queen 
Street. From 1784 to 1787 the Walton house, which was 
known as No. 156 Queen Street, was occupied by the Bank 
of New York, and in 1789 it was the residence of Dr. Benja- 
min Kissam. After suffering various vicissitudes it was torn 
down in 1881. In 1789 the house No. 27 Queen Street, three 
stories high with three rooms on a floor, was rented for $362. 
Water Street from Whitehall Street to Old Slip was 
called Little Dock Street, but above the latter point was 
called Water Street to its end at James Slip. From Burling 
to James Slip it was the street nearest the East River. Dur- 
ing the years 1788 and 1789 it was paved from Coenties Slip 
to Peck Slip, but a proposition to straighten it from Dover 
Street to James Slip was rejected by the Common Council in 
January 1789, and in June the paving of that portion of it 
was suspended until further order. Some of the householders 
on Little Dock Street in 1789 were: 

No. No. 

5. George Remsen, merchant. 34. John Elting, store. 

7. James Youle, ironmonger. 35. Coster & Co., merchants. 

8. B. Swartwout & Son, store. 38. John Cooper, furrier. 

9. Abraham Kipp, store. 40. John Ten Eyck. 

10. Lansing & Heyer, store. 41. Lynch & Stoughton, 
12. Nicholas Hoffman & Sons, counting-house. 

merchants. 42. John Stoughton, merchant. 

15. William Durell, china. 43. Josiah Shippey & Co., 

16. David Currie. merchants. 
Nicholas Hoffman. Nicholas Van Antwerp, 

20. Elting & Varick, iron. merchant 

Peter Elting, alderman. 48. Townsend Underhill, merchant. 

32. Peter Elting, jr., store. 49. John Lasher, port-officer. 

General Description. 


On Water Street the highest street-number was 217, and 
among the householders were : 


5. Samuel & John Loudon, 


6. Henry Sewall, broker. 

7. Robert Stewart, tobacco 

17. John Reid, bookseller. 
24. Jacob Hallet, merchant. 
Nichc^as Low, merchant. 

26. William Mercier, lighthouse 


27. Theodosios Fowler, broker. 

28. George Pollock, merchant. 

29. John Delafield, insurance 


31. James Saidler, broker. 

32. Daniel Phoenix, merchant. 

35. Moses Rogers &, Col, 


36. Marinas Willet, merchant. 
42. Abraham Herrii^, store. 

50. David Grim, ocmmiission 


51. Nathaniel Hazard, commission 

53. P. P. Van Zandt, merchant. 

55. Leffert Lefierts, distilkr. 

56. Thomas Uof d, dbordiand 

61. Jonathan LawiCBce, 

62. Sears &, Smith, 
68. John Ireland, dry 
70. Thomas & William 












Samuel Delaplane, merchant. 
Thomas & John Brown, boat 

Joseph Blakley, chipa. 
Coen & Wright, sailmakers* 
Nicholas Delaplane, merchant 
Wynant Van Zandt, jr., 

William Johnson, iron« 
Hawxhurst & Mowatts, china. 
Peter Griffin, dry goods. 
Samuel Forbes, dry goods. 
William Thompson, dry 

Robert Johnson, dry goods. 
James Seaman, china. 
William Henderson, 

John Price, merchant 
Francis Childs, printer. 
John Swain, printer. 
Charles M'Ever, insurance. 
Richard Piatt, broker. 
Thomas Greenleaf, printer. 
Clark Greenwood, 

mathematical instnmaentSL 
Widow Bradlbrd, coflfee 

71. Peter 

201. William Hill, merchant 

202. Leroy & Bayard, merchants. 
206. Shedden, Patrick & Ca 

^ass^ 206. Andiony L. Bleeker, 



134. Benjamin HiBdridky 

135. Abnum 


Hbandler. 2101 John McVidker, merchant 
& Co., 211. Randal & Stewart, 

213. John Shaw, merchant. 
dbtaier. 215, Sadlier & Bailey, merchants^ 
217. Johs GihsoB, phjTHcian. 

34 New York City in 1789. 

Front Street was of less importance. It ran only as far 
north as Burling Slip, and in 1788 and 1789 was paved from 
Coenties Slip to the foot of Maiden Lane. 

Hanover Square was the chief centre of business after Pearl 
and Water Streets, and was paved in July 1789. Among the 
householders here were : 

No. No. 

5. James Farquhar. 24. Timothy Hurst, druggist. 

6. John Broome, merchant. 26. Oliver Hull, druggist. 

7. Maule & Bullock, merchants. 31. Collin M'Gregor, merchant. 

8. Henry Remsen. 32. Michael Roberts, jewelry & 

10. John & Francis Aitkinson, stationery. 

merchants. 34. Thomas Roberts, dry goods. 

11. Bank of New York. 35. Berry & Rogers, jewelry & 

12. William Seton & Co. stationery. 

merchants. 37. Francis Durand, merchant. 

13. Vanhome & Clarkson, 38. Theophylact Bache, merchant. 

merchants. 40. James Bleeker, merchant. 

14. James Barclay, auctioneer. 41. Archibald M*Lean, printer. 
16. William Van Nest, saddler. 43. Uriah Hendricks, merchant. 
18. M. & H. Oudenarde, 44. Samuel Campbell, books. 

merchants. 46. Andrew Hamersley, saddler. 
23. Francis Wainwright, druggist. 48. Peter Goelet, iron. 

William Street below Maiden Lane was known as Smith 
Street, and, at its upper end, the two blocks from Frankfort 
to Pearl Street were called King George Street. In 1788 and 
1789 it was paved from Stone Street to Wall, from Pine 
Street to Liberty, and from John Street to Beekman Street. 
With Nassau Street it shared the principal retail trade of the 
city, and was also a place of residence. Some of the house- 
holders on Smith Street were : 

No. No. 

5. Obadiah & Andrew Bowne, dry 21. John M'Comb, surveyor. 

goods. 22. John Marsden. 

14. Peter Kemble, merchant. 28. Peter Bogart. 

15. Mr. Ketteltas. 47. Isaac Classon, merchant. 
Brockholst Livingston, 49. Cornelius Ray, merchant. 

attorney. 50. Charles M'Knight, physician. 

16. Grove Bend, merchant 55. Anspach & Rogers. 
18. Thomas Storm, merchant. 59. Donald B. Campbell 

General Description. 35 

On William Street were : 

No. No. 

I. William Griggs, jewelry. 46. Rev, Abram Beach. 

5. Mrs.Henshaw, ladies* academy. 49. John Stakes, grocer. 

6. John Siemon, furrier. 55. Gilbert Saltonstall, merchant. 
II. Robert Robertson, merchant. 56. John Greenwood, dentist. 

18. Pope & Cadle, stocking 91. Commodore Nicholson. 

factory. 92. James Renwick, merchant. 
25. John Ramage, miniature 


Nassau Street also was a place of residence and of retail 
trade. Among the householders on it were : 

No. No. 

1. John Wiley, alderman. 18. Garret Steddiford. 

2. John Burrows, chairmaker. 21. John George Leake. 

Rt. Rev. Samuel Provoost. 23. William Mooney, upholsterer. 

5. Jacobus. Lefferts. 27. Richard Morris, chief-justice. 

10. Aaron Burr. 48. Johnson & Lemilt, hatters. 

15. John Mildeberger. 50. David Grim, merchant. 

17. James Duane, mayor. 69. Dr. John Gamage. 

Other residents whose street numbers are not given in the 
directory, were Egbert Benson, on the corner of Pine Street ; 
Peter Ogilvie, probate judge, on the corner of John Street ; 
and Dr. Nicholas Romaine, on the corner of John Street. 

Broad Street was occupied by small shops, and a few resi- 
dences, among which were those of Dr. Samuel Fleming, at 
No. 10 ; Thomas Ludlow, No. 40 ; Dr. Samuel Bard, No. 45 ;. 
Alderman Jeremiah Wool, No. 49 ; and David Shakespeare, 
chandler, at No. 61. In the middle of Broad Street between 
Water and Front Streets, stood the Merchants' Exchange, a 
brick building on arches, which had been erected in 1755. 
The building, however, was no longer used for its original pur- 
pose, and in September 1788, when the City Hall was appro- 
priated to the use of the National Government, the Common 
Council decided to use the Exchange for the courts and the 
corporation. On the 7th of October 1788 it was ordered 
that the building be repaired "in the most economical man- 
ner," and it was apparently used by the courts during 1789, as, 

36 New York City in 1789. 

on the nth of December in that year, Bardin's long-room was 
obtained for a court-room, as the Exchange was needed for 
the coming meeting of the Legislature. The building was 
ordered to be torn down on the nth of March 1799. 

Of the cross streets below Wall Street, one was thfe He- 
brew centre of the city. This was Mill or Duke Street, 
which extended in the form of an elbow from the east side of 
Broad Street south into Stone Street, but now forms a part 
of South William Street. Among its inhabitants were : 

No. No. 

3. Widow Gomez. 11. Manuel Noah. 

4. James Stewart, merchant. 12. Rynier Suydam. 

5. Moses Gomez. 15. William Backhouse, merchant. 
7. Haymen Levy, merchant. 19. Benjamin S. Judah, merchant. 

Rev. Gershom Seixas. 26. David Fitzgerald, merchant. 

Mill Street is also spoken of in the minutes of the Com- 
mon Council as Jew Street, and although on the map in 
1789 it is marked Duke Street, that name on the maps in 
some other years is applied to Stone Street east of Broad- 

Beaver Street east of Broad Street was called Princess 
Street ; but west of Broad Street it bore its present name, 
and at No. 4 lived John Watts, who, in 1792 removed to No. 
2 Broadway. The streets below Beaver Street were Market 
Street ; Stone Street, upon which at No. 5 lived Nicholas 
Cruger ; and Wincom Street, which is now Bridge Street. 
Exchange Place was known as Verlittenberg Street. Pine 
and Cedar Streets were known respectively as King and Little 
Queen Streets until the year 1804. Among the residents on 
King Street were at No. 23, John Taylor, merchant ; No. 26, 
Charles Thomson, secretary of Congress; and at No. 52, 
Comfort Sands, merchant. Liberty Street was called Crown 
Street, and at its North River end was a bath-house kept by 
Henry Ludlam, with warm and cold water of sufficient depth 
for both ladies and gentlemen. One of the best-known 
buildings on this street was the sugar-house on its south side, 
east of Nassau Street, and adjoining the Middle Dutch 

General Description. 37 

Church. Built of stone, with five stories and a loft, pierced 
with three small windows on each floor in front, and five on 
the side, this structure remained for many years a monument 
to the sufferings of the American prisoners who had been in* 
humanely packed within its walls by the British. 

Maiden Lane bore its present name, there being among 
its householders, at No. 23, Walter Heyer; No. 27, John 
Dewint ; No. 33, John and Nicholas J. Roosevelt, merchants; 
and at No. 46, Alderman Lott. 

John Street, east of Dutch Street, was called Goldenhill 
Street; and Fulton Street to the east of Broadway was 
known as Fair Street, and to the west, as Partition Street. 

Ann Street was the same as at the present time, and 
Beekman's Swamp was the only place south of the Fresh 
Water where raw hides were allowed to be stored for more 
than twenty-four hours. A few of the residents on Beekman 
Street were : 

No. No. 

5. William P. Smith, physician. 39. George Moorewood, 
8. John and James Aymar, merchant 

tobacconists. 40. William Cowenhoven, hatter. 

22. Hubert V. Wagenen. 55. John Cosine, attorney. 

25. Alderman Blagge. 64. Peter Bogert. 

Cornelius J. Bogert, attorney. John Jackson, merchant 

27. Henry Rogers, merchant. 71. John Blagge, flaxseed. 

The present Spruce Street was called George Street, one 
of its householders, at No. 22, being Philip Rhinelander. 
Frankfort Street bore its present name. At No. 21 King 
George Street, as the upper end of William Street was called, 
on the block above Frankfort Street resided William Rhine- 
lander, sugar boiler, in a two-story and attic dwelling-house, 
next door to which was the sugar house, four stories high, 
with a cellar and loft, and bearing the date 1 763. 

Gold Street was the same as at the present time, but Cliff 
Street ran only from John Street to Ferry Street. Vande- 
water Street bore its present name, and a street correspond- 
ing somewhat to the present Rose Street was called Prince 
Street. The dirtiest street in the city was apparently Ferry 

38 New York City in 1789. 

Street, as on the 12th of August 1789 its inhabitants peti- 
tioned the Common Council that the sand and filth brought 
into the street by every heavy storm might be removed at 
public expense ; but the Aldermen decided that the applica- 
tion was improper and that no such relief could be granted. 

In December 1788 it was ordered that Chatham Street 
should be regulated from James to Division Street, and in July 
1789, it was ordered that it be paved. But it seems to have 
been in a poor condition, for in August 1789 a committee of 
the Common Council recommended that the bank on its west 
side be cut down as much as possible without injury to the 
houses, in order to render the street more " uniform and con- 
venient.*' At No. 5 Chatham Street were Peter and George 
Lorillard, tobacconists, and at No. 36 was the brewery of Ap- 
pleby and Matlack. The present Baxter Street ran but one 
block north of Chatham Street and was known as Orange 
Street. Roosevelt, James, Oliver, and Catherine Streets, 
bore their present names, but the only two streets to the east 
of them, which had names, were called George and Charlotte 
Streets. The present East Broadway was called Harman 
Street, and, with the exception of Orchard and Grand Streets, 
none of the streets east of the Bowery and north of Division 
Street bore their present names. Chrystie, Forsyth, Eldridge 
and Allen Streets were known respectively as First, Second, 
Third, and Fourth Streets, this first attempt to give numbers 
to the streets having apparently been made about the year 
1766. Hester Street, east of the Bowery, was called Eagle 
Street ; Canal Street was Pump Street ; and Bayard Street 
was Fishers Street. 

The most important street in the city was Wall Street, 
which was the most fashionable place of residence, and in 1789 
was the centre of the political life of the United States. The 
inhabitants of this street in 1789 were as follows, different 
houses evidently bearing the same street number : 

No. No. 

2. John McPherson, store. 4. William CoUett, coachmaker. 

3. John Smith, farrier. John Cransbaugh, grocer. 
Daniel Crommelin Verplanck. William Maxwell, tobacco. 

General Description, 



























John Stephens, livery stable. 
Johannah Van Burgh Ursin, 

Samuel A. Otis, secretary 

U. S. Senate. 
Daniel Ludlow. 
William Edgar, merchant. 
William Bedlow, postmaster. 
Thomas Smith, attorney. 
William Denny. 
John Star tin. 
John Marsden Pintard. 
John Lawrence, attorney. 
John Jones, merchant. 
Mrs. Mary Daubigny, boarding 

John Miller, Merchant. 

Mrs. Cuyler,. boarding house. 
Joshua Jones, grocer. 
Richard Cusack, hatter. 
Robert Hunter, auctioneer. 
Isaac Moses, auctioneer. 
Smith and Bradford, 

James Smith, auctioneer. 

Robert Lylburne, merchant. 
Thomas Buchanan, merchant. 
Francis Giflfin, porterhouse. 
Robert Sanders, cooper. 
William Vandrill, tavern. 
William Allen, shop. 

John Anderson, auctioneer. 
Henry Hannah, shoemaker. 
Neal McKinnon, grocer. 
Thomas Biggs, mathematical 

William Matthews, tailor. 
Thomas Wainslow, perukes. 






















Francis Panton, haberdasher. 
Daniel McCormick, merchant. 
Mrs. Sheldon, boarding house. 
John Wilkes, notary public. 
Richard Kipp, upholsterer. 
Robert Reley. 

John Lamb, collector of the 

Abijah Hammond, merchant. 
Joseph Lepine, grocer. 
Ludlow & Goold, merchants. 
Edward Goold, merchant. 
Christopher Baehr, tailor. 
Mrs. White. 

Richard Varick, attorney 


E. Seaman, merchant. 

Joseph Corre, confectioner, 

James Jauncey. 

John Jauncey. 

Gabriel W. Ludlow, merchant. 

Alexander Hamilton, attorney. 
Francis Mallaby. 
Adam Prior, confectioner. 
William Irvin, commissioner of 

Jonathan Burrell. 
Sadler Heyer. 
Hugh Ross, tavern. 
Joseph Mitchell, shoemaker. 
Joseph Corre, boarding house. 
James Culbertson, high 

S. L. Clark, grocer. 
William Cock, attorney. 
John J. Morgan, attorney. 
George TurnbulL 


40 New York City in 1789. 

The Verplanck residence was next door to Federal Hall ; 
No. 5 was on the northwest corner of Wall and William 
Streets, having a frontage of fifty feet on the former street ; 
No. 20 was on one of the corners of Water Street ; and No. 
32 was near the Coffee House which stood on the corner of 
Water Street. Two of the most noted residences in Wall 
Street were that of John Lamb next to the northeast corner 
of William Street and that known as the McEvers mansion, 
afterwards occupied by the Bank of New York, on that cor- 
ner. The boarding house of Mrs. Daubigny at No. 15 was 
one of the best in the city and in 1789 was patronized by 
Richard Basset and George Reed of Delaware, Benjamin 
Contee, Joshua Seney, and Michael G. Stone of Maryland, 
and by Richard B. Lee and Andrew Moore of Virginia. A 
number of Congressmen also boarded at a tavern kept by 
Michael Huck on one of the corners of Wall and William 
Streets. The remains of the statue of William Pitt which 
had been erected in the middle of Wall Street at its junction 
with William Street had been removed by order of the 
Common Council in July 1788, and are now to be found in the 
collection of the N. Y. Historical Society. The value . 
of real estate on Wall Street in 1789 may be judged by the 
sale for £\ZQ)0 of two lots on the south side of the street near 
Pearl Street, being about 57 feet front and rear by 106 feet on 
one side and 135 feet on the other. 

The most pretentious building in the city was Federal 
Hall, on the northeast corner of Wall and Nassau Streets, and 
extending somewhat into the latter. The first City Hall or 
Stadt Haus was erected by the Dutch in 1642 on Pearl Street 
facing Coenties Slip and was sold at auction in August 1699, 
a new Hall situated on the northeast corner of Wall and 
Nassau Streets being completed in 1700 at a cost of ;£'ii5i. 
Here were held the meetings of the Common Council, Pro- 
vincial Assembly and the Courts, and in 1785 the building 
was occupied by Congress, the ground floor containing a prison, 
watch-room, and engine-house. In August 1788 it was re- 
ported to the Common Council that the copper roof of the 
building was so leaky that it should be replaced by cedar 

General Description. 41 

shingles and an offer by James Robinson to do this work for 
;£'35 was accepted ; but a more complete change in the build- 
ing was soon decided upon. On the 17th of September 1788 
the Common Council resolved to appropriate the whole of 
the City Hall to the use of the General Government and 
aldermen Gilbert and Willet and assistant alderman Janeway 
were appointed to confer on the subject with the congressmen 
from New York and to report the result to the board. On 
the 30th of September 1788 this committee reported that it 
had secured a satisfactory plan for the alteration of the build- 
ing from Major UEnfant; that a number of citizens offered to 
advance money for the purpose, trusting to future legislation 
for reimbursement, and that they had appointed Robert 
Watts, Alexander Macomb, Major L'Enfant, James Nicholson 
and William Maxwell commissioners to purchase material and 
superintend the work. The board approved this report : " So 
that no charge be made upon this Corporation for any part of 
the expense." The Corporation credit, however, was very 
soon used for the repair of the building, as on the 3rd of 
December 1788, the Bank loaned £1000 on its note payable 
in twelve months, the work on the building having been 
begun on the 6th of October. On the 7th of January 1789 
the Common Council petitioned the Legislature to authorize 
a tax of ;^ 1 3000 to be raised in the city for the erection of the 
Hall and to indemnify John Jay and other citizens who had 
given their notes to the Bank for that purpose, and, on the 
9th of January 1789, an act was passed in accordance with the 
petition, although a lottery had been at first proposed as a 
means of raising the money. By the ist of April 1789 the 
Corporation had given notes to the Bank to the amount of 
£(3000 and on that day it was resolved to request the Bank to 
advance the further sum of £2600 3s. lod. in paper and to 
liquidate that and former loans in specie at an advance of 
eight per cent, and to take the bond of the Corporation for 
£gpoo payable in twelve months in gold or silver with interest 
at seven per cent. On the 13th of April, however, the Com- 
missioners reported that the amount raised by this bond would 
not be sufficient to finish the Hall and ;f 2000 more were 

42 New York City in 1789. 

borrowed, but, on the 27th of April, the Common Council re- 
solved that the city credit had been extended as far as was 
justifiable, that no more money be advanced, and that the 
Commissioners be requested to act accordingly. But subse- 
quent pressure led to the appointment of a committee of 
Aldermen on the 17th of May to inspect Federal Hall and to 
ascertain the expense of completing it, and in pursuance of 
its report, made on the i8th of June, the Bank was requested 
to advance £2000 more, it being believed that the building 
could be completed for that amount. The Bank refused to 
loan more than ;^ 1000, and on the 24th of June the Common 
Council requested the Commissioners to submit their accounts 
to the City Chamberlain and appointed Mr. Nicholson to 
endeavor to raise ;^ 1200 on the city credit to complete the 
building. This amount, however, was apparently not suffic- 
ient for that purpose as on the 30th of July the Mayor was 
instructed to apply towards its painting and completion a 
balance which Mr. Nicholson had on hand from the sale of 
stone which had been brought from the Battery for the build- 
ing of the Hall and had not been used. The State Govern- 
ment laid claim to this money but it was finally appropriated 
to building purposes. On the 9th of September 1789 the 
Chamberlain was instructed to pay the Bank from time to 
time sums from the tax then being collected and on the ist of 
January 1790 the Corporation's indebtedness to the Bank had 
been paid with the exception of ;f 1502 4s. iid., for which a 
bond was given. In March 1789 the Corporation also pur- 
chased from Mr. Verplanck, for ;f 434 13s., the lot on the east 
side of Federal Hall, for the enlargement of the premises on 
that side ; it was compelled to build a new engine-house, for 
which work Isaac Meade received £2$ ; and in September it 
purchased for ;^450 a small house on the southeast corner of 
Wall and Broad Streets to accommodate the watchmen who 
had been deprived of their former quarters. The tax of 
;^ 1 3000 which had been authorized, netted ;f 12433 when the 
collectors' fees had been deducted, but this was only half the 
cost of the building. Early in 1790 the Corporation informed 
the Legislature that the ;f 13000 raised by tax had already been 

General Description. 43 

expended, and that the city was also indebted to the amount 
of ;f 13000 more for the alterations made in the City-Hall. 
Relief was accordingly afforded by an Act passed on the i8th 
of February 1790 authorizing the City to raise ;f 13000 by one 
or more lotteries for the pa)mient of this indebtedness. By 
the first lottery it was decided to raise ;{^7500 by the sale of 
25000 tickets at 40s. each, the largest prize to be ;f 3000. The 
drawing began on the Sth of August 1790 and lasted until 
the 4th of September, the capital prize being drawn by a 
ticket held by two young girls and " purchased with savings 
from their laboriously earned pittance." The second lottery 
consisted of 23000 tickets at 40s. each, 7676 of which were to 
draw prizes, and, after two postponements, the drawing be- 
gan on the 2nd of May 1791 and lasted for twenty-three 
days. The new Federal Hall thus apparently cost about 
jf 26000 or $65000, exclusive of the interest paid on notes and 

The work of building was begun on the 6th of October 
1788 and by the 7th of December the structure was under 
cover. At that time the Postmaster General wrote that he 
supposed it to be the largest and most el^ant building on 
the continent. Much of the old brick City Hall remained, but 
some new walls were built and the interior was changed and 
decorated with an elegance theretofore unknown in America. 
On the 6th of February 1789 it was announced that the eagle 
on the pediment of the front of the building would be dis- 
played that day, and that the ceremony would be attended 
by the Troop of Horse, Company of Light Infantry, and Com- 
pany of Grenadiers. This event, however, did not occur at 
that time, and was apparently postponed until the early part 
of April. On the 3rd of March 1789 the Recorder was in- 
structed by the Common Council to officially offer the use of 
the building to Congress, and at the same time the suggestion 
was made that Congress should appoint Rynier Skaats keeper 
of the building. But after this offer, written by the Mayor, 
had been read in the United States Senate on the 6th of 
April, the suggestion regarding Mr. Skaats was politely de- 
clined until such an office was created, and the Common 

44 New York City in 1789. 

Council was informed, in a reply of thanks on the 14th of 
April, that in the meantime it could employ whom it pleased 
to take care of the building. Mr. Skaats was accordingly in- 
stalled as keeper in two rooms at the southwest corner of the 
ground floor, one of the windows being made into a door ; 
and the premises seem to have been a healthy residence, as 
Mr. Skaats did not leave this world until September 18 14, 
when he had reached the age of 82 years. The rest of the 
building was entirely occupied by the Federal Government 
with the exception of the uppermost room in its southeast 
part, which was granted by the Common Council to the Soci- 
ety Library, on the 7th of January 1789, provided that it were 
not required for the use of the government. When the first 
Congress of the United States met in the building on the 4th 
of March 1789 the only room which was completed was the 
Senate Chamber, the Representatives meeting in a small 
room adjoining it which was fit for use. The doors of the 
Representatives Chamber were not thrown open to the public 
until the 8th of April, and it was a number of months later 
before all the finishing touches were put upon the building. 
On the 9th of May, a committee of the Senate was appointed 
to confer with a committee of the House as to the appropria- 
tion of the rooms. The Assembly Chamber in the old City 
Hall had been adorned with a portrait of Columbus ; life-size 
portraits of the King and Queen of France, presented by them 
to Congress ; a portrait of Washington, presented by a gentle- 
man in England ; and portraits of several of the heroes of the 
Revolution. These probably remained in the new Federal 
Hall, the portrait of Columbus being transferred to the Cap- 
itol at Albany in 1827. 

The contemporary description of the building, which ap- 
peared in the magazines of the time, was as follows : " The 
basement story is Tuscan, and is pierced with seven open- 
ings ; four massy pillars in the centre support four Doric col- 
umns and a pediment. The freeze is ingeniously divided to 
admit thirteen stars in the metopes ; these with the Ameri- 
can Eagle and other insignia in the pediment, and the tablets 
over the windows, filled with the thirteen arrows and the 

General Description. 45 

olive branch united, mark it as a building set apart for nation- 
al purposes. After entering from Broad Street, we find a 
plainly-finished square room, flagged with stone, and to which 
the citizens have free access ; from this we enter the vesti- 
bule in the centre of the pile, which leads in front to the floor 
of the Representatives' room, or real Federal Hall, and, 
through two arches on each side, by a public staircase on the 
left, and by a private one on the right, to the Senate Chamber 
and lobbies. This vestibule is paved with marble ; is very 
lofty and well-finished ; the lower part is of a light rustic, 
which supports an handsome iron gallery ; the upper half is 
in a lighter stile and is finished with a skylight of about 12 
by 18 feet, which is decorated with a profusion of ornaments 
in the richest taste. Passing into the Representatives' room, 
we find a spacious and elegant apartment, sixty-one feet deep, 
fifty-eight wide and thirty-six high, without including an al- 
coved ceiling of about ten feet high. This room is of an oc- 
tangular form ; four of its sides are rounded in the manner of 
niches and give a graceful variety to the whole. The win- 
dows are large, and placed sixteen feet from the floor ; all be- 
low them is finished with plain wainscott, interrupted only 
by four chimnies ; but above these, a number of Ionic col- 
umns and pilasters, with their proper entablature, are very ju- 
diciously disposed and give great elegance. In the panels 
between the windows are trophies carved, and the letters 
U. S. in a cipher surrounded with laurel. The speaker's chair 
is opposite the great door, and raised by several steps ; the 
chairs for the members are ranged semi-circularly in two 
rows in front of the Speaker. Each member has his separate 
chair and desk. There are two galleries which front the 
speaker ; that below, projects fifteen feet ; the upper one is 
not so large and is intended to be at the disposal of the mem- 
bers for the accomodation of their friends. Besides these gal- 
leries, there is a space on the floor, confined by a bar, where 
the public are admitted. There are three small doors for 
common use, besides the great one in the front. The curtains 
and chairs in this room are of light blue damask. It is in- 
tended to place a statue of Liberty over the Speaker's chair. 

46 New York City in 1789. 

and trophies upon each chimney. After ascending the stairs 
on the left of the vestibule, we reach a lobby of 19x48 feet, 
finished with Tuscan pilasters; this communicates with the 
iron gallery before mentioned, and leads at one end to the 
galleries of the Representatives' room, and at the other to the 
Senate Chamber. This room is 40 feet long, 30 wide and 20 
high with an arched ceiling ; it has three windows in front, 
and three back, to correspond to them ; those in front, open 
into a gallery 12 feet deep guarded with an elegant iron rail- 
ing. In this gallery, our illustrious PRESIDENT, attended by 
the Senate and the House of Representatives, took his oath 
of office, in the face of Heaven, and in presence of a large con- 
course of people assembled in front of the building. The 
Senate Chamber is decorated with pilasters etc., which are 
not of any regular order ; the proportions are light and grace- 
ful ; the capitals are of a fanciful kind, the invention of Major 
L'Enfant, the architect ; he has appropriated them to this 
building, for amidst their foliage appears a star and rays ; and 
a piece of drapery below suspends a small medallion with 
U. S. in a cipher. The idea is new and the effect pleasing ; 
and although they cannot be said to be of any ancient order, 
we must allow that they have an appearance of magnificence. 
The ceiling is plain, with only a sun and thirteen stars in the 
centre. The marble which is used in the chimnies is Ameri- 
can, and for beauties of shades and polish, is equal to any of 
its kind in Europe. The President's chair is at one end of the 
room, elevated about three feet from the floor, under a rich 
canopy of crimson damask. The arms of the Union are to 
be placed over it. The chairs of the members are arranged 
semicircularly as those in the Representatives' room. The 
floor is covered with a handsome carpet and the windows are 
furnished with curtains of crimson damask. Besides these 
rooms, there are several others for use and convenience ; a 
library, lobbies, and committee-rooms above, and guard-rooms 
below. On one side is a platform, level with the floor of the 
Senate Chamber, which forms a convenient walk for the 
members, of more than two hundred feet long, and is guarded 
by an iron railing. We cannot close our description without 

General Description, 47 

observing that great praise is due to Major L'Enfant, the 
architect, who has surmounted many difficulties, and has so 
accomodated the additions to the old parts, and so judi- 
ciously altered what he saw wrong, that he has produced 
a building uniform and consistent throughout, and has 
added to great elegance, every convenience that could be 
desired." . 

The architect of Federal ^ all was Major Peter Charles 
L'Enfant who was born in France in 1755 and came to 
America and joined the Continental army in 1777. He be- 
came a captain in February 1778, was severely wounded at 
the siege of Savannah in 1779, and received the rank of 
major in May 1783. On the 12th of October 1789 the Com- 
mon Council resolved that he should be presented with the 
thanks of the Corporation, the freedom of the city, and ten 
acres of the Common Lands for his services in erecting Fed- 
eral Hall, and on the 30th of December it was decided that 
the land should be ten acres of Provoost's land on the Post 
Road adjoining the north line of John Hardenbrook's land, 
its present situation being on the east side of Third Avenue 
between 68th and 69th Streets. On the nth of May 1790, 
however. Major L'Enfant declined the gift of land and in 1801 
petitioned for a sum of money in its stead but again declined 
the sum of $750 which was offered him. He was also the de- 
signer of the medal of the Society of the Cincinati, and 
author of the original plan for the City of Washington. In 
18 1 2 he declined the Professorship of Engineering at West 
Point, and died on the 14th of January 1825 in Prince George 
Co. Maryland. During the construction of Federal Hall he 
does not seem to have added to his popularity among the 
mechanics of the city as, on the 26th of March 1789, a card 
appeared in the N. Y. Journal complaining that the work of 
upholstering the. Hall had been given by him to a "menial 
servant " of the French ambassador without regard to a peti- 
tion for the job presented by some city decorators. Such 
" truckling to foreigners " was roundly denounced by the dis- 
appointed upholsterers. The mason-work upon the building 
was done by James Robinson and the carpenter-work by one 

48 New York City in 1789. 

Smith. Opinions differed with regard to the beauty of the 
building. The Gazette of the United States pronounced it to 
be " on the whole superior to any building in America/' and 
also announced that the general appearance of the front of it 
was " truly august." The Anti-Federalists, however, were 
eager to express their contempt for it, and everything con- 
nected with it, and wljen the building was decorated on the 
4th of March 1789 in honor of the beginning of the new Con- 
stitution they declared that the flag raised coilsisted of the 
French colors over the Federal standard, the truth being that 
the flag had belonged to the " Federal Ship Hamilton " and 
that the paint had been washed off of it by a heavy shower 
during the Federal Procession in July 1788. A southern 
member of this disappointed and embittered faction wrote 
from New York to friends in Philadelphia on the 12th of Feb- 
ruary 1789: "I wish that you or either of you was in this 
town for a few hours if it were only to view the Old New 
Building nicknamed Federal Hall and by others who are ill- 
natured called Fool's Trap, . . Verily I believe that it is 
expected that this medley of a house will induce us to forget 
that wrong is not right and that two and two are just equal 
to four." The fact that it had to be paid for by a lottery also 
afforded an opportunity for sneers on the part of the Anti- 
Federalists and in July 1790 when a portrait of Washington 
had been ordered to be painted by Trumbull at an expense of 
100 guineas, " A Burgher whose eyes are open " inserted the 
following in the N. Y. Journal : " Is it prudent in a city 
which is reduced to pay its debts by lottery, to incur the 
superfluous expences of disinterested flattery ? Is this canvass 
compliment to be discharged by a Picture Lottery and en- 
trusted to responsible and respectible commissioners ? If the 
expenses of this disinterested compliment are to be discharged 
by assessments will the citizens deluded by Federal tricks and 
oppressed by Federal burdens chearfully submit to a Picture 
Tax ! " The building had little about it to commend it to 
the architectural taste of the present day, but the fact that 
the place of Washington's inauguration and of the meeting of 
the first Congress under the present Constitution was allowed 

General Description. 49 

to fall into decay and to be torn down within the short space 
of twenty-two years, cannot be too deeply regretted. Con- 
gress met in it for the first time on the 4th of March 1789, 
and occupied it for two sessions, when, upon the removal of 
the Federal Government to Philadelphia, it became the City 
Hall and place of meeting of the Courts and Legislature, the 
latter body using it until 1797. In May 1800 the building of 
a new City Hall was proposed in the Common Council and 
the corner stone of the present building was laid by Mayor 
Edward Livingston, assisted by Mr. M'Comb the architect, 
at six o'clock in the evening of May 26th 1803. This stone 
was laid at the southeast corner of the building and the whole 
structure was completed in 1812. There then being no fur- 
ther use for the old building, it was ordered to be sold, and 
on the 6th of May 18 12 Bleecker and Bibby, auctioneers, an- 
nounced that on the 13th of May 18 12, at twelve o'clock, at 
the Old City Hall they would sell at auction " Four lots of 
Ground fronting on Wall Street on which the Hall stands 
and adjacent thereto," and " The Old City Hall which is to 
be removed by the purchaser previous to the 15th of July 
next." The account of the sale given in the Commercial Ad- 
vertiser of May 14th 1812 was as follows: "The Old City 
Hall. This building was sold at auction yesterday for 425 
dollars and one of the lots on which it now stands for $9,500. 
The sale of the remaining lots was postponed. It is to be 
hoped that the building is not to be left many days in its 
present tattered state." Nor was it left many days. On the 
back of an old engraving of the building, in the possession of 
the New York Historical Society, is inscribed : " Presented 
to the New York Historical Society by John Pintard on the 
15th May 181 2, the day in which this Building was pros- 
trated, the materials having been sold at auction to Mr. Jin- 
nings for^four hundred and twenty-five dollars." The pur- 
chaser was apparently Mr. Jonathan Jinings of the firm of 
Jinings and Mills, grocers, at No. 30 Peck Slip. Thus dis- 
appeared the building of the greatest historical interest in 
New York City. The four lots of which the premises con- 
sisted are numbered i, 2, 3, and 4 on the map accompanying 

50 New York City in 1789. 

the deeds of the property, number one being on the corner of 
Nassau Street. Their dimensions were respectively 25 ft. 
6 in., 23 ft., 26 ft. 6 in., and 27 ft., front and rear, by 1 12 feet in 
length, with a right of way over an alley ten feet wide in the 
rear. Lot number one was sold on the 13th of May 18 12 for 
$9,500 to Joel Post and John B. Lawrence, druggists, who 
conveyed it on the 29th of January 1813 for $12000 to James 
Eastburn, Thomas Kirk, and John Downes. The sale of the 
other three lots took place on the 28th of January 18 13, 
number two being conveyed to Kirk, Eastburn, and Downes 
for $8433.33, number three to Garrit Storm for $8566.66, and 
number four to George Griswold for $8499.99. The premises 
were 102 feet wide on Wall Street but Federal Hall probably 
occupied but three of the lots having a frontage of 75 feet. 
The appearance of the property was completely changed by the 
3rd of December 18 13 as on the morning of that day a nearly 
completed new brick building erected on lots numbers one 
and two by Eastburn and Kirk, booksellers, was badly dam- 
aged by (ire. That firm, however, had moved into this new- 
building in February 18 14, and held the property until the 
2nd of December 18 16 when they sold it to the United States 
Government for $75000, subject to two mortgages aggregating 
$35000, to be used as a custom-house. Garrit Storm, in 
April 1825, conveyed Lot No. 3 to the Delaware and Hudson 
Canal Co. for $29000, and that Company, in December 1832, 
conveyed it to the United States Government for $47000. 
The present Sub-Treasury building which now occupies these 
and other lots was begun in May 1834 and finished in May 

Many of the residences in the suburbs of the city had 
been ruined during the Revolution and but few of them were 
sufficiently near to the closely inhabited portion of the city to 
appear on the city map of 1789. One of these country seats 
was that of Mr. Rutgers, running back from Cherry Street to 
the present Henry Street, and bounded on the west by the 
present Pike Street and on the east by the present Clinton 
Street. The house itself did not entirely disappear until 1875. 
To the east of this on the bank of the East River was the 

General Description. ^l 

residence of Mr. Byvanck, and to the north, on Grand Street 
near the present Clinton Street, was that of Mr. Jones. The 
most highly cultivated country place near the city was that 
of Baron Frederick Charles Hans Bruno Poelnitz, comprising 
22^ acres of land situated on the present Broadway between 
Eighth and Tenth Streets, the rear porch of the house being 
destroyed by the cutting through of Broadway. This place 
had been purchased in 1766 by Lieut. Governor Elliot and 
by him was called " Minto," and in 1789 was devoted to 
fancy farming by Baron Poelnitz, who offered it for sale in 
that year. The advertisement of it stated that it was about 
two miles from the city and abounded with a greater variety 
of the choicest fruit trees and flowering shrubs than perhaps 
any other place in the state, while it possessed the richest soil 
of any estate on Manhattan Island. In 1790 it was sold to 
Robert R. Randall for ;£'sooo and by his will in 1801 it was 
devoted to the purposes of the Sailors' Snug Harbor. On 
the west side of the city near the present Laight and Hudson 
Streets was the property of Mr. Lispenard, and on the south 
east corner of Varick and Charlton Streets was the Richmond 
Hill Mansion, occupied in 1789 by Vice-President Adams and 
afterwards the residence of Aaron Burr. Of this place Mrs. 
Adams wrote in 1790: "The venerable oaks and broken 
ground, covered with wild shrubs, which- surround me, give a 
natural beauty to the spot which is truly enchanting. A 
lovely variety of birds serenade me morning and evening, re- 
joicing in their liberty and security, for I have, as much as 
possible, prohibited the grounds from invasion, and sometimes 
almost wished for game laws, when my orders have not been 
sufficiently regarded. The partridge, the woodcock, and the 
pigeon are too great temptations to the sportsmen to with- 
stand." The cultivated shrubs which were sold in 1789 in- 
cluded shaddock, citron, lemon, olive, lime and green bay 
trees ; large alotis, large myrtle, box leaf, small myrtle, tea 
plant, pomegranate, creeping ceres, Arabian jasmine, balm of 
Gilead, rosemary, and lavender; common, striped, and par- 
tridge breast aloe, passion flower, oleander, polyanthus, auri- 
cula, and carnation pink. William Prince offered for sale, at 

52 New York City in 1789. 

Flushing Landing, fruit trees for is. 6d. each, and a great 
variety of roses and plants; but when Washington visited 
this nursery on the loth of October 1789 he expressed his 
disappointment at all that he saw with the exception of the 
young fruit trees, the shrubs being trifling and the flowers few 
in number. 


City Government. — Militia. — Politics. 

In 1789 the city had its corporate existence by virtue of 
the Dongan charter of 1686, a confirmatory Act of 1708, the 
Montgomerie charter of 1730, and the State Constitution of 
1777. The city government consisted of a Mayor, Recorder, 
seven Aldermen, and seven Assistant Aldermen. The su- 
preme appointing power in the State was lodged in the Coun- 
cil of Appointment which consisted of the Governor and four 
State Senators, chosen from the Senate by the Legislature, 
one from each of the four senatorial districts of the State. In 
1789 none of these four Senators resided in New York City. 
The Mayor, Sheriff, and Coroner were appointed annually by 
the Council of Appointment until its abolition in 1821. The 
Recorder was appointed by the Council at its pleasure. In 
1 83 1 he ceased to have a voice in the city government and 
in 1834 the Mayor was first elected by the people. The Al- 
dprmen and Assistant Aldermen were elected by the people, 
the voters, by an Act passed February 23rd 1787, being re- 
quired to be twenty-one years of age, and freemen of the city 
for three months and residents of the ward in which they 
voted for one month before the election. There was also a 
property qualification requiring them to be freeholders in their 
own or their wives' right in lands or tenements to the value 
of ;f 20 over and above all debts charged thereon, situated in 
the ward in which they voted, and in their possession for one 
month before the election unless acquired by descent or de^ 
vize. Persons owning property on the east side of Broadway 
were to vote in the West Ward, even if their property ex- 
tended into the North Ward. The election for city officers 
took place on the 29th of September, inspectors of election 


New York City in 1789. 

for each ward being appointed by the Common Council a 
week before the election. The Aldermen and Assistants who 
were in office from September 29th 1788 to the same date in 
1789 were: 




Jeremiah Wool. 


Joseph Pierson. 

Peter Elting. 


WiNANT Van Zandt. 

John Lawrence. 


James Nicholson. 

Wm. W. Gilbert. 


Abraham Van Gelder. 

John Wylley. 


George Janeway. 

Benjamin Blagge. 


Tobias Van Zandt. 

Nicholas Bayard. 


John Quackenboss. 

Of these Benjamin Blagge was the most experienced, hav- 
ing been an Alderman since 1766. Those elected on the 29th 
of September 1789 were : 




Jeremiah Wool. 


John Van Dyck. 

Winant Van Zant. 


Peter T. Curteniu.s. 

Daniel McCormick. 


John Pintard. 

Isaac Stoutenburg. 


Wm. T. Elsworth. 

John Wylley. 


George Janeway. 

Theophilus Beekman. 


Tobias Van Zandt. 

Nicholas Bayard. 


Stephen McCrea. 

Of these Nicholas Bayard served the longest term being 
elected continuously from 1785 until 1797. The City Clerk 
from 1784 to 1 801 was Robert Benson, whose office in 1789 
was at No. 22 Maiden Lane. By a city ordinance of March 
1 6th 1784 the city seal, the seal of the mayor's court, and the 
seal of mayoralty had been changed by defacing the imperial 
crown and placing in its stead the crest of the Arms of the 
State of New York, — a semiglobe with a soaring eagle there- 
on. On the 8th of December 1683 the city had been divided 
into six wards, and the boundaries of the seventh, the Mont- 
gomerie Ward, had been defined by the charter of 1730. In 
1789 the South Ward was bounded by a line along the centre 
of Broad Street from the East River to the centre of Wall 
Street, thence running west to New Street, down New Street 

City Government, — Militia. — Politics, 5 5 

to Beaver, and thence nearly west to the North River. The 
Dock Ward was bounded by Broad, Wall, Smith (William) 
Streets, and the East River. The East Ward was bounded 
by a line running from Old Slip along Smith and William 
Streets to John Street and down John Street to Burling Slip. 
Montgomerie Ward was very irregular in shape. Its boun- 
dary line ran from Burling Slip to the junction of John and 
William Streets, along William Street to Frankfort, thence 
through the blocks to the south end of the Fresh Water, thence 
east to the Junction of Chatham and Roosevelt Streets, down 
Roosevelt Street to Cherry, along Cherry Street one block to 
James Street and down the latter to New Slip. The North 
Ward was bounded on the east by William Street from Wall 
to Frankfort Street and a line from the latter street to the 
south end of the Fresh Water, whence its line ran almost due 
north to Broadway, thence south, parallel with Broadway and 
in the rear of the houses on its east side, to Wall Street, and 
along it to William Street. The West Ward included the 
portion of the city north of the line of Beaver Street and west 
of Broadway and the North Ward. The Out Ward, lay to 
the east of Broadway and included the rest of the island north 
of the Montgomerie and North Wards, being divided into the 
Bowery and Harlem Divisions. By an Act of February 28th 
1 791, the boundaries of the wards were somewhat changed 
and they were designated by the numbers one to seven. Ac- 
cording to the census of 1790 Montgomerie Ward was the 
most thickly populated ward in the city, containing 6271 in- 
habitants. It also seems to have contained the greatest num- 
ber of poor people, for in January 1789, when the Aldermen 
distributed ;^ioo among the poor, the largest share, which was 
jf 20, was to be given to this ward, while the smallest shares 
of ;^8 each were to be given to the Dock and East Wards, 
The East Ward contained the wealthiest inhabitants, the tax 
of jf 5784 5s. lod. upon it in 1789 being larger than that upon 
any other ward. During the year the taxes upon the city 
were that granted on the 22nd of January of ;^I3000 for the 
building of Federal Hall, and another, granted on the 2nd of 
February, of £6000 for the maintenance of the poor, the 

56 New York City in 1789. 

Bridewell, roads, and improvement of the streets, and of ;f 4000 
for the payment of watchmen and the care of the lamps. 

The Mayor of the city from 1783 until September 1789 
was James Duane, son of Anthony Duane and Altea Ket- 
tletas. Mr. Duane was bom in New York City on the 6th of 
February 1733 and studied law with James Alexander,. one of 
the most prominent lawyers in the colony. In 1789 he was 
one of the oldest city practitioners in the Supreme Court, 
having been admitted to practice in that court on the 3rd of 
August 1754. During the Revolution he was an active pa- 
triot, being a member of the first Continental Congress in 
1774, and also from 1780 to 1782, and a member of the New 
York Provincial Convention of 1776 and 1777. He left the 
city in June 1776 and did not return until November 1783, 
being appointed its mayor on the 5th of February 1784. He 
was also a State Senator from 1783 until 1790, except in the 
years 1786 and 1787, and a member of the Constitutional Con- 
vention at Poughkeepsie in 1788 in which he was a strong ' 
supporter of the adoption of the Constitution of the United 
States. He occupied the mayoralty until September 1789 
when he was appointed the first Judge of the United States 
District Court in New York. He resigned this office on the 
8th of April 1794 and at the same time retired from the war- 
denship of Trinity Church which he had held for ten years. 
He then retired to Schenectady and died at Duanesburgh on 
the first of February 1796. The Mayor's salary was derived 
from fees which during the last year of Mr. Duane's incum- 
bency amounted to about jf 800, but the amount varied in dif- 
ferent years, and in December 1789 Mr. Varick, his successor, 
agreed to take a fixed salary of ;^6oo a year. 

The Recorder of the city from 1783 until 1789 was Rich- 
ard Varick who was born at Hackensack, N. J., on the 25th 
of March 1753. Before the Revolution he became a lawyer 
in New York City, and during the war attained to the rank 
of colonel, acting at times as the military secretary of Gen. 
Schuyler and the recording secretary of Gen. Washington. 
At the close of the war he was appointed Recorder, he was a 
member of assembly in 1787 and 1788, and in June 1789 was 

City Government. — Militia. — Politics. 57 

appointed Attorney General of the State, but in September of 
that year succeeded Mr. Duane as Mayor, Samuel Jones being 
appointed Recorder and Aaron Burr Attorney General. Mr. 
Varick occupied the Mayoralty until 1801 and died in Jersey 
City on the 30th of July 183 1. Mr. Jones continued to be 
Recorder until 1796. The Sheriff of the city was Robert 
Boyd, who held that office from 1787 until 1791. The City 
Chamberlain chosen by the Mayor, four or more Aldermen 
and four or more Assistant Aldermen, was Daniel Phoenix, 
who held that office from 1784 until 1809. Mr. Phcenix was 
born in the city in 1742 and, entering into business early in 
life, was for many years one of the most prominent merchants 
of New York. He was one of the Sons of Liberty and a 
patriot during the Revolution. He was a member of the 
Chamber of Commerce from 1770 until 181 2; a trustee and 
manager of the financial affairs of the Wall Street Presbyterian 
Church from 1772 until 1812 ; a Governor of the N. Y. Hos- 
pital, and trustee and treasurer of the Society Library. He 
was also an alderman in 1783 and 1784. He died in 18 12. 

The courts which sat in New York in 1789 were the Court 
of Chancery, the Supreme Court of Judicature, the Mayor's 
Court, the Court of Sessions, the Court of Probates, the Court 
of Admiralty, and the United States District Court. Robert 
R. Livingston, the Chancellor, was appointed to that office by 
the State Convention on the 5th of May 1777 and received 
his commission on the 17th of October in the same year. He 
was born in New York on the 27th of November 1747, gradu- 
ated from King's College in 1765, admitted to the bar in Oc- 
tober 1773, and soon afterwards appointed Recorder of the 
city, but was removed from that office in 1775, because of his 
patriotism. He was one of the committee who prepared the 
Declaration of Independence, and was one of the framers of 
the N. Y. State Constitution of 1777. In October of that 
year he received the thanks of the New York Convention for 
his faithful services in the Continental Congress, and from 
1 78 1 to 1783 was Secretary of Foreign Affairs. He declined 
the office of Minister to France in 1794, but resigned the 
Chancellorship in 1801 to accept it, remaining in France until 

5 8 New York City in 1789. 

1805. He died on the 26th of February 18 13. One of his 
biographers states that he was "tall and well-proportioned; of 
imposing presence, easy and pleasant in discourse, and in 
manner graceful and courteous. His private life was imbued 
with pure morals and true piety, as his public had been with 
integrity and patriotism. He was generous to the poor, dis- 
interested in his friendship, and honorable in his intercourse 
with his fellowmen." The business of the Court of Chancery 
was very small, and was chiefly conducted at the Chancellor's 
house. No. 3 Broadway. The salary of the Chancellor was 
£^00 a year. In 1789 the Masters in Chancery residing in 
the city were John Ray and James M. Hughes ; the Register 
was William Cock, and the Examiner was Edward Dunscomb, 
The Court of Chancery ceased to exist on the first Monday 
in July 1847. 

