Governor Andros orders, that by reason of the change of
government, the inhabitants shall take an oath of allegiance to
their new sovereign. There are only thirty-six recorded names
who conform !
The mayor, on the approach of new year's day, commands the
disuse of firing guns.
The city gates are ordered to be closed every night at nine
o'clock, and to be opened at daylight. The citizens in general
are to serve their turns as watchmen, or to be fined. No cursing
or swearing shall be used by them. They are carefully to go
frequently towards " the bridge for greater safety." [Meaning,
I take it, the bridge at the great dock at the end of Broad street.]
Every citizen, for the purpose of guard, is always to keep in his
house a good fire-lock, and at least six rounds of ball.
The rates of tavern fare are thus decreed and ordered : ā for
lodging Sd. ; for meals Sd. ; brandy per gill 6</. ; French wines,
a quart. Is. 3d. ; syder, a quart, Ad. ; double beere, a quart, 2d.^;
and 7niim, a quart, Qd.
The mayor proposes that they who own convenient land to
build upon, if they do not speedily build thereon, it shall be valued
and sold to those who will. This being proposed to the governor,
who as military chief, always had a control in the semi-militaire
city, the same was afterwards adopted. How valueless must
have been lots then, since so estimable, which could thus " go a
begging" in 1675 !
In 1676, all the inhabitants living in the streete called the Here
Graft, (the same called Gentlemen's Canal once, now Broad street,)
shall be required to fill up the graft, ditch, or common shore, and
level the same.
" Tanners' pits" are declared to be a nuisance within the city,
and therefore it is ordered they shall only exercise their functions
as tanners without the towne. This ordinance will account for
the numerous tanneries once remembered in Beekman's swamp,
now again driven thence by encroaching population ; but the
premises still retained as curriers and leather dealers, making the
whole of that former region still a proper leathern towne.
It is ordered, for the sake of a better security of a sufficiency
of bread, that no grain be allowed to be distilled. How many
wretched families of the present day could now profit by such a
restraint, who abound in whiskey and lack bread !
It is ordered that innkeepers be fined, from whose houses In-
dians may come out drunk ; and if it be not ascertained by whom,
Ancient Memorials. 157
the whole streete shall be fined for the non-detection. A sure
means, this, to make every man " his neighbour's keeper."
A fine of twenty guilders is imposed on all Sabbath breakers.
The knowledge of such a fact then may afford a gratification to
several modern associations.
In 1676 is given the names of all of the then property holders,
amounting to only three hundred names, and assessed at one dol-
lar and a half a pound on Ā£99,695. This is a curious article in
itself, if considered in relation to family names or relative wealth.
What changes since " their families were young." The English
names of John Robinson, John Robson, Edward Griffith, James
Loyde, and George Heathcott, appear pre-eminently rich among
In 1676 it is ordered, that for the better security of seasonable
supplies, all country people bringing supplies to market, shall be
exempt from any arrest for debt. The market-house and plains
(the present " bowling green" site) afore the fort shall be used for
the city sales.
It is ordered that all slaughter-houses be removed thenceforth
wiihotit the city, " over the water, without the gate, at the
Smith's Fly, near the Half Moone." Thus denoting "the water
gate" near the present Tontine on Wall street, beyond which
was an invasion of water, near the former "Vly market" on
Public wells, fire ladders, hooks, and buckets are ordered, and
their places designated for the use of the city. Thus evincing
the infant cradling of the present robust and vigorous fire com-
panies. The public wells were located in the middle of such
streets as Broadway, Pearl street, &c. and were committed to the
surveillance of committees of inhabitants in their neighbourhoods,
and half of their expense assessed on the owners of property
nearest them. Will the discovery of their remains, in some future
day, excite the surprise and speculation of uninformed moderns ?
A " mill house" is taxed in " Mill street lane." Thus indi-
cating the fact of a water-course and mill seat (probably the bark
mill of Ten Eycke) at the head of what is now called " Mill
street." Thus verifying what I once heard from the Phillips
family, that in early times, when the Jews first held their worship
there, (their synagogue was built there a century ago) they had
a living spring, two houses above their present lots, in which
they were accustomed to perform their ablutions and cleansings
according to the rjtes of their religion.
