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The Secrets Of The Great City by Edward Winslow Martin

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A Work Descriptive of the Virtues and the Vices,
the Mysteries, Miseries and Crimes of New York City





The City of New York is the largest and most important in America. Its
corporate limits embrace the whole of Manhattan Island, on which it is
situated, and which is bounded by the Hudson, the East and Harlem
rivers, and by Spuyten Duyvil creek, which last connects the Harlem
with the Hudson. Being almost entirely surrounded by deep water, and
lying within sight of the ocean, and only sixteen miles from it, the
city is naturally the greatest commercial centre of the country. The
extreme length of the island is fifteen miles, and its average breadth
a mile and a half. The city lies at the head of New York Bay, which
stretches away for miles until the Narrows, the main entrance to the
harbor, are reached, presenting a panorama unsurpassed for natural and
artificial beauty. The people of New York are very proud of their bay,
and justly regard it as one of the most magnificent in the world.

The city was originally settled by the Dutch, toward the close of the
year 1614, and called by them New Amsterdam. In 1664, it passed into
the hands of the English, and was named New York, which name was also
given to the whole province. The first settlement was made at the
extreme lower part of the island, on the spot now known as the Battery.
A fort was erected, and the little hamlet surrounded by a strong
stockade as a protection against the savages. The first settlers were
eminently just in their dealings with the red men, and purchased the
island from them, giving them what was considered by all parties a fair
price for it. They felt sure that their new home was destined to become
a place of importance in the course of time. Its commercial advantages
were evident at a glance; the climate was delightful, being neither so
rigorous as that of the Eastern colonies, nor so enervating as that of
the Southern. The hopes of the founders of New York are more than
realized in the metropolis of to-day.

The city grew very slowly at the beginning. In 1686, it was regularly
incorporated by a charter. In 1693, the first printing press was set up
in the city by William Bradford. In 1690, New York contained five
hundred and ninety-four houses and six thousand inhabitants. In 1790,
one hundred years later, the city had a population of thirty-three
thousand. It was not until the beginning of the present century that it
commenced that wonderful growth which has given it its present
importance. At first it spread more rapidly on the east side than on
the west. As late as the close of the Revolution, what is now Chambers
street was the extreme upper limit, and its line was marked by a strong
stockade, built across from river to river, with gates leading to the
various country roads which traversed the upper part of the island.

The City of New York now extends from the Battery to the Harlem river
and Spuyten Duyvil creek, and is built up with great regularity as far
as One-hundred and Thirtieth street. Harlem, Yorkville, Manhattanville,
Bloomingdale, Carmansville, and Washington Heights or Fort Washington,
were all originally separate villages, but are now parts of the great
city. The island comes to a point at the Battery, and from this
extremity stretches away northward like a fan. It attains its greatest
width at Fourteenth and Eighty-seventh streets. Broadway is the longest
street, running from, the Battery to Spuyten Duyvil creek, a distance
of fifteen miles. It is lighted with gas along the entire line. Street
railways and omnibus lines connect the various parts of the city,
affording cheap and rapid transportation within its limits. Ferry boats
ply constantly between the island and the neighboring shores, and
railroads and steamboats connect it with all parts of the world.


The population of New York is over one million of inhabitants. This
does not include the immense throng of visitors for business and
pleasure. It is estimated that forty thousand of these arrive and
depart daily. During times of more than ordinary interest--such as a
national convention of some political party, the meeting of some great
religious body, the world's fair, or some such special attraction--
these arrivals are greatly increased. During the recent session of the
Democratic National Convention, in July, 1868, the number of strangers
present in the city was estimated at two hundred thousand. The amount
of money brought into the city by these strangers is astonishing.
Millions are spent by them annually during their visits to the

The population is made up from every nation under Heaven. The natives
are in the minority. The foreign element predominates. Irishmen,
Germans, Jews, Turks, Greeks, Russians, Italians, Spaniards, Mexicans,
Portuguese, Scotch, French, Chinese--in short, representatives of every
nationality--abound. These frequently herd together, each class by
itself, in distinct parts of the city, which they seem to regard as
their own.

Land is very scarce and valuable in New York, and this fact compels the
poorer classes to live in greater distress than in most cities of the
world. The whole number of buildings in the city in 1860 was fifty-five
thousand, which includes churches, stores, etc. In the same year the
population was eight hundred and five thousand, or one hundred and
sixty-one thousand families. Of these fifteen thousand only occupied
entire houses; nine thousand one hundred and twenty dwellings contained
two families, and six thousand one hundred contained three families. As
we shall have to recur to this subject again, we pass on now, merely
remarking that these "tenement sections" of the city, as they are
called, are more crowded now than ever, the increase in buildings
having fallen far behind the increase of the population in the last
eight years.

This mixed population makes New York a thorough cosmopolitan city; yet
at the same time it is eminently American. Although the native New York
element is small in numbers, its influence is very great. Besides this,
numbers flock to the city from all parts of the Union, and this
constant influx of fresh American vitality does much to keep the city
true to the general character of the country.

It has been well said, that "New York is the best place in the world to
take the conceit out of a man." This is true. No matter how great or
flattering is the local reputation of an individual, he finds upon
reaching New York that he is entirely unknown. He must at once set to
work to build up a reputation here, where he will be taken for just
what he is worth, and no more. The city is a great school for studying
human nature, and its people are proficients in the art of discerning

In point of morality, the people of New York, in spite of all that has
been said of them, compare favorably with those of any other city. If
the darkest side of life is to be seen here, one may also witness the
best. The greatest scoundrels and the purest Christians are to be found
here. It is but natural that this, being the great centre of wealth,
should also be the great centre of all that is good and beautiful in
life. It is true that the Devil's work is done here on a gigantic
scale, but the will of the Lord is done on an equally great, if not a
greater, scale. In its charities New York stands at the head of
American communities--the great heart of the city throbs warmly for
suffering humanity. The municipal authorities expend annually seven
hundred thousand dollars in public charities. The various religious
denominations spend annually three millions more, and besides this the
city is constantly sending out princely sums to relieve want and
suffering in all parts of our broad land.

The people of New York are the most liberal of any in America in
matters of opinion. Here, as a general rule, no man seeks to influence
the belief of another, except so far as all men are privileged to do
so. Every religious faith, every shade of political opinion, is
tolerated and protected. Men concern themselves with their own affairs
only. Indeed, this feeling is carried to such an extreme that it has
engendered a decided indifference between man and man. People live for
years as next door neighbors, without ever knowing each other by sight.
A gentleman once happened to notice the name of his next door neighbor
on the door-plate. To his surprise he found it the same as his own.
Accosting the owner of the door-plate one day, for the first time, he
remarked that it was singular that two people bearing the same name
should live side by side for years without knowing each other. This
remark led to mutual inquiries and statements, and to their surprise
the two men found they were brothers--sons of the same parents. They
had not met for many years, and for fully twelve years had lived side
by side as neighbors, without knowing each other. This incident may be
overdrawn, but it will illustrate a peculiar feature of New York life.

Strangers coming to New York are struck with the fact that there are
but two classes in the city--the poor and the rich. The middle class,
which is so numerous in other cities, hardly exists at all here. The
reason of this is plain to the initiated. Living in New York is so
expensive that persons of moderate means reside in the suburbs, some of
them as far as forty miles in the country. They come into the city, to
their business, in crowds, between the hours of seven and nine in the
morning, and literally pour out of it between four and seven in the
evening. In fair weather the inconvenience of such a life is trifling,
but in the winter it is absolutely fearful. A deep snow will sometimes
obstruct the railroad tracks, and persons living outside of the city
are either unable to leave New York, or are forced to spend the night
on the cars. Again, the rivers will be so full of floating ice as to
render it very dangerous, if not impossible, for the ferry boats to
cross. At such times the railroad depots and ferry houses are crowded
with persons anxiously awaiting transportation to their homes. The
detention in New York, however, is not the greatest inconvenience
caused by such mishaps. Many persons are frequently unable to reach the
city, and thus lose several days from their business, at times when
they can ill afford it.

We have already referred to the scarcity of houses. The population of
the city increases so rapidly that house-room cannot be provided for
all. House rent is very high in New York. A house for a family of six
persons, in a moderately respectable neighborhood, will rent for from
sixteen hundred to twenty-five hundred dollars, the rate increasing as
the neighborhood improves. On the fashionable streets, houses rent for
from six thousand to fifteen thousand dollars per annum. These, it must
be remembered, are palatial. Many persons owning these houses, live in
Europe, or in other parts of the country, and pay all their expenses
with the rent thus secured.

In consequence of this scarcity of dwellings, and the enormous rents
asked for them, few families have residences of their own. People of
moderate means generally rent a house, and sub-let a part of it to
another family, take boarders, or rent furnished or unfurnished rooms
to lodgers.

Furniture is expensive, and many persons prefer to rent furnished
houses. These are always in demand, and in good localities command
enormous prices. Heavy security has to be given by the lessee in such
cases, as, without this, the tenant might make away with the furniture.
Many persons owning houses for rent, furnish them at their own expense,
and let them, the heavy rent soon paying a handsome profit on the

Persons living in a rented house are constantly apprehensive. Except in
cases of long leases, no one knows how much his rent may be increased
the next year. This causes a constant shifting of quarters, and is
expensive and vexatious in the highest degree. It is partly due to the
unsettled condition of the currency, but mainly to the scarcity of

Many--indeed; the majority of the better class of inhabitants--prefer
to board. Hotels and boarding houses pay well in New York. They are
always full, and their prosperity has given rise to the remark that,
"New York is a vast boarding house." We shall discuss this portion of
our subject more fully in another chapter.

To persons of means, New York offers more advantages as a place of
residence than any city in the land. Its delightful climate, its
cosmopolitan and metropolitan character, and the endless variety of its
attractions, render it the most delightful home in America. That this
is true is shown by the fact that few persons who have lived in New
York for twelve months ever care to leave it. Even those who could do
better else where are powerless to resist its fascinations.

[Illustration: Broadway, as seen from The St. Nicholas Hotel.]



The City of New York has been regularly laid out and surveyed for a
distance of twelve miles from the Battery. It has over two hundred
miles of paved streets. Most of the streets in the old Dutch city are
crooked and narrow, but above that they are broader, and better laid
on; and after passing Fulton street, they become quite regular. Above
Fourteenth street, the city is laid off in regular squares. First
street is located about a mile and four fifths above the Battery. From
this the cross streets extend to Two hundred and twenty-eighth street.

The lengths of the blocks, between First and One-hundred and twenty-
first streets, vary from one hundred and eighty-one to two hundred and
eleven feet eleven inches.

Those between the avenues (which run at right angles to the streets),
vary from four hundred and five to nine hundred and twenty feet.

The avenues are all one hundred feet wide, excepting Lexington and
Madison, which are seventy-five, and Fourth Avenue, above Thirty-fourth
street, which is one hundred and forty feet wide.

The numerical streets are all sixty feet wide, excepting Fourteenth,
Twenty-third, Thirty-fourth, Forty-second, and eleven others, north of
these, which are one hundred feet wide.

