New York (N.Y.). Common Council.

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

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Resolved That all those parts of Mercer, Green, Wooster and
Thompson Streets, that have not already been opened, be opened
and continued to Canal Street, and that Hester Street be opened to
Green Street Resolved that the Council to this board be instructed
to take the necessary measures to have the provisions of the foregoing
Resolution carried into effect.

(signed) Jacob B. Taylor
" John Morss

Shivers Parker

Which was approved and the Resolution agreed to.

The Finance Committee to whom was [387] referred the accounts
of the former and present Public Administrator, Reported :

' That they have examined said accounts, and find the amount
of ballances correctly, and they have no doubt justly, stated and
propose the following Resolution Resolved, that the accounts of the
former and present Public Administrators herewith presented, be
filed in the Office of the Comptroler.

Respectfully submitted
(signed) Stephen Allen
Peter Mesier
Reuben Munson
W. F. Van Amringe

Which was approved and the Resolution agreed to.

The following persons were appointed Firemen the Chief En-
gineer certifying the vacancies

Fire Engine Company N 4

John E. Dunham Tailor N 79 Fulton S 4 vice Henry W. Shel-
don Res d


Fire Engine Company N 23

W m S. Clark Book-binder, corner Hester and Ludlow Street,
vice Elisha Haight res d

[388] Fire Engine Company N 39

John L. Clark Accountant 98 William Street vice Henry B.
Sickels resigned

The Ferry Committee on the Petition of Rodman Bowne Lessee
of Catharine Slip ferry praying for some further accomodation for
his Ferry Boats at Brooklyn, Reported:

"That during the last winter an arrangement was made with the
Petitioner to extend his lease in consideration that he would place
a Second Team boat on that Ferry by the first day of April instant
which has been complied with on his part Your Committee have ex-
amined the Ferry Slip at Brooklyn and find that in it's present situa-
tion it is only calculated to accomodate one boat at a time, and as
it is necessary that both boats should be laid up there during the
night time on account of the convenience of Stabling, your Com-
mittee deem it indispensably necessary that a suitable landing place
for the second boat on that side should be [389] constructed without
delay for which purpose your Committee have caused soundings of
the River to be taken and a plan of the proposed improvement to be
made and which is herewith submitted, the expense of which may be
estimated at Four thousand Dollars. It is due to the Petitioner to
state that he has been Lessee of this Ferry for more than Eleven
Years, that he has been indefatigable in his endeavours to accomodate
the public and during the whole time, it is not within the recollection
of your Committee that the Corporation have expended One Cent
towards any improvement of that Ferry, but the Petitioner has hitherto
made all necessary improvements at his own individual expense. In
the year 1811 he expended Five Hundred dollars for a bulkhead and
Ferry Stairs at Brooklyn In the year 1813 he expended the sum of
Two thousand dollars for a pier at the same place In 1816, the fur-
ther sum of Nine hundred dollars for extending that Pier in the same
Year he assumed to pay the further sum of Four thousand five
hundred Dollars for one [390] third part of the Westerly pier at Cath-
arine Slip being the proportion which otherwise would have been
borne by the Corporation that latter sum however was advanced by
the Corporation on his bond payable by installments with interest on
which he has paid Twelve hundred and two dollars and twenty five
cents leaving the sum of Three thousand three hundred and ninety

334 CITY OF NEW YORK 12 April 1819

seven Dollars and Seventy five cents due for principal which to-
gether with the arrears of interest of Seven hundred and fifty Dollars
makes a total of Four thousand and forty seven dollars and Seventy
five cents still due from him on that bond This sum your Com-
mittee recommend to be applied to defray the expense of the pro-
posed improvement and such other accomodations as that Ferry may
immediately require : It will be perceived that the plan offered by
your Committee is to sink a Pier at the distance of about Thirty feet
to the Eastward of the present pier extending out One hundred feet
into [391] the River and as this will face the Slip it will be proper for
the Corporation to be in possession of so much of it as shall be neces-
sary for the purpose of a Slip or landing place for the ferry after
the Lessees term shall have expired Your Committee therefore recom-
mend that a cession be taken from the Petitioner of all his interest and
right to the outer end and Slip side of that pier as soon as it shall
have been completed and for the purpose of carrying the foregoing
plan into effect your Committee beg leave to offer the subjoined

