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Containing over Three Hundred Superb Illustrations 

by Hosier, Parsons, Fredericks, Gibson, 

BoNviLLE, E. A. Abbey and others 

With rare old Engravings on Wood by Karst, Bookhunt, George 

F. Smith, Phil Meeder, Jr., Thomas L. Smart, A. Bobbit, John 

P. Davis, Joseph Harley and other Masters of this lost art 

Rare Portraits ^ Maps^ Documents^ Print s^ 

Engravings^ f^iewSy P/anSy etc. 

Also much Genealogical matter pertaining to the original 

Jf ounberg anb Settlers! of ^eto |9orfe Citp 



Reprinted from the Original Plates to Commemorate the Centennial of the 

1822 jWonroe Boctrine 1922 


Valentine's Manual, Inc. 

15 East 40TH Street 

^ Pi^j^ 

r. vT 


Coprri^t 1 87-, 1880, 1896 
•T A. S. Baucis Sc Co. 

Copyright 1921 

■Y VALDrnxi^t Man-cal, Inc. 

New VoftK 




Pr«»id«nt Washington. — Life in New York. — The John Street Theater. — Social Celebrities. 
— New Year's Day. —The Treasury Department. — The National Debt. —Oliver Wolcott. 
The Pnssident and his Secretaries. — The McOomb Mansion in Broadway. — Ori^n of the 
Tammanv Society. — Hamilton's Financial System. — Indian War in Ohio. — Indian Chiuf;* 
in New York City. — Vermont. — Arrival of Jefferson. — The City Treasurer. — Death of 
Kranklin. — Chancellor Liviuf^ton. — The Favorite Drive of New York. — Political Oueit- 
ti4in'». — The Permanent Seat of Government. — Aaron Burr. — New York Men and MeaK- 
urei*. — The Tontine Association. — New York Election 361 - 38tf 


Oiuvemeur Morris in France. — Effects of the French Revolution in New York. — Citizen 
G«iiet. — Hamilton and Jefferson. — The Two Political Parties. — Gouvemeur Morris re- 
called. — Wnr in Prospect. — Chief Justice .lav in England. — •* I^dford House.*' — Faniil v 
of Chief Ju.stice Jay. — The Whiskey Kebelfion. — Robespierre —Hamilton's Retiremnit 
fn>m the Treasury. — Lieutenant-Governor Van Cortlandt. —General Philip Van Cortlaiull. 
— The Election of Governor Jhv. — The Jay Treaty. — Events of the Summer of 1796. — 
The YeJ low Fever in New York. -Approj^riation' for Public Schools. — The New York 
Sicietv Library. — City Improvements. —The Subject of Slavery. —The Fresh Water 
Pund. '— Steam' Navigation. — Political Afifairs . . . 390-4:12 


Contemporaneous Description of the Citv. — The Streets and Buildings. — The Broadway. — 
The Government House. — The Park Theater. — The Drama. — Commerce of New York. — 
The Citv of Hudson and its Founders. — Society. — Intellectual Pursuits. — Marriages in 
High Life. — The Barclay Family. — A Ijove Itomance. — General Jacob Morton. — The 
Ludlow*. — Princes and Voblemen in New York. — Re-election of (Jovemor Jav. — !-.n»ii- 
lenant-Govemor Van Rentselaer. — The French Directory. — Money or War. — The Alien 
and Sedition Laws. — War Mea<(ures. — Duels. — Aan)h Burr's Bank — The CoinnitT- 
cial Advertiser — Burr and Hamilton. — Death of Washington. — Personal Sketches — 
Richard Varick. — Edward Livingston 4:W - 471 


The Presidential Tie. — Jefferson and Burr. — The New Cabinet. — The New York Contest for 
Governor. — Defeat of the Federalists. — The Livingstons in Power. — The Mayoralty of 
the Citv. — Duel of Philip Hamilton. — The Evening Post. — The Newspaper War. — Ufuel- 


in^. — Coleman and Cheetbam. — President Je£Fer9on. — The Granjg;e. — Tlieodosia Burr. — 
Dinner to the Indian Chief. — Burr's Independent Party. — Duelof De Witt Clinton and 
Swartwout. — Chancellor Livingston secures Louisiana. — De Witt Clinton appointed 
Mayor. — Burr's Struggle for the Governorship. — Resulu of the Stormy Election. — Hamil- 
ton's Libel Suit. — Burr challenges Hamilton. — Duel of Burr and Hamilton. — Sorrowful 
Scenes. — Death of Hamilton. — Burr's Movements. — Public Sentiment — Tomb of Ham- 
Uton 472-603 


New York Historical Society. — Its Founders. —Judge Egbert Benson. — John Pintard. — 
Origin of Historical Societies in America. — The Men of Letters. — The Elgin Botanical 
Garden. — Dr. Samuel l^ttliani Mitchill. —Clubs. — Origin of the Free School Society.— 
Its Purpose. — It.s Fouiiden«. — I humas Eddv. — Insane Asvlum. — Some of the Puolic- 
spirited Merchants. — The Friendly Club. — Philanthropic Lacfies. — The Ornhan Asylum. — 
Thirty -three Charitable Institutions. — The Academy of Fine Arts. — The Medical College. 
— Newspapers. — Salmagundi. — Washington Irving. — Urst Steamboat on the Hudson. — 
Robert Fulton. — Colonel John Stevens. — Inventions and Experiments. — Ocean Steam 
Navigation. — The Embargo of Jefferson 504-541 


Effects of the Embargo in New York. — Political Animosities. — Election of Governor Temp- 
kms. — The First Woolen Mills in New York. — Livingston Homes on the Hudson. — Oppo- 
sition to the Embargo. — Fashions of the Period. — &Udison's Eleciiou. — Partv Strifes m 
New York. — The Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Discovervof Manhattan Island. — The 
Banquet —The New Citv Hall.- Citv Half Park. —George Frederick Cooke. — Church 
Edifices of the City in 1812.— Canal S'treet. — The Grading and Extension of Streets.— 
Laying out of the whole Island into Streets and Avenues. — The Aldermen. — Colonel 
Nicholas Fish. —The Erie Canal in Contemplation. — Surveys. — War Prospects. — Cele- 
brated Characters 542-586 


Insecnrity of New York. --Condition of Europe. — Hostility to the War. — New York Priva- 
teers. — Plan of the Campaign. — Officers oi the Army. — Hull's Expedition to Detroit. — 
The New York Army. — General Van Rensselaer. — 'Alexander Macomb. — Death of Vice- 
President George Clinton. —Colonel Solomon Van Rensselaer. — The Niagara Frontier in 
1812. — Surrender of Detroit. — Massacre of Chicago. — Savages coming Out. — Creating 
an Inland Navy — Captain Isaac Chauncy. — New York Shipbuilders on the I^kes. — 
Fllliott's daring Exploit. — Storming of QueenstoM-n. — Defeat of the Americans. — Election 
of President — Commodore Iluir* Capture of the Guerriere. — Jones' Capture of the Frolic. 

— Decatur's Capture of the Macedonian. — The Victor^- of Bainbridge. — Banquet to the Vic- 
tors. — Peculiar Situation of New York City. — Shocking Massacre at Frenchtown. — Law- 
rence's Capture of the Peacock. — Celebration of Victory in New York. — Combat of the 
Chesapeake an<l Shannon. — Death <»f l.awrence. — Flxploitson the St. Lawrence. — Perry's 
Victoiy on I^ke Erie. — Recoverv of iXetroit. — Battle of the Thames. — Tecumseh killed. 

— Storming of Fort George. — The Bloi'kade of New York Citv. — Gardiner's Island. — 

The Creek 'War. — The Embargo ' . . . . 587-640 


Peace Commissioners. — The Battle of Chippewa. — Battle of Lundv*s Lane. — Sortie from 
Fort Erie. — llonors to the Heroic Commanders. — The City (»f Kew York in Alarm.— 
Citizen:* working on the Fortifications. — Cadwallader David Colden. — Burning of the City 
of Washington. — New Yt»rk City Currency. — Financial Affairs. — The September of Blood. 
The Temper of New York, —lialtimore' Assailed. — Invasion of New York throu/B^h Ijske 
Champlain. — Great Victory of McDonough and Macomb. — Privateers. — Captain Sam- 
uel Chester Reid. —Thrilling IMense of the General Armstrong. — Jackson's Defense of 
New Orleans. —The Fortifications of New York Citv. — New Eiigland's Opposition to the 
National Government — Naval Affairs. — Military Parade in New York City. — Darkness 
andGloom. — The Treatv of Peace. — The Sabbath of Thanksgiving 641-664 



New Tcrk Citj and Harbor. — Ellecto of the War. — Gnmd Ball in New Tork. — The Trea^ 
of Ghent. — Napoleoo's Return from Elba. — The Commercial Convention. — Diplomatic 
Aftur». — Philanthropy. — Importance of New York in History. — The Erie Canal Project. 
— De Witt CKnton. — the Canal Meeting. —Clinton's Celebrated Memorial. — Action of the 
Legislatnre. — The Canal Commissioners. — Importations. — Finances. — Slavery. — The 
new Canal Bill of 1817. — Incredulity. — Opposition. — The BatUe of the BUI. — Breaking 
Ground. — Charities. — The Deaf and Dumb Asylum. — Societies. — Sabbath Schools. — 
The Common-School System. — Emigration. — Pauperism in the City. — Designing the Na- 
tioQal Flag. — The First Savinss Bank. — The Yellow Fever. — Charles Matthews. — Ed- 
■lond Kean. — Interior of the Park Theater. — Social Life of New York. — President Mon- 
roe. — The Gouvemeurs of New York. — Great Political Blunder of 1824. — Re-election of 
Governor Clinton. — Lafayette's Arrival in New York Citv. — Breaking Ground for the Ohio 
Canal. — LdEayette*8 Tour through the Country. The Van Cortlandt Manor-house 665 - 69S 


Prraantiont Ibr Canal Celebration in New York City. — Opening of the Erie Canal. — The 
Fint Canal-boats reaching the Metropolis. — The Aquatic Display. — The Ceremony of 
■Biting the Waters of Lake Erie and Atlantic Ocean- — Procession in the Citv. — The tllu- 
■unation. — The Ball. — The Medals. — Modem New York. — Ma^or Philip Hone. — 
Fooadingof the Mercantile Library. — The New York Athenaeum. — Literary Men. — Early 
(labs of Naw York. — Residences of Prominent New-Yorkers in 1826. — Public Buildings 
efected. — Death of Adams and Jefferson. — The two Great New York Rivals. — Clintoirs 
Re-election. — The Leake and Watts Orphan Home. — John Watts. — Albert Gallatin. — 
IVsth of Clinton. — The Apprentices* Liorary. — Right Rev. John Henr}- Hobart. — Epis- 
copal llieological Seminary. — University of the City of New York. — Washington 
Square. — llie Union Theological Seminary. — Institution for the Blind. — First Horse-rail- 
road in the CHy. — Steam lx>comotives. — Return of Washington Irving from Europe. — 
RbUandDiatiirbanccs.— The Great Fire of 1835 696 726 


Xf w York suffering for Water. — Introduction of Gas. — The Croton Aqueduct. — Murray 
Hill Rewrvuir. — Croton River flowing into the City. — Celebration of the great Achievement. 

— Election of Martin Van Buren to the Presidency. — Financial Crisis of IS-ST. — Failures. — 
Suspension of Specie Payments by all the Banks in America. — Influence of James G. King. 

— England sending Gold to New York. — The Country Relieved. — Banks of 1880.— 
Moneyed Institutions. — Prisons. — The Tombs. — City Correctional and Charitable Insti- 
tion.*.' — Penny Journalism. — The Great Newspaper System. — Founding of the Prominent 
New York Journals. — The Italian Opera. — roets of 1837. — Columbia College Anniver- 
sary. — Dedication of the University. — Invention of the Magnetic Telegraph. — Adoption 
iA the Morse S^'stem. — Professor Samuel F. B. Morse. — Honors of the World. — Great 
PuUtica] Excitement of the Decade. — Victory of the Whigs. -The Great Fire of 1845 in 
New York City 727-747 


r^Dtnuits. — Area of the Cit^. — The Harbor in 1880. — Population. — Union Square. — 

Madison Square. — War wfth Mexico. — Discovery of Gold in California. — The Astor 

Place Riot. — The Seventh Regiment — The Astor Library. — John Jacob Astor. — The 

< nrstal Palace. — The Waddell Mansion. — Murray Hill. — (]^limpse of Social Life. — Fifth 

Avenue Residences. — The Churches of New Yo'rk. — Church Architecture. — Rev. Dr. 

H'tliiam Adams. — Sabbath Schools of the City in 1880. — Philanthropy. —Tenement 

Hou-ses. — Association for improving the Condition of the Poor. — Asylums. — Hospitals. — 

Kive Point*. — Archibald Russell. — Central Park. — Financial Crisis of 1857. — Police Riots. 

-The Atlantic Cable. — The Civil War. — Action of New York. — ITie Draft Riot. — 

Acaiirmv of Design. — William Cullen Br\-ant. — Assassination of Lincoln. — Union League 

I'lab. — 'Lenox Library. — Metropolitan Museum of Art. — Museum of Natural History. — 

i wper Institute- — iferchants and Public-spirited Citizens. — The Elevated Railroacfs. — 

The Brooklyn Bridge. — Conclusion 748-787 



Continnation of the Genenl History. — ** Thumb-Nail ** Sketches. — Method of Treat- 
ment. — '' The Capital City of America.'* — Resulto of '' Greater New York '* Movement. 
— ComplicatioDS. — Advance in the Arts. — Development of Architecture. — Criticism of 
Street Paving and Street Lighting. — Department nf Street Cleaning. — Blizzard of 188& — 
Cent^mial Celebration of Washington's luauguraiiou as President. — Washington Memo- 
rial Arch. — Centennial Celebration of the Supreme Court of the United States. — Colum- 
bian Celebration. — Naval Parade. — Grant Birthday Dinner. — Naval Exhibition. — 
Street-Car Disturbances. — IncreaMMl Facilities for 'Travel. — Surface Improvement, — 
Cleopatra's Needle. — Completion of the Brooklyn Bridge. — Contemplation of other 
Bridges. — New York HarUr. Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World. — *' The 
New Colossus."— New System of Dot»ks. - Immigration. —Marine Passenger Traffic. — 
Telephone System. — Sv'stem of Incandescent Electric Lighting. — Development of Elec 
tricity. — Military. — Fire Department. — Police Force. — Municipal Machinery.— Post 
Office Department. — Educational luMtitutions. — Churches and Mission Houses. — Do- 
mestic Life. — Hotels and Restaunuitf>. — Charitable Work. — Clubs. -- Amusements.— 
Acquisitiveness in Pictorial Art. — Collections of Rare and Fine Art. — Libraries. — Hos- 
pitals. — Valediction 789-866 


[NDEXBS 871 



Wa^kington visiting Congress in Wall Street 859 

The Collect, or Fresh- Water Pond 424 

Duel between Hamilton and Burr 492 

The First Steamboat on its way to Albany 582 

Canal Street as onginally designed 567 

illustration of the War of 1812 621 

Celebration of tht^ Completion of the Erie Canal 680 

Introduction of the Croton Water into New York City 781 

The Bay of New York 749 

Greati^r New York and Vicinity % 789 

Fifth Avenue at Madison Square To face 791 

Ma<tison Cottage *' 791 

Binl*s Eye View looking South from General Oranfs Tomb " 795 

View in City Hall Park •* 808 

Police Panwle «« 881 

Cathedral of St. John the Divine '* 839 

Fourth Avenue looking North from Southeast Corner of Twenty-first Street ** 844 

The Plaza Hotel, Metropolitan Club, Netherland Hotel, Savoy Hotel ... «* 846 

Roof and Tower, Madison Square Ganlen '* 854 

8l Luke's Hospital. The Library of Columbia College ** 862 



1. Portrait of Mrs. Ralph Izard . . 353 

2. Wolcott Arms 857 

3. The McComh Mansion .... 862 

4. Specimen of Pajier Money . . . 367 

5. Portrait of Chancellor Livingston 371 

6. Jay Arras 387 

7. Residence of General Matthew 

Clarkson 389 

8. R«widence of Chief-Justice Jay . 400 

9. Library of Chief-Justice Jay . . 402 
10. Testimonial to Lieutenant-Gover- 
nor Van Cortlandt .... 407 


11. Portrait of General Philip Van 

Cortlandt 408 

12. Van Wyck Arms 409 

13. New York Society Library Build- 

ing, 1795 418 

14. Portrait of Aaron Burr .... 432 

15. The Government House .... 435 

16. The Ludlow Mansion .... 445 

17. Ludlow Arms 446 

18. Portrait of Stephen Van Rensselaer 449 

19. Bridge at Canal Street in 1800 . 467 

20. Hammersley Arms 469 



21. Steam-EDgine House .... 471 

22. Portrait of Richard Varick ... 476 

23. One-Horse Chair, 1802 .... 481 

24. Hamilton's Couutry-Seat ... 482 

25. Portrait of Theodosia Burr ... 484 

26. Tomb of Hamilton 50^* 

27. Portrait of Judge Egbert Benson . 505 

28. First Free-Sobool Building ... 517 

29. Residence of Archibald Gracie . 521 

30. The Coster Mansion ..... 522 

31. Portrait of Washington Irving . 529 
82. Portrait of Robert Fulton ... 534 

33. Trevithick's Locomotive, 1804 . 537 

34. Portrait of Daniel D. Tompkins . 544 

35. City Hotel, Trinity Church, and 

Grace Church 554 

36. City Hall Park 557 

37. St. John's Church 561 

38. Foot of Canal Street and Hudson 

River 565 

39. "Corporation Improvements" . 570 

40. Portrait of (.'olonel Nicholas Fish 576 

41. Portrait of Dr. David Hosack . . 582 

42. Portrait of General Alexander 

Mtfx^omb 594 

43. George Clinton's Tomb .... 596 

44. Portrait of Colonel Solomon Van 

Rensselaer 599 

45. Portrait of Captain Isaac Chauncey 605 

46. Griswold Arms 612 

47. Portrait of Commodore Isaac Hull 615 

48. Portrait of Commodore Decatur . 618 

49. The Iiainbri«lge Urn 622 

50. Portrait of Captain James I^w- 

rence 624 

51 . Portrait of Commodore Perry . . 630 

52. Portraits of Lord and Lady Gar- 

diner 633 

53. Autograph and Seal of Lion (lar- 

diner 635 

54. Diodati Arms 636 

55. Thompson Arms 637 

56. Death of the Terrapin or the Em- 

bargo 640 

57. General Brown's Gold Box . . . 646 

58. New York Pa]»er Currency . . . 648 

59. Portrait of Cadwallader D. Colden 650 

60. Portrait of Captain Samuel C. 

Reid 655 

61. Silverware presented to Captain 

Reid 659 

^" Portrait of De Witt Clinton . . 669 

Deaf and Dumb Asylum . . . 679 

64. Interior of Park Theatre, 1822 . 684 

65. Portrait of Dr. Samuel Mitchill . 690 

66. Silverware of the Van Cortlandts 695 

67. Keg with Lake Erie Water . . 699 

68. Design upon Ball-Ticket ... 702 

69. Portrait of Mayor Philip Hone . 704 

70. Residence of Mayor Philip Hone 708 

71. Portrait of John WatU ... 712 

72. Portrait of Bishop Hobart . . 718 

73. Univereity of the City of New 

York 719 

74. Portrait of Cornelius W. Law- 

rence 723 

75. Odgen Arms 726 

76. Murray Hill Reservoir .... 729 

77. Portrait of James Gore King . . 734 

78. The Tombs 737 

79. Dutch Reformed Church ... 740 

80. Portrait of Professor Morse . . 743 

81. View from Union Square, North 749 

82. Waddell Mansion 756 

83. St. Patrick's Cathedral ... 759 

84. Portrait of Rev. Dr. Adams . . 761 

85. Roosevelt Arms 766 

86. Portrait of WUliamCuUen Bryant 776 

87. Elevated Railways 784' 

88. Bird's-eye Glimpse of Broadway . 787 

89. Comer of Nassau and Wall Streets 789 

90. New Street 790 

91. Broadway near Wall Street . . 79S 

92. Exchange Place 794 

93. New York Street Cleaning under 

the Old and New Regime . . 797 

94. Washington Arch 799 

95. Vanderbilt Dwellings and Fifth 

Avenue Stage 806 

96. The Mall, Central Park ... 809 

97. Brooklyn Bridge, crossing the 

East River 811 

98. Proposed North River Bridge at 

Twenty-second Street . . . 812 

99. W^ashington Bridge, Harlem River 815 

100. Bartholdi's Statue of Liberty, 

BtMlloe's Island 817 

101. Bulk Head Plan of Construction 820 

102. Immigrants Landing .... 822 

103. PropGMsed New Pien and Arriving 

Steamera 825 

104. Postman 838 

105. Commodore Vanderbilt • . . 846 
100. New and Old Tenement House 

Contrasts 849 

107. Yachting in the Lower Bay . . 852 


l.lltp of Collect, or FiMh-W*t«r Pond 423 

L Hip of a FUition of Bnadwaj in 1810 ft72 


L Banrr, J. H. Sichaodson, John Ka&bt, Jouk P. Davis, Priup Ubbdbe, Jos. 
Uarlkt, Jambs S. Fot, D. C. Hitchcock, E. A. Winuam, Richard M. 
Smakt, CBBimAii Webbb, Bookhout, Oeorob F. Smith, Thomas L. 3mabt, 





FuiiiDENT Wauhinoton. — LiFE IN New York. — Thb John Street Theater.— 
S«.¥:iAL Celebrities. — New Year's Day. — The Treasury Department. — The 
National Debt. — Oliver Woloott. — The President and his Secretaries.— 
The McComb Mansion in Broadway. -Origin of the Tammany Society.' — Ham- 
ilton's Financial System. — Indian War in Ohio. — Indian Chiefs in New York 
City. — Vermont. — Arrival of Jbfferson. — The City Treasurer. — Death of 
Franklin. — Chancellor Livinoston. — The Favorite Drive of New York. — 
PuLiTicAL Questions. —The Permanent Seat of Government. — Aaron Burr. 
— New York Men and Mbasurbs. — The Tontine Association. — New York 

THE winter of 1790 opened auspiciously. New York City was in 
promising health and picturesque attire. The weather until Feb- 
ruary was remarkably mild and lovely. " I see the President has returned 
fragrant with the odor of incense," wrote Trumbull to Wolcott in Decem- 
ber. " Tliis tour has answered a good political purpose, and in a great 
measure stilled those who were clamoring about the wages of Congress." 
Tlie community at large was full of pleasing anticipations. Peo- 
ple flocked into the metropolis from all quarters, and the presence 
of iri> much dignity of character, statesmanship, legal learning, culture, 
and so<nal elegance produced new sensations, aspirations, and ambitions. 

Washington was the observed of all observers. His wonderful figure, 
which it has pleased the present age to clothe in cold and mythical dis- 
guises, was neither unreal nor marble. He stood six feet three inches in 
liis slippers, well-proj)ortioned, evenly developed, and straight as an arrow. 
He had a long muscular arm, and probably the largest hands of any man 
m New York. He was fifty-eight, with a character so firm and true, 
kindly and sweet, kingly and grand, as to remain unshaken as the air 
▼hen a boy wings his arrow into it, through all subsequent history. His 
j^rat will-power and gravity seem to have most attracted the attention 
y\ mankind. His abilities as a business man, the accuracy of his ac- 
v^'Unts, which through much of his life he kept with his own hand, and 
HU boundless generosity should also be remembered. He took care of his 


money ; at the same time he cast a fortune worth at least three quar- 
ters of a million into the scale — to be forfeited should the Revolution 
fail But the greatest of all his traits was a manly self-poise founded 
upon the most perfect self-controL He was withal essentially human, 
full of feeling, emotional, sympathetic, and sometimes passionate. He 
was fond of society, converaed well, enjoyed humor in a quiet way, and 
was sensitive to the beauty and open to the appeal of a good story. 

While loyal to every duty, and closeted with Jay, Hamilton, and 
Knox for hours each day in shaping the conduct of the departments, he 
found time for healthful recreation. The citizens of New York grew 
accustomed to his appearance upon the streets in one or another of his 
numerous equipages, or on horseback, and on foot His diary throws 
many a domestic and private light upon the pleasing picture. He tells 
us, for instance, how after visiting the Vice-President and his wife one 
afternoon, at Richmond Hill, with Mrs. Washington, in the post-chaise, 
he walked to Rufus King's to make a social call, "and neither Mr. King 
nor his lady was at home, or to be seen." On another occasion he sent 
tickets to Mrs. Adams, Mrs. Greene, General Philip and Mrs. Schuyler, 
Secretary and Mrs. Hamilton, and Mr. and Mrs. Rufus King, inviting them 
to seats in his box at the little John Street theater. Music commenced 
and the audience rose the moment Washington and his friends entered 
the building. The play was Darby's Return, written by William Dunlap. 
Darby, an Irish lad, proceeded to recount his adventures in New York 
and elsewhere, to his friends in Ireland. Washington smiled at the 
humorous allusion to the change in the government: — 

"Here, too, I saw some mighty pretty shows — 
A revolution without blood or blows ; 
For, as I understood, the cunning elves, 
The people all revolted from themselves." 

But at the lines : — 

*' A man who fought to fi«e the land from woe, 
Like me, had left his farm a soldiering to go, 
Then having gained his point, he had, liJx ww, 
Returned, his own potato ground to see. 
But there he could not rest. With one accord 
He is called to be a kind of — not a lord — 
I don't know what ; he 's not a great wian, sure, 
For poor men love him just as he were poor* ; 

the eyes of the audience were fixed curiously upon the President, who 
changed color slightly, and looked serious ; when Kathleen asked, 

" How looked he, Darby ? Was he short, or tall ?" 



tod Darby replied that be did sot see him, because he bad mistabeo a 
man ' all lace and glitter, botherum and shine," for him, until the sbow 
was oat of sight, Washington's features relaxed and he indulged in a 
fse and hearty laugh. 

The next day, Washington says he called upon Chief Justice Jay and 
Secretary Knox on business, made informal visits to Governor Clintoi^ 
Ur. Ralph Izard, General Philip Schuyler, and Mrs. DaltoD, entertained 
Dr. Johnson, lady and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Izard and son, and 
Chief Justice Jay at dinner; "after which went with Mrs. Washington 
to the dancing assembly, and remained until ten o'clock." 

Urs. Izard had spent several winters prior to the Revolution in the 
brilliant society of London, after which she bad resided in Paris, accom- 
panied her husband to the Court of the Orantl Duke of Tuscany, 
■nd vfsited nearly all the 
points of interest on the Eu- 
ropean Continent. She was 
handsome, witty, and univer-' 
mlly admired. She was a 
New York lady, as the reader 
has hitherto learned, one of 
the famous De Lancey family 
■0 conspicuous in New York's 
public affairs, the granddaugh- 
ter of Lieutenant-Governor 
Colden, great-granddaughter 
of Steplianus Van Cortlandt, 
the first lord of the manor, 
with a line of distinguished 
aii'i'strj- reaching backward 
to the very first little dorp on 
Miinhattan Island. Her mar- 
riime with the accomplished 

Ralph Izaid of Charleston, '*2^^^"T 

S..uib CaroUna, in 1767, whose (>"™ "« i-i-'i^-t '■» oj.T.i-™«h i 

olucation at the University of Cambridge liad engendered foreign tastes, 
w»d whose bberal fortune had enabled him to gratify them, separated 
bet in a measure from the influences conspiring to attach the De Linceys 
u> the Crown, Her affections and her syin(>iithies must have been 
ievervly tried, fur while she was niovinj; in the honored circle of tlie 
I m-fst illustrious character in inndeni liistory, her favorite lirother, who 
had ci'nunanded the forces raised to fight for the king in Westchester. 


was an exiled wanderer from the land of his birUL Her sister, Mrs. 
John Watts, resided in Broadway ; and during the first session of the 
first Congress entertained Senator Izard and his family in the spacious 
Watts mansion. While Mrs. Izard was in London her portrait was 
painted by Gainsborough. One of Copley's finest pictures represents 
both Mr. and Mrs. Izard in a Eoman palace, with a window in the back- 
ground looking out on one of the most interesting parts of the Eternal City. 

Washington's note-book affords further bewitching glimpses of the 
inner life of the city at this period. On the 10th of December Mrs. 
Kufus King, Colonel and Lady Kitty Duer, Senator and Mrs. William 
Few, Mr. and Mrs. Harrison, Miss Brown, Oliver and Mrs. Wolcott, 
Cyrus Griffin, former President of Congress, and Lady Christiana and 
daughter were guests at the President's tabla On the 12th he " exer- 
cised with Mrs. Washington and the children in the coach between break- 
fast and dinner — went the fourteen miles round." On the 14th, ''walked 
round the Battery in the afternoon." On the 16th, " dined with Mrs. 
Washington at Governor Clinton's, in company with the Vice-President 
and Mrs. Adams, Colonel and Mrs. Smith, Mayor Richard Varick (recent- 
ly elected) and wife, and the Dutch Minister, Van Berckel, who had just 
returned from Europe with his daughter. It would seem that the Presi- 
dent's family rarely dined alone. On the 17th the company consisted of 
Chief Justice and Mrs. Jay, Senator Rufus King, Colonel and Mrs. Law- 
rence, Egbert Benson, Bishop Provost, Rev. Dr. Linn and his wife, and 
Mrs. Elbridge Gerry. On Christmas, which was Friday, the following 
entry is characteristic of the great man who penned the lines : " Went to 
St Paul's Chapel in the forenoon. The visitors to Mrs. Washington this 
afternoon were not numerous, but respectable." On Saturday, the 26th, 
the President mentions exercise on horseback, and teUs us that Chief 
Justice Morris, Mayor Varick, and their ladies. Judge Hobart, Colonel 
Cole, Major Gilraan, Miss Brown, Secretary Samuel A. Otis of the Senate, 
and Mr. Beekley dined with him. On the Tuesday following he records 
a storm, and " not a single person appearing at his levee." On the last 
day of the outgoing year his dinner-table was enlivened by the Vice- 
President and Mrs. Adams, Colonel and Mrs. Smith, Chancellor and Mrs. 
Livingston, and Miss Livingston, one of the Chancellor's sisters. Baron 
Steuben, Elbridge G^rry, George Partridge, Thomas Tudor Tucker, and 
Alexander White from North Carolina. 

New Year's day brought a cessation of all kinds of labor. During the 
early morning hours the streets were pervaded with a Sabbath stillness. 
But as the day waned handsome equipages laden with gentle- 
men in the showy costume of the day moved rapidly from 


point to point, and the narrow sidewalks were filled with pedestrians 
stepping briskly along as if impelled by some unusual and agreeable 
impulsa The custom of making New Year's calls was one of the peculiar 
institutions of New York. It was a novelty to Washington. It had 
been introduced by the Dutch with the first settlement on Manhattan 
Island, and the Huguenots had helped to perpetuate the pleasant ob- 
servance. No other American city or town had then even so much as 
thought of borrowing the fashion — and it was likely to find little favor 
in plac^ more purely of English origin and population. 

Between the hours of twelve and three o'clock the President was 
visited by the Vice-President, the governor, the senators, and representa- 
tives, foreign public characters, and all the principal gentlemen of the 
city, either in public or private life. Later in the afternoon a great 
number of gentlemen and ladies visited Mrs. Washington, as usual, the 
day being Friday. In the evening such guests as remained were seated 
and served to tea, coflfee, and plum and plain cake. We can almost see 
Washington in the flesh, as, balancing in his hand one of the exquisite 
cups and saucers for which his table was famous, he asked of *a New- 
Vorker near him whether such usages were casual or otherwise, and 
being told that New Year's visiting had always been maintained in the 
city, observed : " The highly favored situation of New York will, in the 
process of years, attract numerous emigrants, who will gradually change 
its ancient customs and manners ; but whatever changes take place, never 
foiget the cordial and cheerful observance of New Year s Day." 

John Pintard, then a young man of fashion, says many persons took 
advantage of the day to pay their respects to Washington who were per- 
sonally unacquainted with him, but no one complained of the stateliness 
which about this time alarmed a sagacious Virginia colonel for the safety 
of the Republic. The latter stated at the table of Governor Randolph 
that Washington's "bows were more distant and stiflF" than any he hacf 
seen at the Court of St. James ! The critic's words reached Washington's 
ears, who calmly expressed his sorrow that his bows should not have 
been acceptable, as they were the best he was master of " Would it not 
have been better," he asked, "to throw the veil of charity over them, 
ascribing their stiffness to the effects of age, or to the unskillfulness of 
my teacher, rather than to pride and dignity of oflBce ? " 

New York City was then regarded by all good puritanical New-Eng- 
landers as a " vortex of folly and dissipation." But the mother of Oliver 
Wolcott, on the same New Year's evening while Mrs. Washington was dis- 
pensing hospitalities, holding an open letter in her hand written from the 
capital eleven days before by her subsequently distinguished son, read 


as follows : " There appears to be great regularity in the city. Hon- 
esty is as much in fashion as in Connecticut, and I am persuaded that 
there is much greater attention to good morals than has been supposed 
in the country. So far as observance of the Sabbath is a criterion 
of religion, a comparison between this city and many places in Connecti- 
cut would be in favor of New York. We have not been able to hire a 
house, and shall continue in lodgings till the spring. Great expense is 
not required, nor does it add to the reputation of any person." 

As Washington himself, on his late tour through Cbnnecticut, on one 
occasion passed thirty-six hours at a very poor country tavern because 
" it was contrary to law and disagreeable to the people of the State to 
travel on the Sabbath day," and New York did not suffer by comparison 
in the mind of a keen Connecticut observer, the inference is clear. ^ 

Oliver Wolcott had been appointed Auditor of the Treasury in Sep- 
tember, at a yearly salary of fifteen hundred dollars,^ an office which he 
hesitated about accepting. Hamilton wrote to him, " I am persuaded you 
will be an acquisition to the department I need scarcely add that your 
presence here as soon as possible is essential to the progress of business." 
Ellsworth furnished him with an estimate of the cost of living in New 
York, and remarked that he could keep his expenses within one thousand 
dollars per annum, unless he should change his style, which was wholly 
•unnecessary. Wolcott, after reaching the city and instituting personal 
investigations, decided to enter the service. He wrote to his wife an- 
nouncing the fact, saying, " The example of the President and his family 
will render parade and expense improper and disreputabla" Writing a 
few days later to his father upon the condition of affairs, he said, " What 
arrangements are in contemplation with respect to the public debt I have 
not been able to learn, though I believe, from the character and manners 
of the Secretary, that they will be prudent, sensible, and firm." 

The organization of the Treasury Department occupied much time. 
The machinery must be constructed upon a plan of indefinite expan- 
sion, suited to every object and exigency of the great untried future. 
The numberless official forms to be used in every branch of business were 

1 Diary of Washington. 

* Oliver EUsworth wrote to Oliver Wolcott, September 12, 1780, aa follows: "The 
Treasury Department is at length arranged and filled. 

Secretary, salary, $8,500, Colonel Hamilton of New York. 

ComptroUer '< 2,000, Mr. Eveleigh of South Carolina. 

Auditor " 1,500, Oliver Wolcott, Jr., of Connecticut. 

Register '< 1,250, Mr. Nonrse, Pennsylvania. 

Treasurer " 2,000, Mr. Meridith, Pennsylvania. 
I think your merit would have justified your standing higher on the list, but yon are young 
enough to rise, and I believe you ought to accept the appointment.*' — Fdmily Archives. 



to be prescribed for the first time ; custom-houses and loan-offices r^u- 
bted ; provision made for the efficient collection and distribution of the 
leveoue ; the accounts of receipts and expenditures systematized ; in all 
of which the easy attainment of complete information at the Treasury 
was to be united with the preservation of central and local accountability. 
Eveiythirig connected with the finance of the country was in a state of 
almost inextricable confusion. The national debt, originating chiefly in 
the Revolution, was of two kinds, foreign and domestic. The foreign 
debt, amounting to nearly twelve millions, wa.t due to France, Holland, 
and a fraction to Spain. The domestic debt, due to individuals in 
America for loans to the goveraiiient or supplies furnished to the army, 
reached forty-two millions. Another class of debts, amounting to some 
twenty-five millions, rested upon a different footing ; the States iudividu- 
ally had constructed works of defense within their respective limits, and 
a(l%'anced pay, bounties, provisions, clothing, and munitions of war to 
Continental troops. Hamilton proposed not only that the foreign debt 
should be paid strictly according to the terms of contract, but that all 
domestic debts, including those of the particular States, should be funded, 
and that the nation should become responsible for their payment to the 
full amount. 

Oliver Wolcott' was a young man of thirty, but not without experience 
in finance, having been for nine years almost constantly employed by his 

' For the origin of the Wolcott family 
■■pinvming the Wuhiitt coat of 
iLln-. John of Wolcc, duighU-r of Sir 
(•id. Knight, trun a gaint 
tbf king through skill- 
■litrpapoii Henry, in tvl- 
•vfnt. I'hangnl Wolcott's 
inz'.a.stleioii the shield in 
s>i/a"j Hidtn-y of Ancifnt 
•anH-lq .\irKH<'.-i in 1630^ 
tr>t vtllen of Windsir ; 
'roAtiyrt provwdings of 
' I'BDWticut ; ajiii waa an- 
"/u. ill of the latter SUt« 
.li.u> luarHi^l Matth^H- 
-.ri-.t if .'Uybrook, an.l 
!-..!._• Lrr illustrious lie- 
>SL-t, \V„l.-..ri,one of the 
■-V l«iiiiiful Martha Pit- 
«- Ih*- famoui Covrmar Koger Wol. 
.( till niitiHTOU'' ehiWran werr < 
lijiial [b« L>t--.laratiuJi of luilu|i 


natdve State in public matters of a financial character. Since 1788 he 
had been Comptroller of Connecticut He belonged to that line of 
remarkable men of whom it was said that "none other in America 
were more honored and trusted." Indeed, as a matter of history, no 
family on this continent has preserved through all its generations a 
purer fame. 

There was yet no recognized cabinet ; and, strictly speaking, no cabinet 
meetings,. according to the usual ministerial consultations at the courts of 
Europe. The secretaries were the President's auxiliaries rather than 
counselors. He called them together in council at intervals, but it was 
chiefly to give them instructions ; for the cabinet as an advisory body 
was unknown to the Constitution and the laws of Congress. The Presi- 
dent was made responsible for the administration of the departments, 
and although he drifted into the habit of consulting with the secretaries, 
such a course was wholly at his option. In England, according to long- 
established usages, if the ministers^ being the heads of the govern- 
mental departments, failed to command the confidence of a majority 
in the House of Commons, a ministerial disruption immediately fol- 
lowed, and the sovereign intrusted the formation of a new cabinet to a 
person in favor with that majority. Such change defeated one system 
of politics and established another. But Congress, although, in the prac- 

Matthew GriswoM of Lyme, and was the mother of Governor Roger Griswold — the lady who 
had eleven governors among her own immediate family connections and descendants, with at 
least thirty judges, and numerous lawyers and clerg>'men of prominence. The Wolcotts have 
intermarried with many New York families, and their descendants are nearly as numerous 
in the New York of to-day as in Connecticut. 

Oliver Wolcott, the financier, and third governor in the Wolcott family (bom 1760, died 
•1833), was the son of Governor Oliver Wolcott, senior, and a graduate from Yale in 1778. 
He married Elizabeth Stoughton. He was the Comptroller of the U. S. Treasury from 1791 to 
1795, and Secretary of the Treasury from 1795 to 1800, when he was appointed Judge of the 
United States Circuit Court. In 1802 he removed to New York City, and soon after com- 
menced an extensive manufacturing enterprise at Wolcottville, near Litchfield, in connection 
with his brother Frederick, who married Betsy Huntington of Norwich ; among the children 
of the latter is Frederick Henry Wolcott of Astoria, Long Island. Mary Ann Wolcott, the 
youngest sister of Oliver and Frederick, was the distinguished beauty who married Chauneey 
Goodrich. The wife of Oliver Ellsworth, the chief justice, was Abigail Wolcott, cousin of 
the governor. Nearly all the Wolcott ladies were celebrate<l for personal beauty. None 
more so, however, than Jenisha Wolcott, daughter of Samuel, the brother of Governor Oliver 
Wolcott, senior, who married Epaphras Bissell, a descendant of John Bissell, one of the 
founders of Windsor, and projector of the first ferry across the Connecticut River ; her sister 
Sophia married Martin Ellsworth, son of the chief justice. Edward, eldest son of Epaphras 
and Jerusha Bissell, married Jane Ann Maria Reed in 1823, whose second son. Dr. Arthur 
Bissell of New York, married Anna Browne, daughter of Judge Browne of Rye, New York, a 
descendant of Thomas Browne of Rye, England, one of the original founders of the town of Rye, 
New York, himself a descendant from Sir Anthony Browne, standard-bearer of England, 
whose wife was daughter of Marquis of Montague — brother of the Earl of Warwick. 


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tioe of lequiring the heads of departments to appear in person and give 
explanations upon any desired subject during Washington's administra- 
tion, had no power to disturb such officials, and regarded them as under 
the executive, and of subordinate importance.^ 

Hamilton was not slow in applying all the skill and method of which 
he was master to the production of an elaborate report of the condition 
of the Treasury ; he also unfolded, his plans for the maintenance of the 
public credit, and on Saturday, the 2d of January, submitted 
both to the President, who, after reading, and conversing for 
some time with the secretary on the subject, walked to Chief Justice 
Jay's residence, with whom he still further discussed the important 
matter, remaining to drink tea informally with the chief justice and 
his fiunily. Secretary Knox presented his report of the state of the 
frontiers to the President on the 4th, the day on which commenced the 
second session of the first Congress. 

It is interesting to note the formalities observed by President Wash- 
ington in his early intercourse with the legislative branch of the govern- 
ment Following the example of the king and parliament of Great 
Britain, he inaugurated a custom of delivering in person his message on 
the opening of Congress to the two houses sitting in a joint session — 
which was subsequently abandoned. Arrangements having been per- 
fected by a committee, he drove on Friday, the 8th, at eleven 
o'clock in the morning, to Federal Hall in Wall Street, in a coach ^*^ ^ 
«lrawn by six horses preceded (quoting his own language) " by Colonel 
Humphreys and Major Jackson in uniform, on my two white horses, 
and followed by Messrs. Lear and Nelson in my chariot, and Mr. Lewis, 
on horseback, following them In their rear was the Chief Justice of 
^the United States, and the Secretaries of the Treasury and War Depart- 
ments, in their respective carriages, and in the order they are named. 
At the outer door I was met by the door-keepers of the Senate and House, 
and conducted to the door of the Senate-Chamber; and passing from 
thenoe to the chair through the Senate on the right, and the House on 
the left, I took my seat. The gentlemen who attended me followed and 

1 " In the month of July the Senate ordered that the Secretary- of Fonujoi Affaire attend 
th« Senate to-morrow, and bring with him such papere as are requisite to ^nve full iuforma- 
don lektiTe to the consular convention Iwtween France and the UnitiMl States. The 
swmrtmry appeared according to the resolution, and made the mjuired explanations. Tin- 
»*vretarirt were the creatures of the law, not of the Constitution ; an<l for that reason Mr. 
J-ffrnon was of opinion that neither branch of Congress had a right to call upon the head> 
of the departments for information or jMipere, except through the President. That pnicticr 
r.-L-* long since been abandoned ; and all communications l)etwet»n the houses of Congress and 
:b- departments are by correspondence." — Shaffner'sIIiMory of America^ Div. III. 


took their stand ' behind the Senators; the whole rising as I entered. 
After being seated, at which time the members of both Houses also sat, I 
rose, as they also did, and made my speech ; delivering one copy to the 
President of the Senate, and another to the Speaker of the House of 
Kepresentatives — after which, and being a few moments seated, I retired, 
bowing on each side to the assembly (who stood) as I passed, and de- 
scending to the lower hall, attended ^ before, I returned with them to 
my house." 

The importance attached to details in the mind of Washington is curi- 
ously revealed in his circumstantial diary. When consulted as to the 
time and place for the delivery of the answers of the Senate and House 
to his speech, he decided upon Thursday, at the hours of eleven 
and twelve, and named his own residence ; giving as reasons for 
choosing this place, that it seemed most consistent with usage and 
custom, and because there was no third room in Federal Hall prepared 
to which he could call the gentlemen, and to go into either of the cham- 
bers appropriated to the Senate or Kepresentatives did not seem proper. 
Accordingly, " at the hours appointed, the Senate and House presented 
their respective addresses, the members of both coming in carriages, 
and the latter with the Mace preceding the Speaker. The address of the 
Senate was presented by the Vice-President, and that of the House by 
the Speaker thereof." After the ceremony, twelve members remained to 
dine with the President. 

The same day Hamilton appeared before Congress with his proposition 
for the funding of the public debt He presented the subject clearly, 
and with such courage and consistency that his arguments carried great 
weight He said the foreign debt should be paid strictly according to 
the terms of the contract, and this no one pretended to deny. But when 
he touched upon the domestic debt, a multiplicity of objections were im- 
mediately aroused ; and his fearless advocacy of making no difference 
between the creditors of the Union and those of the States, because both 
descriptions of debt were contracted for the same objects, gave rise to 
some of the most exciting debates ever heard in our Congressional halls. 
As the national legislators comprised a large portion of the prominent 
characters of the country, and the two parties, friends and opponents of 
Federal principles, were about equally balanced, every subject being 
discussed with direct reference to its bearings on State sovereignty — the 
original apple of discord — a glimmer of the violence of the tempest may 
be perceived from the first Hamilton proposed to open a loan to the 
full amount of the debt, as well of the particular States as of the Union ; 
and to enable the Treasury to bear an increased demand upon it, he 


recommended an increase of duties on imported wines, tea, etc., and a 
duty on home-made liquors. 

The sharpest controversy hinged on the assumption of the State debts, 
and the terms as to the period of payment and rate of interest of the 
general debt thus proposed to be established. The debts of the respec- 
tive States were very unequal in amount ; and investigations concerning 
the services rendered by each State brought to the front all the local 
prejudices of a century, and all manner of invidious comparisons. An- 
other prominent question upon which the members were almost evenly 
divided was the payment of the whole amount, rather than the mere 
market value of the government paper. This paper had in most cases 
passed through many hands, and was immensely depreciated below its 
nominal value. The original creditors, therefore, and the subsequent 
holders, had lost in proportion to the scale of depreciation. The proposal 
to assume the whole debt as it stood on the face of the paper, and pay it 
to the present holders, was said to be inequitable, inasmuch as these had 
purchased it at the depreciated value, and had no claim to be remuner- 
ated for the losses of the previous holders. 

Other business of grave importance came before this session of Con- 
gress in New York City, not least of which was the enumeration of in- 
habitants of the. Union, the establishing of a uniform rule of naturaliza- 
tion, the providing of means of intercourse with foreign nations, and for 
T^ating treaties and trade with the Indians, and the location of the 
pennanent seat of government. 

Meanwhile the city was gay with all manner of festivities public and 
private — the balls and dinners were more numerous than the evenings 
—and the principal statesmen were constantly meeting in social circles, 
and everywhere discussing the great topics of the hour. Mrs. Washing- 
ton's levees on Friday evenings were largely attended, and Mrs. Jay, 
Mis. Hamilton, and Mra. Knox each had a special evening, aside from 
giving dinners every week. 

The residence of Washington in Franklin Square proved inconvenient 
on account of the great distance out of town, and as Postmaster-General 
Osgood wished to return to his house, having lived at his country-seat 
three miles to the north during the interim, the President arranged on the 
1st of February for removal to the McComb mansion in Broadway, a little 
Wow Trinity Church — the former residence of the French minister. 
On the 3d he tells us that he visited the various apartments of his future 
home, " and made a disposition of the rooms, fixed on some furniture of 
the Minister's to be sold, and directed additional stables built " ; on the 
6th, he walked to the place to decide upon the exact site for the projected 



Htjibles ; on the 13th, walked ^^in down Broadway to the new hou-se 
iiiid gave directious for the arrangement of the furniture; and on the 
2llth, entered the following paragraph in his diary : " Sat from nine until 
eleven for Mr. TrumhuU. Walked 
afterwards to my new house — then 
, rode a few miles with Mrs. Washing- 
ton and the children before dinner; 
after which I agani visited my new 
house, in my coach (because it rained)." 
The appointments of the Broadway 
residence were ostensibly arranged for 
substantial comfort, but such were the 
tastes and habits of Washington, and 
the fashion of the times, that the whole 
mansion when prepared for his occu- 
pancy had a very luxurious air. Pic- 
tures, vases, and other articles of orna- 
ment had been brought from Mount 
Vernon, china and glaas were imported, much of it having been made to 
order, and the old family plate was melted and reproduced in more el^ant 
and shapely style. The tea-service was particularly massive, the salver 
twenty-two inches long by seventeen wide, and every piece bore the family 
arms. The President's birthday, for the first time being celebrated in 
nearly all the large cities of the Union, and honored by the "Tammany 
Society or Columbian Order," in New York,' with resolutions to commem- 
orate the occasion forever afterward, was chiefly employed by him in super- 
intending the transfer of his furniture ; and on Tuesday the 23d, after 

' Shortly ifter Wanhington's inauguration, M»y 12, 1788, the "Tammuiy Society or 
Columbian Order" was founded. It waa composed at R rat of the moderate men of both politi- 
cal pnrties, auil Beema not to have been recognized as a party institution until the time of 
JeHi'rson as President, 'WilUsm Mooney was the first Grand Sachem ; his succesaor in 17M 
was William Pitt Smith, and in 1791 Josiah Ogden HofTman received the honor. Joho 
PinUrd was the lirat Sagamore. De Witt Clinton was scribe of the council in 1761. It traa 
stictly a national society, baseil on the principles of patriotism, and had for iti at^ect tte 
]>erpetuation of a true love for our own country. Aboriginal forma and ceremoniet were 
adopted in IIh incorjioration ; the year waa divided into wasons of bloaioms, fraita, and 
snovi'B, and Che seasons Into moons. Its officeni were a Grand Sachem — chosen from thirteen 
sachenia — a Sagsmore, and a Wiskinskie. This was dons partly to conciliate the ni 
tribes of Indians who were devastating our defenaeleaa frontiers, and partly U 
anti-repuhliciin {irini'lples of the Society of the Cincinnati. It was named from TamrunT, 
the celebrated Indian chief whose legendary history has been curioualy sketched by Dr. 
Mitchell. To John Trumbull, the author, belongs the distinction of lirat originating the deng- 
nation "St. Tammany." He thought, it ia aaid, it not worth while to let Great Britada 
uiODopollze all tlic saints in Uit calendar, and so chose a genuine American gi 


dinner, he wrote, " Mrs. Washington, myself, and children removed and 
lodged in our new habitation." 

The Indians about this time appeared determined to prevent through 
fatrbarous depredations the existence of towns beyond the Ohio River. 
A New England company, formed in 1787, had purchased a large ter- 
ritory from the general government, and commenced settlements the 
following year, of which Marietta was the first. But the savages Iibl' 
noBied the settlers so perpetually that Congress directed Knox to investi- 
gate the whole subject, who, in his able report, stated that over fitfteen 
hundred persons had either been murdered or carried iuto captivity 
daring the two years since 1788, and an immense amount of property 
destroyed. Vigorous steps to check the mischief weie at once taken. 
Washington had hoped to give security to the pioneers of Ohio by pacific 
amngements, but found it necessary to institute offensive operations in 
that direction, which, beginning in the summer of 1790, were not termi- 
uted until after the signal victory of General Wayne in 1794. 

In the Carolinas and Greorgia the Indians quarreled with their white 
neighbors ; and the Spaniards tampered with the Creeks of Alabama, 
Georgia, and Florida, furnishing them with fire-arms and clothing. Sev- 
eiml attempts had been made hitherto by the government, without sue- 
ceas, to treat with these latter tribes. An ingenious plan was devised in 
February to lure their great chief, Alexander McGillivray, an educated half- 
breed, to New York City, for the purpose of convincing him of the propri- 
fitr of a treaty to avert the calamities of war, about to be precipitated by 
ihe disorderly and disrepuUible people of both nations. On the 
l*Kh of March Washington held a long conversation with Colonel 
Marinus Willett, who had agreed to undertake a mission to the Creeks 
which must necessarily be conducted in the most delicate manner, and 
who shortly started for their country at the South. On the 1st of July 
•official information reached the President that Willett was on his return, 
ioeompanied by McGillivray and twenty-eight of his principal chiefs 
iikd warriors, and had advanced as far as Hopewell, in South Carolina. 
Messages were at once sent to the governors of Virginia, Maryland, and 
Pennsylvania, requesting them to show every possible respect to the 
Qavelers, at the public expense. 

Their arrival in New York created a sensation. The members of the 
Tunmany Society, arrayed in Indian costume, went out to meet them, 
with the military, and escorted them, to the house of Secretary Knox 
There they were received with great ceremony. They were then taken 
iZkd introduced to the President, and from thence to Governor Clinton ; 
4ftcr which they dined at the city tavern, Knox and a great number 


of distinguished mec being present They remained in the city about six 
weeks. A military review by the President and Secretary Knox, for 
their benefit, on Colonel Eutgers's grounds, July 27, was rendered mem- 
orable by the large array of officers in fuU uniform. On the 2d of August 
the Indians were entertained with a great banquet, at which were present 
all the notable statesmen of the day. The Tammany Society enlivened 
the occasion with songs, and the Creek sachems danced. The orators of 
both parties made bng speeches, and wine flowed freely. Washington 
dined several of the chiefs one day at his own table, and afber the meal 
invited them to walk down Broadway. Curious to see the effect upon 
the savage mind of the large full-length portrait of himself which Trum- 
bull had just completed for the city corporation, he led them suddenly 
into its presence. They stood stiff and mute with astonishment for some 
minutes. One of the chiefs finally advanced and touched the cold flat 
surface with his hand, exclaiming, " Ugh ! ^' Each of the others slowly 
followed his example, and aU turned away, suspicious of the art which 
could imprint a great soldier, dressed for battle, and standing beside his 
war-horse, upon a strip of canvas. TrumbuU afterwards tried in vain to 
obtain their portraits. Knox, after some time spent in preliminaries, 
succeeded in negotiating the terms of a satisfactory and much-desired 
treaty, which, indeed, ceded to the Indians nearly all the disputed terri- 
tory, and which was ratified in Federal Hall with great ceremony on the 
13th of August. Washington and his suite appeared at noon of that 
day in the Hall of Bepresentati^es, and presently the Tammany sachems 
ushered in McGillivray and his chiefs, adorned with their finest feathera 
The treaty was read and interpreted ; and the President in a short forci- 
ble speech explained the justice of its various provisions — to each of 
which the Indian potentates grunted approval McGillivray made a short 
speech in reply ; the treaty was duly signed, Washington presented the 
chieftain with a string of wampum, for a memorial, with a paper of 
tobacco as a substitute for the ancient calumet, then came a general shak-' 
ing of hands, and the ceremonies were concluded by a song of peace, in 
which the Creek warriors joined in their own peculiar fashion. 

Early in March the legislature of New York appointed commissioners 
to settle, if possible, the chronic controversy with Vermont New York 
had opposed the petition of Vermont for admission into the confederacy 
in 1776, and Congress had hesitated until the people became indignant, 
when the second appeal w£is made in 1777 ; again in 1787 New York 
had interposed a protest to defeat an application, although at that time 
the population of Vermont was increasing so rapidly that New York 
found it difficult to establish her jurisdiction in the declared rebellious 


districts. But the commissioners, of whom the scholarly Chancellor 
Livingston was one of the most conspicuous, were in 1790 empowered to 
declare the consent of New York to the admission of Vermont into the 
Union — New York relinquishing all claims to lands in Vermont or 
jurisdiction over them, upon the payment of thirty thousand dollars ; and 
the commissioners were also to decide upon the perpetual boundary 
between the two States. Vermont acceded to the proposition, and in 
March of the following year had the honor of being the first State ad- 
mitted into the Federal Union. 

Foreign affairs created intense anxiety at this jimcture. With Great 
Britain several points of difference existed; Adams had found it im- 
{tossible to n^otiate a commercial treaty on favorable terms, and the 
British Cabinet declined to send a minister to the United States. The 
uld grudges and jealousies of the war bad by no means been extinguished, 
and Americans, regarding the Britons as natural enemies, were i^eady to 
take offense easily, as well as eager for an opportunity to i-etaliate. An 
effort to treat with Portugal had failed, owing — it was confidently be- 
heved — to the adverse influence of England. The Emperor of Morocco 
had been faithful to his agreements ; but the corsairs of Algiers, Tunis, 
and Tripoli plundered American vessels and enslaved their masters, 
uiiich many attributed, together with the bloody incursions of the 
western savages, to the machinations of the British. And the intricate 
and embarrassing disputes with Spain concerning the free navigation of 
the Mississippi helped to render the commerce of the country more 
re>tricted than when it had formed a part of the British Empire. 

Washington had just returned from St. Paul's Chapel on the morning 
••t* March 21, when Jefferson was announced. "Show him in" 

March 21. 

exclaimed the President, his face brightening with real jileasure, 
then, not waiting an instant, advanced to meet his guest in the entrance 
|tassage. The greeting was one of special warmth and cordiality. Jeffer- 
'*>i\s coming on that day was particularly opportune. Not twenty-four 
h«»urs ha<i elapsed since Washington and Jay had been engaged in earnest 
• i»n5ideration of the course to be pursued with regard to certain captives 
:n Algiers, and the sending of persons in the character of chai-ges d'affaires 
w» the courts of Eun)pe. Jefferson, fresh from the Old World atnios- 
}»henf, and bringing the latest intelligence concerning its public affairs, 
•*\is w^flcome indeed. He had been a fortnight on the route from Monti- 
rllo — his beautiful Virginia country-seat — a storm of snow having 
«T^tly impeded his progress. Obliged, on account of bad roads, to leave 
:.:- private carriage in Alexandria, to l)e sent to New York by water, he 
a •! (unsigned himself to a slow stage, which moved only two or three miles 


an hour by day and one at night; but his horses were led, and he 
mounted one of them from time to time to relieve his fatigue. At 
Philadelphia he visited Franklin, who, although in bed and very feeble, 
listened with excited interest to a detailed account of the French Eev- 

Jay, Hamilton, Knox, Osgood, Livingston, and the circle of New York's 
principal citizens, hastened to do honor to the new Secretary of State. 
" The courtesies of dinner-parties," wrote JeflFerson, " placed me at once 
in their familiar society." He tried to obtain a house on Broadway, but 
not succeeding rented a small cottage in Maiden Lane, near the residence 
of Thomas Hartley, member of Congress from Pennsylvania. Business 
had accumulated in expectation of his ai:rival, and he was quickly immersed 
in its perplexing details. But he was amazed at the tenor of table con- 
versations. When he went abroad the democratic tendencies of his own 
country were at full tide, and he found France heaving with the coming 
earthquake. His house in Paris had been the resort of the leaders of 
political reform, and he had taken a deep interest in the success of the 
revolutionists ; had even traveled through their country on foot, entered 
the hovels of the peasants, peeped into the pot to learn what the poor 
woman was preparing for dinner, handled the miserable black bread that 
mothers gave their hungry children, and felt of the bed, on which he had 
taken care to sit, to ascertain its material and quality. " My conscien- 
tious devotion to natural rights cannot be heightened," he wrote, " but 
it is roused and excited by daily exercise." He had returned home to 
find the favorite sentiment, according to his observations, a "preference 
for kingly instead of republican government." He was disappointed with 
the Constitution. There was, moreover, a practical question before Con- 
gress, the assumption of the State debts, which disturbed his sense of 
justice; and Hamilton's project of a national bank he regarded as an 
evil of superlative magnitude — a fountain of demoralization. 

In personal appearance Jefferson was not altogether prepossessing. 
He had reached the age of forty-seven, was nearly as tall as Washington, 
well-built but awkward and loose-jointed, with a fair complexion, cold- 
blue eyes, and reddish hair. His wife dying many years before, he had 
filled the place of both parents to his lovely daughters, and was a tender 
and indulgent father, whom they venerated as wiser and better than 
other men. He possessed original and solid merit, together with great 
magnetism of intellect, and matchless intensity of convictions upon all 
subjects to which he gave his attention. 

It was at Hamilton's dinner-table that he first advocated aiding 
France to throw off her monarchial yoke. Hamilton shook his bead and 



declared himself in favor of maintaining a strict neutrality. This ques- 
tion proaently assumed vital importance. JefTerson opposed Hamilton's 
funding system, and seemed to distnist all his measures. The most 
stonny discussions were of constant occurrence, trifles were exaggerated, 
and political excitement spread through the country. Thus developed 
that division in politics, which, gradually rising to the diguity of party 
organization, was known aa Federalism and Kepublicanism. 

A new edifice had arisen upon the site of the ruins of Trinity Church, 
which was consecrated on the 25th in presence of a •''^tinguished ^^ 
audience ; Washington and family were seated duiing the exer- 
cises in the richly ornamented pew set apart by the wardens and vestry- 
men for the President of the United States, with a canopy over it' ; an- 
other pew was arranged for the governor of New York. On the same 
evening the Chief Justice and Mrs. Jay, General Philip and Mrs. 
Schuyler, Secretary Jefferson, Secretary and Mrs. Hamilton, Secretary 
and Mra. Knox, Mrs. Greene, Senator Carroll, Senator Henry, Judge 
Wilson, James Madison, and Colonel William S. Smith dined with the 
President and Mrs. Washington at their home in Broadway. On the 
following Thursday we find Governor Clinton, Lieutenant-Governor Van 
Coitlandt, Speaker John Watts of the New York Assembly, Judge Duane, 
BaroD Steuben, Arthur Lee, Rufus King, Theodore Sedgwick, Mr. Clynier, 
Stephen Van Rensselaer, the patroon, Mr. Heister, Dr. Hugh Williamson, 
and otiier members of Congress, gathered about Washington's dinner- 

Tlie city treasurer, or chamberlain, appointed in 1789 was Daniel 
Phoenix, an eminent and wealthy %^&^*^^^^''S'^i'^3^St^?*^'^ 
New York merchant, who con- jl*.. -*''*-*'«N**p>i,A»»,*»i^^,,<^^ S 
tinned to hold the position for S^ K Frfmifi i» y/ ihe Snrtr, m^S 
twemy years— until compelled $> £'T'^* °*'* I*"".?- /■J'^*''^ wl 
to resign from dechnmg health. j|U] New-Yo^. ir^«-ry»B 1790: n 
A specimen of money issued un- 
der his auspices in 1790 will be 
seen in the sketch. He had been 
W^ly instrumental in placing the 
New York hospital in a position 

U> fulfil] the intentions of its foiiuders ; and lie was a trustee as well as 
in Trinity ChiiP-h f' 

■ Til* i>4i>lutioii to set apa 
Mu.h ', irw. Thp wanUna 
\arprv r!ip vsitrrnien wpit Audi 
J'B-. .rotin Uwis. WilliBni S. ii.lii 
Ui/hU JaiDM, Cliatlvs .St; 
Knuuirk. N'icbolaa C'aniuii, Mu«> I 

<i<lonC was adapted 

R CliiHf .Instill' .Iiiliii ,Iay iiTiil i^-M.iyor James Duane, 

F1am-r<l.>y, Hiilierl Van Wap-ti^ii. Tlionw* Itandall. John 

iiluTt ■'. I.iriiif^tnn, Matthow C'lurkKon, William 

>;ii),..Uis Kiirlriiilit, Alex.imliT Ayifsbuty, Gr-orgt 

Aulliouy L. mi;<fl;ker, and iiichard Uarrison. 


the treasurer of the New York Society library. He took an active part, 
indeed, in the inception of many of the city institutions, contributing 
liberally to their support. He was also connected with almost every 
mercantile institution of his day. His name is particularly and pleas- 
antly identified with the history of the Wall Street Presbyterian Church, 
of which he was a trustee from 1772 to 1812, and the manager, almost 
exclusively, of its financial concerns.^ 

The. treasurer of the State at this time was Gerard Bancker, of the 
wealthy Dutch family whose representatives had fiUed positions of re- 
sponsibility in city and State affairs during every generation of that 
remarkable century. The auditor was Peter T. Curtenius. The latter 
united with many other citizens, as the spring opened, in an indignant 
protest against cutting away the beautiful trees with which the streets 
of the city were ornamented in accordance with an order of the corpo- 
ration to be executed before the first of June. Some medical philoso- 
pher had convinced the authorities that the public health demanded the 
sacrifice, but the public taste was wounded in a vital point, for the trees 
were of a rich variety, and had been selected and planted with care. 

The news of the death of Franklin, April 17, produced a profound sen- 
sation in New York : a resolution moved in Congress by James 

Anril 17 o •/ 

Madison was unanimously adopted, that the members should wear 
mourning badges for one month as a tribute of respect and veneration. 

^ Daniel Phoenix was the son of Alexander PhoBnix, and the great grandson of the Alexander 
Phoenix traditionally reported to have been a younger son of Sir John Fenwick, Bart, of the 
great Northumbrian family of Fen wicks, who removed to New York City in 1640, and whose 
descendants have ever since been among the substantial citizens of the metropolis. Daniel 
Phoenix was bom in 1742, and died in 1812. He was liberally educated, and early entered 
into the business of importing goo<l8 from Great Britain, and amassed a laige fortune. He 
was a patriot, and adhernl strictly to the non-importation measures, although they fell with 
special severity upon himself, entirely suspending his business for several years. He was 
one of the Committee of ** One Hundred," and when the British entered the city retired to 
Morristown with his family. Upon his return, in 1783, he found his house had been homed 
and much of his pro^ierty irretrievably lost But he soon reinstated himself in the com- 
mercial world, and was honored by his fellow-citizens with the highest trusts. He married, 
first, Elizabeth Tread well ; second, Elizabeth Piatt. It is retarded as a curi«us fact, that at 
the funeral of the latter, in 1784, *' the pall-bearers were ladies." His children were : Gerard, 
died in infancy ; Alexander, graduated from Columbia College in 1704, and became pastor of 
the Congregational Church at Chicopee, Massachusetts — bom in 1777, died at Harlem in 
1863 ; Elizabeth, married Nathaniel Gibbs Ingraham, and was the mother of Judge Danie! 
P. Ingraham of the Supreme Court of New York ; Rebecca, married Eliphalet Williams of 
Northampton, Massachusetts ; Amelia, died in infancy ; Jennet, married Richard Riker, the 
well-known District Attorney and Recorder of New York ; Sydney, died in 1800, unmarried. 

The male line of the descendants of Daniel Phoenix was continued only in the chiklren of 
his second son, Alexander. — Contribution by Stephen IFhitneff PKtmiXj in Chambtr nf dmr 
merce Records, 


The Tammany Society, the Cincimiati, indeed all public bodies, in every 
part of the Union, adopted similar resolutions, and wore the insignia of 
mourning. When the news reached France, Mirabeau addressed a silent 
and sympathetic audience, proposing a decree that the National Assembly 
should wear mourning three days, for "the genius that could tame t3rrants 
and thunderbolts, which freed America, and rayed forth upon Europe 
torrents of light — the sage claimed by two worlds, the man for whom 
the history of science and the history of empires were disputing — one 
of the greatest men who ever aided philosophy and liberty " ; and Lafay- 
ette and Bochefoucauld seconded the motion, which was adopted by 
acclamation. The President of the Assembly addressed a letter to the 
President of the United States on the loss which the human race had 
sustained ; the Abb^ Franchet pronounced a eulogy upon his life and 
genius in presence of the Commune of Paris ; the revolutionary clubs, 
the Academy of Sciences, the printers, and the municipal authorities of 
Paris, each held a ceremonial in honor of the departed patriot; and 
everywhere throughout the kingdom were demonstrations of reverence 
and of sorrow.^ 

While France was doing homage to the memory of Franklin, New 
York was again in mourning. One of her own native statesmen had com- 
fdeted his useful and eventful life. William Livingston, the widely famed 
Xew Jersey governor, died at " Liberty Hall," July 25, at the age of 
:dxty-seven. Few of the great men of the Revolution were more truly of 
heroic mold, or had exeited a more salutary influence over the forming 
c«.»mmunity. He was consigned to the tomb with touching tenderness, 
and with every mark of distinguished and genuine respect. 

Three weeks prior to the sad event Brockholst Livingston, the gov- 
ernor's son, delivered an oration in St. Paul's Chapel on the occasion of the 
anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. The President was 
present, with his retinue, the heads of departments, the members of Con- 

* Svmh, only daughter of Dr. Benjamin and Deborah Franklin, born September 11, 1744, 
«M married October 29, 1767, to Richard Bache ; her eight children were : 1. Benjamin 
Fruklin, 2. WiUiam, 3. Sarah, 4. Elizabeth Franklin, 5. Louis, 6. Deborah, 7. Richard, 
fi. Sarah. Her descendants, numbering at the present time nearly two hundred, embrace many 
4igtinguished characters, scientists, physicians, men of letters, and philanthropists. Her 
lervnth son^ Richard, married, in 1805, Sophia Dallas, daughter of Alexander James Dallas, 
Secretary of the Treasury in 1814, and sister of George Mifflin Dallas, Vice-President from 
1*45 to 1849 ; and one of their sons was Alexander Dallas Bache, the intellectual giant who 
■x-fjceiFed the .vientific methods for the development of the Coast Survey of the United 
>t*tr\ a work which conferred benefits upon navigation Iwyond expression in language, and 
!i*d* his name honored throughout the civilized world ; another son, George, was an otficerof 
tir Tnile*! States Navy, and lost his life in 1846, while in command of an expedition engaged 
IS the hazardous business of sounding the Golf Stream. 


gress, foreign characters, and all that was notable in the pulpit, halls of 
learning, or private walks of life in the metropolis. Washington ex- 
pressed himself greatly pleased with the good sense and eloquence of the 
speaker,^ the tendency of whose discourse, he said, was to compare " the 
excellent government of our own choice with what it would have been 
had we not succeeded in our opposition to the attempts of Great Britain 
to enslave us ; and to show how we ought to cherish the blessings within 
our reach and cultivate the seeds of harmony and unanimity in our public 
councils." * Two years before this, ChanceUor Livingston had figured as 
the orator of the 4th of July celebration in the same sacred edifice, and 
with keen political foresight pointecl out the course in which things were 
moving, while he enriched with many sagacious reflections and happy 
aphorisms his varied knowledge of historic and general affairs. Brock- 
hoist Livingston dwelt more definitely upon the results which were then 
undeveloped, and with the habitual flexibility of a lawyer who had chosen 
the bar as a pathway to the career of public life, entered with much 
imagery and humor into the popular spirit of the moment He was then 
thirty-three. His cousin, the Chancellor, was forty-three, and without the 
sparkling fancy and vivacity which were the former's natural gifts, was 
cultured and accomplished to a degree of elegance not often met at that 
period even in the higher circles of thought 

The mansion of the ChanceUor, in lower Broadway, was sumptuously 
furnished. Its walls were adorned with Gobelin tapestry of unique design, 
and beautiful paintings and costly ornaments gi'eeted the eye in every 
apartment He was a great lover of art-treasures, and Ins well-filled 
purse enabled him to import whatever fancy or inclination suggested. He 
was subsequently one of the founders of the American Academy of Fine 
Arts, an association organized in 1801 and incorporated in 1808, of which 
he was chosen the first president. His table-service was of solid silver 
valued, it is said, at upwards of thirty thousand dollars ; four side-dishes 
each weighed twelve and one half pounds ; the center-piece used on 
state occasions was one of the most exquisite and costly of its kind. His 
country-seat at Clermont, on the shore of the Hudson, with its library 
opening into a greenhouse and orangery, its half-mile lawn, its richly cul- 
tivated gardens, its blossoming orchards, and its magnificent forests, was 
for many a long year the seat of a princely hospitality. Foreign notables, 

^ Brockholst Livingston was appointed, in 1802, judge of the Supreme Ck>urt of New Yoik, 
and in 1806 one of the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. The grand- 
father of Brockholst Livingston was Philip, second Lord of the Manor. The grandfather of 
the Chancellor was Robert, younger brother of Philip, to whom was granted the property at 
Clermont. Thus the two Livingstons, Brockholst and the Chancellor, were Moond cooiiiis. 

* JFctahingUm'a Diary, 



and sU that was moat diatiuguished iu the world of politics and letters, 
were eDtertaioed under its roof ; and on niimeroos occasions, as, for in- 
^taoce, when a brilliant reception was given to Lafayette, the shining 
waters of the Hudson, as far as the eye could reach, were white with 
vtsseU freighted with 
gar visitors. While 
Xew York was the 
i'apital of the nation, 
Washington, more 
particularly after his 
wiii'ival fnmi the 
Walter Franklin to 
tijf McCoiiib man- 
sion, in Hrofidway, '■ 
was in the practice I 
■>f dropping in 
vt the Chancellor I 
iDfr>nually at any | 
h"Hr suiting his con- 
v.^nience, the resi- 
ileme of the latter j 
Iriiijronlyufewrods | 

.In.*ii(,«' Iredell | 
n.i.he.i New York | 
«ith his family 
;-r a tiresome and 
lin.tncted journey 

■iin.ov'h the South- i>-™>«i—>""i">^"a«.,.,mp™..,™,.r.h^Nc.Yo.i.n.«„.) 
■ m StJites, ami established hia residence at tj:i Wall Street. Bnrn in Eiig- 
Unil, lie came to North Carolina at the ajjt? of sevcnlceii, and studied law 
with Gi'vernor Samuel .T()lmsti)n, whose sister he married in ITT^t. Two 

■f his brothers were clft^mcn in En^jland ; and his son, James, l)ecame a 
-r.iit-iman of distinctiou — at niie time fjovenior of N'cirth CaroliniL .Tudf^ 
l!>-lrll was on intimate social terms with Itr. Hugh Williiimson, who 
■— ; l.-ii with his wife's family at the Ajitlmrpt' inansiun. The fiivorite 

\".:-i'.T the Xew-Vorkersof iV'.'n wjiswlial \Va^ljin'it..n *tylc-<l "the fmir- 
■■--u mik-3 round." the nnite l"-in^' over th.- "DM Bi.stini Itiud." <ni tlie 
l:rie ••{ Thinl Avenue, cnissiiig Miiiniy Hill nearly on llie line of \a-\- 
:i.uTon Avenue, and bearing westward to Mrfiowan's I'a^s, tlience ti> \\\<- 
Bl'^jmingdale region, where the beautil'ul couutry-seals were like a villa 

Chtncatlor RobaH R. Liiingrtiiii. 


of villas, and so down on the Hudson Eiver side of the Island. The 
Presidents chariot and six horses were on this road neariy every pleasant 
day, with many other imposing equipages. Dr. Williamson drove into 
town every morning, and Judge Iredell often returned with him in the 
afternoon, to discuss politics and the climate of America, the learned 
doctor being about to write his celebrated octavo volume on that subject 
Ii-edell was invited to dine with the President soon after his arrival, and 
writing of the occasion, he said, " We had some excellent champagne ; 
and after it I had 'the honor of drinking coffee with Mrs. Washington." 

During the controversy over the site of the permanent seat of govern- 
ment the President was incessantly active and observant Harlem 
Heights, Westchester, and portions of Long Island were from time to 
time suggested as suitable localities for the proposed district Brooklyn 
and Kingston were both discussed as eligible. " Where could a situation 
be found for the capitol and other public buildings comparable to the 
heights of Brooklyn ? " One great objection was its exposure to hostile 
invasion. Yet the harbor was claimed to be as capable of defense as 
that of Philadelphia or Georgetown. Kingston was declared admirably 
adapted for the site of a great city, and secure from the attacks of an 
enemy. The gentleman from Connecticut, who broached the subject, was 
asked if be had forgotten that Kingston was sacked and burnt by the 
British in the War of Independence ? New York City was preferred by 
the majority ; the members from the East could reach it with ease, and 
it was accessible by sea to those from the South. But neither the State 
nor the city authorities, writes Duer, were willing to cede the territory 
and the jurisdiction of the ten miles square which must include it 
Washington having previously sent over his servants, horses, and carriage, 
crossed to Brooklyn, and drove through the Long Island towns of Flat- 
bush, New Utrecht, Gravesend, Jamaica, and beyond for many miles. 
He breakfasted at Henry Onderdonk's, on the shore of Hempstead Bay, 
at what is now the pretty village of Roslyn, and dined at Flushing, 
twelve miles distant. Mrs. Jay wrote to her husband, whose duties as » 
chief justice had carried him as far as Boston on his first circuit through 
New England, saying : " Last Monday the President went to Long Island 
to pass a week there. On Wednesday, Mrs. Washington caUed upon me 
to go with her to wait upon Miss Van Berckel, and on Thursday morning, 
agreeable to invitation, myself and the little girls took an early breakfast 
with her, and then went with her and her little grandchildren to break- 
fast at General Morris's at Morrisania. We passed together a very agree- 
able day, and on our return dined with her, as she would not take a 
refusal After which I came home to dress, and she was so polite as to 


Uke coffee with me in the evening." In another letter Mrs. Jay wrote : 
" Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton dined with me on Sunday and on Tuesday." 
She also mentioned having entertained Mrs. Iredell and her daughter, 
and Mr. and Mrs. Munro. In the brilliant circle which gathered about 
Mrs. Hamilton's table was Stephen Van Eensselaer, the patroon, who was 
the newly elected State senator, although scarcely twenty-six, a model of 
masculine beauty and courtly manners, and the husband of Margaret, 
Mrs. Hamilton s sister. His only brother, Philip, had recently married 
Ann, the daughter of Lieutenant-Governor Pieri-e Van Cortlandt. In the 
early part of July a pleasure-party was inaugurated for a drive and a 
dinner at the Eoger Morris mansion, which, with its extensive acres sur- 
rounding, had been confiscated, and was in the hands of a common farmer. 
Washington, the gentlemen of his family, Mi's. Lear, the children, Vice- 
President and Mrs. Adams, the son of the Vice-President and Miss 
Smith, Secretary and Mrs. Hamilton, Secretary and Mrs. Knox, and 
Secretary Jefferson, proceeded in carriages to Harlem Heights, and visited 
the battle-fields and the old position of Fort Washington, discussing the 
fine views to be obtained from the picturesque elevation. 

While New England was content to have New York remain the capital 
of the nation, Pennsylvania clamored for its establishment on the banks 
of the Delaware ; and Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia were anxious 
that it should be on the Potomac. The South Carolinians objected to 
Philadelphia because her Quakers "were eternally dogging Southern 
members with their schemes of emancipation." The Philadelphians 
would not listen to a thought of New York, because " it was a sink of 
political vice." Dr. Rush wrote to Speaker Muhlenberg, upon hearing 
that the discussion had turned upon the Susquehanna, " Do as you please, 
but tear Congreas away frofti New York in any way ; do not rise without 
effecting this business." 

"The question of residence is continually entangling every measure 
proposed," wrote Wolcott from New York in the early part of July, " and 
a party which is gained by one proposition is frequently lost by the re- 
s^fDtment which another party can excite in bringing up some other 
•luestion." The Assumption Bill and the site of the future capital of the 
Union were the main points at issue: But the subject of slavery, intro- 
duced by a petition from the Quakers of Pennsylvania, that the negroes 
•bould receive their freedom, signed by many persons from other States, 
.rwited no little wanntli ; anil laws of great variety and significance, pen- 
jiuus for Revolutionary services, the patenting of useful inventions, reg- 
ildtion of the mercantile marine, securing to authors the copyright of 
tiieir works, forming the groundwork for a criminal Code, and making 


provision for embassies, light-houses, and a " military establishment^" were 
among the problems to be studied and solved by this Congres& The 
Assumption Bill created such feuds, that when it was lost in the House 
by a vote taken one hot July afternoon, the whole business of the nation 
was in a dead-lock. The Northern members threatened secession and 
dissolution of the Union. Congress actually adjourned from day to day 
because opposing parties wei*e too much out of temper to discuss or do 
business together. Hamilton was in despair. Even Washington was 
alarmed, and begged Jefferson to act as a peace-maker among the 

He was on his way to see the President one morning when he met 
Hamilton on the street, and the two walked arm in arm backward and 
forward in front of the President's house in Broadway for half an hour, 
Hamilton explaining with the utmost earnestness the anger and disgust 
of the creditor States, and the immediate danger of disunion, unless the 
excitement was calmed through the sacrifice of some subordinate principla 
Hamilton appealed so directly to Jefferson for aid in silencing the clamor 
which menaced the \exy existence of government, that the latter yielded, 
and afterwards said he " was most innocently made to hold the candle " 
to Hamilton's " fiscal manoeuvre " for assuming the State debts. He pro- 
posed that Hamilton should dine with him the next day, inviting two or 
three other gentlemen ; and at the dinner-table the situation was dis- 
cussed in all its bearings. It was finally agreed that two of the Viiginia 
mem1)ers should support the Assumption Bill, and that Hamilton and 
Robert Morris should command the Northern influence sufficient to insure 
the location of the seat of government on the Potomac. 

The compact thus entered into resulted in the adoption of Hamilton's 
funding system by a small majority in both houses, and in the decision 
that founded the city of Washington on its present site. The residence 
of government for the ten coming years was to be in Philadelphia, to 
give opportunity for the erection of public buildings and such private 
dwellings as would be required for the accommodation of persons engaged 
in public affairs. 

Hamilton's original proposition concerning the State debts was modified 
in the process of bloom. The specific sum of twenty-one and a half 
millions of dollars was assumed, and apportioned among the States in a 
proximate ratio to the amounts of the debts of each. An act was passed 
by which the whole of the domestic debt became a loan to the nation, 
redeemable at various times and at various rates of interest 

When the great national debt hail been brought into tangible shape, 
steps were taken for its payment; but some years elapsed before the 


system was completed. The public credit, however, was immediately 
improved, and the eflfect upon the prosperity of the country was magical 
Commerce was invigorated, and men entered into agricultural and other 
pursuits with hopeful and brightening views. In allusion to Hamilton s 
financial scheme and its bearing on the public welfare, Daniel Webster, a 
half-century afterward, exclaimed : " He smote the rock of the national 
resources, and abundant streams of revenue gushed forth." 

Meanwhile the experiment was to be tried, and half the nation doubted 
its success. Jefferson honestly believed the whole system fraught with 
mischief. Party discords and personal enmities, local interests and State 
jealousies, jarred Congress, disturbed the harmony of Washington's cabi- 
net, and retarded the execution of every measure. The adversaries of 
any plan are not prone to cease hostility after having strenuously opposed 
and suffered defeat In all free communities there must be two parties, 
they are a balancing necessity, and every man must belong to one or an- 
other ; therefore his motives and principles should be judged by his con- 
duct and character^ rather than by the side he takes. " An empire so 
circumstanced," wrote Judge Iredell, "requires to be discussed with the 
joint aid of the most enlarged and comprehensive minds, and with the 
utmost moderation and candor to make allowances for those unavoidable 
differences of opinion, which on such momentous and difficult subjects 
will arise among men of the greatest abilities and the purest and most 
candid intentions." ^ Washington had refrained from expressing his 
sentiments in r^ard to the act for funding the public debt, while it was 
under debate in Congress, but he was a decided friend to the measure. 
He was also silently in favor of the bill which located the future seat of 
'^»vemment within easy drive of his own Virginia estate. 

The newspapers of New York during the summer abounded with pun- 
gent paragraphs for and against the removal of the government. When 
the final decision was announced, a caricature print appeared representing 
Robert Morris marching off with the Federal Hall upon his shoulders, its 
windows crowded with members of both Houses encouraging or anathe- 
matizing this novel mode of deportation, while the devil from the roof 
of the Paulus Hook ferry-house beckoned to him patronizingly, crying, 
•• This way, Bobby ! " 

» Life and Correspmidence of James Iredell, by G. J. McRee. Iredell was the justice of 
:be Supreme Court of the United States, who was quoted in England as **a judge who 
•'juM ride nineteen hundred miles upon a circuit." When he removed his residence from the 
uetTopoUj to Philadelphia, Robert Lenox, a distinguished merchant and citizen of New York, 
who had acted as his agent, wrote to him : ** It was never my intention to make charge for any 
arrvice I have been so fortunate as to render you. I am suflBciently repaid in the acquaint- 
&CiC« of a gentleman for whom I have so much respect ; and if I have been so fortunate us to 
iuve laid a foundation for your friendship also, I am repaid indeed." 


Congress adjourned on the 12tb of August, to meet n Philadelphia in 
December; both Houses having passed resoluvions thanking the 
corporation of the city of New York " for the elegant and con- 
venient accommodations which had been furnished them." The day 
following, Federal Hall was the scene of the famous Indian treaty ratifi- 
cation described upon a former page. This was the last time that 
President Washington drove to Federal Hall in an offici^ capacity. His 
six prancing horses with their painted hoofs, and his cream-colored 
^' state coach, ornamented with cupids supporting festoons, and with 
borderings of flowers around the panels, would no longer be the admira- 
tion of Wall Street. But the principles upon which alone the govern- 
ment could live had been determined in that great heart of the nation, 
and the initiatory questions of interpretation settled. The blended acute- 
ness and argumentation of thinkers, philosophers, orators, jurists, and 
statesmen had rendered the locality memorable. More complex, intricate, 
or profound subjects, or of greater importance than those debated in 1790, 
never came before a body of legislators. Illustrious memories will ever be 
cherished, in spite of the changes which have placed the marble structure 
which guards the golden treasures of our government upon the site of 
Federal Hall, and converted Wall Street into the vital business point 
where all the life pulses ebb and flow of a great community, which has 
its financial, commercial, social, and domestic roots stretched to the re- 
motest quarters of the globe. 

On the 14th of August Washington sailed for Newport, accompanied 

by Secretary Jefierson, Governor Clinton, Judge Blair, and other 

prominent characters. He was welcomed with great enthusiasm ; 

after spending a few days he visited Providence, and returned to the 

city on the 21st much improved in health. He immediately 

A nv 21. 

* made preparations for a journey to Mount Vernon. The day be- 
fore his departure from New York he entertained at dinner the mayor 
and corporation of the city, and Governor Clinton; also Lieutenant 
Governor Van Cortlandt, and his son Pierre, a young man of excellent 
parts who, two years later was a member of the State legislature, and who 
must have been forcibly reminded of an incident in connection with one 
of Washington's former dinner invitations — which he was fond of relat- 
ing in after years. Being a lad of fourteen at the breaking out of the war, 
he was consigned to the new college at New Brunswick, for his education, 
his father vrriting a letter introducing him to Washington, then in New 
Jersey. Young Pierre presented the letter, but his courage oozed away, 
to use his own language, in the stately presence, and when invited to 
dinner the next day he stammered a faint *' Yes." As the time drew 


near, however, to appear again before the great personage, he was over- 
come with timidity, and after marching towards headquarters for a little 
distance he turned about and ran home. The next morning he acci- 
dentally met Washington, who, before he could escape, exclaimed, " Master 
Coitlandt, where were you yesterday ? " The boy tried to articulate an 
excusa " Master Cortlandt," interrupted Washington, with grave solem- 
nity, " Mrs. Washington and myself expected you at dinner yesterday ; 
we waited a few moments for you ; you inconvenienced my family by 
&ihng to keep your werd ; you are a young lad, Master Cortlandt, and 
kt me advise you, hereafter, when you make a promise or an engagement, 
never fail to keep it ; Good morning. Master Cortlandt ! " 

The rules for entertaining company which Wasliington established in 
Xew York were maintained in Philadelphia with little change. On 
Tuesdays, at three o'clock in the afternoon, his dining-room was thrown 
open, from which the chairs had previously been removed, and the Presi- 
dent was seen by the approaching visitor standing before the fireplace in 
coat and breeches of rich black velvet, with a white or pearl-colored 
satin vest, silver knee- buckles and shoe-buckles, a cocked hat in his hand, 
his hair powdered and gathered into a silk bag, and an elegant sword in 
its scabbard of polished white leather at his side. He was usually sur- 
rounded by the gentlemen of his cabinet and others of distinction, and 
citizens and strangers, properly introduced, were always admitted. He 
never shook hands on these occasions. At the levees of Mrs. Washington 
on Fridays he appeared as a private gentleman, without hat or sword, and 
conversed without restraint. 

He regretted leaving the McComb mansion, although that of Robert 
Morris, the handsomest house in Philadelphia, was placed at his disposal. 
The latter was three stories high, and about thirty-two feet wide, with 
a front displaying four windows in the two upper stories, and three in 
the first — two on one side of the hall and one on the other. The door 
was approached by three heavy steps of gray stone, and on each side of 
the edifice were gardens filled with trees and shrubbery. Washington 
thought it would hardly accommodate his family without additions. He 
was not well pleased with certain difficulties he encountered in trying to 
ascertain what it would cost him, and fancied the policy of delay with 
its lessee was to see to what heights rents would rise. After writing to 
his secretary a detailed account of the manner in which it should be fur- 
nished if alterations and additions were made, he added : " Wlien all is 
•I'jne that can be done, the residence will not be as commodious as that I 
Itave in Xew York." As for the stables, he said they were good, but 
for twelve horses only. There was a room over them which might serve 


the coachman and postilions, and a coach-house which would hold all 
his carriages. He had also observed a smoke-house which he thought 
might *' possibly be more valuable for the use of servants than the smoking 
of meats." He gave minute directions for the packing of porcelain, glass, 
and other articles. And, what is more, he suggested in liis written com- 
munications the precise and particular spot where every* household god 
was to be placed when unpacked in his new home. He told Mr. Lear 
that he might appropriate " a small room adjoining the kitchen for the 
SIvres china, and other things not in common use," and questioned 
whether a green or a yellow curtain should be " appropriated to the stair- 
case above the hall." 

The President's final farewell to New York was extremely touching. 
He had intended to avoid all ceremony. But as the hour of his 
departure approached on the morning of the 30th, Broadway filled 
with people, and Governor Clinton, Lieutenant-Governor Van Cortlandt, 
with the principal officers of the State, Mayor Varick and the corporation 
of the city, the clergy, the society of the Cincinnati, and a laige number 
of distinguished New-Yorkers appeared, to do the final honors, in connec- 
tion with the officers of the national government. The President passed 
the threshold of his residence at half past ten o'clock, accompanied by 
Mrs. Washington and the various members of liis family, and was escorted 
to the beautiful barge which had been presented to him on his arrival at 
the metropolis the year before. At the wharf he turned and surveyed the 
scene. The crowd was immense, standing in tearful silence. He spoke a 
few words, expressive of the sense he entertained of the courtesy and 
kindness of the citizens during his residence among them, but seemed 
overcome with emotion. The instant he stepped into the barge thirteen 
guns announced the fact from the battery ; he stood upright while the 
boat shoved ofi*, and waved his hat, with the single word, " Farewell," at 
which a prolonged shout arose from the multitude which seemed to drown 
even the echo of the guns. Governor Clinton, Chief Justice Jay, Mayor 
Varick, and Hamilton, Knox, and Osgood accompanied him to Paulus 

The rough corduroy road from this point to Newark proved very tire- 
some to the whole party. The coachman showed such want of skill in 
driving, that before reaching Elizabeth they wei-e obliged " to take him 
from the coach and put him on the wagon. This he turned over twice," 
wrote Washington, "and has also got the horses in the habit of stopping." 

Many another horse acquired the same habit during the months that 
followed. The removal of households to Philadelphia commenced imme- 
diately ; and during the whole autumn the roads through New Jersey, 


writes Griswold, ** looked like a street in New York on the first of May." 
The New-Englanders were less pleased with the change than the New- 
Yorkers themselves. They could not discover that the Quakers were 
so much better than other men. "Some of them wore powder, silver 
buckles, and ruffles!" Oliver Wolcott wrote in September from New 
York : " I have at length been to Philadelphia, and with much diflSculty 
procured a house. The rent is one hundred pounds, which is excessive, 
lieiug near double what would have been exacted before the question 
•tf residence was determined. Philadelphia is a large and elegant city. 
It did not, however, strike me with all the astonishment which the 
citizens predicted I have seen many of their principal men, and dis- 
cover nothing that tempts me to idolatry." 

The family of Vice-President Adams tarried on the bank of the 
Hudson until frost came. Their furniture was shipped in a small ves- 
sel for Philadelphia. Mrs. Adams reached the Quaker City to find her 
new residence. Bush Hill, on the Schuylkill, in possession of painters, 
brushes in hand. She wrote to her daughter, " It is a beautiful place, 
but the grand and sublime I left at Richmond Hill." In the midst of 
the confusion of " boxes, barrels, chairs, tables, trunks," fires that would not 
Imm because of wet fuel, cold, damp rooms, and fresh paint, nearly every 
member of the household sickened with colds or rheumatism ; " and 
every day, the stormy ones excepted, from eleven until three, the house was 
filled with ladies and gentlemen." Mrs. Adams said she endeavored to 
have one room decent for their reception, and was constantly assured that 
she was much better off than Mrs. Washington woidd be upon her arrival, 
wh'>se house was not likely to be completed before the end of the year. 
*■ And when all is done it will not be Broadway ! " Mrs. Adams thought 
if New York wanted any revenge for the removal, her citizens would 
need only to come to the new capital, where it was not possible for the 
satellites of government to be half as well accommodated as in the metrop- 
olis — at least for a long time to come. " Every article has risen to 
almost double its price," she wrote. " One would suppose that the people 
thought Mexico was before them and Congress its possessors." " You 
cannot turn round without paying a dollar," Isaid Jeremiah Smith of New 
Hampshire. And even James Monroe remarked, " The city seems at 
present to be mostly inhabited by sharpers." 

Matters gradually adjusted themselves, and regrets for New York were 
lost in the agieeable and stirring events of the winter. Congress com- 
menced its third session on the 6th of December, and was actively 
bu«y with public affairs until the 3d of March, 1791. Two im- 
p •riant measures, the tax on distilled spirits of domestic manufacture. 


and a national bank, were vehemently and angrily discussed, and finally 
adopted. The opponents of the bank denied its necessity or utility, 
and said that Congress had no autliority from the Constitution to create 
any corporation whatever. The question involved principles of the ut- 
most importance to the United States, and the subject was viewed in 
every shade of light. Hamilton, with scholastic logic, calmly reasoned 
that the measure in question was a proper method for the execution of 
the several powers which were enumerated, and also contended that the 
right to employ it resulted from the whole of them taken together. The 
preamble to the bill foretold " that it would be conducive to the success- 
ful conducting of the national finances, give facility to the obtaining of 
loans for the use of the government in sudden emergencies, and be pro- 
ductive of considerable advantage to trade and industry in general** 
Jeffei-son was intolerant of banks. He said they were " instituted by a 
moneyed aristocracy," and that the public was " abandoned to avarice and 
swindlers by a paper currency." Hamilton's projects were in his eyes 
only powerful engines for the completion of machinery by which the 
whole action of the legislature would be under the direction of the 
Treasury — and shaped to further a monarchial system of government. 
Hamilton and Jefferson wrangled continually. " Why should either of 
you be so tenacious of your opinions as to make no allowance for those 
of the other ? " exclaimed Washington. 

The bank went into operation, and although the question of its expedi- 
ency agitated the public mind and divided the national councils for many 
years afterwards, experience has shown the absolute necessity of such an 
institution to enable the government to manage its great concerns. 

The city of Washington was not yet laid out, and immediately after 
Congress adjourned in the spring of 1791 the President made a tour 
through the Southern States, his first business being to confer with the 
landholders and arrange for the purchase of the site of the future. capital 
1791. He left Philadelphia on the 21st of March, precisely at noon, and 
March 2L ^^s attended for some' miles by Jefierson and Knox. The roads 
were so muddy that he was five days in journeying to Annapolis. In his 
diary, he wrote : " I was accompanied by Major Jackson ; my equipage 
and attendance consisted of a chariot and four horses drove in hand, a 
light baggage- wagon and two horses, four saddle-horses, besides a led one 
for myself, and five dependents, to wit, my valet de chambre, two foot- 
men, a coachman, and a postilion." 

New York languished for several months after the removal of the seat 
of government. The winter was particularly dull The chief excitement 
grew out of the election of Aaron Burr to the Senate of the United 


States. Schuyler had, on casting lots, drawn the shortest term, which 
would expire with the present session of Congress ; hence it became 
necessary to fill the seat thus made vacant Schuyler was a candidate 
for re-election, and Burr was his competitor. Schuyler was a man of 
integrity and commanding appearance, but a strong partisan, who bore 
the scars of former political^ contests ; and he was thoroughly identified 
with Hamilton, whose financial scheme was rending the community in 
twain. Personally he was reputed austere and aristocratic, which did not 
enhance his popularity. Burr was a new man in politics, was opposed to 
the ultras of both parties, and stood before the people an educated and 
accomplished gentleman, who would represent the State fairly through 
his moderation. He was opposed to Hamilton's measures, and he was to 
all appearances equally opposed to Clinton. He was thirty-five years 
of age, small of stature and well-formed, with handsome features, black 
eve* of piercing brilliancy, and an irresistibly pleasing address. His 
s|«cialty was to shine. Except Hamilton, he was thought to be the finest 
(cator in the State, and by many was considered one of the most eloquent 
and persuasive public speakers of the age. It was nine years since he 
puzzled the writers of biographical gossip by marrying Mrs. Prevost, the 
widow of a British officer ten years older than himself, who had two 
n>Ilicking sons, and no great estate. The lady was not even beautiful \ 
but she was highly cultivated, with great loveliness of character, and the 
marriage had proved a happy one, notwithstanding Burr's moral defects. 
Tliey were not much in society ; but Burr often said in after years that if 
his manners were superior to those of men in general it was owing to the 
insensible influence of his wife. He liad been two years Attorney Gen- 
eral of the State, prior to which time, in addition to great industry in his 
profession, he had served one term in the Legislature. He had also been 
one of three commissioners, in 1790, upon whom New York devolved the 
'luty of classifying and deciding upon the claims of individuals for ser- 
vices rendered and losses sustained in the Revolutionary War. These 
• laimants were legion. Some had served in the State militia, others in 
the Continental army, many in both. Some had supplied provisions 
to both descriptions of troops, others had had their estates overrun and 
houses pillaged or burned by the enemy. Some of the claims were for 
thousands of dollars, others for the value of hoi-ses, cattle, or a few tons of 
riay. In the throng of claimants were numberless rogues whose accounts 
neeled the closest scrutiny. And when, after all the trouble, the justice 
•>f a claim was established, it was often a difficult point to decide whether 
:t was the national or the State government that ought to discharge it. 
In ^me cases both seemed liable, and the commissioners must decide in 


what proportion. The investigation occupied many months, and at its 
close Burr drew up a report which was remarkable for its clear and 
concise statement of the principles upon which claims had been allowed, 
rejected, or excluded from consideration, and which was accepted by the 
Legislature without opposition or amendment 

In 1791 he was appointed to serve on another commission of grave 
importance, the issue of which advanced the reputation of no one con- 
cerned. It. was to dispose of the wild unappropriated lands in the State 
of New York, which at the close of the war cunounted to more than seven 
millions of acres. As a matter of State policy it was thought best to offer 
inducements to such persons as were willing to find a lodgment in the 
vast wilderness, therefore a law was enacted authorizing these commis- 
sioners to sell land " in such parcels, on such terms, and in such manner 
as they should judge most conducive to the interests of the public." 
Powers more unlimited were never confided to any body of men, not ex- 
cepting the old Dutch mercantile companies. The vote in the Legislature 
creating the statute was nearly or quite unanimous, and evidently met 
the approval of both political parties. The commission consisted of Gov- 
ernor Clinton, the State secretary, Lewis Allaire Scott, the attorney-general, 
Aaron Burr, the State treasurer, Gerard Bancker, and the auditor, Peter 
T. Curtenius. 

During the summer these gentlemen sold the enormous quantity of 
five and a half millions of acres, at an average price of about eighteen 
cents per acre, in prodigious tracts — one for three shillings an acre, 
another for two shillings, and some for one shilling. The most extraor- 
dinary sale of all was one to Alexander McComb, of more than three 
million six hundred thousand acres, at the seemingly incredible price of 
eightpence per acre, payable in five annual instalments, without interest, 
subject to a discount of six per cent if paid in advance. Large parcels 
were sold to other persons, among whom were James Caldwell and John 
and Nicholas Roosevelt. 

• As soon as these transactions were made public an outcry arose in all 
parts of the State, and resolutions of censure were moved in the Legisla- 
ture. It was broadly insinuated that the governor and his friends were 
personally interested in the purchases. This met with a total denial on 
the part of the commissioners, who emphatically asserted that no higher 
offers for the land could be obtained, and that the chief object of the State 
in selling was to bring private interest to bear upon the actual settlement 
of the waste places. Hammond says, " After a long and acrimonious 
discussion of the resolutions of censure, they were finally rejected, and 
Melancthon Smith, as pure a man as ever lived, introduced a resolution 


approving of the conduct of the commissioners, which was adopted in the 
Assembly by a vote of thirty-five to twenty." 

One of the curiosities in the turn of the political wheel was the sup- 
port given to Burr, in opposition to Schuyler, by the Livingstons. The 
Chancellor suddenly veered from the Federal party, giving as a reason 
his want of sympathy with the views of Hamilton. Some said he was 
disappointed in not having been made Chief Justice of the United States, 
or at least tendered some of the great offices of the general government 
His brother-in-law, Morgan Lewis, received the appointment of attorney- 
general when Burr took his seat in the Senate. Schuyler felt his defeat 
acutely, and Hamilton was excessively annoyed. As for Burr, his trans- 
cendent abilities and corrupt principles were henceforward cast into the 
poUtical caldron. His career as a senator commenced October 24, 1791, 
with the compliment of being named chairman of a committee of three, to 
prepare a reply to the annual speech of President Washington before the 
two Houses assembled in the Senate Chamber. 

The merchants of New York about this time formed an association with 
the purpose of providing a business center for the commercial community, 
called the " Tontine Association " in honor of Tonti, a Neapolitan, who 
introduced a similar scheme into France in 1653. The word "Tontine" 
was to designate " a loan advanced by a number of associated capitalists 
for life annuities, with benefit to survivorship." The Tontine building 
wa.s erected on the comer of Wall and Water Streets, between the yeai*s 
1792 and 1794, and the Association was formally incorporated during the 
year last mentioned. Among the merchants who pushed forward the 
enterprise were John Broome, John Watts, Gulian Verplanck, John 
Delafield, and William Laight^ 

* Jolm Broome, for six successive years lieutenant-governor of the State, was bom and 
edoeatad in New York, studying law in the office of Governor William Livingston, although 
dJTfTted from the legal profession into the importing business by his brother, Samuel Broome, 
»ho married Miss Nugent, niece and adopted daughter of Admiral Sir Peter Parker, coni- 
xandf r of the British fleet on our ("oast. Biographies of Francis Lewi'* and Morgan LevriSy by 
their granddaughter, Jalia Delafield. His father was an Englishman, his mother a French- 
vctnan, Marie de la Tourette. The parents of this lady were the young Count and Countess 
i^ la Tourette of an ancient Huguenot family, and were residents at the old chateau in I^ 
Vendee, when the Edict of Nantes was revoked. The count was informed that his name was 
on the list of the proscribed, and that an unsuccessful attempt to escape would cost him his 
liiV. He prcx-eeded to give a large entertainment to which all the neighboring gentry were 
iiTi>d, and when the gay^ty was at its height, stole with the countess from the banqueting 
ill] and ♦-?««*aji*»<i on foot to the sea-shore, where a vessel bound for Charleston lay at anchor, 
'AiJii; with them only .their jewels and their Huguenot Bible. The ship was cast away on 
>^>D Inland, wher*- the countess gave birth t^ the daughter who subsequently >>ewime the 
r-ttii^r of John Broome. The reader has observed the name of this gentleman on the Revo- 
i^^nooarr committees and in the New York Congress during the war. He married Rebecca 


Gouvemeur Morris wrote constantly from France, and his letters were 
filled with the shocking excesses of the Bevolutionists in that trouhled 
kingdom. In the spring of 1792 he was appointed bjr the Presi- 
dent, miiiister plenipotentiary to the French Court ; but his ser- 
vices in that direction were destined to be of short duration. Down 
to this period the great mass of Americans were ardent sympathizers 
with the French reformers. But Washington, Hamilton, Adams, Sufus 
King, and other leading conservatives began to think the French Eevolu- 
tion essentially diabolical, an opinion which deepened when the news 
came that Lafayette had lost his authority and was in personal danger, 
and that the French nation was governed by Jacobin clubs. " Ah ! the 
fact is," said Jefferson, " Gouvemeur Morris is a high-flying monarchy 
man, shutting his eyes and his faith to every fact against his wishes." 

Meanwhile New York must needs elect a governor, as Clinton's term of 
office expired in the summer. Both political parties were intensely ex- 
cited on the subject. The Federalists were some time in fixing upon 
a candidate. They applied to Judge Yates, and to Stephen Van Rens- 
selaer, the patroon, both of whom declined. Chancellor Livingston was 
invited and declined. Chief Justice Jay was much desired, but his high 
office under the national government and his aversion to party warfare 
made it seem improbable that he would permit his name to be used. 
Aaron Burr was suggested. Through the influence of Schuyler and 
Hamilton, Jay finally accepted the nomination, and Stephen Van Rens- 
selaer that of lieutenant-governor. On the other hand, George Clinton 
and Pierre Van Cortlandt were nominated for a re-election. 

The council of appointment consisted of David Pye, Philip Van Cort- 
landt, the military son of the Ueutenant-govemor, Stephen Van Rens- 
selaer, and William Powers. The Stete canvassers were David Geltson, 
Thomas Tillotson, whose wife was one of the Chancellor's sisters, Melanc- 
thon Smith, Daniel Graham, Pierre Van Cortlandt, Jr., David McCarty, 
Jonathan N. Havens, Samuel Jones, Isaac Roosevelt, Leonard Ganesvoort, 
and Joshua Sands. The election was the closest and angriest the State 
had yet seen, and the issue exasperated parties more than the strife 
itself. There was an informality in the canvass, and both sides claimed 

Lloyd, of Lloyd's Neck. He was an alderman of the city, at one time City Treuurer, Presi- 
dent of the Chamber of Commerce, and also President of the New York Insurance Company. 
His daughter Sarah married James Boggs, many years President of the Phrenix Bank ; and 
his daughter Julia married Colonel John Livingston, great-grandson of the second Lord of the 
Manor, who purchased an estate on I^ke Skaneateles and afterwards receiyed a premiom for 
the best cultivated land in the country, and who was also marshal of the northern district 
of New York for twenty-seven years. Mrs. Boggs left two daughters, Mary, married Rich- 
ard Kay, and Julia Augusta, married Lewis H. Livingston. 


the victory. Of the eleven canvassers named, seven announced that Clin- 
ton had carried the State by a majority of one hundred and eight votes, 
while the remaining four declared that the victory belonged to Jay. After 
many stormy discussions they agreed to request the opinion of New York's 
two United States Senators, Rufus King and Aaron Burr. 

It was a peculiar question. The law then required the votes of a 
county to be sealed by the inspectors of election, and delivered to the 
sheriff, who was to convey it intact to the Secretary of State. On this 
occasion the County of Otsego had no sherifT. Bichard R Smith had 
held that office, but his term had expired. Another sheriff had been 
appointed, but had not yet been sworn in ; and during the interregnum 
the important business of receiving and conveying the votes had pre- 
sented itself. Of course Smith performed the duty. But he was not the 
sheriff. He had been elected to the board of su'^ervisors, an office 
incompatible with that of sheriff, and had actually taken his seat at 
the board and performed official acts. The Republicans protested that 
the votes received and sent by him could not be legally canvassed. The 
county had given Jay about four hundred majority, and if those votes 
were not excluded Jay was governor. The two senators, upon conference, 
found that an irreconcilable difference of opinion existed between them 
on the subject King was for admitting the votes. Burr for rejecting them. 
Each consulted several of the best lawyers in the land before giving 
his opinion, and could exhibit an imposing array of names in its support 
King was for having justice done ; Burr for having the law observed. 
The canvassers, thus left to choose, followed the political preferences 
of the majority of their number, and pronoimced George Clinton duly 

The exasperation of the Federalists was, for a time, almost beyond 
control, and the State seemed in danger of anarchy. As each senator had 
•leci<ied in favor of his own party, the motives of both were assailed. 
Pubhc meetings were held, and the governor was denounced as a usurper 
and the canvassing committee as corrupt Loud protests were made 
aiTdinst the legality of Clinton's acts. At this juncture nothing but the 
conduct of John Jay saved the State from temporary confusion. 

