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Half Moon Series 

<Si& Papers on Historic 
New York <> 

Edited by Maud Wilder Goodwin 
Alice Carrington Royce, Ruth 
Putnam, Eva Palmer Brownell 

Second Series 

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS, New York 

and London S^e Jbtthtcbother $Jress 





The 'fcnfcfterbocfcet press, Hew 



































Half Moon Series 

Published in the Interest of the New York 
City History Club. 





Establishment of Slavery. In 1625 or 
1626, the first negro slaves were brought to 

ill "Kc \V 

New Amsterdam, the settlement which later 
became the City of New York. Among them 
were Paul d'Angola, Simon Congo, Anthony 
Portuguese, John Francisco, and seven other 
Africans, who were probably captured at sea.' 
Two years later three negro women arrived, 
closely followed by others who are spoken of 
as "Angola slaves, thievish, lazy, and useless 
trash." These slaves, apparently, were the 
only ones introduced prior to the erection of 
patroonships and colonies in 1629, when the 
West India Company publicly promised to 
"use their endeavors to supply the colonists 
with as many Blacks as they conveniently 
can," a promise which, from several causes, 
was not fulfilled until the arrival in June, 1646, 

Slavery in flew 

tReport of 

tbe 5tatce= 



of the Amandare, the first slave ship to 
New Netherland whose name is recorded. 
At Barbadoes, where the vessel touched, 
"three negro wenches were spirited away," 
but the remainder of the cargo was sold in 
New Amsterdam for pork and peas. " Some- 
thing wonderful was to be performed with 
them, but they just dropped through the 
fingers." What slaves were brought and 
whence they came is not stated. 

On May 27, 1647, a committee of the States- 
General of Holland made a full report on the 
affairs of the West India Company, in the 
course of which it mentioned the fact that, 
in consequence of the unsettled condition of 
Brazil, "The Slave Trade hath long laid dor- 
mant to the great damage of the Company." 
In regard to New Netherland, it said : "That 
country is considered to be the most fruitful 
of all within your High Mightinesses' Juris- 
diction. . . . The granting of Freedoms 
and Privileges hath indeed induced some Pa- 
troons and Colonists to undertake agriculture 
there ; but as the produce cannot be sold any- 
where except in the adjacent places belonging 
to the English, who are themselves sufficiently 
supplied, those planters have not received a 
return for their labor and outlay. With a 
view, then, to give greater encouragement to 
agriculture, and consequently to population, 
we should consider it highly advantageous 

Slavers tn Hew 3J)orfc 

that a way be opened to allow them to export 
their produce even to Brazil, in their own ves- 
sels, under certain duties . . . ; and to 
trade it off there, and to carry slaves back in 
return. ... By this means, not only 
would Brazil be supplied with provisions at a 
cheaper rate, but New Netherland would, by 
slave labor, be more extensively cultivated 
than it has hitherto been, because the agricul- 
tural laborers, who are conveyed thither at 
great expense to the Colonists, sooner or later 
apply themselves to trade and neglect agricul- 
ture altogether. Slaves, on the other hand, 
being brought and maintained there at a cheap 
rate, various other descriptions of produce 
would be raised." 8 In accordance with this 
report the States-General resolved upon Feb- 
ruary 10, 1648, that the people of New Nether- 
land "be allowed to export their fish, flour, 
and produce, ... to Brazil, in private 
or the Company's ships, . . . and in re- 
turn to export, at certain duty from Brazil, to 
New Netherland and not elsewhere, as much 
merchandise, such as Slaves." Four years 
later the slave trade to Africa direct was also 
opened, but with results so meagre that Fiscal 
Van Dyck wrote on September 18, 1652, "No 
requests for Negroes has been presented from 
Patroons or Colonists hereto my knowledge." 
The burghers of New Amsterdam petitioned 
Governor Stuyvesant in May, 1660, for " per- 

Slavers fn Hew 


mission to trade free and unobstructed in Ship 
or Ships, along the whole of the west coast of 
Africa," since those who would execute 
"with Skipper or Merchant going to that 
country a Draft of Partnership, which is beset 
and pinched by such precise conditions" (as 
those which at present exist) "would risk 
their lives and goods, and at best gain noth- 
ing." Upon January 6, 1664, the Directors 
sent word to Stuyvesant that they had en- 
tered into a contract with Symen Gilde, of the 
ship Gideon, to take in a good cargo of slaves 
at Loango, on the coast of Africa, and to fetch 
them, byway of Curacoa, to New Netherland, 
and that Amsterdam was a partner for a fourth 
of the cargo. Though the ship was due the 
coming June or July, "with about 300 slaves 
aboard," she did not arrive until a few days 
before the Dutch surrendered to the English. 3 
During the war between Spain and the Uni- 
ted Netherlands, the privateers which swarmed 
among the Caribbean Islands and along the 
Spanish Main occasionally brought prizes into 
New Amsterdam. After the peace, hostilities 
were carried on between Spain and France. 
To privateers under the French flag, New 
Amsterdam was a neutral port where captive 
negroes and other prize goods were sold. In 
1642 the La Garce brought in a few slaves, 
and in 1652 a lot of forty-five negroes came in 
on another privateer, which had captured them 

Slavery in View H>orfc 

from a Spaniard. A great part of the slaves 
who reached New Amsterdam, however, were 
imported either by private merchants in Hoi- 
land, under a special permit from the Company, 
or by the West India Company itself. "We 
are resolved," wrote the Directors at Amster- 
dam in 1661, "not only that slaves shall be 
kept in New Netherland, as we have hereto- 
fore ordered, but that they shall moreover be 
exported to the English and otrier neighbours. " 
In 1644, the Secretary of the Colony received 
from Governor Kieft, for four years, a young 
girl belonging to the Company, "daughter of 
great Peter, a black man," who, after the ex- 
piration of the specified time, "if yet alive," 
was to be returned. The Directors and Coun- 
cil resolved, in May, 1664, to pay a certain 
Captain Willet "in Negroes at such price as 
may be agreed on for a quantity of pork and 
beef equal to 600 Ibs." Two months later 
they desired "to negotiate a loan of five or 
six thousand guilders in Wampum for the 
Honorable Company," to be paid "either in 
good negroes or other goods," although in 
November, 1661, they had been sufficiently 
prosperous to present New Amsterdam with 
three negro slaves. 4 

Civil Status of Negro and Indian Slaves. 
The change of government which occurred 
in 1664 did not materially affect the status of 
negro slaves. The " Duke's Laws," published 



Slavers in IRew Jljorfe 





in March, 1664, declared: "No Christian shall 
be kept in Bond-Slavery, except such who 
shall be judged thereto by Authority, or such 
as willingly have sold or shall sell themselves." 
Fearful that this provision might be misunder- 
stood, the framers added hastily: "Nothing in 
this law shall be to the prejudice of Master or 
Dame who have or shall by indenture take 
Servants for a term of years or for life." * In 
the amended laws, published about 1674, this 
provision appeared: "This law shall not set 
at liberty any Negro or Indian Slave, who shall 
have turned Christian after they had been 
bought by any person," a declaration which 
implied, but did not state, that inhabitants of 
New York might be born slaves. An act to 
encourage the baptism of negro, Indian, and 
mulatto slaves, passed October 24, 1706, estab- 
lished, however, the latter point. It provided 
that every negro, Indian, mulatto, and mustee 
should follow the state and condition of the 
mother and be adjudged a slave to all intents 
and purposes whatsoever. Slavery, therefore, 
might exist by reason of birth, voluntary sale, 
or by way of punishment for crime. 8 

The civil position of a slave before the law 
was determined by a number of acts, one of 
which, relating to minor offences and dated 
November 27, 1702, allowed masters to " pun- 
ish their slaves for their crimes at discretion, 
not extending to life or member." An order 

Slavery in "Hew H?orfe 

of the corporation of New York, dated March, 
1736, suggests the manner in which the right 
was used. It declared that citizens had free 
licence to send to the house of correction all 
servants and slaves, there to be kept at hard 
labor, and punished according to the direction 
of any one justice, with the consent of the 
master or mistress. Serious offences, such as 
murder, rape, or arson, were tried by a court 
peculiarly composed.' 

By an act of December 10, 1712, three jus- 
tices and five of the principal freeholders of 
the county constituted judge and jury, seven 
making a quorum. For this usual jury the 
jury of twelve might be substituted, provided 
the master so desired and paid the jury charges 
of nine shillings. The prosecution furnished 
the accusation, to which the offender was 
obliged to plead, apparently without the aid 
of counsel. How effectively an ignorant slave 
would conduct his defence one can imagine. 
In case of conviction the sentence was imme- 
diate death, "in such manner and with such 
circumstances as the aggravation or enormity 
of the crime," in the judgment of the judges, 
required. On March n, 1684, a barn belong- 
ing to Jan Nagel, in Harlem, was burned with 
twelve head of cattle. It was fired by his 
negro slave, who ran away, and was found 
next day "hanging to a tree at the Little Hill 
by the common." The Mayor was asked 



Slavery in Hew l!?orfc 



Of Slaves 

what should be done with the body, and he 
ordered that it should be hanged on a gibbet. 
But the magistrates, fearing the effect of such 
a sight upon "their children, who were in the 
habit of going daily to the fields and woods, 
and who might be terrified thereby," cut it 
down and burned it. 8 

By the act of 1702, in a special class of 
criminal cases, the usual practice of English 
law was also strangely set aside. "Where 
slaves are the property of Christians and can- 
not, without great loss to their masters or 
mistresses, be subjected in all cases criminal 
to the strict rules of the laws of England," a 
slave guilty of larceny of not more than ,5 
suffered corporal punishment at the discretion 
of any one justice of the peace; his master, 
meantime, making good the stolen property. 
Another section of the same act declared that 
the evidence of a slave was not receivable in 
any case, civil or criminal, against a freeman. 
In cases of "plotting or confederacy among 
themselves, either to run away, or to kill or 
destroy their masters or mistresses," of arson, 
or the killing of their owner's cattle, the testi- 
mony of one against another was nevertheless 

Turning from the civil disabilities to the 
civil privileges, we find that although even 
freedmen were forbidden to " hold any 
houses, lands, tenements, or hereditaments," 

Slavery in Hew H>orft 

and all persons were forbidden "to trade 
with any slave either in buying or selling, 
without leave of the Master or Mistress, on 
pain of forfeiting treble the value of the arti- 
cle traded for," the like restriction was not 
laid on the possession by a slave of other kinds 
of property. By the Game Law of November 
10, 1702, a slave received 3 for killing a 
wolf and 305. for killing a whelp, in Suffolk, 
Queens, or Kings Counties, the bounty going 
apparently into his own pocket. On Sep- 
tember 5, 1717, Sam, late a negro slave of 
George Norton, deceased, complained to the 
Governor that Ebenezer Wilson detained 
money and a negro willed him by Norton. 
The following is a copy of the petition : 

"George Norton in his life time by his last 
Will and Testament in Writing gave to your 
poor Petitioner his Freedom from Slavery and 
thirty pounds in Money, as also one Negro 
Man named Robin ; But Mr. Ebenezer Willson, 
the Executor of George Norton Deceased, will 
neither pay your poor Petitioner the Thirty 
Pound nor let him have said Negro Robin, 
although he has not (as your Excellency's Pe- 
titioner is inform'd) Inventary'd said Negro 
Robin as a part of said George Norton's Es- 
tate. And yet in the Winter when said Negro 
wants Cloaths he is forced to come to your 
poor Petitioner for a Supply. And so also 
when he is sick or lame he has come to your 



Slavers in IRew H?orfe 


said Petitioner several Times and lain upon 
him for a month at a time. But so soon as he 
is well and able to work Mr. Willson takes 
him away and Imploys him in his own Ser- 

"Wherefore your Poor Petitioner humbly 
pray that your Excellency wou'd be favourably 
pleased to take his suffering Case into your 
Consideration and find out some way (as in 
your great Wisdom you shall see meet) to in- 
duce said Executor to do Right and Justice to 
your Poor Petitioner in the case set forth." 9 

One case is recorded, if not more, where a 
slave brought suit against his master. June 
25, 1710, Joris Elsworth, of New York City, 
complained to Governor Hunter, that his ne- 
gro slave Will, claiming to be a freeman, had 
brought suit against him for wages. The case 
was tried before a jury at a session of the Su- 
preme Court of the province, and a verdict 
was given for the defendant, against whom it 
is doubtful whether a slave could have brought 
suit on any other plea than the one offered. 10 

Regulations Governing Slave Life. 
The main interest of the slave code turns on 
the regulations to prevent conspiracy and se- 
dition. The fear of servile risings was con- 
stantly in the minds of our ancestors. Their 
savage legislation governing slave life is only 
intelligible in the light of this fact. The cor- 
poration of New York passed an ordinance, as 

Slavers in Hew 

early as March 15, 1684, that "No Negro or 
Indian Slaves, above the number of four, shall 
meet together on the Lord's day, or at any 
other time, at any place, from their master's 
service." They were not to go armed, more- 
over, "with guns, swords, clubs, staves, or 
any other kind of weapon," on penalty of re- 
ceiving ten lashes at the whipping-post. "An 
Act for the Regulation of Slaves," passed No- 
vember 27, 1702, which extended these regu- 
lations through the colony, reduced the number 
allowed to meet from four to three. The de- 
sired end was not even then attained. Four 
years later Governor Cornbury was obliged 
to order the justices of the peace of Kings 
County to take the proper methods for seizing 
and apprehending all such negroes as had as- 
sembled themselves in a riotous manner or 
had absconded from their masters; and six 
years later, when William Hallet, Jr., of New- 
town, in Queens County, his wife and five 
children, were murdered by a negro and an 
Indian slave, the Governor was obliged to 
assent to another act for preventing the con- 
spiracy of slaves. 11 

The negro plot of 1712, the predecessor of 
the famous plot of 1741, necessitated yet an- 
other, "An Act for Preventing, Suppressing 
and Punishing the Conspiracy and Insurrection 
of Negroes and other Slaves," passed Decem- 
ber 10, 1712, which reiterated former provi- 


Relating to 


Slavery In IRew H?orfe 


(Relating to 


sions and emphasized special points. By the 
act of 1702, no person could employ, harbor, 
conceal, or entertain at his house, outhouse, 
or plantation, slaves other than his own 
without their master's consent. By the latter 
act, any one who knew of their entertainment 
and did not report it must pay 2 or be im- 
prisoned. The master who did not prosecute 
the employer or host paid double the sum that 
the employer or host should have forfeited. 
On October 27, 1730, the Assembly passed 
"An Act for the more effectual preventing 
and punishing the Conspiracy and Insurrec- 
tion of Negroes and other Slaves; for the bet- 
ter Regulating them, and for Repealing the 
Acts therein mentioned, relating thereto." 
This, the last and most comprehensive act 
relating to slaves passed in New York before 
the Revolution, announced, however, no new 
principles, but contented itself with re-enact- 
ing former statutes. 12 

The corporation of New York was not be- 
hind the Assembly in taking measures to 
prevent conspiracies and passed several ordi- 
nances to reinforce the four acts last men- 
tioned. As Sunday was the slaves' holiday, 
and a favorite time for the hatching of plots, 
the Sunday laws were intended to prevent 
conspiracies quite as much as to enforce the 
fourth commandment. " Servile labouring and 
working," riding a horse through any street or 

in flew H>orfc 

on the common, "rude and unlawful sports," 
and "fetching any water other than from the 
next well or pump to the place of his abode/' 
and crossing from New York to Brooklyn 
without a permission were forbidden. On 
other days of the week no slave above 
fourteen years could appear an hour after 
sunset in the streets "within the fortifica- 
tions, or in any other place on the south side 
of the fresh water," without a lantern and 
lighted candle, "so as the light thereof may 
be plainly seen." Slaves more advanced in 
years, since they were in the habit, when 
riding their masters' horses to water, to go 
prancing through the streets to the danger 
of passers-by, were forbidden "to ride in a 
disorderly fashion." They were also forbidden 
to clip household plate, to gamble with any 
sort of money, to assault or strike "any free- 
man or woman professing Christianity," to 
curse, swear, or "speak impudently to any 
Christian," to drive any sort of cart without a 
permit from the Mayor, except a brewer's drag, 
or to sell oysters, boiled Indian corn, or any 
kind of fruit." 

Restraining measures, such as those em- 
bodied in the acts and ordinances just men- 
tioned, were made necessary by the two 
servile conspiracies, to which reference has 
already been made as the Negro Plots. The 
earlier, that of 1712, broke out on a Sunday 


Relating to 



Slavery tn Bew H>orfc 


night in April, "about the going down of 
the moon," when a large body of slaves, who 
thought themselves ill-treated by their mas- 
ters, armed with guns or rude weapons, met 
in an orchard, set fire to an outhouse, and as- 
saulted those who came running up to quench 
the flames. In this way they killed nine men 
and wounded six others before the alarm was 
given by the firing of a great gun from the 
fort, and the soldiers dispatched by the Gov- 
ernor appeared and put them to flight. The 
militia, by beating the forests at the northern 
end of Manhattan, aided by sentries posted at 
the fords, succeeded next day in capturing all 
the conspirators but six, who, in their despair, 
killed themselves. Of the remainder, twenty- 
one were executed either by hanging, burn- 
ing, or by being broken on the wheel. Many 
arrested for supposed complicity in the plot 
were afterwards released for want of evidence 
to prove their guilt. 14 

The second, or "Great Negro Plot," of 
March, 1741, though much more serious both 
in its nature and results, producing deeds 
"which almost parallel those done in the evil 
days of the Salem witchcraft," was yet, tech- 
nically, scarcely a plot at all. Undoubtedly a 
considerable body of discontented blacks 
especially those lately arrived from Africa 
vaguely hoped and planned for the murder of 
their masters. But there is little reason to 

Slavery in "Hew 3J)orfe 

suppose that the negroes who acted as do- 
mestic servants, and who constituted the mass 
of the slave population, ever contemplated, 
much less deliberately planned, a general ser- 
vile insurrection. In New York, as in Salem, 
fear exaggerated the danger. 

The first signs of the plot appeared during 
the weeks between the twenty-eighth of Feb- 
ruary and the eleventh of April, when nine 
fires followed in such quick succession that 
they seemed certain to be of incendiary 
origin. Meantime the keeper of a low tavern, 
his wife, two negroes, and Mary Barton, an 
indentured servant of doubtful reputation, 
were arrested on a charge of receiving stolen 
goods. A proclamation, offering a reward 
of ;ioo and a full pardon to whoever 
would give information concerning the sup- 
posed plot, was read to Mary, who, seeing 
a loophole through which to effect her own 
escape, suddenly remembered that the negroes 
who were in the habit of meeting at her mas- 
ter's house had planned to destroy the city 
and the fort, after which they would make her 
master king, and one of themselves governor. 
On the strength of her unsupported testimony 
a veritable reign of terror began. Citizens 
removed their valuables from beyond the city 
limits, and every black man not vouched for 
by a master in good repute was lodged in jail. 
The catalogue of victims included not only 



Slavers in IRew UJorfe 


one hundred and fifty-four negroes impris- 
oned, of whom fourteen were burned, eigh- 
teen hanged, two gibbeted, and seventy-one 
transported, but twenty-four whites, four of 
whom were executed. Among the latter was 
a schoolmaster named Ury, suspected of being 
either a non-juring Episcopalian or a Roman 
Catholic priest. The magistrates, taking ad- 
vantage of an old unrepealed law which for- 
bade a priest to come into the province, 
condemned Ury on the double count of being 
implicated in the plot and of administering the 
rites of his religion. When Mary became bold- 
er and accused persons of quality and condi- 
tion, men saw that the panic must be stopped. 
But this was not done until a day for general 
thanksgiving had been set apart. 16 

The Religious Status of Slaves. In con- 
trast to the cruel punishments of the negro 
plots it is pleasant to find that, since negroes 
and Indians were looked upon by our fore- 
fathers as children of the devil, efforts were 
early made to Christianize them. But the 
Dutch were not zealous in this work. Not 
until December, 1660, does there appear 
among the instructions given by the home 
government to the Council for Foreign Planta- 
tions: "You are most especially to take an 
especial care of the propogacon of the Gospel 
in the several Forraine Plantations. . . . 
And you are to consider how each of the Na- 

Slavers in Hew J{>orfe 

lives, or such as are purchased by you from 
other parts to be servants or Slaves, may be 
best invited to the Christian Faith, and be 
made capable of being baptized thereunto." 14 
Upon the occupation of New Netherland by 
the English the work went on with greater 
spirit. The " Duke's Laws " required all con- 
stables and overseers to urge the inhabitants 
to inform their children and servants in mat- 
ters of religion. The instructions of James II., 
William III., and Queen Anne to the Royal 
Governors of New York, bade them, with the 
assistance of the Council, "to find out the 
best means to facilitate and encourage the 
conversion of Negroes and Indians to the 
Christian religion." Governor Dongan re- 
ported that the task was difficult. " It is the 
endeavor of all persons here to bring up their 
children and servants in that opinion which 
themselves profess ; but this I observe, that 
they take no care of the conversion of their 
Slaves." Twelve years later, in 1699, it was 
still found impracticable. Governor Bello- 
mont wrote to the Lords of Trade : " A Bill 
for facilitating the conversion of Indians and 
Negroes (which the King's instructions re- 
quire should be endeavored to be passed), 
would not go down with the Assembly ; they 
having a notion that the Negroes being con- 
verted to Christianity would emancipate them 
from their slavery, and loose them from their 

Danger of 



Slavers in Bew 

0ion of 



service." 17 On October 24, 1706, "An Act to 
encourage the Baptizing of Negro, Indian and 
Mulatto Slaves " finally passed the Assembly, 
and later received the Royal assent. It dis- 
tinctly stated that the baptism of a slave 
should not set him free. The preamble and 
the first section read: "Whereas divers of 
Her Majesty's good Subjects, Inhabitants of 
this Colony, now are, and have been willing 
that such Negro, Indian and Mulatto Slaves, 
who belong to them, and desire the same, 
should be baptized, but are deterred and hin- 
dered thereof, by reason of a groundless opin- 
ion that hath spread itself in this Colony, that 
by the baptizing of such Negro, Indian or 
Mulatto Slaves, they would be free, and ought 
to be set at liberty. In order, therefore, to 
put an end to all such doubts and scruples as 
have, or hereafter at any time may arise, about 
the same; Be it enacted by the Governor, 
Council and Assembly, etc., that the Baptizing 
of any Negro, Indian or Mulatto Slave, shall 
not be any cause or Reason for the setting 
them or any of them, at Liberty." 18 This Act 
soothed the fears of masters, and, as the church 
registers attest, baptisms became frequent. 
The Rev. Elias Neau, under the patronage of 
the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel 
in Foreign Parts, had established a school for 
the religious instruction of slaves, three years 
before, in New York City. The slaves met on 

Slavers in Hew 

the evenings of " Wednesday and Friday and 
Sundays after Church," on the upper floor of 
Mr. Neau's house. None of the churches 
could be used for a schoolroom, " because of 
keeping them clean for the congregation," and 
there was "no other public building conven- 
ient or capacious enuff." The Rev. John 
Sharp, seeing that the existing arrangements 
were inconvenient, proposed, therefore, in 
1713, that a catechizing chapel be erected, 
"which would give a favorable turn to the 
whole affair." His plan seems to have been 

From Mr. Sharp, also, we learn something 
in regard both to the marriage and to the 
burial of slaves. The marriages were arranged, 
he tells us, by mutual consent, without the 
blessing of Church. Husband and wife often 
belonged to different families, and after mar- 
riage were sold many miles apart. Polygamy, 
therefore, was frequent. After baptism a few 
consented to break their "Negro marriages" 
and "marry a Christian spouse." However 
highly colored these statements may be, it is 
certainly true that the marriage of a slave was 
not made legal before April 9, 1813. The law 
enacted on that day reads: "All marriages 
contracted or to be contracted hereafter, 
wherein one or more of the parties were or 
may be Slaves, shall be considered valid as 
though the parties thereto were free ; The 

of Slaves 

Slavery in IRew 

.TBurial of 

children of such a marriage to be deemed 
legitimate." 10 

The burial of slaves was first made a sub- 
ject of legislation on October 23, 1684. The 
text of the act is not accessible, and we are 
not able, therefore, to state its provisions. 
They probably forbade the private burial of 
slaves, for we find that Mees Hoogeboon, of Al- 
bany, was fined twelve shillings "for interring 
his negro in a private and suspicious manner." 
In October, 1722, the Corporation of New York 
ordered that all negro and Indian slaves dying 
within the city should be buried by daylight. 
In 1731, in 1748, and in 1763 this order was 
reissued, with the additional provision that 
not more than twelve slaves should attend 
any funeral under penalty of public whipping. 
On these occasions no pall, gloves, or favors 
were to be used. A slave who held a pall or 
wore gloves or favors was to be publicly 
whipped, at the discretion of the Mayor or of 
that one of the Corporation before whom he 
had been convicted. These regulations were 
probably made to prevent the conspiracy of 
slaves as much as for any other purpose. The 
fear of servile risings, as we have remarked 
elsewhere, is the key-note to the slave code of 
New York, as well as of the other colonies. 
Mr. Sharp suggests a second reason, when he 
remarks: " Slaves are buried in the Common 
by those of their country and complexion 

Slavery in Hew ]i)orfc 23 

without the office. On the contrary, heathen- 


ish rites are performed over them." ao Slaves 

Indian Slavery. Both the beginning and 
the end of Indian slavery are lost in obscurity, 
although nearly all the laws enacted between 
1664 and 1788 recognized its existence and 
treated it as an integral portion of the slave 
system. The first authoritative reference to 
its existence appears in the statement of eight 
citizens of New Amsterdam to the West India 
Company, dated October 28, 1644, which de- 
clared that "The captured Indians, who might 
have been of considerable use to us as guides, 
have been given to the soldiers as presents, 
and allowed to go to Holland; the others have 
been sent off to the Bermudas as a present to 
the English governor." The second, which 
refers to the emancipation of Indian slaves, 
points to the conclusion that however desira- 
ble Indian slavery appeared to the people of 
New York, it was not acceptable to the au- 
thorities. In April, 1680, the Governor and 
Council resolved " that all Indyans here, have 
always been and are free, and not slaves ex- 
cept such as have been formerly brought from 
the Bay or Foreign Parts. If any shall be 
brought hereafter into the government within 
the space of six months, they are to be dis- 
posed of as soon as may be out of the gov- 
ernment. After the expiration of the said six 
months, all that shall be brought here from 

Slavers in IRew 




those parts and landed, to be as other free In- 
dians." This resolve, if put in force at all, 
appears ere long to have become a dead let- 
ter. In July, 1703, Jacobus Kirstead, of New 
York, mariner, petitioned the Governor in re- 
gard to an Indian brought by him from Jamaica 
and sold as a slave. In the same month, 
twelve years later, Colonel Heathcote wrote 
home to Secretary Townsend: "The Indians 
complain that their children, who were many 
of them bound out for a limited time to be 
taught and instructed by the Christians, were, 
contrary to the intent of their agreement, 
transferred to other plantations and sold for 
slaves, and I don't know but there may be 
some truth in what they allege." As late as 
January 22, 1750, Colonel Johnson wrote to 
Governor Clinton : "I am very glad that your 
excellency has given orders to have the Indian 
children returned, who are kept by the traders 
as pawns or pledges as they call it, but rather 
stolen from them (as the parents came at the 
appointed time to redeem them, but they sent 
them away before-hand), and as they were 
children of our Friends and Allies, and if 
they are not returned next spring it will con- 
firm what the French told the Six Nations 
(viz.): that we looked upon them as our 
slaves or negroes, which affair gave me a 
great deal of trouble at that time to reconcile. 
I cannot find that Mr. Abeel, who has a Seneca 

Slavery in IRew H?orfe 

child, or Vandrieson, who has got a Missisa- 
gey, are to deliver theirs, which I am appre- 
hensive will cause great disturbance." 21 

From the meagre data which these extracts 
afford, the writer concludes first, that, com- 
pared to the body of negro and mulatto slaves, 
Indian slaves were few in number ; and sec- 
ond, that the majority of them were either 
captives or the descendants of captives taken 
in war, or else West Indians who were con- 
founded with mulattos, and imported as such. 
That a considerable body of kidnapped red 
Indians existed as slaves in New York at any 
period he cannot believe. 

Price of Slaves./. Price of Slaves Newly 
Imported. In 1659, negroes purchased at 
Curac,oa for $60 could not be sold at New 
Amsterdam for the same price. In 1661, a 
few sold there for $176 each, less the freight. 
Three years later negroes brought $200 at a 
certain sale, the highest price being $270.60, 
and the lowest $134.20. On the same occa- 
sion negresses brought about $129 each, al- 
though in 1694, "good negresses" sold for 
$240, and in 1723, anywhere from $225 to 
$300. Negroes had risen in value, meantime, 
to $250, and there remained, as long as the 
importation of slaves continued. 

//. Price of Slaves -whose Character and 
Abilities were Known to their Masters. 

In 1705, a Bermuda merchant sold, in New 

price of 


Slavers In IRew l^orfe 

price of 

York City, a young negro woman, about 
eighteen, for $200, who had lived in his 
family some time. A negro wench, nineteen 
years old, "whom he brought up from in- 
fancy," was sold by Dr. Duprey, of New York 
City, in 1723, for $275. In the same year a 
negro wench and child, belonging to a former 
sheriff of Amboy, brought $375. In the in- 
ventory of an estate, in 1719, another negro 
wench and child stood for only $300. Able- 
bodied men were then selling for about 

During and just after the Revolution, the 
price of slaves appears to have varied ex- 
ceedingly. The assessors in Ulster County 
in 1775, valued male slaves between fifteen 
and forty at $150, those between forty and 
fifty, ten and fifteen, and seven and ten, at 
$75, $90, and $50 respectively. Female slaves 
between the same ages brought $100, $50, 
$60, and $40. In 1783, the Council of Seques- 
tration sold a negro boy for $56.25. Ten 
years later another (in Albany County) was 
bought for $100. Still a third was sold (in 
Richmond County) in 1798 ; $410 was his 
price, though by agreement he was to be 
manumitted in nine years. In the Oswego 
Herald, 1799, appears this advertisement : 
" A Young Wench For Sale. She is a good 
cook and ready at all kinds of house-work. 
None can exceed her if she is kept from liquor. 

Slavery in flew Jl>orfe 

She is 24 years of age no husband nor chil- 
dren. Price $200 ; inquire of the printer." " 

From the beginning of this century the 
price of slaves appears to have decreased. In 
1 80 1, Wm. Potter and Mary his wife pur- 
chased their freedom for $400. A negro nine- 
teen years old brought in Rockland County, 
March, 1809, $250, and finally a negro woman, 
aged thirty-seven, with all the rights her 
present mistress had to the service of her 
children, was sold for $100. 

From these facts we may draw the follow- 
ing conclusions : first, that while agricultural 
laborers were scarce, male slaves were more 
valuable than female, but when domestic ser- 
vants, rather than farm hands, were in de- 
mand, the previous condition of things was 
reversed ; second, that in the years preceding 
the Revolution, slaves brought their highest 
price ; and third, that from 1 790, when it be- 
came apparent that the legislature contem- 
plated measures to bring about emancipation, 
the price of slaves gradually declined. A 
fourth and last conclusion is that, during the 
colonial period, the average price of both 
male and female slaves varied from $150 to 


Until 1790 the censuses of New York were 
inaccurate, and it is well-nigh impossible to 

Cbaiuje in 
price of 


Slavers in 1Rew l^orfc 


compute the number of slaves in the State be- 
fore that date. The following figures are the 
best available * : 






" Very few." 


2,000 " able to 
beare arms." 

" Very few." 


Kings Co., 



Five Counties 
about N. Y. City, 

Five Counties 
about N. Y. City, 


Five Counties 
about N. Y. City, 

Five Counties 
about N. Y. City, 










Albany Co., 




























* Colonial Documents, F. B. Dexter's pamphlet, Censuses 
of the U. S. (since 1790). 

Slavery in flew li>orfe 


























30 Slavery in Bew 


1 . O'CALLAGHAN, Voyages of the Slavers " St. John " and 

"Arms of Amsterdam" p. 13. 

2. Ateo> Vbr& Colonial Documents, i., p. 246. 

3. /fttW., ii., pp. 222, 430. 

4. Ibid., ii., pp. 371, 474. 

5. Collections of New York Historical Society, 1809, pp. 

322, 323. 

6. Z,#ws o/ Afcw yor, 1752, p. 69. 

7. DUNLAP, History of the New Netherland, ii., p. 165. 

8. RIKER, Harlem, p. 438. 

9. Ateo) Vorfc Colonial MSS., Ivi., p. 172. 

10. Ibid., lix., p. 21. 

11. New York Colonial Documents, v., p. 39. 

12. Laws of New York, 1752, p. 193. 

13. DUNLAP, ii., pp. 129, 132, 159; VALENTINE, Manual 

of the Common Council of New York, i., pp. 571, 

14. New York Colonial Documents, v., pp. 341, 346, 356, 

367, 37', 525 ; COFFIN, Slave Insurrections. 

15. New York Colonial Documents, vi., pp, 186, 196, 199, 

201-203 ; HORSMANDER, Journal of Proceedings ; 
HORSMANDER, The New York Conspiracy. 

1 6. New York Colonial Documents, iv., p. 36. 

17. Ibid., iv., p. 510. 

18. Laws of New York, 1752, p. 69. 

19. Ibid., 1813, ii., pp. 201-202. 

20. VALENTINE, i., pp. 566, 571. 

21. New York Colonial Documents, v., p. 433 ; vi., p. 


22. LIVERMORE, Cooperstown, p. 171. 


Half Moon Series 

Published in the Interest of the New York 
City History Club. 



TAMMANY, for nearly a century, has con- 
stituted the political agency by which 
the major mass of the voters of New York City 
has made effective its preferences in regard to 
the rule of the city for good or for ill to the worst 
harvest yet reaped in the wide field of universal 
suffrage. This ruling organization of adult male 
voters has sometimes been for years together 
only a plurality of the voters of the city profiting 
by the divisions of its opponents, and it has 
sometimes itself divided by fission, a part pre- 
ferring to use one of the many agencies organ- 
ized in imitation of Tammany ; but for seventy 
years there has never been a time at any elec- 
tion when it was not perfectly clear to every 
unprejudiced observer that a clear plurality of 
the voters resident on Manhattan Island, pre- 
ferred, other things being equal, to re-elect 
rulers whose primary selection had been de- 
termined by this political agency. 


Voters on 






It has been associated with the most gigan- 
tic spoliation of a civilized city known under 
manhood suffrage, though the aggregate of its 
levies has been small by the side of the gigan- 
tic fine inflicted on Paris and France by the 
military despotism, which ruled both with the 
applause and approval of liberal England and 
despotic Europe, from the coup d'etat to 
Sedan. Until the close of the last century, it 
was expected in Europe, as it is still expected 
in all Oriental countries, that those who gov- 
erned a nation or conducted the higher and 
more important duties of its religion would 
enrich themselves in the process. The princely 
palaces of Rome record the splendid, sump- 
tuous and successful application of this princi- 
ple to the fruits of the faith of Christendom. 
So the "great families" of Europe, their 
homes, their fortunes, and their rent-rolls, 
save when the reward of military sack or ser- 
vice, nearly always represent the lucrative use 
for private emolument of the control of pub- 
lic revenue on a larger or smaller scale, through 
the exercise or inheritance of feudal agencies 
of rule, or a share in the more modern agen- 
cies of administration. The faith and the 
patriotism of men, their fears for the next 
world and their civil necessities in this, have 
in all ages up to our own been regarded as the 
legitimate sources of private fortune, by those 
who allayed the one or supplied the other. 

ZTammanp Dall 


It is only under democratic conditions that 
men are expected to gain power without los- 
ing their poverty, and even the rapid acquire- 
ment of wealth by legitimate means during 
public service, is deemed a cause for scandal 
and suspicion. To the usual rule of popular 
institutions that public servants should leave 
the public service without money and without 
debts, their stipends permitting not even the 
honorable acquirement of a competence after 
years in positions of power and responsibility, 
Tammany Hall has been not the only excep- 
tion, but the one most conspicuous, significant, 
and scandalous. Yet the prodigious and co- 
lossal thefts of certain of its leaders have never 
permanently destroyed the confidence of a 
plurality of the voters of New York City in 
its value as a political agency, which, by and 
large, gave them the kind of city government 
which they preferred. They have returned to 
its banners, its ballots, and its candidates 
whenever an exposure too scandalous to be 
endured drove them from it, and they never 
more unhesitatingly adhered to their faith in 
it under untoward circumstances than in the 
election, which in November, 1897, surren- 
dered to Tammany the entire government of 
Greater New York, in whose history and 
management that of Tammany will, in future, 
be merged. 

Tammany, during its periods of success, is 





the strongest and most convincing argument 
which exists to-day against the extension of 
the principle of manhood suffrage to the ad- 
ministration of urban affairs. The principle 
itself is only a form of government, or to speak 
more accurately, a form of the consent, on 
which all rule rests. The most arbitrary des- 
potism, in its ultimate analysis, springs from 
general consent, and the "freest" institutions 
have no other basis. The issue between the 
two is, whether this consent shall be exercised 
by submission, or through the periodical 
choice of rulers by all the voters of a commu- 
nity. If the admitted evils of Tammany for a 
century are the normal fruits of the direct rule 
of a great city by its voters, free institutions 
are doomed. The ultimate verdict of civiliza- 
tion and of honesty will be against the form 
of government on which, for over two centu- 
ries, as has been confidently believed, rested the 
hopes of man and the progress of the race. 
If, however, these evils are not physiological 
but pathological, if they are not the normal re- 
sults of conditions either natural or inevitable, 
but pathological instead, the normal results of 
abnormal conditions, then the final fruit and 
result of this great object lesson on the politi- 
cal consciousness and convictions of mankind 
depends upon whether these abnormal con- 
ditions are reparable or irreparable ; due to 
circumstance or to human nature, the out- 

ftammang Iball 37 

come of a special environment, or of the gen- 
eral working of the democratic principle. 

So momentous are the consequences in- battan 
volved in a solution of the cause and work- 
ing of Tammany Hall that neither its assail- 
ants nor its supporters, and much less those 
who discuss it from the general standpoint 
of past politics or present history, have been 
able with an even temper to contemplate its 
disastrous operations, for three generations a 
constant encouragement to those who hon- 
estly believe that privilege and the govern- 
ment of the few are necessary to the happiness 
and security of the many, and a discourage- 
ment as perpetual to those whose confidence 
in the righteousness and worth of the visible 
recurrent and articulate control of the many, is 
unshaken even by Tammany Hall. Yet the 
facts of the case, neither few nor complex, are 
both accessible and apparent, enacted on a 
scene more than any other in the world's 
history, the object of constant unsparing and 
contemporary record. 

The largest city of the Western World is 
situated on an island whose shape, size, and 
surroundings deprived it of an homogeneous 
civic population, while its own growth was a 
part, and the most conspicuous part, of that 
great stream of emigration which has trans- 
ferred 15,000,000 persons, or half the present 
population of the United Kingdom, during the 

Srv / i o .- > 
? u 3 8 



last seventy years, from one side of the Atlan- 
tic to the other. Our daily and practical mo- 
rality is, in large measure, the result of our 
consciousness of the social conscience of the 
community of which we are part. Every man 
who travels is aware, always by observation, 
and but too often by experience, of the sudden 
shattering of moral observance which befalls 
those of training, character, and years, when 
they suddenly find themselves strangers in a 
strange city, free from the observation of those 
who do or may know them. A not dissimilar 
moral deliquescence is the inevitable result of 
immigration. If it has furnished more than its 
proportionate and numerical share of crime, 
corruption, and imprisonment, the wonder 
must be that it has not done more. 

While in London but a small percentage of 
the population is of foreign birth, while the 
rapid growth of foreign cities, whose swift in- 
crease during the present century is often cited 
by the unfriendly critics of our municipal af- 
fairs as proof that our urban problems offer no 
peculiar difficulties, has, with negligible ex- 
ceptions, drawn its accretion from a sur- 
rounding population of the same race, language, 
and institutions; New York City has been 
a vast sand-dune, without integral relations, 
swept across the Atlantic and deposited in the 
most convenient coign of vantage on the coast 
of North America. Deprived of all the myriad 

TTammans Dall 39 

stay and support to sound political action -Mature 

Jf t bC Hill: 


which comes from coherent and uninterrupted of tbc fma 

mutual personal acquaintance and tradition, 
these unrelated units represented, for the most 
part, that precise stratum of society where 
generations of relentless toil had ingrained the 
impression that all social institutions worked 
together for the advantage of the few. It is, 
inevitably, those who most bitterly feel this 
disadvantage in the Old World, who seek the 
New. This great mass, in its diverse language 
and with very varied traditions, but alike in a 
past training of profound distrust for both the 
honesty and good faith of those who enjoy 
privileges of education, wealth, and refinement, 
of direction in business, of supremacy in affairs, 
or of influence through ability, was certain to 
find its natural and necessary leaders in the 
members of that class of the community which, 
by supplying his first wants, comes into direct 
personal, and more or less selfish or unselfish 
contact with the stranger laboring with his 
hands to seek new fortunes in a new home. 
The class to which he turned for direction 
could not be the employer, for he represented 
the restraint and the bourgeois opportunity from 
which the immigrant fled, and which he hated 
in his old home and new. It could not be in 
religion he would find leaders, for through all 
its early stage, the great mass of immigrants 
were of a faith deemed alien by the organized 



foe Organs 


churches of the community to which he came. 
The small grocer and the liquor-seller, the 
mechanic foreman or superintendent, and the 
contractor risen from the ranks of laborers, and 
for whom he was able to furnish the employ- 
ment the raw newcomer first seeks, consti- 
tuted the directing force of society brought 
most directly in contact with the immigrant 
and his offspring, new landed or long resident. 
Coming as strangers and unorganized, the 
immigrant population fell under the immediate 
direction of that stratum of society which 
lay nearest, and which had none of the ob- 
jectionable features of other strata whose rule 
was resented, and whose privileges elsewhere 
were remembered with bitterness. The pre- 
cise classes which have been described con- 
stituted, and still constitute, the backbone of 
Tammany Hall. 

It is a grave error to confound the natural, 
praiseworthy, and often sound desire of the 
men of this class of lesser retail dealers, liquor- 
sellers, and contractors, to be of political influ- 
ence, and to bear a share in the business of 
government, with the organized and continu- 
ous plunder of some of their higher leaders. 
To many in the rank and file of Tammany 
Hall, no pecuniary advantage, but the reverse, 
has come from their membership. They are 
in it because, being what they are, and the 
city what it is, it offers the readiest channel to 

ZTammang iball 

gratify the laudable wish to be of weight and 
moment in the community in which one 
lives. Flagrant and flagitious corruption of 
voters has existed, but corruption only lubri- 
cated the machine. It was not its prime 
motor. The wish and will of a well-organized 
plurality was this. Tammany has been the 
agent of this wish. The not infrequent result 
has been a corruption unexampled under dem- 
ocratic and liberal institutions, though easily 
matched among despotisms to whose types, 
methods, and institutions, Tammany of late 
constantly tends to revert. 

These influences would not have become 
paramount and predominant on Manhattan 
Island, if it had contained a city normally con- 
stituted as to its population, or normally housed 
as to its dwellings. For the first half-century, 
New York was such a city, and Tammany Hall, 
while powerful, was not despotic. But be- 
tween 1840 and 1870, a large portion of the 
middle class of New York was siphoned off by 
insular conditions of territory into Brooklyn, 
which has often had its boss, always its politi- 
cal independence, and never a Tammany Hall. 
No insignificant share of the same general 
class was diverted to the suburban settle- 
ments of New Jersey and Connecticut. This 
left New York City without that precise 
social enclave which might have saved it, and 
which in all cities and all times is the Salva- 


Uammang 1ball 

tion of the commonwealth, the class which 
Domestic filled the trainbands of London in the fight 
with Charles, and the Continental Army in 
the fight with George. The instant this class 
was restored by the charter of Greater New 
York to the constituents of the city, Tammany 
Hall was seen to be reduced in its relative 
vote, though on Manhattan Island it retained 
its usual plurality. 1 

This double circumstance, a population im- 
migrant in fact or by descent, which found its 
natural leaders in the lower retail ranks of 
economic distribution and social direction, 
and an urban community, in which a valuable 
and necessary constituent had been decanted 
off of the island by its shape and by the pres- 
sure of trade and population, was undoubtedly 
aggravated by the conditions of American soci- 
ety. Fugitive in all its relations, American 
life has reduced to its final contractual nexus 
the relations of domestic service. Where do- 
mestic service is personal and continuous, it 
and the relations which grow up under these 
conditions, furnish an important agency by 
which the political opinions of the well-to-do 
are filtered through all social strata. The 
American habit of discharging servants in the 
spring and re-engaging them in the fall, and a 
domestic habit and attitude which, from faults 
on both sides, renders this relation still more 
precarious, completely sundered and separated 

TTammang Dall 


the more fortunate social strata from the less 
fortunate, in which lie most of the votes of 

Since those in need were, for the most part, 
strangers in a strange land, without personal 
relations, a vicarious charity system devel- 
oped, under which most New Yorkers com- 
muted the personal service each man and 
woman owes to those about him in want, 
into a money payment. While this disbursed 
the vast sums which render New York City 
one of the most liberal in its charities the world 
over, it divorced and deprived these char- 
ities of the personal influence which is the 
just fruit of an honest personal charity which 
seeks, first, not to relieve the needs of another, 
but to discharge one's own personal debt and 
duty to society, and the relief of human want. 
In the end, also, these charities themselves, in 
more than one instance, became the scandal- 
ous beneficiaries of Tammany Hall, and were 
harnessed to the car of its organization, so that 
their work presented itself to a great mass of 
the poor and struggling as part of a system 
which, whether it plundered the rich or not, 
at least relieved the poverty-stricken. 

Lastly, there existed the pressure of American 
life, quite as much a matter of nervous imagi- 
nation as of actual exertion, and the more seri- 
ous social fact that a torrid summer drove from 
the city for a long absence the class which 


Hew JL'orfc 


Uammanp 1ball 

tfon of 


was most needed for daily personal influence, 
women of character, cultivation, and well-to- 
do surroundings. This summer absence de- 
prived them of the network of myriad contact 
which insensibly diffuses social ideas. The 
tenement-house system, due to the limited 
area of the city, aggravated and exasperated 
all these conditions by preventing among the 
great mass of its population those neighbor- 
hood relations, and that personal acquaintance 
which are only possible where each family has 
its separate home. New York for half a cen- 
tury has been berthed, not housed. 

Tammany Hall began in a secret organiza- 
tion, the Tammany Society or Columbian 
Order, whose membership was drawn from 
the precise stratum already described. Organ- 
ized a little over a century ago, the political 
drift of this Society, and the political organiza- 
tion which grew out of it, was for forty years 
towards universal suffrage ; for forty years its 
tumultuous gatherings directed a growing im- 
migrant population, and for nearly thirty, the 
heads of this body have led a well-organized 
body of all classes, partly foreign and partly 
native, for the exclusive object of ruling the 
city. The earliest of these periods ended with 
the first elected mayor in 1834. 

It saw the destruction of the more or less 
aristocratic society of the colonial period, and 
the opening of the Erie Canal, both incidents in 

Ztammang Dall 


the commercial expansion, which in England 
led to the Reform Bill, and in this country to 
universal white male suffrage. The next 
period ran to the end of the war, and saw 
New York established as the gate of the West, 
while here, 1865 to 1870, the centralization of 
Federal power, with the destruction of slavery, 
was accomplished, and household suffrage 
established in England. The third, covering 
the last thirty years, has been marked by the 
transformation in all fields of individual into 
corporate activity and the multiplication of a 
myriad complex and specialized agencies, 
through which a population of 73,000,000 
nominally carries on its varied business- 
social, economic, and political through insti- 
tutions originally devised for a population of 
3,000,000, and still bearing their old names. 

The Tammany Society, which on its cele- 
bration of theter-centennial of Columbus's dis- 
covery in 1792, became also the Columbian 
Order, was organized by William Mooney, 1 
an upholsterer by trade, and its first celebra- 
tion, May 12, 1789, on the banks of the Hud- 
son, is usually treated as the beginning of the 
society, though its original organization took 
place at the City Hall, and it was itself an imi- 
tation of an earlier Philadelphia society. In 
New York, as elsewhere, the close of the war 
saw return to power the colonial better class, 
recruited by those who had led the Revolution. 


4 6 


of Votes 


Tammany stood for popular resistance to this. 
New York City had a restricted suffrage based 
on a property qualification, and the ancient 
forty-shilling homeholder of the English bor- 
ough. The population of the city in 1790, 
was 33,131, and its voters numbered 5,184," 
of whom half, or 2,661, were of the forty-shil- 
ling class, not owning freeholds to the value of 
20. Even at this early date, a majority of 
voters were without a property stake, and less 
than one-fourth, or 1,209, ne ^ over ;ioo of 
realty. Of these voters less than one-half came 
to the polls, though it is a persistent political 
fiction that in earlier and better days all good 
citizens, when all citizens were good, both 
voted and attended the primary. 

In 1789, when George Clinton defeated 
Robert Yates, only 2,760* votes were cast, or 
less than half the vote lists. To-day a vote of 
90 per cent, of the registry is the normal pro- 
portion, and the registry is nearly this pro- 
portion of the vote. Where in 1790, 54 per 
cent, of the registered voters seek the polls, 
the proportion now is for the most part over 
90 per cent. In addition, on the usual basis, 
New York in 1790, would have had with its 
population a vote of about 6,600, so that about 
1,500 persons must have been disfranchised. 
An important work which Tammany has dis- 
charged, and one essential to the final success 
of our institutions, is of breeding the habit of 


voting. Abroad, in France, for instance, not 
over half the voters vote. However, it has failed 
at other points, Tammany has always been 
faithful to the work of extending the basis of 
suffrage, so far as white males were concerned, 
and in drilling them to the habit of voting. 
There is to-day no voting body of equal size, 
or approaching its size, which so fully exer- 
cises its political right to vote as that on Man- 
hattan Island. The work of ensuring that this 
vote shall be cast to the best interests of the 
city remains to be done. 

In 1789, government was still in the hands 
of the few. The inauguration of Washington 
was a turning-point in more than Federal af- 
fairs, and the Tammany Society represented 
more than one of its events. As the Indian 
was driven back from the coast, and his 
character and habits became legendary, there 
sprang up an innocent admiration for quali- 
ties which Cooper was soon to make a part 
of fiction, and which were never a part of 
fact. The Middle States, in particular, had been 
brought into close contact with Indians of a 
tribe and type less savage and more peaceful 
than any along the coast. Among the Lenni 
Lenape Indians, Tamanend, whose grave is 
still cherished,* and whose memory was long 
revered, was a chief who signed one of Penn's 
treaties, purchasing part of Philadelphia. He 
became, during the Revolution, the pseudo pa- 



4 8 

Uammang Ifoall 

Utibee ant> 


tron saint of the younger officers and men of. 
the line. His day, May I2th, replaced that of 
St. George. There was also in this aboriginal 
worship and admiration, relic and reflection of 
Rousseau's apotheosis of primitive man and 
the dawn of a protest against English suprem- 
acy, always strongest in an American com- 
munity in the stratum from which Tammany's 
membership was drawn. In organizing the 
new society in New York, but one of many, 
the ritual and organization of an Iroquois lodge 
was imitated, and the "long room" at Mart- 
ling's had its name, not from its length, but 
because this was the term, still familiar, applied 
by the Indian to his tribal assembly-room. 
The Tammany Society was, therefore, divided 
into thirteen tribes,' each with its totem, and 
while the Society itself remained active in its 
membership and meetings, each initiate was 
assigned to one of these tribes. Time and 
tendencies are, however, stronger in deter- 
mining totems than paper constitutions and 
rituals. The symbol upon which Tammany 
and the public have finally settled, with the 
agreeable unanimity of the captor and his 
prey, has been the Tammany Tiger, first em- 
blazoned on the engine of "Big Six," 7 and 
conspicuous under Tweed in the heavy gold 
badge of the Americus Club. The year 8 in the 
ritual of the Society was divided into the four 
seasons, and their elaborate and artificial return 



to the savage still appears after a century in 
the advertised notices of the meetings of the 
Society, jostling more modern forms and 
phrases. These mild fooleries were all only 
part of a like spirit perpetually out-cropping 
in our cities in "Sir Knights," in regalia, and 
in rituals of whose complexion, extent, and 
important influence on the character of indi- 
viduals many of those who deem themselves 
familiar with American society are profoundly 

Tammany's original political action was 
along lines suggested by the "Committee of 
Correspondence," whose revolutionary plots, 
success has turned into patriotic projects. 
It formed the usual medium of inter-state 
political action in the first forty years after 
the close of the Revolution, and slowly de- 
veloped into its present system of party 
government. Similar Tammany societies had 
been organized in other States. That in 
Philadelphia, parent of all the rest, was first 
organized May i, 1772,* when the sons of 
King Tammany met at the house of James 
Byrns to celebrate the memory of a chieftain 
already associated with American opposi- 
tion to the European spirit. Reorganized in 
imitation of the New York exemplar, the 
Tammany Society, or Columbian Order of 
Philadelphia, at the Columbia Wigwam, on 
the Schuylkill, showed its opposition May 12, 



ftammang 1baU 

1798, to Federalism and its sympathy with 
^ Q French. It paraded in costume in honor 
of Jefferson's election, its Wiskinski to the 
front, carrying a key ; it celebrated, in 1802, 
the acquisition of Louisiana, always supported 
the ruling demagogues of a day of demagogues, 
and its celebrations were still in progress 
in 1814. In Rhode Island 10 it was not until 
1819 that a Tammany Society was organized 
and continued for five years with various 
branches and much success to lead the Demo- 
cratic party to short-lived victory. These 
societies, wherever organized, displayed 
everywhere the same revolt of the class 
newly arrived to the suffrage, or desiring it, 
and made in all places the same appeal in 
parade, buck-tail, and ritual. 

The original Tammany Society was at first 
welcomed as an aid to the effort Washington 
was making at the opening of his Adminis- 
tration to conciliate all classes at home, and 
receive peace on our Indian frontier. A year 
after its first organization, when Col. Mari- 
nus Willett brought to New York a deputa- 
tion of Creek Indians, they were the guests 
of Tammany Society during their visit. The 
occasion was serious. Our Western march 
was barred at the north by the British forts 
and at the south by the Creeks and Chero- 
kees, the most powerful confederacy on our 
frontier. Their reception and entertainment 

Uammang ffoall 

5 1 

at the new Federal capital by the Tammany 
Society, in full costume and regalia, was a 
public service whose importance it is not 
easy now to appreciate. 

Before three years had passed, the Tam- 
many Society was in full, though unavowed, 
opposition to Washington's Administration, 
its first conspicuous sign of changing views 
being its elaborate celebration" of the landing 
of Columbus, October 12, 1792, whose odes, 
inscriptions, and ceremonies were devoted to 
the pledge that : 

Secure for ever and entire 

The Rights of Man shall here remain. 

language which in that day and date was 
the dialect of the supporter of France and 
the opponent of the policy of Washington. 
Two months later the Society met, Decem- 
ber 27, 1792, to celebrate the victory of 
Dumouriez" a meeting whose last midnight 
and perhaps maudlin toast expressed the fer- 
vent hope that the American fair would ever 
keep their favors for the Republican brave. 
Nor from that day to this has the elaborate 
political machinery of Tammany Hall failed 
to appreciate the necessity of keeping in close 
union the social pleasures and the political 
action of great masses of voters. The winter 
ball and the summer excursion, whose heavy 
expense is no small part of the annual budget 


5 2 

Trammang iball 

ments in 

of a district leader to-day, echo the determi- 
nation of the toast in Brom Martling's Hall a 
century ago. 

The Revolution had been precipitated, as 
fa'r as physical force was concerned, by " Lib- 
erty Boys," led by a few men who repre- 
sented the secondary colonial aristocracy of 
wealth, for which Adams stood in Massa- 
chusetts, Clinton in New York, and Morris in 
Pennsylvania. Ten years after the struggle 
found the officer better rewarded than the 
private both by Legislatures and the public. 
Mooney had been a violent "Liberty Boy." 
He and his found little to admire in the wait- 
ing policy of Washington. The turmoil of 
Europe added immigration to domestic fer- 
ment, and the Revolution of '98 sent to New 
York the ablest Irish immigrants of the cen- 
tury, the last immigration of birth, abroad. 
With it closed colonial conditions of political 
emigration. Thenceforward European emi- 
gration was economic. New York's trade 
was gaining what Philadelphia lost by yellow 
fever. The Tammany Society became the 
nucleus about which centred the unsatisfied 
turbulence of the Revolution, the rapidly in- 
creasing ranks of labor deprived of a vote, and 
the new wave of immigration stung to bitter 
revolt against Federalism by the Alien and 
Sedition laws of 1798. The immediate local 
leader was Daniel D. Tompkins, a young 

TTammang 1ball 53 

graduate of Columbia, who began his political en 


career by marrying the daughter of the Alder- w(tbout 

man of his ward, and, having married her, 
demonstrated his right to become a district 
leader by carrying his ward, the Seventh, and 
reversing, in 1800, the Federal majority of 
200 in the year before. He ended his typical 
Tammany career under charges of pecuniary 
dishonesty. His integrity was in the end vin- 
dicated, but only at the expense of his admin- 
istrative ability. 13 

For ten years, after George Clinton, in 
1 789, by a narrow majority of 429, defeated 
Robert Yates, the candidate of a conserva- 
tive reaction, the rapid development of poli- 
tics went on. The population doubled. The 
voters increased but two thirds; in 1801, 
8,088. The men without a vote trebled. Dan- 
gers environ a democratic community when 
population outstrips voters. The halves of 
the city pulled apart. Realty owners over 
$500 in value doubled. Men owning $100 to 
$500 nearly disappeared. The landless 40- 
shilling householder more than doubled. The 
landless voteless men trebled. Tammany 
steadily gravitated from social to political ac- 
tion. It denounced Jay's treaty, and the dis- 
tinguished author of the Louisiana code began 
his public career by flinging the missile which 
cut open the face of Hamilton. It went in a 
body to help fortify Governor's Island when 




war with England looked near. It welcomed 
Priestley, but his New York friends did not, 
as in Philadelphia, attend his sermons. Its 
reception to the discoverer of oxygen was the 
last sign of the scientific interest which, in 
1790, led to an American Historical Museum, 
first opened in the City Hall, and removed 
later by Gardiner Baker, its founder and cura- 
tor, to the open triangular space where Broad 
and Pearl join. Three weeks after its recep- 
tion to the fugitive from the mob of Birming- 
ham, the society surrendered to the curator 
its museum on condition that it should bear 
its name, and that its members should enjoy 
a family free ticket, an early application of the 
principle of free passes which has distin- 
guished the Society for a century. 

Meeting, as most of the societies of the day 
did, in a tavern, Tammany began at Borden's in 
lower Broadway, and its annual procession on 
May I2th, "St. Tammany," and July 4th, for 
the "long talks " and " short talks " of its cele- 
bration, marched up Broadway with feathers 
and leggins to the old Presbyterian Church on 
Wall Street or to the Brick Church which 
faced City Hall Square, on the triangle at 
whose apex is the New York Times building. 
In 1798, it moved to Martling's, on the south- 
east corner of Nassau and Spruce Streets. 

This long, low building, opening on Nassau, 
was kept by " Brom" Martling (Abraham B. 


Martling), and for twenty years, even after a 
new hall was built, the members of the Soci- 
ety, and the political party which clustered 
about it, were known as "Martling men." 
The use of Tammany as a political term did 
not begin in 1818, but until that date was in- 
frequent. It became common, not because 
the Tammany Society itself grew more imme- 
diate in its political action, but because it had 
built the first of its permanent homes. Incor- 
porated in 1805, during the next ten years 
Tammany Hall men held the most lucrative 
posts in a Federal administration far more ex- 
travagant in the emoluments of its offices 
than in the present day, when salaries have 
replaced fees. The city itself was passing 
through a period of rapid commercial expan- 
sion, whose first check was the embargo, 
which Tammany supported, with the result, 
as a fruit of the policy of which the embargo 
was a part, that the relative growth of the 
city was less than one half as rapid in the sec- 
ond decade of the century as in the first. In 
1811, at the end of the first decade, Colonel 
Rutgers was able to raise $28,000, a large 
sum, but no more than a single Tammany 
Federal officer had drawn in a year as fees, and 
"Martling's Long Room" was replaced, not 
far from its site, by the first Tammany Hall, at 
the corner of Frankfort Street and Park Row. 
The walls of the building then erected still 

TIbc ffirst 




stand, the office of the New York Sun. It held 
originally a hall and hotel, where board was 
$7 a week, the second leading hotel of the 
city. It had behind it the shipyards and tan- 
neries on the East River. It had before it the 
City Hall. The better residence quarter was 
passing up the island, along another channel 
in whose currents Tammany Hall has never 
found the stream to grind its mill. 

" Martling's Long Room " had been the re- 
sort of " Sons of Liberty " and of the " Sons of 
1776." The close connection was one of the 
causes which made it natural for Tammany 
Society to give funeral honors to the bones 
of the Revolutionary prisoners of war, of 
whom 1 1, 500 had sickened and died in Brit- 
ish prison-hulks, treated with no more and no 
less inhumanity than was the brutal custom 
of the day. Congress had neglected, in 1803, 
the memorial of the Society. In 1807, Tam- 
many appointed a committee, and a year 
later, May 26, 1808, Tammany Society in its 
regalia, the buck-tail conspicuous, led a civic 
procession which buried the bleached bones, 
and returned to the weather-beaten, unpainted 
structure which had survived the Revolution. 
Its bar-room was on Spruce, its kitchen on 
Nassau. Its "long room" ran parallel with 
the latter. Built when a mere road ran before 
it up the island, the street had risen in grade. 
The floor of the hall was reached by two 

Zlammans tmll 


or three descending steps. Uncouth, dirty, 
stained, the merest shanty, it was known by 
Federalist opponents as "the pig-pen." It 
deserved the name. Its selection, and Bor- 
den's, the churches in which the Society held 
its larger and more decorous meetings, Camp- 
bell's in Greenwich village, where its May and 
summer outings were held, all bespoke the 
small merchant, retailer, and mechanic, out of 
whose ranks the Tammany machine was to 
grow and to control the vast foreign vote of 
the future. 

The Federal party lost its power and its 
head together, and drove the immigrant into 
Democratic support by passing the Alien and 
Sedition laws. In spite of this it won the 
Congressional election of 1798, and the scan- 
dal attending Burr's Manhattan Bank charter 
gave the Federalists the city by 900 majority 
in 1799. Sinking step by step, from Wash- 
ington to Clinton, and from Clinton to Tam- 
many, he came to New York, organized the 
landless vote, which could not elect a Gov- 
ernor but could determine the choice of Fed- 
eral electors, and the spring election of 1800 
saw the first New York contest in which 
voters were enrolled, canvassed, and voted 
with ordered precision. " Faggot "-voters 
were created by uniting a number of men in 
the ownership of the same property, poor men 
were deeded free-holds, the Society kept open 

cbc fuel 

ZTammans 1ball 

of political 

house in its hall, voters were carried to the 
poll, the last man was voted, and the first 
victory of Tammany Hall was won. 