The Supreme Court of Judicature was established in 1691 
and in 1789 consisted of a Chief Justice and two Judges who, 
by the Constitution of 1777, were to hold office during good 
behavior until the age of sixty years. By an Act passed 
April 7th 1785 the sessions of this court in New York City 
were to be held on the third Tuesday of January and April, 
the January session to last until the Saturday of the next 
week, and the April session until the end of the Saturday in 
the third week following. The Clerk's Office was to be in 
New York. By Act of February 22nd 1788 the Court of 
Oyer and Terminer, consisting of any member of the Supreme 
Court together with the Mayor, Recorder and Aldermen, or 
any three of them, was to be opened for criminal business at 
the same time as the Circuit Court, and to continue until its 
business was dispatched. The Chief Justice of the Supreme 
Court in 1789 was Richard Morris who was appointed to that 
office on the 23rd of October 1779 and held it until his retire- 
ment at the age of sixty in September 1790. He was born in . 
Morrisania on the 15th of August 1730, graduated from Yale 
College in 1748, and admitted to the bar on the 29th of April 
1752. From 1762 until 1775 he was Judge of Vice- Admiralty 
but resigned through patriotic motives. From 1777 to 1779 
he was a State Senator. He retired to Westchester County 

City Government. — Militia. — Politics. 59 

in September 1790 and died at Scarsdale on the iith of April 
1 8 10. In 1789 he resided at No. 27 Nassau Street. The As- 
sociate Judges of the Supreme Court in 1789 were Robert 
Yates of Albany and John Sloss Hobart of New York, 
Judge Yates was born in Schenectady on the 27th of Janu- 
ary 1738 and was admitted to the bar on the 9th of May 1760. 
He was a prominent member of the Albany Committee of 
Safety during the Revolution, a member of the Provincial 
Congress, and of the State Convention which framed the 
State Constitution of 1777. He was also a member of the 
Convention which framed the U. S. Constitution, but op- 
posed it and withdrew from the Convention in July 1786. He 
was appointed Judge of the Supreme Court on the 8th of 
May 1777, received his commission in the following October, 
and remained on the bench until his sixtieth year in January 
1798, having become Chief Justice in September 1790. He 
died in Albany on the 9th of September 1801. John Sloss 
Hobart was bom in Fairfield, Conn., in February 1738, and 
was graduated from Yale College in 1757. In 1765 he ap- 
peared as a Son of Liberty in New York, and in 1775 and 
1776 was a deputy from Suffolk County to the Provincial 
Congress. He was a member of the committee which drew 
the first State Constitution and a member of the Poughkeep- 
sie Convention in 1788. He was appointed Judge of the Su- 
preme Court in May 1777, commissioned in the following Oc- 
tober, and resigned the office at the age of sixty years in 
February 1798. In the same year he became United States 
Senator but resigned in 1799 upon being appointed U. S. 
District Court Judge. He died in New York on the 4th of 
February 1805. The salary of all the Supreme Court judges 
was jf 500 a year. The Qerk of the Supreme Court was John 
McKesson, his residence in 1789 being at No. 44 Broadway* 
The Supreme Court of Judicature was somewhat changed in 
1 82 1 and was abolished in 1846. 

The Mayor^s Court was the oldest court in the city, hav- 
ing its origin in the time of the Dutch supremacy in New 
York, and under the management of Mayor Duane it had 
become the most h^^y esteemed court in the city. By an 

6o New York City in 1789. 

Act passed February 5th 1787, its terms were to last for three 
days, and it was empowered to hear all actions, real, personal 
and mixed, arising in the city and county. It was constituted 
of the Mayor, Recorder, and Aldermen, or any three of them, 
of whom the Mayor or Recorder should always be one. The 
Court of General Sessions, composed of the same persons, 
was held on the first Tuesdays in February, May, August, 
and November, its sitting lasting until the following Tues- 
day. The number of indictments upon which trial was had 
in the Courts of Oyer and Terminer and General Sessions 
during the year 1789 was 103, seventeen for forgery and four- 
teen for grand larceny, being the largest numbers for any one 

The Court of Probates held original jurisdiction in cases 
of decease out of the State or of decease of non-residents 
within the State and appellate jurisdiction over the surro- 
gates. Its judge, from 1787 to 1799 was Peter Ogilvie, who 
in May 1789 removed his office to No. 24 John Street. By 
Act of March i6th 1778 such judges were to have the same 
powers as had been exercised by the colonial governors in the 
matter of probate, except as to the appointment of surrogates, 
who in the future were to be appointed by the Council of 
Appointment. The court was abolished by act of March 21st 
1823 and its jurisdiction conferred upon the Chancellor. The 
Surrogate, who from 1787 to 1801 was David Gelston, had 
full power in the matter of the wills of citizens dying within 
the State. Mr. Gelston, who held several important offices 
at various times, died on the 21st of August 1828, at the age 
of 85 years. 

The Judge of the Court of Admiralty was Lewis Graham, 
who had been appointed to that office in August 1776, re- 
ceived his commission on the 17th of February 1778, and held 
it until the court ceased to exist when the U.S. Constitu- 
tion came into effect. He died at Westchester in October 


The United States Court for the District of New York 
held its first session under Judge James Duane on the 3rd of 
November 1789, when the Judge and several attorneys took 

City Government. — Militia. — Politics. 6i 

the oath of office, but there being no further business before 
the Court it at once adjourned. 

By an Act passed January 30th 1787 the Mayor, Re- 
corder, and Aldermen were given the powers of Justices of 
the Peace. The regular officers of that kind in 1789 were 
James M. Hughes, George Bond, John Keefe, Nathaniel 
Lawrence, and William Wilcox. The Coroner in 1789 was 
Ephraim Braisher, a goldsmith who resided at No. 79 Queen 
Street;. The roll of New York attorneys who had in 1789 
been admitted to practice in the Supreme Court contained, in 
the month of July, 122 names, twenty-eight new attorneys 
being admitted to the bar during 1789. Among the distin- 
guished names upon this roll were those of James Riker, ad- 
mitted to the bar April 30th 1761 ; Richard N. Harrison, 
January 21st 1769; Robert Morris, October 26th 1771 ; John 
Jay, October 31st 1768; Abraham W. De Peyster, May 2nd 
1767; Josiah Ogden Hoffman; Egbert Benson; John Coz- 
ine. May ist 1773; Robert Troup, April 1782; Samuel Jones; 
Aaron Burr, January 1782; Alexander Hamilton, July 1782; 
Edward Livingston, Brockholst Livingston, James Kent, Jan- 
uary 1785 ; and John Lawrence, January 21st 1775. By an 
Act of February 20th 1787 no person was to be admitted to 
the bar of any court unless he had been brought up in that 
court or was otherwise well practiced in soliciting causes and 
had been found by his dealings to be skilful and honest. 

The City Watch in 1789 was under the control of the 
Common Council and consisted of about forty-five men in 
regular service, twenty extra men being added on the 31st of 
December 1788, but discharged on the 7th of April 1789. 
On the latter date Mr. Weissenfels, one of the captains of the 
watch, was called before the Common Council on a charge of 
irregularity in his watch, and, after stating that because of his 
advanced age he was unable to do better, requested that he 
either be allowed to resign or be discharged. He was there- 
upon discharged and James Culbertson was appointed in his 
place. On the 13th of April 1789 James Burras, the high- 
constable, was also removed from office for total neglect of 
his duty, and the Mayor appointed Mr, Culbertson to that 

62 New York City in 1789. 

position. He apparently commanded one half of the watch, 
the other half being in command of Bartholomew Skaats. 
The captains received eight shillings a night and the men 
three shillings in summer, one shilling a night being added 
to the pay of each in winter. In January 1789, at the request 
of Mr. Seton, one watchman was posted at the Bank, and on 
the 23rd of October two men were added to the night ^vatch. 
One watch-house was in a store hired of Isaac Levy and the 
other was erected in 1789, on the southeast comer of Wall 
and Broad Streets. Footpads were abundant and were al- 
ways stated in the newspapers to be " wheelbarrow men " who 
had escaped from the Philadelphia prisons. On one occasion 
a farmer created great excitement by announcing that on his 
way to the city in the early morning he had been stopped by 
a gang of villains, who, after questioning him closely allowed 
him to depart unharmed ; but, on the next day, the high- 
constable issued a card stating that the gang of villains had 
consisted of himself and his men, who had been upon impor- 
tant secret service for the city. At times, however, the rob- 
bers came to grief, for on the 29th of September 1789 the 
Common Council awarded £it^ to watchmen Culbertson, 
Schofield and Gobel for apprehending dangerous robbers at 
night, and on the i6th of December, the same sum was paid 
to Alexander Lamb and two other watchmen for like services. 
In November 1789 John Houseman received £\ i6s. for 
painting the watchmen's caps. In addition to keeping the 
streets clean, it was also desired that the onerous task of 
keeping them free from pigs should devolve upon the high 
constable, but he seems to have escaped that duty. On the 
20th of September 1786 an ordinance was passed for the for- 
feiture of hogs found running in the streets, which was re- 
newed in February 1789 in effect thus described by a news- 
paper rhymster : 

** Oyes ! Oyes ! Oyes I 

This is to give notice, 
To all Hogs, Pigs, Swine and their Masters, 
That from the first of February '89, 
If any person suffer his, her, or their swine 

City Government, — Militia. — Politics. 63 

To gallop about the streets at large, 
Full twenty shillings is the charge 

For each offence ; 
To be paid (by firm and special order 
Of our good Aldermen and Recorder) 
To the informer's use, with all expence ; 
Otherwise he shall have free leave to dine 
Upon the said arrested swine. 
Send them to jail, or give t* the poor. 
For which — * The Lord encrease his store.' " 

Although there was a dog-tax of eight shillings, dogs too 
seem to have been plentiful, for in July an exasperated citi- 
zen declared that the hog nuisance was increasing instead of 
being remedied, and that the inhabitants were deprived of 
their sleep by the squeaking of pigs and the barking of dogs 
in pursuit of them ; what was everybody's business was no- 
body's business, but if the matter were placed in charge of the 
high-constable it might be remedied. 

The Fire Department in 1789 consisted of about 300 men, 
the Common Council having been authorized to appoint that 
number by an Act passed March 19th 1787. They were to 
be subject to removal at any time and exempt from constable, 
militia and jury duty. The engineers or superintendents of 
the department were William J. Elsworth, John Stagg, Fran- 
cis Bassett, Isaac Mead, and John Quackenboss, but the first- 
named seems to have been the head of the department. On 
the 1 2th of September 1789 he received £106 los. for one 
year's superintendence and repair of fire-engines. There were 
seventeen engine companies, each having a foreman and as- 
sistant, and two hook and ladder companies. The first fire- 
engines appeared in the city in December 1731, having been 
imported from London; in 1789, however, those used were 
probably of American manufacture, as two advertisements of 
them appeared in the newspapers. In October, George 
Mason, a Philadelphia enginemaker, advertised several sizes 
of fire-engines, the largest of which held 175 gallons of water 
and threw a part of the stream 175 feet. It required eighteen 
men to work it, cost ;^i5o, and was warranted for seven years. 

64 New York City in 1789. 

In November, William J. Elsworth advertised fire-engines 
made in New York for sale as cheap as they could be obtained 
elsewhere in America or imported from Europe. Mr. Els- 
worth remained at the head of the fire department until 181 1. 
At fires, of which there were very few in 1789, the citizens 
and firemen formed a line with buckets from the nearest well 
or pump to the engine, whence the foreman directed the 
stream upon the flames. On such occasions the members of 
the Common Council were authorized to direct the work of 
the firemen, and they expected to be obeyed, as on the 25th 
of February 1789 George Seal, one of the firemen was re- 
moved for disobeying orders and for disrespect to a magistrate 
at a fire. This incident was followed by a resolution that no 
one under thirty years of age should be appointed as a fireman, 
but this limitation was repealed on the 13th of November. 
Every house having between three and six fireplaces was to 
have two leathern fire-buckets; those having six or less than 
nine fireplaces, four buckets ; and those having nine or more 
fireplaces, six buckets, the cost of which was to be allowed by 
the landlord out of the rent. The penalty for not having 
buckets was six shillings fine a month for each bucket that 
was lacking. The buckets were marked with the owner's 
name and after a fire were collected in one place whence the 
owner picked out his property. Some of the fire companies 
also carried bags in which to remove property from burning 
buildings. The largest fire in 1789 was on the 4th of Novem- 
ber when two houses on Great George Street near the Bride- 
well were destroyed, and the report being made that the fire 
had started from a crack in the chimney, the owner, Mr. Dug- 
gan, published affidavits by six masons that no such crack 
could be found. His anxiety on the subject was probably 
caused by a provision for forty shillings fine in case a chimney 
caught fire from lack of attention. An Act of March 15th 
1788 forbade the storage of gunpowder in a larger quantity 
than 28 pounds in any one place less than a mile from the 
City Hall, except in the powder-house, and those 28 pounds 
were to be kept in jugs containing seven pounds each. By a 
city ordinance of October 30th 1789 chimney and fireplace in- 

City Government, — Militia. — Politics. 6$ 

spectors were appointed, without whose permission no stove 
could be set up under a penalty of twenty shillings fine. 

The militia of the State was organized under an Act 
passed April 4th 1786 requiring that every citizen above six- 
teen years of age and under forty-five should be enrolled in a 
militia company within four months, and within three months 
after enrollment should provide himself, at his own expense, 
with a good musket and accoutrements. Each brigade was to 
be commanded by a brigadier-general and to have connected 
with it one company of artillery, consisting of sixty-four men 
including officers, and one troop of horse consisting of fifty- 
five men* including officers. These companies were to be 
clothed, at their own expense, in regimentals of a style to be 
determined by the brigadier-general. Each raiment of in- 
fantry was to be commanded by one lieutenant-colonel com- 
mandant and two majors, and was to consist of two battalions 
of four companies each, the companies consisting of eleven of- 
ficers, a drummer, a fifer, and not less than sixty-five privates. 
There were also to be connected with each regiment two 
light infantry companies of volunteers, and four regiments 
thus constituted were to form a brigade. The militia was to 
rendezvous four times a year for training and discipline. The 
City of New York was also to raise one regiment of artillery 
to consist of as many companies as the commander-in<hief 
might consider necessary, not to exceed four, which were to 
be called out for exercise at least six times a year. The uni- 
forms of general officers were dark blue coats with buff fac- 
ings, linings, collars, and cuffs, yellow buttons, and buff onder- 
clothesw Regimental officers of infantry wore the same style 
of uniform with white trimmings and underclothes, and staff 
oflScers wore the same as the general officers without facings 
and cuds to their coots. Non-commissioned officers and pri- 
vates of the li^st inbmtxy companies of volunteers were to 
wear dark Une coots with white linings, collars, and cuffs, and 
white undefdodks, hot those of other companies were not 
obliged to appear in ttutt uniform. Each regiment wa<9 to be 
furnished wkh State asKl regimental colon at the cxpeTU^e of 
the field-oflkcn^ and eadi company with a drum and iife at 

66 New' York City in 1789. 

the expense of its commissioned officers. Quakers were to 
pay forty shillings a year instead of performing military duty, 
and government officials, ministers, physicians, school teachers, 
firemen, and some others were exempt from such duty. This 
Act was amended on the i8th of April 1787 by a provision 
that when forty men of the enrolled militia of the City of 
New York desired to arm themselves as grenadiers, they 
should be allowed to do so. 

The city militia in 1789 consisted of the Brigade of the 
City and County of New York under command of William 
Malcolm, Brigadier-General. The various regiments and 
<:ompanies were : 

1st Regiment, Henry Rutgers, Lieut ColoneU 
2nd ** Morgan Lewis, " " 

3rd " Hendrick Wyckoff, " " 

4th " James Alner, " " 

5th " James M. Hughes, " " 

Regiment of Artillery, Sebastian Bauman, Lieut ColoneL 
Legion of the City of New York, James Chrystie, Lieut ColoneL 
Brigade Company of Artillery, John Stoutenburgh, Captain. 
Troop of Horse, John Stakes, Captain. 

The captain of the second company of grenadiers of the 
ist Regiment was George Scriba, and their uniform, as de- 
scribed in Stone's History of New York, consisted of blue 
coats, yellow waistcoats and breeches, black gaiters and cone- 
shaped caps faced with bear skin. Another company wore 
blue coats faced with red and embroidered with gold, white 
waistcoats and breeches, black spatterdashes buttoned close 
from the foot to the knee, and cocked hats with white 
feathers. Parades were held on the race-ground in the vicin- 
ity of the present junction of Division and Hester Streets. 
General William Malcolm first appears in New York in 1763 
as an importer of Scotch goods, his place of business being 
near the Fly Market. In 1767 he became secretary of the St. 
Andrew's Society, and during the Revolution commanded 
the 2nd New York Regiment. In 1784, 1786, and 1787 he 
was an Assemblyman. He died in the city on the ist of Sep- 

City Government. — Militia. — Politics. 6^ 

tember 1791 and was buried on the following day with mili- 
tary and masonic honors. Colonel Sebastian Bauman, of the 
Regiment of Artillery, was born in Frankfort, Germany, on 
the 6th of April 1739. After an education as an engineer and 
artillerist in the Austrian service, he fled to America to escape 
the results of a duel, and in May 1775 was appointed captain 
of a German company which volunteered in the ist New York 
Regiment, in which he acted as major. At intervals during 
the years 1781 and 1782 he was in command at West Point 
and there prepared for Washington maps of that post which fell 
into the hands of Benedict Arnold and were found in Major 
Andr6's boot. He was honorably discharged from the Con- 
tinental Army in June 1784 and was breveted lieutenant- 
colonel on the 14th of April 1787. In October 1789 he was 
appointed postmaster of New York and held that office until 
his death on the 19th of October 1803. Captain John Stakes 
of the Troop of Horse was also a German who had served in 
the Revolution as a lieutenant of Light Dragoons. Colonel 
James Chrystie of the Legion was born near Edinburgh, Scot- 
land, on the 13th of January 1750, and appeared in Phila- 
delphia in I TJJ. After serving in Pennsylvania regiments dur- 
ing the Revolution and receiving an honorable discharge from^ 
the army in November 1783, he established himself in business, 
in New York, and in 1789 was a china merchant at No. 17 
Maiden Lane. A few years later he served in Gen. Wayne's 
expedition against the Indians in Ohio, but returned to the 
city at the close of the campaign and was the leading dealer 
in chinaware until his death in June 1807. 

On the 4th of July 1789 Gen. Malcolm's brigade, under 
command of Col. Chrystie, paraded on the race-ground at six 
o'clock in the morning and on their return passed the house of 
Washington, who was then ill but appeared at the door in full 
regimentals. At noon a salute was fired from the Fort, and 
at four o'clock the officers dined at Sam Fraunces' Tavern in 
Cortlandt Street, and at the third toast, to the President of 
the United States, the company rose and gave three cheers 
and the band struck up General Washington's March. The 
annual inspection of the brigade was made by Adjutant 

68 New York City in 1789. 

General Nicholas Fish on the 29th of July. A parade and 
review also took place on the 28th of September which was 
saddened by the death of John Loudon, lieutenant and adju- 
tant of the 1st Regiment, who was killed by the accidental 
discharge of a ramrod from a gun in the hands of one of his 
men. It is to the honor of the newspapers of that day that 
the name of the unfortunate man who discharged the gun did 
not appear in one of them. Lieut. Loudon, who was the son 
of Samuel Loudon the printer, was a member of Dr. Mason's 
church and of Holland Lodge, and was buried on the 29th of 
September with military and masonic honors, an ode to his 
memory, composed by Mr. Low, being sung in the Lodge 
Room. Col. Hendrick Wyckoff of the 3rd Regiment also 
died on the 22nd of October at his father's house on Long 
Island. He was a partner of Melancthon Smith in the firm 
of Smith and Wyckoff, and is said to have been " eminent as 
a patriot, graceful as a soldier, and virtuous as a man." 
Evacuation Day was celebrated by the hoisting of the colors 
at the Fort, and the firing of a federal salute at noon. 

The New York Society of the Cincinnati, which in 1789 
consisted of about 180 members, met at the City Tavern on 
the 4th of July and elected Baron Steuben, president, Alex- 
ander Hamilton, vice-president. Major John Stagg, secretary, 
and Col. Richard Piatt, treasurer. John Stagg, the secretary, 
was born in 1758, served in the Continental Army during the 
Revolution, was a clerk in the war office for eight years, and 
was sheriff of the city from 1 801 until his death of yellow 
fever on the 28th of December 1803. He was an Assembly- 
man in 1784 and 1786, and in 1789 was a major in the City 
Legion and a City Surveyor. Col. Richard Piatt, who was 
born in 1754, was a member of a Long Island family, and 
served in the Continental army throughout the Revolution. 
He was a strong federalist in politics and acted as marshal 
of the Federal Procession in July 1788. He died on the 3rd 
of March 1830. After this election of officers the Society 
appointed a committee consisting of Baron Steuben, Alex- 
ander Hamilton, Gen. Samuel B. Webb, Col. William S. 
Smith, and Col. Bauman, to present its congratulations to the 

City Government, — Militia. — Politics. 69 

President, Vice-President, and Speaker of the House of 
Representatives ; which was done except in the case of the 
Speaker, who could not be found. The Society then went in 
procession, escorted by Bauman's Artillery, to St. Paul's 
Chapel, where a eulogium upon Gen. Nathaniel Greene was 
pronounced by Alexander Hamilton, his audience including 
the President's wife and family, the Vice-President and ladies 
of his family, the Senate, and the Speaker and House of 
Representatives. Washington was too ill to be present. A 
dinner and the drinking of thirteen toasts at the City Tavern 
closed the Society's celebration of the day. 

Among those in the city in 1789 who had been naval offi- 
cers were Commodore James Nicholson, and Admiral Pierre 
Landais. The former was bom in Chestertown, Md., in 1737 
and coming to New York in 1762 entered the Royal Navy. 
At the outbreak of the Revolution he joined the American 
cause, and in 1777 became Commodore and Commander-in- 
chief of the American Navy, but was not particularly success- 
ful in the struggle against the British. He died in New York 
on the 2nd of September 1804. Pierre Landais was a French- 
man who had been disgraced by Congress for failing to sup- 
port Paul Jones in the action between the Bonhomme 
Richard and the Serapis, and was therefore a bitter foe of the 
" pirate." Meeting Paul Jones on the street in New York in 
October 1787, with true French politeness, he spat upon the 
sidewalk and then informed his enemy that he might consider 
the sidewalk to be his person. Capt. Jones' failure to imme- 
diately resent this conduct caused rumors to be spread deroga- 
tory to his courage and led to the publication of the follow- 
ing card in the New York Packet : " To the Public. Having 
yesterday, late in the afternoon, received information of a re- 
port circulating here, that Peter Landais — (who was an officer 
in the squadron I commanded in Europe in the late war, and 
was in America broke and rendered incapable of public ser- 
vice by a Court Martial, — for matters of a date subsequent 
to and unconnected with the charges I made against him in 
Europe, which are of a nature to call his life in question, and 
of which the most material proofs have never been published, 

70 New York City in 1789. 

but are lodged in the office of Foreign Affairs) — did person- 
ally insult me in this city on Friday last by spitting in my 
face : I take this method to declare that the said report is an 
absolute falsehood — it being impossible that such an insult 
should have been offered to me, with impunity, under any 
circumstances whatever. Paul Jones. Monday, October 
29th 1787." In February 1786 there had been published the 
first two parts of M. Landais' Justification and he endeavored 
for many years to obtain a reversal of the action of Congress 
toward him but failed to do so. He died in New York in 
June 1818, aged 87 years. 

The political campaign of 1789 was contested with unusual 
bitterness, the city being a stronghold of Federalism and the 
State at large being Antifederalist. When the city delegates 
to the Poughkeepsie Convention, which was to consider the 
question of ratifying the Federal Constitution, were chosen in 
1788 the highest number of votes cast for an Antifederalist 
candidate was 134, while John Jay received 2735 votes. With 
the exception of William Morris, who did not vote at all, the 
New York City members of the Convention all voted for 
ratification, and the members from the neighboring counties 
of Westchester, Kings, and Queens, voted unanimously for it. 
The election of Governor and Congressmen in 1789 renewed 
the struggle which had been won by the Federalists in the 
Convention of 1788. By an Act passed on the 13th of Febru- 
ary 1787 it was provided for the first time in this State, that 
the election of State officers should be by secret ballot, that 
method of voting having been recommended by the Constitu- 
tion of 1777. The qualifications for voting for State officers 
consisted in being a male inhabitant of full age who had re- 
sided in the county for six months, who possessed a freehold 
to the value of ;^20 or rented a tenement of the yearly value 
of forty shillings in the county, and had actually paid taxes in 
the State. The election was to be held on the last Tuesday 
in April, the polls to remain open for five days if necessary, 
and three hours notice to be given of their closing. The votes 
for Assembly were to be canvassed by the Common Council 
on the last Tuesday in May. Owing to the opposition of the 

City Government. — Militia, — Politics. yt 

Antifederalists, New York State took no part in the election 
of President Washington, and the political gluttony of the 
same party greatly delayed the election of Congressmen and 
United States Senators. The situation was accurately de- 
scribed by Dr. Hugh Williamson when he wrote as follow^ 
from New York on the 24th of January 1789 to James Ire- 
dell : " The General Assembly of this State, after spending 
two months in pure wrangling, during which time many of 
them have had the felicity to make a clear saving of one dol- 
lar per day, have at length agreed to divide the State into six 
election districts for the choice of the representatives in the 
new Congress. They cannot yet ^ree about the mode of 
choosing Senators. The Commons wish to have all Anties, 
and the Senate wish to have at least one Congress Senator a 
federal man.** The Act for the division of the State into six 
congressional districts was passed on the 27th of January 1789, 
the qualifications for voting for congressmen being the same 
as those for voting for State officers, and the first election be- 
ing ordered to take place on the first Tuesday in the following 
March. The City and County of New York and the County 
of Westchester, with the exception of five towns, formed one 
of the districts, each of which was to elect one Congressman. 
The electioneerii^ for Governor and Congressman were car- 
ried on at the same time, support of or opposition to the 
Federal Constitution being the distinguishing marks of the 
two parties in the State. The first candidate for the govern- 
orship to appear was Pierre Van Cortlandt, then Lieutenant 
Governor, who announced his candidacy in a card published 
on the 2nd of FAruaiy. On the i ith of February a meetii^ 
of citizens at the City Tavern nominated Judge Robert Yates 
for Governor, and Mr. Van Cortlandt for Lieutenant Gov- 
ernor, and cm the following day the friends of Judge Richard 
Morris put him in nomination; he, however, withdrew his 
name on the 27th of Fdjruary in the interest of harmony. 
The meeting of Fcbmasj i ith was followed by another on 
the 23rd whidi endorsed its action and nominated John 
Lawrence for CongresBman. The Federalists controlled these 
meetings, their obyeotionf to Governor Qiirtoa, who wished to 

^2 New York City in 1789. 

be re-elected, being stated in a circular letter written by Alex- 
ander Hamilton on the i8th of February, laying especial em- 
phasis on the points that the Governor should look with 
favor upon the Federal Constitution, and that he should sup- 
port the dignity of his office by suitable hospitality and not 
arouse disgust and contempt by endeavoring to enrich him- 
self by his office. In order to avoid the charge of party spirit 
it had been thought advisable to nominate a man of the 
other party and, accordingly. Judge Yates, who was not a 
Federalist, had been nominated. The circular further stated 
that it was hoped that Judge Morris and Mr. Van Cortlandt 
would withdraw from candidacy. This circular was signed by 
Mr. Hamilton as chairman of a Federalist committee of cor- 
respondence of which the other members were Robert Troup, 
William Duer, William Constable, John Murray, Richard 
Piatt, Isaiah Wool, Robert Bowne, Aaron Burr, John Meyer, 
George Gosman, James Robinson, and Daniel Hitchcock. 
Among the first movements on the part of the Antifederalists 
was a warning on the 17th of February that there was then 
" stealing upon the public, as from an ambuscade, a Publica- 
tion, entitled * The Milkiad ' " which contained a censure of 
the most poignant kind upon Gov. Clinton. The author of 
this plot was said to have based his poem upon a circumstance 
which with the weak and prejudiced might pass for a true 
story, but which upon examination would retreat with the 
rest of the host of calumnies with which the Federalists in- 
tended to commence their electioneering. On the 26th of 
February the Antifederalists, in the guise of " merchants, 
mechanics, and traders,*' called a meeting to nominate a mer- 
chant for Congressman, in opposition to John Lawrence who 
was a lawyer. William Malcolm was the chairman of this 
meeting, but owing to lack of room at the Coffee House, the 
meeting was adjourned to be held the next evening at the 
City Tavern. But on the 27th Alexander Hamilton issued a 
call to all citizens to be present at this meeting, and when it 
took place the nomination of Mr. Lawrence was ratified by a 
large majority of the 1000 citizens who were present. The 
Antifederalists were thus obliged to solicit votes through the 

City Government, — Militia. — Politics, 73 

newspapers for John Broome, who was said to be a friend of 
the Constitution, a merchant, a man of letters, and well ac- 
quainted with the law. The polling places in the city ap- 
pointed for the congressional election were the Coffee House 
in the East Ward, Aorson's Tavern in the North Ward, the 
City Tavern in the West Ward, Rawson's Tavern in Mont- 
gomerie Ward, the Bull's Head Tavern in the Out Ward, 
John Francis' Tavern in the Dock Ward, and the Exchange 
in the South Ward. The City vote, which was canvassed on 
the 7th of April, stood, for John Lawrence 2255, for John 
Broome 280, for Philip Pell 2 votes. In the whole district, 
including Westchester County, Mr. Lawrence received 2418, 
Mr. Broome 372, and Mr. Pell 33 votes. John Lawrence, 
who was thus elected first Congressman from the City under 
the new Constitution, was born in Cornwall, England, in 
1750, and, coming to New York in 1767, was admitted to the 
bar in 1772 and practiced in the city until the Revolution, 
during which he served in the ist New York Regiment. He 
also acted as judge-advocate-general on Washington's staff, 
and was a member of the court-martial which convicted Major 
Andr6. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress from 
1785 to 1787, a State Senator in 1789, sat in the U. S. Con- 
gress from the 8th of April 1789 until the 2nd of March 1793 
when he became U. S. Circuit Court Judge, and was a U. S. 
Senator from December 8th 1796 until his resignation in Aug- 
ust 1800. He died in New York on the 7th of November 18 10. 
The congressional election having been thus. ended in a 
manner which was to be expected, the Antifederalists bent 
all their energies toward the re-election of Gov. Clinton, in 
which they were successful throughout the State although 
defeated in New York City. The fact that Mr. Lawrence 
was a lawyer furnished the text for the following remarks 
which appeared in the Daily Advertiser of March 4th 1789 : 

" Beware of Lawyers." 

" Of the men who framed that monarchical, aristocratical, 
oligarchical, tyrannical, diabolical system of slavery, the New 
Constitution^ one Half were lawyers. Of the men who repre- 

74 ^^"^ York City in 1789. 

sented, or rather misrepresented, this city and county in the 
late convention of this state, to whose wicked arts we may 
chiefly attribute the adoption of that abominable system, seven 
out of the nine were Lawyers. This same class of men will 
do all they can to establish and confirm that nefarious system, 
and as long as they are blindly trusted by the people, we 
shall never be able to succeed in our virtuous attempts to de- 
stroy it. And what crowns the wickedness of these wicked 
lawyers is, that a great majority of them throughout the state 
are violently opposed to our Great and Good Head and 
never failing friend of the city and city interests, the present 
Governor. That aspiring party are the worst enemies of his 
and our Virtuous Aspirings. We warned you against them 
at the election for convention men ; we now warn you against 
them again. Beware, beware, beware of Lawyers ! " 

" A true Antifederalist and NO Lawyer.'* 
At a small meeting held on the 9th of March by about 
100 citizens under the chairmanship of Jonathan Lawrence a 
merchant of the city, the Antifederalists discussed the ques- 
tion of nominations, and on the 17th of March nominated 
George Clinton for Governor, Pierre Van Cortlandt for Lieu- 
tenant Governor, and David Gelston for State Senator from 
the southern district. The Federalist candidate for Senator 
was Philip Livingston of Westchester County. The Anti- 
federalists also appointed a committee of thirty-six members 
to promote the re-election of Gov. Clinton and the following 
gentlemen were chosen as a committee of correspondence : 

Jonathan Lawrence. 

John Stagg. Isaac Cook. 

Marinus Willet. Henry Rutgers. 

Elias Nexson. John H. Sleght. 

William Malcolm. Isaac Stoutenburgh. 

William Denning. Melancthon Smith. 

Isaac Norton. David Gelston. 

The chairman of this committee, Jonathan Lawrence, had 
been a State Senator from 1777 to 1783, a member of the 
Council of Appointment in 1778 and 1782, and an Assistant 
Alderman from the Montgomerie Ward in 1784. In Septem* 

City Government, — Militia, — Politics. 75 

ber 1789 he was appointed Inspector of Potash. The ablest 
member of the committee, and one who had taken a promi- 
nent part as an Antifederalist in the Poughkeepsie Conven- 
tion of 1788, was Melancthon Smith, who was born in 1744, 
being one of the fifteen children of Samuel Smith, a farmer at 
Jamaica, Long Island. When a boy he was placed in a store 
at Poughkeepsie, and in 1777 was appointed first Sheriff of 
Dutchess County, being an active patriot during the Revolu- 
tion. In 1788 he represented Dutchess County in the State 
Convention, acting as leader of the Antifederalists but finally 
succumbing to the eloquence of Alexander Hamilton and 
voting for ratification. After this convention he took no very 
active part in politics but devoted himself to his business 
until his death on the 29th of July 1798. Toward the end 
of March 1789 this correspondence committee flooded the 
State with handbills containing an address to the electors, and 
the political battle was fairly begun. On the one side it was 
claimed that Governor Clinton was penurious and had amassed 
a fortune of ;^30,cxx) during his governorship ; that the four 
terms for which he had already been elected ought to satisfy 
the ambition of any man, and that frequent rotation in office 
was a fundamental principle of republicanism. On the other 
hand, it was said that the politics of the city, since the peace, 
had been run by " a brace of Creoles" who had no other merit 
than that derived from consummate impudence and were now 
endeavoring to palm off a governor of their own making upon 
the people and to cram a senator upon them from another 
State, as if New York had no citizen worthy of that honor. 
The Anti-Clintonians were denounced as wealthy aristocrats, 

and a family, designated as " the L family,*' was bitterly 

assailed for deserting Governor Clinton to whom they had 
every reason to be grateful. No personal attacks of any con- 
sequence were made upon Judge Yates, but a man who had 
been Governor for twelve years furnished a fair mark for per- 
sonal abuse. He was hated chiefly for his opposition to the 
Federal Constitution, and upon the day that the Constitution 
came into effect, a Boston newspaper published a long politi- 
cal biography of Governor Qinton, as of one who had de- 

76 New York City in 1789. 

parted political life. Another Boston paper printed a pro- 
gramme of the funeral procession of Antifederalism which in- 
cluded : " His Excel. G. CI — nt — n, Esq. In both hands a 
Purse, tied up. The words thereon, If New York loses the 
Impost^ I lose thee^ The main charge made against him was 
that of avarice, and it was announced that the members of the 
Antifederalist committee of correspondence in the city were 
unpopular, without influence, and chiefly office-holders by the 
Governor's appointment. His strongest opponent in the city 
newspapers was one " H. G.," who published a series of let- 
ters describing the Governor's career in a manner by no 
means complimentary. " H. G." also made a violent attack 
upon Marinus Willet, who announced that he knew his iden- 
tity and would show him up in his true colors, but afterwards 
admitted that he had been unable to fathom his personality. 
" H. G's." letters were also answered by " William Tell," and 
before the electioneering was finished, volleys of abuse were 
hurled in all directions by these writers and by "Tam- 
many " and " Tammany jr." One citizen, who was evi- 
dently a Mugwump, expressed his opinion thus : " ' The ox 
knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib ' and I am 
much deceived if these brayers on both sides, with one or two 
exceptions, are not actuated by similar motives." The chair- 
men of the opposing committees, Mr. Hamilton and Mn 
Lawrence, were so unequally provided in the matter of men- 
tal equipment that their productions during the campaign 
cannot fairly be compared. Mr. Lawrence was no match for 
the greatest statesman whom New York has ever produced. 
The result of the election for governor, however, showed that 
Governor Clinton was not as politically dead as his opponents 
wished him to be. The vote in New York City was as follows: 

Ward. Yates. Clinton. 

East. 125. 96. 

West. 146. 41. 

Dock. 53. 49. 

South. 53. 16. 

North. loi. 55. 

Out, 115. 89. 

Montgomerie 240. 66. 

Total. 833. 385. 

City Government. — Militia, — Politics. 77 

Judge Yates also carried Westchester, Dutchess, Colum- 
bia, Albany and Montgomery counties, but Governor Clin- 
ton's strength in the other counties was sufficient to give him 
a majority of 429 votes in the State. The smallest vote was 
in Clinton County where but forty-five ballots were cast, of 
which Governor Clinton received forty-two. It was estimated 
that there were nearly 20,000 freeholders in the State of 
whom 12,353 voted, 547 ballots being thrown out for various 
reasons. Before the votes were canvassed, bets were made in 
the city at the odds of two to one in favor of Gov. Clinton's 
re-election and it was conjectured that j^iooo were lost in 
that manner. Governor Clinton's triumph was thus an- 
nounced in the New York Journal of June 4th 1789: "It 
has been remarked that this election for Governor has been 
more severely contested than any one since the peace, and in- 
contestibly proves that a very great majority of the citizens 
of the State have full confidence in him whom they have for 
five successive elections placed in the chair of government ; 
who, then, can other than hail him — the favorite of the peo- 
ple." On the 5th of June, Governor Clinton and his friends 
held a jubilee at Fraunces' Tavern. The Governor's salary 
for a number of years had been ;^I500 a year but by an Act 
passed on the 28th of February 1789 he was to receive, during 
the year ending July ist 1789, ;^I200 salary, ;^300 for the 
rent of the house then occupied by him, and a sufficient 
amount to pay the taxes on it. Mr. Van Cortlandt received 
a practically unanimous vote of 11,445 ballots for Lieutenant- 

The election of Assemblymen and State Senator did not 
arouse as much interest in the city as that of Governor. The 
cartmen, mechanics, and other citizens held various meetings 
at which the following gentlemen were nominated for As- 
semblymen, a list of their names giving an idea of the class of 
men who were in political life at that time : 

William Backhouse. John Leake, Jr. 

John Broome. Morgan Lewis. 

Donald Campbell. Daniel McCormick. 

Francis Childs. White Matlack. 

78 New York City in 1789. 

Matthew Clarkson. John Murray. 

William Constable. James Nicholson. 

Nicholas Cruger. Anthony Post. 

John Delafield. Robert R. Randall. 

Wm. W. Gilbert. Comfort Sands. 

William Heyer. Ebenezer Stevens. 

RuFus King. Robert Troup. 

Jonathan Lawrence. Gulian Verplank. 

William Laight. John Watts. 

Henry Will. 

The Yiames of the nine who were elected, and the number 
of votes which each received were these : 

Gulian Verplank, ii 76. Henry Will, 1131. 

John Watts, 1176. Robert R. Randall, 113a 

RuFus King, 1173. Morgan Lewis, 1115. 

Matthew Clarkson, 1143. Anthony Post, 788. 

Francis Childs, 675. 

Assemblymen received \2s. a day and their travelling ex- 

Philip Livingston was elected State Senator. 

The political event occurring in New York City in 1789, 
which, with the exception of President Washington's inaugu- 
ration, has proved to be of the greatest importance, was the 
organization of the St. Tammany's Society, or Columbian Or- 
der. Societies bearing the name of St. Tammany had existed 
both in Philadelphia and New York before 1789, but the 
present organization, commonly known as Tammany Hall, 
had its origin in the early part of that year, its founder being 
William Mooney, an upholsterer, whose residence was No. 23 
Nassau Street. According to a description of its purposes, 
written in 1790, "this national institution holds up as its ob- 
ject the smile of charity, the chain of friendship, and the flame 
of liberty: and in general, whatever may tend to perpetuate 
the love of freedom or the political advantage of this country.'* 
As organized in 1789, it was to be a national society founded 
on the true principles of patriotism, and having for its motives 
charity. and brotherly love. Its officers were to consist of 
native-born Americans, while adopted citizens were eligible 

City Government, — Militia. — Politics. 79 

to the honorary posts of warrior and hunter. The bfficers 
were one grand sachem, twelve sachems, one treasurer, one 
secretary, and one door-keeper, 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 was governed in 1789 by, 

William Mooney, Grand Sachem. 

White Matlack. John Burger. 

Oliver Glean. Jonathan Pearsee. 

Philip Hone. Thomas Greenleaf. 

James Tylee. Abel Hardenbrook. 

John Campbjell. Cortlandt Van Beuren. 

Gabriel Furman. Joseph Gadwin. 

Treasurer^ Thomas Ash. 
Secretary^ Anthony Ernest. 
Doorkeeper^ Gardner Baker. 

The St. Tammany's Society, at the outset, included men 
of all parties and did not take a prominent part in politics. 
In 1 789 its meetings were held at Sam Fraunces' tavern, but 
it celebrated the 12th of May in tents erected on the bank of 
the Hudson River about two miles from the city, where a 
large number of members partook of an elegant entertain- 
ment, served precisely at three o'clock, after which there was 
singing and smoking and universal expressions of brotherly 
love. In 1790 the Tammany Society, through the efforts of 
John Pintard, became the first American Historical Society by 
establishing a museum for the preservation and exhibition of 
all things relating to the history and antiquities of America. 

The national political events occurring in New York in 
1789 included the meeting of the first Congress under the 
Federal Constitution and the inauguration of the first Presi- 
dent and Vice-President of the United States. The Const i-r 
tution had been adopted by the members of the Philadelphia 
Convention on the 17th of September 1787, its benefits had 
been practically secured by its ratification by the ninth state. 
New Hampshire, on the 21st of June 1788, and it had been 

8o New York City in 1789. 

ratified by New York, on the 26th of July 1788. Until the 
2 1st of November 1789, North Carolina was a "foreign 
state," and Rhode Island chose to occupy that position until 
the 29th of May 1790. The electors of the President were to 
be appointed on the first Wednesday in January 1789, and were 
to cast their votes on the first Wednesday in February, but 
through the opposition of the Ant i federalists, no electors were 
appointed in New York State. The Constitution was to go 
into operation on the first Wednesday of March 1789, and that 
day was greeted in the City by the ringing of bells and firing 
of cannon at sunrise, noon, and sunset, and the decoration of 
Federal Hall with flags. The feeling of the Federalists 
throughout the country with regard to the event was ex- 
pressed in a Boston newspaper of March 7th in an article be- 
ginning thus : " The Copartnership of Anarchy and Anti- 
federalism being on the 4th inst. dissolved by the death of the 
concerned, the firm ceases to be. The stock in trade consist- 
ing of subterfuges, scarecrows, calumny, etc., will be disposed 
of at Public Auction to Arnold, Galloway, Deane, or their 
agents — and anything will be received in payment except 
Rhode Island paper money." The Federalists, however, met 
with a dire disappointment in the lack of activity on the part 
of the Congressmen in coming to New York. On the 4th of 
March there being but eight Senators and thirteen Represen- 
tatives present, the meeting of Congress was adjourned for 
lack of a quorum. Daily adjournments continued until the 
1st of April when the House, having a quorum of thirty 
members, organized and chose as speaker Frederick Augustus 
Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania. No quorum appeared in the 
Senate until the 6th of April, but there being a quorum of 
twelve Senators on that day, John Langdon of New Hamp- 
shire was chosen temporary President of the Senate and the 
votes for President and Vice-President were opened and 
counted. Each ballot contained two names, the person re- 
ceiving the highest number of votes to be President, and the 
next to highest number Vice-President. The total number of 
votes cast was sixty-nine, of which Geoi^e Washington re- 
ceived all. The votes for other candidates were, for John 

City Government, — Militia. — Politics. 8 1 

Adams, 34; John Jay, 9; Richard H. Harrison, 6; John 
Rutledge, 6 ; John Hancock, 4 ; George Clinton, 3 ; Samuel 
Huntington, 2 ; John Milton, 2 ; James Armstrong, i ; Ben- 
jamin Lincoln, i ; and Edward Telfair, i. Charles Thomson, 
the Secretary of Congress was then appointed to announce 
his election to General Washington, and Sylvanus Bourne of 
Roxbury, Mass., was sent on a like mission to John Adams. 
New York State was not yet represented in either branch of 
Congress, as the votes cast at the Congressional election were 
not yet canvassed and no Senators had yet been elected. 
Not until the latter part of July did the New York Legisla- 
ture come to an ^reement with regard to electing U. S. 
Senators, the candidates then being Philip Schuyler, Rufus 
King, James Duane, Lewis Morris, and Ezra L'Hommedieu. 
Rufus King of New York City and Philip Schuyler of 
Albany were finally chosen and took their seats in the Senate 
on the 25th and 27th of July respectively, their drawing for 
terms resulting in Mr. King obtaining the term for six and 
Mr. Schuyler that for two years. Mr. King was born in 
Scarborough, Maine, in 1755, and after graduation from Har- 
vard College in 1777, studied law and soon attained eminence 
in that profession. He served in the Revolution, and was a 
member of the Continental Congress and of the Convention 
which framed the Federal Constitution. In 1786 he married 
Mary, daughter of John Alsop of New York, and took his 
residence in the city in 1788. In the election of 1789 he was 
chosen Assemblyman, and then passing to the U. S. Senate 
was re-elected in 1795, but resigned in 1796 to become Minis- 
ter to England where he remained until 1804. In 1813 he 
was again elected to the U. S. Senate and remained in it 
until 1825, when he was again appointed Minister to England 
but returned in the following year in broken health, and died 
at Jamaica, Long Island, on the 29th of April 1827. He was 
a stout federalist and a vigorous opponent of slavery. 

The early meetings of Congress were devoted to prepara- 
tions for the reception and inauguration of the President and 
Vice-President, then followed a heated discussion as to the 

titles which were to be given them, and this was followed by 

82 New York City in 1789. 

a Salary Bill by which it was ordered that the President 
should receive $25000 a year, the Vice-President $50CX>, the 
Speaker twelve dollars a day during the session, and the 
Senators and Representatives six dollars a day. The next 
topic discussed was the tariff, and then came the question of 
the permanent seat of the Federal Government. In this ques- 
tion the citizens of New York had the deepest interest and 
the galleries were thronged during the bitter debates upon the 
subject in September 1789. Ladies had made their appear- 
ance in the gallery of the House in April, a most laudable 
curiosity, according to the newspapers, being a sufficient reason 
for the novelty of the circumstance. Congress adjourned on the 
29th of September 1789 after passing twenty-seven Acts and 
a number of resolutions. It met again in New York on the 
4th of January 1790 and sat until the 12th of August when it 
adjourned to meet next in Philadelphia. 

The Federal appointments to office in which the city was 
interested began early in August when the President ap- 
pointed John Lamb, collector of the port, Benjamin Walker, 
naval officer, and John Lasher, surveyor. Of these John 
Lamb was the most distinguished. He was born in the city 
on the first of January 1735, being the son of Anthony Lamb, 
an excellent maker of mathematical instruments, who died at 
the age of 81 years, on the nth of December 1784. The son 
for a time assisted his father in business but in 1760 engaged 
in the wine trade. Before the Revolution he was an active 
Liberty Boy and served with distinction throughout the war, 
being wounded and taken prisoner in Montgomery's expedi- 
tion against Quebec. He was a member of Assembly in 1784 
and was appointed Collector on the 22nd of March in that 
year, reappointed under the Federal Government in 1789, and 
held the office until 1797. He died in New York on the 31st 
of May 1800. 

Benjamin Walker was born in England in 1753, and after 
passing a few years in France was employed by a merchant in 
London by whom he was sent at an early age to New York, 
During the Revolution he acted as aide-de-camp to Baron 
Steuben and to General Washington, it being related that 

City Government. — Militia. — Politics* 83 

upon one occasion when Baron Steuben had exhausted his 
store of expletives in endeavoring to drill some raw recruits 
he cried out: " Viens, Walker, mon ami, viens, mon bon ami, 
sacr6, Gott dam de gaucheries of dese badauts, je ne puis plus, 
I can curse dem no more." After the peace. Col.. Walker 
acted for a short time as secretary to Gov. Clinton and then 
became a commission merchant in New York residing in 1789 
at No. 22 King (Pine) Street. He was Naval Officer until 
1797 when he moved to Fort Schuyler, now Utica, where he 
died on the 13th of January 18 18. John Lasher was a mem- 
ber of the Committee of Safety in 1775, was appointed Sur- 
veyor on the 19th of November 1784, reappointed in 1789 and 
held the office until the year 1800. The port wardens in 1789 
were Thomas Randall, Augustine Lawrence, and William 
Heyer, and the physician to inspect vessels was Dr. Charles 

Of more importance was the appointment of Alexander 
Hamilton to the Secretaryship of the Treasury on the nth 
of September 1789 which was followed a few days later by 
his appointment of William Duer as Assistant Secretary. Mr. 
Duer was born in England on the i8th of March 1747 and 
twenty years later was aide to Lord Clive in India. In 1768 
he came to America and purchased a tract of land in Wash- 
ington County, N. Y. where he became County Judge. He 
was a member of the New York Provincial Congress, and of 
the Committee of Safety, one of the committee that drafted the 
State Constitution in 1777, and a member of the Continental 
Congress in that and the following year. He was Secretary 
of the Treasury Board until 1789, author of a few numbers of 
the Federalist y and served as Assistant Secretary of the Treas- 
ury until 1790. In 1779 he married Miss Kitty Alexander, 
daughter of William Alexander, who unsuccessfully claimed 
the title of Lord Stirling. His death occurred in New York 
on the 7th of May 1779. 