" Whereas Rodman Bown Lessee of Catharine Slip Ferry is in-
debted to this Corporation in the sum of Four thousand and forty
seven dollars and seventy five cents for principal and interest on his
bond and this Corporation being willing to erect a Convenient pier
or landing place and to make other necessary accomodations for
that Ferry at Brooklyn

Therefore Resolved that the said Rodman Bown be permitted
to expend that sum in the construction of such improvements, which
shall go in discharge of the [392] said bond Provided such improve-
ments be made under the direction of the Street Commissioner and
provided also that the Said Rodman Bown shall cede to this Corpora-
tion all his right to the outer end and Slip side of such pier as soon
as the same shall have been completed.

All which is respectfully submitted

(signed) E. W. King
G. Buckmaster

Which was approved and the Resolution agreed to.

The Report of the Law Committee presented last meeting was
called up and being read was in the words following:

That by Ordinance the Attorney to this Board is obliged once in
every month to make a written Report to the Comptroller of every
suit prosecuted by him under any Ordinance together with the sum


of Money, if any, recovered thereon ; and the part, if any, paid to the
informer; and lodge the Chamber- [393] lains receipt for the balance
with the said monthly Report

On enquiring your Committee find that this Section of the Ordi-
nance has never been complied with in any particular Your Com-
mittee think the provisions in this section important in every re-
spect. The report to the Comptroller would be an important docu-
ment, containing facts upon which the board might found many salu-
tary Laws : It would enable the Members to test our Ordinances by
experience and practice. This Branch of the section is important in
another view. The Members of the Board having access to the
Report, while the grievances complained of in their respective wards
were fresh on their memory, they could trace the courses pursued in
each case and detect imposition or connivance.

The People at large also having a right to inspect these reports and
knowing they were made monthly, would discover and represent to the
board all irregularities.

The importance of these checks upon [394] our chief executive
Officer is evident from the many unfounded reports in circulation
concerning him.

To collect fines and penalties from the public is at best an un-
pleasant duty; Your Committee therefore think it the more neces-
sary for this Board to adopt every possible means to convince the
public that they are not only necessary, but that they are collected
fairly and impartially.

The latter branch of the section directing the Attorney to pay
over to, and lodge the receipt of the Chamberlain for the Amount so
reported, with the Comptroller is important because then the Attor-
ney would necessarily submit his Accounts to the Board for exam-
ination, who would pass a warrant for what was thought his due ;
Whereas by the present practise he is always paid by monies retained
in his hands when his accounts are submitted for examination and
frequently before the services are performed. Indepen- [395] dent
of the common truth, that he is a bad pay-master who pays before
hand, Your Committee, can see no good reason why the poor fund
should lose six months interest on monies collected for it's use.

In examining the accounts of the Attorney for the last six months
your Committee find that in all suits for Five Dollars and under, he
has charged a fee of Two Dollars ; And for all Penalties over Five
Dollars a fee of Five dollars is charged.

These charges would be about a fair compensation if an Attorney

336 CITY or NEW YORK 12 April 1819

were applied to in a single case; but where the number of cases
reported by the Attorney for six months amounts to several hundred
(the fees on which amount to between seventeen and eighteen hun-
dred Dollars) besides the cases admitted by him to have been dis-
missed on payment of costs, and not reported amounting to a great
number, Your Committee cannot but think the fees extravagant.

In justification of the present Attorney in this particular, your
Committee think it necessary to say that he has followed the bills and
charges made out by his predecessor [396] D. S. Jones Esq re But
on examining the last bill reported by M r Jones your Committee find
that the whole charges made by him for Three Months services as
Attorney amount only to forty eight Dollars although the charges
are the same as made by the present incumbent. Then the suits
brought did not exceed fifteen or twenty in three months but now
they will Amount to at least Two Hundred. Your Committee have
also examined the minutes of the Board for the resolution authoris-
ing the charges as made by the Attorney, and altho' the search has
been made with care by the Clerk at the instance of the Committee,
no other minute can be found on the subject than a Report of a
Committee directing that the sum of Two Dollars shall be allowed the
Attorney in all cases under twenty five dollars except in cases under
the Charter for selling Liquor, where five Dollars is allowed and
the same sum in all cases above Twenty five Dollars.