Jefferson was elected President and Tam- 
many was placed in the relative position 
which it has ever since occupied. In New 
York City it had opposed to it, the well-to-do, 
the better-educated, and the mass of property- 
holders. In the State, the State Administra- 
tion and the vote of the State was in general 
marshalled in the opposing party. The in- 
stant its leader, Aaron Burr, appeared in 
Washington, where he had been nominated 
for Vice-President, and began to act for him- 
self in national affairs, Tammany broke with 
him and united with his enemies, as Tam- 
many has dealt ever since with every political 
leader in New York State of its own party 
who with or without its votes, rose to a na- 
tional position and began a national career. 
Lastly, without backing in the Northern States, 
except in the Tammany societies of the larger 
cities, the new organization found its natural 
allies in the Southern slave States, and re- 
ceived first from Jefferson and later from Madi- 
son and Monroe the aid of Federal patronage, 
which, as Governor DeWitt Clinton charged 
twenty years later, was "an organized and 
disciplined corps in our elections. " 1J 

The political history of Tammany Hall be- 
gan with this victory. The Society and its 

Uammanp 1ball 


committee of correspondence gave a nucleus 
for political action, secrecy, and contact with 
other States. The "general meeting" gath- 
ered voters for assemblies which ratified 
nominations and passed resolutions already 
decided in the Society. Federal offices gave 
patronage and the Albany Legislature a long 
series of corrupt transactions in which nearly 
all public men shared. When Burr, in 1804, 
was nominated for Governor, Tammany Hall, 
following Jefferson's wishes and its own 
inclination, supported Morgan Lewis. He 
was nominated at a Legislative caucus, whose 
chairman, Ebenezer Purdy, was later expelled 
from the Senate for corrupt practices; and 
whose clerk, Solomon Southwick, was later 
charged with bribery in procuring the charter 
of the Bank of America. 15 DeWitt Clinton, 
the municipal rival of Burr, resigned his seat in 
the United States Senate to become Mayor, a 
post with four times the salary of the Federal 
position and proportionately greater power, 
the first instance, frequent through the century, 
of a Tammany man preferring the better-filled 
manger of its service to the higher but emptier 
stall of a national career. As with all its 
Mayors, Tammany early gave him the alterna- 
tives of submission, retirement, or the organ- 
ization of his own political machine. Men 
like Clinton, Wood, and Grace have done the 
last. Men like Hone and Hewitt, the second. 





Uammang tmll 

Elections Other more recent Tammany Mayors have se- 
lected the first. 

The precise difference in Clinton's case had 
as its occasion, not its cause, his sentence of 
Gulian C. Verplanck for his share in the riot 
which marked public disapproval of the Fed- 
eralist sympathies of the Columbia College 
authorities. Separating himself from the sys- 
tem which placed in a caucus of Congressmen 
at Washington the nomination of President, De 
Witt Clinton began the modern national con- 
vention, and organized the alliance between 
the interior of New York and the Federal Whig 
and Republican vote of the city which oppo- 
sition to Tammany has marshalled through 
the century on all State and National issues. 
Tammany had developed from its own ranks, 
Tompkins, its leader in this struggle ; he had 
the support of Ambrose Spencer and other 
Federal office-holders under him. Tammany 
Hall vigorously supported the war of 1812, a 
most important public service. It aided in op- 
posing Federal aid to the Canals, which were, 
under De Witt Clinton, at length built after 
political victories, due to his city machine, 
which organized a lower level than Tammany, 
as Wood and Morrissey did later, and the in- 
terior rural vote, first Tompkins's and later his. 
Through all, Tammany steadily held its grip on 
the city. In 1818, its entire ticket for Congress 
and its corporation officers were chosen by 

ZEammans 1ball 


1,200 majority. 18 In 1819, its average majority 
on Assemblymen was 2,301 and on Senators, 
elected by a limited suffrage, 850." One year 
later, the "Tammanies," thanks to various 
coalitions in the State, had 41 Assemblymen, 
the Federals 39, and the Clintonian Republicans 
46. These dissensions in Democracy, Niles 
lamented, as Democratic editors did like divi- 
sions due to like causes seventy and eighty 
years later. 18 From year to year, through this 
period, the Tammany Society and the General 
Meeting issued addresses to the branches of the 
one, and the Democratic-Republican fellow- 
citizens of the other, deploring in 1817 the 
spread of the " foreign " game of billiards 
among the upper, and vice among the lower ; 
and in i8i9 19 its address led Adams, who with 
Jefferson and Madison responded to its utter- 
ances, to wish it success " in discountenancing 
all pernicious customs and usages, and devia- 
tion from a wise and virtuous national econ- 
omy." Through all its first period, Tammany 
spoke with the accent of a middle-class preci- 
sian. In the next period, it sank to the street- 
rough. In the close of the third, grew up the 
intimate connection of some, not all, of its 
leaders, with the semi-criminal classes. But 
this affected only a part. The great mass of 
the active membership of Tammany Hall as a 
political organization has always consisted of 
the civic stratum made up of daily labor with 

alone and 




its immediate direction in the stratum just 

A Tammany "general meeting" began the 
movement which ended in the constitution of 
1 82 1 and white male suffrage. This somewhat 
increased the number of voters, but not much. 
Under a restricted suffrage, the ingenuity of 
politicians manufactured a registry of 19,925 
voters in New York City in 1821, where the 
census in 1826 could count only 18,283 adult 
male citizens. The real change was an in- 
crease in the habit of voting. In 1826, only 
31.12 per cent, of the voters voted ; in 1828, 
75.69 ; and by 1840, 91 .96 percent. themodern 
average. Nor had naturalization added much 
to the vote. Even in 1840, the New York 
Assembly had in it but one person of foreign 
birth 30 and 7 5 were native to the State. In 1855, 
New York City still had 46,173 native and 
42,704 naturalized voters ; in 1855, 51,500 
native and 77,475 naturalized ; in 1875, 90,- 
973 native and 141,179 naturalized. This 
eloquent proportion remains the rule. Yet the 
earlier American municipality was a filthy, 
pestilential city, enduring countless nuisances, 
with a general death-rate comparable to the 
tenement-house districts of seventy years later. 

Tammany shared with the rest our transi- 
tion period, 1820-1830, Buck-tails casting in 
their lot with Van Buren's Jackson men, and 
Clintonians developing into anti-Masons 


spurred by the wide influence of secret soci- 
eties like Tammany and Whigs. For a few 
years, an election of mayor by the aldermen 
put Tammany at a disadvantage, as the Whigs 
held the less populous wards, and the succes- 
sive ballotings were full of shameless scandal. 
When a constitutional amendment, 1833, 
made the mayoralty elective, Cornelius A. 
Lawrence was nominated, 1 834, after old forms. 
Posters announced the "general meeting." A 
flag was hoisted over Tammany Hall. The 
hall was open to all comers. He polled 1 7, 575 
votes, and his Whig opponent, Gulian C. Ver- 
planck, 17,373. Since then the tides of votes 
have ebbed and flowed with a periodical 
regularity." 1 Tammany held five successive 
terms and the opposition two; the organiza- 
tion elected five mayors and the opposition 
one ; Tammany two and the opposition one ; 
Tammany one and the opposition two ; Tam- 
many three and the opposition four ; Tam- 
many four and the opposition one; Tammany 
two and the opposition one ; two candidates 
endorsed by Tammany and the opposition 
one ; a compromise candidate and Tammany 
three ; the opposition one, and Tammany the 
last. This steady alternation has given Tam- 
many about two thirds of the mayors, and 
its periods of defeat and victory have only been 
broken (during the war) by Fernando Wood 
and the Mozart Hall Democracy. 



Of UotCS 



Tammany Hall, in full communion with 
Jackson, was already in fatal alliance with 
Southerners, who figured as prominently as 
its speech-makers then as now." In 1831, 
the Hall made the serious blunder of trying to 
support Jackson and to sympathize with South 
Carolina in the same resolutions. New York 
was roused, and a great meeting of merchants 
passed an uncompromising resolution. The 
blunder severed a reputable vote never re- 
gained. The Equal Rights, or, as we should 
say, labor party, in 1829 cut off another body 
of voters. Growing, the new labor party in 
October, 1835, started from its Bowery head- 
quarters " and stormed the ' ' general meeting " 
in a riot which gave birth to the " loco-foco " 
party, which owes its name to the matches 
used when the Tammany janitor turned off 
the gas. In 1837, after two Tammany vic- 
tories, the split cost the mayoralty, Aaron 
Clark, Whig, 17,044; John D. Morgan, Demo- 
crat, 13,763 ; and Moses Jaques, bolter, 4,- 
239. Again, in 1838, Tammany was defeated, 
borne down by the scandal of wholesale de- 
falcations, Samuel Swartwout, Collector, for 
$1,200,000, and William M. Price, District 
Attorney, for $75,000. Both fled, and neither 
was pursued. The public conscience was in- 
conceivably low. " Defalcations are no crime," 
said a leading New York paper 54 in a cynical 
vein. For five years, for the pendulum swung 


back in 1839, Isaac L. Varian winning by a 
narrow majority, Tammany Hall elected its 
mayor by a constantly increasing plurality and 
an enlarging poll, which, in 1844, prompted 
charges of fraud from Whigs who found, as 
often since, that Tammany won as well with- 
out Federal and State patronage as with. 
Twice, 1844 and 1845, the American party 
elected its candidate, James Harper, but dis- 
appeared as rapidly as it had arisen, and, in 
1846, Tammany elected W. F. Havemeyer by 
the crushing majority of 6,822. 

The victory was decisive. The city was 
passing out of its provincial stage. A police 
force was about to be organized. The water 
works were completed. The internal trade 
and foreign commerce of the city were about 
to enter on the amazing expansion which cul- 
minated in 1857. The adoption of a new con- 
stitution and its re-apportionment gave the 
Democrats an advantage retained for thirty 
years. Immigration was transforming the 
city. When the Mayor first became elective, 
American workmen and Whig majorities held 
the first to the fifth wards in the lower end of 
the Island and went up the ridge with the 
eighth and fifteenth wards. The new foreign 
element had settled in the low ground of the 
sixth, and the seventh and ninth to fourteenth 
were Tammany. Fifteen years later, the lower 
end of the Island was Irish and Democratic, 





and the American Whig mechanic was elbowed 
north and west, coloring the seventh, ninth, 
and thirteenth wards, long Whig and later Re- 

If Tammany lost two or three elections, 
1847, 1849, in part because its vigorous sup- 
port of the Mexican War was unpopular, its 
supremacy was growing, and in 1850, Fernan- 
do Wood, the first man who attempted to be 
boss in Tammany Hall after fifty years of joint 
leadership, organized the brute vote which ra- 
diated from the ' ' bloody Sixth. " Beaten for the 
first two-year term by Ambrose C. Kingsland, 
Whig, who polled the Free Soil Democratic 
vote, predecessors of the "State Democ- 
racy," two years later, 1852-1856, Wood was 
laid aside for Jacob A. Westervelt, who was 
pulled through by the Presidency and Seymour, 
in 1852, with 10,000 majority. In 1853, the 
Democratic party split into "Softs" and 
"Hards." Slavery is the cause usually assigned. 1 
The real one was that the "Hards, "the repu- 
table office-holders, were vainly trying to hold 
power against the rising tide of rowdy " plug- 
ugly " and bruiser led by Wood and organized 
in "clubs," "gangs," and fire engine compa- 
nies, and all the manifold machinery by which 
an ignorant foreign vote and a depraved native 
vote as ignorant, was manned, managed, ma- 
nipulated, and made ready to share and dare 
the plunder of the city ten years later under 

TCammans iball 


Tweed. Winning the regular Tammany 
nomination in 1854, Wood was elected over a 


divided vote, polling but 20,033 ou t f 5^,- 
972 votes cast. With his term began the re- 
version to earlier methods in the attempt to 
govern New York from Albany through a non- 
partisan police. It failed, and only gave a new 
demonstration that Tammany's power is inde- 
pendent of mere patronage. Enjoying boss 
control of party machinery, Wood, in 1856, 
polled ninety-nine votes against ten for all 
other candidates in the regular Tammany con- 
vention." A most reputable bolting conven- 
tion nominated James C. Libby. He polled 
scarcely 5,000 votes and Wood 34,566, a plu- 
rality of 9,384 over his next antagonist, Isaac 
O. Baker, the Know-nothing candidate. In 
the regular course, Wood would have become 
and remained the first boss of Tammany Hall. 
His respectable opponents had control, how- 
ever, of the Tammany Society. A hot canvass, 
in 1857, ended in the selection of a Board 
of Sachems, who, by a vote of seven to six, 
closed the doors on Wood and his General 
Committee. For the first time, the Tammany 
Society, which is only the landlord of the 
political body which leases its hall, exercised 
its singular power of deciding between rival 
organizations. Again in 1872, it closed its 
doors. During the last illness of John Kelly, 
it was deemed possible that it might be 




of tbe 


called upon again to decide between rival 

Driven from Tammany Hall, Wood found 
the city alarmed and aroused, and, in 1857, he 
was defeated by Daniel F. Tiemann, a Demo- 
cratic candidate who gathered to his support 
all dissentient elements, the first instance in 
the history of the city. Organizing Mozart 
Hall, in 1859, Wood defeated divided op- 
ponents and was elected Mayor a third time 
in a canvass in which the Democratic vote 
was evenly divided. The war now broke the 
continuity of local traditions. Tammany Hall 
organized a regiment, the 42d New York, and 
sent it to the front, and its monument, with 
its Indian wigwam and Indian chief, was 
dedicated at Gettysburg, September 24, 1891."" 
Of the steady service of the regiment, its record 
in thirty-six battles and engagements is a suffi- 
cient proof. The war period saw George 
Opdyke, the only Mayor New York has ever 
had elected on a Republican ticket, chosen by 
613 votes over two Democratic candidates, 
Wood and Gunther. Two years later a brief- 
lived " Hall," led by John McKeon, elected 
C. Godfrey Gunther over a combined Tam- 
many and Mozart Hall candidate by 6,524 

The close of the war found Tammany Hall, 
whose local ranks were bitterly disloyal, di- 
vided, defeated, and discredited. If it promptly 

ZTammang fbail 

rose to supreme civic power and decided the 
national Democratic nomination in 1868, it 
was because it represented certain stable social 
conditions and a permanent political force. 
New York was now a city, and no accretion 
of population or territory has altered its char- 
acter. Its great population was, and for forty 
years and more was destined to remain, with 
a majority of foreign birth. With this ma- 
jority was associated another great stratum, 
descendants of the Irish immigration of twenty 
years before. The two were crowded to- 
gether in a great tract of dense population, 
the needs of whose days and the amusements 
of whose nights were furnished by the grocer, 
the retailer, and the liquor-seller, while the 
associations best known and most familiar 
were those of the volunteer fire company, the 
beer garden, and the "club" dance-house. 
Reorganized with district leaders drawn from 
these sources, Tammany Hall was led by 
Tweed in the riotous assault of its chiefs on 
the city treasury, while the rank and file be- 
lieved themselves on the high road to regain 
the Democratic supremacy enjoyed before the 
war. After the fall of Tweed, crushed by the 
revelation of his wholesale plunder though 
if he had gone to England instead of to jail 
he might have returned to power Tammany 
was again reorganized by John Kelly, a man 
of a different type, sober, patient, industrious, 





and of such honesty as was possible for a man 
bred in his surroundings. Of the three bosses 
trams of Tammany Hall, I once reported the sentence 
mans O f the first for his embezzlements, and the trial 
of the third for murder; the second once said to 
me, when, in a moment of youthful enthusiasm, 
I urged on him the dements of a local candidate 
for district judge, "If I go into these local 
fights, I can't pick good men for the Supreme 
Court, which is my business." To this busi- 
ness, he devoted himself for ten years of pa- 
tient and stubborn assiduity, accepting the 
evils he found and increasing them by con- 
solidating the power of the* organization he 
led in some sort its Augustus. He found it a 
horde. He left it a political army. In 1871, 
by bolting the nomination of Lucius Robinson, 
he detached this army from all allegiance but 
that of Tammany Hall. This supreme stroke 
of statecraft completed the slow development 
of a century by rendering the boss of Tam- 
many a supreme ruler within his political 
limits. Twice he elected his mayors, Wick- 
ham, 1874, and Ely, 1876; once he was de- 
feated, Schell by Cooper, 1878, and twice he 
accepted a coalition Democrat, Grace, 1880, 
and Edson, 1882, but he ended with the elec- 
tion, 1884, of Grant, a straight Tammany can- 
didate. After his death, John Kelly was 
succeeded by Richard Croker, a man whose 
reign is still too incomplete to admit of com- 


plete analysis. An investigation in 1894 
showed, however, that the early and direct 
plunder of Tweed had been replaced in the city 
government of New York by indirect pillage 
through blackmail, whose responsibility Tam- 
many shares with other political organizations, 
but in which its portion was larger, its 
methods more systematic, and its evil success 
more complete. 

The political army which has raised these 
three bosses to despotic rule, and won this 
extraordinary succession of political victories 
through a century, has slowly reached its 
present organization under which a single 
man exercises unchallenged supremacy. When 
New York had 5,000 voters, a single hall en- 
abled a majority of the majority of these 
voters to meet and decide the nominations 
and the general policy of the party. This 
"general meeting" is, by two channels of 
succession, the lineal predecessor of the Gen- 
eral Committee which now crowds Tammany 
Hall, able to accommodate only a third of the 
body which is supposed to meet there. 
During the first thirty years of Tammany, the 
"general meeting" had two functions; it 
directly made nominations and issued ad- 
dresses, which later became platforms. This 
use of the " general meeting " survives in the 
direct use of the "general committee" as a 
county convention to nominate county officers 


dDeetf ng " 

TEammang Ifoall 


without calling primaries or electing delegates 
for the purpose. The "general committee" 
is to-day, however, the symbol rather than 
the survival of the " general meeting," which 
was once the ultimate authority in Tammany 

At the ' ' general meetings " committees were 
appointed to prepare addresses and to carry 
on the campaign. These also acted as " com- 
mittees of correspondence," following Revo- 
lutionary precedent, an atrophied organ still 
surviving in the "Committee on Correspon- 
dence." " Each ward, at an early day, had its 
ward committee, appointed at a general meet- 
ing of the ward. The same machinery ex- 
isted in Congressional and legislative districts 
when these were created. There is a curious 
political myth that at some early period the 
general body of voters attended their meetings 
and made them the direct utterance of popular 
will as apart from that of politicians directly 
interested in office-holding and the profits of 
place and influence. For this legend there is ab- 
solutely no evidence whatever. When Tam- 
many Hall, at its primaries in September, 1897, 
polled 35,000 votes, 28 a larger vote was cast 
than had ever been before recorded, and there 
is every reason to believe that it was also a 
larger proportion of the vote cast in New York 
City for Tammany candidates at the last 
election. These " general meetings " and pri- 



maries began in the grossest disorder. Clin- 
ton's meetings, which drew from a social 
stratum lower than that of Tammany Hall, 
were regularly mobbed. The ward meetings 
from 1820 to 1840 were the constant scene of 
boisterous and violent combat. From 1840 to 
1870 they were normally in the hands of the 
bully, the black-leg, and the prize-fighter. 
Tamed by a police, efficient, with all its black- 
mail, in preserving external order, they have 
been for the past quarter-century incompara- 
bly more orderly, no more corrupt, and no less 
illusive expressions of the popular will than in 
the past. 

Until the passage of the "Cassidy resolu- 
tion," 49 in the State Convention of 1871, the 
ward and its election district were the units 
of political representation. By 1822, the 
ephemeral "general committee," most of 
whose members were also members of the 
Tammany Society, and sometimes acted 
through it, were consolidated in a perma- 
nent "general council" of three members from 
each of the eleven wards, into which (1825) 
the city was divided. New wards increased 
the membership to forty-five, and in 1836 to 
seventy-five. There was here for nearly 
twenty years a ward general committee, a 
"general meeting" which tumultuously acted 
for the party, and a network of local ward and 
district committees. These last often filled 



ten to twelve columns in the daily papers, and 
were, like the Tammany General Committee 
of to-day, a tolerably complete roster of the 
office-holding class and the working army of 
Tammany Hall. 

Between the disappearance of this organ- 
ization in fact, though not in name, and the 
appearance of current conditions, political 
power between 1845 to 1865 passed to the 
many voluntary civic organizations of which 
the fire companies were so easily chief. 
Some social, some useful, and some purely 
predatory, these varied bodies first controlled 
Tammany Hall, and, when they were turned 
out of it, for ten years made the fortunes of 
various " Halls," more permanent. The most 
important were drafted into the service of the 
city in a paid fire department, and the rest 
were subdued by the police. 

They became in this condition accessions 
to a political organization which controlled 
the police. When John Kelly undertook the 
work of reorganizing Tammany, the Assembly 
District and Election District were the units of 
organization, the latter giving a member each 
for the General Committee and the former 
supplying the Assembly District leader, who 
sat on the old " Committee of Organization." 
This useful and powerful body was employed 
by John Kelly "to discipline " John Morrissey, 
and was for nearly ten years the centre of the 



organization. It began by choosing its ruler. 
It ended, as is the fashion of despotism, by 
its ruler choosing it. It remained the ruling 
body in December, 1885, when Croker con- 
trolled seventeen out of twenty-four members 
and assured his succession in the organization. 

The election district, which with its single 
member furnished a sufficiently large base in 
the city of about a million with 160,000 voters 
in 1875, had become an unsuitable unit 
twenty years later, when both the city and the 
voters had nearly doubled in number. The 
Democratic vote was made a basis of represen- 
tation in the General Committee for each 
Assembly District on the ratio of a vote not 
member to each fifty votes cast. The dele- 
gation thus determined was "elected" in a 
nominal poll, until 1895 open only two hours, 
at a single place in each Assembly District. 
The delegation has, necessarily, one from each 
election district and as many more as choose 
to serve and pay a fee. This procedure has 
swollen the General Committee from 700 or 
800 in 1874 ; to 4,562 in 1890 ; to 8,000 in 
1892; and to upwards 01 12,000 now. Its com- 
mittees are correspondingly enlarged, the 
committee on organization having in 1892, 
768 members or 32 from each Assembly Dis- 

Real power and control rested with the 
"leader" in each Assembly District, named 




Trainman}? ifoall 


by the "boss," but holding his place by the 
feudal tenure of constant and unbroken victory. 
In December, 1893, a running mate for the 
leader in the shape of a business man was de- 
vised. Each "leader" knows the citizens, 
families, homes, and business of an Assem- 
bly District, containing from 5,000 to 14,000 
voters, and keeps an amazing knowledge 
of their votes, habits, needs, desires, pur- 
suits, pleasures, and crimes. Each election 
district with its 300 to 500 voters has its leader. 
This organization is customarily supposed to 
be devoted to marshalling, managing, and 
polling the vote. But this is only the culmi- 
nation of its arduous duties. It forms a vast 
net-work through which a host of daily and 
necessary civic duties are discharged. Through 
it, foreign voters are naturalized and trained to 
new duties, employment is procured for the 
idle, aid distributed to the needy, the unfor- 
tunate are befriended in hospital and court- 
room, the semi-criminal receive immunity, 
the honest are guided and aided to those ex- 
tra-legal advantages a policeman conveniently 
blind can give to the peddler, the vendor, huck- 
ster, and small store-keeper ; and there is fur- 
nished, besides, the centre of an active social 
and political life. A part of these duties in- 
volve breach of the law and lead to thinly 
disguised blackmail. Most are part of that 
mutual civic help, busy men, however public- 



spirited, utterly neglect. Done for selfish 
motives doubtless by the district "leader," 
they are none the less necessary. 

Their discharge renders the Tammany or- 
ganization a daily fountain of benefits to the 
ignorant and helpless, whose votes, won by 
these dubious means, are made the bulwark 
of daily wrongs public and private. This union 
of crime, oppression, and benevolence, of mal- 
feasance, blackmail, and largess, has held its 
power fora century, neither by corruption nor 
by patronage, but by its hideous imitation and 
wise use of important civil duties, neglected 
by the well-to-do. Their sedulous and right- 
eous discharge will supplant Tammany by sup- 
plying something better. No other method, 
machinery, or management will, for no form of 
government, however free, no law, however 
wise, and no political machinery, however 
adroit, can ever be a substitute for civic cour- 
age, civic virtue, and the daily discharge of 
mutual civic duties. If these duties are neg- 
lected by good men, bad men will use them 
to evil ends. 






1. In 1897, the vote of the Tammany candidate for 

Mayor was in New York City (Manhattan and Bronx), 
16,607 I GSS ^ an * ne united vote of its opponents, 
and in Greater New York (whose total vote was only 
75 per cent, greater than that of New York) its own 
total vote fell 51,562 short of the total of its oppo- 
nents, or nearly fourfold its New York minority. 

2. The first officers were William Mooney, White Mat- 

lock, Oliver Glenn, Philip Hone, James Tyler, John 
Campbell, Gabriel Furman, John Burger, Jonathan 

3. New York State Census, 1855, p. ix. 

4. HAMMOND'S Political History of New York, i., 41. 

5. Grave of Tamanend. H. C. MERCER, Magazine of 

American History , March, 1893. 

6. New York was the Eagle tribe ; Delaware, Tiger ; 

Virginia, Wolf ; North Carolina, Buffalo ; Pennsyl- 
vania, Bee ; Connecticut, Beaver ; New Hampshire, 
Squirrel ; Maryland, Fox ; New Jersey, Tortoise ; 
Rhode Island, Eel ; South Carolina, Dog. 

7. " Big Six" was the term applied to Engine Company 

No. 6, in the Sixth Ward, the foreman of whose big 
"double-decker " was William M. Tweed. 

8. The year was divided into the seasons of Snows, Blos- 

soms, Fruits, and Hunting. 

9. SCHARF-WESTCOTT'S History of Philadelphia, i., 265. 

10. MARCUS W. JERREGAN, Tammany Societies of Rhode 


1 1 . EDWARD F. DELANCY, New York Historical Society, 

Oct. 4, 1894. 

12. American Daily Advertiser, Jan. 3, 1793. 

13. In 1806, Tompkins was elected Governor of New York, 

and in 1816, Vice-President of the United States. 



14. Niles Register, N. S., vii., 208. 

15. HUGH J. HASTINGS'S Ancient American Politics, p. 28. 

1 6. Niles Register, xii., 192. 

17. Niles Register, N. S., ii., 192. 

1 8. Niles Register, N. S., ix., 354. 

19. Niles Register, N. S., v., 387. 

20. HAZARD'S United States Register , ii., 140. 

2 1 . THOMAS E. V. SMITH, " Elections of New York." New 

York Historical Society, 1893. 

22. Niles Register, 4th S., vii., 295. 

23. Niles Register, 4th S., xiii., 163. 

24. New York Herald, Dec. 10, 1838. 

25. The Tammany Hall Democracy, 1875, p. 38. 

26. Tammany Hall Souvenir, 1893, p. 71. 

27. By-Laws General Committee of Tammany Hall, viii., 

2, 1893. 

28. New York Sun, Sept. 25, 1897. 

29. This resolution required the New York Democracy to 

elect delegates by assembly districts. 






Half Moon Series 

Published in the Interest of the New York 
City History Club. 




THE Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam, 
having founded their colony in a spirit 
more commercial than religious, felt earlier 
than did their Puritan neighbors, the need of 
a place of imprisonment. This does not mean 
that the wicked flourished there to an alarm- 
ing degree. In fact the city was well ad- 
vanced in years before it felt the presence of 
crime, or the want of anything like a penal 
system. A means of punishing peccadillos, 
of frightening scolds, and of maintaining 
military discipline, was all that was at first 
necessary. Consequently more than a cen- 
tury passed before there was a prison build- 
ing on Manhattan Island, space having been 
easily provided for offenders in the town's 
official headquarters, wherever such govern- 
ment as there was, had chanced to house 
As is perfectly natural, therefore, the first 

~be Sun= 
aeons in 




prisons ano punisbments 


dungeon was within the ramparts of Fort 
Amsterdam. Somewhere in the quadrangle, 
along with the Governor's mansion, the mili- 
tary post, and the little church, was a lock-up, 
no doubt of the most primitive order, and 
probably of a migratory habit. The earliest 
prisoners were the Indians captured in skir- 
mishes, who were confined in some part of 
the barracks of the soldiers who had taken 
them. It is not certain that any civil offen- 
ders were ever imprisoned there, but even 
after the building of the Stadt Huys, the cap- 
tive Indians seem to have been kept in the 
Fort dungeons. 

In 1644, one Lieutenant Baxter marched to 
the "castels" of the Westchester Indians, 
destroyed their crops and killed many of 
them, and returned to the Fort with several 
prisoners. 1 At about the same time an ex- 
pedition to Heemstede, where troubles had 
become complicated, resulted in the capture 
of two Indians, who were brought to the Fort 
and cruelly dealt with. One was dragged 
into a circle of soldiers, abused, and cut at 
with knives till he whirled in his death-dance, 
and finally dropped amid the jeers of his per- 
secutors. The other was also mutilated, and 
the same horrible scene might have been re- 
peated had not another party of soldiers inter- 
fered and mercifully beheaded him on a block 
behind the barracks. 1 

prisons anfc punisbments 

While the colonists were few and mutually 
dependent, there was no mention of any pris- 
oners save those of war. But other than 
warlike measures soon became imperatively 
necessary to protect the community from its 
terrifying foes. A drunken Indian was a 
menace to a whole neighborhood, and one 
armed with civilized weapons was a trebly 
dangerous enemy. It was, therefore, or- 
dained at various times that he who should 
be found selling liquors to Indians should be 
"arbitrarily corrected," or imprisoned, or 
" condemned " : or if the selling could not be 
proved on any one person, then the whole 
street in which the drunken Indian had been 
found was fined. 3 From very early times 
death was the penalty for providing Indians 
with firearms, or any munitions of war. 4 

Other offences less serious than these, and 
generally of a personal character, were none 
the less deemed a menace to the dignity of 
the colony, and as early as 1638, a record is 
opened of curious sins, and still more droll 
punishments. A certain Hendrick Jansen, 
convicted of having slandered the Governor, 
is compelled to stand at the Fort gates at the 
ringing of the bell, and to ask the Governor's 
pardon. 6 

The Reverend E. Bogardus who had suc- 
ceeded Dominie Megapolensis as pastor of the 
church within the Fort is "scandalized by a 



It) prisons anfc punisbments 



female," who is forthwith summoned to ap- 
pear, also at the ringing of the bell, and "to 
declare before the council that she knew he 
was honest and pious, and that she had lied 
falsely." The Bogardus family seem to have 
been the objects of something like animosity on 
the part of their fellow-citizens, for presently 
the wife of the reverend gentleman is ac- 
cused of " having drawn up her petticoat a 
little way." Several people were involved in 
this case, among whom was Hendrick Jansen, 
perhaps the same who had slandered the 
Governor, seeking an indirect revenge for his 
own public humiliation. 

A Solomon-like judgment is that in another 
slander case, in which Jan Jansen complains 
of a party who has "lied falsely" about him, 
and each side is ordered to contribute twenty- 
five guilders to the poor box ! Guyshert Van 
Regerslard, apparently a sailor on the yacht 
' ' Hope, " having drawn his knife upon a fellow, 
was sentenced to receive three stripes from 
each of the crew, and to throw himself three 
times from the sail-yard of the yacht. 

The famous wooden horse makes his entry 
into the annals of the city in December, 1638, 
when two soldiers were condemned to be- 
stride him for two hours. This punishment 
seems to have been brought from Holland, 
where it had long been used as a military 
discipline. The horse had a razor-like back, 

ID prisons ant) flMmisbments 


upon which the prisoner was forced to sit, 
while weights and chains were hung on his 

The only recorded case of any criminal pro- 
ceedings during the days of the Fort is that 
of Manuel Gerrit." 

More serious attempts at local discipline 
began in 1642, when the Stadt Huys was 
erected on Dock, now Pearl Street, 7 at the head 
of Coenties Slip. This building, which Kieft 
had ordered for the Company's tavern, soon 
entered on its generous career as tavern, court, 
city hall, and prison combined. All the courts 
and public meetings of the citizens were held 
here, and although there were two stories 
with perhaps a third under the gables only 
one small room on the first floor in the rear 
could be spared for the prisoners. Their 
quarters were nevertheless far more ample, 
and their doings more carefully regulated than 
they had been in the dungeons of the Fort. 

The Provost Marshal, as combined sheriff, 
warden, policeman, and jailer, had entire com- 
mand of the prison, and frequent ordinances 
controlled his various duties. 8 He was to live 
in the town, where a dwelling was provided 
for him. He was to visit the prison constantly, 
to feed and lock up the prisoners, and to be re- 
sponsible for the keys and for the state of the 
locks, taking especial care that no "file or rope 
or anything sharp " be left on the premises. 



prisons anfc flMmisbments 



anb H>utfes 

The weight and amount of irons necessary 
to secure each prisoner, were determined at 
his condemnation, by the Fiscal, and the Pro- 
vost was at liberty to alter the fetters only 
when a prisoner had attempted to break out, or 
had in other ways proved himself dangerous. 

The Provost had power to place in confine- 
ment any persons brought to him, on condition 
that he make a report at once to the Fiscal. 
Many persons thus committed were mutinous 
sailors who had been thrown into irons while 
on the high seas, and on landing were handed 
over to the authorities by their ship captains. 
A mariner bringing any strange or foreign 
passengers to port, was forced to register them 
on pain of a fine of forty shillings. He was 
also commanded to report pirates ; and "An 
Act for Restraining and Punishing Privateers 
and Pirates" declared that such should be 
"fellons" and should suffer "pains of death 
without benefit 01 clergy." 8 

Any soldiers found with drawn swords 
either within their barracks or on the street 
were liable to arrest by the Provost. Any 
persons drawing knives and inflicting any 
wounds whatever were fined fifty florins, or, 
in default, were sent, " without respect of 
persons," to work three months with the 
negroes in chains. A few years later, in 
1647, the penalties were doubled one hun- 
dred florins or six months' hard labor. 10 

10 prisons anfc ipunisbments 

8 9 

The number of slight offences against which 
it was thought necessary to issue ordinances, 
increased each year, but in most cases only 
"arbitrary correction" or "corporal punish- 
ment " was threatened. These, however, are 
mentioned constantly. It is no wonder that 
the old prints always represent the whipping- 
post and pillory, which stood in front of the 
Stadt Huys, as provided with incumbents. 11 
" Corporal punishment " could be admin- 
istered " in the discretion of the magistrates 
provided it did not endanger Life or Limb," 
and the whippings so ordered were applied 
either by the public whipper or by any other 
person desirous of undertaking the same ! 1J A 
fine opportunity for a personal and yet author- 
ized revenge. 

For every prisoner committed to jail the 
Marshal and bell-ringer received one shilling 
each, while the Judge's fee was five shillings 
for each indictment." The Marshal was paid 
twelve stivers a day for the support of each 
prisoner. The bill of fare was prescribed in 
advance by the Company, and was to consist, 
weekly, of the following rations : T 

One and a half Ibs. of beef 
Three quarters of a Ib. of pork 
Onelb. offish 
One gill of oil 
One gill of vinegar 
Suitable pottage, and 
A Supply of Bread 

poet ant> 



prisons an& punisbments 

tion of tbe 

C unfccvs 

Social offenders were not the only ones who 
suffered under the Marshal's hands, or behind 
his bars. Religious persecution had already 
set in, and Governor Stuyvesant, in spite of 
injunctions issued against him by the mother 
country, was busying himself with devising 
humiliations for the Quakers. 

In 1657, a number of them were thrust into 
the Stadt Huys prison for several weeks, and 
Robert Hodgson, who had imprudently tried 
to preach, was fined and scourged, thrust into 
a cell, and chained to a wheelbarrow ; but all 
in vain. He refused to acknowledge himself 
guilty of any law-breaking, and finally, after 
he had suffered the most frightful tortures, he 
was released on the intercession of the Gov- 
ernor's sister, Mistress Bayard. 3 John Bowne 
was freed from prison only to be banished; 
and many others were thrust upon the wooden 
horse, or into the stocks ; while any one 
housing a Friend was fined fifty pounds. 

It was many years later, in 1694, that the 
persecuted sect seems to have won its first 
concession, by an " Act to Ease Peple that are 
scrupulous in Swearing." This new law 
allowed a, solemn "promise before God " to 
have the force of an oath, and made false 
promising the equivalent of perjury. 14 

As the Provost's duties became more and 
more complicated, he was relieved of those 
which lay outside the prison, and they were 

prisons ano punishments 

entrusted to a second official called the Schout. 
This personage was directly subordinate, how- 
ever, to the Koopman, who acted as secretary 
and was second in authority to the council.* 
The Schout was sheriff and prosecutor all in 
one, as may be seen from the following in- 
structions: 15 

"... He shall ex officio prosecute all contraveners, 
defrauders and transgressors of any placards, laws, statutes, 
and ordinances, which are already made and published or 
shall hereafter be enacted and made public, as far as those 
are amenable before the Court of Burgomasters and Sche- 
pens, and with this understanding that having entered his 
suit against the aforesaid Contraveners, he shall immediately 
rise, and await the judgment of Burgomasters and Schepens 
who being prepared shall also, on his motion, pronounce the 
same. ... He shall take care that all judgments are 
pronounced . . . according to the stile and custom of 
Fatherland, and especially the city of Amsterdam." 

The Schout was empowered not only to 
complain of culprits to the Burgomasters and 
Schepens, but also to recommend a suitable 
penalty for the offence." Fortunately for the 
cause of mercy, the magistrates were not 
bound to accept his suggestions, many of 
which seem more severe than the occasion 
required. For the crime of impertinence to 
the Schout, that officer demanded that a sin- 
ner be placed on bread and water for a month. 
The Schepens' verdict in this case was fifty 
guilders, or confinement for three days; 
whereupon the defendant remarked that the 


Scbout or 

Sbcrtfl an& 

bis tn 


prisons ant) fiMwisbments 

Urtals an> 


devil would take him who should first attempt 
to arrest him. 

Another mutinous prisoner who had in- 
sulted the Fiscal, De Sille, and his wife, "so 
that they had to have the soldiers called," 
being ordered to pay a fine of two hundred 
guilders, exclaimed that he "would rot in 
prison first! " And opportunity to do so was 
promptly afforded him. 

For a small theft, the Schout recommended 
scourging at the post and banishment for four 
years, but the culprit was let off with a few 
days in a certain part of the Stadt Huys. An- 
other, however, met with all that the Schout 
asked; was scourged, gashed on the cheek, 
and banished for twenty-five years, all for 
having noisily demanded wine in a private 

A little maid of ten, Lysbet Anthony, was 
arrested by the Schout in the act of stealing, 
and brought before the council with vigorous 
demands for imprisonment on bread and 
water. The common-sense verdict, however, 
was that "Mary her mother be ordered to 
chastise her with rods in the presence of the 
Worshipful Magistrates." 

The Schout's sense of his duty evidently 
did not stop at the living sinners under his 
jurisdiction. He pulled the poor suicide, 
Hendrick Smith, from the tree where he had 
hanged himself, and brought the body to 

<S>R> prisons ant) punisbments 


court that it might be drawn about town on 
a hurdle and then shoved under the same tree 
again. But the Worshipful Magistrates lis- 
tened to the pleas of the neighbors and the 
good reports of the suicide's character, and 
finally accorded the body decent burial. 
The charges of the hard-worked Schout 
were adapted to his broad field of duty, as 
may be seen by the table published in 1693: " 

s d 
" Serving a writ, taking into custody, and bail 
Bond (without any pretence of riding in the 
county) . . o 60 


Returning a writ o i o 

A venire o 30 

Returning the same o i o 

Serving an execution under too pound . . . o 50 
Every ten pound more o i o 

Serving a writ of possession 0120 

Scire facias serving and return ... ..030 
Every person committed into the common prison, 030 

"... In criminal matters fees to be correspondingly 
the same." 

The Stadt Huys continued to serve as the 
civil and judicial centre of the town through 
its first period of domination by the English ; 
again during the Dutch restoration, and even 
after the English power was finally estab- 
lished, until 1699, when the building was 
condemned as unsound, and sold to John 
Rodman." The Government removed the 
bell, the King's arms, iron-work, fetters, and 


prisons ant> punisbments 

Ube 3ail 

Cits -fcall 

other accessories 01 the prison, and reserved 
the right to have the "cage, pillory, and 
stocks before the same remain one year, and 
prisoners within said jail within the same City 
Hall remain one month," after the sale. 3 

The new City Hall was on the site of the 
present United States Sub-Treasury building 
in Wall Street, fronting Broad Street, on the 
corner of Nassau. It was completed in 1700, 
and was a fine building for the time, though 
it did not suit the "Congress" until numer- 
ous alterations had been made. The whole 
building projected over the street, and formed 
an imposing arcade across the sidewalk, un- 
der the lower story. 10 The ground floor was 
an "open walk" except for the jailer's rooms. 

As soon as it was ready to open its doors 
for the courts and public meetings, it received 
also the prisoners, who were put in the base- 
ment. Later, the cellar below was used as a 
dungeon for dangerous characters, while debt- 
ors and other transients were lodged in the 
garret. 18 

The stocks and pillory were not placed im- 
mediately in front of the prison this time, but 
were on Broad Street, a little below Wall. 
From here the cart used to start when crimi- 
nals were whipped around town at its tail, 
and here, too, were formed the processions 
which attended the wooden horse and its un- 
lucky rider. The victim at this time was put 

lo prisons ano jpunisbments 95 

on the horse, and then both were placed in ub< 
the cart and trotted up and down, with added 
suffering and humiliation. In honor of the 
first person treated to the torture in its im- 
proved form, this device was always after 
called "the horse of Mary Price." 

The city at this time was obliged to main- 
tain a long list of officials : a mayor, recorder, 
town clerk, six aldermen, six assistants, one 
chamberlain or treasurer, one sheriff, one 
coroner, one clerk of the market, one high 
constable, seven sub-constables, and one 
marshal or sergeant-at-mace. The mayor, 
recorder, and aldermen might commit any 
persons for misdemeanors, and the mayor 
and aldermen alone were to try offenders who 
could not give bail. The sheriff was appointed 
yearly, and was obliged to give "a thousand 
pounds bonds for his faithfulness." 11 There 
were also a number of justices of the peace, 
and the prevailing impression seems to have 
been that they were not only too numerous 
but too ignorant. Many of them were ap- 
pointed with no higher qualification than a 
seven years' apprenticeship in some clerk's 
office. " The Court of Chancery was also very 
obnoxious to the people, and altogether it was 
an open question whether New York, with 
her complicated system imported from the 
mother country, or New England, with her 
own cruder experiments and innovations, was 

9 6 

prisons anD punisbments 




the better fitted to cope with new and prob- 
lematic conditions. 

The City Hall was the only prison until 
about 1760, and it must therefore have been 
in one of its rooms that Zenger was con- 
fined 30 during his notable struggle for the 
freedom of the press." Here, too, suffered 
the negroes and the whites concerned with 
them in the supposed plot ot 1741." 

After this great panic the blacks were more 
carefully restricted. They were not allowed 
to sell anything at any price whatever, on 
pain of a fine of five pounds or under; and if 
more than three of them met and talked to- 
gether anywhere, they were to be arrested 
and whipped at the post." 

At the same time several new penalties 
were established. Any person working on 
the Lord's Day was fined ten shillings ; and 
children breaking the Sabbath by playing, one 
shilling. It was forbidden to build on any 
street not yet laid out, on pain of forty shil- 
lings, rather a tardy effort to guard against 
tangled city streets. Six shillings was the 
fine exacted from a householder who had no 
fire buckets, or who did not keep them in good 
condition; and firemen who failed to answer 
the alarm bell promptly were also fined. 

For many years the jail in the basement of 
the City Hall had been pronounced unsafe, 
and in 1727, extra precautions were taken by 

prisons anfc jpunisbments 97 

appointing a watch of four men to guard it 
and prevent escapes. In this same year, too, 
a new gallows was placed at the upper end 
of the Fields." About 1756, though the date 
cannot be ascertained within a decade, a new 
stone prison, with four stories, grated win- 
dows, and a cupola," was erected in its neigh- 
borhood. 10 This, the first real jail of the city, 
still stands as the Hall of Records, at the 
northeastern corner of the City Hall Park. 

It was called at first the New Gaol, but 
from the wretched purpose it served, soon 
won the title of the Debtors' Prison. The 
history of imprisonment for debt is a long 
record of stupid injustice; and nowhere was 
its folly more bitterly fruitful than in old New 
York. It was upon the laborers and mechan- 
ics, who relied wholly on their daily efforts 
for their daily bread, that the prosperity of the 
growing city depended; and they were, of 
course, the very people most likely to get into 
debt. Let a workingman fall ill, and imme- 
diately on his recovery he would be clapped 
into jail, because he had not paid for his pro- 
visions and medicine; while the family either 
starved or piled up more debts, which kept 
him still longer in idle captivity." An adver- 
tisement in a newspaper of the time" shows 
both the painful condition of the men thus 
confined, and the peculiar attitude of the pub- 
lic toward them. 

prisons ant) punisbments 


ment for 


" The Debtors confined in the Gaol of the City of New 
York, impressed with a grateful sense of the obligations 
they are under to a respectable publick for the generous 
contributions that have been made to them, beg leave to 
return their hearty thanks, . . . because they have 
been . . . preserved from perishing in a dreary prison, 
from hunger and cold." 

Among these men was one Major Rogers, 
who was the innocent cause of a serious riot. 
The soldiers, to evince their contempt of civil 
power, forced an entrance into the Gaol, and 
demanded his person. They opened all the 
doors, and told the prisoners they had leave 
to depart freely, which, says the chronicler, 
they were "too honourabel to do"; and the 
only real outcome of the disturbance was the 
death of one of the sergeants." 

The Fields later called the Common, and 
now the Park was in 1769, and the years fol- 
lowing, so decidedly the centre of the struggle 
for Independence, that it has been called " the 
Fanueil Hall of New York." It was the scene 
of many of the riotous meetings of the Sons 
of Liberty, and the poles repeatedly erected by 
them and torn down by the soldiery stood at 
its northwestern corner. The handbill calling 
one of these meetings, though signed merely 
"A Son of Liberty," was traced to the office 
of James Parker, and he. was thrust into the 
still extant dungeon in the Fort. 88 The printer 
then betrayed the writer, Alexander McDou- 

prisons anO punisbments 


gall, who many years later was to be the 
Major-General in charge of West Point. He 
too was arrested, and thrown into the Debtors' 
Prison; whence in April, 1770, he was re- 
leased on bail to await his trial. 

While confined there he published a "per- 
sonal" in the New York Journal, inviting his 
friends to an original kind of afternoon tea." 
He would be, he notified them, " Glad of the 
Honour of their Company from Three O'clock 
in the afternoon till Six," and the date affixed 
was "New Gaol, February 10, 1770." 

As the Debtors' Prison was not large enough 
to accommodate all classes of prisoners, the 
city authorities had seen fit to order a new 
city jail; 30 and in 1775, the Bridewell came to 
make part of the historic surroundings of the 
Common. It stood to the west of the Debtors' 
Prison, between Broadway and the site of the 
present City Hall, and would have been a 
handsome building if the original design, call- 
ing for a pediment and columns, had ever 
been carried out. It was of dark gray stone, 
two stories high, and contained, on the ground 
floor the jailer's quarters and the famous 
Long Room for common prisoners, on the 
upper story, apartments for the better class of 
convicts. 30 

It was not finished, however, when the 
Revolution opened ; and on the twenty-sev- 
enth of August, 1776, when the British took 

gall Ube 


prisons an& ipunisbments 



possession of the city, they found not only the 
wooden barracks just abandoned by Wash- 
ington's troops, but the Debtors' Prison on 
one side and the new Bridewell on the other, 
all empty, and ready for their occupation. 

The Debtors' Prison was placed in charge 
of the wicked Provost Marshal Cunningham, 
and was thereafter called The Provost. It was 
made the principal prison, though besides the 
Bridewell and old City Hall, the British pressed 
into military service the old sugar houses, the 
churches, Columbia College, the hospital, and 
the abandoned, half-rotten ships-of-war in the 
Bay. 31 Space requires the omission of any 
details regarding these temporary prisons, 
whose interesting history does not, strictly 
speaking, form a part of the history of the 
prisons of the city. 

The Provost and its peculiar terrors were 
reserved for the most important prisoners. 
Compared to the physical sufferings of the 
men confined in the hulks of the Jersey,** 
and the other "floating hells," as they were 
termed, the discomforts of the prisoners in 
the Provost were mild. Though they were 
too cold, and frightfully crowded, they had 
less disease and degradation to contend with. 
But Cunningham was a tyrant who did not 
stop half way. His was a reign of terror, and 
a secret scourge, searing-iron, and gallows, 
awaited the unfortunate man who furnished 

OU> prisons an& punisbments 


him with the slightest excuse for persecution. 
There is no evidence that he ever executed 
any one without trial; but his trials may have 
been conducted in a cursory manner. The 
gallows, which was practically a private insti- 
tution of his own, stood on a little hill in 
Chambers Street; and thither he is said to 
have accompanied his victims in person, after 
giving orders that all householders along the 
route from there to the prison should close 
their windows on pain of death. He took 
care to make this gallows a terror by keeping 
it always occupied ; and when a real man was 
lacking, he would fill it with an effigy of Han- 
cock or some other obnoxious rebel." 

This infamous marshal deliberately allowed 
many men to starve by reducing or withhold- 
ing their rations to enrich himself, The ex- 
tent of his crimes is unknown, and it is useless 
to catalogue their reported horrors. Some 
writers relate that he was hanged at Tyburn 
shortly after his return to England, 3 and even 
give in detail his dying confession, in which 
he says : '* 

"... I shudder to think of the murders I have 
been accessory to both with and without orders from gov- 
ernment especially while in New York, during which time 
there were more than two thousand starved in the churches 
by stopping their rations, which I sold. There were also 
two hundred and seventy-five American prisoners executed 
. . . hung without ceremony, and then buried by the 
Black Pioneer of the Provost. ." 

bam and 




prisons ano jpunisbments 



This interesting document is, however, al- 
most a palpable fabrication. No record has 
ever been found of any such execution, either 
at Tyburn or elsewhere ; and the best authori- 
ties insist that Cunningham died peacefully 
many years later, in a country home. 35 

The most notable 01 Cunningham's prison- 
ers was Ethan Allen, who, having been re- 
leased on parole in New York, was seized in 
January, 1777, and thrust into solitary con- 
finement, in spite of his energetic denial of 
the charge that he had broken his parole. He 
had been first taken at Montreal in 1776, 
transported to England, and after a painful 
voyage brought back to New York. Here 
General Howe offered him a commission, 
with the promise of large tracts of land in 
Vermont at the close of the war, if he would 
only "desert his lost cause, and serve his 
King " ; but Allen replied that he did not think 
the king would have enough land in America 
at the close of the war to redeem any such 
promise. 38 

When he had been some eight months in 
the Provost, he seems to have begun to chafe 
under the apparent neglect of his countrymen ; 
as Joseph Webb writes to Governor Trum- 
bull, in a letter arranging for an exchange of 
prisoners: 37 

" Ethan Allen begs me to represent his Situation to You 
that he has been a most Attached friend to America and he 

jprisons anfc punisbments 



plan of 


says he 's forgot he 's spending his Life, his very prime and 
now is confin'd in the Provost and they say for breaking his 

parole without he own's it in part I cou'd wish some of 

, . provost 

'em wou d be more prudent." 

Allen was exchanged in May, 1778, not 
long after this, and joined Washington at 
Valley Forge. 38 

The Provost had at this time been strength- 
ened by the British. Barricades had been 
erected between the external and internal lob- 
bies, and grated doors placed at the foot of 
the stairs, where sentinels were stationed 
night and day. On the right of the main hall 
was the Marshal's room, now the Register's 
office, and opposite was the guard, and the 
chamber of O'Keefe, Cunningham's deputy 
and accomplice. Most of the prisoners were 
confined on the second floor, in the northeast 
chamber, ironically called "Congress Hall"; 
and it is here that they were so crowded as 
they lay down in rows on the floor, that when 
one wished to turn over, he had to wake all 
the others, and give the word of command 
for all to turn at once. 

It was to the door of this room that Cun- 
ningham ushered his guests, drunk as himself, 
after a luxurious dinner, while he exhibited his 
prisoners as one would a cage of animals. 

"There is that d d rebel, Ethan Allen, 

sir," he would cry; "Allen! get up and walk 
around! "" 


prisons anfc punisbments 


of the 

It is to be said, on the other hand, that 
while the seamen on the Jersey were being 
exposed to small-pox and abandoned to filth 
and starvation," the crowded inmates of 
"Congress Hall" were carefully guarded 
against disease and vermin. Their packs and 
blankets were aired every morning and then 
hung on the walls during the day; and in ill- 
ness they received medical attention. 86 

When the British troops evacuated the city, 
Cunningham and his deputy were among the 
last to leave. In the Provost there were still 
a few prisoners, and as O'Keefe prepared to 
rush off they cried out to know what was to 
become of them. 

" You may go to the Devil ! " he exclaimed, 
throwing the keys on the floor. 

"Thank you," they replied; "We have 
had enough of your company in this world." 

The chief sufferings of the American patriots 
in the Bridewell arose from the extreme cold, 
for the unfinished building had only iron grat- 
ings at the windows. 40 There were several 
old veterans who claimed to have been among 
eight hundred and sixteen prisoners-of-war 
confined in these crowded quarters from Satur- 
day to the following Thursday, without food 
of any kind. 41 No deaths are mentioned, 
however, and as it is scarcely possible that a 
large body of exhausted and wounded soldiers 
can have survived such treatment, the story 

prisons an& punisbments 

lacks credibility. It is certain that the rations 
of the prisoners here were at times withheld 
from them, but the reports that many men 
had been poisoned by the physicians have 
never been verified." 

When Washington at one time complained 
that the men who had been released from 
New York were in such desperate condition 
that they were not a fair exchange lor the 
British prisoners, Howe replied:" 

"... All the prisoners are confined in the most airy 
buildings and on board the largest transports of the fleet, 
which are the very healthiest places that could possibly be 
provided for them. They are supplied with the same pro- 
visions as are allowed to the King's troops not on service, 
. . the sick are separated and especially cared for by 
surgeons. . . ." 

At the same time Congress was publishing 
in its Journal, regarding the prisoners in New 

"... Many of them were near four days kept with- 
out food altogether. When they received a supply, it was 
both insufficient in point of quantity, and often of the worst 
kind. They suffered the utmost distress from cold, naked- 
ness, and close confinement." 

If we balance the official assertions on each 
side, we may come to the conclusion that the 
extreme stories of both should be discredited 
altogether. The tales, however, were be- 
lieved by many who heard them and by some 




ID prisons an& flMmisbments 


of tbe 



who told them, and they played a prominent 
part in the minds of the people at the time. 40 

After the Revolution the Provost was again 
used for debtors, and at one time five per cent, 
of the whole number of citizens were im- 
prisoned for debt. 48 Much of the misery was 
done away with in 1817, when the laws were 
so amended as to confine only those who had 
incurred debts for amounts larger than twenty- 
five dollars. 44 

About 1787, the Provost was again the 
scene of a riot 45 The methods employed by 
some doctors for obtaining bodies for dissec- 
tion had aroused the most bitter feeling against 
the whole profession. 20 A mob gathered, 
and assailed the houses of the obnoxious 
physicians, while their friends covered their 
hasty retreat to the jail. There the mob fol- 
lowed them and did much damage, both to 
the police, and to the citizens, who made a 
feeble defence at the prison door. One of the 
doctors was "wounded by a stone which 
laid him up some time, in the head," and the 
riot was quelled only by promises of reform. 

A drawing of City Hall Park made by W. 
G. Wall in 1826, pictures the Hall of Records 
as of pale gray stone, while the Bridewell is 
green, with tan blinds. A note in the corner 
explains that the artist did not "feel justified 
in representing the foliage of the Park as in a 
handsome state, because it was n't, being 

prisons ano ipunisbments 


much affected with caterpillars." 10 One might 
question whether this gentleman had been 
equally conscientious, when he sprinkled the 
foreground with ladies in hoops and poke 

In 1830, the Provost ceased to be used as a 
prison, and was prepared to serve as the 
Register's office. The bell was taken down 
and remounted as a fire-alarm on the roof of 
the Bridewell. The front and back of the 
dingy edifice were pretentiously decorated 
with columns like those of the temple of Diana 
at Ephesus; 48 and since then, the space thus 
made has been again walled in so that the 
columns now appear as mere pilasters. In 
1835, the building was ready for the purpose 
which it has served ever since ; and to-day 
the title deeds to all the real estate in the city 
are preserved under its venerable roof. 38 

As for the Old Bridewell, if tradition be true, 
it followed the injunction regarding coals of 
fire ; for in the war of 1812, many English 
captives were confined there, and are said to 
have been treated by the keeper, old Tom 
Hazzard, with marked kindness, and even to 
have been fed in secret at his own expense 
when he considered their rations insufficient." 

After this second experience as a war prison, 
the Bridewell resumed its uneventful career as 
the general city jail. At first, trials were held 
only four times a year, and prisoners commit- 


tion of 




<s>u> prisons an& punisbments 

ted for slight offences would perhaps have to 
await examination for nearly three months. 
Some time before 1828, however, the court 
began to be held every month. The prison- 
ers were here made to pick oakum or were 
employed on the city works, and this attempt 
at prison labor seems to have succeeded bet- 
ter than the earlier experiments at Greenwich 
prison, of which we shall speak presently. 

Although fairly healthy and clean, the Bride- 
well was far too small to suit the city's grow- 
ing needs, and the erection of the present City 
Hall, 47 - 48 just before the war with England, 
had long made its presence in the crowded 
Park, undesirable. In 1838, it was destroyed, 
some of its stones being used in the erection 
of its successor, the Hall of Justice in Centre 
Street early rechristened "The Tombs," on 
account of its gloomy Egyptian exterior. 

The old Provost bell, which had served as 
a fire-alarm on the Bridewell, was sent to the 
Naiad Hose Company's station in Beaver 
Street, to continue the same office. It was 
soon after destroyed by the very fire to which, 
for the last time, it had summoned the lines 
of wooden buckets. 

The Bridewell and the Provost together had 
thus served during the latter years of their ex- 
istence as city jails, though they had been 
built for special purposes the one for debtors, 
the other for a long-term prison. Two re- 

prisons ant> punisbments 


forms had merged their interests. Imprison- 
ment for debt had been practically abolished, 
and the Debtors' Prison thus left free to re- 
ceive other inmates. A few years earlier a 
much-needed State's Prison had been erected, 
leaving in the Bridewell, too, space for short 
commitments; while the convicts who were 
sentenced to three years or more were sent to 

The act appropriating about $208,000 49 to 
relieve the crowded prisons of the city, had at 
first provided for two buildings, one to be at 
Albany; but on deliberation it was decided to 
devote the entire fund to the Greenwich build- 
ing. 60 It was ready for occupation in 1797, 
and seventy prisoners were transferred to it 
from the other prisons. The big pile stood at 
the head of Tenth Street then Amos, on the 
bank of the Hudson, a mile and a half from 
the Bridewell and the Provost. Strange to 
say, the fashionable little village of Greenwich 
seemed not to resent the intrusion, but rather 
to hail it as raising the value of property, and 
giving a stately air to the otherwise rural 
scenery. 51 

It was the handsomest prison and one of 
the most imposing buildings the city had yet 
seen, being decorated with Doric columns, 
surmounted with a fine cupola, and sur- 
rounded by nearly four acres of grounds. The 
whole was enclosed by a stone wall fourteen 


no u> {prisons anfc pumsbments 

prison feet high in the front, and twenty-three in the 
back, where the four wings extended from the 
main building down to the river. Beyond 
this wall was the wharf where were landed 
convicts sent from points up the river." 

In every earlier prison the criminals had 
been thrust all together into large rooms. 68 
Here an approach to a better system was 
made, each of the fifty-two cells lodging three 
persons only ; while there were also twenty- 
eight cells for solitary confinement. In the 
north wing was a chapel, in the south a 
dining-room, and the centre was given up to 
the quarters of the officers. There were also 
good cellars, an ice-house, and store-rooms 
of various kinds ; and in the courtyard there 
was a tank where the prisoners could bathe, 
so abundant was the supply of water. The 
women were on the ground floor of the north 
wing, and had a separate courtyard." 

In 1787, the experiment had been tried in 
Philadelphia, of reserving capital punishment 
which had been the penalty of a dozen differ- 
ent crimes for that of premeditated murder 
alone. 54 In New York many offences which 
are now termed misdemeanors had been pun- 
ishable with long imprisonment, or with the 
humiliations of the whipping-post and pillory. 
At the close of the century the example of the 
Quaker Commonwealth began to be followed, 
and imprisonment under better conditions, 

<SHo prisons ano punisbments 

with stated terms and definite regulations, trbe 
became the rule. 

The greatest importance attaches to the per- 
severing attempts here made to introduce 
prison labor. For the first time it seemed to 
have entered the minds of the authorities that 
the work of a prison should be not only to 
punish, but to reform. A method of accom- 
plishing both ends was suggested to them by 
a shoemaker who begged for occupation, and 
proposed to make himself profitable to the in- 
stitution, inspiring his fellow-prisoners to do 
the same." Spacious brick workshops went 
up in the yards of the Greenwich prison." To 
a certain extent the men were permitted to 
follow their own callings. If a man had none, 
one was assigned him. The principal trades 
were weaving, spinning, shoe- and brush- 
making, and carpenter work ; but the lock- 
smith's art was the most popular among the 
convicts, who hoped to profit by their skill in 
it on their release. For twelve hours a day 
they were compelled to work, being marched 
into the dining-hall at meal-times, and locked 
into their cells at night. Each convict on his 
arrival was compelled to strip and wash, and 
dress himself in the striped prison uniform. 
This was always made in the prison, and was 
of different grades. When an offender was 
convicted for the second time, the right side 
of his coat and left of his trousers were 

prisons ant) punisbments 

of prison 


ant) of 
tbe raoefc 


black. If a third time, he wore a figure 3 on 
his back, and his food was coarser and less 
abundant than before. 66 

The keeper's salary was eight hundred dol- 
lars. The rations of each prisoner came to 
about five cents a day, the chief items being 
oxheads and hearts, indian meal mush and 
molasses, pork, black bread, and "lambs' 

For a few years the system promised won- 
ders ; but the ease of communication soon 
undid everything. The numerous escapes and 
extreme corruption may be ascribed to three 
distinct causes. First, the solitary cells were 
too few. Second, not even they were secure, 
as they were not connected by passages, and 
so could not be easily kept under watch. 
Third, there was so little hope of pardon, 
that the men were incited to attempt escapes, 
rather than to win commutations of their sen- 
tences by good behavior. 67 

As the better class of officials became dis- 
gusted with the inadequate adaptation of the 
building to its purpose, and weary of their 
fruitless attempts to contend against heavy 
odds, it was natural that inferior keepers 
should take their places. In a few years a 
low class of men had control of the prison, 
and the convicts were corrupted not only by 
each other's society, but by the example of 
their officers, who are said to have been pro- 

prisons ano punisbments 

fane and drunken tyrants. Laziness ruled 
everywhere. The men were again herded 
together, and children thrust in with them, 
because it was easier to care for a crowded 
room, than for individual cells. Many prison- 
ers are known to have falsely confessed them- 
selves guilty of special misdemeanors, that 
they might be confined in the less offensive, 
solitary cells. Books were withheld on the 
pretext that the prisoners destroyed them. 
Inhuman whippings were administered by the 
keepers for real or fancied personal insults ; 
and the bodies of dead convicts were either 
buried without ceremony in the Potter's Field, 
or disposed of to the dissectors. 68 

The hospital, consisting of four rooms with 
a straw bed in each, was in the north wing. 
The resident physician was frequently a youth 
easily imposed on by the convicts, who were 
skilled in counterfeiting illness and were gen- 
erally glad of a few days' rest from the work- 
shop. The most serious of the real diseases 
treated in the hospital were those unavoidably 
attendant on the close confinement of the 
prisoners." Deaths were numerous, being as 
one in two hundred and fifty each month. 

Very few troubles seem to have come from 
the undoubtedly coarse, but abundant food ; 
and no complaints are made of uncleanliness. 
Indeed to such an extent were these humane 
and saving points insisted upon by the prison 

prisons ant) punisbments 

tion of 


authorities, that many citizens regarded the 
good treatment as equivalent to laxity in dis- 
cipline ! Less easily refuted are the com- 
plaints that the system of solitary confinement 
was never thoroughly tried. The inspectors 
pointed out that one Smith had been placed 
in a solitary cell for six months, and had 
emerged "a revengeful desperado"; while 
the complainants maintained that, as he had 
been allowed daily converse with his keeper, 
extra diet, and reading matter, the experiment 
had not been a fair one. 

