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CHAPTER XVII

1838­1839­1840.-AARON CLARK, 1838 AND 1839,

AND

ISAAC L. VARIAN, 1839 AND 1840, MAYORS

1838; EARLY in January it was learned that the Pennsylvania packet­ship had made a passage hence to Liverpool in fifteen days.

April 22, the steamer Sirius, Captain Roberts, R. N., arrived from Liverpool, being the second steamer­ to cross the ocean; the following day the Great Western, Captain Hosken, Lieutenant R. N., arrived, having made the passage in 12 days and 18 hours. Of course these arrivals caused great excitement here; especially was the Great Western a centre of interest from her proportions, then termed "stupendous"; being 234 feet in length, and 1604 tons registry, with engines of 450 horse­power. On April 2 7, the city authorities, with a large company of gentlemen, visited the vessel in a procession of barges under command of Captain Stringham, U. S. N., and were shown the wonders on board and refreshed by a collation, at which I was present. The departure of the Great Western on May 7, was the occasion of a great popular demonstration on land and water.

February 18, the Bowery Theatre was burned for the third time. The fire, which broke out before day, was said to have been set alight in the carpenter's shop in the third story of the building.

In this year the building known as the Tombs, in Centre Street, was erected; the stone taken from the old Jail, with granite from Maine.

The tonnage of vessels constructed at the seven shipyards in the previous year amounted to 11,789 tons.

The House of Refuge, which stood upon ground now part of Madison Square (see page 166), was destroyed by fire; and soon after the necessary new structure was finished and walled in, on the block of ground bounded by First Avenue, Twenty­third and Twenty­fourth streets, and the river.

Wm. L. Rushton, who opened a drugstore at 81 William Street in 1828, associated with him in 1830 Wm. L. Aspinwall. They also opened a store at 110 Broadway, and in this year they embarked deeply in the morus multicaulis enterprise, in which they realized a large profit, but continuing their connection with it, suffered deeply when it collapsed, alike to the South Sea Bubble and the Tulip craze, which, both in inception, progress, and result it much resembled. Mr. Hegeman, the druggist, was a protege theirs.

About this year there was published in an evening newspaper, in the list of deaths, that of Professor James Renwick, LL.D., who bore his painful illness with "more than Christian fortitude," and on the following morning the professor was surprised and amused at the reading of his own obituary and of his "exceptional fortitude"; but some of his friends, in arriving at his home to attend his funeral, were the more surprised at his reception of them.

The resumption of specie payments had now been accomplished. An adjourned meeting of bank representatives, convened on April 11 in New York, had resolved to resume on January 1, 1839, but the New York banks resumed on May 10 of this year, and all the others were compelled by public opinion to follow this example July 1. The Bank of Commerce was founded this year.

The two works of Jas. Fenimore Cooper, at this time lately published, "Homeward Bound" and "Home as Found," were the subject of reprobation in the press and privately, the author being supposed to show an unpatriotic temper in them. Present­day readers of these books will understand the ground of this supposition, but they will perhaps conclude that a travelled American might write them without treason against his country.

Art Street (now Stuyvesant) was widened in this year.

Richard Riker, residing in Fulton Street between Broadway and Nassau Street, had filled the office of Recorder of the City and County for periods since 1812, aggregating twenty years. He was universally respected as a clear­headed and upright judge. When the question of introducing water into the city was discussed, he dissented from the general opinion as to the necessity of such action, and cited in support of the goodness and sufficiency of the Manhattan water, then in use in­some streets, that he drank a tumbler of it every morning. For this he was criticised, caricatured, and lampooned for many years after.

In sentencing culprits he was apt to remark, they "must suffer some," and the frequent repetition of this was taken up by the people and it became a byword. Some time previous to this, in consequence of a controversy arising from a duel that had occurred between De Witt Clinton and John Swartwout, Robert Swartwout challenged Riker, and they fought on the duelling­ground where Hamilton fell soon after. Riker was wounded.

May. In this month "La Petite Augusta" (Williams) first appeared at the age of twelve in "La Bayadere." This was an astonishing child, the most remarkable of juvenile dancers, who was compared on even terms with her full­grown sisters.

­ February 19, Mary C. Taylor first appeared in a named part at the "Bowery." In 1840 she was at the Olympic, where she remained (chiefly) for nine years. She was the Lize of "A Glance at New York," and became one of the greatest favorites ever seen on our stage; in fact, "our Mary," as she was called, was a popular idol, and well deserved her favor for the excellence she showed in her saucy parts, and the virtue of her private character, which made her thoroughly respected. Miss Taylor married and retired from the stage in 1852; she died in 1866.

September 17, Charles Matthews (the younger) and Mme. Vestris (Mrs. Matthews) first appeared at the Park Theatre. Much was expected of them, and our public experienced a proportionate disappointment. Neither were the artists pleased with the outcome of their adventure, and they returned to England much dissatisfied.

In November a very heavy deficiency was discovered in the accounts of Samuel Swartwout, the late collector of the port, who had engaged the public money in speculations during the "flush times." So widespread was the indignation at the treachery of Swartwout, that to steal, rob, or default, was for many years after expressed as "Swartwouting."

December. The city was surprised in reading of the sudden departure for Liverpool of Wm. M. Price, the United States District Attorney. He had been a zealous and effective partisan of the administration of General Jackson, and an ardent supporter of Mr. Van Buren. His remark upon rising to address a meeting in Tammany Hall, during the first canvass for mayoralty, was for a long period referred to, and frequently quoted. The Whigs, elated by their success in the previous campaign, were confident, and the Democrats were correspondingly discouraged. It was a dark, stormy night, the rain falling in torrents; and when Price, who was seated on the platform, arose, and his greeting subsided, he opened with: "My friends, we have seen a darker night than this." The effect was electrical; it was received as a presage of victory; darker nights had been seen, the worst had passed, and Mr. Lawrence was elected.