There are twelve fine avenues at parallel distances apart of about
eight hundred feet. They begin about First or Fourth street, and run to
the end of the island. Second and Eighth are the longest, and Fifth and
Madison the most fashionable.


The most wonderful street in the world is Broadway. It extends, as we
have said, the whole length of the island. But its most attractive
features are between the Bowling Green and Thirty-fourth street--the
chief part of these being below Fourteenth street. The street is about
sixty feet wide, and is thronged with vehicles of every description.
Often times these vehicles crowd the streets to such an extent that
they become "jammed," and the police are forced to interfere and compel
the drivers to take the routes assigned them. The scene at such a time
is thrilling. A stranger feels sure that the vehicles cannot be
extricated without loss of life or limb to man or beast, and the shouts
and oaths of the drivers fairly bewilder him. In a few moments,
however, he sees a squad of policemen approach, and plunge boldly into
the throng of vehicles. The shouts and oaths of the drivers cease, the
vehicles move on, one at a time, according to the orders of the police,
and soon the street is clear again, to be blocked, perhaps, in a
similar manner, in less than an hour. Twenty thousand vehicles daily
traverse this great thoroughfare.

It is always a difficult matter to cross Broadway in the busy season.
Ladies, old persons, and children, find it impossible to do so without
the aid of the police, whose duty it is to make a way for them through
the crowds of vehicles. A bridge was erected at the corner of Broadway
and Fulton street, which is the most crowded part of the city, for the
purpose of allowing pedestrians to cross over the heads of the throng
in the street. It proved a failure, however. Few persons used it,
except to see from it the magnificent panorama of Broadway, and the
city authorities have ordered it to be taken down. It disfigures the
street very much, and its removal will be hailed with delight by the
native population.

Broadway properly begins at the Bowling Green. From this point it
extends in a straight line to Fourteenth street and Union Square. Below
Wall street, it is mainly devoted to the "Express" business, the
headquarters and branch offices of nearly all the lines in the country
centering here. Opposite Wall street, on the west side of Broadway, is
Trinity Church and its grave-yard. From Wall street to Ann street,
Insurance Companies, Real Estate Agents, Bankers and Brokers
predominate. At the corner of Ann street, is the magnificent "Herald
Office," adjoining which is the "Park Bank," one of the grandest
structures in the country. Opposite these are the Astor House and St.
Paul's Church. Passing the Astor House, the visitor finds the Park,
containing the City Hall, on his right. Across the Park are Park Row
and Printing House Square, containing all the principal newspaper
offices of the city. Old Tammany Hall once stood on this Square, but
the site is now occupied by the "The Sun," and "Brick Pomeroy's
Democrat"--_Arcades Ambo_.

Beyond the City Hall, at the north-east corner of Chambers street and
Broadway, is "Stewart's marble dry goods palace," as it is called. This
is the _wholesale_ warehouse of A. T. Stewart & Co., and occupies the
entire block. The _retail_ department of this great firm, is higher up
town. Passing along, one sees, in glancing up and down the cross
streets, long rows of marble and brown stone warehouses, stretching
away for many blocks on either hand, and affording proof positive of
the immensity and success of the business transacted in this locality.

Opposite Pearl street is the New York Hospital, standing back amidst
its noble old trees; the yard is cut off from the street by an iron
railing. Crossing Canal street, the widest and most conspicuous we have
yet passed over, we see the handsome establishment of Lord & Taylor.
rivals to Stewart, in the retail dry goods trade; on the corner of
Grand street. The brown stone building opposite, is Brooks' clothing
house, the largest and finest in the country. Between Broome and Spring
streets, are the marble and brown stone buildings of the famous St.
Nicholas Hotel. On the block above, and opposite, is Tiffany's, too
well known to need a description. On the corner of Prince street, is
Ball & Black's, a visit to which palace is worth a trip to the city.
Diagonally opposite is the Metropolitan Hotel, in the rear of which is
the theatre known as Niblo's Garden. Above this we pass the Olympic
Theatre, the great Dollar store, the Southern Hotel, the New York
Hotel, the New York Theatre, and Goupil's famous art gallery. On the
corner of Tenth street, is a magnificent iron building, painted white.
This is Stewards up town, or retail store. It is always filled with
ladies "shopping," and the streets around it are blocked with
carriages. Throngs of elegantly dressed ladies pass in and out, the
whole scene being animated and interesting. Above this is Grace Church,
one of the most beautiful religious structures in the city. On the
corner of Thirteenth street, is Wallack's Theatre. At Fourteenth
street, we find a handsome square, formerly a fashionable place of
residence, but now giving way to business houses and hotels. This is
Union Square. Passing around it, Broadway runs in a north-westerly
direction, and at the intersection of the great thoroughfare with Fifth
Avenue, at Twenty-third street, we see the magnificent front of the
Fifth Avenue Hotel. On the block beyond are the Albemarle and Hoffman
Houses, with the St. James a little above. Opposite are the Worth
Monument and Madison Square. Above this are several minor hotels, and
Wood's Theatre. The street is but little improved above Thirty-fourth

Below Twenty-third street, and especially below Union Square, Broadway
is built up magnificently. Marble, brown stone, and iron warehouses,
extend in long rows on each side of the street. There are some old
shanties still standing on the great thoroughfare, but they are rapidly
disappearing, and in a few years will be entirely gone. The view from
any point below Fourteenth street, ranges from Union Square to the
Bowling Green, and is grand and exhilarating beyond description. The
windows of the stores are filled with the gayest and most showy goods.
Jewels, silks, satins, laces, ribbons, household goods, silver ware,
toys, paintings; in short, rare, costly, and beautiful objects, greet
the gazer on every hand.

There are no railroad tracks on Broadway below Fourteenth street; the
public travel is done by means of omnibusses, or stages, as they are
called. Several hundred of these traverse the street from the lower
ferries as far up as Twenty-third street, turning off at various points
into the side streets and avenues. At night the many colored lamps of
these vehicles add a striking and picturesque feature to the scene.
They are filled with all sorts of people.

The Broadway side walks are always crowded, and this throng of passers-
by is, to our mind, the most attractive feature of the busy scene.
Every class and shade of nationality and character is represented here.
America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and even Oceanica, has each its
representatives here. High and low, rich and poor, pass along these
side-walks, at a speed peculiar to New York, and positively bewildering
to a stranger. No one seems to think of any person but himself, and
each one jostles his neighbor or brushes by him with an indifference
amusing to behold. Fine gentlemen in broad cloth, ladies in silks and
jewels, and beggars in squalidness and rags, are mingled here in true
Republican confusion. The bustle and uproar are very great, generally
making it impossible to converse in an ordinary tone. From early
morning till near midnight this scene goes on.

A gentleman from the remote interior, once put up at the St. Nicholas
Hotel. He came to the City on urgent business, and told a friend who
was with him, that he intended to start out early the next morning.
This friend saw him, about noon the next day, waiting at the door of
the St. Nicholas Hotel, surveying the passing crowd with an air of

"Have you finished your business?" he asked.

"No," said the gentleman, "I have not yet started out. I've been
waiting here for three hours for this crowd to pass by, and I see no
signs of it doing so."

The friend, pitying him, put him in a stage, and started him off,
telling him that crowd usually took twenty-four hours to pass that

At night the scene changes. The crowd of vehicles on the street is not
so dense, and the "foot passengers" are somewhat thinned put. The lower
part of the city, which is devoted exclusively to business, is
deserted. For blocks the only persons to be seen are the policemen on
their beats. Above Canal street, however, all is life and bustle. The
street is brilliantly lighted. The windows of the stores and
restaurants, and the lamps of the theatres and concert saloons, add
greatly to the general illumination, while the long lines of the red,
green, and blue lights of the stages, rising and falling with the
motion of the vehicles, add a novelty and beauty to the picture.
Strains of music or bursts of applause, float out on the night air from
the places of amusement, not all of which are reputable. The street is
full of all kinds of people, all of whom seem to be in high spirits,
for Broadway is a sure cure for the "blues." One feature mars the
scene. At every step, almost, one passes women and girls, and even mere
children, seeking for company, and soliciting passers by with their
looks and manner, and sometimes by open words. The police do not allow
these women to stop and converse with men on the street, and when they
find a companion, they dart with him down a side street. This goes on
until midnight. Then the street gradually becomes deserted, and for a
few hours silence reigns in Broadway.


Leaving the City Hall, and passing through Chatham street, one suddenly
emerges from the dark, narrow lane, into a broad square, with streets
leading from it to all parts of the city. It is not overclean, and has
an air of sharpness and repulsiveness that at once attract attention.
This is Chatham Square, the great promenade of that class generally
known as "the fancy."

At the upper end of the Square is a broad, well paved, flashy looking
street, stretching away to the northward, crowded with street cars,
vehicles of all kinds, and pedestrians. This is the Bowery. It begins
at Chatham Square, and extends as far as the Cooper Institute on Eighth
street, where Third and Fourth Avenues, the first on the right hand,
the other on the left, continue the thoroughfare to the Harlem river.

The Bowery first appears in the history of New York under the following
circumstances. About 1642 or 1643, it was set apart by the Dutch as the
residence of superannuated slaves, who, having served the Government
faithfully from the earliest period of the settlement of the island,
were at last allowed to devote their labors to the support of their
dependent families, and were granted parcels of land embracing from
eight to twenty acres each. The Dutch were influenced by other motives
than charity in this matter. The district thus granted was well out of
the limits of New Amsterdam, and they were anxious to make this negro
settlement a sort of breakwater against the attacks of the Indians, who
were beginning to be troublesome. At this time the Bowery was covered
with a dense forest. A year or two later, farms were laid out along its
extent. These were called "Boweries," from which the present street
derives its name. Bowery No. I. was bought by Governor Stuyvesant. His
house stood about where the present St. Mark's (Episcopal) Church is
located. In 1660, or near about that year, a road or lane was laid off,
through what are now Chatham street, Chatham Square, and the Bowery, to
the farm of Governor Stuyvesant, beyond which there was no road. To
this was given the distinctive name of the "Bowery Lane." In 1783, the
Bowery again came into prominent notice. On the 25th of November of
that year, the American army, under General Washington, marched into
the Bowery early in the morning, and remained until noon, when the
British troops evacuated the city and its defences. This done, the
Americans marched down the Bowery, through Chatham and Pearl streets,
to the Battery, where they lowered the British flag, which had been
left flying by the enemy, and hoisted the "Stars and Stripes" of the
new Republic.

[Illustration: Broadway, looking up from Exchange Place.]

After the city began to extend up the island, the Bowery, which had
been eminently respectable in its earlier history, lost caste. Decent
people left it, and the poorer and more disreputable classes took
possession. Finally, it became notorious. It was noted for its roughs,
its rowdy firemen, its courtezans--in short, it was the paradise of the
worst elements of New York. The march of trade and improvement along
the east side of the city has effected a partial reformation, but still
the Bowery is generally regarded as one of the doubtful localities of
the city.