In spite of all that was said against the dis- 
cipline and plan of the Greenwich prison, it 
marks the beginning of at least an attempt at 
a system aiming at reform. For the first time 
punishments were regulated by their duration 
as well as by mere severity; and the good 
effects of prison labor were proved, while its 
weak points began to be understood, and 
could be guarded against. 

It was in 1829, that the prison was sold and 
destroyed. A small part of its old wall is 
still in existence, having been built into the 
brewery on the same site. The prisoners 
were gradually transferred, in 1828, and 1829, 
to the enormous new pile at Sing Sing. 

In 1826, the penitentiary on Blackwell's Is- 
land had been opened ; 60 and with the closing 
of the careers of Greenwich, the Debtors' 
Prison, and the Bridewell, and the substitu- 

prisons anfc punisbments 115 

tion of Sing Sing, Blackwell's, and the Tombs, 
the old city prisons and the first quarter of the 
century came to an end together. 


lo prisons anfc punisbments 

(References REFERENCES. 

1. General J. G. WILSON, (Memorial History of the City 

of New York, ii., p. 188. 

2. BROADHEAD'S History of the State of New York. 
MARTHA LAMB'S History of the City of New York, p. 


3. J. F. WATSON, Historic Tales of Olden Time. 

4. Laws and Ordinances of New Netherlands, 1643 and 


5. WATSON, p. 127. 

6. Stadt Huys of this series. 

7. Century Magazine, \v., p. 847. RICHARD GRANT WHITE. 

8. Ordinance, August 20, 1664. 

9. Acts of Assembly Passed in the Province of New York 

from 1691 to 1725. Printed by Wm. Bradford, 
1726. Acts of 1692. 

10. Ordinances, 1642, 1647. 

1 1 . Grolier Club : Exhibition of Drawings of Old New 


12. The Charter of the City of New York, and the Act of 

the General Assembly Confirming the Same. Printed 
by Zenger, 1735. 

13. Acts of Assembly, 1693. 

14. Ibid., 1694. 

15. Dutch Records, 1652, 1663, Letter V. 

1 6. VALENTINE'S Corporation Manuals, 1861, p. 533. 

17. LAMB, p. 443. 

1 8. WILSON, ii., p. 222. 

19. SMITH'S History of the 'Province of New York, to 

which is annexed ... the Constitution of the 
Courts of Justice in that Colony. London, 1757. 

20. DUNLAP'S History of the New Netherlands, i., pp. 

297, 302. 

2 1 . Governor' 1 s Island of this series, p. 1 59. 

22. Slavery in New York of this series, p. 16. 

prisons anfc punisbments 


23. WILSON, ii., p. 165. 

24. HASWELL'S Recollections of an Octogenarian. 

25. History of the People of the United States, McMxs- 

TER, i., p. 98. 

26. Gazette and {Mercury, July 27, 1772. 

27. DAWSON'S History of the "Park. 

28. LEAKE'S Life of General Lamb. 

29. New York Journal, February 17, 1770. 

30. WILSON, ii., p. 477. 

31. ONDERDONK'S Incidents of the British Prisons and 

British Ships at New York. 

32. The Old Jersey Captive ; a narrative of the captivity 

of Thomas Andros, 1781. 

33. LOSSING'S Pictorial Field-Book of the Devolution, 

Supplement, iv., pp. 658, 660. 

34. WILSON, ii., p. 540. 


36. DUNLAP, ii. 

37. S. B. WEBB'S Reminiscences, ii., pp. 37, 41, 54, 121, 


38. Hour-Glass Series : A Historic Landmark, by J. F. 

McL., pp. 210, 211. 

39. John Pintard's Account of the Time after the Battle 

of Brooklyn. 

40. New York and its Institutions, by Rev. J. F. RICH- 

MOND, 1872, pp. 74, 514. 

41. Journal of Oliver Woodruff. 

42. DAVIS'S Essay on the Old Bridewell. Manuals, 1855, 

pp. 486 et seq. 

43. In Old New York, THOMAS JANVIER, p. 243. Petition 

to the General Assembly by the Association for the 
Relief of Distressed Debtors, 1 788. 

44. The Laws of New York. The Town Records. 

45. WATSON, p. 175. 

46. WILSON, iii., p. 342. 

47. Century Magazine, v., p. 865 ; The New City Hall, 

by E. S. WILDE. 



prisons anfc punisbments 

Deferences 4&. New York as it was during the Latter Part of the 
Last Century, by DUER. 

49. Inside Out ; or, An Interior View of the New York 

State's Prison. By One Who Knows, 1823. (Proba- 
bly by JAMES STEWART or W. A. COFFEY), pp. 13, 15. 

50. Harper's Monthly, 87, p. 339 ; Greenwich Village, 


51. Old Greenwich of this series, p. 292. 

52. Defence of the System of Solitary Confinement, by 


53. Journal of Prison Discipline, i., p. 4 ; Inside Out, 

Introduction, p. 8. 

54. An Account of the New York State 'Prison, by One 

of the Inspectors, 1801. Pamphlet of the New York 
Hist. Soc., No. 64. 

55. Old Greenwich of this series, p. 290. 

56. Annual Reports of the Inspectors of the State Prison, 

1823 et seq. 

57. Old Greenwich of this series, p. 291 ; Inside Out, p. 


58. Inside Out, p. 10 ; Introduction, pp. 29, 54. 

59. Ibid., p. 165 et seq. 

60. Grand Jury T{eports, 1849. 


Half Moon Series 

Published in the Interest of the New York 
City History Club. 








The native Indians of the New Netherland, 
like the other red men of North America, 
sometimes sent their news to a distance, 
scratched on the smooth surface of birch 
bark: such were the only news-letters that 
circulated in the colonies in those early days. 

As to New Amsterdam, if the records did 
not tell us that no newspapers existed there, 
we should know it beyond doubt by the 
words of Diedrich Knickerbocker, when in 
one of the serious passages of his brilliant 
burlesque, he describes the profound repose 
and tranquility that dwelt in the embryo city : 
"The very words of learning, education, taste, 
and talents were unheard of ; a bright genius 




Cbe new I2orfc press anft Its flDahcrs 

lance over 

tbe press 

was an animal unknown. No man, in fact, 
seemed to know more than his neighbor, nor 
any man to know more than an honest man 
ought to know, who has nobody's business 
to mind but his own; the parson and the 
council clerk were the only men who could 
read in the community, and the sage Van 
Twiller always signed his name with a cross." 
These words prove, by implication, and be- 
yond possible doubt, that no newspaper, such 
as is known to us misguided moderns, ex- 
isted in the quiet town. 

When New Amsterdam became New York, 
the day of the newspaper was put off longer 
than in the other provinces; for that broad 
and enlightened Stuart, James II., sent to his 
Governor, Dongan, in 1686, the following or- 
der: " Forasmuch as great inconvenience may 
arise by the liberty of printing, within our 
province of New York, you are to provide, 
by all necessary orders, that no person keep 
any press for printing; nor that any book, 
pamphlet, or other matters, whatsoever, be 
printed, without your especial leave and licence 
be first obtained." Even when the press was 
allowed to be set up in the province, it was 
kept under strict surveillance and subject to 
stringent restrictions ; the authorities, in the 
words of Isaiah Thomas, "by keeping the 
people in ignorance, thought to render them 
more obedient to the laws, prevent them from 

flew U>orfc press anO Its flDafeers 


libelling the government, and impede the 
growth of heresy." Not until about 1755 did 
our press feel any touch of freedom, and gain 
any small measure of liberty of speech. 

It was in January, 1639, that " printing was 
first performed in that part of North America 
which extends from the Gulph of Mexico to 
the frozen ocean"; and it was not till 1690, 
that a newspaper was issued on this conti- 
nent. This was a small quarto of short and 
irregular life, which appeared in Boston. In 
April, 1704, there came to stay, in that town, 
the first real newspaper in any of the colo- 
nies The Boston News-Letter . Philadelphia 
came next in 1719, with its American Weekly 
Mercury, and so in succession the other prov- 
inces, Maryland, Virginia, North and South 
Carolina, came out with their papers. 

New York saw its first paper on the six- 
teenth of October, 1725. The New -York 
Gazette, printed and put forth by William 
Bradford. This worthy man had come to 
Philadelphia from London by the advice of 
William Penn, Chief of the State, and armed 
with a letter from George Fox dated "Lon- 
don, 6th month, 1685," to the Quakers of 
the colonies, announcing to them that "a so- 
ber young man, whose name is William Brad- 
ford, is coming to set up the trade of printing 
Friends' books." So he started his press in 
Philadelphia, but soon he and his fellow non- 

Ube firet 

Ube Hew i!?orfc press anMts /IDafeers 

combatants fell to fighting over the liberty of 
t h a { same press, as to which they had oppos- 
ing views. The weaker one went to prison 
for a while, then gave up Quakering, and 
came to New York. It was in 1693, that he 
set up his press in this little town of four 
thousand inhabitants, "At the Sign of the 
Bible," in that wide gate- way between King 
Street and Old Slip and the river, which has 
been called Hanover Square since the acces- 
sion of George I., while King Street has be- 
come our present William Street. 

To Bradford belongs the glory of introduc- 
ing the art of printing to this town and this 
province. In April, 1693, he was appointed 
by the Council, Printer of the Acts of the 
Assembly and Public Papers, with a salary of 
^"40 a year, and the privilege and the profit of 
his own private printing. In 1694, appeared 
the Laws and Acts of the General Assembly 
"at New York, printed and sold by William 
Bradford, Printer to their Majesties, King 
William and Queen Mary." In 1710 his 
appointment having been renewed in 1709 
appeared a later edition, "Printed by William 
Bradford, Printer of the Queen's most excel- 
lent Majesty for the Colony of New York." 
He put forth, during these years, and for 
many after years, almanacs, controversial 
pamphlets, and public documents; while, as a 
publisher, he adventured many books now 

bc View 12orK press anfc Its flDafcers 

eagerly sought for by collectors and amateurs. 
In 1723, Benjamin Franklin, coming from Bos- <*" 
ton to New York in search of work, found 
Bradford still the only printer here, but with 
no work for him. The young stranger, and 
future rival, found kindly entertainment, and 
was sent on to the younger Bradford the 
son in Philadelphia. Why Franklin called 
William Bradford "the cunning old fox" in 
later years, is not apparent. 

Bradford was sixty-one years old when the 
first copy of The New-York Gazette was 
issued from his press in 1725. This weekly, 
which came out on each Monday, was, until 
1733, the only newspaper in the town. At 
first a single leaf, it was increased to two, 
three, four, and six pages as its contents 
warranted. These contents were made up of 
small doings at home and abroad, in small 
paragraphs, selections of stale literature, poor 
poetry, no news of moment, and scanty ad- 
vertisements. It was a dwarf folio, poorly 
printed on dirty, grayish paper; on the left of 
the title, in large Roman type, were the 
arms of the city barrels and beavers, and the 
wings of a wind-mill, supported by an Indian 
and a soldier the royal crown over all. On 
the right of the title was a pine tree, and a 
post rider on an animal meant for a horse. 
The foreign news was of such weighty mat- 
ters as the exploits of an English highwayman 


Ube flew H>orfc press anfc Its flDafters 

at Bath, or the young French king's indispo- 
sition, which forced him to put off the cer- 
emony of "touching the diseased," promised 
for November 23, 1726, until the following 
day, the twenty-fourth. Of greater import 
was this from London, March 18, 1727: 
"Yesterday morning died, aged eighty-five, 
Sir Isaac Newton, Master of His Majesty's 
Mint at the Tower, to which place is annexed 
a salary of .500 per annum, and President of 
the Royal Society." It is curious, and charac- 
teristic, this giving foremost place to the petty 
office and its salary, his great office being men- 
tioned, quite casually, at the last! 

The issue of June 15, 1730, contains matters 
of more international interest, for it is full of 
excitement over the election of the Pope, and 
the probable effect upon European politics; 
while a later copy gives a detailed account of 
the coronation of the successful Orsini as Cle- 
ment XII. 

William Bradford was greater as a man than 
as an editor a rare, and a strong character, 
marked by ability, industry, and probity; de- 
cent in his own life, kindly to his fellow-men. 
"No man is born unto himself alone " seems 
to have been his essential rule of conduct. 
"So that herein I may but be serviceable to 
the Truth and to the Friends thereof," he 
wrote on the first day of the first month of 
1687-8. The "old fox" was good to his 

"Hew HJorfe press ant) Uts 


needy, deserving fellow-creatures, and his 
quiet influence was felt both in the church 
and in the little printing world of his day. 
With few exceptions, the then rising genera- 
tion of printers was trained under his watch- 
ful eye. 

He ended his life of uneventful usefulness in 
1752: his age being given by differing authori- 
ties as ninety and ninety-four. His chipped 
and stained tombstone, now carefully pre- 
served in the entrance hall of the. Historical 
Society of New York, gives it as ninety-two, 
and the date of his birth as 1660 an error of 
the mason, doubtless. This stone was re- 
placed by a new one on the occasion of the 
memorial service in Trinity Church of which 
Bradford was a vestryman on May 20, 
1863, when the Historical Society celebrated 
the two-hundredth anniversary of the printer's 
birth. The new stone, standing above his 
grave in Trinity burial ground, is an exact 
copy of the original stone, save that it is a trifle 
larger. The Historical Society has also placed 
a tablet in the wall of the Cotton Exchange, 
on 'the corner of Hanover Square and William 
Street, marking the site of the building from 
which Bradford issued his New-York Gazette, 
and commemorating the two-hundredth anni- 
versary of the introduction of printing into 
New York, on April 10, 1693. 

When Bradford retired from business in 

EVatb Of 



IRew l^orfe press anfc Hts flDafeers 



1742, his newspaper was taken in charge by 
Henry De Foreest, an apprentice of Bradford 
and the first New York printer known to have 
been born in the town. He had been a part- 
ner of Bradford during the last years of the 
Gazette, and it bore the joint imprint of their 
names. De Foreest succeeded to the entire 
control of the paper in 1744, and in November 
of the same year he published it in the after- 
noon instead of the morning, calling it the New- 
York Evening Post, the first evening issue in 
the town. It was a weekly like the Gazette, 
but was a great improvement on its predeces- 
sor, being well printed, with clean type, not 
too large for its page, the type page being 
about five and a half by nine and three quar- 
ters inches. It gave special prominence to 
shipping and foreign news, and there was the 
customary dose of flimsy literature and feeble 
verse. Advertisements were still few in num- 
ber, and their old-time queerness makes some 
of them worthy of reproduction here. . . . 
A bookseller publishes A Short and Easie 
Method with the Deists. ... " To be sold, 
a Negro Wench, that can do all manner of 
House Work, fit for Town or Country. She 
has had the small pox." "John George Cook, 
Stocking Weaver, can supply all sorts of stock- 
ings." . . . " Very good Pot-ash made 
and sold by Cornelius Brower, living next 
door to the Widow Killmaster's, near Gold- 

flew H?orft press anfc fits ADafeers 


ing Hill." . . . " This is to give notice that 
all persons who are indebted to Rebecca Sip- 
kins are desired to come and pay the same to 
prevent further trouble, and all who have de- 
mands on her to come and receive satisfac- 
tion." . . . This Evening Post went out 
of existence in 1752, the causes that brought 
about its end being unknown. 

Among the seven thousand Germans who 
found their way, from their devastated Pala- 
tinate, and from the cruelties of Louis XIV., 
to England and there camped out at Black- 
heath and Camberwell was a woman named 
Zenger, with her three children. When Queen 
Anne's shrewd bounty sent some three thou- 
sand of these exiles to help colonize this coun- 
try in 1708, this family came to New York, 
and the eldest child, aged thirteen John Peter 
was apprenticed to William Bradford. These 
indentures are now in the office of the Secre- 
tary of State at Albany. Under his mas- 
ter's good guidance the boy's character was 
formed, and he learned his trade well enough 
to set up his own printing-press the second 
in the town about 1726. On November 5, 
1733, he brought out the first number of his 
New-York Weekly Journal, the second paper 
in New York, and so the first rival to Brad- 
ford's Gazette, then over eight years old. 
However excellent Zenger's training may have 
been, a proper respect for age and authority 


Ube 1Rew JlJorfe press anfc Uts flDafcers 


seems not to have taken root in him, for when 
Bradford who was naturally, by virtue of his 
official position, and by reason of his social 
standing in the commonalty, on the side of the 
" powers that be" accused him in print of 
" publishing pieces tending to set the province 
in a flame, and to raise sedition and tumults," 
Zenger referred to his former master as " this 
Scribbler," and "that groaping Fumbler," and 
continued to publish lampoons against the 
authorities, and especially against the im- 
potent Governor himself. 

The State officials were of the same mind 
as Bradford in this matter, and in November, 
1734, Governor Cosby and the council arrested 
Zenger for "printing and publishing several 
seditious libels," and had copies of the offend- 
ing papers burned. Zenger spoke for the 
popular party in the politics of the province, 
and the people were with him, the Crown 
officials and the conservative classes of the 
town ranged against him. The Grand Jury 
would find no true bill against the printer, and 
the trial was conducted by the Attorney-Gen- 
eral, and before biassed judges, carefully se- 
lected. Zenger's counsel was the then head 
of the Philadelphia bar, Andrew Hamilton, 
whose plea for Zenger and the liberty of the 
American Press won a verdict of " not guilty " 
from the sympathetic jury, in defiance of the 
instruction of the judges. The verdict was 

ft be Hew J?orfe press an& Its /Rafters 


hailed with shouts by the great crowd within 
and without the court ; to Andrew Hamilton 
was given the freedom of the city in a gold box, 
and Zenger was made a popular hero. Either 
he or his verdict it is difficult to determine 
which is meant by the mixed metaphor has 
been acclaimed as "the morning star of that 
liberty which subsequently revolutionized 
America." It is queer and pitiful, too, that 
Bradford, who in his youth suffered imprison- 
ment for the cause of liberty of the press, 
should, in his old age, have been on the side 
of the prosecutors in this most momentous 
trial; and that the victim of this arbitrary per- 
secution should be an apprentice of his own, 
the outgrowth of his training in all things, 
and doubtless in free speech. 

Zenger went back from his prison, after long 
months of idleness and growing debts, to his 
shop in " Broad Street, near the upper end of 
Long Brij.," where he had established himself 
and his journal in 1733, and at once issued in 
pamphlet form A Brief Narrative of the Case 
and Tryal of John Peter Zenger, printer of the 
New-York "Weekly Journal;" a pamphlet that 
had an immense sale at the time and is still 
famed. He had published many pamphlets, 
almanacs, and sermons in his day, and in 1735 
he issued, in a small folio, The Charter of the 
City of New York, "printed by order of the 
Mayor, Recorder, and Commonalty of the City 


TTbe Hew HJorft press anO Its flDafcers 


aforesaid." Any one who wishes to be per- 
sonally acquainted with Zenger's work as a 
publisher and maker of books may consult, in 
the Lenox Library, The Adorable Ways of 
God three sermons printed in 1726. It is 
a square old volume, roughly bound, with un- 
even edges. The paper is pale brown, and 
has that peculiar brittle quality dear to the 
lovers of old books. The type is clear, but 
the imprint of each page is slightly confused 
by the impressions from its other side. The 
wide margins and curious, decorated initial 
letters add to the beauty of this valuable 
specimen of old-time printing. 

These books and pamphlets did not inter- 
fere with the regular publication of the Weekly 
Journal, which Zenger resumed after his trial. 
It was a small sheet, with a type page meas- 
uring a little over five inches by nine inches 
and a half, with uncomfortably narrow mar- 
gins, and not laudable in its printing, its make- 
up, or its editing. Indeed, its editor was no 
scholar, and his German boyhood had left him 
without an exact command of English. But 
his paper was entirely alive, and his lampoons 
on the government were novel in their auda- 
city and startling in their strength. 

The Journal sold at three shillings each 
quarter, its advertisements paying three shil- 
lings a week for the first week, and a shilling 
each for every succeeding week. It was ad- 

TTbe Hew H)orfe press anfc fits flDafeers 


vertised as " Containing the Freshest Advices, 
Foreign and Domestick," and although the 
freshness seems stale indeed in the light of 
modern enterprise, the news "both foreign 
and domestick " covered an astonishing 
amount of ground. Letters from abroad show 
the constancy with which the people of New 
York clung to their mother country and her 
interests. First place was almost always 
given to these foreign despatches, inter-colo- 
nial news being considered of much less im- 
portance. Sometimes contributed letters, 
such as those on " The Liberty of The Press," 
signed by " Cato," usurped the first page of 
two or three numbers in succession. On 
December 24, 1733, one John Gardner, a 
mariner of Boston, swears to the authenticity 
of his map of the fortifications of Louisburg, 
which is published in that issue, and tells the 
exciting story of his acquaintance with the 
town, judging that it may be of use to his 
countrymen in case of a war with France. 

When Zenger died, in 1746, the paper was 
carried on by his widow and his eldest son, 
in "Stone Street, near Fort George": carried 
on with great improvement in printing and 
contents, until 1751, when Mrs. Zenger's 
death seems to have taken away its controlling 
force, and it came to an end. 

Another apprentice of William Bradford 
was James Parker, a New Jersey boy, who, 

Item* of 
tUwi in 
tbe Hew* 



IRew l^orfc press anfc flts flDafcers 


tired of work and confinement, tried for his 
independence by running away from his mas- 
ter. Bradford advertised a small reward for 
his return ; the boy found his way back, and 
served out his term faithfully, learning his 
trade so well that he succeeded to his master's 
post as Printer of the Province when that 
good man retired. In that same year, 1742-3, 
Parker began the issue of the third newspaper 
in the province The New-York Weekly Post- 
Boy. In 1746, after Bradford's original Gazette 
had been merged in The New-York Evening 
Post, under De Foreest's management, Parker 
enlarged his paper, calling it The New-York 
Gazette Revived in The Weekly Post-Boy. At 
this time, also, he succeeded to a goodly share 
of William Bradford's subscription list. The 
paper, in its new shape, a small folio, with a 
type-page measuring six and a half by ten 
and a half inches, was pleasant to the eye, 
well printed and well edited. For these rea- 
sons it deserved the good repute and good 
sales which were its portion, and for more, 
because it contained real news, having items 
from St. Petersburg, Vienna, Berlin, Stock- 
holm, Paris, and London ; this newest news 
being not over two months old ! The inter- 
est in the details of foreign affairs remains 
undiminished, and these details are somewhat 
better arranged and edited than in Zenger's 

Ube flew iporft press ant) Its flDafeers 135 

The Post-Boy of June 10, 1745, contains a Ube 
careful map and plan of the siege of Louis- 
burg, published in the hope that it will be of 
value to the subscribers, inasmuch as many 
of the besieging force had friends and rela- 
tions in the province. The issue of February 
26, 1750, gives notice of the coming of a com- 
pany of comedians from Philadelphia, who 
"will give performances in a room of the 
building belonging to the estate of Rip Van 
Dam, Esquire, deceased." This building, the 
first theatre in the town, stood on the site of 
the present numbers 64 and 66, Nassau Street, 
that plot of land remaining whole and uncut. 
This more recent structure, covering its entire 
site, has yet an air of sedate antiquity to 
modern eyes, and something in its square 
stolidity still suggests the " Estate of Rip Van 
Dam, Esquire." As far as is known, this is 
the first notice of the first play-acting in the 
town. The advertisement runs as follows : 

" By his Excellency's Permission, At the 
Theatre in Nassau Street, On Monday the 5th 
of March, next, Will be presented the Histori- 
cal Tragedy 


King Richard 3rd ! 

Wrote originally by Shakespeare, and altered 
by Colley Gibber, Esquire. In this play are 
contained the Death of King Henry 6th ; the 

flew jj?orfe ipress ant) Its flDafeers 


notice of 



artful acquisition of the crown by King Rich- 
ard, the murder of the Princes in the Tower; 
the landing of the Earl of Richmond, and the 
Battle of Bosworth Field. 

" Tickets will be ready to be delivered by 
Thursday next, and to be had of the printer 

" Pitt, five shillings; Gallery, three shillings. 
To begin precisely at half an hour after six 
o'clock, and no person to be admitted behind 
the scenes.'' 

The Gazette and Post-Boy of September 24, 
1750, prints the following: 

"On Thursday evening the tragedy of 
' Cato ' was played at the theatre in this city, 
before a very numerous audience, the greater 
part of whom were of the opinion that it 
was pretty well performed. As it was the 
fullest assembly that has ever appeared in that 
house, it may serve to prove that the taste of 
this place is not so much vitiated or lost to a 
sense of liberty, but that they can prefer a 
representation of Virtue to one of loose char- 
acter. ' The Recruiting Officer ' will be pre- 
sented this evening." 

From such decorous and unboastful begin- 
nings has the New York School of Dramatic 
Criticism "grown so great." The item con- 
tinues: "The House being new floored, is 
made warm and comfortable, besides which 

ZTbe flew H?orfe press an& Its flDafters 


Gentlemen and Ladies may cause their stoves 
to be brought." These small foot-stoves 
iron cages, with embers in the pan were in 
every-day use at this time ; now they are 
gathered into collections and museums. 

In 1770, James Parker "closed all his earthly 
concerns," and his journal quietly expired 
three years later. 

William Weyman, another apprentice of 
Bradford, acted as James Parker's assistant 
for a few years, and then, in 1759, started his 
own New-York Gazette. This was a poor 
affair, having no vitality. The proof-reading 
was so wretched that its owner and editor 
was constantly in trouble; being haled to the 
bar of the Assembly of New York, and forced 
to beg for mercy for some of his errors, which 
had seemed to cast a slight on that honorable 
body. So early were seen symptoms of 
sensitiveness on the part of the provincial 
authorities, signs of the strain that was begin- 
ning to be felt. Although poor enough as a 
newspaper, Weyman's Gazette is absorbing 
reading to the lover of history, for it is full of 
reports or rather rumors from the front, of 
the way the " French and Indian " War 
was going. It prints a manifesto from General 
Wolfe in full, and on August 6, 1759, it joy- 
fully records the taking of Ticonderoga by 
Amherst, ten days after that almost bloodless 
victory, which helped to wipe out the cruel 



Ube Hew H>orfe press an& flts 

repulse of the preceding year. This feeble 
journal languished until 1767, and then expired 
of inanition. 

A more vigorous personality than Weyman's 
is that of John Holt, a Virginian, who came to 
New York in 1759, and soon appears as a 
partner of James Parker. He was assistant 
editor of The New- York Gazette and Weekly 
Post-Boy, for a year or two, and had entire 
control of the paper from 1762 to 1766. Then 
he quarrelled with Parker, and set up his own 
paper, The New-York Journal, "Contain- 
ing the freshest advices, Foreign and 
Domestick." It contained, too, the freshest 
thoughts and deepest convictions of this 
ardent patriot and devoted Whig, as well as 
frequent contributions from his fellow-Whigs ; 
and it had a sudden success, and large sales. 
This was the first paper to be wholly and 
frankly given over to the cause of the patriots. 
On June 23, 1774, Holt removed the royal arms 
from his title, and substituted Franklin's de- 
vice, the serpent cut in pieces, with the 
warning motto, ' ' Unite or Die. " This simple 
design held the place of the royal arms until 
December 15, 1774, when this same serpent 
appears, united and coiled, with his tail in his 
mouth, making a double ring, enclosing a 
pillar crowned by a liberty cap, and held up- 
right by many hands on the firm foundation 
of "Magna Charta." The following inscrip- 

Bew H}orfe press anfc Its flDafeers 


tion, printed on the body of the snake, fol- 
lows its double coil. 

" United now, alive and free, firm on this basis, liberty shall 

stand ; 

And thus supported, ever bless our land ; 
Till time becomes eternity." 

These two symbols, both strong and sug- 
gestive, caught the popular eye, and this ob- 
ject-lesson sank into the popular mind. 

In 1776, his fearlessly expressed principles 
forced Holt to fly from New York. He took 
with him only his press, leaving behind, and 
losing, all else he possessed. For seven years, 
he and his press wandered from one town to 
another along the Hudson, now at Fishkill, 
then farther north at Esopus, now farther in- 
land, as he was forced by the advances and 
retreats of the British lines ; sending out his 
militant journal, with undaunted courage and 
admirable regularity, throughout the war. 
This was the first instance of a printing press 
being set up outside of any of the large towns, 
and it was not a financial success, so that, at 
the close of the war, Holt gladly came back 
to New York, continuing his paper under the 
title of The Independent Gazette or the New- 
York Journal. 

At his death in the year following the peace, 
1784, a notable figure, and a genuine force was 
lost to the American Press. He was an able 

TZbe *lew 




press anfc Its flDafeers 

TTbe f nJ>e 

editor and an admirable writer as well as a 
pugnacious patriot. He was a good church- 
man too, and his slab, in the burial ground 
hard by the southwest corner of the old Tory 
chapel of St. Paul's, is in place there, willing as 
he was to worship in that structure whence 
every royal sign and symbol had been torn by 
a revolutionary mob, leaving only not notic- 
ing in the patriotic burst of destruction the 
three feathers of Wales, on the sounding board 
above the pulpit. This princely emblem re- 
mains in position to this day, while the words 
Whig and Tory have been dropped from the 
vocabulary of American polititsT 

The Independent Gazette remained in the 
Widow Holt's hands until 1787, when it was 
sold, together with Holt's printing-office, to 
Thomas Greenleaf, who changed the one paper 
into two, renamed them, and made them the 
earliest Democratic organs in the country. The 
later life of these papers cannot be recorded 
here, for they passed into other hands, and 
outlived the century . 

In marked contrast with Holt's firm character 
stands, or rather wobbles, the Irishman, Hugh 
Gaine. His political creed, "it seems" in 
the words of a competent witness "was to 
join the strongest party," Not certain whether 
Whig or Tory were to prove the stronger, he 
actually, after a vain attempt to remain neutral, 
belonged to both ! He had begun his New- 

flew H?orh press an& Its flDafeers 

York Mercury in 1752, and had enlarged it, in 
1770, under the title, also enlarged, of The * ain< 
New-York Gazette, and The Weekly Mercury." 
This paper he had kept fairly neutral, when the 
war first broke out : but he took the precau- 
tion to set up another paper of the same name 
in Newark, New Jersey, where he considered 
it safe and politic to be a staunch Whig in all 
his utterances. This Newark edition was 
begun on September 21, 1776, its first issue 
being a folio, uniform, so far as externals went, 
with the New York issue of September ninth, 
which was its immediate predecessor. The 
second number came out as a quarto, why no 
one seems to have taken the trouble to explain, 
and in this shape the paper was continued 
until November second, when it ceased ab- 
ruptly, with no editorial warning. In fact, there 
is nothing to show that this Newark paper 
was a new or separate venture in any way, 
the impression, which was carefully conveyed 
to the subscriber, being, that Mr. Gaine, like 
many another ardent patriot, had been forced 
to seek refuge for his press outside New York. 
His transplanted patriotism grew smaller as 
the British successes grew greater. In his 
New York paper, meanwhile, he published 
many proclamations of Lord Howe and his 
brother, and addresses of fulsome loyalty 
from the citizens who had chosen to stay in 
the town. In the Newark issue of November 


Ube IRew li?orfe press an& flts /IDafeers 





second he printed a long selection from the 
Connecticut Gazette with this explanatory note : 
"The following articles are taken from the 
New- York Mercury, printed in New York at 
the house lately kept by Mr. Gaine which we 
received via Long Island." The article in 
question a detailed account of the various 
engagements which gave the British posses- 
sion of New York, spiced with mockery and 
abuse of the American forces, was taken 
from Gaine's own paper, his New York issue 
of October 7, 1776 ; while, in his Newark 
paper of October fifth, there is an anxious 
letter from a large investor in the English 
funds, who is so sure that the Americans will 
win within a few months that he bewails the 
inevitable fall in British securities and his own 
loss of income ! 

Even Hugh Gaine would be put to the blush 
could he see the two records of his great feat 
in journalistic hedging, bound in one volume 
as they now are at the Lenox Library. The 
Newark Mercury once abandoned, the New 
York paper became so frankly and wholly 
loyal, that the evacuation of the city left Mr. 
Gaine in a decidedly difficult position, from 
which he could extricate himself only by 
petitioning the Assembly to allow him to re- 
main in the city and to continue his paper. 
The petition was granted, but there was no 
room for Gaine's peculiar editorial principles 

ZIbe IRew HJorfe press and Its flDafeers 

amid a people so much in earnest, and his 
paper ceased its existence in November, 1783. 
Gaine hung out his sign at the " Bible and 
Crown " in Hanover Square for full forty years, 
pouring forth from his press a ceaseless stream 
of pamphlets, almanacs, and books: among 
these last, the first American edition of Robin- 
son Crusoe, and another famous volume en- 
titled Military Collections and Remarks, by 
one Major Donkin, published in 1777. It is a 
well printed octavo, and its frontispiece, rep- 
resenting Lord Percy receiving friendly atten- 
tions from Fame, is a fine engraving by J. 
Smithers. The real and abiding interest of 
the book is found in the fact that, with the ex- 
ception of one copy, every existing specimen 
of the Military Collections has been carefully 
expurgated. The little paragraph which has 
been "scissored out" does not deserve quo- 
tation, for it is only a dastardly suggestion 
that poisoned arrows should be used against 
the American forces to inoculate "these stub- 
born, ignorant, enthusiastic savages " with 
their dread enemy, the small-pox. Yet the 
fact remains that Donkin wrote it, Gaine 
printed it, and some person left just this one 
paragraph uncut, for the amusement of those 
who go to-day in search of literary curi- 
osities. Gaine amassed great wealth by his 
strict devotion to business, and to no princi- 
ple beyond that of money-getting. As may 





"Hew IPorfc press anfc Its flDafeers 

be supposed, there was much cleverness and 
even brilliancy in this ingenious time-server, 
and his paper shows taste and ability ; but he 
lived at the wrong time, either too early or too 
late for the exercise of his shifty talents. 

Among the publishers who were forced to 
flee from New York in 1776 was Samuel Lou- 
don, an Irishman, who had established, early 
in that year, his New- York Packet and Ameri- 
can Advertiser, the last newspaper started in 
New York before the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence. This paper, which was printed at 
Fishkill during the years of the war, is inter- 
esting to the student of history more for the 
pleasing variations in its elaborate title, with 
its fine cut of a full-rigged clipper ship and its 
old English lettering and delicate scroll-work, 
than for the dry details in its three-columned 
page of fine print. 

After the declaration of peace, Loudon re- 
turned to New York and established himself 
at 5 Water Street, between Old Slip and the 
famous Coffee House, on the corner of Wall 
and Water Streets. Later he turned his paper 
from a weekly to a daily, and, later still, 
changed its name to The Diary, or London's 
Register. In its later numbers, his journal, 
which ran on until 1792, fell below its own 
early standard, and far below that of its con- 
temporaries, losing even its especial feature 
of a picturesque title, and becoming content 

TIbe View HJorft press an& Its flDafeers 

with plain lettering. Loudon's Magazine, 
made up of "elegant extracts," etc., was the 
first publication of the kind issued in New York. 

There was but one newspaper printed in 
New York during the British occupation that 
continued to live after the departure of that 
army. This was the New- York Morning Post, 
established in 1782, by William Morton, with 
whom was associated Samuel Horner. This 
paper was changed to a daily in 1786, and 
had its day until 1788. 

James Rivington, a notable figure in these 
ranks under review, appeared first in New 
York in September, 1760, when he announced 
himself, from Hanover Square, as "the only 
London bookseller in America." He had 
grown rich as a publisher in Paternoster Row, 
London, but Newmarket enticed him, and its 
bookmakers carried off the bookseller's for- 
tune. With his native vigor, and little else, 
he started out to retrieve his losses in the new 
world. From New York, he went to Phila- 
delphia for three years, but finally established 
himself permanently in this town in 1765, and 
in 1772, added a printing office to his shop. 
On April 22, 1773, he bought out The New- 
York Gazetteer, adorned with a fine cut of a 
ship, labelled The London Packet ; promising, 
with much flourish, in a long prospectus, that 
it should be a better weekly than any yet seen 
in the town. 



ZTbe flew HJorfe press anfc Hts /IDafeers 


The promise was kept : only Zenger's paper 
could compare with the Gazetteer. Petty and 
inadequate as it is to modern eyes, it was an 
improvement on all preceding papers, in the 
quality of its writing and the freshness of its 
news. Sales were large and advertisements 
the test of modern success came in rapidly. 
Two specimens, among the many, will serve 
to show the then form of advertisement : 
"To be lett, and entered upon the first 
day of May next " the moving day of 
modern New York can trace its origin back 
through more than a century " the two 
houses at present occupied by Abraham Lott, 
Esquire, nearly opposite the Fly-Market. For 
particulars apply to Mrs. Provoost, on Golden 
Hill." The "Fly Market" which took its 
name from a corruption of the Dutch K/y 
or Vlaie, a marsh or salt-meadow occu- 
pies various sites on the old maps of New 
York, from old Queen Street to the corner 
now occupied by its lineal descendent Fulton 
Market. The weight of authority seems to 
place it at the head of what is now Burling 
Slip. "Golden Hill" gave its pleasant name 
to that part of our present John Street which 
lies between William and Pearl Streets. 

The second extract shows that gentlemen 
were given to letting their mansions, from 
time to time, even as they do to-day : "To 
be lett, from the 25th of March next, or sooner 

"Hew H>orh press ant> Its flDafcers 147 

if wanted, the pleasant situated, and conve- 
nient house and grounds of William Bayard, 
Esquire, at Greenwich. Any person inclining 
to hire the same may apply to the owner 
living on the premises, or to Mr. James Riv- 
ington." It is curious to note that the English 
rental quarter-days had survived the voyage 
to this country. This house of William Bay- 
ard stood on the bank of the North River, 
just above the present Christopher Street ; 
thither they carried Alexander Hamilton after 
his fatal duel on Weehawken Heights, rowing 
him carefully across the broad river, and there 
he died after a day of hopeless suffering. A 
portion of the house was standing until within 
a few years. 

The title of Rivington's paper grew with 
its growth, reaching its extreme limit in 1775, 
when it became Rivington's New- York Ga^- 
etteer, or, The Connecticut, Hudson's River, 
New-Jersey, and Quebec Weekly Advertiser, 
" printed at his open and uninfluenced press 
fronting Hanover Square." "Open and un- 
influenced " for a few months only, for, neutral 
at the start or at least impartial and fair 
Rivington's press had become a violent Tory 
in 1774. At about this time, when other 
printers were removing the royal arms from 
their titles, Rivington adopted them, giving 
them the place formerly held by his " London 
Packet." It is a coincidence, at least, that in 


Hew i>or. K press anfc 1 ts flDafeers 


July, 1774, Lord North had sent out a hand- 
bill, offering ^500 to the printer who would 
steadily advocate and promote all ministerial 

The new tone of the Gazetteer aroused 
intense wrath throughout the province ; its 
libels and fabrications in the interest of the 
Administration vexed even the Tories ; it was 
more loyal than the king himself ! Perhaps it 
unconsciously aided "the good cause" to 
use the expression of Harvey Birch by its 
wholesome stimulation of the " patriots." 
That stimulus went so far, in 1775, as to 
move the mob, mainly from Connecticut, to 
wreck Rivington's shop twice, the second 
time destroying his presses and melting his 
type for bullets. He was forced to cease pub- 
lication while he went to London to buy new 
presses. In 1777, having brought back from 
England his appointment as printer to the 
king, as well as the necessary presses and 
type, he began again the issue of his paper, 
calling it at first Rwington's New-York Loyal 
Gazette, and later, The Royal Gazette, "pub- 
lished at New York, by James Rivington, 
Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty." 
Its popular title was short and pithy "The 
Lying Gazette. " This came out twice a week. 
In its columns, August i, 1781, appeared the 
first canto of John Andre's "Cow Chace; " the 
poem running through three numbers, its last 

cbe "Hew LJocfc press and Its /Bakers 


canto being published on the very day of the 
capture of the jaunty author by the comrades- 
in-arms of the " Warrio-drover Wayne." 

The first attempt at a daily paper in New 
York was made by Rivington, in connection 
with the editors of four other Royalist papers, 
who arranged their weekly issues in such 
order that, with the assistance of Rivington's 
bi-weekly Gazette, each day had its special 

When "the rebels" became the govern- 
ment, Rivington, in his anxiety to retain his 
subscription list, and to continue his paper, 
printed the following explanation and apology 
in its columns : 

"To the public : The publisher of this 
paper, sensible that his zeal for the success of 
his Majesty's arms, his sanguine wishes for 
the good of his country, and his friendship for 
individuals, have, at times, led him to credit 
and circulate paragraphs without investigating 
the facts so closely as his duty to the public 
demanded trusting to their feelings, and de- 
pending on their generosity he begs them to 
look over past errors and depend on future 
correctness. From henceforth he will neither 
expect nor solicit their favors longer than his 
endeavors shall stamp the same degree of 
authenticity and credit on the Royal Gazette 
(of New York) as all Europe allows to the 
Royal Gazette of London. " This did not suffice, 

first at 

tempt at a 


ZTbe Hew l^orfc press ant) Its /IDafeers 

ton's Btti= 

and his truthful Gazette failed to inherit the 
success of its lying predecessor, and so died a 
natural death on December 31, 1783. 

Rivington died in 1802, in his house in 
Pearl Street, No 156, on the northeast cor- 
ner of Wall Street. Rivington Street, which 
those who remember it as "the prettiest street 
in all New York " would gladly connect with 
this picturesque old Tory, took its name from 
an entirely different family. 

Despite the possible indirect influence of 
Lord North's ^"500, it may not be said that 
James Rivington's attitude was not conscien- 
tious ; conviction was as common with the 
Tories as with the Whigs ; there was only 
one Hugh Gaine, and only here and there, on 
either side, one who, like a modern Irish 
" Patriot" was " grateful to God that he had 
a country to sell." Indeed, it was the honesty 
and earnestness on both sides that gave birth 
to such bitterness, and aroused a more fero- 
cious animosity in the rebel heart against the 
native "Royalist" than was felt toward the 
British oppressors. For twenty years before 
the outbreak of the Revolution there had been 
agitation, constantly growing stronger ; tu- 
mult, and ultimately terror, impassioned men's 
minds. It was not a period of repose, civic, 
domestic, or personal ; no man breathed tran- 
quilly, no voice spoke gently, no pen was en- 
listed for decorous and urbane combat. And 

ZTbe "Hew JlJorfe press anfc Uts flDafeers 

many pens regulars and volunteers were 
in motion during these years ; at first only in 
defence of political rights, urging that they 
should be preserved within due bounds, with 
no suggestion of breaking loose from the 
mother country ; then in defiance, advocating 
independence, and expressing the conviction 
of the larger portion of the people that separa- 
tion was the sole salvation of their constitu- 
tional rights. 

Throughout this perturbed period, and 
during the war that followed, there was a 
plentiful out-put of newspaper-letters from 
private and official pens, state papers, political 
essays, addresses and sermons, and especially 
of pamphlets then with us the most stirring 
appeal to the populace, as with France a little 
later, as with England a little earlier. They 
spoke on both sides, and were strikingly ear- 
nest and authentic documents voicing the sen- 
timents and judgments of the entire country. 
And these poor, ill-printed, dull-faced little 
sheets had their share in the work : not by 
virtue of their editorial pages, which were 
hardly known as we know them, but through 
the communications sent to them by the best 
thinkers and the hardest workers on either 
side, as has been noticed in the case of Holt's 
Journal, and as was the case with most of 
the other papers. Each of them had its own 
corps of contributors, men of ability, character, 



TTbe TRew iorfc press an& fits /iDafeers 



and standing, who were glad to work, with- 
out hire, for the good cause as each one judged 
it. This form of quasi-editorial writing gave 
telling impulse to the movement towards 
revolution, and when war had once begun, 
contributed immensely to its success. 

It is beyond the province of this paper, on a 
local press only, to do more than refer, with 
respect and gratitude, to the work done and 
the help given by the greatest journalist, the 
most powerful writer of pamphlets during this 
period, "Tom" Paine. But it is of local in- 
terest to note that the latest homes of the man 
who was a phenomenal force in our early his- 
tory, who, with his Common Sense, wrought 
an effect " rarely produced by types and paper 
in any age or country," were in our city, and 
that one of them is still standing, almost un- 
changed, at No. 309 Bleecker Street. This 
street was then named Herring Street, and the 
little two-story and attic house, which stands 
so dingily on the street, had its garden once, 
and was trim and orderly after the fashion of 
its day, a fashion dimly suggested to us by its 
delicate dormer windows, and huge chimney. 

To this house Paine came in July, 1808 
Madame Bonneville, and her two sons, who 
had followed him from France, living quite 
near and here, under the care of his land- 
lady, Mrs. Ryder, he spent quiet and serene 
months. Here, as we stand in the busy street, 

ZTbe Hew liJorK press ant) Its flDafeers 


we can fancy the worn warrior sitting, reading 
at his favorite front window, or perhaps in the 
sunlit little garden. In April, 1809, when his 
increasing infirmities demanded more constant 
care, Madame Bonneville moved with him to 
a house standing well back from Herring 
Street, approached by a path through the 
great gardens of that day : there he died on 
the eighth of June, 1809. Grove Street has 
been cut through these old gardens, and the 
site of the room in which Paine died is now 
occupied by Number 59 in that street. His 
martial mission to his adopted country had 
ended with the successful close of the war he 
had done so much to sustain and speed. ' ' The 
times that tried men's souls are over," he 
wrote in the last number of his Crisis, after 
the news of the negotiation of the treaty at 
Paris had reached him. 

But John Jay, three years later, when the 
first flush of victory had passed and the future 
was dark with unanswered questions, wrote to 
Washington ; " I am uneasy and apprehensive, 
more so than during the war." And with rea- 
son, for although the question of independence 
had been answered, other issues almost as 
vital, were to be discussed, other appeals 
almost as impassioned, were to be made. And 
now a new mission began for the New York 
Press. The writers, who had brought suc- 
cess to the Revolution almost as much as had 

>eatb of 




TTbe f*ew H>orfe press ant) Hts 


the men in the field, now turned their pens, 
with equal energy, to settling the political 
problems that came with the peace. For this 
new warfare, with new weapons, men did not 
stop to put on gloves, any more than did 
those eager partisans who had thrown the tea 
into the harbors. 

Of the many pre-Revolutionary papers, but 
one or two survived the seven years of strife, 
and even this remnant changed hands, and 
sometimes names. New journals came to fill 
the vacant places, and the press improved 
greatly in ability and in influence, dividing its 
forces between the two great political parties, 
now first formed on vital national issues : the 
Federalists, devoted to the new constitution, 
and to Washington's administration; and the 
Anti-Federalists dubbed " Democrats " in 
derision reinforced by the Democratic-Re- 
publicans, generalled by Jefferson, and guided 
by the essential principles of the French Revo- 
lution. The attempt to create a strong central 
government and a closer union between the 
States, met with violent opposition from many 
men with many motives, some of whom 
feared to lose their personal advantage and 
limited glory if their States were merged in a 

One New York paper deserves mention 
here simply for the sake of its issue of Oc- 
tober 27, 1787. The first number of the 

"Hew l^orft press anfc Uts flDafeers 


Federalist appeared, on that day, in the col- 
umns of The Independent Journal, printed by 
J. and A. McLean, in Hanover Square. The 
after numbers of this, "the greatest treatise 
of government that has ever been written," 
were published, in the Packet and other 
papers, through the summer of 1788. Each 
of the numbers was signed "Publius," a pen- 
name used in common by Hamilton, Jay, and 
Madison. Three of these brilliant political 
papers were written by Hamilton and Madison 
in collaboration : of the remainder, Jay wrote 
five ; Madison, thirteen ; and Hamilton, sixty- 

Then, as now, the city of New York was 
the key to the political situation, and the 
leaders of the two parties Hamilton and Jay 
on the one side, Burr and the Livingstons on 
the other turned all their energies toward 
securing the vote of the town. In this con- 
flict, the newspapers played an important 
part, carrying the " liberty of the Press " to its 
farthest limit, in their bitter attacks on their 
opponents. In addition to the great national 
points at issue, there were many minor mat- 
ters that caused what seems to us at this dis- 
tance ludicrous virulence of feeling and of 
language : such as the intrigues to remove 
the seat of government from town to town, 
with intent to secure a sufficiently central 
spot, where living should be cheap ; the res- 


I S 6 

Zlbe flew H?orft press an& Its Rafters 

of feeling 
an& Ian* 


toration of the Tories to their former rights 
of citizenship ; the Alien and Sedition laws of 
1798 ; the demand for the suppression of that 
blameless body, the Society of the Cincinnati, 
on the ground that it was fated to lead to a 
" military nobility and an hereditary aris- 
tocracy " ; the furious electoral struggle be- 
tween Burr and Jefferson in 1801 ; Burr's trial 
at Richmond in 1807, for attempted treason 
"at a certain place called and known by the 
name of Blennerhassett's Island " ; the outcry 
for the strengthening of the navy, too feeble 
to protect our fast-growing sea trade ; the 
rights of search enforced by the British, in all 
waters, even within sight of our shores ; the 
pitiable affair of the Chesapeake in June, 
1807 ; the famous proclamation of President 
Madison, the embargo, and the embittered 
negotiations that preceded the war of 1812. 

In these discussions, the journals and fre- 
quent pamphlets lashed themselves into a 
fury, hounded on by the powers behind 
politicians, place-hunters, patriots whose 
patriotism, in too many cases, was covered 
completely by Dr. Johnson's definition, "the 
last refuge of a scoundrel." 

That the observant foreigner was not lack- 
ing to chronicle this unhappy state of affairs 
is shown by a fat and foolish volume, issued 
from the press of Cundee, in Ivy Lane, and 
written by an Englishman, Charles William 

ZIbe "Hew i!>orfe press an& Its flDafeers 


Janson, Esquire, under the imposing title of 
Observations on the Genius, Manners, and 
Customs of the United States, Made During 
a Long Residence in that Country. "The 
Stranger in America," as he styled himself, 
found nothing in this land, during the latter 
part of the eighteenth and the beginning of 
the nineteenth century, to please him. His 
fine feelings were constantly affronted, his 
dignity rumpled, by all with whom he came 
in contact, from the " pert virgin " demanding 
admiration, to the "sullen Yankee" harbor- 
ing resentment. " Among the lower orders," 
he querulously complains, "in spite of his 
endeavors to adapt his behaviour to their 
satisfaction, he was regarded as proud and 
haughty ; while a distant kind of envious ob- 
sequiousness, tinctured by an affectation of 
superiority, was but too evident in the ma- 
jority of his equals." He becomes lachry- 
mose over "their persistent rancour against 
the mother country ; so pointed also in their 

With the power and excesses of that press, 
he is impressed, with real reason, for nothing 
is more striking than its cruelty and coarse- 
ness, its venomous vigor of invective, its con- 
tempt of all that should be sacred in political 
warfare and in private life. Too many of its 
editors and writers were, in the words of 
gentle old Isaiah Thomas, " destitute at once 

tions of a 

i 5 8 

TTbe IFlew U>orfe press ant) Uts /foafeers 




ness of 

tbe press 

of the urbanity of gentlemen, the information 
of scholars, and the principles of virtue." 
They raged madly at one another as "vermin 
and foxes," as "minions of sedition," as "no- 
torious Jacobins." Bache, of Philadelphia, 
was styled "the greatest fool, and most stub- 
born sans-culotte " in the land. His Aurora 
spoke of Washington as "the man who is the 
source of all misfortunes to the country," and 
coarsely quoted, when the first President re- 
tired to Mount Vernon after the inauguration 
of Adams, "Now lettest Thou Thy servant 
depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen Thy 
salvation " ; exultant that "the name of Wash- 
ington from this day ceases to give currency 
to political iniquity and to legalized corrup- 
tion." Major Benjamin Russell, in his Sen- 
tinel, is equally hysterical over the election of 
Jefferson. Callender spoke of President Adams 
as " a hoary-headed incendiary, the scourge, 
the scorn, the outcast of society." 

These amenities were not confined to edi- 
tors, and it is a high government official, 
Pickering, the Postmaster-General, who ex- 
presses his opinion in the following gentle 
statement : "The critic is a liar, who lies be- 
cause it is natural to him and because he can- 
not help it." Among themselves the editors 
exchanged even more pointed personalities, so 
that suits for slander, wherein the defendant 
had sometimes only to read aloud in court the 

View H)orft press anfc 1 ts flDafeers 


plaintiff's own words to be acquitted, street 
brawls with fists and pistols, duels, and even 
murders, were not at all infrequent. This 
astoundingly shabby spectacle ceased to exist 
only toward the end of the second war with 
England, when the various American victories, 
ashore and at sea, were hailed with equal ex- 
ultation by both factions of the press and the 
people. Parties were drawn closer together, 
partisan poison became attenuated in the body 
politic, and with the election of Monroe, Fed- 
eralism, as a force, faded away, "the era of 
good feeling coming in," as Major Russell ex- 
pressed it. 

In the midst of the most rancorous period, 
a paper was started which took no note of 
party strife. This was The Shipping and Com- 
mercial List and New-York Price Current, 
which was first published on December 19, 
1795, by one James Oram, a New York printer, 
at 33 Liberty Street the then recently re- 
named Crown Street. This paper concerned 
itself with business only, and printed no gen- 
eral news which, perhaps, accounts for the 
fact that it was not drawn into the quarrels of 
the time and devoted its weekly issue to 
commercial, financial, and shipping interests, 
with their allied industries and trades. In 
1795, John Jay negotiated his much criticised 
commercial treaty with England, insuring the 
American merchant marine from Great Britain's 

Cbc Sbip 

ping and 


cial list 

ant flew* 

Cork price 



ZTbe flew liJorfc press an& Its flDafeers 



privateers ; so laying the foundation for what 
was once one of the greatest industries of the 
United States its carrying trade to other 
countries. This new life found no voice in 
the daily press of that day, and John Gram's 
paper, a folio of letter-sheet size, which came 
out every Monday, was of immense value to 
merchants with its full accounts of all shipping 
matters, the sailings oi every vessel, and the 
current prices of all staple commodities. 

The Shipping and Commercial List and New- 
York Price Current is still in existence, that 
old name serving as the sub-title of The New 
York Commercial a title which it has been 
allowed to adopt after some legal difficulties 
with its contemporary of a hundred years 
standing, The Commercial Advertiser and 
claims to be the oldest paper of its sort in the 
country. The little weekly folio is grown to 
be an important daily of sixteen pages, still 
devoted entirely to snipping and trade news, 
finding a large demand for its special infor- 
mation, in spite of the fact that modern 
journals devote so much space to the same 

In 1895, was celebrated the centenary of 
trade journalism and of American commercial 
freedom, a fitting commemoration of John Jay's 
diplomacy and of John Gram's journal, whose 
file for the last hundred years gives a complete 
detailed account of one of our greatest interests. 

be THew 

press anfc Its 


If it were possible to get complete files of 
the many literary and political papers in our 
land and in this town that were contemporary 
with the Shipping and Commercial List, one 
would have at hand all the doings of "History 
in her workshop." The statistics that cover 
only so short a period as that between Janu- 
ary and July, 1810, are full of interest and sur- 
prise, for the proportion of political journals to 
the population was greater than the world had 
ever witnessed ; more surprising still when 
we bear in mind that the great body of the 
reading and criticising public was employed 
in daily labor. At no time and in no land had 
the masses hitherto had access so easily and 
so cheaply to the news and the knowledge 
and the discussions of the public press ; and 
they were bent on improving their opportuni- 
ties at any cost, even at the cost of the pub- 
lishers. When unable to pay in current coin, 
they paid in all sorts of odd merchandise, and 
distant subscribers were supplied on credit : 
"which accounts," says a naive chronicler 
of the period, "for the large circulation of 
some journals." 

tion of 

to popu* 


162 Ube flew JlJorft press an& Its fl&afcers 

[Specific references to newspapers are given in the text.] 

The History of Printing in America, with a Biography 
of Printers, and an Account of Newspapers. ISAIAH 
THOMAS, printer, Worcester, 1810. 

Journalism in the United States, from 1690 to 1872. 
FREDERICK HUDSON, New York, 1873. 

Printers and Printing in New York. C. R. HILDEBURN, 
New York, 1895. 

Address delivered at the Celebration by the New York His- 
torical Society, May 20, 186}, of the Two Hundredth 
Anniversary of the Birthday of Mr. William Brad- 
ford, who Introduced the Art of Printing into the 
Middle Colonies of British America. JOHN WILLIAM 
WALLACE, of Philadelphia. Albany, 1863. 

Military Collections and Remarks. MAJOR DONKIN. Hugh 
Gaine, New York, 1777. 

Old Streets, Roads, Lanes, Piers, and Wharves of New 
York, Showing Former and Present Names. JOHN G. 
POST, New York, 1882. 

The Life of Thomas Paine, with a History of his Literary, 
Political, and Religious Career in America, France, 
and England. MONCURE DANIEL CONWAY, New York, 



i6 S 

Half Moon Series 

Published in the Interest of the New York 
City History Club. 




NEW YORK is cosmopolitan, essentially 
so, beyond all large cities of the world. 
Absorbed in the whirl and stir of the To-day, 
occupied with vast schemes and enterprises 
for the To-morrow, overswept by a constant 
influx of new life and new elements, it seems 
to have no individual entity. It does not hold 
fast its old traditions, its past associations. It 
is hurried on, in the quickstep of its march of 
improvement, far away from its starting-point; 
and as it goes and grows with rapid progress 
into something new and vast, it ruthlessly 
obliterates its old landmarks and forgets its 
early history. It is well, sometimes, to look 
back and remember the beginning of things, 
to quicken our civic pride by measuring our 
growth, to recall the struggles and the con- 
quests which proved the courage, patience, 
and stamina of the people who made New 
York what it is. 

flDarcb of 




fowling Green 



There is no piece of land on Manhattan Is- 
land which has retained for a longer period its 
distinctive name, and at the same time fulfilled 
more thoroughly the purposes of its creation, 
than the small park at the extreme southern 
end of Broadway, known as Bowling Green. 
It is the one historic spot which has never 
lost its identity or been diverted from public 
use since the foundation of the city. 

The history of the city from the time when 
the good ship Sea Mew sailed into the bay, 
May 6, 1626, bearing the doughty Dutch Gov- 
ernor, Peter Minuet, with no city and no peo- 
ple as yet to govern, to the present, might 
almost be written from what has been seen 
and heard from this small plot of land. 

The West India Company was chartered by 
the States-General of Holland in 1 62 1 . In 1 625, 
enough capital had been raised, and colonists 
obtained, to warrant the Company in begin- 
ning to avail itself of the almost unlimited 
privileges granted, of exclusive trade along 
the whole Atlantic coast, and of almost sov- 
ereign power. The first act of the honest 
Dutchman on that May morn was to call to- 
gether the Manhattan tribe of Indians, proba- 
bly on the very site of the future Green. There 
he traded for the whole island, named after the 
tribe, estimated at that time to contain about 
" 1 1,000 Dutch morgens," ' or 22,000 acres, a 
quantity of beads, trinkets, etc., valued at sixty 

fowling Green 


guilders, or about twenty-four dollars, a sum 
far less than that now paid for a single square 
foot of any portion of that land which then 
came within his vision. From this sharp bar- 
gain was to grow the city that was destined 
to be the commercial metropolis of the new 
continent, and the second largest city of the 

In order to insure peaceable possession, a 
fort was built, seemingly under the direction 
of one Kryn Frederycke, and in 1635, a larger 
one was erected at the contract price of 
$1635. It was 300 feet long, and 250 wide. 
This enclosed the Governor's house, barracks, 
and, later, the church. The contract for the 
building of the church required it to be of 
" Rock Stone," 72 feet long, 52 feet broad, 
and 16 feet high. The price was $1000. This 
fort occupied the space between the present 
streets called Whitehall, Bridge, State, and 
Bowling Green. The sally-port was at the 

The large open space opposite the sally-port 
was set apart and known at first as "The 
Plaine," afterwards to become the Bowling 
Green. It held a place of great importance in 
the annals of the city in times of peace and times 
of war. This was the village green, which 
marked the growing social life of the people. 
Here the children played, looking far off into the 
watery distance as they remembered stories of 

Ube ffort 


Bowling 0reen 

Ibow tbe 
recn was 

their grandfathers' and fathers' homes beyond 
the sea ; here the youths and maidens danced 
on holidays and crowned their loveliest on the 
first of May, wreathing their May-poles with 
the early green. It was also the parade-ground 
for the soldiers. On Sundays, we can see it 
crowded with the country wagons of all de- 
scriptions, of those who came to worship at the 
church "within the Fort," the horses being 
turned loose to graze on the hillside running 
down to the water on the site of the present 
Battery. Here, also, was the well, built for the 
use both of the garrison and of the general pub- 
lic. Tradition has affirmed that the site of this 
well was originally a spring, the surplus waters 
of which ran in a little brook down the present 
line of Beaver Street, and contributed to form 
the marsh in the present Broad Street, then 
called " Blommaert's" Valley. 

Here Governor Van Twiller proved his valor 
and his contempt for the English. An English 
trading vessel came into the bay to trade with 
Indians up the river. One of the sailors de- 
poses that 

"The Dutch here inhabitinge send and com- 
mand all our Companye (excepte one boye) 
to come to their forte, where they staide about 
twoe houres and the Governor commande his 
gunner to make ready three peeces of ordnance 
and shott them off for the Prince of Orange, 
and sprede the Prince's Coloures. Where- 



upon Jacob Elekins, the merchant's factor of 
the Shippe, the William, commande William 
Fforde of Lymehouse (the gunner) to go abord 
the Shippe and sprede her coloures and shoote 
off three peeces of ordnance for the Kinge of 

Then Jacob Elekins coolly sailed up the river 
in defiance of the guns of the fort, leaving the 
astonished Governor to meditate on his auda- 
city. Thunderstruck at such an act of temer- 
ity, Van Twiller summoned all the people to 
"The Plaine," then ordering a cask of wine 
and another of beer to be rolled out, he filled 
a glass and called on all good citizens to drink 
a health to the Prince of Orange and confusion 
to the English. 

Here, after two years of a bloody and sav- 
age war with the surrounding Indians, during 
which the island was almost depopulated, the 
farms destroyed, and many adjacent settle- 
ments obliterated, the sachems of all the hos- 
tile tribes assembled August 30, 1645, smoked 
the calumet of peace, and buried the toma- 
hawk, pledging eternal friendship with the 
whites. 3 

In 1641, Governor Kieft established two an- 
nual fairs for the encouragement of agricul- 
ture, the first for cattle, to begin October 1 5, 
and the second for hogs, to begin November i. 
These were ordered to be held "att the mar- 
kett house and plaine afore the forte." This 

with tbe 


fowling 6reeri 


fair was the great annual event of the city, 
forerunner of the Horse Fair and Dog Show. 
We can picture the sturdy burghers and their 
fair vrouws, in all the glory of starched ruffs 
and variegated quilted petticoats, discussing 
the respective merits of their Holsteins and 
hogs. One inducement held out to attract 
strangers was that no one should be liable for 
arrest for debt during the continuance of the 
fair. This must have materially added to the 
number of visitors. 

The peace and quiet of the worthy burgh- 
ers, as indicated by these fairs and social gath- 
erings, were rudely shaken when, early in 
1653, a war having broken out between Eng- 
land and Holland, an invasion from New 
England was threatened. At a General Ses- 
sion of the Councillors held March 13, 1653, 4 
it was resolved, 

" i st. That the whole body of citizens shall 
keep watch by night in such places as shall 
be designated, the City Tavern to be the tem- 
porary headquarters." 

" 2nd. That the fort be repaired." 

"3rd. Because the fort is not large enough 
to contain all the inhabitants, it is deemed 
necessary to enclose the city with palisades 
and breastworks." 

