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THE STORY OF THE NATIONS



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For prospectus of the series see end of this volume
G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS, NEW YORK AND LONDON



THE STORY

OF

The City of New York



BY



CHARLES BURR TODD

AU'IHOk Oh " LIfE AND LE7TERS OF JOEL BAKLOW



iLL.s,„A,K,> JUN 18 1895



i^zionT



" The harvest of the river is her revenue and she is a mart of nations."
" The crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the
honorable of the earth," -Isaiah xxiii, 3, 8.



NEW YORK & LONDON

G . P . ? U 1' N A M ' S SONS

K^t '^nicKerbochei '^nas

1890.

V



COPYRIGHT BY

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS






Press of

G. P. Putnam's Sons

New York



TO

THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF THE

CITY OF NEW YORK

THIS VOLUME '

IS

AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED

BY

THEIR FRIEND, THE AUTHOR



PREFACE.



In writing the story of New York, it has been the
author's purpose to present a brief but comprehen-
sive survey of the causes which led to the founding
of the city, and of the various agencies which con-
tributed to its marvellous growth, and to combine
with this a narrative of such domestic details and
romantic or picturesque incidents as would serve to
render the picture clear and complete. The author
hopes that his volume, while planned more particu-
larly for the requirements of younger readers, may be
found of service to citizens of all ages who may wish
to inform themselves concerning the chief events in
the history of the great city of the New World, and
who may not find time for larger and more elaborate
histories. It is startling to think that in twenty-five
years, if the present rate of increase is continued,
New York, with her history of two hundred and
fifty years, will surpass London, with a life-time of
twenty centuries, and will become the capital of
the world — that is, in wealth and population. The
onward rush of material forces will give her this
vantage ; but whether she becomes the capital in a



vi PREFA CE.

larger sense — in art, letters, science, and moral influ-
ence, in great museums and universities of art, in free
libraries for the people, and storehouses of learning for
the scholar, in that literary and artistic atmosphere
which attracts the author, poet, and painter, and de-
velops the best that is in them, — this possibility rests
largely with the young people of to-day, who, for the
next fifty years, will shape her destinies. Manifestly
they will work with greater interest toward this end,
if they know that their city has a noble and dignified
history, that, notwithstanding grave drawbacks and
difficulties, her progress has been such as to chal-
lenge the wonder of students of social science the
world over, and that her future is so full of possibili-
ties that no man can hope to forecast it. This re-
sult the author has also had in view.

Some details have been unavoidably omitted — an
omission supplied in part by the chronological record
in the Appendix. In treating of the modern period,
the writer has adopted the view of most scholars, that
histor}^ ceases fifty years back of the present time
— contemporary record taking its place,— and has
treated of the modern period only so far as seemed
necessary to the completeness of the narrative.

It would be impossible to name here the numer-
ous authorities consulted. The author has, however,
derived special benefit from the labors of such origi-
nal investigators as Messrs. Brodhead, O'Callaghan,
and Valentine. From the " Corporation Manual,"
compiled by the last-named gentleman, many of the
illustrations, as well as many curious facts, have been
taken. He is also indebted to the various histories



PREFACE. VI 1

of the city— by Miss Mary L. Booth, David T. Val-
entine, Mrs. Martha J. Lamb, Colonel William L.
Stone, and Benson J. Lossing, — and to the scrap-
books and files of old papers in the Astor and
Society libraries. Acknowledgment is also due
Mr. George H. Putnam for his encouragement and
co-operation.

New York, January i, 1888.




CONTENTS.



Introduction ^ ^5

New York Bay discovered by Verrazano, 2— By Henry
Hudson, 5— The Dutch, their country, customs, and laws,
6— The long-sought northwest passage, 7— The Half
Moon in the Hudson, 8— The West India Company and its
chambers, 12 — The first director, 15.



PART I.
THE DUTCH DYNASTY.



Peter Minuit 19 39

Manhattan Island in 1626, 19— Its purchase from the In-
dians, 20— Appearance, dress, manners, and customs of the
latter, 24— The beginning of New Netherlands, 26— De
Rasieres' embassy to Plymouth, 30^Its happy result, 32—
The patroons and their purchases, 34.



II.

WouTER Van Twiller ..... 40-5°

Knickerbocker's description of, 40— His warlike measures,
43— Drives the English from the Hudson^ 45— Plants a
fort on the Connecticut, 46— His authority contemned by
the English, 47— His recall, 50.

ix



CONTENTS.



III.