The street runs parallel with Broadway, and is about a mile in length.
It is much wider than the latter thoroughfare. It is tolerably well
built up; and is improving in this respect every year. In connection
with Chatham Square, it is the great route from the lower part of the
island to the Harlem river on the east side. It is devoted principally
to the cheap trade. The Jews abound here. The display of goods in the
shops is attractive, but flashy. Few persons who have the means to buy
elsewhere, care to purchase an article in the Bowery, as those familiar
with it know there are but few reliable dealers along the street.
Strangers from the country, servant girls, and those who are forced to
put up with an inferior article from the want of a few dollars, and
often a few cents, to buy a better one, trade here. As a general rule,
the goods sold are of an inferior, and often worthless, quality, and
the prices asked are high, though seemingly cheap. Large fortunes are
made by the Bowery merchants, who, with but few exceptions, are adepts
in the art of swindling their customers.

Pawnbrokers' shops, "Cheap Johns," second class hotels, dance houses,
fifth rate lodging houses, low class theatres, and concert saloons,
abound in the lower part of the street.

The Sunday law, which, seems to be so rigidly enforced in other parts
of the city, is a dead letter in the Bowery. Here on Sunday, one may
see shops of all kinds--the vilest especially--open for trade. Cheap
clothing-stores, etc., concert saloons, and the most infamous dens of
vice, are in full blast. The street, and the cars traversing it, are
thronged with the lower classes, in search of what they call enjoyment.
At night all the places of amusement are open, and are crowded to
excess. Boughs, thieves, fallen women, and even little children, throng
them. Indeed, it is sad to see how many children are to be found in
these vile places. The price of admission is low, and, strange as it
may sound, almost any beggar can raise it. People have no idea how much
of the charity they lavish on street beggars goes in this direction.
The amusement afforded at these places ranges from indelicate hints and
allusions to the grossest indecency.

Another feature of the Bowery is the immense beer-gardens with which it
abounds. We refer to those of the better class, which are patronized
chiefly by the German element of the city. These are immense buildings,
fitted up in imitation of a garden. Some are very handsomely frescoed,
and otherwise adorned. They will accommodate from four hundred to
twelve hundred guests. Germans carry their families there to spend a
day, or an evening. Clubs, parties of friends, and public societies,
often pay such visits to these places. Some carry their own provisions;
others purchase them from the proprietor. There is no admittance fee:
the entrance is free. Beer and other liquids are served out at a small
cost. Guests are coming and going all the time. Sometimes as many as
five thousand people will visit one of these places in the course of an
evening. The music is a great attraction to the Germans. It is
exquisite in some places, especially in the Atlantic Garden, which is
situated in the Bowery, near Canal street.

[Illustration: City Hall]

The profits are enormous; the proprietors frequently realize handsome
fortunes in the course of a few years. Were these places all the
Germans claim for them; they would be unobjectionable; but there is no
disguising the fact that they encourage excess in drinking, and offer
every inducement for a systematic violation of the Sabbath.

Besides these, there are saloons and gardens where none but the
abandoned are to be seen. These will be noticed further on.

Respectable people avoid the Bowery, as far as possible, at night; but
on Sunday night, few but those absolutely compelled to visit it, are to
be seen within its limits. Every species of vice and crime is abroad at
this time, watching for its victims. Those who do not wish to fall into
trouble should keep out of the way.


The Avenues of New York commence with First Avenue, which is the second
east of the Bowery. They are numbered regularly to the westward until
Twelfth Avenue is reached. This street forms the western shore of the
island in the extreme upper part of New York. East of First Avenue,
above Houston street, there are five short avenues, called A, B, C, D,
E,--the first being the most westerly. There are also other shorter
avenues in the city, viz.: Lexington, commencing at Fourteenth street,
lying between Third and Fourth Avenues, and extending to Sixty-sixth
street; and Madison, commencing at Twenty-third street, lying between
Fourth and Fifth Avenues, and running to Eighty-sixth street. Second
and Eighth are the longest. Third Avenue is the main street of the east
side, above Eighth street Eighth Avenue is the great thoroughfare on
the west side Hudson street, of which Eighth Avenue is a continuation
is rapidly becoming the West-side Bowery. Fifth and Madison are the
most fashionable, and are magnificently built up with private
residences, along almost their entire length. The cross streets
connecting them, in the upper part of the city, are also handsomely
laid off, and are filled with long rows of fine brown-stone and marble

The streets of New York are well laid off, and are paved with an
excellent quality of stone. The side-walks generally consist of immense
stone "flags." In the lower part of the city, in the poorer and
business sections, they are dirty, and always out of order. In the
upper part they are clean, and are often kept so by private

The avenues on the eastern and western extremities of the city are the
abodes of poverty, want, and often of vice, hemming in the wealthy and
cleanly sections on both sides. Poverty and wealth are close neighbors
in New York. Only a block and a half back of the most sumptuous parts
of Broadway and Fifth Avenue, want and suffering, vice and crime, hold
their court. Fine ladies can look down from their high casements upon
the squalid dens of their unhappy sisters.



The City of New York is governed by a Mayor, a Board of Aldermen and a
Board of Common Councilmen. The Mayor has been stripped by the
Legislature of the State of almost every power or attribute of power,
and is to-day merely an ornamental figure-head to the City government.
The real power lies in the Boards named above, and in the various
"Commissioners" appointed by the Legislature. These are the
Commissioners in charge of the streets, the Croton Aqueduct, Public
Charities and Corrections, the Police and Fire Departments.

We do not seek to lay the blame for the mismanagement and infamy of the
government of this City on any party or parties. It is a fact that
affairs here are sadly mismanaged, whoever may be at fault.

In place of any statements of our own concerning this branch of our
subject, we ask the reader's attention to the following extracts from a
pamphlet recently published by Mr. James Parton. He says:

The twenty-four Councilmen who have provided themselves with such ample
assistance at such costly accommodation are mostly very young men,--the
majority appear to be under thirty. Does the reader remember the
pleasant description given by Mr. Hawthorne of the sprightly young bar-
keeper who rainbows the glittering drink so dexterously from one
tumbler to another? That sprightly young barkeeper might stand as the
type of the young men composing this board. There are respectable men
in the body. There are six who have never knowingly cast an improper
vote. There is one respectable physician, three lawyers, ten mechanics,
and only four who acknowledge to be dealers in liquors. But there is a
certain air about most of these young Councilmen which, in the eyes of
a New-Yorker, stamps them as belonging to what has been styled of late
years "our ruling class,"--butcher-boys who have got into politics,
bar-keepers who have taken a leading part in primary ward meetings, and
young fellows who hang about engine-houses and billiard-rooms. A
stranger would naturally expect to find in such a board men who have
shown ability and acquired distinction in private business. We say,
again, that there are honest and estimable men in the body; but we also
assert, that there is not an individual in it who has attained any
considerable rank in the vocation which he professes. If we were to
print the list here, not a name would be generally recognized. Honest
Christopher Pullman, for example, who leads the honest minority of six
that vainly oppose every scheme of plunder, is a young man of twenty-
seven, just beginning business as a cabinet maker. Honest William B.
White, another of the six, is the manager of a printing office. Honest
Stephen Roberts is a sturdy smith, who has a shop near a wharf for
repairing the iron work of ships. Morris A. Tyng, another of the honest
six, is a young lawyer getting into practice. We make no remark upon
these facts, being only desirous to show the business standing of the
men to whom the citizens of New York have confided the spending of
sundry millions per annum. The majority of this board are about equal,
in point of experience and ability, to the management of an oyster
stand in a market. Such expressions as 'them laws,' 'sot the table,'
'71st rigiment,' and 'them arguments is played out,' may be heard on
almost any Monday or Thursday afternoon, between two and three o'clock,
in this sumptuous chamber.

But what most strikes and puzzles the stranger is the crowd of
spectators outside the railing. It is the rogues' gallery come to life,
with here and there an honest looking laborer wearing the garments of
his calling. We attended six sessions of this 'honorable body,' and on
every occasion there was the same kind of crowd looking on, who sat the
session out. Frequently we observed looks and words of recognition pass
between the members and this curious audience; and, once, we saw a
member gayly toss a paper of tobacco to one of them, who caught it with
pleasing dexterity. We are unable to explain the regular presence of
this great number of the unornamental portion of our fellow-beings,
since we could never see any indications that any of the crowd had an
_interest_ in the proceedings. As the debates are never reported by any
one of the seventeen reporters who are paid two hundred dollars a year
for not doing it, and as the educated portion of the community never
attend the sessions, this board sits, practically, with closed doors.
Their schemes are both conceived and executed in secresy, though the
door is open to all who wish to enter. This is the more surprising,
because almost every session of the board furnishes the material for a
report, which an able and public-spirited journalist would gladly buy
at the highest price paid for such work in any city.

_Debates_ is a ludicrous word to apply to the proceedings of the
Councilmen. Most of the business done by them is pushed through without
the slightest discussion, and is of such a nature that members cannot
be prepared to discuss it. The most reckless haste marks every part of
the performance. A member proposes that certain lots be provided with
curbstones; another, that a free drinking hydrant be placed on a
certain corner five miles up town; and another, that certain blocks of
a distant street be paved with Belgian pavement. Respecting the utility
of these works, members generally know nothing and can say nothing; nor
are they proper objects of legislation. The resolutions are adopted,
usually, without a word of explanation, and at a speed that must be
seen to be appreciated.

* * * * *

At almost every session we witnessed scenes like the following: A
member proposed to lease a certain building for a city court at two
thousand dollars a year for ten years. Honest Christopher Pullman, a
faithful and laborious public servant, objected, on one or two grounds;
first, rents being unnaturally high, owing to several well known and
temporary causes, it would be unjust to the city to fix the rent at
present rates for so long a period; secondly, he had been himself to
see the building, had taken pains to inform himself as to its value,
and was prepared to prove that twelve hundred dollars a year was a
proper rent for it even at the inflated rates. He made this statement
with excellent brevity, moderation, and good temper, and concluded by
moving that the term be two instead of ten years. A robust young man,
with a bull neck and of ungrammatical habits, said, in a tone of
impatient disdain, that the landlord of the building had 'refused'
fifteen hundred dollars a year for it. 'Question!' 'Question!' shouted
half a dozen angry voices, the question was instantly put, when a
perfect war of _noes_ voted down Mr. Pullman's amendment. Another
hearty chorus of _ayes_ consummated the iniquity. In all such affairs,
the visitor notices a kind of 'ungovernable propensity to vote for
spending money, and a prompt disgust at any obstacle raised or
objection made. The bull-necked Councilman of uncertain grammar
evidently felt that Mr. Pullman's modest interference on behalf of the
tax-payer was a most gross impertinence. He felt himself an injured
being, and his companions shared his indignation.