In 1676, all horses at range are ordered to be branded and en-
rolled ; and two stud horses are " to be kept in commons upon
Tar for the use of vessels, is to be boiled only against " the
wall of the Half Moon," meaning the Battery wall.
All the carmen of the city, to the number of twenty, are ordered
158 ^Indent Memorials.
to be enrolled, and to draw for Gd. an ordinary load, and to
remove weekly from the city the dirt of the streets at 2d. a load.
The dustmen showed much spunk u])on the occasion, and com-
bined to refuse full compliance. They proposed some modifica-
tions; but the spirit of "the Scout, Burgomasters, and Shepens,"
was alive and vigorous in the city rulers, and they forthwith
dismayed the whole body of carmen, by divesting all of their
license who should not forthwith appear as usual at the public
dock, pay a small fine and make their submission. Only two
so succumbed, and a new race of carmen arose. Those carmen
were to be trusty men, worthy to be charged with goods of value
from the shipping, ^c. : wherefore all Indian and negro slaves
An act is passed concerning the revels of " Indian and negro
slaves" at inns. At the mention of Indian slaves the generous
mind revolts. What ! the virtual masters of the soil to become
"hewers of wood and drawers of water," to their cherished
quests ? Sad lot !
Forc'd from the land that gave them birth,
Or else to slave for others wealth.
In 1683 twelve pence a ton is assessed on every vessel for
their use of the city dock, " as usually given," and for " the use
of the bridge ; " understood by me to have been as a connecting
appendage to the same dock.
Luke Lancton, in 1683, is made " collector of customs" at the
custom-house near the bridge, and none shall unload "but at the
bridge." The house called Stuyvesant Huys," at the north-west
corner of present Front and IVIoore streets, was in ancient days
called " the ctistom-house."
The Indians are allowed to sell fire-wood, then called " stick
wood," and to vend " gutters for houses;" by which I suppose
was meant long strips of bark, so curved at the sides as to lead
off water : else it meant for the roof of sheds, even as we now
see dwelling-houses roofed along the road side to Niagara.
An act of reward, of the year 1683, is promulged for those
who destroy wolves.
A record of 1683, speaking of the former Dutch dynasty, says
the mayor's court was used to be held in the City Hall, where
they, the mayor and aldermen, determined " without appeal." It
alleges also, that " they had their own clerk, and kept the records
of the city distinctly." Thus giving us the desirable fact, that
"records" in amplitude, have once existed of all the olden days
of Lang Syne ! they spell the name of the island " JNIanhatans."
Then none might exercise a trade or calling unless as an
admitted " freeman." Then they might say with the centurion,
" with a great price bought I that privilege."
If a freeman, to use "iiandy craft," they paid 3/. 12^., and for
Jlncient Memorials. 159
" being made free," they paid severally 1/. As. None could then
trade up the Hudson river unless a freeman, who had had at least
three years' residence ; and if any one by any cause remained
abroad beyond twelve months, he lost his franchise, unless indeed
he " kept candle" and paid " Scott and Lott" .... terms to imply
his residence was occupied by some of his family. Have we
moderns bettered the cautious policy of our ancestors in opening
our arpis to every " new comer ?" We tariff goods, but put no
restraint on men, even if competitors. Do any think of this ?
In 1683 it was decreed that all flour should be bolted, packed,
and inspected in New York city. This was necessary then for
the reputation of the port in its foreign shipments. Besides, the
practice of bolting as now done at mills, by water power, was
miknown. In primitive days the " bolting business" was a
great concern by horse power, both in New York and Philadel-
The governor and his council grant to the city the dock and
bridge, provided it be well kept and cleaned ; if not, it shall forfeit
it ; but no duty shall be paid upon the bridge as "bridge money."
In 1683 the city bounds and wards are prescribed along certain
named streets. The third or east ward was bounded "along
the wall," and "' againe with all the houses in the Smith Fly,
and without the gate on the south side of the fresh water."
Meaning in the above, " the wall" of palisades along Wall
street ; and by the " fresh water," the Kolch or Collect fresh
In 1683 a committee, which had been appointed to collect
ancient records respecting the city privileges of former times,
made their report thereon, and therein name the " City Hall and
yards," "Market house" and "Ferry house." It says, Wm.
