1847-1848.-ANDREW H. MICKLE, 1847; WILLIAM V. BRADY, 1847
1848; AND WILLIAM F. HAVEMEYER, 1848, MAYORS
JANUARY 13, members of the Sketch Club (established
in 1827), with a few of their friends invited to join them for
the purpose, founded the Century, which has ever remained a club
of peculiar distinction. For two years the Century occupied rooms
at 495 Broadway, removing in 1849 to 435 Broome Street, and again
in the next year to 575 Broadway. From May, 1852, it occupied
the house No. 24 Clinton Place, until in the spring of 1857 it
removed to its house No. 109 (old No. 42) East Fifteenth Street,
remaining there till (1892) it took possession of the beautiful
new house now occupied at No. 7 West Fortythird Street.
January 28, a party at Mr. Robert Ray's attracted
all the fashion of the city and was the subject of remark, not
only for the splendor of the entertainment, but because the new
house was so far uptown. It stood at the corner of Twentyeighth
Street and Ninth Avenue, being the house lately removed (1894)
from the place it had dignified with its fine proportions.
The enlargement of the Erie Canal was commenced in
this year and completed in 1862, the cost of which was six times
that of the original, at its opening in 1825; and up to 1856 reached
$7,143,759, or a total, to 1862, of $52,491,915.74.
April. The old Richmond Hill Theatre was rebuilt
and renamed the Greenwich.
In May Julia Dean appeared at the Bowery as Julia
in "The Hunchback." She was a beautiful woman, modest,
intelligent, painstaking, and deservedly popular.
February 7, died James Roosevelt, eightyseven
years of age, much respected; the son of Isaac, who was one of
the original directors and president of the first of our banks.
In this month much activity was shown in the relief
of the Irish sufferers from famine; a great meeting was held on
the 16th at the Broadway Tabernacle, and by March 1 the Relief
Committee had received more than fifty thousand dollars. Alexander
T. Stewart chartered and furnished a ship loaded with provisions
for the relief of the suffering people, and, if I mistake not,
that munificent citizen, the late Eugene Kelly, did a like act.
News of General Taylor's striking victory of Buena
Vista was received on March 31, and May 7 was ordered by the authorities.
as a day of rejoicing for this victory and the later capture of
Vera Cruz by a combined bombardment of the Army and Navy, the
former under General Scott, and the latter under Commodore Perry.
This was a most brilliant fete; the city was thronged with
visitors and seemed covered with flags, under which a great military
procession took its way, greeted by the triumphant voice of cannon.
A general illumination in the evening was witnessed by even greater
crowds than had attended the daylight observances. Scarcely was
this celebration over when news arrived of Scott's victory of
Cerro Gordo, the rout of the Mexican army, and the flight of General
Santa Anna; the capture of the Mexican general's wooden leg adding
to the hilarity of our people over a success so great.
May 22, Stone Street was widened from Whitehall to
June 1, the steamer Washington left for Liverpool;
she was the first American steamship to cross the ocean in the
mail and passenger service.
About the first of June a steamboat race occurred
between the Commodore Vanderbilt, owned by him, and the Oregon,
owned by George Law, from New York up the river to Croton
Point, and return. The Oregon won, covering the distance
of seventyfive miles in three hours and a quarter. The interest
in this race was greater than any ever manifested here; far in
advance of that shown in the races of the Albany Line boats or
the Highlander and Robert L. Stevens; it was equal
to that of the later contests between the R. E. Lee and
Natchez, from New Orleans to St. Louis. In order to reduce
the draught of the vessels they were docked, the bottoms cleaned;
furniture, ornaments, and all unnecessary articles were taken
on shore; and previous to the day of the race the Oregon's
inner bottom (that is, between her frames) was freed of water
by sponges where it could not be reached by dippers. In unison
with this regard of lessening of draught of water, the necessary
supply of coal was carefully estimated; but in the case of the
Oregon it fell short when near the end of the course, and
every loose article that could be spared, together with some joinery,
was sacrificed to feed the fires.
