- Art Gallery -

 

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Old Taverns of New York

 

By
W. Harrison Bayles

 

 

Frank Allaben Genealogical Company
Forty-Second Street Building, New York

 

Copyright, 1915, by Frank Allaben Genealogical Company

 

 


Old Taverns of New York

 

[Pg v]

Contents

  Page
PREFACE xv
 
I DUTCH TAVERNS 1
Indian Trade—First Settlement—Purchase of Manhattan Island—Popular Taverns in New Amsterdam—Sunday Closing Under Stuyvesant—Dutch Festivities
 
II NEW YORK AND THE PIRATES 37
The English Conquest—Horse Races—Regulations for Innkeepers—First Merchants’ Exchange—Famous Taverns of the Period—Early Buccaneers and Their Relations with Government Officials—Efforts of the Earl of Bellomont to Restrain Piracy
 
III THE COFFEE HOUSE 65
An Exciting Election in 1701—Popularity of the Coffee House—Aftermath of the Leisler Troubles—Political Agitation under Lord [Pg vi]Cornbury—Trials of Nicholas Bayard and Roger Baker—Conferences at the Coffee House—Festivals under the English Rule—Official Meetings in Taverns and Coffee Houses
 
IV THE BLACK HORSE 91
The Black Horse Tavern, Scene of Many Political Conferences in the Early Eighteenth Century—Rip Van Dam and Governor Cosby—Lewis Morris’ Campaign—Zenger’s Victory for Liberty of the Press—Old New York Inns—Privateering—The Negro Plot
 
V THE MERCHANTS’ COFFEE HOUSE 127
The Slave Market, Later the Meal Market—The Merchants’ Coffee House, Famous for More than Half a Century—Clubs of Colonial New York—The Merchants’ Exchange—Charter of King’s College, Now Columbia University—French and Indian War—The Assembly Balls—The Press Gang—Some Old Inns—Surrender of Fort Washington
 
[Pg vii]VI TAVERN SIGNS 167
Doctor Johnson on the Comforts of an Inn—Landlords of the Olden Time—Some Curious Tavern Signs—Intemperance in the Eighteenth Century—Sports and Amusements
 
VII THE KING’S ARMS 191
The Crown and Thistle, Meeting Place of St. Andrew’s Society and Later Called the King’s Head—The King’s Arms, Formerly the Exchange Coffee House and the Gentlemen’s Coffee House—Broadway of the Eighteenth Century—The Stamp Act and the Non-Importation Agreement—The Liberty Pole—Recreation Gardens
 
VIII HAMPDEN HALL 227
The Queen’s Head Tavern, Where Was Organized the New York Chamber of Commerce—Pre-Revolutionary Excitement—Battle of Golden Hill—Hampden Hall, Meeting Place of the Sons of Liberty and Attacked by the British—List of Members of the [Pg viii]Social Club, 1775—Other Clubs and Societies of the Period—The Moot, a Lawyers’ Club and Its Charter Members—The Tax on Tea, Committee of Correspondence and Outbreak of the Revolution
 
IX THE PROVINCE ARMS 271
The Continental Congress—Marinus Willett’s Seizure of Arms—Flight of the Tories—Happenings at the Coffee House—The Province Arms, Resort of British Officers—Other Taverns—The Theatre Royal—Sports—The Refugee Club—Social Affairs Under the British Occupation
 
X FRAUNCES’ TAVERN 307
The Treaty of Peace—Celebration Dinners at Sam Fraunces’ House and Other Taverns—Evacuation of New York—Washington’s Farewell to His Officers, at Fraunces’ Tavern, 1783—First New York Bank—Re-organization of Chamber of Commerce—Social, Philanthropic, and Learned Societies of the Day—The [Pg ix]Cincinnati—The New Constitution—Washington’s Inauguration—Sam Fraunces, Steward of the President
 
XI THE TONTINE COFFEE HOUSE 351
The Tammany Society—Tontine Coffee House Founded by Prominent New York Merchants—New York Stock Exchange in the Tontine—Marriner’s Tavern, Later Called the Roger Morris House and the Jumel Mansion—The Tammany Wigwam—Brillât-Savarin in New York
 
XII THE CITY HOTEL 385
Club Life After the Revolution—The City Hotel and the Assembly Balls—Musical Societies—Second Hudson Centennial, 1809—St. Andrew’s Society Dinners and Other Feasts—Tea Gardens—The Embargo of 1807—Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen—New England Society—Political Associations—Tammany Hall—The Battery—The Ugly Club
 
XIII THE SHAKESPEARE TAVERN 417
The War of 1812—Dinner to Naval Victors at the City [Pg x]Hotel—Dinners to Captain Lawrence, General Harrison, Commodores Bainbridge and Perry—News of Peace—The Shakespeare Tavern, a Musical and Literary Centre—Cradle of the Seventh Regiment—A New York Inn Comparable to London’s “Mermaid Tavern” and “Turk’s Head”—Visits of Monroe and Jackson—The Erie Canal—First New York Savings Bank—The Price-Wilson Duel
 
XIV ROAD HOUSES 445
Prejudice Against Dancing—Balls—Debates and Lectures—The City Hotel—Niblo’s Garden—Road Houses—Trotting Matches—Upper Third Avenue—Suburban Drives and Taverns—Lafayette’s Visit—Clubs—End of City Hotel—Era of Hotels
 
INDEX 481

 

 


[Pg xi]

Illustrations

  Page
“Beer Was the Dutchman’s Drink” 5
The City Tavern from the Justin Dancker’s View, 1650 15
The White Horse Tavern 18
The Damen House 19
Water Gate, Foot of Wall Street 24
“They Had Discovered the Toothsome Terrapin” 31
“The Man of the Knight of St. George” 38
The Earl of Bellomont 56
“As Genuine Pirates as Ever Sailed the Sea” 57
Captain Tew 59
The Bayard Punch Bowl 74
Viscount Cornbury 78
Old Tankard 80
The Black Horse Tavern 90
Rip Van Dam 93
Governor Cosby 94
Lewis Morris 95
Fac-Simile News Item from the New York Weekly Journal, November 5, 1733 99
Andrew Hamilton 102
The Ball at the Black Horse 107
“Which Were All Drank in Bumpers” 109
“The Violin and Flute, by ‘Private Hands’” 111
[Pg xii]House at 122 William Street 117
The Royal Exchange 136
Sir Danvers Osborne, Governor of New York 139
“The Drumbeat Was Constantly Heard in the Streets” 145
Sir Charles Hardy, Governor of New York 147
Colonel Peter Schuyler 150
The Press Gang 153
The Bull’s Head Tavern 157
The Roger Morris House 160
The Blue Bell Tavern 161
The Old Time Landlord 169
“Hard Drinking Prevailed” 171
Good Old Madeira 173
A Racing Trophy 180
Bull Baiting, From an Old Advertisement 184
The Bowling Green, From Lyne’s Map 186
William Alexander, Earl of Stirling 192
House Built by Cornelis Steenwyck 197
The De Lancey House 201
Liberty Boys 214
At Ranelagh 220
Corner of Broadway and Murray Street, 1816 235
Captain A. McDougall 241
Merchants’ Coffee House and Coffee House Slip 254
Marinus Willett Stopping the Transfer of Arms 274
Baroness De Riedesel 298
[Pg xiii]In the Coffee House 318
“Gambling With Cards Was Pretty General” 339
Simmons’ Tavern 342
Fac-Simile Receipt of Sam Fraunces, as Washington’s Steward 343
The Bowery Theatre 348
Tontine Coffee House 356
Old Sleigh 365
The City Hotel 373
Martling’s Tavern 376
Belvedere Club House 382
Fac-Simile Bill of the City Hotel, 1807 384
Anthelme Brillât-Savarin 387
White Conduit House 398
Robert R. Livingston 404
Washington Hall 409
Tammany Hall 411
Fraunces’ Tavern About 1830 412
The Great Naval Dinner at the City Hotel, December 29, 1812 416
Commodore Stephen Decatur 418
Commodore Isaac Hull 420
Captain James Lawrence 421
The Shakespeare Tavern 429
“As Choice Spirits as Ever Supped at the Turk’s Head” 431
De Witt Clinton 438
Contoit’s Garden 454
Niblo’s Garden 457
Reynolds’ Beer House 459
[Pg xiv]Cato’s House 461
The Old Hazzard House 462
Burnham’s Mansion House 464
Fitz-Greene Halleck 470
J. Fenimore Cooper 472
Bunker’s Mansion House 477

 

 


[Pg xv]

PREFACE

Much has been written about the old taverns of New York in a disconnected way, but heretofore there has been no connected story linking them with the current events of the early history of the city. This story I have attempted to tell from the Dutch settlement down to the early part of the last century, when the growth of the city and extensive travel entirely changed their character. In doing this I have found myself at issue with many writers on the subject. In every such case the conclusions set down in this book rest I believe upon unquestionable documentary evidence, in part referred to in the text.

Before any newspapers appeared the tavern was a very important institution in the community. It was the medium of all news both political and social, the one place where people of all kinds met to exchange views on every subject of interest to the general public. In this way it exercised an influence second only to the church.

The connection of the taverns with the history of the city was very close. There was hardly an event of importance but had its inception in the taverns, where all questions of interest[Pg xvi] to the public were discussed as in no other place. They were frequented by all classes and the influence of each one of them on the community depended entirely on the character of those who patronized it. The merchants, the politicians and the men of letters each had their places of rendezvous.

Following the history of the city chronologically I have endeavored to link with it the influence of the taverns on current events, and at the same time show up the interesting features of tavern life by details of happenings at these places. I have made no attempt to increase interest by any means except the plain, unvarnished truth, which I have considered sufficiently attractive. Tales of the old taverns are enhanced in interest by a glamour of antiquity surrounding the subject by which few can fail to be charmed.

Nothing exists at the present day in any way resembling an old tavern of the first class in colonial times. It was the place for political discussion, for social clubs and for meetings of all kinds. Every one went to the tavern and from no other source could a person gain so much knowledge of public affairs.

W. Harrison Bayles

 

 


[Pg 1]

OLD TAVERNS OF NEW YORK

 

I

Dutch Taverns

Trading with the Indians

On the return of Hendrick Hudson from his voyage of discovery in 1609, his reports were so favorable, especially, as to the abundance of valuable furs which were to be had at very little cost, that several merchants of Amsterdam, without delay, fitted out trading vessels and sent them to trade with the Indians in the territory he had visited. The returns were satisfactory, and they formed themselves into a company under the name of the United Netherland Company and established a trading post on the southern part of Manhattan Island. The exclusive privilege of trade, which had been granted them by Holland, expired in the year 1618, and they endeavored to have the grant renewed or extended, but succeeded only in obtaining a special license, expiring yearly, which they held for two or three years longer.

In the meantime a more extensive association had been formed by some merchants and capitalists of Holland, who in the year 1621[Pg 2] received a charter under the title of the West India Company, which gave to them the exclusive privilege of trade on the whole Atlantic coast, so far as the jurisdiction of Holland extended. Powers of government were conferred upon the company and the right to make treaties with the Indians.

In 1623, they sent out a vessel which carried thirty families to begin the colony. The vessel landed her passengers and freight near the present site of Albany and a settlement was there established. The return cargo of skins and other freight was valued at about twelve thousand dollars.

First Settlement

It having been determined to fix the headquarters of the company in New Netherland on Manhattan Island, two ships cleared from Holland in 1625 with a large number of settlers for this place. With these was sent out Peter Minuit, as Director-General, to superintend the interests of the company. On board the vessels were carried more than a hundred head of cattle, besides other domestic animals, such as would be needed by the people in a permanent settlement. This was the first real settlement on Manhattan Island. The few huts and storehouses, surrounded by a stockade for protection against the Indians, although it appears they were very friendly, which had been located here for many years, was not a settlement; it was[Pg 3] only a trading post; no attempt had been made to cultivate the land.

Unlike the New England settlers and the Swedes upon the Delaware the Dutch did not make use of the log house, so well adapted by economy, ease of construction and comfort, as a temporary home. It is said that Dutch traders built huts very much like those of the Indian tribes of the neighborhood.

The Indian house or hut was made by placing in the ground two parallel rows of upright saplings adjoining each other and bringing their tops together, lapping them over each other in a curve. On this were fastened boughs and reeds, as a protection against wind and rain, the inside being lined with bark nicely joined together. If such skill were used in joining the bark on the inside as is displayed by some of the North American Indians in building their canoes, it must have presented a very neat and smooth appearance. There was no floor, the fire, in winter, being built upon the ground, the smoke escaping through an opening in the roof. The width of the house was invariably twenty feet, the length being regulated by the number of families occupying it.

If the Dutch traders used such huts they undoubtedly modified them somewhat as to fireplace and chimney and probably made many other improvements to suit their needs.

Manhattan Island Purchased

Peter Minuit, the Director-General, to obtain[Pg 4] title to the island, purchased it from the Indian proprietors, and the settlers commenced their town by staking out a fort, under the direction of Kryn Frederick, an engineer sent out for that purpose, and set about the erection of their temporary homes, which were little better than those of their predecessors, the traders. The next year, 1626, the machinery for a saw mill arrived from Holland and a mill worked by wind power was erected on what is now Governor’s Island, which was then covered with a fine growth of forest trees, which after being cut up, could be easily floated to the little town. The settlers were thus supplied with lumber which enabled them to erect buildings more conformable to their needs. They built, as a rule, houses of only one story in height, with two rooms on the ground floor and a garret above. The roof was reed or straw thatch, and this material continued to be so used for about thirty years after the first settlement of New Amsterdam. The fireplace was built of stone to the height of about six feet, having an oven of the same material by the side of it, extending beyond the rear of the house. The chimney above the stone work was made of boards plastered inside with mortar. The average value of these houses was about one hundred and fifty dollars.

The Dutchman did not come to America for the sake of religious or political freedom or to[Pg 5] escape persecution. He was lured by the profits of trade and the prospect of finding a better and more extensive home for himself and for his children. In the little village or town that had been formed by the first settlers on the southern point of Manhattan Island no Puritanical laws or regulations prevented him from dealing in beer or strong drink, or in drinking as much as he had a mind to. Beer was the Dutchman’s drink, and the West India Company very early erected the Company’s Brewery on the north side of Bridge Street, between the present Whitehall and Broad Streets, to supply the little town with its usual beverage.

 

“BEER WAS THE DUTCHMAN’S DRINK”

 

The Dutch trader bartered with the Indians[Pg 6] for furs, and as the little cluster of houses near the fort grew in population some of the traders also sold, when they could, a little beer and other strong drink which their furs enabled them to obtain from the ships coming into port. For many years, except with the Indians, there does not appear to have been any restraint on this trade in liquor, but, although there were many houses where it was kept on tap for sale, no provision seems to have been made for the lodging of strangers.

The City Tavern

The Dutch from up the river or from the nearby settlements, which were very scanty until the time of Stuyvesant, were, no doubt, always able to find relatives or friends with whom they could lodge; but the English skippers who stopped over on their trips between Virginia and the New England colonies were not only strangers but spoke a strange language, unknown to most of the inhabitants, and it is not difficult to understand the reluctance of having them as guests in the small houses where the accommodations were very limited. Governor Kieft says that he was put to great inconvenience in taking care of them, and so, in 1641 built a large stone house to accommodate and care for them and other strangers, which was known as the Stadt Herbergh or City Tavern. There must have been urgent need for such a house, for it was the most costly building that had been erected up to this time. The expenditure was[Pg 7] much greater than for the building of a new and substantial church in the fort, a short time after. It was, no doubt, intended to impress and increase the respect of strangers and was an object of the admiration and pride of the citizens of New Amsterdam. It was located in a very conspicuous place, with one of its sides facing the East River, apart from the other houses of the town. It was two stories high with a basement underneath and spacious lofts above. In the rear was an extension or addition, a long, narrow structure which was apparently used for kitchen purposes and probably for other uses.

Early in the year 1643 the Stadt Herbergh, or City Tavern, was leased to Philip Gerritsen, its first landlord, at a rental of three hundred guilders, or about one hundred and twenty dollars, per annum and opened for the entertainment of the public; afterwards to Adriaen Gerritsen, down to the beginning of the year 1652, when the tavern was being conducted by Abraham Delanoy. According to agreement, Gerritsen was to sell the Company’s wine, brandy and beer, and no other, the Company agreeing not to allow any wine to be sold out of their cellar to the injury of the lessee. The Director-General also promised that a well should be dug near the house and that a brew-house should be erected in the rear or that Gerritsen should be permitted the use of the Company’s brew-house.

[Pg 8]Shortly after the opening of the tavern it was put to good use in sheltering the fugitives who came to it for protection. Among these were the settlers from Achter Col, across the Kills from Staten Island, on the mainland, who, driven from their homes, which were destroyed by the Indians, were lodged for a time at the City Tavern, at the expense of the West India Company.

The tavern seems to have been in frequent use as a place of detention of persons obnoxious to the Director and his Council and of persons suspected of offenses against the orders of the Director-General, and it is probable that some part of the building was set apart for that purpose. Sometimes the prisoners were quite numerous, as when, in 1651, the crew of the ship “Nieuw Nederlandsche Fortuyn” were quartered here, and also when in 1656, after it had become the City Hall, were brought here the twenty-three Englishmen who had attempted to make a settlement in the present Westchester, hostile to the Dutch claim. Notwithstanding this, the tavern came to be patronized by many of the best people of the place and by the officers of the West India Company. It became a place where a great deal of business was transacted, both public and private, and was one of the places where all public notices were posted, the others being the fort and the barn of the West India Company. It was, too, before it became the City Hall, the place where the court frequently[Pg 9] sat for the trial of minor cases. Here was held in the fall and winter of 1653 the Landtdag, or Diet, consisting of representatives from each of the Dutch towns, for the purpose of providing means of defence against the Indians. This was the most important popular convention that had ever been held in New Amsterdam.

The City Tavern Becomes the City Hall

Captain Underhill Makes Trouble

In 1652 New Amsterdam was incorporated as a city under the government of a schout, two burgomasters and five schepens, and was allowed a separate magistracy, although not independent of Governor and Council. This made it necessary to have a city hall or town house, and soon after the City Tavern was ceded to the city and henceforth was known as the “stadt huys” or city hall.

In the first settlement of New England the laws and regulations as to the sale of strong drink and as to restraint in indulgence were very rigid, but afterwards much relaxed. In New Amsterdam there was little restraint; so that when the notorious Puritan Captain John Underhill came down to New Amsterdam, however exemplary may have been his behavior while at home among his New England friends (although there had been some complaint), he let himself loose and became, as some would say, “gloriously drunk.” On the night of the 15th[Pg 10] of March, 1644, in the parlor of Philip Gerritsen of the City Tavern, Doctor Hans Kiersted, Dominie Bogardus, Gysbert Opdyck and several others, with their wives, were having a supper and spending an agreeable evening. Some time after the supper, while they were enjoying themselves, Captain Underhill, with Lieutenant Baxter and a drummer, who had evidently made the rounds of the town and were in an advanced state of intoxication, appeared at the door. Gerritsen could not forbid entrance to the worthy captain, but told him that he was entertaining a party of friends with their wives and requested him to take a separate room where he would serve them. They were finally induced to do this after much talk. They invited some of the company to drink with them and they complied. Baxter invited Opdyck to join them but he refused. Thereupon Underhill and his companions drew their swords and cut in pieces the cans on the shelves in the tavern, hacked the door-posts and endeavored by force to get into the room where the supper party was. This was for some time resisted by the landlady with a leaden bolt and by the landlord trying to keep the door closed; but, in spite of all opposition, they succeeded in forcing their way in. Underhill was in such a state that it was quite uncertain at what moment he might take a notion to flesh his sword in any Dutchman who stood in[Pg 11] his way. With his sword half drawn he cried: “Clear out of here, for I shall strike at random.” The fiscal and a guard from the fort were sent for, but they did not succeed in quieting the drunken Englishmen. In reply to some remarks of the Dominie, who suggested that the Director-General himself be sent for, Underhill said, as deposed by witnesses: “If the Director come here, ’tis well. I had rather speak to a wise man than a fool.” To prevent further and more serious mischief, fearing that at any moment Underhill might pink the Dominie, the supper party withdrew, leaving Underhill in possession of the field. Thus the gallant Captain scored another victory.

When Wouter Van Twiller came out, in 1633, as Director-General, the pressing claims of England to the control of the whole territory on the Atlantic Coast, induced the West India Company to send out with him a military force of one hundred and four soldiers to garrison the fort. These were the first that had been sent over.

Sergeant Peter Cock’s Tavern

Among the soldiers, some years later, was a man by the name of Peter Cock, who held the rank of sergeant. He built, or had constructed for him, a little house, such as were being put up at that time, northwest from the fort, on ground now occupied by No. 1 Broadway. It was very likely the first house built on that side[Pg 12] of the fort and was used as a tavern. It was no doubt more patronized by the soldiers than any other.

Sergeant Cock was in command of several regular soldiers under La Montagne in the expedition against the Indians on Staten Island in 1643. On their return to New Amsterdam, they were all immediately sent out to Greenwich and Stamford, where they scoured the country in search of the Indians. In November of the same year Governor Kieft dispatched one hundred and twenty men, under the command of Dr. La Montagne, Cock and Underhill, to exterminate the Canarsee Indians. They brought back from this expedition some prisoners, who were afterwards barbarously treated, inhumanly tortured and finally killed in the public streets of New Amsterdam.

At Sergeant Cock’s tavern the details of these expeditions and the part taken in them by each individual were, doubtless, thoroughly discussed by the soldiers as they drank their beer or other beverages served out to them. They talked over the quarrels of the Dominie and the Director-General and the last sermon in which the Dominie fulminated his biting diatribes against the Director; how the drummer beat up the drum and the gunner touched off one of the big guns when the Dominie was in the midst of one of his harangues, which distracted the congregation and almost threw them into a panic.

[Pg 13]Next to the lot on which Sergeant Cock had built his house Martin Crigier obtained the grant of a lot in 1643, on which a house appears to have already been built, probably by himself. Crigier is said to have come out in the service of the West India Company when a young man, after his separation or release from which he had engaged in the business of trader and sloop captain on the North River and became an active and conspicuous citizen. He was certainly a doughty Dutchman, his name occupying a prominent place in the military annals of New Amsterdam.

The military expeditions in which he was engaged were numerous. In 1657 he went out in command of forty men to settle difficulties on the Delaware. In 1659 he commanded a force of sixty men, sent out to the same region to repel a threatened invasion of the English. In 1663 he was in command of the force sent to Esopus to punish the savages for their massacre of the Dutch, and in this expedition he seems to have had the complete confidence of Governor Stuyvesant, himself a valiant soldier. With Cornelis Van Tienhoven he was sent to New Haven to treat with the English and he was Burgomaster of New Amsterdam in 1653, 1654, 1659, 1660 and 1663.

Burgomaster Martin Crigier, Tavern-Keeper

He was an innkeeper and we can easily imagine that his house must have been the resort of[Pg 14] all the Dutch politicians of his day, where were discussed not only plans of attack and defence, but also the policies of the little town in all its various aspects, both internally and in relation to the Indians and the English. The English, no doubt, were thoroughly discussed, for there was constant trouble with them at this time.

The house was near the fort, on ground now occupied by No. 3 Broadway, and looked out on the open ground of the present Bowling Green, which was then the parade of the soldiers, being in front of the gate of the fort, the eastern side of it being used as a market field on appointed days, where were displayed all kinds of country produce brought in from the surrounding country. Here, also, in this open space, in 1656 and subsequent years, was held, in the latter part of October and all through November, the cattle market for store and fat cattle, sheep, goats, hogs, bucks, and such like. It was promised that stalls and other conveniences would be erected for those who brought such animals to market. This cattle-market, notice of which, by letter, had been sent out to the Dutch and English of Connecticut and Long Island, no doubt brought to New Amsterdam a great many from the surrounding country, even as far away as New Haven. The taverns were full and the life and activity of the city was much increased. The[Pg 15] young men drank in the conversations of the city burghers at the taverns, discussed with them the price of beaver skins and other articles of trade with the Indians, and in turn told of the arts of the trapper and hunter, as well as adventures with the Indians and with the wild animals of the forest. These visitors, for a time, made the taverns gay and lively, and sometimes there were, no doubt, heated talks and even quarrels and personal encounters.

 

THE CITY TAVERN FROM THE JUSTIN DANCKER’S VIEW, 1650

 

In front of the taverns of Captain Crigier and Sergeant Cock groups of men could be seen at such times bargaining and discussing prices and the news of the day. Beer was to be had and there was plenty of talk, for the outlying settlers brought in the news of their own sections and were very anxious to learn all the news of the[Pg 16] city and still more anxious to get news from the fatherland.

Those who visited the city to bring in cattle and attend this market made of it a pleasure trip long to be remembered. Although New Amsterdam could not furnish any amusement that would intoxicate a modern New Yorker yet, to those who were passing their days in isolated homes, the gaiety of the little city was a source of great enjoyment; and in returning to their quiet homes they carried back with them all the little luxuries which they could afford and which the city could supply. They had also a great deal to tell their relatives and friends.

There is no doubt that when Peter Cock and Martin Crigier built their taverns to catch the patronage of the soldiers at the fort, the ground in the neighborhood to the west of the fort and along the river was in a perfect state of nature, untouched by the hand of man. The authorities kept the space in front of the fort clear of building; which, without any preconceived plan or intention on their part, resulted in leaving a triangular open space, which became the parade for the soldiers, the market place for cattle, and, afterwards, in the time of the English, the Bowling Green.

In September, 1659, transfer was made of a lot on the west side of the Heere Straat (Broadway), which was described as bounded on the south by the newly-built house and lot of Burgomaster Martin Crigier. It was about this time[Pg 17] that improvements and a great advance were being made in the style of building, and as Crigier was at this time and had been some years previous a burgomaster, and was besides a conspicuous man in the community, it is natural to suppose that he would put up a good and substantial house.

On the other side of the fort, close under the shelter of its eastern wall, at the corner of the present Whitehall and Stone Streets, where the Produce Exchange now stands, was a little tavern which had been built in the most economical manner in 1641, and was kept by a Frenchman, Philip Gerard, called by the Dutch Geraerdy, who had left the gay city of Paris for life among the Dutch of New Amsterdam. Geraerdy probably had good reasons for the change; perhaps it was to escape conscription in the wars then raging in Europe. Riding the wooden horse in the fort was a common punishment of the soldiers, and Philip Geraerdy, we presume from a sense of humor, or for some other good reason, called his house the Wooden Horse, or at least it is so called in the Dutch records. The soldiers no doubt much preferred the wooden horse (or bench) in Philip’s tavern to that in the fort. Philip was himself at one time a soldier, and had ridden the wooden horse, for May 27, 1642, “Philip Geraerdy, a soldier, for having been absent from the guard without leave,” was sentenced to ride the wooden horse during parade,[Pg 18] with a pitcher in one hand and a drawn sword in the other.

The White Horse Tavern

After a few years the name of Philip’s house underwent a change. This may have been the result of a sort of evolutionary process, induced by Philip, who erected in front of his house a sign on which was painted a white horse on a dark background, very conspicuous. The house became known as the Sign of the White Horse or the White Horse Tavern.

 

THE WHITE HORSE TAVERN

 

Some lively scenes were connected with the[Pg 19] little tavern. One dark night in the spring of 1643, farmer Jan Damen, whose house was just beyond the present Wall Street near Broadway, drank deep in Philip’s house, and was in such a condition that Geraerdy thought it prudent to guide him home, which act of benevolence cost him dearly. Damen must have been in a mood that threatened trouble, for Geraerdy had taken the precaution to draw his sword from its scabbard and carry it himself. At the house Damen’s serving man, armed with a long knife, resisted his master’s entrance. Damen used the scabbard as a weapon and also secured a knife, and in the fight which ensued Geraerdy was, as[Pg 20] the surgeon declared, dangerously wounded, Damen having struck him in the dark under the shoulder blade.

 

THE DAMEN HOUSE

 

It was a dramatic and semi-tragic scene when “Black John,” who hailed from the seaport town of Monnikendam, near Amsterdam, one morning, as they were at the house of Philip Geraerdy, addressed Ensign Hendrick Van Dyck, saying: “Brother, my service to you,” to which the ensign answered: “Brother, I thank you.” “Black John” did not hand over the can, but instead struck the ensign with it on his forehead so that blood flowed, saying that that was his Monnikendam fashion, and threw him over on his back. This, it is related, was done without having words or dispute of any kind.

Geraerdy became a sergeant in the burgher troops, and while keeping a tavern was also a trader and a man of business. Besides his own language he could speak both Dutch and English, acting occasionally as an interpreter. He succeeded so well that in a few years he built for himself a substantial house on that part of his lot fifty or sixty feet down from the corner on Stone Street.

Taverns Regulated

When Governor Peter Stuyvesant arrived, in May, 1647, he found New Amsterdam, to use an expression of the present day, “a wide open town.” Before the close of the month he issued an order requiring that all places where liquor was sold should remain closed on Sunday before[Pg 21] two o’clock in the afternoon, and, in case of preaching in the fort, until four o’clock,—this, under penalty of the owners being deprived of their occupation, and besides being fined six Carolus guilders for each person who should be found drinking wine or beer within the stated time, excepting only travellers and those who were daily customers, fetching the drinks to their own homes; and that all such places should be closed every night at the ringing of the bell about nine o’clock. In issuing this order he says: “Whereas we have experienced the violence of our inhabitants, when drunk, their quarrelling, fighting and hitting each other, even on the Lord’s day of rest, of which we have ourselves witnessed the painful example last Sunday, in contravention of law, to the contempt and disgrace of our person and office, to the annoyance of our neighbors, and to the disregard and contempt of God’s holy laws and ordinances,” etc.

In March, 1648, he found that further action was necessary. He declared that one-fourth of the houses had been turned into taverns for the sale of brandy, tobacco and beer, and that they were detrimental to the welfare of the community; he therefore issued a set of rules for their regulation. No new tap-houses should be opened without the unanimous vote of the Director and Council. Those who had been tapsters could continue as such for four years at least, but in the meantime, should seek some[Pg 22] other means of livelihood, so as not to be dependent on it. Orders as to closing at nine o’clock every night and on Sundays were repeated. Tapsters were to report all fights or disorderly conduct in their places, and physicians were to report all cases where they were called on to dress wounds received in such disturbances. This does not necessarily indicate that New Amsterdam was at this time a disorderly place, for like New York of the present day, it was a cosmopolitan city. The population at that time was not over five hundred souls, and it has been declared that eighteen different languages were spoken by the inhabitants.

Litschoe’s Tavern

Some time previous to the year 1648 Daniel Litschoe established an inn on what is now Pearl Street in the outskirts of the town, which became the resort of the country people coming in from Long Island. Litschoe came out to New Amsterdam with the earliest settlers as ensign in the military service of the Dutch. He was with Stuyvesant at Beverwyck and on his order hauled down the lord’s colors. He also went out with Stuyvesant in the expedition against the Swedes on the Delaware as lieutenant.

The tavern seems to have been a good-sized building, for it is spoken of as “the great house,” but this is to be taken as in comparison with its neighbors. It had at least a quarter of an acre of ground attached to it, and stood back some[Pg 23] little distance from the street. A part of the lot is now covered by No. 125 Pearl Street. In the spring of 1651, Litschoe leased this house to Andries Jochemsen, who kept it as a tavern or ale house for many years and had lots of trouble with the authorities. He would tap on Sundays and after nine o’clock, and his house was the resort of disorderly persons. After keeping tavern for some years in a house which he had built just outside the city wall, Litschoe purchased a lot inside the wall between it and the house he had resided in some years before, and here he, and after his death in 1662, his wife, Annetje, kept a tavern for many years.

When Sir Henry Moody came from Virginia in 1660 to exchange ratifications of the treaty to regulate commerce between that colony and New Netherland he was received with all the usual diplomatic honors. Two members of the council, under escort of halberdiers, were sent “to compliment him in his lodgings,” and Moody, appearing in the fort, presented his credentials. He resided a considerable time at the house of Daniel Litschoe and when he left the city he failed to settle his score, for which his library left at the house was sold. More people came into the city over the river road from the Long Island ferry than from any other direction, and Litschoe’s tavern near the city gate was an inviting resting place. It was one of the stations where fire-buckets were kept for use in cases of emergency.

 [Pg 24]

WATER GATE, FOOT OF WALL STREET

 

The city wall, above mentioned, was a line of palisades straight across the island along the northerly side of the present Wall Street, passing through the present Trinity Churchyard. On the inside of the palisades was an embankment and a ditch. It was built in the year 1653, when England and Holland were at war and New Amsterdam was threatened by the New England colonists. Through this line of defence there were two gates, the land-gate at the present junction of Broadway and Wall Street and the water-gate at the river road or present Pearl Street.

Peter Cock’s Troubles to Obtain a Wife

Peter Cock added much to the piquancy of the gossip of the taverns and the town when, in[Pg 25] 1653, probably no longer a soldier, he brought suit against Annetje Cornelissen Van Vorst, claiming the fulfillment of a promise of marriage. The case occupied the time and attention of the Court of Burgomasters and Schepens at a great many sessions, statements and counter-statements being presented to the Court, who, considering the case too large for them, sent it, with the papers, to the Director and Council for their decision. It was sent back to the Court of Burgomasters and Schepens, with a recommendation to appoint a committee to examine the papers and report. The final decision, pronounced May 18, 1654, was that the promise was a binding contract. From this decision Annetje appealed, but it was confirmed. In some way Annetje obtained a release, at any rate, she married November 11, 1656, Claes Jansen Van Purmerendt, a tobacco planter of Paulus Hook. Peter consoled himself with another Annetje, for on June 13, 1657, he married Annetje Dirks, of Amsterdam.

In 1661 Annetje Cock was a widow and in control of the tavern which Peter Cock had left. She asked permission to build a new house on the southeast corner of the lot, which request was refused, as it would be too near the fort. Her husband had contracted for the building of a house on the lot, which she claimed was voided by his death, and wished to make a new[Pg 26] contract with others, but the court decided that the old contract was binding. A new house was built which was kept by her as a tavern for many years.

A Dutch Tavern

The taverns of New Amsterdam were probably modeled somewhat after those of Holland, for the Dutch were a people who stuck to the customs of the fatherland. The description of a Dutch tavern, from the journal of one of our citizens who visited a part of the Netherlands where customs have not changed for centuries is here given.

“It was the business of the good vrow or her maid to show up the traveller, and open the doors in the smooth partition of the box which was to receive his weary limbs for the night, and which otherwise he might not be able to discover, and after he crept into it, to come back again and blow out the candle, and in the morning to draw the curtains of the windows at the hour he fixed to rise. There was generally one room in which all the guests were received, and where there was a pleasant reunion in the evening, and all the visitors ate, drank and smoked. It had, in one corner, a closet, which, when opened (and, honestly, it was not unfrequently opened), disclosed sundry decanters, glasses and black bottles; and, on one side of the room, a rack in which were suspended by their bowls a score or two of very long pipes,[Pg 27] each one inscribed with the name of a neighbor or owner. This was the room of Mynheer the landlord. He had no care beyond this; mevrow was the head of the house; she attended to all the wants of the guests, and gave them the information which they might desire. She was always on the spot as when, with a ‘wet te rusten,’ like a good mother, she bade you good night, and when, with a ‘hoo-y-reis,’ like an old friend, she bade you good-by.”

In the contract for building the ferry house on the Long Island side of the East River for Egbert Van Borsum in 1655, provision was made for bedsteads to be built in the walls as described above. Thus an apartment could be made to accommodate several travellers at night and yet, in day time, present a neat appearance and be used as a public room. Provision was also made for the closet or pantry, for it was a source of profit.

A few years later the Ferry Tavern of Van Borsum had acquired such a reputation, to which the culinary art of Annetje, his wife, greatly contributed, that it became the resort of the best citizens when they wished for something extra good, and of the officials of government, as we find that a bill rendered by Van Borsum in February, 1658, for wine and liquor furnished the Director and other officers was ordered to be paid.

A Grand Dinner

[Pg 28]When, in 1658, Captain Beaulieu wished to give a fine dinner to his friends, he did not go to the tavern of the Worshipful Burgomaster Martin Crigier nor to that of Lieutenant Litschoe, who entertained the English Ambassador a few years later, nor yet to the popular tavern of Metje Wessels; but was influenced, for some good reason, to go to the house of Egbert Van Borsum, the Ferry Tavern on the Long Island side of the river. Here the Captain and his thirteen friends sat down to a dinner for which Van Borsum, if the record is correct, charged him three hundred and ten florins, or at the rate of nine dollars per plate; and it appears that it was worth the price, for although Beaulieu was sued by Van Borsum for the bill, his defence was that he was to pay only one-half of the expense, the other half to be paid by a few of the other guests. No complaint was made that the amount charged was excessive. Annetje Van Borsum testified before the Court that she made the arrangement and bargain with Beaulieu alone and looked to him for payment. The Court took this view and gave a verdict against Beaulieu for the full amount. Annetje Van Borsum must certainly have been a fine cook, and the dinner must have been served with some expensive accessories, of the nature of which we can hardly surmise. It serves to show that New Amsterdam, even at[Pg 29] this early period, was not entirely devoid of expensive luxuries (for such must have been the case). After the death of Egbert Van Borsum, his widow, Annetje, continued the business for several years, she herself managing the tavern, and her son, Hermanus, attending to the ferry. In her declining years she retired to the city of New Amsterdam where she died at a green old age.

In 1655 Solomon Peterson La Chair, a gentleman of the legal profession, made his appearance in New Amsterdam, and, as there was not a promising prospect in that line of business, he rented the house of Teunis Kray, on the Graft, and petitioned the Burgomasters and Schepens for permission to keep it as a tavern, which could be managed by his wife in his absence on legal business, and would be of great assistance to him in gaining a livelihood. Permission was granted. He afterwards bought the house of Kray, agreeing to pay for it in instalments; but as Kray had formerly sued him for the rent he had now to sue him for the very first instalment; and he never succeeded in paying for it, the money, even when he had it ready, as he says, slipping through his fingers. He did not pay anyone he owed until forced to. He used every means which his learning in the law and his own ingenuity could devise to avoid paying his just debts. He was impecunious and improvident and constantly in trouble; yet he was a man of considerable learning and ability, as evinced by[Pg 30] his register of business as a notary, a volume of some three hundred pages, which was discovered in the county clerk’s office some years ago. He obtained a license to practice as a notary in 1661. La Chair, defaulting in payment, Kray came again in possession of the house he had sold, and La Chair moved to a house in Hough Street, where he continued to keep a tavern until his death, a few years later. There was much discussion in the little town on political matters, and La Chair, as a man versed in the law, could probably attract many to his house, where, no doubt, such subjects were thoroughly discussed.

November 26, 1656, a petition was presented to the Burgomasters and Schepens from Metje Wessels, requesting permission “to follow the trade of an eating house and to bring in and tap out wine and beer,” which was granted.

Metje Wessels’ Tavern

Metje Wessels’ house was situated on The Water, which was what is now the north side of Pearl Street, between Whitehall and Broad Streets, in the busiest part of the little city, and not far from the City Hall. It became a noted place for Burgomasters’ dinners, and was a popular place for festivities of all kinds, characteristic of the taverns of this period. The Burgomasters and Schepens of New Amsterdam had discovered the toothsome terrapin, for which their successors, the aldermen of New York City, were, years ago, known[Pg 31] to be particularly partial, and their dinners at the widow’s tavern were no doubt supplied with this delicious viand. Van der Donck, writing in 1656, says: “Some persons prepare delicious dishes from the water terrapin which is luscious food.” Here men went on the arrival of a ship, to meet the skipper and hear the news from the fatherland or from other foreign ports. Here were discussed the tidings from up the river, where many young men were making adventurous excursions among the Indians, in the far-off northern wilderness, in the profitable business of gathering furs. The trade in furs, the Indian troubles, the military expeditions, the Dominie’s sermons and the Director-General’s proclamations,—these, and a great many more, both public and personal matters—were talked over. It was a sort of business and social exchange where were gathered and distributed news and gossip of all kinds.

 [Pg 32]

“THEY HAD DISCOVERED THE TOOTHSOME TERRAPIN”

 

Dutch Festivities

The Dutch of New Amsterdam had a large capacity for enjoyment and in their holiday season of Christmas and New Year, gave themselves up to every kind of festivity and sport that the place could afford. We find from records that some of these were firing of guns, beating of drums, dancing, playing of tick-tack, bowling, playing of ninepins, sleighing parties or wagon rides, etc. The taverns and taprooms were full of life and there were likewise many[Pg 33] family festivities and amusements, where the tables were loaded with all the good things to eat and drink that were obtainable. Not only was it the season of the delight and enjoyment of the young and gay, but the older and graver citizens joined in the sports with enthusiasm and encouragement. Even the Burgomasters and Schepens, with the other officials, when the season of festivity approached, closed the public offices temporarily. “Whereas,” it is recorded, “the winter festivals are at hand, it is found good, that between this date and three weeks after Christmas the ordinary meetings of the Court shall be dispensed with.”

Gathered together to celebrate one of the anniversaries of the festive season, the flickering lights from oil lamps and tallow candles, reflected from the whitewashed walls of Madame Wessels’ assembly room, shone on as happy and gay hearted a gathering as is found in the magnificent and brilliantly lighted halls of our present grand city. They shone on “fair women and brave men.” Notwithstanding the humorous caricatures of Washington Irving, the women were comely and the men were a sturdy and adventurous lot. Here was the government official, with his sword at his side. Here was the prosperous trader or merchant in his silk or velvet breeches and coat flowered with silver lace, with gold or silver buttons, lace neck cloth and silk stockings. He also wore a sword. The common burgher in his homespun breeches[Pg 34] and Kersey coat also took a part. Handsome dresses, displayed on female forms were not numerous but there were some that indicated the success and prosperity of the heads of the families represented by the wearers. Gowns of thick embroidered silk and petticoats of cloth and quilted silk graced the festive dance.

May-day was also celebrated with great spirit and on this occasion the people were accorded by the city magistrates the greatest license. It was announced that “any damage which may come from the general rejoicing within the city on May-day shall be made known to the Burgomasters at the City Hall immediately thereafter when means shall be taken to furnish reparation.”

But Governor Stuyvesant had no sympathy for such “unprofitable customs,” and such “unnecessary waste of powder.” He forbade on New Year and May-days, the firing of guns, the beating of drums or the planting of May-poles, and ordered that at these times there shall not be “any wines, brandy-wines or beer dealt out.” It is supposed that this ordinance was not strictly enforced and that its restrictions were little observed.

Stuyvesant also, in February, 1658, forbade the farmers and their servants to “ride the goose” at the feast of Bacchus and Shrovetide, which brought a protest from the Burgomasters and Schepens, who felt aggrieved that the Director General and Council should have done[Pg 35] so without their knowledge and consent. “Riding the goose,” or “pulling the goose,” was a cruel sport, but it was not the fate of the goose that moved the tender heart of Stuyvesant. He says in response to the protest that “in their time it has never been practiced here, and yet, notwithstanding the same may in some place of the fatherland be tolerated and looked at through the fingers, it is altogether unprofitable, unnecessary and criminal for subjects and neighbors to celebrate such pagan and Popish feasts, and to practice such evil customs.” He then gives the Burgomasters and Schepens a sound scolding for their presumption, and informs them “that the institution of a little bench of Justice under the title of Schout, Burgomasters and Commissioners does in no wise interfere with or diminish aught of the power and authority of the Director General and Councellors in the enacting of any ordinance or making any particular interdict, especially such as tend to the glory of God and the best interests of the Inhabitants.”

[Pg 36]

 

 


[Pg 37]

II

New York and the Pirates

The English in New York

When the English captured New Amsterdam, the heart of the British soldier was no doubt cheered and gladdened by the sight of the Sign of Saint George and the Dragon, which was boldly hung out in front of the house looking out on the river on the west side of the present Pearl Street just above Maiden Lane, kept by James Webb, from London. It was a stone house which had been built more than fifteen years before by Sander Leendertsen (Alexander Lindsay), upon the site of the present 211 Pearl Street. When in March, 1665, the citizens were called upon to state how many soldiers they could lodge, the entry is made in the records that “The Man of the Knight of St. George will take one,” which undoubtedly refers to the landlord of this house. Webb, in 1665, married Margaret Radel, a widow, and probably kept the house for some years. It was on the road leading to the Long Island ferry, a favorite location for taverns.

Although Colonel Nicolls, the first deputy Governor for his Royal Highness, James, Duke of York, is said to have filled his purse from[Pg 38] the proceeds of land grants and by compelling the holders of old grants to pay him for confirmation, and to have been active in adding to his profits in many other ways, and, although he was given despotic power, yet his rule was characterized by so much leniency and moderation, compared with the paternal, though arbitrary, rule of Peter Stuyvesant, that he became as popular with the inhabitants as, under the circumstances, could be expected. When, at the end of four years, he solicited and obtained his recall, a grand dinner was given him at the house of Cornelis Steenwyck, one of the most prominent Dutch merchants of the city, and two militia companies, the Dutch officers of which had received their commissions from him, escorted him to the ship which was to bear him to England.

 [Pg 39]

“THE MAN OF THE KNIGHT OF ST. GEORGE”

 

The English officials were naturally desirous of introducing English ways and customs. Moved by this spirit, Governor Nicolls, to encourage the English sport of horse-racing, established a race-course at Hempstead, Long Island, which was continued and kept up by his successors, who issued proclamations, directed to the justices, that races should be held in the month of May.

New York, when it came into the hands of the English, was thoroughly Dutch, and the Englishman was not pleased by the ways and customs of the Dutch in tavern life, so different from the English. In a tavern conducted in the[Pg 40] Dutch way, where the landlord and all the attendants spoke the Dutch language, the government officials and the English officers did not feel that ease and comfort that they would in a truly English inn.

The prominent Dutch taverns continued to flourish, but in the course of time, there was a gradual change, produced by the English influence. The Dutch tavern keeper differed much from the inn-keeper of England, and the newcomers, assuming the airs of conquerors, accustomed to the warm welcome of an English inn, chafed under the restrains which they found or fancied, and many broils occurred between the landlords and their Dutch countrymen on one side and the English soldiers and sailors on the other.

The Governor Builds a Tavern

Although previous to this time and some years subsequent, the records of public business transacted at taverns are numerous, for a long time after the English came into control, there is no indication that the taverns were thus much used by the English officials. The want of a tavern truly English, that would satisfy the officers of the government, may have been the cause which led Governor Lovelace to build, in 1672, on his own account, an inn or ordinary right next to the City Hall, and to ask the magistrates for permission to connect the upper story of the house with the City Hall by a door opening into the[Pg 41] Court’s Chambers. The proposition was agreed to by the magistrates, leaving it to the governor to pay what he thought fit for “the vacant strooke of ground” lying between the buildings and “not to cut off the entrance into the prison doore or common gaol.”

This door connecting the City Hall and the tavern was meant to serve, in its way, a very useful purpose, but lacking reliable data in reference to the part it played in facilitating communication between the tavern taproom and the halls of justice, we leave each reader to supply the deficiency by his own opinions on the subject.

Tavern Regulations

It was a uniform custom in the English colonies to make provision for the care of strangers and to regulate by law the taverns and the sale of strong drink. By the duke’s laws, which were enacted, or rather accepted, by representatives of the people at the Hempstead convention, in 1665, inn-keepers were not allowed to charge “above eight pence a meal with small beer,” and were required to always have on hand a supply of “strong and wholesome” malted liquor.

In January, 1676, it was ordered that “all persons who keep publick houses shall sell beere as well as wyn and other liquors and keep lodgings for strangers.” It was proposed to the governor by the mayor and aldermen that six houses be appointed to sell “all sorts of wine,[Pg 42] brandy and rum and lodgings,” and eight to “sell beere, syder, mum and rum and to provide for strangers as the law directs,” that two of “the wine houses be ordinaryes, and four of the beere-houses.” Prices were fixed at which the tapsters should sell. French wines and Madeira were from one and three pence to two shillings per quart; brandy at six pence and rum at three pence per gill; beer and cider were three and four pence per quart. In the ordinary at the wine house the meal was one shilling and in that at the beer house it was eight pence; lodging at the wine house was four pence per night, and at the beer house it was three pence. Thus a sharp distinction was drawn between the two classes of houses and there was in all probability as great a difference in their keepers.

First Merchants’ Exchange

Broad Street had become a desirable place of residence and many citizens of the better class made it their home. The canal or ditch through the middle of it, from the present Exchange Place to the river, would never have been there if New York had not been originally a Dutch town. Across the canal, near the river, between the present Stone and Bridge Streets, was a bridge. This was a favorite lounging place for idlers, where, leaning over the railing of the bridge, they could watch the ebb and flow of the tide and the various small boats which went a little way up the canal to discharge their cargoes of oysters, fish and country produce brought over from Long Island or other nearby[Pg 43] points. It was the center of probably more stir and activity than any other place in the little city. Here the merchants had become accustomed to meet for trade and the transaction of business of various kinds. This induced Governor Lovelace, March 24, 1669-70, to issue an order establishing a sort of business exchange. This order specified that the meeting of the merchants should be between the hours of eleven and twelve on Friday mornings, at present near the bridge, and the mayor was directed to take care that they should not be disturbed. The time of meeting and dispersing was to be announced by the ringing of a bell. It was the beginning of the merchants’ exchange. This continued to be the meeting place of the merchants, and near this spot a building called the Exchange was subsequently built.

Not far away, on the present northwesterly corner of Broad and Pearl Streets, stood the tavern of James Matthews, who, besides keeping a tavern, was a merchant and a man of considerable means. The meeting place for merchants being almost in front of his door his house was a very convenient place for them to retire to, to consummate their bargains over a social glass. In 1678 and in 1685 he was one of the farmers of the excise. He died in the latter part of the year 1685, or early in 1686, and his widow continued to keep the house for about two years,[Pg 44] when she also died. The executors of her estate petitioned, in March, 1688, for an abatement of £20 excise money.

In September, 1676, Abraham Corbett, “driven with his family from his home eastward of New England,” petitioned for a license to distill strong liquors, which was granted him. He became a lieutenant in the militia in 1684; and was one of the farmers of the excise in 1688, which indicates that he was a man of respectability and deserving of public confidence. He was also a tavern keeper. When Samuel Leete, clerk of the Court of Mayor and Aldermen, and an Alderman of the city, died in 1679, he left to Abraham Corbett, “all my household goods in part payment of what I owe him for meat and drink.” By Governor Dongan’s Charter of 1686, Abraham Corbett was appointed an Assistant Alderman. In 1680 he purchased for sixty pounds sterling a house and lot on the east side of Broadway, two or three doors south of the present Exchange Place, and some years later on this lot he erected a fine tavern, which he called the “Royal Oak,” where he spent his declining years in its management. Considering the position which Corbett held in the esteem of the people there is no doubt that his house received the patronage of the best class of the community.

In these early days there were no parks, but the open country was near at hand with all the charms of nature. Just south of the present[Pg 45] Trinity Churchyard was the Governor’s Garden. A large gateway led to it and to a charming spot—a piece of elevated ground covered with natural forest—called the “Locust Trees,” which was a resort for those who enjoyed the open air, where they could look out on the broad expanse of the Hudson. It was not then covered with that panorama of moving craft which it now presents. It was the same majestic river as now, but its surface was unbroken except by a lonely canoe or a small sail or two lazily drifting up or down the stream, with the green shores of Staten Island and Pavonia in the distance.

The road along the East River, beyond the “water gate,” had a number of dwellings on its upper side. On the way to the ferry a road joined it called the “Maadge poadge,” or Maiden Lane, and a little way further another, the present John Street, led up to Vandercliff’s Orchard, which is said to have been a place of public resort, owned and kept by Dirck Vandercliff, who was also a merchant, and in 1687 was an assistant alderman.

A singular incident occurred at this place in 1682. James Graham, who was an alderman of the city in 1681, recorder in 1683, and afterwards attorney-general, had, according to evidence, expressed a desire to make the acquaintance of Captain Baxter, an English officer recently arrived in the Province, and accordingly a party of several friends, including Graham and[Pg 46] Baxter, met at the tavern of Dirck Vandercliff in “The Orchard,” to spend a social afternoon and evening. About nine o’clock, as the company was about to break up, Graham, after paying the reckoning, was called aside by Baxter, but not out of the sight of the company. Those present saw Baxter act as if to kiss Graham, when the latter called out that he had been stabbed. He had been struck with a knife under the collar bone, the wound being about four inches deep. Baxter was arrested and bound over to await his trial in case of Graham’s death, but the wound did not prove to be mortal.

Wolfert Webber’s Tavern

On the hillside at the present Chatham Square, near the Collect or fresh water pond and the sparkling stream that fed it with the purest water on Manhattan Island, in a charming retreat, then considered far beyond the city wall, stood the tavern of Wolfert Webber, built in the time of the Dutch, and for a long time the farthest outlying dwelling on the eastern side. We find in the record that in 1655, a daughter of Wolfert Webber, tavernkeeper, had been returned to him from her captivity among the Indians. Notwithstanding the danger from attacks of the Indians, Webber continued to keep this house, and it was probably patronized by people who wished to enjoy the pleasures of the quiet and beautiful spot where it was located. In the marshes or swamps to the northwest, called the[Pg 47] Kripple Bush, the sportsman could, in season, find woodcock in abundance, or he could enjoy the more gentle sport of angling in the Collect. Although the eastern side of the Collect was very attractive, the western side, at one time, was the residence of the very poorest class of people, and, on account of the stagnant water of the nearby swamps, considered very unhealthy.

When the Dutch were in possession of the city for the second time and called it New Orange, Wolfert Webber was made a magistrate for the Outside People, or those beyond the Fresh Water, and under the English he was appointed by the Dongan Charter of 1686 an assistant alderman. He represented the Out Ward as assistant Alderman in 1688, 1689, 1706 and 1707, and was still keeping the tavern at this same place. In April, 1715, “enjoying yet good health, but being ancient,” he made his will, and died a year or two after.

In 1660, on account of the repeated attacks of the Indians on the outside settlements, an order was issued requiring the abandonment of isolated habitations, and the gathering of the people in hamlets or villages for mutual protection. In response to this order there came a petition from those living beyond the fresh water stream asking that their houses might be permitted to remain, and that encouragement be held out to others to build near them so as to form a village. This request was granted and a village was established near the bowery of[Pg 48] Governor Stuyvesant. A tavern, a blacksmith shop and a few other buildings formed the settlement to which was added shortly after a small church, erected by the governor on a part of his farm. To this farm or bowery Stuyvesant retired when the English had relieved him of the cares of office. The road leading to this village became known as the Bowery Road or Lane.

For a time this was the end of the road, but when the English came into possession of the city, they soon sought to open communication with the New England colonies by land and with the recently made settlement of New Harlem. A road was laid out which, in time, was extended through the whole length of the island to King’s Bridge, and became the highway of travel for all going to the north or east.

The Two-Mile Tavern

The tavern which had been set up at the village, as travel increased became known as the two-mile stopping place, and is said to have been a famous place of resort. Its situation was admirable, for the purpose, and it was, no doubt, visited by those making excursions of pleasure from the city, especially sleighing parties. At this time and for a great many years this was the only road of any great length on which such a sport could be enjoyed. For a long time the tavern was occupied by Adriaen Cornelissen, who was farmer and tavern-keeper. He was living here in 1674, when the[Pg 49] Dutch for the second time were in possession of New Amsterdam, which they then called New Orange, and was appointed one of the schepens or magistrates for the outside people or those beyond the wall. Under the English rule he was Assistant Alderman in 1684 and in 1687. In 1689 he was made a captain of militia, his commission bearing date, December 16th of that year.

When, in 1690, commissioners came down from the New England colonies to confer with those of New York and deliberate on proper steps to be taken against the French and Indians, they declined to enter the city on account of the prevalence of small-pox, and Governor Leisler fixed upon this house as the place of meeting, describing it as a good, neat house, about two miles from the city, and kept by Captain Arian Cornelis. Here the commissioners met on the 1st of May, 1690.

John Clapp Tavern-Keeper

A few years later the landlord of this tavern was John Clapp, the maker and publisher of the first almanac by a resident of New York City, which he says was “the product of my many spare Minnits.” It was not the first printed in New York, for Bradford had, for several years, printed Leed’s Almanac. Clapp claims to have been the first person in New York to set up a hackney coach, and announces in his almanac that “about two miles without the City of New York, at the place[Pg 50] called the Bowery, any Gentlemen Travellers that are strangers to the City, may have very good Entertainment, for themselves and Horses, where there is also a Hackney Coach and good Saddle Horses to be hired.” He was a promoter of social festivities, which well became him as a genial landlord. In the Almanac, under June, is found the following:

“The 24th of this month is celebrated the Feast of St. John Baptist, in commemoration of which (and to keep up a happy union and lasting friendship by the sweet harmony of good society), a feast is held by the Johns of this city, at John Clapp’s in the Bowery, where any Gentleman whose Christian name is John may find a hearty wellcome to joyn in consort with his namesakes.” He notes that John Clapp’s in the Bowery, two miles from the postoffice, is generally the baiting place where gentlemen take leave of their Friends going on a long journey, “where a parting glass or two of generous Wine,

If well apply’d, makes the dull Horses feel,
One Spur i’ th’ Head is worth two in the heel.”

Seven miles from Clapp’s was the half way house, nine miles further was King’s Bridge, and from King’s Bridge to Old Shute’s, at East Chester, was six miles.

Excepting that of the governor, it is doubtful if there was a single equipage for pleasure in the City of New York at this time, and the ease with which a sled or sleigh could be constructed,[Pg 51] which would smoothly and silently glide over the snow, made sleigh-riding a great sport during the period when it could be enjoyed. That John Clapp’s house, at the two mile station, was a great place of resort at such times, is no mere supposition. We have the testimony of Madam Sarah Knight, who was in New York in 1704, that this was so. She had come from Boston to New York on horseback, and the quaint and humorous way in which she has told the story of her travels has made her little book a gem for the antiquarian. She says of the New Yorkers: “Their diversion in the winter is riding sleys about three miles out of town, where they have houses of entertainment at a place called the Bowery.” On an excursion with Mr. Burroughs, she says that she believes that she met that day as many as fifty or sixty “sleys,” which, she says, “fly with great swiftness, and some are so furious that they’ll turn out of the path for none but a Loden cart,” which surely indicates the enthusiasm with which the sport was enjoyed, and John Clapp, at such times, was, no doubt, a very busy man.

John Clapp seems to have received an education which made him a prominent man among the settlers. In the time of Governor Leisler he was a resident of Flushing, when, “at a town meeting upon Long Island where divers of the freeholders of the Towns of Hamsted, Jamaica, Flushing and Newtown wer mett and assembled, to consult on the lamentable state and[Pg 52] condition that Theire Maj’ties liege subjects lay under; by the severe oppressions and Tyranical usurpations of Jacob Leisler and his accomplices, it was desired by the freeholders aforesaid that Capt. John Clapp should write an humble letter to Their Maj’ties Secr’ty of Stat in all there behalves and signify to there Maj’ties in what a sad condition we are all in.—Nov. 7th, 1690.” This is followed by a long letter.

He was clerk of the New York Assembly, in session in New York during the year 1692. He was also a tavern keeper at that time, and must have been a man to win the esteem and good will of those who became his guests. Lucas Santen, who was at one time collector of the port of New York, and a member of Governor Dongan’s Council, when he died, in 1692, left “to my landlord, Captain John Clapp, £40 to buy him a mourning ring, in consideration of the trouble I have given him.” The next year Clapp succeeded Cornelissen as landlord of the tavern in the Bowery village. Here all the travel to the north and east passed his door and we can hardly believe that any traveler would, without stopping, pass the door of such a genial and jovial landlord as we are convinced was John Clapp, and we have reason to believe that his house was a favorite resort for the people in the city. He was undoubtedly residing here in 1703, and at some time between this date and 1710 removed to Rye, in Westchester county, for in the[Pg 53] latter year John Clapp made returns of the names of men from 16 to 60 in the County of Westchester, and he was interested there in large grants of land.

Towards the close of the seventeenth century there were two features in the local history of New York City which attract attention. For many years before the close of the century it was regarded by the maritime countries of Europe as a protecting port for pirates, and the political disturbances which resulted in the execution of Jacob Leisler and Jacob Minhorne continued to divide the community into two contending factions composed of many bitter partisans.

Trade With Pirates

Respected merchants from New York sent out ships to the coast of Africa for slaves, loaded with liquors, arms, ammunition and other articles, just such as would be desired by pirates, which they exchanged at tremendous advance in prices for the plunder of these robbers of the seas, and returned to New York with slaves and the valuable goods they had thus obtained. One successful voyage was often sufficient to make the owners of the vessel wealthy, and they claimed that they were doing nothing wrong; that they had a perfect right to buy goods of any kind wherever they could purchase them to the best advantage. With some this trade in the plunder of pirates was, no doubt, incidental, but it was profitable, although[Pg 54] they ran the risk of being the victims of pirates themselves.

Pirates came into port and were received not only in a friendly manner, but were even honored by unusual attentions from the governor, who was apparently interested in their ventures.

William Mason went out of the harbor of New York in 1689 with a commission as a privateer. He turned pirate, made war on East India commerce, and reaped a rich harvest of gold and East India goods, with which he filled his ship. When the ship returned under the command of Edward Coats, she put in on the east end of Long Island, where Coats and his crew found a friendly reception, and learning that they might be favorably received in New York, came into this port. Coats and his crew, by making valuable presents to the Governor and his family, and also to members of the Council, were unmolested. The ship was presented to the Governor, who sold it for £800. Coats said that his exemption from prosecution cost him £1,800.

Captain Thomas Tew, who was known as a pirate, and had been the subject of complaint from the East India Company, came to New York in November, 1694, and was received by Governor Fletcher on terms of intimate companionship; was invited to his table, and rode by his side in his coach and six. He gave elegant presents to the Governor and his family, and left with a commission as privateer against[Pg 55] the French, agreeing to discharge his cargo in this port. He went directly to his former field of activity and made his name still more notorious by his depredations upon the East India commerce.

