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Minutes of the Common Council of the City of New York, 1784-1831 (Volume 10) online

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Mary Taylor Occ. J

3. Robert Roberts Own.)

~ , ~ >134 Grand St. do

D. Cooley Occ \

4 Patrick Gillespie Own./

T> -D 11 r r

Benj n Pell Occ. \

5 Jno. Le Fevre Own. & Occ. 140 do. do

6 Widow Norris do. do 142 do do

7 John Palmer do. do. 144 do do

8 Thomas Thornell Own.l

Oliver Edwards &} 1 150 do do

B. Collins f J

9 Jas. Credick Les. & Occ. 154 do do

10 Thos. M c Cormick do. do 158 do do

11 W m Redstone Own. & Occ. 168 do do

12 do. Own.) _

r TJ ~ U70 do do

G. Hunt Occ.

13 Joseph Marsh Own.),-.

_. 1174 do do

Jacob Day Occ. (

14 [6] Lewis Rose Own./ 10 .

T i U84 do do

John Peters Occ. ^

15 Widow A. Campbell do 186 do do

16 Ab m Marlett Les. & Occ. 188 do do

17 David Covert Trustee

to S. C. S. & Sam 1 Loyd Occ. 208 do do

18 Geo. Riblets Own. & Occ. 212 do do.

(signed) George Cuming

City Inspector.

The Street Commissioner presented an Assessment for regulating
Green Street from Houston to Bleecker Street which was confirmed
and Noah Jarvis appointed Collector.

He also presented Returns of Delinquents on the following As-
sessments and Warrants were ordered to issue to the Collector for
collecting the same Viz

1. For regulating Houston Street:

2. For a Well & Pump in Mill Street

3. For do. & do Rivington Street.

164 CITY OF NEW YORK 28 Dec. 1818

The Committee on Laws, on the petition that the corner of Spring
and Greenwich Streets at the New Market in Spring Street be ap-
pointed a place of public Sale of goods by auction, reported the
follow- [7] ing Resolution:

" Resolved that in cases of distress for rent or sales by virtue of
an execution or any legal process permission is hereby given to sell the
same at the corner of Spring and Greenwich Streets at the new market
in Spring Street by public auction."

(signed) W. F. Van Amringe
E. W. King
Thomas Bolton

which was approved & the Resolution agreed to.

The Committee of Charity, on the application of the Society for
the promotion of Industry praying for aid from the Corporation, re-
ported :

" That in discharging the duties imposed upon them by this refer-
ence they have visited the Rooms occupied by the Society as a House
of Industry, have conversed with some of the Managers of the Insti-
tution and the people employed therein, and with other persons of
respectability not connected with the Institution, and in short have
sought information from every source where they thought it could be
obtained ; the result of all which has been a full conviction in your
Committee that the Society for the promotion of Industry is an In-
stitution highly beneficial to the community and worthy of public
[8] patronage. Your Committee are aware that the rapid increase of
public charities among us within a few years past is considered by many
competent judges (and probably not without good reason) as a princi-
pal cause of the great increase of pauperism in our City. It does not
appear to your Committee, however, that this Institution has the least
tendency to lead to such a result ; on the contrary is well calculated to,
and really does correct this public evil and promotes habits of order
and industry in exact proportion to the efficient means placed in their
hands to act upon.

' In prosecuting their enquiries your Committee have satisfactorily
ascertained that this Institution has already kept from the Alms House
a number of persons who even at this early part of the winter would,
without the aid afforded by the Society for the promotion of Indus-
try, have become a public charge, and it is with peculiar pleasure they
have learned that in many other instances persons who have heretofore
applied to this Institution for work under the most pressing distress


and friendless have, by the disinterested aid and indefatigable zeal of
the Managers, been provided with comfortable situations in respectable
private families where their uniform good conduct and correct deport-
ment have justi- [9] fied the expectations of the Guardians of this

" Your Committee have also ascertained that at the present moment
the applicants for Work to the Society for the promotion of Industry
are far more than they can (without pecuniary assistance) find em-
ployment for and that the number is daily increasing and the Mana-
gers are under the painful necessity of refusing work to those who,
there is too much reason to believe, after having sought in vain for
employment throughout the City and being now unable to procure it
from this last resort either apply to the Alms' house or become public
beggars, or perhaps take to some other pursuit of a more corrupting
& disgraceful tendency.