He was holding Circuit Court at Bennington, in Vermont, when the 
decision of the canvassers was made known. Upon his return his politi- 
cal friends met him in crowds at the State line, and his journey home 
was one continued ovation. Public dinners, addresses, and salutes of 
anilltrj' irreeted him at Albany, Lansingburg, Hudson, and other towns 
'^D the route. When within eight miles of New York City, he was met 
hy a body of citizens and escorted to his house with every demonstration 


of afTection. A public meeting was called, and amid highly inflamma- 
tory addresses expression was given to the general indignation be- 
cause of the measures taken to deprive him of the office to which 
he had been elected. Jay was calm and dignified through all these ex- 
citing scenes, and his words breathed such a spirit of conciliation and 
moderation that order was restored. " They who do what they have a 
right to do, give no just cause of offense," he said, " therefore every consid- 
eration of propriety forbids that difference of opinion respecting candidates 
should suspend or interrupt the mutual good-humor and benevolence * 
which harmonize society and soften the asperities of human life and hu- 
man affairs." A few days later a public dinner was given to Jay, and on 
retiring from table, the whole company, as a mark of respect, wait^ upon 
him to his house. It was an imusual spectacle, that of a popular leader 
striving to modify the temper of those who believed him to be the right- 
ful governor and were burning to redress his wrongs, (jovemor Clinton 
took the oath of office on the 18th of July, and on the 19th a great 
' dinner was tendered him by his political friends. Samuel Os- 
good, as chairman of a committee, addressed Clinton, animadverting with 
much severity on the conduct of his opponents ; to which Clinton replied 
in a gentlemanly and conciliatory manner. When the legislature con- 
vened in November, petitions on the subject of the canvass 
poured in from all parts of the State. A tedious investigation 
ensued. The law regulating elections had made the decisions of the 
canvassers final ; and after elome time the Assembly, by a majority of 
four votes, resolved, " That it does not appear to this House that the 
canvassers conducted themselves with any impropriety in the execution 
of the trust reposed in them by the law." 

National affairs absorbed the public mind as winter approached. The 
second election of a chief magistrate occurred, and Washington was again 
chosen by a unanimous vote. Not so the Vice-President Herculean 
efforts were made to defeat the re-election of Adams, and (jovemor George 
Clinton was the opposing candidate. The force of the blow was directed 
chiefly against the measures of Hamilton. Clinton's strength was feared 
by the Federalists. He was a man of property, int^rity, unblemished 
private life, and had been distinguished above all others in the United 
States for his resistance to the adoption of the Constitution. Jefferson 
and Burr were named as candidates in private circles and in public 
prints, though not regularly nominated.^ Hamilton thought Burr ap- 

1 In Aaron Burr's letters to his wife he said he dared not trust the public mail with polit- 
ical secrets. When he wrote about politics it was in ciphers. As, for instance, he requested 
" 18 to ask 45, whether, for any reasons, 21 could be induced to vote for 6, and if he could. 



peared upon the stage to play the game of confusion in favor of Clinton, 
and wrote to Rufus King, " I t^ke it he is for or against nothing, but as 
it soitA his interest or ambition. He is determined, as I conceive, to 
make his way to the head of the popular party, and as much higher as 
circamstances will permit Embarrassed, as I understand, in circum- 
stances, with an extravagant family, bold, enterprising, and intriguing, I 
feel it to be a religious duty to oppose his career." The electoral votes, 
being cast in their respective States, were forwarded to the seat of govern- 
ment, and opened on the 13th of February, 1793. Clinton re- n»». 
ceived the entire vote of New York, ofVii^nia, of North Carolina, '*^ ■* 
and of Georgia But Adams was declared elected by a small majority. 

It was a trying moment in the affairs of America when Washington 
took the oath of office, and entered upon his new four years' term 
of labor and self-sacrifice. The French Revolution had just 
reached its highest point of fanaticism, and war threatened all Europe. 
Would the United States escape the storm ? The King of France bad 
been dethroned and murdered, and a republic declared ; should the 
I'nited States receive a minister from that republic ? Were the treaties 
annulled by the Revolution ? " What the government of France shall 
be is the very point in dispute," wrote Hamilton to Jay on the 9th of 
April. " A regent will doubtless arise who may himself send an 
ambassador to the United States. Should we in such case receive 
both i " Two days later Hamdton wrote again to Jay : " Would not a 
pnx;lamation proliibitiug our citizens from taking commissions on either 
side be proper ? Would it not be well that it should include a declara- 
tion of neutrality ? If you 
>lcnt, could you draught 
■leem proper ? I wish 
(•iied without delay : " Let 
he right to avoid war. 
*how what my present 
tuation are ; it is hastily 
k^Ufxa. treaties, it speaks ^l^ 
iLt^ expression, because ■"- 
^jciated with others. I 
■ju mv wav to Richfiiond. 

i»1 Arm*. 

t that too little should be said than too mucli." 

The difficulty and delicacy of deciding what course to pursue was only 

think the measure pru- 
sucli a thing as you would 
much you would." Jay re- 
us do everything that may 
The enclosed will 
ideas of a procla- 
drawn, it says nothing 
uf neutrality, but avoids 
in this country often as- 
shnll be in Philadelphia 
I think it better at pres- 

lb>T ]4 vonid K-ilhili 
■ airrli- of I'orrespondi 
■■f III* most niynterious ot tin 

lis o|>po9itioii 

lit lliut 

Jiig [•olitic'iiiiis, iHit liiiit was 



equalled by its importance. Washington sought the advice of his Cab- 
inet With England diplomatic intercqjirse had been opened by the 
appearance of George Hammond in 1791, the first minister plenipo- 
tentiary to the United States from that government, but little progress 
had been made in adjusting differences. Hammond, indeed, had no pow- 
ers to conclude a treaty of commerce, and Jefferson had interpreted his 
lack of authority as an evidence of unfriendly sentiments on the part of 
the British nation. War might easily be precipitated. The multitude 
who fancied that a brand snatched from our own altars had lighted the 
fire of liberty upon the wrecks of ancient tyranny, that a political millen- 
nium had begun, was ready to plunge into any extreme. Would it not 
be better to avoid partnership in European jealousies and confusions ? 
On the 22d the celebrated Proclamation of Neutrality was issued. Its 
necessity was proven by the uproar it created and the strifes it 
enkindled. The opposing party broadly accused the administra- 
tion of hostility towards their former allies. Meanwhile Edmond Charles 
Grenet, sent on a secret mission by the unsettled republic to involve the 
United States in a war with England, and thus effect a diversion in behalf 
of France, was already in South Carolina, distributing naval and military 
commissions. Chief Justice Jay, holding court in Sichmond, when it 
became known that privateers were being fitted out in American ports 
to prey upon British commerce under commissions furnished by Grenet, 
gave the public to understand in his charge to the jury that the Supreme 
Court would fearlessly discharge its duty and punish acts forbidden by 
the neutral position of the nation. But Grenet, regardless of the opinions 
of courts, the proclamation of the President, and the remonstrances of indi- 
viduals, continued to direct, within the United States, naval and military 
operations against the enemies of France ; and the British Minister at 
Philadelphia presented a long catalogue of complaints to Washington, 
demanding restitution. The news of the declaration of war by France 
against Great Britain and Holland, coming at the same time, increased 
the excitement, and disposed men everywhere to co-operate with their 
former friend against their old enemy. Grenet's progress from Charles- 
town to Philadelphia was marked by the most exti'aordinary evidences 
of popular infatuation and diplomatic arrogance. Public authorities 
and private citizens vied with each other in glorifying the representative 
of European democracy. French views of universal reformation spread 
like a prairie fire. Foreigners were pouring into the United States, and, 
although never having known liberty, were most anxious to teach it 
Europe following the example of America ! The very notion was blind- 
ing to the national eyesiglit Few Americans knew the direction events 


were really taking in France, and the foresight of Washington, Jay, Ham- 
ilton, and others, in predicting a speedy dissolution of the scheme of the 
Convention, was condemned rather than appreciated. 

Political Clults began to multiply, and the great theme was France. 
Kew York was profoundly agitated. About this time Aaron Burr was 
offered and declined the office of judge of the supreme court of the State, 
aDtl Morgan Lewis received the appointment, Nathaniel Lawrence be- 
coming attorney^eneral in hia atead. General Matthew Clarkson was 
fleeted state senator. He had in 1791 been appointed by Washington ■ 
murshal for the district of New York, at the recoiunieudation of Chief 
■liutice Jay, who wrote, " I think him one of the most pure and virtuous 
men I know. During the war he was a firm and active Whig, and since 
the peace a constant friend to national government. Few men here of 
his standing enjoy or deserve a greater degree of the esteem and good- 
will of the citizens than he does, and in my opinion he would discharge 
the duties of that, or any office for which he is qualified, with propriety 
and honor." In the early part of 1793 Clarkson purchased the site of 
the Clarkson family residence, which was destroyed by fire while the city 
was occupied by the British as mentioned on a forRier page, and erected 
thereon the three-story brick house illustrated in the accompanyin;* 
sketch. The entrance was on Pearl Street at first, but it was subse- 
({oently changed to Whitehall Street. This continued to be his home 
dsrii^ the remainder of his life 

RMtdWMcf OManI MiMiaw Clirluon 



1793 - 1797. 


— Citizen Genet. — Hamilton and Jefferson. — The Two Poutioal Parties. — 

LAND. — " Bedford House." — Family of Chief Justice Jay. — The Whiskey Re- 
bellion. — Robespierre. — Hamilton's Retirement from the Treasury. — Lieu- 
tenant-Governor Van Cortlandt. — General Philip Van Cortlandt. — The 
Election of Governor Jay. — The Jay Treaty. — Events of the Summer of 1796. 
— The Yellow Fever in New York. — Appropriation for Public Schools. — The 
New York Society Library. — City Improvements. — The Subject of Slavery. — 
The Fresh Water Pond. — Steam Navigation. — Political Affairs. 

DURING the violent scenes of revolutionary change in France, 
Gouvemeur Morris remained firmly at his post, although sur- 
rounded with innumerable difficulties, and constantly receiving advice 
from many quarters to follow the example of other foreign ministers and 
leave the country. He was at one time arrested in the street and 

1793. '^ 

taken before the tribunal of arrests, at another his house was 
searched by a body of armed men, and again, while on a journey into the 
country, he was arrested and sent back to Paris under pretense that his 
passport from the government was out of date. These insults were in 
every case followed by apologies from the governing body, who claimed 
that it was impossible to control all the acts of subordinate agents. The 
swift transitions from one form of anarchy to another, and the blood and 
carnage with which human monsters worked their way to power, rendered 
the laws of nations and of honor but feeble protection to any individual 
within their reach. 

The French government had been deserted by all the world, and really 
had no motive for oftending and alienating the United States, their last 
and only friend. To escape the liorrors and disorders of Paris, Morris 
bought a country-liouse with twenty acres of land about thirty miles 
from the city, where he resided (hiring the rest of his stay in France ; but 


his secretary, Heniy Walter Livingston, of Livingston Manor, remained 
chiefly in Paris. His official duties consisted in protests against the 
restrictions on the commerce of the United States, imposed by decrees of 
the Convention in violation of the treaty between the two countries ; in 
remonstrances against the outrages of French privateers upon American 
shipping, and reclamation of vessels unlawfully seized; in urging the 
petitions and claims of American captains, whose ships were detained in 
French ports on various pretenses ; and in applying for the release of 
American citizens, who had fallen into prison, through being taken for 
Englishmen, or some informality in their papers : all of which required 
indefatigable industry, and from their complex character the most judi- 
cious management " The state of government here is a great plague," 
he said, ''for it is difficult to discover the best mode of compassing 
an object, when the parties who are to decide are constantly changing. 
Our old Congress was nothing to this Convention.'' To Bobert Morris 
he wrote : " You tell me, that in my place you would resign and come 
home ; but this is not quite so easily done as said. In the first place, I 
luuM liave leave to resign from the President ; but further, you will con- 
sider that the very circumstances which you mention are strong reasons 
for abiding, because it is not permitted to abandon a post in the hour of 
difficulty. I think the late decrees respecting our commerce will show 
you that my continuance here has not been without some use to the 
United States." 

New York was visibly disturbed by the irregularities attending the 
French Revolution. Three of her own citizens, at this juncture, were 
chief among the great actors whose conduct of national affairs was to 
determine the course America should take in the emergency. Jay and 
Hamilton, each in their high places, wielded exceptional power; and 
both were endowed with political foresight, and incomparable originality 
•>f thought and action. Morris, as Minister to France, was watched by 
friends and foes throughout the city with unspeakable interest And, 
besides, New York was the natural refuge of French exiles. They came 
mostly from the nobility, and introduced French fashions, manners, lan- 
•niage, furniture, cookery, and customs into the city, although many of 
them returned to France at the downfall of Robespierre. 

It is the tendency of political parties to magnify their differences on 
all theoretical questions, and apparently to diverge wider and wider from 
each other. The Federalists accused the Republicans of encouraging the 
outrages which made the French people appear like a nation of lunatics, 
and the Republicans charged the Federalists with being unfriendly to 
liberty and freedom, and ungrateful to those who had cointi so bravely 


to the aid of America in the struggle for independence. But when news 
reached New York that Gouvemeur Morris had interposed at the risk of 
his life to save Madame de Lafayette from a horrible fate, arguing, in 
her behalf, that the family of Lafayette was beloved in America, where 
the whole people entertained a gi^ateful recollection of his services, and 
that the death of his wife might lessen their attachment to the French 
republic, and further the interests of the enemies of France, the reaction 
of sentiment was singularly marked. The subsequent tragedies of the 
Eeign of Terror under Robespierre stunned the reflective mind. Even 
the Jacobinical advocates became alarmed and listened at intervals to 
the logic of rule and right 

It was impossible for the masses to understand how little the French 
Revolution, the most gigantic and appalling illustration of the natural 
depravity of the human race in the annals of the world, resembled in 
principles our own conflict for independence. It had been decreed by the 
Convention that there was no God ; an impious philosophy was accepted 
by the rabble of Paris ; and all private worth and public respectability 
seemed destined for the guillotine. The more honorable and astute Amer- 
ican intellect could not keep pace with such a surging tide. The grate- 
ful affections and political sympathies which had become enthusiasm, 
when France assumed the name and form of a republic, were knocked 
about like foot-balls until time mercifully revealed the whole picture ; 
and in the height of the fever men were ready everywhere to believe that 
Washington, Adams, Jay, and Hamilton were all traitors and conspira- 
tors. Nothing but the immovable disregard of public clamor and 
private treachery which characterized the President, and the temper 
actuating his principal advisers which could resist a storm of aggressive 
action while doing justice with loftiest heroism, saved America from a 
fearful calamity. 

Genet found sympathizers on every hand. His reception in Philadel- 
phia was like that usually accorded to a conquering hero. People were 
in a frenzy. The title " citizen " became as common for a time in the 
Quaker City as in Paris. When Genet visited the President he was 
indignant at perceiving in the vestibule a bust of Louis XVI., and com- 
plained of it as an " insult to France." " At a dinner in Philadelphia," 
writes Griswold, " a roasted pig received the name of the murdered king, 
and the head, severed from the body, was carried round to each of the 
guests, who, after placing the liberty-cap on his own head, pronounced 
the word "Tyrant !" and proceeded to mangle with his knife that of the 
luckless creature doomed to be served for so unworthy a company." 

The excitement was such when it became known that the President 


had received Genet coldly, that thousands of men paraded the streets of 
Philadelphia, threatening to drag Washington from his house and com- 
pel the government to declare war in favor of France and against Eng- 
land. A riot was imminent, and Adams afterwards wrote : " I myself 
judged it prudent and necessary to order chests of arms from the war 
office to be brought through by-lanes and back-doors, determined to defend 
my house at the expense of my life, and the lives of the domestics and 
friends within it" Jefferson was believed by the Federalists to have 
given encouragement to the proceedings of Genet, with whom he was on 
tenns of intimacy ; and the National Gazette, edited by Freneau, Jeffer- 
son's confidential clerk, freely denied Washington's capacity and integrity, 
and denounced every measure of his administration ; taking care to send 
three copies each day to the President himself. 

When Genet found that the government would enforce its laws at all 
hazards, he took umbrage and threatened an appeal to the people. Wash- 
ington immediately sent a full account of the matter, with all the corre- 
spondence, and a demand for Genet's recall, to Gouverneur MoiTis, to lie 
laid before the French government About the same time England threw 
firebrands into the powder by an order designed to distress France by 
catting off her supplies, but which operated with peculiar force upon 
American commerce. Then, again, on the 3d of August the 
French frigate, FAvibuscade, at anchor in New York harbor, was ^' 
challenged to single combat by the British ship Boston, Captain Courtney, 
which was cruising off Sandy Hook. The French vessel spread her wings 
and sailed forth to meet the issue ; a severe action ensued, the Boston was 
much damaged, and Courtney killed. Bets had run high as to the results 
of the encounter, and when the frigate returned to her anchorage in tri- 
umph, the delight of the multitude gathered in the lower part of the city 
burst forth in cries as wild as ever resounded through Paris under the 
bl<x)dv ministers of misrule. 

Before the ferment subsided a French fleet of fifteen sail entered the 
Hudson, and her crew, as well as officers, immediately landed, and were 
treateil with the most extravagant civility. The tricolor was seemingly 
in every hand, and affixed to every watch-chain. And to add to the 
deUrium Genet arrived in the city from Philadelphia. The papers 
had heralded his approach, a committee went out to meet him ^' 
at Paulus Hook, and the salute of cannon, the ringing of Mis, and the 
J»-monstrations of joy from the people who filled the streets, together 
vilh flattering addresses from innumemble societies, were convincing, 
even had he not before been assured that thi? cause he represented would 
ptceive the unhesitating support of the country. Anger at Great Britain 


was in a full blaze, and the wonder is that the flames were extinguished 
without serious warfare. 

Genet was fSted by many distinguished persons in New York within 
the next ten days, not least among whom was Governor Geoige Clinton, 
with whose daughter, Cornelia, he fell in love. This celebrated French- 
man was a member of one of the first families of France ; his father was 
connected with the ministry of foreign affairs for forty-five years ; one 
of his sisters, Madame Campan, was well known for her intimacy with 
the royal family ; and another sister was the beautiful Madame Anguie, 
mother-in-law of Marshal Ney. Such was his intellectual precocity, that 
at the age of twelve he received a flattering letter and a gold medal from 
Gustavus III. for a translation of the History of Eric XIV. into the 
Swedish language, with historical remarks by himself His culture was 
exceptional, he was master of many languages, was a member of the most 
distinguished learned societies in Europe, wrote well, and was an accom- 
plished musician. He was about thirty years of age, of fine presence, 
graceful bearing, and polished manners ; was possessed of a kindly nature, 
and in conversation sparkled with anecdote. He had been from his boy- 
hood employed in honorable public offices ; at fourteen he was translating 
secretary for the eldest brother of Louis XVI., and subsequently attached 
to the embassies of Berlin, Vienna, London, and St Petersburg, remaining 
in Russia five years as charge d'affaires. It was his indignant protest 
against the order of the Empress of Russia to leave her dominions when 
Louis XVI. was dethroned which won for him a flattering reception by 
the revolutionary government on his return to Paris. Hence his appoint- 
ment on the mission to America. 

Congress assembled in December, notwithstanding the yellow fever 
had visited Philadelphia during the autumn and swept away four 
thousand victims, and in reply to the opening speech of the Presi- 
dent, expressed unqualified approval of his policy of preserving peace 
if possible, and of being prepared for war if inevitable. Almost every 
nation of Europe had taken up arms since the year commenced ; and the 
arrogant endeavor of the French republic to embark America in the 
quarrel was beginning to assume an offensive aspect through whatever 
light it might be viewed. 

" The French cause has no enemies here — their conduct many," wrote 
Rev. Jedediah Morse, the geographer, some two weeks later, ftom 
Charlestown, Massachusetts ; ^ "there are some who undistinguish- 
ingly and undoubtedly approve both, and most bitterly denounce as aristo- 
crats all who do not think as they do. The present is considered a most 

> Mm. J^dMwk Mormi^Oiimr JFokaU, December 16, 1798. 


interesting periocL The issue of General Wayne's expedition, of Genet's 
threatened prosecution of Chief Justice Jay and Rufus King, of the 
President's request to have Genet recalled, of the combined attempts of 
Britain, Spain, Algiers, etc., to ruin our commerce, of the powerful and 
increasing operation against France, are events of great expectation. 
The body of the people repose confidence in the wisdom of the President, 
of Ck»ngress, and of the heads of departments. The President's speech 
meets with much approbation. It is worthy of himsell We have some 
gnimbletonians among us, who, when the French are victorious, speak 
loud and saucy, but when they meet with a check, sing smalL They 
form a sort of political thermometer, by which we can pretty accurately 
determine what, in their opinion, is the state of French politics." 

The strife in the Cabinet between Hamilton and JefiTerson was at its 
highest ebb during this month. JefiTerson's report upon ^' the privileges 
and restrictions on the commerce of the United States, in fo.reign coun- 
tries," his last official act before retiring from the Cabinet, was so framed 
as to intensify the hatred of Great Britain in America, and favor the 
feeling of regard for France. In the remarkable Congressional debates 
which followed, Madison was the chief exponent of the JefiTersonian 
opinion, an<l Smith, of South Carolina, of that of Hamilton.^ The genius 
of these two great men were the magazines from which opposing speakers 
armed themselves ; and it is wonderful to observe the sensitiveness for 
tht' honor of France that was exhibited. Every imputation upon her 
conduct and principles wa.s visited with an unaccountable promptness of 
intiignation, and the action of Great Britain was made the daily topic of 
f \cited denunciation. " The great effort appears to be to enter into a sys- 
t*?m of discrini illation in our foreign commercial connections, favorable to 
Fmnce and unfavorable to England," wrote Oliver Wolcott to his father. 

Xews came presently that the wheel had revolved in France, and the 
jiarty })y whom Genet had been employed rendered powerless. His 
r^'vall, in compliance with Washington's demand transmitted through the 
hand.s of Gouverneur Morris, followed. But the French government 
-i^'Iicited the recall of Morris as an act of reciprocity, which could not be 
ivtuseil. Morris remained in Europe until 1798, traveling through many 
• ountries and visiting some of the principal courts. He was in constant 

J Abridgment of the DehaUs of Congress, Vol. I. 458 ; MarshaJrs Life of Wcuhingttm, 
VuL II., 229-314 ; Fisher Ames's Speech on Madison s (Umimercial Resolutions ; Lord Dor- 
^ster'i Speech to the Indian Depuiirs at Quebec, February 20, 1794 ; Jejfersoiis Writings ; 
Tuckers Life of Jefferson ; Pitkin s Political and Civil History of the United States ; Adams* s 
L\f* uf Madimm : Spark's Writings of Washington ; Gibbs's Administration of Washington 
»»d Adams; Skaffner's History of America, Div. IV. ; Sparks s Life of Gouverneur Morris; 
Jaf$ Lift and Correspondence of John Jay; Hildredth's United States ; Lossing. 


correspondence with Washington, and the public men of America, often 
communicating matters of great moment.^ Genet did not deem it expe- 
dient to return to France, but chose a home in New York, where he 
married the daughter of Governor Clinton, and spent the remainder of 
his life.* 

An interesting incident is told in connection with the appointment of 
a minister to succeed Morris at the French capital. The Opposition in 
Congress agreed to recommend Aaron Burr, and a committee waited upon 
the President, of whom Madison was chairman and James Monroe one 
of the members, to secure his nomination. Washington stood silent for 
some minutes after listening to the Congressional message, and then said 
it had been the rule of his public life never to nominate for a high and 
responsible office any man of whose integrity he was not assured. The 
committee retired and reported. The party they represented were indig- 
nant, and passed resolutions in favor of Burr, directing the committee to 
inform the President. When Madison the second time proposed Burr's 
name, Washington was irritated, and replied with some warmth that his 
decision was irrevocable : " But," he added apologetically, " I will nomi- 
nate you, Mr. Madison, or you, Mr. Monroe." Madison said he had long 
since made up his mind not to go abroad. Monroe, who belonged to the 
republican party, and in common with many others believed the French 
nation would eventually establish a free government upon the ruins of 
ancient despotism, was finally appointed, reaching Paris in August, 1794. 

1 When Henry Walter Livingston returned to New York, he was the bearer of the foUow- 
ing communication to President Washington from ex-Minister Gouvemeur Morris : " This 
will be delivered to you by my late Secretary of Legation, Mr. Henry Walter Livingston ; 
in it you will find matters of consequence, which are not to be trusted to the public mails. 
You will find Mr. Livingston is to be trusted for although at a tender age his discretion may 
always be depended upon ; he is modest, polite, sensible, and brave, and will, I feel sure, should 
he want to continue in the diplomatic line, become an honor to it," etc., etc. Young Livings- 
ton, however, sought no further promotion in the service. He came into possession of a 
large estate, married the beautiful and wealthy granddaughter of Chief Justice Allen of Penn- 
sylvania, and built the fine mansion at the Livingston manor, illustrated on page S20 of the 
first volume of this work, near the site of the original manor-house, which long since dis- 
appeared. (See Vol. II. 296.) He was the son of Walter Livingston, one of the first 
commissioners of the United States Treasury, who was the eldest son of Robert Livingston, 
third lord of the manor. The children of Henry Walter and Mary Allen Livingston were : 
Ann, married her second cousin Anson Livingston, the son of Judge Brockholst Livingston ; 
Mary, married James Thompson, died in Paris, April 14, 1880 ; Cornelia, married CarroU 
Livingston, son of Judge Brockholst Livingston ; Walter, married Mary Oreenleaf ; AUen, 
died unmarried ; Elizabeth, married William D. Henderson ; Henry W., married Caroline 
de Grasse De Pau, granddaughter of Admiral Comte de Grasse, commander of the French 
fleet during the Revolution. 

> The second wife of Genet was the daughter of Postmaster-Genenl Oagood. (S^ Vol 
IL 330, SSL) 


It was apparent to all that measures must be taken to check the 
i^gresaions of Great Britain and protect the rights of the nation. The 
poets on the frontiers, eight in number, had not yet been evacuated in 
conformance with the treaty. OflBcers commanding these posts excluded 
American citizens from the navigation of the Great Lakes. Compensation 
had never been received for the negroes carried ofi* by the British when 
the war ended. And the recent seizures of vessels laden with mer- 
chandise for France, under the new order, together with the searching of 
vessels within the acknowledged jurisdiction of the United States under 
pretense of looking for and impressing English seamen, outraged the 
national understanding of the principles of neutrality. 

With the arrival of his successor Genet's influence waned. In justi- 
fication of his proceedings he published the secret instructions under 
which he had acted. Nothing could exceed the bitterness with which 
his partisans assailed Chief Justice Jay and Bufus King for having given 
puUicity to his threat to " appeal to the people from certain decisions of 
the President" The darkest motives were assigned for the disclosure. 
" Has it become a crime," they asked, " to speak of consulting the people ? 
Is the President a consecrated character, that an appeal from his decisions 
involves criminality ? " The complaints of those impatient for a closer 
connection with France were uttered in language undignified and almost 
as disrespectful to the national administration as to the sovereign of 
England. Congress was divided as to the proper course to pursue in the 
emergency. The opponents of the administration urged the adoption of 
commercial restrictions. The Federal party, of which Washington was 
the soul, insisted that unless Great Britain could be induced by negotia- 
tion to abandon her unjust pretensions, an appeal should be made to 
anns. An honorable peace or an open war, they said. The Opposition 
proposed to sequester all debts due from American citizens to British 
subjects, thus constituting a fund for the indemnification of such as had 
suffered from British spoliations. This was resented by those 'who en- 
tertained proper respect for national faith and honor of whatever party. 
Its discussion was interrupted by the introduction of another project — a 
resolution to suspend all commercial intercourse with Great Britain, 
until full compensation should be received for losses sustained under her 
orders in council, and the posts surrendered. During the stormy discus- 
sion that followed, Spain assumed an offensive attitude ; and a scheme 
was detected for attacking the Floridas by a force from Georgia organized 
under French agents, which was defeated by the vigilance of the legisla- 
ture of South Carolina. About the same time an angry remonstrance 
reached the President from Kentucky in relation to the navigation of the 


Mississippi, with obscure threats revealing the same seditious spirit 
which was soon to break forth in Pennsylvania 

In the midst of the turmoil Hamilton was cheerfully bestowing infor- 
mation upon members of Congress who were daily applying for data 
to aid in supporting or invalidating arguments. The principles dividing 
the two parties were more inseparably connected with the financial 
than with any other acts of the government States were brought 
into court as defendants to the claims of land companies and indi- 
viduals ; and British debts rankled. The erection of a fiscal system in the 
face of the inveterate prejudices, conflicting interests, and violent opposi- 
tion of those who gave little knowledge and less study to the subject 
was one of the marvels of that century. " A committee of fifteen mem- 
bers are investigating the state of the Treasury Department," wrote Wol- 
cott on the 2d of March. " Some of them are enemies to the 

March 2. 

Secretary, but he is an honest and able man, and, as everything 
in relation to his official conduct is capable of a solid defense, no injury 
can be inflicted. It will occasion some hard work, but this we are used 
to and do not mind." It was not, however, merely as the head of a 
department that Hamilton's talents were exercised. He had brought the 
whole of his mental resources and great vigor of intellect to bear ujx^n 
every fundamental maxim of government 

The perils to which American conmierce was exposed induced the 
government on the 26th to lay an embargo for thirty days on all 
vessels bound to foreign ports. Measures were also taken for in- 
creasing the regular military force, and for oi^nizing eighty thousand 
troops. Thus were the relations between the two countries rapidly 
approaching a state of open hostility. 

At this juncture Chief Justice Jay was called to Philadelphia by the 

term of the Supreme Court He wrote to his wife on the 9th of 

' April : " Yesterday I dined with the President The question of 

war or peace seems to be as much in suspense here as in New York 

when I left you." On the 10th he wrote again : " Peace or war 

appears to me a question which cannot be solved. Unless things 

should take a turn in the mean time, I think it will be best on my return 

to push our affairs at Bedford briskly. There is much irritation and 

agitation in this town and in Congress. Great Britain has acted unwisely 

and unjustly ; and there is some danger of our acting intemperately." 

The President turned to the chief justice in this moment of painful 
anxiety, while preparations for the expected war were in progress, and 
before the decisions on the various commercial propositions had been 
reached, urging his acceptance of a mission to England for the purpose, 

''BEDFORD house:* 399 

if possible, of averting the calamities of war. Between Washington and 
Jay the most confidential and uninterrupted intercourse had existed since 
the beginning of the Revolution ; and such was the President's faith in 
the integrity, good judgment, and executive ability of the chief justice, 
that he promised him exceptional powers. Jay hesitated. He had other 
plans and pleasures in prospect ; and yet he felt the impulse of duty 
stroniirly. He wrote to his wife on the 15th : " The object is so 
interesting to our country, and the combination of circumstances 
such, that I find myself in a dilemma between personal and public con- 
siderations." The question was, however, speedily settled by the receipt 
of some conciliatory explanations from Lord Grenville, accompanying the 
news of the revocation of the oflTensive order of the 6th of November by 
the British government ; and thus an opportunity seemed to ofiTer itself for 
the amicable adjustment of existing difficulties. " I venture to assure 
you," wrote Oliver Ellsworth to Governor Oliver Wolcott, senior, " Mr. 
Jav will be sent to the court of London. He is now here, and has this 
moment informed me of his determination to accept the appointment if it 
shall be made. This, sir, will be a mortifying movement to those who 
have endeavored by every possible means to prevent reconciliation be- 
tween this country and Great BritaiiL" On the Sfiune date Chief Justice 
Jay was nominated envoy extraordinary to the British Court 
Aaron Burr sharply opposed his confirmation by the Senate, but 
the vote was, nevertheless, in his favor, at the ratio of eighteen to 

The Opposition boldly criticised the appointment as tending to teach 
judges to aspire to executive favors. The Jacobin or democratic societies 
abused the President with renewed acrimony. Their newspapers vilified 
the mission and his minister. The House determined if possible to ren- 
der the journey of Jay void of results, and succeeded in passing a bill 
<^»n the 21st, cutting off all commercial intercourse with England, which 
was, however, lost in the Senate by the casting vote of Vice-President 
Adams. The chief justice sailed on the 12th of May, accom- 
panied by his eldest son, Peter Augustus, and by John Trumbull 
as his secretary. About the same time John Quincy Adams was com- 
missioned resident minister to The Hague. 

" Bedford House," the home of Chief Justice Jay for twenty-eight years 
after he retired from public life, was in process of erection at the time he 
wa? called into the diplomatic field, together with numerous other im- 
provements upon his Bedford estate. A large landed property had de- 
>>iKie<i to him through his mother, Mary Van Cortlandt, located in the 
Bedford region some forty-five miles north of New York City, and about 



midway between the Hudson River and Long Island Sound, where they 
are thirty-one miles apart. The mansion was placed upon an eoiinence 
overlooking the whole beautiful rolling region between the two great 
bodies of water — a landscape varied with sunny slopes, circles of hills, 
charming valleys, and bits of river peeping through rich foliage. It was 
not finished and occupied until half a dozen years later. But in 1801 wings 
were added, one of which, conspicuous through its garment of clambering 
vines, contained the library ; thenceforward to the end of his life the 
chief justice enjoyed his family, his books, and his friends in this delight- 
ful retreat, where notable Europeans sought him as a species of hom<ige 
to public virtue. It was theu a two days' journey from the metropolis, 
and a mail coach was not seen oftener than once a week. 
The mansion is now the summer residence of the gTandsoD of l^e 

chief justice, Hon. John Jay, late United States Minister to Atistria. It 
has undergone comparatively few alterations. Although railways have 
cut their way through the country on either hand, it is still four nules 
from a car-whistle. The estate at the present time comprises at least 
seven hundred acres. The dwelling is a half-mile from the main road, 
from which it is reached by a private avenue, winding among forest trees 
up a gentle elevation, deftly illustrated iu the accompanying sketch, 
and which finally cuts a circle in a wide velvet lawn, and terminates 
under the shadow of four superb lindens in front of the edifice. 

Upon a picturesque wooded height in the rear is a pretty school or 


summer-house of stone, which the chief justice ^ built for the use and 
amusement of his children. His library, twenty-five feet square, with 
windows on three sides, remains to the present time as originally fash- 

1 The children of Chief Justice John (bom December 12, 1745, died May 17, 1829) and 
Sarah Liringston Jay were : 1. Peter Augustus, bom at ''Liberty Hall," Elizabethtown, 
January 24, 1776 ; 2. Susan, died young ; 3. Maria, bom at Madrid, Spain, February 20, 
1782, married Goldsboro Banyer ; 4. Anne, bom at Passy, France, August 13, 1788; 5. 
William, bora at New York, June 16, 1789, died 1858 ; 6. Sarah Louisa, bora at New York, 
February 20, 1792. 

Peter Augustus Jay, the eldest son, who was his father's private secretary in London, 
V<«ame a distinguished lawyer of New York, was Recorder of the city, in 1819, served in 
the Awerobly, and was President of the New York Historical Society. He married, in 
1S07, Mary Rutherford, daughter of General Matthew Clarkson. Their children were : 
1. John Clarkson Jay, M. D., married Laura, daughter of Nathaniel Prime ; 2. Mary, 
uumied Frederick Prime ; 3. Sarah, married William Dawson ; 4. Helena, married Dr. 
lieiirj' Augustun Da Bois ; 5. Anna Maria, married Henry Evelyn Pieitepont ; 6. Peter 
Augustus, married Joeephine Pierson, and their son, Augustus, married Emily, daughter of 
I>e I..ancey Kane ; 7. Elizabeth Clarkson ; 8. Matilda, married Matthew Clarkson. Children 
••f Or. John CUrkaon and Ijaura Prime Jay : 1. Laura, married Charles Pemberton Wurtz ; 
*J. Augustas ; 3. John ; 4. Mary, married Jonathan Edwards ; 5. Coraelia ; 6. Peter Angus- 
TU.S married Julia, dau^^ter of Alfred C. Post ; 7. John Clarkson Jay, Jr., M. D., married 
Harriet, daughter of General Vinton ; 8. Alice ; 9. Sarah ; 10. Matilda. 

William Jay, the second son of the chief justice, was distinguished as .a jurist, philan- 
Thropist, and author. He manied Augusta, daughter of John McVickar. Their children 
wrre : 1. Augusta, married John Nelson ; 2. Maria Banyer, married John F. Butterworth ; 
3. John Jay, statesman and author ; 4. Louisa, married Dr. Alexander M. Braen ; 5. Eliza, 
married Henry Edward Pellew, of England ; 6. William, died young ; 7. Augusta, after the 
'i»-ath of her sister Eliza, married, at the American I/cgation, Vienna, May 14, 1873, Henry 
KJward Pellew. John Jay, bom June 23, 1817, late United States Minister to Austria and 
Hungary-, the third child and only surviving son of Judge William Jay, succeeded to the 
I'^Jford estate ; he married Eleanor Kingsland, daughter of Hi«kson W. Field. Their chil- 
Irvn : 1. Eleanor, married Henry Grafton Chapman ; 2. William Jay, Colonel U. S. A., bom 
FV^niarj- 12, 1841, married Lucie, daughter of Henry (Mrichs ; 3. John, died young; 
4 Auj^.-sta, mameil Edmund Randolph Robinson ; 5. Mary, married Major William Henry 
•> hit-if»-lin ; 6. Anna, married H. E. Lieutenant-Geneml Hans Ix>thar Von Schweinitz, Ger- .imba&Mador at Vienna, and later at St. Petersburj^. 

KvH, the si«<t«'r of Chief Justice John Jay, married Rev. Harry Munro. (See Vol. 1. 602, 
'•<»■$. ) Fnin<*eH Jay, the daughter of Augustus Jay, nuirried Frederick Van Cortlandt, whose 
•Uughter Eve married Heniy WTiite ; and their <laughter Margaret married Peter Jay Munro ; 
whot* daughter F' ranees was the wife of Bishop De Lancey. (See Vol. I. 552.) Edward N. 
Bibby marrie<l Augusta White, one of the great-granddaugliters of Frances Jay. For refer- 
tn.-*^ to the an«estr>' of tlie Jay family, see Vol. I. 696, 697 ; Vol. II. 163, 164. Through 
the- mife of Augustus Jay, whose mother was the daughter of Govert Loockermans (Vol. 
i 137, 138, 251). ami thiongli the wife of Peter Jay, one of the distinguished family of Van 
' 'rtUndt- (Vof. I. ♦)!, 9(>) wliose mother was the daughter of Fn*derick IMiilipse (Vol. 
I •.^2^s 270. 271, 272), and tliroiigh the wife of Cliief Justice John Jay, who was a 
uvinipton (Vol. I. 275, 311»), the careful reader will trace the family thread which connects 
th- part with the preiient, and brings into review a whole line of public characters, reaching 
i kwinl to th«* earliest settlement upon Manhattan Island. 

.\ kTuphically interesting memoir of the Jay family, with a special sketch of Chief Justioe 



ioned One division contains the favorite tomes first placed upon its 
shelves, weighty folios of Grotius, PufFendorf, Vattel, and other masteis 
of the science of international law, standard theological and miscellaneous 
works, and the classic authors of antiquity. The table used by the chief 
justice, and four quaint high-backed chairs which graced Federal Hall in 
Wall Street while New York was tht; capital of the nation, lend a pecu- 
liar charm to the apartment. 

Mrs. Jay, during her husband's absence iu Eurape, assumed the charge 
of domestic affairs, assisted occasionally by his nephew, Peter Jay Muuro, 

Llbnry sT ChM JadiM Jiy, " B*tfbr4 Horn. 

and her letters were filled with practical mattera, such as particulars of 
moneys paid in and reinvested in the new national bank, and in stocks, 
with quotations of their rise, the sale of lands, and the pn^ress of the 
Ja;, WM read in December, 1878, berore tho " Acad4mie dea Bella Lettrea, Science, «t Art* 
de \a Rochellf," in France, by " MoDsiPurdeRichemond ArchevUledelsCbtRtiteliiUneDre, 
et Officler de I' Instruction Publiqut." at their pnblic seitsioD, entilJed " La Rochelle d'outie 
mer." The Jay family was described as one whose hoapiUble mansioti had *helt«red the Gnt 
religious reunions of the Prot«stauta of La Rochelle ; and the device upon the Jay aeal «u 
quoted, " I>eo duce perse verandum," as having guided the family in the Nen Worid. (Sea 
Vol. II. 3S7.) The paper, while testifying to the interest with which the Academy of Bodtella 
has followed the course of ita former citiien beyond the seas, has added to our knowl«dga 
of the family trials in its ancient home " when the last of the five chnrcbeB of La Rocbelle 
had been demolished, when the Protestants hftd lost in Colbert their last defender, and when 
Ixiuvois had let loose the Royal dragoons to wage a war of eitennination." — Jbntly 


mill and dam, and other improvements on the Bedford estate. In one 
instance she describes the horses brought to the city by their farmer at 
Bedford, and relates her experience in finding a man to break them for 
use before her carriage. " He has undertaken it/' she adds, " but he says 
the coachmen of the city require as much breaking as the horses." The 
schools of New York, particularly those for girls, were as yet of an indif- 
ferent character, and Mrs. Jay placed her two daughters, Maria and Anne, 
aged twelve and eleven, at the celebrated Moravian school for girls at 
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where, it has been said, " were educated a large 
proportion of the belles who gave the fashionable circles of New York 
and Philadelphia their inspiration during the last twenty years of the 

This sommer was signalized by an insurrection in the western counties 
of Fsmisylvania ; the population scattered thinly over a frontier coimtry 
compoeed laigely of foreigners, many of whom were wild and lawless 
— and a great amount of whiskey was distilled in that region. 
The tftjc imposed upon domestic spirits in 1791 had been resisted from 
the inl» and in many instances barbarous outrages were perpetrated 
apoa the levenue officers — such as whipping, tarring, and branding. 
GoQgraes revised the law in 1792, modifying its most obnoxious features, 
hopiiig lo avoid all reasonable objections, and the general opposition 
abated. Bat with the French fever local discontent broke out afresh, and 
the enemies of the administration attempted to turn the excitement to 
political advantage, by coupling censures of other measures with decla- 
mation against the excise law. In July an armed mob attacked the house 
of the revenue inspector. General John Neville, one of the Executive 
Cooncil of Pennsylvania, living near Pittsburg, who defended it so well 
tliat the assailants tetired to increase their force. The combination swell- 
int: to five hundred men, Neville was obliged to fly for his life, and his 
Louse, bams, and granaries were burned. The marshal of the district 
was seized and compelled to enter into stipulations to forbear the execu- 
tion of his office ; and both the inspector and the marshal made their 
e^ape down the Ohio and by a circuitous route to the seat of govern- 

The effect was electrical. Mails were seized, liberty poles erected, 
v-.iitious hand-bills circulated, armed meetings held, all occupation, even 
•he rourse of law, was suspended, and the country launched into open 

An outbreak so violent had not been contemplated by the instigators, 
vho only aimed for the political embarrassment of the government. They 
vere themselves alarmed at the fury of the storm. Several talented men 


of great personal popularity, who liad hitherto stimulated opposition to 
the law, exerted their utmost influence to quell the excitement and pre- 
serve order. But without avail. As soon as it was discovered that the 
civil force and local militia were powerless, that the property and even 
the lives of those who were willing to obey the law were in peril, harsher 
measures were adopted. "Every circumstance indicates that we must 
have a contest with those madmen," wrote Wolcott. The President 
issued a proclamation on the 7th of August, commanding the 
insurgents to disperse before a given time. To prevent bloodshed 
if possible, commissioners were sent both by the President and Governor 
Mifflin of Pennsylvania, offering a general amnesty on condition of peacea- 
ble submission. The insurrectionary spirit still continuing at its height, 
the militia assembled with alacrity fix)m the different States at 

Q — y^A Alt 

the call of the President, and Hamilton, whom nothing could deter 
from continuing to recommend measures for the support of the public 
credit, was given the direction of the army. 

Committing the management of the Treasury to Wolcott, Hamilton 
marched into the disorderly country, and fulfilled his task with such 
prudence and moderation that not one life was sacrificed. Jefferson, from 
his retirement at Monticello, ridiculed the force employed as greatly 
disproportioned to the object; but other leading men of the same party 
who accompanied the army believed that a less force would have proved 
inadei^uate. The flight of the principal leader removed the great obstacle 
to a pacification, and a general submission followed the arrival of the 
militia. A few arrests were made, and a few obscure persons convicted, 
who were, however, subsequently pardoned. A small body of troops was 
left during the winter as a precautionary measure. 

The turbulent societies which had adopted the absurdities and extrava- 
gances of the French to an almost incredible extent throughout the 
United States, and were captious about heraldic bearings, and scandalized 
at the sight of a spread eagle on the coin, and upon the printed acts of 
Congress, received a deadly blow in the mean while. The remnant of the 
French Convention, rendered desperate by the ferocious despotism of the 
Jacobins, sought safety from their wholesale butcheries by confronting 
danger. Robespierre himself was doomed ; the form of trial was quickly 
enacted, and early in the evening of July 28, the jjuillotine terminated his 
esdstence. Thus fell the Jacobin clubs in France ; and as the boldest 
Streams must disappear when their feeders are drained, the Jacobin soci- 
in America sunk into disgrace, as if their destinies were suspended 
le same thread. 

% Hamilton's absence Wolcott was unremitting in his devotion 


to the business of the department, and evinced remarkable capacity for 
continued hard work. He wrote to his father on the 25th of October : 
" Europe is hastening to ruin ; the Dutch will probably resign them- 
selves to their fate without any great struggle. This I hear in a 
wav which I credit. We have reason to fear the French have reversed 
the plan of commercial depredatioa Several of our vessels trading to 
the British dominions have been captured and carried into France. We 
must, however, persist in the idea that we will not engage in the war. 
Mr. Jay's mission will probably issue favorably, but it is not safe to 
encourage sanguine expectations." Soon after the opening of the winter 
session of Congress, Thomas Pinckney was sent to the Spanish Court 
as envoy extraordinary, to conclude a treaty with that government ; thus 
the prospects of peace were improving, notwithstanding the temper of 
the Opposition. . 

Hamilton had for some time intended retiring from the Treasury, 
and on the 31st of January, 1795, sent in his resignation. His last offi- 
cial reports comprehended his plans for supporting the public ^^^^^ 
credit on the basis of the actual revenues, and for the improve- ^•^ ^ 
ment of the revenue. The first reviewed all the previous legislation 
upon the subject of public credit ; the last entered at length into the con- 
sideration of the objects and principles of taxation generally, and the 
alterations required in the existing laws. This completed his fiscal sys- 
tem. The assumption of the debt^ the creation of a bank, the imposition 
of a tax, each involving questions of infinite political moment, had been 
accomplished, and the Treasury could henceforth take its natural level 
in point of national importance. During the six years since the forma- 
tion of the new government most of the problems likely to arise had 
been s^Jved and settled, and a general adherence to the principles thus 
established was henceforward to be expected. On the 2d of 
February', Wolcott, who had fully entered into the views of Hamil- 
t4*n, with no favorite schemes to engraft on that which seemed perfect 
in itself, and well acquainted with the resources of the country, as well as 
versed in the business of the department, was appointed his successor. 

The original Cabinet was thus entirely changed. Knox had already 
resigned, and been succeeded by Timothy Pickering. Edmund fiandolph 
was the successor of Jefferson in the Department of State, and William 
Bnnlfurd was Attoruey-Geneiiil. 

Xew York was .shaken by all these great events. No place in America 
^d.< so much affected by the changeable affairs and " hypocrisy of morals " 
iii Fmnce. No other community watched the movements of Great 
Britain with deeper interest, or wei*e more shai-ply divided hi opinion 


as to what constituted the dignity of a republic in the great emergency. 
And the merchants of no city were more vitally concerned in all that 
related to commerce with the different nations of Europe. 

The six-year-old government atood firm, a great recognized power 
among the powers of the world. Internal agitations were to be expected. 
Jefferson said truly, " The people cannot be all and always well informed ; 
the part which is wrong will be discontented in propoition to the impor- 
tance of the facts they misconceive." But the massive framework of tJie 
structure, skillfully fitted and balanced, awaited developing processes. 
Ideas might clash regarding its prospective stability, and thousands of 
architects might rise to declare they could have fashioned it better: 
Wings, balconies, minarets, pinnacles, domes, and ail manner of modem 
improvements might be added, yet the or^nal achievement would, 
through it all, be shorn of none of its glory. 

Hamilton returned to New York and the practice of law. His first 
case of importance was a libel suit, in which he submitted his famous 
definition of a libel, still accepted in the coujts. Although an orator by 
natural gifts, and accustomed to public speaking, this pioneer effort at 
the bar, even after he had infused life and vigor into the national govern- 
ment with such success, was attended with singular embarrassment He 
was actually so overcome witli emotion when he arose to deliver his 
masterly ai^ument, says James Cochrane, who was an eye-witness of the 
scene, " that he covered his face with his hands, and stood in that atti- 
tude before court and jury until the paroxysm passed." ' He culti\'at«d 
a warm personal friendship for Talleyrand, recently arrived from France. 
Dissimilar in many respects, there was much to draw them together. Each 
had been employed by his respective government in the regulation of 
national finance, each cherished confirmed opinions concerning the science 
of popular government, and each had devised a system of public school 

Rufiis King was re-elected in January to the Senate of the United 
States for the six succeeding years. About the same time Governor George 
Clinton published an address to the people of New York declining to be 
a candidate again for tbe office of governor, which he bad filled without 
iaterruption since 1777. He said he " withdrew from a situation never 
solicited by him, with real pleasure " ; and that having held for nearly 
thirty yean elective offices, and been compelled to devote almost all oi 
his time to the discharge of iht' dutii's (.■onnei.ti.-d wiih them, hia health 

■ Jiunoi Cailinuir vu) thr utu of 1)r. John (.'uchmnv, iiiirl nut »iily an ardent idminr and 
[vlitiMl ilifcMM Ht HamBtaB, but |wrMnwUy inttnnte through the ralutiuniUp ufativ hti 
' " ~"~ ri Adiurlnr, aiul ha tlim the lint coiwin of Hn. Haniltpa. 



had become impaired, ami his private affairs required attention. He 
thaaked his constituents with much feeling lor their continued confidence 
tad support during the trying scenes tlirongh which he Imd passed. 

LieutenaDt-Govemor Van Cortlandt at the same time declined re-elec- 
tion on account of advanced ^e. He had reached his seventy-fifth year.^ 

' Lieateoant-Ooremor Pierre Van Cortlandt (bom 1721, died 1814) was the grendson of 
th« firat lord of the manor, Hon. Slephanus Van Cortlandt. and the great -Rrnndson of Oloff 
S. Van Cortlandt, the founder of the bmily in America. <3ee Vol. I. 90, 277, 278, 606.) 
Through his mother, Catharine De Peyster, he voa the f^ndaon of Treasurer Abraham De 
P»7»ter, and the great -grandson of the founder of the De Peyster family in America- (See Vol. 
LX2S,S!S, 420, 421.) And through his grandmother, the famoun (iertrude Schuyler, b« was 
ihc gnt-grmndaon of the foander uf the Sfhuyler family in America. (See Vol. 1. 153, 154.) 
He BUTied his second cousin, Joanna Livingston, born 1722. the ilaughter of Gilbert and Cor- 
arlia Beekman LiTuigston, and granddaughter of RolieK, the Urst lord of Livingston manOT, 
the bnoder of the Liringston family in Amerii-a. Tiirir I'htiilren were ; 1. Philip, the ^neral, 
hm 1749, ncTer married ; 2 Catharine, boni 1751, married Abrahuni Van Wyck ; 3. Cor- 
aeiia, horn 1753, married Gerard O. Beekmali, Jr. ; 4. Gertrude, horn 175.1, died unmarried ; 
J. Gilbert, bora 175" ; «- Stephen, bom 1760; 7. Pierre, bom 1762, married first Catharine 
Cliiiaa, daughtrr of George Clinton, necond, Ann Steplienson : S. Ann, bom 1776, married 
niUp Tan Benwelser, tbe Albany mayor, only brother of Lieiitenaut-GoTrranr Stephen Van 
laHaelncr, tba patroou. — Fdmilg AnAivta. 


Side by side with Governor Clinton for eighteen successive ye&rs, he had 
given his time and strength to the administration o\' the new State 
government. Clinton being necessarily much absorbed in military duties. 
Van Cortlandt had been left, chief executive officer and civil magistrate a 
greater portion of the period of the war. Peace returning, he presided 
over the Senate, and with such dignity and sound judgment that he was 
deservedly popular. He was the fifth son of Philip and Catharine De 
Peyster Van Cortlandt (double cousin of the mother of Chief Justice 
Jay), and by the death of his elder brother 
heir-at-law to the manorial estates. His 
lofty character was illustrated by the dis- 
dain with which he rejected the offer of 
royal favor, and safety to bia property, if he 
woiJd cease opposition to the crown, made 
by Governor Tryon on the occasion of a 
personal visit to the manor-house at Croton 
Landing just before the outbreak of hostil- 
ities Van Cortlandt's services in the New 
York Congress, Convention, and Committee 
of Safety, and his example of undismayed 
faithfulness when driven from his estates, 
"and while adverse clouds darkened the en- 
tire horizon, were of priceless value to the American cause. He was 
one of the thirty-eight patriots who ratifieii the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence — on horseback — at White Plains on the 9th of July, 1776; 
and from October of the same year, when elected vice-president of the 
Convention, was almost the sole presiding officer of that heroic body until 
it completed its labors. Few men of his time inspired a higher degree of 
. confidence and respect among all classes in the State of New York. 

The eldest son of the lieutenant-governor. General Philip Van Cort- 
landt,' was at this time a member of Congress, having been elected in 

> General Philip Vsn Cortlnndt (bom 17*9, died unmarried at the Van CortUndt nunor- 
iioiisr, KoTembFr 21, ]R31| wiu nm- of the Comniigsioneni of Forfeitomi Tor the coiiutin of 
Wpalcheater, Richmond, Kings, Queens, anit Suffolk ; he was the Tint Su|ierviiiQr uf the 
town of Cortlandt in 1788, h member of the Xcw York Assembly from 178S to 1790, and of 
the Senate from 1791 to 1794, at which time he took his neat iu Congress, until IBM. He 
wan a nienibcr of thi- N'ev York Convrntion which adopted the Constitution of the United 
States, and in 1812 was an eleetnr for President He wns also one of the original menbcn of 
the Cincinnati, and '\ls lintl treaHurrr. When the war broke oat he bumed his commiision of 
Major in the ■■Ti^-uii GuRnls"or the manor of Cortlandt, and was elected to the ProvincUl 
Convention which met in New York City, in definnc^e of the established gorerament, to ehoose 
ilelegntes to the Continrntsl Congresfi. He was shortly after appointed Lieutenant-Colonel in 
the American army, and served fearlessly and nobly through the war ; for hii galUntrjr at 



1793 ; and he continued to represent his district in that body for sixteen 
sacoeasive yeara, until he dedined re-election. His personal resemblance 
m I^ayette, with whom he was on terms of intimacy, and whom he 
aecompaoied through the United States on his memorable tour in 1824, 
was remarked by all who knew him, and on one occasion was tinned to 
decided advant^e. At a large reception Lafayette, wearied with hand- 

Torktovn he was nude a brigadier-geiiPntl. Many of the Htriking incidents in his career 
It remled throogh liis private correspondeni.-p, to which the author haa had access. In the 
(prini; o\ 1776 he was on duty at Tiuonderoga, atiii member at a court-martial for the trinl 
•i Mds« Haien, charged by Benedict Arnold with disobedience of ordera. " I remained," 
hr wrote, " long enough to discover the vile conduct o\ Arnold in procuring a vast quantity 
•t |p3odj fmm the merchanli of Montreal, which he intended for, and which, I believe, wns 
ipiwopriateil to his own use. For thia, and also for improper conduct before the court, he 
would have lieen arrested himself, but escaped by procuring an order from General Gawa, to 
kod me, the morning a^r the court adjourned, to Sclienesborough (Whitehall) by which 
means the <-«urt was diaaoWeil nnil Arnold e8ca|ied." Being one of the conrt-martiid convened 
u PhiUdrtpbia in 1780 (aee Vol. li. 236) for the trial of Arnold, in connection with four 
Dttk-r oScrrs who b^d served on the Hazen trial, he wrote : " We voted for cashiering him, 
Uit wtn OTcrmleil by a sentence of reprimand. Hud tliej' all known what we knew, he 
■md.! have lieen diKmis.4e<l the wrvice." Van Cortlundt mlopted his nephew, Philip Gilberi 
Van Wyek (rider brother of Pierre Cortlandt Van Wyck, recorder of the city as mentioned in 
Boir, p. S6), son of Abrahani and t'atliarine Van (.'nrllandt Van Wjck, to whom he left the 
p(«i bulk of his property by will. Philip Gilbert Van Wyck married Mary Gardiner, descend- 
•HI of the Grat lord of the manor of Gardiner's Island. Their children were : 1. Joanna Liv- 
uptoD Van Wyck ; 2. (.'atharine, married Rev. Stephen H. Battin ; 3, Philip Van Cortlandt, 
>linl Bnmairied ; 4. Eliia, married William Van Ness Livingston ; 5. Gardiner, died unmar- 
tiai : 6. Fanny Van Rensselaer, married Judge Alexnmler Wells, whose only daughter, 
'^rtrude. inarneil Schuyler Hamilton, Jr., greul-grnndson of Alexander Huniillon ; 7. I'iern: 
'.rtUnlt Van Wyck. 

" n Wyck, who niiirri."d ("■nlli 

Th- father of Abraham Vi 
•i t!rt liflb p-neration. 
■■r.' 'A the sisters of 
■rl-Wted Kev. Dr. 
i.vr of Dr. Theodorus 
iili'onvenrion, married 

Ion Hailey. one of 
■-^t. mjrrieii the dis- 
!,::,-* Kent, and an. 
■ia R. Bleecker of 
>r of ihe Litter, married 
J^- (Dvemor of Xew 
■L- Vio Wyck family 
•- .• -.X-.T-z a ■.ubatantial 

■:' ft r.mdi.-* throngh- 
■*f L. .f Holland are 
t^-. ^■■^\^,'\^■ to bear the 

Cortlandt, was Theoiloms, 
Cath.irinc Van Wyvk, 
Abraham, married the 
John Mason ; Hary, 
Van Wyck oftheProvin- 
lion. Zephantah I'latt ; 
ter. marri.-.! Colonel 
whose daughters, Eliza- 
tinguished jurist. Hon. 
other, father, married 
Alluny; Mary, daugh- 
Hon. Homtio Seymoiir, 
York. The branches of 

element of the po]mla- 
with other notable Kew 
out the -Stat.-. The Van 


shaking, suddenly disappeared, leaving Van Cortlandt as his substitute 
to receive the greetings of the multitude, who, not discovering the change, 
went away satisfied with having, as supposed, grasped the hand of the 
French nobleman and patriot. Van Cortlandt's portrait, copied from a 
rare little miniature painted about the close of the Revolution, reveals to 
the curious reader traces of that extraordinary likeness to Lafayette which * 
misled the enthusiastic crowd. His younger brother, Pierre, succeeded to 
the manor-house property at Croton Landing, of whom mention will be 
made upon a future page. 

Stephen, the elder brother of Lieutenant-Governor Van Cortlandt, was 
a loyalist ; his son Philip, who married Catharine Ogden, was an officer 
in. the British army. That branch of the family retired to England, 
where their descendants are connected with some of the best families in 
the kingdouL The granddaughter of Stephen Van Cortlandt married 
Clement Clark Moore, son of Bishop Moore. 

The intereating question of selecting candidates for the two important 
offices of governor and lieutenant-governor at once occupied attention. 
The nomination of governor was tendered to Hamilton, to whom the free- 
dom of the city was also awarded after his return from Philadelphia, but 
he positively declined Jay was in England. His business, however, was 
approaching completion. Negotiations had prospered under the conduct 
of Lord Grenville, with the favor of the king, and a treaty was already 
signed. " Various rumors are circulated respecting Mr. Jay's return to 
this country," wrote Bufus King in March. " Those who wish his elec- 
tion as governor of the State expect him in the spring, certainly before 
the month of July." In the mean time he received the nomination for 
governor, and Stephen Van Rensselaer, the patroon, for lieutenant- 

Congress adjourned on the 3d of MarcL Four days later the famous 
treaty was received, and submitted to a quorum of the Senate convened 
for the purpose, Vice-President Adams in the chair. Such was the state 
of party feeling, that the mere intelligence of the arrival of the treaty, 
even while its provisions were undivulged, lashed the Opposition into a 
fury. Some of the newspapers denounced the President as no statesman, 
hardly a soldier, called him a " tool of England," declared boldly that he 
had drawn money fraudulently from the Treasury, and said, " If the in- 
fluence of a treaty is added to the influence Great Britain already has in 
our government, we shall be colonized anew." Not this particular treaty, 
but any treaty with Great Britain was clearly under condenmation. " A 
republic should form no connection with a monarch," was the cry. 

Until the question of its ratification should be duly considered^ pro- 


priety required that the contents of the treaty should remain a secret 
with the administration, especially as it had not been published in Eng- 
land. But the Opposition seized upon what little they could learn of it 
to excite public distrust. Meanwhile, at the April election in New York 
John Jay was elected governor of the State by a large majority over the 
apposing candidate, Eobert Yates — chief justice of the Supreme Court of 
Xew York from 1790 to 1798 — and Stephen Van Eensselaer was elected 
lieutenant-governor. The Federalists also obtained a majority in both 
houses uf the Legislature. The result of the state canvass was declared on 
the 26th of May. Two days afterward Chief Justice Jay arrived 
from the court of England. He was welcomed in the most noisy 
and joyful manner, all the bells in the city mingling with the roar of 
cannon, and conducted to his house from the wharf by an excited multi- 
tude eager to testify their gratitude for his successful mission of peace. 

Alas ! this popular applause was quickly succeeded by a whirlwind of 
the most unqualified abuse. Every effort was made to impeach the char- 
acter of the great jurist; he was called an " arch- traitor," accused of 
perfidy and double dealing, and of kneeling in idolatry to the enemy of 
France. He took the oath of governor of the State of New York 
on the 1st of July, having previously resigned his high seat on 
the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States. The following 
day a Viiginia senator, regardless of official decorum, sent a copy of the 
treaty, still under discussion in the Senate, with closed doors, to 
the editor of a Philadelphia newspaper, who prematurely printed 
it in fulL A pile of combustibles was ready for the torch, composed of 
Fivnch emigrants devoted to their cause, general malcontents who were 
f-irsuarle^i that a war with England would be a relief. Western settlers 
who wanted the navigation of th^ Mississippi, Pennsylvanians who were 
viking the abolition of the excise laws, refugees of every class from all 
nations, who through their crimes or desperate fortunes " had taken refuge 
m patriotism," and men and classes disappointed in ambitious projects, and 
▼ho were aggrieved, or fancied themselves so, by the operation of various 
iii*rasures, and an explosion immediately followed. A mob collected in 
Philadelphia on the 4th of July, and paraded the streets bearing aloft the 
K^y of John Jay, w^ith a pair of scales in his hand, labeled on one side 

American Liberty and Independence," on the other " British gold," while 
ir-jiii the mouth of the figure proceeded the words, " Come up to my price 
^:. 1 I will sell you my country," which was i)ublicly burned. Meetings 
•A>r^r held in everj* part of the country denouncing the treaty. In New 
V "fk one was convened in the open air in Wall Street, and Hamilton and 
F! ifiLs King upon the balcony of Federal Hall undertook its defense. A 


shower of stones was leveled at them by the exasperated multitude. 
" These are hard ailments to encounter," said Hamilton, smiling. The 
party, after adopting violent resolutions against the treaty, marched with 
the American and French colors flying to the Bowling Green, in front of the 
new government house, the residence of Governor Jay, and with demoniac 
shouts burned the treaty. At an adjourned meeting a committee of 
fifteen, with Brockholst Livingston, Mrs. Jay's brother, chairman, reported 
twenty-eight condemnatoiy resolutions. A counter-current led to a 
meeting of the Chamber of Commerce, of which Comfort Sands was the 
president, where resolutions of approval were adopted.^ 

Jay entered into no defense of either himself or his treaty. ** God gov- 
erns the world," he said, " and we have only to do our duty wisely, and 
leave the issue to him." On the 11th he responded to a letter from 
Major-General Henry Lee, saying : " The treaty is as it is ; and the time 
will certainly come when it will universally receive exactly that degree 
of condemnation or censure which, to candid and enlightened minds, it 
shall appear to deserve." Hammond writes, " It would be unjust to ac- 
cuse the great body of reflective republicans of participating in or even 
approving the outrages that were perpetrated" But Fisher Ames de- 
clared that the passions of the crazy multitude were scarcely more deadly 
to public order than the theories of philosophers. " Our Federal ship is 
near foundering in a mill-pond," he wrote on the 9tlL 

1 Comfort Sands (born 1748, died 1834) was descended from James Sands (bom 1622), of 
Reading, Berkshire, England, who came to Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1658, and in 1660, 
in comfiany with others, bought Block Island from the Indians, and removed there the fol- 
lowing year. His son John married Sibyl Ray, and resided at Sand's Point, Long Island. 
His son John had also a son John (married Elizabeth Corn well), the father of Comfort. The 
latter was a prominent merchant in New York City, and an active patriot throoghout the war ; 
he was a member of the New York Congresses, and auditor-general of public accounts from 
1776 to 1781. He married, 1. Sarah, daughter of Wilkie Dodge ; 2. Cornelia, daughter of 
Abraham Lott. His son Joseph, of the great banking-house of Prime, Ward, k Sanda, married 
Marie Therese Ramflin, the ceremony being performed at Paris by Tallejrraud, Bishop of Au- 
tun, in 1782. His daughter Cornelia married the banker, Nathaniel Prime, whose chUdren have 
intermarried with the Hoffhians, Jays, Costers, Rays, and other prominent New York famUtea. 
Richardson Sands, brother of (*omfort Sands, bom 1754, married Lucretia, daughter of John 
Ledyard, who after his death married Oenei-al Ebeuezer Stevens ; his only son, Austin Led- 
yard Sands, was a well-known nierchunt of New York, who died in 1859. The sons of Austin 
Ledyanl Sands : 1. Samuel Stevens Snnds, nurried the daughter of Benjamin Ayniar, whose 
son, Samuel Stevens Sand», Jr., married, April 6, 1880, Annie, second daughter of Oliver 
Harriman ; 2. Austin L. Sands, M. D., of Newport; 3. William R. Sands, married Maty 
Gardiner, duughtei of Hon. Samuel B. Gardiner, proprietor of Gardiner's Island ; 4. Andrew 
H. Sands. Joshua Sands, younger brother of Comfort Sands, was a State senator from 
1792 to 1799 ; njember of Congress in 1805 and in 1825 ; Collector of the port of New York 
from 1797 to 1801 ; and a large real estate owner in Brooklyn. His granddaughter married 
Hon. Ro<ln)an Price, governor of New Jersey from 1854 to 1857. His son Joshua, 
admiral in the U. S. N., married the daughter of John Stevens of Hoboken. — Baldtme, 


When the treaty was conditionally ratified by the Senate, a howl was 
raised against the Constitution, because it provided that senators should 
hold place six years. Threats of coercing the President into a veto were 
audibly uttered. Some talked of " bringing John Jay to trial and to 
justice," and a few violent agitators even went so far as to lament the 
want of a guillotine. Grave, weighty, conspicuous men, who had hith- 
erto been well affected towards the administration, and not a few who 
had been leading Federalists, were among the opponents of the treaty. 
While Washington delayed his decision, he was showeied with remon- 
strances and invectives. The treaty was by no means all that he desired. 
Its commercial adjustments were mutilated by the restrictive policy then 
}«revailiug. In 1783 the American commissioners at Paris, in their nego- 
tiation with David Hartley, endeavored in vain to induce the British 
Cabinet to open the ports of their West India colonies. The policy of 
the European powers in monopolizing the trade' of their colonies seemed 
t'» be immovably established. Even France in her treaty of 1778 granted 
iiu share of her colonial trade to her new and cherished allies ; and from 
tlie colonies of Spain all foreign vessels were rigidly excluded. England, 
uioreover, was in a deadly war with France. Peace might change the 
}>jssession of many islands and countries. It was hardly to be expected 
that she would, at such a juncture, depart from the exclusive system to 
w Iiich long habit and common opinion had strongly attached her. So sen- 
-:Me had been the President of the obstacles which Jay would encounter, 
rijiit he instructed him to ask for the " privilege " of carrying on this trade 
:'j vessels of " certain defined burdens." Jay's task had not been an 
Kisy one. He had succeeded in obtaining a partial relaxation of the 
"lonial monopoly, but it was only on certain conditions and securities; 
iinl he was oh!i,t;ed to decide whether, under all the circumstances, it 
was must advisable to reject or accept them. If he rejected them, the 
United States would lose what England was ready to concede, leciprocal 
ixod perfect liberty of commerce with the British dominions in Europe 
ao'l the East Indies — which has since proved a source of vast wealth to 
the country ; also the abandonment of the western posts. It was im- 
l<«i5ible to negotiate in regard to these posts without encountering the 
•tunplaints of Great Britain relative to the debts — a subject excessively 
offensive to the debtors in the various States. The treaty provided for 
•he rivht<5 of neutrals, and agreed that the citizens of one country should 
:.oi enter into the service of a foreign power, to fight against the other; 
■U'l such as accepted foreign commissions for arming vessels as privateers 
'-ainst either of the parties might, if taken, l)e treated as pirates. The 
A^kk declariiii: that neither debts due from individuals of one nation to 


individuals of the other, nor money which they might have in the public 
funds or in public or private banks, should ever, in any event of war or 
national differences, be sequestered or confiscated, created, for reasons obvi- 
ous to every student of history, more wrath than all the others combined. 

Jay was not himself satisfied with the treaty as a whole, but had written 
from London, " I have no reason to believe or conjecture that one more 
favorable to us is attainable." He furthermore said : ** Difficulties which 
retarded its accomplishment frequently had the appearance of being in- 
surmountable. They at last yielded to modifications, and to that mutual 
disposition to agreement which reconciled Lord GrenviUe and myself to 
an unusual degree of trouble and application. They who have leveled 
uneven ground know how little of the work afterward appears." 

Hamilton was displeased with some of the provisions of the treaty, and 
thought " valuable alterations " might be made in the 13th article, and 
perhaps in others. At the same time he told its enemies that a trade 
which was increasing at a rapid rate despite annoyances should not be 
sacrificed to a war with Great Britain, except for the most urgent rea- 
sons.^ In reply to Brockholst Livingston, who assailed the treaty through 
the press as ** Decius," he wrote numerous articles under the signature of 
" Camillus." So much was Jefferson alarmed at the force of Hamilton's 
reasoning, that he begged Madison " for God's sake " to take up his pen, 
there being no one able to meet that Federal champion, whom he de- 
scribed as "really a Colossus to the anti-Republican party. He is a 
host within himself. His adversaries having begun the attack, he has 
the advantage of answering them, and remains unanswered himself." * 

On the 15th of August the President, with a moral independence which 
posterity will never cease to admire, signed the treaty, in accord- 

**" ance with the advice and consent of the Senate ; and notwith- 
standing the House threatened to nullify the act, and for two weeks was 
the scene of an exhibition of eloquence never probably exceeded either 
before or since in the American Congi^ss, the great body of the merchants, 
and of the more judicious and reflecting portion of the people came to 
the conclusion that his course was that of consummate wisdom. 

The immediate effect of the treaty was to aveit a war from which the 
United States could have derived no possible advantage which the treaty 
did not secure. And, with one exception, the treaty removed every exist- 
ing obstacle to the continuance of peace between the two countries. 
This exception was the right claimed by Gi'eat Britain to impress her 


1 The exports had risen in five years from nineteen millions aunoally, to forty-eight 
millions. — HildrMt History of the UniUd Slates. 
* Jfgtnom, to Madimm, September 21, 1795. 


own seamen^ when found on board neutral merchant- vessels at sea ; a 
claim which a subsequent war and treaty failed to extinguish. 

Twelve days before the President ratified the treaty the troublesome 
and expensive contest with the Northwestern Indians was brought to a 
satisfactory conclusion, by terms of peace duly signed at Fort 6i*eenville, 
where Anthony Wayne met the chiefs of the Wyandots, Delawares, Shaw- 
anoes, Ottawas, Chippewas, Potawatomies, Miamis, Wedas, Kickapoos, 
Piankoshaws, Kaskaskias, and Eel River Indians. The Indians ceded 
sixteen detached portions of territory, which included the post of Detroit, 
that at the foot of the Maumee Bapids, and Chicago at the mouth of the 
Illinois River, with several other sites of forts or trading-houses, still in 
possession of the British, but which were to be surrendered under Jay's 
treaty. In return the Indians were promised presents to the amount of 
S 20,000; also an annual allowance to the value of $9,500. But the 
Southern frontier, through frequent bloody outrages, was to remain nearly 
another year in a state of inquietude: on the 29th of June, 1796, a 
treaty was finally concluded between the President and the Creek 

Swiftly following these events, Pinckney's special mission to Spain 
resulted in settling the long-disputed question of Spanish boundary and 
the navigation of the Mississippi The treaty with that power was signed 
in October. Before the end of November a treaty had been arranged 
between the United States and the Dey of Algiei*s through the efforts of 
Colonel Humphreys, in addition to a recognition of the former treaty with 
Morocco, obtained from the new sovereign. And when Congress assem- 
bled in December the President in his opening speech presented a 
pleasing view of the prosperity of the country : " Every part of the 
Union displays indications of rapid and various improvement, and ex- 
hibits a spectacle of national happiness never surpassed, if ever before 

Immediately after the President affixed his name to Jay's treaty, 
Kandolph resigned the post of Secretary of State under circumstances of 
a peculiar character. Washington had gone to Mount Vernon in July 
for a few weeks' rest Hammond, the British Minister, had recently 
married one of the beautiful daughters of Andrew Allen of Philadelphia, 
and was residing at his country-seat near the city ; he sent an invitation 
to Secretary Wolcott to dine with him on Sunday, the 26th of July, 
which was accepted. " I found the company," wrote Wolcott, " to con- 
sist of Mr. Hammond's family, Mr. Strickland, an English gentleman, Mr. 
Thornton, the late secretary (»f the British legation, and Mr. Andrew 
AHfay of Philadelphia." Beibi-e dinner, Hammond took Wolcott aside 


and communicated the fact of having received from Lord Grenville 
an intercepted letter of M. Fauchet, the French Minister to his govern- 
ment. The package of dispatches had been thrown overboard from a 
French packet on the approach of an English vessel, and rescued from the 
water by a sailor who plunged in after them. After dining the gentle- 
men adjourned to a private room, and the celebrated letter was read aloud 
in English. The information it contained was highly interesting — and 
an extensive superstinicture of inferences was erected thereupon by the 
lively fancy of the French Minister. The whole political situation of the 
two parties in America was indeed reviewed either at length, or by 
reference to former dispatches. Allusions to " ptecious confessions " of 
Randolph concerning the policy of the Opposition to overthrow the 
administration excited grave comment. One clause pointed towards a 
cabal in New York which, aided by the British Minister, was devising 
measures to destroy Governor Clinton, Randolph, M. Faucliet, and others. 
The following paragraph seemed to bristle with significance: "Two or 
three days before the proclamation was published, and of course before 
the Cabinet had resolved on its measures, Mr. Randolph came to see me 
with an air of great eagerness, and made me the overtures of which I have 
given you an account in my Number Six. Thus with some thousands of 
dollars the Republic could have decided on civil war or peace ! Thus the 
consciences of the pretended patriots of America already have their 
prices ! " 

Wolcott, accompanied by Secretary Pickering, visited Attorney-General 
Bradford, who was ill at his country-house, on the 29th ; and after an 
interchange of opinions, a letter was written to the President requesting his 
return to Philadelphia. He reached the city August 11, and the same 
evening the whole matter was placed in his hands. His subsequent 
course, and the scene when, in the pi-eseuce of the other members of the 
Cabinet, his Secretary of State was asked to read the letter of the French 
Minister, are familiar to every reader of American history. Randolph has- 
tened to Newport, where M. Fauchet was about to sail for France, having 
been superseded by M. Adet, and before the year ended published a 
pamphlet in vindication of his conduct, which was so offensive to Wash- 
ington that he made no effort to conceal his intense indignation. 

In the n)idst of the political commotions of the summer a British 
frigate entered New York Harbor with several cases of yellow 
fever on board. The disease spread rapidly through the city, and 
although great numbers of the citizens fled in dismay to country -places, 
seven hundred and thirty-two deaths occurred. The people of Philadel- 
phia, through Mayor Matthew Clarkson, remitted seven thousand dpUatt 


to the distressed inhabitants of. the metropolis.^ The new almshouse, 
completed this year in Chambers Street, was of special use in the emer- 
j.'ency, and was shortly reported to contain six hundred and twenty-two 

In his last annual message to the Legislature of New York, Governor 
CUuton recommended an endowment for common schools throughout the 
State. He had been ex-officio Regent and Chancellor of the Univer- 
sity ever since its foundation, and was deeply impressed with the im- 
portance of utilizing every possible agency for the diffusion of 
knowledge. Liberal provisions had been made for the establish- 
ment of colleges and the higher seminaries of learning, but legislative aid 
was yet to be afforded to that portion of the community without the pale 
of such institutions.^ An act was accordingly passed in April appro- 
priating an annual sum of fifty thousand dollars for five years to the 
maintenance of common schools in the various towns of the State. 

The first edifice for the accommodation of the New York Society 
Library' — the earliest loan library in America — was completed this year 
in Nassau Street, comer of Cedar. The site purchased, a lot thirty feet 
wide and of irregular depth, was part of the garden of Joseph Winter's 
mansion ; and the tree hovering in the shadow of the building, as 
shown in the sketch, was a luxuriant apricot, which, with the grapery 
peeping above the brick wall, belonged to his domain. Our illustra- 
tion is from a faithful representation of the building by the venerable 
father of American wood-engraving, Dr. Alexander Anderson, who exe- 
cuted it in 1818, for The Picture of New York, a little guide-book by 
Goodrich. The structure was imposing, considering its purpose and the 
lime of its erection. It was built of brown stone, with three quarter Cor- 
inthian columns, resting on a projecting basement, with ornamental iron 
biilustrades forming a favorite balcony. The interior was fashioned with 
a flight of stairs in the center leading to an oblong room on the second 
floor lighted with three tall windows at each end, having a gallery, and 

* Daring the prevalence of the yellow fever in Philadelphia in the summer of 1792, the 
-•'.rporation of New York City gave $ 5,000 to the distressed citizens of the Quaker City, and 
•h*- Bank of New York loaned them considerable sums of money at five per cent. — Good- 
rxrk'n Ckronologual Picture of Ntw York. 

* The earliest application to the Regents of the University for the incorporation of an 
a^finy for classical instruction w&s from Rev. Dr. Samuel Buel, Nathaniel Gardiner, and 
Luni Mnllonl, of Easthampton, where a school had been supported by the i)eople ever since 
*'r.e ^-ttleni^^nt of the town. The academy building wa.s erected in 1784. Rev. Dr. Buel was 
••- eU-bntH*! fiastor of the Easthampton Church. (See Vol. I. 596.) David Mulford (boni 
\'i\. di^l 171*9, Tnarrie«i Rachel Ganliner) was the son of Colonel David and Phoebe Hunting 
M ::for.i, on«r of the leading men of Elasthampton, and extH^-utor of the estate of David (>ardi- 
■-'-.'•ixth lord of the manor of Gardiner's Island, and a direct descendant of Judge John Mul- 
/Ttil, one of the first settlers of Elasthampton. — Mulford OenecUogy, 



bookcases on every side protected by wire doora. The society numbered 
nearly one thousand members, comprising tlie leading citizens of all occu- 
pations, and the collection of books removed from a room on the upper 
floor of Federal Hall to their new home in June embraced about five 
thousand volumes.' 

When the war began the books of the Society, four thousand or more, 

disappeared, and 
were supposed by 
many persona to 
have been destroyed. 
No meeting was held 
~ for the transaction 
of business or the 
• choice of trustees 
~ during the whole 
fourteen years from 
1774 to 1788, In 
December of the 
last-mentioned year, 
however, a move- 
ment was instituted 
which resulted in 
the election of 
twelve trustees. Chancellor Livingston, Kobert Watts, Brockholst LiWngs- 
ton, Samuel Jones, Walter Rutherford, Matthew Clarkson, Peter Ketteltas, 
Samuel Banl, Hugh Gaine, Dauiel Crommelin Verplanck, Edward Gris- 
wold, and Henry Remsen, all gentlemen of education and culture. The 
reader will observe that three of the original trustees of the institution, 
Robert R Livingston, John Watts, and William Livingston, were repre- 
sented in the oi^nization of 1788 by their sons. Henceforward the 
society prospered. Rare and useful works, long since selected from the 
English standard literature, by the De Lanceys, Alexanders, Livingstons, 
and others, were exhumed from places where they had lieen lodged for 
safe-keeping, and, together with valuable newspaper tiles from 1726, 
restored to the uses for which they were intended, and handed down to 

I At ■ meeting of truiteei, liaj 7, 17&4, it wu voted that trexj member bring in ■ lU 
of (ueh books u he might judge most proper for the first purchue. At ■ mnttag, Srptcoi- 
ber 11, 17iSl, pending the arrivo] of book* orileied from lyanilon. reMlutioni were adoirtcd 
concerning ■ library-room in the city hall, and John Walt*, William Livingston, and Williani 
P. Smith were •ppoint«l to entry them into effect. The luiiiutM show that invoice* of 
bookdUiBerorinuller, were added to the library in 1755, 17E6, 1758, 1761, 17S3, and 1TS6. 
XlkB origjunl mbactiptiou roll in 1751 coini>riititl about one hundred and forty namaa. 

fc Soeialy Lifanqr ByiMing, 1795. 


this generation. The libraiy continued to increase in size and im- 
portance, and dispensed the benefits of its literary treasures in a quiet 
and unobtrusive manner, until the advancing tide of commerce in 1836 
forced it to seek a more suitable locality in Broadway, comer of Leonard 

The neighborhood of the new Library was crowded with objects of 
interest Antique churches with moss-grown roofs and grassy grave- 
yards might be seen from every window, not least among which was the 
quaint specimen of Holland architecture opposite, the Middle Dutch 
Church, open every Sunday to devout worshipers, but in course of 
years to be converted into a great city post-office. Dwelling-houses and 
gardens, stores and blacksmith-shops, trailing vines, rose-bushes, wood- 
sawing paraphernalia, and the carts from which drinking water was 
retailed for so much per gallon, were like familiar spirits. Hickory wood 
was the principal article of fuel Each citizen attended to the sweeping 
of the street in front of his house twice a week ; and in the evening the 
principal thoroughfares were lighted with oil-lamps. Milkmen, with 
yokes on their shoulders from which tin cans were suspended, traversed 
the city in the early morning, shouting in language unmistakable to 
nMntal ears, " Milk, ho ! " And negro boys went their rounds at day- 
break seeking chimneys to sweep. 

Slavery stiU existed in New York. Every family of any pretension to 
affluence owned household and other servants. In all the news- 


papers of the period were advertisements of sales, and of runaway 
slaves. Many high-minded persons wished to see it abolished. As early 
•s 1785 "The Society for promoting the Manumission of Slaves, and pro- 
tecting such of them as have been or may be liberated " was formed, with 
John Jay its president A school was about the same time established for 
negro children. Writing to a similar Society formed in England in 1788, 
Jay said, " Manumissions daily become more common among us ; and the 
treatment which slaves in general meet ^Hth in this State is ver}' little 
diiTerent from that of other servants." Jay himself owned slaves. In 
1798, in furnishing an account of his taxable property, he accompanied 
his list of slaves with the observation : " I purchase slaves, and manumit 
them at proper ages, and when their faithful services shaU have afforded 
a reasonable retribution." When Jay as Governor of New York made his 
fat speech to the Legislature, he recommended the establishment of a 
penitentiaiy, for the employment and reformation of criminals, 
and a plan of internal improvements for multiplying the means 
of travel through the State ; and in accordance with his wishes a bill was 
eariy intnxiuced for the gradual abolition of slavery. But on the ques** 


tiou of compeusation, upon which the slaveholders insisted, the bill, after 
a prolonged and exciting debate, was lost in the Assembly by a vote of 
thirty-two to thiity. 

Opposition to the Jay treaty broke out afresh upon the return, in Feb- 
ruary, of the instrument ratified by Great Britain. The President pro- 
claimed it as the supreme law of the land, and sent a copy to tlie House. 
Both parties were roused by its appearance for a determined struggle. 
Congress had previously threatened to decline to concur in the legislation 
necessary to carry out its provisions. The first movement came from 
the Republicans. Edward Livingston, younger brother of Chancellor 
Livingston, the recently elected member from New York, offered a 
resolution that tlie President be requested to lay before the House 
a^ copy of his instructions to Jay, and the corresj)ondence and other docu- 
ments relating to the treaty. On the 7th he modified his proposition by 
adding the words : *' Excepting such of the said pajjers as any existing 
negotiation may render improper to be disclosed." Livingston relied upon 
one clause in the Constitution which he interpreted as vesting power in 
Congress to carry the treaty into execution or not, as the case might de- 
mand. The other side relied upon the clause expressly vesting in the 
President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, the power to make 
treaties, and thought the House had no discretion only as to the method 
of raising and paying the money. 

The debate lasted a fortnight After some thirty speeches on 
either side, Livingston's resolution was carried by the decisive 
vote of sixty-two to thirty-seven. 

Washington, with the unanimous approval of his Cabinet, then decided 
that the House had no right to demand the papers in question, and that due 
r^^rd for the authority of the Presidential office seemed to require that 
such an assumption of power should be met at once by an explicit refusal 
No pretense could be set up that the papers contained anything which 
the government was afraid to show, for they had already been communi- 
cated to Livingston as chairman of a committee on impressments, and to 
other prominent men of the Opposition. The President therefore 
addressed a message to the House on the 30th, positively declining 
to accede to the call for executive papers. 
Ihe lesentaneDt was excessive. It was an act causing an amoimt 
eloqiient vitaperation which it would be difficult to describe. Other 
nesi churned attention, and it was the middle of April before the 
M of ihe British treaty was formally i-eached. Madison assnilinl it 
HDunt speech on the 15th of April, and held out the prospect nf 
g moAer and a better treaty by further n^tiations. " I should 


like to see the gentleman from Virginia, wrapped up in his mantle of 
doubU and problems, going on a mission to London to clear up this 
business," exclaimed Coit of Connecticut, with biting sarcasm. Albert 
Gallatin, in a vigorous and effective strain of eloquence, said it was fear 
Uiat had originated the treaty and was now attempting to force the 
House to carry it into effect Such a sentiment, uttered by a very youth- 
ful looking man — he was then thirty- five — with a foreign accent, was 
l<jo much for the patience of some of the Federal members. Uriah 
Tracy sprang to his feet and vehemently declared, while answering (Jal- 
litin s chief arguments, that he " never could feel thankful to any gentle- 
man for coming all the way from Geneva in Switzerland to accuse 
Americans of pusillanimity." Half a dozen of the Opposition called 
Tracy to order in sudden excitement and confusion. But Speaker Muh- 
lenbuig pronounced him in order, and directed him to go on. Tracy 
begged pardon for any impropriety into which the heat of debate might 
have carried him, and disclaimed all intention of being personal The 
;neat speech, however, in favor of the treaty was by Fisher Ames, after 
the debate had been prolonged two weeks. He had been ill, and _., ^ 
absent through most of the session. Rising from his seat, pale, 
ft*ble, ami hardly able to stand, he pronounced the famous oration, which 
frir comprehensive knowledge of human nature and of the springs of 
p(»litical action, for caustic ridicule, keen argument, and pathetic elo- 
quence, has seldom been equaled on the floor of Congress. " I shall be 
a.ske«i," he said, " why a treaty so good in some articles and so harmless 
in others has met with such unrelenting opposition ? Certainly a fore- 
siizht of its pernicious operation could not have created all the fears 
that have been felt or affected. The alarm spread faster than the 
publication. The treaty had more critics than readers. The movements 
of passion are quicker than the understanding. Have we not heard it 
urged against our envoy that he was not ardent enough in his hatred of 
Great Britain ? Let everything be granted we ask, and a treaty with 
that nation would still be obnoxious. Let us be explicit. This coun- 
try thirsted not merely for reparation, but for vengeance. Such passions 
seek nothing, and will be content with nothing, but the destruction of 
their object If a treaty left King George his island, it would not an- 
swer, not if he stipulated to pay rent for it" 

While this struggle was rending Congress, and the constitutional 
tn^y-making power of the President and the Senate was quivering in 
tlie balance, the country became thoroughly awakened, and demonstra- 
tions in favor of the execution of the treaty in many places indicated a 
change in the tide of public sentiment Merchants and property-holders 


could not remain blind to the danger of a collision with Great Britain. 
Petitions poured in from Xew York, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, and 
elsewhere for a cessation of hostilities to the treaty. Public meetings 
were held in numberless towns and cities, and resolutions passed to sus- 
tain the administration. The question was to have been taken in the 
House immediately after Ames*s speech ; but, dreading the effect it might 
proihice, the Opposition carried an amendment. The next day three 
moitj siKicches for the treaty were delivei*e<l, but no one attemi)ted to 
answer Ames. Thi* Opposition had hitheilo claimed a majority of ten. 
In the course of the debute this claim dwinilled to six. The vote, when 
taken, stood forty-nine to forty-nine. The responsibility was thus thrown 
upon Speaker ^luhlenburg, who voted with the Federalists that it *' was 
expedient to pass the laws necessary for carrying the treaty into eflFect." 
Only four New England members voted against it ; and from the States 
south of the Potomac only four votes were cast in its favor. Thus the 
tempest subsiiled, and a peaceful and profitable intercourse with Great 
Britain for ten years longer was secured. 

Edward Livingston was the mover of an ameliorating system of penal 
law during this session, but no action was taken. " He teems witli holy 
indignation against fraud," wrot€ Chauncey Goodrich. An act was passed 
for the discharge, on taking tlie jxxir debtor's oath, of prisoners held for 
debt on civil process fi*om the United States courts, in which Livingston 
was chiefly instrumental ; and hi was unceasing in his efTcu'ts for the 
relief and protection of impressed seamen. 

An attempt in Pennsylvania to imitate the appropriation made by New 
York for the support of i)ublic schools was opposed and defeated by the 
Quakers and members of some other religious sects, on the ground that 
while supporting schools of their own they should not be taxed for the 
benefit of other people. They iii^ued that the religious uniformity made 
a system of public schools possible in New England, whereas, the same 
plan undertaken in the mixed condition of the population of Pennsyl- 
vania would be equivalent to no religious instruction, or heathenism. 

About the same time the twelfth annual report of the Kegents of the 
University of New York was presented to the Speaker of the Assembly, 
William North, by the youthful secretary of the boai'd, De Witt Clin- 
ton Siiioe the cnation of the University fourteen academies had been 

difibient counties, all of which were pronounced 

n. The Clinton Academy in the Easthampton 

^ academy at Salem, in Westchester County, 

The report from Union Coll^ at Schenec- 

its first faizihday, having been incorporated 



by the Brents February 25, 1795, was cheering. It received its name 
from the union of several religious denominations in its organization. 
The endowment waa originally contributed by ninety-nine Albany and 
two hundred and thirty-one Schenectady gentlemen ; and the sum was 
lubaeqnently greatly increased by the generous influence of General 
Philip Schuyler, who was himself a liberal contributor. Rev. Dr. John 
Hair Smith, from Philadelpbia, was its first president 

The population of New York City had nearly doubled in the ten years 
linoe 1786. Streets bad been laid out, and habitations erected above the 

M ! ! 

• Csllwl, Hd Adjoinlag StrMta, in 179*. 

f fields in the region of Canal Street But although surveys Iiad 
been nude of the several streets about the Collect, or Fresh Water Pond, 
fliey were not graded, nor had building-lots been fouud, for obvious rea- 
■m, maAetable in that locality .^ The water of tlie pond was sixty feet 

1 Tvim tlw reeoid* of the Common CoDDcil therollowiDgisBbstracted : \19f> — " Ordtnd, 
to be nude ot the ancient bounds of the Fresh Wat«r Pood, and 
■ MM to the Board. .... The committee appointed delivered in a survey for 
I abaete ia tka ndnity of Fresh Water, which was onlered to be tiled." 1793 — 
, nat a •■rray b* Dwde of the land and meadows at and about the Fresh Waler 
h dM (baetR whidi may be necessary marked thereon." 1795 — "A petition for 
A A* &iMdw*]r, north of Barclay Street, agree.iUe to ita regulation was rererred." 
e ^ipointed to confer with the proprii-tors of the ^ound through which 
oal ii to paaa, from the Fresh Water i'ond into Hudson Kiver." 
> the Health Cammutaioners read, representing that the swamp or 
■ Ae FwA Water Pond and Hudaon River U overflowed with stan.liiig wutcr, 
■■diato aMMiw for draining it. Ordered that it be attended to." 


deep, and the marshy ground to the northwest as well as towards the 
East River gave little signs of promise as to future value. In the winter- 
time the pond was a tine natural skating-park, and the hill towards Broad- 
way was a comfortable gathering-place for lookers-on. A canal from the 
pond to the Hudson had been some time in contemplation, and early in 
1796 the committee chosen negotiated with the proprietors of the swamp 
for such paits as were necessary " to make the said canal of the breadth of 
forty feet, and a street on each side of the breadth of thirty feet" The 
actual work did not begin for two or three years. The arched bridge 
" across the drain," now Canal Street, was ten feet seven inches above the 
surface of the meadow. Hence, when the digging commenced for level- 
ing the hill on the line of Broadway, the dirt was carried forward towards 
the north, as the street needed raising several inches through the meadow 
from Leonard Street to the bridge. About the same time complaints 
were made that the water-carts obstructed Chatham Street when drawn 
up in a row to receive water from th6 old Tea Water Pump for the 
supply of the city, and an order went forth causing the spout of said 
pump to be raised some two feet, and lengthened, so as to deliver the 
water at the outer part of the walk, and allow persons to walk under 
it without inconvenience. Neither the pond nor the canal received fur- 
ther special notice from the corporation until 1805. It was then re- 
solved that an open canal should run through a street of one hundred 
feet in breadth ; and also that the condition of the Collect was dangerous 
to the public health, that sewers should be passed through it, and that 
the head of it should be filled with good wholesome earth. 

This beautiful pond, occupying the site of the present gre^it gloomy pile 
of prison buildings known as The Tombs, was the scene in the summer . 
of 1796 of the firat trial of a steamboat with a screw propeller. It 
was the invention of John Fitch. The boat was eighteen feet in length 
and six feet beam, with square stern, round bows, and seat& The 
boiler was a ten or twelve gallon iron pot. 

The little craft passed round the pond several times, and was believed 
cqwible of making six miles an hour. The spectacle was watched with 
critical interest by Chancellor Livingston, Nicholas Boosevelt, John 
Stevens, and others, who had in common with philosophers and inventors 
in England and Europe been for some time engaged in the speculative 
study of the steam-engine and its prospective uses.' Fitch belonged to 

1 Tbe atatement that Robert Fulton wiu present at this trial of Fitch's steamboat on the 

Hart In 1796 is au error, he being in England at that date, thoroughly absorbed in the 

iy of Watt's steam engine, and canak ; he that year published in Iiondon a treatise 

9 improvement of canal uavigatiuii, with nunierouH weU-exeouted plates from designs 


tlie prominent Ck)nnecticut family of that name, was bom in the famous 
fAA town of Windsor, adjoining Hartford, and had been inventing and 
experimenting for a dozen or more years, hoping to succeed in the appli- 
cation of steam-power to navigation. His genius, idiosyncrasies, and im- 
pecuniosity were in perpetual conflict ; otherwise he might have achieved 
the triumph to which he aspired. He was a man of striking figure, 
six feet two inches in height, erect and full, his head slightly bald, but 
not gray although fifty-three years of age, and dignified and distant in 
his general behavior. 

The belief that steam was destined to submit to the control of the 
human intellect for practical purposes was rapidly gaining strength, al- 
though the facile adaptations of its power were yet but visionary possi- 
biUties to the intelligence and observation of mankind ; and it was by 
no means confined to any one nation. The ingenuity of almost every 
civilized country was in exercise over contrivances for the propulsion 
of boats by steam. A perfect system of communication existed between 
the countries of the world, notwithstanding that distances, measured in 
lime, were vastly greater than now, and the learning of every center 
was promptly radiated to every other. James Watt was unquestionably 
the greatest of all the inventors of the steam-engine, but only one of the 
many men who aided in perfecting it. Slight knowledge of the proper- 
ties of steam is of unknown antiquity. A " steam-gun " is described by 
Leonardo da VincL In Spain, as early as 1543, Blasco da Garay, a 
S{ianish naval officer under Charles V., is said to have moved a ship at 
rlie rate of two or three miles an hour with an apparatus of which a 
* vessel of boiling water " formed a part ; but the king shook his head 
and frowningly forbade its repetition, saying "he could not have his li^e 
subjects scalded to death with hot water on his ships ! " At Naples, in 
1601, Porta describes a machine for raising water with steam pressure, 
in a work called Spiritali. England in 1648 was convulsed with laughter 
over a witty discourse from the learned Bishop of Chester, in which he 
recommended the application of the power of confined steam to the con- 
struction of a " flying castle in the air," to the chiming of bells, to the 
reeling of yam, and to the rocking of the cradle. About the same period 
Edward Somerset, the second Marquis of Worcester, introduced an inven- 
tioD into Raglan Castle for elevating water by steam, but failed to excite 
sympathy or appreciation. His life is one of the most romantic chap- 

if lob OVB. He also about the same time in England patented a mill for sawing marble, 
kt vhidi he reeeiTed the thanks of the British Society for the Promotion of Arts and Com- 
aeni; aad «b hooomy medal In 1797 he passed over to Paris with the intention of bring- 
mg l» the Boli08 of the French goTemment a submarine torpedo and torpedo boats. 


ters of English history. In 1720, some years before Watt was bom, 
Joseph Homblower was conspicuous in the superintendence and con- 
struction of steam-engines, then called fire-engines, after the model of 
Newcomen, being simply atmospheric engines with a single cylinder. He 
had several sons: Jonathan, bom in 1717, and Josiah, bom in 1729, 
became eminent engineers. The Homblowers, father and sons, subse- 
quently removed to ComwaU to pursue their business, where they were 
engaged in putting up engines from their first introduction into the mines 
in 1740. The success of these engines in the mines of Com wall in- 
duced Colonel John Schuyler to import one for pumping water from 
his copper-mine on the Passaic River, near Newark, New Jersey — a 
mine rich in ore, but which had been worked as deep as hand and horse 
power could clear it of water. His correspondents in London purchased 
one of Homblower's engines, and persuaded Josiah Homblower, then 
only twenty-four years of age, to proceed to America and superintend its 
erection. He arrived in New York in September, 1753, and occupied 
the best part of a year in building an engine-house and getting it into 
successful operation. This was the first steam-engine ever erected on the 
continent of America ; and it was when Watt was but seventeen, and his 
inventions simply marvels of the future.^ 

Young Homblower expected to return to England as soon as his work 
was accomplished. But in the neighborhood of the Schuylers lived 
Colonel William Kingsland, grandson of Isaac Kingsland, the founder 
of the Kingsland family in America — whose wife was Mary, daughter of 
Judge William Pinhome, of the reader's acquaintance in the early pages 
of this work. Homblower became a frequent visitor at the Kingslands'. 
It is the old, old story of romantic love. In two years his destiny was 
sealed. He married the beautiful Elizabeth Kingsland, then twenty -one, 
and became an American.^ He afterwards not only superintended the 
engine whenever his skilled services were needed, but after 1760 for 

1 Ix^tter of Hon. Joseph P. Bradley, Jiuttice of the Supreme Cotirt of the United States. 

^ Josiah Hornbiower soon rose to eminence, was a judge of the county courts. Speaker of 
tile New Jersey Assembly, and member of the Continental Congress. He lived until 1809, 
and among his large family of children were Joseph, bom 1756, died 1777 ; Margaret, bom 
1758, married James Kip, a wealthy New York merchant — of whose daughters Eliza married 
John Schuyler, and Helen married Abel Anderson ; James, bom 1760, whose only daughter 
married William Stevens ; Dr. Josiah, bom 1767, who left a son. Dr. William Homblower, 
of Bergen, and two daughters, one of whom became Mrs. Dr. DeWitt, the other, Mr^ Dr. 
Gautier and the mother of Dr. Josiah Homblower Gautier of New York City ; and Joseph 
C. Homblower, late Chief Justice of New Jersey, bora 1777, died 1864. 

Chief-Justice Homblower married Mary Burnet, daughter of Dr. William Burnet of Belle- 
Telle, and granddaughter of Dr. William Bumet of Newark, a famous patriot of the Revolu- 
tion. Mrs. Homblower^s sister Caroline married Governor William Pennington of New 


several years worked the mines, and people came from all the country 
round to see the wonderful machine. 

Meanwhile his brother Jonathan remained at Cornwall, where he died 
in 1780, several of whose sons were educated as engineers, and produced 
many useful and notable inventions. Jabez and Jonathan were the most 
conspicuous among them. Jabez was employed to superintend the erec- 
tion of steam-engines in Holland and in Sweden. Jonathan, inventor of 
a double-cylinder high-pressure engine, was one of the most active and 
formidable of the rivals of James Watt ; and his engine is the one now 
principally used by ocean steamers, as, requiring only about half the coal 
of the Watt engine, it is better suited for long voyages. A litigation 
ensued, Homblower's invention being pronounced an infringement of 
Watt's patent, which also had two cylinders, though one of them was only 
used as a condenser ; and while nothing was ever alleged to the dishonor 
of the Homblowers in this controversy, public favor clamored in behalf 
of Watt, and they were defeated. 

At the same time in localities far remote from each other on this side 
of the water enterprising mechanics were trying at intervals to construct 
steam-engines. William Henry returned from England in 1760, imbued 
with the idea of utilizing the power of steam for propelling boats, and 
within three years constructed a machine which he pl^ed in a little craft 
and tried on a river near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It went to the bottom, 
and he made a second model, adding improvements. Benjamin West 
was a friend and prot<5gu of Henry, and John Fiteh was a frequent visitor 
At Henry's house. . Thither went Robert Fulton, when a boy of twelve 
years, to study tlie paintings of West ; and while visiting an aunt in 
the neighborhood he experimented with miniature paddle-wheels on the 
Conestoga. John Fitch is thought to have invented the first double- 
acting condensing engine, transmitting power by means of cranks, 
ever produced in any country. His experiments on the Delaware, as 
early as 1785 and 1786, brought him into a bitter controversy, respecting 
the priority of their inventions, with James Rumsey, who died in 1793 
while explaining some of his schemes before a Tx)ndon Society. Fiteh, 
like Rumsey, trieil to introduce his methods into Great Britain, and 
confidently asserted his belief that the ocean would be crossed by 

Jener, ftod her sister Abigail married Caleb S. Riggs, whose daughter Helen married Judge 
WillUm Kent. The children of Chief-Justice and Mury liunu-t Horn blower : 1. Joanna, 
married Thomas Be»l. of Philadelphia ; 2. Eliza, niarrinl Rev. Mortimer R. Talbot ; 8. Emily, 
oiarried Colonel Alexander M Cuniraings, of Princeton ; 4. Harriet, married Hon. I^wis B. 
W.,>Injff, late C. S. Circuit Judge of New York ; .'i. Chailes ; 6. Caroline; 7. Mary, mar- 
Tm\ Hon. Jrj6eph P. Bnwlley, one of the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States', 
I Rer. Dr. Willimm H. Homblower, professor in the Presbyterian Theological Seminary, 


steam vessels. He went to France, hoping to obtain the privilege of 
building steamboats there, but was disappointed in all his efforts. 
Oliver Evans, during the same year, said : " The time will come when 
people wiD travel in stages moved by steam-engines from one city to 
another almost as fast as birds can fly — fifteen or twenty miles an 
hour," and his associates smiled incredulously. The boat with which 
Fitch experimented on the Collect in New York, and of which a 
model exists in the New York Historical Society, together with a portion 
of its machinery was abandoned and left to decay on the shore of tlie 
pond, and was carried away piece by piece by the poor children of the 
neighborhood for fuel He had made his last effort in steam navigation, 
and the same autumn removed to Kentucky, where he died in 1798. 

Two years after Fitch experimented with his screw-propeller on the 
Collect in New York, Nicholas Roosevelt launched a little steamboat 
on the Passaic Eiver, and made a trial trip with a party of invited guests, 
among whom was the Spanish Minister. Boosevelt was of the old New 
York family of that name, and a gentleman of education and inventive 
talent He had become interested with others in the Schuyler copper- 
mines, and from the model of Homblower's atmospheric engine con- 
stmcted one of a similar character; and also built similar engines for 
various purposes. . Colonel John Stevens, who exhibited far better knowl- 
edge of the science and art of engineering, besides urging more advanced 
opinions and statesman-like views in relation to the economical impor- 
tance of the practical development of the new invention, than any man 
of his time, was frequently in conference with Roosevelt In December, 
1797, Chancellor Livingston wrote to Roosevelt, saying: "Mr. Stevens has 
mentioned to me your desire to apply the steam machine to a boat; every 
attempt of this kind having failed, I have constructed a boat on perfectly 
new principles, which, both in the model and on a lai^ scale, has ex- 
ceeded my expectations. I was about writing to England for a steam 
machine ; but hearing of your wish, I was willing to treat with you, on 
terms which I believe you will find advantageous, for the use of my in- 
vention." The result was an agreement between Livingston, Stevens, 
and Roosevelt to build a boat on joint account, for which the engines 
were to be constructed by Roosevelt at his shop on the Passaic; and 
the propelling agency was to be planned by the Chancellor. So prom- 
ising were the signs, that in March, 1798, the Legislature of New York 
passed a bill giving Livingston the exclusive right to steam navigation 
in the waters of the State for a period of twenty years, provided that 
he should within a year from date produce a boat that could steam four 
miles an hour. During the progress of the enterprise the correspond- 


enoe teemed with speculative suggestions. The trial trip to which 
reference has been made occurred on the 21st of October, 1798. It 
was recognized as a failure. Roosevelt had invented a vertical wheel 
which he earnestly recommended to the Chancellor, without succes&^ 
Stevens, a few months later, persuaded the Chancellor to try a set of 
paddles in the stem, which unfortunately shook the boat to pieces and 
rendered it unfit for further use. The inventive instinct of America 
appears to have been abreast with that of any other coimtry. But no 
individual as yet had succeeded in taking the final step in the progression 
which was to make steam navigation an every-day commercial success. 

New York in the spring of 1796 again furnished a Minister to Great 
Britain. Thomas Pinckney had returned from Sp^ to the court ^^ 
of London, but wishing to sail for South Carolina, Rufus King, 
who had previously declined the office of Secretary of the State Depart- 
ment, received the nomination, May 20, as his successor, and was 
immediately confirmed by the Senate. Hamilton in a letter to Washing- 
ton specially recommended King for the post as a gentleman of ability, 
integrity, fortune, agreeable address, good judgment, and sound morals, 
and "one whose situation as well as character afibrded just ground of 
confidence." King shortly embarked for London, where he remained 
through the remainder of the administration of Washington, through the 
whole of that of Adams, and a part of that of Jefferson — until 1804. 
He placed his sons, John Alsop King and Charles King, at Harrow 
School, and in 1805 at a preparatory school in Paris.^ His successor 

1 Rootevelt to LivingMon^ September 6, 1798 ; Livingston to Roosevelt, October 28, 1798 ; 
A Lad Chapter in the History of the Steamboat, by J. H. B. Latrobe, President of tbe Md. 
Hist Soc. ; History of the Growth of the Steam-Engine, by Robert H. Thurston, A. M. ; 
Renwiek on Sleam-Engines ; JFhittlesey's Life of John Fitch ; Columbian Magazine, Decem- 
ber, 1786 ; Encydopasdia Amerioana : Doc Hist. New York, Vol. II. Roosevelt, when asked 
vhy be did not anticipate Fulton in the first successful application of the steam-engine to 
naral purposes, replied, *' At the time Chancellor Livingston's horizontal- wheel experiment 
failed, I was under a contract with the corporation for supplying the city of Philadelphia 
with water by means of two steam-engines ; and, besides, I was under a contract with the 
United States to erect rolling works and supply government with copper rolled and drawn, 
for six aeventy-foar-gun ships that were then to be built But by a change of men in the ad- 
mmifltratioo, alter I had been led into heavy expense, the seventy-fours were abandoned with- 
OQt appfopriationa, and embarrassment to me was the natural consequence." 

' John Alsop King, eldest son of Rufus King, was bom in New York City, January 8, 
1788 ; Charles King, second son, was bom March 16, 1789 ; James Gore King, third son, 
vai bom May 8, 1791. They were aU remarkable and accomplished men. John Alsop 
King was governor of New York from 1857 to 1859. Charles King was a journalist and 
scholar, the President of Columbia College from 1849 to 1864, and author of many valuable 
vorka. James Gore King, also educated in the best schools in England and France, was of 
tbe gnat banking-house of James G. King and Sons, member of Congress Irom 1849 to 1851, 
and PModoit of the Chamber of Commerce. 


from New York, in the United States Senate, was Judge Jolin Lawrence, 
who served until 1800, and was at one time president pro tern of that 
body. The year following King's departure on his mission. General 
Philip Schuyler was again elected to the Senate, in place of Aaron Burr. 

