Lights and Shadows of New York Life - or, the Sights and Sensations of the Great City
by James D. McCabe
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"At two o'clock this curious spectacle was at its height. All about the Institute, and on the stairs, and in the cloak-rooms, and through the narrow, tortuous passages leading to the stage dressing-rooms were vile tableaus of inflamed women and tipsy men, bandying brutality and obscenity. The animal was now in full possession of its faculties. But, just as the orgie is bursting into the last stage—a free fight—when the poor creatures in their hired costumes are ready to grovel in the last half-oblivious scenes, the musicians rattle off 'Home, Sweet Home,' with a strange, hurried irony, and the managers, with the same haste, turn off the gas of the main chandelier, and the Bal d'Opera is at an end."


The first column of one of the most prominent daily newspapers, which is taken in many respectable families of the city, and which claims to be at the head of American journalism, bears the above heading, and there is also a personal column in a prominent Sunday paper, which is also read by many respectable people. Very many persons are inclined to smile at these communications, and are far from supposing that these journals are making themselves the mediums through which assignations and burglaries, and almost every disreputable enterprise are arranged and carried on. Yet, such is the fact. Many of these advertisements are inserted by notorious roues, and others are from women of the town. Women wishing to meet their lovers, or men their mistresses, use these personal columns.

Respectable women have much to annoy them in the street conveyances, and at the places of amusement. If a lady allows her face to wear a pleasant expression while glancing by the merest chance at a man, she is very apt to find some such personal as the following addressed to her in the next morning's issue of the paper referred to:

THIRD AVENUE CAR, DOWN TOWN YESTERDAY morning; young lady in black, who noticed gent opposite, who endeavored to draw her attention to Personal column of —- in his hand, will oblige admirer by sending address to B., Box 102, —- office.

If she is a vile woman, undoubtedly she will do so, and that establishment will deliver her letter, and do its part in helping on the assignation.

A gentleman will bow to a lady, and she, thinking it may be a friend, returns the bow. The next day appears the following:

TALL LADY DRESSED IN BLACK, WHO acknowledged gentleman's salute, Broadway and Tenth street, please address D., box 119, —- office, if she wishes to form his acquaintance.

Sometimes a man will whisper the word "personal" to the lady whom he dares not insult further, and the next day the following appears:

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 4 P.M.—"CAN YOU answer a personal?" Fifth avenue stage from Grand to Twenty-third street. Please address BEN. VAN DYKE, —- office, appointing interview. To prevent mistake, mention some particulars.

Others more modest:

WILL THE LADY THAT WAS LEFT WAITING by her companion on Monday evening, near the door of an up-town theatre, grant an interview to the gentleman that would have spoken if he had thought the place appropriate? Address ROMANO, —- office.

It is really dangerous to notice a patron of the paper mentioned, for he immediately considers it ground for a personal, such as the following:

LADY IN GRAND STREET CAR, SATURDAY evening 7.30.—Had on plaid shawl, black silk dress; noticed gentleman in front; both got out at Bowery; will oblige by sending her address to C. L., box 199, —- office.

Young ladies with attendants are not more free from this public insult, as shown by the following:

WILL THE YOUNG LADY THAT GOT OUT OF a Fifth avenue stage, with a gentleman with a cap on at 10 yesterday, at Forty-sixth street, address E. ROBERTS, New York Post-office.

This public notice must be pleasing to the young lady and to "the gentleman with the cap on." It is a notice that the gentleman believes the lady to be willing to have an intrigue with him. If it goes as far as that, this newspaper will lend its columns to the assignation as follows:

LOUISE K.—DEAR, I HAVE RECEIVED YOUR letter, last Saturday, but not in time to meet you. Next Tuesday, Dec. 7, I will meet you at the same time and place. East. Write to me again, and give your address. Your old acquaintance.

Or as follows:


The personal column is also used to publicly advertise the residences of women of the town. The following are specimens:

MISS GERTIE DAVIS, FORMERLY OF LEXINGTON avenue, will be pleased to see her friends at 106 Clinton place.

ERASTUS—CALL ON JENNIE HOWARD at 123 West Twenty-seventh street. I have left Heath's. 132. ALBANY.

The World very justly remarks: "The cards of courtesans and the advertisements of houses of ill-fame might as well be put up in the panels of the street cars. If the public permits a newspaper to do it for the consideration of a few dollars, why make the pretence that there is anything wrong in the thing itself? If the advertisement is legitimate, then the business must be."


With the hope of checking the terrible evil of immorality which is doing such harm in the city, several associations for the reformation of fallen women have been organized by benevolent citizens.

One of the most interesting of these is "The Midnight Mission," which is located at No. 260 Greene street, in the very midst of the worst houses of prostitution in the city. It was organized about four years ago, and from its organization to the latter part of the year 1870, had sheltered about 600 women. In 1870, 202 women and girls sought refuge in the Mission. Twenty-eight of these were sent to other institutions, forty-seven were placed in good situations, fifteen were restored to their friends, and forty-nine went back to their old ways. The building is capable of accommodating from forty-five to fifty inmates. The members of the Society go out on the streets every Friday night, and as they encounter the Street Walkers, accost them, detain them a few moments in conversation, and hand each of them a card bearing the following in print:

[Picture: CARD]

This invitation is sometimes tossed into the gutter or flung in the face of the giver, but it is often accepted. More than this, it is a reminder to the girl that there is a place of refuge open to her, where she may find friends willing and able to help her to escape from her life of sin. Even those who at first receive the card with insults to the giver, are won over by this thought, and they come to the Mission and ask to be received. Many of them, it is true, seek to make it a mere lodging-house, and deceive the officers by their false penitence, but many are saved from sin every year. The inmates come voluntarily, and leave when they please. There is no force used, but every moral influence that can be brought to bear upon them is exerted to induce them to remain. The preference is given to applicants who are very young. Those seeking the Mission are provided with refreshments, and are drawn into conversation. They are given such advice as they seem to need, and are induced to remain until the hour for prayers. Those who remain and show a genuine desire to reform are provided with work, and are given one-half of their earnings for their own use.

The Midnight Mission is a noble institution, and is doing a noble work, but it is sorely in need of funds.


The other institutions for the reformation of fallen women are the "House of the Good Shepherd," on the East River, at Ninetieth street, the "House of Mercy," on the North River, at Eighty-sixth street, and the "New York Magdalen and Benevolent Society," at the intersection of the Fifth avenue and Eighty-eighth street. These are all correctional establishments, and more or less force is employed in the treatment of those who are refractory. Many of the inmates are sent here by the courts of the city. The "House of the Good Shepherd" is a Roman Catholic institution, and is in charge of the Sisters of the order of "Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd." The other two are Protestant institutions. The "House of Mercy" is conducted by the Protestant Episcopal Church. The Magdalen Society is not sectarian. All are doing a good work. The statistics of the "House of the Good Shepherd" give a total of about 2900 inmates in twenty-two years. How many of these were reformed, it is impossible to say. The statistics of the "House of Mercy" are not available, but its inmates are said to number about one hundred annually. The "Magdalen Society" has a noble record of its thirty-five years of usefulness. It is as follows: Total number of inmates, 2000; placed in private families, 600; restored to relatives, 400; left the Asylum at their own request, 400; left without permission, 300; expelled, 100; transferred temporarily to the hospital, 300; died, 41; received into evangelical churches, 24; legally married, 20.


On the 26th of August, 1871, at three o'clock in the afternoon, a truck drove up to the baggage-room of the Hudson River Railway depot, in Thirtieth street, and deposited on the sidewalk a large, common-looking travelling trunk. The driver, with the assistance of a boy hanging about the depot, carried the trunk into the baggage-room, and at this instant a woman of middle age, and poorly attired, entered the room, presented a ticket to Chicago, which she had just purchased, and asked to have the trunk checked to that place. The check was given her, and she took her departure. The baggage-master, half an hour later, in attempting to remove the trunk to the platform from which it was to be transferred to the baggage-car, discovered a very offensive odor arising from it. His suspicions were at once aroused, and he communicated them to the superintendent of the baggage-room, who caused the trunk to be removed to an old shed close by and opened. As the lid was raised a terrible sight was revealed. The trunk contained the dead body of a young woman, fully grown, and the limbs were compressed into its narrow space in the most appalling manner. The discovery was at once communicated to the police, and the body was soon after removed to the Morgue, where an inquest was held upon it.

