Said another: "A lady got in with me one day an' handed up a fifty cent stamp. I put down forty cents. I don't never look gen'rally, but this time I see a man take the change an' put it in his pocket. Pretty soon a man rings the bell an' says, 'Where's the lady's change?' Well, I thinks here's a go, an' I points to the man and says, 'That there gentleman put it in his pocket.' Well, that fellow looked like a sheet, an' a thunder-cloud an' all through the rainbow. He never said nothing but pulled out the change, gave it up, an' then he got out an' went 'round a corner like mad. Some don't wait like he did tho', but gits out right off. One day a chap got out an' another follered him, an they had it out on the street there, an' we all was a looking on."
Sometimes the drivers make "a haul" in a curious way. Said one: "A man handed me up a fifty dollar bill one night. I handed it back four times, and got mad because he wouldn't give me a small bill. He said he hadn't anything else, and I could take that or nothing, so, I gave him change for a dollar bill, and kept forty-nine dollars and ten cents for his fare. He didn't say anything, and after a while he got out. Why, the other day a lady gave me a hundred dollar note, and when I told her I thought she'd faint. 'My goodness!' said she, 'I didn't know it was more than one.' Such people ought to be beat; they'd be more careful when they lose a few thousand."
"Some fellows," said another driver, "give you ten or fifteen cents, an' swear they give you a fifty cent stamp, an' you have to give them change for fifty cents, or they'll may be go to the office an' make a fuss, an' the bosses will sooner take their word than yours, an' you'll get sacked."
One of the most laborious ways of "turning an honest penny" was brought to my notice by one of these knights of the whip. Said he: "Has you been a watchin' of my business this morning? P'r'aps you aint took notice of the money I'm takin' in? No, I guess not." The latter remark was followed by a rough laugh, in which I thought there was distinguishable a little more than mere merriment, especially when I heard a mumbled imprecation. He continued aloud: "I aint seen any yet myself." Soon the bell rang, and a ticket was passed up. "Well," said he, "he's goin' it strong, to be sure; this here's the fourteenth ticket I've had on this trip." An explanation being solicited, the fact was revealed that there was a man inside who made a practice of buying twelve tickets for a dollar, then seating himself near the bell, he would take the fares of every one and give the driver a ticket for each, that is, receive ten cents and give the driver the equivalent of eight and one-third cents, thereby making ten cents on every six passengers. "You see," said the driver, "what a blessin' those sort of fellers is. Here I don't have no trouble whatsomever; he makes all the change for me, and 'spose my box should blow over, nothen's lost." From time to time as the tickets were handed up he would cheer the toiler inside with such expressions as "Go it boots," "How's the cash?" "How does the old thing work?" always loud enough to attract the attention of the "insides."
This strange individual interested me so much that I made some inquiries about him, at first supposing him to be crazy or otherwise terribly afflicted; but he is considered sound, is the third in a well-to-do firm, and is far beyond the need of having recourse to any such means for increasing his capital.
III. STEAM RAILWAYS.
The great necessity of New York is some sure means of rapid transit between the upper and lower parts of the island. The average New Yorker spends about an hour or an hour and a half each day in going to and from his business, and an immense amount of valuable time is thus lost, which loss is often increased by delays. For the past few years the citizens of the metropolis have been seeking to procure the construction of a road from the Battery to Harlem to be operated by steam, and it seems probable now that a few years more will witness the completion of such a road. Public opinion is divided between two plans, and it is probable that both will be tried, and that the city will soon contain a steam railway elevated above the street and a similar road under the ground.
The elevated railway has already been tried to a limited extent, but is not regarded with much favor by the citizens. This line extends along Greenwich street and Ninth avenue, from the Battery to Thirtieth street. The track of this road is laid on iron posts, at an elevation of about sixteen feet above the street. The cars are so constructed that it would be impossible for one of them to fall from the track. Dummy engines furnish the motive power. The running time from the present southern terminus at Courtlandt street to Thirtieth street, a distance of about three miles, is fifteen minutes. The road is pronounced perfectly safe by competent engineers, but the structure appears so light to the unscientific public that nine out of ten view it with distrust, and it is doubtful whether it will ever meet with the success the company hope for.
The only other elevated road at present contemplated, and for which a liberal charter has been obtained, is known as the Viaduct Road. It is proposed to build this on a series of arches of solid masonry, the streets to be spanned by light bridges. The line of the road is to be in the centre of the blocks along its route. The estimated cost of the road, including the sum to be paid for the right of way, is about $80,000,000; and it seems certain that this immense cost will necessitate radical changes in the original plan.
[Picture: TUNNEL UNDER BROADWAY.]