Several changes occurred in 1796 among the aml)assadors to foreign 
courts. Colonel Humphreys was transferred to the Court of Madrid, 
John Quincy Adams succeeded Humphreys at Lisbon, and William V. 
Murray took the place of Adams at The Hague. Disagreeable complica- 
tions ensued with France immediately upon the ratification of the Jny 
treaty. The profligate Directory, turning to account the dissensions in 
America, pretended to consider the alliance between France and the 
United States at an end. The seizure of American vessels and tlie 
evasive conduct of the French Minister at Philadelphia, M. Adet, led to 
the recall of Monroe in August, who, it was thought, had been too much 
opposed to the Jay treaty himself to represent the friendly dispo- 
sition of Washington and his Cabinet towards France. Monroe's suc- 
cessor was Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, who had successively declined 
three important offices, that of chief justice, and of the two secretary- 
ships of war and state. " He will very shortly be in Philadelphia to 
embark, and this circumstance will furnish new subject for envenomed 
pens," wrote the President from Mount Vernon to the Secretary of the 
Treasury, on the 10th of August. Before Pinckney arrived in France, 
the Directory, as an act of resentment against our Government, suspended 
the functions of M. Adet in the United States ; the American Minister 
was treated with marked disrespect when he reached Paris, and was 
finally ordered to leave the country. In the chapter of complaints sent 
to Pickering, the United States was accused of deceiving France. Secre- 
tary Wolcott wrote : " The Executive and Mr. Jay are both treated with 
personal indignity. On the whole, this is by far the boldest attempt to 
govern this country which has been made.'' 

The new Spanish Minister, Don Carlos Martinez, Marquis of Yrujo, ar- 
rived in June and paid a short visit to the President at Mount 
Vernon. He was a young and fascinating man, who, like the 
British Minister Hammond, soon after married a Philadelphia belle, Sally 
McKean, daughter of the chief justice of Pennsylvania. His son, the 
Duke of Sotomayer, born in Philadelphia, became in due course of events 
Prime Minister of Spain.* 

^ America fumishefi wives for the Ministers of England, France, and Spain during tlit 
administration of Wa^shington. Many other foreign gentlemen of distinction married Ameri* 
can ladies. Of the two daughters of Mrs. Bingham, Anne marrieil Alexander Raring, Lord 
Ashburton, and was the mother of the present peer, and Maria married (1) Corote de Tilly, 
(2) Henry Baring, (3) Marquis de Blaiael. 


Hamilton regarded the situation aa exceptionally criticaL Although at- 
tending to his own affairs in New York> he was consulted on almost every 
question of importance that came before the Cabinet. He was not well 
pleased with the Secretary of State's reply to M. Adet's letter — "there 
was something of hardness and epigrammatic sharpness in it" to his 
mind — and said that, since the minister had declared his functions sus- 
pended, it should have been addressed to the Directory and communi- 
cated through Pinckney. He thought the position true that France had 
a right to inquire respecting the affairs of seamen, and that the complaints 
of the minister should be met with candid explanations, and his mis- 
statement of facts corrected. " My opinion is," he continued, " that our 
communications should be calm, reasoning, and serious, showing steady 
resolution more than feeling, having force in the idea rather than the 

As the time approached to elect a President for the coming four 
years, Washington published an address of farewell to the people of the 
United States, which has been pronounced " the most dignified exhibi- 
tion of political wisdom that ever emanated from the mind of a states- 
man." To Jefferson he wrote expressing his astonishment at the possi- 
bihty, that, as he remarked, " While I was using my utmost exertions to 
establish a national character of our own, independent, as far as our 
obligations and justice and truth would permit, oT every nation of the 
earth, and wished by steering a steady course to preserve this country 
from the horrors of a desolating war, I should be accused of being the 
enemy of one nation and subject to the influence of another." 

The two parties were quickly provided with candidates, and the politi- 
cal newspapers went rabid, foaming personalities and falsehoods. The 
real leader of the Federalists was Hamilton. But Jay and Adams were 
older, and had ser\'ed the country longer. No personal aspirations seem 
for a moment to have clouded Hamilton's vision. He greatly preferred 
Jay to Adams, because he believed him to possess more coolness, judg- 
ment, and consistency, and less tendency to prejudice. But Adams, 
through his office of vice-president, stood in the line of promotion ; and, 
«hat was of still greater weight, he was the representative of New Eng- 
land, which had furnished all along a steady support to the Federal 
sovemment It was also politic to select a vice-president from the South ; 
hence Thomas Pinckney received the nomination. 

The Republicans chose Jefferson unanimously for the highest ofi&ce, and 
Aaron Burr for Vice-P^sident, although the support of the latter was 
far from being uniform. One of the public characters of Virginia wrote 
ibout that time : " The two most efficient actors on the political theater 


of our couDtry are Kir. Hamilton and Mr. Burr ; and, as a Mend to the 
interesta of the Southern States, I sincerely wish that they had both ap- 
peared on the Federal side, that they might essentially have acted in 
concert, as hut little more time and labor would have been necessary to 
Bubvert the popularity of both than we have found necessary to employ 
against Hamilton alone. I have watohed the movements of Mr. Burr 
with attention, and have discovered traits of character which sooner or 
later will give us much trouUa 
He has unequaled talent of at- 
taching men to his views, and 
forming combinations of which 
he is always the center. He is 
determined to play a lirst part ; 
he acts strenuously with us in 
public, but it is remarkable 
that in all private consultations 
he more frequently agrees with 
kus in principles than in the 
r mode of giving them effect" 
There were other indications 
that Burr had already become 
an object of suspicion at the 
South, as likely to be a danger* 
ous competitor for the leader- 
ship of the Bepublican party. 
He had eclipsed George Clinton 
to a certain degree, was nn- 
rivaled in the arts of personal influence and intrigue, and was never idle. 
No means were too trivial for him to employ if he thought they would 
help him to gain a point He used to say that be once saved a man 
from being hanged by a certain arrangement of the candles in a court- 

The result of the election was not known when Congress assembled in 
im. December. The votes were announced on the 8th of February ; 
^•i»- « John Adams had received seventy-one, Thomas Jefferson sixty- 
eight, Thomas Pinckney fifty-nine, and A&ron Burr thirty. The two 
former would thus fill the first two of&ces in the government, as at 
that time the second highest candidate for President became Vice- 
President. " The die is cast," wrote John Adams to his wife the next 
morning, " and you must prepare yourself for hoQonible trials." 



1797 - 1801. 


Broadway. — The Government House. — The Park Theater. — The Drama. — 
Commerce of New York. — The City of Hudson and its Founders. — Society. 
— Intellectual Pursuits. — Marriages in High Life. — The Barclay Family. — 
A Love Romance. — General Jacob Morton. — The Ludlows. — Princes and No- 
blemen IN New York. — Re-election of Governor Jay. — Lieutenant-Governor 
Van RENSsEiJiER. — The French Directory. — Money or War. —The Alien and 
Sedition Laws. — War Measures. — Duels. — Aaron Burr's Bank. — The Com- 
mercial Advertiser. — Burr and Hamilton. — Death of Washington. — Per- 
sonal Sketches. — Richard Varick. — Edward Livingston. 

- "VTEW YORK is the gayest place in America; the ladies, in the 
-^^ richness and brilliancy of their dress, are not equaled in any city 
• •f the United States, not even in Charleston, South Carolina, which has 
heretofore been called the center of the beau monde. The ladies, how- 
ever, are not solely employed in attention to dress ; there are many who 
are studious to add to brilliant external accomplishments the more bril- 
liant and lasting accomplishments of the mind. Nor have they been 
unsuccessful, for New York can boast of great numbers of refined taste, 
whose minds are highly improved, and whose conversation is as inviting 
.i< their personal charms ; tinctured with a Dutch education, they manage 
their families with good economy and singular neatness. In point of 
-sociability and hospitality New York is hardly exceeded by any town in 
the United States." 

The above paragraph was penned by an English divine, who wrote a 
Hi-tory of America in four volumes, which was published in 1797. 
The iiiiticiuity of the work, together with its contemporaneous descrip- 
tiMn^, renders many of its pages exceptionally interesting. The writer 
^I'piears to have been a keen and critical observer of men and manners 
ais well as of genend affairs^ and a scholar of vaiied accomplishments. 


He described the city thus : *- Its plan is not perfectly regolar, but is 
laid out with reference to the situation of the ground. The principal 
streets run nearly parallel with the rivers ; these are intersected, though 
not at right angles, by streets running from river to river. In the width of 
the streets there is great diversity, Broad Street, extending from the ex- 
change to the City Hall, is sufficiently wide, having been originally built on 
each side of the creek. This street is low, but pleasant." — Another writer 
of about the same date speaks of Broad Street as a fine, wide, well-built, 
and handsomely planted avenue, the leading quarter of the early aristoc- 
racy of the town. — " Wall Street is generally fifty feet wide and elevated, 
and the buildings elegant. Hanover Square and Dock Street are con- 
veniently situated for business, and the houses well-built William 
Street is also elevated and convenient, and is the principal market for 
retailing dry goods. Some of the other' streets are pleasant, but most ol 
them are irregular and narrow. The houses are generally built of brick 
and the roofs tiled ; there remain a few houses after the old Dutch 
manner, but the English taste has prevailed almost a century. The 
principal part of the city lies on the east side of the island, although 
the buildings extend from one river to the other. The length of the city 
on the east side is about two miles, but falls much short of that distance 
on the bank of the Hudson. Its breadth, on an average, is nearly three- 
fourths of a mile, and its circumference may be four miles. The most 
convenient and agi-eeable part of the city is the Broadway. It l>egins at 
a point formed by the junction of the Hudson and East Rivers, occupies 
the height of land between them upon a true meridional line, rises gently 
to the northward, is near seventy feet wide, and is adorned, where the 
fort formerly stood, with an elegant brick edifice for the accommodation 
of the governor of the State. The Broadway has also two Episcopal 
churchea, and a number of elegant private buildings. It terminates to 
the northward, in a triangular area, fronting the Bridewell, and almshouse, 
and commands from any point a view of the bay and Narrows." ^ 

The portion of the city laid in ashes during the first years of the Rev- 
olution had been rapidly rebuilding since 1788, some of the streets 
widened, nearly all of them straightened, and raised in the middle under 
an angle sufficient to carry off the water to the side gutters; footwalks 
of brick had also been made on each side. Our early historian adds to 
the picture by saying : " The part that was destroyed by fire is almost 
wholly covered with elegant brick houses. The most magnificent edifice 
in the city is Federal Hall, situated at the head of Broad Street, where 

J» JRMrteA O^ografkieal^ Commercials and Pkilc§oifhioal Fuw ^ ik$ CMM Aftei 
ly lir. inilkM Winterboduuii. im« 



its front appears to great advaatage. The marble used in chimneys is 
American, and for beauty of shades and polish equal to any of its kind 
ill Europe." 

John Lambert wrote : " The Broadway and Bowery Road are the two 
linest avenues in the city, and nearly of the same width as Oxford Street 
in Loudon. The lii'St is upwards of two miles in length, though the 
pavement does not extend above a mUe and a quarter ; the remainder of 
the road consists of straggling houses, which are the commencements of 
new streets planned out. The houses in the Broadway are lofty and well- 
liuilt They are coustructed iu the Euglish style, and differ but little 
from those of Loudon at the west end of the town, except that they are 
universally built of red brick. In the vicinity of the Battery, and for 
some distance up the Broadway, they are nearly all private houses, aud 
occupied by the principal merchants and gentry of New York." 

The most elegant mansioD in New York at the close of the century was 
the one erected on the site of the old fort opposite the Bowling Green, while 
Washington was a resident of the city as President of the United States, 
and which was iutemled for 
his occupancy, aod that uf idl 
future heads of tht^ ualimi. It 
was ID process of niinflcliuu 
when the seat of jiFivcniiiU'iit 
was removed to I'li 
and was hence 
forward appru 
pnated for a 
number of years 
to the uses of 
tlie governors 
of the btate It 
was the resi 
dence of Gov-- 

Mnor Clinton for three or four years, and Governor Jay took up his 
kbode in it in 1795, making it his city home until he retired from pub- 
he life. It was a stately edifice, constructed of red brick, with Ionic 
colomns, a striking example of the tendency of the period toward the 
■icverely classical in domestic architecture. Soon after the beginning of 
the present century it was converted into nttices for the customs, and in 
1815 removed. The Bowling Green Block now stands upon its site. 

After enumerating the various churches of the city, numbering at this 
dtfe twenty-three, and making brief reference to Columbia Collie, the 

Tlia QonrnmMit Hsu 


jaU, house of correction, almshouse, exchange and several other build- 
ings of less note, one writer says : " The city is accommodated with five 
markets in different paits, which ai'e furnished with a great plenty and 
variety of provisions." The principal of these, the Fly-Market, was lo- 
cated near the East River, in what was originally a salt meadow with a 
creek running through it from Maiden Lane. When first established it 
was called the "Valley Market ;** but the Dutch for valley being " Vlei," 
the term in common use was " V'lei-Market," hence the corruption into 
" Fly-Market." Every day, except Sunday, was a market day. Butchers 
were licensed by the mayor, who was the clerk of the market, receiving 
fees for all meats sold — as, for instance, six cents for every quarter of 
beef, and' four cents for a calf, sheep, or lamb. Butter must be sold by 
the pound, and not by the roll or tub. The laws regulating the markets 
were rigidly enforced. 

The Park Theater was built in 1797, and first opened in January, 1798. 
The ambitious proprietors petitioned for the privilege of erecting a por- 
tico over the sidewalk, which was not granted. It was a large, 
commodious building that would accommodate about twelve hun- 
dred persons. " The interior is handsomely decorated, and fitted up in 
as good style as the London theatei's, upon a scale suitable to the popu- 
lation of New York," wrote Lambert. The performances consisted of 
all the new pieces that came out on the London boards, and several of 
Shakespeare's l)est plays. One of the newspaper critics of the time de- 
clared these plays too much curtaUed, and said they often lost their effect 
through being over at half-past ten, while not commencing at an earlier 
hour than in London. 

The drama was introduced into New York, and indeed into the Amer- 
ican colonies, a quarter of a century before the Revolution. On the 26th 
of February, 1750, Lewis Hallam, a favorite actor at (Joodman's Fields 
Theater in England, made his d^but in the historical tragedy of Richard 
III., in a room of one of the buildings which belonged to the estate of 
Rip Van Dam, in Nassau Street.^ He had obtained permission from the 
British grovemor of New York, and commanded a most select and fashion- 
able audience. Two years later he appeared at Williamsburg in Virginia. 
His wife, known as Mi's. Douglass, was a favorite actress ; and his two 
sons, Lewis and Adam, figured upon the American stage during the re- 
mainder of the century. During the time the city was in the posses- 
sion of the British, theatrical entertainments were very fashionable ; and 
the characters were mostly supported by officers of the army and navy. 

1 Parker* s Fosl-Boy ; Drake's American Biography ; Old New York, by Dr. John W. 


The English plays of Gairick, Foote, Cumberland, Colman, O'Eeefe, 
Sheridan, and others were £rom time to time enacted. Aid was often 
furnished from private or social circles ; and a remarkable peculiarity of 
the times seems to have been that it was quite a common circumstance 
to appropriate or designate some leading or prominent individual among 
the inhabitants of the city as the character drawn by the dramatist abroad. 
Thus, when " Laugh and Grow Fat " appeared, the public said it well fitted 
the case of Abraham Mortier, the paymaster of the British army, and 
the projector of the Richmond Hill House. He was a cheerful old gen- 
tleman, but the leanest of all human beings — almost diaphanous. 

Lewis Hallam, the younger, appeared in Lord Ogleby in 1767, and 
|dayed the part for forty years, the last time being in the Park Theater 
in 1807. He was one of the best actors of his time. After the war 
terminated he organized the firm of Hallam and Henry, which after Mr. 
Henry's death became Hallam and Hodgkinson. William Dunlap, the 
painter and historian, subsequently became associated with the firm in 
the management of the John-Street Theater, and brought forward many 
pieces of his own composition. At the opening of the Park Theater he 
was its sole manager, and in March, 1798, his tragedy of " Andr^ " in 
blank verse was brought out with success. 

" New York City appears to be the Tyre of the New World," said a 
London editor while describing its shipping. Winterbotham wrote: 
" This city is esteemed the most eligible situation for commerce in the 
United States, and in time of peace will do more business than any 
other town. It almost necessarily commands the trade of one half of 
New Jersey, most of that of Connecticut and of Vermont, and a part of 
that of Massachusetts, besides the whole fertile interior country, which 
13 penetrated by one of the largest rivers in America. Its conveniences 
for internal commerce are singularly great ; the produce of the remotest 
CELrms is easily and speedily conveyed to a certain and profitable market. 
The produce of Pennsylvania must be carried to market in wagons, over 
a great extent of country, some of which is very rough ; hence Philadel- 
phia is crowded with wagons, carts, horses, and their drivers, to do the 
same business that is done in New York, where all the produce of the 
country is brought to market by water, with much less show and parade. 
This city imports most of the goods consumed in the best-peopled area 
uf the whole country, which contains at least eight hundred thousand 
persons, or one fifth of the inhabitants of the Union. In time of war 
Xew York will be insecure without a marine force ; but a small number 
uf ships will be able to defend it from the most formidable attacks by 
29ea The situation is both healthy and pleasant ; surrounded on all sides 


by water, it is refreshed with cool breezes in summer, and the air in 
winter is more temperate than in other places under the same parallel. 
The want of good water is at present a great inconvenience to the 
citizens, there being few wells in the city ; most of the people are sup- 
plied every day with fresh water, conveyed to their doors in casks, from a 
pump near the head of Pearl Street, which receives it from a spring 
almost a mile from the center of the city. The average quantity drawn 
daily from this remarkable well, about twenty feet deep and four feet in 
diameter, is one hundred and ten hogsheads of one hundred and thirty 
gallons each. In some hot summer days two hundred and sixteen hogs- 
heads have been drawn from it, and, what is very singular, there are 
never more or less than three feet of water in the well. Several pro- 
posals have been made by individuals to supply the citizens by pipes, 
but none have yet been accepted" 

A graphic description of the Hudson Eiver and the physical pecu- 
liarities of the country between it and the lakes, by the same writer, is 
replete with comprehensive intelligence. Saratoga Springs are mentioned 
as eight or nine in number, the water, in the writer's opinion, derived 
from one common source. Roads and bridges throughout the State were 
attracting legislative notice. A post rode regularly from Albany to the 
Genesee Eiver once a fortnight. An enterprise by which a " grand road 
was opened in 1790 through Clinton County," on the borders of Canada, 
is commended in strong terms. Albany is pronounced unrivaled in its 
situation, and said to contain about four thousand inhabitants, speaking 
every variety of language. *' It stands on the bank of one of the finest 
rivers in the world, at the head of sloop navigation ; and adventurers in 
pursuit of wealth are led here by the advantages for trade which the 
place affords." The city of Hudson was a marvel because of its rapid 
growth. The writer says : " No longer ago than the autumn of 1783, Seth 
and Thomas Jenkins, from Providence, in the State of Rhode Island, 
having first reconnoitered all the way up the river, fixed on the unsettled 
spot where Hudson now stands, for a town. They purchased a tract 
about a mile square, bordering on the river, with a large bay to the 
southward, and divided it into thirty parcels or sharea Other parties 
were admitted to proportions, and the town was laid out in squares, 
formed by spacious streets, crossing each other at right angles; each 
square containing thirty lots, two deep divided by a twenty-feet alley, 
each lot fifty feet front and one hundred and twenty deep. The original 
proprietors of Hudson offered to purchase a tract of land adjoining the 
south part of the city of Albany, and were constrained, by a refusal of 
the proposition, to become competitors for the commerce of the northern 


ooimtiy, when otherwise they would have added great wealth and con- 
sequence to Albany." ^ 

Such was the wonderful growth of Hudson that, although the first 
dwellings were not erected until 1784, the city was incorporated in 1785, 
and one hundred and fifty homes had been securely planted prior to the 
spring of 1786, besides bams, shops, stores, ware-houses, and other build- 
ings, with several wharves for commercial convenience. During Febru- 
ary of the last named year upwards of twelve hundred sleighs entered 
the city daily for several weeks in succession, laden with produce and 
articles of merchandise. Thus an idea may be formed of the advantage 
of the situation with respect to the rich and fertile adjacent country ; 
and, built upon an eminence, the city presented a highly picturesque 
appearance as seen from the river. It was made a port of entry in 1795, 
and is said at one time to have possessed a larger amount of shipping 
than even New York City, its commerce being chiefly with the West 
Indies and Europe. Seth Jenkihs was mayor of the new city for many 
years, and was succeeded by his brother Robert, who occupied that posi- 
tion until his sudden death in 1819. 

" In New York there appears to be a great thirst after knowledge," 
writes Lambert "The riches that have flowed into that city have 
lm>ught with them a taste for reading and the refinements of polished 
society ; and though the inhabitants cannot yet boast of having reached 
the standard of European perfection, they are not wanting in the solid 
and rational parts of education, nor in many of those accomplishments 
which ornament and embellish private life. It has become the fashion 
in Xew York to attend lectures on moral philosophy, chemistry, mineral- 
ogy, botany, mechanics, etc., and the ladies in particular have made con- 
siderable progress in those studies ; several young ladies have displayed 
their abilities in writing, and some of their novels and fugitive pieces 
of poetry and prose evince much taste and judgment, and two or three 
have distinguished themselves. The desire for instruction and informa- 
tion, however, is not confined to the youthful part of the community ; 
many married ladies and their families may be seen at philosophical and 

' The Jenkins brothers came from Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard instead of Providence, 
Rhode liUnd, as stated by Wioterbotham. They were shipping merchants of great wealth, 
bat the ulands had become too circumscribed for them, and thus they came t« New York, 
^ringing their commerce with them to the city they founded upon the Hudson. When they 
trvt arriv«Hl in New York City on their way up the river, they visited Colonel Rutgers, an 
•>1J aa<l ral aed friend, to whom they unfolded their plans ; and he was so much pleased with 
the eoterpriidng spirit manifested, that he offered to sell them his own broad acres on the 
E*it River between Catharine Street and CoTlear*s Hook. (See Ratzer's Map, Vol. I. p. 
790- 7^.) They differed, however, in price to the amount of $500, and the trade in the 
ttd feD through — Family Arehive$, 


chemical lectures, and the spirit of inquiiy is becoming general among 
the gentlemen. The immense property which has been introduced into 
the city by commerce has hardly had time to circulate and di£Fu8e itself 
through the community. It is yet too much in the hands of a few indi- 
viduals to enable men to devote the whole of their lives to the study 
of the arts and science. Farmers, merchants, physicians, lawyers, and 
divines are all that America can produce for many years to come; 
and if authors, artists, or philosophers make their appearance at any 
time, they must, as they have hitherto done, spring ifom one of the 
above professions." 

Foreign travelers were numerous and observant. Their note-books 
furnish many vivid glimpses of the city at that epoch. Characteristics 
were not infrequently overdrawn and general conclusions reached with- 
out opportunity of exercising correct judgment. But it is always well 
and useful to see ourselves as others see us. We quote the following : 

" The society of New York consists of three distinct classes. The first 
is composed of the constituted authorities, government officers, divines, 
lawyers, and physicians of eminence, with the principal merchants and 
people of independent property. The second comprises the small mer- 
chants, retail dealers, clerks, subordinate officers of the government, and 
members of the three professions. The third consists of the inferior 
orders of the people. The first of these associate together in a style of 
elegance and splendor little inferior to Europeans. Their houses are 
furnished with everything that is useful, agreeable, or ornamental ; and 
many of them are fitted up in the tasteful magnificence of modem luxury. 
Many have elegant equipages, and those who have none of their own 
may be accommodated with handsome carriages at the livery stables ; 
for there are no coach stands. The dress of the gentlemen is plain, 
elegant, and fashionable, and corresponds in every respect with the 
English costume. The ladies in general seem more partial to the light, 
various, and dashing drapery of the Parisian belles than to the elegant 
and becoming attire of our London beauties, who improve upon the 
French fasliiona. But there are many who prefer the English costume, 
or at least a medium between that and the French. . 

* The winter is passed in a round of entertainments and amusements ; 

•t the dieater^ public dancing assemblies, lectures, concerts, balls, tea 

iid-partifl8» oariole excursions out of town, etc. The American 

del^ ia much lai^ger than that of Canada, and will hold 

It is fixed on high runners, and drawn by two hones. 

nnd danoes axe frequently made in the winter aeaaon 

the gnmiid. They proceed in carioles a few miles 


into the country to some hotel or tavern, where they remain to a late 
hour and return home by torchlight The inhabitants of New York are 
not remarkable for early rising, and little business seems to be done be- 
fore nine or ten o'clock. Most of the merchants and people in business 
dine about two o'clock ; others who are less engaged, about three ; but 
four o'clock is usually the fashionable hour for dining. The gentlemen 
are partial to the bottle, but not to excess ; and at private dinner-parties 
they seldom sit mo|p than two hours drinking wine. They leave the table 
one after the other, and walk away to some tea-party without bidding 
their host good-afternoon. The servants are mostly negroes or mulattoes ; 
some free, and others slaves. Marriages are conducted in the most splen- 
did style, and form an important part of the winter's entertainments. 
For some yeare it was the fashion to keep them only among a select circle 
of friends ; but of late the opulent parents of the newly-married lady have 
thrown open their doors and invited the town to partake of their felicity. 
The young couple, attended by their nearest connections. and friends, are 
married at home in a magnificent style ; and if the parties are Episco- 
palians, the Bishop of New York is always procured, if possible, as his 
presence gives a greater zest to the nuptials. For three days after the 
marriage ceremony the newly-married couple see company in great states 
and every genteel person who can procure an introduction may pay his 
respects to the bride and bridegroom. It is a sort of levee; and the 
visitors, after their introduction, partake of a cup of coffee or other re- 
freshment, and walk away. Sometimes the night concludes with a col 
cert and ball, or cards among those friends who are invited to remain." 

The newspapers of the period chronicle a reception of this character at 
the gubernatorial mansion opposite the Bowling Green in November, 
1796: "Married on the 3d, at his Excellency's John Jay, Governor, 
Government House, John Livingston, of the manor of Livingston, to Mrs. 
Catharine Ridley, daughter of the late Governor William Livingston." ^ 

> Robert LiTingston, third lord of the manor, had five sons — Walter, John, Henry, Philip, 

wk> died nmnairied before his father, and Peter R. ; also three daughters ->> Mary, married 

Hoo. James Dunne, Alida, married Valentine Gardiner, and Catharine, married John Patterson. 

.Sdinjier, one of the sons of Walter and Cornelia Schuyler Livingston, married Eliza, daugh- 

ttr of Cfdonel Thomas and Susan De Lancey Barclay ; and their children were Thomas 

Bardaj LiTingston, American Consul at Halifax, married Mary Kearny, Anne, married 

Jaacs Bejhnrn of New York, and Schuyler LiWngston of New York, married Margaret 

LiviB^itoD oi Clermont. The Barclays, often mentioned in preceding pages, and for whom 

Bndaj Street wa« named, were of the eminent Scotch race known in the annals of Great 

\ Berkeley. The orthography of the name was first changed by the English scholar 

Alrrander Barclay. Colonel David Barclay, of Urie, bom 1610, married Catharine, 

du^iter oi Sir Robert Gordon, of Gordonstown. His children were : 1. Robert, one of the 

OfiguaJ lords proprietors of East New Jersey, and their elected governor, to whom the gorem- 


The reader will quickly recognize the piquant and accomplished sister of 
Mrs. Jay, who figured in former pages as Miss Kitty Livingston, and who 
became the wife of Matthew Ridley of Baltimore in 1787, and, after brief 
wedded happiness, a widow. In May, 1798, a round of festivities are 
recorded in connection with the marriage of Margaret, only daughter of 
Moi'gan Lewis, to Maturin Livingston, although the ceremony was per- 
formed at the country-seat of the family. And not far from the same 
date we read from the quaint old files that *' David L ^aight was married 
by the Rev. Dr. Livingston to the amiable Miss Ann Kip." 

One of the great social events of 179^ was the marriage of the cele- 
brated Josiah Quincy to Miss Eliza Susan Morton of New York. The 
ceremony was performed on the 6th of June by Rev. Dr. Samuel Stanhope 
Smith, President of Princeton College, who made the journey to New York 
for the purpose, the lady having always been a favorite with him, and par- 
tially educated in his famUy where she was greatly beloved She was also 
specially intimate with Secretary and Mrs. Oliver Wolcott, and with the 
family of Theodore Sedgwick usually spending some months every sum- 
mer at their home in Stockbridge. The next day the bridal pair set forth 
in a coach-and-four, and were five days in traveling to the vicinity of the 
capital of Massachusetts. Quincy had made the journey to New York in 
1795, leaving the following graphic picture : "The stage coaches were old 
and shackling, and much of the harness made of ropes. One pair of 
horses carried the stage eighteen miles. We generally reached our 
resting-place for the night, if no accident intervened, at ten o'clock, and 
after a frugal supper went to bed with a notice that we should be called 

nient was confirmed during life by Charles II., although he ruled through a deputy and never 
came to America ; 2. David, who died on his passage to America ; 8. Lucy, who died un- 
married ; 4. John, who removed to America, married Cornelia Van Schaick, and was the 
ancestor of the ^ew York family of Barclay ; 5. Jane, who married the son of Sir Ewan Dhu, 
of Lochiel, chieftain of the clan Cameron, whose large family of daughters were all married 
to chiefs or heads of houses — Cameron of Dungallan, Barclay of Urie, Grant of Glenmoriston, 
Macpherson of Clunie, Campbell of Barcaldine, Campbell of Auchalader, Campbell of Anch- 
lyne, Maclean of Iiochbury, Macgregor of Bohawslie, Wright of Loss, Maclean of Ardgour, 
and Cameron of Glendinning. " Thus the political importance of Lochiel was greatly en- 
hanced, and a confederacy of noted families was bound together by opinion and kindred, 
forming a strong opposition to the reigning Government'* All these daughters of Jane 
Barclay became mothers of families, and " their numerous descendants,** writes Mriw Grant, 
** cherish the bonds of affinity now so widely diffused.*' An alliance with the family was es- 
teemed of such consequence that the youngest and fairest actually was married to Camenm 
of Glendinning in her twelfth year ; becoming a widow, she married Maclean of Kingasleet, 
another chief of equal importance. John Barclay (the first in America) was the father of Rev. 
Thomas Barclay, and grandfather of Rev. Dr. Henry Barclay of Trinity Church, the father 
of Coloiid Thomas who married Susan De Lancey. (See Vol I. 586, 682, 756.) Harriet, 
'tm of tlie daoghters of Walter Livingston, married Robert Fulton. (For biographical 
* «f Bmaj Walter, ycmiigwt son of Walter Livingston, see YoL II. 896). 


At three the next morning, which generally proved to be half-past two. 
Then, whether it snowed or rained, the traveler must rise and make 
ready by the help of a horn lantern and a farthing candle, and proceed 
on his way over hard roads — sometimes with a driver showing no 
doubtful symptoms of drunkenness, and often obliged to get out and 
help him lift the coach out of a quagmire or rut — and arrived at New 
York after a week's hard traveling, wondering at the ease as well as 
expedition with which our journey was effected." With such experience 
fresh in his memory, it is by no means remarkable that he should deter- 
mine upon a matrimonial tour with an equipage of his own. 

A more romantic, but far less imposing wedding-journey was that of 
Washington Morton, the youngest brother of the bride, in October of the 
same year. He was a brilliant young man of great personal beauty, 
bodily strength, and athletic skilL He was indeed endowed with Nature's 
best mental and physical gifts. He was graduated from Princeton in 
1792, at the age of seventeen, and such were the signs of promise that 
unusual success at the bar was predicted by his contemporaries — where 
be readily won an honorable place in that remarkable period of its history 
when it bore upon its calendar such names as Alexander Hamilton, 
Aaron Burr, Eufus King, Thomas Addis Emmett, David B. Ogden, Peter 
Augustus Jay, and others of a national reputation. As a youth, more of 
his time was given to the pleasures of the world than to its affairs. His 
fondness for athletic exercises led him on one occasion to test his powers 
of endurance by walking to Philadelphia for a wager. It was at that 
tiiiK* an unprecedented feat, and made a great noise. " His walk finished, 
and his wager won, he spent the night with the gentlemen friends who 
accompanied him on horseback, together with a party of Philadelphia's 
choice spirits, over a supper table spread in his honor." ^ 

Upon returning to New York he was lionized. He had long been a 
favorite guest in the attractive home of Alexander Hamilton, and thus 
met and fell madly in love with the beautiful Cornelia Schuyler, Mrs. 
Hamilton's youngest sister. She was by no means a belle, for her 
beauty was of that soft and touching kind which wins gradually upon the 
heart rather than the senses. She had dark brown hair, which she wore 
parted in waves over a low, white forehead, gray eyes so shaded and 
shadowed by lashes that they seemed black in the imperfect light, com- 
plexion of that clear paleness which better interprets the varying phases 
•»f feeling than a more brilliant color, and a small rosy mouth with slight 
compression of the lips betokening strength of will. Her nature, too 
pliant and clinging for the role of leaderahip in society, which so well 

^ Life of Jonah Quincy, by his son Edmund Quincj. 


became her sister, Mrs. Hamilton, had yet a firmness that promised full 
development through her affections. She had spent the winter in New 
York, and was present at the nuptials of Josiah Quincy and Miss Morton 
in June, then returned to her home in Albany, attended by her lover, who 
sought an immediate interview with General Schuyler, asking his daugh- 
ter's hand in marriage. 

It is not strange that a man of Schuyler^s sagacity should have hesi- 
tated about consigning his lovely daughter to the care of a volatile, head- 
strong youth of twenty-two, whatever his prospects and possibilities, and 
he refused to consider the question until the aspirant should slacken his 
pace to the sober rate befitting a steady-going married man. Morton 
pressed his suit, and finally Schuyler forbade him the house, ordering 
him to attempt no communication with his daughter. 

" Come into the library," said the austere father to the blushing Corne- 
lia a few minutes after his abrupt dismissal of her suitor, and led the 
way, the maiden following demurely. When she had dropped upon a 
stool at his feet, Schuyler related what had transpired between himself 
and young Morton, adding, " Promise me that henceforward you will have 
nothing to do with Washington Morton, either by word or letter." " I 
cannot, sir,*' was her quick response. " What ! do you mean to disobey 
me ? " "I mean that I cannot bind myself by any such pledge as you 
name — and — and — I will not." 

We will pass from this scene to one a few weeks later. The hour was 
midnight. The lights had long since been extinguished in the Schuyler 
mansion, and silence reigned throughout the city of Albany, unbroken by 
voice or footstep. Presently two figures, wrapped in cloaks, were moving 
swiftly along the deserted streets. One was of fine princely bearing, the 
other lithe and graceful. In front of the Schuyler mansion they paused ; 
a signal was given, and a window was gently and slowly raised ; one of the 
gentlemen threw up a rope which was caught ; a rbpe ladder was drawn 
up, and after the lapse of a few minutes was again lowered ; the gentle- 
man pulled forcibly to ascertain that it was securely fastened, and Cornelia 
Schuyler accomplished her descent in safety. In a few moments they 
had reached the shore of the Hudson, where a little boat was in waiting, 
and as they landed upon the opposite bank a pair of fine horses were 
pawing the earth impatiently. The lady was lifted upon one of them, 
her gallant cavalier mounted the other, and, bidding adieu to the friends 
who had assisted in the escapade, they rode towards the rising sun. 
Between thirty and forty miles distant was the ancient town of Stock- 
bridge, and straightway to the home of Judge Theodore Sedgwick they 
hastened, who was the common and intimate friend of both parties. 


Pmenting tbemaelves before that excellent magistrate, who is laid to 
have doubted at first the evidence of his own eyes, the runaways told the 
story of their romance and flight Of course there was but one thing to 
<la The clergyman of the town was summoned to the judicial mansion, 
and the handsome twain made one flesh with all convenient dispatch. 
This wedding occurred on the 8th of October, 1797. It was some time 
before General Schuyler could bring himself into a forgiving temper, but 
be loved his daughter, and in the end submitted with as good grace as he 
could muster to what he could not help.' 

The elder brother of Mrs. Quincy and Washington Morton was Jacob 
Morton, a prominent public character in New York City for nearly half a 
century. He was a graduate of Priticc- 
mn, and a lawyer by profession. Other 
fniployments, however, diverted his 
attention from practice at the 1iar. 
He held municipal offices of trust i"\ 
so long a series of years that he becaiix- 
almost as familiar to the eyes of >'ew 
York as the City Hall itself; and so 
strong was his hold upon the popiiliir f 
ngard, that no change in politics ever)! 
disturbed bis position. He was a ^ 
tleinan in breeding as well as politics i 
f'f the school of Washington, a Feder- = 
alLst of the deepest dye — of fine piea- "* 
ence, erect carriage, alert air, and cordial m""« ^ t-:n«.i j^ot M«tM.i 

mannen, with powdered hair and always in faultlessly elegant costume. 
F'T thirty years or more he was major-general of the first division of the 
?^Ute militia of New York. He married a great beauty in 1791, Cath- 
arine, the daughter of Carey Ludlow ; and the Ludlow mansion on State 
.Street subsequently became his residence, and for a full quarter of a 

' John JJonoD, »n emintnt merchsnt of New York City, was one of the Committee of 
'•t/^ Hunilml, and « delate to secand New York Congress ; he was «yled the "Rebel 
Rink-t " on mrcount of the large sums of money he loaned to the Continental Congress, all 
!/>bi.h n* tust He retired to Morriatown during the war. (See Vol. II. 13S.) He had 
icto: chil'ltra : 1. Jacob, mimed Catharine Ludlow, and left a large family of children, who 
■-■« allied with some of the principal families of the city ; 2. John ; 3. .Andrew ; L Hary Har- 
ai«% died vonoR ; S. Margaret : S. Eliwhtth, married Hon. Josiah Quincy ; 7. Washington, 
■za:t^-\ I'omelia Si-liuylcr ; 8. OcorRe C'larki'. Cornelia Scliiiylcr Morton died in 1807, and 
if- !.o-'«n.l, to dissiimte the [ussionnK' nffliitiou into "hioh h<- ve» plunged by her death, 
•1.; :■. Paris, where lie alsuiliiilin IMO. Tli.> .Si ■liuyler mansion, see p. 14S (Vol. 11.), the 
►ra- '.f this romantic episoili', bus visiird in 1879 by a lady from England, a near lela- 
;" "f Bar^^Dyne, who at, a prisonei of war received distinguished hospitality within iti 


centuiy was the center of fashion, intellect, and refinement It was iin- 
menaely large, containing twenty-six apartments besides servants' rooms. 
It had a double stairway in front of the door, with the elaborate iron rail- 
ing so fashionable at that time ; also carved oak chimney-pieces and wain- 
scoting importetl from England. Lai^e bushes of sweet-brier were trained 
over the porch. When l^fayette was in this country in 1824 it was the 
scene of a grand ball given in his honor.' 

' Carey Ludlow bought the property in 1788 — « lot fiftj-two Teet front extenilitig through 
to PearL Street — for which he paid £1,080. Wlisn the war began, in 1778, he left with hU 
fimily for Euglnnd. remaining until 1784. On his return he lived in Front Street, electing 
the house of the sketch, and removing to it in J792. It was sheltered by a fine growth of 
trees, thrpe hundred in all, planted by his order on State Street and the Battery. The view 
of the bay was superb from the little balcony over the front door. Afler the death of Mr. 
Ludlow in 1807 the house became the property of his widow, and afterward! that of her 
lUughter, Mrs. Morton. Carey Ludlow was the Krandson of Gabriel Ludlow, who married 
SatHh, daughter of Kev. Joseph Haunier, D. D., and came to New York City in IfllM, and who 
was the eiglith in descent fratii William Ludlow of Hill Deterall, Wiltshire, England, in the 
Utter half of the fourteenth centuiy. 

The l.uJlowB, who for nearly two centnneq have formed a subatantial element of the 
wealthy and influential population of New York, descended from the oldeit gentry in the 
kingdom of Great Britain, and their pedigree is remarkably clear and diatinct. It may he 
traced on one side without a break to Edward \. of England (in 127S) and hia second wife. 
MHrgaret, daughter of Philip III. of France, through their son Thomas, Ear) of Norfolk, and 
his dangiiter Hargnret Plantagenet, who marriFil John, third Lord Segiave. Kliiabelh, 
daughter of Lord and Lady Seglave, married the fourth Lord Mowbray, whose eldert daugh- 
ter marrieil the third Lord Delawarr. The eldest daughter of the latter married the thinl 
l/)rd West, whose son was the seventh Lord Delawarr ; his great-granddaughter marrinl 
Lord Windsor, whoM daughter . ^^ V.(1ilh married George Ludlow 

of Hill Deverell, Wiltshire, the 3S[ c^ fonnh in the direct decent Ann 

William Ludlow, before men- '[iO tiuntd. George Lndlow'a son. 

Sir Edmund Ludlow, Kt., was r.-7/^^^^^^s,J«^ by bis first wife the grandfather 
of Edmund Ludlow, the "^Si- T A A ^5^^*^*^^ /ricojdiie.and by his second wife, the 
grea^gnlndfather of Gabriel, Wi\|] yi C '^ fl/o/who aettled in New York City 
inie«.-flurfa;ffoMna.^-«,lft. Hi ■^*~^^** J|,'§| fi'^-Co/f. ; /imiVy ^riAioea 

Gabriel Ludlow, the lir^t iu I OtC^l^^^^li^ ^'^'^' ^'"^' ^'^ thirteen chil- 
dren : 1. Haumer, 2. Mari,hB, \ Jt^^^i^mKl^^ 3. tUiaheth. 4. Henry, 6. Saimli, 
8. Gabriel, 7-FrancesS.. a. Wil- IZ-*^ ^1 J&c\j ''"'"' '■ *'"^' '"■ "">"""■■ "■ 
Mary, 12. Elizabeth, 13. Thonuis. X^ ^&.^a^ ^^7 **' Henry Lndlow nurneil 
Mary Corhett, and their children ^v^^P^SS^""^ numbered thirteen, of whom 
Sarah married Richard Morris; ^"— _^^ Warj married Peter Godet ; 

Gabriel married Hiss William^ Ladlow Arwa. whoae daoghter Haiy nairie.! 

J. G. Bogart, and daughter Ann married Jndge Brockhobt Livingtton ; William mvrieil 
ICaty GouvenieaT, whose son William married the danghtar of Bobert Horria and left ten 
children, the eighth of whom, Thomas W., married Uaiy Bettner, and their aao, Thomas 
W., mMTiwl hi* concin, Miaa Caraochan ; and Thoma* married Uair, daoghter of William 
T«dlMr, iMving a daughter and two sods. 

•'.Ibth child of Gabriel Ludlow (the first in New Yori), married, (1) Fiances, 

iMUi (1) Xlliabetb Cronimelin; among hia numarous childien, Gabri'-I 

QbUib Vnplaack, whoae son Gabriel V. manied Elinbeth Hnnter, 

<l-kB«ira dtitai of the [inwnt tinia, UMnial EliiabeUi, dangh- 


Meanwhile the gentle, unassuming, and melancholy Louis Philippe 
d'Orleans, after wandering through Germany, teaching geometry among 
the mountains of Switzerland, and suffering all manner of hardships, had, 
through the generous pecuniary aid of Gouvemeur Morris — who placed 
fifteen hundred pounds to his credit in London — reached New York ; 
and his two brothers, the Duke de Montpensier and the Count de 
Beaujolais soon joined him. Morris immediately wrote to his banker in 
New York, giving the young prince unlimited credit while he should re- 
main in the United States. This was accepted in modest sums only, but 
the whole amount of indebtedness afterwards paid to Morris and his heirs 
amounted to somewhat over thirteen thousand dollars. The three broth- 
ers traveled on horseback in 1798, attended by a single servant, to see 
the interior of the United States, but were in New York during the 
winter following, and frequent guests of Hamilton and others, as well ia 
of Morris at his home in Mornsania — after his return &om Europe in 

The Duke of Kent, son of .(Jeorge III., and father of Queen Victoria, 
was in New York at the same time, and the recipient of many distin- 
guished civilities from the leading families. John Singleton Copley, 
afterwards Lord Lyndhurst, son of the celebrated portrait-painter of that 
name, was also in the city. He was a native of Boston, but had been 
carried an infant to England about two years before the war. He was 
now twenty-four, a somewhat tall, thin, pale, blue- eyed young man, of 
quiet habits, and tranquil and decidedly elegant manners. On one occa- 
sion he attended a dinner given by Louis Philippe at his modest lodgings, 
where one half the guests were seated upon the side of the bed for want 
of room to place chairs elsewhere. 

Among all the Europeans of distinction, however, who were feted by 

ter of Hon. Edward P. Livingston, Lieutenant-Governor of New York ; Geoi^ D. married 
Fruien, daughter of Thomas Duncan, and became Chief Justice of the Superior Court of New 
BniBswick after the Revolution, and one of his daughters married Richard Harrison ; and 
Duiiel, a wealthy banker who owned a country-seat at Burette's Point on the East River, 
whenee be drove to Wall Street four-in-hand every day, whose wife was Arabella, daugh- 
ter of Thomas Duncan, and whose children were, 1. Harriet, married George Wright, 
t Daniel, 8. Robert, married Mary Peters, 4. Dr. Edward G., married Mary Lewis — grand-* 
daughter of Francis and Elizabeth Ludlow Lewis, and great-j^nddaughter of Governor 
Mofgan Lewis — and their daughter Susan M. married J. Kfaniy Warner. 

(8) William, foorth son of Gabriel Ludlow (the first in New York), married Biary, daughter 
of Geofge Danean ; his children numbered twelve, of whom was Carey Ludlow, projector of 
thr mansion on State Street as illustratcil in our text. 

(13) Thomas, the youngest of the thirteen children of Gabriel Ludlow (the first in New 
Vofk), married Catharine L. Roux, and their daughter Sarah married Abraham Ogden, of 
vhow eleven children, Catharine married Abijah Hammond, Gertru<le married Joehua 
WsidingtoDy and liai^garetta married David B. Ogden. 


the citizens of New York in the closing years of the century, none re- 
ceived greater honor than Kosciuszko, the accomplished Pole, who in the 
exercise of dictatorial power recently conferred upon him by his country- 
men rivaled his great American contemporary in the vigor and integrity 
of his conduct. He came fresh from the rigors of a St. Petersburg prison 
in the autumn of 1797, having proudly declined all testimonials of Russian 
favor from the new emperor, who gave him his freedom immediately upon 
the death of Catharine. " He seems astonished at the homage he receives, 
and sees a brother in every man who is the friend of liberty," wrote the 
Duke de la Rochefoucauld Liancourt, who had been in America already 
some three years, and who was in New York at the time of Kosciuszko*s 
arrival, meeting the Pole first at the house of Greneral Gates. The Po- 
lish author, poet, aud statesman, Count Niemcewicz, who had fought 
with Kosciuszko, and afterwards shared his imprisonment in Russia, was 
his companion on the journey to this country. 

The learning and culture of the handsome Count Niemcewicz, not less 
than the grandeur of his sentiments and captivating manners, rendered him 
a peculiarly interesting personage. Like Kosciuszko, he was descended 
from a noble Lithuanian family, and had been educated in the military 
academy of Warsaw ; but he strove rather to make the leading ideas of 
the liberal reform party popular by his writings in prose and verse than 
by the sword. He was forty years of age, two years younger than Kos- 
ciuszko. It was not long before he had seen the beauty, intellect, and re- 
finement of the New York social world, for the dinners and entertainments 
of Governor Jay, of Hamilton, and of many others were of as frequent 
occurrence as in the time of Washington's residence in the city. And 
his appreciation may be measured by the fact that he chose a wife there- 
from. The lady was Susan, daughter of Peter Van Brugh and Mary Alex- 
ander Livingston, and widow of John Kean — a member of Congress 
who died in 1795 — the first cousin of Mrs. Jay and of Lady Kitty Duer. 
Mrs. Kean had purchased " Liberty Hall," the beautiful country-seat of her 
uncle, Governor Livingston, and taken up her residence there ; which 
after her marriage to Count Niemcewicz became once more the center of 
attraction for scholars, statesmen, and celebrities.^ 


1 See (Vol. II.) p. 81, for sketch of " Liberty HaH.** The ** mantle of proprietorship rests at 
present upon the shoulders of Colonel John Kean, the grandson of the Coantess Niemcewicz, 
great-grand-nephew of (Governor Livingston, and brother-in-law of Hon. Hamilton Fish, late 
Secretary of State. " — Tlu Homu of America, by Mrs. Martha J. Lamb, p. 97. After Napoleon's 
invasion of Poland in 1807, Count Niemcewicz returned to Warsaw, and was appointed secre- 
tary of the senate ; with the annexation of his native country to Russia he became president 
of the committee on the new constitution, in the authorship of which he took a prominent 
part During the Bevolution of 1830 he wielded great influence, and in his capacttj of \ 


The yellow fever appeared in the city very suddenly in the Bummer of 
1798, and many were seized with it before they had heard of its 
pTeaeoce. Nearly one half of the cases reported in the month of . 

August proved fatal The horror of the situation was greatly increased 
liy the alann of the country people, who cease<l hriti^lng their produce to 
market The relief committee appealed through the newspapers for sup- 
plies of poultry and small meats, so necessary to both sick and well, an 
appeal which met with a bounteous response. The number of deaths 
registered in a very brief time was two thousand and eighty-six. There 
had been a few cases in 
1796and in 1797, but hith- 
erto no such dreadful visi- 
tation as this of 1798. Busi- 
ness was suspended, and 
schools and churclies closed. 
Washington S<iuare, pur- 
chased for a burial-place by 
the corporation in 1796, be- 
came a potter's field indeed, 
and not only strangers and 
common people but mauy I 
persons of note were buried ] 
within its limits. 

A large body of physi- 
cians and citizens was del- 
egated to inquire into the 
causes of the pestilence 
after the danger was over, 
and various propositions j 
for supplying the city with 
wholesome waterwere dis- iBwn,;«m„<i,i»,j 

cussed The Bronx River, in Westchester, was surveyed by an engineer, 
but the corporation shnink from the enormous expense — estimated at 
one millioD of dollars — of obtaining water from that source. 

The electiooeering campaign had been opened with great vigor in the 

IMJ dreir ap the reaolalioD which eipelled the RamanofT foniily from the throne of Poland. 
Anmg Ms principal works his Mitforiai' S-ifis of Ike Pules, with hi>itoricnl skeWhea (War- 
■*, 1810) Mt to miUli;, atbiin<-i] immtriise popularity : in Lfb and Sarnh. or Leiltri of Poluk 
Jm, he pictured the piwHliar moral and intelli-ctualtoniiitjoimf tlie Jews of Polanil ; his hw- 
toTf el the .&!>» ofSigi»,»-Ki III., his brilliant hi»lorira*l novel, J(>h« i.f T.:,ay». niiil hU 
fcUa and taJ(« in the itjte at Im Fontaine are all admirable ; but his eulug}- on KosciuuLo 
kM pscrallj been aateemed hii muterpieoe. 


spring of this year, and John Jay was in the end re-elected governor of the 
State by a triumphant majority over Chancellor Livingston. Tlie 
Republicans made no nomination for lieutenant-governor, genemlly 
concurring in the support of Stephen Van Rensselaer, who was pei'sonally 
popular in all parts of the State. His career was but just unfolding, as 
it were, and we shall find him in subsequent years engaged in all manner 
of enterprises and labors for the promotion of education and science, ami 
the general welfare and prosperity of the State.* 

The State officers, in addition to the governor and lieutenant-governor, 
were Lewis A. Scott, secretary, Josiah Ogden Hoflman, attorney -general, 
Gerard Bancker, treasurer, Sanmel Jones, comptroller, Simeon De Witt, 
surveyor-general, David S. Jones, private secretar}' to the governor, 
Jasper Hopper, deputy-secretary of the State, and Robert Hunter, com- 
missioner of military stores. The council of appointment in 1798 con- 
sisted of Grovemor Jay, ex-officio, Thomas Morris, Leonard Gansevoort, 
Ambrose Spencer, and Andrew Onderdonk. 

The year which succeeded the election was one of unsurpassed political 
excitement in the United States ; but in no State was paity heat more 
intense than in New York. All the old animosities generated in 1788 
burst from their smothered confinement into aflame. Dispatches coming 
from the American envoys in France, Pinckney, Marshall, and Gerry, 
announcing the total failuro of their mission of peace, startled the whole 
country ; they had been informed both privately and officially that nego- 
tiations must remain in abeyance until money was paid into the French 
treasury by the Americans. Talleyrand wanted some % 250,000 for his 

1 Stephen Van RensseUer, the patroon and lieutenant-governor, born 1764, died 1S39, wan 
a aoldier, a patriot, a philanthropist and a Christian, a man greatly respt'cted and lieloved 
by his contemporaries. He was the fifth in lineal descent from the original patroon, and 
fomider of Rensselaerewick. (See Vol. I. 49, 61, 62, 205.) His father was Stephen Van 
Benaselaer, who died in 1769, and his mother was Catharine, daughter of Philip Livingston, 
signer of the Declaration of In«le|iendenoe (see Vol. I. 598, 758), who marrie«I for her second 
husband the Rev. Eilardus Westerlo of Albany. Thus Lieutenant-Governor Van RensaelaiT 
was the cousin of Mrs. Jay, as well as the brother-in-law of Mrs. Hamilton. He married (1 ) 
lUigaret, daughter of General Philip Schuyler, who had one son, Stephen, i>roprietor of the 
msnoriml estate, married Harriet E. Bayard ; (2) Cornelia Patterson, whose children were, 
WiUiAm P., married (1) Eliza P. Rogers, (2) Sarah Rogers ; Philip, married Mary Tallmadge ; 
OitlisriDe, married Gonvemeur Morris Wilkins ; Rev. Cortlandt, married Catharine Ledyard 
Oo^NTsU ; Henry, married Mary Ray King ; Alexander ; Westerlo ; Cornelia P., married Mr. 
Tnmbnll ; Eaphemia White, married John Chun>h Cruger. 

Philip Van Rensselaer, only brother of the {latroon, bom 1766, for many years mayor of 
Albany, married Ann, daughter of I^ieutenant-Governor Pierre Van Cortlandt. Elizabeth, 
mBtf sister of the patroon, bom 1768, marrie<l, John Rradstreet Schuyler, the gran<lfather (»f 
Xr. John Schuykv of New York City : (2) John Bleecker, whose only daughter nuuried 
OomdiBs Van Beiuidaer. 


private disposal; and the Directory would listen to propositions only 
after $ 13,000,000, or thereabouts, had been loaned or donated ! Talley- 
rand intimated that the penalty of refusal would be war. " War be 
it, then ! " exclaimed Piuckney. " Millions for defense, sir, but not a cent 
for tribute ! " 

Vigorous measures were at once adopted by Congress for the raising of 
an army. President Adams appointed Washington commander-in-chief, 
who accepted and made Hamilton his second in command. 

To check an abuse of the liberty of speech and of the press, and also 
to put a stop to interference from foreign powers in the internal regula- 
tions and policy of America, Congress during this session passed several 
acts which caused the administration of Adams to be stigmatized in the 
severest terms. The country swarmed with French spies and alien 
fugitives from justice, who aided by ambitious politicians, were employed 
in reviling the authorities and stirring up strife. In the event of a war 
the mischief would be appalling. The Alien and Sedition Laws were 
projected as a system of defense, and even before their passage revealed 
their worth thi-ough the flight of some of the most notorious disturbers 
of the peace. But they soon became excessively unpopular. 

Tlie joy was great in America at hearing of the release of Lafayette 
from the Austrian dungeon in which he had been so long confined. Con- 
jifress had already appropriated to the pecuniary relief of his family the 
full amount of his pay as a major-general in the American service. But 
pleasurable emotions of any character were of short duration while war, 
with all its complications and horrors, seemed approaching with such 
api»alling certainty. Governor Jay convened a special session of the legis- 
lature in the month of August, at Albany, to take measures for fortifying the 
harbor of New York ; 8 1,200,000 was appropriated, the sum to go towards 
li([uidating the Revolutionary balance due from the State to the general 
:j;ovemment — according to the offer of Congress — and a further sum was 
voted for the purchase of arms. 

The sentiment of the country concerning war was variable. It might 
bring about an intimate alliance with Great Britain which was exceed- 
ingly distasteful to even the great mass of the Federalists. Some be- 
Ueved that the British government would be overthrown within two years. 
Others ridiculed such an idea. The Aurora and other organs of the 
Kepublicans boldly declared it better to pay the money demanded by 
France than to run the risk of war. Why not purchase peace of the 
French nation as well as that of the Indians and Algerines ? But the 
impulse to sustain the dignity of America was overwhelming. Petitions 
aj^indt any hostile preparations were followed by addresses to the Presi- 


dent from all parts of the country in support of his policy. Vice-Presi- 
dent Jefferson as president of the Senate l^ecame seriously alarmed, and 
wrote to Madison that several of the prominent Republican senators had 
" gone over to the war-hawks." 

A subscription was opened in the principal towns of the Union to raise 
means for building and equipping additional ships of war. Even in the 
then infant city of Cincinnati a sum was subscribed towards a galley for 
the defense of the Mississippi River. 

Unable to make any effectual combined resistance to these measures 
for defense, the baftied and astounded leaders of the Opposition each 
did what he could after his own fashion. Albert Grallatin's strong point 
was the dependence of the revenue on commerce. A war would dry up 
that resource. Edward Livingston adopted the policy of voting for the 
highest sums proposed for whatever military objects, hoping to frighten 
the people by the expense. Such was the warmth of party feeling 
that violent i)ersonal assaults were of frequent occurrence. Edward 
Livingston had been re-elected to Congress in the spring by a majority 
nearly as large as that which placed John Jay for the second time in the 
governor's chair. Shortly afterward the young men of New York met 
to concert an address of approbation to President Adama In The Argus, 
edited by Greenleaf, appeared the next day a paragraph ridiculing 
the meeting. The assemblage was styled the " Youth of the City," 
and the writer went on to say : " Colonel Nicholas FLsh, a stripling of 
about forty-eight years, was made chairman, and, notwithstanding his 
green years, is said to have acquitted himself with all the judgment 
which might have been expected from a man full grown. We also hear 
that master Jemmy Jone^, another boy not quite sixty, graced the assem- 
bly with his presence ; what pleasure it must afford to the sincere friends 
of America to observe the rising generation thus early zealous in its 
oountiy's cause ! ! ! " 

Mr. James Jones, the object of this satire, was not present at the 

meeting, and in great indignation called upon the printer and exacted 

from him a disclosure of the name of the author. It proved to l)e Judge 

^ockholat Livingston, the brother of Mrs. Jay. During the same after- 

m Mr. Jones, while walking on the Battery with Mr. Henderson, met 

[B Livingston promenading with his wife and others, and asked to 

k with him asida Livingston immediately complieil with the re- 

it^ ftnd Jones inquired if he Mi'ote the offensive [paragraph. Livings- 

eftid that he did write the paragraph, but meant no harm, nor should 

B offisnded if any one took the like liberty with him. A few more 

■ted, when Jones attempted to seize Mr. Livingston by the nose, 


md gave him several strokes with his cane. Mr. Henderson interfered, 
and prevented further violence. But a challenge followed, and a duel, 
in which Mr. Jones was killed. It was an event which produced great 
excitement at the time, and one which left on Judge Livingston's mind a 
gloom from which he never recovered, although afterward rewarded for 
his party services by high political preferment. 

Edward Livingston achieved national fame by the conspicuous elo- 
quence and vigor of his opposition to the Alien and Sedition Laws. His 
speech on the 21st of June was printed upon satin, and reached all 
classes, producing a thrilling effect Hamilton himself no sooner saw 
the Sedition Bill in print than he wrote a letter of admonition and criti- 
cism. He thought it exceedingly exceptionable, and feared it might pro- 
duce civil war. " Let us not establish tyranny," he said. " Energy is a 
veiy different thing from violence." 

The piecautions deemed necessary against French invasion and a 
slave insurrection excited angry opposition. Appropriations were made, 
l*ut the minority denied any danger whatever from invasion, and ridi- 
\\x\^\ :is visionary the idea of an insurrection, complaining loudly at 
the same time of the vast discretion given the President. The news- 
papers attacked the government, statesmen, citizens, and each other in a 
style of vulgar ferocity. The epithets of rogue, liar, scoundrel, and villain 
were bandied about between the editors without the least ceremony. 
Although the power and influence of the press as a whole, and its impor- 
tance as a political agent, has materially increased since that period, yet 
the effect which any individual journal can produce has very greatly 
diminished. A newspaper then penetrated to localities where no other 
printed sheet, in a multitude of instances, ever appeared. Thus its false- 
hoods and its calunmies were uncontradicted, and produced the effect of 
sober truth. At present the mischief that can be done by misrepresenta- 
tion is comparatively limited, since detection and exposure are always 
hovering in its wake. New York sustained the ablest daily Federal paper 
in the country, first issued on the 9th of December, 1793, and called The 
iiuurva, its editor being the distinguished lexicographer, Noah Webster. 
With it was connected 7%e Herald, a serai- weekly paper, made up with- 
out reeompofiition for country circulation, the first of that character, of 
vhich now nearly every daily has its weekly or semi-weekly edition pre- 
pared in the same way. The name of the paper was shortly changed 
from Minerva to Commercial Advertiser, which it still bears, and the 
semi-weekly edition was called The New York Spectator' instead of 

Webster was forty years of age in 1798, tall, slender, graceful, 


with keen gray eyes and sharply cut features, and was remarkable for his 
erect walk and perfection of neatness in dress. He was never seen on 
the street without a broad bat and a long cue. The first publishers of 
The Commercial Advertiser were George Bunco and Co. 

The news of the capture of Bonaparte's fleet in the battle of the Nile 
was received in New York with open joy on the part of the Federalists, 
and with ill-concealed vexation by the Opposition. It was the first 
English victory for a quarter of a century which had been thus welcomed. 
Some one remarked, in the presence of Greenleaf, with surprise upon the 
quick voyage of an English vessel just arrived in the harlwr. " It is not 
at all surprising, sir," was the sharp retort "This country has been 
drawing nearer to Great Britain ever since the treaty was ratified, and 
of course vessels will have shorter passages." 

Meanwhile Aaron Burr had been maturing plans to extricate New York 
from the hands of Hamilton and the Federalists. His first step was to secure 
his own election to the Assembly. He took great care in all his movements 
to shape trifling matters in such a way as to produce certain results upon 
the minds of men whose partisan feelings were weak and easily influenced. 
He would go to some country member who was panting with desire per- 
haps to hear his own voice in the Chamber, or to show his constituents 
his name in the newspaper, and ask him to introduce a resolution, or do 
some other formal business that would flatter his sense of personal con- 
sequence. He knew the jwlitical importance of every man from the 
recently oi^nized western counties, and was assiduous in his polite 
attentions to them. For a while he was extremely anxious that the 
presidential electors should be chosen directly by the people, as he sup- 
posed the State could be more easily revolutionized in that way. 

In the city there were only two banks, and these were under the man- 
agement and control of the Federalists. One was a branch of the United 
States Bank, the other the Bank of New York. Both were to a consider- 
able degree the creation of Hamilton, and both were charged with being 
influenced in their discounts by political considerations. Burr deter- 
mined to found a bank which should equally accommodate the Opposi- 
tion. Bat a chronic prejudice in the public mind against banks made the 
enteipriae difficult to acoompUsh. Taking advantage of the investigations 
•Htntt the oanae of the terrible ravages of yellow fever in the dty, and 

^ the brackish welk contributed largely to the spread 

•dioitly oiganized a company for the ostensible 

ttj wiUi pore and wholesome water, bat which 

B privileges of a bank. In applying to the 

dij was asked to raise two millions ol 


doUan, although it was uncertain how much money was needed. And as 
the amount named might possibly be too much, the projectors proposed to 
insert in the charter a provision that " the surplus capital might be em- 
ployed in any way not inconsistent with the laws and Constitution of the 
United States, or of the State of New York." While under discussion it 
was proposed in the Senate to strike out of the bill this clause. Burr 
promptly explained that it was intended the directors should have liberty 
to found an East India Company, a bank, or anything else they deemed 
profitable, since merely supplying a city of fifty thousand inhabitants 
with water would not of itself remunerate the stockholders. But the 
reference to an East India Company or a bank being generally regarded as 
chimerical or visionary, little notice was taken of it. None except those 
in the secret suspected that the name *' Manhattan Company " meant 
Manhattan Bank, and a large portion of the members who voted for 
the bill never even so much as read it. When referred to the chief 
justice of the State, its rejection was recommended because of the un- 
limited powers conferred by the surplus clause. These objections were, 
however, overruled, and Governor Jay signed the bill. The Republicans 
landed Burr for his consummate address and success ; but the effects 
injured the party, for a great clamor arose, the dexterous manoeuver by 
which one object had been secured under cover of another was 
denounced in pamphlets and by the newspapers far and wide, and 
Burr lost his election to the Assembly in 1799 by an ominous majority ; 
the ticket headed by his name was totally defeated. The bank, however, 
was immediately established, and became an institution of the first impor- 
tance. It does not appear that even a show was ever made of bringing 
the water into the city. 

The amount of personal insult and abuse which members of opposing 
parties heaped upon each other during the two last yeai*s of- the adminis- 
tration of John Adams is not easily conveyed to the readers' comprehen- 
aon by languaga Jefferson wrote, '* Men who have been intimate all 
their lives cross the street to avoid meeting." Again, he said, " All the 
psflsions are boiling over, and one who keeps himself cool and clear of the 
contagion is so far below the point of ordinary conversation that he 
finds himself insulated in every society." It was the era of bad feeling, 
and no one came out of the storm quite unscathed. " I do declare it was 
a ]dessure to live in those good old days, when a Federalist could knock 
a Bepablican down in the streets and not be questioned about it/' said a 
Xcw York gentleman, then in Congress, to one of the prominent noliti- 
cians of the present day while in his boyhood. 
The fiiDowing ludicrous incident, related by an eye-witness, forcibly 

_ i. 


illustrates the prevailing spirit of the times. At one of the public meet- 
ings of politicians a respectable Kepublican, who was a tailor by trade, 
came before the audience, announcing his intention to make *' a bit of a 
speech." Thereupon a famous Federal orator sprang to his feet, exclaiming, 
" The speaker is a tailor, and a tailor, as we know, is the ninth part of a 
man. Now, if the ninth part of a man makes ' a bit of a speech,* I put it 
to you all, gentlemen, to say how much of a speech will that be w^hich 
is but a bit of the ninth part of a man ! " 

During the summer of 1799 Burr was scandalized by a rumor, that for 
Legislative services rendered the Holland Land Company had can- 
celled a bond against him for twenty thousand dollars. John B. 
Church had spoken with so much freedom about the matter that Burr 
challenged him to mortal combat. They met at Hoboken. Abijah 
Hammond attended Church, and Judge Burke, of South Carolina, at- 
tended Burr. A laughable incident varied the routine of the proceed- 
ings, and furnished New York with a joke and a byword for a long time 


to come. When Burr, before leaving home, handed the judge his pistol- 
case, he explained tliat the balls were cast intentionally too small, and 
that chamois leather cut, to the proper size, must be greased and put 
round them to make them fit. Leather and grease were within the case. 
After the principals had taken their stand, the judge tried to hammer in 
the ramrod with a stone, which Burr, observing, drew the ramrod as soon 
as the pistol was placed in his hand and told the judge the ball was not 
home. " I know it," was the quick reply of the judge, " I forgot to 
grease the leather ; but don't keep your man waiting — just take a crack 
at him as it is, and I '11 grease the next." Burr bowed graciously, and 
shots were exchanged without efl'ect. Church made the requisite apology, 
and the parties returned to the city in the highest good-humor. 

The scenes of a man's life are as requisite to an adequate view of his 
character as the frame of a picture and the proper distance and light 
whereby to examine it Thus the reader who seeks correct intellectual 
and moral portraiture must become familiar with the place where and 
the people among whom a life drama has been enacted. It was a pecul- 
iar age. A new power was on trial. Political society was in the crude pro- 
cess of formation. And the career of the architect and organizer of this 
new power looms above the details of feud and controversy with all the 
charms of romance. Hamilton*s acts had already gone deeply into the life 
of the nation, and as the leader of the dominant party, and confidential 
adviser of the Cabinet, he was playing a great part in national afiairs. 
President Adams declared that while he was the nominal head of the na- 
tion, " Hamilton was commander-in-chief of the Senate, of the House of 


Bepiesentatdves, of the heads of departments, of General Washington, and 
l8«t, and least, if you will, of the President of the United States." 

But Hamilton had a rival in political consequence, of matchless au- 
dacity and unconquerable persistence, who was to teach the Opposition how 
to conquer. The rise of Aaron Burr to eminence in the political arena 
was more rapid than that of any other man who has played a conspicuous 
part in the affairs of the United States. Over the heads of influential 
men and able politicians in the State of New York, where leading families 
had for nearly a century and a half monopolized the offices of honor and 
emolument, Burr was advanced from a private station to the highest 
place at the bar, to a seat in the national councils, and, even, within four 
years, to a competition with Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and George 
Clinton for the presidency itself. The world wondered, for all this 
happened without his having originated any political idea or measure. 
President Adams attributed it to the prestige of Burr's father's and 
grandfather's name, Hamilton to his wire-pulling, others to his military 
reputation, and some to good luck. Burr's own circle of friends regarded 
his elevation as the legitimate result of superiority in knowledge, culture, 
and talents. In his law-practice, he is said never to have lost a case 
which he personally conducted. His tact was marvelous. In speaking, 
he was never diffuse. His language was that of a well-bred and thoroughly 
informed man of the world, clear, concise, and precise, and his style that 
of conversation rather than oratory. Thus it was extremely difficult to 
Import his speeches. When arrayed against each other, Hamilton would 
exhaust a case, giving ample statement to every point, anticipating every 
ubjection, saying everything that could be fairly said in the fullest man- 
ner, often speaking for two or three hours with court and jury fasci- 
nated by his lofty eloquence. In replying. Burr would choose two or 
three vulnerable yet vital points, and quietly demolish them, leaving 
every other part of his antagonist s argument untouched ; thus he some- 
times neatralized the effect of one of Hamilton's brilliant orations in a 
twenty minutes' speech, always observing strictly the proper courtesies of 
the bu; with complaisant air, and singular composure and courtliness of 

Both Hamilton and Burr were more or less the subjects of local influ- 
and their habits and peculiarities were colored by their surround- 
ings. It is well known that the law of the pistol was then in full force, 
tod that daels were of frequent occurrence. Hamilton had been bred, if 
not boniv in New York, and connected as he was by maniage with families 
thoTOQghljr identified with her foundation and development, he had natu- 
ally imbibed all the feudal proclivities and prejudices which had been 


lianded along from generation to generation. In private interest and 
public spirit he was essentially a New-Yorker. And the elements of 
which New York was composed, acting upon his peculiar temperament 
and powers, helped to make him what he was to the national government. 
Nor should New York forget how largely his breadth of vision and crea- 
tive talent contributed to the growth, multiplication, and prosperity of 
her educational institutions. His success at the New York bar at a time 
when all legal problems were more difficult of solution than ever Ixj- 
fore or since won universal and deserved renown. On the retirement 
of Jay, the office of Chief Justice of the United States was offered hiii». 
which he declined on the ground that his '' ambition and duty lay else- 
where in the public service." He was a conscientious believer in the 
system of government he had helped to found, was indifferent to the 
accumulation of wealth, and his thoughts and acts were constantly 
directed to intricate questions and interests of vast magnitude Talley- 
rand said that he had known nearly all the marked men of his time, but 
had never known one, on the whole, equal to Hamilton. 

The death of Washington on the 14th of December, 1799, threw the 
whole nation into the deepest mourning. Public testimonials of 
grief and reverence were displayed on every hand. The vestry of 
Trinity Church assembled at the house of the Sight Reverend Bishop 
Provost, to give expression to soitow, and the record, entered alone on the 
broad page of a large folio and surrounded by a black border, reads as 
follows : " Ordered, that in consideration of the death of the late Lieu- 
tenant George Washington, the several churches belonging to this cor- 
jKiration l)e put in mourning." 

These sentiments of sorrow were by no means confined to the United 
States. When the news reached England, Lord Bridport, commanding a 
fleet of sixty ships of the line, lying at Torbay, lowered his flag half mast, 
every vessel following his example. Bonaparte announced Washington's 
death to the French army, ordering black crape suspended from all the 
standards and flags throughout the public service for ten day& 

The mourning in America Was universal. It was manifested by every 
token which could indicate public sentiment and feeling. Eulogy ex- 
hausted the resources of language. The " Grand Council " of the nation, 
orators, divines, journalists, and writers of every class employed their 
talents in honoring his memory. ** Silence would best become our grief," 
spoke an eloquent senator to a tearful audience, " but it would not be- 
come our love. As our love is even greater than our grief» we mast qteak. 
We must express our gratitude, we must show our admiration. It is the 
consolation left u to piodjittm to a liatening woild his deeds of matchl 


nierit .... When there was danger, he was the first to meet it, when 
UUtr, the first to share it, when distress, the first to feel it, when merit, 

ilie first to praise it, and when service, the first to perform it Hfid 

he been a Caesar, his army would have made him an emperor. But 
l«eing Washington, he brought that army to respect the civil authority, 
and lo obey the laws of its country.*' 

And not only the land of his birth but the whole civilized world paid 
n^liectful tribute to the greatness of the man, who, more than any other 
in ancient or modem history, is entitled to the afilectionate appellation of 


Tlie present century opened inauspiciously. At no period of Washing- 
ton's long and useful life could his loss have been a greater pub- 
lic affliction. His death hushed for a moment even the violence **^* 
of the political whirlwind, but the Federalists felt that in that pause the 
9heet*anchor of the ship of State had parted its fastenings. Clear- 
sii^hted politicians Knew too well how much depended upon the influence 
uf a single name and on the popularity of a single individual. President 
Adams was not in harmony with his cabinet or his party. His feeling 
towards Hamilton was revealed by his neglect to appoint him to the 
command of the army in place of the deceased chief ; and Hamilton was 
resolved to prevent the re-election of Adams to the Presidential chair. 
The period long hoped for by the Opposition had arrived. The disagree- 
ments between the President and a large division of the Federalists 
widened into an irreparable breach. 

Adams had appointed envoys a few months before to discuss and settle 
ill controversies between the French government and this country, the 
Direetoiy having made a fresh proposal of negotiation. Oliver Ells- 
worth, the foremost man in Connecticut, who had succeeded Jay as 
chief justice of the United States in 1796, Patrick Henry, late governor 
of Viiginia, and William V. Murray, minister to the Hague, were the 
cboaen diplomatists. Three of the cabinet ministers objected to the 
mission on the ground that the French were insincere, and that the lienor 
of America would not allow any further advances on our part, at least 
while the piratical French decrees against American commerce remained 
imrepealed — objections in which Hamilton and a large number of the 
Federalists concurred. Tlie Pi'esident acted in this connection without 
ooDSulting his cabinet ministers, knowing their sentiments. The three 
gentlemen were deeply ofleuded. Pi-esently Adams had reason to believe, 
or imagined, that they were disposed to clog all his measures whitli did 
nut meet tbeii approval, and removed two of them, Secretary McHtMiry 
and Secretaiy Pickerinf^. from their ofilces. 


The envoys to France found the government in new hands.^ Napoleon 
Bonaparte, as first consul of the republic, was eneigetically engaged in try- 
ing to establish order. He was disposed to negotiate, and before the end 
of September differences had been adjusted between the two nations and 
a treaty signed.' It seemed at this juncture as if a universal cessation of 
hostilities was about to mark the history of Europe. 

The wisdom of the mission was thereby justified ; for had negotiation 
been unprovided for, the speedy European peace that followed would have 
left America to fight alone; or, that being out of the question, as it 
would have been, to accept such terms as France might choose to dictate. 

Whatever may be thought of the policy of Adams, his determination 
to exercise his own judgment and boldly risk his personal popularity to 
secure to his country an honorable peace, made one thing evident He 
could not be depended upon as the instrument of a party. Long before 
the results of the mission to France were known, the bitter feud between 
the Federal leaders rendered it certain that Adams could not be re- 
elected to the Presidential chair. 

Hamilton was acutely indignant upon learning that the President had 
freely mentioned him by name as acting under British influence. He sub- 
sequently wrote and privately circulated a pamphlet to portray the unfit- 
ness of Adams for the administration of the goveniment. Wolcott and the 
two ex-secretaries, confident in their own wisdom and integrity, matured 
a plan in connection with Hamilton for quietly displacing Adams without 
seeming to make an open attack upon him. In this they were aided by 
the method in vogue of voting for two candidates without distinction as to 
the office for which they were intended. They resolved to bring forward 
the two names of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and John Adams, and 
then find means to secure Pinckney the larger vote. 

The Bepublicans took immediate advantage of the situation. By a 
current calculation the result of the Presidential election was made to 
rest upon the vote of New York alone, and even upon the members of 
Assembly to be chosen in the city of New York at the spring election, 
as the Presidential electors were chosen by the legislature in joint ballot 
Aaron Burr was not himself a city candidate, which circumstance pi-e- 
vented the Manhattan Bank question from prejudicing the election, but 
was shrewdly nominated and elected from the county of Orange. With 
matchless foresight he drafted an imposing catalogue of names for the 

1 Napoleon Bonaparte was chosen first consnl of the repablic December IS, 1799, from 
which time his line of policy distinctly nn folded itself. 

^ The treaty between France and the United States was signed September 30, 1800. It 
was ratified by President Adams, February 18, 1801, and by Bonaparte, July 31, 1801. 


city ticket, and then applied himself resolutely to the task of inducing 
the gentlemen to permit their names to be used. As jealousies existed 
between the Clintons and Livingstons, he adroitly placed ex-Governor 
George Clinton at the head of the list, Judge Brockholst Livingston second, 
and General Horatio Gates, whose enmity to Schuyler and Hamilton still 
rankled, immediately following. Each of these men represented a faction 
of the Republican party, and were by no means disposed to' act together. 
For a long time each was deaf to ai*gimients and entreaties. Burr was 
persistent in trying to overcome their objections. Clinton had himself 
pretensions to the Presidency. Seven years before he had received fifty 
electoral votes out of one hundred and thirty-two, while Jeflerson 
had but four. He did not like Jefferson, and he liked Burr less than 
Jefferson. To be asked to stand for the Assembly for the sole purpose of 
helping Jefferson into the Presidential chair, brought heavy lines into his 
stem face. And the solicitation coming from an aspiring individual who 
was only a stripling aide-de-camp when he was the foremost man in the 
State, and who had actually received thirty electoral votes to his four in 
1797, did not brighten the prospect. Burr was mildly persuasive, and 
talked eloquently of sacrificing personal or ambitious considerations for 
the good of the party. For many days Clinton was firm in his refusal. 
The final interview occurred at Burr's residence, at Richmond Hill. 
Burr was never more fluent or captivating. When all the old and new 
arguments had been exhausted in vain, and the committee was in despair, 
Burr said that it was a right inherent in the community to command the 
ser\'ices of an able man at a great crisis, and announced the intention of 
the party to nominate and elect Clinton without regard to his inclination. 
Cliuton at last promised that he would not publicly repudiate the nomina- 
tion ; and that during the canvass he would refrain in his ordinary con- 
versation from denouncing Jefferson, as had become habitual with him. 
He kept his word, but rendered no personal assistance in the campaign. 

The next movement was to secure the consent of Gates, and it is said 
that the art with which Buit worked upon his foibles and judgment was 
mar\'elous. Gates yielded, as did also, after repeated interviews, Judge 
Livingston. Tlie consent of the nine less conspicuous persons was obtained 
only after much trouble. Burr then commenced operations directly upon 
the public mind. He provided for a succession of ward and general 
meetings, nearly all of which he attended and addressed. He was continu- 
ally declaring that the Republicans had really a majority in the city; and 
he superintended the making out of lists of the voters with the political 
history of each api)en(led in parallel columns, to which was added all 
r:»'.v information obtained. The finance committee had prepared a list 


of the wealthy Republicans, with the sum of money it was proposed to 
solicit from each, attached to his name. Burr glanced over it, and obser\'- 
iug that a certain politician, equally remarkable for zeal and parsimony, 
was assessed one hundred dollars, said, quietly, " Strike out his name, for 
you will not get the money, and from the moment the demand is made 
upon him his, exertions will cease, and you will not see him at the polls 
during the election.*' The name was erased. Lower down in the cata- 
logue he noticed the same sum placed opposite the name of another man 
who was liberal with his money, but incorrigibly lazy. "Double it," he 
said, " and tell him no labor will be expected from him, except an occa- 
sional attendance in the committee-room to help fold the tickets." The 
result was as predicted. The lazy man paid the money cheerfully, and 
the stingy man worked day and night. In all Burr's lists a man's 
opinions and temperament were not only noted, but his habits, and the 
amount of excitement or inducement necessary to overcome any fatal 
disposition to neglect visiting the polls. Whenever Burr came in con- 
tact with the humblest of his adherents he treated them so sweetly and 
blandly that his manners were remembered when the whole conversation 
had passed from the mind. 

The polls opened on the morning of the 29th of April, and closed 
at sunset on the 2d of May. During these few days the exertions 
of both parties were beyond parallel Hamilton was personally in the 
field, animating the Federalists with his powerful orations. Burr was 
perpetually ^dressing large assemblages of Bepublicans. Sometimes 
the two appeared on the same platform, and addressed the multitude in 
turn. On these occasions their bearing toward each other was so defer- 
entially courteous and graceful as never to be foi'gotten by those present 

Several causes served to weaken the Federalists other than the signifi- 
cant division of party. The enforcement of the odious Alien and Sedition 
Laws had exasperated a large community of good citizens. The arrest 
of Judge Peck, for instance, at Otsego, for circulating a sharply wordeil 
petition that the odious laws might be repealed, roused the whole State. 
" A hundred missionaries stationed between New York and Cooperstown 
'^^nold not have done so much for the Bepublican cause as this journey 
^udge Peck, a prisoner, torn from his family, to the capital of the 
" writes Hammond. " It was nothing less than the public exhibi- 
f A gufPering martjrr for the freedom of speech and the press, and 
^t of petitioning." A special point was also made by the Oppo- 
if the £Etct that nearly all the Tories of the Revolution, then living, 
led themselves with the Federalists, 
e tlie two great rivals slept, after the contest ended, they learned 


that the Bepublicans had carried the city by a majority of four hundred 
and ninety votes. The news took the whole country by surprisa It 
was a great national victory for the Republicans, after twelve years of 
defeat Vice-President Jefferson called upon President Adams the 
evening after the startling intelligence was received in Philadelphia, and 
found him in great dejection. " Well, I understand that you are to beat^ 
me in this contest, and I will only say that T will be as faithful a subject 
as any you will have," said the President " Mr. Adams," replied Jefferson, 
"this is no personal contest between you and me. Two systems of 
principles on the subject of government divide our fellow-citizens into 
two parties ; with one of these you concur, and I with the other. As we 
have been longer on the stage than most of those now living, our names 
happen to be more generally known. One of these parties, therefore, 
has put your name at its head, the other mine. Were we both to die to- 
day, to-morrow two other names would be in the place of oura, without 
any change in the motion of the machinery. Its motion is from its 
]»rinciple, not from you or myself." 

Congress was in session, and the possibility being settled that a Repub- 
lican President and Vice-President could be elected, it became necessary 
to decide upon candidates. For the first office all eyes turned towards 
Jefferson. It was agreed to nominate a Vice-President from New York, 
and Chancellor Livingston, ex-Governor Clinton, and Burr were all 
mentioned. The deafness of Chancellor Livingston presented an insur- 
mountable barrier to his nomination, and as the sudden rise of the 
Republican party was due to the exertions of Burr, he became the nomi- 
nee, with the distinct understanding, however, that Jefferson was the 
choice of the party for President 

Hamilton was greatly disappointed. Yet he did not despair. One of 
his first acts, with the approval, it is said, of a caucus of his political 
friends in New York, was to address a letter to Governor Jay requesting 
and urging him to convene the Legislature before its year expired — on 
the 1st of July — with a view of changing the manner of choosing Presi- 
dential electors in the State. Jay refused to yield to the pressing solici- 
tation, and on the back of the letter indorsed with his own hand these 
wonls, " Proposing a measure for party purposes, which I think it would 
not become me to adopt" 

On the first Tuesday of November Governor Jay appeared before 
the newly chosen Legislature of the State, and in his speech alluded 
Uj the cause of the early session, which was to appoint Presiden- 
tial electors, and recommended the suppression of all inflammatory 
feeling. The two houses immediately proceeded to the business befoi*e 


them. The Senate nominated Federalists, the Assembly Republicans. 
Upon a joint ballot the Bepublican ticket received a majority of twenty- 
two votes. The men chosen were, Pierre Van Cortlandt, Jr., Anthony 
Lispenard, Isaac Ledyard, James Burt, Gilbert Livingston, Thomas 
Jenkins, Peter Van Ness, Itobert KUis, John Woodworth, Jeremiah Van 
Rensselaer, Jacob Acker, and "Willimu Floyd. On the 6th John Arm- 
strong was elected to the ' Seiiato of the United States in place of 
John La^vrencc, who had resigned. He was eminent for talents and a 
political writer of great force and originality; and the brother-in-law 
of Chancellor Livingston. He had been a Federalist until a recent 
period, even as late as 1797, since when lie had joined the Republicans. 
Before the session adjourned on the 8th to the last Tuesday in January, 
1801, tlie Republicans nominated George Clinton for governor, and Jere- 
miah Van Rensselaer for lieutenant-governor, to be supported at the next 
election. On the same day the Federalists held a meeting and addressed 
Governor Jay, witli a request that he should be a candidate for re- 
election, which he positively declined, liaving determined to retire from 
all public employment Stephen Van Rensselaer accordii^ly received 
the nomination for governor. 

Mcanwliile the seat of government had been, during the early summer 
months, removed from Pliiladclphia to its new home on the Poto- 
mac. Secretary Wolcott iiTOte on tlie 4th of July, from the 
building at Washington erected for the use of the Treasury Department: 
"Immense sums have been squandered in buildings which are but 
partly finished, in situations which are not, and never will be, ttie scenes 
of business, while the parts near the public buildings are almost wholly 
animproved. Tou may look in almost any direction, over an extent of 
ground nearly as large as the city of Xew York, without seeing a fence 
or any object except brick-kilns and temporary huta for laborers. There 
!■ one good tavern about forty rods from the Capitol, and several other 
I arc built aud erecting ; but 1 do not perceive how the membera 
rConi^pss a\n possibly secure lodgings, unless they will consent to live 
like «jhohirti in a college, or monks in a monastery, crowded ten or 
Iwnity in one bonse, and utterly secluded from society. There appears 
io tn a confident expectation that tliis place will soon exceed any city in 
^ worliL No stmog«r can I>e here a day, and converse with the propri- 
etors, witliunt mtict-iving himself in the company of crazy people. On 
0]> 'I M ! II . I I <:iy ihitt the situation is a good one, and I pereeivc no 
•v^ it to bo unhealthy; but I had no conception, till I 
iiilly and infatuation of the people who have directed 
fivij times HS mnch money has been expended 


as was necessary, and though the private buildings are in number suffi- 
cient for all who will have occasion to reside here, yet there is nothing 
convenient and nothing plenty but provisions ; there is no industry, 
society, or business." 

In regard to the Executive Mansion, Wolcott spoke of it as " The 
Palace," a term in common use for many years ; he wrote : " It is about as 
large as the wing of the Capitol, except that it is not so high. It is 
highly decorated, and makes a good appearance, but it is in a very unfin- 
ished state. I cannot but consider the Pi*esidents as very unfortunate 
men if they must live in this dwelling. It is cold and damp in winter, 
and cannot be kept in tolerable order without a regiment of servants. It 
was built to be looked at by visitors and strangei*s, and will render its 
occupant an object of ridicule with some, and of pity with others." 

Mrs. Adams wrote in a similar strain on the 21st of November. She 
thought it would require about thirty servants to keep the house and 
stables in proper order. "An establishment very well proportioned to the 
President's salary," she added ironically. She had made up her mind 
to content herself anywhere for three months, until the expiration of 
her husband's term of office, but the want of comforts was a great trial. 
- If they will put me up some bells — there is not one hung through the 
whole house and promises are all you can obtain — and let me have 
wood enough to keep fires, I design to be pleased," she said. " But sur- 
rounded by forests, can you believe that wood is not to be had, because 
people cannot be found to cut and cart it 1 The principal stairs are 
not 4ip, and will not be this winter. There is not a single apartment 
finished, and all withinside, except the phistering, has been done since 
Briesler came. We have not the least fence, yard, or other convenience 
without, and the great unfinished audience-room (East Eooin) I make a 
dr}'ing room of, to hang up the clothes in. Woods are all you can see 
from Baltimore until you reach the city, which is only so in name. Here 
and there is a small cot, without a glass window, interspci*sed along the 
forests, through which you travel miles without seeing a human being." 

The public offices had hardly been established at Washington when 
the War Office took fire and was burned, occasioning the destruction ot 
many valuable papers. In the course of the winter a like accident 
happened to the Treasury Department, although the destruction of papers 
was comparatively trifling. In the rabid party fury these tiies were by 
the Opposition newspapers attributed to design on the part of certain 
public officers, who, it was said, hoped thus to destroy the evidence of 
pecaniary defalcations. 

Secretary Wolcott had felt his position in the President's cabinet ex- 

4fit /•• 


■" *.::.<.sil of his colleagues, and 

!.' ■ :■'■'! 

i: • 


-:. •: lor retiring. In notifying 

... ::imation, he asked an investi- 

id lint been less decisive in his 

. -< who were removed, but he hiul 

-,-. .: A iams j^reat courtesv of manner; 

_. . .. S-Jivtary of the Treasury, whose placr 

..;- a:id that he was leavin*; the Treasury 

. -. vvL-lve years of hiborious and imporUxnt 

. :::Ie money in his jMicket. Adams, with a 

■ k Wok'ott by surprise, appointed him judge 

V^on. who had l)c»en apjminted Secretary of War 

.t '-ear. succeeded Wolcott in the Treasury. Oliver 

.ii.Lud in EurojHi by ill health after his mission to 

N>. concluded, sent in his resignation of chief justice, 

«> .:.:iicdiatelv tendered for the second time to John Jav, 

. .vMiig resolved that nothing should interfere, with his 

^ ..:i:ig tnun public life. Adams then conferred the imjMirtant 

.VA Marshall, the success(»r of Pickering as Secretary of Stat^i. 

> v.*u\ . although the focus of Hamilton's influence, and the 

\<i\v was distancing all his comi)Ctitoi's in the arts (»f intrigue, 

:rdccd «»r the ol>stinatA; struggle for the supremacy of a national 

. ui»t entirely given over to ixilitics. Its inhabitants and its 

,. . .i.oMs iiiuliiplicd in rapid iiitio. The ])0))uIation already nunil)ered 

v\ \ •.!\'iisind The thinl rresbyterian Church edilice had lK»en erected 

,:x:'. A lot donated by Henry Kutgers. corner of Rutger and Henry Streets. 

»\vi tirst oiH'neil ft»r i)ublic woi*shi]> in May, I7li8. The location was 

\iiicn i»! habitable surnamdings until after the l>eginning of the century. 

riu- biidije iit t'anal Street presented a rural jncture which it is interesting 

In pi rpciuaie. Hnring the same year (ITIKS) the fii*st monthly concert of 

pniMi was hrld in the Scotch Presbyterian (Mmrch in Cedar Street, the 

M'lMMul in llu' Wall Stnvt Presbyterian Church, the thinl in the Middle 

Muirh I'liunli. in Nassau Stn'ft. It was a union of the three deuomina- 

t^on^ilnd girw on! of private ju-ayer- meetings institute*! by Mi-s. Isalndla 

(li.diani, ii irnuukablc Srotch lady who had been ]M^rsuaded in 1781), by 

lir\ IM Wilhri^poon. t«» break u)> a Hoiirishing scIhmiI in Edinburgh ami 

OMlabliMh a Ninnlar srhool I'nr young ladirs in New York Citv. She was 

gillrd NMlh r\cfpti»»nal ndiginus as wrll a.s inteUectual activity, and was 

rouMidiTfil a L;rra! anpiisiiinn to the cause of education in this country. 

Sho wah HU.ilaiued in her enterprise by the clergy of all cleuominatious, 

< t 




■lud the most influential families were anioii<; the patrons of her school. 

She oritjinattHl the Society for the Itelief of Poor Widows with Small 

rhildrcD, or^inized at her own i-esidencc in 17'J7 ; )ier name appears 

a^ lirst dii'eetixsss of its board of inanugers, Mra. Surah Hufl'inati second 

directress, and Mrs. Joanna Bethune third directress. At the tirst anmial 

meeting of this society, in 1798, ninety- 

i^iglit widows, with two hundred and 

twenty-tliruc children, were reported as „^ 

liaviug heen hitnight through the severity 

'•f tht; wint<?r with comfort, who would st" ^?Eli 

utherwise have been condetuned to the 

Hlmshouse. Erelong the ladies disco\ered | 

the ueeessity of some systematic provision 

tor the orphan children of tlie deceased 

willows, heuce the fouudation of the New 

York Ori)liau Asylum at a later date. 
The Methodists bad by this time be- 

L-ume numerous in the city. Their hi-st 

bouse of worship in John Street was built ■""»• " *"•' "'™« '" '"» 
ill 1768, but the r^ular establishment of the Mt' Kpiso<jpal Church 
■lid not occur until 1784. Tlie second church edifice of this denomina- 
liwn was erected in Forsyth, near Division Street, about 1790, a wood 
litTucture, costing two thousand dollars. Another organization built a 
house of worship in Duane Street, near Hudson, in 1797, U|>iin wliich 
was expended about ten thousand dollars. The fourth Methodist Church 
was instituted in 1800; an old building was hii'ed on a lung lease and 
iK'cupied as a place of wurslii)), standing near the present St. Mark's 
I'Uce. It was called the Two-mile-stoiie Church, liaving originated in 
» weekly pmyer-meeting established by two members of the John Street 
C'liarcb many years before, among the scittcred residents on the road 
Imding to Harlem, and styled the Two- mile-stone Prayt^r-meeting, 
from being two miles from what was then the center of the city. The 
tifUi Methodist Cbureh was not organized until 1810. The Methodist 
clei]gyiiieD of tlie period were Rev. Daniel Smith, lEev. William Phoebus, 
llev. John McCloskey, Rev. Michael Coats, and Rev. Thomas Sergent 

Hie first missionary society was founded in 1796, its purpose being to 
propagate the gospel among the Iudinn.s and the destitute settlers on the 
rnmder. Rev. Dr. Rodgers was president, Rev. Dr. Livingston vice- 
president, Alexander Robertson treasuuT. l!ev. Dr, John M. Mason 
Mctetary, and Bev, John N. Abecl clerk. The directors wen; Rev. Dr. 
Wifliam Lino, Eev. Dr. John McKnight, Rev. Benjamin Foster, Rev, 


Gerardus A. H. Kuypers, Rev. Samuel Miller, Leonard Bleecker, John 
Broome, J. Machaness, Thomas Storm, Ezekiel Bobbins, George Lindsay, 
and John Murray. The earliest annual sermon preached before this 
society was by Rev. Dr. Livingston, a sermon which was published and 
found its way to Williamstown, where it was read by the students who 
prayed under the haystack in the field back of Williams College. 

Several religious societies were in existence at the beginning of the 
century. Also a charity for the relief of distressed persons, of which 
Rev. Dr. Rodgers was president, Rev. Dr. Abram Beach vice-president, 
John Murray treasurer, and James Bleecker secretary. Dr. Rodgera 
was also president of the City Dispensary, Moses Kodgere tceasurer, 
Anthony Bleecker secretary, and Rev. Dr. Linn, Rev. Dr. Beach, Dr. 
John Charlton, John Watts, Matthew Clarkson, General Jacob Morton, 
James Watson, John Broome, John Cozine, Samuel Osgood, and John 
Murray, trustees. 

Anthony Bleecker was at this time about thirty years of age, a grad- 
uate of Columbia, a lawyer and a gentleman of classical education 
and belles-lettres tastes. He was a member of the Drone Club, a 
social and literary circle instituted about the year 1792 as an aid to 
intellectual advancement. Its members were recognized by proofs of 
authorship, and included such men as Kent, Dunlap, Johnson, Dr. Rl- 
ward and Rev. Samuel Aliller, Dr. Mitchill, Josiah Ogden Hoffman, 
and Charles Brockden Brown. Bleecker wrote for the Drone in prose 
and verse, and was for many years a prolific contributor to the period- 
icals of the day. Charles Brockden Brown came to New York in 179G, 
at the age of twenty-five, ambitious to devote himself to letters, and 
in 1798 issued his firat novel, entitled Wieland, a powerful and original 
romance; and in 1799 Osniond, or tlie Secret Witness. He married 
Elizabeth, daughter of Rev. Dr. Linn. He is said to have been the first 
American who ventured to pursue literature as a profession. In 1800 
he published the second part of Arthur MervyUy and had at the same 
time several other works in progress. 

Near the river shore, the grounds ornamented with majestic sycamores, 
stood the venerated seat of classical lore, Columbia Collie. "Those 
venerable trees," said the Hon. John Jay in his centennial address in 
1876, "had an historic interest from the fact which, when a boy, I heard 
from the lips of Judge Egbert Benson during one of his visits to my 
grandfather at Bedford, that those trees were carried to the green by him- 
self, Jay, Robert R Livingston, and I think Richard Harrison, and planted 
by tlieir own hands." President William Samuel Johnson resigned hLs 
office at the close of the college year in 1800, and Rev. Dr. Charles Henry 


WhutoD, an Epiact^)al clergyman and author, became president of the 
institution for one year. He resigned in 1801, and the accomplished 
scholar and divine, Benjamin Moore, Episcopal Bishop of New York, was 
elected to the chair, which position he filled until 1811. The professors 
were all men of exceptional scholarship, and the influence of the insti- 
tution upon the literary character of the State was marked, many of 
the graduatea attaining great distinction in professional and public life. 
Among the students when the century opened were John Anthon, Henry 
R Schieftelin, and Gulian Crommelin Verplanck, representing respec- 
tively our lawyers, merchants, and men of lettera' Others upon the roll 
included Philip Hamilton, Bobert Benson, John J. De Peyster, Lewis 
M. Ogden, John Delafield, Edward P. Livingston, afterwards lieut«uant- 
govetnor of the State (grandson of Philip, signer of the Declaration of 
Independence), John McComb, who married Livingston's sister, Clemeut 
C. Moore, afterwar^ professor of Hebrew and Greek literature, and Na- 
thaniel F. Moore, long identified with the coll^^e as professor, president, 
and trustee, blending rare learning with a loving appreciation of the 
Greek dramatists. He said " the college was much more to educate than 
to instruct ; to open the door for all knowledge, to strengthen the judg- 
ment, to purify the affection, to refine the taste, and to secure for the 
moral and intellectual powers the proper culture." David S. Jones and 
Gouvemeur Ogden were in the class of 1796. John Feiguson, John Brod- 
head Bomeyn, a distinguished clergyman, Pierre C. Van Wyck, recorder 
of the city, and Daniel D. Tompkins, judge, governor of the State, and 
vice-presidentof the United t^'^^i^ ^r States, who entitled himself 
to eternal honor by rec- 3|lUsfi\j||^ ommending, while gover- 
nor, the establishment of a lS *d j^S j^^B day when slavery in New 
York should rforever cease, E^^gSsSKS^ji were in the class of 1795 ; 
and in that of 1792, 1793, ^ ^Jj|^^ and 1798, were, respec- 
tively, Cornelius Brower, w^l^SHSk ^^''^ Brower, and Jacob 
Blower, of a wealthy and S^^^^^^D k substantial Dutch family 
who settled in New York JI^^H^9 « about 1635. And the fa- 
miliar names of Gouvem- ^^^^^ ^'^ Kemble, John L Law- 
rence, William M. Price MJi**^ and his brother Stephen, 
so prominently connected w«t, ib. i>u.i«m giun«inii ^ith the criminal law and 
theatricals of New York, iFroo. tot ~™ume..i of sir and John McVickar, profes- 
sor of moral and intellect- is«°«c. v^vn ual philosophy, belleslettres, 
and political economy, are found upon the lists of 1803 and 1804. 

The professor of the Institutes of Medicine from 1792 to 1808 was 
Dr. William Hamersley, who had received his medical degree at Edinburgh, 
■ CirfwMUa Calitgt QaiUnnial Addren, by the Hon. John Jay, December 21, 1870. 


and who was a gentleman of varied learning and great elegance of man- 
ners. He was also professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine from 
1795 to 1813. The professor of Botany from 1795 to 1811 was the cele- 
brated Dr. David Hosack. The professor of Anatomy from 1793 to 
1813 was Dr. Wright Post The professor of Surgery from 1793 to 
1811 was Dr. Richard Bailey. Other members of the Medical Faculty 
were Dr. John R B. Rodgers and Dr. Samuel Latham Mitchell. The 
dean, from 1792 to 1804, was Dr. Samuel Bard. The New York Hos- 
pital at this period afibrded one of the best practical medical schools in the 
United States, and its governors embraced some of the leading men of 
the period. 

When the returns of the electoral votes came in it was soon known that 
the Republican ticket had triumphed, as had been generally ex- 
pected. But, what was anything but agreeable to the Republican 
party at large, JefTerson and Burr had. both received the same number of 
votes. The decision therefore rested, according to the Constitution, upon 
the House of Representatives voting by States. 

In December, before the equality of votes was precisely ascertained, 
the Federalists conceived the idea- of disappointing JefTerson and tlie 
body of the Opposition, by giving the first office to Burr. Hamilton 
vigorously disapproved of such a course. He wrote to Wolcott on the 
16th : " I trust New England will not so far lose its head as to fall into 
the snare. There is no doubt that, upon every prudent and virtuous cal- 
culation, Jefferson is to be preferred.. He is by far not so dangerous a 
man, and he has pretensions to character. As to Burr, there is nothing 
in his favor. His private character is not defended by his most partial 
friends. He is bankrupt beyond redemption, except by the plunder of 
his country. His public principles have no other spring o» aim than his 
own aggrandizement. If he can, he will certainly disturb our institutions 
to secure to himself permanent power and with it wealtli." Hamilton 
wrote a similar letter to Morris on the 26th : " I trust the Federalists will 
not be so mad as to vote for Burr. If there be a man in the world I 
ought to hate, it is Jefferson. With Burr I have always been personally 
well But the public good must be paramount to every private consider- 

Hamilton was confident Burr never could be won to Federal views, as 
some of the party fondly imagined. " He may break with the Repub- 
licans, but it will cei1;ainly not be to join the Federalists. He will never 
choose to lean on good men, because he knows they will never support 
his bad piojeots ; but instead of this, he will endeavor to disoi^nize both 
«>^ftifl% and to fimn from them a third, composed of men best fitted for 



toola" Suosequent eventa proved that Hamilton's judgment of Burr 
was correct ; but being supposed influenced by professional jealousy, or 
prejudiced through political collisions with Burr, hia warnings were little 
heeded. Gouverueur Morris had been elected io the spring of 1800 by 
the Legislature of New York to supply a vacancy in the Senate of tbu 
United States, but kept aloof as much as possible from the strife result- 
ing from the tie. He wrote to Hamilton soon after Congress assembled 
at Washington, saying : " Since it was evidently the intention of our 
fellow-citizens to make Mr. Jefferson their President, it seems proper to 
fulfill that intention." The crisis approached slowly. The whole country 
had become painfully alive to a threatened dauger of great magnitude. 

Meanwhile the Republicans of New York were planning to overcome 
the Federalists in the city government The public mind was E^stemati- 
cally poisoned with chatges ^inst nearly every man in authority, and 
the zeal for change became fiery and unmanageable. The rival candi- 
dates for mayor were Sichard Varick, who had filled the office for twelve 
years, and Edward Livingston, who was not a candidate for re-election to 
the Seventh Congress. The popularity of Edward Livingston, aud his 
known competency to execute with precision all the duties pertaining to 
the mayoralty, tt^ther with his unconquerable energy, rendered his ap- 
{lointment extremely probable. The mayor's office at that time is said to 
ha%-e been worth about ten thousand dollars per annum. 

[The Engjoe-hoiuc shown it 
l>lo«eT, the ancwtor or thr 
UT. It npmenta ui engine 
thMc itnictnra were built to 
RngiDo — which were very 
lud a boon built Tor its w 
Inm rarted on one at the out 
eotatrrttd with the piston rod 
outside, eoniMctnl with the 
the ml, aiH] deacription or the 
drbted to the courtesy of the 
Snptcme Court, Wuhington, 

fac BUQile of the seal adopted by Joseph Horn- 
Horn blower fiimil> in this coun- 
house in the style in which 
aieoiTunodate the Newcomeo 
gigantiL affairs Every engine 
cornniocistioii The walking, 
side H'alla Hith one ami inside, 
of the engine, and the other 
pump For the impression of 
enguie-house, the aothor ia in- 
Hon. Joseph P. Bradley, of tlie 
D. C] 





Thk Presidential Tie. — Jefferson and Burr. —The New Cabinet. — The New 
York CJontest for Governor. — Defeat of the Federalists. — The Livingstons 
IN Power. —The Mayoralty of the City. — Duel of Philip Hamilton..— The 
Evening Post. — The Newspaper War. — Dueling. — Coleman and Chebtham. 
— President Jefferson. — The Grange. —Theodosi a Burr. — Dinner to the 
Indian Chief. — Burr's Independent Party. —Duel of De Witt Clinton and 
SwARTwouT. — Chancellor Livingston secures Louisiana. — De Witt Clinton 
appointed Mayor. —Burr's Struggle for thk Governorship. — Results op the 
Stormy Election. — Hamilton's Libel Suit. — Burr challenges Hamilton. — 
Duel of Burr and Hamilton. — Sorrowful Scenes. — Death op Hamilton. — 
Burr's Movements. — Public Sentiment. —Tomb of Hamilton. 

HEAVY clouds hung over the new city of Washington on the morn- 
ing of the 11th of February, 1801, and before nine o'clock snow 
began to fall. The great day had at last arrived. The House of Repre- 
sentatives proceeded in a body to the Senate-Chamber, where Vice-Presi- 
dent Jefferson, in view of both houses of Congress, opened the 
^*®** certificates of the electors of the different States. As the votes 
were read the tellers on the part of each house counted and took lists of 
them, which being compared and delivered to Jefferson, he announced the 
result as follows : for Thomas Jefferson seventy-three, for Aaron Burr 
seventy-three, for John Adams sixty-five, for Charles C. Pinckney sixty- 
four, for John Jay one. Jefferson then declared that the choice devolved 
upon the House. 

There were sixteen States in the Union, and a majority of these States 
was necessary to an election. If results had depended upon a minority 
of the members, Burr would undoubtedly have been chosen on the first 
vote. As it was, thirty-five ballotiugs ended alike, showing eight States 
in favor of Jefferson, six for Burr, and two States, Vermont and Mary- 
land, equally divided. New York voted steadily for Jefferson. 

Before proceeding to the great business of the day, the House resolved 


not to adjourn till a President had been, chosen. One member, too ill to 
leave his bed, was borne on a litter to the Capitol ; his wife attended him, 
and remaining at his side administered his medicines. The ballot-boxes 
were carried to his couch, so that he did not miss a single ballot All 
that day, all through the night, and until noon of the day following, the 
balloting went on. Then the exhausted members evaded their resolution 
not to adjourn, by agreeing to take a recess. " Our opponents have begged 
for a dispensation from their own regulation," wrote John Randolph. 

For seven days the country was kept in a ferment by the wild reports 
fn>m the capital. The governor of Virginia established a line of express 
riders between Washington and Richmond during the whole of this event- 
ful week, that he might learn as speedily as possible the result of each 
ballot On the 15th Jefferson wrote to his daughter: "After four days of 
balloting, they are exactly where they were on the first There is strong 
expectation in some that they will coalesce to-morrow ; but I have no 
foundation for it I feel no impulse from personal ambition to the office 
now proposed to me, but on account of yourself and your sister and those 
dear to you." 

On the thirty-sixth balloting Jefferson was found to have received the 
votes of ten States, while four adhered to Burr and two cast blank ballots. 
Jeffersoo was thereupon declared President, and Buit, by law, became 

Late at night on the 3d of March the Sixth Congress terminated. Ex- 
Pn*3ident Adams had no heart to witness the inauguration of his succes- 
5^»r, but left the city of Wasbin^rtou early the next morning; for his 

March 4 

lic»me in Massachusetts. A domestic affliction in the loss of his 
second son, Charles, came also at this moment to darken the shades of 
his retirement The Republicans were jubilant, particularly in New York. 
Meetings were held in every city and village in the State, and proces- 
sions and orations were the order of the day. In Albany the Republican 
members of the Legislature and citizens met at a grand dinner, where one 
of tjie toasts was, "Aaron Burr, Vice-President of the United States. 
His uniform and patriotic exertions in favor of republicanism eclipsed 
only by his late disinterested conduct." 