WiLHELM KlEFT S^~^2)

His testiness, 51 — Despotic powers, 52 — Truculent mes-
sage to Minuit, 57 — Sets a price on the heads of the Rari-
tans, 58 — Proposes no more meetings, 60 — His cruelty, 61
— His recall, 62.

IV.

Petrus Stuyvesant 64-92

Soldier and Autocrat, 65 — Trials of the councillors, 67 —
Courtly journey to Hartford, 69 — Visit to the West Indies,
73 — Attacks the Swedes, 74 — Corrects Quakers and Ana-
baptists, 77 — Attacked by the English, 83 — Surrenders his
fort, 89.

V.

Social and Domestic Life .... 93-128

The pastor's letter, 93 — A walk through New Amsterdam,
95 — The city wall, 96 — The water front, 98 — A Dutch
tavern, 103 — The old koeck, 108 ; and trumpeter, 109 —
The Battery in 1663, 11 1 — The church-goers, 113 — Fulton
Ferry under the Dutch, 115 — The burgomaster's court,
117 — Shopping, 123 — Dutch houses, 124 — Social amuse-
ments, 124.

PART II.
ENGLISH RULE.

VI.
The New Flag 131-145

Twenty royal governors, 132 — Colonel Nicolls' reign, 133
— Colonel Richard Lovelace, 136 — New York captured by
the Dutch, 138 ; restored, 138 — Andros appointed gov-
ernor, 138 — Governor Thomas Dongan, 141 — The first
colonial Assembly, 141 — New York under James II., 143
— Accession of William and Mary, 145.



CONTENTS. XI

VII.

PAGE

Rebellion ....... 146-167

The two parties, 147 — Leisler usurps the government, 150
— Governor Sloughter arrives, i6i — Leisler's arrest, 162 ;
Trial, 163 ; Execution, 166.

VIII.

The Romantic Age 168-179

Pirates and Red Sea men, 168 — Fate of the Prophet Daniel,
172 — Some of the freebooters, 174 — Captain Kidd and his
fortunes, 176 — Arrival of Lord Bellomont, 179.

IX.
The Earlier Churches of New York . 180-185

Garden Street Church, 180 — Trinity, 182 — Huguenot, 184
— Presbyterian, 185 — Baptist, 185 — Methodist, 185.

X.

Lord Bellomont's Stormy Reign . . 186-189

Espouses cause of Leislerites, 1S6 — Seeks to abrogate land
grants, 187 — In Boston, and captures Captain Kidd, 188 —
Death, 188.

XI.

Middle Colonial Period . . . 190-199

Various events, 190 — Arrival of the Palatines, 191 — Upris-
ing of slaves, 191 — The first newspaper, and a new char-
ter, 192 — Trial of Zenger, 194 — First Merchants' Exchange,
196 — Founding of King's College, 198.

XII.
The People during the Colonial Period, 200-257

The Rev. James Wooley describes New York, 200 — The
Labadists describe Mr. Wooley, 204 — Dress, 207 — A Walk
through New York, 1730-65, 211 — The governor and Gov-
ernment House, 213 — Fete-day ceremonies, 215 — Furni-



XI i CONTENTS.

PAGE

ture, 219 — The old City Hall, 221 — Corporation dinners,
223 — The privateers, 225 — Shopping in 1745, 229 — Quaint
craftsmen, 232 — Burial customs, 234 — Street signs, 236 —
Coffee-houses and taverns, 237 — Fire companies, 240 —
Slaves, 242 — Colonial court scene, 245 — Plays and other
amusements, 250 — Horse - racing, 253 — Dancing, 254 —
Shooting-matches, 256 — Snuff-taking, 256.

XIII.
The Heroic Age 258-282

The Stamp Act, 258 — The British Constitution, 259 — Re-
sistance, 260 — The American Aventine, 265 — The tri-
bunes, 265 — The praetors, 266 — The last day of liberty,
268 — Stamp-Act day, 270 — The liberty poles, 273 — The
first bloodshed, 275 — New York's tea-party, 279.

XIV.

War 283-301

Trail Bissel's message, 283 — Welcoming Hancock and
Adams, 287 — Washington's arrival, 289 — The capture of
the arms, 291 — Fortifying New York, 293 — The patriot
army transferred, 294 — Tory rides, 295 — Reading the
Declaration of Independence, 296 — The enemy's fleet,
297 — The Hessian contingent, 300.

XV.
Two Battles 302-333

Where would the enemy strike ? 302 — The city defences,
304 — Its defenders, 307 — The opposing force, 309— The
prelude, 310— The attack, 317— At Battle Hill, 318— Stir-
ling routed, 319— The retreat, 321 — The city evacuated,
323 — The British attack, 323 — A panic, 325 — Major Burr's
gallant act, 327 — Battle of Harlem Heights, 328.