Bellomont’s Difficulties

About this time, John Hoare came to New York and received the usual commission from Governor Fletcher to act against the French. He openly avowed that his destination was for the African coast and recruited for that purpose. From the sequel we can not avoid the conclusion that there was some kind of an understanding with some of the merchants of New York, for after he had been absent about a year they sent out the ship Fortune to Madagascar, loaded with goods suitable for pirates, where she was met by Hoare’s ship, filled with valuable plunder. The goods were transferred to the Fortune, and with a part of Hoare’s crew she returned to New York. At this time Governor Fletcher, whose dealings with pirates had been brought to the attention of the British government, had been superseded by the Earl of Bellomont, whose instructions were to put a stop to this illegal trade. The cargo of the Fortune, when she arrived in New York, was secretly gotten ashore in the night, and stored. By order of Bellomont the goods were seized and officers were about to remove them, when a large number of merchants interfered to prevent them from doing it, using violence and[Pg 56] locking the officers in the house, who, after three hours, were only released by the appearance of the lieutenant-governor and three files of men. The ship Fortune was forfeited.

 

Bellomont

 

Frederick Phillipse, one of the Governor’s Council, and reported the richest man in New York, expected a ship from Madagascar and to prevent her arrival in the port of New York with goods that might subject her to forfeiture, sent out his son Adolphus, on a vessel ostensibly bound for Virginia, which laid off the port until[Pg 57] the expected vessel arrived, when the East India goods on board were transferred to her and carried to the Delaware, leaving the Madagascar ship to enter with only slaves as her cargo. The East India goods were sent to Hamburg, where they were seized.

 

“AS GENUINE PIRATES AS EVER SAILED THE SEA”

 

In taverns of medium and even in some of the better class, could have been met at this period men who had taken part in captures on the[Pg 58] African coast, and who, over their mugs of ale, entertained their companions with stories of their adventures, modified somewhat as suggested by prudence. They were not men of swarthy complexion and ferocious features, with knife and pistol in belt, as pictured by the imagination of writers of tales of the sea, yet they were, nevertheless, as genuine pirates as ever sailed the sea.

For some time, in the latter part of the year 1694, Thomas Tew, the notorious pirate, was a well known and picturesque figure on the streets and in the taverns of New York, where he spent money lavishly, ordering brandy, ale and other beverages for whoever would drink with him. He was a man about forty years of age, of slight figure and dark complexion; richly and strikingly dressed. He wore a blue cap with a band of cloth of silver, and a blue jacket bordered with gold lace and ornamented with large pearl buttons. Loose trunks of white linen extended to his knees, where they were joined by curiously worked stockings. From his neck hung a rich chain of gold, and in his belt, curiously knit, he carried a dagger, its hilt set with the rarest gems.

The exciting events of the Leisler period had left in the body politic a festering sore that would not heal. The Leislerians believed that the execution of Jacob Leisler and his son-in-law, Jacob Minhorne, had been nothing less than murder, and their relatives and friends[Pg 59] were active in England in endeavors to revive the honor of their names and to reverse the attainder of their estates. In this situation of affairs it can readily be seen that there was much uneasiness and excitement in the community, and the taverns were the centers of all this boiling and agitated disturbance in the mercantile and political life of New York.

 

CAPTAIN TEW

 

[Pg 60]The bitter opposition which Bellomont received from the merchants and the wealthiest of the people of New York compelled him to look to the Leislerians for support and to appoint to office members of that party. He seems besides to have been moved to take this step from a conviction that great injustice had been done. A few extracts from his letters will tend to show the situation as he viewed it.

From a letter of the Earl of Bellomont to the Board of Trade, dated September 21, 1698:

“The Jacobite party in this towne have a clubb commonly every Saturday (which was Colonel Fletcher’s clubb day). Last Saturday was seaven night, there mett twenty seaven of them, their ringleaders are Colonel Bayard, Colonel Minviele, both of the Councill, Mr. Nicolls, late of the Councill, and Wilson, late Sheriff of this towne; there is so great a rancor and inveterancy in these people that I think it by no means proper for me to leave this province till I have your Lordship’s orders upon the representations I made to your Lordships by the Richmond Frigatt, and since by Mr. Weaver;[Pg 61] for I do verily believe if I should goe from hence, the people would fall together by the ears, besides, should I goe away, it would give the faction great advantage, and would tend very much to the revenue ceasing, and the measures I have proposed to myself for the obtaining the continuance of this present revenue would be thereby frustrated. This the Faction know very well, and therefore are very free in their wishes that I were gone to my other governments.”

To Mr. Popple, Secretary of the Board of Trade, he writes:

“This day another instance happen’d of the brutishness of some of the people here. The Master of the ship that carries this packet, was with me last Tuesday and promised to call on me on Thursday for the King’s packetts, but it seems intended to disappoint me and leave my letters behind and begon his voyage. I refer you for an account of this man’s behavior to the inclosed certificate and warrant, only this I must tell you, I sent yesterday the Commissioner of the Customes Mr. Hungerford to pray him to come to me and receive the King’s packetts, and he swore he would not for all the Governours in Christendom, and he would not be Post Boy to carry letters for any body; which refusal of his made me send a warrant to bring him by force. The angry merchants of this town had without doubt encouraged this man to be thus insolent, or he durst not have refused[Pg 62] to carry the letters, after promising me faithfully, he would call for and carry them. This is another specimen of the rage and malice of these people, who I am satisfied nothing but fear keeps from rebelling against the Government; unlawful trade and Arabian gold brought in by Pirat ships from the Red Sea are the things they thirst after.”

On October 18, 1700, he wrote to Secretary Vernon, as follows:

“The Lords of the Councill of Trade direct me to make an experiment in working some navall Stores here, with the soldiers. I cannot go about it with such Officers who I believe would rather traverse me in such a design than further it; and would I fear stir up a mutiny among the sould’rs, if I should propose to ’em the working of Navall Stores for the King. I am not for breaking those Lieut’s, but exchanging them for honest, good Lieut’s in some of the Regiments in England. My first Lieut’s name is Peter Matthews, bred up from a child with Coll. Fletcher & ’tis at his house that the angry people of this Town have a Club and hold their cabals; my second Lieut’s is John Buckley; there is also another Lieut, in Maj’r Ingoldesby’s Company whose name is Matthew Shank, a most sad drunken sott, and under no good character for manhood. I desire also he may be exchanged for a better man from England.”

Colonel Fletcher, on his return to England, asked for an examination, which was accorded[Pg 63] him by the Lords of Trade. Plausible explanations were made of his conduct, but they were not convincing, and the Lords of Trade recommended that the charges be referred to the Attorney-General for further action. The King, however, seems to have interposed, as there is no evidence of further proceedings against him. Of his subsequent career nothing is known.

[Pg 64]

 

 


[Pg 65]

III

The Coffee House

An Exciting Election

In September, 1701, a very exciting election took place in the city. Thomas Noell, the mayor, was commissioned and sworn into office on the 14th day of October, 1701. The returns of the election for aldermen and assistant aldermen, which gave the Leislerians a majority in the board, were contested in some of the wards and a scrutiny was ordered by the mayor, who appointed committees, composed of members of both parties, to examine the votes in the contested wards. Some of the Leislerians, who were appointed on these committees, refused to serve, claiming that it was irregular; nevertheless, the scrutiny was completed, and those declared elected, after much excitement and disturbance, finally took their seats at the board. Among those who were declared elected was John Hutchins, landlord of the Coffee House or King’s Arms, situated on the west side of Broadway, next above Trinity Churchyard, where the Trinity Building now stands. He had represented the West Ward as alderman in 1697. In 1698 he was returned as elected, but his election was contested, and his opponent,[Pg 66] Robert Walters, was declared elected. He was now again alderman of the West Ward. He had come out with Governor Sloughter as a lieutenant in the regular service and had since then, for the most part of the time, made his residence in New York City. He was one of the signers of a petition stating grievances at New York in 1692 and 1693, during Fletcher’s rule. In this paper it is stated that Lieut. John Hutchins was imprisoned at Albany and sent to New York, and coming before Governor Fletcher, was suspended and kept out of his pay, because he had favored the cause of Leisler, and had endeavored to persuade Governor Sloughter not to order the execution of Leisler and Minhorne, it being contrary to his letter to the King for their reprieve and contrary to his commission from his majesty.

After being thus deprived by Fletcher of his pay as an officer, he had to seek some means of livelihood and he turned to the occupation of keeping a tavern. Previous to 1696 he was keeping a house on the southwest corner of Broad and Wall Streets. In this year he purchased a lot on the west side of Broadway, the deed bearing date, October 1, 1696, which is described as “lying and being next and adjoining to the North side of ye Buriall without the North Gate of the City.” It had a frontage of sixty feet on Broadway. At the western end of this lot, one hundred and thirty-five feet from Broadway was a street running from the[Pg 67] churchyard to Crown Street (now Cedar Street), called Temple Street, a portion of which has since been vacated. Farther down, about ninety feet, was Lombard Street, where is now Trinity Place. The lot of land inclosed by Temple Street, Crown Street, Lombard Street and the churchyard, about ninety by one hundred and sixty feet, was also conveyed to Hutchins in the deed.

The King’s Arms Tavern

On the Broadway lot Hutchins erected a house, which he opened as the King’s Arms, more generally known as the Coffee House. It was not large, but for a time it was the most fashionable public house in the city, and was considered the headquarters of the anti-Leislerians party. Upon the roof was a balcony, arranged with seats, commanding a beautiful view of the bay, the river and the city. North of the tavern there were only a few scattered buildings on Broadway, the principal of which was the store of Alderman Jacob Boelen, north of Liberty Street. The extent of Broadway was only to the present postoffice, the road thence continuing on the present line of Park Row, then the post road. The Commons or the Fields, originally the pasture ground for the cows of the Dutch settlers, was at first nearly square, and this road cut off a triangular piece of land on the east side, a part of which, before the charter gave to the city all “waste, vacant and unpatented lands” on the island, was selected and appropriated by[Pg 68] Governor Dongan to his own use, on which he built a house, with an extensive garden attached to it. This place, embracing about two acres of land, became known as the “Governor’s Garden.” After the Governor left the province it is said to have been converted into a place of public resort, and became known as the “Vineyard.” We can find no record of details of any particular interest connected with it.

During the latter part of the seventeenth century the use of coffee as a beverage had been introduced into England and on the continent of Europe. The first coffee-house in Paris was opened in 1672. Previous to this time coffee-houses had been opened in London, and in 1663 they were placed on the footing of taverns and a statute of Charles II of that year required that they should be licensed. In the English coffee-house the guest paid a penny for a cup of coffee. This gave him the privilege of sitting by the fire and reading the journals of the day, which the coffee-houses made a point of keeping on hand as one of their attractions, and he had also the opportunity of hearing discussions on political topics or to take part in them, if so disposed, or if he could find listeners. The sober, religious Puritan resorted to them in preference to the tavern. In the time of Charles II, they were places of political agitation-to such an extent that in 1675, the King, by proclamation, ordered that they should all be closed as “seminaries[Pg 69] of sedition,” but the order was a few days later rescinded.

The Coffee House

When John Hutchins came to New York coffee-houses had become very popular and numerous in London and he was, no doubt, familiar with the way in which they were conducted, so that when he built his new house on Broadway, in addition to its designation as the King’s Arms, he called it the Coffee House. As it was the first and, in its day, the only coffee-house in New York, it had no distinguishing title, but was simply called the Coffee House. In the bar-room was a range of small boxes, screened with green curtains, where guests could sip their coffee or enjoy their chops and ale or Madeira in comparative seclusion. The upper rooms were used for special meetings.

Although Hutchins had been favorable to the Leislerians in Fletcher’s time, he seems to have gone over to the anti-Leislerians, and had been elected alderman by the votes of that party. He had borrowed money from both Gabriel Minvielle and Nicholas Bayard, having mortgaged his house and lot in Broad Street to Minvielle and his house and lot on Broadway to Bayard. These two men are named by Bellomont as ringleaders in the party opposed to him. The mortgage to Bayard covered also the lot of ground between Temple and Lombard Streets, and the whole property subsequently came into the possession of Bayard, although, no doubt, Hutchins[Pg 70] continued in charge of the house until his death or removal from the city.

Two Rival Taverns

In the election for aldermen there was great excitement in the East Ward, the returns of which were contested. In this ward Roger Baker was well known as the landlord of the King’s Head, and Gabriel Thompson was equally well known as the landlord of the White Lion. As revealed by the scrutiny of the votes, Baker and Thompson were on opposite sides. Baker voted for William Morris, the anti-Leislerian candidate for alderman, and Thompson voted for Johannes DePeyster, who was the Leislerian candidate. Baker had been commissioned by Bellomont a lieutenant of militia and Thompson had also been an officer in the militia. In 1664, Gabriel Thompson, as master of the sloop, Hopewell, cleared from New York for places up the river seven times during the year. He was an ensign at Albany in 1685, and a captain in the expedition against the French and Indians in Leisler’s time, and since then had probably been a resident of New York City, where he had kept a tavern. He petitioned, in 1693, that the sub-collector repay to him £36 excise money, which indicated that he was a tavern-keeper, but where his house was then located we do not know. He was one of the signers of the petition showing to the home government the grievances existing in New York in 1692 and 1693.

These were exciting times and the citizens[Pg 71] who gathered at these two taverns in all probability had not a few hot discussions over the political situation. On August 29, 1701, a committee of the council was appointed to meet in conference a committee of the assembly at three o’clock in the afternoon at Roger Baker’s, at the sign of the King’s Head. The conference accordingly met, and from thence adjourned to Gabriel Thompson’s at the White Lion.

During the months of September and October, 1701, many conference committees of the council and the assembly met at the White Lion, the house of Gabriel Thompson. There was a conference meeting here on September 4th and on September 11th we find record of another. On September 28, 1701, we find the following record in the Journal of the House:

“A message was sent to this House from the Council, that a Conference is desired by the Council, with a committee of this House at 3 of the Clock in the Afternoon, at Gabriel Thompson’s, at the White Lion,

Which was agreed to and,

Ordered, That Capt. Provoost, Col. Rutsen, Mr. Hanjen, Mr. Sebring and Mr. Veghte, be a Committee of this House, to confer with a Committee of Council this Afternoon.”

A deed bearing date November 23, 1701, shows that Gabriel Thompson, tavern-keeper, purchased from Nicholas Bayard and Abraham De Peyster the lot on the northwest corner of the present Wall and William Streets, but whether[Pg 72] or not he ever kept a tavern here we have not been able to determine. Maps of this locality, of subsequent date, show no building between the City Hall and Bayard’s sugar house. Thompson’s house was undoubtedly in this neighborhood and probably not far from the City Hall, where the assembly held their sessions.

It has been stated by some writers that the King’s Head, the house of Roger Baker, was at the corner of Pearl Street and Maiden Lane. Henry Coleman, butcher, mortgaged this property in February, 1701, to Roger Baker, vintner, for a loan of £348 10s. Baker may have eventually come into possession of it, and he may have kept a tavern here, but we can find no evidence of it. In the mortgage deed it is described as lying without the fortifications on the north side of a street called Queen Street and bounded on the east side by a street which leads to Green Lane.

After the death of Bellomont, during the brief rule of Lieutenant-Governor Nanfan, who was a relative of the Earl, the political agitation was active and aggressive. As soon as it became known in New York that Lord Cornbury had been appointed to succeed the Earl of Bellomont as governor of the province, measures were taken to secure the favor of that corrupt individual by the anti-Leislerian party. In this procedure Nicholas Bayard took the lead, and procured addresses to be signed to the King, to parliament and to Cornbury. To Cornbury, a[Pg 73] man very susceptible to flattery, they were profuse in their congratulations and in assertions calculated to prejudice him against those who had supported Bellomont and to gain his favor for themselves, that they might again become the dominant party. Not only were reflections freely cast on the Earl of Bellomont, but Nanfan, the lieutenant-governor, was accused of bribing members of the house of assembly.

The Addresses Signed at the Coffee House

The addresses were signed at the Coffee House, kept by John Hutchins, and as soon as it was known, Hutchins was summoned to appear before the lieutenant-governor and the council and ordered to produce the addresses. This he could not or would not do, and on the 19th of January, 1702, was arrested and committed to jail. Two days after, Bayard was also arrested and committed to prison on a warrant as a traitor. Nanfan was aware that Bayard had dug a pit for others that might be used for his own destruction. He had procured the passage of a law in 1691, when he was striving and hoping for the ruin of Leisler and his friends, by which, “whatsoever person or persons shall, by any manner of ways, or upon any pretence whatsoever, endeavor, by force of arms or otherwise, to disturb the peace, good and quiet of their majesties’ government, as it is now established, shall be deemed and esteemed as rebels and traitors unto their majesties, and[Pg 74] incur the pains, penalties and forfeitures as the laws of England have for such offences, made and provided.” The trial of Bayard was hastened that it might be concluded before the arrival of Cornbury. The prisoners petitioned that they might not be tried until the usual sitting of the Supreme Court. This, of course, was refused. All objections were overruled and Bayard was ordered for trial on Monday, the 2d of March. He was convicted and sentenced to death, and Hutchins was tried and condemned in like manner. Bayard was granted a reprieve until her majesty’s pleasure might be known. Hutchins was released on bail. Bayard was held in confinement until the arrival of Cornbury, when all was reversed. Not very long after, by order of the government, Bayard and Hutchins were reinstated in all honor and estate, “as if no such trial had been.”

 

THE BAYARD PUNCH BOWL

 

In the trial of Bayard, testimony was given[Pg 75] that the addresses were signed in an upper room in the Coffee House, and that Nicholas Bayard was present, “smoaking a pipe of tobacco.” One of the signers was Peter Matthews, who was a lieutenant in the service, and the landlord of the tavern where Bellomont declared the club met which was composed of men opposed to his administration. Lieutenant Matthews had come out with Governor Fletcher in 1692. He had previously been one of the household of the Governor, and by him had been made a lieutenant in the garrison at the fort. He subsequently rose to the rank of colonel and was one of the commissioners of Indian affairs in 1715. In 1703 his house was in the south ward. Soon after, he removed to Orange County, where he held a large grant of land.

Trial of Roger Baker

Another tavern-keeper who became entangled in the meshes of the law and suffered from his boldness in expressing his opinions was Roger Baker, the landlord of the King’s Head. We give an account of his trial taken from a letter from New York, May 4, 1702, which is probably not altogether impartial.

“The Grand Jury brought in presentments.—* * * One against Roger Baker saying the 5 November last the King was made a nose of wax and no longer King than the English please. * * * Roger Baker came upon tryal with a packt petty Jury according to custome, whereof four happening to be absent, a tales was[Pg 76] ordered, and although there were then spectators in Court above 30 Englishmen and he told so, yet the Sheriffe went out and brought in three Dutch men of their party, and finding no more he was forced to take one John Ellis an Englishman then in court. Three witnesses were sworn the first said, he Baker spoke the words; but that they were all very drunk it being Holy-day. The other two said they were always present with them, but heard no such words nor nothing like it, that they were all drunk but the other witness to that degree he could not stand. Judge Atwood gave charge to the Jury to bring Baker in Guilty; the Jury went out and stayed all night then came into Court and deliver’d their verdict Not Guilty; at which Judge Atwood was very angry refusing to the Verdict, sent them out again, when after 6 hours they returned again with Not Guilty. At which the Judge grew very passionate, and threatening them several times. They were sent out three several times more and persisted in Not Guilty. Upon which the Judge threatened to imprison and fine them. That so scared the 11 Dutch, that in Open Court being sent for (it being about an hour before the Court was to determine), were demanded why they were not agreed and who it was that would not agree to find Guilty. Answer was made John Ellis upon which the Judge fell upon him with such menacing language in open Court and a considerable time hectoring and threatening him, he so[Pg 77] managed him too that at last he gave his consent in open Court where Baker was recorded Guilty and fined 400 pieces of Eight and to remain in Custody of the Sheriffe till his fine was paid and after that until he made such acknowledgments as the Governor should think fit.”

Conferences at The Coffee House

Conferences of committees of the council and of the assembly were appointed at taverns during the years 1701-2-3, or at the great room in the fort, but after the passage of an act in 1703, declaring the proceedings against Colonel Bayard and Alderman Hutchins, for pretended high treason illegal, and the judgments null and void, the Coffee House or the King’s Arms, kept by John Hutchins, became the place appointed for these conferences and they continued to be held here for several years. The Coffee House was the public house patronized by the wealthier class of citizens and by those in official life as well as by the military officers.

Lord Cornbury, at this time governor of New York, is described by Macauley as “a young man of slender abilities, loose principles and violent temper. He had been early taught to consider his relationship to the Princess Anne as the ground work of his fortunes, and had been exhorted to pay her assiduous court.” He was cousin to the Queen, and believing that he resembled her in features, was led by his vanity, it is thought, to dress in women’s clothes and[Pg 78] appear publicly on the ramparts of the fort and even in the street in that neighborhood. Lord Stanhope says that when Lord Cornbury was appointed governor of New York, and told that he should represent the Queen he fancied that it was necessary to dress himself as a woman. Still another reason is assigned for this silly behavior. It is said that in consequence of a vow he obliged himself for a month in every year to wear every day women’s clothes. He otherwise prided himself on his erratic doings, and the town was, at times, amused and entertained, or shocked by the pranks of this kinsman of the Queen. It is said that he once rode on horseback through the spacious front door of the Coffee House, and was thus served with a drink at the bar. It is easy to credit this of such a man.

 

VISCOUNT CORNBURY

 

[Pg 79]In the early part of the year 1709 there were several conferences held at the Coffee House by committees from the council and assembly. On September 22d of that year a conference was appointed at the New Coffee House. What was meant by the New Coffee House, or where it was situated we are unable to state. The Coffee House as a place of conference does not appear in the journal of the assembly again for many years.

The conferences of the committees of the council and assembly were, no doubt, held at the best taverns in the city, at those frequented by the members, where at other times they talked of the affairs of state over their wine and spent a pleasant evening in social converse, changes being made as the quality of the taverns changed. At this period there were no clubs, such as exist today, no theatre, no newspaper. There was hardly a man in the community who did not habitually visit some tavern, where he met his friends and neighbors to talk over the news of the town. It was the place where he obtained all the knowledge he possessed of what was taking place in the world around him. The political unrest of the period made the taverns[Pg 80] more particularly places of life and excitement.

 

OLD TANKARD

 

The history of a people consists not only in their wars and treaties with foreign nations, and in the political disturbances and struggles within; the manner in which they lived, and what were their interests and pleasures, are likely to interest us quite as much. If we can succeed in picturing them in our imagination, put ourselves in contact with them in their everyday walks, it is a matter of great satisfaction. The life and activities of the early colonial days, before there were any newspapers, were reflected in the tavern as in no other place in the community. Here all classes met, and the good listener, could, by the conversations and talks of travelers and other visitors, gain more knowledge of the political and social condition of the neighboring country than in any other way.

Dinner to Lord Lovelace

[Pg 81]In September, 1708, Henry Swift was a tavern-keeper in New York and rendered a bill to the authorities for boarding the French captain and company who came down from Albany. He was one of a number of men who came out with Lord Cornbury and by order of the common council were made freeman of the city gratis. His house was on Broadway, near the Fort. When Lord Lovelace arrived as governor of the province a grand dinner was served in the Fort, which was provided by Henry Swift at a charge of £40, 7s, 6d. Almost four years afterwards he was still petitioning for the payment of this bill. On the 13th of November, 1707, the corporation gave a dinner “as a treat to his Excellency the Governor on his arrival here from his other government of New Jersey.” It was provided by Henry Swift and the wine and dinner cost the corporation £8, 5s.

In 1710, Henry Swift was made collector of customs for Perth Amboy, although Governor Hunter was much opposed to the appointment. Conference committees of the council and of the assembly met at his house on September 23, 1710; and again, on November 17 and 18, 1710, conference committees of the two houses were appointed to meet here. Mrs. Swift kept the house after her husband’s death. It was owned by Arent Schuyler, of New Barbadoes, New Jersey, and when he died, by will dated December[Pg 82] 17, 1724, he left the house and two lots of ground to his daughters, Eva and Cornelia. Mrs. Swift was then living in the house, as stated in the will.

Festivals

From the time of the English occupation, feast days and anniversaries had been observed with more or less spirit and display, which increased as the population of the city increased. The birthdays of the King and members of the royal family and the anniversaries of the coronation and the gunpowder plot were generally observed, and a new governor was always received with more or less enthusiasm, and his entry into the city was attended with imposing formalities. When Governor Andros came to New York, in 1688, he was accompanied by a large and brilliant retinue, and was received with great ceremony and escorted to the fort by the city guard—a regiment of foot and a troop of horse, in showy uniforms—where his commission was published, and later at the City Hall.

In August, 1692, the common council resolved that “a treat be made to welcome his Excellency, Benjamin Fletcher, now arrived in this city to the value of £20 or thereabouts,” and in December, 1697, they ordered that four barrels of powder be provided for saluting the Earl of Bellomont on his arrival; and after his arrival in the city, it was resolved by the common[Pg 83] council that a dinner be given at the charge of the corporation for the entertainment of his Excellency, Earl of Bellomont, captain-general, etc., etc.; that a committee be appointed to make a bill of fare (two aldermen and two assistants), “and that for the effectual doing thereof, they call to their assistance such cooks as they shall think necessary to advise.”

On the 15th of February, 1703, the treasurer of the city was ordered to repay to the mayor £9 10s 3d, which he had expended for a bonfire, beer and wine, on her majesty’s birthday, the 6th of February, and on the 24th of this same month the common council ordered that a public bonfire be made at the usual place, and that ten gallons of wine and a barrel of beer be provided, at the expense of the city, to celebrate the success of her majesty’s arms at Vigo and in Flanders, and the housekeepers were ordered to illuminate.

Much more deference was paid to the dignity of office two hundred years ago than at the present time. Not only were governors received with great honor at their appearance to assume the office, but often, when they left the city to visit Albany or New Jersey, they were, on their return, entertained by the corporation. In November, 1704, Lord Cornbury, on his return from his other government of New Jersey, was entertained at a dinner given by the corporation at the house of Richard Harris, which cost[Pg 84] the city £10 18s 6d. This is the bill rendered, and which was ordered paid:

1704.   The Mayor, Aldermen, &c., Dr.
      £   s   d
Dec. 19.   To a piece of beef and cabbage   7   6
  To a dish of tripe and cow-heel   6   0
  To a leg of pork and turnips   8   3
  To 2 puddings   14   6
  To a surloin of beef   13   6
  To a turkey and onions   9   0
  To a leg of mutton and pickles   6   0
  To a dish of chickens   10   6
  To minced pyes   1   4   0
  To fruit, cheese, bread, &c.   7   6
  To butter for sauce   7   9
  To hire 2 negroes to assist   6   0
  To dressing dinner, &c.   1   4   0
  To 31 bottles wine   3   2   0
  To beer and syder       12   0
  10   18   6

Richard Harris married the widow of Roger Baker, who had been the landlord of the well known King’s Head, not long after the latter’s death, which occurred in 1702, and he may have continued this tavern, which is very likely, as it was probably being conducted by the widow when he married her. The year after his marriage, he was elected assistant alderman, and his house for many years was patronized by the[Pg 85] officials of the province and the city. He was assistant alderman for several years. In 1707 he was one of a committee for leasing the Long Island ferry. On the 10th of October, of that year, the committee met at his house for that purpose, and for their expenses he was paid by the city £1 12s. Five years after this, when he was no longer a member of the common council, the lease being about to expire, the committee for leasing the ferry met at his house on the 17th of December, 1712, and this time he charged the corporation £7 10s 9d. Conference committees from the council and assembly met at his house several times in November, 1710, and in 1712. On the 6th of October, 1714, the governor gave notice of the death of Queen Anne, and on the 11th, King George was proclaimed in the city. The common council ordered seven or eight cords of wood for a bonfire and twenty gallons of wine for the people. The expenses of the common council on this occasion at the house of Richard Harris amounted to £8 4s, which was ordered to be paid.

On November 7, 1717, the council requested a conference at the house of John Parmyter on the subject matter of the bill for letting to farm the excise, and on October 20th of the same year a bonfire was ordered and a dinner was given by the corporation at his house in celebration of the anniversary of his majesty’s coronation. The aldermen seem to have been ever ready to celebrate any of the usual anniversaries by[Pg 86] eating a good dinner and drinking good wine. The bill for this dinner was as follows:

1717   Corporation of New York, Dr.
To John Parmyter
      £   s   d
Oct. 20   To 32 bottles of wine   3   14   0
  To beer and cyder       5   3
  To eating   1   12   0
  To dressing supper       6    
    5   17   3

As on most occasions a large portion consisted of liquor exhilarants.

John Parmyter had been a resident of New York since the time of Bellomont and probably had been a tavern-keeper for some years previous to the date of this dinner. His house was on or near the corner of Beaver and New Streets. In 1712 an act was passed by the legislature of the province prohibiting all but John Parmyter to make lamp-black, for five years, “this to encourage the first to set up that manufacture.” He no doubt continued to keep tavern and had the monopoly of the manufacture of lamp-black until his death, and it also appears that his widow continued to carry on both lines of business. An act to prohibit all persons but Susannah Parmyter, widow, and her assigns, to make lamp-black during the space of ten years,[Pg 87] was passed by the legislature in 1724. She continued to keep the tavern and rendered a bill to the authorities in August, 1727, for the “board of the Governor of Canada (sic) and fourteen men and wine.”

The custom of meeting in conference at the taverns continued and the names of the keepers of these houses are given in the journal of the assembly. In 1713 conference committees met several times at the house of Bernard Hardenbrook and in 1718, at the house of Elizabeth Jourdain, who was the widow of Henry Jourdain, captain of the sloop Dolphin, who died at sea in the latter part of the year 1702. The Dolphin was probably a slaver, for Henry Jourdain, in his will, evidently made at sea, directs that sixty-one elephants’ teeth marked H. J., and some gold in bulk should be delivered to his wife in New York, which indicates that he had visited the African coast. His entire estate amounted to £426, which enabled his widow to set up a public house, where she entertained the committees from the council and assembly and “lodged his majesty’s soldiers.”

The Tavern of the Widow Post

The house of the widow Post appears to have been a favorite place for members of assembly, where according to Mr. Isaac Robin, secretary of council, they discussed matters of state over their wine, and committees met on business of various kinds. The popularity of her house seems[Pg 88] to have continued for several years. In November, 1721, we have record of the examination of Vincent Pelow before the council at the house of the widow Post, in relation to the small pox raging in Boston, and on November 9, 1726, the assembly, “taking in Consideration the Conveniency and Accommodation, which the Members of this House have every Sessions, as well at the Meeting of Committees as otherwise, at the House of the Widow Post, and that the Trouble and Expense, which is occasioned to her on such Occasions far exceeds her Gains. It is the Opinion of this House that she ought to be exempted from paying any Excise, from this Time until the first Day of November next,” and it was ordered that the commissioners for letting to farm the excise take notice thereof accordingly.

Obadiah Hunt was a tavern-keeper whose house seems to have been used both by the provincial and city officers as a place for conference on consultation. He was a member of the common council for several years, which may have been one cause of his house being used by that body. It was situated on Dock Street between Whitehall and Broad Street, next door to the custom house. He owned the house and appears to have been a man of some property, but of little education. He was a popular landlord. In January, 1718, the corporation paid Obadiah Hunt £4 6s 9d, for expenses at his house by the corporation on the anniversary of[Pg 89] the coronation, October 26th last, and on the anniversary of Gunpowder Treason Day, November 5th. The dinner, wine, beer, cider and other expenses at the house of Obadiah Hunt on the occasion of the entertainment given to Governor Burnet, on September 20, 1720, shortly after his arrival in the province, cost the corporation £21 8s 6d. Meetings were held at his house for the transaction of business of various kinds connected with the city, such as auditing accounts, leasing the ferry, leasing the docks and slips, etc., and on the arrival of a new governor, in April, 1728, his house was again the scene of an entertainment in his honor, which cost the city £15 6s 6d.

[Pg 90]

 

 


[Pg 91]

IV

The Black Horse

The Black Horse Tavern

In the early part of the eighteenth century, there stood on the southern corner of Smith and Garden Streets, the present William Street and Exchange Place, the Black Horse Tavern, kept by John DeHoneur, who seems to have been its landlord for many years. John or Johannes DeHoneur was recommended for the office of captain of militia in June, 1709. Whether he was a tavern-keeper at this time, or how soon after he became one, we do not know, but on October 18, 1727, the assembly directed that the Committee on Grievances meet every Tuesday and Friday, during the sessions, at five o’clock in the afternoon, at the house of John DeHoneur, and that the first meeting be on Friday next. The next year the Committee on Grievances requested permission to meet at other place and time than at the place and time appointed for their meeting, and they were allowed by the assembly to meet at such other times and places as they should judge necessary, but they, nevertheless, must meet every Thursday evening at the house of John DeHoneur. It continued to[Pg 92] be the meeting place of committees, and ten years after, in 1737, it was the meeting place, by appointment of the assembly, of the Committee of Privileges and Elections. In the record it is sometimes named as the house of John DeHoneur, and at other times as the Black Horse Tavern. In the contest between Cornelius Van Horne and Adolph Phillipse, they were ordered to exchange lists at the house of John DeHoneur.

 

THE BLACK HORSE TAVERN

 

The assembly, like the common council, were inclined to meet at taverns for the transaction of public business, where they were evidently surrounded by a more cheerful atmosphere than in the cold halls of legislation and justice. Where the room was warmed by a large and lively fire in the spacious fireplace, and the inner man warmed and exhilarated by good old wine, business was transacted with more cheerfulness and alacrity. The Black Horse Tavern was the scene of many such meetings, and, no doubt, of some very exciting ones. In the contest over the votes for Van Horne and Phillipse there were, very likely, some lively discussions. The Black Horse was for many years one of the most prominent taverns in the city.

Governor Montgomerie, after being governor of New York about two years, died on the 1st of July, 1731, and Rip Van Dam, as senior member of the council, and president of that[Pg 93] body, became, ex officio, acting governor of the province.

 

Rip van Dam

 

Governor Cosby was appointed to succeed Montgomerie, but did not arrive until the 1st of August, 1732, so that Van Dam was acting governor for a period of thirteen months. He had been invested with all the powers, duties, and rights of the office, and had been allowed to draw the full amount of the salary from the public funds. Governor Cosby, like almost all the governors sent out to the provinces, had a sharp eye to his own profit, and had obtained, before he left England, an order on Van Dam[Pg 94] for one-half of the salary, emoluments and perquisites of the office during the time that the latter had exercised the chief authority; and, accordingly, made demand shortly after his arrival. Van Dam was willing to surrender one-half of the salary which he had received if Cosby would pay to him one-half of the receipts, other than salary, and not otherwise, Van Dam resisting, Cosby instituted suit by way of information in the equity side of the court of exchequer, where he was confident of a decision in his favor. The counsel for Van Dam[Pg 95] excepted to the jurisdiction of the court as being illegal. Great excitement ensued in consequence of a division in the court itself. Chief Justice Morris supported the exception, the two associate judges, DeLancey and Phillipse, voting against the plea. The decision of Chief Justice Morris annoyed the governor, who demanded a copy of it. Morris, to prevent misrepresentation, had it printed and sent it to the governor with a letter. Both the decision and the letter[Pg 96] were published in the Gazette. This exasperated the governor beyond all bounds, and almost immediately Morris was removed from the bench. Shortly after James DeLancey, who afterwards became prominent, was appointed chief justice in his place.

 

W. Cosby

 

Lewis Morris

 

The contest between Cosby and Van Dam, at first personal, soon involved the people, and divided them into two parties. Those in office, and their following, supported the governor, while the party of the people, especially after the removal of the chief justice, were violently opposed to the arbitrary act of the governor in removing a judge because his decision was not as he wished, and to the favoritism which could, by an ex post facto order, divest any of the colonial officers of salary earned and appropriated to individual use, and direct the amount to be paid to a stranger who had performed no service for it. If this were conceded, there would be little stability in the rights of British subjects.

In the fall of 1733, Lewis Morris, being removed from the office of chief justice, offered himself as a candidate for representative for the county of Westchester in the assembly. Opposed to him was William Forster, supported by the chief justice, James DeLancey, and the second judge, Frederick Phillipse, who both appeared in person on the ground, and exerted their influence to the utmost to defeat the election of Morris. The account of this election, as told in the first number of the New York Weekly[Pg 97] Journal, reads like a page from the history of feudal times, when the lords appeared upon the scene, followed by their retainers, ready for contests in the lists or on the field of battle.

The high sheriff of the county, having, by papers affixed to the church of East Chester and other public places, given notice of the day and place, without stating any time of day when the election was to take place, the electors for Morris were very suspicious of some intended fraud. To prevent this, about fifty of them kept watch upon and about the Green at East Chester, the place of election, from twelve o’clock the night before until the morning of the appointed day.

The electors of the eastern part of the county began to move on Sunday afternoon and evening, so as to be at New Rochelle by midnight. On their way through Harrison’s Purchase, the inhabitants provided for their entertainment, there being a table at each house plentifully provided for that purpose. About midnight they all met at the home of William LeCount, at New Rochelle, whose house not being large enough to entertain so many, a large fire was made in the street, at which they sat till daylight, when they again began to move. On the hill, at the east end of town, they were joined by about seventy horsemen, electors of the lower part of the county, and then proceeded to the place of election in the following order: First, rode two trumpeters and three violinists;[Pg 98] next, four of the principal freeholders, one of whom carried a banner, on one side of which was affixed in golden capitals, KING GEORGE, and on the other side, in like golden capitals, LIBERTY & LAW; next followed the candidate, Lewis Morris, formerly chief justice of the province; then two colors. Thus, at sunrise, they entered the Green of East Chester, the place of election, followed by about three hundred horsemen, the principal freeholders of the county (a greater number than had appeared for one man since the settlement of the county). After riding three times around the Green, they went to the houses of Joseph Fowler and Mr. Child, who were well prepared for their reception.

About eleven o’clock appeared William Forster, the candidate of the other side; after him came two ensigns, borne by two of the freeholders; then came the Honorable James DeLancey, chief justice of the province of New York, and the Honorable Frederick Phillipse, second judge of the province and Baron of the Exchequer, attended by about one hundred and seventy horsemen, freeholders, and friends of Forster. They entered the Green on the east side and rode round it twice. As they passed, the second judge very civilly saluted the former chief justice by taking off his hat, a salutation which the former judge returned in the same manner. After this, they retired to the[Pg 99] house of Mr. Baker, who was prepared to receive and entertain them.

About an hour after this the high sheriff came to town, finely mounted, with housings and holster caps of scarlet, richly laced with silver. Upon his appearance the electors on both sides went into the Green. After reading his majesty’s writ the sheriff directed the electors to proceed to their choice, which they then did, a great majority appearing for Morris. A poll was demanded and the sheriff insisted that a poll must be taken. A poll was taken, and did not close until about eleven o’clock at night. Morris, although the votes cast for him by thirty-eight Quakers were rejected, because they would not take the oath, was elected by a large majority.

The indentures being sealed, the whole body of electors waited on the new representative, at his lodgings, with trumpets sounding and violins playing and then took leave of him.

The foregoing follows the account which appeared in the New York Weekly Journal, which was friendly to Morris. In the same number of this paper the only item of local news is the following, which we reproduce in fac-simile.

 

[Pg 100]

Text of Illustration

 

Thus the Black Horse Tavern had become the rallying place and rendezvous for the party of the people, and was, from this time, we have every reason to believe, the place where they continued to meet to concert on measures against prerogative and favoritism and against the arrogance and arbitrary acts of the governor and his supporters. These sentiments were not new to the people, but had been lying dormant, like smoldering embers, which needed only a slight agitation to fan them into a flame. Not since the time of Bellomont had there been so much bitterness displayed in party strife.

Since 1725, a newspaper had been printed in New York, but William Bradford, its printer, was in the pay of the government, and no item in opposition to the governor or his friends was to be found in its pages. In November, 1733, appeared the first number of the New York[Pg 101] Weekly Journal, printed by John Peter Zenger, and devoted to the support of the party of the people, at the head of which were Lewis Morris and Rip Van Dam. It soon began to make itself felt. It was eagerly read, its sarcastic, reflections on the government, and its biting criticisms, furnishing a weekly entertainment to the public, which drove the governor and his friends almost to madness. Its effect was so keenly felt that it was resolved, in council, that Zenger’s papers, Nos. 7, 47, 48 and 49, and also two certain printed ballads, as containing many things tending to sedition and faction, to bring his majesty’s government into contempt, and to disturb the peace thereof, should be burned by the common hangman or whipper, and that the mayor and magistrates should attend the ceremony. This they refused to do and forbade the whipper, who was in the employ of the city, to obey the order. His place was supplied by a negro slave of the sheriff. Attempts were made to have Zenger indicted, but the grand jury refused to bring in a bill.

In November, 1734, Zenger was arrested and imprisoned, by order of the council, for printing seditious libels, and, for a time, was denied the use of pen, ink and paper. In January, 1735, the grand jury not having indicted him, the attorney-general filed an information against him. In the meantime he was editing his paper through a hole in the door of his cell. At the April term of court his counsel, James[Pg 102] Alexander and William Smith, the two ablest lawyers of New York, filed exceptions to the legality of the commissions of the two judges. For this they were silenced, and John Chambers was appointed by the court counsel for Zenger.

 

A. Hamilton

 

Trial of John Peter Zenger

Dinner at The Black Horse

[Pg 103]When the trial came on, in July, 1735, Andrew Hamilton, of Philadelphia, a lawyer of great reputation, who had been secretly engaged, unexpectedly appeared by the side of the prisoner. He was capable, eloquent and audacious, and, in conjunction with Chambers, managed the case with so much ability and skill that the jury, after being out only ten minutes, returned with a verdict of Not Guilty, which was received with shouts and cheers. The judges threatened the leaders of the tumult with imprisonment, when a son of Admiral Norris, who was also a son-in-law of Lewis Morris, declared himself the leader and invited a repetition of the cheers, which were instantly repeated. Andrew Hamilton was hailed as the champion of liberty. The corporation of New York shortly presented him with the freedom of the city in a gold box, “for his learned and generous defence of the rights of mankind and the liberty of the press.” Zenger was released from prison, after having been confined for more than eight months. After the trial was concluded, the enthusiasm and demonstrations of satisfaction centered at[Pg 104] the Black Horse Tavern, where a splendid dinner was given to Andrew Hamilton in celebration of his great victory. At his departure, next day, “he was saluted with the great Guns of several Ships in the Harbour as a public Testimony of the glorious Defence he made in the Cause of Liberty in this Province.” Governeur Morris stated to Dr. John W. Francis his belief that “the trial of Zenger, in 1735, was the germ of American freedom—the morning star of that liberty which subsequently revolutionized America.” The Black Horse Tavern, therefore, if it was not the cradle of liberty, was certainly the nursery of those sentiments which ripened into the Declaration of Independence. No spot in New York is so closely identified with this victory for the rights of free speech and for the liberty of the press, as the site of the Black Horse Tavern, which is now occupied by an office building called Lord’s Court.

Lewis Morris at this time was in London, where he had gone to lay his grievances before the home government. His case came before the Committee of the Council in November, 1735, “when the Lords gave it as their opinion that the Governor’s Reasons for Removing him were not sufficient.” He was not, however, restored to the office of chief justice, but was appointed governor of New Jersey, where he had large interests, and where the people had long[Pg 105] desired to have a government separate and distinct from New York.

Many writers have erroneously asserted that the Black Horse Tavern was the resort of the friends of the governor, where balls were given by the aristocratic members of society, and that Robert Todd was its landlord; but all that is necessary to clear up this mistake is to pay careful attention to the files of the two rival newspapers of that day, Bradford’s Gazette and Zenger’s Journal.

On Broad Street, near the corner of Dock Street (the present Pearl Street), Robert Todd, vintner, kept his house, which became, indeed, the favorite place for the balls and entertainments of the governor’s party, as was the Black Horse Tavern for the party of the people. On October 9, 1735, the governor was invited “to a very splendid entertainment provided for him at Mr. Todd’s in order to Congratulate his Excellency upon his safe Return from Albany, where he had been to renew the Treaty of Peace and Friendship with the Six Nations of Indians.” After dinner they drank the healths of the different members of the royal family and the health of his excellency and prosperity to his administration—“the music playing all the while.” “His Excellency was also pleased to Drink Prosperity to Trade, and at the same time, in a very obliging manner, assured the Gentlemen there, That if they could think of any Methods to Promote and Encourage the[Pg 106] Trade and Welfare of this Province, he would heartily contribute every Thing in his Power thereto.” In the evening the house was illuminated.

Anniversary of the Coronation

Two days after this, on the 11th of October, the anniversary of the coronation was celebrated at the Fort, when the healths of the King and Queen and the other members of the royal family were drank under the discharge of cannon, “the two Independent Companies posted there, being under arms all the time.” In the evening the governor and his friends were entertained at the house of Mr. Freeman, which was handsomely illuminated. “The whole was concluded with Dancing and all the Demonstrations of Joy suitable to the Day.” Mr. Thomas Freeman was the son-in-law of Governor Cosby.

At the same time, at the Black Horse Tavern, the house of John DeHoneur, was made “a very handsome Entertainment in Honour of the Day for Rip Van Dam Esq. President of His Majesty’s Council. Matthias Norris Esq. Commander of His Majesty’s Ship, Tartar, and Capt. Compton, Commander of His Majesty’s Ship Seaforth.” Thus we see that the commanders of the two men-of-war lying in the harbor, honored with their presence and were honored by the party of the people at the Black Horse Tavern; and this accounts for the salutes[Pg 107] given by the guns of the ships in the harbor to honor Andrew Hamilton on his departure from the city the previous August. “At Noon the Company met, and while the great Guns of his Majesty’s Ship Tartar were Firing they Drank the following Healths, the King, the Queen, the Prince, Duke and Royal Family, the Prince and Princess of Orange, the Glorious and immortal Memory of King William the third, Success to Coll. Morris, in his Undertaking, to the speedy Election of a new Assembly, Prosperity to the Corporation, my Lord Wiloughton, Duke of Dorset, Sir John Norris and General Compton, and then the Company Din’d, in the Evening the City was Illuminated, the Afternoon and Evening were spent with all the Joy and Dancing suitable to the Occasion.”

 

THE BALL AT THE BLACK HORSE

 

[Pg 108]The account of the celebration of the anniversary of the coronation at the Fort is found in the New York Gazette, which makes no mention of the celebration at the Black Horse Tavern. The New York Weekly Journal gives an account of the celebration at the Black Horse Tavern, but makes no mention of any celebration at the Fort. In the same way, the account of the celebration of the birthday of the Prince of Wales, by the party of the people, is given by the New York Weekly Journal of January 26, 1736, as follows:

“The 19th instant being his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales’s Birthday. It was celebrated at the Black Horse in a most elegant and genteel manner. There was a most magnificent Appearance of Gentlemen and Ladies. The Ball began with French Dances. And then the Company proceeded to Country Dances, upon which Mrs. Norris led up two new Country Dances upon the Occasion; the first of which was called The Prince of Wales, and the[Pg 109] second, The Princess of Saxe-Gotha, in Honour of the Day. There was a most sumptuous Entertainment afterward. At the conclusion of which the Honourable Rip Van Dam Esq., President of His Majesty’s Council, began the Royal Healths, which were all drank in Bumpers. The whole was conducted with the utmost Decency, Mirth and Cheerfulness.”

 

“WHICH WERE ALL DRANK IN BUMPERS”

 

[Pg 110]No mention is made of any celebration at the Fort. The New York Gazette has the following account of the celebration of the governor’s party:

“On the 20th Instant, being the Anniversary of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales’s Birthday, the Royal Healths were drank at the Fort, by the Gentlemen of the Council, and the Principal Merchants and Gentlemen of the Place. The Continuance of the Governour’s Indisposition hinder’d the Celebration of the day with the usual solemnity at the Fort; However there was a Ball in the Evening at Mr. Todd’s, at which there was a very great appearance of Gentlemen and Ladies, and an Elegant Entertainment made by the Gentlemen, in honour of the Day.”

 [Pg 111]

“THE VIOLIN AND THE GERMAN FLUTE BY ‘PRIVATE HANDS’”

 

At the Black Horse, committees of the assembly met for the transaction of public business, but the conferences of committees of the two houses were held at the house of Robert Todd. Here, on the 4th of November, 1736, a conference was held of committees from the council and assembly, to prepare an address to[Pg 112] his majesty on the nuptials of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. It seems also to have been a place for public entertainments. A concert of vocal and instrumental music was given here, January 21, 1736, for the benefit of Mr. Pachelbell, the harpsicord part performed by himself, the songs, violin and German flutes by “private hands.” Again on the 9th of March, 1736, this was repeated, when it was announced that tickets could be had at the Coffee House, at the Black Horse and at Mr. Todd’s; at 4 shillings each. Mr. Pachelbell was probably the music teacher, and was assisted in the concert by his pupils or friends. On the evening of January 6, 1745, a concert was given at the house of Robert Todd, for the benefit of Mr. Rice, which the newspaper affirms was “thought by all competent judges to exceed anything of the kind ever done here before.”

When Samuel Bayard died, in 1745, he left the house on Broad Street next adjoining the DeLancey house, which afterwards became the noted Fraunces Tavern, to his son, Nicholas, which he states in his will, was in the tenure of Robert Todd. It had been occupied by him for at least eight years; earlier, his house is described as next to the Exchange Coffee House.

Among the last acts of Governor Cosby was that declaring Rip Van Dam suspended from the council. This was to prevent Van Dam, as senior member of the council, from succeeding him and again becoming acting governor. After[Pg 113] the death of Cosby, Van Dam and his friends declared this suspension illegal, and Van Dam made an effort to obtain control, but George Clarke, next in order, was supported by the council and also by the assembly, when it convened, and in the course of a few months received his commission from England as lieutenant-governor, which put an end to the claims of Van Dam. Clarke received from Cosby a legacy of trouble, but he was an astute politician and a much abler man than Cosby. He is credited with the policy of making it appear that the governorship of New York was not a desirable post, and by this means held his office for many years, and then retired to England with a competency. The community continued to be divided by party strife. The government party were, in derision, called “courtiers,” and they in turn characterized the opposition as a Dutch mob. A visitor to New York in 1739 describes the different parties as courtiers, Zengerites, the prudents and the no-party-men; and states that there was much bitterness displayed, and that the women were as zealous politicians as the men.

Exchange Coffee House

From the time of the establishment of a coffee house on Broadway, in 1696, until about 1738, there had been but one coffee house in New York, so far as we can ascertain. The first coffee house, called also the King’s Arms Tavern, disappears from our view in 1709, and we hear no more of any coffee house until 1729,[Pg 114] when we find that there was then a coffee house also called the King’s Arms supposed to be situated in Broad Street near the exchange, and called the Exchange Coffee House. It had probably had a continued existence during this interval. During the time of political excitement preceding and following the trial of Zenger, it appears to have been, with the house of Robert Todd, the resort of the “courtiers,” as the supporters of the governor and his party were called. In March, 1731, there was a sale of several lots of land by auction at this house, and after the death of Governor Montgomerie, his library, a collection of valuable books, was announced to be sold on the 1st of June, 1732, and notice was given that a catalogue of the books and conditions of sale might be seen at the Coffee House. In October, 1732, the late governor’s barge, which he had used in making visits to his government of New Jersey, with awning, damask curtains, two sets of oars, sails and everything necessary for her, were sold by auction at the Coffee House. It seems at this time to have become a place for public sales of all kinds and for the transaction of all kinds of business.

In 1747 it was on the corner of Broad and Dock (now Pearl) Streets and its landlord was David Cox, who gave it up in 1749, when Andrew Ramsay, who was then the landlord of a tavern in Dock Street, announced that he had[Pg 115] opened the Exchange Coffee House next door to where Mr. Cox lately kept it. This was the house known some years before as the Fighting Cocks. When Ramsay purchased the unexpired part of the lease of the Long Island ferry, in 1750, and moved to the ferry house on the Long Island side of the river, he was succeeded by Richard Clarke Cooke, who describes his house as the Gentlemen’s and Exchange Coffee House and Tavern at the Sign of the King’s Arms. His occupancy was of short duration. Anne Stockton made an attempt to establish an ordinary in it, but at the end of about a month she gave notice that she “has declined, and is advised to teach young Ladies to sew and embroider and Millinery.”

George Burns then became the landlord of the King’s Arms, which appears no longer to be known as a coffee house, and which was brought back to its former location on the corner. Benjamin Pain appropriated the name of “Gentlemen’s Coffee House”—and carried it to Broadway, where he opened a house in April, 1751.

In January, 1753, a committee of the common council met at the house of George Burns, the King’s Arms, for the purpose of letting to farm the ferry between New York City and Long Island, when they were furnished with the usual entertainment provided for such occasions.

On Monday, the 25th of June, 1753, in[Pg 116] celebration of the anniversary of the festival of St. John the Baptist, “the Ancient and Right Worship Society of FREE and Accepted MASONS of this City assembled at the Spring Garden, and being properly cloathed made a regular Procession in due Form to the King’s Arms Tavern in Broad Street, near the Long Bridge, where an elegant Entertainment was provided.” Here, they drank his majesty’s health and many other loyal healths and concluded the day in the most social and satisfactory manner. The King’s Arms Tavern continued on or near the corner of Broad and Dock Streets for many years and was a well known tavern under various landlords.

In 1696, what was called the Shoemakers’ Pasture was divided into building lots, and soon after on lot number 58, of the map of this property, on the southeast side of the present William Street, about midway between John and Fulton Streets, was built a house which became a prominent and much frequented tavern, from its sign, known as the Horse and Cart. The part of William Street near this tavern became known as Horse and Cart Street. It has been said that this house was a tavern in the time of Captain Kidd, and that he was a frequent visitor to it before he went on his fateful voyage. This may be a mere tradition, but if true, the house, which is still standing, at No. 122 William Street, must be over two hundred years old. It is, at any rate, we think, the[Pg 117] oldest house now standing on Manhattan Island. In October, 1733, it was advertised as the meeting place of the proprietors of a tract of 50,000 acres of land, “for concerting matters necessary for their mutual defence in law,” and again, in 1737, a meeting of these proprietors or their proxies was called at the same house.

 

HOUSE AT 122 WILLIAM STREET

 

George Burns, who in 1750 was keeping a tavern opposite the Merchants Coffee House, moved to the noted sign of the Horse and Cart, where he announced that “to gratify his[Pg 118] Customers he takes in the Boston, Philadelphia and New York papers.” He soon gave place to Captain George Edmonds. It seems to have been a tavern that was patronized by travelers, especially those coming in from the north and east and was a favorite of the New England people, as is shown by the announcement made by Captain Edmonds when its landlord in 1751, that it had “lately been very much balked, to the great Disappointment of Numbers of Persons from New England that used to frequent that House.” Notice was given in March, 1752, that “the once noted Horse and Cart Inn, in the City of New York, is now revived by Edward Willett.” Thus there are indications that the house had lost the popularity which it once enjoyed. Throughout all its many vicissitudes it retained its name for a great many years. Landlords came and landlords went, but the sign of the Horse and Cart remained, and was well known as a landmark by which the locations of other houses and places were designated. The house was still known as the Horse and Cart as late as 1765. The old sign was probably taken down about this time, or a little later, and during the decade preceding the Revolution the house was known as the Golden Hill Inn.

In 1733 there was a tavern on Broadway that hung out the sign of the Coach and Horses, kept by Thomas Welch, from London, where, it was announced, could be had “very good Entertainment[Pg 119] for Man and Horse,” and where were “also Horses to be let or stand at Livery.”

In 1738 Captain Norris, commander of the ship Tartar, then lying in the harbor of New York, was in need of men and made application to the mayor for permission to impress thirty seamen to man his ship. The governor and council ordered the mayor to comply with this request, but the mayor pre-emptorily refused to obey the order, and the governor and council prudently refrained from taking further action. Thus it seems that it was difficult at that time to obtain a crew for a man-of-war in New York harbor, but a year or two later there was no difficulty in obtaining volunteers for privateering.

Privateering

As soon as England had declared war with Spain the adventurous merchants of New York commenced fitting out privateers to prey upon the commerce of the enemy, and the taverns along the East River shore were all bustle and excitement. Many of them became headquarters for recruiting seamen for these adventurous expeditions. The vessels were commanded and manned in part by young men of the best families of New York, who left off cock-fighting and horse-racing to go a-privateering. The appeals for volunteers to join these expeditions were made to “Gentlemen Sailors” and to “Gentlemen Adventurers.” Samuel Bayard went out in the sloop Ranger as its commander and soon[Pg 120] returned with two prizes, taken at St. Jago, in the West Indies. These were offered to be sold, in June, 1740, and notice was given that the inventory could be seen at the Coffee House. He seems to have been a successful commander and brought in other prizes.

The sign of the Pine Apple on the New Dock, kept by Benjamin Kierstede, was a place for recruiting seamen and also for enlisting men in the military companies then organizing to go out against the Spanish colonies in the West Indies. Another place of the same kind was the tavern at the sign of the Jamaica Arms, on Cruger’s Wharf, kept by Benjamin Pain. At both of these places there was great activity in making up crews for privateers about to sail. Here the “articles” could be seen, and men were engaged. Here also prizes and cargoes were sold.

In August, 1740, five companies of soldiers had been enlisted, commanded by Captains Clarke, Cosby, Provost, Cuyler and Stevens, and were encamped on the Common. In September the companies raised in Rhode Island were expected to join them. The New York Weekly Journal of August 4, 1740, contains the following:

“An express arrived a few days since from the Earl of Waldegrave which Occasioned the holding of a Council which sat till 2 the next Morning. The Dispatch brought by the Courier[Pg 121] occasions great Matter of Speculation among the Coffee House Politicians and some since talk of Peace while others say the French will no longer remain Neuter.”

When, in 1744, war was declared with France an additional impulse was given to the privateering business. For the five years preceding 1748 no less than thirty-one vessels, each carrying from ten to twenty-four guns, are named in the newspapers, and there is continually mention made of prizes being brought in, of cases before the court of admiralty, of sales of the captured ships and their cargoes and of the adjustments of disputes over the division of the spoils. In 1745, we find that arbitrators were to meet at the house of Robert Todd every Friday evening “for settling the Differences between the four Privateers formerly arrived here with six French Prizes.” This continued from January to May. In September, 1744, a New York newspaper stated that, “’tis computed there will be before winter 113 Sail of Privateers at Sea, from the British American Colonies, mostly stout Vessels and well manned. A Naval Force equal (some say) to that of Great Britain in the Time of Queen Elizabeth.” In 1745 it was stated that at that time there were thirteen privateers at sea from the port of New York. The men for these vessels were not all supplied by New York City. The alluring promises of gain drew volunteers from all the neighboring country. Governor Hamilton, of New[Pg 122] Jersey, complained that the privateers-men were sweeping into their ranks the flower of the youth of his province.

In 1745 Captain Bevan, of the privateer sloop Clinton, brought into the port of New York a French prize, which he had taken after a short engagement, without the loss of a man. Her cargo, consisting of sugar, indigo and cotton, was valued at £40,000, and each man of the crew received £160 prize money. As a reward for complying with his request not to plunder the passengers, officers and sailors of the captured ship, Captain Bevan gave his crew a handsome treat of a hogshead of punch and an ox roasted whole in the fields at Dominie’s Hook, which was quite handsome in Captain Bevan. The cargo of the prize ship Le Pomone (La Pomme), brought in by Captain Bevan, was sold at the house of widow Thomas. The prize ship Joseph of Egypt and cargo were sold in April, 1746, at the house of the widow Susannah Lawrence, on the Dock, near the Meal Market, at the lower end of Wall Street.

When news came of the capture of Louisburg the common council, to celebrate the victory, ordered that Mr. DeJancourt, whose house was near the Meal Market, be directed to prepare a handsome dinner for the board and that the governor, the members of the council, the assembly members of the city, with the field officers, be invited to dine with them and that a bonfire be made “without the Spring Garden”[Pg 123] in the evening. They also ordered that twenty gallons of good wine be sent to the bonfire for the people.

The Negro Plot

In 1741, during the Spanish war, New York City was thrown into a panic of excitement by the so-called negro plot. Each week the newspapers gave accounts of the numerous executions and of the trials resulting from the confessions of the victims, each one of whom was induced to accuse another in order to save himself. It seems to have seized on the inhabitants of New York in the same way that witchcraft overwhelmed the people of Salem, Massachusetts. In the intense excitement persons of better and better standing in the community were being accused until a halt was found necessary. Thomas Croker, at this time, was landlord of the Fighting Cocks in Dock Street, and it was at his house that John Ury, who was tried for complicity in the plot, lodged. Although Ury, the most prominent victim, was, no doubt, innocent of any criminal act, he was, nevertheless, convicted on the evidence of those who had been urged to accuse somebody to save themselves or to gain a reward. He was a stranger and fell a victim to the panic which pervaded the community.

The sign of the Fighting Cocks had hung in Dock Street, next door to the corner of Broad Street, for many years. In 1736, the tavern was kept by Edward Eastham, who met with the loss[Pg 124] of a silver quart tankard, marked on the handle with an E, taken from his house, for the recovery of which he offered a reward of three pounds. The next year a silver watch was taken from this house, “of a size rather larger than midling, Regmaiden at Dublin the Maker,” for the return of which a reward of ten shillings was offered, “and no questions asked.” Although though the Fighting Cocks Tavern, as its name implies, may have been the scene of many cock-fights, we do not think that at that time this would detract from its standing and respectability.

The King’s Birthday

In March, 1748, in celebration of the King’s birthday, it is stated that a Jack was displayed all day from the flagstaff on the southwest bastion of Fort George. The city regiment of militia and troops were under arms and were reviewed by the governor from the piazza of the City Hall, as they passed from Broadway, where they had been drawn up, and, it is said, made a very handsome appearance. The governor and some of the gentlemen of the council who attended him were entertained by the mayor, corporation, and officers of the militia with some extraordinary wine (“such as is rare to be met with in any private house”) from Hugh Crawford’s, ford’s, near at hand, and there they drank the health of his majesty and other royal healths under the discharge of twenty-one guns at the Fort.

[Pg 125]In honor of the day there were two halls, one at the Fort and another at Ramsay’s tavern in Dock Street. We give an account of these two balls as it appeared in a newspaper of that period.

“In the evening there was a private entertainment and ball at his Excellency’s, consisting of a snug select company of the choicest fruits of the town, that were particularly invited for that purpose, the only entertainment of the kind that His Excellency’s leisure has admitted of upon such public occasions during his administration; the company was very sociable, and the night concluded there as usual.

“The gentlemen that had not the honour to be invited to His Excellency’s ball resolved not to be behindhand in their demonstrations of loyalty on this occasion, and therefore ordered a public entertainment to be provided against the evening at Mr. Ramsay’s tavern, where there was a very splendid and beautiful appearance of ladies, such as would have graced an Assembly in England. There were several gentlemen of Council and Corporation, and most of the principal merchants and other gentlemen in the city, that made up a gay and numerous assembly.