When Jefferson reached the Presidential chair the pecuniary prosperity 
of the country was greater than at any previous date. Pacific relations 
with France, and the prospect of peace throughout Europe, promised 
fffectual and permanent relief from the embarrassments to which Ameri- 
can commerce was exposed. The treasury was fuller, and the revenue 
more abundant than ever before. The obnoxious Sedition Act had ex- 
piped by itB own limitation with the close of the Sixth Congress. Insti- 


tutions had been framed, taxes, levied, and provision made for debts. 
Indeed, the whole machinery of the Federal government, as it now oper- 
ates, had been the work of the Federalists in their twelve years of 
supremacy. . Thus the path of the chief executive of the nation seemed 
very smooth and easy to travel. 

James Madison was appointed Secretary of State, Albert Gallatin 
Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Dearborn Secretary of War, and Levi 
Lincoln Attorney-General. The Navy Department was offered to Chan- 
cellor Livingston, who declined the appointment, and it was given to 
Robert Smith. Livingston, having reached the age of sixty, and being 
obliged, under a constitutional provision, to vacate the Chancellorship of 
New York, consented to accept the embassy to France to which he was 
nominated ; he was confirmed prior to the adjournment of the Senate. 
Not long after M. Pinchon, remembered as Secretary of the French lega- 
tion at The Hague, arrived at Washington as French charge d'affaires. 

In April the New York election for governor was spirited and nin- 
corous. Some one had said that the tenantry of Van Sensselaer, 

1801. •' ' 

in arrears for rent (numbering thousands), were to be prosecuted for 
payment if they refused to vote for hiuL As soon as this report reached 
the ears of the high-minded patroon, he immediately denied it in all the 
papers printed in Albany and Van Rensselaer counties, assuring his 
tenants that he wished them to vote as in their judgment duty required, 
and that no man should be harmed who voted against him. He received 
two thousand and thirty-eight votes in the county of Albany, while 
Clinton received but seven hundred and fifty-five. The general result of 
the election, however, was in favor of the Republican party. George 
Clinton was chosen by more than four thousand majority. 

In October a convention chosen to amend the constitution met at 
Albany and organized by unanimously electing Vice-President Burr its 
presiding officer. This convention was authorized to fix a limit to the 
number of members of the two houses of the Legislature, which was 
quickly accomplished, the number being reduced from forty-three to 
thirty-six, and to decide upon " the true construction of the twenty-thinl 
article of the constitution," in other words, to determine the power of the 
Council of Appointment The convention was given no authority to alter 
the terms of that article, or to abolish it and create a new one in its place; 
but its maxim was to strip the governor of as much power as possibla 
It decided, against the letter of the constitution and the opinion of 
Governors Clinton and Jay, to reduce the governor to a mere fifth mem- 
ber of the council, with no greater power than that of any other member, 
except the right to preside. De Witt Clinton was a member of the 


Couocil of Appointment at the time of his uncle's accession, and before 
the decision of the convention, and in spite of the protests of the gov- 
ernor, he, in connection with Ambrose Spencer and a third Bepublican 
member, commenced a system of removals and appointments similar to 
those introduced into the politics of Pennsylvania by McKean. 

This proscription was not confined to Federalists. A furious struggle 
luul already commenced between the Clintons and Livingstons on the 
one hand, and Burr and his partisans on the other, which was carried 
on with the utmost bitterness. The known friends of Burr were ex- 
cluded from office as rigidly as the Federalists. Appointments in every 
instance were made from the Clinton and Livingston factions. Of the 
great State offices the Livingstons received the larger share. The Chan- 
cellorship was conferred upon John Lansing ; Morgan Lewis; brother-in- 
law of Chancellor Livingston, succeeded Lansing as chief justice ; Judge 
Egbert Benson having been appointed, under what was styled the mid- 
night act of John Adams, a circuit judge of the United States (on the 
3d of March, 1801), his place was filled by Brockholst Livingston ; and 
Smith Thompson, whose wife was a Livingston, was also created an 
associate judge. Thus the bench of the Supreme Court of New York 
was mainly in the hands of the Livingstons. Dr. Thomas Tillotson, 
another brother-in-law of Chancellor Livingston, was made secretary of 
the State. And it will be remembered that General John Armstrong, 
still another brother-in-law of Chancellor Livingston, had been recently 
appointed United States Senator by the New York Legislature. 

The appointment of Edward Livingston United States Attorney for 
the District of New York, in place of Richard Harrison, was one of 
the acts of President Jefferson immediately following the appointment 
<>f his brother, Chancellor Livingston, minister to France. In August of 
the same year Edward Livingston was also appointed mayor of the city 
• »f New York. The holding of two such offices, one under the national, 
the other from the State government, which would now be esteemed im- 
proper, excited no cavil then, and both appointments, which were for short 
terms at first, were renewed the following winter. 

The mayoralty of New York was at this time a post of great dignity 
and importance. The mayor not only presided over the deliberations of 
the common council, but was the presiding judge of a high couit of record 
with both civil and criminal jurisdiction. The emoluments were in 
the form of liberal fees and perquisites ; and a few years' incumbency 
wa?4 equivalent to a handsome fortune. Kichard Varick had been the 
rii.iyor for twelve yeai-s, and liis removal by tlie new party in power 
,nrated indignant dissatisfaction. A public diimer was tendered him by 


the Federalist lawyers, and twenty-five appreciative toasts, surchaiged 
with political satire, contributed to the life of the occasion. His quali- 
ficatioiis for the office had been iinivei-sally conceded, and his geuUemaidy 
cultui-e aud personal habits 
had made him a favorite 
among all classes — except, 
indeed, in the heat of po- 
litical strife, when, like all 
other candidates for office 
in that decade, he was 
abused and caricatured to 
an extraordinary degree. 

Mayor Livingston found 
himself in a situation where 
all liis energies were brouglit 
into active service, Hisdu- 
I ties were legion. Important 
capital trials occupied his 
attention at once, and his 
chaises to juries are de- 
scribed by the newspapeis 
Riahird Viriob. of the time as exception- 

ally impressive. He uudeitook a reformation of the rules and practice 
of the court in civil actions, and soon commenced the preparation of a 
volume of reports of such of his own and the recorder's decisions as 
he thought should be generally known at the bar. This was before any 
regular reporting of the judgments of either the city or State courts had 
been undertaken, and when but a single volume of reports — that of 
Coleman's Cases — had appeared.' The ofiice of attorney-general was 
honorable and profitable, aud its functions were in the line of his profes- 
sion, but it required liim, in addition to presiding over a court of justice 
and of' a deliberative body, to appear as an advocate in all causes of im- 
portance in which the national government was interested in his district ! 
then in turn he must superintenil the administration of municipal affaiis 
of every character, from the regulation of finance to the assize of bread- 
In connection with all this he was required by the custom of the period 
to devote to the public and private entertainment of distinguished stran- 
gers a degree of attention which the gi-owth of the city and of the 
world's travel subsequently rendered impossible. 

1 HtirU'i Life of Edvmrd Livingitm ; Judicial (^piHwiu, detivertd in tht uu^fot't mtrt of 
Ou cily ofNtm York vn At gear 1802. 


This last requisition was a pleasure rather than a duty to a man of 
his temperament He was fond of society, genial, witty, charming in 
conversation, and attractive in manners. He is said never to have 
allowed an opportunity to pass for producing a pun, and if a good one did 
not come to his mind he made a poor one answer, laughing at it all the 
same. On the same mouth in which he retired from Congress he experi- 
enced a severe affliction in the loss of his accomplished wife, which partly 
accounts for his devotion to philailthropic projects while in the midst of 
his manifold occupations as mayor of the city. He resided at No. 1 
Broadway. Many of the beautiful trees upon the common between his 
windows and the bay were planted during his administration and under 
his particular direction. 

On the 4th of July Geoi-ge L Backer, a promising young member of the 
New York Bar, aged twenty-seven, delivered an oration in the city on the 
fvubject of American Independence. He was a partisan of Vice-President 
Burr, and while his talented eflTort was generally praised, there were those 
among the Federalists who denoimced the whole performance. At the 
Park Theater one autumn evening Backer occupied a box, accom- „ 
panied by Miss Livmgston and others. In an adjoining box was 
seated Philip Hamilton, eldest son of the financier, a youth of nineteen, 
in company with a young gentleman by the name of Price ; and the two 
indulged in ironical remarks about Backer's Fourth of July oration, which 
seemed to be intended for the ear of the young lady. Backer looked 
round and saw them laugliiug, and believing himself the subject of ridi- 
cule stepped out in gi-eat agitation and asked if they meant to insult him, 
at the same time stigmatizing them as " rascals." They in turn insisted 
upon his particularizing the person he meant to distinguish as a " rascal" 
After some high words Backer exclaimed, "Well, then, you are both 
rascals.'' The result was a laconic message from Price, l)efore the play 
was finished, to name a time and place of meeting. Philip Hamilton 
hastened to find David S. Jones, who consulted John B. Church, the 
uncle of young Hamilton, and hero of the recent duel with Burr, and 
together they framed a message requiring an explanation, wliicli was pre- 
sented to Backer about half past eleven o'clock on the same evening. 
Backer made no reply except to remark that when tlie affiiir with Price 
was over he would receive any communication from Hamilton. At noon 
on the 22d, which was Sunday, Backer and Price, attended by 
their seconds, met at Weehawken and exchanged four shots, with- 
out effect, after which they shook liands and separated. Before two o'clock 
on the same afternoon youn^^ Hamilton had learned the facts re- 

Nov. 23. 

specting the duel, and renewed his challenge to Backer. The 


two met on Monday about three in the afternoon. Eacker's second was 
Thomas Apthorpe Cooper, the actor, and David S. Jones appeared in behalf 
of young Hamilton. Charles H. Winfield, the able historian of Hudson 
County, New Jersey, writes : " After the word had been given, a pause 
of a minute, perhaps more, ensued, before Mr. Eacker discharged his pistol. 
He had determined to wait for Hamilton's lire, and Hamilton, it is said, 
i*eserved bis fire in obedience to the commands of his father. Eacker then 
leveled his pistol with more accuracy, and at the same instant Hamilton 
did the same. Eacker fired first, but almost simultaneously with Hamil- 
ton. The latter's fire, it is said, was unintentional, and in the air. The 
ball from Eacker's pistol entered Hamilton's right side, just above the 
hip, passed through his body, and lodged in his left arm. He was imme- 
diately taken over to the city, where he died the next morning at five 
o'clock." 1 

Symptoms not at all in harmony with Jefferson's promise of political 
tranquillity and a united people began to be pei'ceptible before he 
had been many months in office. Burr's irregular ambition was 
not satisfied with his imposing but hollow position as Vice-President. 
He foresaw obstacles to his becoming the next Republican President, 
in the dislike of Jefferson and the growing popularity of Madison, the 
Secretary of State, who was a man of immense family interest iii Vir- 
ginia. In New York the Republican party was ali-eady divided into 
factions each jealous of the other. Thus he began a kind of political 
flirtation with the Federalists. 

About this time The Evening Post first made its bow to the public, 
edited by William Coleman, a lawyer and a versatile writer ; it was the 
organ of Hamilton. The American Citizen was the organ of the Repub- 
lican party in New York, and was under the immediate management of 
a cousin of De Witt Clinton. Its editor was James Cheetham, a wit 
and a great tactician, who acquired no little distinction for his editorial 
ability. He was a tall, athletic man, and was soon personally concerned 
in many violent political quarrels. Burr and his friends, not to be out- 
done, established The Mailing Chronicle, which supported the administra- 
tion, but was particularly friendly to the Vice-President It was edited 
by Dr. Peter Irving, and in its columns Washington Irving, a youth of 
nineteen, the editor's younger brother, first appeared as a writer under 
the name of Jonatlian Oldstyle. Burr often clipped these essays from 
the journal and inclosed them in his letters tO Theodosia. The three 
t entered upon a paper war in which they were ably sus- 

iC €OiHiimptioii in 1304, and wu buried in St Paul's Churchyard, naar 



tained by the leading men of their respective parties. Their columns 
teemed with personal invective and low satire. Several duels were the 
result On one occasion Matthew L Davis sallied forth in WaU Street, 
pistol in hand, expecting to shoot Cheetham at sight, who, however, kept 
out of the way, aud the affair ended without bloodshed When Philip 
Hamilton was killed, Coleman, shocked by the occurrence, denounced 
in the Evening Posft the practice of dueling as a " horrid custom," and 
strongly urged " l^islative interference." Yet Coleman and Cheetham 
were both duelists. And it was a period when dueling was a fashion- 
able recreation. Cheetham was some years younger than Coleman, and 
gloried in encountering difficulties. He appeared in public with bold 
£ace and majestic bearing. Coleman was smaller, of delicate structure, 
and looked grave and pensive. Cheetham had cultivated his mind by 
historical reading, and was familiar with the poets; his writings were 
curt and concise, Coleman's often verbose. Cheetham could fell at one 
blow ; Coleman delighted in protracted torture. Neither was deficient 
in pointed epithets aud lacerating remarks. Cheetham was ardent, pas- 
sionate, and forgiving. Coleman was self-poised, cold, and long harbored 
an imaginary injury. Each delighted in the prostration of a victim, 
but Coleman was the more politic and pnident of the two. The idols 
of Cheetham were Jefferson aud Geoi^e Clinton ; the idol of Coleman 
was Hamilton. Burr had no chance with either, and was offensive to 
botL Dr. Francis writes of these two editors : " With all their faults, 
they diffused much truth as well as error ; they advanced the power of 
the press in talents and in improved knowledge; and they aided the 
progress of literary culture." ^ 

On one occasion a duel between Coleman and Cheetham was arranged, 
but after considerable negotiation between the friends of the parties 
Judge Brockholst Livingston, in order to prevent the meeting, had the 
I^incipals arrested Thus hostilities ended. But out of the affair grew 
another quarrel which led to one of the most diabolical duels in the 
annals of dueling. Thompson, one of Cheethaiii*s friends, the brother 
of Jeremiah Thompson, once collector of the port, thi-ew some doubt on 
Coleman's courage, and said he " had shown the white feather." Where- 
upon Coleman challenged Thompson. Washington Morton carried the 
fatal missive. Cheetham acted as Thompson's second. The duel took 
place in Love Lane, now Twenty-first Street.^ It was in the year 1803. 

* (HdXew York, by Dr. Francis, p. 335 ; History of Journalism, by Hudson, p. 146, 217 ; 
HUdreth, II. 458. The New York Ewning Post was first issued November 16, 1801. 

' The pUce of this duel has been variously located. Some writers say it was at or near 
WaahingtoD Square, then the Potters' Field, but I^ove I^ne is undoubtedly correct. 


An anonymous letter was received in the morning by a well-known 
physician and surgeon, stating that at nine o'clock of the evening of that 
day he would find on the south side of the Bowling Green, at the foot 
of Broadway, a horse and gig, which he was desired to appropriate and 
drive to a spot designated, where his services might be required. It was 
a moonlight night, and finding the gig as stated, he obeyed the request, 
reaching the point in time to hear pistol-shots, and see one man holding 

up another. A voice called to him : " Are you Dr. ? '* He replied in 

the affirmative. "This gentleman requires your assistance," continued 
the speaker, who was no other than Cheetham, " be good enough to take 
charge of him and place him with his friends " ; then gently laid the figure 
he held upon the git)und, and disappeared in the same direction as Cole- 
man and his second. The surgeon raised the bleeding man, stanched 
his wound as well as he was able, but saw that it was mortal He bore 
him dying to the house of his sister in the city, laid him upon the door- 
step, rang the bell, and departed. When the family found him, he was 
alone, and with a heroism worthy of a better cause refused to disclose the 
name of his antagonist, or give any account of the affair. He simply 
said he had been honorably treated, and requested that no effort should 
be made to find or molest the parties concerned. He died, and Coleman 
attended to his business as usuaL 

Jefferson regardM the religion of the country as no better than a mis- 
chievous delusion. John Jay, Hamilton, and other leading men of the 
Federal party believed that religion furnished the only solid support for 
morality. Jefferson detested the clergy, who were constantly twitting him 
about his infidel opinions. The Federalists respected the clei^ as men 
of superior education, intelligence, and character, who in conjunction with 
the lawyers were as much the natural leaders of New England opinion as 
the slaveholding planters were the natural political leaders in Virginia. 
Jefferson commiserated the unfortunate priest-ridden communities, led by 
(he nose by a body of men at enmity against science and truth and popu- 
lar rights; while the Federalists requested to be informed in what 
xespect the religious bigotiy of the clergy was at all worse than Jefferson's 
political bigotry ? 

Jefferson abolished levees, lest the custom introduced by Washington 

lead to (he ceremonials of a court The Federalists said it was because 

the new city of Washington was nothing l)ut a little village in the woods, 

vheie (here was no occasion for levees. Mrs. Madison revived the usage 

b yean later, and it has continued to the present time. Jeffei-son 

^ the kingly custom of speeches and answers at the opening oi 

i» subetituting a written message to be read by the clerk. The 


Federalists ina1ici9usly suggested it was on account of JefTerson's tall 
nogainly figure, and total destitution of gifts as a jmblic speaker. It was 
told in France that Jefferson on tlie day of his iuauguration "rode on 
horseback to the capital without a single giianl or even a servant in his 
train, dismounted without assistance, and hitched the bridle of his horse 
to the palisades." However that way have been, he was scarcely less 
fond of fine horses than Washington himself. Within two months after 
hecoming President he purcliased four fiery full-blooded bays for the use 
<tf his carriage in Washington. His coachman, Joseph Do\igberty, writes 
Miss Randolph, Jefferson's great granddaughter, " wits never so happy as 
when seated on the boN behind this spirited and showy team." On his 
journeys to Monticello Jefferson usu- 
ally traveled in his phaeton, or in a 
one-borse chair — a favorite vehicle at 
that time in New York City. Hamilton 
possessed asimilar horse chair in which 
he drove daily from his place of busi- 
np^ in the city to his countrj-sent on 
Wiishiugton Heights during the last 

two years of his life. . „ ^^ . ,_, 

, ' 1 T «• . -1 ■ OiwMorw Ch»ir, 1803. 

It seems tluit Jetferson, while giv- 
ing up many of the fonns, clung with instinctive tenacity to the sub- 
Btince of power. His theories were not alisoliitely practical. He found 
it wise and well in the coiistmctive part of politics to copy the models 
he had so vigorously criticised. And as reganls the innchineiy of govern- 
ment prepared by the Federalists, it was ailopted by the Republicans 
without essential change. 

Hatutlton had purchased an estate iinil built a country mansion on the 
upper part of Manhattan Island, then ciglit or more miles fioin the city, 
which he called " The Grange," from the ancestral seat of his grandfather 
in Scotland. The timber for the house is said to have been a present 
from Mrs. Hamilton's father, General Schuyler. Its situation was com- 
mandiug, about half-way between tlie Hudson uml Ilarlcm Itiveis. It 
was a square wooden structure of two stories, with laige i-ooiiiy basement, 
omaiuental balustrades, and immense chiniiiGy -stacks. Its rooms were 
spacious and numerous, its drawing-ruum doui^ were mirroi's, and its 
workmanship generally solid and substantial. To this pleasant home 
Hamilton removes) his family in the spring of ISOii. He attended 
personally to the enibcUishment of his grounds, the planting of 
flowers, of ahtubbery, and of trees. He wmtc to I'iiii^kney for some Caiu- 
Una melon-seeds for bis new garden, and some panxiuets for his daughter. 



remarking, " A garden, you know, is n very usual refiigp for a disappoinUnl 
politician." He planted u grove wf tliirt^en giuii-tvees a few rods from tlie 

house, to sytnlwli/i- 

the thirteen original 

StJiles of the I'liion — 

which, having reached 


I still survive, and ai'e 

' deftly shown in the 


On the 23d of June 
Vice- I'l-esident Burr's 
V Theodosia arrived from 
1} spend the remainder of 
J New York. She wrott* l<> 
her husband the next day: "1 have '^wy 
returned from a ride in tlie conntrv and 
a visit to Richmond Hill. Never <Iid 1 
behold this islaml so beautifnl. Tlie \ii- 
riety of vivid f^nt-ns, the finely pultivated 
V fields and giiniciis, the neat, cool air of llie 
cit's boxes, peeping through stmight rows 
of tail poplare, and the elegance of some 
gentlemen's seat.", commanding a view of 
the majestic Hudson and the high dark 
shores of New Jei-sey, altogether form a 
scene so lively, so touching, and to me so 
new, that I was in constant raptnre." Two days later she wix>te i " I 
dined the other day with Mrs. Montgomeiy. The Chancellor (Livingston) 
has sent her out a list of statues, which are to he so exactly imitated in 
plaster as to lea\'e the dilTei'ence of materials only. The statues are the 
Apollo Belvedere, Venus de' Medicis, Laoco<iu and his children, Antinous, 
and some others. The patriotic citizens of New York are now subscrib- 
ing to the iniporttition of a set here for the good of the public. If they 
are really perfect imitations, tliey will be a. gi'eat acquisition to the city." 
Vice-Pi-esident Biiir had for some yeare li^■ed in a style of ostentatious 
elegance. He bad a handsomely fuiuished city home in addition to his 
country residence at llichmnnd Hill, a numerous retinue of servants, a 
French cook, half a dozen fine hoi-se.'*, one of the largest and best chosen 
libraries in the city, ami the walls of both his houses were hun'; with 
paintings that ministered to a refiued and cultivated taste, liiclinioixl 


Hill was without exception the most delightful country-seat on the 
island It was a rranie building of massive architecture, with a lofty 
portico supported by Ionic columns, the front walls decorated with pilas- 
ters of the same order, and distinguished on every side by rich though sober 
uiiiament. It was historically attractive, having been the headquarters of 
Washington in 1776, as the reader will i-emember ; Loixl Dorchester, Sir 
Guy Carleton, and other English noblemen wei-e dwellere under its roof 
during the Wiir ; it was the home of Vice- Pi-esident Adams while New 
Yi>rk was the capital of the United States ; and it had been the scene of 
many a notable festival Vice-Pi*esident Bun*, not less than his prede- 
ce:^sors, had thrown open its doo.i's to distinguished guests. Jerome Bona- 
parte was entertained at dinner, and at breakfast, by Buit just before his 
marriage to Miss Patterson, large companies being invited to meet him 
on lx)th occasions. Talleyrand and Volney were frequent visitors while 
they were in this country ; and almost every European personage of note 
was from time to time welcomed by its courtly pi-oprietor. 

Theodosia Buit, whose beauty, wit, and melancholy histoiy constitute 
one of the most romantic chapters of American private life, was the idol 
of her father, and, after the death of Mrs. Burr, his pupil, confidant, and 
friend. She l)ecanie one of the best educated women of her time and'countiy. 
During her father's public life she translated for his use the Constitution 
•jf the United States into the French language. While Burr was a sen- 
ator in Philadelphia Brant visited the Quaker City, creating a sensation. 
Buit enterUiined him at dinner in company with Talleyrand, Volney, and 
nxXxf^T notable characters. When Brant left for New York he boi'e a 
It'tii'i fniin BuiT t4) his daughter Theodosia, who was then fourteen yeai's 
"t* aire. The graceful girl received the forest chief with courtesy, and 
tendered the hospitalities of her father^s house by giving him a dinner- 
jiarty, choosing for her guests some of the most eminent gentlemen of 
the city, amon;^ whom were Bishop Moore, Dr. Bard, and Dr. Hosack. 
She wrote to her father that in marketing for the occasion she was puzzled 
to know what dishes would suit the palate of a savage warrior! In view 
uf the manv tales she had heard of 

** The caiiniluils tliat oarli other eat, 
The anthrojMiphaj^i, ami men whose heads 
Do ^row lieiieath theii shoulders," 

* A\tt hail a mind.*' she said, " to lay the undfr contribution for 
.1 iiunian head to 1x3 served up like a boar's head in ancient hall barbaric. 
iJut after all he was a most Christian and civilized guest in his manners." 
Tlie marriage of Theodosia in 1801 to Joseph Alston, of Soutli Carolina, 


afterwards governor of bis native State, by no means terniiDated the play- 
ful, tender, confiding I'elations between the father and daughter. Their 
ietters were constantly flying backward and forward to each other. I'iiiit 

still guided her 
intellectual tastes. 
■■ Itetter lose your 
bend than your 
liabits of study," 
lie wrote. And 
Theodosia amused 
ber fatiierwith her 
sp lightly huiimr 
and cheered him 
with her affectiou. 
She visited him 
fi'equently, and de- 
clared on all oc- 
casions that the 
society of New 
York was so supe- 
rior to that of ilie 
South that a wo- 
man must be a fool 
who denied it 

The lovely Tlieo- 
dosia was often a 
guest of Mrs. Ham- 
ilton. Indeed, tliere had always beGn friendly visiting between tlie fami- 
lies, and Hamilton himself dined at Buit's table occasionally, and Burr 
at Hamilton's. They met also at tlie houses of common friends, and cou- 
sulted together on poiuts of law. Theoilosia was itmcb petted and 
caressed by the Livingstons. She was invited with others a few weeks 
jtrior to her wedding by Mayor Eilwaiil Livingston to visit a frigate 
then lying in the harbor. One of the mayor's characteristic puns on 
the occasion is related by his biogra]>her. On the way Livingston, in 
the liveliest manner, exclaimed, "Xovv, Tlieodosia, you must bring niinc 
of your sparks on boanl Tliey have a ma<,'aziiie there, and we should 
all be blown up." 

Meanwhile Vice-President Run- was using every means to create a 
party of his owa He aimed to V an inde]>endent power in politics. 
He never quarreled openly with thi' I'lvsiilent. although it was well uu- 


dentood that the two chiefSs were at cross purposes as far as party man- 
agement was concerned. Burr dined with Jefferson occasionally. He 
was also on formal terms of friendship with Secretary Madison. Theo- 
dosia and the beautiful Mrs. Madison were apparently intimate. But 
JefiTerson's distrust was on the increase. Bun* was deeply angered when 
he lost his seat in 1802 through Clintonian influence, after a hotly con- 
tested election, as director of the Manhattan Bank in New York. Hence- 
forward the influence and power of that institution were used against the 
man to whom it owed its existence. John Swartwout, who also lost his 
seat in the directorship, was one of Burr's most devoted friends, and loudly 
accused De Witt Clinton of opposing Burr on personal and selfish grounds. 
Clinton, hearing of it, called him " a liar, a scoundrel, and a villaia'' The 
result was a challenge from Swartwout, which ended in a duel at 
Hoboken, one of the most remarkable conflicts of the kind that ever 
occurred in this country. Clinton's second was Eichard Biker, afterward 
City Recorder, and Swartwout's was Colonel W. S. Smith. The surgeons 
were John H. Douglass and Isaac Ledyard. The arrangements were 
elaliorate and positive, being drawn up formally in ten articles 
and duly signed The newspapers of the day described the scene 
on the ground. The first fire was ineffectual Clinton through his 
second asked Swartwout if he was satisfied, who replied in the negative. 
They fired again without effect, and Clinton made the same inquiries and 
received the same answers. A third shot was exchanged without injury, 
although the ball passed through Clinton's coat. Again Clinton dis- 
claimed having any enmity towards Swartwout and asked if he was satis- 
fied Swartwout responded promptly and positively in the negative until 
a written apology was signed. Clinton read the paper, and handed it back, 
saying he would sooner fire all night than ask Swartwout's pardon. The 
parties again took their stations and fired a fourth shot ; Clinton's ball 
struck Swartwout's leg a little below the knee. Clinton offered to shake 
hands and bury the circumstances in oblivion ; but Swartwout, standing 
erect, positively declined anything short of an ample apology, and they fired 
the fifth shot, Swartwout receiving another ball in the left leg about five' 
inches above the ankle. Swartwout coolly insisted upon taking another 
shot, but Clinton left his place and refused to fire again. The surgeons 
dressed Swartwout's wounds, and all returned to the city. It is said that 
after the last shot Clinton appi*oached Swartwout, and offering his hand 
said, " I am sorry I have hurt you so much." Then turning to Colonel 
Smith, added, " I wish I had the principal here," referring to Vice-Presi- 
dent Burr. The next year De Witt Clinton was cliallenj^ed by Senator 
Dayton of New Jersey, another of Burr's adhei-ents, but the matter was 


peaxsefuUy arranged A few months later Richard Siker fought with 
Robert Swartwout and was severely wounded. 

Tlie erection of a new City Hall, only fourteen years from the time of 
the libeml expenditures upon Federal Hall in Wall Street prior to Wash- 
ington's inauguration, indicates the extraordinary growth of the city 
during that short period. Mayor Edwaixl Livingston laid the corner- 
stone of the new structure in 1803. The barren and uninvitins: 


common assumed a new character, and the church-goers paused 
every summer morning, before entering the sanctuary on the corner of 
Beekman Street, to note the progress of the builders. The front and the 
eastern and western sides were constructed of white marble, but a dark- 
colored stone was thought good enough for the rear or northern wall, since 
" it would be out of sight to all the world." 
An appalling visitation of yellow fever not only suspended the work in 
July, but spread consternation throughout the length and breadth 
of New York. The first case was announced on the 20th, and by 
the 1st of August the public alarm was so great and universal that all who 
could leave the city had fled to places of safety. Mayor Livingston re- 
mained at his post, regarding himself bound, as by a sacred contract, to face 
the terrible enemy, and alleviate suffering to the extent of his power. It 
was a display of heroic philanthropy which a lifetime of ordinary official 
duty would never have called into exercise. He visited the hospitals every 
day, required all new cases in any part of the city to be reported to him 
personally, supplied the needs of the poor, encouraged nurses and physi- 
cians by his presence and his undismayed cheerfulness, and even went 
about the streets at night to see for himself if the watchmen were 

The scouige continued until the end of October. The fearless mayor 
did not escape. He was seized with the fever in the latter part of 
September, but recovered after a severe illness. While he was lying 
veiy low he was the object of extraordinary popular gratitude and regard. 
His physiciau, calling for Madeira to administer to him, found that not 
bottle of that or of any other wine was left in his cellar, he having be- 
ared it all upon others. As soon as the fact became known the best 
• were sent in from every directioiL Young men vied with each 
Air the privily of watching at his bedside. And a crowd thronged 
neu his door or loitered in the Bowling Oreen to obtain the 
of his condition. 
Bsoence was announced in the newspapers and hailed with 
vcde city. He had, however, arisen from a sick-bed to 
trial. While the })estileuce was raging he discovered 


that a confidential clerk had embezzled a lai^ge portion of the public funds 
consigned to his chaise. With too many irons in the fire, he had im- 
prudently left the management of money affairs to subordinates, and thus, 
to liis keen mortification, found himself indebted to the United States, 
witliout means in his possession for the liquidation of the debt He at 
once voluntarily surrendered all his property I'or the security of the gov- 
ernment He then resigned both his offices, although offering to dischaige 
the duties of mayor until the restoration of the public health. 

In April of the same year the diplomacy of Chancellor Livingston 
at the Court of France resulted in a national bargain with Napoleon 
for the purchase of Louisiana — or the Province of Orleans, compris- 
ing the present States of Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minne- 
aota, Nebraska, Kansas, and the Indian Territory — which not only 
added an enormous territory to the United States, but secured com- 
pensation for the numerous spoliations by the French on our com- 
merce. This vast region had been recovered to France from Spain by 
Napoleon in 1800 ; and through Chancellor Livingston's masterly man- 
agement, aided by James Monroe, who arrived in Paris a few days before 
the negotiation was concluded, it was actually sold to the United States 
for about fifteen millions of dollars. The American flag was first raised 
in New Orleans on the 20th of December, 1803. 

Edlward Livingston had been in close correspondence with his brother 

on the subject, and the pit>spect suddenly opening to New Orleans of 

becoming a great commercial city, and to Louisiana of becoming a mother 

of many States, he determined to repair to the new territory and try to 

mend his fortunes. He understood the French language, and in entering 

upon practice at the New Orleans bar frequently ai'gued his cases in that 

tougue. The records of the court were kept in English. But it was often 

necessary, and it was the constant practice, to translate the pleadings and 

ftfterwaids all the evidence into French, Spanish, or German, and sonie- 

tuiies into all these, in order to reach the comprehension of the whole 

jury. A sworn interpreter was attached to the court, but Livingston 

spoke all these languages himself, which reflects much credit upon his 

Xew York education. 

De Witt Clinton was appointed Mayor of New York City in place of 
Edward Livingston. He was in the Senate of the United States, having 
Wn elected to fill a vacancy in 1802 caused by the resignation of Cen- 
tral John Armstrong, and taken a seat by the side of Gouverneur Morris. 
I'Ut there was a degree and variety of power in the mayoralty of the 
metropolis at that time for which a senatoi-slnp might well l)e exchanged. 
Thus he resigned his post as a senator to accept and enter upon his duties 


as a mayor. He was but thirty-four years of age, active, resolute, and 
eminently progressive. His brain was prolific in civic and philanthropic 
schemes. What Franklin in his generation did for Philadelphia, De 
Witt Clinton, half a century later, accomplished for New York. But we 
will not anticipate. 

Vice-President Burr found, as the new year opened, that his political for- 
tunes were less promising than hitherto. His aspirations for the 
Presidency of the nation might as well be buried. In politics he 
never had any real basis, such as ideas of magnitude, strong convic- 
tions, or important originations. His })eculiar gifts were rather to 
charm individuals than multitudes. On the 5th of January he 
wrote Theodosia of the marriage of Jerome Bonaparte to Miss 
Patterson of Baltimore, which occurred in December. On the 17th he 
wrote her again from Washington : " Of my plans for the spring 
' nothing can be said, for nothing is resolved. Madame Bonaparte 
passed a week here. She is a charming little woman ; just the size and 
nearly the figure of Theodosia Burr Alston ; by some thought a little like 
her ; perhaps not so well in the shoulders ; dresses with taste and sim- 
plicity ; has sense and spirit and sprightliness." On the 30th he 
* described to Theodosia his journey from Washington to New York 
with a foot depth of snow upon the ground. He wrote : "The Vice-President 
having with great judgment and science calculated the gradations of cpld 
in different latitudes, discovered that for every degree he should go north 
he might count on four and a half inches of snow. Thus he was sure of 
sixteen and a half inches at Philadelphia, twenty-one inches at New 
York, and so for all intermediate space. Hence he wisely concluded to 
take oiT the wheels from his coachee and set it on runners. Tliis was no 
sooner resolved than done. With his sleigh and four horses he arrived 
at Baltimore at early dinner. Passed the evening with Madame Bona- 
parte; all very charming. Came off this morning; fine sleighing. Within 
six miles of the Susquehanna the snow appeared thin; within four, 
the ground was bare. He dragged on to Havre de Grace, and here he is 
in the midst of the most forlorn dilemma. Having neither wife nor 
daughter near on whom to vent spleen renders the case more deplor- 
able." He added a note to this letter before it was mailed : " I left my 
runners and got wheels at Philadelphia." 

At a caucus in February Jefferson was unanimously nominated for 

re-election; and Governor George Clinton was substituted for Burr as 

a candidate for Vice-President There was to be an election for governor 

* I New York, and since Buit was left out of the national nominations he 

^ to see what he could do through an appeal to the people of his 


own State. The independent party known as Burrites had become a rec- 
«»^ni2ed power in New York, and might draw assistance from both the Fed- 
eralists and Republicans. Attack the aristocratic combination of the 
Clintons and Livingstons on the one hand, and that of Hamilton and the 
Scliuylers on the other, and multitudes would cleave to a leader whio had 
no liand of brothers to unite in appropriating the wealth, the patronage, 
an«i the authority of the State. "We must make family influence un- 
pi>pular, and New York will be ours," said Burr to one of his warm parti- 
sans on the evening after his arrival from Washington. He spent about 
two weeks in tlie city before returning to the seat of government. He 
had always po.ssesse(l the rare faculty of inspiring reckless young men 
with his own daring ; and mild-tempered elderly gentlemen were gi'eatly 
attached to him. There was still another element, comprehending men 
of all ages, which would be a substantial support in the emergency. It 
was the new population of the State and city which had been pouring in 
from other States, particularly from New England, freighted with all the 
accumulated piques and prejudices of a century against the ruling fami- 
lies of New York, with whom they had no blood connection or natuml 
sympathy. Burr stood before them in his prime, brilliant, cheerful, 
witty, fascinating, with a sharp, kindly black eye — a lithe, stylish, capti- 
vating man, with remarkable elegance of address. Nothing daunted him. 
Nothing depi*essed hiuL Just before leaving New York on his 
return to Washington he wrote to Theodosia : " The Clintons, Liv- 
iuf^stons, etc., had not at the last advice from Albany decided on their 
•audidate for governor. Hamilton is intriguing for any candidate who 
* an liave a chance of success against A. B. He would doubtless become 
the advocate even of De Witt Clinton if he should be the opponent." 

Two days later Vice-President Burr was aimounced as an independent 
candidate for governor of New York. On the 20th the Re- ^ , ^ 
]»ublicans nominated Judge Morgan Lewis for governor, and John 
Bnj4>me for lieutenant-governor. 

The storm commenced forthwith. It was the most inclement March 
the political world of New York had ever known. The newspapers were 
fille«l with disgusting personalities ; and the war of words raged unabated 
up to the very day of the election in April. Burr's private character, 
which no one could honestly defend, was assailed in the most obnoxious 
luanner. But the Burrites dwelt continually upon his admirable fitness 
f*»r office because he had no tniin of family connections to quarter upon 
tiie public treasury. It is curiously interesting to trace the course of 
iiuman perversity and absurdity in both instances. It does not appear 
thit Miir pre* lecessoi-s were any wiser than ourselves. 


Burr's equanimity of temper was undisturbed through it all. He 

wrote to Theodosia on the 28th of March : " They are very busy 

here about an election between Morgan Lewis and A. Burr ; the 

former supported by the Clintons and Livingstons, the latter per se, I 

would send you some new and amusing libels against the Vice-President, 

but as you did not send me the speech .... it may not be desired. I shall 

get the speech, no thanks to you ; there is a copy in Philadelphia, for which 

I have written, and it will come endorsed by the fair hand of Celeste. 

The Earl of Selkirk is here ; a frank, unassuming, sensible man of al)out 

thirty. He dines with me on Monday." In the midst of the 

Anril 0( 

election tempest Burr wrote to his daughter in a similar easy, 
gossiping strain : " The thing began yesterday, and will terminate to- 
morrow. My headquarters are in John Street, and I have, since begin- 
ning this letter, been already three times interrupted." In regaixi to 
summer arrangements he added: "You take Richmond Hill; bring no 
horse nor carriage. I have got a nice, new, beautiful little chariot, made 
purposely to please you. I have also a new coachee, very light, on an 
entirely new construction, invented by the Vice-President. Now these 
two machines are severally adapted to two horses, and you may take 
your choice of them. Of horses, I have five ; three always and wholly 
at your devotion, and the whole five occasionally. Harry and Sam are 
both good coachmen, either at your orders. Of servants, there are enough 
for family pui'poses. Mr. Alston may bring a footman. Anything further 
will be useless ; he may, however, bring six or eight of them if he like. 
The cellars and garrets are well stocked with wine, having had a great 
sui)ply last fall." Before closing this peculiar epistle Burr added, *' 1 
ibrgot to speak of the election. Both paities claim majorities, and there 
never was, in my opinion, an election of the result of which so little 
judgment could be formed." 

In the city of New York Burr actually received a majority of perhaps 

one hundred votes. But returns from the country dispelled the 

brief e.xultatioiL Moi-gan Lewis was elected by a large majority. 

Burr attributed his defeat mainly to the i)owerful influence of Hamilton, 

who took no active part in the canvass, but whose opinions were freely 

and perpetually quoted by those who did. Burr may have thought that 

Hamilton was the only obstacle to his triumphant formation of a great 

national independent party, with i>ossibilities of reward in the highest 

•»if^ of the people at the end of another four years. Parton says : "Burros 

^ ro<le as buf)yantly and as safely over all disasters as a cork over the 

t of Niagara." Hamilton had won immense glor}' this very .<^priug 

mding, at Albany, before Chief Justice I^wis of the Supreme 


Court, with unparalleled eloquence, an editor of a Hudson newspaper who 
had been indicted for a libel on President Jefl'erson. Hamilton had volun- 
teered to defend the liberty of the press ; and he denounced the maxim, 
" The greater the truth the greater the libel/' at least in its relation to 
political publications, as wholly inconsistent with the genius of American 
institutions. His ailment was electrical in its effects upon his audience, 
and it resulted in the law of libels being eventually placed upon a true 
and correct foundation, perfectly consistent with the liberty of the 
press and the protection of the good name and reputation of every in- 
dividual citizen. 

Hamilton had always spoken of Burr as a dangerous man. He had no 
faith in him. He regarded him as an unprincipled, reckless, cool, design- 
ing villain, both in his private as well as in his political character, and had 
never hesitated to express that opinion while warning his Federal friends 
against Burr's arts and intrigues. During the election struggle two letters 
from the pen of Dr. Charles D. Cooper were published containing the two 
following paragraphs : *' General Hamilton and Judge Kent have declared, in 
substance, that they looked upon Mr. Burr to be a dangerous man, and one 
who ought not to be trusted with the reins of government"; and, " I could 
detail to you a still more despicable opinion which General Ham- 
ilton has expressed of Mr. Burr." It was some weeks after the 
election before these came under Burr's notice, but he immediately re- 
solved to make them the excuse for forcing Hamilton into a duel. 

William P. Van Ness, a young lawyer who was devoted to Burr, was 
the bearer of Cooper's printed letters to Hamilton, with a note from 
Burr himself demanding " a prompt and unqualified acknowledgment or 
denial of the use of any expressions which would warrant Cooper's as- 

Hamilton had not before that moment seen Cooi^er's letter, but he 
perceived a settled intention of fixing a quaiTel upon him. He de- 
clined an immediate answer : on the 20th he wrote at consider- 
able length, declining to be interrogated as to the justice of the 
inferences which others might have drawn from what he had said of a 
pv)litical opponent during fifteen years' competition. He said he could 
not enter into any explanations upon a basis so vague. But intimated 
Ills readiness to avow or disavow any definite opinion he had expressed 
i^especting any gentleman. Buit replied with sharp directness, and 
offensively criticised Hamilton's letter. " Political opposition can never 
absolve gentlemen from the necessity of a rigid adherence to the laws 
of honor and the rules of decorum," he said, lu short, he required a 
general disavowal, on the part of Hamilton, of any intention, in any 


conversation be might have ever held, to convey impressions derogatoiy 
to his honor. 

It was quite out of the question for Hamilton to make any such dis- 
avowal. But desirous of depriving Burr of any possible pretext for 
persisting in his murderous intentions, he made several attempts at pacific 
arrangements, which Burr arrogantly pronounced " mere evasions." 
' The challenge was finally given and accepted. Judge Nathaniel 
Pendleton, acting for Hamilton, stated that a court was then sitting in 
which Hamilton had much business to transact, and some delay was una- 
voidable, as he was unwilling to expose his clients to embarrassments, 
loss, or delay. Thus the meeting was arranged for the 11th of July, 
at seven o'clock in the morning. 

In the interim Burr and Hamilton went about their daily business as 
usual. It was afterwards remembered of Hamilton that he pleaded his 
causes and consulted his clients with all his wonted vigor, courtesy, and 
address. His beloved wife saw no cloud upon his brow as he returned to 
The Grange every afternoon. On the 4th of July the two adversaries 
met at the annual banquet of the Cincinnati, of which Hamilton had 
been president since the death of Washington, and of which Burr was a 
member. Hamilton, as master of the feast, was overflowing as usual 
with vivacity. He was urged to sing the only song he ever sang or knew, 
the famous ballad of The Drum, and although he seemed more reluctant 
than usual to comply with the wishes of the company, he said at last, 
" Well, you shall have it." He sang in his best manner, greatly delight- 
ing all present. Burr was never a fluent talker in public places, but an 
excellent listener. It was noticed that he was even more silent than 
usual on this occasioa When Hamilton commenced singing, Burr turned 
towards him and leaning upon the table watched him closely until the 
song was finished. 

It was on a warm bright summer morning that these •two political 
chieftains stood before each other prepared for mortal combat. 
The place where they fought was the singularly secluded grassy 
ledge or shelf in the woods at Weehawken, which had been the scene of 
so many deadly encounter. It was many feet above the waters of the 
Hudson, picturesquely shaded with the tangled cedare which almost 
totally obscured the view of New York City in the distance. No resi- 
dence was within sight on that shore of the Hudson, there were no roads 
leading to or from the spot, and no footpath existed in any direction. 
Parties coming from the city in boats clambered up the ragged rocky 
heights as best they could, and every pi^ecaution was taken to prevent 






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On this fatal morning Burr and his friends arrived half an hour be- 
fore Hamilton, and ordered their boat moored a few yards down the river. 
Hamilton's boat was seen approaching at precisely the moment expected. 
The principals and seconds exchanged the usual salutations as they met 
The distance, twelve paces, was carefully measured. Lots were cast 
for the choice of position, and to decide who should give the wotxL It 
fell in both cases to Judge Pendleton, the second of Hamilton. The 
principals were placed, Hamilton looking over the river toward the city, 
and Burr turned toward the heights, under which they stood. As the 
pistol was placed in Hamilton's hand Pendleton asked, " Will you have 
the hair-spring set ? *' " Not this time," was the quiet reply. Pendleton 
then explained to both principals the rules which had been agreed upon 
with regard to the firing — after the woi-d " present " they were to fire as 
soon as they pleased. The seconds then withdrew the usual distance. 

•* Are you ready ? " said Pendleton. Both answered in the affirmative 
A moment's pause ensued. The word was given. Burr raised his pistol, 
took aim, and fired. Hamilton almost instantly fell, his pistol going off 
involuntarily. Dr. Hosack and Mr. Matthew L Davis, listening atten- 
tively below, heard the report of the pistols, and with the boatmen hurried 
up the rocks, while Burr, shielded from their observation by an umbrella 
in the hands of Van Ness, stepped briskly down the steep to the boat, 
and was rowed swiftly across the river to Richmond HilL Dr. Hosack 
found Hamilton half lying, half sitting on the grass, supported in the arms 
of Pendleton, and apparently in a dying condition. " Doctor," he said, 
** this is a mortal wound," and immediately swooned away. A brief ex- 
amination convinced Dr. Hosack that all attempts to save his life would 
be fruitless, and the inanimate form was lifted tenderly and borne down 
the ragged declivity to the boat. 

As the little craft moved slowly out upon the broad bosom of the 
Hudsf>n Hamilton revived, and glancing about him observed his pistoL 
• Take care of that pistol," he remarked feebly, " it is undischarged, and 
^till cocked ; it may go off and do harm. Pendleton knows that I did 
n«»t intend to fire at him." " Yes," replied Pendleton sadly, " I have 
already made Dr. Hosack acquainted with your determination as to. that." 

Hamilton then closed his eyes and remained tranquil, except to ask 
the doctor once or twice how he found his pulse, until they neared the 
wharf, when he .said, " Let Mrs Hamilton be immediately sent for ; let 
the event be gradually broken to her, but ^ive her hopes." Looking up 
he saw his devoted friend, Mr. Bayard, waiting at the landing in great 
agitation, having heard from his servant that Hamilton with his two 
friends had crossed the river together, and of course divined the nature 



A their errand. Bayard burst into tears and lamentations when Dr. 
Hosack called to him to have a cot prepared. The dying statesman 
watched the scene calmly, and gave the necessary directions for his removal. 
He was borne to Bayard's house, and everything that medical skill or 
human love could suggest was done for his comfort.. Dr. Wright Post 
was immediately called in, but like Dr. Hosack saw no possible hope of 
Hamilton's recovery. General Key, the French Consul, invited the 
surgeons of the French frigates in the harbor to hasten to the assistance 
of Dr. Hosack and Di". Post, which they did, but were convinced that 
nothing could be done for Hamilton's relief. 

The most touching picture was when Mrs. Hamilton with their seven 
children appeared at his bedside overwhelmed with anguish unspeakable. 
His mind still retained all its marvelous strength, and although he fre- 
quently murmured in low accents to his physician and others who were 
administering to his necessities, " My beloved wife and children," as if 
his anxiety was chiefly for them, yet his fortitude triumphed over the 
situation. " Once, indeed," wrote Dr. Hosack, " at the sight of his children, 
brought to the bedside together, seven in number, his utterance forsook 
him ; he opened his eyes, gave them one look, and closed his eyes again 
until they were taken away. As a proof of his extraordinary composure 
of mind, let me add," continues Dr. Hosack, " that he alone could calm 
the frantic grief of his wife. ' Bememier, my Eliza, you are a Christian, 
were the expressions with which he frequently, with a firm voice, but 
in a pathetic and impressive manner, addressed her. His words, and the 
tone in which they were uttered, will never be effaced from my memory." 
Hamilton lingered in great agony through the day and night, and until 
two o'clock of the next afternoon, July 12th. 

Meanwhile, by nine o'clock on the morning of the 11th, news of the 
duel had reached the city. Presently a bulletin appeared, and the pulse 
of New York stood still at the shocking announcement : — 

'* General Hamilton was shot by Colonel Burr this morning in a duel 
The General is said to be mortally wounded." 

People started as if stunned and turned pale as they read. Men walked 
to and fro aimlessly and tearfully, then rallied and sought further infor- 
mation in breathless anxiety. Business was almost entirely suspended. 
For the moment everything was foigotten except the services and the 
fame of the victim. Bulletins, hourly changed, kept the city in agonizing 
suspensa All party distinction was lost in the general sentiment of 
sorrow and indignation. 

When the death of Hamilton was finally reported, a cry of execration 
upon his murderer burst from the lip and heart of the multitude. The 


merchants of the city met and resolved to close their stores on the day 
of the foneral, to order all the flags of the shipping at half mast, and to 
wear crape for thirty days. The bar met in profound grief and agreed to 
go into mourning for six weeks. The Cincinnati, the Tammany Society, 
the St. Andrews Society, the General Society of Mechanics, the students of 
Columbia College, the military companies, and the Corporation of the city 
with Mayor De Witt Clinton at its head, all passed resolutions of sorrow 
and condolence, and agreed to wear mourning and attend the funeral 
Indeed, the cortege on that solemn occasion comprised every body of men 
that had a corporate existence. The whole city was in mourning. The 
funeral ceremonies were conducted by the Cincinnati — which had lost 
its illustrious chief The partisans of Burr made it a point to display 
their respect for the fallen statesman by appearing in the procession. 
The precious remains were conveyed from the residence of John B. 
Church, the brother-in-law of Hamilton, to Old Trinity, while minute- 
guns from the artillery in the Park and at the Battery were answered 
by the French and British ships of war in the harbor as the proces- 
sion moved. Grouverneur Morris, with the four sons of the deceased 
by his side, delivered a brief but thrilling oration in memory of his 
slaughtered friend. He said, and the words are still ringing in the Amer- 
ican ear : " You know how well he performed the duties of a citizen — 
you know that he never courted your favor by adulation or the sacrifice 
of his own judgment. You have seen him contending against you, and 
saving your dearest interests as it were in spite of yourselves. I declare 
to you before that God in whose presence we are now especially assembled, 
that in his most private and confidential conversations the single objects of 
discussion were your freedom and happiness. The care of a rising family, 
and the narrowness of his fortune, made it a duty to return to his pro- 
fession for their support. But though he was compelled to abandon pub- 
lic life, never, no, never for a moment did be abandon the public service. 
He never lost sight of your interests. And knowing his own firm pur- 
jiose (never to accept office again), he was indignant at the charge that he 
iiought for place or power. For himself be feared nothing ; but he feared 
that bad men might, by false professions, acquire your confidence and 
abuse it to your ruin." And when dust was lovingly consigned to dust 
in Trinity Churchyard, and the parting volley had been fired over the 
statesman's grave, the vast crowd dispersed in silence and in tears, each 
man carrying to his home a sense of profound personal sorrow and 

America wept. Every generous and every selfish consideration com- 
binetl to make Hamilton's untimely death a subject for national moui*n- 


ing. Into the forty-seven years of his remarkable life he had compressed 
such an amount of difficult and laborious service as few men have ever 
rendered to any country in the longest term of human existence ; and he 
had fallen just when his great powers were in their meridian fullness. 
"My soul stiffens with despair when I think what Hamilton would 
have been," wrote Fisher Ames. "My heart, penetrated with the re- 
membrance of the man, grows liquid as I write, and I could pour it 
out like water. But it is not as Apollo, enchanting the shepherds with 
his lyre, that we deplore him ; it is as Hercules, treacherously slain in 
the midst of his unfinished labors, leaving the world overrun with inon- 

Angelica, Hamilton's beautiful daughter of twenty, who had not yet 
recovered from the shock occasioned by her favorite brother's violent 
death, lost her reason through the temble affliction, and was hencefor- 
ward the sad charge of her grief-stricken mother.^ Mrs. Hamilton sur- 
vived her husband half a century. Popular feeling took the character of 
wrathful indignation towards the immediate author of all this sorrow and 
ruin as soon as the tenor of the correspondence between Burr and Ham- 
ilton became known. It was well understood that Hamilton abhorred 
the practice of dueling. The last words from his pen were a i*eiteration 
of his opinions on the subject from a religious and moral point of view. 
Burr was, in public sentiment, a murderer, and his name was spoken with 
a hiss of horror and disgust The coroner's jury, after ten or twelve 
days of investigation, during which time Matthew L Davis and another 
gentleman were imprisoned for refusing to testify, brought in a verdict 
to the effect that " Aaron Burr, Vice-President of the United States, was 
guilty of the murder of Alexander Hamilton, and that William P. Van 
Ness and Nathaniel Pendleton were accessories." 

The astonishment of Burr at these unexampled proceedings was beyond 
expression. He had anticipated temporary excitement "which would 
soon blow over," never dreaming that the fatal shot which destroyed his 
great rival was to extinguish his own ambitious projects and plunge him 

> Alexander Hamilton, bom January 11, 1757, died July 12, 1804, married Elizabeth 
Schuyler December 14, 1780. Their children were : 1. Philip, bom January 22, 1782, killed 
in a duel November 24, 1801 ; 2. Angelica, bom September 25, 1784, died unmarried ; 3. 
Alexander, bom May 16, 1786, married, but left no children ; 4. James Alexander, bora 
April 14, 1788, married Mary Morris, dietl 1878, leaving four daughters and one son, Alex- 
ander, now residing at Dobb's Ferry ; 5. John Church, bora August 22, 1 794, whose larg« 
family of sons and daughters reside chiefly in New York City ; 6. William Stephen, bom 
August 4, 1797, died unmarried in Califomia : 7. Eliza, bora November 20, 1799, married 
8b Augustus Holly ; 8. Philip, bora June 7, 1802, married Rebecca, daughter of Louis 
MeLane (now resides at Poughkeepsie), whose two sons were Captain Louis HcLaue 
y^i-^fm.^ lolled ftt the battle of Wachita» and Dr. Allan McUne Hamilton. 


into life-long disgrace. Under cover of the public prejudice in favor of 
dueling he had sheltered his criminal designs against a man who his 
apologists say "had utterly opposed and forbidden his advancement"; and 
with fearless self-possession had not only executed his purpose, but had 
cut the ground from under his own feet and left Jefferson in undisputed 
possession of the field. From the day of the duel Vice-President Burr 
ceased to be a political le^er. 

His conduct immediately after the duel was as remarkable as his char- 
acter. When he reached Richmond Hill from crimsoned Weehawken he 
took his accustomed morning bath, then his easy-chair in the library, 
where he was found reading by a young relative from Connecticut who 
arrived unexpectedly about eight o'clock. Parton says, " Neither in his 
manner nor in his conversation was there any evidence of excitement or 
concern, nor anything whatever to attract the notice of his guest." When 
breakfast was announced the two gentlemen proceeded to the breakfast- 
room together, and chatted pleasantly during the meal ; after which the 
cousin said "Good morning," and strolled towards the city, which he 
reached about ten o'clock. In Broadway he observed signs of consterna- 
tion or confusion, as if some extraordinary event had occurred, and when 
near Wall Street met an acquaintance, who exclaimed, " Colonel Buit has 
killed General Hamilton in a duel this morning ! " " Why, no he has n't," 
replied the young man promptly and positively ; " I have just come from 
tddng breakfast with him." " But," said the other, " I have this moment 
seen the news on the bulletin ! " The cousin was utterly incredulous, 
and denounced the report as false. He soon found, however, that the 
whole city was astir, and began to suspect that the terrible story was only 
too true. Thus completely could Burr command his features and preserve 
absolute composure. 

Yet with all his coolness and cunning, his rapid and quick perceptions, 
and the recklessness with which he was ever ready to accomplish his ends, 
he was lamentably defective in judgment. He fancied himself a more pop- 
ular man than Hamilton. And certainly a more important man, as Vice- 
President of the nation ? It was not so very long since he had stood the 
idol of a great political party, second in influence and popularity only to 
one man in America. His self-sufficiency, thus flattered, was at higher 
ebb than his wisdom, else he would have foreseen that even party rancor, 
e;i^er to maim the living, scorns to strip the slain. His reasoning facul- 
tif^ were not on a par with the brilliancy of his intellect. He treated the 
-ubject of the duel lightly in his private correspondence. On the 13th he 
MTote to his son-in-law. Governor Alston : " (Jeneral Hamilton died yes- 
terday. The malignant Federalists or tories, and the embittered Clin- 


tonians, unite in endeavoring to excite public sympathy in his favor and 
indignation against his antagonist Thousands of absurd falsehoods are 
circulated with industry." Five days later he wrote again : " The event 
of which you have been advised has driven me into a soi-t of exile, and 
may terminate in an actual and permanent ostracism. Our most un- 
principled Jacobins are the loudest in their lamentations for the death of 
General Hamilton, whom, for many years, they have uniformly repre- 
sented as the most detestable and unprincipled of men — the motives are 

obvioua Every sort of persecution is to be exercised against me 

You know enough of the temper and principles of the generality of the 
officers of our State government to form a judgment of my position." 

For eleven days Vice-President Burr remained in the vicinity of Rich- 
mond Hill without daring to venture into the open air ; but it becoming 
painfully apparent that he was soon to be arrested and arraigned for wil- 
ful murder, he stealthily departed from the city one dark, cloudy 
^ ' evening. A little barge had been provided which lay silently 
near the shore of the Hudson below Richmond HilL At ten o'clock, 
surrounded by a party of gentlemen, the Vice-President emerged from the 
beautiful mansion, never to enter it more, and walking to the water s 
edge embarked in company with his faithful friend John Swartwout and 
a favorite servant, and soon was moving noiselessly down the river. All 
night the bargemen plied their oars, and at nine o'clock next morning, 
which was the Sabbath, paused in front of the lawn of Commodore 
Truxton's residence in Perth Amboy. The commodore was summoned 
from his study, greeted Burr courteously, and extended cordial hospitali- 
ties; Swartwout returned immediately to New York. The commodore 
said, " In walking up to my house the Vice-President told me they had 
spent most of the night upon the water, and a dish of good coffee would 
not come amiss. I told him it should be furnished with pleasure. As 
soon as we got to the piazza, I ordered breakfast, which was soon pre- 
pared, as the equipage of that meal was not yet removed below." The 
commodore on Monday drove Burr in his own carriage to Cranberry, 
some twenty miles beyond ; from whence the fugitive was conveyed in a 
light wagon to the Delaware, which having crossed, he made his way by 
back roads to Philadelphia. 

He was welcomed upon his arrival by some of his former friends, and 
at once appeared in the streets^ on foot and on horseback, exactly as if 
nothing had happened. In accordance with his ruling principle, to make 
little of life's miseries and much of its pleasures, he renewed a flirtation 
with a beautiful Philadelphia belle whose hand had been refused him a 
year or two before. '^ I am very well, and not without occupation or 

SALE OF RWllMOlfl) RtLL 499 

amusement," he wrote to Theodosia. "I shall be here for some days. 
How many cannot now be resolved." Being advised that warrants had 
been issued for his arrest, and that an application had been made to 
Governor Lewis requiring him to demand the murderer from the governor 
of Pennsylvania, he offered to surrender on condition of I'eceiving a guar- 
anty that he should be released on bail. But no such guaranty could be 
given him, and he prepared for further flight. He addressed Theodosia 
on the 11 th of August, saying, " Pray write over again all you have 
written since the 25th of July, for the letters now on the way will '*'* 
not be received for some time. Celeste seems more pliant. I do believe 
that eight days would have produced some grave event ; but, alas ! those 
eight days, and perhaps eight days more, are to be passed on the ocean. 
If any male friend of yours should be djring of ennui, recommend him to 
engage in a duel and a courtship at the same time." 

He took refuge for a month upon an island off the coast of Greorgia, 
and then made his way to his daughter's home in South Carolina, travel- 
ing four hundred miles of the distance in an open canoe. After ten days 
of rest he commenced a long land journey to Washington, determined to 
appear at the assembling of Congress, and perform his duty as president 
of the Senate. He found upon reaching the seat of government that he 
had been indicted for murder by New Jersey also, as the duel was fought 
within the limits of that State. He wrote to Theodosia : " There is a con- 
tention of a singular nature between the two States of New York and 
New Jersey. The subject in dispute is, which shall have the honor of 
hanging the Vice-President. You shall have due notice of time and place. 
Whenever it may be, you may rely on a great concourse of company, 
much gayety, and many rare sights." 

Meanwhile RiQhmond Hill was sold by Burr's creditors to John Jacob 
Astor for twenty-five thousand dollars, and the amount distributed among 
them. But the sum was not enough to liquidate Burr's indebtedness by at 
least seven or eight thousand dollars ; thus he was liable to imprisonment 
for debt if he appeared in New York. His assets were of course un- 
available, his income nothing, his practice gone, and two great sovereign 
States were anxious to consign him to an assassin's doom. At the 
iiame time he discharged the duties of his office all winter in Washington 
unmolested, and was treated with as much coiLsideration, apparently, by 
the officials of the government as before the duel. He was as cheerful, 
witty, courtly, and complaisant as ever. His motions in walking were 
.Jways a little stooping and ungraceful ; although of about the same 
•*tature as Hamilton, he never stood erect like the murdered statesmen. 
He had an eminent authority of manner, however, whenever it suited 


his purposes ; and he is said to have presided with great dignity in the 
Senate, and particularly at the impeachment trial of Judge Samuel Chase, 
which, commencing on the 4th of February, ended on the 1st of March 
in a verdict of acquittal. The Senators, as judges of this august court, 
were placed in a grand semicircle on each side of the Vice-President, 
an imposing array of judicial authority. One of the newspapers of the 
day said *' Burr conducted the trial with the dignity and impartiality of 
an angel, but with the rigor of a devil" The next day, March 2, Burr 
took formal leave of the Senate in a speech that produced unexpected 
and profound sensation. And on March 4 Jefferson was sworn the 
second time into the Presidential office, while George Clinton, the ex- 
governor of New York, and head of a family whom Burr considered his 
bitterest enemies, became Vice-President. 

Aaron Burr vanished from the political arena never to reappear. With- 
in six days he wrote to Theodosia of his purpose to travel in the West. 
"This tour has other objects than mere curiosity. An operation of busi- 
ness which promises to render the tour both useful and agreeable,'' he 
said. Thus we catch the first gleam of that scheme of matchless daring 
which in its development only proved how true had been the instinct of 
Hamilton in warning his country against placing power in the hands of 
this unprincipled and energetic adventurer. 

The impression left upon the New -York mind by the death of Hamilton 
was fatal to the practice of dueling within her borders. The absurdity 
of the sacrifice of such a life to maintain the " honor " of a profligate like 
Burr intensified with every turn of the earth in its orbit Civilized com- 
mon-sense was awakened. A recent act of the Legislature had made the 
sending and accepting of a challenge punishable with disfranchisement 
and incapacity to hold office for twenty years ; but such had been the state 
of public sentiment hitherto that parties concerned in a duel only had to 
maintain secrecy beforehand, and the world ignored the consequences, as 
well as the law. A number of persons knew that Burr and Hamilton 
were making preparations for a duel, yet no hindrance was interposed.^ 
It is said that but for the testimony of Rev. Dr. John M. Mason, who visited 
Hamilton at his request in his djring moments, and of Bishop Moore, 
who administered the sacrament to him, and remained at his bedside until 
all was over, there would never have existed a word of l^al evidence that 
the duel had been fought!* With both of these . eminent clergymen 
Hamilton conversed freely, and declared with the utmost sincerity of 
hear^ that he had no ill-will against Burr. " I used every expedient to 
avoid the interview," he said, " but I have found, for some time past, that 

^ PofUnCi Life of Aaron Burr ; DaMs Life of Aaron Burr, 


my life must be exposed to that man. I met him with a fixed determi- 
nation to do him no harm. I forgive all that happened.*' ^ 

The murderous custom was denounced from the pulpit on every hand. 
Among those who preached effective and celebrated sermons on the sub- 
ject of dueling were Rev. Samuel Spring, a college friend of Burr and 
his companion on the famous Canadian e.xpedition in 1776 — father of 
the eminent theologian Rev. Dr. Gardner Spring of the Brick Church — 
and Bev. Dr. Eliphalet Nott, who was the same year appointed President 
of Union CoU^. ** Humiliating end of illustrious greatness/' exclaimed 
Nott, with great feeling ; '' a loud and awful warning to a community 
where justice has slumbered — and slumbered. — and slumbered — while 
the wife has been robbed of her partner, the mother of her hopes, and life 
after life rashly and with an air of triumph sported away. It is distress- 
ing in a Christian country, and in churches consecrated to the religion 
of Jesus, to be obliged to attack a crime which outstrips barbarism, and 
would even sink the character of a generous savage. The fall of Ham- 
ilton owes its existence to mad deliberation, and is marked by violence. 
The time, the place, the circumstances are arranged with barbarous cool- 
ness. The instrument of death is leveled in daylight, and with well- 
directed skiU pointed at his heart The man upon whom nature seems 
originally to have impressed the stamp of greatness, the hero who, though 
a stripling, contributed to Washington's glory on the field, the statesman 
whose genius impressed itself upon the constitution of this country, the 
counselor who was at once the pride of the bar and the admiration of the 
court, whose argument no change of circumstances could embarrass — 
who without ever stopping, ever hesitating, by a rapid and manly march 
let! the listening judge and the fascinated juror, step by step, through a 
delightsome r^on, brightening as he advanced, till his argument rose to 
demonstration, and eloquence was rendered useless by conviction — the 
patriot whose integrity baffled the scrutiny of inquisition, the friend 
whose various worth opposing parties acknowledged while alive, and on 
whose tomb they unite with equal sympathy and grief to heap their 
honors, yielded to the force of an imperious custom ; and, yielding, he 
sacrificed a life in which all had an interest — and he is lost — lost to 
his coontiy — lost to his family — lost to us. 

• I cannot forgive that minister at the altar who has hitherto forborne 
to remonstrate on this subject. I cannot forgive that public prosecutor, 
who, intrusted with the duty of avenging his country's wrongs, has seen 

* Bishop MooT€*8 Letter ; Rev. Dr. MaaorCs Letter ; Refleclisns of HamilioTi, a paper written 
W himKlf the evening before the dael ; Will of Hamilton^ appointing John B. Church, 
NichoUi Fisli, and Nathaniel Pendleton his executors and trustees. 


those wrongs and taken no measures to avenge them. I cannot foigive 
that judge upon the bench, or that governor in the chair of state, 
who has lightly passed over such offenses. I cannot forgive the public, 
in whose opinion the duelist finds a sanctuary. ... Do you ask how 
proof can be obtained ? How can it be avoided ? The parties return, 
hold up the instruments of death, publish to the world the circumstances 
of the interview, and even with an air of insulting triumph boast how 
coolly and how deliberately they proceeded in violating one of the most 
sacred laws of earth and heaven. 

" Hamilton needs no eulogy. ... In whatever sphere he moved the 
friendless had a friend, the fatherless a father, and the poor man, though 
unable to reward his kindness, found an advocate. . . When truth was 
disregarded or the eternal principles of justice violated, he sometimes 
soared so high and shone with a radiance so transcendent, I had almost 
said so 'heavenly, as filled those around him with awe, and gave to him 
the force and authority of a prophet ' . . . His last act more than any 
other sheds glory on his character. ... He dies a Christian. . . . Let not 
the sneering infidel persuade you that this last act of homage to the 
Saviour resulted from an enfeebled state of mental faculties ; ... his 
opinions concerning the validity of the Holy Scriptures had long been 
settled, and settled after laborious investigation and extensive and deep 
research. These opinions were not concealed. I knew them myself. 
Some of you who hear me knew them. And had his life been spared, it 
was his determination to have published them to the world, together with 
the facts and reasons upon which they were founded. ... To the cata- 
logue of professing Christians among illustrious personages may now be 
added the name of Alexander Hamilton ; a name which raises in the 
mind the idea of whatever is great, whatever is splendid, whatever is 
illustrious in human nature.*' ^ 

The Legislature of New York was speedily memorialized for more 
stringent laws upon the subject of dueling ; and Pinckney, the vice-presi- 
dent of the Cincinnati, proposed to the New York division of that society 
henceforward to set its face resolutely against the practice. Other societies 
passed resolutions in harmony with the same disposition. Religion and 

1 DiKOune by Rev. Eliphalet Nott, D. D., July 29, 1804. President Nott was in severe 
domestic affliction at the time he delivered the above discourse, having lost his wife on the 
9th of March, 1804. She was Sarah, the daughter of Rev. Joel Benedict, of Plainfield, Con- 
necticut, and twenty-nine years of age at the time of her death ; a lady rather small of 
statore, of fair complexion, expressive countenance, lighted with an uncommonly brilliant 
and penetrating eye, with a mind enriched by reading and taste refined by culture, and with 
great vivacity of manner. President Nott was bom in 177S ; he was the son of Rev. Samuel 
and Deborah Seldon Nott, of Connecticut. See p. 124 (Vol. II). Hidory of UU WaiU 
Flamity ; The BenedieU in America, p. 88. 


humanity united in one deep, abiding frowo. And since that time no 
man in New York, or in any other civilized State of thia Union, has 
fought a duel without falling in the esteem of his coDteraporaries. Bueling 
had, strictly speaking, Teceived its death-blow, and it never even tem- 
porarily revived, 

" If," said Fisher Ames, " the popular estimation is ever to be taken for 
the true one, the uncommonly profound sorrow for the death of Alexan- 
der Hamilton sufBciently explains and vindicates itself. The public has 
not suddenly, but after an experience of five-and-tweuty years, taken that 
impression of his juat celebrity that nothing but his extraonlinaiy intrin- 
sic merit could have made, and still less could have made so deep and 
maintained so long. It is with really great men as with great literary 
works, the excellence of both is best tested by the extent and durableness 
of their impression. It is safe and correct to judge by effects." 

Three fourths of a century have since passed, and the facts and effects 
of Hamilton's life are now more vividly impressed upon the intelligence 
of America than ever before. And a fresh interest is awakening, not 
only in the genius, character, and services of t)ie great statesman through 
whom New York took such a leading place in general affairs, but in the 
study of the origin and con.stitution of the nation whose existence has 
been vindicated by arms. 

The Cincinnati erected a monumental tomb to his memory in Trimly 
Churchyard : and popular affection recorded his name indelibly upon 
the ever-forming map of the United States dozens of times repeated 

)l.. Mm 








New York Historical Society. — Its Foundeks. —Judge Egbert Benson. — John 
PiNTARD. — Origin of Historical Societies in America. — The Men op LEf- 
TERS. — The Elgin Botanical Garden. — Dr. Samuel Latham Mitchill. — Clubs. 
— Origin of the Free School Society. — Its Purpose. — Its Founders. — 
Thomas Eddy. —Insane Asylum. —Some of the Public-spirited Merchants. — 
The Friendly Club. — Philanthropic Ladies. — The Orphan Asylum. — Thirty- 
three Charitable Institutions. — The Academy of Fine Arts. —The Medical 
College. — Newspapers. — Salmagundi. -Washington Irving. — First Steam- 
boat ON THE Hudson. — Robert Fulton. — Colonel John Stevens. — Inventions 
AND Experiments. — Ocean Steam Navigation. — The Embargo of Jefferson. 

THE peculiar intellectual and social condition of New York in the earli- 
est decade of the present century is best illustrated through the in- 
stitutions which were springing into existence. The movement of the 
human mind taken collectively is always towards something better. But 
neither philosophy, scientific achievement, literary culture, the art of gov- 
ernment, nor religious knowledge can go much in advance of contemporar}' 
intelligence. The age furnishes the master-workman with materials, and 
frond thence he builds. The growth of New York has ever been like a poem, 
whose beauty would be marred by leaving out a line here and there — 
or like a tree, whose fruit would l)e curtailed by rejecting as of no account 
a portion of its branches and its flowers. To become acquainted with the 
actual whole, every opening bud must be analyzed and weighed in the 
balance. No fact means anything when standing alona Every fact be- 
comes significant in proportion to the value of its setting, and so far as 
it reveals the quality and spirit of a people. 

The careful reader, having traced in preceding chapters the results of 
New York's constant endeavor to provide means and methods for edu- 
cating all classes of her restless, questioning population, is prepared for 
further developmentB in her elaborate machinery for the maintenance 
of public schools. And we have presently to draw more fully the 



outline of her magnificent charities — the medicine for natural and 

moial evils — in which her generous extravf^ance has excelled through 

all her history that of any other city in the world. In the mean time a 
project was under consideration, neither educational nor charitable, but 
partaking of the nature of both, which was to become a priceless inheri- 
tance t4> all future generations. 

Eleven well-known and highly accomplished and influential gentlemen 
met by appointment in the picture-room of the City Hall, in Wall Street, 
on the afternoon of the 20tli of November, 1804, and i^reed to 
organize a society for the collection and preservation of whatever 
iriight relate to the natural, civil, or ecclesiastical liistory of the United 
.States in general, and of the great sovereign State of New York in partic- 
ular These gentlemen 
were Judge Egbert Ben- 
son, Mayor -De Witt 
Clinton, the celebrated 
divines I!ev. Dr. Samuel 
Miller, Rev. Ur. John M. 
Mason, Rev. Dr. John N. 
Abeel.andKev. Dr. Wil- 
liam Linn, and Dr. David 
Hoeack.Anthony Bleeck- 

er, Samuel Bayard, Peter J 

Gerard Stuyvesant, and 

Juhn Pintard. After 

discussing the subject 

ireel)', a committee, con- 

■'bting of Judge r>enson. 

Rev. Dr. Miller, and John 

PiDtard,was appointed to 

draft a constitution. 
At a second meeting, 

•■n the 10th of December, other gentlemen of prominence were present, 

including Rufns King, Daniel D. Tompkins, and Rev. John H. Hobart. 

The constitutioD was read and adopted, and the institution thus founded 

was named the New York Historical Society. 
The permanent ofiRcers were not chosen until the 14th of January, 1805 

at which meeting the society was fully organized, with Judge 

ffenson as president. Right Reverend Bishop Moore 1st vice-presi- 

JcLt, Judge Brockholst Livingston 2d vice-president, Kev. Dr. Miller 

t''rresponding secretary, John Pintard recording secretary, Charles Wilkes 

Judg* Egbvrt Bmhhi. 


treasurer, and John Forbes librarian. The first standing committee con- 
sisted of Dr. Samuel K Mitchill, Dr. David Hosack, Daniel D. Tompkins, 
William Johnson, John McKesson, Anthony Bleecker, and Rev. Dr. Mason. 

Active measures were at once taken to aecuie books, inannscripta, letters, 
documents, statistics, and newspapers relating directly or remotely to Amer- 
ican history ; and pictures, antiquities, medals, coins, and specimens of 
natural history were industriously sought for the formation of a museum. 
Tlic l)egiiming was broad and comprehensive, and the nucleus was soon 
constituted of the vast and valuable collection which has become the pride 
of the city, and which may well challenge comparison with museums of a 
similar character established and fostered by an older civilization. 

John Pintaid, the acknowledged founder of this time-honored in- 
stitution, was an animated, cheerful, energetic man of forty-five, a Xew- 
Yorker by birth, a Huguenot by descent, who as a youth in Prince- 
ton Collie bad enjoyed the special friendship of Dr. Witherspoon and 
formed a wide circle of learned and distinguished friends. He was early 
a student of public men and measures, and in addition to classical acquire- 
ments and familiarity with el^ant literature, had some knowledge of 
law, and an exceptional fund of historical, gei^raphical, and didactic in- 
formation. Dr. Fmncis says ; " He was versed in theological and polemi- 
cal divinity, and in the progress of church affairs among us ever a devoteil 
disciple. You could scarcely approach him without having something of 
Dr. Johnson thrust upon you. Tliere were periods in his life in which 
he gave every unappropriated moment to philological inquiry, and it was 
curious to see him ransacking his formidable pile of dictionaries for radi- 
cab and synonyms with an earnestness that would have done honor to 
the most eminent student in the republic of letters." 

He had traveled through the Western wilds ami learned the history 
and habits of the Indians , was editor of The Ktw York Daily Advertiatr 
for several years ; and upon his return from New Orleans in the spring 
of 1804 published a topographical and medical review of that French 
metropolis, having while there minutely examined the condition of 
things. He engaged in commercial enterprises, but was ever rendering 
intportant civic services to New York ; he was the first city inspector, 
" , 1804, originuled the fimt saviugfl-bnnk, which was organ- 
t the CDoma of the New V'ork Historical Society, was conspicuous 
in the fnrmatiou of the American Hihie Society, was the main-spring in 
Lh« oigacuBttiim of ihe Theological Seminary of the ProlestanE Episcopal 
Cbtil«ll, ud was an efficient auxiliary in furtherance of the canal policy 
of Ma jtlBBtrioQS and intimat*; frienil. De Witt Clinton. Dr. Fmncis 
m^» "llw finb meetiog of our citizcm in reconmieadiitioD of this vAst 


measure was brought together through John Piutard's instmmeDtality, at 
a time when to give it any counteuance whatever was sure to bring upon 
the advocate of the ruinous measure the anathemas of certain of the 
political leaders of the day, and official proscription. I remember well 
how cautiously and how secretly many of those incipient meetings in 
favor of the contemplated project were convened ; and how the manly 
boeom of Clinton often throbbed at the agonizing remarks the Opposition 
muttered in his hearing, and the hazard to his personal security which he 
sometimes encountered/' 

The idea which resulted in the formation of the New York Historical 
Society had long been cherished by John Pintard. He first became 
deeply impressed with the importance of preserving records of events 
while secretary for his uncle, the commissary for American prisoners 
in the Revolution. His plan gradually unfolded itself to the scholarly 
men of the period. As early as 1789 the celebrated Rev. Jeremy Bel- 
knap wrote from Boston to Postmaster-General Hazard, then residing 
in New York : " This day Mr. Pintard called to see me. He says he 
is an acquaintance of yours, and wants to form a society of anti- 
quaries, eta He seems to have a literary taste." ^ Hazard replied : 
"Mr. Pintard has mentioned to me his thoughts about an American 
Antiquarian Society. The idea pleases me much. Mr. Pintard has re- 
cently purchased a large collection (in volumes) relating to the American 
Revolution. It was made by Dr. Chandler, of Elizabetbtown, who was 
in England all the war. It is valuable, as is Mr. Pintard's library." 
In October, 1790, Hazard wrote to Belknap, " I like Pintard's idea of a 
society of American antiquaries ; but where will you find a sufficiency 
of members of suitable abilities and leisure ? " In the spring following 
Pintard wrote to Belknap inquiring after the welfare of the contemplated 
institation, and informed the eminent theologian that a magazine account 
would soon appear of the New York Tammany Society. He said, " This 
a strong national society, I engrafted an antiquarian scheme of a 
upon it. It makes small progress with a small fund, and may 
pomfaly soooeed. We have a tolerable collection of pamphlets, mostly 
modeniy with some history, of which I will send you an abstract. If your 
saooeeds we will open a regular correspondence, etc. If my plan 
strikes xoot it will thrive." 

Piolaid's plan did strike root, and his prediction regarding its future 

inW^ CbC Vol. III. Fifth Series, Btlknnp Papers, Part II. ; Belknap to Hazard, 
Ut ITH^ 9 Belknap to Hazard, August 19, 1789 : Belknap to Hazard, August 27, 
wdU Mdknap^ September 5, 1789 ; Hazard to Belknap, October 3, 1790 ; Finiard 
AfM ^ 1791. Proceedings oj Mass. Hist, Soc, 1791 - 1835. 



prosperity proved correct. The Massachusetts Historical Society, with 
Belknap at its head, was organized in 1791. Thirteen years later the New 
York Historical Society entered upon a healthful existence, being the 
second institution of its kind in America. To Pintard is due the honor 
of originating both ; indeed, he may with justice be pronounced the 
Father of Historical Societies in this country. 

The men of letters who comprised its first membership did vastly more 
than establish the high character of the New York Historical Society 
upon a solid and permanent basis. They were instrumental in directing 
public attention throughout the land to the preservation of contemporar}' 
records as the data from which all future history must receive its true 
impress. The amazing perversion of facts by political writers at that 
particular epoch was an additional stimulus to fidelity in historical re- 
search grounded upon documentary testimony. In New York, garrets 
and trunks were ransacked for letters and papers which had been cast 
aside as worthless, scattered documents were rescued from oblivion, 
and erelong material of consequence was concentrated and made avail- 
able for reference. Prior to 1804 but one history of New York had been 
printed, that of Smith, and this came down only to 1756. But the 
Society never rested until the i)eriod of our colonial history was as well 
known as that of a later date ; it procured an action of the Legislature 
by which the archives of France, Holland, and England were examined, 
and it i-estored to the State government on more than one occasion im- 
portant portions of its long-lost documents ; it has also issued of its own 
publications twenty-four volumes, in addition to many historical essays 
and addresses in pamphlet form. Its accumulations, during the three 
fourths of a century since its foundation, have been so ext^sive, varied, 
and of such rare worth, that an architectural structure is contemplated 
of suflBcient magnitude for their proper accommodation.^ 

^ The New York Historical Society first occupied a room in the old City Hall iii Wall 
Street from 1804 to 1809, then removed to the Government House opposite the Bowling 
Green, and remained from 1809 to 1816, occupied the New York Institution from 1816 to 
1882, Remson's Building, in Broadway, from 1832 to 1837, Stuyvesant's Institute from 1887 
to 1841, the New York Univernty from 1841 to 1857, and, after struggling with pecuniary 
diifiealties that were almost destructive, came out of the trial triumphant, and celehimted its 
ftfty-thixd anniversary by taking possession of its present building on the comer of Second 
^vciiw and Eleventh Street, which, when projected and erected, was supposed capable of per- 
^ providing for the needs of the Society. Material poured in so profusely, however, 
860 the oflioerB in chaige complained of want of space ; and for twenty yean past 
agitated of removing the magnificent collection to a more suitable loca- 
1l«rt of the dtj — thus establishing a " Museum of History, Antiquities, 
aqi odIj be an honor to New York but to the oontioent of America. 
Miv nnditf CTHiriderition* 


The founders of the New York Historical Society deserve more than a 
passing notice. They represented the highest culture of the city, and 
were veritable educators of the public taste. Special committees ap- 
pointed to further the studies of zoology, botany, mineralogy, philosophy, 
and other subjects developed into separate societies. Art, science, and 
literature were encouraged and fostered The influence of the institution 
became not only a blessing but a power ; and its example was borrowed 
by the forming communities in the country at laige, until similar organi- 
zations are to be found in nearly every county in the State, and in all 
the laige cities of the United States. 

Judge Benson, the first president of this ancestor of the great family of 
Historical Societies in America, was a native of New York, educated in 
Colombia CoU^e, identified through a life of usefulness with the progress 
of the city, and had distinguished himself in State legislation, in Congress, 
and in jurisprudence. He had reached his sixtieth year honored and be- 
loved. His integrity was a proverb. He was a man of superior talents 
as well as of efficient excellence, a ripe English and classical scholar, and 
well versed in Indian lore and Dutch history. Among his writings left us 
is an exhaustive paper on the subject of " Names," which, after reading 
before the Historical Society in 1816, he printed in a small pamphlet ; it ie 
now a rare antiquarian curiosity.^ With the scholarship and accomplish- 

by Egbert Benson, entitled Names ("chiefly names of places, and further re- 
to places in that portion of our country once held and claimed by the Dntch by right 
of di s e o v e iy, and by them named New Netherland"), printed 1817. Judge Egbert Benson 
bora 1746, died 1833. He was the son of Robert Benson (2), bom 1712, died 1762, who 
the 900 of Robert Benson (1), bom 1686, who was the son of Samson Benson, bom 1652, 
— Bsnied the daughter of Robert Van Deusen — who was the son of the first of the family in 
Kev York, Dirck Benson — or Reusing, Bensinck, Bensick, Bensich, as the t^ame was 
fwiooalj entored upon the Dutch and English records. Dirck Benson came from Holland 
with the fint settlen on the Van Rensselaer manor, and his arms were painted upon the 
windoiir of the first church in Albany ; in 1653, according to the land papers, he purchased 
a kit ia Bniedway, New York City. He seems to have been a man of property and im- 
pttmiT among the men of his time. He had five children, of whom Samson was the 
nooad Mn. Samaon had seven children, three of whom were daughters ; Elizabeth married 
l^bert Yaa Bomim. Robert (1), second son of Samson, had three children : 1. Elizabeth, 
iiiinl Hermmnna Rutgers, whose son Robert married Elizabeth Beekman, and daughter 
May married Anthony M. Hoffman ; 2. Catharine, married Colonel Martin Hoffman ; 3. 
(SX married hia cousin, Catharine, daughter of Egbert and Elizabeth Benson Van 
The children of the latter were : 1. Robert (3), Secretary of the Convention which 
adopted the oonstttotion of New York, bom 1739, died 1823 ; 2. Henry; 3. Judge Egbert, above 
■entioBed, who nerer married; 4. Anthony; 5. Mary; 6. Cornelia. Robert (3) married 
Dmaht the beentifiil daughter of John Couwenhoven, whose children were : 1. Robert (4) ; 2. 
^v»tiariaft^ married John L. Leflerts ; 3. Egbert, who was a personal friend of Henry Clay 
nd wttmf of the gv^eat men of his time, married Maria, daughter of John Couwenhoven, 
md k^ cUldrea were, Susan, Robert (5), Egbert, George M., Lefiert L., Maria E., Henry, 



ments of the two first vice-presidents. Bishop Moore and Judge Brockhobt 
Livingston, the reader is already familiar. Rev. Dr. John M. Masou was 
esteemed the greatest pulpit orator of his time. He was forty-four yeara 
of age, of noble and ijeerless bearing and marvelous erudition. Animation 
of manner, wanoth of temperament, vigor of thought, and energy of 
diction wei-e his special characteristica. He temporized with no errors, 
and was intimidated by no olistacles. Lethai^gy and indifference found 
little repose within sound of his voice. Through his efTorts a theological 
seminary was established in New York in 1804, of which he was ap- 
pointed professor. Eev. Dr. Linn was distinguished alike for pulpit elo- 
quence and varied scholarship. He was untiring in his eflbrts to promote 
the interests of the society, and was laden with historical mat«rial.s. 
Kev. Dr. Miller was about thirty-five, and had already acquired mucli 
reputation as a theological and polemical writer. His Brit/ Betrospcrt oj 
the Eiijhtfentk Century, published in 1803, marks an era in our literature ; 
and acconling to a British critic its author richly deserved the praises of 
Iiotli heiuis])hcres. He was a Presbyterian pastor in Xew York fmm 
1793 to I8U!, when he became a professor of Ecclesiastical Histoty ami 
Church C'rovernmeiit in the Theological Seminary at IViuceton. So 
deeply were his sympathies engaged in the objects of the Historical 
St)ciety, that lie contemplated a History of New York, and collected ex- 
tensive materials for that purpose. 

Another eminent divine, whose high character and literary attainments 
rendered him an important auxiliary, was Rev, Dr. John N. Abeel. He 
was of the same age as Rev. Dr. Miller, young, magnetic, full of life aud 
vivacity, and the pos.sessor of a voice of much sweetness and mel(*dy. 
He was a polished speaker, and rarely failed to capture the attention of 
an audience. Dr. David Hosack was also thirty-five ; be bad had the 
advantage of medical training in Edinbui^h and London, under the nuist 
celebrated professoia of the age. When he returned to New York in 
1794, he brought the first collection of minerals introduced into America ; 
also a collection of the duplicate specimens of plants from the herbarium 
nf I.innjpus. now constituting a portion of the Museum of the Lyceum of 
Nahiral UiHtiiry in the city. White a professor of Botany in Columbia 
CoUtgfi, 1)« founded the Elgin Botanical Garden, in 1801, a work of 
princely muiiifioencc, whfra amid twenty cultivated acres he illustrated 

Utkud IL r 4-ii>ha, muri*) 8«nib H., il*n^tiinr of A>iK'"<tiiie H. lAvmoe, wboMcluldRn 

\, IUbrCA■lXV•'l'■^ Cutburinr, Smh — iiinmnl thx lion Darld Sturt — and Jalfa ; 5. 

it Jutl^ LeffrTt tj-.ffms, wfaoH (taiiglilpr. Klirntipcli DoroUwa, nuiied the Hon. 

[^Ibabcih , T. -luu, mirrird Kichinl K. Hoflbwa,!!. D., vhotr tUogli- 


to his classes the mysteries of the vegetable kingdom — the loves and 
habits of plants and trees.^ He was one of the original projectors of the 
literaiy and Philosophical Society, besides giving much of his time and 
talent to historical pursuits ; he was president of the Historical Society 
from 1820 to 1828. The presence of Samuel Bayard and Peter G. Stuy- 
vesaut at the inauguration of the Society was significant. They were gen- 
tlemen of education, culture, wealth, public spirit, and benevolence, and 
they bore names dear to the New York heart. Bayard resided in New 
Jersey, where he had done much to promote learning. His wife was 
Martha Pintard, a cousin of John Pintard. But although living in 
another State, he was essentially a New-Yorker, and like Stuyvesant con- 
tributed no little to perpetuate the fame of his ancestors. 

Anthony Bleecker excelled all others in devotion to the future charac- 
ter of New York. His taste was indispensable to every arrangement for 
the good of the prospective Society. He was remarkable for generous 
sympathy as well as literaiy instinct, and was a favorite with all the men 
of letters of his time. Mayor De Witt Clinton was everywhere helpful. He 
believed the institution would perform a double service through the clear- 
ing of the way for other herculean enterprises already taking shape in his 
mind. He was an intellectual giant. Comprehending the great needs of the 
community at large, he could also note the intermediate steps to remark- 
able achieveuients. Few men were ever more industrious, or applied 
genius and industry to higher and more important ends. His scholarship 
was as varied as his usefulness. Metaphysics, theology, poetry, belles 
lettres, natural history, zoology, botany, mineralogy, ichthyology, and orni- 
thology, all in turn occupied his attention. His collection of minerals in 
after years formed one of the most valuable private cabinets in the United 
States. He was elected an honorary member of many learned societies 
in Great Britain and on the continent of Europe, and corresponded with 

E^gin Botuiical Garden became the resort of the curious. It was on Murray 
Bin IMT tiM ttta BOW occupied by the Roman Catholic Cathedral, covering the ground be- 
fSffy-tntand Forty-seventh Streets, and Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Here Michaux, 
IfitdMlIv Dou^ty, Pursh, and Le Conte often repaired to solve the doubts of the 
to eonfirm the nuptial theory of Vaillant. Torrey, the eminent naturalist 
WIS a pupil of Dr. Hosack, as was also Professor Gray. Since Dr. 
tbe botuiical nomenclature enrolls no less than sixteen species of plants of 
under the genus ffomckia. {Old New York, by Dr. John W. Francis.) 
:» mentioned above, vras the only child of Andr^ Miohaux, far fame<l 
Hi Ouka ^f Nmih America, and his FJoia. Young Michaux was the author, 
JM Ifltl^ rf jj JimiHtfJf to ike Wett of ike Alleghany Mountains^ to which was added a 

; through his influence a great number of Amfriean forest trees 
In |||# Oaiden of Plants, in Paris, where he resided through a long and us(>ful 
(q Ptash ^VM the author of the Flora Americce SepteTUrionalU, and fur several 
m^ ^gfi^gf «f tb^ Bgin Botanical Garden, 


the most distinguished men of the age.^ The scientist, Dr. Samuel 
Latham Mitchill, of the first standing committee, was one of the strong 
pillars of the Society through all its tender yeai-s. He possessed an ex- 
ceptional memory, with unusual opportunities for collecting and collating 
information. He was in the national counsels at Washington the greater 
part of the first dozen years of the centuiy, but he found time to be of 
essential service to New York notwithstanding his numerous occupations. 
His medical career, professional labors, political services, and literary and 
scientific writings all give evidence of superior merit ; he was a sort of hu- 
man dictionary, whose opinion was sought by all originators and inventors 
of every grade throughout his entire generation. He edited the Medical 
Repository y commenced in 1797, for sixteen years, in which he was aided 
by Dr. Edward Miller. His analysis of the Saratoga waters greatly 
enhanced the value and importance of those wonderful mineral springs. 
His mineralogical survey of the .State of New York in 1796, of which he 
published a report in the first volume of the Medical Repository, gave 
Volney many hints. It was the first undertaking of the kind in the 
United States, and secured its author a wide reputation. His ingenious 
theory of the doctrines of septon and septic acid gave impulse to Sir 
Humphry Davy's vast discoveries ; and his essays on pestilence awak- 
ened inquiry all over the world. As early as 1788 he had served as a 
commissioner to treat with the Iroquois Indians for the purchase of lands 
in Western New York ; and in 1793 we find him in company with Chan- 
cellor Livingston and Simeon De Witt establishing the Society for the 
Promotion of Agriculture, Manufactures, and the Useful Arts. Duyckink 
enumerates one hundred and eighty-nine distinct achievements or impor- 
tant acts of Dr. Mitchill's busy life.^ In course of years he became an 
active member of nearly all the learned societies of the world. 

Dr. Mitchill's versatility of talent has been the theme of many writers. 
The wits of the day ridiculed his hospitality to new ideas, and perpetrated 

1 While yet quite young De Witt Clinton became a member of the ancient fraternity of 
Freemasons, which included such men as Washington, Lafayette, Franklin, Pinckney, 
Marshall, and Chancellor Livingston ; and in 1816 he was unanimously el«;ted to the 
highest masonic office in this country, which he retained until his death. 

■ The first reads thus : ** Returns from Europe with the diploma of M. D. from Edinburgh, 
obtained in 1786 — after having been initiated into the mysteries of Freemasonry, in the 
Latin Lodge of the Roman Eagle, by the famous Joannes Bruno, 1787.** Dr. Samuel Latham 
Mitchill was bom in North Hempstead, Queens County, Long Island, August 20, 1764 ; 
died in New York City, 1831. Through his maternal uncle. Dr. Samuel Latham, of the same 
village, he was placed under the instruction of Dr. liconard (/utting (who was classically 
educated at Cambridge, England), and aftenK-ards went to Edinburgh to complete his studies 
remaining nearly four years, a contemporary student with Thomas Addis Emmet and Sir 
Jamea Mackintosh, and while there enjoyed the best intellectoal society in Scotland. 


all manner of jokes at his expense, which he seemed to enjoy as well as 
the rest of the town. His faith in steam navigation was a special object 
of satire, he having warmly advocated in the Legislature the passage of 
the act of 1798, which conferred the right upon Chancellor Livingston to 
navigate the waters of New York by steam ; and he had the satisfaction, 
in 1807, of turning the tables upon those who laughed, by sailing in the 
first steamboat to Albany. 

In 1804 he advocated with considerable ingenuity a new name for the 
country to meet the supposed want of a national term for the people of the 
United States, and there was a lively debate upon the subject in the new 
Historical Society. He hit upon "Fredonia" as suggestive of a generous 
idea, and thus the inhabitants would be Fi'edes, or Fredouians ; but the geo- 
graphical limits of the country filled up so rapidly that the appellation of 
" American " continued to prevail and was not esteemed inappropriate. 
He was both a versifier and a poet, and amused himself at odd moments 
in humorous fancies and in the production of scientific poems. On one 
occasion a friend found him after breakfast in the charitable improvement 
of nursery rhymes. He said : " I have found that the verses commencing 

* Four-and-twenty blackbirds, etc.* 

abound with errors, and the infantile mind is led astray by false ideas 

of the musical functions of cooked birds ; I have therefoi'e arranged it 

thus: — 

• When the pie was opened the birds they were songless. 

Was not that a pretty dish to set before the Congress ? ' " 

In the next breath the learned doctor might have been absorbed in 
the anatomy of an egg or a fish, deciphering a Babylonian brick, studying 
the character of meteoric stones, the different species of brassia, or the 
geology of Niagara, offering suggestions concerning the angle of a wind- 
mill or the shape of the gridiron, advising with Michaux on the beauty of 
l»lack walnut for parlor furniture, investigating bivalves and discoursing 
•m conchology with Dr. Samuel Akerly, his brother-in-law, talking over 
the feasibility of introducing 'the Bronx River into the city with Professor 
CoUes, or, in a profound exegetical disquisition on Kennicott's Hebrew 
Bible with the great Jewish Rabbi, Gershom Seixas. On one occasion a 
committee of soap-boilers begged him to defend the innoxious influence 
^ their vocation in a crowded population. For his services rendered to 
^he democratic soap-boilers Chancellor Livingston humorously told him he 
"^leserved a monument of hard soap." 

Among the social institutions of the period was the Krout Club, its 
'"^Dibers being descendants of the early Dutch settlers, and one of its prin- 
^F*I features was an annual dinner where cabbage was served in an end- 


less variety of dishes. Tlie presiding officer was called the " Grand Krout," 
and it was customary immediately aft^r his election to crown him with a 
cabbage-head nicely fashioned, throwing at the same instant a mantle of 
cabbage-leaves about his shoulders. Dr. Mitchill, while thus arrayed 
as master of a cabbage feast, once delivered a most amusing eulogistic 
address on the cabbage, closing with the words, " Thy name has been 
abused, as if * to cabbage * were to pilfer or steal. I repel with indignation 
this attempt to sully thy fame." The Turtle Club, comprising the " solid 
men" of the city, was in the habit of feasting annually on turtle, usually 
in a shady grove at Hoboken, and Dr. Mitchill also aiidressed this so- 
cial clan in one of his happiest strains of humor, stating that "tlie 
turtle, by an odd perversion of language, means the cooing bird of 
Fredonia, and also the four-footed reptile of Bahama." He frequently 
addressed the ladies through the medium of the Drone Club on the 
healthful influence of the alkalies, and the depurating virtues of white- 
washing. He seemed to be equally at home on all subjects, and possesseil 
a charm of manner and a magnetism of mind that was unusual He did 
much to advance the public and private interests of New York, and 
elevate her scholastic reputation throughout the world. 

At the important meeting when the constitution of the Historical SiK'i- 
ety was adopted additional persons were present, whose names reflect lusttM 
upon the oganization : Rev. Dr. John Bowden, for a dozen years profes- 
sor of Moral Philosophy and Belles Lettres in Columbia College ; l»ev. 
Dr. John C. Kunze,' among the most leaiiied divines and Oriental scliol- 
ars of his day, and the first to strongly urge the propriety of educating 
German youth in English; John Kemp, the eminent mathematician, 
chosen a member of the Royal Society of Edinbui^h before he was twenty- 
one, and who filled not only the chair of Mathematics, but that of His- 
tory, Geography, and Chronology in Columbia Collie for a long series of 
years ; Rev. Dr. William Harris, rector of St. Mark's Church from 1802 to 
1816, a classical scholar of rare proficiency, versed in ecclesiastical his- 
tory, who was afterwards president of Columbia College for many years ; 
Peter Wilson, a notable linguist, who possessed much other knoivledge nt' 
value to the new institution ; John Murray, Jr., a clever man, a lover of 
the arts, a philanthropist, and an early and ardent promoter of our free- 
school system ; and Dr. Archilmld Bruce, a young physician of twenty- 
eighty who, graduating from Columbia in 1795, soon after made the tour 
of France, Switzerland, and Italy, and collected a mineralogical cabinet of 
great value — becoming indeed the first professor of mineralogy in this 
coimtiy, and edited the Journal of A niericfni Minieralogy, Rev. John Henry 
Hohart^ subeeqnently Episcopal Bishop of New York, then thirty years 


of age, Daniel D. Tompkms, shortly to be elected governor of the State, 
and Rufus King, recently returned from his mission to England, are 
more fully introduced to the reader elsewhere. 

It will be observed that the Faculty of Columbia College furnished a 
strong del^ation to aid in the formation of this society — and also that 
several of its founders were Begents of the University. Ex-Governor 
John Jay from his Bedford retirement rendered substantial encourage- 
ment ; and his son, Peter Augustus Jay, contributed largely to the mate- 
rial for a library. His benefactions embraced much of that curious accumu- 
lation of periodicals published before the Bevolution. He said, '' A file of 
American newspapers is of far more value to our design than all the Byzan- 
tine historians." John McKesson was a large contributor of Legislative 
documents, of which were the Journals of the Provincial Congress and 
Convention, together with the proceedings of the Committee of Safety 
from May, 1775, to the adoption of the State Constitution in 1777. 
From the banning the institution comprehended a rare amount of influ- 
ence and literary and scientific enthusiasm, and it was sustained and fos- 
tered by the erudite and the accomplished. Its membership through all 
its history has represented the best scholarship of the country and the 
age. Its presidents — Egbert Benson, Gouverneur Morris, De Witt Clin- 
ton, David Hosack, James Kent, Morgan Lewis, Peter G. Stuyvesant, 
Peter Augustus Jay, Albert Gallatin, Luther Bradish, Rev. Dr. De Witt, 
Hamilton Fish, Augustus Schell, and Frederic De Peyster — have been 
nearly all men of national reputation. 

In the mean time the subject of common schools was discussed with 
renewed earnestness. New York had not liitherto been destitute. 
Ever since the Dutch provided schools at the public expense op- 
portunity had been afforded for universal education ; nearly every church 
supported a school of its own, and other charity free schools and private 
schools abounded. There were in the city at this date one hundred and 
forty-one teachers actively employed. But the population of the city was 
increasing rajndly, and its enlightened citizens saw the tide of European 
emigration drifting multitudes to her shores whose children would grow 
up hopelessly ignorant, easy victims to vice and crime, unless the way 
was prepared for them to receive the rudiments of knowledge. Public 
economy and self-preservation, not less than religious duty, urged the 
work forward. Several of the pliilanthropic founders of the Historiciil 
Society discussed the subject, and finally, through the advice of Tliomas 
Eddy, a meeting was called on the 19th of February, at the house of John 
Marray, Jr., in Pearl Street. It was resolved to form a society of whicli 
the membership fee should be eight dollars ; but the subscription list, 


still preserved, was beaded by Mayor De Witt Clinton witb a donation 
of two bundred dollars, and other influential men gave in proportion. 
John Pintard, the city inspector, was constantly on the alert to advance 
the enterprise. Clinton, while secretary of the Board of Begents of the 
University, had imbibed the liberal humanitarian spirit that character- 
ized New York, and being elected a State senator, in addition to the 
mayoralty of the city, he was able to bring the subject with uncommon 
vigor before the Legislature. The result was the institution of a free 
school, independent of and in nowise interfering with the schools already 
provided by churches, corporations, and charities. Thirty-seven names 
were mentioned in the Act of Incorporation, and the society was entitled 
" the Society for establishing a Free School in the city of New York, for 
the education of such poor children as do not belong to or are not pro- 
vided for by any religious society." Thirteen trustees were appointed to 
manage the affairs of the society, of whom Mayor Clinton was president, 
John Murray, Jr., vice-president, Leonard Bleecker treasurer, and Ben- 
jamin D. Perkins secretary. As soon as the society assumed responsible 
form, the State rendered moderate pecuniary aid, and the city voted a 
modest appropriation. In April, 1806, Colonel Henry Rutgers 
generously donated the site for a school-house in Henry Street. 
The first school was opened the next month in an apartment of a house 
in Bancker, now Madison, Street, with forty scholars ; the corporation of 
the city presently offered for temporary accommodation a building adjacent 
to the almshouse, in which the school flourished two yeara 

In 1808 the charter was altered and the name of the corporation 
changed to the " Free School Society of the City of New York." About 
the same time the tenement occTupied proving greatly inadequate to the 
demand for admission, the city presented to the society an extensive lot 
of ground in Chatham Street, where a convenient brick edifice was 
erected to acconmiodate five hundred pupils in one roont In the 
lower story were apartments for the family of the teacher, for the meet- 
ing of the trustees, and for another school of one hundred and fifty pupils.^ 

^ The following gentlemen contribated to the erection of this boilding (upon which 
expended some thirteen thousand dollars) either in building materials or otherwise : Abraham 
Russell, WUliam Wickham, WillUm TUton, Whitehead Hicks, M. M. Titus, Richard Titus, 
Joseph Watkins, J. G. Pierson k Brothers, B. W. Rogers k Co., Richard Speaight, Abraham 
Bns^g, Daniel Beach, P. Schermerhom, Jr., Thomas Stevenson,Thomas Smyth, John McKie. 
Isaac Sharpless, Jones k Clinch, Oeoige Toule, John Youle, Forman Cheeseman, John Rooke, 
Oeoige Lindsay, Jonathan Dixon, J. Sherred, Alexander Campbell, William k G. Post, Joel 
Davit, Henry Hillman, Ebenezer Bassett, Peter Fenton, William HcKenney. -^HU/toryoftht 
POIfe SAooi SocUty, by WUliam Oland Bourne, A. M. ; 2^ WiU CHiOoiCm Addnm: Bu- 
FMk EiuaUion in the CUyofNew Ycvk^ by Thomas Boese ; ReporU of Ou Boards 
*■ r FM4c Sekool DoeitmenU. 




Tbe buildiog was finisiied and dedicated on the 11th of December, 
1809, at which time De Witt Clinton, president of the society from 
1S05 to 1828, delivered a soul-stirring and memorable address, in which 
he said, calling attention to the donation of Colonel Kutgers, worth at least 
twenty-five hundred dollars, and to the condition of one of the deeds which 
made it necessary to build a school-house thereon before June, 1811 — 
while warmly recommending its accomplishment — " The law from which 
we derive our corporate existeuce does nut confine us to one seminary, 
but contemplates the establishment of schools." The benevolence of New 
York promptly responded to the appeal, and an additional sutiscription of 
over thirteen thousand _ ^ .~ % 

dollais enabled the so- 
cie^ to lay the conier- 
Btone of the second 
structure on tbe lllh 
of November, 1810. 
The ceremony was 
performed by the mu- 
nificent donor of the 
site, in presence of a 
large concourse of peo- 
ple. The next year 
two Urge lots, comer 

of Hudson and Grove f'"^ Fr«*<«liool Building, tracMd ill IBOt. 

Streets, were given to the society by the vestry of Trinity Church for 
the erection of a third school building. By 1825 the one free school 
had multiplied into six, and the following March the Legislature, at 
the request of the trustees, changed the name of the corporate body 
to " The Public School Society of tlie City of New York," the schools 
1^ that time having ceased to be charity schools, an<l henceforward open 
to all without distinction of sect or circumstances. 

The original corporators of what was so soon to become the gigantic 
puUic school system of New York City were, Mayor De Witt Clinton, 
Samuel Osgood, Brockholst Livingston, John Murray, Jr., Jacob Morton, 
Tliomas Eddy, Daniel D. Tompkins, John Pintard, Thomas Pearsall, Rev. 
Dr. Samuel Miller, Joseph Constant, Robert Bowne, Matthew Clarkson, 
Archibald Gracie, John McVickar, Charles Wilkes, Henry Ten Broeck, 
Gilbert Aspinwall. Valentine Seaman, William J<jhnson, William Coit, 
Matthew Franklin, Adrian Hegeman, Leonard Bleecker, Benjamin G. 
Uintorn, Thomas Fmnklin, Samuel Russell, Sumnel Doughty, Alex- 
titder Robertson, Samuel Torhert,"John Withington, William Edgar, 


George TurnbuU, William Boyd, Jacob Mott, Benjamin Egbert, Thomas 
Farmer, and Dr. Samuel Latham MitchiU. They were men of different 
religious persuasions and political parties, and represented nearly every 
profession, as well as the commercial and social life of the city, em- 
bracing more solid worth and real and merited distinction than is usually 
found among an equal number of individuals. The common welfare 
and the common safety in the broadest catholicity of spirit was the 
goal. No sect or creed, nationality or name, was to be known in admit- 
ting scholars. Thus with open-hearted hospitality the metropolis wel- 
comed the perpetually arriving hosts from other States and countries. 
As New York had been foremost on this continent in establishing, after 
the manner of Oxford, a university, to which was intrusted the superin- 
tendence of all colleges and seminaries of learning within the State, and 
as her eldest college, Columbia, exacted, it is said, of a candidate for 
admission more classical and other knowledge than any other college in 
the United States, it is the more interesting to note the sound policy with 
which provision was made for the education of the humblest and most 
destitute within her borders. 

Thomas Eddy was a philanthropist of the highest order, and his life 
was in a certain sense spent for the good of New York. He was the son 
of a Philadelphia Quaker, but removed to New York at an early age. 
He was not quite fifty at the time his exertions helped to found the first 
free school, and for months he spent his leisure moments in going 
through the lanes and back streets looking up children, and devising 
ways aud means for the success of the undertaking. He had already been 
for years laboring to change the penal code of the State and establish a new 
penitentiary system. His doctrine was the prevention of crime by eradi- 
cating vice ; and at a later period we shall find him prominent in found- 
ing the Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents, and also 
with De Witt Clinton and others projecting the Bloomingdale Asylum 
for the insane. It was through his influence, as one of the governors of 
the New York Hospital, that the first hospital for the insane was erected 
in 1807; he became deeply intei-ested in the treatment of lunatics, and 
corresponded with philanthropists in every part of the world upon that 
delicate subject. He was actively concerned in nearly all the other great 
charities of his time. 