" From what your Committee have seen and ascertained in relation
to the subject before them they do not hesitate to say that they be-
lieve the aid afforded by this Board to the Society for the promotion
of Industry is, by the judicious management of that Institution, so
much saved to the City in the prevention of pauperism, and they are
of opinion that the prayer of the Memorialists ought to be granted.
They beg leave to recommend the following Resolution:

"Resolved that the sum of Five hundred [10] Dollars be given
by this Board to the Society for the promotion of Industry in this City
for conducting the business of that Institution to be paid out of the
first monies in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated."

(signed) Shivers Parker
Thomas Bolton
David Board

which was approved, the Resolution agreed to, and a Warrant directed
to be reported agreeably thereto.

The Committee on Assessments, to whom was referred the Re-
monstrance of Burnal Brown and J. Hammond against the Assessment
for a Well and pump in the Second Avenue near North Street, Re-
ported :

" That they have carefully examined the Assessment for the Well
and pump and are satisfied that the same has been fairly and impar-
tially made, and that the petitioners have no reasonable ground of
complaint in respect to it. Your Committee are also of opinion that
the Assessors have made the Assessment which accompanies this Re-

166 CITY OF NEW YORK 28 Dec. 1818

port agreeable to the Resolution passed by the Common Council.
Your Committee therefore recommend the following Resolution:

[11] " Resolved that the Assessment for the Well and Pump above
said appears to be fair and equitable and that the petitioners have leave
to withdraw their petition."

(signed) J. J. Westervelt
Thomas Bolton
E. W. King
Shivers Parker

Which was approved and the Resolution agreed to.

Whereupon the assessment was confirmed and Noah Jarvis was
appointed Collector to collect the same.

The Committee to whom was referred the Resolution directing an
enquiry into the expediency of petitioning the Legislature for the
privilege of insuring against losses by fire, reported:

' That the Fire Engine Establishment now exclusively supported
by the Corporation is very expensive to the City and that if we add to
this a part of the expence of the City Watch and of lighting the City
we shall find that the sums paid by the Corporation, which add to
the security against fire and which are properly chargeable to this
head, have become an enormous expence to the Community. It is
therefore an object worthy the serious attention of the Board whether
these expences can be met without recourse to the [12] continued
increase of direct taxes.

' There is no doubt in the minds of your Committee that the priv-
ilege of insuring against fire, if granted to the Corporation, might be
made to produce an income sufficient to meet all the future expences
of the Fire Establishment. Your Committee think the Citizens would
prefer effecting their Insurance in that establishment in which they
were all interested and which would give the greatest security. If
any money was made from the Citizens by Insurance with the Corpo-
ration it would be made for the Community at large. It would be
to the Citizens at large a game in which if their property was de-
stroyed they would win by recovering their insurance; if they paid
their premiums without there being a loss the same would enure
to their own advantage. The property of the Corporation would
afford a security exceeding quadruple that of any office in the City
which of course would be an additional inducement for a preference.
And though the advantages above referred to would be derived by
the Corporation from such a privilege yet your Committee would
prefer to leave the business of Insurance to the Companies already


chartered or which may be hereafter chartered for this purpose, pro-
vided the [13] Legislature would pass a Law taxing these Companies
such percentage of their profits as would produce to the Corporation
the annual sum of Ten thousand dollars to be applied toward support-
ing the Fire Engine Establishment.

' This sum would bear about the proportion to the whole expence
of the Fire Establishment that the property insured by these Com-
panies bears to the whole exposed property in the City. Your Com-
mittee think that such a tax or rather Assessment on the property of
these Companies is no more than reasonable and it will appear the
more obviously so when we reflect that in many of the European Cities
the Fire Insurance Companies bear all the expences of extinguishing

" Your Committee therefore recommend to endeavour, in the first
place, to get this proportion of the expences of the Fire Establish-
ment assessed on the Fire Insurance Companies in the City: and as
the consent of these Companies to the enactment of such a Law might
contribute to the facility of its passage it is recommended that a Com-
mittee of this Board communicate with the Companies with a view
to learn if they will add their concurrence to the passage of such a

Your Committee therefore recommend the [14] following Reso-

" Resolved that the Committee on Insurance be directed to corre-
spond with the different Fire Insurance Companies on the subject
matter contained in the above report and report the same to the

(signed) Jacob B. Taylor
Samuel Stevens
Reuben Munson
Shivers Parker
David Board

which was approved, the Resolution agreed to and the subject re-
ferred to the same Committee.

