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

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widening Harman Street

The Counsel of the Board begs leave respect- [370] fully to
state, that Henry Rutgers, Anna Bancker, John Beekman and Wife,
W m B. Crosby and wife, and William Vail and wife have released to
the Corporation, all the ground belonging to them, and which is re-
quired for the purpose of widening Harman Street, excepting the
reservation made in their proposition, of the ground at and near the
corner of Catharine and Harman Streets, and also about eight inches
in width of a Lot fronting on Catharine Street The Counsel there-
fore herewith respectfully submits for execution, the Draft of a Pe-
tition to the Supreme Court for the appointment of Commissioners
of Estimate and Assessment for the purpose of widening Harman
Street, in pursuance of the order of the Board

(Signed) Ogden Edwards

whereupon the Petition to the Supreme Court presented by him was
directed to be duly authenticated

The Counsel presented a Deed to Will m Pye for Lot in Chamber


Street, which was directed to be executed He also stated that the
Comptroller had informed him [371] that, he intended in his report
on the case of Henry Waring for Lot at Brooklyn, it should be made
to him on the same terms with that to Gideon Kimberley He there-
fore recommended that the former Deed, which he reported for M r
Waring, be cancelled, and that one, which he had prepared agreeably
to the instruction of the Comptroller, should be executed; which was

He also stated that William Cutting objected to taking the Lease
for the Wharf at Brooklyn, as it contained a Covenant for him to
make all extraordinary as well as ordinary repairs Whereupon it was
Resolved that the Counsel be authorized to frame the Lease, so as
that the Lessee shall be only bound to make the ordinary repairs

He also stated that the Persons, who had bid off the Lots leased
at auction by the Comptroller, had neglected to take out their Leases,
and he recommended that the Comptroller should be authorized to
lease them anew, if they do not take them out forthwith ; which was
approved, and the [372] Counsel was directed to compel the said Per-
sons to pay for the use and occupation of said Premises

The Mayor stated that agreeably to the directions of the Board, he
had addressed a letter to the President of the United States, on the
subject of the offices which General Scott was about erecting on the
Battery Whereupon the Clerk was directed to enter said letter at
length upon the Minutes of the Corporation

New York Oct. 9. 1818

In obedience to a Resolution of the Common Council of this City,
it is my duty to address you on a subject which has become extremely
unpleasant, and has excited great interest amongst our Citizens in
general, as well as the Members of the Common Council I am in-
structed to address you on this occasion, because the Common Coun-
cil as well as the Inhabitants of this City feel the highest confidence,
that on a fair representation of the case, you will be disposed not
only to do them ample justice, but to gratify their reasonable wishes,
as far as consistently [373] can be done On the 16 th July last I
received a letter from Maj r General Scott informing me that he pro-
posed to erect certain Public Offices for the United States service on
the ground granted by the Corporation of New York, immediately
adjoining the Guard Houses in front of Castle Clinton, and of a style
and height to correspond with those buildings. The General appre-

318 CITY OF NEW YORK 20 Oct. 1817

hended that no legal objection could be made, but nevertheless stated,
that should other objections exist, they would be entitled to a respect-
ful consideration It may be proper to mention that the ground in
question forms a part of what is called the Battery, which has always
been exclusively appropriated to the use of our Citizens as a place of
public resort and recreation, and is valued by them as one of the great-
est privileges and ornaments of our City

This letter from Gen 1 Scott was submitted to the Common Council
at their first Meeting thereafter on the 28 th July The subject was
immediately felt to be interesting, and was referred to a Special Com-
mittee of the Board, who, after a conference with Co 1 Mullany, in
the absence of General [374] Scott made a report on the day of

last which was adopted by the Board, and communicated to
Gen 1 Scott, copies of which and of the previous letter of Gen 1 Scott
are herewith transmitted

By this Report it will be seen that the Committee, altho' they ex-
pressed a decided opinion against the legal right of the United States
to occupy the ground in question for the purposes intended, relied
principally on the expectation that whatever opinion might be enter-
tained as to the right, the United States would not, after the avowal
that " other objections would be entitled to respectful consideration,"
be disposed to persevere in a project, the execution of which would be
disagreeable and offensive both to the Corporation and the Citizens
of New York, and which they supposed could not be of much import-
ance to the Public Service With this expectation on the part of the
Common Council the matter rested until within a few days past, when
they were informed that Gen 1 Scott was proceeding to cause one of
the buildings to be erected

