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The Secrets Of The Great City by Edward Winslow Martin

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after a walk of two blocks in an easterly direction, in a wide
thoroughfare, called Centre street. His attention is at once attracted
by a large, heavy granite building, constructed in the style of an
Egyptian temple. This is the Tombs. The proper name of the building is
"The Halls of Justice," but it is now by common consent spoken of
simply as the Tombs. It occupies an entire square, and is bounded by
Centre, Elm, Franklin, and Leonard streets. The main entrance is on
Centre street, through a vast and gloomy corridor, the sternness of
which is enough to strike terror to the soul of a criminal. Within the
walls which face the street, is a large quadrangle. In this there are
three prisons, several stories high. One of these is for men, the other
for boys, and the third for women. The gallows stands in the prison
yard, when there is need for it, all executions of criminals in this
city being conducted as privately as possible.

The prison is one of the smallest in America, and is utterly inadequate
to the necessities of the city. It was built at a time when New York
was hardly half as large as the metropolis of to-day, and is now almost
always overcrowded to an extent which renders it fearful. It is kept
perfectly clean, its sanitary regulations being very rigid. It is very
gloomy in its interior, and is one of the strongest and securest
prisons in the world.

[Illustration: The Tombs--City Prison.]

No lights are allowed in the cells, which are very small, but a narrow
aperture cut obliquely in the wall, near the ceiling, admits the
sunshine, and at the same time cuts off the inmates from a view of what
is passing without. Besides these, there are six comfortable cells
located just over the main entrance. These are for the use of criminals
of the wealthier class, who can afford to pay for such comforts.
Forgers, fraudulent merchants, and the like, pass the hours of their
detention in these rooms, while their humbler, but no more guilty
brothers in crime are shut up in the close, narrow cells we have
described. These rooms command a view of the street, so that their
occupants are not entirely cut off from the outer world.


The main cell in the prison is a large room, with a capacity for
holding about two hundred persons. It is known as the "Bummer's Cell."
It is generally full on Saturday night, which is always a busy time for
the police. The working classes are paid their weekly wages on
Saturday, and having no labor to perform on the Sabbath, take Saturday
night for their periodical dissipation, comforting themselves with the
reflection that if they carry their revels to too great an excess, they
can sleep off the bad effects on Sunday.

From sunset until long after midnight on Saturday, the police are busy
ridding the streets of drunken and disorderly persons. As soon as a
person is arrested, he is taken to the Toombs, or one of the station
houses. It is the duty of the captain in charge of the precinct to lock
up every person thus brought in. He has no discretion, and he is often
compelled to throw those of whose innocence he is satisfied, into the
company of the most abandoned wretches for an entire night.
Drunkenness, disorderly conduct, and fighting are the principal charges
brought against the Saturday night inmates of the Bummer's Cell. Many
visitors to the city, by yielding to the temptation to drink too much
liquor, pay for their folly by an acquaintance with the Bummer's Cell.
They lose their self control in the splendid gin palaces of the city,
and when they recover their consciousness find themselves in a hot,
close room, filled with the vilest and most depraved wretches. The
noise, profanity, and obscenity, are fearful. All classes, all ages,
are represented there. Even little children are lost forever by being
immured for a single night in such horrible company. The females are
confined in a separate part of the prison. No entreaties or
explanations are of the least avail. All must await with as much
patience as possible, the opening of the court the next morning.


The Court opens at six o'clock on Sunday morning. It is presided over
by Justice Joseph Bowling, a short, thick-set man, with a handsome
face, and a full, well-shaped head, indicating both ability and
determination. Judge Dowling is still a young man, and is one of the
most efficient magistrates in the city. His decisions are quickly
rendered, and are generally just. He has a hard class of people to deal
with, and this has made him not a little sharp in his manner. A
stranger is at once struck with the quick, penetrating power of his
glance. He seems to look right through a criminal, and persons brought
before him generally find it impossible to deceive him. This has made
him the terror of criminals, who have come to regard an arraignment
before him as equivalent to a conviction, as the one is tolerably sure
to follow the other. At the same time he is kind and considerate to
those who are simply unfortunate. Vice finds him an unrelenting foe,
and virtue a fearless defender. So much for the man.

As soon as the Court is opened, the prisoners are called up in the
order of their arrival during the previous night. Here drunkenness
without disorder, and first offences of a minor character, are punished
with a reprimand, and the prisoners are discharged. These cases
constitute a majority of the arrests, and the number of persons in the
dock is soon reduced to a mere handfull. The more serious cases are
either held for further examination or sent on trial before a higher

All classes of people come to the Justice with complaints of every
description. Women come to complain of their husbands, and men of their
wives. The Justice listens to them all, and if a remedy is needed,
applies the proper one without delay. In most instances, he dismisses
the parties with good advice, as their cases are not provided for by
the law.


Some of the cases which are brought up before the Tombs Court are
deeply interesting. We take the following from the report of the
General Agent of the New York Prison Association:

The case referred to is that of a woman indicted for burglary and grand
larceny. She was guilty, and she felt and acknowledged it. She had
lived in a neighboring city for the last six years, and for the last
three years on the same floor with the complainant, and the consequence
was they were very friendly and intimate. Her husband sustained a
severe injury from a fall, and has since been in declining health,
earning nothing for the last eighteen months. At length his mind gave
way and his friends advised his removal to the Lunatic Asylum. He had
been an inmate for six months, and his wife frequently visited him,
always contributing to his wants and comforts. He improved so rapidly
that the doctor informed his wife that on the following week, if the
weather proved clear and fine, he should discharge him. The wife felt
anxious to make her home more than ever cheerful and her husband happy,
but she had no means. She thought of the abundance of clothing her
neighbor possessed, and that some articles could be spared for a short
time, probably without detection; and if she should be detected before
she could redeem them, her friend would excuse her. She devised means
to enter, and conveyed to the pawnbroker's two parcels of clothing,
upon which she realized nine dollars; she made some purchases for the
house, redeemed a coat for her husband, and then started for the asylum
for the purpose of fetching him to her home. But on her arrival there,
the physician told her that he had left a few hours before, that he was
well and happy, and that she must keep him so. On her return home the
larceny had been discovered, and the property found at the
pawnbroker's; it had been pledged in her own name, and where she was
well and favorably known. An officer was waiting, and she was taxed
with the crime; she had destroyed the duplicate. The complainant gave
her into the custody of the officer, but promised to forgive her if all
the property was recovered. The husband went to his friends, and they
advanced funds to redeem the property. It was returned, and also a hat
paid for which had been taken. I carefully examined into this case and
all its surroundings. The woman had sustained the reputation of being a
sober, industrious, honest person; her state of mind was truly
distressing, her greatest fear was that her husband would relapse, and
she would be the cause of all his future misery. I submitted all these
facts to the district attorney; he could not consent to any compromise,
and again referred me to the county judge, who would not yield a
tittle. Counsel having been assigned, a plea of guilty of grand larceny
was put in by him, and she was remanded for sentence until Saturday. I
felt very unhappy at her condition. On Friday evening I endeavored to
find the district attorney, but failed; on Saturday morning I wrote him
and asked him to concede that she could not be convicted of burglary,
and then, was it not very doubtful whether she could be convicted of
any thing more than petit larceny? If so, I urged him to consent to the
withdrawal of the plea put in by her counsel, and then permit it to be
substituted by one of petit larceny. My proposition met with favor; its
suggestions were adopted, and the prisoner, instead of ignominy in the
State Prison, was sent to the Penitentiary for three months. The woman
is now in a situation at work, but her mind is ill at ease, as her
husband has not been heard of since her imprisonment.


"A member of an eminent firm in this city," says the gentleman from
whose report the above case is taken, "called upon me with a request
that I would visit a youth, aged seventeen years, now in the Tombs,
charged upon his complaint with embezzling various sums of money whilst
in their employ as collecting clerk. He felt anxious I should see him,
and then advise what should be done. The next morning I repaired to the
prison, and had the youth brought from his cell, when he made the
following statement: That he lived and boarded with his widowed mother
and sisters in a neighboring city, where also he had taken an active
part in all their religious meetings and enterprises. He thinks he
experienced a great moral change when first he became a member, and
until of late had made religious duties his greatest delight. He had
regarded his family as one of the happiest that could be found. Some
seven or eight months since he was introduced to the firm referred to,
and they engaged his services, agreeing to give him five dollars per
week. He was soon appreciated by his employers, and they advanced his
salary to seven dollars a week, out of which he paid his mother for
board five dollars, and one dollar for his weekly fare on the railroad.
This left him but one dollar for his own use. He soon became acquainted
with other collecting clerks, with whom he took lunch, first a sandwich
and a cup of coffee, and then dinners and dessert. _In this way the
money of his employers disappeared._ He could not charge himself with
any one special act of extravagance. He felt, he said, ashamed of
himself, and deeply pained before God, and wondered that he could not
see and feel before that he has sinned greviously. I now urged him to
conceal nothing, but tell the truth, and nothing but the truth, and to
pause and consider before he answered the next question I should put to
him, as it was a very serious one. 'How long would it take to induce
him, with solemn purpose of heart, to resolve, unalterably resolve,
never to be guilty of a repetition of crime, never to spend a cent
belonging to another?' The penalty for his offence was from one year to
five in a State prison. I then begged him to inform me how I should
approach his honor the judge, before whom he must be brought if
prosecuted. Should I ask the court to show him mercy, and send him but
for two years? or would it require a longer sentence to effect a
permanent change in his life? He wept distressingly, and said: 'Oh,
save me from such a fate, if not for mine, for my mother's sake. Beg
and pray of the firm to show me mercy, and I will be careful and honest
for the future.' One of the gentlemen called upon me and inquired if I
had seen this youth."

[Illustration: Scene in the Tombs Police Court]

I replied that I had. 'Then what do you advise?' I asked if it
was known in the house that the lad was a defaulter. 'To none but my
partner' he replied. Then, said I, the best advice I am capable of
giving is, _forgive him, ask the court to discharge him, and take him
back again into your office_. I am happy to say that my advice was
adopted. The youth was discharged, forgiven, and taken back again into
the house, and is now performing his duties with alacrity, very
grateful to the Association, and more especially to the firm for their
noble conduct in this matter. That young man has no doubt been saved
from a career of crime.


The prisoners confined in the Tombs are provided with the means of
hearing divine service every Sunday. The Roman Catholic clergy have the
exclusive privilege of ministering to the spiritual wants of the women
and children, and for this purpose have quite a nice little chapel
fitted up in the female department of the prison. The Sisters of
Charity preside over this part of the prison at all times, and no one
is permitted to interfere with them.

The Protestant clergy are permitted to preach to the male prisoners in
the main corridor of the prison. The preacher stands on the platform at
the upper end of the passage, and the prisoners in their cells can hear
him without seeing him. They pay little or no attention to him, but
receive their friends in their cells, or employ themselves according to
their own fancies during the preaching. The bummers are grouped in the
corridor just below the preacher, and are called out from time to time
by the keepers, as they are wanted in the court room. The minister is
frequently annoyed and embarrassed by the shouts; jeers, and imitations
of the prisoners in their cells.



