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Minutes of the Common Council of the City of New York, 1784-1831 (Volume 9) online

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Mary Watts Award for Bridge " 80.85

Catharine Watts " " " " 76.36

Catharine Schemerhorn Award Water S* 59.25

Robert Watts Award Bridge S* 55.30

Sami Stilwill " Water" 54.75

Letty Grayson " " " 48.25

Hugh Smith Earth filled on NO 50 Cross St Lien 27.12

Willm Callender Award Water S* 15.

W. Fish Treasurer for 20th Dividend City Stock 10.500.

306 CITY OF NEW YORK 7 Oct. 1817

J. P. Roome Super* Repairs for Repairs Docks 2372.83

Ditto " " for Repairs 1200.

Ditto " " " Lamps 250.

[344] Benjn U. Coles Award for Bridge S* 1959.66


Cash in the Treasury 72.744.38

56 Accounts Audited. . 72.226. 14

Balance 518.24

The* R. Smith Treas' Board of Health 250.

Balance 268.24

Adjourned till Tomorrow 5. O. clock. P. M

[345] In Common Council October. 7 th 1817.

Present. The Honb le Jacob Radcliff Mayor

Richard Riker Esq Recorder

Aldermen. Assistants.

John. B. Coles. Sam' Jones Jun^

Jo s Warren Brackett. Samuel Stevens

Eldad Holmes. Leonard Kip

Thomas. R. Smith. W m F. V" Amringe

George Buckmaster. William Stone

Arthur Burtis John Remmey

Geo. B. Thorp Samuel Akerley

Reuben Munson Jacob. B. Taylor

Stephen Allen

The Board met agreeably to their adjournment
The Committee to whom was referred the letter of General Scott,
and the Resolutions proposed by the Recorder at the last Meeting,
presented a Report

The letter of General Scott was in the words following.

Head Qrs. 1 st & 3 rd Mil. Dept s

Castle Clinton Oct. 6. 1817
[346] Sir,

I am sorry to learn that my silence in respect to the Report
made by the Special Committee, to which was referred my letter to you
on the subject of certain Staff Offices, has been considered as disre-
spectful to the Corporation, over which you preside I beg leave to
disclaim any such sentiment


The cause of my silence is to be found in the concluding words of
that Report The Committee take the broad ground that " the Grant
conveys the Premises, in question, to the United States, for the
purposes of fortifications, and they do not consider the occupation of
the Premises with Public offices as within the spirit or meaning of the
Grant " which report was read and adopted by the Common Council
After this Solemn decision, all further discussion appeared to me use-
less ; neither could I desist from erecting the proposed offices, with
such a declaration of right staring me in the face, without abandoning
the rights of the United States, and Sacrificing the good of the public

By what process of reasoning, the Committee or the Council came
to the conclusion above cited, it is difficult to imagine: for after the
word " fortifications " quoted [347] in the Report, the Grant expressly
adds " or for such other purpose as the Public may be immediately in-
terested in." This clause, however, was either overlooked or sup-
pressed by the Committee

Perhaps it will be said (indeed I understand that it has already
been said) that the Corporation exceeded its powers in making the
grant in question to the U. States However strong this argument
might be in the mouth of a third Party, it is presumed, that the Cor-
poration itself will not impugn it's own act, or deny it's own au-

Upon the whole, I have determined to go on with the Buildings in
question, unless stopped by the Civil Authority, or some Military
Superior Nevertheless, as Castle Clinton in my judgment, and that
of the Chief of the Corps of Engineers, is only valuable to the United
States as a place of quarters, and for the transaction of public busi-
ness, I will, if it be the wish of the Corporation, recommend it to the
Government to exchange the Premises in question for an equivalent
in the City I. have the honour to be [348] Sir,

with great respect,

Y r M Obd 1 Serv 1

To/. [Signed] Winfield Scott.

