1860. THIS last year of these "Reminiscences"
was the last of a great historical period ending in the Civil
War and changes consequent thereon. Near at hand as that upheaval
was, the people generally, and specially those of Republican politics,
refused to believe that in any case the Southern States would
secede from the Union, and looked upon the many signs of coming
trouble as only the excited accompaniments of an unusually ardent
campaign for the Presidency, destined to disappear in renewed
quiet when the election should be over. Those who held the contrary
view were ridiculed by the majority: I remember that when one
of my acquaintances declared himself unwilling to make some projected
changes in his business because he thought that war between the
States was probable, he was much laughed at, and with many persons
his reputation as a man of sense and judgment suffered seriously.
In short, it was almost universally held in the North
that the South never would secede, just as the South believed
that in case of secession the North would not fight for the Union.
Yet on December 20 South Carolina did secede, and before the year
ended (December 26) Anderson had spiked the guns of Moultrie,
abandoned that fort, and occupied Fort Sumter.
Yet, meanwhile, New York enjoyed a summer of unusual
festivity. June 16, exceeding interest was excited not only in
New York, but throughout the United States by the visit of the
Japanese Embassy, including two princes of the reigning family,
reached the city via Albany, and was landed and received
at the Battery, and escorted by the municipal authorities and
the military to their assigned quarters at the Metropolitan Hotel.
Soon after, a matinee was given by Mr. Bennett of the Herald
at his residence on Washington Heights, which was held to
have been a very sumptuous and successful entertainment, and was
followed by a ball and supper by the Corporation at the Embassy's
quarters in the hotel. Tickets for admission to the entertainment
were held in such estimation that they were purchased at extravagant
The service on this occasion, according to authentic
reports, was so far in excess of that of any previous entertainment
of the kind that I forbear to describe it; one of the items, that
of champagne, was given in thousands of bottles, the cost of the
entertainment approximating a hundred thousand dollars.
Many of my readers will find it difficult to conceive
the novelty to us, in that day, of things Japanese and the first
appearance here of representatives of that ancient empire.
They may remember that this notable visit occurred
but eight years after Commodore Perry's expedition to Japan, which
first opened the way to any intercourse between ourselves and
that nation, but it will be difficult or perhaps even impossible,
for readers of modern times brought up amid surroundings of Japanese
art, accustomed to deal in Japanese shops, familiar with Japanese
gentlemen in our society, and used to the custom of summer tours
in Japan, to picture to themselves the sense of absolute strangeness
which this meeting with Japanese civilization imposed upon our
most accomplished citizens in 1860. Probably it is well for us
not to know what was the effect upon these highbred Japanese,
reared in a system of politeness so delicate as still to seem
almost beyond Western comprehension, of their contact with the
New York aldermen, who on this occasion rioted even unusually
in the unusual opportunity of gratuitous feasting. The Embassy
was received everywhere with what we intended for distinguished
honors, and the result of it was of great consequence in effect
upon the future of Japan. It cannot be said that we grew very
rapidly in knowledge of our new friends and their products, for
it was quite a dozen years after 1860 that a merchant brought
to New York a large invoice of Japanese objects of art, small
and great, which filled a large shop, but which our citizens treated
with almost entire indifference, much to his astonishment and
discomfiture. These objects were many of them ancient, and all
of them in the pure native style, unaffected by Western influence;
such a collection as would excite keen interest in New York today;
but it remained almost wholly unnoticed. The few whose culture
or natural good taste could partly appreciate the new forms of
art, bought such things from the collection as they could afford,
but the bulk of it remained a dead weight on the importer's hands,
and was finally disposed of by auction at absurdly low prices.
The cashier of a bank in this city who had taken
from it in varied amounts, to meet his losses in stock speculation,
a sum in excess of his capacity to repay, upon the approach of
the period when his account was to be examined, made his position
known to a lawyer, who advised him to take an amount equal to
his deficiency, confess to the directors, and settle with them
by restoring one half of his indebtedness, and being permitted
to resign. He followed the advice, with the addition of taking
twice the amount of his deficiency, and then told the directors
that if he was permitted to resign and no report made of the matter,
his relations and friends would make up one third of the amount,
which being consented to, he paid the amount and resigned, with
a sum equal to that of his losses in his possession.