“The ball was opened about six o’clock, the city being illuminated from one end to the other, the supper was served up about ten and notwithstanding the short warning given, there was the greatest variety this town or country[Pg 126] could produce, and the tables were decorated in so neat and elegant a manner as raised a general admiration and ’twas declared by good judges that never was a more magnificent entertainment in this country. The whole tables were taken up with ladies the length of two rooms laid into one, that the gentlemen’s time was generally employed in waiting on them, and when they were done the gentlemen supplied their places. After supper, His Majesty’s, the Prince and Princess of Wales, and the other Royal Healths were drank, and then prosperity to the province, a speedy exportation of its enemies, etc.

“The whole affair was conducted with the utmost decency and decorum; there was the greatest gaiety, cheerfulness and complacency in every countenance. The ball was concluded about 5 A. M. and the night was passed in the general satisfaction, without the least incivility offered or offence taken by any one, which is scarce to be said on the like occasions. We are told this was distinguished by the title of the Country Ball.”

 

 


[Pg 127]

V

The Merchants’ Coffee House

The Meal Market

Trade had extended its territory along the East River shore until about the beginning of the eighteenth century it had reached and taken in Wall Street. In 1709 the first slave market was erected at the foot of this street, on the site of the Half Moon Battery and block house of the Dutch era, and for many years continued to be the established place where slaves were offered for sale and “stood for hire.” A market house had been built, and in January, 1726-7, it was ordained by the common council of the city of New York that the market house at the lower end of Wall Street be appointed a public market for the sale of all sorts of corn, grain and meal, and a penalty was fixed for selling such in any public market elsewhere. From this time it was known as the Meal Market.

In the course of time several taverns had been opened in the neighborhood of the market, and it had become the center of considerable business. In 1726 the only newspaper in New York gave notice of servants to be sold by John Dunks at the sign of the Jamaica Pilot Boat, on the[Pg 128] Dock. In 1750 the following appeared in the New York Gazette or Weekly Post Boy: “Just imported, a parcel of likely negros, to be sold at public vendue to-morrow at Ten o’clock at the Merchants’ Coffee House.”

The tavern at the sign of the Jamaica Pilot Boat stood on the northwest corner of the present Wall and Water Streets, then Wall and Burnet Streets. Francis Child, a wigmaker, owned it and advertised it for sale in 1736 and 1737, when he described it as the corner house near the Meal Market, “a well frequented tavern for several years past” and in good repair.

Daniel Bloom, mariner, who as captain of the Turtle Dove had met with a very unfortunate experience in the West Indies, his brig and all on board being stript of everything even to the clothing they wore, and who had lately arrived rived in New York, purchased the house and lot, in June, 1738, the consideration mentioned in the deed being five hundred pounds (£500). Bloom was landlord of the house for more than a dozen years. While living here he, in December, 1747, took the lease of the ferry between the city and Nassau (Long) Island for the term of five years, for which he agreed to pay the sum of four hundred and fifty-five pounds (£455) per annum, to be paid in quarterly installments, and the common council ordered that the neighborhood of the Meal Market have leave, at their own expense, to make and erect a dock and stairs, for the convenience of the ferry boat[Pg 129] which was to land there, in such manner as shall be directed by the committee appointed for that purpose. Bloom ran the ferry for about three years, when, in September, 1750, by permission of the common council, he transferred the lease to Andrew Ramsay, who at this time was the landlord of the Exchange Coffee House, from which he moved to the ferry house on the Long Island side of the river. Soon after this Bloom died. At the time of his death he was still indebted to the city for a portion of the rent of the ferry, and the corporation, in June, 1751, offered to take from the executors of his estate fifty pounds (£50) in settlement of all arrears due.

The Merchants’ Coffee House

Long before Daniel Bloom purchased the house that hung out the sign of the Jamaica Pilot Boat, it had been kept by John Dunks. Bloom did not retain the sign, for we find that a few years later, it was used by the widow of John Dunks, who kept a house a little further up near the Fly Market. Bloom had seen considerable of the world, and appears to have been a man of some property, owning real estate in the city and in Westchester County. He probably had an acquaintance among the merchants, as sea captains generally had, and was able to make his house a resort for them. He called it the Merchants’ Coffee House, and he was no doubt the first landlord of the house by that name, which, for[Pg 130] more than half a century, was one of the most prominent houses of the city. As its name implies, it gradually became the place where the merchants of the city met and transacted business, and it became also the place where auctions, or vendues, as they were called, were held, especially such as were connected with the shipping business. The year after Bloom’s death, its landlord was Captain James Ackland.

The price paid for the lease of the ferry indicates that there must have been considerable travel over it and that the house at the landing place should have been a profitable one. On the next corner below, on Burnet’s Key and Wall Street Slip, was the tavern of Widow Susannah Lawrence, which at one time was called the Red Lion, and on the opposite side of Wall Street stood, in 1735, St. George and the Dragon, which in 1750 was occupied by Thomas Leppers, from London, who hung out the sign of the Duke of Cumberland. He had succeeded George Burns, who became prominent as a tavern-keeper and was in turn the landlord of many well known houses. In May, 1750, announcement was made that “Thomas Leppers, living at the sign of the Duke of Cumberland, opposite the Merchants’ Coffee House, proposes to open an Ordinary To-morrow, Dinner will be ready at half an Hour after One,” and a few days later he gave notice that “Whereas, I have often heard Gentlemen Strangers and single Gentlemen of this City wish for a Regular[Pg 131] Ordinary and since my removal to the Duke of Cumberland, opposite the Merchants’ Coffee House, I have been frequently advised by Gentlemen my friends to keep one. These are to give Notice That I began to do so on Tuesday last, which shall be continued every Day. Dinner shall be ready at One o’clock. Per Thomas Leppers from London.”

An Affair at Leppers’ Tavern

In August, 1750, this house was the scene of a disturbance which must have caused much talk in the town, as an account of the affair occupies a whole page in one of the issues of the New York Gazette Revived in the Weekly Post Boy, a very unusual attention given any local news. It was claimed that the article had been written by spectators of the affair to set to right reports that were current in the town. On Tuesday evening, the 28th of August, several persons met as a club at Leppers’ tavern, and one or two of the company, signifying a desire to have Mr. James Porterfield join them, one of the members went out and in a short time returned and introduced him to the company, who, it seems, were mostly physicians or interested in that profession. After supper he begged the attention of the club, and stated that he had received many civilities from the gentlemen of the club, for which he returned them thanks; but a friend had told him that having lately asked a member if Mr. Porterfield were admitted to it, the answer was,[Pg 132] that he was not, and that his loquacity was the cause of it. He said that he submitted to the judgment of the club whether he had ever behaved in such a manner at the club as to deserve that reflection. The members of the club declined to pass judgment upon the question, stating that as he was not a member, it would be to no purpose to give any judgment about it, since if they thought him too talkative it was not in their power to prevent it as his conduct could not be regulated by any of their rules. Notwithstanding this definite answer, he still persisted in claiming a judgment whether he was faulty in being too talkative or not. The members of the club maintained their first position and begged him not to insist any further, as he was defeating the original intention of the meeting. He became violent, but was prevailed at length to be quiet while a paper was being read by one of the members. He seems to have worked himself up to a high state of resentment for he sneered and interrupted the reading, and after it was finished became so uncontrollable and insulting that he was threatened with expulsion. He then threw his glove upon the table as a challenge, and although no other person was armed, drew his sword. At this point the member, who had threatened to turn him out, took up the glove and threw it in his face, and being seated at the opposite side of a long table went round to him, and, with the assistance of[Pg 133] some of the other members, disarmed him and broke his sword. They forced him to the door, but he used his cane, which was also broken by the company, who now went to another room, leaving him alone. He went down stairs and on his way out told Mr. Loppers that he would get another sword and return and run some of the members upstairs through the body, but Mr. Loppers told him that he could not again enter his house that night. He thereupon seated himself at the door with the stump of his sword in his hand waiting for revenge, but was induced by the member of the club who had introduced him to retire to his lodgings.

This was not the end, for the next evening Mr. Porterfield came down to the Merchants’ Coffee House, and at sight of Doctor Ayscough, drew his sword and shook it at the Doctor, who stood in the door, calling him villain and scoundrel and challenging him to fight. After some abuse of this kind Doctor Ayscough seized a cane from a bystander and struck Porterfield on the head, who immediately rushed towards him and made a pass at him. Doctor Ayscough, in retreating, fell down and Porterfield, thinking that he had pricked him, very quickly and prudently disappeared, as the resentment of the spectators was apparent. Doctor Ayscough was not injured.

Clubs

It seems to have been quite usual at this period for men of like tastes and inclinations[Pg 134] to form themselves into clubs. A writer, describing New York and its people in 1756, states that, “New York is one of the most social places on the continent. The men collect themselves into weekly evening clubs. The ladies, in winter, are frequently entertained either at concerts of music or assemblies, and make a very good appearance.” The clubs, as well as the assemblies for dancing, were held at the taverns. The first club in the colony of New York, of which we have any knowledge, was formed at the instance of Governor Lovelace, in the winter of 1668-69, composed of ten French and Dutch and six English families, to meet at each other’s houses twice a week in winter and once a week in summer, from six to nine in the evening. It is said that the Governor was generally present and made himself agreeable. This, no doubt, was a select circle, and the enjoyment derived consisted of the social pleasures and the good things to eat and drink, the beverages being Madeira wine and rum and brandy punch served up in silver tankards. Governor Bellomont speaks of the men who were opposed to him meeting as a club and of Governor Fletcher’s club night, which was Saturday. The club opposed to Bellomont met at the tavern of Lieutenant Matthews, which was in the South Ward. In 1734 there was a club in New York called the Hum Drum Club, which appears to have been honored by the presence of the[Pg 135] Governor on two succeeding Saturdays. As we approach the period of the Revolution, we find the number of clubs increasing; they were organized with different objects in view. There was the purely social club, the political club, the club for the lawyer and the club for the physician, etc.

Merchants’ Exchange

The growing commercial importance of New York induced the building of a new Exchange for merchants in the middle of Broad Street, near the East River, which was commenced in 1752, on or near the site of one which had stood there since 1690. In June, permission for erecting it was given by the city and one hundred pounds appropriated towards its erection. The original intention was probably to build it like the old one, which was simply an open structure with nothing but roof above; but, in August, the corporation resolved that they would at their own expense, build or cause to be built a room twelve feet high over the Exchange, for which an appropriation was made of twelve hundred pounds (£1,200). A cupola was erected on it, but it had no bell until 1769, when one was provided. The large room in the upper story was for many years used by societies for their annual meetings and elections, for concerts and for dinners and entertainments to persons of distinction, and by the Common Council for their regular meetings while the City Hall was being repaired. It was leased to[Pg 136] Oliver De Lancey for one year, from February 1, 1754. The next year it was let to Keen and Lightfoot, who opened in one end of it a coffee-room called the Exchange Coffee Room, which was continued for many years. In March, 1756, a show was given here called the microcosm, or the world in miniature. In 1756 the partnership of Keen and Lightfoot was broken up. Lightfoot continued the coffee room and Keen opened a tavern nearby which he called the Fountain Inn. Upon the death of Lightfoot, in 1757, his widow, Sarah, obtained a renewal of the lease and continued the business, but the following year, the rent being raised, it passed into the hands of Roper Dawson, and was opened as a mercantile store.

 

THE ROYAL EXCHANGE

 

Business at the Merchants’ Coffee House continually increased. It became the recognized[Pg 137] place for public vendues or auctions of real estate, merchandise, negroes, horses, or any other article of sale. Several sales of vessels, dining the year 1753, were made here, where the inventories were posted. In May the sloop, Sea Flower, late commanded by Evert Evertson, and one-fourth part of the ship John, Richard Coffee, master, were offered for sale; in August the sloop, Catherine; and in September one-third part of the ship, Fame, Captain Seymour. When the sloop Catharine was offered for sale, notice was given that she could be seen in Rotten Row, almost opposite the Merchants’ Coffee House. Rotten Row was a place on the East River shore which the extension of the dock to the north of Wall Street, and that at Cruger’s Wharf, made into a sort of cove where the shipping received some protection. Between these two points the river came up to the southeast side of the present Water Street, and the dock was known as Hunter’s Keys. The New York Gazette of January 6, 1752, stated that the river was then full of ice and that many vessels had been detained from sailing, and, “with the rest of our shipping, squeezed into Rotten Row for Shelter. It was a happy Turn the Corporation acted with that Prudence in not consenting to the Views of a few self-interested People, to get the only Place for Shelter of our shipping fill’d up.”

In 1753 Governor Clinton, who had had a long fight with the assembly during his[Pg 138] administration, retired from the office of Governor to a sinecure provided for him in England. He had accomplished the object of his mission as to his personal interests, and at his recommendation Sir Danvers Osborne became his successor.

On Saturday, the 6th of October, 1753, the ship Arundal, Captain Lloyd, arrived at Sandy Hook, with Sir Danvers Osborne on board. He came up to the city the next day in the ship’s barge, and landed at the Whitehall Slip, where he was received by the members of the Council, the Mayor and Aldermen, the officers of the militia and most of the principal gentlemen of the city. Governor Clinton being at his country seat at Flushing, Long Island, Osborne was escorted to the Governor’s house in Fort George, where an elegant entertainment was prepared for his reception, when the healths of his majesty and of all the members of the royal family were drank, as was usual on such occasions. On Monday Governor Clinton came in from his country seat and Sir Danvers Osborne was elegantly entertained at a public dinner given by the gentlemen of the Council, and on Tuesday the corporation voted him the freedom of the city, presented to him in a golden box. On Wednesday the commission of Sir Danvers Osborne was first published in Council, and while the usual oaths were being taken, the corporation, the city representatives, the militia officers, the clergy and all the principal[Pg 139] inhabitants assembled in the parade and, together with the Council, wailed on his excellency, attended by a company of foot and a vast concourse of people, to the City Hall, where his commission was a second time published. He then, amidst the shouts and acclamations of the people, attended in like manner, returned to the fort, where the usual royal healths were drank, the guns in the common and harbor firing, and the bells of all the churches of the city ringing. The corporation then waited on Sir Danvers with an address, to which he gave a short and agreeable reply.

 

Danvers Osborn

 

Dinner to the New Governor

[Pg 140]At the tavern of George Burns, opposite the Long Bridge, a grand dinner was ordered by the corporation. A committee had been appointed with instructions to invite his majesty’s Council, such members of the Assembly as should be in town, the captain of the man-of-war, with such gentlemen as came over with the Governor, the treasurer of the colony, the King’s attorney, Mr. Rutledge, Mr. Gordon, Mr. Penn and Mr. Oliver De Lancey to dine with his Excellency, Sir Danvers Osborn, Bart. The committee were, besides, instructed to provide for a bonfire on the common near the workhouse, and to procure three dozen of wine to be sent to the fire, that the City Hall, the Alms-House and the Ferry-House should be illuminated and that a half-barrel of cannon-powder be provided to discharge the cannon on the Common near the bonfire. The newspapers state that the dinner was “an elegant and splendid entertainment. In the evening two and forty cannon were discharged in the Common. Two large bonfires were erected. Some thousands of the populace crowded the Common and the whole town was for several hours most bountifully illuminated.” Notwithstanding all this rejoicing, and the enthusiasm with which he was received, the new Governor became despondent and, on the morning of Friday, the 12th of October, his body was found hanging to the garden fence of Mr.[Pg 141] Murray, at whose house he was staying. He had committed suicide.

From the very fact that the house of George Burns was selected as the place for the dinner given to the new Governor, we may very confidently conclude that it was considered the best tavern in New York at that time. George Burns was the landlord of the King’s Arms, which, until about this time, had also been called the Exchange Coffee House. The coffee house of this period was generally considered to be more a meeting place for the transaction of business than the tavern and until the Merchants’ Coffee House was established the Exchange Coffee House had been the resort of merchants and the place where business transactions were made and where auctions were held for the sale of merchandise of all kinds.

The Province Arms

Before the year 1754 there had been no one tavern that had stood at the head and maintained a leading position for any length of time; but in this year Edward Willett, well known in New York as the landlord, at different times, of many prominent houses, opened a tavern in the house of James De Lancey on Broadway which from this time became the most prominent tavern in the city and so continued until after the Revolution, when on the same site was built in 1794 the City Hotel, which also for a long time held the lead as a public house. Willett moved into it from the Horse[Pg 142] and Cart and described it as “the house of the honorable James De Lancey, Esq., Lieutenant Governor, at the sign of the Province Arms in Broadway, near Oswego Market.”

While Willett was keeping the Horse and Cart, on Thursday, October 25, 1753, the last day of the sitting of the Supreme Court, the justices of the court, the attorney-general, and the counsellors and attorneys attending the court, marched in a procession from the City Hall to the house of the Lieutenant Governor and presented him with an address, after which, accompanied by the Lieutenant Governor, they all marched to the house of Edward Willett, where a grand dinner was served to them.

The house that Willett opened on Broadway at the Province Arms, or the New York Arms, as it was sometimes called, was one of the largest and finest in the city, and from the time it was opened as a tavern was patronized by the public societies and was the recognized place for giving all public entertainments of importance. It had been built by Stephen De Lancey about the year 1730 and, subsequently, came into the possession of his son, James De Lancey, the Lieutenant Governor. It was two stories high, with windows opening to the floor. It stood on the west side of Broadway, between the present Thames and Cedar Streets, commanding from its windows a beautiful view of the bay, the river and the opposite shores. Somewhat retired from the busy parts of the[Pg 143] city, it was a beautiful and agreeable spot for a first-class public house. Broadway was becoming the favorite promenade. The church walk, in front of Trinity, near by, was the resort of the fashion of the town for the afternoon.

On Tuesday, April 29, 1755, soon after Lieutenant Governor De Lancey had returned from a trip to the more southern colonies, where he had been received with all the honors due to his official station, and where he had met the other governors in consultation as to the situation on the French and Indian frontier, Governor William Shirley, of Massachusetts, and Governor Robert Hunter Morris, of Pennsylvania, arrived in New York from the westward and were welcomed to the city with great formality. On landing at Whitehall Slip they were saluted by a discharge of cannon from Fort George, and welcomed ashore by Lieutenant Governor De Lancey, members of his majesty’s council and many of the principal gentlemen of the city. The city militia had been ordered to muster and were drawn up so as to line the street as the gentlemen passed on to the fort, where they drank his majesty’s and all the loyal healths with success to the English-American enterprises. They then proceeded through the lines still formed by the militia to the New York Arms, on Broadway. Here a handsome entertainment was provided where the healths of his majesty and the royal family were repeated with “cheerfulness and alacrity.” The newspaper[Pg 144] account states that the doors, windows, balconies and the tops of the houses were decorated, red cloaks being largely used to brighten the scene and give it life and color.

Charter of King’s College

On Wednesday, the 7th of May, 1755, the gentlemen who had been appointed governors of the College of the Province of New York (afterwards called King’s College) met at the house of Edward Willett, at the sign of the New York Arms, “when the Deputy Secretary attended with his Majesty’s Royal Charter of Incorporation.” Lieutenant Governor De Lancey was pleased to order the charter read, and “after addressing himself to the governors in a very affectionate, genteel and suitable manner,” delivered to them the Charter, and they were qualified to exercise the important trust reposed in them by taking the oaths (to the government and that of office), and subscribing the declaration as prescribed by the charter. This was the birth of King’s College, now Columbia University. The next Tuesday, the 13th of May, being the day appointed by the charter for the annual meeting of the governors, they accordingly met at the New York Arms to proceed upon business, and the meetings of the governors of the college continued to be held here for many years.

French and Indian War

The year 1755 was a sad one in the English colonies. The defeat of Braddock filled the[Pg 145] land with gloom and depression which was only partially dispelled by the repulse of the French at Lake George and the capture of their commander, Dieskau. New York City was roused to exertion and the spirit of the colony rose to occasion. Troops of soldiers were passing through to the seat of war, the drumbeat was constantly heard in the streets, recruiting offices were opened at the taverns, and the prominent citizens met at their usual resorts to discuss the news of war. No formal declaration of war had been made by either England or France, yet war, in its most distressing forms, was raging on all the frontiers of the English colonies.

 

“THE DRUMBEAT WAS CONSTANTLY HEARD IN THE STREETS”

 

Dinner at the New York Arms

[Pg 146]In the midst of this excitement his majesty’s ship, The Sphinx, arrived with the new governor, Sir Charles Hardy. About ten o’clock on the morning of September 3, 1755, the people of New York heard the booming of cannon from The Sphinx, which had arrived the night before and was lying in the harbor. Sir Charles was on his way to the city in the ship’s barge and the discharge of cannon was in his honor on his leaving the ship. This was soon answered from Fort George, when Lieutenant Governor De Lancey, the members of the council and the assembly, the mayor and aldermen, the clergy and the principal gentlemen of the city, at the Whitehall Stairs, welcomed him to the province, and through lines of militia, mustered for the[Pg 147] occasion, escorted him to the Fort. After going through the usual ceremonies he was conducted to the City Hall, where his commission was published. He then returned to the Fort to receive the congratulations of the officials and the public. The new governor was then conducted to the New York Arms, where, by invitation of Lieutenant Governor De Lancey, he dined with the council and the assembly, and many other gentlemen, “and where repeated Healths of Loyalty, Success to His[Pg 148] Majesty’s Arms, both in Europe and America, Prosperity to the English-American Colonies, a speedy Defeat of the French from off the borders, and a total Extinction of their very name in America went round with great Unanimity and Dispatch.” The newspapers state that “at night the Windows in the city were ornamented with lights and two large bonfires were erected on the Common where several hampers of good old Madeira (which proved brisker than bottled Ale) were given to the Populace and where Sir Charles’ Presence, about eight o’clock in the Evening closed the joyful and merry Proceeding.” The Sphinx not only brought to the province a new governor but she brought also something that was very acceptable and very much needed, good hard money to the amount of twenty thousand pounds for the use of the forces in America.

 

Chas. Hardy

 

The Assembly Balls

While Willett was landlord of the New York Arms, the dancing assemblies, which for a great many years were a feature of the life of the city, were commenced at this house. These were not new, for meetings for dancing had been customary for many years, but no tavern before had been able to afford a room so well suited for the purpose. These assemblies were held fortnightly on Thursday, during the winter season, and the subscription to each meeting was eight shillings. The ball was opened at eight o’clock and closed at[Pg 149] midnight. In 1759 the managers were Messrs. Duane, Walton, McEvers and Banyer, names which convey to us the conviction that the company was quite select. Notice was given that “Strangers will not be admitted unless they apply for tickets before 5 o’clock of every assembly night at the Directors Houses.”

Reception of Colonel Peter Schuyler

Colonel Peter Schuyler, of New Jersey, who was taken prisoner at Oswego, had distinguished himself by his generosity to his fellow prisoners in Canada and by his kindness and assistance to all of his countrymen in distress, making no distinction between Jerseymen and those from other provinces, spending money freely, which his captors were willing to supply on his personal drafts, knowing him to be wealthy. He had been released at Montreal on his parole to return in six months, unless an exchange had in the meantime been settled for him. Making his way through the forests to Fort Edward and thence to Albany, he arrived in New York on Saturday afternoon, November 19, 1757. He had many relatives and friends in the city and the people were so sensible of the services which he had rendered to the province of New York that, to honor him, the public buildings and most of the houses in town were illuminated, a bonfire was made on the Common and at the King’s Arms Tavern an elegant entertainment was given in celebration of his[Pg 150] return from captivity and there was great rejoicing at his safe arrival.

 

Peter Schuyler

 

Privateers

[Pg 151]The profitable business of privateering, broken up by the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748, was resumed with renewed vigor by the adventurous merchants and ship-owners of New York at the commencement of the war. The whole coast, from Maine to Georgia, was soon alive with daring, adventurous, some among them, no doubt, unscrupulous privateers, who, failing of success against the enemy did not hesitate, when a good opportunity offered, to plunder the vessels of friendly nations. In 1756 there were over twenty ships from the port of New York carrying nearly two hundred and fifty guns and manned by nearly two thousand men scouring the seas, and before January, 1758, they had brought into New York fifty-nine prizes, besides those taken into other ports for adjudication. So popular was this business that Lieutenant Governor De Lancey, in 1758, complained “that men would no longer enlist in the army,” and “that the country was drained of many able-bodied men by almost a kind of madness to go a-privateering.” The old captains of the previous war again hoisted their flags and were joined by many younger men. Alexander McDougal and Isaac Sears, whose names became prominent in the history of the city, commanded the Tiger and Decoy and Thomas Doran, who kept a tavern at the Fly Market, in the fast-sailing[Pg 152] pilot-boat, Flying Harlequin, with fourteen guns, and armed to the teeth, made rapid and successful trips.

The Press Gang

Much more dreaded than the enemy by the privateersmen were the press gangs sent out by the men-of-war. The captain of a British man-of-war did not hesitate, when in need of men, to board colonial vessels and take any number required or even to kidnap them from the city for service in the British navy. The privateersman was pressed with peculiar satisfaction. Attempts at impressment resulted in several bloody encounters. In 1760, the crew of the Sampson of Bristol, who had fired on the barge of H. M. S. Winchester, on attempting to board her, killing a number of men, were protected and concealed by the people from the reach of the sheriff and the militia ordered to his assistance. On July 10, 1764, four fishermen were taken from their vessel in the harbor and carried on board the tender of a man-of-war. The next day, when the captain of the tender came on shore, his boat was seized by a number of men, and with great shouting dragged through the streets to the middle of the green in the Fields, where they burned and destroyed her and then quickly dispersed. Meanwhile the captain publicly declared that he was not responsible for the seizure of the men, and, going into the Coffee House, wrote an order for their release. The order was carried on board the[Pg 153] tender and the fishermen brought ashore. The magistrates, as soon as they had notice of the affair, sent out men to disperse the mob and secure the boat, but the mischief had been done. The court met in the afternoon, but were unable to discover any person concerned in the business, and the probability is that there was no great effort or desire to do so.

 

THE PRESS GANG

 

Sales of Prizes

We find continuously in the newspapers issued during the war notices of sales of prize[Pg 154] ships and cargoes at the taverns, at the Coffee House and on the wharves near by. The Merchants’ Coffee House, where the inventories were posted, had become the recognized place with the merchants for the transaction of all kinds of business, and many sales of ships and prizes taken by the privateers were made here. It had become a sort of maritime exchange. In 1758 Luke Roome was its landlord, and was also the owner of the house, which he offered for sale. It was purchased by Doctor Charles Arding, who retained possession of it until 1792, when it was acquired by the Tontine Association, who built on it and other contiguous lots the Tontine Coffee House. Luke Roome was afterwards assistant alderman and for several years leased the docks and slips of the city. How long he was landlord of the Merchants’ Coffee House we do not know.

It was customary in colonial times and even a good deal later to build market houses in the middle of streets. For a great many years in the middle of Wall Street, between Queen Street or Hanover Square and the river, had stood the Meal Market. In the course of time, as the building grew old, the merchants and those living in the neighborhood came to consider it as a nuisance, and in 1762 petitioned the authorities for its removal. They say in their petition: “It greatly obstructs the agreeable prospect of the East River, which those that[Pg 155] live in Wall Street would otherwise enjoy; and, furthermore, occasions a dirty street, offensive to the inhabitants on each side and disagreeable to those who pass to and from the coffe-house, a place of great resort.” Garrat Noel, the most prominent bookseller in New York, moved his store in 1757 and, in his announcements in the newspapers, gives its location as next door to the Merchants’ Coffee House, opposite the Meal Market; but, in July, 1762, he announces his store as “next door to the Merchants’ Coffee House, near where the Meal Market stood.” This is pretty good evidence that it had been taken down very soon after the petition was presented for its removal.

The Crown and Thistle

Down near the water at Whitehall Slip stood the Crown and Thistle, a tavern kept by John Thompson, who preferred the cognomen of Scotch Johnny, by which he was familiarly known. Here good dinners were served to merchants, travellers and army officers, and here travellers could make arrangements for transportation in Captain O’Brien’s stage-boat to Perth Amboy on their way to Philadelphia or by boat to Staten Island or Elizabethtown Point, which was the route taken by a large majority of travellers going south. Those landed on Staten Island passed along on the north shore to a point opposite Elizabethtown Point, where they crossed the Kills to that place by ferry. Scotch Johnny was not only the landlord of the[Pg 156] Crown and Thistle and lodged and entertained travellers who landed near his house or waited there for boats to carry them across the bay, but was himself, in 1755, interested in transportation of travellers to Staten Island, and the next year to Perth Amboy, on their way to the south. On November 30, 1753, the anniversary of St. Andrew was celebrated at the Crown and Thistle by the gentlemen of the Scots’ Society, where an elegant dinner was provided, the colors being displayed on the ships in the harbor, particularly the ship Prince William.

The Black Horse

All the travel to the north and east went out of the city over Bowery Lane to Harlem or King’s Bridge. This was the Boston post road. In 1750, at the upper end of Queen Street, near Alderman Benson’s, stood the Black Horse Tavern, kept by Jonathan Ogden, “where the Boston post puts up.” This tavern in the suburbs was a convenient and suitable place for taking a parting glass with friends about to set out on a journey and wishing them godspeed, as was then the custom. Ogden and his successor, besides furnishing entertainment for travellers and stabling for horses, made it their business to supply travellers with horses, chairs, harness, saddles, etc., either for short drives on the island or for more extensive trips. In 1753, after the death of Ogden, John Halstead became the landlord of the Black Horse. At the public vendue of the household goods belonging to the estate[Pg 157] of Ogden, there was offered for sale an article called a “Messacipia Table.” We leave it to the reader to conjecture what it was for. In 1756 there was a Black Horse Tavern in Fair (Fulton) Street.

 

THE BULL’S HEAD TAVERN

 

The Bull’s Head

Just after entering the Bowery Lane the traveller would come to the Bull’s Head Tavern, which in 1755 was kept by George Brewitson. This was the great resort and stopping place for the farmers and drovers who brought in cattle for the city market and where they were met by the butchers who purchased their stock. Thus it was not only a tavern but a sort of market for live stock or for the meat supply of the[Pg 158] city and continued such for a great many years. The Bull’s Head market survives to the present day, only a little further uptown. Three or four miles out was the Union Flag, and not far from this was a house which was described as a noted tavern where lived John Creiger, four miles from New York and ten miles from King’s Bridge.

At the northwest corner of the present 66th Street and Third Avenue stood the Dove Tavern. From this point the road continued northward for some distance, and then to avoid the swamps and inlets, turned to the westward, entering the present bounds of Central Park, and ascended the hill at the top of which was a large stone tavern. This had been built by Jacob Dyckman, Jr., near the year 1750, who, about ten years after, sold it to the Widow McGown, who, with the assistance of her son Andrew, kept the house, which became known as McGown’s Pass Tavern. That the old stone tavern was a house of generous capacity is evident from its being selected as the place for the meeting of the colonial assembly, while the City Hall was being repaired, in October and November, 1752. Just a little south, on the opposite side of the road, was a tavern, which, shortly before the Revolution, was known as the Black Horse. It is thought to have been the headquarters of General Cornwallis during the battle of Harlem Heights. Dyckman’s or McGown’s Pass Tavern was about half way between New York[Pg 159] and King’s Bridge and there was doubtless a natural demand by travellers on this part of the road for entertainment, which induced Dyckman to build a capacious house. Once a week it received a visit from the post rider going out and once a week on his return. It must necessarily have received considerable trade from passing travellers, farmers and drovers, for it was on the one road which led out of the city, and its capacity to entertain attracted many a dinner party of those who followed the hounds, for fox-hunting was a sport indulged in by many New Yorkers at that time.

McGown’s Pass was the scene of some activity in the first year of the Revolution, and was fortified and occupied by the British troops during the whole seven years of the war. Early on the morning of September 15, 1776, the English ships lying in the East River opened fire for the purpose of silencing the American battery at Horn’s Hook and to cover the British landing at Kip’s Bay. Washington had a few days previous removed his headquarters to the Roger Morris house, from which could be had an extensive view to the south, including the East River shores. Warned by the bombardment that something important was about to take place, Washington, in haste, mounted his horse and dashed down at utmost speed over the road past McGown’s to the scene of action. This ride was something like that celebrated ride of General Phil Sheridan about ninety years later, but[Pg 160] not with similar results. Before he arrived at Murray Hill, the British troops had landed, and the Americans were in full retreat. Two months later a sad spectacle was witnessed at McGown’s Pass as the twenty-eight hundred prisoners taken at the surrender of Fort Washington filed down over the hills to New York. Many had been plundered by the Hessians, and all of them showed the effects of the desperately fought battle through which they had passed. They were on their way to years of suffering, many on their way to death in English prisons, which, happily for them, they did not then understand.

 

THE ROGER MORRIS HOUSE

 

The Blue Bell

On the road about a mile further north after leaving McGown’s there was a tavern standing[Pg 161] near where the present St. Nicholas Avenue crosses 126th Street, which, about the time of the Revolution and for many years after, was known as Day’s Tavern; and about three miles further was the Blue Bell, which, although a small house, seems to have been well known at a very early period and to have continued its existence down to quite recent times. From the Blue Bell to King’s Bridge was about two and a half miles.

 

THE BLUE BELL TAVERN

 

King’s Bridge

At the most northern point of the island was the only place in its whole circumference from which, in early days, the mainland could be reached by a ford. It was called the Wading Place. Near this a ferry was established, but as early as 1680 the governor’s council ordered “Spiting[Pg 162] Devil” to be viewed for a bridge. Action was delayed. Governor Fletcher in 1692 recommended its construction by the city, but the city declined on account of the expense. In January, 1693, Frederick Flypsen offered to build a bridge at his own expense, if he were allowed certain “easy and reasonable toles,” and he was accordingly granted the franchise for ninety-nine years. A bridge was constructed by him the same year. It was to be twenty-four feet wide, with a draw for the passage of such vessels as navigated the stream; to be free for the King’s forces and to be named the King’s Bridge. This bridge was in possession of some member of the Philipse family, descendant of Frederick Flypsen, until the Revolutionary War, and was, no doubt, before the free bridge was built, a profitable investment. A tavern was opened on the northern side for the entertainment of travellers. Madam Sarah Knight, in returning to Boston in December, 1704, set out with her companions “about one afternoon, and about three came to half-way house about ten miles out of town, where we Baited and went forward, and about 5 come to Spiting Devil, Else King’s Bridge, where they pay three pence for passing over with a horse, which the man that keeps the Gate set up at the end of the Bridge receives.” The half-way house, spoken of by Madam Knight, stood at the foot of the hill on the Kingsbridge Road on a line with the present 109th Street. We find that in 1746 there was a[Pg 163] public vendue of lots of land at the Half-Way House, near Harlem, which was very likely the same place.

On account of the barrier gate and the tolls demanded, the King’s Bridge, as travel increased, became unpopular and, in 1756, a project was set on foot for building a free bridge by voluntary subscriptions. When sufficient had been secured, Benjamin Palmer, who was active in the undertaking, began the work of building the bridge a little below the first bridge, from the land of Jacob Dyckman, on the island, to that of Thomas Vermilve on the Westchester side. Colonel Phillipse, the owner of King’s Bridge, tried in every way to prevent its construction. Twice in one year he caused Palmer to be impressed “as a soldier to go to Canada,” which compelled him to procure and pay for substitutes. Nevertheless, in spite of all opposition, the bridge was finished, and the celebration of its completion was announced as follows:

“These are to acquaint the public, That to-morrow the Free Bridge, erected and built across the Harlem River, will be finished and completed. And on the same day there will be a stately Ox roasted whole on the Green, for and as a small Entertainment to the Loyal People who come.”

The Best Taverns

The following memoranda from the manuscript diary of Paymaster General Mortier, of[Pg 164] the royal navy, indicates the taverns of New York that were probably most patronized by the fashionable gentlemen of the day, for the few years preceding 1761:

1758 Jan. 1 At the Assembly     2. 6
  Feb. 18 Dinner at the Glass House   3. 5
  Mar. 1 ""Black Sam’s   1. 10
    28 ""Scotch Johnny’s   5. 6
    30 Willett’s Assembly   8.
  June 10 To the Band of Music of the 46th   8.
    18 Dinner at the Coffee House   5. 6
1759 May   Supper at Farrell’s   9.
  Farrell Wine   1. 1. 6
1760 Jan.   Towards a ball at King’s Arms   1. 0.
  Subscription to the Concert   1. 12.
  Subscription to a ball at Byrnes   12.
  To one week at the Coffee House   2.
  Feb. 2 To one week at the Coffee House   2.
    19 To one week at the Coffee House   2.
  Mar. 28 Dinner at the Fountain   8.
  Apr. 4 Supper at Byrnes’   8.
    5 ""the Fountain   6.
    18 ""the Fountain   8.

[Pg 165]The piece of land, now the block inclosed by Broadway, Fulton, Nassau and Ann Streets, or nearly so, was, in the early part of the eighteenth century, a public resort, and known as Spring Garden. There was a tavern or public house on the premises known as Spring Garden House, standing on the site of the present St. Paul’s Building, corner of Broadway and Ann Street, which in 1739 was occupied by Thomas Scurlock, who may have been in possession of it for some time. In an administration bond given by him in 1718 he is styled vintner. Spring Garden House appears to have been a well-known landmark, used as such in records and in the newspapers.

After the death of Thomas Scurlock in 1747 the tavern was kept for some years by his widow, Eve. When the house was advertised for sale in 1759 it was described as “in Broadway at the corner of Spring Garden, now in use as a tavern, Sign of the King of Prussia, and next door to Dr. Johnson’s” (President of King’s College). In 1763 the landlord of the house was John Elkin. After about 1770 we hear no more of it as a tavern.

[Pg 166]

 

 


[Pg 167]

VI

Tavern Signs

The Comforts of a Good Inn

Samuel Johnson, born in 1709, was in his prime about the middle of the eighteen the century. His description of the advantages afforded by a good inn has not yet been surpassed. Here it is:

“There is no private house in which people can enjoy themselves so well as at a capital tavern. Let there be ever so great plenty of good things, ever so much grandeur, ever so much elegance, ever so much desire that everybody should be easy, in the nature of things it cannot be; there must always be some degree of care and anxiety. The master of the house is anxious to entertain his guests; the guests are anxious to be agreeable to him; and no man, but a very impudent dog indeed, can freely command what is in another man’s house as if it were his own. Whereas, at a tavern there is general freedom from anxiety. You are sure you are welcome, and the more noise you make, the more trouble you give, the more good things you call for, the welcomer you are. No servant will attend you with the alacrity which waiters do, who are incited by the prospect of an immediate reward[Pg 168] in proportion as they please. No sir, there is nothing which has yet been contrived by man by which so much happiness is produced as by a good inn.”

Another writer, whose name is unrecorded or lost in the sweep of time, has said that the tavern “is the busy man’s recreation, the idle man’s business, the melancholy man’s sanctuary, the stranger’s welcome.”

Samuel Johnson, if in New York, would not have found at any tavern such congenial companions as at the Turk’s Head, in Soho. New York did not have an Oliver Goldsmith, nor a Sir Joshua Reynolds, nor an Edmund Burke, nor—but Boswell would have been with him. Barring the companionship of such men he could have been made as comfortable at the Queen’s Head in Dock Street as at his familiar tavern in London. He could have taken his cup of tea, his favorite drink, in one of the boxes of the Merchants’ Coffee House and then strolled into Garrat Noel’s bookstore next door where he could have found food for his mind after his corporeal needs had been supplied. Here was literature of the solid sort, as Noel’s announcements in the newspapers inform us, and Dr. Johnson might have easily imagined himself in the bookstore of Tom Davies—one of his familiar haunts.

The Landlord

The accomplished tavern-keeper of New York, as well as of London, knew how to welcome his[Pg 169] guest and from long experience instinctively knew how to reach his heart. After receiving him with the most unbounded cordiality, occasionally dropping him a piece of news which he knew would interest him, or one of his newest jokes, he soon made him feel glad to be in his house. When the dinner was ready he was on hand to place the first dish on the table and to give him his company if he saw that it was desirable.

 

THE OLD TIME LANDLORD

 

[Pg 170]In colonial times signs were extensively used. The hardware dealer placed above his door a sign of Crossed Daggers, or a Golden Handsaw, or a Golden Key; some used the sign of the Crossed Guns. A carriage-maker used the sign of the Gilded Wheel, a tailor that of the Hand and Shears. Thus the business streets were filled with signs, and a well-known or prominent sign was invariably used as a landmark to designate locations of other houses. Tavern signs were much used in this way. Houses were not numbered, and in the low state of education, numbers as well as worded signs would have been of little use. Taverns obtained their names from the signs hung out; and the tavern sign had a wider range of diversity than that of any other business. It was almost unlimited; but there were certain favorites. Sometimes tavern-keepers clung tenaciously to signs which they carried with them from place to place—and the tavern-keeper of colonial times appears to have been a roving character.

 

“HARD DRINKING PREVAILED”

 

Hard Drinking Prevailed

Some features of tavern life and some of the taverns of New York were not to be commended. The eighteenth century was a period when hard drinking pervaded not only the American colonies but England as well. Even preachers of the Gospel drank to excess. They were known to indulge at church[Pg 171] meetings so as to lose control of both speech and gait. Unable to withstand the alluring temptations, they drank to excess without forfeiting the respect of their people. The Reverend Jacob G. Green, of Morris County, New Jersey, although so pious that he would not allow any member of his family to converse on any but religious subjects on a Sunday, did not hesitate to engage[Pg 172] in the business of manufacturing distilled liquor. At funerals, as well as at weddings, wine and rum were consumed in excessive quantities, and it is a fact that persons were known to stagger in the funeral procession and at the brink of the grave. At the funeral of a colonial governor it is said that the minister’s nose glowed like a coal of fire, and the aged bearers staggered as they bore the coffin. The Reverend Samuel Melyen, pastor of the First Church of Elizabethtown, was obliged to give up his church on account of intemperance; but this did not seem to the people to be a warning example, for when his successor, Jonathan Dickinson, a young man of twenty-one, was installed, we are told that “great quantities of toddy was consumed.” When Philip Livingston died in 1749, funerals were held both at his Hudson River mansion and at his residence in Broad Street, New York. At each of these places a pipe of spiced rum was consumed, and to the eight bearers were given gloves, mourning rings, scarfs, handkerchiefs and monkey spoons. When intemperance was looked upon with such indulgence it is hardly to be expected that the young and gay men of the period would exercise much restraint; and many a convivial party at the tavern ended in a drinking bout, and sometimes in a riot of drunkenness and debauchery. A man in the condition which we of the present day would think quite drunk, and a proper subject for the care of his friends or[Pg 173] relatives, was at that time considered to have taken only a proper modicum of drink. No man was looked upon as drunk until he was entirely down and out. The prevailing formula was:

“Not drunk is he who from the floor
Can rise again and still drink more,
But drunk is he who prostrate lies,
Without the power to drink or rise.”

 

GOOD OLD MADEIRA

 

In New England rum was so extensively made[Pg 174] that the price became as low as twenty-five cents per gallon. It was popularly called “Kill-devil.” In New Jersey large quantities of apple-jack were turned out, which, when new, was quite fiery, and this was called “Jersey lightning.” Servants were not expected to be entirely free from the drinking habit, which, within certain bounds, was looked upon by their employers as pardonable. Announcement was made in the New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury of December 4, 1769, that

“An Hostler

That gets drunk no more than 12 times in a year and will bring with him a good Recommendation, is wanted. Such person will meet with encouragement by applying to H. Gaine.”

Sports and Amusements

In the middle of the eighteenth century we find that New Yorkers were fond of all kinds of sports and all kinds of amusements that were available. The city was making rapid strides in increase of wealth and population. Many of her wealthy merchants had built large and handsome houses and there was more gaiety and desire for entertainment among her people. For balls, banquets, social clubs and exhibition of all sorts, each tavern of importance had, if possible, its “long room.” There was no other provision or place for public assemblage. Some had delightful gardens attached to them, which, in summer evenings,[Pg 175] were illuminated and sometimes the guests were entertained with music. Boating and fishing were largely indulged in and people of means who lived on the waterside had pleasure boats. In 1752 John Watson was keeping the Ferry House on Staten Island. In December of that year “a Whale 45 feet in length ran ashore at Van Buskirk’s Point at the entrance of the Kills from our Bay, where, being discovered by People from Staten Island, a number of them went off and Killed him.” Mr. Watson states in an advertisement in the New York Gazette of December 11, 1752, that this whale may be seen at his house, and doubtless this announcement may have induced many to make the trip across the bay to see the whale and add to the profits of John Watson’s tavern.

The Reverend Mr. Burnaby, who visited the city about 1748, says: “The amusements are balls and sleighing expeditions in the winter, and in the summer going in parties upon the water and fishing, or making excursions into the country. There are several houses, pleasantly situated up the East River, near New York, where it is common to have turtle feasts. These happen once or twice a week. Thirty or forty gentlemen and ladies, meet and dine together, drink tea in the afternoon, fish and amuse themselves till evening, and then return home in Italian chaises (the fashionable carriage in this and most parts of America), a gentleman and lady in each chaise.” These trips up the East[Pg 176] River were made to Turtle Bay. One of the houses there about this time, or a little later, was well known as the Union Flag, situated on the post road. A lot of about 22 acres of land was attached to the tavern, extending to the river, on which was a good wharf and landing. Deep drinking and gambling were prevalent among the men, although tavern-keepers were forbidden by law from permitting gambling in their houses. Cock-fighting was a popular sport. At the sign of the Fighting Cocks—an appropriate sign—in Dock Street, “very good cocks” could be had, or at the Dog’s Head in the Porridge Pot. Steel and silver spurs could be purchased in the stores. The loser of a broad cloth coat advertises in the newspaper that it was lost on a cockfighting night (supposed taken by mistake).

The Common was a place where outdoor games were played in the daytime and bonfires built at night on festive occasions. On Monday, April 29, 1751, a great match at cricket was played here for a considerable wager by eleven Londoners against eleven New Yorkers. The newspaper account states that “The Game was play’d according to the London Method; and those who got most Notches in two Hands, to be the Winners:—The New Yorkers went in first and got 81; Then the Londoners went in and got but 43; Then the New Yorkers went in again and got 86; and the Londoners finished the Game with getting only 37 more.”

[Pg 177]The game of bowls seems to have been quite popular in the early part of the eighteenth century. It was played upon a smooth, level piece of turf from forty to sixty feet square, surrounded by a ditch about six inches deep. At the further end of the ground was placed a white ball called the jack and the bowlers endeavored, with balls from six to eight inches in diameter that were not exactly round but weighted on one side so as to roll in a curve, to make their balls lie as near to the jack as possible.

Back-gammon was an evening game at the taverns and at the coffee-house. In 1734 a partisan of the governor’s party, under the nom de plume of Peter Scheme wrote in reply to an article in Zenger’s Journal: “I also frequent the Coffee House, to take a hitt at Back-Gammon, when I have an opportunity of hearing the curious sentiments of the Courtiers (since he is pleased to call the Gentlemen who frequent that place so) concerning his Journal.” It is apparent that the popularity of the game continued for many years, for Alexander Mackraby, in a letter dated June 13, 1768, says: “They have a vile practice here, which is peculiar to the city: I mean that of playing at back-gammon (a noise I detest), which is going forward at the public coffee-houses from morning till night, frequently a dozen tables at a time.”

Horse-Racing

From the very beginning of English rule in New York, horse-racing seems to have been a[Pg 178] fashionable sport among people of means. It has been stated how Governor Nicolls established a race-course on Hempstead Plains, and since that time interest in the sport had been kept up, increasing as the population and wealth of the city increased. Races were held yearly on the Hempstead course and it is more than likely that a course was soon established on Manhattan Island. In 1733 we find an announcement in a New York newspaper that a race would be run on the 8th of October on the course at New York for a purse of upwards of four pounds by any horse, mare or gelding carrying twelve stone and paying five shillings entrance, the entrance money to go to the second horse if not distanced. There is no mention made of the location of the course, but a notice that horses that have won plate here are excepted indicates that it was probably a yearly event. Three years later we find that a subscription plate of twenty pounds’ value was to be run for on the course at New York on the 13th of October “by any horse, mare or gelding carrying ten stone (saddle and bridle included), the best of three heats, two miles each heat. Horses intended to Run for this Plate are to be entered the Day before the Race with Francis Child on Fresh Water Hill, paying a half Pistole each, or at the Post on the Day of Running, paying a Pistole.” This course on Fresh Water Hill had probably been established for some time and its location was[Pg 179] very likely near the present Chatham Square. In 1742 there was a race-course on the Church Farm in charge of Adam Vandenberg, the lessee of the farm, who was landlord of the Drovers’ Tavern, which stood on or near the site of the present Astor House.

In seeking information from the newspapers of the day in regard to horse-racing, we find very little, if any, in the news columns; but more is to be found among the advertisements. Thus, in January, 1743-4, it is announced that a race would be run on the first day of March “between a Mare called Ragged Kate, belonging to Mr. Peter De Lancey, and a Horse called Monk, belonging to the Hon. William Montagu, Esq., for £200.” It is not stated where this race was to take place, but, in all probability, it was run either on the Fresh Water Hill course or on the Church Farm. It was for an unusually large wager, and, no doubt, attracted a great deal of attention. From about this date we hear no more of the race-course on Fresh Water Hill. It may have been disturbed by the line of palisades which was built across the island during the war with France, crossing the hill between the present Duane and Pearl Streets, at which point was a large gateway.

In September, 1747, it was announced in the newspapers that a purse of not less than ten pistoles would be run for on the Church Farm on the 11th of October, two mile heats, horses that[Pg 180] had won plate on the island and a horse called Parrot excepted, the entrance money to be run for by any of the horses entered, except the winner and those distanced. We have every reason to suppose that the races were at this period a yearly event on the Church Farm, taking place in October. In 1750 it was announced in the New York Gazette in August and September that “on the Eleventh of October next, the New York Subscription Plate of Twenty Pounds’ Value, will be Run for by any Horse, Mare or Gelding that never won a Plate before on this Island, carrying Ten Stone Weight, Saddle and Bridle included, the best in three Heats, two miles in each Heat,” etc. A few days after the race the New York Gazette announced that on “Thursday last the New York Subscription Plate was run for at the Church Farm by five Horses and won by a horse belonging to Mr. Lewis Morris, Jun.”

 

A RACING TROPHY

 

[Pg 181]The next year similar announcements were made of the race, the difference being that the horses eligible must have been bred in America and that they should carry eight stone weight. The date is the same as that of the previous year, October 11. We find no record of this race in the newspapers, but the illustration which is given of the trophy won is sufficient to indicate the result. Lewis Morris, Jr., appears to have carried off the prize a second time. The plate was a silver bowl ten inches in diameter and four and one-half inches high, and the winner was a horse called Old Tenor. The bowl, represented in the cut, is in the possession of Dr. Lewis Morris, U. S. N., a lineal descendant of Lewis Morris, the signer of the Declaration of Independence and the owner of Old Tenor. The name of the horse was doubtless suggested by certain bills of credit then in circulation in New York. In an advertisement of two dwelling houses on the Church Farm for sale in April, 1755, notice is given that “Old Tenor will be taken in payment.”

The great course was on Hempstead Plains. On Friday, June 1, 1750, there was a great race here for a considerable wager, which attracted such attention that on Thursday, the day before the race, upward of seventy chairs and chaises were carried over the Long Island Ferry, besides a far greater number of horses, on their way out, and it is stated that the number of[Pg 182] horses on the plains at the race far exceeded a thousand.

In 1753 we find that the subscription plate, which had become a regular event, was run for at Greenwich, on the estate of Sir Peter Warren. Land about this time was being taken up on the Church Farm for building purposes, and this may have been the reason for the change. In 1754 there was a course on the Church Farm in the neighborhood of the present Warren Street. An account of a trial of speed and endurance was given on April 29, 1754. “Tuesday morning last, a considerable sum was depending between a number of gentlemen in this city on a horse starting from one of the gates of the city to go to Kingsbridge and back again, being fourteen miles (each way) in two hours’ time; which he performed with one rider in 1 hr. and 46 min.” The owner of this horse was Oliver De Lancey, one of the most enthusiastic sportsmen of that period. Members of the families of DeLancey and Morris were the most prominent owners of race horses. Other owners and breeders were General Monckton, Anthony Rutgers, Michael Kearney, Lord Sterling, Timothy Cornell and Roper Dawson. General Monckton, who lived for a time at the country seat called “Richmond,” owned a fine horse called Smoaker, with which John Leary, one of the best known horsemen of the day, won a silver bowl, which he refused to surrender to John Watts, the general’s[Pg 183] friend, even under threat of legal process. Several years later he was still holding it.

In January, 1763, A. W. Waters, of Long Island, issued a challenge to all America. He says: “Since English Horses have been imported into New York, it is the Opinion of some People that they can outrun The True Britton,” and he offered to race the latter against any horse that could be produced in America for three hundred pounds or more. This challenge does not seem to have been taken up until 1765, when the most celebrated race of the period was run on the Philadelphia course for stakes of one thousand pounds. Samuel Galloway, of Maryland, with his horse, Selim, carried off the honors and the purse.

Besides the course on Hempstead Plains, well known through all the colonies as well as in England, there was another on Long Island, around Beaver Pond, near Jamaica. A subscription plate was run for on this course in 1757, which was won by American Childers, belonging to Lewis Morris, Jr. There were also courses at Paulus Hook, Perth Amboy, Elizabethtown and Morristown, New Jersey, which were all thronged by the sporting gentry of New York City. James De Lancey, with his imported horse, Lath, in October, 1769, won the one hundred pound race on the Centre course at Philadelphia. The Stamp Act Congress of 1765 brought together in New York men interested in horse-racing who had never met before, and in[Pg 184] the few years intervening before the Revolution there sprang up a great rivalry between the northern and southern colonies.

Bull Baiting

The men of New York enjoyed rugged and cruel sports such as would not be tolerated at the present time. Among these were bear-baiting and bull-baiting. Bear-baiting became rare as the animals disappeared from the neighborhood and became scarce. Bulls were baited on Bayard’s Hill and on the Bowery. A bull was baited in 1763 at the tavern in the Bowery Lane known as the sign of the De Lancey Arms. John Cornell, near St. George’s Ferry, Long Island, gave notice in 1774 that there would be a bull baited on Tower Hill at three o’clock every Thursday afternoon during the season.

 

BULL BAITING, FROM AN OLD ADVERTISEMENT

 

Bowling

The taverns in the suburbs could, in many cases, have large grounds attached to the houses and they took advantage of this to make them[Pg 185] attractive. From the very earliest period of the city there were places near by which were resorted to for pleasure and recreation. One of the earliest of these was the Cherry Garden. It was situated on the highest part of the road which led to the north—a continuation of the road which led to the ferry in the time of the Dutch—at the present junction of Pearl and Cherry Streets, and was originally the property of Egbert Van Borsum, the ferryman of New Amsterdam, who gave the sea captains such a magnificent dinner. In 1672 the seven acres of this property were purchased by Captain Delaval for the sum of one hundred and sixty-one guilders in beavers, and, after passing through several hands, became the property of Richard Sacket, who had settled in the neighborhood, and established himself as a maltster. On the land had been planted an orchard of cherry trees, which, after attaining moderate dimensions, attracted great attention. To turn this to account, a house of entertainment was erected and the place was turned into a pleasure resort known as the Cherry Garden. There were tables and seats under the trees, and a bowling green and other means of diversion attached to the premises. It had seen its best days before the end of the seventeenth century.

 [Pg 186]

THE BOWLING GREEN, FROM LYNE’S MAP

 

On the borders of the Common, now the City Hall Park, was the Vineyard, which is said to have been a popular place of recreation and near the junction of what are now Greenwich and Warren Streets was the Bowling Green Garden, established there soon after the opening of the eighteenth century. It was on a part of the Church Farm, quite out of town, for there were no streets then laid out above Crown, now Liberty Street, on the west side of the town and none above Frankfort on the east. In 1735 the house of the Bowling Green Garden was occupied by John Miller, who was offering garden seeds of several sorts for sale. On March 29, 1738, it took fire and in a few minutes was completely consumed, Miller, who was then living in[Pg 187] it, saving himself with difficulty. A new house was erected and the place continued to attract visitors. There does not appear to have been any public road leading to it, but it was not a long walk or ride from the town and was finely situated on a hill near the river. In November, 1759, when it was occupied by John Marshall, the militia company of grenadiers met here to celebrate the king’s birthday, when they roasted an ox and ate and drank loyally. Marshall solicited the patronage of ladies and gentlemen and proposed to open his house for breakfasting every morning during the season. He describes it as “handsomely situated on the North River at the place known by the name of the Old Bowling Green but now called Mount Pleasant.” Some years later it became known as Vauxhall.

Bowling must have had some attraction for the people of New York, for in March, 1732-3, the corporation resolved to “lease a piece of land lying at the lower end of Broadway fronting the Fort to some of the inhabitants of the said Broadway in Order to be Inclosed to make a Bowling Green thereof, with Walks therein, for the Beauty & Ornament of the Said Street, as well as for the Recreation and Delight of the Inhabitants of this City.” In October, 1734, it was accordingly leased to Frederick Phillipse, John Chambers and John Roosevelt for ten years, for a bowling-green only, at the yearly rental of one pepper-corn. In 1742 the lease was renewed for eleven years; to commence[Pg 188] from the expiration of the first lease, at a rental of twenty shillings per annum. In January, 1745, proposals were requested for laying it with turf and rendering it fit for bowling, which shows that it was then being used for that purpose. It was known as the New or Royal Bowlling Green and the one on the Church Farm as the Old Bowling Green.

The Glass House

Some time about 1754, an attempt was made in New York to make glass bottles and other glass ware. Thomas Leppers, who had been a tavern-keeper, was storekeeper for the Glass House Company, and advertised all sorts of bottles and a variety of glassware “too tedious to mention, at reasonable rates.” He stated that gentlemen who wished bottles of any size with their names on them, “could be supplied with all expedition.” A few years later, 1758, notice was given by Matthias Ernest that the newly-erected Glass House at New Foundland, within four miles of the city, was at work and ready to supply bottles, flasks and any sort of glassware. Newfoundland was the name of a farm of about thirty-three acres, four miles from the city on the North River, extending from the present Thirty-fifth Street northward, on which this glass house had been erected. It is not unlikely that the Glass House was visited by many persons, either on business or from curiosity, and that they were there entertained by the owner or manager of the property; at any rate, it seems[Pg 189] to have acquired a reputation for good dinners. Paymaster General Mortier notes in his diary a dinner at the Glass House on February 18, 1758, which cost him 3s. 6d. The manufacture of glass was not successful, but the place became a well-known suburban resort, where good dinners were served to visitors from the city. In 1764 the Glass House was kept by Edward Agar, who, in addition to serving dinners, could furnish apartments to ladies or gentlemen who wished to reside in the country for the benefit of their health. In 1768 it was kept by John Taylor, and it was evidently then a popular resort, for a stage wagon was advertised to run out to it every day, leaving Mr. Vandenberg’s, where the Astor House now stands, at three o’clock in the afternoon.

[Pg 190]

 

 


[Pg 191]

VII

The King’s Arms

George Burns, as has been stated, was in 1753 keeping one of the best taverns in New York. Soon after this he left the city and took charge of the tavern at Trenton Ferry, which was on the great post road between New York and Philadelphia, over which flowed almost all travel between the two cities and to the south. The prospects must have been very enticing. Whether they were realized or not, Burns soon became anxious to make a change and, returning to New York, became the landlord of a tavern in Wall Street near Broadway, opposite the Presbyterian church, which was known as the Sign of Admiral Warren. Here he remained until June, 1758, when Scotch Johnny, retiring from the tavern near the Whitehall Slip, known as the Crown and Thistle, he moved into his house. The house of Scotch Johnny had been the meeting place for the St. Andrew’s Society while it was kept by him and it so continued to be after Burns became landlord.

King’s Head

Burns retained for a time the old sign of the Crown and Thistle, but some time about the[Pg 192] middle of the year 1760, took it down and hung out in its stead the sign of King George’s Head, and the tavern became known as the King’s Head. It continued to be the meeting place of the Scots’ Society. They held their anniversary meeting here on St. Andrew’s Day, Monday, November 30, 1761, and elected the Earl of Stirling, William Alexander, president of the society. The members of the society dined together as usual and in the evening a splendid ball and entertainment was given, which was attended by the principal ladies and gentlemen in the town. It was a grand and notable ball. The newspapers state that “The Company was very numerous, everything was conducted with the greatest regularity and decorum and the whole made a most brilliant and elegant appearance.”

 

Stirling

 

[Pg 193]In the latter part of the year 1761 the army was coming down from the north, there was a large camp of soldiers on Staten Island and New York City was full of officers. Burns’ house, the King’s Head, became the headquarters of the Scotch officers of the army when they were in the city and their favorite place of rendezvous. The effects of several of the Royal Highland officers, who had died, were sold at public vendue at Burns’ Long Room in November, 1762. There must have been many articles to be disposed of, for the sale was to be continued from day to day until all were sold. The effects of Lieutenant Neal, late of the 22d Regiment, consisting of wearing apparel, etc., etc., etc., etc., were sold at public vendue at the same place in December.

The King’s Arms

We have been unable to find any record to establish the fact or even a hint to justify a deduction that there ever was at any time in the colonial period any house known as Burns’ Coffee House. We believe this to be entirely a modern creation. The house described and illustrated in Valentine’s Corporation Manual of 1865 as Burns’ Coffee House, or the King’s Arms Tavern, although the statements concerning[Pg 194] it have been accepted by many writers, was never occupied by Burns; and the story of this house, as related in the Corporation Manual of 1854, is simply a strong draft on the imagination of the writer. The tavern which hung out the sign of the King’s Arms, on the corner of Broad and Dock Streets, had been also known as the Exchange Coffee House and the Gentlemen’s Coffee House, but when Burns moved into it in 1751, he dropped the name Coffee House and called it simply the King’s Arms. Mrs. Sarah Steel, in 1763, carried the sign to Broadway, as appears by the following announcement:

“Mrs. Steel Takes this Method to acquaint her Friends and Customers, That the King’s Arms Tavern, which she formerly kept opposite the Exchange she hath now removed into Broadway (the lower end, opposite the Fort), a more commodious house, where she will not only have it in her power to accommodate Gentlemen with Conveniences requisite to a Tavern, but also with genteel lodging Apartments, which she doubts not will give Satisfaction to every One who will be pleased to give her that Honour.”