1839. The arsenal in Madison Square was destroyed by fire.

The Society for Founding an Institution for the Blind, which Dr. Samuel Akerly had essayed to organize, from 1831, completed the buildings on Ninth Avenue, between Thirty­third and thirty­fourth streets.

Ice­boxes or refrigerators were for the first time introduced in the markets.

February 4, Wm. E. Burton first appeared in New York at the National Theatre. He was destined to have an important share in the dramatic affairs of the city.

At this time plays founded on the works of Dickens were coming in favor, before the dramatizations of Scott and Cooper had well begun to disappear. February 7, a stage version of "Oliver Twist" was produced at the Park, in which Charlotte Cushman offered her remarkable delineation of Nancy.

April 30, occurred the semi­centennial celebration of Washington's inauguration; the exercises under the care of the New York Historical Society. There was an ode by Wm. C. Bryant, and ex­President John Quincy Adams delivered an oration. The literary exercises were followed by a great dinner at the City Hotel.

In May arrived at this port from England, under canvas, a small iron steamer, the Robert F. Stockton, of thirty tons burthen. The Great Western completed on June 1 the shortest western passage then known, thirteen days. July 20, the British Queen arrived on her first voyage. She was then the largest steamer ever built; length over all, 275 feet; 2016 tons; 500 horse­power.

In July, President Van Buren visited New York and was received with a great military parade, which escorted him to Castle Garden, where he heard and replied to an address.

Trinity Church was demolished in this year, to make way for the present structure.

The New York and Harlem Railroad Company completed its double track from Harlem to the City Hall.

The entertainments of the Common Council in the "tea room" were very much enlarged from those of earlier days both in direction and scope, and early shad, strawberries and cream, and like delicacies could be found there in advance of their appearance at the tables of private citizens; on this point I write from experience. In more recent times, as from 1840, the status or standard of the representatives of the people deteriorated both in dignity of person and integrity of character, and the injudicious admission of "friends," supporters, contractors, lobbyists, etc., induced not only a laxity of decorum, but the introduction of wines, liquors, and segars, and very soon the weekly meetings in the "tea room" partook so much of the character of orgies that public opinion became aroused, and upon the election of Mr. Harper, he proceeded forthwith to suppress them, and succeeded not only in saving such an expense to the city, but in arresting a practice which occasionally partook more of the character of a debauch than an assemblage of representatives of the people, to whom their civic rights were confided.

May 6, the Bowery Theatre, rebuilt by Hamblin, was opened. Mrs. Shaw then appeared first at this house, where she continued long to be a favorite. June 13, John Gilbert was first seen in New York here, as Sir Edward Mortimer.

May 21, the dancers M. and Mme. Paul Taglioni were brought out at the Park. The former was a brother to the famous danseuse Marie Taglioni. His wife was esteemed inferior to none but Elssler. Nevertheless, they did not attract great houses.

May 30. A portion of the estate of the late Henry Eckford was sold at auction this day. Mr. Eckford purchased the property, consisting of a large country house, stables, shed, etc., fronting on Seventh and Eighth avenues, Twenty­first to Twenty­fourth streets, in November, 1824, from Clement C. Moore, for sixteen thousand dollars, 22.6 acres. At that time the surface of the ground was low and a great portion of it wet, so much so that the location as a residence was unhealthy. So wild was this purchase considered that friends of Eckford would jocosely ask him about his cow pasture, and if he intended to raise frogs, etc.

It was here that his daughter died, and his son John, who had just returned from travel abroad, lost his life in essaying to save her. She was ill with fever, and at night a spark from the fireplace before which she was reclining ignited her clothing; she rushed into her brother's room and he burned his hands, in endeavoring to quench the flames, to the extent that he died from tetanus.

This sale gave an average of a little in excess of fifty dollars per city lot.

Henry Clay visited the city in August, being escorted down Broadway from the steamboat landing at Hammond Street to the City Hall Park, where he was welcomed, and delivered an answering speech. On the next day he held a reception in the Governor's room of the City Hall. Mr. Clay was at this time a favorite candidate for the pending nomination of the Whigs for the Presidency, which was given by the Harrisburg Convention, in December, to General William Henry Harrison.

August. In the latter part of this month it was reported by the captain of an arriving vessel that a long, low, well­manned, suspicious schooner was seen by him off the New Jersey coast, and as the report in detail and authority warranted action on the part of the commandant of the naval station here, Commodore Ridgely ordered the steam frigate Fulton, Captain M. C. Perry, forthwith to proceed to sea in search of the reported craft.

The Fulton, after running down the New Jersey coast as far as Shark River, returned and anchored off the Hook, awaiting daylight, and when it appeared, she went seaward in a southeast course, and returned late in the evening to the Navy Yard.

This manner of proceeding on the part of Captain Perry was wholly at variance with the views of his officers (among whom I was one), who argued that if the vessel was of the character supposed, her captain would avoid the vicinity of Sandy Hook as being too near the presence of a revenue cutter or a naval cruiser; but would proceed to the south coast of Long Island to intercept an European vessel.

A few days after (the 3Ist) Lieutenant Gedney, in command of a United States Coast Survey schooner in Long Island Sound, captured the unresisting vessel near Montauk Point, where she had been run in to procure water. Upon investigation it appeared that her name was the Amistead, and that she had left Havana for a neighboring port with a number of slaves who had been just landed there, and that the slaves rose upon the crew, murdered some, and took possession of the vessel, sparing the two passengers, one of whom had been in command of a vessel and could navigate. He was ordered to take the schooner to Africa, but he deceived them and directed her here.