This proceeding immediate- [375] ly excited a strong sensation
throughout this City, and altho' Gen 1 Scott supposes it to have been
produced by artificial means, I take the liberty to say that I am con-
vinced he is mistaken and misinformed, and that I have never known
an occurrence, on which the Corporation of this City, or its Citizens
in general have evinced a more lively interest, and been more unani-
mous and decided than on the present occasion

At the next Meeting of the Common Council on the 6 th Instant
when this subject was about to be taken up, another letter was re-
ceived from Gen 1 Scott, a copy of which is also herewith given this
letter was not calculated to conciliate or remove the cause of com-
plaint It not only asserted the right of the United States to erect the
Buildings in question, and the determination of the General to pro-


ceed in erecting them, unless prevented by the civil authority, or a
Military Superior, but it contained intimations which rendered it im-
possible for the Common Council to have any further communication
with Gen 1 Scott on the subject It was also stated in this letter, that
in the [376] judgment of Gen 1 Scott and that of the Chief of the
Corps of Engineers " Castle Clinton is only valuable to the United
" States as a place of Quarters, and for the transaction of public
" business "

In farther proceeding on this subject, the Common Council deemed
it necessary to interpose their authority to prevent the Building from
being immediately erected, and the consequences which they appre-
hended might flow from it This was accordingly done, and Gen 1
Scott has acquiesced in the exercise of that authority until the ques-
tion of right be settled or farther instructions be received

The Common Council at the same time appointed another Special
Committee to take into consideration the nature, extent, and legal
effect of the respective grants made by the State to the Corporation of
the Battery, and by the Corporation to the United States of a part
thereof, and that the Committee report particularly the uses and pur-
poses to which the land granted by the Board to the United States
may be appropriated, and also that they report the means, which in
their opinion ought to [377] be adopted to prevent any part of the
Battery from being occupied or used for the erection of any Buildings
except for the sole purpose of defence On this reference, the Com-
mittee on the 7 th Ins 1 made a Report, a copy of which is also herewith
transmitted, in which Report the Common Council unanimously con-
curred A copy of the Grant from the Corporation to the United
States, referred to in this Report, is also herewith sent In this Report,
the question of right is discussed, and represented, as the Corporation
apprehend, in it's true light

But it is not on the question of right merely, which might be con-
sidered as referable to a Judicial Tribunal only, that the present
application is made : when it is acknowledged that Castle Clinton is
only valuable to the United States as a place of Quarters, and for the
transaction of public business, and not for the purpose of defending
this City; when quarters may be had and business transacted in any
other place; when the possession of the whole of the Battery, and
even the extension of it for the benefit of our Citizens is con- [378]
sidered by them to be highly important and interesting: when the oc-
cupation of any part of it for private convenience or the purpose of
business is rigorously denied to our own Citizens, and when a strong,

320 CITY OF NEW YORK 20 Oct. 1817

unanimous, and decided sentiment exists on this subject against the
measure proposed, the Corporation confidently hope and beleive that
without regard to any question of right, the Government of the United
States will not permit any Buildings or obstructions to be erected upon
it, which must necessarily interfere with the interests and enjoyments
of the Inhabitants of this City, wound their feelings, and become ex-
tremely offensive to them

The Buildings proposed to be erected it is said would be ornamental,
but in the view of our Citizens, no Building there can be an Orna-
ment If the Battery were covered with Palaces, they would be deemed
so many Nuisances It is the free and open space of the Battery to
the Harbour and surrounding Shores, that constitutes it's greatest
beauty and ornament, and I may venture to say, that the Inhabitants
of this City, concurring in [379] the opinion expressed by Gen 1 Scott
and the chief Engineer, would rather see this Castle demolished, than
experience any farther encroachment on the grounds of the City

I do not know that I can do justice to the feelings of our Citizens
on this subject It is true they are highly excited, and it is impossible
to restrain them ; but the excitement is spontaneous and universal,
and their opinions, I have no doubt, are fixed and unalterable On
behalf of the Common Council and the Citizens of New York, I there-
fore entreat that your Excellency will be pleased to interpose your au-
thority on this occasion, and prevent the erection of the Buildings in

Should other explanations be desired, the Common Council contem-
plate the measure of sending an Agent to Washington for the pur-
pose of making any further representations that may be necessary
At the same time they feel a confidence that this appeal to your jus-
tice, and regard for the Citizens of New York will be successful, and
that their wishes will be gratified

I have the honor to be &c. &c,

(Signed) Jacob Radcliff
To his Excellency
James Monroe

President of the U. S.