The principal reformatory establishments of New York city are the
Penitentiary, on Blackwell's Island, and the House of Refuge, devoted
to juvenile criminals, on Randall's Island.


The large pile of buildings which forms such a prominent object on
Blackwell's Island, known as the Penitentiary, is familiar to most of
the residents of New York City, though the every day life of its
inmates is practically known only to that class to which they
immediately belong.

The Penitentiary, which is under the wardenship of Mr. Fitch, is
capable of accommodating about seven hundred and fifty prisoners, but
at present their numbers are slightly under five hundred--about three
hundred men, and ninety women. The prisoners are divided into classes,
the particular dress of each indicating the nature and gravity of their
offences, and though amenable to the same laws as to labor and
discipline, they work in separate gangs and mess by themselves. They
are under the control of twenty-four keepers, each keeper, who is
heavily armed, having fifteen men in his charge, whose roll he calls,
and for whose absence he is responsible. At six o'clock the prisoners
are all paraded to call the roll, at half-past six they have breakfast,
consisting of dry bread and a bowl of coffee, and at seven, those who
are skilled workmen are told off to the blacksmiths', carpenters',
tailors', and weavers' shops, where all necessary repairs to the
building and its fittings are done, and the clothing for the prisoners
is made; others to labor in the gardens and fields, while the remainder
are marched off in two divisions, one to work in the stone quarries at
home, the others to be conveyed by the Commissioners' steam vessel
Bellevue to the quarries on Ward's Island. The female prisoners are
principally occupied in the sewing-room, in the brush-manufactory, in
washing clothes, and scrubbing out the cells.

The majority of the prisoners are committed for assault and battery or
larceny, for terms varying from one month to four years and a half;
those committed for graver offences are confined at Sing Sing; all
drunkards, vagrants, and disorderly characters at the workhouse. During
the past year two thousand three hundred and fifteen persons were
incarcerated for different periods--two thousand one hundred and
thirty-nine whites, one hundred and seventy-six blacks. Of these about
one third were native Americans, one third Irish, one tenth German, and
the remainder of various nationalities. The visitor to the Penitentiary
cannot but be struck by the youth of the male prisoners compared with
that of the females, the bulk of the males being between fourteen and
thirty years of age, the females between twenty-five and fifty. Few
young girls find their way here, as in their earlier career they are
able to gain enough by a life of prostitution, without committing
larceny, and consequently do not resort to it till their charms begin
to wear, and the consequent diminution of their means of subsistence
from such a source compels them to resort to some other. There is
another fact which appears in these statistics of crime, one highly
suggestive to the housekeeper. Of the four hundred and eleven female
prisoners committed during the past year, no less than three hundred
and two were domestic servants, and of these two hundred and forty-one
were Irish girls and women.

At twelve o'clock the prison bell rings for dinner. It is a sad sight
to stand on the terrace and see the various gangs of men and lads march
home from their work, the greater proportion of them fine, sturdy
looking young fellows; it is sadder still to see some of them carrying
a heavy iron ball and chain slung over the shoulder and attached to a
strong iron band locked round the leg immediately above the ankle.
These men have tried to escape. Necessary as it may be to adopt such
measures to prevent them from repeating the attempt, surely it is
unnecessarily cruel to compel these poor creatures to wear their irons
at night. Their dinner consists of a can of soup, a plate of meat, and
ten ounces of bread. They are allowed one hour, and are then marched
back again to their work in the quarries; they have supper, bread and
coffee, at five o'clock, and at half-past five they are all locked in
their cells, which, though scrupulously clean, are certainly too small
(about the size of an ordinary clothes closet), considering that the
prisoners have to pass twelve hours out of the twenty-four in them.

On Sunday the sewing-room of the female prisoners is used as a Chapel,
the men attending services in the morning, the women in the afternoon;
once a month there is service for the Roman Catholic prisoners. The
convicts have no privileges; a sharp, intelligent lad may become a hall
boy or get employed in the mess room; or a mechanic may be appointed to
one of the workshops and so gain some slight relief from the monotony
of their lives; but they get no reward, beyond a little tobacco once a
week for chewing; smoking is strictly prohibited; once a month they are
allowed to be visited by their friends. On entering the building the
visitor is forcibly struck by the following inscription over the

'The way of the transgressor is hard.'

'Such is the greeting to the unfortunate criminal as he puts his foot,
often for the first time, within the prison walls. If an inscription be
necessary, surely the Department of Public Charities and Correction
might have chosen one less harsh in character; one that breathes a
larger amount of Christian charity to a poor fellow creature, one that
may offer him some small portion of that encouragement which is so
essential to his reformation. Some such epigram as 'it is never too
late to mend' would be altogether more suitable and far more


The Commissioners of Public Charities and Correction, in their last
report, made the startling announcement that there are no less than
thirty-nine thousand children in the City of New York, growing up in
ignorance and idleness. These children, influenced from their cradles
by the most terrible surroundings, have no alternative but to become
beggars and thieves almost as soon as they can run alone. Thousands of
them are orphans, or perhaps worse, for they are often the children of
parents who, ignoring the laws of nature, use them for the purpose of
furthering their own vicious ends. They live principally in a
neighborhood which abounds in lodging-houses for sailors, the lowest
class of liquor stores, dancing and concert rooms, and various other
low places of amusement; a neighborhood swarming with brothels, whose
wretched inmates are permitted to flaunt their sin and finery, and ply
their hateful trade openly, by day and night; where at midnight the
quarrels, fights, and disturbances, are so noisy and so frequent that
none can hope for a night's rest until they are inured by habit; where,
night after night, they witness the most desperate encounters between
drunken men and women, kicking, biting, and tearing one another's hair
out, as they roll together in the gutter, or, as is too often the case,
using deadly weapons, and where the crowd, instead of interfering to
stop these awful scenes, stand by in a brutal enjoyment of them,
abetting and encouraging the principal actors therein. And their homes,
what are they? Their fathers, often out of work, are unable to support
their families; their clothes, their bedding, their furniture, all gone
to the pawn-shop; father, mother, and children, are often compelled to
sleep on the bare boards, huddling close together for warmth in one
ill-built, ill-ventilated room. Amid their misery, this neglect of the
common decencies of life, this unblushing effrontery of reckless vice
and crime, what chance have these poor unhappy little children of
becoming decent members of society. They are sickly from the want of
proper nourishment, vicious from example, ignorant because they do not
care to learn, and their parents take no trouble to compel them to do
so, and must inevitably grow up only to swell the already fearful sum
total of our criminal population. At ten the boys are thieves, at
fifteen the girls are all prostitutes.

A system of State reformatories and State apprenticeships on an
extensive scale is the only way of grappling with this terrible state
of things. Such institutions as the House of Refuge on Randall's Island
have done and are doing much, but a dozen such institutions might be
established with advantage in the State of New York alone. On Randall's
Island the young criminal has the opportunity of acquiring regular
habits and learning a useful trade. They are subject to a humane,
though strict discipline, and a very large per centage, especially of
the boys, do undoubtedly become reformed. This reformatory, a wise
combination of school and prison, can accommodate one thousand inmates.
There are at present about eight hundred boys, and one hundred and
fifty girls on the register. The boys' building is divided into two
compartments, the first division, in the one, is thus entirely
separated from the second division, in the other compartment. The
second division is composed of those whose characters are decidedly
bad, or whose offence was great. A boy may, by good conduct, however,
get promoted from the second into the first division. As a rule the
second division are much older than the first. Each division is divided
into four grades. Every boy on entering the Reformatory is placed in
the third grade; if he behaves well he is placed in the second in a
week, and a month after to the first grade; if he continues in a
satisfactory course for three months, he is placed in the grade of
honor, and wears a badge on his breast. Every boy in the first division
must remain six months, in the second division twelve months in the
first grade, before he can be indentured to any trade. These two
divisions are under the charge of twenty-five teachers and twenty-five
guards. At half-past six o'clock the cells are all unlocked, every one
reports himself to the overseer, and then goes to the lavatories; at
seven, after parading, they are marched to the school rooms to join in
religious exercises for half an hour; at half-past seven they have
breakfast, and at eight are told off to the work-shops, where they
remain till twelve, when they again parade, previous to going to
dinner. For dinner they have a large plate of excellent soup, a small
portion of meat, a small loaf of bread, and a mug of water. At one
o'clock they return to their work. When they have completed their
allotted task they are allowed to play till four, when they have
supper. At half-past four they go to school, where they remain till
eight o'clock, the time for going to bed. Each boy has a separate cell,
which is locked and barred at night. The cells are in long, lofty, well
ventilated corridors, each corridor containing one hundred cells. The
doors of the cells are all grated, in order that the boys may have
light and air, and also be under the direct supervision of the
officers, who, though very strict, apparently know well how to temper
strictness with kindness. Before going to bed, half an hour is again
devoted to religious exercises, singing hymns, reading the Bible, etc.
There is a large chapel, where the services are conducted on Sunday,
the girls having the gallery to themselves. There is, however, no
Catholic service. This, surely, is not right. At the Penitentiary on
Blackwell's Island they have service once a month for the Catholics. Of
the six hundred and eighty-two children committed from the Courts
during the year 1867, no less than four hundred and fourteen were
Irish, and in all probability a large proportion of these are Roman
Catholics. Institutions of this character should certainly be made as
unsectarian as possible.