"4th. Some way must be devised to raise 

" 5th. Captain Vischer is to be requested to 

Bowling Green 171 

fix his sails, to have his piece loaded, and to 
keep his vessel in readiness." 

(Whether for fight or flight is not said.) 

Evidently not much reliance could have 
been placed upon the palisades, for on July 
28, the Governor sends a missive to the City 
Magistrates, stating that the palisades are 
completed, and requesting them "to keep 
the hogs away from the repaired ramparts of 
the Fort." 5 Some years later we find the fol- 
lowing entry : 

"Whereas, the fortifications of this city 
have at great and excessive expense, trouble 
and labor of the Burghery and inhabitants, 
been mostly completed, and it is therefore 
necessary for the preservation of the same 
and better security of this city some orders be 
made, therefore 

"Ittem. It is strictly forbidden and pro- 
hibited, that any person, be he who he may, 
presume to land within this City, or quit the 
same in any other manner, way or means, 
than thro the ordinary City Gate, on paine of 
Death. And finally, as it is found that the 
hogs which are kept within this city in multi- 
tudes along the public streets, have from time 
to time committed great damage on the east- 
ern fortifications, and that the same are most 
certainly to be expected in like manner here 
on the erected works, every one who keeps 
hogs within this city is there ordered and 


Bowling (Breen 


tion of tbe 



charged to take care that their hogs shall not 
come to, in or on the Bulwarks, Bastions, 
Gardens or Batteries, under forfeiture of said 
hogs, and double the value thereof, to be ap- 
plied the one half for the informer, the other 
half for the informer who shall put this in exe- 
cution. Every one is hereby warned and put 
on his guard against injury." 

"By order of the Heer Govnr. Gen. of N. 

N. Bayard, Sec'y." 

Fortunately no more serious assaults than 
these from the hogs and from the horns of the 
cattle were made against the palisades, for 
peace was shortly after declared between 
England and Holland, and their colonies had 
to restrain their martial ardor. 

The following year but one was again full 
of fears; for in February, 1655, a council of 
war was held to consider a threatened attack 
of the Swedes on the South (Delaware) River. 
It was then "Deemed necessary that the for- 
tifications be repaired " the cattle probably in 
the meantime having become obstreperous 
and displayed their ferocity against the stock- 
ade "by spiking with good spikes, a blind 
of planks five or six feet in height against the 

Again was all this precaution useless, for, 
the Swedes not coming, Governor Stuyvesant 
decided to go to them ; and the council of 

Bowling Green 


war, at a special meeting, having applied for 
and obtained "two drummers to improve the 
marching of the militia," the valiant army set 
forth, and returned triumphant, having de- 
stroyed the Swedish fort. Later in this year 
a foray of Indians was made in the surround- 
ing country, and the vigilant magistrates, on 
September 20, resolved "to raise up the pal- 
isades to the height of at least 10 or 12 feet, 
to prevent the overloopen [jumping over] of 
the savages." 

The palisades, or stockade, extended along 
the East River, from near the present head of 
Coenties Slip, on the line of Pearl Street, 
crossing the fields to the North River, on the 
present north side of Wall Street (whence its 
name), and then along the North River to the 
fort, just east of Greenwich Street, which was 
then under water. The map of the city in 
1695 shows the line of the palisades. In 
digging the foundation of the new Bowling 
Green Offices, 5-1 1 Broadway, a large num- 
ber of these old posts were found many feet 
under the surface. Although nearly two hun- 
dred and fifty years old, the portions found were 
in a wonderful state of preservation. Canes and 
other mementos have been made from these. 

War's rude alarms for a while having ceased, 
the citizens turned their attention to the im- 
proving of the city. First, a census was taken, 
which showed 120 houses and 1000 inhabit- 




Bowling <$reen 



ants. The average price of the best city lots 
was then fifty dollars, while the rent of an av- 
erage good house was fourteen dollars per an- 

The ditch, which heretofore had run through 
the centre of Broad Street, was sided up with 
boards. Several of the streets were ordered 
paved with stone, whence Stone Street re- 
ceived its name, being one of the first paved 
streets in the city. 

In 1659, an ordinance was passed establish- 
ing a public market on the present Bowling 
Green. 6 

"It is found good and resolved, that for all 
fat cattle brought to the market (not slaugh- 
tered) posts shall be erected by the side of the 
church where those who bring such cattle to 
market for sale shall present them. 

"It is also resolved, that shambles be built, 
a cover be made, and a block brought in, and 
that the key be given to Andries, the baker, 
who shall keep oversight of the same." 

It was at this time made the duty of the 
Sheriff to go around the city at night. He evi- 
dently must have considered this as detracting 
from his dignity, for he officially complains, 
"That the dogs attack him; that the people 
cause frights by halloing ' Indian ' in the night, 
and that the boys cut 'koeckies.'" 

For some time the English colonists occu- 
pying the country to the north and the south 

fowling Green 


of New Netherland had been restive, and the 
home government was more than willing to 
back up their claims that no rival power 
should separate their possessions, claiming 
that the Dutch occupation was usurpation 
of the English rights. Charles the Second, 
with kingly liberality, granted a patent under 
date of March 12, 1664, to his brother James, 
Duke of York, bestowing upon him the whole 
of New Netherland, and that part of Con- 
necticut lying west of the Connecticut River. 
That he had no right or title in this property 
disturbed him little, he believing, with other 
monarchs of that time, that might made right. 
The King had previously granted to the Earl 
of Sterling the whole of Long Island; in order 
to consolidate his possessions, James bought 
this of him for three hundred pounds, and 
then arranged to send an expedition to take 
formal possession of all his new territory. 
The utter uselessness of resistance, notwith- 
standing the amount of work and time that 
had been spent upon the fort and palisades, 
was apparent to the Governor's Council and 
the Burgomasters, even if not to the Governor 
himself. In vain Peter Stuyvesant stormed 
around on his wooden leg, endeavoring to 
infuse his own courage into the others. He 
finally, however, was compelled to yield to 
necessity, and on August 26, 1664, the capit- 
ulation was formally agreed upon, New Am- 

"Cbc Ca= 


of flew 



i 7 6 

Bowling 0reen 

Uerms of 


sterdam thenceforth becoming (except for a 
short period when, in 1673, tne Dutch retook 
the city and held it for about a year) known 
as New York. The terms of surrender were 
most favorable, it being agreed that the West 
Indies Company should enjoy all their "fast 
property " except forts, etc. ; the then magis- 
trates were continued in office until future 
election by the people ; the Dutch inhabitants 
were confirmed in their property and liberties. 
There seems little question but that the people 
generally felt that the change of government 
would be for their ultimate good. At any 
rate, they accepted the situation gracefully, 
for a few months after the capitulation the 
magistrates (being the same who had been in 
office at the time of the surrender) sent the 
following petition : T 

"To His Royal Highness The Duke of York, 
by the Grace of God, our most Gracious Lord, 

"It hath pleased God to bring us under 
your R. H's obediance, wherein we promise 
to conduct ourselves as good subjects are 
bound to do, deeming ourselves fortunate 
that His Highness hath provided us with so 
gentle, wise, and intelligent a gentleman for 
Governor as the Hon. Col. Richard Nichols, 
confident and assured that under the wings 
of this valiant gentleman we shall bloom and 
grow like the Cedar of Lebanon." 

fowling (Breen 

i 77 

Assuming that this gracious acceptance of 
the inevitable, in all the rhetorical splendor of its 
mixed metaphor, must soften his heart, they at 
once proceed to request further rights and privi- 
leges, and pray to be relieved from certain on- 
erous imposts and burdens for five or six years. 

"Doubting not but His Royal Highness 
will at the close of these years learn with 
hearty delight the advancement of this Prov- 
ince, even to a place from which your Royal 
Highness shall come to derive great revenue, 
being then peopled with thousands of fami- 
lies, and having great trade by sea from New 
England and other places out of Europe, Af- 
rica or America." 

Certainly these Burgomasters, with their 
prophetic souls, could not be accused of any 
old-fashioned ideas as to loyalty and allegiance 
to their past, for in the very next year, in the 
record of the "proceedings of the Burgomas- 
ters and Schepens," under date of June 24, 
1665, it is recorded: "This day, after the 
usual ringing of the city-hall bell three times, 
is published a certain proclamation regarding 
the confiscation of the West India Go's ef- 
fects, in consequence of the Company inflict- 
ing all sorts of injury on His Royal Majesty's 
subjects." Thus passed away the last rights 
of the West India Company. 

In 1672, war having been declared by Eng- 
land against Holland, a Dutch fleet appeared 


of tbe Cits 

bs tbe 


i 7 8 

JSowlina Green 

anfc Seal 

in the harbor of New York, and recaptured 
the city on August 9, 1673. The name was 
then changed to New Orange. Only for a 
short period, however, were the Dutch al- 
lowed to retain possession, for the next year 
a treaty of peace was signed between the par- 
ent countries, by the terms of which Surinam 
was given to the Dutch as an equivalent for 
New York !! The city was restored to the 
English, November 10, 1674, and the name 
changed back to New York. Under the sway 
of the English, increased prosperity came to 
the city. Among the privileges granted was 
a monopoly in the bolting of flour and in the 
exportation of sea-biscuit and flour. The im- 
portance of this monopoly, which lasted un- 
til 1694, can hardly be over-estimated, since 
it gave New York a commercial importance 
which it has never since lost. In 1686, under 
Governor Dongan, a charter was granted to 
the city, which still forms the basis of its mu- 
nicipal rights and privileges. At the same 
time a new seal was given which, with the 
substitution of an eagle for a crown and a 
sailor for one of the Indians, is virtually the 
present seal of the city. This seal retained 
the beaver from the old seal of 1623, emblem- 
atic of the city's commercial beginning, and 
added to it the flour-barrel and the arms of a 
wind-mill, as tokens of the prosperity which 
had come to it from the Bolting: Act. 

Bowling (Breen 


Interesting as it would be to follow the his- 
tory of the city and its gradual progress to- 
wards its present condition, space compels us 
to confine ourselves more especially to those 
events and changes which show the evolu- 
tion of the Bowling Green and its immediate 
neighborhood. The lower part of Broadway, 
facing Bowling Green, in common with that 
upon the east-side, was simply designated as 
"The Market-field." Afterwards, it received 
the name of the "Heere Straat," or principal 
street, and later the name "Broad Way." 
Grants of lots were first made, and deeds 
given, in 1642. Until then settlers had been 
allowed to occupy land as they saw fit, and 
lines and boundaries were established by 
chance, or according to each one's own sweet 

In 1643, the first lot granted on " De Heere 
Straat " was deeded to Martin Cregier. It was 
thus described (translated from the Dutch) : " 

" Grant to Marten Cregier, 1643. Lot for a 
house and garden lying north of the Fort, ex- 
tending from the house, about west, nine rods 
two feet ; towards the fort, south, six rods 
nine feet. Again about east, with a great 
out-point, fourteen rods six feet ; further, to 
the place of beginning, four rods five feet. 
Amounting, in an uneven, four-sided figure, 
to eighty-six rods three feet." This lot is 
now known as numbers 9 and 1 1 Broadway, 

of lots 



fffrst Hts 
tempts to 
Jf if lines 


being part of the land upon which the Bowl- 
ing Green Offices are built. 

The city fathers, in their later attempt to lay 
out the city, and to fix lines and boundaries, in 
April, 1744, "Ordered: That the owners of the 
houses between Mr. Chambers and Mr. De- 
peysters corner house, by the Bowling Green, 
have liberty to range their fronts in such 
manner as the Alderman and Assistant of the 
West Ward may think proper." 9 And again, 
in May of the next year, they 

"Ordered: That a straight line be drawn 
from the south corner of the house of Mr. 
Augustus Jay, now in the occupation of Peter 
Warren, Esquire, to the north Corner of the 
house of Archibald Kennedy, fronting the 
Bowling Green in the Broad Way, and that 
Mr. William Smith, who is now about to 
build a house (and all other persons who 
shall build between the two houses) lay their 
foundations and build conformably to the 
aforesaid straight line." 

The liberty given to the owners of the 
houses by the ordinance of 1744, "to range 
their fronts " as might be thought proper, was 
so thoroughly availed of that even until the 
present time, one hundred and fifty years af- 
ter, no attention has been paid to the later 
order of 1745, for the buildings pulled down 
in 1895, to make room for the new Bowling 
Green Offices, were very far from being on 

fowling Green 181 

a line, and the few buildings still remaining to 
the north, towards Morris Street, do not even 
yet front on a straight line. A view taken in 
1835, shows the projecting edges of the houses. 
A map of the city in 1695, shows that the 
waters of the North River came beyond the 
present eastern side of Greenwich Street. A 
later map shows how the city has been gradu- 
ally extended, the dotted lines marking the 
water-line at various periods. 

In 1723, the city offered for sale the lands 
between high and low-water mark, "from 
the house of Mr. Gaasbeck near the fort to the 
green trees, commonly called the locust trees, 
near the English Church," 10 or from the pres- 
ent Battery to Rector Street. In 1 729, it was 
ordered: "For the better utility of trade and 
commerce, and increasing the buildings within 
the city, and improving the revenue of the 
corporation," that two streets should be sur- 
veyed and laid out along the Hudson River, 
one street of forty feet in width at high-water 
mark, and the other of thirty feet in width at 
low-water mark; the high-water mark to be 
the centre of one street, and the low-water 
mark to be the centre of the other." These 
streets are the present Greenwich and Wash- 
ington Streets, the former deriving its name 
from its being an extension of a lane which 
led to Greenwich Village. Notwithstanding 
the "order," it was some years before any- 


JSowUng Green 

of Xowls 
ing Orccn 

thing was done towards filling in the land and 
opening these streets, for on a map as late as 
1755, these streets are not shown as existing 
at their southern end. 

In March, 1732, the then city fathers 11 
" Resolved, that this Corporation will lease 
a piece of land lying at the lower end of Broad- 
way, fronting to the Fort, to some of the in- 
habitants of the said Broadway, in order to 
be inclosed to make a Bowling-Green thereof, 
with walks therein, for the beauty and orna- 
ment of said street, as well as for the recrea- 
tion and delight of the inhabitants of the city, 
leaving the Street on each side thereof 50 ft. in 

Three public-spirited and sport-loving citi- 
zens, John Chambers, Peter Bayard, and Peter 
Jay, may their names be placed upon the 
roll of the worthy, hired, in accordance with 
this resolution, this ground, theretofore called 
"The Plaine," and later, " The Parade," for a 
term of eleven years, at the enormous rent of 
one peppercorn per annum, and prepared it 
for the sport of bowls. Let us hope they did 
not charge too much per game to recoup them- 
selves. As this lease neared its termination, 
it was ordered that it be renewed for eleven 
years, on payment of twenty shillings per an- 
num, the lessees being John Chambers, Colo- 
nel Phillipse, and John Roosevelt. We are not 
told what happened at the expiration of this 

Bowling Green 


lease, whether they demanded a reduction of 
rent, and failing to obtain it abandoned the 
Green, or whether other sports became the fad 
of the ultra-fashionables, whose houses then 
surrounded the Green. 

In a map of 1763, we find Greenwich Street 
has been opened, the Bowling Green being 
then laid down in the shape of a triangle. 
The land beside the Fort, on the east and 
west side, was anciently called "T Marck- 
velt," or "The Market-field," from its vicinity 
to the markets then held on the "Plaine," or 
Bowling Green. The portion on the east is 
now Whitehall Street. The name "Market- 
field," however, remains in connection with 
the small street originally running from White- 
hall to Broad, formerly called "Petticoat Lane," 
a part of which has since been obliterated to 
make room for the present Produce Exchange. 
The name "Whitehall" originated in a large 
storehouse on the corner of Whitehall and 
State Streets, built by Peter Stuyvesant, after- 
wards falling into the hands of Governor Don- 
gan, who named it the "White Hall." This 
subsequently, for a little while, became the 
custom-house of the city, which later was 
moved to number i Broadway." 

This plot of land, i Broadway, had origi- 
nally been owned by a widow, Annetje 
Kocks. In 1760, Captain Kennedy, afterwards 
Earl of Cassilis, built on this corner a mansion, 


Bowling (Breen 


which was destined to be famous for many 
years. The garden in its rear extended to the 
Hudson River. Captain Kennedy, returning to 
England prior to the Revolution, left the prop- 
erty to his son Robert, from whom it passed 
to the late Nathaniel Prime, a leading banker 
of the city. In the spring of 1776, General 
Lee, and afterward General Putnam, occu- 
pied this house as their headquarters, and, for 
a time, Washington. 13 During the occupancy 
of the city by the English, Sir Guy Carleton 
and other British officers lived here. Mr. 
Isaac Sears, one of the prominent " Liberty 
Boys," lived in it subsequent to the Revolu- 
tion. He was commonly called "King Sears," 
and his daughters "The Princesses." After- 
ward, it was taken by Mrs. Graham for a 
girls' school, and later was known as the best 
boarding-house in the city. For many years 
it was called the Washington Inn. In 1882, 
it was torn down, and the present struc- 
ture known as the Washington Building 
was erected by Cyrus Field, to whose per- 
severance and skill was due the laying of 
the first Atlantic cable. After the land at 
the rear of these houses was extended, a house 
was built in what had been the garden 
of the Kennedy house, in which Robert 
Fulton, the inventor of the steamboat, lived 
and died. At number 3 Broadway, John 
Watts, one of the Governor's Council, lived; 

(Breen 185 

his daughter was the wife of Archibald artin 

Next to this was the property of Martin 
Cregier, already referred to. This same Mar- 
tin Cregier was a notable citizen. He was by 
turns an Indian trader, sloop owner, and mas- 
ter. In 1648, he was appointed one of the 
first four Fire Wardens. He commanded an 
expedition against the Swedes on the Dela- 
ware River, and, in 1663, against the Esopus 
Indians." He was Captain of the " Burgh- 
ery," or citizens' company, in all of which oc- 
cupations he must have been successful, for, 
in 1659, we find he built upon his lot a tav- 
ern, which soon became a place of fashionable 
resort, the Delmonico or Waldorf-Astoria of 
the time. Fortune favored him, as before, for, 
in 1673, during the temporary recapture of the 
city by the Dutch, at a meeting of the " Val- 
iant Council of War," an order was passed 
calling for the nomination of six persons as 
Burgomasters. "To wit : from the Wealthi- 
est Inhabitants and those only who are of the 
Reformed Christian Religion." Cregier, fulfill- 
ing all these requirements, was duly elected, 
further proving that tavern-keeping was 
equally prosperous then as now, and not in- 
consistent with religious profession. In 1654, 
we find that a new seal having been granted 
to the city, it was publicly delivered Decem- 
ber 8, by the Director to Martin Cregier, pre- 

1 86 

Bcnvling (Breen 


siding Burgomaster. (The salary of Burgo- 
master was three hundred and fifty guilders 
when it was paid!) l6 In 1674, we find him 
superintending the fortifications, in anticipa- 
tion of the coming of the English force. 
Whether his Dutch blood resented the final 
capture of the city by the English, or whether 
new and more modern taverns eclipsed his 
own and took his custom, we are not told; 
but we find that later he abandoned New 
York, and with his family moved to the banks 
of the Mohawk, then on the very frontiers, 
where he died, in 1713, nearly a century old. 

As Cregier's Tavern became old and behind 
the times, a new building was erected, which 
afterward bore the name of "King's Arms 
Tavern," and at the time of the Revolution 
was tamiliarly called "Burns' Coffee House." 
It was among the few buildings that escaped 
the fires of 1776 and 1845. As late as 1860, the 
same building was still standing, bearing the 
title of "The Atlantic Garden." This is re- 
markable as being only the second structure 
to occupy the site since the foundation of the 
city. Almost until the present time the gar- 
den connected with this property has fur- 
nished a place for popular amusement. In 
Parker's Post Boy of May 27, 1762, appears 
the following notice : 

"This is to give Notice, to all Gentlemen 
and Ladies, Lovers and Encouragers of Mu- 

Bowling Green 187 

sick. That this day will be opened, by Messrs. 
Leonard & Dienval, Musick Masters, of this 
city, at Mr. Burnes' Room, near the Battery, 
a public and weekly Concert of Musick. Tick- 
ets, four shillings." 

"N. B. The concert is to begin exactly at 
8 o'clock, and end at ten, on account of the 
coolness of the evening. No Body will be 
admitted without tickets, nor no money will 
be taken at the door." 

In the next year, 1763, a Mrs. Steel, who 
had kept the King's Arms Tavern in Broad 
Street (the most noted tavern in the city for 
thirty years), removed to this house, carrying 
with her the name of her old place. The an- 
nouncement is thus made in the Post c Boy: 
"Mrs. Steel, Takes this method to acquaint 
her Friends and Customers, That the King's 
Arms Tavern, which she formerly kept oppo- 
site the Exchange, she hath now removed 
into Broadway (the lower end opposite the 
Fort), a more commodious house, where she 
will not only have it in her power to accom- 
modate gentlemen with conveniences requi- 
site as a tavern, but also, with genteel lodging 
apartments, which she doubts not will give 
satisfaction to every one who will be pleased 
to give her that honour." 

Mrs. Steel's move must have been an unfor- 
tunate one, for, in 1765, we find Burns again in 
control (perhaps he married the widow), and 

1 88 

Bowling Green 


from then on the place seems to have been 
known as "Burns' Coffee House." 

On October 31, 1765, a meeting of the mer- 
chants of the city was called at Burns' Coffee 
House, in order to express their opposition to 
the Stamp Act. Here they passed and signed 
the first non-importation agreement of the col- 
onies. Over two hundred merchants signed 
the resolutions, thus securing for New York 
the credit of being the first to sacrifice its 
commercial interests to the cause of liberty. 
At this meeting a non-importation association 
was also organized, and a committee ap- 
pointed to correspond with the other colo- 
nies, with a view to the universal adoption 
of similar measures. In the morning of the 
next day, November i, when the Stamp Act 
was to go into effect, handbills mysteriously 
appeared throughout the city, forbidding any 
one, at his peril, to use the stamped paper. 

In the evening two companies, largely com- 
posed of the Sons of Liberty, whose headquar- 
ters were at Burns' Coffee House, appeared in 
the streets. The first company proceeded to 
the "fields," or common (City Hall Park), 
where they erected a gallows and suspended 
thereon an effigy of Lieutenant-Governor Col- 
den, with the stamped paper in his hand, a 
drum at his back, and by his side they hung 
an effigy of the devil with a boot in his hand. 
The other company, with another effigy of 

fowling Green 


Golden seated in a chair, broke open his 
stable, and taking out his chariot placed the 
effigy in it, and then, joining the other com- 
pany, both proceeded to the fort, strictest 
orders having been given that not a word 
should be spoken or a stone thrown. On ar- 
riving at the Bowling Green, they found the 
soldiers drawn up on the ramparts of the 
fort, and the muzzles of the cannon pointed 
toward them. General Gage, who was then 
the British commander, prudently refrained 
from firing upon the mob, knowing well that 
the first volley would be followed by the 
instant destruction of the Fort. The people 
having been refused admission to the Fort, 
tore down the wooden fence about the Bowl- 
ing Green, kindled a fire there, and burned 
the carriage, gallows, effigies, and all. 

The odious Stamp Act was finally repealed 
on February 20, 1766. This action of the 
ministry was received with the wildest en- 
thusiasm. The whole city was illuminated, 
special bonfires being kindled on the Bowling 
Green. For a time this action of the home 
government aroused the enthusiasm of the 
populace, and on June 23, another meeting 
was held at Burns' Coffee House, petitioning 
the Assembly to erect a statue in honor of 
William Pitt, and also an equestrian statue of 
George the Third. On August 21, 1770, the 
statue of George the Third having arrived 

Statue of 

Bowling Green 


tton of tbe 


from England, it was placed in the centre of 
Bowling Green amid the general acclamation 
of the- people. In November, it was ordered 
"That a temporary fence be forthwith made 
around the Bowling Green, of posts and rails 
not to exceed five rails high." The following 
year, 1771, it was ordered: "Whereas the 
General Assembly of this Province have been 
at the great expense of sending for an eques- 
trian statue of his present majesty [George 
III.], and erected the same on the Bowling 
Green, before his majesty's fort in this city, 
and this Board, conceiving, that unless the 
said Green be fenced in, the same will very 
soon became a receptacle for all the filth and 
dirt of the neighborhood, in order to prevent 
which, it is ordered that the same be fenced 
with iron rails, in a stone foundation, at an 
expense of ;8oo." This fence and the orig- 
inal stones still surround the Green, the crowns 
which originally ornamented the tops of the 
pillars having been broken off. 

At the breaking out of the Revolution, to 
celebrate the news of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, this statue was dragged from its 
pedestal, and drawn through the streets. It 
was then sent to Litchfield, the residence of 
Oliver Wolcott, Governor of Connecticut, by 
whose wife and daughter it was run into 
42,000 bullets, "to assimilate with the brains 
of the adversary." Subsequently, during the 

^Bowling 0reen 


invasion of Connecticut by Governor Tryon, 
over four hundred British soldiers were killed, 
probably by this very lead. The pedestal of 
the statue remained standing for some time 
longer, as is shown in a contemporaneous 
print of the Bowling Green at the time of the 

On August 26, 1776, the city was captured 
by the English. Shortly after the occupancy 
of the British a great fire occurred, destroying 
four hundred and ninety-two houses, nearly 
one eighth of the entire city. The houses 
at the lower end of Broadway, facing Bowling 
Green on the west side, were saved. 

The Green again welcomed the joyous and 
exultant crowds who there gathered to see the 
final evacuation of the city by the British on 
November 25, 1783. Before leaving, the 
English had nailed their defeated colors to the 
flag-pole which stood near, and in the hope of 
preventing the immediate raising of the stars 
and stripes, had thoroughly greased the pole. 
Captain John Van Arsdale, however, quickly 
managed to climb the pole, and in sight of the 
departing troops flung our flag to the breeze. 
Ever since then it has been the custom for one 
of his descendants, on the morning of Evacua- 
tion Day, to raise the flag on the present lib- 
erty pole in the park. 

A map of Brooklyn, drawn by General 
Jeremiah Johnson about this time, is curious, 

tion of tbe 

tbe Kfita 





leased to 




as indicating a fact which probably is unknown 
to most New Yorkers: that Governor's Island 
was at one time used as a race-track. 

On the adoption of the new constitution by 
the State of New York, the event was cele- 
brated by a "wonderful" procession, which 
was reviewed by Washington and other nota- 
bles, from the ramparts of the Fort, as it cir- 
cled around the Bowling Green. One of the 
principal floats in this procession was an enor- 
mous ship named Hamilton, which at the 
close of the procession was deposited in the 
Green. This required, in 1789, the appoint- 
ment of a committee "to remove the Federal 
Ship out of the Bowling Green, to have the 
fence repaired, and to let out the Bowling 

Three years before this, in 1 786, there is re- 
corded a request of Mr. Daniel Ludlow. 

"That he may be permitted to have the 
care and use of the Bowling Green, at the 
lower end of the Broad Way, for two years, he 
being willing, at his own expense, to manure 
the ground, and sow the same with proper 
grass seed, and have it well laid down as a 
green ; and a request of Mr. Chancellor Liv- 
ingston, that the direction and use of the said 
Bowling Green may be granted to him, were 
respectively read. Ordered, That the direc- 
tion and use of the said Bowling Green, be 
granted to Mr. Chancellor Livingston, on the 

Bowling Green 

terms offered by Mr. Ludlow." Evidently, 
Mr. Chancellor Livingston had "a pull." 

In 1791, the street committee reported 
"That in their opinion the Bowling Green, 
in front of the Government House, ought to 
be preserved, and that it will be necessary the 
fence should be raised in proportion to the reg- 
ulation of Broadway. Agreed to." In 1795, 
it was "Ordered, that the inclosed ground, 
commonly called the Bowling Green, in front 
of the Government House, be appropriated to 
the use of the Governor, for the time being." 
Notwithstanding the fact that it had been thus 
set aside for the use of the Governor, in this 
same year, on July 18, the sanctity of the Green 
was invaded by a tumultuous crowd of citizens 
who had just held a public meeting to express 
their opposition to the treaty with England, 
which had recently been concluded by John 
Jay. At this meeting, which had been ad- 
dressed by Aaron Burr and Chancellor Liv- 
ingston, some one moved that they should 
adjourn to the Bowling Green and burn the 
treaty. This was done, the band playing 
the "Carmagnole," the French and American 
flags being bound together, the treaty having 
been considered by many as a repudiation of 
our indebtedness to France. 

The Governor did not seem to appreciate the 
advantages of the Bowling Green, or perhaps 
he was not able to preserve its privacy, for, in 


Set astoe 
for tbc TUsc 

of tbe 


Bowling (Breen 

tion of tbe 

1798, we find that it was ordered "That Mr. 
John Rogers may have the use of the Bowling 
Green, on condition that he keep it in good 
order, and suffer no creatures to run in it." 

In a map of 1797, the Bowling Green has 
assumed its present shape, the fort has dis- 
appeared, the Government House, above re- 
ferred to, occupying its site, the Battery has 
been extended, but even yet the "order" 
given seventy years before for the laying out 
of additional streets, had not been complied 
with except as to Greenwich Street, showing 
that municipal progress was not much more 
rapid at that time than now. The destruction 
of the Fort seems to have been determined 
upon in 1789, when, by act of the Legislature, 
"The ground at the Fort and the Battery was 
reserved for the public use and for continuing 
the Broad Way through to the river." This 
last was never done. 

In 1790, it was "Ordered, that Messrs. Tor- 
boss, Van Zant and George Janeway, be ap- 
pointed commissioners to superintend the 
taking down the stone and removing the 
earth of the Fort." The earth thus removed 
was used to enlarge the area of the Battery 
"from Eli's corner to the Flat Rock." When 
the Fort was torn down, a vault, which had 
been sealed up under the chapel, was uncov- 
ered. In this were the remains of Lord Bella- 
mont, members of his family, and some others. 

^Bowling Green 


Lord Bellamont's family was distinguished by 
the silver plates bearing the family escutcheon, 
let into the lead coffins. The coffins and bones 
were buried in an unmarked grave in St. Paul's 
churchyard. Mr. Van Zant, one of the com- 
missioners, secured the silver plates, intending 
to preserve them, but after his death they were 
converted into spoons. 

The Battery, which has retained nothing 
whatever suggestive of its warlike origin ex- 
cept the name, owes its beginning to the fol- 
lowing order. In 1693, the then Governor 
made the following proclamation : 1T 

"Whereas there is actual warr between 
our Sovereign Lord and Lady the King and 
Queen, and the French King; and I am in- 
formed of a Squadron of Ships and land 
forces, intended from France to invade this 
Citty and Province ; and whereas, for the 
safety and preservation thereof, I finde itt of 
absolute necessity to make a platforme upon 
the outmost pointe of rocks under the Fort, 
whereon I intend to build a battery to com- 
mand both rivers; I have therefore thought 
fitte, and doe hereby require you, the Mayor, 
Recorder and Aldermen of the Citty of New 
York and Manning and Barnes Island, to cut 
down 86 cordes of stockades, of 12 feet in 
length, and to have them in readiness to be 
conveyed to New York. 

(Signed) "BENJ. FLETCHER." 

Origin of 



fowling Green 


The rocks upon which the Battery was built 
were called Capske Rocks. These works were 
then known as the Whitehall Battery, and 
from this time on, until the close of the Revo- 
lutionary War, various additions were made 
thereto, and later, somewhere about the be- 
ginning of the present century, there was 
built what was known as the Southwest Bat- 
tery, some three hundred feet or more from 
the shore, the approach to which was by 
means of a bridge with a draw. This later 
was called "Castle Clinton." In the year 
1822, upon the Federal government taking 
possession of Governor's Island, Castle Clin- 
ton was ceded to the city. It was then pro- 
posed that this and the former Battery, and 
the grounds included between, should be 
made into a public park, Castle Clinton being 
turned into a public assembly-room, and 
called Castle Garden, afterwards to be made 
famous by Jenny Lind's first concert, Septem- 
ber 12, 1850. 

On Lafayette's return to America, in 1824, 
"a splendid fete and gala was given to him 
at Castle Garden, on September 14, which for 
grandeur, expense, and entire effect was 
never before witnessed in this country. About 
six thousand persons were assembled in that 
immense area,andthe evening being clear and 
calm, the whole passed off happily, owing to 
the excellent arrangementsof the committee. " 19 

Bowling Green 197 

On December 5, 1851, the Hungarian hero, castu 
Louis Kossuth, arrived, and was received at 
Castle Garden, after which he was escorted 
to his hotel by a procession, which for years 
was famous for its size and enthusiasm. For 
nearly forty years, beginning in 1855, this 
building was used as the emigrants' landing- 
place and depot, and later was transformed 
into a public aquarium. 

For many years the Battery was the city's 
parade-ground. Here, in the heyday of their 
popularity, the Pulaski Cadets, the Light 
Guard, the red-coated City Guards, and the 
Tompkins Blues went through their elaborate 
manoeuvres, before the admiring gaze of the 
citizens grouped in surrounding windows and 
on the walks. Here, also, the Blue Stockings 
and the Red Stockings vied for championship 
in the national game. 

In his Diary, Philip Hone writes: 

"cStpril 15, 1834. This was the day of the 
Great Fete at Castle Garden, to celebrate the 
triumph gained by the Whig Party in the late 
Charter election in this city, and it went off 
gloriously. Tables were spread in a double 
row within the outer circumference. Three 
pipes of wine and 40 barrels of beer were 
placed in the centre under an awning, and 
served out during the repast." " 

"Monday, October the zjth, 1834. The 
Jackson men marched down to Castle Garden, 

i 9 s 

^Bowling 0reen 


where a feast (not of reason) was prepared, and 
a fl ow O f w hiskey (not of soul) was served out 
gratuitously to the well drilled troops of the 
Regency. They fired guns and exhibited fire 
works, and all in the way of rejoicing for vic- 
tories not won, or rather ' to keep their spirits 
up by pouring spirits down.' " 20 

"c/lprilthe loth, 1835. The weather being 
fine and spring-like, I walked for an hour with 
my wife on the battery. Strange as it is, I do 
not think that either of us had done such a thing 
in the last seven years, and what a wonderful 
spot it is. The grounds are in fine order. The 
noble bay, with the opposite shores of New 
Jersey, Staten and Long Islands, vessels of 
every description, from the noble, well-ap- 
pointed Liverpool packet, to the little market 
craft and steamers arriving from every point, 
give life and animation to a prospect unex- 
celled by any city in the world. It would be 
well worth travelling 100 miles out of one's 
way in a foreign country to get a sight of, 
and yet we citizens of New York, who have 
it all under our noses seldom enjoy it. Like 
all other enjoyments, it loses its value from 
being too easily obtained." 31 

In a very rare book of letters, written in 
1793, by Governor Dray ton, of Carolina, he 
writes: "At the lower end of Broadway is 
the Battery, and public parade: . . . be- 
tween the guns and the water is a public 

Bowling (Breen 


walk, made by a gentle decline from the plat- 
form; . . . some little distance behind 
the guns two rows of elm trees are planted ; 
which in a short time will afford an agreeable 
shade; . . . the back part of the ground 
is laid out in smaller walks, terraces, and a 
bowling green." 

"Overlooking this prospect, is the Govern- 
ment House; plac'd upon an handsome eleva- 
tion, and fronting Broadway, having before it 
an elegant elliptical approach, round an area of 
near an acre of ground, enclosed by an iron rail- 
ing. In the midst of this is a pedastal, which for- 
merly was pressed by a leaden equestrian statue 
of the King of Great Britain ; but having been 
dismantled of that, for the use of the continen- 
tal army, it now remains ready, in due time I 
hope, to receive the statue of the President of 
the United States of America. When that pe- 
riod shall arrive, in addition to the many daily 
occurrences which lead the mind of the pas- 
senger to pensive reflection; this monument 
of his country's gratitude shall call his atten- 
tion; and while deeds of former times, shall 
pass in sweet review before him, the tear 
shall lament the loss of an hero but the heart 
collected within itself, shall urge him by so 
bright an example, to call forth his powers 
and to pursue the steps of virtue and of 

" The Government House is two 

Bowling <5reen 



stories high. Projecting before it is a portico, 
covered by a pediment; upon which is su- 
perbly carved in basso relievo, the arms of 
the State, supported by justice and liberty, as 
large as life. The arms and figures are white, 
placed in a blue field; and the pediment is 
supported by four white pillars of the Ionic 
order, which are the height of both stories." 

The Government House herein referred to 
was built upon a part of the land occupied by 
the Fort. As we have already seen, it was in 
1 790 that the Fort was taken down, and shortly 
afterward this house was erected for the use 
of Washington. Afterward, Governors Clinton 
and Jay both lived in it, and at one time it was 
used as a Custom-House. 28 

We can find no record showing when the 
Fort and the adjacent land passed from under 
the control of the City to that of the Province, 
and thence to the State. It was by an act of 
the Legislature, not of the City Council, that, in 
1790, the Fort was destroyed and the Govern- 
ment House built. On May 26, 1812, an act 
was passed : 

"Be it enacted by the people of the State 
of New York, represented in Senate and As- 
sembly, that the Comptroller is hereby author- 
ized to sell and convey in fee simple, all the 
right, title and interest of the people of this 
state in and to the Government House and the 
grounds adjoining, in the city of New York, 

Bowling Green 


to the mayor, aldermen and commonalty of 
the said city, for a sum not less than fifty 
thousand dollars, and to receive in payment 
therefor, the bond of the said mayor, alder- 
men and commonalty, payable in ten years, 
with interest annually, at the rate of six per 

'"Provided always, That the said corpora- 
tion shall not have the right of selling the said 
grounds for the erection of private buildings, 
or other individual purposes." 

The city authorities evidently did not pro- 
pose to be limited in their rights, nor to pay a 
round sum of money for land which they could 
not realize upon, however cheap it might seem. 
They refused to avail themselves of the option 
to purchase, so on April 13, 1813, another act 
was passed: "Be it further enacted, That the 
proviso to the enacting clause of the act enti- 
tled ' An act to authorize the sale of certain 
public property in the city of New York,' 
passed the 26th of May 1812, be and the same 
is hereby repealed, and that if the mayor, al- 
dermen and commonalty of New York shall 
not, by the first day of November next, pur- 
chase the Government House and lands ad- 
joining, then the authority given to the 
comptroller in and by said act to sell the 
said house and land shall cease." 

This threat seems to have supplied the nec- 
essary fillip, and suggested a chance for specu- 




Sale of 


lation, for under date of August 2, 1813, the 
Comptroller of the State "conveyed to the 
said Mayor, &c., all the certain messuage and 
lot of ground situate in the First Ward of the 
city of New York, commonly known by the 
name of the Government House and lot. Sub- 
ject to a lease of the Government House to 
DeWitt Clinton and others, made pursuant to 
section 34 of the act of 29 March, 1809, which 
does not expire until the ist of May, 1815." 
As soon as the lease expired, the city hastened 
to "bag its profit," selling the land and giving 
title thereto on June 19, 1815, for about double 
what they were under bond to pay, and before 
they had paid out anything whatever. Some 
time during this year the Government House 
is said to have been destroyed by fire. 

The land facing on the Green was sold in 
seven parcels or lots, each being about thirty- 
one feet front and one hundred and thirty feet 
in depth, except the one on the northeast, at 
the corner of Whitehall Street, which was only 
four feet on the front and twenty-three feet 
wide in the rear. The original grantees were : 

Lot i. (Northwest corner.) 

Deeded to Noah Brown. 
1825 to 1861, owned by Stephen Whitney. 
1888 " present, " " U. S. Trust Company. 

Lot. 2. Deeded to Abijah Weston. 
1834 to 1887, owned by Elisha Riggs. 
1887 " present, " " J. L. Cadwalader. 

JSowling 0reen 


Lot 3. Deeded to Elbert Anderson. 
1821 to 1829, owned by Samuel Ward, Jr. 
1829 " 1853, " " Andrew Foster. 
1854 " present, " " Cornelius Vander- 
bilt, et al. 

Lot 4. Deeded to Elbert Anderson. 
1823 to 1829, owned by Herman Le Roy. 
1829 " 1852, " " Lewis Curtis. 
1862 " present, " "A. Hemenway, etal., 
trustees, etc. 

Lot 5. Deeded to James Byers. 
1838 to 1883, owned by Ferdinand Suydam, 

etal., trustees, etc. 

1883 to present, owned by Theodore Chiches- 

Lot 6. Deeded to Peter Remsen. 
184010 1855, owned by W. E. Wilmerding. 
1871 "present, " " Herman C. Von Post. 

Lot 7. (Northeast corner.) 
Deeded to John Hone. 

Hone was the only original owner who re- 
tained his lot more than a year or so. He 
sold it in 1860 to W. B. Cooper, in whose fam- 
ily it still remains. 

From the earliest days of the city, when the 
Governor lived within the Fort, later, when 
the Government House occupied this same 
site, and afterwards, when this land became 
private property, this locality, and the imme- 
diate neighborhood, was the most select and 
fashionable part of the city. As the natural 



36ovvlin0 (Breen 


growth of the city and the encroachment of 
business drove private residences farther and 
farther northward, this particular row of 
houses facing the Green preserved their in- 
dividual characteristics, and were used as 
dwellings. They still retain their exterior ap- 
pearance, though they have ceased to be so 
used. They are now occupied by the offices 
of the large foreign steamship companies, 
which has given them the name of "Steam- 
ship Row." Some years ago it was ordered 
by Congress that this land should be bought 
and the United States Custom-House be built 
here. Opposition and litigation have until 
now prevented, but at last it seems likely that 
this project will be accomplished, and this 
land, which had always been public property 
until 1815, and upon which the old Custom- 
House had been for a time, will again become 
the property of the public, and in place of a 
Fort emblem of strife and distrust among na- 
tions a Custom-House, suggestive of peaceful 
intercourse and friendly commerce, will be 
built, worthy of the nation and of the city. 

The land on the east of the Green, where 
the Produce Exchange now stands, was first 
granted to individuals about 1646. Among 
the first owners were Jonas Barteltzen and 
Frerick Arenzen. The latter owned the land on 
the southwest corner of Whitehall and what 
was then Marketfield Streets. Allard Anthony, 



one of the most prominent citizens of his day, 
lived on the opposite corner. Roelof Jansen 
Haas owned the land to the corner of Beaver 
Street. 28 The southern portion of the Produce 
Exchange land was forfeited to the people of 
the State at the time of the Revolution, by the 
attainders of Beverly Robinson and Frederick 
Philipse. The Legislature, on May 12, 1784, 
passed "An Act for the speedy sale of the 
confiscated and forfeited estates within this 
State." Isaac Stoutenburg and Philip Van 
Cortlandt, the commissioners appointed under 
this act, sold the land. In 1880, the Legislature 
passed a special act authorizing the closing 
up of Marketfield Street, and deeding it to the 
Produce Exchange. 

We have already referred to some of the 
earlier occupants of the properties now known 
as numbers i to 1 1 Broadway. In the house 
standing on what is now 9 Broadway, Bene- 
dict Arnold, after the capture of Andre and the 
exposure of his treachery, had his quarters. 44 
It was while here that Sergeant John Champe 
attempted to capture him. The garden at the 
rear of the house sloped down to the river, 
and a party of patriots were to land here from 
a boat, and, having secured, carry him away. 
The very day of the attempt Arnold moved his 
quarters, it was never known whether simply 
by accident, or from disclosure of the plot. 
Washington Irving lived around the corner, 




fowling (Breen 



tbe Orccn 

on State Street, and near him Mr. Howland, 
long one of the most prominent shipping- 
merchants of the city." James K. Paulding, 
a descendant of one of the captors of Major 
Andre, and who afterward became Secretary 
of the Navy under Van Buren, one of the au- 
thors of Salmagundi, lived on the same block, 
at 29 Whitehall Street. 

While all these changes have been going 
on around it, the Green has quietly, and with 
the proud conservatism of age, preserved its 
own dignified existence. Always ready to 
give itself to the public, whether for play or 
rest, in peace or war, it has been the centre 
of the busy life of the village, of the fashion- 
able life of the town, and now of the com- 
mercial activity of the city. The Produce 
Exchange, controlling the grain trade of a con- 
tinent, looks down upon it. The offices of 
the largest steamship companies of the world 
surround it. The Custom-House, registering 
the commerce of the Western Hemisphere, 
will face it. Some of the greatest modern 
office buildings, overtopping the spire of "Old 
Trinity," hem it in. Broadway, the longest 
street in the world, starts from its oval. In 
this year of grace, 1898, New York has greatly 
enlarged its borders ; the city of Brooklyn 
and many of the surrounding townships hav- 
ing united in the one city now called colloqui- 
ally "Greater New York." Of this new city our 

fowling 0reen 


little friend, the Bowling Green, has become 
the heart. It is the geographical centre of the 
enlarged metropolis. 


tbe reen 




tRcferencea i. PETER FAUCONNIER'S Survey Book, 1715-34. 

2. Documents relating to Colonial History of New York 

(edited by E. B. O'Callaghan), i., p. 74. 

3. BOOTH'S History of New York, p. 122. 

4. T{ecords of New Amsterdam, i., p. 65. 

5. Ibid., i., p. 90. 

6. Ibid. 

7. VALENTINE'S History, p. 161. 

8. VALENTINE'S Manual, 1857, p. 498. 

9. English Records. 

10. VALENTINE'S History, p. 287. 

1 1 . English Records. 

12. VALENTINE'S History, p. 285. 

13. BOOTH'S History, p. 490. 

14. LAMB'S History, p. 98. 

15. VALENTINE'S History, p. 98. 

16. VALENTINE'S Manual, 1856, p. 381. 

17. English Records, 1693. 

1 8. VALENTINE'S Manual, 1853, p. 467. 

19. PHILIP HONE'S Diary, p. 101. 

20. Ibid., p. 115. 

21. Ibid., p. 137. 

22. WASHINGTON IRVING, Salmagundi, p. 319. N. Y., 1897. 

23. VALENTINE'S History, pp. 96, 127. 

24. BOOTH'S History, p. 562. 

25. WILSON'S History of New York, 1893. 



Half Moon Series 

Published in the Interest of the New York 
City History Club. 





'HAT'S in a name?" and "That 
which we call a rose, by any 
other name would smell as sweet," said 
Shakespeare, three hundred years ago, mats 
nous avons change" tout cela, and to-day we are 
more or less proud of the name derived from 
our forefathers, no matter how it was first 

The study of proper names of persons and 
places is not only a matter of curious interest, 
but also of some historical importance, when 
we look into the names of the people who 
were the first settlers of New Netherland. 
For in many cases we learn thereby where 
they came from, although, to a great extent, 
they were not far above the savages, whose 
system of nomenclature was only changed 
by the rite of Christian baptism, giving each 
child a permanent " call-name," to which the 

clature in 



1Rew amsterfcam jFamils IRames 



father's name was added. This did away 
with the change of appellation which took 
place in, say, a Mohawk Indian's name at dif- 
ferent periods of his life. Born on a stormy 
day, the babe would be called "Lightning," 
or "Thunder," or "Rain," and the boy was 
known as such until he accomplished his first 
daring feat in the hunting-field or the chase, 
by which he possibly acquired the name of 
"Cinnamon Bear," because he had killed one. 
Then he went out as a warrior, killed and 
scalped a noted enemy, and was henceforth, 
to the end of his life, known as "He who 
scalped Tom Noddy." To all was added the 
totem name, the name of the clan to which 
the youth belonged, in reality a family name, 
to wit, the Bear, the Turtle, the Wolf, etc. 
We find something similar in the Greece and 
Rome of antiquity, after social institutions 
had become so permanent that male kinship 
and paternity were recognized, for then the 
custom of patronymics, differing from the 
Mohawk totem only by not being tattooed 
on the bearer's breast, was introduced. The 
totem name became a gentile name, and in 
Greece gave place to a local one, derived from 
the " drjurf " : thus, a Greek is called Thukyd- 
ides, a name given him after his grandfather; 
he is the son of Olorus of the deme of Hali- 
musia; while a Roman has received at his 
birth the name of Marcus, he belongs to the 

IRew Hmsterfcam jfamil flames 


Tullian clan, and is therefore entitled to the 
name of Tullius; and because he requires a 
special designation, to distinguish him from 
a cousin or uncle, he becomes known as Cic- 
ero, from the large pea-shaped wart on his 

This system of nomenclature answered the 
purposes of Greek and Roman civilization. 
Among the Teutonic races, the earliest and 
most widely spread class and family names 
were totemistic, and frequently derived from 
animals and plants. This tendency to use 
the objects surrounding man or his favorite 
occupation in the choice of a name is inherent 
in the human race. Up to the first quarter 
of this century the Jews in Prussia observed 
the biblical way of calling themselves Isaac, 
the son of Abraham, or Abrahamson, and 
Isaac's son Moses became Moses Isaacson, so 
that great confusion, especially in legal cases, 
occurred ; to obviate this the government or- 
dered them to adopt permanent family names. 
Then, as a sarcastic old gentlemen of the writ- 
er's acquaintance used to say, "the character- 
istics of the men came out " : the poetically 
inclined called themselves after flowers, as 
Lilienthal, Rosenthal, Rosenberg (dale of lilies, 
of roses, hill of roses) ; the ferocious took the 
name of wild beasts, as Wolf, Bear, Fox, com- 
bining them also with the dale or hill or stone, 
whence we have the names Loewenthal, 

Choice of 


Bew Hmsterfcam jFamfls Barnes 



Loewenstein, Loewenberg (lion's dale, stone, 
hill). The Hebrew, fond of money and other 
values, became a Silverstein, Goldstein, Ru- 
binstein ; a small number adopted the names 
of their trades and occupations, as Schneider 
(tailor), Kaufman (merchant), or retained the 
names of their fathers, as Mosesson, Jacobson, 
or called themselves after the place of their 
birth, Berliner, Stettiner, Hamburger. 

The same system as adopted by the Jews 
in Prussia prevailed among the early settlers 
of New Netherland, who added a new diffi- 
culty for the genealogist by often calling a 
person after the mother's baptismal name, not 
because it was a case of illegitimacy, but be- 
cause the mother had become a widow with 
young children and it was easier to designate 
these children that way. In regard to mar- 
ried women among the Dutch, it must be 
said that only in a few instances we find the 
woman called by her husband's family name; 
she may occasionally be called Annetje 'Dircks, 
the wife of Dirck Smitt, but she is as often 
designated as Annetje Meinders, when, after 
her first husband's death she marries Abel 
Hardenbroeck, Meinders meaning the daugh- 
ter of Meindert. 

As the HALF-MOON SERIES is principally de- 
voted to the history of Manhattan Island, the 
writer considers it appropriate to speak only 
of the names found in the Index of the lately 

Hew Bmsterfcam 


2I 5 

published Records of New Amsterdam, and 
begins the inquisition into the origin of names 
with that of the island. 

Somebody tells that Manhattan, in its vari- 
ous spellings, means the "Big Drunk" ; be- 
cause, according to Indian tradition, which, by 
the way, is as reliable as if graven in stone, the 
first meeting of red and white men resulted 
in the utter stupefaction of a young Indian, 
who courageously dared to drink the goblet 
filled with wine which the white men offered 
as a token of friendship and which the 
older men of his tribe had suspiciously re- 
fused. He fell on the ground, completely 
overpowered by the hitherto unknown bev- 
erage and the place was called the " Big 
Drunk," or, in colloquial Spanish (the first 
white men coming here having been Span- 
iards), Monado or Monhado, meaning the same. 
This Spanish word passed, like a great many 
others, into the Indian dialects and is now 
considered an Algonquin Indian word. 

In treating names of the first settlers of New 
Netherland, it must not be forgotten, first, that 
they belonged to probably almost every na- 
tionality in Europe and secondly, that during 
the Eighty Years' War with Spain the United 
Provinces had been overrun by soldiers born 
in every corner of the Old World, and carry- 
ing with them names of their localities. 

The first name in the Index used as a pa- 





Bew Hmstec&am 



tronymic is the father's baptismal name with 
the addition of an s, when a woman is to be 
designated, or of the syllable sen or %en, for a 
man, meaning Aart's or Aarend's daughter or 
son respectively, and had the father been an 
Englishman they would, in this case, have been 
called Arthur's or Arthurson. In the same way 
originated Aarnoutsen, the son of Arnold, and 
Abelsen (the intervening Abbesen being prob- 
ably an orthographical error for Abelsen of the 
clerk who recorded the proceedings of the 
Court) ; and going through the whole Index 
we find Abrahams and Abrahamsen ; Adams, 
Adamsen ; Albers, Albertsen (also Elbert and 
Elbertsen ) ; Andries, Andriesen (Anglice, An- 
drews) ; Anthony, Antonissen, with the Greek 
form of Antonides ; Arians and Ariaansen, 
which is a misspelled Adrian ; Barens, Barent- 
sen, Bernard's daughter and son, respectively ; 
Bartelsen, the son of Bartholomew; Bastian- 
sen, the son of Sebastian ; Carelsen, the son 
of Charles ; Carstensen, the son of a Sleswig 
Christian; Caspersen and Gaspersen, son of 
Caspar; Claasen, son of Nicolas ; Cornelissen, 
also Corsen, son of Cornelis, a name which is 
often abbreviated into Cors ; Flipzen for Phil- 
ipsen; Fransen, the son of Francis; Frerick- 
sen standing for Fredericksen ; Gerritsen from 
Gerard; Gillisen, Jelissen, and Jillisen from 
Giles or Julius, in its French form, Jules; Han- 
sen, the son of Johannes, in its abbreviation, 

Hew amsterfcam jfamils "Names 


Hans; Harmensen, Harmsen, Hermsen, the 
son of Herman ; Hendricksen, the son of 
Henry; Huybertsen, the son of Hubert, or, 
in old English spelling, Hobart ; Jansen, like 
Hansen, a shortened Johannessen; Jochem- 
sen, the son of Joachim; Jorissen and Jurian- 
sen, the son of George; Leendertsen, the son 
of Leonard; Lodewycksen, the son of Lodo- 
wyck, which is the old German form of Louis 
or Lewis; Paulisen, Pauluzen, and Poulissen, 
the son of Paul; Reinoutsen, the son of Rein- 
old ; Roelantsen, the son of Orlando or Roland ; 
Roelofsen from Ralph, Rolph, or Rudolph; 
Sandersen from the Scotch form of Alexander; 
Stoffels and Stoffelsen, daughter and son of 
Christopher, in Dutch, Christoffel, and abbre- 
viated Stoffel ; Teunissen from the Dutch form 
of Anthony; Woutersen, the son of Walter. 
In all these cases the genealogist will have to 
discover what family names the descendants 

Coming to names which are still used to-day, 
we have in Lysbet Ackermans the daughter or 
the wife of a tiller of the soil, or a husband- 
man. As the first English name we find Ack- 
leton, perhaps intended for Hackleton, with 
the H dropped, and meaning a place where 
the people hackle, or clean, hemp and flax; 
another English name, that of Addison, is de- 
rived from some connection with an adze, in 
obsolete English, addice, and in Saxon, adese. 


IRew Hmsterfcam jfamUE IRames 


Jan Adely, sailor, may have been a Scandina- 
vian, whose name, a slight corruption of the 
Swedish word adelig, (*Anglic, noble,) may 
refer to his birth ; but it may also be the cor- 
rupted Dutch word *Adelaar, the eagle. 
Whether Leendert (Leonard) Aerden derived 
his name from Mother Earth (Aerde in Dutch) 
generally, whether it came from his .occupa- 
tion as a worker in earth, making earthen- 
ware, or whether he came from Shakespeare's 
Forest of Arden, cannot be decided here. The 
writer suspects William Aest to have been an 
Englishman named East, which name the re- 
cording clerk fancifully wrote ./Est. He was 
probably an ancestor of the still flourishing 
family of Ast, and if the clerk's spelling was 
correct according to the standard of his day, 
William came from Germany and was, as his 
name suggests, a branch of a tree. The name 
of Richard Airy, also an English one, explains 

Alders, the daughter of Aldert or Aldart: 
this Aldert is a baptismal name occasionally 
found among the Dutch of the eastern, more 
purely Saxon, Provinces, and means "of all," 
while Aris is evidently the Bible name Ares. 
The next name to be considered, Aldrix, is 
so variously spelled, i. e., Alrichs, Aldrighs, 
Alricx, etc., that it is impossible to say to 
what nationality the first of this name in 
America belonged; but we find in Swedish 

View Hmsterfcam jfamUg TRames 


the name of Alarich, the great chief of the Huns, 
spelled Alrik, and this fact, combined with 
the appearance of the first of this name in the 
Swedish-Dutch colony on the Delaware, points 
to him as a Swede. Francois Allard suggests, 
by his baptismal name, French nationality, 
but we come further on to Allard Anthony, sup- 
posed to have been an Irishman ; Francois had, 
therefore, only taken his father's first name. 
Henry and John Allen were Englishmen, de- 
riving their patronymic from the old Norman 
Allan, but alien in Swedish means "alone." 

Isaac Allerton is to-day claimed by collat- 
eral descendants as an Irishman, notwith- 
standing the ending of the name with the 
English ton, an abbreviation of town, taken 
from the Dutch tuyn, an enclosure. All pos- 
sible sources may be called upon for this 
name; beginning with the English alert, we 
come to the Spanish alerto, but the single / 
is against this supposition. Allerton having 
been an Irishman, it behooves us to look for 
a Celtic origin, and we find that perhaps the 
first two syllables of the name are a con- 
tortion of the word allod, ancient, and the 
whole means "old town." In Amy we have 
the old spelling of the French ami, friend. 
Appel, Appelgate (modern Applegate) ex- 
plain themselves, but they may have taken 
their names from their native place, Appel, in 
the Province of Guelderland. 


IRew Bmsterfcam jfamilE IRames 

HBbalcn ; 


Asdalen suggests by its combination of the 
Swedish as, carrion, and dalen, the dale, or 
valley, a Scandinavian origin, while John Ash- 
man's name came from the same occupation 
which Colonel Waring's "White Angels" 
now pursue. The first of the Atwater family 
who assumed the name took it because he 
was born or lived at the water, and so did the 
first Bach, as the name, a German one, refers 
to a small stream. 

Backer, Baker, Becker, took their names from 
their occupation as bakers; Badger, if that was 
the name, because he was allowed to deal in 
grain from place to place, or if he spelled it Bad- 
gard, because he was the guardian of a bath- 
house ; while Baeck had something to do with 
a beacon, or he may have been a very tall man, 
whose head was always to be seen in a crowd. 

Bagyn, Baguyn : among the many religious 
societies of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seven- 
teenth centuries there was one in Flanders 
whose members were called Beguins, not re- 
stricted, however, by monastic vows, and 
our Anthony was so nicknamed because of 
his connection with the order. Bamboes is 
evidently also a nickname, perhaps given to 
Hermen Jacobsen of the Index, because he 
dealt in, or in some other way had something 
to do with, bamboo. Bancker is not a banker, 
unless we use the word in the Dutch sense 
of sitting long on a bench or bank. 

IRew amsterfcam jfamilE Barnes 


Barfort : Webster explains bar as a piece of 
wood or iron used as an obstruction, or as the 
shore of a sea, and we can, by translating the 
other, the French, part of the name, give it 
the meaning of a strong bar of wood, or a fort 
on the shore. Bartelott is a French dimin- 
utive of Bartholomew; Barton, a town on 
the sea; and Barwick, a village on the sea, the 
syllable wyck having been taken into the 
Saxon from the Latin m'cus. 

Whether Baxter is another spelling of the 
Dutch word Bakster, a woman baker, we 
leave to the decision of etymologists. 

The name Bayard is probably one of the 
oldest among the New Netherland names, but 
it is doubtful whether its bearers of to-day 
would be willing to accept the first being 
called by it as their ancestor. For, in the Geste 
de T>oon de Mayence we read "Renaud, lifils 
Aymon est en Baiart monte%." Baiart was 
the war horse of Renaud, eldest son of Aimon 
de Dordone or Ardenne, which at a danger- 
ous moment develops a human intelligence 
and awakens its master by striking the shield 
with its hoof, and at another time carries 
Renaud and his three brothers. It is not told 
of this first Bayard that it could bark, and yet 
there seems to be no other derivation of the 
name possible than from the Italian baiare, to 
bark, unless we go farther afield and say Bay- 
ard was one who stood around gaping, deriv- 

ubc f tot 

IRew Hmstertmm Jfamilp IRames 

ing it from the French bayer, or a crier, from 
the significance given to the word in the Loir 
et Cher ; but it is possible that the name 
comes from the Swedish word Boyort, Boy- 
ert, a species of small Dutch vessel, which 
appears later on as Boyer. 

Beaulieu and Beauvois are distinctly French, 
meaning "handsome place" and "handsome 

Beck is the Dutch for the mouth of an ani- 
mal, the English beak, but it may also be an 
abbreviation of the Dutch word bekken, a 
basin; while on the other side we have the 
Swedish beck, for pitch, and as Father Isaac 
Jogues of the Society of Jesus reports that 
when he passed through New Amsterdam on 
his way to France, in 1643, he found seventeen 
different nationalities represented here, Joan- 
nes Beck may have been a Swede, who for 
some reason called himself Pitch. 

Beekman, or the Man of the Brook : this in- 
terpretation of the name was recognized by 
King James I. of England when he granted 
to the Reverend Mr. Beekman, grandfather of 
Willem, as a coat of arms a rivulet running 
between roses. 

Been, a bone, a leg, Beer, a bear, Beetman 
if not a misspelled Beekman, the man of the 
beet, the man who has a bite or bait, Ben- 
hem, the basket home, Berck, the birch tree, 
Besem, the broom, need no further explana- 

Rew amsterfcam jfamilE names 


tion, nor does, properly, Bestevaar, the old man, 
the grandfather, were it not that we have two 
juniors of this name; hence we must suppose 
that it had ceased to be a nickname and had 
become a well-established patronymic. 

Blau, blue, Blauvelt, the blue field, may also be 
translated into English as foolish, false, instead 
of blue. Seeing how the name of Blommert 
is differently spelled, we must conclude that the 
first of the name was a florist and, therefore, 
was called Bloemaert. Blyenberg, or, as now 
spelled, Blidenberg, is a glad hill ; Bode, a mes- 
senger; Boeckstat, probably meant for Boeck- 
staf, a letter or character; Bogaart, Bogardus, 
an orchardist, and Boheem, a Bohemian. 

It seems that Claas Bordingh came from the 
neighborhood of Danzig on the Baltic, and that 
his name was derived from his occupation as 
a lighterman, like the father of Marryat's hero 
in Jacob Faithful, for in this East Prussian dia- 
lect bording means a boatman or lighterman. 

Bos comes from bush, meaning a wood, and 
Cornelis Boshuyzen from a bush house; Botsen 
had kicked or run against something; Bottelaar 
is the original of the English Bottler, now But- 
ler, the man who has charge of and fills the 
bottles; Boulter would seem to be a corruption 
of the English Bolter; Bout is in Dutch a bolt, 
a shoulder of mutton, a bold man, a quill, or 
a duck, and from these definitions we must 
apparently choose the origin of this name, as 

vaai : 


IRew Hmsterfcam jfamilE IRames 



the English word does not lend itself for use 
as a patronymic. Bowers is probably a mis- 
spelled Bouwers, the builders, and Bracken- 
bury, the borough of the ferns. Dirck Classen 
Braeck, or his ancestor who assumed this fam- 
ily name, came either from a braak, a pond, 
or from untilled land. 

