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

Minutes of the Common Council of the City of New York, 1784-1831 (Volume 8) online

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vent the gas escaping when not burning & extinguish it when required

[139] In like manner from the main Pipe private or public build-
ings may be supplied. In this way a considerable portion of the City
of London is lighted with coal gas. fifteen miles of main pipe was laid
down there in the beginning of the last year (1815). The oeconomy
of gas light is so certain that an incorporated company of London was
bond by its charter to furnish a better & stronger light than oil, at
a less expense, and yet obtained profits arrising from the undertaking.
Every one who has made use of this method of illuminating in Europe
has found its oeconomy surpass all expectation

It has been doubted however whether the oeconomy of gas lights
would be so great in New York as in Europe the high price of
labor, wood & coal, would certainly diminish the profits of the under-
taking, & it is a matter of uncertainty, whether the coke & other
products of the distillation could be so readily disposed of as in
Great Britain & it is the sale of these that diminishes the expence

There has been laid before your Committee a calculation for an
apparatus to supply 600 Lamps, the expense of which is stated at 2400
Dollars outfit. To supply the whole City with apparatus and main
pipes is estimated at 640 000 Dollars. The annual expense to supply
the gas for any part or the whole [ 140] is not stated

But a Plan for a less complicated machine than the one herein de-
scribed has been laid before the committee by M r Robert Hare the
expense of which is comparatively trifling & not so liable to be out
of repair. The gas is furnished by pitch which is almost wholly con-
verted into carburetted hydrogen and is conducted directly to the
gasometer without any intervening machinery. His estimation is as


Outfit as detailed in his estimate 3300

Annual expences " 2700

Sources of income " 5100

From which deducting the annual expenses leaves the neat proceeds p r

ann 2400

Your Committee are therefore inclined to believe that gas lights
may be usefully applied for lighting certain parts of this City. They
think that the Common Council are bound to foster the arts & sci-
ences & to give encouragement to useful inventions. The one under
consideration is of immense importance to the public from the beni-
fits to be derived to the community & to individuals. They therefore
respectfully recommend the adoption of the following Resolution

Resolved that a select committee be appointed with powers to insti-
tute an experiment on gas lights upon the Plan [141] under the
Superintendance of M r Robert Hare and that a sum not exceeding
five thousand Dollars be put at the disposal of said Committee to carry
the same into effect, to be taken out of any monies in the Treasury
not otherwise appropriated

(Sig d ) Nich ls Fish
Th R Smith
Reuben Munson
Samuel Akerly
Jacob Lorillard
Peter Augustus Jay

Which was approved, and the Resolution proposed agreed to, and
it was referred to the Committee on arts and sciences to carry the
same into effect

The following persons were appointed Firemen, the Chief Engi-
neer certifying the the vacancies

Fire Eng n Comp* N 21

James Robinson, Accountant 172 B d Way 2 d W d vice John Brown
resig d

James Sylvester, book binder, 17 George St 4 " } additional men
James Pierpoint D 175 Pearl S 4 1 J

N 33

Stephen Seaman, Sailmaker Henry St 7 th W 7d vice Joseph Bedle
Resig d

John Seaman. Mercht Grand St 10 W d vice Stephen White left

W m Davis, Grocer Goerck St 10 W d vice Louis Delondres left


,558 CITY OF NEW YORK 18 June 1816

[142] Tho s H Brown, Shoe maker Grand St 10 th W d vice Henry
Hoffman left City

N 35

Ephraim Pardee, Smith Harlaem 9 th W d vice John Adriance
resig d

John Connover, cordwainer, Harlaem 9 th W d vice Jon n Randle J r
remov d to L Island

A Resolution proposing to designate a Place where children that
have been lost may be brought to, was read and referred to the Belle-
vue Committee & the Commissioners of the Alms House

Resolved that the following be a Committee to make the necessary
arrangements for the celebration of the ensuing Anniversary of
American independance, And that they have authority to give direc-
tions respecting the erection of Booths around the Park Bowling
Green & the Battery

Committee Alder" Smith Mapes Buckmaster

The following Resolution was presented & agreed to

Resolved that the Committee on the Fire Department with the
Chief Engineer be instructed to erect such Engine Houses as they may
deem expedient for the [143] preservation of Engines, Hooks Ladders
& c 8f in Beaver St Fair St & Fayette Street