We proceed to another and better specimen. A resolution was introduced,
appropriating four thousand dollars for the purpose of presenting
stands of colors to five regiments of city militia, which were named,
each stand to cost eight hundred dollars. Mr. Pullman, as usual,
objected, and we beg the reader to mark his objections. He said that he
was a member of the committee which had reported the resolution, but he
had never heard of it till that moment; the scheme had been 'sprung'
upon him. The chairman of the committee replied to this, that, since
the other regiments had had colors given them by the city, he did not
suppose that any one could object to these remaining five receiving the
same compliment, and therefore he had not thought it worth while to
summon the gentleman. 'Besides,' said he, 'it is a small matter
anyhow';--by which he evidently meant to intimate that the objector was
a very small person. To this last remark, a member replied, that he did
not consider four thousand dollars so very small a matter. 'Anyhow,' he
added, 'we oughter save the city every dollar we kin.' Mr. Pullman
resumed. He stated that the Legislature of the State, several months
before, had voted a stand of colors to each infantry regiment in the
State; that the distribution of these colors had already begun; that
the five regiments would soon receive them; and that, consequently,
there was no need of their having the colors which it was now proposed
to give them. A member roughly replied, that the colors voted by the
State Legislature were mere painted banners, 'of no account.' Mr.
Pullman denied this. 'I am,' said he, 'captain in one of our city
regiments. Two weeks ago we received our colors. I have seen, felt,
examined, and marched under them; and I can testify that they are of
great beauty, and excellent quality, made by Tiffany and Company, a
firm of the first standing in the city.' He proceeded to describe the
colors as being made of the best silk, and decorated in the most
elegant manner. He further objected to the price proposed to be given
for the colors. He declared that, from his connection with the militia,
he had become acquainted with the value of such articles, and he could
procure colors of the best kind ever used in the service for three
hundred and seventy five dollars. The price named in the resolution
was, therefore, most excessive. Upon this, another member rose and
said, in a peculiarly offensive manner, that it would be two years
before Tiffany and Company had made all the colors, and some of the
regiments would have to wait all that time. 'The other regiments,' said
he, 'have had colors presented by the City, and I don't see why we
should show partiality.' Whereupon Mr. Pullman informed the board that
the _City_ regiments would all be supplied in a few weeks; and, even if
they did have to wait awhile, it was of no consequence, for they all
had very good colors already. Honest Stephen Roberts then rose, and
said that this was a subject with which he was not acquainted, but that
if no one could refute what Mr. Pullman had said, he should be obliged
to vote against the resolution.

Then there was a pause. The cry of 'Question!' was heard. The ayes and
noes were called. The resolution was carried by eighteen to five. The
learned suppose that one half of this stolen four thousand dollars was
expended upon the colors, and the other half divided among about forty
persons. It is conjectured that each member of the Councilmen's Ring,
which consists of thirteen, received about forty dollars for his vote
on this occasion. This sum, added to his pay, which is twenty dollars
per session, made a tolerable afternoon's work.

Any one witnessing this scene would certainly have supposed that _now_
the militia regiments of the City of New York were provided with
colors. What was our surprise to hear, a few days after, a member
gravely propose to appropriate eight hundred dollars for the purpose of
presenting the Ninth Regiment of New York Infantry with a stand of
colors. Mr. Pullman repeated his objections, and recounted anew the
generosity of the State Legislature. The eighteen, without a word of
reply, voted for the grant as before. It so chanced that, on our way up
Broadway, an hour after, we met that very regiment marching down with
its colors flying; and we observed that those colors were nearly new.
Indeed, there is such a propensity in the public to present colors to
popular regiments, that some of them have as many as five stands, of
various degrees of splendor. There is nothing about which Councilmen
need feel so little anxiety as a deficiency in the supply of regimental
colors. When, at last, these extravagant banners voted by the
Corporation are presented to the regiments, a new scene of plunder is
exhibited. The officers of the favored regiment are invited to a room
in the basement of the City Hall, where City officials assist them to
consume three hundred dollars' worth of champagne, sandwiches, and cold
chicken--paid for out of the City treasury--while the privates of the
regiment await the return of their officers in the unshaded portion of
the adjacent park.

It is a favorite trick with these Councilmen, as of all politicians, to
devise measures, the passage of which will gratify large _bodies_ of
voters. This is one of the advantages proposed to be gained by the
presentation of colors to regiments; and the same system is pursued
with regard to churches and societies. At every one of the six sessions
of the Councilmen which we attended; resolutions were introduced to
give away the people's money to wealthy organizations. A church, for
example, is assessed a thousand dollars for the construction of a
sewer, which enhances the value of the church property by at least the
amount of the assessment. Straightway, a member from that neighborhood
proposes to console the stricken church with a "donation" of a thousand
dollars, to enable it to pay the assessment; and as this is a
proposition to vote money, it is carried as a matter of course. We
select from our notes only one of these donating scenes. A member
proposed to give two thousand dollars to a certain industrial school,--
the favorite charity of the present time, to which all the benevolent
most willingly subscribe. Vigilant Christopher Pullman reminded the
board that it was now unlawful for the Corporation to vote money for
any object not specified in the tax levy as finally sanctioned by the
Legislature. He read the section of the Act which forbade it. He
further showed, from a statement by the Comptroller, that there was no
money left at their disposal for any _miscellaneous_ objects, since the
appropriation for 'City contingencies' was exhausted. The only reply to
his remarks, was the instant passage of the resolution by eighteen to
five. By what artifice the law is likely to be evaded in such cases, we
may show further on. In all probability, the industrial school, in the
course of the year, will receive a fraction of this money--perhaps even
so large, a fraction as one half. It may be that, ere now, some
obliging person about the City Hall has offered to buy the claim for a
thousand dollars, and take the risk of the hocus-pocus necessary for
getting it--which to _him_ is no risk at all.

It was proposed, on another occasion, to raise the fees of the
Inspectors of weights and measures--who received fifty cents for
inspecting a pair of platform scales, and smaller sums for scales and
measures of less importance. Here was a subject upon which honest
Stephen Roberts, whose shop is in a street where scales and measures
abound, was entirely at home. He showed, in his sturdy and strenuous
manner, that, at the rates then established, an active man could make
two hundred dollars a day. 'Why,' said he, 'a man can inspect, and does
inspect, fifty platform scales in an hour,' The cry of 'Question!'
arose. The question was put, and the usual loud chorus of _ayes_

As it requires a three-fourths vote to grant money--that is, eighteen
members--it is sometimes impossible for the King to get that number
together. There is a mode of preventing the absence, or the opposition
of members, from defeating favorite schemes. It is by way of
"reconsideration." The time was, when a measure distinctly voted down
by a lawful majority, was dead. But, by this expedient, the voting down
of a measure is only equivalent to its postponement to a more favorable
occasion. The moment the chairman pronounces a resolution lost, the
member who has it in charge moves a reconsideration; and, as a
reconsideration only requires the vote of a majority, _this_ is
invariably carried. By a rule of the Board, a reconsideration carries a
measure over to a future meeting--to any future meeting which may
afford a prospect of its passage. The member who is engineering it
watches his chance, labors with faltering members out of doors, and, as
often as he thinks he can carry it, calls it up again--until, at last,
the requisite eighteen are obtained. It has frequently happened, that a
member has kept a measure in a state of reconsideration for months at a
time, waiting for the happy moment to arrive. There was a robust young
Councilman, who had a benevolent project in charge of paying nine
hundred dollars for a hackney-coach and two horses, which a drunken
driver drove over the dock into the river, one cold night last winter.
There was some disagreement in the Ring on this measure, and the robust
youth was compelled to move for many reconsiderations. So, also, it was
long before the wires could be all arranged to admit of the appointment
of a 'messenger' to the City Librarian, who has perhaps less to do than
any man in New York who is paid eighteen hundred dollars a year; but
perseverance meets its reward. We hear that this messenger is now
smoking in the City Hall at a salary of fifteen hundred dollars.

There is a manoeuvre, also, for preventing the attendance of obnoxious,
obstructive members, like the honest six, which is ingenious and
effective. A 'special meeting' is called. The law declares that notice
of a special meeting must be left at the residence _or_ the place of
business of every member. Mr. Roberts's residence and Mr. Roberts's
place of business are eight miles apart, and he leaves his home for the
day before nine in the morning. If Mr. Roberts's presence at a special
meeting, at 2 P. M., is desired, the notice is left at his shop in the
morning. If it is not desired, the notice is sent to his house in
Harlem, after he has left it. Mr. Pullman, cabinet-maker, leaves his
shop at noon, goes home to dinner, and returns soon after one. If his
presence at the special meeting at 2 P. M. is desired, the notice is
left at his house the evening before, or at his shop in the morning. If
his presence is not desired, the notice is left at his shop a few
minutes after twelve, or at his house a few minutes past one. In either
case, he receives the notice too late to reach the City Hall in time.
We were present in the Councilman's Chamber when Mr. Pullman stated
this _inconvenience_, assuming that it was accidental, and offered an
amendment to the rule, requiring notice to be left five hours before
the time named for the meeting. Mr. Roberts also gave his experience in
the matter of notices, and both gentlemen spoke with perfect moderation
and good temper. We wish we could convey to our readers an idea of the
brutal insolence with which Mr. Pullman, on this occasion, was snubbed
and defrauded by a young bar-keeper who chanced to be in the chair. But
this would be impossible without relating the scene at very great
length. The amendment proposed was voted down, with that peculiar roar
of _noes_ which is always heard in that chamber when some honest man
attempts to put an obstacle in the way of the free plunder of his

These half-fledged legislators are acquainted with the device known by
the name of the 'previous question.' We witnessed a striking proof of
this. One of the most audacious and insolent of the Ring introduced a
resolution, vaguely worded, the object of which was to annul an old
paving contract, that would not pay at the present cost of labor and
materials, and to authorize a new contract at higher rates. Before the
clerk had finished reading the resolution, honest Stephen Roberts
sprang to his feet, and, unrolling a remonstrance with several yards of
signatures appended to it, stood, with his eye upon the chairman, ready
to present it the moment the reading was concluded. This remonstrance,
be it observed, was signed by a majority of the property-owners
interested, the men who would be assessed to pay for one half of the
proposed pavement. Fancy the impetuous Roberts, with the document held
aloft, the yards of signatures streaming down to his feet and flowing
far under his desk, awaiting the time when it would be in order for him
to cry out, 'Mr. President.' The reading ceased. Two voices were heard,
shouting 'Mr. President.' It was not to Mr. Roberts that an impartial
chairman could assign the floor. The member 'who introduced the
resolution was the one who 'caught the speaker's eye,' and that member,
forewarned of Mr. Roberts's intention, moved the previous question. It
was in vain that Mr. Roberts shouted 'Mr. President.' It was in vain
that he fluttered and rattled his streaming ribbon of blotted paper.
The President could not hear a word of any kind until a vote had been
taken upon the question whether the main question should be now put.
That question was carried in the affirmative, by a chorus of _ayes_, so
exactly timed that it was like the voice of one man. Then the main
question _was_ put, and it was carried by another emphatic and
simultaneous shout.