Merritt had offered " for the ferry to Long Island" the sum of
20/. per annum for twenty years ; to erect sheds, to keep two
boats for cattle and horses, and also two boats for passengers.
The ferriage for the former to be Qd. a-head, and for the latter
\d. Think of this, ye present four cent " labour-saving^^ steam-
boats. Ye shu7i the Dutchman's penny toil, but raise the price.
A committee, in 1683, report the use of 6,000 stochadoes of 12
feet long, at a cost of 24/., used for the repair of the wharf; i. e.
at the dock.
They ascertain the vessels and boats of the port, enrolled by
their names, to be as follows : ā three barques, three brigantines,
twenty-six sloops, and forty-six open boats. Some of their
names are rare enough.
An ordinance of 1683 orders that "no youthes, maydes, or
other persons may meete together on the Lord's Day for sporte
or play," under a fine of \s. No public houses may keep open
door or give entertainment then except to strangers, under a fine
of \Qs. Not more than four Indian or negro slaves may assemble
160 Ancient Memorials.
together ; and at no time may they be allowed to bear any fire-
arms ā this under a fine of Gs. to their owners.
A city surveyor " shall regulate the manner of each building
on each street," (even crooked and " up and down" as it then
was), so that uniformity (mark this) maybe preserved. Are we
then to presume they had no scheme or system, who now com-
plain of "winding narrow streets," and "cow paths" in the
mazy and triangular city ?
In 1683 markets were appointed to be held three times a-week,
and to be opened and shut by ringing the bells. Cord wood,
under the name of "stick wood," is regulated at the length of
A haven master is appointed to regulate the vessels in the
mole, (the same before called the dock,) and is to collect the dock
and bridge money.
A part of the slaughter-house (before appointed) by the Fly,
is appointed in 1683 to be a powder house, and its owner,
Garrett Johnson, is made the first keeper at 1 5. 6^. a barrel. Of
course, then locating it at the Vly, as far enough beyond the
verge of population to allow of " a blow up."
In 1683 several streets therein named, are ordered to be paved
by the owners concerned, and directs they shall plank up and
barricade before their doors where needful to keep up the earth.
In 1684 the city requests from the king's government, the ces-
sion of all vacant land, the ferry, City Hall, dock, and bridge.
An order of king James recognized and recorded in 1685, pro-
hibiting all trade from New York colony "with the East Indies,"
that being even then a claimed " privilege of the company of
merchants of London." This proscribed East India commerce
had more import than meets the eye, for it virtually meant to
prohibit trade (unless by special grant) with the West Indies.
In 1685 the Jews of New York petition to be allowed the
public exercise of their religion, and are refused on the ground
that " none are allowed by an act of assembly so to worship, but
such as profess a faith in Christ." Experience has since proved
that \vc are nowhere injured by a more liberal and free toleration.
Laws " may bind tlie body down, but cannot restrain the flights
the spirit takes."
In 1686 a committee is appointed to inspect what vacant land
they find belonging to Arien Cornelissen ; and this entry is ren-
dered curious by a recorded grant of 1687, preserved in the re-
cords of the oflice of the city comptroller, to this effect, saying ā
sixteen acres of the Basse IBowery (by which I understand low
or meadow farm) is hereby granted unto Arien Cornelissen for
the consideration of one fat capon a year. Who now can tell the
value of that land for that small and peculiar compensation ?
In 16f)l it is ordered tliat there shall be but one butcher's sham-
bles kept, and that to be on the green before the fort. The next
Ancient Memoriats. 161
year another (place for shambles I presume) is allowed under the
trees by the Slip. At the same time it is ordered that fish (as at
a market) be sold at the dock over against the City Hall. Thus
referring to the Hall as then known on Pearl street, at the head
of Coentie's Shp, under which was also a prison.
The clerk of the mayor's court, in 1C91, is charged to inquire
after, and to collect and preserve the books and papers of the city,
and to keep them safely with an inventory thereof May not
this record present an index hand to guide to some discovery of
such historical rarities ?
The mayor rents a shop or shops in the Market-house. One
John Ellison is named as paying 3/. for such a shop.
In 1691 it is ordered that the inhabitants by the water side,
" from the City Hall to the Slip," are to help build the wharf to
run out before their lots ; and every male negro in the city is to
help thereat with one day's work.