The name Braidley is only once spelled Brad- 
ley, and might be translated as a deceitful 
meadow, Chaucer using the Saxon word brede 
as "to deceive," but it is more likely that the 
name came from the Irish braid, broad, or that 
the clerk spelled it phonetically, or thought the 
English a had to be written as the diphthong 
ai ; in both cases it would be a broad mea- 
dow, while Brandley is a burned-over sward 
or meadow. Bredenbent offers an opportunity 
to speculate in the construction of names ; were 
it spelled Breedenbent we could say the first 
two syllables meant broad; but as it never oc- 
curs with two e's we cannot suppose this the 
usual carelessness in the spelling of names and 
must assume that the name had something to 
do with the former barony and present fort- 
ress of Breda. But the principal difficulty lies 
in the last syllable of the name, for we cannot 
accept the explanation given by G. R. Howell 
in his paper on Origin and Meaning of Eng- 
lish and Dutch Surnames that Bent means "a 
frame " and Benthuysen " a frame house," for 
there is no word bent in the Dutch language and 

IRew Hmsterfcam jfamilE frames 


the English word of that spelling would not 
have been used to make a Dutch name. We 
must therefore fall back on the Dutch bende, a 
troop or company, or on the equally Dutch 
Bend, the name of a society of German and 
Dutch painters in Italy two hundred years ago, 
so that Bredenbent had probably something to 
do with a painter from Breda belonging to 
the society. 

Bremer is a native of Bremen; Breser, a 
breacher, or a man who made a breach by 
shooting; Mr. Breun is Mr. Brown. Briant 
is evidently an Irishman, though he is often 
called Bruyn, the name given to the bear in 
the old German epic of Reinard the Fox; but 
the two ways of spelling the name leads to 
the supposition that both are meant for Bruy- 
ant, a noisy fellow. 

Charles Bridges took it easy with his name. 
An Englishman, coming to New Amsterdam 
from the West Indies in 1639, he was sent to 
Curacao as Member of the Council under Stuy- 
vesant in 1644, and translated his name into 
van Brugge, which means " of the bridge." He 
returned to New Amsterdam with Stuyvesant 
in 1647, continuing in the service of the West 
India Company, but when the English took 
New Netherland he called himself again 
Bridges, changed once more to Van Brugge 
for a short time in 1673, and died as Bridges 
at Flushing, L. I., in 1682. 


Hew Bmsterfcam ffamtlg IRames 


Bridnell, in other records spelled Brudenell, 
is again hard to explain, for bru, the French 
for daughter-in-law, or in old French, the 
string, de, of, and neille, or nelle, in French, 
the edge or rim of a hoop, give no sense; yet 
we must call this an old French name, for its 
device, En grace affie (trust in grace), is old 
French; it was later changed to the English 
"Think and Thank." Briel and Bryel have 
taken the name of their native town, Briel, 
on the island of Voorn, in the Delta of the 
Rhine, without the usual van or from. 

Breeders and Broerzen are a brother's daugh- 
ter and son. The only word at all like the 
name Bronk is the Greek fipoyxos, the wind- 
pipe, but it is not likely that any one would 
have adopted this as a patronymic; but it is 
possible that the name grew from bron, the 
spring or well, into Bronck, to become our 
modern Bronx. Brouwer is now a brewer. 
Bruinsen, Bruynen, and Bruynsen have been 
explained before, and in Bruyver we have a 
misspelled obsolete Swedish word for brewer. 
Bryn is a Swede, who lives at the edge or on 
the surface, and John Bugby probably came 
from the village (by in Swedish, bye in Dan- 
ish) of the sprites (buka in Russian). 

Bullaine, Bolline, Bolleyn, offers, by its vari- 
ous spellings, a chance of being derived from 
the Latin bulla, meaning "a bubble," "a 
trifle," "a pinhead," or of having something 

Hew Hmsterfcam family "Names 


to do with "a bull" ; in its forms Bolline and 
Bolleyn it points to the Latin Bolanus, an in- 
habitant of the town of Bola, now Poli, in 
Italy. But the form Bullaine may also be de- 
rived from the old English word bull, mean- 
ing large, to which the other English word, 
boll, the pod of a plant, is closely related. 

Caleb Burton, or one of his ancestors, ap- 
pears to have been a seaman, who took his 
name or was nicknamed, from the top-bur- 
ton-tackle of his ship. 

The Dutch call a gust of wind buy, hence 
the first Buys was probably an irascible man ; 
but if the name is spelled Buis it comes from 
a tube or from a herring-fishing vessel, a buss. 
Byswyck may be translated as "bees' vil- 

Caarber is probably a misspelled Caarder or 
Kaarder, a man who cards wool, while Calder 
seems to have some relation to the Spanish 
caldera, a caldron. Calebuys becomes in 
one entry Kalckbuys, which seems to be the 
more correct, or at least is easier to explain, 
as hatch is the Dutch for limestone. Campen 
took his name, which also appears as van 
Campen, from his native place, so called, in 
the Province of Overyssel. 

Has Canidal anything to do with Canidia, 
the witch, spoken of by Horace, or with 
Canidius Crassus, the general under Lepidus 
and Anthony, whom Octavius put to death ? 

JSullainc ; 


IRew Hmsterfcam jfamUg Barnes 

Capito comes evidently from the Latin caput, 
^ e head, and Capoen is our modern capon. 
Capps may have been a dealer in caps (Dutch, 
kap), and Cardel (Kardeel), one in ropes, 
a ship-chandler. Carelsen was the son of a 
Charles, or of somebody called a kaerel, a stout 
fellow. In Carmer we have the Old Swedish 
word for coachman, and Carpenet, with Car- 
pesy, seems to be derived from the French car- 
peau, a small carp ; so perhaps also Carpyn ; 
but its other form, Corbyn, which nowadays 
has become Corwin, points to the Latin cor- 
pus, the raven, which they carry in their coat- 
armor. Whether Cartwright, the maker of 
carts, is an English form of the Dutch name 
Kortreght, short law, or vice versa, the gene- 
alogist has to decide. Casier is the French 
for a maker of Parmesan cheese, which the 
clerk spelled phonetically Casige, the g being 
strongly aspirated in Dutch. Cattoen is woven 
cotton, and Cawyn strongly reminds us of the 
crow's caw; but it sounds also like the Dutch 
ka-waan, a coarse turtle-shell. Ceely, and later 
on Sely, have evidently some connection with 
the obsolete English word seely, meaning 
lucky or silly, although there is a suspicious 
resemblance to the German word selig, happy, 
blissful. Gees is an odd abbreviation of Cor- 
nelis, and is pronounced Kees. Chartier, the 
old French form of Cartier, makes paper and 
cardboard ; Chatlin is a misspelled French 

IRew Bmsterfcam jfamtlp IRames 229 

chatelain, or guardian of a castle; while the cheater; 
Latin castrum has become an English Chester. 
Claarbout and Claarhout may have both been 
intended for one or the other, but as the re- 
cording clerk made two names of it we must 
accept it so, and say that Claarbout is an evi- 
dent or ready bolt, and the other such tim- 
ber. Clabboard, the Dutch way of spelling the 
English clapboard, or shingle, was a nickname 
occasionally given to Thomas Chambers, one 
of the first settlers of Kingston, New York. 
Clein, Cleyn, Clyn, Kleyn, de Cleyn, is the 
little one; Clock and Clocq, " a bell " in Dutch, 
but "clever " in Swedish. Jan Cloet is said to 
have come from Nuremberg, in Germany; if 
he did so, he did not bring his patronymic 
along, for only in vulgar German is there a 
word spelled like his name. If he assumed 
his name here he called himself after a bowl, 
or globe; but if he was of Swedish origin, and 
the name is spelled Cluet, it may come from 
the Swedish word klut, a sail, or generally, a 
rag. There is, however, the possibility of a 
French origin of the name, a French maker of 
nails, a cloutier, having abbreviated the des- 
ignation of his trade to Clouet, and spelled it 
Cloet. The already quoted Origin and Mean- 
ing, etc., says that the Dutch Kluit is the Eng- 
lish "lamp," but we cannot find a verification 
of this assertion ; on the contrary, the Dutch 
Kluit is the English "clod." Clof, Klof, was 


Hew Hmsterfcam jfamilp IRames 



suspiciously like the Swedish Klofvc, a. log; 
but it may be that Richard Clof lived some- 
where in a cleft or gap (Kloof in Dutch), and 
was called after his dwelling-place. Clomp is 
our English "lump," Clopper, a knocker or 
beater, and Cloppenborgh may have been 
sent about the country to alarm the boroughs. 
Colfex, or, as now spelled, Colfax, seems to 
be a mingling of Swedish and Saxon, for we 
have in Swedish Kol for coal, and in Saxon 
feax for hair: probably the first man so called 
had coal-black hair, a rarity among the North- 
ern races. 

The name Cregier is again so variously 
spelled, that is, Crigier and Krigier, Crugier 
and Krygier, that it is hard to say to which 
tongue it belongs. It may originally have 
been the French crechier, guardian of a creche 
on a fortified bridge ; it may have been a 
nickname for a man who obtained (Dutch, 
kreeg] everything he asked for; it may have 
been a corrupted German Krieger, the war- 
rior, or an equally corrupted East Prussian 
Krueger, the keeper of a village tavern, a 
Croeger in Dutch. 

With the names beginning with a de, the 
Dutch for the, we come mostly to nicknames, 
pure and simple, adopted as patronymics. 
De Backer is the baker; de Boer, the farmer; 
de Bruyn, the bear; de Caper, the privateers- 
man; de Carman and Kerman, the carter; de 

TRew Bmsterfcam JFamilE IRames 


Conninck, usually written without the de, 
King; de Coster, the sexton; de Cromp, the 
bow-legged; de Cuyper and Kuyper, the 
cooper; de Decker, the roofer; de Drayer, 
the turner; de Coyer, one who casts; de 
Graaf, the count; de Groot, the tall man; 
de Haan, the cock; de Haart, the heart, 
but probably misspelled for de Hert, the 
deer; de Haas, the hare; de Hagenaar, the 
hedger ; de Hooges, the high one ; de Ja- 
ger, the hunter ; de Jardin, of the garden ; 
de Jongh, the young ; de Kersausvaarder, 
the canal boatman, or, literally translated, 
the seaman going through the daisies; de 
Kleuse, the close one; de Looper, the runner; 
de Meyer, the house or farm steward; de 
Milt, properly de Mild, the liberal man; de 
Peyster, the shepherd, from the old French 
form of paistre, for paitre ; de Pottebacker, 
the maker of earthenware ; de Potter, the 
merry jester; de Riemer, the saddler; de 
Ruyter, the rider; de Ryck, the rich man; 
de Sterre, of the star; de Visser, the fisher; 
de Vos, the fox or the sorrel horse; de Vries, 
the Frisian ; de Waart, Waert and Waard, 
Waerd, the tavern-keeper ; de Weerhem, 
probably misspelled for Weerhan, the weath- 
er-cock; de Witt, the white one; de Wys, 
the wise man; de Yonge, the young. 

But there are a number of names beginning 
with de of French origin, in which case it 


IRew Hmsterfcam jfamilE Barnes 

names of 


means of, as de Foreest, or Foret, as written 
to-day, of the forest; de la Montagne, of the 
mountain; de la Motthe (Motte), of the soil; 
de la Nooy, of the nut; de la Plyne, of the 
plain; de la Chair, of the flesh, but possibly 
this is meant for de la Chaire, of the chair; de la 
Vaal or Val, of the valley ; de Maree and Ma- 
reest, either "of the salt fish " or " of the tide " ; 
de Neufville, of the new city. Some of these 
French or Walloon names go farther afield 
and require more explanation : in de Honde- 
coutrie we have in the syllable bon, accord- 
ing to Valois's Cf^otice des Gaules, the English 
"ham" or "hamlet," while coutrie, or cou- 
trerie, is the office of a sexton, so that the 
whole name would signify the place where 
the sexton has his official quarters. 

As it would become tedious to the reader 
to wade through the surmised, apparent, or 
obvious origins of names, we give henceforth 
only the explanations most evident: Daven- 
port, has its origin from the French T)'avant 
port, before the port; Doesbury, Doesburg, 
now Dusenberry, from the city of Doesburg, on 
the eastern branch of the Rhine, in the Province 
ofGueldern; Draek, the dragon; Droogestradt, 
the dry street; Dubo (Dubois), of the woods; 
du Four, of the oven; du Mont, of the hill; 
du Puys, now Depew, of the well, or from 
the town of le Puy, in the French Department 
of the Loire; Duyckingh, a diving-man; Duyts, 

IRew Hmsterfcam 3familp names 


a German ; Duy velant, the land of pigeons, or 
he came from the island of Duivelant, in the 
Province of Zeeland; Fullewever, the fuller, 
weaver ; Gaaljaard, the French gaillard, a 
merry fellow; Gaineau (Gano) had something 
to do with a scabbard ; Gansevoort, from the 
geese ford; Hackins, in its various spellings, 
shows that it is the English Hawkins. 

Although neither of the two Robert Living- 
stons appear in the l^ecords of U^ew Amster- 
dam, it may interest the reader to know that 
the name was originally von Linstow and 
that the family came from the Grand Duchy 
of Mecklenburg, whence, some time in the 
sixteenth century, a Linstow had emigrated to 
Scotland. Thence he was sent by the king 
as ambassador to the German Emperor Mat- 
thias, in 1612, and when the last of the Lin- 
stow family in Mecklenburg died, about 
twenty years ago, there was discovered 
among his papers the copy of a letter written 
to his cousin, the Ambassador Livingston, 
inviting him to pay a visit to the home of his 

Keteltas was a bag for the kettle, and 
Kettelhuyn was a chicken ready for the pot. 

At a time of great monetary depression in 
Germany, some people took advantage of the 
uncertain laws of coinage and of the multitude 
of foreign coins in circulation to decrease the 
value of the coins by cutting the rim ; these 



IRew HmsterDam jfamilg IRames 

flipper ; 


were called Kippers and Wippers, and possi- 
bly the name of Kip came from this nefarious 
practice; but it is more likely derived from 
the Dutch word Kip, a pack or a bundle, or 
from the colloquial Dutch word Kip, a hen. 
On the other hand, there is the German word 
Kupe, Kiepe, the coop or wicker basket. A 
French origin of the name, as claimed, seems 

Loockerman was the man who dealt in or 
liked leeks; Meersman, a triton ; Megapo- 
lensis, the Latinized name of van Mecklen- 
burg, the man from Mecklenburg ; Menist, 
the Mennonite; Metselaer, the mason; Meu- 
telaer, the mutineer; Middagh, mid-day ; 
Moesman, the porridgeman; Mol, the mole 
(also a sort of beer), but as the device of the 
Mol family in Europe is Laet de Mol in fhol 
(leave the mole in the hole), we must accept 
the first explanation ; Molegraaf, the mill 
count; Molenaer, the miller, from the Italian 
Molinari, a family name still in existence in 
Europe ; Naber, the neighbor; Nagel, the 
nail; Naghtegael is the nightingale, but the 
bearer of this name did not show herself as a 
mellifluous female in the Records; Op Dyck 
lived on a dyke ; Pluy vier, who himself spelled 
his namePluvier, perhaps did not know enough 
to come in when it rained, or he liked the 
plover; Steenwyck took his name from the 
village of that name in the District of Drent, 

IRew BmsterDam Jfamilp Barnes 


Overyssel, and Sterrevelt, from the field around 
Sterre, a place in the fork of the Waal and 
the Rhine. There is in the Department of 
Cote du Nord, France, a river, the Trieux, from 
which the name du Trieux, Truy, etc., was 

We come now to the peculiarly Dutch names 
with ten, ter, van, van der, and ver, the ten and 
ter meaning at the, the van, van der, and ver 
(a contraction of van der), of. Thus we have: 
ten Eyck, at the oak; ter Heun, at the hedge; 
while the vans have mostly adopted the names 
of their native places, some of them so small 
that no geographical hand-book mentions 
them, but in probably no case has the Dutch 
van become, like the German von, the nobil- 
iary prefix, for in the Netherlands noble birth 
was always indicated by a title; besides, in 
those days of almost constant war, the noble- 
man found always a chance to occupy himself 
profitably in the army, and under no condi- 
tion adopted a mercantile life. The places 
where the vans came from, and which are 
found in gazetteers, are : 

Aalst: Terwen, in Het Koningrijck der 
Nederlande, describes two places of the 
name of Aalst, one a village near Waalre, the 
ancient Waderlo, in the Province of North 
Brabant, the other in Guelderland. Besides, 
there is an Aalst, or Alost, near Ghent, Belgium. 

Aarnhem, Province of Guelderland. 




iRew Bmsterfcam jfamtlg Barnes 

Aachen, Aecken, Aix-la-Chapelle, in the 
Prussian Province of the Rhine. 

Baal, Basle, in Switzerland. 

Beeck, near Nimeguen. 

Berckelo, in Guelderland. 

Bergen, in Holland. 

Bolsward, in Friesland. 

Bommel, an island formed by the Waal and 
a branch of the Rhine. 

Breeste, Brestede, Bredstede, in the District 
of Flensborgh, Denmark. 

Bremen, the well-known city in Germany. 

Blockzyl or Brocksel, in Friesland. 

Broutangie is either meant for the French 
Bretagne, or an oddly spelt Bourtang, the 
name of a marsh on the eastern frontier of 
Groningen and Drent. 

We have already disposed of one van 
Brugge under the name of Bridges. Whether 
the others also came from Bridges, or from 
the Belgian city of Bruges, in Dutch spelled 
Bruggen, cannot be decided here. 

Campen lies in Overyssel ; Ceulen is the 
Dutch for Cologne; Cleef is the Duchy of 

It is claimed for the van Cortlandt family 
that their first ancestor in America, Oloff Ste- 
vensen, was a descendant of the dukes of Cur- 
land. There are several objections to this 
theory. Curland, the country of the Kures, 
a branch of the Lithuanian people, was an in- 

IRew amsterfcam jfamUp Kames 


dependent possession of the Knights of the 
Teutonic Order, who Christianized that part of 
the world in the twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, 
and fifteenth centuries. Upon the overthrow 
of this order by Poland, in 1561, it became 
part of that kingdom, and was only created a 
duchy, to be given as such to Biron, the fa- 
vorite of Empress Anna of Russia, in 1710, 
more than fifty years after the name van Cort- 
land appeared here. The second objection is 
based on the social conditions of the seven- 
teenth century, which would have prevented 
the scion of a noble family from becoming a 
trader; he could always find service with his 
sword in the various armies of the Thirty 
Years' War. Then the first part of the name 
of Curland, or Kurland, the Kur, is too much 
like the Dutch word Keur, the choice, to have 
been changed into Cort, short. Cortland is 
simply "short land." 

The name of van der Bilt, or van de Bilt, is 
taken either from the village of de Bilt, a sub- 
urb of Utrecht, or from the parish of Het (the) 
Bilt, in Frisia, or, possibly, from one of the 
Bilts, or narrow passages of the sea, between 
the peninsula of Denmark and the island of 
Fuenen ; van de Linde, from a town in Gueld- 
erland; van der Heyden, from a place in Hoi- 
stein, or it may mean "from the heath"; van 
der Eyck, Kuil, Perck, Ree, Schel, Schuyr, 
Sluys, Smisse, Spiegel, Veen, Veer, Vorst, are 




Hew Hmsterfcam Jfamils names 

purely local designations, from which the 
names were taken, as from the oak, the cave, 
the park, the sail-yard, the bell, the barn, the 
sluice, the forge, the looking-glass, the fenn, 
the ferry, the forest. Van der Stighelen may 
have some connection with the Dutch Sticht, 
or Diocese, and van der Vin is from the fin of a 
fish. Van Dincklagen comes from Oldenburg ; 
van Deventer, from the place of that name in 
Overyssel; Elsland is the country around Elsi- 
nore, on the island of Zeeland ; Hasselt, a town 
in Overyssel; Hagen, Hattem, and Harder- 
wyck, in Gueldern ; Huesden, in North Brabant ; 
Imbroecken lies near the Zuyder Zee; Isel- 
steyn, in Utrecht ; Laar (Lahr) is a town in the 
Grand duchy of Baden ; Loon lies on the Maas 
River, in Brabant; Meppel, in Drent; Naer- 
den, in Utrecht; Wyck is a fortified town 
on a branch of the Rhine, the Vechte or 
Wechte. Malte-Brun says, in his System of 
Geography, that this river in the Netherlands 
is of less importance than the Yssel, Issel, or 
Isel, to-day the branch of the Rhine called 
the Vechte. 

Some names of Dutch towns have changed 
since natives of them came to America: thus, 
there is in Belgium the city of Tirlemont, as 
the French call it, which is called by the inhabi- 
tants Theenen, and was the Tienhoven from 
which Secretary Cornelis van Tienhoven took 
his name. 

IRew Hmsterfcam jfamilg IRames 239 

To close this article, it is only necessary to Ucana 


repeat that ver is an abbreviation of v an der, 

and the meaning of the names Verbeeck, Ver- 
braack, Verbrugge, has already been explained. 
Verhage is van der Hage, of the bush or from 
the Hague ; Vermeulen, from the mill; Ver- 
planck, of the plank; and we add the few 
names which require translation, to wit: Vis- 
ser, the fisher ; Vogel, the bird ; Vogelsang, 
bird's song; Vos, the fox, and Joncker Vos, 
the son of a Baron Vos; Vredenburgh, bor- 
ough of peace ; Vries, the Frisian; Waecker, 
the watchman ; Waldman, the man of the 
forest ; Wandel, probably an abbreviated Wan- 
delaar, the walker; Wantenaar, the rigger; 
Webber, the weaver ; Wisselpenningh, 
change the penny ; and finally, Wyt Straat, 
either a wide street or a badly written Uyt 
Straat, outside street. 


fflew Bmsteitoam Tamils flames 



THRIVEN, Koningrijck der Nederlande. 
MALTE-BRUN, Systeme de Geographic. 
OWEN, Welsh Dictionary. 
BALB', Atlas ethnographique. 
DUMONT, Voyage sur les bords du Rhin. 



Half Moon Series 

Published in the Interest of the New York 
City History Club. 




THE uncertain temper of Director-General 
William Kieft was the indirect occasion 

of the building of the first recorded tavern 
upon Manhattan Island. His predecessors had 
opened their doors to the "stranger within 
the gates " with Leyden hospitality, but the 
almost daily passing of ships trading between 
New England and Virginia brought many 
guests, and "in order to accommodate the 
English, from whom he suffered great annoy- 
ance, Kieft had built a fine inn of stone." 
" It happened well for the travellers," was the 
appreciative comment of De Vries, who was 
wont to dine with Kieft. 1 

This Stadt Harberg, or the City Tavern, was 
the property of the West India Company, and 
was erected on the site of the warehouses now 
occupying the building 71-73 Pearl Street, and 
facing Coenties Slip.' On the seventeenth of 
February, 1643, Director Kieft leased this tav- 



Uaverns ano posting Inns 



ern to one Philip Gerritsen, at a rent of three 
hundred guilders, or one hundred and twenty 
dollars, " with the right to retail the Company's 
wine and brandy, on which he is to be al- 
lowed a profit of six stivers (or twelve cents) 
a gallon." The lease specified further, that a 
well and brew-house might be erected in the 
rear of the inn. 

What the rates of the tavern were is not 
known, but in November, 1643, Joannes 
Winckleman, agent of Meindert Meindertson 
Van Keren, gave his note to Philip Gerritsen 
for one hundred and thirty-two guilders, four 
stivers (or fifty-two dollars and eighty-eight 
cents), "for board, etc. for the people of the 
colonie of Achter Col," (Hackensack, New Jer- 
sey). 8 The people of Achter Col, had been 
driven to seek the doubtful protection of Fort 
Amsterdam after the destruction of the colony 
by the Indians; but the number of guests, or 
the length of their stay, is not given, so we 
have no basis on which to compute the 
charges. The inhuman treatment of the In- 
dians was a characteristic of the Kieft admin- 
istration, and had the speedy effect of causing 
a general uprising on the part of the savages, 
and the serious threatening of the annihilation 
of New Amsterdam. The necessary expedi- 
ent of procuring a considerable number of sol- 
diers, with other expenditures, which were 
met only partially by the Company, drove 

ZTaverns anfc posting Unns 


Kieft to fix an excise on beer, promising that 
it should cease "on the arrival of a Company's 
ship or new Director, or at the end of the war. " 4 

In June, 1644, the first excise law was 
passed, and in August of that year, the Fiscal, 
or roughly speaking, the sheriff, obtained a 
judgment against Host Gerritsen of the Har- 
berg, for payment of the excise. The beer, 
according to De Vries, was as good as that 
brewed in the Fatherland, and the entertain- 
ment at the Harberg was not to be questioned. 
Certainly, Host Gerritsen was supported by 
Church and State, for in the previous March 
he invited "the minister, City magnates, and 
their wives to sup with him," but the feast 
came to an untimely and disorderly end 
through the "outrageous attack" led by the 
Indian fighter, John Underbill, and the Eng- 
lish Secretary, George Baxter. 6 

Little more is known of Host Gerritsen, but 
the Harberg continued as a place of entertain- 
ment until 1653, when their Honors, the 
Burgomasters and Schepens of the then in- 
corporated city, informed "every body" that 
from this time on all their meetings would be 
held in the "house hitherto called the City 
Tavern, henceforth the City Hall." So ended 
the career of the Harberg as a public-house, 
though entertainments may have been held 
there on occasions, as when the Burgomas- 
ters and Schepens voted to provide "a gay 


<S>U> Uaverns anfc posting Units 

repast" in the Council Chamber 01 the City 
Hall for Peter Stuyvesant as he was about to 
take "a gallant voyage" to the West Indies 
for trading purposes, in December, 1654. 

The number of taverns and tap-houses 
increased constantly with the growing popu- 
lation, so that in 1648 one fourth of the build- 
ings of New Amsterdam had been turned into 
taverns for the sale of brandy, tobacco, and 
beer. Peter Stuyvesant, who succeeded Kieft 
in 1647 as Director, in the following year 
issued a proclamation demanding that all 
tavern-keepers and tapsters should present 
themselves in person within eight days to 
give their names to the Director-General and 
Council. Twelve men obeyed the summons, 
and promised, as true men, to live up to the 
regulations for tavern-keepers and tapsters. 
The list included Daniel Lithscoe, Abraham 
Pietersen, Jan Snediger, and Martin Cregier, 
whose tavern was situated near that of Peter 
Kochs, another Dutch tapster, on the present 
site of the Washington Building, i Broadway. 

The ordinances passed by the Director-Gen- 
eral and Council declared that the men already 
established as tavern-keepers were to be al- 
lowed to continue in their business for four 
years at least, but only on condition, that they 
should not "transfer their former occupation 
of tapping and selling liquor by the small 
measure nor let their houses and dwellings to 

Uaverns anfc posting 1[nns 


another party, except with the previous ad- 
vice and full consent of the Director-General 
and Council." In the future no new tap- 
room, tavern, or inn could be opened with- 
out the unanimous consent of the Director 
and Council. 

Tavern-keepers and tapsters were not to be 
allowed to sell to the Indians, and if any fight 
or mishap should occur at their houses, they 
were to be heavily fined for every hour during 
which they concealed the fact from the officers. 
" Unseasonable night tippling," viz., drinking 
after nine o'clock, when the bell was rung, and 
"intemperate drinking on the Sabbath," that 
is, drinking by anyone not a traveler or table- 
boarder on Sunday before three o'clock, when 
divine service was over, were infringements 
to be met by heavy penalties. 

These ordinances left as favorable means of 
evasion as some of the Raines Law provisions, 
so a year later it was found necessary to order 
that no inhabitant who made it a business to 
brew, should be allowed "to tap, sell, or give 
away, beer, wine, or strong water by the 
small measure, excepting at meal times, not 
even to table-boarders, who they may pretend 
to board, under which pretext we have seen 
many frauds perpetrated." Later, an ordi- 
nance was passed to prohibit "the sitting of 
clubs " at taverns on any night after the ring- 
ing of the bell or on the Sabbath, since it was 


tlaverns an& posting flnns 



found that there were those who frequented 
such places more on that than on any other 
day, the intention not being, so the record 
says, "to prevent the stranger or citizen from 
buying a drink of wine or beer for the as- 
suaging of his thirst, but that the privilege 
of resorting to divine service might not be 
hindered." The boarding-house keepers were 
obliged to pay the Collector half the tapster 
excise if wines, brandy, distilled waters, or 
beer were to be consumed by the guests. 
Further, no tavern-keepers or tapsters could 
receive in pawn any goods as pay, and the 
lodging of savages over night between the 
Fort and the Fresh Water (Centre Street, near 
the site of the Tombs) without a pass signed 
by the Director-General or the Secretary, in- 
volved a fine of twenty-five florins or ten dol- 
lars. Licenses for taverns were required to be 
renewed quarterly, and could be obtained from 
the City Treasurer; but later the retail sellers 
were allowed to take them out annually. 8 

The taverns most frequently mentioned in 
the Dutch period are the Stadt Harberg, the 
resort of the traders, and the houses of Martin 
Cregier and Peter Kochs, the resorts, doubt- 
less, or the soldiery, for both Cregier and 
Kochs had won distinction in the Dutch 
service, and had located themselves near 
Fort Amsterdam. To these must be added 
the tavern in Pearl Street, near Broad, kept 

ZTaverns anfc posting Huns 


by Mettje Wessels, whose son, Warnaer 
Wessels, is a familiar figure in New Amster- 
dam, as farmer of the Tapster's Excise, later 
farmer of the Burgher's Excise on wine and 
beer, and attaining, in 1669, the high office 
of Constable. On November 22, 1656, the 
Burgomasters and Schepens granted the re- 
quest of Neeltie, or Mettje, Wessels, to be 
allowed "to follow the trade of an eating 
house and to bring in and tap out beer." 
Judging from the number of times her name 
appears in the Court proceedings, her career 
as an inn-keeper must have been tempestu- 
ous. It was at the house of Mettje Wessels 
that William Bogardus, doubtless the son of 
Dominie Bogardus, possessing the traditional 
character of a minister's son, engaged in a 
fight. This little diversion, on the complaint 
of Schout Peter Tonnemann, cost the said 
William, according to the rule of the Court, 
the sum of fifty guilders, or twenty dollars, 
with costs. 1 All through the records, how- 
ever, are to be found accounts of disturbances 
and scuffles in the taverns, and the house of 
Mettje Wessels should not be considered as 
exceptional in this particular. 

When, in September, 1664, the Dutch col- 
ors were lowered, and the Red Cross of St. 
George floated over Fort Amsterdam, the city 
becoming New York, the inference might well 
have been made, that under the English a dis- 



It) Uaverns anfc posting Huns 


tinctive change in the taverns would imme- 
diately appear. Later, the English did make 
their impress, and the inns became political 
and educational, as well as social centres, but 
for the moment tavern life continued much the 
same as under the Dutch, necessitating simi- 
lar laws and ordinances. The tavern-keepers 
were compelled to take out their licenses 
annually from the Mayor, he having the sole 
power to grant them, and anyone selling 
wine, brandy, or rums at retail, or by the 
small measure, without a license, did so un- 
der a penalty of five pounds. As late as 1748, 
no inn-keeper, victualer, or ordinary keeper 
was allowed to receive company into his 
house, and sell to them any sort of liquor on 
the Lord's Day in time of divine service or 
preaching, unless to strangers, travelers, or 
those who lodge in such houses for their 
necessary refreshment, and the sale of strong 
liquor to Indian or negro was prohibited. 8 

It would be impossible, in limited space, to 
give a history of all the taverns and posting 
inns in New York during the eighteenth cen- 
tury, however alluring such signs as The Blue 
Boar, St. George and the Dragon, Dog's Head- 
in-the-Porridge-Pot, The Three Pigeons, in 
Smith (William) Street, The Fighting-Cocks, 
next door to the Exchange Coffee-House, in 
Broad Street, where Eastham promised to 
show to his customers "a curious portable 

taverns an& iposttna Units 


microscope with several different magnifying 
lenses." Other attractive hostelries were The 
Thistle and Crown, near Spring Garden, 
where the old gardener of the old Bowling. 
Green sold seeds at reasonable rates," to be 
distinguished from The Crown and Thistle 
on the Whitehall, near the Half-Moon Bat- 
tery, the starting-point for the stage line to 
Burlington, New Jersey, and kept by "Scotch 
Johnny"; The Sign of the Spread Eagle, near 
the Whitehall, at which place Host Hamilton 
Hewetson announced would be seen " Punch's 
Opera, TSateman, or the Unhappy Marriage, 
with a fine dialogue between Punch and his 
wife Joan, acted by a set of lively figures late 
from Philadelphia ; " The Duke of Cumber- 
land, opposite the Merchants' Coffee-House, 
kept by Thomas Lepper, who made an ordi- 
nary or table d'hote a feature of this house, 
advertising that dinner would be served at 
the sign of the Duke of Cumberland every 
day at one o'clock; The Bunch of Grapes, 
near the Fly (Fulton) Market, distinguished 
in having as a guest "a Person" who pro- 
vided "a very warm and commodious room 
for scholars," and agreed to teach the three 
R's and "fit youths for a Counting House, or 
to carry on any business." 10 From these, and 
many others, it is necessary to turn and seek 
for a more detailed account of tavern life 
among those historic taverns and inns that 




Ifc Uaverns anO posting Tlnns 


"U?cJ> foe 



were centres irom which radiated plans 01 
civic business, schemes of privateering, pro- 
jects for education, exhibitions 01 patriotism, 
and social entertainments. 

One of the early records of the use of an inn 
for purposes of civic business is in 1701, when 
a committee of the Council was appointed to 
meet with a committee of the Assembly, to 
confer in regard to the public accounts, and 
the meeting was to take place "at the house 
of Mr. Roger Baker at three of the clock in the 
afternoon." 11 The "house of Mr. Roger Baker" 
was the tavern known as the King's Head, 
situated on the northwest corner of the pres- 
ent Pearl Street and Maiden Lane." Baker 
himself appears in the list of freemen in 1695, 
as Roger Baker, victualer, and later he is met 
in the celebrated trial of Colonel Bayard, 
leader of the anti-Leislerian party. Here he 
was charged with having said "the king is 
made a nose of wax and no longer king than 
the English please," and being found guilty 
was made to pay a fine of four hundred pieces 
of eight. The White Lion, kept by Gabriel 
Thompson, shared with the King's Head the 
honor of entertaining the Committee of Coun- 
cil and Assembly. The location is not certain, 
but its frequent mention in the Journal of the 
Legislative Council indicates it to have been a 
favorite resort of the Conference Committees. 

After 1704, the Coffee-House seems to have 

Uaverns an& posting Unus 


been a popular place of meeting for confer- 
ence. A Coffee-House was in existence as 
early as 1701, for the son of Colonel Bayard 
states that it was at the Coffee-House, in the 
presence of his father and himself, that the 
addresses which led to the conviction of 
Colonel Bayard for high treason were signed. 13 
The site of the Coffee-House cannot be abso- 
lutely proved; but the publication of a map 
made by Lyne during Governor Montgom- 
erie's rule, 1728-1732, together with an adver- 
tisement in the New York Gazette of March 
i, 1730, give some clue. The map indicates 
that the Exchange (a building erected in 1691- 
92 as a market-house) was at the foot of Broad 
Street, between the East and West Docks. 
The advertisement announced the sale of land 
at public vendue at the Exchange Coffee- 
House, and probably this Coffee-House was 
in the neighborhood of the Market-House, or 
Exchange." If, however, its location may be 
questioned, it is certain that on October 5, 
1705, a Conference Committee was called "at 
the Coffee House at nine of the clock," and 
again at four o'clock the following afternoon 
at the same place. In 1708-9 the Committees 
met again at the Coffee-House, although there 
was a Council Chamber in the new City Hall 
completed in 1700, and situated on Wall and 
Nassau Streets, the site of the present Sub- 
Treasury Building. 



Ua\>erns anfc jposttna Huns 

Later we meet with other coffee-houses 
coffee, like th at f the New, or Royal, Exchange, 
foouse erected in 1752, at the lower end of Broad 
Street, near the Long Bridge, and so " laudable 
an undertaking " was this considered to be, 
that one hundred pounds was voted by the 
Common Council for its construction. It was 
completed in 1753, and leased to Oliver De 
Lancey for fifty pounds. 16 It is described as 
having a long room raised upon brick arches, 
and generally used for public entertainments, 
concerts, balls, and assemblies. Keen and 
Lightfoot opened it as a coffee-room, Febru- 
ary 4, 1754." . 

On the southeast corner of Wall and Water 
Streets was the Merchants' Coffee-House, 
which for many years was the centre of mer- 
cantile transactions. The files of the news- 
papers abound with advertisements of lands, 
houses, ships, cargoes, and negroes offered 
for sale at public vendue at the Merchants' 
Coffee-House. Such an advertisement as the 
following is to be seen in any of the provin- 
cial papers: " A parcel of likely negroes to be 
sold at public vendue to-morrow at ten o'clock 
at the Merchants' Coffee House." In 1759, 
the Old Insurance Office advertises that at 
this coffee-house "all risques whatsoever are 
underwrote at very moderate premiums, and 
due attendance given from twelve to one and 
six to eight, by Keteltas and Sharpe, clerks of 

taverns anD posting Unns 


the office."" The Merchants' Coffee-House 
attained its highest historic interest when, in 
1789, upon the arrival of President-elect Wash- 
ington at Murray's Wharf, the procession 
which was to escort him to his new home 
formed before its doors. 

From 1742 to 1748, and from 1756 to 1763, 
England was at war with France, and seiz- 
ures upon the high seas were frequent. 
Undoubtedly, plans for privateering were 
matured around the tables of the different 
inns. The wealthy merchants of New York 
had been interested in such enterprises, and 
many were owners of ships engaged in the 
business. The war gave a suitable pretext 
for such undertakings, hence it was that an 
advertisement like the following may be read 
in the newspapers of the time: 

" To all Gentlemen, Sailors and others who have a mind to 
try their fortunes on a cruising voyage against the enemy. That 
the Brigt. Hester and Sloop Polly are now fitting out at New 
York in the best manner under the command of Captain Fran- 
cis Rosewell, and the owners of said vessels being to find 
everything necessary for such an undertaking. The Brigt. 
is a fine, New Single Deckt Vessel of one hundred and fifty 
tons. The Sloop is also New Burthen one hundred tons, 
to mount twenty-six Guns and to be Manned with eighty 
men, being both Prime Sailors and to go in Company." 

The articles of agreement were to be seen 
at the sign of the Pineapple, kept by Benjamin 
Kiersted, on the New Dock." From theja- 

XaiS in 


Uaverns anfc posting firms 





maica Arms, on Cruger's Wharf, and the Griffin 
Tavern on the New Dock, were advertised 
equal facilities for engaging in privateering. 
When a prize was brought into port, the goods 
which it carried would be sold on shore, and 
an inventory of the cargo could always be 
seen at the coffee-houses or taverns. Some- 
times differences would arise among the own- 
ers of privateers, and arbitrators would meet 
at the taverns to agree upon a settlement, as 
for example, in 1745, when four privateers ar- 
rived with six French prizes, the Black Horse 
Inn, the patrician house of Mr. Robert Todd, 
was fixed upon by the arbitrators as the meet- 
ing-ground for settlement. 18 

The art of letter-writing was taken so seri- 
ously by our amiable forbears, that a regularly 
established post-office in New York was not 
found a necessity until 1775. In 1659, under 
the Dutch, provision was made by the Direc- 
tor-General and Council for a box to be placed 
in front of the Secretary's office for the recep- 
tion of all letters, and where, if one so wished, 
he could register his letter on the payment of 
three stivers. 30 In the English days various 
inns served as places of distribution and recep- 
tion of mail matter, and the date of departure 
and arrival of the post-riders would be an- 
nounced in the papers. "The Albany Post 
arrived last night and proposes to set out 
again from hence on Wednesday next. Per- 

Uaverns ant> posting flnns 


sons are desired to send their letters to Ser- 
geant Younge at the Hartfordshire and 
Yorkshire near the Fort." This tavern was 
on Marketfield Street, commonly called Petti- 
coat Lane (site now covered by the Produce 
Exchange), and directly opposite the Secre- 
tary's office, which was on Whitehall Street 
close by the Fort. It was by the Albany 
Post that the news in regard to Indian affairs, 
and, during the war with France, the news 
from Quebec, was brought, so the selection 
of an inn near the Fort, where the army and 
navy congregated, was natural. The Hart- 
fordshire and Yorkshire has also a picturesque 
interest, in that it was selected as a place of 
enlistment for the Louisburg expedition of 
1745, under Admiral Warren." But Louis- 
burg was lost and won again after the War- 
ren expedition, and when, in 1758, news was 
received that a powerful fleet under Admiral 
Boscawen had retaken it, a grand official din- 
ner was given, not at the Hartfordshire and 
Yorkshire, where the brave men of thirteen 
years before had recruited, but at the Province 
Arms, the then favorite resort of loyal Eng- 
lishmen. The cannon of Fort George re- 
sponded to every toast, and the city was 
illuminated, as was customary. 

The coffee-house was a favorite place for 
the reception of letters, especially with sea- 
faring people. On August 27, 1744, the fol- 

flnns aa 

2 5 8 

Uav>erns anfc posting Units 

Vitns as 

lowing spirited notice appeared in the weekly 
Tost 'Boy : 

" Whereas about a Fortnight ago three or four letters di- 
rected to the Printer of this paper were left at The Merchants' 
Coffee-House in this City, among many other letters, by 
Captain Romar from South Carolina ; which letters have 
been by ill-minded persons either destroyed or conveyed 
away unknown. This is to notify, that if any Person will 
give sufficient Information whereby the Offender may have 
justice, he shall have twenty shillings reward. The Keeper 
of the said Coffee House late usage of me obliges me to have 
no more Sentiments of him than the Case will allow." 

In 1752, one William Wood was the carrier 
between New York and Albany, and he gave 
the public notice that letters would be "taken 
in at his house on Thurman Dock on the North 
River or at Benjamin Pain's, who at this time 
was keeping the Gentleman's Coffee-House 
and Tavern on Broad Street, near the Old 
Slip." " Some of the inn-keepers advertised 
as a special feature of their houses, that they 
would "take in the newspapers." When 
George Burns took the Cart and Horse, in 
1750, he promised his patrons that they 
should always find the Boston, Philadelphia, 
and New York newspapers; and in 1774, 
when Edward Bardin was again keeper at the 
sign of the King's Arms, he announced that 
the " public prints " were taken for the gen- 
tlemen's amusement. Four years later, when 
John Adams was stopping a few days in New 

ZTaverns anfc posting Unns 

2 59 

York on his way to the Continental Congress, 
he visited, under the escort of the "disinter- 
ested patriot," Alexander MacDougall, the 
coffee-house, "which," says Adams, "was 
full of gentlemen and where we read the 

In the early half of the last century, the 
house most frequented by the gentry was Mr. 
Todd's, at the sign of the Black Horse, located, 
in 1735, in Smith (William) Street, near the 
Old Dutch Church. The Black Horse was 
the centre of the social life of the city ; balls, 
concerts, and dinners were given there, and 
the Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and 
Accepted Masons was accustomed to hold its 
meetings at this fashionable inn. The New 
York Gazette of January 6, 1786, announces 

"a Concert of Musick, Vocal and Instrumental for the Bene- 
fit of Mr. Parchebell, the Harpsicord Part performed by him- 
selt. The Songs, Violins and German Flutes by private 
Hands. The concert will begin at six precisely In the House 
of Robert Todd, Vintner. Tickets to be had at the Coffee 
House, and at Mr. Todd's at 45." 

It was at the Black Horse that "a very 
splendid entertainment was provided by the 
principal Merchants and other Gentlemen of 
this City for His Excellency Governor Crosby 
in order to congratulate him upon his safe re- 
turn from Albany! " The fete for which this 
house is famous, however, is that given in 





260 to Uaverns ano posting Huns 

honor of the birthday 01 the Prince of Wales, 
on January 19, 1736. During the day there 
was the usual celebration at the Fort, where 
the healths of the Royal Family and the Gov- 
ernor and Council were drunk, and "in the 
evening the ball at Mr. Todd's at which there 
was a very great appearance of ladies and gen- 
tlemen and an elegant entertainment made by 
the gentlemen in honor of the day." 24 An- 
other newspaper account says: "The ball 
opened with French dances and then the 
company proceeded to country dances, upon 
which Mrs. Norris led up two new country 
dances, made upon the occasion, the first of 
which was called the Prince of Wales, and 
the second the Princess of Saxe-Gotha." It 
comments further upon the "most magnifi- 
cent appearance" of the ladies, which may be 
well believed, for Mr. Smith, the discriminat- 
ing historian, has much to say of the social 
life in New York at that time, and speaks of 
the ladies as "comely and well-dressed, very 
few having distorted shapes." " 

Nine years later the host of the Black Horse 
had died, and his widow, Margaret Todd, ad- 
vertised for sale fine old Madeira wine, Canary 
wines, etc., and also playing-cards, all at rea- 
sonable rates. When Jonathan Ogden bought 
the sign he moved it to Queen Street, and in 
1 750, the Boston Post made this tavern its stop- 
ping-place. After his death, in 1753, it was 

ID Uaverns anfc posting Unns 


* eat> 

purchased by John Halstead, and he agreed to 
keep it as formerly, but from this time on 
little more is known of the Black Horse Inn. 

The sporting element in New York could 
give vent to its feelings at the Drover's Inn, 
kept by Adam Van Der Burgh, and occupy- 
ing the ground covered by the present Astor 
House ; here horses were run over a race-course 
laid out, somewhat incongruously it would 
seem, on the Church Farm. Entries were 
required to be made the day before the race, 
and all spectators in chaises or on horseback, 
except those having racing-horses, were 
charged sixpence each upon going into the 
field." Ten years later the same element was 
to be found at the old Bull's Head Tavern, on 
the Bowery (the site of the Thalia Theatre), 
whose presiding genius in 1755 was one 
George Brewerton. This was the last halt- 
ing-place for the stages before entering the 
city. From this tavern started the procession 
which escorted General Washington in his 
triumphal march through the city on Novem- 
ber 25, 1783. Governor Clinton, the Lieuten- 
ant-Governor, and the members of the Council 
accompanied him under an escort of a party 
of horse eight abreast; after passing down 
Queen Street and the line of troops up the 
Broadway, their Excellencies alighted at Cape's 
Tavern, the familiar Province Arms, or State 
Arms, as it was then called." 


ZTaperns ant) posting linns 


Between the old Bull's Head, of sporting 
proclivities, and the quiet inn at Kingsbridge 
were two or three taverns of more or less 
note. Five miles out from New York, on 
the old post-road, at about the present Sixty- 
fifth Street, was the sign of the Dove, which 
is described in an advertisement in 1770, as 
having "a commodious kitchen, garden, barn, 
stable, and small tract of land." The Half- 
Way House, at the foot of Harlem Lane, 
marked by its name the distance between 
the City Hall, in Wall Street, and the King's 
Bridge. The inn at Kingsbridge, Hannah 
Callender, a Philadelphia lady, visiting New 
York in 1759, describes in her diary as being 
very prettily situated at the foot of a hill, the 
little river meandering through a meadow be- 
fore it. On one side were highlands of woods, 
and in another direction cattle could be seen 
grazing on the plains. A Dutchman was the 
host, and a very good one, so she says, who 
"insisted upon having their names and 
promised to send them some sweethearts!"' 8 
Washington makes mention twice in his 
diary of stopping here when on his way to 
and from Boston. 

On Broadway, between Stone (Thames) 
Street and Little Queen (Cedar) Street, stood 
the mansion owned by Lieutenant-Governor 
James De Lancey, and built by his father, 
Etienne De Lancey, shortly after 1700. This 

Uaverns ant> posting 


was one of the fine residences of the city. 
From its windows could be seen life and 
death, in marked contrast, for the Mall, where 
fashionable folk walked, and the Trinity 
Churchyard, where fashionable folk lay, were 
close at hand. In the rear was a broad piazza, 
which commanded a fine view of the North 
River, and a garden sloping down to the wa- 
ter's edge. The picturesque and central loca- 
tion of the house commended itself to Edward 
Willet, and in 1754 he opened a tavern there 
under the sign of the Province Arms." 

This house was destined to become one 
of the famous taverns of the century. It be- 
gan its brilliant career by two public dinners 
of note. The first was given to Sir Charles 
Hardy, who came out in 1755, to succeed, as 
Governor, Sir Danvers Osborne, whose sui- 
cide in the previous year had created great 
excitement. The second took place a year 
later, upon the occasion of the laying of the 
corner-stone of King's College. The arrange- 
ments for this last function provided that the 
Lieutenant-Governor, Governors of the Col- 
lege, and students should assemble at Mr. 
Willet's, and from there proceed to the col- 
lege grounds. After the ceremony of the lay- 
ing of the stone "they returned to Mr. Willet's, 
where there was a very elegant dinner, after 
which the usual loyal healths were drunk and 
Prosperity to the College, and the whole was 




It) Uaverns anfc posting Unns 



conducted with the utmost decency and 
propriety." 30 

In May, 1763, Mr. George Burns, of Cart 
and Horse fame, who had followed the itin- 
erant career of an inn-keeper, moved from the 
King's Head, in the Whitehall, to the Province 
Arms, where, he assured his customers, they 
might depend upon the best treatment. He 
advertised further in the newspapers, that he 
had "two Excellent Grooms to attend his 
stables, and take in travellers and their horses; 
and will stable town horses by the Month, 
Quarter or Year on Reasonable Terms." JI A 
month after Burns took possession, a lottery 
was drawn at the Province Arms to raise 
money for the building of the lighthouse at 
Sandy Hook. 

In April, 1761, Cadwallader Golden, at that 
time President of His Majesty's Council, rec- 
ommended to the House, for its considera- 
tion, a memorial which he had received in 
regard to the erecting of a lighthouse at Sandy 
Hook, " so essential is it to the welfare of our 
commercial interests and the preservation of a 
very useful part of the community." The lo- 
cation for such a building was chosen on land 
belonging to New Jersey, so Golden suggested 
that the House act at once upon his recommen- 
dation, in order that he might communicate 
their resolution to both branches of the New 
Jersey legislature then in session. A month 

Uaverns an& posting Huns 


later, on a motion of Alderman Philip Living- 
ston, a law was passed authorizing a sum not 
exceeding three thousand pounds, to be raised 
by way of a lottery, to build the lighthouse." 
A year later it was found that the sum would 
not be sufficient, and as the colony was then 
overtaxed by reason of the long war with 
France, it was voted to raise the money by 
lottery again, and this time there were to be 
two lotteries of three thousand pounds each. 

The scheme was as follows: ''The lottery 
is to consist of two thousand tickets at forty 
shillings each, whereof sixteen hundred and 
eighty-four are to be fortunate, subject to fif- 
teen per cent deduction." 33 The drawing of 
the lottery was advertised to take place on 
June 14, 1763, at the City Hall, where lot- 
teries were usually drawn, but a change of 
place was made necessary by the fact that 
the City Hall at that time was undergoing re- 
pairs, and so the numbers were drawn in Mr. 
Burns's Long Room at the Province Arms." 
The lighthouse was built, and in the August 
number of the New York Magazine for 1790 
is a picture and description of the building. 
The interesting but fanciful statement is there 
made that the light could be seen at a distance 
often leagues! The Sandy Hook light of to- 
day is officially registered to be seen at just 
one half that distance, fifteen miles! 

Perhaps what has largely contributed to 




Uaverns anfc posting flnns 



make the Province Arms historic is that its 
walls were witness to more than one out- 
burst of patriotic sentiment during the Stamp 
Tax excitement. The first was the famous 
Non-Importation Agreement, which was 
signed by two hundred merchants on the 
night of October 31, 1165," the eve of the 
day the law was to take effect in the colonies. 
Again, on November 26, in the afternoon, 
between three and four o'clock, a meeting 
of the "Freeholders, Freemen and Inhab- 
itants of the City and County of New York " 
was held, in order to agree upon some in- 
structions to be given to their representative 
in the General Assembly in regard to their re- 
fusal to have anything to do with the Stamp 
Tax. The day after the meeting Peter De 
Lancey made himself illustrious by resigning 
from the office of Inspector of Stamps, to 
which he had been appointed while away. 

In the following February it was discovered 
that two bonds had been executed in New 
York with the detested stamp, and so great 
was the excitement that these, together with 
some blanks not yet distributed, were se- 
cured, and the whole burned before the 
Coffee-House in the "presence of a multitude 
of spectators." This was no doubt the effec- 
tive work of the Sons of Liberty, and one of 
the incidents that Philip Freneau wished to 
commemorate in the following lines: 

taverns anfc posting Huns 


" When a certain great King whose initial is G 
Shall force stamps upon paper and folks to drink tea; 
When these folks burn his tea and stamp paper like stubble 
You may guess that this King is then coming to 

The English people themselves appreciated, 
if royalty did not, how obnoxious the tax 
was to their fellow-countrymen in the Colo- 
nies, and the common wager in the London 
coffee-houses had been one hundred guineas 
to ten that the Stamp Tax would be repealed 
as soon as Parliament met in the middle of 
November. It was March, 1766, however, 
before the Act was repealed, and May before 
an authentic report of its repeal reached the 
Colony. A day of celebration was speedily 
appointed. The Sons of Liberty, after listen- 
ing to " an elegant sermon " at Trinity Church 
in the morning, spent the rest of the day in 
more or less turbulent rejoicing, and concluded 
the festivities with a dinner at the Province 
Arms, where twenty-eight toasts were drunk, 
the two most worthy of note being one to 
Pitt, the other, "Perpetual Union between 
Great Britain and her Colonies." Every year, 
on the anniversary of the repeal of the Act, 
there was a celebration in honor of the day ; 
the firing of cannon, a procession, and the il- 
luminating of the city were the usual features, 
and it always concluded with dinner at vari- 
ous taverns. 




Uaverns ano posting Huns 



In 1770, a dinner took place at Hampden 
Hall, a corner house at Broadway and Ann 
Street, opposite the lower end of the Fields. 
Forty-five toasts were drunk, the last one 
being "The Day." Dinner was served at two 
o'clock, and the bill was called for precisely at 
six. Colors were displayed on the liberty pole 
and on Hampden Hall. On the same occasion, 
a dinner was given at the King's Arms, which 
at that time was kept by De La Montayne, in 
the Fields, near which the famous battle of 
Golden Hill was begun; two hundred and 
thirty guests were present, and the liberty 
colors, inscribed with " G. R. III. Liberty 
and Trade," were hoisted. But the Province 
Arms, or City Arms, as it was frequently 
called, was used for other purposes than cele- 
brations. In January, 1770, a sacred oratorio 
or concert of music was given, the tickets for 
which were eight shillings. It was the favor- 
ite meeting-place of different societies, St. An- 
drew's and the like, and the Governors of 
King's College found that educational prob- 
lems could be solved more successfully in its 
genial atmosphere than elsewhere. 3 ' 

Burns, after seven years' tenure of this famous 
house of entertainment, was succeeded in 1770 
by Bolton, for some time host at the Queen's 
Head, the famous Fraunces's Tavern, and he, 
in turn, was shortly succeeded by Hull, who 
had the honor of entertaining John Adams and 

Uat>erns anfc posting finns 


his friends on their way to Philadelphia. In 
1777, a duel was fought at the Province Arms, 
or City Arms, between Captain Tollemache, 
of His Majesty's Ship Zebra, just arrived, 
and Captain Pennington, of the Coldstream 
Guards, one of the passengers on the same 
ship. Captain Pennington had written a son- 
net which Captain Tollemache unfortunately 
fancied reflected on the supposed wit of his 
lady; swords were the weapons, and a few 
days afterwards Captain Tollemache was in- 
terred in Trinity Churchyard." From now 
on host succeeds host in rapid succession. 
During Cape's proprietorship the tavern was 
a favorite meeting-place of the gentlemen 
subscribers to the dancing assembly, who met 
there to discuss plans and to make arrange- 
ments for this amusement, which was to be 
the feature of the winter of 1783. It was not 
until 1792 that the Province Arms property 
passed out of De Lancey ownership; then 
Peter De Lancey sold it to the Tontine Asso- 
ciation, who tore down the famous old man- 
sion, and in its place erected the City Hotel, 
which acquired a reputation in the early part 
of this century as great as that of its prede- 
cessor. On the Boreel Building, which now 
covers the site of this historic tavern, is a 
commemorative tablet, placed there in 1890, 
by the Holland Society. 

Another tavern which had the prestige of 

IT be 



Uav>erns anfc posting Huns 

or tbe 

De Lancey ownership before it became a pub- 
lic-house was Fraunces's Tavern, still stand- 
ing on the southeast corner of Broad and 
Pearl Streets. The firm of De Lancey, Rob- 
inson & Co. used this house as a store from 
1757 to 1761, when the partnership was dis- 
solved. In January, 1762, the property passed 
into the hands of Samuel Fraunces, known to 
history as "Black Sam," and the steward of 
President Washington's household after his 
inauguration. Fraunces swung out a sign 
with the device of the head of Queen Char- 
lotte, and the tavern was known as the 
Queen's Head. From then till now the build- 
ing has always been used as a public-house, 
with, however, varying degrees of excellence, 
and in later years with none of its early dis- 
tinction. 38 In April, 1763, Fraunces announced 
that he had opened an "Ordinary" at the 
Queen's Head, and dinner was to be served 
every day at half-past one. 

After a three years' stay Fraunces with- 
drew, and John Jones succeeded him. Jones, 
however, remained only a year, and then 
opened the Ranelagh Gardens, where he 
promised to have " Band Concerts during the 
summer season on Monday and Thursday 
evenings, beginning precisely at seven." For 
the convenience of the gentlemen, tickets 
were to be had at the Queen's Head, which 
was near the Exchange. 

ID taverns anD posttna Unns 


Bolton and Sigell were the hosts next in 
succession, and they promised "Dinners and 
Public Entertainments at the Shortest Notice." 
They advertised further the comfortable break- 
fast hours of 9-11. It was in the reign of 
Bolton and Sigell that the New York Cham- 
ber of Commerce was established in the Long 
Room, and here the meetings of the Chamber 
were held until it moved to the new Royal 
Exchange. In 1770 they dissolved partner- 
ship, and Bolton "solicits the continuance of 
the public favor." Fraunces, in the meantime, 
had assumed the proprietorship of the Vaux- 
hall Gardens, which were situated on the 
southwestern corner of the Bogardus farm, 
at about the junction of Greenwich and War- 
ren Streets. Hannah Callender, the Philadel- 
phia lady already referred to, tells of a visit 
to these Gardens about ten years before 
Fraunces kept them. 

The diversion, in her day, was to stop at 
one of the mead houses, which were in the 
Gardens, " inside the Palisadoes," and imbibe 
that eminently feminine tipple of the same 
name. She very carefully describes mead to 
be a "sort of liquor made of honey, which is 
weak and has a pleasant taste." On another 
occasion when she visited the Gardens, she 
sat in a bower where she had "a fine view 
of the North River down as far as Sandy 
Hook," and was served to "sangaree," an- 



Uat>erns anfc posting Huns 



or tbe 

other mild beverage consisting of red wine 
sweetened and flavored with nutmeg and 
diluted with water. 

When Fraunces had the Gardens he estab- 
lished a museum, the humble progenitor of 
the Eden Musee, where could be seen a series 
01 wax works, "seventy figures in miniature 
representing the Queen of Sheba bringing 
presents to King Solomon, with a view of his 
Palace, Courtyard and Garden." Tea, coffee, 
and hot rolls were served morning and even- 
ing, and the place became a favorite resort 
for the world and his wife on their after- 
noon drive. 3 ' When Bolton, in 1770, left the 
Queen's Head to take the Province Arms, 
Fraunces again became host, still continuing, 
however, his interest in the Vauxhall Gar- 
dens. In his advertisement announcing his 
return to the Queen's Head he "flatters him- 
self that the public are so well satisfied as to 
his ability to serve them as to render the 
swelling 01 an advertisement useless." He 
agreed to "send out dinners and suppers to 
lodgers and others who lived at a convenient 

Fraunces apparently wished to pose as a pa- 
tron of science, for shortly after his return two 
lectures on "That Part of Philosophy which 
tells of the Nature, Use and Effects of the Air " 
were given at the Queen's Head. It was pre- 
sumed that these lectures, would be consid- 

Uax>erns an& posting Unns 


ered "a polite and rational amusement," for 
which you paid a half dollar, and tickets were 
on sale at the tavern and the publishers'. 40 
This famous old inn had its share of patriotic 
celebrations, due perhaps, in part, to the fact 
that the host was a patriot. His name is to be 
found in the roster of State troops as private in 
Colonel Malcolm's regiment, one of the sixteen 
officered by General Washington. On this 
old building that for more than one hundred 
years has continuously stood "that Temple 
of true liberty, an Inn," is painted in letters so 
large that he who runs may read, the follow- 


Long Room, 

The Oldest 


in the City. 

History supplies the interesting fact that it was 
in this Long Room that Washington, on De- 
cember 4, 1783, bade farewell to his officers 
when starting for Annapolis, a circumstance 
which led to the inn being known as Wash- 
ington's Headquarters. Ten days earlier, the 
evacuation of the city by the British had been 
joyously celebrated, and a public dinner given 
by Governor Clinton to General Washington, 

f rauns 

or tbe 



Uapecns anfc posting firms 




or tbc 


and the other officers at the Queen's Head 
concluded the festivities of the day. 41 After 
the dinner thirteen toasts were drunk, a sig- 
nificant number in those days, the first to 
the "United States of America," and the last 
to our cherished Monroe Doctrine in embryo 
"May this Day be a Lesson to Princes! " 

lo Uaverns ant> posting flnns 



1. D. P. DE VRIES, Voyages from Holland to America, 

1632-44, p. 148. 

2. Records of New Amsterdam, New York, 1897, ii., p. 

49, note. 

3. E. B. O'CALLAGHAN'S New York Calendar Historical 

Manuscripts, ii., pp. 45, 89. 

4. M?o> Korfc Colonial Tlocuments, i.,pp. 189, 190, 300. 

5. E. B. O'CALLAGHAN'S New York Calendar Historical 

Manuscripts, iv., p. 200; ii., p. 101. 

6. Records of New Amsterdam, i., pp. 5-8, 13, 22, 28, 

34 ; iii., p. 159, note ; vi., pp. 364, 403, 405. 

7. Ibid., ii., p. 233 ; v., p. 43. 

8. Charter of the City of New York, 1735, p. 1 1 ; Ap- 

pendix, p. 53. 

9. New York Weekly Journal, September 18, 1738- 

March 10, 1740. 

10. New York Gazette, October i, 1753 ; May 28, 1750 ; 

December 3, 1 750 ; Weekly Post Boy, August 3 1 , 
1747, Supplement. 

1 1. Journal of the Legislative Council, August 29, 1701 . 

12. JOHN AUSTIN STEVENS, Harper's Monthly, 80, p. 844. 

13. New York Colonial Documents, iv., pp. 946, 957. 

14. JOHN AUSTIN STEVENS, Harper's Monthly, 64, pp. 

483, 484. 

15. T. F. DE VOE'S The Market Book, i, p. 279. 

1 6. New York Gazette, February 4, 1754. 

17. GAINE'S Mercury, November 5, 1759. 

1 8. New York Weekly Journal, October 10, 1743. 

19. Weekly Tost Boy, September 10, 1744 ; January 28, 


20. E. B. O'CALLAGHAN'S Laws and Ordinances o/ New 

Netherlands, p. 380. 

21. New York Weekly Journal, July 18, 1743 ; Post 

Boy, January 7, 1 746. 



Uaverns anO posting Inns 











Gazette, May 13, 1751. 

Z.y^ and Works of John Adams, ii., p. 346. 

New York Gazette, June 30, 1735 ; January 20, 1736 ; 
Weekly Journal, July 4, 1737. 

New York Historical Society Collections, 1829, p. 

New York Weekly Journal, September 6, 1742. 

New York Gazette, November 26, 1783. 

Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, xii., p. 445. 

New York Gazette, April 15, 1754. 

King's College, of this series, p. 35. 

New York Gazette, May 16, 1763. 

Journal of the General Assembly, 1764, ii., pp. 655, 

GAINB'S Mercury, April 25, 1763. 

New York Gazette, June 13, 1763. 

Post Boy, November 7, 1765. 

Mercury, February 1 7, 1 706 ; May 26, 1 770 ; Janu- 
ary 7, 1771. 

New York Gazette, September 28, 1777. 

Colonial Records of the Chamber of Commerce, p. 

Mercury, March 19, 1770. 

New York Weekly Journal, October 5, 1770. 