Upon the authorities in Connecticut taking possession of the vessel, Lieutenant Gedney having delivered her there, a body of fanatics, not satisfied with the emancipation of the slaves, conspired to arrest the two passengers who had purchased the slaves and succeeded in throwing them into prison, the result of which, added to what was to be done with the freed negroes, the vessel, etc., engendered a complication of questions of rights and duties, that seriously involved the amicable relations of the United States and Spain.

In illustration of the difference in the frequency and convenience of the method of travel compared with that of a later day: I in 1835 was required to visit Rahway, N. J., and taking the most expeditious route, I left in a steamboat from the foot of Battery Place, and after reaching Elizabethtown (now Elizabeth) I took stage to Rahway, and on my return, as the steamboat had returned to New York, I was compelled to take a private conveyance to Newark and from there I reached the city by stage.

September 7, Charles Kean appeared at the National as Hamlet, after a long absence. On the afternoon of the 23d, while the stage was set for his Richard, the house was burned. The fire involved the adjoining French Episcopal Church (du Saint Esprit), the African Methodist Church opposite, and a Dutch Reformed Church in Franklin, near Church Street. The French Church, built in 1822, was a handsome marble structure. Wallack transferred his company to Niblo's, beginning there on October T. when Vandenhoff, as Hamlet, appeared for the first time since his return from Europe.

Unfavorable business conditions prevailing in this year were heightened in October by the suspension of the Bank of the United States in Philadelphia, and of all the Philadelphia banks on the succeeding day.

November 27, died Samuel Ward, head of the great banking­house of Prime, Ward, King & Co. Mr. Ward's death, at the early age of fifty­five, was deeply felt in business and social life.

September 11, the New Chatham Theatre, built for Flynn & Willard on the south­east side of Chatham Street between James and Roosevelt streets, was opened.

October 5, fire, aided by a fresh wind, destroyed the block between Pearl and Water streets south of Fulton, besides fourteen buildings in Front Street, some in Water Street below Burling Slip, and even some in Fletcher Street.

In December the daguerreotype was first introduced in New York, exciting great interest and wonder.

December 14, died Robert Lenox, of Scotch parentage and birth, a successful merchant and a shrewd investor in land in the upper portion of the city. In the War of the Revolution his uncle* ((* David Sprout)) was the keeper of the dreaded prison­ship at the Wallabout, Brooklyn, and Robert was an individual assistant to his father, enjoying the highly remunerative position of supplying the prisoners with such articles as were not included in their meagre and ill­served rations.

Thaddeus Phelps, who lived at 109 Liberty Street, was connected with Fish & Grinnell in their line of Liverpool packets, and was well known as a citizen and a merchant. He usually expressed his views very decidedly and with emphasis. On one occasion of his riding in an omnibus on Broadway, an entering passenger trod on his foot, whereupon he used an expression not to be found in Lord Chesterfield's letters; and another well­known citizen, who was seated opposite to him, remarked, "Tush, tush, don't swear, friend Phelps;" to which the latter replied, "Never mind that; you pray and I swear, but neither of us means anything."

St. George's Society of New York, which was organized in 1786, was incorporated in this year. It assists needy English residents of this city or vicinity. Special attention given to destitute and helpless women and children.

The old or Boston Post Road from the corner of Twenty­third Street and Broadway to Harlem Bridge was closed in this year.

Captain John Ericsson arrived here, and in 1842 he designed the steam machinery and propeller for the United States steamer Princeton which was being constructed at the Navy Yard at Philadelphia, under the general direction of Captain R. F. Stockton, United States Navy.

December 9, Mitchell leased the Olympic, and opened it as a low­priced house for amusing entertainments. The house became the fashion, and a steady prosperity followed it for ten years. The bills for that time compose a marvel of variety. In April of the next year Mitchell brought out his "La Mosquito," a most amusing travesty of Fanny Elssler's "Tarantula," and an almost equally funny burlesque of her "Cracovienne"; these were very famous for a time.

December, 1839. New Chatham Theatre was reconstructed and opened as Purdy's National Theatre.

1840. The tunnel of the New York & Harlem Railroad at Yorkville was completed in this year.

Business was greatly depressed during the earlier portion of the year, and the growing political excitement in the famous "Singing Campaign," of "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too" prevented much revival. In March, the house and lot No. 11 Broadway-the lot thirty­nine feet front, by twenty­seven feet rear on Greenwich Street, and nearly two hundred feet deep-was sold by auction for only fifteen thousand dollars. Nevertheless as will be seen, the life of the town went on with much of its usual enjoyment.

January. Captain. Waite of the packet ship England, arrived here by the Northern route from Liverpool, by which he claimed to have shortened his passage from ten to fifteen days, and he showed his previous passages and his last to be as follows: 1837, thirty­five days; 1838, thirty­nine days, and the last, twenty­six.

January 13, the steamboat Lexington on Long Island Sound, hence to New London, at half­past seven in the evening took fire from sparks from the furnaces of her boiler, projected by the fan blower upon cotton bales stowed in a gangway. She burned and sank at three in the morning, and out of one hundred and fifty passengers and a crew of twenty­five, but four were saved. She carried also sixty thousand dollars in specie.

The indignation of the public in consequence of the neglectful manner in which the cotton was stowed, the insufficiency of life­saving instruments, and the great loss of life, was increased by the publication of the fact that a schooner commanded Terrell was within a few miles of the disaster, and in no wise essayed to approach and aid, although the wind was blowing so fresh that he could have readily arrived at the scene of the disaster in time to be of service.