The underground plan has many supporters in the city, these basing their hopes upon the success achieved by the underground railway of London. There are several plans proposed for an underground road. The first is known as the Arcade Railway. It is proposed by the friends of this plan to excavate the streets along which it passes to a depth of about twenty feet, or in other words, to make a new street twenty feet below the level of those already in existence. This new street is to be provided with sidewalks, gas-lamps, telegraph lines, hydrants, etc., and upon the sidewalks the basements of the present buildings will open, thus adding an additional and valuable story to the existing edifices. The lower street is to be arched over with solid masonry, rendered water-tight, and supported by heavy iron columns. Large glass plates, similar to those now used for lighting the cellars of stores, will be placed in the sidewalks of the street above, and will furnish light to the lower street during the day. The roadway of the lower street will be entirely devoted to the use of railway trains. The proposed route of the Arcade line is from the Battery, under Broadway, to Union Square. Thence the eastern branch is to extend along Fourth avenue to the Harlem River, while the western is to continue along Broadway to the junction of Ninth avenue, whence it will be prolonged to the northern end of the island.
The Underground Railway proper is to extend from the lower to the upper end of the island, and is to pass through one or more tunnels, after the manner of the Underground Railway of London.
The third plan for an underground road, is the only one that has yet been attempted. It is known as the "Beach Pneumatic Tunnel." A small section, several hundred yards in length, has been constructed under Broadway, and the company owning it claim that they have thus demonstrated their ability to construct and work successfully a road extending from the Battery to the upper end of the island.
The tunnel is eight feet in diameter. It commences in the cellar of the marble building of Messrs. Develin & Co., at the southwest corner of Broadway and Warren street, and extends under the great thoroughfare to a point a little below Murray street. It is dry and clean, is painted white, and is lighted with gas. It passes under all the gas and water pipes and sewers. The cars are made to fit the tunnel, and are propelled by means of atmospheric pressure. A strong blast of air, thrown out by means of an immense blowing machine, is forced against the rear end of a car, and sends it along the track like a sail-boat before the wind. This current of course secures perfect ventilation within the car. The company claim that they will be able, when their road is completed, to transport more than 20,000 passengers per hour, each way.
XII. HORACE GREELEY.
The best known man in New York, in one sense, and the least known in others, is Horace Greeley. If there is a man, woman, or child in all this broad land who has not heard of him, let that person apply to Barnum for an engagement as a natural curiosity. And yet how few know the man as he really is. The most absurd stories are told of him, and the likeness most familiar to the public is a ridiculous caricature.
He was born in Amherst, New Hampshire, on the 3d of February, 1811, and is consequently 61 years old. His parents were poor, and Horace received but a very plain education at the common schools of the vicinity. The natural talent of the boy made up for this, however, for he read everything he could lay his hands on. He was a rapid reader, too, and had the faculty of retaining the information thus acquired. He was kept too busy at work on his father's sterile farm to be able to read during the day, and he was too poor to afford to use candles at night, and so his early studies were carried on by the light of pine knots. He served a severe apprenticeship at the printing business, commencing it at a very early age, and finding employment first on one country paper, and then on another, working at his trade, and occasionally writing for the journals he put in type.
In 1831 he came to New York, convinced that the great city offered him a better opportunity for success than any other place, and resolved to win that success. He was very boyish in appearance, frail, delicate-looking, but hopeful and resolved. For ten years he worked hard in the various offices of the city, sometimes setting type and sometimes writing editorials. Sometimes he published his own journal, but generally found this a "losing business." Failure did not discourage him, and he kept on, acquiring greater experience and becoming better known every year. He has himself told so well the story of his early struggles to so large an audience that I need not repeat it here.
In 1841, ten years from the time he wandered along Nassau street, without money or friends, and with all his worldly possessions tied up in a handkerchief, he began the publication of the New York Tribune, having succeeded in obtaining the necessary capital. It was a venture, and a bold one, but it proved a great success. He chose the name of the journal himself, and became its responsible editor. Though others have assisted him in his efforts, the success of the paper is his work. He has made it a great power in the land, and he is naturally proud of his work. Those who know him best say that the title dearest to his heart is that of "Founder of the New York Tribune."
Mr. Greeley's career has been one of incessant labor. His friends say he was never known to rest as other men do. When he goes to his farm in Westchester County for recreation, he rests by chopping wood and digging ditches. His editorial labors make up a daily average of about two columns of the Tribune, and he contributes the equivalent of about six Tribune columns per week to other journals. He writes from fifteen to twenty-five letters per day; he has published several large works; he goes thoroughly through his exchanges every day, and keeps himself well posted in the current literature of the times; he speaks or lectures about five or six times a month, and makes monthly visits to Albany and Washington, to see what is going on behind the scenes in the capitals of the State and Nation. He is constantly receiving people who come on business or from curiosity, and yet he never seems tired, though he is not always even-tempered.