Charles Wilkes was president of the Bank of New York. He was a 

nephew of the celebrated John Wilkes, the member of Parliament who 

fn English politics for a long period, and the brother of John 

vyer residing in Wall Street, whose son Charles, bom in 

jEiimous naval commander, hero of the capture of Mason 


and SlidelL^ Alexander Robertson was an educated Scotchman of about 
thirty-three, who, removing to New York some years before, had developed 
artistic gifts of superior order; he was recognized as a successful 
portrait-painter, and became secretary of the Academy of Fine Arts. 
Matthew Clarkson's name is familiar to the reader. He was called to the 
presidency of the Bank of New York in 1804, which position he retained 
until a few days before his death, a period of twenty-one yeara. He was 
also the senior vice-president of the American Bible Society. De Witt 
Clinton said, " Wherever a charitable or public-spirited institution was 
about to be established Clarkson's presence was considere4 essential. His 
sanction became a passport to public approbation.'' His name is associated 
with the foundation of nearly all the early meritorious societies of New 
York, whether intended for education, culture, relief, or protection. Chan- 
cellor Kent said, " HiS portrait presents an elevation of moral grandeur 
' above all Greek, above all Roman fame.' It belongs to Christianity alone 
to form and to animate such a character." In private life no man was 
more beloved for amiable qualities. 

Gilbert Aspinwall was a wealthy importer and owner of ships, the 
pn>mrnent representative of a family of princely merchants whose history 
for upwards of a century is interwoven with that of the city. He lived 
in a large commodious mansion in Beaver Street, corner of Broadway, 
afterwards the home of his son-in-law, John Van Buren. He was a man 
of fine tastes and no inconsiderable learning, of great financial ability, of 
lar^'e benevolence, and of many social attractions. He was one of The 
Friendly Club, which flourislied for many years before and a few years 
after the death of Washington — until annihilated by political differ- 
♦-nces. This club included among its members Chancellor Kent, Charles 
Brockden Brown, Anthony Bleecker, Dr. Edward Miller, John McVickar, 
William Walton Woolsey, George Muirnson Woolsey, William Dunlap, 
and Dr. Samuel Latham Mitchill ; it met at the houses of its members 
in rotation every Tuesday evening, and it was tlie duty of the host to 
«iirect conversation through the reading of a passage from some favorite 
author. At the close of the discussion light refreshments — wine, cake, 

* Wben the Bank of New York first commenced business in 1784, Charles Wilkes was its 
priDcipal teller. In 1794 he was made cashier : Gillian Verplanek was then president. He 
vu sabeeqaently elevated to the presidency of the institution, and remained in the director- 
•hip to the end of his life. His son, Hamilton Wilkes, married a daughter of Henry A. 
^■ort«'. rommander Charles Wilkes marritnl the sister of Professor Renwick. The Slidells 
»»!* also a New York family, and lived on Broadway. John Slidell was president of the 
^Vfieral Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen in the early part of the century, and from 
1*10 to 1S17, wan the first president of the Mechanics' Bank. His son, John Slidell, the future 
r, aod Commander Wilkes were neighbors and playmates in childhood. 


etc. — were served without ceremony. Gilbert Aspinwall was the son of 
Captain John Aspinwall, a vestryman of Trinity Church before the 
Revolution, whose country-seat was at Flushing ; and his brother, John 
Aspinwall, was his partner in business. 

John McVickar was also an importer and ship-owner. He was a tall, 
sharp-featured, courtly man, with a kindly eye, a smile of singular sweet- 
ness, and a mouth and chin indicative of an unbending wilL He was 
rich and respected, able and generous. He was noted for his prominence 
in building churches, and was constantly aiding the clei^ — also unob- 
trusively assisting deserving young merchants in trouble. It was a 
common remark in disastrous times among business men, " Well, who is 
McVickar going to help to-day ? " His wife was Ann, daughter of John 
Moore, first cousin of Bishop Moore, and the sister of Lady Dongan. 
He had nine children, to all of whom he gave a liberal education, and 
the benefit of a tour through £urope. His son John was the accom- 
plished professor in Columbia College, who married the daughter of the 
famous Dr. Bard ; another son, Archibald, after graduating from Colum- 
bia, went to England and finished his education at Cambridge, then 
married Catharine, daughter of Judge Brockholst Livingston ; still another 
son, Benjamin, married Isaphane, daughter of Isaac Lawrence, president of 
the United States Bank in New York ; and one of his daughters, Augusta, 
married Judge William Jay, the youngest son of the chief justice. 

Archibald Gracie was another great merchant doing business with all 
parts of the world. Oliver Wolcott, who knew him intimately, said " he 
was one of the excellent of the earth — actively liberal, intelligent, seek- 
ing and rejoicing in occasions to do good." His wealth was enormous, 
even after he lost over a million of dollars through the Berlin and 
Milan decrees. Josiah Quincy was entertained by him at dinner 
while passing through New York on his journey to Washington in 
1805, and described his country-seat on the East River, opposite Hell- 
Gate, as beautiful beyond description. "A deep, broad, rapid stream 
glances with an arrowy fleetness by the shore, hurrying along every 
species of vessel which the extensive country aflFords. The water, bro- 
ken by the rocks which lie in the midst of the current into turbu- 
lent waves, dashing, foaming, and spending their force upon the rocks, 
and the various courses every vessel has to shape in order to escape 
from the dangers of the famous pass, present a constant change and 
novelty in this enchanting scene. The shores of Long Island, full of 
cultivated pros|)ects and interspersed with elegant country-seats, bound 
the distant view. The mansion is elegant, in the modern style, and the 
grounds laid out with taste in gardens." Among the other guests 


«t Mr. Gncie's dinner-table on thia occasion were, Oliver Wolcott, who 
resided in the city for a dozen or more years after he retired from the 
Treasury, becoming the first president of the Merchants' Bank, Judge 
Pendleton, Hamilton's second in the fatal duel, and Dr. Hosack, who 
subsequently married the widow of the Holland merchant, Henry A. 
Coster, who was then residing at his country-seat on the East River, 
near the foot of Thirtieth Street.' 

Of Archibald Gracie, whose beautiful ships and well-known red and white 
private signal were familiar in every sea, no more endearing memory exists 

than that of his intelligent an<i far-reaching sympathy in the free-school 
enterprise- His manliness and liberality are recorded in imperishable 
colore. He said ignorance was the cause a.s well as the effect of bad 
governments, and the rational powers must first be cultivated if we would 
entertain just ideas of the obligations of morality or the excellences of 
religion. The fundamental error of Europe was, in bis opinion, the in- 
funous neglect of the education of her poor. Magnificent colleges and 
nni\'ersities, dedicated to literature, were all very well,»but it was a car- 
iaaj mistake to withhold appropriations for diffusing knowledge among 
the lower classes He gave a strong impulse to the movement from which 
milhoQs have already roapetl benefits beyond price. Mre. Gracie was an 
educated lady of rare culture, and their domestic life was of the purest, 
sweetest, and most charming cliaracter. Shu was l-^sther ]S()geis, si-stcr nf 
' Tin fint wife of Dr. Houck was Ui« sinter of Tbow»» Eddy llie philaiillin>iiist. 



the distinguiatied merchaot brothers, Fitch, Henry, Mosea, and Nehemiah 
Rogers, three of whom founded three great mercantile houses in the 
city. Her sons were men of sterling character, and her daughters were 
among the best infonned and most attractive ladies in New York, two 
of whom married sons of Hon. Bufus King, and a third married Hon. 
William Beach Lawrence. 

Between Gracie's Point — which the traveler on the East River may 
now recognize by an enormous tree towering above the bluff, nearly or 
quite two centuries old — and the city were at that date numerous 
country-places and fine grounds of special historic interest, of which the 
Beekmao mansion near Fifty-first Street, and the Kip mansion on the 
line of Thirty-fifth Street, have been illustrated in the earlier pages 
of this work.* Between these two,. overlooking Turtle Bay near Forty- 
first Street, stood 
the summer resi- 
dence of Francis 
Bayard Winthrop, 


ro.E«Ri.„.™T«n^.s«,c,^>--b,A™«.PMp.,...^, throp mansion was 
similar to that of the Beekmans, excoptthatit was flanked by two octagon 
wings. At a more modem period it was known as the Cutting homestead. 
The Coster mansion was more of the Grecian type of architecture, theu 
much in vogue upon Manhattan Island." It was finely shaded, and a 
smooth-cut lawn extended to the river's edge. 

' Se« Vol. 1. 159, 5S9. The reHidtmcfs of Peter Gerud Stujtrewuit and bin brother 
Nicboba StuyvMaiit &r« illiiKrated in Vol. I. 217. 

» The wife of Moses Rogers w«s S&nh, «i«ter of Willmm Walton Woolsey, and of Mary, 
the wife of President Timothy Dvtght of Yale Call^. William Walton WoolMy'a wife 
was Elizabstli, sister of President Dwight. and granddaughter of Preaident Edwarda. He 
was a great sugar refiner and meivliant, and held many public officei and tnuts. 
His son. Tbeodora Dwiuht Woolsey, bom in New York in 1801, waa Prendent of Yale 
College frrtm 1816 to 1871. 

* Hieary A. Coater ownod a haadaome i«aidence aluo in Cbambera Street. His weallli .-ind 


In the mean time, while the foundation was being laid for the golden 
records of the Free School Society, a number of the cultivated and influen- 
tial ladies of New York originated a scheme of usefulness similar to that 
of the industrial schools of a later date, except that the teaching was 
gratuitous. Mrs. Isabella Graham, her daughter, Mrs. Joanna Bethune, 
mother of Rev. Dr. George Washington Bethune, the celebrated divine, 
author, and poet, and Mrs. Sarah Hoffman were foremost in this endeavor 
to throw light into the habitations of the destitute. A meeting was 
called February 11, 1804, and twenty-nine ladies assembled in the pai*lors 
of Josiah Ogden Hoffman. It was resolved to visit the poor districts 
personally, in pairs for mutual protection, and devote certain specified 
hours of the day to the work of instruction As it was before the estab- 
lishment of Sabbath schools in the city, and while the pressing need of a 
non-sectarian free school was agitating the community, the self-imposed 
duties of these philanthropists may be easily conjectured. 

In the course of two following years other ladies of commanding social 
position joined the charitable coterie, among whom was Mrs. John 
McVickar, Mrs. Coster, and the wife of Major Fairlie. The question of 
providing for the orphan children of deceased widows was again and again 
discussed, and it was finally decided to appeal to the benevolent public. A 
meeting was called on the 15th of March, 1806^ when the New York 
Orphan Asylum Society was organized, with Mrs. Sarah Hoffman 
first directress, Mrs. Alexander Hamilton second directress, Mrs. Bethune 
treasurer, and ten prominent ladies constituting a board of managers. A 
two-story frame house in Greenwich village was hired, and a few orphans 
gathered at once into the fold. The ladies adopted from the beginning, 
as a principle of management, never to refuse an orphan child brought to 
them for protection, whether they had a dollar in the treasury or not, 
from which they never swerved. Rev. Dr. Bethune wrote: "I have 
often heard my mother say that in any time of need a few words stating 
that the funds of the society needed replenishing, thrown into a news- 
paper, was sure to bring in donations equal to the need ; more frequently 
the money came in before the appeal was made.'* 

that of his brother, John G. Coster, added materially to the prosperity of New York. They 
imported aU kinds of goods, and were constantly buying and shipping to Europe all kinds of 
American produce. Both brothers were directors in the chief money corporations of the period, 
•oeh as the Manhattan Bank, the Merchants' Bank — of which John G. Coster was elected 
ppwident to succeed Henry Remsen, in 1826 — and the two insurance companies, the Phoenix 
*od the Globe ; and they were large contributors to the humane institutions rapidly spring- 
u»g into existence. One of the daughters of Henry A. Coster married William I^ight, another 
niarried the son of Charles Wilkes. John G. Coster built a splendid granite double residence 
abore Canal Street on Broadway, about 1833, which was considered palatial in its day. His 
eitildmi intemuuried with the Primes, De lanceys, and other notable families. 


It soon became evident that a building was indispensable, and an acre 
of ground was purchased in Bank Street, where a plain structure fifty 
feet square was erected at a cost of some twenty-five thousand dollars. 
Mrs. Bethune managed the finances with great skill, pledging her hus- 
band*s credit for thousands of dollars rather than that the building should 
be delayed. Several of the ladies advanced money from their own well- 
filled purses. The debt that remained at the completion of the building 
was soon canceled by donations and legacies; and the growth of the 
city increased the value of the property in such rapid ratio, that in i 840 
it was comparatively easy to replace the original by the noble edifice 
which now stands in the midst of ten acres of ground on the shore of the 
Hudson at Seventy-fourth Street. In 1817 Mrs. Hoffman resigned her 
place at the head of the institution, and was succeeded by Mrs. Hamilton, 
still beautiful in her ripening age, brilliant in conversation, and whose 
chief happiness was found in a religious life devoted to active charities. 

An English writer in 1807 enumerates thirty-one benevolent institu- 
tions in New York City, and calls attention particularly to the 
efforts of the ladies to provide for poor widows and orphan chil- 
dren as worthy of imitation in Great Britain.^ 

A medical society was incorporated in 1806 to regulate the practice of 
physicians and surgery in the State. All practitioners henceforward 
must be examined, and receive a diploma from a board of censors ap- 
pointed by this body, before they could legally collect any debts incurred 
in the duties of their calling. A College of Physicians and Surgeons 
was chartered by the Regents of the University in 1807, the Legislature 
having sanctioned the act sixteen years prior to that date. It was opened 
in November with such success that the State immediately appropriated 
twenty thousand dollars for its support The importance and usefulness 
of an institution devoted exclusively to the cultivation and diffusion of 

* These institutions, or benefit societies, were : The Free School Society, Ttoiinany Society, 
Provident Society, incorporated in 1805, Mutual Benefit Society, Benevolent Society, Albion 
Bt^nevolent Society, Udies* Society for the Relief of Widows with Small Children, New 
York Manufacturing Society. Fire Department Society, Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, 
The Dispensary, instituted in 1 790 for the relief of the sick poor who were unable to procure 
medical aid at their dwellings — and incorporated in 1795, the Lying-in Hoepital, founded 
in 1798 by Robert Lenox, Dr. Hosack, and others, the Manumission Society, the Marine So- 
ciety, chartered April 12, 1770, Sailors* Snug Harbor, Rine-pock Institution, City Hospital, 
Almshouse, House Carpenters* Society, Bcllevue Hospital, founded by the city npon the old 
estat-e of Lindley Murray for an occasional infinnary, Marine Hospital at Staten lahuid. Hu- 
mane Society, Masonic Society containing thirteen lodges, German Society, Society ofUnited 
Brethren for propagating the Gospel among the Heathen, First Protestant Epiaoopal Charity 
School Society, St. George*s Society, St. Patrick's Society, St. Andrew's Society, the New 
England Society, and the Cincinnati.— Bardie*! DeteHfHtm of New York ; Tike Pidurt oj 
fi0» York, or Tmoekf'9 Owide, by Dr. MitcheU, 1807 ; Corporaium Mamual^ 1870, p. 855 


medical science was highly appreciated by the community, and fifty- 
three students the first, and seventy-two the second year, bore testimony 
to the ability with which courses of instruction were delivered in all the 
branches of medicine. In September, 1813, a great event occurred in the 
medical annals of New York : the medical faculty and medical school of 
Columbia College and the College of Physicians and Surgeons were con- 
solidated, becoming one of the most distinguished schools of practical 
medicine at that time in the country. 

The demand for classical learning in New York was so great at this 
period that many excellent private seminaries were sustained where boys 
were prepared for college under able teachers. The publishers and book- 
sellers were numerous, and generally men of property. In 1802 the first 
S4x:ial gathering of American publishers occurred at the old City Hotel in 
Broadway, under the auspices of Matthew Carey. From that time a 
" literary fair," as then called, was held every year, alternating between 
New York and Philadelphia. It promoted acquaintance, encouraged the 
arts of printing and book-bindmg, and facilitated the circulation of books 
through the nation. The high taxes and prices of paper and labor in 
Great Britain were favorable to authorship and the publication of books 
in America. English works of celebrity were reprinted and sold for one 
fourth the original price. Latin editions of the writings of Caesar, 
Cicero, and Virgil were printed in beautiful style, and some remarkable 
e<litious of the Bible were issued. Three or four public reading-rooms 
were supported by subscription, and several of the booksellers established 
circulating libraries. 

Nineteen newspapers, of which eight were dailies, together with several 
monthly and occasional publications, entertained New York in 1807.^ 
The expansion of the press during the eventful years since the adoption of 
the constitution of the State, when the editor of an almost solitary news- 
jiaper was content to be compositor, pressman, folder, and distributor, and 
considered himself doing a fair business if he sold three or four hundred 
copies of one issue, seems marvelous. But it was only the healthful indi- 
cition of the brilliant future for journalism in New York, which in the 

* The rooming uewspapers in 1807 were The American Citizen, The New York GktzeUe, 
Tkt Mercttmiile Advertiser^ The Morning Chronicle, The People's Friend ; and the evening 
•<m|Kpen were The Oominerdal Advertiser, The Evening Post, and The Public Advertiser. 
Twice erery week The Rejiuhlican IVatch- Toicer was issued from the office of The American 
**itutn. The Spectator from tlie office of The Commercial Advertiser, The Express from the 
•^fiee of Tke Morning Chronicle, The Herald from tlie office of The Evening Post, and The 
A^f Friend from the office of The People !i Friend. The weeklies were The New York 
^riee CmrraU^ The Weekly Museum, The Weekly Visitor, The Independent Republican, Th^ 
Vftdtly Iiuptdarf wd The New York Spy. 


three-fourths of a century following 1807, was to result in the record to 
appear upon a future page. 

To measure the situation at this early period of the century, it must be 
borne constantly in mind that all modern facilities for traveling through the 
country were yet unknown. Slow, imwieldy stage-coaches, private con- 
veyances, saddle-horses, and sloops where bodies of water made their use 
practicable, were the only vehicles for transportation. Country roads were 
hardly passable, and bridges were almost unknown. Accidents often 
occurred in solitary places, for the fording of rivers is always perilous, 
and the scows used for ferry-boats were little better than death-traps in 
a multitude of instances. In the summer of 1803 a pleasure-party from 
New York City visited Canada, spending a few days in Ogdensbuig, Mon- 
treal, and Quebec. They traveled in wagons. The party consisted of Mr 
and Mrs. Ludlow Ogden, Mr. and Mrs. Josiah Ogden Hoffman, Miss Ann 
Hoffman, Miss Eliza Ogden, and Washington Irving, then a gay youth of 
twenty. On one occasion the wagon in which the young ladies, attended 
by Washington Irving, were riding " stuck fast in the mud, and one of 
the horses laid down and refused to move." The young people alighted 
and climbed into the next wagon, which presently mired, and the whole 
party were compelled to walk. Suddenly it began to rain, and coming 
upon a little shed of bark laid on crotchets, which had served some 
hunter for a night's shelter, the ladies were hurried into it ; but one half 
of it tumbled down upon them in the beginning, and although the gentle- 
men tried to make a roof with their overcoats, it was in vain to think of 
remaining, and they toiled along half a mile further, where they found a 
small hut about sixteen by eighteen feet square. It had but one room, 
although occupied by eight persons already, and here our New York 
travelers spent the night, and the next day proceeded on their journey in 
an ox-cart. 

It should furthermore be observed that art and literature could hardly be 
said to have secured an existence in New York prior to 1807. Through 
the suggestion of Chancellor Livingston a subscription had been opened 
in 1801 for raising means to purchase statues and paintings for the in- 
struction of artists, and a Fine Art Society was finally organized in 1802. 
A school for dmwing and painting had been successfully taught by Rob- 
ertson for some years. But it was not imtil February 13, 1808, that an 
act of the Legislature incorporated the American Academy of Fine Aits. 
Livingston had secured for it many valuable specimens of art during his 
residence in France, and was chosen the first president of the institution ; 
Colonel John Trumbull, the great American artist, was vice-president ; 
Mayor De Witt Clinton, Dr. Hosack, John Murray^ William Cutting, and 


Charles Wilkes were its first directors. Emperor Napoleon presented to 
the academy valuable busts, antique statues, twenty-four large volumes 
of Italian prints, and several portfolios of drawings ; he was made an 
honorary member, as were also his brothers Lucien Bonaparte and Joseph 
Bonaparte. There was no dearth of literary talent in the city, but it had 
been almost exclusively directed to political subjects, and to organizing 
theories and testing untried institutions. Charles Brockden Brown had 
written a series of remarkable novels, but James Fenimore Cooper, who 
has the credit of giving the first decided impulse to romantic fiction in this 
country, and some of whose works are known abroad in almost every liv- 
ing language, was but eighteen, and striving for promotion in the navy 
rather than to turn love-stories into bank-accounts. The geography of 
Morse and the spelling-books of Webster had made their way to public 
approbation through much opposition. Their success may be classed among 
the wonders of literary history. But the trepidation of an American 
publisher when the question was to be decided of reprinting an English 
poem reveals the lack of practical experience in the publishing world. 
Sir Walter Scott issued his Lay of th^ Last Minstrel in 1804 A 
presentation copy in luxurious quarto was received by Mrs. Divie 
Bethune, who was intimate with the author in Scotland. The volume 
circulated widely among friends, and it was observed that the Min- 
strel was a classic. An American reprint was suggested. The publisher 
hesitated, then called in a literary coterie, who pronounced the poem 
too local in its nature, and its interest obsolete ; its measure was thought 
too varied and irregular, aud without the harmony of tuneful Po[)e. Thus 
it was rejected by the critical tribunal. Longworth, however, soon 
brought suflBcient resolution to the front, and printed it in his Belles- 
Lettres Repository of 1805. 

Washington Irving was but twenty-four, and then more distinguished 
in the city of his birth for being a very heedless law-student than for 
genius in letters. He was admitted to the New York bar in the autumn 
of 1806, through the lenity of Josiah Ogden Hoffman, as he says, with 
whom he had studied, and who examined the candidates. He was living 
with his mother in William Street, corner of Ann, and wix)te clever articles 
very frequently for TJie Morning Chronicle, edited by his brother Dr. Peter 
Irving, but few knew that he was the author of them. On the 24th of 
January, 1807, Salmagundi first appeared, iu the form of a little primer 
about six and one half inches long and three and one half inches wide, 
published by Longworth. Tlie editors announced themselves three 
in number, "all townsmen, good and true," and said their new paper 
would contain "the quintessence of modern criticism." They further 


proclaimed: "Our intention is simply to instruct the young, reform 
the old, correct the town, and castigate the age. As everybody knows, 
or ought to know, what a Salmagumli is, we shall spare ourselves the 
trouble of an explanation. . . . Neither will we puzzle our heads to give 
an account of ourselves, for two reasons : first, because it is nobody s 
business ; secondly, because, if it were, we do not hold ourselves bound 
to attend to anybody's business but our own, and even that we take the 
liberty of neglecting when it suits our inclination. . . . We beg tlu» 
public particularly to understand that we solicit no patronage. We ai*e 
determined, on the contrary, that the patronage shall be entirely on our 
side. We have nothing to do with the pecuniary concerns of the paper ; 
its success will yield us neither pride nor profit, nor will its failure occa- 
sion us either loss or mortification. The publisher professes the same 
sublime contempt for money as its autliors. As we do not measure our 
wits by the yard or the bushel, and as they do not flow periodically nor 
constantly, we shall not restrict our paper as to size, or the time of its 
appearance. It will be published whenever we have sufficient matter to 
constitute a number, and the size of the number shall depend on the 
stock in hand. The price will depend on the size of the number, and 
must be paid on delivery. The public are welcome to buy or not, just as 
they choose. But we advise everybody, man, woman, and child, that can 
read, or get any friend to read for him, to purchase it. If it Ixj pur- 
chased freely, so much the better for the public, and the publisher — we 
gain not a stiver. If it be not purchased, we give fair warning : we shall 
burn all our essays, critiques, and epignims in one promiscuous blaze ; 
and, like the books in the Alexandrian Library, they will be lost forever 
to posterity. For the sake, therefore, of our publisher, for the sake of the 
public, and for the sake of the public s children to the nineteenth genera- 
tion, we advise tliem to purchase our paper. . . . We have said we do 
not write for money — neither do we write for fame ; we know t^)o well 
the variable natiu-e of public opinion to build our hopes upon it — we 
care not what the public think of us ; and we suspect before we reach 
the tenth number they will not hwiv what to think of us — we write for 
no other earthly purpose but to please ourselves, and this we shall be sure 
of doing, for we are all three of us determined beforehand to be pleased 
with what we write. If we edify, instnict, and amuse the public, so 
much the better for the public ; but we frankly acknowledge that so soon 
as we get tired of reading our own works we shall discontinue theoL" 

Upon the western bank of the Passaic River, a little above the city ol 
Newark, stood a famous old mansion built by the Gouvemeurs of New 
York, who owned an extensive plantation in that vicinity. It was occu* 



pied by a bachelor and his servanta; ami thither Washington Irving 
and James Kirke Paulding, who was a clerk in the loan office and lived 
with his sister, the wife of Washington living's brother William, went 
nearly every Friday afternoon dnring the summer and remained until 
Monday morning with their genial host Sometimes they were accom- 
panied by William Irving. It was a quiet retreat, and the stoge-ride of 
nine miles over the corduroy road between Paulus Hook and Newark was 
not without its influ- 
ence in sharpening 
their humor. They 
named the house 
"Cockloft Hall." A 
little octiij^iinal sum- 
mer-house in the 
yanl, where tlie gay 
IttL-helors concocted 
the witty pa perswhich 
muutbly "vexed and 
ehanned the town," 
with its private wine- 
cellar, had three win- 
dows looking inland, 
that ohi " Pinder 
Ctickloft," so Irving 
said, ■' might have his ' 
vit-wi ujion his 01 
land, and be beholden 
t'l a<> man for a pros- 
l-eci." This quHint lit- 
tle publication was 
luaniu^t^ with such 
•lashing, bnoyant au- itn,ii,.tdiuL™<ionr™Mhcp.i.i^nebr >-«««..) 

ilaeity that the sobriety of New York wns greatly disturbed, and uousna] 
edijrts were made to discover its authorship. 

It was in the latter part of the same year that Washington Irving, 
a^iste<l by Dr. Irving, who had Just returned from Eiinipe, commenced 
the HTiting of Knickerhoch-ra Hislon/ of Xew York, intended as an ex- 
travagant liurlestine of l)r Mitchell's Pidun- uf Xew Yorl; just published. 
The felicitous style of the work, which was issued before the end of the 
following year, and its wonderful liunior, .sufliciently broad not to Iw con- 
foanded with realities, gave it a high place in public favor. Everybody 


read and laughed, and everybody wished for more. It Is said the great 
satirist, Judge Brackenvidge, smuggled a copy of the book to the bench 
and exploded over it during one of the sessions of the Supreme Court of 
Pennsylvania. Sir Walter Scott has left his own testimony of the impres- 
sion the production made uport his mind, in an autograph letter, written to 
Mr. Henry Brevoort, of New York. He says : " I beg you to accept my 
best thanks for the uncommon degree of entertainment which I have re- 
ceived from the most excellently written history of New York. I am 
sensible that, as a stranger to American parties and politics, I must lose 
much of tlie concealed satire of the work ; but I must own that, looking 
at the simple and obvious meaning only, I have never seen anything so 
closely resembling the style of Dean Swift as the annals of Diedrich 
Knickerbocker. I have been employed these few evenings in reading 
them aloud to Mrs. Scott and two ladies who are our guests, and our sides 
have been absolutely sore with laughing. 1 think, too, there are pas- 
sages which indicate that the author possesses power of a different kind, 
and has some touches which remind me of Sterne. I beg you will have 
the kindness to let me know when Mr. Irving takes pen in hand again, 
for assuredly I shall expect a v^ry great treat, which I may chance never 
to hear of but through your kindness." ^ 

Although Washington Irving continued to write at intervals, it was a 
dozen or more years — as late as 1820 — before he began to attiuct the 
attention of the whole world by his singularly pure and graceful diction, 
and the fine pathos and imaginative power of his productions. His 
genius was artistic, and the color thrown into his pictures indelible. 
Many a grave scholar at this day turns to the old Holland records, in 
vain, for the origin of the popular term " Knickerbocker,** which is not 
only applied to the early Dutch inhabitants of New York by universal 
consent, but is prefixed to nearly every article in the range of industrial 
products on this side of the Atlantic ; and yet it dates no farther back 
than the humorous history of Irving, in 1807. It was the name of a 
highly respectable Dutch family dwelling in New York through many 
generations, with one member of whom Irving was acquainted. A charm 

1 The autograph letter of Sir Walter Scott, from which the author has been pennitted to 
make the extract, has been carefully preserved by a member of the family of the gentleman to 
whom it was written, and is now for the first time given to the public. Waahington Inring 
was bom in William Street, New York City, April S, 178S, the same year that the city was 
evacuated by the British army. He died in 1859. His father, William Irving, was a natiw 
of Scotland. His brother Dr. Peter Irving (bom 1771, died 1888) was a man of eminent 
abilities, and many years editor of a New York joumal. His brother Wmiam Inring (boro 
17M» died 1821) was a New York merchant, eminent for wit and refinement He manM 
Hie riiter of James Kirke Pftolding. 


equally potent is thrown into I^nds from the pen of Irving, until certain 
localities have come to be like places bewitched One almost thirsts for a 
taste of the cool water from the mysterious spring which he tells us the 
Holland housewife took up in the night before emigrating, unbeknown to 
her husband, and smuggled to the banks of the Hudson in a chum, 
being confident in her own mind that she should find no water fit to 
drink in the new country. 

The year 1807 was rendered memorable in the history of New York 
by the experiment of Bobert Fulton in steam navigation, which, 
unlike the experiments of his predecessors in that field of enter- 
prise, was a successful application of the steam-engine to ship pro- 

The CUrmorUy built under the direction of Fulton at the ship-yard of 
Charles Brown, on the East Biver, was launched in New York waters early 
in the spring. While its machinery was being placed, its possibilities 
were denied, and proceedings were watched and criticised with as much 
incredulity as if the strange craft had been proclaimed a veritable Noah's 
Ark. In July, while the work was going forward, Fulton tried a notable 
experiment in the harbor with one of his torpedoes. He exploded an old 
brig at anchor near Governor's Island. In the next number of Salman 
gtrndi appeared a laughable account of the excitement into which the 
town was thrown by " an attempt to set the Hudson Biver on fire." 

One bright midsummer day the Clermont was in readiness for a trial trip 
to Albany. Very few believed it would ever reach its destination. The 
gentlemen whom Fulton invited to accompany him on this voyage were 
present with evident reluctance. They predicted disaster, and wished they 
were well out of it They stood around in groups, silent and uneasy, as the 
signal was given, and the great uncouth wheels, without any wheel-houses, 
stirred the water into a white foam, and the boat moved forwarf. Presently . 
it stopped, and the crowd upon the river-banks shouted in derision, while 
audible whispers of " I told you so " from those on boaixi reached Fulton's 
ears. He had not been without his own anxieties from the first, as unex- 
pected difficulties might arise in more than one direction ; but he mounted 
a platform and assured his passengers that if they would indulge him one 
half-hour he would either go on or abandon the undertaking for that time. 
This short respite was conceded without objection. He humed below, 
and found the trouble to have been caused by the improper adjustment of 
some of the machinery, which was quickly remedied. His sensitive nature 
had been very much hurt by the witticisms of the press, and still more by 
the lack of faith manifested by his friends ; hence the occasion was for 
liim one of keen solicitude. But "the horrible monster" steamed on, 


" breathing flames and smoke." Pine wood was used for fuel, and the 
blaze often shot into the air considerably above the tall smoke-stack ; and 
whenever the fire was stirred or replenished immense columns of black 
smoke issued forth, mingled with sparks and a cloud of ashes. The ter- 
rific spectacle, particularly after dark, appalled the crews of other vessels, 
who saw it rapidly approaching in spite of adverse wind and tide ; many 
of them fell upon their knees in humble prayer for protection, while 
others disappeared beneath their decks or escaped to the shore. 

As this new-fangled craft was passing the Palisades, a wall of solid 
rock twenty miles long, the noise of her machinery and paddle-wheels 
so startled an honest countryman, that he ran home to tell his wife he hail 
seen " the devil on his way to Albany in a saw-mill.** 

At Clermont, the country-seat of Chancellor Livingston, Fulton paused 
to take in wood, and tarried for a short time. He reached Albany in 
safety and in triumph, having accomplished the distance of one hundred 
and fifty miles at the average rate of five miles per hour. He returned to 
New York City in two hours less time tlian had been consumed in going 
from New York to Albany. This was the fii-st voyage of any consider- 
able length ever made by a steam vessel in any quarter of the world. 

While Fulton cannot be said to have originated steam navigation, nor, 
indeed, to have invented the mechanism which rendered steam possible 
and profitable in navigation, he is justly accorded the great honor of hav- 
ing been the first to secure that combination of means which brought the 
steamboat into every-day use. His industry and ingenuity resulted also 
in the experimental determination of the magnitude and laws of ship 
resistance, together with the systematic pix)portioning of vessel and ma- 
chinery to the work to be accomplished by them. 

It is hardly remembei-ed of Fulton that he was an artist of considerable 
merit, so closely have his name and fame been associated with mechanical 
achievements. When he first came to New York in 1785 he was only 
known as a miniature-portrait painter. He had actually bought a small 
farm with his earnings in Philadelphia prior to that date — which speaks 
well for his industry, and for the appreciation of the good people of the 
Quaker City. He went to England and studied several years with Ben- 
jamin West, during which period he was one of the household of that 
great artist. He tmveled about England with the design of studying the 
masterpieces of art in the niml mansions of the nobility. It was in the 
neighborhooil of Exeter that he made the acquaintance of the Earl of 
l>ridgewater, the famous i>arent of the canal system in England. Through 
his advice and example, and the encoumgement of Lord Stanhope, Fultim 
wiis led to adopt the profession of a civil engineer. Afterwards, in jour- 

( IM^ J" ^«^ —*^ '<^ <"<"' B' 


neying through Europe, he sketched picturesque figures by the wayside ; 
and in Paris he executed the first panomma in that city. 

As early as 1793 he proposed experiments in steam navigation to Lord 
Stanhope, and seems never to have lost sight of the subject. In Paris he 
succeeded so well with his submarine torpedoes and torpedo-boats that 
no little anxiety was created in the English mind ; for war then existed. 
In France he lived with Joel Barlow, and studied the French, Grerman, 
and Italian languages, and the higher branches of mechanical science. 
When Chancellor Livingston arrived as minister to the French Court, 
Fulton called upon him, and together they discussed the project of con- 
structing a steamboat to be tried on the Seine. Fulton directed the 
work, and it was completed in 1803. But the hull of the little vessel 
was too weak for its heavy machinery, and it broke in two and sank to 
the bottom of the Seine. This was, however, reconstructed, and the 
little craft again steamed up the Seine in presence of an immense con- 
course of spectators, among whom was a committee from the National 
Academy, and the officers of Napoleon's staff. The trial was attended 
with apparent success, and yet Napoleon would not render Fulton any 
pecuniary aid. Livingston wrote home and procured an extension of the 
legislative act granted in 1798 by the State of New York, and thus 
secured the monopoly of the Hudson for a few years longer. He was 
more than ever convinced that a boat could be successfully moved by 
steam over the waters about New York. He had become an enthusiast 
on the subject, and his lai-ge wealth gave him confidence, and enabled 
Lini to accomplish what a mere inventor found impracticable. Fulton, 
under Livingston's pecuniary support, ordered an engine to be built by 
Boultou & Watt in England, from plans which he furnished. The 
engine was completed and sent to New York in the latter part of 1806. 
The Chancellor had resigned his mission in 1805, traveled on the conti- 
nent for a few months, and reached New York about the same time, 
closely followed by Fulton. And the purse of the one and the genius 
of the other were applied lavishly to the production of results which were 
to mark an era in the science of navigation. 

Fulton was a tall, slender, well-formed man, of quick * perceptions, 
sound sense, graceful and pleasing manners, and voice of peculiar melody. 
His qres were laige, dark, and penetrating, and over his high forehead 
and aboat his neck were scattered curls of rich dark brown hair. His 
lefined character rendered him a social favorite. At times his vivacity 
VIS singularly engaging, but usually he was reserved and serious, 
Ui faatnres expressing deep thought. • His portrait by Benjamin West 
to brittff bim before us in the flesh with all his lovable charae- 



Uiristics and {p^ve disappointments. He was forty-two yenre of age when 
lie tleuionstrattil the utility of the steamboat. He was at the time \ery 
(let'ply in love with Miss Hanict IJviiijrsKm, tlie niece of the Chaiicollor, 

and early in the 
spring of 1808 their 
imptials were cele- 
brated with distin- 
pnished tereniouy, 
Tliis was tlie season 
of Fulton's sujier- 
lative glory. His 
triumph in the ap- 
plication of steair 
to navigation had 
opened to him the 
piwpect of vast 
riches, through the 
exclusive grant of 
the navitiitiou of 
tlie Hudson. And 
he was caressed, ap- 
plauded, and hon- 

The Clermont left 
New York ngain for 
Alljany in October, 
1807, with ninety 

" "i>'"">i'iH'i' !»")""■• «"-i passengers. She was 

repaired and enlarged during the following winter, and in the summer 
of 1808 advertiseil as a regular passenger hoat hetween New York and 
Albany. Meanwhile Fulton built otlier steamboats ; each one lai^jer than 
its pi-edecessor, and ahounding in improvements. 

The i-eaction came swiftly. Prospei'ity is always exposed to some 
severe test. Fulton found that improvements in machinery, and the 
deinamis of travel, mpidly increasing, occasioned perpetual expense. He 
was, nicireover, Ijeset witli legal difliculties touching the right of exclusive 
na\i;iation of the Hudson. New .Jersey claimed that it was too wide a 
privilege to I>e given Iiy the legislature of a single State. And inventors 
were .sjiringing up in various ijuartei-s. oa is usually the case after a fact 
i.s I'slablislied. to deny his having originated a single mechanical idea. 
They saiil in Kiigland, wheiv, prior to 1811. steam navigation had practi- 


cally no existence, that he had visited Symmington and made drawings 

of the machinery of the unfortunate Charlotte Dundas, which, built to 
tow vessels on the Forth and Clyde Canal, was abandoned because its 
paddles washed down the bank in an alarming manner. The friends of 
John Fitch quoted his unique steamboat on the Delaware twenty years 
before, which moved at the rate of four miles an hour — although its 
boiler burst before proceeding far, and no practical results followed. All 
the immature schemes and various experiments of ingenious mechanics, 
for a score of years, were used to invalidate Fulton's pretensions as an 
inventor of the steamboat. Claimants for the honor arose on every hand. 
It was said that Fulton employed men in building the Clermont, who had 
been brought from Germany and trained by Nicholas Roosevelt, and that 
he used ihe side-wheels invented by Roosevelt. Fulton and Roosevelt 
were subsequently associated in the introduction of steam-vessels on the 
Western waters, establishing a ship-yard at Pittsburg and building the 
Xar Orleans, the pioneer steamer of the Mississippi, in 1811. 

It is not to be supposed that those who were experimenting with 
steam as a propelling power, and drafting suggestions and recommenda- 
tions, were unacquainted with what had been done by their predecessors, 
or by their contemporaries on two continents ; and they undoubtedly 
profited, as far as it was ]K)ssible, by the experience of all. But Ful- 
ton's fame was justly earned. He had done what his rivals had not, 
bridged the chasm between mere attempts and positive achievements. 
He ha<l given the world the fruits of the inventive genius of the woild, 
and mankind was reaping its benefits. At the time of the trial of the 
CUrmorU not another steamboat was in successful operation on the globe. 
The laurels of Fulton were very closely contested by Colonel John 
Stevens ol* Hob.»ken, who had been experimenting with steam and uia- 
chiuery ever since John Fit<,'h, in 171)6, tried his little lK>at with a screw 
proj)eller on the CoUt'ct, or Fresh Water Pond, in New York City. It 
is said that Stevens first became interested in the application of steam- 
power to the methods of travel throu;^h coming accidentally upon the 
imperfect steamboat with which John Fitch exi^erimented on the Dela- 
waiv in 1787. If so much could l)e done, whv not more ? He studied 
the subject attentively, noting failures and their causes. His venture on 
the Passaic, in company with Livingston aud Roosevelt, in 1798, increa.sed 
hi< desire for ultimate success. In 1804. whih* Fulton was still in Europe, 
\i*: built an open steamboat sixty-ei;j;ht Icet loii;^', witli a screw propeller, 
wliich |K)s.<<l certain recognized elements of success. The next year 
h<* huilt another of suuihir stvle, with twin screws, a novid device which 
mauy yeai-s afterwards was brought forward aud adopted as something 



new. He invented improvements to the boiler he had imported, which 
his eldest son, John Cox Stevens, patented while in England in 1805. 
He appears to have been one of the first to comprehend the importance 
of the principle involved in the construction of the sectional steam-boiler. 
Finding the signs of promise as developed by his performances thus 
far sufficient to warrant the outlay, he built the Phanix, a formidable 
rival of the Clermont^ which was completed and launched in the autumn 
of 1807, only a few weeks after Fulton's triumph had been assured. 
The Phosnix being excluded from the waters of New York by the 
monopoly held by Fulton and Livingston, trips were made for a time 
between New York and New Brunswick. But Stevens and his sons de- 
cided to send their steamboat to Philadelphia to ply on the Delaware. 

The passage was made by the sea in June, 1808, and although a severe 
storm of wind was encountered no accident occurred. The conductor 
of the expedition was Robert Livingston Stevens, son of Colonel John 
Stevens, then but twenty years of age. Inheriting his father's mechani- 
cal genius, he had already commenced a career of discovery and improve- 
ment which was to give him a very high rank among modem inventors. 
He introduced into the Phcenix the concave water-lines, the first applica- 
tion of the " wave line " to ship-building ; also a feathering paddle-wheel, 
and the guard beam, now used. And he was the foremost man of any 
country to trust himself upon the ocean in a vessel relying entirely upon 
steam-power. Thus was inaugurated ocean steam navigation. 

New York also is entitled to the honor of introducing steam navigation 
upon the great rivers of the West. Nicholas Roosevelt conducted the first 
steamboat from Pittsburg — where it was constructed under the auspices 
of Fulton and Livingston — to New Orleans in 1811. He embarked with 
his family, an engineer, a pilot, and six " deck hands " in October, and 
reached New Orleans in about fourteen days. 

Colonel John Stevens, like Roosevelt, was a native of New York City, 
where he was bom in 1749. He was the grandson, through his mother, 
of the great lawyer and mathematician, James Alexander, who figured so 
conspicuously in the reader's acquaintance prior to the Revolution ; and 
through his grandmother, Mrs. Alexander, he was descended from Johan- 
nes De Peyster, founder of the De Peyster family in America:^ He was 

1 See Vol. I. 225, 503, 504. John Stevens, the grandfather of Colonel John Storena, eame 
from England to New York as one of the law officers of the Crown. John Stevens (2) mar- 
ried Elizabeth Alexander. Colonel John Stevens (3) married Rachel, dao^ter of John Cox. 
He bought the Bayard estate at Hoboken when it was sold nnder the Conftocitkm Aet ui 
1784, upon which he founded the eily of Hbhoken. .In 1804 he adverted « liBar di^' «de 
of eight handled lots. He «»-«-' ^«h»8liili«CH«v J«mgr.*-iN»» 



the nephew of Lord Stirling ; and his sister was the wife of Chancellor 
Ovingston. Hia inventive talent and his philosophical far-sigbtedpess 
were remarkable. In urging well-conceived plans for the application of 
the steam-engine to land transportation, he was so far ahead of the age 
that his advice and bis offers were unaccepted. The appointment of 
oommissioners in 1811, of whom Robert Fulton was one, to explore a 
rginiil route froHi the Hudson Eiver to the Great Lakes, induced him to 
issue a pamphlet, in 1812, to prove the superior advantages of steam- 
carriages over canal navigation. He unfolded a scheme — varying little 
from our present railway system — and offered to construct a roadway 
&om Albany to Lake Erie, to be traversed by a steam-carriage, which 
he thought might be moved with the velocity of one hundred miles an 
hour, although in practice he presumed convenience would confine it to 
twenty or thirty miles an hour. This great project was broached by 
Stevens, with the political, financial, commercial, and military aspects of the 
question all apparently present to his mind, while there was hat one 
locomotive in the world, that of Richard Trevithick at Merthyr-Tydvil 
— which was powerless except on 
« level surface — and nothing in the 
way of railroads except the old 
wooden tram-roads of the English 

Afl«r Fulton and Stevens had 
thus led the way in New York, 
steam navigation was introduced 
very rapidly on both sides of the 
ocean. The unimaginative mind can 
hardly keep pace with the produc- 
tion of steam-vessels in this coun- 
tty. While Fulton was multiplying 
them upon the Hudson and Stevens - 
WIS bringing out a fieet upon the 
Delaware, other mechanics were preparing to contest the field with them. 
Cpon Uie breaking down of the Fulton monopoly by the courts, the 
Sterenses, father and son, built some of the finest steamboats on the 
HodtoD. Both Fulton and Stevens were enthusiasts in trying to bridge 
if steam Uie rivers that separated New York from the opposite shores. 
Uatil 1810 barges with oars were tbe established ferry-boats, excepting 
BBe leoently constnicled horse-bouts, with the wheel in the centre, pro- 
|dU Igr % sort of horizontal treadmill worked by horses. Stevens was 
AalnaiglHii^ a steam-feny into active operation. In October, 1811, 


he invited the corporation of New York City, and numerous celebrities, 
to attend him on a voyage from New York to Hoboken upon the first 
regular steam ferry-boat ever used in any part of the world. 

The next year Fulton completed a small steam ferry-boat for the 
Paulus Hook ferry. Within another twelvemonth he had two steam 
ferry-boats connecting New York with Brooklyn. 

The exigencies of the war by this time turned the thoughts of our 
inventors towards war-vessels propelled by steam. Fulton submitted 
plans to Decatur, Perry, John Paul Jones, Evans, and others, which 
met their approval ; he proposed to build a cannon-proof steam-frigate, 
capable of carrying a heavy battery and of steaming four miles an hour. 
The vessel was to be fitted with furnaces for red-hot shot, and some of 
her guns were to be discharged below the water-line. Congress authorized 
an expenditure of three hundred and twenty thousand dollai's, in March, 
1814, and the new steam-frigate, named in honor of its projector. The 
Fulton, was launched in the autumn of the same year. Its trial-trip to the 
ocean at Sandy Hook and back was an overwhelming success. Its pro- 
jector did not live to witness its completion, but fell as it were a martyr 
to the undertaking. Exposure in crossing the Hudson amidst the ice in 
an open boat produced illness, and before he was fully restored he superin- 
tended some work on the open deck of The FtUton. His death followed, 
and it was mourned as a national calamity. " I have observed him," 
wrote Dr. Francis, " on the docks, reckless of temperature and inclement 
weather, anxious to secure practical issues from his midnight reflections, 
or to add new improvements to works not yet completed. His floating 
(lock cost him much personal labor of this sort. His hat might have 
fallen into the water, and his coat be lying upon a pile of lumber ; but 
trifles were not calculated to impede him or dampen his perseverance." 
Not long before his death Fulton planned a vessel for service in the 
Baltic Sea ; but circumstances induced a change of plan, and it was 
subsequently placed on the line between New York and Newport. 

The Fidton comprehended the first application of the steam-engine to 
naval purposes, and for the period was exceedingly creditable. The 
Savannah, built in New York, with side-wheels, and propelled by steam 
machinery and sails, made the voyage to St Petersbuig in 1819, which 
had been proposed for Fulton's ship. She was in chai^ of Captain 
Moses Ko^ers, a New-Yorker, who had previously commanded both the 
CUmunU and the Pluenix. The trip from New York to Savannah, where 

^ veBsel had hhQn purchased by Mr. Scarborough, occupied seven days. 

Mseeded to Liverpool, and thence, touching at Copenhagen and 

*'^ St Petersbuig; Lord Lyndock was a passenger, and on 


takitig leave of Captain Rogers at the Russian capital presented him with 
a silver teakettle inscribed with a legend commemorative of the impor- 
tant event Thus virtually commenced Atlantic steam navigation. 

Colonel John Stevens designed a circular or saucer-shaped iron-clad 
steamer, like those built sixty years later for the Russian navy, in 1812. 
It was to be plated with iron of ample thickness to resist shot fired from 
the heaviest ordnance then known. A set of screw propellers beneath the 
vessel, driven by steam-engines, were to be so arranged as to permit the 
vessel to revolve rapidly about its centre. Thus each gun after its dis- 
cliarge could be reloaded before coming round again into the line of tire. 
The vessel did not obtain an existence beyond paper at that period, but 
the genius of its inventor was reflected through his son, Robert L. Stevens, 
who at a later date originated the first well-planned iron-clad ever con- 
structed. Indeed, the younger Stevens became one of the greatest of 
naval architects, and for twenty years after the trial trips of the Clermont 
and the Phasnix was constantly lavishing time and money upon changes 
ami improvements in steam navigation, the variety, extent, and importance 
of which it would be impossible to describe in common language. He 
adopted a new* method of bracing and fastening steamboats; discov- 
ered the utility of employing steam expansively ; was the first on 
ivconl to use the new, unmanageable, anthracite coal for steam fuel ; he 
Jesigned the now universally used *' skeleton beam ** ; he first placed the 
Irkilers on the guards; he introduced the artificial blast for forcing 
trie fires ; and he invented the inelegantly styled *' hog-fiume," one of the 
(•eculiar features of every American river-steamer of any considerable 
size to prevent its bending in the centre. Another of his productions, in 
1S14, was an elongated boml>-shell of marvelous destructive power, for 
which he received a large annuity from the government.^ 

While Xew York was taking the lead so nobly in the advancement of 
steam navigation, Aaron Burr was armigned and tried for treason 


ID Richinood, Virginia He had crossed the mountains, traveled 
through the western country, conceived his famous Mexican scheme, been 
thwarted in its execution, and captured while trying to escape through 
the woods on the Tombigbee River. Two judges sat upon the bench, 

« Robert LiriDgBton Stevens was bora at Hoboken in 1788, and died in 1856. He 
»w the projector, engineer, and president of the Canulen and Anihoy Railroad, in process 
4 fTfutmction at the time of the ()[)eninj; of the LiveqKX)! and Munilu-stiT Railroad in 1830. 
H* inv«iite«l the new standard T-mil, known in this countrj' as tlie Stevens rail, and in 
EarTV|v», whrrr it waa afterwards introdno*<l, as the ** vignolles " mil, which was first tested 
aftoo this Tomtl. Colonel John Stevens huilt in 1825 a small locomotive which he plat'ed on 
a drcalar r»ilwmy before hLs dwelling-house at Kohokeu to prove that his early spi*culation 
kid a bam of fact. — T^uralon, 


Chief Justice John Marshall and Cyrus Griffin, judge of the District of 
Virginia. The array of legal talent on both sides was imposing. Burr 
was himself the real leader of the defense, as not a step was taken or a 
point conceded without his concurrence. His policy was to overthrow 
the testimony. The trial was tediously long. Richmond, then a city of 
six thousand inhabitants, was thronged with magnates from all parts of 
the country. New York was well represented. So many distinguished 
persons claimed seats within the bar, that lawyers of twenty years' stand- 
ing were excluded from their accustomed places and thankful to obtain 
admission even to the hall. Theodosia, who had fondly hoped to see her 
father the glorious and powerful head of a nation created by his own 
genius, came to share his prison life, accompanied by her devoted 

Through the scorching days of that memorable summer of 1807 the 
excited eyes of the nation rested upon one reposeful figure — that of the 
well-dressed man with hair powdered and tied in a cue, who, polite and 
confident, seemed above all others at peace with the entire world. Could 
he have had in view the destruction of the Union ? Who could trace in 
his placid countenance the determination to assassinate Jefferson, corrupt 
the navy, and overthrow Congress, with which he was charged ? The 
President wrote of the mad enterprise : " It is the most extraordinary 
since the days of Don Quixote. It is so extravagant that those who 
know Burr's understanding would not believe it if the proofs admitted 
doubt. He has meant to place himself on the throne of Montezuma, and 
extend his empire to the Alleghany, seizing New Orleans as the instru- 
ment of compulsion for our Western States." 

The acquittal of Burr by the jury was the result of the difficulty found 
by the prosecution in proving overt acts ; but it had very little effect 
upon public sentiment, which had already pronounced his condemna- 
tion. He went forth a free man, while his conduct was siqgularly like 
that of a criminal fleeing from justice. He lay concealed in the houses 
of his friends in New York until an opportunity offered for securing a 
passage, under an assumed name, and with passage-money borrowed from 
Dr. Hosack, for Europe. 

At this moment Napoleon was' nearing the pinnacle of his greatness. 
Every human interest was subordinate to his gigantic wars. All 
Europe was in arms. On the 14th of June the battle of Fried- 
land was fought, and on the 25th the French and Russian emperors met 
on a rafb in the middle of the river and vowed eternal friendship, two 
armies looking on. On the 7th of July a treaty of peace was concluded 
at Tilsit Months prior to these events the .British and French govern- 


ments had issued retaliatory proclamations which interfered with the 
neutral commerce of America upon the ocean. Great Britain declared 
the whole coast between the Elbe and the Brest to be in a state of 
blockade. This subjected American vessels attempting to enter the 
continental ports to capture and condemnation — a manifest violation of 
the law of nations. The plundered merchants appealed to Congress for 
defense and indemnity. Napoleon in turn issued the famous Berlin 
decree which declared the British Isles to be in a state of blockade, and 
which rendered American vessels liable to seizure and condemnation when 
carrying on what had heretofore been a lawful trade with Great Britain. 
The American government remonstrated, but without efifect 

While matters were thus situated the frigate Chesapeake was attacked 
by the British and disabled, as she was leaving her post for a distant 
service ; several of her crew were killed, and four of them taken away by 
the assaulters. About the same time the British government published an 
order, holding all their absent seamen to their allegiance, recalling them 
from foreign service, and pronouncing heavy penalties upon such as dis- 
obeyed. This principle of the law of allegiance was diametrically opposed 
to that recognized by the American government, as it denied the right of 
expatriation. Every naturalized citizen of the United States who had 
been in the marine service of Great Britain was commanded to disregard 
his oath of allegiance to the United States, and return to Great Britain. 
An order was passed declaring the sale of ships by belligerents illegal 
This was eclipsed by Napoleon's decree of Milan, enforcing the decree of 
Berlin, which, if carried out, would have doomed to confiscation every 
vessel of the United States that had been boarded or even spoken by 
the British. The order of Napoleon was approved by Spain, and in some 
instances enforced. Vessels were also burned by the French cruisers; 
Under the impression that neither England nor France could dispense 
with our productions, as the demand for bi^eadstuffs occasioned by the 
war had raised the price of produce in this country to an amount before 
uiiequaled, President Jefierson recommended an embargo on all American 
shipping until the two hostile powers should acknowledge our neutral 
rights by a repeal of their obnoxious orders and decrees. 

Congress passed a bill in accordance with the President's recommenda- 
tion, at eleven o'clock at night, December 22 ; American vessels 

Doc 22. 

were thenceforward prohibited from sailing for foreign ports, all 
foreign vessels were forbidden to take out cargoes, and all coasting 
vessels were required to give bonds to land their cargoes in the United 
States. Thus terminated the year 1807. 






Effects of the Embargo in New York. — Political Animosities. — Election of 
Governor Tompkins. — The First Woolen Mills in New York. — Livinoston- 
Homes ON THE Hudson. — Opposition to the Embargo. — Fashions of the Period. 
— Madison's Eijbction. — Party Strifes in New York. — The Two Hundredth 
Anniversart of the Discovery of Manhattan Island. — The Banquet. — The 
New City Hall. — City Hall Park. — George Frederick Cooke. — Church Edi- 
fices OF THE City in 1812. — Canal Street. —The Grading and Extension of 
Streets. — Laying out of the whole Island into Streets and Avenues. — The 
Aldermen. — Colonel Nicholas Fish. — The Erie Canal in Contemplation. — 
Surveys. — War Prospects. — Celebrated Characters. 

NEW YORK suffered severely from the embargo. Her kings of com- 
merce were doomed to see their immense business suspended, for 
no vessels could sail to the East and West Indies, or to the vast colonial 
regions of North and South America, any more than to England and 
France, without being subject to capture and condemnation. The tnule 
of the whole world, in fact, was interdicted, and could not be carried on 
without risk of forfeiture. Ships in which a vast amount of capital wa.s 
invested rocked idly at anchor and went to decay in New York harbor. 
The merchant discharged his clerks, and warehouses were in many iu- 
fttances closed and deserted. The farmer had either no market for his 
produce or must sell at a great i*eduction of price. Prosperity was ar- 
rested, and actual, palpable, pecuniary loss stared every merchant and 
fanner in the faca 

The Federalists denounced the measure in the most violent terms. 

They said it was one which would not and could not produce the desired 

iwnlt of compelling the belligerents to rescind their oitlers and decrees. 

Both England and France had distinctly intimated that if the United 

States would side with them every advantage should be given to her 

Qommeroe ; and they had both resolved that the United States should not 

pennitted to remain neutral, but should be forced to go to war with 

"V other of the contending powers. It was not believed that either 

would be seriously affected by a suspension of American com* 


merce. As for France, the emperor, after the peace of Tilsit, wielded the 
chief resources of the European Contineut and directed them to the 
avowed purpose .of conquering the British Empire ; and the United 
States was greatly desired as an ally. 

Napoleon's minister, Champagny, wrote in January : " War exists, in 
fact, between England and the United States; and his Majesty 
considers it as declared from the day in which England published 
her decrees." The Federalists insisted that France was the principal 
aggressor, and if America must have a war it ought to be with the French, 
and not with the British. 

Meanwhile England dispatched a special minister to adjust the diffi- 
culty with the United States which had arisen from the assault on the 
frigate Chesapeake. On arriving at Washington he informed Secftetary 
Madison of his instructions requiring President Jefferson's proclamation, 
interdicting British vessels of war from the harbors of the United States, 
to be withdrawn before he could enter upon the subject of reparation. 
Jefferson declined, and insisted upon bringing into review other cases of 
aggression, even the whole question of impressment itself, and the further 
progress of the negotiation was interrupted. In March the British min- 
ister re-embarked for England in the same frigate which had brought 
him out 

This event excited afresh the animosity of the two political parties. 
The Republicans sustained Jefferson, and claimed that the settlement of 
the one point in dispute would have been of no ixjal consequence in the 
present position of affaii-s. They said the embargo policy prevented the 
loss of ships, and avoided an entanglement of the nation in a war that 
was waged solely for conquest and empire. The Federalists in turn 
charged the President and his party with hatred of Elngland and a desire 
to further the wishes of Fmnce ; and contended that other and more effi- 
cient measures less injurious to the nation, and esj^ecially to the gmin- 
growing and commercial States, than an embai'go for an indefinite period 
of time, might have been adopted. 

At a public meeting in New York of wliich De Witt Clinton was 
chairman, i-esolutions were adoj)te(l disapj)ix)viug the enibai-go. The Clin- 
tonian paper, edited by Clieethani, decidedly opposed the measure. The 
new council of appointment chosen in February })i'oceeded to restore 
De Witt Clinton to the mayoralty of New York City, he having been 
removed in 1807, and Marinus Willett elevated to that office. It also 
restored Pierre Cortlandt Van Wyck to the office of recorder, who had 
been displaced the year before by the appointment of Maturin Livingston. 
Thirteen other removals and appoiiitmt'nts were made on the same day. 

;r-l •.i:- L:-.:r._-*;oa iowrtr 
T ■:..: jiLi- »-.vs ay..-uni; a: 
^"'y [^ I ■--->- man. Ed 
Ci'-r-i j: C- l-iailiia anJ a 
i..;"r-i I. :;.r l^iT early, iti 1^"4, when on 
til.iTyyrar'ofayt.l'eeu e 
vat'-i t" ill- U-ucli as as- 
f-mit .if New York, at i 
saiiu- tiiiio t\iAi the ^'n 
jiiri-^t. -laiiii's Keut. w 
iiiii'it.' tliief justice. I 
]>Ii.-ii.«iii;j iiiaiiiitTit, not 1< 
tlmii Iii»' tint, iiiauly, m: 
II ('til- i>ivsi'iu'e, Were yivi 
ly in Ills favur, atul tin 
wii> <If|itli to his learni 
anil stix-ii>,'th iu his chan 
tcr whii-h f^ave him wi 
influence. OovemotLe^ 
WHS supiKnieii bj' the L 
in^^ton^, and by niaity 
Uw FnteniliHtH; Itnt tlic if|H>i-t liavin:^ U-tm civi'iilated that he had gone o^ 
to tlio hxlomlittM. ToniiikiiiK ivn-ivi-ii thi- i-i's]>et't:ililc majority of f( 
UlOUMUid iiiid i>i(;hty-live voti-n. In his tii'tt sjn-erh to the I.«>n^lature 
tht ODiamvmitiiiHnil of the imnnal session, in AlUinr, Jiinuary 26, 18i 
Iwl ill It eh'Hr, loriilije manner the fort>igu policy of the admiu 


tratioii of JeflTeison, and justified the embargo act : and his views were 
sustained in the answers of both houses. 

Ex-Grovemor Lewis retired to his country-seat at Staatsburg on the 
Hudson, and interested himself in agricultural pursuits. The mania for 
merino sheep was at its height, and he was soon possessed of a flock. 
Chancellor Livingston had wintered successfully a large nimiber at 
Clermont the year before, and was writing a volume on sheep-raising. 
The importation of the animal was prohibited by the laws of Spain, but 
adventurers were every now and then landing some which sold at fabu- 
lous prices ; one lamb easily brought a thousand dollars, and not infre- 
quently fifteen hundred. " At such ruinous rates thei'e will be men to 
import them from the very jaws of the infernal regions," exclaimed John 
R Livingston, who had escaped the contagion. 

The interruption of foreign traffic naturally turned attention to home 
industry. American wools had not been supposed suitable for fine cloths, 
and the woolen fabrics hitherto produced had been largely the product of 
household labor and private looms. Capital had not been expended to 
any considerable extent in the building of factories. But the wool from 
merino sheep, unwashed, sold for one and two dollars per pound, and the 
manufacture of fine broadcloth was seriously contemplated in many parts 
of the land. Dr. Seth Capron, who erected and put in operation the first 
cotton manufactory in the State of New York, at Whitesborough, Oneida 
County, formed a wool company and established the Oriskany Woolen 
Mills, not only the first of the kind in the State, but believed now to be 
the oldest existing wool-making institution in the United States. He 
V18 a man of known sagacity, integrity, and moral worth, and in taking 
the lead in an enterprise of such importance, located in the commanding 
geographical avenue of intercourse between Albany and the region of 
the lakes, was r^arded with curious interest.^ 1809 is the date of the 

' Dr. Seth Oapron was born in Rhode Island aboat 1760, died at Walden, Orange County, 

■ 1836 {New York Commercial Advertiser ; Niles RegisUr, October 3, 1835). He served 

Waaiiiiigton during nearly the whole period of the Revolution. He settled in Whites- 

OnekU Coonty, New York, soon after Slater established the first successful cotton 

■iD IB thia eoantry at Providence, Rhode Island, in 1790, and was the pioneer of the cotton 

■dntry in New YoriL. He established also both cotton and woolen mills at Walden, where 

b i^eat the later years of his life. The account of the establishment of the Oriskany Woolen 

tomfmj in the Annals and Recollections of Oneida County, by Pomeroy Jones, fixes the 

4ttt of the aet of incorporation as 1811, referring to the general act of incorporation for man- 

itearing oonpanies. Dr. Seth Capron was the father of General Horace Capron, who 

vkfle at the head of the Agricultural Department of our national government at Washington, 

■ 1670, WM inTited by the Mikado of the great and ancient Empire of Japan to teach his 

|Mple the acienoe of agriculture. As commissioner and adviser of the Kattakushi, General 

Cbpon tpmt tereral yean in developing the resources of Yesso and its dependent islands, — 

• toik without pnoadent, and performed amidst the most novel difficulties and surroundings. 



charter of the Company, which included such men as Stephen Van Rens- 
selaer, Ambrose Spencer, De Witt Clinton, John Taylor, James Piatt, 
Nathan Williams, Newton Mann, and Theodore Sill ; but the mills had 
then been in operation some months. The satinets first made sold readily 
at four dollars, and broadcloth for ten and twelve dollars per yard. For 
the first four years the wool used cost an average price of one dollar 
and twenty cents per pound. 

The beautiful estates of the varioiis members of the Livingston family 
on the shores of the Hudson at this period would have made a village of 
villas, indeed, if they could have been collected. John R Livingston 
disputed with his brother, the Chancellor, the honor of having the show^ 
place ; his stately house covered so much ground, and was esteemed so 
perfect in architectural symmetry, that drawing-masters made sketches of 
it and gave it to their pupils to copy. The design was by Brunei, after 
the ch&teau of Beaimiarchais in France. His establishment in the city 
was unrivaled for style, and both himself and family mingled in fashion- 
able life with great zest. Henry Beekman Livingston inherited his grand- 
father Beekman's estate at Bhinebeck. He was a fine-looking man, and 
by many thought to surpass even the Chancellor in the manly courtesy 
of his address. He married Miss Shippen, niece of Henry Lee, president 
of the first Congress. Montgomery Place, the residence of their oldest 
sister, the widow of Richard Montgomery, stood upon an elevation nearly 
opposite the Catskills, with picturesque views on every hand. It em- 
braced a great number of valuable acres in a high state of cultivation. 
Mrs. Thomas Tillotson was the mistress of Linwood ; from the piazza of 
her dwelling the river had all the eCTect of a lovely lake, enclosed by 
gently sloping hills adorned with pretty villas half hidden in the groves. 
Briercliff, Mrs. 6arretson*s country-seat, was within a mile of Linwood ; 
she was said to have more genius and imagination than either of the sis- 
ters. Her husband, Rev. Freeborn Garretson, was one of the pioneers of 
the early Methodist Church in America. 

Rokeby, the country-seat of Mrs. Armstrong, was one of the ornaments 
of the river. The house was of stone and very spacious, and the beau- 
tifiil, well-planned grounds elicited general admiration. She was the 
ycmngBst of the sisters, and the most striking in personal appearance, 
with queenly manners, and laige, dark, expressive eyes. When her 
farother, the Chancellor, retired from his mission to France, her huslxind, 
Oenetal John Armstrong, was appointed to the post in his stead, and she, 
""v^ her family, accompanied him to Paiis, residing there seven years, 
a special favorite among the distinguished men and women at the 
of Napoleon, where her intelligence, animation, overflowing good- 


humor, and tact in conversation were unrivaled. In knowledge of the 
French language she was in nowise inferior to her brother Edward, who 
found his acquirements of such practical value in New Orleans ; and who 
had, when a boy, so captivated Lafayette, while at one time domesticated 
for a season in the family, that he was urged by the Marquis to run 
away with him to Europe. " I will adopt you for my brother, and you 
shall have every advantage of education that Europe can afford," Lafay- 
ette argued persuasively ; " we will write from the other side to be for- 
given." It is needless to add that the temptation was resisted. Mrs. 
Armstrong's only daughter married William B. Astor. 

Still another handsome property not far from Clermont was Grasmere, 
left Mrs. Montgomery by her deceased husband, but which had been pur- 
chased by her sister Joanna, who married Peter R. Livingston, the 
brother of Maturin Livingston.^ The house was of French architecture, 
and furnished with many costly articles imported from France, such as 
red morocco sofas and Turkey carpets. Maturin Livingston sold his 
New York house in Liberty Street upon being removed from the office of 
recorder — at the close of the governorship of his father-in-law, Morgan 
Lewis — and bought Ellerslie, a valuable estate near Rhiuebeck, upon 
which he erected an elegant mansion, the same that was subsequently 
owned and occupied by Hon. William Kelly. 

These fine domains, as the reader will observe, belonged simply to one 
of the branches of the extensive and opulent Livingston family, and they 
were clustered within a few liours' drive of each other in the neighbor- 
hood of Clermont The Livingston manor property was further to the 
north ; and other estates of magnitude, located between Clermont and the 
metropolis, were equally illustrative of the development of the rich coun- 
try bordering the Hudson, and of the wealth and consequence of the 
dominant political party in New York at this epoch. The Clintons 
eclipsed the Livingstons in will-power if not in moneyed influence, and 
an irreconcilable feeling of hostility existed between them. But they 
were of one mind in sustaining the administration. Mayor De Witt 
Clinton renounced his opposition to the embai-go laws after mature reflec- 

* Peter R. and Maturin Livingston were sons of Robert James Livingston, born 1729, 
vlioae wife was Susan, daughter of the famous lawyer ami judge, Hon. William Smith (see 
VoL I. 667, 568), and sister of the equally famous Williani Sniith, the historian, who be- 
came Chief Justice of Upper Canada, and who married Janet Livingston, her husband's sister. 
Bobert James Livingston was the son of James Livingston, Ikjiii 1701, who married Elizabeth 
Kientede. And James Livingston was the son of Robert, nephew of the first I^rtl of the 
Manor, who, coming from Scotland in 1696, married Margaretta Schuyler in 1697 ; their 
daughter Janet married Colonel Henry Beekman ; and another daughter, Angelica, married 
Johannes Van Rensselaer. 


tion, for which he was charged with bad faith by Gheetham, who adhered 
to the stand he had first taken, his paper thereby losing its party caste. 
And both the Livingstons and the Clintonians disclaimed with energy the 
charge of the Fedemlists that they were under French influence. 

But tlie election of a new President was drawing near, and old feuds 
broke out afresh. Jefferson declared his fixed determination to retire. 
Many wished to see Vice-President George Clinton elevated to the 
Presidential chair, and were displeased, when, according to the fashion of 
the day, a congressional caucus nominated James Madison. James 
Monroe would have better suited a considerable number of the Virgin- 
ians, on the special ground that Madison was so identified with the exist- 
ing system of foreign policy that with him for President no change cf>ul(l 
rationally be expected. In New York some overtures were made and a 
meeting held for the purpose of transferring the Federal vote to Vice- 
President Clinton. This arrangement, however, failed, and the Federal 
candidates were Charles C. Pinckney and Bufus King. When the 
electors were chosen by the Legislature, they were distributed six to 
Clinton and the remaining thirteen to Madison, through a compromise 
between the Clintonians and Livingstons. At the same time a most vigor- 
ous personal o])position to Vice-President Clinton was prosecuted quite 
as persistently by some of his own party as by the Federalists, and givat 
efforts were made to impair the public confidence in Mayor De Witt 

Before the results of the Presidential election were known, Jefferson 
became uneasy about the unpopular embargo. It did not work well. 
Indeed, it had proved a total failure in bringing England and France to 
terms. While it bore heavily upon England, it was far more injurious to 
the United States. England could obtain supplies elsewhere — cotton 
from Brazil, tobacco from South America, naval stores from Sweden, 
lumber from Nova Scotia, and grain from the Baltic. The United States 
was deprived of the trade of all nations, and must do without silks, 
linens^ woolens, hardware, pottery, and many other articles to which the 
naqpk were accustomed, and had not the facilities to manufacture at 


*Hi insolenee of the French was even more humiliating than the arro- 

' Wngland To Minister Armstrong's remonstrances when Ameri- 

">I6 aeiied because they had merchandise of British origin 

a craftily answered that since the passage of the em- 

oaa vessel had a legal right on the ocean, thus any 

nerioan must either be British or subservient to 

ouxae there were American vessels abroad at the 


time the law was enacted ; and many of these, instead of returning to 
their native whar\*es, conducted a hazardous traffic from one European 
port to another, contriving to evade the French prohibitions by forged 
documents ; and the Bayonne decree was chiefly aimed at the suppression 
of this trada But it subjected to confiscation innocent vessels as well, 
for which there was no remedy. 

.TeflFerson had no intention of going to war with England. With noth- 
iiig but a handful of useless gunboats, no army, and almost no fortifica- 
tions, the idea of actual hostilities was scouted rather than entertained. 
He had summarily and cavalierly rejected the treaty negotiated by James 
Monroe and Pinckney, and looked with equanimity upon the distresses 
of the merchants and the multitudes dependent upon trade for support, 
fondly imagining that agriculture would be benefited thereby. He had in 
earlier times expressed the abstract opinion that it would be happy if the 
United States could be shut out from the rest of the world, like China, 
and her inhabitants be all husbandmen. 

He was amazed to see how much of secret evasion and open resist- 
ance the embargo encountered at home. It even became necessary to 
send troops to check the traffic on Lake Champlain, a convenient outlet 
for the produce of portions of New York and New England. Some bloody 
encounters took place in that quarter, leading to trials for munler and 
treason. It was exceedingly difficult to obtain verdicts of guilty from 
jurors, and the treason cases came to nothing in every instance. Judge 
Livingston held that no resistance to law, however extensive or violent, 
cfmM amount to treason where mere private advantage was the object, 
an«l not the overthrow of the government. In New England prosecutions 
w«fpe defended by the celebrated Samuel Dexter, and other eminent lawyers, 
on the ground of the unconstitutionality of the embargo. It was impossible, 
with i*uch extensive coasts and numerous ports, to enforce an odious law 
vhich every knave violated, however scnipulously honest men might 
oU-y and suffer. And it was found productive of mischief in an infini- 
code of ways. The richer the merchant, the less he objected to the cessa- 
tiiiQ of his business, which was sure to furnish him with the opportunity 
of buying up, at a great discount, the ships and produce of smaller men. 
Tbnse of moderate means were the victims. The very poor were not 
Itfsitant about demanding food and shelter when labor was denied them. 

The mayor of New York, for instance, called a special meeting of the 
^Xfxnmon council, on one occasion, to advise in relation to a significant 
r»<\Ok: published in the Daily Advertiser, inviting the idle seamen in the 
vicmitv of the city to assemble in the Park at eleven o'clock the next 
■Gcning, for the purpose of inquiring of the mayor what they were to do 


for their subsistence during the winter. A resolution was entered upon 
the minutas, and also inserted in the evening papers, to the effect that 
the mayor disapproved of the mode of application, but informed the public 
that " the corporation would in the emergency, as they had done on for- 
mer occasions, provide for the wants of all persons, without distinction, 
who might be considered proper objects of relief" ^ 

Josiah Quincy was the champion of the principles and policy of the 
Federalists at Washington in 1808, and in his vehement and pe- 
culiar style of oratory declared it would be as reasonable to under- 
take to stop the rivers from running into the sea, as to keep the people 
of New England from the ocean. It was all very well to talk about the 
patriotism and quiet submission of such as dwelt in the interior, who had 
no opportunity to break the embargo ; but when those whose ships lay 
on the edge of the ocean loaded with produce, with the alternative before 
them of total ruin or a rich market, and they risked the latter, they 
could not for any length of time be identified with common smugglers. 
Already the suspension of imports had imposed a loss of thirty mil- 
lions of dollars, principally on the maritime interest of America ; and it 
was not to be e-xpected that such ruinous sacrifices would be long borne 
with patience. 

In one of Quincy's letters to his wife in March he said, "We are tired 
of one another, and Jefferson of us. The only difficulty to be surmounted 
is, that those who voted for the embargo do not like to go home with it 
on, and yet they dare not take it off. We meet and adjourn, do ordinary 
business, wrangle, and then the majority retire to intrigue for the Presi- 
dency." A glimpse of his manner of life is afforded through a passage in 
an earlier letter during the same session : " At half past six in the morn- 
ing my servant comes into my room, makes my fire, gets my dressing 
apparatus, and at half past seven I am out of bed, and dressed for the 
day. My servant, not content with tying my hair simply with a ribbon, 
works it up into a most formidable queue, at least three inches long, and as 
big as a reasonable Dutch quill. He says this is the mode in New York, 
and as I do not wear powder, and it looks a little more trig, I acquiesce.*' 

Although John Jay in one of his letters speaks of the French Revolu- 
tion as having abolished silk stockings and high breeding from the land, 
and Jefferson was making a study of carelessness in personal attire to 
illustrate his notions of equality and democracy, old-school fashions had 
by no means become obsolete. The carriage dress worn by Mrs. Quincy 
while visiting the home of her brother. General Jacob Morton, in New 
"irk, the year.before, was a short pelisse of black velvet, edged round the 

^ Mmutes of Common Covnn'f in Manuftrript. 1808, Vol. XVIII. p. 18. 


skirt with deep lace, and trimmed with silk cord and jet buttons, while her 
hat was of purple velvet and flowers ; her costume worn in Washington 
the same winter at a ball given by the British Minister was of rich white 
silk embroidered in gold, with train, and a corresponding head-dress, orna- 
mented with a single white ostrich feather. 

Peter Parley tells an amusing story of a leading New York barber, wlio 
was shaving a gentleman on the evening Madison's nomination for the 
Presidency was announced. " Dear me ! " he exclaimed. " Surely this 
country is doomed to disgrace and shame. What Presidents we might 
have had, sir ! Just look at Daggett of Connecticut, or Stockton of New 
Jersey ! What queues they have got, sir — as big as your wrist, and 
powdered every day, sir, like real gentlemen as they are. Such men, sir, 
would confer dignity upon the chief magistracy ; but this little Jim 
Madison, with a queue no bigger than a pipe-stem ! Sir, it is enough to 
make a man forswear his country ! " 

The winter of 1808 - 1809 was one of intense anxiety and excitement 
throughout the country. Madison was found to have received one hun- 
dred and twenty-two votes for President; and George Clinton one hundred 
and thirteen votes for Vice-President, thus both were declared elected. 
The question of preparing for war agitated the public mind almost equally 
with that of repealing the embargo act. Many of Jefferson's partisans 
became alarmed at the condition of affairs, and sided with the Federalists. 
After much caucusing Jefferson consented to a compromise, and non- 
intercourse was substituted for embargo, which was the last act of his 

By the new law all nations except France and Great Britain were re- 
lieved from the arbitrary provisions of the former act, and the 
coasting trade was in a great measure set free. Men breathed 
with more ease, and business began to revive. But the restraints still 
sabjected honorable merchants to serious eml)arrassnients, and evasions 
by the dishonest were ten times as frequent {\s during the fourteen 
months' embai^o. Jefferson laid down the scepter with heaity 
good-will. He had discovered a wide difference between author- 
ity in theory and authority in practice. He had pui-sued his policy of 
peace, with one half the nation lauding hiiu as a political saint and the 
other chai^ging him with intolerable tyranny, until earth and sea seemed 
to have united in one great paroxysm of madness, and war threatened 
both at home and from abroad. 

Hadison was inaugurated with the usual ceremonies, and in his address 
<leclared his intention " to cherish peace and IVicndly intercoui^e with all 
aitions having correspondent dispositions ; to maintain sincere neutrality 


vhaie at the election in 1809 the union against the adminietration vaa 
complete. In N'ew York the Federalists carried the State election, for 
the first time in ten years. 

Consequently, at the first meeting of the new CouncO of Appointment 
De Witt Clinton was removed from the mayoralty of the city, and Jacob 
BadcUff chosen in his stead ; while Pierre CortUndt Van Wyck was 
exchanged for Josiah Ogden HofTmau in tbe recordership. The politics of 
Ifew York at this time would puzzle a stmuger unfamiliar with the deadly 
ffloda between families, which had raged for upwards of a century. The 
tactdcaand the manceuvres of the factions fur supremacy might be likened 
to a kaleidoscope, presenting many fine colors and symmetrical forms, 
bot leaving & eicgular uncertainty upon the mind ae to the future charac- 
ter of the exhibition. Purely partisan conflicts are of as little moment to 
history as the rise of cliques which after brief existence suddenly disappear 
from the horizon of politics. A few brave men of the Kepublican party 
I still clung to Aaron Burr, who in abject poverty was at this moment 
I vainly trying te get out of France, and believed his vexatious detention was 
j due to the enmity of Armstroi^ ; he was under the surveillance of " that 
\ perfect police which could make the empire as impassable a prison as a 
wralled and moated fortress," and learned from Theodosia that the newa- 
I papers in America seldom mentioned his name but to stigmatize it, and 
that politicians knevr too well that to appear in his defense would be to 
share his odium, and destroy all their hopes of the smallest governmental 
fovor. Another section of the Bepublican party, which had supported 
Madison for the Prasidency in opposition to Geoi^e Clinton, made com- 
mon cause with the Livingstons. ■ 

Before the end of the year the pressure from tlie Federalists was so 
great that the Clintoaiana and the Livingstons coalesced, and re-elected 
Governor Tompkins by ten thousand majority over Jonas Piatt, the 
Federal caudidate. Thus t^e Federalists, although having increased 
their strength In the city, lost both the Assembly and the council of 
nppointmeot, and were doomed to see every man of their party hold- 
; office removed to make room for former iucumbents. De Witt 
>n was restored to the mayoralty, and Van Wyck to the Tecorder- 

I 'ration was |^nned in the summer of 1809 by the New York 

'Acie^, to commemorate the discovery of Manhattan Island. 

''ears bad elapsed since Heiiry Hudson came in sight 

tiescribed in the second chapter of the first volume 

anniversary of such a momentous event attracted 

The corporation of the city tendered the use 


towards belligerent nations ; and to exclude foreign intrigues and foreign 
partialities." At the same time he acknowledged the difficult crisis of 
affairs, the more striking by its contrast to the extraordinary commercial 
prosperity of preceding years, a crisis resulting, in his opinion, solely from 
the misconduct of the powers in Europe who were at war with each other, 
and not from errors of administration. 

One of his first acts, in view of the dark clouds of war which for 
years had overshadowed Europe and were now rolling towards America, 
was to send John Quincy Adams on a mission to Russia. The youthful 
Emperor Alexander was rising to a prominent and influential position 
among the nations of the Old World. Adams had veered about in 
politics and sustained Jefferson and his embargo policy, and with his 
eminent talents and literary acquirements, his perfect knowledge of the 
relations of nations, and of the diplomatic language of Europe, he was 
well fitted for such an embassy. Twenty-eight years before, while a mere 
lad, he had been in the same place as private secretary to Dana. He 
was now in his prime, and, arriving at St. Petersburg in the autumn of 
1809, made such a favorable impression upon the court, that the emperor, 
charmed by his varied qualities, admitted him to terms of personal inti- 
macy seldom granted to the most favored individuals. 

An attempt to negotiate a treaty with Great Britain was unsuccessful. 
Erskine, the English minister at Washington, had been sincerely desirous 
of effecting conciliatory arrangements with the United States, and entered 
into an agreement with Madison's Secretary of State that the British 
orders in council should be repealed on the tenth day of the coming June. 
The highest hopes of commercial freedom began to fill the American 
mind. But news came that turned the tide into a flood of bitter resent- 
ment The British government peremptorily refused to honor the treaty 
of their minister, and charged him with having exceeded his instructions, 
knowingly. President Madison, who had fondly hoped to relieve tlie 
nation from the multiplied evils of the restrictive jwlicy, had no alterna- 
tive but to issue a mandate renewing non-intercourse. 

The excitement was intense. Republicans generally chaiged the Brit- 
ish Cabinet with a palpable breach of public and pledged faith, and 
the Federalists blamed the President and his advisers. A remarkable 
change had taken place in the respective politics of Bepublicans and 
Federalists during the eight years of Jefferson's rule, showing that party 
distiiictioii had arisen greatly from differences of opinion as to certain 
'^^vMatiB of temporary policy, together with divided sympathies respect- 
\ contest between England and France. The embargo system had 
4i9 strength of the Federalists, particularly in New England, 


where at the election in 1809 the union against the administration was 
complete. In New York the Federalists carried the State election, for 
the first time in ten years. 

Consequently, at the first meeting of the new Council of Appointment 
De Witt Clinton was removed from the mayoralty of the city, and Jacob 
Badcliff chosen in his stead ; while Pierre Cortlandt Van Wyck was 
exchanged for Josiah Ogden Hoffman in the recordership. . The politics of 
New York at this time would puzzle a stranger unfamiliar with the deadly 
feuds between families, which had raged for upwards of a century. The 
tactics and the manceuvres of the factions for supremacy might be likened 
to a kaleidoscope, presenting many fine colors and symmetrical forms, 
but leaving a singular uncertainty upon the mind as to the future charac- 
ter of the exhibition. Purely partisan conflicts are of as little moment to 
history as the rise of cliques which after brief existence suddenly disappear 
from the horizon of politics. A few brave men of the Bepublican party 
still clung to Aaron Burr, who in abject poverty was at this moment 
vainly trying to get out of France, and believed his vexatious detention was 
due to the enmity of Armstrong ; he was under the surveillance of " that 
perfect police which could make the empire as impassable a prison as a 
walled and moated fortress," and learned from Theodosia that the news- 
papers in America seldom mentioned his name but to stigmatize it, and 
that politicians knew too well that to appear in his defense would be to 
share his odium, and destroy all their hopes of the smallest governmental 
iavor. Another section of the Kepublican party, which had supported 
Madison for the Presidency in opposition to George Clinton, made com- 
mon cause with the Livingstons. 

Before the end of the year the pressure from tlie Fedei*alists was so 
great that the Clintonians and the Livingstons coalesced, and re-elected 
Governor Tompkins by ten thousand majority over Jonas Piatt, the 
Federal candidata Thus the Federalists, although having increased 
their strength in the city, lost both the Assembly and the council of 
appointment, and were doomed to see every man of their party hold- 
ing office removed to make room for former iucumbents. De Witt 
Clinton was restored to the mayoralty, and Van Wyck to the Tecorder- 

A celefaration was planned in the summer of 1809 by the New York 
Historical Society, to commemorate the discovery of Manhattan Island. 
Two hundred years had elapsed since Henry Hudson came in sight 
of our shores, as described in the second chapter of the first volume 
of this work. The anniversary of such a momentous event attracted 
oniveraal attention. The corporation of the city tendered the use 



of the front court-room in the City Hall to the Society for the exer- 
cises of the day, wliich was accepted, and a large audience of ladies 
1809. and gentlemen asseniblal therein to listen to a brilliant and 
8^ *■ learned historical address by Kev, Dr. Miller. Governor Tomp- 
kins was present, also the muyor and corporation of the city. 

At the conclusion of the discourse, about four in tlie afternoon, the So- 
ciety adjourned to the City Hot«l on Broadway, where an elegant dinner bad 
been prepared. Among the invited guests were e x-M ay ur M annua Willett, 
Judge Nathaniel Pendletou, Theodorus Bailey, the jxistuiaster, Cohuiel 

I Peter Cuite- 
nius, Charles 
Italdwin, and 
Henry Gabn, 
the Swedish 
Consul. Tlie 
viands servetl 
were "a vari- 
ety of shell 
and other fish 
with which 
our waters 
abound, wild 
pigeons and 
succotash (In- 
dian-com and 
beans), the fa- 
vorite dish of 

the season, witli the different nieiits intrmhicBd into this country \ty the 
European settlers."' It was a banquet in keepinf^ with the historical 
spirit of tlie occasion, all modem delicacies having been rigidly excluded.' 
Among the nominees for mcmlietsbip of the Historical Society at tliis 
meeting were Oliver Wolcott, David B. Ogden, William Paulding, Jr., 
Washington Irving, Kichard Kiker, James Swords, and Matthias R 
Tallmadge. A few of the honorary members elected were Lindley 
Hurray, Xoali Webster, Charles Brockden Brown, George Gibbs, Timothy 
iaden,Rev. Dr. Jedediah Morse, Eev. Dr. John Elliott, Bev. Dr. William 
•nel Johnson, Rev. Dr. Benjamin Trumbull, Dr. Samuel Baid, Dr. 

'Oi JVm Yvrk Hidoriatt Sacitty in MmioBripl, Vol. I. p. 2S ; Dr. UiUtt't 
: Bid. Soe. CM. Vol. I. isn». 
^nd at tfaii notable dinner were ; — 

K^Tte diKonnr of AnKiic*. Hi* moiimMiit u not uiMribnl 

CHy HoM, Trinily Ch< 


Benjamin Rush, Rev. Dr. Timothy Dwight, president of Yale College, 
Rev. Samuel Stanhope Smith, president of Princeton College, Josiah 
Quincy, and Vice-President George Clinton. 

with hiB ntme, yet all nations recognize it. Its base covers half the globe, and its sammit 
reaches beyond the clouds." 

" Queen Isabella of Spain. — The magnanimous and munificent friend and patron of 

** John and Sebastian Cabot — The contemporaries of Columbus and the discoverers of 
North America." 

" John Verrazano. — His enterprising genius and his visit to this part of our country 
deserve to be better known." 

" Heniy Hudson. — The enterprising and intrepid navigator. Though disastrous his 
end, yet fortunate his renown, for the migestic river which bears his name shall render it 

" The Fourth of September, 1609. — Tlie day on which Hudson landed on our shores." 

" Wouter Van Twiller. — The first governor of New Netherland." 

" Peter Stnyvesant. — The last Dutch governor, an intrepid soldier and faithful oflScer." 

•* Richard Nicolls. — The first English governor of the Province of New York." 

" George Clinton. — The first governor of the State of New York." 

" William Smith. — fhe historian of New York." 

" Richard Haklnyt and Samuel Purchas. — May future compilers of historical documents 
emulate their diligence and fidelity." 

"William Smith, Cadwallader Colden, Samuel Smith, Jeremy Belknap, and George 
Richards Minot — American historians. — They have merited the gratitude of their country." 

" The United States of America. — May our prosperity ever confirm the belief that the 
diaooveiy ci oor country was a blessing to mankind." 

" Tile State of New York. — May it ever be the pleasing task of the historian to record 
events that shall evince the wisdom of her Legislature, and display the virtue of her people." 

** The Massachusetts Historical Society, which set the honorable example of collecting 
and preserving what relates to the history of our country." 

" Our Forefathers. — To whose enterprise and fortitude, under Providence, we owe the 
bIfMBingi we e^joy." 

Among the numerous volunteer toasts — after the governor and the mayor had retired 
from the table — were the following : — 

By William Johnson, the chairman (in the absence of Judge Benson, the president of the 
Society) : — "The Governor of the State of New York." 

By John Pintard : — *• The mayor and corporation of the city of New York." 

By Dr. Samuel L. Mitchill : — "A speedy termination of our foreign relations." 

By Simeon De Witt : — *' May our successors, a century hence, celebrate the same event 
which we this day commemorate." 

By Dr. David Hosack :— "The memory of St. Nicholas. May the virtuous habits and 

ipls mannevs of our Dutch ancestors be not lost in the luxuries and refinements of the 

By Judge Pendleton : — " May the same virtues and the same industry combine in our 
land iriiieh have converted an Indian cornfield into a Botanic Garden." 

By Josiah Ogden Hoffnian : — " Egbert Benson, our absent and respected president." 

By Cokmel Cartenius : — ** Pierre Van Cortlandt, the first lieutenant-governor of the 
Slaie oT Hew York." 

By Mr. Ckhn, the Swedish Consul : — " The mouth of the Hudson. May it soon have i^ 
ifaqi sti of teeth to show in its defense. 


The new City Hall in the Park was not yet completed, although work- 
men had been employed upon it almost without intermission since 
the corner-stone was laid by Edward Livingston in 1803. In 
1810 an order was sent to England for copper with which to cover the 
roof, and it came at last, although not until 1811, costing ten thousand 
. fi\ii hundred dollars. The edifice was pronounced finished in 1812, 
upwards of half a million of dollars having been expended upon it, exclu- 
sive of its furuitui-e. It was the handsomest structure at the time in the 
United States. 

The white marble of the fix)nt and sides was brought from Stockbridge, 
Massachusetts. The architecture was both Ionic and Corinthian, the 
great columns resting upon a rustic basement of brown freestone, nine 
feet in height. The principal entrance was on the south front by a ter- 
race walk extending the length of the building, about forty feet in breadth, 
and mised some three feet above the level of the Park. From this walk 
a flight of steps led to an Ionic colonnade, thence to a large vestibule 
adjoining a corridor which communicated with the different apartments 
and staircases. In the centre of the edifice, facing the entrance, was a 
large circular stone staircase, with a double flight of steps upheld without 
any apparent support. On the level of the second floor stood ten mar- 
ble columns of the Corinthian order, with a circular gallery around them. 
The coliunns were fluted, and the entablature fully enriched ; the whole 
covered by a hemispherical ceiling, ornamented with stucco in novel 
designs, and lighted from the sky with fine effect A balustrade-of marble 
surrounded the building, hiding a great portion of the root The centre 
had an attic story crowned with a well-proportioned cupola surmounted 
by the figure of Justice. 

The council chamber was richly ornamented with wood and stone 
carvings, and the chairs provided for the mayor the same that had been 
used by Washington while presiding over the first Congress in New York 
City ; it was elevated by a few steps on the south side of the room, and 
graced with a canopy overhead. 

The City Hall Park was described by a writer of the period as " a piece 
of inclosed ground in front of the new City Hall, consisting of about four 
acres, planted with elms, planes, willows, and catalpas, the surrounding 
foot-walk encompassed with rows of poplars. This beautiful grove, in 
the middle of the city, combines in a high degree ornament with health 
and pleasure ; and to enhance the enjoyments of the place, the English 
and French reading-room, the Shakespeare gallery, and the theater, offer 
ready amusement to the mind ; while the mechanic-hall, the London 
hotel, and the New York gardens present instant refreshment to the body. 



Thoa^ the trees ara but young, and of few years' grovrtb, the Park may 
be pronounced an elegant and improving place" 

Tbe Park Theater will be recognized in the sketch, upon the southeast 
side of the Park, and has the effect of a large and commodious building, as it- 
must necessarily have been to accommodate twelve hundred persons with 
seata Tbe boxes are said to have been remarkdbly well adapted to the 
display of beauty and fashion, as well as to the view of the scenic per- 
formances. In November of this year George Frederick Cooke 
appeared in Richard fll., before the largest audience ever crowded 
within its walls. Tbe throng was so great that many were pushed through 

C)t)r Hall Pirk. 

the doors without paying. Ladies were taken to the alley and introduced 
to the boxes from the rear. Cooke's vast renown had preceded him to 
this country, and his arrival was one of the chief milestones in the pn^- 
ress of tbe drama. He was fifty-four years of age, possessing all the 
elasticity of thirty, of stalwart figure and commanding presence, and be- 
ing a man of keen observation who had for a decade made mankind a 
perpetual study, his breadth of vision and boldness and originality of 
conception convinced the New York community that he was the first 
of living actors. He engrossed all minds; and old play-gifcrs discovered 
a mine of wealth in Shakespeare never before comprehended. 

On tbe 23d he played Sir I'eilinax, and, notwithstanding a violent snow- 
storm, the receipts of the house were fourteen hundred and 
twenqr-four doUais. It was his greatest performance, and was *' 


rendered the more acceptable by his wonderful enunciation of the Scotch 
dialect He was told that all the town had concluded he was a Scotch- 
man. "They have the same opinion of me in Scotland," he replied, 
^ " yet I am an Englishman." When asked how he had acquired so com- 
plete a knowledge of the Scotch accentuation, he said, " I studied more 
than two and a half years in my own room, with repeated intercourse 
with Scotch society, in order to master the Scotch dialect, before I ven- 
tured to appear on the boards in Edinburgh as Sir Pertiuax, and when I 
did Sawney took me for a native. It was the hardest task I ever under- 
took." 1 

The Brick Church with its little yard of tombs, then occupying the 
site of the present building of the New York Times, was the scene of the 
ordination and installation of Eev. Dr. Gardiner Spring in August, 1810. 
He was a young divine of great promise, who first saw the light in New- 
buryport, Massachusetts, twenty-five years before, and who maintained for 
over half a century the position as pastor of this church organization — un- 
moved by invitations to preside at Hamilton and at Dartmouth colleges. 
He was one of the most able, popular, and esteemed preachers of the 
city, as well as the author of twenty or more valuable works which have 
passed through many editions, and have been in part translated and re- 
published in Europe.* 

During the summer of the same year the Wall Street Presbyterian 
Church was rebuilt on an enlarged plan, ninety-seven feet long and 

1 George Frederick Cooke was born in England, April 17, 1756, died in New York City 
September 26, 1812. He began life as a printer's apprentice, but his fondness f^r the stage 
led him eariy into that career. He was three years in Dublin, and in 1800 appeared at 
Covent Garden in Richard III., taking his place in the front rank of actors. He was also 
celebrated in Macbeth, lago, Shylock, and Sir Pertinax. His habitual intemperance destroyed 
his constitution, and while it never impaired his dramatic reputation, it disgusted the worid 
and terminated his dazzling career. (Drake ; Dunlap ; Old New York^ by Francis.) He was 
buried in Trinity Churchyard, where a monument was erected to his memory in 1821, by 
Edmund Kean, of the Theater Royal, Drury Lane. •* His funeral was an imposing spectacle.' 
He had no kindred present, but the clergy of New York, physicians, members of the bar, offi- 
cers of the anny and navy, the Literati and men of science, together with the dramatic corps, 
and a large concourse of citizens, moved in the procession." — Tombs in Old Trinity, by Mrs. 
Martha J. Lamb, in Harper* s Magaziiu, November, 1876. 

'^ Rev. Gardiner Spring, D. D., was the son of Rev. Dr. Samuel Spring, of Newbaryport, 
Massachusetts, one of the chaplains of the army who accompanied Arnold in his attack on 
Quebec in 1775. He graduated at Yale in 1805, after which he studied law with the distin- 
guished jurist, David Daggett, of New Haven, who was at one time chief justice of the State 
and also mayor of New Haven. Admitted to the bar in December, 1808, he commenced 
practice. But the effect of one of the gi'eat sermons of Rev. Dr. John M. Mason — ^ from the 
text, "To the poor thegos|>el is preached " — was to turn his mind to the study of theology. 
After a year passed at Andover he was licensed to preach, and in a few months received and 
sccep^d the call to the Brick Church. — Grceideaf ; Sjn'ogue ; Hardic ; Duyckinck ; DrtUbe, 


sixty- eight feet wide, with a handsome spire. Rev. Dr. Rodgers was at 
the time bending under the weight of years, and died the following spring 
at the ripe age of eighty-four. He continued his pastoral relations with 
the church, however, until the last, and was one of the most active in 
ui^Dg the work forward on the new edifice. Eev. Dr. Miller, who had 
been associated with him as collegiate pastor, assumed the entire charge 
until 1813, when he resigned in consequence of his appointment to the 
professorship of divinity at Princeton. He was succeeded by Rev. Philip 
Melancthon Whepley, the son of Rev. Samuel Whepley, of Stockbridge, 
Massachusetts, an author and clergyman who established a very popular 
school in New York about 1814, and who died in 1817. Young Whep- 
ley was but twenty-three at the time of his installation over the Wall 
Street Church in 1815, yet he fulfilled his duties satisfactorily until his 
death in 1824 For two years the church was without a pastor, but in 
1826 Rev. WiUiam W. Phillips accepted a call, and entered upon his 
pastorate on the 19th of January. 

In the month of April, 1809, the three Presbyterian churches of the 
city, which hitherto had been one collegiate charge, were separated in an 
orderly manner by the Presbytery ; and the Rev. Dr. Philip Milledoler, 
installed as a colleague in 1805, became the sole pastor of the Rutgers 
Street Church until 1813, when he resigned. He was a distinguished 
scholar, bom at Farmington, Connecticut, in 1775, educated at Edinburgh, 
and developed into a most philosophical and industrious literary man. 
He was one of the founders of the Bible Society ; and subsequently pres- 
ident of Rutgers College — from 1825 to 1841. The Rutgers Street 
Church was a spacious frame edifice erected on land presented by Henry 
Rutgers in 1797, and had a cupola and a public clock. Rev. Dr. John 
McKnight, who had labored incessantly with the ministers since 1789, 
resigned his sacred office with the consent of the Presbytery in 1810. 

This was a period when new churches were being founded by every 
denomination. The Presbyterians commenced a new house of worship 
in Spring Street, near Varick, in 1810, the venerable Dr. Rodgers being 
present and offering a short prayer. The Canal Street Church was organ- 
ized in 1809, the original structure being located on Orange Street, near 
Grand, the comer-stone of which was laid by Dr. Rodgera The site 
proving unfavorable and the building badly constructed, it was aban- 
doned, in 1825, for a larger and more substantial brick edifice erected 
upon the comer of Canal Street and Green. Meanwhile the Pearl Street 
Church, between Elm and Broadway, built of stone in 1797, had for a 
few years formed a collegiate charge with the Scotch Presbyterian Church 
in Cedar Street, but separated in 1804. In 1810 a third Associate Pres- 


byterian Church was formed chiefly from the Cedar Street congregation, 
and an elegant stone edifice was built on Murray Street, opposite Colum- 
bia College. When completed, in 1812, Dr. John M. Mason became its 
pastor, he having retired from his former charge. The Duane Street 
Church was established with twenty-eight members in November, 180TB, 
and first occupied a small church edifice in Cedar Street, between William 
and Nassau. Under the ministry of Rev. Dr. John B. Eomeyn until his 
death in 1825, a large congregation was gathered, and not until 1836 was 
it thought expedient to remove to the elegant house of worship erected on 
Duane Street, corner of Church.^ The spring of 1836 marked also the 
removal of the Scotch Church in Cedar Street to a new edifice in Grand 
Street, near Broadway. The organization known as the earliest Associate 
Presbyterian Church, formed in 1785, worshiped in a small edifice in 
Nassau Street erected in 1787 ; that of the earliest Eeformed Presbyte- 
rian Church dated back to 1797, and occupied a church edifice built in 
1801, in Chambers Street, east of Broadway, the Rev. Dr. Alexander 
McLeod being its pastor from 1800 to 1818.* In 1810 a religious meet- 
ing under a Congregational or Independent form was established in 
Elizabeth Street, and the following year it was reorganized as a Presby- 
terian Church, admitted to the Presbytery of New York, and Rev. Henry 
P. Strong was installed pastor.^ 

While the Presbyterians of the city prior to the war of 1812 had 
multiph'ed into twelve distinct organizations, the Episcopalians, inclusive 
of chapels and mission churches, had fourteen places of worship. Trinity, 
St. Paul's Chapel, and St. George's Chapel in Beekman Street, have hith- 
erto been brought before the reader's notice. St. John's Church, an ele- 
gant stone stinicture costing upwards of two hundred thousand dollars, 
was built by Trinity Church in 1807. The site chosen, in Varick Street, 
between Laight and Beach, was one of the most desolate imaginable, the 
scenery comprehending little else than a dreary marsh, covered with 
brambles and bulrushes, and tenanted by frogs and water-snakes. How- 

^ In May, 1836, Rev. George Potts was installed pastor of the Dnane Street Church, bat 
after a few years the congregation had scattered towards the north to such an extent that 
he followed, and, preaching for a time in the chapel of the New York University, laid the 
foundation for the handsome church edifice in University Place, comer of Tenth Street. 
Rev. Dr. James Waddell Alexander succeeded to the polpit of the Duane Street Church, 
which subsetiuently removed to Fifth Avenue, comer of Nineteenth Street ; and in 1875 
again removed to the handsome edifice, comer of Fifth Avenue and Fifty-fourth Street, of 
which the present pastor is the eloquent and popular divine. Rev. Dr. John Hall. 

' The original session of this church consisted of John Carrie, Andrew Oifford, David 
Clark, John Agnew, and James Nelson. 

* The Elizabeth Street Church was dissolved by the Presbytery in 1813, it being too 
feeble to sustain itself. 



nrer, the spirit of progresa which actunled the New York mind soon be- 
au)« visiUe in the laying out of Hudson Siiuare, covering an entire block 
n front of the church, 
lu Ann Street, a few dooraeastofNassiiii. stood Christ's Church, founded 
1794; in 1810 

counted three _ ""^^ " 

I'huadred members 
Pini»mmuQion; and 
1823 a new edi- 
ffice was erected in | 
Anthony Street, a 
)ittl« wi»t of [troud- 
Imy. Its rector from I 
3805 t*. 1848 V 

Dr. Thotnus I 
■LyelL The French | 
Choidi. iJu St Es- 
irit, in Pine Street, 
I open for wor- 
lii|i until 18.'14. at I 
tthtch time the | 
pojierty was si'Id, 
ived to an I 
llMtnictare of ) 
marhle in 
I^TWiklin Street, cor- 
r uf Church. In I 
^BiOMoe Street, cor- I 
ner of ObiyBlie. St [ 
Stepben'a <-'hurch | 
WIS bailt in 1805. j 
L'puDtbeEite c'f the } 
old chapel of Gov- | 
<Ynar Stuyvesdnt in [ 
Second Avenue. C' 
Der of Eleveutii •' J"''"'- Ch""!-- 

Scnet, — beneath which waa th« Stuyveaaut vaults St Mark's Chorch 
mu opL>nud for worship in 17'Jy, the property having been generously 
duoated to the vestry of Trinity Church by the ^^reat granditon of the 
or. together with some ei<>ht hundred pounds sterlin<^ in money 


towards the erection of the edifice. Rev. Dr. William Harris was the 
rector from 1801 to 1816, although elected president of Columbia College 
in 1811. Grace Church was founded in 1805, and a spacious edifice was 
soon erected in Broadway, near Trinity Church, upon the site of the old 
Lutheran Church which was burned in 1776 ; the elegant church in Broad- 
way, comer of Tenth Street, was completed by this organization in 1846 ; 
the first rector was Rev. Dr. Nathaniel Bo wen. Zion Church stood in 
1810 in Mott Street, comer of Cross ; it was built by a small society of 
Lutherans in 1801, and was afterwards received into the communion 
of the Episcopal Church ; Rev. Ralph Williston was the pastor from 1811 
to 1815, when the building was burned, and about two years later rebuilt. 
In the neighborhood of Manhattanville and Washington Heights many 
families desired religious privileges; therefore, in 1807, St. Michael's 
Church was founded, and a small frame building erected at Bloomingdale. 
In 1810 St. James's Church was formed, and a church edifice erected about 
a mile east of St. Michael's. The two parishes were associated under the 
rectorship of the Rev. Dr. Samuel Farmer Jarvis until 1818, when he 
was appointed Professor of Biblical Learning in the new General Theo- 
logical Seminary ests^blished in New York. The colored Episcopalians 
held a service by themselves in a school-room in William Street from 
1809 to 1812, after which they removed to a room in Cliff Street, where 
they worshipped for several years ; in 1819 they erected St. Philip's 
Church in Centre Street, between Leonard and Anthony. Calvary 
Church, near Corlaer's Hook, resulted from a missionary effort in 1810 
of the Rev. Benjamin P. Aydelott, a physician who had received orders, 
and entered with great enthusiasm into the work of preaching the Gospel 
to the inhabitants of that locality. A church was regularly organized 
with eleven members in August of that year, but it afterwards became 

The Reformed Dutch Church had at the same time not less than seven 
houses of worship. It was the oldest organization of Christians in the 
city, and distinguished for the high character of its well-trained theologians 
and devoted- ministers. The three principal churches, Grarden Street, 
Middle Church, and North Church, described upon former pages, consti- 
tuted a collegiate charge — a plan which seems to have prevailed among 
all the early churches of New York, and was first abandoned by the 
Presbyterians. The old church in Garden Street was taken down in 
1807, and a new edifice erected on the same site — which was destroyed 
in 1835 by fire, and its successor rebuilt on Washington Square. In 
1813 a petition from the congregation procured a separation from the 
collegiate connection, and this church proceeded to form a Consistory of 


its own. Its pastor for a series of years was Rev. Dr. James M. Mathews. 
The Middle Dutch Church, in Nassau Street, was occupied for divine 
service until 1844 Meanwhile, in 1807, the consistory of the collegiate 
church built the Northwest Church, in Franklin Street, near West Broad- 
way ; and the same year enlarged the little wooden church in Greenwich 
village, which had been erected in 1782. A church was founded at Har- 
lem soon after the settlement of the city ; and about 1805 Jacob Harsen 
erected at Bloomingdale, upon his own land, a small wooden building for 
pnblic worship, which was formally dedicated by Eev. Dr. Livingston on 
the last Sabbath in June of that year. In October the officers were duly 
installed, and the edifice conveyed to the organization by Mr. Harsen. 
In 1808 the Rev. Alexander Gunn was called to the pastorate ; and six 
years later a substantial structure was erected by the congregation in 
Sixly-eighth Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues. 

The German Reformed Church, built in Nassau Street before the Revo- 
lution through the efTorts, of Dominie Kern, was sold in 1804, and a new 
edifice erected in Forsyth Street. A controversy arose about the same 
time concerning the church property, which two adverse parties within 
the organization, one Calvinistic, and connected with the collegiate Re- 
formed Dutch, and the other Lutheran and standing alone, both claimed ; 
at length, in 1834, the Lutheran party obtained possession of the edifice. 
Ten years later the decision was reversed, and the Calvinistic party re- 
turped, while the Lutherans retired to Columbia Hall in Grand Street. 
In 1846, by a decision of the Court of Errors, the Lutherans once more 
took possession of the building. Their minister was connected with the 
Lutheran Synod, and officiated in the German language. 