Popular interest was again excited in July by arrival
of the enormous steamer Great Eastern, which lay for a
time on exhibition at the foot of Hammond Street where she was
visited by thousands who wondered at the proportions which justified
her earlier name of Leviathan.
Other visitors of the summer were the Prince de Joinville
and Lady Franklin, who came on an errand of gratitude to those
who had generously aided in the search for her husband, Sir John,
the Arctic explorer, whose fate had been discovered by McClintock
in the year preceding.
October, the year's festivity reached its height
with the visit of the Prince of Wales, who was greeted by immense
throngs on his arrival here from Quebec via Boston. The harbor
was full of steam and sailing craft, all in gay attire.
After the Prince had received the Mayor, etc., on
board of the frigate in which he had arrived, which he did in
dress suited to the occasion, he was taken to Castle Garden, where
he received the military officers, and the time occupied in changing
his dress, according to the etiquette of the ceremony, was so
extended that night was approaching before the line of march entered
Broadway, which was lined by fully one hundred thousand people,
conspicuous among whom were women with infants in their arms,
borne in order that they at some future period might say they
had seen the Prince of Wales; so, as it was near the middle of
October, and as the evening air then, under the most favorable
circumstances of weather, is not salutary to infants or even lightly
clad children and women, the result of over six hours (from two
to eight) in the open air might have been predicted.
The Prince was escorted to the Fifth Avenue Hotel,
where he was subjected to all the forms of attention which are
supposed to be proper for distinguished visitors, which were received
by him with admirable patience. He was accompanied by the Duke
of Newcastle and was heralded simply as the Baron Renfrew.
The delay that attends our public exhibitions and
processions, for a people who are held to be active and enterprising,
is remarkable. One of our late militia generals was notorious
for his procrastination in moving his command beyond the time
he had assigned. On the occasion of a grand "function"
in a city in Europe, I witnessed an exhibition of promptness that
would have put our officers to the blush. The time of march was
fixed at 10 o'clock A. M., and before the city clock had
ceased striking the hour, the word of command was
given, and the head of the line was in advance motion.
On the 12th a ball was given to the Prince at the
Academy of Music. The " Prince's Ball," long famous
in our social history, was the occasion of great display and some
jealousies and heartburnings, and on the 13th an evening
parade of the Fire Department was given in his honor.
The Presidential campaign was now active, popular
excitement running very high, ending in the election
of Abraham Lincoln and some clearer indications of the purpose
of the South. Considerable financial distress manifested itself;
South Carolina seceded in the month of December, and the year
which had been so full of gayety closed in trouble anti fear.
The Metropolitan Police occupied at this time a building
in White Street, near Broadway, afterward removing to the corner
of Elm and Broome streets, and soon after commenced the erection
of the present building in Mott and Mulberry streets. The opportunities
presented to patrolmen for levying blackmail upon those whose
pursuits or practice rendered them amenable to the ordinances,
were availed of even at this early stage of the existence of the
The first tenement house, constructed as such, in
this city (see p. 332) was lately taken down, as it was within
the area of Corlear's Park. In 1860 there were several hundred
of such houses, while now ( 1895) they have increased to many
thousands. A census alone will reveal the number of their dwellers.
Sixtyfive of all ages is an average number for a house,
and in some houses of but 25 feet front, on lots 100 feet in depth,
loo occupants are frequently found.
Mayor Wood suggested that all the Target companies
in the city should meet on a certain day, and march in review
before him at the City Hall. They concurred, and the display took
place; but the aggregation of the companies was not a manifest
success; whether the deficiency in the number of pioneers to adorn
each company, or the absence of the prizes and the negro with
his target was the cause, no one could determine; but on one point
they agreed-that there was a void.