Later in September came the appointments of John Jay 
to be Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, James Duane, 
to be U. S. District Court Judge, Richard Harrison, U. S. 
Attorney, and Samuel Osgood, Postmaster General, the latter 

84 New York City in 1789. 

appointment causing a change in the Postmasterahip of the 
City. The main post-route in the country then ran from 
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Savannah, Geoi^ia, but 
there were only seventy-five post offices in all. The route in 
New York State covered 249 miles ; the contract for carrying 
the mails three times a week in summer and twice a week in 
winter being given to Levi Pease at $3300 a year. The total re- 
ceipts at the New York City Post Office for the three months 
ending January 5th 1790 were $1067.08, the postmaster's 
emoluments amounting to $252.32. The amount of post- 
age required was almost prohibitive, the cost of sending a 
letter from New York to Savannah being 33 cents. The city 
postmaster for a number of years had been William Bedlow 
whose office in 1789 was at No. 8 Wall Street, but on the 
22nd of September 1789 the President approved an Act for 
the establishment of a New Post Office Department, which 
was to remain in effect only to the end of the next session of 
Congress. Ebenezer Hazard, had, as Postmaster General, 
mans^ed the department for a number of years in the face of 
the greatest difficulties, but had allowed the postmasters 
throughout the country to manage the offices on a credit sys- 
tem and to fall years in arrears in their accounts with the 
government ; he was therefore removed and Samuel Oi^^ood 
appointed in his place on the 29th of September 1789, and a 
few days later Sebastian Bauman took Mr. Bedlow's place as 
postmaster. The methods of the department in those days 
are illustrated by a card which Mr. Bedlow published on the 
6th of October 1 789 thanking the merchants for their kind- 
ness toward him and requesting them to call and settle their 
accounts. The new Postmaster General endeavored to hasten 
the settlement by entering up a judgment against the former 
postmaster for arrears due to the government, and on the 9th 
of March 1790 the latter presented a petition to Congress 
praying for more time in which to pay the judgment. Mr. 
Bedlow died of yellow fever in 1798. On the 5th of October 
the post office was removed from No. 8 Wall Street to No, 
62 Broadway, corner of Crown (Liberty) Street, and two 
days later " A Merchant " expressed the hope that Mr, Bau- 

City Government. — Militia. — Politics. 85 

man would have more consideration for the ease and comfort 
of the citizens than to continue it there long, but would 
choose some more central place. For the greater part of the 
year, the mails from the South arrived at 3 P.M. on Tuesday, 
Thursday and Saturday, and closed at 10 P.M. on Monday, 
Wednesday and Friday, those from the East arriving on the 
same days at 7 P.M. and closing on Tuesday, Thursday and 
Sunday at 8 P.M. From the 1st of November until the first 
of January, however, the Southern mail closed at I P.M. on 
Monday and Thursday, and arrived at 3 P.M. on Wednes- 
day and Saturday, while the Eastern and Northern mail 
closed at 8 P.M. on Sunday and 9 P.M. on Wednesday, and 
arrived at 6 P.M. on Wednesday and Saturday. Letters had 
to be in the post office half an hour before the mail closed. 
On the 1st of January 1790 it was announced that the mail 
would be sent to Philadelphia five times a week. 

On the 1 2th of December 1789 the offices of the Secretary, 
Comptroller, Register, and Auditor of the Treasury were re- 
moved from jBroadway to one of the corners of Broad and 
Great Dock '(Pearl) Street. The State Treasury was next 
door to No. 9 Great Dock Street. 

The representatives from foreign countries in New York 
City in 1789 were Don Diego de Gardoqui, encargado de 
negocios from Spain, and Jos6 Viar, chargd d'affaires in the 
latter part of the year ; Marquis de Moustier, minister from 
France, and Louis G. 0\XOy chargi d'affaires ; Francis P. Van 
Berckel, minister resident from Holland ; Sir John Temple, 
consul-general from Great Britain ; and Richard Sonderstrom, 
Swedish consul. Don Diego de Gardoqui had come to 
America in 1785 to carry on negotiations with regard to the 
Mississippi River and became very popular in New York, his 
departure on the loth of October 1789, on the snow San 
Nicholas for Bilbao, being universally regretted. Jos6 Viar 
then became chargi d'affaires^ having been officially presented 
to President Washington on the 25th of September, and oc- 
cupied that post until 1794, and for a short time in 1796. 
Eleonor-Frangois-lfilie, marquis de Moustier, the French Am- 
bassador, was bom in Paris on the 15th of May 175 1, and after 

86 New York City in 1789. 

a military and scientific education went to London as Minister 

Plenipotentiary in 1783. In 1787 he took the place of M. 
de la Luzerne in America and, being a stout adherent of the 
Bourbons, made himself extremely obnoxious in a republic 
which he despised. He had a parting audience with Presi- 
dent Washington on the 9th of October 1789 and sailed for 
France a week later. In 1790 he became ambassador to 
Prussia, and in the following year returned to France to de- 
cline to become Minister of Foreign Affairs, and at the same 
time refused to return to Berlin. He was then appointed 
Ambassador to Constantinople but had to flee to England to 
escape death at the hands of the French Revolutionists. He 
immediately returned, however, to the Continent and labored 
in behalf of the Bourbons, his letters, falling into the hands 
of the Jacobins, being reproduced in the Act of Accusation 
against Louis XVI. In 1792 he returned to England where 
he remained until 1796 when he took up his residence in Prus- 
sia until driven out by Bonaparte in 1806. He then fled to 
Hartwell, England, with Louis XVIII. and shared the fort- 
unes of that monarch until July 181 5, when he retired to a 
country-house near Versailles where he died of apoplexy on 
the 1st of February 1817, after a life of loyal devotion to a 
bad cause. In 18 10 his son was appointed to a diplomatic 
mission to the United States, but was ordered elsewhere as 
he was preparing to sail. 

Louis G. Otto, the French charge d'affaires, was born in 
Baden in 1754, and coming to America in 1779 remained until 
1792. He died in Paris in November 18 17. Francis P. Van 
Berckel, minister from the Netherlands, arrived in New York 
on the loth of May 1789, presented his credentials on the 
i6th of that month, and represented that country in the 
United States until September 1795. Sir John Temple, 
the British consul-general, was born on Noddle's Island, in 
Boston Harbor, in August 1732, and from 1761 to 1767 was 
Surveyor General of Customs for the Northern District of 
America. From 1761 to 1774 he was also Lieutenant Gov- 
ernor of New Hampshire, but in the latter year was removed 
from that office because of inclination toward the American 

New York City in 1789. 87 

cause. After a sojourn in England for some years, he resided 
in Boston in 1783, and in 1785 became consul-general in New 
York, remaining in that office until his death on the 17th of 
November 1798. In January 1767 he married Elizabeth, 
daughter of James Bowdoin, and in 1786 succeeded to a Brit- 
ish baronetcy. Although extremely deaf he was very popu- 
lar in the New York social world, and was noted for his ele- 
gant entertainments. The first British minister to the 
United States presented his credentials in October 1791. 


Climate. Provisions and Markets. Dress and Cus- 
toms. Societies. 

The healthfulness of the city in 1789 was especially brought 
to public notice with the object of persuading the Federal 
Government to fix upon New York as its permanent seat. 
On the 24th of June, the Gazette of the United States an- 
nounced that during nearly three months' sitting of Congress 
but one of its members had fallen sick, and in September, an 
elaborate statement of the advantageous situation of the city 
in point of healthfulness appeared from the pen of Dr. John 
Bard, the leading physician at that time. He wrote as fol- 
lows: " New York is justly esteemed one of the healthiest 
cities of the continent. Its vicinity to the ocean, fronted by 
a large and spacious bay ; surrounded on every side by high 
and improved land covered with verdure and growing v^e- 
tables, which have a powerful influence in sweetening and 
salubrifying the air and which often in their season salute the 
inhabitants settled on the west side of the Broadway with 
fragrant odours from the apple orchards and buckwheat fields 
in blossom on the pleasant banks of the Jersey shore in view 
of their delightful dwellings ; the continual influx and reflux 
of two noble salt water rivers extending along each side of 
the town, which gives perpetual motion to the air ; the in- 
equality and descent of the ground on which the city stands, 
whereby most of the impurities left by the scavengers are 
washed by the rains into the rivers and there converted twice in 
every twenty-four hours by floods of salt water, which checks 
every putrid fermentation ; furnished with good and whole- 
some water, and the markets supplied with the greatest plenty 

Climate^ Dress and Customs^ etc. 89 

and variety of every kind of fresh and wholesome provision 
which both the land and the sea afford. The salutary effects 
of all which are confirmed in the complexion, health and vigor 
of its inhabitants." Dr. Bard's sentences were constructed 
after a somewhat peculiar plan, but, if the longevity of the 
inhabitants of the city be taken as a test, the truth of his re^ 
marks was confirmed by the facts. Thus, on the 7th of No^ 
vember 1789, died Mrs. Johannah Vanbrugh Duyckink aged 
92 years and 6 months ; and — to take an example from the 
next generation — in the directory for 1789 there appears the 
name of Neal McKinnon, grocer, at No. 31 Wall Street, and 
in June 1816 there appeared a notice of the death of Neal 
McKinnon, aged 88 years, a follower of the immortal Wolfe 
on the Plains of Abraham in 1758. In some respects, how- 
ever, Dr. Bard*s statements were not altogether accurate. The 
breezes laden with the fragrant odors of New Jersey did not 
always blow. In August 1789 the heat was so great in the 
city that twenty deaths occurred in one week from that cause, 
aggravated by over-work and the drinking of too much cold 
water; perhaps an equally effective cause may be evolved 
from a newspaper statement that " Raw Rum has been found 
exceedingly pernicious in this extreme heat." The thermom- 
eter reached 88°, but, to afford some satisfaction to the over- 
heated citizens, the newspapers promptly stated that in Phila- 
delphia the thermometer stood at 96° for several days, that 
sixteen infants had been buried in that city on the first Sun- 
day in July, and that the Mayor had ordered all the meat in 
the markets to be thrown into the Delaware by ten o'clock in 
the morning as unfit for use. This unusual mortality in New 
York, however, brought about the suppression of a nuisance in 
the form of the prolonged tolling of the church bells during 
funeral services and processions. One exasperated sufferer 
from this nuisance published an appeal to the Common Coun- 
cil on the subject in April 1789. He stated that, if the Gen- 
eral Government was to be retained in New York, all nui- 
sances should be abated and that the country members of 
Congress complained bitterly of the tolling of bells at funerals, 
but that neitljer wit, reason nor the petitions of physicians had 

go New York City in 1789. , 

been able to stop it. His own thoughts on the subject were 
as follows : " When an usurer whose whole life has been a 
scene of extortion and avarice ; when an old maid whose life 
has been devoured with spleen and consumed in useless soli- 
tude ; when an old bachelor whose putrid carcase has long of- 
fended the senses, dies, their souls must be rung to eternity 
with peals of bell-metal thunder. If music has the same ef- 
fect upon the soul as it has on the feet of a marching regiment, 
I would advise the relations to get the Assembly Band and 
start the corpse with a flourish of hautboys and drums. The 
weak, the sick, and the studious are much disturbed with the 
noise of bell-metal clappers, and all strangers feel it a nui- 
sance ; would it not be better to move the dead silently to the 
silent grave." In view of the increased mortality in August, 
on the 19th of that month, the Common Council passed an 
ordinance that after the first of September, bells should not be 
tolled until the funeral procession came in sight of the burying- 
ground, and that when it entered the ground such tolling 
should cease and should not be renewed ; a fine of forty shill- 
ings was the penalty for disobeying the ordinance. A few 
days later a letter appeared in the Philadelphia newspapers 
stating that Philadelphians should not be troubled by the 
lies in the New York newspapers regarding the heat in Phila- 
delphia, and that the New York Corporation had directed 
that no bells be rung on the death of any of the inhabitants, 
lest the members of Congress (already much alarmed by the 
late mortality) should immediately remove from the city. 
Nor was the climate of New York altogether agreeable in 
some other respects. In a letter written from Long Island in 
May 1789 by Dr. Samuel L. Mitchill, afterwards Professor in 
Columbia College and United States Senator, the climate was 
represented to be very moist, the weather very changeable, 
and the mud often deep. He writes : " That person would 
deserve the praises and rewards of his countrymen, who should 
contrive a cheap and easy kind of stuff for shoes, effectually 
capable of guarding against this kind of wet and cold ; for 
wool and leather are insufficient." Dr. Mitchill lived to see 
this invention, as his death did not occur until 1 831, and rub- 

Climate y Dress and Customs^ etc. 91 

ber overshoes made their appearance in New York a few 
years before that time. Heavy snow also might be added to 
the disagreeable features of life in New York in 1789, for 
Washington records in his diary that on the 29th of November 
in that year " Being very snowy, not a single person appeared 
at the Levee." With regard to provisions afforded by the 
land, Dr. Bard was undoubtedly correct, as the New York 
markets have always been provided with the best of food, al- 
though in 1788 Brissot de Warville found the taste of the 
milk disagreeable because of the wild onions which were plen- 
tiful in the country and were eaten by the cows. He stated, 
however, that the vegetables, meat, and fish were wonderfully 
abundant and of good quality, although the fruit was inferior 
to that of Europe. A statement of Washington's household 
expenses during three months of the year 1789 may be taken 
to show the dishes which appeared on the tables of that day. 
Among its items were butcher's meat, bacon, tongue, geese, 
ducks, turkeys, chickens, birds, scale fish, lobsters, crabs, 
oysters, cured fish, eggs, cheese, bread, biscuit, cake, vegetables, 
butter, ice cream, preserves, fruit, melons, nuts, citrons, and 
honey. The wines included Madeira, Claret, Champagne, 
Cherry, Arrack, Spirits, Brandy, Cordials, Porter, Beer, and 
Cider. Among these, the item for Madeira was the largest, 
that for beer being next in amount. The teas which he used 
were hyson and bohea, the expenditure for both of them being 
less than that for coffee. 

A notice of the death of Major Job Sumner at the City 
Tavern on the i6th of September 1789 might lead to the sup- 
position that all of the fish to be found in New York markets 
were not of the first quality, as it is stated that he died of 
poison received from eating of a dolphin ; but the dolphin 
was caught off Cape Hatteras and eaten on board ship, so 
that New York fish were in no way responsible for the mis- 
fortune. The markets in the city in 1789 were six in number, 
the oldest of them being the Fly Market, established in 1699 
in the middle of Maiden Lane between Pearl and Water 
Streets and torn down in January 1822. On the 19th of 
March 1789 a committee of the Common Council was ap- 

92 New York City in 1789. 

pointed to enlarge this market. The other markets were the 
Peck Slip, established in 1763 and demolished in 1793; the 
Bear, situated on the west side of Greenwich Street between 
Fulton and Vesey Streets, established in 1771 and torn down 
in 1 81 3 at the time of the erection of Washington Market ; 
the Oswego, in Maiden Lane at its junction with Broadway, 
established in 1772 and torn down in 181 1 ; the New Market 
at Catherine Slip erected in 1786 nearly on the site of the 
present Catherine Market ; and the Exchange, the fourth of 
that name which had been built in Broad Street, erected in 
1788 on the Long Bridge leading from the Exchange to the 
river, and removed in 1 8 14. The citizens carried home their 
own marketing, the delivery of it in carts not becoming a gen- 
eral custom until about the year 1820. By a city ordinance 
of September ist 1784 no butcher was allowed to slaughter 
cattle elsewhere than at the slaughter-house erected at Cor- 
lear's Hook in July 1784, and the sale of provisions in the 
city was strictly regulated by ordinance. On the 19th of 
March 1789 the Common Council passed a market ordinance, 
repealing all former laws, by which it was enacted that every 
day except Sunday, from sunrise to sunset should be a market 
day and that such portions of the market as were not especially 
allotted to butchers, etc., should be occupied by country people. 
Ten shillings fine was the penalty for selling meat in the city 
without a license and for selling beef, mutton, pork or lamb in 
the public markets after one o'clock in the afternoon between 
the 30th of April and the ist of November, except on Satur- 
days. Hucksters and retailers were subject to a like fine for 
buying provisions in the markets, to be sold again, before 1 1 
A.M., or, in the case of flour and meal, before 4 P.M., the penalty 
for the latter offence being 5s. fine for each hundred-weight so 
bought. The fine for selling stale or unwholesome provisions 
or meat was forty shillings. No licensed butcher was to pur- 
chase, to be sold again, any dressed meat on its way to mar- 
ket, under penalty of los. fine per quarter. The market ex- 
penses were paid by the collection of is. 4d. for each four 
quarters of cattle killed and brought into market, 4d. for 
hogs, and 3d. for calf, sheep, and lamb. Country people 

Climate^ Dress and Customs^ etc. 93 

could sell meat by the quarter without paying a fee if it were 
actually raised on their own farms, and in smaller quantities 
at the same rate as butchers. This last provision, however, 
was construed by the country people to mean that they 
could not send their meat to market by their neighbors with- 
out paying a fee, and the consequence was that the best meat 
at times did not appear in the market, and after complaint 
by those who bought meat, the Common Council on the ist 
of April explained that it was not intended to prevent the 
sending of meat by neighbors. The market fees from the ist 
of February 1788 to the ist of February 1789 amounted to 
;£'584 6d., one half of which sum formed part of the Mayor's 

The physical ailments of those who partook of the good 
cheer furnished by the New York markets are said by Brissot 
de Warville to have been bilious fevers, and colds caused by 
careless exposure, but he states that the healthfulness of the 
city rendered the medical profession unprofitable. The direc- 
tory for 1789, however, contains the names of twenty-seven 
physicians, there being a number more whose names do not 
appear in it, and the Medical Society in that year, under the 
presidency of Dr. John Bard, had twenty-eight members. Dr. 
John Bard was the oldest physician in the city, having been 
born in Burlington, N. J., on the ist of February 1716. He 
settled in New York in 1746, and died in Hyde Park, N. Y., 
March 30th 1799. ^^ ^^^ snuff-colored suit during the week 
and scarlet coat on Sunday, he was one of the best known 
figures in the city. His son, Dr. Samuel Bard, born in Phila- 
delphia on the 1st of April 1742, was also distinguished as a 
physician in 1789 and attended Washington during his illness 
in that year. He began to practice with his father in 1767 
and continued in active service until 1798, when he retired to 
a farm in Hyde Park, and amused himself with agriculture. 
When the College of Physicians and Surgeons was founded in 
181 3 he became its first President and occupied that position 
until his death at Hyde Park on the 24th of May 1821. The 
following bill for services rendered by him in 1776 does not 
appear to be extortionate : 

94 -^^^ York City in 1789. 

1776. To DocTR. Saml. Bard, Dr. 

Octobr. 6th. A vomet 2/6. Spirit Sal. Volat. 2/6. haust. sud. 2/6. o. 7. 6. 

7. Sud. drops. 4/ 9th. twelve doses Cortex, 18/ i. 2. o. 

20. Six doses Cort. p. 9/ 28. two Do. 3/. 29. Six Do. 9/ i. i. o. 

Decer. 2d. Vomet. 2/6. 2. 6. 

Received the Contents in full, 2. 13. o. 

Doc. Samuel Bard, 

Jos. Dela Plaine, Junr. 

The treatment here shown seems to have been fairly good 
as the victim lived until the i8th of May 1778. 

Dr. Charles McKnight was also a well-known physician 
in 1789, having his office at No. 50 Smith Street. He was 
born in Cranbury, N. J., on the loth of October 1750, his 
father being a minister whose church was burnt by Tories and 
himself thrown into prison where he died in 1778. Dr. Mc- 
Knight was graduated from Princeton College in 177 1 and 
acted as a surgeon in the American army during the Revolu- 
tion, settling in New York after the war. He was eminent as 
a surgeon and was a professor in Columbia College from 1785 
until his death on the loth of November 1791. Among the 
other physicians in the city were Drs. Benjamin Kissam and 
Nicholas Romaine, both Professors in Columbia College, the 
office of the former being at No. 156 Queen Street and that 
of the latter on one of the corners of Nassau and John Streets ; 
Dr. Richard Bailey, afterwards health officer of the port. No. 
72 King (Pine) Street; Drs. Malachi Treat and J. R. B. 
Rodgers, No. 18 Little Queen (Cedar) Street ; Dr. William 
Pitt Smith, No. 5 Beekman Street ; Dr. James Tillary, No. 
86 Broadway; and Dr. George C. Anthon, in Broad Street, 
Dr. Tillary was a Scotchman who came to New York at the 
beginning of the Revolution and was a prominent member of 
the St. Andrew's Society. He died in 18 18 at about the age 
of sixty-seven years. Dr. Anthon was a German who came 
to America before the Revolution and settled in New York in 
1784 and purchased his house in Broad Street from Alexander 
Hamilton in April 1789. He died in 1815 aged eighty-one 
years. Effingham Lawrence of No. 227 Queen Street was 
druggist and apothecary to the Medical Society, a committee 

Climate^ Dress and Customs^ etc. 9$ 

of which examined his store quarterly and certified that his 
drugs and medicines were genuine and faithfully prepared. 

The luxury and ostentatious display of riches in the city, 
according to Brissot de Warville, were great and the inhabi- 
tants were followers of the English fashions. He considered 
the ladies to be especially extravagant in their dress. French 
fashions also were followed to some extent and were de- 
scribed from time to time in the newspapers for the benefit of 
New York society. Thus, in the N. Y. Gazette of May 15th 
1789 several French costumes were described which may have 
been adopted by the ladies of the city. 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 
creneaux or headpiece of which was made of white satin hav- 
ing a double wing, in large plaits, and 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 
floating chignon. Another costume was a perriot made of 
gray Indian taffeta with dark stripes of the same color, having 
two collars, one yellow and the other white, both trimmed 
with blue silk fringe, and having a reverse trimmed in the 
same manner. Under the perriot there was worn a yellow 
corset, or shapes, as it was then called, with large blue cross- 
stripes. Around the bosom of the perriot there was pinned 
a frill of ribbon or gauze cut in points around the edge. The 
hat worn with this costume was of white satin, with a broad 
band and two cockades. The newest costume consisted of a 
perriot and petticoat of gray striped silk trimmed with gauze 
cut in points. A large gauze handkerchief 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 ro- 
settes. Ladies' muffs were of Siberian wolfskin adorned with 
a large knot of scarlet ribbon. The French gentlemen, for 

96 Neiv York City in 1789. 

undress, wore very long blue riding-coats with plain steel but- 
tons, scarlet waistcoats, and yellow kerseymere breeches with- 
out embroidery. Their shoes were tied with strings, and 
above them were worn gaiters of black polished leather reach- 
ing nearly to the thigh. They wore very full muslin cravats 
with the ends tied in a large knot in front, and their mufis 
were made of bearskin with scarlet knots fastened upon them. 
The muff was probably not used by gentlemen in New York 
and they adopted English rather than French fashions. The 
New York ladies' hats were of such huge dimensions that a 
newspaper writer in 1789 suggested that a larger size of um- 
brella should be imported to protect them from the rain. An- 
other writer also ridiculed the fashion of appearing to be dim- 
sighted and of using what he called a spyglass at the theatre. 
The materials used for clothing included wildbores, cordurets, 
camblets, moreens, taboreens, callimancoes, durants, tammies, 
shalloons, rattinetts, florentines, denins, velverets, romalls, 
lutestrings, duffils, feamaughts, hairbines, osnaburgs, ticklen- 
burgs, ribdelures, honeycomb thicksetts, dowlas, amens, cas- 
serillias, and plattillas. The men were more simple in their 
habits and still despised gewgaws, but at table made up for 
this simplicity by the use of the most expensive wines. One 
class of men seemed to be particularly obnoxious to Brissot. 
He writes : " Luxury is already forming in this city a very 
dangerous class of men, namely, the bachelors ; the extrava- 
gance of the women makes them dread marriage." He also 
mentions with disapproval the universal habit of smoking; 
strong Spanish cigars six inches long being the material used 
in this revolting habit. He had the good grace to say, how- 
ever, that it had the advantage of accustoming its votaries to 
practice the virtues of meditation and silence. His statement 
that an American travelled with only a comb, razor, two shirts 
and two cravats, was manifestly a libel, as a newspaper adver- 
tisement of a trunk lost in May 1789 describes its contents as 
consisting of a dark green coat with plain silver buttons, a 
green striped waistcoat, one pair of nankeen and one pair of 
black satin breeches, a pair of silver shoe and knee buckles, 
seven shirts, seven neckcloths, three pairs of white silk hose 

Climate^ Dress and Customs^ etc, 97 

and sundry pairs of thread hose. But in spite of this sup- 
posed simplicity of men's dress the dandy of 1789 was suffi- 
ciently gorgeous in his apparel. John Ramage, the miniature 
painter, a handsome man of middle age, wore a scarlet coat 
with mother-of-pearl buttons, a white silk waistcoat em- 
broidered with colored flowers, black satin breeches with paste 
knee-buckles, white silk stockings, large silver buckles on his 
shoes, and a small cocked-hat on the upper part of his pow- 
dered hair, leaving the curls at his ears displayed. His cos- 
tume was completed by a gold-headed cane and a gold snuff 
box. Artificial enhancement of the beauty of men's figures 
was also widely adopted, one means of which excited the 
wrath of a newspaper writer in November 1789. In an article 
denouncing what he was pleased to call a "bishop," this 
writer says : " The young ladies have totally laid aside all 
manner of deception ; cork and wool are no more necessary in 
the dress of a fine woman, and, to the immortal honour of the 
ladies of New York, let it be here recorded that they have 
adopted the most natural and becoming fashions, this winter, 
that we have ever seen ; whilst the young bucks and petit- 
maitres are metamorphosing themselves into lusus naturae 
and their tailors into upholsterers." John Shepherd, a tailor 
at No. 23 Hanover Square, advertised cloths of nearly one 
hundred different colors at 38s. a yard, with the exception of 
some high colors which were more expensive. Among these 
colors were bottle-green, batswing, navy blue, parson's gray, 
changeable pearl, scarlet, light blue, light green, London 
smoke, purple, mulberr}'', garnet, sea green, mouse's ear, pea 
green, and drake's head. Waistcoats were made of muslinet, 
dimity, cotton, silk, satin, gold and silver tambour muslin, 
satinet, and Princess stuff ; the buttons used were gilt, silver, 
basket-brocaded and spangled. The cloths used were chiefly 
of English, French and Spanish manufacture, the latter being 
the most expensive, costing 45s. a yard. Casimirs were worth 
1 8s. and rattinetts four shillings. Nathaniel Hazard, No. 51 
Water Street, also advertised " American Woolens from the 
flourishing Manufactory at Hartford." Edward Moran, a 
tailor at No. 24 Smith (William) Street, was a modest man 

98 New York City in 1789. 

and advertised that " As self-applause is commonly the unerr- 
ing mark of ignorance and consequently disgusting, he de- 
clines it and only offers the following most reasonable terms : 


Plain coat, 15s. 

Fashionable do. i6s. 

Lappelled do. 17s. 

Waistcoats made fashionable, 6s. 

Silk and velvet breeches, 8s. 

Jean, Nankeen, Corduroy, &c. do. 7s. 

Double breasted surtout, i6s. 

Great coat, 14s. 

Ladie*s Habit, fashionable, i6s." 

Black satin breeches and striped silk vests could be bought 
ready-made for three dollars each. A beaver hat cost eight 
dollars and a castor hat six dollars. Boots and shoes could 
be obtained of Thomas Garnis, No. 72 Queen (Pearl) Street 
between Peck Slip and Cherry Street, who flattered himself 
that, having been used to work for the first nobility in Eng- 
land, he would be able to give satisfaction to those employing 
him. Men's boots cost six dollars, and ladies shoes one dollar 
and a half. Hair dressing, in the day of wigs and powdered 
hair, was a most important art, and one of those engaged in it 
was Charles McCann, at No. 40 Queen (Pearl) Street, who^ 
sold ladies' dress cushions at 1 6s., braids at from ten shillings 
to three dollars each, and ringlets at seven shillings a pair. 
For dressing a lady's hair every day he charged ;^I5 a year or 
five shillings a time, while gentlemen were charged ;^8 a year 
if their hair were dressed every day, £^ los. for four times a 
week, and £\^ los. for three times a week. The chief per- 
fumery store in the city was that of Nathaniel Smith at the 
Sign of the Rose, No. 187 Queen (Pearl) Street, where there 
could be obtained pomade de grasse for thickening the hair, 
vegetable face powder, almond paste for the hands, essences 
of bergamot, lavender, orange, and thyme, and nervous essence 
for the toothache. The best dentist in the city was John 
Greenwood, who in 1789 removed from No. 19 to No. 56 
William Street. He offered a guinea apiece for live teeth, 

Climate^ Dress and Customs^ etc. 99 

transplanted natural teeth for four guineas, and furnished 
them on gold or silver plates for from two to .five dollars 
each, artificial teeth made of different substances costing from 
one to two dollars. His office hours were from eight to 
eleven o'clock in the morning and from two to six o'clock in 
the afternoon, his advertisement making especial mention of 
the fact that he had a room set apart for the dentist business 
only. In 1789 Mr. Greenwood added to his reputation by 
making a full set of sea-horse teeth for Washington who is 
said to have had but one tooth of his own at that time. Mr. 
Greenwood's chief rival in 1789 was a M. Gardette, who came 
from Philadelphia in that year and adopted the plan of insert- 
ing long essays in the newspapers on the preservation of the 
teeth, as an advertisement. He also announced that he 
would pull teeth gratis for the poor from six to nine o'clock 
in the morning on Mondays and Thursdays, a plan which was 
also adopted by Mr. Greenwood. 

The leading jewelers in the city were Francis Panton, No.. 
38 Wall Street, who also dealt in shell goods ; Pearsall and 
Embree, No. 185 Queen (Pearl) Street; Bessonet and 
Merkler, at the Sign of the; Dial No. 32 Maiden Lane ; and 
William and John Mott, No. 240 Water Street, who in 1789 
issued a business token made of copper, about the present 
size of a quarter of a dollar, with an advertisement on both 

The great merchants of the city sold lai^ely on commission 
and their advertisements show a large variety of goods for 
sale. Thus, Robert Bowne and Co. offered hides, Madeira 
wine, l^num vit^e, boxwood, eighty sets of mahogany bed- 
steads, turpentine, varnish, lampblack, wax, sheet copper^ 
anchors, beef, pork, butter, lard, hams, flour, rice, bolting 
cloths, and a variety of dry goods. It is said that the firm 
doing the largest business in the city was that of Shedden, 
Patrick and Co., general menrhants at No. 206 Water Street. 
Other firms doing a large business were Gouvemeur, Kemble 
& Co., No. 26 Front Street ; Gelston and Saltonstall, No. 30 
Burling Slip ; and Murray, Mumford & Bowen, No. 20 Peck 
Slip. The prices in N. Y. currency of a few articles in mer- 



New York City in 1789. 

chandise in 1789 were as follows, the dollar being worth eight 
shillings : 

Bar Iron, £y^ per cwt. 

Pig Iron, ;£9 '* " 

Superfine Flour, 44s. per bbl. 

Common " 40s. " ** 

Wheat " 8s. " " 

Muscovado sugar, 50s. to 70s. per 

Loaf sugar, is. 3d. per lb. 

Butter, 7d. to 8d. 

Lard, 8d. 

Coffee, IS. 9d. 

Chocolate, 13d. 

Cocoa, 70s. 

Connecticut Pork, 72s. 

Hyson tea, lis. to 12s. per lb. 

<< << 

a tt 
it (( 

Sequin tea, 6s. 6d. per lb. 

Bohea ** 2s. sd. '* " 

Carolina tobacco, 3id. to 5d. 

Virginia " 4d. to 5d. 

Ham, 7d. per lb. 

Beef, 3id. ** ** 

Madeira wine, £60 to £<^ per pipe. 

Port '* lA^ " *' 

Lisbon ** 5s. per gallon. 
TenerifTe " 4s. *' " 
Fayal " 3s, 3d. per gallon. 
Jamaica spirits, 4s. 9d. ** ** 
Windward Island Rum, 4s. per 

Country Rum, 2s. 7d. per gallon. 

The price of bread was regulated by the Common Council 
and in May 1789 was 6d. for a wheat loaf weighing 2 lbs. i^ 
oz., and 3d. for a rye loaf weighing i lb. 8 oz. 

By the city charter the right to trade in the city, except 
upon fair-days, was restricted to those who were freemen and 
by a city ordinance of March 9th 1784, all persons not bom in 
the city or having served a seven years' apprenticeship in it, 
upon being made freemen were required to pay ;^5 to the 
Corporation in the case of merchants, traders and shopkeepers, 
and 20s. if they were handicraft tradesmen, in addition to 23s. 
6d. fees to the city officers. Native born citizens and those 
who had served an apprenticeship were required to pay 8s. to 
the mayor, 7s. 6d. to the clerk, and is. each to the crier and 
bell-ringer of the mayor's court. The tradesmen of the city 
apparently looked after the enforcement of these provisions, 
as, in August 1789, one of them requested the editor of the 
Daily Advertiser to insert in his paper an extract from the 
city charter setting forth the restrictions upon trade. The 
treatment of apprentices was regulated by an Act passed Feb- 
ruary 6th 1788 by which it was provided that no master should 
compel his apprentice to sign any bond or make oath not to 
set up the same trade, under penalty of £/^o fine. An infant 

Climate^ Dress and Customs^ etc. lOl 

was to be bound only until twenty-one years of age, except 
in the case of binding for the payment of passage money, 
under which circumstances the age limit was extended to 
twenty-four years. On the other hand, an apprentice refusing 
to do his duty was to be committed to the Bridewell until 
willing to work, and those absenting themselves from work 
were to serve double the time of their absence or to make 
satisfaction in some other way. 

Another important class in the community was that of the 
cartmen whose business was regulated by a city ordinance pro^ 
viding that no cartman, drayman or water carrier should sit 
upon and drive his cart, sled, dray or other carriage, nor drive 
his horse faster than a walk under a penalty of 6s. fine. The 
carts were to be two feet five inches wide between the fore- 
most rungs and two feet nine inches wide between the hind- 
most rungs, and no more or less ; the rungs were to be three 
feet eight inches high above the floor of the cart. Moving 
must have been a trial to the patience in 1789. 

There was but little travelling done, and that little was 
accomplished with great discomfort. The general stage-office, 
during the greater part of the year, was at Fraunces' Tavern, 
No. 49 Cortlandt Street, whence stages left for Albany, Bos- 
ton, and Philadelphia. The right to run a stage on the east 
side of the Hudson River from New York to Albany was a 
monopoly which, in April 1785, had been granted for ten 
years to Isaac Van Wyck, Talmage Hall, and John Kinney, 
the penalty for encroachment by others being ;^ 200 fine. The 
route to Albany was by the Bowery Lane and Kingsbridge 
Road to Kingsbridge and thence along the Hudson River. 
Stages left both ends of the route on Monday, Wednesday and 
Thursday, taking three days for the \.np in summer and four 
or more in winter, a day's journey lasting from five o'clock in 
the morning until ten in the evening. The fare on all the 
stage routes was 4d. a mile, fourteen pounds of baggage being 
carried free, and the price for a passenger being charged for 
every extra 150 pounds of baggage. In 1786 apian was made 
for a uniform charge at all the stage taverns on the roads to 
Albany and Boston, each person to pay for what he ordered, no 

102 New York City in 1789. 

club being admitted unless with the consent of all the company. 
By this arrangement a breakfast cost 2s., dinner 2s. gd., supper 
2s., a single bed is., and a double bed is. 6d.; beefsteak could 
be had for is. 6d., chicken for is. gd., and oysters from 6d. to 
2s. as called for. Champaigne was to cost ten shillings, 
Madeira and Claret eight shillings, and Port and Sherry six 
shillings a bottle. The Boston stages left the city on Mon- 
day, Wednesday, and Friday, by way of the Bowery Lane and 
Post Road to Harlem and thence eastward to Boston, making 
the journey in about six days by travelling from about three 
o'clock in the morning until ten at night. In October 1789 
the Boston and Albany stage-office was removed to Mr. Isaac 
Norton's, No. 160 Queen (Pearl) Street. 

Stages for Philadelphia left Paulus Hook twice every day 
except Saturday and Sunday when but one stage ran. From 
Paulus Hook there were two routes to Philadelphia, one by 
way of Newark and the other by way of the Blazing Star 
Tavern at Woodbridge. The fare through to Philadelphia 
was two dollars and the journey was made in about three days. 
These stages were drawn by four horses and could accommo- 
date twelve passengers. Philadelphia could also be reached 
by taking the boat from the Albany Pier on Monday, Wed- 
nesday, Thursday, or Friday, to South Amboy, whence stages 
set forth at three o'clock the next morning alternately to Bor- 
dentown and Burlington, and thence boats went to Philadel- 
phia " making the passage good the same day." Boats for 
New Brunswick, N. J., left Coenties Slip every Saturday 
morning, and, if the weather permitted, arrived there the same 
evening. The New Haven boats left Burling Slip. Stages 
for Jamaica, L. I., started from the ferryhouse at Brooklyn; 
and in March 1789 George O'Hara started a two-horse stage 
line from New York to Morristown by way of Paulus Hook 
and New- Ark, the trip taking from six o'clock in the morning 
until three o'clock in the afternoon, the fare being one dollar. 
The roads, in all directions were in the worst possible con- 
dition, and the danger of drowning in the rivers was great. 
If the traveller sought to escape the discomforts of stage 
journeying by going by boat, the time of starting and of reach- 

Climate, Dress and Customs, etc, 103 

ing his destination depended entirely upon the wind and 
weather. Thus, on the 26th of October 1788, Aaron Burr 
wrote to his wife from Albany after a journey from New York : 
" The headache with which I left New York grew so extreme, 
that finding it impossible to proceed in the stage, the view of 
a vessel off Tarry town, under full sail before the wind, tempted 
me to go on board. We reached West Point that, night, and 
lay there at anchor near three days. After a variety of changes 
from sloop to wagon, from wagon to canoe, and from canoe 
to sloop again, I reached this place last evening." 

The merchants of the city had founded the Chamber of 
Commerce in 1768 and its charter had been confirmed in 1784. 
The fee for admission was five Spanish milled dollars; a 
quarterly payment of one dollar was also required, and a fine 
of one shilling was imposed for inexcusable absence from a 
usual meeting, two shillings for a special meeting, and four 
shillings for a quarterly meeting. Leaving the Chamber dur- 
ing a meeting was punished by a fine of one shilling, and fail- 
ure to serve on the monthly committee by one of four shilings. 
The meetings were held at Bradford's Coffee House on the 
southeast comer of Wall and Water Streets. The officers of 
the Chamber of Commerce in 1789 were John Broome, presi- 
dent, and Theophylacte Bache and John Murray, vice-presi- 
dents. John Broome, the president, was bom on Staten Isl- 
and in 1738 and was noted as a politician as well as a 
merchant. He was an alderman from 1783 to 1785, city 
chamberlain in 1784, assemblyman in 1801, and 1802, state 
senator in 1803, and lieutenant governor in 1804, being re- 
elected to that office in 18 10 but dying on the 8th of August 
in that year. Both Broome Street and Broome County were 
named after him. He was treasurer of the Chamber of Com- 
merce in 1784 and its president from 1785 to 1794. Theo- 
phylacte Bache, was of English birth and came to New York 
in 175 1. He was one of the organizers of the Chamber of 
Commerce in 1768, its president in 1773, and one of the in- 
corporators of the Marine Society and of the New York Hos- 
pital. During the Revolution he was a Tory but resumed 
business after the war and was vice-president of the Chamber 

IC4 New York City in 1789. 

of Commerce from 1788 to 1792. He was also president of 
the St. George's Society and for a number of years vestryman 
of Trinity Church. He died in 1807 at the age of seventy- 
three years. John Murray was born in Pennsylvania in 1737 
and came to New York in early life. He was for many years 
an elder in the Wall Street Presbyterian Church and died in 
1808. The value of the exports to foreign countries from the 
port of New York during the year 1788 was estimated to be 
about £770,000 or $1,925,000, the most valuable exports be- 
ing wheat, flour, flaxseed, potash, bread, furs, barrel-heads and 
staves, and raw hides. The exports for 1790 amounted to 
$2,505,465. The duties collected on imports in 1789 
amounted to $145,329.56. The credit of American merchants, 
however seems to have been very poor in Europe if a letter 
is to believed which was written on the 29th of November 
1788 by a firm in Bordeaux to one in New York, an extract 
from which read thus : " The trading part of the United 
States have lost every atom of their character and credit in 
Europe, so that if they want or wish to keep up a connexion 
with the old world they must turn honest from policy if not 
from principle ; and, everything considered, we are really sur- 
prised at seeing them thus far so totally neglect the old Eng- 
lish adage." Brissot de Warville also states that he heard 
many complaints regarding the double-dealing of American 
tradesmen, but he affirms that this trickiness was confined to 
the cities, and that such complaints arose chiefly from his own 
countrymen who claimed that they were treated less justly 
than were the English. He adds, moreover, that the French- 
men whom he met in America spent their time in boasting 
of the services which France had rendered to the Americans 
and in sneering at the tastes and customs of the latter. 

But one ship seems to have been built in New York in 
1789, but there were American ships in those days which 
were carrying the American flag to all parts of the world, 
one Boston vessel being then on a voyage of circumnaviga- 
tion of the globe, while in May 1789 a vessel returned to 
New York which had been the first to display the American 
flag in the River Ganges and to trade there. A merchant 

Clifnatey Dress and Customs^ etc, 105 

vessel had gone to China several years previous, and a ship 
for that trade, finished in New York in October 1788, 102 
feet keel and 706 tons burden, cost about £ 14,000. On the 
3rd of October 1789 there were 117 vessels in New York har- 
bor and during the year there entered the port 1 107 sea ves- 
sels, of which 770 were American, 308 British, 1 1 Spanish, 8 
Portuguese, 5 French, 3 Dutch, and 2 Swedish. On the 9th 
of April, navigation on the Hudson River was no longer im- 
peded by floating ice. The principle wharfs in the city were 
on the East River and were known as the Albany Pier, on 
the east side of Coenties Slip ; Exchange Slip, at the foot of 
Broad Street ; Coenties Slip ; Old Slip ; Burling Slip ; Beek- 
man Slip, which was near the present end of Fulton Street ; 
Peck Slip ; New Slip, now called James Slip ; Oliver's Slip ; 
and Catherine Slip. By an Act passed April 17th 1784 no 
owner of a wharf was to charge more than 3s. a day wharfage 
for vessels between 60 and 100 tons burthen, 4s. 6d. for those 
between 100 and 200 tons, 5s. for those between 200 and 300 
tons, 6s. for those between 300 and 500 tons, and 7s. 6d. for 
those over 500 tons. In the case of ships employed between 
ports in this State the wharfage could be agreed upon by the 
owner of the wharf and the master of the vessel. There were 
five ferries running from the city to New Jersey and Brook- 
lyn, those on the Hudson River being that to Paulus Hook, 
now Jersey City, from the foot of Cortlandt Street, and the 
Hobuck ferry from the foot of Vesey Street, the former one 
and one quarter and the latter one and three quarters miles 
long. In July 1788 the Hobuck Ferry was leased to Charles 
F. Weissenfels for three years at £^ a year, and in April 17.89 
that to Paulus Hook was leased for the same term at ;^50 
rent. Farther up the river were the We^hawken, Bull's, and 
Fort Lee ferries which were leased for from twenty to thirty 
shillings a year. The ferry to Elizabethtown from the foot of 
Whitehall Street was leased for £yy a year to Thomas Quig- 
ley, and in April 1789 the Common Council received a pe- 
tition regarding the Staten Island ferry, which had appa- 
rently been discontinued. The ferries to Brooklyn, which 
consisted of a very few houses, were two in number, one from 

io6 New York City in 1789. 

the Fly Market stairs, and the other from Peck Slip. In 
March 1789 the Corporation published proposals to license 
six persons, during its pleasure, to run ferryboats to Brook- 
lyn, seven pounds a month to be paid for the privilege of run- 
ning two boats from the Fly Market, and ;£'3 los. for those 
from Peck Slip. Each boat was to be manned by two expe- 
rienced watermen, to be furnished with four oars and two 
boat hooks, and to have the owners name and its number 
painted upon it in plain sight. Each person was to own one 
large boat for the carrying of horses, cattle, carriages, heavy 
freight, and passengers, and one small boat for passengers and 
light freight, four of each kind to run from the Fly Market 
and two of each kind from Peck Slip. No horned cattle were 
to be taken off or landed west of Catherine Slip. In April 
the Fly Market ferry was leased to four men, but there were 
no applicants for the Peck Slip Ferry. The rate of ferriage 
to Brooklyn was fixed by an Act passed on the 28th of Feb- 
ruary 1789 and was as follows : " Horse, with or without sad- 
dle, lod. ; ox, IS. 3d. ; other cattle, is. ; coach body, 2s. ; 
chaise, chair, or sulkey body, 9d. ; passenger, 2d.'* The 
ferryman was to have a boat ready on each side of the river 
from at least half an hour before sunrise until eight o'clock in 
the evening, under a penalty of ids. for failure so to do. The 
ferry house at Brooklyn belonged to the City and was rented 
by it for ;^I55 a year. Accidents were frequent upon all the 
ferries and the time of starting and of arriving depended en- 
tirely upon the weather. The propulsion of vessels by steam 
power had been experimented upon by three inventors, and 
several successful trips had been made on the Potomac and 
Delaware by small boats fitted with an engine, but none had 
yet appeared in New York. John Fitch of Philadelphia had 
received from the New York legislature in March 1787 the 
sole right to make and use in the State of New York for four- 
teen years, a steamboat invented by him, which was pro- 
pelled by six oars on each side worked by steam, but this 
grant was bitterly contested by James Rumsey, of Berkley 
Co., Virginia, who claimed priority of invention for a boat 
propelled by the re-action of water ejected from the stern by 

Climate^ Dress and Customs^ etc, 107 

steam. Mr. Fitch's boat attained a speed of about seven 
miles an hour, and that of Mr. Rumsey a speed of three miles 
an hour. Mr. John Stevens of Hoboken also claimed to have 
invented a boat on a different principle in January 1789, but 
this seems to have been similar to that of Mr. Rumsey. Mr. 
Fitch's first successful exhibition of his boat in New York is 
said to have taken place on the Collect in 1796. 

The Marine Society, chartered April 12th 1770, was in 
1789 under the presidency of James Farquhar, who held that 
office from 1786 until 1825, — a period of thirty-eight years 
and nine months. During the year 1789 the Society distrib- 
uted the sum of ;^364 4s. 5d. among the widows and orphans 
of sailors. 

The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen had 
been founded on the 17th of November 1785 and in 1786 
thirty trades were represented in it. Its initiation fee was 
$2.50 and its object was the support of trade and charitable 
assistance to needy tradesmen. The various trades had their 
own societies, but sent delegates to the General Society, 
which looked after the interests of all. In 1789 the Society 
held its anniversary meeting on the 6th of January at Sam 
Fraunces tavern, No. 49 Cortlandt Street, and indulged in a 
dinner at which one of the patriotic toasts was : " A cobweb 
pair of breeches, a porcupine saddle, a hard trotting horse, 
and a long journey to all the enemies of freedom." The offi- 
cers elected at this meeting were, chairman, Anthony Post, 
carpenter ; deputy chairman, James Bramble, whitesmith ; 
treasurer, Wm. J. Elsworth, pewterer; and secretary, John 
McComb, jr. During the year the Society resolved to take 
no part, as such, in politics, and it was also decided to petition 
the Legislature to incorporate it, but the act of incorporation 
was not passed until March 14th 1792 at which time the So- 
ciety had over two hundred members. 

The Peruke-makers Society held its anniversary dinner on 
the 2nd of January 1789 at the house of Wm. Ketchum, and 
responded heartily to the toast : " May contempt be the fate of 
such among us as struts in foreign foppery to the destruction 
of American trade and manufactures." The Society of Master 

io8 New York City in 1789. 

Bakers also had its first anniversary dinner at the house of 
Lawrence Heyer on the 26th of September 1789. The most 
interesting commercial event, however, in 1789 was the for- 
mation of the New York Society for the Encouragement of 
American Manufactures. In October 1774 Congress had 
passed a resolution advising the non-importation of British 
goods so far as was possible, and as soon as the war was ended, 
efforts were made to start American manufactures, of which 
efforts Washington was a strong supporter, expressing the 
hope that clothing of American material would be used alto- 
gether, and approving of a protective tariff provided that it 
should not interfere with the interests of the agricultural por- 
tions of the community. Manufacturing Societies were ac- 
cordingly formed in the larger cities and every item of news 
regarding their progress was heralded with enthusiasm. Thus, 
when it was announced in October 1789, that the ship Massa- 
chusetts had been provided with all her canvas from the fac- 
tory at Boston, the newspaper editors burst into song and 
published the lines : 

'' Old ocean soon shall fleets behold, 
Eclipsing all in story told. 
See commerce spread the swelling sail t 
See our own canvass catch the gale I 
And waft to earth's remotest shores, 
Th' exuberance of our boundless stores." 

The promoters of the N, Y. Manufacturing Society met at 
Rawson's Tavern, No. 82 Water Street, on the 7th of January 
1789 and chose as officers. 

President^ Melanothon Smith. 

Vice-President y White Matlack. 

Treasurer ^ Ezekiel Robins. 

Secretary^ Cornelius Cooper. 
Standing Committee. 
Henry Pope. Henry Ten Broek. 

White Matlack. John Van Dyck. 

Ezekiel Robins. Jacob Hallett. 

Early in February another meeting was held at which it was 
unanimously resolved to raise a fund by subscription for the 

Climate^ Dress and Customs^ etc. 109 

establishment of a woollen factory, the shares to be £\o each, 
the pious promoters of the scheme adding that the blessing of 
heaven would be called down upon the city by thus furnish- 
ing employment to the poor. On the 17th of February a no- 
tice headed " The Test of Patriotism " announced that so 
many subscriptions had been received that a meeting would 
be held on the 23rd to choose a committee to draw up a con- 
stitution, and by the 17th of March ;^2i(X) had been subscribed 
by 187 persons among whom were included the most promi- 
nent men in the city. On the i8th of March a constitution 
was adopted and on the 26th of that month the following 
twelve directors and treasurer were chosen, 

William Maxwell. John Murray, jr. 

Nicholas Cruger. James Renwick. 

White Matlack. Matthew Clarkson. 

Jacob Hallett. William W. Gilbert. 

James Watson. James Nicholson. 

John Lawrence. Henry Ten Broek. 
Treasurer^ Alexander Robertson. 

On the 6th of April the Society advertised for a manager 
for Its factory, and on the 30th of May it was announced that 
hatchelled flax, tow, and yarn, could be obtained at the fac- 
tory. No. 21 Crown (Liberty) Street, On the 3rd of April the 
Common Council had appointed a committee to negotiate for 
the sale of the barracks to the Society, but nothing seems to 
have resulted from the negociation as the Society's property 
apparently consisted only of its factory and a bleaching ground 
at Second River, N. J., which in July was ready to receive 
linen'and yarn for bleaching. On the 13th of July it was ad- 
vertised that a person who had in miniature all the machinery 
for manufacturing cotton cloth would give instruction in the 
art if it were made worth his while, but whether the Society 
availed itself of his services or not does not appear. A Mr. 
Stevenson apparently had charge of the factory, which was in 
running order by the 26th of November and on the 22nd of 
December was employing 14 weavers and 130 spinners. It is 
said that the Manufacturing Society invested £,<^po in build- 

no New York City in 1789. 

ing and ;£^I400 in machinery, but it did not prove a success, 
and, although incorporated on the i6th of March 1790, it lan- 
guished for a number of years and finally the investment 
proved a total loss to those interested in it. In May 1789 
subscriptions were also solicited by Abraham Wilson, at No. 
89 William Street, for the establishment of a factory of earthen 
and cream-colored ware, and in the latter part of the year it 
was announced that such a factory had been established on 
the property formerly known as Vauxhall. The profits, how- 
ever, from this business do not appear to have been great, for 
in 1790 Mr. Wilson applied to the Legislature for assistance 
and received a loan of ;^i500 from the State. 