Commodore Vanderbilt was much disappointed; the loss
of the money was not considered: it was the one who had defeated
him. He bore his defeat manfully, however, but in relating to
me how he was defeated he evinced his feeling. It was to him what
Moscow in the Russian campaign was to Napoleon-his first defeat.
July 27, George Kirk, a slave who had absconded from
his master in Georgia, upon being claimed as a fugitive, was taken
before Judge Edmonds, who ordered his release. The assemblage
of negroes on this occasion was without precedent; the streets
leading to the Courthouse were blocked by vociferous and excited
July 30, Christ Church in Ann Street burned and destroyed.
August 6. Peter G. Stuyvesant died, a man closely
concerned with the best social life of New York, the representative
of an enduring "Knickerbocker" family, and possessor
of a great colonial estate. This reminds me that the Stuyvesant
peartree, then and for years afterward standing at the northeast
corner of Third Avenue and Thirteenth Street, had reached the
age of two hundred years in May, and therefore became an object
of perhaps peculiar regard, though it had long been viewed as
an interesting relic. This tree was brought from Holland by Governor
Stuyvesant and planted with his own hands on his farm, in the
place where it stood until its lamented fall. About 1835 it was
protected by a stout wooden railing, which afterward gave place
to one of iron, in which condition the venerable tree will be
well remembered by many of my readers, for it flourished at least
so lately as the year 1867.
In midSeptember arrived news of General Scott's
victory of Cherubusco, the first in the series of his successes
under the walls of the City of Mexico, gained against enormous
odds of numbers. The public excitement over the bulletins was
very great and perhaps specially in New York, many of whose sons
were with Scott's army.
September 18, in the morning the Bowery Theatre was
wholly consumed by fire. Gabriel Ravel's benefit was announced
for the evening-another instance of the apparent connection between
benefits and fires.
September 25, died Major William Popham, aged ninetyfive,
last surviving original member of the Society of the Cincinnati,
a man who had served his country well, and whose person and gentle,
amiable character were long regarded with affectionate veneration
by his fellow citizens of the town which he had seen to increase
from a village of perhaps twelve thousand inhabitants to a city
of near halfamillion.
October 19, the cornerstone of a monument of
Washington was laid in Hamilton Square on Lenox Hill; but the
monument never was raised.
The HamburgAmerican Packet Co., hence to Hamburg,
The Twentyseventh Regiment of State militia
was reorganized as the Seventh.
At the end of October came intelligence of the victories
of Molino del Rey and Chapultepec, and General Scott's triumphant
entry into the City of Mexico. Besides the personal interest in
the fortunes of individuals in our army this news was most important
in the general or political sense, bringing in near view the close
of the war, which in fact was speedily ended thereafter; the treaty
of Guadalupe Hidalgo being signed on February 2, next ensuing.
New York was very deeply concerned in the conduct
of this war. It was a New Yorker, Commodore John Drake Sloat,
who with his ship outraced the British and insured our occupation
of California by raising the American flag at Monterey. General
William J. Worth was a mainstay of General Scott through all of
his brilliant campaign. The monument now standing opposite the
west side of Madison Square records his deeds. General John E.
Wool, after serving in the field during the earlier part of the
war, was afterward most efficient in forwarding troops. He sent
twelve thousand men, fully equipped, within six weeks. Philip
Kearny, a native of this city, was the first man to enter the
gates of the City of Mexico, and in the list of those most famed
for gallant conduct in action were the names of Hamilton, Schuyler,
Morris, Thorn, Graham, and others of New York's leading families.
At the end of this year the managers of the Cunard
Line found it necessary to abandon their purpose of making Boston
their sole American port, and began to send half of their ships
to New York. A meeting of merchants was convened for the purpose
of giving a welcome to the commander of the Hibernia, the
first Cunarder in the New York service.
