1852. THE New York and Harlem Railroad was opened
to Chatham Four Corners. In this year Liberty Street was widened
from Greenwich to Broadway, and Washington Street was extended
from Twelfth to Gansevoort.
The city purchased from A. R. Lawrence sixty acres
more or less on Ward's Island, paying about fifteen hundred dollars
per acre, and sixteen more acres of other parties, at about the
same price. The rest of the Island is owned by the State.
When the grading of Fifth Avenue from Thirty fourth
Street to Fortyfifth was under consideration, and the Committee
on Streets of the Board of Aldermen was In session, two individuals
presented themselves whose interests were directly at variance.
One of them, who during the war of 1813 had supplied the army
with groceries, when an elevation of the proposed change of grade
was shown him, and its advantage vaunted, declared that "he
could not see it"; whereupon the other person replied that
he was not at all surprised, as a man who during the late war
could not tell the difference between cornmeal and ground
ginger could not be expected to see much.
January 5, Mt. Sinai Hospital incorporated, Twenty
eighth Street, between Seventh and Eighth avenues; a general hospital
for the medical and surgical care of all creeds and classes, except
sufferers from infectious diseases. Free to worthy indigent sick.
January 21, the "Tea Room" of the Common
Council was restored.
January 26, the suit of Edwin Forrest for a divorce
from his wife, in which many leading legal practitioners on both
sides were engaged, and which occupied Court and jury for thirtytwo
days, was decided in favor of the wife. A numerous band of partisans
supported Forrest in this controversy, but public sympathy was
generally with the wife, and Forrest's reputation was not heightened
by the proceeding.
At the Broadway Theatre Forrest, at the end of his
divorce case, began an engagement as Damon which really
was remarkable, as he continued it for sixtynine consecutive
February 2, at Brougham's Lyceum, appeared for the
first time on any stage, Mrs. Sinclair, daughter of the vocalist,
and divorced wife of Forrest. She made her debut as Lady Teazle,
which was accounted a triumphant success by her friends, and
ran for eight nights. Later she was not so successful with the
public. The opinion of the more judicious part of society was
that this playing against each other of the two parties to the
recent divorce proceedings, and thus merchandising the sympathies
of their friends, was not a delicate proceeding.
Early in May, Charlotte Cushman was seen here as
Rosalind. She announced for the 14th a farewell benefit
previous to retiring from the stage, on which occasion she produced
"The Banker's Wife." She retired, but to no great distance,
as she appeared the next evening in the character of Meg Merrilies.
In July the public funeral observance in memory of
Henry Clay was the occasion of a great military parade.
July 28. In the afternoon a fire was discovered on
board the steamboat Henry Clay on her passage from Albany
to this city, and after vain attempts to quench it, she
was headed for the shore, injudiciously "head on," and
as a result all passengers abaft of the fire, which was amidships,
were compelled to leap into the water, and such as could not swim,
or were not effectually supported, were drowned. The entire loss
of life was held to range from sixty to one hundred, of which
number the renowned and esteemed Stephen Allen was one. He was
Mayor of the city in 1821 to 1823.
In August of this year three river thieves rowed
alongside of a ship in the East River, two of them boarded her,
and in progress of stealing aroused the night watchman, whom they
killed with a bullet from a pistol. George W. Walling, afterward
Chief of Police, was forthwith detailed to discover the murderer,
and upon the arrest of the three men, the one who was left in
the boat turned State's evidence; the other two, Howlett and Saul,
were tried, condemned, and hanged. For some years after this the
depredations of river thieves were so many and so bold that the
organization of a Harbor Police became a necessity; its custody
of our wharves and of vessels becoming so effective that river
thieving was very effectively diminished on the New York side
of the river.
August 30, the Astor Place Opera House suffered its
change into the New York Theatre, under Charles R. Thorne, who
retained it, however for less than a month. Chanfrau then took
the house, but abandoned it in even less time.