Your Committee have accordingly [397] subjoined a resolution to
reduce the fees, but considering the precedent as having been
established before the present incumbent came into office they have
not thought proper to present a resolution to cause the surplus fees
or amount to be refunded. In a former part of this report the prac-
tice of settling and dismissing suits and complaints by the Attorney
is incidentally mentioned. Your Committee thought the investiga-
tion of this subject highly important to the honor and dignity of
the board and of the party concerned. They accordingly examined it
with great care, and attention and feel it a duty they owe themselves
and the Attorney to state that in no instance could they find that he
had received fines or penalties as a compromise although they examined
upwards of one hundred supposed cases They therefore beleive
such reports to be without foundation, very probably arising from
the circumstance of so many fines being collected. But while the
Committee acquit him with justice in this respect they must condemn
as impolitic and as an assumption of the rights of this [398] board,
the very common practice of dismissing suits and offenders on pay-


ment of costs and that too in repeated offences by the same person
No resolution or authority granting this power can be found. Your
Committee therefore are not aware that the board ever vested in a
merely executive officer the right of dispensing Charity How or
when this practice first originated cannot now be ascertained; but
your Committee are fully of opinion that it is an improper indulgence
to be exercised by an officer The board alone as the representative
of the people and the responsible guardians of their morals have a
right of enacting Laws and inflicting penalties ; but if an officer has
the right of dispensing with the penalties, he certainly has, as far
as the right of dispensing is exercised, a right of abrogating those
Laws and of superceding the power of the whole body of representa-

The Committee therefore beg leave to offer the following resolu-

Resolved That in addition [399] to the Monthly Report directed
by ordinance to be made by the Attorney. That he also report to the
Comptroller on the first day in each month after the month of May
next all sums of money received by him as Attorney to this board;
Whether fines or penalties have been received or not, and whether re-
ceived as fees or otherwise

Resolved that the fees to which the Attorney of this Board shall be
entitled from and after the first day of May next shall be as follows
For all penalties in actions the amount of which does not exceed
Fifteen Dollars the sum of Two Dollars and fifty cents, and for
all sums exceeding Fifteen Dollars the sum of Five Dollars and
no more.

Resolved that the Attorney be instructed not to discontinue any suit
commenced for or on behalf of this Board without an express order
therefor : And also that he be instructed to prosecute all offenders
whenever in his opinion the evidence is sufficient to sustain the action
except in cases of particular hardship in which case he shall report
the [400] same to the Board with a statement of facts requesting in-
struction thereon. And in case that at the next succeeding meeting
of the board no instructions shall be given, he shall prosecute the

same without delay. -o , , .. , ...

Respectfully submitted

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

Whereupon the same was approved and the Resolutions therein
proposed agreed to.

338 CITY OF NEW YORK 12 April 1819

The Report of the Finance Committee of the 29 th of March in-
stant on the Petition of Cornelius Harsin which had been refered to
the Counsel and and the report of the Counsel thereon of the 5 th
April instant were called up and read, and the Resolutions proposed
by the Committee were considered, amended and agreed to The
Reports and Resolutions as amended were as follows

" That M r Harsin received a grant dated the 31 st day of July
1815 for the property alluded to, being 29 feet on [401] Wash-
ington Street and extending to the perminant Line in the Hudson
River. That he petitioned the Board in December last praying to
be permitted to reconvey to the Corporation said Grant, on their
paying him the amount expended for improvements, which he stated
at more than 2000. Dollars. That the said petition was referred
to the Committee on Wharves, Piers and Slips, who reported on the 2 d
day of November following in favour of a cession of the grant; and
as a remuneration for the improvements, That a Bond be executed in
favour of Harsen for 1000 Dollars payable in one year without
interest, which report was adopted. It is this arrangement which
he wishes to relinquish, and in lieu thereof, to substitute the one
proposed in his Petition.

The Committee cannot perceive any material objection to the
proposition of M r Harsen, except that it may be brought forward
as a precedent for similar applications whenever grants from this
board may prove unproductive; or [402] the convenience of the
applicant be affected by an ordinance to improve his property. The
Committee must admit however, that the permission already given
M r Harsen to cede his grant has established the precedent, and as
they are satisfied no possible loss to the public can be sustained by
the proposed arrangement, and as the adjoining property belongs
to the Corporation, which they are now filling, and therefore will be
put to no inconvenience by entering into new contracts ; and, as the
improvement of that part of the City will be facilitated by the opera-
tion, they propose the following resolutions

Resolved, that the Counsel be authorised to receive from Corne-
lius Harsen a Bond and a Mortgage for ground under water granted
him by the Corporation on the 31 st day of July 1815 together with
his Deed for Two Lotts adjoining said grant, as designated by the
plan hereunto annexed marked A And that the Counsel make the
necessary searches as to title at the [403] expense of said Harsen.