One of the most interesting, and at the same time, one of the most
important features of the Refuge, is the workshop. On entering the
shop, the visitor is amused by finding a lot of little urchins occupied
in making ladies' hoopskirts of the latest fashionable design; nearly
100 are engaged in the crinoline department. In the same long room,
about 50 are weaving wire for sifting cotton, making wire sieves, rat
traps, gridirons, flower baskets, cattle noses, etc. The principal
work, however, is carried on in the boot and shoe department. The labor
of the boys is let out to contractors, who supply their own foremen to
teach the boys and superintend the work, but the society have their own
men to keep order and correct the boys when necessary, the contractors'
men not being allowed to interfere with them in any way whatever. There
are 590 boys in this department. They manage on an average to turn out
about 2,500 pairs of boots and shoes daily, which are mostly shipped to
the Southern States. Each one has a certain amount of work allotted to
him in the morning, which he is bound to complete before four o'clock
in the afternoon. Some are quicker and more industrious than others,
and will get their work done by two o'clock; this gives two hours' play
to those in the first division, the second division have to go to
school when they have finished till three o'clock, they only being
allowed one hour for recreation. The authorities are very anxious to
make arrangements to have a Government vessel stationed off the island,
to be used as a training-ship for the most adventurous spirits. If this
design is carried out it will be a very valuable adjunct to the working
of the institution, and will enable the Directors to take in many more
boys, without incurring the expense of extending the present buildings.
The girls are also employed in making hoop skirts, in making clothes
for themselves and the boys, in all sorts of repairing, in washing
linen, and in general housework. The girls are generally less tractable
than the boys; perhaps this is accounted for by their being older, some
of them being as much as five or six and twenty. The boys average about
13 or 14, the girls 17 or 18 years of age. Nearly two thirds of the
boys have been boot-blacks, the remainder mostly what are technically
known as 'wharf rats.' Some of them are now in the house for the third
time; one, a lad only 15 years of age, has passed one year in a
juvenile asylum, four years in a reformatory, and is now at Randall's
Island. Another has been three times convicted of horse stealing; he
would, late at night, ask permission to sleep in a stable; he is a
complete cripple, and by attracting sympathy his request was often
granted; when every one had left the place he would quietly open the
door and lead out the horses. On each occasion that he was convicted he
managed to get off with three horses. Another little fellow, only six
years old, with a chum, broke into a pipe store, and stole 150
meerschaum pipes; he was however detected while trying to dispose of
them. There is a colored lad, about eighteen, who is very amusing; he
is a great orator, and addresses the others on all subjects, both
general and political. On one occasion, when the Principal ventured to
ask him whom he had adopted as his model for speaking, he grandly
replied, 'I will have you to know, sir, that I am no servile imitator.'
Some of the boys cannot overcome their thieving propensities, but will,
even in the Refuge, purloin things that can be of no earthly use to
them, if they get the chance. They are very quick and expert. Only a
few days ago one of the boys fell down in a fit in the schoolroom; some
of the others assisted the teacher to carry him into the open air. The
poor fellow had a collection of nick-nacks in one pocket, and about 20
penny pieces in the other, but during the moment that passed in
carrying him out both pockets were emptied. The Directors of the house
of Refuge, while having a due regard for the well-being of its inmates,
very properly take care that they are not so comfortable or so well fed
as to lead them to remain longer in the reformatory than necessary. As
soon as the boys appear to be really reformed they are indentured out
to farmers and different trades. In the year 1867 no less than 633 boys
and 146 girls were started in life in this way. Any person wishing to
have a child indentured to him, has to make a formal application to the
Committee to that effect, at the same time giving references as to
character, etc. Inquiries are made, and if satisfactorily answered, the
child is handed over to his custody, the applicant engaging to feed,
clothe, and educate his young apprentice. The boy's new master has to
forward a written report to the officer, as to his health and general
behavior from time to time. If the boy does not do well, he is sent
back to the Refuge, and remains there till he is 21 years of age. Most
of the children, however, get on, and many of them have made for
themselves respectable positions in society. The annals of the Society
in this respect are very gratifying and interesting. Many young men
never lose sight of a Refuge which rescued them in time from a criminal
life, and to which they owe almost their very existence. Instead of
alternating between the purlieus of Water street and Sing Sing, they
are many of them in a fair way to make a fortune. One young man who was
brought up there, and is now thriving, lately called at the office to
make arrangements for placing his two younger brothers in the House,
they having got into bad company since their father's death. A very
remarkable occurrence took place at the institution not long ago. A
gentleman and his wife, apparently occupying a good position in
society, called at the Refuge and asked to be allowed to go over it.
Having inspected the various departments, just before leaving, the
gentleman said to his wife, 'Now I will tell you a great secret. I was
brought up in this place.' The lady seemed much surprised, and
astounded all by quietly observing 'And so was I.' So strange are the
coincidences of human life.

"The last financial report issued by the Managers is certainly
encouraging, and might be studied with advantage by the Directors of
other public institutions. The total expenditures for the year 1867,
for an average of nine hundred and ninety inmates, was $115,036; but
the earnings of the work-shops amounted to $55,090, making the net
expenditures $59,946. In 1864, the net cost of each child was $83; in
1865, $80; in 1866, $74, and in 1867, $61. In 1864, the net earnings of
each child were $39; in 1865, $42; in 1866, $49, and in 1867, $56,
showing every successive year a better result. At the Red Hill
Reformatory in England, the net cost of each child for the year 1867,
was $135, and the net earnings of each child $30. The total expenditure
of the Penitentiary on Blackwell's Island for last year was $93,966 for
an average of five hundred and thirty three-inmates; deducting $15,175,
the value of convict labor, the net expenditure was $77,791, making the
net annual cost of each convict $146. After making all allowances for
difference of age, etc., there is a very wide margin between $146 and
$61. The Principal of the Refuge, Mr. Israel C. Jones, has been
occupied for seventeen years in Reformatory work, and no doubt the
successful results attending the operations of this society are mainly
due to his great experience. Mr. Jones takes great pleasure in
receiving visitors who are desirous of seeing the practical workings
of his system."



In a city so vast as New York, one of the greatest considerations is to
provide ample means for rapid and sure passage from one part of the
corporate limits to another. Persons who live at the upper end of the
island cannot think of walking to their places of business or labor. To
say nothing of the loss of time they would incur, the fatigue of such a
walk would unfit nine out of ten for the duties of the day. For this
reason all the lines of travel in the City are more or less crowded
every day. The means of transportation now at the command of the people
are the street railways and the omnibusses, or stages; as they are


The majority of the street railways centre at the Astor House and City
Hall. From these points one can always find a car to almost any place
in the city. The fare is six cents to any part of the City below 62nd
Street, and seven to any point above that and below 130th Street. The
cars are all more or less crowded. With the exception of a few lines,
they are dirty. An insufficient number are provided, and one half of
the passengers are compelled to stand. The conductors and drivers are
often rude and sometimes brutal in their treatment of passengers. One
meets all sorts of people in these cars. The majority of them are rough
and dirty and contact with them keeps a person in constant dread of an
attack of the itch, or some kindred disease. Crowded cars are a great
resort for pickpockets, and many valuable articles and much money are
annually stolen by the light-fingered gentry in these vehicles.

The wages paid to employees by the various companies are not large, and
the drivers and conductors make up the deficiency by appropriating a
part of the fares to their own use. Some are very expert at this, but
many are detected, discharged from the service of the company, and
handed over to the police. The companies exert themselves vigorously to
stop such practices, but thus far they have not been successful. Spies,
or "Spotters," as the road men term them, are kept constantly
travelling over the lines to watch the conductors. These note the
number of passengers transported during the trip, and when the
conductors' reports are handed in at the receiver's office, they
examine them, and point out any inaccuracies in them. They soon become
known to the men. They are cordially hated, and sometimes fare badly at
the hands of parties whose evil doings they have exposed. As all the
money paid for fares is received by the conductor, he alone can
abstract the "plunder." He is compelled to share it with the driver,
however, in order to purchase his silence. In this way, the companies
lose large sums of money annually.

There is either a car or stage route on all the principal streets
running North and South. There are, besides these, several "cross town"
lines, or lines running across the City. East and West, from river to
river. The fare on these is five cents. They cross all the other
railways, and their termini are at certain ferries on the North and
East Rivers.


The stages of New York are a feature of the great city which must be
seen to be appreciated. They are fine, handsome coaches, with seats
running lengthways, and capable of seating from twelve to fourteen
persons. They are drawn by two horses, and have all the lightness and
comfort of a fine spring wagon. Their routes begin at the various
ferries on the East river, from which they reach Broadway by the
nearest ways. They pass up Broadway for over a mile, and turn off from
it to other sections of the city at various points between Bleecker and
Twenty-third streets. The fare in these vehicles is ten cents, and is
paid to the driver, who communicates with the passenger by means of a
hole in the upper and front end of the coach. The checkstring passes
from the door through this hole, and is fastened to the driver's foot.
By means of this, a passenger can at any moment stop the stage. In
order that the driver may distinguish between a signal to stop the
coach and one to receive the passenger's fare, a small gong, worked by
means of a spring, is fastened at the side of the hole. By striking
this the passenger at once commands the driver's attention.

The stage drivers are entirely exposed to the weather, and suffer
greatly from the extremes of heat and cold. They can not leave their
seats, and are oftentimes terribly frozen in the winter, before
reaching the ends of their routes. They are constantly on the watch for
passengers, and it is amusing to watch the means to which they resort
to fill their coaches. In the early morning, and towards the close of
the day, they have no need to solicit custom, for then both stages and
cars are crowded to their utmost capacity. During the rest of the day,
however, they exert themselves to fill their coaches. They are called
upon to exercise no little skill in driving. Broadway, and the cross
streets along their routes, are always crowded with vehicles, and it
requires more dexterity than one would at first suppose, to avoid

Good drivers are always in demand. Their wages are fair, and they are
allowed the greater part of Saturday, or some other day in the week,
and as the stages do not run on Sunday, they are always sure of two
"off-days" out of the seven. Like the street railway men, they consider
it perfectly legitimate to fill their own pockets at the expense of the
owners of the vehicles. The writer of these pages once had a long
conversation upon this subject with the driver of a stage. Jehu
endeavored to justify the practice of robbing his employers by a number
of very ingenious arguments, and finally closed with the remark:

"Well, you see, Mr. Martin, where the boss is a sensible man, he don't
object to a driver's making a few dollars for himself, for he knows
that a man who can make a plenty of stamps for himself will always make
a plenty for the boss, to keep from being found out; and it is a fact,
sir, that them as makes most for themselves always makes the biggest
returns to the office."

The drivers are frequently in trouble with the police. They have a holy
horror of falling into the hands of these limbs of the law, and this
feeling renders them more careful in their driving, and general conduct
while on duty.

Owing to the high rate of fare demanded by the stages, the rougher and
dirtier portion of the community are seldom met in them. The passengers
are generally of the better class, and one meets with more courtesy and
good breeding here than in the street cars. Ladies, unaccompanied by
gentlemen, prefer the stages to the cars. They are cleaner, and females
are less liable to annoyance.

[Illustration: Scene on Broadway--Dangers of crossing]

Like the cars, however, they are the favorite resorts of pickpockets.
At night they are patronized to such an extent by streetwalkers seeking
custom, that the city press has styled them "perambulating assignation


Including the Harlem and Staten Island lines, there are twenty-three
lines of ferries plying between New York and the adjacent shores. Of
these, nine are in the North or Hudson river, and fourteen in the East
river. The boats are large side-wheel vessels, capable of carrying both
foot-passengers, horses, and vehicles. Early in the morning they are
crowded with persons and teams coming into the city, and in the
afternoon the travel is equally great away from the city. On some of
the lines the boats ply every five minutes; on others the intervals are
longer. The Harlem and Staten Island boats start hourly--the fare on
these lines is ten cents. On the East river lines it is two cents, on
the North river three cents.

The boats are large and handsome. Nearly all of them are lighted with
gas, and at least a score of them are seen in the stream at the same
moment. At night, with their many colored lights, they give to the
river quite a gala appearance. The travel on them is immense. Over
fifty millions of persons are annually transported by them. Many often
carry from 800 to 1000 passengers at a single trip.

