Asa Greene.

A glance at New York: embracing the city government, theatres, hotels, churches, mobs, monopolies, learned professions, newspapers, rogues, dandies, fires and firemen, water and other liquids, & c., & c. .. online

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Online LibraryAsa GreeneA glance at New York: embracing the city government, theatres, hotels, churches, mobs, monopolies, learned professions, newspapers, rogues, dandies, fires and firemen, water and other liquids, & c., & c. .. → online text (page 3 of 11)
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14; Roman Catholic, 6; Universalist, 4;
Orthodox, or Trinitarian, Quakers, 1 ; Hick-
site, or Unitarian Quakers, 3 ; Congrega-
tionalists, 2 ; Unitarians, 2 ; Lutherans, 2 ;
Moravians, 1 ; Svvedenborgians, 1 ; Chris-
tian, 1 ; German Reformed, 1 ; Mariner's
Church, 1 : total 147 Christian churches.


Add to these 3 Jewish Synagogues, and you
have the whole number of 150.

These have meetings for public worship
from one to three times every Sunday : ex-
cept the Jews, whose Sabbath is on the se-
venth day of the week. Of course, as the
Israelites are too small a number to do busi-
ness successfully, without Christian aid, they
have also a second day of rest, on the first day
of the week.

Besides these religious societies, there is a
congregation of Atheists who meet regularly
on Sunday, at Tammany Hall.

These different sects for the most part,
walk together — or rather walk apart — in great
harmony. They agree perfectly well, to dif-
fer, with few exceptions. Among these ex-
ceptions, for instance, the Atheist, sneers at
the Christian; while the Christian, on the
contrary, descends from his dignity to lash the

But the most bitter animosity prevails be-
tween certain of the different sects of Chris-
tians ; or rather perhaps, it should be said,


between the leaders of these different sects,
These are, m general the Roman Catholics
on the one side, and the Protestants on the
other. But the more particular and bitter di-
vision is between certain of the pastors of the
Dutch Reformed and of the Roman Catho-
lic Churches. Hence that great war of words
recently waged between those great guns of
controversy, Dr. Brownlee and Dr. Power.
Calvin and the reformation on the one side,
and the Pope and the scarlet woman on the
other. Hence too the justification of that
most atrocious arson, the burning of the
Charlestown Convent ; and turning naked
upon the world innocent and defenceless fe-
males. And hence the encouragement of
that foul imposture, the Awful Disclosures of
Maria Monk ; and hence the religious belief,
three hundred and fifty miles from the spot
where they are alleged to have been commit-
ted, of enormities which nobody credits on
the spot itself !

But New York, as we have said, is essen-
tially a religious community. The pastors are


religious and the people are religious. But
some few of the shepherds cry wolf when
there is no wolf; thus endeavoring to frighten,
and often succeeding, in frightening their
flocks without any just cause.

All travelling, as they are, heavenward, the
different sects of the truly religious are for
the most part inclined to walk very lovingly
together ; and would get on their way with
few or no quarrels, if certain of their over-
zealous pastors did not set them, most unchari-
tably, to railing, abusing, and throwing dirt
and stones at one another.

The Roman Catholics now — even in the
19th century, and in the 37th year of this cen-
tury — are the great bugaboo to frighten the
Protestant babes. The Pope of Rome is com-
ing hither, with hasty strides, to take the land.
His great toe is already on our shores ; and his
whole foot — nay, both feet — are expected to
be here anon. He has got six churches out of
one hundred and fifty, in the city of New York;
and unless suddenly arrested in his course,


will infallibly lay his hand on the remaining
one hundred and forty-four !

But how is he to be arrested ? By reason,
— by argument— by christian charity 1 No :
his own weapons are to be turned against him
— violence, imposture, and deceit:

" For if the devil, to serve his turn,
Can tell truth, why the saints should scorn
When it serves theirs, to swear and lie,
I think there's little reason why ;
Else h' has greater power than they,
Which 'twere impiety to say."

