The author aptly characterizes this work as a "series of itineraries" by which the reader is made familiar with much of the history of Manhattan Island by being led to the very spots associated with important historical events. But this book is much more. It is surprising and refreshing to read a defense of the Five Points from the pen of so intelligent a witness. We who are deeply interested in New York history thank the author for the facts which he has collected. There is a unique arrangement of the interesting, instructive, and inspiring matter which makes it a literary work of a high order. And: the book has a distinct purpose - the interesting of the people in the history and historic localities of the city and the awakening in them of civic pride and affection.
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The American Metropolis
From Knickerbocker Times to the year 1900
New York City Life in all its various Phases
The American Metropolis, F. Moss
Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck
86450 Altenmünster, Loschberg 9
Introduction By Charles H. Parkhurst, D.D., Ll.D.1
Author's Preface. 3
Chapter One - A Small Beginning-The Old Fort6
Chapter Two - Contrasts— Through Pearl Street To The Swamp— Printing House Square And Park Row.. 68
Chapter Three - Development: From The Post-Office To The Old City Hall Via Ann Street, Horse And Cart Street, And The Pye Womans Street155
Chapter Four - Heroic History: The Old City Hall — Wall Street And Broad Street220
Chapter Five - Marvels: Broadway From The Fort To The Common. 280
Chapter Six - The Rise Of The People: New York Common, Their Forum.. 331
Chapter Seven - The Five Points: A Waning Criminal Center386
Chapter Seven (Continued) - The Five Points: A Waning Criminal Center418
Chapter Eight - The Bloody Fourth: Relics Of Piracy. 450
Chapter Nine - New Israel: A Modern School Of Crime. 477
Chapter Ten - The Ninth Ward: Greenwich Village. 528
WE live for the future, but our roots are hidden in the past, and anyone who has the genius to make the past more truly real and alive nourishes those roots and makes that future more bright and prolific. The volume herewith presented is the outcome of a revival of the civic spirit as that revival has come to its experience and expression in the thoughts and activities of one particular man. This civic revival is, however, something more concrete than any mere quickening along general lines: it is rather the revival of civic devotion in its detailed relations to specific locality. It is a great thing to love one's entire country; but there is such a thing as the concentration of patriotism upon one's own town or city. We are all too thoroughly American to be disposed to disparage national loyalty; but what is gained in width is very apt to be sacrificed in intensity, and it is intensity always rather than diffusion that does the world's work. The thing accordingly which the residents of a city-of our own City, for instance-particularly need is to have their civic regards focused upon home ground. The better our City is, the more we can love it; but it is only by loving it more that it can become better, and before we can love it more we need to know it more. Neither a generality nor an ambiguity can excite affection. Love loses its way in the dark. It augurs well for our municipal future, therefore, that so many earnest and intelligent efforts are being put forth to make our acquaintance with New York City more thorough and appreciative. When the time comes that the general mind has been made sensible to present conditions, and the honest consciousness of our day has penetrated to the core of our municipal character and situation, the death knell will have been sounded to much of evil that still mixes with the better ingredients and confuses our prospect.
But not only will the objects proposed by the present volumes commend themselves to every intelligent friend of the City, but the scheme of recital which the Author has adopted is itself a marked feature of the work. It will arrest the attention of his adult readers, and will be particularly grateful to the tastes and instincts of the young people, and it is upon them, primarily, that we have to base our hopes for the future. Youths are not fond of disquisitions, but they like to be shown things, which is exactly what Mr. Moss does in these pages. An event taken apart from its local connections is almost as uninteresting a thing as a soul would be with no body for it to be at home in. The author of "The American Metropolis" not only describes what has occurred in the history of our City, but knits those events to the particular spot where they have transpired, thus clothing them with the garments of reality and putting them into local relation with the streets that we are to-day walking. His idea is a clever one, and can hardly fail of catching the attention and holding the interest of the reading public, younger and older. For myself, I personally anticipate the pleasure of putting myself under his guidance in the matter of acquiring a geographical appreciation of the meaning of the history of my City, and I congratulate him both on the scheme which he has worked out and on the positive service which I believe his series of itineraries will be able to render to those who will travel with him over the past years and the present territory of our beloved City. CHARLES H. PAGRKHURST.
WE are in the midst of a revival of civic pride. For many years the people of New York seemed to be without interest in the history of the City, in its reputation and in its prospects; New York and Tammany Hall were almost synonymous terms, and citizenship in this great City was nowhere esteemed to be an honor-unless it was so among the ringsters of other cities, who looked with awe at the kings of corruption that held despotic sway over the Metropolis, laughing at the laws, sneering at their critics, and rolling up thieves' fortunes. At last, indignation, tardily awakened, grew into burning patriotism, and a popular uprising, wisely directed by almost Prophetic Leadership, made an astonishing change in the government of our City-a change which is apparent in every civic function. There have been similar revolutions before, and conspicuous plunderers of the people have been hurled from positions that seemed impregnable; but, unfortunately, the hot blast of public opinion cooled almost as quickly as it had been heated, and lasting reformation of the public service was not secured. The revolutions of the past lacked foundations of civic pride and patriotic devotion in the mass of the people. Those who helped to defeat Tammany Hall in 1894 tried to awaken in the hearts of all the people, even those who seemed the least approachable, a deep love for their City and a personal devotion to her interests, which would be potent in their antagonism to every evil political combination and to all enemies of good government. The evidences of revived patriotism among the common people are more gratifying to those who have longed and labored and sacrificed for her betterment than all the victories that have occurred in elections. Evidences of the new life are apparent in the increased interest of every class in the City's history and in its achievements from day to day; in the new sympathy that has sprung up between her different sections, and even between her different races; in the quickness with which the people estimate the spirit and the purpose of officials; in their quickness to sustain and support clean administration, and to perceive and resent official incompetence, carelessness and misconduct; and in the true ring of their voices and the quick kindling of their eyes when they converse about their City and her affairs. The makers of books are beginning to realize the new interest, and the publishers' announcements contain many notices of books on New York. The magazines and the weeklies teem with articles exploiting events of the past or revealing relics of olden times, and discussing phases and phenomena of our present marvelous activity. A genuine and sustained revival of pride in our City and of patriotism applied to our own