In 1843 the Hibernia had been added to the
line, and in 1845 the Cambria. In 1847 the British Government
required a double service and increased the compensation to £173,340
sterling per annum. To comply with this requirement four new steamers
were built, viz.: America, Niagara, Canada, and Europa,
in 1850 they were followed by the Asia and in 1852
by the Arabia, all of which from the first to the last,
had been and were sidewheelers. In the latter part of the
year four iron screwpropeller vessels were added, viz.:
Anstralain, Sydney, Andes, and Alps, they being
the first fitted with accommodations for emigrants. In 1856 the
company responded to the prejudice of its patrons and constructed
the sidewheeler Persia; subsequently to this the
Scotia was built, which vessel reduced the passage between
Liverpool and this port to eight days and twentytwo hours.
As many saloon passengers now leave Liverpool in one week of an
autumn month as were carried in the whole of the first year of
the operation of the line.
An event then of concern to many New Yorkers was
the reduction at this time of the fixed term of service for (volunteer)
firemen from seven to five years. In 1816 a period of service
had been first established, to allow to the firemen exemption
from jury and military duty. The required term at first was ten
years. In 1829 it was reduced to seven years, and now the further
reduction to five years met with general approval, for this exemption
was the only substantial reward received for their difficult and
valuable service by the rank and file, though the chief engineer
of the department received a salary, and for a few years his assistants
also were paid.
The German Liederkranz was founded in this year and
still flourishes in great strength, though having thrown off,
by a process of fision, the equally important Arion Society. It
maintains upon its roll the names of many of our native citizens.
Plans for widening Broadway from Fortyfifth
to Seventyfirst streets were submitted on May 5 of this
year, and on December 11 the scheme for widening the same street
just above its junction with Fifth Avenue (where the Worth monument
The New York Hotel at 721 Broadway, between Washington
and Waverly places, was opened by S. B. Monnot. The building of
this hotel, at the time so far uptown, was held by the pessimists
to be a very wild and perilous undertaking. Monnot came to the
country as a cook, and having realized a small capital, he embarked
in this enterprise, which proved to be very successful. Upon his
retirement the house was leased and operated by Hiram (Cranston.
This year was a time of considerable and varied interest
in stage affairs. Palmo's Opera House presented the ingenious
Samuel Lover (author of "Handy Andy"), in entertainments
of songs, anecdotes, and recitations, and followed with a new
opera company, which included Signorina Clotilda Barili, halfsister
to Adelina Patti, a charming young woman, who was esteemed a "divinity"
by the young men of our society, and who married in the next year
a son of Colonel Thorne. It was nearing its end as a home of opera,
and in the next year gave way to the new Astor Place enterprise
and became Burton's Theatre.
At the Bowery Mary Taylor, from the Olympic, began
her first engagement as a star in New York, in January, becoming
a very general favorite.
August. The old manager Simpson opened the Park for
what proved to be his last season, with an English version of
"Linda," in which appeared Mme. Anna Bishop, then alike
beautiful and fascinating. She was the wife of Sir Henry Bishop,
Castle Garden was opened at the end of June with
a good dramatic company. The Havana Opera Company appeared here
in the middle of August, playing on alternate nights, and thus
continued for a month.
September 27. The Broadway Theatre, between Pearl
and Anthony (Worth) streets, opened with the "School for
Scandal" and "Used Up"; Henry Wallack in the part
of Sir Peter Teazle, his first appearance in New York for
seven years. Very notable is the Sir Charles Coldstream of
this evening, for it was the debut in this country of "Mr.
Lester," as the housebills announced, in other words John
Lester Wallack, who thus began his long career in New York.
November. In this year was built the Astor Place
Opera House, mournfully famous for events happening there not
long after. This was a delightful theatre, containing about 1800
seats (700 of them in the gallery). Max Maretzek said of it that
"everybody could see, and what is of greater consequence,
could be seen. Never, perhaps, was any theatre built that afforded
a better opportunity for the display of dress." The house
was opened on the 22d, with " Ernani."
December 12 died Chancellor James Kent, at the age
of eightyfour, a man most eminent for the just respect and
affection of his fellows. His funeral, from Calvary Church on
December 15, became a great public function, being attended by
the Common Council, the members of the bar in a body, and a multitudinous
company of citizens. Flags were at halfmast on the public
buildings and the shipping in the harbor.
A day or two after another old and respected citizen,
Peter A. Mesier, died suddenly at seventyfour.