In the strait between this city and Long Island,-erroneously
termed a river (East), as it is wholly deficient in the characteristics
of one,-and at the deflection of the current between Astoria and
Ward's Island, there was, when the tides were running, an eddy
of sufficient depth and area to be termed a whirlpool, and it
was known as Hell Gate. At half tides it was unsafe for small
boats to approach it. The increased number of vessels that passed
through the strait rendered some remedial action necessary, and
in order to ascertain how far the conformation of the bottom was
conducive to the eddy, it was sounded and the presence of a projecting
rock with an overhanging head was discovered; whereupon the city
appropriated a sum of money for its destruction, and under a contract
with a Mr. Maillefert, the operation, commenced late in the preceding
year, and finished in this, proved to be very successful.
There was a scandal, however, connected with this
contract; it being asserted that the depth required was not obtained,
as the instrument or staff by which the depth was to be arrived
at was bored out in the centre for a length of some feet, to admit
of what a sailor would term a sliding gunter construction; that
is, the iron rod at the base, instead of being permanently fixed
to the body of the shaft, would, when meeting resistance, slide
up in the bore; and hence the depth of the water, which was read
off at the waterline on the staff, would be reduced as much
as the rod receded.
September 1, the Metropolitan Hotel, at Broadway
and Prince Street, was opened, having been completed at the cost
of one million of dollars. It was then said to stand at the head
of the hotels of the world in all points of elegance, comfort,
and convenience. Its opening was celebrated by a banquet, attended
by five hundred persons, most of them of position in society,
representing every State in the Union. The house was kept by the
Leland Brothers, famous in their business, who had been proprietors
of the Clinton Hotel at Beckman and Nassau streets. They controlled
it for about twenty years. Its later history is not within the
scope of these "Reminiscences."
September 8 was memorable for the opening of Wallack's
Lyceum; the house, formerly Brougham's, having been acquired by
James W. Wallack, his sons Lester and Charles being stagemanager
The taste and elegance displayed in all its productions
gave it a caste of the highest respectability, such as never had
been enjoyed by any place of entertainment in New York, save only
the old Park Theatre. It was occupied by them until removal in
1861 to corner of Broadway and Thirteenth Street, now the Star
Theatre. The admissions to the theatre at this time were fifty
and twenty-five cents.
It was not until about this year that the cobblestone
pavement in our streets was in progress of removal, substituting
the successful Belgian pavement of 1832 in the Bowery, and repaving
Broadway with the stone blocks designed by a Mr. Russ, and some
of the principal streets of traffic with the Belgian pavement
of the time.
The Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum, which was organized
in 1825, was in this year incorporated; for girls on Madison Avenue,
for boys on Fifth Avenue, both between Fiftyfirst and Fiftysecond
streets. Orphans and half orphans, from three to ten years, are
In this year the Anchor Steamship Line was established,
and commenced service between this city and Glasgow.
September 27, Henrietta Sontag (Countess Rossi) first
appeared in New York, in concert at Metropolitan (Tripler) Hall.
Here she repeated the successes that had attended her in every
capital of the civilized world, being an artist of the very first
rank and a charming woman in person and character.
The total assessed value of real and personal estates
was $351,706,795, and the tax levy was put at $3,378,332.
October I, in consequence of a robbery of two hundred
and fifty thousand dollars from Messrs. Brown Brothers & Co.,
their bookkeeper and a notebroker were subjected to surveillance
by police officers.
In November occurred the public ceremonies of mourning
for the death of Daniel Webster, attended, as those for Clay had
been, by a military procession and every sign of grief. Thus had
the country been called within a few weeks' time to deplore the
loss of Clay and Webster; an almost unparalleled conjuncture and
one not likely soon to be repeated, considering the present supply
of great men. These two were a great conservative force, removed
from the scene of action just when political troubles involving
the Civil War were nearing the height. Both died too soon for
their highest fame, as has recently (1894) been remarked of Webster
by Senator Hoar in a passage of great beauty and truth.