The hucksters of that day, even as now, were very trouble-
some in forestalling the market, and laws were made to restrain
The bakers, too, had their ordeal to pass, and the regula-
tion and limit of bread-loaves is often under the notice of the
council. This ends my extracts, from first MS. Vol.
The following facts I have derived from the further researches
and industry of my friend, Wm. Dunlap Esq., as referred to on
page 155, to wit :
1692. Ordered, that the poisonous and stinking weeds before
every one's house, be plucked up, under three shiUings penalty.
A market house for meat, is ordered to be built at the end of
the Heergraft street ā [foot of Broad street.]
A piece of land at the foot of Golden Hill, is leased to a man
and his wife, during their lives, for six shillings a year, provided
they build a small house, and leave it to the corporation at their
death. How many thousand dollars would the same locality
bring now !
Ordered that the lots between the Burgers path, [back of Co-
entie's slip,] and the block house, be divided into thirteen, and
exposed to sayle, ā and in another order, it is declared that all
the land in front of the Fly, (meadow, or swamp land) from the
block house unto the hill next to Beekman's, be sold. A block
house once in New York, will be a new thing to many. Wall
street, in 1744, as then seen by Abeel, had block houses and
palisades along Wall street, from river to river.
1693. On an apprehension of a French war, it is ordered, by
Governor Fletcher, that a platform be made on the rocks, under
the fort, whereon may be erected a battery to command both
rivers. At the same time, all the freemen with their servants to
work on the defences, including " all Indians, negroes and others
not listed in the militia."
21 o 2
162 Ancient Memorials.
The houses enumerated this year, are five hundred and ninety-
four, and " lands had advanced to ten times their former vakie."
1697. Upon an occasion of absolving the mihtia from tlie night
guard, during the winter, it was ordered that four citizens perform
the same. It was also ordered, that during tlie dark nights, the
house-keepers shall put lights in their windows, fronting on the
streets, and dm"ing the dark time of the moon, every seventh
house-holder should hang out a lanthorn and candle on a pole,
1699. On occasion of letting the Ferry for seven years, it was
determined, that the lessee should provide two great boats, or
scows, for cattle, &c., and two small boats for passengers ā the
fare for a single person, to be eight stivers in wanipum ā or a
silver two-pence ; a horse, one shilling, &c.
1702. The dock and slips of the city are rented to James
Spencer, carpenter, for twenty-five pounds ā he to clear the dock
and slips and keep them clean, and build a wharf enclosing the
1 704. The Rev. Mr. Vesey, missionary and first minister of
Trinity church, opened a catechising school for Blacks. His
name appears often, as receiving five pounds for the Corporation
Sermon. Now they prefer dinners. It is from him that we have
the name of Vesey street.
The city corporation occasionally orders cord-wood for the
field, and some six or eight gallons of wine, to raise a cheering,
and a bonfire, for public celebrations.
The common council, in taking their oath of ofiice, swear that
they do not believe in transubstaniiation, ā that the bread and
wine in the Lord's supper, is not converted into the body and
blood of Christ, ā they also abjure the uivocation of the Virgin,
and the sacrifice of the Mass.
The 25th of December, 1705, is recorded as the coldest day
ever known. The Hudson river was frozen over several days.
There is frequent mention of Indian slaves.
1716. A law was passed for regulating midvvives ā they were
to be sworn to faithful service, to commit no frauds in changing
children ; not to be accessary to any pretended deliveries ; not to
assist in any frauds, or concealments of births ā and never to
speak of the secrets of their otfice.
Public whipping of "slaves, negroes and Indians," was as
common as exuberant spirits and mischiefs could make them.
If found out too late at night, or too many together, in noisy
gambols, or if gaming for and with copper pennies ā then to be
whipped, and the owner to pay the church icardensihree shillings,
ā what a fund for the merciful gospel ! The public whipper to
have five pounds a quarter,
1730, Notice is given, that whoever inclines to perform the
foot-post to Albany this whiter, is to make application to Richard
Anchnt Memorials. 163
Nichols, the post-master. Only think of a foot-post , all the dreary
u ay to Albany, in mid-winter ! What a wretch !
1731. Two complete fire engines ordered out from England,
and hooks and ladders are to be made. This probably indicates
the first attempt at public measures for the suppression of fires.