January 27, the public stores and a dozen others in Front and South streets, near Dover, were burned, the loss on the public stores alone amounting to a million and a half.

January 30, died Stephen Price, who for many years was a joint lessee of the Park Theatre, first in 1807 with Thomas Cooper, the tragedian, and late with Edmund Simpson. Price and Cooper built and resided in the two elegant houses corner of Broadway and Leonard Street, afterward occupied as the Carlton House; then taken down and replaced by the stores of E. S. Jaffray & Co.

Price at one time was lessee of the Drury Lane Theatre in London. The association was Simpson & Price, the former being manager of the Park Theatre here, and the latter engaging actors and performers abroad. William M. Price, referred to on page 189, was a brilliant criminal lawyer, and subsequently district attorney here under General Jackson. He had a brother Benjamin, who one evening, in company with his wife at the theatre, took offence at the conduct of a British officer seated in an adjoining box; whereupon he entered the box where the officer was seated and wrung his nose, and upon the officer's declaring that he did not intend to offend the lady, Price in effect replied that he meant no offence either, and thus the matter rested for a while; but the absurdity of the officer's action becoming known at Montreal, where he was stationed, he was informed by his mess that he must challenge Price or suffer being put in Coventry. He then commenced the practice of pistolshooting, and soon after returned here, challenged Price, and shot him through the head at the first fire. He then took a boat and boarded a vessel leaving for Europe.

Some years after this, the captain who had been active in causing the return of the officer to challenge Price visited here, and Stephen Price learning of it, called and addressed him: "I have come to insult you. Is it necessary for me to knock you down?" "Not at all," was the reply. They and their seconds left the Navy Yard in company in one boat, proceeded to Bedlow's Island, and Price killed the captain at the first fire.

Later Price, taking offence at the attention of a lieutenant in the Navy to his wife, challenged him; they met at Weehawken, and Price was wounded in the leg. This lieutenant was the son of a gentleman who had been, a well­known soap manufacturer. Cooper, the former partner of Price, had married the sister of one of the brightest women of the day, who from that connection with Price was inimically disposed to the lieutenant, and when he, upon an occasion when she was present, was referring to his late cruise in the Mediterranean, and the pleasure he took in a land excursion there, she remarked, "You must have felt quite at home in Greece."

This same lady, in company one evening when a gentleman whose father had been a saddler gave a recital of the misdeeds of an actor, and erroneously charged them to her brother­in­law Cooper, remarked, "You have put the saddle on the wrong horse" I knew her intimately, and enjoyed her friendship.

January 31, a party of roughs on the East Side entered private houses and a German restaurant, 101 Elizabeth Street, when they broke tables, etc., and were fired upon by the keeper and his friends; killing one and wounding four others; the excitement consequent upon which led to a repetition of rioting for several subsequent nights.

February 24, Mr. and Mrs. Brevoort, at their house on Fifth Avenue, entertained their friends and some acquaintances at a fancy ball; it was the social event of the period, had been for a long while in preparation, and was pronounced a great success. A reporter of the Herald (Attree), on the application of the editor, was permitted to be present, appearing in costume.

This spring the first registry law for the City of New York came into force. The property qualification for voters was abolished under it, and with enlarged suffrage the quality of candidates for public office suffered a decline. Up to this period the men who took an active and prominent part in politics were of a very different class from those who came later. The Democrats having a place of meeting, Tammany Hall, and a chartered organization meeting monthly, their principal men were brought more into public notice than their opponents. Their party was supported by many well­known citizens, as Saul Alley, Stephen Allen, Gideon Lee, Walter Bowne, George Douglass, Campbell P. White, Chas. Graham, Cornelius W. Lawrence, Daniel Jackson; while a prominent representative of their opponents was Philip Hone.

Gradually, from this time, the elder men withdrew from active participation, and younger and, more ambitious men supplanted them, and finally, in the race for the emoluments of office, consideration of either the avowed principles of the party or the claims of its defenders was set aside.

While the registry law was pending in the Legislature, the Whigs held a meeting (March 27) in Masonic Hall to express their approbation, but members of the adverse party were there and interrupted the proceedings by their opposition. Being once expelled they returned in greater force, and a considerable disturbance ensued.

By this time the "log cabin" and "hard cider" political watchwords were in full cry. Some persons having reproached the Whigs with selecting for Presidential candidate a rude man who lived in a log cabin and drank only hard cider (though in fact General Harrison was of an old Virginian family used to the graces of good breeding), the Whigs had made good use of the averment, turning it to their own uses, and contrasting their candidate's plain living with the alleged luxury of Van Buren in the White House in a manner that wrought greatly upon the popular mind. In June they built a great log cabin in Broadway near Prince Street, which was dedicated to campaign purposes by a great meeting, and cider was provided in barrels; whence the campaign was universally known as the " Log Cabin and Hard Cider Campaign."

May 2, 1840, associated with Thomas McElrath, H. Greeley & Co. issued The Log Cabin simultaneously in this city and Albany, twenty thousand copies of which were disposed of in one day; then editions summing eight thousand were printed and the type distributed, reset, and another edition of ten thousand printed, all of which were sold. It­ was published at 30 Ann Street.

May 3, Fanny Elssler, a famous opera danseuse arrived in the Great Western, and appeared at the Park Theatre before an enormous audience on May 14, The grace of her movements was positively fascinating. Her debut was in La Cracovienne; the pit arose en masse and cheered her. A gentleman at my side, within two minutes after her appearance, remarked: "I have got my dollar's worth already." Her engagement continued for fifteen nights, and the house was crowded for the entire period. A plain account of the attention and interest aroused by Elssler, not only in New York but throughout the country, would scarcely be credited at this day. She remained for little more than a year in this country, and upon her return to Germany married and left the stage.