homes will make New York the richest, the best, and the most excellently administered City in the world-a Greater New York indeed. The writing of a book of any sort was far from my mind, and the proposition of a publisher that I should venture into this field was at first rejected. He said that a book which would show a composite picture of the history of the City and of its present condition was needed, and that I ought to write it. This book is the result of the publisher's approach. It has been written under difficulties, but the work has been so pleasant, and has given me so much more satisfactory an outlook on Metropolitan affairs, that I venture to hope it may be of interest to others and a help to more vital citizenship. There are monumental histories of our City, prodigious in size, deep in research, and exhaustive on "gray matter, "as well as on the contents of pocketbooks; but those treasuries of knowledge are Slot within the reach of the people generally, and they do not plainly trace the development of the City through the channels of her growth. The wonderful civilization in which we live is not the result of any revolution, but it is rather a growth from a germ once planted on a particular spot on Manhattan Island; and the branchings from the original stem can. be definitely traced. It is one thing to be told that two hundred and fifty years ago the "sturdy Dutch," as they are generally called, built a fort on Manhattan Island and were the first-; settlers; it is a different thing to go to Bowling Green and to look at the very spot where the fort was built; to walk through the very streets in which those first settlers moved in, and to stand above their moldered bones. When we do this, observing what is now on the spot where civilization first began, we begin instinctively to note the contrast between the olden times and the present, and intelligently to trace the stages of development through which the mighty and complex present has been evolved out of the simple and primitive past. For the purpose of inspiring loyalty to the great principles on which have been founded the noble achievements of New York, it is not necessary that a ponderous and philosophic tome should be written; if that were necessary someone else would have to write it. Rather should the heart, the sympathies, the tender emotions, be touched; rather should we be brought into fellowship with those who have dwelt here before us, whose labors we enjoy, and who sustained the burdens that have passed from their shoulders on to ours, and out of their hearts into ours. Of this we may be sure, we can in no better way devote ourselves to our Country's good and Mankind's welfare than by advancing our own City to her highest possible position, and making her institutions means for the uplifting and the enlightenment of all the people. Let us be students and lovers of our City. The plan of our work is simple. In its philosophy we trust it may be correct, but it is not a philosophy. Historically, we trust it is true, but it is not a history. It is a reminiscent, observant, reflective journey on historical lines. We have adopted the course which we should pursue were we showing the City to a friend. We start at the beginning point of its life, making that spot the center of interest, and returning to it again and again. The first chapter is devoted to the Fort. In the second chapter we proceed from the Fort, along the favorite road of Dutch times, Pearl Street; and make our way back to the beginning point through the Swamp, Printing House Square, Nassau and William Streets, stopping at the second great development point-the site of the Subtreasury building at the corner of Nassau and Wall Streets. The Fort at Bowling Green was the center of the old Colonial life; this second point was the focus of the new national life. We return to the Fort by way of Broad Street, and then start out again along the line of English advance, Broadway, and devote a chapter to what may be remembered and observed along that highway, including Trinity and St. Paul's churches and their burying grounds, and ending at the City Hall Park, beyond which Broadway did not extend until after the Revolution. A chapter is then devoted to the City Hall Park, which was the Commons of older days, and which was the third great development point in the life of the City. At this spot popular government had its rise. It was the gathering place and the forum of the common people. We pass on into the districts east and northeast of the Commons, including Five Points, Cherry Hill and New Israel, which together make a very dark background for the picture of heroism, growth and grandeur. Then we make our way to the East River, and return along its front to the Fort. From the Fort we start out again through Greenwich Street, going as far as the ancient Indian village of Sapokanikan, later Greenwich Village, now the Ninth Ward, returning to the Fort by the North River front. The territory thus traversed is small, but it is sufficient to show the rise and growth of the City, and is more than enough for the limits of this work. It has been my design, whenever possible, to locate important and interesting events at the places where they happened, so that one, considering an incident which, the historians, tell us, indefinitely, occurred somewhere in New York City, can go to the very place where the actors in the drama stood and spoke, and there say: "This is the spot!" In this way our interest is fastened firmly to a locality or place, and through a succession of events at that place we may see the development of principles and the increase of attainments. The three development points which I have indicated are walked over daily by multitudes, to whom the heroic history of the City is a sealed book. They would become eager investigators, if they knew what other feet had trod those walks before them, and what great events had occurred on those oft-traveled paths. It may be that some will disagree with statements, arguments and deductions of the book; let that be as it may, we will be one in interest, and one in devotion to our beloved City. FRANK MOSS.
THE swirling currents that lave the shores of Manhattan Island, flowing in every direction, are reproduced in the human currents that eddy and rush through the streets of New York. The diversities of wind and weather that bless and afflict the people of the Metropolis are faint illustrations of the diverse elements in the life of the City and of their contrary movements. There is a mysterious and startling lack of harmony between the constituents of the City's life. The people do not know their next-door neighbors, and are not concerned with what happens on the block next to theirs; and they bustle about their business without seeing or knowing vast sections of the City that are directly affecting their social affairs, and indirectly touching all of their interests. The City bounds forward under a general impulse of growth, leaping along the pathway of material progress with incredible speed; and yet its citizens, in large part, are indifferent to the concerns of their neighbors, and are oblivious to the advantage of mutual civic interest and popular combinations of civic effort.
Political organizers alone powerfully use the advantages of cooperation and coordination of popular forces for public purposes. Those who are unselfishly interested in the advancement of virtue and true prosperity have not yet learned to combine their large numbers and to pull together.
Is there a single trait, characteristic of the entire City, continuous through its history and fundamentally connected with ifs development? There is great philanthropy-in streaks; there is corruption-in places; there is old-time Americanism-in sections; there is Continental liberality-in spots all over; there is Puritanism-to match the Liberality; but the Spirit of Tolerance is New York's peculiar characteristic. This spirit operates in all affairs-business, social, religious, political-and proceeds from an unconscious but all-controlling realization of the duty of minding our own business and letting other people mind theirs.