New York Gazette, November 26, 1783. 



Half Moon Series 


Published in the Interest of the New York 
City History Club. 




NEW YORK had its beginnings in the early 
part of the seventeenth century, and the 
first doctor who made his appearance on Man- 
hattan Island was a seventeenth-century doc- 
tor. The world at this time, as we know, 
had not fully emerged from that long era of 
darkness which we call the Middle Ages. 
While the arts, letters, and the amenities and 
luxuries of life had developed in a remarkable 
way, science can scarcely be said to have made 
any progress; and the doctor, if we are to re- 
gard his calling as a science, still followed the 
traditions which had been handed down from 
remote ages. 

We can perhaps best understand the status 
of medicine at this period when we recall the 
fact that the works of Hippocrates, who lived 
in the second century before Christ, and those 
of Galen, who lived in the fifth century of the 
Christian era, were still the standard authori- 




Ube Doctor in <>lo IRew H)orfe 



ties on physic for the practitioner of the sev- 
enteenth century. This condition of things 
seems most curious to us in the present pro- 
gressive age, when the teachings of twenty or 
thirty years ago are so often set aside as ob- 
solete. The doctor's conception of disease 
processes, and of the action of remedies, was 
a confused and shadowy theory of humors, 
sympathetics, and antagonistics. As Culpep- 
per, one of the standard authorities of the day, 
writing in 1657, says: "The whole ground 
of physic is comprehended in these two words, 
sympathy and antipathy. The one cures by 
strengthening the parts of the body afflicted, 
the other by resisting the malady afflicting." 

The seventeenth-century doctor affords a 
curious and interesting study both in his 
personality and his practice. His armamen- 
tarium consisted of certain simples and com- 
pounds, together with a few mineral remedies. 
These were made up into unguents, plasters, 
liniments, pills, boluses, and decoctions, while 
his herbs required to be gathered in certain 
phases of the moon or conjunctions of the 
planets. Above all, however, his lancet was 
his main reliance, and he seems to have used 
it on all occasions, and oftentimes continu- 
ously and most vigorously. Of this we have 
a quaint and striking illustration in the letter 
of the good Deacon and Doctor Fuller of Ply- 
mouth, who, writing to Governor Bradford, 

IDoctor in Ifc IRew 


on June 28, 1630, says: "I have been to 
Matapan (Dorchester) at the request of Mr. 
Warham, and let some twenty of these peo- 
ple's blood. I had conference of them till I was 

Of the doctor, as met with in the early days 
of New Amsterdam, we have but brief and 
fragmentary records. Perhaps we can form 
some estimate of him by a brief glance at his 
English confrere of the day. At this time the 
most prominent medical man of London was 
Sir Theodore Mayerne, physician to Henry 
IV. and Louis XIII. of France, and James I. 
and Charles I. of England. He was probably 
the most eminent physician of his time in Eu- 
rope, and was a somewhat extensive writer 
on medical topics. With a shrewdness which 
has found many imitators, even in our own 
time among fashionable physicians, he made 
a specialty of the treatment of gout. Dr. May- 
erne, however, recommended a most clumsy 
and inordinate administration of violent drugs. 
Calomel and sugar of lead, as well as pulver- 
ized human bones, were among his favorite 
remedies. The principal ingredient in his fa- 
mous gout-powder was raspings of a human 
skull unburied. But his sweetest compound, 
as Jeaffreson tells us, was his Balsam of Bats, 
strongly recommended as an unguent for 
hypochondriacal persons, into which entered 
adders, bats, sucking whelps, earth-worms, 




2>octor in 


and the marrow of the thigh-bone of an 

Another distinguished doctor of this period 
also was Sir Thomas Brown, the erudite and 
famous author of ^eligio Medici. Another 
was the "eccentric, gallant, brave, credulous, 
persevering, frivolous " Sir Kenelm Digby, 
courtier, cook, lover, warrior, political in- 
triguer, and finally doctor. By means of his 
famous sympathetic powder some of the most 
marvellous cures in the history of medicine 
were accomplished. Curiously enough, the 
composition of this powder was revealed after 
the Doctor's death, by his chemist, and con- 
sisted merely of sulphate of lime which was 
obtained by a rather unusual but unnecessa- 
rily complicated process. Among others of 
this time were William Harvey, who, unlike 
those we have mentioned, left to the world a 
bequest of incalculable value in his great dis- 
covery of the circulation of the blood, and 
Sydenham, one of the first to make available 
to his own and subsequent generations the 
value of intelligent clinical observation. 

We refer casually to these gentlemen as 
throwing a certain light on the seventeenth- 
century doctor whose advent on Manhattan 
Island is the subject of the present paper. 
For while none of them, with the exception of 
Sydenham and Harvey, made any permanent 
contribution to the world's progress, their 

TIbe Doctor in lo 1Rew i)orfc 


personality and practice afford us an interest- 
ing subject for study. They certainly did not 
treat disease with any intelligent conception 
of the pathological process they intended to 
counteract, or of the true action of drugs ; 
yet they undoubtedly thought they cured dis- 
ease. Was it by their practice or their per- 
sonality ? Something of the practice we have 
seen. Their personality was a curious pic- 

On the continent at this time the doctor 
was decked out in long black gown and skull- 
cap, a modification of the robe of his priestly 
predecessor. There seems to have been an 
evident attempt to make himself impressive 
and decorative. His gold-headed cane was 
absolutely essential, and we have, preserved 
in the College of Physicians in London, to this 
day, the cane carried successively by Radcliff, 
Mead, Askin, Pitcairn, and Bailey. His wig 
was adorned with two and even three tails, 
and so elaborately dressed that he often went 
bareheaded through the streets of London lest 
it should become disordered. His silk coat 
and stockings and silver buckles appear to 
have been essential parts of his dress, and 
even a muff to preserve the softness and deli- 
cacy of the hands was carried by many. Up 
to the days of Charles II. he made his visits 
on horseback, riding sideways after the fash- 
ion of women, but after that time he rode in 

of tbe 


Boctor in <>R> IRew ]J)orfe 

forters of 
tbe Sick 

his coach, drawn by two, and sometimes four 
and even six horses. This, then, is the proto- 
type of the physician who, compelled by the 
stress of home surroundings to emigrate, or 
led by the hope of gain, made his advent on 
Manhattan Island in the early beginnings of 
New York. 

Although the West India Company's di- 
rectors in their original charter enjoined upon 
the colonists to find ways and means whereby 
they could support the minister and school- 
master to attend to the mental and spiritual 
needs of the people, they seem to have been 
content in ministering to the physical ailments 
with directing that comforters of the sick 
(Zieckentroosters) be appointed. I trust that 
this was not a reflection on the medical men 
of the day, although one can easily understand 
how a comforter of the sick might under 
some circumstances be a safer attendant than 
the seventeenth-century doctor, to whom we 
have before referred. We find recorded as 
officially serving in the capacity of Ziecken- 
troosters and receiving pay from the Company 
under the first Governor, Eva Pietersen Evert- 
sen and one Molenaer. 

After the great commercial value and prom- 
ise of the settlement of the New Netherlands 
had been recognized, and the Dutch West India 
Company was organized for establishing a 
post here and carrying on trade, it is probable 

Ufoe 2>octor in 10 IRew J^orfe 285 

that in each ship's company a barber-surgeon facial 


and perform minor operations, for we find 
that Harman Mynderts Van den Bogaerdet 
visited the province in 1631, as surgeon to the 
ship Eendraght, while in 1633 William Deer- 
ing, surgeon to the ship William of London, 
visited the island. These good gentlemen 
seem to have been birds of passage who left 
no abiding record on the pages of history, and 
it is not until twenty-eight years after Hud- 
son's discovery, and fourteen years after the 
arrival of the good ship New Netherlands, sent 
out by the Dutch West India Company, that 
we find the record of a regularly educated 
medical man making his appearance in the 
settlement. Previous to this, however, mid- 
wives seem to have been established in the 
colony in an official character, for we find Lys- 
bert Dircksen, wife of Barent Dircksen, was 
the town midwife of New Amsterdam in 1638, 
and that a house was erected for her at the 
public expense by the direction of Governor 
Van Twiller. In 1644, Tryntje Jonas, the 
mother of Annetje Jansz, was the midwife of 
the town. She died in 1646, and the daughter 
had some difficulty in collecting from the West 
India Company certain monies due for the 
mother's services to the colony. In 1655, 
Hellegond Joris was appointed midwife to 
the town, and in 1660, the Council voted her 


Ube Boctor in U> Bew H?orfe 




a salary of one hundred guilders a year for 
attending the poor. 

The first educated medical man who made 
his appearance in New Amsterdam was Dr. 
Johannes La Montagne, a learned Huguenot 
gentleman, who arrived in the spring of 1637. 
He was born in 1595, and received his degree 
from the University at Leyden, where he mar- 
ried his first wife, Rachel De Forest. After 
practising in Leyden a number of years, he 
determined to follow his wife's family, who 
had previously emigrated to America. He is 
styled " een welgestudientman " and his repu- 
tation as a physician immediately gave him a 
certain prominence in the village. His first 
wife dying a few years after his arrival, he 
married again, in 1647, Agritha Fillis, widow 
of Arent Corson. By the latter he had no 
family. By the first wife he had five children, 
of whom his daughter Rachel married Dr. 
Gysbert Van Lintroch. Dr. La Montagne's 
ability was early recognized by Governor Kieft, 
who appointed him to a seat in his Council in 
1638, a position he retained under Governor 
Stuyvesant. Again, when the Council voted 
that a public school should be established, if 
practicable, in the City Tavern, La Montagne 
was for the time appointed schoolmaster. He 
is said once to have saved Governor Kieft 
from assassination. At one time he was sent 
with an expedition of fifty men to defend Fort 

ZIbe Doctor in <>lo Bew H?orfe 


New Hope (New London) against the Massa- 
chusetts colonists. At the time of the English 
occupation he was in command of Fort Orange 
as Vice-Director and surrendered the fort to 
the newcomers. La Montagne held, more- 
over, at different times various positions of 
trust, in which he seems always to have ac- 
quitted himself with credit. It is believed that 
he accompanied Governor Stuyvesant on his 
return to Holland in 1665, and that he died 
there in 1670. 

On March 28, 1638, there arrived the third 
Governor of the Colony, William Kieft. He 
was accompanied by two surgeons, who ap- 
parently came in an official capacity: Gerrit 
Schult and Hans Kierstede. Of Schult we 
have no further record; but Kierstede, who 
came from Magdeburg, Saxony, seems to 
have settled down to practise his profes- 
sion in the colony permanently. He is de- 
scribed in the old records as "surgeon," and 
received various grants of land on the 
Strand, now Pearl Street, from the Com- 
pany, in 1647, 1653, and 1656. In 1642, he 
married Sarah Roelofs, the daughter of the 
famous midwife, Annetje Jansz, by whom 
he had ten children. In one of the letters 
from the Director in Holland he is spoken of 
as having served the Company "long and 
faithfully." He died in 1666. Henry T. Kier- 
stede, who kept the drug store on Broadway 


2 88 

Ube Boctor in U> IRew 

H>r. peter 

Van 6er 


near its junction with Seventh Avenue, some 
thirty years ago, was the great-great-grand- 
son of Surgeon Hans, and sold a famous un- 
guent, Kierstede's ointment, which was said 
to have been made after a formula of his 

In the same year, 1638, Dr. Peter Van der 
Linde came over in the ship Lore, accompa- 
nied by his wife, Elsje. His wife dying, he 
married, in 1644, Martha, the widow of Jan 
Menje. In 1640 he appears in the records as 
inspector of tobacco, and in 1648, as school- 
master and clerk of the church. He seems to 
have been harshly treated by Stuyvesant, and 
left the colony. Apparently the colonists had 
not learned the art of specializing in occupa- 
tions, and professional men, as well as others, 
had to take their turn at whatever opportunity 
suggested or necessity compelled, as in the 
case of Roelofsen who added to the slender 
salary of a school-teacher the probably larger 
emoluments which accrued from taking in 

The Indian War of 1643, so rashly brought 
on by Governor Kieft, necessitated the bring- 
ing to the colony from Curacoa a company of 
soldiers, and with them came Surgeon Paulus 
Van der Beeck. At the close of the war he 
married the Widow Bennet, who owned a 
farm of nine hundred and thirty acres in Go- 
wanus. The farm had been devastated and 

TTbe 3>octor in to Hew 


the house burned. The site was about what 
is now the corner of Third Avenue and Twen- 
ty-eighth Street, Brooklyn, and there the 
newly married couple rebuilt the house and 
reclaimed the farm. Van der Beeck, dividing 
his time between farming and the practice of 
his profession, thus became the first medical 
man of Brooklyn. He seems to have been a 
man of enterprise, acting also in later years as 
tithe-collector and ferry-master. He was at 
one time severely reprimanded by the Coun- 
cil for keeping would-be passengers waiting 
" half the day and night before he would carry 
them across the river." He seems to have 
prospered and grown rich, for in 1675 he was 
assessed "two polls, two horses, four cows, 
three ditto of three years, one ditto of one 
year, and twenty morgens of land of the value 
of \tf, 10 s." 

In 1647, William Hayes and Peter Brucht 
are recorded as having practised in the col- 
ony, and between 1649 and 1652 we find 
notices of John Can, Jacob Mollenaer, Isaac 
Jansen, and Jacob Hendrichsen Varvanger. 
The former of these were probably ship sur- 
geons who practised upon the colonists while 
their vessels were detained in the harbor. 
The latter seems to have settled here perma- 
nently, and is one of three men whom we find 
recorded as regularly established physicians 
in 1658, the other two being Hans Kierstede 


Van tcr 

290 TEbe H>octor in lt> IRew Jl)orfc 

sr. and one L'Orange. Dr. Jacob Hendrichsen 


in 1646, and served the Company faithfully 
until the English occupation, when he took 
the oath of allegiance. In 1654, we find him 
petitioning the Director-General and Council 
for payment "for the use of his medicament," 
which he had been importing from Holland 
at his own expense for several years. He was 
promptly paid and his salary increased. In 
1674 his property was valued at 8000 florins. 

Among the physicians who landed in New 
York and settled in the outlying colonies was 
Dr. Abram Staats, who came from Holland in 
1642, and settled at Fort Orange, immediately 
taking a somewhat prominent position in the 
colony, for he became a member of the Coun- 
cil and aided in making an important treaty 
with the Indians. His house at Claverack 
was burned by the savages and his wife and 
two sons perished in it. He was a large fur 
trader and for many years commanded a sloop 
plying between Albany and New Amsterdam. 
He had a son, Samuel Staats, who was born 
in the village of New Amsterdam and was 
subsequently sent to Holland for an education, 
returning to practise his profession in New 
York, where he arose to a considerable degree 
of eminence, dying in 1715. Another son, 
Jacob, was a surgeon in Albany. 

Another physician at Fort Orange was Jacob 

IDoctor in It) IRew 3J?orfe 


D'Hinnse, who appears to have made a con- 
siderable reputation as a teacher of medicine. 
A number of medical students from the vari- 
ous settlements studied with him. The re- 
cords of a lawsuit are still extant at Albany 
between the doctor and a patient, one Thos. 
Powell. The doctor sues for his fees. The 
plaintiff pleads the existence of a contract for 
yearly attendance at two beavers ($6.40) per 
annum. The doctor responds that the con- 
tract was for medical attendance alone, not for 
surgical treatment. The case was not decided. 
In 1660, Jacob De Commer is said to have 
been the leading surgeon of New Amsterdam, 
but later he removed to one of the outlying 
colonies, New Amsdel (Newcastle), Dela- 
ware, and in 1661, Dr. J. Hughes practised 
his profession in the city. Between 1658 and 
1680 we find recorded the names of Doctors 
Peter Johnson Vandenburg, Cornelius Van 
Dyke, Henry Taylor, and Herman Wessels, 
together with Samuel Megapolensis. This 
latter was a son of the Rev. Johannes Megapo- 
lensis, who came to New Amsterdam in 1642. 
He was sent to Harvard College in 1657, and 
afterwards to the University of Utrecht where 
he graduated in theology and also received the 
degree of Doctor of Medicine. On his return 
to this country he was appointed pastor of 
the church but continued to practise medicine 
also during his life. He was one of the Dutch 




H>octor in U> View ji?orfe 



Commissioners to negotiate terms of capitula- 
tion with the English in 1664. Among other 
professional men of whom we have brief 
record as connected with the Colony at this 
period were Girardus Beekman, Michael de 
Marco Church, and Giles Gaudineau. Beek- 
man was a son of William Beekman, who 
was a member of Governor Leisler's Council. 
After the overthrow and execution of Leisler, 
Beekman was tried for treason, convicted, 
and sentenced to be hanged. He was subse- 
quently pardoned and filled a number of pro- 
minent positions in the councils of different 
governors. Gaudineau, who signed himself 
chirur go-physician, was a Huguenot and a 
man of considerable ability. He became a 
citizen of New York in 1686, and took an 
active part in the affairs of the settlement. 
He was from Sigournay in Low Poictou, and 
had two daughters, Suzanne and Helene. 
Suzanne returned to France, but Helene re- 
mained in America and was married, October 
1 8, 1702, to Jacques DesBrosses. Gaudineau 
was a lieutenant under Dongan in the war 
against the French and Indians, and in 1708 
was a vestryman of Trinity Church. 

At the time of the Dutch surrender, Johannes 
Kerfbyle, a Hollander and a graduate of Ley- 
den University, came to the Colony, where he 
arose to a considerable eminence as a prac- 
titioner of medicine. In 1691, he performed 

Ube Boctor in 10 IRew H?orfe 


what was probably the first post-mortem ex- 
amination made in America, when under the 
direction of the authorities he made an au- 
topsy on the body of Governor Slaughter, 
whose sudden death it was suspected had 
been due to the administration of poison. 

During Governor Kieft's administration a 
moderate immigration seems to have set in, 
and the village was filling with people not in 
the employ of the Company ; hence the ques- 
tion arose in the minds of the Directors, wheth- 
er they should still maintain a surgeon at their 
own expense, or allow all those who wished, 
to practise their profession independently. 
As we have already seen, medical practice at 
this day was not restricted by diplomas and 
licenses, but, to a certain extent, every one 
deemed himself competent to practise along 
certain lines, and large numbers were accus- 
tomed to avail themselves of the privilege. 
Three such practitioners were well known to 
have made pills and sold Vienna drinks, /'. e., 
a concoction of rhubarb, senna, and port wine, 
to the people of New Amsterdam in 1652. 
Pieter Le Feber, a French Huguenot, peti- 
tioned the Council in 1653 for permission to 
sell certain waters prepared by him for med- 
icinal uses. The desired permission was 
given, but the Council were in doubt as to 
the legality of their action under the laws of 
the Company, since brewers and wholesale 




HJoctor in R> IRew lj)orfe 


dealers, including distillers, were not per- 
mitted to keep a tavern, or sell beer or wine 
at retail. Le Feber seems to have discoursed 
so eloquently before the Directors of the many 
virtues of his decoction, that an exception was 
made in his favor on humane grounds, and he 
was permitted to sell his marvellous water at 
both wholesale and retail. 

We have seen that one of the doctors of the 
early colony called himself a chirurgo-physi- 
cian. This was an irregular title, for the doc- 
tor of the seventeenth century was either a 
chirurgeon (contracted into surgeon at the be- 
ginning of the eighteenth century), physician, 
or barber-chirurgeon, the designation of doc- 
tor not coming into use in America until about 
1 769. This association of the surgical and ton- 
sorial art seems very curious to one living in the 
nineteenth century, but it arose in a very sim- 
ple and natural way. Physicians have been 
known in history from the earliest recorded 
times. A chirurgeon (from the Greek words, 
Xtip, hand, and epyov, work) seems to have 
been at first merely an assistant of the physi- 
cian, performing for him various minor duties. 
This condition existed through the days of 
Greek and Roman civilization, but during the 
Dark Ages the practice of medicine in Europe 
fell almost entirely into clerical hands, and the 
duties of both physician and surgeon were 
performed by the priesthood. Certain abuses 

Ube H>octor tn U> Hew H>orfe 

crept in which led the ecclesiastical authori- 
ties to interfere and forbid the clergy from prac- 
tising outside their monasteries. And again, 
as we find recorded in various Councils of the 
Church during the ninth and tenth centuries, 
the shedding of blood by the clergy, as in 
surgical operations, was absolutely interdicted. 
In order to retain their practice they were in 
the habit of sending out their barbers to per- 
form blood-letting and other of the minor op- 
erations in surgery. By that time the shaven 
priesthood had come into being, and the bar- 
ber was an attach^ of every monastic institu- 
tion. As we can readily see, these monastery 
barbers very soon began to practise independ- 
ently. As they grew in number and strength 
they became incorporated into special crafts, 
that of the barber-surgeons of England being 
regularly chartered in the fourteenth century. 
This institution became one of the wealthy 
corporations of London, and flourished for 
four centuries, and it was not until 1745 that it 
became separated into two crafts, that of the 
barbers on the one hand, and the surgeons on 
the other. Of course, there resulted from the 
condition of things during this period a bitter 
and persistent rivalry between the barber- 
surgeons and the chirurgeons. This spirit of 
rivalry was early manifested in New Amster- 
dam, where we find that the surgeons of the 
colony seemed to consider themselves entitled 


TTbe H>octor in It) IRew H)orfe 


to the exclusive right to practise on shore. 
But it also seems evident that they desired to 
include in this practice the art of shaving, 
while the barbers of ships visiting in these 
waters claimed also the right to practise on 
shore while their ships were lying in har- 
bor. It appears that the ships' barbers had 
committed a number of mistakes in treatment 
while on shore, although there was no reflec- 
tion cast on their proficiency with the razor. 
Hence, as a result of this, the surgeons of the 
colony sent a petition to the Directors, asking 
them to forbid these intruders from shaving 
people on shore. The action of the Directors 
in this matter is the first ordinance, I believe, 
ever passed to regulate the practice of medi- 
cine in New York. It is a curious document, 
and I copy it in full, as embodied in the Dutch 
Records of the island, February 2, 1652 : 

' On the petition of the Chirurgeons of New Amsterdam, 
that none but they alone be allowed to shave, the Director 
and Council understand that shaving doth not appertain ex- 
clusively to chirurgery, but is an appendix thereto ; that no 
man can be prevented operating on himself nor to do another 
the friendly act, provided it is through courtesy and not for 
gain, which is hereby forbidden. It is further ordered that 
ship barbers shall not be allowed to dress any wounds nor 
administer any potions on shore without the previous know- 
ledge and special consent of the petitioners, or at least of 
Dr. Montagne." 

During the latter years of Stuyvesant's in- 
cumbency, the Company's surgeon was the 

Doctor in to IRew 


before-mentioned Master Jacob Hendrichsen 
Varvanger. He was a man of somewhat 
broader humanity than his fellows, and con- 
scientious in the performance of his duty. 
He was in the employ of the Company for a 
number of years and seems to have become 
considerably exercised over the fact that the 
soldiers and other employees of the Company, 
when sick, could not have that care and at- 
tendance which was necessary to a proper 
treatment of their diseases. He says in a re- 
port to the Director and Council, December 
12, 1658, 

" He is sorry to leam that such sick people must suffer 
much through cold, inconveniences, and the untidiness of 
the people who have taken the poor fellows into their 
houses where bad smells and filth counteract all health-pro- 
ducing effects of the medicaments given by him, the surgeon. 
Death has been the result of it in several cases and many 
deaths will follow. 

" He requests, therefore, that by order of the Director and 
Council a proper place may be arranged for the reception of 
such patients, to be taken care of by a faithful person, who 
is to assist them bodily with food and fire and allow soldiers 
to pay for it out of their wages and rations, Company's 
negroes to be attended at Company's expense or as thought 
most advisable." 

He was directed to look up such a place and 
person and report. 

The first hospital on Manhattan Island, and 
probably the first hospital in North America, 
was thus established, and on the twentieth 

be fitet 


2>octor in Ifc TRew 



day of December, 1758, Hilletje Wilbruch, the 
wife of Condil Tubias Wilbruch, was ap- 
pointed its matron at a yearly salary of 100 
florins. It became known as the Old Hospital. 
It was sold by the Governor, in 1680, for 200, 
after it had become unserviceable, and better 
buildings were supplied. 

The first coroner's inquest of which I find 
record in the Colony was held in February, 
1658, by this same Master Varvanger, with 

his colleagues, Kierstede and Jacob N . 

It seems that one Bruyn Barentsen had gotten 
into a brawl with Jacob Eldersen and had re- 
ceived a severe beating at his hands, of which, 
apparently, he subsequently died. Eldersen 
was acquitted, however, as they found that the 
beating had nothing to do with the death, for 
after receiving it Bruyn had been able to row 
across to Breuckelen. 

Some suggestion as to the social position of 
the doctor at this time is found in the enrol- 
ment of the citizens of New Amsterdam in 
1657, when Dr. Varvanger's name is absent 
from the "Great Citizens, "numbering twenty, 
but is found in the list of "Small Citizens," 
numbering 204. 

The first attempt on the part of the author- 
ities to regulate the practice of medicine by 
official enactment we have noticed in the mat- 
ter of the barber-surgeons in 1652. In 1657, 
we find an effort made to enroll the doctors 

TTbe H>octor in 



or to compel them to do detective work. An 
ordinance passed by the Schout and Burgo- 
master and Scheppens gives notice to all chi- 
rurgeons of the city, that when they are called 
to dress a wound they shall ask the patient 
who wounded him, and that information be 
thereby given to the Schout. If these gentle- 
men were as jealous of their professional 
privileges as the doctor of the nineteenth 
century, they probably took a firm stand in 
this matter and declined to reveal professional 
secrets. These two enactments are the only 
ones which we find recorded as having been 
instituted under the Dutch regime. Immedi- 
ately after the British took possession of the 
Colony, a curious law was promulgated by 
the Duke of York for the government of all 
the lands included within the Duke's patent, 
as follows : 

" That no person or persons whatever employed about 
the bodys of men, women, or children for the preservation 
of life or health as chirurgeons, midwives, physicians, or 
others, presume to put forth or exercise any act contrary to 
the known approved rule of art in each mystery or occupa- 
tion, or exercise any force, violence, or cruelty upon or to- 
wards the body of any, whether young or old, without the 
advice and consent of such as are skilful in the same art (if 
such may be had) or at least of some of the wisest and grav- 
est then present, and consent of the patient or patients if 
they be mentis compotes, much less contrary to such advice 
and consent, upon such severe punishment as the nature of 
the fact may deserve ; which law, nevertheless, is not in- 
tended to discourage any from all lawful use of their skill, 


E>uhe of 

Boris's Or* 



Hbe H>octor in <S>1& IRew H?orfe 

but ratiier to encourage and direct them in the right use 
thereof, and to inhibit and restrain the presumptious arro- 
gance of such as, through confidence of their own skill or 
any other sinister respects, dare boldly attempt to exercise 
any violence upon or towards the body of young or old, 
one or another, to the prejudice or hazard of the life or limb 
of man, woman or child." 

The fees collected by the doctors of this day 
were probably very small, and yet, undoubt- 
edly, the laity were oftentimes subjected to 
extortion at the hands of quacks and ignorant 
pretenders, and while we have no legislative 
enactment recorded in the Dutch colony to 
counteract this, the following act, passed in 
the Colony of Virginia in 1645, is interesting, 
as bearing upon the point : 

" Whereas by the 9th act of Assembly, held the 2ist of 
October, 1639, consideration being had and taken of the 
immoderate and excessive rates and prices enacted by prac- 
titioners in physick and chirurgery, and the complaints made 
to the then assembly of the bad consequence thereof, it so 
happening through the said intolerable exactions that the 
hearts of divers masters were hardened rather to suffer their 
servants to perish for want of fit means and applications 
than by seeking relief to fall into the hands of griping and 
avaricious men ; it be apprehended by such masters, who 
were more swayed by politick respects than Xian [Christian] 
duty or charity, that it was the more gainfull and saving 
way to stand to the hazard of their servants than to enter- 
tain the certain charge of physitian or chirurgeon, whose 
demands for the most parte exceed the purchase of the pa- 
tient ; it was therefore enacted, for the better redress of the 
like abuses thereafter, untill some fitter course should be ad- 
vised on, for the regulating physitians and chirurgeons within 

H>octov in Ifc IRew 

the Colony, that it should be lawful and free for any person 
or persons in such cases where they should conceive the 
acc't of the physitian or chirurgeon to be unreasonable, 
either for his pains or for his drugs or medicines, to arrest 
the said physitian or chirurgeon either to the quarter court 
or county court where they inhabitt, where the said physi- 
tian should declare upon oath the true value, worth and 
quantity of his drugs and medicines administered to or for 
the use of the pit. [patient] whereupon the court where the 
matter was tryed to adjudge, and allow to the said physi- 
tian or chirurgeon such satisfaction and reward as they in 
their discretions should think fitt. 

" And it was further ordered that when it should be suffi- 
ciently proved in any of the said courts that a physitian or 
chirurgeon had neglected his patient, or that he had refused, 
being thereunto required, his helpe or assistance to any per- 
son or persons in sickness or extremity, that the said physi- 
tian or chirurgeon should be censured by the said court for 
such his neglect or refusal, which said act, and every clause 
therein mentioned and repeated, this present grand assembly 
to all intents and purposes doth revive, ratifie, allow and 
confirme, with this only exception that the pits, [or pa- 
tients] shall have their remedy at the county courts respect- 
ively, unless in case of appeal." 

And how much the fees were at this time 
may be judged from the fact that this same 
colony only a hundred years later passed an 
act making the highest fee for every visit or 
prescription in town, or within five miles, five 
shillings, and for every mile above five, six- 
pence. Curiously enough, it was further en- 
acted that any person who had studied physic 
in the university, and had taken a degree 
therein, be allowed to charge double the 
above amounts. 



Tlbe H>octor in It) IRew l^orfe 

Ube fftrst 


The first burial-ground in New York was 
situated on the west side of Broadway, on 
the rise of ground above the Bowling Green, 
and not far north of the present Morris Street. 
This ancient churchyard had become very full 
in 1665. In 1656, Governor Stuyvesant had 
proposed to abandon it as a place of burial, 
and desired instead to tear down houses south 
of the fort, (the first was the plot bounded by 
Bowling Green, Whitehall Bridge, and State 
Street,) and make a burial-place there. The 
citizens suggested the establishment of a place 
on the hill west of the fort, near a windmill 
(part of the present Battery), which they de- 
scribed as a good hill, clear of timber. No- 
thing was done till 1665, when a new fence 
was put up, and the old graveyard, which 
had for some time prior lain quite open to 
the encroachment of animals along the streets, 
was enclosed. 

"In 1676 or 1677 the old church yard was 
divided up into four lots each 25x100 and 
sold at auction, the new burial place being 
established near Trinity Church." 

As the colony grew in numbers and pros- 
perity under the English administration we find 
at the beginning of the eighteenth century a 
flourishing village of five thousand inhabitants 
and its doctors becoming men of more liberal 
education and wider culture. It is unnecessary 
to enumerate all who practised here at this 

2>octor in tt> IRew H?orfe 303 

time, but certain names stand out more pro- pro- 
minently and are worthy of note. John Van JJJJJJJ* 
Buren, a native of Buren, near Amsterdam, ctane 
came to New York early in 1700, having stud- 
ied under the celebrated Boerhave and taken 
his degree at Leyden University. He occu- 
pied a prominent position in the colony, and 
his son, Beekman Van Buren, who was born 
in 1727, succeeded him in his practice, becom- 
ing the progenitor of the large family of that 
name scattered throughout the United States. 
Another prominent physician of the day was 
Dr. Cadwallader Golden, who was born in 
Scotland, and graduated at the University of 
Edinburgh in 1705. Having studied medicine, 
he spent ten years in practice in Philadelphia, 
when he was appointed by Governor Hunter 
to the position of Surveyor-General of the 
New York Colony. He was not only an ac- 
complished physician and writer, but also an 
eminent naturalist, his writings on botanical 
subjects showing a remarkable familiarity with 
this science. He moreover is said to have col- 
lected and described between three and four 
hundred new plants in America. He wrote a 
history of the Five Nations, besides various 
papers on medical subjects, and held the posi- 
tion of Lieutenant-Governor in 1761, and again 
in 1765. He died in 1766. . 

Dr. Isaac Du Bois, also a graduate of Ley- 
den, practised here in the earlier part of the 


Ube Boctor in U> IRew 



century. He is notable, I think, in having 
contributed an excellent paper on the subject 
of blood-letting, in which he discoursed rather 
vigorously upon its abuse, as well as its use. 
Another practitioner of the day was Dr. John 
Nichol, who died in 1745, after having prac- 
tised in this city for nearly half a century. 
He divided his duties to his patients with oc- 
cupying a position on the Bench in Governor 
Leisler's time. Dr. John Dupuy, who died in 
1745, at the age of twenty-eight, seems to 
have attained a somewhat enviable position 
in the Colony for so young a man, if we may 
believe the following notice outlined in The 
Weekly Postboy of that year: "Last night, 
Sunday, July 2ist, died in the prime of life to 
the almost universal regret and sorrow of the 
City, Mr. John Dupuy, M.D., and man mid- 
wife, in which loss it may be truly said, as of 
Goliah's sword, 'there was none like unto 

Among others of this period were Frank 
Brinley, who was surgeon to the New York 
troops during the French and Indian War; 
Ebenezer Crosby, a surgeon in the Con- 
tinental Army, who settled in the city after 
the close of the war and became a professor 
in Columbia College; and Charles McKnight, 
another surgeon in the Continental Army, 
who graduated from Princeton in 1761, and 
settled in the city after the close of the war, 

ITbe H>octor in ID IRew 3])orh 


and also became a professor of anatomy. It 
is said that Dr. McKnight was the first physi- 
cian who ever made use of a carriage in his 
round of visits to patients. 

Dr. John Bard, a native of New York, who 
was born in 1716, attained notable eminence 
in the profession in his day. He studied under 
Dr. Kearsley, a prominent English physician, 
and settled in New York in 1746. He prac- 
tised his profession here for fifty-two years, 
and was the first president of the Medical So- 
ciety of New York, which was organized in 
1788. He was a warm personal friend of 
Benjamin Franklin, and in connection with 
Dr. Middleton, in 1750, performed the second 
dissection of a human cadaver recorded in 
America. His son, Dr. Samuel Bard, who 
was born in 1742, after graduating at the Uni- 
versity of Edinburgh commenced the practice 
of medicine in this city in 1765. In 1769, Dr. 
Bard started the first agitation in favor of the 
erection of a public hospital, which was finally 
successful, and was also one of the professors 
and associated in organizing the first medical 
school in the city of New York in 1757. He 
was Washington's physician during the Gen- 
eral's residence in this city. 

Richard Bailey practised in the city until his 
death in 1801. He published a number of in- 
teresting essays on yellow fever, which had 
devastated the city on so many different occa- 



Ube Boctor in <S>U> TFlew 

2>r. 3obn 

sions during the seventeenth century, and is 
said to have been one of the first physicians to 
make a specialty in this city of obstetrical prac- 
tice. Dr. Nicholas Romaine, who was born in 
1 766 and died in 1817, was one of the presidents 
of the New York City Medical Society, and is 
said to have been a fine scholar and an active 
promoter of all educational measures. Dr. 
Samuel Colossy, an Irish physician who set- 
tled for a time in New York, has left a name 
behind him as one of the organizers of the 
first medical college in the city, in which he 
held the chair of Professor of Anatomy. An- 
other of the professors of this college was 
Peter Middleton, a Scotch physician, already 
referred to as having assisted Dr. Bard in his 

In looking over the brief records of the 
eighteenth-century doctors of New York, I 
find no one who has inspired in me a warmer 
personal interest and admiration than Dr. 
John Jones, the son of Dr. Evan Jones. His 
father and grandfather were physicians before 
him. He studied medicine with Dr. Cadwalla- 
der Golden, of Philadelphia, and subsequently 
went to London and from thence to France, 
where he obtained the degree of doctor of medi- 
cine from the University of Rheims, and still 
later studied at the Universities of Leyden and 
of Edinburgh. On returning to New York he 
was made a professor of surgery in the Col- 

TCbe Doctor in lo IRew H)orfe 

lege of New York. His life seems to have 
been an extraordinarily busy one. He built 
up a large practice, which necessarily oc- 
cupied much of his time, and yet he was a 
large contributor to medical as well as general 
literature, and was a busy lecturer and clinical 
demonstrator. He became a warm personal 
friend of both Washington and Franklin. He 
died at the age of sixty-two. An event in the 
early part of his career is interesting as throw- 
ing a certain light on the times in which he 
lived, as well as showing the essential dignity 
of his character. Some of the physicians en- 
tered into a compact to distinguish themselves 
from the rest of their fellow-citizens by a par- 
ticular mode of wearing their hair. Among the 
rest, it was proposed to Dr. Jones, who indig- 
nantly and very properly declined to enter into 
any such arrangement, declaring that he con- 
sidered that and every similar means to impose 
upon the weakness or credulity of others, as 
unworthy the members of a liberal profession, 
and as intended to enforce that attention and 
respect which their own conduct and abilities 
should always command. While the other 
doctors in the town, therefore, were strutting 
about in the new-fashioned bob, Dr. Jones 
could not be distinguished from any well- 
bred gentleman of any other profession. Of 
course an attempt was made to boycott Dr. 
Jones by a plan not altogether unfamiliar to 

fi)r. 3obn 


Ube Doctor in lo "Hew 

of 1760 

physicians now living, namely by refusing to 
consult with him. The result was as might 
have been expected: on the first occasion in 
which this plan was brought into practice the 
physician who refused to consult with Dr. 
Jones was promptly dismissed, and Dr. Jones 
installed in his place. 

This brief review of the New York doctor 
of this day, I think, gives us a fair estimate of 
his personality, abilities, and practice. But 
we have referred only to the regular prac- 
titioner. That the country was overrun by 
ignorant pretenders, we have ample evidence 
by the numerous diatribes against them in the 
secular press. One writer, speaking of this 
condition, tells us that " quacks abound like 
locusts in Egypt." But these arise in all com- 
munities and possess no especial points of 
interest in this connection, except that their 
existence led to legal enactment for their sup- 
pression, for with the exception of the Duke 
of York ordinance of 1664 (already quoted), no 
attempt was made to protect the community 
from these irregular practitioners until 1760, 
when the following law was passed: 

" An Act to regulate the practice of Physick & Surgery 
in the City of New York, June 10, 1760. 

" Whereas many ignorant and unskilful Persons in Phy- 
sick and Surgery in order to gain a Subsistence do take upon 
themselves to administer Physick and practice Surgery in 
the City of New York to the endangering of the Lives & 
Limbs of their Patients ; and many poor & ignorant persons 

Ube H>octor in tt> IRevv H)orfe 


inhabiting the said City who have been persuaded to be- 
come their Patients have been great sufferers thereby ; For 
preventing such abuses for the future, 

" Be it Enacted by his Honor, the Lieutenant Governor, 
& the General Assembly, and it is hereby Enacted by the 
Authority of the same, That from & after the Publication 
of this Act, no Person whatsoever shall practice as a Physi- 
cian or surgeon in the said City of New York before he shall 
first have been examined in Physick or Surgery and approved 
of and admitted by one of His Majesty's Council, the 
judges of the Supreme Court, the King's Attorney General 
and the Mayor of the City of New York for the time being, 
or by any three or more of them, taking to their assistance 
for such Examination such proper person or persons as they 
in their discretion shall think fit. And if any Candidate 
after due Examination of his learning and Skill in Physick 
or Surgery as aforesaid shall be approved and admitted to 
practice as a Physician or Surgeon, or both, the said Exam- 
iners, or any three or more of them, shall give under their 
Hands and Seals to the Person so admitted as aforesaid, a 
Testimonial of his Examination & Admission in the form 
following, to wit 

" To All To Whom These Tresents Shall Come Or May 
Concern Know Ye 

" That We whose names are hereunto subscribed in pur- 
suance of An Act of the Lieutenant Governor, the Council 
and the General Assembly, made and published at New York 

the day of in the year of our Lord One thousand 

seven hundred and Entitled AN ACT to regulate the 

Practice of Physick & Surgery in the City of New York, 
have duely Examined of Physician [or] Sur- 
geon [or] Physician and Surgeon [as the case may be] and 
having approved of his Skill have admitted him as a Physi- 
cian [or] Surgeon [or] Physician and Surgeon, to practice in 
the said Faculty [or] Faculties throughout this province of 
New York. IN TESTIMONY whereof we have subscribed 
our Names and affixed our Seals to the Instrument at New 

Of 1760 


H>octor in tt> IRew H?orfc 


of t?eo 

York this 

day of 

Anno Domini One Thou- 

" AND be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid 
that if any Person shall practice in the City of New York as 
a Physician or Surgeon or both as Physician and Surgeon 
without such testimonial as aforesaid he shall for every such 
offence forfeit the sum of five pounds, One half thereof to 
the use of the Person or Persons who shall sue for the same, 
and the other Moiety to the Church Wardens and Vestry- 
men of the said City for the use of the Poor thereof, the said 
Forfeiture to be recovered with costs before the Mayor, Re- 
corder or any one of the Aldermen of the said City who are 
hereby empowered in a summary way to hear try and de- 
termine any suit brought for such forfeiture, and to give 
Judgment and to award Execution thereupon. 

PROVIDED that this Act shall not extend to any Person 
or Persons administering Physick or Practicing Surgery 
within the said City before the Publication hereof ; Or to 
any Person bearing His Majesty's Commission and employed 
in His Service as a Physician or Surgeon." 

The fees of the doctor in the eighteenth cen- 
tury do not appear to have increased propor- 
tionately to the growth of the town, if we 
may judge from the following account ren- 
dered by Dr. William Laurence in the latter 
part of the century : 

To inoculating a child 
To a visit and a Calomel bolus 
To a bottle of Black Water 
To a visit, sewing up ye boy's lip \ 
and to sundry dressings in the > 
cure of it ) 


2 8 


TTbe JDoctor in 10 IRew H)orfe 

3 11 

To rising in the night, a visit and ) 
dose of Calomel ye child ) 

To five visits dressing gave ye > 
head and bleeding ) 

To a puke 

To drawing a tooth 


A writer in the Independent ^/lector in 
1753, referring to New York, says: "That 
place boasts the honor of above 40 gentlemen 
of the faculty, and far the greater number of 
them are mere pretenders to a profession of 
which they are entirely ignorant." That this 
latter statement is a grossly unjust charge, I 
need not affirm, for while one cannot always 
regard the seventeenth-century doctor as seri- 
ously as he seems to have taken himself, we 
find in his successor of the eighteenth cen- 
tury a broader culture, a deeper appreciation 
of the essential dignity of his calling, and a 
far better preparation and equipment for his 
duties. When we remember that at the end 
of the second third of the eighteenth century 
New York was a somewhat rude little town 
of about twenty thousand inhabitants, we 
cannot but accord respect to the doctors of 
the period, and admiration for the great fore- 
sight and broad-minded humanity which char- 
acterized the enterprises inaugurated by them 
for the public good. 

We have already spoken of Dr. Bard. In 

clans of 

tbe EujbU 



ITbe Boctor in 10 1Re\v 

ijation of 


College in 


1768, there was organized in connection with 
King's College, now Columbia College, the 
second medical college in the New World, the 
first having been organized in Philadelphia in 
1 765. It arose apparently by a voluntary com- 
bination on the part of a number of gentlemen 
who had already been engaged in giving pri- 
vate instruction. Its faculty consisted of Drs. 
Middleton, on the Theory of Physic, Colossy 
on Anatomy, Bard on the Practice of Physic, 
James Smith on Chemistry and Materia 
Medica, J. V. B. Tennant on Midwifery, and 
J. Jones, Professor of Surgery. In 1769, Co- 
lumbia College had conferred the degree of 
Bachelor of Medicine upon Samuel Kissam 
and Robert Tucker, but in 1770 the first de- 
gree of Doctor of Medicine conferred in New 
York was given to Kissam, while Tucker re- 
ceived his Doctor's degree in the following 
May. These were the first medical degrees 
ever conferred in America, antedating by a few 
weeks only those which were given at Phila- 
delphia. On the delivering of Kissam's and 
Tucker's degrees in 1769, Doctor Samuel Bard 
made a popular address, in which he advo- 
cated the utility and necessity of a public in- 
firmary. So "warmly and pathetically," as 
Dr. Middleton tells us, was the need set forth, 
that a subscription was immediately started, 
headed by Sir Henry Moore, then Governor of 
the Province, and the sum of ,800 sterling 

Doctor in lo IRew 


was collected for the furtherance of this pur- 
pose, 300 being added by the corporation of 
the city. 

The establishment of the New York Hos- 
pital was thus assured and its corner-stone 
was accordingly laid, on July 27, 1773. It had 
just reached its completion in 1775, when it 
was destroyed by fire. The Revolutionary 
War coming on prevented any attempt to re- 
establish it until later years. Many of those 
still living will recall its sequestered court, and 
ivy-covered walls, into which one cast a rest- 
ful glance while passing through the crowded 
streets of lower Broadway a few years ago. 
Its destruction to make way for the encroach- 
ment of business, and its removal to i^th 
Street are of comparatively recent date. The 
medical and anatomical instruction which was 
given in that old building, was the direct cause 
of an event, which, for a time, seriously inter- 
rupted that cordial good-feeling which, in a 
notable degree, has always existed between 
the medical profession and the laity, as the 
doctor usually calls the non-medical "rest of 
the world." The event referred to was the 
Doctors Riot, in 1788, the third great riot 
which had occurred in the history of New 
York, the first being the Negro Riot in 1712, 
and the second being the Stamp Act Riot in 
1765. The following account is the more in- 
teresting, perhaps, as being contemporaneous: 


of tbe 
View l.'ors; 

Ube H>octor in to IRew U)orfe 



" During the last winter, some students of physic, and 
other persons, had dug up from several of the cemeteries in 
this city, a number of dead bodies for dissection. This prac- 
tice had been conducted in so indecent a manner, that it 
raised a considerable clamor among the people. The inter- 
ments not only of strangers, and the blacks, had been dis- 
turbed, but the corpses of some respectable persons were 
removed. These circumstances most sensibly agitated the 
feelings of the friends of the deceased, and wrought up the 
passions of the populace to a ferment. 

"On Sunday, the ijth inst., a number of boys, we are 
informed, who were playing in the rear of the Hospital, per- 
ceived a limb which was imprudently hung out of a window 
to dry ; they immediately informed some persons a multi- 
tude soon collected entered the Hospital ; and, in their 
fury destroyed a number of anatomical preparations ; some 
of which, we are told, were imported from foreign countries 
one or two fresh subjects were also found all of which 
were interred the same evening. Several young doctors 
narrowly escaped the fury of the people ; and would inevit- 
ably have suffered very seriously had not his Honor, the 
Mayor, the Sheriff, and some other persons interfered, and 
rescued them, by lodging them in gaol. The friends to 
good order, hoped that the affair would have ended here ; 
but they were unhappily mistaken. 

" On Monday morning a number of people collected, and 
were determined to search the houses of the suspected 
physicians. His Excellency, the Governor, His Honor, the 
Chancellor, and His Worship, the Mayor, finding that the 
passions of the people were irritated, went among them, 
and endeavoured to dissuade them from committing un- 
necessary depredations. They addressed the people pathet- 
ically, and promised them every satisfaction which the 
laws of the country can give. This had considerable effect 
upon many ; who, after examining the houses of the sus- 
pected doctors returned to their homes. But, in the after- 
noon the affair assumed a different aspect. A mob, more 

Ube Boctor in 



fond of riot and confusion than a reliance upon the promises 
of the Magistrates, and obedience to the laws, went to the 
gaol, and demanded the doctors who were there imprisoned. 
The Magistrates finding that the mild language of persua- 
sion was of no avail, were obliged to order out the militia, 
to suppress the riot, to maintain the government, and pro- 
tect the gaol. A small party of about 18 armed men 
assembled at 3 o'clock, and marched thither the mob 
permitted them to pass through with no other insult than 
a few volleys of stones, dirt, &c. Another party of about 
12 men, about an hour afterwards made a similar attempt, 
but having no orders to resist, the mob surrounded them, 
seized and destroyed their arms. This gave the mobility 
fresh courage they then endeavoured to force the gaol, but 
were repulsed by a handful of men, who bravely sustained 
an attack of several hours. They then destroyed the win- 
dows of that building with stones, and tore down part of 
the fence. At dusk another party of armed citizens marched 
to the relief of the gaol ; and as they approached it, the mob, 
huzzaring, began a heavy fire with stones, brick-bats, etc. ; 
several of this party were much hurt, and in their own 
defense were obliged to fire ; upon which three or four 
persons were killed, and a number wounded. The mob 
shortly after dispersed. 

"On Tuesday morning the militia of General Malcom's 
brigade, and Col. Bauman's regiment of artillery were 
ordered out ; and a detachment from each were under arms 
during that day, and the subsequent night. But happily 
the mob did not again collect, and the peace of the city 
is once more restored. 

" It must give pleasure to every good citizen to observe, 
by the charge of our worthy Chief Justice to the Grand 
Jury, that ' our laws are competent to punish any degree 
of guilt.' This being the fact, every friend to the State 
will patiently wait their operation ; and obedience to the 
laws, are their principal securities for the safe and quiet 
enjoyment of life, liberty and property. But, from mobs, 


316 Ube Boctor in to IRew Jl)ork 

riots, and confusion, ' may the Good Lord deliver us.'" 
Doctors New York Packet, Friday, April 25, 1788. 

Among the injured on the second day of 
the rioting were old Baron Steuben and John 
Jay, who were struck by missiles while at- 
tempting to pacify the rioters. 

We have reviewed briefly the practice and 
personality of the seventeenth-century and 
of the eighteenth-century doctor. The nine- 
teenth-century doctor, with his various ac- 
tivities and acquirements, comes so closely 
within the memory and knowledge of the 
present generation that we refrain from enter- 
ing upon any discussion of his many virtues. 
This we do mainly because it is not within 
the province of this paper ; but were it so, 
it would surely be a most pleasing task to 
record the marvellous changes which have 
taken place in the latter half of the nineteenth 
century, building so well upon the founda- 
tions which were laid by the many earnest 
workers of the eighteenth, and which have 
gone so far towards creating out of the old 
mass of ignorance and superstition a true 
science of medicine. 

ZIbe H>octor in ID Hew 




American Medical Biography. 

Boston, 1828. 
Contribution to the Annals of Medical Progress. 

M. TONER, M.D., Washington, 1874. 
Old New York. Historical Discourse. JOHN W. FRANCIS, 

M.D., New York, 1866. 

A Book about Doctors. }. C. JEAFFRESON, London, 1860. 
Curiosities of Medical Experience. ]. G. MILLINGEN, M.D., 

London, 1839. 

Historic Tales of Olden Times. ]. F. WATSON. 
American Medical and Philosophical Register. 
BRODHEAD'S History of the State of New York. 
VALENTINE'S Manual of the Common Council of New York. 
New York Independent Reflector. 
HENING'S Statutes at Large. 

Ancient Charter and Laws of Massachusetts Bay. 
E. B. O'CALLAGHAN'S History of the New Netherlands. 
Documentary History of New York. 
Medical Repository. 

LAMB'S History of the City of New York. 
STONE'S History of New York City. New York, 1872. 
New York Gazette. 
New York Packet. 
New York Journal. 
Daily Advertiser. 
New York Ga^eteer. 




Half Moon Series 

Published in the Interest of the New York 
City History Club. 




DURING the first few years after the found- 
ing of New Amsterdam little attention 
was paid to the education of the children. 
The West India Company regarded the settle- 
ment in the light of a trading-post rather than 
of a colony and was bent on receiving rather 
than giving privileges. ' Although it had made 
vague promises guaranteeing to settlers many 
advantages, spiritual and material, it was in no 
haste to redeem its pledges. The settlers for 
their part were so much occupied with plant- 
ing grain, raising their thatch-roofed cottages, 
and repairing their rickety old fort, that the 
children were neglected and roamed unvexed 
of schoolmasters, in ignorance and bliss, along 
the banks of the broad canal, or clambered 
across the rocks of the Capske at low tide. 

So things went on for seven years ; then 
came a change. The spring of 1633 opened 


TZbe jflrst 


Scbools anfc Scboolmasters 



propitiously for the little colony. Surely it 
promised great things that the same year 
should bring to the settlement a new gov- 
ernor, a new minister, and a new school- 
master, the first who had ever set foot in the 
colony. Yet it was but a very short time be- 
fore the new Governor had earned his title 
of "Walter, the Waverer," before the new 
domine, Everardus Bogardus, proved himself 
a quarrelsome shepherd, and the new school- 
master had shown his unfitness to train the 
youthful burghers of New Amsterdam either in 
wisdom or virtue. 

The career of Adam Roelantsen, this first 
pedagogue of New Amsterdam, was a check- 
ered one, and hardly bears inspection, if we 
wish to believe in the worth of the founder of 
our schools. Valentine gives a sad account of 
his misdoings, and though that Froissart of our 
city chronicles is generally to be taken with 
many grains of caution, in this instance he is 
so reinforced by the court records that his 
testimony must be accepted as in the main 
fair and just. 

Roelantsen was born in Dokkum, a city of 
Northern Holland, in 1 606, * and was therefore 
twenty-seven years old at the time he landed 
in New Amsterdam. Within a few years 
after his arrival he had entered upon his turbu- 
lent and litigious experiences. On September 
20, 1638, we find a suit before the court in 

Scbools anfc Scboolmasters 


which Roelantsen figures as plaintiff against 
Gillis de Voocht, on a demand for payment for 
washing defendant's linen. The defendant 
made no objection to the price asked ; but 
claimed that Roelantsen had agreed to do the 
washing by the year, and that time being not 
yet expired, the payment was not due. The 
court held with the defendant, and Roelantsen 
was compelled to subsist till the end of his con- 
tract upon his professional stipend, which was 
unquestionably meagre. In the same year the 
schoolmaster appeared again in the courts, 
making affidavit this time against Grietje 
Reyners for misconduct. He soon had occa- 
sion to prove the truth of the proverb of his race 
Wie %ijn buren beledigt maakt het %ich %el- 
ven daarna %uur (He who slanders his 
neighbors makes it sour for himself), for when 
he undertook to circulate evil reports touch- 
ing Jochem Haller's wife, that angry burgher 
haled him before the court on a charge of 
slander. Roelantsen in his turn accused 
various people of slander, though it is hard to 
see what fiction worse than truth could have 
been invented about him by his neighbors. 

No wonder the old record states that " peo- 
ple did not speak well of him." In spite of his 
reputation, however, he succeeded in marry- 
ing a widow presumably possessed of some 
property, as we hear no more of his taking in 
washing, and in 1642, after his return from a 



Earls Scbools anfc Scboolmasters 




temporary sojourn in Rensselaerswyck, we 
read of the following contract made by him 
for a house to be built on the north side of 
Brouwer Street, between Whitehall and Broad, 
and next door but one to Van Courtlandt's 
brewery. By the terms of the contract "John 
Teunison agrees to build the same of the fol- 
lowing dimensions : In length thirty feet, in 
width eighteen feet, in height eight feet ; the 
beams to be hewn at four sides, the house to 
be well and tight clapboarded and roofed with 
substantial reed thatch ; the floors tight and 
made of clapboard ; two doors, one entry, a 
pantry, a bed-stead, a staircase to go to the 
garret ; the upper part of the chimneys to be 
of wood ; one mantelpiece ; the entry to be 
three feet wide with a partition. The house 
to be ready by ist of May next." 

For the building of this house Roelantsen 
agreed to pay three hundred and fifty guilders 
($140), half payment to be made when the 
timber was brought, and the rest when the 
house was finished. 

This appears to have been the most prosper- 
ous period of Roelantsen's life. He had a 
daughter, Tryntje, baptized in the old church, 
and as a husband, a father, and a landholder 
he seemed to have given hostages to fortune, 
and engaged to comport himself as a good and 
thrifty citizen. In 1643, he was made "Weigh- 
master " 3 and added to his possessions by the 

Scbools anfc Scboolmasters 


purchase of another lot of land. In 1644, a son 
was born to him, and baptized Daniel. Two 
more children were added to the household 
before the death of his wife (spoken of in sub- 
sequent records as Lyntje Martens), and then 
the prosperity began to suffer eclipse. 

In 1646, he set sail for Holland ; but made 
only a short stay, for in the fall of that year we 
see him once more in litigation in the New 
Amsterdam court. The skipper of the vessel 
in which he returned had endeavored to col- 
lect passage money ; Roelantsen refused pay- 
ment, and claimed that the skipper had agreed 
that he should cross the ocean "free of pas- 
sage money and freight of his trunk provided 
he would work as one of the sailors, and the 
skipper had also said repeatedly that he should 
ask no pay from Roelantsen because he said 
the prayers." Apparently the worth of Roe- 
lantsen's prayers was accepted by the court 
as an equivalent for the passage money, since 
it is recorded that the skipper was non-suited. 

A month later Roelantsen was brought be- 
fore the court as a malefactor charged with an 
offense so flagrant that the court declared such 
deeds "may not be tolerated in a country 
where justice is revered ; therefore we con- 
demn the said Roelantsen to be brought to 
the place of execution and there flogged and 
banished forever out of this country." In con- 
sideration of the defendant having four mother- 



Scbools an& Scboolmasters 


less children the sentence was delayed ; though 
it is difficult to see what benefit was to accrue 
to the little half-orphans from the guardianship 
of such a father. This singular vagabond 
seems to have had some peculiar charm for 
the staid burghers of New Amsterdam, for, in 
spite of his misdeeds, I find it stated on ex- 
cellent authority that in 1647, he was ap- 
pointed Provost, and in 1653, was a member 
of the Burgher-Corps of New Amsterdam. 4 
With this date this strange figure in our early 
history vanishes from the records, to give place 
to a long line of pedagogical successors, often 
worthier, but seldom either so picturesque or 
so clearly etched out against the background 
of the past. 

His career is the more amusing in the light 
of the duties of the Parochial Schoolmaster, as 
set forth in his commission ; these were "to 
promote religious worship, to read a portion 
of the Word of God to the people, to endea- 
vor, as much as possible, to bring them up in 
the ways of the Lord, to console them in their 
sickness, and to conduct himself with all dili- 
gence and fidelity in his calling so as to give 
others a good example as becometh a devout, 
pious, and worthy consoler of the sick, church- 
clerk, Precenter and Schoolmaster." 6 The 
form of this commission shows how closely 
State, Church, and School were bound to- 
gether in Old Holland, and New. The old 

jarl Scbools anfc Schoolmasters 


Dutch records expressly declare that "School- 
keeping and the appointment of Schoolmas- 
ters depend absolutely from the Jus patronatus 
and require a license from the Director-Gen- 
eral and Council."' The offices of teacher 
and preacher were closely allied and the duty 
of consoling the sick equally devolved upon 
both domine and schoolmaster. 

The requirements for the office of school- 
master in all its capacities were severe. At 
one time the Consistory stated them as 
follows : 

" First : That he be a person of suitable qualifications to 
officiate as schoolmaster and chorister, possessing a knowl- 
edge of music, a good voice so as to be heard, an aptitude 
to teach others the science, and that he should be a good 
reader, writer and arithmetician. 

" Second : That he should be of the Reformed Religion, 
a member of the church, bringing with him testimonials of 
his Christian character and Conduct. 

" Third : That whether married or unmarried he be not 
under twenty-five nor over thirty-five." 

The duties of this official were as varied as 
his qualifications, since he was expected to 
keep the books for the Consistory, to read 
and pray with the sick, and in every way to 
supplement the work of the minister, even to 
turning the hour-glass during church service 
as a reminder that the sermon had continued 
beyond the allotted time. This semi-ecclesias- 
tical character belonged only to the official 


merits for 

tbe office 

of Scbool= 



Barl? Scboots anfc Schoolmasters 

an Stev 

schoolmaster, appointed by the West India 
Company and acting under the direction of 
the church. Other teachers independent of 
such control, though requiring a license from 
civil and church authorities, appeared in the 
colony from time to time and sought to earn a 
livelihood by tuition fees ; but these fees seem 
to have proved discouragingly small, and 
the schoolmaster generally tried to combine 
school-keeping with some more remunerative 

One Aden Jansen Van Ilpendam opened a 
school in New Amsterdam a year before the 
sentence of banishment was passed upon Roe- 
lantsen. 7 His terms of tuition were two dried 
bear skins per annum. His school was so 
successful that it continued for over a decade. 

The official successor of Roelantsen was 
Jan Stevensen, whose school-keeping is set 
down in the Register of New Amsterdam as 
dating from 1643, tne vear m which Roelant- 
sen was made Weigh-master. The Company 
granted Stevensen a patent of a lot of land lo- 
cated on Broadway, then the " Heere Straat," 
adjoining the old churchyard. The question 
of a public schoolhouse was by this time 
seriously agitated. There was talk of building 
a schoolhouse when the stone church in the 
Fort was begun ; but that edifice used up all 
the funds available, and the children found 
themselves with no better accommodation 

J6arl Scbools an& Schoolmasters 


than a room in a private house, and those who 
have studied the conditions of life in the New 
Amsterdam of Stuyvesant's day, and appreciate 
how small were those private houses, built 
of mud and reeds,* will understand how inad- 
equate a single room in one was likely to 
prove. In 1647, public education was en- 
tirely suspended, owing to the lack of suit- 
able accommodation. The Director appealed 
to the Commonalty for aid, saying : ' Whereas, 
for want of a school house, no school has been 
kept here during three months, by which the 
youth are spoiled, it is proposed to consider 
where a convenient place may be fixed upon 
so as to keep the youth from the streets and 
under strict subordination." Contributions 
for erection of the school-building were called 
for, and some response was made; but still 
without result, for a petition addressed to the 
States-General by the New Netherlanders in 
October, 1649, sets forth that 

" the bowl has been going round a long time for the purpose 
of erecting a school house and it has been built with words 
[observe the fine sarcasm] for as yet the first stone is not 
laid, some materials only are provided. The money, never- 
theless, given for the purpose has found its way out and is 
mostly spent so that it falls short and nothing permanent 
has as yet been effected for that purpose." 9 

To this remonstrance the West India Com- 
pany made rather tart answer that " the Di- 
rector hath not the administration of the 


of a 




33 I6arl Scbools ano Schoolmasters 

money that was taken up on the plate; but 
Jacob Couwenhoven who is one of the peti- 
tioners, hath kept account of it in his quality 
of churchwarden." These bickerings and 
recriminations continued for several years ; 
meanwhile Stevensen was succeeded, in 1648 
or 1640, by Jan Cornelissen, reputed to have 
been lazy, and much given to the use of " hot 
and rebellious liquors." Perhaps the Direct- 
ors of the Company began to perceive that 
such service was worse than none, and that 
it was hopeless to secure better without both 
assured income and a suitable place of instruc- 
tion, for in the spring of 1652 we find them 
writing to Stuy vesant : 

" We give our consent that a public school may be es- 
tablished, for which one schoolmaster will be sufficient, and 
he may be engaged at 250 florins [$ioo] annually. We rec- 
ommend you Jan de la Montagne whom we have provision- 
ally favored with the appointment. You may appropriate 
the city tavern for that purpose, if practicable." 

The city tavern herein noted was no other 
than the old inn which later gained greater 
renown as the Stadt Huys. It raised its 
quaint "crow-step gables" far above the 
lowly thatched roofs of the village that clus- 
tered around it, and its walls and chimneys 
of substantial brick and stone were built to 
withstand wind and weather and, like the old 
church, to bear enduring testimony to the 

Earls Scbools an& Scboolmasters 


greatness of Director William Kieft, who or- 
dered it erected, in 1642, at the head of Coen- 
ties Slip. 