The only bank in the city in 1789 was the Bank of New 
York, established in 1784 and at first situated in the Walton 
Mansion, No. 156 Queen Street, whence it was moved in 1787 
to a house. No. 1 1 Hanover Square, purchased from the heirs 
of Nathaniel Hazard in 1784. It occupied these premises for 
ten years, being again moved in 1797 to the northeast corner 
of Wall and William Streets. The bank officers elected on the 
nth and 12th of May 1789 were 

President, Isaac Roosevelt. 

Vice-President^ William Maxwell. 

Cashier^ William Seton. 
Nicholas Low. Robert Bowne. 

Joshua Waddington. Samuel Franklin. 
Daniel McCormick. Thos. B. Stoughten. 

Thomas Randall.. William Constable. 

Comfort Sands. William Edgar. 

John Murray. 

The bank was open every day except Sundays, Christmas, 
New Year's, Good Friday, Fourth of July, and special holi- 
days appointed by law, the hours of business being from ten 
to one in the forenoon and from three to five in the afternoon. 
Discounts were made twice a week at seven per cent., and for 
not longer than thirty days. A petition to the State Senate was 
drawn up on the 3rd of July 1789 praying that the Bank might 
be incorporated, as the liability of individual ownership pre- 

Climate^ Dress and Customs^ etc, m 

vented its growth ; but, although a bill for its incorporation was 
introduced by Mr. Duane on the i6th of July 1789, it was not 
chartered until 1791. It was the only bank in the city until 
1799 when that of the Manhattan Company was established. 
The money used in 1789 was in pounds, shillings, and pence, 
in New York currency, the dollar, which was worth eight 
shillings, being merely money of account by which the other 
was measured. The greatest difficulty was experienced with 
the copper pence, which varied in value in the different States 
and became so depreciated in value as to be refused in trade. 
On the 2 1st of July 1789 the Common Council recommended 
that these coins be received at the rate of forty-eight to the 
shilling, owing to their importation from other States where 
their value was less than in New York. On the 6th of Au- 
gust, however. Alderman Wool found it necessary to expressly 
deny that he had made Jersey coppers since April 15th 1788, 
and to state that those he then made were in conformity to 
law. In 1790 the trouble became so great that the Corpora- 
tion issued tickets for small amounts in exchange for shillings, 
which could be redeemed for silver at the City Treasury in 
sums of more than five shillings. The dollar, dime, and cent, 
were adopted in New York by an Act passed January 27th 

Isaac Roosevelt, the president of the bank, was a sugar re- 
finer whose place of business was at No. 159 Queen (Pearl) 
Street, nearly opposite the Walton mansion. He had been a 
member of the Provincial Congress from 1775 to 1777, and of 
the Committee of Safety ; was one of the delegates to the 
Poughkeepsie Convention in 1788, and a State Senator from 
1777 until 1792, with the exception of the year 1787. In 
1779, 1784, and 1 79 1 he was a member of the Council of Ap- 
pointment. He was president of the Bank from 1786 until 
1 791 and died in October 1794 at the age of sixty-eight years. 
The death of his wife in 1789 caused Washington to make the 
foirowing entry in his diary, on the 15th of October, of rea- 
sons for not attending her funeral, " first, because the propri- 
ety of accepting any invitation of this sort appeared very 
questionable, and secondly, (though to do it in this instance 

112 New York City in 1789. 

might not be improper,) because it might be difficult to dis- 
criminate in cases which might thereafter happen." 

William Maxwell, the vice-president of the Bank, had 
been engaged in business in New York before the Revolution 
and died in the city in February 1792. William Seton, the 
cashier, was born in Scotland in 1746, and, coming to America 
in early life, carried on a shipping and importing business 
until his death in 1798. He was cashier of the Bank from 
the time of its establishment until 1794. 

There was also but one insurance company in the city in 
1 789, called the Mutual Assurance Company against Fire, which 
had its beginning on the 3rd of April 1787 when 24 members 
signed a deed of settlement drawn by Alexander Hamilton. 
On the loth of May 1787 the company was organized by the 
election of three trustees, John Pintard being appointed secre- 
tary, and William Maxwell treasurer. No insurance was to be 
made upon gilding, historical or landscape paintings, stucco or 
carving, nor were they to be replaced if destroyed. Until 1798 
no buildings were insured at a greater distance than two miles 
from the City Hall. In 1787 the company also adopted as a 
badge an oval tin plate, painted black, with the words " Mutual 
Assurance " and a number in gilt, which was placed on the 
houses insured until 1809 when the company was incorporated 
as the Mutual Insurance Company of the City of New York, 
which in 1845 became the Knickerbocker Fire Insurance 
Company. The rate of insurance, in 1789, on frame houses 
with brick or stone fronts and the sides filled in with brick, 
was £^ 5s. for £^QO insurance for seven years, and, if it was 
found that the premiums were sufficient to pay losses and ex- 
penses, £*] were to be returned at the end of the seven years, 
making the insurance for that time £2 5s. Losses were to 
be paid or the premises repaired within ninety days after the 
adjustment of the loss. The originator of the Mutual Assur- 
ance Company was John Pintard, who was born in New York 
in 17S9 and died on the 21st of June 1844, after a long life 
active in all good works. After graduation from the College 
of New Jersey in 1776 he served as a soldier in the American 
army and was for several years a clerk to his uncle Lewis 

Climate^ Dress and Customs^ etc. 1 1 3 

Pintard who was Commissioner for American Prisoners in 
New York. For a time he was editor of the N. Y. Daily 
Advertiser, was appointed City Inspector in 1804, assisted in 
the establishment of the first Savings Bank in 1 8 19, was one of 
the organizers of the American Bible Society and of the 
Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church, took a great 
part in the establishment of schools in the city, and was one 
of the chief promoters of the construction of the Erie Canal. 
In 1789, when one writer described him as " a singular mix- 
ture of heterogeneous particles," he was already agitating the 
subject of the formation of an antiquarian society, but this 
project was not executed in New York until 1804 when the 
N. Y. Historical Society was founded through his efforts. 
He was secretary of the Assurance Company from 1787 until 
1792, William Maxwell being its treasurer during the same 
period. In 1789 the office of the Company was at No. 57 
King (Pine) Street. 

The national societies in the city in 1789 were four in num- 
ber, their object being the promotion of the interests of fellow- 
countrymen and the rendering of charitable assistance to those 
in distress. The St. Andrew's Society had been formed in 
1756 and revived in 1784, and during the year 1789 received 
twelve new members. Its officers, elected in December 1788 

Presidetil, HoK. ROBERT R. LnriNGSTOH. 
Vke-FresideMiSj WiLLiAM Kerr and WILLIAM yiKXWKLL. 
Cimflmim, Rev. Dr. Johm Masov. 
Pkj^sicmM^ James Tiixerv. 

Hat STETEmov. William Wilsom. 


Aan>Rcw SIitcheix. Johv Turner. 

The Eii^;iish icsidcnts of tbe city had had an associatiofi 
bciofc die Rcrotatiofi, but the St. Geofge's Society data 
finom 17S6 when it had 7S t a cni b crs. In 1789 its officers were 

yic0-Fnmdmi^ WoxiamSetcml 

rii4 New York City in 1789. 

Asst Vice-President^ Joshua Waddington. 
Se<^y and Treasurer^ John Wilkes. 


Gerard Walton. John Delafield. 

John Berry. Samuel Corp. 

John Evers. 

During the year 1789 this Society received 14 new mem- 
bers. The Queen's Birthday was celebrated in New York on 
the 19th of January 1789 by an entertainment given by Sir 
John Temple, the British consul-general. 

The St. Patrick's Society in 1789 was under the direction 
of William Constable, president ; Alexander Macomb, vice- 
president ; Hugh Gaine, treasurer ; and Robert R. Waddell, 

Its Council consisted of : 

John Shaw. Sampson Fleming. 

Carlisle Pollock. Thomas Roach. 

William Edgar. Oliver Templeton. 

Thomas Beebe. General Maunsel. 

William Constable, the president of. the Society was one of 
t:h^ leading merchants of the city. He was the son of John 
Constable, a physitian who died in New York on the 17th of 
April 1785 at the age of 57 years. William Constable was 
born in Dublin on the ist of January 1752, received his edu- 
cation at Trinity College, Dublin, and coming to America 
served as an aide-de-camp to Lafayette during the Revolution. 
After the war he settled as a merchant in Philadelphia but 
soon removed to New York and entered into business upon 
capital furnished in part by Robert and Governeur Morris 
who became his partners. He died in New York on the 22nd 
of May 1803 and was buried in St. Paul's churchyard, where 
also repose the remains of his father, mother, and wife. The 
yjt. Patrick's Society celebrated the 17th of March 1789 by a 
dinner at the City Tavern, " and the other gentlemen of that 
nation (as is customary) feasted on Codfish and Potatoes, thei 
dish usually provided for the day, in large companies." 

The German Society was organized on the 4th of October 

Climate y Dress and CustomSy etc. ? i § 

1784, the initiation fee being two dollars and a half. Its of^ 
ficers in 1789 were : 


Vice-President y Rev. Dr. Kunze. 

Treasurer^ David Grim. 

Secretary^ William Wilmerding. ; 

2«^5^rri?/flry, John L. Merkel. 

Solicitor y George Gilfert. ^ 

Dr. George C. Anthon. John ll. Leucker. 

Henry Arcularius. Henry Oertley. 

John H. Brand. Christian Schultz. 

John Tillman. 

In 1789 the Society had 99 members, who displayed their 
good citizenship at their annual meeting on the 7th of Janu- 
ary 1789 by unanimously resolving to unite in encouraging 
American manufactures in preference to those pf other counr 
tries. On the nth of November the Society celebrated its 
aiiniversary by marching from the Lutheran school house to 
the German church in William Street where prayer was of- 
fered by Dr. Kunze, an oration in German was delivered by 
.William Wilmerding, and one in English by Edward Living- 
ston. The company then adjourned to Fraunces' Tavern in 
(Courtlandt Street and partook of a dinner in company with 
the officers of the St. George*s, St. Patrick's, and St. An- 
drew's Societies. 

The Masonic Lodges in the city in 1789 were eight in 
number : 

5*/. Jokn^s No. 2, met at the Coffee House. Jacob Morton, master. 

Independent Royal Arck^ No. 8. George Garland, 

St, Andrew^ s Lodge^ No. 169. White MAtlack, 

Lodge No. 210. Thomas Thomas, 

St, Patrick' Sf No. 212. Henry Ludlam, 

St, John's, No. 4. Arnout Cannon, 

Grand Lodge, No. 5. John Martin, 
Holland Lodge, met at Sam Fraunces* Tavern. R. J. Vandenbrock, 

Among the officers of the Grand Lodge of the State of Ne\v^ 
York were Robert R. Livingston, grand master ; Peter 

Ii6 New York City in 1789. 

McDougall, senior grand warden ; Jacob Morton, grand sec- 
retary; White Matlack, grand treasurer; and Rev. Dr. 
Abram Beach, chaplain* On the 2Sth of June ten Masonic 
Lodges celebrated the Festival of St. John in the city by 
marching from the Coffee House to St. Paul's Chapel where 
a sermon was preached by the Rev. Dr. Beach, an anthem 
written by Brother Samuel Low of Holland Lodge was sung 
by the Musical Society to music composed by Mr. Phila, and 
a collection was taken for the benefit of the Manumission So- 
ciety. The first verse of the anthem composed by Mr. Low 
was : 

" From regions of immortal bliss above, 
Impart thy genial emanations, Love / 
Soul of our Order ! Patron of this day I 
Inspire our hearts and prompt the solemn lay." 

From the church the lodges proceeded to a collation at the 
City Tavern. 

Purely social clubs had not yet gained ct firm root in the 
city and the only one publicly mentioned in 1789 was the 
Black Friars Society, founded November loth 1784, with a 
Father, Chancellor, Cardinals and Priors. Among its mem- 
bers in 1789 were Josiah Ogden Hoffman, Benjamin Graves, 
John Stagg, Dr. James Tillery, Bernard Hart, Dr. Benjamin 
Kissam, Richard Harwood, John Fisher and Oliver Glean. 
On the 9th of May this society held a festival at the Friary, 
dinner being served at half-past four, and on the loth of No- 
vember its anniversary was celebrated by an oration by Dr. 
Tillery and a dinner at which eleven toasts were drank includ- 
ing one to " The Fair Daughters of Columbia — may they ever 
find a friend in a Friar." This society, which was organized 
for charitable as well as social purposes, met twice a month at 
the Friary, No. 56 Pine Street, and continued to exist until 
the year 1800. 

The social amusements of the wealthier class of citizens 
consisted chiefly in occasional balls, tea parties, and visits to 
the tea-gardens in the vicinity of the city. Brissot de War- 
ville writes : " As in England, tea forms the basis of the prin- 

Climate^ Dress and Customs^ etc, 117 

cipal parties in this city. It is to tea that a stranger is in- 
vited ; it is tea that you go to drink in the beautiful garden 
of M. Cummings, the Florida Garden of New York. It is 
situated on the North River and the view is charming." 
This garden in May 1789 passed into the hands of Geoige 
Leaycraft, its former proprietor George Cummings then open- 
ing a porter house at the Fly Market. Other popular gar- 
dens were Perry's on the west side of the present Union 
Square, and Williamson's on the east side of Greenwich 
Street above the present Harrison Street. Private carriages 
were few in number, although elegant in equipment, and ex- 
peditions to the suburbs were chiefly made in conveyances 
hired from one of the six livery stables in the city or at the 
coach stand at the Coffee House. Charles and James War- 
ner, whose stable was at No. 9 Great George Street, adver- 
tised coaches, phaetons, chairs, sulkeys, and saddle horses for 
hire. The coach fare was one shilling for each passenger to 
any point within one mile of the City Hall, and three shill- 
ings an hour for waiting in the city. To go to the two mile 
stone and around by Cummings' Garden cost six shillings for 
a party, and two shillings for each hour that the coach was 
detained. The fare to Harlem for the day was thirty-eight 
shillings, and to Kingsbridge, forty shillings. The fare for 
shorter rides was for Horn's tour, 8s. ; Lake's tour, los. ; to 
Murray's for half a day, 14s.; to Gracey's tavern, i6s. ; and to 
Apthorp's, i6s. In June 1789 a pair of dark bay horses, 14 
hands 3 inches high, one five and the other seven years old, 
well broken to carriage or saddle were offered for sale for ;^8a, 
and a bay saddle horse 15 J^ hands high, five years old, was of- 
fered for thirty guineas. 

The fashionable balls of the time may be judged of from 
a description, taken from Griswold's American Court, of one 
given, on the 14th of May 1789, in honor of Washington by 
Comte de Moustier, the French ambassador : " After the 
President came, a company of eight couple formed in the 
other room and entered, two by two, and began a most curi- 
ous dance called En Ballet. Four of the gentlemen were 
dressed in French regimentals and four in American uni- 

t iS Ntw York City in 1789. 

forms ; four of the ladies with blue ribbons rbund 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 all together, which formed great enter- 
tainment for the spectators, to show the happy union between 
the two nations. Three rooms were filled and the fourth was? 
most elegantly set off as a place for refreshment. A long^ 
table crossed this room from wall to 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 guests with everything they wanted, from time to time, 
as they came in to refresh themselves, which they did as often 
ks a party had done dancing and made way for another. We 
retired about ten o'clock, in the height of the jollity." The 
refreshments served to the guests upon these occasions are 
pirobably enumerated with tolerable fulness in the advertise- 
ment of Adam Pryor, Federial Confectioner, who in May 1789 
removed from Broadway to No. 59 Wall Street. This sets 
forth the sale of coriander, caraway, almond, and cinnamon 
comfits; burnt almonds, barley sugar, peppermint, orange, 
lemon, cinnamon and hartshorn drops ; pastry, jellies, blanc- 
mange, whip-syllabub, floating island, rocky island, pound 
cake for weddings, and brandy preserves. As the English 
fashions in dress then prevailed in New York some of the cos^ 
tumes at balls possibly resembled in some degree those worn at 
a magnificent entertainment given in London on the 4th of 
June 1789 in honor of the King's birthday. On that occasion 
Queen Charlotte's gown was of a lilac ground covered with 
crape embroidered in green, arid flounced with five rows of 
deep lace, with about thirty large diamond buttons and tassels, 
fastened on the petticoat. Her stomacher was wholly of bril- 
liants and her head dress was of blonde lace ornamented with 
diamonds and two small feathers. The Princess Royal wofe 
a bodice and train of red and white striped gauze, and a white 
petticoat covered with a crape embroidery of green and silvcR 
Her shoes were of white satin covered with silver arid stedl 

Climate^ Dress and Custo^fts^ etc. 'X\^ 

beads, with a plate of silver in the form of a shield rurirtiri^ 
toward the toe, while around the quarters was a deep span- 
gled silver fringe. Other ladies were principally dressed in 
•white trimmed with blue and having fringes of gold and sil- 
ver, while around their heads were fillets bearing inscriptions 
complimentary to the King. The Prince of Wales was clad 
in a corbeau and blue striped silk coat and breeches, the latter 
with silver embroidery dowij the seams, and an embroidered 
waistcoat of silver tissue. The other gentlemen wore em^ 
broidered cloth and silk suits with cut steel buttons.. In One 
respect the New York entertainments were far inferior to 
those given in London. M. de Moustier's servants between 
the table and the wall sink into complete insignificance when 
compared with the hundred valets in scarlet coats lined with 
blue, and blue waistcoats embroidered with gold, and the 
hundred footmen in sky-blue coats and waistcoats adorned 
with silver lace, who waited on the company at an entertain- 
ment given by the Spanish Ambassador in England on the 
2nd of June 1789 in celebration of George the Third's recov- 
ery of his mind.. . . : : 

Fashionable society in New Ybrk'ih 1789 seetns to havef 
consisted of about three hundred persons, as that number at- 
tended a ball on the 7th of May at which Washington was 
present. But according to Noah Webster, the city was noted 
for sociability and lack of class distinction. He writes in 
1788 : " In point of sociability and hospitality, New York is 
hardly exceeded by any town in the United States. The 
principal families by associating in their public amusements 
with the middle class of well-bred citizens render their rank 
subservient to the happiness of society, and prevent that 
party-spirit which an affectation of superiority in certain fami-. 
Ues in Philadelphia has produced in that dty,-I-a spirit which- 
disturbs or destroys their public amusements, and which has 
given the citizens, too generally perhaps, the reputation of 
being inhospitable^ In a note stating that the general char- 
acter of citizens in large towns is affected, in some measure,' 
by the manners of the prevailing sect or nation, he adds: 
** The neatness, industry and parsimony of the Dutch, were 

120 New York City in 1789. 

the characteristics of the citizens of New York before the rev- 
olution, and will probably be visible in their manners a long 
time after national distinctions are lost." 

The amusements of those whom Mr. Webster would prob- 
ably have designated as the lower classes do not seem to have 
received much attention from the old chroniclers. Perhaps 
some idea of them may be gained from a law passed March 
1st 1788 by which tavern-keepers were made subject to fine 
and imprisonment should they allow cock-fighting, gaming, 
card-playing, dice, billiard tables or shufHe boards in their 
houses. From this it would appear that the frequenters of 
the taverns, who composed a large portion of the community, 
were at some time addicted to these amusements. Gambling 
with dice or cards was an amusement among all classes of the 
community, a game with cards, called Pharaoh, being the 
most popular means of the transfer of money. Other popu- 
lar games of cards were whist, loo, and quadrille. An Act 
passed February 20th 1788 punished the winner of more than 
£\o at a sitting by a forfeit of five times the amount won, 
while either the winner or loser of ;^ 10 at a time or ;^20 in 
twenty-four hours might be indicted and fined five times the 
amount won or lost. Winners by fraud and deceit were to 
receive corporal punishment. Drunkenness was another pop- 
ular failing which was punished by three shillings fine or two 
hours imprisonment in the stocks, such a conviction being 
without appeal. By an Act of March ist 1788 a license to re- 
tail liquor in the city was to cost not less than forty shillings 
nor more than j;^20 in the discretion of a commissioner, to be 
appointed by the Governor and Council of Appointment, who 
was to give permits to sell in quantities less than five gallons 
for one year and to receive a salary of £60 instead of fees. 
Applicants for license were required to give a bond of £^0 
not to keep a disorderly house, and any innkeeper who gave 
credit for liquor to a larger amount than ten shillings was to 
lose the debt. The Excise Commissioner in 1789 was Will- 
iam W. Gilbert who collected ;^I028 5s. 4d. during the year, 
of which ;^8oo was given to the Hospital. In September 
1784 the number of taverns was so great that the Grand Jury 

Climate^ Dress and Customs^ etc. 12 1 

recommended that fewer be licensed, but in 1789 there appear 
in the directory the names of 169 tavern and lodging-house 
keepers, and there appear to have been nearly twice that num- 
ber in the city, as between the ist of March 1788 and the first 
of March 1789, there were granted 330 tavern licenses at thirty 
shillings each, of which six shillings went to the Mayor and 
six shillings to the City Clerk. A few of the more prominent 
tavemkeepers in 1789, besides Edward Bardin who kept the 
City Tavern, were Samuel Fraunces, the steward of Washing- 
ton, whose tavern at No. 49 Cortlandt Street was managed 
by his wife ; John Fraunces, who opened the True American 
in August 1785 at No. 3 Great Dock (Pearl) Street, whence 
he removed in May 1789 to the historic building on the south- 
east comer of Broad and Pearl Streets ; and John Simmons, 
whose tavern was on the northwest corner of Wall and Nas- 
sau Streets, and who was a man of such bulk that, at the time 
of his funeral, the pier between the door and window of the 
house had to be torn out to allow the passage of his coffin. 
Others, were Aaron Aorson, corner of Nassau and Geoi^e 
(Spruce) Streetsj who had been a captain in the revolutionary 
army and was present at the death of General Montgomery 
at Quebec ; Jonathan Pearsee, No. 28 Nassau Street comer 
of Ann Street ; John Battin, corner of Nassau and John 
Streets ; George Rawson, No. 82 Water Street ; Widow 
Bradford, at the Coffee House on the southeast corner of 
Wall and Water Streets ; and Richard Varian, at the Bull's 
Head Tavern on the Bowery Lane. The price of board in 
the city was made an object of attack by " A Traveller " in 
May 1789, who asserted that it was twice as high as in Phila- 
delphia, which was owing, in part, to the fact that New York 
was only about one half as large as Philadelphia. He further 
asserted that this was a good reason why Congress should re- 
side in the latter rather than in the former city, as it should 
be remembered that the board of the congressmen was paid 
out of the common treasury to which every citizen of the 
United States contributed his share. This was followed by 
a card in another newspaper warning the boarding-house 
keepers that they were injuring themselves and the city by 

122 New York City in JjSg. . 

charging too much and causing congressmen to consider them- 
selves imposed upon. The other side of the matter was then 
shown by a denial that board was higher than elsewhere, as it 
ranged from seven to three dollars a week and one of the 
houses furnished from seven to nine dishes a day, with four 
sorts of liquor. 

Servants could be obtained from the Intelligence Office of 
William Cavenough at No. 22 Great Dock Street, but those 
in the wealthier families were negro slaves, whose lot was by 
no means a hard one. The treatment of them was regulated 
by an Act passed February 22nd 1788 which provided that 
every negro, mulatto, or mestee who was a slave at that time 
should remain so for life, unless manumitted, and that the 
children of slave women should be slaves. Selling any slave 
brought into the State after the ist of June 1785 was punish- 
able by a fine of ;Cioo and the freeing of the slave, and a per- 
son buying a slave with the intention of removing him from 
the State or acting in such manner as agent for another was 
subject to a like penalty. Employing, or harboring a slave 
without his master's permission was forbidden under a penalty 
ol £S for every twenty-four hours he was detained up to his 
value, and if the slave were lost the person harboring him was 
liable for his value. No one could trade with a slave, without 
his master's permission, under penalty of forfeiting £$ and 
three times the value of the goods traded, while selling liquor 
to a slave, without the owner's permission, was punishable by 
forty shillings fine. The negroes, however, seem to have 
found means of obtaining liquor, as appears by an advertise- 
ment in February 1789 : " To be sold for no other fault than 
a little Intoxication, a Negro Fellow, s^ed 20 years, expert at 
waiting and every kind of House-Work." Advertisements 
for runaway slaves and warnings against harboring them were 
also of frequent occurrence. A slave striking a white person 
was to be tried as for petit larceny, and his right to a trial by 
jury was confined to capital cases ; slaves could only be wit- 
nesses in criminal cases for and against each other. Persons 
collusively selling aged and decrepit slaves to those unable to 
support them were liable to a fine of ;^20 and were still to be 

Climate^ Dress and Customs y etc, 123 

regarded as owners, while allowing a slave to beg was to be 
punished by a fine of ;^io. A slave under fifty years of age 
could be manumitted upon a certificate from the Mayor, Re- 
corder, and two Aldermen, that he appeared to be under fifty 
years of age and capable of supporting himself ; but in all 
other cases the manumittor had to give security that the slave 
would not become a charge upon the city. Those set free by 
will were to be considered free, but if no certificate or security 
were given, the estate of the former owner was to be liable for 
their maintenance. For the benefit of this portion of the 
population there was formed about the year 1785, chiefly by 
Quakers, the Society for promoting the Manumission o( 
Slaves, the officers of which in 1789 were : i 

President y John Jay. ^ 

Vice-president y Hartfield Clarkson. 
Treasurer^ John Murray, jr. 

Secretary y John Keese. 

Standing Committee. 

Leonard M. Cutting. Andrew Low. 

Thomas Burling. Effingham Embree. 

Melancthon Smith. John Lawrence. 

The society was incorporated in 1808. In November 1786 
it added to its good work by establishing a free school for the 
children of slaves still in bondage, provided that they had 
reached the age of nine years and were capable of spelling 
words of one syllable. This school proved to be very suc- 
cessful, having, after the first six months of its existence, from 
forty to sixty scholars in regular attendance, but in October 
1789 it was in need of funds. 


Churches and Clergy. 

By the constitution of the State of New York, adopted in 
1777, clergymen were declared to be ineligible to hold any 
civil or military office or place in the State, as they were " by 
their profession dedicated to the service of God and the cure 
of souls, and ought not to be diverted from the great duties 
of their function." Subsequent to the Revolution the most 
important enactments which had been made with regard to 
religious matters were an Act passed April 6th 1784 enabling 
all denominations to appoint trustees for their churches, and 
an Act passed April 20th 1784 repealing, colonial laws com- 
pelling the inhabitants of the counties of New York, Rich- 
mond, Westchester, and Queen's to pay taxes for the support 
of the Episcopal clergy " contrary to every principle of justice 
and sound policy," by color of which laws it had been pre- 
tended that the Episcopal churches had been established in 
those counties. The laws regarding the observation of the 
Sabbath were strict. Labor or sale of goods on Sunday was 
punishable by a fine of ten shillings, and no persons were to 
meet in the streets and there play or make a noise under a 
penalty of two shillings fine, or in default of that payment, of 
one hour's imprisonment in the. Bridewell. No innkeeper 
was to sell liquor on Sunday to any persons but travellers or 
regular lodgers, nor was he to allow drunkenness in his house 
at any time under penalty of twenty shillings fine. Two con- 
stables, armed with their staves, were to walk the streets dur- 
ing the time of divine service and cause this law to be ob- 
served, with full power to enter inns and report tippling. 
This law, however, was doubtless evaded so far as the taverns 
were concerned, and on the 23rd of May 1789 a citizen com- 

Churches and Clergy. 125 

plained because the theatre was allowed to be kept open on 
Saturday evening and the streets were crowded with playing 
children on Sunday evening. Swearing was punishable by a 
fine of three shillings, and in default of immediate payment 
the offender, if more than sixteen years of age, could be im- 
prisoned in the stocks for one hour for each offence or two 
hours for a number of offences committed at the same time. 
Such a conviction was without appeal. 

The city churches in 1789 were twenty-two in number, 
representing thirteen denominations, viz: Reformed Dutch, 
Protestant Episcopal, French Huguenot, Quaker, Lutheran, 
Jewish, Presbyterian, Baptist, Moravian, German Reformed, 
Methodist, Roman Catholic, and Independent Congregational. 

Of these, that known as the Collegiate Reformed Protes- 
tant Dutch Church was, and now is, the oldest in the city, 
having been oi^anized in the year 1628. Its government was, 
and now is, by a consistory of twelve elders and twelve dea- 
cons who elected their own successors, — generally themselves, 
— ^the members of the church having no part in its govern- 
ment. In October 1764 Abel Hardenbrook, a church mem- 
ber, had brought suit s^inst the Consistory for the purpose 
of establishing his right to vote for church officers, but had 
been entirely defeated. The action was tried in the Supreme 
Court on the 26th of April 1765 and after a trial of twenty- 
one hours the jury were directed to bring in a special verdict 
upon matters of fact. Their names were Samuel Verplanck, 
John H. Cniger, David Clarkson, Robert Griffin, Lawrence 
Kortright, Beverly Robinson, Thomas White, John Shoals, 
William Bedlow, John Provoost, Lewis Pintard, and Walter 
Rutherford. In their special verdict they found among other 
things that the plaintiff and the majority of the members in 
communion with the Dutch Church had attended at the 
church on the third Thursday in October 1763 to cast their 
votes for church officers for the following year, and that the 
Consistory had refused to receive the plaintifTs vote and had 
proceeded with the election without first naming to the mem- 
bers the persons nominated for office. They further found 
that accordii^ to the rules established by the Synod of Dort, 

12^ New York City in 1789. 

9nd the usage of the churches of Holland, which had always 
been followed in New York, the elders and deacons and min-. 
inters present elected new elders and deacons, ;without the 
voice of the other members of the church, and that the plain- 
tiff himself had been elected three times in accordance with 
this custom. After the nomination and appointment of new> 
church-officers it was also customary for the minister to an- 
nounce their names from the pulpit for three successive Sun- 
days and if no objection were then inade to theni they re- 
mained in office. If objection were made, the Consistory took 
such action as it deemed best. The special verdict ended 
with the statement: "If the Law is for the Plaintiff we find 
for the Plaintiff and five pounds ten shillings damages ; if the 
Law is for the Defendents we find for the Defendents." The 
J-aw was for the defendants, although Mr. Hardenbrook, who 
represented the Dutch party in the church in opposition to 
those who wished to call a minister to preach in thfe English 
language, employed the eminent attorneys James Duane, Ben- 
jamin Kissam, and John T. Kemp, their opponents being 
William Livingston and John M. Scott. Judgment was given 
for the Consistory on the ist of November 1766, Judges 
Thomas Jones, William Smith, and Robert R. Livingston 
agreeing, and Judge Daniel Hormansden dissenting. Troubles 
also arose in the Dutch churches between those who desired 
to retain their connection with the Classis of Amsterdam and 
those who wished the American branch of that church to be 
entirely independent of Holland. One of the former who had 
l)een deposed from the ministry in 1786 for immorality and 
Toryism, and who, with some consistency, complained because 
he was referred to the Classis of Amsterdam for redress, pubr 
lished a most curious pamphlet, dated June 9th 1789 and 
probably printed in New York City. It is entitled " A true 
Description of the Circumstances of the Low Dutch Church, 
and their Ministers, for a Notification to the faithful Members 
of the same, who will stand by the Truth of the Holy Bible. 
By John Casper Ruble, Verbi Divini Minister, and Corrector 
of the Low Dutch Churches in some Parts of America." Mr. 
Ruble had come to America in 175 1 and as early as 1755 had 

Churches and Clergy. 127 

been styled " the rebellious Ruble " and requested to resign a 
charge in Philadelphia. During the Revolution he had been 
a violent Tory, denouncing the Americans as " Satan's sol- 
diers," and, judging by the contents of this pamphlet, the 
church was well rid of him. It was directed against many of 
the Low Dutch ministers who, according to the author, used 
*^ a strange Title of the Tryoun God : When they say in their 
Prayers and Preachings, in Dutch, Volsalige God^ Volsalige 
Jehovay Volsalvige Vader, Son, ende Heilige Geest. That is in 
the English language, Fulsaved God, Fulsaved Jehovah, etc^ 
Mr. Ruble pronounced this title to be so blasphemous "that 
Ministers may commit Thousands of Sins, rather than one 
Time to say in the Pulpit, Fulsaved God, Fulsaved Jehovah^ 
Fulsaved Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." He also inserted a 
remark which probably explains a large part of his own 
troubles, thus : " Hear further, courteous Reader, that yoa 
here find the Difference between the Coetus and Conferentie 
Ministers : — The Coetus Ministers have made Use of such a 
Title, but the Conferentie Ministers never.'' He then wrote 
thus of his opponents : " All what is above mentioned is the 
Truth and nothing else than Truth, and from some Truth- 
loving people already observed, besides this, so have the Min- 
isters, as such which the Pride as the Picture of the Duke of 
Darkness possesses, so it was with their false blasphemous title, 
that not alone all faithful European Ministers (who have no 
Relation through the Bond of Mafriage in this Country with 
their ministers) and the Gospel preached according to God's 
Word, seek to persecute, and without any Reason, put out of 
their Service, and the same again to supply with their blas- 
phemous Ideots, and against such Actions there is no Redress 
to be found, because these Ministers are with that Spirit, 
{leads and Masters. . • . And as a Conclusion I say, have 
the such Ministers as I have above described me, in Anno 1784, 
posted in an unjust Manner, in the Pulpit in the Church of 
Flatbush, upon the Counsel of high spirited, unjust, wicked 
and unshameful Deceivers of our Church, as a Novice, which 
through Pride fall into the Condemnation of the Devil. . . 
. And how much I wished to preach the Gospel of Jesus 

128 New York City in 1789. 

Christ for our Salvation ; so I say hereby freely, that I want 
not to do it for those People which will adhere and stay by 
such blasphemous Ministers, but only for such Christians who 
firmly stand by the Holland Reformed Calvinist Religion, 
and after the Instruction of the same Desires the Gospel of 
Jesus Christ should be preached ; then I shall be willing to 
preach for such Christians in a Church, House or Barn, so as 
it may be convenient, and I do not want a stipulated salary 
from Christians, but their Benefits shall in my poverty be 
enough, and I shall therewith be contented. . . . N. B. 
To understand this Writing well^ the cited Scripture Places 
must be revised in the Bible. Hereby I must pray all friendly 
Readers of this Writings that they will excuse me in writing 
such bad English^ because I am an European, a Dutchman, of 
whom you with me believe in general, that they never can learn 
the English Language, Just so as the English pronounce and 
write itr 

A somewhat different view of the state of the Dutch 
Church is to be found in a letter, dated Yale College, Sept. 
13th 1788, written by President Ezra Stiles to the Rev. Dr. 
Eilardus Westerlo of Albany, and touching upon topics which 
are of interest at the present time. The whole of this letter 
is as follows : 

" Revd. and Dr. Sir, 

I received by Mr. Woodworth your kind letter. It would 
have given me pleasure to have seen you at one of our humble 
Commencements in New Engld. I am sorry Mr. Basset's Ill- 
ness would not spare you, — but indeed the stated Ordinances, 
Institutions, and Services of the Sanctuary are not to be di- 
verted for the sake of Amusements. I truly rejoyce in the 
Prosperity of the Dutch Chh. in America. I am convinced 
it is best for the Interest of Religion that she should not co- 
alesce and bury herself in any other Chh., but maintain and 
preserve herself a distinct Body and Light in the Chh. uni- 
versal. I often tell some of my Brethren who are innovat- 
ing in the Calvinistic System of Divinity, that we are con- 
founding and confusing Religion in our Chhs. I am looking 

Churclus and Clergy. 129 

at the Belgic Reformed for the Conservation of the pure 
Theology. I pray Gd bless your Synod with his holy pres- 
ence. I shd rejoyce to be at N. York at the Time of their 
Assembly this Fall. I hope that neither Indifferentism, nor 
Deism nor Socinianism will devour the Belgic Chhs in Eu- 
rope and America as they have too much done with respect 
to the Reformed Chhs in Britain. From sundry Productions 
in the Dutch Universities, lately sent me by Dr. Erskine of 
Edinbui^h, it gives me pleasure to find the Dutch Divines 
come forth bold Defenders of Revelation and the pure Doc- 
trines of Revelation. 

May the Dutch Chhs in Anierica subsist as a distinct 
Body : may the 4 United Synods of the Presbyterian Chh 
subsist as a distinct Body: may the Congreg'l Chhs also 
subsist as a distinct Body. And yet after all let us not make 
very much of these Distinctions as I hope we are all Lovers 
of the one Ld Jesus whose Father is one and whose Chh is 
really one, altho' in different Families. A federal Union may 
with peculiar Facility subsist among us of these 3 Divisions 
of Christians ; but it must be a Union founded in and indis- 
pensably involving the separate Independency of these 3 
Bodies of Fellow Xtians, Fellow Disciples of the blessed 
Jesus. Perhaps I write too freely. It is the benevolent 
Wish of my Heart that we may all be united and harmoni- 
ous. And when one part goes astray, I hope the other will 
not, — and they may be mutual Lights to one another and cor- 
rect one another. Wishing you every Blessing, I am Dr Sir, 

Yr affectionate Brother, 

Ezra Stiles. 

In 1789 the Dutch Church was probably stronger in the 
number of its attendants than any other denomination in the 
city, although it was constantly weakened by the departure 
of its younger members to the Episcopal Church, which exo- 
dus has continued to the present time. The first Dutch 
church edifice, a wooden building, had been erected in 1633 
near the East River on what is now Broad Street, between 
Pearl and Bridge Streets, but, this being too small, a new 

I30 New York City in 1789. 

stone building, seventy-two feet long and fifty feet wide, was 
erected at an expense of twenty-five hundred guilders in 1642 
within Fort Amsterdam at its southeast corner. This buildup 
ing stood until 1 741 when it was destroyed by fire, but in 1693 
the Dutch had relinquished it to the British Government and 
had begun to worship in a church on Garden Street before it 
was entirely finished. In 1789 the Garden Street Church 
was the oldest church edifice in the city, standing on the north 
side of Verlittenberg Street (Exchange Place) about half way 
between Broad and Smith (William) Streets. It was erected 
at an expense of 64178 guilders or $27671 on a lot 125 feet 
wide by 180 feet deep and is described as an oblong building 
with three sides of an octagon on its east side and having in 
front a brick steeple on a square foundation with a consistory- 
room in it over the entry. There were three entrances and 
three second-story windows in the front of the building and 
large windows on the sides filled with small panes of glass set 
in leaden frames most of which contained coats of arms. The 
building, which was repaired in 1766, was used by the British 
as a hospital for a short time during the Revolution, but was 
reopened on the 7th of December 1783, and stood until 1807 
when a new building was erected on the same site. In 1813 
the congregation withdrew from the Collegiate Church, but 
continued to worship in this building until its destruction in 
the great fire of 1835, after which it was not rebuilt, the con- 
gregation dividing and one portion of it being now repre- 
sented in the South Reformed Church on the south-west cor- 
ner of 5th Avenue and 21st Street. 

By the year 1726 the Dutch congregation became too 
large for the Garden Street Church and the Consistory bought 
a plot of ground for ;^57S on the east side of Nassau Street 
running from what in 1789 was Crown (Liberty) to Little 
Queen (Cedar) Street. Upon this plot was erected the 
Middle Dutch Church, which was opened for worship in 1729 
but not completely finished until 1731. Its interior was re- 
modeled in 1764, but during the Revolution the British com- 
pletely destroyed it by using it as a hospital and a riding- 
school, and in 1789 the exterior walls were about all that 

Churches and Clergy. 131 

remained of the old building. Owing to lack of funds follow- 
ing the Revolution, repairs were not begun upon it until 1788 
and it was not re-opened until July 4th 1790. This building, 
100 feet long by 70 feet wide within the walls, was worshipped 
in until August nth 1844, soon afterwards being occupied by 
the N.Y. Post-Office which remained in it until 1875. In 
1882 it was demolished for the erection of the N. Y. Mutual 
Life Insurance Company's Building. 

Until the year 1764 the services in the Dutch Churches 
were conducted in the Dutch language but in that year the 
Rev. Archibald Laidlie, minister of a Scotch Church in Flush- 
ing, Holland, was called to the Dutch Church in New York 
to preach in English to the portion of the congregation who 
preferred that language. For the benefit of these, the corner 
stone of the North Dutch Church was laid July 2nd 1767 and 
the building dedicated May 25th 1769. By will dated Feb. 
7th 1723, John Harpendinck, a member of the Dutch Church, 
had devised to it his interest in Shoemaker's Pasture, which 
was approximately bounded by the present Broadway, Maiden 
Lane, a line parallel to and near the west side of Gold Street, 
and on the north by Ann Street. The North Church was 
erected upon a portion of this land on the west side of William 
Street^ between Ann and what in 1789 was Fair (Fulton) 
Street. This building, 70 feet wide by 100 feet long, was 
constructed of uncut stone, with a tower, the pedestal of which 
was square and surmounted by an octagonal belfry. The 
main entrance was on William Street, there also being side 
entrances from each of the side streets. Its cost was about 
;^I2000, pillars being erected in the interior marked with the 
initials of those who presented them, with a sum of money in 
addition. The British used this building during the Revolu- 
tion as a hospital and storehouse, stripping it of its pews and 
defacing its walls, but it was reopened in December 1784 and 
was used as a place of worship until 1875, when its site was 
leased and it demolished in the summer of that year. 

These three Dutch churches had collegiate ministers and 
were governed by one Consistory who acted under a charter 
from William III., dated May nth 1696, which was confirmed 

13^ New York City in 1789. 

by Act of the New York Legislature, March 17th 1784,' with 
the exception of a clause empowering the Consistory by and 
with the advice and consent of the members irt communion 
to make rates and assessments upon all members for the pay- 
ment of ministers' salaries, repairs to buildings, etc. Owing 
to their form of government the Dutch churches were unable 
to become incorporated under the general act of April 6th 1784 
allowing the appointment of not less than three nor more than 
nine trustees for each church, and an Act was therefore passed 
on the 7th of March 1788 allowing the Consistories of such 
churches to become the trustees. The hew members of the 
Consistory of the Collegiate Church elected October 15th and 
ordained November ist 1789 Were : 


Evert Bancker Garret Abeel 

William Gilbert Garret Harsin 

William Depeyster Coenrad W. Ham. 


Frederick Stymets. Jacobus Brown 

Andrew Hopper William J. Elsworth. 

John Brouwer Ahasuerus Turck. 

The church-masters were Jacob J. Lansing and Xhomas 
Lafoy. At the beginning of the year 1789 there were but two 
ministers of the Collegiate Church, the Rev. Dr. John Henry 
Livingston and the Rev. Dr. William Linn, two of the col- 
leagues who were still living. Dominies Ritzema and De 
Ronde, not having returned to the city after the Revolution, 
and Dr. Laidlie having died in 1778. Dr. Livingston was now 
in the 43rd year of his age, having been born in Poughkeepsie, 
N. Y. May 30th 1746. His education had been begun at the 
age of seven under the Rev. Chauncey Graham at Fishkill, 
and a few years later he had been placed under the tutorship 
of Mr. Moss Kent, father of Chancellor Kent. After gradua- 
tion at Yale College in 1762 he had studied law for a few 
years and had then gone to Utrecht to study theology. Here 
he received the degree of D.D., and after ordination at Ams- 
terdam, accepted a call to the Collegiate Church, arriving 

Churches and Clergy, 133 

in New York in September 1770. In 1775 he married the 
daughter of Philip Livingston, signer of the Declaration of In- 
dependence, and during the British occupation retired from 
the city. Upon the declaration of peace he had been the only- 
Collegiate minister who returned to the city, and in 1784 he 
had been appointed Professor of Theology for the Dutch 
Church, delivering his Latin Inaugural Oration before the 
Synods of New York and New Jersey on the 19th of May 
1785. He resigned his pastorate in 18 10 to take charge of 
this Professorship, which was then fully established, and he 
was at the same time appointed President of Rutgers College, 
which duties he performed until his death at New Brunswick, 
N. J. on the 20th of January 1825. He is described as tall, 
well-built, and commanding in appearance, with regular feat- 
ures, and an agreeable expression. In private life he was ex- 
tremely dignified, courteous, and a polished gentleman. In 
the pulpit his fine personal appearance, deep voice, and im- 
pressive wig, were of great advantage to him, his sermons be- 
ing read from copious notes and accompanied by somewhat 
eccentric gestures. In 1789 he resided at No. 79 Broadway. 
His colleague Dr. William Linn, was born near Shippensburg, 
Pa., February 7th 1752. He was graduated from Princeton 
College in 1772 and in April 1775 was licensed to preach* as a 
Presbyterian minister, being ordained in the following year, 
and made chaplain of the 5th and 6th battalions of Pennsyl- 
vania troops. Family affairs preventing him from accompany- 
ing these troops to Canada, he resigned this post and acted as 
pastor of a church in Big Spring, Pa. for six years. Thence 
he removed in 1784 to become President of Washington 
Academy in Somerset Co. Maryland, but in June 1786 re- 
sumed his ministerial labors in EHzabethtown, N. J., whence 
he was called in a few months to the Collegiate Church, be- 
ing installed in his new pastorate November 12th 1786. On 
the 1st of May 1789 he was chosen chaplain of the House of 
Representatives at a salary of $500, receiving twenty-seven 
votes to nineteen votes cast for Dr. John Rodgers, and of- 
ficiated for the first time on the 5th of May. In the following 
year he was reappointed. He was a Regent of the State Uni- 

134 ^^^ York City in 1789. 

versity from 1787 to 1808, received the degree of S.T.D. 
from Columbia College in 1789, and acted as temporary Presi- 
dent of Queen's (Rutgers) College for several years after 1791. 
He remained with the Collegiate Church until 1805 when 
failing health compelled his retirement to Albany where he 
died on the 8th of January 1808, having been elected Presi- 
dent of Union College just before his death. The preaching 
of the ministers who were in New York in 1789 is generally 
described as " pious and earnest." Dr. Linn was pious, ear- 
nest, and eloquent. It is said that his trumpet-like voice 
could be heard for a mile, and he has been without doubt 
justly described as the most eloquent preacher of his time in 
New York and one of the best in the United States. The 
esteem in which he was held as a preacher is well shown by a 
card in the Daily Advertiser of October 30th 1789 written by 
" A Stranger " who had heard a charity sermon preached by 
him. After stating that he was entirely unacquainted with 
Dr. Linn, he writes: "Would ministers always preach thus, I 
would venture to say that it would soon become more fash- 
ionable to go to church and perform Christian duties in gen- 
eral." Dr. Linn's ardent patriotism and oratorical powers also 
brought him into prominence upon patriotic celebrations, one 
of his discourses, on the Blessings of America, being delivered 
before the Tammany Society on the 4th of July 1791, and an- 
other in eulogy of General Washington, before the Society of 
the Cincinnati on the 22nd of February 1800. His imagina- 
tive powers and command of language were great, and his ser- 
mons, which he committed to memory, were delivered natur- 
ailly and gracefully, although he is said to have been at times 
over-vehement in gesture. In 1789 Dr. Linn's residence was 
No. 66 Cortlandt Street, his salary being £^QO a year and a 
house rent free. There were still in the Collegiate Church at 
this time a sufficient number of those who preferred preaching 
in the Dutch language to render it desirable to have some of 
the services in that tongue, and, although Dr. Livingston occa- 
sionally preached in Dutch to this portion of the congregation, 
it was decided to call a minister especially for that purpose. 
Accordingly in the latter part of 1789 a call was extended 

Churches and Clergy. 135 

to and accepted by Rev. Gerard us Arense Kuypers, a young 
man who had been settled in a church at Paramus, N. J., since 
June 1788. Mr. Kuypers was born in December 1766 on the 
Island of Curasao, but at the age of two years had been brought 
to America and had received his theological education from his 
father who was a minister in Hackensack, N. J. His services 
in the Collegiate Church were confined to preaching in Dutch 
in the Garden Street church until 1803 when he preached the 
last sermon in that language to a very small congregation. He 
then preached in English until his death on the 28th of June 
1833. In 1791 he received the degree of A.M. from the Col- 
lege of New Jersey and in 1810 that of D.D. from Rutgers 
Collie. He is described as a man of medium height, com- 
pactly built, and of remarkable agility. He was retiring in 
disposition, courteous and affable in manner, not learned, and 
exceedingly conservative in doctrine and usages. As a preacher 
he was more successful in the Dutch than in the English Ian- 

Connected with the Collegiate Church there was also a 
school, supported by charitable contributions, which is said to 
have had its banning in 1633. After suspension by the war 
this school was re-opened in the latter part of 1783 under the 
mastership of Peter Van Steenburgh, who held that position 
from 1773 until May ist 1791. The schoolhouse was a build- 
ing opposite the Garden Street church, erected in 1748 and 
rebuilt in 1773, in which the schoolmaster lived, and on the 
second floor of which the Consistory held its meetings. In 
1789 Mr. Van Steenburgh entered upon an agreement by 
which he was to receive from the Consistory £'i^ a year for 
giving elementary instruction to thirty scholars. The school 
was visited monthly by the deacons and quarterly by the 
whole Consistory, the children being clothed and taught from 
funds raised chiefly by collections in the churches. On the 
1 2th of December 1789 it was announced in the N. Y. Packet 
that a charity-sermon for the benefit of this school would be 
preached on the following day in Dutch in the Garden Street 
Church, and on the next Sabbath in English in the North 
Church. The school is still in existence. 