If the Papists practice Jesuitism to advance
their cause, why should not the Protestants
make use of the same carnal weapons to op-
pose them 1

Such seems to be the reasoning and such
the practice of a few of the most violent anti-
Catholics in New-York. But we believe they
have not a very large number of backers,
either in opinion or practice : the majority of
the Protestants having little dread of the
Pope, and less inclination to adopt, against him


and his followers, those methods of imposture
and deceit wherewith he and they were ac-
customed, in earlier times, to maintain their
power over the consciences and minds of



When shall we three meet again ? — Macbeth.

Sir, I shall have law in Ephesus. — Comedy of Erroes.

Take physic, pomp. — King Lear.

Say but the word, and I will be his priest. — Henry VI.

The members of the three learned professions
in New York amount, in all, to about 1400.
We have already stated the number of
churches to be 150. Most of these have one
pastor each. Some of them have more than
one : as in the case of the Middle and North
Dutch Reformed Churches, where three pas-
tors are employed in the care of two flocks ;
the South Dutch Church, where two pastors
preside over one flock ; and in St. George's
and Christ's Church, (Episcopal,) which are
equally well provided with pastors. On the


other hand, there are some churches which
have not so much as one clergyman a-piece ;
hut content themselves by uniting in associa-
tions of two, or more, under one pastor : as
in the case of St. Michael's, St. James's, St.
Mary's, and St. Ann's. Some churches, per-
haps, are without any regular preacher ; and
there are some preachers without any
churches. On the whole, therefore we shall
not err in estimating the number of preachers
to be equal to the number of churches : that
is 150 in all; giving to each an average of
2000 souls.

The number of persons engaged in the care
of bodies and estates is much larger : a striking
proof, either, that the people consider these
latter possessions of much more value than
the former ; or, if not of more value, at least
that they require much more care and expense
in their preservation.

Taking the 150 clergymen from the whole

number engaged in the learned professions,

and there remain, to be divided amongst the

doctors and lawyers, 1250 : of whom 650 are



lawyers, and the remaining 600, doctors. If,
therefore, we divide the population among
them in equitable proportions, each lawyer
will have about 461 J persons to his share, and
each doctor 500. If body and estate, in this
great metropolis, be not well taken care of,
it will evidently not be for lack of numbers in
the professions of law and physic.

It is related of a young M. D., that, having
put his " sheepskin" in his pocket, he travelled
towards the West, in search of a place to ped-
dle pills. " This is a new country," said he,
*' and I shall have it all to myself. There
will be no competition here." Poor fellow !
he was not aware that there is no place so
new as to be free from competition in the
practice of his art. He travelled on — and still
further on — inquiring every where for a " va-
cancy." But the prospect grew worse ; until
at length, he came to where two physicians
were riding on one horse. At this sight he
turned about and came home again : thinking
it better to get a very limited practice in a
city, where he could attend his patients on


foot, than be reduced in a new country, with
bad roads, and a sparse population, to the ne-
cessity of riding double.

In considering the great number of lawyers
and doctors, in proportion to the number of
inhabitants, it will naturally be asked how they
all — i. e. the lawyers and doctors — live. Some
will answer, that they do not live, but merely
stay. We will not make so nice distinction ;
but suppose the stayers to be also livers.

If we suppose each man, woman, and
child to pay, on an average, $1 50 per annum
for medical attendance, then each physician
in New York — allowing " the spoils" were
divided equally — would receive ^750. This
would decently maintain a single man ; but
leave nothing for wife and children.

The division of profits, however, is very far
from being equal. We will suppose the whole
number of doctors to be divided into jEive equal
classes, which will give 120 to each class.
Of the $450,000 paid to the whole, the first
class, consisting of the oldest, most eminent,
and best known, may be safely calculated to


get $240,000 ; which gives tliem an average
of $2,000 each. Here is more than half the
practice — or rather we should say, more than
half the pay— goes to one fifth of the physicians.
They do not actually, we suppose, do the
drudgery of more than a third part of the
practice. But they attend the best, in other
words, the wealthiest, families. The slight
colds, the pin-scratches, the imaginary or
magnified complaints of the tenderly^nursed
and the luxurious fall to their share. The
light labor and the heavy pay, the empty aiU
ments and the full purse, these are the com-
fortable circumstances attending their practice.
The remaining $210,000 go to the remain-
ing 480 doctors — giving them, on an average,
about $437. But here again, there must be
another unequal division. Though these are
all obliged to pass for the lesser stars in the
medical firmament, they are not all supposed
by any means to twinkle with equal lustre.
Some of these doctors will inevitably be more
famous than the rest , and, in farmers' phrase
will " cut a wider swath." They will get


more practice and better pay. So that one
fourth of the remaining' 480 doctors will get
more than one half of the remaining $210,000;
say $120,000, or $1000 each : leaving only
$90,000 to be divided among the other 360
physi iians ; which will give to each a divi-
dend of $250.

