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Benson J[ohn] Lossing.

History of New York City, embracing an outline sketch of events from 1609 to 1830, and a full account of its development from 1830 to 1884 online

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Online LibraryBenson J[ohn] LossingHistory of New York City, embracing an outline sketch of events from 1609 to 1830, and a full account of its development from 1830 to 1884 → online text (page 21 of 103)
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and otiiei-s in lS:i4, had expired in conseijuenee of extravajj^anee, in the
spring of 1827. It had a iiappy existence. The in.scription on a
baby's memorial stc)iie miuiit have been a club were
discussed. The Lunch Club, at which bread and cheese were the
ballots used wlien voting for membei-s (hence its other name), had met
fortnightly at the old AVashington Hotel, corner of Hroadway and
Chami)ers Street, where they were entertained at the expense of the
host for the evening. This arningement caused a rivalry in expense,
which led to the bi-etdle connections,
.soon crc^atc>d sub.scribei-s to the constitution. " Englishmen of charac-
ter coming to Xew York almost without c^xception became niembei-s,
either permanent or honorary, acconliug as their residence was either
fi.xed or transient. The Rev. Dr. Mcwre, afterward bishop of the
Diocese of Xew York, wolitical views. At
the meetings of every kind the subjects of religion and politics are
never discussed, only the charitable anil social objects of the scx-iety.
To this feature is du - t!ie long and healthful life of the association.

* Tho officers of the St. jVndrew's Snciety for 18S3 iire : Walter Watson, president ;
Brjc-e Gray and James Fraser. vice-presidents ; .1. Kennedy Tod. treasurer : Walter C.
lirand, secretary, and William Gordon, assistant seeretjiry ; .John Paton, William K.
Paton, John Mackay, Thomas Henderson, Jr., Robert H. Robertson, and William Lyall,
managers.



190 mSTOHY OF NEW YORK CITY.

Out of tlie Society of the Friendl}' Sons of St. Patrick grew the
present Irish Emigi-ant Society and the Emigrant Industrial Savings
Bank, now one of the largest savings institutions in the city. Prior to
the organization of these institutions the St. Patrick's Society, com-
monly so called, was very active in extending charitable aid to indigent
])ei'sons of the Irish race in the city, especially in aiding emigrants
ujwn their arrival in this country in finding emplopnent. That duty
is now discharged by the commissioners of emigration, of which the
president of the Irish Emigrant Society is one.*

TuE LrncKAKV Axn Philosoi'hical Society of New Yokk, founded in
1SI4, was composed of scientific and literary gentlemen. Among its
foundei-s were De Witt Clinton, Dr. Hosiick, Dr. Mitchill, Dr.
Macneven, Dr. Francis, Dr. Griscom, and others. Francis had just
returned from Europe, and brought with him nmch knowledge of
scientific facts and current history of philosophy abroad, derived from
acute obsei'vation. Clinton was cliosen the first president of the
society. It gathered a valuable library, and flourished for many years
among the useful institutions of New York City.

Tue Lyceum of Xatlral History was also a flourishing institution at
the time we are considering. In its origin it was a private association of
young gentlemen who held meetings occasionally in one of the lecture-
rooms of the College of Physicians and Surgeons. It was incorporated
by an act of the Legislature passed April 20, ISIS, and was furnished
by the city authorities Avith a suite of apartments in the Xew York
Institution. It soon formed quite an extensive cabinet, and before the
year 1S30 no collection in the country was richer in the departments of
herpetology and ichthyology. It had gathered an extensive collection
of fossils from Euro))e, nearly a whole skeleton of a mastodon, and
large portions of the only North American specimen of tlie mega-
therium which had hitherto been discovered. It had recently estab-
lished a new department of comparative anatomy, and was rich in
cranial illustrations of ethnology. The presidents of the institution
down to 1S27 were Dr. Samuel L. Mitchill and Dr. John Torrey.

The Lyceum of Natural History is now situated on Madison Avenue,
and besides a good library has a collection of more than three thousand
specimens of plants.

The New York Athen.eum, alluded to in connection with the New

* The officers o£ the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick for 1882-83 were :
Charles P. Daly, president ; John Savage, first vice-president ; Robert Sewell, second
vice-president ; William Whiteside, treasurer ; John lIcK. McCarthy, secretary ; Eugene
Kelly, almoner ; E. A Caldwell, M.D,, physician



FIWST OEfAIiK. ISIiO lH4n. 191

York Ilistoric-.il Socioty, was foundcil on llic lirst of .Fiiiu'. 1S24. Tntil
that time Now York was probably tlie only city of ecjual si/x- in the
world in which an assiK-iation foi' tlu' promotion of the iiighcst cultiva-
tion in science, art, ami literature combined might not he found. For
the nol)le puq^se of creating such an institution, and with the laudai)le
ambition to make it the leading society of the kind, distinguished mem-
bei's of the jtrofessions, of the arts, and of literature in the city associ-
ated, under the title of The New York Atheiueum.

The ass(K;iation consisted of resident and li(mo7-ary mcndx^-s. the
former divided into foui- classes, namely— associates, patrons, govern-
ors, and subscribei-s. From these classes the funtls for carrying on
the societv were derived. It was decreed tluit '^•2^»* constituted a
natron, :^li«t a gt)vernor, $5 an assoeiate. '^'2^^ antl slo a subscriber, tlie
latter class being divided into two kintls. The §L'n contributors were
entitled to tickets oi admission to the lectures, library, and reading-
room for himself anil family ; the ^lt» subscribei-s were entitled to these
privileges for himself only. The jiatrons anil governoi-s were each
entitled to three transferable tickets of admission to the lectures, the
library, and the reading-room, and other tickets for the membei-s of
their families. The patrons constituted a board, and had absolute con-
ti'ol of the funds of the association, no part of which could bo appropri-
ated without their sanction.

The librarv was to comprise, when complete, all the standard
elementai'v works of science and literature of every civilized nation,
ancient and modern. Monthly lectures were to lie given. oi>en to both
sexes. The Athenanim was fully ei}uipi)eil for operatirjns in is2ti, and
arranged the following scheme of lectures for that year : Roman Lit-
erature, Pi'ofessor Charles Anthon ; Phrenology. Dr. Charles King ;
Taste and I'.eauty. Professor .Tolin :\IcVickar ; The Revival of Classical
Literature, Richard Ray ; Cliemistry. Profes.sor James Renwick :
Commerce, .lohn Hone. Jr. ; Painting, Samuel F. B. Moree ; Political
Economy. William Beach Lawrence ; Poetry. William Cullen Bryant :
Oriental Literature, the Rev. John Frederick Schroeder ; Annivei-sary
Discourse, the Rev. James 'SI. Mathews, D.D.

After engaging for more than twenty years in its useful laiwi's. and
accomplishing a va.st amount of .social lienefit by infusing the hard
materialism of purely commercial life with the .spirituality and ameni-
ties of intellectual culture^ and taste, the institution was merged into
the New York Society Lii)rary in 1S3S, which became the i-ecipient of
its collection of valuable books.



CHAPTEE IX.

AMONG the more important institutions in om' country founded
for the diffusion of rehgious knowledge and the principles of
Christianity, and the spiritual enlightenment of mankmd, which may
claim the city of Kew York as the place of their nativity jjrevious to
the year 1830, are the American Bible Society, the Missionary Society
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Xew Yoi'k Bible Society.

The first Bible society in the United States was instituted at Phila-
delphia in 1808. Others were instituted the next year in Connecticut,



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