He is somewhat peculiar in his personal appearance. Most people in thinking of him picture to themselves a slouchy looking man, with a white hat, a white overcoat, with one leg of his breeches caught over the top of his boot, his whole dress shabby and not overclean, and his pockets stuffed full of newspapers, and many have imagined that he "gets himself up" so, in order to attract attention on the streets. The true Horace Greeley, however, though careless as to outward appearances, is immaculately neat in his dress. No one ever saw him with dirty linen or soiled clothes except in muddy weather, when, in New York, even a Brummel must be content to be splashed with mud. Mr. Greeley's usual dress is a black frock coat, a white vest, and a pair of black pantaloons which come down to the ankle. His black cravat alone betrays his carelessness, and that only when it slips off the collar, and works its way around to the side. Mr. Greeley is five feet ten inches in height, and is stout in proportion. He is partly bald, and his hair is white. He has a light, pinkish complexion, and his eyes are blue, small, and sunken. His mouth is well-shaped, and his features are regular. His beard is worn around the throat and under the chin, and is perfectly white. His hands are small and soft; but his feet and legs are awkward and clumsy, and this gives to him a peculiar shuffling motion in walking. He is abstracted in manner, and when accosted suddenly replies abruptly, and as some think rudely.
One of his acquaintances thus describes him in his editorial office:
"We walk through the little gate in the counter, turn within the open doorway on our left, climb a short, narrow flight of stairs, and find ourselves in a small room, ten by fifteen, furnished with a green carpet, a bed lounge, an open book-rack, a high desk, a writing-desk, three arm-chairs, a short-legged table, and a small marble sink.
"Mr. Greeley's back is toward us. He is seated at his desk. His head is bent over his writing, and his round shoulders are quite prominent. He is scribbling rapidly. A quire of foolscap, occupying the only clear space on his desk, is melting rapidly beneath his pen. The desk itself is a heap of confusion. Here is Mr. Greeley's straw hat; there is his handkerchief. In front of him is a peck of newspaper clippings, not neatly rolled up, but loosely sprawled over the desk. At his left a rickety pair of scissors catches a hurried nap, and at his right a paste-pot and a half-broken box of wafers appear to have had a rough-and-tumble fight. An odd-looking paper-holder is just ready to tumble on the floor. An old-fashioned sand-box, looking like a dilapidated hour-glass, is half-hidden under a slashed copy of The New York World. Mr. Greeley still sticks to wafers and sand, instead of using mucilage and blotting-paper. A small drawer, filled with postage stamps and bright steel pens, has crawled out on the desk. Packages of folded missives are tucked in the pigeon-holes, winking at us from the back of the desk, and scores of half-opened letters, mixed with seedy brown envelopes, flop lazily about the table. Old papers lie gashed and mangled about his chair, the debris of a literary battle field. A clean towel hangs on a rack to his right. A bound copy of The Tribune Almanac, from 1838 to 1868, swings from a small chain fastened to a staple screwed in the side of his desk; two other bound volumes stand on their feet in front of his nose, and two more of the same kind are fast asleep on the book-rack in the corner. Stray numbers of the almanac peep from every nook. The man who would carry off Greeley's bound pile of almanacs would deserve capital punishment. The Philosopher could better afford to lose one of his legs than to lose his almanacs. The room is kept scrupulously clean and neat. A waste paper basket squats between Mr. Greeley's legs, but one half the torn envelopes and boshy communications flutter to the floor instead of being tossed into the basket. The table at his side is covered with a stray copy of The New York Ledger, and a dozen magazines lie thereon. Here is an iron garden rake wrapped up in an Independent. There hangs a pair of handcuffs once worn by old John Brown, and sent Mr. Greeley by an enthusiastic admirer of both Horace and John. A champagne basket, filled with old scrap-books and pamphlets, occupies one corner. A dirty bust of Lincoln, half hidden in dusty piles of paper, struggles to be seen on the top of his desk. A pile of election tables, dirty, ragged and torn, clipped from some unknown newspaper, looks as if they had half a mind to jump down on the 'Old Man's' bald head. A certificate of life membership in some tract or abolition society, and maps of the World, New York, and New Jersey hang on the wall. A rare geological specimen of quartz rock, weighing about ten pounds, is ready to roll down a high desk to the floor on the first alarm. Dirty pamphlets are as plentiful as cockroaches. His office library consists of 150 volumes.
"Pen, ink, paper, scissors, and envelopes are in unfailing demand. The cry, 'Mr. Greeley wants writing paper!' creates a commotion in the counting-room, and Mr. Greeley gets paper quicker than a hungry fisherman could skin an eel.
"Mr. Greeley can lay Virginia worm fences in ink faster than any other editor in New York City. He uses a fountain-pen, a present from some friend. He thinks a great deal of it, but during an experience of three years has failed to learn the simple principle of suction without getting his mouth full of ink, and he generally uses it with an empty receiver. He makes a dash at the ink-bottle every twenty seconds, places the third finger and thumb of his left hand on his paper, and scratches away at his worm fence like one possessed. He writes marvellously fast. Frequently the point of his pen pricks through his sheet, for he writes a heavy hand, and a snap follows, spreading inky spots over the paper, resembling a woodcut portraying the sparks from a blacksmith's hammer. Blots like mashed spiders, or crushed huckleberries, occasionally intervene, but the old veteran dashes them with sand, leaving a swearing compositor to scratch off the soil, and dig out the words underneath.