During the summer it is pleasant enough to cross either of the rivers
which encircle the island; but in the winter such travelling is very
dangerous. Storms of snow, fogs, and floating ice interfere greatly
with the running of the boats, and render accidents imminent.
Collisions are frequent during rough or thick weather, and the ice
sometimes carries the boats for miles out of their course. The East
river is always more or less crowded with vessels of all kinds, either
in motion or at anchor, and even in fair weather it is only by the
exercise of the greatest skill on the part of the pilot that collisions
can be avoided. The following incident from one of the city journals
for November 14, 1868, will show how terrible these accidents are:

"Early this morning, when the Brooklyn boats are most crowded, chiefly
with workmen and girls coming to the city just before working hours, a
frightful collision took place as one of the Fulton ferry boats was
entering the New York slip, resulting in the wounding of probably
twenty persons, many of them fatally. At that hour four boats are run
on the Fulton ferry, the Union and Columbia running on a line, as also
the Hamilton and Clinton. The Clinton being slightly detained on the
New York side, the Hamilton, waiting for her, remained longer than
usual at the Brooklyn slip, and received therefore an immense load of
passengers, probably over a thousand. At this time in the morning, it
being flood tide, a strong current sets up the East river from
Governor's Island, which is just now further strengthened by the
freshet on the Hudson. The Hamilton, therefore, after being carried up
on the Brooklyn side, and turning in the centre of the river, steamed
down some distance below the New York slip, as usual, in order not to
be carried beyond by the upward tide. Turning, she then came up to the
slip, where the Union was laying, chained up, at the southern or lower
ferry-way. Close in by the piers an eddy from the main current which
strikes New York about Beekman street, sets strongly down stream. As
the Hamilton came into the slip from below, aiming at the upper ferry-
way, her bow was caught by this eddy and swung around with great force
toward the end of the Union. The Hamilton having a full load and the
Union having just discharged hers, the former was much the lower in the
water. The projecting guard of the Union therefore entered the front
part of the ladies' cabin at about the height of the seats, and also
smashed the rails on the outer deck. This particular part of the boat
was, of course, the most densely crowded, and the consequences of the
shock were frightful. One boy, George Brewer, who was said to have been
outside the chain, was caught by the foot and instantly killed, his
head and a good part of the body being mashed to a jelly. Several had
their feet cut off below the knee, and a dozen others were seriously
injured. The following is the list of those known to be hurt. It is
probable that several cases have not yet been discovered, and one or
two may have fallen overboard and not yet been missed. People looking
anxiously for missing friends, supposed to have been on the fated boat,
have been calling in great numbers during the morning at the ferry-
house and the police station."

Efforts have been made to span the East river with a bridge, for the
purpose of affording sure and safe communication between this city and
Brooklyn, but the plan has always met with the sternest and most
uncompromising hostility from the ferry companies, who wish to retain
their present enormous business.



Street musicians in New York are as plentiful as the leaves in
Vallambrosa. One cannot walk two blocks in the entire City, without
hearing from one to half a dozen street instruments in full blast. A
few of the instruments are good and in perfect tune, but the majority
emit only the most horrible discord.


Only a few of the organ grinders own their organs. The majority hire
them from parties who make a business of letting them. The rent varies
from two to twenty dollars per month, according to the quality of the
instrument; the French flute-organ commanding the best price. The
owners of the organs generally manage to inspire the "grinders" with a
wholesome terror of them, so that few instruments are carried off
unlawfully, and after all, the organ grinders are generally more
unfortunate than dishonest.

The men are generally Italians. Occasionally a German or Swiss is seen,
but Italy contributes the great majority. Women are not often seen on
the streets in such capacities, except in company with their relatives
or lovers, and then they accompany the organ with the tambourine.

In good weather, a man with a good flute-organ can generally make from
two to five dollars a day. Those who have the best instruments seek the
best neighborhoods in the upper part of the city. There they are always
sure of an audience of children, whose parents pay well, and some of
these seemingly poor fellows have made as much as from ten to fifteen
dollars in a day and evening. In bad weather, however, they are forced
to be idle, as a good organ cannot be exposed with impunity at such
times. The "grinders" pay from five to eight dollars per month for
their rooms, and sustain their families entirely upon maccaroni. They
use but a single room for all the purposes of the family, and, no
matter how many are to be accommodated with sleeping arrangements,
manage to get along in some way. They are very exclusive, and herd by
themselves in a section of Five Points. Baxter and Park and the
adjoining streets are taken up, to a great extent, with Italians.

The better class of Italians keep their apartments as neat as possible.
Children of a genial clime, they are fond of heat, and the temperature
of their rooms stands at a stage which would suffocate an American.

As a general rule, the organ grinders are better off in this country
than in their own. Their wants are simple, and they can live with
comfort on an amazingly small sum.

There are, however, many who are not so fortunate as those to whom we
have referred. These are the great majority of the organ grinders, the
owners, or renters of the vile, discordant instruments which are the
bane of city people. They earn comparatively little but kicks and
curses. They are ordered off by irate householders, and receive but
little or no consideration from the police. They live in wretchedness
and want. Their homes are vile and filthy, and they are the
perpetrators of a great many of the crimes that disgrace the city. They
are frequent visitors at the Tombs, and are ready to be employed for
any dirty job for which unscrupulous men may wish to engage them.


Any one who can turn a crank can manage a street organ. The arrangement
of the instrument being entirely automatic, no knowledge of music on
the part of the grinder is necessary. Another class of street minstrels
are required to possess a certain amount of musical skill in order to
perform creditably. These are the strolling harpers and violinists.
Like the organ grinders they are chiefly Italians, but they are not so
fortunate in a pecuniary sense. Their earnings are very slender, and
they live lives of want and misery. A very few are excellent
performers, but the great mass have not the faintest idea of music.


It is said that there are several hundred child minstrels in the City
of New York, by which we mean children below the age of sixteen or
seventeen years. They are chiefly Italians, but there are a few Swiss
and some Germans amongst them. They are generally to be found in the
streets in pairs; but sometimes three "travel" together, and sometimes
only one is to be found.

Mr. Nathan D. Urner, of the _Tribune_, whose experience of city life
has made him a valuable authority in such matters, has recently
contributed an article on this subject to _Packard's Monthly_ for
November, 1868, from which we make the following interesting

"As a general rule, the little ones have parents or relatives--mostly
engaged in the same business--to whose support they contribute; but
there are both men and women in the city--and most heartless, worthless
wretches they are--who import orphan children from Naples and Tuscany,
for the purpose of turning their childish talents, both as musicians
and beggars, to practical account. Indeed, a number of years ago, there
was a villain, living in Baxter street, who employed at one time
fourteen children, mostly girls, in this manner. His name, if my memory
serves me correctly, was Antonelli. At any rate, by a cruel system of
punishment and semi-starvation, he reaped considerable profit from the
unfortunates--compelling them to steal as well as beg, and converting
the girls into outcasts at the earliest possible age--until his arrest
and imprisonment in the penitentiary of a neighboring State released
them from their bondage, though only, it is to be feared, to fall into
hands quite as bad. But they are seldom much better off, even if they
have parents. A detective police officer told me that he knew of half-
a-dozen cases where Italian fathers of this class had made a regular
business of hiring out their children for the purposes of prostitution;
and the precocity of development and expression frequently betrayed by
the girls, still young in years, is mournful evidence of the truth of
his statement."

It is astonishing to see how little musical talent is exhibited by
these little ones, whose natures are drawn from the land of music. We
have repeatedly seen them sawing away patiently at a violin, or jerking
the strings of a harp, but could detect no semblance of melody in the
noise they made. Not a few of the little ones endeavor to make up in
dancing what they lack in musical skill. Their parents or proprietors
are harsh and stern with them, and endeavor to beat some slight
knowledge of their art into them, but it is a long time before they
succeed. Sometimes death steps in to end the troubles of the child
before success has crowned the efforts of the parent. Let us hope the
little voices will be more melodious in the unseen world.

Sometimes these children will be found in pairs on the streets,
consisting of a boy with a small harp, and a girl with a violin; or
sometimes two girls; one with an old, broken guitar, and the other with
a tambourine; or, again, of two boys, with harp and violin. Their
music, at the best, is but worthless, and their voices have a cracked,
harsh, monotonous cadence, but they also possess a sadness which rarely
fails to bring a penny or two into the outstretched hat. They are
dirty, ragged, and more like monkeys than children, but they have a
wistfulness and weariness about their gaze and manner that make one's
heart ache. It is so sad to see young children condemned to such lives.
They are very young, the average age being eight years, but they do not
seem like children. You think they are little old men and women.

At all hours of the day, and until late at night, you may hear their
music along the streets, and listen to their sad, young voices going up
to the ear that is always open to them. They are half fed and half
clothed, and their filthiness is painful to behold. They sleep in fair
weather under a door step, in some passage-way or cellar, or in a box
or hogshead on the street, and in the winter huddle together in the
cold and darkness of their sleeping places, for we cannot call them
homes, and long for the morning to come. The cold weather is very hard
upon them. They love the warm sun, and during the season of ice and
snow are in a constant state of semi-torpor. You see them on the
street, in their thin, ragged garments, so much overpowered by the cold
that they can scarcely strike or utter a note. Sometimes they are
permitted by the keeper of some saloon to approach his stove for a
moment or two. These are the bright periods of their dark lives, for as
a general rule, they are forced to remain in the streets, plying their
avocations until late in the night, for blows and curses are their
reward should they fail to carry to those who own them a fair day's
earnings. Give them a penny or two, should they ask it, reader. You
will not miss it. It is more to them than to you, and it will do you no
harm for the recording angel to write opposite the follies and sins of
your life that you cast one gleam of sunshine into the heart of one of
these little minstrels.


During one of the heavy snows of the last winter, one of these child
harpers was trudging wearily down Fifth Avenue, on his way to the vile
quarter in which he was to spend the night. It was intensely cold, and
the little fellows strength was so much exhausted by the bleak night
wind that he staggered under the weight of his harp. At length he sat
down on the steps of a splendid mansion to rest. The house was
brilliantly lighted, and he looked around timidly as he seated himself,
expecting the usual command to move off. No one noticed him, however,
and he leaned wearily against the balustrade, and gazed at the handsome
windows through which the rich, warm light streamed out into the wintry
air. As he sat there, strains of exquisite music, and the sounds of
dancing, floated out into the night. The little fellow clasped his
hands in ecstacy and listened. He had never heard such melody, and it
made his heart ache to think how poor and mean was his own minstrelsy
compared with that with which his ears were now ravished. The wind blew
fierce and keen down the grand street, whirling the snow about in
blinding clouds, but the boy neither saw nor heard the strife of the
elements. He heard only the exquisite melody that came floating out to
him from the warm, luxurious mansion, and which grew sweeter and richer
every moment. The cold, hard street became more and more indistinct to
him, and he sat very still with his hands clasped, and his eyes closed.

The ball ended towards the small hours of the morning, and the clatter
of carriages dashing up to the door of the mansion, gave the signal to
the guests that it was time to depart. No one had seen the odd-looking
bundle that lay on the street steps, half buried in the snow, and which
might have lain there until the morning had not some one stumbled over
it in descending to the carriages. With a half curse, one of the men
stooped down to examine the strange object, and found that the bundle
of rags and filth contained the unconscious form of a child. The harp,
which lay beside him, told his story. He was one of the little outcasts
of the streets. Scorning to handle such an object, the man touched him
with his foot to arouse him, thinking he had fallen asleep. Alas! it
was the eternal sleep.