Tolerance was essential to the development of the commerce for which New York has always been preeminent. It was the natural outgrowth of the commercial spirit. Even in the strained relations arising from the "excise question," when one class of citizens parades tableaux of Liberty, in tears, surrounded by the Muses weeping because they cannot have free beer on Sunday, and another class demands that the liquor business shall be entirely extirpated-between these two extremes stands the conservative mass of citizens, who manage to see some claims on each side, to tolerate both sections of extremists, and to provide a middle course between them. This spirit of tolerance causes religious factions that have been making holy attempts to cut each other's throats on other continents, to live together, holding their religious services separately, but buying and selling, associating in political and other ways, and crossing the bloody line with intermarriages. This spirit is at the bottom of the glory and the shame of New York; behind it the thieves, who have disgraced official positions, have hidden and have escaped punishment on the plea of party necessity sometimes-and in it the great and almost unmatched benevolent enterprises of the City have reached a magnificent growth, and are stretching their heads to heights unmeasured. This trait has distinguished the City from the beginning. New York was not founded by refugees from religious persecution, nor by convicts or paupers deported from their homes, nor by great and good men intent on securing their own form of worship and preventing all other forms. The thrifty, trading, pertinacious Dutchmen were the first to open up the possibilities of Manhattan Island, and though they have long since disappeared, at least in any bodily semblance, and with them the sugar-loaf hats, the multiplied petticoats and breeches, and the other paraphernalia so sweetly described by Washington Irving, yet it is true that those Dutchmen, little knowing what they did, laid the foundations of New York's prosperity, and connected themselves with all that is to come. They couldn't build anything without laying solid foundations. Each pair of breeches was doubled and reenforced in the seat; each house had a foundation built substantial enough for two houses; and, as a wit has said, "They built their ships on the model of their women," who were even better founded than the men.
It was a queer trade-at least as we view trade that these old Dutchmen had with the Indians and with each other about the old Fort at Bowling Green; but they traded on honor, they gave and they received fair values, and Yankee tricks were unknown to them. The Spirit of Commerce, who made New York the Queen of the West, was born right here at Bowling Green, and the ghosts of the Dutch traders are here still, and are often seen and heard by those who are subject to spirituous influences.
The Produce Exchange cannot get far away from the ghostly spell, and, notwithstanding the efforts of some newspapers and real estate speculators to convince the people that the commercial center of the City should be at Herald Square, and that all business to be properly done must go there, we may be sure that the good Dutch ghosts which inhabited the bodies, so many of which have been received into mother earth between Bowling Green and Wall Street, will continue to exert their potent force and will hold the great commercial interests where they have ever remained and ever will remain. (This is a private pointer for investors in real estate.)
We say it was a queer trade, for money was almost unknown, the unit of value being a beaver skin, and the currency being provided by bits of clam and periwinkle shells deftly cut and polished. Our great merchants handle gold, but their Dutch ancestors bought and paid for their produce with clam shells and beaver skins. The Dutch were not allowed to monopolize this choicest of trading sites, for the English came and wrested it away from the control of the Dutch companies, but they too fell under the commercial spell. They came not for liberty, nor for religion, but to trade where the Dutchmen had started the market. The Englishmen of New York were unlike the Englishmen of Virginia. They were here to do business, to construct a business state, to let each other alone and to be let alone. England and Holland fought hard enough over the seas, and here too the war had its little counterpart in the taking and the retaking of the ancient Fort; but when the Englishmen had settled down to stay, they found the Dutchmen pretty good fellows, and the Dutchmen found their old enemies genial and hearty companions in trade. They realized that there was room enough for everybody. They simply sat down and tolerated each other, and the result was a Dutch-English amalgamation, which has given us some of the strongest and sturdiest characters in the world. It is hard to match the industry, the determination, the perseverance and the energy of those who have this ancestry; and there are many such in the City.
It was funny enough when the Dutchmen and the Englishmen began to amalgamate on the clothing line. When a Dutch tailor made a suit of clothes for an Englishman, the result was very amusing; but it was much harder for the clothed victim when the English tailor made a suit for the Dutchman. Little by little they got together on the matter of clothes, and the result was a New York style-and New York styles lead the world to this day. If you don't believe it, take a walk through London and see the processions of ill-fitted gentlemen who look like guys. You will continue to purchase your clothing in New York.
When the Englishmen and the Dutchmen swapped peltries for produce, and their children exchanged smiles and kisses at the kissing bridge-and followed the kissings with weddings, as they were bound to do-the causes for hatred, which seemed so great across the ocean, were only remembered as a tradition, or a nightmare. The historians have quarreled about the location of the kissing bridge, three separate places having their respective champions; but we common folks easily see that there were three kissing bridges. Their successors are in Central Park, as any observant visitor may notice.
We have not forgotten, in our estimate of the commercial honor of those times, that some evil designing individuals undertook to make themselves rich by debasing the currency. The clam-shell money, which was called by the Indian name of sewan, possessed some intrinsic value, because of its fine workmanship; but the aforesaid evil designing folks, whom the Dutchmen alleged to be degenerate Englishmen, made sewan by the wholesale, of very deficient workmanship, so that the early government had to issue an edict against this debased currency. Certain it is that some bad-looking men, who were not Dutchmen, and who had mysterious converse with certain bad Indians, waxed rich and -lived in riotous excess. Was this the beginning of "Free-coinage"?
It is customary for writers, who are describing New York, to begin by carrying their readers up through the beautiful Narrows, and giving them a bird's-eye view of the City for an introduction; but we who know the way home from Coney Island, and are quite familiar with this bird's-eye view, would do better to begin our observations at the point where the commercial life of the New World had its beginning, and the point from which New York's history, as well as New York's institutions, have been developed. This pivotal point, of which the hurrying throngs are strangely ignorant, is located in the row of houses south of Bowling Green. Number 4 Bowling Green, now occupied by the Cunard Steamship Co., and bearing the tablet of the Holland Society, stands on the north wall of old Fort Amsterdam, and the alley which runs up from the rear of the block behind the fruit auction rooms of Brown & Seccomb (called Whitney Street after Stephen Whitney, the millionaire merchant, who once lived at Number 1 Bowling Green) enters the heart of the old Fort. The Broadway cars run over its west rampart. On this block have happened some of the most important and stirring events in American history; from it have gone the impulses of New York's greatness, and on it to-day are the offices of the Atlantic steamship companies, which unite this commercial city with the great nations of the old world.