"Mr. Greeley's manuscript, when seen for the first time, resembles an intricate mass of lunatic hieroglyphics, or the tracks of a spider suffering from delirium tremens. But, by those accustomed to his writing, a remarkable exactness is observed. The spelling, punctuation, accented letters, and capitalizing are perfect. The old type-setters of the office prefer his manuscript above that of any other editor, for the simple reason that he writes his article as he wishes it to appear, and rarely, if ever, cuts or slashes a proof-sheet. And this punctuality is, in a great measure, a feature of his life. He is always in time, and never waits for anybody. He employs no private secretary, and when he receives a letter, answers it on the instant. No matter how trivial the request, the next outward-bound mail will carry away one of his autographs, if he thinks an answer necessary.
"He knows we have entered his room, yet he continues his writing. The only sound we hear within the sanctum is the scratch of his pen. He has the power of concentrating all the strength of his mind on the subject of his editorial, and will pay no attention to any question, however important, until he finishes his sentence. If the cry of 'Fire!' should resound through the building, Greeley would finish his sentence and ring his bell before he would leave his room. The sentence complete, he places the forefinger of his right hand at the end of the word last written, seizes the handle of his pen in his teeth, and looks his tormentor full in the face. It is a glance of inquiry, and the questioner, intuitively conscious of this fact, repeats his interrogation. Mr. Greeley divines the question before it is finished, and answers it pithily and quickly. The pen is then snatched from his mouth, dexterously dipped into his inkstand, and his fingers again travel across his transverse sheet of foolscap like a 'daddy-long-legs' caught in a storm. If his questioner is importunate, and insists on wasting his time, he continues his writing, never looking up, and either answers absent-mindedly, or in a low, impatient tone, tinged with a peculiar boyish nervousness. If his visitor is ungentlemanly enough to still continue his teasing importunities, a storm breaks forth, and the uncourteous person will trot out of the sanctum with an answer ringing in his ears that should bring a flush to his cheek.
"To Mr. Greeley time is more valuable than money or even friendship. When busy, he is no respecter of persons. President or hod-carrier, general or boot-black, clergyman or express-driver, authoress or apple-woman—all are treated alike. Eminent men have left his room under the impression that they have been deliberately slighted, while Horace still slashed away at his inky pickets, totally unconscious of any neglect."
Mr. Greeley's home is at Chappaqua, in Westchester County, New York, about thirty miles from the city. He owns a fine farm of about forty acres, which has cost him more money than he would care to tell. Agriculture is one of his great hobbies, and he tests here all the theories that are presented to him. His friends say that his turnips cost him about ten dollars apiece to produce, and bring about fifty cents per bushel in the market, and that all his farming operations are conducted on the same principle.
[Picture: HORACE GREELEY.]
Mr. Greeley married when quite young, and has had three children. Two daughters, aged about twenty and twelve, are living, but his son, a bright and unusually promising child, died some years ago. Mr. Greeley is one of the principal stockholders in the Tribune, and is a rich man. He is liberal and generous to those in need, and is a warm friend to benevolent enterprises of all kinds.
The chief reason of his popularity is the general confidence of the people in his personal integrity. Not even his political enemies question his honesty—and surely in these days of corruption and crime in public life, an honest man is one that can not well be spared.
XIII. THE TOMBS.
Turn out of Printing House Square, leaving the City Hall on your left, and pass up Centre street for about a quarter of a mile, and you will come to a massive granite edifice in the Egyptian style of architecture. It occupies an entire square, and is bounded by Centre and Elm, and Leonard and Franklin streets. The main entrance is on Centre street, and is approached by a broad flight of granite steps, which lead to a portico supported by massive Egyptian columns. The proper name of the edifice is The Halls of Justice, but it is popularly known all over the Union as The Tombs, which name was given to it in consequence of its gloomy appearance. It occupies the site of the old Collect Pond which once supplied the citizens of New York with drinking water, was begun in 1835 and completed in 1838.
The outer building occupies four sides of a hollow square, and is 253 by 200 feet in size. It was built at a time when New York contained scarcely half its present population, and has long since ceased to be equal to the necessities of the city. The site is low and damp, and the building is badly ventilated. The warden does all in his power to counteract these evils, and keeps the place remarkably neat, but it is still a terribly sickly and dreary abode. It was designed to accommodate about 200 prisoners, but for some years past the number of prisoners confined here at one time has averaged 400, and has sometimes exceeded that average. The Grand Jury of the County have recently condemned the place as a nuisance, and it is believed that the city will ere long possess a larger, cleaner, and more suitable prison.