Mr. Nathan D. Urner, from whose interesting paper in _Packard's
Monthly_ we have already quoted, draws the following touching picture
of minstrel life:

A horrible murder had been committed. All engaged in it, including the
victim, were foreigners. There was not a redeeming feature, not even
the rather equivocal one of passion's frenzy, connected with the deed.
It was deliberate, long-concerted, mercenary, atrocious, and bloody.
The murderers--there were two--were shortly afterwards arrested; tried,
convicted, and sentenced to death, with a dispatch and inexorableness
which--probably owing to their friendlessness--was somewhat unusual
under the statutes of this State. The most affecting incident connected
with the condemned--both of them desperate villains--was the parting
scene between the Italian criminal (his comrade was a Spaniard) and his
child. This was a little girl, scarcely ten years of age; I doubt if
she numbered so many. The man was low-browed, narrow-templed, and of a
generally brutal, repulsive aspect. They were about to lead him into
the dungeon of the condemned, the studded door of which would not open
again save to admit his passage to the gallows-tree; and his poor child
was beside him. Hardened, sin-stained as he was, the father was himself
visibly affected; but the tempest of wild, passionate grief that
agitated the little girl, so soon to be left an orphan, was something
remarkable in one of her years.

She was evidently a child of the streets. Her dress was ragged and
foul, and even her face so unclean as to be barely redeemed by the
large, beautiful black eyes which would alone have betrayed the sunny
clime of her origin. While the wretched criminal stood, shame-facedly
and with drooping crest, before her, she fell upon his manacled hands,
kissing them wildly, and betraying in her childish grief all the deep,
sensitive, despairing sorrow of a woman. The villain before her might
have often beaten her, debased her immeasurably, but the mysterious
cord that linked their beating hearts was unbroken, though it sang like
a bowstring in the gusty horror that swept between, and stretched to
attenuation as the elder spirit sank, groaning, into the abyss of its
own wickedness. Hot tears gushed from her eyes, her little throat was
swollen with the choking sobs, and her narrow, rag-covered chest heaved
with tumultuous agony. But after he was taken away, when the iron door
which to her was, indeed, the door of the tomb, had closed between them
forever, she became quickly calm, and her face soon wore an air of
quiet resignation.

As she was about leaving the court-room she stooped and picked up a
weather-stained guitar. I guessed her vocation, and was resolved to
speak to her.

'What is your name, little one?'

'Angela, sir.' It was a sad voice, but very sweet.

'And do you play on this for a living?'

'I play and sing also, sir.'

The court had been dismissed, and the crowd were confusedly

'I say, little gal, can't you give us a song 'afore you go?' said an
inconsiderate policeman, meaning to be good-natured.

'I shall not sing to-day, sir!' said the little girl, decisively; and
then, with a dignity of grief which sat well upon her, despite her
rags, she passed out of the room with her dingy guitar, while the large
man who had accosted her so rudely shrank back, abashed, before the
glance with which the black eyes reproached him to the heart, ere they
vanished in the crowd.

Here was a chance for me. I happened to be the only reporter present at
the scene--'sensation' was my forte--a 'beat' upon all the other
dailies had come directly to my hand. It was late in the week, and I
was also afforded the chance of cooking the thing up remuneratively for
two or three weekly papers. But the whole thing stood before me like a
picture which it seemed a sacrilege to copy. So I cheated the _Tribune_
with the rest, and, for the first time in my life, let the opportunity
for a sensation slip my hand. No credit to either heart or head,
however, for a relapse into my chronic state of impecuniosity, on the
following week, caused me to curse a squeamishness whose absence might
have earned a score of dollars.

But I soon forgot the incidents in the court-room in the manifold and
hum-drum duties of my profession.

Several months afterward, however, I was passing down Park Row, when my
attention was attracted to a little girl playing a guitar and singing
an Italian song in a plaintive, monotonous air. Her dress and voice
attracted my attention on the instant, and, when I saw her face, I
recognized Angela, the girl of the trial-scene. It was her father whom,
at that very moment, I was going to see hanged. I stood stock-still
with amazement, the coincidence was so startling.

When she had finished her song, and had garnered up the few coppers
placed in her hand by the careless and uncritical crowd, I stepped up
to her and said:

'Angela, do you remember me?'

'Yes, sir,' she replied, her dark face lighting up with a gleam of

'Do you know what day this is?'

'It is the morning of my father's death--how should I forget it?'

'You refused to sing on the day of his sentence--can you find heart,
then, to do so in this dreadful hour?'

The dirty little fingers fluttered nervously over the music-strings--as
the creative hand might do with a human heart of whose destiny there
was a doubt. For an instant a pang of agony wreathed the young face to
the depth of its expressions, but she resumed her sorrowful complacency

'I am singing to my mother across the sea,' she said, quietly.

"Then, resuming her guitar, she swept out a yet more plaintive air, and
lifted her young, shrill voice in song. The crowd around her did not
increase, the interest was not enhanced, and the chary pennies of
approbation were as few as before. But to me there was a wild, desolate
melancholy in the melody that fell so unheedingly upon the ears of the
crowd. They did not see nor hear what I did. They merely saw a dusky
foreign girl using her voice for a scanty livelihood. I saw a patient,
suffering, religious spirit, singing out its agony to a kindred spirit
beyond the eight hundred leagues of heaving brine (I would wager my
life that the mother heard that song, were she buried in the bosom of
the Appenines); and the deep melancholy of those large, dark eyes,
uplifted so plaintively, the saintly refinement of sorrow that lingered
in the soft, olive face which spoke of far Italy, the 'divine despair'
of the mellow voice, haunted me strangely and unpleasantly as I hurried
away to the scene of death."


It is very sad to think of the future of these little ones. Without
education, with an early familiarity with want, misery, brutality, and
crime, the little minstrels rarely "come to any good." The girls grow
up to lives of shame, and fortunately die young. The boys become
vagrants, thieves, and often assassins. They soon find their way to the
reformatory establishments and prisons of the city. The police watch
them closely, and never overlook one of their offences. Everybody
condemns them, and no one reflects that they are irresponsible for
their sins. "As the twig is bent the tree is inclined."



The press of New York is a subject which requires more time and space
in its treatment than can be given to it in this volume, and we must
therefore confine ourselves to a brief glance at it. It is divided into
two branches, the secular and religious, and in the former we include
all the political and literary journals of the City.


The daily journals of New York are the ablest and best conducted in
America, and among the most brilliant in the world. Their power is
immense, and they generally shape and direct the tone of the provincial
journals. They are conducted upon a most excellent system as far as
their internal arrangements are concerned, and the persons employed
upon them are men of ability and experience. As pecuniary investments,
they pay handsomely. The stock is very valuable, and it is impossible
to purchase it at any price, the present owners being unwilling to
sell. Nearly all the principal journals have handsome printing houses
of their own. The new Herald office is one of the most magnificent
edifices in the City, and in its internal arrangement is the most
convenient in the world.

The morning papers are the _Herald, Tribune, Times, World, Sun,
Democrat, Journal of Commerce, Staats Zeitung_, and _Commercial


The Herald is regarded as the model newspaper of the United States. Its
office is located at the corner of Broadway and Ann Streets, and is
built of white marble, in the modern French style. Below the sidewalk
are two immense cellars, or vaults, one below the other, in which are
two steam engines of thirty-five horse power each. Three immense Hoe
presses are kept running constantly from midnight until seven in the
morning, printing the daily edition. The rooms and machinery are kept
in the most perfect order. Nothing is allowed to be out of place, and
the slightest speck of dirt visible in any part, calls forth a sharp
rebuke from Mr. Bennett, who makes frequent visits to every department
of the paper.

On the street floor, the main room is the public office of the journal.
Its entrances are on Broadway and Ann street. It is paved with marble
tiles, and the desks, counters, racks, etc., are of solid black walnut,
ornamented with plate glass. Every thing is scrupulously clean, and the
room presents the appearance of some wealthy banking office.

On the third floor are the editorial rooms. The principal apartment is
the "Council Room," which overlooks Broadway. Every other branch of the
editorial department has its separate room, and all are furnished with
every convenience necessary for doing their work with the utmost
precision and dispatch.

Each day, at noon, the editors of the _Herald_, twelve in number,
assemble in the "Council Room." Mr. Bennett, if he is in the City,
takes his seat at the head of the table, and the others assume the
places assigned. If Mr. Bennett is not present, his son, James Gordon
Bennett, Jr., presides at the council, and, in the absence of both
father and son, the managing editor takes the head of the table.

The council is opened by Mr. Bennett, or his representative, who
presents a list of subjects. These are taken up, seriatim, and
discussed by all present. The topics to be presented, in the editorial
columns of the _Herald_ the next day, are determined upon, and each
editor is assigned the subject he is to "write up." All this is
determined in a short while. Then Mr. Bennett asks the gentlemen
present for suggestions. He listens attentively to each one, and
decides quickly whether they shall be presented in the _Herald_, and at
what time; and if he desires any subject to be written upon, he states
his wish, and "sketches," in his peculiar and decisive manner, the
various headings and the style of treatment.

There are twelve editors and thirty-five reporters employed on the
_Herald_. They are liberally paid for their services. Any one bringing
in news is well rewarded for his trouble.

The composing rooms are located on the top floor, and are spacious,
airy, and excellently lighted. A "dumb waiter," or vertical railway,
communicates with the press room; and speaking tubes, and a smaller
"railway," afford the means of conversation and transmitting small
parcels between this room and the various parts of the building. Five
hundred men are employed in the various departments of the paper.


The _World, Tribune, Times_, and other journals, have fine
establishments of their own, that of the _Times_ ranking next to the
one just described. The advantages of the _Herald_ system are so
manifest that the other City dailies are adopting it as rapidly as


The evening papers are a noticeable feature of the great city. They are
the _Evening Post_, the _Evening Mail_, the _Express_, the _Telegram_,
the _News_, and the _Star_. These issue their first editions at one
o'clock in the afternoon, and their latest at five or six o'clock. On
occasions of more than usual interest, extras are issued hourly as late
into the night as eleven or twelve o'clock. The evening papers contain
the latest news, gossip, and a variety of light and entertaining
matter, and are bought chiefly by persons who wish to read them at
home, after the cares and fatigues of the day are over.


The weeklies are too numerous to mention. The principal are the _Round
Table_, the _Nation_, the _Ledger_, the _Mercury_, the _New York
Weekly_, the _Sunday Mercury_, the _News_, the _Dispatch_, the
_Leader_, the _Examiner and Chronicle_, the _Courier_, the _Clipper_,
_Wilkes' Spirit_, the _Turf, Field and Farm_, _Harper's Weekly_, _Frank
Leslie's Newspaper_, the _Bazaar_, the _Albion_, the _Citizen_, the
_Irish Citizen_, _Irish American_, etc., etc. All of these journals
display more or less ability, and each one has its specialty. Some are
devoted to politics, some to literature alone, some to sporting
matters, some to police items, and some to general news.


The principal religious papers are, the _Observer_, the _Independent_,
the _Protestant Churchman_, the _Church Journal_, the _Methodist_,
etc., etc. They are devoted principally to denominational and sectarian
matters, but too frequently dabble in politics to an extent that
renders them more partisan than laymen care to see religious sheets.


Opposite the City Hall, at the junction of Nassau and Spruce streets
and Park Row, is a large open space, known as "Printing House Square,"
so called because the offices of the leading journals of the city are
either immediately on this square, or within a couple of blocks of it.
Standing in the Park at this point, one may count the signs of at least
thirty first-class journals of various kinds.