Mrs. Steel, in February, 1767, advertised that the Broadway house was for sale and that the furniture, liquors, etc., would be sold whether[Pg 195] the house were sold or not. A few months previous to this announcement, Edward Bardin, probably anticipating the retirement of Mrs. Steel from business, had acquired the sign, which we presume was a favorite one, and had hung it out at his house on upper Broadway, opposite the Common. The writer of the article in the Corporation Manual gives the following advertisement, which appears in Parker’s Post Boy of May 27, 1762, as evidence that Burns occupied the house before Mrs. Steel moved into it.

“This is to give Notice to all Gentlemen and Ladies, Lovers and Encouragers of Musick, That this day will be opened by Messrs. Leonard & Dienval, Musick Masters of this city, at Mr. Burnes Room, near the Battery, a public and weekly Concert of Musick. Tickets four Shillings. N. B. The Concert is to begin exactly at 8 o’clock, and end at ten, on account of the coolness of the evening. No Body will be admitted without tickets, nor no mony will be taken at the door.”

This concert did not take place in the house on Broadway, but in the house of George Burns, the King’s Head near the Battery. Burns had succeeded Scotch Johnny, and had in his house a long room where societies met and where concerts and dinners were given on special occasions. “Burns’ Long Room” was well known at[Pg 196] that time. The following appeared in the New York Journal of April 7, 1768:

“To be let, from the 1st of May next, with or without Furniture, as may suit the tenant, the large corner house wherein Mrs. Steel lately kept the King’s Arms Tavern, near the Fort now in the possession of Col. Gabbet.”

The next year Col. Gabbet, having moved out, was living next door to the house of John Watts, who lived in Pearl Street near Moore. In 1770 Edward Bardin announced that he had taken “the large, commodious house known by the name of the King’s Arms, near Whitehall, long kept by Mrs. Steel, which he will again open as a tavern.” George Burns succeeded Bardin and kept the house for a short time in 1771.

Before the Revolutionary War there was no Whitehall Street. What is now Whitehall Street was known as Broadway. There is no doubt about this. In a list of retailers of spirituous liquors in the city of New York in April, 1776, we find one on Broadway near Pearl Street, one on Broadway near the Lower Barracks, another on Broadway opposite the Fort and two others on Broadway near the Breastworks. These were all on the present Whitehall Street. In Mrs. Steel’s announcement she states that the King’s Arms Tavern was on Broadway (the lower end opposite the Fort),[Pg 197] that is, on the present Whitehall Street. As the house was on a corner, its location was probably the corner of the present Bridge and Whitehall Streets. If there were left any doubt about this, it should be thoroughly dissipated by the advertisement, December 30, 1765, of Hetty Hayes, who made and sold pickles in her home, which she states was on Wynkoop (now Bridge) Street, near the King’s Arms Tavern. Notwithstanding the many statements to the contrary, no house known as the King’s Arms Tavern or Burns’ Coffee House ever stood on the west side of Broadway opposite the Bowling Green.

 

HOUSE BUILT BY CORNELIS STEENWYCK

 

Some time after the middle of the seventeenth[Pg 198] century Cornelis Steenwyck built a fine house on the southeast corner of the present Whitehall and Bridge Streets, and it was here no doubt, the grand dinner was given to Governor Nicolls on his departure from the province. In an inventory of Steenwyck’s estate in 1686 the house was valued at seven hundred pounds. This indicates that it was a large, and for that time, a very valuable dwelling. In the illustration copied from Valentine’s Corporation Manual of 1864, there is a sign attached to the house. We do not know the source from which this illustration was obtained, but the sign we presume to be a tavern sign, and we are inclined to think, for various reasons, that this house was for many years used as a tavern and that for a time subsequent to 1763, it was the King’s Arms. It was probably destroyed in the great fire of 1776.

About this time a man made his appearance as a tavern-keeper whose name, although he was not a hero or a great man, has come down to us, and will go down to many future generations in connection with the revolutionary history of the city. Samuel Francis was a tavern-keeper without a peer, and when the time came to decide, struck for liberty and independence, abandoned his property and stuck to his colors like a true patriot. He came to New York from the West Indies. Although from the darkness of his complexion commonly called Black Sam, he was of French descent.

Previous to 1750 Broadway did not extend to[Pg 199] the north beyond the present Vesey Street. There was a road, however, following the line of the present Broadway, known as the road to Rutger’s Farm, the residence of Anthony Rutger standing near the corner of the present Broadway and Thomas Street. Just subsequent to the year 1750 Trinity Church laid out streets through a portion of the Church Farm and leased lots on this road, on which houses were built. The first of these, as far as we can ascertain, were built by Bell and Brookman, in 1752, on lots just south of the present Murray Street, fronting on the Common, which was then an open field without fence of any kind. In 1760, Mr. Marschalk, one of the city surveyors, presented to the board of aldermen the draft or plan of a road which he had lately laid out, “beginning at the Spring Garden House and extending from thence north until it comes to the ground of the late widow Rutgers,” which was approved by the board and ordered to be recorded. Other houses were built on the Church Farm, and a few years later we find one of these, situated on the north side of Murray Street, fronting the Common, was being used as a tavern or mead house, and occupied by San Francis. In 1761 he advertised sweatmeats, pickles, portable soups, etc., at the Mason’s Arms, near the Green in the upper part of the Broadway near the Alms House. He was in New York in 1758, and his house at that time was patronized[Pg 200] by those who frequented only the best taverns in the city.

The DeLancey House

The house with which his name is indissoluably connected, the DeLancey House, on the corner of the present Broad and Pearl Streets was purchased by him in 1762. It was quite a large house and very well suited for a tavern, where it was intended that public entertainments should be given, as it had a long room that could hardly be surpassed. The lot on which the house stood was given by Stephen Van Cortlandt to his son-in-law, Stephen DeLancey, in 1700, and it is said that in 1719 Stephen DeLancey built the house on it which is still standing.

It was a handsome and conspicuous house for the period, but in the course of time DeLancey wished a change of location for his home. When he ceased to occupy it as a residence we do not know, probably on the completion of his new house on Broadway, which is said to have been built in 1730. Not long after this we find that it was being used for public purposes. In 1737, Henry Holt, the dancing master, announced that a ball would be given at the house of Mr. DeLancey, next door to Mr. Todd’s, and in February, 1739, there was given in Holt’s Long Room “the new Pantomine Entertainment, in Grotesque Characters, called The Adventures of Harlequin and Scaramouch, or the Spaniard Trick’d. To which will be added An Optick,[Pg 201] wherein will be Represented, in Perspective, several of the most noted Cities and Remarkable Places in Europe and America, with a New Prologue and Epilogue address’d to the Town.” The tickets were sold at five shillings each. This clearly shows that the long room, probably just as we can see it today, was then used for public entertainments.

 

THE DELANCEY HOUSE

 

The Queen’s Head

The house was again used as a residence. Colonel Joseph Robinson was living in it in January, 1759, when it was offered for sale, at public vendue, at the Merchants’ Coffee House. We[Pg 202] find no record of transfer, but we are inclined to believe that it was purchased by the firm of DeLancey, Robinson and Company, dealers in East India goods and army supplies, composed of Oliver DeLancey. Beverly Robinson and James Parker, for they moved into it shortly after and were the owners of it in 1762, when it was purchased by Samuel Francis, the deed bearing date January 15th of that year and the consideration named being two thousand pounds. The co-partnership of DeLancey, Robinson and Company did not expire until December, 1762; in all probability they remained in the house until that time; at any rate, Francis was in it in April, 1763, when he had hung out the sign of Queen Charlotte and opened an ordinary, announcing that dinner would be served every day at half past one o’clock. The house thereafter, for many years, was known as the Queen’s Head.

John Crawley succeeded Willett as landlord of the New York Arms. In 1762 the Assembly were having their meetings here, in what they designated as “Crawley’s New Rooms.” In April, 1763, Crawley sold out the furnishings of the house at public vendue and George Burns moved in from the King’s Head Tavern, in the Whitehall, who announced that he had “two excellent Grooms to attend to his Stables and takes in Travellers and their Horses by the Month, Quarter or Year on reasonable Terms.” Burns[Pg 203] occupied the house during the turbulent period of the Stamp Act, and it was the scene of much of the excitement incident to those times. In 1764, while Burns was keeping the Province Arms, the Paulus Hook Ferry was established and the road opened from Bergen to the Hudson River. This enabled the stage wagons from Philadelphia to bring their passengers to Paulus Hook, where they were taken over the ferry to New York. The opening of the Paulus Hook Ferry placed the Province Arms in direct line with travel passing through the city between New England and the South, and it became largely a traveler’s tavern, and in later times the starting point in New York of the Boston, Albany and Philadelphia stages.

The Stamp Act

The French and Indian War, which had commenced in 1755, resulted in the conquest of Canada; and when the British army came down to New York for embarkation they met with an enthusiastic reception and the officers were entertained by the wealthy merchants in the most hospitable manner. The province had suffered from the constant conflict on its borders and the prospect of relief from the incursions of the French and the horrible terrors of savage warfare which had been instigated by them, was the cause for great satisfaction and rejoicing. No longer threatened by the French the people were filled with hopes of great prosperity. Trade and commerce soon revived and a period of remarkable activity had just opened when all the[Pg 204] bright hopes of the merchants and of the people of New York were turned to gall and wormwood by the unwarrantable acts of Great Britain, who, instead of gratitude for the material assistance in the late war, was now calculating how much revenue might be counted upon from provinces that had shown such energy and such resources. The first important step in this direction was the passage of the Stamp Act, which received the King’s signature on the 22d of March, 1765. It was not unexpected, for the colonists had for some time been in a nervous state, with the dread of some serious encroachment on their rights and liberties. The news of the passage of the act was received in New York in April with great indignation. It was distributed through the city with the title of “The folly of England, and the ruin of America.” By law the act was to take effect on the first of November following. In the meantime it was proposed that the sense of the colonies should be taken and that they should all unite in a common petition to the King and parliament. Accordingly a congress of deputies met in New York in the early part of October, 1765, in which nine of the colonies were represented. Before this meeting the assembly of Massachusetts had denied the right of parliament to tax the colonies and Virginia had done the same. The sentiments of the congress were embodied in a very dignified and respectfully worded address[Pg 205] to the King, drawn up by a committee of three, one of whom was Robert R. Livingston, of New York. Committees were also appointed to prepare petitions to parliament which were reported and agreed to on the 22d of October.

The Non-Importation Agreement

On the last day of the same month a meeting was held by the merchants of New York to consider what should be done with respect to the Stamp Act and the melancholy state of the North American commerce, so greatly restricted by the Acts of Trade. They resolved not to order any goods shipped from Great Britain nor to sell any goods on commission until the Stamp Act should be repealed. Two hundred merchants of the city subscribed these resolutions and the retailers of the city also agreed not to buy after the first of January, 1766, any goods imported from Great Britain, unless the Stamp Act should be repealed. This meeting was held at the Province Arms, the house of George Burns, and here was signed this celebrated non-importation agreement. This was the most important political event of this eventful period, and one which, combined with like resolutions made by the merchants of Boston and Philadelphia, had more influence in causing the repeal than all the addresses, petitions and other influences put together.

On October 23d, while the Stamp Act Congress was in session, the ship Edward arrived[Pg 206] with the obnoxious stamps on board, and was convoyed to the Fort by a man-of-war, all the vessels in the harbor lowering their colors in sign of mourning, and an excited crowd watching the proceedings from the river front. In a few days the stamps were deposited in the Fort. During the night after the arrival of the Edward, written notices were posted about the city warning any one who should distribute or make use of stamped paper, to take care of his house, person or effects. The excitement among the people grew more and more intense as the time approached for the law to take effect. The morning of November 1st was ushered in by the ringing of muffled bells and display of flags at half-mast. The magistrates notified Lieutenant-Governor Golden that they were apprehensive of a mob that night. The people gathered in the Fields, and after parading the streets with effigies of the lieutenant-governor, appeared before the Fort and demanded the stamps. They broke open the lieutenant-governor’s coach-house, took out his coach, sleighs, harness and stable fittings and with the effigies burned them on the Bowling Green in front of the Fort. The mob then went to Vauxhall, the house of Major James, who had made himself very obnoxious by his braggart threats of what he would do to enforce the stamp act and stripping the house of all its furniture, books, liquors, etc., even to the doors and windows, made a bonfire of them.

As the mob passed the Merchants’ Coffee[Pg 207] House, they were encouraged by the approbation of those who frequented that place. During the day there had been on view here an open letter addressed to Golden, assuring him of his fate if he should persist in trying to put the stamp act in force. It also stated—“We have heard of your design or menace to fire upon the town in case of disturbance, but assure yourself that if you dare to perpetrate any such murderous act you’ll bring your gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.” * * * and “any man who assists you will surely be put to death.” This letter was delivered at the fort gate in the evening by an unknown hand. The next day threatening letters and messages were sent in to Governor Colden at the fort and he made a promise not to distribute the stamps, but to deliver them to Sir Henry Moore, the newly appointed governor, when he arrived. This did not satisfy the people, who demanded that they should be delivered out of the Fort and threatened to take them by force. It was then agreed that the stamps should be delivered to the mayor and deposited in the City Hall. This was done, the mayor giving his receipt for them, and tranquillity was restored.

Sir Henry Moore, the new governor, arrived on the 13th of November, and was received with all the formalities usual on such an occasion. He evidently made a favorable impression. The situation of affairs, however, presented for him a difficult problem. His first[Pg 208] question to the council was, Could the stamps be issued? which was answered unanimously in the negative. Business had come to a standstill, and the people were fretting under the restraints which the situation imposed. There were two classes; the men of property, who could afford to await the issue of conservative methods, and the middle and lower classes, who insisted that business should go on regardless of the stamps. Livingston says that a meeting of the conservatives was held at the Coffee House at ten o’clock in the morning and that although “all came prepared to form a Union, few cared openly to declare the necessity of it, so intimidated were they at the secret unknown party which had threatened such bold things.” This secret society was known by various names, but in November we find that they had adopted the name, “Sons of Liberty,” and this name was soon after used in the other colonies. The Sons of Liberty presented Sir Henry Moore a congratulatory address and on Friday, the 15th of November, met in the Fields, erected pyramids and inscriptions in his honor, and one of the grandest bonfires ever seen in the city.

On November 25th notices were posted in all parts of the city with the heading, “Liberty, Property and no Stamps,” inviting a general meeting of the inhabitants on the 26th at Burns’ City Arms Tavern in order to agree upon instructions to their representatives in the general assembly. Although opposition to the Stamp Act[Pg 209] was unanimous the people were not in accord on the means of redress. The notices were twice torn down by those who did not know or who were not in sympathy with the objects of the meeting, and were as often replaced by the promoters of the meeting. About twelve hundred persons assembled.[1] The committee appointed to present the instructions was composed of Henry Cruger, John Vanderspiegel, David Van Home, James Jauncey, Walter Rutherford, John Alsop, William Livingston, William Smith, Jr., Whitehead Hicks, John Morin Scott, James DeLancey and John Thurman, Jr., who fairly represented the different shades of opinion.

The Sons of Liberty

Early in January, 1766, the Sons of Liberty threw off the mask of secrecy. On the evening of January 7th, a great number of members of the Society met at the house of William Howard, the tavern previously occupied by Sam Francis and John Jones, in the Fields, which for a time became their headquarters. They agreed to a series of resolutions advocating action of the most vigorous nature towards all those who “may either carry on their business on stamped paper or refuse to carry it on independently of the odious act.” They adjourned to meet at the same place a fortnight later, and continued to meet at regular intervals thereafter. At a regular meeting on Tuesday, February 4th, a committee was appointed to[Pg 210] correspond with the Sons of Liberty in the neighboring colonies, composed of Lamb, Sears, Robinson, Wiley and Mott. The next meeting was appointed to be held on Tuesday evening the 18th instant.

Repeal of the Stamp Act

On March 18, 1766, the King gave his assent to the repeal of the Stamp Act “in sorrow and despite.” Thereupon there was great rejoicing in the English capital. The happy event was celebrated by dinner, bonfires and a general display of flags. On the 24th there was a meeting of the principal merchants concerned in the American trade, at the King’s Head Tavern, in Cornhill, to consider an address to the King. They went from this place, about eleven o’clock in the morning, in coaches, to the House of Peers to pay their duty to his majesty and to express their satisfaction at his signing the bill repealing the American Stamp Act. There were upwards of fifty coaches in the procession.[2]

On Tuesday, May 20th, the glorious news of the repeal was received in New York from different quarters, which was instantly spread throughout the city, creating the greatest excitement. All the bells of the different churches were rung and joy and satisfaction were on every face. The next day the Sons of Liberty caused to be printed and distributed the following Hand Bill:

[Pg 211]“THIS DAY

“On the glorious Occasion of a total Repeal of the Stamp Act there will be a general Meeting and Rejoicing at the House of Mr. Howard, The Lovers of Their Country loyal Subjects of his Majesty, George the Third, King of Great Britain, real Sons of Liberty of all Denominations are hereby cordially invited to partake of the essential and long look’d for Celebration.

“The city will be illuminated and every decent measure will be observed in demonstrating a sensible Acknowledgement of Gratitude to our illustrious Sovereign, and never to be forgotten Friends at Home and Abroad, particularly the Guardian of America.”

Preparations were accordingly made and measures taken for carrying out these designs. The Sons of Liberty repaired to the “Field of Liberty,” as they called the Common, where they had often met, where a royal salute of twenty-one guns was fired. Attended by a band of music they then marched to their usual resort, which was the house of William Howard, where an elegant entertainment had been prepared for them. After they had dined in the most social manner they drank cheerfully to twenty-eight toasts, the number of the years of the King’s age. At the first toast—The King—the royal salute was repeated, and each of the[Pg 212] following was saluted with seven guns. In the evening there were bonfires and a grand illumination. Announcement was made in the newspapers that “The Sons of Liberty of New York take this early opportunity of most cordially saluting and congratulating all their American Brethren on this glorious and happy event.”

Shortly after this occurred the anniversary of the King’s birthday and the people were so rejoiced and elated by the repeal that they resolved to make of it an opportunity to show their gratitude and thanks, and so great preparations were made for the event, which was to be on the 4th of June. More extensive preparations were made than for any previous celebration of this kind. The day opened with the ringing of the bells of all the churches in the city. By seven o’clock preparations began for roasting whole, two large, fat oxen, on the Common, where the people soon began to gather to gaze at the “mighty roast beef.” At 12 o’clock a gun was fired from the Fort as a signal for the council, the general, the militia officers, the corporation and gentlemen to wait on the governor to drink the King’s health and never on such an occasion before was the company so numerous or splendid. Now the Battery breaks forth in a royal salute and the air is filled “with joyful Acclamations of Long Live the King, the Darling of the People.” Soon after, this salute was answered by the men-of-war and the merchant vessels in the harbor, “decked in all the[Pg 213] Pageantry of Colors.” The people were gathered on the Common, where a large stage had been erected, on which were twenty-five barrels of strong beer, a hogshead of rum, sugar and water to make punch, bread and other provisions for the people, and on each side a roasted ox. At one end of the Common was a pile of twenty cords of wood, in the midst of which was a stout mast with a platform on top of it, on which had been hoisted twelve tar and pitch barrels. This was for the magnificent bonfire. At the other end of the Common were stationed twenty-five pieces of cannon for the salutes, and at the top of the mast which had been erected, was a flagstaff with colors displayed. The grand dinner on this unusual occasion was served at the New York Arms, the house of George Burns, on Broadway. It was prepared by order of the principal citizens and was honored by the presence of the governor, the general, the military officers, the clergy, the gentlemen of the city, and strangers. “It consisted of many Covers and produced near a hundred Dishes.”[3] One newspaper states that there were about 340 in the company. At the King’s health a royal salute was fired by the guns on the Common, and at each toast afterward a salute was given up to twenty-eight, the number of years of the King’s age. The Common was in sight so that signals for these could easily be given. The toasts numbered forty-one, and are said to have been “respectfully[Pg 214] preferred and eagerly swallowed.” We feel justified in the belief that this was the largest dinner and one of the most important that had ever been served in New York. In the evening the whole town was illuminated in the grandest manner ever seen before, especially the houses of the governor and the general.

 

LIBERTY BOYS

 

[Pg 215]The assembly met on June 16th, and on the 23d a large meeting was held at the Merchants’ Coffee Mouse, where a petition was prepared, addressed to the assembly, for the election of a brass statue of Pitt, who was considered the great friend of America. On the very day of this meeting the house, it appears, made provision for an equestrian statue of the King and a brass statue of William Pitt. Tranquillity seems to have been restored, but it was not long before new causes of dissatisfaction arose.

Liberty Pole

The victory of the colonists in causing the repeal of the Stamp Act could not fail to produce some feeling of bitterness in the officers of the crown, and there were some who took no pains to conceal their dissatisfaction. The soldiers, aware of the feeling of their officers, were ready on all occasions to show their hostility. The mast or flagpole which had been erected on the north side of the Common, opposite a point between Warren and Chambers Streets, on the anniversary of the King’s birthday, and dedicated to King George, Pitt and Liberty, later called Liberty Pole, held by the citizens of New York as the emblem of their principles, was, in the night of Sunday, August 10, 1766, cut down by some of the soldiers of the 28th regiment, quartered in the barracks, nearby. The people considered the destruction of the pole an insult. When a large assemblage of two or three thousand[Pg 216] people gathered on the Common the next day, headed by Isaac Sears, to take measures to replace their standard and demand an explanation, the soldiers interfered and a disturbance ensued in which the people used stones and brickbats to defend themselves and the soldiers used their bayonets. As the unarmed people retreated several were wounded with the weapons of the assailants. On the 12th a new pole was erected on the site of the first. After this disturbance, the magistrates of the city and the officers of the regiment met in the presence of the governor, and an amicable conclusion was reached which it was supposed would prevent further trouble; but notwithstanding this the second pole was cut down on Tuesday, September 23d. On the next day another was erected in its place, without any serious disturbance.

The contest over the Liberty Pole continued until the opening of the War of the Revolution. It made the place where the pole stood a center of disturbance and the taverns on Broadway, near by, places, at times, of considerable excitement. On the first anniversary of the repeal preparations were made to celebrate the event. The people gathered at the Liberty Pole on the 18th of March and at the appointed time met at Bardin’s King’s Arms Tavern to dine and drink toasts appropriate to the occasion. This could not justly have given any offense, but such rejoicing by the people was unpleasant to the officers of the army, and the soldiers looked upon[Pg 217] it as a celebration of the defeat of the King and parliament whom they served. That night the third pole was cut down by the soldiers, who had become excited by what they had seen during the day.

The next day a larger and more substantial pole was erected in place of the one cut down, secured with iron to a considerable height above the ground. Attempts were made the same night both to cut it down and to undermine it, but without effect. On Saturday night, the 21st, there was an attempt made to destroy it by boring a hole into it and charging it with powder, but this also failed. On Sunday night a strong watch was set by the citizens at an adjacent house, probably Bardin’s. During the night a small company of soldiers appeared with their coats turned, armed with bayonets and clubs, but finding that they were watched, after some words, retired. On Monday, about six o’clock in the evening, a party of soldiers marched past the pole and as they went by the King’s Arms fired their muskets at the house. One ball passed through the house and another lodged in one of the timbers. On Tuesday, about one o’clock in the afternoon, the same company of soldiers, as is supposed, took a ladder from a new building and were proceeding towards the pole, when they were stopped and turned back. The governor, the general and the magistrates then took measures to prevent further trouble, and the newspaper states that “we hope this[Pg 218] matter, in itself trivial and only considered of importance by the citizens as it showed an intention to offend and insult them will occasion no further difference.”

Vauxhall Garden

Readers of the literature of the eighteenth century are familiar with the names of Ranelagh and Vauxhall, resorts of the idle and gay of London society. The success and reputation of these places brought forward imitators in all parts of the British dominions; and New York had both a Vauxhall and a Ranelagh. Sam Francis obtained possession of the place on the Church Farm, which had, early in the century, been known as the Bowling Green, later as Mount Pleasant, and opened it as a pleasure resort, which he called Vauxhall. A ball, which seems to have been of some importance, was given here about the first of June, 1765. Shortly after it became the residence of Major James, and was wrecked by the infuriated populace on November 1st. In June, 1768, Francis announced that while he had been absent from the city the house and garden had been occupied by Major James, that they were then in good order, and that he had provided everything necessary to accommodate his old friends and customers. The next month, still calling the place Vauxhall Garden, he gave notice that from eight in the morning till ten at night, at four shillings each person, could be seen at the garden a group of magnificent wax figures, “Ten[Pg 219] in number, rich and elegantly dressed, according to the ancient Roman and present Mode; which figures bear the most striking resemblance to real life and represent the great Roman general, Publius Scipio, who conquered the city of Carthage, standing by his tent pitched in a grove of trees.” Francis continued in the place, putting forward various attractions, until 1774. He appears to have been a man of much business. His absence from the city, which he alludes to, may have been caused by his interests in Philadelphia, where at that time he had a tavern in Water Street, in front of which he hung out the sign of Queen Charlotte, the same as at his New York house.

Ranelagh Garden

The Ranelagh Garden was opened by John Jones, in June, 1765, for breakfast and evening entertainment. It was said that the grounds had been laid out at great expense and that it was by far the most rural retreat near the city. Music by a complete band was promised for every Monday and Thursday evening during the summer season. In the garden was a commodious hall for dancing, with drawing rooms neatly fitted up. The very best “alamode beef,” tarts, cakes, etc., were served, and on notice, dinners or other large entertainments would be provided. Mr. Leonard was announced to sing a solo and Mr. Jackson was to give three songs. The place had been the old homestead of Colonel Anthony Rutgers, where he had lived many[Pg 220] years, near the present corner of Broadway and Thomas Street. It afterwards became the site of the New York Hospital, which stood there for almost a century. These summer entertainments were kept up for several years. In 1768 the garden was opened in the latter part of June, and notice was given that there would be performed a concert of vocal and instrumental music, the vocal parts by Mr. Woods and Miss Wainright, and by particular request, “Thro’ the Woods, Laddie,” would be sung by Miss Wainright; after which would be exhibited some curious fireworks by the two Italian brothers, whose performances had given so much satisfaction to the public. Tickets to be had at the gate for two shillings.

 [Pg 221]

AT RANELAGH

 

When Edward Bardin opened the King’s Arms Tavern, on Broadway, in 1766, following the example of Jones in his Ranelagh Garden, he opened a concert of music for the entertainment of ladies and gentlemen, to be continued on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the summer season at the King’s Arms Garden. He gave notice that a convenient room had been filled up in the garden for the retreat of the company in unfavorable weather, and he stated that the countenance which had been given him warranted him, he thought, in expecting a continuance of the public favor. Having in mind the prejudice of the community against the theater he stated that he had provided an entertainment that would not offend “the most[Pg 222] delecate of Mankind, as every possible precaution had been taken to prevent disorder and irregularity.”

During the exciting times following the passage of the Stamp Act there was a strong sentiment against the theatre among the people, “who thought it highly improper that such entertainments should be exhibited at this time of public distress.” The managers of the theatre in Chapel Street announced in their advertisement that “As the packet is arrived, and has been the messenger of good news relative to the Repeal, it is hoped the public has no objection to the above performance.” Although forewarned, the play was attempted and the house was wrecked by a mob. Under such circumstances it is not surprising that the people should turn to some more sober kind of entertainments. We give below the complete announcement of a concert of vocal and instrumental music, given at the New York Arms Tavern, in October, 1766, which is interesting in many ways.

“By Particular Desire of a good number of Ladies and Gentlemen of Credit and Character in the City.

There will be a Concert of Vocal and Instrumental Music at Mr. Burns’ New Room, to-morrow being the 28 Instant; to begin at 6 o’clock in the Evening. This Concert will consist of nothing but Church Musick, in which will be introduced a new Te Deum, Jublate Deo, Cantata[Pg 223] Domino and Deus Misereatur, with an Anthem (in which there is an Obligato Part for a Harp, as there is also in the Cantata Domino), with several other pieces of Church Musick intermixed with other Instrumental Performances in order to ease the Voices. The whole to conclude with a Martial Psalm, viz. the 49th. Tate and Brady’s Version, accompanied with all the instruments and a pair of Drums.

N. B. There will be more than Forty Voices and Instruments in the Chorus.

Tickets to be had of Mr. Tuckey in Pearl Street near the Battery at Four Shillings each, who would take it as a great favor of any Gentlemen who sing or play on any Instrument to lend him their kind assistance in the performance and give him timely notice that there may be a sufficient Number of Parts wrote out.”

In November, 1766, a call was issued to the merchants announcing that a petition to the House of Commons was being prepared, setting forth the grievances attending the trade of the colony, requesting redress therein, which would be produced at five o’clock on Friday evening, the 28th, at Burns’ Long Room and publicly read. The merchants and traders of the city were requested to attend and subscribed their names, as it was a matter of great importance and would probably be productive of good results.[4] We can find no further notice of the meeting or the results. The critical situation of[Pg 224] affairs may have prevented a consummation of the project.

It was about this time that the menacing instructions to the governor in regard to compliance with the act for quartering troops arrived. England had determined to send troops to America, and required that the expense of quartering these troops should be borne by the colonies. The assembly of New York, in June, positively refused to comply with the act of parliament in this respect, agreeing only to supply barracks, furniture, etc., for two batallions of five hundred men each, declaring that they would do no more. The governor made his report and new instructions were sent out stating that it was the “indispensable duty of his majesty’s subjects in America to obey the acts of the legislature of Great Britain,” and requiring cheerful obedience to the act of parliament for quartering the King’s troops “in the full extent and meaning of the act.” The assembly did not recede from the stand they had taken at the previous session.

The aspect of affairs grew unpromising and portentious. It seriously affected trade. News from England indicated that parliament would take measures to enforce the billeting act. When the assembly of New York met in the latter part of May, 1767, the house voted a supply for the quartering of the King’s troops, which came up[Pg 225] to the sum which had been prescribed by parliament. In the meantime it had been moved and enacted in parliament that until New York complied with the billeting act her governor should assent to no legislation, and by act of parliament a duty was placed on glass, paper, lead, colors and especially on tea. The disfranchisement of New York was of no practical effect, but it created great uneasiness and alarm in all the colonies.

The position which the Merchants’ Coffee House held in the community is shown by the fact that when Governor Moore received the news of the result of the unprecedented appeal made by Lieutenant-Governor Colden from the verdict of a jury in the case of Forsay and Cunningham he transmitted it to the people by obligingly sending intelligence to the Coffee House that the decision was that there could be no appeal from the verdict of a jury; which was very gratifying to the people, who were much stirred up over such action on the part of Colden.

The Whitehall Coffee House, opened by Rogers and Humphreys, in 1762, whose announcement indicates that they aspired to a prominent place for their house, also shows what was the custom of a house of this kind to do for its patrons. They gave notice that “a correspondence is settled in London and Bristol to remit by[Pg 226] every opportunity all the public prints and pamphlets as soon as published; and there will be a weekly supply of New York, Boston and other American papers.” The undertaking was of short duration.

 

 


[Pg 227]

VIII

Hampden Hall

The Queen’s Head

In May, 1767, Bolton and Sigell moved into the house of Samuel Francis, near the Exchange, lately kept by John Jones, known as the Queen’s Head Tavern, and, as strangers, solicited the favor of the public. This tavern shortly after, and for some time, was the scene of much of the excitement connected with the period.

In January, 1768, the committee appointed at a meeting of the inhabitants of the city on the 29th of December just past to consider the expediency of entering into measures to promote frugality and industry and employ the poor, gave notice that they would be ready to make their report on the matter on Monday evening, the 25th, at five o’clock at Bolton and Sigell’s, and the people were requested to attend in order to receive the report and consider the matter. The proposed meeting was adjourned for a week, when, on February 2d, the report was delivered, approved, and directions given for carrying it into execution.

Second Non-Importation Agreement

On March 31, 1768, a meeting was called at Bolton and Sigell’s to answer letters from the[Pg 228] merchants of Boston. This meeting not being well attended, a second was called for April 7. This resulted in the second non-importation agreement by the merchants of the city who came to “an agreement not to import any goods from Great Britain that shall be shipped there after the first of October next, until a certain Act of Parliament is repealed, provided the Merchants of Philadelphia and Boston come into the same Measures.”

Chamber of Commerce New York

It is more than likely that the merchants of New York had for some time been aware of the necessity or advantage of some sort of organization among themselves for the benefit of trade. In March, 1764, we find that a call was issued, earnestly requesting the merchants of the city to meet at the Queen’s Head Tavern, near the Exchange, on business of great importance to trade; and on May 5, 1766, the merchants of the city were requested to meet at the house of George Burns, the New York Arms, at four o’clock in the afternoon on business for the good of this province and continent in general. Following the Stamp Act and the non-importation agreement there was great political excitement; money was scarce; business was depressed; and foreign trade was unsettled and uncertain. In this situation the merchants of[Pg 229] New York, having seen the success of union in the non-importation agreement, met in the Long Room of the Queen’s Head Tavern, kept by Bolton and Sigell on April 8, 1768, and there formed themselves into a society which they styled the New York Chamber of Commerce, which has been in existence since that date, the oldest mercantile organization in America. The twenty-four members who then constituted the society elected John Cruger president, Hugh Wallace vice president and Elias Desbrosses treasurer.

A meeting of the New York merchants was called at Bolton and Sigell’s on August 25, 1768, to further consider the non-importation agreement, which had been signed very generally in the city, and in November, in consequence of reports in circulation, the principal merchants and traders of the city were waited on, and report was made that it appeared that they had in general inviolably adhered to the true spirit of their agreement in making out their orders. The subscribers to the agreement met at Bolton and Sigell’s on Monday, March 13, 1769, when a “committee was appointed to inquire into and inspect all European importations, in order to a strict compliance with the said agreement and also to correspond with the other colonies.” The assembly in April passed a vote of thanks to the merchants for their patriotic conduct, and instructed the speaker to signify the same to them at their next monthly meeting. John[Pg 230] Cruger, the speaker of the house, was also president of the Chamber of Commerce, and this vote of thanks was delivered to the merchants at the first meeting of the Chamber of Commerce in their new quarters, the large room over the Royal Exchange, their previous meetings having been held in the Long Room of the Queen’s Head Tavern.

Anniversary of the Repeal

The second anniversary of the repeal of the Stamp Act was celebrated on Friday, the 18th of March, by a numerous company of the principal merchants and other respectable inhabitants of the city, “Friends to Constitutional Liberty and Trade,” at Bardin’s tavern opposite the Common on Broadway and at Jones’s tavern which was said to be nearly adjoining. The meeting at Jones’s was called by the “Friends of Liberty and Trade,” who requested those inclined to celebrate the day to give in their names by Wednesday at farthest to John Jones inn-holder in the Fields or to the printer, and receive tickets for the occasion. There were many who, although zealous in every measure for the repeal of the Stamp Act, now leaned to the side of moderation. They styled themselves Friends of Liberty and Trade, as distinct from the more orthodox or more radical Sons of Liberty. The two factions on this occasion seem to have met in perfect harmony, although later there appeared considerable feeling between them. Union flags were displayed and an[Pg 231] elegant dinner was served at each place. A band of music was provided for the occasion and in the evening some curious fireworks were played off for the entertainment of the company. Among the toasts drunk were: “The Spirited Assembly of Virginia in 1765,” “The Spirited Assembly of Boston” and “Unanimity to the Sons of Liberty in America.”

Effigies Burned

On Monday, November 14, 1768, a report was current in the city that the effigies of Bernard, the obnoxious governor of Massachusetts, and Greenleaf, the sheriff of Boston, were to be exhibited in the streets that evening. At four o’clock in the afternoon the troops in the city appeared under arms at the lower barracks, where they remained until about ten o’clock at night, during which time parties of them continually patrolled the streets, in order, it is supposed, to intimidate the inhabitants and prevent the exposing of the effigies. Notwithstanding this vigilance on the part of the soldiers, the Sons of Liberty appeared in the streets with the effigies hanging on a gallows, between eight and nine o’clock, attended by a vast number of spectators, and were saluted with loud huzzas at the corner of every street they passed. After exposing the effigies at the Coffee House, they were publicly burned amidst the clamor of the people, who testified their approbation and then quietly dispersed to their homes. The city magistrates had received notice of what was intended, and constables[Pg 232] were sent out to prevent it, but either deceived or by intention they did not reach the scene of action until all was over. This seems strange, as the Coffee House was not far from the City Hall, and the lime tree in front of it, the scene of the burning, was in full view.

The Boston Letter

The letter which the assembly of the Massachusetts colony had sent to her sister colonies in the early part of the year 1768, inviting united measures to obtain redress of grievances, was denounced by the Earl of Hillsborough, then lately appointed secretary of state for America, “as of a most dangerous and factious tendency.” The colonies were forbidden to receive or reply to it, and an effort was made to prevent all correspondence between them. This was ineffectual. Committees were appointed to petition the King and to correspond with Massachusetts and Virginia. Some of the assemblies, for refusing to comply with the demands of Hillsborough, were prorogued by the governors. A great public meeting was called in New York for Thursday, November 24, at which instructions to the city members of the assembly were adopted and signed by many of the principal citizens. The instructions called for the reading in the assembly of the Boston letter, which had fallen under the censure of Hillsborough, and to which he had forbidden the colonies to make reply. That these instructions were delivered is more than probable. Whether influenced by[Pg 233] them or not, the assembly, in committee of the whole on December 31, declared for “an exact equality of rights among all his Majesty’s subjects in the several parts of the empire; the right of petition, that of internal legislature, and the undoubted right to correspond and consult with any of the neighboring colonies or with any other of his Majesty’s subjects, outside of this colony, whenever they conceived the rights, liberties, interests or privileges of this house or its constituents to be affected,” and appointed a committee of correspondence. These resolutions could not be tolerated by Governor Moore. He dissolved the assembly. This caused a new election which was attended with considerable excitement. It was called for Monday, January 23, 1769. The Church of England party put up as candidates, James DeLancey, Jacob Walton, John Cruger and James Jauncey. These were the former members, with the exception of John Cruger, who took the place of Philip Livingston, who declined the office. A meeting in the interest of the above candidates was called at the house of George Burns, the New York Arms, for Saturday, the 21st, at five o’clock in the evening. They were elected and on Friday the 27th, after the closing of the polls, they were escorted from the City Hall with music playing and colors flying down Broadway and through the main street (now Pearl Street) to the Coffee House. The windows along the route were filled with ladies and numbers of the principal inhabitants[Pg 234] graced the procession. It was “one of the finest and most agreeable sights ever seen in the city.” The four gentlemen elected generously gave two hundred pounds for the benefit of the poor.

Saturday, March 18, 1769, being the anniversary of the repeal of the Stamp Act, the Liberty Colors, inscribed with “G. R. III, Liberty and Trade,” were hoisted on the ancient Liberty Pole, and at the house of Edward Smith, on the corner of Broadway and Murray street, the Genuine Sons of Liberty dined and drank toasts appropriate to the occasion, one of which was to “The ninety-two members of the Massachusetts assembly who voted the famous Boston letter.” There was another meeting to celebrate the day at the house of Vandewater (“otherwise called Catemut’s”), which was conducted in much the same manner and where similar toasts were drunk.

By common consent the taverns on Broadway, fronting on the Common or Fields, near the Liberty Pole, were the places selected for celebrating the anniversaries of the important events connected with the stamp act period. It was on Wednesday, November 1, 1769, that a number of the Sons of Liberty met at the house of Abraham De La Montagnie to celebrate “the day on which the inhabitants of this colony nobly determined not to surrender their rights to arbitrary power, however august.” De La Montagnie had succeeded Bardin, and was now the landlord of the house which Edward Bardin had[Pg 235] occupied for some years, fronting on the Common. Here the entertainment was given and after dinner appropriate toasts were drank “in festive glasses.” Among the first of these was “May the North American Colonies fully enjoy the British Constitution.”

 

CORNER OF BROADWAY AND MURRAY STREET, 1816

 

Liberty Pole Destroyed

Battle of Golden Hill

On the night of January 13, 1770, an attempt was made by the soldiers to destroy the Liberty[Pg 236] Pole by sawing off the spurs or braces around it and by exploding gunpowder in a hole bored in the wood in order to split it. They were discovered and the attempt was unsuccessful. Exasperated at this, they attacked some citizens near, followed them into the house of De La Montagnie with drawn swords and bayonets, insulted the company, beat the waiter, assaulted the landlord in one of the passages of the house and then proceeded to break everything they could conveniently reach, among other things eighty-four panes of glass in the windows. Officers appearing, they quickly withdrew to their barracks. Three days after this, in the night of January 16, the soldiers succeeded in destroying the pole completely, which they sawed into pieces and piled before De La Montagnie’s door. The next day there was a great meeting in the Fields, where the pole had stood, when it was resolved by the people that soldiers found out of barracks at night after roll-call should be treated as enemies of the peace of the city. In reply to these resolves a scurrilous placard was printed, signed “The Sixteenth Regiment of Foot,” and posted through the city. Attempts to prevent this was the cause of several serious affrays, the principal one of which took place a little north of the present John street, a locality then called Golden Hill, in which one citizen was killed and several[Pg 237] severely wounded. Many of the soldiers were badly beaten. This affair has been called the Battle of Golden Hill, and it has been claimed that here was shed the first blood in the cause of American Independence.

At the meeting in the Fields on the 17th, a committee had been appointed who, as instructed, petitioned the corporation for permission to erect a new pole on the spot where the one destroyed had stood or if preferred, opposite Mr. Vandenbergh’s, near St. Paul’s Church, a small distance from where the two roads meet. It was stated in the petition that if the corporation should not think proper to grant permission for erecting the pole, the people were resolved to procure a place for it on private ground. The petition was rejected and purchase was made of a piece of ground, eleven feet wide and one hundred feet long, very near to the place where the former pole had stood. Here a hole was dug twelve feet deep to receive the pole which was being prepared at the shipyards. The lower part of the mast was covered to a considerable height with iron bars placed lengthwise, over which were fastened strong iron hoops. When finished the pole was drawn through the streets by six horses, decorated with ribbons and flags. Music was supplied by a band of French horns. The pole was strongly secured in the earth by timbers and great stones, so as to defy all further attempts to prostrate it.[Pg 238] On the top was raised a mast twenty-two feet in height with a gilt vane and the word Liberty in large letters.

Hampden Hall

Abraham De La Montagnie had suffered his house to become the resort of many who belonged to the moderate party or the Friends of Liberty and Trade, who, early in the year 1770, engaged his house for the celebration of the anniversary of the repeal. The Sons of Liberty in the early part of February invited those who wished to celebrate the anniversary to join them at De La Montagnie’s tavern, whereupon De La Montagnie issued a card, stating that his house had been engaged by a number of gentlemen for that purpose, and that he could entertain no others. The indications are that this was then the only tavern near the Liberty Pole that was available, Jones and Smith having left the neighborhood, but the more radical Sons of Liberty, not to be thus frustrated, purchased the house which had been formerly occupied by Edward Smith, and gave notice, inviting all those in sympathy with them to join them there in the celebration. They called the house they had purchased Hampden Hall, and it remained their headquarters for some time. It was managed by Henry Bicker as its landlord.

Anniversary Dinners

The 18th of March being Sunday, the anniversary of the repeal of the Stamp Act was celebrated on Monday the 19th. At the tavern of De La Montagnie, while the Liberty Colors[Pg 239] (ascribed to G. R. III, Liberty and Trade) were hoisted on the Liberty Pole, two hundred and thirty citizens, Friends to Liberty and Trade, sat down to an elegant dinner prepared for them. Appropriate toasts were drunk, one of which was “Liberty, Unanimity and Perseverance to the true Sons of Liberty in America.” On the same day “in union and friendship” with these a number of gentlemen celebrated the day by a dinner at the house of Samuel Waldron, at the ferry on Long Island, where, it is said, the toasts drunk were the same as at De La Montagnie’s. The radical party of the Sons of Liberty celebrated “the repeal of the detestable stamp act” at Hampden Hall, on which colors were displayed, as well as on the Liberty Pole opposite to it. The company, it is said, numbered about three hundred gentlemen, freeholders and freemen of the city, who met to celebrate “that memorable deliverance from the chains which had been forged for the Americans by a designing and despotic Ministry.” An elegant dinner had been provided, but before they sat down the company “nominated ten of their number to dine with Captain McDougal at his chambers in the New-Gaol,” where a suitable dinner had also been provided. Captain McDougal was being held in jail for libel as the author of a paper signed “A Son of Liberty,” addressed “to the betrayed inhabitants of New York,” which[Pg 240] reflected the severest criticisms of the assembly for voting supplies to the King’s troops. This paper was held by the assembly to be an infamous and scandalous libel. He was also accused of being the author of another paper signed “Legion,” describing the action of the assembly as “base, inglorious conduct,” which the assembly resolved was infamous and seditious. After dinner, a committee was appointed to send two barrels of beer and what was left of the dinner to the poor prisoners in the jail, which were received with great thanks. Many appropriate toasts were drunk as usual, and a little before sunset the company from Hampden Hall, joined by a number of people in the Fields, with music playing and colors flying, marched to the new jail, where they saluted Captain McDougal with cheers. He appeared at the grated window of the middle story, and in a short address thanked them for this mark of their respect. The company then returned to the Liberty Pole and as the sun was setting hauled down the flag. They then marched down Chapel Street to the Coffee House and back up Broadway to the Liberty Pole and quietly dispersed.

 [Pg 241]

A. McDougall

 

The celebration of the anniversary of the repeal apparently caused some bitterness of feeling between the factions which dined at De La Montagnie’s and that which dined at Hampden Hall, if it did not previously exist. An article appeared in the newspaper declaring that the statement that about three hundred persons dined at Hampden Hall was not true, that only about one hundred and twenty-six dined there and paid for their dinners, including boys, and that the first toast which these loyal Sons of Liberty actually drank was not “The King,” as reported in the newspapers, but “May the American Colonies fully enjoy the British Constitution.” The writer also took exception to many other statements in the account which was given in the papers. A reply was made to this in which affidavit was made by Henry Bicker that on the occasion there dined at his house,[Pg 242] according to the best of his judgment, about three hundred persons, and that the assertion that there were no more than about one hundred and twenty-six was absolutely false. In the matter of the toasts, as showing in a measure how such affairs were conducted, we think it best to give the explanation in full as follows: “The truth of the Matter is just this. Several Gentlemen drew up a set of Toasts proper for the day, and to save the trouble of copying them, got a few printed to serve the different tables. When the committee who were appointed to conduct the business of the day came to peruse the toasts, they altered the one and transposed the one before dinner, and I do assert that they were drank in the manner and order they were published in this, Parker’s and Gaine’s papers; for the truth of this I appeal to every gentleman who dined at Hampden Hall that day.”

The house which Bicker occupied had always been used as a tavern. When the lease of the property, having eleven years to run, was offered for sale in 1761, it was described as “two lots of ground on Trinity Church Farm, on which are two tenements fronting Broadway and a small tenement fronting Murray Street; the two tenements fronting Broadway may be occupied in one for a public house.” It was purchased by John Jones, and when he offered it for sale in 1765, he stated that there was a very commodious dancing room adjoining, forty-five feet[Pg 243] long, which was probably in the building fronting on Murray Street. Jones moved out of the house in 1766 to the Queen’s Head, but returned when the Queen’s Head was taken by Bolton and Sigell, and occupied for a time either a part of the house or the whole. It was purchased in 1768 by Roger Morris. When the Sons of Liberty purchased the lease, it had only a short time to run, not more than one or two years.

Hampden Hall Attacked by the Soldiers

About eleven o’clock on Saturday night, the 24th of March, fourteen or fifteen soldiers were seen about the Liberty Pole, which one of them had ascended in order to take off and carry away the topmast and vane. Finding they were discovered they attacked some young men who came up and drove them from the green and then retired. Soon after, about forty or fifty of them came out armed with cutlasses and attacked a number of people who had come up to the pole on the alarm given. A few of these retreated to the house of Mr. Bicker, which was soon besieged by the soldiers, who endeavored to force an entrance. Bicker, thinking himself and family in danger, stood with his bayonet fixed, determined to defend his family and his house to the last extremity, declaring that he would shoot the first man who should attempt to enter. He succeeded in getting the doors of the house closed and barred, when the soldiers tried to break open the front windows,[Pg 244] one of which they forced open, broke all the glass and hacked the sash to pieces. They threatened to burn the house and destroy every one in it. Some citizens who had been on the ground, gave the alarm by ringing the Chapel bell, upon hearing which, the soldiers retreated precipitately. The men of the 16th regiment swore that they would carry away with them a part of the pole as a trophy, but a watch was kept by the people and they sailed away in a few days for Pensacola, without accomplishing their design. This was the last effort of the soldiers to destroy the Liberty Pole, which remained standing until prostrated by order of the notorious Cunningham, Provost Marshal of the British army in New York in 1776.

To encourage the home manufacture of woolen cloth the Sons of Liberty met on Tuesday, April 6, 1769, at the Province Arms, and unanimously subscribed an agreement not to purchase nor eat any lamb in their families before the first of August next.

The Freemasons met at Burns’ tavern on May 27, 1769, at five o’clock in the afternoon, and from thence marched in procession to the John Street Theater, to witness the special performance of The Tender Husband, given here for the first time.

In March, 1770, the partnership of Bolton and Sigell was dissolved, Bolton alone continuing in the Queen’s Head, but only for a short time, for in May the place of George Burns, as landlord[Pg 245] of the Province Arms, was taken by Richard Bolton, who moved in from the Queen’s Head. Bolton, in his announcement, states that the house has been repaired and greatly improved and that the stables with stalls for fifty horses are let to James Wilkinson, “whose constant attention will be employed to oblige gentlemen in that department.” These large stables had probably been built by the De Lancey family when they occupied the house. Lieutenant Governor James De Lancey, who once owned it, supported a coach and four, with outriders in handsome livery, and several members of this family became widely known as patrons of the turf.

Arrival of the Earl of Dunmore

On Thursday, October 18, 1770, the Earl of Dunmore, who had been appointed by the Crown to succeed Sir Henry Moore, who had died very much lamented by the people of New York, arrived in his Majesty’s ship, The Tweed, and was received on landing and escorted to the Fort with the usual salutes, and with all the honors due his station. From the Fort, accompanied by Sir William Draper, Lord Drummond, the commander of the Tweed, and Captain Foy, his lordship’s secretary, his excellency proceeded to the New York Arms; and there they were entertained at a dinner given by Lieutenant Governor Colden, where the usual numerous toasts were drunk. The next day, Friday, after the new governor’s commission had been read in council,[Pg 246] and published at the City Hall, as was the custom, his excellency the Governor, General Gage, Sir William Draper, Lord Drummond, the members of his majesty’s council, the city representatives, the gentlemen of the army and navy, the judges of the supreme court, the mayor, recorder, attorney general and other public officers, and many of the most respectable gentlemen of the city were entertained at another elegant dinner given by the lieutenant governor at the New York Arms. In the evening his lordship was pleased to favor the gentlemen of the army and navy “with his Company at a Ball, which consisted of a splendid and brilliant appearance of Gentlemen and Ladies.”

While Bolton was in possession of the Province Arms the political excitement somewhat abated. The long room in the old tavern continued to be the favorite dancing hall of the city, and in many of the notices of concerts given here for charity or for the benefit of musicians, etc., are announcements that they will be followed by balls. The young people of New York at that time must have been extremely fond of dancing.

On Tuesday, April 23, 1771, the anniversary of St. George was celebrated with unusual ceremony. “A number of English gentlemen, and descendants of English parents, amounting in the whole to upwards of one hundred and twenty, had an elegant Entertainment at Bolton’s in honor of the Day.” John Tabor Kempe, Esq., his majesty’s attorney general, presided, and the[Pg 247] guests of honor were the Earl of Dunmore, General Gage, the gentlemen of his majesty’s council, etc. The company parted early and in high good humor.

The New York Society

When Richard Bolton left the Queen’s Head for the New York Arms, Sam Francis came back into his own house. In announcing his return, he states that when he formerly kept it, the best clubs met there, and the greatest entertainments in the city were given there, and that he flatters himself that the public are so well satisfied of his ability to serve them that it is useless to go into details. Francis was not only successful as a tavern-keeper in satisfying the needs of the public, but he was also successful financially, for he was the owner of both the Queen’s Head and Vauxhall. While he was the landlord of the Queen’s Head in 1765, the New York Society held their meetings there. It was announced that at a stated meeting to be held at the house of Mr. Francis on Monday, the first of April, at six o’clock in the evening, after some business before the society should be dispatched and the letters and proposals received since last meeting examined, the consideration of the questions last proposed on the paper currency and the bank statements would be resumed. This indicates that this was a society or club for the discussion of financial and economic subjects.

The Social Club

[Pg 248]Francis speaks of his house being the resort of several clubs, but we have detailed information of only one; this was the Social Club, the membership of which indicates that it must have been one of the best, if not the best, in the city. In possession of the New York Historical Society is a list of the members of the Social Club which was found among the papers of John Moore, a member of the club, and presented to the society by his son, Thos. W. C. Moore. It contains remarks about the members which are very curious and interesting. We give it in full.

“List of Members of the Social Club, which passed Saturday evenings at Sam Francis’s, corner of Broad and Dock streets, in winter, and in summer at Kip’s Bay, where they built a neat, large room, for the Club-house. The British landed at this spot the day they took the city, 15th September, 1776.

Members of this club dispersed in December, 1775, and never afterwards assembled.

John Jay (Disaffected)—Became Member of Congress, a Resident Minister to Spain, Com’r to make peace, Chief Justice, Minister to England, and on his return, Gov’r of N. York—a good and amiable man.

Gouverneur Morris (Disaffected)—Member of Congress, Minister to France, etc.

Robt. R. Livingston (Disaffected)—Min’r to France, Chancellor of N. York, etc.

[Pg 249]

Egbert Benson (Disaffected)—Dis. Judge, N. York, and in the Legislature—Good man.

Morgan Lewis (Disaffected)—Gov’r of N. York, and a Gen. in the war of 1812.

Gulian Verplanck (Disaffected, but in Europe, till 1783)—Pres’t of New York Bank.

John Livingston and his brother Henry (Disaffected, but of no political importance).

James Seagrove (Disaffected)—Went to the southward as a merchant.

Francis Lewis (Disaffected, but of no political importance).

John Watts (Doubtful)—During the war Recorder of New York.

Leonard Lispenard and his brother Anthony (Doubtful, but remained quiet at New York).

Rich’d Harrison (Loyal, but has since been Recorder of N. York).

John Hay, Loyal, an officer in British Army—killed in West Indies.

Peter Van Shaack (Loyal)—A Lawyer, remained quiet at Kinderhook.

Daniel Ludlow, Loyal during the war—since Pres’t of Manhattan Bank.

Dr. S. Bard, Loyal, tho’ in 1775 doubtful, remained in N. York—a good man.

George Ludlow (Loyal)—Remained on Long Island in quiet—A good man.

William, his brother, Loyal, or supposed so; remained on L. Island—inoffensive man.

[Pg 250]

William Imlay, Loyal at first, but doubtful after 1777.

Edward Gould (Loyal)—At N. York all the war—a Merchant.

John Reade (Pro and Con)—W’d have proved loyal, no doubt, had not his wife’s family been otherwise.

J. Stevens (Disaffected).

Henry Kelly (Loyal)—Went to England, and did not return.

Stephen Rapelye turned out bad—died in N. York Hospital.

John Moore (Loyal)—In public life all the war, and from year 1765.”

The Moot

In the fall of the year 1770, a club was formed by the principal lawyers of the city of New York, for the discussion of legal questions, which they called The Moot. The first meeting was held on Friday, the 23d of November. According to their journal, the members, “desirous of forming a club for social conservation, and the mutual improvement of each other, determined to meet on the evening of the first Friday of every month, at Bardin’s, or such other place as a majority of the members shall from time to time appoint,” and for the better regulating the said club agreed to certain articles of association, one of which was that “No member shall presume upon any pretence to introduce any discourse about the party politics of the province, and to persist in such discourse after being desired by the[Pg 251] president to drop it, on pain of expulsion.” William Livingston was chosen president and William Smith vice-president. This first meeting was, no doubt, held at the King’s Arms Tavern on the lower part of Broadway, now Whitehall Street, which was in 1770 kept by Edward Bardin. From the character of the members their discussions were held in great respect. It was said that they even influenced the judgment of the Supreme Court, and that a question, connected with the taxation of costs, was sent to The Moot by the chief justice expressly for their opinion. Some of the members of this club were afterwards among the most prominent men of the country.

The articles of association were signed by

Benjamin Kissam,
David Mathews,
William Wickham,
Thomas Smith,
Whitehead Hicks,
Rudolphus Ritzema,
William Livingston,
Richard Morris,
Samuel Jones,
John Jay,
William Smith,
John Morine Scott,
James Duane,
John T. Kempe,
Robert R. Livingston, Jr.,
Egbert Benson,
Peten Van Schaack,
Stephen De Lancey.

On March 4, 1774, John Watts, Jr., and Gouverneur Morris were admitted to the Society. In the exciting times preceding the Revolution the meetings became irregular, and the[Pg 252] members of the Moot came together for the last time on January 6, 1775.

A number of gentlemen were accustomed to meet as a club at the house of Walter Brock, afterwards kept by his widow, familiarly called “Mother Brock,” on Wall Street near the City Hall. It was probably a social and not very formal club. One of the most prominent of its members was William Livingston.

In May, 1773, Francis offered Vauxhall for sale, when it was described as having an extremely pleasant and healthy situation, commanding an extensive prospect up and down the North River. The house, “a capital mansion in good repair,” had four large rooms on each floor, twelve fireplaces and most excellent cellars. Adjoining the house was built a room fifty-six feet long and twenty-six feet wide, under which was a large, commodious kitchen. There were stables, a coach house and several out houses, also two large gardens planted with fruit trees, flowers and flowering shrubs in great profusion, one of which was plentifully stocked with vegetables of all kinds. The premises, containing twenty-seven and a half lots of ground, was a leasehold of Trinity Church, with sixty-one years to run. The ground rent was forty pounds per annum. It was purchased by Erasmus Williams, who, the next year, having changed the name back, “with great propriety,” to Mount Pleasant, solicited the patronage of the public, particularly gentlemen with their[Pg 253] families from the West Indies, Carolina, etc., and such as are travelling from distant parts, either on business or pleasure.

Francis also offered the Queen’s Head for sale in 1775. It was then described as three stories high, with a tile and lead roof, having fourteen fireplaces and a most excellent large kitchen; a corner house very open and airy, and in the most complete repair. Although Francis desired to sell his house, he stated that “so far from declining his present business he is determined to use every the utmost endeavor to carry on the same to the pleasure and satisfaction of his friends and the public in general.” He did not succeed in selling the house and continued as landlord of the Queen’s Head until he abandoned it when the British army entered the city.

 [Pg 254]

MERCHANTS’ COFFEE HOUSE AND COFFEE HOUSE SLIP

 

The Merchants’ Coffee House Moves

On May 1, 1772, Mrs. Ferrari, who had been keeping the Merchants’ Coffee House on the northwest corner of the present Wall and Water Streets, which had been located there and been continuously in use as a coffee house since it was opened as such about the year 1738 by Daniel Bloom, removed to a new house which had recently been built by William Brownjohn on the opposite cross corner, that is, diagonally across to the southeast corner. Mrs. Ferrari did not move out of the Merchants’ Coffee House, but she took it with her with all its patronage and trade. On opening the new house she prepared a treat for her old customers. The merchants and gentlemen of the city assembled in a numerous company and were regaled with arrack, punch, wine, cold ham, tongue, etc. The gentlemen of the two insurance companies, who likewise moved from the old to the new coffee house, each of them, with equal liberality regaled the company. A few days later the newspaper stated that the agreeable situation and the elegance of the new house had occasioned a great resort of company to it ever since it was opened. The old coffee house which had been occupied by Mrs. Ferrari before she moved into[Pg 255] the new one was still owned by Dr. Charles Arding, who purchased it of Luke Roome in 1758. He offered it for sale in July, 1771, before Mrs. Ferrari moved out of it and again in May, 1772, after she had left, when it was occupied by Mrs. Elizabeth Wragg, but did not succeed in making a sale. If it was any longer used as a coffee house, its use as such was of short duration. It was soon taken by Nesbitt Deane, hatter, who occupied it for many years, offering hats to exceed any “in fineness, cut, color or cock.” John Austin Stevens, who has written very pleasantly and entertainingly of the old coffee houses of New York, speaking of the early history of the Merchants’ Coffee House, says: “Its location, however, is beyond question. It stood on the southeast corner of Wall and Queen (now Water) Streets, on a site familiar to New Yorkers as that for many years occupied by the Journal of Commerce.” Although so positive on this point, Stevens was, no doubt, mistaken, as can be easily proven by records. However, this was the site occupied by the Merchants’ Coffee House subsequent to May 1, 1772. Stevens says that Mrs. Ferrari moved out of this house into a new house on the opposite cross corner, whereas she moved into it from the old coffee house on the opposite cross corner, and carried the business of the old house with her.

In the early part of 1772, Robert Hull succeeded Richard Bolton and continued in possession of the Province Arms some time after[Pg 256] the British army entered the city. In the fall of 1772, the two companies of the Governor’s Guards, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John Harris Cruger and Major William Walton, dressed in their very handsome uniforms, paraded in the Fields, where they were reviewed. They were very much admired for their handsome appearance, and received much applause from the spectators for the regularity and exactness with which they went through the exercises and evolutions. After the parade they spent the evening at Hull’s Tavern, where a suitable entertainment had been provided.

Ball on the Governors Departure

On the King’s birthday, Friday, June 4, 1773, the governor gave an elegant entertainment in the Fort, as was usual on such occasions, and, in the evening, the city was illuminated. General Gage, who was about to sail for England, celebrated the day by giving a grand dinner to a great number of the merchants and military gentlemen of the city at Hull’s Tavern. He had been in command for ten years in America, and this dinner was made the occasion of a flattering address presented to him by the Corporation of the Chamber of Commerce of the City of New York. In February, 1774, a grand dinner was given at Hull’s Tavern by the members of his majesty’s council to the members of the assembly of the province, and the next month the governor gave a dinner to both the gentlemen of the king’s council and the gentlemen of the general assembly at the same place. Shortly after[Pg 257] this, on Monday evening, April 4, there was a grand ball given in Hull’s assembly room at which there was “a most brilliant appearance of Ladies and Gentlemen,” the occasion being on account of the departure of the governor and Mrs. Tryon for England. The different national societies held their anniversary celebrations at Hull’s Tavern. The Welsh celebrated St. David’s day, the Scotch St. Andrew’s day, the Irish St. Patrick’s day and the English St. George’s day.