XVI.
New York in Captivity . . . 334-348

The great fire of 1776, 334 — Nathan Hale executed, 338
— British prisons, 339 — New York evacuated, 344 — Ameri-
can loyalists, 346 — The final parting, 346.



CONTENTS, xiii

XVII.



PAGE



Constitution Making .... 349-368

The Philadelphia Convention, 350 — The Constitution
adopted, 352 — Ratified by New York, 354 — The Federal
procession, 355 — Federal Hall, 361 — The first Congress
meets, 363 — Washington inaugurated, 365.



PART III.
THE FREE CITY.

XVHI.
The First Twenty Years . . . 371-390

Court life, 371 — Philadelphia, the capital, 375 — Two par-
ties, 376 — Their struggle for power, 377 — The result, 382
— Early newspapers, 383 — Duel between Burr and Hamil-
ton, 386 — Hamilton's death, 388 — Funeral ceremonies, 388.

XIX.
A Typical New York Merchant . . 391-400

John Jacob Astor : birth, 391 — Emigrates to America, 391
— Engages in the fur trade, 392 — Founds the American
Fur Company, 394 ; and the Pacific Fur Company, 396 —
Builds Astoria, 396 — Death, 400.

XX.

Commercial Development .. . , 401-419

The three genii, 401 — Fulton and his steamboats, 402 —
Cornelius Vanderbilt, 406 — Erie Canal, 408 — The first tele-
graph, 411 — Earliest railroads, 418.

XXI.

Ships and Sailors 420-430

The packet service, 420 — The clipper ships, 422 — Their
exploits, 425.



XIV CONTENTS.

XXII.



PAGE



Minor Events, 1784-1860 .... 431-444

King's College re-chartered as Columbia, 431 — New York
Historical Society founded, 435 — Academy of Fine Arts,
incorporated, 433 — Knickerbocker publishes his ' ' History of
New York," 434 — City Hall built, 434 — Victories of war of
1 8 12, 436 — The city's progress, 438 — An old man's remi-
niscences, 439 — New York in 1825, 439 — Lafayette's visit,
442.

XXIII.
New York in the Civil War . . . 445-451

Major Wood's project of an independent city, 446 — The
uprising, 447 — Union Defence Committee organized, 448 —
Sanitary Commission, 449 — Christian Commission, 449 —
Draft riots, 450 — Obsequies of Abraham Lincoln, 451.

XXIV.

The Mouse in the Cheese . . . 452-458

Formation of the Tweed Ring, 453 — Its thefts, 454 — De-
tection and disruption, 454 — Tweed's imprisonment and
death, 456 — The moral of it, 456.

XXV.

The Triumphs of Art .... 459-464

The Brooklyn Bridge, 459 — Opening ceremonies, 460 —
Bartholdi's Statue of Liberty, 462.



APPENDIX A.

Mayors of New York since the Revolution, 465.

APPENDIX B.

Notable and curious events in the history of New York,
chronologically arranged, 466



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



PAGE

Frontispiece

5



Manhattan Island before the Dutch

Dutch Vessel, 1609 ....

Manhattan Island before the Dutch

The Earliest Map of the City

The Fort in Kieft's Day .

The Stadt Huys, 1642

New York under Stuyvesant

Stuyvesant's House

Block-House and City Gate

River and Dock Front

Broad Street, 1663

The Battiry in 1663 .

De Peyster Punch-Bowl

Seal of New Netherland, 1623 to 1664

Map of the City in Governor Fletcher's Time

Merchants' Exchange, 1827

King's College

Fulton Ferry, 1746

A Plan of the City of New York, 1763 . . . Face

View of City from the North — Middle Colonial Period,

View of City and Harbor — Middle Colonial Period

Federal Hall

Firemen's Certificate of Membership about the

Year 1800 Face

John Jay . . .

The Battery and Bowling Green during the Revolution,
Autograph Letter of Israel Putnam . . . Face
Roger Morris' House (the Jumel Mansion)
Trinity Church after the Great Fire ....