136 New York City in 1789. 

The Protestant Episcopal churches in 1789 were three in 
number, Trinity, St. Paul's Chapel, and St. George's Chapel. 
The first Trinity Church building had been erected in 1696, 
opened for worship in January 1697, and enlarged in 1737, 
but was not in existence in 1789 having been destroyed in 
the fire of 1776, together with its two charity school buildings, 
library, and rector's house at an estimated loss of ;^22200. 
The fire destroyed all but a portion of the walls, and rebuild- 
ing was not begun until 1788, when Robert Watts, Moses 
Rogers, Nicholas Cruger, Nicholas Carmer, and George Dom- 
inick, commissioners for rebuilding, advertised on the i8th of 
June for proposals for taking down the walls. On the 8th of 
July they asked for proposals for laying new foundations and 
on the 7th of August they were ready to receive proposals for 
carpenter work. The masonwork of the new building was 
done by Messrs. Moore and Smith and the carpenter work by 
James Robinson. The work of the committee, however, does 
not seem to have satisfied everybody as in the Daily Adver- 
tiser of March 12th 1789 there appeared a card bitterly attack- 
ing one of the committee for acts alleged to have been done 
through jealousy at not receiving the contract for rebuilding. 
This attack by " A Churchman," however, received a reply 
from " Hod Carrier " which apparently disposed of it, as 
nothing further upon the subject appeared in the newspaper. 
The corner stone of the building was laid by Bishop Provoost 
on the 2 1st of August 1788 and the fact that the inscription 
on this stone mentioned the " Bishop of New York " brought 
about a fierce newspaper controversy between the Presbyte- 
rians and Episcopalians which was begun by a Presbyterian at- 
tack in the N. Y. Packet of November 25th 1788. The Pres- 
byterian in a subsequent article having complained that his 
opponent had omitted the Dutch Church from the number of 
Presbyterians, a member of the Dutch Church residing on 
Smith Street informed him on the 27th of January 1789 that 
the Dutch needed none of his championship, knew their an- 
cient friends, and had no desire to take part in the quarrel. 
There was no stouter opponent of the claims of episcopacy, 
however, than Dr. Linn of the Dutch Church. The property 

Churches and Clergy. 137 

of Trinity Church in 1789 although extensive was not very 
remunerative and the sale of lots to obtain ready money was 
frequent for many years. In May 1789 the corporation ad- 
vertised that it would sell forty-six lots, nineteen of which 
were in the rear of the church, fronting on Greenwich Street, 
and the other twenty-seven on Division Street and the streets 
to the north and east of St. Paul's Church. It also announced 
its determination to enforce the payment of back rents and 
stated that its collector had been ordered to re-enter upon all 
lots two years in arrears for rent, and on July ist to re-enter 
upon those three months in arrears. In February 1789 ad- 
vertisements appeared for stone for the new building, to be 
delivered in the Spring, and by the end of the year its erec- 
tion was probably well-advanced as on the 19th of November, 
the editor of the N. Y. Journal stated that no improvement 
deserved greater approbation than the new church on Broad- 
way, the spire of which, with good conductors, would be a 
great preservative against lightning for all the buildings within 
several hundred paces of it, and especially to the Federal 
Building. The editor might well have mentioned other rea- 
sons for approbation of the erection of the church, but this 
was certainly a very good reason as lightning played its 
pranks very freely in the city, visiting the just and the unjust 
without discrimination. One Wednesday evening in June 
1788 it shattered the house and smashed the crockery of the 
Rev. Dr. Mason at No. 63 Cortlandt Street, and on the loth 
of June 1789 it set fire to the curtains in the house of John 
Henry, the actor, at No. 5 Fair (Fulton) Street. The new 
Trinity Church, 104 feet long by 72 feet wide, with a steeple 
200 feet in height, was consecrated March 25th 1790, and 
stood until 1839 when it was taken down to be replaced by 
the present edifice which was consecrated May 21st 1846. 

In 1748 the congregation of Trinity Church had become so 
laige that it had been decided to erect a Chapel of Ease and 
six lots were accordingly bought for £(>\^ by inhabitants of 
Montgomery Ward and presented to the church as a site for 
the new chapel. Upon these St. George's Chapel was built 
and opened July ist 1752. This building, 92 feet long, ex- 

138 New York City in 1789. 

elusive of the chancel, and 72 feet wide, stood on the north- 
west corner of Beekman and Cliff Streets until its destruction 
by fire on the morning of January 5th 18 14. It was faced 
with hewn stone, had a steeple 175 feet in height containing a 
large bell, and was originally roofed with tiles, which, being 
found to be too heavy for the walls, were replaced by shingles. 
After its destruction in 18 14 it was immediately rebuilt, and 
the new building was occupied until 1841, when it was de- 
molished and its congregation removed to the present church 
in Rutherford Place near Stuyvesant Square. It became in- 
dependent of Trinity Church in 181 1. 

The building of St. Paul's Chapel was begun in 1763 for 
the same reason that caused the erection of St. George's, and 
it was opened October 30th 1766. Its steeple was added in 
1794, but with that exception the external appearance of the 
building in 1789 was probably the same as at the present time. 
It is now the oldest church edifice in the city and is the oldest 
building with the exception of the tavern on the southeast 
corner of Broad and Pearl Streets. In 1784 the congregation 
seem to have been afflicted with a failing of which complaint 
has been made in the case of others within less than a hun- 
dred years. On the 15th of July in that year the following 
appeared in the N. Y. Packet : ** A Foreigner presents his 
most respectful compliments to the congregation of St. Paul's, 
and begs leave to observe to them that he must think that 
they are devoid of any manner of humanity or common po- 
liteness, when they can see genteel strangers come into their 
Church, and not endeavor to procure them a seat, but sit with 
a mortifying indifference upon their countenance. From his 
knowledge of the Continent he is persuaded such unfriendly 
inattention cannot proceed from influence of climate, as their 
neighboring city is possessed of good breeding and politeness." 
During his residence in New York in 1789 and 1790 Washing- 
ton attended service at St. Paul's regularly, a pew covered 
with a canopy being set apart for his use ; and on the 3rd of 
November 1789 the State Convention of the Episcopal Church 
was opened in this church and closed its meeting harmonious^ 
ly on the 5 th of that month. 

Churches and Clergy. 1 39 

In 1789 the Protestant Episcopal clergymen of the city 
were the Rt. Rev. Samuel Provoost, D.D., Bishop of New 
York and Rector of Trinity Church, and the two assistant 
ministers of Trinity Church the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Moore 
and Rev. Dr. Abraham Beach. Bishop Samuel Provoost 
was born in N. Y. City, February 26th 1742 and was gradu- 
ated from Kings (Columbia) College in its first class in 1758. 
After studying theology at St. Peter's College, Cambridge, he 
became an assistant minister of Trinity Church in Dec. 1766 
but dissolved that connection in 1769 and lived on a farm in 
Dutchess county until 1784. During the Revolution his 
sympathies were entirely American and when at the close of 
the war the Whig members of Trinity Church succeeded in 
overthrowing in the courts the election of a rector made by 
the Tories before thfe peace, he was unanimously chosen rector 
and inducted into that office April 22nd 1784. In 1785 he 
was chaplain of the Continental Congress and on the 13th of 
June 1786 was elected Bishop of New York, receiving con- 
secration from the Archbishop of Canterbury on the 4th of 
February 1787 and returning to New York on the 8th of 
April in that year. In May 1789 he was chosen chaplain of 
the U. S. Senate and was reappointed in the following year. 
He resigned the rectorship of Trinity Church, September 8th 
1800, and his office as Bishop on the 3rd of September 1 801, 
the latter resignation not being accepted and an assistant 
bishop being appointed. His sudden death of apoplexy oc- 
curred September 6th 181 5. In person, Bishop Provoost is 
described as a man with a round, full face, rather above me- 
dium height, portly, and very dignified in manner. He had 
a good voice and made a fine appearance in the pulpit, but, as 
a preacher, lacked animation, and although a fine classical 
scholar, linguist, and botanist, he was not distinguished for 
intellectual ability. He was noted for his public spirit, hos- 
pitality, and liberality to the poor which was thought to be 
greater than was warranted by his income. As Rector of 
Trinity Church he received a salary of £^QO a year and a 
house rent-free, the latter in 1789 being No 2 Nassau Street. 

Rev. Abraham Beach, D.D., bom in Cheshire, Conn., Sep- 

140 New York City in 1789. 

tember 9th 1740, was graduated with the highest honors from 
Yale College in 1757, and was ordained deacon and priest in 
England in 1767, He served as a missionary in New Jersey 
from 1767 until the chqrches under his care at Piscataqua g-iid 
New Brunswick were closed in 1776, and was a Tory during 
the Revolution, In 1783 a church at Amboy was added to 
his charge and on the 8th of June 1784 he was appointed one 
of three assistant ministers of Trinity Church at a sa^lary of 
;^500. He was a Regent of the State University, a trustee of 
Queen's (Rutgers) College, masonic Grand Chaplain, a trustee 
of Columbia College, from which he received the degree of 
D.D. in 1789, and was one of the founders of the Society for the 
relief of Distressed Debtors in January 1787. He became 
assistant rector of Trinity Church upon the retirement of Dr. 
Moore from active service in 181 1, but resigned his office in 
March 181 3 and lived in retirement on a farm near New 
Brunswick, New Jersey, until his death on the 14th of Sep- 
tember 1828. He is said to have been dignified in person, 
genial in conversation, exceedingly industrious in his parochial 
duties, and practical in his sermons. His residence in 1789 
was No. 46 William Street. 

Rev. Benjamin Moore, D.D. w^ a native of Newtown, 
Long Island, born on the Sth of October 1748. After gradua- 
tion from King's (Columbia) College in 1768 he was ordained 
deacon and priest in England in 1774 and soon afterwards be- 
came an assistant minister of Trinity Church. In 1775 he 
acted as President of King's College during the enforced 
absence of the Rev. Myles Cooper and in November 1783 was 
chosen Rector of Trinity Church by its Tory memberj^ before 
the return of the Whigs. In the Spring of 1784 he was ousted 
from that office on the ground that the election was void, but 
on the 8th of June 1784 wa? appointed assistant minister, with 
Mr. Beach and Mr. Ogden, at a salary of ;^5oo, two hundred 
of which was to be raised by private contribution. He re- 
ceived the degree of D.D, from Columbia College in 1789 
and was, in that year, Secretary of the Corporation for the re- 
lief of the Widows and Children of the Clergymen of the 
Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, 

Churches and Clergy. 241 

a corporation which in 1769 had obtained charters from New 
York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. By Act of February 
19th 1787 the New York legislature confirmed this charter, 
changing the title of the society from the words " Clergymen 
in the communion of the Church of England in America," re- 
pealing some English clauses in it, and requiring that the 
accounts and proceedings of the Society should be ratified by 
the Governor, Chancellor, Chief-Justice, or any two of them. 
The society apparently held no meetings from 1771 until 1784, 
and, after the Revolution, newspaper notices of its proceedings 
which styled it the " Society for the relief etc. of the Clergy " 
without further description, excited great Presbyterian wrath. 
Dr. Moore succeeded Bishop Provoost as Rector on the 22nd 
of December 1800, and as Bishop on the nth of September 
1801, and in the latter year also became President of Columbia 
College, holding that office until incapacitated by paralysis in 
181 1, repeated attacks of that nature causing his death at Green- 
wich Village on the 27th of February 1816. He is described 
as of slender figure and medium height, graceful and gentle 
in manner, and exceedingly modest and unostentatious. In 
private life his popularity was great, but his powers as a 
preacher were moderate, simplicity being the most marked 
feature of his sermons. In 1789 he resided at No 46 Broad- 

The Corporation of Trinity Church acted under a charter 
granted in 1697 which was confirmed by the New York legis- 
lature by Act of April 17th 1784 rendering it conformable to 
the laws of New York. In 1789 the church officers, accord- 
ing to Dr. Berrian's History, were 

John Jay. James Duane. 


James Farquhar William Laight 

Thomas Randall Richard Harrison 

Anthony L. Bleeker Nicholas Kortright 

Andrew Hamersley Matthew M. Clarkson 

Hubert Van Wagenen William Samuel Johnson 

Nicholas Carmer John Jones 

142 New York City in 1789. 

John Lewis Charles Startin 

Alexander Ogsbury George Warner 

Moses Rogers Alexander Hamersley. 

George Dominick. 

George Warner and Alexander Hamersley became Vestry- 
men, and Robert C. Livingston, Daniel Dunscomb, James 
Giles, and William Bush, retired from that office in that year. 

A Charity School had been founded in 1709 which for a 
time was under the joint care of the Society for the Propaga- 
tion of the Gospel in Foreign Parts and of Trinity Church, 
the schoolmaster receiving a portion of his salary from each. 
In 1748 a school-building had been erected on the south side 
of Rector Street in the rear of the old Lutheran Church, 
which had soon been burned, but rebuilt, and again destroyed 
in the fire of 1776. In 1789 the school, which consisted of 56 
boys and 30 girls, was under the instruction of John Winter, 
clerk of St. Paul's Chapel, at No. 29 John Street opposite the 
theatre. John Wood, clerk of Trinity Church, also advertised 
an evening school at the same place in which arithmetic was 
to be taught according to " Pike's excellent American system,'' 
and in 1785 he had announced that he would teach writing in 
six weeks provided that the pupils had never tried to write 
before. The Charity School was supported principally by 
voluntary contributions and one sermon in its behalf by Bishop 
Provoost at St. George's on the 15th of November 1789 was 
followed by a contribution of £62 7s. lod. and another, 
preached by Dr. Moore at St. Paul's on the 22nd of Novem- 
ber collected ;^8i 8s. lod. 

The French Huguenots were the third congregation to 
erect a church in the city after worshipping for some time in 
the Dutch church in the Fort. Their first building, which 
was opened in 1688, was situated on the south side of what is 
now Market Street about half way between Whitehall and 
Broad Streets, the lot being twenty-eight feet wide by fifty 
feet deep. This building was used for about sixteen years 
when a new one was erected on the north side of King (Pine) 
Street near the east corner of Nassau Street, its corner stone 
being laid July 8th 1704. It was seventy feet long by fifty 

Churches and Clergy. 143 

feet wide, constructed of stone covered with plaster, and at 
the rear had a low stone tower surmounted by a cupola and 
bell. Its burying ground extended back to Little Queen 
(Cedar) Street. In 1776 the building was closed and its oc- 
cupation by the British as a storehouse rendered necessary an 
almost entire rebuilding, which was not begun until 1796, the 
building remaining unused for nearly twenty years. Until 
1803 the doctrine and ceremonies of this church were in ac- 
cordance with those of the Reformed Church of France, but 
in that year, partly in order to obtain a legacy of ;^iooo left 
by Elias Desbrosses in 1773 in trust to Trinity Church for the 
support of a French minister who should perform divine ser- 
vice according to the liturgy of the Church of England, the 
congregation decided to join the Protestant Episcopal body. 
The cupola on the tower had been removed and replaced by 
a board roof and after further alterations and repairs the build- 
ing was consecrated by Bishop Moore on the 30th of May 
1803 and was used until 1832 when the congregation removed 
to a new one on the southwest corner of Franklin and Church 
Streets. This, in turn, was abandoned in 1863 for the present 
church on the south side of 22nd Street between Fifth and 
Sixth Avenues. 

The first Friends Meeting House in the city was a small 
wooden building on the North side of Crown (Liberty) Street 
about half-way between Broadway and what is now called 
Liberty Place, built about the beginning of the i8th century 
and perhaps before the first Lutheran church. During the Revo- 
lution it was used by the British as a hospital, but was re- 
opened after the war and used until 1794 when it was demol- 
ished and a new one erected on nearly the same site ; which, 
in turn, was replaced in 1802 by a brick building in which the 
Friends worshipped until its sale to Grant Thorburn in 1826. 
This building was then used for business purposes until its 
demolition about the year 1836. In 1789 there was also an- 
other " New Quaker Meeting" which had been built of brick 
in 1775 on the east side of Queen (Pearl) Street near the 
south corner of Rutgers (Oak) Street, and was worshipped in 
until 1824 when the congregation removed to a house on the 

144 iV>w York City in 1789. 

northwest side of Rose Street near Pearl Street which was 
used for worship until the year 1857. 

The Lutherans built their first church in the city in 1702 
on the southwest corner of what is now Rector Street and 
Broadway, but the building was destroyed in the fire of 1776 
and never rebuilt, its site being known for many years as the 
" Burnt Lutheran Church." In 1761 another small Lutheran 
church had been built in Skinner (Cliff) Street but in 1767 
the congregation removed to another building which, in 1789, 
stood on the northeast comer of King George (William) and 
Frankfort Streets. It was a low stone building, known as 
the Swamp Church, without a steeple, having an entrance on 
King George Street with a large window on each side of it 
and one over it, while on Frankfort Street light was admitted 
through four lai^e windows and a small one. During the 
British occupation of the city in the Revolution the Hessians 
worshipped in it and the Lutheran congregation occupied it 
until 1 83 1 when it was sold to the African Presbyterian 
Church. The latter occupied it until 1848 when it was sold 
for business purposes and so used until its demolition in De- 
cember 1850. In 1784 the remnant of the Rector Street 
congregation had joined this church and on Monday, August 
2nd of that year, the N. Y. Packet announced that on " Thurs- 
day evening arrived in this city the Rev. Dr. John Christo- 
pher Kunze, late senior minister of the Lutheran Churches in 
Philadelphia and Professor of Oriental Languages in the Uni- 
versity, who is appointed the Lutheran Minister of the Trinity 
and Christ Churches in this city." Dr. Kunze was born in 
Arter, Saxony, on the 5th of August 1744 and, after receiving 
his education in Germany, had first arrived in New York on 
the 22nd of September 1770. He then became pastor in 
Philadelphia and in 1780 was appointed Professor of Oriental 
Languages in the University of Pennsylvania, from which he 
received the degree of D.D. in 1 784. Immediately after his 
arrival in New York in 1784 he was appointed to a similar 
professorship in Columbia College, holding it for three years 
and again occupying it from 1792 to 1795. In 1789 he was 
vice-president of the German Society. He remained pastor 

Churches and Clergy. 145 

of the Swamp Church until his death, July 24th 1807, his 
residence in 1789 being No. 24 Chatham Street. He is said 
to have been a man of medium height, stout, slow, and rough 
in manner. He was learned in patristic theology, and much 
interested in astronomy and numismatics. In Hebrew he 
had no contemporary superior, and he was on terms of inti^ 
mate friendship with Rabbi Seixas of the Mill Street syna- 
gogue. His sermons were learned, never less than an hour 
long, and delivered with a weak voice. The preaching in the 
Lutheran Church was in German and in that language Dr. 
Kunze was a fluent speaker, but his attempts to preach in 
English ended with a sermon from the text " God is not will- 
ing that any should perish." Some irreverent young men 
having reported that upon this occasion Dr. Kunze had said 
" Gott is not a villain," he thereafter confined himself to his 
native tongue. In 1795 he also prepared a collection of hymns 
translated from the German which are said to have been 
" most curious specimens of couplets and triplets." There 
was a school connected with the Swamp Church which in 
1789 was taught by Henry Leightanslen. 

The first Jewish Synagogue in the city was erected about 
the year 1700 on the north side of Mill Street. This first 
building, however, was replaced in 1730 by a new stone build- 
ing thirty-six feet wide by fifty-eight feet long, erected on the 
same site, which was used until 1833 when the Congregation 
Shearith Israel removed to a building in Crosby Street near 
Spring Street. It again removed thence, about the year i860, 
to the present synagogue near the northwest corner of Nine- 
teenth Street and Fifth Avenue. In 1789 the Rabbi of this 
congregation was the Rev. Gershom Seixas, of Portuguese 
descent, born in New York City in 1745. Having succeeded 
Rabbi Pinto in 1766 he held the office for fifty years and en- 
joyed the friendship and respect of ministers of all denomina- 
tions until his death, after a lingering illness, on the morning 
of July 2nd 18 16, his wife, Mrs. Elkalah Seixas, having pre- 
ceded him to the grave on the 30th of October 1785. His 
funeral took place from his house No. 20 Mill Street at eight 

o'clock in the morning of July 3rd 1816, his remains being in- 

146 New York City in 1789. 

terred in the Jewish Cemetery. By the Act of April 13th 
1787, reorganizing Columbia College, Rabbi Seixas was ap- 
pointed a trustee of that institution, and by a subsequent Act 
in 1810 was continued in that position. In the Daily Gazette 
of December 23rd 1789 there appeared an interesting adver- 
tisement stating that upon the following day there would be 
published, at the price of one shilling, a Discourse delivered 
by the Rev, Gershom Seixas in the Jewish Synagogue on 
Thanksgiving Day, November 26th 1789. It closed with the 
statement: "This excellent discourse (to which is annexed 
the Order of Service) the first of the kind ever preached in 
English in this State, is highly deserving the attention of 
every pious reader, whether Jew or Christian, as it breathes 
nothing but pure morality and devotion." In 1789 this con- 
gregation lost two of its prominent members. On the morn- 
ing of April 1 2th died Moses Gomez a highly respected real- 
estate and money broker at No. 203 Water Street, of whom 
the Daily Gazette contained the following obituary notice : 
" He was religious, hospitable, humane and generous, and a 
staunch friend of freedom, as wa3 evinced by his relinquishing 
a very considerable property and residing among the friends 
of the revolution during the late war." 

^' Here rests at length, his labours at an end. 
The rich man's model and the poor man's friend. 
After a life of persevering toil, 
We trust his reliques to his native soil ; 
Convinced his renovated frame will rise 
And his blest spirit claim the promised skies." 

On the 29th of July the congregation lost another member 
and the city an honorable merchant by the death of Haymen 
Levy " a gentleman much respected by all denominations who 
had the pleasure of his acquaintance." During the Revolu- 
tion he had retired to Philadelphia and of him the Phila- 
delphia Journal said : " His character as a merchant was with- 
out blemish ; he was a true patriot and friend of the United 
States, an affectionate husband, a tender father, and a sincere 
friend. The widow, the orphan and the poor will lament the 

Churches and Clergy, 147 

loss ; he was benevolent and charitable to a great degree ; his 
house was open to all strangers of good character to partake 
of his liberality." Mr. Levy was one of the great fur dealers 
of his time and in his store John Jacob Astor learned that 
business. The Jewish Burying Ground, of which a small 
part still exists, in 1789 occupied the block now bounded by 
the New Bowery, Oliver, Madison and James Streets, the first 
mentioned having been cut through the northwest corner of 
the old block. 

The Presbyterians erected their first church in the city in 
1 7 19 on the north side of Wall Street about half-way between 
Broadway and Nassau Street, the church yard having a front- 
age of eighty-eight feet, and extending to a line fifty feet 
from the comer of Nassau Street. This building had been 
enlarged in 1748 to an edifice of rough stone, sixty feet wide 
by eighty feet long, with a cupola and a bell. In the year 
1766, owing to the increased number of the congregation, this 
church obtained from the city a plot of ground known as the 
Vineyard on the north side of Beekman Street between Park 
Row and Nassau Street, now occupied by the Potter and New 
York Times buildings, on a perpetual lease of ;^40 a year, 
upon which the Brick Meeting was erected, and dedicated 
January ist 1768 as a collegiate church with that on Wall 
Street. In Manasseh Cutler's diary, in the year 1787, it is 
stated that the Brick Meeting building was large and elegant, 
the carved woodwork being plain but effective. The building 
was long, having the pulpit near one end but not close to the 
wall, it being supported by a single post which passed up at 
the back of it and was crowned by the sounding-board not 
more than two feet above the minister's head. At the end of 
the building opposite the pulpit were two doors opening into 
two aisles which extended the length of the house, there being 
a row of long narrow pews along each wall and two rows be- 
tween the aisles. Near the middle of the side walls were two 
pews, opposite to each other, which were considerably elevated 
and covered with a handsome canopy supported by pillars. 
These were called the Governor's pews and were reserved for 
strangers. Around the large pillar, which supported the pul- 

148 New York City in 1789. 

pit there was a very large circular pew in which the church of- 
ficers and chorister sat, a little desk in front of it, considerably 
elevated, being occupied by the chorister when singing. When 
a Psalm was given out the chorister sang the first line and the 
whole congregation joined with him in the second line. There 
was no organ. Immediately after the singing which closed the 
service, a collection was taken up in tin platters to which each 
person contributed one copper and no more, the whole matter 
occupying but about three minutes. The ministers of the 
Wall Street and Brick churches preached in them alternately 
in the morning and the afternoon, the sermon delivered in one 
church in the morning being repeated in the other church in 
the afternoon. In 1788 Noah Webster described the Brick 
Meeting as "a genteel brick building thirty-three feet long 
and sixty-five wide, with a steeple not finished." During the 
Revolution the British used the Wall Street building as a 
barrack and the Brick Meeting as a hospital, but, after the 
peace, upon the invitation of Trinity Church the Presb}^erian 
Congregation worshipped in St. George's Chapel for a few 
months until the Brick Meeting was repaired in 1784. The 
Wall Street church was reopened in 1785 and stood until 1809 
when a new building was erected on the same site, which was 
burnt down in 1834, rebuilt in the following year, and occq* 
pied until 1844 when it was sold and removed stone by stone 
to Jersey City where it was used as a church until its sale in 
May 1888 for other purposes. The Wall Street congregation 
is at present represented in the First Presbyterian Church M 
the west side of Fifth Avenue between Eleventh and Twelfth 
Streets, which was opened for worship on the nth of JantP" 
ary 1846. The Brick Meeting continued to be a collegiate 
church with that in Wall Street until 1809, when that conneG|» 
tion was dissolved and the building was used by the indkh 
pendent congregation until it was torn down in 1856, thecoQr 
gregation then building the Brick Church on the northwcit 
corner of Thirty-seventh Street and Fifth Avenue, which wm 
dedicated October 31st 1858. During the greater part of tiha 
year 1789 the only settled pastor of these churches was idle . 
Rev. Dr. John Rodgers, one of the foremost figures in AoMn^. 

Chiifches and Clergy. 149 

lean Presbyterianism. Dr. • Rodgers was born in Boston, 
August 5th 1727, and removed to Philadelphia when he was 
one year old. When a boy he was deeply moved by the 
preaching of Whitefield, and, after receiving his education in 
Pennsylvania grammar schools, completed his preparation for 
the ministry under Rev. Gilbert Tennent in Philadelphia, be- 
ing licensed to preach in October 1747. After a pastorate of 
sixteen years in Philadelphia he was called to New York and 
installed pastor of the Wall Street Church on the 4th of Sep- 
tember 1765. The church flourished wonderfully under his 
ministration and when it became necessary to build the Brick 
Meeting a large portion of the funds for its erection was col- 
lected by his personal exertions. In 1768 he received the de- 
gree of D.D. from Edinburgh University, at the suggestion of 
Whitefield and through the agency of Benjamin Franklin. 
During the Revolution he was an ardent patriot acting as a 
brigade chaplain in 1776, as chaplain of the State Convention 
at Esopus in May 1777, of the Council of Safety, and of the 
first Legislature under the State Constitution of 1777. In 
October 1776 he retired from the city and remained absent 
until 1783, one of his earliest sermons after his return being 
entitled "The Divine Goodness displayed in the American 
Revolution." He was a Regent of the State University, a 
trustee of the College of New Jersey, Moderator of the first 
Presbyterian General Assembly at Philadelphia in 1789, and 
in the same year was President of the Society for the Relief 
of Distressed Debtors, and Vice-President of the Society for 
promoting Useful Knowledge. He died in N. Y. City, May 
7th 181 1. He is described 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. He was elegant in 
manners, but formal to such a degree that there is a tradition 
that the last thing which he and his wife always did before 
retiring for the night was to salute each other with a bow and 
a courtesy. Among his qualities were fervent piety, great 
tact, perseverance, and liberality toward the opinion of others 
although very firm in his own belief. His preaching was un- 
poUshed and lacked variety in style, but was marked by deep 

ISO New York City in 1789. 

earnestness, his sermons being d«livered from memory until 
1803, after which time he read them until he ceased to preach 
in September 1809. His salary was £^00 a year, his perqui- 
sites amounting to ;f 200 more, and in 1789 he resided at No« 7 
Nassau Street. 

In the early part of 1789 the Rev. James Muir also 
preached in the Wall Street church as a candidate for co- 
pastorship with Dr. Rodgers in the place of Rev. Mr. Wilson 
who had vacated that office in January 1788. Mr. Muir was 
born in Scotland on the 12th of April 1757 and after gradua* 
tion at the University of Glasgow and the study of theology 
in Edinburgh had preached in London and the Island of Ber- 
muda until the latter part of 1788 when he came to New 
York. The Rev. Jedidiah Morse, however, was also a candi- 
date for this pulpit and the disagreement of the congregation 
as to the respective merits of Mr. Morse and Mr. Muir was 
such that neither of them was chosen pastor. On the 3rd of 
February 1789 a member of the congregation published a card 
in the Daily Gazette stating that it was rumored that Mr, 
Muir had accepted a call to Alexandria, Va., but that this was 
by no means certain as his preaching was acceptable to a por- 
tion of the pew-holders while others opposed him, but that it 
was hoped that all might agree upon his establishment as co- 
pastor. Mr. Muir, however, accepted the call to Alexandria, 
where he remained until his death on the 8th of August 1820. 
He is described as a short and very stout man, with a grave 
but very benignant expression of countenance, and a disposi- 
tion so unsuspecting that, upon his coming to America, he was 
told by a relative not to believe a word that he heard and not 
more than half of what he saw. His sermons were excellent 
and rarely more than thirty five minutes long, but his strong 
Scotch brogue and a slight defect in his speech interfered with 
his popularity as a preacher in this country. The statements 
regarding the simplicity of his mind have perhaps been either 
exaggerated or not half sufficiently set forth, if the following 
fact may be taken as an index of it. In a letter written in 
January 1789 by an elder of the Wall Street church, the writer 
expresses his indignation at the fact that after Mr. Muir knew 

thai li» *»^^'n-^^ ^vmiuc: sc nrui i inrr . iiu: onf ^\uxuui\ un^tsr. . itt 

a: iirrL. 

•^aTLJii: n: 

In same 'vio^ fiinr'SiHiE 

Wbar dsaCbe oone id curt iiit: 
O tiiun orvDmmqg^ 

Shoidd bnmxn^ axTDvs snae tteetiiraq^ 

Strict Jnsticc voaid appiDir ; 
But I voidd nliicT sjare xinr jiie. 

And meh his bean viib iov^** 

This piece ci simplicity was rewarded hy a hr^ number 
of empty pews at the next service. After Mr. Muirs depart- 
ure from New York, Dr. Rodgers remained sole pastor until 
December 2nd 1789 vdien the Rev. John McKnight was 
installed as his colleague, havii^ been called to this church 
in July 1789. Mr. McKn^ht was bom near Carlisle, Pa., 
October ist 1754, and, after graduation from the Coll^;e of 
New Jersey in 1773 and ordination in 1777, was settled in 
Virginia until 1783 when he removed to Lower Marsh Creek, 
Pa. It is related that while he was settled there a newly 

152 New York City in 1789. 

ordained ruling elder Who had been appointed to attend a 
meeting of Presbytery came to him in great agitation to learn 
what his duties would be, and received the reply: "You are 
to see that my horse is fed and saddled in time to start ; to go 
before and have breakfast or dinner prepared for us; to pay 
the bills, and in Presbytery to vote as I do." This sportive- 
ness greatly relieved the elder, who was then instructed as to 
his real duties. Mr. McKnight arrived in New York with 
his family on the 3rd of November 1789, was installed on 
Wednesday the 2nd of December, and on the following Sun- 
day preached from the very appropriate text : " I ask therefore 
for what intent ye have sent for me." He received the degree 
of D.D. from Yale College in 1791 and in 1795' was Professor 
of Moral Philosophy and Logic in Columbia College. He 
was Dr. Rodgers' only colleague until 1792 when his ill- 
health made a third minister necessary, and he resigned his 
pastorship in 1809 when the collegiate system between the 
Wall Street and Brick Churches came to an end. He then 
resided on a farm near Chambersburg, Pa., until 181 5 when 
he became President of Dickinson College, but resigned that 
office in a little more than a year, and returned to his farm 
where he died October 21st 1823. He was a rather tall and 
slender man, of a cheerful disposition, and dignified in manner 
without the pompous formality for which some of his contem- 
poraries were noted. In his preaching he was a zealous Cal- 
vinist, but calm and dispassionate, and lacked variety of tone 
and gesture. 

The treatment of the Presbyterians by the Episcopalians 
before the Revolution had been far from generous, and al- 
though their respective ministers were on most friendly temis 
after the war, the members of their congregations were very 
willing to engage in a newspaper controversy whenever op- 
portunity was offered, the columns of the N. Y. Packet, 
edited by Samuel Loudon an elder in the Scotch Church, be- 
ing the favorite place of combat. The greatest Presbyterian 
grievance had been the denial of a charter to them in 1 720 
through the opposition of Trinity Church, and for this reason 
they had been obliged to place their property in the trust of 

Churches and Clergy. IS3 

the General Assembly of Scotland until the general Act of 
April 6th 1784 for the organization of churches, after which it 
was placed in the hands of the church trustees. The minis- 
ters' salaries were raised by the renting of the pews. The 
officers of these churches in 1789 were 


John Broome William Irving 

Peter Ricker John Thompson 

Benjamin Steymets Abraham Van Gelder 

John Lasher. 

John King Lewis Nichols 

William Williams John Bingham. 

John Murray Ebenezer Hazard 

Daniel Phoenix William Edgar 

Thomas Arden Robert Bruce 

Alexander Stewart John Sloss Hobart. 

There was also a school connected with these churches 
which in 1789 had no regular schoolhouse, but in January 1790 
there appeared an advertisement for proposals for building 
such a house and during the summer of that year a brick 
building 25 feet wide by 40 feet long was erected on Nassau 
Street opposite the Middle Dutch Church. In December 
1790 this school was attended by fifty children. 

About the year 1757 differences arose in the Wall Street 
Church with regard to Psalmody and a part of that congre- 
gation having withdrawn, formed a new congregation and in 
1768 erected a church on the south side of Little Queen 
(Cedar) Street somewhat nearer to Broadway than to Nassau 
Street, which was popularly known as the Scotch Presbyte- 
rian Church but more formally as the Associate Reformed 
Church, a title derived from the union in 1782 of the Asso- 
ciate and Reformed or Covenanter Presbyterian churches in 
America. This building, sixty-five and a half feet long by 
fifty-four and a half feet wide, was of stone and was used 
as a place of worship until 1836 when the congregation re- 
moved to a new building on Grand Street near the corner 

154 New York City in 1789. 

of Crosby Street, whence it again moved in 1853 to the pres- 
ent building near the northeast comer of Fourteenth Street 
and Sixth Avenue. During the Revolution the Scotch 
church was used by the British as a prison and hospital but 
was repaired and reopened on the first of May 1784, there 
being ninety pews on the ground floor and sixty in the gal- 
leries. In the summer of 1761 the Rev. Dr. John Mason had 
been installed pastor of this church, — an office which he held 
until his death on the 19th of April 1792, receiving a salary 
of £\QO after the Revolution. He is said to have been born 
in the County of Linlithgow, Scotland, in 1734, and received 
his theological education under the Rev. Alexander Moncrief 
at Abernethy. The year before his birth a portion of the 
Scotch Church, under the leadership of Ebenezer Erskine, had 
seceded from the Established Church because of their belief in 
the right of the people to choose their own ministers, which 
had been infringed upon by an Act passed in 17 12 restoring 
to Scotch patrons the right of presentation to benefices, and 
under the auspices of these Seceders or the Associate Presby- 
tery Dr. Mason received his instruction. In 1746 the Seceders 
themselves divided into two parties, known as the Burghers 
and the Antiburghers, on the question of taking an oath re- 
quired of all town-officers to the effect that they professed and 
allowed " the true religion presently professed within this 
realm and authorized by the laws thereof." The Burghers 
were willing to take this oath, while the Antiburghers, of 
whom Dr. Mason was one, refused to profess as the true re- 
ligion that of the Establishment from which they had se- 
ceded. It is said that at the age of twenty years Dr. Mason 
was able to discuss questions pf history, philosophy, and the- 
ology in the Latin tongue with as much ease as in English, 
and in 1758 he became assistant professor of Logic and Moral 
Philosophy at Abernethy, his ordination as a minister taking 
place in the Spring of 1761. Upon his arrival in America he 
at once took a leading part in the management of the denom- 
ination to which he belonged, and earnestly deprecated the 
introduction into this country of " the dry, the fruitless, the 
disgracing and pernicious controversy about the Bui^ess 

Churches and Clergy. 155 

Oath," for which cause his name was stricken from the roll 
of the Synod in Scotland. He was a strong opponent of ef- 
forts to establish an archbishopric in New York before the 
Revolution and during the war was an ardent patriot, acting 
for the greater part of the time as a chaplain in the American 
army at West Point, during which service a pencil portrait 
was surreptitiously made of him by Kosciusko, which is the 
only known portrait of him. In 1782 the union of a part of 
the Associate and Reformed Presbyterian Churches in this 
country was effected largely by his exertions, and in 1783 he 
was chosen Moderator of the first General Assembly of the 
Associate Reformed Church. From 1779 ^^ ^7^5 ^^^ was a 
trustee of the College of New Jersey, from which he received 
the degree of D.D. in 1786 ; he was one of the founders of the 
Society for the relief of Distressed Debtors, a member of the 
Manumission Society, and was for a number of years chaplain 
of the St. Andrew's Society, and a trustee of Columbia Col- 
lege. He is described as a man of medium stature, with 
black hair and eyes, polished in manner, very systematic in 
his habits, and decided in character. He was distinguished 
for his learning, sound judgment and knowledge of the world, 
and as a preacher was plain but energetic. In 1789 he resided 
at No. 63 Cortlandt Street. The trustees of the Scotch 
Church in 1789 were 

John Shephard William Wilson 

Robert Gosman John Thompson 

James Raynolds George Lindsay 

Robert Harper Thomas Allan 

Alexander Robertson. 

Among the church officers and congregation there were 
also Dr. James Tillery, No. 86 Broadway ; Samuel Loudon, 
editor of the N. Y. Packet ; James Walker, dry goods mer- 
chant, No. 14 William Street ; and John Young, schoolmaster, 
No. 7 Fair (Fulton) Street. In February 1791 Alexander Rob- 
ertson presented the church with two lots and a house on 
King (Pine) Street to be used as a church school. 

In 1785 an Associate Presbyterian congregation was formed 

156 New York City in 1789. 

which in 1787 efected a plain frame building fifty feet long by 
twenty-four feet wide on the east side of Nassau Street some- 
what nearer to John than to Fair (Fulton) Street. In 1824 
the Presbyterians sold the building, known as the " Seceders 
Church," to the South Baptist Church and removed to an- 
other building on the northeast corner of Grand and Mercer 
Streets where they remained about thirty years, when they 
again removed to the corner of Grand and Crosby Streets, 
and about the year 1867 established themselves in the present 
Fourth Presbyterian Church on the south side of Thirty- 
fourth Street west of Sixth Avenue. The old Nassau Street 
building was occupied by the Baptists until 1849, when it 
ceased to be used as a church. The Seceders Church had no 
settled pastor until 1792 but during a part of the year 1789 its 
pulpit was occupied by the Rev. David Goodwillie, D.D. 
who was born near Edinburgh, Scotland, on the 26th of De- 
cember, 1749. After graduation at the University of Edin- 
burgh, he was licensed to preach in October 1778, and after 
preaching in Great Britain for ten years came to New York 
in May 1788, and occupied the pulpit of this church for three 
Sundays. He was ordained in Philadelphia in October 1788 
and after serving in several places came to New York again in 
June 1789. In September of that year, however, he left the 
city to become pastor of a Scotch church in Bamet, Vt, 
where he remained until his death, August 2nd 1830, having 
been a member of the Vermont legislature. Town Clerk, Town 
Treasurer, and Postmaster of Barnet. He is said to have 
been a man of fine personal appearance, great versatility, close 
observation and profound common sense. His sermons were 
" intensely evangelical, and divided and subdivided with most 
systematic exactness." Among the officers of this church in 
1789 were 

John McFarland. Joseph Patterson. 
Andrew Wright. Fenton 

Peter Fenton. George Cleland 

Samuel Milligan John Mac Farlane 

William Robertson John McKee. 

Churches and Clergy. 157 


The earliest Baptist church in the city was built in 1728 
on the west side of Cliff Street north of Golden Hill (John) 
Street but the building was sold and the congregation dis- 
solved by the year 1736. In 1762 another church was erected 
which, in 1789, stood on the west side of Gold Street about 
half way between Fair (Fulton) and Golden Hill (John) 
Street. Soon after its erection it was enlarged to a building 
fifty-two feet long by forty-two feet wide which was used as a 
cavalry stable during the Revolution but was repaired soon 
after the peace, and stood until March 1801 when a new 
building was begun on the same site. This new building was 
occupied until 1 841 when the congregation removed to the 
southwest corner of Broome and Elizabeth Streets whence it 
again removed, about the year 1868, and in 1871 occupied 
the present First Baptist Church on the northwest comer of 
Park Avenue and Thirty-ninth Street. In 1789 this church 
was under the pastoral care of the Rev. Benjamin Foster, who 
was born in Danvers, Mass., on the 12th of June 1750, and 
had been converted to the Baptist doctrine by a debate on 
that subject in which he took part while at Yale College from 
which he was graduated in 1774. From 1776 until 1782 he 
was settled in Leicester, Mass., and then for three years in his 
native town. In 1785 he removed to Newport, R. I., whence 
he came to New York in September 1788. He received the 
degree of A.M. from Yale College in 1781 and from the 
College of Rhode Island in 1786, and also received that of 
S.T.D. from the latter in 1792. He remained pastor of the 
Gold Street Church until his death of yellow fever, on the 
26th of August 1798. He is said to have had but few supe- 
riors in knowledge of Greek, Hebrew and Chaldee, and t6 
have been distinguished for his zeal and hard work, preaching 
from four to six sermons a week during the last twelve or 
fourteen years of his life. In 1789 he resided at No. 10 Gold 
Street. According to Gillette's minutes of the Philadelphia 
Baptist Church Association the statistics of the Gold Street 
church for the year ending in October 1789 were, baptized 
19 ; received by letter, 2 ; dismissed, 4 ; excommunicated, 
13; deceased, 2; members, 196. The Messengers from this 

158 New York City in 1789. 

church to the Philadelphia Association meetings in the years 
1788, 1789 and 1790, were William Thompson; Samuel 
Dodge, carpenter, No. 6 Vandewater Street ; Abraham Can- 
non, shoemaker, No. 28 Frankfort Street; Ezekiel Robins, 
hatter, No. 2I9 Queen Street ; William Norris, shoemaker, 
Frankfort Street ; Thomas Longly ; Thomas Slow ; William 
Durell, china merchant. No. 15 Little Dock Street; Thomas 
Montanye ; and John Bedient, grocer. No. 16 Gold Street. 

In June 1752 the first Moravian church was built on the 
south side of Fair (Fulton) Street half way between Dutch 
and William Streets, the minister's house forming part of the 
building. It was a small frame building the corner stone of 
which was laid June 16th 175 1, the consecration services being 
held on the i8th of June 1752. During the Revolution the 
congregation was dispersed, but the church was re-opened 
soon after the declaration of peace and was used until 1844 
when the congregation removed to the corner of Houston and 
Mott Streets, whence it again removed in 1867, and, after oc- 
cupying temporary quarters, about the beginning of 1870 
opened the present church on the southwest corner of Lex- 
ington Avenue and Thirtieth Street. Soon after the Revolu- 
tion the Rev. James Birkby became pastor of this church and 
so continued until 1793. In 1789 he resided at No. 85 Fair 
(Fulton) Street. 

About the year 1758 a congregation of German Calvinists 
was formed which in 1763 purchased for $1250 the building 
on the east side of Nassau Street about half way between 
John Street and Maiden Lane which had formerly been used 
as a theatre. In 1765 this building was torn down and the 
corner stone of a new church upon the same site was laid on 
the 8th of March in that year. The German Reformed con- 
gregation, which was connected with the Classis of the Dutch 
Church, occupied this building until 1822 when it was sold to 
the South Baptist Church which worshipped in it until 1824 
when It was again sold for business purposes and so used until 
its demolition in the summer of 1847. In 1822 the German 
Reformed congregation removed to No. 21 Forsyth Street 
near Walker Street where it remained until i860, with the 

Churches and Clergy. 159 

exception of the interval between 185 1 and 1856 during which 
period there was litigation for the possession of the church 
property and a portion of the congregation worshipped else- 
where. In 1861 it removed to the present building No. 131 
Norfolk Street. In 1789 this church, which was commonly 
called the Baron's Church because of the attendance of Baron 
Steuben, was under the ministry of the Rev. Dr. John Daniel 
Gross, who was born in Germany in 1737. His first settle- 
ment in America was in Pennsylvania whence he removed to 
New York State in 1772 and labored in the Mohawk Valley 
until 1781, when he changed his field to Albany and Kingston, 
being exposed to great perils during the Revolution. He 
began his pastorate in New York City on the 26th of August 
1783 and resigned it in May 1795 on account of ill-health. 
From New York he went to Canajoharie, where he remained 
until 1802, when, being wealthy through speculation in sol- 
diers' land-warrants, he retired to a farm near Fort Plain 
where he died on the 25th of May 18 12. He was a Regent 
of the State University from 1784 to 1787, trustee of Colum- 
bia College from 1787 to 1792, receiving the degree of S.T.D. 
from it in 1789 and being professor of German and Geog- 
raphy in it from 1784 to 1795, the teaching of Moral Philos- 
ophy also being entrusted to him in 1787. His salary as 
pastor of the German Church was £\^o a year, of which he 
received about £\o^ during the year 1789, the total expenses 
of the church being ;£^240 i6s. 2d., of which £26 los. were paid 
to George Gilfert, the organist. The number of marriages by 
Dn Gross during the year was twenty-two, and baptisms fifty- 
five. Among the officers and members of this church in 1789 
were Christian Will, pewterer. No. 4 Water St. ; Henry Will, 
treasurer of the church ; William Gardiner, tailor, No. 9 King 
St.; Caspar Stamler, butcher; William Snyder, merchant, 
Chatham St. ; John Spies, shoemaker, No. 24 Chatham St. ; 
Henry Fredrich, glover, 36 Broadway; John Jacob Astor, 
who was church treasurer for several years ; Maurice Alhart, 
blacksmith ; Philip Jacobs, merchant, 20 Broadway ; George 
Shelding, hair dresser. No. 70 Queen Street ; John Mil- 
doller, tobacconist, 102 Queen St. ; Nicholas Meade, baker, 

i6o New York City in 1789. 

No. 55 Magazine St. ; and Henry Limberger, baker, in Dey 

The next denomination to build a church in the city was 
the Methodists, who first met in a private house, about the 
year 1760, and then in a rigging loft at No. 120 William 
Street, which was demolished about the year 1855. From 
this building they removed to the John Street Church or 
Wesley Chapel which was dedicated on the 30th of October 
1768. It was situated on the south side of Golden Hill 
(John) Street between Nassau and William Streets and was 
a low stone building forty-two feet wide by sixty feet long, 
the outside of the walls being covered with blue plaster. The 
roof was peaked, and, at first there was but one entrance in the 
front of the building, but entrances for the galleries were after- 
wards made at each side of the main entrance. Over each of 
the doors there was a window, and the sides of the building 
each contained four windows. An old Dutch building which 
stood in front of the northwest corner of the church was used 
as a parsonage. In 181 7 this church was replaced by a large 
granite church erected on the same site, which, in turn, was 
demolished for the erection of the present smaller building, 
No. 44 and 46 John Street, in 1841, the brick stores on each 
side of it being built at the same time on the church prop- 
erty. During the Revolution the John Street church was for 
a time used by the British as a prison, but the congregation 
were allowed to worship in it during the greater part of the 
British occupation of the city, being considered to be well af- 
fected toward England. In 1789 the settled minister of this 
church was the Rev. John Dickins, who then resided at No. 
20 John Street. Mr. Dickins was born in London in 1746 
and received a good education in England, whence he came to 
America before the Revolution. He became an itinerant 
minister in 1777 and after several brief locations was settled in 
New York City from 1783 to 1785, when he again travelled 
for a year, but returned to the city in 1786 and remained there 
until the establishment of the Book Room in Philadelphia of 
which he became superintendent in the latter part of 1789, 
holding that position until his death, of yellow fever, on the 

. Churches and' Clergy. \^v 

27th of September 1798. He is said to have been a man of 
fine intellectual powers, an excellent mathematician, and a 
good Latin and Greek scholar. As a preacher he was attrac-* 
tive in style and manner, and forcible in reasoning. Robert; 
Cloud, an exhorter of great power who was not located until. 
1812, was also in the city in 1789. The Elder in New York 
in 1789 was Thomas Morrell who was born in the city No- 
vember 22nd 1747. During the Revolution he acted as an^ 
officer in the American army where he served with great dis- 
tinction for about two years. In the latter part of 1777, hav- 
ifig been obliged by failing health caused by wounds to leave 
the army, he resumed his business as a merchant in Elizabeth- 
town, N. J., where he remained until March 1787 when he 
b^an to ride as a travelling preacher. In June 1789 he was 
appointed Elder in New York City, where he remained for 
five years. He was subsequently stationed in Philadelphia 
and Baltimore and from 1802 until 1804 was again in New; 
York. The latter part of his life was passed in Elizabethtown 
V^here he died on the 9th of August 1838. It is said that his 
love of his couhtry was second only to his love of God and 
that when eighty-three years of age he delivered a Fourth of 
July oration " worthy of one whose blood had actually formed 
part, of the' price of his country's liberties." In person he was 
short and stout, having a small head, bright blue eyes, thin 
lips, and a general appearance of great firmness. He was very 
energetic, a close observer, and, while making no pretensions 
to learning, was a practical and powerful preacher, delivering 
several sermons when in the eighty-ninth year of his age. All 
of the American Methodists, however, had not been of this 
patriotic type and that fact was not forgotten in 1789. 
When, on the 29th of May in that year, the Methodist Conr 
ference then assembled in New York sent a letter of saluta^ 
tion to the President of the United States signed by BisTiops 
Coke and Asbury this action by the former attracted some at- 
tention. An '* Inquirer" in the Daily Advertiser of June 17th 
wished to know whether Bishop Coke was the individual 
formerly known as ** little Doctor Coke," who, when in Eng- 
land, .had be^en a bitter opponent of America, This inquisi- 

i62 New York City in 1789. 

tive individual further wrote : " If the same little Doctor 
Coke I refer to has translated himself from Mr. Wesley's so- 
cieties in England to the Bishopric of the Methodist Episcopal 
church in America, he ought to give us full proof of his politi- 
cal conversion. ... If Bishop Coke is this same Doctor 
Coke, no American, but a British subject, uniformly opposed 
to us in principle and conduct through the whole of the war, 
is it not the extreme of hypocrisy for such a man to take the 
lead of the Episcopalians in an address to the President of our 
republican government," To this, Elder Morrell, over the 
signature of " A Member of the Methodist Episcopal Church," 
replied on the 19th of June that having but recently become 
a member of that church he knew nothing of Bishop Coke's 
actions during the Revolution, but that his sermons in Amer- 
ica since that time showed his acceptance of the new order of 
things, and that Article XXIII. of the Methodist Church was 
sufficient proof of the true Americanism of that body. He 
also wished to know by what right " Inquirer " made such a 
demand for knowledge of the political opinions of another, 
and stated that the latter should have made his attack while 
the bishop was in this country and could have replied to it, 
but that if he was ignorant of the constitution of the Metho- 
dist Church he could obtain full information upon that sub- 
ject by applying under his true name at No. 20 John Street. 
" Inquirer," however, had a good deal of material upon which 
to base his altack, and on the 24th of June made another bit- 
ter onslaught upon the Methodists by quoting a number of 
Wesley's anti-American remarks, and asking where Bishop 
Coke got his consecration. The bishop had sailed for Liver- 
pool on the 5th of June and upon his arrival in England met 
the usual fate of a trimmer by being roundly abused for his 
lack of loyalty to that country. The John Street congrega- 
tion in 1789 numbered about 300 persons af whom a consid* 
erable portion were negroes, which may account for the ap- 
pearance of a colored man in its pulpit in 1786, which was 
probably the first time that one of his race occupied a New 
York pulpit The N. Y. Packet of September nth 1786 
mentions the fact thus : " Lately came to this city a very sin- 

Churches and CUrgy^ l6j 

gular black man, who, it is said is quite ignorant of letters, yet 
he has preached in the Methodist Church several times, to 
the acceptance of several well-disposed judicious people. He 
delivers his discourses with great zeal and pdthos, and his lan^ 
guage and connection is by no means contemptible. It is the 
wish of several of our correspondents that this same black man 
may be so far successful as to rouse the dormant zeal of num- 
bers of our slothful white people^ who seem very little affected 
about the concerns of another world." Among the members 
of the John Street church in 1789 were William Lupton, mer- 
chant, No. 22 John St. ; Paul Hick, shoemaker. No. 43 Will- 
iam Street; Abraham Russell, mason. No. 16 Crown Street; 
John Staples, merchant, No. 67 King Street ; Henry New- 
ton ; Stephen Dando ; Philip Arcularius, broker. No. 7 Ann 
Street ; Gilbert Coutant ; and John Bleeker, grocer. No. 198 
Queen Street. 