[Picture: THE TOMBS.]
When the prison was built the Five Points, on the western verge of which it lies, was a much worse section than it is now. It is bad enough at present, but then the Tombs constituted a solitary island in a sea of crime and suffering. A terrible island it was, too.
Entering through the gloomy portal upon which the sunlight never falls, the visitor is chilled with the dampness which greets him as soon as he passes into the shadow of the heavy columns. Upon reaching the inner side of the enclosure, he finds that the portion of the prison seen from the street encloses a large courtyard, in the centre of which stands a second prison, 142 feet long by 45 feet deep, and containing 148 cells. This is the male prison, and is connected with the outer building by a bridge known as the Bridge of Sighs, since it is by means of it that condemned criminals pass from their cells to the scaffold at the time of their execution.
The gallows is taken down and kept in the prison until there is need for it. Then it is set up in the courtyard near the Bridge of Sighs. All executions are conducted here in private, that is, they are witnessed only by such persons as the officers of the law may see fit to admit. But on such days the neighboring buildings are black with people, seeking to look down over the prison walls and witness the death agonies of the poor wretch who is paying the penalty of the law.
[Picture: THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS.]
The interior of the male prison consists of a narrow and lofty hall, upon which open four tiers of cells, one above another; those above the ground floor being reached by light iron galleries. Each gallery is guarded by two keepers. The cells are narrow, and each is lighted by a small iron-barred window at the farther end. Light and air are also admitted by the barred door of iron opening upon the corridor. There are eleven cells of especial strength, in which convicts condemned to death or to the State Prison are confined. There are six other cells, which are used for the confinement of persons charged with offences less grave, and six more, which are used for sick prisoners. The cells are generally full of criminals. Some of them are well furnished, and are provided with carpets, chairs, a table, and books and paper, which are bought at the expense of the prisoner or his friends. Some of the inmates shrink from the observation of visitors, but others are hardened to crime and shame, and not unfrequently cause the visitor's ears to tingle with the remarks they address to them. No lights are allowed in the cells, and the aspect of the place is very gloomy, the whole prison is kept scrupulously clean, the sanitary regulations being very strict, but the lack of room necessitates the crowding of the prisoners to a fearfully demoralizing extent.
[Picture: INTERIOR OF MALE PRISON.]
The outer building contains the female prison, which lies along the Leonard street side, the boys' prison, and the halls of justice, or rooms occupied by the Tombs Police Court and the Court of Special Sessions. Over the main entrance on the Centre street side, are six comfortable cells. These are for the use of criminals of the wealthier class, who can afford to pay for such comforts. Forgers, fraudulent merchants, and the like, pass the hours of their detention in these rooms, while their humbler but not more guilty brothers in crime are shut in the close cells of the male prison. These rooms command a view of the street, so that their occupants are not entirely cut off from the outer world.
The female prison is in charge of an excellent matron, who has held her position for more than twenty years. Men are never confined here, and male visitors are subject to certain restrictions. In this portion is located the room used as a chapel. Religious services of some kind are held in the Tombs every day in the week except Saturday, and the effort is made to give all the denominations an opportunity of doing good. Sunday morning and Tuesday until noon are devoted to the Roman Catholics; Sunday and Tuesday afternoons to the Episcopalians; Monday to the Methodists, and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to the other Protestant denominations. Some of the Protestant clergy sometimes attempt to hold religious services in the main hall of the male prison, so that the prisoners in their cells may hear what is going on. The latter pay little or no attention to the preacher, and frequently interrupt and annoy him by their shouts, jeers and imitations in their cells. The Sisters of Charity are in charge of the female and boys' prisons, and do a vast amount of good by their quiet ministrations. The boys are kept in a large room during the day, and are locked up in separate cells at night.
[Picture: THE PRISON CHAPEL.]
One of the principal rooms in the Tombs is "The Bummers' Cell." It is a large apartment, shut off from one of the main halls by an iron railing. It is always tolerably well filled, and on Saturday nights it is overflowing. Here are confined those against whom there is no serious charge; persons arrested for drunkenness, or for simple disorder on the streets. On Sunday morning the visitor will sometimes find a large crowd of men collected in it, not all of whom are unfortunates or criminals. Some are well-dressed, well-to-do persons, who have had the misfortune to be drunk and noisy on Saturday night. Some are strangers, residents of other cities, who have started out from their hotels to see the sights and have a merry time, and who have fallen at length—and fortunately for them—into the hands of the police. A few are persons who have been wrongfully or maliciously accused of crime.