Our progress has been so rapid, and the past has faded so quickly, that many well informed people who know that the beginning of our city was in and around a Dutch fort, at the southern end of the island, imagine that Castle Garden stands on that site; but old New Yorkers who used to attend the concerts in that obsolete fort, when Jennie Lind sang, remember that it was out in the water, on large black rocks, and that they had to cross from the mainland on a bridge. It will surprise many to know that nearly the whole of Battery Park is on made ground. The southern water-line was just a little south of Pearl Street, where it curves into State Street, while the western water-line was at Greenwich Street, and the eastern water-line at Pearl Street. The important districts lying outside of those streets have all been rescued from the waters. The filling in, east and west, was done shortly after the Revolutionary War. The City owned the lands between high and low water marks, under the Dongan Charter, and it sold lots all along the present Water and Front Streets at about $20 apiece, the purchasers filling them in and building on them. Speaking of the spirit of tolerance which has distinguished the inhabitants of Manhattan Island, it is noteworthy that no one has been put to death for his religious convictions. A statute was passed in 1700, which prohibited Catholic priests from preaching in the City on pain of death. It was enacted by the governor and his council to prevent the French from working among the Indians and turning them against the English and Dutch Protestants. It was never enforced. A priest named Ury was executed on the Common, now the City Hall Park; but the real offense charged against him was complicity in the negro uprisings, which were believed to be so serious as to require the most rigorous measures of repression, and the testimony implicated him in the plot. Ury protested his innocence in the most touching words, and those words leave no doubt that his punishment was not connected with his religious practices.
The witchcraft heresy could get no foothold here. While New England blazed with the baleful flames of burning witches, the people of New York looked on with interest; and though they-simple folkscould not deny what the very intelligent philosophers of New England asserted about witchcraft, yet, when such accusations were made, no tribunal would convict the accused. Anne Hutchinson, an estimable woman, who was adjudged guilty in Rhode Island and banished from that colony, found refuge in what is now Pelham Park; and, though accused by the frightened people of Westchester, was found harmless by the New York authorities, and received permission to remain there in peace. It was left for the Indians to kill Mrs. Hutchinson.
As an example of the delusion which held our brethren in New England, we may read the following questions and answers in the examination of a little girl who was imprisoned as a witch.
"How long hast thou been a witch?"
"Ever since I was six years old."
"How old are you now?"
"Brother Richard says I shall be eight years old next November."
"You said you saw a black cat once; what did it say to you?"
"It said it would tear me to pieces if I did not sign my name to a book."
"How did you afflict folks?"
"I pinched them. My mother carried me to afflict them."
"How could your mother carry you when you were in prison?"
"She came like a black cat."
"How did you know it was your mother?"
"The cat told me she was my mother."
Returning to our consideration of the old Dutch Fort, we feel that we must, if possible, ascertain its exact location. There was a little hillock which extended from State Street south of Bowling Green eastward across Whitehall Street, and south of Bridge Street, which was specially adapted for fortification. The surrounding ground was low, and in some places marshy and wet. A creek ran up Broad Street nearly to Wall Street, and the boats which found harbor in it were well protected by the Fort, which was built on the hill. The northern entrance of the Fort was a little west of Number 4 Bowling Green. The western wall, which was armed with cannon, lay mostly within the present lines of State Street, and the southern wall, which was also armed, did not quite reach to Bridge Street. No part of the Fort, excepting possibly the northeastern corner, touched Whitehall Street. It is most interesting to note that the northern line of the Fort is covered by the buildings now used as offices for the great steamship companies, including English, French, German and American lines, and the western line is occupied by the houses on State Street devoted to the reception and the care of immigrants of various nationalities, and the southern line is occupied by a great auction room for tropical fruits; but the eastern line of the block (Whitehall Street), which did not sustain any portion of the old structure, is occupied by a row of little stores of various kinds, which are entirely out of company with their neighbors on the other sides of the block, and are entirely out of relation with the business palaces across Whitehall Street. Here are some of the signs which appear on the buildings on the State Street side of the block. New York "Mercury," September 7, 1767: "Yesterday morning the coroner's inquest set on the body of one William Kieth, a soldier of the Sixteenth Regiment, who was found drowned near the end of Pearl Street, under the wall of the Battery." This poor soldier's body lay just west of the Elevated Railroad, on a line continuing Pearl Street into Battery Park.
The sketch, on previous page, of the Fort and of the streets will prove interesting.
In this neighborhood are the oldest streets of the City. Few of them have remained exactly as they were originally laid out; but the little section of Pearl Street south of the Fort block, running from State to Whitehall, is almost in the same position, of the same width, and on the same lines as it existed in the earliest period. It is impossible to find a relic of the oldest Dutch buildings; for those structures were nearly all consumed in the great fires of 1776 and 1835, and those which remained have given way to more modern buildings; but a walk through this neighborhood will carry one far into the past, and an observation of the house at Number 19 Pearl Street will almost convince the investigator that he has got back into the earliest colonial period. Broad Street was the place which delighted the hearts of the Dutchmen, because it reminded them of home. By common consent the navigable stream which ran through its middle was kept so that trading boats could run right into the center of the settlement, and the houses that were built along its banks were kept sufficiently far from it to make reasonable passageway on either side. Here was a natural canal, and so Broad Street became the principal street, under the name of the Heere Gracht, or Gentleman Canal.
In course of time the walls of the canal were sided with boards, and the expense was assessed on those who lived on its banks, at the rate of forty guilders ($16) per rod. Those on the west side, from the river to Beaver Street, were: Hans Dreper, 1 rod 10 feet; Hendrick, the baker, 5 rods 4 1/2 feet (he refused to pay and was imprisoned); Tunis Cray, 2 1/2 rods; Oloff S. Van Cortland, 3 rods 13 feet; Ferick Lubbersen, 4 rods 3 1/2 feet; Peter Merrist, 1 rod 10 feet; Gerrit Jansen Roos, 2 rods; Reinhart Rein The Gracht. houtzen, 4 rods; Coenraet Ten Eyck, 2 rods 2 1/2 feet; David Wessels, 1 rod 10 1/2 feet; Peter Van Naarden, 1 rod 9 1/2 feet; Guilan Cornelis, 3 rods 5 1/2 feet. On the east side, from Beaver Street to the river, they were: Jochem Beekman, 2 rods 11 1/2 feet (he wouldn't pay and was imprisoned); Jacob Backer, Jan Rutgerzen, 2 rods 5 feet; Abraham, the carpenter, 3 rods 1 foot; Adrian Vincent, 6 rods 10 feet; Jacob Van Cowenhoven, 6 rods 6 1/2 feet; Cornelis Melyn, 4 rods 7 feet; Henrick Jansen Vandervin, 4 rods 7 1/2 feet.