At the Methodist Conference, consisting of twenty mem- 
bers, held in the city in May and June 1789, it was decided 
to build another Methodist church, and in August seven lots 
were bought for that purpose for £l^o upon which a stone 
building was erected and dedicated on the 8th of November 
1789. It was situated on the east side of Second (Forsyth) 
Street near the north corner of Division Street, and stood 
until 1833 when a new building was erected on the same site 
which is still occupied. 

The first Roman Catholic congregation in the city was 
formed in November 1783 under the pastorship of Rev. An- 
drew Nugent, and worshipped for a time in a building owned 
by Trinity Church in Vauxhall Garden near the North River 
between Warren and Chamber Streets. On the nth of June 
1785 this congregation was incorporated and soon afterwards 
purchased from Trinity Church five lots on the southeast cor- 
ner of Barclay and Church Streets upon which a church was 
erected, the corner stone of which was laid on the 5th of Oc- 
tober 1785 by Don Diego de Gardoqui, the Spanish ambassa- 
dor. This building, known as St. Peter's Church, of brick, 
eighty-one feet long by forty-eight feet wide, was consecrated 
before its completion by Rev. Mr. Nugent on the 4th of No- 

164 New York City in 1789. 

veitiber 1786 and stood until the year 1836, when tlie present 
building, opened in 1838, was erected. Until the erection of 
St. Patrick's Cathedral in 181 5 this was the only Roman 
Catholic church in the city. In the latter part of 1787 Mr. 
Nugent was removed from the pastorship of St. Peter's, and 
the Rev. William O'Brien, a Dominican, took his place. It 
is said that the Archbishop of Mexico had been his fellow- 
student at Bologna, and he accordingly began his service by 
^ journey to Mexico for the purpose of collecting funds and 
there obtained $4920, a gift of $1000 from the Bishop and 
clergy of Puebla de los Angelos, and several paintings for the 
adornment of the church. He remained in charge of StI 
Peter's until his death on the 14th of May 1816. There is a 
tradition that Charles III. of Spain contributed a large Bum 
toward the erection of the first St. Peter's church, but among 
those who are more certainly known to have been early bene- 
factors of that church were Jos6 Roiz Silva, a wine merchant 
then at No. i Beekman Street ; James Steward ; Andrew 
Morris, chandler. No. 48 Great Dock Street ; Gibbon Burke, 
grocer^ No. 161 Water Street ; William Mooney, upholsterer. 
No. 14 Nassau Street; Charles Naylor, merchant, No. 48 
William Street ; George Barnwell, merchant. No. 205 Water 
Street ; and John Sullivan, grocer, in Moore Street. 

The Daily Advertiser of November 6th 1789 contains a 
notice that the Independent Congregational Church under 
the pastoral charge of Rev. Mr. George Wall would hold service 
in their new meeting-house at the upper end of Great Geoi^e 
Street on the following Sunday. This was probably the first 
Congregational church building in the city but no reference is 
made to it as a church on the city maps until 1803 when it 
appears on the west side of Broadway a short distance beloW 
Leonard Street. After that year there is apparently no further 
ttieiition of it. The name of the Rev. George Wall, residence 
at No. I Thomas Street, first appears in the directory of 1791^ 
and in 1795 he removed to No. 329 Broadway, where he re- 
sided until his death. All the information which the present 
writer has been able to gather concerning him is derived from 
his will and the certificate of his death. By his will, dated 

Churches and Clergy. 165 

October 13th 1803, he left all his worldly possessions to Mrs. 
Jane Matlock, widow of Rev. John Matlock of New York 
City ; and the record of his death recites that he was a native 
of Scotland who died of apoplexy at his residence on Broad- 
way on the 1 2th of September 181 3 in the 64th year of his 
age. He was buried in the PriKbyterian cemetery. 



Among public amusements the theatre was the most pop- 
ular. It is said that theatrical performances were given in 
New York as early as the year 1732, but the first entertain- 
ment of this kind of which anything is definitely known was 
given on the 5th of March 1750 by a company of comedians 
from Philadelphia who hired a room in Nassau Street and 
began their performances with Richard III., — the first recorded 
production of one of Shakespeare's plays in America. This 
company disbanded in July 175 1 and nothing is known of 
them beyond their names and the plays which they produced. 
The next company which appeared was managed by Robert 
Upton, an Englishman who had been sent from London to 
prepare the way for a company from that city. Disregarding 
the mission for which he was employed he gave performances 
for his own benefit from December 175 1 until March 1752 
when he took his departure. Those by whom he had been 
sent to this country were members of what was long known 
as The Old American Company who made their first appear- 
ance in America on the 5th of September 1752 in Williams- 
burg, Va., and arrived in New York in June 1753. A new 
theatre was built for them upon the site of the old one in 
Nassau Street and their first season lasted from September 
1753 until March 1754, when they left New York for four 
years, and, upon their return in December 1758, erected a new 
building on Cruger's Wharf near Old Slip, the Nassau Street 
theatre having given place to the German Reformed Church. 
After performing from December 1758 until February 1759, 
this company was again absent from New York until August 
1 761 when a new theatre was built on the south side of Beek- 

A musentents. I €ij 

man Street east of Nassau Street, in which they performed 
from November 1761 until April 1762 ; but before their next 
return in 1767 this building had been destroyed during the 
excitement resulting from the Stamp Act, and in the summer of 
1767 another building was erected which was used as a theatre 
for thirty years. It was situated on the north side of John 
Street about half way between Broadway and Nassau Street, 
standing about sixty feet back from the street, the entrance 
being through a rough wooden covered-way. The building 
was constructed principally of wood, was painted red, and 
contained a pit, two rows of boxes and a gallery, the value of 
tickets to an audience which filled the house being eight hun- 
dred dollars. From the date of its opening, December 7th 
1767, the John Street Theatre was the only theatre in the 
city until the 13th of January 1798 when the last performance 
was given in it, its successor being the Old Park Theatre 
which was opened on the 29th of January 1798. The Old 
American Company played in the John Street Theatre at in- 
tervals until the end of the year 1774 and in February 1775 
departed to Jamaica owing to a recommendation by Congress 
on October 24th 1774 that public amusements should cease on 
account of the critical condition of public affairs. During the 
British occupation of the city the British officers amused 
themselves with theatrical entertainments in the same build- 
ing, which was then called the Theatre Royal, and the next 
appearance of The Old American Company in New York was 
in September 1785 when the theatre was opened for a " Moral 
Lecture," that term probably being used to avoid objections 
to a theatrical entertainment. On the 23rd of September 
1785, however, a regular theatrical season was opened by a 
portion of the company and in spite of opposition by the 
Common Council, and virulent newspaper attacks, the theatre 
became a firmly rooted amusement in New York. In 1789 
the Old American Company was under the management of 
Lewis Hallam, the younger, and John Henry. It had under- 
gone many changes in membership since its first arrival in 
America and of those who had appeared in Williamsbui^ in 
1752 Lewis Hallam was the sole representative. Bom in Lon- 

i68 New York City in 1789. 

don in 1740 he had mad6 his first appearance on the stage at 
the age of twelve years, at the company's first performance in 
America and, although as the servant of Portia in the Mer- 
chant of Venice he had but one line to repeat, his courage 
had failed him and bursting into tears he had left the stage 
without uttering a word. He had first appeared in New York 
at the Nassau Street Theatre on the 17th of September 1753, 
and from 1758 until 1774 he was without a rival in America. 
He was a man. of middle stature, slender and straight, and 
took all parts from tragedy to that of Harlequin in panto- 
mime, in which his activity was greatly admired. A scar 
near one of his eyes, received while fencing, slightly marred 
the expression of his face but does not seem to have seriously 
interfered with the facial requirements of his calling, and his 
acting proved acceptable to American audiences for fifty years. 
He became manager of the company during the Revolution- 
ary period and died in Philadelphia on the ist of November 
1808 having retired from the stage in 1806. His partner 
John Henry was born in Dublin and is said to have appeared 
at Drury Lane Theatre in London in 1762 without success. 
His first appearance in America was in Philadelphia, October 
6th 1767, the advertisement stating that he came from the 
theatre in Jamaica. He first appeared in New York at the 
John Street Theatre, December 7th 1767, and after the Revo- 
lution appears as co-manager with Hallam. He is described 
as a handsome man, six feet in height, and excellent in Irish 
characters and in that of Othello, in which he appeared as a 
negro with woolly hair clad in the uniform of a British officer. 
He was a miartyr to the gout and for that reason kept a one- 
horse carriage driven by a negro boy upon which w:ere emblaz- 
oned two crutches with the motto " This or These." His 
power as an actor was probably accurately described by Hal- 
lam whien he said that Henry was an, excellent amateur actor. 
He remained in partnership with Hallam until 1794 when 
they quarreled and Henry and his wife withdrew from the 
stage. He died, April 25th 1795, while on a journey to 
Rhode Island in a coasting vessel. The other members of 
the company were Mr. Owen Morris, Mr. Stephen Wools, 

Amusements^ . 169 

Mr. Thomas Wignell, Mr. Harper, Mr. Charles Biddle, Mn 
Lake, Mir. Heard, Mr. Gay, Mr. Ryan, Mr. John Durang^ 
Mrs. Henry, Mrs. Morris, Mrs. Harper, Miss Tuke, Mrs. 
Williamson, Mrs. Hamilton, and Mrs. Durang. Of these 
Morris, Wignell, and Wools were joint proprietors of the com* 
pany with Hallam and Henry, the others receiving salaries 
from the proprietors. Mr. Morris had probably first appeared 
in New York in 1758 and was favorably received in the parts 
of old men which he is said to have acted until the. natural 
infirmities of old age gave the appearance of an excellent imi-r 
tation. In 1788 he was a small, shrivelled old man with a 
weak voice. He left the American Company in 1791 to join 
those who built the Old Chestnut Street Theatre in Phila- 
delphia, where he died in 1809,. at the age of eighty-four 
years. Mr. Wools, who was born in Bath, England, in 1729, 
first appeared in America in Philadelphia on the 21st of Nov* 
ember 1766 and appeared in New York for the first time in 
1767. He was the chief singer in the company and is said to 
have pursued that vocation until long after he had ceased to 
possess the requisites for it. He died in New York on the 
14th of June 1799. Mr. Wignell, who was Hallam's cousin, 
came to New York from London in 1774 and being informed 
on. the day after his arrival that Congress had recommended 
the cessation of public amusements, departed to Jamaica and 
probably made his first appearance in New York in the John 
Street Theatre on the 12th of December 1785. In 1789 he 
became a member of the St. George's Society. He is de- 
scribed as a short, blue-eyed man with an athletic figure and 
remarkably small feet. After performing humorous parts 
with the American Company until 1791 he left it to become 
manager of the Old Chestnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, 
where he died in 1803. Mr. Harper, who was born on the 
Island of Jamaica, first appeared in New York in November 
1785 and was not remarkable as an actor. He died in 18 13, 
having appeared in New York for the last time in 1805. 
Mr. John Durang was a native of Lancaster, Pa., who attained 
popularity as the dancer of the company and died in Phila* 
delphia in March 1822 aged fifty-four years. . The other male 

I70 New York City in 1789. 

members of the company were actors of the poorest descrip- 
tion. Mr. Biddle and Mr. Lake had first appeared in New . 
York in 1785 ; Mr. Ryan, the prompter, was a native of New 
York, and in 1789 was supporting an aged father and mother 
from his salary ; and Mr. Heard was confined to his bed by 
illness for a number of months in that year and therefore did 
not take a great part in the season's performances. He left 
the American Company in 1793. Mr. Biddle died in Rich- 
mond, Va., on the 27th of November 1790. .Of the female 
members of the company,* Mrs. Henry was the greatest favor- 
ite with the public. She was the youngest of three sisters, 
Ann, Fanny, and Maria Storer, all of whom made their first 
appearance on the American stage in Philadelphia in 1767 
and with all of whom Mr. Henry lived in matrimonial alli- 
ance of more or less irregularity. She is described as " a per- 
fect fairy in person " who wore such enormous hoops that 
upon her coming to the theatre in full dress Mr. Henry was 
obliged to slide her out of the carriage sidewise and then carry 
her in his arms to the stage door. She is said to have been 
the best singer who appeared in New York before 1792 but to 
have been rather small for tragedy parts and to have caused 
frequent changes of programme through her silliness and ca- 
price. She died in Philadelphia soon after the death of Mr. 
Henry. Mrs. Morris, who was the rival of Mrs. Henry for 
public favor, was tall and well-formed and made a fine appear- 
ance in both tragedy and comedy. It is said, however, that 
" her enunciation was very imperfect and her education still 
worse," while her poor memory made the prompter's services 
frequently necessary. She left the Old American Company 
with her husband in 1 791 and died in Philadelphia about the 
year 1825 at the age of seventy-three years, being the last sur- 
vivor of the American actors who had appeared before the 
Revolution. Mrs. Harper was without personal beauty but 
acted the parts of old women acceptably. She first appeared 
in New York with her husband in 1785 and probably died in 
October 1791. Miss Tuke was one of two actresses of that 
name, of American birth, who apparently made their first ap- 
pearance in November 1785. Miss Sarah Tuke died in Ches- 

A musements. iji 

ter, Pa., in the last week of August 1787, and the Miss Tuke 
here mentioned is described as being at this time " young, 
comely, and awkward." She afterwards married Mr. Hallam, 
making her first appearance as Mrs. Hallam in 1792, and is 
said to have become beautiful, graceful, and an actress of 
merit. She appeared with her husband in New York until 
i8o6 when both retired from the stage. Miss or Mrs. Durang 
acted small parts and joined in dancing with Mr. Durang. 
Mrs. Hamilton and Mrs^ Williamson both apparently made 
their first appearance in New York in 1789. The former left 
the company in 179S and is said to have died in Albany in 
November 1834, and the latter did not appear on the New 
York stage for any great length of time. 

On the 28th of March 1789 Hallam and Henry advertised 
that the theatre would be open on Easter Monday, and on the 
13th of April it was announced that the first performance 
would be given the next evening. Tickets were to be obtained 
of Mr. Philips at the theatre office from 10 to 12 A.M. and on 
days of performance from three to five P.M., and also at 
Gaine's bookstore, the Sign of the Bible, on Hanover Square. 
Performances were given three times a week, the doors being 
opened at six or half past six o'clock, and the curtain rising at 
seven o'clock. To avoid confusion ladies and gentlemen were 
requested to order their servants to take up and set down with 
their horses' heads to the East River, and the old formula 
" Vivant Rex et Regina " with which theatrical advertisements 
ended previous to the Revolution was now supplanted by 
" Vivat Respublica." The price of admission was for boxes 
8s., pit 6s., and gallery 4s., being higher than that charged 
in Philadelphia where boxes were 7s. 6d., pit 5s., and gallery 
3s. 9d. 

On the 20th of April it was announced that the theatre 
would be closed for a time owing to the illness of several of 
the actors, and although on the 4th of May it was re-opened, 
on the 1 8th of May the managers apologized for a disappoint- 
ment in two previous performances owing to the illness of four 
actors including Mrs. Henry. The performances then con- 
tinued until the 12th of June when the building was closed 


New York City In 1 789. 

for repairs, one of the improvements being the Introduction of 
ventilators. Being re-opened on the 22nd of June, perform- 
ances were given in the improved building until the 8th of 
July when it was announced that it would be closed until the 
17th of August on account of the warm weather ; but the re? 
opening did not take place until the 7th of September. .From 
that date the performances were given, with occasional ihter'- 
mission due to the jealousies and personal encounters of the 
actors, until the 15th of December, when, after one "Last 
Night " on the 9th, and one " Positively Last Night " on the 
nth the season closed. From the 14th of April to the 15th 
of December the managers advertised 61 performances, some 
of which never took place, including 31 comedies, 6 tragedies, 
26 farces, 9 comic operas and 2 pantomimes, by more than 35 
different authors. The plays were as follows : 

pril 14. 

The Stratagem. 


True Born Irishman. 


" 16. 

Earl of Essex. 


Musical Lady. 


'• 18. 

Clandestine Marriage. 


High Life Below Stairs. 


May 4. 

The Wonder. 


Musical Lady. 


«' 6. 

School for Scandal. 


Poor Soldier. 


" 8. 

The Brothers. 


The Liar. 


" II. 

School for Scandal« 


Poor Soldier. 


" 13. 

The Rivals. 


The Ghost. 



Careless Husband. 




" 16. 


** 18. 


'* 20. 

Roman Fathen 


The Liar. 


" 22. 

The Brothers. 


Miss in her Teens. 


" 25. 

Clandestine Marriage. 


Cross Purposes. 





May 27. 

She Stoops to Conquer. 



Widow's Vow. 


'* 29. 

The Gamester. 


The Madcap. 


" 30. 

George BarnjvelL 


Poor Soldier. : 


June I. 

West Indian. 



Mayor of Garret. 

Foots. -^ 

it 9 

Fashionable Lover. . 


Register Office. 


■" 4- 

The Heiress. .-. " 



Rbsina or The Reapers. 

Mrs. Brooke. 


Clandestine Marriage. 



The Citizen. 


" 8. 

Richard III. 



True Born Irishman. 


*• 10. 

The Contrast. 


. > 

Widow's Vow. 


'' 12. 

The Deserter. 

John Henry. 

Who's the Dupe. 


" 22. 

He would be a Soldier. . 


Rosina or the Reapers. 

Mrs. Brooke. 

" 26. 

The Duenna. 


Robinson Crusoe. 


" 29. 

The Choleric Man. 


Robinson Crusoe. 


July I. 

He would be a Soldier, 

PiLLON, • 

Who's the Dupe. 


«. 6. 

The Deserter. 

John Hehry. 

Inkle and Yarica ^ 


Sept. 7. 

The Father. 


Who's the Dupe. 


" 9. 

The Father. 


Like Master, Like Man. 


" II. 

The Father. 


High Life Below Stairs. 


" 14. 

Belle's Stratagem. 


Inkle and Yarico. 


" 16. 

The Father. 


Catherine and Petruchio. 


'f 21. 

The Wonder. 


:' . 

The Old Maid. 


" 24. 

English Merchant. 


The Dead Alive. 



New York City in 1789. 

Sept. 28. 

A Word to the Wise. 


Poor Soldier. 


Oct I. 

All in the Wrong. 


Poor Paddy's Whole History. 


Airs Well that Ends WeU. 

John Henry. 

" 5. 

Merry Wives of Windsor. 




" 8. 

The Drummer. 


Agreeable Surprise. 


The Shipwreck. 


" 12. 

School for Scandal. 


The Critic 


" 19. 



Cheats of Scapin. 


" 22. 


" 26. 

Gustavus Vasa. 


The Apprentice. 



The Tempest. 


Love in a Camp. 


Nov. 3. 

School for Wives. 


Fair American. 


*' 5. 

Provoked Husband. 

Van Brugh. 

Fair American. 


" 9. 

Maid of the MilL 


Half an Hour after Supper. 


Fair American. 



School for Wives. 


The Invasion. 


•' 16. 

The Jealous Wife. 


Wapping Landlady. 


The Apprentice. 


Les Ombres Chinoises. 


*' 19. 

The Miser. 


The Air-Balloon. 


Les Ombres Italiennes. 


" 24. 

The Toy. 


The Critic. 


Darby's Return. 


" 27. 


" 28. 



Cymon and Sylvia. 


Prisoner at Large. 


Dec. 2. 


" 4. 



Dec. 7. 

The Toy. 


Man and Wife. 


" 9. 

English Merchant. 


Prisoner at Large. 


" II. 

The Busy Body. 


Robinson Crusoe. 


" 15. 

The Heiress. 


The Miser. 


Darby's Return. 



In addition to these plays, a monody was delivered on two 
occasions in " Eulogium of the American Chiefs who fell dur* 
ing the War ; " at Mrs. Morris' benefit an entertainment was 
given entitled an " Exhibition of Pictures or the World as it 
Goes," consisting of humorous and satirical sketches of char- 
acters by G. A. Stevens, Foote, Pillon, and other authors ; Mr. 
Durang generally danced a hornpipe between the play and 
farce of which the performance consisted ; and at Mr. Wools' 
first benefit a Masonic Anthem was sung by brothers Wools 
and Harper. The greater number of the plays produced had 
been performed in New York in previous years, but several of 
them were new in the city, while others were performed this 
season for the first time in America. Those which were new 
in New York were The Careless Husband, Who's the Dupe, 
The Choleric Man, Inkle and Yarico, Duplicity, Gustavus 
Vasa, The Apprentice, The Fair American, The Miser, and 
the Air Balloon. Those which were performed for the first 
time in America were He would be a Soldier, The Father, 
The Dead Alive, The Critic, The Toy, and Darby's Return. 
Forty-six of the plays were acted but once during the season, 
twenty-one of them were acted twice, while School for 
Scandal, George Barnwell, Who's the Dupe, The Apprentice, 
and The Fair American were acted three times, and The Poor 
Soldier and The Father were honored with four performances. 
The latter was received with especial interest as the production 
of an American author, who was honored with an " Author's 
Night" on the nth of September when the play was given 
for the second time. The first play by an American author 
ever acted by a regular company of comedians was The 

176 New York City in 1789. 

Prince of Parthia, a tragedy written in 1759 by Thomad God- 
frey, a native of Philadelphia, and advertised for performance 
in that city by the American Company on the 24th of April 
1767. The next American play was The Contrast, ^ comedy 
written by Royal Tyler, the first performance of which was 
given in New York on the i6th of April 1786, while k farce, 
by the same author, entitled May Day in Town was per- 
formed -for the first time in the John Street Theatre on the 
19th of May 1787. The Father was therefore the fourth 
American play to be acted by a regular theatrical company, 
and on the 26th of August 1789 the Daily Gazette contained 
the following announcement : " The town is, at present, in very 
great expectation of seeing a comedy, now in rehearsal; which 
is the production of a gentleman in this place, much cele- 
brated for his wit and humour; besides his great ability in the 
Dramatick, he has a peculiar talent in the Lyrick way of writ- 
ing, and that in a manner wholly new and unknown. As soon 
as three hundred Shandean subscribers are obtained, the work 
will be put to the press." This talented author was Williani 
Dunlap, the historian of the American Theatre and of the 
City of New York, artist, theatrical manager, and the author 
of forty-nine published plays, the second of which, a farce en^ 
titled Darby's Return, was performed for the first in New 
York at Mr. Wignell's benefit on the 24th of November 1789. 
The Father appeared in printed form as acted, on the 14th of 
September 1789, price 2s. 6d., and Darby's Return appeared 
in print on the 3rd of December 1789. All of these American 
plays were of the poorest quality, but Darby's Return has the 
distinction of being one of the few things that ever caused 
George Washington to laugh. He was present at its first 
performance, and, according to the author's account, after some 
evident embarrassment at references to himself in the farce, 
Washington " indulged in that which was with him extremely 
rare, a hearty laugh." So "extremely rare" was this indul- 
gence with Washington that the editor of the Daily Advertiser 
made especial mention of the incident, as follows : " Our be- 
loved Ruler seemed to unbend and for the moment give him- 
self to the pleasures arising from the gratifications of the two 


Amusements. ijj 

most noble organs of sense, the Eye and the Ear." The news- 
paper dramatic criticism of the time is fairly represented by 
the description of The Deserter as an " elegant, tender, senti- 
mental and well conducted Dramatic Entertainment," while 
Darby's Return was considered to be "replete with the happi- 
est illusions to interesting events and very delicately turned 

The Deserter or School for Soldiers seems to have aroused 
the enthusiasm of the gallery to a high pitch. A newspaper 
account of the performance given on the I2th of June leads 
as follows : " A more profound attention was never known to 
be given to any piece through the whole performance. A 
circumstance which indicated the real interest which the gal- 
lery took in the fate of the Deserter ought not to be omitted : 
as soon as the soldiers on the stage demonstrated their joy, by 
huzzaing, for the pardon which was announced to have been 
obtained from the late Commander in Chief for the Deserter, 
the audience in the gallery spontaneously gave the same proof 
of sensibility and satisfaction.'' The play of Gustavus Vasa, 
however, which was expected to give especial satisfaction to 
Americans because of its having been suppressed in England 
on account of its seditious sentiments, does not seem to have 
been received with great favor. A newspaper rhymster made 
the following criticism of its performance, which probably 
gives a correct estimate of the acting of the Old American 
Company at this time : 

" If alone to the SOOK the Theatrical Troop 
Would their poor exhibitions confine, 
Some success in attempts to amuse, they might hop 
For in that, if at all, they may shine. 

But when in the BUSKIN they vainly attempt 
. To raise our compassion and fear, 
Our mirth they excite, nor are free from contempt— 
For as ranting Buffoons they appear. 

Tho' Vasa the Patriot applause may command, 

And his Virtue Americans please, 
Yet when coldly portrayed by this Theatric Band, 

The reverse of applause scorn decrees." 


178 New York City in 1789. 

The most successful performances were, of course, those 
which were honored by the presence of the President, his 
proposed attendance at the theatre being duly advertised in 
the newspapers. The first of these occasions was on the nth 
of May, when the President, Vice-President, Governor, and 
inany members of Congress witnessed the performance of 
School for Scandal and the Poor Soldier, the boxes of Wash- 
ington and Adams being decorated with the Arms of the 
United States and that of Governor Clinton with the State 
Arms. On the 5th of June the President and his wife, Rob- 
ert Morris and Mrs. Morris, General and Mrs. Knox, Baron 
Steuben and other distinguished persons attended the perform- 
ance of The Clandestine Marriage and upon this occasion 
" the reiterated plaudits bestowed upon the various parts of 
the performance designated the merits of the actors ; — and it 
is but just to say that, animated by the countenance of such 
illustrious auditors, the characters were supported with great 
spirit and propriety. Mrs. Henry and Mrs. Morris played 
with their usual naivete and uncommon animation." On the 
24th of November — the memorable occasion when Washing- 
ton laughed — the audience rose at the President's appearance 
and greeted him with the warmest acclamations, " the genuine 
effusion of the hearts of Freemen." At this time Washing- 
ton made the following entry in his diary : "Went to the play 
in the evening, — sent tickets to the following ladies and gen- 
tlemen and invited them to seats in my box, viz. : — Mrs. 
Adams, (lady of the Vice-President,) Genl. Schuyler and lady, 
Mr. King and lady, Majr. Butler and lady, Col. Hamilton 
and lady, Mrs. Green, — all of whom accepted and came, ex- 
cept Mrs. Butler, who was indisposed." His last visit to the 
theatre in 1789 was at Mr. Henry's benefit on the 30th of No- 
vember when Cymon and Sylvia, a monody by Mrs. Henry 
on the American Chiefs who fell during the Revolution, and 
O'Keefe's comedy The Prisoner at Large, were presented be- 
fore the most brilliant and numerous audience which had 
been seen for several years. Upon this occasion Washington 
presented tickets to Dr. Johnson and lady, Mr. Dalton and 
lady, the Chief Justice of the United States and lady, Secre- 

Amusements. 179 

tary of War and lady, Baron de Steuben and Mrs. Green. 
Of the orchestra of the theatre, no mention is made in the ad- 
vertisements, but the music was probably acceptable to the 
audience, for in 1786 complaint was made that it did not con- 
tinue through the whole of the half hour required for the 
preparation of the farce with which the performance ended. 
It is said that the leader of the orchestra was a German by 
the name of Phila, who composed the " President's March " 
from which the tune of " Hail Columbia " was afterwards de- 
veloped. The stage scenery was at times deemed worthy of 
especial mention. Thus, on June 26th it was advertised that 
the pantomime of Robinson Crusoe would be presented with 
" the most brilliant display of Scenery ever exhibited in the 
Western World," as described in Capt. Cook's Voyages to 
Otaheite, New Zealand, etc., with the exception of the scene 
of the Falls of the Passaic. A description of this latter scene 
in the Daily Advertiser of July 3rd 1789 states that the stage 
was darkened and then by a gradually increasing light the 
Genius of Columbia rose from the water and at a motion of 
his wand the new Federal Hall appeared and ascended to the 
clouds supported by the Temple of Concord in the form of a 
superb transparency with emblematic devices, the pillars sup- 
porting it being marked Wisdom, Fortitude, Virtue, and Jus- 
tice. The name of the painter of this triumph of scenic art 
was unfortunately omitted. An attempt at realism was also 
made in the performance of the Shipwreck by the introduc- 
tion of a " real balloon." The course of the American Com- 
pany, however, during the season of 1789 was not altogether 
smooth. There had always been more or less opposition to 
the theatre in America and this season like most of the previ- 
ous ones was marked by bitter warfare in the newspapers be- 
tween the supporters and opponents of theatrical entertain- 
ments. In October 1789 this conflict was renewed by the 
publication of several articles by " Rusticus " in favor of the 
theatre. " Theron " objected to these and propounded 
twenty-seven queries to " Rusticus," the last of which was : 
" Would the sound of the Archangel's trumpet or any sum- 
mons to the invisible world be welcome to Rusticusior any ad- 

rSo New York City, in 1789. 

mirer of the stage, should that summons find him in the gal-: 
lery, pit, or box." Rusticus, of course, answered these 
queries seriatim and stated that such a summons " would not 
be more unwelcome to Rusticus in the box, pit, or gallery, 
than elsewhere." But Rusticus had one weak point ; — he 
was a poet, and closed his reply with ; 

**Theron adieu ; no more in holy rage 
Do thou attempt to lash the perverse age. 
For know, in spite of all that thou can'st preach, 
The Drama soars above thy sordid reach." 

: ' To this " Theron " scathingly replied : " Surely none will 
suspect me of adulation when I declare that the poetry of 
Rusticus exceeds even his logic." " Rusticus," however, re- 
turned to the combat and declared that Theron's article was 
a mere plagiarism and a mangled version of arguments on the 
same subject previously published by Dr. Witherspoon. Hi$ 

parting shot at " Theron " was : 


" O could thy baby hands resign the pen * 

And leave a subject far above thy ken, 
Some meaner theme might suit thy grovelling soul 
Where none would censure or thy wit controul." 

" Vindex " then joined in the fray, denouncing " Theron " 
as a "religious enthusiast," and the warfare ended by 
" Theron " expressing his contempt for both his adversaries. 
More dangerous, however, to its welfare were the dissension^ 
in the company itself. The jealousies between the actors 
seem to have reached their climax about the 12th of October 
as on the 15th of that month Mr. Henry published a card 
stating that he had been confined to his bed for several da3rs 
by severe bruises received in a quarrel " unexpected, unsought, 
and most maliciously misrepresented." The clue to this afi- 
fair is found in a card of October i6th, signed " Querist," dept 
recating the unmerited censure of the managers for a disap^ 
pointment in School for Scandal on the 12th and laying th6 
blame upon Mr. Harper who had received due notice that 
Mr. Henry was too ill to appear that night and should: thener 

: Amusements^ l8l 

•fore have changi^d the programme. The performance on the 
.I2th of October had been for Mrs. Harper's benefit and her 
husband had evidently taken revenge for a disappointment by 
ppmmelling the manager. On the i8th of October, however, 
the benefits were resumed and on the 24th Mr. Henry pub- 
lished a statement that the quarrel had been amicably settled. 
But this statement merely brought out a card from " One 6f 
the Boxes " to Mr. Henry to the effect that the public had no 
interest in his private quarrels but were disgusted at his re- 
iusal to act through personal spite toward Mr. Harper. He 
also thought that Mrs. Henry might act more frequently than 
she did to entitle her to a benefit and that she should act iii 
benefits for others when she had had such a profitable one her- 
self ; people were well-nigh tired of old plays and of seeing 
indifferent actresses when they might have good ones. To 
this Mr. Henry replied that he had not appeared because he 
had been confined to his bed, and that Mrs. Henry would act 
when asked to do so by the other actors, which had happened 
but once, when she had an influenza and could not sing. 
Mrs. Williamson's benefit was announced for the 3rd of No- 
vember but was postponed until the 5th and her play changed 
because of Mr. Harper's severe illness, and this fact caused 
the publication of an attack upon Mr. and Mrs. Harper for 
disappointing an audience and injuring a helpless woman by 
their caprice. Finally, a wail arose on the 13th of November 
from another actor because the managers would not allow him 
to be assisted at his benefit by a Mrs. Gardner, who was not 
^ member of the company, and because he was likely to have 
no benefit at all, owing to the departure of the company to 
Philadelphia. He took his revenge by announcing that Mrsu 
iGardner was far superior to the actresses of the company, owr 
irig to her long training under Garrick and Foote. All of the 
iactors, however, had benefits before leaving the city. The 
series began with " Mr. Wools' night," on the 21st of Septemr 
4>er, and ended on the 15th of December. Those of Mrs; 
Henry, Mr. and Mrs. Harper, Miss Tuke, and Mrs. Morris, 
were either pecuniarily satisfactory or they did not dare to ask 
ior another. Messrs. Heard and Ryan had one together, as 

i82 New York City in 1789. 

did Messrs. Gay, Durang, and Lake. The other actors 
adopted a formula stating that their previous benefit had been 
disappointing to their friends, and that they had therefore de- 
cided, by their friends' advice, to relinquish the emoluments 
of that performance to the company and to request the re- 
newed patronage of the public. Mr. Wools accordingly 
shared a second benefit with Mrs. Hamilton ; Mrs. William- 
son did likewise with Mr. Biddle; and Messrs. Hallam, 
Henry, and Morris each had two. The last mention of the 
Old American Company in the newspapers of 1789 was a card 
from " Humanitas" urging them to give a performance for the 
benefit of the poor, but his appeal was unheeded although in 
former years considerable sums had been raised for the poor 
in that way. 

The Mrs. Gardner whose assistance had been declined by 
Hallam and Henry had made her first appearance on the 
stage on the ist of October 1763 at the Drury Lane Theatre 
under the name of Miss Cheney. She had also appeared at 
the Covent Garden and Haymarket Theatres in London and 
is said to have acted excellently in several of Foote's plays. 
Her arrival in New York was announced by an advertisement 
on the 17th of November 1789 of an entertainment " rhetori- 
cal and oratorical," at the City Tavern for one night only, en- 
titled Fashionable Raillery by Mrs. Gardner from the Thea- 
tre Royal, Covent Garden, performed by her for forty-seven 
nights in Dublin and with equal success in Jamaica and 
Charleston. The performance was to include songs and to 
close with a whimsical afterpiece entitled The Mad Poet- 
ess. The refusal of the managers of the American Company 
to accept her assistance afforded her an opportunity to air her 
history in the newspaper. In a card published on the 19th of 
December 1789, announcing that an entertainment was to be 
given for her benefit, she stated that she had been enticed 
from Charleston by a gentleman who promised to give her 
charge of his child in the country and, (having apparently 
learned but little of the ways of the world during her twenty- 
six years experience on the stage), she had accepted his invi- 
tation only to be robbed and deserted by him. The membeiB 

Amusements. 183 

of the American Company finally paid her debt for board and 
lodging, redeemed her clothes, and allowed her to use the 
theatre for one night. The performance for her benefit was 
to consist of " Wits Last Shift " and " Bucks have at ye all," 
and was to take place on the 29th of December but was post- 
poned to the following evening owing to the inclemency of 
the weather, and seems to have received no further notice in 
the newspapers. 

The minor public amusements of the year were not nu- 
merous. In January, Mr. Colles announced that so long as the 
sleighing lasted he would continue his electrical experiments 
and exhibition of curiosities at Halsey's celebrated tavern in 
Harlem ; but no description was given of the curiosities. The 
next announcement of a show was in April, when Dr. King, 
lately from South America, arrived from Charleston with a 
collection of natural curiosities. This exhibition was opened 
at No. 28 Wall Street, opposite the Coffee House, and in- 
cluded " a Male and Female of the surprising species of the 
Ourang Outang or the Man of the Woods ; the Sloth, which 
from its sluggish disposition will grow poor from travelling 
from one tree to another; the Baboon, of different species 
and of a most singular nature ; Monkey, Porcupine, Ant- 
Bear, Crocodile, Lizard, and Sword Fish ; Snakes of various 
kinds and very extraordinary ; Tame Tyger and Buffalo ; 
Also a variety of Birds of different sizes, colour, and species." 
These could be seen from 10 A.M. to 10 P.M. for the price of 
5s. for adults and 2s. 6d. for children. A few weeks later a 
picture of the Wild Man of the Woods appeared in the Bos- 
ton newspapers modestly clad in a girdle of fig-leaves. In 
November another natural curiosity was offered for sale in the 
shape of " A Moose Deer, of the male kind, lately brought 
from St. John's, N. B. ; only 18 months old and fully 15 
hands high and very tame." Of a different kind was the ex- 
hibition, in July, of a solar microscope at the house of Christo- 
pher Colles, No. 3 on the Lower Battery. This instrument 
was said to be justly reckoned one of the greatest improve- 
ments in the science of Optics, and magnified the skin of a 
spider's leg to 30 feet in length, as thick as a man's body and 

i84 New York City in 1789. 

covered with bristles surprisingly large. It magnified a comr 
mon louse to the length of 12 feet, from which it was calcur 
lated that it increased the bulk 644,972,^544 times. The price 
of admission was three shillings and those who had come once 
were admitted free upon their second visit provided that they 
brought others with them. On the loth of June Mr. Joseph 
Decker published a broadside to the effect that in 1785 he had 
made a balloon ascension at Bristol and, after being in the air 
half an hour, had descended at a spot 23 miles from the place 
of ascent. He desired to favor the inhabitants of New York 
with a similar exhibition and solicited subscriptions of '83. 
each toward the construction of a balloon to cost one hundred 
guineas, his own remuneration to be obtained from an exhibit 
tion of the balloon when completed. On the 7th of August 
he sent up from the Fort a balloon 24 feet in circumference 
which descended into the Harlem River nine miles from the 
place of ascent. This was followed on the 1 5th by one 30 feet 
in circumference, and, on the 12th of September, Mr. Decker 
announced that he had completed a large balloon 100 feet in 
circumference in which he himself would ascend on the 23d 
of September from the lot bounded by Eagle, Suffolk, and 
Cellar Streets, near the race ground. This balloon was 
placed lipon exhibition at No. 14 William Street, the price of 
admission being 4s., but Mr. Decker was not destined to asr 
cend in it. The Packet of December 24th states that two- 
thirds of the city assembled on the 23rd to see the great bal- 
loon ascend but that, according to Mr. Decker's statement, it 
caught fire on account of the pressure of the multitude who 
broke the fence by which it was surrounded. Others thought 
that the manager purposely set it on fire, this opinion finding 
expression in the following card, which appeared in the Jour^ 
nal : " Yesterday at 4 o'clock departed in a blaze the much 
Celebrated Balloon, constructed under the admired abilities 
of Mr. Decker, whose eccentric ingenuity was displayed in cic- 
quiring a brilliant sum ; which perfectly accorded with his 
N. B. that he should leave the city after his descent — into the 
purses of the generous and disappointed spectators." The 
same Mr. Decker also exhibited at No. 14 William Street a 

Amusements. 185 

Speaking Figure suspended by a ribbon from the centre of a 
beautiful temple, which asked questions itself and answered 
with delicacy and propriety questions addressed to it either 
in a whisper or more audible tone. In the same room there 
were exhibited a variety of wax figures, a small paradox, and 
an alarm against house-breaking and fire, the show being open 
from six to ten P.M. and the price of admission 2s. for adults 
and IS. for children. Mr. Decker died in Lisbon in the early 
part of 1790. A more extensive wax-work exhibition was 
given at No. 74 Water Street, opposite Crane's wharf, by a 
Mr. Bowen who came with a letter of recommendation signed 
by an ex-Governor, the Secretary of State, and other promi- 
nent citizens of North Carolina. In this exhibition were 
" The President of the United States sitting under a canopy 
in his military dress and over the head of his Excellency a 
fame suspended (also in wax) crowning him with a wreath of 
laurel ; the King, Queen, and Prince of Wales of Great Brit- 
ain, habited in cloaths which were presented by the King; 
The Rt. Reverend Samuel Provoost, Bishop of New York ; 
The Rev. Dr. John Rodgers of New York; and the Rev. Dr. 
John Livingston of New York " There were also a number 
of edifying biblical scenes, and figures so constructed as to 
turn their heads, open and shut their eyes, and perform other 
feats " to the admiration of the spectators." This exhibition 
was open from 6 to 10 P.M. at 2s. 6d. for adults, and is. for 
children, and was probably a good show as it was honored, on 
the 17th of September, by a visit from the President, Gen. 
Knox, and other distinguished persons. Of out-door amuse- 
ments there were not many during the year. There was a 
cricket club in the city, and on the 8th of August the news- 
papers announced that bets to a considerable amount would 
be settled by a few shots at a target that afternoon in a field 
near Mr. Campbell's on the Greenwich Road ; in this match, 
Capt. McPherson of Philadelphia, a gentleman with but one 
arm, vanquished his competitor Capt. Stakes, who, at a 
range of 160 yards, failed to hit the barn-door on which the 
mark was placed. An event of greater interest was a boat- 
race for a purse of fifteen. half-joes, on the 15th of August, be-*- 

1 86 New York City in 1789. 

tween the New York pilot-boat York, commanded by Mr. 
M. Daniels, and the Virginia built schooner Union, Captaih 
Merryman, belonging in Cura^oa. The race took place out- 
side of the Hook in a light breeze, the York running 14 
leagues in five hours and beating her rival by about seven 
minutes. Thirty vessels attended the race and nearly £2000 
changed hands upon the result. But two horse-races were 
advertised during the year, the first of which was to take 
place on the 15 th of September on Greenwich Lane, each 
horse to pay one dollar entrance fee and the winner to receive 
an elegant saddle. The second advertisement was that of the 
Jamaica races on the 29th and 30th of October. On the 29th 
there was to be a race for ^£'20, open to all, best two out of 
three two-mile heats ; 20s. entrance for each horse ; three 
year olds to carry six stone seven, four year olds seven stone 
nine, five year olds eight stone twelve, and aged nine stone. 
On the 30th, the winner of a free-to-all race was to receive a 
saddle, bridle, and whip. 

The public lectures of the season seem to have been lim- 
ited to one delivered at Aaron Aorson's tavern on the 6th of Oc- 
tober by " a man more than 30 years an Atheist." The sub- 
ject of the lecture was " The Divinity of Jesus Christ " and its 
object was to assist two poor families and to establish a 
fund for the purchase of wood for the poor; tickets were 
to be obtained of all the Aldermen for a quarter of a dollar 

Music seems to have been cultivated in the city to a con- 
siderable extent, as appears by the existence of The Musical 
Society, the officers of which were George Gilfert, director, 
Henry Will, treasurer, and Robert McGrath, secretary. This 
Society, which met at No. 29 John Street, gave a concert in 
March for the benefit of distressed debtors in jail, and on the 
i8th of June gave a second one in the Lutheran Church. Six 
other concerts were given between the 22nd of September 
and the ist of December, three of them being subscription 
concerts under the management of Mr. Reinagle and Mr. 
Henry Capron, music teachers in the city. The programme 
of the first of these subscription concerts, which took place on 

Amusements. 187 

the 22nd of September, probably gives a fair example of the 
musical taste of that time. It was as follows : 

Act I St. 

Overture. Giordani. 

Song. Mrs. Sewell. . 

Concerto, Violoncello. Mr. Capron. 

Overture. GUGLIELMI. 

Act 2nd. 

Overture. Stamitz. 

Song. Mrs. Sewell. 

Sonata, Piano Forte. Mr. Reinagle. 

Overture. Ditters. 

After the first act a chorus was given, with the words that 
were sung as Washington passed the bridge at Trenton on 
the way to his inauguration, to music composed by Mr. 
Reinagle. In the other concerts of this series a Mr. Wolf 
played on the clarinet and there were given overtures com- 
posed by Vanhall, Ditters, J. Stamitz, and C. Stamitz, a piano 
and violin duet by Mozart, and a symphony by Goffec. 
After the music there was dancing. Mrs. Anna Maria Sewell, 
who had retired from the Old American Company in 1788 
to keep a young ladies' school, also gave a concert on the 31st 
of October in which the same performers took part. The last 
concert of the season was given on the ist of December by 
Mr. P. A. Van Hagen, formerly Director of the City Concert 
at Zutphen and then a music teacher at No. 23 Ferry Street, 
the other performers being Mr. Van Hagen, jr., eight years 
of age, and Mr. Frobel. This performance included a solo, 
never before performed, on iron nails called Violino Harmon- 
ika. The price of admission was one dollar and after the 
concert there was to be a ball. Mr. Van Hagen's violin play- 
ing had aroused great enthusiasm at a concert which he 
gave on the loth of November and on the day of his last con- 
cert a correspondent of the Daily Gazette announced that he 
would undertake to prove, before any judge who had taste 
enough to take the matter into consideration, that he was the 
first master of music who had ever visited America. 


New York City tn 1789. 

wi The only free exhibition announced in the newspapers in 
1789 failed to be seen. A transit of Mercury across, the Sua 
was duly advertised for the 5th of November, with diagrams 
and full explanations, but owing either to a miscalculation in 
the time or the poorness of their telescopes the inhabitants 
of New York saw nothing of this phenomenon; 

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Education. Literature. Art. Newspapers. 


; • ■, ■ i 

In the matter of educational facilities New York, even asj 

late as 1789, was undoubtedly less advanced than New Eng-^ 
land, a fact which Brissot de Warville, who was a man of 
great literary ability, attributed to the Dutch indifference 
toward letters. Columbia College was graduating some brill- 
iant young men, but, owing to a variety of causes they were 
few in number as compared with the graduates of Yale and 
Harvard, while the University of Pennsylvania bid fair to out^ 
strip the New York institution. The college had been estab-j 
lished in 1754 amid the clash of ecclesiastical arms, aroused, 
by an alleged attempt to set up a Church of England institu- 
tion for the support of which all denominations were to be 
taxed. In 1746 the raising of funds for the encouragement of 
education had been begun by a lottery, and in 175 1 whenj 
the fund amounted to ;^3443 it was vested in ten trustees 
whose denominational affiliations at once raised a protest.^ 
The board included seven Episcopalians, two Refprmec^' 
Dutch members, and one Presbyterian, William Livingstoijij 
afterwards Governor of New Jersey, who, in " The Indepen- 
dent Reflector," first published in November 1752, made 3^ 
fierce attack upon the proposal to grant a charter to a colleger 
founded for the benefit of a denomination who were in the, 
minority in the community. In May 1754 Trinity Church 
offered land for the college upon condition that the president^ 
should always be an Episcopalian and that the Prayer- Book 
should be used in it, and the trustees of the fund petitioned 
for a charter upon these terms. One party in the Dutch 
Churchy including Dominies Ritzema and De Ronde, then 
favored this project, provided that the Dutch should have a 

1 90 New York City in 1789. 

theological professorship in the institution; and the Dutch 
members of Assembly voted for the charter, which was 
granted by the Governor on the 31st of October 1754, no 
mention, however, being made in it of the Dutch professor- 
ship. Mr. Livingston then renewed his opposition in a series 
of papers entitled " The Watch Tower " which appeared in 
the N. Y. Mercury from October 25th 1754 until November 
17th 175s, and succeeded in raising such opposition to the 
transfer of the fund by the original trustees to the college 
trustees that one half of it was finally given to the city for the 
building of a new jail. Another opponent of the college also 
appeared in the person of David Marinus, Dutch pastor at 
Aquenonka, Long Island, who was the author of a pamphlet 
entitled " A Remark on the Disputes and Contentions in 
This Province," printed in New York by Hugh Gaine in 
1755. This writer declared that the surest way for any party 
to promote their domineering sway was to obtain control of 
the education of youth, and he expressed his amazement that 
the Dutch should have allowed themselves to be imposed 
upon in such a manner. He also paid his respects to one J. 
V. D. who had written against Mr. Livingston and his sup- 
porters in the N. Y. Mercury charging them with disturbing 
the peace and tranquillity of the colony. This individual was 
informed that he need have no fear that the Dutch would 
give any assistance either to the college in New Jersey, (which, 
however, was preferable to that in New York,) nor to that in 
New York, as they proposed to have an academy of their own, 
having found this to be necessary unless they wished to be an- 
nihilated by the other churches. Under the old plan of educat- 
ing American ministers in Holland the Dutch Church had so 
declined that the grandeur of the High Church consisted in 
proselytes gained from it. He further writes : " Is our Friend 
really of Opinion, our Church is established here, or the Church 
of England either ; why doth he then not prove it ? * * * 
Oh! this mock Establishment is a Darling of theirs to enchant 
and delude the Ignorant and Un weary ! The Net is already 
thrown out round about us ; it hath already encircled us ; if 
we remain but quietly and tamely where we are, no doubt, the 

Education. Literature, Art. 191 

High Church Party will make the greatest Draught ; as our 
real and honest Friend PhiUleutheros hath shown. But our 
Ulyssean Friend, it seems is not contented even with this ; we 
must like senseless and dumb Fishes, run into the net of our 
own Accord, to facilitate the Labour and Toil of our Fisher- 
men, in drawing our own Ruin and Destruction upon us. 
We must, at the same Time, unite with the Members of the 
Church of England^ in promoting their High Church College, 
in order to get our Youth so freely educated that they for- 
ever renounce their own Church, and when they get into the 
Assembly, make us pay for it and feel the Smart of it. Is this 
a Foundation to build a College upon ? Is this a Basis 
whereon to fix a Seminary of Learning, in a Free Land, de- 
signed for a Place of Refuge, for an Asylum to persecuted 
Souls, in which the incroaching Party is perhaps scarcely 
a twentieth man at present p ♦ ♦ * Let us Men, and 
Brethren, put our Trust in God, and be unanimous among 
ourselves, and not hearken to domineering parties who en- 
deavor to divide us ; we have no Business with their Col- 
leges ; they may erect as many as they please, and must ex- 
pect to maintain them too themselves." Mr. Marinus' final 
suggestion that the Dutch could not be despoiled without the 
concurrence of the Assembly and that they should therefore 
be particular with regard to their choice of representatives, 
was too late to be of value to them. A Dutch professorship 
of theology was added to the institution in June 1755, but in 
^August of that year the Dutch Consistory censured Dominie 
Ritzema for having acted in the matter without authorit)'', 
and the Dutch took no part in the college. Denominational 
disagreements thus attended the foundation of the college and 
were without doubt a great hinderance to its prosperity. The 
chief causes, however, of its weakness in 1789 were the fact of 
its having been closed during the Revolution, and the poverty 
which had followed the war. The college was revived by two 
Acts passed on the ist of May and the 26th of November 
1784 placing it under the control of the Regents of the State 
University who were created by those Acts, but, this arrange- 
ment proving detrimental to it, a new law was passed on the 

192 Nem York City in 1789. 

13th of April 1787 by which its old charter was confirmed 
and its management was placed in the hands of twenty-nine 
trustees who were to hold office until their number was re- 
duced to twenty-four, who were then to fill the vacancies 
themselves. These trustees held their first meeting on the 
8th of May 1787, the income of the college at that time being 
about ;^I330. The first stone of the College Building was 
laid on the 23rd of July 1756, and. in May 176O it was first oc- 
cupied. The building, which was situated on the blocks now 
bounded by College Place, Church, Murray^ and Barclay 
Streets, in 1789 formejd but one third of the proposed struct- 
ure and had been considerably damaged during the Revolu- 
tion by its use for military purposes. It was a three-story 
$tone building with four entrances, having at its west end, on 
the first floor, a hall in front and a dining room in the rear, 
with but a slight partition between them. On the second 
floor, over the hall, was a library the books of which had dis- 
appeared during the war, and on the opposite side of the 
building was the apparatus chamber. .The third floor con-* 
tained a lecture room, over the library, and .adjoining it ,was a 
room containing a telescope, microscope, globes,' and. other 
scientific instruments. In other parts of the building there 
were also a chapel, museum, anatomical theatre, and twentjr- 
four suites of apartments consisting of a sitting-room, study, 
and bedchamber. One description states that there were but 
twelve such apartments. The middle of the structure was 
adorned with a cupola and one of the first lightning rods 
which had been put up in the city. In 1792 an addition to 
the building was begun and the College occupied the premises 
until its removal to 49th Street in 1857. The College 

Faculty in 1789 consisted of : 


President and Professor of Rhetoric, Logic, and Belles-Lettres, Hon. 