[380] The Committee on the Petition of J. S. Sommers, reported ;
That they have had under their consideration the said Petition, and
certain other Papers and Documents in relation to the conduct and
practices of the said Sommer as a Money or Pawn Broker, and after
the consideration which your Committee have given the same, they


are of opinion, that the said John. S. Sommer is an improper Person
to be licensed as a Money or Pawn Broker And your Committee
recommend that the Clerk of this Board inform the said Sommer,
that he can no longer follow the said occupation of a Money or Pawn

(Signed) Samuel Stevens
John Remmey

which was approved, and the Clerk was directed to give him notice,
that he could no longer continue the business of a Pawn Broker

The Market Committee on the Petition of Richard Smith, re-
ported ;

That in their opinion the Prayer of the Petitioner ought to be
granted, and recommend that the Comptroller report a Warrant for
Ten Dollars and ninety one cents for Costs [381] paid by him for
defending a Suit as Deputy Clerk of Washington Market

(Signed) G. Buckmaster
Stephen Allen
A. L. Underbill
William Stone

which was approved, and the Comptroller was directed to report a
Warrant therefor

The same Committee on the Petition of Nich s Dean and Nicholas
Lawrence, reported: That they are of opinion that the prayer of the
Petitioners be granted, and recommend that Nicholas Lawrence be
permitted to occupy the Stall N 45 Catharine Market, and Nicholas
Dean occupy the Stall N 5 Washington Market

(Signed) G. Buckmaster
Stephen Allen
A. L. Underbill
which was approved

The same Committee on the Petition of Henry Hoffman, reported :
That the prayer of the Petitioner be granted, and he be permitted
to occupy the Stand N 2 in Grand Street Market [382] Market

(Signed) G. Buckmaster
Stephen Allen
A. L. Underhill
William Stone
which was approved

322 CITY OF NEW YORK 20 Oct. 1817

The same Committee on the Petition of Blaze Ten Broeck, reported
That in their opinion the Prayer of the Petitioner to occupy the
Stall N 48 Catharine Market be granted, and that he be licensed for
the same

(Signed) G. Buckmaster
Stephen Allen
A. L. Underbill
William Stone
which was approved

The Committee on Wharves on the Petition of Henry Eckford, re-

That they have enquired into the merits of his application, and do
recommend that the prayer of the Petitioner be granted, agreeable
to the proposals offered by the aforesaid Henry Eckford under the
direction of the Street Commissioner, reserving the right to the Cor-
poration to occupy [383] said Pier at any time when it shall in their
opinion be necessary to apply it to public uses

(Signed) A. L. Underbill
G. Buckmaster
Eldad Holmes
which was approved

The same Committee on the Petition of Garrit Walgrove, re-

That they have taken into consideration his Petition, and recom-
mend that he be permitted to erect his Scales at the Albany Basin on
the Hudson River during the pleasure of the Corporation, and that
the Street Commissioner will assign the most proper place on the afore-
said vacant ground

(Signed) A. L. Underbill
G. Buckmaster
Eldad Holmes
which was approved

The Market Committee on the Petition of Henry Simmons, re-

That after duly examining and considering the matters therein
stated, they recommend that the said Henry Simmons be released from
all further claims or [384] demands by this Board on him as Security
of the late Clerk of the Fly Market, and that the Attorney of the


Board be authorized and directed to discharge the suit commenced upon
his Bond on his paying the costs

(Signed) G. Buckmaster
Stephen Allen
A. L. Underhill
William Stone
which was approved