Mr. Parton thus briefly exposes the system of political black mail
practiced in the City government:

The plunder of the persons who are so unfortunate as to serve the
public, and of those who aspire to serve the public, is systematic, and
nearly universal. Our inquiries into this branch of the subject lead us
to conclude that there are very few salaries paid from the city or
county treasury which do not yield an annual per centage to some one of
the 'head-centres' of corruption. The manner in which this kind of
spoliation is sometimes effected may be gathered from a narrative which
we received from the lips of one of the few learned and estimable men
whom the system of electing judges by the people has left upon the
bench in the City of New York. Four years ago, when the inflation of
the currency had so enhanced the price of all commodities that there
was, of necessity, a general increase of salaries, public and private,
there was talk of raising the salaries of the fourteen judges, who were
most absurdly underpaid even when a dollar in paper and a dollar in
gold were the same thing. Some of the judges were severely pinched in
attempting to make six thousand half-dollars do the work which six
thousand whole ones had accomplished with difficulty; and none,
perhaps, more severely than the excellent and hospitable judge whose
experience we are about to relate. A person known by him to be in the
confidence of leading men about the City Hall called, upon him one day,
and informed him that it was in contemplation to raise the salaries of
all the judges $2,000 per annum. The judge observed that he was much
relieved to hear it, for he had gone so deeply into the Sanitary
Commission and other projects for promoting the war, and had made so
many expensive journeys to Washington in furtherance of such projects,
that he did not see how he could get through the year if the inflation
continued. 'Well, judge,' said the person, 'if the judges are disposed
to be reasonable, the thing can be done.' 'What do you mean by
_reasonable_?' asked the judge. The reply was brief and to the point:
'Twenty-five per cent, of the increase for one year.' The judge said
No. If his salary could not be raised without that, he must rub on, as
best he could, on his present income. The person was evidently much
surprised, and said: 'I am sorry you have such old-fashioned notions.
Why, judge, everybody does it here.' Nothing more was heard of
increasing the judges' salaries for a whole year, during which the
inflation itself had become inflated, and every door-keeper and copyist
had had his stipend increased. At length, the spoilers deemed it best,
for purposes of their own, to consent the salaries of the judges should
be increased $1,000; and, a year after that, the other $1,000 was
permitted to be added.

It was recently proved, in the presence of the Governor of the State,
that the appointment of the office of Corporation Attorney was sold to
one incumbent for the round sum of $10,000. This is bad enough, but
worse remains to be told Sworn testimony, from thirty-six witnesses,
taken by a committee of investigation, establishes the appalling fact,
that appointments to places in the public schools are systematically
sold in some of the wards--the wards where the public schools are
almost the sole civilizing power, and where it is of unspeakable
importance that the schools should be in the hands of the best men and
women. One young lady; who had just buried her father and had a
helpless mother to support, applied for a situation as teacher, and was
told, as usual, that she must pay for it. She replied that she could
not raise the sum demanded, the funeral expenses having exhausted the
family store. She was then informed that she could pay 'the tax' in
instalments. Another poor girl came on the witness-stand on crutches,
and testified that she had paid $75 for a situation of $300 a year.
Another lady went to a member of the Ring, and told him, with tears,
that she saw no way of procuring the sum required, nor even of saving
it from the slender salary of the place. The man was moved by her
anguish, took compassion upon her, and said he would remit _his share_
of 'the tax.' It was shown, too, that the agent of all this foul
iniquity was no other than the principal of one of the schools. It was
he who received and paid over the money wrung from the terror and
necessities of underpaid and overworked teachers. We learn from the
report of the committee that the Ring in this ward was originally
formed for the express purpose of giving the situations in a new and
handsome school 'to the highest bidder'; and, as the opening of the new
school involved the discharge of a small number of teachers employed in
the old schools, the Ring had both, the fear and the ambition of the
teachers to work upon. 'There was a perfect reign of terror in the
ward,' says the report of the investigating committee. 'The agent
performed his duty with alacrity and with a heartlessness worthy of the
employers. It appears that he not only summoned the teachers to come to
him, but that he called on their parents and friends as to the amount
they should pay for their appointments--the sums varying from $50 to
$600, according to the position sought.'

And who were the Ring that perpetrated this infamy? They were a
majority of the trustees elected by the people, and the School
Commissioner elected by the people--six poor creatures, selected from
the grog-shop and the wharf, and intrusted with the most sacred
interest of a republic, the education of its children.


"The result of all this plunder," continues Mr. Parton, "is, that in
thirty-six years the rate of taxation in the city and county of New
York has increased from two dollars and a half to forty dollars per
inhabitant! In 1830, the city was governed for half a million dollars.
In 1865, the entire government of the island, including assessments on
private property for public improvements, cost more than forty millions
of dollars. In 1830, the population of the city was a little more than
two hundred thousand. It is now about one million. Thus, while the
population of the county is five times greater than it was in 1830, the
cost of governing it is sixteen times greater. And yet such is the
value of the productive property owned by the city,--so numerous are
the sources of revenue from that property,--that able men of business
are of the deliberate opinion that a private company could govern,
clean, sprinkle, and teach the City by contract, taking as compensation
only the fair revenue to be derived from its property. Take one item as
an illustration: under the old excise system, the liquor licenses
yielded twelve thousand dollars per annum; under the new, they yield
one million and a quarter. Take another: the corporation own more than
twenty miles of wharves and water-front, the revenue from which does
not keep the wharves in repair; under a proper system, they would yield
a million dollars above the cost of repairs."



The Metropolitan Police are justly the pride of New York, for the City
is chiefly indebted to the force for its quiet and security. The old
police system needs no description here. It was a failure in every
respect. It failed to protect either life or property. Criminals
performed their exploits with impunity, and were either encouraged or
aided by the police in many instances. The members of the old force
were too often taken from the ranks of the criminal classes, and made
to serve the ends of unprincipled politicians. Finally the system
became so worthless and corrupt that the best men of the City and
State, without distinction of party, resolved to take the control of
the police out of the hands of the Mayor and Council, and place them
under the direction of a Commissioner appointed by the Legislature.


The resolution to make the police independent of the politicians in the
City government, was the last resort left to the better class of
citizens, and the Legislature, appreciating the necessity for prompt
action, at once complied with the demand made for a change. A
"Metropolitan District,", consisting of the cities of New York and
Brooklyn, the counties of New York, Kings, Richmond, and Westchester,
and a part of Queens county, embracing a circuit of about thirty miles,
was created by law. The control of this district was given to a
commission of five citizens, subject to the supervision of the
Legislature. The Mayors of New York and Brooklyn were made ex-officio
members of this board.

Mr. Wood, who was Mayor of New York at the time of the passage of this
law, resolved to resist it, and to continue the old police in power.
His conduct came near creating a terrible riot, but he was at length
induced to submit to the law. The new system worked badly for some
years, owing to the incompetency of the persons appointed as
superintendent; but in 1860 a change was made. Mr. John A. Kennedy was
appointed Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police, and the number of
the commissioners was cut down to three. The law was remodeled, and
besides other important changes, the duties of each member of the force
were clearly defined.

The new superintendent set to work with a will, and it was not long
before the benefits of his administration became manifest. He had been
informed that the force was almost as incompetent and inefficient as
its old time predecessor, and he resolved to stop this. He caused the
creation of the grade of inspector, and the appointment of energetic
and reliable men. These inspectors are required to keep a constant
watch over the rank and file of the force. They report every breach of
discipline, examine the station houses and every thing connected with
them, at pleasure. No member or officer of the force has the right to
refuse to allow such examination or to refuse to answer any question
put to him concerning his duty. The effect of this new rank was most
happy. The men became conscious that the eyes of their superiors were
on them at all times, and that the slightest breach of discipline on
their part was sure to be detected and reported. The force became
attentive and efficient, as if by magic. Incompetent and insubordinate
members were thrown out, and good men put in their places. Matters
continued to improve, until now, after a lapse of nearly eight years,
the city has the best police force in the world.


Mr. Kennedy is not a popular man in New York. To say that he has made
mistakes in his present position, is but to say he is human. He has had
a hard task before him, but he has succeeded in accomplishing it. He
has given order, security, and a sense of security to the city, and it
is not strange that in so doing he has made numerous enemies. He has
often exceeded his power, and has committed acts that smack strongly of
petty tyranny; but there can be no doubt of the fact that he has
earnestly and faithfully labored for the cause of law and order. He
makes the best chief of police this country has ever seen, and when he
is gone, his place will be hard to fill.

Mr. Kennedy has Scotch-Irish blood in his veins, which may be the
reason of his success. He is small in size, and quiet and unobtrusive
in his demeanor. He has executive ability of a high order, but inclines
rather strongly to the side of arbitrary power, which trait has earned
him, amongst the masses, the title of "King Kennedy." He has infused
his energy into the force, and is entitled to the greater part, if not
all of the credit for the success of the new system.


The police force on duty in the city, consists of one super intendent,
four inspectors, thirty-four captains, one hundred and thirty-one
sergeants, one thousand eight hundred and six patrolmen, sixty-nine
doormen, and fifty special policemen, making a total of two thousand
and ninety-five officers and men. The men are clothed in a neat uniform
of dark blue cloth, with caps of hard polished leather. They are armed
with clubs and revolvers, and are regularly drilled in military
tactics. In case of a riot, this enables them to act together, and with
greater efficiency against a mob. The most rigid discipline prevails,
and the slightest error on the part of officers or men is reported at

There are thirty-three precincts, including the detective squad. The
force is charged with the duty of guarding about three hundred day and
four hundred night posts, about four hundred and twenty-five miles of
streets in the patrol districts, and fourteen miles of piers. There are
twenty-five station houses fitted up as lodging rooms for the men, and
having room also for accommodating wandering or destitute persons,
large numbers of whom thus receive temporary shelter.

During the year ending October 31, 1865, (which may be taken as a fair
specimen of the work of the force,) 68,873 arrests were made. Of these
48,754 were males, 20,119 females; 53,911 arrests were for offences
against the person; 14,962; for offences against property. The
following table will show the status of New York criminal society.

Charge Males Females Arrests
Assault and Battery 6,077 1,667 7,744
Assault with intent to kill 197 1 198
Attempt at rape 40 ---- 40
Abortion 2 2 4
Bastardy 141 ---- 141
Bigamy 14 5 19
Disorderly conduct 8,542 5,412 13,954
Intoxication 11,482 4,936 16,418
Juvenile delinquents 154 25 179
Kidnapping 20 5 25
Suspicious persons 1,617 440 2,057
Vagrancy 978 838 1,816
Arson 35 ---- 35
Attempts to steal 236 9 245
Burglary 291 3 294
Forgery 151 3 154
Fraud 104 17 121
Grand Larceny 1,675 946 2,621
Gambling 249 3 252
Highway robbery 199 6 205
Keeping disorderly house 177 165 342
Picking pockets 225 20 275
Petit larceny 3,380 1,860 5,240
Passing counterfeit money 414 46 460
Receiving stolen goods 166 51 217
Swindling 5 3 8
Violations of the Sunday laws 183 20 203


The police are mustered at a certain hour in the morning by their
officers, and are marched from the station house to their "beats." The
day patrol is relieved by that appointed for night duty. The men are
required to be neat in their persons and dress, and to be polite and
respectful to citizens. They are required to give information to
strangers and citizens concerning localities, etc., and to render
prompt assistance in suppressing any kind of violence or disorder. They
are instructed to direct persons not to lounge or loiter on the main
thoroughfares, which are always too much crowded to permit such
obstructions. Details are made for places of amusement and public
resort. If the patrolman on duty at one of these places sees a known
thief or pickpocket enter, he orders him to leave the premises. If the
fellow refuses to obey, he is arrested and locked up in the station
house for the night. By this means respectable persons, at public
resorts, are saved heavy losses at the hands of the "light-fingered

The largest and finest looking men are detailed for the. Broadway
Squad. The duties of this Squad are heavy, and often require not only
considerable patience, but great physical endurance.