This year, the small-pox was very prevalent, and very fatal ā
causing great dread, and causing upwards of five hundred deaths,
in a little more than two months.
1733. Mr. Silas Wood, gives the population of the province
this year to be 50,291, of which Long Island possessed one third,
say, 17,820 ; 7231 of the preceding were slaves. New York city
contained, 8628 souls. Thinl-: of the increase in one century, and
what may it be in another !
In 1735, " the first stone of the platform of the new battery on
White Hall rocks, was laid by the governor, and was called
George Augustus' Royal battery. This probably was the renewal
of a former inferior battery, ordered by Gov. Fletcher, in 1693.
1744. It was ordered, that all house-holders should, every
Friday, rake and sweep together all tlie dirt and filth, lying in
the streets before their respective houses, and then cause the same
to be carried away, or cast into the river.
1747. Such was the dread of small-pox, that the governor
had to prohibit its inoculation, temporarily, whilst fearing an
invasion, lest the country people fearing the disease, should not
come to the assistance of the city.
1757. Such was the dread of impressment even in and near
New York harbour, that Governor Hardy, for the sake of his
own good living in the city, was obliged to encourage marketing
from the country, by making his proclamation, that all boatmen,
and marketmen, who came to or from the city, " shall not be im-
pressed while bringing provisions and other necessaries," &c.
Cases of impressment are occasionally mentioned. Perhaps it
was from a dread of such encroachments on personal freedom,
that led to the practice of women rowing the market boats, at
New York, in the provincial times !
The 15th of January, 1761, the Narrows were frozen over, ā
on the 18th of June, 1764, the light-house on Sandy Hook, was
lighted for the first time, ā how difficult must have been the pas-
sage before that help and guide !
Such are the amusing as well as instructive incidents of the
ancient days in New York, from which " the thinking bard"
may " cull his pictur'd stores." Through such mazes, down "hoar
" The eye explores the feats of elder days."
It may well encourage to further research to know the fact,
that I considered myself as gleaning from that first volume,* all,
ā¢ Referred to on page 155.
164 Notices of Early Dutch Tifnes.
in the few preceding pages, which I deemed the proper material
for the amusements of history. If we would make the incidents
of the olden time familiar and popular, ])y seizing on the affec-
tions and stirring the feelings of modern generations, we must
first delight them with the comic and strange of history, and after-
wards win them to graver researches, " Anecdotes of men and
things ( says Blackwood) will have a charm, as long as man has
curiosity." They who cater for such appetites, should always
consider that there is a natural passion for the marvellous in every
hreast ; and that every writer may be sure of his reader who
limits his selections to facts which mark the extremes of our rela-
tive existence, or to objects "on which imagination can delight
to be detained." But there are means of inquiry exclusive of
memorials and records ; such as the recollections and observa-
tions of living witnesses, respecting " men and manners" of other
days, and of things gone down to oblivion. These they retain
with a lively impression, because of their original interest to
themselves ; and for that reason they are generally of such cast
of character as to afford the most gratifying contemplations to
those who seek them.
From a lively sense of this fact, I have been most sedulous to
make my researches among the living chronicles, just waning to
their final exit. These can only be consulted noiv, or never.
From such materials we may hope to make some provision for
future Avorks of poetry, painting, and romance. It is the raw
material to be elaborated into fancy tales and fancy characters
by the Irvings, Coopers, and Pauldings of our country. By such
means we generate the ideal presence, and raise an imagery to
entertain and aid the mind. We raise stories, wherein " sweet
fiction and sweet truth alike prevail."
NOTICES OF EARLY DUTCH TIMES.
" Such once ; ā no longer such ā are passed away."
In endeavouring to rescue from oblivion, some of the early
traits of character which marked the age of the founders, we
may, with Moulton's history, notice but to condemn it ā that
" affectation of squeamishness in some, who now revolt at the
idea of coming in contact with tlic rude founders of our country,
as if such facts of our domestic history were beneath the dignity
of history, so called : they would restrict it only to great person-
ages and great events; and thus by too much generalization lose
in individual interest more than could be gained in abstract
philosophy and politics."
Stadt Huys, at Coenties Slip, 1642 to 1700, p. 176 and 351.
Ferry House, corner of Broad and dardcn Streets, p. 182.