The woman had been young and beautiful, and evidently a person of refinement, and the post mortem examination, which was made as speedily as possible, revealed the fact that she had been murdered in the effort to produce an abortion upon her. The case was at once placed in the hands of the detectives, and full details of the horrible affair were laid before the public in the daily press. The efforts to discover the murderer were unusually successful. Little by little the truth came out. The cartman who had taken the trunk to the depot came forward, after reading the account of the affair in the newspapers, and conducted the police to the house where he had received it. This was none other than the residence of Dr. Jacob Rosenzweig (No. 687 Second avenue), a notorious abortionist, who carried on his infamous business at No. 3 Amity Place, as Dr. Ascher. Suspecting his danger, Rosenzweig endeavored to avoid the police, but they soon succeeded in securing him. His residence was taken possession of and searched, and papers were found which completely established the fact that Rosenzweig and Ascher were one and the same person. Rosenzweig was arrested on suspicion, and committed to the Tombs to await the result of the inquest. The body was subsequently identified by an acquaintance of the dead woman, as that of Miss Alice Bowlsby, of Patterson, New Jersey. A further search of Rosenzweig's premises resulted in the finding of a handkerchief marked with the dead woman's name, and other evidence was brought to light all making it too plain for doubt that Alice Bowlsby had died from the effects of an abortion produced upon her by Jacob Rosenzweig. The wretch was tried for his offence, convicted, and sentenced to seven years of hard labor in the penitentiary.

This affair produced a profound impression not only upon the city, but upon the whole country, and drew the attention of the public so strongly to the subject of abortion as a trade, that there is reason to believe that some steps will be taken to check the horrible traffic.

Bad as Rosenzweig was, he was but one of a set who are so numerous in the city that they constitute one of the many distinct classes of vile men and women who infest it.

The readers of certain of the city newspapers are familiar with the advertisements of these people, such as the following:

A LADIES' PHYSICIAN, DR. —-, PROFESSOR of Midwifery, over 20 years' successful practice in this city, guarantees certain relief to ladies, with or without medicine, at one interview. Unfortunates please call. Relief certain. Residence, —-. Elegant rooms for ladies requiring nursing.

IMPORTANT TO FEMALES. DR. AND MADAME —- (25 years' practice,) guarantee certain relief to married ladies, with or without medicine, at one interview. Patients from a distance provided with nursing, board, etc. Electricity scientifically applied.

A CURE FOR LADIES IMMEDIATELY. MADAME —-'s Female Antidote. The only reliable medicine that can be procured; certain to have the desired effect in twenty-four hours, without any injurious results.

SURE CURE FOR LADIES IN TROUBLE. NO injurious medicines or instruments used. Consultation and advice free.

These are genuine advertisements, taken from a daily journal of great wealth and influence, which every morning finds its way into hundreds of families. The persons thus advertising are all of them members of the most dangerous and disreputable portion of the community. They do not, indeed, attack citizens on the streets, but, what is worse and more cowardly, exert their skill for the purpose of destroying human life which is too helpless to resist, and which has no protector. These persons impudently assert that they do not violate the law in their infamous trade, but it needs scarcely a physician's endorsement to make plain to sensible persons the fact that successful abortions are extremely rare. Indeed, the secrecy with which the infamous business is carried on, shows that its practitioners are conscious of its criminality. The laws of all the States punish the procuring of an abortion with severe penalties. That of the State of New York declares, "The wilful killing of an unborn quick child by any injury to the mother of the child, which would be murder if it resulted in the death of such mother, shall be deemed manslaughter in the first degree." The punishment for this crime is an imprisonment in the penitentiary for not less than seven years. The law further declares: "Every person who shall administer to any woman pregnant with a quick child, or prescribe for any such woman, or advise and procure for any such woman, any medicine, drugs, or substance whatever, or shall use or employ any instrument or other means, with intent thereby to destroy such child, unless the same shall have been necessary to preserve the life of such mother, shall, in case the death of such child or such mother be thereby produced, be deemed guilty of manslaughter in the second degree." The law prescribes as the punishment for this crime an imprisonment of not less than four years', nor more than seven years' duration.

This is seemingly very severe, but in reality it is not. Now that science has established the fact that to expel the foetus at any period of pregnancy is to take life, or, in other words, to commit murder, the law should make the selling of drugs or medicines for such purpose a felony, and should punish with great severity any person publicly exposing or privately offering them for sale. Such a statute, so far from embarrassing any reputable member of the medical profession, would be hailed with joy by all; for science has progressed so far, that the cases in which it is necessary to produce an abortion for the sake of saving the mother's life are extremely rare. Further than this, it may be added that the drugs used by these Professors of Infanticide, are, as a rule, unused by the Medical Faculty.

Being well aware then of the penalties to which they are exposed, the Professors of Infanticide conduct their business with extreme caution. They have a great advantage under our present legal system. It has been found by experience that the only evidence by which they can generally be convicted of their crime, is that of the patient herself. Their knowledge of human nature teaches them that she is the last person in the world to ruin her own reputation by exposing them; and their knowledge of their devilish business teaches them that, if the case does terminate fatally, death will occur in all probability before an ante-mortem statement implicating them can be made by their victim. A recent writer thus describes these wretches and their mode of operations:

"Under the head of abortionists, it must be understood there are different classes. First, there is the one whose advertisements, under the head of 'Dr.,' are conspicuous in almost every paper which will print them. Next comes the female abortionists, the richer classes of whom also advertise largely; and lastly, the midwives, who, when it pays them to do so, will in some cases consent to earn money by the commission of this fearful crime.

"First in order, then, the doctor, who styles himself the 'ladies' friend,' which appellation would be more truthful if the second letter were omitted from that word of endearment. He is, as a rule, either a man who has studied for a diploma and failed to pass his examination, or one who, though he is really an M.D., because it pays better, devotes his time to this particular branch of his profession, and advertises largely to that effect; while, in nine cases out of ten, if he attended to a legitimate branch of his vocation, he would prove worthless and inefficient. There are many abortionists in New York to-day who live in first-class style, attend to nothing but 'first-class' cases, receive nothing but first-class fees.

"These men, some of them at least, are received into fashionable society, not because of their gentlemanly or engaging manners, nor even yet on account of their money, but from the fact that they exercise a certain amount of influence and are possessed of a vast deal of audacity. They are cognizant of many a family secret that comes under the jurisdiction of their peculiar vocation; and this fact enables them successfully, if they like, to dare these parties to treat them any other than respectfully. There is a skeleton in every house, a secret in every family; and too often the doctor, midwife, and accoucheur have to be treated publicly, socially, and pecuniarily in accordance with this fact. It is such men as these who, by their nefarious practices, have been enabled to accumulate a large amount of money, that are the proprietors of private hospitals or lying-in asylums, where the better class of women who have fallen from the path of virtue may, under a pretence of a prolonged visit to some distant friends, become inmates, and, after all traces of their guilt have been successfully hidden, can unblushingly return to their friends, and be regarded in their social circles as models of chastity and perfections of virtue.

"Next come the female abortionists, who in some cases transact a larger and more profitable business than the doctors. There are several reasons for this, the principal of which is, that a female would, under the peculiar circumstances in which she is placed, reveal her condition to one of her own sex rather than to a man. The number of female abortionists in New York City is a disgrace and a ridicule upon the laws for the prevention of such inhuman proceedings. True, the majority of them are of the poorer class, but there are many who are literally rolling in wealth, the result of their illegal and unnatural pursuits. The names of many could be mentioned. One, however, will be sufficient, and, although she has been the most successful of her contemporaries, yet her card is a good criterion for the rest of her class. Her name, Madame —-, is well known, and needs no comment. Most of the better and most successful of her kind are in the habit of receiving no less than one hundred or one hundred and fifty dollars for each case, and often as much as five hundred or one thousand dollars. The less successful of the female abortionists, whose practice or business is limited, to some extent, through lack of funds to advertise the same, are content with considerably less sums for their services. Cases have been known where as low as five dollars have been received, and very rarely do they get a chance to make more than fifty or sixty dollars, which is considered a first-rate fee.

"The female abortionists in New York are mostly of foreign birth or extraction, and have generally risen to their present position from being first-class nurses—in Germany, especially, there being medicine schools or colleges in which they graduate after a course of probably six or nine months' study as nurses. The object for which these colleges were established is entirely ignored by the woman, who, from the smattering of medical knowledge she obtains there, seeks to perfect herself as an abortionist."

The principal, and indeed the only object of these wretches is to extort money from their victims. They have no interest in their "patients," either scientific or humane, as is shown by the readiness with which they consent to risk the lives of the poor creatures in their hands, and the rapacity with which they drain their money from them.

Perhaps the reader may ask, "Why, then, do women seek these wretches, instead of applying to educated physicians?" The answer is plain. Educated physicians are, as a rule, men of honor and humanity as well as skill. They know that to produce an abortion at any stage of pregnancy is to commit murder by destroying the child, and they also know that such an act, if it does not endanger the mother's life at the time, will doom her to great future suffering and disease, and probably to a painful death at the "turn of life." Therefore, as men of honor and good citizens, as well as lovers of science, they refuse to prostitute their profession and stain their souls with crime.