A semi-circular dock was built where the stream emptied into the river, in which the little vessels anchored securely. This basin is now solid ground. The intervening space between the Broad Street canal and the Fort was traversed by Beaver Street, through which a little creek (the Bever Gracht) ran into the Broad Street water, and by Marketfield Street, Stone Street, and Bridge Street, which were, of course, in those days, known by more euphonious names, suitable to the Dutch tongue. On Marketfield Street the French Huguenots erected their place of worship. Its site is covered by the present Produce Exchange, which is built over a portion of that street. The Huguenots were about only four per cent of the population, but they were an exceedingly valuable element. They loved liberty, they were earnest and upright, and they never engaged in race hostilities. They made a settlement at New Rochelle, and on Saturday nights the people, after working hard all week, tramped down to New York to enjoy the services in the Marketfield Church. They carried weapons, for their route led them through the regions often desolated by Indian raids. When they arrived at the Collect Pond, Sunday mornings, they washed, ate and rested, sang the Sixtieth Psalm, and proceeded on their way rejoicing. They spent the sacred day in the services of the church, and in cheerful visiting with their friends, and walked home again at night. The opportunity of worshiping God in their own way, without molestation, was greatly prized; for they had been deprived of it in their native land, and they -wrote to their friends in France of the great privilege that they enjoyed.
Bridge Street was so named because it led to a bridge that crossed the canal in Broad Street. Near this bridge the Dutch merchants met regularly to discuss their affairs, and the first Board of Trade assembled there.
The Dutch settlers brought their religion with them, and it was a choice and rugged form of the Protestant faith, which could survive the absence of ministers and vestments. Without priestly leadership, they congregated on Sundays in a horse-mill, which was situated on what is now South William Street (old Mill Street), near Pearl, and there they turned their attention statedly to the matters of their eternal welfare, and prayed for protection in a wild and strange land.
During this time Governor Peter Minuet bought the whole of Manhattan Island from the Indians for trinkets worth $24. The Governor has been accused of driving a sharp bargain; but he was, like the Irishman, "buying a pig in a poke." There were terrible enemies lurking in the great wilderness stretching to the north, and he knew not what rival claimants might appear. If that sum of $24 had been put out at compound interest at six per cent on May 6, 1626, when it was paid, the present accumulation would be many millions of dollars. This is certain, that it was more honorable to purchase the rights of the Indians for that which was valuable to them than it would have been to have dispossessed them by force of arms, as has been so generally done throughout the country. At about this time, and not far from the spot where this purchase was made, was born the first white child, Jean Vigne, whose parents lived on a little farm at Wall and Pearl Streets. Justice Charles H. Truax, of the Supreme Court of New York, is his descendant. Sarah Rapelje, the first New York girl, was born near Albany in 1625. Governor Minuet was succeeded by the elephantine Governor Wouter Van Twiller, who brought not only his great round self and immense quantities of provisions (which made the people very happy), but also what was more highly appreciated by the honest settlers-a real live dominie. Dominie Bogardus received a warm welcome, and speedily showed himself to be much more of a man and of much more consequence in the community than the governor himself. He was not afraid to lecture his rulers and to call them to account for their sins, and this propensity led to some very rough tussles.
Bogardus lived up to the law, and he did not hesitate to thunder the Divine commands at those who did not. Being himself of unimpeachable character, and having the courage of his convictions, he was not only a spiritual leader, but he was also a wise adviser in public affairs. He knew well how to take care of himself; for when he was slandered by a woman with a long tongue (and those Dutch scolds must have been awful), he cited her to court to prove her allegations, and when she failed, the judgment which he sought and obtained, compelled her to parade herself through the streets, declaring with her same long, loud and loose tongue that the dominie was a good man, and that she had lied about him. There are some things in which we might do well to follow our robust Dutch ancestors.
Of course, a man of such attainments as Dominie Bogardus possessed would not long lead worship in a horse-mill. He caused a little church to be erected on the line of Pearl Street, between Whitehall and Broad Streets, fronting the East River (33 Pearl Street). It will be noted that the Dutch preferred the East River side of the island, and that it was the English, who came afterward, that first opened up Broadway and the lands west of Broadway. The preference of the Dutch for the east side was due, undoubtedly, to the fact that their lovely canal lay east of the Fort, and that there were any number of bogs and mud-holes up along the east side of the island. If the English had not captured New York, and had not finally outnumbered the Dutch, the Broad Street canal would have been continued, and the City would have been crossed and recrossed with canals, so that communication would be easy by water and boats through all its parts. Had this been done, the danger of falling overboard from the City would have helped the Prohibitionists to elect an alderman once in a while.
The little church prospered; but presently the dominie became jealous of the better accommodations that the governor had in his snug dwelling within the Fort, and he protested that it was a shame that the governor should live in a nice house, while the public services of God were maintained in a barn. It was no easy matter to secure the money for such an undertaking as the building of a real church, and Bogardus was as shrewd as he was pious; so watching his time one day, when the governor and his associates were feasting hugely, and while their hearts were merry and their heads befuddled with the creature comforts which none of them declined to enjoy, he broached his little project and secured the subscriptions which were necessary to build the church; and so it was that in due time there arose within the walls of the Fort, alongside of the governor's house, a little church, in which the steadfast minister maintained the spiritual interests of the settlement.
Here was the Fort, and in it was the governor and the dominie, the governmental house and the church. Here was the center of the religious, political and social life of the whole of Manhattan Island, and out of that center radiated the influences which have maintained their potency of control even down to the present.
One would think that the youth of our schools would be marched round this block on regular occasions, and that there would be a steady stream of people with plans, guide-books and compasses in their hands, diligently spying out the lines and the angles of the old Fort and pestering the brokers, the agents, the clerks, the missionaries, and even the immigrants, in efforts to get into the interior of the block, and to stand on the site of the church, the governor's house, the well, the pump, the flagstaff, and all the other quaint and useful institutions that were surrounded by the rude walls.