One of the curiosities of Printing-House Square is the huge engine
which runs so many presses. This is owned by a firm in Spruce street
between William and Nassau, and occupies the basement of their
building. There is a large one hundred and fifty horse-power engine
which runs during the day, and a seventy-five horse-power which
relieves it at night. From this shafting and belting distribute the
power in every direction. One shaft runs to and across Frankfort
street, supplying THE MAIL and other offices, another crosses William
street and runs the six cylinder presses which pile the three hundred
thousand copies of the _Ledger_ in its beautiful press-room. Another
shaft crosses Spruce street, runs through and across Beekman, and even
supplies presses in Ann street.

Altogether these engines supply over one hundred and twenty-five
presses--each being estimated and charged so much per horse-power
according to this estimate. It runs three quarters of a mile of main
shafting, beside a mile or more connecting shafts and as much belting.
One of these belts, an india-rubber one, one hundred and twenty feet
long, connects a fifth-story press on Nassau street with the main
shafting on Spruce, across the intervening yards, and another leather
one on Beekman street, one hundred and forty feet long, perfectly
perpendicular, connects the sub-cellar and attic.

"This engine prints all McLaughlin's toy books, runs the immense
establishments of Bradstreet and J. W. Oliver, besides many other job
printers, a hoop-skirt manufactory and several binderies, and prints
nearly fifty papers, besides magazines and books innumerable; among
them, the '_Mail_,' the '_Independent_,' '_Dispatch_,' '_Leader_,'
'_Star_,' '_Examiner and Chronicle_,' '_Observer_,' '_Courier_,'
'_Clipper_,' '_Wilkes' Spirit_,' '_Turf, Field and Farm_,' '_Police
Gazette_,' '_La Crosse Democrat_,' '_Ledger_,' '_New York Weekly_,'
'_Literary Album_,' '_Sunday Times_,' '_New Yorker Democrat_,'
'_Commonwealth_,' '_Scottish American_,' '_Freeman's Journal_,'
'_Tablet_,' '_Emerald_,' '_Irish American_,' '_Irish People_,' etc.,
etc. Truly a power in the world."

[Illustration: View of Wall Street.]



If you pass down Broadway to the main entrance to Trinity Church, and
then turn abruptly to your left and cross the street, you will find
yourself at the head of Wall street, the great financial centre of
America. It is a narrow street, extending from Broadway to East river,
and lined with handsome brown stone, marble, and granite buildings.
Scarcely a house has less than a score of offices within its walls, and
some have very near three times that number. Space is very valuable in
Wall street, and some of the leading firms in it have to content
themselves with a narrow, small, dark hole, which a conscientious man
would hardly call an office. The rent demanded for these "offices" is
enormous, and the buildings bring their owners princely fortunes every
year. The houses are all covered with signs, the names on which one
will immediately recognize as famous in the financial world. The
streets running into Wall street, for the distance of one or two
blocks, on the right hand and the left, are also occupied with the
offices of bankers and brokers, and are included in the general term,
"Wall street," or "the street."


Wall street has always been famous in the history of New York. It was
originally used as a sheep pasture. Its natural condition being partly
rolling upland and partly meadow of a swampy character. The name of the
street originated thus: In 1653, the Dutch settlers, being threatened
with an attack by their New England neighbors, resolved to fortify the
town by constructing a wall or stockade across the island just beyond
the northern limits of the settlement. The line selected was drawn
across the old sheep pasture. In the course of a few years, the
anticipated hostilities having passed over, the settlers began to build
houses along the line of the city wall, and the new street, when laid
off, received by common consent the name of "the Wall street," which it
has since borne. The wall, having fallen into decay, was demolished
about the year 1699, and the stones were used in building the first
City Hall, which stood at what is now the corner of Nassau and Wall
streets, the site of the Sub-Treasury of to-day. This building was used
for the various purposes of the city government until the close of the
Revolution. It contained, besides the council and court rooms, a fire
engine room, a jail for the detention and punishment of criminals, and
a debtors' prison, which was located in the attic, a cage, and a
pillory. A pair of stocks were set up on the opposite side of the
street, wherein criminals were exposed to the indignant gaze of a
virtuous public.

After the close of the Revolution, the building was enlarged and
improved for the use of the Federal Government. The first Congress of
the United States assembled within its walls in the year 1789, and upon
its spacious portico George Washington took the oath to support and
defend the Constitution, as President of the United States.

The street was originally taken up with private residences, but at
length monetary institutions commenced to find their way into it. The
Bank of New York was located here in 1791, at the corner of William
street. Other institutions, and private bankers, soon followed it, and
the work of improvement went on until the street of to-day is the
result. Famous lawyers have also had their offices in this street.
Alexander Hamilton's sign might once have been seen here, not far from
where his humble monument now stands in Trinity churchyard, and the
name of Caleb Cushing is now to be found just a little below Broadway.

The street fairly began its present career in the days of Jacob Little,
"the great bear of Wall street." He opened an office here in 1822, and,
in twelve years, by dint of such labor as few men are capable of
performing, placed himself at the head of American operators. His
credit was good for any amount, for his integrity was unimpeachable. He
could sway the market as he pleased, and his contracts were met with a
punctuality and fidelity which made "his word as good as his bond."
Efforts were made to ruin him, but his genius and far-sightedness
enabled him to defeat all his enemies with their own weapons. His gains
were enormous, and so were his losses. He met the latter cheerfully.
The late war, however, brought his reverses so rapidly upon him that he
had not the time to meet one before another stared him in the face.
Still, he was calm and undismayed. He gave up his last dollar without
repining, saying that he would willingly sacrifice even life itself for
the perpetuity of the Union and the Constitution. He died early in the
year 1861, honored by all, and leaving his life an example to those of
us who are left behind him. He was a devout member of the Episcopal
Church, but he extended his charities, which, though quiet, were
unusually large, to all denominations.


The Sub-Treasury is a handsome white marble building, located at the
corner of Wall and Nassau streets. The Treasury is built in the Doric
style of architecture; and its massive flight of steps and handsome
portico present a striking appearance. It is built in the most
substantial manner, and has an entrance at the rear on Pine street. The
interior is tastefully arranged, and massive iron gratings protect the
employees from surprise and robbery. The vaults are burglar-proof. This
is the principal depository of the Government, and millions of dollars
are always in its vaults.


The Custom House was built for and formerly used as the Merchants'
Exchange. It is situated at the corner of Wall and William streets, and
is a large, handsome, granite edifice. The colonade at the front
entrance and the rotunda are well worth seeing.


Just below the Custom House is the handsome marble building of Brown
Brothers, bankers, one of the model houses of New York, as regards both
the firm and the edifice. The Messrs. Brown are regarded as the most
reliable and accomplished operators in the street. Across the way, in a
dingy granite building, is the office of August Belmont & Co., the
American agents of the Rothschilds, and bankers on their own account.
Jay Cooke & Co. occupy the fine marble building at the corner of Wall
and Nassau streets, opposite the Treasury, and there conduct the New
York branch of their enormous business. Fisk & Hatch, the financial
agents of the great Pacific Railway, are a few steps higher up Nassau
street. Henry Clews & Co. are in the building occupied by the United
States Assay Office. Other firms, of more or less eminence, fill the
street. Some have fine, showy offices, others operate in dark, dingy


The Stock Exchange is located on Broad street, to the south of Wall
street. It is a fine white marble edifice, extending back to New
street, which is also taken up with brokers' offices. There is an
entrance on Wall street, but the main building is on Broad street. It
contains the "Long Room," the "The New York Stock Exchange," the
"Mining Board," the now obsolete "Petroleum Board," and the "Government
Board." All sorts of stocks are bought and sold in this building.
"Erie" and "Pacific Mail" are the most attractive to the initiated, and
the most disastrous as well.

The Chamber of the Board of Stock Brokers is a large, handsomely
furnished apartment, somewhat like a lecture room in appearance. Each
broker has a seat assigned to him. Outsiders are not admitted to the
sessions of the board, but any one may communicate with a member by
handing his card to the doorkeeper, who will at once call out the
gentleman. The sessions of the Board are presided over by a President,
but the work is done by a Vice-President, who from ten o'clock until
one, calls over the list of stocks, and declares the sales. Each day a
list of stocks to be put in the market is made out, and no others can
be sold during the sessions. The Board has the right to refuse to offer
any stocks for sale, and a guarantee is required of the party making
the sale. The members of the Board are men of character, and their
transactions are fair and open. They are required to fulfil all
contracts in good faith, however great the loss to themselves, on pain
of expulsion from the Board, and an expelled member cannot be
reinstated. The entrance fee is three thousand dollars. Persons wishing
to become members are required to make their applications at certain
times. This is publicly announced, and if any one can bring and sustain
an accusation affecting the integrity of the applicant, he is not

Ordinarily the sale of the stocks offered, proceeds in a monotonous,
humdrum manner, but when "Erie," or "Pacific Mail," or any other
favorite stock is called, each man springs to his feet. Bids come fast
and furious, hands, arms, hats, and canes are waved frantically
overhead to attract the attention of the presiding officer. The most
intense excitement prevails throughout the room, and the shouts and
cries are deafening. Sales are made with the utmost rapidity, and the
excitement is kept up at the highest point as long as any thing of
interest is offered. If a sale is contested, the president names the
purchaser, and his decision is final, unless revoked by an
instantaneous vote of the Board.


The Open Board of Stock Brokers meet in the second story of a handsome
brown stone building adjoining the Stock Exchange. Their sessions are
from ten until one. The business of the Board is similar to that of the
Stock Exchange, and is dispatched with as much precision, quickness,
and clamor.


Descending from Broad street to the basement of the building used by
the "Open Board," we find ourselves in a long, dimly lighted passage-
way, which leads us into a small courtyard. As we emerge into this
yard, we hear a confused hum above our heads, which grows louder as we
ascend the steep stairway before us. Passing through a narrow, dirty
entry, we open a side door, and our ears fairly ache with the yells and
shrieks with which we are startled. For a moment we think we are about
to enter a company of lunatics, but we pass on reassured, and the next
instant stand in the Gold Room.

This is a handsome apartment, in the style of an amphitheatre, with a
fountain in the centre. A gallery runs around the upper part, and
several telegraph offices are connected with the room. There are but
few benches. The members of the Board are always too much excited to
sit, and seats are only in the way. Though the main entrance is on
Broadway, the Gold Room really fronts on New street. During the
sessions of the Board, it is filled with an excited, yelling crowd,
rushing about wildly, and, to a stranger, without any apparent aim. The
men stamp, yell, shake their arms, heads, and bodies violently, and
almost trample each other to death in the violent struggle. Men, who in
private life excite the admiration of their friends and acquaintances
by the repose and dignity of their manner, here lose their self-
possession entirely, and are more like maniacs than sensible beings.

Few members of either the Stock or Gold Boards operate for themselves.
They generally buy and sell for outside parties, from whom they require
a guarantee at the outset, and charge a fair commission on the sale for
their services. Members have confidence in each other, for they know
that no one can afford to be dishonest. Expulsion and financial ruin
and disgrace are the swift and inflexible punishments of bad faith.