From sunset until long after midnight on Saturday, the police are busy with ridding the streets of drunken and disorderly persons. As soon as a person is arrested, he is taken to the Tombs or to one of the station-houses. It is the duty of the officer in charge of the precinct to lock up every one against whom a definite charge is brought. Even though satisfied that the person is wrongfully accused, or is simply unfortunate, he has no discretion. He must hold for trial all charged with offences, and at the Tombs the officer is obliged to throw persons who command his sympathy into the company of the most abandoned wretches for an entire night. Drunkenness, disorderly conduct, and fighting, are the principal charges brought against the occupants of the Bummers' Cell. The noise, profanity, and obscenity are fearful. All classes and ages are represented there.
During the year 1870, 49,423 persons were confined for various periods of time in the Tombs.
The Tombs Police Court offers some interesting and instructive spectacles. It is opened at six o'clock on Sunday morning. It is presided over by Justice Joseph Dowling, a short, thickset man, with a handsome face, and a full, well-shaped head, indicating both ability and determination. Judge Dowling is still a young man, and is one of the most efficient magistrates in the city. His decisions are quickly rendered, and are usually just. His long experience with criminals has given him an intimate knowledge of the men with whom he has to deal, and their ways. This often helps him to a conclusion which is really true, although the evidence in the case does not confirm it, and he frequently startles criminals by boldly declaring that they did thus and so at such a time. The criminal overwhelmed with astonishment and confusion generally admits the charge, and is sentenced accordingly. A stranger is at once struck with the quick and penetrating power of Judge Dowling's glance. He seems to look right through a criminal, and persons brought before him generally find it impossible to deceive him. This has made him the terror of criminals, who have come to regard an arraignment before him as equivalent to a conviction, which is generally the case. At the same time he is kind and considerate to those who are simply unfortunate. As a man, he is kind-hearted, and inclined to lean toward the side of mercy.
As soon as the court is opened, the prisoners are called up in the order of their arrival during the previous night. Drunkenness and disorder, and first offences of a minor character, are punished with a reprimand, and the prisoner is dismissed. These cases constitute a majority of the charges, and the judge disposes of them with a rapidity which astonishes a stranger. The more serious cases are held for further examination, or are sent on for trial before the Court of Special Sessions.
All classes of people come to the Justice with complaints of every description. Women come to complain of their husbands, and men of their wives. Judge Dowling listens to them all, and if a remedy is needed, applies the proper one without delay. In most instances he dismisses the parties with good advice, as their cases are not provided for by the law.
The Court of Special Sessions sits in a large hall on the right of the main entrance to the prison. It is strictly a criminal court, and is for the trial of charges which are too serious to be disposed of in the Police Court. Two judges are supposed to sit during the sessions of this court, but Judge Dowling frequently conducts its business alone. The prisoner is allowed to employ counsel and introduce witnesses in his own behalf.
The following is an example of the way in which Judge Dowling transacts business in this court:
"The first case of importance was that of the People vs. James Day, alias 'Big-mouthed Scotty,' and William Jones, alias 'Billy Clews,' on the complaint of Captain Ira S. Garland, of the Twelfth precinct. Probably there are not two other men in this city who could fairly be compared with these. They are both of the most dissolute, desperate habits, and have been what they now are, thieves, since the date of their entry into this city. The first, who is truthfully styled 'big-mouthed'—that hole in his face being almost large enough to run in one of the cars on the elevated railroad in Greenwich street—was born in the Hielands o' Bonnie Scotland; but, be it said, he appears not to have become inoculated with the same spirit of honesty and perseverance that characterizes the greater portion of his countrymen. He arrived here nearly twenty years ago, and since that time he has been a lazy, contemptible thief, a shocking contrast with Caledonians in general.
[Picture: COURT OF SPECIAL SESSIONS.]
"His companion, 'Billy Clews,' has been known in different circles of the same profession, and could usually be found in the neighborhood of Five Points. On Thursday there was what is usually termed a 'large' funeral, from a church at the corner of One-hundred-and-twenty-sixth street and Fourth avenue. Outside was a long line of coaches, and inside the church was full of mourners and the friends of the departed, whose remains were about to be consigned to that 'bourn whence no traveller returns.' The crowd inside was so great that the police were called in to put the people in the seats, as far as could be done, and remained there during the service to keep order. While Captain Garland was standing at the top of the centre aisle he saw 'Big-Mouth' elbowing his way from the altar towards the door, and making various efforts to pick pockets as he came along. Presently he came close up behind a lady who was standing with her face to the altar, and, reaching his hands in the folds of her dress, quietly withdrew her pocket-book from its hiding place. The pocket-book vanished very quickly, however, so that the captain could not see which way it went or what, for the time, had become of it. At first the thieves did not observe the captain, but the instant Day caught a glance of him he turned quietly to his accomplice and said 'Look out, Billy; there's a big cop.' Billy took the 'cue,' began to move off, and attempted to get out of the church. But as they were both in the doorway, and seeing the captain making for them, they made a rush out from the sacred edifice, passed the carriages and ran down the avenue as fast as 'shank's pony' could carry them. The captain gave chase, and, with the aid of an officer on duty at the church, succeeded in arresting the individuals who were thus trading on the mourners over a dead body. On returning to the church Garland was informed of the loss of the lady's pocketbook, but he failed to discover her among the crowd, and consequently could not produce her in evidence against the prisoners at the bar. He had seen them previously walking towards the church, and knowing Day to be a general thief, he gave orders to look out for them, but somehow for a long time the thieves escaped the vigilance of the officers. They allowed it was 'all wrong' to be in the church at the time, but they told the captain he ought to allow them to go, for he knew 'how it was' with them.