Here it was that Minuet heard the lawsuit and told the contestants that he would take three days to consider the case, but would eventually decide for the plaintiff; and here Van Twiller smoked his own tobacco, grown at Sapokanikan, in the present Ninth Ward, and blew those prodigious clouds of smoke that enveloped himself, his counselors, and all who sought his august presence, and perfumed their clothes with its rare staying qualities. Here Governor Kieft planned and ordered his raids on the Indians, which brought so much vexation and suffering to the colony; and here Peter Stuyvesant gave to the world his unique exhibition of hard sense and honesty, impetuosity and arrogance, until he was compelled to surrender his stronghold to the conquering British. Here, too, came the first schoolmaster, who, although he came with Bogardus, was unable to maintain the honor of his calling; for he succeeded so poorly in his enterprise of teaching the Dutch youths that he was obliged to take in washing to eke out his existence; and finally was tried before the governor upon a disgraceful charge, and was sentenced to be flogged and banished. The first instruments of punishment were upon the beach, just outside the walls of the Fort, and there the poor school-teacher received his flogging. How many little urchins danced and whooped, in the crowd that watched the school-teacher's licking, and how they rubbed certain portions of their anatomies when the cat-o'-nine tails fell on Roelantsen's back, has not been recorded by any historian; but if the present New York boy is any sample of the boys of 1646, we cannot doubt that there was a rare time among the juveniles on that occasion.
For proof that the schoolmaster took in washing, we are referred to the Court record under date of Sept. 20, 1638.
"Adam Roelantsen, plaintiff, against Gillis De Voocht, defendant, on demand, for payment for washing.
"Plaintiff demands payment for washing defendant's linen.
"Defendant makes no objection whatever to the price of the washing; but only objects to the time at which payment is demanded, as the year is not yet elapsed.
"The Court decides that the plaintiff shall wash for defendant during the time agreed upon, and then he may demand his pay."
In 1642 he lived on the north side of Stone, between Whitehall and Broad Streets, close to Van Cortlandt's brewery. He made a visit to Holland and worked his passage back to New York, and said the prayers for the ship's company. His grievous offenses and his condign punishment occurred after his return. He sold his house, which cost him $140, to Govert Aertsen. His successor was Arien Jansen Van Ilpendam. The regular charge for tuition was two beaver skins per annum. It was at about this period that the first recorded sale of a city lot appears. Anthony Van Fees paid $9.60 for a full lot on Bridge Street. At this time, the noted Tryntje Clock, skilled in the use of herb medicines, lived at the corner of Pearl and Hanover Streets.
Dominie Bogardus, of whom we have spoken, was as pronounced a character as Governor Stuyvesant of later days; and when he and the fiery Governor Kieft came into conflict, as they often did, even the old women forgot their customary gossip, and nothing was talked of throughout the community but the red-hot warfare between the two great men of the city. Kieft was the civic head, and he knew it; Bogardus was the spiritual head, and he never forgot it. Each had his strong ground and kept one foot upon it, while pressing into his opponent's territory to administer knockout blows. The governor had the best of it in the beginning, because of his hold on the courts, into which the dominie was forced; but Bogardus soon learned the ways of the law and how to use the courts himself; and the merry war did not cease until the wrestlers, having thoroughly measured each other's strength, agreed to call it a draw and to shake hands.
Bogardus' natural and official force was greatly strengthened by his marriage to Annetje, the widow of Roelof Jansen-more commonly called Anneke Jans. Through that marriage he acquired wealth and greater influence. The widow's four children were: Sarah, who became the wife of Hans Kierstede; Catrina, who married Johannes Van Bruggh; Fytje, who married Pieter Hartgers; and Jan Roelofsen. So, we see, the dominie's relations were extended in a very high-sounding manner. Their home was near the corner of Whitehall and Bridge Streets. The cause of the enmity between Bogardus and the governor was the Indian war, which Kieft ordered against the advice of many of the people, including the dominie, and which involved the colony in great loss, suffering and bereavement. Bogardus strongly advised against the war, and when it was begun in the perfidious massacre of an Indian tribe, fortifying himself with the "Dutch courage," which was permissible to preachers as well as the common people, he poured out from his pulpit such broadsides of denunciation that the governor was driven out of the church. The situation was decidedly uncomfortable for Kieft. He knew that his war was unpopular, and he realized that, while the people hated him for it, they required his official and personal presence at the Sunday services in the church. He could not attend those services without being denounced to his face by the indignant minister; and when he braved the criticisms of the people, by absenting himself from the services, he got no more relief, for the stentorian tones of the valiant preacher penetrated even into the governor's house. Then the magistrates, assembled at the old City Hall, were inspired by the governor to issue this formidable summons to the preacher:
"In the name of the Lord, Amen. In the year 1646, in New Netherland.
"The Honorable Director and Council, to the Reverend Everardus Bogardus, Minister of the Gospel in this place:
"Although we were informed of your proceedings during the administration of the former Director, Wout Van Twiller, and though warned to be upon our guard, we did not consider it worth our notice, because we were confident that no man who preached the words of the Lord would so far forget himself, although we possess letters, in your handwriting, among others, one of the 17th June, 1634, from which it does not appear as if you were inspired with the spirit of the Lord, but, to the contrary, in a manner that would be unbecoming heathens, much less Christians, much less a preacher of the Gospel, when you scolded the magistrate appointed over you by God, for a child of the devil, a consummate villain, declaring that your bucks were better than he, and vaunted yourself that you would give next Sunday, from the pulpit, such a shake that you and he should shudder, with more of such injurious trash, which we pass by in silence, out of respect to that honorable man.
"During our government, you permitted yourself the same indecorous language, sparing scarce any individual in the country, not even your own wife nor her sister; especially you conducted yourself in that manner when you had been in good company, and your spirits were buoyed up, intermingling your human passions freely in what you brought forth in the pulpit. In this manner you have continued acting with the greatest criminals in the country, taking their part, and defending them, declining to execute the order to distribute the Sacrament of the Lord, and not daring to make use of it yourself; and, therefore, that it may not be in your power to -take your ignorance for a pretext, we shall select a few samples from a large list, to renew your remembrance:
"On the 25th September, 1639, when you had administered our Lord's Supper, and perceiving that, late at night, the fire was yet burning in the Director's mansion, after you had been at the house of Jacob Van Curler, and you were thoroughly intoxicated, you exclaimed vehemently at the Director and Jochem Pieters, against whom you were enraged, because the Director requested a favor for Jacob Peters, which you refused, as appears from an affidavit in our possession.