A Resolution on the subject of M r Allen late Keeper of the City
Prison, authorising him to remain in possession of the apartments of
the Building, was presented by Aider 11 Smith, and the consideration
thereof postponed and it was Resolved that M r Allen continue in
possession until the next meeting of the Board

Resolved that the 1 st avenue be opened from 23 d to 24 th Street

A Resolution for the appointment of Josiah Shippey, as clerk of the
Alms House was presented and the consideration postponed

Resolved that the Counsel of the Board be directed to revise the
Laws & ordinances of this corporation and prepare a correct copy
thereof to be laid before them with all convenient speed for their fur-
ther order on this subject

A Resignation from John J Westervelt as a Commissioner of the
Alms House was read. Whereupfon] The Recorder presented the

Whereas J J Westervelt has signified [144] his wish to resign his
seat as one of the Commissioners of the Alms House & Bridewell
if, in the opinion of this Board the office of purveyor be incompatible
therewith, and inasmuch as this Corporation is of opinion that the
duties of Commissioner & purveyor ought not to be united in the


same person. Therefore Resolved that the resignation of M r Wester-
velt as such Commissioner be accepted It being nevertheless the
declared sense of this Board that the said J J Westervelt has dis-
charged the duties attached to both situations with the greatest dili-
gence & integrity

Which was unanimously agreed to & On Motion Peter Stagg was
appointed Commissioner of the Alms House & Bridewell in his place

The following Resolution was presented & referred to the Bellevue
Committee & Commissioners of the Alms House

Resolved that it be referred to the Commissioners of the Alms
House to direct some suitable place for the keeping of Idiots & Luna-
tics, with whom the City may be chargeable & who are not otherwise
provided for in some part of the Alms House or Penitentiary at

[145] The Comptroller Reported

Cash in the Treasury 9456.95

Warrants not presented 4224. 14


Whereupon Warrants were ordered to be issued for payment of
the following accounts

Van Wart & Gardner Watch ...................................... 498.75

Walton & Hibberd DO ...................................... 621.25

Norris & Anderson D ...................................... 670.25

Bleakley & Brown D ...................................... 339.50

Ant h y Woodward Ass* City Inspr to 11 Inst ........................ 113.89

W"i J Waldron DO DO 1 Mo ............................. 62.

Obadiah Ayres D DO 1 DO ............................. 62.

Dani H Megee keep r Potters f d 1 DO ............................. 46.50

S McCormick keepr Park to 11 Inst ................................. 46.50

Lyman Hawley Carg hire Road Com 6 ...............................

Burk & Lamb repairs Pumps 6 & 7* W ds ........................... 52.12

Jos N Lord Building NO 453 Pearl St ...................... 500.

Edw d Doughty surveying & Maps .................................. 58.36

Thos R Smith Treas>" B d of Health ................................. 500.

A Burtis Lot ground Fayette St .................................... 1200.

R Munson for E Jennings Acct 3 d Avenue .......................... 440.

Balance .......................................... $



1 July 1816

[146] In Common Council July 1 st 1816

present The Hon 1 Jacob Radcliff President
Richard Riker Recorder

John B Coles
Jonas Mapes
Peter Conrey
Thomas R Smith
William AlBurtis
George Buckmaster
Arthur Burtis
Nicholas Fish
Reuben Munson


Peter Augustus Jay
Jacob Lorillard
Ant? L Underbill
John Brown
William Stone
Rob* McQueen
Sam 1 Akerly
George B Thorpe
John H Palmer
Thomas Cooper


The Minutes of last Meeting were read and approved

A Remonstrance from sundry Inhabitants of James St against the
ordinance lately passed for repairing the drain in said Street, was read
and referred to the Alderman & Assistant of the Ward & Street Com-
missioner with authority to comply with the prayer of the Petitioners

A Memorial of a number of Inhabitants & of sundry Sail makers
of the City remonstrating against the law, entitled " a Law to prevent
the raising of Merchandise & c " [147] was read Whereupon a Law
entitled " a Law to to amend a Law entitled " a Law to prevent the
raising of merchandise from the Street into the up[p]er stories of
Bui [1] dings from the Streets" was passed

A Memorial from sundry Dealers in lime complaining of some
measurers of Lime as acting improperly in the discharge of their duties
was read & referred to M r Lorillard M r Akerly M r Stone