The medicines used by the Professors of Infanticide are in most cases such as they know will not produce the relief the patient desires. The object of this is to drain the poor woman's purse, first by causing her to purchase these medicines, and then to force her to submit to an operation; for the "doctor" well knows that the "pills" will "do her no good," and that when she finds there is no escape from an operation, she will come to him, as he is already in possession of her secret. Yet occasionally we find powerful and active medicines administered by these wretches; and it may be said here that all the medicines possessing sufficient power to expel the foetus prematurely, are also sufficiently powerful to, and invariably do, shatter a woman's system to an extent from which she rarely recovers. The majority of abortionists, however, prefer to use instruments for this purpose, although this is with them the most dangerous of all means of procuring abortion, many of their victims dying from such use of instruments. The most skilful surgeon would be very cautious in using an instrument, well knowing that the most practised hand may in a few minutes fatally injure a woman; yet these ignorant wretches employ this means without hesitation. They plead that it is the quickest and surest means of accomplishing their object.

It is not flattering to our pride to be told that this crime is one peculiar to our own country; yet so it is. European communities provide asylums in which pregnant women may seek refuge, and, secure from the curiosity or censure of their acquaintances, may be safely delivered of their offspring at the completion of their natural period. Should they desire to retain the child, they may do so; but should they be unwilling to claim the proof of their shame, the little innocent may be placed where it will be cared for and protected by the good Sisters of the foundling hospitals, and the mother's hands are thus kept free from the blood of her child. One does not see in the Old World the journals crowded with such advertisements as we have referred to, or find such wretches, either openly or secretly, practising their infamous trade there. No European Government would tolerate such a state of affairs, for if it cannot prevent adultery, it can protect the lives of its people. Furthermore, there is in that part of the world a public sentiment sufficiently pure in this respect, however it may be in others, to prevent such practices. It is only in this land of boasted intelligence and freedom that such wretches can thrive, that such practices can be carried on with the full knowledge of the community, and no effectual step be taken to put a stop to them.

That we have presented no over-drawn picture every candid reader will confess. If proof is needed the reader has only to turn to the advertising columns of the newspapers referred to, and he will find one or more of the advertisements we have spoken of. In this city there are over twenty of these wretches plying their trade, and advertising it in the public prints. How well they succeed we have already shown, and in order to make it evident how great are their profits, we quote the following description of one of the most notorious female abortionists:

"By common consent, as well as by reason of her peculiar calling, Madam —-, of Fifth avenue, is styled 'The wickedest woman in New York.' According to her advertisement in the papers and the City Directory, she calls herself a 'female physician and professor of midwifery.'

"Madam —- is about fifty-five years of age, is a short, plump, vulgar-looking woman, with dark, piercing eyes and jet-black hair. Once she was handsome, but possesses now no traces of her former beauty. She looks like an upstart or 'shoddy' female, but not particularly wicked or heartless. She commenced business about twenty years ago. Her establishment at that time was in C—- street, and for some time she was but little known. About four years after she had begun business an event occurred which rendered her one of the most notorious women of the city. A young woman died who had been under her treatment, and Madam —- was arrested. She was tried before one of the courts, and her trial became a sensation for many days. The papers were filled with the testimony in the case, and the arguments of the leading counsel were given in full. All sorts of accounts, too, were furnished as to the history of the accused, the evil of abortion, and the necessity of adopting stricter laws in regard to it. There was ample testimony offered on which Madam —- could be convicted, but justice at that time, as at the present, was open to pecuniary inducements. Madam —- had already made considerable money from her improper trade, and it was rumored at the time that she purchased a verdict of 'Not Guilty' for one hundred thousand dollars. It was a big price to pay, but she regained her liberty, and, what was more, made money by the large investment. Her trial proved to be an immense advertisement for her, and shortly afterward she removed from C—- street, purchasing a large mansion on Fifth avenue, not far from the Central Park. In that house she has lived from that time to the present, and says she intends to remain there until her death. The building is of brown stone, and is one of the finest on the avenue. It is a corner house, five stories high, the windows of which command from below a fine view of the Fifth avenue, and the Central Park from above. Shades of a most gaudy, though very vulgar, pattern, are at the windows. No other house in Fifth avenue or in New York possesses such shades, or, indeed, would any one else in the city want to.

"Madam —- purchased this house, it is stated, through an agent in real estate. She could not have procured it otherwise, as the owner would have refused to sell it to her on account of her business. Property in the neighborhood in which she lives cannot be sold for any reasonable figure. The vacant lots on the side of her mansion have been offered for several years at reduced prices, but no one will take them. Efforts have been made to buy her out, but without success; she has been offered many thousand dollars in advance of the price she paid for her mansion, but she refuses to sell, saying that she bought the house not for speculation, but for a home, and she intends to remain there as long as she lives.

"Her residence is the most magnificently furnished of any establishment on Fifth avenue. It is finished and furnished like a palace. Each window consists of but two enormous panes of plate glass. There are fifty-two windows, hung with satin and French lace curtains. Her office is in the basement, where she receives her callers. On the first floor are the grand hall of tessellated marble, lined with mirrors; the three immense dining-rooms, furnished in bronze and gold, with yellow satin hangings, an enormous French mirror in mosaic gilding at every panel; ceilings in medallions and cornices; more parlors and reception-rooms; butler's pantry, lined with solid silver services; dining-room with all imported furniture. Other parlors on the floor above; a guest-chamber in blue brocade satin, with gold-and-ebony bedstead elegantly covered; boudoir for dressing in every room; madam and husband's own room, granddaughter's room, news-room, study. Fourth floor—servants' rooms in mahogany and Brussels carpet, and circular picture-gallery; the fifth floor contains a magnificent billiard-room, dancing-hall, with pictures, piano, etc., and commands a fine view of Fifth avenue. The whole house is filled with statuettes, paintings, rare bronzes, ornamental and valuable clocks, candelabras, silver globes and articles of vertu, chosen with unexceptionable taste.

"Madam —- is a married woman, her husband being Mr. —-, a Frenchman. He is in the same business as herself, practising it under an assumed name, having an office in the lower part of the city, and his advertisements are next to madam's in the daily papers. The interesting couple have a daughter, aged about fifteen, a blonde and beautiful girl, who looks too pure and good to live in such a magnificent den of infamy which is called her home.

"Madam —- keeps seven servants and four fast horses. In winter she drives in tandem, with large ermine sleigh-robes. On every afternoon in the summer she may be seen out alone driving in the Central Park. Her carriage is noted for its extraordinary showiness. There are various statements given as to how she came to adopt her profession. One is, that she was once a servant-girl in a large boarding-house. A couple left one day, and in cleaning up their room the girl, who was afterward to take the name of Madam —-, found a written receipt for a certain purpose. That she preserved, afterward recommending its use to a female friend, and finding it worked well, opened her C—- street office, and sold the medicine at a high figure. Another story is, that she was once a pretty bar-maid in a tavern in the suburbs of London, came to this country when about twenty years of age, made the acquaintance of a physician, and acquired some medical knowledge; was an astrologer and clairvoyant for a time, and afterward adopted her present profession. She is said to have considerable knowledge as to her specialty, which is probably the fact.

"She is said to be worth fully a million of dollars. She has practised her peculiar branch of medicine for many years, and with uniform success. Every one knows it, yet none can bring her to justice. She is too careful and too rich for that. Her immunity from punishment has been entirely owing to the fact that she only takes safe cases, never practising on a woman who has been pregnant more than four months. Her charge is $500 a case. Need there be any better confirmation of the assertion that the rich are greater votaries of the crime of abortion than the poor? Yet every crime has its punishment. Madame —-'s is her loneliness. She has made frantic efforts to get into some part of society better than the lowest. But the rich women who resort to her for 'relief' (this is the word used), turn their backs upon her in public. Madame —- has a daughter, and she offered a quarter of a million to any man laying claim to respectability who would marry her. But her daughter is yet unmarried. Her eldest daughter ran away and married a policeman, and is now happy in being disowned by her own mother. Madame —- has her mansion, and carriages and horses, and every luxury riches can bring. All but position."

Yet this woman and her associates continue to ply their fearful trade, and day after day in this great city this terrible slaughter of innocent beings goes on, and it will go on until the law makes the publication of the advertisements of these wretches, and the practice of their arts and the sale of their drugs, criminal offences.