From that time the eclat of "target companies"
waned, and with the exception of some one or two on Thanksgiving
day, Christmas, or New Year's, the custom is becoming somewhat
like to the existence of " Gentlemen of the Old School,"
or " Buffaloes in the West"-it is dying out.
The introduction of steam fireengines was still
opposed in this year, and their advocates were termed enemies
of the Volunteer Department and hirelings of the insurance companies.
The steamengines were declared in formal reports to want
capability and quickness of operation, and therefore to be of
no value, save perhaps as occasionally auxiliary to the hand machines.
Most fires, it was said, were subdued in an early stage, by the
quickness of the hand engines, so the steamers would most often
not be needed. Nevertheless, it was scarce more than a year from
this time that eleven steamers were in service, and, by the year
1865, twentyseven were employed; so rapid was the change
of opinion on this important subject.
The World newspaper was founded in June of
this year; originally designed as a religious daily. The Courier
and Enquirer was merged with it in 1861. Later it passed into
Democratic hands, and for some time occupied a high position under
control of Mr. Manton Marble.
The population of New York in this year slightly
exceeded eight hundred and five thousand. This was the period
when the city's growth began to depart substantially from John
Pintard's famous estimate of New York's future population, which
he made at the beginning of the century and which had been realized
with close accuracy until this date. After 1860, Pintard's ingenious
though simple calculation seems to go wildly wrong, since its
result for the year 1900 is to give New York 5,257,493 inhabitants,
or about two and a half times more than the census of what we
used to call New York will probably count for that year. But of
course Pintard could not allow for the devastation of war, which
reduced the city's decennial rate of increase from 56.27 per cent.
between 1850 and 1860 to 16.96 per cent. for the next ten years-a
loss never to be retrieved. Nor could he have foreseen the rise
of our Western empire, with its multiplied great cities, all of
which drew upon the East for their early capital stock of population;
a cause which must have made at least some temporary diminution
of our natural growth, and to which, together with the war, may
be attributed the decline from our average decennial rate of increase
which amounted to nearly sixty per cent. during the forty years
from 1820 to 1860, to scarce more than twentythree per cent.
average for the thirty years of 1860 to 1890. But Pintard's estimate
is to be further justified by more immediate considerations. We
have to consider what he meant by "New York." He may
not have foreseen consciously the difficulties of intramural
travel which have driven so many New Yorkers into country districts
for places of residence, but it is certain that he could not have
posited his 5,257,493 population of 1900 all upon the island of
Manhattan, and must have meant by New York what we mean by London,
Paris, Philadelphia, (Chicago-that is, the contiguous population
on different sides of the rivers Thames, Seine, Schuylkill, and
Chicago. In fairness to him, therefore, we must compute for an
area such as is contained in the cities just named, that is, for
what we call the Metropolitan District, including besides the
political New York, the nearby region in close view from
eminences on this Island, which contains a greater population
than is at present (1895) under our City Government. This district
will probably contain in 1900 about four and a half millions of
people, which is not so very far away from Pintard's five and
a quarter millions-only about fourteen per cent. less.
We may project a hypothetical computation beyond
Pintard's date, and enquire what will be our population fifty
years later than the last census. If the rate of increase of the
last fifty years (including the depressed war period) shall be
maintained, the year 1940 will witness a population of seven and
a half millions within the present limits of New York. The rate
of increase of the outlying parts is so various as to make computation
of future growth in them a very difficult matter, as all estimates
are subject to the law which reduces the rate of increase when
population has passed beyond a certain stage. Thus London, taken
for precisely the same limits in order to test the working of
this law, increased decennially at the rate of twentyfive
per cent. for the first forty years of thiscentury, but
the rate dropped to twenty per cent. for the next two decennial
periods, and fell further to eleven per cent. for the next ten
years, and to about nine per cent. for the next ten.