The Burgomasters perhaps found it not 
" practicable " to oust the loungers who had 
so long smoked their pipes in the cozy corner 
by the great chimney or tippled their beer 
over the wooden tables standing close to the 
roadside on the brick-floored, vine-shaded 
stoop. No doubt these frequenters of the old 
tavern were loath to give place to school- 
boys with puffed breeches and plastered hair, 
sitting solemnly on the benches which ran 
along the wall, or standing in disgrace, ^otscap 
on head, in the corner allotted to dunces. Just 
how they settled the question does not appear; 
but several years later, in 1656, the school- 
master, then Harmanus Van Hoboocken, 
sent the following urgent appeal to the 
Burgomasters and Schepens on the occasion 
of the burning of the schoolhouse : 

" The reverential request of Harmanus Van Hoboocken, 
Schoolmaster of this city, is that he may be allowed the use 
of the hall and side chamber of the City Hall for the use of 
his school and as a residence for his family, inasmuch as he, 
petitioner, has no place to keep school in, or to live in dur- 
ing the winter, it being necessary that the rooms should be 
made warm, which cannot be done in his own house from 
its unfitness. The petitioner further represents that he is 
burthened with a wife and children and moreover his wife is 
expected shortly to be brought to child-bed again, so that 
he is much at a loss how to make accomodation for his 




]arl Scbools ant) Scboolmasters 



family and school children. The petitioner therefore asks 
that he may use the chamber wherein Gouert Coerten at 
present dwells." 10 

The answer to this petition set forth that 
"Whereas, the room which petitioner asks 
for his use as a dwelling and schoolroom is 
out of repair and moreover is wanted for 
other uses, it cannot be allowed to him. But 
as the town youth are doing so uncommon 
well now, it is thought proper to find a con- 
venient place for their accommodation, and for 
that purpose petitioner is- granted 100 guilders 

Before the coming of Hoboocken, the office 
of pedagogue and Ziekentroster , or "consoler 
of the sick," had been filled by William 
Verstius, "a pious, well qualified and diligent 
schoolmaster," "who served for several years 
to the satisfaction of the community, and was 
only parted with on his own urgent solicitation 
to be permitted to return to Holland. 

When Harmanus Van Hoboocken came over 
in 1655, to take the place of Verstius, he found 
New Amsterdam a thriving village, numbering 
over a hundred cottages, and sheltering about 
a thousand inhabitants. He followed the 
traditions of his office by marrying a widow, 
and conducted the school so satisfactorily that, 
when at the end of several years he was re- 
placed by Evert Pietersen, he was engaged 
as e/ldelborst (something above a common 

jarl Scbools anfc Scboolmasters 


soldier) in the Company's service, at a salary 
of 10 guilders a month, and his board, and 
was also employed on Governor Stuyvesant's 
bouwery as clerk and schoolmaster. As this 
bouwery was located in the region of what is 
now lower Third Avenue, in the neighborhood 
of Twelfth Street, this second school, being at 
that time far out of town, did not conflict with 
the school in the little village near the Fort. 
There is some evidence to show that this 
lower school was held at one time within the 
walls of the Fort itself ; but this is only vaguely 
touched upon in the records, though it is a 
constant source of wonder to me that the 
great stone church raised by Kieft and of no 
use except o' Sundays, was not utilized be- 
tween-times for educational purposes. 

Now that the colony was growing so fast 
it was found that there was room for more 
than one school and schoolmaster ; but the 
church and the Company were very tena- 
cious of their rights of control, and looked 
with a jealous eye upon every effort to es- 
tablish schools outside their jurisdiction. A 
very lively controversy took place between 
the city magistrates and the colonial authori- 
ties on the occasion of the granting of a school- 
keeping license by the magistrates to Jacob 
Van Corlaer. Straightway the Governor and 
Council directed the Attorney-General to go 
to the house of van Corlaer, "who has for 




)arls Scbools ant) Scboolmasters 



some time past arrogated to himself to keep 
school," and warn him that his arrogance and 
his school-keeping must cease, under pain of 
the displeasure of the Director and the Council. 
At this juncture the Burgomasters and 
Schepens presented a petition in Van Cor- 
laer's favor, and the delinquent himself humbly 
begged the privilege of continuing what seems 
at this remove his harmless calling ; but all 
efforts were in vain. The record states that 
"for weighty reasons influencing the Di- 
rector General and Council the apostille [mar- 
ginal note] was ' nihil actum. ' ' Meanwhile 
the restlessness of the burghers under their 
limited educational privileges was increasing. 
Their " Vertoogh," or remonstrance to the 
home government, had set forth that 

' ' There should be a public school provided with at least 
two good masters, so that first of all, in so wild a country, 
where there are many loose people, the youth be well 
taught and brought up, not only in reading and writing but 
also in the knowledge and fear of the Lord. As it is now, 
the school is kept very irregularly, one and another keep- 
ing it according to his pleasure, and so long as he thinks 

As time went on and the population stead- 
ily increased, the ideas of the colonists ex- 
panded in this direction as in every other. 
Moreover, their local pride was touched by 
the advance of New England and the estab- 
lishment in Massachusetts of the academy 

jarl\? Scbools anfc Schoolmasters 


destined to become the first college planted 
in the Western hemisphere. In 1658, this 
righteous ambition found vent in a petition of 
the Burgomasters and Schepens to the West 
India Company. 

" It is represented," the petitioners say, " that the youth 
of this place and the neighborhood are increasing in num- 
ber gradually and that most of them can read and write, 
but that some of the citizens and inhabitants would like 
to send their children to a school the principal of which 
understands Latin ; but are not able to do so without 
sending them to New England ; furthermore they have not 
the means to hire a Latin schoolmaster expressly for them- 
selves from New England, and therefore they ask that the 
West India Company will send out a fit person as Latin 
schoolmaster, not doubting that the number of persons who 
will send their children to such a teacher will from year to 
year increase until an Academy shall be formed whereby 
this place to great splendour will have attained, for which, 
next to God, the Honorable Company which shall have 
sent such teacher here shall have laud and praise. For 
our own part we shall endeavor to find a fit place in which 
the Schoolmaster shall hold his school." 

It must always be borne in mind that the 
"children " for whom these educational privi- 
leges were to be provided were boys only. 
Nothing would have more surprised the 
burghers than the prediction of the classical 
schools and normal schools, the college and 
university opportunities now open to the 
daughters of Manhattan. In those days the 
domestic training of the home, or, at most, 

petition of 

tcrs and 


Scbools an& Schoolmasters 



the dame-school, with its very rudimentary 
instruction in reading and writing, was 
enough to content the educational ambition 
of the colonial maidens. 

The Directors in Holland looked with favor 
upon the petition of the Burgomasters and 
Schepens ; but they did not allow their en- 
thusiasm for education to run away with the 
thrift which throughout the history of Dutch 
rule marked their dealings with the colonists. 
They wrote to Stuyvesant : 

"The Rev. Domine Drisius has intimated to us more 
than once that in his opinion it might be serviceable to 
establish a Latin School for the instruction of the youth, 
and as we do not disapprove of the plan we have thought it 
proper to communicate it to you that if you consider 
it proper to make the experiment you may advise us in 
what manner it can be effected to the greatest advantage of 
the Community, and with the least expense to the Com- 

As a result of these consultations, the Com- 
pany, in 1659, despatched a pedagogue, bear- 
ing the portentous name of Alexander Carolus 
Curtius, to be the classical instructor of the 
new academy at New Amsterdam, which 
was to bring such "laud and praise" to all 
concerned. He started out prosperously. The 
Burgomasters voted him out of the city-chest 
a very comfortable salary of two hundred guild- 
ers, according to one authority, five hundred 
according to another, with fifty in advance. 

Scbools an& Scboolmasters 

Besides this, Valentine fits him out with an- 
other advance of one hundred florins where- 
with to purchase merchandise to set him up in 
business on his arrival in the colony, and, as 
if this were not enough, he was granted the 
use of a house and garden and given permis- 
sion to practise medicine. The ingrate still 
complained that the compensation was in- 
sufficient, and after another anxious consulta- 
tion between the Director and the city rulers 
it was agreed that he should be allowed to 
charge six guilders per quarter for each 
scholar. His grasping greed overreached it- 
self in the next year, when he charged several 
of his pupils a whole beaver-skin, worth at 
least eight guilders. This was too much even 
for the long-suffering Burgomasters, and Mas- 
ter Curtius found his salary docked for the 

Other causes of discontent had also arisen. 
Curtius had brought over with him a fine repu- 
tation. He had been a professor in Lithuania, 
and no doubt was possessed of a vast stock 
of learning, and had the dead languages at his 
finger ends ; but unfortunately he had little 
knowledge of live human nature, and espe- 
cially boy nature, which apparently was not 
so unlike in New Amsterdam and New York. 
The little Dutch pupils laughed to scorn the 
authority of the new master, and diverted 
themselves, amid the severe application de- 



Earlp Scbools anfc Scboolmasters 


manded for a classical education by beat- 
ing each other and playfully tearing the 
clothes from each other's backs. Naturally 
the parents disapproved, and as naturally they 
visited their displeasure upon the unfortunate 
instructor, and we can imagine the contumely 
they heaped upon "this fine professor who 
charges a whole beaver-skin and cannot even 
keep order." Yet we can but feel a thrill of 
sympathetic commiseration for poor Alex- 
ander Carolus Curtius when we read his 
counter-complaint that he was powerless to 
preserve discipline, because "his hands were 
tied, as some of the parents forbade him pun- 
ishing their children." 

Wherever the fault lay, it soon became evi- 
dent that the children were not being trained 
up in the way they should go, and it resulted 
in the return of Curtius to Holland and the 
substitution as head master in the school, of 
./Egidius Luyck. This new incumbent, who 
was established as principal of the Latin 
School in 1662, proved entirely satisfactory. 
He was only twenty-two years old, but so 
staid in character, so firm in discipline, and of 
such high repute in scholarship that he made 
the academy well known far and wide. New 
Amsterdam began to find itself advancing to 
the front rank in educational advantages 
among the American settlements, and not 
only ceased to send youth to New England, 

jarl Scbools anfc Scboolmasters 


but drew to itself pupils from far-away colo- 
nies two at least being recorded from Vir- 
ginia, others from the settlements on the 
Delaware, and two, with the promise of 
more, from Fort Orange. 12 

On the capture of New Amsterdam by the 
English, Luyck returned to his native land to 
study theology; but later he came back to 
this city, then New York, married a relative 
of Director Stuyvesant, to whose sons he had 
been private tutor before taking charge of the 
Latin School, and continued his useful career 
of teacher in the colony under English rule. 13 

The regular schoolmaster, Evert Pietersen, 
who taught at the lower school while Ho- 
boocken instructed at Stuyvesant's bouwery 
and Luyck succeeded Curtius at the Latin 
School, also continued in office after the 
English occupation. He made his home on 
the south side of the 'Brouwer Straat, a section 
of what is now Stone Street, extending from 
Whitehall to Broad Street, and gaining its 
name from the brewery owned by Oloff 
Stevenson Van Courtlandt. 14 Pietersen was 
married when he came to this country, but 
later lost his wife and, following the precedent 
of his profession, married a widow. His salary 
when he first came over on the Gilded TJeaver 
was fixed at thirty-six guilders ($15) monthly 
and one hundred and twenty-five guilders 
annually for his board. The small amount 




jarlv> Scbools anfc Schoolmasters 


of the 

was grudingly and irregularly paid and yet 
such was his thrift that by 1674, he was one 
of the most substantial citizens of New York, 
with a property valued at two thousand 

The church still held its controlling hand on 
the official school in Pietersen's time, as for 
long afterwards, not having withdrawn its 
sheltering care from the descendant of that old 
Dutch school even now. This fact its histo- 
rian proudly points out and indeed we may all 
take pride in one of the longest-lived educa- 
tional institutions of our country : 

The church influence showed itself in a civil 
ordinance of New Amsterdam, bearing date 
March 17, 1664 : 

" Whereas it is highly necessary and of great consequence 
that the youth from their childhood is well instructed in 
reading, writing and arithmetic and principally in the prin- 
ciples and fundaments of the Christian religion, in conformity 
to the lesson of that wise King Solomon, ' Learn the youth 
the first principles and as he grows old, he shall not then 
deviate from it ' ; so that in time such men may arise from it 
who may be able to serve their country in Church or in State ; 
which being seriously considered by the Director General 
and Council in New Netherland, as the number of children 
by God's merciful blessing has considerably increased, they 
have deemed it necessary so that such an useful, and to our 
God, agreeable concern may be more effectually promoted, 
to recommend the present school master and to command 
him, so as it is done by this, that they (Pietersen and Van 
Hoboocken) on Wednesday before the beginning of the 
sermon with the children intrusted to their care, shall appear 

Barlp Schools anfc Scboolmasters 


in the Church to examine after the close of the sermon each 
of them his own scholars in the presence of the reverend 
ministers and elders who may then be present, what they, 
in the course of the week, do remember of the Christian 
commands and Catechism, and what progress they have 
made ; after which the children shall be allowed a decent 
recreation." " 

Under early English rule the schooling of the 
Dutch children was little interfered with. 
They were to be instructed in the "Nether- 
landisch tongue " as of old, and the school- 
master was still to be under the supervision of 
the Consistory. The school hours were fixed 
from nine to eleven A.M. in summer, from 
half-past nine to half-past twelve in winter, 
while the afternoon session the year round 
lasted from one to five o'clock." The schools 
were opened and closed with prayer, twice a 
week the pupils were examined in the 
catechism, and express stipulation was made 
that teachers should use "none but pitying 
and orthodox text-books and such as snould 
meet the approbation of the Consistory." 

The control of the schools so wisely con- 
ceded by the English continued in the hands 
of the Dutch long enough to stamp the char- 
acter which endures to this day in the repre- 
sentative School of the Collegiate Reformed 
Dutch Church of New York, which with 
all its fine buildings and elaborate equipments 
is the direct successor of the little school gath- 



on tbe 




J6arl Scbools an& Scboolmasters 

liet of 


ered together by Adam Roelantsen under the 
shadow of the old Fort. 

Those of us of Dutch blood have a special 
right to look with pride upon this steady 
growth of the educational institution planted 
and fostered by our forefathers and bearing 
perpetual testimony to their energy and per- 
severance, their just valuation of "the things 
of the spirit," their respect for learning, and 
their determination to "learn the youth the 
first principles " and to make them men " who 
may be able to serve their country in Church 
and State." We are compelled to respect 
their earnestness and their persistence under 
what might well have seemed insurmount- 
able difficulties, and however we may smile 
at the limitations of those early days, we 
must recognize that New Amsterdam has 
as good a claim as New England to the praise 
of the poet: 

" And still maintains with milder laws 
And clearer light the good old cause 
Nor heeds the sceptic's puny hands 
While near her school the church-spire stands, 
Nor fears the blinded bigot's rule 
While near her church-spire stands the school." 

The following is a list of the early school- 
masters in their order: 

Scbools anfc Scboolmasters 



Adam Roelantsen, 

Jan Stevensen, 

Jan Cornelissen, 

William Verstius, 

Johannes Morice de la Montagne, 

Harmanus Van Hoboocken, 

Evert Pietersen. 

Among the unofficial and semi-official teach- 
ers, fore-singers, and kranh-besoeckers were : 

Adriaen Jansen Van Ilpendam, 

David Provoost, 

Joost Carelse, 

Hans Steyn, 

Andries Hudde, 

Jacobus van Corlaer, 

Jan Lubbertsen, 

Jan Juriaense Beeker, 

Frans Claessen, 

Johannes Van Gelder. 

Latin School. 

Alexander Carolus Curtius, 
Aegidius Luyck. 

End of the Dutch Rule, 1674. 

list of 


Scbools anfc Scboolmasters 

ttcfcrcncc. REFERENCES. 

1 . Fisher's Colonial Era. 

2. Valentine's Corporation Mannal, 1863, p. 559 et seq. 

3. History of the School of the Collegiate Reformed 

Dutch Church, p. 17. 

4. E. B. O'Callaghan's History of New Netherland, ii., 

p. 569. 

5. Register of New Netherland, p. 129. 

6. Register of New Netherland, p. 129. 

7. Valentine's Corporation Manual, 1863, p. 561. 

8. Holland Documents, [see letters throughout]. 

9. Holland Documents, iv., p. 300. 

10. Paulding's Mw Amsterdam in 1647-1659, p. 40. 

1 1. Tuckerman's Life of Peter Stuyvesant, p. 167. 

12. Albany Records. 

13. Tuckerman's Z.t/fe of Peter Stuyvesant, p. 107. 

14. M?w Amsterdam Records. 

15. Albany Records, xxii. 

1 6. History of the School of the Collegiate Reformed 

Dutch Church, p. 39. 




Half Moon Series 

Published in the Interest of the New York 
City History Club. 





NY event in the Revolution that made a 
distinct contribution to the establish- 
ment of independence has its share of in- 
terest to the patriotic American ; but the 
"affair" ' at Harlem Heights has a general im- 
portance, colored with a local interest, which 
specially merits our attention and admiration. 
Its general importance is attested by the fact 
that, coming as it did immediately after the 
calamity on Long Island, it served as a prelude 
to the brilliant exploits at Trenton and Prince- 
ton ; while its local interest is clear, when we 
remember that it was the only contest within 
the limits of Greater New York that resulted 
in a victory for the Americans. The battle of 
Harlem Heights, therefore, has a peculiar 
charm to the citizen of the metropolis. Gaz- 
ing at the very ground on which it was fought, 
as he traces from one landmark to another 




of tbe 


Ube Battle ot Ibarlem tbeigbts 


of IRew 


the course of the struggle, he may reflect 
with honest pride that here, within the pre- 
cincts of his own city, occurred what Wash- 
ington was pleased to term a " success . . . 
productive of salutary consequences," ' once 
more a Concord and Lexington which "ani- 
mated our troops, gave them new spirits," 
and enabled them "with inferior numbers to 
drive their enemy, and think of nothing . . . 
but conquest." s 

In January, 1776, two months before the 
British evacuated Boston, the question arose 
whether an effort should be made to hold 
New York probably their next objective 
point of attack. Although apparent that the 
insular position of New York with its belt of 
navigable waters bore out the truth of Charles 
Lee's assertion that whoever commanded the 
sea must command the city, 4 still, if a Declara- 
tion of Independence was to be issued and 
its assertion of rights made good, the abandon- 
ment of New York, merely on the plea of 
difficulty in fortifying it, would have been a 
serious mistake. Even if the city could not 
be made impregnable, a brave show of resist- 
ance might deter the British from attempt- 
ing its capture, or at any rate "give them," 
says a blunt patriot, "a scrag which they 
would not relish very well," 5 before a capture 
could be effected. 

In order to confine the British water control 

ZTbe Battle of Ibarlem Ibeiabts 


to the harbor and the mouth of the Hudson 
River, the East River the key of the American 
position was fortified along both banks at 
various points from the Battery to Hell Gate. 
The water front on the south and west also 
was protected by batteries on the shore and 
barricades in the streets ; while to the north 
of the city other fortifications were constructed 
along the line of the present Grand Street, to 
ward off an attack from that quarter. Then to 
command the Hudson, as well as to cover a 
possible retreat by way of Kingsbridge, Fort 
Washington was built a little to the south- 
west of the Washington Bridge, and connected 
with Fort Lee on the New Jersey shore by a 
series of stone-laden boats fastened with 
chains, and sunk as an obstruction to the 
enemy's ships. A few hundred feet north of 
West One Hundred and Ninetieth Street, over- 
looking the Harlem River, was erected a re- 
doubt which the British later called Fort 
George. On the mainland also, beyond Spuy- 
ten Duyvil Creek, and on what is now Giles' 
Place west of Sedgwick Avenue, Fort Inde- 
pendence was constructed to hold the ap- 
proaches to Kingsbridge. 

England had regarded the campaign around 
Boston as a mere preliminary indicative of 
the resistance likely to be offered by the Ameri- 
cans. Hence it is probable that the British 
change of base from Boston to New York was 


of t\e\v 


Battle of tmrlem 1bei$bts 

of tbe 


prompted as much by motives of strategy as 
by the pressure of the American besiegers. 
New York henceforth was to be the centre of 
British operations, and here the war began in 
earnest. Late in June, 1776, appeared the first 
signs of the coming occupation. Within seven 
weeks over four hundred vessels and thirty 
thousand troops under the command of Gen- 
eral Howe were in New York harbor, the lat- 
ter being encamped on Staten Island. To 
oppose this huge array as mighty a military 
and naval armament as England had ever sent 
upon foreign service Washington had less 
than twenty thousand effective men. Some 
of these were fairly armed and equipped, but 
many of them, farmers fresh from the plough, 
had hardly any other weapons than a spade 
or pick-axe, or possibly a scythe made straight 
and fastened to a pole. Undaunted however 
by the overwhelming odds, on July 2, Wash- 
ington addressed to his army the stirring ap- 
peal that follows : 

"The fate of unborn millions will now depend under God 
on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and 
unrelenting enemy leaves us no choice but a brave resistance 
or the most abject submission. This is all we can expect. 
We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die. Our 
country's honor calls upon us for a vigorous and manly 
exertion, and if we now shamefully fail we shall become 
infamous to the whole world. Let us, therefore, rely upon 
the goodness of the cause and the aid of the Supreme Being, 
in whose hands victory is, to animate and encourage us to 

Battle of Ibarlem Tbeigbts 


great and noble actions. The eyes of all our countrymen 
are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings and 
praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them 
from . . . tyranny." 6 

Not only does this appeal seem to have had 
the desired effect upon the army in general, 
but, in particular, "never did people in the 
world act with more spirit and resolution than 
the New Yorkers." ' A part of the enthusiasm 
was manifested a week later in pulling down 
the gilded equestrian statue of King George 
near the junction of Broadway and Bowling 
Green, and in sending the pieces to Connecti- 
cut, where patriotic women converted them 
into bullets for the American army. 8 

The personality of Washington and the 
magnetic influence he exercised over his 
soldiers were well known to General Howe. 
If he could capture the rebel leader the war 
would indeed be ended in the single cam- 
paign which boastful British officers declared 
was sufficient. A direct attack on the centre 
and right of the American position /'. e., 
Governor's Island, the Battery, and the fortifi- 
cations facing the Hudson River would prob- 
ably be successful ; but, besides entailing 
serious loss on the aggressive party, might 
accomplish no more than the withdrawal of 
the Americans to the heights in the north of 
Manhattan Island, whence Kingsbridge furn- 
ished an easy escape. Several schemes of 

to bis 

35 2 

TTbe Battle of Ibarlem Tbeigbts 

of long 


outflanking, therefore, suggested themselves 
to Howe's mind, the most feasible being to 
assail the American left wing, then stationed 
on Long Island. The defences of Brooklyn 
once broken through and the forts along the 
shore silenced, the fleet could sail up the East 
River and, in conjunction with the army, cut 
off Washington's retreat on the north. The 
haughty Virginian rebel, who declined to re- 
ceive from his Majesty's commissioners any 
communication addressed simply " George 
Washington, Esq.," 9 would then be caught 
like a rat in a trap. Accordingly, on August 
22, with fifteen thousand troops the British 
commander crossed the Narrows to Graves- 
end Bay, and took possession of the villages 
on the flatlands where he was soon joined by 
five thousand Hessians. For several days the 
armies lay over against each other with no 
more hostile demonstration than an occasional 
skirmish. South of the American lines at 
Brooklyn, and extending eastward from New 
York Bay, was a low range of densely wooded 
hills that served as a huge natural barrier to 
the approach of an enemy, and could be vig- 
orously defended. Four roads led through 
depressions in this range, three of which were 
strongly guarded, but at the fourth, known as 
the "Jamaica Pass," only five mounted pickets 
had been stationed. On the night of August 
26, the British stealthily advanced to the 

Battle of Tbarlem 


" Pass/' captured the pickets, and ere an 
alarm could be given fell upon the astounded 
Americans and routed them with a loss of 
over eleven hundred. Happily, however, the 
British had not forced the American lines, 
otherwise, outnumbering as they did their 
opponents nearly three to one, the entire 
patriot army on Long Island must have sur- 
rendered. Two nights later, Washington 
effected his masterly retreat to New York. 
Leaving his camp-fires ablaze and a few pick- 
ets posted so as to lull suspicion, the army of 
nine thousand Americans marched to Fulton 
Ferry and crossed in safety, the only accident 
being the loss of a boat with four stragglers. 
If the Americans had been outflanked the 
British had been outwitted, and some conso- 
lation at least might be derived from that fact. 
Yet, however courageous the resistance and 
brilliant the retreat, the immediate result of 
the battle of Long Island was deplorable. No 
one more than Washington realized it, for in 
his letter to Congress, September 2, he says: 

" Our situation is truly distressing. The check . . . sus- 
tained on the 27th ultimo has dispirited too great a propor- 
tion of our troops, and filled their minds with apprehension 
and despair. The militia, instead of calling forth tneir ut- 
most efforts to a brave and manly opposition in order to 
repair our losses, are dismayed, intractable, and impatient to 
return. Great numbers of them have gone off ; in some 
instances almost by whole regiments, by half ones, and by 
companies at a time." 







JSattle of Ibarlem Ibeicjbts 

of tbe 


An absolute disregard of "that order and 
subordination necessary to the well-doing of 
an army " made his situation all the more 
alarming, and evoked from him the sorrowful 

" With the deepest concern I am obliged to confess my 
want of confidence in the generality of the troops. . . . 
Till of late I had no doubt in my own mind of defending 
this place [f. e., New York], nor should I have yet if the 
men would do their duty, but this I despair of. It is pain- 
ful and extremely grating to me to give such unfavorable 
accounts, but it would be criminal to conceal the truth at 
so critical a juncture." 10 

Indeed it was found necessary to establish 
guards at Kingsbridge and other points to 
stop the deserters, especially those with arms 
and ammunition. One incident will serve to 
illustrate the simple character of the average 
militiaman. The guard brought to a halt a 
ragged fellow who was carrying something 
in a bag. The something proved to be a can- 
non ball which, he explained, he was taking 
home to his mother to pound mustard seed! n 
Yet give these rustic soldiers a little longer 
time in the army, render them accustomed to 
the din of warfare, and the skittish militia, 
for whom the Continental regulars evinced 
such utter contempt, would soon be found 
among the bravest defenders of their country. 
At this moment, however, Washington felt 
that he could place no reliance on an army 

JBattle ot Ibarlem 


composed largely of such material, and reluc- 
tantly began to consider the advisability of 
evacuating Manhattan Island, at any rate south 
of Harlem Heights. Here an energetic stand 
might be made, for Washington had no inten- 
tion of doing what Lee later proposed, to 
"give Mr. Howe a fee simple"" to New 
York, without a struggle. From several of 
his officers came the suggestion to burn the 
city, but fortunately this piece of useless de- 
struction was averted by the prudent modera- 
tion of Congress. In reply to Washington's 
query on this point, Congress declared that 
the city be left intact; for, even "though 
the enemy should for a time obtain pos- 
session of it," eventual recovery was cer- 
tain. 13 At length, September 12, it was 
resolved to withdraw the army to Harlem 
Heights, a sufficient number only of men being 
left to keep guard over the approaches from 
the East River, while Putnam superintended 
the removal of stores and munitions. Hence 
at the foot of the present Grand Street (then 
Corlaer's Hook), East Twelfth Street, East 
Twenty-third Street, and East Thirty-fourth 
Street (then Kip's Bay), were entrenched 
several brigades of militia. Also at various 
points as far north as East Eighty-ninth Street 
(then Horn's Hook) was posted a line of sen- 
tinels who half-hourly passed along the cheer- 
ing watchword, "All 's well," to which the 

trawal to 

35 6 

Battle of Ibarlem Ibeigbts 


British sailors, who could distinctly hear the 
ca ^ f rom their ships in the river, derisively re- 
sponded, "We will alter your tune before 
to-morrow night." 14 

Two days later Washington set up his head- 
quarters at the Roger Morris (now Jumel) 1B 
Mansion, still standing on One Hundred 
and Sixty-first Street, east of St. Nicholas 
Avenue, and in one day more the removal of 
men and munitions would have been com- 
plete. Meanwhile several ships of war had 
forced their way up the East River, in spite 
of the steady fire from the American batteries 
on the Manhattan shore ; but it was not until 
September 1 1, that the British effected a land- 
ing on Montresor's (now Randall's) Island, 
and on Buchanan's (now Ward's) Island, with 
the manifest intention of crossing to Harlem 
and of advancing upon the city from the 
north. Washington had anticipated this 
move by the prompt withdrawal to Harlem, 
and, as the powerful American battery at 
Horn's Hook had not been silenced, Howe 
decided to debark his troops at Kip's Bay. 
On Sunday, the fifteenth, under a furious 
cannonade from the frigates, the British regu- 
lars landed and drove the American militia in 
wild confusion from their entrenchments. 
The half-humorous description of the en- 
counter related by a participant on the Ameri- 
can side shows the situation exactly : 

Battle of Ibarlem 1bei0bts 


"At daybreak," he says, "the first thing that saluted 
our eyes was . . . four ships at anchor . . . within mus- 
ket-shot of us. ... They appeared to be very busy on 
shipboard, but we lay still and showed our good breeding 
by not interfering with them, as they were strangers and 
we knew not but they were bashful withal ! As soon as it 
was fairly light we saw their boats coming, . . . filled with 
British soldiers. When they came to the edge of the tide, 
they formed their boats in line. They continued to aug- 
ment these forces . . . until they appeared like a large 
clover field in full bloom. ... It was on a Sabbath 
morning, the day in which the British were always em- 
ployed about their deviltry, because, they said, they had 
the prayers of the church on that day. We lay very quiet 
in our ditch waiting their motions till the sun was an hour 
or two high. We heard a cannonade at the city, but our 
attention was drawn to our own guests. But they being a 
little dilatory in their operations, I stepped into an old 
warehouse which stood close by me with the door open in- 
viting me in, and sat down upon a stool ; the floor was 
strewed with papers which had in some former period been 
used in the concerns of the house, but were then lying in 
woful confusion. I was very demurely perusing these 
papers when, all of a sudden, there came such a peal of 
thunder from the British shipping that I thought my head 
would go with the sound. I made a frog's leap for the 
ditch and lay as still as I possibly could, and began to con- 
sider which part of my carcass was to go first. The British 
played their parts well ; indeed they had nothing to hinder 
them. We kept the lines till they were almost levelled 
upon us, when our officers, seeing we could make no re- 
sistance, and no orders coming from any superior officer, and 
that we must soon be entirely exposed to the rake of the 
guns, gave the order to leave the lines. In retreating we 
had to cross a level clear spot of ground, forty or fifty rods 
wide, exposed to the whole of the enemy's fire ; and they 
gave it to us in prime order ; the grape-shot and langrage 

tion of 
tbe En 
at ftip'0 


Ube Battle of Ibarlem 

tion of 

tbe JEns 

at Tkly'e 

flew merrily, which served to quicken our motions. When 
I had gotten a little out of the reach of their combustibles 1 
found myself in company with one who was a neighbor of 
mine when at home, and one other man belonging to our 
regiment ; where the rest of them were I knew not. . . . 
We had not gone far (along the highway) before we saw a 
party of men apparently hurrying on in the same direction 
with ourselves ; we endeavored hard to overtake them, but 
on approaching them we found that they were not of our 
way of thinking ; they were Hessians ! We immediately 
altered our course and took the main road leading to King's 
bridge. We had not long been on this road before we saw 
another party just ahead of us whom we knew to be Ameri- 
cans ; just as we overtook these they were fired upon by a 
party of British from a cornfield, and all was immediately in 
confusion again. I believe the enemies' party was small ; 
but our people were all militia, and the demons of fear and 
disorder seemed to take full possession of all and everything 
on that day. . . . They did not tarry to let the grass grow 
much under their feet." 16 

But the ordeal was something which even 
veteran troops could not have withstood. 
"The fire of the shipping," wrote General 
Howe to Lord Germain, "being so well di- 
rected and so incessant, the enemy could not 
remain in their works and the descent was 
made without the least opposition." " This 
statement of the British commander will go 
far to extenuate the conduct of the militia, 
disheartened as they were by the disaster on 
Long Island, and terrified by the swarms of 
British troops as well as by the thunderous 
roar from the frigates. Then, too, the know- 
ledge that their countrymen were safe at Har- 

JBattle of tbarlem 1beigbt5 


lem Heights was no small incentive to rapidity 
in flight. The Americans stationed at East 
Twenty-third Street soon joined them, and 
together they hastened along the Kingsbridge 
road (Lexington Avenue). 

As soon as the boom of cannon reached his 
ears, Washington mounted his horse and sped 
along the four miles intervening between Har- 
lem and the scene of action. Near Park Ave- 
nue and Fortieth Street, what were his horror 
and consternation to behold the Americans 
flying in all directions, while scarce a half mile 
away the dust was rising under the feet of the 
pursuing British and Hessians. Riding ex- 
citedly into the midst of the runaways, he 
shouted: "Take to the wall! Take to the 
cornfield ! " Beside himself with wrath and 
mortification at seeing his commands dis- 
obeyed, he lashed the fugitives with his riding- 
whip, flung his hat upon the ground, and cried 
in accents choked with passion, "Are these 
the men with whom I am to defend America ?" 
Indeed so blind was he to all sense of danger 
that, had not one of his attendants seized the 
bridle of his horse and turned the animal's 
head in the opposite direction, the Revolu- 
tionary War might have terminated then and 
there. 18 Regaining his self-possession, the 
commander-in-chief permitted the demoral- 
ized militia to continue their stampede toward 
Harlem Heights, although in his report to 


Ube Battle ot Ibarlem 


Congress he did not fail to denounce their 
conduct as " disgraceful and dastardly." 19 He 
then ordered the immediate retreat of Putnam. 

The story of how Mrs. Mary Murray, wife 
of Robert Murray, whose farm included most 
of the "commanding height of Inclenberg " 
(now Murray Hill), entertained the British 
generals so hospitably that Putnam and most 
of the remnants of the patriot army still in the 
city managed to elude the enemy and gain the 
heights in safety, is too well known to bear 
repetition." Suffice it to say that the cake 
and wine and geniality of this lady, who re- 
sponded with rare tact and good humor to the 
bantering of the British officers on her rebel 
sympathies, as effectually "bowed " her guests 
"at her feet" for a while at least as the 
hammer and tent-nail of Jael, the wife of Heber 
the Kenite, had done in detaining Sisera, the 
captain of the Canaanitish host, when "he 
asked water and she gave him milk," when 
" she brought forth butter in a lordly dish." 

After having completed their debarkation, 
the British drew up their lines across the 
island from the foot of East Eighty-ninth 
Street to the foot of West Ninety-sixth Street, 
or Striker's Bay as it was then called, the 
pickets being stationed between that street 
and West One Hundred and Fifth Street. 
Gen. Howe's headquarters were at the Beek- 
man mansion ai (Fifty-first Street and First 

JBattle of Tbarlem Ibeiobts 


Avenue), while Sir Henry Clinton took up 
his residence at the Apthorpe house (Ninety- 
first Street and Columbus Avenue). And in 
general this was the position of the British for 
nearly a month. Of the two positions, how- 
ever, that of the Americans was the stronger. 
Beginning at Washington's headquarters, One 
Hundred and Sixty-first Street, the camp ex- 
tended southward to the " Hollow Way," or 
the valley now comprised between West One 
Hundred and Twenty-fifth Street and West 
One Hundred and Thirtieth Street, through 
the centre of which runs Manhattan Street. 
At the eastern end of this depression was a 
rugged spur called the " Point of Rocks" 
(One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Street and 
Columbus Avenue), used by the Americans as 
a lookout station, whence Harlem Plains could 
be surveyed as far as McGowan's Pass ; 
while the western portion terminated in a 
round marshy meadow known as Matje 
David's Vly, a little to the south of Fort Lee 
ferry. With the Hudson on the right, the 
valley in front, the plains on the left, and 
the rear protected by Fort Washington and 
the troops at Kingsbridge, the whole well 
screened by woods and thickets, the Ameri- 
cans could feel that the addition of a few 
redoubts and entrenchments would make 
these natural fortifications impregnable. Ac- 
cordingly three parallel lines of defensive 


of ZKHa0b* 



Ube Battle of Tbarlem Tbeigbts 



of tbe 


works were constructed between One Hun- 
dred and Forty-seventh Street and One 
Hundred and Sixty-first Street, while a divi- 
sion of soldiers under Greene was posted near 
the southern edge of the heights overlooking 
the "Hollow Way," to guard against an 
assault from that direction. 

The unfortunate issue of the encounter at 
Kip's Bay made precisely the same impression 
upon the minds of British and Americans as 
had the battle of Long Island ; the former it 
confirmed in their belief of absolute superiority, 
the spirits of the latter it depressed until 
many had lost practically all confidence in their 
officers and in themselves. For the moment 
even nature seemed intent upon rendering 
their lot still harder to bear. The well housed 
and equipped soldiers of the king were in 
forcible contrast to the poorly provided soldiers 
of the republic, who, says Colonel Humphreys, 

"excessively fatigued by the sultry march of the day, their 
clothes wet by a severe shower of rain that succeeded to- 
wards the evening, their blood chilled by the cold wind that 
produced a sudden change in the temperature of the air, and 
their hearts sunk within them, . . . lay upon their arms 
covered only by the clouds of an uncomfortable sky." 82 

But amid all the gloom and depression the 
leader of the American army never lost his 
faith in the ultimate courage of the American 
soldier, however much the timidity of the 
militia aroused his indignation. His power 

ZIbe Battle of Tbarlem Tbeigbts 


of keen discernment showed him, further, that, 
if a fortified camp was a haven of refuge to a 
soldiery hard pressed by the enemy, so also it 
might be a tower of strength wherein the 
very sense of security would inspire the 
former fugitives with a zeal for action, and, by 
giving them an opportunity to display their 
native courage, aid them to regain the con- 
fidence which before had failed them. Under 
such circumstances Washington might well 
say, " \ trust that there are many who will act 
like men and show themselves worthy of the 
blessings of freedom." 113 Appreciating the 
strength of his position, he determined "to 
habituate his soldiers by a series of successful 
skirmishes to meet the enemy in the field." 
This determination was realized in the battle 
of Harlem Heights. 

Sloping upward from the southern line of 
the " Hollow Way " was another elevation of 
land, then known as Bloomingdale or Vande- 
water's Heights, and now called Morningside 
Heights. In 1776, it was occupied and partly 
cultivated by its owners, Adrian Hoaglandt 
and Benjamin Vandewater. The space of 
land about a mile in extent between the 
present One Hundred and Fifth Street and 
One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Street, west 
of Columbus Avenue, was the "debatable 
ground," and the scene of the battle of Har- 
lem Heights. It effectually hid the opposing 



3 6 4 

Ube Battle of Tbarlem Ibeigbts 



forces from each other. Now, whereas an 
advance of the British from the direction of 
Harlem Plains could be easily observed by 
the American lookouts on the "Point of 
Rocks," no movement from behind Morning- 
side Heights would be perceptible before the 
"Hollow Way" had been reached. It was 
not to be supposed that an enemy flushed 
with success in the recent campaign would 
long hesitate to assail the American strong- 
hold. Desirous of guarding against a flank 
attack, especially from the vicinity of Morn- 
ingside, early in the morning of Monday, 
September 16, Washington sent a body of 
scouts to ascertain what preparations the 
enemy were making. He himself then rode 
from headquarters down to the outposts at 
the "Hollow Way." The men selected were 
the Rangers, consisting of about one hundred 
and twenty picked volunteers from New Eng- 
land regiments, and under the command of 
Colonel Thomas Knowlton, who had done 
gallant service at the battle of Bunker Hill. 
Proceeding cautiously under cover of the 
woods, probably along the line of what is 
now Riverside Drive, Knowlton and his men 
had arrived at the farmhouse of Nicholas Jones 
(One Hundred and Sixth Street, west of the 
Boulevard) before the British pickets stationed 
on One Hundred and Fourth Street were 
startled by the report of shots fired at close 

UBattle of Ibarlem 


range, and spied the forms of the Americans 
through the trees." The alarm was instantly 
sounded, whereat a portion of the second and 
third battalions of light infantry, numbering 
upwards of three hundred, started to drive 
back the audacious rebels. In gleeful expect- 
ation that this second installment of Kip's 
Bay militia, as they thought, would fly from 
before them with the utmost terror and dis- 
may, the British regulars hurried on. But 
suddenly they were brought to a stop. Upon 
falling back a short distance, Knowlton had 
posted his men behind a stone wall and bid- 
den them " not to rise or fire a gun " till the 
British were ten rods away. Scarcely had 
the first redcoat crossed the "dead line," 
when a blaze of fire shot from the stone wall, 
and the astounded infantry fell back in dire 
consternation. Then for some time the woods 
echoed with the sharp crack of musketry in a 
skirmish. At length Knowlton, perceiving 
that the superior numbers of the foe menaced 
his flank, commanded a retreat, which was 
effected in good order and without the loss 
of a man." 

Meanwhile a rumor spread through the 
American camp that the enemy were ap- 
proaching in three columns, whereupon Adju- 
tant-General Reed obtained permission from 
the commander-in-chief to learn its truth. 
Riding hastily from the " Point of Rocks" in 



of tbe 


3 66 

ZTbe Battle of Tbarlem TbetQbts 



of tbe 


the direction Knowlton had taken, he reached 
the scene of skirmish as it was about to be- 
gin. "While I was talking with the officer," 
he writes, "the enemy's advanced guard fired 
upon us at a small distance; our men behaved 
well, stood, and returned the fire till, over- 
powered by numbers, they were obliged to 
retreat." He further states that the British 
came on so quickly that he had not left a 
house (probably Hoaglandt's, One Hundred 
and Fifteenth Street and Riverside Drive) five 
minutes before they had seized it. The light 
infantry continued the pursuit through the 
fields and woods of Hoaglandt's farm as far 
as the immediate neighborhood of Grant's 
tomb. The sight of the scampering rebels 
restored the gleefulness which they had 
lost near the stone wall, and, advancing 
within plain view of the Americans on the 
heights beyond, they derisively "sounded 
their bugle-horns, as is usual after a fox- 
chase." The insult showed the contempt in 
which their adversaries held the Americans, 
who three times within three weeks had fled 
before his Majesty's regulars, once on Long 
Island, once at Kip's Bay, and now on the 
heights just opposite their own camp. "I 
never felt such a sensation before," says Reed; 
" it seemed to crown our disgrace." a7 

The appearance of the enemy produced the 
natural impression that Harlem Heights were 

Battle of Ibarlem 

to be carried by storm. Preparations were, 
therefore, being made for a vigorous defense, 
when Reed dashed up to the commander-in- 
chief, "to get some support for the brave 
fellows who had behaved so well." 38 With 
characteristic caution, however, Washington 
declined at first to hazard his men until exact 
information of the British strength and posi- 
tion could be obtained. For the present he 
felt that a weakened and somewhat despond- 
ent army was hardly capable of engaging 
advantageously in a general conflict. At this 
juncture Colonel Knowlton and the Rangers 
brought the news that the enemy were about 
three hundred strong, and detached more 
than a mile from the main body. Washing- 
ton now saw his opportunity to cut off this 
detachment ere it could be reinforced from 
below, and thereby, as he says, to "recover 
that military ardor which is of the utmost 
moment to an army." 29 If a general engage- 
ment could not be risked, a lively and suc- 
cessful skirmish would furnish the very tonic 
of energy and enthusiasm then so sadly need- 
ed. Still the American commander realized 
that an attack wholly in front would not only 
involve the ascent of the steep Morningside 
Heights, from the top of which the well- 
posted British could pour a galling fire, but 
might result in no more than driving them 
back upon the main body a contingency he 



of the 

3 68 

Battle of Ibarlem 


to fall 

upon tbe 



wished most to avoid. Curiously enough, 
however, this was the very thing that 
eventually happened, although not with the 
consequences he had anticipated. The con- 
summate soldier, who had learned the art of 
stratagem from many an Indian adversary in the 
tangled forests of Virginia and Pennsylvania, 
resolved to make a feint in front, while a body of 
picked men should stealthily creep round to 
the left and fall upon the enemy's rear. For 
this purpose he chose about two hundred vol- 
unteers, consisting of Knowlton and his Rang- 
ers, together with three companies of Virginia 
riflemen under the command of Major Leitch. 
Starting from their position near the grounds 
of the present Convent of the Sacred Heart, 
One Hundred and Thirtieth Street and Con- 
vent Avenue, Knowlton and Leitch, accom- 
panied by Reed, made their way diagonally 
down the slope, across the flow intervening 
numbered streets and Amsterdam Avenue, 
near its junction with Manhattan Street, and 
proceeded toward a rocky ledge, not far from 
One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Street and 
the Boulevard. If once they reached this 
point unobserved they could assail the enemy 
from the rear, and thus, catching them be- 
tween two fires, compel their surrender. 
Stirred by the thought of this brilliant pro- 
spect, the intrepid Americans eagerly hurried 

Ube Battle of Ibarlem 

In the meantime Washington directed one 
hundred and fifty volunteers, under Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel Crary, to proceed from the vicinity 
of One Hundred and Thirty-fifth Street and 
the Boulevard straight down to the " Hollow 
Way," but not to make any real attack till 
they saw that the venture of the flanking- 
party had proved successful. 80 The bait read- 
ily attracted the confident British. Running 
down the hill across Claremont Avenue to the 
Boulevard and One Hundred and Twenty- 
seventh Street, they crouched behind some 
fences and bushes, whereupon "a smart fir- 
ing began but at too great a distance to do 
much execution on either side." 81 How- 
ever, if the British could only be kept where 
they were, or enticed still further toward 
the American lines, Knowlton and Leitch 
would reach the desired position, and the 
light infantry would be prisoners. At this 
moment Washington judged it expedient to 
reinforce Crary's courageous volunteers, and 
for nearly an hour the contest continued. As 
they dodged behind tree, rock, bush, fence, or 
other point of vantage, the skirmishers on 
both sides watched their opportunity to pick 
off an unwary bluecoat or redcoat. Ere long 
the British were forced to retreat up the slope 
of the hill to a field about six hundred feet 
southwest of their first position, " where they 
lodged themselves behind a fence covered 


ant bis 


Ube Battle of Ibarlem Ibetgbts 



bs tbe 


with bushes " 32 (One Hundred and Twenty- 
fourth Street and the Boulevard). But this 
was the objective point which Knowlton's 
party was straining every nerve to attain. As 
luck would have it, just as the American rang- 
ers and riflemen were clambering over the 
rocky ledge referred to, they spied the red- 
coats almost directly in front of them. So far 
as it was an attempt to hem in the British 
from the rear the project had failed ; the at- 
tack must now be made on the flank. One 
explanation of the failure is, that through 
some "misapprehension," as Washington 
says, the Americans "unluckily began their 
attack too soon." 33 Another is, that some 
subordinate officers, in their enthusiasm to 
meet the enemy, disregarded the commands 
of their superiors and took the wrong road 
commenting on which behavior, in his gen- 
eral orders, issued the following day, Wash- 
ington declared that "the loss of the enemy 
. . . undoubtedly would have been much 
greater if the orders of the commander-in- 
chief had not in some instance been contra- 
dicted by ... inferior officers, who, however 
well they may mean, ought not to presume to 
direct." " But perhaps the unexpected retreat 
of the British and their arrival at the fence 
in question just as the foremost Americans 
emerged from the rocks on their right, give 
the best explanation, and in its light the reck- 

vibe Battle of Ibarlem Ibeiabts 


lessness of the American soldier and the pre- 
sumption of the American officer become 
transfigured into the headlong zeal and self- 
confident enthusiasm that betoken the militant 

Wherever the mistake might lie, this was 
no time for conjecture. Their comrades had 
driven the enemy before them; the gallant 
example was theirs to emulate. Headed by 
Leitch and Knowlton, the riflemen and Rang- 
ers rushed upon the British and a sharp action 
ensued. In a few minutes the two leaders 
fell, mortally wounded, the former lingering a 
few days, the latter expiring within an hour. 
To one of his officers who bent tenderly over 
him as the light of triumph in his eyes dark- 
ened and the din of battle in his ears grew 
fainter, the dying hero of Bunker Hill whis- 
pered, " 1 do not value my life if we do but 
get the day." 36 To his eldest son, a soldier- 
boy of only fifteen years, he uttered his last 
command, " Go, fight for your country ! " ' 
Thus perished an officer "whose name and 
spirit ought to be immortalized," says Reed; " 
"the gallant and brave Colonel Knowlton 
. . . an honor to any country . . . who had 
fallen gloriously fighting at his post," says 
Washington. 38 

Meanwhile the struggle was being fiercely 
maintained. Incited to vengeance by the loss 
of their leaders, the Americans "continued 


Beat b of 



Ube Battle of Ibarlem 

at tbe 

the engagement with the greatest resolu- 
tion," 38 and soon the British were dislodged 


wbeat from their position near the fence. The 
Americans then " pursued them to a buck- 
wheat field on the top of a high hill, distance 
about four hundred paces." 40 Here the re- 
spective antagonists were reinforced and the 
British made a determined stand. The day's 
campaign had opened with an attempt to cap- 
ture the light troops whose "ungovernable 
impetuosity," wrote Sir Henry Clinton, drew 
them into the "scrape." 41 The attempt had 
failed, and an open conflict had resulted. But, 
instead of remaining strictly consistent with 
his purpose of avoiding anything like a gen- 
eral engagement, the prudence of Washington 
succumbed to surprise and delight at the vim 
and courage his soldiers were displaying. 
Hence he despatched to their aid about fifteen 
hundred men, a number of whom had been 
runaways at Kip's Bay hardly twenty-four 
hours previous. If the panic-stricken militia 
proved to be excellent in a foot-race when the 
British were the pursuers, here was another 
chance for them to show their vigor at run- 
ning but this time with the positions re- 
versed. Had Washington any misgivings 
when he resolved to try the mettle of the 
skittish militia under more favorable circum- 
stances, his anxiety vanished when he beheld 
the fugitives of yesterday valiantly supporting 

Battle ot Tbarlem Ibeigbts 


their comrades, and charging "the enemy 
with great intrepidity." 43 Scarcely had the 
buckwheat field been reached when the 
remainder of the light infantry, the Forty- 
second Highlanders, and a company of Hes- 
sians came up with two field-pieces. Then 
occurred the real battle of Harlem Heights 
or to speak somewhat more precisely, Morn- 
ingside Heights "a smart action," observes 
a Maryland colonel, " in the true bush-fighting 
way, in which our troops behaved in a man- 
ner that does them the highest honor." " 
During nearly two hours the conflict raged for 
the possession of the buckwheat field. Ter- 
rible as were the British with the bayonet, 
they proved no match for the accurate marks- 
manship of the Americans. The field, snowy 
with the blossoms of coming harvest, an hour 
before peacefully smiling under the rays of a 
September sun, was now ruthlessly trampled 
by the hurrying feet of the combatants, its 
sunlight obscured by a pall of dust and smoke, 
its whiteness reddened by the life-blood of 
many a valiant soldier who furrowed, as he 
fell, its forest of waving grain. Still, though 
the harvest of grain might be destroyed, a 
harvest of hope was to be garnered. An- 
other impetuous charge and the British were 
driven headlong from the field. Exhilarated 
by the sight of their fleeing enemies, the 
Americans enjoyed to the full the novel sensa- 

of tbe 


TTbe Battle of Tbarlem 1bei$bts 



tion of a fox-chase, in which they did not 
personate the fox ! 

In an orchard near the Boulevard and One 
Hundred and Twelfth Street the British again 
stood their ground; but the onward rush of 
the Americans could not be borne. Once 
more the enemy fled "across a hollow and 
up another hill not far distant from their own 
lines." 44 Here in the vicinity of Jones's house 
(One Hundred and Sixth Street west of the 
Boulevard), where the contest had begun in 
the morning, it ended about three o'clock in 
the afternoon. For hardly had the redcoats 
left the orchard, when Washington, surmis- 
ing that reinforcements would soon arrive, 
''judged it prudent to order a retreat." " But, 
says Reed, "the pursuit of a flying enemy 
was so new a scene, that it was with diffi- 
culty our men could be brought to retreat." 46 
At length "they gave a Hurra! and left the 
field in good order," 47 just as the foremost 
columns of the British reinforcements ap- 
peared. From Jones's house to the " Hollow 
Way" the redcoat had pursued the blue- 
coat; from the "Hollow Way" to Jones's 
house the bluecoat chased the redcoat, or, 
in the somewhat picturesque language of 
Captain Brown of the Rangers, "drove the 
dogs near three miles." 48 The derisive bugle 
call of the morning was answered by the ex- 
ultant hurrah of the afternoon. 

Battle ot tbarlem TbeiQbts 


" Hail to the shades where Freedom dwelt ! 

Where wild flowers deck her martyrs' grave, 
Where Britain's minions keenly felt 
The stern resistance of the brave. 

' 'T was here in firm array they stood 
Here met Oppression's giant power ; 
Here nobly poured their sacred blood, 
And victory crowned their dying hour." 4 * 

The effect of this encounter on the droop- 
ing spirits of the Americans was simply 
magical. " A most timely and well delivered 
return stroke," observes Professor Johnston, 
"it revived the energies of our army, and had 
its influence in compelling another delay in 
the enemy's movements." 60 Its effect is seen 
in the glow of joyful hope that pervaded the 
hearts of the patriot soldiers. " I assure you 
it has given another face of things in our 
army," writes Reed ; "the men have recov- 
ered their spirits, and feel a confidence which 
before they had quite lost." " " The impres- 
sion it made upon the minds of our people," 
says Major Morris, " is [that of] a most signal 
victory."" "Our troops," declares Major 
Shaw, "behaved with as much bravery as 
men possibly could. . . . Now or never 
is the time to make a stand, and rather than 
quit our post [we will] be sacrificed to a 
man."" "An advantage so trivial in itself," 
remarks Colonel Humphreys, "produced, in 
event, a surprising and almost incredible effect 



upon tbe 



Battle of Tbarlem IbeiQbts 


upon tbe 



upon the whole army. Amongst the troops 
. . . every visage was seen to brighten, 
and to assume, instead of the gloom of de- 
spair, the glow of animation." B4 Colonel Silli- 
man and General Knox take about the same 
view. Says the former: "They {i.e., the 
British] have found now that when we meet 
them on equal ground we are not a set of 
people that will run from them, but that they 
have . . . had a pretty good drubbing." " 
Says the latter : "They [t. e., the Americans] 
find that if they stick to these mighty men 
they will run as fast as other people." " In- 
deed, General Greene somewhat extravagantly 
asserts that, with good discipline and leader- 
ship, the Americans " might bid defiance to 
the whole world." " And what words of 
commendation had the commander-in-chief 
to bestow ? In the general orders issued 
the next day Washington "most heartily" 
thanked the troops for their courageous be- 
havior, and added: " Once more . . . the 
general calls upon officers arid men to act up 
to the noble cause in which they are engaged, 
and support the honor and liberties of their 
country." 58 The crisis had passed. The 
doubts of Washington as to the staying quali- 
ties of the American soldier vanished with 
the receding forms of the enemy. The morti- 
fication of yesterday was replaced by the 
gratification of to-day. The success for which 

Battle of Ibarlem Tbeigbts 


he had so earnestly wished, to retrieve mis- 
fortune and infuse new courage, had been 
attained. Henceforth the devotion of the 
American soldier to his chief was only equalled 
by the confidence of that chief in his soldier. 

Because the Americans who had enjoyed 
the rare sport of chasing their enemies for 
over a mile, and, deeming it unwise to attack 
the main body, had reluctantly withdrawn, 
the British construed the "affair of outposts " " 
at Harlem Heights into a victory for themselves. 
According to General Howe, they "repulsed 
the enemy with considerable loss, and obliged 
them to retire within their works " eo ; and in 
his orders of September 17, he "entertains 
the highest opinion of the bravery of the few 
troops that yesterday beat back a very supe- 
rior body of the rebels," although he disap- 
proves, the "want of attention in the light 
companies pursuing the rebels without . . . 
proper discretion." *' Colonel von Donop, 
however, who commanded the Hessians, 
comes nearer the truth when he modestly ob- 
serves that had it not been for his "Yagers 
(riflemen), two regiments of Highlanders and 
the British infantry would have all perhaps 
been captured."" But the utterance of an 
English officer, as related by an American 
prisoner on one of his Majesty's ships, affords 
the best commentary on the events of Sep- 
tember 15 and 1 6, at Kip's Bay and Harlem 

View of 
tbc En= 


TTbe Battle of Ibarlem Ibeigbts 

Site of tbe 


Heights. It seems that, on the evening after 
the unfortunate occurrence at Kip's Bay, this 
officer went on board denouncing "the Yan- 
kees for runaway cowards, and storming that 
there was no chance to fight and get honor 
and rise. " Quite different the burden, if not the 
manner, of his complaint when, having fairly 
encountered the patriot soldiers at Harlem 
Heights, he again went on board cursing the 
war, and "saying he had found the Americans 
would fight, and that it would be impossible 
to conquer them." 63 Unwittingly the bluster- 
ing soldier told the truth. From Harlem to 
Yorktown the story of the Revolution is his 

On the buckwheat -field of Morningside 
Heights, the American soldier studied and 
learned a lesson of bravery in the school of 
warfare. The woods and fences, fields and 
orchards, have long since disappeared, but on 
their site the genius of education still lives to 
perpetuate the memory of that lesson, and of 
that school, in the mind of the American 
student, on their site arise to-day the stately 
buildings of Barnard College and Columbia 
University. Here, in the centre of what once 
was the buckwheat-field the historic land- 
mark of a victory in war stands Barnard Col- 
lege, a magnificent memorial of a far grander 
victory in peace, of a victory over the nar- 
rowness of Revolutionary days, of a victory 

ZIbe Battle of Ibarlem Ibeigbts 


for the enlightenment of the nineteenth cen- 
tury, of a victory for the higher education of 
the American woman. 

Site of tbe 


3 8o 

TTbe Battle of Ibarlem Tbetgbts 




For a collection of original authorities on the battle of 
Harlem Heights, see the appendix to JAY, The Battle 
of Harlem Plains, Oration before the New York 
Historical Society, September 16, 1876; JOHNSTON, 
The Campaign of 1776 around New York and 
Brooklyn Memoirs of the Long Island Historical 
Society, Hi., part ii. ; The Magazine of American 
History, iv., pp. 369-375 ; viii., part i., pp. 39-49 ; 
part ii., pp. 627-629 ; JOHNSTON, The Battle of Har- 
lem Heights, pp. 1 25-234. The best account of the 
battle particularly for its precision in locating the 
various sites of the conflict is The Battle of Harlem 
Heights, by Professor HENRY P. JOHNSTON (Columbia 
University Press). Indeed, so far as topographical 
details are concerned, the present sketch is based al- 
most wholly upon Professor Johnston's observations. 
Besides giving a brief description of the campaign of 
1 776 around New York City, Professor Johnston also 
critically reviews earlier versions of the battle, and 
appends practically all the original authorities. 

FORCE, American Archives, Fifth Series, ii., p. 467. 

JOHNSTON, The Battle of Harlem Heights, pp. 141, 142. 

Collections of the New York Historical Society, Lee 
Papers, i., p. 309. 

New York City during the American Revolution, 
p. 88. 

JOHNSTON, The Campaign of 1776, etc., part i., pp. 
95, 96. 

JOHNSTON, The Correspondence and Public Papers of 
John Jay, i., p. 47. 

JOHNSTON, The Campaign of 1776, etc., p. 93, note. 

IRVING, Life of George Washington (1857 ed.), ii., pp. 

JSattle of Ibarlem t>et0bts 


10. FORD, The Writings of George Washington, iv., pp. 

379, 381. 

1 1. GRAYDON, Memoirs of His Own Time, p. 174. 

12. Ibid., p. 175. 

13. Journals of Congress, i., p. 465. 

14. [MARTIN], A Narrative of some of the Adventures, 

Dangers, and Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier, 
p. 26. 

15. For a picture of this mansion, see The Magazine of 

American History, xxi., p. 3 ; LOSSING, Field Book 
of the American Revolution, ii., p. 609. 

16. [MARTIN], A Narrative, etc., pp. 26-28. 

17. Upcott Collection in the library of the New York 

Historical Society, iv., p. 41 1. 

18. FORD, The Writings, etc., iv., pp. 407,408; FORCE, 

American Archives, Fifth Series, ii., p. 370 ; HEATH, 
Memoirs, p. 60 ; GRAYDON, Memoirs, p. 1 74 ; GOR- 
DON, A History of the United States, ii., p. 327 ; 
THACHER, A Military Journal during the American 
Revolutionary War, p. 59. 

19. FORD, The Writings, etc., iv., p. 408. 

20. THACHER, A Military Journal, etc., pp. 59, 60 ; His- 

toric New York, i., pp. 246, 317. 

21. LOSSING, Field Book, ii., p. 61 1. 

22. HUMPHREYS, An Essay on the Life of the Honorable 

Major-General Israel Putnam, pp. 136, 137. 

23. FORD, The Writings, etc., iv., p. 409. 

24. MARSHALL, The Life of George Washington, ii., p. 


25. WOODWARD, Memoir of Colonel Thomas Knowlton, 

p. 14. 

26. The Connecticut Gazette and the Universal Intelli- 

gencer, September 27, 1776. 

27. REED, Life and Correspondence of Joseph Reed, i., p. 


28. Ibid. 

29. FORD, The Writings, etc., iv., p. 471. 




3 82 

Ube JSattle of Ibarlem IbeiQbts 


30. Memoir of Lieutenant-Colonel Tench Tilghman, p. 


31. FORD, The Writings, etc., iv., p. 417. 

32. JOHNSTON, The Battle, etc., p. 141. 

33. FORD, 77z Writings, etc., iv., p. 417. 

34. JOHNSTON, The Battle, etc., p. 162. 

35. 77w Connecticut Gazette, September 27, 1770. 

36. WOODWARD, Memoirs, etc., p. 15. 

37. REED, Life and Correspondence, etc., i., p. 237. 

38. MARSHALL, The Life, etc., ii., p. 468. 

39. FORD, The Writings, etc., iv., p. 417. 

40. JOHNSTON, The Battle, etc., p. 141. 

41. Ibid., p. 89. Note in the handwriting of Sir Henry 

Clinton in his copy of STEDMAN, History of the 
American War, now in the James Carter Brown Li- 
brary, Providence, Rhode Island. 

42. FORD, The Writings, etc., iv., p. 417. 

43. LOSSING, The American Historical Record, ii., p. 260. 

44. JOHNSTON, The Battle, etc., p. 141. 

45. FORD, The Writings, etc., iv., p. 417. 

46. Manuscripts of Joseph Reed in the library of the New 

York Historical Society, iv. : Joseph Reed to his wife, 
September 22, 1776. 

47. Memoir of Lieutenant-Colonel Tench Tilghman, p. 


48. The Connecticut Gazette, September 27, 1776. 

49. These stanzas and four others " appeared originally in 

the New York Evening Post, and were reprinted in 
the New York Weekly Museum of October 5, 181 i ." 
They are stated to be " lines occasioned by a ramble 
over part of Harlem Heights, particularly a spot re- 
markable for an action said to have taken place there 
between a party of Americans and a detachment of 
the British army." See The Magazine of American 
History, viii., part ii., p. 629. The stanzas must 
have had a special significance in view of the ap- 
proaching renewal of conflict with Great Britain. 

ZTbe Battle of tbarlem 1beigbt< 


tio. JOHNSTON, The Battle, etc., p. 90. 

51. REED, Life and Correspondence, etc., i., p. 237. 

52. JOHNSTON, The Battle, etc., p. 147. 

53. QUINCY, The Journals of Major Samuel Shaw, r>. 


54. HUMPHREYS, An Essay, etc , p. 141. 

55. JOHNSTON, The Campaign 0/7776, etc., part ii., p. 


JOHNSTON, The Battle, etc., p. 151. 

Ibid., p. 163. Extracts from the manuscript literary 
diary and journal of occurrences kept by Ezra Stiles, 
D.D., now in the library of Yale University. 

58. Ibid., p. 162. 

59. Ibid., p. 206. 

60. Ibid., p. 204. 

61. Ibid., p. 209. 

62. /Wd., p. 225. 

63. /fo'd., p. 164. 






Half Moon Series 

Published in the Interest of the New York 
City History Club. 