It must not be supposed, however, that the best customers of the vendors of medicines for producing miscarriage and abortion are those who seek to hide their shame. It is a terrible fact that here, as in many other parts of the country, the crime of destroying their unborn offspring is repeatedly practised by married women in the secrecy of domestic life. These buy largely of the drugs and pills sold by the professional abortionists. New York is bad enough in this respect, but the crime is not confined to it. It is an appalling truth that so many American wives are practicers of the horrible sin of "prevention" that in certain sections of our country, the native population is either stationary or is dying out. So common is the practice, that the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Baltimore and the Episcopal Bishop of Western New York, felt themselves called upon, a year or two ago, to publicly warn their people of the awful nature of it.

It is fashionable here, as elsewhere, not to have more than one, two, or three children. Men and women tell their friends every day that they do not mean to increase their families. They do mean, however, to enjoy the blessings of the married state, and to avoid its responsibilities. There is scarcely a physician in the city who is not applied to almost daily by persons of good position for advice as to the best means of preventing conception. The physicians of New York are men of honor, and they not only refuse to comply with the request, but warn the applicants for advice as to the true moral and physical nature of the course they are seeking to adopt. Yet this warning does not turn them from their purpose. Failing to secure the assistance of scientific men, they seek the advice, and purchase the drugs, of the wretches whose trade is child murder. The evil grows greater every year. These wretches send their drugs all over the country, and "the American race is dying out." In 1865, there were 780,931 families in the State of New York. Of these, 196,802 families had no children, 148,208 families had but one child each, 140,572 families had but two children each, and 107,342 families had but three children each. In nearly one-fourth of all the families there was not a child, and in 592,924 families, or more than three-fourths of all in the State, there was only a small fraction over one child to each family. Only about one child to each mother in the State reaches maturity. The New England States show even a worse state of affairs.

Is it a wonder, then, that Madame —- and her associates grow rich?



The three islands lying in the East River are among the most noticeable features of New York, and offer many attractions to the visitor to the city. They are Blackwell's, Ward's, and Randall's islands. Of these, Blackwell's Island is the most southern. It is about a mile and three-quarters in length, extending from Fifty-first to Eighty-eighth street, and comprises an area of about 120 acres. It takes its name from the Blackwell family, who once owned it, and whose ancestral residence, a tasteful wooden cottage, over a hundred years old, stands near the centre of the island, and is occupied by the Keeper of the Almshouse. The island was purchased by the city, in 1828, for the sum of $30,000. A further outlay of $20,000 was made in 1843 to perfect the title. The land alone is now worth over $600,000. The island is surrounded by a granite sea-wall, and has been made to slope gradually towards the water on each side by a thorough system of grading. This labor was performed by the convicts of the Penitentiary, and the inmates of the Workhouse. There is an excellent dock near the Penitentiary for boats, but no vessels are allowed to land here but the boats of the Department of Charities and Corrections. Visitors must obtain a permit from this department or they will not be allowed to set foot upon the island. The institutions on this and the other islands are supplied with the Croton water, a large main being carried across under the river.


On the extreme southern end of the island is a stone building of moderate size and handsome design. This is the Small-pox Hospital. It was erected in 1854, at a cost of $38,000, and will accommodate one hundred patients. It is the only hospital in New York devoted to small-pox cases, and receives them from all the public and private institutions, and from private families. The accommodations are excellent, the attention the best. Those who are able to pay are required to do so. At the water's edge, on the eastern side of this hospital, are several wooden buildings designed for the treatment of patients suffering from typhus and ship fever. These will accommodate one hundred patients, though the number is often greater.

Immediately in the rear of the Small-pox Hospital, though far enough from it to be removed from danger, is the Charity Hospital, a magnificent structure of gray granite, said to be the largest hospital in America. It consists of a central building with two wings, each three and a half stories in height, with a Mansard roof. The entire building is 354 feet long, and 122 feet wide. The eastern wing is occupied by males, and the western by females. The hospital is divided into 29 wards, the smallest of which contains 13 beds, and the largest 39. Twelve hundred patients can be accommodated with comfort. There are separate wards for the treatment of different diseases, and the medical attendance is the best that New York can afford. The whole establishment is a model of neatness, and is conducted in the most systematic and skilful manner. About seven thousand patients are annually treated here, the majority being charity patients. The average number of deaths is about four hundred and fifty.


Back of the Charity Hospital, and extending north and south, or parallel with the course of the island and river, is the New York Penitentiary, the first public institution erected on the island. It is a gloomy and massive edifice, constructed of hewn stone and rubble masonry. It is four stories in height, and consists of a central building and wings. The central building is 65 by 75 feet, and the wings each 200 by 50 feet in size. The entire building is exceedingly strong. The floors are of stone, and the stairways and doors of iron. It contains 500 cells for men, and 256 for women, but the number of convicts is generally in excess of the number of cells, and still greater accommodations are needed. It is probable that a new and larger Penitentiary will be erected on Hart's Island, in Long Island Sound, about twelve miles from Blackwell's Island. The prisoners at this institution are sent here by the city courts, for terms of from one to six months. Some, however, are sentenced to imprisonment for several years. The convicts are all required to labor. Formerly the men were required to engage in excavating stone from the rich quarries with which the island abounded, but which have now been exhausted. The erection of the new buildings on Randall's, Ward's, and Hart's islands, furnishes constant employment to the convicts, who are daily conveyed between the prison and these institutions. Those who are able to work at the ordinary trades are allowed to do so in the workshops of the Penitentiary. The women are required to do sewing, housework, and the like.



No visitors are allowed on the Penitentiary grounds without a permit from the Commissioners. Sentinels are stationed along the water fronts, and guard-boats patrol the river to prevent the escape of the convicts. In spite of these precautions, however, men have succeeded in making their escape to the opposite shore.

[Picture: GUARD-BOATS.]

The convicts are clothed in a uniform of striped woollen garments, and are supplied with a sufficient amount of bedding and with an abundance of excellent but plain food. The allowance is about one pound of beef, and a quart of vegetable soup at dinner, ten ounces of bread at each meal, and one quart of coffee at breakfast and supper, to each man. In 1869, the total number of prisoners confined here during the year was 2005. A very large number of those sentenced to the Penitentiary are under the age of twenty-five. The proportion of females is about one-fifth. The foreigners are a little more than one-half of the whole number. A system of evening schools, at which the attendance is voluntary, has been instituted. The commutation system is also practised, by which the prisoner by good conduct may receive a proportionate abridgment of his term of confinement. Such conduct is reported every month by the Warden to the Commissioners, who report it to the Governor of the State, who alone has the power to shorten the terms in the manner mentioned. Religious services are conducted every Sabbath by Protestant and Roman Catholic clergymen.

[Picture: ALMSHOUSE.]

To the north of the Penitentiary are two handsome and similar structures of stone, separated by a distance of 650 feet. These are the Almshouses. Each consists of a central story, fifty feet square and fifty-seven feet high, with a cupola thirty feet in height, and two wings, each ninety feet long, sixty feet wide, and forty feet high. Each is three stories in height. Each floor is provided with an outside iron verandah, with stairways of iron, and each building will furnish comfortable quarters for 600 people, adults only being admitted. One of these buildings is devoted exclusively to men, the other to women. Both are kept scrupulously clean, and it is said that they are kept by a daily brushing of the beds, which are taken to pieces every morning, entirely free from vermin. The grounds are well laid off, and are in admirable order. In short, the whole place is a model of neatness and careful administration. None but the aged and infirm, who are destitute, are admitted. Each newcomer is bathed immediately upon his or her arrival, and clad in the plain but comfortable garments provided by the establishment. He is then taken to the Warden's office, where his name, age, and bodily condition are registered. At the same time, he is given a card inscribed with the number of the ward and the class to which he is assigned, this allotment being based upon an examination by the House Physician. The inmates are divided into four classes, as follows: I. Able-bodied men. II. Those who are able to do light labor and to act as inspectors or orderlies of the different wards. III. Those who are able to sweep the walks or break stones. IV. Those who are too old or infirm for any labor. Those assigned to the first three classes are compelled to perform the duties required of them on pain of dismissal. In the female house, the infirm are more numerous than among the males. Those able to work are employed in sewing and knitting, in keeping the wards in order, and in nursing the feeble and cripples. In 1870, there were 1114 persons in the Almshouses, from fifteen years of age upwards. A special provision is made in each house for blind inmates.

Attached to the Almshouse are the Hospitals for Incurables, which consist of two one-story buildings, 175 feet long, and 25 feet wide. One is devoted to men and the other to women. In these buildings are quartered those who are afflicted with incurable diseases, but who require no medical attention.