By 1770, the obnoxious duties had been abolished on all articles except tea, and soon after the non-importation agreements of the merchants of Boston, New York and Philadelphia were discontinued, except as to tea, the duty on which had been retained. The New York merchants seem to have been the first to propose the discontinuance of the agreement. The Sons of Liberty met at Hampden Hall to protest against it; the inhabitants of Philadelphia presented their compliments to the inhabitants of New York, in a card, and sarcastically begged they would send them their Old Liberty Pole, as they imagined, by their late conduct, they could have no further use for it; and the Connecticut tavern-keepers, it is said, posted the names of the New York importers and determined that they would not entertain them nor afford them the least aid or assistance in passing through[Pg 258] that government. Although Boston and Philadelphia were at first very strongly opposed to any relaxation in the agreements, they soon joined in terminating them; but the merchants and people alike determined that no tea should be imported liable to duty. The captains of ships sailing from London refused to carry tea as freight to American ports.

The Tax on Tea

On Friday morning, October 15, 1773, a printed handbill was distributed through the town calling a meeting of the inhabitants at twelve o’clock that day at the Coffee House to consult and agree on some manner of expressing the thanks of the people to the captains of the London ships trading with the port of New York and the merchants to whom they were consigned, for their refusal to take from the East India Company, as freight, tea on which a duty had been laid by parliament payable in America. At this meeting an address was accordingly drawn up which was unanimously approved by those present. In this address it was declared that “Stamp Officers and Tea Commissioners will ever be held in equal estimation.”

For two or three years the political situation had been uneventful, but early in the year 1773 it became apparent that an effort was about to be made to bring the question of taxation to an issue. The East India Company, acting as the instrument of the British parliament, arranged to send cargoes of tea to the ports of Boston,[Pg 259] Newport, New York, Philadelphia and Charleston, at which places they appointed commissioners for its sale.

The Sons of Liberty Again Organize

The times were portentous. The people realized that Great Britain was about to test her power to tax the colonies by forcing the importation of tea through the East India Company in order to establish a precedent, and preparations were made to resist. The Sons of Liberty again organized in November, 1773, and prepared for action. They drew up a number of resolutions which expressed their sentiments and which they engaged to faithfully observe. The first of these was, “that whoever should aid or abet or in any manner assist in the introduction of Tea from any place whatsoever into this Colony, while it is subject by a British act of parliament to the payment of a duty for the purpose of raising a revenue in America, he shall be deemed an enemy to the Liberties of America.” On the back of a printed copy of these resolutions was written a letter of appeal, signed by the committee of the association, addressed to the Friends of Liberty and Trade, inviting an union of all classes in a determined resistance, and urging harmony.

At a meeting held at the City Hall on the 17th of December by the Sons of Liberty to which all friends of liberty and trade of America were[Pg 260] invited, it was firmly resolved that the tea which was expected should not be landed.

In Boston the consignee of the tea refusing to return it to England, the vessels were boarded by a number of men disguised as Indians, the chests of tea broken open and the contents cast overboard in the water. This occurred on the 16th of December, 1773.

At a meeting held at the tavern of Captain Doran a committee was appointed to wait on the merchants who had been appointed commissioners for the sale of the East India Company’s tea and ask their intentions. They replied to the committee that, finding that the tea will come liable to American duty, they have declined to receive it. Thomas Doran had been captain of a small but fast sailing privateer, and did good service in the late French war. He had since been keeping a tavern on the new dock near the Fly Market. His house had been the usual place of meeting of the Marine Society for many years. In May, 1774, notice was given that a committee of the Chamber of Commerce would meet at the house of Thomas Doran to receive claims for bounty on fish brought into the city markets. The assembly, in 1773, had granted the sum of five hundred pounds per annum for five years, “for the encouragement of fishery on this coast for the better supplying of the markets of this city with fish,” to be paid to the treasurer of the Chamber of Commerce, and the awarding of the premiums was entrusted to[Pg 261] that association. This was the first distribution of premiums.

The Tea-Ship Arrives

The tea-ship for New York, long overdue, was anxiously expected. In March, 1774, the Sons of Liberty were notified to meet every Thursday night at seven o’clock at the house of Jasper Drake till the arrival and departure of the tea-ship. The ships for the other ports had arrived at their destinations and been disposed of. No tea had been allowed to be sold. The ship Nancy, Captain Lockyer, with the tea for New York on board, driven off the coast by contrary winds, did not reach the port until April 18th, and the pilot, advised of the situation, refused to bring her up to the city. The people had resolved that the tea should not be landed. The captain was allowed to come up on condition that he would not enter his vessel at the custom house. He was received by a committee of the Sons of Liberty and conducted to the consignee, who, declining to receive his cargo, he at once made preparation to return. On Friday, April 22, handbills were distributed, stating that although the sense of the people had been signified to Captain Lockyer, nevertheless it was the desire of many of the citizens that, at his departure, he should see with his own eyes their detestation of the measures pursued by the ministry and the East India Company to enslave this country. Accordingly, on Saturday[Pg 262] morning, about eight o’clock, all the bells in the city rang as a notice to the people that the tea which had been brought over in the Nancy was about to be sent back without allowing it to be landed. About nine o’clock the people assembled at the Coffee House in greater numbers than ever before known, Captain Lockyer came out of the Coffee House with the committee and was received with cheers, while a band provided for the occasion played “God Save the King.” He was then conducted to Murray’s Wharf, at the foot of Wall Street, where, amid the shouts of the people and the firing of guns, he was put on board the pilot boat and wished a safe passage. He joined his ship, the Nancy, at the Narrows, and the next morning put to sea.

Tea Thrown Overboard

On Friday, amidst all the excitement, Captain Chambers, who from information received from different sources was suspected of having tea on board his ship, the London, arrived at the Hook. The pilot asked him if he had any tea on board and he declared that he had none. Two of the committee of observation went on board, to whom he declared that he had no tea. When the ship came to the wharf about four o’clock in the afternoon she was boarded by a number of citizens and Captain Chambers was told that it was in vain for him to deny having tea on board his ship for there was good proof to the contrary, whereupon he confessed that he had on board eighteen chests. The owners of the vessel[Pg 263] and the committee immediately met at Francis’ Tavern to deliberate over the matter where Captain Chambers was ordered to attend. Here he stated that he was the sole owner of the tea. The Mohawks were prepared to do their duty but the people became impatient and about eight o’clock a number entered the ship, took out the tea, broke open the chests and threw their contents into the river. The resentment of the people was so great against Captain Chambers, whom they had considered a friend of their rights and deserving of their confidence, that it was thought that if he could have been found, his life would have been in danger. He was, however, concealed and succeeded the next day in getting on board the Nancy with Captain Lockyer and sailed away to England.

The news of what had been done by the little tea-party in Boston Harbor, December 16, 1773, reached England on the 22d of January, 1774, and created intense excitement in London. On March 7 the King sent a special message to parliament on the American disturbances and soon after a bill was prepared providing for the closing of the port of Boston to all commerce on June 1, at the King’s pleasure, and ordering indemnification to be made to the East India Company for the tea destroyed. This bill passed both houses of parliament without a dissenting vote. The news of its passage came to New York by the ship Samson, Captain Coupar,[Pg 264] which arrived May 12, twenty-seven days from London. By the same packet came news that General Gage, commissioned governor of Massachusetts, had engaged with four regiments to reduce Boston to submission and was to sail for his government on April 15.

Committee of Correspondence

In consequence of the alarming news from England, a notice was posted at the Merchants’ Coffee House inviting the merchants to meet at the tavern of Samuel Francis on Monday evening, the 16th, to consult on measures proper to be taken. Accordingly, a large number of merchants and other inhabitants appeared at the appointed place. The object was to appoint a committee of correspondence. There appeared some differences of opinion as to the number and composition of this committee, but the result was that fifty names were nominated, fifteen of the number to be sufficient to do business. To confirm the choice of this committee or to choose others, it was resolved before adjournment that the inhabitants of the city should be requested to meet at the Merchants’ Coffee House on Thursday, the 19th, at one o’clock.

Paul Revere, the Post Rider

In the interim Paul Revere, the famous post-rider and express, arrived on the 17th with a message from the people of Boston, urging a cessation of all trade with Great Britain and the West Indies until the port bill[Pg 265] should be repealed. In the evening of the same day there was a large meeting of the mechanics at Bardin’s Tavern. Bardin had come to the neighborhood where he formerly lived and was keeping the house at one time kept by John Jones in the Fields, and known after that as Hampden Hall. The mechanics sided with the radical party.

At the meeting called at the Merchants’ Coffee House the merchants prevailed, as they had done at the previous meeting. The name of Francis Lewis was added to the committee and it was known as the committee of fifty-one. Gouverneur Morris, writing to Penn, said: “I stood on the balcony and on my right hand were ranged all the people of property with some few poor dependents, and on the other all the tradesmen, etc., who thought it worth their while to leave daily labor for the good of the country.” There was some opposition to the committee named, but after the meeting those who had opposed it, for the sake of union, sent in their agreement to the choice. The mechanics also sent a letter to the committee concurring in the selection.

Answer to the Boston Letter

The committee of fifty-one met at the Merchants’ Coffee House on Monday morning, the 23d, at ten o’clock for business, and after appointing a chairman, secretary and doorkeeper, and agreeing upon sundry rules for the conduct of business, the letters from[Pg 266] Boston and Philadelphia were read. A committee composed of Messrs. MacDougal, Low, Duane and Jay was appointed to draw up an answer to the first and report at eight o’clock in the evening, to which time the meeting adjourned. At the appointed time the committee appointed to draw up an answer to the Boston letter made report of a draft of such letter, which was unanimously agreed to and ordered to be engrossed and forwarded with the utmost dispatch. On Tuesday it was delivered to Paul Revere, the express from Boston, who had been as far as Philadelphia and was now on his way back to Boston. He immediately set out on his return. A copy was ordered to be transmitted to the Committee of Correspondence of Philadelphia. “The letter proposed to the people of Boston that a Congress of the colonies should be convoked without delay to determine and direct the measures to be pursued for relief of the town of Boston and the redress of all the American grievances,” a recommendation which was accepted and resulted in the Congress which met at Philadelphia in September.

Monday evening, June 6, the Committee of Correspondence met and read and answered the dispatches brought from Boston by the express rider, Cornelius Bradford, and on Monday, the 13th, the New York Mercury stated that they were to meet again that night, when, it was hoped, their proceedings would be made public, saying “the times are critical and big with[Pg 267] interesting events.” On Wednesday, June 15, the day on which the harbor of Boston was closed by act of parliament, a great number of the friends of American liberty in the city procured effigies of Governor Hutchinson, Lord North and Mr. Wedderburn, persons who were considered most unfriendly to the rights of America, and after carrying them through the principal streets of the city took them to the Coffee House, “where they were attended in the evening of that day, it is thought, by the greatest concourse of spectators ever seen on a similar occasion, and there destroyed by sulphurous Flames.”

The Committee of Correspondence held their meetings at the Merchants’ Coffee House during the summer. It was the center of most of the political agitation and unrest which pervaded the community. On the evening of Wednesday, July 13, the committee met and drew up a set of resolutions on the alarming situation of affairs, which were printed in handbills and distributed about the town the next morning, for the approbation of the people who were to assemble at the Coffee House at twelve o’clock on the 19th to approve or disapprove of them. It had been settled that there should be a Congress of the colonies, to meet at Philadelphia in September, and the people were at the same time to testify their approbation of the five gentlemen nominated by the committee to attend as delegates. These were James Duane, Philip Livingston, John Alsop, Isaac Low and John Jay.[Pg 268] There was so much controversy that the men nominated declined to accept the trust until confirmed by the people. Accordingly, on the 24th an election was ordered in the ordinary manner by a poll in the several wards which was held on the 28th, resulting in the unanimous choice of the five gentlemen above named as delegates.

Delegates to Congress

About the first of September there was much excitement on account of the departure of the delegates for Philadelphia and the arrival of delegates from the New England colonies, passing through the city. On Monday, the 29th of August, John Jay quietly set out for Philadelphia to attend the congress, and on Thursday, September 1st, the four other delegates left the city for the same laudable purpose. Isaac Low, accompanied by his wife, who wished to go by way of Paulus Hook, was escorted to the ferry stairs at the foot of Cortlandt Street by a large number of citizens, with colors flying, and with music. A few accompanied him over the river with musicians playing “God Save the King.” The people then returned to the Coffee House in order to testify the same respect for the other three delegates, James Duane, John Alsop and Philip Livingston. The procession began about half past nine o’clock. When they arrived at the Royal Exchange, near which they embarked, James Duane, in a short speech, thanked the people for the honor they had conferred upon them and declared for himself and for his[Pg 269] fellow delegates “that nothing in their Power should be wanting to relieve this once happy but now aggrieved Country.” As they left the wharf, “they were saluted by several Pieces of Cannon, mounted for the occasion, which was answered by a greater Number from St. George’s Ferry. These Testimonials and three Huzzas bid them go and proclaim to all Nations that they, and the virtuous People they represent, dare defend their Rights as Protestant Englishmen.”

The Massachusetts delegates, Thomas Cushing, Samuel Adams, Robert Treat Paine and John Adams, set out on their journey from Boston in one coach on the 10th of August and arrived in New York on the 20th. John Adams, in his diary, says: “We breakfasted at Day’s and arrived in the city of New York at ten o’clock, at Hull’s, a tavern, the sign of the Bunch of Grapes.” The arms of the province on the old sign must have been pretty well weatherbeaten to have been taken for a bunch of grapes. The best tavern in Boston and the best tavern in Hartford each hung out this sign and Adams was thus easily led into an error.

The Congress at Philadelphia

The congress at Philadelphia passed a non-exportation act to take effect on September 15, and a non-importation act to be put in force on December 1. A committee of observation or inspection was appointed in New York city to secure the strict[Pg 270] observance of these acts. In the spring of 1775 deputies were elected in New York to a provincial congress which met on April 20, and the next day appointed delegates to represent the province in the Continental Congress which was to assemble at Philadelphia in the following May. News of the battle of Lexington, forwarded by express riders from Watertown, Massachusetts, reached the chambers of the New York committee of correspondence at four o’clock in the afternoon of Sunday, April 23. It was war. The news reached Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 28, and on the next day Alexander Purdie published it in an extra of his Gazette. In commenting on the situation his closing words were: “The sword is now drawn and God knows when it will be sheathed.”

 

 


[Pg 271]

IX

The Province Arms

Great Excitement in the City

In the early part of the year 1775 a state of uneasiness and expectancy pervaded the community. Trade was prostrate. The merchants met at the Exchange or at the Coffee House and nervously talked over the situation, for which there seemed to be no remedy; while they looked out on the quiet docks, now almost deserted. They were calmly waiting for something to happen, and it came in the news of the battle of Lexington. This was the crisis which produced a decided change in conditions. The dissatisfied people now showed that they had lost all respect for English rule. Companies of armed citizens paraded the streets aimlessly, and there was great excitement everywhere. The regular soldiers in garrison prudently confined themselves to their barracks. The machinery of government was out of joint and it was very soon apparent that something should be done to maintain order and form some regular plan of government.

A meeting was called at the Merchants’ Coffee House when it was agreed that the government of the city should be placed in the hands of a[Pg 272] committee. Isaac Low, chairman of the committee of observation, issued a notice stating that the committee were unanimously of opinion that a new committee should be elected by the freeholders and freemen for the present unhappy exigency of affairs, to consist of one hundred persons, thirty-three to be a quorum. It was also recommended that they should at the same time choose deputies to represent them in a provincial congress which it was considered highly advisable should be summoned. A committee such as was recommended was chosen May 1, and, at the same time, twenty-one deputies for the city and county of New York, to meet the deputies of the other counties in provincial congress May 22.

The excitement had in no wise abated when the eastern delegates to congress entered the city, Saturday, May 6, on their way to Philadelphia and were received with the greatest enthusiasm. They were met a few miles out of town by a great number of the principal gentlemen of the place and escorted into the city by near a thousand men under arms. John Adams, in his diary, says that from Kingsbridge the number of people continually increased, until he thought the whole city had come out to meet them. The roads, it is said, were lined with greater numbers of people than were known on any occasion before. All the bells of the city rang out a welcome. They were conducted to the tavern of Sam Francis, where they lodged,[Pg 273] and a newspaper states that double sentries were placed at the doors of their lodgings, for what special purpose we are not informed, probably simply to keep the crowd in check and maintain order.

The British soldiers garrisoned in the city were powerless to maintain the authority of the crown and were ordered to join the troops at Boston. There were some who advised that they should be made prisoners. The committee, however, agreed to let them depart with their arms and accoutrements without molestation. They accordingly marched out from the barracks to embark about ten o’clock on the morning of June 6, 1775. At the time there were at the tavern of Jasper Drake, in Water Street near Beekman Slip, a place well known as a rendezvous of the Liberty Boys and those opposed to the British measures, about half a dozen men, when word came to them that the British soldiers were leaving the barracks to embark and were taking with them several carts loaded with chests filled with arms.

Transfer of Arms Stopped

They immediately decided that these arms should not be taken from the city. One of the men was Marinus Willett, and what he did that day has become a landmark in the history of the city. They started out on different routes to notify their friends and obtain assistance. Willett went down Water Street to the Coffee House where he notified those who[Pg 274] were there of what was to be done and then proceeded down to the Exchange at the foot of Broad Street. When he saw the troops and the carts laden with arms approaching he went up to meet them, and not hesitating a moment, seized the horse drawing the leading cart by the bridle, which caused a halt and brought the officer in command to the front. The crowd that immediately collected, including the mayor, gave Willett little support, but soon John Morin Scott came to his assistance, asserting that the committee had given no permission for the removal of the arms. The result was that the soldiers made no resistance to the seizure of the arms and quietly embarked without them. These arms were used by the first troops raised in New York under the orders of Congress.

 

MARINUS WILLETT STOPPING THE TRANSFER OF ARMS

 

The Coffee House

[Pg 275]Nesbitt Deane, the hatter, whose shop was in the old Coffee House building, advertised in 1775, to let the two or three upper stories of the house, “being noted for a Notary Public’s office these two years past,” which he further describes “as being so pleasantly situated that a person can see at once the river, shipping, Long Island and all the gentlemen resorting to the House on business from the most distant climes.” Although the Coffee House was generally the resort of strangers as well as citizens, yet, in 1775, on account of the stagnation of business caused by the cessation of all trade with Great Britain, it was almost deserted. This is made plain by an article which appeared in the New York Journal of October 19; and as this has some interesting statements about coffee houses in general and about the Merchants’ Coffee House in particular, we have thought it well to reproduce it entirely.

“To the Inhabitants of New York:

“It gives me concern, in this time of public difficulty and danger, to find we have in this city[Pg 276] no place of daily general meeting, where we might hear and communicate intelligence from every quarter and freely confer with one another on every matter that concerns us. Such a place of general meeting is of very great advantage in many respects, especially at such a time as this, besides the satisfaction it affords and the sociable disposition it has a tendency to keep up among us, which was never more wanted than at this time. To answer all these and many other good and useful purposes, Coffee Houses have been universally deemed the most convenient places of resort, because at a small expense of time or money, persons wanted may be found and spoke with, appointments may be made, current news heard, and whatever it most concerns us to know. In all cities, therefore, and large towns that I have seen in the British dominions, sufficient encouragement has been given to support one or more Coffee Houses in a genteel manner. How comes it then that New York, the most central, and one of the largest and most prosperous cities in British America, cannot support one Coffee House? It is a scandal to the city and its inhabitants to be destitute of such a convenience, for want of due encouragement. A coffee house, indeed, here is! a very good and comfortable one, extremely well tended and accommodated, but it is frequented but by an inconsiderable number of people; and I have observed with surprise, that but a small part of those who do frequent it, contribute[Pg 277] anything at all to the expense, of it, but come in and go out without calling for or paying anything to the house. In all the Coffee Houses in London, it is customary for every one that comes in, to call for at least a dish of Coffee, or leave the value of one, which is but reasonable, because when the keepers of these houses have been at the expense of setting them up and providing all necessaries for the accommodation of company, every one that comes to receive the benefit of these conveniences ought to contribute something towards the expense of them.

“To each individual the expense is a trifle quite inconsiderable, but to the keeper of one of these houses it is an article of great importance, and essential to the support and continuance of it. I have, therefore, since I frequented the Coffee House in this city and observed the numbers that come in without spending anything, often wondered how the expense of the house was supported, or what inducement the person who kept it could have to continue it. At the same time I could not help being equally surprised at the disposition of people who acted in this manner; or their thoughtlessness in neglecting to contribute to the support of a house which their business or pleasure induced them to frequent; especially as I have met with no Coffee House in my travels better accommodated with attendance or any liquors that could be expected in a Coffee House.

“I have of late observed that the house is[Pg 278] almost deserted, and don’t wonder that fire and candles are not lighted as usual; it is rather surprising they were continued so long. I am convinced the interest of the person who keeps it, must, without a speedy alteration, soon induce her to drop the business and shut up her house; and I cannot help feeling concern that a very useful and worthy person, who has always behaved well in her station, should not be treated with more generosity and kindness by her fellow citizens. I am concerned, too, for my own conveniency and for the honor of the city, to find that it will not support one Coffee House.

“A Friend to the City.”

When the American army came into the city to prepare for its defense Mrs. Ferrari was still the landlady of the Merchants’ Coffee House, but on May 1, 1776, it passed into the hands of Cornelius Bradford, who seems to have been a man of energy and enterprise. In his announcement in April he promised that he would endeavor to give satisfaction, that he would obtain all the newspapers for the use of his patrons and render the house as useful and convenient as possible. He says: “Interesting intelligence will be carefully collected and the greatest attention will be given to the arrival of vessels, when trade and navigation shall resume their former channels.” He evidently was hopeful of better times, although preparations for war were being made around him on all sides. Bradford was an[Pg 279] ardent supporter of the American cause and had been an express rider, carrying important confidential messages between New York and Boston and between New York and Philadelphia. His tenure of the Merchants’ Coffee House at this time was of short duration. He abandoned his house and went out of the city with the American troops, but returned and took possession of it again as its landlord at the close of the war.

Flight from the City

The year 1776 was a sad one for New York. Before the first of July great numbers of the inhabitants, dreading the impending conflict, had left the city to place their families in security. Many loyalists had left to avoid military service. A letter written in the city July 30, 1776, says: “You would be surprised to see what numbers of empty houses there are in this place. Very few of the inhabitants remain in town that are not engaged in the service.” Another by a physician, under date of August 9, says: “The air of the whole city seems infected. In almost every street there is a horrid smell—But, duty to my country, and another consideration, require that I should not quit my post at this juncture.” A British document, relating to the commissary department during the war, makes the statement that nineteen-twentieths of the inhabitants with their families and effects had left the city before the entry of the British troops. Added to the calamity of war was a[Pg 280] devastating fire which destroyed a large part of the city shortly after the British took possession.

After the occupation of the city by the British troops, the Merchants’ Coffee House evidently soon became a favorite resort of the officers of the army. When Captain Alexander Graydon, made prisoner at the battle of Fort Washington, was allowed the freedom of the city within certain limits, on his parole, he one day saw in the newspaper printed by Hugh Gaine something which stirred him with a great desire to write a squib addressed “to the officers of the British army,” which he and Lieutenant Edwards, his fellow prisoner, agreed to endeavor to have placed in some conspicuous part of the Coffee House. For the small reward of a quarter of a dollar, a black boy succeeded in placing it in one of the boxes. Captain Davenport, whom Graydon characterizes as certainly a voluntary captive, if not a deserter, called upon them on the following evening and said to them: “You are a couple of pretty fellows. You have made a devil of an uproar at the Coffee House.” Graydon and Edwards admitted nothing, for they knew if detected they would get lodgings in the provost prison. Captain Davenport was an Irishman who had joined the same regiment as Graydon as a lieutenant, afterwards becoming captain. After the retreat from Long Island he remained, Graydon says, in New York, sick or pretending to be sick, and stayed there until the[Pg 281] British look possession of it. He called himself a prisoner but there was little doubt that he had renounced our cause and made his peace with the enemy. He states that as they had no absolute certainty of his baseness they did not think it necessary to discard him, for, as he frequented the Coffee House, mixed with the British officers and tories, they often received intelligence through him that they could get in no other way. Another officer of the American army who seemed to have made his peace with the enemy, although he called himself a prisoner, was Colonel Houssacker. He claimed that all was over, and in his conversation with the officers held as prisoners his inference was that they should immediately make their peace. He said to some of them: “Why don’t you go to the Coffee House and mix with the British army as I do? They will use you well;” but he made no proselytes to his opinions or principles. Graydon describes him as “a man of no country or any country, a citizen of the world, a soldier of fortune and a true mercenary.”

When Graydon came into possession of his trunk which had been among the baggage captured at Fort Washington, stipulated for in its surrender, he dressed himself in a good suit of regimentals and hat, and against the advice of older officers, sallied forth alone and walked past the Coffee House down to the Battery. Finding the gate open, he strolled through it from one end to the other, every sentinel, to his[Pg 282] great surprise, “handling his arms” to him as he passed. Making a considerable circuit in another part of the town, he regained his lodgings without the slightest molestation. He afterwards learned from Mr. Theophylact Bache that he saw him pass the Coffee House, and that he and some other gentlemen had to exert themselves to prevent his being insulted.

The Duel at Hull’s

Hull did not abandon his house as some of the tavern-keepers did who were more patriotic, but held his post as keeper of the Province Arms, and his tavern soon became the resort of the British officers. It escaped the great fire which destroyed a large part of the city, including Trinity Church, near by. In September, 1777, a desperate duel took place in one of the rooms of Hull’s Tavern. This was the encounter between Captain Tollemache, of his majesty’s ship Zebra, and Captain Pennington, of the Guards, who came passenger in the Zebra. They fought with swords. The next day the body of Tollemache was placed under the cold sod of Trinity Churchyard, and Pennington was struggling for life, having received seven wounds. He survived.

The next spring, 1778, Hull gave up the Province Arms and it was rented by the attorney of Captain John Peter De Lancey, the owner, to a Mr. Hicks, during whose management of the house it was the scene of much activity.

The King’s Head Popular

In March, 1777, the well known tavern on the[Pg 283] Dock near the Fly Market, which had for many years been kept by Captain Thomas Doran, the usual meeting place of the Marine Society, was taken by Loosley and Elms, who called it The King’s Head. Charles Loosley and Thomas Elms, when the war broke out, were paper makers in New York City. Called on to serve in the militia, they petitioned the Provincial Congress of New York for relief, pleading that they were engaged in a very useful occupation or business, which would be ruined if they were called away from its supervision. They stated that they had been subjected to several fines, which they had paid, and were still, according to the rules and orders, liable to the penalty of being advertised and held up as enemies of the country, though they had ever been hearty friends to it and were constantly laboring to the utmost of their abilities to promote its interests by carrying on and perfecting a most useful manufactory to supply the country with an important and absolutely necessary article. Another petition was sent in August to the convention of representatives of the State of New York, in session at Harlem, by Charles Loosley, Thomas Elms and John Holt, the printer, praying that an immediate order be issued to prevent the paper-makers from being compelled or permitted to go upon military service, as the paper they were making was the only supply to every department of business in the state, which, without it, would be laid under[Pg 284] the most distressing difficulties. Loosley and Elms remained in the city, and becoming landlords of the King’s Head, showed themselves the most pronounced loyalists and tried in every way to please the British officers. Their house became a favorite and they were very successful in their business. The officers of the army and navy and those connected with the service were the best customers of the taverns, and the tavern-keepers did everything they could to gain their favor. No tavern-keeper could do business if not loyal to the crown of England, in appearance, at least.

James Rivington, whose press and type had been destroyed by some of the most radical of the Americans in November, 1775, on account of articles published in his paper, and the type, it is said, ultimately run into bullets, fled to England. Procuring a new outfit, he returned to New York, where the loyalists had the pleasure of welcoming him in September, 1777. On this occasion the King’s Head Tavern of Loosley and Elms “was elegantly illuminated, to testify the joy of the true ‘Sons of Freedom’.” Rivington repaid Loosley and Elms for their kindness by a laudatory puff, contributed to his paper, which he soon re-established under the name of the Royal Gazette. It appeared in the issue of January 24, 1778. It was “a description of the grand and elegant illumination of the King’s Head[Pg 285] Tavern in honor of her Majesty’s birthday,” stating that “it is the desire of the public, as Messrs. Loosley and Elms have ever shown their attachment to the British Government, and a detestation of the present rebellion, that, through the channel of your much-esteemed paper, their conduct may be known and approved of in Europe, as well as by the loyalists of New York. The tavern was illuminated with upwards of two hundred wax-lights.” A lengthy description was given of the transparencies; the royal arms being in the center, one of these was a view of the reduction of Fort Mud; another, the Congress, with the devil at the president’s elbow telling him to persevere. “The Statue of Mr. Pitt without its head was placed near the Congress, as being one of their kidney, and gave a hint of what ought, long ago, to have been done. The verses over the tavern door were very proper on the occasion, and well illuminated. Much is due to Messrs. Loosley and Elms for their patriotic spirit, which meets the approbation of every man who is a friend to his king and country.”

Loosley and Elms gave notice in October, 1779, that the anniversary of Saint George’s day would be celebrated at their house, the King’s Head Tavern, on Friday, the 23d of that month, by a dinner, which would be served at precisely three o’clock in the afternoon. They promised that a good band of music would be provided for[Pg 286] the occasion. One of the attractions of the house in 1779 was a billiard table.

The Theatre Royal

While the British army occupied New York the town, at times, was very gay. The John Street Theatre, which had been closed as injuriously affecting the morals of the country, was reopened in January, 1777, as the Theatre Royal by the Garrison Dramatic Club, composed of some of the brightest men in the British army, who managed the theatre and took parts in the performances, the proceeds from which were devoted to the care of the widows and orphans of soldiers. The orchestra was very good, being composed of volunteers from the regimental bands. It is said that the gross receipts of the club in one year amounted to nine thousand, five hundred pounds.

During the winter of 1777-1778 the British made the staid city of Philadelphia also very gay. The grand fete called Meschianza was the climax of their efforts and was a great success. When, in the summer of 1778, they left Philadelphia and came to New York, they added much to the gaiety of this city. The unfortunate Major André had taken a prominent part in the Meschianza and also became very active in New York in promoting every kind of social and dramatic entertainment.

Smith’s Tavern, in Water Street between the Coffee House and the Fly Market, opposite Commissioner Loring’s house, was a public house[Pg 287] that enjoyed much popularity. Ephraim Smith had kept tavern in Philadelphia and states that he had been assistant to the managers of the Meschianza, and that he had opened his tavern at the desire of many gentlemen of the royal army and navy. He had followed the British troops from Philadelphia to New York.

The Ferry House Tavern

For some years previous to the Battle of Brooklyn, Adolph Waldron had been the landlord of the ferry house on the Long Island side of the East River, which had been noted as a tavern for many years. The city of New York had renewed the lease to him of the ferry-house, the barns and cattle pen on May 1, 1776, for two years. The tavern was a large stone building about sixty feet square and two stories high and was known as the Corporation House from its being owned by the corporation of the city of New York. It was the successor of the ferry-house erected in 1746, and which was burned down in 1748, supposed by the people of Brooklyn, who were engaged in bitter litigation with the corporation of New York concerning ferry rights.

Waldron was a staunch Whig, and had in September, 1775, called a meeting of citizens at his house for the purpose of forming a military company for defense. He was chosen captain of the troop of horse which the assembled citizens voted should be organized. He proved to be a good and efficient officer and, with his troop[Pg 288] of light horse, was employed in guarding the eastern coast of Long Island until relieved by Colonel Hand’s regiment of riflemen. He, of course, was compelled to abandon his tavern, which, in 1779, appears to have been in the hands of Captain Benson.

Horse Racing and Fox Hunting

In May, 1779, Loosley and Elms saw an opportunity for a larger field of operation, so, giving up the tavern on Brownjohn’s Wharf, near the Fly Market, they took down their sign of the King’s Head and carried it over the river to Brooklyn, where they established themselves in the old ferry house, succeeding Captain Benson. Large numbers of British troops were encamped in Brooklyn and vicinity and Loosley and Elms endeavored to get the patronage of the army officers. They furnished the house in a superior manner and kept it in a way that attracted great attention. They succeeded so well in pleasing their military friends and patrons that their house became a resort for the officers of the army and also for the fashionable people of the city as a place of amusement. They got up bull baitings, horse races, fox hunts and other amusements. They generally prefaced their announcements of these affairs with the motto “Pro Bono Publico,” and sometimes closed with the warnings that rebels should not approach nearer than a specified spot. Cricket matches were gotten up, and the game of golf was indulged in. Rivington, the[Pg 289] printer, could furnish “clubs for playing golf and the veritable Caledonian Balls.”

Bull-Baiting

Loosley and Elms having brought over their old sign from New York, hung it out and the tavern was renamed the King’s Head. It was also sometimes called Brooklyn Hall. They gave notice that they had purchased chaises, chairs, sulkies and able horses and were prepared to furnish carriages and horses to go to any part of Long Island. A cricket match was played here on Monday, September 27, 1779, between the Brooklyn and Greenwich clubs for fifty guineas. On Monday, July 3, 1780, Loosley and Elms gave notice that on Thursday next there would be a bull-baiting at Brooklyn ferry. They say: “The bull is remarkably strong and active; the best dogs in the country expected, and they that afford the best diversion will be rewarded with silver collars.” The next year Elms having retired from the business, Charles Loosley gave notice that, “This day, being Wednesday, the 20th of June, will be exhibited at Brooklyn Ferry a Bull-Baiting after the true English manner. Taurus will be brought to the ring at half-past three o’clock; some good dogs are already provided, but every assistance of that sort will be esteemed a favor. A dinner exactly British will be upon Loosley’s table at eleven o’clock, after which there is no doubt but that the song, ‘Oh! the Roast Beef of Old England!’ will be sung with harmony and glee.” On[Pg 290] September 20, 1780, notice was given that the “anniversary of the Coronation of our ever good and gracious King will be celebrated at Loosley’s 22 inst. It is expected that no rebels will approach nearer than Flatbush wood.”

While the British occupied Brooklyn horse-races were more or less regularly held on the old course around Beaver Pond near Jamaica, at New Lots and at Flatlands, not far from the ferry. They were largely attended by the army officers and the people of New York, who crossed the ferry and, no doubt, added greatly to the profits of the King’s Head. Bull-baiting was a cruel sport, but there were others that would hardly be tolerated at the present day, the principal object being, no doubt, to amuse and entertain the army officers. The Royal Gazette of November 4, 1780, announced three days’ sport at Ascot Heath, formerly Flatlands Plains. On the second day the first event was a ladies’ subscription purse of £50; the second a race by women—quarter-mile heats—best two in three; the first to get a Holland smock and chintz gown, full-trimmed, of four guineas value, the second a guinea and the third a half-guinea. “If stormy, posponed—when notice will be given by Mr. Loosley’s Union Flag being displayed by 7 o’clock in the morning. Gentlemen fond of fox-hunting will meet at Loosley’s King’s Head Tavern at day-break during the races.

“God Save the King played every hour.”

[Pg 291]The Royal Gazette of August 8, 1781, contains the following advertisement: “Pro Bono Publico,—Gentlemen that are fond of fox-hunting are requested to meet at Loosley’s Tavern, on Ascot Heath, on Friday morning next, between the hours of five and six, as a pack of hounds will be there purposely for a trial of their abilities. Breakfasting and Relishes until the Races commence. At eleven o’clock will be run for, an elegant saddle, etc., value at least twenty pounds, for which upwards of twelve gentlemen will ride their own horses. At twelve a match will be rode by two gentlemen. Horse for Horse. At one, a match for thirty guineas, by two gentlemen, who will also ride their own horses. Dinner will be ready at two o’clock, after which and suitable regalements, racing and other diversions will be calculated to conclude the day with pleasure and harmony. Brooklyn Hall 6th August, 1781.”

Again in November: “Brooklyn Hunt.—The hounds will throw off at Denyse Ferry at 9, Thursday morning. A guinea or more will be given for a good strong bag fox by Charles Loosley.” In April, 1782, “A sweepstakes of 300 guineas was won by Jacob Jackson’s mare, Slow and Easy, over Mercury and Goldfinder, on Ascot Heath.”

Loosley was evidently making it very lively and entertaining for his patrons, who seem to have been interested in such sports as were[Pg 292] popular in England. Lieutenant Anbury, writing to a friend in England under date of October 30, 1781, refers thus to Loosley’s King’s Head Tavern: “On crossing the East River from New York, you land at Brooklyn, which is a scattered village, consisting of a few houses. At this place is an excellent tavern, where parties are made to go and eat fish; the landlord of which has saved an immense fortune during this war.” Although Loosley was supposed to be doing a profitable business, it seems that such was not the case, for, in the latter part of the year 1782, notice was given that the furniture, etc., of Brooklyn Hall would be offered at public auction for the benefit of the creditors of Charles Loosley. Among the articles mentioned, which indicate that the house was pretty nicely furnished, are mahogany bedsteads; chintz and other curtains; mahogany drawers; dining, tea and card tables; an elegant clock in mahogany case; a curious collection of well chosen paintings and pictures; large pier and other looking-glasses, in gilt and plain frames; table and tea sets of china, plate, etc.; a capital well-toned organ, made by one of the best hands in London; a billiard table in thorough repair; wagons, horses, cows, etc.; “and several hundred transparent and tin lamps, fit for illuminations.” Loosley had been a great illuminator, but his days for illuminations were now over. He went out with other loyalists to Nova Scotia, where a few years later he was keeping a tavern.

Activity at the Merchants’ Coffee House

[Pg 293]In 1779 sales of prizes and merchandise were quite numerous at the Merchants’ Coffee House, indicating that it was a place of great activity. Its importance is further indicated by a notice in the newspaper by a person who wishes to hire a small dwelling, not too far from the Coffee House. In a proclamation issued March 6, 1779, Governor Tryon states that since September 18th last, the value of prizes brought into the port of New York amounted to above six hundred thousand (600,000) pounds. The New York Mercury states that in about this period one hundred and sixty-five (165) prizes were brought in, and a great deal of this was sold at the Coffee House. This same year, encouraged by the governor and the military commandant, the members of the Chamber of Commerce, who were in the city, met in the upper long room of the Merchants’ Coffee House, and resumed their sessions, which had been suspended since 1775. They hired the room from Mrs. Smith, the landlady, at the rate of fifty pounds per annum and continued to meet here until the close of the war.

In the spring of 1781 William Brownjohn, the owner of the Merchants’ Coffee House, offered it to let, asking for written proposals. It was taken by John Strachan, who had succeeded Loosley and Elms in the old tavern on Brownjohn’s Wharf, which he had kept for two years[Pg 294] as the Queen’s Head. He had opened in it an ordinary and gave turtle dinners and in a measure maintained its popularity. The Marine Society met here while he was its landlord, as it had done before the war. When Strachan went into the Coffee House he promised “to pay attention not only as a Coffee House but as a Tavern in the truest sense; and to distinguish the same as the City Tavern and Coffee House, with constant and best attendance. Breakfast from seven to eleven. Soups and relishes from eleven to half-past one. Tea, coffee, etc., in the afternoon as in England.” He hung up letter-bags for letters to go out to England by the men-of-war, charging sixpence for each letter. This raised such a storm of protest that he was compelled to apologize in the public prints and to refund what he had received, which is said to have amounted to nineteen pounds (£19). He continued in the Coffee House until the return of peace. It seems to have been the meeting place of fraternal societies, but the cessasion of hostilities during the year 1783, the preparations for evacuating the city and the uncertainties of the future made times dull and Strachan issued an earnest appeal to those in his debt to come forward and settle their accounts.

Refugee Club

Besides the army, the population of New York had increased in numbers by returning[Pg 295] loyalists and by refugees from all parts, who had come in through the lines. There was a Refugee Club, the members of which had a dinner at Hicks’ Tavern, the Province Arms, on June 1, 1779, at which William Franklin, son of Benjamin Franklin, and the last royal governor of New Jersey, presided. The refugees of the province of New York met, in August, 1779, at the tavern of John Amory, in the Fields, formerly the house of Abraham De La Montagnie and kept just before the war by his widow. This place seemed to be their headquarters. There was an organization known as the Board of Refugees, which issued a notice under date of November 27, 1779, signed by Anthony G. Stewart, President, and J. Hepburn, Secretary, stating that “the Representatives of the Loyal Refugees from the several Provinces now in rebellion are earnestly requested to give their attendance at the Coffee House on Tuesday evening at 5 o’clock.” The New York refugees had doubtless appointed men to represent them in this board, for, on October 18, 1779, notice was given that “those gentlemen that were appointed to represent the Loyal Refugees of the Province of New York are requested to meet on Wednesday Morning next at 10 o’clock at the House commonly called La Montague’s, now Mr. Amory’s.” The refugees from the province of Massachusetts Bay were requested to meet at Strachan’s Tavern, the Queen’s Head, on Friday,[Pg 296] December 24, 1779, at six o’clock, when, it was promised, their committee would lay before them sundry matters of importance for their consideration. Many of the refugees were destitute and lotteries were gotten up for their benefit.

Gaiety at the Province Arms

The center of the gaiety of the city and the great resort of the army officers was the Province Arms Tavern. In 1779 the walk by the ruins of Trinity Church and the churchyard was railed in and the railing painted green. Lamps were affixed to the trees, and benches were placed in convenient places, so that ladies and gentlemen could walk and sit there in the evening. When the commander was present, a band played, and a sentry was placed there, so that the common people might not intrude. On the opposite side of Broadway was a house for the accommodation of ladies and wives of officers, “while,” it was said, “many honest people, both of the inhabitants and refugees, cannot get a house or lodging to live in, or get their living.”

A Grand Ball

On Tuesday, January 18, 1780, the anniversary of the Queen’s birthday was celebrated “with uncommon splendor and magnificance.” Governor Tryon gave a public dinner to General Knyphausen, Major General Phillips, Baron Riedesel, commander of the troops of his Serene Highness the Duke of Brunswick, Major General Pattison, commandant of the city and the other[Pg 297] general officers of the garrison. At noon a royal salute was fired from Fort George and repeated by his Majesty’s ships of war at one o’clock. In the evening the Generals were present at the most elegant ball and entertainment ever known on this side of the Atlantic, given at the Province Arms by the general, field and staff officers of the army, to the garrison and principal ladies and gentlemen of the city. The Royal Gazette stated that “the Public Rooms were on this occasion entirely newpainted and decorated in a Stile which reflects Honor on the Taste of the Managers. A Doric pediment was erected near the principal Entrance enclosing a transparent Painting of their Majesties at full length, in their Royal Robes, over which was an emblematical Piece, encircled with the motto of

Britons, Strike Home.

The whole illuminated with a beautiful variety of different colored Lamps. The Ball was opened at Eight o’clock by the Baroness De Riedesel and Major General Pattison, Commandant of the City and Garrison. Country dances commenced at half past Nine, and at Twelve the Company adjourned to Supper, prepared in the two Long Rooms. The Tables exhibited a most delightful appearance, being ornamented with Parterres and Arbours, displaying an elegant Assemblage of natural and artificial Flowers, China Images, etc. The[Pg 298] Company retired about three in the Morning, highly satisfied with the Evening’s Entertainment.” The ball is said to have cost over two thousand (2,000) guineas, and the supper “consisted of three hundred and eighty dishes besides the ornamental appendages.” Some of the wealthiest families of New York had remained loyal to the crown, and there was, no doubt, a sufficient number of ladies of these families in the city to make a ballroom very gay. The officers of the army, arrayed in all the splendor of gold lace and brilliant uniform, added their share to the magnificent scene.

 

de Riedesel née de Masjeur

 

[Pg 299]In the spring of 1780 General Pattison, the commandant of the city, in the most arbitrary and cruel manner and without consulting the owner, at the request of Mr. Commissioner Loring, turned Hicks out of the Province Arms, and substituted in his place one Roubalet, a dependent and servant of the commissioner. According to Jones, Loring obtained his influence through his wife, who was playing the part of Cleopatra to Sir Henry Clinton’s Antony. Hicks applied to General Clinton and to Governor Robertson for redress and received fair words, but nothing more. When Pattison sailed for England he followed him, with the intention of bringing suit in an English court, but died on the passage.

The King’s Birthday

The King’s birthday, the 4th of June, was celebrated on Monday, June 5, 1780. At night there were fireworks on Long Island, and in the city there were great festivities. Previous to this the walk by the church yard had been widened so that the posts had to be sunk into the graves. The orchestra from the play house were seated against the walls of the church, and opposite this was erected another place for musicians, probably for the military band.

The Dancing Assembly held their meetings at[Pg 300] the Province Arms; those during the winter of 1779-80 were held on Wednesdays. There was also a Card Assembly which met at the Province Arms where they had their Card Rooms. It was the temporary home of many of the British officers. Here Benedict Arnold lived for a time, and it was from this place that Sergeant Champe planned to abduct him.

Attempt to Capture Arnold

After the treason of Benedict Arnold and the capture of Major André, General Washington was anxious to gain positive information as to whether there was any other officers involved, as was by some suspected, and also if possible, to get possession of the person of Arnold. To carry out this delicate and dangerous enterprise he needed the services of a man who would be willing to enter the British lines as a deserter and do the work desired. Major Lee, who was to have charge of the undertaking, picked out among the men of his command, Sergeant Major Champe, of Loudoun County, Virginia, full of courage and perseverance, who was, at first, very reluctant to undertake the task, but this reluctance being overcome, entered into the project with the greatest enthusiasm. Major Lee and his men were in the neighborhood of Tappan and it was not easy to get beyond the American lines, for patrols were numerous, and the whole neighborhood to the south was covered by scouts.

 [Pg 301]

ESCAPE OF SERGEANT CHAMPE

 

To make this desertion appear genuine, Champe could receive no noticeable assistance, Major Lee only promising, in case his departure should be soon discovered, to delay pursuit as long as possible. This he did, but pursuit was made after Champe had been on his way about an hour, a few minutes after twelve o’clock. A little after break of day, the pursuing party caught sight of Champe in the distance. Once or twice they lost track of him. Champe, finding himself hard pressed, resolved to flee to the[Pg 302] British galleys lying in Newark Bay, and as he dashed along prepared himself for the final act. He lashed his valise to his shoulders, divested himself of all unnecessary burdens, and when he got abreast of the galleys, quickly dismounted and plunged into the water, swimming for the boats and calling for help, which was readily given. His pursuers were only about two hundred yards behind him. All were convinced that he was a genuine deserter. Champe enlisted under Arnold. He soon discovered that the suspicion of any other officers being connected with the treason of Arnold was groundless; but the plans for the abduction of the arch-traitor miscarried. Champe, after suffering many hardships, finally escaped while serving under Cornwallis at Petersburg, Virginia. We give his own account of the affair, as related after the war to the British officer in whose company he served.

“If I were to attempt to make you feel any portion of the excitement under which I labored during the period of my sojourn in New York, I should utterly waste my labor. My communications with spies were necessarily frequent; yet they were carried on with a degree of secrecy and caution which not only prevented your people from obtaining any suspicion of them, but kept each man from coming to the knowledge that the other was in my confidence. Of the political information which I forwarded to Gen. Washington, it is needless to say much.[Pg 303] It was so complete, that there scarcely occurred a conversation over Clinton’s dining table there never was formed a plan, nor a plan abandoned, of which I did not contrive to obtain an accurate report, and to transmit it to headquarters. But it was the project for seizing Arnold which most deeply engaged my attention. Several schemes were brought forward and rejected for that purpose; till at last the following, which but for an accident, must have succeeded, was matured.

“The house in which Arnold dwelt, was situated, as you doubtless recollect, in one of the principal streets of the city, while its garden extended on one side along an obscure lane, from which it was separated by a close wooden rail fence. I found that every night, before going to bed, Arnold was in the habit of visiting that garden, and I immediately resolved what to do. Working after dark, I undid a portion of the fence, and placing it up again so nicely, that no cursory examination would have sufficed to detect the spot where the breach had been made, I warned my associate that he should provide a boat in the Hudson, manned by rowers in whom he could trust. I then furnished myself with a gag, and appointed a night when my confederate should be admitted within the garden, so that we might together seize and secure our prey. Everything was done as I wished. Maj. Lee was informed of the state of our preparations, and directed to come down with spare[Pg 304] horses, and an escort, to a spot on the river which I named. How often have I regretted since, that I should set thus deliberately about the business! By Heavens! there occurred twenty opportunities, of which, had I been less anxious to accomplish my purpose, I might have availed myself. But I permitted them to pass, or rather, I felt myself unable to take advantage of them, because I had judged it imprudent to keep less trusty agents too often on the alert. So, however, it was to be.

“Time passed, and now a few hours only intervened between the final adjustment of the details of our project and its accomplishment. Lee was on the stir—was willing to hazard all—the boat’s crew was provided, and their station pointed out.

“It was our purpose to seize Arnold unaware, to thrust the gag in his mouth, and placing each of us an arm within that of our prisoner, to hurry him through the least frequented of the streets towards the quary. We were to represent him as a drunken soldier, whom we were conveying to his quarters, should any person meet or question us,—and by G—, the deed was done, but the traitor’s star prevailed. That very morning, an order was issued for the immediate embarkation of the legion, and I was hurried on board the ship without having had time so much as to warn Maj. Lee that the whole arrangement was blown up.”

The present Thames Street was undoubtedly[Pg 305] the “obscure lane,” down which Champe intended that he and his assistant should carry Arnold to the boat; there is no other that would so well fit into the story told by Champe.

Roubalet retained possession of the Province Arms until near the time of the departure of the British troops, and it was at his house that many meetings were held by the refugees and loyalists in reference to provisions being made for them by grants of land in Nova Scotia.

[Pg 306]

 

 


[Pg 307]

X

Fraunces’ Tavern

Return of The Exiles

News of the signing of the provisional treaty reached this country in March, 1783, and the return of peace was celebrated throughout the land in April, but the British army remained in possession of New York City until the latter part of the following November. During this time they were very busy caring for those who had remained loyal to the crown, and now sought and claimed its protection. Thousands came into the city, and it is said that more than twenty-nine thousand loyalists and refugees (including three thousand negroes), left the State of New York for Canada, Nova Scotia and other British possessions, during the year. After the news of peace, there was little restraint on going in or out of New York, and many who had abandoned their homes when the British entered the place, or before, now prepared to return, but found when they came into the city that they could not obtain possession of their own property. While those who had thus abandoned their property in the cause of independence were anxious to return, many of those who had remained loyal to the crown[Pg 308] were preparing to leave the city for new homes to be made on land provided by the government; and between these two classes there was no friendly feeling. Few, therefore, ventured to bring in their families, or even remain themselves, until they could obtain the protection of the American army.

General Washington and Sir Guy Carleton met near Tappan in May to arrange matters relative to the withdrawals of British troops in the vicinity of New York. On this occasion Sam Francis came up from the city to provide for the American officers and their British guests, whose bill, says a Philadelphia newspaper, amounted to the modest sum of five hundred pounds. Francis, after serving in the army, had gone back to New York on the news of peace to reclaim his abandoned property. When a dinner was to be served to do honor to the cause of liberty, there was no one among all the Americans who could so well do it as Sam Francis. He was well known to Washington, but whether his aid was sought on this occasion or whether he proffered his services we have no means of knowing. At any rate, we are confident that the thing was well and properly done. It is said that it was through the instrumentality of Francis’s daughter, who was housekeeper at Richmond Hill, the headquarters of General Washington, that the attempt on his life and that of General Putnam, called the Hickey plot, was discovered and frustrated. The house of[Pg 309] Francis was one of those which suffered when H. B. M. S. Asia fired on the city in August, 1775.

Freneau thus speaks of it:

“Scarce a broadside was ended ’till another began again—
By Jove! It was nothing but fire away Flannagan!
Some thought him saluting his Sallys and Nancys
’Till he drove a round-shot thro’ the roof of Sam Francis.”

On Tuesday, June 18, 1776, an elegant entertainment was given by the provincial congress to General Washington and his suite, the general and staff officers and the commanding officers of the different regiments in and near the city. The newspapers do not state where this dinner was served, but all the circumstances indicate that it was at the house of Samuel Francis. At this dinner many toasts were drunk, but instead of commencing with a toast to the King, as had formerly been customary, the first was Congress, the second, The American Army, the third, The American Navy, etc. Independence had not yet been declared. Francis had gone out with the defeated army of Washington, and was now returned and making preparations to receive the Americans when they should enter the city. He was the harbinger of Washington and the returning patriots.

Dinner at Orangetown

On Saturday, the 3d of May, 1783, General[Pg 310] Washington and Governor Clinton, accompanied by General John Morin Scott, and Lieutenant Colonels Trumbull, Cobb, Humphreys and Varick, went down the river from headquarters in a large barge, dined with General Knox, in command at West Point, lodged at Peekskill and arrived at Tappan Sloat on Sunday morning, about ten o’clock. After partaking of a small repast provided by Francis they went up to Orangetown, where a dinner was provided for them. Sir Guy Carleton came up the river in the Perseverence Frigate, accompanied by Lieutenant Governor Andrew Elliot, Chief Justice William Smith, and others, but did not arrive till Monday evening. On Tuesday, General Washington, attended by two aides-de-camp only (Humphreys and Cobb), went down to Onderdonck’s in Tappan Bay, met Sir Guy at landing and received him in his four horse carriage, which carried them up to Orangetown, followed by the other members of the party. Here, after a conference and much general conversation on the subject of the treaty and matters incident thereto, about four o’clock in the afternoon, a most sumptuous dinner was served by Sam Francis to about thirty, who ate and drank “in the Peace and good fellowship without drinking any Toasts.” On Wednesday the Commander in Chief, the Governor, General Scott, Lieutenant Colonels Humphreys, Cobb, Trumbull, Smith and Varick,[Pg 311] Major Fish, and Messrs. Duer and Parker went to dine on the Perseverence. They were received with a salute of seventeen guns. “An Elegant Dinner (tho’ not equal to the American) was prepared,” to which they “sat down in perfect Harmony and conviviality.” Then, after a short conference between the two generals, the Americans left the ship, when they were again saluted with seventeen guns. “Thus,” it is said, “ended that great formal Business.” The British troops were drawn in from Westchester County on the 14th.

It was about this time that Sam Francis seems to have assumed the name of Fraunces. Before the war we do not find other than Francis, and in the deed of the De Lancey house to him in 1765, the name is Francis. This celebrated old house is known to-day as Fraunces’ Tavern.

The celebration of the return of peace was held at Trenton, New Jersey, on April 15, 1783. After the governor’s proclamation declaring a cessation of hostilities had been publicly read in the court house, a dinner was given at the house of John Cape, who was then landlord of the French Arms, a tavern at this place, and had been a lieutenant in the Continental line. Before the evacuation of New York by the British troops, Cape entered the city and secured control of the old Province Arms, and was here to welcome the army of Washington when they marched in. He took down the old sign which[Pg 312] had swung in front of the house since 1754, and in its place hung out the sign of the Arms of the State of New York. From this time the house was known as the State Arms, or more generally as the City Tavern.

A large number of the inhabitants of New York, lately returned from a seven years’ exile, met at Cape’s Tavern, Broadway, on Tuesday evening, November 18th. At this meeting it was requested that every person present, who had remained in the city during the late contest, should leave the room forthwith; and it was resolved that no one who had remained or returned within the British lines during the war, be admitted to any future meetings. They pledged themselves to prevent, to the utmost of their power, all disorder and confusion that might follow the evacuation of the city by the British troops, and a committee of thirteen was appointed to meet at Simmons’ Tavern in Wall Street to settle on a badge of distinction to be worn on evacuation day, select the place of meeting, and agree as to the manner in which they should receive his Excellency, the Governor, on that day. This committee was directed to report at the next meeting at Cape’s on Thursday. At the meeting on Thursday evening, Colonel Frederick Weissenfels in the chair, it was agreed that the badge of distinction to be worn at the reception of the Governor in the city should be “a Union Cockade of black and white ribband on the left breast and a Laurel in the[Pg 313] Hat.” The manner in which Governor Clinton, and General Washington, should he accompany him, should be received was arranged and a committee of thirteen was appointed to conduct the procession, who were directed to meet the next morning at the Coffee House. It was resolved that Daniel Green be requested to carry the Colors of the United States on this occasion. No loyalist or neutral was to be allowed any part or share in the reception.

The Evacuation

Tuesday, November 25, 1783, the time appointed for the evacuation of the city by the British troops, was a great day for New York. General Washington and Governor Clinton were at Day’s Tavern on the Kingsbridge road, where they had been for three or four days. General Knox, in command of the American troops, marched down from McGown’s Pass in the morning to the upper end of the Bowery, where he held a friendly parley with the British officer whose men were resting a little below. It was then about one o’clock in the afternoon. The programme of procedure which had been arranged was carried out nearly as agreed upon. As the British passed down the Bowery and Pearl Street to the river for embarkation, they were followed by the American troops, who passed through Chatham Street and Broadway to Cape’s Tavern, where they formed in line. General Knox, with the Main Guard, passed on down to the Fort to take[Pg 314] formal possession of the city; after which, joined by the citizens who had assembled at the Bowling Green, on horseback, each man wearing the Cockade and Laurel, he returned to the Bull’s Head Tavern in the Bowery, where Washington and Clinton were waiting to make their formal entry. Here a civic procession was formed which marched down Pearl Street to Wall Street and then up to Broadway to Cape’s Tavern. General Knox with his men had left the line of march, and going through Chatham Street and Broadway was here to receive them.

At Cape’s they dismounted and an address was presented to General Washington from “the Citizens of New York, who have returned from exile, in behalf of themselves and their suffering brethren.” In it they said: “In this place, and at this moment of exultation and triumph, while the Ensigns of Slavery still linger in our sight, we look up to you, our deliverer, with unusual transports of Gratitude and Joy. Permit us to Welcome you to this city, long torn from us by the hand of oppression, but now, by your wisdom and energy, under the guidance of Providence, once more the seat of Peace and freedom; we forbear to speak our gratitude or your Praise—we should but echo the voice of applauding millions.” A reply was made to this address by Washington. An address was also presented to Governor Clinton, which was replied to by him.

After the formalities attending the reception[Pg 315] Governor Clinton gave a public dinner at Fraunces’ Tavern, at which the Commander-in-Chief and other general officers were present. After the dinner thirteen toasts were drunk; the twelfth was: “May a close Union of the States guard the Temple they have erected to Liberty.”

Dinner to the French Ambassador

At Cape’s Tavern on Friday, November 28th, an elegant entertainment was given by the citizens lately returned from exile to the Governor and Council for governing the city, to which Washington and the officers of the army were invited. On the following Tuesday, December 2d, at the same place, another such entertainment was given by Governor Clinton to the French Ambassador, Luzerne, to which invitations were also extended to Washington and his officers. For this Cape rendered a bill to the State, in which he made charge for 120 dinners, 135 bottles of Madeira, 36 bottles of Port, 60 bottles of English Beer and 30 Bowls of Punch. In putting away this liberal supply of drink, they must have had a jolly time, and that some of them became very unsteady is indicated by a significant charge made by Cape for 60 broken wine glasses and 8 cut glass decanters. In the evening there was a grand display of fire works in celebration of the Definite Treaty of Peace between Great Britain and the United States of North America, at the Bowling Green, in Broadway. These, it is said, infinitely exceeded every[Pg 316] former exhibition of the kind in the United States. On the next day, December 3d, Washington wrote to Major General Knox, expressing his satisfaction and requesting him to present to Captain Price, under whose direction they were prepared, and to the officers who assisted him, his thanks for the great skill and attention shown on this occasion.

Washington had issued, under date of November 2d, from Rocky Hill, near Princeton, New Jersey, his farewell address to the army of the United States, and he was now about to bid farewell to his officers. The place appointed for this formality was the Long Room of Fraunces’ Tavern. It has given a celebrity to this house which can never be effaced. The Long Room of Fraunces’ Tavern had recently been used for the dinner given by Governor Clinton on the day the American army entered the city. It was thirty-eight feet long and nineteen feet wide, its length extending along Broad Street, probably just as it exists to-day in the restored house. On the morning of December 4, 1783, Washington and his officers met here for the last time as soldiers of the Revolutionary Army. No exact record exists as to who were present on this memorable occasion, but it has been stated, that there were forty-four. Among these were Generals Greene, Knox, Wayne, Steuben, Carroll, Lincoln, Kosciusko, Moultrie, Gates, Lee, Putnam, Stark, Hamilton, Governor[Pg 317] Clinton, and Colonels Tallmadge, Humphreys and Fish.

Washington’s Farewell to his Officers

They had been assembled but a few minutes, when Washington entered the room. His emotion was too strong to be concealed, and was evidently reciprocated by all present. Alter partaking of a slight refreshment, and after a few moments of silence, the General filled his glass with wine, and turning to his officers said: “With a heart full of love and gratitude, I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.” After the officers had responded in a glass of wine, he requested that each one of them should come and take him by the hand. General Knox, who was nearest him, turned and grasped his hand and they embraced each other in silence. In the same affectionate manner every officer parted from the Commander-in-Chief, who then left the room without a word, and passing through lines of infantry drawn up to receive him, walked silently to Whitehall, where a barge was waiting to carry him to Paulus Hook. He was on his way to Annapolis, to surrender his commission to the Continental Congress, and then to his beloved Mount Vernon.

These were the closing scenes of the war. The first act in the drama of A Nation’s Growth[Pg 318] was ended. After a seven years’ struggle of blood and suffering a new nation had been born. The curtain drops. Vivat Republica.

 

IN THE COFFEE HOUSE

 

Cornelius Bradford, who had abandoned the Merchants’ Coffee House, when the British entered the city, and had since been living at Rhinebeck, came back in October, and again took possession of it. In his announcement he calls it the New York Coffee House, but the name of the Merchants’ Coffee House clung to it, and it is so spoken of in the public prints. He prepared a book in which he proposed to enter the names of vessels on their arrival, the[Pg 319] ports from which they came and any particular occurrences of their voyages, so that merchants and travelers might obtain the earliest intelligence. Bradford’s Marine List appears in the newspapers of that period. He also opened a register of merchants and others on which they were requested to enter their names and residences, the nearest approach to a city directory that had yet been made. Bradford, by his energy and intelligence, revived the good name of the house, and it became again the rendezvous of merchants and traders, and the daily scene of sales of merchandise of all kinds. The neighborhood again became a place of great importance and trade. Near the Coffee House, both sides of Wall Street were occupied by auction stores, and received the name of the Merchants’ Promenade or the Auctioneers’ Row.