The Lutherans whose church was burned in Broadway in 1776 united 
after the war with another congregation of Lutherans who had in 1767 
erected a small stone edifice, known as the Swamp Church, in William 
Street, comer of Frankfort, where the Rev. Dr. John Christopher Kunze 
was the stated pastor from 1784 until his death in 1807. He was suc- 
ceeded by Rev. Dr. F. G. Geissenhainer. Both of these divines preached 
in the German language only. 

The Baptists had already expanded into eight distinct church organiza- 
tions. As early as 1770 a difficulty in the First Baptist Church arose 
about psalmody. It had been the usage of the church to have the lines 
parceled out as sung, but an innovation was desired with such persistence 
that fourteen 'members seceded and formed the Second Baptist Church. 
Their first pastor was Rev. John Dodge of Long Island. In 1791 a division 
uose in the Second Church, which resulted in the founding of a third 
church, and the erection of an edifice in 1795 in Oliver Street^ corner of 


Henry, which was enlarged and rebuilt in 1800. The Second, afterwards 
called the Bethel Church, built a church edifice of wood in Broome 
Sti-eet, near the Bowery, in 1806. The Mulberry Street Church was 
formed in 1809, and until 1838 was under the ministry of Rev. Dr. Archi- 
bald Maclay. In 1809 the North Beriah Church was also formed, a colony 
of some thirty members from the First Baptist Church having united in 
a new church enterprise, and erected a frame building in Van Dam Street, 
between Varick and Hudson. It was known as the North Church luitil 
after the War of 1812. The structure was burned in 1819, and its suc- 
cessor rebuilt in McDougall Street, near Van Dam. In the mean time the 
Scotch Baptists formed a church in 1802, styled the Ebenezer Baptist 
Chui-ch, and in 1806 built a small house of worship in Anthony Streiit, 
near West Broadway. In 1809 the Abyssinian Church was oi^ani/ed, 
consisting of u colony of colored people from the First Baptist Church, 
and bought the little edifice so recently completed by the Scotch Baptists 
in Anthony Street, who obtained a frame building in York Street not 
quite as costly. In 1807 a party of seventy.-six Welsh Baptists, all com- 
municants, organized into a church, with Rev. John Stephens pastor, 
worshiping in a smtdl house in Mott Street. 

Two Methodist cliurches were formed in 1810, the Allen Street Church 
and the Bedford Street Church, the former erecting a stone edifice in 
Allen Street, seventy feet by fifty-five, and the latter a frame building in 
Bedford Street, comer of Morton. These, with the four churches of •this 
denomination before mentioned, and one African Methodist — which had 
a small brick edifice, erected in 1800 in Church Street, comer of Leonard 
— comprise the seven Methodist churches of 1812. There were, also, 
one Moravian Church ; one Universalist Church, located in Pearl Street 
near Chatham ; one Congregational Church, built in Elizabeth Street, 
between Walker Street and Hester, in 1809 ; two Quaker meeting- 
houses, one in Pearl Street near Franklin Square, built in 1775, and the 
other in Liberty Street in 1802 — a brick building sixty by forty feet; 
one Jewish Synagogue, in Mill Street , and one Roman Catholic Church. 
While the English laws were in force prior to the close of the Revolu- 
tion, no Catholic clergyman was allowed to officiate in the State of New 
York. But in all legislation after the war every man was permitted to 
worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience. The Ro- 
man Catholics formed a congregation in 1783, and commenced worship in 
a small building in Vauxhall Garden, on the maigin of the Hudson, 
until St Peter's Church was completed in Barclay Street, comer of 
Church, in 1786. For more than thirty years this was the only Catholic 
ohuieh in the city of New York. 


Deep and strong New York had laid the foundation of her religious 
society in the beginutng. Thus the wonder is not tliat her church eili- 
fices increased in proportion to the rapid spread of her boundaries, uutil 
the number reached fifty-nine prior to the second war with Great Britian, 
many of which were spacious, elegant, and costly, but that so much was 
done in this direction during the marked period of pecuniary distress 
from 1807 to 1812. 

The creation and regulation of streets form a chapter of interest and im- 
toryof the \ 
lis. While I 
discussion | 
tii^ every I 
aiost aeri- 

sequences, new roadways were springing into existence, and by-paths 
and alleys striking new levels or new orlnta, and growing like mush- 
roonia in the night In the midst of the struggle M obtain appro- 
priations I'rum the govemineDt for defenses, and the general feeling of 
insecurity pervading New York City — the shining mark i'or a foreign . 
foe — the labor of grading hills and elevating valleys went forwanl with 
as much apparent spirit as if the whole ambition of the community was 
involved The minutes of the Common Council teem with reports of 
commissioners and surveyors, and with resolutions for opening and 
elongating streets, until the city was actually blockaded by the British. 

The corporation brain encountered no puzzle half as formidable as the 
proper course to be pursue*! with the swamp in the region of Canal Street. 
Broadway was graded below the stone bridge, and for some distance 
above, and Spring Street was markeil out, and houses built in certain 
parts of it, while yet nothing hut a small sluggish stream of water 
marked the site of the broail and convenient Canal Street of to-day. 
The lispenard Meadows were overflowed with water at some seasons of 
the year, and in winter they formed a skating poml for thousands of 
persons who delighted in the amusement, as the Collect, or Fresh Water 
Pond had done before its 1>eauty was spnih-d by the filling in of offal 
and rubbish. The point where the Canal Stifeet livulet united with 
the Hudson River was sketched one winter's murntng in the early 
part of the century by Ale.xander Anderson, the lirst woml -engraver in 
America, and the scene represented is in such striking contrast with 
tfatt of the same locality at the pi-csent day that it is reproduced for the 


entertainment of the public. The habitable portion of the city hail 
crept up tlie Bowery as far as Bond Street. Various schemes liail 
been discussed of disposing of the Collect, and Canal Street had bet^n 
laid out upon paper by competent engineers as niany times as there 
were months in the calendar. The most feasible plan for some years 
seemed to be the construction of a canal or tunnel on a level one foot 
l>elow low-water mark, passing directly through the pond, from the East 
River to the Hudson, which should drain the meadows adjacent as 
well, "carrying off the water from the streets that descend theuito.'* 
I^fore funds had been raised for its execution, the idea of filling the 
pond with the cleanest and best earth which could be obtained was 
acted upon ; at the same time an effort was made to dig from the liot- 
tom a sediment soil fonued from decomposed vegetable matter similar 
to peat or turf, extending to a great depth, and which it was believed 
might be converted into fuel and thus prove remunerative. Laborers 
were employed in the summer of 1808 for one or two months, but for 
some reason the work was discontinued, and the old process of "filling 
in " again prevailed. 

During the same season a great clamor arose among property owners 
along the line of Canal or Duggan Street — as it was at first called from 
Thomas Duggan, a large pro|)erty-owner in the vicinity — which had 
been temporarily laid out in 1806. The method which met with more 
general approbation than any other had been laid aside for less prac- 
ticable suggestions, and then reconsidered, until any one plan, however 
imperfect, if only permanent, was sought as a special boon. It was rep- 
resented that upwards of three thousand lots fronting on the proposeii 
street could not be improved, and that cellars, wherever they existed, 
were filled with water. At what is now the comer of Grand Street and 
Greene, as was stated, a man had walked into deep water by mistake 
in the night and been drowned. Some went so far as to declare that 
when the Hudson and the East Bivers were swollen with the spring tides 
" their waters ran into and covered the swamps, meeting one another." 

In accordance with an earnest petition, application was made to the 
Legialatare, and an act passed appointing commissioners to decide u]H)n 
the method, and to regulate and open the street This was a separate 
tnd diatinct act from the one passed April 3, 1807, appointing Gouvenieur 

viUy Simeon De Witt, and John Eutherford " commissioners of streets 

voidB in the city of New York " ; and all three of those gentlemen 

ad to serve on the new commission, their duties' lying chiefly above 

Staeet Difficulties of a scientific character interposed, and the 

) was well advanced before the tangled meadows and ivild grass 


b^gan to disappear. The drainage must necessarily embrace a consider- 
able extent of high land to tiie north, where the permanent grade of 
the streets had not yet been established. Thus the work progressed 
slowly, and with many inteiTuptions. It resulted finally in a street one 
hundred feet wide with a ditch or open canal in its center bordered with 
shade trees, upon either side of which was a broad drive lined with habi- 
tations — and which was very naturally called Canal Street. 

In the mean time the Collect received the tops of all the eminences 
in the neighborhood, and was obliterated from the topography of the city. 
East of its site were several unfinished streets for many yeai-s. The 
pnirperty in the neighborhood of the Jews' burial-ground was not con- 
sidered worth anything — at least nobody could be found willing to buy 
it at any price. But there were several estates lying beyond, which sub- 
sequently became extremely valuable. The Bauckei-s owned a large 
tract of land in the vicinity of Bancker — afterwanls Aiadison — Street, 
adjoining the Roosevelt property, from which Roosevelt Street received 
its name. And the Janeways were extensive real-estate proprietors in 
the same neighborhood at one period. Colonel Rutgei's was immensely 
rich in lands, and one of the most liberal men of his time in the matter 
of donating sites for public buildings and streets. 

On the west side of the town the wealthy corporation of Trinity Church 
was munificent in contributing landed property to the authorities for streets 
— as it was required from year to year. In 1808 it ceded to the city the 
ground for Washington Street, from Christopher Street to the Hudson 
River; also that for Greenwich Street from Spring Street north to the ex- 
tent of the church property, for Hudson Street from North Moore Street 
to Vestry . Street, for Varick Street from Noith Moore Street to Vestry 
Street, for Beach Street from Hudson to east Ixjuudary of church land, 
for laight Street from Hudson to east boundary of church land, for Vestry 
Street from Greenwich Street to east boundary of church land, for Des- 
brusaes Street from Greenwich Street to Hudson River, for Le Rov Street 
from Hndson Street to Hudson River, for Van Dam, Charlton, Kin^, 
Hamerslej, Clarkson, Barrow, and Morton Streets as far as the church 
lands extended from east to west, and for two allevs, each twentv-five feet 
wide — one in the rear of St. John*s Church, and the other from Beach 
Street to Laight Street The teautiful park itself, in front of St. John's 
Charch, was not only appropriated from the Trinity Church domains and 
node the pride of the city, but enilK*llislied at tlie I'xpense of the church 
^jrporation. At the same time hardly a form could be mentioned in which 
*hfc liberality of Trinity Church wji.s not manifested towarcl-i the youn^'er 
wd needy Episcojjal churches not only of the city but of every section 


of the State. Gifts of communion-plate, oigans, bells, salaries, and lots, 
were of common occurrence, donations reached hundreds of aged and 
infirm clergymen from time to time, institutions of learning were en- 
dowed, and loans were granted which in a few years exceeded a million 
of dollars. 

The labors of Bishop Moore in this field terminated through a severe 
illness in February, 1811, from which he never recovered, although he 
survived until 1816. He had been associated in the duties of the Trinity 
Church pulpit since 1774, shortly after his return from England, where 
he was ordained by the Bishop of London in the Episcopal palace at 
.Fulham. Upon the resignation of Bishop Provoost in 1801 he was unani- 
mously elected his successor. From 1801 to 1811 he was also president 
of Columbia College, but the terms of his acceptance of the office relieved 
him from all regular instruction and the details of college discipline, 
confining his duties to presiding at the public examination of classes, 
the weekly declamations, at commencements, and other public occasions. 
His style of conferring degrees was very charming. He was a slender 
man, of medium stature, and a bright, attractive countenance ; and with- 
out the least semblance of affectation or any attempt to appear con- 
descending or patronizing, his manners were the perfection of grace, 
dignity, and gentleness, reflecting both intelligence of mind and loveliness 
of character. " His voice," wrote the Rev. Dr. David Moore, " though 
feeble rather than powerful, was music to the ear, and his enunciation 
was so distinct that the most distant hearer was in no danger of losing a 
word." He was always ready to sympathize with those in difficulty or 
trouble ; and the truly catholic spirit breathing through his whole con- 
duct radiated an influence which might be traced in thousands of praise- 
worthy deeds that seemed to emanate from other sources than himself. 
In his thirty-seven years' connection with Trinity Cliurch he celebrated 
no less than three thousand five hundred marriages, according to the 
parish register, and baptized over three thousand persons. He retained 
the office of Rector and Bishop of New York during life ; but Rev. Dr. 
John Henry Hobart was consecrated assistant bishop in May, 1811, and 
in 1816 became Diocesan of New York. Rev. Dr. Abraham Beach was 
appointed assistant rector to Bishop Moore. He was then over seventy 
years of age, and had been leading a noiseless course of usefulness as assist- 
ant minister of Trinity parish for twenty-seven years.^ He retired, how- 

' 1 Rer. Abnham BeMh, D. D. (bora 1740, died 172S), wm the son of Otptain Eliialhan 
Boftch, of Cheshire, Connecticat, whose second wife, the mother of the gnst diTiiie, wis the 
flfafter of Qsoenl Dsvid Wooster, who fell while opposing the British at the buraing of Dsnbiiiy. 
f^iaOyVoLIL) BeT. Dr. Betch married Ann, dM^ter and aokhtirsM of BfwtYia 


ever, fi-om the pulpit in 1813. He was an elegant scholar, and '* one of the 
excellent of the earth." Elected a Eegent of the University of New 
York in 1784, he took a deep interest in educational affairs, and was 
named in the charter of Columbia College in 1787 as one of its trustees ; 
for many years he was secretary of the board. During a considerable 
portion of his busy life in New York he was the rector of Christ's Church 
in New Brunswick. 

All that was romantic in scenery and prepossessing in cultivated grounds 
immediately above Canal Street was quickly doomed. The city was on 
the march, and every form of hill and dale and pleasant valley must be 
sacrificed. From the Bayard mansion, on the summit of the high point 
of land between Grand Street and Broome, the views — just before the 
edifice was built downward, so to speak — embraced a curious variety of 
suggestive scenes. The valley of Canal Street at its foot had been trans- 
formed into a busy thoroughfare, no longer presenting a pastoral picture 
with streams of water flowing through it into both rivers, that on the 
east finding its way through the low lands along the line of Eoosevelt 
Street ; and over the roofs and foliage of the new street the City Hos- 
pital could be seen, and then the city itself in outline, its smoke and 
spires reaching into the sky; to the southwest the handsome country- 
seat of Leonard Lispenard was plainly visible, crowning a beautiful emi- 
nence near St John's Church ; to the north of west appeared, above the 
intervening fields and glens, the green woods which surrounded Kich- 
mond Hill ; to the north and northeast a half-dozen villas, including 
those of the Stuyvesants, met the eye in peculiar fellowship with inter- 
mediate dwellings of every description scattered along the neighborhood 
of the Bowery road ; while in the distance the Hudson and East Eivers, 
the magnificent bay, and the shores and heights beyond, completed as fair 
a prospect as could be found on either continent 

The enemy, with its armor of pickaxes, stood back appalled at the 
strong, firm, bold front which the Bayard Hill presented. It seemed in- 
vincible. But the assault was finally made, the citadel pelded, and the 
inhabitants fled. As for the real-estate owners, they were solaced by the 
rise of property. Fortunes grew while dwellings, stables, flower-gardens, 

Winkle^ one of the original Dutch settlers on the Raritan, near Now Brunswick. Their 
tideii dao^ter married Rev. El^ah D. Rattoone, D. D. ; another daughter was the wife of 
ler. Thomas Lyell, D. D., rector of Christ's Church, New York ; a third daughter married 
i«r. Abiel Carter, rector of the Episcopal Church in Savannah ; and a fourth daughter 
Mac Lawrence of New York, and was the mother of the author and jurist, William 
Lawrenoe, and of the wife of James A. Hillhouse, of X<'w Haven. — Spragms Aniiah 
< Iftc Jmtrieetn Puljril ; Dr, BerriarCs History of Trinily Church ; Diaosways Earliest 
tfNtw Tcrk ; GhreenUafs History of the Churches. 




fruit-orcbards, grassy lawns, aummer-bouses, lovers' walks, and finely 
abaded private aveiiues tumbled promiscuously into the mass of worth- 
less ruius — and posterity was curiched. Tbe bumorous etcbiog of John 
P. Emmet, IVolessor of Chemiatry in the Uuivetsity of Virginia, sbowinir 
the couditioQ of Bayard's house during the jubilee of destruction, which 
be desiguates as " corporation improvements," will be regarded with a 
smile of credulity, and a twinge of painful reminiscence, by all those who 
have witnessed tbe demolition of their eurtby idols, " with the approba- 
tion and permission of tbe 
mayur, aldermen, and com- 

monalty in 
eonini'*n cmni- 
cil conveiiL'ii." 
The sketch was 
made from near 
the corner of 
Whit* Street 
and Broadway, 
looking toward 

and, however 

exaggerated, is 

a clever illostration of the confusion of affairs consequent upon removing 

eminences in the herculean endeavor to perfect the site of a great city 

like the New York of to-day. 

The city records afford picturesque glimpses of the details of the labor. 
Streets were pushed through a block or two in length one year and 
allowed to rest the next Springs and rivulets impeded progress and 
were finally choked into subordtoation to tbe laws, and buried without 
ceremony. Litigations arose involving the rights and privileges of citi- 
lenB, and questioning the vast extent and complexity of powers assumed 
h^ the corporation. The investigation of land-titles was troublesome, and 


the settlement and collection of assessments upon individual property 
attended with an incalculable amount of hinderance and vexation. 

The entrance-gate to the Bayard country-seat was on the Bowery road, 
and the location of the private avenue called Bayard's Lane was nearly 
on the line of Broome Street, until torn away by the cartmen. The prop- 
erty had been very much cut up by military works during the Kevolu- 
tion. From it, also, in anticipation of the great future for real estate, lots 
had been sold fronting on Broadway, and some few buildings erected, 
although chiefly of an inferior class — so long as the discordant action relat- 
in«5 to the digging of the ditch in Canal Street continued. Poplar-trees were 
planted in 1809 along the line of Broadway between Spring Street and 
Art Street, now Astor Place. The other farm of Nicholas Bayard, known 
as the West farm, comprising one hundred or more acres, and bounded on 
the north by Amity Lane and the Herring farm, on the east by Broadway, 
on the south by the line of Prince Street, and on the west by what was the 
Henry and Elias Brevoort farm prior to 1755, extended irregularly south- 
west to McDougall Street. Having been mortgaged, and fallen into the 
hands of trustees, it was laid out into lots and streets, and sold in parcels. 
Another farm belonging to one of the Brevoort family extended from 
Tenth Street to Fourteenth, and from the Bowery on the east to a part of 
the old estate of Sir Peter Warren on the west. 

The property of this English nobleman of the former centuiy, Sir Peter 
Warren, embraced not less than two hundred and sixty acres, ninety-one 
of which rested upon the line of Christopher Street on the south, and that 
of Cranesvoort Street on the north, bounded by the old Greenwich road 
on the east He married the daughter of Stephen De Laucey and grand- 
daughter of Stephanus Van Cortlandt, the fii-st lord of the Van Cortlandt 
manor, who had great possessions. Tlie estate became vested in Eich- 
ard Amos, John Ireland, and Abijah Hammond, chiefly under Lord 
Willoiighby, who mairied Sir Peter Warren's daughter.^ 

The commissioners, Gouverneur Morris, Simeon De Witt, and John 
Rutherford, in their task of laying out tlie whole island of Manhattan to 
Kingsbridge into streets and avenues, under the act of 1807, encountered 
the most novel and unexpected difficulties. Numei-ous farmers and 
mechanics of small means had purchased plots of land in various places, 
laid out and cultivated gardens, and erected comfortable dwellings. 
When they discovered that the city was about to run streets wherever 
it pleased, regardless of individual proprietorship, and that their houses 

* See diigrmm in the Appendix to Murray Hoffmanns Treatise ujx)n the Estate and Rights 
•f tkt (hrpmralum of the City of New York, Vol. HI. For sketch of Sir Peter Warren's 
OTeriooking the Hudson, see Vol. I. p. 588. 




and lots were in danger of being invaded and cut in two, or swept ofl' the 
face of the earth altogether, they esteemed tlieniselves wronged and out- 
raged. At the approach of engineers, with their iiieasuriug iiistmiiients, 
ni:i|>s, aitd ehuin-bearers, dogs were brought into service, and whole fanii- 
^ lies sometimes united in driving them 

out of their lots, as if lliey wch- com- 
mon vagrants. On one occasion, while 
drawing the line of an avenue directly 
thi-ough the kitchen ol' an estimable 
-.,old woman, who hud »»\A vegetables 
v-.l'or II living upwards ol' twenty years, 
tliey wei* itelted with cubltages and 
^ailichokes until they were comjielled 
J to retreat in the exact reverse of good 
order. They adopted the nietho«l of 
parallel streets across the island, nntn- 
hcring towards the north from Hous- 
ton Street, at which point their s]>ccial 
labors l>egan. The streets were inter- 
sected with avenues one hundred feet 
wide, extending tu the extreme mirth- 
em limit of the island, twelve of which 
numbered eastward from First Avenue, 
the remainder to the east being desig- 
nated by the letters ol" tlie alphaWt, 
A,]t,C,and I). In thuirre]Miit, under 
date of March 2'J, 1811, the commis- 
sioners explained wliy they luul set 
■ 21 - * -J u^ -- ^ apart space for an immense rescr- 
/ .1 s^'^^ •■" ^t -— ^"- ^■t*'"'. believing the city must sooner or 

■al s \^ "-^ Ij^jgj \j^ supplieti with water from the 

country alove the Harlem Itiver; and 
tliey half ajwlngiKcd for having pro- 
vided for a gi-eater popuhition than 
was collected at any spot this side of 
China, wliile they did not presume 
" the grounds north of Harlem Flats 
would lie covered with houses fur ecn- 
turie.9 to come." llic avenues weie 
d to extend south as far oa the boundary marked out by the statute 
'he exoeptioQ of Fourth Avenue, which was lost iu Tniou Scjuure 


at Fifteenth Street. The commissioners were perplexed at this place. 
The l^wery road curved somewhat in passing through the present site of 
Union Square, and from about Sixteenth Street pursued a straight course 
towards Bloomingdale. The meeting of so many large roads at one point 
naturally involved considemble space for security and convenience. Broad- 
way had been opened in an undeviating straight line from the Battery to 
Tenth Street, from which point a slight divergence westward was per- 
f^eptible ; and it seemed desirable to continue this great central thorough- 
fare along the line of the Bloomingdale road. By straightening Fourth 
Avenue into the Bowery road, a narrow, irregular, shapeless tract of land 
was left open. If the cross-streets should be laid through it, as else- 
where, it would be cut into morsels and rendered valueless. Owners of 
property in the vicinity differed widely in their wishes and opinions 
concerning it While attempting to regulate Broadway in 1806 it was 
found necessary to call in assessors to settle claims for damages. Some 
time must elapse before any of the contemplated cross-streets could be 
opened, in any event; thus the troublesome subject was allowed to rest. 
In 1815 an act was passed appointing Union Place, as it was called, 
which was occasionally used as a Potters' Field, for public purposes. 
But its only ornamentation for the following ten years was a miserable 
group of shanties. It was as late as 1832 before the city corporation 
reaolved to have it enlarged and regulated ; and not before 1845, after 
one handled and sixteen thousand dollars had been expended upon it^ 
were the elegant mansions projected which in the course of events re- 
ceived an influx of fashionable residents, rendering this charming square 
for more than a decade the Court end of the city. 

The farm of Henry Spingler, some twenty-two acres, extended along 
the west side of the Bowery road from Fourteenth Street to Sixteenth. 
He had purchased it in 1788 from the executors of John Smith for nine 
hundred and fifty pounds sterling, it having been originally a part of the 
laige estate of Elias Brevoort, purchased by Smith twenty-six years be- 
fijie. The Brevoorts divided up and sold other portions of their landed 
pfopeity both above and below, and a succession of suburban residences 
were established in the vicinity — many of which, however, were removed 
m omsequence of the line of Fourth Avenue cutting diagonally through 
them. The mansion of Henry Brevoort fronted the Bowery road, and, 
aeoordii^ to the plan of the commissioners, Eleventh Street would occupy 
the same site. He resisted the opening of the street with such determina- 
tion and effect that although ordinances were passed in 1836 and in 1849, 
they were rescinded. To this day the block remains undisturbed, Eleventh 

no passage-way between Broadway and Fourth Avenue. 


The homestead property of Henry Brevoort extended back from his house 
to a point between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. 

Adjoining the Brevoort farm was tlie notable estate of Andrew Elliott, 
son of Sir Gilbert Elliott, Lord Chief Justice Clerk of Scotland, who was 
receiver-general of the province of New York under the Crown. This 
also fronted the Bowery road, and the handsome mansion he erected 
before the Revolution stood back so far that Broadway, when cut through, 
clipped its rear porch. It was the property and residence of Baron Poel- 
nitz at the time of the adoption of the Constitution of the United States, 
who sold it in 1790 to Robert Richard Randall. The latter resided hei-e 
until his death. By his will, made in 1801, he established one of the must 
munificent charities in the country for the support of aged, infirm, and worn- 
out seamen, chiefly on the basis of this estate ; he directed the erection of 
an edifice to be called the " Sailors' Snug Harbor," by which name the 
property was known for many years. The buildings, for good and suffi- 
cient reasons, were erected on the north shore of Staten Island in 1833. 

The junction of the Bloomingdale road with the Old Boston Road, at 
what is now Madison S4[uare, left another piece of corporation land in a 
deformed and unsightly condition. It had been used in early times as a 
Potters' Field, but in 1806 the city ceded it to the United States j^oveni- 
ment for the erection of an arsenal, and it was thus occupied until 1823, 
when an institution of which we shall speak more at length hereafter 
was founded upon its site. 

Notwithstanding the election combinations and conflicts of the ]>eriod, 
comparatively few changes occurred from year to year among the alder- 
men of the city. Men of ability and position were required for the 
management of municipal affairs, those who commanded the respect and 
confidence of the community at large. Each alderman looked after the 
interests of his ward, and gave personal attention to the enforcement of the 
laws within its limits. Indeed, an alderman was then really and truly a 
guardian of the city. And no graver responsibility ever devolved \\\yo\\ 
a corporate body of citizens than that of providing for the pn^s^ienms 
future of New York while yet its site was largely but a picturesque and 
diversified landscape. During the early years of the century such names 
appear on the lists of " City Fathers " as Rol>ert Lenox, Mangle Min- 
thome, Jacob Le Roy, Stephen Ludlow, Henry Brevoort, George Janeway. 
Wynant Van Zandt, Rotert Bogardus, Samuel Torbet, Jacob Mott. 
mael Kip, John Slidell, Benjamin Haight, Jasper Ward, Joseph Wat- 
iSy John Hopper, and Simon Van Antwerp. Many of the aldermen 
■^ from six to a dozen years in succession ; as, for instance, Peter 
ar fiom 1807 to 1818 ; Augustus U. Lawrence from 1809 to 1816 ; 


Elisha W. King from 1810 to 1815, and again from 1818 to 1824; 
Samuel Jones from 1809 to 1817 ; Reuben Munson from 1813 to 1823 ; 
and Colonel Nicholas Fish from 1806 to 1817. 

The death of Lieutenant-Governor Broome in 1810 necessitated the 
choice of a successor, and De Witt Clinton consented to accept the nomi- 
nation. This was a matter of surprise to those who had not supposed he 
was willing to admit himself to be of less political consequence than 
Tompkins, the governor; and Clinton was, moreover, the mayor of the 
city, deriving emoluments equal to fourteen thousand dollars per annum. 
A section of the Kepublican party, called " the Martling Men," afterwards 
the " Tammany party," from their place of rendezvous in " Martling's 
Long Boom," Tammany Hall, opposite City Hall Park, met immediately 
upon hearing of De Witt Clinton's nomination, determined upon his 
defeat, and, after passing resolutions, with a proamble to the effect that 
they believed Mr. Clinton was cherishing interests distinct and separate 
from the general interests of the Bepublican paity, and bent ''upon estab- 
lishing in his person a pernicious family aristocracy," they nominated 
Colonel Marinus Willett for lieutenant-governor, and appointed Dr. 
Mitchill, Matthew L Davis, John Ferguson, Tennis Wortman, and others, 
a committee to promote his election. Mangle Minthorne, the father-in- 
law of the governor, presided at this meeting. The Federalists nominated 
and soppoited Colonel Nicholas Fish as their candidate for lieutenant- 

The election occurred in April ; and such was the disposition of Clin- 
ton s opponents in the city, and the popularity of Colonel Fish, 
that while Clinton received but five hundred and ninety votes, 
and Willett six hundred and seventy-eight, Fish actually received two 
thousand and forty-four. But despite the vigorous efforts of many gentle- 
men of great influence and weight of character to detach from Clinton 
the support of his party, the estimation in which he was held by the 
Bepablicans in other parts of the State, and the general confidence his 
talents and int^rity had hitherto inspired, prevented any serious results, 
and he was elected. He filled the position of lieutenant-governor of 
New York until 1813, during which time he was the peace candidate for 
the Presidency of the United States, receiving eighty-nine electoral votes 
in opposition to Madison. 

Colonel Nicholas Fish was the Revolutionary officer who has been 
frequently mentioned heretofore ; he was in the confidence of Washington, 
and regarded as an excellent disciplinarian. In 1797 he became president 
of the New York Society of the Cincinnati. He was a New-Yorker by 
birth, and a lawyer by profession ; also one of the most active members of 



several of the early religious literary and benevolent institutions of t 
city. He was at this time about fifty-three years of age, a representativi 
citizen, of elegant scholarship, ^efiLe^uent, and good breeding. His wifel 
was Elizabetli Stuyvesaiit, the great-great-granddaughter of Govemoi 
Stuyvesant, and a descendant through her mother, Margaret Livingstoo^'l 
of tbe first lord of Livingston manor. Peter Gerard Stuyveaant, a 
wards president of the Historical Society, and Nicholas William Stuy-J 
vesant were her brothers ; and Mrs. Benjamin Winthrop and Mrs. Dircl^ 

Ten Broeck wera 
her sisters. Ttu 
lawyer and states-fl 
man, Hon. Harail<g 
ton Fisli, who wM 
governor of New 
York iu 1850. a 
Secretary of Stata 

\f;ira' administra- 
lion of President 
(Jrant, was the son 
(it Colonel Nicbo- 
liis and Elizabeth 
Stuyvesant Fish, 
born ill New York] 
City iu 1809. 
The city 
-isited by a teni^J 
\ bleeonflngrationii 
May, 1811, 
breaking out 
Chatliam Stre 
near Duane, i 
coioixi Niehoii. FUh. Sunday moi 

which consumed between eighty ami one hundred good buildings. 
firemen were baffled by the wind in their exertions to check the flamee 
and the scene became very exciting and impressive, The Brick Churcltfl 
was in danger, its spire being lighted by the flying embers ; and all eyeB 
were turned in that direction. Presently a sailor appeared on the i 
of the edifice and climbed up the steeple hand over hand, clinging only t 
the nisty, slender iron of the lightning- rod. The perilous ascent wa^ 
watched with breathless anxiety by the vast multitude collected in t 

THE OREAT FIRE OF 1811. 577 

vicinity. He must hold on, or fall and perish. If he should succeed in 
reaching the part of the steeple that was blazing, what could he do ? 
How, unaided, extinguish the fire ? Neither hose nor bucket could be 
sent to his assistance. The crisis came swiftly, and a prolonged shout 
rent the air as the brave man, firmly grasping the lightning-rod with one 
hand, caught his hat from his head in the other and with it literally beat 
out the flames with strong, quick, nervous, incessant blows. When his 
work was accomplished he slowly and safely descended to the ground, 
ami tjuickly disappeared in the crowd. A reward was offered for the 
liero who performed the noble, daring, and generous act, but he never 
came forward to claim it. The cupola of the old jail, which stood on the 
spot now occupied by the Hall of Records, also took fire, but the building 
was saved through the exertions of one of the prisoners. 

In the midst of the desolation caused by the burning of so much prop- 
erty, public attention was divided between the report of the com- 
missioners concerning the internal navigation of New York and 
the aggressions of Great Britain. It would be in vain to inquire who 
first conceived the prodigious idea of connecting Lake Erie with the 
Atlantic Ocean. Nor would the original thought, if traced to its native 
brain, reflect special credit upon the individual proprietor, unless he did 
something towards the execution of the project Many intelligent and 
scientific New York men had opportunities for acquiring all the knowl- 
edge connected with the matter, and the notion was undoubtedly com- 
mon to hundreds at the same tfme. The embargo and consequent 
prostration of commerce, together with the substitution of non-inter- 
course, and the general belief that the country was rapidly drifting into 
another war with its ancient enemy, created an intense desire for the open- 
ing of a direct route of communication between the tide-waters of the 
Hudson River and the western lakes. 

Experiments had been tried to improve the navigation of the Mohawk 
with small canals and lockage some time before the close of the last 
century. Christopher Colles was several tirres before the Legislature 
with enterprises for the public good, all of which were thought too mighty 
for the public resources ; ^ he received some encouragement, however, in 
relation to connecting the Mohawk witli Lake Ontario. General Philip 

* Christopher CoUes, the philosopher, was bom in Ireland in 1738, and died in New York in 
1821. He WIS left sn orphan at an early age, and was educated by the Bishop of Ossory, u|K>n 
vboee d«ath in 17(55 he left Ireland for America. In 1773 he delivered a series of lectures in 
New York apon inland lock navigation, and in 1774 he proposed to build a reservoir for New 
T«*rk City. He surveyed the country of the Mohawk pHor to 1785, and published a book on 
rasds throo^ New York ; he also subsequently published a pamphlet on inland navigable 

He was one of the eminently useful men of his day and generation. 



Schuyler was one of the most efficient promoters of the important meas- 
ure, which developed finally into the great canal system of New York.* 
He studied out a plan of locks to overcome the descent in the Mohawk at 
Little Falls, and as the success of the project would depend laigely upon 
the favor with which it was received by the Dutch settlers, he visited the 
region and, calling a meeting at a country tavern, unfolded his views. 
His audience listened attentively. The astute Dutchmen perceived the 
advantages, and were pleased with the prospect of the Mohawk's bearing 
the commerce of the State past their own doors, but they did not under- 
stand how the boats could ascend the Little Falls. The general explained 
the principle of locks in vain. They shook their heads and shrugged 
their shoulders. They liked the general, and would take his word for 
almost anything, but they could not be made to believe that water would 
run up hill. The unsatisfactory meeting was finally adjourned, the Dutch- 
men going to their beds, and the general retiring to worry over his failure. 
All at once he arose, and lighting his candle, took a knife and a few 
shingles and went into the yard, where he dug a miniature canal of two 
different levels and connected them by a lock of shingles. Then provid- 
ing himself with a pail of water he summoned the Dutchmen from their 
beds, and pouring the water into the ditch, locked a chip through from 
the lower to the upper level. " Veil ! veil I General ! " the Dutchmen 
cried, " now ve underetands, and ve all goes mit you and the canal ! " 

The works at Little Falls — a canal about two and three fourths miles 
in length, with five locks — were coiflpleted in 1796. Governor George 
Clihton had recommended to the Legislature in 1791 the policy of " tak- 
ing measures to facilitate the means of communication with the frontier 
settlements " ; and during the same session an act was passed by which 
commissioners were directed to survey the section between the Hudson 
River and Wood Creek, and to report an estimate of the expense of 
making canals between the two points. During the same year Elkanah 
Watson journeyed through the State and published essays which influ- 
enced public opinion greatly in favor of canals. In 1792 an inland navi- 
gation company was incorporated, the act being draughted by General 
Miayler, who was chosen its first president. Thomas Eddy, the philan- 

sopiflt^ Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, Barent Bleecker, Elkanah Watson, 

id Bobert Bowne were among its most active and important members. 
-Y herculean a task did it appear to build a canal of a few miles in 

Igih, that the company was allowed fifteen years to accomplish its 
eta Bat, sncceeding in the enterprise at Little Falls, it soon con- 

Wmoir by CBdwallader D. Colden ; RandnlVa Hiatory of New York SUiU; JSutawm't 
jf^Ktm York; LeUerJrom General John Coehrant to the author. 


structed a canal of a mile and a quarter in length at the Grerman Flats, 
and completed a canal connecting the Mohawk with Wood Creek in 1797 
— in all less than seven miles. Some years afterwards its improvements 
had so far progressed that a boat might pass from Schenectady into the 
Oneida Lake; but the great expenditure necessitated heavy tolls, and 
these canals were little used. Land carnage and the natural rivers were 
generally preferred. 

I^rior to 1800 no definite idea of a canal from Lake Erie to the Hudson 
ap{>ear8 to have existed. The company above mentioned only tdmed to 
improve the natural water-courses. In the summer of 1800 Grouvemeur 
Morris visited some property of his own and some that had been confided 
to his care by others in the northern parts of the State, and extended 
his journey to Montreal, thence down the St Lawrence to Lake Ontario, 
and by land to Lake Erie. He wrote to John Parish in January, 1801 : 
" hundreds of large ships will, at no distant period, bound on the billows 
of these inland seas. The proudest empire in Europe is but a bawble 
compared to what America will be, must be, in the course of two cen- 
tunes; perhaps of one! One tenth of the expense borne by Britain 
in the last campaign would enable ships to sail from London through 
the Hudson River into Lake Erie. As yet, my friend, we only crawl 
along the outer shell of our coimtry." To Henry Lee he wrote before 
the end of the same month upon the subject of making *'a conquest 
of the finest country on the earth*' through commodious internal naviga- 
tion, similar in chamcter but on a much more extended plan than that 
which he said had been " feebly and faintly attempted by a private com- 
pany between the Mohawk and Lake Ontario." 

The remarkable topography of New York became a favorite topic of 
conversation, and the practicability of the canal a fixed fact in the minds 
of many influential citizens as the years rolled on. Gouvemeur Morris, 
Jesse Hawley, and James Geddes of Onondaga wrote frequently upon the 
subject for the press. In 1810 James Geddes reported to the surveyor- 
general, Simeon De Witt, the result of a survey made by himself, which 
was communicated to the Legislature. Jonas Piatt at once proposed a 
resolution, which was promptly supported by De Witt Clinton and unani- 
mously adopted, appointing Gouverneur Morris, Stephen Van Rens- 
selaer, William North, Thomas Eddy, and Peter B. Porter, commissioners 
"to explore the whole route for iidand navigation, from the Hudson 
Eiver to Lake Ontario, and to Lake Erie." This was accomplished dur- 
ing the summer and autumn of the same year. 

Tlieir report, drawn up by Morris, who acted as ])resident of the board, 
and signed by each of the commissioners, was published in the spring of 


1811. De Witt Clinton immediately introduced a bill into the Legisla* 
ture, which passed into a law April 8, 1811, investing the commission- 
ers with '' power to manage all matters relating to the navigation between 
the Hudson and the Lakes." This law, the first passed on the subject of 
the great canals, added Chancellor Livingston and Sobert Fulton to the 
board of commissioners. It was authorized to apply to other States and 
to Congress for co-operation and aid ; to ascertain if loans could be pro- 
cured to the extent of five millions of dollars ; and to treat with the Inland 
Lock Navigation Companies for a surrender of their rights and interests. 
The Legislature was induced to give the commissioners power to ap- 
ply to Congress, because reliance was placed on the seeming promise 
of President Jefferson in his message of 1807, and on the report of 
Secretary Gallatin, who, although not having mentioned the Erie Canal, 
was supposed to be warmly in favor of enterprises of this nature ; Gou- 
vemeur Morris and De Witt Clinton proceeded to Washington in order 
to promote by their presence the success of the application to the gen- 
eral government. But while the project was thought no less interesting 
to the nation than to the State in which it was to be executed, it met 
with little favor. It was not absolutely rejected. But the aaswer 
received was, that nothing could be done for New York that was not 
done for the other States ; thus the matter was left for future action. 
Evidently Congress Iiad the power to afford assistance, if it was its 
pleasure to do so ; and the disappointment was severe when, in 1817, 
President Madison conceived that " the Constitution would not permit 
an appropriation of any part of the national funds or means to these 

This disappointment was the greater since no objection was made by 
the President to acts of Congress appropriating very large sums for roads 
in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere. It was not well 
understood how the Constitution could allow an appropriation for roads 
and not permit a water highway. 

New York was so fortunate as to be able in the end to complete her 
canals without any extraneous aid. The other States sent their best 
wishes — not one of them a dollar. "Happily for us," wrote Golden, 
"the objection of the executive prevailed so long as the State of New 
York needed the aid of the general government ; and, most happily for 

vy other State in the Union, these scruples have since entirely sub- 

ind we are gratified that in similar enterprises they will not only 

Hy funds from the National Treasury, but will have the asaist- 

I distingoiahed foreigners and natives who are employed in the 

^HmentB of the general govermnent" 


When the Erie Canal was completed, as Golden said, " without the 
interference of Congress," a polite petition from New York for the priv- 
il^;e of enjoying it in the same manner was not out of place. Con- 
gress was requested "not to sanction any such pretension as of late 
made by some of its revenue officers, that our canal-boats, traversing our 
hills and valleys in an artificial channel made by ourselves, entirely 
within our own territory, hundreds of miles from the sea, and six or seven 
hundred feet above its level, were engaged in the coasting trade of the 
United States — and that they must, therefore, take custom-house 
licenses, and pay a tax to the general government." 

But from the time of these movements in 1811 imtil the conclusion 
of the second war with Great Britain, little appears to have been done 
towards carrying into efTect the scheme which the new law made practi- 
cabla The State was obliged to employ its funds on objects properly 
belonging to the general government ; and the commissioners met with 
great opposition from those who would not believe that the hand of man 
could efiPect such a stupendous work. 

Dr. Hugh Williamson published a series of newspaper articles on 
canal navigation, and an essay entitled Observations on Navigable Canals ; 
also. Observations on the Means of preserviny the Commerce of New York. 
His writings were argumentative, possessing an element of power that 
converted multitudes. He was an enthusiast, and proved a most able 
and eflTective advocate of the canal policy. Being a resident of the city, 
he was in intimate association with the magnates of the period ; he was 
also connected with many of the medical, literary, and philanthropic in- 
stitutions of New York, contributing generously to her material interests. 
His biography was subsequently written by Dr. Hosack, and his portrait 
was painted by Trumbull 

In all prominent movements connected with the arts, the drama, liter- 
ature, medicine, city improvements, or State affairs Dr. Hosack bore a 
conspicuous part. For thirty or more years he was a leading practitioner 
in Uie city, and distinguished beyond all rivals in the art of healing. He 
is universally acknowledged, also, to have been the most eloquent and 
impressive teacher of scientific medicine and clinical practice this country 
had as yet produced. His manner was pleasing, and his descriptive 
powers and his diagnosis were the admiration of all. His efficiency in rear- 
ing the Collie of Physicians and Surgeons to a state of high consideration 
won for him the respect of the whole Republic ; and his early effi)rts to 
estaUish a medical library in the New York Hospital, his co-operation 
with the numerous charities which glorify the metropolis, his primary 
fimiiatioii of a mineralogical cabinet, his copious writings on fevers, 



qiiarantinea, and foreign jiestilenee, his biographical essitjs, prepared 
a style of great elegance, and his adventurous ouilay in establishing tlie 
Botanical Ganieu evinced the lufty aspirations which marked his wbok 
career as a citizen. It was a frequent remark in New York during his 
lifetime that Clinton, Hosack, and Hobart were the tripod upon which 
the city stood. Though his fondness for society he exercised a strong 


personal influence. He gave Saturday evening parties, and, surrounded 
by bis large and costly library and his works of art, there never was a 
more genial and captivating host. CJreal divinea, jurists, statesmen, phi- 
losophers, philanthropists, physicians, merchants, scbolai-s, authors, artisU, 
editors, educated men in any specialty, anti dislinguishtsd foreigners, were 
summoned to his entertainments, and charmed with his liberal hoi 


tality. Indeed, his house was the resort of the learned and enlightened 
from every part of the world. No European traveler rested satisfied 
without a personal interview with Dr. Hosack, who received many a 
deserved compliment in the foreign journals and books of travels ; the 
Duke of Saxe-Weimer mentions in his diary the social prominence of 
the Hosack Saturday evenings. 

Thomas Sully, who was keenly alive to the refined phases of life, was 
anxious to paint Dr. Hosack's portrait He came to New York after 
having passed through a severe ordeal of privation and discouragement, 
and was introduced to some of the leading characters of the city by 
Bobert Fulton. He was cordially welcomed by Dr. Hosack, who promptly 
consented to sit for his picture. Sully had an extremely dexterous method 
of crystallizing better moments, of fixing happy attitudes, and of seizing 
upon felicitous combinations. Thus we find the celebrated Botanical 
Garden founded by Dr. Hosack deftly introduced into the background 
of his portrait, with some of the volumes he had produced resting care- 
lessly upon the table by his side. The value of the picture is grtatly 
enhanced through this illustration of the peculiar aptitude of the gifted 
artist The handsome, finely moulded features of Dr. Hosack, as revealed 
upon the canvas, express singular sweetness of character, and his grace- 
ful costume and air of high breeding are most effectively represented. 
Sully did not at any time reside permanently in New York, but he was 
employed on various occasions to delineate celebrated people, as, for in- 
stance, in painting the portrait of Commodore Decatur for the city. He 
thus became well known, and a universal favorite. He was unassuming, 
amiable, and intelligent, with a quick eye for whatever of grace was dis- 
cernible in the whole range of literature and art. His association with 
such men as Mayor Clinton, Dr. Mitchill, Thomas Addis Emmet, who 
aided materially in giving immortality to Irish genius and private woi*th, 
Gk^uvemeur Morris, Josiah Ogden Hoffman, Cadwallader D. Colden, Dr. 
Macneven, who in addition to his prominence as a physician and a sur- 
geon was an accomplished scholar and writer, and Dr. Hosack, favored his 
ambitious tendencies. No American artist ever enjoyed more permanent 
social esteem and sympathy. His portraits are widely scattered, and may 
be found in all the principal cities of the United States. He spent the 
greater part of his life in Philadelphia. 

Governor Tompkins, in his speech to the Legislature at the opening of 
the session in 1812, took occasion to protest in strong terms 
against the increase of a paper currency through the growing ten- 
dency to the multiplication of banks of issue. But he made no mention 
whatever of internal improvements. On the 14th of February commis- 


a«.'. t 


K. ..^ 

::=>.'ka-school system for the State of 

5^c arte iiirle report, accompanied by a bill for 

.viit;^' '>?oime a law. 

r.I vatf- -.ncroduoed for the charter of the Bank of 

L .* ijrk. with a capital of six millions of dollars; 

4 *uicQ was to be paid over for the benefit of the 

... lie mudrtHi thousand to the literature fund for the 

.>,.{> iiii icadeuiies, one hundred thousand to the State 

x^ui^ciuu o( twenty years, provided no other bank 

_, :»»L >criuii receive a charter, one million to be loaned to 

«,.... . ..lo uu:>irucCion of canals, and another million to farmers 

^. . i .iit^ i»ixiuiocioQ of agriculture and manufactures throughout 

!'oiiipkiu* was vehemently opposed to this project The 
^» .'i the Bank of the United States, and the failure to procure 
..y..Li .(1 reuusylvaiiia, had thrown back into the hands of the stock- 
:v . -ciN a liu^o .iuiount of uninvested cash capital. It was plainly to be 
,vvii .iL liiis juncture, however deluded the inhabitants of Philadelphia 
■iui^\ iia\u [ireviouslv been, that the city of New York, and not Philadel- 
'"*iui, N^iw Joftiitiu^l to liecome the great commercial emporiimi of North 
VuiciiCii. Heuct^ the capitalists and others interested in establishing a 
;i^aiiuc uiouevtHl institution had turned their eyes towards the Island of 
MuLiIuiUui. They had also been courting the favor of politicians who 
\\ icUli^l power in the Legislature of New York, that their application for 
;i vliiUkT uii^ht not be in vain. De Witt Clinton declared himself 
(ip^iu^d i\} the new bank, but thought the question of its charter ought 
uc)l \a} t»e made a i>arty test ; whereupon he was charged fiercely with hav- 
ing his eye uiH)n the Presidency of the nation, and with accepting the 
)>i\>iuUe t>f support from the friends of the bank as the price of his neu- 
traliiy. His enemies scouted the whole question of canals as visionary 
ikuA ttKHunl, A proposed railroad from the earth to the moon could not 
ohi-it luon^ derision to-day than the idea of a canal from the Hudson 
Kivov to Uike Krie did then — at least among the unsympathizing poli- 
liiiiUiH. They pronounced the canal scheme a ridiculous hobby on 
whioh Clinton would ride into power if possible. 

When \\\\.\ bill passed the House by a strong majority, all the Federalists 

and a jMU't of the Republicans voting for it, and when its passage by 

till* Senate was inevitable. Governor Tompkins resorted to an 

t^xtniordinary jiower — conferred indeed upon the governor by 

■ w eouMtitutiou k\{ New York as it then stood, but never exercised except 

'•bin aiuglo instance. He prorogued the Legislature for sixty days, 


paving as a reason that attempts had been made to bribe the members.^ 
The scene upon the reading of the governor's message was one of con- 
fusion and uproar, and for a few moments outrage and violence. The 
bank advocates charged Tompkins with having his own 'eye fixed upon the 
Pi-esidency, and said his bold exercise of the remnant of royal prerogative, 
unsuitable to the genius of our government, was for the express purpose 
of preventing the nomination of Clinton. Intense excitement ensued. 
On the 21st of May the Legislature reassembled, and the bill for 
chartering the Bank of America almost immediately passed both 
Houses. Oliver Wolcott, late of the Merchants' Bank, and former Secre- 
tary of the Treasury, became its first president. A few days later 
De Witt Clinton received the nomination for President of the 
United States from the Republicans of the State of New York, not, how- 
ever, without violent opposition from Morgan Lewis and from the old 
Burr party. A very large faction throughout the country, distinistiug the 
energy of Madison, was favorably disposed towards Clinton, while several 
of the influential newspapers were filled with constant flings at the 
feebleness and irresolution of the administration. 

The grave question of. war at this moment occupied all minds. The 
friends of peace were in terrible consternation. A New York member 
of Congress wished to know what was the situation of our fortresses, and 
our preparations generally, and called attention to a letter from Judge 
Livingston, who stated that the forts at New York had neither cannon 
nor men. Henry Clay replied with angry vehemence that he did not 
want, on this subject, Brockholst Livingston's opinions, or those of any- 
body else. Gentlemen who said so much about want of preparations 
were really opposed tp war. After the injuries we had received he 
should support war measures. Weak as we were said to be, we could 
fight France and England both if necessary. An Indian war was raging 
in the West, which he thought had been excited by the British. We 
had complete proof that Great Britain would do everything to destroy us, 
and resolution and spirit were our only security. Dr. Mitchill said the 
British were a proud, overbearing nation, who thought they had a right to 

^ At the September term of the Circuit Court, held in Chenango County, David Thomas, 
the State Treaanrer, was indicted and tried before Judge William W. Van Ness for attempting 
to bribe Casper M. Rouse, one of the State senators, during the pendency of the bill for the 
charter of the Bank of America. No sufficient proof of the charge having been produced, 
Thomas was acquitted. Solomon Southwick, editor of the Albany Register, was also tried 
and acquitted during the same month of September before Chief Justice Kent, for an at- 
tempted bribery of Alexander Sheldon, Speaker of the Assembly. Thomas Addis £mmet, 
recently appointed attorney-general of New York in place of Matthias B. Hildreth, deceased, 
conducted these prosecutions on the part of the State. 


I v-^ 

r '1^ becAOse we were n-:*: uniteii enough to fight thexzL " With a 
p'.'pif.ari'a -i.t* seven millions, we should not be frightened by political 


The relitiun.-i existing between the United States and Great Britain 
r.iii '.-ren r-.r ieveral years of iin anomalous and unsettled character. 
WLilr: :Le :-.v > ^'"..vernments were not in a state of declared hostilities, 
the irT::a::n.' ']:.s.:us;ji'.»ns of many knotty questions of intematioual and 
mirl:ime law, with the colli.^ions of antag«3nistic opiniuns and pretensions, 
hi.i crea:e»l and kept alive a vin«iictive feeling in both countries; and 
the crlmin.iti"ns an«l recriminations which formal the burden of diplo- 
matic correspondence, as well as the prominent topics of newspaper 
controversies, seemed to point with unerring certainty towards the field 
of Isittle. Great Britain took no special care to prevent war — incensed 
by the supp-j-ieti leaning of the United States towards France — believing 
that in such an event she would quickly prove the vast superiority of 
her naval i^jw^t in decisive Nictory, and in defeat and disgrace on the 
part of the Unite«l States. 

Two parties opposed the war in America : the old Federalists on the 
ground that we had equal or greater cause for war with France than 
Great Britain ; and the Clintonians and others, because the couutrj^ was 
notoriously unprepared for the commencement of hostilities. A vorv 
large majority of the old Republican party were in favor of the war. For 
the time, war becsime the sole subject of disputation between the ])olitical 
parties which existed in the country. 

Madison was averse to war in any shape ; under the pressure of cir- 
cumstances he was willing to sign a bill declaring hostilities, but wished to 
take no fiiither responsibility. The leaders of the war party were inex(»- 
nUa A committee headed by the imperious Clay waital upon the Presi- 
deot vidi an intimation that he must consent to recommend a declaration 
; or he would not be supported for the next term of the Presidency. 
-; mmt be his war, not the war of a few hot-headed statesmen. The 
Ttasident yielded finally to this hard condition. On the 20th of 
FaM^ the same day that the Xew York Legislature adjourned, the 
mA finth. and war was declared by the United States of America 
Qseak Britain. 





bitBCinuTT OF New York. — Condition of Europe. — Hostility to the War. — 
New Tokk Privateers. — Pijln of tuk Campaign. — Officers of the Army. — 
Hull's Expedition to Detroit. — The New York Army. — General Van 
Rensselaer. — Alexander Macomb. — Death of Vice President George Cun- 
xoN. — Colonel Solomon Van Bensselaer. — The Niagara Frontier in 1812. — 
Surrender of Detroit. — Massacre of Chicago. — Savages coming East. — 
Creating an Inland Navy. — Captain Isaac Chauncy. — New York Shipbuild- 
ers ON the Lakes. — Eluott's daring Exploit. —Storming of Queenstown. — 
Defeat of the Americans. — Election of President. — Commodore Hull's 
Cafturb of the Guerriere. — Jones' Capture of the Frolic. — Decatur's 
Capturk of the Macedonian. — The Victory of Bainbridgf.. — Banquet to the 
YiCTORB. — Peculiar Situation of New York City. — Shocking Massacre at 
Frenchtown. — Lawrence's Capture of the Peacock. — Celebration of Vic- 
tory IK New York. — Combat of the Chesapeake and Shannon. — Death of 
Lai'^rencb. — Exploits on the St. Lawrencf^ — Perry's Victory on liAKE Erie. 
— Be*otbry of Detroit. — Battle of the Thames. — Tecumseh Killed. — 
Stormixo of Fort George. — The Blockade of New York City. —Gardiner's 
Ulavd. — The Creek War. — The Embargo. 

"VrJfiVER was an offensive war voluntarily undertaken in the face of 
J-^ such untoward circumstances. The youngest nation in the world, 
with aelf-Teliant audacity, had buckled on her armor to compel one of the 
oldest^ haughtiest, and most powerful of nations to respect her maritime 
ngfata^ Would she succeed ? The plan, so far as any definite plan was 
Bitaredy was to invade and conquer the contiguous British provinces in 
America. But no financial provisions were yet made adequate for 
the vigoroiis prosecution of hostilities, no army was in readiness, 
BO oommandeTS had received the needful training, no just conception of 
the nature and character of the coming conflict existed, and the entire 
atTal force of the United States consisted of eight frigates and twelve 
doopft — with a few smaller vessels — while the proud mistress of the 
006M ^XamA in a navy embracing one thousand and sixty sail. 

liew \oilL v?«« apposed on every side. Her Canadian frontier of many 
hsndied nuled, and hct (J^fenseless harbor, were regarded with dismay by 
ittr JnhahituntH, A war kA i3VR,<uon would doubtless invite a war of inva- 


sion. What was to prevent Great Britain from sending her ships through 
the Narrows or Long Island Sound, and taking possession of the city ? 

The victorious Napoleon was at this moment pushing towards Moscow 
in his struggle for universal dominion. His good understanding with the 
Russian £mperor had not been destined to endure. Both nations were, 
for mouths prior to this date, making formidable preparations for war. 
Five days after the United States declared war against Great / 
Britain, Napoleon crossed the Niemen, with an immense and 
splendid army, to oppose three hundred thousand Russians, who retired 
step by step before the invaders. The French ^encountered tempests, 
mi lis, and famine as the summer rolled on, but they still advanced. At 
Borodino, on the morning of the 6th of September, a battle ensued in 
which upwards of two hundred and fifty thousand men were engaged, 
and when the curtain of night fell upon the scene ninety thousand were 
among the slain. It decided the fate of Moscow, and on the 15th Napo- 
leon rode into the ancient capital in triumph ; but suddenly, at midnight, 
the glare of a thousand flames shot into the sky, and the baffled French, 
enveloped in fire, fled to the desolate surrounding country for refuge. 

Great Britain had united with Russia, Sweden, and Spain against 
France, Prussia, Italy, Austria, and Poland. The Duke of Wellington 
commanded the armies of Great Britain in the Spanish Peninsula, and 
exhibited a degree of military skill and activity which was holding the 
marshals of NajMjleon firmly in check, and which courted the presence of 
the Grand Master of War himself Affairs in Europe thus left Great 
Britain free to send as many ships as necessary against America. 

The worst feature of the situation on this side of the Atlantic was the lack 
of unanimity and concord on the part of the American people in prose- 
cuting the war. Several of the States from whence men and money must 
come disapproved of the action of the government. Constantly recurring 
disputes and discords among politicians proved serious obstacles in the 
way of raising an efficient army. Boston, so illustrious in the Revolu- 
tionary conflict, upon hearing the news of the declaration of tlie second 
war, denounced the President and the whole war-party, while the flags of 
her shipping were hoisted at half-mast in token of mourning and humilia- 
tion. All New England resounded with invectives of a styje and vio- 
lence without parallel elsewhere in history. Josiah Quincy opposed the 
measure in Congress to the last. His fluency of speech in debate, his 
withering sarcasm of tongue and pen, his sterling worth in private life, 
his family connections and influence, together with his handsome and 
commanding presence, had made him peerless as a leader. Yet he was 
in the minoriiiy. He was caricatui^.d by one of the artists of the day as 


a king — upon his head a crown, his coat scarlet, his knee-breeches 
light green, his stockings white silk, and two codfishes crossed upon 
his left breast ; he held a scepter in his hand, proclaiming himself 
•* Josiah the First, King of New England ; Grand Master of the 
Noble Order of the Two Codfishes." But no amount of ridicule could 
kill the force of his arguments, which were scattered broadcast, and re- 
peated by every school-boy in his native State : " Is national honor a 
principle which thirsts after vengeance and is appeased only by blood ? 
When we visit the peaceable, and, to us, innocent colonies of Canada 
with the horrors of war, can we be assured that our own coast will not be 
visited with like horrors ? What are the United States to gain by this 
war ? Will Canada compensate the Middle States for New York, or the 
Western States for New Orleans ? " 

The clergy, the State authorities, the merchants, the lawyers, the 
wealth and the talent of New England, declared, as with one voice, that 
the war had been instituted on the most frivolous and groundless pre- 
tenses. In the Middle and Southern States there was greater diversity 
of sentiment. Many were hostile to the war, but thought the time for 
discussion was ended. In the West tlie war-spirit prevailed over all 
opposition, and the bold pioneers were ready, almost without exception, 
to fight the British, whom they cordially hated. 

New York was torn with conflicting opinions. A large portion of her 
^substantial citizens believed " that the declaration of war was neither 
necessary, nor expedient, nor seasonable, but, having been constitutionally 
•leclared, should be supported in the manner prescribed by constitutional 
laws." Great outrages were committed in Baltimore — upon law and 
bumanity, as well as the liberty of the press — because of the persistent 
and scathing opposition to the war by one of the Federal newspapers, 
and several valuable lives were lost in the riot that ensued. But to the 
lienor of New York be it spoken, few and unimportant wei-e the audible 
murmurs after the news of the positive actio^j of the government reached 
the city. An immense meeting in the Park, June 24, with Colonel 
Henry Rutgers president, and Colonel Mariims Willett secretary, unani- 
mously resolved "to lay aside all animosity and private bickering, and 
aid the authorities in constructing fortifications " ; also, to unite in arms 
on the first approach of the enemy, and defend the city to the last 

The wealthy inhabitants contributed ma<^nianimously from their private 
purses ; military companies were oi-gaiiized and drilled ; men of all trades 
and avocations offered to lalx)r on the works of defense about the city ; 
and through individual enteqjrise idone New York fitted out and sent 


to sea from her port, within four months after the declaration of war, 
twenty-six privateers, carrying two hundred and twelve guns and two 
thousand two hundred and thirty-nine men.* Fortresses had been in 
slow process of erection in the harbor since 1808. Governor's Island pos- 
sessed a regular inclosed work of masonry, with a brick magazine, a fur- 
nace for heating balls red-hot, barracks, and an inexhaustible weU of 
good water. The neighboring islands were fortified, and one or two forts 
had been projected in the city itself. Two hundred and twenty-eiglit 
pieces of artillery were reported to Congress, December 17, 1811, as tit 
for use ; and it was stated that " three thousand three hundi*ed and two 
artillerists " would be re([uired for their operation.* But it was none the 
less apparent that the city and harl»or were but feebly prepared to resist 
an attack from a powerful foe, and men were employed without delay in 
erecting new forts and strengthening those already existing. 

The plan of the campaign was formed at Washington. The buoyant, 
persuasive, imperious speaker. Clay, and the ambitious and intrepid 
Calhoun, then a member of Congress, and but thirty years of age, botli 
aspiring to leadership, were inexhaustibly supplied with ingenious argu- 
ments in support of aggressive warfare. Madison first thought of aj»- 
pointing Clay commander-in-chief; but the brilliant Kentuckian was 
unacquainted with military science, and, moreover, was wanted at Wash- 
ington. Of the Revolutionary officers but few survived. Henry Dear- 
bom had distinguished himself under General Washington, been Secretur}* 
of War from 1801 to 1809, and since then collector of the port of lias- 
ton ; he was sixty-one years of age, a laige, portly man of commanding 
mien, undoubted ability, and unimpeachable integrity. He was placed 
at the head of the land forces of the Northwestern department Thomas 
Pinckney, sixty-two years of age, was appointed second major-general, 
and placed in command of the Southern department Joseph Bloomfield, 
the governor of New Jersey since 1801, a veteran of the Revolution, who 
was in New York City in charge of the fortifications in process of erec- 
tion when the news reached him, was commissioned a brigadier-general ; 
and William Hull, governor of the Territory of Michigan, James Win- 
chester of Tennessee, and John Parker Boyd of Massachusetts were also 
made brigadiers. 

The invasion of Canada at Detroit and Niagara had been determined 
upon and openly avowed by Congress, months before the declaration of 

^ SmM9lkmHfli«mofUu CUy of New York (1S27), p. 131 ; Min BootK$ Hidory ofAe 
i 4f iffSw Ttrk (1868), p. 697. 

^ikt OmporaHtmo/theCUy of New York for 1868, pp. 882, 888 ; Dr, MUckUrt 
tfOm tlart^kaUomB, 1808. 


war. Thus the British government had ample time to put their menaced 
province in a state of complete defense, and supply regular troops from 
England. Governor Hull was in Washington during the spring, and 
heard the subject freely discussed in official circles. He protested 
against the attempt, without a fleet upon Lake Erie, where the British 
had full sway. Solomon Sibley, a distinguished citizen of Detroit, wrote 
an earnest and manly letter to Senator Thomas Worthington of Ohio, 
requesting him to explain to the President the need of a large force at 
Detroit He said " a scheme had been long in agitation, and generally 
approved by the Indians, to clear the country north and west of the Ohio 
of every American, and in future establish that river as a boundary." 
He also expressed the opinion that the attack would be made by 
the savages, whatever the result of pending negotiations with 
Great Britain, and that it was of the first importance to the government 
to send troops before May or June, lest the important post be sacrificed, 
and the whole line of frontier involved in ruin.^ 

Objections were made to giving Governor Hull the control of the 
anny in Ohio and Michigan. It was said that the people of the region 
had no confidence in him — that he was too old and broken in body 
and nerves to conduct the multifarious operations of such a command. 
He at first declined the proposed honor and service. The nomination 
was made on the ground of his valuable military experience. It was 
opposed, referred to a committee, reported upon favorably, and confirmed 
by the Senate. Betum Jonathan Meigs, son of the heroic Colonel Meigs 
of Connecticut, was the governor of Ohio at this crisis ; and in response 
to his call for troops to assemble at Dayton, in April, men flocked thither 
from every part of the State, ambitious for distinction and eager for ac- 
tion. Three regiments were organized, with their field-officers elected, 
when Hull arrived from Washington, May 25. Duncan McArthur was 
oobnel of the first r^ment, James Findlay of the second, and Lewis 
GiSB, then thirty years of age, afterwards Secretary of State, of the third. 
General Wadsworth, commanding the fourth division of Ohio militia, 
obeyed with alacrity an order to raise three companies of volunteers. At 
Urbana the moving army was joined by a brave regiment of regulars 
under James Miller. The entire month of June was consumed by Hull 
iiid his troops in toiling through the almost unbroken wilderness towards 
the Kaomee country. They must necessarily cut a road or pathway two 
hundred or more miles, and causeways of logs had to be constructed 
•croaB morasses, and bridges thrown across considerable streams. Block- 

' LiU§r 9f SdUy to Worthington, February 26, 1812 ; Knapp*8 History of the Maumu 
raUf, pp. 188-187 ; Baints French Revolutimi, Vol. II. p. 368. 


houses for the protection of the sick and of provision-trains were also 
indispensable. Meanwhile hostile Indians skulked behind the bushes 
and trees, watching every movement with malignant vigilance. 

The news of the declaration of war reached Hull on the second day of 
July, a few houi*s after his army had moved from the foot of the Maumee 
Bapids towards Detroit. He had sent two small vessels from that point 
to convey the sick and the hospital stores to Detroit by water ; he had 
also shipped his own baggage and that of most of his officers, together 
with intrenching tools and camp furniture. Captain Hull, the son and 
aid of the governor, executed the order of shipment, and unfortunately 
included a small trunk containing Hull's commission and instructions 
from the War Department, with the complete muster-rolls of the army 
about to invade Canada ; and the wives of three of the officers, with thirty 
soldiers for their protection, were passengers. The messenger who con- 
veyed the government despatch to Hull, which had been intrusted to the 
postmaster at Cleveland by the postmaster-general, was obliged to swim 
all the streams between Cleveland and Maumee ; and thence pursued the 
army to its night encampment, wliich he reached about two o'clock in 
the morning, just as the moon was rising. Two hours later the tfoops 
were marching rapidly. In the mean time Hull despatched a {Mirty to 
the mouth of the Raisin to stop the vessels with their precious cai^goes, 
but it was too late. The schooner had fallen into the hands of the British 
at Maiden, who had been apprised of the declaration of war two days in 
advance of Hull, and the valuable information, as well as other treasures, 
was appropriated by the enemy. The smaller vessel with the sick passed 
up the more shallow channel on the west side of Bois Blanc Island, and 
reached Detroit in safety. On the 6th Colonel Cass was sent to Maiden 
with a flag of truce to demand the baggage and prisoners taken from the 
schooner. On his approach he was blindfolded, and in this condition 
taken before Colonel St Geoige, and treated courteously. But the de- 
mand was refused. 

The British were already erecting fortifications on the Canadian side 
of the river opposite Detroit, which would seriously menace the fort 
Hull prepared with all possible expedition to drive them away. After 
great exertions in obtaining boats and canoes, and through a resort to 
fltntegj by whioh the British hastened to defend another point, he crossed 
in the night to Canada, just above the present town of Windsor, 

"Hng the .^uerican flag on the bright and lovely Sabbath morning of 
\2^ and issuing a stirring proclamation to the inhabitants. 
HnU did not push immediately forward and attack the citadel of 
and TnHmng at Maiden, as his impetuous young officers de- 


He had no means of learning the real strength of that fortified 
poot, thirteen miles below, which, from its position on the Detroit 
River near its entrance into Lake Erie, effectually commanded the waters. 
Its possession would soon become necessary for self-preservation, as its 
warriors infested the road from Ohio over which provisions were to be 
transported on wagons or pack-horses for the army ; and yet failure was 
probable unless he could first provide his men with battering cannon, 
and ladders of sufficient height and number to scale the walls. This 
gave the British ample time to strengthen their garrison. He afterwards 
confessed that he took every step under two sets of fears : he dared not 
act boldly lest his incompetent force be totally destroyed, or cease fi*om 
acting lest his uneasy militia desert him altogether. While beseeching 
government for reinforcement, some of his energetic officers performed 
daring exploits in the vicinity. Four days after he encamped on the 
Canadian shore, Fort Mackinaw, the strongest American post in the 
ooontiy, situated upon an island in Lake Huron, fell into the hands of 
the British. Its garrison numbered only fifty-seven, and its commandant 
was first apprised of the declaration of war by the British officer, who at 
the head of one thousand men demanded its surrender. The disaster 
completely changed the whole face of affairs. The Indians who had been 
oweiawed by this northern fort became more deadly hostile, and influ- 
enced by the apparently victorious British were eager to march upon 
Detroit Hull had been the governor of Michigan for nine years, and, 
perfectly aware of the danger and the brutal character of the savages, 
was appaUed at the situation. He expected a promised attack upon the 
New York frontier at Niagara would create a diversion in his favor. But 
the British commander-in-chief. Sir George Prevost, and General Dear- 
born had already agreed to sign an armistice for a brief period, to take 
effect on the 13th of August, in which Hull was not included. And 
no notice of it was sent to Hull, otherwise Detroit might have been saved. 
Suspecting the whole force of the British was about to be directed against 
him, Hull on the 8th of August ingloriously retreated to Detroit His 
offioen of every grade were angered with disappointment, and upbraided 
him with imbecility and even treachery. 

New York had by no means been idle during these summer days. 
While the little invading army at Detroit was fostering terrible suspicions 
oonceming its commander-in-chief, the New York forces collected on the 
Niagaia firontier were scattered along to guanl a line of thirty-five miles. 
"We have eleven cannon for all our extensive territory," wrote Major 
John Lovett on the 14th of August ; " and from Buffalo to Niagara, both 
indiiaive, we have less than one thousand militia." 



Confronting them on the Cduadian shore was a well-appointed asraj, 
under the most exact discipline, and commanded by akillful and experi- 
enced officers. Every importaiit eminence from Fort Erie to Fort George, 
on Lake Ontario, was crowned witli a Iwttery ; and a commanding pneition 
on the heights of Queenstown wa3 every day becoming more secure and 
formidable. AU this, together with the mastery of the lakes, which gave 

the British facilities 
for crossing the river 
i at ft moment's notice, 
rendered the outlook 
extremely dubious for 
aggressive warfare. 

General Dearborn 
established himself in 
the beginfliog at 
Greenbush, opposite 
Albany, as Lake 
Champlain was the 
great military high- 
way to the centre of 
the Britisli province, 
and the American 
settlements at the 
foot of the lake were 
remote and exposed. 
But he delayed prep- 
arations for the prop- 
er conduct of the 
war in all directions 
through signing the 
armistice, which he continued until the 29th of August The Legisla- 
ture of New York, quite as vigilant as the national government, bad 
taken measures in the early part of April for enforcing the laws against 
smuggling on her frontiers. Small forces of infantiy and some aitilluy 
were stationed at various points. By a general order issued from the 
War Department on the 21st of April, the detached militia of K«w Y<^ 
were arranged in two divisions and eight brigades. The goremor tt New 
York made herculean efforts to raise the quota of tbe State, vAuch in 
defect of sufficient regular troope was needed at (huw on the Kiignft ftoB- 
tier ; and be appointed Stephen Van Ben— elaar, Die-pitaoML to &• diaf 
command. John Axmstroo^ bavinir ■■ 


mission to France, was commissioned a brigadier by the general govern- 
ment in place of the distinguished Peter Gansevoort, who died, after a 
long and distressing illness, on the 2d of July. Morgan Lewis was ap- 
pointed quartermaster-general, Alexander Smyth of Virginia, inspector- 
general, and Thomas H. Gushing of Massachusetts, adjutant-general. 
Alexander Macomb, of the artillery, was made a colonel, and Winfield 
Scott, then twenty-six years of age, Edmund Pendleton Gaines of Virginia, 
and Eleazer Wheelock Eipley, Speaker of the Massachusetts Legislature, 
each received a lieutenant-colonelcy. 

Alexander Macomb, son of Alexander Macomb (or McComb as the 
name is frequently written, the member of the New York Legislature at 
the time of the adoption of the Constitution of the United States, who pur- 
chased upwards of three and one half million acres of land resting upon 
Lake OAtario and the St. Lawrence River in 1792, and who had six sons 
in the War of 1812) was born in the British garrison at Detroit, in 
1782, just at the close of hostilities between Great Britain and her colo- 
nies ; he was brought by his parents to New York in infancy, and reared 
in the city. At a school in Newark, New Jersey, his military genius 
and taste first revealed itself in the organization and drilling of companies 
among his classmates. At twenty-three he was captain of a corps of 
engineers, and at twenty-six elevated to the rank of major. So highly 
were his attainments esteemed that he was employed at West Point 
bjr the government to compile a treatise on martial law. He was thirty 
when promoted to thej colonelcy, on the outbreak of hostilities ; and six- 
teen years later we shall find him general-in-chief of tlie army of tlie 
United States. 

The death of Vice-President George Clinton at this juncture deprived 
New York of an able counselor. During the whole of the Revolutionary 
War he stood at the head of the government of the State, and sustained 
with unshaken firmness the rights of the people. No man was more 
fiunOiar with the physical condition of New York, or better understood 
the difficulties to be avoided in attempting to defend her wild and unset- 
tled frontieia. His judgment of men and motives was profound, as well as 
Ui kmywledge of the human heart. He was to have been nominated for 
iMlectaon, and would probably have served a third term of Vice-Presidency 
hi his Ufe been spared. He had already presided over the Senate for 
MWi jeuB with rare dignity and discretion. He died in office, at Wash- 
i^||loi^ on the 20th of April, 1812, about nine o'clock in the morning. 
I| WM in tlie seventy-third year of his age. During his illness he was 
a Sndjy attended by his son-in-law, General Pierre Van Cortlandt 

Bnant-govemor during Clinton's eighteen years' governor- 


History of thB city of nev york. 

ship of New York), who had succeeded his brotlier, Giiiieral Philip Van 
Cortlandt, as member of Congress. The fiinenil ceremonies were con- 
ducted from the Capitol on the afternoon of the 21st, the President 
and his Cabinet, Congress, and distinguished ineu of every profession, 
citizens aud strangers, attending. The imposing procession, escorted by 
cavalry, moved at four o'clock to the Congressional Cemetery on the 
Eastern brauch of the Potomac, whei-e his remains were t«nilei'ly interred.* 
Van Cortlandt wrote to his brother I'hilip on the 2l}d cen.tunrig the 
President for having ou the previous (!\'ening Iieeu so " disrespectful to tlio 
memory of a greater man than himself as to sufTer Mrs. Madison to \va\k' 
her drawing-room as usuaL It is spoken of in all places," he said. Un 
the 26th he wrote f^n, criticising Madison in the severest terms fuv 
sending a message to Congress i-ecommending two assistants to the Sec- 
retary of War " on the very Jay of the death of the Vice-President, and 
while both Houses were mourning the great loss of the nation. The mes- 
sage was not suffered to be read in either House." In the same letter he 
remarked ; " Overtures were made to me to get Mr. De Witt Clint<jii to 
consent to be the Vice-President under Mr. Madison. This arrangement 
cannot nor will not take place." * 

' Over iha grave of Viw- 
of whitB nmrliln vma fiwteil, 
l>«ii of De Witt Cliiitiiii ; " To 
Hr WHS a soMier aad Htstestiian 
(■oiioi:il, iliatinguiBbod ill war. 
fulnega, parity, and ability, 
those of governor of his nadve 
the United SUte». While he 
valor were the pride, the oma- 
try ; and when be died he left 
•pent lifci worthy of all imita- 
* Oenattl Pierre Van Corf- 
Certlandl, April 2S, 1S12. 
Van Cortlandt at thii periuil, 
ly, throw macb lifllit npon the 
daoa at the aeat of govern- 
ta Kadiaon, althongb one of 
doting hia latr adminiitration. 
of Vtoe-Prrtddent Clinton, and 
p|kWr-ilO(VaLII.). Heaub. 
MM, iriwdled in 1831 ; ahe was 
who inanlad tke aiater of Volck ■ 
jtmnalat^dOamg. See pp. B9. 
Oabwl Ptern Van Cortlandt, the 
■W, b 1BS6, Catharine, daiightei 
Md world M the author and 
dlf cnatod, and who ranlc^ 

I'r»udeiit ( lintun am 
braring thr iiu)i:ri|>tion,fTuliithp 
llie niLiiiury of Cieorge Cbuloii. 
of the Kfvolutiun, iiiiiiient in 
He fill«l with unexuiiplnl iisi" 
nniong ntaiiy uthrr high ottii-ns 
State and of Vice I'reKidc lit .rf 
lived Lin virtue, wiwloni, aud 
inu'nt, and iiecunty of hii eonii- 
iin illiuttioiu example ofawell- 

I'lndt lo Oenerai Philip I'liN 
Tbe li^tten of General Piem' 
I'urefully preierved by the fanii- 
(■onduct noii motives of jmliti- 
nient. He wan bitti^ly oppoHrd 
the waniieiit friends of Jelfetwil 
He married Calliarine, daughter 
was left ft widower in 1811. .See 
Hrquently married Ann JJb'ven- 
ert Peb^ [)auw. — Uuturirt 

li>fl(Vol. 11.). Theirontynou, 
pniHi-iit I'Piiirietor of the old historical manor-buiur, nmr- 
of Dr. Theodorie Koineyn Etmk — known throughout the 
founder of medical Jurisprudence, a tciencc which he sub- 
herever law and justice are administered, with BlackstUDc, 

Ctiirtan'l Temb 


It was a master-stroke of policy rather thau the deliberate choice of a 
good military leader^wheu Stephen Van Kensselaer, a leading Federalist, 
and known to be greatly opposed to the war, was appointed to the major- 
generalship of the detached militia of New York. He was not a military 
man, but since his country was committed to the measure of war he nobly 
laid aside all party feeling and gave it his hearty support. It was thought 
the example of a man of such wealth and importance in the State would 
influence favorably the disaffected. He accepted the appointment only on 
condition that his cousin, Solomon Van Rensselaer, adjutant-general of 
New York, and well acquainted with military science, should accompany 
him as his aid and counselor. It was well understood that the latter 
would be the general, in £l practical military point of view. He was 
some ten years younger than the patroon, the son of General Henry 
Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, who was wounded at the capture of Burgoyne. 
He was a born soldier. Before his twentieth birthday he raised a valiant 
little company of soldiers in his own county of Rensselaer, and, with the 
sacred commission of Washington in his pocket, led them through a 
dense Western wilderness of several hundred miles, and joined Anthony 
Wayne's expedition to the Maumee in 1794. He was promoted to the 
command of a troop and greatly admired and respected by his superior 
officers for his soldier-like deportment^ 

Btoon, and Grotiiis. Children of Colonel Pierre and Catharine Bepk Van Cortlandt : 1 . Cath- 
arine Theresa Romeyn, married Rev. John Rutlierford Matthews ; 2. Pierre Van Cortlandt, 
died October 16, 1879; 3. Romeyn Beck, died Marrh 1, 1843; 4. James Stevenson ; 5. 
Tbeodoric RonH'yn, died August 11, 1880 ; 6. Anne Stvvenson ; 7. Philip, died October 10, 
1858. Maria, the youngest daughter of Vice-President Clinton, was with her father at the 
time of hia death. She subsequently married Dr. Stephen Beekman, who was appointed a 
HQT^^eon of the United States army under Dearborn, at Greenbush. He wrote to General 
Van Cortlandt, Ausrist 11, 1812: "I am sickened with campaigning — living in tow-cloth 
houses ; and the m.nle of operating, sending soldiers utf in small detachments, and not half 
foand with clothing or ammunition, so that the Britishers may have no trouble in taking them 
and sending the officers home on parole of honor, disgusts me with the service, and I am de- 
tennined to resign." — Family Archives, 

* Colonel Solomon Van Rensselaer was a rigid disciplinarian. He was at one time parad- 
ing his fiunous sorrel troop near the quarters of General Wilkinson on the Wabash River. It 
was just prior to s contemplated action with the Indians in 1 794 ; he had Iteen exercising 
his mm upon every description of service, whether the land was cleared or wooded, broken 
or smooth, and they were taught to consider no obstacle impassable without a fair trial. 
Gsnenl Wilkinson was looking on, and, wishing to test the metal of the youthful officer, cried 
oat, jnst ss the troop came to a halt, facing a stone wall which surroucded his fine garden, 
** Charge ! " In an instant the spurs touched Van Rensselaer's finely stning horse that stood 
with hb neck proudly arched, and with a flying leap, the result of muscular energy that 
voqM have unseated a careless rider, he cleared the wall, followed by the whole troop, scam- 
pmng over the Tcgetsbles and demolishing every growing thing in their progress. Having 
prompted this ruinous result to the fruits of a summer's industry and care by his own man- 
date, shbough he oerer supposed the cavalry would pass the high encloeure, Wilkinson 

„, IBS C<rT ,W?f ^S^" 

^^^ C^»^^ lis events- ;.,^ tuuc^ «» ^^^es* ^^aV^u^so^^^^y^g 

\.\ v/at*' \«^rtt*^^ * - toot* ^\,. A^ft? ^Y^ flA^ \r tbe gP^ , 

-««« «»f^ Wo«« *Ia«« V«»* ^.««P. ^'. ««n •»«*' Tt**' ^. .J!^ •** 



I post. He was a man of genius, charming in conversation. fiUl of 
anecdote, and an acknowledged wit. He wrote, upon iiis arrival at Og- 
densbui^: "If flying through air, water, mud, brush, over hills, dales, 
meadows, swamps, on wheels or horseback, and getting a man's ears 
gnawed off with mosquitoes and gallintppers, make a soldier, then I have 
seen service." He accompanied the two Van Renaselaers on a tour of 

Linspection along the Niagara Kiver from Ijike Erie to Lake Ontario. He 

E spoke of the one little brig Oneida at Sackett's Harbor, " which could be 

r burned at any hour if the British chose, " and uf tlie reception given Van 
Eensaelaer by its brave commander, Melaiictlioii Taylor Woolsey, of New 
York. This vessel had recently 
been attacked hy five Hrilish 

^'Vessels lai^er than herself, but 
Y landing part of her guns and 

Bestsblisbing a battery on shore, 
where two hundreil soldiers were 
tationed, she succeeded in Ijeat- 
; them off. On one occasion 

Bthe little inspecting party were 
mpelled to seek shelter at mid- 

* sight in a deserted house. Lov- . 
ett said : " We placed our gen- 
eral on the table about four anrl 
a half feet long, crooked up his 
legs, borrowed a tliick blanket 
of a soldier, and covered him up 
quite comfortably. The colonel 
tien laid down upon two boards 
in hia great^coat ; I selected a large Dutch-oven, as the thought struck 
me it would be the safest retreat from the vermin. Rut how to get in 
it I knew not. I finally took a wiile board, placed an end in the mouth 
of the monstrous oven, laid myself on the board, and bade the sergeayit 
of the guaM raise up the other end and push me into the oven — and 
in I went like a pig on a wooden shovel ; and there I staid and had one 
of the loveliest night's rest of my life." 

Van Bensselaer decided to concentrate his forces at Lewiston Heights, 
opposite the British works at Queenstown, and had hardly established 
hia new headquarters when intelligence of the annistice arrived- It thus 
liecame necessary to confer with the British general, Sheaffe, concerning 
the details of that agreement and the government of the armies on the , 
Niagara River during its continuance. Colonel Solomon Van Rensselaer, 


in full milltaiy costume, crossed into Canada with a flag of truce. He 
was courteoosly received at British headquarters. To the proposition 
that no troops should move from that district to join General Brock, 
wlio had gone to reinforce the British army opposite Detroit, SheafTe 
readily assented. But when the audacious American colonel insisted 
upon the uiie of Lake Ontario as a public highway, in common with the 
British themselves, for purposes of transportation, the demand was un- 
equivocally refused. Van Kensselaer said: "Then there can be no 
armistice, our negotiation is at an end. General Van Kensselaer will 
take the responsibility upon himself of preventing your detaching troops 
from this district" The officers all rose tu their feet: "Sir, you take 
high ground I " said Sheaffe, with his hand upon the hUt of his sword. 
" I do, sir, and will maintain it," replied Van Rensselaer, striking tlie 
same hostile attitude ; " but,'' addressing himself decidedly to Sheafle, 
" yuu dare not detach ^he troops I " Kot another word was uttered. 
After walking the room for a few moments the general said, " Be seated, 
and excuse me." He withdrew with his officers, but presently returned, 
and politely remarked, " Sir, from amicable considerations I grant you 
the use of the waters." Thus the interview closed. 

This successful effort at diplomacy was of vital importance to the 
Americana. The roads were impassable, especially for heavy cannon, and 
tlie much needed supplies for the army collected at Oswego could be ob- 
taiued only by water, thus were not likely to reach their destination 
so long as the highway of the lake was beset by a triumphant enemy. 
An express was quickly on the wing, and Colonel Feuwick at Oswego 
ordered forward with all possible haste ; the cannon and military stores 
were shipped to Fort Niagara, and thence, without the knowledge of the 
enemy, deposited safely at the camping-ground. General Van RensBelaer 
was also enabled to use this advantage for another purpose of great conse- 
quence to the country. He sent an express to Ogdensburg for the imme- 
diate removal of nine schooners to Sackett's Harbor. These hod been 
imprisoned at that place, and were desired for gunboats, into which tbey 
coidd be changed for active Berrioe as the most expeditious method of 
preparing a fleet of war to obtain oonunand of the vaten of Lake Ontario. 

The brief exhilantion of the wmy over Yao Benneket'a triampl:^ 
swiftly turned into the deepest gloom. News came of the capitulation o^ 
Hull at Detroit, a disaster which seemed likely to produce a general mutiti^ 
among the New York forces. Erelong, on the 26tli of the satn^ 
month. General Sir Isaac Brock, goveraor of Lower Canada, at tlae 
head of his troopR. was seen on the opposite shore of th« Niagara Biver^legj 
than one fourth of a DuJe disUut, jtainding Hull and his Amurican aui\die( 



pompously along the heights of Queenstown, in full view of the 
American camp at Lewiston. On the following morning the prisoners 
were embarked for Montreal and Quebec to be made a public spectacle. 
** Seated in an old ragged, open carriage, Hull was drawn through the 
fltieets of Montreal, and thus exhibited as a rare show to the natives 

** Why did Hull surrender ? " was the question upon every lip. The 
war party of the country, mortified at this speedy termination of an 
attempt to make a conquest of Canada, and thus humiliate Great Britain, 
made the unhappy Hull the scapegoat of everybody's blunders, accusing 
him, as did his officers under him, of cowardice or treachery. But the 
difficulties of his position were very great, and it is extremely doubtful 
wliether under any officer much Canadian ground could have been gained. 
Block's vigilance had secured Fort Mackinaw before its commander had 
been apprised of the declaration of war ; and taking advantage of the im- 
politic armistice in contemplation, the same British officer had withdrawn 
a laige body of troops from Niagara and hastened to Detroit. The 
Indians of the whole region flocked to his standard ; and the cunning 
Itoomseh and his savage warriors guarded the road from Ohio to inter- 
eept reinforcements and supplies. A detachment sent by Hull to the aid 
of Gaptain Brush at the river Raisin with men, flour, and cattle from 
Ohio for the army, fell into an ambuscade and was totally routed. The 
Mil-bag was captured, and Brock by the means came into possession 
of the knowledge needful to overwlielm Detroit. He crossed the river, 
mid demanded the unconditional surrender of the post. Hull doubted 
4h ability to sustain a siege with his meager force, and supplies fast 
"ADunishing. The British were already in the town, advancing toward 
tha fort in. solid column, twelve deep. A dark and fiendish war-cloud 
hnig upon every side, and the British general had significantly remarked 
ia his note, " The Indians who have attached themselves to my troops 
vBl be beyond my control the moment the contest begins." 

Hull shuddered at the prospect of consigning the innocent inhabi- 

^Mb of the town and country, who thronged the fort for protection, to 

ilrtttities from which the stoutest heart would turn with sickening 

■•Wr. His daughter and her children were there, and the wives and 

^ttldien of some of the leading citizens of Detroit; also clei^men and 

^'QA-oombatants. Believing resistance would be in vain, it seemed crimi- 

^latiier than brave to sacrifice so much human life. He was pacing 

^parade backward and forward in acute mental agony, when a cannon- 

' bounded into the fort, killing instantly Captain Hancks of Fort 

ddniiw^ lieutenant Sibley, and Dr. Beynolds, who bad accompanied 


Huirs sick from Maumee to Detroit — besides wounding several others. 
Women were bespattered with blood and quickly carried to the bomb-proof 
vault for safety. A moment later the white flag was raised. 

The capitulation included the detachments of Cass and McArthur, the 
command and convoy under Brush at the Baisin, and indeed the whole 
territory of Michigan. Cass and McArtbur, with three hundred men, had 
been sent to endeavor by a circuitous route to open communication with 
Brush ; but getting entangled in a swamp, with nothing to eat for two 
days but a few potatoes and green pumpkins, they returned to Detroit 
just as affairs had reached the crisis. Their wrath may be better imagined 
than described. They were brave and capable officers, and unwilling to 
consider themselves beatea The whole army was in a fury of disappoint- 
ment, and the surrender was particularly hard on the fresh troops who 
had not yet come in sight of the smoke of the enemy's guns. 

Immediately upon Hull's exchange he was tried by a court-martial for 
treason, cowardice, and neglect of duty ; acquitted of the first, he was 
sentenced to be shot for the last two. He was pardoned, however, by the 
President, but dismissed the service. 

While Hull stood doubting whether he should err on the side of 
humanity or valbr, hemmed in by a foe of unknown strength upon all 
sides, the site of what is now Michigan Avenue in the wonderful city of 
Chicago, was the scene of a shocking massacre. Fort Dearborn, built by 
the United States Government in 1804 near the junction of the Chicago 
River and Lake Michigan, was garrisoned by fifty-four men under Cap- 
tain Nathan Heald. It was a solitary post in the vast wilderness, far 
from the frontiers, and Hull ordered its evacuation as soon as he heard of 
the fate of Fort Mackinaw ; the message was conveyed from Fort Wayne 
by a Pottawatomie chief who was on amicable terms with John Einzie, 
the first white settler of Chicago.^ The garrison were directed to march 

^ The Indians said " the first white man who settled here was a negro " — raferring to 
Jean Baptist Point au Sable, a mulatto from St. Domingo, who boilt a little house on the 
north side of the Chicago River, opposite the fort, in 1796 ; the same dwelling which Mr. 
Kinzie subsequently enlai^ged and occupied for many years with his young famUy, enjoying 
the friendship, trade, and-confidence of the Indians. He planted some fine Lombardy poplan 
in front, and cultivated a garden and orchard in the rear. John Rinzie was bom in Qnebw 
in 1763. He was the only offspring of his mother's second marriage. His father died while 
lie was an infant, and his mother married a third time, and with her husband, Mr. Forsythe, 
lemoved to New York City. At ten years of age young Rinzie was placed in a school at 
'V^lUamsbaig ; but he ran away after a short period, and reached Quebec. He became a 
trader, and established numerous trading-houses. In 1800 he married the widow of Colonel 
MoKillap, a British officer killed at Fort Miami, on the Maumee River, at the time of Wayne's 
appeannoe there in 1794. Her daughter was the young wife of lieutenant Helm. Throe 
ehildrai were with her in the boat on the day of the massacre, John H. Rinzie, Robert A. 
Kiniie^ and a daughter who became the wife of General David Hunter. ~ Limmg. 


tfaroagh the woods to Fort Wa3me, and thence to Detroit. The friendly 
Indian messenger warned Captain Heald against the perilous undertaking. 
The savages all through the Western country were restless, sullen, and 
blood-thirsty. Mr. Kinzie remonstrated. The younger officers in the 
fort, Lieutenant Helm, son-in-law of Mrs. Kinzie, and Ensign Bonan, 
urged their commander to remain, strengthen the fort, and defy the 
Indians until relief could reach them. But Heald said he must obey 
orders. Thus arrangements were made for departure. 

At nine o'clock on the same bright morning that Detroit was sur- 
rendered, the gate of the Chicago fort was thrown open, and a 
Uttle mournful procession emerged, and slowly moved in an 
easterly direction along the shore of Lake Michigan. The heroic Mrs. 
Heald rode a handsome horse by the side of her husband ; Mrs. Helm 
a^d the other ladies were also mounted. Captain Wells, Mrs. Heald's 
uncle, who had married an Indian princess and been made a chief among 
the Miamis, galloped across the country witli a few of his tribe to assist 
in defending the fort ; but, finding himself too late, he could only place 
himself at the head of the doomed party to do all in his power to prevent 
slaughter. Mr. Kinzie was also present, hoping by his personal influence 
to soften, if he could not avert, the impending blow. His family were in 
a boat in charge of a friendly Indian. As the travelers neared the 
sand-hills between the prairie and the beach, tbeir escort of treacherous 
Pottawatoniies, under Blackbird, filed to the right and disappeared behind 
the little hillocks. In the next breath they conmienced an assault. It 
was a hand-to-hand encounter, short and desperate, a life-and-death strug- 
gle — a battle in the open field — fifty-four soldiers, twelve civilians, and 
four or five women, fighting full five hundred Indian warriors. Captain 
Wells said to his niece, Mrs. Heald, as he saw the nature of the conflict, 
" We have not the slightest chance for life," and dashed forward to fight 
with the rest, while his cowardly Miamis fled over the prairies and away 
as if the evil spirit was at their heels. A fiendish young savage sprang 
into a wagon in which were twelve children, and tomahawked them all ! 
Captain Wells saw the bloody deed, and was ofi* towards the Indian en- 
campment with the speed of a whirlwind, exclaiming, " If that is their 
giune, butchering women and children, I '11 kill too." Swift-footed war- 
rion pursued and shot him.^ Knowing the temper and practices of the 
savages well, he taunted them after he fell with tlie most insulting epi- 
thets in order to provoke them to kill him instantly, and thus to escape 

1 Mary, the daughter of Captain William Wells whose life was as romantic and heroic as 
ita termination wea tragic, manied in 1821, Judgi* .Tames Woleott, a resident of Mauniee 
qsij from 18S6 until bis Oeath in 1873. 


Ijeing reserved for the torture, in vvliicli he succeeded. A tuinahcawk wjis 
plunged into his head, his heait was cut out, and a poll ion of ii eaten 
with exuberant delight. Mrs. Heald received seven bullet-wounds ; but, 
although faint and bleeding, she managed to keep her saddle. The Indi- 
ans wished to save her horse, and onlv aimed at the rider. Dr. Van 
Voorhees, a brilliant young Xew York sui-geon from Fishkill, was anion^' 
the slain ; also the brave Ensign Eonan, who wielded his swoixl to the 
last. Mrs. Helm had a deadly strife with a stalwart savage who struck 
at her with a tomahawk. She sprang aside, receiving the blow in her 
shoulder; at the siime instant she seized him about the neck and tried to 
grasp his scalping-knife, which hung in a sheath by his side. While thu.s 
struggling she was dragged fi*oni her antagonist by another savage, who 
bore her, despite her desperat<j resistance, to the margin of the lake and 
threw her in, but held her so that she could not di-own. She ]»resenily 
perceived that she was supported by a friendly hand. It Wius a rliief who 
had saved her. When the firing ceased he conducted her to the jn-jiirie, 
where she met her step- father, ^Ir. Kinzie, and heanl that her husliand 
was safe. The wife of one of the soldiei's fought desj>erately, and suppos- 
ing that all prisonei-s were ixjserved for tortui-e, suflered hei-self t«i 1k! 
literally cut in pieces. Mi*s. Holt, whose husband was seveivly wounded 
in the l>egiiniing, received fi-om him his swoi-d, and used it so skillfully 
while a half-dozen warriors were all trying at once to dismount her and 
secure her high-spirited horse, that other Indians shouted, "Don't hurt 
her!" She suddenly wheeled her horse and rode furiously over the 
prairie, but was checked by the savages; and while three of theni.enga;;eil 
her in front, a jM^werful fellow seized her by the neck and dnjggeii her 
backward to the ground. She was earned into ca]>tivity, but afterwanls 
ransomed. The wounded captives were nearly all scalped after Captain 
Heald went through the ceremony of a surrender. Mrs. Heald hersiilf 
escaped scalping in this last horrible moment only through the intei*ces- 
aioQ of Mrs. Kinzie, who sent a trusty Indian servant to tjtfer a mule as 
a ransom, and the Indian increased the bribe with two bottle.^ of whiskey. 
As this was more than her beautiful scalp would bring at Maltlen. .<he was 
teleaded, and concealed in Mra. Kinzie's l)oat from the avaricious eyes of 
other acalp-hunters. All the civilians were killed except Mr. Kinzie and 
his sons, all the officers except Ca]>tiiin Heahl and Lieutenant Helm, two 
tjldids or more of the soldiers, and twelve ehildron. The prist >nei>s were 
Svided among their captors.^ 

'^ Or. John Cooper of New York, a nutivi* of Fishkill, wus tht* iiiinuHli.ih' ]tn'(liti>sM)r of 
^vi Yooriieei at Port Dearborn. TIk'V wrn* rlnMniateti, and when Dr. (*on|ifr rv^^i^ned, 
, Dr. Van VoorheeB was appointed in Im stead. 


On the day after the massacre the fort was burned, and the site of 
Chicago left in desolation for the next four years. Blackbird and his 
savage horde pressed immediately towards Fort Wayne and Fort 
HarrisoD on the Wabash, encouraged by private emisaaries from 
TecuiBseh, who was strong iu the hope of establishing a confederacy for 
the complete expulsion of the white inhabitants north and west of the 
Ohio River, the principal tribes of the region liaving already united. 

It was a black day For New York when intelligence of tliese several dis- 
asters reached the city — Fort Mackinaw ami Detroit surrendered, Chicago 
annihilated, and the remaining strongholds in Oliio beleaguered ! The 
folly of the War Department in commencing hostile operations before ob- 
taining control of the lakes was apparent, licgrets were of no use in the 
emei^ncy. The mischief was to be remedied. New York must strain 
every nerve, or devastating war would cross her borders. The whole coun- 
try was profoundly agitated. Sparsely settled Ohio heaved like a storm- 
smitten ocean in its wrath, and men of e\ery class and condition in life 
flocked to the recruiting atiitions and oflei-ed their services. Before the 
1st of October, Kentucky I 
had more than seven thou- [ 
suid of her sons in the I 
field. Gen. William Henry I 
Harrison, governor of Indi- I 
ana, was assigned to the | 
chief command. 

Tiie great inland seas I 
were of the first con: 
quence, A na\y must be I 
created upon them. But 
how ? Could ships be built 
in a newly settled country, 
where nothing could l>e suji- 
plied but timber ? Every- 
thing else would have to 
be transported from Alba- 
ny at vast expense, and j 
much of the way through 

the original wilderness. CtpWin ihk chwiK<r. 

And how could "war-vessels be launcheit iii^iii waters controlled by tlie 
enemy ? Colonel Solomon Van licnsselaiT's masterly diplomacy enabled 
the government to begin the herculean enterprise, (.'uptaiu Isaac 
Chauncey, at U|,e head of th<' \iw Yurk luivy-yanl, and one of tlie best 


practical seamea of his time, was commissioned (August 31) to the chief 
command over the waters of the lakes, with directions to superintend the 
forming of a navy. He was admirably fitted for the post, energetic, fear- 
less, industrious, and his experience as commander of the merchant-vessels 
of John Jacob Astor on several successful voyages to the East Indies, as 
well as his conspicuous gallantry in naval engagements off Tripoli, and 
elsewhere, inspired public confidence. Within a week he sent Henry 
Eckford, the famous New York ship-builder, with forty ship-carpenters 
to Lake Ontario. Others soon followed. Commander Woolsey was or- 
dered to purchase for immediate use the merchant-schooners which had 
come from Ogdensburg, as before mentioned, and these were transformed 
into war- vessels with marvelous expedition and skill. On the 18th of Sep- 
tember, one hundred officers and seamen, with guns and other munitions 
of war left New York for Sackett's Harbor. Chauncey arrived there in 
person on the 6th of October.^ 

To create a fleet upon Lake Erie, separated from Lake Ontario by the 
impassable cataract of Niagara, vessels must be constructed on its 
shores ; and Chauncey sent Jesse Duncan Elliott, a young naval 
lieutenant of thirty, to choose a point for a dock-yard (with the advice of 
General Van Rensselaer) and to purchase any number of merchant- vessels 
or boats that might be converted into ships of war or gunboats, and build 
others. The work was going forward briskly at Black Rock, two miles l)el<»w 
Buffalo, when, on the 8th of October, two British vessels, the Detroit ami 
the Caledonia, appeared in front of Fort Erie, and Elliott resolvetl \x\nn\ 
their capture. Tliat very day a detachment of seamen for service under 
him had arrived from New York City. They were unarmed, but Lieuten- 
ant-colonel Winfield Scott, who was stationed with the artilleiT 

Oct. •• * 

at Black Rock, borrowed pistols, swords, and sabres for their 
use, and an expedition consisting of one hundred men divided equally in 
two boats, embarked in strict silence at midnight and passed into the 
gloom, returning three hours later, having in the interim surprised and 
captured both vessels. " In less than ten minutes," wrote Elliott, " I hud 
the prisoners all seized, the topsails sheeted home, and the vessels under 
weigh." The Detroit was a prize captured by the British at Detroit when 
Hull surrendered. She was retaken by the boat conducted by Elliott in 
person, assisted by Isaac Roach, lieutenant of artillery ; but grounding, 
was burned to prevent recapture. The Caledonia, of two guns, with a 
oaigo of furs valued at two hundred thousand dollars^ was captured by 

r$ FiM Bnok of ike War, p. 371 ; HildrttKa United SUtUs, VoL VI. p. S56 ; 
"^9 aut$ ^Nmo York, fi. 178 ; Cooper'i Naval History of the United Staiee : Baine/ 
tiim; Ukampmm'a Hietory of the Second War ; Eatiman'a New York. 


the second boat under Sailing-master Watts, assisted by Captain Nathan 
Towson, and was brought off in triumph. This vessel became the nucleus 
of the American navsd force on Lake £rie. Several of the residents of 
Buffalo were engaged in the brilliant exploit. The display of lights to 
illuminate the return of the victors, together with the shouts of the citi- 
zens, called every British officer and soldier to his post. 

Meanwhile the soldiers stationed along the St. Lawrence Biver were 
reinforced largely from the New York militia ; and they were not idle, 
although no very important service was performed in that quarter during 
the remainder of 1812. Bloomfield guarded the approaches into New 
York through Lake Champlain, with a command of regulars. Smyth, 
also of the regular army, and at that time inspector-general, was in the 
vicinity of Buffalo. Van Bensselaer had been charged with the invasion 
of Canada ; but he had not hitherto been provided with sufficient support 
to justify courting a battle. He endeavored in vain to counsel with 
Smyth, who, being an aspirant for the chief command, did not relish 
obedience to a militia general Van Bensselaer thought Smyth's conduct 
engendered a spirit of insubordination fatal to the harmony and concert of 
military movements. But his army clamored to be led against the enemy, 
and he was, moreover, satisfied that the proper time for invading Canada 
had arrived. On the 10th of October he made arrangements to 
assail Queenstown at three o'clock the next morning. The com- 
mand of the expedition was assigned to Colonel Solomon Van Bensselaer, 
which gave umbrage to some of the officers of the regular army. During 
the evening thirteen large boats were brought down from Gill's Creek, 
two miles above Niagara Falls, and placed in the river at Lewiston land- 
ing, imder cover of intense darkness. In the midst of a furious storm of 
wind and rain, six hundred troops stood at the place of embarkation with 
Solomon Van Bensselaer at their head. Lieutenant Sims, who had been 
selected to command the flotilla, entered the foremost boat and dis- 
appeared. He had taken nearly all the oars with him, thus the other 
boats could not follow ! They waited for him to discover his mistake 

mud return, but in vain. He moored his boat upon the other side, and 

The storm had no sooner ceased than preparations were made for the 
aeoond attempt at invasion. The boats remained two days in full 
view of the British, who supposed their appearance a feint, and 
that they were intended to carry an armament down the river against Fort 

To render success more certain, Smyth agreed to furnish an additional 
number of boats, and to cross the river himself with seven hundred resu- 


lars, and attack Foil George at a preconcerted moment.* The embarka- 
tion took place just alter midnight, but Smjlh failed to perform either 
promise. The thirteen boats were not able to carry more than about one 
half of the troops, and three of the thirteen missed their destination. 
The watchful enemy discovered the approach of the Americans by the 
sound of their oars, and opened a fire upon them from the top of the 
bank. Lovett, Van Rensselaer's secretary, was in charge of the eighteen- 
gun batter}' on the heights of Lewiston, the balls of which were to pass 
over the heads of tlie assaulting piirty, and he prom})tly aiLSwered the first 
volley of musketry, which causeil the enemy to turn. It being dark, he 
stooped close to the gun to observe his aim, and when it was suddenly 
discharged the concussion so injured his ears that he never recovered his 
hearing. Colonel Van Rensselaer was the first man to spring as]iore,'on 
a large rock at the foot of the rapids, and as soon as his troops had landed, 
the bfjats were sent back for the remainder of the six hundred and fortv 
men detailed for the battle. 

" Two hundred and twenty-five men," wrote General Wilkinson to the 
Secretary of War, " formed under a very warm fire, climbed the bank and 
routed the enemy at the point of the bayonet without tiring a gun." 
Within a few moments after the landing. Colonel Van Rensselaer was 
riddled with balls and disabled, but with great presence of mind he 
ordered John Ellis Wool, then a young captain of twenty-four, already 
wounded and bleeding but eager for action, to pursue the enemy with all 
possible speed and storm the fort, explaining to him by what route he 
could avoid the fire of the British artillery. The daring object was gal- 
lantly accomplished, and the enemy driven down the hill in even- direc- 
tion ; with the rising of the sun, the American flag was planted on the 
British works. In this remarkable combat not a single officer was 
engaged of higher rank than a captain. Chrystie, of the regular army, 
the second in command of the expedition, was in one of three boats that, 
miasing their way on the river, \^'ere drifted by the eddies back to the 
New York shore and he had not yet arrived upon the field. Fenwick, com- 
tnder of the flying artillery, was wounded on the passage. The valiant 
ttenantSk Gansevoort and Randolph of the artiller}*, led the way up 
iMutein, and Miyor Stephen Lush, Van Rensselaer's aid, brought up 
"Hli oiders to shoot down the first man who ofiered to give way. 
^lodk, at Fort Geoige, was wakened by the cannonading, and, 
rorite horse, rode to Queenstown at full speed, performing 
rem miles in little more than half an hour. He was just 
s etars and stripes unfurled over his fallen fortress ! 

"K Botme^M Ugaey of HiMoriail OUaningM, p. 252. 