The Bureau for the Relief of the Outdoor Poor is connected with the Almshouse, though it conducts its operations in the city. The city is divided into eleven districts, each of which is in charge of a visitor, subject to the orders of the Superintendent of the Bureau. It is the duty of these visitors to examine into the causes of sickness, crime, and pauperism in their respective districts, and to report their observations to the Superintendent, who communicates them to the Department of Charities and Corrections. Temporary shelter is given to needy persons in the winter, and money, fuel, food, clothing, etc., distributed to deserving persons. In 1869, 5275 families were given money, and 7555 fuel by this Bureau; $128,000 being expended for these charities.


In the rear of the Almshouse is the Workhouse, one of the handsomest buildings on the island. It is constructed of hewn stone, and consists of a central building four stories in height, with a northern and a southern wing, with a traverse section across the extreme end of each wing. In these traverse sections are located the workshops. The entire length of the building is 680 feet. Not counting the convict labor, the cost of its construction was over $100,000. The stone of which it was built was obtained on the island.

In the central building are located the kitchens, and storerooms, the private quarters of the Superintendent and the other officials, and a large and handsome chapel. The wings contain each a broad hall, on each side of which are three tiers of cells, one above the other. Iron galleries, with stairways, extend along the fronts of these cells, and afford access to them. There are 150 cells in each wing. Each cell is provided with an iron grated door, and contains four single berths. The cells are separated from each other by brick walls. In the workshops, the carpenter's, blacksmith's, wheelwright's, tinner's, tailor's, and other trades are carried on. The men are also kept at work grading the island, building the seawall, and cultivating the gardens. Gangs of laborers are sent daily to engage in the works on Ward's and Randall's islands. The women are made to do the housework and cleaning of the various institutions on the island, and are employed in washing, mending, sewing, knitting, etc. All the inmates are obliged to labor.

The number of persons annually sent to the Workhouse is from 15,000 to 20,000. The vagrant, dissipated, and disorderly classes are sent here by the city police courts, ten days being the average term of commitment. Drunkenness is the principal cause of their detention here. Very few are Americans. Of the foreigners, the Irish are the most numerous, the Germans next.

Back of the Workhouse, and occupying the extreme upper portion of the island, is the New York City Lunatic Asylum. It is a large and commodious building, with several out-buildings, with accommodations for 576 patients. A new Lunatic Asylum is now in course of erection on Ward's Island. It is to accommodate 500 patients. It is one of the most complete establishments in the country, and is built of brick and Ohio freestone. It is a very handsome building, with an imposing front of 475 feet. The two asylums will accommodate 1076 patients, but they are not adequate to the accommodation of all the afflicted for whom the city is required to provide. Still further accommodations are needed. In 1870, the number of patients committed to the care of the Commissioners was over 1300.


Ward's Island takes its name from Jasper and Bartholomew Ward, who formerly owned it. It comprises an area of about two hundred acres, and is owned in about equal portions by the Commissioners of Emigration and the Department of Charities and Corrections. It is separated from New York by the Harlem River, from Blackwell's and Long islands by that portion of the East River known as Hell Gate, and from Randall's Island by a narrow strait called Little Hell Gate. It lies a little to the northeast of Blackwell's Island, about half a mile from it, and is the widest of the three islands in the East River.

The Emigrant Hospital is described in another chapter.

The new Lunatic Asylum is located on the extreme eastern portion of the island.

Between the Emigrant Hospital and the Lunatic Asylum is the New York Inebriate Asylum, a handsome brick edifice, three stories in height, with a frontage of 474 feet, and a depth of 50 feet. It is provided with every convenience, is supplied with the Croton water, and has accommodations for 400 patients. The patients consist of those who either seek the Asylum voluntarily or are placed there by their friends, and who pay for their accommodations, and those who are sent to the institution by the police authorities for reformation. The treatment is moral as well as physical. The physician's efforts to repair the ravages of dissipation in the physical system are supplemented by the labors of the chaplain and the other officers of the institution, who seek to revive in the patient a sound, healthy morality, which they strive to make the basis of his reformation.


Randall's Island is so called from Jonathan Randall, a former owner. It lies about one hundred yards to the north of Ward's Island, from which it is separated by Little Hell Gate. The Harlem Kills separate it from Westchester county, and the Harlem River from New York. About thirty acres of the southern portion are owned by the "Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents." The remainder is the property of the "Commissioners of Charities and Corrections."


The southern portion is occupied by the "House of Refuge," which is under the control of the "Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents." The buildings are of brick, and are constructed in the Italian style. They have a frontage of nearly 1000 feet, and were constructed at a cost of about $500,000. They constitute one of the handsomest public institutions in the city. The main buildings contain 886 dormitories, several spacious and fully furnished school rooms, a handsome chapel, which will seat 1000 persons, the kitchens, hospital, and officers' quarters. The average number of inmates is about 700 boys and 150 girls. Every child is compelled to labor from six to eight hours every day in the week, and to attend school from four to five hours. The inmates consist of such juvenile offenders against the law as the courts commit to the Refuge in preference to sending them to prison. Some of them are young people, whose parents, unable to manage them, and wishing to save them from lives of sin and crime, have placed them in the hands of the Society for reformation. The discipline is mainly reformatory, though the inmates are subjected to the restraints, but not the degradation of a prison.

"The boys' building is divided into two compartments; the first division, in the one, is thus entirely separated from the second division in the other compartment. The second division is composed of those whose characters are decidedly bad, or whose offence was great. A boy may, by good conduct, however, get promoted from the second into the first division. As a rule, the second division is much older than the first. Each division is divided into four grades. Every boy on entering the Reformatory is placed in the third grade; if he behaves well, he is placed in the second in a week, and a month after in the first grade; if he continues in a satisfactory course for three months, he is placed in the grade of honor, and wears a badge on his breast. Every boy in the first division must remain six months, in the second division twelve months in the first grade, before he can be indentured to any trade. These two divisions are under the charge of twenty-five teachers and twenty-five guards. At half-past six o'clock the cells are all unlocked, every one reports himself to the overseer, and then goes to the lavatories; at seven, after parading, they are marched to the school rooms to join in the religious exercises for half an hour; at half-past seven, they have breakfast, and at eight are told off to the workshops, where they remain till twelve, when they again parade, previous to going to dinner. For dinner they have a large plate of soup, a small portion of meat, a small loaf of bread, and a mug of water. At one o'clock, they return to their work. When they have completed their allotted task, they are allowed to play till four, when they have supper. At half-past four they go to school, where they remain till eight o'clock, the time for going to bed. Each boy has a separate cell, which is locked and barred at night. The cells are in long, lofty, well ventilated corridors, each corridor containing one hundred cells. The doors of the cells are all grated, in order that the boys may have light and air, and also be under the direct supervision of the officers, who, though very strict, apparently know well how to temper strictness with kindness. Before going to bed, half an hour is again devoted to religious exercises, singing hymns, reading the Bible, etc.

"One of the most interesting, and at the same time, one of the most important features of the Refuge, is the workshop. On entering the shop, the visitor is amused by finding a lot of little urchins occupied in making ladies' hoopskirts of the latest fashionable design; nearly 100 are engaged in the crinoline department. In the same long room, about fifty are weaving wire for sifting cotton, making wire sieves, rat-traps, gridirons, flower baskets, cattle noses, etc. The principal work, however, is carried on in the boot and shoe department. The labor of the boys is let out to contractors, who supply their own foremen to teach the boys and superintend the work, but the society have their own men to keep order and correct the boys when necessary, the contractors' men not being allowed to interfere with them in any way whatever. There are 590 boys in this department. They manage on an average to turn out about 2500 pairs of boots and shoes daily, which are mostly shipped to the Southern States. Each one has a certain amount of work allotted to him in the morning, which he is bound to complete before four o'clock in the afternoon. Some are quicker and more industrious than others, and will get their work done by two o'clock; this gives two hours' play to those in the first division, the second division have to go to school when they have finished, till three o'clock, they only being allowed one hour for recreation. The authorities are very anxious to make arrangements to have a Government vessel stationed off the island, to be used as a training-ship for the most adventurous spirits. If this design is carried out it will be a very valuable adjunct to the working of the institution, and will enable the Directors to take in many more boys, without incurring the expense of extending the present buildings. The girls are also employed in making hoopskirts, in making clothes for themselves and the boys, in all sorts of repairing, in washing linen, and in general housework. The girls are generally less tractable than the boys; perhaps this is accounted for by their being older, some of them being as much as five or six and twenty. The boys average about thirteen or fourteen, the girls seventeen or eighteen years of age. Nearly two-thirds of the boys have been bootblacks, the remainder mostly 'wharf rats.'