"Since that period, you have been guilty of many deeds unbecoming a minister of the Gospel, of which we, nevertheless, took no notice, in the hope that you would behave yourself, at least in your office, as a Christian, until at length, in March, 1643, when one Maryn Andriesen entered the Director's room with the deliberate purpose to murder him, which was prevented, and he was put in irons. Then you embraced the cause of that criminal, composed his writings, and took upon yourself to defend him. But, nevertheless, he was sent in chains to Holland, on which account you audaciously fulminated on the subject during a fortnight, and dishonored the pulpit by your passionate behavior. Furthermore, the manner in which, during that time, you conducted yourself every evening is known to all your neighbors. At last, you seemed for a while to be reconciled to the Director, and a short interval of peace was enjoyed; when, however, in 1644, one Laurens Cornelisen was here, a man of profligate character, who had violated his oath, had committed perjury and theft, he was taken under your patronage, and you were in daily correspondence with him, for the reason, merely, that he had slandered the Director.
"In the same year, during the summer, when the minister Doughty celebrated our Lord's Supper, you ascended the pulpit while in a state of extreme intoxication. So, too, on Friday, before Christmas, in the same year, when you preached the preparation sermon, you were in the same condition. And when you dined, in the beginning of the year 1645, at the Attorney-general's, you arrived there in a state of intoxication, denouncing, among others, Deacon Oloff Stevensen for a thief, on which the Director, then present, addressed you in an affectionate manner, intimating that it was not the place to make use of such language-still you went on, and the Director said, at last, that when you were drunk you did nothing but utter slanderous language. That, on last Friday, you yourself came, in a state of intoxication, into the pulpit; that it was indecorous in a minister to lead such a life, which scandalized the whole congregation.
"Furthermore, when a few days afterward (viz., 22d January, 1645), the Director was not at church, you denounced him in the most brutal manner, saying, 'What are the great men of the country? What but receptacles of wrath, fountains of pain and trouble. Nothing is aimed at but to plunder other people's property; to dismiss, to banish, and carry off persons to Holland.' To avoid further scandal, the Director did not longer assist in the congregation, being conscious that he never took another man's property, never committed any injustice in his office, never banished a person who had not thrice deserved it. If he dismissed some from offices, that was his -prerogative, for which he is responsible to the Directors of the Company, but not to the minister.
"Furthermore, when, on the 21st March, 1645, you were at the wedding of Adam Brower, and in a state of intoxication, you again began scolding in the presence of the Secretary and the Attorney-general, violently blaming the Director, saying that he called your wife a, when you had yourself said that you did not believe the Director had said so, and that it could not be proved. In consequence of your language, we, on the 23d March, moved by Christian compassion, and from the consideration due to your office, instead of prosecuting you in a court of justice, sent you under seal a Christian admonition which you twice declined to accept, as was reported by the court messengers.
"Furthermore, you ministered our Lord's Supper, at Passover and Pentecost, without partaking of it, but conducting yourself in a very offensive manner, pretending that the Director sent a person (Lysbet, the midwife) to your house, to sue for peace, but that you declined making peace with him.
"Furthermore, that you abused Anthony de Hooge, and when the peace with the Indians was about to be concluded, nothing was left undone by you to break off the negotiations, and in lieu of devout prayers, you poured down a string of invectives, which might have been followed by the most pernicious consequences.
"When at last peace was concluded with the savages, an extract from the orders of the magistrates was sent to you, that thanks be offered up to God for it. It is true you preached, and a good sermon too; but you said not a single word about the peace, neither thanked our God for it, although the day had been set apart for that solemn purpose, and was duly observed by all other ministers within our limits, with a fervent zeal.
"By this your affection toward the Company (by whom you are supported), and toward the welfare of this country, may be estimated. Your principles, also, are manifested by your patronage of those who have defrauded and injured the Company, and by the clandestine meetings with them, which still continue.
"Furthermore, when you preached a sermon on the 22d of December, the day of preparation for the Lord's Supper, you said in public that you often administered the Lord's Supper without partaking of it, and wished that they who caused our divisions in the church could be cut off. Your bad tongue is, in our opinion, the only cause of these divisions, and your obstinacy the only reason of their continuance. We do not know of a single family not desirous of settling our troubles, except yourself. When you visit a family, you never inquire for the cause of their absence from the church. We, however, can tell the reason of such absence. On the 24th, you informed the congregation that in Africa, which has a climate of intense heat, different species of animals come together, by which various monsters are generated; but you know not, said you, from whence, in such a temperate clime as this, such monsters of men are produced. They are the mighty ones, who place their confidence in men, and not in the Lord! Children might have told to whom you alluded. It is these and similar sermons that have occasioned our absence from the church.
"All these things being regarded by us as having a tendency toward the general ruin of the country, both Church and State being endangered where the magistrate is despised, and it being considered that your duty and oath imperatively demand their proper maintenance; whereas, your conduct stirs up the people (already too much divided) to mutiny and rebellion — that the introduction of novelties causes schisms and abuses in the church, and makes us a scorn and a laughing-stock to our neighbors, all which cannot be tolerated in a country where justice is maintained; wherefore, our sacred duty demanded that we seek out a remedy against this evil; and this remedy we now intend to employ, in virtue of our high commission from the Company, and we design to prosecute you in a court of justice; and, to do it in due form, we made an order that a copy of these our deliberations should be delivered to you, to answer in fourteen days, protesting that we intend to treat you with such Christian lenity as our conscience and the welfare of State and Church shall in any way permit. 2d January, 1646."
If half of the charges specified were true, Bogardus should have been summarily expelled from his office. He was required to answer the complaint, and several answers were decided to be evasive. Order after order was issued, threatening him with dire punishment. This touching epistle was presented to him:
The Honorable Director and Council to the Rev. Bogardus, Minister of the Gospel in this City.