He quickly rallied his demoralized troops and led them in person, six 
hundred strong, to retake what they had lost. The battle was long, obsti- 
nate, and one of the most thrilling on record. Deeds of heroism and valor 
were displayed by young officers and men never before exposed to fire, which 
would have done everlasting honor to veterans in military science. Had 
Uie little band of heroes on the heights been promptly supported, according 
to the programme mapped out with consummate generalship by Solomon 
Van Rensselaer, who had full knowledge of the position of the British 
through his several official visits to their headquarters during the summer 
and had provided for every contingency, the result would undoubtedly have 
been a decisive victory. Captain Wool sent forward one hundred and fifty 
men to check the approach of Brock. They were driven back, then rein- 
forced and chaiged a second time, again pushed backward to the veige of 
the precipice which overlooked the deep chasm of the swift-flowing river, 
and in this critical position Captain Ogilvie raised a white handkerchief 
on the point of a bayonet in token of surrender ; but Wool, springing for- 
wmid, snatched it away indignantly with his own hand, then waving his 
sword leil his comrades once more into the desperate and doubtful con- 
test with a greatly superior force commanded by the ablest general in the 
British service; and with such impetuosity that the enemy broke and 
fled down the hill in dire dismay. Sir Isaac was amazed and chagrined. 
He shouted to his favorite grenadiers, " This is the first time I have seen 
the Forty-ninth tarn their backs ! " In attempting to rally tliem he re- 
ceived his death-wound, and fell from his horse at the foot of the slope. 
McDonnell, the brilliant and promising young attorney-general of Upper 
Canada, assomed command, and chaiged up the hill with fresh troops. 
He too was killed. After three distinct and bloody l)attles within the 
space of five hours, both parties fighting with mar\'elous bravery, the 
British fell back a mUe in some confusion, leaving the intrepid Ameri- 
cans in possession of the heights.^ 

Meanwhile reinforcements and supplies were crossing the river slowly 

I Jafai EDii W00I9 born at Newbaig, Orange County, Xew York, in 1788, was the son of 
wmt of tho faniTO soldien of the Revolution who went up the hill with Wayne at the storming 
if StaBj Foint in 1779. He had raised a company in Troy during the summer of 1812, and 
■ SfpUmb&t loM n^jbxMeDt, under Lieutenant-colonel Chrystie, was ordered to the Niagara 
Hii fUluit oondnct at the storming of Queenstown led to his promotion ; and he 
UPM to great distinction. Among the noble young officers who participated 
m tkm mandng bsttlea, were Henry B. Armstrong, son of General John and Alida Livingston 
Radiard M. Malcolm, Peter Ogilive, and Stephen Watts Kearny, grandson of 
Jofai mad Anno De Lancey Watts of New York City, afterwanls conqueror and gov- 
of CblifbrBift, to whom Chrystie presented his sword upon the field for coolness and gal« 
hmtrj. Lit yti Bint Bathbone, Ensign Robert Morris, and Lieutenant Valleau of New York 
UQed. Koarly all of the men led to the first assault were native New-Yorkers, 


and with much difficulty — owing to the constant fire of the enemy upon 
the boats. General Wadsworth, and shortly after him Lieutenant-colonel 
Winfield Scott, appeared upon the scene, the latter having hurried from his 
post to offer himself as a volunteer — and received permission from Greneral 
Van Eensselaer to assume chief command in place of Colonel Van Rensse- 
laer, who had been carried bleeding to Ixjwiston. Meeting Wadsworth un- 
expectedly, Scott proposed to limit his own command to the regulars, but 
the high-minded brigadier objected ; " You, sir, know professionally what 
ought to be done/' he said ; " I am here for the honor of my country and 
that of the New York militia." ^ Christie also arrived about the same 
time and ordered Wool across the river to have his wounds dressed. An 
effort was made to fortify the position under the direction of Lieutenant 
Totten of the engineers. But the time was flying, and before much could be 
done, a cloud of dusky warriors swept along the brow of the mountain with 
a furious war-whoop ; Scott, with the form of a giant and the voice of a trum- 
pet, inspired his men to raise a shout and fall upon them and with such fury 
that they fled in terror. Chief John Brant, a* young, lithe, graceful son of 
the great Mohawk warrior, only eighteen, dressed, painted, and plumed in 
Indian style from head to foot, led the forest warriors, who were soon rallied 
and returned to the assault, but were again driven down the heights. All 
at once the roads as far as the eye could reach were aglow with scarlet 
General Sheaffe, succeeding iirock in command, was coming from Fort 
George with extensive reinfoixicments. The patroon was himself upon 
Queenstown heights at this juncture, but hastened over the river accom- 
panied by Major I^vett, to urge forward his own reinforcements. To his 
surprise and deep mortification the militia, who Ixad been so brave in 
sjH^ech and clamorous to be led against the enemy, refused to embark. 
They quailed l)efoi-e the sight of the wounded brought across the river, 
the groans of the dying, the fewness of the boats (several of the original 
thirteen having been lost), together with the new danger approaching ; 
and rather than be killed, or made cripples for life, they determined to 
forego their chances of military honors. Tliey fell back upon their con- 
stitutional rights, denying Van Rensselaer's authority to march them out 
of their own State into Canada. He rode up and down among them in 
great excitement, alternately threatening and pleading; Lieutenant-colonel 
Henry Bloom who had returned wounded, mounted his horse and ex- 

^ General William Wadsworth was a large land-owner on the Genesee RiTer, in joint 
ownership with his brother, James Wadsworth ; the latter originated the first Normal 
School in New Yoik in 1811. They were both natives of Dnrham, Connecticot, purchasing 
wild lands in New York in 1 790. James WaiUworth founded and endowed a librarj 
>«iitation for scientific lectures at Genesee. His philanthropic gifts to the cause of 
" ^ev York exceeded ninety thousand dollars. 


horted, swore and prayed — still the troops would not move ; Judge Peck 
happening to be at Lewiston, " appeared," wrote Lovett, " from whence I 
know not, wearing a large cocked hat and long sword with a broad white 
belt, and preached and prayed, but all in vain." The men were positive 
in their refusal. At this moment many of the boatmen fled panic- 
stricken, and the remaining boats were dispersed. The battle opened at 
four o'clock and raged for half an hour with terrible effect. Scott was 
in full dress uniform, and being taller and more conspicuous than any 
officer present the Indians fired at him incessantly and wondered that 
they could not hit him. Without succor from any source, and ammunition 
failing, the Americans were finally compelled to surrender. Nearly a 
thousand prisonei*s were takep by the enemy, two thirds of whom were 
found concealed on British soil among the rocks and bushes below the 
banks, not having been in the action at all. 

All Canada mourned for General Sir Isaac Brock. An armistice of 
three days enabled the belligerent commanders to exchange humane cour- 
tesiea At the conclusion of the ceremonies at the funeral of Canada's 
beloved governor and commander, minute guns were fired by order of 
General Van Rensselaer from the American batteries at I-«ewiston, as a 
mark of respect to a brave enemy. 

Governor Tompkins, accompanied by Robert Macomb and John W. 
Livingston, arrived at headquarters just after the battle, and General Van 
Rensselaer, disgusted with the jealousies of some of the officers and the 
recent conduct of the militia, solicited and obtained permission to leave 
the service. He was succeeded in the command of the Niagara fn)ntier 
by (Jeneral Smyth, who promised so much and performed so little that 
he l)ecame the target for satire and ridicule by all parties. Little was 
heard along the frontier for the next month except the sonorous cadences 
of his proclamations. He was going to invade Canada and conquer the 
whole British empire. He prepared with much noise, but it all came to 
nothiug. (Jeneral Peter B. Porter of the New York militia accused him of 
cowardice and a duel ensued. These two officers exchanged shots at twelve 
paces distance and both escaped unhurt, after which they were reconciled 
by their seconds. . Sm)rth was soon dismissed from the service. Colonel 
Solomon Van Rensselaer's life was in extreme peril for five days after the 
battle ; a cot was finally rigged with cross-bars and side-poles, upon which 
be was carried to Buffalo by a party of riflemen who, indeed, expressed 
their readiness to bear him on their shoulders from Buffalo to Albany. 
When late in Noveml)er he reached his home near Albany, he was met 
in the suburbs by a cavalcade of citizens, and received with the honors 
of a victoc. 



In the month of September a convention of Federalists from all 
parts of the country assembled in New York City to decide upon 
the course the party should pursue in the coming Presideotial election. 
They met privately with closeJ doora, and three days were con- 
sumed in spirited deliates. It was agreeil that New York, whose 
capital and frontiers were alike threatened by the enemy, desened a 
President in whom she could trust, and one who would be able by his 
executive talents to make up for the want of forecast and capacity hitherto 
exhibited in the conduct of the war. Vaiious speakers dwelt upon the 
impropriety of congressional nominations resulting, as they always did, in 
the selection of a Virginian for the highest ofSce in th? gift of the nation. 
De Witt Clinton, one of New York's most distinguished sons, was a ciiii- 
didate for the Presidency, and he was an advocate of peace, the door of 
which now stood open in the repeal of the British orders in couiu'il. 
It was finally resolved to adopt Clinton as the Federal candidate. Jareil 
Ingersoll, attorney-general of Pennsylvania, son of Jared Ingersoll of Con- 
necticut and Stamp Act fame, became the candidate for Vice-President. 
Thus the Premdential election, so ilisastrously utilized to bring on the 
war, promised an unusual umonnt of bitter wrangling. 

The governors of Massachusetts and Connecticut, Caleb Stnmg and 
Roger Griswold,' positi\ely refused to accede to the President's call (in 

TGriiwoId, Kovttraor of Connrcticut in 1812 — bom at Old Ljme iii 1702 — 

it Govi'tnor Mattliew Uriswolii, gmndfiuii of GoTernor Roger WoUiitt, iti>j>1ii>i 

rernor Oliver Wotcott, and Drat cousia of the Moond Oliver Wotcull, StxTr 

the a 

the li 

of tliv Treaxuiy, tuiU 

neotieiit. TIip wother 

tlic Unvmr, L'rauU Wol- 

Voleott note 

593) : thus giirToniided 

anny. jiidii'inl liimina- 

hia time ill thecouiitiy. 
(irinKold, the first niag- 
volouy, descenJed rrom 
of Malvern Hall, 
CMnicift to thia ootmtiT 
of th* Britiah noUemen 
fimd th* great dtj of 
■•>4a4h cT dw Ccmiiacti- 

It ton, 

also govirnor of Con- 
^, al Roger Gmirolil vtt 
^__J1j cott, nientionni in llie 
858 («« aiw) Vol. I. p. 
with a gulwnialurial 
B, and acholarly rrla- 
erall; by Irirth ami 
ttian any other nian of 
His anmtor, Matthrw 
iitimtc of the Sayhiwk 
Sir Matthew Ori«woM 
. Lyme Krfpm, KuglauJ. 
inlOe, in theinlemtii 
who were whemiiig tu 
the Kew World at the 
rut, ha marTied Amu 
the pioDeer, Hrnry 
Matthew Griawold. let- 
feadal grant to tha 
n aa Black Hall, onil waa one of the foundrn of Ohl Lyme in 
B ; ma danghler married Edmond Dorr, and amotif! Iier ilewrml- 


June) for detachments of militia to do garrison duty along the seaboard, 
in place of those drawn off for the invasion of Canada. They denied the 
constitutional validity of the articles of war enacted by Congress ; and 
complained of the irregularities attending the requisition of detached 
companies and battalions, without the regular quota of field officers. 
They denounced the punishment of a people three thousand miles away, 
over the innocent heads of our immediate neighbors in Canada of w*hom 
many were bound to us by ties of blood, but expressed entire willingness 
to adopt any measure which the safety of their own States might de- 
mand, (jovernor Strong had been one of the immortal number who 
framed the Constitution, and knew well the difficulties which arose about 
the partition between the States and the general, government as to au- 
thority over the militia. He claimed to be a joint judge with the Presi- 
dent whether the emergency existed which would justify him in making 
a call Governor Griswold was no less decided in his views and even 
more influential. He was a leading Federalist ; w^hen called at the age 
of thirty-two from a valuable law piuctice into the national councils, he 
was pronounced one of the most finished scholars at the seat of govern- 
ment. He was in Congress ten years, and in 1801 declined the office of 
Secretary of State. Since 1807 he had been a judge of the Superior Court 
of Connecticut ; also liautenant-governor a pait of that period. He was 

ants was the famous Rev. Dr. Edward Dorr Griffin ; of his sons, John, the father of Governor 
Matthew Griswold, was a jadge of considerable renown ; and George — who married Hannah 
Lynde — was the revered pastor of the church at East Lyme for thirty -six years. The two 
grandsons of Rev. George Griswold were the great New York merchants, George Griswold 
and Nathaniel Lynde Griswold, brothers, who founded a mercantile house in New York City 
prior to the beginning of the present century, sending their numerous and costly ships all 
over the world. They were among the most prominent and public-spirited citizens of the 
growing metropolis — worthy representatives of a race grandly developed, physically and 
morally as well as intellectually. George Griswold was made a director, in 1812, of the 
Bank of America, and his name appears among those of the founders and benefactors of 
aooras of humane and other institutions in New York. The Griswolds of New York have 
iBtenaarried with many of the leading families — the daughter of one of the great merchants 
nnnied Peter Lorillard ; and another daughter married Hon. Frederick Frelinghuysen of New 
JeiMjr. The mother of Robert H. McCurdy, the well-known New York importing merchant, 
WW UnaUi Wolcott Griswold, daughter of Judge John Griswold of Old Lyme, the brother of 
the goreraor. The children of Governor Roger Griswold were nine : 1. Harry, married in 
Eo^and : 2. Charles, married Ellen, daughter of Judge Elias Perkins of New London ; 
S. Fnnoea, married her cousin. Chief Justice Ebenezer I^ne of Ohio ; 4. Matthew, mar- 
ried Fliebe Ely, and resided in the mansion built by the governor at Black Hall ; 5. Roger, 
married Juliette Griswold ; 6. Elizabeth, marri<*d tht- philanthropist, Henry Boalt of Ohio, 
and among her children were Judge John Henr>' Boalt of California, and Mrs. J. O. Moss 
ofSandnaky, Ohio ; 7. Mary Anne, married Thomas S. Perkins, son of Judge Elias Perkins ; 
8. William, married Sarah Noyes ; 9. Captain RoWrt, niarrieil Helen Powers, of the same 
ftamtf aa the eelebiated Hiram Powers. 


personally one of the handsomest men of his time, with a bright, keen, 
flashing black eye ; and his gifts and graces in conversation, and elegant 
manners were the delight of all who knew him. He was justly regarded 
as one of the first men in the nation for talents, political knowledge, 
force of eloquence, integrity, and profound legal ability. One of the 
earliest to pi-opose that the Federalists should concentrate their strength 
upon the election of De Witt Clinton, in order effectually to defeat the 
spirit and policy of an administration which it was claimed had been 
under French influence and dictation for twelve years, Griswold exerted a 
singular power over the minds of those who naturally rebelled against 
voting for a Republican candidate. He said the leading object of the war 
advocates was to perpetuate power in the hands of a narrow Virginia 
clique, to the exclusion from office and influence of talented men of their 
own party not connected with that clique. Griswold's death occurred in 
October in the midst of the stormy scenes attending the re-election of 
Madison, and few men of America have been more deeply lamented. 

New York City was electrified one morning in midsummer with the 
newspaper announcement of Aaron Burr's presence in the city, and that 
he was about to resume the practice of law. He had escaped from Eu- 
rope, returning as he went, with an empty pocket and a borrowed name ; 
and after concealment until assured that neither government nor creditors 
would molest him, he had finally nailed a small tin sign over a door in 
Nassau Street, and commenced business. The times were disjointed, so 
to speak, and nearly every member of the community was involved in 
some legal controversy ; hence clients swarmed about the man who never 
lost a case. During the first twelve days he received for opinions and 
retaining fees the sum of two thousand dollars. He was politically dead, 
however, and took no part in trying to prevent the election to the Presi- 
dency of his triumphant rival, De Witt Clinton. Presently he was 
bowed down with the sharpest anguish his soul had ever known. A 
letter came from his son-in-law, Grovernor Allston, bringing tidings of the 
death of Theodosia's eleven-year-old son, of whom Burr was passionately 
fond. The bereaved Theodosia longed to see her father ; and after droop- 
ing in her home at the South for some months, took passage for New York 
on the privateer Patriot, sailing from Charleston on the last day but one 
of December, 1812. Alas ! the vessel was never seen nor heard of more ! 
For days and weeks and months two grief-stricken men watched, agonized, 
conjectured, hoped and despaired. But the beautiful Theodosia had per- 
ished with all on board. 

The pride of the war party was severely humbled by repeated failures 
and disasters, and its strength was fast diminishing under the stinging 


tidicole of the Federal newspapers, when relief came through a series of 
unexpected naval achievements. Commodore Isaac Hull, of tlie frigate 
Ctnutitvtion, encountered and chased the " tyrunt of our coast," England's 
" famous Ghurriere," one of the best frigates in the British navy, and in 
a close confiict of one half-hour's duration disabled and captured her. 
This thnlling event occurred August 19, off the mouth of the St LawTenoe 
River, just three days after the surrender of ];)etroit by the uncle of the 
heroic commodore. Within fifteen minutes after the fire was opened, the 
Ovariere had lost her miz- 
ten-mast, her mainyard 
was in the slings, and her 
hull, rigging, and sails were 
torn in pieces — and then 
her foremast fell, leaving 
her wallowing in the 
trough of the sea a help- 
less wreck. A jack which 
had been kept flying on 
the stump of her mizzen- 
mast was suddenly low- 
ered Whereupon, Hull 
sent his third lieutenant, 
George Campbell Itead, af- 
terwards rear-admiral, to 
receive the sword of the 
captain of the prize. "Com- 
modore Hull's compli- 
ments," said the young of- 
ficer bowing, "and wishes 
to know if you have struck your flag ? " Captain Dacres, looking up 
and down, dryly remarked, " Well, I don't know ; our mizzcn-mast is 
gone, and upon the whole, you may say we hov struck our flag." 

Read then inquired if a surgeon or surge<)n's mate was neetied upon the 
captive frigate " I should suppose you had on b(«rd your own ship, 
business enough for all your medical officers," replied Dacres. " Oh, no," 
said Bead, " we have but seven killed and seven wounded." The killed 
■nd wounded on the Guerrierf. numbered seventy-nine ; among the crew 
were ten impressed American seamen, who, declining to fight, were hu- 
manely sent below. It was discovered that the injured vessel was in 
danger of sinkii^, and as soon as the prisoners and their effects were 
transferred to the CiynstiUition, the wreck was set on fire and blown up. 


A breakfast-plate of unique design from the decorated dinner service of 
the GtLerriere was pi'eserved by Commodore Hull, and is now in the pos- 
session of Mrs. Professor Edward E. Salisbury of New Haven. 

Six days before the capture of the Ouerriere, the Essex under Commo- 
dore David Porter was attacked by the Alert, a British sloop of twenty 
guns, and an action of eight minutes terminated in the surrender of the 
Alert with seven feet of water in her hold. This was the first ship of 
war taken in the contest. The news reached Boston almost simultane- 
ously with the return of the ConstitiUion, 

The whole country was in a wild tumult of delight. No such successes 
were supposed possible. For centuries the ocean had been the center of 
British triumph. Navy after navy had fallen before the disciplined valor 
of British seamen. The Americans had no confidence in their own little 
navy, and believed in the absolute omnipotence of that of the enemy. 
The newspapers teemed with tributes to British glory; indeed, England 
was credited with every species of superiority, whether physical or moral, 
which she claimed for herself The administration at one time seriously 
contemplated an order for all the war-vessels to remain in New York 
harbor, and form a part of its defense — as a precautionary movement 
to secure them from destruction. Two naval officers, Bainbridge and 
Stewart, were at the seat of government when the subject was under dis- 
cussion, and remonstrated with such vigor against the narrow scheme 
that the President convened the Cabinet, which was finally induced to 
change its policy, " on the ground that our ships would soon be taken, 
and that the country would thus be rid of the cost of maintaining them, 
and at more liberty to direct its energies to the army.'* * 

The merchants of New York had studied the movements of their 
cruisers with obser\'ant eyes, and knew they were as well built, sailed as 
fast, and were worked as well, as those of England. The officers of the navy 
had enjoyed means of comparison denied the mass of their fellow-citizens, 
and were willing to contend with that superiority which the nation feared. 
In the short period of six months from the declaration of war, three hun- 
dred and nineteen British vessels, three of them frigates of the first class, 
others ships of war of a smaller size, were either destroyed at sea or brought 
into port by our public and private vessels ; and it was estimated that the 
damage done to British commerce exceeded twelve million dollars.' 

These facts were not yet known when the Constitution rode proudly 
into port a conqueror — the very frigate which had been held up to the 
derision of Europe as " a bunch of pine boards " — an occurrence of mo- 

^ Cooper's Naval Hiatory, II. pp. 1S8, 169. 

* MardU's Deteriptiimo/ New York City, p. 181. 


inentous bearing upon the future of the war.^ It was found that Commo- 
dore Hull had evinced great skill and seamanship in one of the most 
remarkable naval retreats on record, only a short time prior to his conflict 
with the Gtierriere. The Constitution was chased by a British squadron, 
and escaped in such a manner as to extort unqualified admiration from 
her pursuers. And the engagement with the Ghierriere was character- 
ized by features which became identified with nearly all the subse- 
quent naval battles of the war, showing that they were intimately 
connected with the discipline and system of the American marina 
There was nothing hap-hazard in the style in which the Constitution had 
been handled ; she had been carried earnestly and deliberately into 
battle. Hull with admirable coolness received the enemy's fire without 
returning it until quite close. His crew, though burning with impatience, 
silently awaited his orders. His sailing-master seconded his views with 
admirable skill, bringing the vessel exactly to the station intended, within 
half pistol-shot of her adversary ; the orders were to fire broadside after 
broadside, from guns double-shotted with round and grape, in rapid suc- 
cession. The crew instantly comprehended the plan, and entered into it 
with spirit. For fifteen minutes the roar and the vivid lightning of the 
Constitutions guns were without intermission. The British commander 
fought gallantly, and submitted when further resistance would have been 
as cul()able as it was impossible. The Gu^rrier^s batteries were not 
equal to the mode of fighting introduced by her antagonist — and which, 
in fact, was the commencement of a new era in combats between single 
ships upon the ocean. 

Men of all ranks and political creeds hastened to pay homage to Com- 
modore Hull Boston r&eived him with a triumphal procession and a 
splendid banquet. The citizens of New York subscribed money to buy 
gifts of swords for liim atd his officers ; the corporation ordered a richly 
embossed gold box, with a representation of the battle between the C&n- 
MtUuiion and the Guerriere, at the same time requesting the conqueror to 
sit for his portrait — which now graces the wall of the governor's room 
in the City Hall. Congress voted him a gold medal, and distributed fifty 
thousand dollars among his officers and men. From many other sources 
came beautiful and costly testimonials. 

The public mind was greatly agitated in both hemispheres, and men 
competent to form intelligent opinions on such subjects, in Europe as well 
as America, predicted many future conquests of a similar character. And 
they came in swift succession. A squadron sailed from Boston on a 
cruise, October 8, consisting of the President, under Comniodoi-e Rodgers, 

^ Coopaf's NaiwU Hittory, 11.^, \7 1 ; Lossing; Dawson; Hildreth ; Schaffiur , Tfwmpson, 



the United States, the Congress, and' the Argus. Five days later thcfy 
parted company in a gale of wind, soon after which the Prtndent and the 
Congress captured the British packet Swallow, with two hundred thousand 
dollars on board, and brought her proudly into Boston on the SOtb of 
December. The Argiis about the same time returned to New York with 
prizes valued at two hundred thousand dollars. The United States, under 
Commodore Decatur met tlit; Britisli war-frigate Macedonian on the 25th 
of October, and captured her after an action of two hours. The American 

gunnery in this 
affair, like that of 
the Conaiiiution 
with the Giierri- 
ere, WHS remark- 
able for rapidity 
and eflect. Its 
perpetual blaze 
led the enemy to 
suppose at one 
time the United 
States was on fire. 
The mizzen-mast 
and main and 
foretop-mast of 
the .\facedonian 
were shot away, 
and her colors 
disappeared. She 
received no less 
than one hun- 
dred round shot 
in her hull alone, 
and all her boats 
I were rendered 
useless but one. 
Her killed and 

wounded numbered one hundred and four, while the loss of Decatur was 
only five killed and seven wounded. Garden, the British commander, 
fought with consummate skill ; when after the surrender he came upon 
the United States and offered his sword to Decatur, the latter generously 
exclaimed, " Sir, I cannot receive the sword of a man who has ao bravely 
.defended his ship, but I will receive your baud," and suiting the acticm 


to the word grasped that of the gallant Garden and led him to the cabin 
where refreshments were bountifully serveS. 

While these events were taking place the Wasp, under Commodore 
Jacob Jones, encountered the Frolic, a British war-vessel of su- 
perior force, and after a bloody conflict of forty-three minutes 
made the latter captive ; thirty were killed and fifty wounded upon her 
decks, while upon the Wasp five only were killed and five wounded. 
But the victors were not able to take their prize into port, as a large 
man-of-war bore immediately down upon them necessitating their sur- 
render. The officers of the Wasp were taken to Bermuda, paroled and 
sent home. In November the lakes began to assume a warlike aspect. 
Commodore Chauncey's preparation had progressed with such rapidity that 
he considered himself able to contend with the whole British fleet. Thus 
the waves of our inland waters were soon to be lighted with all the sub- 
limity of naval combat. 

The year 1812 closed with still another brilliant affair upon the 
ocean. Commodore Hull, content with the glories already won, went to 
Saybrook, Connecticut, to be married,^ and was succeeded in command of 
the Constitution by Commodore William Bainbridge, a real naval hero, 
who sailed from Boston October 26, accompanied by the Hornet, also 
under his command. Upon the South American coast the Hornet was 
left to blockade a British sloop-of-war which iiad a large amount of specie 
on board. The CoTtstUution, cruising near the Brazils, encountered the 
Java, a large British frigate bound for tlie East Indies, and preparations 
were quickly made on both sides for battle. The fire of the Constitution 
was directed with so much precision that the Java was soon disabled in 
her spars and rigging ; within two hours she surrendered, but was too 
badly injured to be preserved as a trophy, and was blown up. The loss 
of the Java was a severe blow to the British, and her brave commander, 
Lambert, was killed. 

On the very same day of this victory of Bainbridge, and at the very 
same afternoon hour, a magnificent banquet in honor of Hull, 
Decatur, and Jones, was in progress in New York City. Five 
hundred gentlemen were seated at the tables. The banqueting hall, in 
the City Hotel just above Trinity Church in Broadway, had the effect of 

1 Commodore Isaac HuU married Anna McCurdy Hart, one of seven sisters who were 
rrpnted the most beautiful and brilliant women in Am(Ti( a. She was the daughter of Cap- 
tain Elisha and Jennette McCurdy Hart of Saybrook, Connecticut ; lier fatlier being the son 
of the old Saybrook minister, an<l her mother, the daugliter of John McCurdy of Old Lyme, 
of Revdutionary renown (see Vol. 1. 719 ; Vol. II. 70). One of Mrs. Hull's sisters marrin«l 
tha Her. Dr. Samuel Fanner Jarvis, another, Hon. Henian Allen of Vermont, U. S. Minister 
to Chili in 1829-8f and a third. Commodore Joseph Hull, nephew of Commodore Isaac HuIL 



a great marine palace. The genius and taste as well as the money 
of New York had been lavishly expended upon its adornment "It 
was colonnaded round with the masts of ships, entwined with laurels, 
and bearing the flags of all the world." Upon each individual table 
was a ship in miniature with the American flag displayed. At the head 
of the room, one long table, elevated some three feet above the others, 
was graced by Mayor De Witt Clinton, the president of the feast, with 
Decatur upon his right, and Hull upon his left hand. In front of this, 
appeared in the midst of a grassy area, a real lake of water upon which 
floated a miniature frigate. And back of all hung the mainsail of a ship, 
thirty-three by sixteen feet. At the moment of the utterance of the 
third toast, "Our Navy," this great mainsail was furled, revealing an 
immense transparent painting representing the three naval battles in 
which Hull, Decatur, and Jones had been respectively engaged.* 

Other surprises of the most novel and charming character enraptured 
the assemblaga The poets of the land, catching inspiration from the 
shouts of triumph that filled the air, had written a score or more of stir- 
ring banquet-songs, several of which were rendered on this occasion with 
great eflect, alternating with happy speeches, and deafening cheers. 

Decatur's victory, following so closely upon that of Hull, produced a 
perfect delirium of ecstasy. He brought the victorious United Statoi 
and the conquered Ma^xdonian safely through the Sound and East River 
into New York harbor about the middle of December ; and the noise 
and tumult of wild enthusiasm which greeted his arrival exceeded any- 
thing New York had ever before witnessed. An occasional blockade of 
what was to the enemy " the troublesome port of New York " had all 
along been maintained by the British cruisers, ana at this juncture, 
astoimded at the heavy and ominous blows dealt at her supremacy of the 
seas, Great Britain determined to cripple New York by compelling her 
to keep her private-armed cruisers at home. One or two laige war- vessels 
could already be seen off" Sandy Hook, precursors of a formidable British 
fleet which took possession of Gardiner's Bay and the surrounding waters 
early in the following April, and kept New York under strict blockade for 
a year and ten months. Decatur was overwhelmed with compliments and 
testimonials, banquets, and balls ; and such honors were attended with 
genuine appreciation of his distinguished services. In New York, among 
other public gifts he received the freedom of the city in a gold box ; and 
he was requested to sit for his portrait. 

Decatur's gallant crew were complimented with a banquet at the City 
Hotel, January 7, 1813, the room being decorated as at the imposing en- 

1 The IFar, L 119. Jones was not able to be p rce en t at this banquet. 


tertainment given to the heroic commandeTS. At the table the sailors 
were addressed by Alderman John Vanderbilt. In the evening they 
were conducted to Park Theater by invitation of the manager. The 
whole pit was reserved for their accommodation. The drop-curtain in 
the form of a transparency, bore a representation of the fight between the . 
United States and the Macedonian. Children danced on the stage, carry- 
ing laige letters of the alphabet in their hands, which being joined in the 
coarse of the dance produced in transparency the names of Hull, Deca- 
tur, and Jones ; and an Irish clown sang a comic song of seven stanzas, 
written for the occasion, beginning : — 

" No more of your blathering nonsense 
'Bout Nelsons of old Johnny Bull ; 
1 11 sing you a song, by my conscience, 
'Bout Jones and Decatur and Hull.'' 

It was on Christmas, 1812, the day before the banquet, that the cere- 
mony of presentation to Hull occurred in the council chamber of City 
HalL A committee, consisting of Colonel Nicholas Fish, General Jacob 
Morton, and Peter Mesier, introduced him to the common council, when 
Mayor De Witt Clinton arose and addressed him in the most felicitous 
manner, presenting a diploma superbly executed in vellum, and the ex- 
quisite gold box containing the freedom of the city, which had been 
prepared for his acceptance. 

The situation of New York at this crisis was peculiar. The war men- 
aced the great commercial capital of the continent on every side. Nobly 
had she sent forth her blood and treasure towards the several points of the 
compass to grapple with the enemy. Now the pride and the energy of 
Great Britain were thoroughly aroused. On one of the last days of the 
year 1812 it was determined in British council to send out a land and 
naval force sufficient to chastise the Americans ; in short, to blockade and 
desolate the coasts of the United States, and destroy the centers of Amer- 
ican commercial and naval power. 

While celebrating victories that enveloped the little American navy 
upon the ocean in a blaze of glory, and with fleets in readiness to dispute 
the sovereignty of her lakes. New York shuddered at the war-cry of the 
savages in the wilds of Ohio as they made their easterly way in the 
bloody work of extermination begun at Chicas^o, and turned ocean ward 
only to find egress from her harbor effectually closed by the great war- 
ships of the haughty foe. 

The Constitution reached Boston on the 15th of February, 1813, and 
Commodore Bainbridge immediately despatched Lieutenant Lud- 
low with a letter to the Secretary of the Navy, giving an account 

622 tttSfORt OF fUB CiTt Of ifSW YORK. 

of the capture of the Java. The popular honors accorded to the hero 
of this fourth brilliant naval triumph, exceeded, if possible, all others. 
Processions, receptions, banquets, and testimonials attended him wherever 
he went. Men of all political parties united 
in giving proofs of their gratitude to one who 
had BO signally benefited his country. The dis- 
cipline and bravery of American seamen were 
not only rendered conspicuous, but also their 
generosity and humanity to their t-aptivea, of 
which the British officers bore strong testimony 
in their otfieial letters. New York and Albany 
each presented Bainbridge with a gold box con- 
taining the freedom of the city, and Philadelphia 
gave bim an elegant service of silver plate, the 
most remarkable piece of which was a massive 
and costly urn, eighteen inches in height, upon 
which was elegantly wrought the wrecked Java and the triumphant Con- 
gtitution. The corporation of New York invited him to sit for his por- 
trait, which was painted by John Wesley Jarvia. 

In the mean time, news reached the city of the defeat of a detachment 
of General Harrison's army in Ohio, sent forward through the midwinter 
snows to disperse a party of British and Indians quartered at French- 
town, now Monroe, in Michigan, only eighteen miles across the river 
from Maiden. They performed the service gallantly. The enemy was 
routed and driven two miles on the 18th of January ; but on the cold 
night of the 22d returned three thousand strong in profound sUence — 
the savages led by Roundhead and the British by Proctor — and at 
daylight attacked the Americans with such t«rrible vigor that the latter 
surrendered. Scarcely had they laid down their arms, under promise of 
protection from the British commander, when they found themselves e- 
sorted, left to the mercy of the Indians — in other words, reserved to be 
butchered in cold blood. Five hundred were slain. The scene was one of 
the most horrible on record. The tomahawk was employed to fell the 
strongest ; and at the same time the knife was severing scalps from the 
heads of both the dead and the living. Men lay weltering in their blood, 
suffering most excruciating agonies, when the fiends in human shape, hav- 
ing secured their-plunder and scalps, set fire to the houses and consumed 
the dying and the dead. The atrocious barbarities attending this massa- 
cre thrilled tihe American heart wtt^ unspeakable indignation. 
OongnaB — oombled in November, and legislatioo was speedily directed 
M innwMn of the anny and navy. To provide for defnying the 


augmented expense the President was authorized to borrow a sum of money 
not exceeding sixteen millions, and to issue treasury uotes to the amount of 
five millions. In the heat of the exciting debates over these various bills, 
the results of the election were disclosed. New York, New Jersey, and 
all the New England States except Vermont, had voted for De Witt 
Clinton ; but Madison was re-elected, and Elbridge Gerry of Massachu- 
setts became Vice-President. The election for members of Congress re- 
sulted in favor of the administration ; but there was a powerful opposition 
to the war candidates in the New England, or ship-owning States, and 
the Federal side of the House was strouger and abler than it had been 
for many sessions. Quincy declining re-election, his place was well sup- 
plied by Artemas Ward, son of the Revolutionary General, and by the 
aged Pickering from the Salem district. Cyrus King of Massachusetts, 
a half-brother of Rufus King who had been chosen to the Senate, 
was also among the new members, and Daniel Webster of New 
Hampshire. Judge Egbert Benson and Thomas P. Grosvenor were the 
leading representatives from New York, and Grosvenor soon proved him- 
self the readiest debater in the House- 
In the State, contrary to general expectation, Tompkins" was re-elected 
governor by a considerable majority over Stephen Van Rensselaer, the 
Federal candidate, and John Tayler became lieutenant-governor. De 
Witt Clinton was reappointed mayor of New York ; and General Arm- 
strong was made Secretary of War by the President. 

On the 25th of March, the city was in proud, joyful commotion over 
the arrival of the Hornet, under Captain James Lawrence, who had added 
one more naval victory to those already recorded. He had attacked the 
British frigate Peacock off the South American coast on the 22d of Feb- 
ruai7,and with such a blaze of fire that in fourteen minutes she not only 
struck her colors, but raised a signal of distress. Her commander was 
slain, a great portion of her crew had fallen, and with six feet of water 
in her hold she was verily in a sinking condition. Only one American 
was killed in the action and two wounded. So severely riddled was the 
Peacock that it was impossible to keep her afloat until all the prisoners 
were removed, although the most strenuous exertions were made. The 
vessel filled with water rapidly, and nine of her crew and three from the 
Hornet in the act of saving them, went down with her and perished. 

Captain Lawrence was thirty-two, tall, splendidly developed, with 
much personal beauty and captivating manners — one of the chivalrous, 
fieiy-souled heroes who went forth singly to do or die for the honor of 
his country. He was quick and impetuous in his feelings, greatly be- 
loved, and inspired all about him with ardor ; but in all critical situa- 



tions his coolness was renmikabie, Pecatiir said, "He always knew the 
beat thing t« be done, he knew the best way to execute it, and he had 
no more dodge in him than the mainmast." 

Intelligence of the exjiloit uf the Homd produced a profound sensation 
in l>oth countries, " The Americans ai'e a dead nip," said a British news- 
paper. " It will never do 
■ our vessels to fight 
theirs siiiglf-handed." Tlie 
mortified liritons investi- 
gated causes, and exerted 
themselves to the utmost 
in the selection of crews 
and in tbeir discipline and 
practice of manoeuvres, to 
render them more fit to 
cope with the American 
vessels. President Madi- 
son, in his message lo Con- 
gress at its special sessioi^^H 
in May, spoke of the brO^^H 
liant achievement of Cap- ' 
tain Lawrence and his 
brave companions, as one 
"gained with a celerity so 
unexampled, and with a 
slaughter so dispropor- 
{!',«<. ih.^p.i,.iiniii.v5tu>R.i tionate to the loss in 

Homei as to claim for the conqueror the highest praise." 

The corporation of New York presented Lawrence with a gold box 
taining the freedom of the city, and with a piece of plate bearing unique 
devices and inscriptions; also tendered him a dinner, the invitations 
being headed with a *ood cut by Anderson, representing a naval battle. 
The corporation committee, Augustus H. Lawrence, Eliaha W. Kiug, 
Peter Meaier, made the arrangements for the banquet, which took place 
the 4th of May at Washington Hall, then occupying the site of St«wart^s' 
wholesale store. In the evening the oflicei-s and seamen of the ffonul 
were treated to an enteil.ainment at Ibe Park Theater. When Lawrence 
entered, accompanied by General Van Rensselaer, General Jacob Morton, 
and other official characters, the house mng with the wildest hu 
Everywhere throughout the land the name of Lawrence was honored. 
Before the end of the month Lawrence was in Boston, assigned to tiMij 



augmented expense the President was authorized to borrow a sum of money 
not exceeding sixteen millions, and to issue treasury notes to the amount of 
five millions. In the heat of the exciting debates over these various bills, 
the results of the election were disclosed. New York, New Jersey, and 
all the New England States except Vermont, had voted for De Witt 
Clinton ; but Madison was re-elected, and Elbridge Gerry of Massachu- 
setts became Vice-President. The election for members of Congress re- 
sulted in favor of the administration ; but there was a powerful opposition 
to the war candidates in the New England, or ship-owning States, and 
the Federal side of the House was stronger and abler than it had been 
for many sessions. Quincy declining re-election, his place was well sup- 
plied by Artemas Ward, son of the Revolutionary General, and by the 
aged Pickering from the Salem district. Cyrus King of Massachusetts, 
a half-brother of Sufus King who had been chosen to the Senate, 
was also among the new members, and Daniel Webster of New 
Hampshire. Judge I^bert Benson and Thomas P. Grosvenor were the 
leading representatives from New York, and Grosvenor soon proved him- 
self the readiest debater in the House.- 

In the State, contrary to general expectation, Tompkins" was re-elected 
governor by a considerable majority over Stephen Van Rensselaer, the 
Federal candidate, and John Tayler became lieutenant-governor. De 
Witt Clinton was reappointed mayor of New York ; and General Arm- 
strong was made Secretary of War by the President. 

On the 25th of March, the city was in proud, joyful commotion over 
the arrival of the Homtt, under Captain James Liiwrence, who had added 
one more naval victory to those already recorded. He had attacked the 
British frigate Peacock oflF the South American coast ou the 22d of Feb- 
maiy.and with such a blaze of fire that in fourteen minutes she not only 
struck her colors, but raised a signal of distress. Her commander was 
slain, a great portion of her crew had fallen, and with six feet of water 
in her hold she was verily in a sinking condition. Only one American 
was killed in the action and two wounded. So severely riddled was the 
Peacock that it was impossible to keep her afloat until all the prisoners 
were removed, although the most strenuous exertions were made. The 
vessel filled with water rapidly, and nine of her crew and three from the 
HomU in the act of saving them, went down with her and perished. 

Captain Lawrence was thirty-two, tall, splendidly developed, with 
much personal beauty and captivating manners — one of the chivalrous, 
fieiy-BOoled heroes who went forth singly to do or die for the honor of 
his country. He was quick and impetuous in his feelings, greatly be- 
loved, and inspired all about him with ardor ; but in all critical situa- 


was slain in the act by one of the Shannon^s guns. The British victory 
was dearly purchased; their loss was twenty-three killed and fifty -six 
wounded. The battle lasted, altogether, not more than fifteen minutes, 
and yet "both ships were charnel-houses." Of the Americans forty-eight 
were killed and ninety-eight wounded. 

Thus terminated one of the most extraordinary combats of the age. 
The capture of a single ship of war probably never produced a greater 
effect upon the contending parties. The joy in England was only equaled 
by the depression in America. Public speeches in and out of Parliament, 
the Tower guns, bonfires, illimiinations, presentations, and compliments 
in showers from every quarter, greeted the conqueror, who was knighted 
by the Prince Eegent. A gorgeous piece of silver plate, forty-four inches 
in diameter, and enriched with emblematical devices, was presented him 
by the inhabitants of Suffolk, his native county. Lawrence died on the 
6th, and his body wrapped in the Hag of the Chesapeake lay upon 

^^ the quarter-deck, as the two ships entered the harbor of Halifax 
on the 7th. A whole nation mourned his loss, and the enemy contended 
with his countrymen as to who should most honor his remains. Funeral 
obsequies were i)erformed at Halifax with every mark of respect for the 
hero. In August, by i)ermission of the British authonties, the remains of 
both Lawrence and Ludlow were brought to New York, and received 
public funeral honors for the third time, and were interred in Trinity 
churchyard. Their resting-place is marked by a mausoleum of brown 
freestone, around which are placed eight trophy cannon, with chains 
attached, forming an appropriate enclosure. 

The manner in which Lawrence carried his ve&sel into action was 
eulogized by enemies as well as friends, and all. agreed that the disaster 
was owing to a concurrence of circumstances not likely to happen 
again. His dying words, " DorCt give up the ship ! " became the b^tle- 
cry of the American navy during the whole war. It was the motto 
upon the banner borne by Perry's fiag-ship into battle three months later, 
and is stiU a proverbial phrase to all who dre struggling in life's vari- 
ous battles. 

The year 1813 was one not soon to be foigotten by the inhabitants of 
New York. The war raged along her extensive borders with varied suc- 
cess. The St Lawrence was a dividing line between smaU bodies of 
hostile troops who were constantly projecting forays, plundering and cap- 
turing private persons, and destroying public property wherever it could 
be found. On the cold night of February 6, Major Forsyth, in command 
<4 Ogdensbnig, crossed the river upon the ice to Brockville with a party of 
wo hmidied, riflemen and volunteers, aided by Colonel Benedict of the 


New York militia, his purpose being to rescue some American prisoners 
ooofined in the jail of that town. He surprised the post, captured the 
commander, five subordinate officers, forty-six men, and a large quantity 
of military stores, besides securing the key of the jail and releasing the 
prisoners. He returned to Ogdensburg before daylight, without the loss 
of a man. In retaliation, a large British force came over on the ice from 
Prescott, attacking Ogdensburg on the morning of the 22d, and after a 
sharp contest drove the troops off and sacked the town, entering every 
house but three, and destroyed a large amount of private property. They 
retired with their booty to Canada on the same day. 

Tlie invasion of Canada was the principal feature in the programme of 
the campaign of 1813. Dearborn joined Commodore Chauncey at Sack- 
ett's Harbor, and by the middle of April a joint land and naval expedition 
was matured against York, now Toronto, the capital of Upper Canada. 
The squadron under Chauncey conveyed the troops across Lake Ontario, 
and on the 27th of April, after a sharp engagemeut the post was captured, 
and the stars and stripes floated triumphantly over the foit. But the 
town had no natural defenses, and being of little value to the Americans, 
was abandoned. 

Just one month later. May 27th, an expedition against Fort George, on 
the western shore of the Niagara Kivcr, resulted in the capture of that 
British stronghold. In this masterly achievement, Oliver Hazard Perry, 
Winfield Scott, and Alexander Macomb bore a prominent part The specific 
duty of landing the troops was intrusted to Peny. Scott led the advance 
up a precipitous bank in the face of a formidable force of eight hundred 
men, well posted on its summit. The conduct of Perry was remarkable. 
Unmindful of personal danger he w:ent from vessel to vessel in an open 
boat, giving directions concerning the landing, and, finally, leaped with 
Soott into the water and swam ashore through the surf. Scott, in his 
first attempt to ascend the bank, was hurled backward to the beach, but 
imllying instantly, he pushed forward with such destructive energy that 
in twenty minutes he had accomplished the undertaking, and the enemy 
were flying in confusion towards Queenstowu. At noon Fort George and 
il8 dependencies, with the village of Newark, were in the quiet possession 
of the Americans; the attack and conquest having occupied only three 

The same evening a British squadron, which had been confined all 
winter in ibe harbor of Kingston through the audacious operations of 
Chtiinoejr upon Lake Ontario, spread its sails, and at midday on the 28th 
tppeivad off Sackett's Harbor. It was commanded by Sir James Lucas 
TaOf in penon, who was accompanied by Sir George Prevost, the governor- 


general of Canada. These two British officers thought to capture Sackett's 
Harbor, with all its valuable public property, during the absence of the ex- 
pedition to Fort George. The assault was made on the 29th, but through 
the skill, courage, and nerve of General Jacob Brown,^ assisted by the 
gallant Colonel Backus of New York, who fell in the engagement, and 
Lieutenant-colonel Aspinwall, Lieutenant Ketchum, Lieutenant Talman, 
Lieutenant Wolcott Chauncey, and others of equal spirit, the British 
and Indians were driven in disorder to their vessels. No event of the 
war was of more importance to the Bepublic. The loss of the post would 
have inflicted a temble injury upon the American cause ; and its intrepid 
defense under the most appalling difficulties and against a greatly supe- 
rior force won universal praise and gratitude. No further attempts were 
made by the enemy to capture Sackett's Harbor, and it remained, as it 
had been from the beginning, the most important place of deposit for the 
army and navy stores of the Americans on the New York frontier. 

Dearborn remained at Fort Greorge ; the discomfited enemy, gathering 
strength in the vicinity, abandoned Fort Erie, which the Americans 
immediately occupied; and, finally, a rumor came that Proctor was 
marching from the Detroit frontier to assist in recovering Fort George. 
Detachments' were immediately sent to dislodge the British conmiander 
at Burlington Heights, but they were ensnared at Stony Creek on the 
6th of June in a confused and disastrous night-battle, and Generals 
Chandler and Winder were both captured. In the mean time the British 
squadron hovered along the lake coast and interfered greatly with the 
supplies for the American camp ; on the 12th of June it captured two 
American vessels laden with valuable hospital stores ; on the 15th it made 
a descent upon the village of Charlotte, on the Genesee Eiver, and car- 
ried off a large quantity of stores ; and on the 18th, landed a party of one 
hundred fully armed men at Sodus Point for the purpose of destroying 
American stores known to be deposited there, and, when arrested and 
driven back, burned the public store-houses, five dwellings, and one hotel 
— destroying property to the amount of twenty-five thousand dollars. 

1 The public career of General Jacob Brown forms an important part of the history of 
the times. In 1798, at the age of twenty-three, he was a school-teacher in the city of New 
York, and commenced the study of law, but it was distasteful to him, and he purchased a 
large estate on the Black River and founded the settlement of BrownsviUe. He was com- 
missioned a brigadier-general of militia by Tompkins in the beginning of the war, and having 
finished the term of service for which he was called, retired to his home at BrownsvUle, bat a 
few miles distant from Sackett's Harbor. He had been requested by Dearborn, and oiged by 
Macomb, to assume chief command in that region, and had signified his willingness to do so 
in case of an actual invasion. Colonel Electus Backus of New York, who was left in com- 
mand of the post, sent an express to General Brown, as soon as the enemy were discovered off 
the harbor. May 28, 1813. 


On the 23d Dearborn detached a party of six hundred under Colonel 
Bcerstler to disperse a body of the enemy at Beaver Dams, seventeen 
miles from Foi*t George, and was assailed on the route in the woods by a 
force of British and Indians who compelled his surrender. In addition 
to all this, several tragedies occurred in the immediate neighborhood of 
the fort The continual tidings of misfortune irritated Congress, and 
Dearborn was superseded by Wilkinson in the early part of July. 

Meanwhile Hamson — charged with the defense of the isolated posts in 
Ohio, the recovery of Detroit, and the invasion of Canada from that point — 
had fortified Fort Meigs opposite the present city of Maumee, immediate- 
ly after the massacre at Frenchtown. The ice had no sooner passed from 
the rivers than Pi"octor and Tecumseh, with a large force of British and 
Indians, encamped on the left bank of the Maumee about two miles 
below, near old Fort Miami, and on the 28th of April commenced a vig- 
orous bombardment of Fort Mpigs. The siege was maintained until the 
9th of May, during which period some of the most tragic scenes in hu- 
man history were enacted. But brighter days were dawning. On the 4th 
Proctor sent an officer to demand the surrender of the post. " Tell General 
Proctor," i-esponded Harrison promptly, " that if he shall take the fort it 
will be under circumstances that will do him more honor than a thousand 
surrenders." All efforts proving unsuccessful, the enemy finally retired 
in disgust. Tecuuiseh's emissaries at once hurried westward, for savage 
recruits, even to the Mississippi, making desolated Chicago the grand ren-. 
dezvous, and three thousand warriors speedily tramped through the 
woods of Michigan and joined the British at Detroit. In the latter part 
of July they made a second attempt to capture " Fort Meigs," which 
ended as before in disappointment and exasperation. They* proceeded 
thence to assault Fort Stephenson, at Sandusky, which was so gallantly 
defended by only one hundred and sixty men under George Croghan of 
Kentucky, a young major of twenty-one, that they were obliged to aban- 
don the undertaking. 

AU eyes were now turned towards the movements on Lake Erie. 
OUver Hazard Perry, twenty-seven years of age, was about to perform 
the most important naval service of the campaign and of the war. 
When the year commenced, he was in command of a flotilla of gunboats 
at Nevrport, but desired a wider field of action. In February, Chauncey 
wrote to him, " You are the very person I want for a particular service." 
Within twenty-four hours young Perry was seated in a sleigh on his 
way to New York, accompanied by Alexander, his little brother oi 
thirteen. He proceeded at once to Erie to hasten the preparation of a 
squadron. Noah Brown, a slii])wright from New York had already done 


mucb of the prcliiiiiQary work. Captain Heniy Brevoort of New York, 
who, while with Hull's aruiy at Detroit, was appoiiitetl commander of such 
government vessels us nii^lit bo placed upon the lakes at that j>eriod, 
was detailei.1 with two hundred seamen to accinipaiiy Pcny from Fort 
fteor^e to Erie, after ihi; alumdonment of the entire line of the Xia<rani 
Itiver by the British, in July. Tbi.t party succeeded in taking five war- 
vessels from that stream to the harbor of Erie after six days of almost 
iuci'edil>1t' hibor. liivvoort performed another service of great moment ; 
lie commnatcate<) the exact size 
and character of each British vessid 
in the harlw at Maiden. This lie 
was enabled to do througli ttie aid 
of his family, who had n-sided in 
Detroit ever since its surrender. 
I I'orry's fleet consisted of ten ves-wls, 
anil each one was asxigned to a 
.■*peoinI antagonist, which it was to 
enfjiige in close action. A large 
I stgnare Imttle-tlag of bhie with words 
in white, "Don't -;ive up the ship," 
had been privately pn'jiared under 
his direction at Krie ; when hoisti-d 
to the nmiu-royid mast-head of the 
flagship Lnirrcnct, it was to be the 
signal for going into battle, 
oi'nnr Hinf4 Pwfj. Teriy sailed in quest of the ene- 

my on the Ist of Septenitier. but the British commander was not quite 
ready to respond to tlie challenge. On the morning of the 10th a sail 
was descried in the direction of Maiden, and the whole British 
^^ ^^ squadron was presently in full view. The battle was commenced by 
the Americans, the gallant Stephen CImmplin in command of the Scorpion 
firing the first shot. He was first cousin to Commodore Perry, and but 
twenty-four years of age. It was a terrible contest, and a complete victory. 
In the midst of the carnage Perry left his disabled flag-ship, and in a lit- 
tle open row-boat with four seamen passed to the unharmed Niagara. The 
perilous voyage occupied fifteen minutes, during which Ferry stood erect, 
''iD, gncefol, a man of remarkable symmetry of figure, with the pennant 
buuMT half folded about him, unmindful of danger, while the enemy 
the bold movement hurled a steady shower of cannon-ball, gnpe, 
, Hid mnsket-sfaot towards his froil bark. It was only when the 
e kbor if he remained standing, that he seated 


himsell He was no sooner upon the Niagara than, with his pennant 
and banner flying, he bore down and broke the enemy's line, and made 
such havoc with his guns, that the entire squadron surrendered — not 
one vessel being left to bear the tidings of defeat. 

It was a proud moment for Perry and his companions ; it was a proud 
moment for America. Never before in history had a whole British fleet or 
squadron been captured ! The conqueror, even before the blue vapor of 
battle was borne away by the breeze, wrote in pencil on the back of an 
old letter the remarkable despatch to General Harrison which has been 
so often quoted, " We have met the enemy and they are ours : two ships, 
two brigs, one schooner, and one sloop." 

At that very hour two armies, one on the north and one on the south 
side of the warring ships, were waiting for the result most anxiously. 
Should the day be gained by the British, Proctor and Tecumseh were 
ready to rush into Ohio and lay waste the whole frontier. Should the 
day be gained by the Americans, Harrison was prepared to press forward 
for the recovery of Detroit, and the invasion of Canada. 

This success upon Lake Erie destroyed the Indian confederacy. The 
British could no longer hope to hold Detroit and Maiden, and therefore 
evacuated both places. Perry converted some of the captured vessels into 
tiansports and conveyed Harrison's troops to the Canada shore. Maiden 
was garrisoned, Detroit was reoccupied, and Lewis Cass appointed gov- 
ernor of the recovered Territory of Michigan. Harrison soon started in 
parsoit of Proctor and Tecumseh, and, after traversing eighty miles, found 
their main army upon the Thames and fought the famous battle 
in which the great Tecumseh was killed. It was a complete and 
decisive victory for the Americans ; the coast was cleared of the British, 
and the various tribes of Indians sued for peace. On the same day that 
Proctor was defeated at the Thames, Chauncey captured six British 
•chooners on Lake Ontario. These repeated losses induced Sir George 
Pkevoot to withdraw his troops from the investment of Fort Geoige. 
Harrison on the 20th embarked with his regulars for Buffalo to 
aid in carrying the war into the neighborhood of the St. Lawrence Biver. 

As these events were following each other in rapid succession, the glad 
lidiiigB of Perry's victory were being conveyed from town to town through 
the eoon^jr by messengers on horseback, or on foot, as the case might be. 
"Oh, for a canal — the vehicle for the quick and safe transmission or 
mqioitaiit intelligence!" exclaimed one of the New York enthusiasts upon 
tfiat sabject From Albany to New York the news came by steamboat. 
A xioi of exultation took possession of the land ; the popular joy ex- 
itself in shouts and bonfires, in artillery, bells, and orations. 


New York was gorgeously illuminated, every building in Broadway, and 
in all the other principal streets, being lighted from foundation to 
roof. The City Hall was like a sea of fire. A fine band discoursed 
music in the gallery of the portico, and transparencies were displayed 
showing naval battles ; also, the words of Lawrence, " Don't give up the 
ship," and those of Perry's despatch to Harrison, " We have met the enemy 
and they are ours." Similar transparencies were exhibited at the thea- 
ter, and were carried by processions through the streets during the evening. 
The whole community ])articipated in the demonstrations of delight 

But the storm was not yet spent for New York. The war-cloud set- 
tled darker and more portentous than ever over her northern frontier. 
Lake Champlain was erelong to become the scene of another terrible 
struggle for supremacy between the two nations. And in the interim a 
series of attempts and failures, of partial triumphs and disasters, of con- 
solations and disappointments, were to keep New York in one continual 
ferment of agitation from center to circumference; while a fearful array of 
retaliatory barbarities were perpetrated upon defenseless and unoflendiug 
citizens dwelling near the borders of the State to the north and west 

Another ix)rtion of New York was sorely distressed by the blockade. 
The eastern end of Long Island, with its well-stocked, and rich, highly- 
cultivated farms was unprotected. The people were terror-stricken when 
Commodore Sir Thomas Hardy anchored his flag-ship Eamillies in Gar- 
diner's Bay early in April. The frigate Orpheus, Captain Sir Hugh Pigott, 
with several ships of the line, and a number of smaller vessels, made this 
little retreat headquarters. As Admiral Cockbum was just then engaged 
in the pastime of plundering and desolating the coasts south of the Dela- 
ware, it was supposed Long Island would share the same fate. But 
Hardy was a gentleman, not a marauder. His troops, however, must be 
fed, and he immediately took measures to obtain fresh provisions. 

Gardiner's Island, the oldest feudal estate in New York, had outgrown 
all traces of Revolutionary wastes, and was once more a garden of beauty. 
Its fields of oats, wheat, and other grains, prospered under the well- 
directed care of eighty or more dependents; some two thousand loads of 
hay were yearly stored in its bams ; three hundred head of cattle grazed 
its green pastures ; its dairy produced immense quantities of butter and 
an average of one hundred and twenty pounds of cheese per day ; two 
thousand sheep yielded annually some sixteen thousand pounds of wool ; 
one hnndied or more hogs were raised ; and the lord of the isle rarely 
vtaUed less than sixty or seventy horses, the finest in the country. Deer 

tmed at will, and wild turkeys coming to the yards were daily fed with 

a tune fowls. 



John Lyon Gaidiner, the seventh manorial lord in the direct descent, 
reigned over the island. His wife was the granddaughter of Governor 
Matthew and Ursula Wolcott Griswold, and the niece of Governor Boger 
Griswold who had so recently died. Despite the democratic sentiment of 
America, the proprietor of this old maDor-property retained his title of 
lord among his associates and neighbors. He was addressed as Lord 
Gardiner to the end of his life. He was educated at Princeton, Kew 
Jersey, and in 1803, a refined, scholarly bachelor of thirty-four, was 
residing in princely solitude on his water-bound estate. The even tenor 
of his life was suddenly changed by a freak of the elements. A sailing 
party from Old Lyme, Connecticut, was becalmed one afternoon on the 
Sound within sight of Gardiner's Island, As night approached, a breeze 

■pmng ap and so did a stonn. They steered tlieir little bark towards the 
nearest landing, and hurried to the niiiuor-liouse for shelter. They were 
received by an old housekeeper ; but presently the haudsomc young lord 
made his appearance and, learning who his visitors were, extended cordial 
hospitalitiea An elaborate supper wiis served, and music and dancing 
foUowed. The next morning the deliglitt-d refugees bade their charming 
bort adieu. But the island sovereijni s<3on after entered his barge, and 
with nnmerous attendants and much stately ccreniDiiy proceeded to Black 
Hall, the seat of the Griswolds in Old Lyme, and ere many months elapsed 
bore the beautiful Sarah, a bride, to the manor-tshind whitlier she had 
been drifted in such a romantic nmuner by the breeze of destiny. 


Commodore Hardy prefaced his requisitions for produce from the 
island with courteous words and promises of payment. And he endeav- 
ored to restrain his seamen from showing disrespect to the proprietor and 
his family. But they were perpetually coming ashore and taking what- 
ever they pleased ; oxen were often shot at the plough and carried to 
the vessels. The steward, or overseer of the island, Lewis Edwards, 
claimed and received the market price for what was taken with his 
knowledge. His hatred of the British was very great and he tried to 
outwit them, not infrequently by sorting out the poorest cattle and sheep 
and placing them where detachments coming ashore would see them first 
Gkirdiner, discovering that the little garrison at Sag Harbor was about to 
be attacked, sent a trusty colored servant thither with a note of informa- 
tion, directing him to keep a stone tied to the missive while crossing the 
bay, and if overhauled by the British picket-boats to drop it into the 
water. The negro accomplished his mission in safety, and when over a 
hundred assaulters, in one launch and two barges from the squadron, 
approached that village at midnight they were met by the militia and 
driven to their vessels in disorder. 

Charles Paget, a senior officer of the squadron, suspecting that all was 
not friendly, wrote to Gardiner, warning him that " the peaceable situa- 
tion of the island was wholly through sufferance," and that the most 
trivial instance of hostility practised upon any boat or individual belong- 
ing to the British squadron would be visited with serious consequences 
upon himself, his people, and his property. This did not deter the resolute 
proprietor, however, from promptly refusing to accede to certain unreason- 
able demands made by Sir Hugh Pigott, when early one June morning that 
officer appeared with a number of subordinates before the manor-house. 
Threats of firing into the dwelling only resulted in Gardiner's sending his 
family and servants into the cellar, while he remained facing the intruders, 
firm as adamant. Pigott finally went away in a rage without doing any 
harm. When the party had nearly reached the shore one of the officers 
stepped back and intimated to Gardiner that Pigott would be reported to 
the Commodora The next day Sir Thomas Hardy wrote a polite letter of 
apology and regret for the occurrence to the lord of the manor.^ 

1 The purchase and settlement of the manor of Gardiner's Island in 1639, was one of the 
most romantic incidents in the history of New York, or of America. Lion Gardiner landed 
at Boston in the autumn of 1635, accompanied by his wife and one maid-servant, haying 
crossed the ocean in a Norsey bark of twenty-five tons burden. Mass. Hist, Coll. Vol. 111. 
Third Serie8,pp. 131 - 161 ; Vol. III., Third Series, p. 271 ; Vol. X. Thiwl Series, pp. 178- 
185. He was expected and hospitably welcomed by the little Boston community, composed 
chiefly of governors — Dudley, Sir Henry Vane, Endicott, Bellingham, Ludlow, and the two 
Winthrops being already there. He was destined for Saybrook, but Boston had no fort^ apd 


On the 1st of June Commodore Decatur, anxious to leave New York, 
resolved to' run the blockade. The Pmtiera and a number of other 
vessels were carefully guarding the passage beyond the Narrows, hence he 
passed through the Sound, accompanied by the Afacedtmian (which had 
been repaired at the New York navy-yard and placed under the com- 
mand of the gallant Captain Jones) and the Hornet under Captain Biddle 
— hoping to slip out upon the ocean between Montauk Point and Block 
Island. They were discovered, however, by three or four of the large 
British vessels, and all chased into New London harbor and blockaded 
there for the next twenty montha 

A boat's crew of Decatur's men managed soon after to elude the vigi- 
lance of the enemy and landed on Gardiner's Island. They concealed 
themselves in the woods until a party from one of the British ships, 
among whom were several officers, came ashore and strolled up to the 
manor-house, then coming suddenly into view made them all prisoners. 
The astonished captives were violently enraged, but helpless, and were 
quickly and quietly conveyed across the water into Connecticut, Barges 
were at once ordered by the enemy to patrol the waters about Gardiner's 
Island, and troops were sent for the arrest of the proprietor, who was sup- 
posed instrumental in betraying the British into the trap, but who was 

M ke wu tlw fint ptoTeuional enKJneer who had IinJod in New England he renuDed long 
■«imli to detign and build one (which continued in use until after the Rerolution) before 
rneeeding to Saybnrak vhere he commanded in person throufthout the Pequat Wm. His 
■eal ai attached to a letter written from Saybrook to Governor Winthrop, 

1>«niiiber 8, 1«M, are given above. Jfaw. Hut. CM. Vol. VII. Fourth Series, pp. 62-64 ; 
(■*• Eac-dmilca of lignatnrea and seals in Appendix). Recotniiig di.«.<ialislied with the mau- 
•paratof aflaira on both sides of the Atlantic, he coveted an empire of his own and pur- 
cWed tlM ialand which beara his nsme, nine milea long by one and a half wide, eontauiing 
tkvty^hna fanndred aena, four miles from the eastem extremity of Ix>ng Island and full 
Aitty nOM from the nearest European settlement at the time. {See Vol. l.pp.flS, 238, 262, 
*4 in I Td. II. ppi 40, igg, 243.) He built a bouse to which be took bis wife and two 
<U6(^ tb* TDongeat, Uary, subsequently becoming the wife of Jeremiah Oonckling, an- 
(MerefthaaotBbls New York family of Concklinga. The island was eonstituted "an en- 
'i'lly trpande and independent plantation," in no wise depending ii^ton either New England 
* Sew ToA, and waa in reality an iaolsted miniature principality. Forty-four yeara afleT' 
*tll it «M crectod into a lordihip and manor, wJlh all (he privileges accorded to such in- 
*J Wi o M in Ellwand. The influence of the roimrler of thiH domain over the Indiana was 
1 it ji an interesting fact worthy of preservation, that no conspiracj, even of 
)■ tribe, waa ever formed by the Long Island Indiana against intruding civiUzatioD. 


really as much surprised as themselves, and entirely ignorant of the pres- 
ence of the Americans until the skirmish occurred in his own door-yard. 

Gardiner escaped captivity through the presence of mind and ingenuity 
of his wife,' He went to bed in the " green room," feigning sickness, 
and being a delicate man the reflection of the green curtains of the bed- 
stead and windows gave him a sickly look. A little roaod table was 
placed by his bedside with medicines, glasses, and spoons. When the 
oflicers appeared and insisted upon seeing their victim, Mrs, Gardiner 
came forward, teaifully and whisperingly asking them to make as little 
noise as possible, and admitted them to her husband's room. They were 

I John Lyon OuiUDer, eldest ton of David, the dxth lord of the manor, (bom November, 
1770, died November 22, 1816) received GHj'diiiei'B Island by entail, and married March i, 
1803, Sarah, daughter of John OriswoM, of Old Lyme, Connecticut, gnaiddaughteT of Gov- 
ernor Matthew Griswold and Urania Wolcott. Mrs. Gardiner waa the titter of John and 
Charles C. Griswold, New York merchaiita who owned the London line of packets, important 
rivals of their merchant cousins,* Georg:e and Nathaniel Lynde Griswold. (See pp. 612, 613.) 
In this connection it is interestiiig to note the hereditary influence of old Italian geniu* and 
teniperameut. The mother of J^dy Gardiner was Sarah Diodati, danghter of Bev. Stephen 
and Elizabeth Diodati Johnson, the descendant through a long line of nobility from CoraeUo 
Diodati. who settled in Lacca in 1300. lu possession of Ae Diodati family in Geneva is a 
BU|)erb folio bound in crimson velvet, of fourteen lagca in 

vellum, with the imperiut ^^ ^L. '^ of Josephll. (I76G 1790) 

hanging from it in a gilt boi, i"^^R^^|]J/ which recites the di^itiea 

of the Diodati family in mag- ^^Xfc i JBtwjj Jjtj^ nificent terms, Hnd conlirmK to 
it the titleof CountoftheEm- "^^j^^MtOm''^^^^. P''^- '^"^ ''^ *'"* ■''8^ '^ '^- 
cupied with a fine illnmination ^^^Bm^^jm^^^^ "^ *^^ rumily-arma, the xliirld 
bei[tg {iliu'ed im the itni>erial ^^^^|MrEul|E^^ eagle. A copy of this folio is 
in possession of the New York j^BBl iJ^^.iJW ^ descendants of the Diodatis. 

In IS-Jl, Empi-ror Charles V. ^ -saJlf^H^^f^,^ /^gavchisown name to one of 
tlio DiiHtntis, together witli "\A ^^Jj^Hfei^^Vv'/ '''" lordship of two connties, 
nn insignia of iliamomls, and a \v^^i^^^»»W^i/ quartering from the imperial 
arms. Roynt gniniH fmni other ^^^""^^^g^g^"''^^ Enropean aovereignu author- 
ized Ihe use of the inijx'rinl n-,Ki«t- A double eagle by any branch of 
till- family. One of Ih.- Dio- ' ' dntis was PriefectUB Militum, 
nrGen.-m!, to Charles III. of Spain — who rtigned from 1759 lo 1788. Another waa the Rev. 
John Dioilati of Geneva, Ihini in 1S76, who produced bi-fore be had completed his twiiity- 
wveinh y™r an Itnlian vi'ision of the liible, and whose fame and influence as a theologian and 
iiutlnir cxti-ndiil all ov.t Euio|ie ; it was bin father who built the Diodati villa a little way up 
bike I.iniaii from <Jcneva, occupied by Unl Byron, and which is still in the family. — 
Fnmilti .tn-liifn. Pmfciaor Eiltcnril E. Siili.iliiirii'a IHirourx— to which is appended a 
{■eniulijuii'al I'liart with all the ramific:itiona of the Diodati family. 

The 1 hildiTu of John and Rnrah Dioilati Griswold were : 1- Diodati J. a youag dlTine of 
irriiit iiromisi- who die<l al the age of twenty-eight ; 2. Ursula W. who married Richard 
M.f'iinlv, and "Ms the mother of Jud),'e Charles Johnson McCurdy, lieutenaQt-goveraor of 
I'oiiuiTtieiil, minister to Austria, etc., etc., uud of Robert H. McCurdy the distinguished 
iiieii'huiit of N'ew York ; 3. Elizabeth, marrieil Jmiili IV Giirley ; i. Sanh, married John 
Lvori Gnnlim-r ; 5. John, riinnicil first, Eliiabi-lh M. Huntington, second, Louisa Wilson of 
Newark, New Jersey; 6. Mary Ann, niinried l-.'Vi H. Clsrf; ; 7. Charles C. married bis 


completely deceived, and not wishing to be encumbered with a sick maa 
on board ship, turned away, but demanded his oldest sou, David, as hostage, 
a litUe boy often years — who was fortunately away at school. 

It was soon after made clear to the' mind of Commodore Hardy that 
Gardiner was in no way responsible for what had occurred. On the Slst 
of July he wrote to him, "As it is probable that the goverumeut of the 
United States may call you to account for permitting refreshments to be 
taken by the British squadron from your place, I think it necessary for your 
satisfaction, and to prevent your experiencing the censure of your govem- 

GMuio, Elitabeth Orinrolil. Of the two daughters of Charlea C. tnil Elizabeth Gruwold 
Giinrold, EUnbeth Diodati married Judge William B. Luie, eon of Chief Justice Lane of 
Ohio ; and Satah J., married Lorillaid Sjieocer of New York, whose daughter, Eleonorn, mar- 
ried Virginio Cenci, Prince of Vicovaro, the grand chamberlain to the king of Italy. 

JohnLTonaod Sarah Griewold Oardiner't children were : 1. David JohnsoD, died aninar- 
md in 1829 ; 3. Sarah Diodati, nmrried David Thompson of New York Cit; '; 3. Maty 
Brainard, died unmarried in 1S33 : i. John Oriawold, died unmarried ; G. Samuel Buell, 
RMrried lAurj Gardiner Thompson, and their children were : 1. Marj, married William B. 
Saoda ; 2. Darid J. ; 3. John Lyon, married Coralie Livingston Jones ; 4. Sarah G. married 
her couatD John Alexander Tjler. The children of David and Sarah Diodati Gardiner 
Tbonijiaun, 1. Sarah G. married her cousin David Lion Oaidiner ; 2. Elizabeth ; 3. Gardi- 
■er; 4. David O. ; 6. Charles G. ; 6. Mary G. ; 7. Frederick Diodati. 

'Hie Thompaoni, who have in several generations intennarried with the Gardinere, 
leacended from Bev. William Thompson of Lancashirr, Englanii. Johu Thompson (bom 
1S)7, died IMfl), one of the liny-five original proprietor? of the town of Brookhaven, was 
padnated from Oxfoni in 161S, and removed to Long [slnnd in 1S34. He married Hannah 
Bcewsto', sister of Rev. Nathaniel Brewster of Setuuket - their youngest son, Samuel, married 
Hannah, daughter ol Rev Nathaniel Brewster (wliose H-ife was the daughter of the " Wor- 
ihippliil Koger Ludlow," deputy governor of Massachusetts), and settled upon the valiuble 
ertate of hia &ther. One of his dsughters married Thomas Strong, and was the mother of the 
Bolsble Judge Selah Strong ; the eldest son, Jonathan Thompson, married Mary Woodhull (first 
risiBii of QeDoral WoodhuU of A^^ ^' Revolution), and served aa 

jnatiee of the peace forty or 'tFiV "">" J'*'^ i •"* ""^ '*'* father of 

Jadge Isaac Thoropaon, bom in lOKlKk 1743, who married in 1772, llary, 

im^Ua of Colonel Abraham ^>i|^ JMWMlijaS Gardiner of Easthsmpton. The 
two mwi at the latter, Jonatbaa *hR!B'''''"''-'''-'^3C ""' '^'^ra'"""' became prominent 
■arehanta and eitiiens of New sLSEsSr--''''^''''^^^S ^°''^- Jonathan married Eliza- 
bstk Havens of Shelter Island,SB|^flBHW^^^^and with XathanielRanlinercon- 
daeted a heavy West India Im- ^^^SHIS^^^^^w^ T>orting business ; he was sp- 
fsntad Collector at New York *^j--^'''^^^0^^ ^y Madison in 1813. reappointed 
tj Meonxi, and again by John ^Bt-'.jaifeiiil^^ Quinty Adams. He had six chil- 
dien, of whom, Mary Gardiner /^ ^*'^j3^-iS """^"^ Hon. Samuel Buell Gar- 
dintr, aa mentioned above, the ^--^^^feT^i^^SS-^ present proprietor of Gardiner's 
IsUad : and David, cashier of ^^BC the Custom House, and of the 

Wloo Bank and Bank of Amer- Thoetpsen Anrn. i^^^ hitUinR also other important 

ttnsta, married Sarah Diodati Gardiner, the slater of Hon. Samuel Buell Gardiner of liunli- 

Of the nmnetons descendants of Colonel Abraham Gardiner of Ensthampton, one grand- 

dsnghlar, Hsfy, became tljs wife of Philip G. Van Wy^k (.si-e p. 409, Vol. II.) and a grt-at- 

w, Julia Gardiner, married John Tykr, President of the United States. 


ment, for me to assure you, that had you not complied with my wishes 
as you have done, I should certainly have made use of force, and the 
consequences would have been the destruction of your property, yourself 
a prisoner-of-war, and whatever was in the possession of your dependents 
taken without payment. But it is not my wish to distress individuals 
on the coast of the United States who may be in the power of the British 

Experiments with torpedoes in the New York waters induced the ut- 
most caution on the part of the British. Several attempts were made to 
blow up the Bamillics ; and Hardy was rendered so uncomfortable that he 
not only kept his ship in motion, but caused her bottom to be swept with 
cable every two hours night and day. Boats of every description were 
sharply watched. Those of Gardiner were always manned by negroes, 
that the British guards might know instantly to whom they belonged 
and allow them to pass and repass without question. 

At this time the Essex was in far distant seas, making one of the most 
remarkable cruises on record. Commodore Porter's first prize was a 
British packet with fifty-five thousand dollars on board. Beach- 
ing the Pacific, he captured every British whale-ship known to be 
off the coasts of Peru and Chili, depriving the enemy of property to the 
amount of some two and a half millions, and found himself, eight months 
after, sailing from the Delaware, in command of a squadron of nine armed 
vessels ready for formidable action. The President, Commodore Rodgers, 
was cruising through the summer in the Northern Atlantic ; he made 
the complete circuit of Ireland, kept more than twenty British vessels 
in search of him for weeks, and reached Newport late in the autumn, 
having captured eleven merchantmen and the British armed schooner 
Bighfiyer. His prisoners had been nearly all paroled and sent home in 
captured vessels. He sailed again, December 5, in the direction of the 
Barbadoes, captured four British merchantmen, and suddenly dashed 
through the vigilant squadron of blockaders ofT Sandy Hook, entering 
New York harbor triumphantly on the evening of Febniary 18, 1814. 
A little more than a month later (March 28), the Essex was captured 
after a severe fight in the neutral waters of Valparaiso, by the two British 
vessels, PhcAe and Cherub, 

The brig Enterprise, Captain Burrows, captured the British gun-brig 

Baaur off the coast of Maine, on the 5th of September, after a spirited 

Dombftt in which both commanders were mortally wounded. But in 

meotion with the cheering news came that of the loss of the Asp 

Uie Chesapeake, and of the Argus in St Qeorge's Channel; hence 

^m inevaOed rather than light The Argus, commander Allen, 


had managed to slip out of New York in June, with the Hon. William H. 
Crawford on board (Minister to France in place of Joel Barlow, deceased), 
and after landing him safely on French soil about tlie middle of July, 
spread consternation through commercial England by a series of audacious 
exploits in the British and Irish channels ; destroying, within thirty days, 
twenty-one British merchant-ships valued at two million dollars. So 
many were burned off the Irish coast that the inhabitants said the water 
was on fire. But on the 13th of August the British sloop Pelican at- 
tacked and captured the Argiis, and Allen was killed. 

The new year dawned cheerlessly for New York in the midst of a 
blinding storm of snow and sleet. Rumors had reached the city of great 
disasters to Napoleon at Leipsic on the 18th of October. His 
downfall was unquestionably near at hand, an event that would 
give Great Britain opportunity to send immense forces against the United 
Statea Russia's proffered mediation, which had induced the sending of 
Albert Gallatin and James A. Bayard to St. Petersburg to act with John 
Quincy Adams in treating for peace, was refused by Great Britain ; she 
seemed less inclined than ever to recede from her assumptions concern- 
ing the right of search and impressment. 

To add to the general gloom, a courier, thirty-one days on the road 
from the region of the Indian war in Georgia and Alabama, instigated the 
year before by Tecumseh, reported British fleets in the Gulf of Mexico, 
New Orleans menaced, and Mobile and St. Augustine in imminent danger. 
General Andrew Jackson had responded to the fearful cry for help in the 
South, when the Creek savages, like demons, fell at noon, August 20, 1813, 
upon Fort Mims, a frontier post in Alabama, massacring three hundred 
and thirty men, women, and children, in a manner so horrible that history 
recoils from the recital. Jackson had, in turn, fallen upon the Indian 
villages with destructive fury, and fought many bloody battles. But 
when the year went out he was in want of means and forces, and uncer- 
tain of the future. It was not until the 27th of March, 1814, that the 
last great struggle of the Creeks occun-ed at the bend of the Tallapoosa, 
where six hundred of their warriors were left slain upon the field ; and 
ttie residue of the wasted nation sued for peace. 

New York at the same moment was painfully agitated over the Embargo 
Act of Congress, which, in accordance with the confidential advice of Mad- 
ison, passed into a law on the 17th of December. It was fiercely opposed 
everywhere by the Federalists. It was aimed at the New England people, 
who, it was alleged, sold supplies to the British vessels, and thereby saved 
their coast from devastation. The provisions of this act were excessively 
fliriogent ; nothing whatever, in the way of goods, live-stock, or specie. 


could be carried from ooe point to another upon water-craft of any de- 
scription. Thus the sea-board towns were suddenly deprived, in the 
heart of winter, of fuel and other necessaries, which they had been in the 
habit of obtaining from the coasters. 

And while men long out of employment were driven to madness by 
this oppressive enactment. New England threatened to negotiate peace 
with Great Britain for herself alone, and let the country beyond the 
Hudson fight until satisfied In short, open defiance was hurled at the 
national government, and the cause, origin, conduct, and probable results 
of the war, discussed with rancorous bitterness. Madison seriously ap- 
prehended the secession of the New England States. Their doctors of 
divinity advocated a war for peace, so to speak, from the pulpit. One 
minister said: "If the rich men ]>ersi3t in furnishing money, war will 
continue till the mountains are melted with blood — till every Geld in 
America is white with the bones of the people ;" while another exclaimed: 
" Let no man who wishes to continue the war by active means, by vote 
or lending money, dare to prostrate himself at the altar, for such are ac- 
tually as much partakers in tlie war as the soldier who thrusts his bay- 
onet, and the judgment of God will await them." Finally the clamor for 
the repeal of the Embargo Act became so general that the President on 
the 19th of January issued a recommendation to that effect, which was 
hailed with deliglit through the length and breadth of the country. The 
act of Congress for the repeal of the measure became a law April 
^'^ * 14 i the event was celebrated with bonfires and speeches, and all 
the rhymers rhymed ; in the New York Evening Post ajjpeared a cartoon, 
designed by Jolin Wesley Jarvis, and engraved on wood by Anderson, 
representing the " Death of the Terrapin, or the Embaigo," of which the 
sketch is a copy, accompanied with some humorous lines, begiimingtbus; 

" Reflect, my friend, as you pass by. 
As you nrri now, so once was I ; 
As I am now, no you may be — 
Laid on your buck to die like me 1 " 



1814, 1816. 


Peace Commissioners. — The Battle of Chi ppkw a. — Battle of Lundt*8 Lake. — 
Sortie from Fort Erie. — Honors to the Heroic Commanders. — The City of New 
York in Alarm. — Citizens woukino on the Fortifications. — Cadwallader 
David CoLDEN. — Burning of the City of Washington. — New York City Cur- 
rency. — Financial Affairs. —The September of Blood. — The Temper of New 
York. — Baltimore Assailed. — Invasion of New York through Lake Cham- 
plain. — Great Victory of Macdonouoh and Macomb. — Privateers. — Cap- 
tain Samuel Chester Reid. — Thrilling Defense of the General Armstrong. — 
Jackson's Defense of New Orleans. — The Fortifications of New York City. — 
New England's Opposition to the National Government. — Naval Affairs. — 
Military Parade in New York City. — Darkness and Gloom. — The Treaty of 
Peace. — The Sabbath of Thanksgiving. 

THE pulse of New York beat irregularly as the spring opened. Ap- 
prehension alternated with uncertainty, dread with a sense of in- 
security, hope with despair. Every event of the war affected her 
affairs. Every calamity drew upon her resources. No other city 
stood in the same relation to the North and the South, and none other 
was so much the object of British enterprise and ambition. 

Matters seemed approaching an awful crisis : the outlook from every 
point of view had been altered by the unexpected turn of the wheel of 
fortune in Europe. Napoleon had fallen. He abdicated the 

Ant41 11 

throne of France on the 11th of April, and a prince of the house 
of Bourbon reigned in his stead. Thus, large bodies of veteran troops 
were idle, and Great Britain proceeded without delay to ship them to 
America. The intimations, in early winter, that commissioners from the 
United States, to treat directly with Great Britain for peace, would receive 
respectful attention, resulted in the appointment of the three gentlemen 
already in Russia, and of Henry Clay, and Jonathan Russell, to fonn such 
a commission. Albert Gallatin and James A. Bayard spent two months 
in London endeavoring to pave the way for peace. Ghent, in Holland, 
was finally agreed upon as the place of negotiation. But the British 
government appeared in no hurry to appoint negotiators. 

There was a war-party in England, furious and passionate, which had 


suddenly become formidable. " Let us make Madison resign and follow 
r>onaparte to some transatlantic Elba," it cried, in prophetic arrogance. 
Prominent statesmen of the realm, who had never seen America except 
on the maps, thought it extremely easy to surround and conquer the na- 
tion whose insolence, encouraged by naval successes, was no longer to be 
tolerated. " Distress the coasts all the way from Maine to New Orleans, 
invade New York through Lake Champlain and Lake Ontario, and strike 
New York City by approaches from the sea," was the outline of their pro- 
posed plan of oj)erations. The war, they said, must assume a new charac- 
tt^.r — that of offense. In short, the British war-party, with the London 
Times at its head, demanded the signal punishment of a pusillanimous 
and unnatural nation of Democrats, who had seized the moment of her 
greatest pressure to force a war upon England. 

Congress, meanwhile, labored to increase the army and raise money for 
its support. Wilkinson was relieved of his command, and the brigadiers, 
Jacob Brown and George Izard, commissioned major-generals. The 
latter was the son of Ralph and Alice De Lancey Izard, and the gi'eat- 
grandson of Lieutenant-governor Colden of New York memor)'. He 
possessed the military spirit which characterized his Van Cortlandt, 
Schuyler, and De Lancey ancestors, and, having received a military etlu- 
cation in Europe, much was hoped when he was placed in com- 
^' mand of the main column at Platt-sburg. Alexander Macomb, 
Wintield Scott, Edmund Pendleton Gaines, Colonel Ripley, Daniel 
Bissell, and Thomas A. Smith were made brigadiers. Scott was sent to 
command in the vicinity of the desolated Niagara frontier. The naval 
commander, Thomas Macdonough, was employed at Otter Creek, su))erin- 
tending the construction of war- vessels with which to drive the British 
from Lake Champlain. Chauncey, at Sacketts Harbor, was confident of 
securing the mastery of Lake Ontario ; he had four new ships on the 
stocks, two of which were heavy frigates ; but the transportation of the 
guns and equipments from New York to Oswego, and thence by the lake 
shore to Sackett's Harbor, was a slow and hazardous matter, resulting in 
several sharp conflicts with the enemy. Oswego was attacked unexpect- 
edly on the 6th of May, and the fort captured ; after destroying the mili- 
tary stores, the British returned to Canada. 

The reader, for a just estimate of the situation, must bear constantly in 
mind that there was then no telegraph for the quick transmission of 
startling news, nor railways over which soldiers might be borne in a 
night to the relief of the distressed. The greater portion of the frontier 
was a wilderness, roads were little more tlian openings, toilsome marches 
through swamps and forests were chiefly on foot, and the troops were com- 


pelled to lift horses and cannon out of the mire at any moment. The 
topography and geography of the country were almost as imperfectly known 
at Washington as in London, hence orders were often amusing enigmas to 
tlie officers by whom they were to be executed. General Brown marched 
from Sackett's Harbor to Geneva, and from Geneva to Sackett's Harbor, 
then again from Sackett*s Harbor to Batavia, where he remained four 
weeks, before his ambiguous instructions were rendered sufficiently intel- 
ligible for him to venture to invade Canada — which he was impatient to 
do before the British should invade New York. An order received by 
Commodore Woolsey ran thus : " Take the Lady of the Lake and proceed to 
Onondaga, and take in at Nicholas Mickle's fuiiiace a load of ball and shot, 
and proceed at once to Buffalo." The perplexed officer's interpretation 
was, "Go over Oswego Falls, and up the river to Onondaga Lake, thence 
ten miles into the country by land to the furnace, and returning to Oswe- 
go, ])roceed to the Niagara, and up and over Niagara Falls to Buffalo ! " 

Before the end of June Brown was in Buffalo, which was already rising 
again from its ashes, and, crossing the river in the night, appeared 
in sight of Fort Erie on the morning of the 3d of July. The post ^ 
was so wanting in the means of defense that its British commander sur- 
rendered without firing a gun, and the garrison was marched into the 
interior of New York as prisoners of war. 

The next day the Americans advanced into Canada, Scott taking the 
lead with his brigade. On the 5th, they met the British veterans on the 
plains of Chippewa, and a decisive battle was fought and gallant- 
ly won in the open field. The British were driven off in disorder. ^ ^ 
Brown wrote to the Secretary of War : " I am indebted to Scott more than 
to any other man for this victory ; he is entitled to the highest praise our 
country can bestow. His brigade has covered itself with glory." Scott, 
in' turn, spoke in the wannest terms of the essential services rendered 
by three young New York officers, members of his military family, who 
were conspicuous in the field — Gerard I). Sinitli, George Watts, and 
William Jenkins Worth — and they were eiich brevetted. Scott made 
special mention of Watts, not only in public correspondence, but in pri- 
vate conversation, saying, " he was bravery itself, and by remarkable cool- 
ness and courage saved my life at a moment in the beginning of the bat- 
tle when the Indians were striving to obtain ray scalp." Both Watts 
and Worth greatly distinguished themselves "at critical moments by 
aiding the commandants of corps in forming the troops, under circum- 
stances which precluded the voice from bein^ heard, and their conduct 
was handsomely acknowledged by all the officers of the lina'' George 
Watts wi|S the son of Hon. John WatUs, grandson of Counselor John 


Watts of colonial memory, and doubly descended, through his mother and 
grandmother, from the New York De Lanceys. He was the first cousin 
of Major-general Izard, and also of Stephen Watts Kearny. Worth was 
then only twenty years of age. He was subsequently in the military 
service of the United States for a period covering some thirty-six years, 
including the war with the Florida Indians of 1840-1842, and the great 
Mexican struggle of 1846-1848. The city o£ New York erected a 
granite monument to his memory in the little triangle at the junction of 
Fifth Avenue and Broadway, fronting Madison Square ; and the name of 
Anthony Street was changed to Worth Street in his honor. 

Neither Eipley, nor General Peter B. Porter with his militia, partici- 
pated in the action, but their gallantry in other directions elicited the 
warmest praise from Brown. The victory was important in its results, as 
it gave an impetus to enlistments throughout the country, and won gen- 
uine respect from the enemy. Not over three thousand men were be- 
lieved to have been engaged — seventeen hundred British, and thirteen 
hundred Americans ; the former lost six hundred and four, and the latter 
three hundred and thirty-eight.* 

The British commander fell back to Fort George, with also a fortified 
post upon strong ground some twelve miles up Lake Ontario. Brown 
was confident of being able to cripple British power in Upper Canada if 
he could have the co-operation of the fleet, and sent a messenger to 
Chauncey in hot haste, who returned on the 23d with a letter from 
Gaines, in command of Sackett's Harbor, stating that Chauncey was sick 
with fever, and his fleet blockaded. Scott immediately sought permis- 
sion to lead his brigade in search of the enemy, and was vexed when 
Brown, although anxious to draw on a conflict, declined to divide 

^ his forces. News came the next day that the British were rein- 
forced and about to strike for the American supplies at Lewiston. Scott was 
ordered with some thirteen hundred men to hasten down the road towards 
the Falls and create a diversion. Late in the afternoon while passing a 
narrow strij) of woods, he was suddenly confronted by the main body of 
the enemy, whom he supposed to be in quite another locality. Scott saw 
the situation at a glance ; to advance was impossible, to retreat was ex- 
tra mely hazardous. He instantly decide to attack, and impress the 
enemy with the conviction that the whole American army was at hand. 
Then followed that sanguinary battle of Lundy's Lane, which has few 
parallels in history in its wealth of gallant deeds.^ It was fought be- 

^ Mies Register, VI. 389 ; lAtssirig, 810 ; Holmes Annals^ II. 464. 

2 This battle, fought near the great Falls of Niagara, is sometimes called the battle of 
Niagara ; the sharpest of the struggle occurred in Lundy's I^ne, hence the name which hts 
attained the widest celebrity. It is also called the battle of Bridgewater. 


tween sunset and midnight, in the darkness — its smoke mingUng with 
the spray of the cataract, and its musketry and artillery blending with the 
ceaseless roar of the mighty Niagara. Scott sent a messenger to Brown, 
that he was about to engage the whole British army, and reinforcements 
came swiftly. It was perceived that the key of the enemy's position was 
a battery upon an eminence, and Brown, turning to the gallant Colonel 
James Miller, ordered him to storm and capture it. The reply has passed 
into history " I *11 try, sir." It was one of the most perilous charges ever 
attempted, but Miller and his brave band calmly marched up to the 
mouth of the blazing cannon, and took them. The exploit elicited uni- 
versal admiration: "It was the most desperate thing we ever saw or heard 
of," said the British officers who were made prisoners. " You have im- 
mortalized yourself ! " exclaimed Brown the moment he met Miller after- 
ward. " My dear fellow, my heart ached for you when I gave you the 
order, but I knew that it was the only thing that would save us." Brown 
was twice severely wounded, but he kept his saddle until the victory was 
won ; his gallant aid, Ambrose Spencer of New York, was killed. Scott 
was exposed to death in every part of the field, and had two horses shot 
under him. He was spared until the final struggle, when he received a 
severe wound. He was subsequently carried on the shouldei's of gentle- 
men from town to town to the house of a friend in Geneva, where he 
remained until able to journey to his home in the east 

The Americans fell back on Fort Erie and strengthened the position. 
During the month of August the British prosecuted a siege with deter- 
mined vigor. Gaines was ordered to the chief command, and with Ripley, 
Porter, Towson, and other brave officers, made a handsome defense. A 
shell falling through the roof finally disabled Gaines, and Brown hastened 
from Batavia, with shattered health and unhealed wounds, to resume com- 
mand. He presently planned a sortie from the fort, which for boldness 
of conception, and the ability with which it was conducted, has 
never been excelled by any event on the same scale in military ^ 
history. It accomplished its design ; the British advanced works were 
captured and destroyed, and Fort Erie saved, with Buffalo and the public 
stores on the frontiers — and possibly all Western New York. The 
British loss, in killed and wounded and prisoners, was about one thou- 
sand; they finally fled in the utmost confusion. The heroes were all 
honored, individually and collectively, and medals with suitable devices 
were given to each of the general officers by Congress. Governor Tomp- 
kins, in the name of the State of New York presented General Brown 
wifh an elegant sword. Mayor De Witt Clinton, at the head of the 
corporation of the city, presented him the lionomry privilege of the free- 


/i/sTOin- ur THE city of new yohe. 

(lorn or tlie city, iii a. goKl box. requested Itis portrait for the gallery ifl 
the City Halt, nml tendered the thanks of New York City to the office 
aud tueti under his command. 

During those same hot August days while Fort Erie was besi^ 
New York City was iu a fearful excitement ou her own account It v 
well known that her defenses were feeble ; and her young and able-bodied 
meu had gone to the frontiers in such large numbers that few vera leftj 
for service at home. •Seci'd intelligence suddenly came of a premeditate 
attack upon the city, ai 
to confii-ni the story, a poweifid 
British force appeared in 
Chesapeake. Mayor l)e Wit<i 
Clinton issued a stirring appt 
to the citizens on the 2d o 
August, calling upon theoi 
to offer their personal services am 
means to aid in the completion o 
the uatinished fortificationa. Otf" 
the 9th, in response to a call 
signed by Henry Itutgers 
and Oliver Wolcott, an immense 
throng assembled in tbe City Hall Park, and chose from the Common 
Council, Colonel Nicliola^ Fish, Gideon Tucker. Peter Mesier, Geoi^ge 
Buckmaster, and Jolin Nitchie, a Committee of Defense, clothed with 
ample power to direct tlie efforts of the inhabitants at this critical mo- 
ment in the business of protection. The work commenced on the heights 
around Brooklyn the same day, under the direction of General JosepI 
G. Swift, Only four days after the meeting in tlie Park, the Co] 
mittee of Defense reported three thousand persons laboring 
pickaxes, sliovels and spades. Masonic and other societies went in bodies 
to the task ; the Washington Benevolent Society, an organization opposed 
to the war, went over with their banner bearing the portrait of Washiuj^- 
ton, each man with a handkerchief containing a supply of food 
''' for the ilay; on the 15th the city newspapers were suspended 
that all bands might work on the fortifications ; two hundred jounieymeii 
priotei's went over together ; two hundred weavers ; a large procession <if 
butchers bearing the flag used by them in the great Federal procession of 
1789 — on which was an ox prepared for slaughter; numerous manufactur-. 
ing companies with all their men ; and the colored people in crowds. 
the 20th five hundred men went to Harlem Heights to work U| 
intrenchments there ; and, at the same time, fifteen hundred IrisJ 


men crossed iuto Brooklyn for the same purpose; school-teachers and 
their pupils went together to give their aid ; and little boys, too small to 
handle a spade or pickaxe, carried earth on shingles. It was a scene 
never to be forgotten. One morning the people of Bushwick, Long Island, 
appeared, accompanied by their pastor. Rev. John Bassett, who opened 
the operations with prayer, and remained all day distributing refresh- 
ments and encouraging the laborers. Citizens from neighboring towns 
and from New Jersey proflfered their servicer 

The air was thick with alarms. Every day brought fresh accounts of 
invasions, and depredations committed along tlie New England coasts. 
The eastern portion of Maine was taken by the British, and eight hun- 
dred troops left to hold the conquered region. Stoniugton, Connecticut, 
was the theater of a most distressing bombardment for three days. Massa- 
chusetts was menaced, and her authorities instituted active measures for 
defensa In Boston every class of citizens, as in New York, volunteered 
to work on the fortifications. " I remembei*," said an eyewitness, " the 
venerable Dr. Lathrop with the deacons and elders of his church each 
shouldering his shovel and doing yeomen's service in digging, shoveling, 
and carrying sods in wheelbarrows." So far from finding the New- 
Englanders attached to the British cause, the marauding parties were 
amazed at the spirit and execution of the militia who met and drove them 
from their borders. 

Tidings of a portentous character reached the city on the 27th. Wash- 
ington, the capital of* the nation, had been captured by the British, and 
the torch applied to its public buildings, many of its private dwell- 
ings, the navy-yard, national shipping, and the great bridge over 
the Potomac. With the unfinished Capitol was destroyed the valuable 
private library of Congress ; the walls of the edifice stood firm, however, 
and were used in rebuilding. The shell of the President's house likewise 
stood, like a monument of the Middle Ages, to mark the track of the bar- 
barian. Mrs. Madison packed as many cabinet papers into trunks as 
would fill one carriage, and secured some silver plate. A 'message reached 
her to fly to a place of safety ; but she insisted upon waiting to take 
down the large portrait of Washington, by Stuart, and when the process 
of unscrewing it from the wall was found too slow, she ordered the frame 
to be broken and the canvas taken out and mlled up. Two gentlemen 
from New York, Mr. De Peyster and Mr. Jacob Barber, entering at the 
moment, she consigned the picture to their care. The accumulated docu- 
ments of the State Department were packed iutcj carts by their custodian, 
and hastily conveyed across the Potomac some twenty or more miles into 
the woods of Vii-ginia, where they were sai'ely lodged under a farmer's 



roof. Rome ia the worst days of Europe had never experienced any sach 
fate as our national' capital, and the effect was iustantaneous. Thousands 
upon thousands who had previously withheld their services hencefor- 
ward gave the war their firm and steady support. The outrage upon 
taste and the arts and humanity, instead of crushing or dividing the 
American people, served to unite all parties against the comtnon enemy. 
The blow aimed by the British government recoiled upon itseIC 

The city of New York and its suburbs became one vast camp, animated 

by indomitable determination to uphold the national honor, and preserve 

at all hazards the beautiful commercial metropolis. On the 29th 

a requisition was made for twenty thousand militia from New 

York and New Jersey to be concentrated in and about the city, and the 

corporation raised the funds to 


TETCofporailon of ilu Ciiy vi 

Haw York promuB lo pn/ Lha 

• Seuv OD dsmiad, n 

IS h 

ilX. ^9 CENTS ^fi 

>KrA. iS^(SP«. 1814.3 B 
miai cl the CorpoiaLioQ. J^ M 


meet the necessary expenses, un- 
der a pledge of reimbursement by 
the general government 

The scarcity of specie and the 
drains made on the banks caused 
a suspension of specie pay- 
ments, which continued un- 
til the first Monday in July, 1817. 
The want of small change for a 
XheftlxiTehaaQiefQlIowinff cuioathebackicirculating medium induced the 
.r^ corporation to issue a substitute 

pj ET ' , in small paper bills, signed by 

John Fintard, to the amount of 
one hundred thousand dollars, 
which passed current in all pay- 
ments and facilitated business. 
There were further issues from 
time to time. The total amount of 
these small bills was two hundred and forty-five thousand three hundred 
and fifty-six dollars. 

The derangement of financial affairs was such at this juncture that 
many thought it impossible for the government to maintain its army and 
navy. In March a twenty-five million loan had been authorized, in 
addition to former loans ; but less than half that amount bad been raised 
as yet, owing to ttie exorbitant t«rms demanded by the money-lenders. 
The pi-essure for funds was so great that the Secretary of the Treaauiy 
issued stock as well as treasury notes with which to borrow currency, 
but the banks of New York refused to loan their bills without additional 


security. It was understood,' however, that if treasury notes endorsed 
by Grovemor Tompkins were deposited, the money would be forthcoming. 
Rufus Sang immediately waited upon the governor and acquainted him 
with the fact. " I should be obliged to act on my own responsibility, 
and should be ruined," replied Tompkins. " Then ruin yourself, if it be- 
come necessary to save the country, and I pledge you my honor that I 
will support you in whatever you do," exclaimed Bang. Oliver Wolcott, 
president of the Bank of America, and other prominent Federalists, uttered 
similar sentiments. Tompkins endorsed the notes on his own personal 
and official security, and a half million was pix)mptly loaned. 

Nor was this all. In the bankrupt condition of the treasury, Tompkins 
was obliged to advance money to * keep the cadets at West Point from 
starviug, to sustain the recruiting service in Connecticut, and to pay 
workmen employed in the manufactory of arms at Springfield.* He 
also issued a stirring call to the inhabitants of New York to send arms of 
every description to the State arsenal, for which they should receive cash. 
And through his active exertions forty thousand militia were in the field 
in an incredibly short space of time, not for the defense of New York 
City only, but of Plattsburg, Sackett*s Harbor, and Buffalo. Between six 
and ten thousand were mustered into actual service in New York City 
September 2, under Major-generals Morgan Lewis, and Ebenezer 
Stevens of Revolutionary distinction. Cadwallader David Colden 
was appointed to the command of all the uniformed militia companies 
of the city and county. He was the grandson of Lieutenant^overnor 
Colden, a man of exceptional learning, and a commercial lawyer, who 
stood at the head of his profession. He was born in 1769, and his edu- 
cation, begun in Jamaica, Long Island, during the stormy scenes of the 
Revolution, was completed in London, in 1785. He was as remarkable for 
enei^ and strength of character as his illustrious grandfather — alert in 
every fiber and alive in every sense ; and he also possessed that rare 
combination of the scholar and the man of affairs which distinguished the 
Lieutenant-governor through the whole of his long and chequered, career. 

Each company had its parade-ground, where the citizens who quartered 
at home were drilled for three and four hours each morning and after- 
noon. Men of all ages and callings filled the ranks — the old merchant 
and the young boot-black, the gentleman of leisure and his butcher and 
baker, the white-haired doctor and the college student, the man of wealth 
and the industrious mechanic. Nobody stopped to argue about the right 
or wrong of the " wicked war." A mighty commimity of soldiers seemed 
suddenly to have sprung into existence. 

1 ffUdreih, VI. 519 ; Hammond, I. 378 ; Lossing, 10, 19 ; Randall, 195. 



Washington Irving offered his services, and was made the aid and 
secretary of Governor Tompkins, with the rank of colonel His name firat 
appears attached to a general order on the 2d, the day of the muster. 
An incident on a Hudson River steamboat, in which he figured, illus- 
trates the spirit of the hour. A passenger came on board at Poughkeepsie 
about midnight, and iu the darkness of the cabin proclaimed the news of 
the fall of Washington 
City, with a detailed ac- 
count of tlie distressing 
scenes. Some one lifted 
his iteaii from a pillow, 
and in a tone of compla- 
cent disdain, wondereil 
what Jimmy Madison 
would say now? Irvinj; 
i-esjKiiidL'd with emphasis : 
"Let me t*;ll you. sir, 
it is nut a question about 
Miiiimy Madison,' or 
'.loliiiny Armstrong.' The 
jii'ide and honor of tlif; 
nation arc wounded ; ihi.- 
ccnintry is insulted ami 
disgraced by thif* iKitliar- 
oHS success, and every 
loyal citizen should fet-l 
the ignominy, and be ear- 
nest to avenge it." In relating the circumstance, Irving said, " I could 
not see the fellow, but I let fly at him in the dark." 

Two of the sons of Rufus King were in the army — James Gore King 

serving as adjutant-general, and John Alsop King, afterwards governor of 

the State, as lieutenant of a troop of horse. The latter is described in his 

niilitary capacity as a remarkable disciplinarian. He commanded as fine 

a troop as ever paraded the streets of New York, composed almost exclu* 

sively of "young men from the leading famjlies. Robert Watts, reputed 

liiy his contemporaries as the handsomest man in the city, was a major 

"sdat King ; he was the son of Hnn. John Watts, and brother of George 

ittB,trho BO recently distinguished himself at Niagara — another rep- 

ititivQ of that soldierly Huguenot race, the De Lanceys. While 

ding in Park Place one morning the horse of Major Watts ran away, 

i accident he reined him iu the direction of the high fence 


around City Hall Park, caiTied hiin over, subdued him, and returned to 
his duty — a feat of hoi*semauship which his superior officer always re- 
called in after years with wonder and admiration. 

The work on the fortifications was prosecuted with redoubled vigor. 
Hundreds of men worked at night by the light of the moon. The 
number of days* labor performed by the citizens of New York 
alone was computed at one hundred thousand. Commodore Decatur was 
placed in command of the harbor with a force of picked men ready for 
action by sea or land. 

There was no mistaking the temper of New York. While amid the 
blackened ruins of the city of Washington the heads of the general gov- 
ernment railed at each other, and the country was beleaguered upon every 
side by an enemy of overpowering strength, with the avowed purpose of 
trampling upon the usages of civilized warfare, New York calmly and 
cheerfully bore every burden of every kind demanded for the honor and 
safety of the nation. Of peace there seemed no prospect. The Ameri- 
can commissioners were at Ghent, but nobody came, at latest accounts, 
frqm Great Britain to treat with them. The destruction of the Capitol be- 
ing accredited to the mismanagement of Secretary Armstrong, he retired 
from the War Department in disgust. The President invited Governor 
Tompkins to accept the office of Secretary of State in the emergency, 
which he declined on the ground that he could serve the nation better as 
governor of New York ; therefore Monroe remained in that office, and also 
officiated as Secretary of War until the next March. Postmaster-general 
Gideon Granger, who had during his twelve years in the cabinet greatly 
improved the postal affaire of America, was superseded by Return Jona- 
than Meigs, governor of Ohio. Granger took up his abode in New York, 
and soon gave one thousand acres of land for the benefit of the Erie CanaL 

It will be observed that the British government had distributed its 
enormous wealth of men and money, on land and water, in such a manner 
as to invade the United States at points far distant from each other simul- 
taneously. Septeml)er was marked with blood. Between the 12th 

HfH%* IK 

and 15th of the month the British attempted to seize Mobile, but, 
through the sleepless sagacity of Jackson, met with a mortifying repulse. 
On these very same September days Baltimore was assailed, and Fort 
McHenry bombarded by Ross and Cockburn ; it was during this excit- 
ing cannonade, between midnight and dawn of the morning of the 14th, 
that " The Star Spangled Banner," our national lyric, was written 
by Francis Scott Key, while anxiously pacing the deck of one of 
the British vessels, whither he had ^^one under a flag of truce to solicit 
the release of certain prisonei-s, and where he was detained pending 


the attack. Baltimore was successfully defended, which was another 
humiliating blow to t^e enemy. 

Preparations to invade New York by the way of Lake Champlain were in 
the mean time conducted with great secrecy and address ; it was believed 
in London that Sir George Prevost would presently shake hands with 
Koss and Cockburn in the valley of the Hudson, and that the besiegers of 
Fort Erie would be present at the meeting. A powerful army of fourteen 
thousand men, commanded by the most experienced officers in the Brit- 
ish service, made gradual approaches towards Plattsburg, from Montreal, 
between the 1st and 5th of September. On the 6th these veterans 

Sovt. 6k 

marched upon Plattsburg and were severely checked in their plans, 

after fighting desperately all day; from the 7th to the 11th they were 

employed in bringing up batteries, trains, and supplies. The final battles, 

by land and by water, occurred on the 11th. General Alexander 

^ Macomb commanded the. American land forces. General Izard hav- ' 
ing been ordered, much against his wishes and his judgment, to Sackett's 
Harbor, and thence to the relief of General Brown at Fort Erie. Com- 
modore Macdonough's squadron lay at anchor in Plattsburg Bay, well 
prepared for battle ; it carried eighty-six guns, and about eight hundred 
men. At an early hour on the 11th the British squadron, mounting 
ninety-five guns, with one thousand men, was seen advancing. As the 
deck of Macdonough's flag-ship Saratoga was cleared for action, her com- 
mander fell upon his knees, with officers and men around him, and offered 
an earnest and solemn prayer. It was a few minutes past nine when the 
enemy's flag-ship Conjiance anchored abreast of the Saratoga at a distance 
of three hundred yards ; and the other vessels took their stations opposite 
those of the Americans. The engagement then commenced. For two 
hours the thunder of cannon, the hiss of rockets, the scream of bombs, 
and the rattle of musketry echoed from shore to shore. Both flag-ships 
were crippled ; but Macdonough displayed a masterpiece of seamanship 
by winding the Saratoga round and opening a fresh fire from her larboard 
quarter guns. The Conjiance, being unable to effect the same operation, 
soon surrendered. The British brig and two sloops struck their colors 
within fifteen minutes. The British galleys, seeing the colors of the 
larger vessels go down, dropped their ensigns. At a little past noon 
not one of the sixteen British flags, so proudly floating over Lake Cham- 
plain when the sun rose, could be seen. 

It was a glorious and substantial victory. The loss of the Americans 
was one hundred and ten, of whom fifty-two were killed. The total British 
loss was upwards of two hundred. Macdonough, with a more than royal 
courtesy, declined the swoi*ds of the commanders of his prizes. 


The land-battle was commenced at the same moment with that upon 
the water, and was conducted by Sir George Prevost in person. Repeated 
efiforts under cover of shot and shell to force a passage of the Saranac River 
were repulsed by the heroic New-Yorkers under Macomb. Suddenly joy- 
ful shouts pierced the air and iterated and reiterated along the American 
lines. Thus was announced to Sir George Prevost the suiTender of the 
squadron; and he withdrew his troops at once from the contest. At 
two o'clock the next morning the whole British army took its flight 
towards Canada, leaving its sick and wounded with munitions of war 
and army stores worth nearly a thousand pounds sterling. Sii' George 
Prevost had lost twenty-five hundred men since entering the territory 
of New York, including deserters and prisoners. Three days after the 
battle, when it was ascertained that the British were making their way 
to the St. Lawrence, Macomb disbanded the New York and Vermont 
militia, who had nobly hurried to his aid. The expedition so boastfully 
projected cost Great Britain some two and a half million dollars : and its 
complete failure influenced the British government to think seriously of 
making peace. 