"The Directors of the House of Refuge, while having a due regard for the well-being of its inmates, very properly take care that they are not so comfortable or so well-fed as to lead them to remain longer in the reformatory than necessary. As soon as the boys appear to be really reformed, they are indentured out to farmers and different trades. In the year 1867, no less than 633 boys and 146 girls were started in life in this way. Any person wishing to have a child indentured to him, has to make a formal application to the Committee to that effect, at the same time giving references as to character, etc. Inquiries are made, and if satisfactorily answered, the child is handed over to his custody, the applicant engaging to feed, clothe, and educate his young apprentice. The boy's new master has to forward a written report to the officer, as to his health and general behaviour from time to time. If the boy does not do well, he is sent back to the Refuge, and remains there till he is twenty-one years of age. Most of the children, however, get on, and many of them have made for themselves respectable positions in society. The annals of the Society in this respect are very gratifying and interesting. Many young men never lose sight of a Refuge which rescued them in time from a criminal life, and to which they owe almost their very existence. Instead of alternating between the purlieus of Water street and Sing Sing, they are many of them in a fair way to make a fortune. One young man who was brought up there, and is now thriving, lately called at the office to make arrangements for placing his two younger brothers in the House, they having got into bad company since their father's death. A very remarkable occurrence took place at the institution not long ago. A gentleman and his wife, apparently occupying a good position in society, called at the Refuge and asked to be allowed to go over it. Having inspected the various departments, just before leaving, the gentleman said to his wife, 'Now I will tell you a great secret. I was brought up in this place.' The lady seemed much surprised, and astounded all by quietly observing, 'And so was I.' So strange are the coincidences of human life."

The institutions on this island controlled by the Department of Public Charities and Corrections, are the "Nurseries," the "Infant Hospital," and the "Idiot Asylum."

The Nurseries consist of six large Brick buildings, each three stories in height, arranged without reference to any special plan, and separated from each other by a distance of several hundred feet. Each is in charge of an assistant matron, the whole being under the supervision of a Warden and matron. These nurseries are devoted to the care of children over four years old, abandoned by their parents, and found in the streets by the police, and children whose parents are unable to care for them. Wherever the parent is known the Commissioners afford only temporary shelter to the children, requiring the parents to resume their care of them at the earliest possible moment. Three months is the limit for gratuitous shelter in such cases. Where the parent is unknown, the child is cared for until it is of an age to be apprenticed, or until some respectable persons take it for adoption. Only healthy children are received into the nurseries, and none may remain in them after reaching the age of sixteen years. The average number of inmates is about 2400 per annum.

The Infant Hospital is for the reception of children under the age of four years, for foundlings, for children whose parents are too poor to take care of them, and for the sick of the Nurseries proper. The children are divided into three classes: I. The "Wet nursed:" II. The "Bottle fed:" III. The "Walking Children." They are retained here unless claimed by their parents until they attain the age of three or four years, when they are transferred to the Nurseries mentioned above. The Hospital is a large and handsome brick building, and will accommodate several hundred children and their nurses.

The Idiot Asylum is a large brick building, with accommodations for several hundred patients. It contains at present about 150 of these, whose ages vary from six to thirty years. They represent nearly all the different phases of idiocy, and are well cared for. Some of them have been greatly improved in mind by the treatment and discipline pursued.


It would be simply impossible to present within the limits of a single chapter, or indeed in half a dozen chapters of the size of this, a description of the Benevolent and Charitable Institutions of New York. We can do no more than glance at them. Besides the institutions already mentioned, there are twenty-one hospitals, twenty-three asylums, seventeen homes, five missions, industrial schools, and miscellaneous societies, making a total of sixty-six institutions, or with those already noticed, a total of nearly one hundred benevolent, charitable, penal, and reformatory institutions supported by the city and people of New York.

Among the hospitals the largest and oldest is the New York Hospital, formerly located on Broadway opposite Pearl street. The Hospital is in charge of the medical faculty of the University of New York. At present the operations of this institution are entirely suspended, and will not be resumed until the completion of new buildings, the old ones having been sold and pulled down.

The Bloomingdale Asylum for the Insane, is a branch of the New York Hospital. It is situated on One-hundred-and-seventeenth street, between Tenth and Eleventh avenues. It is one of the most complete establishments in the world, and is admirably conducted.

Bellevue Hospital, on the East River, at the foot of Twenty-sixth street, is one of the largest in the city. It will accommodate 1200 patients, and is conducted by the Commissioners of Charities and Corrections. There is no charge for treatment and attendance, everything being free. The hospital is in charge of the most distinguished physicians of the city, and as a school of clinical instruction ranks among the first in the world. The course is open to the students of all the medical schools in the city.


St. Luke's Hospital, on Fifty-fourth street and Fifth avenue, is a noble institution, and one of the prettiest places on the great thoroughfare of fashion. Its erection is due to the labors of the Rev. Dr. W. A. Muhlenberg. It is the property of the Episcopal Church, by which body it is conducted. The sick are nursed here by the "Sisters of the Holy Communion," a voluntary association of unmarried Protestant ladies. The hospital has accommodations for over one hundred patients, and is said to be the best conducted of any denominational charity in the city. Patients who are able to pay are required to do so, but the poor are received without charge.

The Roosevelt Hospital, a magnificent structure, is situated on West Fifty-ninth street, between Ninth and Tenth avenues, and is to furnish, when completed, accommodations for 600 patients. It is the gift of the late Jas. H. Roosevelt of New York to the suffering.


The Presbyterian Hospital, on Seventy-first street, between Fourth and Madison avenues, is not yet completed. It is a beautiful structure, and is to have accommodations for several hundred patients. It is the property of the Presbyterian Church of New York. The site, valued at $250,000, and a further sum of $250,000 in cash, were the gift of Mr. James Lenox.

The Roman Catholic Church conducts the Hospitals of St. Francis and St. Vincent, the former on East Fifth street, and the latter on the corner of Eleventh street and Seventh avenue. These two institutions contain about 250 beds.

The German Hospital, Seventy-seventh street and Fourth avenue, is, as yet, incomplete. It was erected by the German citizens of New York, but receives patients of every nationality and color. The poor are received without charge under certain restrictions. There are accommodations for about seventy-five patients in the present buildings. Connected with the hospital is a dispensary from which medical advice and medicines are given to the poor.

The Jews of New York have just completed a magnificent edifice, known as the Mount Sinai Hospital, on Lexington avenue, between Sixty-sixth and Sixty-seventh streets. It will contain 200 beds. The present Hebrew Hospital, in Twenty-eighth street, near Eighth avenue, contains about sixty-five beds. The Jews also have a burial ground, in which those of their faith who die in the Hospital are buried without expense to their friends.

The Child's Hospital, Lexington avenue and Fiftieth street, embraces four distinct charities: A Foundling Asylum, a Nursery for the children of laboring women, a Child's Hospital, and a Lying-in Asylum. The buildings are very extensive. The annual Charity Ball is given in behalf of this institution.

The Woman's Hospital of the State of New York, Fourth avenue and Fiftieth street, is a handsome building, and the only institution of its kind in the country. It owes its existence to the exertions of Dr. J. Marion Sims, who is, together with Dr. Emmett, still in charge of it. It is devoted exclusively to the treatment of female diseases. It is attended by physicians from all parts of the country, who come to receive clinical instruction in this branch of their profession.

The other prominent hospitals are, Dr. Knight's Institution for the Relief of the Ruptured and Crippled; the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary; the House of Rest for Consumptives; the New York Infirmary for Women and Children; the New York Medical College and Hospital for Women; the Hahneman Hospital; the Stranger's Hospital (a private charity); the New York Ophthalmic Hospital; the New York Aural Institute; and the Manhattan Eye and Ear Hospital.


Among the asylums are the Institution for the Blind, on Ninth avenue and Thirty-fourth street; the New York Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, on Washington Heights, overlooking the Hudson; the Institution for the Improved Instruction of Deaf Mutes, Broadway, near Forty-fifth street; the New York Orphan Asylum, Seventy-third street, west of Broadway; the Colored Orphan Asylum, One-hundred-and-tenth street and Tenth avenue; the Orphan Home and Asylum of the Protestant Episcopal Church, Forty-ninth street and Lexington avenue; the Sheltering Arms, an Episcopal institution for the Protection and Care of Orphans and half Orphans, especially those whose bodily infirmities would exclude them from other institutions; three Roman Catholic Orphan Asylums, one at the corner of Mott and Prince streets, one on Fifth avenue (for boys), on the block above the new Cathedral, and one in Madison avenue (for girls), immediately in the rear of that just mentioned; the New York Asylum for Lying-in Women, 83 Marion street; the Society for the Relief of Half Orphans and Destitute Children, 67 West Tenth street; the Leake and Watts Orphan House, West One-hundred-and-tenth street, near the Central Park; the New York Juvenile Asylum, One-hundred-and-seventy-sixth street, devoted to the reformation of juvenile vagrants; the Hebrew Benevolent and Orphan Asylum, Third avenue and Seventy-seventh street; St. Barnabas House, 304 Mulberry street, an Episcopal "Home for Homeless Women and Children;" the Institution of Mercy, 33 Houston street, a Roman Catholic institution for the visitation of the sick and prisoners, the instruction of poor children, and the protection of virtuous women in distress; the Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum of St. Vincent de Paul, Thirty-ninth street, near Seventh avenue; the Society for the Protection of Destitute Roman Catholic Children, the Protectory of which is located at West Farms, in Westchester County; the New York Foundling Asylum, in Washington Square; the Shepherd's Fold, Eighty-sixth street and Second avenue, an establishment similar to the "Sheltering Arms," and conducted by the Episcopal Church; the Woman's Aid Society and Home for Training Young Girls, Seventh avenue and Thirteenth street; and St. Joseph's Orphan Asylum (Roman Catholic), Avenue A and Eighty-ninth street.