The same month witnessed the arrival of the famous
novelist W. M. Thackeray, under engagement with the Mercantile
Library Association to deliver his lectures on the "English
Humorists of the Eighteenth Century." There was some doubt
touching the nature of his reception, since our public was still
sore over the outcome of the Dickens visit, but eventually Thackeray
enjoyed respectful and attentive hearing, and generous social
welcome. He began his lectures on November 19, in Dr. Chapin's
church, before a crowded audience. The lectures gave rise to a
great revival of eighteenthcentury literature among us,
and the booksellers drove an active trade in it. Thackeray remained
here until the next April, evidently enjoying his visit, and forming
many close and affectionate friendships.
It was in this year that the Rev. Dr. Jonathan M.
Wainwright was chosen Provisional Bishop of New York, after an
interregnum of eight years resulting from Bishop Onderdonk's suspension.
Dr. Wainwright set himself so sharply to clear up the large arrears
of Episcopal duty that his health broke down from overwork and
he died in September, 1854. When made bishop, Dr. Wainwright was
an Assistant Minister of Trinity Parish, in charge of St. John's
Chapel, and it is notable that up to this time every Bishop of
New York had been taken from the Trinity clergy.
Spofford & Tileston now organized a line of packet
ships to Liverpool.
The Sixth Avenue Railroad was opened in this or the
previous year. It was not until this period that the banking up
of the snow, on the sides of the streets through which street
railways were operated, impeded and restricted the running of
trucks and sleds; and as the railways increased in number and
extent, the use of sleds was proportionately decreased, and in
a few years they were wholly laid aside. Previously-that is, before
the banking up of snow on the sides of the principal streets -the
uniform surface of the snow admitted of sledding and sleighing,
as earlier recited. When street stages had been introduced, they
were laid aside when the use of sleighs was practicable, and large
open sleighs drawn by four and sometimes six horses were resorted
to, and many individuals and parties enjoyed these for the ride
alone; and of a pleasant evening Broadway would be enlivened with
hilarious singing, instrumental music, hornblowing, etc.
The removal of snow in Broadway was not resorted to until some
ten years after the date of this chapter, or about 1862.
The completion of the New York and Erie Railroad
in the preceding year and the manipulations of Daniel Drew, who
became one of its directors, were followed by speculations upon
the rise and fall of its stock to so great an extent that many
of the operators suffered, among whom was Wm. M. Tweed, who in
the previous year had retired from his business as a manufacturer
of chairs in Pearl Street, and rented an office in Wall Street.
He was among the sufferers to an extent that involved his capital;
his subsequent association with Gould and Fisk was the result
of an expressed determination of his "to get square with
Drew was decidedly a character, indisputably sui
generis. I first knew him as a keeper of the "Bull's
Head" Tavern in Third Avenue, corner of Twentysixth
Street; from that he migrated to Wall Street, where his speculations,
his devout and earnest homilies at Methodist meetings and conferences,
his donations to meetinghouses and a theological seminary,
his connection with menageries, the Albany line of steamboats,
and his disregard of the rules of Lindley Murray, etc., made his
transactions and sayings prolific with the quid nuncs and
on dits of the time.
He was charged with the unpardonable crime of sacrificing
his friends, if he was to be benefited thereby. An illustrative
case was told me by the party who suffered. A young lawyer in
a case in which Drew was interested succeeded, after a tedious
litigation, in recovering the sum at issue; and upon receiving
the amount of his services and expenses, Drew said to him, "Sonny,
you did it; I like to see young men go ahead; I knew your father.
Now, as you have got some money, you had better go into the market
and buy some stock. It is low now, and if you will be advised
by an old friend of your father's, buy Erie. It is safe, very
safe. Now, sonny, do as I say." The full amount the lawyer
had received was invested in a margin on Erie, which soon fell
so as to absorb the entire amount of it; and he then learned that
the stock he had bought was sold by Drew, and in relating the
transaction his remarks were not only very emphatic, but not such
as are held to be conventionally proper.