William Samuel Johnson, LL.D. 
Professor of Moral Philosophy, Geography, and the German Language^ 

Rev. John D. Gross, D.D. 
Professor of Mathematicsy ]oiiii Kemp, LL.D. 
Professor of Greek and Latin, Peter Wilson. 
Professor of Oriental Languages, Rev. John C. Kunze, D.D. 

Education, Literature, Art. 193 

Prof essor of Anatomy and Surgery y Charles McKnight, M.D. 
Professor of the Institutes of Medicine, Benjamin Kissam, M.D. 
Professor of the Practice of Physic , Nicholas Romaine, M.D. 
Professor of Chemistry, Samuel Bard, M.D. 

The medical department had been established in 1767, 
chiefly through the efforts of Dr. Samuel Bard. William 
Samuel Johnson, President of the College, was a son of its 
first president, and was born in Stratford, Conn., on the 6th 
of January 1727. After graduation from Yale College in 1744 
he studied law and soon attained great eminence in jurispru- 
dence. In 1 761 he received the degree of A.M. from both 
Harvard and Columbia Colleges, and in 1766, when on a visit 
to England as colonial agent, he received that of J.C.D. from 
Oxford and was also elected Fellow of the Royal Society. 
He was Judge of the Superior Court of Connecticut, Member 
of Congress, a member of the Constitutional Convention in 
1787, and in 1789 was U. S. Senator from Connecticut, an of- 
fice which he resigned in 1 791. He accepted the presidency 
of Columbia College in November 1787 and resigned that 
position on the i6th of July 1800, when he was 74 years of 
age. He died in 18 19 in his 93rd year. 

The requirements for admission to the college in 1789 
were the ability to render into English Caesar s Commentaries, 
the four orations of Cicero against Catiline, the first four 
books of Virgil's ^neid, and the Gospels from the Greek, 
and to explain the government and connection of the words ; 
to be able to turn English into grammatical Latin ; and to 
understand the first five rules of arithmetic. The college year 
was apparently divided into two sessions, one of which began 
on the i8th of June and the other on the 12th of November, 
the price of tuition being five dollars for each professor whose 
instruction was received. Examinations were held quarterly 
and at one on the 4th of February 1789 orations were delivered 
on Slavery, Education, Prejudice, Public Spirit, Government, 
and General Arnold, who was " made as black as the power 
of language could paint him." The oration on Prejudice was 
published in full in one of the newspapers. The College 
Commencement was held on the 6th of May 1789 in the pres- 

194 New York City in 1789. 

ence of the President, Vice-President, and Senate of the 
United States, Governor Clinton, and other distinguished 
persons, the ceremony beginning with prayer by President 
Johnson, after which there were the following orations : 

James C. Duane, Salutatory in Latin on the Study of Philosophy and 

Mathematics in Colleges. 
Matthew Mesier, On the Passions. 
Peter Mesier, On the Rising Glory of America. 
William Lupton, On the Advants^es of the Discovery of Printing. 
Henry Izard, On the Necessity of Eloquence for the Preservation of 

John Bainbridge, On Happiness. 

John P. Van Ness, On the Progress and Causes of Civilization. 
John Remsen, On Government, — its Progress from East to West 
William Hurst, On the Utility and Study of History. 
John M. Mason, Valedictory. 

The degree of A.B. was conferred upon these graduates 
and that of M. A. upon Dewitt Clinton, Philip V. Livingston, 
Rev. John Basset, Rev. Peter Steddiford, Abraham Hun, 
Samuel W. Johnson, and R, Alden. The recipients of the 
degree of D.D. were the Rev. Messrs. Beach, Moore, Gross, 
and Lynn of New York, Jacobus R. Hardenburgh, and Jere- 
miah Leaming. The exercises then closed with a charge to 
the students by President Johnson. 

The college was subjected to some bitter criticism in the 
newspapers in 1789, especially on account of the small number 
of its students as compared with other colleges, (Yale had 30 
graduates in 1789 and Harvard 49) its lack of a sufficient 
number of instructors, and the fact that its president was a 
U. S. Senator to the supposed neglect of his college duties. 
The whole number of students was said to be between thirty 
and forty. The writer of these criticisms, however was evi- 
dently actuated by some personal grievance which does not 
fully appear. A more profound criticism was made by the 
Hon. Hugh Williamson, M.D., LL.D. of North Carolina, in 
a letter of September 14th 1789 addressed to President John- 
son, in which he advised the teaching of natural philosophy 
and natural history rather than the confining of the course of 

Education. Literature, Art. 19S 

study to the classics. This wise advice^ however, merely 
brought on a denominational war in the newspapers in which 
the ** Presbyterian dislike of the classics " was roundly de- 

In the number of its schools, the city was certainly not 
lacking, as the directory for 1789 contains the names of 55 
school-teachers, and there were several others whose names 
do not appear in it. The oldest school in the city was the 
Charity School of the Dutch Church, mentioned elsewhere, 
and the others ranged from Columbia Grammar School down 
to that kept by " Sam Jones, old soldier and schoolmaster, 
No. 22 King George Street." Columbia Grammar School, 
which was probably the best school in the city, was estab- 
lished May iSth 1784 and was one of two grammar schools 
which it was proposed to have annexed to the University, 
each to have two teachers, and, when the pupils became suffi- 
ciently numerous, to add an assistant. In view of this supe- 
rior instruction, the price of tuition was to be higher than in 
common schools. One of these schools was kept by Mr. Ed- 
ward Rigg and Mr. M*Millan, but the former died in the 
early part of September 1786 and the latter being called to 
the Kingston Academy, the school came to an end. The 
school-room was in the Old City Hall and the scholars were 
at one time so noisy as to disturb the deliberations of Con- 
gress which was assembled in an adjoining room. On the 
26th of January 1784, Mr. William Cochran announced that 
he had opened a school at No. 23 Maiden Lane in which 
Latin, Greek, History, and Geography would be taught. In 
May of the same year this school became the Columbia Col- 
leg^ Grammar School and, in December, Mr. Cochran was 
elected Professor of Latin and Greek in the College itself, 
holding that position until his resignation in the early part of 
1789 when he accepted a professorship in Nova Scotia. John 
Randolph of Roanoke, who was one of his pupils, writes : 
" Cochran left no one but Dr. Johnson, the president, of any 
capacity behind him.*' The first quarterly examination of 
the school was held on the 9th of August 1784, in the pres- 
ence of the Regents of the University and clergy of the city 

196 New York City in 1789. 

and prizes were awarded to Masters Cochran, Mason, and 
Woodward. On the 28th of October 1784, Mr. Cochran an- 
nounced that he had procured an able assistant, Mr. George 
Wright from Trinity College, Dublin, and in December, the 
second quarterly examination was held and prizes awarded to 
James C. Duane, John M. Mason and others, of whom some 
were graduated from the College in 1789. In March 1785, it 
was announced that the terms of tuition in the school would 
be reduced to one guinea entrance fee and seven dollars a 
quarter, which seems to have been the price in 1789. Other 
good schools were that kept by James Hardie at No 9 Gold 
Street, from which thirteen scholars were admitted to Colum- 
bia College in June 1789; that of Malcolm Campbell at No. 
85 Broadway, nearly opposite Trinity Church ; and that at 
No. 19 Little Queen (Cedar) Street kept by Mr. Graham and 
Laurence Johnson, both of whom made their appearance in 
the city in 1784 and became partners in April 1787. Mr. 
Hardie was the author of a Latin Grammar, and Mr. Camp- 
bell, who had received the degree of M.A. from the Univer- 
sity of Aberdeen, was the editor of some of the earliest edi- 
tions of the classics published in New York. He died after a 
lingering illness, on the nth of October 1821, at No. 31 
Liberty Street, in the 63rd year of his age. All of these 
schools held public exhibitions which were not always satis* 
factory to their visitors, for in June 1789 complaint was made 
that the pieces spoken at a recent exhibition were animated 
by party spirit. The principal young ladies' schools were that 
of Mrs. Sewall, opened in June 1788 at No. 89 William Street 
and removed in May 1789 to No. 5 Crown (Liberty) Street; 
that of Mrs. Carter, " late of London and Philadelphia,'' 
opened in January 1789 at No. 76 Broadway, opposite the 
City Tavern ; and that proposed to be opened in September 
1789 by Mrs. Graham, who in the following year occupied 
the house No. i Broadway. The instruction in these schools 
was given in reading, writing, spelling, arithmetic, grammar, 
geography, deportment, plain sewing, embroidery, cloth-work, 
filigree work, japanning, drawing, painting, music, dancing and 
French. The charges were about ;f 80 a year, including wash- 

Education. Literature, Art, 197 

ing, for boarders, £^0 for half-boarders, and six dollars a 
quarter for day scholars. The leading French teacher in the 
city was Monsieur Alexander McDonald who announced his 
arrival from South Carolina in August 1789 and advertised in 
French for scholars to study English under him. He ob- 
tained a position in Graham and Johnson's school but appar- 
ently did not remain long in this city, as he died in Albany 
in November 1793. Another French teacher was M. Chevalier 
who came to New York in August 1784 by the advice of 
Americans whom he had taught at Nantes during the Revo- 
lution. He also taught Latin after the method of the French 
Academy, having had long experience in Paris, and in June 
1789 offered gold watches, snuff-boxes, and buckles for sale 
at No. 49 Fair (Fulton) Street. John H. Hentz, who had 
taught in the city and on Long Island for eleven years, also 
announced in 1789 that he would open a French school when 
he had obtained twenty pupils. In 1784 he charged a half a 
guinea a month for instruction given from five to seven o'clock 
in the afternoon. M. Villette also gave instruction in French 
and fencing, in Cortlandt Street, the second door from Green- 
wich Street. Music was taught by Henry Capron who ap- 
peared in the city in November 1784, at No. 24 Gold Street, 
and by Mr. Reinagle, a member of the Society of Musicians of 
London, who came to New York in 1786 and in after years 
became the musical director of the Chestnut Street Theatre in 
Philadelphia. John Rudberg also taught the guitar, violin, 
and clarinet at No. 4 Great Dock (Pearl) Street ; and in De- 
cember 1789 Mr. P. A. Van Hagen, "organist, carillineur, 
and late director of the City Concert at Zutphen," announced 
that he would give lessons on the violin, harpsichord, tenor, 
violoncello, German flute, hautboy, clarinet, and bassoon, as 
well as in singing, at the rate of twelve lessons for six dollars 
and twenty shillings entrance fee. Mr. Van Hagen, who had 
been a member of the patriotic party in recent troubles in 
Holland, arrived in New York in October 1789 by the ship 
Jenny from Amsterdam, being drawn to America by affection 
for republicanism and probably also by the desire for his de- 
parture in Holland. His first advertisement in October de- 

198 New York City in 1789. 

scribes him as an ^* organist, klokkenist, and componist," and 
he was warmly welcomed by the lovers of music in the city. 
His companion Mr. Frobe! also taught music and tuned 
pianos for five shillings each. Another music teacher was 
George Gilfert who resided at No. 64 Nassau Street, and the 
most curious musical character in the city was William Hof- 
meister, known as Little Billy the Fiddler, a dwarf about 
four feet six inches high, who in August 1784 announced that, 
being incapable of other employment, he would teach music 
of almost any kind, having taken a room at No. loi Broad- 
way, corner of Fair (Fulton) Street. Clad in a large cocked 
hat and a huge pair of boots, he is said to have presented a 
most ludicrous appearance ; but his services were engaged for 
many parties, and as he claimed to have been a friend of Mo- 
zart and to have composed one of his sonatas, he was evi- 
dently quite a musician. Musical instruments were manufact- 
ured by Thomas Dodd, No. (i^ Queen (Pearl) Street, whose 
advertisement states : " The pianoe-forte is become the most 
fashionable instrument, and is introduced into almost every 
polite family in England, and is esteemed a complete accom- 
panyment to the female voice; it takes up but little room, 
and may be moved with ease, and consequently kept in tune 
with little attention and on that account is superior to the 
harpsichord." Mr. Dodd manufactured and sold these instru- 
ments twenty-five per cent, cheaper than they could be im- 
ported, and in October 1789, when the style of his firm was 
Dodd and Clause, he announced that he had discovered im- 
provements which rendered his pianos superior in elegance 
and sweetness of tone to any yet made. Pianos imported 
from London were sold by J. Jacob Astor at No. 81 Queen 
Street. On the 2nd of October 1789 Thomas Vaill advertised 
that he would open a singing-school at No. 83 Queen (Pearl) 
Street in the house next above the Friends' Meeting House, 
and there were doubtless other schools of that kind in the city. 
Dancing-schools were kept by John H. Hulett, Andrew 
Picken, and J. Robardet. Mr. Hulett's father, William C. 
Hulett, had been a dancing-master who came to New York 
from London about the year 1754 and died in 1785, when the 

Education. Literature. Art. 199 

son continued the school which in 1789 was at No. 15 Little 
Queen (Cedar) Street. He died about the year 181 1, and was 
succeeded by David D. Hulett. Mr. Picken's first advertise- 
ment appeared in October 1785 stating that " Mr. Pieken, 
lately from Britain, has opened a dancing-school at No. i 
Smith Street corner of Duke." In 1789, his school was kept 
in the City Assembly Room on the east side of Broadway, a 
little above Wall Street, where he gave frequent public ex- 
hibitions at which his scholars showed their skill from half 
past five until eight o'clock, when the dancing became general, 
gentlemen's tickets costing six shillings and, with a lady, 
eight shillings. Mr. Picken died in 1796. Mr. Robardet, 
who came from Albany, opened his school at Fraunces' Tavern 
in Cortlandt Street in September 1789. 

Among the schools out of the city which were advertised 
in the papers were academies at Orange Dale, English Neigh- 
borhood, and Hackensack, N. J., and on the 3rd of July it 
was announced that Timothy Dwight would receive six young 
gentlemen and as many young ladies into his family and 
school at Greenfield, Connecticut. 

Of New York literary men in 1789, with the exception of 
political writers, there were practically none. Philip Freneau, 
who was then captain of a merchant vessel, had acquired a 
reputation as a satirical versifier, and one of his poems entitled 
" The Pilot of Hatteras " appeared in the Daily Advertiser of 
November 14th, and perhaps throws some light on the habits 
of the sailors at that time. After describing the grief and fear 
of the pilot's sweetheart at his departure, the poet writes: 

" 'Till eastern gales once more awake. 

No danger shall be near ; 
On yonder shoals the billows break, 

But leave us quiet here — 
With gills of rum and pints of gin, 

Again your lad shall land. 
And drink — till he and all his kin 

Can neither sit nor stand." 

The Miscellaneous Works of Philip Freneau were published 
by Robert Hodge in January 1789. 

200 New York City in 1789. 

Samuel Low, bom December 12th 1765, and in 1789 a 
clerk in the Bank of New York, also wrote verses, of which a 
volume was published in 1800. He was also the author of a 
play in five acts, which was rejected by the managers of the 
theatre in 1788 but was published by Samuel Loudon in 
August 1789 under the title "The Politician Outwitted." 
William Dunlap's two plays, entitled "The Father" and 
"Darby's Return," apparently complete the list of works 
written by New Yorkers in 1789. 

Two literary societies existed, the oldest of which was the 
Society for Promoting Useful Knowledge, whose officers were 
John Sloss Hobart, president ; Rev. Dr. John Rodgers and 
Dr. Samuel Bard, vice-presidents ; Daniel M*Cormick, treas- 
urer; Daniel C. Verplanck and Josiah O. Hoffman, secre- 
taries ; and Dr. James Tillery, librarian. The other society 
was the Uranian Society, composed of young men and students, 
including John M. Mason, Jonas Piatt, Thomas Cooper, Peter 
Mesier, George Graham, John P. Van Ness, James Cochran, 
Thomas Morris and nine others. In November 1789, Mr. 
Van Ness, who had been librarian of the society, was charged 
with wilfully retaining several of the books, his room and 
trunk were broken into by other members of the society in 
search of the books, and columns in the newspapers were 
filled with the abuse which he and his opponents heaped upon 
each other. 

The sole representative of the city as a practical man of 
science was Christopher Colles, who was born in Ireland about 
the year 1738 and died in New York on the 4th of October 
1 8 16. He is said to have left Ireland in 1765, and in 1772 
was delivering scientific lectures in Philadelphia. In 1773 he 
lectured in New York on inland lock-navigation and in the 
following year agitated the subject of water-works in the city, 
his work in that matter being interrupted by the Revolution. 
From 1775 to 1777 ^^ gave instruction in gunnery to the ar- 
tillerists of the American army, and after the war barely sup- 
ported himself by his skill as a chemist and his mechanical 
genius. On the 4th of August 1789 he petitioned Congress 
for exclusive privileges in an invention for counting with the 

Education. Literature. Art. 201 

utmost precision the number of revolutions or vibrations of 
any wheel or other part of mechanical engines or machines, 
and in the same year he published a road-book of routes lead- 
ing from New York in various directions. In the following 
year he also presented a memorial to Congress praying that 
he might be employed to make a survey of the roads in the 
United States. From a report on this memorial made by the 
Postmaster General in April 1790, it would appear that Mr. 
Colles' philosophical knowledge, which was undoubtedly great, 
had not been pecuniarily remunerative to him; the report 
states that "the ability of the memorialist to execute the work 
within a reasonable time is evident from what he has already 
executed ; and as it is the principal, if not the only, depend- 
ence he has for the support of himself and his family, there is 
no doubt that he will be as industrious as his slender means 
will admit." As the amount for which Mr. CoUes asked was 
but an eighth of a dollar per mile for about 3000 miles, or 
$375 in all, the report advised that the petition be granted, 
but the project does not seem to have been carried out. To 
him is attributed the first attempt to build a steam engine \\\ 
this country, the idea of joining Lake Ontario with the Hud- 
son River by a canal, and the first formal proposition to 
establish a system of telegraphic communication along the 
whole Atlantic coast by means of semaphores. Late in life, 
through the efforts of John Pintard, he was appointed Super- 
intendent of the American Academy of Fine Arts. 

Some idea of the remuneration which authors received in 
1789, may be gained from an agreement between Noah 
Webster and Samuel Campbell of New York by which the 
latter, for the consideration of £Zo New York currency, or 
$200, was empowered to print and sell for five years from May 
1788 the first part of Webster's Grammatical Institutes of the 
English Language or American Spelling Book, in New York, 
New Jersey, North and South Carolina and Georgia. He 
was also to be allowed to print and sell the other parts, when 
completed, for the same consideration as might be offered to 
the author by others, and at a price not less than that charged 
by William Young of Philadelphia. 

202 New York City in 1789. 

The principal publishers and booksellers in the city ta 
1789 were: 

Thomas Allen, No. 16 Queen (Pearl) Street, comer of the Fly Market. 

Berry and Rogers, No. 35 Hanover Square. 

Samuel Campbell, No. 44 Hanover Square, corner of Old Slip. 

William Durrell, No. 198 Queen Street. 

Hugh Gaine, Sign of the Bible, Hanover Square. 

Harrison and Purdy, No. 3 Peck Slip. 

Robert Hodge, No. 37 King (Pine) Street, corner of Queen (Pearl). 

Samuel Loudon, No. 5 Water Street. 

Robert M'Gill, No. 212 Water Street. 

William Morton, No. 231 Queen (Pearl) Street. 

John Reid, No. 17 Water Street. 

James Rivington, No. i Queen Street. 

The books read in 1789 may be judged of by a few taken 
at random from the advertisements of the booksellers. Thus, 
Samuel Campbell advertised among other books, American 
editions of Nicholson s Introduction to Natural Philosophy ; 
Paley*s Moral Philosophy ; Percival's Father's Instructions ; 
Emma Corbett or the Miseries of Civil War ; Advice from a 
Lady of Quality to her children, in the last stage of a linger- 
ing illness ; The Night Cap, by Mercier ; The Beauties of 
Dr. Johnson ; and Falconer's Shipwreck. He also sold a Life 
of Baron Trenck, with an elegant frontispiece representing the 
baron in a dungeon, loaded with 88 pounds of iron ; an edition 
of The Lounger, in two volumes, for 12s., which was a little 
more than half the London price ; and the 12th edition of Web- 
ster's Spelling Book. In 1786 Mr. Campbell had published 
a sale catalogue containing the titles of about 5000 volumes. 
On the 4th of February 1789, Robert Hodge announced the 
publication of " The First American Novel " entitled " The 
Power of Sympathy, or the Triumph of Nature." This en- 
tertaining work was said to be founded on truth, and written 
in consequence of a remarkable suicide ; it was published in 
two duodecimo volumes and was dedicated to the young 
ladies of America. The suicide referred to was that of a 
young lady in Boston in the summer of 1788, which was fully 
described in the newspapers and is mentioned in Brissot de 

Education. Literature, Art, 201 

utmost precision the number of revolutions or vibrations of 
any wheel or other part of mechanical engines or machines, 
and in the same year he published a road-book of routes lead- 
ing from New York in various directions. In the following 
year he also presented a memorial to Congress praying that 
he might be employed to make a survey of the roads in the 
United States. From a report on this memorial made by the 
Postmaster General in April 1790, it would appear that Mr. 
CoUes' philosophical knowledge, which was undoubtedly great, 
had not been pecuniarily remunerative to him; the report 
states that " the ability of the memorialist to execute the work 
within a reasonable time is evident from what he has already 
executed ; and as it is the principal, if not the only, depend- 
ence he has for the support of himself and his family, there is 
no doubt that he will be as industrious as his slender means 
will admit." As the amount for which Mr. Colles asked was 
but an eighth of a dollar per mile for about 3000 miles, or 
$375 in all, the report advised that the petition be granted, 
but the project does not seem to have been carried out. To 
him is attributed the first attempt to build a steam engine in 
this country, the idea of joining Lake Ontario with the Hud- 
son River by a canal, and the first formal proposition to 
establish a system of telegraphic communication along the 
whole Atlantic coast by means of semaphores. Late in life, 
through the efforts of John Pintard, he was appointed Super- 
intendent of the American Academy of Fine Arts. 

Some idea of the remuneration which authors received in 
1789, may be gained from an agreement between Noah 
Webster and Samuel Campbell of New York by which the 
latter, for the consideration of ;^8o New York currency, or 
$200, was empowered to print and sell for five years from May 
1788 the first part of Webster's Grammatical Institutes of the 
English Language or American Spelling Book, in New York, 
New Jersey, North and South Carolina and Georgia. He 
was also to be allowed to print and sell the other parts, when 
completed, for the same consideration as might be offered to 
the author by others, and at a price not less than that charged 
by William Young of Philadelphia. 

204 iVifw York City in 1789. 

tions which appear in almost every page of Dr. Gordon's 
History of the American Revolution." The New York pub- 
lishers, however, were equal to the occasion, published a long 
advertisement lauding the book to the skies, and doubtless 
made money through the interest aroused by the criticism of it. 

The longest-established bookseller in the city in 1789 was 
Hugh Gaine, an Irishman from Belfast, who came to New 
York about the year 1745, and about 1750 set up a press pur- 
chased with his savings as an apprentice at nine shillings cur- 
rency a week. In August 1752 he established a newspaper 
called the New York Mercury, afterwards called the Gazette 
and Mercury, of which he continued the publication until 
1783, remaining in the city during the Revolution. He died 
April 25th 1807, aged 81 years. His son, John R. Gaine, who 
was associated in business with him, died jn May 1787. James 
Rivington, was a son of Charles Rivington who in 171 1 
founded the publishing house of that name in London. He 
settled as a bookseller in Philadelphia in 1760 and came to 
New York in the following year. In 1773 he began the pub- 
lication of a newspaper called the New York Gazetteer, which 
became obnoxious, and his press was destroyed by Liberty 
Boys in 1775 ; but in 1777 he resumed the publication of it 
under the title of the Royal Gazette and remained in New 
York during the Revolution, expressing the strongest tory 
sentiments, but, it is said, giving secret information to Wash- 
ington. In 1783 he discontinued the publication of his 
newspaper and became a bookseller and tobacconist. His 
tobacco advertisement in August 1789 reads: "The Gentle- 
man's Twist is a constant Vade mecum and hilarious Associate 
of the Cognoscenti and other Amateurs of our All-cheering, 
delicious Morceau." He died in July 1802, aged 78 years. 
His portrait is in the Gallery of the N. Y. Historical Society. 

Robert Hodge came to America from Edinburgh in 1770 
and opened a printing office in New York in 1773. He re- 
moved from the city during the Revolution, but returned 
after the war, and published a number of books jointly with 
Allen and Campbell. He died in Brooklyn in August 18 13 
at the age of 67 years, having been retired from business for a 

Education. Literature. Art, 205 

number of years. Samuel Campbell was also a Scotchman 
who began to sell books in New York about the year 1785 
and died in the city on the 26th of June 1836, aged 73 years. 
Thomas Allen also made his appearance about the year 1786 
and continued in business until 1799. Robert MacGill first 
appeared in Philadelphia in 1771 and removed to New York 
in 1778 where he continued in business until 181 1, when he 
removed to Newburg. His wife died on the 14th of June 
1789 aged 26 years. On the 4th of November 1789, was 
" married by the Rev. Benjamin Foster, Mr. William Durrell, 
Printer and Bookseller, to Miss Maria Schenk, daughter of 
Mr. Abraham Schenk, a young lady possessed of the most 
amiable qualities, both natural and acquired." Mr. Durrell 
was still in the printing business in 1823. John Reid ap- 
peared as a bookseller soon after the Revolution, and died 
August 19th 1828 aged 64 years. 

In 1784, Samuel Loudon advertised a circulating library of 
about 2000 volumes, which did not thrive although revived in 
April 1787; but whether this was in existence in 1789 does 
not appear. The books of the New York Society Library, 
founded in 1754 and chartered November 9th 1772, had been 
stolen and dispersed during the British occupation of the city 
in spite of repeated warning proclamations on the subject by 
the British commanders. It is not probable that many of 
them had been recovered in 1789, but the members of the So- 
ciety met on the 21st of December 1788, for the first time 
since 1774, to revive the library, and resolved that new mem- 
bers should be admitted upon the payment of £^^ which had 
been the sum paid by the original subscribers, and that books 
to that value should be received in lieu of money. Their 
charter was confirmed by an Act passed February i8th 1789 
which appointed as trustees of the Library : 

Robert R. Livingston. Walter Rutherford. 

Henry Remsen. Matthew Clarkson. 

Robert Watts. Samuel Bard. 

Brockholst Livingston. Hugh Gaine. 

Samuel Jones. Daniel C. Ver Planck. 

Peter Ketteltas. Edward Greswold. 

2o6 . New York City in 1789. 

In January 1789, the Common Council gave the Society 
Library permission to occupy the uppermost room in the 
southeast part of Federal Hall provided that it were not 
needed by the General Government, and the library was ac- 
cordingly opened in the " Library Room of the City Hall " 
on the 1st of June 1789, one of the chief objects in reviving 
it being the retention of the General Government in the city. 
Access could be had to the books on Monday, Wednesday, 
and Friday from twelve until two o'clock. The librarian in 
1789 was the Rev. Mr. Wright, minister of Brooklyn, who re- 
sided at No. 13 Dey Street. In the summer of 1790 this 
Library had 250 subscribers and contained 3000 volumes. 

American art, both in New York and elsewhere, was in its 
earliest infancy, and was confined almost entirely to portrait 
painting. The drawing and painting schools in the city were 
two in number, that of James Cox, from Albany, at No. 52 
Beekman Street, and that of Ignatius Shnydore at No. 28 
John Street. Mr. Cox gave lessons for five dollars a quarter 
in the painting of coats-of-arms, and of silk, satin and muslin 
gowns and flounces. Mr. Shnydore gave instruction in the 
painting of landscapes, figures, and flowers, both in oil and in 
water color, and also did coach and sign painting, frescoing 
and gilding. 

The best artist in the city was John Ramage, an Irishman, 
who came from Boston to New York in 1777 and was con- 
sidered to be the best miniature painter of his time. He also 
made life-size portraits in crayon and pastel, but apparently 
did no large work in oil color. In 1789 he resided at No. 25 
William Street, and on the morning of October 3rd in that 
year he had a two hours sitting from Washington for a minia- 
ture portrait to be made for Mrs. Washington. Of greater 
subsequent renown was William Dunlap who was born in 
Perth Amboy, N. J., February 19th 1766. Coming to New 
York with his parents in 1777 he early developed a taste for 
art and in 1782 began to paint portraits for three guineas 
each, including one of Washington in 1783. In the following 
year, he went to England and, after instructfon from Benja- 
min West, returned to New York in 1787 to occupy himself 

Education. Literature. Art. 207 

chiefly in writing plays and in theatrical affairs, becoming 
manager of the Park Theatre from 1798 to 1805. In 1816 he 
resumed painting, his chief pictures " Christ Rejected," eighteen 
feet by twelve in size, and " Calvary,*' eighteen feet by fourteen, 
appearing respectively in 1821 and 1828. His books on the 
History of the American Theatres, the History of the Arts of 
Design in the United States, and the History of New York, 
appeared in 1833, 1834, and 1840; and in 1826 he was one of 
the founders of the National Academy of Design. In the 
N. Y. Packet of Tuesday, February 17th 1789, there appeared 
the notice : " On Tuesday last was married by the Rev. Mr. 
Moore, Mr. William Dunlap, an eminent portrait painter and 
Member of the Philological Society, only son of Mr. Samuel 
Dunlap, merchant of Queen Street, to the amiable and ac- 
complished Miss Nabby Woolsey of Fairfield, Conn." Mr. 
Dunlap died in New York on the 28th of September 1839. 
Edward Savage, who was bom in Princeton, Mass., in 1761, 
was also in New York in 1789 and painted a portrait of 
Washington which is still preserved in Harvard University. 
In his diary on November 21st 1789, Washington writes: 
** Sat from ten to one o'clock for a Mr. Savage, to draw my 
portrait for the University of Cambridge, in the State of Massa- 
chusetts, at the request of the President and Governors of the 
said University." He also gave him sittings on November 28th 
and December 6th 1789, and on the 6th of January 1790. Mr. 
Savage also painted a well known picture of the Washington 
Family and issued an engraving of it done by Edwin and 
John Wesley Jarvis. He died in Princeton, Mass., in 181 7. 
The only other professional artist in New York in 1789 was 
Joseph Wright, who was bom in Bordentown, N. J., July 
i6th 1756. He was a son of Mrs. Patience Wright, who was 
bom in New Jersey in 1725 and attained a high reputation 
as a modeller of wax figures both in America and in London 
whither she went with her children about the year 1772. He 
received assistance in England from Benjamin West and 
painted a portrait of the Prince of Wales, afterwards George 
IV. before his departure to France, where he was placed under 
the care of Benjamin Franklin in 1782. In the latter part of 

2o8 New York City in 1789. 

that year he returned to America and in October 1783, painted 
portraits of General and Mrs. Washington at Rocky Hill, 
near Princeton, New Jersey. This portrait of Washington 
was to be sent abroad to form a part of the military collection 
of Count de Solms, a petty German potentate, but it is at 
present, with that of Mrs. Washington, owned in New York 
City. Mr. Wright also made a plaster cast of Washington's 
features, which was to be sent to Europe as a model for a 
bust, but broke it and was refused a second trial by Washing- 
ton. He came to New York in April 1786, residing in 1790 
at No. 8 Little Queen (Cedar) Street, but removed to Phila- 
delphia about 1 79 1 and died there of yellow fever in 1793. 
He may have been the person who in May 1790 advertised 
that the artist who had had the honor of taking the Presi- 
dent's likeness and executing it as a medal, would take most 
correct and expressive likenesses in four minutes, and finish 
them as miniatures in hair. An amateur artist of consider- 
able skill was the Marchioness de Brienne, sister of the French 
ambassador, who resided with her brother on Broadway. 
Both the ambassador and his sister were exceedingly unpopu- 
lar for some time after their arrival in America in 1787, but 
in May 1789, Mr. Madison wrote to Mr. Jefferson : " It is 
with much pleasure I inform you that Moustier begins to 
make himself acceptable, and with still more that Madame 
Brehan begins to be viewed in the light which I hope she 
merits, and which was so little the case when I wrote by 
Master Morris." Madame de Brienne was the author of 
beautiful illuminated designs placed in front of the ambassa- 
dor's house on the night of Washington's inauguration, and 
on the 3rd of October 1789, Washington states that he "sat 
about two o'clock for Madam de Brehan, to complete a minia- 
ture profile of me, which she had begun from memory, and 
which she had made exceedingly like the original." She was 
also the painter of a miniature on copper containing the pro- 
files of Washington and Lafayette. 

The newspapers published in the city in 1789 were five in 
number, viz. : 

The New York Packet, published after May 1789, on 

Education. Literature. Art. 209 

Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, by Samuel Loudon, at 
No. 5 Water Street. Price of three papers 32 shillings, of 
two papers 24 shillings, and of one paper 16 shillings a year. 

The New York Journal, published on Thursday by Thomas 
Greenleaf at No. 25 Water Street. Price two dollars a year. 

The Daily Advertiser, published by Francis Childs at No. 
190 Water Street, comer of King (Pine) Street. Price six 
dollars a year. 

The Daily Gazette, published by J. and A. McLean at 
No. 41 Hanover Square, at the Sign of Franklin's Head. 

The Gazette of the United States, published on Wednes- 
day and Saturday by John Fenno at No. 9 Maiden Lane. 
Price three dollars a year. 

Samuel Loudon, the editor of the Packet, was an Irishman 
who came to New York some years before the Revolution 
and first entered into business as a shipchandler, but in 1775, 
set up a printing office and in January 1776, established the 
New York Packet. Being a strong Whig he removed his 
press to Fishkill, before the British occupation of New York, 
and continued the publication of his paper there until the 
British left New York, when he returned to the city and on 
the 15th of January 1784 was recommended to the public by 
the Whig mechanics of the city as worthy of patronage be- 
cause of his strong attachment to the cause of liberty. He 
was for many years an elder in the Wall Street Presbyterian 
Church and continued to edit the Packet until January 26th 
1792 when the paper was discontinued. He died at Middle- 
town Point, N. J., on the 24th of February 181 3, aged 86 

Thomas Greenleaf, the editor of the Journal, was bom in 
Abington, Mass., and was the son of a printer. Prior to 1787 
he was editor of the Boston Independent Chronicle, but in 
that year purchased the New York Journal, founded by John 
Holt in 1767. He was a sachem of the Tammany Society, 
and State printer, and continued to edit the Journal until his 
death of yellow fever on the 14th of September 1798 at the 
age of forty-two years. 

Fhincis Childs, editor of the Advertiser, established that 

2IO New York City in 1789. 

paper March ist 1785 and continued to edit it until 1795. in 
July 1789 he took John Swaine as a partner in the printing 
business. Mr. Childs was born in Philadelphia, October 23rd 
1763, and after the death of his father was kindly cared for by 
John Jay. He learned the printing trade under Mr. Dunlap 
in Philadelphia and was sent under Government auspices to 
Charlotteville, Va., whence he escaped when the town was 
surprised by the British under Col. Tarleton. After the 
Revolution he settled in New York and founded the Adver- 
tiser, which was the first daily newspaper published in the city 
and the second in the United States, the Pennsylvania Packet 
and Daily Advertiser having become a daily paper in Phila- 
delphia on the 2 1st of September 1784. On the 17th of Feb- 
ruary 1797 Mr. Childs, who was then residing in Europe, was 
appointed U. S. Consul at Genoa, but declined that office, 
although he afterwards acted as a government agent in France 
and Germany. He died in Burlington, Vermont, in October 

The Daily Gazette was established by John and Archibald 
M'Lean in December 1788 and was published under the name 
of both of them until August 5th 1789 when it was continued 
by Archibald M*Lean alone, John M*Lean having died in 
Norfolk, Va., on the i8th of May, aged 32 years. In January 
1789 it began the publication in its columns of the Life of 
Baron Trenck as a serial story, and on the 12th of August 1789 
John Quirk, its carrier, fell down in a fit and immediately ex- 
pired. Mr. M*Lean published the paper alone until January 
3rd 1797 when he entered into a partnership with John Lang 
which ended with Mr. M'Lean's death of yellow fever on the 
22nd of September 1798. The paper was continued under 
both of their names, however, until March 1799, when Mr. 
Lang became sole publisher. 

John Fenno, editor of the Gazette of the United States, 
was the son of a Boston innkeeper, and being a good penman 
was first employed as usher in a Boston writing-school, from 
which occupation he entered into the importing trade, and 
failed. When the United States Government began its work 
in New York in 1789, he conceived the idea of establishing a 

Education. Literature. Art. 21 1 

newspaper devoted to news of the General Government, 
somewhat of the nature of a Court Gazette, and published 
the first number of it on the 15th of April 1789. He was of a 
poetical and imaginative temperament, and flattered the fash- 
ionable members of New York society to the best of his abil- 
ity, calling down upon himself the ridicule of Philadelphia 
newspapers because of the number of French words which he 
introduced in his compositions. On the 14th of October 1789 
he announced that his paper had about 650 subscribers, a num- 
ber insufficient to furnish him with a competent support. He 
transferred the Gazette to Philadelphia upon the removal of 
Congress to that city, and died there of yellow fever on the 
14th of September 1798, aged 47 years. All of the newspapers 
in 1789 consisted chiefly of advertisements and notices of auc- 
tion sales, to which were added extracts from European news- 
papers, short clippings from papers in other states, and a few 
items of city news or a long disquisition upon some religious 
or political topic. After the opening of Congress its debates 
were published at length but in a manner not acceptable to 
the members, as, on the 21st of September 1789 a motion was 
made in the House directed against Francis Childs, John 
Fenno, and Thomas Lloyd, the editor of the Congressional 
Register, complaining that they made gross misrepresentations 
in their reports of the debates. They plead, however, that 
their errors were unintentional and the motion for excluding 
them was withdrawn. There were also a few broad jokes and 
anecdotes scattered through their pages, and a poem or two 
with such titles as " On a young lady of great merit who died 
in obscurity " or " An occasional Reflection on the vanities of 
Life, and the absence of Friendship." Editorial remarks were 
few in number but at times vigorous in expression. The edi- 
tors were expected to be non-partisan in politics and to admit 
in their papers arguments from botb sides, but in May 1789, 
Mr. Childs of the Advertiser became indignant at the articles 
by one "William Tell" who had been supporting Governor 
Clinton against the attacks of one " H. G.," and declined to 
print more of them. " William Tell " then published his ar- 
ticles in the Packet, and hints were made that Mr. Childs* 

212 Nem York City in 1789. 

motives in excluding them were not of the purest sort, where- 
upon the latter thus politely dismissed the whole subject in 
his paper of May 23rd: "The Printer looks down with con- 
tempt on the person of W. Tell, his political productions and 
the impotent struggles of his malicious heart. His paper 
shall no more be open to the artificial passions of a scribbler, 
equal destitute of decency and of interest in the politics of this 
state or the welfare of this country." Mr. Loudon*s paper was 
the favorite field for the bitter denominational and religious 
controversies which were raised upon every possible occasion, 
and evidently excited the disgust of a portion of the com- 
munity, as, in December 1789, after " Eusebius" and " Juve- 
nis"had been wrangling over the President's Thanksgiving 
Proclamation, another correspondent complained that the 
paper was filled with religious disputes although Mr. Loudon 
had been warned by his friends against the insertion of such 

In October 1789 the number of papers issued in the United 
States was estimated at 76,438 weekly, or 3,974,776 annually, 
which at four cents each, were valued at about $158,991. 
Quills could be purchased at the factory of Francis Turner, 
No. 93 Queen (Pearl) Street, corner of Rutgers (Oak) Street, 
for from four to fifteen shillings a hundred, and paper could 
be obtained of Berry and Rogers or of James Rivington. Ink 
was manufactured by Joyce and Snowden who advertised it 
as of English make until May 1790 when they first ventured 
to proclaim it an American article. 

In 1789 there was no magazine published in New York. 
In 1788 Noah Webster published the American Magazine in 
the city but it soon died from lack of subscribers. 

The State printing was eagerly sought for in 1789 by 
several of the printers, the laws of that year being printed by 
Samuel Loudon. On the 8th of January the Assembly re- 
solved to appoint Thomas Greenleaf state-printer after that 
session and to pay him 30s. a sheet for 300 copies of the laws 
and journals, and the further sum of ten pounds for State 
business, the laws to be printed within two months after the 
adjournment of the legislature. The Senate did not concur 

Education. Literature. Art. 213 

in this and substituted the name of Francis Childs for that of 
Mr. Greenleaf and after some controversy Mr. Childs received 
the appointment. In May, Archibald M*Lean, John Fenno, 
Francis Childs, Thomas Greenleaf and Samuel Loudon all 
presented petitions to Congress to be allowed to do the United 
States printing, and Thomas Allen and John Bryce of No. 30 
Smith Street petitioned to furnish Congress with stationery. 
The first number of the Congressional Register was printed 
by Harrison and Purdy for Mr. Lloyd, the editor, and the 
subsequent parts were printed by Mr. Loudon. The laws of the 
United States were printed by Francis Childs under author- 
ity of Congress and sold by him at the price of one dollar for 
each one hundred pages. Among the printers who died in 
the city in 1789 was George Carroll, on the 30th of November, 
who with John Patterson continued the Morning Post for a 
short time after thfe retirement of Shepard KoUock from its 
editorship on the 15th of December 1786. 


George Washington and John Adams. 

When the electoral votes for President and Vice-Presi- 
dent had been counted in Congress on the 6th of April 1780, 
Charles Thomson, Secretary of Congress, and Sylvanus 
Bourne, were at once appointed by the Senate to convey the 
official certificates of election to the successful candidates at 
Mount Vernon and Braintree respectively. Mr. Sylvanus 
Bourne was a private citizen of Roxbur^, Mass., and was 
probably appointed as messenger to Mr. Adams because he 
was about to depart homeward and expense could be saved 
by entrusting the certificate to his care. He was rewarded 
by receiving an appointment as consul to the Island of His- 
paniolaon the 4th of June 1790, and on the 28th of May 1794 
he was appointed vice-consul at Amsterdam, being promoted 
to be consul-general in the Batavian Republic on the 23rd of 
June 1797 and apparently holding that office until his death 
in Amsterdam in the early part of the year 18 17. He was 
graduated from Harvard College in 1779. ^^- Thomson was 
authorized to apply to the Board of Treasury for such funds 
as might be necessary for his journey, but Mr. Bourne was 
limited to one-hundred dollars toward defraying his expenses. 
Both messengers started on their mission on the 7th of April. 

Congress then turned its attention to the subject of re- 
ceiving the President and Vice-President upon their arrival in 
New York, the first step in that direction being taken on 
the 9th of April when the Senate appointed John Langdon, 
William Samuel Johnson, and William Few, a committee 
to arrange for the reception of the President. On the 13th 
of April the same committee was empowered to include the 
reception of the Vice-President in its consideration, and a 

George Washington and John Adams. 215 

committee of the House consisting of Egbert Benson, Peter 
Muhlenberg, and Samuel Griffin, was appointed to act in 
concert with that of the Senate. The result of their confer- 
ence was a report which was adopted by both branches of 
Congress on the 15th of April to the effect that Mr. Osgood, 
the proprietor of the house lately occupied by the President 
of Congress, be requested to put it and its furniture in condi- 
tion for the residence and use of the President of the United 
States, at the expense of the government ; and that three 
members of the Senate and five members of the House be 
appointed to attend the President from New Jersey and to 
conduct him without form to that residence. It was also re- 
solved that two members of the Senate and three members 
of the House should receive and congratulate the Vice-Presi- 
dent upon his arrival in the city. In accordance with these 
resolutions, on the i6th of April, the Senate appointed John 
Langdon of New Hampshire, Charles Carroll of Maryland, 
and William Samuel Johnson of Connecticut, to wait upon 
the President ; and Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut, and 
Tristram Dalton of Massachusetts, to wait upon the Vice- 
President. The House appointed Elias Boudinot of New 
Jersey, Theodoric Bland of Virginia, Thomas T. Tucker of 
South Carolina, and Egbert Benson and John Lawrence of 
New York to receive the President, while the Vice-President 
was to be congratulated upon his arrival by Nicholas Gilman 
of New Hampshire, Fisher Ames of MassacHusetts, and 
George Gale of Maryland. 

Mr. Sylvanus Bourne left New York by boat for Boston 
at six o'clock in the morning of April 7th, arrived in Boston 
about six o'clock in the evening of April 9th and the same 
night delivered to John Adams the certificate of his election 
and the following note from the temporary President of the 
Senate : 

" Sir : I have the honor to transmit to you the informa- 
tion of your being elected to the office of Vice-President of 
the United States of America. Permit me. Sir, to hope that 
you will soon safely arrive here, to take upon you the dis- 

2i6 Neutf York City in 1789. 

charge of the important duties to which you are so honorably 
called by the voice of your country. 

I am, Sir, with sentiments of respect, 

Your obedient, humble servant, 

John Langdon* 

Mr. Adams left his home in Braintree, Mass., at ten 
o'clock in the morning of April 13th and arrived at the State 
line between New York and Connecticut on the morning of 
April 20th, being conducted thence to Kingsbridge by the 
Light Horse of Westchester County under command of Ma- 
jor Pintard. At Kingsbridge he was met by General Mal- 
colm and the officers of his brigade, the City Troop of Light 
Horse under command of Captain Stakes, who was acting 
under brigade orders of March 22nd, many members of Con- 
gress and citizens in carriages, who formed a procession and 
escorted him to the house of John Jay, at what was then No. 
133 Broadway, his arrival at four o'clock in the afternoon be- 
ing announced by a discharge of cannon at the Battery. At 
Mr. Jay's house he was welcomed by the committee appointed 
for that purpose by Congress. On the same day the Senate 
appointed Caleb Strong of Massachusetts and Ralph Izard 
of South Carolina to escort Mr. Adams to the Senate Cham- 
ber and on the 2 1st of April they did so, John Langdon, the 
temporary President of the Senate, meeting him upon the 
floor and saying " Sir : I have it in charge from the Senate to 
introduce you to the chair of this House ; and also to con- 
gratulate you on your appointment to the office of Vice-Pres- 
ident of the United States of America." Mr. Langdon then 
conducted Mr. Adams to the chair and the latter made a 
short address. On the same morning the Mayor and Com* 
mon Council called upon Mr. Adams in a body to congratu* 
late him upon his election and his safe arrival. The Federal 
Constitution having made no definite provision for the taking 
of oaths of office by Federal officers, with the exception of 
giving a form of oath to be taken by the President before en- 
tering upon the duties of his office, neither the Senators nor 
the Vice-President took any oath of office until the 3rd of 

George Washington and John Adams. 21^ 

June 1789. On that day, in pursuance of the first Act passed 
by the first U. S. Congress, it was ordered by the Senate that 
Mr. Langdon administer the oath of office to the Vice-Presi- 
dent, " which was done accordingly ; " the Vice-President then 
administered the oath to the Senators. Mr. Adams' wife and 
son arrived in New York on the 25th of June 1789 and the 
family took up their residence in the Richmond Hill man- 
sion at the corner of Varick and Charlton Streets. 

The reception of the Vice-President having thus been dis- 
posed of with no great ceremony, that of the President was 
next arranged. In March was begun the building of a mag- 
nificent barge in which Washington was to be rowed from 
Elizabethtown Point to the City, and on the 28th of that 
month the mechanics who had furnished the materials for the 
Federal Ship Hamilton in 1788 wished to know, from the 
gentlemen who had employed a person to build the barge, 
why they had been deprived of that honor, as they were per- 
suaded as a body that their former services entitled them to 
that patronage. The barge, which was between forty and 
fifty feet long and cost between ;^200 and ;£^300, was launched 
on the 2 1st April and was pronounced to be " a most masterly 
construction in its line." Upon his removal to Philadelphia 
Washington returned it to those who presented him with it. 
In the Massachusetts Centinel of February 4th 1789 it was 
stated that the citizens of New York were fitting up the Fed- 
eral Ship Hamilton as a barge for the President ; which may 
have been the case so far as some portions of the material of 
the bai^e were concerned. 

On the 4th of April one truly democratic citizen published 
a card in the Daily Gazette as follows : " As the Illustrious 
President General is soon expected, will it not be more Mag- 
nificent to receive that great Character as Citizens and 
Brothers, than with a vain Ostentation of Military parade?" 
But the majority of the citizens were of an entirely different 
mind, and after a consultation between the State and City 
oflRcers, an elaborate programme was devised for the Presi- 
dent's reception. The main features of this programme 
were : I. The Chancellor, Adjutant-General, and Recorder to 

2i8 New York City in 1789. 

receive him at the Jersey shore ; 11. A salute to be fired from 
the Battery upon his embarkation ; III. A second salute to be 
fired upon his passing the Battery ; IV. The Governor and 
State officers, and Mayor and officers of the Corporation to 
meet him upon landing and to accompany him to his house ; 
V. Volunteers of the Legion of Malcolm's Brigade, and Bau- 
man's Artillery to parade in uniform ; VI. Bells to ring for 
half an hour after his landing; VII. The colors on the Fort 
and vessels in the harbor to be displayed on the firing of the 
first salute; VIII. The city to be illuminated from seven to 
nine o'clock in the evening. On the 22nd of April the Com- 
mon Council passed a resolution recommending the ringing 
of the church bells and illumination of the city, and also ap- 
propriated £\6 for the payment of gunpowder to be used by 
the militia upon the President's arrival. 