December 16 There was introduced here a corps of
danseuses, known as the Viennoise, some eighty or
more in number; they made their debut at the Park Theatre.
Their performances were of a character and style wholly different
from any thing of the kind we had ever seen, and they were well
patronized; but for a short period only, as their exhibitions
were too uniform in their character.
The volume of shipbuilding in this city for
the year was 39,918 tons launched and 29,870 in process of construction
on the stocks, employing 2300 workmen.
1848. The inmates of the Almshouse at Bellevue were
transferred to the new buildings on Blackwell's Island.
The New York and Erie Railroad was completed to Port
Jervis, N. Y., on January 6.
January 20, the body of a female, upon being disinterred
from a grave in the German Cemetery seventeen years after interment,
was found to be perfect in form and in appearance.
March 7, Henry Clay visited New York as the guest
of the Mayor and Corporation. He was received at Castle Garden
by his entertainers and a great concourse of citizens. The next
day he attended the impressive ceremonies with which New York
received the body of John Quincy Adams, who had died on February
23, after a paralytic seizure on February 21, while in his seat
at the Capitol, engaged in the discharge of duty. It was said
that this funeral observance was shared by the largest assemblage
of people which ever had gathered in New York. Mr. Clay remained
in town for several days, being the centre of many gatherings,
and the recipient of honors unwonted and sometimes inconvenient,
since crowds attended wherever he was expected to be found.
March 29, John Jacob Astor died, aged eightyfour,
leaving, perhaps, the greatest fortune then existing in the country,
and certainly the greatest in "quick assets"; the whole
of it acquired by his own diligence and sagacity. His funeral
was on April 1, from the house of his son William B., in Lafayette
Place. By bequest of four hundred thousand dollars in Mr. Astor's
will, the Astor Library was founded. This idea he had adopted
in 1838, and in March, 1842, had appointed Dr. Cogswell to be
Librarian. The Library was incorporated January 13, 1849
February 10, at the Olympic Theatre, Chanfrau first
appeared as Mose, the Bowery b'hoy, in a play written by
Baker, the prompter, named "New York in 1848." Rewritten
and enlarged, and renamed "A Glance at New York," it
ran for seventy nights. Mary Taylor as Lize became very
April 2, occurred one of the many tragical incidents
in the adventurous experience of the New York Fire Department.
Fire broke out in a sugarhouse in Duane Street, and George
Kerr, an assistant engineer, and Henry Fargis, assistant foreman
of Engine 38, while in the discharge of duty were killed under
a falling wall, which severely injured several others of the force.
Kerr and Fargis were buried in Greenwood by the Firemen's Monument
Association, which had been erected after a design by Mr. Robert
May 12, Harlem Railroad opened to Croton Falls.
May 26. Fire destroyed the stables of Kipp &
Brown, stage proprietors, at Ninth Avenue and Twentysixth
Street, consuming 27 stages and 130 horses.
April 11, Schumann's "Paradise and the Peri"
was first given in this country, with a chorus of 120 and orchestra
of 60, I think under Mr. Henry C. Timm. Mr. Timm produced Rossini's
"Stabat Mater," also for the first time in America,
at about this date.
April 12, the Pacific Mail Steamship Co. was incorporated,
but its steamers were not operated from this city until the departure
of the Henry Chauncey to Colon on November 1, 1865.
In May Majorgeneral Winfield Scott was received
by the city authorities and an eager crowd enthusiastic over the
hero of the march to Mexico. There had been talk of his nomination
by the Whigs for the Presidency (as indeed happened in 1852).
The convention on June 9 at Philadelphia preferred General Taylor,
as a more "available" candidate than either Scott or
Henry Clay, whose nomination was warmly urged, but who met on
this occasion his final disappointment.
June 5, Simpson was obliged to give up, and abandoned
the Park Theatre, where for thirtyeight years he had been
stagemanager or manager. He had made great sums, but had
lost them, and sold out for an annuity of fifteen hundred dollars,
but was so affected by his misfortunes that he died almost immediately.
