History of the City of New York, New York

VOLUME I - Embracing the period prior to the revolution, closing in 1774.

This work, of which the first volume is now complete in sixteen parts, is the outgrowth of more than a dozen years of careful study and persistent research. The subject is one of unusual interest, and notwithstanding the immense labor involved, it has attracted and diverted rather than wearied the author, and kept the soul stirred with constantly increasing enthusiasm. The outlook will speak for itself to every intelligent reader. A wooded island upon the border of a vast, unexplored, picturesque wild, three thousand miles from civilization, becomes within three centuries the seat of the arrogant metropolis of the Western world. The narrative embraces the condition of Europe which contributed to this remarkable result, the origin and birth of the city in which we take so much pride, its early vicissitudes, the various steps of progress through which it became powerful, the connection of causes and effects, the rise of churches, schools, colleges, charities, and other institutions, the machinery, commercial and political, with all its crudities, breakages, friction, and modern improvements, ever producing unlooked-for events, its wars and rumors of wars, its public characters and foreign relations, and its social thread, knotting and tangling, but yet running through all the years, spinning its own way and coiling itself into every feature of the structure, the cable, indeed, to hold the multiplicity of parts together. In the language of a prominent leader of public opinion, "hardly did old Rome herself emerge from a more mysterious and fascinating crucible of legend and tradition."

 

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Volume II - Embracing the Century of National Independence, closing in 1880.

These volumes form a distinct work in themselves. The immense wealth of interesting material, necessarily excluded from their strictly prescribed limits, suggests other volume.s in the future. Elaboration of special subjects, and the picture of the last half-century illumined with the electric light of detail, are among the possibilities. Such a series would form a natural sequel, but in no wise affect the individuality of this work.

The career of New York is irresistibly attractive during the century embraced in the second volume, now complete in uniform size with its predecessor. Had it been otherwise my enthusiasm must have waned under the severity of application needful for the perfect drilling and disciplining of raw material into unity and felicity of arrangement. The issue of my first volume two years since, and the unqualified approval it elicited from all sources, inspired me with fresh courage ; but the inherent magnetism and vitality of the subject itself has been the secret of my success. The pressure to complete the undertaking has never for a moment been lifted since its inception. Had I foreseen its magnitude I should have been appalled. Its importance justified comprehensive research at every step. Thus the structure became a matter of growth instead of architecture. I have done what I could to learn the truth. No one authority has been accepted and followed in any instance without further evidence; and where accounts have conflicted I have sought and secured every book and document relating to the subject, of which I could obtain any knowledge, even if no more than one of my paragraphs was involved in the issue.

It has been my intention to collect under one view the almost countless authorities from which I have derived aid. But the extreme difficulty of assigning a proper measure to such catalogue, and the absolute want of space for its insertion, deprive me of the coveted pleasure. It would be useful to the student; and yet it would give a totally inadequate notion of the vast extent of the field in which I have been gleaning. Some of the choicest links in my chain have been found in the most out-of-the-way places among seared and yellow letters written by actors in the great events narrated, in old sermons, records of trials, wills, genealogical manuscripts, documents, and pamphlets; while concerning certain matters tinged with ambiguity and uncertainty, I have discovered extraordinary and unique sources of authentic information outside of the city and State.

Table of Contents:

CHAPTER I.
1775.
THE THRESHOLD OF THE REVOLUTION. 11-55

CHAPTER II.
1776.
January-July.
THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. 56-91

CHAPTER III.
1776.
July - December.
MOMENTOUS EVENTS. 92-151

CHAPTER IV.
1777.
THE YEAR OF BATTLES. 162-191

CHAPTER V.
1778, 1779.
VARIED EVENTS. 192-229

CHAPTER VI.
1780-1783.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE WAR. 230-274

CHAPTER VII.
1783-1787.
NEW YORK CITY AFTER PEACE WAS ESTABLISHED. 275-300

CHAPTER VIII.
1787-1790.
NEW YORK CITY THE CAPITAL OF THE NATION. 301-36l

CHAPTER IX.
1790-1793.
REMOVAL OF THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT. 351-389

CHAPTER X.
1793-1797.
PRESIDENT WASHINGTON'S SECOND TERM. 390-432

CHAPTER XI.
1797-1801.
NEW YORK CITY AT THE CLOSE OF THE CENTURY. 433-171

CHAPTER XII.
1801-1801.
THE NEW POLITICAL ERA. 472-503

CHAPTER XIII.
1804-1808.
INSTITUTIONS AND INVENTIONS. 504-541

CHAPTER XIV.
1808-1812.
THE RISING STORM. 542-585

CHAPTER XV.
1812-1814.
THE WAR. 587-640

CHAPTER XVI.
1814, 1815.
THE FINAL STRUGGLE. 641-664

CHAPTER XVII.
1815-1825.
TEACE AND PROSPERITY. 665 - 695

CHAPTER XVIII.
1825-1835.
PROGRESS OF THE CITY. 696-726

CHAPTER XIX.
1835-1845.
INTRODUCTION OF CROTON WATER. 727-747

CHAPTER XX.
1845-1880.
CONCLUDING CHAPTER. 748-787

APPENDIX 789
INDEX 793

 

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Constantinople fell in 1453, and from that time the business monopoly of the Indies centered with the Venetians. Venice became the great Western emporium, and attained such marvelous riches and rose to such a height of power and grandeur as never were equalled either before or since. The costliness of her magnificent buildings, the elegance of furniture and decorations, and the style of life among her citizens, was quite beyond description. The learned Christians of Constantinople, who had lied before the Turks into Italy, became her schoolmasters, and mathematics, astronomy, and the art of navigation developed with singular rapidity. People began to talk about a new channel of communication with the Oriental countries, where they could change even the bark of trees into money.