"Although the proposal which we made to you to leave the decision of our dispute to impartial men, agreeably to your wishes, sufficiently justifies our proceedings, and shows our inclination for good understanding, while your refusal to assent thereto shows a contrary disposition; nevertheless, the respect which we owe to the sacred dignity of your office, and our cordial wishes for your welfare, induces us once more to bring the subject to your attention, inasmuch as a highly favorable opportunity presents itself from the presence here of the ministers, Revs. Johannes Megapolensis and Mr. Doughty, to whom may be joined such other impartial members as you may select. And we do solemnly protest, that, in case of your refusal, we shall be compelled to go on with the prosecution, and in order that we may all, in the midst of the congregation, pray to God to dispose our hearts and yours to a Christian reunion, it is our desire that the Rev. Megapolensis shall preach next Sunday, as has been his custom, when here, and that we may thus again have an opportunity of admiring the great gifts and talents which God has bestowed upon him. Wherefore, we are assured you will not decline to relinquish the pulpit on that occasion, and afford us the opportunity of hearing him. We expect your answer on this last point to-day; and on the first point, on next Thursday, 14th of June."
Meanwhile, Oloff Stevensen Van Cortlandt, one of the deacons, sued the dominie for slander in connection with the general trouble; and that suit, at the suggestion of the governor and his council, was referred to Dominie Johannes Megapolensis, Antony De Hooges, Laurens Van Heusden, and Adriaen Van Donck, who gave this decision, which was approved by the governor and his council on June 12, 1646:
"June 11, 1646. — Whereas, we, the subscribers, have been authorized by the Director-general and Council, in New Netherland, to decide the dispute between the Rev. Bogardus and Oloff Stevensen, and to reconcile them to each other, as far as possible; and whereas, we have carefully examined all the documents in the case, and being convinced that no fault can he found with Oloff Stevensen, acting, as he did, under the commission with which he was honored by the commander; and inasmuch, also, as the Rev. Bogardus has declared that, if he had been informed of the existence of that commission, he should have had a different opinion of Oloff Stevensen than that expressed by him,
"We therefore unanimously conclude that the difference between said disputants is finally and forever annulled, and that all other difficulties which have arisen against the Rev. Bogardus, from this matter, are now to he considered as removed, and ought not to he revived in future against him.
"Done in Manhattans, June 11, 1646."
Then it was that the combatants realized that they had had enough, and came to a truce. In the following year they sailed together in the ship "Princess," and were shipwrecked and drowned on the coast of England.
We will speak of the Indian wars again, when we may properly give more of their details.
So many circumstances of interest in the various periods are crowded into the little space south of the City Hall that it will not be possible to present them in exact order. Let us make a short excursion from the Fort, that we may notice some other interesting relics of the Dutch. While they loved the canal in Broad Street they also loved the river front. By the thumping of their weighty pedals, as they tramped up and down the water's edge, leading their cows the same way, a well beaten track was made, following the curves and the outline of the Island, which in time became Pearl Street. Reasoning on the principles of heredity, there can be no doubt that they dug great quantities of clams on the beach and put them to their natural uses; for the New York Dutch thrive on clams and take them for a steady diet to this day. It is an affecting sight to see them on the "Al Foster" and the "J. B. Schuyler," at the Fishing Banks, cutting clams for bait, lunching on clam-chowder, and then carrying home the surplus bait for supper.
As vessels and traders came more and oftener to visit the port, and to attend the hog and cattle fairs on Bowling Green, the resources of the governor's house became inadequate for the entertainment of the dignitaries who attended those functions, and accordingly Governor Kieft caused a public-house to be erected on Pearl Street, fronting Coenties Slip. There a very respectable brick building was erected, and it was the first tavern and hotel on Manhattan Island. There was nothing in its appearance or in its provisions to provoke any such wild nightmares as would spread before the dreamy visions of their snoring guests pictures of the New Netherlands, the Holland, the Waldorf, and the Astoria hotels. The brick of which it was constructed were brought across the ocean; for then there had not been discovered the great beds of clay upon which have been founded our immense brick industries. Some years ago antiquarians sought eagerly for the Dutch brick of which Number 1 Broadway was constructed, as it was believed to be the last Dutch house; but Number 19 Pearl Street and Number 122 Wilham Street, and a few other buildings yet standing, were built of imported Dutch bricks. The tavern was eventually turned into a city hall or stadthuys, for the public business outgrew the resources of the governor's quarters. The gallows, the whipping-post, the stocks and the pillory were removed from the beach and were placed in front of the City Hall, where they stood as a terror to evil doers, and where the Dutch boys had lots of fun in throwing addled eggs at the luckless criminals who were locked in the stocks or fastened on the pillory. The Dutch boys of that period stole and hid the barnyard fruit, so that they might always have a loud-smelling stock with which to pelt the victims of the stocks.
In front of this building, and within the present Coenties Slip, was placed the stadthuys battery, which mounted several cannon.
The ducking stool for scolding women was at the water's edge.
This was a busy place after the City was retaken by the Dutch in 1673. There were present the Governor, the Mayor, the Hoofd Schout (high sheriff), and the Fiscal (State's attorney). The Burgomasters and Schepens added their share to the bustle and the enthusiasm; and the building was shaken by the rolling around of these official ponderosities, especially when dinner time arrived, and all stomachs felt as one, and every pair of legs moved as one. They were not permitted to step in time, for fear of shaking down the building. Antonio Colve, who had assisted in the capture from the English, was governor, and Nicholas Bayard was his geheim schryver or secretary of secrets. Bayard was also vendu meester or auctioneer, and receiver of city revenues. In those days a mayor could not get along with the gout. He was constantly on the go out, and had no time to brew tea. He conducted the daily parades of the warriors, and each evening he received from the hoofd wagt (head guard) the keys of the City and personally locked the gates, and stationed the burger wagt (citizen guard) in their places for the night watch.
Sometimes he made night tours and caught faithless watchers "off post," and they had speedy punishment in the stocks. He was up again at daylight and went the rounds with a detail of soldiers, relieving the watchmen, posting the guards, opening the gates, and delivering the keys hack to the governor in the Fort. He has a worthy successor in our present City government, who is not ashamed of his Dutch ancestry.
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