25
50
63
71
79
91
95
97

lOI

III

125
127
177
195
197
209
211
213

215
221

242
267
305
314
329
335



XV



xvi LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

PAGE

Old Sugar-House Prison 339

Autograph Permit of George Washington . . . 343

Fraunces' Tavern 347

The Inauguration of Washington 367

Aaron Burr 379

Edward Livingston 381

" The Grange," Hamilton's Home, 1804 .... 387

Alexander Hamilton . 389

John Jacob Astor 399

Robert Fulton 402

The " Clermont " . . . . . . . . 403

Commodore Vanderbilt 407

De Witt Clinton 409

Autographs of Invited Guests, Erie Canal Celebra-
tion Face 412

Broadway, Park Theatre, and City Hall . . .417

The " Dreadnought " 423

South Street in the Clipper Period ..... 429

Penny Currency — 1790 432

Washington Irving 433

Present City Hall 435

Plan of the City of New York about 1804 . . Face 438

Broadway Stages " 440

William Paulding 443

Brooklyn Bridge . . ...... 461

Statue of Liberty , 463



■^S^




THE STORY OF NEW YORK.



INTRODUCTORY.



The year 1524 was a very good year to have been
born in. Men in one corner of the world, at least,
were waking up. Kings were learning that mer-
chants and navigators had their value as well as men-
at-arms. Thirty-two years before, Columbus had dis-
covered America. Twenty-seven years before, De
Gama had opened up the passage to India around the
Cape of Good Hope, and had given the merchants of
Spain and Portugal the treasures of India ; and five
years before, Magellan had rounded Cape Horn, and
triumphantly circumnavigated the globe. Just now
the strife among navigators was for the discovery of
a shorter passage to India, either around the. frozen
pole or through newly found America. One of the
great captains who aspired to make this discovery
was Jean Verrazano, a native of Florence, but who
easily found in Francis I., King of France, a patron
willing to commission and despatch him on such an
errand. Verrazano left France late in the year 1523



2 THE STORY OF NEW YORK.

with two ships— the Norman and the DolpJiin, — but
was forced by a terrible storm "to land in Bitaine "
and repair his ships. His account of the voyage
that followed, given in his quaint " Relation," brings
back the soft-toned atmosphere of the age.

'' Afterwards," he says, " with the Dolphin alone we de-
termined to make discoverie of new countries, to prose-
cute the navigation we had already begun. . . . The
17th of January, the yeere 1524, by the grace of God, we
departed from the dishabited rock by the isle of Madeira,
apperteining to the king of Portugal, with 50 men, with
victuals, weapons, and other ship munition very well pro-
vided, and furnished for eight months. And saihng
westward with a faire easterly wind in 25 dayes we ran
500 leagues, and the 20 of Februarie we were overtaken
with as sharp and terrible a tempest as ever any sailors
suffered, whereof with the divine helpe and mercifull as-
sistance of Almighty God, and the goodnesse of our
shippe, accompanied with the good happe of her fortu-
nate name, we were delivered, and with a prosperous
winde followed our course west and by north, and in
other 25 days we made about 450 leagues more, when we
discovered a new land never before seen of any man
either ancient or modern."

This new land was probably the Jersey shore.
Verrazano first sailed southward in quest of a har-
bor ; but finding none, he returned and coasted
north until he found " a very pleasant place sit-
uated among certaine little, steepe hills ; from
amidst the which hills there ranne downe to the sea
an exceeding great streme of water which within
the mouth was very deepe, and from the sea to the



INTRODUCTORY. 3

mouth of the same with the tide, which we found to
rise 8 foote, any greate ship laden may passe up.
But because we rode at anker in a place well fenced
from the wind we would not venture ourselves with-
out knowledge of the place, and we passed up with
one boate onely into the sayd river and saw the coun-
try very well peopled." This bay in which the
Dolphin rode "fenced in from the wind," most geog-
raphers agree was the bay of New York, and the
" exceeding great streme of water " between the hills
must have been the Hudson itself. Verrazano was,
therefore, the first European to discover and sail
into the bay of New York. Without doubt his first
act on going ashore was to take possession of the
country in the name of his royal master in the beau-
tiful and dramatic fashion pecu'iar to explorers of
the Latin race. Landing with the pomp and display
of arms, he planted first a large wooden cross in the
ground, and near it a cedar post bearing a metal
plate on which was engraven the royal arms of France.
Then standing beside the cross, with head bared
and his men-at-arms grouped about him, he repeated
these words :

" In the name of the most high, mighty, and redoutable
monarch, Francis, first of that name, most Christian king
of France and Navarre, I take possession of this island,
as also of the bay, river, and all countries, rivers, lakes,
and streams contiguous and adjacent thereunto, both
those which have been discovered, and those which may
be discovered hereafter, in all their length and breadth,
bounded on one side by the seas of the north and west,
and on the other by the south sea ; declaring to the



4 THE STORY OF NEW YORK.

nations thereof that from this time forever, they are vas-
sals of His Majesty, bound to obey his laws and to follow
his customs, promising them on his part all succor and
protection against the invasion and incursion of their
enemies ; declaring to all other potentates, princes, sov-
ereigns, states, and republics, to them and their subjects,
that they cannot and are not to seize or settle upon any
parts of the aforesaid country, save only under the good
pleasure of His Most Christian Majesty, and of him who
shall govern in his stead, and that on pain of incurring
his displeasure and the effort of his arms."