The Police Headquarters of the Metropolitan District are located in a
handsome marble building, five stories high, situated on Mulberry
Street, between Houston and Bleecker Streets. The building is fitted up
with great taste for the express accommodation of the business of the
force. The greatest order prevails. Every thing is in its place, and
every man in his. There is no confusion. Each department has its
separate room.

The Superintendent's office is connected by telegraph with every
precinct in the entire district. By means of this wonderful invention a
few seconds only are required to dispatch the orders of "King Kennedy"
to any part of the district. News of a robbery and description of the
burglar are flashed all over the city and adjoining country before the
man has fairly secured his plunder. If a child is lost a description is
sent in the same way to each precinct, and in a marvellously quick time
the little one is restored to its mother's arms. By means of his little
instrument, "King Kennedy" can track a criminal not only all over his
own district, but all over the Union. He is firm in the exercise of his
authority--often harsh and too impulsive, but on the whole as just as
human nature will allow a man to be.

[Illustration: A Model Policeman.]


One of the most interesting rooms in the headquarters is that for the
trial of complaints against members of the force. Every sworn charge is
brought before Commissioner Acton? who notifies the accused to appear
before him to answer to it. Except in very grave cases, the men employ
no counsel. The charge is read, the Commissioner hears the statements
of the accused, and the evidence on both sides, and renders his
decision, which must be ratified by the full "Board". The majority of
the charges are for breaches of discipline. A patrolman leaves his beat
for a cup of coffee on a cold morning, or night, or reads a newspaper,
or smokes, or stops to converse while on duty. The punishment for these
offences is a stoppage of pay for a day or two. First offences are
usually forgiven. Many well-meaning but officious citizens enter
complaints against the men. They are generally frivolous, but are heard
patiently, and are dismissed with a warning to the accused to avoid
giving cause for complaint. Thieves and disreputable characters
sometimes enter complaints against the men, with the hope of getting
them into trouble. The Commissioner's experience enables him to settle
these cases at once, generally to the dismay and grief of the accuser.
Any real offence on the part of the men is punished promptly and
severely, but the Commissioners endeavor by every means to protect them
in the discharge of their duty, and against impositions of any kind.

Another room in the headquarters is called


This is a genuine "curiosity shop". It is filled with unclaimed
property of every description, found by or delivered to the police, by
other parties finding the same, or taken from criminals at the time of
their arrest. The room is in charge of a property, clerk, who enters
each article, and the facts connected with it, in a book kept for that
purpose. Property once placed in this room is not allowed to be taken
away, except upon certain specified conditions. Unclaimed articles are
sold, after being kept a certain length of time, and the proceeds are
paid to the Police Life Insurance Fund.


When a man applies for a position in the police force, he has to show
proofs of his good character and capacity before he can be employed. As
soon as he is appointed, he is provided with a uniform, assigned to a
precinct, and put on duty. For one month after his appointment he is
required to study the book of laws for the government of the force, and
to be examined daily in these studies by Inspector James Leonard; who
is in charge of the "Class of Instruction." These examinations are
continued until the recruit is found proficient in the theoretical
knowledge of his duties.

The following extract from the Metropolitan Police Law will show the
care taken of the men:--

If any member of the Metropolitan Police Force, whilst in the actual
performance of duty, shall become permanently disabled, so as to render
his dismissal from membership proper, or if any such member shall
become superannuated after a ten years' membership, a sum of not
exceeding one hundred and fifty dollars, as an annuity, to be paid such
member, shall become chargeable upon the Metropolitan Police Life
Insurance Fund. If any member of the Metropolitan Police Force whilst
in the actual discharge of his duty, shall be killed, or shall die from
the immediate effect of any injury received by him, whilst in such
discharge of duty, or shall die after ten years' service in the force,
and shall leave a widow, and if no widow, any child or children under
the age of sixteen years, a like sum, by way of annuity, shall become
chargeable upon the said fund, to be paid such widow so long only as
she remains unmarried, or to such child or children so long as said
child, or the youngest of said children, continues under the age of
sixteen years.

We do not claim, in what we have written, that the police of this city
are perfect, but we do maintain that they are better than those of any
other American city.



In New York, poverty is a great crime, and the chief effort of every
man and woman's life, is to secure wealth. Society in this city is much
like that of other large American cities, except? that money is the
chief requisite here. In other cities poor men, who can boast of being
members of a family which commands respect for its talents or other
good qualities, or who have merit of their own, are welcomed into what
are called "select circles" with as much warmth as though they were
millionaires. In New York, however, men and women are judged by their
bank accounts. The most illiterate boor, the most unprincipled knave,
finds every fashionable door open to him without reserve, while St.
Peter himself, if he came "without purse or scrip," would see it closed
in his face. Money makes up for every deficiency in morals, intellect,
or demeanor.

Nor is this strange. The majority of fashionable people have never
known any of the arts and refinements of civilization except those
which mere wealth can purchase. Money raised them from the dregs of
life, and they are firm believers in it. Without education, without
social polish, they see themselves courted and fawned upon for their
wealth, and they naturally suppose that there is nothing else "good
under the sun."


The majority of the dwellers in the palaces of the great city, are
persons who have risen from the ranks. This is not said to their
discredit. On the contrary, every intelligent person takes pride in the
fact that in this country it is in the power of any one to rise as high
as his abilities will carry him. The persons to whom we refer, however,
affect to despise this. They take no pride in the institutions which
have been so beneficial to them, but look down with supreme disdain
upon those who are working their way up. They are ashamed of their
origin, and you cannot offend one of them more than to hint that you
knew him a few years ago as a mechanic, or shop-keeper.

Some of the "fashionables" appear very suddenly before the world. A
week ago, a family may have been living in a tenement house. A sudden
fortunate speculation on the part of the husband, or father, may have
brought them enormous wealth in the course of a few days. A change is
instantly made from the tenement house to a mansion on Fifth or Madison
Avenue. The newly acquired wealth is liberally expended in "fitting
up," and the lucky owners of it suddenly burst upon the world of
fashion as stars of the first magnitude. They are courted by all, and
invitations to the houses of other "stars" are showered upon them. They
may be rude, ignorant, uncouth in their manners, but they have wealth,
and that is all New York society requires. They are lucky if they
retain their positions very long. A few manage to hold on to the wealth
which comes to them thus suddenly, but as a general rule those who are
simply "lucky" at the outset find Dame Fortune a very capricious
goddess, and at the next turn of her wheel, pass off the stage to make
room for others who are soon to share their fate.

This element is known in the city as "The Shoddy Society." During the
time of the oil speculations, many persons were suddenly and
unexpectedly made rich by lucky ventures in petroleum lands and stocks,
and the shoddy element was in its glory; but now other speculations are
found to recruit the ranks of this class. Wall street is constantly
sending fresh "stars" to blaze on Fifth Avenue, and ruthlessly sweeping
away others to make room for them.

The "Shoddy" element is by no means confined to those who make fortunes
rapidly, or by speculations. There are many who rise very slowly in the
world, and who when blessed with fortune throw themselves headlong into
the arms of "Shoddy."

It is not difficult to recognize these persons. They dress not only
handsomely, but magnificently. Indeed they make up in display what they
lack in taste. They cover themselves with jewels, and their diamonds,
worn on ordinary occasions, might, in some cases, fairly rival the
state gems of European potentates. Their red, hard hands, coarse faces,
vulgar manners, and loud, rude voices, contrast strikingly with the
splendor with which they surround themselves. They wear their honors
uneasily, showing plainly how little accustomed they are to such
things. They look down with disdain upon all less fortunate in wealth
than themselves, and worship as demi-gods those whose bank account is
larger than their own. They have little or no personal dignity, but
substitute a supercilious hauteur for it.


The following incident will show how money is worshipped in New York: A
gentleman, now one of the wealthiest men of the city, some years ago
found himself well off in worldly goods. He was the possessor of one
million of dollars. He was living at that time in a modest house, in a
modest street, and was anxious to get into society. In order to do
this, he resolved to give a ball, and invite the wealthiest and oldest
families in New York. These people were his customers in business; and
he supposed they would not object to receiving his hospitality. He was,
unlike most of those who worship society, a man of real merit. His
invitations were issued, and at the appointed time his mansion was made
ready for a magnificent entertainment, but, though the family waited,
and the rooms were kept lighted until the "wee hours of the morning,"
not a single one of those, to whom the invitations were sent, put in an
appearance during the evening. The mortification of the would-be host
and family, was intense, and it is said that he swore a mighty oath
that he would acquire wealth and luxury, sufficient to _compel_ the
intimacy of those who had scorned him because he was less fortunate
than themselves. He kept his word, and today he stands at the head of
that class to which he once aspired in vain.


A work recently published in Paris gives the following account of the
topics discussed at a "shoddy" ball:

Following the advice of my companion, I listened to the gentlemen who
were idling through the rooms. Everywhere that word 'dollar,'
constantly repeated, struck upon my ear. All conversation had for its
subject mercantile and financial transactions; profits, either
realized, or to be realized, by the speakers, or the general prospect
of the market. Literature, art, science, the drama, those topics which
are discussed in polite European society, were not even alluded to.
Another peculiarity I noticed--namely, the practice of self-
commendation and praise. Egotism seemed to permeate the mind of
everybody--the word 'I' was constantly on the lips of the speakers.


A ball or a party is the place to bring out the votaries of fashion.
They crowd the _salons_ of the host or hostess. Frequently they pay
little attention to their entertainers, except to ridicule their
awkwardness and oddities, conscious all the while that similar remarks
will be made about them when they throw open their own houses to their

The opera draws them out in crowds, especially the _Bouffe_. Few
understand the French or Italian languages, few are proficients in
music, but they go because "it is the thing, you know." Opera bouffe is
very popular, for those who cannot understand the language are
generally quick enough to catch or appreciate the indecency of the plot
or situations. The more indecent the piece, the more certain it is of a
long run.

Few fashionable women have time to attend to their families. These are
left to the mercy of hirelings. The titles of wife and mother are
becoming merely complimentary. They are ceasing to suggest the best and
purest types of womanhood. That of mother is becoming decidedly old
fogyish, and to-day your fine lady takes care that her maternal
instincts shall be smothered, and that her family shall not increase
beyond a convenient number. Children grow up in idleness and
extravagance, and are unfitted for any of the great duties of life.
They are taught to regard wealth as the only thing to be desired, and
they are forced up as rapidly as possible to join the ranks of the fast
young men and women of New York, who disgrace what are called our
"upper circles."