Among the Homes and Missions are, the Association for the Relief of Respectable Aged Indigent Females, in East Twentieth street; the Ladies' Union Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Forty-second street, near Eighth avenue; the American Female Guardian Society and Home for the Friendless, 29 East Twenty-ninth, and 32 East Thirtieth streets; the Home for Incurables, an Episcopal institution, with its buildings at West Farms; the Samaritan Home for the Aged, Ninth avenue and Fourteenth street; the Colored Home, First avenue and Sixty-fifth street; St. Luke's (Episcopal) Home for Indigent Christian Females, Madison avenue and Eighty-ninth street; the Presbyterian Home for Aged Women, Seventy-third street, between Fourth and Madison avenues; the Union Home School, for the Orphans of Soldiers and Sailors, on the Boulevard at One-hundred-and-fifty-first street; the Female Christian Home for Women, 314 East Fifteenth street; the Home for Friendless Women, 86 West Fourth street; the Women's Prison Association, 213 Tenth avenue; the Roman Catholic Home for the Aged Poor, 447 West Thirty-second street; the Chapin Home for the Aged and Infirm (Universalist), now in course of erection; the Baptist Home for Aged and Infirm Persons, 41 Grove street; the Home for Aged Hebrews, 215 West Seventeenth street; the Ladies Christian Union or Young Women's Home, 27 and 28 Washington Square; the Water street Home for Women, 273 Water street, devoted to the reformation of fallen women, and occupying the building formerly used by John Allen, "the wickedest man in New York," as a dance house; Wilson's Industrial School for Girls, Avenue A and St. Mark's place; the New York House and School of Industry, 120 West Sixteenth street; and the Society for the Employment and Relief of Poor Women (Unitarian).

The city conducts five large and excellent dispensaries, at which the poor may receive medical advice, treatment and medicines free of charge. There are also a number of dispensaries devoted to the gratuitous treatment of special diseases.


Although Mr. Beecher is a resident of Brooklyn, and although Plymouth Church is located in that city, yet the great preacher is sufficiently bound to New York by business and socialities to make him a part of the great metropolis.

He was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, on the 24th of June, 1813, and is now in his fifty-ninth year, though he looks very much younger. He was the eighth child of Dr. Lyman Beecher, and was regarded as the dunce of the family, and, according to his own account, had the usual unpleasant experience of ministers' children. Being of a naturally strong, vigorous constitution, his body far outran his mind, and the little fellow lagged behind until nature asserted her rights. The forcing process accomplished very little with him. He was quick-witted, however, and fond of fun. The gloomy doctrines of his learned father made him shudder, and he came to the conclusion that Sunday was a day of penance, and the Catechism a species of torture invented for the punishment of dull boys. At the age of ten, he was sent to a boarding-school in Bethlehem, where he studied by shouldering his gun and going after partridges. Then his sister, Catharine, took him in hand, but he spent his time in teazing the girls of her school, and she was compelled to give him up as a hopeless case. The boy of ten could not be made a mental prodigy, do what they would. The result is that the man of fifty-nine is as fresh and vigorous in body and mind as most others are at thirty-five.


When he was twelve years old, his father removed to Boston, and there Henry began to show his true powers. He learned rapidly, and was soon sent to the Mount Pleasant Institute, at Amherst, from which he passed to Amherst College, where he graduated with distinction in 1834. While at Mount Pleasant, he formed the resolution of entering the ministry, and all his studies were thenceforward shaped to that end. In 1832, his father had removed to Cincinnati, to assume the presidency of the Lane Theological Seminary, and, after leaving Amherst, Henry followed him to the West, and completed his theological course at the Lane Seminary in 1836. In that year he was admitted to the ministry of the Presbyterian Church.

Immediately after his ordination, Mr. Beecher married, and accepted a call to Lawrenceburg, Indiana, on the Ohio River, twenty miles below Cincinnati. He did not stay there long, but passed to the charge of a church in Indianapolis, where he spent eight years—eight valuable years to him, for he says he learned how to preach there. In the summer of 1847, he received and accepted a call to the pastorate of Plymouth Church, in Brooklyn, which had just been founded, and on the 11th of November, 1847, he was publicly installed in the position which he has since held.

Few persons of education and taste ever come to New York without hearing the great preacher. Plymouth Church is a familiar place to them. It is located in Orange street, between Hicks and Henry streets, Brooklyn. It is a plain structure of red brick. The interior is as simple as the exterior. It is a plain, square room, with a large gallery extending entirely around it. At the upper end is a platform on which stands the pulpit—an exquisitely carved little stand of wood from the Garden of Gethsemane. In the gallery, back of the pulpit, is the organ, one of the grandest instruments in the country. The seats are arranged in semicircles. By placing chairs in the aisles, the house will seat with comfort twenty five hundred people. The congregation usually numbers about three thousand, every available place being crowded. The upholstering is in crimson, and contrasts well with the prevailing white color of the interior.

The singing is congregational, and is magnificent. One never hears such singing outside of Plymouth Church.

The gem of the whole service, however, is the sermon; and these sermons are characteristic of the man. They come warm and fresh from his heart, and they go home to the hearer, giving him food for thought for days afterward. Mr. Beecher talks to his people of what they have been thinking of during the week, of trials that have perplexed them, and of joys which have blessed them. He takes the merchant and the clerk to task for their conduct in the walks of business, and warns them of the snares and pitfalls which lie along their paths. He strips the thin guise of honesty from the questionable transactions of Wall street, and holds them up to public scorn. His dramatic power is extraordinary. He can hardly be responsible for it, since it breaks forth almost without his will. He moves his audience to tears, or brings a mirthful smile to their lips, with a power that is irresistible. His illustrations and figures are drawn chiefly from nature, and are fresh and striking. He can startle his hearers with the terrors of the law, but he prefers to preach the gospel of love. His sermons are printed weekly in the Plymouth Pulpit, and are read by thousands.

His literary labors, apart from his ministerial duties, have been constant. He has published several books, has edited The Independent and The Christian Union, and has contributed regularly to the New York Ledger and other papers. He has been almost constantly in the lecture field, and has spoken frequently before public assemblies on the various questions of the day.

Mr. Beecher is young-looking and vigorous. He has the face of a great orator, and one that is well worth studying. He dresses plainly, with something of the farmer in his air, and lives simply. He is blessed with robust health, and, like his father, is fond of vigorous exercise. He has a fine farm on the Hudson, to which he repairs in the summers. Here he can indulge his love of nature without restraint. He is said to be a capital farmer, though he complains that he does not find the pursuit any more remunerative than does his friend, Mr. Greeley.


To live at the expense of other people, and to procure the means of living in comfort without working for it, is an art in which there are many proficients in New York. Certain of those who practise this art are known in city parlance as "Black-mailers," and they constitute one of the most dangerous portions of the community. The Blackmailer is generally a woman, though she is frequently sustained or urged on by a rough, professional thief, or pick-pocket. The indiscretions of men of nominally spotless character are constantly becoming known through the instrumentality of the gossips, and as soon as these reach the ears of the Blackmailers, who are ever on the watch for them, they proceed to take advantage of them to extort money from the person implicated. They are not content, however, with making victims of those who are really guilty of indiscretions, but boldly assail the innocent and virtuous, well-knowing that nine persons out of ten, though guiltless of wrongdoing, will sooner comply with their demands than incur the annoyance of a public scandal. Such persons think the wretch will never dare to charge them with the same offence or endeavor to extort money from them a second time, and make the first payment merely to rid themselves of the annoyance. They ought never to yield, whether innocent or guilty, for the Blackmailer is sure to repeat her demand. The law makes it a crime for any one to endeavor to extort money in this way, and no person so threatened should hesitate to apply to the police for protection.