Resolved, that on the Bond and Mortgage being executed for
said property, the Street Commissioner be authorised to compleat


the filling and regulating of the same; and that a just and true ac-
count be kept by him of the amount expended for filling and regulating.

Respectfully submitted
(signed) Stephen Allen

Reuben Munson
" W. F. Van Amringe

The Report of the Counsel was as follows

" That he has duly considered the subject referred to him and is
of opinion that the estate with which the Corporation would be in-
vested by these resolutions, being carried into effect would be an
estate in fee simple, and of course that there would be no legal im-
pediment in the way of disposing of the same at the pleasure of the

(signed) Ogden Edwards

A member stating that business requiring secresy would be com-
municated the Galleries [404] were cleared and the Doors closed.*

The Doors were again opened, and this being the Period for the
Appointment of Inspectors for the ensuing Anniversary State and
Charter Election the Board proceeded to that duty when the follow-
ing persons were nominated and chosen.

1st Ward 2nd Ward

Isaac Pierson W W. Todd

Edmund Smith Willet Seaman

Peter W. Radcliff Joseph Riley

3^ Ward 4th Ward

Isaac Graham David Bryson

Daniel D. Smith John Brown

Andrew S. Norwood Robert Brown

5th Ward 6th Ward

Benjamin Romaine Richard L. Walker

James D. Westervelt W m Coulthard

John Mason W m Al Burtis

7th Ward 8th Ward

Benjamin Prince Sam 1 M. Thompson

Abraham Dally Gilbert Coutant

[405] David Brooks Jacob Aimes

9th Ward 10th Ward

Jacobus Dyckman David Seaman

Gerard DePeyster John Fream

Oliver Hibbert Jeremiah Lounsberry

* An insertion in pencil reads Information that Brown Contractor for
Docks & Slips c d not give of security required Ref d to Fin. Com. to lease to
the best advantage. ED.

340 CITY or NEW YORK 12 April 1819

The following Resolution was presented and agreed to Resolved
that Greenwich Street from Watts to Spring Street be regulated
and paved and that the Street Commissioner be directed to report
an Ordinance to carry the same into effect.

The Comptroller Reported

Balance in the Treasury on the 5 th ins* 697.42

Received for Rents 2282.72

for Tax of 1818. 2d-3d-4-5-6-8-9-lQth Wards 21.722.

Common Lands 1151 .34

Streets 600.

Wells & Pumps 167.

Interest 1000.32 27.620.80

[406] Accounts Audited.

R. Graves Assistant Street Commissioner 1 Qr Salary 1 st

February 375 .

Cha 3 Irish, a Gold Snuff box for freedom of the City to

General Jackson 275 .

Geo. Platt repairs & work mud Machine 6 March to 10 th

Instant 248.51

Geo. Buckmaster repairs to D 135.09

Ogden Edwards drafting Laws &c 195 . 74

J. Morton, Index 35 th Vol. Minutes, hack hire &c 65.

Lewis & Hall 6 M subscription Commercial Advertiser 1

Inst 75.

Nathan Comstock 1 Cask Oil 122. 12

Cha s Mooney on Acct regulating Collect Street 500.

Ja s Pinkerton bala. paving Orange St. fr. Hester to Grand

St 137.37

Hugh Smith repaying in Cherry Street 134.28

John Sloan regulating Wooster St 100.

Ja s Pinkerton balance repaying Skinner Street 31 .81

[407] Dederick Grim balance for a Well in Orange Street 75.

Dederick Grim digging a well in Essex Street 63.75

J. M c Comb, Street Commiss 1 " on Account repairing Roads.. 500.

Richard Furman Super 1 Alms House 5000.

Pres* Directors & C Mechanics Bank Bond Oct. 1.

1818 $8000. Interest 3 Months 12 dys @ 6 per cent per

Annum $136 8136.


Balance $11.451.13
Adjourned to meet Monday next 6 Clock.