Extravagance is the besetting sin of New York society. Money is thrown
away. Fortunes are spent every year in dress, and in all sorts of
follies. Houses are furnished and fitted up in the most sumptuous
style, the building and its contents often being worth over a million
of dollars.

[Illustration: A Fashionable Thief--Shoplifting.]

People live up to every cent of their incomes, and often beyond them.
It is no uncommon occurrence for a fine mansion, its furniture,
pictures, and even the jewels and clothes of its occupants, to be
pledged to some usurer for the means with which to carry on this life
of luxury. Each person strives to outdo the rest of his or her
acquaintances. The rage for fine houses and fine clothes is carried to
an amazing extent, and to acquire them, persons of supposed
respectability will stoop to almost any thing. Of late years, a number
of fashionable ladies have been detected in dry-goods stores in the act
of purloining fine laces, embroideries, and other goods, and concealing
them under their skirts.


Two or three years ago the fashionable world was thrown into a state of
excitement by the marriage of a Fifth Avenue belle to a gentleman of
great wealth. The night before the wedding the bride's presents,
amounting to a small fortune in value, were exhibited to a select
circle of friends. Amongst the various articles was a magnificent
diamond necklace, the gift of the groom, which attracted universal
attention. After the guests departed, the bride-elect, before retiring
for the night, returned to take a parting glance at her diamonds. To
her horror, they were missing. The alarm was given, and a search was
made. The jewels could not be found, however, but a small kid glove--a
lady's--was discovered lying on the table. The bride's father was a
sensible banker, and he at once "hushed up" the affair, and put the
glove and the case in the hands of an experienced detective. In a few
weeks the thief was discovered. She proved to be the wife of a wealthy
merchant. She had stolen the diamonds with the intention of taking them
to Europe to have them reset. In consequence of the return of the
jewels, and the social position of the thief, the matter was dropped.


Only wealthy marriages are tolerated in New York society. For men or
women to marry "beneath" them is a crime society cannot forgive. There
must be fortune on one side. Marriages for money are directly
encouraged. It is not uncommon for a man who has made money to make the
marriage of his daughter the means of getting the family into society.
He will go to some young man within the pale of good society, and offer
him the hand of his daughter and a fortune. The condition on the part
of the person to whom the offer is made is, that he shall use his
influence to get the bride's family within the "charmed circle." Such
proposals are seldom refused.

When a marriage is decided upon, it is the bounden duty of the happy
pair to be married in a fashionable church. To be married in or buried
from Grace Church is the desire of every fashionable heart. Invitations
are issued to the friends and acquaintances of the two families, and no
one is admitted into the church without such a card. Often "no cards"
are issued, and the church is jammed by the outside throng, who profane
the holy temple by their unmannerly struggles to secure places from
which the ceremony can be viewed. Two clergymen are engaged to tie the
knot, a single minister being insufficient for such grand affairs. A
reporter is on hand, who furnishes the city papers with the full
particulars of the affair. The dresses, the jewels, the appearance of
the bride and groom, and the company generally, are described with a
slavishness that is disgraceful.

If the wedding is at Grace Church, Brown, the "great sexton," is in
charge of all the arrangements. He understands every detail connected
with such an affair, and will not allow any one to interfere with him.
A wedding over which he presides is sure to be a success. It is
needless to say he has his time well taken up with such engagements. At
weddings and at parties, Brown makes out the list of persons to be
invited. He allows no interference. He knows his invitations will be
accepted, and as he knows who is in town, both stranger and resident,
he can always make out a full list. He directs every thing, and carries
his arrangements out with the decision and authority of an autocrat.
The Lenten Season is his bugbear. It is fashionable to observe Lent in
New York, and funerals are then the only opportunities for the display
of his peculiar talents. These he makes as interesting as possible. He
charges a liberal price for his services, and is said to have amassed
considerable money.


As it is the ambition of every one to live fashionable, it is their
chief wish to be laid in the grave in the same style. Undertakers at
fashionable funerals are generally the sexton of some fashionable
church, that, perhaps, of the church the deceased was in the habit of
attending. This individual prescribes the manner in which the ceremony
shall be carried out, and advises certain styles of family mourning.
Sometimes the blinds are closed and the gas lighted. The lights in such
cases are arranged in the most artistic manner, and every thing is made
to look as "interesting" as possible.

A certain fashionable sexton always refuses to allow the female members
of the family to follow their dead to the grave. He will not let them
be seen at the funeral at all, as he says "it's horridly vulgar to see
a lot of women crying about a corpse; and, besides, they're always in
the way."

After the funeral is over, none of the bereaved ones can be seen for a
certain length of time, the period being regulated by a set decree.
They spend the days of their seclusion in consultations with their
_modiste_, in preparing the most fashionable mourning that can be
thought of; in this they seem to agree fully with a certain famous
_modiste_, who declared to a widow, but recently bereaved, that
"fashionable and becoming mourning is _so_ comforting to a person in


Hollow as it is, Shoddy in New York has its romances. One of the most
striking of those which occur to us is the story of a family which we
shall designate by the name of Swigg. There will, doubtless, be those
who will recognize them.

If Mr. and Mrs. Ephraim Swigg had a weakness for any thing it was for
being considered amongst that "select and happy few," known to the
outside world as "the upper ten." Mr. Swigg had wealth, and Mrs. Swigg
meant to spend it. She could not see the use of having money if one was
not to use it as a means of "getting into society;" and though she
contented herself with being thus modest in her public expressions, she
was, in her own mind, determined to make her money the power which
should enable her to _lead_ society. She meant to shine as a star of
the first magnitude, before whose glories all the fashionable world
should fall. She would no longer be plain Mrs. Ephraim Swigg, but the
great and wealthy Mrs. Swigg, whose brilliancy should eclipse any thing
yet seen in Gotham. Oh! she would make Fifth Avenue turn green with
jealousy. There was only one difficulty in the way--Mr. Swigg might not
be willing to furnish the sum necessary for the accomplishment of this
grand purpose: still she would attempt it, trusting that when he had
fairly entered upon the joys of fashionable life, he would be too much
charmed with them to begrudge "the paltry sums" necessary to continue

Mr. and Mrs. Swigg had not always enjoyed such advantages. There was a
time when the lady might have been seen in a market stall, where her
robust beauty drew to her crowds of admirers of doubtful character. She
had made a wise choice, however, and after looking coldly upon these
swains, had bestowed her hand upon Ephraim Swigg, a rising young
butcher, who sold his wares in the same market. To be sure, Mr. Swigg
was not a beauty, nor even as handsome as the plainest of the admirers
she had cast aside; but he had a more substantial recommendation than
any of them. He was the owner of a lucrative business, and had several
thousands laid by in hard cash. So, influenced by these considerations,
Miss Polly Dawkins became Mrs. Ephraim Swigg. In justice to her, be it
said, she made a good wife. He was equally devoted, and they were
genuinely happy. They had one child, a daughter, who, as she grew up,
bade fair to ripen into a very pretty woman.

They prospered steadily, and matters went on smoothly with them until
the rebellion startled the men of means with a vague fear for the
safety of their worldly possessions; then Mr. Swigg, reckoning over his
property, found himself possessed of a handsome fortune. He watched the
course of affairs anxiously until the great disaster at Bull Run, and
then, like a good patriot, set to work to see how he could help the
country out of its difficulties. Mr. Swigg's patriotism was of the
substantial kind--he derived the chief benefit from it. He bethought
himself of taking out a contract for supplying the Army of the Potomac
with cattle and other necessaries. He put his scheme into execution,
and, like every thing he attempted, it was successful. The army was
fed, and towards the close of the year 1864 Mr. Swigg found himself
worth three millions of dollars.

Of course, with all this to "back" them, the Swiggs at once became
people of note. Their entrance into society was easy enough, and no one
was sufficiently impolite to remember their past lives against them.
Mr. Swigg's coarse red face was attributed to his fine health, his
rudeness of manner was called eccentricity, and his frequent breaches
of etiquette were passed over in polite silence. Mrs. and Miss Swigg
got on better. The mamma was naturally a shrewd woman, and she quickly
adopted herself to the requirements of New York society, which are very
few and simple to one who has two or three millions at command. The
daughter had enjoyed greater advantages than her parents; she had been
trained in the best schools, and as far as her naturally weak mind was
capable of doing so, had profited by the efforts of her teachers. She
was a weak and silly girl, and was indulged in every whim and caprice
by her parents. She was nineteen years old, and having fulfilled the
promise of her youth, was indeed a handsome girl. Of course she was a
belle, the sole heiress of three millions could be nothing else, were
she as ugly as Hecate.

Mrs. Swigg had reasoned correctly. With all his shrewdness and good
sense, her liege lord shared her own weakness for high life, and
readily complied with all her requests for money. He was not a stingy
man at heart, and he was really glad to see his wife and daughter doing
so well. Indeed they were all very good people--only their sudden rise
in the world had turned their heads.

Mr. Swigg purchased an elegant mansion on Fifth Avenue, which some
broken down patrician offered for sale, and the family commenced their
fashionable career in a blaze of glory. They had one of the finest
establishments in the city; they gave splendid entertainments, and the
young bloods soon found that they could enjoy themselves at the Swigg
levees very much as they pleased, as their host and hostess were too
glad to see them, to criticize their conduct very closely. The worthy
couple counted many celebrities amongst their guests. There were
generals, both major and brigadier, colonels and captains in abundance,
and occasionally some dark-skinned, bewhiskered foreigner, who rejoiced
in the title of count, marquis, or lord, and who looked more like he
had passed his days in the galleys, than in the courts of the old
world. The warmest welcome of the host and hostess, especially the
latter, was reserved for these gentlemen. Between the man in the blue
and gold of his country's livery, who had daily perilled his life for
the perpetuity of the institutions that had made the fortunes of the
Swiggs, and the titled, suspicious-looking foreigner, of whom they knew
nothing with certainty, the good people never hesitated. The preference
was given to the latter.

One of these gentlemen was especially welcome. This was the Baron Von
Storck, who claimed to be an Austrian nobleman of great wealth. In
support of his assertion, when he appeared at fashionable
entertainments, he covered the front of his coat with ribbons of every
hue in the rainbow. He made his appearance in New York society almost
simultaneously with the Swiggs, and from the first, devoted himself
particularly to them or to Miss Arabella, the heiress of the three

As might have been expected, in the course of a few months the Baron
proposed for the hand of Miss Arabella, to the great delight of papa
and mamma, and the 'young people' were formally engaged. After this the
young lady and her mother constantly amused themselves with writing the
future title of the former, 'just to see how it looked.' Such a piece
of good fortune could not be kept secret; and Miss Arabella was the
object of the envy of scores of damsels who had been trying in vain to
ensnare the elegant foreigner in their own nets, which were not so
heavily baited.