He was a man of so much importance in his vocation that after
his death a public meeting was called by the Mayor at the Astor
House, at which suitable resolutions were adopted, characterizing
the departed manager as an "exemplary instance of probity,
usefulness, and virtue," and suggesting benefits for his
family a suggestion that resulted in a very liberal series. The
"School for Scandal" was given with a cast including
Placide, Blake, Burton, Barrett, Richings, Walcot, Henry Hunt,
etc.-a most remarkable conjunction. The series of the Simpson
benefits about this date included a reading of "Hamlet"
by Macready, a concert at the Astor Place Opera House, and performances
at Burton's, the National, and the Olympic.
Hamblin, the Bowery manager, undertook to revive
the glories of the old Park, and this fall reopened that theatre,
very extensively remodelled, improved, and beautified. Even in
the pit there were cushioned seats, in place of the ancient boards
covered with canvas.
In June a benefit was Given at the Broadway Theatre
for Kipp & Brown, sufferers from the fire hereinbefore noted,
and one for the widow and children of Samuel Pray, an attache
of the house who had been strangely killed through the falling
upon him of the heavy curtainroller. Two of Pray's three daughters
became Mrs. Barney Williams and Mrs. W. J. Florence.
July 10, the Keying, a Chinese junk, arrived here,
being the first and only one up to this time (1895) that ever
The New York daily Tribune (Horace Greeley)
joined in the popular cry regarding the constructive mileage of
members of Congress. In illustration, when a Congress ceased to
exist, as at 12 M. on the alternate 4th of March, and the President
had convened a session of the Senate for Executive action upon
his nominations for office, some Senators would claim mileage
for their constructive journey home, and their return again in
one day, added to which, it was also charged that members did
not take the shortest routes to and from Washington, and this
expose evolved some epithets regarding Greeley's action
which were not in any wise laudatory or complimentary to him,
but they should have been.
In September news reached New York of the discovery
of gold in California, and thus began one of the most fascinating
chapters of our history. In three years California was transformed
from a wild region, containing about fifteen thousand white population,
into a State with more than a quarter of a million people. So
sudden were the discovery of gold and its effects that in a Gazetteer,
or Geographical Dictionary, bearing a publisher's date of 1852,
may be found, in the article "California," the amusing
line: "So far as known, minerals are of very little importance."
In this month an event happened of great consequence
in the musical history of New York and the entire country. The
Germania Orchestra arrived here on September 25, and gave its
first concert at the Astor Place Opera House on October 5. Our
public was little schooled in orchestra music, and with small
knowledge felt little interest; the concerts therefore showed
bad pecuniary results. The orchestra next tried Philadelphia,
but there utterly failed, and disbanded. Happening, however, to
be called to Washington for a performance, they rallied for that
purpose and met with a reception so different that they ventured
to test Baltimore. Being very successful there, they attempted
Boston, where they excited much enthusiasm. In consequence of
such encouragement, the orchestra resumed its original purpose,
and went concertizing through the States for some years; becoming
famous. The company disbanded in September, 1854, its members
applying themselves to the private exercise of their profession.
By those subsequent labors, as well as by their concerts, the
members of the Germania greatly accelerated the progress of musical
culture in America, and deserve a grateful remembrance.
October 3, Broadway was ordered to be widened from
Twentyfirst to Twentyfifth Street.
July 10, Palmo's Opera House, from which the lyric
drama had retreated uptown, was opened as Burton's Theatre, with
John Brougham as stagemanager. The venture was not instantly
successful, but on the 24th some public attention was secured
by the production of "Dombey and Son" for the first
time on any stage, in John Brougham's version; Brougham doubling
Bunsby and Bagstock, Mrs. Brougham playing Susan Nipper,
and Burton Cap'n Cuttle
In October Maurice Power, son of the great Tyrone,
appeared and disappointed expectation.