Regarding the "Bowery" Theatre-as it was
universally though erroneously termed, as its title was "New
York"-and Mr. Hamblin, who was so long identified with it,
he, by the burning of the Bowery in 1836, lost heavily, and thereupon
leased the ground and went to Europe; but returning in 1837 (see
p. 341), he resumed the management, which he continued, with the
interruption of another fire in 1845 (see p. 321), until his death
in 1853. In 1848 he added the lease of the Park Theatre, an unfortunate
venture, since the building was burned with heavy loss to him
(see p. 444). Hamblin in his late years catered for the million,
with plays of the "blood and thunder" order, so that
in its locality his theatre was known as the Bowery Slaughter
House. A man of irregular private life, he was honorable in all
business relations, and his generosity was proverbial.
In the latter years of its existence the price of
admission to the Bowery pit was but twelve and one halfcents,
and as a result it was the resort of very many boys, and, in many
cases, the low price was such an inducement for them to go that
they did not hesitate at petty thefts to obtain the small sum
As the Volunteer Fire Department has been disbanded
and replaced by a Municipal Department (1865), the members of
which are paid for their services, it is just to the former that
the position it for a long time so deservedly occupied in the
confidence of the community, and the zealous and effective discharge
of the self assumed duties of its members, should be acknowledged
in the present time, and recorded for the future.
Up to within a few years before the first date of
these "Reminiscences," as fireengines were deficient
in capacity to raise water for their supply from a river or cistern,
they were supplied either from a stream of water from a pump or
by buckets. To obtain the necessary number of the latter to enable
water to be borne from a distance, all householders were required
to provide themselves each with two leather buckets, with their
names painted thereon, in order that they might be returned after
being used, and universally they were kept suspended in the main
hall or entry of the dwelling, beside the hall lamp, always in
place and convenient to reach. Although householders of later
years might object to such a display as not in keeping with marble
floors and frescoed ceilings, it was, in the period referred to,
held to be a token of reputable citizenship. Upon the occurrence
of a fire, all citizens within any practicable distance seized
their buckets, and arriving upon the scene of operation, they
ranged in line, passing the filled buckets up, while women and
boys passed the empty ones down.
It was within this century that engines capable of
drawing water and supplying themselves were introduced. In the
absence, however, of a distributed supply under a head, as furnished
by our hydrants in about 1833, it was very rare when less than
three engines, each with two hundred feet of hose, were necessary
to conduct and project a stream of water upon a fire. In one case
I know, when the cisterns in the vicinity of a fire had been exhausted,
a line extending from Greene Street to the North River was resorted
to, involving the operation of sixteen engines to obtain
a single stream of water.
In support of the claims for the efficiency of the
Volunteer Department, it is submitted that the engines were drawn
by hand over cobblestone pavements, and that, with the exception
of a small bell on the City Hall and one on the Jail (now Hall
of Records), and on the two watch houses in Christopher and Eldridge
streets, general alarms of fire were not given, until the bellringers
of some churches were alarmed and then proceeded to their post,
the further to alarm by ringing the bells; and yet, not until
the great fire of 1835 had there occurred one which the Department
did not subdue.
There is much credit given to the present Fire Department,
and justly too, for the unequalled celerity with which its apparatus
is harnessed, manned, outside of its house, and in progress to
a fire. From the time of receiving an alarm it is so rapid, five
seconds in the day and twenty at night, that, but for the repeated
witnessing of it, it would not be credited.
The members of the Volunteer Fire Department were
sensitive on this point of celerity of operation, and although
they did not retire halfdressed, and slide down a pole instead
of running down a stairway. they were expeditious. Thus: the zealous,
when retiring, raised a window in their room in order to enable
them more readily to hear an alarm; retained their stockings,
and withdrew a basket from under the bed in which were their fire
boots and clothes -the operation of dressing was narrowed down
to drawing on their boots, the pantaloons which were gathered
over them were raised, coat and cap secured, and the finishing
touches were effected while going out of the house and in the
In illustration of the zeal displayed by some, and
the celerity with which they could reach the enginehouse,
I know of a case where a person paid a private watchman one dollar
per night for eighteen nights to give him the alarm, if one occurred.
One occurred, and the watchman having also to alarm another party,
he was overtaken in the street by the one he first alarmed.