Petitions for a Well & Pump in Pump St near 3 d Street & for a
Pump in Orange St were read & referred to the Alder 11 & assist 8 of the
Ward & St Comss r to report ordinances therefor

A Petition from Caleb Conklin for license as a Butcher & a Stall
in Catharine or Washington market, was read & referred to the Mar-
ket Committee

A Recommendation of Francis D Francisco as a Measurer of lime,
& a further Petition of Patrick Bacon to be appointed a Weighmaster
were read & referred to the Committee on applications

A Memorial of sundry Inhabitants of Pearl Street between Coen-
tius & Beekman Slips complaining of Cartmen encumbring the Street
with their Carts, was read & referred [148] to the Committee on

A Memorial of Theodorus Bailey & Elbert Anderson on the sub-


ject of the dispute subsisting between them & the Corporation re-
specting the rent to be paid for the remainder of a Lot in Chatham
St held by them under the Corporation & proposing to refer the same
for settlement to Arbitrators, was read & referred to the Comptroller
& Council to report

The following communication was rec d from the Commissioners
of estimate & on Hudson St

The Subscribers Commissioners of estimate & assessment ap-
pointed by the Supreme Court to perform certain duties relative to
the opening & extending of Hudson St from Duane St to Chamber St
in this City, have received a Copy of a Resolution passed by your
honorable body on the 28 th May last requesting them to discontinue
all further proceedings under their appointment The Subscribers
have maturely & with great respect for your honorable body consid-
ered this Resolution & think it required by the respect due to the
Common Council of the City to state to you the reasons which com-
pel them to decline complying with the request communicated in the
foregoing Resolution

[149] The subscribers think they have no right to decide upon
the propriety or expediency of the improvement contemplated by the
Corporation They consider themselves officers appointed by the
Supreme Court to perform certain duties and they have taken an
oath faithfully to perform those duties The duties they have thus
sworn to perform are precisely those which the Resolution above
mentioned requests them not perform; they therefore think themselves
bound by their duty & their oaths to decline complying with that re-
quest unless some competent authority shall anul their duties & thus
release them from their oaths They do not know that any body of
men possess such authority unless it be the Supreme Court, & that
Court after solemn argument, has already refused to interfere The
Subscribers therefore think themselves bound to proceed; at the same
time they beg your honorable body to believe that it is with great re-
gret they find themselves compelled to act in opposition to your
wishes, and it is their sincere desire in every way consistent with
their duty to manifest the sincere respect with which they are

Your Ob e H ub Sert"
(Sig d ) Peter Augustus Jay
Jno Slidell
John Morss.

[150] A Remonstrance from sundry Inhabitants against the Peti-

562 CITY OF NEW YORK 1 July 1816

tion for the erection of a market in Broad Street was read & referred
to the Alder" & assistant of the 1 st Ward

A Petition in behalf of Tho s Case a minor for a cartmans license
was read and negatived

A Remonstrance against the removal of the Pump from the cor-
ner of Bridge & Whitehall St was read & referred to the Alder n
& assistant of the 1 st Ward & St Comss r

A Memorial of Evan Jones, hackney Coachman for remission of
penalty incurred, was read & granted on payment of costs

A Petition of Luke Kip for time until the 1 st August next for
payment of Assessment for repaving Broad way near Murray St was
read and granted

A Petition of Joseph Dunkley for appointment to some office,
of J Rodman Drake for appointment of Physician to the Bridewell
& Goal, & a Petition for the removal of George Mount one of the
Inspectors of Firewood, were read & referred to the Committee on

[151] A Letter from the loan officer requesting measures to be
taken for payment of the mortgage given by Geo B Ewart, was read
and referred to the Comptroller & Counsel

A Petition from James Langley a Tenant under the Corporation
was received stating that at a fire in Chatham St, his House was de-
stroyed & his circumstances thereby greatly injured & praying remis-
sion of a half years rent due from him, was read and ordered to be
referred to the Comptroller

A Memorial of Thomas Dunning Collector of the 9 th Ward pray-
ing further time to collect and pay the Tax of said Ward was read
& leave given to Petitioner to withdraw his Petition