Late in June the Richmond Hill Theatre was reopened, transformed into a spacious saloon with concert stage, a change handsomely effected. The place was now named the Tivoli Gardens. The concerts did not attract the public, and after a short time vaudeville, at reduced prices, replaced them with better success.

In May a daguerreotype portrait was shown to me; it was one of the very first that had been taken here by the representative or agent of Mr. Daguerre; it was on a copper plate, silvered and polished, which having been bathed with the required chemical, the reflected rays from the sitter were received upon it. When finished and placed in a position proper to receive the light, some faint lines could be discovered, provided your eyesight was good; but in consequence of the sitter being necessitated to face a bright light for several minutes, the stress upon the eyes was such that a proper delineation of the features was impracticable. This was the operation in its primitive form, and in view of the successful development of it, it may be truly said, nihil simul est inventum aut perfectum

John C. Stevens had built at Cape's shipyard, Williamsburgh (now Brooklyn, E. D.), the schooner yacht On­ka­hy­e c from the design of his brother Robert L. Her futtocks were U­shaped, thus forming a deep but wide keel, operating like a long but shallow centre­board; being in fact an approach to a "fin keel" of the present time (1895). In 1842 she was purchased by the United States Government and employed in the Coast Survey.

In June the first Cunarder arrived at Boston by way of Halifax. It was supposed that making Boston the terminus would seriously interfere with the passenger business of New York, and Boston itself went wild with joy over the prospect of such rivalry; but as it turned out, some natural law, like that which makes great rivers run by great cities, brought the ships here, after all!

Cunard Line. As the steamers of this line were the first to bear a regular and Government Mail between England and this country, a detail of its early operation is of interest, and worthy of record for future reference and comparison with capacities and speed.

In this year Samuel Cunard of Halifax, associated with Messrs. Burns & McIver of Glasgow, organized the British and North American.Royal Mail Steam Packet Co., under a contract with the British Government for a bimonthly mail between Liverpool, Halifax, and Boston, with four steamers, for eighty thousand pounds sterling per annum. The steamers were the Britannia, Acadia, Caledonia, and Columbia; the first leaving Liverpool on Friday, the 4th of July, and arriving at Boston in fourteen days and eight hours, to the great delight of the Bostonians and their anticipation of commercial advancement in consequence, she having attained an average speed of eight and one­half knots per hour, with an expenditure of thirty­eight tons of coal per day. Whenever any question arose as to the present or future prospects of the cities of Boston and New York, we were uniformly met with, "We have a line of Liverpool steamers," which was held to settle the question of commercial superiority.

A great public meeting of the Whigs convened on September 28, in Wall Street, by the Merchants' Exchange, where Daniel Webster delivered an elaborate oration lasting more than two hours and a half. This was a notable event in New York political history, Webster being at or near his very best in this oration, and the mass of his auditory befog enormous for the time; it was carefully computed at 15,000 persons, the city's population being but 312,000 At the same hour a Democratic meeting was held in the Park, which also was very largely attended, so that "overflow" gatherings were organized and the crowd was addressed by four orators at once. At the distance of more than half a century, this campaign of 1840 remains distinctly preeminent for height and breadth of popular interest. At the New York election on November 4, in one city election district, with a registry of 670,664 votes were polled. Yet even under such circumstances, the total vote of the city amounted only to 43,000.

The general election continued through several days in the different States, which fact, together with the exceeding closeness of the vote in some quarters, delayed news of the final result and intensified the public excitement to a point almost unbearable. Considerable rioting and disorder occurred in New York, and it is almost literally true to say that, so long as the event was in doubt, nothing else was in men's minds; so that for several days business and pleasure were alike suspended, and no subject but the election was seriously mentioned.

The Marquis of Waterford, on a second visit to the country in this year, became notorious for his riotous proceedings at night; his several appearances before Police Justice Hopson were so frequent, and of such a character were the proceedings, that the public became much interested in them. His lordship's fame in nocturnal riots, in all the cities he visited, was notorious; and strange as it may appear, in all his conflicts with watchmen, he never received an injury but on one occasion, and that in Norway, and then, instead of being the aggressor, he was defending a woman when he was attacked by watchmen and wounded by them with their peculiar instrument of defence and attack, a bill­hook at the end of a pole.

August, Charlotte Cushman made her last appearance, and was much missed after her departure. August 31, Tyrone Power reappeared on his second visit. September 18, Mrs. Wood was heard again (in "Sonnambula") after four years' absence. She was greeted with enthusiasm and calls for "Wood," in spite of the untoward experience of that gentleman in former years. Under this encouragement he appeared on­October 1, and was well applauded.

September 30, Hackett, who had been known only as a comic actor, appeared as Lear.

December 21, John Graham, the English vocalist, who had come here with a great reputation, but with voice old and worn, made his first theatrical appearance at the Park in the "Siege of Belgrade." After which the theatre was closed for a brief interval. Within a week it reopened in a new guise, with the stage and pit connected; making a large apartment, in which promenade concerts were given, at twenty­five cents admission.