E original settlements which came to be jftrst 
1 known as Breuckelen were but a small grants 
part of the present Borough of Brooklyn. The 
forested river-front of Long Island, rising over 
against New Amsterdam, was still covered 
with rich and abundant timber long after a 
considerable village was planted on the lower 
part of Manhattan Island. The Holland and 
Belgium folk, reared in the level and treeless 
lowlands, were by no means eager to under- 
take the severe and unaccustomed labor of 
forest-clearing.' On Long Island they seem to 
have been first drawn to the flats having a 
light surface soil, which had received some 
rude cultivation in the Indian maize-fields, and 
required little preparation for the plow. 

What was called Breuckelen was not the 
locality of their first settlements. The first 
grant of land, in what was afterwards the 
city limits of Brooklyn, appears to have been 

3 88 





to William Adriaense Bennett and Jacques 
Bentyn, who in 1636 purchased from the In- 
dian sachem Ka a considerable tract at Go- 
wanus, on which a house was erected, only 
to be destroyed in the Indian wars of 1643.' 
Long afterwards the fame of Gowanus oysters 
and wild turkeys was carried home to Hol- 
land. The Labadist travellers who came there 
in 1679 said of these oysters that "they are 
large and full, some of them not less than a 
foot long." 3 The shells were burned for lime. 
The supply of oysters remained abundant 
enough afterwards for great quantities to be 
pickled and exported to Barbadoes. 

Where the East River made an abrupt bend 
to the north, leaving a wide shallow cove on 
the Long Island shore, the Dutch soon noticed 
good land sloping gradually down into the 
meadows surrounding the water. This was 
called the Waal-boght, and is the present site 
of the Navy Yard. Two derivations of this 
name are advanced. It was thought to have 
been thus styled to mean the Bay of the Wal- 
loons, since afterwards many French families 
settled there, and it was then known as the 
Walloon quarter. 4 The term Waal, however, 
means a basin or inner harbor, and boght a 
bend. Hence the word may have signified 
" the bend of the inner harbor," like a similar 
place called Waal-boght in the city of Amster- 
dam. 5 This name was sometimes abridged as 


Waal, or the Wale. On the faith of old family 
traditions, it was long and confidently asserted 
that on the shores of this bay was born the 
first child of Dutch settlers on Long Island. 
This claim of priority for the Waal-boght set- 
tlement is not established. 

Joris Jansen de Rapalje, a Huguenot who 
had married Catelyna Trico of Paris, and had 
resided at Fort Orange and later had an inn at 
New Amsterdam, eventually came to live in a 
farm on the Waal-boght. The purchase was 
made on June 16, 1637." It was their eldest 
daughter Sarah who was erroneously claimed 
to have been born on Long Island before 1630. 
After the English conquest, Catelyna's hus- 
band died, and she lived on at the Waal-boght 
the mother of Brooklyn affectionately ab- 
sorbed in her eleven children and their de- 
scendants, who in 1679 already numbered one 
hundred and forty-five. A visitor, who then 
saw her, described her as devoted with her 
whole soul to her progeny. "Nevertheless 
she lived alone by herself, a little apart from 
the others, having her little garden and other 
conveniences which she took care of herself." ' 
Her house was probably near the present site 
of the United States Marine Hospital. When 
Governor Dongan wished to establish, as a 
fact, that the earliest settlements in the direc- 
tion of the Delaware were Dutch, he had re- 
course to the evidence of this venerable dame. 





In 1684, she was summoned before his Excel- 
lency, and was apparently still vivacious, as 
she gave her deposition. Describing her 
arrival here in 1623, she delighted to relate 
that: " Fouer women came along with her in 
the same shipp, in which the Governor Arian 
Jarissen came also over, which fouer women 
were married at sea," 8 and afterwards with 
their husbands were sent to the Delaware. 

In 1688, she made another affidavit at her 
house "in ye Wale." Recalling the bitter 
struggle with Indians on Long Island and 
Manhattan, she pleasantly alluded to her pre- 
vious life with them, for three years at Fort 
Orange, "all of which time ye s? Indians 
were all quiet as Lambs & came & traded 
with all ye freedom imaginable." " 

About 1642, the public ferry was established 
between Manhattan and Long Island. The 
landing-places were at Peck's Slip in Manhat- 
tan, and at the present foot of Fulton Street 
on Long Island. A collection of houses soon 
gathered about the Long Island landing, which 
little settlement became known as "The 
Ferry." Southward from the Ferry and along 
the present Heights and East River shore ex- 
tended the farms of Claes Cornelissen van 
Schouw, Jan Manje, Andries Hudde, Jacob 
Wolphertsen, Frederic Lubbertsen 10 ; and ex- 
Governor Van Twiller had himself taken a 
grant of Roode-Hoek, so called from its rich 

JSreucfcelen 391 

red soil. n It is difficult now to retrace this line -etc 
of the water-front, so greatly has the filling-in 
of Atlantic Docks changed the contour of the 
shore. Red Hook appears to have contained 
about fifty acres, raised up somewhat above 
the surrounding meadows. This small prom- 
ontory projected out to the westward, and to 
the north of it the shore-line receded inland in 
marshes towards Gowanus. On some of these 
farm grants there were slight improvements ; 
others were long allowed to remain unculti- 

The Indian wars of 1643, begun on Manhat- 
tan, also extended to Long Island. The white 
settlers appear to have been the aggressors. 
The retaliation of the red tribes devastated 
many of the bouweries. In the end, the In- 
dians were driven from their maize-fields, 
which left attractive sites for habitation, where 
the new settlers founded a small compact 
hamlet instead of occupying disconnected 

Following the main road (now Fulton Street) 
from the Ferry about a mile, the settlers took 
up the lands between the Waal-boght and 
Gowanus Kill, in the vicinity of what are now 
Fulton, Hoyt, and Smith Streets. The best 
parts of this new territory were taken up by 
Jan Evertsen Bout, Huyck Aertsen, Jacob Stoff- 
elsen, Pieter Cornelissen, and Joris Dircksen." 
In 1645, the West India Company had recom- 

39 2 





mended that the colonists should establish 
themselves " in towns, villages, and hamlets, 
as the English are in the habit of doing." 
These settlers gladly availed themselves of this 
advice, and notified the Colonial Council that 
they desired to "found a town at their own 
expense." This they called Breuckelen, after 
the ancient village of that name on the Vecht, 
in the province of Utrecht. 

The Governor and Council responded 
promptly and confirmed their proceedings 
in June, 1646. No municipal or local liberties 
were, however, conferred as in New England. 
The first government grant to this town was 
merely a ratification of the election of Schepens, 
and declaration of their authority, as follows : 

"We, William Kieft, Director General, and the Council 
residing in New Netherland, on behalf of the High and 
Mighty Lords States-General of the United Netherlands, 
His Highness of Orange, and the Honorable Directors of the 
General Incorporated West India Company, To all those 
who shall see these presents or hear them read, Greeting : 

" Whereas, Jan Evertsen Bout and Huyck Aertsen from 
Rossum were on the 2ist May last unanimously chosen by 
those interested of Breuckelen, situate on Long Island, as 
Schepens, to decide all questions which may arise, as they 
shall deem proper, according to the Exemptions of New 
Netherland granted to particular Colonies, which election is 
subscribed by them, with express stipulation that if any one 
refuse to submit in the premises aforesaid to the above-men- 
tioned Jan Evertsen and Huyck Aertsen, he shall forfeit the 
right he claims to land in the allotment of Breuckelen, and 
in order that everything may be done with more authority, 



We, the Director and Council aforesaid, have therefore 
authorized and appointed, and do hereby authorize the said 
Jan Evertsen and Huyck Aertsen to be schepens of Breucke- 
len ; and in case Jan Evertsen and Huyck Aertsen do here- 
after find the labor too onerous, they shall be at liberty to 
select two more from among the inhabitants of Breuckelen 
to adjoin them to themselves. We charge and command 
every inhabitant of Breuckelen to acknowledge and respect 
the above-mentioned Jan Evertsen and Huyck Aertsen as 
their schepens, and if any one shall be found to exhibit con- 
tumaciousness towards them, he shall forfeit his share as 
above stated. This done in Council in Fort Amsterdam in 
NewNetherland." 13 

Later, on December i, the authorities gave 
Breuckelen a schout or constable, and Jan 
Teunissen was thus appointed, who had been 
already acting as such for some months be- 
fore his formal commission. 

The origin of these settlers has not been 
definitely traced to the village of Breuckelen, 
or to within the jurisdiction of the city of 
Utrecht. The French wars there, and the 
Revolutionary war here, have despoiled both 
Breuckelens of their earliest records. The 
nomenclature of the little towns on Long Is- 
land, however, cannot be regarded as acci- 
dental. The association of the names of three 
hamlets into a triangle, generally similar to the 
position of the same names in Holland, is a 
clear proof of the attachment of the colonists 
to their natal district, between Utrecht and 
the Zuider Zee. Similar associations appeared 





at the same time in the new villages to the 
east of Breuckelen and on the Sound. From 
the province of Zealand the wish was shown 
to perpetuate home towns in the names of 
Vliessingen (Flushing) and Middelburg (New- 
town). The identity of village names, and 
similarity of the relative sites in the neighbor- 
hood of Breuckelen to those in the fatherland, 
are illustrated by two maps from new and old 

Amersfoort, Breuckelen, and Utrecht have 
many historic associations. To the politician 
and reader of Motley, they are forever linked 
with the career and tragic end of Barneveld. 
In 1619, he fell a martyr to the cause of state 
rights and local self-government. Such an 
event, comparatively recent in 1646, and still 
appealing to the sense of individual liberty, 



may have been recalled by the settlers in 
America. While the liberties of Utrecht had 
been the cherished objects of "Barneveld's so- 
licitude, he proudly claimed his birth in Amers- 
foort. u In moments of arduous public labor he 
looked hopefully forward to an honorable and 
calm retirement from the tumults of party strife 
to his beautiful estate at Guntersteijn in the vil- 
lage of Breuckelen. 15 Breuckelen, however, 
was an ancient village three centuries before 



Z U I D E R 

the settlement in New Netherlands. Located 
between Utrecht and Amsterdam, it was early 
noted for its healthfulness, which soon made 
it a desirable residence region. The surround- 
ing fields and foliage are strikingly green and 
luxuriant, even for Holland. Castles grew up 
about it along the banks of the beautiful Vecht, 
which all the successive tides of war have not 
quite destroyed. 

39 6 



In the Dutch records, Breuckelen had various 
spellings, as Broklede, Broicklede, Brackola, 
Brocklandia, and Broeckland. Hence some 
say that the name came from its brooks and 
marshes van de drassige en broekactige veen- 
landen meaning a brook or marsh land. 18 It 
is mentioned as an important place in the year 
1317. There were two parishes on opposite 
sides of the Vecht. These are Breuckelen- 
Nijenrode, from the castle of Nijenrode, and 
Breuckelen-St. Pieters. The small river Vecht 
dividing these towns may be considered an 
outlet of the Rhine, which parts in two chan- 
nels at Utrecht. The Vecht turns to the north 
and emipties into the Zuider Zee. It is navig- 
able for small vessels, and at Breuckelen is a 
little over two hundred feet wide. 

The old country-seats along the Vecht, once 
set in the prim, geometric gardens of the 
last century, are now represented by modern 
villas, half hidden by trees, which to-day form 
bits of unmatched rural scenery. Eminent 
landscape painters of the modern Dutch 
school have loved to make studies amid these 
gentle windings, and the celebrity of the 
Vecht in art bids fair to surpass the forgotten 
fame of the neighboring castles. Old draw- 
bridges of wood cross the sluggish river. 
Trees come close to the tow-path, bordered 
by quaint gardens. Along the garden edges, 
looking out upon the stream, are Koepels or 



tea-houses, and over all this abundant foliage 
rises a church spire. 

From the fifteenth century the village had a 
coat of arms. The crown imports a royal grant, 
but from whom and whence is not known. 


The castles of Nijenrode and Oud-aa are 
admittedly ancient. Indeed, what is now 
Breuckelen-Nijenrode was once a fief of the 
lords of Nijenrode. 

The settlers on Long Island generally re- 
produced in wood with thatched roofs the 
more solid stone cottages of the fatherland. 
They were mostly of one story, with a garret 
above. Their fireplaces and chimneys were 
stone to the height of about six feet, with 
great ovens alongside. Above the stone they 
carried up the chimneys with wood plastered 
thick with mortar inside. 1 ' But few stone 
houses were built before the English con- 
quest. Travellers visiting such homes were 
cheered with good fires, which they noted 
were of clear oak and hickory, of which there 





was no scruple to burn with lavish hospitality. 
The openings of the huge fireplaces were 
often large enough to seat the family on both 
sides of the fire, without jambs. A dwelling, 
sometimes with the barn also, was encircled 
with strong palisades as a defense against 
Indians. An institution in the better houses 
was the betste, which was a closed-in bed- 
stead, built into the house like a cupboard, 
having doors, which shut up the low bunk in 
the daytime. Other houses had a simple 
slaap-banck, or sleeping-bench, in the room, 
on which a great feather bed lay in state. 

The plantation and farms about Breuckelen, 
besides their ordinary farm produce, cultivated 
great fields of tobacco. Some of the best ex- 
ported from the American colonies grew on 
the plantations about the Waal-boght. Later, 
it is recorded that cotton was successfully 
raised in Breuckelen, although only for home 
use, to be woven with native wool. 18 

Upon the arrival of Governor Stuyvesant in 
New Netherlands in 1647, he was obliged to 
allow an election to be had, so that there 
should be popular representation in the Coun- 
cil. New Amsterdam, Breuckelen, Amers- 
foort, Midwout (Flatbush), and other places, 
elected eighteen of the " most notable, reason- 
able, honest, and respectable" among them, 
from whom the Governor chose nine, as an Ad- 
visory Council. In this body Breuckelen was 



represented by its founder and schepen, Jan 
Evertsen Bout. In the subsequent dissatis- 
faction with the authority assumed by the 
Governor in 1653, and the public conventions 
and remonstrances, Breuckelen took promin- 
ent part, being represented by Frederic Lub- 
bertsen, Paulen van der Beeck, and William 
Beekman, whose maintenance of the rights 
of the people specially irritated the jealous 
Governor. Breuckelen, Amersfoort, and Mid- 
wout were specially ordered to prohibit their 
residents from attending any meeting at New 

After peace had been declared between 
England and Holland in 1654, enlarged local 
powers were granted, and two new schepens 
given to Breuckelen. A like increase was con- 
ferred on the magistracies of Amersfoort and 
Midwout, and a superior district court for the 
three villages was established. This conferred 
important political privileges. It gave the 
people rights of local jurisdiction and that right 
of representation for which they had con- 
tended in 1653." 

A citizen of Breuckelen could not refuse to 
continue to hold public office. In 1654, Jan 
Evertsen Bout declined to act as schepen. He 
incautiously said he would rather go back to 
Holland than continue to perform such burden- 
some duties. No excuses regarding his private 
business were accepted. Though the schepen- 

Ipolitics in 



Ube fflrst 


elect had served for previous terms, and filled 
other colonial offices, he was not now allowed 
to retire. The sheriff was formally ordered to 
notify him of these summary commands of 
Governor Stuyvesant: "If you will not accept 
to serve as schepen for the welfare of the Vil- 
lage of Breuckelen with others, your fellow- 
residents, then you must prepare yourself to 
sail in the ship King Solomon, for Holland, 
agreeably to your utterance." 20 This appeal 
to the civic conscience of one who had been 
prominent as a reformer, coupled with the 
grim threat of deportation, was irresistible. No 
further declinations in Breuckelen offices seem 
to have troubled the Council. 

The first church in the present territory 
was started at Midwout (Flatbush), the 
building of which was begun in 1654. Before 
the people of Breuckelen would promise to 
contribute to the support of the domine, they 
solicited "with reverence" that the Rev. 
Mr. Polhemus might be allowed to preach in 
Breuckelen and Midwout alternately. The 
Council cautiously assented, declaring they 
had no objection that the Reverend Polhemus, 
"when the weather permits shall preach al- 
ternately at both places." 21 

This met serious objection from the people 
of Amersfoort and Gravesend, who pointed 
out that "as Breuckelen is quite two hours' 
walking from Amersfoort and Gravesend, it 



was impossible for them to attend church in 
the morning, and return home at noon. So 
they consider it a hardship to choose, to hear 
the Gospel but once a day, or to be compelled 
to travel four hours in going and returning all 
for one single sermon which would be to 
some very troublesome, and to some utterly 
impossible." " The Council finally settled the 
difficulty by directing that the morning ser- 
mon be at Midwout, and that instead of the 
customary afternoon service, an evening dis- 
course be preached alternately at Midwout 
and Breuckelen. It was not till 1660, that 
Breuckelen had a church and domine of its 
own, the Rev. Henricus Selyns, who was of 
a distinguished Amsterdam family. He la- 
bored successfully for four years, then returned 
to Holland ; came out again eighteen years 
later, was enthusiastically welcomed, and set- 
tled in New York. His Latin poem eulogistic 
of Cotton Mather's great work is printed in 
later editions of the Magnalia. 

After the settled pastor, came the school- 
master. He, too, was a learned and distin- 
guished man Carel de Beauvois, an educated 
French Protestant from Leyden, who was 
appointed in Breuckelen in 1661, and was 
also required to perform the offices of court 
messenger, precentor (voorsanger), "ring the 
bell, and do whatever else is required." 

In 1660, Breuckelen numbered thirty-one 





families amounting to one hundred and thirty- 
four persons. It may be doubted if any ham- 
let of its size in the entire American colonies 
was favored with better spiritual guides, or 
more learned and helpful teachers a preemi- 
nence in school and in pulpit that Brooklyn- 
ites may well endeavor to keep. Thereafter 
the growth of the village was steady and 
uneventful. English settlers came into the 
neighboring towns of Gravesend, Jamaica, and 
Flushing, but not without friction with their 
Dutch neighbors. 

On a morning of August, 1664, a British 
fleet, unannounced, anchored in Gravesend 
Bay. Staten Island was first seized. A body 
of New England volunteers came through the 
Sound, landed on Long Island, and encamped 
near the Ferry. Governor Stuyvesant indig- 
nantly declined to yield. A part of the fleet 
came up the East River and landed more 
troops below Breuckelen. Governor Stuy- 
vesant's historic "I would rather be carried 
out dead " than surrender, was at last over- 
borne by the entreaties of the women and 
children. On September 8, 1664, Governor 
Nicolls raised the flag of England on the Fort, 
and named New Amsterdam, New York. 
Long Island and Staten Island, and probably 
Westchester, were made an English "shire." 
After passing through various phases of Dutch 
spelling, Breuckelen became Brockland, Brock- 

lin, Brookline, and at last Brooklyn, in the 
West Riding of Yorkshire. 

- ,,. , 

In 1683, when the counties of Kings and 
Queens were established, the settlement of 
Newtown was detached from the West Rid- 
ing and made part of Queens County, leav- 
ing Kings County with its present territory. 
In 1816, Brooklyn became an incorporated vil- 
lage, which grew to the dignity of a city in 
1834. Williamsburg was united with Brook- 
lyn in 1855, followed by the absorption of the 
towns of Kings County in 1886 and 1894. In 
the consolidation with New York in 1897 this 
enlarged municipality, embracing all the 
county of Kings, has now become the Bor- 
ough of Brooklyn. 

la s to 




1. STILES, Hist. Brooklyn, i., p. 23 ; also see lease of 
1Ref crcnces \and in Breuckelen, August i , 1 647, for four years, 

rent free, tenant to cut, burn, and remove the timber, 
but at liberty to leave the stumps. Doc. Col. Hist. 
ofN. Y., vol. xiv., p. 75. 

2. STILES, Hist. Brooklyn, i., p. 49. 

3. Journal of Voyage to New Netherland Collections, 

L. I. Hist. Soc., vol. i., p. 123. 

4. O'CALLAGHAN, Hist. New Netherland, i., p. 101. 

5. Literary World (N. Y.), May 20, 1848, p. 309. 

6. Doc. Col. Hist. N. Y., vol. xiv., p. 4. 

7. Journal of Voyage to New Netherland, p. 342. 

8. STILES, Hist., i., appendix, p. 413. 

9. STILES, Hist., i., appendix, p. 414. 

10. STILES, Hist., i., chap. ii. 

11. Doc. Col. Hist. N. Y., vol. xiv., p. 48. 

12. Doc. Col. Hist. N. Y., vol. xiv., pp. 60, 64, 65, etc. 

13. STILES, Hist., i., pp. 45, 46. 

14. MOTLEY, John of Barneveld, ii., p. 229 (ed. London, 


15. Ibid., ii., p. 185. 

1 6. Kabinet van Nederlandsche en Kleefsche Oudheden, 

REISIG, and others, p. 262, Amsterdam, 1793. 

17. STILES, Hist. Brooklyn, i., p. 222. 

1 8. STILES, Hist., i., p. 232. 

19. STILES, Hist., i., p. no. 

20. Doc. Col. Hist. N. Y., vol. xiv., p. 255. 

21. STILES, Hist.,'\., p. 129. 

22. STILES, Hist., i., p. 130. 

23. Magnalia, vol. i., pp. 20, 21 (Hartford, 1820). The 

poem ends as follows : 
"Tu dilecte Deo, cujus Bostonia gaudet 
Nostra Ministerio, seu cui tot scribere libros, 



Non opus, aut labor est qui Magnalia Christ! 
Americana refers scriptura plurima. Nonne 
Dignus es agnoscare inter Magnalia Christi ? 
Vive Liber totique Orbi Miracula Monstres 
Quae sunt extra Orbem. Cottone, in saecula vive; 
Et dum Mundus erit vivat tua Fama per Orbem." 




Half Moon Series 

Published in the Interest of the New York 
City History Club. 




DURING the War of the Revolution the 
County of Westchester, and particu- 
larly the lower towns (now forming the 
Borough of Bronx or BronckV), was the prey 
of the foraging parties of both armies, as it 
lay directly between them and was perma- 
nently occupied by neither. Being common 
property to both parties, it was, therefore, 
called the "Neutral Ground." The views of 
the inhabitants themselves at the outset of the 
struggle were much divided, and if popular 
sentiment was not absolutely loyal to the 
crown of Great Britain, it was much more 
conservative than in New England or in the 
southern colonies. 

Many of the leading families were staunch 
loyalists and afterwards prominent leaders of 
the Royalist Refugees. Amongst these were 
the Van Courtlandts, DeLanceys, Philipses, and 



of tbe 


rouna " 


Ube "IReutral Ground" 

Wfews of 

its Un= 


Wilkinses, and these were the names which 
the people of that period were accustomed to 
follow. On the other side, however, were the 
Morrises, Livingstons, and Tomkynses, fam- 
ilies who belonged in the same region, so that 
parties may be said to have been pretty evenly 
divided. The first meetings called to consider 
the question of electing delegates to Congress 
were broken up by the violent efforts of Phil- 
ipse, Wilkins, and other Royalists, and when 
the matter was finally decided in the affirm- 
ative, the delegates chosen were instructed 
to do nothing disloyal to "the government 
of his Majesty the King," and it is an historic 
fact that New York was the last colony to 
authorize its delegates in the Continental Con- 
gress to sign the Declaration of Independence. 
This conservatism, however, was not al- 
together induced by loyalty to the British 
government, but by a selfish interest. It 
was perfectly self-evident to such men as 
"Squire" Van Cortlandt, Oliver de Lancey, 
and others, that one of the main objects of 
the home government, in case of war, would 
be to separate the more southern from the 
New England colonies, and New York was 
the keystone of this position. With her deep 
harbor, and the broad Hudson stretching far 
to the northward, it would be easy for Eng- 
land to bring in her invincible fleet, and with 
it materially aid any army that might invade 

ZTbe "Heutral Ground 


the State from loyal Canada ; so what they 
feared, and what actually came to pass, was 
that the locality would be made the theatre 
of war and devastation. 

But let us follow events more in detail. 
Boston had been evacuated, and the brothers 
Howe had sailed from Halifax ; already ru- 
mors were current that the General had been 
largely re-enforced, and that My Lord the Ad- 
miral had taken his entire command on board 
his magnificent and irresistible fleet, and was 
on his way to capture New York. Washing- 
ton was even now in the city to defend it with 
the Continental army. On June 28, 1776, the 
British fleet appeared, and General Howe's 
troops were landed upon Staten Island without 
opposition. Washington had entirely too 
much ground to cover with his meagre force 
of eighteen thousand men, a large proportion 
being raw troops, and he found it impossible 
to defend that comparatively distant point 

It will be necessary here, to understand the 
campaign in the Neutral Ground, to give a 
short sketch of the capture of New York and 
Brooklyn Heights. It is now conceded that 
Washington made a mistake in attempting to 
defend New York with the very limited re- 
sources then at his command, but he was 
urged to do so both by the inhabitants and 
by Congress, and his own good judgment 
was entirely outweighed. Howe lost much 

of tbe 






Ube "IReutral (Brounfc" 

Capture of 


time in vain attempts to negotiate a peace 
with the exasperated colonies. It may be 
here said to his credit, that he always carried 
the olive-branch with the sword, and fought 
with the greatest reluctance, so it was not 
until August 22, that he landed at Graves End, 
with twenty thousand men, his army in the in- 
terim having been augmented by the arrival 
of Sir Henry Clinton from the South. To 
oppose this force the Americans had nine 
thousand men under General Putnam. Most 
of these were behind earthworks on Brooklyn 
Heights, and on a wooded ridge commanding 
some of the roads from Graves End. 

Howe spent several days in reconnoitring, 
and it was not until August 27, that any 
serious advance was made ; then he sent his 
brother, the Admiral, to threaten the city with 
the fleet and to keep Washington occupied, 
while he attacked the forces under Putnam. 
Four roads led from his Graves End camp to- 
wards the Continental lines, one of which ran 
along the shore, which was defended by Gen- 
eral Lord Sterling with his division. Against 
this renegade Scotch peer, Howe sent General 
Grant with his Highlanders. Two of the re- 
maining three roads joined near the village of 
Flatbush, and crossed the ridge which was de- 
fended by General Sullivan ; and here advanced 
General Heister with his Hessians. The fourth 
was the Jamaica Road, along which the main 

Ube "IReutral 0rounfc" 


body of the army marched with Howe him- 
self, Clinton, Percy, and Cornwallis at their 
head. Their object was to march by the 
ridge where Sullivan was stationed, and then 
to wheel near the village of Bedford in order 
to attack him on the flank and rear. In this 
movement Howe undoubtedly out-generaled 
Putnam ; Sullivan was completely routed, 
with the loss (including those of Sterling's 
division) of about four hundred killed and 
wounded, and one thousand taken prisoners ; 
among the latter was the General himself. 

The troops of Sterling did much better 
fighting, and it was not until Sullivan was 
defeated, and the main army of Howe joined 
Grant, that the Maryland brigades gave ground. 
Even then they succeeded in gaining Put- 
nam's main line without disorder. Howe's 
troops were now tired, and he did not ad- 
vance at once against the works on Brooklyn 
Heights. Washington at first re-enforced Put- 
nam, supposing an immediate assault would 
be made, but finding Howe was in no hurry 
to fight, and seemed rather inclined to lay 
seige to the position, he took advantage of a 
very dense fog on the night of August 29, 
evacuated the forts, and took his entire army 
over to the New York shore. This is one of 
the most masterly retreats in the face of a 
superior force on record, and if Howe had 
shown his ability in his flanking march on 





Ube "IReutral Orounfc" 




the night of the twenty-seventh, Washington 
more than equalled him by his brilliant retreat 
on the night of the twenty-ninth, or two days 
later. Washington, with the main body of 
the army, retired to Harlem Heights, where he 
established himself in a very strong position, 
leaving Putnam with four thousand men in 
the city proper. 

In 1776, the city of New York did not ex- 
tend beyond Chatham Street, and the Island 
was much narrower at that period, as several 
blocks have been filled in on both rivers since 
those days; thus the command in the town 
did not have so much territory to cover as 
might appear at first sight, but it was perfectly 
self-evident that, from the moment that Long 
Island was lost, the city could not be held, and 
that Putnam's stay would be short ; his posi- 
tion was, indeed, extremely perilous, for could 
Howe get some troops up either river in his 
ships, to a point between the city and the 
Continental army, he could land them, cut off 
the four thousand under Putnam, and capture 
his entire command. 

Howe, seeing all this, sent two ships up the 
Hudson to Bloomingdale, disembarked his 
army on the other side of the Island at Kip's 
Bay (near the foot of the present East 34th 
Street), and attempted to cut off Putnam's 
division ; but the genial gentleman was too 
strong for the soldier. Mrs. Robert Murray, 

Ube "IReutral Ground" 


understanding the condition of things thor- 
oughly, and seeing Howe and his staff pass- 
ing, invited the General and officers to lunch 
with her. A halt was immediately called, and 
the lunchparty commenced which saved the 
American cause one general officer and four 
thousand men; for while this entertainment 
was in progress Putnam marched his entire 
division northward and joined Washington. 

Howe now had New York, but it was of 
very little use to him so long as Washington's 
army occupied a strong position extending 
from the mouth of "Harlem Creek" right 
across the Island to the Hudson. The British 
commander, however, had two alternatives 
besides a direct assault ; he could pass be- 
tween Forts Lee and Washington with his 
fleet, ascend the Hudson, and make the po- 
sition of the Americans untenable by landing 
in their rear. But to do this he would have to 
stand the fire from the forts, which might do 
considerable damage to his men-of-war and 
transports. The East River, or Sound, was, 
however, entirely free from forts, and afforded 
him almost as good an opportunity of getting 
into the rear of the Americans as the Hudson; 
this alternative was therefore selected, and on 
October 12, 1776, Howe embarked the greater 
part of his army and sailed up the Sound or 
East River as far as Throg's Neck* (now a por- 
tion of Greater New York), where he landed, 


Ifoowc in 


of Dew 



"IReutral (Brounfc" 

Ube Jftgbt 
at pels 


leaving Lord Percy to keep Washington occu- 
pied at Harlem. He hoped by this movement 
to get directly in the rear of the Continental 
army, and so force it either to surrender, or 
entirely to rout and scatter it; but the rebels 
had not been sleeping. 

General Heath, with a force of several 
thousand men, had been sent to defend the 
causeway and tear down the bridges across 
Westchester Creek, so it would be impossible 
for Howe to gain the rear of the Americans 
without a fight. Howe did not care to ad- 
vance through a marsh in the face of so strong 
a force, and delayed on the Neck six days, in 
which little but ineffective skirmishing was 
accomplished. At the end of this period he 
took to his boats again, proceeded northeast 
about three miles, landed his forces on Pell's 
Neck 3 or Pelham Neck, (now Pelham Park), 
and advanced towards the Albany and Boston 
roads. Heath threw a couple of brigades in 
his way, and attempted to check his progress. 
For a time quite a spirited fight was the re- 
sult; but the Americans were out-numbered 
and compelled to retire with a loss of about ten 
killed and forty wounded. Howe had at last 
succeeded in reaching the place he wanted, but 
it was too late for his purpose of capturing 
the Continental army; for the Americans had 
evacuated Manhattan Island, except Fort 
Washington, and were now comparatively 

IReutral (Brounfc" 417 

safe on Chatterton Heights, near the village of 
White Plains. For a few days Howe's army 
covered a wide field, and we hear of some of of 
his troopers almost as far north as the Con- 
necticut line. This, however, was probably 
done merely in search of forage, for he soon 
concentrated them on the Albany Road near 
the scene of the recent engagement. 

It was a beautiful autumnal morning, Oct- 
ober 23, 1776, that the greatest military 
pageant took place that the fair county of 
Westchester ever saw, at all events in the 
eighteenth century. Howe, preparatory to 
following Washington, drew up his entire 
army for review, along the road and on the 
meadows (very near the present boundary- 
line between the city, and the now much cur- 
tailed County of Westchester), then known as 
Pelham and Eastchester flats. Some ten thou- 
sand men took part in the ceremonies, and 
the effect must, indeed, have been inspiring 
and beautiful. The bright scarlet of the British 
regulars, contrasted well with the more sombre 
green of Knyphausen's Hessians, and with the 
background of the yellow sedge grass covered 
with sparkling frost. This was a fine picture 
by which, on that chill October morning, to 
impress the inhabitants with the invincible 
power of England's chivalry, and the politic 
commander had thought it wise to invite a 
few of the more distinguished proprietors of 


ZTbe "Beutral (Brounfc" 

tRcvtew " 



loyal tendencies to witness the affair. There 
was the fiery Philipse, and the philanthropic 
colonist who is said to have sprung from the 
grand old House of "Kourlandt" (Cortlandt), 
to witness the glorious return of their sover- 
eign's banner, and, while the bands played and 
the sun glistened upon the bright arms of the 
troops, this little band of officers and gentle- 
men rode along the lines and inspected the 
army. As the sun rose higher in the heavens 
the day became warm and genial with that 
Indian summer balminess, so common to our 
American autumn. By noon the party before 
alluded to, were glad to halt for refreshments 
under the golden shade of what, even then, 
must have been a group of grand old chestnuts. 
That lunch just before the march to White 
Plains has become historic, and the old resi- 
dent can still point out the trees with pride to 
any visitor who may be passing that way. 
Let us hope, however, that the meal of these 
fine gentlemen was not spoiled by the pres- 
ence of that rough old German, the Count 
von Knyphausen, who, though a dashing 
soldier and a brave man, was no courtier, 
and anything but a pleasant dining companion. 
All that is left of this gallant assembly, are the 
old trees that have defied all change in this 
change-loving land, and as recently as the 
beginning of the winter (1897-98) still 
stood, the only landmarks of those long- 

IT be "IReutral <3rounD" 419 

departed days. But, old trees, you are not to 
stand here always. Though you may have seen 
the Indians of the seventeenth century; Wash- of 
ington, Howe, and Clinton, of the eighteenth; 
and all the celebrities of the nineteenth; yet 
those trunks of yours, sixteen feet in circum- 
ference though they be, are but hollow shells; 
the gales of two hundred winters have lopped 
many a fair limb, and ere the twentieth century 
shall grow old the squirrel will no longer 
play on your boughs, nor the frosts of autumn 
turn your leaves to gold ! 

In the fall of 1876, just a hundred years after 
the day of the "Great Review," two gentle- 
men were lunching under the same old trees. 
"The days of old" were discussed, and the 
historic spot examined in all its bearings; but 
after a time the conversation flagged, and they 
sat gazing up into the shady trees, whose 
leaves were fast turning into those brilliant 
hues with which the American forest-trees bid 
good-bye to summer, when the elder man 
turned to his companion and said: "Here is 
the pistol which my grandfather carried when 
with General Howe on the day of the ' Grand 
Review,' when they lunched under these 
trees just before the Battle of White Plains; 
now, as I want you to remember this occasion, 
I present you with the derringer as a memento 
of the anniversary of that parade." As they 
gazed upon this weapon of a former age, the 


Ifteutral Orounfc " 




nineteenth century seemed to fade into the 
Indian summer mist, and they could only see 
the scarlet of the British regulars and the green 
of their Hessian allies; the figures of the chi- 
valric Cornwallis ; the gallant but peace-loving 
Howe, and the rough old soldier, Knyphausen. 

But to return to our narrative. The day af- 
ter the " Grand Review " Howe went in pur- 
suit of the Continental army and on October 
28, stormed Chatterton Heights near White 
Plains, and forced Washington to retire to 
North Castle. He himself, however, did not 
go farther, but soon withdrew to the city 
proper, to rest and refresh his troops, evi- 
dently thinking he had done enough for one 

We have now finished with the great armies 
of either party in the Neutral Ground, and 
must hereafter content ourselves with resting 
in their shadow, and try to keep the war 
spirit alive by cavalry raids, the robberies of 
the Skinners and Cowboys, and such expedi- 
tions as were sent out for foraging purposes. 
DeLancey's and Tarleton's cavalry scoured this 
part of the country in all directions, and Heath 
and others were scarcely less active. The 
Cowboys (ostensibly Royalists), and the Skin- 
ners on the American side, vied with each 
other in the atrocity of their acts ; they re- 
spected neither friend nor foe, only caring 
whether their victims had anything of value. 

IReutral <3roun&" 


After Howe had established himself securely 
in the city, and Washington was at distant 
North Castle, the British had to take Fort 
Washington, on the northern part of New 
York or Manhattan Island, to make their con- 
quest complete. It would have been far wiser 
for the Continentals to have evacuated the 
stronghold, as it was evidently impossible to 
hold it in the face of such an army as was 
now in the city ; but General Greene, instead 
of doing this, reinforced the post against the 
advice of Washington. The result was as 
might have been foreseen, that the fort had to 
be, after a desperate struggle, surrendered, 
and the Americans lost just so many more of 
their best troops. 

Now, at last, the island was free from armed 
rebels, and there was no regular force of the 
enemy for many miles north of it ; but a num- 
ber of foraging bands or cavalry of both par- 
ties, were wandering through the country in 
all directions, and when these parties met 
there was apt to be more or less trouble. 

The first, and probably most tragic of these 
affairs occurred very soon after the events just 
related, or in the early winter of 1776. A 
party of Americans belonging to the army of 
General Charles Lee, which was still posted in 
the northern part of the county, came south 
as far as Ward's house (which is within the 
district we have attempted to describe), bent 


of ffort 






of Captain 

upon forage. In this time-honored mansion 
they found much that was to their taste, and 
after a few bottles of their absent host's very 
good wine had circulated among them, the 
discipline of Captain Delavan relaxed, and 
the guards were allowed to join in the general 
merry-making. As night came on they be- 
came as reckless of their safety as though 
the country was in a state of profound peace, 
and they were enjoying themselves in the 
village inn. 

But the American foragers were not left long 
to enjoy their carousal. As the night advanced 
one or two of the more sober ones heard the 
distant sound of horses' hoofs, and at once 
tried to arouse their stupefied and sleepy com- 
panions, but without much success, while the 
tramp of many hoofs grew nearer and nearer, 
as the troopers galloped over the frozen ground. 
The jingling of the sabres and the word of 
command proved that they were soldiers, and 
before even those who were able had time to 
attempt either to defend themselves or to 
escape, the house was surrounded, and Cap- 
tain Campbell, who was in charge of the Royal 
Cavalry, (for such the horsemen proved to be), 
demanded the immediate surrender of the 
Americans. Delavan, seeing that resistance 
was hopeless in the existing condition of his 
men, immediately complied, and stepped for- 
ward to hand his sword to Campbell, when a 

IReutral <5rounD" 


shot was fired 4 by one of the half-inebriated 
soldiers, and Campbell fell dead at the feet of 
the man whom only a second before he had 
considered his prisoner. 

This irresponsible act was nothing less, of 
course, than murder, as the terms of surrender 
had actually been agreed to, and the captured 
party would in all probability have been treated 
by Campbell as simple prisoners of war. This 
breach of faith, however, changed the entire 
aspect of things. The vilest passions of the 
British soldiers were aroused, and the only 
man with sufficient authority to control them 
was dead before their eyes. The fact that his 
life-blood was treacherously shed, served to 
justify almost any crime that might be com- 
mitted. It was hardly to be expected that 
they would take into consideration the intoxi- 
cated condition of the man, nor did they, but 
sprang forward, sabre in hand, and cut down 
the innocent and unfortunate Delavan first ; 
then they rushed into the house and took the 
lives of all whom they met, or, as the old farm- 
ers used to say, "stuck them like so many 
pigs." Some of the victims jumped from the 
windows, and were killed by those who re- 
mained outside to watch for them ; some tried 
to secrete themselves among barrels and rub- 
bish in the cellar, but were found and hacked 
to pieces. Not more than a half-dozen in all 
escaped to tell the story of this fearful night of 


of Captain 


IReutral (Brounfc " 



IP.aft upon 

an Oll< 


the first year of the Republic. About twenty- 
five are known to have perished, and it would 
seem that Campbell was pretty well avenged. 

There are other incidents of the time handed 
down which are not so tragic ; we must 
now turn to an event less bloody but some- 
what more amusing. An old homestead, situ- 
ated not far from the scene just narrated, had 
not been deserted as were most of the houses 
in the vicinity. During the long, cold winter 
the occupants lived in constant fear of those 
marauders who subsisted by plundering the 
inhabitants, under cover of the pretended es- 
pousal of one cause or the other, the Skinners 
being the Continental robbers, while the Cow- 
boys claimed to be loyal to the King. They 
were both absolutely indifferent to the politics 
of the unfortunates whom they robbed. 

It was in January, 1777 ; the night had set 
in cold and forbidding; a keen northwest wind 
had been blowing all day, and as the sun sank 
into heavy banks of clouds, the thermometer 5 
almost touched the zero point. The snow 
creaked under the feet of the farmer as he 
returned to the house after attending to such 
cattle as the marauding parties had left him. 
Throwing his hat on a chair he remarked: 

"I hope those Skinners will leave us alone 
to-night ! " 

The darkness increased, and as the night 
wore on, all that could be heard was the roar 

TTbe ""Heutral Orounfc" 


of the wind, as it drove the still drifting snow 
against the window-panes ; but a crackling 
fire burned in the ample fireplace, and all within 
was genial and comfortable, when hark ! 
between the gusts of the winter wind could 
be heard the distant tramp of many feet. The 
farmer jumps up and rushes to the door to 
listen, no there is no mistake, nearer and 
nearer come those ominous sounds, and soon 
a party of some fifteen men or more, can be 
seen advancing like spectres of the night. In 
a few moments they reach the house and 
enter without invitation. With small cere- 
mony, they make their business known, by 
demanding all the money and valuables to be 
handed over to them at once on pain of death. 
All are armed with the military muskets of 
the period, and the majority carry pistols and 
knives in addition, but, they have no other 
insignia of regular soldiers about them ex- 
cept cartridge boxes, belts, etc. They are, 
for the most part, dressed in the ordinary 
clothing of the common people of the country, 
with here and there a stolen military garment, 
made conspicuous by its incongruity. To 
their demand the owner of the house replies 
that he has no money, and is therefore unable 
to give it to them. The intruders reiterate 
their threats of instant death unless they get 
what they desire; but finding it useless to 
parley longer with the farmer, they leave a 



Raid upon 

an OlJ> 




Ube "IReutral Ground 

an Old 


couple of their number to guard him and 
his family, and proceed to search the house 
for themselves. After an absence of about 
half an hour, during which time all the 
upper rooms are thoroughly ransacked, the 
party return with very little booty and again 
threaten the unfortunate proprietor, who can 
only tell them just what he did before, that 
he has nothing to satisfy them ; which answer 
is in all probability perfectly true, as previous 
visitors of the same kind had helped them- 
selves to everything worth carrying away on 
the premises. 

The Skinners, therefore this particular 
band happened to be of that persuasion 
thought, or at all events acted, as though all 
that was left for them to do was to carry out 
their threat of hanging the farmer. After 
warming themselves well before the great log 
fire, they obtained a rope and compelled him 
to leave his comfortable hearth and walk be- 
fore them into the cold winter night, with the 
pleasant prospect of being hanged from the 
first convenient tree. Silently they walked 
for a few moments, when the Skinners were 
much surprised by hearing their victim burst 
out laughing. They were curious as to the 
cause of his merriment, when he informed 
them that he was laughing because he thought 
it such a funny idea to suppose that hanging 
him would fill their packets. This remark 

Ube "IReutral <3rount>" 


set the robbers to thinking that there might 
be a little absurdity in what they were doing. 
After assuring themselves that he was not 
shamming in regard to having nothing, they 
let him return to his fireside, much to the sat- 
isfaction of himself and family. In the morn- 
ing, he was not much astonished that his few 
remaining cattle were gone, but was, on the 
whole, glad to get off so easily. 

A similar visit occurred at the same mansion 
a few years later, but before the close of the 
war. A friend of the family spent the night 
at the house on his way north, and upon part- 
ing the next day left thirty pounds in coin in 
charge of the daughter of the farmer, think- 
ing perhaps that it would be less unsafe in 
her possession than on the highway. Be this 
as it may, everything was reasonably quiet 
around the place during the remainder of the 
day, but shortly after nightfall, a small party 
of Cowboys (for they were Cowboys this 
time) was observed approaching. The young 
woman immediately concealed the money 
about her person, and putting on a bold front 
prepared to receive them. Soon they entered, 
but instead of demanding valuables in a gen- 
eral way, they went immediately up to the 
girl and asked for the money that had been 
given her that morning. She, of course, de- 
nied that she had any, whereupon one of the 
marauders seized her and shook her so vio- 

H Ipartvi 
of Cow= 

Visit tbe 




Ube "IReutral <3rount>" 



lently that the bag of money fell upon the 
floor; the man instantly let go of her, picked 
up the gold and departed, followed by his 
companions. It was never known how they 
became acquainted with the fact that the 
money was in the house, but it was always 
suspected that one or more of the band must 
have been looking in the window when the 
young woman received it. 

It becomes unavoidable, in writing of the 
Revolutionary occurrences of this locality, to 
change the scenes constantly, as there was 
no connected campaign or regular army in the 
vicinity after Howe drove the Federalists from 
Chatterton Heights. There was only a series 
of events entirely independent of each other. 
Somewhat nearer Kingsbridge than the home- 
stead visited by the Skinners and the Cowboys, 
stood the Lefferts' mansion, which, unlike the 
other, was deserted by its proprietor, who, 
probably being a loyalist, had fled to the city. 
At all events he wrote a very queerly worded 
petition to Congress from New York City, 
which ran somewhat as follows : 

" To the Continental Congress &c. 


"Will your Honorable Body grant a pass for my two 
children to leave my mansion in Westchester County, and 
proceed to meet me in New York City. The house above 
referred to is, or of late was, occupied by thirty men in the 
Colonial service, who have eaten all the horned cattle, 
sheep and pigs, and driven nigh unto death all the horses; 

Heutral Ground" 


and I now fear for my children confined in the house; and 
1 would therefore humbly beseech your Honorable Body to 
grant a pass for the said children and such servants as may 
be deemed necessary to their safety in the present unsettled 
condition of the country. With the Greatest Respect Your 
Most Obedient and Humble Servant, 


Now, in reading this, the question that one 
naturally asks is, did he fear the children were 
to be eaten, or driven to death ? 

Again we change the scene. It was the 
dead of winter, and the snow lay thick upon 
the ground, when General Parsons collected a 
force of American troopers for a foraging ex- 
pedition into Morrisania. The party of a 
hundred or more, desiring to be as silent as 
possible, to avoid a conflict with the Royal 
Refugees under Colonel De Lancey, were all 
put into sleighs and driven rapidly through 
Morrisania Manor towards Kingsbridge. No 
merry jingle of bells in this sleighing party; 
no laugh, no sound save the grim click of a 
musket's lock, or the rattle of the officers' side 
arms. On and on they sped over the silent, 
yielding snow, until their goal was almost 
reached, when suddenly an order rang out 
loud and clear upon the frosty air of midnight, 
and on all sides, like spectres from their graves, 
appeared armed and mounted men. Undis- 
mayed for a time, the Americans defended 
their sleighs with courage, almost with des- 
peration, but the Light Horse were too nu- 

Jf ate of a 



Heutral Ground" 



at tbe 



merous for them, and ere long they were cut 
to pieces or captured. 

Before the retreat of the Americans north- 
ward the Westchester Church was used by 
General Heath as a hospital, and he quartered 
a number of his cavalry in the rectory, while 
the unfortunate rector, being a Royalist, was 
compelled to hide in a neighbor's stable. 

The Wilkins family did much to protect the 
English clergy during the war. Being strong 
Tories they threw open their house, and even 
had a secret closet in the chimney, where 
several were hidden safely when searched for 
by the Colonial troops. The Graham house 
was burned by accident during a magnificent 
banquet, given by Colonel Fowler, of the 
British army, who was using it as his temporary 
headquarters. The table had been covered 
with flowers and beautifully decorated with 
cut-glass and silver, and the guests, many of 
whom were ladies, were strolling about the 
grounds in the balmy summer evening, when 
a servant suddenly rushed from the house 
and informed the Colonel that the building was 
burning. That officer, not in the least dis- 
composed, calmly ordered the tables brought 
out on the lawn, and seated the company, 
who watched the conflagration while enjoy- 
ing their repast. The cool and gallant Col- 
onel was unfortunately killed in a skirmish, 
very soon after this event. 

Ube '"Heutral 

43 t 

The skirmishes between the Light Horse of 
the two armies were entirely too numerous 
and too barren of permanent result to chron- 
icle in their entirety. One or two more, how- 
ever, to show the general character of these 
expeditions may not be out of place. 

Colonel Burr, afterwards so famous, or, 
rather, infamous, as the slayer of Hamilton, 
destroyed Colonel De Lancey's blockhouse, 
after a slight skirmish. The Colonel secretly 
approached the building in the night with 
quite a large number of men, threw a hand- 
grenade into the building, setting it on fire 
and killing a number of men. Most of the 
rest were captured while attempting to es- 

At the time of Washington's retreat before 
White Plains, a series of forts and earthworks 
were erected from the East River to the Hud- 
son across Morrisania and the lower part of 
the present city of Yonkers. After their de- 
sertion by the Continentals, these works were 
often utilized by both parties in their expe- 
ditions against each other, and held for longer 
or shorter periods of time as might be advis- 
able. General Heath, of the American forces, 
often occupied them, as did Lincoln and many 
another Continental commander, and on the 
British side, Simcoe, Tarleton, and Colonel 
James De Lancey made favorite resorts of 

tbe Uwo 


43 2 

Ube "Itteutral Ground" 

tbe Uwo 


At one time the American forces, in con- 
siderable strength, advanced to Kingsbridge 
and took up their position for some time be- 
hind newly made earthworks. The sentries 
annoyed each other by continual firing, though 
it was against the orders of both armies by an 
agreement between their officers. As time 
passed, however, the men were better con- 
trolled on both sides, and became more accus- 
tomed to each other's presence, until finally 
the British put a raw Scotch recruit on guard, 
who immediately discharged his gun at the 
American sentry across the stream, who as 
quickly replied, and wounded an officer who 
happened to be standing near. This brought 
out the guard and its commander, who called 
across the river, "I thought we had agreed 
not to have any more of that business." The 
Continental replied, "Your man began it." 
"What! this Scotchman? he shall be pun- 
ished " : and in future there was no more 
firing. In fact the sentries became so amica- 
ble after a while that they would talk to- 
gether, and even exchange pipes, tobacco, 
etc., by tying them to stones and throwing 
them across the creek. 

Out of the British works at Kingsbridge 
often rode Colonel Simcoe and Colonel Tarle- 
ton on expeditions against the " Rebels." 
Sometimes success attended their efforts, and 
at others they were fruitless. On at least one 

Ube "neutral Ground" 


of these occasions they were accompanied by 
Prince William Henry (Duke of Clarence), 
afterwards William IV. of England (1782). 
He was then a junior officer in the navy. 
Just above Manhattan Island, on the Albany 
Pike, stood the "Old French Inn," kept by 
Gainos, who served many distinguished peo- 
ple in his day, as they travelled northward in 
the old mail coach. When the war broke 
out and the American army was in that vicin- 
ity, many of the officers frequented the tavern, 
and even the commander (who was very 
fond of French cooking) often dined there, 
and is said to have become quite fond of the 
dishes of Gainos. At all events, when the 
Continentals retired northward, the poor 
Frenchman thought the British would mal- 
treat him for having fed the rebels, and he, 
therefore, left his inn in charge of some neigh- 
bors, and fled with Washington's army. 

The first night after the landlord's departure 
the house was attacked by a party of Cow- 
boys, who evidently thought the place practi- 
cally deserted. In this supposition it happened 
that they were mistaken, for a number of the 
country people had collected in the tavern as 
was their wont, in spite of the absence of the 
proprietor, to gossip over the exciting condi- 
tion of affairs. When they saw the band of 
robbers they determined to defend the place, 
and as few people went out at night in those 

be "IB 



ZTbe "IReutral (Brounfc" 

Ube "l 
IFim " 

troublous times unarmed, they were all in pos- 
session of weapons of some kind. Therefore 
when the marauders demanded admittance to 
the house, they were much surprised to be 
received by a shower of bullets, and soon 
came to the conclusion that the wisest thing 
for them to do was to leave the vicinity as 
rapidly as possible. 

So the Cowboys picked up one of their 
number who had been hit, and proceeded 
through the meadows, woods, and orchards, 
for they seldom followed the roads, towards 
Kingsbridge. They had not gone far when 
they discovered that their wounded com- 
panion was dying from the effects of his in- 
juries. This discovery made a halt necessary; 
they laid the poor fellow down on a grassy 
bank in an old orchard, and seated them- 
selves, waiting for him to breathe his last. 
They were not delayed long, for after a few 
gasps his blood-stained soul departed. Small 
ceremony sufficed for the poor fellow's fun- 
eral ; the man who happened to be nearest 
simply said : "It 's all over with him ; let 's 
be moving, or more of us may get the same 
pill." Then they picked up the body again, 
as it might serve to track them to their fast- 
ness should they leave it where it lay, and 
carried it to a well that happened to be under 
one of the trees ; there they let the poor 
wretch fall into the water, and he was soon 

Ube "IReutral (BrounD" 435 

lost to sight, after which they proceeded on 
their way. 

The next day some of the residents came 
for water and were horrified to find the liquid 
stained with blood, and to this day the spot is 
called the bloody well. Many are the tales 
that are told of supernatural sights and sounds 
that emanate from the locality. As to the 
truth of the ghostly part of the occurrences, 
we are unable to say, but certain it is that 
even as recently as our own times, the mould- 
ering remains of a man were taken from the 
well. Let us hope that the removal and 
decent interment of the body also quieted the 
restless soul. 

Once more the scene changes, not much as 
to locality, but radically as to events. The 
brave but unfortunate Stockbridge Indians 
had espoused the cause of the Colonies, and 
came down through Yonkers nearly to Kings- 
bridge on an expedition against Simcoe's 
forces. That officer having got wind of the 
enemy's approach, at once prepared to give 
them a warm reception. Selecting a well- 
wooded portion of the road he concealed 
most of his troops on both sides of it ; then he 
sent a small party of cavalry northward to at- 
tract the attention of the Indians. They had 
not far to go ; for soon they descried them si- 
lently advancing in single file as is the wont 
of these sons of the forest ; but long before 

43 6 

IReutral rount>" 

of the 


the troopers had discovered their swarthy foes 
the sharp eyes of the Indians had seen the 
horsemen and prepared for action. As was 
planned, the British horse only skirmished 
lightly and then fell back, the Indians follow- 
ing them in hot pursuit, until they were 
within the ambush, where over forty, out 
of a total of sixty, were killed or captured. 
When the old chief saw the situation he 
shouted: " Save yourselves, my children ; my 
time has come and I am ready," and he fell 
dead with a bullet in his heart. This leader was 
quite a well-known man for one of his race, 
having visited England and been presented 
at court. He could read and write fluently 
and had a very good idea of history. 

To show what a crude idea the British min- 
istry had of the topography of this country, it 
may not be out of way here to insert an order 
received by Lord Admiral Howe : 

" As the County of Westchester is in a very unsettled con- 
dition, and our troops are much harrassed by the ' Rebels,' 
whenever in that vicinity, you will send a couple of frigates 
up the Bronx River, to protect our forces and fire into the 
enemy whenever seen." 

Now as this stream has an average breadth 
of about seventy-five feet and a depth in some 
places of not more than eighteen inches, it 
might have troubled his lordship to obey this 
command. Did they confuse this river with 
the Hudson ? 

Tlbe "IReutral 0rounfc" 


In 1778, Colonel Gist of the Continental 
army occupied quarters near the Babcock 
mansion, where then resided Mrs. Babcock, 
the handsome widow of the Rev. Luke Bab- 
cock, and it was whispered that the gallant 
Colonel had selected this locality for his com- 
mand, which was much nearer the enemy's 
line than was at all safe or advisable for so 
small a force, that he might pay his addresses 
to this fair widow. Be that as it may, Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Simcoe got wind of his where- 
abouts in some way, and resolved upon the 
capture of the entire command. He therefore 
sent out his forces at night to surround the 
encampment of Gist. His plan apparently 
succeeded perfectly ; the Americans were not 
in any way disturbed until the enemy sup- 
posed they had entirely surrounded their in- 
tended victims. The Colonel himself was 
oblivious of all outside events, for never had 
the beautiful widow been more engaging, and 
never had he remained at her house so late. 
But all evenings however enchanting, must 
come to an end, and this one was no excep- 
tion ; so finally he bade his fair friend adieu 
and started for his camp. Just as he was de- 
parting reluctantly, looking back as he went 
to see her waving a final farewell with her 
handkerchief, he heard a shot quickly followed 
by a scattering volley. Forgetting instantly 
his romance, he rushed rapidly to where his 






ano the 



Ube "IReutral around" 



ano tbe 

men were quartered ; there he found every- 
thing in the direst confusion. Barring his 
weakness for the widow, the Colonel was a 
good soldier and soon restored a semblance of 
order even in the face of the enemy. He took 
in the situation at a glance and resolved to 
fight his way to the main army northward. 
It is very doubtful if he would have been able 
to do this, however, had it not been for the fact 
that one of the enemy's commands had lost 
its way and thereby left a passage open for 
him, which he was not slow to use. He 
therefore reached his friends, not indeed 
without fighting, but with the loss of only 
about one third of his command. How his 
affairs prospered with the widow after this 
interruption we know not ; but let us hope 
that if he again ventured in that quarter, he 
did not involve his entire command in this 
sort of a conquest. 

When the Skinners and the Cowboys were 
struggling for the sovereignty of the "Neutral 
Ground," and shortly after one of the scions of 
one of our old county families had been shot 
down while standing under a walnut tree 8 near 
the door of his mansion by one of these gen- 
try 7 for refusing to blacken his boots, the peo- 
ple found it necessary to bury all valuables 
which they chanced to possess to escape these 
marauders from both sides. 

One day it was whispered abroad that a 

IReutral 0rount>" 


rather stronger party of Skinners than usual 
was about to visit the district of lower East- 
chester. Several of the people came together, 
unhung the bell of the "Old East Chester 
Church," filled it with money and other valu- 
ables and buried it. Among these individuals 
were two brothers named Wilson. One of 
these young men, Harry, was a drunken, 
worthless chap, who had caused the death of 
his beautiful and devoted wife by his brutality, 
while the other seems to have been a very 
respectable member of society. Some time 
after the visit of the before-mentioned party 
of Skinners, both brothers (who were not on 
good terms) by a strange coincidence resolved 
to dig up the bell and procure the treasure on 
the same night. Harry, whose wife had re- 
cently died, came to the spot first, with the 
necessary tools, and also a bottle of his never- 
failing companion, brandy. The night was 
dark and cold, and the winter wind sighed in 
the old apple-tree over his head as he struck 
the first blow upon the frozen ground with 
his pick. The work was severe as the 
ground was hard from frost, but with the aid 
of many a pull upon the black bottle, he soon 
had the satisfaction of hearing the pick ring 
upon the metal of the bell. After cleaning out 
the dirt a little and taking a look at the precious 
things within, he sat down to rest and finish 
the last of the contents of his beloved bottle. 




Ube "IReutral OrounD" 




He had hardly done this and sent the empty 
vessel crashing amongst the stones and debris 
of the excavation, when he thought he saw a 
light approaching. He took an instant to as- 
sure himself he was not mistaken, then put 
out his own lantern and stepped behind a tree 
to await his visitor. In a few moments he 
saw his brother, pick in hand, advance to the 
spot, and heard him exclaim: "What! some- 
body has been here before me, but they must 
have left hurriedly, for nothing is taken." 
Harry waited no longer, but stepping from 
behind the tree, informed his brother that his 
time had come, and suiting his action to his 
words, seized his unfortunate victim by the 
throat. For a time they struggled, but the first 
comer, made strong by drink and frenzy, soon 
conquered, and left his opponent dead upon 
the ground. The next morning a neighbor dis- 
covered the remains, but the murderer was 
never seen again. Strange to say, however, he 
only took from the bell just what belonged to 
him, leaving the rest as he had found it. 

The remains of the murdered man were 
buried in the old churchyard from which the 
bell was taken, and a few days later his 
fiancee, who had died from the shock of the 
news, was laid by his side. The bell was 
soon replaced in the church tower, and 
rings out each Sunday morning, as it has done 
since the time of good Queen Anne. It is 

IReutrai <3roun&" 



said that upon every anniversary of this hor- 
rible event the bell tolls, and suppressed J^ 8 "' 

Ifiescuc of 

groans are heard in the time-honored tower. 6 

One evening an old Indian, the last of his 
race, sat at the door of his wigwam watching 
the fading rays of the chill October sun disap- 
pear from the western sky, when two rough- 
looking men and a dog crossed the farther 
end of the clearing. The chief, whose head 
the ashes of time had long since whitened, 
recognized the newcomers at once to be 
members of a band of Skinners, supposed 
some mischief might be brewing, and re- 
solved to follow the miscreants. They led 
him across a brook and through the woods, 
until they came to a small hut where a third 
member of the band was making a fire. The 
Indian secreted himself in some bushes within 
hearing and awaited events. One of the men 
whom he had followed hailed the man by the 
fire and said : 

"Did you get the girl, Paul?" 

"Yes, she is in the hut." 

" Did she tell where the old man's money 
was buried?" 


"Then she must die. Bring her out." 

The man called Paul disappeared within the 
hut, and soon returned leading a terrified but 
still beautiful young girl, whom the ruffians 
tied to a tree and then prepared to shoot. 


Ube "IReutral <3roun&" 


a L'oung 

"I will give you one more chance," said 
the man who appeared to be the leader. 
"Tell us where the money lies buried." 

"I know of no money," was the faint, 
gentle answer. 

"Then prepare to die. One hvo 

He raised his gun to fire at the word three, 
but before he could utter it the unerring aim 
of the Indian had sent a bullet through his 
heart, and before his companions could re- 
cover from their surprise the old chief rushed 
in with knife and tomahawk and despatched 
them both. He picked up the poor girl, who 
had fainted, and carried her to his wigwam, 
where she was soon revived. The poor old 
man, however, perished at the battle of White 
Plains while fighting gallantly in the Colonial 
army. 8 

But our tales are finished, and the "Neutral 
Ground " is neutral no longer. The great city 
has stretched out its long arms and encircled 
it in its grasp. The days of the Cowboy and 
the Skinner are over. The British soldier and 
his Hessian ally are seen no more. Clinton, 
Howe, Washington, and Lee, all sleep with 
their fathers, and the drum and the bugle of 
the Revolution are silent. 

" Soldier rest, thy warfare o'er, 

Sleep the sleep that knows no breaking; 
Dream of battle-fields no more, 
Days of danger, nights of waking." 

IReutral Orounfc" 



1. The name is taken from Jonas Broncks, one of the 

early proprietors of the district. 

2. The original owner of the property was Throgmorton. 

Throg's Neck is a corruption of Throgmorton's 

3. Thomas Pell was the first proprietor. 

4. The shot was fired by Lieutenant Paddock. 

5. We do not mean to assert that there was a thermometer 

as we understand it. 

6. Some thirty years ago this tree was cut down by the 

proprietor. Some of the wood has come into the 
possession of the writer, through a relative to whom 
it was given. It now forms a couple of book-cases. 

7. Some writers state that a Hessian officer committed 

this deed, but we think the Cowboy version is cor- 

8. The last two anecdotes were told to the writer by Mr. 

William L. Stone, the historian. 
R. A. BOLTON'S History of the County of IVestchester. 

New York, 1848. 

GENERAL HEATH'S Memoirs, Boston, 1798. 
Itinerary of General Washington, from June 15, 7775, to 

December 2}, fj8). Philadelphia, 1892. 

County, New York. Philadelphia, 1886. 
Works and Documents of William L. Stone. 
JOHN FISKE'S American Revolution. Boston, 1891. 
WILLIAM WATSON WALDRON'S Huguenots of IVestchester. 

New York, 1864. 
Guide to New Rochelle (1842). 

Papers on Yonkers, by HENRY B. DAWSON (26 copies printed 
for private circulation only.) Yonkers, 1866. 




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