November 18, another fire in omnibus stables destroyed
the property of the Murphys at Third Avenue and Twentyseventh
Street; consuming 150 horses, 25 stages, and 25 sleighs, and involving
two churches, a parsonage, and a public school. While this was
in progress a new alarm was caused by fire at the Bowery and Broome
Street; a fresh conflagration then broke out at Thirtyfifth
Street and Eighth Avenue. These were all burning when the distracted
firemen were further called to burning stables in West Seventeenth
Street. The town seemed to be full of threatening flame and light.
December 11, Hamblin appeared as Richard, the
play being given with the rich Kean appointments. It was the last
tragedy ever seen at the Park. December 16, just before opening
the doors for Mme. Monplaisir's benefit (again the ill omen),
a hanging file of playbills blown against a lighted gasjet
communicated fire to the scenery, and within an hour the house
was entirely burned out. It never was rebuilt. The first performance
at the Park was on January 29, 1798.
This year witnessed the rise of modern "spiritualism,"
through the delusion or deception then known as "the Rochester
Knockings." These arose in a family named Fox, then living
in Wayne County, but afterward removing to Rochester, N. Y., as
their fame extended, in order to seek a wider field for their
mysterious knocks on walls or floors, tabletipping, etc.
In Rochester the Fox girls gave public exhibitions, and in 1856
appeared before audiences in this city. In the same year the late
D. D. Home (Hume) first appeared as a "medium," being
then seventeen years old. Afterward he visited Europe and produced
"manifestations" before several crowned heads. Mediums
then and afterward multiplied, and a new sect of Spiritualist
believers sprang up. Many strange things were performed by the
mediums, some of which were proved indubitably to be fraudulent
impositions. Men of science have investigated the mediumistic
manifestations with the conclusion that, after all abatement,
a residuum might remain, which must be attributed to some force
not yet understood. The mediums never have discovered or declared
any new truth of science to the world, and if they are prompted
by spirits, then it is certain that the spirits have made very
little advance on their earthly conditions.
The election of November, resulting in the choice
of General Taylor for President, was a sweeping victory for the
Whigs-and their last.
December 28, the New York and Erie Railroad was opened
to Binghamton, N. Y. In this year, Woodhull & Minturn retiring
from business, their ships were purchased by Grinnell, Minturn
About this period flourished Henry C. Marx; more
generally known as "Dandy Marx," and so designated from
his style of dress and manner of wearing it-added to a waxed
moustache, the first essay of the kind that ever was seen
on Broadway or elsewhere in this city. He originated and commanded
a company of Hussars; and despite his apparent effeminacy, he
was manly, bold, and generous. He left three sisters, who resided
at 673 Broadway.
In a file of an old newspaper, I noticed the case
of one having been duped by a swindle at that time and for some
years after known as the "pocketbook drop," then
a favorite trick; but of late years fallen into disuse, probably
because the "sawdust game" presents a more extensive
field of operation and more profitable, with less risk; inasmuch
as the victim, being just as much a culprit as the operator, unless
of so low a grade that he prefers his money to his character,
naturally forbears presenting a complaint that manifests his own
At this period the fashion of negro minstrelsy must
have been about at its height as a popular influence. This form
of amusement originated with "Dan" Emmett and some of
his friends as early as 1842; the first public performances being
those of the "Virginia Minstrels" in 1843; hereinbefore
mentioned. They were an utter novelty, and caught the popular
fancy. Buckley's "New Orleans Serenaders" were organized
in the same year (1843), and by 1845 or 1846 many travelling troupes
were on the road, carrying the new diversion even to the smaller
towns. One of these that I remember included in its number an
actual negro, who played the bones with great skill; and indeed
the rage for negro delineation very largely infected the blacks,
so that eventually several companies of them were formed, which
went about the country engaged in somewhat extravagant imitation
E. P. Christy did more than any other man to regularize
this entertainment and give it the form which became characteristic,
and his company was easily at the head of all those extant at
that day. "Christy's Minstrels" appeared early in 1846,
at Mechanics' Hall, No. 472 Broadway, and remained there for nine
years, becoming famous throughout the country. His "star"
was George Christy (Harrington), who, I believe, had for a time
a company of his own at 444 Broadway, which became another noted
seat of minstrelsy. After E. P. Christy's retirement, George Christy
managed both companies; George and "Billy" Birch were
the "bones" of the two troupes. I knew Birch's father,
who spelled the name Burch-a queer old man, of much dry wit; he
thought that his son was the greatest living American. "Billy"
afterward suffered shipwreck, I think, in the loss of the Central
America, and it was related that while he was floating on
a hencoop or some such convenient and useful object, tenderly
bearing his canarybird, he came upon one of his friends
tossing in the sea, to whom he called to "come in out of
the wet," thereupon helping him to a place on the hencoop.