There are many persons, whose transactions in the stock and gold
markets amount to millions of dollars each year, who cannot enter these
boards as members. They are regarded as unsafe, and their petitions are
invariably rejected. They usually operate through regular members.


Any one who can pay one hundred dollars a year for the privilege, is
allowed to operate in the "Long Room," as the lower floor of the Stock
Exchange is called. His capital may be one, one hundred, or one
thousand dollars, but if he pays his dues regularly, no one is allowed
to molest him. No rules or regulations bind these operators. The honest
man and the rogue mingle freely together. Persons dealing with them
have no guarantee of their good faith, and must look out for rough
treatment at their hands. They overflow the hall, crowd the steps and
sidewalks, and extend out into the street. From this circumstance they
are termed "curbstone brokers," a name which will probably cling to
them. A few of these operators are men of integrity, who being unable
to enter the regular boards, are compelled to conduct their business in
this way. They have regular places of business in some of the
neighboring streets, and are as fair and upright in their dealings as
any member of either of the boards; but the great majority are simply
sharpers, men who will not meet their losses, and who will fleece any
one, who falls into their hands, out of his last cent.


It has been remarked that the men who do business in Wall street have a
prematurely old look, and that they die at a comparatively early age.
This is not strange. They live too fast. Their bodies and minds are
taxed too severely to last long. They pass their days in a state of
great excitement. Every little fluctuation of the market elates or
depresses them to a fearful extent, even though they may not be
conscious of it at the time. At night they are either planning the next
day's campaign, or hard at work at the hotels.

[Illustration: United States Sub-Treasury.]

On Sunday their minds are still on their business, and some are to be
seen hard at work in their offices, where they think they are safe from
observation. Body and mind are worked too hard, and are given no rest.

The chief cause of all this intense excitement, is the uncertainty
which attends such operations. No man can tell one week whether he will
be a beggar or a millionaire the next, the chances being decidedly in
favor of the former. Nine out of ten who speculate in stocks or gold,
lose. Like all gamblers, they are undismayed by their first reverse,
and venture a second time. They lose again, and to make their loss good
venture a third time, risking in the end their last dollar. The
fascination of stock gambling is equal to that of the card table, and
holds its victims with an iron hand. The only safe rule for those who
wish to grow rich, is to keep out of Wall street. While one man makes a
fortune by a sudden rise in stocks or gold, one thousand are ruined.
Even the soundest and best established firms fall with a crash under
these sudden reverses. The safest are those who buy and sell on
commission. If the profits go to other parties, in such cases, the
losses fall upon outsiders also, so that under all circumstances a
legitimate commission business is the safest, as well as the most
profitable in the end. This is proved by the fact that there are very
few old firms in "the street." Houses supposed to be well established
are failing every day, and new ones springing up to take their places.
Nothing is certain in Wall street, and we repeat it, it is best to
avoid it. Invest your money in something more stable than speculations
in stocks.


Some years ago, the famous Jacob Little resolved to bring down the
market value of Erie stock, which was then selling readily at par. He
contracted with certain parties to deliver to them an unusually large
amount of this stock on a certain day. A combination was immediately
formed in the street to ruin him. The parties concerned in this league
took his contracts as fast as they were offered, and bought up all the
stock in the market. In doing this, they firmly believed they were
placing all this paper to be had out of the reach of Mr. Little, who
would be ruined by being unable to deliver the stock at the time, and
in the quantities agreed upon. His friends shook their heads ominously,
and declared that his enemies had been "one too many" for him this
time; but the "Great Bear," as he was called, kept his own counsel.
When the day for the delivery of the stock arrived, his enemies were
jubilant, and all Wall street was in a fever of excitement; but he was
as calm and as smiling as ever. Repairing to the office of the Erie
Railway Company he laid before the astonished officers of the road a
number of certificates of indebtedness. The faith of the Company was
pledged to redeem these certificates with stock, upon presentation. Mr.
Little demanded a compliance with this contract. The Company could not
refuse him, and the stock was issued to him. With it he met his
contracts promptly. The result was fearful to his enemies. This sudden
and unexpected issue of new stock brought "Erie" down with a rush, and
the sharp witted operators who had bought either at par or at a
premium, solely to ruin their great rival, were ruined themselves,
almost to a man.


But a short while ago, a house in Wall Street, which had ventured too
far in its speculations, failed. It settled its liabilities honestly,
but had not a penny left. One of the partners had used U.S. bonds to
the amount of fifteen thousand dollars, belonging to a relative, and
these had been swept away. Whether for the purpose of replacing this
amount, or for his own benefit, the broker resolved to get possession
of a similar amount in bonds at once. The failure of his house had not
become generally known, and he determined to lose no time in his

Proceeding to the office of a well known house, one morning just as
business hours opened, he asked for fifteen thousand dollars worth of
Government bonds, and offered the cheque of his firm in payment for
them. Being well and favorably known to the parties, his request (which
was based upon the falsehood that he wished the bonds to fill an order
for a countryman who was in a hurry to leave town, and that he had not
the amount in his own safe), was complied with. The bonds were
delivered to him, and his cheque taken in payment. He at once departed,
and the banker, feeling no uneasiness at the transaction, did not send
the cheque to bank at once. Several hours passed away, and he heard
rumors of the failure of the house to which he had sold the bonds. The
cheque was at once sent to the bank; payment was refused, on the ground
that the house had failed, and had no funds in the bank. The fraud was
plain now, and the banker, repairing to the office of the unfortunate
firm, was informed by the partner of his friend that the transaction
was a swindle. The detectives were at once set on the track of the
swindler, who had made his escape immediately after getting possession
of the bonds.


Fortunes are made quicker and lost more easily in New York than in any
other place in the world. A sudden rise in stock, or a lucky
speculation in some other venture, often places a comparatively poor
man in possession of great wealth. Watch the carriages as they whirl
through Fifth Avenue, going and returning from the Park. They are as
elegant and sumptuous as wealth can make them. The owners, lying back
amongst the soft cushions, are clad in the height of fashion. By their
dresses they might be princes and princesses. This much is due to art.
Now mark the coarse, rough features, the ill-bred stare, the haughty
rudeness which they endeavor to palm off for dignity. Do you see any
difference between them and the footman in livery on the carriage-box?
Both master and man belong to the same class--only one is wealthy and
the other is not. But that footman may take the place of the master in
a couple of years, or in less time. Such changes may seem remarkable,
but they are very common in New York.

See that gentleman driving that splendid pair of sorrels. He is a fine
specimen of mere animal beauty. How well he drives. The ease and
carelessness with which he manages his splendid steeds, excites the
admiration of every one on the road. He is used to it. Five years ago
he was the driver of a public hack. He amassed a small sum of money,
and being naturally a sharp, shrewd man, went into Wall street, and
joined the "Curbstone Brokers." His transactions were not always open
to a rigid scrutiny, but they were profitable to him. He invested in
oil stocks, and with his usual good luck made a fortune. Now he
operates through his broker. His transactions are heavy, his
speculations bold and daring, but he is usually successful. He lives in
great splendor in one of the finest mansions in the city, and his
carriages and horses are superb. His wife and daughters are completely
carried away by their good fortune, and look with disdain upon all who
are not their equals or superiors in wealth. They are vulgar and ill
bred, but they are wealthy, and society worships them. There will come
a change some day. The husband and father will venture once too often
in his speculations, and his magnificent fortune will go with a crash,
and the family will return to their former state, or perhaps sink
lower, for there are very few men who have the moral courage to try to
rise again after such a fall, and this man is not one of them.

In watching the crowd on Broadway, one will frequently see, in some
shabbily dressed individual, who, with his hat drawn down close over
his eyes, is evidently shrinking from the possibility of being
recognized, the man who but a few weeks ago was one of the wealthiest
in the city. Then he was surrounded with splendor. Now he hardly knows
where to get bread for his family. Then he lived in an elegant mansion.
Now one or two rooms on the upper floor of some tenement house
constitute his habitation. He shrinks from meeting his old friends,
well knowing that not one of them will recognize him, except to insult
him with a scornful stare. Families are constantly disappearing from
the social circles in which they have shone for a greater or less time.
They vanish almost in an instant, and are never seen again. You may
meet them at some brilliant ball in the evening. Pass their residence
the next day, and you will see a bill announcing the early sale of the
mansion and furniture. The worldly effects of the family are all in the
hands of the creditors of the "head," and the family themselves are
either in a more modest home in the country, or in a tenement house.
You can scarcely walk twenty blocks on Fifth Avenue, without seeing one
of these bills, telling its mournful story of fallen greatness.

The best and safest way to be rich in New York, as elsewhere, is for a
man to confine himself to his legitimate business. Few men acquire
wealth suddenly. Ninety-nine fail where one succeeds. The bane of New
York commercial life, however, is that people have not the patience to
wait for fortune. Every one wants to be rich in a hurry, and as no
regular business will accomplish this, here or elsewhere, speculation
is resorted to. The sharpers and tricksters who infest Wall Street,
know this weakness of New York merchants. They take the pains to inform
themselves as to the character, means, and credulity of merchants, and
then use every art to draw them into speculations, in which the tempter
is enriched and the tempted ruined. In nine cases out of ten a merchant
is utterly ignorant of the nature of the speculation he engages in. He
is not capable of forming a reasonable opinion as to its propriety, or
chance of success, because the whole transaction is so rapid that he
has no chance to study it. He leaves a business in which he has
acquired valuable knowledge and experience, and trusts himself to the
mercy of a man he knows little or nothing of, and undertakes an
operation that he does not know how to manage. Dabbling in speculations
unfits men for their regular pursuits. They come to like the excitement
of such ventures, and rush on madly in their mistaken course, hoping to
make up their losses by one lucky speculation, and at length utter ruin
rouses them from their dreams.

Although New York is the chief business centre of the country, fortunes
are made here slowly and steadily. Great wealth is the accumulation of
years. Such wealth brings with it honor and prosperity. One who attains
it honestly, has fairly won the proud title of "merchant;" but few are
willing to pursue the long life of toil necessary to attain it. They
make fifty thousand dollars legitimately, and then the insane desire
seizes them to double this amount in a day. Nine lose every thing where
one makes his fortune.

The reason is plain. The speculation in stocks is controlled by men
without principle, whose only object is to enrich themselves at the
expense of their victims. The _Herald_ recently presented the following
picture of the transactions in the stock market:

Within the past few days we have seen the most gigantic swindling
operations carried on in Wall street that have as yet disgraced our
financial centre. A great railway--one of the two that connect the West
with the Atlantic seaboard, has been tossed about like a football, its
real stockholders have seen their property abused by men to whom they
have entrusted its interests, and who, in the betrayal of that trust,
have committed crimes which in parallel cases on a smaller scale would
have deservedly sent them to Sing Sing. If these parties go unwhipped
of justice, then are we doing injustice in confining criminals in our
State prisons for smaller crimes.