Charles Thomson left New York early in the morning of 
April 7th and by diligent travelling reached Mount Vernon at 
about noon on the 14th of April. An hour later he delivered 
to General Washington the certificate of his election to the 
presidency and a note from Mr. Langdon which read as 
follows : 

** Sir : I have the honor to transmit to your Excellency 
the information of your unanimous election to the office of 
President of the United States of America. Suffer me, Sir, to 
indulge the hope that so auspicious a mark of public confi- 
dence will meet your approbation, and be considered as a sure 
pledge of the affection and support you are to expect from a 
free and an enlightened people. 

I am. Sir, with sentiments of respect, 

Your obedient, humble servant, 

John Langdon." 

Mr. Thomson also made a short speech of congratulation 
to which the President briefly replied. General Washington 
left Mount Vernon on the i6th of April accompanied by his 
secretary Col. David Humphreys and Mr. Thomson. On 
that day he wrote in his diary : " About ten o'clock I bade 
adieu to Mount Vernon, to private life, and to domestic felic- 

George Washington and John Adafns. 219 

ity ; and with a mind oppressed with more anxious and pain- 
ful sensations than I have words to express, set out for New 
York with the best disposition to render service to my country 
in obedience to its call, but with less hope of answering its ex- 
pectations." Although he began his journey each day at 
sunrise the ovations which he received along his route so de- 
layed him that not until the 23rd of April did he appear at 
Elizabethtown Point to be conveyed to New York City. On 
that day he was meet on the Jersey shore by the committee of 
Congress and by Chancellor Livingston, Adjutant-General 
Fish, and Recorder Varick, who escorted him to New York 
in the barge manned by thirteen New York pilots dressed in 
white uniforms, with Capt. Thomas Randall as coxswain. 
The names of the branch pilots in 1789, from among whom 
these thirteen were chosen, were Zacariah Rusler, David 
Morris, William Van Drill, John Callahan, Robert Eaton, 
Edward Wilkie, John Funk, Nathaniel Funk, Charles Penny, 
Peter Parks, Isaac Simonson, Charles Swan, Matthew Daniel, 
and Thomas Gray. Accompanying this barge upon its pas- 
sage across the river was one containing Gen. Knox, John Jay 
and the members of the Board of Treasury, and there were 
other barges and sloops, from one of which arose ravishing 
strains of music. The editor of the Packet writes : " The 
voices of the ladies were as much superior to the flutes that 
played with the stroke of the oars in Cleopatra's silken corded 
barge, as the very superior and glorious water scene of New 
York bay exceeds the Cydnus in all its pride. We could with 
rapture dwell upon this -interesting subject, and wander into 
the fields of fancy for expressions to paint the various and de- 
lightful appearances that vied with each other at the same 
time to welcome the Great and Illustrious Man to our now 
happy city." The singing here referred to was probably that 
of an ode composed by Mr. Low for the occasion and set to a 
tune which the newspapers announced as " God save, etc.," 
the first verse being : 

'' Hail thou auspicious day ! 
Far let America 
Thy praise resound : 

220 New Ycrk City in 1789. 

Joy to our native land ! 
Let every heart expand. 
For Washington's at hand, 

With glory crowned ! " 

There were in all five verses of somewhat similar import. 
The Spanish sloop-of-war Galveston, which lay in the harbor 
with only her own flag displayed, fired a salute of thirteen 
guns as the President's barge passed, and at once displayed 
all the flags known among foreign nations. Mr. Arnold H. 
Dohrman's ship North Carolina and the other vessels in the 
harbor were decorated, and the schooner Columbia just arrived 
from Charleston, Philip Freneau, captain, sailed up the Bay 
with her colors flying. As the President passed the Battery 
he was saluted with thirteen guns. At Murray's Wharf near 
the foot of Wall Street, where a pair of carpeted stairs had 
been erected, thirteen more guns were fired as he landed and 
was received by the Governor and State officers and by the 
Mayor and Aldermen. A procession was then formed which 
escorted him from the wharf to his residence in the following 
order : 

Col. Morgan Lewis, accompanied by Majors Morton and Van Home. 

City Troop of Dragoons under Capt. Stakes. 

German Grenadiers under Capt. Scriba. 


Infantry under Captains Swartwout and Steddiford. 

Grenadiers under Capt. Harsin. 

CoL Bauman at the head of the Regiment of Artillery. 


General Malcolm and Aide. 

Officers in uniform, not on duty. 

Committee of Congress. 

The President, and Governor Clinton. 

The President's suite. 

Officers of the State. 

The Mayor and Aldermen. 

The French and Spanish Ambassadors 

in their carriages. 

An amazing concourse of citizens. 

An excellent account of the whole ceremony of receiving 
the President is to be found in a fragment of a letter written 

George Washingten and John Adams. 221 

at the time by Dr. James Loyd Cogswell and published in 
the Historical Magazine for August i860, which reads as fol- 
lows : " I think that you may esteem it as a mark of no small 
consideration that I should sit down between six and seven 
o'clock amidst the hurry and bustle of the joy that pervades 
every breast upon the arrival of the puissant General and illus- 
trious President Washington, to write to you and give you 
some account (and you must expect but a very faint one) of 
what took place upon his arrival. I informed you last night 
that he was to embark at Elizabeth Town this day. The 
time he embarked was announced by the discharge of cannon 
at Elizabeth Town. The Spanish packet fell down below 
the Battery. About half after three, the General's barge 
rowed by thirteen men in uniform passed the packet. As 
soon as they had passed, the packet fired and displayed her 
colors. The General's barge had an awning hung round with 
red morene curtains, festooned. It was attended with the 
New Haven and Rhode Island packets and a number of boats 
and barges decorated in the most beautiful manner. From 
the Battery to the Coffee House, where the General landed, 
the ships, docks and houses were crowded with people as 
thick as they could stand. The guns of the Battery were 
fired as soon as the General passed, and all the people upon 
the Battery gave three huzzas. The cheers were continued 
along the Battery unto the place of landing, as the barge 
passed. I was on board Capt. Woolsey's ship, which lies in the 
slip by the Coffee House, and had a very fine prospect. The 
successive motion of the hats from the Battery to the Coffee 
House, was like the rolling motion of the sea, or a field of 
grain waving with the wind when the sun is frequently inter- 
cepted with a cloud. A pair of elegant stairs, with the sides 
covered and carpeted, were erected to land the General safe 
itpon the dock. Immediately upon his landing, thirteen guns 
were fired from the dock, and the whole city rung with re- 
peated huzzas. As soon as he had landed I hastened home, 
where I had left Mrs. Broome and her flock. The procession 
immediately formed and proceeded from the Coffee House 
into Queen Street and then to the President** House. The 

222 New York City in 1789. 

Light Infantry, Grenadiers, (I should have mentioned the 
light-horse first), and train of artillery, led on the procession. 
The officers in uniform, not on duty, followed. The General 
walked after them at the right hand of Governor Clinton. 
Then followed the principal officers of state, members of Con- 
gress, clergy and citizens. The General was dressed in blue, 
with buff-colored under-clothes. The procession moved very 
slow and with great solemnity. The windows, stoops, and 
streets were crowded, the latter so closely you might have 
walked upon people's heads for a great distance. Notwith- 
standing all the exertion of the guard to keep the crowd off, 
they were so wedged in by Embree's corner that they could 
not move for some time. The General was obliged to wipe 
his eyes several times before he got into Queen Street. After 
they had tarried some time at the President's house, he re- 
turned in a coach and dined with Governor Clinton. It is 
now half after nine o'clock. Since I began this letter I had a 
call to visit a sick person in Beaver Street. I walked up 
Queen and Wall Streets and round by the new buildings 
back through Hanover Square. Every house is illuminated 
except those of the Quakers. The appearance is brilliant be- 
yond description. Sir Jno's house makes a grand appearance. 
The houses in Wall Street look very well, City Hall in par- 
ticular. The new buildings of McComb and Edgar exceed 
any. Notwithstanding the rain, the streets were filled with 
men, women and children. A great variety of taste has been 
displayed in the arrangement of candles — some are in the 
form of a pyramid — some in one shape, and some in another. 
A great number of figures and curious mottos are to be seen. 
Among the rest one at Mr. Scriba's large brick house, at the cor- 
ner of the Fly Market, took my attention : in one window was 
a building supported by beautiful columns, with the names of 
the respective States upon them, supporting it ; on a window 
on the right was wrote in an oval neatly decorated *Vivat 
our Illustrious President George Washington;* on the left** 
here the letter ends. Another account by an eye-wit- 
ness is to be found in the Diary of Miss Eliza Morton, after- 
wards Mrs. Josiah Quincy, who was about fifteen years of s^e 

George Washington and John Adams. 223 

in 1789 and wrote her diary in 1821 with the assistance of her 
mother who, at the time of writing, was 83 years of age. She 
writes: "After the Federal Constitution was adopted, I re- 
member seeing General Washington land on the 23rd of April 
1789, and make his entrance into New York, when he came to 
take the office of President of the United States. I was at a 
window in a store on the wharf where he was received. Car- 
pets were spread to the carriage prepared for him ; but he pre- 
ferred walking through the crowded streets, and was attended 
by Governor Clinton and many officers and gentlemen. He 
frequently bowed to the multitude, and took off his hat to 
the ladies at the windows, who waved their handkerchiefs, 
threw flowers before him, and shed tears of joy and congratu- 
lation. The whole city was one scene of triumphal rejoicing. 
His name in every form of decoration appeared on the fronts 
of the houses ; and the street through which he passed to the 
Governor's mansion was ornamented with flags, silk banners 
of various colours, wreaths of flowers, and branches of ever- 
greens. Never did any one enjoy such a triumph as Wash- 
ington, who, indeed, *read his history in a nation's eyes.*** 
On the following day the editor of the Daily Advertiser 
wrote : " On this great occasion the hand of industry was sus- 
pended and the various pleasures of the capital were con- 
centred to a single enjoyment. Every mind was filled with 
one idea and every heart swelled with one emotion. Ab- 
sorbed and agitated by the sentiment which our adored leader 
and ruler inspired, the printer apprehends that he cannot with 
perfect precision describe the various scene of splendour which 
this event exhibited. The eye could not rove with freedom 
through the various parts of this scene. One great object en- 
gaged it and WASHINGTON arrested and fixed its gaze." Mr. 
Fenno, of the United States Gazette, saw and heard some of 
the pathetic events of the day, and wrote : " Many persons 
who were in the crowd on Thursday were heard to say that 
they should now die contented — nothing being wanted to 
complete their happiness, previous to this auspicious period, 
but the sight of the Savior of his Country. * * * Some 
persons advanced in years, who hardly expected to see the 

324 New York City in 1789. 

illustrious President of the United States till they should 
meet him in Heaven, were in the concourse on Thursday, and 
could hardly restrain their impatience at being deprived in a 
measure of their gratification by the eagerness of the multi- 
tudes of children and young people who probably might long 
enjoy the blessing." 

Washington's own feelings upon this occasion, as recorded 
in his diary and quoted by Mr, Irving, were these ; " The dis- 
play 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 this scene, which may be the case 
after all my labors to do good) as they are pleasing." 

By a curious coincidence the 23rd of April 1789 — the day 
upon which Washington made this triumphal entry into New 
York City — was observed in Great Britain as a day of thanks- 
giving for the recovery of his mind by George III. whose ob- 
stinate folly had resulted in the independence of the nation 
over which Washington was to preside. The procession on 
the 23rd of April dispersed at the President's house, but he 
there received the congratulations of a number of distinguished 
gentlemen, after which he was quietly driven to Governor 
Clinton's house to dine. On the lOth of March 1789 the 
Governor had written to him inviting him to reside with him 
after his arrival in New York until he could arrange for a 
residence of his own, but Washington declined the invitation 
on the ground that no private family should be so burdened 
and that it would not be proper for him to impose upon an 
individual when supported at public expense. He then wrote 
to Mr. Madison requesting him to obtain lodgings for him or 
rooms in a tavern in which he might give entertainments 
worthy of his position. The matter, however, was settled by 
the request of Congress to Mr. Osgood to fit up for the 
President's use the house, No. 3 Cherry Street, which had 
been used by former Presidents of Congress. This house had 
been built in 1770 by Walter Franklin, an old merchant in 

George Washington and John Adams. 22$ 

the city, and upon his death had passed into the posses^ 
sion of Mr. Samuel Osgood, who was appointed Post-master 
General in September 1789. It stood on the north side of 
Cherry Street several doors east of the present Franklin 
Square which received its name in March 18 17 in honor of 
Benjamin Franklin, its former appellation having been St. 
George's Square. The house was square, five windows wide, 
and three stories high, but was neither very spacious nor con- 
veniently situated. On the 25th of July persons having ac- 
counts for goods furnished or repairs made to this house were 
notified to present them to Andrew G. Fraunces at No. 69 
Crown (Liberty) Street near the bathing-house in the North 
River. The President removed from Cherry Street to the 
McComb house on Broadway in 1790. The Franklin house 
was in after years used as a music store and by the Franklin 
Bank, and was demolished in the summer of 1856, at which 
time the chair now used by the President of the New York 
Historical Society was constructed from its materials. The 
first visit of congratulation which Washington received in this 
house was that of the members of the Chamber of Commerce 
who, with John Broome at their head, marched thither on the 
25th of April 1789, and congratulated him upon his election 
and arrival and pledged the support of the Chamber to his 
administration. He briefly thanked the visitors, after which 
every member of the Chamber was introduced to him. 

On the day of the President's arrival, the question of the 
title by which he was to be addressed and the time, place, and 
manner in which, and by whom the oath of office should be 
administered to him, was entrusted by the Senate to a com- 
mittee consisting of Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, Ralph 
Izard of South Carolina, and Tristram Dalton of Massachu- 
setts. On the 25th of April the House appointed a similar 
committee, consisting of Egbert Benson of New York, Fisher 
Ames of Massachusetts, and Daniel Carroll of Maryland, to 
confer with that of the Senate. The question of the Presi- 
dent's title was one which vexed Congress for a number of 
weeks, the Senate wishing to call him " His Highness the 
President of the United States, and Protector of their Liber> 

226 New York City in 1789. 

ties,** while the House refused to give him any other title 
than that used in the Constitution, " The President of the 
United States." Washington's own desire was to be called 
" His Mightiness the President of the United States," and he 
is said to have never forgiven Mr. Muhlenberg, the Speaker 
of the House, for some facetious remarks concerning that title. 
The matter was not settled until after the inauguration, the 
last step taken in it being the appointment of conference com- 
mittees which never made a final report. The other matters 
were arranged by a report of the committees on the 25th of 
April to the effect that the President placed himself in the 
hands of Congress, and that it appeared to be best that the 
oath should be administered on Thursday April 30th in the 
Representatives Chamber by the Chancellor of the State of 
New York. The President was to be received by both Houses 
in the Senate Chamber and then escorted by them to the 
Representatives Chamber, which was more spacious. The 
committees also recommended that the whole arrangement 
of the inauguration ceremony be placed in charge of a joint 
committee, of which they were at once re-appointed as mem- 
bers. On the same day Bishop Provoost was chosen as chap- 
lain by the Senate and signified his acceptance of the office; 
there were to be two chaplains of Congress, who were to be 
of different denominations and to officiate during alternate 
weeks in the Senate and House, but the House did not elect 
Dr. Linn until the ist of May, his election then causing con- 
siderable bitterness on the part of the followers of Dr. Rod- 
gers who was also a candidate for. the office. On the 27th of 
April, the committee of arrangement reported that it appeared 
to be better that the oath should be administered in the outer 
gallery adjoining the Senate Chamber rather than in the 
Representatives Chamber, and their report was approved. 
They also recommended that, after the administration of the 
oath, the President attended by the Vice-President, Senate, 
and House of Representatives, should proceed to St. Paul's 
Chapel where divine service should be performed by the chap- 
lains of Congress already appointed. The House changed the 
words " chaplains of Congress already appointed " to " chap- 

George Washington and John Adams. 227 

lain of Congress," and this plan was agreed to. The official 
programme was prepared on the 29th of April, its first provi- 
sion being the appointment of Gen. Samuel B. Webb, Col. 
Smith, Lieutenant Colonel Fish, Lieutenant Colonel Franks, 
Major UEnfant, Major Bleecker, and Mr. John R, Livingston 
to act as assistants on the occasion, it being their duty to keep 
the pass^es to Federal Hall open, and to obtain the service of 
the constables or militia. All of these gentlemen apparently 
accepted this appointment, with the exception of Major L'En- 
fant, who declined it. A chair for the President (which is now 
in the City Hall) was to be placed in the Senate Chamber, 
with one for the Vice-President at his right, and one for the 
Speaker at his left hand, the Senators to sit opposite their 
presiding officer and the Representatives opposite the Speaker. 
Seats were also to be provided in the Senate Chamber for 
Cyrus Griffin, late President of Congress; Gen. Arthur St. 
Clair, Governor of the Western Territory ; John Jay, Secre- 
tary for Foreign Affairs; Gen. Henry Knox, Secretary for 
War ; Samuel Osgood, Arthur Lee, and Walter Livingston, 
Commissioners of the Treasury ; The Minister Plenipotentiary 
of France ; the Encargado de Negocios of Spain ; the Gov- 
ernor, Lieut. Governor, Chancellor, Chief Justice and Judges 
of the New York Supreme Court ; and the Mayor of the city. 
One of the Assistants was to wait upon these gentlemen and 
to inform them that no precedence of seats was intended, and 
that no salutation was expected from them upon entering or 
leaving the Senate Chamber. The committees were to escort 
the President from his residence to the Senate Chamber, to 
be there received by the Vice-President, the Senators and 
Representatives rising, and to be conducted to his chair by 
the Vice-President. Upon his going to the gallery to take the 
oath he was to pass through the middle door, attended by the 
Vice-President and followed by the Chancellor of the State of 
New York, the Senators passing through the door upon the 
right and the Representatives through that upon the left hand. 
Other persons who had been admitted to the Senate Chamber 
were then to enter the gallery, if they so wished, by the right 
hand door. Pews in St. Paul's Chapel were to be reserved 

228 New York City in 1789. 

for the President, Vice-President, Speaker, Committees, Sena- 
tors and Representatives. After the service the President 
was to be received at the door of the church by the commit- 
tees and escorted by them in carriages to his residence. 

The aggregation of exciting events in the city during the 
week in which the inauguration took place exceeded any 
since the departure of the British in 1783. A bitterly con- 
tested State election on Tuesday and a presidential inaugura- 
tion on Thursday combined to turn it topsy-turvy. Strangers 
poured in from all directions and more than exhausted the ac- 
commodations which the city could offer. And yet, if every 
man, woman, and child inhabiting Manhattan Island in 1789 
assembled to do honor to Washington, their number did not 
exceed that to be found in the political processions by which 
a small portion of the population displays its party-spirit in 
our own time. 

A few days before the inauguration, the ministers of the 
city churches, with the exception of Bishop Provoost, ar- 
ranged to hold services at the same hour in all the churches 
on the morning of the day of the inauguration. The bishop 
aroused sneers in certain quarters by very properly stating 
that he would wait to see what arrangement the Government 
would make with regard to public service. The proposal to 
have a display of fireworks in the evening was looked upon 
with some alarm because of the danger of fire and accident. 
Before Washington reached Philadelphia, on his way to New 
York, he had been requested by some Philadelphians to use 
his influence against a similar exhibition in that city, but had 
declined on the ground that the matter was one to be settled 
by the citizens themselves. The same fear also prevailed in 
New York, and a request was published in one of the news- 
papers that citizens would not bring their horses into the 
crowd watching the fireworks, as, on a former occasion, a life 
had been lost through the reckless driving of a coach. 

At sunrise on the 30th of April 1789 a salute was fired 
from the Battery and at nine o'clock in the morning services, 
which lasted for about an hour, were held in all the churches. 
About twelve o'clock Congress assembled at Federal Hall 

George Washington and John Adams. 229 

and the procession which was to escort Washington thither 
formed there and proceeded to his house in the following 

Troop of Horse. 


Committee of Representatives. 

Committee of Senators. 

Gentlemen to be admitted into Senate Chamber. 

Gentlemen in Coaches. 

Citizens on foot. 

At his house the President joined the procession in a car- 
riage drawn by four horses and it returned to Federal Hall by- 
way of Queen and Great Dock (Pearl) Streets to Broad 
Street and up the latter to Wall Street in the following 
order : 

Col. Morgan Lewis, attended by two officers. 
Capt Stakes with the Troop of Horse. 


Major Van Home. 

Grenadiers under Capt. Harsin. 

German Grenadiers under Capt Scriba* 

Major Bicker. 

Infantry of the Brigade. 

Major Chrystie. 




Sheriff Boyd on horseback. ^ 




Committee of the Senate. 
\ AssUtants. i The President \ AssUtants. 

His Suite. ) 

Committee of Representatives. ^ i* 

Hon. John Jay. 

General Knox. 

Chancellor Livingston. 

Several gentlemen of distinction. 

When the head of the procession reached Federal Hall 
the troops opened their ranks, through which the President 
entered the building. The details of the proceedings within 
the Hall are best described in the Senate Journal, as follows : 
" Mr. Lee, in behalf of the committee appointed to take order 
for conducting the ceremonial of the formal reception, &c, of 
the President of the United States, having informed the Sen- 

230 New York City in 1789. 

ate that the same was adjusted, the House of Representatives 
were notified that the Senate were ready to receive them in the 
Senate Chamber to attend the President of the United States 
while taking the oath required by the Constitution. Where- 
upon the House of Representatives, preceded by their Speaker, 
came into the Senate Chamber and took the seats assigned 
them ; and the joint committee preceded by their chairman, 
agreeably to order, introduced the President of the United 
States into the Senate Chamber, where he was received by 
the Vice-President, who conducted him to the Chair, when 
the Vice-President informed him that the Senate and House 
of Representatives of the United States were ready to attend 
him to take the oath required by the Constitution and that 
it would be administered by the Chancellor of the state of 
New York. To which the President replied that he was 
ready to proceed, and being attended to the gallery in front 
of the Senate Chamber by the Vice-President and Senators, 
the Speaker and Representatives, and the other public char- 
acters present, the oath was administered. After which the 
Chancellor proclaimed, ' Long live George Washington^ Presi^ 
dent of the United States' " The oath or affirmation required 
of the President by the Constitution is " I do solemnly swear 
(or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of Presi- 
dent of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability 
preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United 
States." The taking of the oath by Washington was an act 
the solemnity of which made the deepest impression both upon 
him and upon those who witnessed it. One of the latter 
writes : " It would seem extraordinary that the administration 
of an oath — a ceremony so very common and familiar — should 
in so great a degree excite the public curiosity. But the cir- 
cumstances of his election — the impression of his past circum- 
stances — the concourse of spectators — the devout fervency 
with which he repeated the oath — and the reverential manner 
in which he bowed down and kissed the sacred volume — ^all 
these conspired to render it one of the most august and inter- 
esting spectacles ever exhibited on this globe. It seemed 
from the number of witnesses to be a solemn appeal to heaven 

George Washington and John Adams. 231: 

and earth at once. Upon the subject of this great and good 
man, I may, perhaps, be an enthusiast ; but I confess that I 
was under an awful and religious persuasion that the gracious 
Ruler of the universe was looking down, at that moment, 
with peculiar complacency on an act which to a part of his 
creatures was very important. Under this impression, when 
the chancellor pronounced, in a very feeling rrianner, * Long 
live George Washington,' my sensibility was wound up to 
such a pitch that I could do no more than wave my hat with 
the rest, without the power of joining in the repeated acclama- 
tions which rent the air." The contemporary accounts of the 
scene when Washington took the oath are few in number and 
those which have been printed are not very satisfactory. It 
is said that John Randolph of Roanoke wrote a description of 
the event to friends in Virginia which was a model in that 
style of writing, but the letter does not appear to have been 
printed although it was passed from hand to hand in the neigh- 
borhood, in which it was received. William Dunlap was also 
present at the time and in after years inserted a brief descrip- 
tion of the ceremony in his History of New York, and it is 
said that his portfolio contained sketches of the scene, contain- 
ing figures and costumes as he saw them. Another person 
who was present was Dr. W. W. Buchanan, who was a godson 
of Washington, having been baptized in his arms at Morris- 
town, N. J., on the 4th of June 1777. In a letter written 
from Scotland in i860 and published in the Historical Maga- 
zine for May in that year, Dr. Buchanan states : " In those 
days the corner house of Wall and Broad Streets was entered 
from Broad Street, and was a police office and watch-house. 
From its stoop I witnessed the oath of office administered by 
Chancellor Livingston to George Washington. The next 
house was occupied by a rush-bottom chairmaker. A door or 
two below that, left hand side, was the Nestor of our profes- 
sion, the venerable doctor Anthon, and a door or two lower 
still was Mrs. McLean's." The best account is that given in 
Mrs. Quincy's diary, although written a number of years after 
the event : " On the 30th of April, when Washington took 
the oath of office as President of the United States, the cere* 

a32 New York City in 1789. 

mony took place in the balcony of the Old Federal Hall, as 
it was afterwards named, which stood in the centre of four 
streets. I was on the roof of the first house in Broad Street, 
which belonged to Captain Prince, the father of one of my 
school companions ; and so near to Washington that I could 
almost hear him speak. The windows and roofs of the houses 
were crowded ; and in the streets the throng was so dense, 
that it seemed as if one might literally walk on the heads of 
the people. The balcony of the hall was in full view of this 
assembled multitude. In the centre of it was placed a table, 
with a rich covering of red velvet ; and upon this on a crimson 
velvet cushion, lay a large and elegant Bible. This was all 
the paraphernalia for the august scene. All eyes were fixed 
upon the balcony ; where, at the appointed hour, Washing- 
ton entered, accompanied by the Chancellor of the State of 
New York, who was to administer the oath ; by John Adams, 
the Vice-President ; Governor Clinton ; and many other dis- 
tinguished men. By the great body of the people he had 
probably never been seen, except as a military hero. The first 
in war was now to be first in peace. His entrance upon the 
balcony was announced by universal shouts of joy and wel- 
come. His appearance was most solemn and dignified. Ad- 
vancing to the front of the balcony, he laid bis hand upon his 
heart, bowed several times, and then retired to an arm chair 
near the table. The populace appeau'ed to understand that 
the scene had overcome him, and were at once hushed in pro- 
found silence. After a few moments, Washington arose and 
came forward. Chancellor Livingston read the oath accord- 
ing to the form prescribed by the Constitution ; and Wash- 
ington repeated it, resting his hand upon the Bible, Mr. 
Otis, the Secretary of the Senate, then took the Bible to 
raise it to the lips of Washington, who stooped and kissed the 
book. At this moment a signal was given, by raising a flag 
upon the cupola of the Hall, for a general discharge of the 
artillery of the Battery. All the bells in the city rang out a 
peal of joy, and the assembled multitude sent forth a uni- 
versal shout. The President again bowed to the people, and 
then retired from a scene such as the proudest monarch never 

George Washington and John Adams. 233 

enjoyed. Many entertainments were given, both public 
and private; and the city was illuminated in the evening.'* 
The balcony upon which the ceremony took place, about two 
o'clock in the afternoon, was decorated with a canopy and 
curtains of red striped with white. The Bible upon which 
the oath was taken is now preserved in the keeping of St« 
John's masonic lodge in this city, and there is a tradition, or 
more probably a mythical legend, to the effect that, at the 
last moment, it was found that no Bible had been provided 
for the ceremony and that this one was hastily obtained from 
St. John's Lodge. At the time of his inauguration, Washing- 
ton was in the 57th year of his age, and a slight description 
of his personal appearance, written at that time, reads: 
" His person exhibits everything great and noble — he is upr 
wards of six feet high and exceedingly well proportionate ; he 
has a majestic carriage, serene countenance, and dark coloured 
hair, but 

" Now pacing time begins to shed 
His silver blossoms o'er his head." 

He appeared on the balcony of Federal Hall dressed in a 
dark-brown suit, with white silk stockings and silver shoe- 
buckles, while at his side there hung a steel-hilted sword. His 
hair was powdered and worn in a queue behijnd. The clothes 
which he wore were of American manufacture and were prob- 
ably those of the purchase of which from the factory at Hart- 
ford he speaks in a letter written from Mt. Vernon shortly 
before coming to. New York. The fact that they were of Am- 
erican make was considered to be so important that the editor 
of the United States Gazette specially apologized for omitting 
to mention it in his first account of the inauguration. He 
states that they were of a homespun fabric so fine in quality as 
to be universally mistaken for foreign manufactured superfine 
cloth, and that the Vice-President also appeared in a suit of 
American cloth. His poetic remarks upon the subject were: 

" From this bright Era, see Columbia rise I 
Her Empire prop'd by him who arched the Skies I 
Freedom and Independence — Arts and Peace, 
Shall crown the Scene till Time and Nature cease.'' 

234 ^^"^ York City in 1789. 

After taking the oath of office, Washington returned to his 
seat in the Senate Chamber, and, after a short pause, arose 
and delivered his inaugural address. Of this, Fisher Ames 
wrote on the 3rd of May : " He addressed the two houses in 
the senate chamber ; it was a very touching scene, and quite 
of the solemn kind ; his aspect grave, almost to sadness ; his 
modesty actually shaking ; his voice deep, a little tremulous, 
and so low as to call for close attention; added to the series of 
objects presented to the mind, and overwhelming it, it pro- 
duced emotions of the most affecting kind upon the members. 
I, Pilgarlic, sat entranced. It seemed to me an allegory in 
which virtue was personified, and addressing those whom she 
would make her votaries. Her power over the heart was 
never greater, and the illustration of her doctrine by her own 
example was never more perfect." This being finished, the 
President and Congress proceeded on foot to St. Paul's 
Chapel, the order of the procession being : 

Troop of Horse. 
Doorkeeper and Messenger of Representatives. 




President, and Vice-President 

at his left hand. 

President's Suite. 



Doorkeeper and Messenger of Senate. 

Gentlemen admitted into Senate Chamber. 


The Clerk of the HoUse of Representatives was John 
Beckley, and its Doorkeeper and Messenger were Gifford 
Dally and Thomas Claxton. The Secretary of the Senate 
was Samuel Alyne Otis, and its Doorkeeper and Messenger 
were James Mathers and Cornelius Maxwell. In a letter 
from R R to his wife in Philadelphia, dated May ist 





George Waskingtan and John Adams. 235 

1789 and published in the Historiad Magazine for June 1859^ 
the writer states that the inaugural ceremony took place about 
one o'dodc, and mentions the following incident with regard 
to the President : " On his way to the churchy through a nutnef" 
oos collection of spectztors I caught hi$ tyt, and had the 
honor of a vciy gracious bow from h:m : this from so great a 
man in sob^h a station, I thou^t myseH highV bon^j^r^^l by.^ 
After the pexfecmance of divine service suitable to tlti^ 'xca^ 
sion by Basbrio Pryrcost, the President was r-eotiv^J at the 
door of t!»e crnnnci by the /jfct co^nmittw: of 0>jn;r-!rw, and 
attsaded by tratsn in czrriag'cs to his hotitie. Tbi*: Sttnatt: ro 
tnraed to isae Scastit Ckarafer and ordcrrf a rtj/;/ !-> tbt in- 
aog^aral address to be prepojeri by WSjskjt- Sisca^ J^-Aj3fV>o of 
Caaotstac-t, WsIjsarB Pat*rso3 --># X*-w )tr^^, :it:A ^.Tbarfef 

rc3s!y atdyvariKjf i:^ iSk ^Say, \^ ^hf: *nr*rirjg tJ^ '>,y wait 
aVi^^.i*' wfda £!Ih:si53C8t5scaw Tiit \:^ezi\r^^jc.^^^ w^vri:, were 
d^llsysi w*rt prasKwrDcrf to iit ac itsaC -trrsi; t-v ^;rf*!i/^ri *A 
\bet iz3i ercr hcSrjcrt scss: aas Arusri^sL, t^K ead-S^y/c :ii* tie 
k!:i29s ic taasr Sgnm^fr. aaotf Fr^aci Aa^MEMssr&vrt litdr^ ">? *3^ 
pedfflU *^irg»Try. Tie: jggfffTTtf.r "jtf tit?: fcrsutr w» br:r3«ut3y 
ii^EnrasBtiKL and wxi 5cs fcwrtr^ mrittfeer?; «ci&u«!W, a«4«jii, 

beaLixtr. Tie: Frsxci JtrotaDsr t srvuie isatf :fc V^^SerS^jj -v^ 

iSk Mvise ^ K£gf?si«sicaC7P». T3«rt »^» a^iir^itr^Brtit^*!*!*^ 

atSy at 'Ac: BorraK: ie Cpwugt Scrfcs^ Un. fer^iiii ^iwJt ^ii9t 
aggirarif^i ^ otk -wn^sic "£ *Ttit J^omt "/ ii«t Cvufr/y,* 
Fsrffeaf. Hbit -rat VilcinrfT' 3riimm«V!:f iii*€ ^it tftr*v 5Sv*i 
Caraniai aroBsrrst Tfe i -vtrwxiA ^Jf isr^irt n -^j* \ikt^^ ft 

wiesSE. "tSfirmlcKnHi isnxaainM. i^Tj^^ifit tsucifiet wit tusm^r 

2i6 New York City in 1789. 

Having thus been inaugurated, Washington at once turned 
his attention to the matter of the social etiquette required in 
his office. Lords and ladies could have been found in a suffi- 
cient number to grace a royal court, but their hopes in that 
direction were to be disappointed. On the 5th of May it was 
announced that he would receive visits of compliment on Tues- 
days and Fridays between the hours of two and three in the 
afternoon, and that such visits on other days, particularly on 
Sunday, would not be agreeable to him. It was thought that 
public business would so occupy his time that he would be 
unable to return visits or to accept invitations. On the follow- 
ing day it was also stated that the President was determined 
to pursue the same system of regularity and economy which 
had always marked the management of his household affairs. 
The steward was obliged to exhibit weekly, to a person 
appointed by the President, a statement of monies received 
and paid out, together with bills and receipts. At the same 
time the following notice appeared : ** Whereas all servants 
and others employed to procure provisions or necessaries for 
the household of the President of the United States will be 
furnished with monies for those purposes : — Notice is therefore 
given that no accounts, for the payment of which the public 
might be considered responsible, are to be opened with any 
of them. Samuel Fraunces, Steward of the Household." It 
was Washington's desire to receive no salary beyond his actual 
expenses, and, to determine the amount of these, a very strict 
account of household expenses was kept by him for the first 
four months of his residence in New York. His total expenses 
from May 24th to August 24th 1789 amounted to £1741 9s., 
from which it was estimated that his annual expenditure would 
be ;^4925 7s. or about $12,317. His household consisted of 
five white servants who received seven dollars a month and 
liveries costing $29 each ; five black servants, Will, Austin, 
Giles, Paris, and Christopher, the clothes of each of whom 
cost $46 a year ; two black maids who each received $46 a 
year ; a housekeeper at eight dollars and three other women 
at five dollars a month ; a valet at $162 a year, and the stew- 
ard, who received $25 a month. The salaries of his secretary, 

George Washington and John Adams. '237 

assistant, arid three aides amounted in all to $2000 a year. In 
October 1789 an advertisement appeared in the newspapers to 
the effect that a genteel waiter who could shave and dress well, 
and was well recommended for honesty, sobriety and good 
dispositions, would meet with encouragement by applying at 
the house of the President of the United States. In December 
another advertisement also appeared, in large type, stating 
that a cook and a coachman were wanted by the family of the 
President of the United States, and there seems to have been 
some difficulty in obtaining the services of satisfactory officials 
of that sort, as the advertisement continued to appear for ajt 
least a month. 

On the morning of May ist Washington received visit* 
from the Vice-President, Governor, Heads of Departments, 
Foreign Ministers, and many other distinguished persons, and 
his first appearance on a public occasion after his inauguration 
was at the Commencement of Columbia College on the 6th of 
May. On the following evening the subscribers to the Danc- 
ing Assembly gave a ball and entertainment in his honor at 
which he was present, the company including Mr. Adams, 
most of the members of both branches of Congress, Baron 
Steuben, Marquis de Moustier, Gen. St. Clair, the Commis- 
sioners of the Treasury, Gov. Clinton, Chancellor Livingston, 
Chief Justice Morris, John Jay, Gen. Knox, Cyrus Griffin, 
Mayor Duane, and other distinguished personages to the 
number of about three hundred, who enjoyed the occasion 
until about two o'clock in the morning. Thomas Jefferson 
was responsible for the circulation of a derisive account of this 
ball in which Mrs. Washington is mentioned as being present, 
although she did not arrive in New York until May 27th, and 
in which the antics of Mrs. Knox are ridiculously described, 
although she too in all probability was not present. Her 
youngest son, master George Washington Knox, died on the 
i6th of August following. At this entertainment, which has 
come to be called the Inauguration Ball although it was an 
entirely private affair, the President is said to have danced 
with Mrs. Peter Van Brugh Livingston, Mrs. Alexander 
Hamilton and Mrs. James Homer Maxwell. A doubtful 

238 New York City in 1789. 

tradition, recently revived from a statement to be found in 
Griswold's American Court, relates that on this occasion each 
lady was presented with an elegant fan made in Paris and 
adorned with an admirable portrait of Washington. It would 
have taken at least three months and a half to obtain the fans 
from Paris, and it is more than doubtful whether all the shops in 
New York in 1789 contained one hundred and fifty fans of any 
elegance, there being probably that number of ladies present. 
On the 1st of May the House of Representatives ordered 
an address in reply to Washington's inaugural speech to be 
prepared by James Madison, George Clymer, Roger Sher- 
man, George Gale, and Egbert Benson, and upon the 8th of 
that month the Speaker and House presented the address to 
him in a room adjoining the Representatives Chamber. The 
address ordered by the Senate on the 30th of April was 
agreed to on the 7th of May but for some reason was not pre- 
sented to the President until the i8th of May, when the Vice- 
President and Senate waited upon him at his house. The 
Common Council had prepared an address of welcome to him 
as early as the 27th of April and had then appointed a com- 
mittee to learn from him at what time it would be convenient 
for him to receive their congratulations, but were told to 
wait until Congress had acted. After the Representatives 
had presented their address, Col. Humphreys, on the 8th of 
May, informed the Common Council that they could present 
theirs at any time, and on the 9th of May at 12 o'clock they 
did so at the President's house. On the nth of May he 
made his first visit to the John Street Theatre, and on the 
14th a ball was given in his honor by the French Ambassa- 
dor, at which the Vice-President, Governor, many Senators, 
Representatives, and other distinguished personages were also 
present. On the i Sth of May he was visited by the Vice- 
President, Heads of Departments, Foreign Ministers, State 
Judges, and others, and on the 22nd a ball was given by the 
Spanish Ambassador, but the President does not appear to 
have been present at it. On the 23rd of May he paid a visit 
to Baron Poelnitz' farm to investigate the working of newly 
invented agricultural implements and various improvements 

George Washington and John Adams. 239 

in farming. Among the novelties was the cultivation of 
madder, woad, and artificial grasses, while the implements in- 
cluded Winlaw's threshing-machine and several plows for dif- 
ferent purposes, some of which Baron Poelnitz held himself. 
Washington was especially interested in a machine invented 
by the baron for ascertaining the exact force necessary to be 
applied to a plow in drawing it through any kind of soil, and 
he was so pleased with the working of a horse-hoe for weed- 
ing vegetables, that he ordered one to be made for use at Mt. 
Vernon. On the i8th of July he also highly commended 
models of machines for reaping and threshing and for cutting 
and deepening canals, which were exhibited to him by Henry 
Harbough of Baltimore. 

For the first month of his residence in New York, the Pres- 
ident was without the company of his family, but on the 17th 
of May, Mrs. Washington left Mt. Vernon with her grand- 
children Eleanor Custis and George Washington Parke Custis 
to join him in New York. She was received with honor 
along her route, and one remark regarding her personal ap- 
pearance when in Baltimore was as follows : " We shall only 
add that like her illustrious husband she was clothed in the 
manufacture of our own country, in which her native good- 
ness and patriotism appeared to the greatest advantage." 
She was expected to arrive in New York on the 27th of May, 
and at five o'clock in the morning of that day the President, 
accompanied by Robert Morris and others, set out to meet 
her at Elizabethtown Point in the presidential barge manned 
by thirteen pilots in white uniforms, who are said to have 
rowed the fifteen miles in fifty minutes. She embarked in the 
barge at Elizabethtown Point at about half past twelve and 
is said to have been landed at Peck Slip in seventy minutes. 
She was not expected to reach the City until about four 
o'clock and the militia who were to escort her were therefore 
unprepared, but she received a salute of thirteen guns when 
passing the Battery, was loudly cheered by a throng of citi- 
zens upon her arrival, and was escorted to her residence by 
Governor Clinton. In the evening a few rockets were fired 
in her honor. On the 28th of May the President gave a din- 

240 New York City in 1789. 

ner at which the guests were the Vice-President, the Foreign 
Ministers, the Heads of Departments, the Speaker, and Sena- 
tors James Gunn and William Few of Georgia and John 
Langdon and Paine Wingate of New Hampshire. On the 
evening of May 29th Mrs. Washington gave her first recep- 
tion which was attended by Lady Stirling, Lady Mary Watts, 
Lady Kitty Duer, the ladies of the most honorable Mr. Lang- 
don and Mr. Dalton, Madame de la Forest, Mrs. James 
Thompson and her daughter Mrs. Elbridge Gerr}'^, and many 
other ladies. Mrs. Elbridge Gerry was the daughter of 
James Thomson and Catherine Walton, and was not the 
daughter of Charles Thomson, secretary of Congress, and 
Hannah Harrison, as has been erroneously stated in bio*- 
graphical dictionaries and historical magazines. Soon after 
her arrival the hour for the President's levee was changed 
from two to three o'clock for the convenience of public offi- 
cials, and Mrs. Washington held a reception every Friday 
evening from eight to ten o'clock. It was impossible to 
please every one in the matter of social arrangements, one 
point of attack being the fact that visiting the President at 
his reception was spoken of as " waiting upon the President 
at his leve6." The following was also published in the N. Y. 
Journal of. July 2nd 1789, " As a number of the most inveter- 
ate enemies to the Independence of this country, attend at 
every Levee of our Illustrious Chief; an Old Soldier asks 
from what authority they come into the presence of the father 
of his country, attired in Garments stained with the blood of 
departed prisoners." 

Mrs. Washington's, first public appearance, outside of her 
own house, seems to have been on the 5th of June, when she 
attended the theatre with her husband. According to her 
own account her life in New York was very dull. In one of 
her letters, dated October. 22nd 1789 and reproduced in 
" Curiosities of American History," she writes : " I lead a 
very dull -life here and know nothing that passes in the town. 
I never goe to any publick 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 

George Washington and John Adams. 241 

deal." She, however, had admirers, of whom Samuel John-, 
son of North Carolina was certainly one. In a letter dated 
New York, March 4th 1790, he writes : " I have just left the 
President's where I had the pleasure of dining with almost 
every member of the Senate. We had some excellent cham- 
pagne, and, after it, I had the honour of drinking coffee with 
his Lady, a most amiable woman. If I live much longer I be- 
lieve that I shall at last be reconciled to the company of old 
women for her sake, a circumstance which I once thought 
impossible. I have found them generally so censorious and 
envious that I could never bear their company. This, among 
other reasons, made me marry a woman much younger than 
myself, lest I should hate her when she grew old ; but I now 
really believe that there are some good old women." 

A letter dated New York, June 6th 1789, and afterwards 
printed in a London newspaper, was to the following effect 
and may have been true, although the New York newspapers 
apparently make no mention of the circumstance : " His Ex- 
cellency General Washington our new Congressional Presi- 
dent, and perhaps I might add Dictator of America for life, 
gave a very sumptuous entertainment on Thursday the 4th, on 
account of the recovery of his Majesty the King of Great 
Britain ; the Envoys of England, France, Holland, and Portu- 
gal, and persons of the first distinction were present. This 
very handsome respect to the British Monarch, will doubtless 
be received as it deserves." Washington's social activity, 
however, was cut short in June by sickness caused by a malig- 
nant carbuncle, which compelled him to lie on one side for 
six weeks and troubled him for a much longer time. At one 
time in June his illness was so severe that a chain was 
stretched across the street in front of his house to prevent 
the passage of vehicles, and Dr. Samuel Bard was in constant 
attendance upon him for several days. By the 4th of July, 
however, he was able to stand in the doorway to review the 
militia and on the 28th of July appeared at the levee, but gave 
only one levee a week for some time. This was evidently 
considered by some to be sufficient dissipation, for the corre- 
spondent of a Boston newspaper wrote on the ist of August, 

242 New York City, in 1789. 

" Our beloved President stands unmoved in the vortex of folly 
and dissipation which the city of New York presents." In July 
he was presented with an address of congratulation from the 
officers of Washington College in Maryland, and on the 4th 
of August received a similar address which had been adopted 
by the New York Legislature at Albany on the 15th of July. 
Addresses from all of the religious denominations were also 
presented to him at the various times when their annual gen- 
eral conventions were held, and brief replies were made to all. 

On the 1st of September he received the news of the 
death of his mother at Fredericksburg, Va., on the 25th of 
August, in the 83rd year of her age. His father had died on 
the 1 2th of April 1743. His mother's death caused a brief 
cessation of the President's levees and he and his family put 
on " American mourning " recommended by a resolution of 
Congress, passed on the 20th of October 1774, as follows: 
" On the death of any relation or friend, none of us, or any of 
our families, will go into any further mourning-dress than a 
black crape or ribbon on the arm or hat, for gentlemen, and 
a black ribbon or necklace for ladies, and we will discontinue 
the giving of gloves and scarves at funerals." This resolution 
had been passed in the interest of economy and for the pur- 
pose of curtailing importations from Great Britain ; but, if 
ever followed in New York City, it had ceased to be observed 
there some years before 1789, it being then the custom for the 
pallbearers and minister to receive scarves at funerals and to 
wear them to church on the following Sunday. The minis- 
ters' scarves, at least, were ultimately made into shirts. Some 
of the members of Congress, however, appeared at the Presi- 
dent's first levee after his mother's death, wearing mourning 
similar to that worn by his family. 

Congress adjourned on the 29th of September to meet 
again on the first Monday in January 1790, and at its last sit- 
ting, recommended that the President issue a proclamation for 
a day of thanksgiving, which he did on the 3rd of October 
fixing upon Thursday, November 26th, as the date for it. 
This action was criticised as infringing upon the prerogatives 
of the Governors of the States, but the discussion of the sub- 
ject in the newspapers did not appear to meet with popular 

George Washington and John Adams, %^% 

approval. On the 9th of October, the President liad a part* 
ing visit from the French Ambassador, who sailed lor France 
about the 12th of October, and on the 15 th ol October YiM 
himself started out upon a tour of the New England States; 
According to one who witnessed his reception In one of the 
towns upon his route, Washington travelled in a post chaistf 
drawn by four bay horses driven by postillions dressed in 
blanket-coats, liveries, jockey caps, buckskins, and b^>ots* Col, 
Lear rode on one side of the chaise and Major Jackson on i\ui 
other, while following it was a light baggage-wagon driven by 
a man in a round corduroy jacket, glazed hat, buckskins, and 
boots. In the rear there rode on horseback Washington'^ 
colored attendant, Billy, leading his white chaiger. The Pres^ 
ident rode into the towns in his chaise and took his depart- 
ure from them on horseback. While in New York he did a 
great deal of walking, took longer expeditions on horse|)ack| 
and upon special occasions appeared in a canary-colored coach 
drawn by four white horses, and attended by his secretaries 
CoL Tobias Lear and Major William Jackson on horseback. 
There was apparently no stable connected with his house in 
Qieny Street as his horses were kept at a 1 ivory-si able at an 
expense of about eighty dollars a month (or all oi them. 

He returned from this eastern trip on the 13th ^A Novem- 
ber and there was apparently no demonstration made ui>on his 
arrival in the city, as "Rusticus** wrote iu the ))4tly AA" 

** From Eastern climes where stniliDig g^niu* t<^%4M| 
And freedoin's rays illutiK tlK' lu^p|>y pUui«»« 
B^old our Chief ! with placi<) (mow ^cmx^iit^ 

Betttmed to grace the »K>f( domc^tH^ ^i^.iic : 
The worthy patriot ! shuti'd n vaid |M4«<V« 
And, unattended, nought iIk «iki)( 4t^«i4« ." 

Hk Vice-President liad dejMri<>d t<K \M> 1u>m«^ U i^ii^u\ 
Mass., on the 13th of (XloUx aii<1 4i<1 ii<y^ 4\4ii4A\ uM^i 
1±te fest week in December. 

On the 24th of November lh< Hi«-«i<lM«4 Vj^i^^^i^. in* i\%%>i*ir% 
and on tiie :26th attended jpervK<:a< v>< l^**i*'^. v'<i*<* ih*r* w<i^ 
a-vexy snail congregation owini; to ih« b4k<1 w*MUy^ ^h^ ^^^* 

ZAA New York City in 1789. 

same day he gladdened the hearts of the imprisoned debtors 
by making a gift of fifty guineas to the society which furnished 
them with food that was eatable. On the 30th of November 
he again visited the theatre, and in December, gave sittings to 
Mr. Savage for his portrait. On the ist of January 1790 he 
expressed the greatest pleasure at the New York manner of 
celebrating that day. 

The New York of 1789 was a small and plain city. Not 
until 1830 does the United States Census show an excess in 
the number of its inhabitants over that of Philadelphia. The 
city buildings of a hundred years ago are now surpassed by 
those of many a country town. The ravishingly beautiful and 
highly accomplished women, of whom it is the fashion to 
speak in a style of gushing sentimentality, were no more 
beautiful and not half as accomplished as their great-grand- 
daughters. The magnificent entertainments of that day would 
now be laughed to scorn. A merchant-prince of 1789 if now 
recalled to life would find himself surrounded by men possess- 
ing individually more wealth than could have been gathered 
from all the city merchants combined a hundred years ago. 
The learning of distinguished professors of that time is now 
surpassed by that of many an humble and unknown student. 
Nor did its inhabitants for many years after 1789 appreciate 
the magnitude which the city was inevitably to possess. New 
York in 1789 was not even, like the poet, the mirror " of the 
gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present." 
Nevertheless, every line in the much neglected history of the 
city shows advance and increased prosperity. There has 
always been progress and never retrogression. We, too, are 
" in the morning of the times " and as we look, perhaps with 
amusement, upon the supposed greatness of our predecessors, 
we may not too rashly sing : 


Such is Drowsietown — but nay ! 
WaSf not is, my song should say — 
Such was summer long ago 
In this town so sleepy and slow. 
Change has come : thro* wood and dale 
Runs the demon of the rail, 
And the Drowsietown of yore 
Is not drowsy any more I "