Birch's after career with his San Francisco Minstrels is known
to very modern readers.
Such readers, however, will fail to understand the
extent and power of the minstrel "craze" when it was
at its height. The reach of its influence was very wide. New "negro
songs" were sent out almost daily from the publishers' presses
and were sung all over the land. I do not know whether Stephen
C. Foster had yet begun to write his songs, but many of those
then issued were of singular sweetness, and the use of them was
almost universal. Households that had amused themselves with singing
English opera (which had been greatly in fashion) and English
glees and partsongs, turned to the new melodies. Besides
the original compositions, a crowd of parodies appeared: "The
Mellow Horn" became "The Yellow Corn"; Balfe's
air, "I Dreamt that I Dwelt in Marble Halls," was Africanized
into "I Dreamt that I Dwelt in Hotel Walls," etc., etc.
Many of the earliest minstrel melodies are still in use; it is
but this winter (1895) that I heard a great company of gentlemen
singing "Dearest Mae." Indeed the whole "movement"
lasted long; "Bryant's Minstrels" were organized so
lately as 1857, and remained before the public till the death
of "Dan" Bryant, about twenty years ago. Other troupes,
besides those here mentioned,-Campbell's, Wood's, Kelly &
Leon's, Morris Bros.', Pell & Trowbridge's, and many more,-flourished
greatly during the reign of negro minstrelsy.
The New York and Harlem Railroad was opened to Dover
in this year.
Comparatively, it is but a few years since the Venetian
style of awnings and shades has been introduced. Until an ordinance
was passed regulating the height of awningposts, and later
one requiring their removal, awnings extended from buildings and
were attached to the posts which were set inside the curb.
It was in this year that a local company was organized
and the steamers Washington and Hermann were constructed
for service between this city and Southampton, England, and bearing
the United States Mail. Their design in both model, power, and
rig was not conducive to high speed, nor. was the construction
of their engines such as to maintain the success that was presaged
for them, either at home or abroad, and the service was continued
but for a very few years.
Mr. E. K. Collins had essayed from as early as 1840
to induce the Government to give a line of vessels a sufficient
subsidy for the biweekly transportation of the mails between
this port and Liverpool, but it was not until this year that by
the joint aid of Albert G. Sloo, who was seeking to obtain a subsidy
for a line of steamers hence to California via the Isthmus
route, and Arnold Harris, who was seeking for one to Astoria and
to Chagres via Havana, that success was obtained; the Government
granting to Collins and his associates, for a term of ten years,
the compensation of three hundred and eightyfive thousand
dollars per annum; the service to consist of two round trips a
month between New York and Liverpool during eight months of the
year, and one round trip a month during the remaining four months
of the year. The first sailing under the contract occurred on
the 27th of April.
The "Sloo contract" was also for a term
of ten years, at the compensation of two hundred and ninety thousand
dollars per annum; the service to consist of two round trips a
month between New York and New Orleans, touching at Charleston,
Savannah, and Havana; and in connection therewith, two round trips
per month between Havana and Chagres. The first sailing under
the contract occurred in December.
A contract was also entered into with Mr. Arnold
Harris for the conveyance of mails from Panama to Astoria, Ore.,
to connect with the service from Havana to Chagres. This contract
required a round trip once a month for a term of ten years from
the 1st of October, 1848, for a compensation of one hundred and
ninetynine thousand dollars per annum.
The contracts in question were modified in various
ways during the term of ten years; but the original terms were
as given above.
The Collins Line (the New York and Liverpool line
of steamers) was established in this year by the construction
of the steamers Atlantic and Pacific.