1853. In this year Beekman Street was widened from
Nassau to Pearl. The Third Avenue Railroad began operation. The
Astor Library was completed; the cost of the site was twentyfive
thousand dollars. In January of the next year the building was
opened to public inspection, and shortly afterward to students.
Henry Grinnell, who in 1851 had equipped an expedition
to proceed to the Northern Ocean, in search of Sir John Franklin,
was associated this year with George Peabody in the equipment
of a second expedition in the Advance, under the command
of Dr. Elisha Kent Kane of the Navy; but this, like all others,
failed of its assigned purpose.
Two notable philanthropic works are to be noted in
this year. The Children's Aid Society was founded, chiefly through
the efforts of the late Charles I. Brace, its secretary and chief
executive, and thus began its labor of incalculable value. The
Five Points Mission, having bought and demolished the "Old
Brewery," laid the cornerstone of its new building
on the site of the brewery, on January 27.
The New York Society Library in this year sold its
building at Broadway and Leonard Street, removing for a time to
the Bible House, and during its occupancy there purchased ground
on University Place, where it erected its present building, into
which it removed in 1856.
January first appeared Putnam's Monthly, under
the editorship of Charles F. Briggs (" Harry Franco"),
with Mr. Parke Godwin and the late George William Curtis assisting
January 8, Thomas Hamblin, the Bowery Theatre manager,
died, and performances at it were suspended for a week.
May 2, Franconi's Hippodrome was opened where Corporal
Thompson's Cottage had for a long time been sole occupant of the
ground-the site of the Fifth Avenue Hotel of this day. The Hippodrome
was of brick, two stories high, and about 225 feet in diameter.
It inclosed an open arena. The performances were excellent and
the place was in great favor during its existence of two years
or thereabout, after which it gave way to Mr. Amos Eno's new hotel.
At this time, also, in the near neighborhood, the
Madison Square Presbyterian Church from Broome Street, Rev. Wm.
Adams, pastor (now the Rev. Dr. Parkhurst's), was begun; it was
ready for occupancy in December, 1854.
In consequence of the corruption existing in the
Municipal Departments, and especially in the Boards of Aldermen
and Assistants, they from the facility, extent, and conditions
with which they granted leases of city railroads, ferries, etc.,
despite the vetoes of the Mayor, were designated the "Forty
thieves"; the boards consisting each of twenty members. William
M. Tweed was at this time a member of the Board of Aldermen, and
Richard B. Conolly was appearing both upon the political and municipal
stages, under the wellearned and exceptionally appropriate
sobriquet of "Slippery Dick."
The Legislature was called upon to enact a new charter,
which being submitted to the people June 7, was approved by an
exceptional vote, by the operation of which the Board of Assistant
Aldermen was abolished, one of Councilmen of sixty members was
substituted, and Aldermen were excluded from sitting in the Courts
of Oyer and Terminer and the Sessions.
The venality of some members of the Common Council
and some members of the Departments was so extensive and so manifest
that the tenure of the office of member was held to be more of
a reproach than an honor. The fraternity and cohesiveness of common
plunder, the auri sacra fames, was superior to all
consideration of political and party affiliations and discipline.
Republicans and Democrats joined hands; of this I write from observation,
for after two years of service I, in 1858, presided over one of
This was also the year of beginning the work of St.
Luke's Hospital, under the Rev. Dr. W. A. Muhlenberg; in a building
adjacent to the Church of the Holy Communion, at Sixth Avenue
and Twentieth Street.
July 4. The World's Fair, as it was termed, situated
in Reservoir Square, now Bryant Park, was a natural result of
the Crystal Palace that had been constructed at Sydenham near
London, in 1851. It was formally opened by President Pierce and
a distinguished company, but the display of materials, although
very creditable of its kind, was too inconsiderable to engage
the attention of other than our own citizens. It was reopened
May 14, 1854, as a permanent exhibition, but the enterprise proved
to be a signal failure, and soon after its close and while its
affairs were in the hands of a receiver, the building was wholly
burned on October 5, 1858; by which Kiss's statue of the Amazon
was destroyed, of more value than the building and all that then
remained within it.