The Finance Committee, to whom was referred the Memorial of
the President and Directors of the Mechanics' Bank, reported :

" That by a Law of the Corporation all quit rents for grants issued
prior to the year 1804, or the money for which such rents shall be com-
muted, and all rents arising from such from such of the said grants
as shall not be commuted, are especially vested in the Commissioners

168 CITY OF NEW YORK 28 Dec. 1818

of the Sinking Fund for the reduction of the City Debt. The grants
alluded to by the petitioners, however, are subsequent to that period
and therefore cannot be [15] commuted for but by a special order
of the Board.

' The Committee are of opinion that as the Corporation are in-
debted to the petitioners in several sums bearing an interest of Six
per cent the operation of a Commutation of the aforesaid rents will
simply be to lessen the amount of debt without any change of Income
on the part of the Treasury. For instance suppose the average
amount of rent to be 360 Dollars : then the amount of principal, say
100 dollars for every Six, will be Six thousand dollars, and the Cor-
poration will pay 360 dollars less per year to the Bank and receive that
amount less on account of quit rent. With this brief view of the
subject the Committee offer the following Resolution:

" Resolved that the Comptroller, under the direction of the Finance
Committee, be authorised to commute with the President and Directors
of the Mechanics' Bank for the quit rents reserved on land belonging
to them, as more particularly described in their petition to this Board
and that such commutation can be made on the usual terms."

(signed) S. Allen, W. F. Van Amringe
R. Munson, S. Akerly
P. Mesier.

The lands described in said petition were : viz

I. [16] A grant made to Swartwout of land now in the First
Ward of this City subject to a quit rent forever of $41. Dollars 25
cents per year.

II. A grant to Lindsay of land adjoining the above subject to a
rent forever of 41 dollars and 62 cents.

III. A grant to John R. Murray for land now in the Fifth Ward,
on which there is reserved a quit rent from the 1 st day of May 1810
to 1 st of May 1824 of 82 dollars 81 cents, from 1 st of May 1824 for-
ever of 115 dollars 62 cents.

IV. A grant to John R. Murray for land in the Fifth Ward, on
which there is a quit rent from 1 st May 1815 to 1 st May 1821 of 75
dollars 81 cents and from 1 st May 1821 to 1 st May 1828, 84 dollars
27 cents, & from 1 st May 1828 forever of 134 dollars 82 cents

The said sums to be paid yearly.

Whereupon the foregoing Report of the Finance Committee on said
petition was approved and the Resolution agreed to.


[17] The Special Committee on Applications to the Legislature
reported that in addition to the subjects already reported on they
would recommend certain others to the consideration of the Board in
order that laws may be applied for accordingly.

The first Article proposed was as follows :

I. For authority to raise by Assessment on the real and personal
estate in this City the sum of $ Dollars to be specially applied
to defraying the expence of enlarging and repairing the Battery, and
that said sum shall be apportioned by the Supervisors of the County
for the time being among the several Wards of this City, as it respects
the real property therein, according to the ratio of benefit and ad-
vantage to be derived from said improvement.

It was moved that the consideration thereof be postponed. The
question being taken thereon and a Division called it passed in the
negative as follows :

Negative. Ald n Mesier King Van Amringe Underhill Morss,
Taylor Messrs Bolton Stevens Kip Anthony 10.