A Bank Organized

New York had hardly been relieved of British control, when a project was set on foot to organize a bank. On the 24th of February, 1784, and again on the 26th the principal merchants and citizens of New York met at the Merchants’ Coffee House, in response to a call, for the purpose of establishing a bank on liberal principles, the stock to consist of specie only. Proposals were made for the establishment of a bank with a capital of five hundred thousand dollars in gold or silver, which were[Pg 320] unanimously agreed to, and a committee was appointed to receive subscriptions. When one-half of the stock had been taken, a meeting of the stockholders was held at the Coffee House at ten o’clock on the morning of Monday, March 15, 1784, when General Alexander McDougal was elected president, twelve directors, and William Seton cashier of the bank. Thus was organized the Bank of New York, the first bank of deposit in the State.

Chamber of Commerce Reorganized

The Chamber of Commerce and the Marine Society met regularly at the Coffee House. After the war it was held that the Chamber of Commerce had forfeited its charter and the State legislature then sitting in New York, in response to a petition, granted a new charter, April 13, 1784. The signers of the petition met at the Merchants’ Coffee House April 20th and reorganized under the name of Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York. By resolution of Congress, New York became the seat of government in December, 1784, and shortly after, on January 19, 1785, the Marine Society, to animate its members and promote the object of the society, provided an elegant dinner at the Merchants’ Coffee House, and were honored with the company of the President and members of Congress, the mayor of the city, Major General McDougal, and a number of other gentlemen. In the early part of[Pg 321] February the Chamber of Commerce had the honor of entertaining the same distinguished guests at a dinner, also given at the Merchants’ Coffee House.

The society for the promotion of manumission of slaves held its meetings at the Coffee House, also the society for promoting useful knowledge. Here the Masons had their Grand Lodge Room and here they gathered on the anniversary day of St. John the Baptist, in 1784, and marched in procession to St. Paul’s Church, where a sermon was preached to them by the Rev. Samuel Provost. These formalities seem to have been of yearly occurrence.

In 1785 the Governor of the State, the Chancellor, the Hon. John Jay and other distinguished citizens dined with the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick at the Coffee House on the anniversary day of their saint, and on November 30th the St. Andrew’s Society of the State held its anniversary meeting here. At sunrise the Scottish flag was raised on the Coffee House and at twelve o’clock an election of officers was held, when the Hon. Robert R. Livingston, Chancellor of the State, was chosen president and Robert Lenox, secretary. The society, honored with the company of the Governor of the State and the Mayor and Recorder of the city, then sat down to dinner. The toasts were truly Scotch; among them a few that need be interpreted to us by some antiquarian Scot.

On the 9th of November, 1786, Cornelius[Pg 322] Bradford died, much regretted by his many friends, at the age of fifty-seven, and his funeral was held at four o’clock on the afternoon of the 17th at the Coffee House. He seems to have been a man much respected in the community. The New York Packet, in an obituary notice, says of him that not only “was he distinguished as a steady patriot during the arduous contest for American liberty, but that he always discovered a charitable disposition toward those who differed from him in sentiment,” and adds that “the Coffee House under his management, was kept with great dignity, both before and since the war, and he revived its credit from the contempt into which it had fallen during the war.” His widow kept the house after his death until 1792, and continued to enjoy the patronage of Bradford’s old friends.

Although Sam Fraunces came back to the city after the war and took up his old business in the house which had been known as the Queen’s Head, he did not remain there long, but retired to a country life in New Jersey. He sold the house in 1785. The deed is dated April 23d of this year and states that “Samuel Fraunces, late of the City of New York, innkeeper, but at present of the County of Monmouth, New Jersey, farmer, and Elizabeth, his wife,” sell to “George Powers, butcher, of Brooklyn,” all his dwelling house and lot, bounded, etc. The price was £1,950.

The Assembly Balls Revived

The dancing assemblies which had been[Pg 323] regularly held before the war at the Province Arms for many years, were renewed, the first one after the close of the Revolution being held at Cape’s, or the City Tavern, on the evening of Thursday, December 19, 1783. James Rivington, the loyalist, in announcing the ball in his paper, added that he had “for sale a supply of white dancing gloves for gentlemen, with stockings, dress swords, and elegant London cocked hats,” which were, no doubt, a part of the stock he was carrying during the war to supply the British officers. Mr. Pickens and Mr. Griffiths, dancing masters, both gave balls in the assembly room of Cape’s Tavern. Mr. Griffiths was using the room for his dancing school in 1786, and announced that he would give a ball once a fortnight during the season. Tickets were six shillings each. A grand ball at the assembly rooms in Broadway was announced by Mr. Griffiths, to be held on February 20, 1786. To insure an attendance of desirable persons it was stated that no person would be admitted whose appearance might give umbrage to the company. Such balls as those given by the dancing masters were continued for many years.

The Cincinnati

A meeting of the New York State Society of the Cincinnati was called to meet at Cape’s Tavern on the 2d of February, 1784, in order to frame By-Laws for the society and for[Pg 324] other important purposes. Benjamin Walker, secretary of the society, gave notice “that such persons as are entitled to become members of the society and have not yet signed the institution, may have an opportunity of doing it by applying to him at Cape’s Tavern.” Major General Alexander McDougal had been elected president of the New York society in July, at Fishkill. John Cape, the landlord of the City Tavern, was a member of the Cincinnati, and he also appears to have been a Mason, for, although the rooms of the Grand Lodge were at the Coffee House, notice was given that the members of the Grand Lodge were desired to meet “at Brother Cape’s Tavern” on Broadway on Wednesday evening, March 3, at six o’clock to install the Right Worshipful the Hon. Robert Livingston, Grand Master.

In February, 1786, Cape suddenly disappeared, leaving his creditors in the lurch. The furniture and all the stock in the tavern were sold out under execution by the sheriff, and the house was taken in March by Joseph Corré, who opened it as a traveler’s house. Having been a professed cook he gave notice that “any person wishing to have their servants taught the art of cookery may apply to him for terms.” Travelers, coming into the city from the north and east, put up at the City Tavern, and, on their way to the south, crossed the Paulus Hook Ferry from the foot of Cortlandt Street, and took the stage coach or wagon on the Jersey side for[Pg 325] their destination. A line of stages had been established between New York and Albany and another between New York and Boston, and announcement was made in 1780 that the stage would leave the old City Tavern, kept by Joseph Corré, during the six winter months on Monday and Thursday of each week, at precisely five o’clock in the morning, for Albany and Boston, and in summer on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Extensive preparations were made to celebrate the anniversary of the Independence of the United States on July 4, 1786. The opening of the day was announced at sunrise by a salute of thirteen guns and the ringing of all the bells in the city. At twelve o’clock a procession started from the City Hall, going through Broad Street and down Queen Street to the residence of the governor, who, joined by the lieutenant governor, the chancellor, the judges of the Supreme Court, and the other state officers, with the mayor and aldermen, the Marine Society, and the Chamber of Commerce, proceeded to the residence of the President of the United States Congress, where they presented to his excellency, the compliments of the day. They then proceeded to the City Tavern, attended by numerous citizens, and partook of a collation which had been provided by the corporation. As the procession moved from the City Hall, all the bells in the city commenced to ring, and continued to ring for two hours. As they arrived[Pg 326] at the City Tavern thirteen guns were discharged, and at sunset another discharge of thirteen guns closed the day. Fireworks having been prohibited in the city by the common council, some brilliant pieces were exhibited on Governor’s Island, which entertained a large concourse of citizens assembled on the Battery. The anniversary meeting of the Society of the Cincinnati, of the State of New York, in commemoration of the day, was held at the City Tavern, when the Hon. Baron de Steuben was elected president of the Society.

The Cincinnati

This year and for many years subsequent the annual meetings of the Cincinnati were attended with considerable ceremony. At a meeting of the Society held at the Merchants’ Coffee House on January 21, 1786, a committee, composed of Baron Steuben, Colonel Samuel B. Webb, and David Brooks, Assistant Clothier, was appointed to draw up a plan of proper ceremonials to be observed in the delivery of diplomas to members of the Society, especially to the elected members. The report of this committee, made on June 21st, was that the ceremony should be performed in the Assembly Room of the City Tavern, and that the outside of the house should be decorated with laurel crowns and festoons. Explicit directions were given as to how the room for the ceremony should be arranged. The floor should be covered with carpet. The Chair of State for the[Pg 327] President should be placed opposite the door of entrance. Places for the other officers and members were designated. The gallery above the door of entrance should be decorated and therein stationed kettle-drums and trumpets. That there should be,

First. A Chair of State covered with light blue satin with white fringe, the carvings on the arms and feet painted white; on the top of the back a staff supported by two hands united holding up a Cap of Liberty, grasped by a bald eagle (as the order of the Society); below a white fillet with the motto

“We Will Defend It.”

This chair to be elevated on two semi-circular steps covered on the top with light blue cloth and painted with white paint in front.

Second. The Standard of the Society of silk (described).

Third. A small square table covered with blue satin fringed with blue silk fringe and tassels.

Fourth. Two Cushions of white satin fringed with blue silk fringe and tassels, on one of which the eagles and on the other the diplomas of the elected members will be displayed.

The following form of ceremonies was presented and adopted and was first used at the annual meeting of the New York Society July 4, 1786. The foreign members and members belonging to other State societies, the spectators,[Pg 328] kettle-drums and trumpets having occupied their places; Captain Isaac Guion, the Standard Bearer, escorted by four members, all in full uniform, wearing the Order of the Society, carried the Standard into the Hall and planted it in front, to the right of the steps of the Chair of State. The escort returning, the Society marched in procession into the Hall in the following order:

The Masters of Ceremony (Col. Webb and Maj. Giles).

The members, by twos.

The Secretary, carrying the original Institution of the Society, bound in light blue satin, fringed with white (Capt. Robert Pemberton).

The Treasurer and Deputy Treasurer, bearing the cushions containing the eagles and diplomas (Col. Pierre Van Cortlandt and Maj. Richard Platt).

The Vice-President (Gen. Philip Schuyler).

The President (Baron Steuben).

On entering the Hall the members filed off to the right and left, and were placed by the Masters of Ceremony, and remained standing before their seats. The Secretary took his place behind the small table, placed to the left in front of the steps of the Chair of State. The Treasurer with the gold eagles, took position on the steps, on the right of the President, and the Deputy Treasurer, with the diplomas, on the steps to the left of the President. The Masters[Pg 329] of Ceremony took their places, one on the right of the Standard and the other on the left of the Secretary. At the entrance of the President the Standard saluted, and the kettle-drums and trumpets gave a flourish, until he had taken his seat, then the Standard was raised and the members took their seats.

The President then announced he was ready to receive candidates for membership and ordered the Masters of Ceremony to introduce the newly elected members, who were placed on seats opposite the Chair of State. The ceremony of Initiation was opened by an oration delivered by Colonel Alexander Hamilton. The Secretary read the Institution. The President, seated, addressed the newly elected members.

The President, rising from his seat, put on his hat, when all the members of the Society arose at the same time. A Master of Ceremony conducted a candidate to the first step before the President, who asked him first whether he desired to be received into the Society and if so, to promise a strict observance of the Rules and Statutes just read. Upon answering in the affirmative, with one hand taking the Standard, he signed the Institution with the other.

The President then taking one of the gold eagles from the cushion held by the Treasurer, pinned it on the left breast of the candidate, saying: “Receive this mark as a recompense for your merit and in remembrance of our[Pg 330] glorious Independence.” The drums and trumpets then gave a flourish.

The President then taking a diploma, with the recipient’s name inscribed, presented it to him, saying: “This will show your title as a member of our Society. Imitate the illustrious hero, Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus, whom we have chosen for our patron. Like him, be the defender of your country and a good citizen.” Another flourish of drums and trumpets.

The President then grasped the hand of the candidate and congratulated him. He was then presented by a Master of Ceremony to the officers of the Society and the members who rose and saluted him. He was then assigned to a seat provided for him at the upper end of the Hall, taking rank above the members of the Society for the day only.

After the Initiation the President removed his hat, and the Society proceeded to the Banquet Hall, observing the following order of precedence.

The Masters of Ceremony.
The members of the Society, two by two.
The newly elected members.
The members of other State societies.
The foreign members.
The honorary members.
The Standard Bearer with Standard.
The Secretary.
The Treasurer and Deputy Treasurer.
[Pg 331]The Vice-President.
The President.

The President and other officers passed to their places at the banquet table between the open lines of members. The President presided at the head of the table, surrounded by the foreign and newly elected members. After the cloth was removed thirteen toasts were drunk accompanied by a salute of thirteen cannon.

On the first day of December the St. Andrew’s Society gave a dinner at Corré’s Tavern, at which his excellency the governor was present. They sat down to dinner at four o’clock and after dinner drank thirteen toasts which had become the customary number.

The presence in the city of men who had remained loyal to England during the war was distasteful to many who had been ardent in the cause of Independence. A Whig Society was organized, whose avowed object was to obtain the removal of certain influential and offensive Tories from the state. Members of the society were men of prominence. Lewis Morris was president and John Pintard secretary. Public meetings were held and petitions sent to the legislature, but the status of the Tories was not materially disturbed. In such circumstances it is not to be wondered at that a company of Englishmen, spending the evening in one of the upper rooms of the Coffee House in the latter part of the month of June, 1786, and “in the height of their mirth and loyalty,” breaking out with[Pg 332] “Rule Britania,” should give offense. A newspaper remarks that “if there are Englishmen, whose attachment to the laws of Bachus obliges them to make frequent meetings over old London porter and Madeira, they should always carry with them the reflection that in a republican government there are songs which may please their palates and be grating to the ears of freemen,” and that “Rule Britania” was “a song very rediculous in a country like this, where their armies were conquered and their nation defeated.”

The New Constitution

After the formation of the Federal Constitution at Philadelphia in September, 1787, there was much discussion in New York over its ratification. Although there were in the city some bitter opponents to its adoption, the prevailing sentiment was in its favor. When the state of Massachusetts ratified the new constitution on the 8th of February, 1788, the event was celebrated with much enthusiasm in New York on Saturday, February 16th. The flag of the United States was “joined on the Coffee House” at sunrise, on which was inscribed “The Constitution, September 17, 1787,” and at noon the old pine tree flag of Massachusetts was hung out, with the date of her adhesion. There was a numerous gathering of citizens. Several members of Congress and the mayor of the city honored them “by partaking of their repast, which (in true republican style),[Pg 333] consisted of only two dishes—beef and salt fish.” After dinner toasts were drunk under the fire of six guns to each toast, in honor of those states which had adopted the Constitution—Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts. The eleventh toast was, “New York, may it soon become an additional pillar to the new roof.” It was confidently felt that the discussion and adoption of the new Constitution by their eastern neighbors would exert a strong influence in its favor, and that the conduct of Massachusetts would insure its ratification, not only in this state but in every other state of the Union.

The Grand Procession

As an expression of the intense interest felt in the fate of the new constitution, there were processions in different places, notably Philadelphia, Boston, Charleston and New York. The New York procession was the last and grandest, surpassing anything of its kind ever seen before in the country. It was held on July 23d, in honor of the adoption of the constitution by ten states, New York not having yet given in her adhesion. There were over six thousand in the line. What added greatly to the beauty and novelty of the parade was the ship Hamilton, a full-rigged man-of-war, carrying thirty guns with a crew of thirty men, complete in all its appointments, drawn by twelve horses and under the command of Commodore Nicholson. It was in the center of[Pg 334] the procession and attracted great attention sailing down Broadway, the canvas waves dashing against its sides, the wheels of the car being concealed. At ten o’clock in the morning, a salute of thirteen guns was fired from the ship, and the procession passed down Broadway from the Fields, and then through the principal streets into the Bowery to Bayard’s grounds, where two oxen roasted whole and other viands had been prepared. Tables were set for five thousand persons. The entire day was given up to festivities.

The Eleventh Pillar

While New York was in intense excitement, produced by these extensive demonstrations, news reached the city on Saturday evening about nine o’clock that the constitution had been adopted at Poughkeepsie on Friday, July 25th. New York was called the “Eleventh Pillar.” “The bells in the city were immediately set to ringing, and from the Fort and the Federal Ship Hamilton were fired several salutes.” The merchants at the Coffee House testified their joy and satisfaction by repeated cheers. The newspapers state that “a general joy ran through the whole city, and several of those who were of different sentiments drank freely of the Federal Bowl, and declared that they were now perfectly reconciled to the new constitution.”

Anniversaries of Two Great Victories

[Pg 335]The surrender of Earl Cornwallis and the army under his command at Yorktown, Virginia, on October 19, 1781, which marked the close of active hostilities, was a notable event in the history of the country, as was also the surrender of Burgoyne at Saratoga on October 17, 1777. The anniversaries of these two great victories for the American cause were not far apart, and there were many in the city who had taken part in one or both of them and were quite willing and anxious for a reunion of their companions-in-arms. Accordingly on Monday, October 20, 1788, “a number of officers of the late American army and several gentlemen of distinction” dined together at the Coffee House in commemoration of these two great events. The following are the toasts drunk at this dinner, as reported in the newspapers:

1. The memorable 5th of September, 1774. Meeting of the First Congress.

2. The memorable 17th of June, 1775. Battle of Bunker Hill.

3. The memorable 4th of July, 1776. Declaration of Independence.

4. The memorable 26th of December, 1776. Battle of Trenton.

5. The memorable 17th of October, 1777. Capture of Burgoyne.

[Pg 336]

6. The memorable 6th of February, 1778. Alliance with France.

7. The memorable 16th of July, 1779. Stony Point taken by General Wayne.

8. The memorable 17th of January, 1781. General Morgan defeats Tarleton at Cowpens.

9. The memorable 19th of October, 1781. Capture of Lord Cornwallis.

10. The memorable 3d of September, 1783. Definite treaty of peace.

11. The memorable 25th of November, 1783. Final evacuation of the United States by the British.

12. The memorable 17th of September, 1787. New Constitution.

13. General Washington.

Reception of Washington

The constitution had been adopted by eleven states. George Washington had been elected the first president of the United States and great preparations had been made to receive him in New York, then the capital of the Nation. On April 23, 1789, a Federal salute announced that he had arrived and was coming up the East River in the splendid barge which had been built especially for the occasion, accompanied by a large escort of boats, to Murray’s Wharf, where an ornamented and carpeted stairway had been constructed to make his landing easy, safe and comfortable. At the City Coffee[Pg 337] House, as it is termed in the newspapers, with a salute of thirteen guns, he was received by the governor and the officers of the state and corporation. The procession then formed and proceeded, with a military escort, from the Coffee House into Queen Street and then to the house which had been prepared for him. The Daily Advertiser, the next day, stated that: “On this great occasion the hand of industry was suspended and the various pleasures of the capital were concentrated to a single enjoyment.” The illumination of the city in the evening was brilliant and remarkable. On Saturday, the 25th, the Chamber of Commerce met at the Coffee House, and headed by John Broome, Theophylact Bache and John Murray proceeded in form to the house of the president-elect to present their congratulations.

Washington at the Ball

The next regular assembly after the inauguration of the President was held at the City Tavern, then under the management of Edward Bardin, on Thursday, May 7th, which Washington was requested to honor with his presence. He accepted the invitation and was present as was also the Vice-President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of War, most of the members of both Houses of Congress, the Governor of New York, the Chancellor, the Chief Justice of the State, the Honorable John Jay, the Mayor of the city, the French and Spanish Ministers, Baron Steuben, the[Pg 338] Count de Moustier, Colonel Duer and many other distinguished guests. A newspaper account states that “a numerous and brilliant collection of ladies graced the room with their appearance.” Mrs. Washington had not yet arrived in the city. Among those present were Mrs. Jay, Mrs. Hamilton, Lady Stirling, Mrs. Watts, Mrs. Duer, Mrs. Peter Van Brugh Livingston, Mrs. Clinton, Mrs. Duane, Mrs. James Beekman, Lady Temple, Lady Christina Griffin, Mrs. Livingston, wife of the Chancellor, Mrs. Richard Montgomery, Mrs. John Langdon, Mrs. Elbridge Gerry, Mrs. Livingston of Clermont, the Misses Livingston, Mrs. William S. Smith, daughter of the Vice-President, Mrs. Maxwell, Mrs. Edgar, Mrs. McComb, Mrs. Dalton, the Misses Bayard, Madame de Brehan, Madame de la Forest and Mrs. Bishop Provost. It was a notable gathering of the men and women of the period, then in New York. The company numbered about three hundred. Washington was the guest of honor. The festivities closed about two o’clock in the morning.

On the 4th of July, 1789, General Malcolm’s brigade, under command of Colonel Chrystie, paraded on the race-ground early in the morning and on their way back to the city passed the house of the President. Washington, though ill, appeared at the door in full regimentals. At noon a salute was fired from the Fort and at four o’clock the officers dined at the tavern of Sam Fraunces in Cortlandt Street. After[Pg 339] dinner, at the third toast, to the President of the United States, the company rose and gave three cheers and the band played General Washington’s March. The Society of the Cincinnati met at the City Tavern. After the election of officers, a committee was appointed to present its congratulations to the President, Vice-President and Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Society then went in procession, escorted by Bauman’s Artillery to St. Paul’s Chapel, where an eulogium upon General Nathaniel Greene was pronounced by Alexander Hamilton. A dinner at the City Tavern and the drinking of thirteen toasts closed the Society’s celebration of the day.

 

“GAMBLING WITH CARDS WAS PRETTY GENERAL”

 

[Pg 340]During the year preceding March 1, 1789, three hundred and thirty tavern licenses were granted in the city and gambling with cards and dice was pretty general. A game of cards called Pharoah seems to have been one of the most popular for that purpose. Other games with cards were whist, loo and quadrille. It seems to have been thought necessary to place some restraint on gambling, for a law passed in 1788 prescribed the forfeiture of five times the amount won for the winner of more than £10 at a sitting. Tavern-keepers were subject to fine and imprisonment if they should allow cock-fighting, gaming, card-playing, dice, billiard-tables or shuffle boards in their houses; but the law was not completely effective. Drunkenness was unlawful, but a popular failing.

Simmons’ Tavern

In Wall Street, on the corner of Nassau Street, was the tavern of John Simmons. In this tavern were witnessed the formalities which gave birth to the new American city of New York. Here, on the 9th of February, 1784, James Duane, at a special meeting of the City Council, having been appointed by the governor and board of appointment, was formally installed mayor of New York City and took the oath of office in the presence of that body and of the governor and lieutenant-governor of the State, representing the State Provisional Council, whose[Pg 341] duties now ceased, the city corporation being now restored in all its forms and offices. The Regents of the University of the State met at Simmons’ Tavern, at seven o’clock in the evening on Monday, August 2, 1790. It is said that Simmons was a man of such bulk that at the time of his funeral, the doorway of the house had to be enlarged to admit the passage of his coffin. His widow continued the business, and was still keeping the house in 1796.

 [Pg 342]

SIMMONS’ TAVERN

 

Sam Fraunces the Steward of Washington

When the new constitution had been adopted by eleven states and the prospect was that New York would, at least for a time, be the seat of government with Washington at its head, Sam Fraunces could no longer remain in retirement on his Jersey farm. He came to the city and became steward in the house of the President. He also opened a tavern in Cortlandt Street, which was managed by his wife. This tavern at No. 49 Cortlandt Street had been kept, some years before, by Talmadge Hall, one of the proprietors of the Albany Stages, who was succeeded in 1787 by Christopher Beekman from Princeton, New Jersey. Beekman stated that the house had been commonly known as the Boston, Albany and Philadelphia Stage Office, and that he had agreed with the proprietors of the Albany and Boston stages to make his house the public stage house. The Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen held its anniversary[Pg 343] meeting on the 6th of January, 1789, at the tavern of Sam Fraunces in Cortlandt Street, and indulged in a dinner at which one of the patriotic toasts was: “A cobweb pair of breeches, a porcupine saddle, a trotting horse and a long journey to all the enemies of freedom.” The election of governor of New York in 1789 was energetically contested, but George Clinton, who was at the head of the party yet strongly opposed to the new constitution, was elected, although the vote in New York City was overwhelmingly against him. On the 5th of June he and his friends held a grand jubilee at Fraunces’ Tavern to celebrate their success. Sam Fraunces kept the Cortlandt Street house until November, 1790, when, as he says, “through the advice of some of his particular friends,” he removed to a house in Broad Street near the Exchange, formerly occupied by the Widow Blaaw, and solicited the patronage of his brethren of the Tammany Society, and of the respective Lodges of the city. This, as far as we know, was the last place kept by Sam Fraunces in New York. He soon bid us a final farewell and left the city.

 

 

Dinner to the Judges

[Pg 344]John Francis, who, we have supposed, was a son of Sam Francis, in August, 1785, opened the True American at No. 3 Great Dock, now Pearl Street. In May, 1789, he removed to the historic building now known as Fraunces’ Tavern, on the corner of Broad and Pearl Streets. On February 2, 1790, the Supreme Court of the United States was opened in the city by James Duane, Judge of the district of New York, “in the presence of national and city dignitaries, of many gentlemen of the bar, members of Congress and a number of leading citizens. In the evening the Grand Jury of the United States for the district gave a very elegant entertainment in honor of the Court at Fraunces’ Tavern on Broad Street.” Among those present were John Jay, of New York, Chief Justice of the United States, William Cushing, of Massachusetts, John Rutledge, of South Carolina, James Wilson, of Pennsylvania, Robert Harrison, of Maryland, and John Blair, of Virginia, Associate Justices, also Edmond Randolph, of Virginia, Attorney-General of the United States. It was the first Grand Jury assembled in this state under the authority of the[Pg 345] United States. In the list of jurors are the names of many prominent men.

The promoters of the New York Manufacturing Society, for the encouragement of American manufacturers, met at Rawson’s Tavern, 82 Water Street, on the 7th of January, 1789, and chose the officers of the society. Melancthon Smith was chosen president. Subscriptions were received for the establishment of a woolen factory which was considered a very patriotic undertaking. At a meeting held at the Coffee House on the 24th of February, Alexander Robertson in the chair, a committee was appointed to prepare the draft of a constitution and to report on a plan of operation. The society was incorporated on the 16th of March, 1790, and appears to have been the owner of a factory and bleaching ground at Second River, New Jersey, but the business was not successful. The investment proved a total loss.

On the corner of Nassau and George (now Spruce) Streets, was a tavern kept by Captain Aaron Aorson, who had seen service during the war and was present at the death of General Montgomery at Quebec. He was a member of the Society of the Cincinnati. In his house was a long room suitable for public gatherings. Notice was given that a lecture would be delivered here for charitable purposes October 6, 1789, by a man more than thirty years an atheist. Some years later this Long Room became the[Pg 346] Wigwam and the house the headquarters of the Tammany Society.

There was a tavern on Broadway just above Murray Street which, before the Revolution, had played a conspicuous part in the conflicts with the British soldiers over the liberty pole. During the latter part of the war John Amory had been its landlord. In June, 1785, Henry Kennedy announced that he had taken the well known house lately “occupied by Mrs. Montanye, the sign of the Two Friendly Brothers,” but in 1786 or soon after it again passed into the hands of a member of the De La Montagnie family, after which we find it at times kept by Mrs. De La Montagnie, Mrs. Amory or Jacob De La Montagnie. In the Directory of 1795, Mary Amory and Jacob De La Montagnie are both set down as tavern-keepers at 253 Broadway.

In December, 1791, the members of the Mechanics’ and Traders’ Society were notified that the anniversary of the society would be held on the first Tuesday of January next at the house of Mrs. De La Montagnie, and that members who wished to dine should apply for tickets, and were further requested to attend at 9 o’clock in the morning for election. In 1792, the house appears to have been kept by Mrs. Amory and known as Mechanics’ Hall. The Mechanics celebrated Independence Day here that year, and it was probably their headquarters. In June, 1793, Mrs. Amory, heading her announcement—“Vauxhall, Rural Felicity”—gave notice that on[Pg 347] the 25th, beginning at five o’clock in the afternoon, would be given a concert of instrumental music, consisting of the most favorite overtures and pieces from the compositions of Fisher and Handell. The notice states that, “At eight o’clock in the evening the garden will be beautifully illuminated, in the Chinese style, with upwards of 500 glass lamps,” and that “the orchestra will be placed in the middle of a large tree elegantly illuminated.” There was to be tight rope dancing by Mr. Miller, and fireworks on the tight rope, to be concluded with an exhibition of equilibriums on the slack rope. Tickets for admission were four shillings each. The triangular piece of open ground in front of the tavern, called the Fields or Common, had been, since the war, enclosed by a post and rail fence and had assumed the dignity of a park. The neighborhood was rapidly improving.

The Bull’s Head Tavern

On the post road, in Bowery Lane, stood the Bull’s Head Tavern, where the Boston and Albany stages picked up passengers as they left the city. This had been a well known tavern from a period long before the Revolution, much frequented by drovers and butchers as well as travelers. It was a market for live stock and stood not far from the slaughter house. Previous to 1763, it was kept by Caleb Hyatt, who was succeeded in that year by Thomas Bayeaux. From 1770 until the war of the Revolution, Richard Varian[Pg 348] was its landlord, and also superintendent of the public slaughter house. In a petition to the common council after the evacuation, he states that he had been engaged in privateering until captured near the end of the war, after which, he returned to the city and found his wife in prosperous possession of the old tavern. He was the landlord of the house the year of Washington’s inauguration and we find that in 1796 he was still the tenant of the property, then belonging to Henry Ashdor, a well-to-do butcher of the Fly Market, who resided a little north of the tavern. As appears by petitions to the common council,[Pg 349] Henry Ashdor, or Astor, as the name sometimes appears, was accustomed to ride out on the post road to meet the incoming drovers and purchase their stock, thus securing the best, and obliging the other butchers to buy of him at a profit, which was characterized by the butchers in their petitions as “pernicious practices.” The Bull’s Head Tavern remained the meeting place of the butchers and drovers until 1826, when Henry Astor, associating himself with others, pulled it down and erected on its site the New York Theatre, since called the Bowery Theatre, the mayor of the city laying the corner stone.

 

THE BOWERY THEATRE

[Pg 350]

 

 


[Pg 351]

XI

The Tontine Coffee House

The Tammany Society

Long before the Revolution, there had been various societies in New York under such names as St. Andrew, St. George, St. David and St. John, all of which professed the most fervent loyalty to the King of Great Britain. This induced the projectors of a new society, composed of many who had belonged to the Sons of Liberty, of Stamp Act and Revolutionary times, to select for their patron saint a genuine American guardian, and thus was originated the Tammany Society, or Columbian Order, in May, 1789. At first, it was strictly a national and patriotic society, “to connect in indisoluable bonds of friendship American brethren of known attachment to the political rights of human nature and the liberties of the country,” and it remained so for many years.

Tammany, the celebrated chief of the Delawares, who has been described as a chief of great virtue, benevolence and love of country, to whose actual history has been added a great deal of legendary and mythical lore, was cannonized as a saint and adopted as their[Pg 352] guardian spirit. The members of the society styled themselves the Sons of St. Tammany, and adopted aboriginal forms and customs as well as dress. This was not the first society that had claimed the patronage and adopted the name of that famous Indian saint, but the new organization proposed a wider scope and added to its title also that of “Columbian Order.” It was organized also as a contrast or offset to the aristocratic and anti-republican principles attributed to the Society of the Cincinnati, the membership of which was hereditary.

The birth of the new organization is set down as on May 12, 1789, which was spent in tents erected on the banks of the Hudson River, about two miles from the city, where a large number of members partook of an elegant entertainment, “served precisely at three o’clock; after which there was singing and smoking and universal expressions of brotherly love.” During the year 1789 its meetings were held at the tavern of Sam Fraunces.

In the year 1790, the 4th of July falling on Sunday, the anniversary of Independence was celebrated on the 5th. The Society of St. Tammany assembled early in the day, and, after a short address from the Grand Sachem, the Declaration of Independence was read. There was a grand military review. Colonel Bauman’s regiment of Artillery appeared in their usual style as veterans of the war. At one o’clock they fired a federal salute and a feu-de-joie on the[Pg 353] Battery, after which they escorted the Society of the Cincinnati to St. Paul’s Church, where an elegant oration was delivered by Brockholst Livingston to a large audience, including the President and Vice-President of the United States, members of both Houses of Congress, and a brilliant assembly of ladies and gentlemen. The Society of the Cincinnati dined at Bardin’s, the City Tavern, and the Grand Sachem and Fathers of the Council of the Society of St. Tammany were honored with an invitation to dine with them. After dinner the usual thirteen toasts were drunk with all the hilarity and good humor customary on such occasions.

Reception of the Indians by the Tammany Society

Shortly after this, a most interesting event occurred, which created considerable excitement among the people of New York and gave to the Tammany Society an opportunity to make an impression on the public mind not often presented, and which could not be neglected. Efforts had been made by the government of the United States to pacify the Creek Indians of the South and to make with them a treaty of peace and friendship. In March, 1790, Colonel Marinus Willett was sent out on this mission, and early in July news came that he was on his way to New York, accompanied by Colonel Alexander McGillivray, their half-breed chief, and about thirty warriors of[Pg 354] the tribe, traveling northward at public expense and greeted at every stage of their journey by vast crowds of people. They arrived on the 21st of July. A boat was sent to Elizabethtown Point, under the direction of Major Stagg, to convey them to New York and the Tammany Society met in their Wigwam to make their preparations. This Wigwam, which they used as their headquarters for many years, was the old Exchange building at the foot of Broad Street. As the boat passed the Battery about two o’clock a Federal salute was fired and when the Indians landed at the Coffee House it was repeated. Here they were met by the Tammany Society, dressed in full Indian costume, which very much pleased McGillivray and his Indian warriors, and by General Malcolm with a military escort. They were conducted in procession to the house of General Knox, the Secretary of War, after which they had an audience with the President, who received them in a very handsome manner. They were also introduced to the Governor of the State, who gave them a friendly reception. They were then taken to the City Tavern where they dined in company with General Knox, the Senators and Representatives of Georgia, General Malcolm, the militia officers on duty, and the officers of the Saint Tammany Society. The Indians seemed greatly pleased with their friendly reception and a newspaper states that “the pleasure was considerably heightened by the conviviality and[Pg 355] good humor which prevailed at the festive board.” The usual number of toasts were drunk after the dinner.

Grand Banquet at the Wigwam

On the 2d of August the Indians were entertained by the Tammany Society with a grand banquet at their Great Wigwam in Broad Street, at which were present, the Governor of the State, the Chief Justice of the United States, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of War, the Mayor of the City and Colonel Willett. The richly ornamented Calumet of Peace was passed around and wine flowed freely. Colonel Willett had delivered his big talk and partaken of their black drink on his visit to them, and the Indians were now receiving a return of hospitality. Patriotic songs were sung by members of the society and the Indians danced. The Indian chief conferred on the grand sachem of Tammany the title of “Toliva Mico”—Chief of the White Town. The President of the United States was toasted as “The Beloved Chieftain of the Thirteen Fires.” The President’s last visit to Federal Hall was to sign a treaty with these Indians, which was attended with great ceremony. Tammany had taken the lead in all this Indian business and Tammany had made its mark.

 [Pg 356]

TONTINE COFFEE HOUSE

 

The Tontine Coffee House

In the year 1791 an association of merchants was organized for the purpose of constructing a more commodious Coffee House than the Merchants’ Coffee House, and to provide a business centre for the mercantile community. The company was formed on the Tontine principle of benefit to survivors, and the building they erected was called the Tontine Coffee House. Among the merchants who were interested in this enterprise were John Broome, John Watts, Gulian Verplanck, John Delafield and William Laight. On the 31st of January, 1792, these five merchants, as the first board of directors of the Tontine Association,[Pg 357] purchased from Doctor Charles Arding and Abigail, his wife, the house and lot on the northwest corner of Wall and Water Streets, for £1,970. This was the house which had been known as the Merchants’ Coffee House from about 1740, when it was first opened by Daniel Bloom until 1772, when its business was carried by Mrs. Ferrari diagonally across the street, where it had since remained. It was sold in 1759, as related in a previous chapter, by Luke Roome, owner and landlord of the house, to Doctor Charles Arding, who had ever since been its owner. They had already purchased, December 1, 1791, for £2,510, the adjoining lot on Wall Street, and shortly after, for £1,000, they purchased the adjoining lot on Water Street. On the ground of these three lots the Tontine Coffee House was built. Thus the business originated on this spot was coming back to its old home.

In January, 1792, “the committee to superintend the business of the Tontine Coffee House Institution,” gave notice that they would pay a premium of ten guineas to the person who should hand in before the 20th of February next, the best plan for the proposed building, and a premium of five guineas for the second best plan. The objects to be considered in the plans were, “Solidity, Neatness and Useful Accommodation”; the building to be four stories high and to occupy a space of fifty feet by seventy. The plans in competition were to be sent to Mr. David Grim. A petition for the privilege of[Pg 358] adding to the Tontine Coffee House a piazza to extend over the sidewalk, presented by John Watts and others in March, 1792, was refused, but, on May 11 permission was given for a piazza to extend six feet over the Wall Street sidewalk. The corner-stone of the building was laid with considerable ceremony on the 5th of June. The first landlord of the house, when completed, was John Hyde.

Just a year later, on Wednesday, June 5, 1793, one hundred and twenty gentlemen sat down to a dinner provided by Mr. Hyde at the Tontine Coffee House to celebrate the anniversary of the laying of the corner-stone of that building. After dinner when fifteen toasts had been drunk, the chairman offered an additional toast, which was: “Success to the Tontine Coffee House and may it long continue to reflect credit on the subscribers.”

The Cap of Liberty

During the French revolution the sympathies of the people of the United States were greatly excited, but many of those who wished success to France were filled with disgust and indignation at the behavior of the French Minister Genet, and of Bompard, the commander of the French ship, L’Ambuscade, who, after landing Genet at Charleston, South Carolina, made his way north to Philadelphia, boarding American ships on his way and seizing British merchantmen near the coast and even in the very bays of the United States. Bompard[Pg 359] and his officers were received at Philadelphia with great enthusiasm. On the 12th of June, 1793, they arrived in New York. Instantly there was great excitement. Those friendly to them carried things to extremes. Opposed to them were the supporters of government and good order, joined to the strong English faction that had long prevailed. Two days after their arrival, the Cap of Liberty was set up in the Tontine Coffee House, according to one account, by “the friends of Liberty, Equality, and the Rights of Man, amid the acclamations of their fellow citizens, in defiance of all despotic tyrants. It was a beautiful crimson adorned with a white torsel and supported by a staff.” The cap, “Sacred to Liberty,” was declared to be under the protection of the old Whigs, and the aristocrats, as the opposite party was tauntingly called, were defied to take it down. This defiance brought forth a threat that it would be done, and, in expectation that its removal would be attempted, for several days, hundreds of people gathered in front of the house. No attempt, at that time, seems to have been made to remove the cap, and the excitement gradually subsided.

The Cap of Liberty remained undisturbed in its place for almost two years. A newspaper of May 19, 1795, states that “the Liberty Cap having been removed from the Barr of the Tontine Coffee House by some unknown person, the ceremony of its re-establishment in the Coffee House took place yesterday afternoon. A well[Pg 360] designed, carved Liberty Cap, suspended on the point of an American Tomahawk, and the flags of the Republics of America and France, attached on each side, formed a handsome figure.” A large gathering of people attended “the consecration of the emblem of Liberty,” and the meeting was highly entertained by numerous patriotic songs. Voluntary detachments from several of the Uniform Companies joined in the celebration.

On the 22d of May, only four days after being placed in the Coffee House, the French flag was removed. An attempt was made to recover it and arrest the person who took it down. A boat was dispatched in pursuit of the person who was supposed to have taken it, but it returned without success. Colonel Walter Bicker, in behalf of a number of citizens of New York, offered a reward of one hundred and fifty dollars for the capture of the thief who stole the French flag from the Coffee House, with what result is unknown.

New York Stock Exchange

An English traveler, who visited New York in 1794, writes that: “The Tontine Tavern and Coffee House is a handsome, large brick building; you ascend six or eight steps under a portico, into a large public room, which is the Stock Exchange of New York, where all bargains are made. Here are two books kept, as at Lloyd’s, of every ship’s arrival and clearing out. This house was built for[Pg 361] the accommodation of the merchants, by Tontine shares of two hundred pounds each. It is kept by Mr. Hyde, formerly a woolen draper in London. You can lodge and board there at a common table, and you pay ten shillings currency a day, whether you dine out or not.”

As stated above, the Tontine Coffee House had become the Stock Exchange of New York. In the first directory of the city, published in 1786, there is only one stock-broker, Archibald Blair. On January 9, 1786, Archibald Blair announced that he “has a Broker’s Office and Commission Store at 16 Little Queen Street, where he buys and sells all kinds of public and state securities, also old continental money. He has for sale Jamaica rum, loaf sugar, bar iron, lumber and dry goods.” A few years later several announcements of such brokers are found in the newspapers, among others the following which appeared in the Daily Advertiser of December 9, 1790.

“Sworn Stock Broker’s Office.
No. 57 King Street.

The Subscriber, having opened an office for negociating the funds of the United States of America, has been duly qualified before the Mayor of the City, that he will truly and faithfully execute the duties of a

Stock Broker,

and that he will not directly or indirectly interest himself in any purchase or sale of the funds of the United States of America,[Pg 362] on his own private account, for the term of six months from the date hereof.

The opinion of many respectable characters has confirmed his own ideas of the utility of establishing an office in this city upon the principles of a sworn Broker of Europe. The advantages of negociating through the medium of an agent no ways interested in purchases or sales on his own account, is too evident to every person of discernment to need any comment.

Every business committed to his care shall be executed by the subscriber with diligence, faithfulness and secrecy, and he trusts that his conduct will confirm the confidence, and secure the patronage of his friends and fellow citizens.

John Pintard.”

The first evidence of an approach to anything like organization was an announcement made in the early part of March, 1792, that “The Stock Exchange Office” would be open at No. 22 Wall Street for the accommodation of dealers in stocks, in which public sales would be daily held at noon, as usual, in rotation. Soon after this, on Wednesday, March 21st, a meeting of merchants and dealers in stocks was held at Corre’s Hotel, when they came to a resolution that after the 21st of April next, they would not attend any sales of stocks at public auction. They appointed a committee “to provide a[Pg 363] proper room for them to assemble in, and to report such regulations relative to the mode of transacting business as in their opinion may be proper.” This resulted in the first agreement of the dealers in securities, the oldest record in the archives of the New York Stock Exchange, dated May 17, 1792, fixing the rate of brokerage. It was signed by twenty-four brokers for the sale of public stocks. For some time the brokers do not appear to have had a settled place of meeting. Their favorite place was in the open air in the shadow of a large buttonwood tree, which stood on the north side of Wall Street, opposite the division line of Nos. 68 and 70. Here they met and transacted business something like our curb brokers of to-day, but in a much more leisurely way. When the Tontine Coffee House was completed in 1793, it became the Stock Exchange of New York and remained so for a great many years.

The Roger Morris House

A stage coach line was opened to Boston in 1784 and to Albany the next year, when the Roger Morris House on the Kingsbridge road was opened by Talmadge Hall as a tavern for the accommodation of the stage coach passengers, and was probably the first stopping place going out. It continued to be kept as a tavern for many years after this and is said to have been a favorite place of resort for pleasure parties from[Pg 364] the city. It became known as Calumet Hall. Its landlord in 1789 was Captain William Marriner. In October, 1789, President Washington visited, by appointment, the fruit gardens of Mr. Prince at Flushing, Long Island. He was taken over in his barge, accompanied by the Vice-President, the Governor of the State, Mr. Izard, Colonel Smith and Major Jackson. On their way back they visited the seat of Gouverneur Morris at Morrisania, and then went to Harlem, where they met Mrs. Washington, Mrs. Adams and Mrs. Smith, daughter of the Vice-President, dined at Marriner’s and came home in the evening. In July following a large party was formed to visit Fort Washington. Washington, in his diary, does not state that Mrs. Washington was of the party, but it is to be presumed that she was; the others, beside himself, were “the Vice-President, his Lady, Son and Mrs. Smith; the Secretaries of State, Treasury and War and the ladies of the two latter; with all the Gentlemen of my family, Mrs. Lear, and the two children.” This was a notable party. They dined at Marriner’s, who, no doubt, felt the importance of the occasion and exerted himself accordingly.

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OLD SLEIGH

 

Marriner’s Tavern, the Roger Morris house, was situated at such a distance from the city, on the only road of any length on the island, as to make it a good objective point for pleasure parties. An English traveler who visited New York in 1796, writes: “The amusement of which they seem most passionately fond is that of riding on the snow in what you would call a sledge, drawn by two horses. It is astonishing to see how anxiously persons of all ages and both sexes look out for a good fall of snow, that they may enjoy their favorite amusement; and when the happy time comes, to see how eager they are to engage every sleigh that is to be had. Parties of twenty or thirty will sometimes go out of town in these vehicles towards evening, about six or eight miles, when, having sent for a fiddler, and danced till they are tired, they will return home again by moonlight or perhaps more often by daylight. Whilst the snow is on the ground no other carriages are made use of, either for pleasure or service.” Marriner’s house was well suited for just such[Pg 366] parties of pleasure and we can easily imagine that the large octagonal room was about this time, of crisp winter nights, the scene of many a merry dance. The English traveler is supported in what he says by the announcement of Christopher Colles in a New York newspaper in January, 1789, that so long as the sleighing lasted he would continue his electrical experiments and exhibition of curiosities, at Halsey’s celebrated tavern in Harlem. It would seem from this that his lectures needed the incentive of a sleigh ride to make them more popular.

Captain Marriner was still keeping the house in the summer of 1794 when it was visited by an Englishman who thus writes about his visit to the place: “Whoever has a vacant day and fine weather, while at New York, let him go to Haarlem, eleven miles distant. There is a pleasant tavern on an eminence near the church; a branch of the sea, or Eastern River, runs close beneath you, where you may have excellent fishing. On the opposite side are two pleasant houses, belonging to Colonel Morris, and a Captain Lambert, an English gentleman, who retired hither after the war. Mr. Marriner, the landlord, is a very intelligent, well educated man; I fished with him for an hour and received a great deal of pleasure from his conversation.” * * * “He pressed me very much to stay at his house for a week, and I should pay what I pleased. On our return Mr. L—— and myself drank tea and coffee at Brannon’s Tea[Pg 367] Garden. Here was a good greenhouse, with orange and lemon trees, a great quantity of geraniums, aloes and other curious shrubs and plants. Iced creams and iced liquors are much drank here during the hot weather by parties from New York.” Brannon’s Tea Garden was on the road leading to the village of Greenwich at the present junction of Hudson and Spring Streets, and had been there since previous to the Revolution.

Captain Marriner is said to have been eccentric, but whether this be so or not, he was undoubtedly a brave man and was engaged during the war in several daring adventures. He presented a picturesque character in the history of that period.

Capt. Marriner’s Raid

When Captain Marriner was held as a prisoner in the early part of the war, on his parole, quartered with Rem Van Pelt, of New Utrecht, Long Island, one day at Dr. Van Buren’s Tavern in Flatbush, his sarcastic wit brought on him abusive language from Major Sherbrook of the British army. When Marriner was exchanged, he determined to capture the Major and some others. For this purpose he repaired to New Jersey and procured a whale-boat, which he manned with a crew of twenty-two well armed volunteers, with whom he proceeded to New Utrecht, landing on the beach about half-past nine o’clock in the evening. Leaving two men in charge of[Pg 368] the boat, with the rest he marched unmolested to Flatbush Church, where he divided his men into four squads, assigning a house to each party, who, provided with a heavy post, were to break in the door when they should hear Marriner strike. General Jeremiah Johnson, in his account of the affair states that Marriner captured the Major, whom he found hidden behind a large chimney in the garret, but the New York newspapers state that he carried back with him to New Jersey Major Montcrieffe and Mr. Theophylact Bache. On another visit to Long Island, Captain Marriner carried off Simon Cortelyou, of New Utrecht, in return for his uncivil conduct to the American prisoners. On a large rock in the North River, not far from the shore, stood a bath house surmounted by a flagstaff. Noting this, Marriner determined to give the English fresh cause for chagrin. He accordingly procured the new American flag which had just been adopted, and taking with him a few men, boldly rowed into the river one night and nailed it to the pole, where it was discovered early next morning. Sailors, sent to remove it, were obliged to cut away the pole, amid the jeers and protests of the boys gathered on the beach.

Marriner was keeping a tavern in New York City before the war. An important meeting was held at Marriner’s Tavern at the time of the election of delegates to the first Continental Congress, in 1774. After the war he returned to the[Pg 369] same business, and in 1786 was the landlord of a house on the corner of John and Nassau Streets, where he offered to serve his customers “in the neatest and most elegant manner,” with oysters, cooked in a variety of ways, beef steaks, etc., with the very best of liquors. He, at one time kept the Ferry House at Harlem, and ran the ferry to Morrisania. In the early part of the nineteenth century Captain Benson built a large tavern at the junction of the Kingsbridge road with the road from Harlem, which was for some years conducted by Captain Marriner, who gained great celebrity for the excellent table he set, and for the stories of whale-boat exploits during the war, which he was never tired of relating.

When the St. Andrew’s Society celebrated their anniversary on November 30, 1790, at the City Tavern, they had as guests at their dinner, Governor Clinton, the Mayor of the City, General Horatio Gates and the principal officers of the other humane national societies of the city. In an account given of the dinner, it is stated that, “A few hours passed happily away, divided between the animating tale, the cheerful glass and the heart enlivening song.”

The annual election of officers of the Society of the Cincinnati was held on the 4th of July each year, after which there was a dinner, followed by toasts. For several year its meeting place was at Corré’s Hotel in Broadway.[Pg 370] Joseph Corré, at one time landlord of the City Tavern, opened, in 1790, a house at No. 24 Broadway, which was for some years one of the best and most popular taverns or hotels in the city. Meetings of societies, concerts, balls and political meetings were held here.

Dinners on Evacuation Day

On Monday, November 25, 1793, the tenth anniversary of the evacuation of New York by the British troops, was celebrated in the city with great enthusiasm. At sunrise a salute was fired from the Battery followed immediately by the ringing of all the bells in the city. This was repeated at noon, when the corporation, the officers of the militia, the French officers in town and many citizens waited on the Governor to congratulate him on the occasion. The militia officers then waited on the mayor of the city, the chief justice of the United States and the minister of the French Republic. The Ambuscade Frigate was elegantly decorated and at one o’clock fired a salute of twenty-one guns. The militia officers, honored with the company of the Governor, General Gates and a number of French officers, sat down to an elegant dinner prepared for them at the City Tavern, “where they spent the remainder of the day in great spirits and good fellowship.” Toasts were drunk under the discharge of artillery. The gentlemen of the corporation celebrated the day at the Tontine[Pg 371] Coffee House, where an elegant dinner was served up by Mr. Hyde and patriotic toasts were drunk. The Society of Tammany also celebrated the day. At the tavern of Robert Hunter, in Wall Street, a dinner was served up to a number of citizens in celebration of the day, and the same was done in several other of the principal taverns of the city. The dinner on Evacuation Day at Bardin’s was one of the last notable dinners given in the old City Tavern. Preparations were being made to take it down and build on its site a fine hotel.

In 1793 the City Tavern was still owned by John Peter De Lancey, son of Lieutenant-Governor James De Lancey, who sold it to the Tontine Association, who, taking down the old house, built upon its site the City Hotel. In the deed of transfer, dated March 3, 1793, John Peter De Lancey and Elizabeth, his wife, for the consideration of six thousand pounds (£6,000), lawful money of the State of New York, convey the property to Philip Livingston, John Watts, Thomas Buchanan, Gulian Verplanck, James Watson, Moses Rogers, James Farquhar, Richard Harrison and Daniel Ludlow, all of the city and state of New York, in trust for all the subscribers to the New York Tontine Hotel and Assembly Room and their heirs, upon such terms, conditions and restrictions, and with such right of survivorship as may be hereafter agreed upon and settled by the majority of the said subscribers or their representatives.

[Pg 372]In November, 1793, Nicholas Cruger, chairman of the committee having the business in charge, gave notice that they would pay a premium of twenty guineas for the best plan of the building about to be erected, to be handed in before the first day of January next, requesting that the plans may not be signed, but designated by a private mark, accompanied by a letter to the chairman, with the same mark on the outside.

The City Hotel

The new house which was erected in the early part of the year 1794 was called the Tontine Hotel, but it soon came to be more generally spoken of as the City Hotel. Robert Hunter, who had been keeping a tavern in Wall Street, became its first landlord. He was in possession of it and meetings were being held there in the early part of June, 1794. It was considered the largest and finest hotel then in the United States. It became the meeting place of societies and associations and of the City Assembly which continued to flourish as it had done for many years. On Friday, October 7, 1796, there was great rejoicing in the city over the French victories, news of which had just been received. The church bells were rung from twelve to one o’clock, “and in the evening, as it were by patriotic sympathy, a hall full of old Whigs and friends to the liberty of Man, assembled at Hunter’s Hotel, where a number of patriotic songs were sung, a cold collation was served up and[Pg 373] sixteen toasts were given apropos of the news of the day.” The nineteenth anniversary of the signing of the treaty of alliance between France and the United States was celebrated on Monday, February 6, 1797, at Hunter’s Hotel by a numerous assembly of patriotic citizens. Hunter remained landlord of the City Hotel until 1799, when he was succeeded by John Lovett, under whose management the house became quite popular.

 

THE CITY HOTEL

 

[Pg 374]Saturday, the 4th of July, 1795, the anniversary of our independence was celebrated in the city with more than usual attention, induced probably by the political excitement which then prevailed. The ringing of all the bells of the city with a Federal Salute from the Battery ushered in the day, which was repeated at noon and in the evening. There was a large procession, which about eleven o’clock moved from the Battery to the new Presbyterian Church where the Declaration of Independence was read by Edward Livingston and an elegant and patriotic discourse was delivered by the Rev. Mr. Miller. On returning to the Battery, where a feu-de-joie was fired the different societies that had taken part separated and at three o’clock sat down to entertainments prepared for them at different places in the city. After dinner, the Corporation, the Society of the Cincinnati, the Militia Officers, the Society of Tammany, the Mechanic and Democratic Societies and the Merchants at the Tontine Coffee House sent deputations to each other with congratulations upon the return of the day. The festivities closed with a beautiful display of fireworks under the direction of Colonel Bauman. The merchants, who celebrated the day by a dinner at the Tontine Coffee House were honored by the company of Governor Jay, Major-General Morris, Judge Iredell, Mr. Reed, Senator in Congress from South[Pg 375] Carolina, Judge Hobart, Judge Lawrence, Colonel Hamilton, Mr. King, the Mayor of the City, Doctor Johnson, the Secretary of the State, the Attorney-General of the District, the Treasurer of the State, Captain Dennis, Captain Talbot, Captain Thomson. After the dinner toasts were drunk as usual.

The Tammany Wigwam

For some years the Tammany Society had their anniversary dinners and their Fourth of July dinners at Bardin’s, the City Tavern. The Great Wigwam of the society was in the old Exchange in Broad Street, where it continued to be until the building was taken down in 1799. After this the Long Room of Abraham B. Martling’s Tavern on the corner of Nassau and George (now Spruce) Streets, where the American Tract Society Building now stands, became the wigwam of the society. During the period of political excitement, from 1793 to 1795 and later, the Tammany Society is said to have been opposed to radical measures, which might have involved us in European difficulties. A toast drunk at one of their festivals was, “The hawks of war—may they be harmless.” In 1795, during the excitement about the Jay treaty, the minority of the United States Senate who voted against it were toasted, thus showing that there was then in the society a strong anti-federal sentiment. On July 4, 1798, the Tammany Society met in their Great Wigwam in the evening, where a newspaper states[Pg 376] “they partook of a collation and drank toasts which were in unison with their political opinions.” This was about the beginning of Tammany’s political career. The principles of Jefferson were in the ascendant; it had become a republican society. Martling’s Tavern was a low, wooden building, with a very rough exterior devoid of paint, having an entrance on Nassau Street. The Long Room was in the rear of the house, and its somewhat dilapidated appearance caused it to be called the “Pig Pen,” by those not friendly to Tammany. All the leading republicans of the day attended the meetings held here, and although the party was threatened by divisions of the Burrites, the Lewisites and the Clintonians, it was held together.

 

MARTLING’S TAVERN

 

During the French Revolution there were many Frenchmen who had been driven from France and had taken refuge in New York City.[Pg 377] One of these was the famous gastronome, Anthelme Brillât-Savarin, author of La Physiologie du Gout, who tells us something of the way they enjoyed themselves while here. He says: “I sometimes passed the evening in a sort of café-taverne, kept by a Mr. Little, where he served in the morning turtle soup, and in the evening all the refreshments customary in the United States. I generally took with me Vicomte de la Massue and Jean Rodolphe Fehr, formerly a mercantile broker at Marseilles, both emigrés like myself. I treated them to welch-rabbit, which was washed down with ale or cider, and here we passed the evening talking over our misfortunes, our pleasures, and our hopes.”

A Drinking Bout

Michael Little’s Tavern, or Porter House, as it was called, was at 56 Pine Street, a little below William Street, and it speaks well for the house that it should have been selected by Brillât-Savarin and his friends as a place for their suppers. Brillât-Savarin spent two years in New York, 1794-96, supporting himself by giving lessons in the French language and playing in the orchestra of the theater. He gives a very amusing account of a dinner party at Little’s place, of which he and his two friends formed a part. He had met there Mr. Wilkinson, an Englishman from Jamaica and his friend, whose name he never knew, whom he described as a very taciturn man, with a[Pg 378] square face, keen eyes, and features as expressionless as those of a blind man, who appeared to notice everything but never spoke; only, when he heard a witty remark or merry joke, his face would expand, his eyes close, and opening a mouth as large as the bell of a trumpet, he would send forth a sound between a laugh and a howl called by the English, horse laugh; after which he would relapse into his habitual taciturnity. Mr. Wilkinson appeared to be about fifty years of age, with the manners and all the bearing of a gentleman (un homme comme il faut).

These two Englishmen, pleased with the society of Brillât-Savarin and his friends, had many times partaken of the frugal collation which was offered them, when, one evening, Wilkinson took Brillât-Savarin to one side and declared his intention of engaging all three of them to dine with him. The invitation was accepted and fixed for three o’clock in the afternoon of the third day after. As they were about to leave the waiter quietly told Brillât-Savarin that the Jamaicans had ordered a good dinner and had given directions that the wine and liquor be carefully prepared, because they regarded the invitation as a challenge or test of drinking powers, and that the man with the big mouth had said that he hoped to put the Frenchmen under the table.

For such a drinking bout Brillât-Savarin had no relish, but the Frenchmen could not now very[Pg 379] well avoid it without being accused of being frightened by the Englishmen. Although aware of the danger, following the maxim of Marshal de Saxe, “As the wine was drawn they prepared to drink it.” (“Le vin etait tiré, nous nous preparâmes à le boire.”)

Brillât-Savarin had no fear for himself, but he did not wish to see his two friends go down with the others; he wished to make it a national victory, and not an individual one. He, therefore, sent for his friends and gave them a lecture. He instructed them to restrain their appetites at the beginning so as to eat moderately with the wine throughout the whole dinner, to drink small draughts and even contrive to get rid of the wine sometimes without drinking it. They divided among them a quantity of bitter almonds, recommended for such an occasion.

At the appointed time they all met at Little’s Tavern, and soon after the dinner was served. It consisted of an enormous piece of roast beef, a turkey (dindon cuit dans son jus), vegetables, a salad and a tart (tarte aux comfitures). They drank after the French fashion, that is to say, the wine was served from the commencement. It was very good claret. Mr. Wilkinson did the honors of the table admirably. His friend appeared absorbed in his plate and said nothing.

Brillât-Savarin was charmed with his two friends. La Massue, although endowed with a sufficiently good appetite, was mincing his food like a delicate young lady, and Fehr was adroitly[Pg 380] succeeding in passing glasses of wine into a beer pot at the end of the table. He himself was holding up well against the two Englishmen, and the more the dinner advanced the more confident he felt.

After the claret came Port, after Port, Madeira, at which they stuck for a long time. On the arrival of the dessert, composed of butter, cheese and nuts, was the time for toasts. They drank to the power of kings, the liberty of the people and the beauty of women; particularly to the health of Mr. Wilkinson’s daughter, Mariah, who, he assured his guests, was the most beautiful person in all the island of Jamaica.

After the wine came spirits—rum, brandy and whiskey—and with the spirits, songs. Brillât-Savarin avoided the spirits and called for punch. Little himself brought in a bowl of it, without doubt prepared in advance, sufficient for forty persons. No such vessel for drink was ever seen in France.

Brillât-Savarin says that he ate five or six slices of buttered toast (roties d’un beurre extremement frais) and felt his forces revived. He then took a survey of the situation, for he was becoming much concerned as to how it would all end. His two friends appeared quite fresh and drank as they picked the nuts. Wilkinson’s face was scarlet, his eyes were troubled and he appeared to be giving way. His friend said nothing, but his head smoked like a boiling caldron. The catastrophe was approaching.

[Pg 381]Suddenly Mr. Wilkinson started to his feet and began to sing Rule Britannia, but he could get no farther than these words; his strength failed him; he felt himself drop into his chair and from there rolled under the table (coula sous le table). His friend seeing him in this state, emitted one of his noisiest laughs, and stooping to assist him fell by his side.

Brillât-Savarin, viewing the scene with considerable satisfaction and relief, rang the bell, and when Little came up, after addressing him the conventional phrase, “See to it that these gentlemen are properly cared for,” with his friends drank with him their health in a parting glass of punch. The waiter, with his assistants, soon came in and bore away the vanquished, whom they carried out, according to the rule, feet foremost, which expression is used in English to designate those dead or drunk, Mr. Wilkinson still trying to sing Rule Britannia, his friend remaining absolutely motionless.

Next day seeing in the newspapers an account of what had happened, with the remark that the Englishmen were ill, Brillât-Savarin went to see them. He found the friend suffering from a severe attack of indigestion. Mr. Wilkinson was confined to his chair by the gout, brought on probably by his late dissipation. He seemed sensible to the attention and said to Brillât-Savarin, among other things: “Oh! dear sir, you are very good company, indeed, but too hard a drinker for us.”

 [Pg 382]

ANTHELME BRILLAT-SAVARIN

 

Brillât-Savarin was a convivial soul, a lover of good cheer and openhanded hospitality. The time passed so pleasantly and he was so comfortable while in New York City, that on taking his departure for France, in 1796, he declared that all he asked of Heaven was, never to know greater sorrow in the Old World that he had known in the New. He settled in Paris, and after holding several offices under the Directory, became a judge in the Cour de Cassation, the French court of last resort, where he remained until his death, in 1826. While without special[Pg 383] reputation as a jurist, as a judge and expounder of gastronomic excellence, his name has become immortalized.