The Bowery, at this period, had become perhaps the most interesting street in the city, and so it remains, though with characteristics much altered from those of 1840. That date is about the mid­period of its peculiar notoriety as a native product, before the vast incursion of foreigners had given it its present cosmopolitan distinction. The "Bowery boy " (or b'hoy) and "Bowery gal" were at the height of their development as represented on the theatrical stage, with not overmuch exaggeration, by Chanfrau in the well remembered types of Mose, Sikesy, and Lize. The "Bowery boy" flourished in his own proper time, and departed, never to return. He was the outcome of conditions that will not exist again, being primarily a product of the volunteer fire department system, and appearing in an age when the comparative smallness of the city allowed marked social peculiarities to become prominent, which would be lost amid the mass of people and the whirl of things in which all forms of singularity now appear and pass, with but a moment's notice and comment. "Bowery boys" were not wholly admirable beings, but they had some qualities that were admirable, and were much to be preferred to any later varieties of the genus "rough." In their combats they were content with nature's weapons, avoiding murderous implements; they were mostly men of regular occupations and industry, the Boweryism being only their form of amusement in leisure hours; they were comparatively sober, and cultivated certain traits of manliness, especially a respect for women, which was traditional with them; and they were intensely American. Even the more strictly professional "bruisers," or prizefighters,-"Bill" Harrington, a man of mark in his time, "Tom" Hyer, and John Morrissey, "Bill" Poole, at a somewhat later day, and others of their class,-had points of comparative respectability.

The Bowery remains, and remains an absorbing study; but the Bowery of old remains no more than the Old Bowery Theatre, long since changed to the Thalia, and now become a Jewish theatre, with its front covered by bills of the play in Hebrew. It remains no more like the Bowery of 1840 than that was like the eighteenth­century country road. Traces of that condition my curious readers may find in the old milestones still remaining, one nearly opposite RivingtonStreet, another between Sixteenth and Seventeenth streets (in Third Avenue); the third appears to have been destroyed, but the fourth is in Third Avenue just above Fifty­seventh Street. These are all on the west side of the way-stout stones, deeply incised with advice to the travellers of the distance "to City Hall, New York." They are commonly plastered over with handbills, which should be forbidden; and surely every care should be taken to preserve in place, unharmed, these memorials of the past.

For years I passed through this street almost daily, and maintained the habit of visiting it occasionally at night, by way of a novel amusement. It would be enough perhaps to stroll there for an hour or two of an evening; watching the thronging East Side engaged in so many modes of money­getting, and such diverse diversions; wondering what manner of lives they are which these things nurture or destroy, and guessing at the "subtle ways" such people "keep, and pass, and turn again." An observer might be content thus to study the Bowery by bits on sidewalks or in shops; but it would be unwise for him to omit the theatres, where the population is massed for his leisurely regard. Formerly it was of course the Old Bowery Theatre where the quintessence of East Side character was concentrated. Its conversion, and the growing specialization among audiences, have left no place like in all points to the famous old house; still any Bowery gallery may contain an audience of the same general description as that which filled the upper tier of the Old Bowery on my last visit to it, a generation ago.

It was on a Saturday night, chosen because Saturday is a "gala night" in the vast quarter for which the Bowery is the chief avenue of traffic and pleasure; a night when wages, being just paid, are to be spent, and the long rest before Monday's work shall begin invites to multiform and deep indulgence. Passing through still and deserted Broadway in the early evening, and then along Canal Street, in company with a friend, we came to the turbulent Bowery. The contrast was forcible. The Bowery seemed just waking up, its day-the real day-was beginning. Already the sidewalks seemed full, and as hasty suppers were despatched, more and more came to jostle along the ways. The shops were all alight and full of chaffering buyers; the many shows had illuminated their signs of glass and gas; the doors of the great Atlantic Garden swung to and fro incessantly. The front of the Old Bowery Theatre flared brightly amid a grove of flags as the evening's audience began to climb the well­worn steps, studied the broad displays of posters, besieged the cavernous entrance to the fourth tier, or simply loafed in every­body's way. Up and down the street flamed strong­smelling lamps of turpentine, lighting the contents of the cheap stands, each one a centre of vociferous and eager trade. After a few minutes spent in the theatre to secure places where we could see the house to good advantage, we found, when we came out, that the roar of the street was perceptibly increased. The crowd had thickened, and the motion and confusion were greater. As we stood on the theatre steps regarding the liveliness of the scene, half a dozen fire­engines came by with the usual fierce clamor and headlong rush. If any thing were needed to complete the picture it was precisely this strong "effect" of the engines dashing through the crowded, gleaming street, amid the screams of women and the hoarse shouts of boys.

We strolled up the street, past pungent odors, past fruit stalls and stands of the roast­chestnut men, past shining shows of cutlery and spreads of trichinosial bologna carved to slabs of mottled salmon­pink, past drinking shops innumerable (now saloons-Credat Judaeus Apella), "Cheap Johns" and policy­shops, pawnbrokers and cigar shops, displays of Bowery millinery and faded dry goods; until we came to a "Cheap John" of unusual glare and pretension. "walk in, gentlemen," he cried, with swift and easy hospitality; "walk in and see the only truly American and great Cheap John, the benefactor of his country, the George Peabody of New York." This could not be resisted, so we walked in. The Cheap John cried his wares in a large high room hung about with an incongruous miscellany of goods, filled up across one end with much appearance of merchandise in bulk, with shelving along one side, in front of which was a counter enclosing a high platform upon which the Cheap John walked up and down, incessantly declaiming to a dense crowd. He was a short, stout fellow, unmistakably "truly American"; as unmistakably of the "bummer" class; with a great quantity of studied stock expressions, some vulgar, but all droll; besides not a little ready wit of the flash sort. It was give and take between him and his audience, the crowd commonly getting the worst of it. "Now, gentlemen," said the new Peabody, "the sacrifice will proceed. Who gives two dollars for a superb eight­bladed pocket­knife, the handle made of true father­of­pearl, with ends of solid silver an inch long? Show me the man who gives it, and I will show you a fool. Why, we only ask a dollar and a half- examine the finish closely"-here he made a feint to throw the opened knife among the crowd, whereupon some dodged. "Why, you needn't dodge," he said; "these knives are regular life­preservers, couldn't kill a man with one of them in the most savage and bloodthirsty fury; no chance of cutting your fingers with these knives-nice reliable family article-who'll buy? Who'll buy a knife with all the merits of a knife and none of the failin's, such as accidentally cuttin' people. How much?"