The point of honor was " to take the engine
out," that is, to be the first at the house, and as a reward
to be entitled to "take the butt" (abut end) or hold
the pipe, according to the engine being in line, or on the fire.
Of all the theatres herein mentioned I believe none
remain (Niblo's having been destroyed) save the old "Bowery,"
which maintained much of its former character until about 1879,
when it was remodelled and renamed the Thalia. Now, under what
name I know not, it has become a Jewish theatre, and to old New
Yorkers seems strange enough, with its front plastered over with
placards in Hebrew.
About this period, or a few years earlier, an Italian,
the Duke of Calibretto, accompanied by a French Count, arrived
here, and they were received in society. It occurred that the
Count was so exceptionally fortunate in card playing that his
company was eschewed by the young men who had associated with
him, and he soon after returned to France. The Duke remained,
and a question arising as to the authenticity of his rank, Mr.
August Belmont, through his foreign correspondence, learned that
not only was he a veritable duke, but that he represented one
of the very oldest of the Italian nobility. Soon after he entered
the employment of a man who kept a publichouse in Hoboken
on the road to Hackensack, and upon the death of the proprietor
of the house, he assumed it, and later he occupied a house fronting
the ferry at Hoboken, designating it " The Duke's House,"
which he maintained for a long time in high reputation for excellence
of cooking and service.
Before closing these "Reminiscences," it
is pertinent to them to put on record a few illustrations of the
passenger street travel of the preceding period. In connection,
then, with the notices of the primitive stage routes given in
the early chapters, the following are added: In 1830 there was
established an irregular line of stages (omnibuses) between Bleecker
Street and the Bowling Green, and occasionally a passenger could
have himself carried some distance above Bleecker Street. In like
manner, so late as 1836, Asa Hall and Kipp & Brown, of the
Greenwich lines, had small stages ("carryalls"
they were termed), in which passengers were transferred from Charles
Street to their destination within the limit of Twentythird
Street and Seventh Avenue. In 1845 this Broadway line was purchased
by John Marshall, who extended the service from Corporal Thompson's
(Twentythird Street and Fifth Avenue) through Fifth Avenue
to Thirteenth Street, thence through University Place to Eleventh
Street, then to Broadway, through Broadway to Fulton Street, and
then to the Brooklyn Ferry. In 1846 Samuel NV. Andrews, in company
with another, bought the line, consisting of less than twenty
stages, increased soon after to thirty.
The character of their service can be judged of by
the following estimate: The distance from Twentythird Street
and Fifth Avenue to Brooklyn Ferry, via the route given, is 23/4
miles, and the time of transit of one of the stages, with a very
liberal deduction for that lost by delays, changing horses, etc.,
would average one hour and ten minutes, involving an interval
of nearly five minutes between the times of service of fifteen
stages each way. In 1850 the route was extended to Forty-third
Street, and soon after to Fortyseventh Street; the service
was increased by a very great addition to the number of stages
and the route through Thirteenth and Eleventh streets, through
There was another effective line from Thirtysecond
Street through Fourth Avenue to Fourteenth Street and thence through
Broadway to the South Ferry, and another through Madison Avenue
from Fortysecond Street to the Wall Street Ferry.
The completion of the Brooklyn Bridge, and the obtaining
of a franchise for a railroad in Broadway by Jacob Sharp, arrested
the stage lines, and for a brief period all of them ceased running.
The Messrs. Andrews, and the proprietors of the Fourth
Avenue line, put what were termed fareboxes in their stages,
furnishing their drivers with varied sums of money in envelopes,
whereby a passenger not being able to put the exact fare in the
box, could receive from the driver an envelope containing the
value of ten, twenty-five, and fifty cents, or a dollar in change.
This was held by the drivers to be too severe a reflection upon
their character for honesty, and they organized and "struck."
Some persons were so illiberal as to charge that their opposition
to the box was because it precluded the opportunity of omitting
to return all the fares they received. For a few days the service
of the line was broken; but in the end capital and enterprise
proved superior to the exigencies of labor. During the brief period
of the strike, the efforts of the proprietors of the line to maintain
the service afforded much amusement to the public on the route.