The Attorney on the Petition of Tunis Duryee, Patrick Frayne,
and William Poyntz reported That the complaint was made by M r
Hall who superintends the Convicts working on the road, who states
that on or about the 23 rd July he discovered four Cartmen with their
horses and carts, in the act of loading He took their numbers from
their Carts, and on examining at the Mayor's Office, it appeared on the
Book of Cartmen, that three of the numbers were licensed by the above
named Individuals, but the fourth number remained unlicensed by
any one He states that they did not [385] dump their loads as the
Petitioners state, but carted them away : that earth has been frequently
taken by Cartmen from said Avenue, but he cannot say that he ever
saw the Petitioners there before On the part of Poyntz, it is stated
not only upon his own assertion, but upon the authority of M r Lester,
that it was the first time that he had ever been in said Avenue for
earth, and was induced to go there by other Cartmen, who informed
him that he could get earth at that place That he had lately come
from Westchester, and received his license but a few days before,
viz, on the 24 th June as appears by the Book of Licenses

(Signed) A. Sherman

Whereupon Resolved that Duryee and Frayne have leave to with-
draw their Petition, and that the fine of Poyntz be remitted on pay-
ment of costs

The Committee of Charity on the Petition of the Widow Lang,

That in their report to the Board on the Petitions of Ammi Chase
and Eliza Coddington, praying for relief on a similar occasion, the
Committee expressed an un- [386] [an]imous opinion, that it would
be improper to remit Assessments in cases, where the Corporation was
only the Agent for collecting and distributing the amount assessed,
between the Parties concerned : and they have no reason to alter their
opinion in the present case The Committee have no doubt however,
that the Petitioner is poor and an object of Charity : it was their in-

324 CITY or NEW YORK 20 Oct. 1817

tention therefore to have recommended that the Commissioner of the
Alms House should be directed to give her a donation sufficient to have
enabled her to discharge the Assessment alluded to, but their intentions
have been anticipated by the benevolence of M r Ezra Weeks, who
having a balance due him on Assessments for opening said Street, gen-
erously relinquished the same in favour of the Petitioner, by which
her necessities have been relieved without the aid of the Committee

(Signed) Stephen Allen
Samuel Stevens
Eldad Holmes
Arthur Burtis
which was approved

[387] The Committee of Applications on the Petition of John
Turk to be appointed a Weighmaster, reported in his favour, and he
was accordingly appointed to that office

The Committee of Charity on the Petition of the Society for the
promotion of Industry, reported That the object of the Memorialists
appear to the Committee to be laudable, and not subject to the objec-
tions that those Institutions are, where relief is granted without any
consideration in return The opinion of your Committee, as expressed
on a former occasion in relation to these Institutions, is, that in con-
sequence of the dependance placed by the Poor on the gratuitous re-
lief afforded by them, they become a great and leading cause of Pau-
perism The Committee are also decidedly of opinion, that there is
nothing which would so effectually tend to the relief of the poor, and
excite a spirit of industry and economy among them, as a thorough
and convicting knowledge that they would have, in all events to depend
entirely on their own exertions for the support of themselves and

[388] An Institution however, such as the one now under consid-
eration, where those who are willing to work can earn sufficient to re-
lieve their immediate wants, it is believed, if prudently managed, may
be productive of considerable good, especially if the price of labour
be so regulated as to prevent the claims on the Society from increas-
ing to such an extent, as totally to exhaust it's funds or multiply the
Articles manufactured, so as to reduce their value below the first cost
of the Material On the whole, the Committee view the Society for
the promotion of Industry to be an experiment likely to produce bene-
ficial effects among the Poor, and a laudable exertion of female be-
nevolence to effect that purpose, and therefore respectfully recom-


mend that a donation be granted the Memorialists of Four hundred


(Signed) Stephen Allen
Samuel Stevens
Eldad Holmes
Arthur Burtis

which was approved, and the Comptroller was directed to report a
Warrant for Four hundred Dollars agreeably to said Report

[389] The Committee on Public Lands on the Petition of D &
G. Bruce, reported,

That they have duly considered the merit due to the Petitioners,
and the benefits the Public have and will receive from so useful an
Establishment, but cannot recommend a different course of disposing
of the Public ground, than has been almost universally pursued As
that part of Chamber Street is now in a state of improvement, and
likely to be a place of considerable business, if the whole could be
occupied, your Committee beg leave to offer the following Reso-