Though the Crystal Palace of New York proved directly
abortive, yet, strange as it may now seem, it did indirectly prove
of benefit in stimulating the northward growth of New York much
in the same manner as General Grant's funeral and burialplace
aided in these days the development of the "West Side,"
by bringing millions of people to observe its advantages. Just
in this fashion the Crystal Palace served the New York of forty
years ago. Great crowds of visitors were attracted by it to what
then was a remote, outward part of the city, and not only observed
the opportunities for building, etc., there presented, but more
important still, became familiarized with the notion of the mere
possibility and practicability of travelling so far as Fortysecond
Street. In this way the World's Fair accelerated the uptown movement
and added to the value of all land lying upon and about Murray
In July, Maretzek gave a season of Italian opera
at Castle Garden with a company including Mmes. Sontag, Steffanone,
and PattiStrakosch, Salvi, etc. The performances continued
until late in August.
July 18, a day memorable in the history of the National
Theatre, Aiken's version of "Uncle Tom's Cabin"was
brought out-a play which, from little Cordelia Howard's Eva
and Mrs. G. C. Howard's Topsy, achieved a success which
could be called strictly unprecedented, being given for more than
two hundred successive times. All classes of the community thronged
to witness the representations, and afternoon performances were
demanded and maintained for weeks. It is somewhat remarkable that
the cast at the National for this play included Mr. and Mrs. J.
Lingard and G. Lingard; C. K. and G. L. Fox; and Mr. and Mrs.
G. C. Howard and Cordelia Howard; Mrs. Howard, moreover, having
been Caroline Fox.
August 29, Louis Jullien began at Castle Garden his
famous series of concerts, with an orchestra of about a hundred,
some of them being players of unusual merit. A more refined musical
civilization may dismiss Jullien as only a "popular"
conductor, and truly he was so; but it was in a good sense, and
he taught our public many things that it required to learn. He
had extraordinary command of his band, and produced results until
his day unknown in these parts. With a keen eye for theatrical
effects, Jullien was, notwithstanding, of the real artist nature,
and the outcome of his work here was a distinct improvement of
musical taste and knowledge among our people.
September 22, a concert in Tripler Hall, Adelina
Patti again sang in public, being then a child of about ten years;
she displayed powers that confirmed the previous anticipations
of her great future excellence. For a considerable time she continued
to appear as a child performer, mostly in company with Paul Julien,
a clever boy violinist.
It was during this year that E. A. Sothern, the comedian,
made his first appearance in Barnum's "Lecture Room,"
under the name of Stewart.
October 11, the New York Clearing House began business.
John Littlefield, at Merchants' Exchange, who in
1844 was first known as a "corndoctor" at 453
Broadway, was the first who presented himself to the public as
a "chiropodist" (1844); prior to this the occupation
was unknown; in this . year Richard H. Westervelt was associated
with him. Manicures and Masseurs not only were unknown, but did
not appear until some years after this date.
At this period and later a wellknown and notorious
character figured in Wall and Broad streets as a broker; he was
a dark mulatto, almost of the "sambo" shade, who essayed
to pass himself off as a West Indian by shaving his head and wearing
a full wig of jet black hair. He called himself Hamilton, and
was universally known as "Nigger Hamilton." In consequence
of the brazen manner in which he assumed the association of and
the privileges of a white man, aided by the passive submission
of a majority of those he met, he rode in street stages, ostentatiously
exhibited himself at the lunch counter at Delmonico's in Broad
Street, and addressed or referred to some acquaintances in a familiar
manner. It was asserted that, before his appearance here, he had
been engaged in a venture to pass off a large amount of counterfeit
coin in one of the West India islands, and that, upon detection,
he saved his life by escaping in a boat.
On the occasion of his meeting a wellknown
gentleman of this city, who was remarkable for the moderate and
selfpossessed manner in which he spoke, Hamilton, with an
assumed attitude of defiance, stepped in front of the gentleman
and said: "I hear you have said I was a nigger." To
this the gentleman, looking Hamilton squarely in the face, and
with his quiet manner, replied: "Are you not?" This
settled the matter; the manner of reply, added to its truth, was
too much for Hamilton. He stepped aside and proceeded on his way.