But the division of this remaining pittance
is not yet to be equalized. We must sup-
pose one third of the remaining doctors to be
more learned, more obsequious, more fortu-
nate, or older practitioners than the rest.
This more happy portion will take $60,000 of
what money remains : giving to each an aver-
age of $500. There then remains $30,000
to be divided among the balance of 240 doc-
tors : giving to each a share of $125.

But they are not yet to go ** share and share
alike." The fourth class must inevitably be
better, older, or more lucky fellows than the
fifth ; and will, in all probability, get $24,000
of the remaining $30,000 ; or $200 on an
average : leaving just $4,000 to be divided
among the remaining 120 doctors — and giving
to each an average of $33 J.


The first class, with economy, may support
a wife and children The second class may
rub hard, and support a wife. The third
class may rub hard, and go single. But in re-
gard to the fourth and hfth classes, the ques-
tion will naturally be repeated — how do they
live ] They must make some little show.
They must have an office — or some decent
or convenient place, where they may be found
— and that among decent and respectable
people. They must have a good c.:at to their
back. An obscure garret and a shabby coat,
after the manner of a poet, will not answer.
A pill is all the more popular for gilding.

But there is very little chance for this gild-
ing, on the small income of $33^, or even the
larger one of $200. The last will pay for
board at a very moderate rate ; and leave
nothing for clothing, office rent, books, instru-
ments, &c. The first would scarcely furnish
the most moderate smoker in the luxury of

How do these unfortunate 240 — and espe-
cially the most unfortunate moiety of them


live ? But before we pretend to make
any conjectures as to the modus v'wendi of
these sons of iEsculapiiis, we will look a
little at the condition of the 650 "limbs of the
law." And here we shall find that the vota-
ries of Themis are no better rewarded than
those of the god of medicine.

The emoluments of the lawyers, and the
divisions and gradations of their emoluments,
may be reckoned about the same as those of
the doctors. The smaller number pocket
the greater portion of the fees. They sit
down at the first table : and the fattest pieces,
the most capital joints, the most delicious vi-
ands are theirs. What is left — the broken
meats, the leaner joints — ^go to their more nu-
merous, but less fortunate, brethren ; a part
of whom, at the close of the repast, are forced
to take up with the mere crumbs which have
fallen from the previous tables.

The young lawyer, like the young doctor,
must wait upon business — or wait/or business.
He must be always in a situation to receive it.
He must have an office — and that in some


come-at-able place. The sign at his door must
not direct you to a "passage that leads to
nothing." He must make an appearance of
doing something — whether he does it or not.
A decent coat he must likewise have upon his
back and a shirt-collar on his neck ; though this
perhaps is not so requisite as to the physician,
inasmuch as the business of the lawyer lies al-
most wholly with those of his own sex, while
that of the physician brings him more fre-
quently in the presence of the women : with
whom a spruce outside is no despisable letter
of recommendation. Meat and lodging the
lawyer must have. Without those prime ar-
ticles — especially the former — he cannot ex-
pect strength of lungs to plead the causes
which he has — in expectancy.

If our estimates of the emoluments of law
and physic be correct (and we are assured,
by members of those professions, that they
are quite high enough,) then it appears that
there are 250 lawyers and physicians whose
receipts are each but $200 per annum ; and


the same number, who receive no more than
a sixth part of that sum !

How do all these live 1 " Upon hope," says
one ; " upon faith," says another, " upon ex-
pectation," says a third. All these are mighty
clever things, truly ; and will answer, like
pepper and salt to season one's meat and pro-
mote one's digestion. But they will not do in
the place of meat itself. Though the young
physician or lawyer cannot w^ell do without
them, he cannot well live upon them alone.
Faith may remove mountains ; and yet no
doctor or lawyer would dare rely upon it for
a loaf of bread. Hope deferred maketh the
heart sick ; and expectation, however strenu-
ously indulged,- will never purchase a dinner.