His Honour, }

The Mayor of New York^

The Resolutions were as follows

Resolved that the Street Commissioner be, and he is hereby di-
rected to take the usual measures to prevent the erection of any Build-
ings or obstructions on the Battery

308 CITY OF NEW YORK 7 Oct. 1817

Resolved that a Select Committee be appointed to adopt such
further measures as circumstances may require, to carry the views of
the Board into effect

The Report of the Committee, was as follows

The Committee appointed by the Board to take into consideration,
the nature, extent, and legal effect of the Grant made by the State to
the Corporation of this City, of the Battery, and of the Grant made by
the Corporation to the United States of a part thereof : and also to
consider of the proper measures to be adopted by the Board, respect-
fully Report

That by an Act of the Legislature [349] passed Twentieth of
March Seventeen hundred and ninety, the State of New York vested
the Battery in the Corporation of this City " to remain for the pur-
" pose of erecting Public Buildings and Works of Defence thereon ;
" but without any power to dispose thereof for any other use or pur-
"pose whatsoever, and without any power of selling any part thereof '

On the day of November Eighteen hundred and Seven,

the Corporation in consideration of One Dollar granted to the United
States the Soil under water, upon which the Fort at the Battery is
erected, and also a small portion of the Battery contiguous to the
Bridge, for the purpose of " constructing and erecting Fortifications
" for the defence of the Port and Harbour of New York." The
Committee deem it unnecessary at this time to enter into any discus-
sion of the right of the Corporation to make this Grant as they are
decidedly of opinion, that the Grant itself does not give the power
contended for, of erecting Offices for the Staff.

It is not contended that the words above quoted from the Grant,
convey to the United States, the right to erect those Buildings This
power, however, is attempted [350] to be gleaned from the Proviso
which follows the Grant, and is in these words, viz : " Provided al-
" ways, and this Grant is upon this condition, that if at any time here-
" after, the said Premises hereby granted, shall cease to be used for
" the purpose of fortifications, or for such other purpose as the Public
" may be immediately interested in, then, and from thenceforth, the
" said Premises, or so much thereof, as shall cease to be used and
" applied to the purposes aforesaid, shall revert &c, and that the
" Mayor, &c. may enter &c. Now the office of a proviso, is to limit,
restrict, or qualify a Grant, and how it can be so construed as to
extend it, is to your Committee altogether incomprehensible The
object of this proviso is strikingly manifest. As according to the
Grant, independent of the proviso, the United States would forever


have the power of erecting fortifications upon the Premises, altho'
they might omit to erect them for any length of time, or although
they might make use of the ground for purposes foreign to the objects
of the Grant, it was prudently provided, that in the event of their
"ceasing to use the Premises for the purpose of fortifications, [351]
" or for such other purpose as the Public might be immediately inter-
" ested in, then the Premises should revert " : and of course that the
United States after that should not even have the power of erecting
fortifications upon it So far then from the words " or for such
" other purpose as the Public may be immediately interested in " ex-
tending the Rights of the Grantees, they mention an event, upon the
happening of which, the rights of the Grantees shall be forfeited Nor
can the words in the Proviso be made use of for the purpose of ex-
plaining the Grant The words in the Grant " for the purpose of con-
" structing and erecting fortifications " are of too plain and definite a
signification to require, or even to admit of any explanation ; but if it
were admissable to recur to the Proviso for that purpose, the words
" for the purpose of constructing and erecting fortifications " could
never be so tortured as to be made to signify the right of erecting
Offices for the accommodation of the General Staff Officers for a
whole Military District, and this more especially, when it is conceded
that the fortifications to which they are attached, are " only valuable
as a place of Quarters, and for the [352] transaction of public busi-
ness " But if the words " for such other purposes as the Public may
be immediately interested in are to be considered as extending the
Grant, still it remains to be proved that the Offices for the Staff are
within the purview of them. It does not say, for such other purposes
as the United States may be interested in, but " for such purposes
as the Public may be immediately interested in " Who then are meant
by the " Public " ? Who are to have this immediate interest ? Does
it mean the People of the United States, or of this State generally,
or only the People of this City? As the expression is indefinite, it is
proper to recur to the Recital of the Grant in order to ascertain it's
precise signification, and so to construe it, as to carry into effect the
object of the Grant From the recital, it appears that the object of
making the Grant was to provide for the defence of the Port and
Harbour of New York The Public therefore, who are to have an mi-
mediate interest in the uses for which this ground is to be appropriated,
are the People of this City Their interest in Offices [353] for the
General Staff Officers is not immediate, but one which they have in
common with the People of the United States at large The Committee

310 CITY or NEW YORK 7 Oct. 1817

however, are of opinion that any further discussion of the respective
rights of the Corporation, and of the United States is unnecessary, as
they are persuaded that the President of the United States, will, upon
a suitable representation being made to him of the wishes of the
People of this City, direct that the Buildings contemplated, shall not
be erected They therefore respectfully recommend, that his Honour
the Mayor be requested to transmit to the President, the communica-
tions which have passed between the commanding Officer of this Dis-
trict, and the Board, together with a letter expressive of the sentiments
and feelings of the Members of the Corporation and of the Inhabit-
ants of this City, upon this subject*