Resolved that the Comptroller be authorized to sell at Public Auc-
tion, the Lot applied for in the Petition, formerly granted to the Pres-
byterian Church for a free School, and the Gore corner of Chamber and
Augustus Streets, under the direction of the Finance Committee

(Signed) Arthur Burtis

Jacob. B. Taylor
Effingham Schieffelin
S. Jones Jun r

which was approved, and the Comptroller was directed to advertise
and sell the same [390] agreeably to said Report

The Street Commissioner and Comptroller on the Petition of West
& Bloome, reported, That they have examined the validity of the
charges as exhibited in an Account presented It does not appear that
authority was given to the Applicants, or to any other person, by a
Member of the Board, or either of their officers, to remove the vessel
The Agent of the Lessee of Docks and Slips at that time, encouraged
them to undertake the business, under an impression that they would
be remunerated by the Corporation The bill amounts to $52, but the
said Agent supposes that $22 would be sufficient to indemnify them
for their trouble There cannot be a legal demand against the Cor-
poration for any expense, and as the precedent might operate un-

326 CITY OF NEW YORK 20 Oct. 1817

favourably to the public interest, should such Accounts be sanctioned,
it is respectfully recommended that the application be not granted

(Signed) Jn M c Comb S* Com r
(Signed) G. N. Bleecker Compt r
which was approved

[391] An invitation from M r John Scudder Proprietor of the
American Museum to the Members of the Board, to attend a course
of Lectures on Natural History to be delivered during this coming
winter at the Museum by D r Samuel Akerley, and enclosing Tickets
of admission to the Course, was received and accepted

Alderman Thorp, agreeably to notice given at the last Meeting,
moved to reconsider the vote then given on the subject of working the
Avenues On the question being taken, it was agreed to reconsider
The Resolutions were then taken up, amended by inserting in the
first Resolution, after the word " opened," the words, " or hereafter to
be opened," and agreed to

The subject of the encroachment and obstruction of J. R. Living-
ston on Water S*, was referred to the Counsel and Attorney to take
legal measures to redress the same

Alderman Brackett presented the following

Resolved that the Superintendant of Repairs be directed to pro-
cure a suitable Chandelier [392] for the Common Council Room at the
expense of the Board, which was approved

Alderman Munson presented the following

Resolved that a Committee be appointed from this Board, to-
gether with the Counsel thereof, to enquire if any, and what applica-
tions are necessary to be made to the next Legislature of this State,
relative to the concerns and public good of this City, and report the
same to this Board with all convenient speed : which was approved,
and the following Committee appointed

Aldermen Munson - Brackett - Mess re Jones Akerley - & the

Alderman Smith presented the following

Resolved that the Street Commissioner be directed to furnish a
Map of the Public Property at the Corporation Dock, property divided
into Lots, in order that the same may be disposed of in such manner as
may be deemed most for the public interest, which was agreed to

Alderman Smith presented the following,

Resolved that the order of the Board passed [393] at it's last
Meeting, granting a Commission of Ten per Cent to the Collector of


Arrears of Taxes, be repealed, and that his compensation be regu-
lated by the Committee of Finance, which Resolution was agreed to
The Comptroller reported

Balance in the Treasury 6 th Ins 4 $268.24

Reed for Rents 2961 . 13

" Taxes 3500.

" Streets 1750.

" Canal Street 3600.

" " Wells & Pumps 380.


whereupon Warrants were ordered to be issued for payment of the
following Accounts

Norris & Anderson Watch lt Dist $1118.25

Walton & Hibberd " 2<i " 682.50

Bleakley & B rower " 3d " 413.

Jacob Radcliff Esq Mayor 1 Qr Salx 18 Ins* 1750.

T. & J. Swords Prints & Binds Laws of Corpn 377.14

T. & J. Swords Laws of N. York & Maps for Members of the Board 350.75

Alex r Anderson Engravings for Bills of Credit 16.

Luke Persiary Work at Mud Machine 14 June to 29. July 341.43

Ja s Meghan Ace* PavK Broadway from Canal to Prince S* 500.

Online LibraryNew York (N.Y.). Common CouncilMinutes of the Common Council of the City of New York, 1784-1831 (Volume 9) → online text (page 28 of 66)