Having thus imparted to our island this pleasant
touch of mediaeval romance and chivalry, Verrazano
sailed away to France, where, at Dieppe, he wrote a
*^ Relation " of his discoveries, as has been remarked.
The French king, however, made no attempt to set-
tle his new territories, his attention that year being
fully absorbed by his campaign against the Spanish
Emperor Charles V.; a campaign which ended in the
defeat of Francis at Pavia, and in his being carried
off to Spain a prisoner.

For nearly one hundred years the island retained
its primeval wildness and beauty ; vessels passed by
in the distance, — discoverers, fishermen, traders,
pirates — but none came into the bay, or if they did
they left no traces of their presence. At length,
however, on a September day in 1609, a ship sailed
in — a craft of moment. She was, indeed, an odd-
looking vessel, with carved prow, a stern much
higher than her bows, and carrying square sails on
the two masts of a schooner. She flew a banner
new among nations — the Dutch flag: orange, white,



INTRODUCTORY.



5



and blue, in three horizontal stripes, — and she was in
fact a Dutch craft, '' the Texalina vessel," called the
Half Moon. I cannot clearly explain her presence
here without speaking somewhat at length of the
people to whom she belonged. These people were
called the Dutch. Their country lay along the




DUTCH VESSEL, 1609.

southern shore of the North Sea, and was called in-
discriminately the Netherlands, the United Prov-
inces, and the Low Countries. It was so very flat
and low that the quaint writers of the day described
it as "a bridge of swimming earth," and the people
as ** living lower than the fishes, in the very lap of the



6 THE STORY OF NEW YORK.

floods." The Dutch were of an ancient civilization.
Originally formed of various rude tribes, the Frisians,
Batavi, and Belgae, of whom Caesar speaks, and later
mingled with the conquering Franks and Saxons,
they grew to wealth and power under the successive
rule of the great Charlemagne, of the lords and
bishops of the feudal age, and of the dukes and
kings of the house of Burgundy. In 1550, we read,
under Charles V. they had 208 walled cities, 150
chartered towns, 6,300 villages, and 60 fortresses.
The Netherlands were Protestant in religious faith
— disciples of Calvin of Geneva. This did not
please Catholic Spain, to which country they were
subject, and she so bitterly persecuted them that
seven provinces revolted, and formed themselves into
a republic. Another terrible war followed this act,
which had been closed six months before the Half
Moon sailed into New York Bay, by both parties
agreeing to a truce for twelve years. You will find
the whole story graphically told in Mr. Motley's
" Rise of the Dutch Republic." I will speak briefly
of the political divisions of the state into which the
seven provinces had been welded.

Its government was republican in form, though
much more complex and unwieldy than is our own
beautiful system. Four great bureaus or departments
managed its affairs — the States General, the Council
of State, the College of the Admiralty, and the
Chamber of Accounts. The States-General was the
principal bureau, and will be most frequently referred
to in our pages. This chamber was usually com-
posed of twelve deputies from the various provinces,



INTRODUCTORY. f

and its powers more nearly approached those of the
president of modern republics. It was the execu-
tive body of the system. The genius of the Neth-
erlands was almost purely commercial. It was a
nation of great merchants, not of shop-keepers, as
Napoleon later styled the English. It had at the
time of which we write three thousand ships, one
hundred thousand sailors, and a trade of sixteen
millions per annum, against England's six millions.
Old Peter Heylin tells us that at Amsterdam in
1623, at one tide, one thousand ships were seen to
go out and in, and that though scarce a stick of ship
timber grew on their soil, yet they supplied the world
with ships. Its great mercantile corporation — the
privileged East India Company, chartered after the
rupture with Spain to secure the rich trade of India
and the East which Spain and Portugal had so long
enjoyed, was now the wealthiest and most powerful
association of merchants on the globe. The
Dutch Company had, however, a rival in the Eng-
lish East India Company, chartered in 1600, and
which, though not then so strong, eventually out-
stripped it.

Both companies were eager rivals in the discovery



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