A Petition was received from Elizabeth ONeil, Widow of John
ONeil deceas d stating that her Husband was collector of the 6 th Ward
that immediately after his election to that office he was seized with
sickness which ended in mental derangement which continued until
his death that in consequence thereof the Taxes of said Ward were
not collected that the City Treasurer has agreably to law proceeded
against the estate of her Husband, and praying some relief Where-

Resolved that it be referred to the Attorney [152] Council & Comp-
troller to report by the next meeting of the Board, with power to
suspend proceedings until that time, provided that no lien or surety
which this Corporation has, shall be in any manner waived or im-


A request of Jonathan Ware, that the Common Council would
direct an examination to be made of the principles upon which his
scheme of Tuition is founded was read & laid on the Table

A Memorial of the Inhabitants of State St complaining of the
present situation of said St and praying the same may be repaved,
& also that a Well may be sunk was read & referred to the Alder"
& assistant of the 1 st Ward & Street Commissioner

A remonstrance of sundry persons against the Assessment for the
Drain in Frankfort Street, was read & referred to the Committee
on assessments

The City Inspector presented Drafts of Ordinances for correction
of nuisances on the premises of the persons following

J R Livingston
Ja s Cunningham
Heny B Hagermann
Nath 1 Jeroleman
[153] M r Williams
Jn Robertson

W m Silevek
Rob 1 De Grushe
Maria Johnson
Abijah Arden
M rs Inderwick
Jn Rathbone
Henry Rutgers



Jacob Lorillard
Jn Lawrence
Catharine Bancker
George Benwood
Phebe Roberts
Cha s Athens
Jn E Moore
Oliver Sedwith
Oliver Reif
M re Banker
Cato Benwood



occp 1

occp 1












occp t







30 Anthony St
73 Chapel "
110 Church St

7 Dover "
9 DO

5 White "

8 Fair

Lots in Market St
D Rutgers St
41 L George "
Privies Broadway

Lots in Henry S*

D 79 Lombardy
10-12 Nelsons alley




564 CITY OF NEW YORK l July 1816

Oliver Sedwith w,,*,

,,.,.., .}- 4 Nelsons alley

W m Meighan ~~~tr

James Dally owr) - _

Susan Scully

Which were passed

A Report of the Board of Health to whom had been referred the
Petition of John J Delamater [154] for compensation for his services
was received, whereby they recommend that the sum of Fifty Dollars
be allowed him

Whereupon it was ordered that the Comptroller report a Warrant
for payment of the same

Upon the Report of the Attorney penalties were remitted to Cap-
tains. Barker, Cronk, Van Name, Wood, Waterman & Proudlock,
incured by not reporting passengers agreably to law

The Finance Committee to whom was referred the Petition of the
Inspectors of the late Election in the 7 th Ward for payment of certain
expenses, incurred, reported that in their opinion the said acct should
be allowed, which was approved & a Warrant was directed to issue
for Twenty Dollars in favor of Beal N Lewis

The Finance Committee & Committee on Arts & Sciences on the
Petition of the College of Physicians & Surgeons

Reported That they have had the same under consideration & sin-
cerely regret that the Finances of the Corporation will not admit
of a compliance with the wishes of so useful & so respectable a Body as
the College of Physicians & Surgeons

[155] (Sig d ) Tho s R Smith

Nich ls Fish
Arthur Burtis
Samuel Ackerly
Which was approved

The Comptroller to whom was referred the Petition of M Ditmas
presented a Report which was referred back to him for a more full
report as to the quantity of ground contained in the lot of ground peti-
tioned for

The Comptroller presented for execution a Bond to the Mechanic's
Bank for $20,000 which sum on the 13 th May last he had been di-
rected to borrow, which was directed to be duly executed

The Comptroller presented to the Board for approbation, a Deed
to John B Dash for part of a Water Lot granted to Dirck Dey on the
14 th October 1743 at the North River, which part is charged on the


Books in this office to Mess rs Roosevelt & Bancker at an annual rent
of five Dollars. It was commuted by M r Dash on the 1 st April last,
when he paid into the Treasury the sum of $83. .34. The residue of
the above mentioned Grant was purchased by the Corporation of Rich-
ard Varick and the rent consequently ceased