On the 16th of December, 1796, “the young men of the city who were willing to contribute to the preservation of the Public Safety, at that critical juncture,” were invited to attend a meeting “at Mr. Little’s Porter House in Pine Street that evening at seven o’clock in order to form an association for that laudable purpose.” Soon after this Little moved to No. 42 Broad Street, the old Fraunces’ Tavern. At this place, on Wednesday, July 28, 1802, the two friends of De Witt Clinton and Colonel John Swartwout met to make arrangements for the duel which took place at Hoboken on Saturday, July 31st. A meeting of the gentlemen of the bar of the City of New York was held here February 11, 1802.

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XII

The City Hotel

The Black Friars

The social ties that had existed before the Revolution were all broken up, and new connections had to be formed. Societies, like the St. Andrew and St. George, were revived, and patriotic societies, such as the Cincinnati and the Tammany were formed. The first purely social club after the war, of which we have any knowledge, was the Black Friars, founded November 10, 1784, the officers of which were a Father, Chancellor, Cardinals and Priors. On May 9, 1789, the society held a festival at the Friary, dinner being served at half-past four, and on November 10th of the same year celebrated its anniversary, an oration being delivered by Dr. Tillery. After dinner, eleven toasts were drunk, only eleven states having then come into the union. One of these toasts was: “The Fair Daughters of Columbia, may they ever find a friend in a Friar.” The society was charitable as well as social, and met twice a month at the Friary, No. 56 Pine Street. Among its members at this time were Josiah Ogden Hoffman, Benjamin Graves, John Stagg, Dr. James Tillery, Bernard Hart, Dr. Benjamin Kissam, Richard Harwood, John Fisher and Oliver Glean. In[Pg 386] 1802 the Friary was at the hotel of John Adams, Jr., 68 William Street. Its meetings were also held at the Merchants’ Coffee House; by order of the Father.

The Drone Club

The Friendly Club, under the presidency of General Laight, existed for some years about this period, and included among its members many prominent men of the city. It met at the houses of its members in rotation every Tuesday evening. It was the duty of the host to direct the conversation and at the close of the discussion light refreshments were served. The Drone Club, a select and literary circle, was instituted about the year 1792. Its aim was intellectual advancement and the cultivation of letters rather than social or festive enjoyment. Its members were recognized by proofs of authorship, and in its ranks was the best talent of the city. It seems to be a fact that social clubs that met at taverns had more vitality than those that held their meeting at the houses of members.

The Belvedere Club

The Belvedere House was built in the year 1792 by thirty-three gentlemen composing the Belvedere Club. It was situated near the East River, about a quarter of a mile beyond the paved streets of the east side of the city, its site being now about the center of the block bounded by Montgomery, Cherry, Clinton and Monroe Streets. The original intention was to build merely a couple of rooms[Pg 387] for the use of the club, but the beauty of the situation induced them to extend their plan and they erected a building to answer the purposes of a public hotel or tavern as well as for their own accommodation. The ball-room, which included the whole of the second story of the east front of the house was octagon, forty-five feet long, twenty-four feet wide and seventeen feet high, with a music gallery. This room, finished and decorated in admirable style, was retained by the Club for their Saturday evening meetings, during the summer season, the only[Pg 388] exclusive privilege which the proprietors held. Its windows opened to the floor, communicating with a balcony twelve feet wide which surrounded the eastern part of the house and afforded a most agreeable promenade. The room under this on the ground floor, of the same shape and size in length and breadth as the ball-room, was used as a dinner and supper room for large companies and public entertainments. On the west side of the house were two dining parlors, a bar-room, two card-rooms and a number of bed chambers. To the west of the house was a small courtyard with stables, coach house and other offices; to the east, although the grounds were small, was a bowling green, and there were graveled walks and some shrubbery. From the balcony of the house could be seen a great part of the city, the bay of New York, Long Island, the East River as far as Hell Gate, and the bold and magnificent Pallisades bordering the North River on the Jersey side.

 

BELVEDERE CLUB HOUSE

 

The house when completed, was taken by John Avery, who in December, 1793, was prepared to supply ladies and gentlemen with dinners and suppers, and made it known that the use of the ball-room could be obtained on seasonable notice, for public or private parties, balls or concerts. In 1798, the Society of the Cincinnati, after transacting at Federal Hall, the usual business of their anniversary meeting, on July 4th, adjourned to the Belvedere for the dinner which was served up to them in the usual[Pg 389] style. The Belvedere was an hilarious association, the main object of which was social enjoyment. Its members were doubtless much interested in the pleasures of riding and driving and probably supported to some extent the races which are said to have been regularly held on the Bowery Lane, about the opening of the nineteenth century.

Improvement in the City Hotel

John Lovett was landlord of the City Hotel until 1807, when he was succeeded by Chenelette Dusseaussoir, who had been a confectioner, with a store at No. 102, on the opposite side of Broadway, below the hotel. He continued as landlord for two years, when in 1809, Solomon D. Gibson took charge of the house, and two years later, after making some alterations, informs the public that, “The Ordinary of the Hotel is always supplied with every variety and delicacy which the season will permit, while the Bar can boast an ample stock of superior wines calculated to tempt the taste of the epicure. A new and elegant Bar-Room and Coffee-Room, fronting on Broadway, have lately been added; which, unrivalled in point of pure air and salubrity, and commanding a delightful view of a street embellished with all the facinations of beauty and by all the graces of fashion, present irresistable attractions to gentlemen of taste.”

The City Hotel afforded better accommodations for balls and concerts than any other place[Pg 390] in the city, and the most important affairs of such a nature were held here. What was called the Old Assembly Room in William Street was also used for such purposes. In February, 1802, announcement was made that the second Juvenile Assembly would be held on the 18th at this place. This was probably a rival of the City Assembly. In the announcement their rules are given out, which appear to have been very strict.

City Assembly

An English traveler who visited New York in 1807 states that the City Hotel nearly resembles in size and architecture the London Tavern in Bishopgate Street. He also says: “Dancing is an amusement that the New York ladies are passionately fond of, and they are said to excel those of every other city in the Union. I visited the City Assembly, which is held at the City Hotel in the Broadway, and considered as the best in New York. It was the first night of the season, and there was not more than one hundred and fifty persons present. I did not perceive anything different from an English assembly, except the cotillions, which were danced in an admirable manner, alternately with the country dances. Several French gentlemen were present, and figured away in the cotillions with considerable taste and agility. The subscription is two dollars and a half for each night, and includes tea, coffee, and cold collation. None but the first class of society can become subscribers to this assembly. Another has,[Pg 391] however, been recently established, in which the genteel part of the second class are admitted, who were shut out from the City Assembly. A spirit of jealousy and pride has caused the subscribers of the new assembly to make their subscriptions three dollars, and to have their balls also at the City Hotel. It was so well conducted, that many of the subscribers of the City Assembly seceded, and joined the opposition one, or subscribed to both.”

Musical Societies

About the opening of the nineteenth century there were several musical societies in New York. Some of these were short-lived, but others arose to take their places. The Euterpean was of this period. It lasted until the middle of the century and exercised a considerable influence on the musical taste of the time. There was also a Philharmonic Society. On the 16th of February, 1802, the Columbian Anacreontic Society gave their annual Ladies’ Concert at the Tontine Assembly Rooms, in the City Hotel, Broadway. It must have been considered a very fine affair, for the account of it in the Evening Post next day fills more than a column of the paper. The article states that the concert was “given in a style of superior elegance. The whole suite of apartments occupied by the City Assemblies were thrown open on this occasion. No pains or expense had been spared to provide suitable entertainment. * * * The company assembled at an early hour and were numerous[Pg 392] beyond any former occasion.” Between the acts refreshments were served from the tea-room, which part of the entertainment was received by the company with marks of appreciation. The newspaper article concludes: “We beg permission to express our hope that an institution so honorable to the taste and manners of our city, may continue to receive the electric applause of Beauty and Fashion.”

Second Hudson Centennial

New York celebrated the second centennial anniversary of the discovery of the Hudson River on Monday, the 4th of September, 1809, under the auspices of the New York Historical Society. It was not so grand and elaborate an affair as that of the third centennial celebration, gotten up by the city two years ago, yet, nevertheless, it was an appropriate celebration. At the request of the society the Rev. Dr. Samuel Miller delivered a learned and interesting address concerning this event, before a large and respectable audience of ladies and gentlemen at the City Hall, among whom were the governor, the mayor and the corporation of the city. At four o’clock the members of the society with the invited guests sat down to an elegant dinner prepared for them by Messrs. Fay and Gibson at the City Hotel. Shell fish and other fish, with which our waters abound, were served, with wild pigeon and corn and beans or succotash, the old Dutch[Pg 393] or Indian dish, the favorite dish of the season, and the different meats introduced into the country by the early settlers. Such dishes were served as were common in the early history of the city. One of the toasts, which was offered by Simeon DeWitt, was: “May our successors a century hence celebrate the same event which we this day commemorate.” The spirit of Simeon DeWitt may have been the guardian angel of our recent celebration.

St. Andrew’s Society Dinners

The dinners of the St. Andrew’s Society seem to have surpassed all others. The St. Andrew’s Society of the State of New York celebrated its anniversary on Monday, November 30, 1801, at the Tontine Coffee House. Here, after disposing of the usual business of the society, they sat down to a dinner prepared by James Rathwell, the landlord of the house, which, it is said “was never exceeded in this city for elegance and variety, and spent the evening to a pretty late hour with much conviviality and friendship.” They were honored with the company of the mayor, his predecessor in that office, and that of the British consul. One account of the dinner states: “We have never heard so many original and appropriate songs as were sung on this occasion, and never witnessed more genuine satisfaction beam in every eye.” In 1802, and in 1803, the society celebrated their anniversary at the same place and the dinner each year was prepared by[Pg 394] Mr. Rathwell in the same superior style as in 1801.

In 1804 the society celebrated their anniversary at the Tontine Coffee House, and at four o’clock sat down to a dinner prepared in the best style by Mr. Hyde, who was again the landlord of the house, “and spent their convivial hour with the dignified festivity of men attached to each other by personal respect, by love to their native and adopted country, and by a generous concurrance in extending a generous proportion of their own comforts to their suffering brethren.” The mayor of the city, the British consul general, Captain Beresford, of the navy, and other gentlemen of distinction honored the society with their company. On the wall of the room hung a full length portrait of General Hamilton, the property of the Chamber of Commerce. Pointing to this, a member of the society gave the toast: “Our Silent Monitor—May we ever emulate his virtues.”

When the society celebrated their anniversary, November 30, 1805, the landlord of the Tontine Coffee House was Thomas Vaughan, who prepared for them a dinner “unusually sumptuous and elegant.” The guests were the mayor of the city, the British consul general, the Hon. Robert R. Livingston and Captain Porteous. At this meeting the society passed a resolution, offered by Dr. Tillery “to erect a plain, neat Monument in memory of that great and good man, Major General Hamilton, on the spot[Pg 395] where he received the wound which terminated in his death and which deprived America of her greatest pride and ornament.” The next year Mr. Vaughan again prepared the anniversary dinner for the society at the Tontine Coffee House, when “they allowed themselves to indulge in that degree of innocent mirth and decent conviviality, which comports with the character of those whose flow of soul must not extend beyond the feast of reason.” After dinner toasts were drunk interspersed with Scottish songs and “tales of other times.”

In 1810, honored by the company of several distinguished guests, the St. Andrew’s Society celebrated their anniversary at the City Hotel, then kept by Solomon D. Gibson. A newspaper states: “It would be a want of justice in us towards Mr. Gibson not to state that the style in which the dinner was gotten up and the quality of his wines were such as gave entire satisfaction to the company and did himself much credit.” “After the cloth was removed a number of appropriate toasts were given and the social glass, the cheerful song and ‘Weel timed Daffin,’ kept a considerable party together till ‘Some wee short hour ayont the T’wai’ hinted to each to ‘Tak the way that pleased himsel,’ highly gratified with the agreeable manner in which the day had been spent.”

A Supper at Dyde’s Hotel

For more than ten years the Long Room of Martling’s Tavern was the wigwam of the Tammany Society. Immediately after the election[Pg 396] of Jefferson, when the Tammany Society had become thoroughly Republican, a division arose between the friends of De Witt Clinton, Chancellor Livingston and Colonel Burr. Each accused the other of faithlessness, dishonesty and duplicity. Clinton became involved with Colonel John Swartwout, a friend of Burr, which led to a duel between them at Hoboken, in which Swartwout was wounded. Bitterness between these factions was intense until 1806, when a coalition was entered into between the Clintonians and Burrites, which was kept secret until the 20th of February, 1806, when they assembled at Dyde’s Hotel to celebrate the union by a supper. The coalition was a surprise to all and was denounced in the strongest terms as an unnatural union, a public outrage, etc. One paper states that “verily a supper was very appropriate; for such deeds of dark and terrible infamy ought to be enacted in the night only,” and calls it a political rascality. The factions had accused each other of all sorts of political crimes and now they had joined forces.

“Come let us chant our joys,
We now are foes no more;
Now we are honest boys,
However so before.”

[Pg 397]Dyde’s house was next door to the Park Theatre, facing the Park. He called it the London Hotel and proposed to keep it “in the true Old English Style, the principles of which are cleanliness, civility, comfort and good cheer.” In March, 1806, the Park Theatre announced the play of Macbeth, to be followed by the comedy of the Farm House, the curtain to rise at half-past six o’clock. The announcement was followed by a card stating that there could be obtained “an excellent supper at Dyde’s Hotel between the play and farce at 50 cents each; the same every other night at half-past 9 o’clock.” Verily our ancestors took their pleasures in large and heavy doses. For a time Dyde’s Hotel was quite popular. On Sunday, January 11, 1807, Mr. Foster preached a sermon here, and a meeting of the Philharmonic Society was held at Dyde’s Hotel, next to the Theater, on Thursday, January 29, 1807. The Philharmonic Society met here again in December of the same year for the election of officers of the society when it was called the Washington Hotel. When a public ball was given here in February, 1808, by Mr. Armour, a teacher of dancing, it was still known as the Washington Hotel. In the early part of the year 1809, it appears to have been called the Mercantile Coffee House, and also the Commercial Coffee House, but neither of these names clung to it very long.

 [Pg 398]

WHITE CONDUIT HOUSE

 

Tea Gardens

The so-called gardens, where ice cream, tea and other beverages were served to the sound of music, were, about the beginning of the century, and had been for some time, popular with the people of New York. During the war, while the city was occupied by the British, near the present corner of Broadway and Leonard Street, there was a public house called the White Conduit House, so called from a popular tavern of that name in London. On the 24th of June, 1779, the Freemasons, in remembrance of St. John, their patron saint, went in procession[Pg 399] to St. Paul’s Church, where an excellent sermon was preached by Dr. Seabury; “from thence they proceeded, accompanied by the clergy and band of music to the White Conduit House, where there was an elegant dinner prepared, and the day was celebrated with great harmony and brotherly love.” At the close of the war the place became a public garden and pleasure resort. In 1796 it was under the control of William Byram. Soon after, when the street was cut through, it came into the possession of Joseph Corré, who some years before, had been the landlord of the City Tavern, and was at the time keeper of an ice cream and tea garden on State Street, called the Columbian Garden. Under his management it was known as the Mt. Vernon Garden. The cutting through of the street left the house high above the level, and it was reached by a flight of steps. Flying horses and other like amusements were the attractions of the place. Corré opened here a Summer Theater, in which members of the Park Theater company played during the time their own theater was closed.

Second Vauxhall

Bayard’s Mount, or Bunker Hill, as it was sometimes called, at the present junction of Grand and Mulberry Streets, the highest point on the island near the city, was a well known landmark in its time, overlooking the city and a wide extent of country including the North and East Rivers. There is no sign to-day that such[Pg 400] an elevation ever existed at that place. Nearby was the Bayard homestead which had been the residence of the Bayard family for fifty years. In 1798, this, with the surrounding premises, was converted by Joseph Delacroix, a Frenchman, into a popular resort, known as Vauxhall Garden. It was the second of the name, the first, at the corner of Warren and Greenwich Streets, which, before the war, flourished under the management of Sam Francis, having been converted, some years previous, into a pottery.

On Independence Day, 1802, particular exertions were made by the summer gardens to attract visitors. It was announced that the open air theatre at the Mount Vernon Garden, under the management of John Hodgkinson, of the Park Theatre, would open the season on Monday, July 5th, in celebration of Independence Day, with the play of “All the World’s a Stage,” after which would be recitations and songs, followed by “The Sailor’s Landlady or Jack in Distress”; concluding with a grand display of fireworks. Tickets to Box, six shillings, Pit and Gallery, four shillings. Refreshments as usual. Joseph Delacroix informed his friends and the public in general that on Monday, July 5th, the anniversary of American Independence would be celebrated at Vauxhall with great splendor, surpassing everything ever yet exhibited in America. A beautiful drawing of the Triumphal Car which was to take part in the spectacular scene could be seen at the Tontine Coffee House.[Pg 401] Doors open at four o’clock. Tickets, four shillings. Grand illuminations and transparencies were promised at the Columbian Garden, in State Street, opposite the Battery. Open from six o’clock in the morning until ten o’clock at night. Tickets, two shillings.

Third Vauxhall

Another place of great notoriety for many years was situated south of the present Astor Place, between the Bowery and Broadway, the narrower end of the property on Broadway, the entrance being on the Bowery. Jacob Sperry, a native of Switzerland, although he had studied physic, purchased the property and for many years devoted himself to the raising of fruits and flowers. In 1803 he sold the garden to John Jacob Astor for nine thousand pounds (£9,000), then considered a good sale. Astor leased it to Joseph Delacroix, who was then conducting the Vauxhall Garden on the Bayard estate, at Grand and Mulberry Streets, and who, when he moved to it, carried with him the name. Under his management it became a noted resort. Vauxhall Garden was an inclosure said to contain three acres of ground, handsomely laid out with gravel walks and grass plots, and adorned with shrubs, trees, flowers, busts, statues, and arbors. In the center was a large equestrian statue of General Washington. There were summer houses, and tables and seats under the trees on the grounds, and boxes or rather stalls around the inside, close up to[Pg 402] the high board fence which inclosed the garden, where visitors were served with light refreshments. In the front of the grounds was a building where a theatrical company performed during the summer season. The price of admission was fifty cents to Box, Pit or Gallery, for they were all one and the same thing, the spectators sitting in the open air. The orchestra was among the trees. A resident of Philadelphia relates how on a visit to New York, in 1806, he was carried out to the garden in a hackney coach with three other passengers for twenty-five cents each, and there, for fifty cents, saw performed “The Agreeable Surprise,” in which Twaits played the principal part. Delacroix succeeded in making the garden a very popular resort. All the town flocked to it. It was to the New York of that day something like what Coney Island is to the New York of to-day. With its numerous lamps among the trees and shrubbery and arbors, its artistic adornments, its fireworks and balloons, its music and its theatrical performances and singing, the people of New York considered it about as gay a place of recreation as could be found anywhere. Lafayette Place was cut through the property in 1826, but the garden continued to flourish for more than twenty years after. During the later years of its existence it became a favorite place for public meetings.

The Old Coffee House

About the time that the Tontine Coffee House was built, in 1793, Mrs. Bradford, who had kept[Pg 403] the Merchants’ Coffee House since the death of her husband, in 1786, retired. She lived in Cortlandt until her death, in May, 1822. She was succeeded in the old house by John Byrne, who opened it as the New York Hotel, but it was generally called “The Old Coffee House.” Byrne remained there until 1798, when he crossed over to the Tontine and was succeeded by Edward Bardin, who had been a well known tavern-keeper in New York since 1764. Many of the old societies continued to patronize the house. The Free Masons clung to it. The Sons of St. Patrick celebrated here their anniversaries, and the Black Friars—a social club—met here by order of the “Fathers.” The Marine Society continued here their regular meetings. Bardin was in possession of it when it was burned down in the fire of 1804. The building, which was of brick, was valued at $7,500. When the house was rebuilt, Bardin returned to it and opened it as the Phoenix Coffee House, and continued in it until he, too, like his predecessor, went over to the Tontine, in 1812.

Dinner to Robert R. Livingston

A grand dinner was given to the Honorable Robert R. Livingston at the Tontine Coffee House, December 7, 1805. Although circumstances prevented many from attending, yet the room was crowded, and it is said that on no[Pg 404] similar occasion was there ever witnessed a more elegant entertainment or a more respectable company. John Watts presided. Among those who attended were: The Reverend Doctor Rodgers, the Lieutenant Governor, the Mayor, the Foreign Consuls, Mr. Morris, Mr. King and Mr. Van Rensselear. After dinner, Mr. Livingston being called on by the president, gave the toast, “New York—Its ports fortified—its commerce prosperous—its mechanics encouraged and its citizens united and happy.” Mr. Livingston having retired amidst the applause of the company the president gave: “Robert B. Livingston—the successful negociator—the friend of agriculture and the patron of fine arts,” which was received with cheers.

 

Robert R. Livingston

 

The Embargo

[Pg 405]The embargo of 1807 prostrated the business of the city. In the spring of 1808, the streets, wharfs and quays along the East River appeared almost deserted; the bustle and activity of former days no longer prevailed. There were many ships at the wharfs, but they were dismantled and laid up; their decks were cleared, their hatches were fastened down and hardly a sailor was to be seen. Not a box, barrel, bale or package was on the wharfs and many of the counting houses were closed. A few merchants, clerks, porters and laborers could be seen aimlessly strolling about with their hands in their pockets. Where there used to be sixty to a hundred carts standing in the street for hire there were scarcely a dozen, and they were unemployed. A few coasting sloops and schooners, clearing out for the ports of the United States, were all that remained of that immense business which was carried on only a few months before. The Tontine Coffee House was almost empty, the few to be seen, appearing to be there merely to pass away the time, which hung heavy on their hands. There appeared to be little or no business doing there except perhaps a few transactions in securities or stocks. Grass had begun to grow upon the wharfs, and the[Pg 406] people seemed to have taken leave of all their former gaiety and cheerfulness. The embargo did not accomplish the results desired. It was lifted in the early part of the year 1809, and the activities of business were again resumed.

Mechanics’ Hall

The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, founded November 17, 1785, incorporated March 14, 1792, erected a hall of their own on the corner of Broadway and Robinson Street (now Park Place), in 1802. They held their annual celebration in it for the first time on the 6th of January, 1803. After the election of officers and other business before the society, the two hundred and fifteen members in attendance sat down to a dinner prepared for them by Mr. Borowsen, who was then in charge of the house. The day was spent with the utmost hilarity and good humor, enlivened by appropriate toasts and songs. The mayor of the city was a guest of the society. Mechanics’ Hall is described as a building eighty by twenty-seven and a half feet. In the basement was a spacious kitchen, etc.; on the first floor a large coffee room, bar, dining room and landlady’s room; on the second floor, ceiling sixteen feel high, a large hall fifty-two by twenty-five feet, with a handsome orchestra and a drawing room twenty feet square. On the third floor were five spacious rooms for the use of clubs and meetings of any kind and on the fourth twelve bedrooms. In the spring of 1803, the house was[Pg 407] taken by Michael Little, and soon became a popular place for balls and concerts. It was for some years one of the prominent hotels of the city. The twelfth anniversary of the society was celebrated here in 1804, when Mr. Little was the landlord of the house.

New England Society

New York, as headquarters of the British forces in the Revolutionary war, had attracted much attention to her advantageous situation, and when peace returned men of energy flocked to it, as offering a good field for enterprise. Among these were many from New England, and it is claimed that the city owes much to this element, endowed with intelligence, vitality and perseverance. Soon after the opening of the nineteenth century the New England Society was formed. Their first dinner was given December 21, 1805. For some years their meetings were held at the Tontine Coffee House and at other prominent public houses, but about 1812 the society settled on Niblo’s Bank Coffee House as the regular place for their annual dinners. On December 22, 1807, the society held a grand celebration of their anniversary at the City Hotel, where at three o’clock in the afternoon, four hundred gentlemen sat down to an elegant dinner prepared by Mr. Dusseaussoir. The Reverend Doctor Rodgers and several of the venerable clergy from New England sat at the head of the table on the right of the president. It seems to have[Pg 408] been a very merry dinner. An account of it, with the songs and toasts, fills over a column of the Evening Post. To honor the day, the proprietors and masters of all vessels in the port of New York, belonging to New England, were requested to hoist their colors on the 22d.

Washington Hall

The Washington Benevolent Society was organized on the 12th of July, 1808. On Washington’s birthday, February 22, 1809, after electing officers of the society, they repaired to Zion Church, where an oration was delivered. In the evening, about one thousand members of the society sat down to suppers provided for them at five different houses. On the next Fourth of July the society celebrated the day with more than usual enthusiasm, taking a leading part. They had a grand parade and laid the corner stone of Washington Hall on the corner of Broadway and Reade Streets. The president of the society, Isaac Sebring, after going through the formalities of the occasion, turned to the society and thus impressively addressed them: “While I congratulate the society on this occasion, I cannot but express the hope that the Hall, to be erected on this spot, may be sacredly devoted to the cultivation of Friendship, of Charity, of correct principles and of ardent Patriotism. Built by the friends of Washington, may it never be polluted by the enemies of that illustrious and revered statesman. * * * Designed as the seat of rational[Pg 409] republican sentiments, may it be forever preserved from the infuriated footsteps of Monarchy, Aristocracy, Anarchy and Jacobinism. And may our descendants in the latest generation, meet at this spot to commemorate the virtues of their revolutionary ancestors.”

 

WASHINGTON HALL

 

Although the Washington Benevolent Society was not organized as a political association there is no doubt that its members were mostly of the Federal party. The Hamilton Society, whose headquarters were at the Hamilton Hotel[Pg 410] in Cherry Street, was very friendly. This, too, no doubt, was strongly Federal, and Washington Hall, where the two societies joined in celebrating Washington’s birthday, became, soon after its completion, the headquarters of the Federal party, in opposition to Tammany Hall, completed about the same time, as that of the Republicans or Democrats. Washington Hall, at the time of its erection, was considered one of the handsomest structures in the city. Although intended to be used as a public hall for meetings, assemblies, etc., it was also kept as a hotel. Its first landlord was Daniel W. Crocker.

Tammany Hall

The corner-stone of Tammany Hall, corner of the present Park Place and Frankfort Street, was laid on Monday, May 13, 1811, the twenty-second anniversary of Tammany Society. Abraham M. Valentine was the grand marshal of the day. The members of the society appeared in aboriginal costume, wore the buck-tail as usual and marched in Indian file. Clarkson Crolius, grand sachem, laid the corner-stone and made a short and spirited address. Alpheus Sherman delivered the oration. Joseph Delacroix, proprietor of Vauxhall Garden and a good Tammanyite, celebrated the twenty-second anniversary of the Tammany Society and the laying of the corner-stone of the Great Wigwam by an unusual exhibition and a grand feu-de-joie at the garden at half-past eight o’clock in the evening. When the hall was completed,[Pg 411] besides being used as the Great Wigwam of the Tammany Society, it was taken by Abraham B. Martling, and with his nephew, William B. Cozzens, conducted as a hotel.

 

TAMMANY HALL

 

The Fraunces Tavern in Broad Street during the first decade of the nineteenth century continued to be one of the prominent taverns or hotels of the city. The Society of the Cincinnati[Pg 412] had their annual dinner here on the Fourth of July, 1804, after a meeting at Federal Hall. It was then kept by David Ross, who had succeeded Michael Little as its landlord when he went to Mechanics’ Hall. Shortly after this, and for some years, it was known as Washington Hotel. In 1813, on the celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of the Evacuation, the Independent Veteran Corps of Artillery, after performing the duties of the day, partook of a dinner at this old historic tavern, which seems to have been their headquarters. It was then kept by Rudolphus Kent. This was repeated the next year on Evacuation Day.

 

FRAUNCES’ TAVERN ABOUT 1830

 

The Battery

[Pg 413]Between State Street and the hay was the Battery, a beautifully situated open space of ground, where military parades were frequently held. On the Fourth of July and other anniversary days, there were brilliant exhibitions here of the artillery and other uniform troops. It was a public ground, where the citizens could enjoy the fresh breezes from the bay and the cool shade of the trees on hot summer days. The prospect afforded of the Jersey Shore, Staten Island, Long Island and the other small islands, of the ships at anchor and of others passing and repassing, made a scene at once variegated and delightful. For those who desired it, music, ice cream and other delicacies could be had at Corré’s public garden on State Street, not far away.

The Second Ranelagh

We have described Vauxhall Garden, but there was also a Ranelagh, a suburban resort, situated about at the junction of Grand and Division Streets, near Corlear’s Hook. It had been formerly known by the name of Mount Pitt. The adjoining grounds were shady and agreeable and from in front of the house was an extensive view of the city and of the eastern and southern parts of the harbor. At a short distance were the ruins of a battery erected during the Revolutionary War, behind Belvedere, and on these mouldering ramparts was a pleasant walk and prospect. Behind Ranelagh[Pg 414] were considerable remains of the line of entrenchments, made by the British in 1781, across the island from Corlear’s Hook to Lispenard’s Brewery, to defend the city against the American army.

The Ugly Club

On the 4th of July, 1807, the Society of the Cincinnati partook of their annual dinner at the house of Joseph Baker, No. 4 Wall Street, corner of New, which for many years after this was a well known and popular house. About 1815, a select little circle, composed of the handsomest and most companionable young men of that day to be found in New York City, made this little tavern their rendezvous, where they held frequent convivial meetings. This was the Ugly Club and Baker’s Tavern, or porter house, was styled Ugly Hall. Fitz-Greene Halleck was a member of this club and was honored by the appointment of “Poet Laureate to the Ugly Club.”

Baker’s Tavern was for a time the starting place, or terminus of the route, of the stages which ran to Greenwich village. On the road to Greenwich a little beyond Canal Street was Tyler’s, a popular suburban resort, some years before known as Brannon’s Tea Garden. Many of the old graduates of Columbia College, who were living not so many years ago, cherished pleasant memories of Commencement suppers indulged in at this place.

The sportsman could find not far from the[Pg 415] city, on Manhattan Island, abundance of game; and it was no unusual thing in the gaming season to see well known men with guns on their shoulders and followed by their dogs, making their way up Broadway or Greenwich Street to the open country. In the Bowery Lane, at the second mile stone, was the Dog and Duck Tavern, which was frequented by those who chose to visit the salt meadows which were covered in the autumn with water-fowl. Further up the island, near the five mile stone, was the Dove Tavern, where those had their quarters who sought the woodcock and quail in the fields and glades, or the wild pigeon in the woods which covered a large part of the land.

[Pg 416]

 

 


[Pg 417]

XIII

The Shakespeare Tavern

War

On June 19, 1812, President Madison issued his formal proclamation of war with Great Britain. The news reached New York at nine o’clock on the morning of Saturday, June 20th. On the same day orders came to Commodore Rodgers to sail on a cruise against the enemy. He was in entire readiness and put to sea within an hour after receiving his instructions. He passed Sandy Hook on the afternoon of June 21st, with his squadron consisting of the President, 44; the United States, 44; the Congress, 38; the Hornet, 18; and the Argus, 16—in all, five vessels, carrying 160 guns. The British force cruising off the coast consisted of eight men-of-war, carrying 312 guns, with a number of corvettes and sloops. In a few months the victories of the American ships thrilled the country with satisfaction and delight and fairly stunned the English who had regarded the American navy as beneath contempt.

 


Larger Image

THE GREAT NAVAL DINNER AT THE CITY HOTEL

 

Dinner to Naval Heroes

On Tuesday, December 29, 1812, a magnificent banquet was given by the corporation and citizens of New York at the City Hotel, then kept by Gibson, in honor of Captain Decatur, Captain Hull and Captain Jones, to[Pg 418] celebrate their recent victories. The dinner was served at five o’clock in the afternoon and five hundred gentlemen sat down to table. It was a naval dinner and marine decorations prevailed. The large dining-room “was colonaded round with the masts of ships entwined with laurels and bearing the flags of all the world.” Each table had on it a ship in miniature flying the American flag. At the head of the room, at a long table raised about three feet above the others, sat the mayor of the city, DeWitt Clinton, the president of the feast, with Decatur upon his right and Hull upon his left. In front of this, in a space covered with green grass was[Pg 419] a lake of real water, on which floated a miniature frigate. Across the end of the room, back of all, hung on the wall the large main sail of a ship. At the toast, “To our Navy,” the main-sail was furled, exposing to view two large transparent paintings, one representing the battles between the Constitution and the Guerriere, the United States and the Macedonian and the Wasp and the Frolic, and the other representing the American Eagle holding in his beak three civic crowns, on which were the following inscriptions: “Hull and the Guerriere”—“Jones and the Frolic”—“Decatur and the Macedonian,” which produced great enthusiasm among the guests. The dinner was a great success. At the very time it was being served, Commodore Bainbridge, in the Constitution, was engaged with the British frigate, Java, in a hot action, lasting nearly two hours, in which he silenced all her guns and made of her a riddled and dismantled hulk, not worth bringing to port. In this same banquet room, the decorations having been retained, the crew of the United States were entertained on Thursday, January 7, 1813, by the corporation. Alderman Vanderbilt delivered the address of welcome to the sailors, of whom there were about four hundred present. After dinner, by invitation, they attended the Park Theatre, where the drop-curtain had on it a painting representing the fight of the United States and the Macedonian.

 

Stephen Decatur

 

Dinner to Captain Lawrence

On the 13th of May, 1813, by a vote of the[Pg 420] common council, a dinner was given to Captain Lawrence, of the Hornet, and his gallant crew at Washington Hall. The seamen landed at Whitehall Slip about half-past two o’clock in the afternoon, attended by the band of the Eleventh Regiment and marched through Pearl Street, Wall Street and Broadway to Washington Hall. At half-past three o’clock the petty officers, seamen and marines sat down to a bountiful repast. Paintings representing the victories of Hull, Decatur, Jones and Bainbridge decorated the walls of the room, and over the chair of the boatswain of the Hornet, who was the presiding officer, was an elegant view by Holland of the action of the Hornet with the Peacock. The table was decorated with a great variety of flags and with emblems appropriate to the occasion. After the meats were removed a visit to the room was made by the common council, accompanied by Captain Lawrence. At the sight of their commander the sailors rose from their seats and heartily cheered him with three times three. Perfect order and decorum were preserved and the bottle, the toast and the song went round with hilarity and glee.

 

Isaac Hull

 [Pg 421]

J. Lawrence

 

In another room a dinner was served to the corporation and its guests, among whom were[Pg 422] Captain Lawrence and all his officers, the commanders of all the ships of war on the New York Station, many of the judges of the courts and Colonel Joseph G. Swift, the commander of the corps of engineers. This room was decorated by many emblematic paintings by Mr. Holland, descriptive of our naval victories; some of them had been used at the great naval dinner given to Decatur, Hull and Jones at the City Hotel in the previous December.

The crew were invited to attend the performance at the theater that evening, the front of the theater being illuminated and the pit set apart for their accommodation. They marched in a body from the dinner table to the theater at six o’clock.

Dinner to General Harrison

A dinner was given to General Harrison in the afternoon of December 1, 1813, at Tammany Hall under the direction of the State Republican (Democratic) general committee of New York. Besides the distinguished guest, there were Governor Tompkins, Major-Generals Dearborn and Hampton, Judge Brockholst Livingston, of the United States Supreme Court, and a great number of officers of the army and navy and of the volunteer corps of the city. The dining hall was handsomely decorated under the direction of Mr. Holland. There were five tables, containing sixty covers each, ornamented by representations of castles, pyramids, etc., provided by[Pg 423] Martling and Cozzens, the proprietors, in their usual elegant and liberal manner.

Dinner to Commodore Bainbridge

The Federalists, in their turn, on the 8th of the same month, in the afternoon, gave a splendid dinner to Commodore Bainbridge at Washington Hall, at which John B. Coles presided. Notwithstanding the unpleasant weather there were nearly three hundred persons present. Among the number were Governor Tompkins, Mayor Clinton, Major-Generals Dearborn and Stevens, Judges Brockholst Livingston, Van Ness and Benson and the officers of the navy on the New York Station. The room was handsomely decorated and the dinner was provided by Captain Crocker and served up in a very correct and elegant style.

Dinner to Commodore Perry

The next public dinner during the winter season was given to Commodore Perry on the afternoon of the 11th of January, 1814, at Tammany Hall, at which about three hundred and fifty persons were present. Major James Fairlie presided. There were seven tables; one of these, on an elevated platform, at which the honored guests were seated, crossed the eastern end of the room, the others led from it to the lower end, and all were beautifully embellished with numerous ornaments. The pillars of the hall were surrounded with clusters of American flags, and[Pg 424] the decorations of the hall were arranged under the gratuitous direction of Mr. Holland. Five transparent paintings from his pencil adorned the walls. One of these, covering about one hundred and fifty square feet, represented a large eagle bearing in his beak and talons a scroll inscribed in large capitals: “We have Met the Enemy and they are Ours.” In the evening Commodore Perry attended a ball at Washington Hall which followed a concert given at that place.

Patriotic Demonstrations by the Two Parties

As before the war, the people were divided into two great parties, one for war, the other for peace, but both claiming to be acting for the good of the general government and the welfare of the people, while the fear of disunion of the states hung heavily over the country. At the anniversary dinner at Washington Hall on the 4th of July, 1813, one of the volunteer toasts was: “Our Country—Disgraced by the folly of democracy, may its character soon be retrieved by the virtue and talents of federalism.” The war made the celebration of the Fourth of July particularly important, and the two parties vied with each other in patriotic demonstrations. The celebration of Independence Day, 1814, was made by two grand processions; one was led by the Tammany Society, which was joined and followed by several other societies; the other was led by[Pg 425] the Washington Benevolent Society, joined by the Hamilton Society. The military parade, headed by the governor, was made entirely independent of any procession. After the procession the members of the Tammany Society sat down to a repast prepared by Martling and Cozzens, proprietors of Tammany Hall Hotel, and the members of the Washington Benevolent Society and of the Hamilton Society dined in the afternoon at Washington Hall, but in separate rooms. The State Society of the Cincinnati held their annual meeting at the City Hall, after which they retired to the Tontine Coffee House where a dinner was served to them at four o’clock. Commodore Decatur, lately elected an honorary member, dined with the Society. After dinner, eighteen toasts were drunk, each followed by an appropriate piece of music by Moffit’s military band. At Vauxhall the celebration in the evening surpassed in display and grandeur any previous exhibitions of the kind.

News of Peace

At the close of the war of 1812 the news of peace was received in New York with the greatest joy. Mr. Carroll, the bearer of the treaty, on his arrival in the British sloop-of-war Favorite, about eight o’clock in the evening of Saturday, February 15, 1815, went directly to the City Hotel, which he made his quarters; and in less than twenty minutes after he entered the house most of the windows in the lower part of Broadway and the adjoining streets were illuminated, and[Pg 426] the streets were densely filled with people who came forth to see and to hear and to rejoice. Samuel G. Goodrich, who was at a concert in the City Hotel, writes: “While listening to the music the door of the concert-room was thrown open and in rushed a man breathless with excitement. He mounted on a table and, swinging a white handkerchief aloft, cried out: “Peace! Peace! Peace!” The music ceased, the hall was speedily vacated, I rushed into the street, and oh, what a scene! In a few minutes thousands and tens of thousands of people were marching about with candles, lamps, torches, making the jubilant street appear like a gay and gorgeous procession. The whole night Broadway sang its song of peace.” Swift expresses were sent out to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Boston, Providence and Albany, and when the news was received from Washington of the ratification, which, by a combination of four newspapers was brought to New York in twenty-three hours, extensive preparations were made for a grand celebration and illumination on February 22, which on account of unfavorable weather was deferred and took place on the 27th. Fire works were gotten up and exhibited on a stage in front of the Government House under the superintendence of Joseph Delacroix, of Vauxhall Garden, which is said to have exceeded any former exhibition. The descriptions of the illuminations filled column after column of the[Pg 427] newspapers. Among many others, lengthy descriptions were given of the illuminations of Tammany Hall, Washington Hall and the City Hotel.

The Grand Ball

Great preparations were soon made for a “superb ball” in honor of the joyful peace, which was given on March 16 at Washington Hall. The company consisted of upwards of six hundred ladies and gentlemen. The dancing room, eighty feet by sixty, was arranged to present the appearance of a beautiful elliptical pavilion, formed by eighteen pillars, on each of which was inscribed the name of a state, connected with the center of the lofty ceiling by garlands or festoons of laurel, and between the garlands, suspended from the ceiling, chandeliers composed of verdant and flowery wreaths. The garlands extending from the pillars were attached to a light central canopy, beneath which was a golden sun made to revolve rapidly, by means of machinery above the ceiling, so as to diffuse from its dazzling surface the reflected radiance of eight hundred lights. This was styled the Temple of Concord. On one side of the room, on a raised platform under a canopy of flags and surrounded with orange and lemon trees loaded with fruit, was the Bower of Peace, furnished with seats from which a good view of the cotillion parties could be had. The seats in each end of the room were also shaded with a profusion of orange trees and various rarer plants brought from the gardens[Pg 428] and greenhouses of the vicinity. “The supper tables at which all the ladies were accommodated with seats at one time, though in two different apartments, were arranged and decorated in the most brilliant style; being lighted from above by illuminated arches entwined with flowers and supported by grouped columns from the center of the tables, and forming a line of arches from one extremity to the other. In short, the whole scene was one of the most splendid ever exhibited in this city; reflecting the highest credit on the managers and displaying a picture of female beauty, fashion and elegance not to be surpassed in any city of the union.”[5] The landlord of Washington Hall at this time was Peter McIntyre, who had in February succeeded Daniel W. Crocker. He had formerly kept a porter house at 33 Nassau Street.

The Shakespeare Tavern

In the description of the grand illumination on the evening of February 27, the decorations of the Shakespeare Tavern are particularly mentioned by the newspapers. This tavern had been for some years and continued to be for many years after, the resort of actors, poets and critics, as well as the rendezvous of the wits and literary men of the period. It stood on the southwest corner of Fulton and Nassau Streets, a low, old-fashioned, solid structure of small, yellow brick,[Pg 429] two stories high, with dormer windows in the roof. Thomas Hodgkinson, brother of John Hodgkinson of the Park Theatre, became its landlord in 1808, and continued in it for sixteen years. He had formerly been the proprietor of a porter house at 17 Fair (Fulton) Street. In its early days the entrance to the house was by a green baize-covered door on Nassau Street, opening into a small hall with rooms on either side, the tap-room being the south front room on Nassau Street, in which was a circular bar of the old English pattern. It had been built many years before the Revolution, and in 1822[Pg 430] a modern extension was added on Fulton Street, three stories high. On the second floor was a large room for public meetings and military drills, and on the third floor another large room with arched ceiling for concerts and balls and for the accommodation of the political, literary and musical patrons of the house. The Euterpian Society met here once a month and once a year gave a public concert at the City Hotel, followed by a ball; while the older members of the society had a supper below. This was one of the events of the season, and the Assembly Room was crowded.

 

THE SHAKESPEARE TAVERN

 

For many years the Shakespeare Tavern was closely connected with the military history of the city. The Veteran Corps of Artillery usually had their dinners here. A dinner was served here to Captain Swain’s Company of the Third Regiment of Artillery on Evacuation Day, 1813. A few years ago a bronze tablet might have been seen on the corner of Fulton and Nassau Streets on which was the following inscription:

On this site in the
Old Shakespeare Tavern
Was organized
The Seventh Regiment
National Guards S. N. Y.
August 25, 1824.

 [Pg 431]

“AS CHOICE SPIRITS AS EVER SUPPED AT THE TURK’S HEAD”

 

The Old Shakespeare Tavern has been compared to the “Mermaid” of London in the days of Johnson and Shakespeare and to the “Turk’s Head” in the time of Reynolds, Garrick and Goldsmith. To what degree this comparison may extend is left to individual opinion, but there is no doubt that the best talent of the city in many departments were at times to be found within its walls. Fitz-Greene Halleck and Robert C. Sands, James G. Percival, James K. Paulding and Willis Gaylord Clark were frequent visitors and passed here in each other’s company many a merry evening. Here Sands first recited to his friends, William L. Stone, Gulian[Pg 432] C. Verplanck and John Inman, his last and most remarkable poem, “The Dead of 1832.” Here DeWitt Clinton discussed with his friends his pet project, the Erie Canal, and demonstrated the feasibility of that great undertaking. Here some of the liveliest of the “Croakers” were conceived and brought forth. William L. Stone, a frequent visitor, says: “The Old Shakespeare has entertained coteries composed of as choice spirits as ever supped at the Turk’s Head.”

The Krout Club

Under the management of Hodgkinson the Shakespeare became noted for the excellence of its wines and for the quaint style and quiet comfort of its suppers. About 1825 he was succeeded by James C. Stoneall, his son-in-law, who was an exceedingly courteous man and an attentive and obliging landlord. Before and after Stoneall became proprietor of the house it was the meeting place of the Krout Club, a social institution of the period, most of the members of which were supposed to be descendants of the early Dutch settlers. When the Grand Krout, as the presiding officer of the society was called, each year nodded his assent to a meeting and dinner, the announcement was made by piercing a cabbage and displaying it on the end of a long pole projected from an upper window of the place of meeting. It was customary, immediately after his election to his exalted position, to crown the newly-elected King of the Krouts with a cabbage head nicely[Pg 433] hollowed out to fit his head and, at the same time, to throw over his shoulders a mantle of cabbage leaves. While thus arrayed as master of the feast, Dr. Samuel L. Mitchill delivered a very amusing address on the cabbage, the closing words of which were: “Thy name has been abused as if ‘to cabbage’ were to pilfer or steal. I repel with indignation the attempt to sully thy fame.”

The annual meeting of the Krouts was opened at nine o’clock in the morning and the fun and frolic was kept up until late at night. Just before the dinner the secretary read his annual report, which consisted of a humorous relation of some things that had occurred, but more especially of many things that had not occurred. At dinner were served smoked geese, ringlets (sausages), sauerkraut and cabbage in a great variety of dishes.

Pleasant memories of the old vine-clad tavern were cherished by many who only a few years ago passed over to the Great Beyond.

Dinner to the Peace Commissioners

Two of the five American Commissioners who had negociated the Treaty of Peace at Ghent and the Commercial Treaty at London, Messrs. Albert Gallatin and Henry Clay, arrived in New York on September 1, 1815, and on the afternoon of the 5th a complimentary dinner was given them at Tammany Hall. Judge Brockholst Livingston presided. William[Pg 434] Bayard, James Fairlie, John Hone, Thomas Farmer and Gilbert Aspinwall were vice-presidents and among the distinguished guests were the Hon. Rufus King, the Hon. A. J. Dallas, the Mayor, General Macomb, General Swift, etc. The Evening Post, a Federal paper, expressed surprise and regret that the dinner, instead of appearing to be given as it ought to have been, by the respectable citizens of New York without distinction of party, should have been “made to wear an invidious complexion by being brought forward in the public papers as having been gotten up by 17 gentlemen, all of whom, with a single exception are considered to be of the Democratic party.”

President Monroe’s Visit

From the time of Washington no President of the United States, while in office, had visited New York city until President James Monroe, in June, 1817, made his tour of inspection. On the morning of June 11th he came up from Staten Island, where he had been the guest of Vice President Tompkins, in the steamboat Richmond, escorted by the sloop of war Saranac, Captain Elton, and the Revenue Cutter, Captain Cahoone. He landed on the Battery about twelve o’clock from Commodore Evans’ elegant barge, accompanied by the Vice President, General Swift and secretary, Captains Evans and Biddle of the United States navy, Major-General Morton and suite, Major-General Mapes and suite and the Committee of[Pg 435] the Corporation, who had gone to Staten Island for that purpose, and was welcomed by a salute from a division of General Morton’s artillery, under the command of Brigadier-General Scott, of the United States army.

The President, after reviewing the line of troops, was escorted up Broadway to the City Hall, where, in the audience chamber, the Mayor, in the presence of the Governor and other prominent officials, presented him with an address. The State Society of the Cincinnati, headed by their Vice-President, General Stevens, also presented him a short address. After these ceremonies were concluded the President was escorted by a squadron of cavalry to the quarters provided for him at Gibson’s elegant establishment, the Merchants’ Hotel in Wall Street. After visiting the United States Arsenal, the President returned to the hotel at five o’clock and sat down to a sumptuous dinner prepared for the occasion. Among the guests were the Vice President of the United States, Governor Clinton, Hon. Rufus King, General Swift, General Scott, Mr. Mason, secretary to the President, General Stevens, General Morton, Col. Willett, Col. Platt, Major Fairlie, the President of the United States Bank and the Committee of the Corporation. The Merchants’ Hotel at 41 and 43 Wall Street had been established there some years, and when Solomon D. Gibson, a landlord of experience and reputation, had taken charge of it and it had been selected as a[Pg 436] proper place to lodge and entertain the President of the United States, there is hardly a doubt that it was considered second to none in the city. In the evening the City Hall and other public buildings were illuminated.

General Jackson at the Ball

There was a grand military ball at the City Hotel in celebration of Washington’s birthday, on the 22d of February, 1819, and at the same time the opportunity was embraced to honor General Jackson, who was a visitor to the city at that time. “Everything was in great style. Seven hundred persons were present. When the General entered, he was saluted by a discharge of artillery from a miniature fort raised on the orchestra.” The supper room was thrown open at twelve o’clock. Over the table was a transparency with the motto: “In the midst of festivity, forget not the services and sacrifices of those who have enabled you to enjoy it.” After supper there was a flagging in the dancing from exhaustion, when suddenly, to the surprise of all, was displayed a flag with the revivifying motto: “Don’t give up the ship.” “The effect was electric—the band struck up ‘Washington’s March,’ and the ball seemed but beginning! The diffusion of light upon an assemblage, the most brilliant we ever beheld, the taste with which the room was decorated with nearly two hundred flags, including those of almost all the nations of the world, combined with the military glitter of about two[Pg 437] hundred gentlemen in uniform, interspersed in the dance with the female beauty and elegance of the city, produced an effect of the most pleasing nature.”

General Jackson’s Toast

Jackson’s visit was the occasion of much merriment by the wits of the town on account of the toast offered by the General, not at the City Hotel, as has been related by some, but at a dinner given in his honor at Tammany Hall, by the Tammany Society or Columbian Order, on the 23d. At this dinner, General Jackson being called on for his toast, his honor the Mayor, who presided, rose, and to the consternation and dismay of Sachem William Mooney and other prominent members, announced the toast: “DeWitt Clinton, the governor of the great and patriotic state of New York,” after which the General left the room, according to one account, “amidst reiterated applause,” but according to another, “there was a dead silence for the space of three minutes at least.” A certain alderman, recovering his astonished senses a little, said, loud enough to be heard by all, that what he had just witnessed put him in mind of what Sir Peter Teazle says: “This is a damn’d wicked world we live in, Sir Oliver, and the fewer we praise the better.” The Republicans, or Democrats as they were afterwards called, were at this time divided into two factions. Jackson was an admirer of Clinton, but the “Bucktails” of Tammany Hall[Pg 438] considered him as their bitterest foe. The dinner was a grand affair, the tickets to it being sold at five dollars each.

 

DeWitt Clinton

 

The Erie Canal

There was a memorable meeting held at the City Hotel in the fall of 1815. Its purpose was to advance the project for building a canal to connect Lake Erie and the Hudson River, which had been before the public for some years and which was considered by some as abandoned. Judge Jonas Platt, Thomas Eddy and DeWitt Clinton, all earnestly interested in the enterprise, discussed the matter and agreed to make an effort to revive interest in it. It was[Pg 439] proposed to send out invitations to the most prominent and influential citizens of New York to meet at the City Hotel. This was done. William Bayard was made chairman of the meeting and John Pintard secretary. Jonas Platt and DeWitt Clinton delivered addresses, and although there was some opposition, a resolution was nevertheless passed by a large majority in favor of the object, and a committee consisting of DeWitt Clinton, Thomas Eddy, Cadwallader D. Colden and John Swartwout was chosen to prepare and circulate a memorial to the legislature. This celebrated paper was written by DeWitt Clinton and attracted great attention. It gave new life to the enterprise, which was ultimately successful.

The First Savings Bank

What Englishmen Said About the City Hotel

In the autumn of 1816, at a meeting in the City Hotel, the first savings bank in New York was organized. The necessary capital was not raised until 1819, when it went into operation with William Bayard as its first president.

H. B. Fearon, an English traveller, writes in 1817: “There are in New York many hotels, some of which are on an extensive scale. The City Hotel is as large as the London Tavern. The dining room and some of the apartments seem to have been fitted up regardless of expense.” Quite different is the description given[Pg 440] by Lieutenant Fred. Fitzgerald De Roos of the Royal Navy, who visited New York in May, 1826. He says: “We lodged at the City Hotel, which is the principal inn at New York. The house is immense and was full of company; but what a wretched place! The floors were without carpets, the beds without curtains; there was neither glass, mug nor cup, and a miserable little rag was dignified with the name of towel. The entrance to the house is constantly obstructed by crowds of people passing to and from the bar-room, where a person presides at a buffet formed upon the plan of a cage. This individual is engaged, ‘from morn to dewy eve,’ in preparing and issuing forth punch and spirits to strange-looking men, who come to the house to read the newspapers and talk politics. In this place may be seen in turn most of the respectable inhabitants of the town. There is a public breakfast at half-past seven o’clock, and a dinner at two o’clock, but to get anything in one’s own room is impossible.” Let us digress and note the happy return of this man to English soil. On his way back to Halifax to join his command, he crossed from Maine to Nova Scotia, stopping in the little town of Windsor. He writes: “Never in my whole life did I more fully appreciate the benefits of our good English customs, or feel in better humor with my country in general, than when I sat down in a clean parlor by myself, to the snug dinner prepared for me by the widow Wilcocks, landlady[Pg 441] of a comfortable inn in the good town of Windsor. How different from an American table d’hote! where you are deafened by the clamor, and disgusted by the selfish gluttony of your companions; where you must either bolt your victuals, or starve, from the ravenous rapidity with which everything is dispatched; and where the inattention of the servants is only equalled by their insolence and familiarity.”

Englishmen never forgot that the United States was a brilliant gem plucked from the British crown, and the vein of sarcasm and resentment running through books of travel written by them about this time is apparent; so that their descriptions and opinions should be taken with some allowance for this feeling. Nevertheless, there was a foundation of truth in many of the disagreeable things they said, which made them, on that account, the more irritating to the people of the United States.

The Price-Wilson Duel

About the year 1818 or 1820, there was living for a time at the Washington Hotel, or as it was more generally called Washington Hall, Captain Wilson, of the British army, who, in conversation one day at dinner, remarked that he had been mainly instrumental in bringing about the duel between Major Green and Benjamin Price, and detailed the circumstances leading to it. A few years before this, Benjamin Price, a brother of Stephen Price, lessee and manager of the Park Theater, was at the[Pg 442] theatre one evening in the company of a very handsome woman. In the adjoining box was Major Green, a British officer, who took the liberty of turning and staring the lady full in the face, which annoyed her and of which she complained to Price, who, on a repetition of the offense, reached over, caught the officer by the nose and gave it a vigorous twist. The officer soon after knocked at the door of Price’s box, and when he opened it asked him with charming simplicity what he meant by such behavior, at the same time declaring that he had intended no offense, that he had not meant to insult the lady by what he had done. “Oh, very well,” replied Price, “neither did I mean to insult you by what I did.” Upon this they shook hands and it was supposed that the matter was settled and ended. When Major Green returned to his command in Canada the story of this affair followed him or had preceded him and was soon the subject of discussion among his comrades. It was brought to the attention of his brother officers, one of whom, Captain Wilson, insisted that Green should be sent to Coventry unless he returned to New York and challenged Price. This he did after practising with a pistol for five hours a day until he considered himself sufficiently expert. They fought at Weehawken on Sunday, May 12, 1816. Price was killed at the first fire. Spectators viewed the transaction from the neighboring rocks, and a more horrible sight could not have been imagined. The[Pg 443] seconds ran off, and Green look a small boat, crossed the river and boarded a vessel about to sail for England.

When the news that Captain Wilson was at the Washington Hotel and a statement of what he had said were carried to Stephen Price, who was lying ill of the gout at his home, his friends say that he obeyed implicitly the instructions of his physician and thereby obtained a short cessation of the gout so that he was able to hobble out of doors, his lower extremities swaddled in flannel. As soon as possible he made his way to the Washington Hotel, where he inquired for Captain Wilson. Ascertaining that he was in, he requested to be shown to his room. With a stout hickory cane in his hand he hobbled upstairs, cursing with equal vehemence the captain and the gout. Arriving at the room, as the captain rose to receive him he said: “Are you Captain Wilson?” “That is my name,” replied the captain. “Sir,” said he, “my name is Stephen Price. You see, sir, that I can scarcely put one foot before the other. I am afflicted with the gout, but sir, I have come here with the deliberate intention of insulting you. Shall I have to knock you down or will you consider what I have said a sufficient insult for the purpose?” “Sir,” replied the captain, smiling, “I shall consider what you have said quite sufficient and shall act accordingly. You shall hear from me.” In due time there came a message from Captain Wilson to Stephen Price; time,[Pg 444] place and weapons were appointed. Early one morning, a few days later, a barge left the city in which were seated Stephen Price, Captain Wilson and two friends. They all landed on Bedlow’s Island. Captain Wilson never returned. He fell dead at the first fire. His body was buried on the island and many of his friends thought that he had been lost or died suddenly at sea.

 

 


[Pg 445]

XIV

Road Houses

Prejudice Against Dancing

We have the evidence of persons who lived in the early part of the nineteenth century that among the old Dutch and Puritan families there was a strong prejudice against dancing, especially by young ladies in public places, and there is hardly a doubt that this was much increased by the introduction of the waltz, quite different from the dancing of old colonial days. Notwithstanding this, we find that in the accounts of the balls given on important occasions there does not seem to have been any disinclination to indulge in this pleasing diversion. There were dancing masters, and shortly after the erection of Washington Hall and Tammany Hall they were both being used by the instructors of dancing, and they held in them their “publics,” which appear to have been well attended. Concerts, as formerly, were generally followed by balls.

Bachelors’ Ball

Like the old Province Arms of colonial days, the City Hotel was used for a great many years for the assembly balls. These continued to be held here until after the close of the war of 1812, but a few years later seem to have ceased. It was about this time that, as related by Abram[Pg 446] C. Dayton, the old ladies defeated the young men in a contest over dancing. The young men gave a series of sociables at the City Hotel, at which none but subscribers were admitted. Although very select, the old ladies, backed by the minister, denounced them. “The battle for supremacy was bravely waged on both sides, but the old ladies beat Young America and the City Hotel sociables were discontinued.” But it was only a lull. Some years later the social feature was the annual ball given by the young men known as the Bachelors’ Ball. It was the social event of each winter and exceeded anything of the kind ever previously attempted, being very select and gotten up with great care. All the managers wore knee breeches, silk stockings and pumps. The most noted of these was the Bachelors’ Grand Fancy Ball given at the City Hotel on the 18th of March, 1831, which had long been the theme of conversation and the subject of preparation. Philip Hone, in his diary, says that “no expectations had been formed which were not realized by the results. My daughter Mary went as Sweet Anne Page and looked lovely in the part of Leslie’s inimitable picture.” Later the Bachelors’ Balls were given on the evening of St. Valentine’s Day. The tickets, printed on cardboard from elaborately engraved plates, were sold at ten dollars each.

The Forum

For the entertainment of those opposed to dancing there were meetings of the Forum,[Pg 447] which were in 1817 at Mechanics’ Hall, corner of Broadway and Park Place, and later at the City Hotel on Friday evenings. The exercises consisted of debates and addresses and the tickets of admission were sold at two shillings each, the debate commencing promptly at seven o’clock. Prominent members of the Forum were J. P. C. Sampson, Orville L. Holley, Thomas G. Fessenden, Hiram Ketchum, Rev. Richard Varick Dey, William Paxton Hallet and Charles G. Haines. At a meeting in the first part of January, 1817, the question discussed was: “Ought Legislative or other aid to be afforded in order to render the United States a Manufacturing nation?” About these meetings Fitz-Greene Halleck has given us a few descriptive lines:

“Resort of fashion, beauty, taste—
The Forum Hall was nightly grac’d
With all who blush’d their hours to waste
At balls—and such ungodly places;
And Quaker girls were there allow’d
To show, among the motley crowd
Their sweet blue eyes and pretty faces.”

A British Veteran

John Batten, the garrulous friend of “Felix Oldboy,” who considered him a valuable repository of reminiscences, was a veteran soldier who had come out with the British troops in the early part of the Revolutionary War. Better[Pg 448] educated than the most of his companions in arms, he is said to have taught school in the old Dutch Church while the British occupied New York. He used sometimes to say in a pleasant, joking way: “I fought hard for this country,” and after enjoying the effect produced on his young auditors, who were ready to admire his patriotic devotion, would slowly add, after looking around and winking at some elderly person who knew his history, “but we didn’t get it.”

On one occasion Batten was present at a grand Fourth of July dinner and was taken to be a Revolutionary soldier, as of course, he verily was. The company drank his health in patriotic toasts and at last called upon him to respond. This he did and spoke so touchingly of the events of the war that his audience was very much affected, especially the feminine part of it. Then he said: “Yes, I did fight all through the old Revolution. I fought as bravely as the others. I liked this country and decided to stay here; so, when my regiment was preparing to embark, I slipped over to Long Island and stayed there until they had sailed for England.” The astonished company realized that they had been cheering a British soldier and that Johnny Batten was not the sort of veteran they were accustomed to admire. Batten thought it a good joke.

The Blue Bell

After the war Batten opened a tavern at Jamaica, Long Island, and a few years after he[Pg 449] came to New York City, where, in 1786, we find him the landlord of the Blue Bell in Slote Lane. After several changes he settled down at No. 37 Nassau Street, which he kept as a first-class tavern for several years. After this he became a merchant and opened a hosiery store on the west side of Broadway, between Dey and Cortlandt Streets. He was here in 1817. Batten lived to be a very old man. He was one of those they called “Battery Walkers” or “Peep o’ Day Boys,” who used to go down to the Battery at daybreak and walk about until breakfast time.