[408] In Common Council April 19 th 1819

Present The Hon. Cadwallader D. Colden, President
Peter Augustus Jay Esq re Recorder

Aldermen Assistants

Elisha W. King Thomas Bolton

Anthony L. Underhill Samuel Stevens

W m F Van Amringe Leonard Kip

John Morss John P .Anthony

Rob* McQueen John J. Westervelt

George Buckmaster Samuel Akerly

Jacob B. Taylor David Board

George B. Thorp Stephen Allen
Reuben Munson

The minutes of last meeting were read and approved.

Peter Augustus Jay Esq r presented a Commission from the Hon.
the Council of Appointment dated 6 th of April ins 1 appointing him
Recorder of the City of New York which was read and M r Jay took
the several oaths prescribed by Charter and the Laws which [409]
were administered by his Honor the Mayor in the presence of the
Common Council and he took his seat as a member of the Board.

The following Resignations from Persons lately appointed Inspect-
ors of the ensuing Election were received and the following were
appointed in their place.

1 st Ward

Peter W. Radcliff res d Tunis Quirk app d

4 th Ward

Robert Brown res d Joel Post app d
John Brown res d Robert Dodge app d

5 th Ward
John Mason res d Moses Coddington app d

8 th Ward

Sam 1 M. Thompson res d Stuart F. Randolph, app d

His Honor the Mayor laid before the board a certified Copy of
a Law passed at the last session of the Legislature on the 13 th April
1819 entitled an Act relative to Harman Street authorising the Cor-
poration to suspend extending and enlarging said Street and to order
[410] all the proceedings in relation to extending and enlarging the
same to be vacated and annulled Whereupon it was referred to the
following committee to enquire into the circumstances in relation

342 CITY OF NEW YORK 19 April 1819

to the Assessment and other matters respecting the opening of said
Street and to report thereon to the Board The Committee appointed
were Aldermen W m F. V n Amringe John Morss George Buckmaster

A Petition of Anthony Dey for permission to construct a Vault at
the corner of Nassau & Cedar Streets extending into the said two
Streets with a permission also to vary the opening into s d Vaults
from the mode prescribed by the Ordinance in that respect was read
and referred to the Alderman and Assistant of Ward and Street
Commissioner to Report.

A Petition of Balthazar P. Melick in behalf of himself and the
Inhabitants [411] in the vicinity of Spring Street, praying that the
right of ferrying from that part of the City between Desbrosses and
Christopher Streets across the Hudson to Weehawk or elsewhere
may be granted to them for the term of Twenty one Years was
read and referred to the Ferry Committee, and the Alderman and
Assistant of 8 th Ward.

A Petition of Lewis Hartman for permission to occupy a part of
the foot walk for the purpose of a Cistern to be constructed of
durable materials was read and referred to the Aldermen and As-
sistant of Ward and Street Commissioner, with authority, if in their
opinion expedient, to grant the prayer of the Petitioner.

A Letter from the Rev d John Stanford on the subject of children
and youth confined in the Penitentiary, stating that at their libera-
tion they are left to the wide world without a friend to protect or
advise them and recommending as a salutary measure that authority
might be vested in the [412] commissioners of the Alms House to
bind them out as in the case of Paupers was read and referred to the
Alms hous Committee.

And it was resolved that the Committee on Arts and Sciences, to
whom a communication of M r Sandford of a concise Catechism for
the use of the Children of the Alms house was referred be re-
quested to report thereon at the next meeting of the Board.

A Petition from Thomas Dennison for relief from a Personal
Tax assessed on him. and a Petition of a similar nature from Joseph
L. Hayes were read and referred to the Committee of Charity.

A Letter from Robert Ainslee addressed to Alderman Buckmaster
as chairman of the Committee on the regulation of Greenwich Vil-
lage was presented by him, and read. It's object was to urge as expedi-
tiously as possible the construction of the Canal through Carmine
Street to the North- [413] River Whereupon the same was referred
to the Committee on the regulation of Greenwich Village.


A Petition of Charles Udall, a measurer of Grain appointed by
the Corporation of this City was received stating that he was called
upon to measure a quantity of Grain lying in a Vessel at Brooklyn
on the Long Island shore, below Low water mark

Online LibraryNew York (N.Y.). Common CouncilMinutes of the Common Council of the City of New York, 1784-1831 (Volume 10) → online text (page 30 of 65)