[354] Upon the question of agreeing to the same, it was carried
in the affirmative and the same Committee were appointed to carry the
Resolutions into effect

Alderman Smith presented a Law, entitled " A Law prohibiting the
driving of Horses and Carriages on the Battery " which was passed,
and the Clerk was directed to cause the same to be immediately pub-

The Law, entitled "A Law respecting Swine was called up, and

The Report of the Committee respecting the expense of working
the Avenues. &c. was called up, and being read, is in the words fol-
lowing :

The Committee, to whom was referred for consideration, the
Resolution some time since submitted to the Board, relative to the
expense already incurred, or which hereafter may be incurred of
opening and working the Avenues, Report

That they have gone into an examination of the same, and have
bestowed considerable [355] reflection on a subject which must be
deemed of much importance: on the one hand, affecting in no small
degree the Public Treasury, as well as the interest of Individuals on
the other

They have also been put in possession of the opinion of the Coun-
self in relation to the legality of such a measure, and have been
governed in their Report accordingly

From this opinon, it appears that it would be illegal to interfere
with the expenses, as already adjusted and settled, for opening such
Avenues, as have been opened; and the Committee beleive, that the
same course may, without impropriety, be pursued in relation to such

* Space left blank for names of committee. ED.

f Marginal note reads For opinion see file of Papers for 1817. ED.


others as may be hereafter opened. But they are decidedly of opin-
ion that it is only just and reasonable that some portion at least, of
the expense of working the Avenues should be born by the Owners of
the adjacent Property, who must, unquestionably, be more or less
benefitted thereby

What this proportion should be, the Committee are desirous of
leaving entirely to the decision of the Board, and [356] therefore de-
cline giving an opinion thereon With regard to the Streets here-
after to be opened, intersecting the Avenues, your Committee do not
hesitate to say, that, in their estimation, the whole expense of opening
and putting them in order, should be defrayed by the Owners of the
Property; and until it is ascertained that the Owners of two-thirds
of the Property adjacent, or property to be benefitted, are desirous of
such improvement, the same ought not to be done

Your Committee therefore beg leave to propose, that instead of
the Board adopting the Resolution as referred, the following be
agreed to, the blanks filled up, and that it be acted on with all con-
venient speed

First. Resolved, that one-third of the expense of working the
Avenues already opened, shall be born by the Property adjacent; the
assessments to be laid in proportion to the relative benefit derived from
the improvement, according to the usual manner of laying Assessments

Second Resolved, that the whole [357] of the expense of working
the Streets hereafter to be worked and intersecting the Avenues, be
born in the manner aforesaid ; and that hereafter, no Street intersect-
ing the said Avenues shall be worked, unless on the application of the
Owners of two-thirds of the Property adjacent

(Signed) Thomas. R. Smith
Stephen Allen
Samuel Akerley

The question being taken on the first Resolution and a Division
having been called, it was carried in the affirmative as follows

Affirmative 11 Aid" Coles Holmes Smith Munson Buckmas-
ter. Mess r Stevens Kip Van Amringe Remmey Akerley Taylor

Negative 5 Aid" Bracked: Burtis Thorp M r Jones Allen

The question was then taken on agreeing to the Report of the
Committee, and was carried in the Affirmative

Alderman Thorp gave notice, that he [358] would at the next
Meeting move for a reconsideration The Clerk was directed to
cause Fifty copies to be printed for the use of the Members

Adjourned to meet on next Monday week

312 CITY or NEW YORK 20 Oct. 1817

[359] In Common Council October 20 th 1817
Present The Honb le Jacob Radcliff Mayor President

Aldermen. Assistants.