(Sig d ) G N Bleecker Comp r

[156] The Comptroller Reported, That he has examined the Ac-
count of Bartholemew Skaats, from which it appears, that on the 16
May 1815 there was a Balance in his hands of $43.54. That advances
have been made to him of $900 to purchase fuel, making in the whole
$943.. 54 and that agreably to his account Current rendered, & receipts
exhibited there has been expended the sum of $892.. 80 leaving a bal-
ance in his hands of $50.74 on the 21 June last

(Sig d ) G N Bleecker Comp r
Which was read & directed to be filed

The Comptroller presented the following

The constant succession of business which has necessarily engaged
the time of the Comptroller since he entered on the duties of his office,
has precluded that full and minute exposition of the concerns of the
Corporation which the wishes of several members of the Board had
anticipated. For the present he is limited to a concise view of some
of the most prominent points which appear to require attention

Agreably to the statement on the Books there was on the 13 th May
last a balance in the Treasury of $436.75 Since which [time] there
have been considerable Sums paid in, and Warrants issued to nearly
the [157] amount remaining. The rapid improvements which have
been made in the City & County in the course of a few years past have
caused expenditures far exceeding the ordinary receipts into the Treas-
ury. Some of these improvements may be considered as immediately
advantageous and others as more peculiarly calculated for the benefit
of posterity

The contemplated erection of a market near Beekman Slip and the
extension of public Piers & Docks at the North River will if prose-
cuted at present make a very large accumulation of the present debt.
Besides these, the progression of avenues & Roads remote from the
settled part of the City, cannot fail to enhance appropriations On
these subjects the prompt attention of the Council is respectfully so-

Buildings have been taken by appraisement for the purpose of
opening Roads which from the distance from the populous part of

566 CITY OF NEW YORK 1 July 1816

the City, may not probably be wanted for many years to come. Heavy
sums are constantly presented for payment of Houses & Lands, which
together with Commissioner's Attorney's & Court fees form an aggre-
gate amount far exceeding the receipts the receipts into the Treasury
from that department. The collections by no means correspond with
the demands ; and it is with a view of interesting the Board in a

[158] speedy & thorough investigation of this subject that it is
now brought before them.

The Sinking fund went into operation in the Autumn of 1813
since which the sum of $62 000 of City Stock has been purchased by
the Commissioners, leaving a balance of $638 000 at an annual Interest
of 6 p r Ct. There was due to the Treasurer on the 1 st May last, two
Quarters interest on this Stock, a balance of $18141.50 advanced by

Amount of Bonds payable is $167 345.74 most of which bear an
interest of 6 p r Ct

The plans which were framed by those who successively superin-
tended the financial concerns of the Corporation for several years past,
have generally failed, more on account of the want of stability & per-
manency in a regular system than in the projects which were framed
for extinguishing the public debt. Calculating on a progressive accu-
mulation of revenue from various sources, without anticipating large
extensive disbursements arising in rapid succession from causes which
could not be foreseen, it cannot be expected under such circumstances,
that much advantage would arise from the best devised scheme. The
Theory however plausible & alluring, & capable of arithmetical dem-
onstration, was scarcely promulgated [159] & brought into operation,
before it was arested by projects apparently for public benefit or
by unforseen appropriations of the funds, for improvements which
had not before been contemplated. The creation of a public stock
was deemed at the time it originated, about four years since, not so
advantageous a measure as the lessening of the debt then existing, by
sales of property, and a retrenchment of extraordinary expenses

To be possessed of less real estate, connected with the gradual
extinguishment of a heavy debt, was considered far preferable to the
embarrassing system which was then adopted. In a lengthy report
which was made to the Board on the 13 th January 1812 it was observed
as a sound maxim in pecuniary concerns in private life, that expen-
ditures should always be limited by the amount of income, where this
is not attended to embarrassments ensue, just demands are unsatisfied
credit suffers, and eventually an accumulation of interest absorbs the


Capital. The same principle is not inapplicable to public concerns and
prudence dictates the necessity of circumscribing disbursements to the
means possessed of meeting all engagements. It was then recom-
mended to diminish the public debt by selling various portions of land
on this [160] Island which were particularly designated; and to for-
bear for the present entering into any further public improvements,
either in the erection of new buildings, or any other object not abso-
lutely indispensible.

Agreably to an act of the State Legislature passed the 12 April

Online LibraryNew York (N.Y.). Common CouncilMinutes of the Common Council of the City of New York, 1784-1831 (Volume 8) → online text (page 48 of 68)