I offered fifty cents. "Sold again!" cried the Cheap John with dire emphasis, and every­body laughed.

An invoice of wonderful stockings followed, "made in England for the Emperor of Siam, and stolen from his caravan at great risk," by agents of the Cheap John. They were started at two dollars for four pairs, and sold in great quantities at the rate of four pairs for fifty cents. Then came a sale of "changeable tarpaulin"; there seemed to me to be genius in the idea of a changeable tarpaulin. Some Germans coming in, and engaging in the talk in an innocent fashion, were badgered in bad German by the salesman, and roundly abused in English, of which they knew scarce any thing. "You wonder how we can sell so low," said the Cheap John. "Why, exceptin' rent, nothin' costs us any thin' besides paper. Paper costs enormous, 'cause that's cash, and we use up lots of it for wrappers. But the things we wrap up, them we never buy on less than four months, and when the four months have passed, so have we-we have passed on. That's how we can sell so low, and save your money-be your best benefactors-'do good by stealth,' as the poet says. Don't go, gentlemen, going to have a free lunch at half­past ten [it was then about half­past seven]; just brought in another dog for the soup. Look out for your watches, and pass your money right in here for safekeepin'. There's a pickpocket just come in."

So there was, sure enough, and a policeman led him away. When we left-not with a policeman-the orator was just assuring his public that his was "a great charitable enterprise, the entire proceeds to be given to the poor." I have made selections from the Cheap John's eloquence; to report him at length would be to display his wit to greater advantage; but a report at length would involve corresponding increase of another dimension, and become too broad for family reading.

Coming down, the Bowery, which had become a very Babel, we went into the Atlantic Garden, a vast beerhall, crowded as we entered, though it was yet early, with a company of all ages and both sexes. Some had made family parties and were enjoying meals of that sort that only German digestion can assimilate; some sat moody over solitary mugs, and there were many couples of men and women, and knots of men. Few Americans were in the company, which was nearly pure German. There were dense clouds of tobacco­smoke, and hurry of waiters, and banging of glasses, and calling for beer, but no rowdyism; rarely are there rows at the German places of resort, so they are less interesting than they might be to the student of humanity.

It was well past the time of beginning when we returned to the Old Bowery Theatre, and crossing the worn and broken tiles of the vestibule passed within the "warm precincts" of the auditorium, captured a fugacious usher, and were conducted to our allotted quarter. The action of the play already had begun to involve its characters in mysteries inexplicable by the unassisted intellect. Issuing forth in quest of a house­bill, I was informed that they were all distributed. Enquiring then what was the title and drift of the drama, the humorous usher replied that he was blest if he knew. By dint of close application and much analogy, we determined that we were witnessing a version of the stock Irish play, in which a virtuous peasant­girl, and a high­minded patriot with knee­breeches and a brogue and an illicit whiskeystill, utterly expose and confound a number of designing dukes, lords, etc., who were assisted by a numerous family of murderers.

One feature of the play was the worn device of confounding the real action with imaginary action; the first act being of real life, and inducing the dream, which thereupon carried forward the story through complications and woful horrors until a happy waking in the last scene of the fourth act rewarded the virtue that had never been tempted, and utterly blasted the plotting vice that never had existed. The incidents were many and exciting. The scene where the midnight murderers prepared a grave for their coming victim (an afflicted lady who is to be deserted by her husband at this spot), and are affrighted at their noisome task by anguishing groans of the patriot, mourning the lady's unfaithfulness to him, as he distils unlawful potheen among the rocks overhead, was chilling in its awful gloom; while nothing could be finer than the manner in which the patriot, disinterestedly suffering his pots to boil over, came flying to the rescue of innocence over frightful pasteboard precipices and down deep descents of lumber, engaging the whole band of felons at once. "The combat deepens," thwack go the stuffed clubs, plunge the impossible daggers; the wounded ruffians reel and fall and struggle up again knee­high, discharging dreadful cuts at the legs of the deliverer. Those yet unhurt close in upon him, but only rip his machine­sewed shirt, receiving in return such fierce and telling blows that life departs from each in turn, till triumphant virtue takes one shuddering glance at success and faints in an agony of perspiration across the long­since­swooning body of the destined victim.

Summary of six corpses and quasi­corpses in painful attitudes-sudden effect of lime­light, and apparition of constabulary and red­coats (too late, as usual), as "the great green curtain fell on all," amid deafening shouts of "Hi!" " That's too thin!" and "Cheese it!" from pit to fourth tier.

We missed many of the points of this great drama, for the house was a study more interesting than the stage. We idled about somewhat, behind the seats of the balcony, with audible steps among thick­strewn peanutshells. In the front lobby we met a man whom some body had just "gone through," the check­taker and usher calmly comparing guesses concerning the offender. Clambering to the mephitic fourth tier, we watched, as long as untrained lungs could last in that atmosphere, the crowd of rough youth there compacted. Plenty of native sharpness was noticeable in speech and looks among those skyward seats, which doubtless contained also much native good, some of which would work itself clear in time and do something of account in the world; but ­the main expression of that crowd was of nursing vulgarity and vice, with an indescribable air of sordid ignorance and brutal, fierce impatience of all lovely, graceful, delicate things.