Jo s Warren Brackett Sam 1 Jones Jun r

Anthy L. Underbill Saml Stevens

Eldad Holmes Leonard Kip

Thomas. R. Smith W m F. V n Amringe

George Buckmaster Will Stone

Arthur Burtis John Remmey

Reuben Munson Sam 1 Akerley

Jacob. B. Taylor
Effingh m Schieffelin
Stephen Allen

The Minutes of the two last Meetings were read and approved

An invitation from the Evangelical Lutheran Church to attend
the solemnization of the third Jubilee of the Reformation on Friday
the 31 st day of October ins 1 in St Paul's Church, enclosing tickets for
the Members, was read and accepted

A Petition of Stephen Huestus of the Town [360] of Haerlem in
the Ninth Ward, for the appointment of a Weigher of Hay, and for
permission to erect a Hay Scales, was read, and referred to the
Alderman and Assistant of the Ninth Ward to report

A Petition of Samuel Thorn was received, stating that he holds
an appointment of Measurer of Lime under the Corporation that
he was employed to measure lime from a vessel in this City: that
application was made to the Captain for some lime to be delivered
at Brooklyn : that he was employed to measure it, and the vessel was
removed to Brooklyn, and while lying there and below low water mark,
lie measured the same : that he was prosecuted at the suit of the Cor-
poration of Brooklyn for measuring without a license from them :
the cause was tried at Brooklyn, and the Petitioner was cast and a
judgment for Twenty five Dollars rendered against him, for which
he was imprisoned; and praying relief from the Board Whereupon
the same was referred to the Counsel

[361] A Petition of Salem Wines Boatbuilder, for remission of fine
by incumbering the Street with a Boat he had built and was painting,
was read, and referred to the Street Commissioner and Counsel.

A further Petition of Benjamin Hills and Reuben Ayres for re-
mission of fine incurred by erecting a Building on the Lot at the
Corporation Basin, accompanied with an affidavit, was read, and re-
ferred to the Alderman and Assistant of the Third Ward and Attorney

A Petition of Warburton Scroghem for remission of fine incurred


by incumbering the Street, was read, and leave given Petitioner to
withdraw his Petition

A Petition of Peter DeBoun for advance of Fifteen hundred
Dollars on his Contract for paving Greenwich Street, was read, and
laid on the table

A Petition of the Justices of the Justices Court, praying that
Benches may be erected in their Court room, and that a Marshall
[362] may be appointed to attend them, to be paid by the Corporation,
was read, and laid on the table

A Petition of Abraham Van Tassel for remission of fine incurred
by discharging a Musket within the limits prohibited by law, was
read, and referred to the Alderman and Assistant of the Eighth Ward

A Petition was received from the Inhabitants of Grand Street, stat-
ing that the quantity of water in times of heavy rains and thaws dis-
charged through that street is exceedingly inconvenient to them, and
they recommend to remedy the inconvenience the widening of that
part of Grand Street, between the Bowery and Rynder Street, to
the extent of Seventy feet Whereupon the same was referred to
the Street Committee and Street Commissioner

A Proposal was received from David Longworth to furnish a num-
ber of the Maps of the City lately printed by him, for the sum of
One Dollar and twenty five cents a piece, which was referred to the
[363] Finance Committee with authority to make the purchase for
the use of the Members of the Board, if the Street Commissioner ap-
prove of the said Map

An Account of Richard Furman Superintendant of the Alms House
to the 31. July 1817 examined and certified to be correct by the Com-
missioners of the Alms House, by which it appeared a Balance was
due from the Corporation to said Superintendant of Ten hundred and
sixty six Dollars and seventy nine cents, was read, and ordered to be
filed with the Comptroller

A Petition of George Wragg, and a Remonstrance from sundry
Inhabitants remonstrating against the widening of Spring Street
from Thompson Street, were read

The Committee, to whom the Petition from the Inhabitants of
Spring Street, for widening said Street from Thompson Street to
Wooster Street, reported in favour of the Petition, which was ap-
proved, and the Counsel was directed to take the necessary [364]
legal measures for carrying the same into effect

A Petition of Charles Gwyer for Stall N 9, Washington Market,
and from John Fash and Matthew Buchanan for Stalls in the New

314 CITY OF NEW YORK 20 Oct. 1817

Market to be erected near Rynder Street, were read, and referred to
the Market Committee

A Memorial from David Dunham and others, Proprietors of the
Ferry at Delancey Slip, complaining of the extension of the Lease of
the Ferry at Grand Street, and praying an extension of the Lease of
their Ferry, was read, and referred to the Ferry Committee

The Clerk of the Common Council was directed to give notice to
the Applicants for the Ferry at Grand Street, that, unless they took
out their Lease for the same on or before the First of November
next, this Board would not consider themselves under an obligation
to give them the Grant after that day

A Remonstrance was received from a num- [365] ber of Pro-
prietors of Lots in Greenwich Village against the Regulation, which
directs the immediately filling up of Asylum Street, as they consider
that measure would occasion at this time unnecessarily great ex-
pense and inconvenience to many, who hold leased Lots on that Street
which being read, it was Resolved that the subject be referred to
the Street Committee and Street Commissioner, with authority to
suspend the proceedings in that Street