Macomb and Macdonough had won unfading laurels, and they received 
the plaudits and the homage of all America. In the intense joy with which 
the news of their success was received, the recent disaster at Washington 
was for the moment forgotten. Congress voted them the thanks of the 
nation and gold medals. Their officers of all ranks were individually 
honored ; every man in the naval conflict, and in the battle upon land, 
distinguished himself by daring intrepidity so far as he had opportunity. 
Governor Tompkins, in the name of the State of New York, presented 
Macomb with a superb sword ; and Mayor De Witt Clinton, in the name 
of the corporation, presented him with the freedom of the city in a gold 
box similar in character to that given to General Brown. Macomb's 
portrait was painted by Sully at the request of the city, and placed in the 
gallery of distingidshed men. New York gave Macdonough two thousand 
acres of land ; Vermont presented hira two hundred acres on the borders 
of Plattsburg Bay ; and the cities of New York and Albany each gave him 
a valuable lot. His portrait was painted for the city by John Wesley 

As before recorded, the sortie from Fort Erie was on the 17th ; General 
Izard, with his troops from Plattsburg, reached that post soon after- 
wards, but no further military movements of importance occurred 
on the Niagara frontier. Commodore Chauncey had remained blockaded 
at Sackett's Harbor until his flag-ship Superior was completed — about the 
Diiddle of June — when Sir James Yeo prudently withdrew his blockading 


vessela In July Chauncey's squadron crossed Lake Ontario, and from 
the 9th of August for six weeks blockaded Sir James Yeo in Kingston 
Harbor, vainly manceuvering to draw him out for combat. Finally a 
British frigate, pierced for one hundred and twelve guns, was completed 
at Kingston, and Chauncey retired to Sackett's Harbor to prepare for an 
attack, which the enemy never attempted. 

Simultaneously with these important events in New York, a powerful 
expedition was preparing to move upoa New Orleans. It was only a few 
years since the vast territory of the Lower Mississippi had been pur- 
chased from France, and its chief city was assailable from so many points 
that it seemed impossible to secure it by ordinary fortifications against a 
hostile attack. While Greneral Jackson was defending Mobile, Edward 
Livingston of New York was stirring New Orleans into action. His 
knowledge of the people and of the situation was complete, his judgment 
cool, and his influence electrical. At a meeting of the citizens on the 
15th his polished oratory excited the mixed, indolent population 
of the city to a high pitch of loyalty to America, and a series of 
resolutions which he offered were adopted by acclamation. There was 
no other man upon the spot at all qualified for the comprehensive work 
to be performed ; he furnished Jackson with information and maps dur- 
ing the interval until he could come from Mobile with troops, and, hence- 
forward, was his interpreter of the French language, his military secretary, 
and his confidential adviser upon all subjects. 

Information that Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane was approaching 
with thirteen ships of the line and transports bearing ten thousand troops 
hastened Jackson's march to defenseless New Orleans. His journey, how- 
ever, was not a feat to be performed with celerity, and the enemy would 
have arrived and entered the city without opposition before him, but for 
a singular and unexpected detention of ten days at FayaL 

It has been observed, that naval operations upon the ocean were by no 
means confined to national vessels. Privateers harassed the commerce of 
Great Britain and carried into every quarter of the globe proofs of Ameri- 
can skill and seamanship. Tlie terror they inspired was intense. Their 
achievements were marvelous. They were swift-sailing vessels, rarely 
captured by the adversary ; and, being authorized and encouraged by 
government, their services were conspicuous. Their owners secured laige 
fortunes, and the contest terminated much sooner because of their exploita 
The New-Yorkers sent out one splendid privateer of seventeen guns and 
one hundred and fifty men, which, during a single cruise, was chased by 
no less than seventeen armed British ships and escaped them all ; and she 
brought into port goods valued at three hundred thousand dollars, with a 



large amount of specie. Another successful private-armed cruiser wns 
the Gerurai Armstrong, of only seven guns, built by Kensselaer Havens, 
Thomas Farmer, Thomas Jenkins, and other New York merchants ; she 
sustained a fierce battle off the coast of South America in the spring of 
1813 with the British sloop of war Coquette, mounting twenty-seven 
guns, and her commander, Guy R Champlin, was voted a handsome 
sword by the stockholders for his gallantry. The romantic career of the 
General Armstrong would form a chapter of itself. But the thrilling 
event with which her history closed was of great moment to two nations, 
as it saved the city of New Orleans 
from capture. This vessel was com- 
manded, in 1814, by Captain Samuel 
Chester Reid, then only thirty years 
of age — a young naval ofBcer of merit 
w^o served as midshipman under . 
Commodore Thomas Truxton. He / 
was the idol of his men, generous to n I 
fonlt, but vigorous as a niler ; and ii 
all emergencies preserved their con- 1 
fidence through hia quickness of per- 
ception, maturity of judgment, and 
coolaess in action. He was tall, re- 
markably well formed, with much 
personal beauty, and manners capti- 
vating and courtly. He had recently 
married in New York City the ac- cipttin simuai chHtw R«id. 

complished daughter of Nathan Jen- "'•'"•^'■••"'•''" •"'"'"''••""' '""^'^'""^'^"'•^ 
nings, of Fairfield, Connecticut, who shared the hardships and glory of 
Trenton under Washington. He parted from his bride on the 9th of Sep- 
tember, little dreaming of the brilliant part he was within three weeks to 
p^orm in the great drama of war. 

The Otneral Armstrong prepared for sea in the early part of that exciting 
month — September — when the city of New York was like a vast g^. 
beehive, with its workmen on the fortifications, and was manned 
\(f ninety men including officers. The first lieutenant of Captain Eeid 
was Frederick A Worth, brother of the famous General Worth ; the sec- 
ond lieatenant was Alexander O, Williams, also of New York, and a most 
{Romising young officer; the third lieuteniint was Robert Johnson, and 
the quartermaster was Bazilla Hammond. At nine o'clock on the 
evening of the 9th the vessel spread her sails aTid glided from Sandy 
Hook, effectually running the blockade. Nothing of moment occurred 


until she reached Fayal, one of the Azores, belonging to Portugal, where 
about noon of the 26th she anchored for the purpose of obtaining water. 
Captain Reid dined with John B. Dabney, the American consul, 
who politely ordered the water sent to the vessel at once, as she 
was to proceed on her voyage in the morning. Just before sunset Beid, 
accompanied by the consul and some other gentlemen, returned to the 
General Armstrong, and, as they stood talking upon the deck, a British 
sail appeared ; before dark six war-vessels, the squadron of Commodore 
Lloyd, anchored in the roads. The flag-ship Plantagenet, the frigate Hota, 
and the brig Carnation together mounted one hundred and thirty-six 
guns. Not much chance apparently for the little New York brigantine 
of seven guns. The British force numbered over two thousand men, who, 
it would seem, might easily overpower ninety. The British vessels were 
so placed that Reid could not escape from the port ; but the consul told 
him there was not the slightest danger of his being molested as long as 
he remained at anchor in neutral waters. Commodore Lloyd, however, 
in defiance of neutrality laws and the usages of civilized nations, no 
sooner discovered the saucy Oeneral Armstrong than he resolved upon 
her capture ; as he was on his way with reinforcements for the conquest 
of New Orleans, to join Admiral Cochrane awaiting him at Jamaica, he 
very naturally thought the swift-sailing privateer would be extremely 
useful to the expedition. 

The light of the full moon enabled Reid to see the movements of the 
fleet distinctly, and when boats were launched and arms passed into 
them, he suspected the truth and advised his visitors to go on shore. He 
then gave secret orders to clear his deck for action, without noise or com- 
motion, while he moved his vessel a little nearer to the castle. About 
eight o'clock four boats containing one hundred and sixty men were seen 
approaching rapidly, as if sure of their game. Reid hailed them three or 
four times, receiving no answer. As they came alongside and attempted 
to board the Geiural Armstrong he gave the word to his marines to fire, 
and a fierce and desperate struggle ensued, followed by the shrieks and 
groans of the wounded and dying; in a few moments the enemy staggered 
back appalled, and cried for quarter, and the boats pulled off in a sinking 
condition, with great loss. 

It was presently apparent that the squadron was preparing for a more 
formidable attack. The governor of Fayal sent a message to Commodore 
Lloyd forbidding any further hostilities, as the Oeneral Armstrong was 
under the guns of the castle, and entitled to Portuguese protection. But 
the answer came, that if any attempt was made to shield the vessel the 
guns of the fleet would be turned upon the town. The inhabitants were 


intensely excited, and crowded the shore in breathless anxiety. Thi*ee 
hours passed. There lay the little privateer, with her tall tapering spars, 
resting on the moonlit watera as quiet and as peaceful as an over-wearied 
child. Not a movement was to be seen, nor a sound heard upon her 
decks. She seemed deserted. And yet she was entirely ready to receive 
the enemy, and her men were lying concealed. At midnight fourteen 
boats, with about five hundred men, took their stations under covert of a 
small reef of rocks from which they approached in solid column in a 
direct line. Captain Reid hailed the boats as before, and receiving no 
answer, opened ' a destructive fire from which they recoiled for the 
moment, then rallied and with cheers returned the fire, and quickly 
reached the General Arjnstrong ; the attempt to board her was made 
upon every side at the same instant, the men led on by the officers with a 
shout of " No quarters ! " which could be distinctly heard above the oaths 
and cries and the din of musketry by the people of Fayal, who were 
spectators of the frightful midnight scene. The defense was without 
parallel for gallantry in ancient or modern history. With the skill and 
might of knights of old, Reid and his well-disciplined men drove back 
England's best and bravest troops with terrible slaughter. The action 
lasted forty minutes. The enemy made frequent and repeated attempts 
to gain the decks, but were repulsed every time at every point. Reid lost 
the services of all his lieutenants about the middle of the action; 
Williams was killed and Worth and Johnson wounded ; but by his own 
cool and intrepid conduct a most remarkable victory was secured. He was 
left-handed, and fought with both hands — using his right to fire pistols 
which the powder-boys handed him, and his left in keeping off assaulters 
with a cutlass. The termination was a total defeat of the British. Three 
of their boats were sunk. But one poor, solitary officer escaped death, in 
a boat that contained fifty souls. Some of the boats were left without a 
single man to row them ; others with only three or four. The most that 
any one returned with was ten. Four boats floated ashore full of dead 
bodies. The water of the bay was crimsoned with blood ; and the deck 
of the General Armstrong was slippery with human gore. The British 
had lost over three hundred in killed and wounded. " But to the surprise 
of mankind," wrote an English officer, " the Americans had but two killed 
and seven wounded ! " 

The statement seems almost incredible, but such was the fact. " God 
deUver us from our enemies, if this is the way they fight," continued the 
same writer, who was an eyewitness of the battle. At daybreak 
the Camaiion opened a heavy fire upon the General Armstrong, 
which was promptly returned, and with such severity that the British 


brig retired for repairs. The town of Fayal was in peril, several of tbe 
inhabitants having been wounded by the guns of the Carnation, and a 
number of houses damaged. Captain Reid, seeing no hope of saving his 
vessel, scuttled her and went ashore. The British completed her destruc- 
tion by setting her on fire. Commodore Lloyd then ordered the governor 
of Fayal to deliver up the Americans as prisoners, and met with an un- 
qualified refusal. He threatened to land five hundred troops and take 
them by force. Reid and his men retired to an old Gothic convent, 
knocked away the adjoining drawbridge, and determined to defend them- 
selves to the last. 

But the British commander wisely abstained from an attempt to carry 
his threat into execution. He had lost the flower of his officers and men, 
and numbers of the injured were dying from hour to hour. " For three 
days after the action we were employed in burying the dead that washed 
on shore in the surf," wrote an Englishman. Two British sloops of war, 
the Thais and Calypso, coming into port, were sent to convey fifty of the 
wounded to England, but were not permitted to take a single letter from 
any person. The fieet was detained for burials and repairs ten days, and, 
upon reaching Jamaica, Lloyd was severely censured for his folly by the 
Admiral. Nothing had been gained, and the extent of the injury to the 
British cause was incalculable. 

The spirited defense of the General Armstrond produced a great sen- 
sation tliroughout America, and was mentioned in England with wonder 
and admiration, as the " essence of heroism." Probably no one conflict 
of the war placed the American character in so proud a view. In addi- 
tion to tlie glory won by the skill and bravery of the resistance, Reid and 
his gallant associates were properly accredited with the sfdvation of New 
Orleans.^ When the powerful and well-appointed British fleet completed 
its i)reparation at Jamaica, it sailed for the great emporium of the wealth 
and treasure of the Southwest. An easy conquest of Louisiana was ex- 
pected. Sixty sail appeared near the mouth of the Mississippi early in 
December. But Jackson had already reached and fortified New Orleans, 
to tlie great disappointment of the British, and his clanging proclama- 
tions were brin^^ing together all classes of the mixed population to repel 
tlie invaders. A short and decisive campaign followed. The host of 
veteran soldiers, fresh from the battle-fields of Europe, struggled an entire 
iiionth in vain to fulfill their errand. The 8th of January, 1815, will 

I SrhufTmrs Histonj of America, Div. IV., Chap. XXIII., p. 378; CoggeshalVs History 
('/ Am rirnii Priv'ffrrrfi, ]>. 3/0 ; American Stutc PajTcrs, XIV. ; Naval AjfairSf p. 498 : 
L(tt,r frinii Consul J>nhnc]i to Srcrctanj of St^ttc, OcIoIkt :"», 1814; LetUr to William CobhcU, 
E^i/., fontaining an Kn^lisli aorount of tho battle ; Cohhftfs Weekly Register^ December 10, 
1814; Lo.mnqs Field Book of the Warof\'^\% p. 1004. 




/"^s ra r 

01 li 

long be memorable iii the annals of America. It was the day of Jack- 
son's great victory over the immense British army ; and with a loss of 
only seven killed and six wounded.^ The British suffered in every way. 
They were obliged to fight upon an open level plain, while the Americans 
were thoroughly protected by breastworks. Seven hundred perished, in- 
cluding their commander in-chief, and the most experienced and bravest 
of their officers. Their loss altogether wua upwards of three thousand. 

Captain Reid returned to New York in December, traveling by land 
from Savaiinali, and wus everywhere greeted witli and show- 
ered with flattering lionjrs. At Richmond he was tendered a public 
diimer by the most brilliant men of Virginia ; the Speaker of the House 
of Burgesses presitled, and William Wirt was vice-president. The gov- 
ernor giuced the festive scene with his presence ; and the toast and song 
passed from lip to lip like an electric fire. Wheu the hero retired the 
president gave the sentiment — "Captain Keid — his valor has shed a 
blaze iif renown upon the character of our seamen, and won for himself 
B \a«TPl oV eternal bloom." In 
.nd towns througli 
^\'hich he passed Ileid was 
feted and complimented in 
the most tialt«;ring manner. 
New York especially 
seemed touched to 
the heart, his offi- 
cers and men 
being nearly all 
from among her 
oil his return 
liume he wa^ 
welcomed with 
every demon- 
.stration of grat- 
itude and affec- 
tion. The l^is- 

htore voted him the thanks of tlie State and an elegant sword, which 
Goremor Tompkins presented with an appropriate address, in which he 
nid : " Such heroic conduct confounds the mind with admiration, and 
the feme of it has resounded to every countiy. The whole civilized 

> B<a^* Lift t^ Bdvixrd LivingrAim, pp. 201 - 205 ; B-i ikcs' Hitlorg of lit FretnA Oevoltf 
Um, Vri. II. |i. W» ; r>iiimp»oitt Sramd ICar, p. iU, 


world has awarded to it the meed of praise." The citizens of New York 
City gave him a handsome service of plate with suitable inscriptions, 
consisting of a large solid silver pitcher bearing an emblematical engrav- 
ing of the action at Fayal, two silver tumblers, a teapot, sugar-bowl, 
milk-ewer, and bowL^ 

As the autumn waned New York City bristled with fortifications. 
The heights around Brookljm were covered with military works, com- 
pletely isolating the town. The heights overlooking Harlem were forti- 
fied at all points. Foiii Richmond was built at the Narrows with other 
strongholds, and guaixied by a brigade of two thousand militia from 
August to December. The works on Governor's and Bedloe's Islands 

1 Samuel Chester Reid was born at Norwich, Connecticut, August 25, 1783, died in New 
York City, January 28, 1861. He was the only surviving son of a British officer of the Rev- 
olution, who married Rebecca Chester, only daughter of John Chester, of Groton, Connecti- 
cut, a direct descendant of the Eiarl of Chester. Reid was married in New York City in 1818 
to the daughter of Captain Nathan Jennings, of Fairfield, Connecticut, a lady distinguished 
for beauty and talent. Their children were : 1. John Chester Reid, a graduate at West Point, 
and aid to General Gaines, died unmarried in 1845 ; 2. Anna Johnson Reid, married Geoi]ge 
N. Sanders ; 3. Washington Reid, an officer of the U. S. Navy, died in Brazil in 1850 ; 
4. Samuel C.Reid, a lawyer of distinction, married Josephine, daughter of the Hon. Mr. Rowan, 
minister to Naples under President Polk, and granddaughter of the celebrated Judge John 
Rowan, Senator from Kentucky and commissioner to Mexico ; 5. Franklin Reid, died young ; 
t). Aaron Bertrand Reid, married Emma, daughter of S. D. Gardner, of Haverstraw ; 7. Mary 
Isabel Reid, married Geneml Count Louis Palma Di Cesnola ; 8. Louisa Gouvemeur Reid, 
mai-ried the editor and i>oet, Dr. John Savqge ; 9. William J. Reid, married Lillie, daughter 
of the jwet, William Henry Burleigh; 10. George Henry, died young. Captain Reid was 
subsequently offered a post-captaincy in the navy, which he declined. He was many 
yeai-8 port-warden of New York, and he invented and erected the signal-t«legraph at the 
Battery and the Narrows, communicating with Sandy Hook. He was president of the Marine 
Society, and rendered a great service to our harbor and shipping by the regulation of marine 
laws. He was also distinguished as the designer of the present arrangement of our national 
flag. He was tlie chosen social companion of most of the great men of the period. At his 
death his remains were escorted to Greenwood Cemetery with every mark of respect and hom- 
age which the public could bestow. One of the journals of the day describing the funeral ob- 
sequies, and dwelling upon the details of Reid's long and eventful career, said : **They are, aside 
from the romantic personal interest which hangs about them, among the most important events 
in the history of our nation. Reid was, indeed, a man of rare combinations, — the courage of 
a lion, the venturous spirit of a crusader, the taste of a poet, and the tenderness of a woman ; 
he belonged to that old school of patriots of whom Paul Jones was the first and himself the 
last. In the lives of these men are found the most dauntless intrepidity, the most manly 
generosity, and the purest chivalry. The sea, not as we see it, calm and beautiful, but as it is 
seen dashing against the clouds rent by thunder and pierced by lightning, the sea, not the 
blue, the ever free, but the bellowing, bold, bounding ocean, is pictured in such men as Reid. 
And as the vast procession followed his remains to their final repose in Greenwood, the scenes 
of our country's triumph passed before each vision. The flags, waving at half-mast, told of 
tlie victories on sea and land, and the guns which Imonied from the battery recited over again 
the terrific fight of the General Armstroiuj agjiinst the midnight attack, in a neutral port, 
of the British assassin." 


were enlarged and strengthened. Castle Garden was erected at the foot 
of Broadway ; Fort Gansevoort was built at the bend of the Hudson, foot 
of Gansevoort Street ; Fort Stevens at Hallet's Point near Hell Gate, 
with a stone tower on Lawrence Hill in its rear — tlie Long Island 
shore opposite was at the same time defended by fortifications at Ben- 
son's Point — and in the middle of the East River, Mill Eock was crowned 
with a block-house and battery ; Forts Clinton and Fish were erected to 
protect McGowan's Pass on the road to Harlem, and Fort Laight on the 
eminence overlooking Manhattanville. On the bank of the Hudson, near 
the residence of Viscount Courtenay, afterward Earl of Devon, was a 
strong stone tower, connected by a line of intrenchments with Fort Laight. 
Although the city could be approached from several directions, its atti- 
tude was so defiant that the prospect was not at all encouraging to the 

October brought no relief Congress quarreled over a project for the 
removal of the seat of government, and talked about amending the 
Constitution ; while various proposals to raise the prostrate credit 
of the United States engaged attention. George W. Campbell, Secretary 
of the Treasury since Gallatin's departure for Europe in February, re- 
signed immediately after reporting the deplorable condition of the 
« national finances ; he wjis succeeded on the 6th by Alexander 
James Dallas, who entered upon the uncertain duties of the important 
office with courage and vigor. Monroe, as Secretary of War, proposed a 
conscription system to increase the regular army. This was denounced 
by Connecticut as unconstitutional, intolerably barbarous and oppressive, 
and the governor of the State was authorized to call a special 
session of the legislature to provide for the protection of the 
citizens should such a bill pass into a law. Discontent all through New 
England occasioned, great alarm at Washington. News came that Massa- 
chusetts had appropriated a million of dollars toward the support of a 
State army of ten thousand men, to relieve the militia in service, and to 
be under the exclusive State coutrol. Next followed a mysterious com- 
munication to the State Department from a pretended representative of 
the royal family of the Stuarts, having certain claims to the soil of New 
York, which revealed the existence of a treasonable committee in Boston 
preparing to establish the kingdom of New England, with the Duke of 
Kent, the British Prince Regent's brother, at its head ! 

Madison lived in terror. William Wirt, who called upon him on th^ 
16th, wrote : " He looks miserably shattered and woe-begone. In 
short, he looks heart-broken. His mind is full of the New Eng- 
land sedition. I denied its [jrobability, or even its possibility." Re- 


searches in Boston failed to exhume any such committee or plot But 
the maturing plan of a convention at Hartford was supposed to be a sign 
that New England seriously contemplated withdrawal from the Union. 
Intelligence from Ghent came also of a dislieartening character. On the 
0th of August Lord Gam bier, Henry Goulburn, and William Adams had 
finally appeared for Great Britain ; but their propositions were such that 
the American diplomatists promptly declined to consider them. It 
seemed for a time as if all eflbrts to negotiate a treaty would be fruitless. 
The le^'islature of New York resolved unanimously that the tenns 

Oct 22. 

' proposed by (h-eat Britain were "extmvagant and disgraceful," 
and voted to funiish a local force of twelve thousand men. 

At the expiration of the three months* term of servicje of the New 
York militia, a grand muster and review of all the troops that 
could be spared from duty took place in the city, and was de- 
scribed as the finest military «j)ectacle witnessed since the lievolution. 
The line was formed in Broadway, the right in Franklin Street, and 
reached out l^yond the junction of the I^wery. Tlie column marched 
tlirough the principal streets heailed by Governor Tompkins and a numer- 
ous sUifl'.* One of the young officers in the company of riflemen who i«- 
nided in the procession was Samuel Hanson Cox, afterwards the celebrate*! 
pulpit orator and theologian. The statesman and scholar, Theodore Fre- 
linghuysen, was tlie captain of a company. Almost every New York 
family was represented in the army. George Wyllys Benedict, son of 
Rev. Joel Tyler Benedict, and elder brother of the present Chancellor of 
the University of the State of New York, wiis among the soldiers. He 
was subsequently professor in thtJ University of Vermont, and distin- 
guished as a naturalist and a jurist^ 

* Goodrich's Chronoloffical JliMitry of New York, p. 105. On the 6tli of Nownibt* r the Com- 
niittee of defense made out a re]H>rt to the CoriMi-ation giving a detailed ai'couut of the work 
acconipliBhed. They made special mention of the valuable ttervices of Oeneml Swift, who 
received the thanks of the city, with a request for his |»ortrait. Goodrich ttays : *'A^ a 
final close to the transaction, soon after, the Secretar\' of the Treasury of the United States 
remitted to the comptroller of the city, in full for the mu million of dollars advanced doring 
the war by the Corporation for the defense of this |K»rt, stoi-k of the six |)er cents at the ma^ 
ket value, 11,100,009.87 ; which, after adding other claims, in all $1,204,826.25, of the 
city to the principal loan, which the government did not immediately allow, still left a gain 
to the city trasuiy of about ont hundrrd and fifty thotuand dollars^ in the advanced )ince of 
the atock afterwards. Several years subHetiueiitly the debt was fully liquidated.'* 

^ Prof. George Wyllys Benedict was deHcenili'd fn>ni Thomas Benetiict, nifntioneil in 

nole, pege 202, Vol. I. ; his four sons all liecanic men of e4iiinenc'e. 1. rharleh Linnrus 

edict, Lli.D., ap|iointed by President lincoln TnitHl States J udgi' of the Eastern Diiitrict 

T York, and who has lieen called upon to decide many interesting, novel, and inipor- 

si; S. Geoige Greenville Benedict, A. >r., editor of the Burlington Free Freas ; 3. 

iwey Benedict, A. M., a prominent lawyer of New York City ; 4. Benjamin Lincoln 

Km ILf well known aa a jounudiBt. 


Monroe's scheme for a standing army of conscripts fell to the ground. 
Dallas made little progress in trying to establish a non-specie-paying 
government bank. The recruiting service came to a complete standstill 
as winter opened for want of funds. Every department of the govern- 
ment was behindhand in its paymenta Tompkins sustained the garrison 
at New York by his own private credit, but it was an exceptional instance 
among the States. The treasury, to meet the pressure upon its resources, 
could only issue new treasury notes, reluctantly accepted by the most 
necessitous of the government creditors, and passing, in private transac- 
tions, at a discount of twenty-two per cent. New tax-bills were intro- 
duced into Congress, and opposed with angry vehemence ; several passed 
into laws about the middle of December. The year was drawing 
to a dose with nineteen millions of unpaid debts, and only about 
four and one half millions of uncollected dues as a treasury balance. 
And to add to the darkness of the hour, the dreaded New England Con- 
vention of twenty-six wise and eminent men assembled at Hartford on 
the 16th, and proceeded to deliberate with closed doors. For 
three weeks the curiosity and suspicion of the war-party centered 
about that little body. And when it finally adjourned, the seal of secrecy 
was not removed because of the possibility of being obliged to reassemble ; 
thus the widest scope was given to conjecture as to its real designs, and 
it was made the target of all manner of bitter denunciations. 

With the opening year the helpless and almost hopeless administration 
was without money or credit. The formidable armament of Ad- 
miral Cochrane was known to be on its way to New Orleans, a 
veteran army in Canada menaced an early invasion of New York in the 
spring, and, at latest accoimts, Great Britain refused to treat for peace 
unless permitted to retain all American territory which might be held by 
British troops when the treaty was signed. Even the navy, which the 
aooomplished officers who composed the germ of the service had demon- 
strated, from fact to fact, the ability of the American character to main- 
tain with honor, was languishing for want of ships and means. Decatur 
was ordered to sea in the President as soon as the danger of an imme- 
diate attack upon New York City had subsided. He dashed past the 
Uockaders at &indy Hook on the dark night of January 14th, in 
the midst of a severe gale of wind and snow, but was chased by the 
whole British squadron, and, after maintaining a running fight along the 
south shore of Long Island for nearly three hours, was obliged to sur- 
render. The Hornet, Captain Riddle, haviug successfully run the block- 
ade at New Londoi) to join Decatur's squadron, sailed unmolested from 
Sandy Hook at daybreak on the 22d, {icco!n[)anie(l by the Peacock and 


Tom Bowline, all under Decatur's command and in ignorance of the fate 
of the President, The Constitviion, Captain Charles Stewart, cruising in 
the vicinity of Lisbon about a month later, fell in with two British ships 
of war, the Cyane and the Levant, and captured them after a sharp con- 
flict of forty minutes. The Wasp, which had performed many gallant 
exploits during 1814, mysteriously disappeared, and all her people per- 
ished in some unknown way in the solitudes of the sea. 

It was the gloomiest moment America had known since the beginning 
of the war. But suddenly a gleam of light illuminated the horizon. 
News, first from New Orleans, then from Ghent, created boundless exulta- 
tion. The tone of the British government had changed as its troops were 
defeated in one place after another; and as its demands were relinquished, 
no further obstacles in the way of an accommodation remained. A treaty 
of peace was signed by the commissioners of the two nations on the 24th 
of December, 1814, and immediately transmitted to London. It was 
ratified on the 28th of the same month by the Prince Regent. The ship 
Favorite arrived in New York under a flag of truce February 11, 
bringing two messengers, one British, the other American, with 
the unexpected treaty. It was late Saturday evening. If the city had 
l)een struck by lightning, the news could not have spread with more 
rapidity than the word peace. People rushed into the streets in an 
ecstasy of delight. Cannon bellowed and thundered, bells of every de- 
scription rang in one triumphant peal, bonfires were lighted at the cor- 
ners of the streets, rows of candles were placed in the windows, flags were 
unfurled from steeples and domes, and night was literally turned into day. 
Strong men wept as tliey grasped each other by the hand in silent grati- 
tude ; others fell on their knees and offered touching prayers. Amid 
shouts and huzzas, expresses were sent out in every direction. No one 
stopped to inquire about the terms of the treaty. It was enough to know 
that peace was proclaimed. The Sabbath that followed was a day of 
thanksgiving. The churches were crowded, and every heart seemed 
melting. There was joy all over the land, and especially along the mari- 
time frontier. Schools were given a holiday in every town as the news 
came ; the whole peo])le, quitting their employments, hastened to con- 
gratulate each other at the relief, not only from foreign war, but from 
the terrible impending cloud of internal and civil struggla 





N«w York City and Harbor. — Effects of the War. — Grand Ball in Nbw York. 
— The Treaty of Ghent. — Napoleon's Return from Elba. —The Commercial 
Contention. — Diplomatic Affairs. — Philanthropy. — Importance of New 
York in History. — The Erie Canal Project. — De Witt Clinton. — The Canal 
Meeting. — Cunton's Celebrated Memorial. —Action of the Legislature.- 
The Canal Commissioners. — Importations. — Finances. — Slavery. — The new 
Canal Bill of 1817. — Increduuty. — Opposition. — The Battle of the Bill. — 
Breaking Ground. — Charities. — The Deaf and Dumb Asylum. — Societies. — 
Sabbath Schools. — The Common-School System. — Emigration. — Pauperism in 
the City. — Designing the National Flag. — The First Savings Bank. — The 
Yellow Fever. — Charles Matthews. — Edmund Kean. — Interior of the Park 
Theater. —Social Life of New York. — President Monroe. — The Gouverneurs 
OF New York. — Great Political Blunder of 1824. — Re-election of Governor 
Clinton. — Lafayette's Arrival in New York City. — Breaking Ground for 
the Ohio Canal. — Lafayette's Tour through the Country. — The Van Cort- 
landt Manor-house. 

■TTT"ITH the restoration of tranquillity the whole aspect of New York 
VV City was transformed as if by magic. Stores and warehouses 
long closed were freshly furbished and thrown open, newspapers were 
filled with advertisements, government stocks advanced, streets became 
clogged with vehicles once more, the hum of industry was heard on every 
side, and men with starving families found ready employment. The 
ship-yards were literally alive, and commerce plumed her white 
wings in preparation for flight to all quarters of the globe. The 
harbor was a peculiarly animated picture as the ice disappeared; and 
its beauty and its magnitude were appreciated as never before. " Neither 
Naples nor Constantinople unites the various advantages of sea and river 
communication for which New York is distinguished," wrote an English 
annalist of the period ; while another writer described the " capacious bay 
formed by the conflux of the two great rivers and surrounded by protect- 
ing headlands," as sufficiently extensive to " float in perfect safety all the 
^i^bined navies of the worl4.'' 


The population of New York City, according to the census taken in 
1814, was a fraction over ninety-two thousand, inclusive of nearly one 
thousand n^ro slaves. The war had interrupted public improvements 
of every description, as well as the general business of the metropolis. 
But the city was still wealthy with the fruits of her wonderful progress 
since the Bevolution, and her leading citizens had ?ost none of their 
broad intelligence, liberal views, and energetic activity. The talent, en- 
terprise, and genius of all America poured in ; and those who were fortu- 
nate enough to obtain a foothold, quickly imbibed the spirit of the New 
York people. Capital was not confined exclusively to business, nor to the 
city limits ; it began, almost simultaneously with the marvelous leap of 
the city forward on her grand career of prosperity, to flow into works of 
internal improvement all over the country in never-ceasing streams. 
The treaty of peace was ratified by the President on the 17th of Feb- 
ruary. The corporation of New York appointed the 19th as a 
day of prayer and thanksgiving to be observed by the various 
churches of the city — and the religious observances were of peculiar 
solemnity and interest. By order of the corporation, also, a grand illu- 
mination of the " City Hall and all inhabited dwellings " took place on 
the evening of the 22d, attended by a most brilliant and costly 
display of fireworks. As soon as preparations could be perfected, a 
"superb ball" was given in honor of the joyful peace. Washington Hall, 
in Broadway, contained a great dancing-room, sixty by eighty feet, which 
was arranged for this occasion to present the appearance of a 
magnificent pavilion or temple, with eighteen pillars, on each of 
which was the name of a State ; it was styled the " Temple of Concord." 
At the end of the room, under a canopy of flags, and suiTounded with 
orange and lemon trees filled with fruit, was the " Bower of Peace." The 
guests numbered six hundred, and the newspapers of the day pronounced 
the scene " a picture of feminine loveliness, beauty, fashion, and elegance 
not to be surpassed in America." ^ 

The glad tidings of peace was received in Canada with transports of 
delight ; and there was great rejoicing in England. The treaty had not 
secured all that was desired. Neither country was exactly satisfied with 
the particular details of the agreement, but it guaranteed the positive 
and permanent independence of the United States, and the perpetuation 

^ Among the New York lidies preseDt at this elegant entertainment were the managen 
of the AMOciation for the Relief of the Soldiers in the Field, formed in 1814 — Mrs. Generd 
L0wis» Mn. Marinna Willett, Mrs. WiUiam Few, Mrs. DaWd Gelston, Mrs. Philip Uvingi- 
toOt Mn. Colonel Laight, Mrs. Thomas Morris, Mrs. William Roas, Mrs. Nathan Sanfofd, 
Ma. Duifll Smith, Mn. Lather Bndiah, Miss M. Bleecker, Miaa H. Lewis, Miss H. £. G. 


and growth of free institutions. It was, moreover, an acknowledgment 
on the part of Great Britain of the existence of a formidable rival for the 
supremacy of the seas. Its first article provided for the termination of 
hostilities by land and by sea. The second related to the period after 
which the capture of prizes should be deemed invalid. By the third 
article all prisoners of war taken on either side were to be restored as 
soon as practicable after the ratifications of the treaty. By the fourth, 
the conflicting claims of the two nations in I'eference to islands in the 
bay of Passamaquoddy were referred to two commissioners who should 
be appointed, one from each government. The fifth, sixth, seventh, and 
eighth articles, related to questions of boundary. By the ninth, it was 
agreed that both parties should put an end to hostilities with the Indians. 
The tenth related to the trafKc in negro slaves, to promote the entire 
abolition of which both parties agreed to use their best endeavors. Sin- 
gular as it may seem, no mention was made in the treaty of the causes 
which led to the quarrel. Great Britain quietly abandoned her encroach- 
ments upon American commerce, and the right of search and impress- 
ment was heard of no more. 

The American diplomatists at Ghent gave a public dinner to the 
ministers from Great Britain prior to leaving the continent ; th^ Inten- 
dant of Ghent, and numerous distinguished gentlemen were present. 
Everything indicated that the most perfect reconciliation had taken place 
between the two nations. Lord Gambier arose to give the first toast, 
" The United States of North America," but was prevented by the cour- 
tesy of John Quincy Adams, wlio gave, " His Majesty, the King of Eng- 
land " — upon which the music struck up " God save the King." Lord 
Gambier then gave as a second toast, " The United States, etc.," and the 
music played " Hail Columbia." A supplement to the treaty for the reg- 
ulation of commercial intercourse was to be negotiated in London, and 
Gallatin and Clfey proceeded at once to that city. Adams waited for his 
family, then on a long and perilous journey from St. Petersburg to Paris, 
and thereby witnessed the meteoric return of Napoleon from Elba, 
who, without firing a gun, drove Louis XVIII. from the throne 
to which he had just been restored by the combined armies of the world. 
Ere long a commercial convention was signed, copied substantially from 
Jay's treaty, but with an additional proviso for absolute reci- 
procity in the direct trade, by the abolition on both sides of all ^ 
discrimination. This convention was ratified by the President on the 
22d of December, and has ever since formed the basis of com- _ _ 

Dec. 22* 

merce and trade between the two countries. 
Prior to the adjournment of Congress measures were taken for the 


adjustment of national affairs in accordance with the new order of things. 
An appropriation was made for rebuilding the public edifices lately burned 
by the British in Washington. Systems of finance were discussed for the 
maintenance of the public credit and the extinction of the national debt 
— amounting to one hundred and twenty millions ; and diplomatic 
relations were re-established with the nations of Europe. John Quincy 
Adams was appointed minister to the Court of St James, and was re- 
garded in England as a statesman of unsurpassed general information, 
with a critical knowledge of the politics of the world. Albert Gallatin, 
whose gifts in diplomacy had been of signal value when the scales were 
trembling in the balance, was sent to France — William Harris Crawford 
having asked permission to return ; and James A. Bayard was appointed 
to succeed Adams at St Petersburg, but was seized with an alarming 
illness and hastened home to die. 

The devastating effects of the war were severely felt in New York. And 
yet the interruption to foreign trade had given birth to many branches 
of domestic manufacture. The people on the borders of the State were 
in serious distress, and appealed to the city for relief. It was only a few 
months since upwards of seven thousand dollars had been sent to the 
sufferers on the Niagara frontier alone, of which three thousand was voteii 
by the corporation, three thousand raised by private subscription, and the 
Inlance contributed by the Episcopal churches. Steps were taken to meet 
the fresh demand, and philanthropists and philosophers consoled them- 
selves, at first with the glaring ostentation of brilliant and heroic achieve- 
ments — destined to reflect the highest luster upon the American name, 
and rank the United States among the first nations of the earth — and 
then in the study of their lasting significance. 

It was impossible for the actors in the great struggle to foresee the pro- 
digious consequences of their devotion to cause and country. But it is 
none the less apparent to the intelligence of the present generation. The 
war had not only settled the question of the right of the United States to 
remain at peace irrespective of quarrels between other nations — the prin- 
ciple upon which Washington started, on which the Jay treaty was 
founded, and which since the treaty of Ghent has been universally recog- 
nized by the most ruthless belligerents — but it enlaiged immensely the 
boundaries of self-knowledge in America. The passage of troops through 
the western wilds opened to the national vision boundless resources of 
wealth. The enormous expense and trouble attending internal transpor- 
tation of stores for the army, awakened public attention throughout the 
oountiy to the necessity of an increase of traveling facilities. 

New York, with as much territory as England, and promisiiig to be- 



come as importaQt in Uie future hiatoiy of the world as EDgland has been 
in the past, was Dot slow in makiDg ready to execute the greatest work 
of intenial improvement the world had ever known. The Erie Canal 
project was reagitated on a less doubtful basis than before the war, 
even while jubilant canDoo were waking the forest echoes. There had 
been nothing vague or anreal in the fatigue, tribulation, and cost of con- 
veying war materials from Albany to the I^kea. In one instance the 
expense of mov- 
ing cannon was 
double what the 
pieces cost The 
breaking down 
of wi^ns, the 
wearing out of 
horses, the ha- 
nuD discomfort, 
and the dis 
Lttmiis delays 
were strong ar 
gunienta in fa 
vorof the enter 
pnse But it ap- 
peared imprac - 
ticable. Many 
denounced it as 
» holly vision 
ary. It was too ^ 
vast in its con- 
ception for the 
common intel- 
lect The natio- 
nal government declined to furnish any material aid The idea of raieii^ 
sufficient money in the Slate of New York alone was laughed at as the 
delusion of a fanatic. And it was supposed Anierici had no engmeers of 
sufficient scientific ability and experience to accomphah an undertaking 
of such magnitude. 

De Witt Clintou's belief in the practicability of constructing a water 
highway from the Atlantic Ocean to the Lakes was like an inspiration 
He was not the originator nor the projector of the EriL Canal But when 
the crude scheme first took possession of his active brain his judgment of 
its [»sctical value, through his knowledge of the top%raphy of the inte 



rior of the State, was instantaneous. He entered heart and soul into the 
enterprise from which he rightly predicted incalculable benefits were to 
flow, and gave to it shape and substance, life and animation ; be became 
emphatically the master-spirit to carry it successfully forward He was 
void of timidity, earnest even to asperity, prompt, energetic, and never 
disheartened by opposition, or hesitant where results depended upon the 
assumption of extraordinary responsibilities. He was arbitrary although 
kind-hearted, a safe counselor, a self-sacrificing friend, a discriminating 
judge, and generous to a fault, but one who never could forgive any politi- 
cal friend who interfered with his canal policy. As mayor of the city he 
was conspicuous for his faithful attention to its general prosperity. His 
genius found scope in planning important institutions, and in crowding 
forward the work of opening streets. 

He was exceptionally dignified in personal appearance, tall, exceeding 
six feet in height, with a large, well-proportioned figure. His movements 
were deliberate, and in general society constrained, as if not perfectly at 
ease, which his opponents ascribed to arrogance and a sense of superi- 
ority. His head, finely shaped and admirably poised, was distinguished 
for the great height and breadth of Us forehead ; he had beautiful curly 
chestnut hair, clear hazel eyes, a Grecian nose, and complexion as fair as 
a woman's. His tastes were literary ; he had collected a large library, 
and was perfectly familiar with the contents of every volume, from Ho- 
mer, Virgil, and Dryden, down to the Salmagundi of his own generation. 
He was well-read in theology, and he was captivated by science. He 
was, indeed, a man so wedded to the pursuit of knowledge that the won- 
der is that he ever embarked upon the stormy sea of politics, unless it was 
through his perception of the need of power to give efiect to his efibrts 
for the recognition of religion, and the advancement of education, art, 
science, and morala He lacked many of the requisites for a successful 
politiciaiL His doctrines, objects, and public policy were open. He had 
no gifts for strategy, no disposition to driU men into mere machines or 
employ unusual weapond, ambushes, or surprises, to crush an adversary. 
The severer the scrutiny into his character, conduct, and career, tie 
brighter becomes his fama Even his bitterest foes never denied that his 
intellectual attainments were balanced with unsullied morals. 

Late in the autumn of 1815 Judge Jonas Piatt was in New York City 
holding court. Mayor Clinton had just returned from his country- 
seat on Long Island, and was residing in the Roosevelt house in 
Pearl Street. Judge Piatt dined with him, and the caned subject formed 
the staple of conversation. Thomas Eddy a few days later invited Uie 
mayor and the judge to dinner ; John Pintard was also a guest It was 


deteriaiued on this occasion to issue some one hundred cards of invita- 
tion to influential gentlemen of the city, to meet at the City Hotel in 
consultation concerning the much-desired canal. At the time appointed 
the assemblage gathered. William Bayard was chairman of the meeting, 
and John Pintard secretary ; and, after addresses by Judge Piatt, Mayor 
Clinton, and one or two others who objected to the proposed measure, a 
committee was chosen to prepare and circulate a memorial to the legisla- 
ture in favor of the Erie Canal, consisting of Mayor Clinton, Thomas 
Eddy, Cadwallader D. Colden, and John Swartwout. 

This celebrated production was from the pen of De Witt Clinton, and 
attracted general notice. Its style of expression, sagacious reasoning, 
and immense amount of condensed infonnation concerning the State of 
New York, was particularly eflFective. It was read with avidity. It 
appealed directly to the interests of the city. The whole commercial 
intercourse of the western country north of the Ohio would be secured by 
the contemplated canal — more than sufficient to render New York the 
greatest commercial city in the world. Clinton wrote, " The whole line 
of canal will exhibit boats laden with flour, pork, beef, pot and pearl 
ashes, flax-seed, wheat, barley, com, hemp, wool, flax, iron, lead, copper, 
salt, gypsum, coal, tar, fur, peltry, ginseng, beeswax, cheese, butter, lard, 
staves, lumber, and other valuable productions of our country ; and, also, 
with merchandise from all parts of the world. Great manufacturing es- 
tablishments will spring up ; agriculture will establish its granaries, and 
a)mmerce its warehouses in all directions. Villages, towns, and cities 
will line the banks of the canal and the shores of the Hudson." The 
document comprehended accurate knowledge of the subject in every 
feature. It contained plans and estimates, and suggested how means 
could be procured. The money would not be all wanted at once ; and 
stock could be created and sold at an advanced price. In Clinton's 
opinion the augmented revenue from the public salt-works, together with 
the increased price of the State lands because of the undertaking, would 
more than extinguish the interest, at six per cent, of the debt thus con- 
tracted. Land had already been subscribed, and donations might be con- 
fidently anticipated, exceeding in value a million dollars. 

Hitherto the New York mind had been flooded with an immense 
amount of loose material concerning the utility of inland navigation. But 
knowledge is not'enlightenment. It required this able memorial to give 
definite direction to thought as well as action. Hundreds were converted 
from rank skepticism as to its practicability. Others were led to a more 
just conception of its propriety. While it was known that a collection 
of inland lakes in the heart of America exceeded in extent some of the 


most celebrated seas in the Old World, multitudes saw for the first time, 
in the geographical view presented by Clinton, that the cost of transport- 
ing a barrel of flour to Albany from Cayuga Lake, for instance, was 
nearly double that of conveying it to Montreal by the way of Lake Onta- 
rio and the St. Lawrence ; and that merchandise from Montreal was selling 
on the New York borders full fifteen per cent below the New York prices. 
In concluding his masterly argument, Clinton said : " If the project of a 
canal was intended to advance the views of individuals, or to foment the 
divisions of party; if it promoted the interests of a few at the expense of the 
prosperity of the many ; if its benefits were limited as to place, or fugitive 
as to duration ; then, indeed, it might be received with cold indifiTerence, or 
treated with stern neglect ; but the overflowing blessings from this great 
fountain of public good and national abundance will be as extensive as 
our country, and as durable as time. It may be confidently asserted, that 
this canal, as to the extent of its route, as to the countries which it con- 
nects, and as to the consequences which it will produce, is without a par- 
allel in the history of mankind. It remains for a fi'ee State to create a 
new era in history, and to erect a work more stupendous, more magnifi- 
cent, and more beneficial than has hitherto been achieved by the human 

Numerous prominent men of the city signed the memorial Meetings 
were held in Albany, Utica, Buffalo, and many intermediate towns, and 
resolutions passed to support the gigantic undertaking so nobly heralded. 
On the other hand appalling difficulties arose in the feai-s of the prudent, 
who thought New York too young to commence single-handed a work 
of such magnitude, as well as in rival and hostile local interests, in the 
satire of the incredulous, and in political cabals. The legislature assem- 
bled in January. The memorial was soon presented. Intense feeling, 

for and against, was awakened from the start. On the 21st, 
' Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer, one of the most accomplished and 
skillful legislators in the country, introduced a bill, which, notwithstand- 
ing the modifications to which it was subjected, was the germ of enact- 
ments that crowned the enterprise with success. He said New York was 
capable of sustaining as dense a population as any section of the globe, 
and if enabled to pour its productions and its wealth into its chief city, 
blessings of every kind would follow. He spoke like the guardian of the 
State, and with the forecast of a statesman; and his words carried weight, 
fis he could have no private interests at stake. He represented a county 

lyin<^ on a i?reat navicjable river, having direct intercourse with the 

Apnl3. •/ ^ o o ' o 

city of New York at a very cheap rate. The debate on the bill was 
opened with animation on the 3d of April, William Alexander Duer in the 


chair, a grandson of Lord Stirling, and an active friend of the canaL 
Duer had acquired great influence, through his critical erudition, and to 
his superiority of intellect was added the charm of a graceful and imposing 
parliamentary manner. The fate of the bill hung for many days in the 
balance. Among those who courageously and vigorously espoused its cause 
was Peter Augustus Jay. On the 13th it passed the Assembly, with 
a variety of amendments, and with commissioners named — De 
Witt Clinton, Stephen Van Rensselaer, Henry Seymour, Samuel Young, 
Joseph Ellicotv, William Bayard, Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer, Greorge 
Huntington, Townsend McCoun, Melancthon Wheeler, Philip J. Schuyler, 
Myron Holley, John Nicholas, and Nathan Smith. It was taken up in 
the senate on the 16th, and on motion of Martin Van Buren amended by 
striking out all that went to authorize tlie beginning of the work. The 
names of nine of the commissioners were also stricken from the _, . 


list In this shape it became a law on the 17th, and twenty 
thousand dollars were appropriated for the necessary expenses of explora- 
tions and models. 

The five commissioners retained were Stephen Van Rensselaer, De 
Witt Clinton, Samuel Young, Joseph EUicott, and Myron Holley. They 
met in New York City in May, and organized with De Witt Clinton, 
president, Samuel Young, secretary, and Myron Holley, treasurer. 
They spent the summer in examining physical obstacles, in trying 
to conciliate public opinion, and in devising a system of finance to meet 
the vast expenditures which a canal would involve. 

This year was rendered memorable among commercial men for the enor- 
mous importation of merchandise from Europe of every description. A 
new impulse was given to business. The financial condition of the 
ooimtiy was improving under the influence of a national bank — which 
Seoetaiy Dallas had at l&st succeeded in establishing. His plan, modeled 
after Hamilton's, except in a few particulars, was carried into effect on the 
10th of April, 1816. During the same month James Monroe received 
tbe nomination for President, and Grovemor Tompkins of New York for 
^^oe-Pkesident of the United States. 

Befoie the canal commissioners reported the results of their investiga- 
tioBft to fhe l^islature, in the winter of 1817, the Presidential 
ihetioii had taken place. Thus the oflice of governor of New 
Todt would be vacant on the 4th of March. Measures were in agitation 
to pfam De Witt Clinton in the gubernatorial chair, which awoke all the 
AoBbaiiig animosities and prejudices of a decade. The contest was no 
lomer between the great national parties. The Erie Canal was the spinal 
coinBUi of New York politics. 


Tilt! HioHth of April, 1817, opened with preparations for an olistiiiatv 
stiiiyyle. The Fortieth session of the New York Leyialature hail already 
distiu^islied itself by adopting the immortal recommendation of Guvernnr 
Tompkins in .Tannary — that slaverj' should cease forever in the State 
of New York on tiie 4th of July, 1827. This great measure in behalf of 
human right* was duo chiefly to the exertions of Peter A. Jay and Wil- 
liam Jay, sons of the chief justice, Cadwallader D. Golden, and other 
distin^^'uished philanthropists of the city of Now York, several of whom 
liolonf;ed to the Society of Friends. The new canal bill, shaped by I>e 
U'itt Clinton, and embracing a careful estimate of the coat of the 
' proposes! work, occupied attention in the Assembly from the 1st 
to the 10th of April, when it passed by a very small majority. Duriii;; 
the debate Stephen Van Rensselaer sent in a proposition for undert^ikin^ 
the whole Krie Canal himself, so confident was he of the vast profits ami 
ailvantages in prospect. Judge Xathaniel Pendleton, who had been sup- 
jiosed hostile to the bill, came out strongly in its favor on the 8th. He was 
a [lerfoct gentleman of the old school, conscientious and high-minded, 
and it was only after patient study of the surveys and calculations that 
his sober judgment helped to turn the scale. He made an important 
speech on the subject, provoked by the determined opposition of Judge 
James Kmott, whose talents were of the first onler, and in whose opinion 
New York should not embark in the enterprise for a long time t<> come — 
n man able to cool ardor most effectually with an appalling table of 
figiii'es. William R ICochester, a young member of great promise, made 
his first [larlianientary efforts in a succession of brilliant speechi's. 
Wheeler ISames and John I. Ostrandcr were both conspicuous for elo- 
tiucnce and fon-e of aigument in favor of the canaL Itut seveml delega- 
tions bad come anned with the most formidable weapons of antagonism. 
On the 9th \Villiam A. Duer recommenced the debate in liia ablest man- 
ner. He said he should sustain the cause and persevere to the end. His 
words did not seem greatly to affect bis hearers. At this critical moment 
Elisha WiUiams cftme to the rescue. He was one of the strong men of 
his time, polished and commanding u a public speaker, and as remarkable 
He sustained Duer manfully, 
ysectioa, answered all the (juestions of its lead- 

R opponi'nta, tore tJie mask from those pretended frieiids who were se- 
retly aiming at Uie destruction of the bill — a torrent of in%*ective flowing 
e continuous streAin from his lips like burning Inva — and by happy 

rokefl of humor extlngiitshod p«lty objeclinn^, thickly iuteraperaed by 

(tisUton wlUwut UltJ mind to omiwiva or judgnn-iit to appreciate great 
cfinnl. Hi- tnnx'd U)W»nU the delegation from 


New York City, who, unlike their predecessors of 1816, were, almost to a 
mau, hostile to the canal, and drew an animated jiicture of the future 
grandeur of the metropolis when the great channels of inland navigation 
should be completed, exclaiming with magnetic warmth, " If the canal is 
U) be a shower of gold, it will fall upon New York City ; if a river of 
gold, it will flow into her lap." 

Thus far the battle was won. The bill went to the senate, where, on 
motion of George Tibbitts, it was made the special order for the 
following day. On the 12th and on the 14th it was discussed 
with spirit The opponents, among whom were Walter Bowne, Peter 
R Livingston, Lucas Elmendorf, Isaac Ogdeu, and Moses Cantine, spoke 
successively against any precipitate measures. George Tibbitts made a 
sound and judicious speech, followed by Martin Van Bureu in favor of 
the bill This last was the great argument of the session. Van Bureu was 
known to be adroitly working to defeat Clinton's election as governor, on 
the ground that be bad a secret understanding with the Federalists, and 
such a masterly eflort in favor of Clinton's project surprised many. Van 
Buren said the canal was to promote the interest and character of the 
State in a thousand ways ; he should vote for it, and should consider it 
the most important vote he ever gave in his life. When he resumed his 
seat, Clinton, who had been an attentive listener in the Senate Chamber, 
breaking through the extreme reserve created by political collisions, ap- 
proached and congratulated him in the most flattering terms. 

The bUl passed the Senate on the 15th, but it was subjected to another 
severe ordeal in the council of revision, of which Lieutenant-govemur 
Tayler was president, one of the most distinguished as well ns for- 
midable opponents of the measure. Chancellor James Kent, Chief Jus- 
tice Smitli Thompson, Judge Jonas Piatt, and Judge Joseph C. Yates — 
aftenntrdB governor of the State — were present. Piatt and Yates 
mn decidedly in the affirmative. The chancellor said it seemed ^"^ ^ 
VBa a giguitio project which would require the wealth of the United 
States \m acconipljab, aud h« thought it inexpedient to commit the State 
until public opinion could be better united. The chief justice said the 
bin gave arbitrary powers to tlie commissioners over private rights with- 
Mil snffivteut provisos and guards ; he was, therefore, opposed. The 
crims was alarming. TayJiM held the casting vote. Near tlie close of 
the disuiission Vice-President Tompkins entered the council-chamber, 
and took his seat familiarly ; he expressed a decided opinion against the 
!, that the late peace with Great Britain was a mere truce, 
<«lit and resources of the State ought to be employed in 
t * Po you think so ? " asked Chancellor Kent. " Yes," 


was the reply, " England will never forgive us for our victories ; and, my 
word for it, we shall have another war within two years." The chanceUor 
sprang to his feet, and with great animation declared : " Then if we miist 
have war or have a canal, I am in favor of the canal, and I vote for this 
bill." His voice gave the majority, and the bill became a law.^ 

The first meeting of the commissioners was held in Utica on the 3d of 

June to receive proposals and make contracts. It was determined 

^* to brealc ground in the vicinity of Bome, and an arrangement 

was made for appropriate ceremonies. The 4th of July was the day 

chosen. At sunrise the commissioners and a large concourse of citizens 

assembled at the place appointed. In behali' of the community of 

^**'' the region a few pertinent remarks were made by Hon. Joshua 

Hathaway, who presented the spade to De Witt Clinton, president .of the 

commissioners, and also governor of the State — having been duly 

elected in April despite all efforts to the contrary. Clinton placed 
it in the hands of Judge James Bichardson, the first contractor engaged 
in the work. Samuel Young then made a short address, in which he 
said with striking emphasis, "By this great highway unborn millions 
will transport their surplus productions to the shores of the Atlantic, and 
hold a useful and profitable intercourse with all the maritime nations of 
the earth. Let us proceed to the work animated by the prospect of its 
speedy accomplishment, and cheered with the anticipated benedictions of 
a grateful posterity " ; after which the spade was thrust into the earth 
by Bichardson, citizens and laborers, ambitious of the honor, following 
his example amid the firing of cannon and the acclamations of thousands 
of spectatora. 

Though the beginning was thus auspicious, the canal in it^ progress 
met with obstacles of every kind and character. To expect to accomplish 
such a work without other means than what New York could provide 
seemed to the mass of the people like a prodigious dream. The venerable 
Jefferson, a zealous advocate of internal improvements, said it had been 
undertaken a century too soon. Madison thought its cost would exceed 
the whole resources of the nation. Bufus King declined to sanction a 
project involving the ruin and bankruptcy of the State. Sensible and 
sagacious men all over the country questioned the soundness of Clinton's 
views. Appropriations from year to year were obtained from the legis- 
lature with the utmost difficulty, and Clinton's repeated assurances that 
the resources of the State were ample to meet the whole expenditure 
were ridiculed as the vagaries of a monomaniac. It seemed many times 
as if between the madness of politicians and the skepticism of the public 

^ Letter from Judge Jonas PlaU to Dr, ffomxck' 


the enterprise would be effectually crippled. No man in the develop- 
ment of a grand idea for the common good was more abused than Clinton. 
His inflexible perseverance was quoted in derision, the canal was staled 
" a big ditch," in which, it was said, " would be buried the treasure of the 
State, to be watered by the tears of posterity." His powerful speeches 
were garbled by writers of every grade, and his eloquence over the " na- 
tional glory connected with the enterprise " was turned into shafts of wit 
and satire to be used as weapons for his overthrow. He was hissed on 
one occasion while addressing a crowd in the Park, from the steps of the 
New York City Hall, for predicting that the city would within a century 
stretch continuously to the shore of the Harlem Biver ! 

" Don't thee think friend Clinton has a bee in his bonnet ? " asked a 
worthy Quaker of the gentleman who stood next him. 

Persistent opposition to Clinton's administration soon developed itself, 
giving origin to the formation of two new and distinctly marked parties, 
known as the Bucktails and the Clintonians. It was after a long and 
fierce struggle between the Bucktails on the one side and the Clintonians 
and Federalists on the other, that a new State constitution was framed and 
adopted in the autumn of 1821. Clinton was four times elected governor; 
he occupied the position nine years, the whole period, indeed, from the 
date of his first election until his death in 1828, with the exception of one 
term, 1822 - 1824, when Joseph C. Yates was the successful candidate. 
The five canal commissioners continued in office, as named in the act of 
1816. Vacancies were to be filled by the legislature, as in the national 
senata In 1819 Ellicott resigned, and Henry Seymour was appointed in 
his stead, holding the office some twelve years.^ In 1821 William C. 
Bouck, afterwards governor of the State, was appointed an additional com- 
missioner.* Under authority conferred by the act of 1817, the Supreme 
Court of New York appointed Richard Varick, William Walton Woolsey,' 
Nathaniel W. Howell, Obadiah German, and Elisha Jenkins to appraise 
the property of the former canal company, about to be purchased. 

^ Heniy Seymour, bom May 30, 1780, was the son of Major Moses Seymour of Litch- 
fidd, Connecticut, who participated in the capture of Burgoyne, and was one of the officers 
pment at the memorable dinner to which Burgoyne was invited on the day foUowing the 
capitulation. His wife was Molly, daughter of Colonel Ebenezer Marsh. They had one 
daughter, who married her cousin, Rev. Truman Marsh, and five sons, of whom one settled in 
Vermonty and was United States Senator for a dozen years, another became distinguished as 
a financier and hank president, two were high sheriffs of the county, and Henry, the canal 
oommiaaioner, settled early in Onondaga County, New York, where he became a wealthy 
landholder, and subsequently mayor of Utica. He was a gentleman of the old school, highly 
enltiTated by study, and of polished manners. 

* B J an act of the legislature, May 6, 1844, the number of canal commissioners was re- 
dnoed to four, and they were made elective every four years. By the constitution of 1846 
three eommiflaionen were to be elected, on a term of three years, so classified that one would 
\m elected ereiy year. 


Notwithstanding the political clamor against Clinton, it must by no 
means be supposed tliat the cultivated intelligence of New York City 
was insensible to the greatness of the man who for ten years had not 
only performed the duties of mayor with scrupulous fidelity, but had been 
the liberal patron of every important scheme of learning and benevolence. 
It Wius the period for founding and testing the value of institutions. 
Clinton, by the force of circumstances not less than his own commanding 
power, stooil like a giant i-eady to solve grave problems and push into 
successful operation all manner of worthy enterprises. Whatever charity 
or society was in contemplation, his favor was considered of the fii-st 
moment. He was identified with the growth of the city in a greater 
variety of dii-ections than any other individuid of his time ; and his ser- 
vices were known and generously appreciated. 

He wa.s one of the foundei-s, in connection with Dr. Hosack, Dr. Mitch- 
ill, Dr. Macneven, Dr. John W. Francis, and John Griscom, of the 
Literary and Philosophical Society, and was chosen its first president 
when it was incorporated in 1814. He was elected president of the New 
York Historical Society a few months prior to his election as 
governor of the State — succeeding Gouverneur Morris, deceased, 
who had been president of this renowned institution about a year. Dr. 
Hosack was then its corresponding secretary; and the accomplished Dr. 
Francis, just returned from Europe where he had enjoyed the instruction, 
society, and in several instances the warm friendship of the prominent 
scientific men of the Old World, was it« librarian. Clinton had ever lx»en 
an active friend to the New York Hospital, and was chiefly instrumental 
in the passage of the act, in 181G, establishing the Bloomingdale Asylum 
for the Insane, which, located in the midst of forty well-cultivateil acre.<«, 
was first ojjened for the reception of patients in 1821. 

Nor was he less influential in the establishment of the Deaf and Dumb 

Asylum, incor{)oratcd by the legislature, April 15, 1817, the Siime day 

that Mr. Gallaudet's school was opened in Hartford. Up to that time 

not a single institution of the kind had existed in America, and only 

ftboat twenty-five in Europe. Clinton was the first president of the 

^ of directors, and Richard Varick and John Ferguson were vice- 

For some years the school was kept in a public building ; 

Ikerly was from 1821 to 1831 superintendent, secretary, and 

sncceeded by Dr. Harvey P. Peet. The corporation 

the site for an edifice in Fiftieth Street (now occupied 

ge) and the co^le^stone was laid in 1829. The insti- 

Ny the increase of population to its present l>eautiful 

^[eights in 1856, and buildings and grounds were 

r a million of dollars. 



The American Bible Society, formed at New York in 1816, received 
Kubetantial encouragement from Clinton ; Elias Boudinot, the veuerable 
philaDthropist who had long devoted himself to the study of bibli- 
cal literature, and donated ten thousand dollars to the cause, 
was its iirst president. Some two years later was founded the 
Presbyterian tlducation Society, to aid impecunious young men in study- 
ing for tbe ministry, of which Boudinot was also president until his 
death in 1821 ; of this institution Clinton was vice-president from the 
b^inning, and president during the later years of his life. When Mis. 
Divie Betbune agitated tbe subject of Sabbath schools in New York 
City in 1812, many excellent people expressed doubts as to the propriety 
of devoting any portion of the Sabbath to such purposes, and she went to 
Clinton for bis 
opinion, who was 
at once interested 
and advised her 
w wake the ex- 
periment quietly. 
She did so, open- 
ing a little school 
on Sunday after- 
noons in the vi- 
cinity of her city 
residence,and an- 
other in the base- 
ment of her coun- 
try-seat at Green- 
wch. The war, 

however, brouzht — „ . , _ . . 

such distress to (H-^.i.."at.", n^i^ti-i 

the poor, that Mrs. Bethune's energies were absorbed in a society organized 
by a few charitable ladies to provide employment for helpless women 
whose husbands were in the army. A wooden building was rented, and 
some five or six hundred families thus sustained until the return of peace. 
In 1816 Mrs. Bethune called a meetingof ladies in llje Wall Street Church 
to oiganize a Sabbath School Society, which estitblished schools and con- 
ducted them successfully until absorbed by the New York branch of 
the American Sunday School Union, in 1827. Clinton, who loved educa- 
tiOD as a science as well as a charity, facilitated this work in innumer- 
able ways; and when it ceased he suggested to Mrs. Bethune that 
many childien of laboring parents, too young for common schools, needed 


fostering ii^staructioii — which resulted, through her efforts, in the InfSBtnt 
School Society, organized in May, 1827. Clinton, in his last message to 
the legislature, mentioned this charity as one deserving " the most liberal 
benefactions from individuals, and the most ample endowments from the 
public." Meanwhile the common-school system of New York, which his 
far-seeing statesmanship had instituted, was growing into magnificent pro- 
portions^ The fifth annual report, transmitted to the l^islature 
in March by the superintendent, Gideon Hawley, informed the 
public that five thousand schools were in successful operation in the 
State, in which more than two hundred thousand children were annually 
taught during an average period of from four to six montha 

The scholarly Cadwallader D. Golden was appointed mayor in 1818.* 
He, like Clinton, was industriously active in the interests of humanity, 
and viewed men and things from a philosophical standpoint One of his 
earliest duties was to aid in the establishment of the Society for the Pre- 
vention of Pauperism. Emigration was pouring into New York ship- 
loads of the lowest and most ignorant classes in Europe, who found 
shelter as best they could in sheds, cellars, or rookeries of any description, 
and, choosing rather to steal than beg, were scarcely less dangerous to 
society than so many wild animals. The patience and the pockets of the 
citizens were severely taxed. Golden stated in November, 1819, that 
during the preceding twenty months eighteen thousand nine hundred 
and thirty foreign emigrants had arrived in the city and been reported at 
his office. 

Meanwhile national affairs were in a promising condition. Monroe was 
prudent, and his administration was harmonious and prosperoos. The 
fierce strife of parties ceased through his tranquillizing influence. He 
made a tour inspecting the frontier defenses of the country from Portland 
to Detroit in the first sunmier of his rule. Mrs. Monroe was Eliza, 
daughter of Lawrence Kortwright, of New York, whom Monroe met, 
courted, and married during the gay winter following Washington's first 
inauguration ; she had been one of the belles of the city during the Rev- 
olution, and was ridiculed for having rejected so many dashing adorers 
and chosen a plain member of Congress. The chief events of Monroe's 
first term of office were the admission of Mississippi, lUinois, and Ala- 
bama into the Union,*and the important cession of Florida by Spain, in 
1819, completing the work of annexation commenced in the purchase of 
Louisiana. Indiana was admitted into the Union in 1816. The Hon. 

1 John Ferguson was appointed mayor of New York in 1 SI 5, bat rengnad, md Jacob Bad- 
clifT RiKceeded to the office. Richard Riker was appointed recorder in 1S15, ■nnrinwUng Jiwiih 
Oden Hoffman, and filled the office until the appointment of Peter Augostns Jay In 1819. 


Peter H. Wendover of New York called attention to the flag of the 
United States, which did not represent all the States, and offered a motion 
for its alteration. While the question was pending Wendover called upon 
Captain Samuel C. Reid, the hero of Fayal, who happened to be in Wash- 
ington, and requested him to design something which would represent the 
increase of the States without destroying the distinctive character of the 
flag. As originally instituted by Congress, June 14, 1777, the flag bore 
thirteen stars and thirteen stripes. When new States came in, the num- 
ber of stars and stripes were to be correspondingly increased, pursuant to 
an act of Congress passed in 1794. But with the addition of new stars 
and stripes, the width of the stripes must necessarily be lessened. 
Thus it was losing its historical significance. To return to the 
original device would be inappropriate, because the flag would then give 
no hint of the growth of the republia Captain Reid soon hit upon the 
happy medium, by which the glory of the past could be combined with 
the progress of the present — the thirteen stripes retained as a memento 
of the original Union, alternate red and white, and a new star, white on a 
blue field, added whenever a new State was admitted, to indicate the 
growth of the nation. The design was unique, beautiful, and satisfactory. 
Wendover accepted Eeid's idea, and succeeded in obtaining its adoption 
by Congress. On the 26th of March, Wendover wrote to Reid : " Please 
inform me as soon as convenient what a flag (of the size of the one float- 
ing over the Capitol at Washington) would cost in New York, made for 
the purpose, with thirteen stripes and twenty stars, forming one great 
luminary, as per pasteboard plan you handed me ? " 

The bill providing for the alteration of the flag from and after the 4th 
of July, 1818, became a law on the 4th of April. 

Captain Reid purchased the materials, and Mrs. Reid made the flag in 
the drawing-room of her house in New York City, 27 Cherry Street, near 
Franklin Square, assisted by a number of young ladies, whose names were 
worked upon the flag. It was immediately forwarded to Wendover, who 
wrote to Reid on the 13th of April : " I have just time to inform you that 
the new flag arrived here per mail this day, and was hoisted to replace 
the old one at two o'clock, and has given much satisfaction to all who 
have seen it, as far as I have heard. I am pleased with its form and pro- 
portions, and have no doubt it will satisfy the public mind. Mr. Clay 
[then Speaker of the House] says it is wrong that there should be no 
charge in your bill for making the flag. If pay for that will be acceptable, 
on being informed I will procure it. Do not understand me as intending 
to wound Mrs. Reid, or others who may have given aid, and please pre- 
sent my thanks to her and them, and accept the same for yourself." 


Thrrxi^ the ko^^-oontiinsed eflbits of Thomas Eddy and John Pintard, 
the first Sarings Bank in New York went into operation in Joly, 1819. 
The snfaject had been in a^tation from time to time since 1803. 
A meeting was caDed in the axxtnmn of 1816 at the City Hotel, 
and a coii9titatio»n adopted with twenty-eight directors chosen — the list 
headed by De Witt Clinton and ending whh John Pintard ; but so 
many projects of benevolence were before the public that there wa^ delay 
in raising the necessary capital William Bayard was its first president ; 
John Pintard was chosen president in 1828, and filled the o£Bce until 
the year 1842. 

The yellow fever appeared in the city in 1819, creating universal alarm ; 
but it disappeared without having raged with as much fury as on several 
former occasions. In the summer of 1822 it broke out in Rector Street, 
a part of the city hitherto esteemed secure from its ravages. The 
first case occurred on the 17th of June. By the middle of July 
it was spreading with fearful rapidity. Business was entirely suspended 
in August and a part of September, and the only sounds to break the ter- 
rible stillness were the rumbling of hearses and the footsteps of nurses 
and physicians. High board-fences shut off each infected street or dis- 
trict below City HalL ** It has utterly desolated the lower portions of the 
city," wrote Robert M. Hartley under date of September 1, 1822, to his 
father. " Thousands have left, and other thousands, panic-stricken, are 
daily leaving. Stores and dwellings are closed and deserted. The custom- 
house, post-office, all the banks, insurance offices, and other public places 
of business have been removed to the upper part of Broadway and to 
Greenwich village, the region round about being mostly occupied by mer- 
chants in buildings temporarily erected for their convenienca Such a 
motley scene as is exhibited defies description. There are carts, cartmen, 
carpenters, carriages, dust, and dry goods — to the end of the alphabet" 
There was no relief until November. 

While the pestilence was at its height a ship entered the harbor upon 

which Charles Matthews was a passenger from Europe. Hearing that 

one hundred and forty deaths had occurred in the city that ver>' 

day, he was in great consternation, and unwilling to land. Stephen 

Price and Edmund Simpson were the managers of the Park Theater ; the 

latter at once addressed a note to Dr. Francis, asking him to visit 

Matthews for the purpose of calming his excitement Repairing to the 

"^ssel, they found Matthews walking the deck, tottering, and in extremest 

tation. He said he felt the pestilential air, every cloud was surchaiged 

h mortality, every wave in its tossing imparted poison. He insisted 

' finding shelter in some remote spot Hoboken was suggested, and 


thither he proceeded, attended by Simpson and Dr. Francis. They found 
a gardener's cottage some two miles from the Jersey shore on the road to 
Hackensack, and the great comedian spent the entire night pacing his 
diminutive apartment, overwhelmed with terror and despair. The situa- 
tion became tolerable after a few days, and he turned for useful diversion 
to the poultry-yard and the pastures, practising among their inhabitants 
the art of mimicry fot which he was renowned. His age was about forty, 
his figure was tall and thin, one leg was shorter than the other, and his 
features were extremely irregular from the effects of an injury in being 
thrown from a gig, but vivified with intelligence. He was a remarkable 
specimen of what early training and protracted and intense study may 
accomplish. And yet he was a dyspeptic and morbidly nervous, never 
paying any attention to physical improvement in his incessant strife for 
intellectual progress. He was always complaining and never welL 

The sensation created by Edmund Eean, on his first visit to New York, 
had hardly died away when Matthews came. Eean arrived in 1820 and 
departed June 4, 1821. He was thirty-three, small of stature, but grace- 
ful, and when under the influence of passion effective and even grand. 
His little, well-wrought, strong frame seemed capable of any amount of 
endurance ; he was an admirable fencer, a finished gentleman, a most 
insidious lover, and a terrific tragedian. His face was expressive, his 
eye brilliant, his action free, and his voice flexible and strong. He was, 
hke Matthews, a close student, and a master of mimic power. Both 
secured the glories of success. But Kean was irregular in life, capricious 
in temper, and eccentric in habit, while Matthews was the apostle* of 
temperance and circumspection. Kean mixed with all sorts of people, 
and when attacked by the press, ordered the papers carried from his 
presence with a pair of tongs. Matthews was fond of literary characters, 
was acquainted with Sir Walter Scott, moved in a social circle among 
the most eminent authors and actors, and was singularly gifted with 
worldly prudence. 

The Old Park Theater was burned on the morning of the 25th of May, 
1820, and such was the rapidity of the conflagration that not an article 
of wardrobe or scenery was saved. A new edifice arose upon its site, 
eighty feet wide by one hundred and sixty-five feet deep, running through 
to Theater Alley, where a large wing was attached containing the green- 
room and dressing-rooms. The audience entered by seven arched door- 
ways, all opening outward. The interior was fashioned to seat twenty- 
five hundred persons. It had three circles of boxes, forty-two in all, two 
side tiers, a spacious gallery, and a pleasant pit. It was first opened in 
September, 1821, and the builders, John Jacob Astor and John K. Beekman, 

Jirsrour of the city of xew yohk 

■ntoriar «f Park Thxlir. No*Mnb*r 7. IS22. 

greatly appkiKlml fur tlicir ]>iiblic »|>irit ami <:<kh1 taste. It was 
d until late in tlii> ftutiiinii ul' 1S2:!, on nci-niiiit nf the prevalt'iiec ct 
ellow fever; but with tlic cotuiiig of Uil- frosts, uuil the general 


return of the citizens to their homes, it became the scene of the intro> 
duction of Matthews to a New York audience. The Commercial Adver- 
Hser of November 8, 1822, says: "We last night paid our dollar to 
witness this gentleman's far-famed exhibitions, and confess that ,^„„ 

O ' 1822. 

we do not regret the time or the money spent. The house was 
so crowded that it was with great difficulty we could procure a seat, and 
amidst so large an audience we could not discover even a whisper 
of disapprobation. Mr. Matthews played Goldfinch in the 'Road to 
Ruin.' The popular farce of * Monsieur Tonson ' was performed 
for the first time, and Mr: Matthews supported the principal char- 
acter with great ^clat His comic songs and imitations were the best 
we ever heard ; and in consequence of his variations, on beihg encored, 
the audience seemed disposed to sit all night and enjoy this species 
of entertainment." 

The original water-color painting from which the accompanying illus- 
tration has been copied is of exceptional historic interest, because of its 
approved portraiture.^ The wife of Governor De Witt Clinton occupies 
the box in the first tier, nearest the stage. In the third box, beyond, are 
aeated the Mayor and Mrs. Cadwallader D. Golden, daughter of Bishop 
Ftovostv Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lenox, Mr. Kennedy, Miss Wilkes, and 
John K. Beekman. In the boxes between the two are said to be recog- 
nised Mrs. Daniel Webster, Mrs. Ogden, Dr. and Mrs. Mitchill, Mrs. 
Major Fairlie, Dr. Hosack, Jacob H. Le Roy, William Bayard, James 
Watson, Dr. McLane, and Mrs. Newbold ; while Henry Brevoort, James 
Kirke Paulding, James W. Gerard, Henry Carey, and Swift Livingston 
are seated just beyond. One of the second tier of boxes is occupied by 
Judge and Mrs. Nathaniel Pendleton and Judge and Mrs. Samuel Jones. 

* The hiatory of the water-color painting, now in possession of the New York Historical 
Socie ty, is scarcely less interesting than the picture itself. The original drawing was made 
for WiUiam Bayard by John Searle, a clever amateur artist, and the picture when completed 
VII hang upon the wall of Mr. I^yard's country residence. Some years since Thomas W. 
Chaimiiig Moore became much interested in it while \'isiting Mr. Bayard, and with the 
iattmct of a genuine antiquarian resolved that such a treasure should not be entirely lost to 
New York. Ho accordingly obtained permission to bring it to the city for the purpose of 
•bowing it to Mr. Elias Dexter. Six of the gentlemen whose portraits appear in the painting 
then living — Francis Barretto, Robert G. L. De Peyster, Gouverneur S. Bibby, Wil- 
BAysrd, Jr., William Maxwell, and James W. Gerard — and were invited to an inter- 
for its examination. Mr. Barretto and Mr. Bibby remembered and were able to 
recognize nearly every person repres<»nted upon the canvas. All the gentlemen pronounced 
the portraits striking ; and many reminiscences were related in connection with those supposed 
to be present on that memorable evening when Matthews first appeared in the farce of 
Montintr Tonssm. A key was made to the painting, and it was photographed by Dexter ; 
it WM then returned to its owner. Upon the death of Mr. Bayard it descended to his daugh- 
ta; Mn. Harriet Bayard Van Uensseluer, and was subsequently presented by her heirs to the 


The social life of New York at this period was invested with a peculiar 
charm. Wealth and refinement, money-making and good-breeding, were 
blended as never before. The flavor of courts clung to the numerous 
representatives of the old colonial aristocracy, who still formed the metal 
in the cup. But intellectual achievement was held in severe respect, and 
benevolence was the fashion of the day. The man of means was measured 
according to his intelligent promotion of art, science, literature, religion, 
and internal improvements. Pride of family existed, as was natural in 
such a community, but a birthright commanded little consideration unless 
divested of all suspicion of ignorance and vulgarity. The tone of society 
was elevated without being pretentious. Progress was the all-absorbing 
idea. The development of the industries, schemes of charity, and the 
education of the laboring classes were drawing-room topics. A fund had 
been appropriated by the State, in 1820, for the support of common 
schools, amounting to a million and a half of dollars. Enormous sums 
were expended yearly in the city from private sources. Beauty and 
fashion were none the less admired ; amusements were patronized, and 
the higher obligations of polite life scrupulously fulfilled. Intercourse 
with the leading men and women of both the New England and Southern 
States secured to New York greater catholicity of spirit than elsewhere ; 
and the shining lights of foreign statesmanship, diplomacy, and letters, 
who were from time to time visitors or dwellers in the city, influenced 
more or less the public taste. 

President Monroe was much in New York during his eight years' ad- 
ministration. Mrs. Monroe was not only a New-Yorker herself, but was 
nearly related to several of the prominent families ; her sister married 
Nicholas Gouvemeur, of the great conmiercial house doing business with 

New York Historical Society. The key furnishes the names, in addition to those already 
mentioned, of Herman Le Boy, WiUiam Le Boy, Alexander Hosack, Stephen Price, Ed- 
ward Price, Captain J. Bichardson, Mrs. Eliza Talbot, Bobert Dyson, Herman Le Boy, Jr., 
D. P. Campbell, Mrs. Clinton, Maltby Geltson, and Mr. Charaud, in the first and second 
tier of boxes ; and in the pit, Nicholas C. Butgers, Dr. John W. Francis, Walter LiTingston, 
Henry W. Cruger, Dr. John Watts, Pierre C. Van Wyck, Edmond Wilkes, HamUUm Wilkes, 
John Searle, the artist, Thomas F. Livingston, Dr. John Neilson, Thomas Bibby, the ancestor 
of the Bibby family in New York, whose descendants now represent the Van Cortlandts of 
Yonkers, Gonvemeur S. Bibby, Bobert G. L De Pejrster, Hugh Maxwell, WiUiam Max- 
well, James Seaton, Andrew Drew, William Wilkes, Charles Farqohar, John Berry, Bobert 
GiUespie, Mordecai M. Noah, WiUiam Bell, John Lang, editor of the New York Oautte^ 
James McKay, James Alport, James Farquhar, Thomas W. Moore, Frands Barretto» Joseph 
Fowler, John J. Boyd, WiUiam H. Bobinson, and Bobert Watts. The last named, aittuig in 
the immediate foreground, close by the orchestra, may be recognized by his li^t ooat He 
was the one mentioned on page 650 as the handsomest man in New York. Many of the 
gentlemen wore their hats for protection against the draughts of cold wind sweeping thioofl^ 


all parts of the world — descended firom the Grouvemeurs so familiar to 
the reader in the first volume of this work ; ^ and their son, Samuel L. 
Grouvemeur, the New York postmaster for nine years, married Maria, the 
youngest daughter of President and Mrs. Monroe, the ceremony being per- 
formed at the White House. Mrs. Gouverneur was a beautiful bride, and 
very warmly received in New York society. She dispensed hospitalities 
at her elegant home in the metropolis with as much ease and dignity as her 
accomplished mother at the capital Mrs. Monroe will be remembered 
as the mistress of the Executive Mansion who carried into execution the 
custom of never returning caUs, which nearly produced a social revolu- 
tion. The question of propriety as to indiscriminate visiting on the part 
of the wife of the {^resident was hotly debated, and involved diplomatic 
and State correspondence. Mrs. Monroe remained firm. The difficulty 
was finally adjusted by John Quincy Adams, who drew up the formula 
which has since regulated the etiquette of the social superstructure at the 
capital Mrs. Monroe was extremely exacting in the matter of appro- 
priate dress to be worn at her receptions. On one occasion the President 
refused admission to a near relative who was not prepared with a suit of 
small-clothes and silk hose. Nearly ten years of Mrs. Monroe's life had 
been spent at the European capitals, while accompanying her husband on 
his various missions to foreign courts, and her daughters were at school 
in France. The elder, Eliza, who married Judge George Hay, was in the 
same class and on terms of intimacy with Hortense Eugenie Beauhamais, 
afterwards Queen of Holland. 

Monroe had been re-elected President with but one dissenting vote, 
that of New Hampshire — given to John Quincy Adams. Tompkins was 
again Vice-President, and chairman of the Senate, in which Rufus King 
and Martin Van Buren represented New York. The chief controversy 
that marked Monroe's first term concerned negro slavery. The question 

^ See YoL I. 388, 440. The Gouvemeurs have been ranked among the best families of 
New York for nearly two centuries ; few names are better known than those of Gouvemenr 
Morria, Gouveniear Remble, Gouverneur Ogden, and Gouverneur Kortwright. Isaac Gou- 
Temear, son of Nicholas and Eliza Kortwright Gouverneur, was killed in a duel with William 
H. ICazwell, brother of Hugh MaxwelL His brother, Samuel L. Gouverneur, married Maria, 
daughter of President Monroe. Their son, Samuel Lawrence Gouverneur, bom in New York 
City, 1828, recently died in Washington ; he served in the Mexican War with distinction, 
and was for some years United States consul at Foo-Choo, China ; his wife was Marion, 
daughter of Judge Campbell, surrogate of New York City for many years. Lawrence Rort- 
wri^^t, the father of Mrs. Monroe, was the son of Cornelius Kortwright, an old merchant of 
New YoA in the time of (lovemor Cosby, who married Miss Aspinwall. The Kortwright 
iainfly intermarried with the Ver)ilanck8, the Tillotsons, the Lawrences, the Livingstons, and 
other eminent families. The town of Kortwright was named for Lawrence Kortwright, where 
he had porehaaed large tracts of lai/d intending to fouud a manor. 


arose iu connection with a petition for the admission of Missouri into the 
Union. A bill, with an amendment prohibiting slavery in the new 
State, was defeated. After much discussion a compromise was effected, 
by which the subject was dismissed for the time ; and Missouri took her 
place among the sovereign States. 

Meanwhile the progress of the Erie Canal was a distinguished success. 
It stimulated the ambition of the whole country. Enterprises of internal 
improvement — of lesser magnitude — were taking shape in many direc- 
tions. The fame of De Witt Clinton had gone to the ends of the earth. 
The completion of each section of the great work was attended with pub- 
lic ceremonials. Thousands of people made long journeys to see the deep 
cutting through mountain ridges, the wonderful embankments and aque- 
ducts, and the combined locks. Clinton's " big ditch " was the curiosity 
of the aga 

The ancient enemies of Clinton appear to have taken alarm at his in- 
creasing notoriety. Having been displaced from the governorship in 1822 
by the election of Joseph C. Yates, he was no longer in the political field. 
Nor was he a candidate for any office. He was simply attending 
to his duties as president of the board of canal commissioners, 
and devoting toilsome days and sleepless nights to the practical realiza- 
tion of his stupendous views. He had for years been traversing the 
State to watch over the progress of the canal, without salary, or a dollar 
of reward for his services. His ceaseless exertions had animated industry 
and enterprise, facilitated the rapid circulation of capital, and given the 
New York public a sweet foretaste of unfolding riches — in ten thousand 
separate ways. He was becoming an object of popular interest and ap- 
plause. His wings must be clipped, or he might soar into some high seat 
— to the great disadvantage of his opponents and persecutors. 

Thus reasoned a few uneasy legislators in April, 1824 On the last 

_,^ ^ day of the session, the Senate, on motion of John Bowman, passed 
a resolution for the removal of De Witt Clinton from the office 
of canal commissioner! It was sent for concurrence to the Assembly, 
where it was acted upon almost instantaneously in the hurry and confusion 
prior to adjournment for the season. Unutterable amazement was created 
in the mind of every member not in the secret The high-handed meas- 
ure had been concocted the evening before in a select but rather informal 
caucus ; and few instances exist in history where political cunning when 
held to the light, revealed so little of human nobility and so much of per- 
verse folly. When the announcement was made gentlemen engaged in 
packing up their papers paused and stared at each other, as if wondering 
if they had heard aright Henry Cunningham was in the act of putting 


on his overcoat, and without a moment for reflection threw it over his 
arm and turned to the speaker with flashing eyes and face glowing with 
indignation. He spoke for twenty minutes in a strain of manly eloquence 
that would have done credit to a Roman orator. " For what good and 
honorable purpose has this resolution been sent here for concurrence at 
the very last moment of the session ? " he asked. " Sir, I challenge in- 
quiry. We have spent rising of three months in legislation, and not one 
word has been dropped intimating a desire or intention to expel that 
honorable gentleman from the board of canal commissioners ! What ne- 
farious and secret design, I ask, is to be effected at the expense of the 
honor and integrity of this legislature ? " 

Clinton bore the insult like a Christian martyr. Not so New York. 
Clinton simply invited the most rigid scrutiny into his official conduct. 
His native State did more. Meetings were called in every town, village, 
and city, to denounce in the most public manner an act which^ without 
the assignment of a single reason or the faintest color of necessity, had 
hurled from an exalted eminence, as if he were some great State culprit, 
the man above all others to whom New York was indebted. The 
feeling in New York City was intense. Ten thousand people 
assembled in the park in front of the City Hall on the afternoon of the 
20th, embracing all classes and all political cliques and parties. Such a 
meeting, taking it all in all, had never been witnessed in the metropolis. 
Its object was to stigmatize the unjustifiable procedure of the legislature. 
Greneral Robert Bogardus nominated the venerable William Few to the 
chair, who was greeted with unbounded applause. Stirring addresses 
were made. "The benefactors of states and empires cannot be hidden 
from the world," said Charles G. Haines. " The spirit of the age and the 
light of truth are with them. Combinations may arise to obscure the 
luster of their deeds, and diminish the magnitude and utility of their 
efforts ; but the calm conviction of after times will do them justice." 
Resolutions were submitted by Isaac S. Hone, declaring the removal of 
Clinton a disgrace to the State, a violation of justice, and an outrage on 
public opinion, and adopted by acclamation. Thousands of voices pro- 
claimed the unanimity with which they were received, and when the 
chairman called for the noes, a dead silence — a deep pause ensued. 

A committee of thirty gentlemen was appointed to communicate the 
resolutions to Clinton, and to give them publicity throughout the State 
and nation ; while a vote of thanks was returned to General James 
Benedict, John Morss, and David Seaman from the city delega- 
tion who had voted against the measure. Thus New York taught 
narrow politicians a lesson not likely to be forgotten ; and paid a just 



and becoming tribute of respect to a statesman whoee extensive agency 
in the grandest public work of the age waa beyond dispute.' 

Clinton welcomed the committee warmly, and bi reply said ; " From 
the extinguishment of open hostility to the present period I have not 
been without serious appre- 
hensions that events might 
occur to prevent the consum- 
mation of this woric ; and I 
have rejoiced at the tennina- 
tion of each year of its pro- 
gress, and watched over it 
I with indescribable anxiety." 
' He thanked the gentlemen 
tl with much emotion for their 
^"condescending kindness" in 
■presenting the resolutions in 
1 person. They had but just 
I departed when another com- 
mittee, representing the sci- 
entists and scholars of the 
city, was ushered into his 
presence, with a similar series 
of resolutions adopted at a 
private meeting in the even- 
ing, of which the distin- 
.guished Dr. Mitchill was 
chairman : he had figured 
conspicuously in the celebration at Albany of the completion of the 
Champlain Canal and the Eastern section of the Erie Canal, in October, 
1823, making a brilliant address on the festive occasion. In the unjusti- 
fiable movement, which, contraiy to the wishes of a million and a half of 

■ Tbe cammittee coDsuted of General Matthew ClarkKiD, Thomu Addia Eramet, Colotip) 
Nicholu Fish, Willum Bayard, Thomu Eddy, Stephen Whitne;, Philip Hone, CadwalUder 
D. Colden, Charles Wright, Thomu Hazard, Jr., Jatnea Lovett, General Jo«ph Q. Swift, 
Robert H, Bovae, Abrahun Ogden, John lUthbooe, Jr., Lockwood Dt Foneat, Pnacrrrd 
Pish, GcDenl Robert BogarduB, Tbomai Freeborn, Peter Crary, Lynde Catlin, Jamea Oakley, 
Hansel Bradhnret, BeujuniD Stagg, Eli Hurt, Thomaa Gibbona, Noah Brown, Tboinu 
Herttell, and CHinpMl P. White. General Janiea Benedict wu the only member of tbe 
legislature in 1824 who wet triumed by hie constitaenia when the revolution of public wnti- 
nieiit uiadr De Witt Clinton governor in 1S2G. He waa a descendant of Thomaa Benedict 
— see Vol. 1. p. 204 — and married in 1812, at the age of twenty-^i^t, Deborah, daaghl«r 
nf Jamea Coles of New York City. He waa in the War of IS12, and oontiaaed in the State 
military Mrriee, after tbe peace, as a brigadier ; in 1826 he wm made a mi^jar-genenL 

brjuim woinjvwt] 


people, deprived Clinton of a post in which there was no emolument. 
Dr. Mitchill failed to see one extenuating circumstance. 

Nor was there anything spasmodic in the expression of public senti- 
ment The more the subject was agitated the greater appeared the enor- 
mity of the wrong committed. As a direct result, Clinton was nominated 
for governor by a State convention at Utica, and re-elected by a majority 
of nearly seventeen thousand vptes. The Whig party chose six of the 
eight senators, and secured a majority of three fourths of the Assembly. 
The tide was overwhelming. Nearly every man was swept out of office 
the State through who had directly or remotely, audibly or silently, con- 
tributed to the injury inflicted upon Clinton. 

It is worthy of remembrance that during the eight years in which the 
State of New York was expending between nine and ten millions of dol- 
lars in constructing canals, the amount collected in the New York City 
custom-house and paid into the treasury of the United States, for 
duties of impost and tonnage, was upwards of sixty-four millions ; and 
within the same period the State raised and applied to the support of 
common schools over nine millions, together with very large sums be- 
stowed upon colleges, and for the advancement of science and literature. 

It was during the summer of 1824 that Lafayette visited the United 
States by invitation of the government, arriving in New York 
City on the 15th of August. He had no suspicion of the warm ^ 
welcome that awaited him. As the French packet upon which he was a 
passenger neared the Narrows, two gentlemen came on board from a row- 
boat, and after holding a private conference with the captain departed. 
No one except the commander himself knew the object of their mission. 
But to the surprise of all on board, the vessel anchored alongside 
Staten Island. Presently a long line- of vessels appeared in sight, coming 
down the bay with flags flying. They approached and encircled the 
French ship. The mayor of New York, General Jacob Morton, and 
other eminent personages, presently reached the deck of the Cadmus and 
paid their respects to America's illustrious visitor — whose tears fell like 
rain as he received their unexpected congratulations, and learned of the 
plan for his public reception in the city next morning. It being the 
Sabbath, he was conducted to the seat of Vice-President Tompkins on 
Staten Island, where he spent the remainder of the day. 

On Monday the bells rang in one merry din from twelve to one 
o'clock, business was suspended, and no carriages or horses were 
permitted below Chambers Street except those attached to the 
military or procession. The corporation of the city, the Chamber of Com- 
merce, the society of the Cincinnati, and the officers of the army and 


navy proceeded at nine o'clock to Staten Island to meet and esooit 
Lafayette into New York. The naval procession was one of exceptional 
beauty and interest. When it moved fix)m Staten Island the guns from 
shore were answered from Fort Lafayette, from the steamship Robert 
Fulton, and from the forts in the harbor. The escorting vessels, adorned 
in the most fanciful manner, were alive with ladies and gentlemen. At 
Castle Garden Lafayette landed upon a carpeted stairway arranged for the 
occasion, under an arch richly decorated with flags and wreaths of laureL 
He was greeted with a prolonged shout from the assembled thousands, 
and the roar of artillery echoed far away over the blue waters. The troops 
were drawn into line by General James Benedict, and, after the review, 
Lafayette entered a barouche draMm by four horses and was driven up Broad- 
way to the City Hall ; he was welcomed to the common coimcil chamber 
by Mayor WilUam Paulding in an appropriate speech. In reply, Lafay- 
ette said : " It is the pride of my life to have been one of the earliest 
adopted sons of America. I am proud, also, to add that upwards of forty 
years ago I was particularly honored .with the freedom of this city." 
After further ceremonies upon a platform in front of the City Hall he 
was conducted to the City Hotel, where elegant rooms had been arranged 
for his occupancy, and where a sumptuous dinner was prepared. At 
evening the City Hotel, City Hall, and other public buildings were gor- 
geously illuminated, the theaters and public gardens displayed transpar- 
encies, and fire-works of every description blazed from one end of the 
city to the other. An immense balloon arose from Castle Garden repre- 
senting the famous horse Eclipse mounted by an ancient knight in armor. 
On Wednesday Lafayette visited the navy-yard, dining with the 
commandant and a few invited guests. In the evening he was 
tendered a reception by the New York Historical Society. He 
was escorted by the president of the Society, Dr. Hosack, and 'General 
Philip Van Cortlandt to the chair that had once belonged to the unfortu- 
nate Louis XVI. — presented by Grouvemeur Morris. Dr. Hosack in a 
graceful address announced to Lafayette his election as an honorary mem- 
ber of the Society ; he responded with the warmest expressions of grati- 
tude, adding, " The United States, sir, are the first nation in the records 
of history who have founded their constitution upon an honest investi- 
gation, and clear definition of their national and social rights.** His stay 
in New York was one perpetual ovation. He saw nothing but prosperity 
and good order. The growth of the city and its ripening institutions 
filled his mind with wonder and admiration. " Do you expect Broadway 
will reach Albany ? " he asked, facetiously, when the prospectiye street 
improvements above Madison Square were pointed out to Iuml 


He departed from the city on his famous tour through the country, 
Friday, the 20th. He was accompanied by his son, George Washington 
Lafayette, a fine-looking, graceful man, approaching middle life, and 
by General Philip Van Cortlandt Seated in a coach drawn by four 
white horses, he was escorted as far as Harlem by the mayor, aldermen, 
celebrities, and citizens in carriages, and an imposing cavalcade com- 
manded by General Prosper M. Wetmore, then brigade-major. The 
streets on the route were thronged with people ; Lafayette rode with his 
head uncovered, acknowledging their perpetual huzzas with bows. 

The year 1825 dawned upon a nation in anxiety. It had long been 
foreseen that a choice of President would not be effected by the people. 
The campaign had been more spirited and exciting than any ^^^^ 
which had taken place since the first election of Jefferson. Strictly 
speaking it could not be called a party contest. Monroe's prudence had 
obliterated party lines, and left a general unanimity of sentiment on polit- 
ical principles and measures throughout the Union. The candidates, 
John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Andrew Jackson, and William H. Craw- 
ford, all subscribed, substantially, to the same political creed. The 
struggle was a personal and sectional one, more than of a party 
nature. The result was as predicted. Neither of the candidates 
received a majority in the electoral colleges, and the election devolved on 
the House of Representatives. 

On the morning of the 9th of February the members assembled at an 
earlier hour than usual ; the galleries, the lobbies, and all the adjacent 
apartments were filled to overflowing with spectators from every part of 
the country to witness the unusual scene. The Senate entered at noon 
precisely, and retired after the votes had been counted, and the announce- 
ment made that no person had received a majority. The three candidates 
with the highest vote were then balloted for by the House. The Speaker 
directed the roll to be called by States, the delegations taking their seats 
accordingly, each provided with a ballot-box. When the ceremony was 
concluded, and the ballots counted, Daniel Webster announced thirteen 
for John Quincy Adams, seven for Andrew Jackson, and four for William 
H Crawford. John C. Calhoun was declared elected Vice-President. 

Stephen Van Rensselaer, the patroon, had the honor, by giving the 
casting vote, of determining the election of John Quincy Adams to the 
Presidency of the nation. He was a member of Congress from 1823 
to 1829, and at the same time a Regent of the University of the State of 
New York, and subsequently its Chancellor. He established during the 
year of the Presidential campaign a scientific school at Troy, incorporated 
in 1826 as the Rensselaer Institute, bearing fully one half of its current 


expenses. It was under Van Bens8elaer*s direction and at his expense 
that Amos Eaton, senior professor in the institution, made geological 
surveys of New York in 1821. 

One of the earliest acts of President Adams after his inauguration was 
to offer the post of Minister to England to (Jovemor De Witt Clinton, 
who declined, preferring to serve New York at home, and Rufus King 
received the appointment. On the 4th of July, forty-nine years 
^ after the Declaration of Independence, Ohio was to commence her 
great work of connecting Lake Erie by canal with the Ohio Eiver. Gov- 
ernor Clinton's presence was desired, and he made the journey in June, 
accompanied by Judge Alfred ConkUng, General Solomon Van Bens- 
selaer, and several other distinguished gentlemea They reached Newark 
on the 3d, and as soon as Governor Clinton's carriage appeared on the 
public square, the many thousands of persons present rent the air with 
their loud shouts of welcome to " The Father of Internal Improvements." 
The next morning the party moved to the ground prepared, and Governor 
Clinton and Governor Jeremiah Morrow each excavated a few shovelfuls 
of earth in the presence of the assembled multitude. After the cere- 
monies and speeches, and when a hundred guns had announced to the 
world that the Ohio canal was begun, the company dined under the 
shade of wide-spreading beeches. Clinton traveled through Ohio as the 
guest of the State, even into Kentucky, everywhere receiving public 
honors of the most flattering character. 

Lafayette was the guest of the nation, and his travels through the 
country .resembled one continuous triumphal procession. He visited 
every State, and everywhere the same welcome and the same festiv- 
ities awaited him. The history of his progress, minutely related, 
would introduce the reader to all the distinguished men of America at 
that time, and present an exhibition of education, arts, industry, agri- 
culture, manufactures, and the condition of affairs in general On 
the 17th of June, the fiftieth anniversary of the battle, he laid the 
comer-stone of the Bunker Hill Monument, and Daniel Webster pro- 
nounced an oration to an immense concourse of people. From Boeton he 
went to Portland, thence to Albany, and arrived in New York City in 
time to share in celebrating the 4th of July. It was a source of deep 
regret to him that he could not participate in the ceremonies of that 
same day in Ohio. There was something grand, to his mind, in the open- 
ing of a navigable inland communication between the Bay of New York 
and the Gulf of Mexico ; and his predictions of the riches to be created by 
thus stimulating the powers of productive industiy have been abundantly 
realized. Upon his way from Albany to New York he spent Uie Sabbath 



at Clermont, the seat of the Livingstons. He waa also entertained at tike 
old Van Cortlandt manor-house on the Hudson at the mouth of the 
CrotoD, the seat of General Philip Van Cortlandt, who had been the com- 
panion of his joumeyingB.' He visited Mrs, Alexander Hamilton ; and 
he was fSted by many of the New York families in the most superb man- 
ner. A public fete was also given him surpassing anything of the kind 
before witnessed in New Vork. Congress, in coDsideratioh of his sacri- 
6ce8 and his services, voted him two hundred thousand dollars and a 
towDship of land. He carried with him to bis native country the pres- 
tige of bis importance in America, was re-elected to the Chamber of 
Deputies, and in the Revolution of 1830 was the popular leader, and 
might have been made president of a republic. He chose, however, for 
t^e sake of peace and order, to place Louis Philippe on the throna 

' nw TtD CMtlasdt muiar-hauu ii still atanding and well preserved. The msin poitioii 
of tbe edifice wu the ori^al block-boiue built by Governor Dongan in the e«rly part of his 
■dmiitistiatioii u ■ rendezvous for fi»hing parties and conferences with the Indiaiu. See 
VoL L M, SOO, 30G. Stephanus Van Cortlandt, who in 1683 was appointed bj the king of 
England one of Dongan's privy council, naoally accompanied him on these expeditions, and 
■abaeqnentlj pnrchMed the land thereaboulB of the laciians — eighty-five thousand soreB, 
ezt«lldiilg to the Connecticut titie. This great property was erected into a manor by royal 
charter, and the block-house with ila solid stone walls three feet thick, and loop-holes for 

mosketry pitivided 
life in a savage wilder- 

tion is picturesque , 

•elf teema with the 

tniiea. ItahandsoDie- 

ing and old-fashioned 

land industry ; ajid its 

plate, china, jewelry, 

most varied and inter- 

ch risten ing bow 1 of the 

from HolUnd by Oloff 

landt <see p. 90, VoL 

oaed in all the general- 

of the illnstration be- 

Van Cortlandt, and 

dtvergraced hia taUe; 8il»»n>sr» 

hundred yean old, iFromorii-ii 

kettle and gold pap-spoon with bells to 

Johannes De Peyster about 1650 (see Vol. 

rinc, took thera with her to the manor-h 

Cortlandt, in 1710. Piec«a of tablc-wai 

an still in OK. The dining-Uble itself cm 

(.'ortlandt ; alao a curious clock, the carvii 

d tbe sleeve -but Ion a of the 
>I ttte tfKL, an among the precious anti<|uities of thia hist 

for the emergendea of 
ness, was converted 
dwelling. Its sjtna- 
and the s 

ly carved waioscot- 
tilee are relies of Hol- 
antiqne treasures of 
andfumiture.are of the 
esting character. Tbe 
sketch wu brought 
Stevenson Van Cort- 
I.) and has been since 
tions. Tbe gold watch 
longed to Stephanos 
the sogar-sifter of solid 
both are at least two 
The solid ailver tea- 
■luse an inrant were brought to New York by 
p. 22S, 420, 421). whoae granddaughter, Catha- 
w when she married its proprietor, Philip Van 
imported some two hondred and fifty years ago 
from HollHnd in the time of OlolT Stevenson Van 
Lga of which reprrsrnt the Queen of Sheba going to 

n Certlaidli. 

le-shaped gold with a peari 





Pkbpabations fob Canal Celebration in New York City. — Opening of the Erie 
Canal. — The First Canal* boats reaching the Metropolis. — The Aquatic Dis- 
PLAT. — The Ceremony of uniting the Waters of Lake Erie and Atlantic 
Ocean. — Procession in the Citt. — The Illumination. — The Ball. — The Med- 
als. — Modern New York. — Mayor Phiup Hone. — Founding of the Mercantile 
Library. — The New York Athenaum. — Literary Men. — Early Clubs of New 
York. — Residences of Prominent New-Yorkers in 1826. — Public Buildings 
ERECTED. — Death of Adams and Jefferson. — The two Great New York Rivals. 
Clinton's Re-election. — The Leake and Watts Orphan Home. — John Watts. — 
Albert Oallatin. — Death of Clinton. — The Apprentices* Library. —Right 
Rev. John Henry Hobart. — Episcopal Theological Seminary. — University of 
THE City of New York. — Washington Square. — The Union Theological Semi- 
nary. — Institution for the Blind. — First Horse-railroad in the City. — 
Steam Locomotives. — Return of Washington Irving from Europe. — Riots and 
Disturbances. — The Great Fire of 1885. 

THE Erie Canal was completed on the 26th of October, 1825. Thus 
the longest canal in the world had been constructed within a period 

of eight and one third years. The manual labor had not ceased 

for a day since July 4, 1817. 
A celebration of the great event was proposed, to be conducted 
under the auspices of the corporation on a scale worthy of the charac- 
ter of the city. William Paulding was then mayor, and Bichard 
Hiker recorder. The members of the common coimcil were nearly 
all detailed on important conmiittees. The merchants and citizens met 
and resolved to co-operate ; William Bayard presided over the meeting, 
John Pintard was the secretary, and William Walton Woolsey offered 
the resolutions ; a committee was appointed, including Bayard, Pintard, 
and Woolsey, also ex-Mayor Cadwallader D. Golden, Geoige Griswold, 
John Bathbone, Silas Bichard, Mordecai M. Noah, Joseph 6. Swift, and 
Campbell P. White, to secure a full expression of public feeling. While 
the various societies were perfecting arrangements, a committee, consist- 
ing of General Jacob Morton, John Pintard, and Thomas B. Meroeiii 


repaired to Albany to concert upon measures which should give uniform- 
ity and effect to the jubilee through the State. From the common council^ 
Elisha W. King ^nd William A. Davis journeyed to Buffalo to extend 
the hospitalities of New York City to the committees along the whole 
line of the canal ; Henry I. Wyckoflf and Philip Hone were sent to meet 
King and Davis with the city's guests as they should enter the Hudson 
at Albany, and provide facilities for their passage down the river. Samuel 
Cowdrey, John Webb, Josiah Hedden, and John Agnew comprised an- 
other committee from the corporation to receive the party from the lakes 
upon its arrival in the New York City waters. 

The entire State of New York was in commotion. For several days 
prior to the 4th of November, the day fixed for the grand consummation 
of the union of waters, strangers from every quarter, and from the South- 
em and the New England States, were crowding into New York City to 
witness the ceremonies. Buffalo was intensely excited on the morning of 
the 26th of October. At ten o'clock precisely the waters of Lake 

Oct m 

Erie were admitted into the canal, and the news was transmitted 
to New York City in an hour and thirty minutes, by the discharge of 
cannon posted along the route at intervals ; New York replied in the 
same manner, the sound occupying a similar length of time in passing 
through the air to Buffalo. The canal-boat Seneca Chief led off in fine 
style, drawn by fojar gray horses fancifully caparisoned. (Jovemor Clin- 
ton, Lieutenant-Grovemor James Tallmadge, Stephen Van Rensselaer, 
the patroon. General Solomon Van Rensselaer, Jacob Rutsen Van Rens- 
selaer, Colonel William L Stone, the del^ation from New York City, 
and numerous invited guests formed the traveling party. One of the 
canal boats, NoaKs Ark, was a novelty. Its cargo was like that of its 
namesake of old, having on board two eagles, a bear, two fawns, and a vari- 
ety of other " birds, beasts, and creeping things," with two Indian boys in 
the dress of their nation — all products of the great uncivilized West 
Each boat was gorgeously decomted. Along the entire route to Albany, 
day and night, the inhabitants were assembled to greet the travelers. 
As the flotilla crossed the Genesee River at Rochester, by a stone aque- 
duct of nine arches, each of fifty feet span, it was hailed from a little boat 
stationed ostensibly " to protect the entrance " with, " Who comes there ? " 
** Your brothers from the West on the watei-s of the Great Lakes," was the 
quick reply. " By what means have they been diverted so far from their 
natural course ?" continued the questioner. " Through the channel of the 
Grand Erie CanaL'' " By whose authority, and by whom, was a work of 
such magnitude accomplished ? " was asked. " By the authority and by 
the enterprise of the people of the State of New York," cried a chorus of 


voices from the Seneca Chief; and the pert little craft gave way, and the 
boats proudly entered the spacious basin at the end of the aqueduct^ 
welcomed with a salute of artillery, and the most uproarious applause, 
the committees standing under an arch surmounted by an eagle, and an 
immense concourse of people extending as far as the eye could reach 
on every side. At Utica, arriving late on Sunday morning, a deputation 
from the town waited upon the governor and his party and conducted 
them to church in the afternoon. Albany outdid herself. The whole 
city, apparently, multiplied by Vermont and the towns to the 
' north even into Canada, came out in procession to esoort the