The City Hotel

When, in 1816, Gibson became landlord of the Merchants’ Hotel in Wall Street, he was succeeded in the City Hotel by Chester Jennings, who was the landlord of the house for more than twenty years. Under his management it acquired a high reputation, and in 1836 he retired with a competency. The very next year his fortune, which had been invested in United States Bank and other stocks, was swept away by the great revulsion of 1837. Samuel G. Mather was landlord of the City Hotel in 1838, but John Jacob Astor, the owner of the house, induced Jennings to again undertake its management with Willard, his former assistant, and together they assumed control of it and succeeded so well that in the course of a few years Jennings had placed himself in a position to retire again in comfort.

During nearly the whole of the first half of[Pg 450] the nineteenth century the City Hotel was not only the most celebrated house of entertainment in the city, but travellers declared that it had no equal in the United States. On its register were found the names of the most distinguished men of the nation as well as prominent citizens from every section of the land. It was a plain structure of four stories with no architectural pretensions, and the interior fittings and the furniture were also plain, but good and durable. The dining room was spacious, light, well ventilated, neat and scrupulously clean. The service was good and the table furnished with an abundant supply, selected with the greatest care. Chester Jennings was the unseen partner who provided supplies and superintended the details of the running of the house in all departments except the office. Willard’s duties were in the office, where he was clerk, book-keeper, cashier, bar-keeper and anything necessary. He attended closely to business and was a well known man, though never seen outside of the hotel. Other hotels were built with greater pretensions but the old City Hotel maintained its prestige through all. It had become a general rendezvous for merchants and friends on their return from business to their homes, and there was about it a social atmosphere which could not be transferred. The National Hotel, on the corner of Broadway and Cedar Street, nearly opposite the City Hotel, erected by Joseph Delacroix of Vauxhall Garden, was[Pg 451] opened for business in March, 1826, and the Adelphi Hotel, a building six stories high, on the corner of Broadway and Beaver Street, was erected in 1827.

Club at the City Hotel

In the palmy days of the City Hotel there were a number of men who made it their home, or dining place, and, brought together by similarity of tastes or for social enjoyment, had formed a coterie or sort of club. They were all men of some leisure who could afford to sit long after dinner and sip their wine and crack their jokes and discuss the gossip of the town. “This band of jolly good fellows, who lingered day after day for long years over their wine and nuts, were well known characters in the city and were especially familiar to such as visited the City Hotel, where they lived and died.”[6] Colonel Nick Saltus, a retired merchant of wealth and a confirmed old bachelor, was the acknowledged chairman and spokesman of this peculiar group.

In those days the captains of the packet-ships which sailed twice each month for European ports, were men of much importance. Many of them made the City Hotel their headquarters when in port and became boon-companions of the select coterie of the house, who often, when an arrival was announced at Sandy Hook, would proceed to the Battery to meet their friend who had been commissioned to procure[Pg 452] some new gastronomical luxury for the company.

When Billy Niblo had resolved to abandon his Pine Street Coffee House and open a suburban place for refreshment and entertainment on what was then upper Broadway, he invited many of his old customers and friends to the opening of his new garden, among whom were some who were residents of the City Hotel. They accepted the invitation of Niblo and determined that Willard should be one of the company. When the time arrived and he was duly notified he was noticed to be desperately in search of something that he could not find. At last he confessed that he had not been the owner of a hat for many years, and that he had been in search of one which had been long lying around without an owner, but had now disappeared. A hat was procured from a hatter directly opposite and everyone in the neighborhood was quite interested in the fact that Willard was going out.

The cellar of the old hotel is said to have been stocked with wines of the finest brands, selected with the greatest care, which were pronounced by connoisseurs as unsurpassed in purity and flavor, and it was the delight of Chester Jennings to carefully uncork in person some choice variety for a favorite or important guest.

With New Yorkers of an earlier date the dinner hour was at noon, but those returning from abroad and those who wished to imitate the[Pg 453] customs of European cities were urgent for a change, and to fall into the line of modern ways the dinner hour of the hotel was gradually moved to three o’clock, although a mid-day meal was served to those who would not conform to the innovation.

Contoit’s Garden

A well known public place of resort in the early part of the nineteenth century was John H. Contoit’s Garden, in 1801 at 39 Greenwich Street, in 1802 at 253 Broadway and in 1806 and for many years after at 355 Broadway, on the west side between Leonard and Franklin Streets, when it was known as the New York Garden. This was a long, narrow plot of ground densely shaded with trees; on either side were ranged boxes or compartments, brightened with whitewash and green paint, in each of which was a plain, bare table with seats to accommodate four persons. It appears to have been an eminently proper place for ladies of a summer afternoon and in the evening, lighted by many globes filled with oil and suspended from the lower branches of the trees, in each of which floated a lighted wick or paper, was well patronized by the ladies and gentlemen of the period. Colored waiters with white jackets and aprons supplied customers with vanilla and lemon ice cream, pound cake and lemonade, which made up the bill of fare. The inexpensive fittings of the place enabled Contoit to serve for a shilling an allowance of ice cream[Pg 454] sufficient to satisfy any ordinary appetite and his place became very popular. Although the garden was supposed to be conducted on the temperance plan, it is said that wine or even cognac could be obtained without difficulty by those who knew how.

 

CONTOIT’S GARDEN

 

The Bank Coffee House

In 1814 William Niblo, an enterprising young man, who afterwards became well known as a[Pg 455] landlord, opened the Bank Coffee House in the house formerly occupied by Frederick Phillips, a retired British officer, on the corner of Pine and William Streets, in the rear of the Bank of New York. He was the son-in-law of David King, a well known tavern-keeper, who for many years kept a tavern in the little frame house at No. 9 Wall Street and some years later at No. 6 Slote Lane. Niblo’s house soon became very popular. A group of prominent merchants met here regularly, forming themselves into a sort of club, with a president and other officers. It was a famous place for dinners and dinner parties. On the news of peace at the close of the war of 1812, Niblo issued a card under date of February 20, 1815, from the Bank Coffee House, stating that “William Niblo, in unison with the universal joy at the return of Peace, invites his friends to regale themselves at his Collation on Tuesday at 11 o’clock, in celebration of this happy event.” In the great cholera epidemic of 1822 he removed his coffee house to the village of Greenwich and it was there the office of the Union Line to Philadelphia, the Boston Mail Coach and the New Haven Steamboat Line, where passengers were notified to apply for seats.

The Great Horse Race

When the great horse-race of May, 1823, between the northern horse Eclipse and the southern[Pg 456] horse Henry took place on the Union Course, Long Island, Niblo rented the building on the grounds belonging to the “Association for the Promotion of the Breed of Horses,” where he offered to serve refreshments of all kinds, especially Green Turtle, at all hours during the races. He also announced that at the termination of the match race he would dispatch a rider on a fleet horse with the result, which would be made known by displaying a white flag from the top of the Bank Coffee House if Eclipse should be victorious. If his opponent should win the race a red flag would be raised. By this arrangement the result, he stated, would be known in the city in about forty minutes after the race. Should the race not take place the United States flag would be displayed. This great horse-race attracted to New York City people from all parts of the country; the hotels and boarding houses were full to overflowing and the demand for vehicles of all or any kind was away beyond what could be supplied. It was estimated that there were as many as fifty thousand people at the race-course. The wager was twenty thousand dollars a side and excitement was very great.

Niblo’s Garden

William Niblo opened a restaurant and pleasure garden or rural resort in 1828 at the corner of Prince Street and Broadway which he called Sans Souci. In the middle of the block, north of Prince Street on Broadway, were two brick[Pg 457] houses, one of which had been occupied for some time by James Fenimore Cooper, the novelist. In the rear of these was a large building which had been used by a circus called The Stadium. Niblo occupied all these premises. The interior of the garden was spacious and adorned with shrubs and flowers; cages with singing birds were here and there suspended from the branches of trees, beneath which were placed seats with small tables where were served ice cream, wine negus and cooling lemonade; it was lighted in the evening by numerous clusters of many-colored glass lamps.

 

NIBLO’S GARDEN

 

[Pg 458]Shortly after Niblo had established himself in this place the new Bowery Theatre burned down and Charles Gilfert, the manager, opened a summer theater in the old circus building, then still standing in the middle of Niblo’s Garden, where he gave theatrical performances, while his own theatre was being rebuilt, which was done in ninety days. Niblo continued to give here theatrical performances of a gay and attractive character which became so popular that he was induced to erect a new building with a blank wall on Broadway, the entrance being made from the garden. The garden was entered from Broadway. Some years later, this was destroyed by fire, but it was succeeded by another theatre, one of the finest in the city, with entrance from Broadway, and known for a great many years as Niblo’s Garden, although there was no garden attached to it.

About the year 1820 there stood on the corner of Thames and Temple Streets an ale house kept by William Reynolds, which became a favorite place for Englishmen in the city and the resort of many prominent merchants and politicians on account of the quality of the steaks and chops served up in this small and unpretentious looking place. Fitz-Greene Halleck frequented the place and formed a friendship for the gruff Englishman and his family which lasted for life. When Reynolds gave up the[Pg 459] business and retired to Fort Lee, New Jersey, Halleck was there a frequent and welcome visitor. The old chop-house maintained a reputation for many years under the management of Reynolds’ successors.

 

REYNOLDS’ BEER HOUSE

 

Road Houses

On or near the old Boston Post Road, of which Bowery Lane and the Kingsbridge Road formed a part, there were taverns that gradually became rendezvous for those who drove out on the road for pleasure or diversion. While the old-fashioned chaise and gig were in use, the driver’s seat in a box directly over the axle, there was little desire or demand for a fast road horse. The great popularity of the trotter began with the introduction of the light wagon or buggy with elliptic[Pg 460] steel springs. Before this period practically the only fast trotting was done under the saddle.

As early as 1818, the first trotting match against time of which we have any knowledge, took place on the Jamaica turnpike and was won by Boston Blue, or, as some say, by the Boston Pony, on a wager of one thousand dollars that no horse could be produced that could trot a mile in three minutes. The first race between trotters of which we have definite record took place in 1823 between Topgallant, owned by M. D. Green, and Dragon, owned by T. Carter. The course was from Brooklyn to Jamaica, a distance of twelve miles, and the race was won by Topgallant in thirty-nine minutes. The next year Topgallant, fourteen years old, won a three-mile race for stakes of two thousand dollars on the turnpike against Washington Costar’s Betsy Baker, doing the distance in eight minutes and forty-two seconds.

The advent of the light wagon created a great desire in those who drove out on the road to own a fast trotting horse. There was great rivalry and excitement and many of the wayside inns, formerly very quiet places, blossomed into profitable notoriety. The meeting of congenial spirits at these places, the gossiping of groups where the talk was all of the horse, the stories of the speed and stamina of the rival trotters produced much entertainment; matches were made at these places and decided on the road nearby.

 [Pg 461]

CATO’S HOUSE

 

For nearly half a century Cato Alexander kept a house of entertainment on the old Boston Post Road about four miles from the city. Cato had a great reputation for his “incomparable” dinners and suppers which brought to his house everybody who owned a rig or could occasionally hire one to drive out to his place. After Third Avenue was laid out and macadamized a bend in the old Post Road extending from Forty-fifth Street to Sixty-fifth Street was for some time kept open and in use. On this bend of the old road Cato’s house was situated and it became known as Cato’s Lane. It was about a mile long and was a great spurting place for drivers of fast horses. Among the reminiscences of those who used to go to Cato’s in these days is the fact that Cato sold cigars—real cigars and good ones, too—at the rate of[Pg 462] five for a shilling (12½ cents) and pure brandy, such as can not now be obtained on the road at any price, at six pence (6¼ cents) per glass. When the trotting horse became popular Cato’s became one of the noted halting places. Cato was black, but his modest, unpretending dignity of manner “secured for his humble house such a widespread reputation that for years it was one of the prominent resorts of our citizens and attracted many of the prominent sightseers who made pilgrimages to the island of Manhattan.”[7]

 

THE OLD HAZZARD HOUSE

 

On Yorkville Hill at Eighty-second Street was the Hazzard House, famous in its day as being the resort of those who delighted in speed and loved to indulge in the talk of the horse to be heard at such places. Its stables were generally filled with horses awaiting purchasers, whose merits and good points were told of in a manner so truthful, so confidential, so convincing that[Pg 463] purchases were numerous. In 1835, and until a much later period, Third Avenue was a magnificent drive, being macadamized from Twenty-eighth Street to the Harlem River, and was much used by our sporting citizens of that period. Races were of almost daily occurrence and the Hazzard House was the center of much activity in that line.

About a mile further up, at One Hundred and Fifth Street, a lane on the east side of the avenue led down to the celebrated Red House, located on a plot of many acres. The main building was the old McGown house of colonial days, roomy and well adapted to a road house. On the place was a well kept half-mile trotting course, which offered extraordinary inducements to horse owners and consequently made it a popular resort. One of its earliest proprietors was Lewis Rogers, who is described by Abram C. Dayton as a dapper little man, always dressed in the tip of fashion and as neat and trim in the appointments of his house as in his personal attire.

One mile beyond the Red House was Bradshaw’s, on the corner of Third Avenue and One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Street, not far from Harlem Bridge, and for most the turning point of their drive. A long rest was taken here by many who made it the only stopping place on the road, consequently, on a favorable day for driving it was crowded. Widow Bradshaw[Pg 464] was noted for her chicken fricassee, universally acknowledged to be a marvel of excellence.

On the Bloomingdale Road, a more quiet drive and more used by those who took with them their families or ladies, was Burnham’s Mansion House, at first, as early as 1825, at Seventieth Street, and at a later period the fine Vanderheuval mansion and grounds at Seventy-eighth Street. This was fitly styled the family house on the drive and on fine summer afternoons the spacious grounds were filled with ladies and children who sauntered about at their leisure and convenience, having no fear of annoyance.

 

BURNHAM’S MANSION HOUSE

 

Across the river on Long Island the Jamaica Turnpike was the great drive for horsemen.[Pg 465] On this road were many notable public houses, frequented by horsemen. At Jamaica, nearly opposite the Union Course, was John R. Snedeker’s tavern, a large three-story white frame house with a piaza along its whole front. For more than a quarter of a century this was the accepted rendezvous of the trotting-horse fraternity. The first authentic record made by a trotting horse on a track in the presence of judges was made in May, 1826, on the new track of the New York Trotting Club at Jamaica and a New York newspaper of May 16 states that “the owner and friends of the winning horse gave a splendid dinner and champagne at Snedecor’s tavern.” Snedeker’s dinners became celebrated far and wide and horsemen from every section came to feast on his game, fish and asparagus which no one else could surpass or equal.

Visit of Lafayette

The year 1824 is notable for the visit to this country of General Lafayette, who, accompanied by his son, George Washington Lafayette, arrived at New York in the ship Cadmus on the 16th of August. Besides the committee of the corporation, members of the Society of the Cincinnati, Revolutionary officers and soldiers, a deputation from West Point and distinguished guests and official personages, more than six thousand persons went down the bay to meet him, and his welcome to our shores was such as no man had ever received before. The day was delightful, and the surface of the bay was dotted with[Pg 466] every conceivable kind of craft. The ships and vessels were liberally decorated with all kinds of flags and signals. As the grand flotilla with the guest of the nation approached the city, continual salutes rolled out their signs of welcome above the shouts of the people, while on shore hundreds of bells were ringing. The military, three thousand in number, formed in line, and on landing, Lafayette was received with a salute of twenty-one guns. After a review of the troops commanded by General James Benedict, he was conducted to the City Hall in a barouche drawn by four horses, escorted by a troop of horse and followed by a long line of citizen soldiery. Here a public reception was held till five o’clock, when the General was escorted to his quarters at the City Hotel, where a dinner was given in his honor by the civil and military authorities. In the evening the town was illuminated and fireworks and transparencies were displayed in honor of the occasion.

At the City Hotel Lafayette was waited on by the clergy of the city, by the officers of the militia, by social societies, by the French Society, by delegations from Baltimore, from Philadelphia, from New England and from up the Hudson; and when on Friday morning the General prepared to leave the city, the military paraded at seven o’clock and repaired to the City Hotel, whence at eight o’clock Lafayette, the committee appointed to accompany him to Boston and the military escort, commanded by General[Pg 467] Prosper M. Wetmore, moved up Broadway to Bond Street and thence up Third Avenue.

Grand Banquet at Washington Hall

On Lafayette’s return from New England he arrived by steamboat about noon on the 4th of September amid salutes from the men-of-war, and on his landing was given the same hearty welcome he had received on his first arrival, and was escorted to his old lodgings at the City Hotel. He was informed that the Society of the Cincinnati intended to celebrate the anniversary of his birth on the 6th of September and was invited to dine with them at Washington Hall. “About 4 o’clock in the afternoon of that day a long line of venerable gentlemen, members of the Society of the Cincinnati, arrived at the hotel, preceded by a military band. The general was received into their ranks and an insignia of the Society, which had been worn by Washington, was attached to his coat. The old soldiers then marched to the hall where they were to dine. Crowds filled the streets through which they passed slowly and many feebly.” The banquet hall was decorated with trophies of arms and banners bearing the names of Revolutionary heroes. At the top of the room, directly over the seat of Lafayette at the upper end of the table, was erected a rich triumphal arch of laurel, roses, etc., reaching to the ceiling. Directly in front, at the center of the arch, was a large spread eagle with a scroll in its beak on[Pg 468] which was inscribed “Sept. 6, 1757” (the birthday of the “Nation’s Guest”), and grasping in its talons a ribbon or scroll, one end passing to the right on which was “Brandywine, Sept. 11, 1777,” the other to the left bearing the words “Yorktown, Oct. 19, 1781.” Behind the General’s chair was planted the grand standard of the Society entwined with the thirteen stripes of the flag of the nation. On the right was a shield bearing a rising sun and on the left a shield with the New York State arms. In the center of the room was a splendid star surrounded by others of less magnitude. From this star two broad pennants from the Franklin 74, were crossed and carried to the four corners of the room. At the lower end of the room was the transparency by Childs. A number of trophies of the navy were loaned by Captain Rogers and Lieutenant Goldsborough. Towards the close of the festival a grand transparency showing Washington and Lafayette holding each others’ hands standing before the altar of Liberty, receiving a civic wreath from the hands of America, caused great applause, which was followed by the reading of the order of the day at Yorktown by General Swartwout. Then, amidst cheering, the gallant veteran, General Lamb, sang a ballad composed in 1792, while Lafayette was in the Austrian dungeon. The night was far spent when the old gentlemen reached their several homes. In the evening of September 11, Lafayette attended a dinner given by the[Pg 469] French residents of New York at Washington Hall in celebration of the forty-seventh anniversary of the battle of Brandywine. A novel and remarkable decoration of the table on this occasion was a miniature of the new canal which traversed the state. It was sixty feet long and several inches deep, filled with water and the banks sodded. The bridges, locks and towns were properly indicated.

Ball at Castle Garden

The honor and respect shown to Lafayette culminated in the great ball given at Castle Garden on Wednesday, September 14, which, it is said, for splendor and magnificence surpassed anything of the kind ever seen in America. Six thousand persons attended, which included all the beauty and fashion of New York and vicinity. The castle, which was a circle, was enclosed with an awning to the height of seventy-five feet, the dome being supported in the center by a column, dressed with the colors of the Cincinnati. It was a magnificent affair, long remembered in the city. Lafayette and a large party went from the ball on board the steamboat, James Kent, chartered by the committee to take the nation’s guest up the Hudson.

 [Pg 470]

Fitz-Greene Halleck

 

Clubs

There were several social clubs in the city holding their meetings at hotels, and Fitz-Greene Halleck, the poet, a man whose society was sought and desired, appears to have been a member of every club in the city, great or small. He was one of a small circle who met occasionally at the City Hotel. Tuckerman says: “There was a select club many years ago in New York, the members of which dined together at stated intervals at the old City Hotel on Broadway; the utmost freedom of intercourse and good faith marked their prandial converse, and one day when a sudden silence followed the entrance of the host, it was proposed to elect him to the fraternity, that they might talk freely in his presence,[Pg 471] which was frequent and indispensable. He kept a hotel after the old régime, was a gentleman in his feelings, an honest and intelligent fellow, who prided himself upon his method of serving up roast pig—in which viand his superiority was such that the gentle Elia, had he ever dined with the club, would have mentioned him with honor in the essay on that crispy and succulent dish. The proposition was opposed by only one individual, a clever man, who had made his fortune by buying up all the bristles at Odessa, thus securing a monopoly which enabled him to vend the article to the brushmakers at an enormous profit. His objection to Boniface was that he was famous for nothing but roasting a pig, and no fit associate for gentlemen. ‘Your aristocratic standard is untenable,’ said Halleck, ‘for what essential difference is there between spurs won from roasting a porker or by selling his bristles?’ and amid the laugh of his confreres, mine host was elected.”

The Bread and Cheese Club was organized in 1824 by James Fenimore Cooper. It included among its members conspicuous professional men in science, law, letters and philosophy, of whom were Fitz-Greene Halleck, William A. and John Duer, Professor Renwick, Philip Hone, James De Kay, the great naturalist, Charles Augustus Davis, Dr. John W. Francis, Charles King, Verplanck, Bryant and Sands. The selections for nomination rested entirely[Pg 472] with Cooper; bread and cheese were used in balloting and one of cheese barred the way to membership. The club met at Washington Hall fortnightly and for fifteen years, either here or at the houses of its members were entertained nearly every distinguished person who visited New York during that period. Meetings of the club, often a large assembly, were attended by members of Congress and distinguished strangers, among whom were often found Daniel Webster, Henry R. Storrs, William Beach Lawrence and the French minister, Hyde De Neuville.

 

J. Fenimore Cooper

 

[Pg 473]A little later was the Book Club. Although said to have been founded by the Rev. Dr. Wainwright, and in spite of its name, it was rather convivial than literary. Philip Hone describes it as a club which met every other Thursday at Washington Hall, “where they sup, drink champagne and whisky punch, talk as well as they know how and run each other good humoredly.” He did not understand why it should be called a Book Club, for the book of subscriptions to expenses was the only one it possessed. He declares that they were a very pleasant set of fellows, and sat late. The first time he met with them after being made a member of the club was in March, 1835, and when he came away at one o’clock he left them at the supper table. The party that evening consisted of about twenty, viz.: Davis, President Duer, Charles King, Wilkins, William Kent, Harvey, Arthur Barclay, Isaac Hone, Halleck, Ogden Hoffman, Patterson, Blunt, Dr. Francis, Baron Behr, Mr. Trelauney, author of “The Younger Son,” Beverly Robinson, etc.

Semi-Centennial of Washington’s Inauguration

The semi-centennial anniversary of the inauguration of Washington as the first President of the United States was celebrated in the city of New York by the Historical Society on the 30th of April, 1839. At[Pg 474] twelve o’clock an oration was delivered in the Middle Dutch Church by John Quincy Adams, the venerable ex-President of the United States, to a numerous and appreciative audience. At four o’clock the members of the society and their invited guests dined at the City Hotel. The president of the society, Peter G. Stuyvesant, sat at the head of the table, with two venerable contemporaries of the American Revolution, General Morgan Lewis, once governor of New York, and Colonel John Trumbull, the one at his right hand and the other at his left. Among the guests were William Pennington, governor of New Jersey, General Winfield Scott, Commodore Claxton, Samuel Southard and other distinguished individuals, together with delegates from other historical societies. Mr. Adams was toasted, and replied in a speech in which he claimed for the era of the American Revolution the title of the heroic age of America, and that it deserved this title with more justice than the title of heroic age bestowed upon the early history of Greece. In the course of the evening speeches were made by General Scott, Commodore Claxton of the American Navy, Mr. Southard and others, and an original ode was sung.

In 1842, John Jacob Astor was the owner of the City Hotel, and by deed dated March 9th of that year conveyed to his granddaughter Sarah, wife of Robert Boreel, and daughter of Dorothea Langdon, a life interest in the property after his death, which after her death is to be[Pg 475] divided among her children. The deed states: “Whereas I am desirous of providing by deed for my granddaughter Sarah, wife of Robert Boreel, and of disposing in the manner in these presents expressed, of the property which in my will I had designated for her,” etc., “and whereas her husband is an alien, and although one of her sons is born in the state of New York, other children may be born to her without the United States, who will be aliens,” etc. “Now these presents,” etc. The property is described as “all the lands and buildings in the city of New York now known as the City Hotel.” The deed allows her, in case the buildings are destroyed by fire to mortgage the land for the purpose of rebuilding and under certain conditions she may sell the property and place the proceeds in trust. The deed seems to be confirmatory or supplementary to the will.

The City Hotel Ends Its Career

Chester Jennings was still the landlord of the City Hotel in 1847, and it was in the following year or soon after that it terminated its career as a house of entertainment, which, including the City Tavern on the same site, had lasted for very close to one hundred years, an eventful period in the city’s history. The building was taken down and on its site was erected an office building seven stories high which was called the Boreel Building. It was the largest and for a long time was considered the finest building devoted to[Pg 476] office purposes in the city. It was a conspicuous structure and well known to the citizens of New York. Sarah Boreel died in 1897. Her heirs sold the property in 1901.

Plans had been made to acquire this and contiguous properties in order to erect an immense building. This, in the course of three or four years, was accomplished, and under the same control, the United States Realty Building and the Trinity Building, the two sometimes called the Twin Trinity Buildings, were erected.

On April 6, 1906, the Board of Estimates and Apportionment passed a resolution by which an exchange of land was made by the city and the owners of this property. Temple Street, between Thames and Cedar Streets, and Thames Street, between Broadway and Trinity Place, were vacated, and in return Cedar Street was widened on the south side between Broadway and Trinity Place or Church Street, and a new Thames Street was laid out between Broadway and Trinity Place, with lines somewhat different from those of the former street, but covering nearly the same ground. This exchange of land allowed the United States Realty Building to be constructed so as to cover what had been formerly two blocks, extending from Broadway to Trinity Place.

The large double brick house No. 39 Broadway, built in 1786 by General Alexander Macomb, and occupied by Washington when President of the United States, with the houses[Pg 477] adjoining it on either side, was opened in the year 1821 by William I. Bunker and was known as Bunker’s Mansion House. It became quite famous, being considered, in its most prosperous days, as a very large and commodious house. Kept with the utmost neatness and attention and usually filled with the best of people, being largely patronized by southern families, it possessed much of the comfort and quiet refinement of a private residence. Bunker, who was a very courteous and affable man, succeeded so well that in the course of a few years he sold out and retired from business.

 

BUNKER’S MANSION HOUSE

 

[Pg 478]In the year 1833 Stephen Holt erected on Fulton Street, from Pearl to Water, an hotel, which was the largest and most magnificent building for hotel purposes, up to that time, in the country. It was at first called Holt’s Hotel, afterwards the United States Hotel, and its rate of one dollar and a half a day was thought to be exorbitant. Here steam was used probably for the first time in an hotel to save labor. Passenger elevators had not yet been thought of, but baggage was carried to the upper floors by steam power, and it was also used in turning spits, grinding and cleaning knives, etc., but the main purpose of the engine was the digging of an artesian well, which was sunk to the depth of over five hundred feet, and subsequently put down much further. Holt’s experiment proved to him disastrous. The expenses exceeded the receipts. He failed and the hotel passed into other hands. The next large hotel to be erected in the city was the Astor House, three years later.

The advent of the railroad and the great increase of travel created a decided change in the taverns or, as they had come to be called, hotels. It was no longer the custom of the landlord to meet the traveller at the door and welcome him as a friend or attend in person to his comfort.[Pg 479] It was the beginning of a new era, in which the old tavern and the old-style landlord is unknown. With the opening of this era the story which I have undertaken to tell about the Old Taverns of New York comes to an end.

[Pg 480]

 

 


[Pg 481]

INDEX

Ackland, James, 130.

Adams, John, 269, 272.

Adams, John Quincy, 474.

Adams, Samuel, 269.

Adelphi Hotel, 451.

Admiral Warner, Sign of, 191.

Agar, Edward, 189.

Alexander, Cato, 461.

Alexander, James, 101, 103.

Alexander, William, 192.

Alsop, John, 209, 267, 268.

Amory, John, 295, 346.

Anbury, Lieutenant, 292.

André, Major, 286, 300.

Anne, Queen, 76, 77, 84.

Andros, Governor, 81.

Aorson, Aaron, 395.

Arding, Charles, 154, 255, 357.

Arnold, Benedict, 300, 302, 303, 304.

Aspinwall, Gilbert, 434.

Assembly Balls, 148.

Astor Henry, 348, 349.

Astor House, 478.

Astor, John Jacob, 449, 474.

Atwood, Judge, 75.

Avery, John, 388.

Ayscough, Doctor, 133.


Bache, Theohylact, 282, 337, 368.

Bainbridge, Commodore, 419, 421, 423.

Baker, Joseph, 414.

Baker, Roger, 69, 71, 74, 76, 83.

Baker’s Tavern, 414.

Bank Coffee House, 455, 456.

Barclay, Arthur, 473.

Bard, S., 249.

Bardin, Edwin, 195, 196, 216, 217, 221, 230, 234, 250, 251, 337, 403.

Bardin’s Tavern, 265.

Batten, John, 447, 448, 449.

Bauman, Colonel, 352, 374.

Baxter, Captain, 10, 44, 45.

Bayard, Nicholas, 60, 69, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75.

Bayard, Samuel, 112, 119.

Bayard, William, 433, 439.

Bayeaux, Thomas, 342, 347.

Beaulieu, Captain, 28.

Beekman, Christopher, 341.

Bell & Brookman, 199.

Bellomont, Earl of, 55, 60, 70, 72, 73, 82, 134.

Belvedere, 413.

Belvedere Club, 386.

Belvedere House, 386, 387, 388, 389.

Benedict, James, 466.

Benson, Captain, 288, 369.

Benson, Egbert, 249, 251.

Benson, Judge, 423.

Beresford, Captain, 394.

Bevan, Captain, 122.

Bicker, Henry, 238, 241, 242, 243.

Bicker, Walter, 360.

Blaaw, Widow, 343.

Black, Friars, 385, 403.

Black Horse Tavern, 91, 99, 100, 104, 105, 106, 108, 110, 112, 156, 157, 158.

“Black John,” 20.

Black Sam’s, 164.

Blair, Archibald, 259.

Blair, John, 344.

Bloom, Daniel, 128, 129, 130, 253, 357.

Blue Bell, 161, 449.

Boelin, Jacob, 67.

Bogardus, Dominie, 10.

Bolton, Richard, 245, 246, 247, 255.

Bolton & Sigell, 227, 229, 243, 244.

Bompard, Captain, 358.

Book Club, 473.

Boreel, Robert, 474, 475.

Boreel, Sarah, 474, 475, 476.

Boston Letter, The, 232, 234.

Bowery Lane, 48.

Bowling, 185, 187.

Bowling Green, 14, 16, 187, 218.

Bowling Green, New, 188.

Bowling Green, Old, 187, 188.

Bowling Green Garden, 186.
[Pg 482]
Bradford, Cornelius, 266, 278, 318, 319, 321, 322.

Bradford, Widow, 322, 397, 402, 403.

Bradford, William, 97.

Bradshaw’s, 463.

Bradshaw, Widow, 457, 463.

Brannon’s Tea Garden, 366, 367, 414.

Bread and Cheese Club, 471.

Brewitson, George, 157.

Brillât-Savarin, Anthelme, 377, 378, 379, 380, 381, 382.

Brock, Walter, 252.

Brooklyn Hall, 289, 292.

Brooks, David, 326.

Broome, John, 333, 356.

Brownjohn, William, 253, 293.

Buchanan, Thomas, 371.

Buckley, John, 62.

Bull Baiting, 184, 289, 290.

Bull’s Head Tavern, 157, 314, 347, 349.

Bunch of Grapes, 269.

Bunker’s Mansion House, 277.

Bunker, William I., 477.

Burke, Edmund, 168.

Burns’, 164.

Burns’ Coffee House, 193, 197.

Burns, George, 115, 117, 130, 140, 141, 191, 193, 195, 196, 202, 203, 205, 208, 213, 222, 223, 228, 233.

Burns’ Long Room, 195.

Burnham’s Mansion House, 160.

Burr, Aaron, 396.

Byram, William, 399.

Byrne, John, 403.


Cape, John, 311, 315, 324.

Cape’s Tavern, 312, 315, 323, 324.

Carleton, Sir Guy, 308, 310.

Carroll, Mr., 419, 425.

Carroll, General, 316.

Cato’s House, 461.

Carter, T., 460.

Charles II, 68.

Chamber of Commerce, 228, 229, 230, 256, 260, 293, 320, 337.

Chambers, Captain, 262, 263.

Chambers, John, 103, 187.

Champe, Sergeant, 300, 301, 302, 305.

Cherry Garden, 185.

Child, Francis, 128, 178.

Chrystie, Colonel, 338.

Cincinnati, Society of the, 323, 324, 326, 327, 328.

City Arms Tavern, 208.

City Coffee House, 336.

City Hotel, 141, 372, 373, 389, 392, 395, 407, 417, 425, 427, 429, 430, 436, 437, 438, 439, 440, 445, 446, 447, 449, 450, 451, 452, 466, 467, 470, 474, 475.

City Tavern, 312, 323, 324, 325, 326, 337, 339, 353, 354, 369, 370, 371, 375, 475.

City, Tavern, Dutch, 6, 7, 8.

Clapp, John, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53.

Clark, Willis Gaylord, 431.

Clarke, George, 113.

Claxton, Commodore, 474.

Clay, Henry, 433.

Clinton, DeWitt, 383, 396, 418, 423, 432, 435, 437, 438, 439.

Clinton, George, 137, 138, 310, 313, 314, 315, 316, 343, 369.

Clinton, Sir Henry, 299, 303.

Clubs, 60, 62, 131, 134, 135, 247, 248, 282, 469, 473.

Coach and Horse, 118.

Coats, Edward, 54.

Cobb, Colonel, 310.

Cock, Annetje, 25.

Cock, Peter, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 24, 25.

Coffee House, 65, 67, 73, 75, 77, 112, 114, 120, 121, 152, 154, 155, 162, 177, 208, 231, 233, 240, 254, 262, 267, 268, 271, 273, 275, 276, 277, 278, 281, 291, 313, 318, 324, 331, 332, 334, 335, 337, 345, 354.

Colden, Lieutenant-Governor, 206, 207, 225, 245.

Colden, Cadwallader D., 439.

Coles, John B., 423.

Colles, Christopher, 366.

Columbian Garden, 399, 401.

Comforts of an Inn, 167.

Commercial Coffee House, 397.

Compton, Captain, 106.

Compton, General, 108.

Contoit’s Garden, 453, 454.

Contoit, John H., 453.

Cooke, Richard Clarke, 115.

Cooper, James Fenimore, 456, 471, 472.

Corbett, Abraham, 44.

Cornbury, Lord, 72, 74, 77, 78, 81.

Cornell, John, 184.

Cornell, Timothy, 182.

Cornelissen, Adrien, 48, 49.

Cornwallis, General, 158.

Corporation House, 287.
[Pg 483]
Corre, Joseph, 324, 325, 331, 369, 370, 399, 413.

Cortelyou, Simon, 368.

Cosby, Governor, 93, 94, 96, 105, 106, 112, 113.

Coupar, Captain, 263.

Cox, David, 114.

Cozzens, William B., 411.

Crawford, Hugh, 124.

Crawley, John, 202.

Creiger, John, 158.

Crigier, Martin, 13, 15, 16, 17, 28.

Crocker, Daniel W., 410, 423, 428.

Croker, Thomas, 123.

Crolius, Clarkson, 410.

Crown and Thistle, 155, 191.

Cruger, Henry, 209.

Cruger, John, 229, 230, 233.

Cruger, John Harris, 256.

Cruger, Nicholas, 366, 372.

Cushing, Thomas, 269.

Cushing, William, 344.


Dallas, A. J., 434.

Damen, Jan, 19, 20.

Davenport, Captain, 280.

Davis, Charles Augustus, 411.

Dawson, Roper, 156, 182.

Day’s Tavern, 161, 269, 313.

Dayton, Abram C., 446, 463.

Deane, Nesbitt, 255, 275.

Dearborn, General, 422, 423.

Decatur, Stephen, 417, 418, 419, 421, 425.

De Honeur, John, 90, 92, 106.

De Kay, James, 471.

Delacroix, Joseph, 400, 401, 410, 426, 450.

Delafield, John, 356.

De La Montagnie, Abraham, 234, 236, 238, 239, 240, 295.

De La Montagnie, Jacob, 346.

De Lancy Arms, 184.

De Lancy, James, 95, 96, 98, 141, 142, 144, 146, 147, 151, 183, 209, 233, 245, 371.

De Lancy, John Peter, 282, 371.

De Lancy, Oliver, 136, 140, 182, 202.

De Lancy, Peter, 179.

De Lancy, Robinson & Co., 202.

De Lancy, Stephen, 142, 200, 251.

Delanoy, Abraham, 7.

Delaval, Captain, 185.

De Neuville, Hyde, 472.

Dennis, Captain, 375.

De Peyster, Abraham, 71.

De Peyster, Johannes, 70.

De Reidesel, Baroness, 297, 298.

De Ross, Fred. Fitzgerald, 440.

Desbrosses, Elias, 225, 229.

De Witt, Simeon, 393.

Dey, Richard Varick, 447.

Dickinson, Jonathan, 172.

Dirks, Annetje, 25.

Dog and Duck Tavern, 415.

Dog’s Head in the Porridge Pot, 176.

Dongan, Governor, 68.

Doran, Thomas, 151, 260, 283.

Dove Tavern, 168, 415.

Drake, Jasper, 261, 273.

Draper, Sir William, 245, 246.

Drone Club, 386.

Drover’s Tavern, 179.

Drummond, Lord, 245, 246, 247.

Duane, James, 251, 267, 268, 340, 344.

Duer, Colonel, 338.

Duer, John, 471.

Duer, William A., 471.

Duke of Cumberland, 130, 131.

Dunks, John, 127, 129.

Dunmore, Earl of, 245.

Dusseaussoir, Chenelette, 389, 407.

Dutch Festivities, 82.

Dutch Houses, 4.

Dutch Tavern, 26.

Dyckman, Jacob, 158, 159, 163.

Dyde’s Hotel, 396, 397.


Eastham, Edward, 123.

Eddy, Thomas, 438, 439.

Edmonds, George, 118.

Edwards, Lieutenant, 280.

Elkin, John, 165.

Elliott, Andrew, 310.

Ellis, John, 76.

Elms, Thomas, 283, 289.

Ernest, Matthias, 188.

Exchange Coffee House, 112, 114, 115, 129, 136, 141, 194.


Fairlie, James, 423, 434, 435.

Farmer, Thomas, 434.

Farquhar, James, 371.

Farrell’s, 164.

Fearon, H. B., 439.

Fehr, Jean Rodolphe, 377, 379.

“Felix Oldboy,” 447.

Ferrari, Mrs., 253, 254, 255, 278.

Ferry House Tavern, 175, 287, 369.

Ferry Tavern, 27, 28.

Fessenden, Thomas G., 447.
[Pg 484]
Fighting Cocks, 115, 123, 124, 176.

Fish, Colonel, 311, 317.

Fisher, John, 385.

Fletcher, Benjamin, 54, 55, 62, 66, 75, 82, 134, 162.

Flypsen, Frederick, 162.

Forster, William, 95, 96, 98.

Forum, The, 447.

Fowler, Joseph, 98.

Fountain Inn, 136, 164.

Fox Hunting, 288, 290, 291.

Foy, Captain, 245.

Francis, John, 344.

Francis, John W., 104, 471.

Francis, Samuel, 198, 202, 209, 218, 219, 227, 247, 248, 252, 253, 308, 309, 310, 311, 344, 400.

Francis’ Tavern, 263, 264.

Franklin, William, 295.

Fraunces, Samuel, 311, 322, 338, 341, 343, 352.

Fraunces’ Tavern, 310, 311, 315, 316, 344, 411.

Frederick, Kryn, 4.

Freeman, Thomas, 106.

French Arms, 311.

Friendly Club, 386.


Gabbet, Colonel, 196.

Gage, General, 246, 247, 256, 264.

Gallatin, Albert, 433.

Galloway, Samuel, 183.

Gates, Horatio, 316, 369, 370.

Genet, Minister, 358.

Gentlemen’s Coffee House, 115, 194.

Gerard, Philip, 17, 18, 19, 20.

Gerritsen, Adriaen, 7.

Gerritsen, Philip, 7, 10.

Gibson, Solomon D., 389, 395, 417, 435, 449.

Giles, Major, 328.

Gilfert, Charles, 458.

Glass House, 164, 182, 183.

Glean, Oliver, 385.

Golden Hill, Battle of, 236, 237.

Golden Hill Inn, 118.

Goldsborough, Lieutenant, 468.

Goldsmith, Oliver, 168.

Gould, Edward, 250.

“Governor’s Garden,” 68.

Graham, James, 45, 46.

Graves, Benjamin, 385.

Graydon, Alexander, 280, 282.

Green, Daniel, 313.

Green, Jacob G., 171.

Green, M. D., 460.

Green, Major, 441, 442.

Greene, Nathaniel, 316, 317.

Grim, David, 357.

Guion, Isaac, 328.


Haines, Charles G., 418.

Half Way House, 163.

Hall, Talmadge, 341, 363.

Halleck, Fitz-Greene, 414, 431, 447, 458, 459, 469, 470, 471.

Hallet, William Paxton, 447.

Halsey’s Tavern, 366.

Halstead, John, 156.

Hamilton, Alexander, 316, 329, 339, 375, 394.

Hamilton, Andrew, 100, 102, 105.

Hamilton, Governor, 121.

Hamilton Hotel, 409.

Hampden Hall, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 257, 265.

Hampton, General, 422.

Hand, Colonel, 288.

Hard Drinking, 170, 176.

Hardenbrook, Bernard, 87.

Hardy, Charles, 146, 147, 148.

Harris, Richard, 83, 84, 85.

Harrison, Richard, 249, 371.

Harrison, Robert, 344.

Harrison, William Henry, 422.

Hart, Bernard, 384.

Harwood, Richard, 384.

Hay, John, 249.

Hayes, Hetty, 197.

Hazzard House, 462, 463.

Hepburn, J., 295.

Hicks, Whitehead, 209, 251.

Hicks, Mr., 282, 299.

Hick’s Tavern, 295.

Hillsborough, Earl of, 232.

Hobart, Judge, 375.

Hodgkinson, John, 400, 429.

Hodgkinson, Thomas, 429, 426.

Hoffman, Josiah Ogden, 385, 473.

Holley, Orville L., 447.

Holt, Henry, 200.

Holt’s Hotel, 478.

Holt, John, 283.

Holt’s Long Room, 200.

Holt, Stephen, 478.

Hone, Isaac, 473.

Hone, Philip, 446, 471, 473.

Hone, John, 434.

Home, John, 54.

Horse and Cart, 116, 117, 118, 142.

Horse-Racing, 177, 183, 288, 290.

Houssacker, Colonel, 281.

Howard, William, 209, 211.

Hudson, Hendrick, 1.

Hull, Isaac, 417, 418, 419, 421.

Hull, Robert, 255.
[Pg 485]
Hull’s Tavern, 256, 257, 269, 282.

Hum Drum Club, 134.

Humphreys, Colonel, 310, 317.

Hunt, Obadiah, 88, 89.

Hunter, Governor, 81.

Hunter, Robert, 371, 372.

Hunter’s Hotel, 372, 373.

Hutchins, John, 65, 66, 67, 73, 74, 75, 77.

Hutchinson, Governor, 267.

Hyatt, Caleb, 347.

Hyde, John, 357, 361, 371, 394.


Imlay, William, 250.

Inman, John, 432.

Iredell, Judge, 374.

Irving, Washington, 33.

Izard, Ralph, 364.


Jamaica Arms, 120.

Jamaica Pilot Boat, 127, 129.

James, Major, 206, 218.

Jackson, Andrew, 436, 437.

Jackson, Jacob, 291.

Jackson, Major, 364.

Jauncey, James, 209, 233.

Jay, John, 248, 251, 259, 267, 268, 321, 337, 344, 374.

Jennings, Chester, 449, 450, 452, 475.

Jochemsen, Andries, 23.

Johnson, Doctor, 374.

Johnson, Jeremiah, 368.

Johnson, Samuel, 165, 166, 167.

Jones, Captain, 417, 419, 421.

Jones, John, 209, 219, 221, 227, 230, 242, 243, 265.

Jones, Samuel, 251.

Jourdain, Elizabeth, 87.

Jourdain, Henry, 87.


Kearney, Michael, 182.

Keen & Lightfoot, 136.

Kelly, Henry, 250.

Kempe, John Tabor, 246, 247.

Kennedy, Henry, 346.

Kent, Rudolphus, 412.

Kent, William, 473.

Ketchum, Hiram, 447.

Kidd, Captain, 116.

Kieft, Governor, 6, 12.

Kiersted, Hans, 10.

Kierstede, Benjamin, 120.

King, Charles, 471, 473.

King, David, 455.

King George, 85.

King, Rufus, 434, 435.

King William, 108.

King of Prussia (Sign of the), 165.

King’s Arms, 65, 67, 69, 77, 114, 115, 116, 141, 149, 164, 191, 193, 194, 196, 197, 198, 216, 217, 221, 251.

King’s Birthday, 124.

King’s College, 144.

King’s Head, 69, 70, 71, 75, 84, 192, 193, 195, 202, 284, 285, 289, 290, 292.

King’s Head, London, 210.

Kissam, Benjamin, 251, 385.

Knight, Sarah, 51, 162.

Knox, General, 310, 313, 314, 316, 317, 354.

Knyphausen, General, 398.

Kosciusko, General, 316.

Kray, Teunis, 29, 30.

Krout Club, 432, 433.


La Chair, Solomon Petersen, 29, 30.

Laight, General, 386.

Laight, William, 356.

Lafayette, George Washington, 465.

Lafayette, General, 465, 466, 467, 468, 469.

Lamb, General, 468.

Lambert, Captain, 366.

La Montagne, Doctor, 12.

Landlord, The, 169.

Langdon, Dorothea, 474.

Lawrence, Captain, 420, 421, 422.

Lawrence, Judge, 375.

Lawrence, Susannah, 122, 130.

Lawrence, William Beach, 472.

Leary, John, 182.

Le Count, William, 97.

Lee, General, 316.

Lee, Major, 300, 301, 303, 304.

Leendersen, Sander, 37.

Leete, Samuel, 44.

Leisler, Jacob, 49, 51, 53, 58, 66.

Lenox, Robert, 321.

Leppers, Thomas, 130, 131, 133, 188.

Lewis, Francis, 249, 265.

Lewis, Morgan, 249, 272.

Liberty Cap, 359, 360.

Liberty Pole, 215, 216, 217, 234, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240, 243, 244, 257, 346.

Lincoln, General, 316.

Lispenard, Leonard, 249.

Little, Michael, 377, 379, 380, 381, 383, 407, 412.

Little’s Tavern, 377, 383.

Litschoe, Annetje, 23.

Litschoe, Daniel, 22, 23, 28.

Livingston, Brockholst, 353, 422, 423, 433.

Livingston, Chancellor, 396.

Livingston, Edward, 374.
[Pg 486]
Livingston, Henry, 249.

Livingston, John, 249.

Livingston, Philip, 172, 233, 267, 268, 371.

Livingston, Robert, 324.

Livingston, Robert R., 205, 248, 321, 394, 403, 407.

Livingston, Robert R., Jr., 247.

Livingston, William, 209, 251, 252.

Lockyer, Captain, 261, 263.

“Locust Trees,” 45.

London Hotel, 397.

London Tavern, 390, 439.

Loosley, Charles, 283, 289, 292.

Loosley & Elms, 283, 285, 288, 289, 293.

Loring, Commissioner, 299.

Lorelace, Governor, 40, 43, 81, 134.

Lovett, John, 373, 374, 389.

Low, Isaac, 267, 268, 271.

Ludlow, Daniel, 249, 371.

Ludlow, George, 249.

Ludlow, William, 249.


Macomb, Alexander, 476.

Mackraby, Alexander, 176.

Madison, James, 417.

Malcolm, General, 354.

Mapes, General, 434.

Marriner’s Tavern, 364, 365, 368.

Marriner, William, 364, 366, 369.

Marshall, John, 187.

Martling, Abraham B., 375, 411.

Martling & Cozzens, 423, 425.

Martling’s Tavern, 375, 376, 395.

Mason’s Arms, 199.

Mason William, 54.

Massue, Viscombe de la, 377, 379.

Mather, Samuel G., 449.

Matthews, David, 251.

Matthews, James, 43.

Matthews, Peter, 62, 75, 134.

McComb, General, 434.

McDougal, Alexander, 151, 239, 241, 320, 324.

McGillivray, Alexander, 353, 354.

McGown, Andrew, 158.

McGown’s Pass Tavern, 158.

McGown, widow, 158.

McIntyre, Peter, 428.

Meal Market, 127, 128.

Mechanics’ Hall, 406, 447.

Melyen, Samuel, 172.

Mercantile Coffee House, 397.

Merchants’ Coffee House, 117, 128, 131, 133, 136, 137, 141, 154, 155, 168, 201, 206, 207, 215, 225, 253, 255, 264, 265, 267, 271, 275, 278, 279, 280, 293, 294, 318, 321, 326, 356, 357, 386, 403.

Merchants’ Exchange, 43, 135.

Merchants’ Hotel, 435, 454.

Meschianza, The, 286, 287.

Miller, John, 186.

Minhorne, Jacob, 53, 58, 66.

Minuit, Peter, 2, 3.

Minvielle, Gabriel, 60, 69.

Mitchill, Samuel L., 433.

Monckton, General, 182.

Monroe, James, 434, 435.

Montagu, William, 179.

Montcrieffe, Major, 368.

Montgomerie, Governor, 91, 114.

Moody, Sir Henry, 23.

Mooney, William, 437.

Moore, Sir Henry, 207, 208, 225, 233, 245.

Moore, John, 248, 250.

Moore, Thomas W. C., 248.

Moot, The, 250, 251, 252.

Morris, General, 314.

Morris, Gouveneur, 101, 248, 251, 265, 364, 366.

Morris, Lewis, 95, 99, 101, 104, 108, 181, 331.

Morris, Lewis, Jr., 180, 181, 183.

Morris, Richard, 251.

Morris, Robert Hunter, 143.

Morris, Roger, 243.

Morris, William, 70.

Mortier, Paymaster General, 163, 189.

Morton, General, 434, 435.

Moultrie, General, 316.

Mount Pleasant, 187, 218, 252.

Mount Vernon Garden, 399, 400.

Murray, John, 337.


Nanfan, Lieutenant Governor, 72, 73.

National Hotel, 450.

New England Society, The, 407.

Negro Plot, 123, 318.

New York Coffee House, 318.

New York Arms, 142, 143, 144, 148, 202, 213, 222, 228, 233, 245, 246, 247.

New York Garden, 453, 454.

New York Hotel, 403.

New York Society, The, 247.
[Pg 487]
New York Stock Exchange, 360, 363.

Niblo’s Coffee House, 407.

Niblo’s Garden, 458.

Niblo, William, 452, 458, 459, 460, 462.

Nicolls, Governor, 37, 39, 178, 198, 199.

Noel, Garrat, 155.

Noel, Thomas, 65.

Non-Importation Agreement, 205.

Non-Importation Agreement, Second, 228.

Norris, Sir John, 108.

Norris, Matthias, 103, 106, 118.

Norris, Mrs., 108.

North, Lord, 267.


O’Brien, 155.

Ogden, Jonathan, 156.

Old Coffee House, 403.

Opdyck, Gysbert, 10.

Osborne, Sir Danvers, 139, 140.


Pain, Benjamin, 115, 120.

Paine, Robert Treat, 269.

Palmer, Benjamin, 163.

Parker, James, 202.

Parmyter, John, 85, 86.

Parmyter, Susannah, 86.

Pattison, General, 296, 297, 299.

Paulding, James K., 431.

Pelow, Vincent, 88.

Pemberton, Robert, 328.

Pennington, Captain, 282.

Pennington, William, 474.

Percival, James G., 431.

Perry, Commodore, 423, 424.

Phillips, Frederick, 455.

Phillips, General, 296.

Phillipse, Adolph, 92.

Phillipse, Frederick, 56, 95, 96, 98, 163, 187.

Phoenix Coffee House, 403.

Pine Apple, The, 120.

Pintard, John, 331, 362, 439.

Pirates, 57, 59.

Pitt, William, 215.

Platt, Jonas, 438, 439.

Platt, Richard, 328, 435.

Porteous, Captain, 394.

Porterfield, James, 131, 132, 133.

Post, Widow, 87, 88.

Powers, George, 322.

Price, Benjamin, 441, 442.

Price, Captain, 316.

Price, Stephen, 441, 443, 444.

Privateers, 119, 120, 121.

Province Arms, 142, 147, 203, 205, 244, 246, 255, 282, 295, 297, 299, 300, 305, 311, 323, 445.

Purdie, Alexander, 270.

Putnam, General, 207, 316.


Queen’s Head, 168, 202, 227, 230, 243, 245, 247, 253, 294, 295, 317.


Radel, Margaret, 37.

Ramsay, Andrew, 114, 125, 129.

Randolph, Edmund, 344.

Ranelagh, 218, 221, 413.

Rapelye, Stephen, 250.

Rathwell, James, 393, 394.

Rawson’s Tavern, 345.

Reade, John, 250.

Red House, 463.

Red Lion, 130.

Refugee Club, 295.

Regulation of Taverns, 20, 21.

Renwick, Professor, 471.

Revere, Paul, 260, 266.

Reynolds’ Beer House, 459.

Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 168.

Reynolds, William, 458.

Riedesel, Baron, 296.

Ritzema, Rudolphus, 251.

Rivington, James, 284, 288, 323.

Road Houses, 459.

Robertson, Alexander, 299, 345.

Robin, Isaac, 86.

Robinson, Beverly, 202, 473.

Robinson, Joseph, 201.

Rodgers, Commodore, 417.

Rodgers, Doctor, 401.

Rogers, Captain, 468.

Rogers & Humphrey, 225.

Rogers, Lewis, 463.

Roger Morris House, 159, 363, 364.

Rogers, Moses, 371.

Roome, Luke, 154, 255, 357.

Roosevelt, John, 187.

Ross, David, 412.

Roubalet, 299, 305.

Royal Bowling Green, 188.

Royal Oak, 44.

Rutgers, Anthony, 182, 199, 219.

Rutherford, Walter, 209.

Rutledge, John, 344.


Sacket, Richard, 185.

Saint George and the Dragon, 37, 130.

Saltus, Nick, 451.

Sampson, J. P. C., 447.

Sands, Robert C., 431.

Sans, Souci, 455.

Santen, Lucas, 52.

Schuyler, Arent, 81.
[Pg 488]
Schuyler, Peter, 148, 149.

Schuyler, Philip, 328.

Scotch Johnny, 191, 195.

Scotch Johnny’s, 164.

Scott, John Morin, 209, 251, 275, 310.

Scott, Winfield, 435, 474.

Scurlock, Thomas, 165.

Seabury, Doctor, 399.

Seagrave, James, 249.

Sears, Isaac, 151, 215.

Sebring, Isaac, 408.

Seton, William, 320.

Shakespeare Tavern, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432.

Shank, Matthew, 62.

Sherbrook, Major, 367.

Sherman, Alpheus, 410.

Shirley, William, 143.

Shoemakers’ Pasture, 116.

Simmons, John, 340, 341.

Simmons’ Tavern, 340, 341, 342.

Slave Market, 127.

Sloughter, Governor, 66.

Smith, Colonel, 310, 364.

Smith, Edward, 234, 238.

Smith, Ephraim, 287.

Smith, Melancthon, 345.

Smith, Mrs., 293.

Smith’s Tavern, 286.

Smith, Thomas, 251.

Smith, William, 103, 251, 310.

Smith, William, Jr., 209.

Snedeker, John R., 465.

Social Club, The, 248.

Sons of Liberty, 208, 212, 214, 230, 231, 234, 236, 238, 239, 243, 244, 257, 259, 261, 273, 351.

Southard, Samuel, 474.

Sperry, Jacob, 401.

Sports and Amusements, 174.

Spring Garden, 116, 122, 165.

Spring Garden House, 165, 199.

Stagg, John, 354, 385.

Stamp Act, 204, 205, 202.

Stark, General, 316.

State Arms, 307.

Steel, Sarah, 194, 195, 196.

Steenwyck, Cornelis, 39, 198.

Steuben, General, 316, 326, 328, 337.

Stevens, Ebenezer, 423, 435.

Stevens, J., 250.

Stevens, John Austin, 255.

Stewart, Anthony G., 295.

Stirling, Lord, 182.

Stockton, Anne, 115.

Stone, William L., 431, 432.

Stoneall, James C., 432.

Storrs, Henry R., 472.

Strachan, John, 293, 294.

Strachan’s Tavern, 295.

Stuyvesant, Peter, 13, 20, 22, 34, 35, 47.

Stuyvesant, Peter G., 474.

Swain, Captain, 430.

Swartwout, John, 383, 396, 439, 468.

Swift, General, 434, 435.

Swift, Henry, 81.

Swift, Joseph G., 422.


Talbot, Captain, 375.

Talmadge, Colonel, 317.

Tammany Hall, 410, 422, 423, 427, 433, 437, 445.

Tammany Hall Hotel, 425.

Tammany Society, 351, 375, 395.

Tavern Life, 78, 79.

Tavern Regulations, 41.

Tavern Signs, 167.

Taylor, John, 189.

Tew, Thomas, 54, 58, 59.

Thomas, Widow, 122.

Thompson, Gabriel, 69, 70.

Thompson, John, 155, 156.

Thomson, Captain, 375.

Thurman, John, Jr., 209.

Tillery, James, 385, 394.

Todd, Robert, 105, 110, 112, 114, 121, 200.

Tollemache, Captain, 282.

Tompkins, Daniel D., 422, 423, 434, 435.

Tontine Coffee House, 154, 356, 361, 371, 374, 393, 395, 400, 403, 404, 407, 425.

Tontine Hotel, 371, 372.

Trumbull, John, 310, 474.

Tryon, Governor, 293, 296.

Turk’s Head, The, 168, 431.

Two-Mile Tavern, 48.

Tyler’s, 414.


Ugly Club, 414.

Ugly Hall, 414.

Underhill, John, 11, 12.

Union Flag, The, 158, 176.

United States Hotel, 478.

Ury, John, 123.


Valentine, Abraham M., 410.

Van Borsum, Annetje, 28, 29.

Van Borsum, Egbert, 27, 28, 29, 185.

Van Borsum, Hermanus, 29.

Van Buren’s Tavern, Dr., 367.

Van Cortlandt, Pierre, 328.

Van Cortlandt, Stephen, 200.

Van Dam, Rip, 92, 93, 94, 95, 101, 104, 110, 112, 113.

Vandenberg, Adam, 179.

Vandenberg’s, 189.

Vanderbilt, John, 419.

Vandercliff, Dirck, 45, 46.

Vandercliff’s Orchard, 45.
[Pg 489]
Vanderspiegel, John, 209.

Van Dyck, Hendrick, 20.

Van Horne, Cornelius, 92.

Van Horne, David, 205.

Van Ness, Judge, 423.

Van Pelt, Rem, 367.

Van Purmerendt, Claes Jansen, 25.

Van Shaack, Peter, 249, 251.

Van Tienhoven, Cornelis, 13.

Van Twiller, Wouter, 11.

Van Vorst, Annetje Cornelissen, 25.

Varian, Richard, 347.

Varick, Colonel, 310.

Vaughan, Thomas, 394, 395.

Vauxhall, 187, 206, 218, 247, 252, 425.

Vauxhall Garden, 218, 400, 401, 402.

Vermilye, Thomas, 163.

Verplanck, Gulian, 219, 356, 371.

Verplanck, Gulian C., 432.

Vineyard, The, 68, 185.


Wainwright, Doctor, 473.

Waldron, Adolph, 287.

Waldron, Samuel, 239.

Wales, Prince of, 108.

Walker, Benjamin, 324.

Wallace, Hugh, 229.

Walters, Robert, 66.

Walton, Jacob, 233.

Walton, William, 256.

Warren, Sir Peter, 182.

Washington, George, 159, 300, 302, 308, 309, 310, 313, 317, 336, 339, 341, 364, 367, 368, 473, 476.

Washington Hall, 408, 409, 410, 420, 423, 424, 425, 427, 441, 443, 445, 467, 469, 472.

Washington Hotel, 397, 412, 435.

Waters, A. W., 183.

Watson, James, 371.

Watson, John, 175.

Watts, John, 182, 249, 356, 358, 371, 404.

Watts, John, Jr., 247.

Wayne, General, 316.

Webb, James, 37.

Webb, Samuel B., 326, 328.

Webber, Wolfert, 46, 47.

Webster, Daniel, 472.

Weissenfels, Frederick, 312.

Welch, Thomas, 118.

Wessels, Metje, 28, 30, 32, 33.

Wetmore, Prosper W., 467.

White Conduit House, 398, 399.

Whitehall Coffee House, 225.

White Horse Tavern, 18.

White Lion, 70, 71.

Wickham, William, 251.

Wilcocks, Widow, 440.

Wilkinson, James, 245.

Willard, Mr., 449, 450, 452.

Willett, Edward, 118, 141, 143, 144, 148, 202.

Willett, Marinus, 273, 274, 275, 353, 435.

Williams, Erasmus, 252.

Wilson, Captain, 441, 444.

Wilson, James, 344.

Wragg, Elizabeth, 255.


Zenger, John Peter, 101, 102, 104.

 

 


Footnotes:

[1] New York Gazette or Weekly Post-Boy.

[2] New York Gazette or Weekly Post-Boy.

[3] New York Mercury.

[4] New York Gazette.

[5] New York Evening Post.

[6] Dayton.

[7] Dayton.

 

 


NEW-YORK, Nov. 5. On Wednesday the 31st of October, the late Chief Justice, but new Representative for the County of Westchester, landed in this City, about 5 o’Clock in the Evening, at the Ferry-stairs: On His landing He was saluted by a general Fire of the Guns from the Merchants Vessels lying in the Road; and was receiv’d by great Numbers of the most considerable Merchants and Inhabitants of this City, and by them with loud Aclamations of the People as he walk’d the Streets, conducted to the Black Horse Tavern, where a handsome Entertainment was prepar’d for Him, at the Charge of the Gentlemen who received Him; and in the Middle of one Side of the Room, was fix’d a Tabulet with golden Capitals, KING GEORGE, LIBERTY and LAW.

On Thursday last the House of Representatives were adjourned to the third Teusday in April next.


				

				

				

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