One morning the Baron waited upon Mrs. Swigg, and producing an enormous
document, written in German, and furnished with a huge red seal stamped
with an eagle, informed her that the paper was a peremptory order from
his Government, which he had just received, commanding him to return
home at once, as his services were needed. He added that he could not
disobey the command of his sovereign, and asked that his marriage with
Arabella might take place at once, so that they might sail for the old
world in the next Bremen steamer.

Mr. Swigg was summoned, and the matter laid before him. At first he
hesitated, for he did not like so much haste; but his wife and daughter
at last wrung a reluctant consent from him, and the marriage was
solemnized with great splendor at Grace Church, the inevitable Brown
declaring, as usual, he had never experienced so much satisfaction in
his life.

Mr. Swigg, like a good father, settled half a million of dollars upon
his daughter. The Baron had expected more, but the old man's shrewdness
came to his aid in this instance, and he declared to his wife that this
was money enough to risk at one time. His suspicions were very vague,
and they were roundly denounced by his better half. He held his tongue,
and after the marriage handed the Baron bills of exchange on Paris and
Vienna for the five hundred thousand. Herr Von Storck, on his part,
formally delivered to his father-in-law a deed, drawn up in German,
(and which bore a wonderful likeness to the letter of recall he had
shown Mrs. Swigg,) in which he said he settled a handsome estate near
Vienna upon his bride. He apologized for not making her the usual
present of diamonds, by saying that his family jewels were more
magnificent than any thing that could be found in New York, and that he
was afraid to risk their being sent across the ocean. They awaited his
bride in his ancestral home. The parents expressed their entire
satisfaction, and begged that he would not mention "such trifles."

The "young couple" were to sail on the second day after their marriage;
and, at the appointed time, the new baroness awaited her husband, with
packed trunks. He had gone out early in the morning to wind up his
business at the Austrian Consulate. The steamer was to sail at noon,
and as the hour drew near, and the Baron did not appear, the fears of
Papa Swigg began to be aroused. Two, three, four o'clock, and yet no
Baron Von Storck. Terror and dread reigned in the hearts of the Swigg

Towards five o'clock, a policeman, accompanied by a coarse-looking
German woman, arrived at the mansion. He informed Mr. Swigg that he had
orders to arrest Conrad Kreutzer, alias the Baron Von Storck. The
_denouement_ had come at last. The policeman informed the old gentleman
that the supposed Baron was simply a German barber, who had been
released from the penitentiary but a short time, where he had served a
term for bigamy, and that the woman who accompanied him was Kreutzer's
lawful wife.

Poor Papa Swigg! Poor Mamma Swigg! Poor Arabella, "Baroness Von
Storck!" It was a fearful blow to them, but it was not altogether

The successful scoundrel had sailed at noon on the steamer, under his
assumed name, carrying with him the bills of exchange, which were paid
on presentation in Europe, there being then no Atlantic telegraph to
expose his villainy before his arrival in the old world. He has never
been heard of since.

His victims were not so fortunate. All New York rang with the story,
and those who had tried hardest to bring this fate upon themselves were
loudest in ridiculing the Swiggs for their "stupidity;" so that, at
last, parents and daughter were glad to withdraw from fashionable life,
to a more retired existence, where they still remain, sadder, and
decidedly wiser than when their career began. Mr. Swigg takes the
matter philosophically, consoling himself with the determination to
vote against every foreigner who may 'run for office' in his district.
His wife and Arabella, however, still suffer sorely from their
mortification, and are firmly convinced that of all classes of European
society, the German nobility is the most utterly corrupt.


From the following article, which appeared recently in the _Evening
Mail_, the reader will obtain a clear insight into some of the outside
customs of society:

Even the cut of the pasteboard upon which a man announces his name is
regulated by fashion. The man who wishes to have his note-paper,
envelopes and cards, 'on the square' must know what the mode is.
Visiting cards for the present season will be rather larger than
formerly, and of the finest unglazed Bristol board. The new sizes will
tend rather to the square than otherwise. The shape of the card may be
varied, according to taste, the proper adaptation to the size of the
lettering being maintained.

[Illustration: Fifth Avenue, near Thirty-Fourth Street.]

Among the various texts in use, nothing will supercede the English
script, and those inimitable styles of old English text; the most novel
being those with dropped capitals, and the extremely neat, extra-
shaded. Visiting cards, with the familiar words denoting the object of
the call, will remain in use, to some extent, especially for calls of
congratulation or condolence. The word _visite_, on the left hand upper
corner, will be engraved on the reverse side. The corner containing the
desired word will be turned down, so as to denote the object of the
call. The word on the right-hand corner, _Felicitation_, will be used
for visits of congratulation on some happy event, as, for instance, a
marriage, or a birth; on the left lower corner, the word _Conge_, used
for a visit previous to leaving town; the other corner is to be marked
_Condolence_. Cards sent to friends before leaving for a long journey,
are issued with the addition of P. P. C. in the left hand corner. These
cards are inclosed in heavy and elegant, though plain, envelopes,
ornamented with a tasteful monogram or initial.

In wedding invitations, all abbreviations, like eve. for evening, will
be avoided, as well as P. M.; the word afternoon being preferable.
Invitations to ceremonious weddings consist of a square note-sheet,
embellished with a large monogram in relief, entwining the combined
initials of the bride and groom. The individual cards of both bride and
groom must be also inclosed, united with a neat white satin tie; and,
in some cases, another card, with reception days for the following

A very neat style of card has the customary 'at home' on a note-sheet,
a ceremony card, (at fixed hour,) and the united cards of bride and
groom, all enclosed in a splendid large envelope, of the very finest
texture, with an elaborate monogram, or ornamental initial. Among the
neater forms for a quiet wedding at home is the following:


Request the pleasure of M.---'s company at breakfast, on Wednesday,
December 16, at one o'clock.
'--_Hamilton Square_.'

Cards of bride and groom must be inclosed for general invitations. Very
simple forms are in the best taste. They may be varied to suit the
occasion, either of _dejeuner_, dinner reception or evening parties.
For example:


Wednesday evening, January 7.
'--_Fifth Avenue_.
'Cotillion at 9.'

Or; Soiree Dansante.


Request the pleasure of your company on Monday evening, at 9 o'clock.

An afternoon wedding reception may be announced in terms like the


Request the pleasure of your company at the wedding reception of their
daughter, on Thursday, October 15, from 2 until 4 o'clock.

'--_Maple Grove_.'
Or again:

Request the pleasure of your presence at the marriage ceremony of
their daughter Adelaide to Mr. Jones, at Trinity Chapel, on Wednesday
evening, October 5, at 8 o'clock.
Reception from 9 until 11 o'clock.
'--_West Hamilton street_.'

The mode for private dinners may claim a paragraph. Of late, private
dinners have been conducted with great ceremony. The menu, or bill of
fare, is laid at each plate, an illuminated monogram embellishing the
top of the menu. The list of dishes, tastefully written, and a
beautifully adorned illuminated card are laid on each plate, to
designate the seat of the particular guest. Another style of these
cards is plain white, bound with a crimson or blue edge, and has the
words _Bon Appetit,_ in handsome letters, above the name of the guest,
which is also beautifully written in the same original style, or,
perhaps, in fancy colored ink.

Acceptance and regret notes are found very useful and convenient on
some occasions. The best forms are:


Compliments to Mrs.----, accepting, with, pleasure, her kind invitation
for Wednesday evening, January 14, 1869.
'----Clinton Place.'

If the note be one of regret, 'regretting the necessity to decline,' is
substituted. These blanks are neatly put up in small packages, with
proper envelopes.

For billet or note-paper, some new styles of fine Parisian papers have
just been introduced, and, for the extreme neatness of the design, or
figure, in the paper, have become very fashionable. The different
styles in paper and envelopes could scarcely be enumerated. The forms
are small, square, and rather large, oblong shape; both folding in a
square envelope, with pointed flap. A novelty has just been introduced,
in a sheet of paper, so cut as to combine note sheet with envelope.

Monograms will, this season, tend to an enlarged size, besides being
more complicated than usual. In many cases, the monograms spell pet
names, and sometimes names of several syllables. Illuminated monograms,
especially for heading of party or ball invitations, will be greatly
sought after. For usual letter writing, monograms in one delicate
color, or in white embossed, will be in vogue. These are very stylish,
when used on thick English cream laid paper. Names of country
residences, in rustic design, are also used at the top of the note
sheet. Jockey monograms are formed of riding equipments. Some novelties
in this way have recently made their appearance. For those fond of the
game of croquet, monograms are formed of the implements of the game;
and smokers may have their articles of smoking so arranged as to
represent their initials.


New York has long been celebrated for its magnificent entertainments,
and especially for its weddings, and wedding breakfasts. On such
occasions the guests, unwilling to be outdone by the host in
liberality, sometimes vie with each other in presenting the bride elect
with costly gifts of every description. One, two, or three rooms, as
the case may be, are set apart at every "fashionable wedding," where
the presents are displayed and commented upon by the invited guests. It
has been frequently suggested by the more prudent members of society
that these offerings be entirely suppressed, and that none but the
immediate relations should commemorate the day in this wise; but the
idea has met with no favor, till of late, when one of our fashionable
"Murray Hill princes," took a most determined step toward reform. As it
is the only case of the kind on record, a description of the wedding
may not be uninteresting. Several hundred invitations were given, and
at the appointed hour the parlors were crowded almost to suffocation.
The bride was attired in a white marceline silk of most scant
proportions; her veil consisted of one breadth of tulle caught in her
comb, at the back of her hair; no flowers were worn except a very
minute bunch in front of her dress. The groom was attired with like
simplicity, thereby attracting considerable attention.

No refreshments were offered to the wearied guests, who gladly bade
adieu, and returned to their homes. There was a false hope, raised in
the minds of a few, on seeing a large bride cake in one corner, that a
glass of wine and a piece of cake might be served; but the illusion was
dispelled on questioning the waiter (one only being in attendance), who
informed them he had instructions not to cut it! The presents were
spread upon a small table, and created not a little astonishment. One
five dollar gold piece was laid upon a card, bearing the inscription,
"From your affectionate grandfather." A coin of half this value was
presented by the "affectionate grandmother," while devoted brothers and
sisters testified their affection by the presentation of a gold dollar
each. As might be expected, the guests departed early. One lady was
unfortunate enough to have ordered her carriage to call for her at
midnight. She saw all depart, and then seated herself to await
patiently its coming. After awhile a savory smell of oysters, coffee,
etc., came floating on the air. With some confusion of manner the
members of the family one by one disappeared, and after some delay, the
host hesitatingly invited her to partake of some refreshments. She
declined, and the family retired to discuss the supper; leaving her to
await her carriage alone in the parlor.


If New York has a profusion of gilt and glitter in its high life, it
has also the real gold. The best society of the city is not to be found
in what are known as "fashionable circles." It consists of persons of
education and refinement, who are amongst the most polished and
cultivated of the American people. To this class belonged Fennimore
Cooper and Washington Irving. It is small, very exclusive, and careful
as to whom it admits to its honors. Shoddy and its votaries cannot
enter it, and therefore it is decidedly unfashionable.



Leaving Broadway at Leonard or Franklin streets, one finds himself,

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