I was on the opposite side of the street when this meeting occurred.
In August, 1843, he, with two others, was indicted
for an alleged attempt to defraud the Atlantic Insurance Co.,
by shipping a quantity of type metal in boxes, designated as specie,
with the ultimate purpose of the vessel being scuttled.
December 10, occurred the destruction by fire of
Harper & Brothers' great printing and publishing house in
Franklin Square. An ingenious plumber threw a match into a pan
of camphene, used for cleaning inkrollers. There were six
hundred persons in the building, but no life was lost. The fire
broke out about 1 P.M., and destroyed thirtythree steam
presses and thousands of tons of books, but the firm's valuable
collection of stereotype plates was saved uninjured. On the 26th
of the same month a bakery in Front Street and several adjoining
stores were destroyed by fire, which involved four ships lying
near; among which was the Great Republic an enormous vessel
of much celebrity. One of the ships was loosed from her moorings
in order to save her, but a west wind drove her across to Brooklyn,
where she burned.
1854. In this year Bloomingdale Square was opened;
Canal and Walker streets were extended; Wall from Broadway to
Nassau, and Whitehall from Bowling Green to State Street were
January 8, the Metropolitan (Tripler) Hall and the
adjacent Lafarge House were destroyed by fire.
All through the fall of 1853 "Uncle Tom's Cabin"
was continued at Purdy's National, and on January 9, of this year,
had its one hundred and eightieth representation. Then it began
to decline somewhat in attractive power, and other plays were
occasionally given. In May occurred Cordelia Howard's benefit,
when she played Eva for the two hundred and thirtieth time.
The inmates of the House of Refuge, which in 1839
had been transferred from Madison Square to the foot of Twentythird
Street, were removed from the latter place to Randall's Island,
under the custody of the State.
The Union Club removed from 591 Broadway to its new
home at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Twentyfirst Street.
February 4, Whitehall Street was ordered to be widened.
The Morgan Line of sailing packets, hence to London,
was organized with ships of eighteen hundred tons. This was the
year of the clipper ship Dreadnoughts famous passage under
Captain Samuels, from Liverpool to this port; beating the Cunarder
Canada (to Boston) with a day to spare.
Cyrus W. Field, Peter Cooper, Moses Taylor, Marshall
O. Roberts, and Chandler White associated themselves and organized
the Atlantic Cable Company.
The period was now reached when the manifold public
charities of New York were increasing rapidly. The Five Points
House of Industry, which had been (1850) an association for the
amelioration of the condition of the children of that and the
adjacent neighborhoods, was incorporated in this year by the zealous
services of Archibald Russell. Its purpose is to induct children
to school, to clothe and feed them, to afford outdoor relief
and a hospital.
May 6, St. Luke's Hospital, which was projected in
1846, incorporated in 1850, and had begun work in 1853, as previously
noted herein, laid the cornerstone of the present building
(1894) on Fifth Avenue.
In April, the Mercantile Library removed to the new
Clinton Hall, the transformed Astor Place Opera House.
April 25, in the course of a fire at Jennings &
Co.'s clothing shop at 231 Broadway, the main rear wall fell upon
an extension on which firemen were at work, covering twenty or
more, half of whom were killed.
May 27, Duane Street was ordered to be widened. This
was the year of the founding of the Arion Society by secession
from the Deutsche Liederkranz.
June. It was discovered that a corporation termed
the Parker Vein Coal Co., which had been organized a few years
previous for the purpose of developing the mine, and had constructed
ten propeller steamers for the transportation of its coal, had
flooded the market with an issue of stock much in excess of its
This year was so prolific in the discovery of over
issues of stock that it was an illustration of the familiar adage
that "misfortunes come seldom alone," for soon after
the preceding case, July 1, the city was astounded in learning
that Robert Schuyler, the President of the New York and New Haven
Railroad, had issued a large amount of unauthorized stock, which
he had sold at the par value of the capital stock. Before the
shock of this discovery had quieted, it was discovered that Alexander
Kyle, the secretary of the Harlem Railroad Co., had forged and
sold stock to a large amount.