"'What have you to say, Scotty?' asked the Judge.
"'Oh, well,' replied Big-Mouth, 'I don't thenk a've got much to say, only to ask your Honor to deal mercifully with us. The captain at the police station didn't say he was to breng this prosecution agen us noo; he only told us he wud tak us out o' harum's way, and didn't make no charge.'
"Judge Dowling.—'It is no use my saying anything to you, Day; in fact, all that could be said is that you have never been anything else than what you are now, a thief, and that, too, of a most contemptible type. You go about to the various graveyards and rob the poor persons who are too absorbed in interring the dead and in grieving for their lost friends to notice that you are there for the purpose of plunder; you also visit the churches wherever there is a crowd of this sort paying their last respects to the remains of a friend, and never leave without robbing some poor persons of their money or jewelry. Scotchy, you have done that business for the past eighteen years to my own knowledge. I do not know so much about your accomplice, or how long he has been travelling with you. I will, however, rid the people of your presence, and do my best to stay your heartless proceedings for some time to come. One year each in the Penitentiary and a fine of $200 each, and both to stand committed until the amounts be paid.'
"'I told you how it 'oud be, Scotty,' yelled his partner, and with a deplorable attitude the pair were marched over the 'Bridge of Sighs.'"
The Tombs is merely a prison of detention, and as soon as prisoners are sentenced to the institutions on Blackwell's Island, or the State Prison, they are conveyed to those establishments with as little delay as possible. The vehicle used for transporting them through the city is a close wagon, with wooden blinds for light and ventilation, around the upper part of the sides. This is known as "Black Maria," and may be daily seen rumbling through the city on its way from the Police Courts to the ferry to Blackwell's Island.
Closely connected with the penal system of the city is the "Prison Association of New York." This society was organized in 1844. Its constitution declares that its objects are: "I. A humane attention to persons arrested and held for examination or trial, including inquiry into the circumstances of their arrest, and the crimes charged against them; securing to the friendless an impartial trial, and protection from the depredations of unprincipled persons, whether professional sharpers or fellow-prisoners. II. Encouragement and aid to discharged convicts in their efforts to reform and earn an honest living. This is done by assisting them to situations, providing them with tools, and otherwise counselling them and helping them to business. III. To study the question of prison discipline generally, the government of the State, County, and City prisons, to obtain statistics of crime, to disseminate information on this subject, to evolve the true principles of science, and impress a more reformatory character on our penitentiary system."
[Picture: "BLACK MARIA."]
Between 1844 and 1869, the members and agents of the Association visited in the prisons of New York and Brooklyn 93,560 persons confined there. These were poor and friendless prisoners, and they received from the Association such advice and aid as their cases demanded. During the same period, 25,290 additional cases were examined by the officers of the Society. They succeeded in obtaining the withdrawal of 6148 complaints, as being trivial, or based upon prejudice or passion. Upon their recommendation, the courts discharged 7922 persons guilty of first offences, and who were penitent, or who had committed the offence under mitigating circumstances. They also provided 4130 discharged convicts with permanent situations, and furnished 18,307 other discharged convicts with board, money, railroad tickets, or clothing, to help them to better their condition. In the twenty-five years embraced in the above period, they thus extended their good offices to 156,368 persons. A noble record, truly.
XIV. THE PRESS.
I. THE DAILY JOURNALS.
The Metropolitan Press is the model after which the journals of the entire country are shaped, and, taken as a whole, it is the best institution of its kind in existence. The leading New York journals have but one superior in the whole world—the London Times—and they frequently equal, though they do not surpass the "Thunderer" itself in the extent and importance of their news, and the ability and value of their editorials. They are the best managed, employ the greatest talent, and are the most influential upon the country at large of any American newspapers.
The leading journals are the morning papers. Five of these, the Herald, Tribune, Times, World, and Staats Zeitung, are huge eight-page sheets, and frequently issue supplements of from four to eight pages additional. The others consist of four large, old-fashioned pages.
The expense and labor of issuing a first-class morning journal are very great. The cost of publication ranges from $800,000 to $1,000,000 per annum; and the force employed, including editors, reporters, proof-readers, newsmen, pressmen, feeders, clerks and compositors, is over four hundred persons. The profits vary according to the paper and the times.
The Herald is private property, as are some of the others. The Tribune, Times, and Sun, are owned by stock companies. Under Mr. Raymond the Times was subject to his sole direction, but the Tribune has always suffered from the interference of the stockholders.