A Remonstrance against opening Anthony Street to Cross and
Orange Streets, was presented and read The Committee, to whom
was referred the Petition for opening said Street, reported,

That they have given the subject due consideration, and are de-
cidedly of opinion that the prayer of the Petitioners ought to be
granted, as the opening and extending of Anthony Street to the inter-
section of Orange and Cross Streets, will be a much more valuable
improvement than the plan contemplated, which was, to extend An-
thony Street to Little Water Street, and to widen Little Water Street
to forty feet

[366] They would therefore recommend, that the Counsel to the
Corporation be instructed to take legal measures for carrying said im-
provement into effect, agreeable to a Map herewith submitted, and
also that he take measures to stop the proceedings relating to widen-
ing Little Water Street

(Signed) Eldad Holmes
John Remmey
Leonard Kip
Jn M c Comb S* Com r
which was approved

A Petition of George Bonner for permission to raise about Six
feet on a One Story Wooden Building in rear of a fire proof house


which he has erected in Duane Street, was read, and leave given to
Petitioner to withdraw his Petition

A Memorial was received from the Executors of Caspar Semlee
deceased, stating that they own considerable ground in that part of
the reservation for public purposes made by the Commissioners for
laying out Streets and Roads, called the Parade : that by the Pro-
visions of the Law, no use [367] can be made by the Proprietors, and
praying the Corporation will either take the said Premises and pay
the Proprietors therefor, or relinquish the same Whereupon the same
was referred to the Committee on Public Lands and Places

A complaint of the Inhabitants of Ferry Street, that the Drain
in said Street was stopped, and the cellars in the vicinity thereby over-
flowed, was read, and referred to the Street Commissioner with au-
thority to cause the same to be remedied

A Petition for a Well in Herring Street was read, and referred to
the Alderman and Assistant of the Ward and Street Commissioner,
to report an Ordinance therefor

The City Inspector presented Ordinances for the correction of
sundry nuisances on the premises of the following Persons, which
were passed

E. Billington Owner) .

T " ~ } 34 Robinson S l Privy

J. Smith Occpt \

E. Benedict Lessee 21 Nassau " "

E. Butman Lessee & Occp 4 Bowery & Broome S* "

[368] John. F. Cox Owner Broadway Lot

Geo. Thompson Jun r " & Occp* Eldridge S l

Ja s T. Leonard Esq " 13 Anthony S l

Stephen Lyon " Mott

Henry Rutgers Esq " Jefferson "

(Signed) Geo. Cuming

City Insp r

The following Persons were appointed Firemen, the chief Engineer
certifying the vacancies

Fire Engine Comp. N 1.

Benjamin Dodge Carpenter 62 Chapel S* 5 th Ward vice Abra-
ham Bogart Resigned

Fire Engine Comp. N 18.

William Willis Tanner 50 Cherry S l 4 th Ward vice John. B.
Kirkpatrick Resigned

316 CITY or NEW YORK 20 Oct. 1817

Fire Engine Comp N 26,

Sackett Brown Shipwright Montgomery S* 7 th Ward vice Ben-
jamin Thomas Resigned

Henry Howard was also appointed Fire Warden of the Eighth
Ward in the place of Tunis Van Pelt Resigned

The Street Commissioner presented the following Assessments,
which were confirmed [369] and the following Collectors appointed,

Assessments for Well and Pump in Laurens Street between Spring
and Broome Streets, For paving Hudson Street from Duane to
Chamber Street ; and for paving State Street, in which, Noah Jarvis
was appointed Collector For flagging the side Walks of Broadway
from Prince to Bleecker Street and for flagging the side walks be-
tween Canal and Prince Streets, in which, Morris De Camp was ap-
pointed Collector

He also presented an Ordinance for a Well and Pump in Division
Street near corner of Arundel Street, which was passed, and Jacob.
C. Mott, John Brower, and Abraham Baudouine were appointed As-

He also presented a Return of Delinquents on Assessment for open-
ing Hudson Street, whereupon a Warrant was ordered to issue to the
Collector for collecting the same

The Counsel presented the following Report on the subject of

Online LibraryNew York (N.Y.). Common CouncilMinutes of the Common Council of the City of New York, 1784-1831 (Volume 9) → online text (page 27 of 66)