September 4, Hackett opened Castle Garden for a season
of Italian Opera; having under engagement the famous artists Grisi
and Mario. His original prices of five dollars and three dollars
were soon reduced to three dollars for all parts of the house.
On these terms large audiences attended. The weather becoming
soon too cold for comfort in this place, the opera was moved October
2 to the new Academy of Music, which had been built by a company
of gentlemen as a permanent home for this style of amusement.
This, it will be understood, was the house destroyed by fire in
May, 1866; the present Academy, renewed on the same site, was
opened early in 1868.
In September was opened the theatre best known as
the Winter Garden, but first called by the cumbrous title of the
New York theatre and Metropolitan Opera House, built upon the
ruins of Metropolitan Hall and the La Farge House.
This theatre bore many titles in its day. Toward
the close of 1855, Laura Keene remodelled it and named it Laura
Keene's Varieties. In the autumn of 1856 Burton came into possession
and called it Burton's New Theatre. Three years later it acquired
the style of the Winter Garden or Conservatory of the Arts, under
which title it was the scene of many notable performances. I remember
once seeing General Winfield Scott in a theatre at one of the
performances of "Hamlet" by Edwin Booth; he won almost
more attention than did the play. Owing to his age and infirmity
he chose to wait for easier exit until the audience should have
dispersed, but the people lingered, and when the veteran appeared
at the rear of the spacious lobby he found it closely packed on
both sides in deep ranks, a convenient open space being left for
him in the middle. Down this space he passed slowly, bowing to
right and left, amid silence and the respectful regard of the
company. The general at this time was past eighty, but his noble
proportions were scarce harmed by age, his courtesy was becoming,
and the behavior of the casual company was a notable instance
of public goodbreeding.
September 30, the city was thrown into an exceptional
commotion on learning that the Collins Line steamer Arctic,
Captain James E. Luce, had foundered off George's Bank, in
consequence of a collision in a fog with the French steamer Vesta,
and that out of four hundred and eight passengers and
crew only sixtythree were saved. The wife, daughter, and
a son of Mr. Collins were lost. Captain Luce was saved.
The first officer, Mr. Gourlay, had been sent in
a boat to learn if the Vesta required assistance (Captain
Luce being unaware of the damage to his vessel), and the chief
engineer, with some of his officers and crew, stealthily took
one of the steamer's boats and put off. It occurred, however,
that neither the boat of the officer nor that of the engineer,
or their occupants, were ever seen or heard of.
October 27, Park Place was opened through the grounds
of Columbia College to College Place.
The Rev. Dr. Horatio Potter was consecrated bishop
in November, and began his administration of the diocese of New
All men of my age, and approximating thereto, may
refer to many of the customs, occurrences, and conveniences of
the past years as being more rational, creditable, and comfortable
than many of the present time. Thus: I refer to the Park Theatre
(Old Drury) with pride in the talent and humor there displayed
and the pleasures we have enjoyed-Haec meminisse me juvat-in
the instructive, rational, and proper performances there: notably,
those of the Keans, Cooper, the elder Booth, and Wallack; the
Kembles, Placide; Caldwell, Power, Matthews, Barnes, Ritchings,
Miss Kelly, the Woods, Mrs. Vernon, Charlotte Cushman, Ellen Tree,
Clara Fisher, and where a legitimate drama was held to be superior
to the exhibition of "supplemented" figures and "tights";
justly priding ourselves that the senseless, absurd, inconsistent,
tinselled, vulgar, and immodest spectacles that are now presented
to us, would not then have been tolerated.
In referring to the pleasure I have enjoyed at this
theatre, I am of the opinion that it is easier for one to express
himself fully, if not eloquently, upon his griefs than to do justice
to a recital of his pleasures.