Others perhaps will answer the question,
how do they live ] by saying, they have
wealthy parents ; or they enjoy a patrimony ;
or, in short, that they are blest with the means
of living, independent of their profession. If
they were so blest, they had never studied law
or physic. The very fact, of their having be-
taken themselves to either of these professions,
is, in most cases, sufficient proof that they


have not the command of other means of live-
lihood. In general, they have no family
wealth. They are the sons of fathers who
have nothing to give them ; who, in many in-
stances, could not give them even their- pro-
fession ; and in others, having labored hard
to give them that, have sent them into the
world with that as their sole patrimony.

But you have not yet told us how they live.
Dear, kind, curious reader, we cannot tell
thee what we do not know. We presume
they have intelligent friends — ask them.

The condition of the clergy — take them as
a whole — presents a hrighter picture. In a
mere worldly point of view, they choose bet-
ter than the votaries of law or physic. They
have more of " the promise of the life that
now is," to say nothing " of that which is to
come." True, clergymen are rarely so well
paid, as to get rich on their profession. None
of them, however able or popular, receive as
much money per annum as some of the most
eminent lawyers or doctors. The highest


clerical salary in New York is $5000,"^ while
some of the ablest, or most fortunate, lawyers
and physicians make J^ 10,000.

But if none of the clergy get as much mo-
ney as some of the physicians or lawyers, so,
on the other hand, do none of them get so lit-
tle as some of the latter. The emoluments
are more equally divided. There is a more
equitable distribution of the good things of
this life. While, not above one or two of the
pastors in New York, receive more than ^3000
salary per annum : so, probably, there are few
who get much below $1000. But, in addition
to the salary, they have a house rent free,
which is worth from three hundred to a thou-
sand more. They also get comfortable sums
for lighting the torch of Hymen. The niar-
riage fee — allowing them, on an average, to
unite one hundred couples in a year, at the

* This is the salary of the rector of the associate churches
of St. Paul's, St. John's, and Trinity. Since writing the
above, we are informed that a fund has been raised for the
support of the Bishop of New York, called the Episcopal
Fund, and the income of which — amounting to upwards of
$6000 — goes entirely to the Bishop.


moderate rate of five dollars each — will
amount to $500 in the whole.

Then, in addition to the salary, the house-
rent, and the perquisite of marrying, there are
presents of many a good thing from the church-
members and parishioners : broadcloth for
the parson, bed and table linen for the par-
son's wife, and shoes and stockings for the
parson's children. In short, not to mention
every thing, the number of articles which the
minister and his family are found to want,
and which their friends are found to supply,
are very numerous and of very great conve-

From this it is evident that the condition of
the clergy, as a body, is infinitely more com-
fortable than that of the members of the two
other learned professions. This is particularly
the case with the younger branches of the
clerical profession, as compared with the
same branch in law and physic. They are
not obliged to grow grey in attaining to a
competency, and perhaps miss it at last. They
seem to have no up-hill work in their profes-


sion. They are provided for, in some way
or other, from the beginning. If they have
talent, if they have a good voice, a good
figure, and good address in the pulpit — it is
immediately known, because opportunity is
readily accorded them for their display ; while
the lawyer and the physician, may wait, per^
haps for years, without an opportunity to
show their talents, if they have any. But
the minister, whether he have much capacity
or little, whether he have five talents or one,
is conscientiously provided for among his
religious brethren. They have too much
christian charity to see him suffer from pov-
erty and want.




There's ne'er a villain, dwelling in all Denmark,
But he's an arrant knave. — Hamlet.

My dear Dick Riker ! you and I

Have floated down life's stream together,
And kept unharmed our friendship's tie
Through every change of fortune's sky —

Her pleasant and her rainy weather. — Halleck.

New York, amidst her great variety of all
sorts of things, good, bad, and indifferent, is
not without her share of rogues. Indeed it
would be St miracle if she were. It would be
worth telling of amongst her sister cities. But
it is a piece of news, we fear, she will not have
to tell until the days of the millenium. While
mankind are morally constituted as at pres-
ent ; while considerable depravity is mixed up
with no small share of good : there must be


an every place a greater or less " sprinkling"
of bad fellows ; and, in a city of three hund-
red thousand inhabitants, it is not at all sur-
prising if they should fall upon us in a very
-considerable shower.