To such a disgusting degree of depravity do we see those stock
operations carried that members of the Church of high standing offer,
when 'cornered,' to betray their brother 'pals,' and, in their
forgetfulness of the morality to which they sanctimoniously listen
every Sunday, state that 'all they care about is to look out for number
one.' A manager of a great corporation is requested to issue bonds of
his company without authority, offering 'to buy the bonds if you are
caught, or buy the bonds with the understanding not to pay for them
unless you are caught.' This attempted fiscal operation, however, did
not work, and resulted in a good proof of the old adage that it
requires 'a rogue to catch a rogue.'

A railroad treasurer boldly states that he has without authority over-
issued stock of the company to a large amount. He offers it to a broker
for sale, with the understanding that all received over a fixed value
is to go into his (the treasurer's) pocket. From the fact that this man
is not arrested for mal-administration of the company's property we
judge this to be a legitimate operation, and that this may hereafter
serve as a model or standard of morals to all presidents, directors,
treasurers and managers of railway and other great corporations. It is
evident that the world has made a great mistake on the question of
morals, and that as we progress in civilization with our modern Wall
street system of ethics we shall be able to have a new and more exact
translation of the Bible--Wall street edition--for the benefit of stock
gamblers and stock thieves of all descriptions. Upon the great banking
house facing Wall street we will have in letters of gold upon a green
back-ground the following commandments:

1. Steal largely or not all; for is it not preached in Gotham that he
who steals largely and gives donations to the Church shall enter the
kingdom of heaven, while to him who confines his stealings to modest
peculations shall be opened the doors of Sing Sing?

2. Steal largely! for in proportion to the magnitude of thy stealings
shalt thou prosper and wax respectable throughout Gotham.

3. Steal largely! for as ye steal so shall ye show your fitness for the
high places in the land; so shall ye be invited to exercise your
talents in the numerous positions of trust and profit thereby; so shall
ye add honor and glory to the government of your fathers, and your days
shall be long in the land.

4. Steal largely! for by thy stealings shalt thou create a new
morality; and so shalt thou build up a great people who shall prosper
beyond all other nations.

This is the new code we offer--a code taught to us by the times and by
the facts that assail us. When we see an 'honest' Judge 'Iago' rise
from his bed at midnight to pander to the contemptible rascality of
stock thieves we have but little hope for even what we dignify by the
name of law. When we see our churches allowing a host of gamblers to
gather for false worship at their shrines and pander to them, that they
may share their plunder for the 'benefit of the Lord,' we have still
less hope in our future. When we see great criminals respected and
lesser criminals imprisoned we believe that the American mind is sadly
out of a proper moral pathway.

"The operations now carried on in Wall street, be they of any stock, or
of gold, call for the interference of some power sufficient to crush
them. If the City or the State is powerless, let the general government
take the matter in hand for the general good. Take gold, for example.
There are not over two millions of the solid coin used as a basis for
the operations which in a single month represent a sum twice the amount
of our national debt. The harpies who gather around the Gold Rooms in
their mad shoutings are at the same time shouting 'Death to the
republic!' They unsettle all values, and are, as a mass, a public
calamity, and should be dealt with as such. As with gold, so with
stocks, and no nation can long afford to let its future hang upon the
will of a mass of unprincipled men who daily bleed its prosperity
beyond all calculation."

These things are well known in New York, but no one heeds them. Each
one thinks he is shrewd enough to avoid the dangers which have ruined
others, and only discovers his mistake when it is too late to repair
it. Men of all classes, even ministers of the Gospel, and frequently
women, rush into Wall street in pursuit of sudden wealth, where, to use
an old adage, "if they are not gored to death by the Bulls, they are
sure to be devoured by the Bears."

Persons who wish to succeed in New York, or elsewhere, should shun
speculation. Legitimate business offers brilliant rewards here, but
speculation means ruin. If you wish this assertion enforced, go into
Stewart's or Claflin's stores, and see how many salesmen on small
salaries you will find there who were once wealthy merchants doing
business on their own account. They succeeded in their legitimate
pursuits, but were not satisfied with their success. They wanted more,
commenced speculating, and lost every thing. Men to succeed here must
be energetic, cautious, enterprising, and economical.


On fine afternoons visitors to the Park do not fail to notice a
handsome equipage driven by a stylish young man, with rosy cheeks and
light curly hair. His face is the perfect picture of happy innocence.
He is very wealthy, and owns a great deal of real estate in the city.
The manner in which he made his money will show how other persons
enrich themselves.

A few years ago he, in company with several others, organized a scheme
for working certain gold mines said to be located in a distant
territory. A company was made up, the country was flooded with flaming
descriptions of the valuable mine, and stock was issued which sold
readily. The bonds were soon taken up, and in a month or two the so-
called company commenced paying handsome dividends. A number of gold
bars, bearing the stamp of the mint, were on exhibition in the
company's office, and were triumphantly exhibited as amongst the first
yields of the valuable mine. For several months the dividends were paid
regularly, and the company's stock rose to a splendid premium. It could
hardly be bought at any price. No one doubted for an instant the
genuineness of the affair, and the lucky company was the envy of all
Wall street.

In a few months, all the stock being disposed of, the company ceased
paying dividends. This excited the suspicion of some of the shrewdest
holders of the stock, and the affair was investigated. It was found
that the wonderful mine had no real existence. The gold bars were
simply gold coins melted into that form at the Mint, and stamped by the
Government as so much bullion. The dividends had been paid out of money
advanced by the company, who were simply half a dozen unprincipled
sharpers. The stockholders were ruined, but the company made a profit
of a clear half million of dollars out of the infamous transaction.
Legal proceedings are expensive and tedious when instituted against
such parties, and the stockholders, rather than increase their losses
by the outlay necessary for a lawsuit, suffered the swindlers to go

A certain stockbroker, anxious to increase his wealth, purchased twenty
acres of land a few years ago in one of the Western States, and
commenced boring for oil. After a few weeks spent in this work, he
discovered to his dismay that there was not the slightest trace of oil
on his land. He kept his own counsel, however, and paid the workmen to
hold their tongues. About the same time it became rumored throughout
New York that he had struck oil. He at once organized a company, and
had a committee appointed to go West and examine the well. In a few
weeks the committee returned in high glee, and reported that the well
contained oil of the very best quality, and only needed capital and
improved machinery to develop its capacity. In support of this
assertion they brought home numerous bottles containing specimens of
the oil. This report settled the matter in Wall street, and the stock
issued by the company was all sold at a handsome premium. When the
sales ceased, it was rumored that the well had ceased flowing. This was
true. There was no oil anywhere on the land. That in the well had been
bought in Pennsylvania and poured into the well by the agents of the
owner, and the examining committee had been paid large sums for their
favorable report. The owner of the well was enriched, as were his
confederates of the bogus company, and the holders of the stock were
swindled, many of them being ruined.


We take the following from a work recently published in Paris. It
contains the observations of an intelligent French gentleman during a
residence in New York:

An Irishman, thirty years ago, arrived in Philadelphia. He was a mason
by trade, industrious and sober, which is not often the case with
natives of the Emerald Isle. He managed to save a few hundred dollars,
and then married.

He had enjoyed the blessings of matrimony over ten years, when, on
going to his work, early one morning, he found, a short distance from
his house, a basket covered with a linen cloth. He carried it home,
opened it, and a handsome baby appeared before his view. To the child's
clothes was pinned a paper bearing a few lines, asking, in the name of
the Almighty, the person into whose hands the basket might fall, to
take charge of the new-born infant, for the sake of a poor fellow-
creature. The Irishman and his wife, not having any children, at once
adopted the little one, regarding it as a gift sent by Providence. A
few years later, the Irishman, who had by his savings amassed quite a
handsome sum of money, purchased a small farm in a thinly settled
county of Pennsylvania, and there lived quietly and contentedly, until,
one day, in cutting down a tree, it fell upon him, and he was crushed
to death beneath its weight. After this sad occurrence, his widow, with
the help of the adopted child, carried on the business of the farm,
often regretting she could not give the boy an education; but they were
so far from any school, she could not think of sending her son such a
distance from home.

One day a rumor circulated throughout Pennsylvania that, by boring into
the earth to a moderate depth, in some parts of the State, oil was
found to spring forth. Startling as this rumor was, many persons were
forced to believe it, when they saw, with their own eyes, a black
liquid, giving a bright light, issuing from certain holes bored for
experiment. After this, all persons began experimenting on their own
property. The Irish widow imitated her neighbors, and with the help of
her adopted son, bored a hole in her garden. After a few day's work,
they struck oil--a flowing well rewarded their enterprise!

Meanwhile speculators, wild with the excitement of this discovery,
besieged Pennsylvania, and that State soon swarmed with them. The
desire to possess a portion of those marvellous lands took possession
of every mind. Throughout the States every one was affected with the
new disease, denominated 'oil on the brain;' and soon the value of the
oleaginous districts went up to wonderful figures. In many instances,
as much as fifty thousand dollars were paid for an acre of land. And,
availing herself of the general infatuation, the Irish widow sold her
farm, for two millions of dollars, to a Boston company, which thought
it was very cheap to give not quite seven thousand dollars per acre for
petroleum land. The three hundred acres of the widow's farm had cost
three hundred dollars a few years before, that is to say, one dollar an
acre! Besides the two millions of dollars, the Irish widow had
stipulated that one half of the flowing well in her garden should
belong to her. That well yielded from five to six hundred barrels of
oil per day. You may be sure the old lady doted on it. She visited it a
hundred times a day, always surveying it with amazement, and
ascertaining whether it was as productive as ever. Even at night she
left her bed to go and view the marvellous spring. During one of these
nocturnal excursions, she imprudently drew too near the well with a
light--the spring fired up with lightning-like rapidity, and the poor
woman, becoming wrapped in the flames, was burned to death. The coroner
was summoned to hold an inquest. When it was over, the widow's
neighbors, desiring to ascertain whether she had sold her farm for as
large an amount as was rumored, prevailed upon the coroner to open her
safe. It contained two hundred thousand dollars in gold, which, no
doubt, represented the widow's profits for her reserved rights in the
well; and also bonds of the United States to the amount of two millions
of dollars, the said bonds registered in the name of Peter Crazy, the
widow's adopted son, and only heir and legatee, according to her will,
that was also found in the strong-box.

Now, the young man, whose large stakes a few minutes ago caused such a
sensation, is the same Peter Crazy, the widow's adopted son; and he
came here to-night to complete his ruin. But I must now relate what
became of him after becoming possessed of a princely fortune.

At the time he came into possession of this fortune, Crazy did not know
the difference between one thousand and one hundred thousand dollars.
He could hardly write his name; and, unfortunately, he had nobody to
warn him against the dangers that beset the youth of this world, and to
make of him, instead of a spendthrift, a man useful to society.

Suppose a philanthropist, a good-hearted, high-minded man, should
suddenly come into possession of two millions of dollars, what a
benefactor he might prove to his fellow-creatures! What useful and
benevolent institutions he might found! What improvement might every
branch of human labor receive if he chose to apply to it a portion of
his wealth.

As soon as it became known that Crazy had inherited a large fortune,
many adventurers, with whom the new Eldorado swarmed, pounced upon him
like birds of prey upon a carcass; and then commenced for Crazy a life
of prodigality and vice, the end of which is near at hand.

In Philadelphia, he stopped with his cronies at one of the most elegant

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