Affirmative. Mr. Recorder Ald n M c Queen Buckmaster Munson
Messrs Westervelt Parker Akerly Board Allen 9

Mr. Allen then presented a Resolution to be inserted [18] after the
Word " City " and to strike out the rest. It was moved that the
farther consideration of this article be postponed which was agreed

The Second article was then read as follows :

II. For authority to enter on all property which shall have been
or may be sold for arrears of Taxes or assessments, the term for
which the same was sold having expired, and to hold the same and the
rents, issues and profits thereof, until claimed by the rightful owner,
who, before he shall be entitled to take possession, shall account to
the Corporation for all improvements, taxes, assessments or other
expences which may be justly due thereon provided however that
nothing herein contained shall prevent the full operation of the Stat-
utes of limitation as in other cases."

On the question of agreeing to the same it was carried in the
affirmative and it was referred to the Counsel to prepare a Memorial
to the Legislature and a Bill corresponding therewith.

It was then moved that the consideration of the 3 d article be post-
poned, which was agreed to.

The Special Committee on Applications to the Legislature, to whom
was referred the petition of Brigadier General Stevens in behalf of

170 CITY OF NEW YORK 28 Dec. 1818

the [19] Officers of the First Brigade of New York State Artillery,
Reported :

" That they have examined the Memorial to the Legislature, to-
gether with the amendatory act alluded to by the petitioners, and
from the views of the subject taken by the Committee the amend-
ments required are such as in their opinion are both reasonable and

" The principal object of the Memorialists appears to be that the
fines incurred by the Members of the Brigade, instead of being paid
into the Treasury of this State as provided by the late act to organize
the Militia, may be paid to the president of the Brigade Court Mar-
tial to be applied toward defraying the contingent expence of the
Corps: and, when it is considered that the Members of this Corps
are at unusual expence for equipments and sacrifice a good portion
of their time in training for instruction in Military Tactics, it appears
hard to your Committee that they should be deprived of the sums
thus collected from their own members, toward meeting the ordinary
disbursements of the Brigade.

" The Committee are well aware that great caution ought to be
observed by the Board in affixing their sanction to Applications
(other than their own) to the State or General Governments : [20] the
present case, however, appears to the Committee to be so intimately
connected with the peace and security of the Citizens of New York
that it forms an exception to many others which might be cited. The
handsome and martial appearance of this Corps, together with their
alacrity in attending the parades on all days of public rejoicing are
of minor importance when compared with their utility in cases of
riot or insurrection at the State Prison or Penitentiary or as a force
which may be relied on in any sudden emergency. It must be within
the recollection of the members of this Board that cases have oc-
curred when the Magistracy of the City were unable by their own
authority to keep the peace, and when, had it not been for the timely
aid of this Corps, the consequences might have been very serious and
alarming to the Citizens.

" With these impressions on the minds of the Committee they
recommend that the Board adopt the following Resolution, and that
the Clerk of the Common Council be instructed to endorse it on the
memorial of the First Brigade of New York State Artillery to the
Legislature and certify the same as is usual:

" Resolved that the Common Council concur [21] in the foregoing


Memorial and respectfully recommend it to the consideration of the
Honorable the Legislature."

(signed) Stephen Allen

W. F. Van Amringe
" John Morss

" Peter Mesier

E. W. King

which was approved & the Resolution agreed to.

The Counsel presented the following:

" The Counsel herewith submits the opinion of John Wells Esqr.
as to the liability of the Corporation to pay the amount awarded by
the Jury to the respective owners of the premises lying between
Roosevelt Street and James' Slip, which were required by the Cor-
poration for the purpose of forming a public Slip. As the Counsel
has repeatedly had the honor of expressing his opinion to the mem-
bers of the Board he deems it unnecessary at this time for him to enter
into a particular detail of the reasons upon which his opinion is predi-
cated. He therefore will simply remark that he concurs with Mr.
Wells in his opinion."