Mr. Marshall and such persons as he could obtain to aid him undertook
the piloting of the stages, and as usual, under like circumstances,
the laboring public sympathized with the striking drivers, and
the manner in which the drivers of trucks, wagons, and cabs blocked
the way of the stages and in race course parlance "pocketed"
them, was amusing to all but the passengers and the proprietors
of the lines.
The fares of the various lines gradually dropped
from 25, 12-1/2 10, to 61/4 cents. Later the disappearance
of the sixpences (6.25 cents), in consequence of the arrest of
specie payments at the beginning of the war, had rendered the
6cent fare so very inconvenient that it was reduced to 5
cents. About 1830 the service of the Brower line was increased
by the addition of fourhorse vehicles, with a boy collector
of the fares (121/2 cents) seated on the outside.
On Bloomingdale Road, the several hotels, in every
instance but Dodge's at Kingsbridge, were the former country residences
of wellknown families. Such were "Burnham's,"
"Batterson's," the "Abbey," "Woodlawn,"
and " Claremont."
On the East side, in addition to " Cato's,"
there were on the Third Avenue "Nolan's"; the "FiveMile
House"; "Hazard's," at Eightysecond Street;
the "Red House," at One Hundred and Fifth Street, and
"Bradshaw's," at One Hundred and Twentyfifth Street.
Customs, manners, and all the elements that constitute
that which is called Life, have so changed since the early period
of these " Reminiscences," that it is only one who has
witnessed the changes who can give full credit to them. The primitive
customs of the Knickerbocker have measurably departed. Foreign
immigration, commerce, manufactures, and the consequent accumulation
of wealth and the changes attendant thereon, have in a great measure
obliterated not only the distinctive features of our people of
the past century, but even the topography of the city has changed.
The Battery as an elegant resort, the Bloomingdale and Cato's
roads and Third Avenue, for drives; Stuyvesant's, Sunfish, and
Cedar ponds for skating, and the Park Theatre for the drama proper
have passed away.
The first of these roads is a street, erroneously
termed a Boulevard, the second is closed, and the last invaded
by two railroads; the ponds are filled in, and in place of the
drama, we have for the greater part ephemeral absurdities as inconsistent
in design as they are debasing in exhibition.
The "Home" of early days is regrettably
passing; the evening walks in the Battery in the summer, the nutcracking
and candypulling parties in the winter of the young, the
family whist party of the elders, the evening visiting of neighbors
and friends by all, drives on Cato's or Bloomingdale Road, have
given place to drives in Central Park, to dinner at eight o'clock,
operas, theatres, balls, and clubs.
In home life of the early days here noted, the woman
ruled; as wife, mother, or sister; the home was the cradle of
affection, the woman molded the character of the child, and tempered
that of the man, for which
"A domestic woman of her husband seen
To be at once both subject and the Queen,
Whilst he, the ruler of their wide domains,
She sitting at his footstool reigns."
In this year the administration of the Almshouse
by an Act of the Legislature was transferred to a Board of ten
Governors, and the following were appointed:
Isaac Townsend, B. F. Pinckney, C. Godfrey Gunther,
Isaac J. Oliver, Washington Smith, Wm. L. Pinckney, Chas. Brueninghausen,
P. G. Moloney, Anthony Dugro, and James Lynch.
The records of the following incidents, being accidentally
laid aside, were omitted in their proper places.
In 1840 I first saw ailanthus trees; they had been
brought here some few years previous, and were generally termed
the "Pride of China," and were said not only to absorb
or dispel miasmatic influence, but to be noxious to flies and
1841. September 16. By a resolution of the Common
Council a Board of Supervisors was created, consisting of the
Mayor, Recorder, and Aldermen.
1844. The Long Island Railroad, which was commenced
in 1834, was opened to Hicksville in 1837, to Southampton in 1841,
and in this year to Greenport.