A great city may be considered as the
mother — the *' nursing mother" of rogues.
A great city affords them aliment ; and they
do so much credit to their keeping as to
*' grow by what they feed on." They not
only find aliment in a great city, but they
also find security. They hide themselves in
the crowd. They find holes and lurking
places, where they lie perdue, until the cry
of thief is over ; when they come boldly forth
and prowl as before.

Not only do they find security, after they
have gotten the spoils, but they find it an
easy matter to get them, with a little ingenu-
ity. They sometimes even find the owners
ready to help them to what they want: as
happened, two or three years since, to a
black thief, who was seen, by a boarder, busily
at work stealing coats in the hall of one o


our principal hotels. " What are you doing
with those coats, you black rascal ?" said the
boarder. *' I'm jist 'gwine to take 'em home
to scour 'em," answered the thief, with great
presence of mind and without changing color
in the least. "Oh, you are, ha?" said the
boarder ; " well, here take mine and scour it
too." With that he handed him his own
coat, and the black marched securely off.

But if New York be pretty well supplied

with rogues, so also is it pretty well supplied

with rogue-takers. Who has not heard of

High Constable Hays — better known by the

name of "Old Haysf" What thief, what

robber, what counterfeiter hath not trembled

at his name ? What villain hath not stood in

greater awe of him than of the devil, or his

own conscience ? Not old Izaac Walton, of

piscatory memory, did ever hook so many of

the finny tribe as Old Hays hath seized of

land-sharks. He knows a thief as far as he

can see him. That keen, dark eye of his looks

him through. Not Solomon, in all his glory,

could tell a thief with half the precision as


his brother Israelite, the High Constable of

We would write the life of Old Hays, had
it not been already done (and in a manner
so much better than we could pretend to) in
the columns of the Mirror, and by that excel-
lent genius, William Cox.

Besides the High Constable — who has now
grown grey in nabbing thieves — there is a
powerful corps of younger gentlemen engaged
m the same laudable practice : such as Ho-
mans. Sparks, Merritt, Huntington, A. M. C.
Smith, and a number of others ; all of whose
names daily figure in the police reports as the
captors of such and such lots of rogues, as
have had the imprudence, or the ill fortune,
to fall into their hands.

Rogues, with all their cunning, are aptt o
make sad mistakes. They are, for the most
part, bad generals. Though they lay their
plans of attack well, they are exceedingly apt
to fail in making a skilful retreat. They will
succeed wonderfully in seizing the spoils ; but
then they are seized upon themselves. With



all the hiding places in this great city, they can
not hide always. '1 he police officers are ever
upon the look-out for them, like terriers watch-
ing for rats. They are acquainted with their
haunts. And even should they find them new
retreats and escape for a while ; the very im-
punity makes them bold. They venture forth
more daringly, and are nabbed at last.

If one thing, more than another, secures a
constant succession and supply of rogues in
this city, it is the remarkable tenderness with
which they are so often treated, when caught.
In fact, why should they attempt to escape
the constables, when they stand so good a
chance of impunity from the judge? We say
chance, because Mr. Recorder Riker, who
has so long presided in the rogues' tribunal,
the Court of Sessions, is by no means uniform
in his acts of lenity. If John Doe escape to-^
day, it does not therefore follow that Richard
Roe shall escape to-morrow ; even though the
latter has been guilty of no greater crime than
the former. The Recorder has his hours of
severity as well as of leniency. As striking


instances of the very changeable temper
of Justice, in his Honor's court, may be
mentioned the case of Dunn, who was sen-
tenced to five years' imprisonment in the state
prison, for forging to the amount of five dot'
lars ; and that ofFinchley, who having forged,
and obtained the money, to the amount of
more than nine thousand dollars, was sentenced
to no punishment whatever. The injustice of
the first sentence was so glaring, that a par-

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Online LibraryAsa GreeneA glance at New York: embracing the city government, theatres, hotels, churches, mobs, monopolies, learned professions, newspapers, rogues, dandies, fires and firemen, water and other liquids, & c., & c. .. → online text (page 3 of 11)