Though a promenade was worth making, the house could be best studied from our box. The whole effect was more interesting than any detached portions, and this was all before us-the pit and first tier below; the second tier meeting the box exactly at our level; overhead, the third tier, its thronging faces full in the flame of the gas; and, darkly above, the true Olympus of the gallery gods. There were no vacant seats. Steadily sloping upward from the footlights was lifted, row above row, the close­packed, stamping, shrieking, cat­calling, true Bowery crowd. The house contained a good number of women, rough­clad but of decent looks, some mothers of families with the families small and great together, and a few " children in arms," which the Bowery rules did not forbid. I saw but two gloved women in the audience; they, by force of their attire I suppose, felt a certain application of the saying, noblesse oblige, since they went much out of their way to be agreeable to us, and were very courteous and hospitably minded indeed.

Besides the proper and prevailing peanut, the spectators refreshed themselves with a great variety of bodily nutriment. Ham sandwich and sausage seemed to have precedence, being both portable and nourishing, but pork chops also were prominent, receiving the undivided attention of a large family party in the second tier, the members of which consumed chops with a noble persistence through all the intermissions; holding the small end of the bone in the hand and working downward from the meaty portion. The denuded bones were most of them playfully shied at the heads of acquaintances in the pit; if you never have seen it done, you can hardly fancy how well you can telegraph with pork­bones when the aim is sure; and if you hit the wrong man, you have only to look innocent and unconscious.

The Bowery audience was by no means content with inarticulate noise; besides the time­honored, technical modes of encouraging the players, there was full and free communication in speech, sometimes a set colloquy with the actors-which the audience counted on, and waited for with great expectancy. This the actors well understood, and when the Irish patriot had a line of particularly overpowering moral import, his sure way to make a point with it was to come down to the front, declaim it vociferously, and end by saying "Is that so, boys?" or "Don't you, boys?" or something of the kind, and then the acclaim and outcry were so loud and long that all babies in the house cried out the moment they could get a chance to be heard, which caused another terrible din, with uncomplimentary remarks about the infants, and "Cheese it!" again-always this cry, which, though it be, as I have learned, a highly plastic expression, yet, from the variety of its frequent application during the evening, must have come in sometimes with great irrelevance.

The second play was a burlesque of "Don Giovanni," with Leporello's part given to the clown, an amusing fellow and clever acrobat. The chief part of the story was preserved, though there were many cuts and not a few additions. The players earned their money. The orchestra never ceased its swift, lilting measures, as though for some endless, preternaturally quick quadrille, and the action of the stage was allowed no resting­place until the whole was done; so, notwithstanding great lack of appliances by way of machinery for transformations and the like, the thing went well by virtue of constant action and the utmost possible rapidity. Shipwreck gave the clown opportunity for an extravagant swimming scene, and when the Don kicked him out of a two­story window, his descent, clinging to the top of a ladder, and describing a great arc that landed him down by the footlights, was very skilfully made. The cream of the play was thought to be in the banqueting­scene, where the clown and an absurd old Irishwoman wrangled over a wash­bowl full of macaroni. The by­play of this scene is not to be here reported, though it pleased the audience greatly. Scarce any of the humor was more relished by most of the spectators than the exquisite device of throwing the macaroni at the orchestra­players, and finally at the "pay­people" in the pit. It cannot be pleasant to be wiped across the face with a string of wet macaroni, and probably those who were thus distinguished did not enjoy it, but all the others did, and the upper tiers howled approbation like a great company of demoniacs. The statue came for the Don at last, and the clown was too well frightened to throw macaroni then, so the hero went for his waiting gin­and­water, with profuse accompaniment of red devils and penny fire­works. When we came away at a quarter before twelve, the third piece, "The Babes in the Wood," was beginning, and the ridiculous heavy villains were just warming to their fiendish work.

Since that evening young men have grown old, but still I have a clear image of the old theatre; the crowd, the air, the crackling peanuts underfoot, the strayed reveller with empty pocket, the chops and sandwiches, the courteous gloved young women, the raging fourth tier, and eager, bent looks of the rough faces; the ceaseless lilt and drone of the music sounds in my ears (a dab of macaroni on the neck of the contrabass). I hear the swish of the Don's rapier and the thump of the clown's posteriors on the stage; the amusing strifes and murders take place again, and the "very tragical mirth." Indeed the single sensation of strangeness that comes from the absence of all familiar faces from among so many of one's own townspeople, was alone almost worth seeking.

Tryon Row, subsequently closed, ran in front of the Staats Zeitung Building from Chatham to Cross (now Park) Street. Two fire­engines and a hook­and­ladder company were located upon it.

Captain Schinley, R. A., who was in service at Waterloo, and was held to be over fifty years of age, with the connivance of the mistress of a young ladies' boarding­school in this city, married one of the pupils, not exceeding sixteen years of age, an heiress from Pittsburgh and of great wealth. The relative ages of the parties, the action of the schoolmistress, the great wealth of the bride, and the furtive manner in which the marriage was solemnized (if the word is applicable) by a police officer, with very restricted magisterial duties, contrived to arouse the animadvertence of the relatives of the bride and the entire community. Bennett of the

Herald for a long time after frequently asked "Who married Captain Schinley?" until the delinquent was goaded into responsive action and the question ceased.

The premises on Fifth Avenue between Twenty­third and Twenty­fourth streets were occupied by Corporal Thompson as a well­known and popular way­side house of entertainment, who continued there for several years; the location being subsequently occupied by Franconi's Hippodrome (see 1853) and in 1858 by the Fifth Avenue Hotel. This was the stopping place of pedestrians or loungers. Gramercy Park, although designed several years earlier, was not laid out nor improved before this year. This pretty place owes its existence to the munificence of the late Samuel B. Ruggles.