(signed) Ogden Edwards

The opinion of Mr. Wells was as follows :

" I have examined the transcript of [22] the proceedings relative
to a public Slip between Roosevelt Street and New Slip. These pro-
ceedings are in their nature adverse to the proprietors of the lots pro-
posed to be taken and the Corporation are not only actors in the first
instance, but they necessarily continue so throughout. In the case
of Streets it is different, for there the Corporation merely originate
the measure and are functus officio as soon as Commissioners are ap-
pointed. I do not think, therefore, that the decision of the Supreme
Court in regard to Hudson Street would at all govern the case under
consideration. Nor does it follow from the opinion of the Court in
Stafford against the Corporation of Albany that the Corporation had
no control over the proceedings after they were once begun. They
merely determined that the Mayor's Court acting as Commissioners
had no power over the finding of the Jury but not that the Corporation
could not have dispensed with that finding. I am therefore of opinion
that inasmuch as the property in question was to be applied to the
use of the Corporation, and as they alone are to pay for it, they have
that interest in the proceeding directed by the Statute that gives to
them a control over it until others have acquired rights under it,

172 CITY OF NEW YORK 28 Dec. 1818

which they cannot do [23] before the Assessment has been made by
the Jury, and that until then the Corporation have a right to discon-
tinue it. In this case the Nol : pros : was entered in due season and
was an effectual discontinuance. The subsequent proceedings were
of course wholly irregular and void and cannot be obligatory on the

(signed) John Wells

Alderman Van Amringe then moved that the Report of the Com-
mittee on Laws, presented on 14 th December, be now considered. The
question being taken thereon it was agreed to. The Report being read
was in the words following:

" The Law Committee, to whom was referred the Report of the
Counsel relative to the decision of the Supreme Court in an applica-
tion to them by the Board for a Mandamus to compel the Mayor's
Court to enter judgment upon a Nolle prosequi filed in behalf of the
Board in a proceeding then pending before the Mayor's Court to
appropriate the Waters between the foot of Roosevelt Street
and James' Slip in the East River to public purposes Viz. " That it
" was unnecessary to interfere by Mandamus, because if the Corpora-
" tion had a right to discontinue they have done it most effectually,
" and if an action is commenced to recover the damages awarded the
" matter [24] may be taken advantage of by pleading it in the suit."
Report: That if your Committee were governed in the decision of
this case by the Statute alone they could not doubt but that the Cor-
poration would be concluded by the judgment of the Mayor's Court,
because they believe that the proceedings in question are of record
and that an action of debt would lie on the judgment in which case
the Record could not be traversed. But in the case of Stafford vs.
the City of Albany (a case very similar to the present), as well as
in the case under consideration, the Supreme Court decided that the
proceedings of the Mayor's Court in these cases are not of record and
that the action must be assumpsit. The only question, therefore, for
the consideration of the Committee is " Had the Corporation a right
to discontinue?" If the proceeding was an adverse proceeding in
a Court of Law as such there could be no doubt of our right to dis-
continue. But it is not. It is a proceeding before the Court as Com-
missioners. It is not at all a judicial proceeding. The Mayor's Court
can do nothing but affirm or disaffirm the assessment. In the case
of Stafford vs. the City of Albany the Supreme Court decided that
the Mayor's Court acted as Commissioners and [25] the Supreme
Court have decided that when Commissioners have been appointed


the Corporation cannot discontinue their proceedings. In the case
under consideration the Commissioners were appointed because the
precept had not only issued but the Jury were actually empannelled
before the Corporation applied for a discontinuance. The Supreme
Court in their late decision on the application for a Mandamus cer-
tainly doubted whether the Board had a right to discontinue. They
say "If the Corporation had a right to discontinue &c." leaving the
question as to the right in doubt undecided. The question immedi-
ately under consideration is without precedent: of course the opinion
of your Committee is wholly formed on their construction of the
Statute and the case of Stafford vs. the City of Albany, which may
possibly be not the opinion of the Supreme Court in the event of suits
being commenced against the Board. But your Committee at least
consider the question very doubtful and if persisted in will certainly
involve the Board in long and expensive Law Suits which will prob-
ably cost the Board one fourth of the whole sum awarded the pro-
prietors. The Board has passed an order to take part of these Waters
for public use, in [26] which they cannot proceed until the present
question is disposed of, so that their plan for improvement if not
frustrated will be delayed in all probability four or five years. If
the estimate of the Jury for the property was exorbitant: if it ex-
ceeded the value of the property as much as the probable expence of
defending the suits, it would be reasonable for the Corporation to
permit suits to be commenced and try the question. But your Com-
mittee believe the estimates to be moderate and to which the Board

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