1848. The grooved and squareblock pavement,
known as the "Russ," was laid in Broadway, but in a
few years the surface of the blocks, from the hardness of the
material, became so smooth as to impede traffic over them, and
it became necessary to replace them with narrower blocks of a
different grit, and granite was substituted.
The "Hunkers" were a faction of the Democratic
party, opposed to the "Barnburners"; they were supporters
of the National Administration and subsequently they were known
as the "Hard shells."
1849. The line of steamers for service hence to Aspinwall-viz.,
Oregon, Panama, and California, organized and built
by Wm. H. Aspinwall and associates-was completed in this year.
The New York institution for the Instruction of the
Deaf and Dumb, which was chartered in 1817, was opened in 1818
on Fiftieth Street near Fourth Avenue, then removed to Eleventh
Avenue and One Hundred and Sixtythird Street. It is a free
school for all deaf and dumb children over five years of age,
without regard to circumstances of their parents.
In 1850 Henry R. Worthington, representing Worthington
& Baker, submitted their pump to Captain Joseph Comstock,
then in command of a steamboat hence to Providence, which Captain
Comstock, upon the recommendation of his engineer, not only refused,
but also was induced to refuse the request of Worthington to be
allowed to put it on board the vessel and to connect it to hold
and boiler at his own expense, and if, after operation, it did
not prove of value, to remove it. He ultimately consented, and
it was put on board and connected. Some months after a feedpump
of one of the boilers of the boat became inoperative, and as there
were no other known means of supplying it with the necessary water,
the arrest of it and the resulting reduced speed of the boat were
impending, when Captain Comstock said to his engineer, "Where
is that thing that Worthington put on board? Suppose we try it."
Thereupon, though without any faith, the engineer uncovered it
from a mass of material and put it in operation, whereupon the
boiler was supplied with the required water and that which was
in the hold pumped out. On the return of the boat to this city,
Captain Comstock sent for Worthington and gave him a certificate
setting forth the efficiency and great value of his pump. This
pump with its numerous modifications is now in use in every country
in the world, in every steamboat and steamer. A steamboat plying
between this city and Brooklyn or Jersey City, or crossing any
stream anywhere, is not held to be safe without one, and in some
sea steamers there are two and even more.
I have been asked regarding the use of tobacco in
the early period of these recitals, and I avail of the opportunity
to repeat that tobaccochewing, and even snuffing, were much
more general in the upper classes than at the present time, but
cigarsmoking was generally less, and in offices and stores
it was rarely to be seen. Pipesmoking, other than in clay pipes
by laborers, was seldom seen, and as to meerschaums and
smoking tubes, there were none.
This is the Fourth of July, and the deserted streets
and general quiet that pervade, interrupted only at intervals
of time and location by a few boys, with their firecrackers
and pistols, render the contrast between the observance of the
day now and that of the early period of these reminiscences worthy
of a more extended notice than is given at page 62. Thus: As voyages
to Europe, other than by a few men on important business, were
very infrequent, and as there were very few people who possessed
country residences, people remained in the city until the 1st
of August, when the summer vacation (one month) of the schools
began, and consequently the city was not depopulated as now on
the Fourth of July, and in addition thereto all young people,
and many of the elder, residing within a practicable distance
of the city, came to it on that day, and added to the observance
of the occasion, indulging in roast pig, eggnog, spruce
beer and mead in the booths, and peanuts and oranges in the streets.
There was then, and for some years after, an article of fireworks
known as a snake from the tortuous manner of its motion when ignited,
which our city boys persecuted the country girls with, for, when
thrown on the sidewalk near to them, it was sure to give rise
to a scream and much commotion. It eventually became so great
and so objectionable a nuisance that the further sale of it was
forbidden by law.
In conclusion, and in defence of the reference to
this and some other matters that might be held unworthy of mention,
it is again submitted that in a record of the customs and events
of a period, its interest is increased and its integrity only
maintained by a full recital of them.
" Nihil est aliud magnum, quam multa minute."
There is not anything so powerful as the aggregate
of many small things.