As a rule, the Blackmailer is easily driven off with the aid of the police, but sometimes her plans are so skilfully laid that it requires all the ingenuity of the most experienced detectives to ferret out the plot. These women act upon the well-established fact that respectable people dread scandal, and that a man guilty of an indiscretion will make many sacrifices to conceal it. They rarely assail women, as there is not much money to be made out of them, but they know that almost any story about a man will be believed, and they fasten themselves like leeches upon men. Young men about to make rich marriages are their favorite victims. These generally yield to them, not caring to risk a scandal which might break off the whole affair. If a young man refuses one of them on such occasions, she goes boldly to the lady he is to marry, and declares herself the innocent and wronged victim of the aforesaid young man. This is her revenge, and the majority of young men, knowing them to be capable of such a course, comply with their demands on the spot. There is nothing these wretches will not do, no place they will not invade, in order to extort money from their victims.

Persons from the country, stopping at the hotels of the city, are frequently the objects of the attacks of the Blackmailers. A man's name is learned from the hotel register, and he is boldly approached and charged with conduct he never dreamed of being guilty of. The scoundrel professes to know him and his whole family, and names the price of his silence. Too often the demand is complied with, and the money paid. The proper course to pursue when accosted in such a manner, is to call upon the nearest policeman for assistance in shaking off the wretch.

A few years ago a minister, in charge of a prominent and wealthy city church abruptly left the city. There had never been a whisper of any kind of scandal connected with his name, and his friends were at a loss to account for his strange action. He refused, at first, when his retreat was discovered, to give any reason for his conduct, and begged that his hiding-place should be kept secret. At length, however, he confessed that he was the innocent victim of a female Blackmailer. He was a weak man, proud of his reputation, and more than usually timid in such matters. The woman had approached him, and had boldly charged him with a crime of which he was innocent, and had demanded a sum of money as the price of her silence. Finding it impossible to get rid of her, and dreading a scandal, the minister had paid the money. The demand was repeated again and again for two years, until the woman had wrung from her victim a sum of several thousand dollars, and had driven him to such a state of despair that he had abandoned his home and his prospects, and had fled to escape from her clutches. His friends came to his aid, and by securing the interposition of the police, compelled the woman to relinquish her hold upon her victim.

Many of the female Blackmailers are very young, mere girls. A couple of years ago, Police Captain Thorne discovered a regularly organized band of them. They are mostly flower girls, from twelve to sixteen years of age. They are generally modest in demeanor, and some of them are attractive in appearance. They gain admittance to the offices and counting rooms of professional men and merchants, under the pretext of selling their flowers, and then, if the gentleman is alone, close the door, and threaten to scream and accuse him of taking improper liberties with them, unless he consents to pay them the sum they demand.

A merchant of great wealth, high position, and irreproachable character, called upon Captain Thorne, about two years ago, and "frankly stated that he was the victim of one of these flower girls, who had already despoiled him of large sums of money, and whose persecutions were actually killing him. It appears that she always came to his counting-house on particular days, and, watching until he was alone, went boldly into his private office. In police parlance, they 'put up a job on her.' Captain Thorne was secreted in the office the next time she called, and the gentleman talked to her as previously arranged. He began by asking her why she persisted in her demands upon him, for, said he, 'you know I never had anything to do with you, never said an improper word to you.' The young analyst of human nature answered, unabashed, 'I know that; but who'll believe you if I say you did?' Captain Thorne, dressed in full police uniform, stepped from the closet with, 'I will for one, Mary.' The girl, young as she was, had experience enough in devious ways to see that her game had escaped, and readily, although sullenly, promised to cease exacting tribute in that particular quarter. The gentleman would go no further, and to the earnest entreaties of Captain Thorne to prosecute the girl, both for her own good and that of society, returned an absolute refusal. Captain Thorne was, therefore, obliged to let her go with a warning not to attempt her operations again anywhere. He also remonstrated with her upon her way of living, and asked her why she did such things. The hardened girl morosely answered that all the other girls did them, and thus gave a clue which was followed until it developed a gang of feminine blackmailers of tender years, working in concert. Although the band was then dispersed, the method of robbery it employed survived, and is yet extensively used by scores of girls, under the cover of selling not only flowers, but apples and other fruits."



The city journals frequently contain such advertisements as the following:

A TEST MEDIUM.—THE ORIGINAL MADAME F—- tells everything, traces absent friends, losses, causes speedy marriages, gives lucky numbers. Ladies, fifty cents; gentlemen, one dollar. 464 —-th Avenue.

A FACT—NO IMPOSITION. THE GREAT EUROPEAN Clairvoyant. She consults you on all affairs of life. Born with a natural gift, she tells past, present, and future; she brings together those long separated; causes speedy marriages; shows you a correct likeness of your future husband or friends in love affairs. She was never known to fail. She tells his name; also lucky numbers free of charge. She succeeds when all others fail. Two thousand dollars reward for any one that can equal her in professional skill. Ladies, fifty cents to one dollar. Positively no gents admitted. No 40 —- Avenue.

It seems strange that, in this boasted age of enlightenment, the persons who make such announcements as the above can find any one simple enough to believe them. Yet, it is a fact, that these persons, who are generally women, frequently make large sums of money out of the credulity of their fellow creatures. Every mail brings them letters from persons in various parts of the country. These letters are generally answered, and the contents have disgusted more than one simpleton. The information furnished is such as any casual acquaintance could give, and just as trustworthy as the reports of the "reliable gentleman just from the front," used to prove during the late war. The city custom of these impostors is about equal to that brought to them from the country by means of their advertisements. Some of them make as much as one hundred dollars per day, all of which is a clear profit. The majority earn from three to six dollars per day. Servant girls are profitable customers. Indeed, but for female credulity the business would go down.

Still, there are many male visitors. Speculators, victims of the gaming table and the lottery, come to ask for advice, which is given at random. The woman knows but little of her visitors, and has no means of learning anything about them. Sometimes her statements are found to be true, but it is by the merest accident.

The clairvoyants do not hesitate to confess to their friends, in a confidential way, of course, that their pretensions are mere humbuggery, and they laugh at the credulity of their victims, whilst they encourage it. It seems absurd to discuss this subject seriously. We can only say to those who shall read this chapter, that there is not in the City of New York an honest fortune-teller or clairvoyant. They knowingly deceive persons as to their powers. It is not given to human beings to read the future—certainly not to such wretched specimens as the persons who compose the class of which we are writing. The only sensible plan is to keep your money, dear reader. You know more than these impostors can possibly tell you.

Many of these fortune-tellers and clairvoyants are simply procuresses. They draw women into their houses, and ply them so with temptations, that they frequently ruin them. This is the real business of most of them. They are leagued with the keepers of houses of ill-fame. No woman is safe who enters their doors.

The women also offer for sale "amulets," "charms," or "recipes," which they declare will enable a person to win the love of any one of the opposite sex, and excite the admiration of friends; or which will "give you an influence over your enemies or rivals, moulding them to your own will or purpose;" or which will "enable you to discover lost, stolen, or hidden treasures," etc., etc. For each or any of these charms, from three to five dollars is asked, "with return postage," when sent by mail. All these, as well as "love powders," "love elixirs," and the like, are either worthless, or are composed of dangerous chemical substances. Strange to say, the sale of these things is large. The world is full of fools, and the best proof of it is that two of the most noted women of New York, who practise the arts we have described, are worth respectively one hundred thousand dollars and eighty thousand dollars.


There are several women in the city who advertise to introduce strangers into the best society, and to procure wives and husbands from the same element for their customers. As a general rule, these women are simply procuresses. If, however, a man desiring to marry a woman in this city, seeks their aid, they will always find some means of assisting him. The charge for their services is either a percentage on the lady's fortune, or a certain specified sum. The woman, or broker, will devise some means of making the acquaintance of the lady against whom her arts are to be directed, and will proceed cautiously, step by step, until she has caused her victim to meet the man for whom she is working. The arts used vary according to circumstances, but they rarely fail of success. Men who wish to accomplish the ruin of some innocent girl, also seek the aid of these brokers, and frequently, through their assistance, effect their purpose. If it is necessary, the victim, after being allured to the broker's house, is drugged. These women are the vampires of society. It is very difficult for the authorities to make a case against them, and they generally go unpunished.

The offers of these wretches to procure wives for men wishing to be married, are often accepted by simpletons living in country districts. The fool is induced to come to the city, where he is introduced to a woman who is perhaps a prostitute, or a servant girl, or one who is willing to marry any man who will support her. She readily enters into the arrangement proposed by the broker, and marries the silly fellow, who goes back to his rural home with her, thinking he has married a lady.

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