Each newspaper has its editor in chief, who controls the general tone and policy of the paper. He decides all matters relating to its editorial conduct, and is known to the public as the responsible editor. His principal assistant is the managing editor. In the absence of the chief editor he is the controlling power of the journal. His legitimate duties are to oversee the details of the paper, to see that its publication is not delayed, to engage and dismiss sub-editors and correspondents, to prescribe the character of the service required of these gentlemen, and to regulate the salaries paid to them. All the writers on the paper are directly responsible to him, and he, in his turn, to the chief editor. There is also a night editor, whose duties are heavy and responsible. He is charged with the duty of "making up" the paper, and decides what shall and what shall not go in—a delicate duty sometimes. He is at his post at 7 o'clock in the evening, and remains there until the paper goes to press in the morning, which is generally between 2 and 3 o'clock, though sometimes it is held back by important news until daylight. The foreign editor is usually a foreigner, and one well acquainted with the leading languages of Europe. He controls the foreign correspondence, and writes editorials upon European topics. The financial editor writes the money article, and is quite an important personage. He is obliged to be well informed concerning all the financial transactions of the day; he is courted by bankers and capitalists, as he to a certain extent controls public opinion in money matters, and he has ample facilities for making money outside of his position. The post is considered one of the most lucrative on the paper, and the salary is regarded as a minor consideration. The city editor has charge of the city news, and is the chief of the reporters. The leading dailies have from twelve to thirty reporters. These are assigned to duty each day by the city editor, who enters his directions to them in a large book. They are sometimes required to go to certain places to obtain news, and are expected to furnish so much matter concerning it. Some of the reporters have special lines of duty, and report nothing but law cases, police matters, etc., and some limit their operations to Brooklyn, Jersey City, and the other suburban towns. Some of the reporters are stenographers also. At times there will be scarcely any work to be done, and again the powers of the whole staff of reporters will be severely taxed. There are also a literary editor, whose duties are to review and notice books and other publications; and art, dramatic and musical critics. Some of these are, as they should be, gentlemen of the highest culture, and impartial in their opinions. Others are quite the reverse. The best of them, however, are but men, though they too often assume to be something superior, and their judgments are not infallible. The leading journals also employ translators, who put into English such extracts as it may be necessary to use from the foreign papers.
[Picture: PRINTING HOUSE SQUARE.]
The amount of labor thus expended upon a morning newspaper is immense. It is followed by an almost equal outlay of mechanical work in putting the paper in type and printing it. The principal papers are stereotyped, and are printed from plates. Formerly the Eight and Ten Cylinder Hoe Presses were used, but of late years the Bullock Press has become very popular. It works quite as rapidly as the Hoe press, prints on both sides at once, and is said to spoil fewer sheets. The paper is put in in a large roll, and is cut by the machine into the proper sizes and printed. Only one feeder is necessary.
Nearly all the city newspapers are located in or around Printing House Square, immediately opposite and east of the City Hall. One of the greatest curiosities of this square is a huge engine, which runs a large number of presses. It is situated in Spruce street, between William and Nassau streets, and occupies the basement of the building in which it is located. There are two engines here—one of 150 horse power, which is used during the day, and a smaller one of 75 horse power, which relieves it at night. Shafting and belting carry the power in every direction from the engine. One hundred and twenty-five presses are worked by these engines—each being estimated at so much horse power, and charged accordingly. They turn three-quarters of a mile of main shafting, besides a mile or more of connecting shafts, and as much belting. One of these belts, an India rubber one, 120 feet long, connects a fifth story press on Nassau street with the main shafting on Spruce street, across the intervening yards, and another of leather, on Beekman street, 140 feet, perfectly perpendicular, connects the sub-cellar and the attic. Some of the shafting passes under and across the streets. Over fifty newspapers and literary papers, besides magazines and books innumerable, are printed by this monster engine.
The salaries paid by the newspapers are not large. Those who receive what is seemingly high pay do an amount of work out of proportion to their compensation. Mr. Greeley receives $10,000 per annum. Mr. Reid, the managing editor of the Tribune, receives $5000. Mr. Sinclair, the publisher, receives $10,000. These are considered good salaries. Any one familiar with the cost of living in New York will not think them very much in excess of the wants of their recipients, who are men with families.
As a newspaper, the New York Herald stands at the head of the city dailies. It aims to be a vehicle for imparting the latest news of the day, and as such it is a great success. Nobody cares for its opinions editorially expressed, for it is the general belief that the Herald has no fixed opinions. It is valued here simply as a newspaper. It is beyond a doubt the most energetic, and the best managed newspaper in the city. Mr. James Gordon Bennett, the elder, has no rival in the art of conducting a popular journal, but his son, Mr. J. G. Bennett, jr., does not seem to inherit his father's ability. Young Mr. Bennett is now the managing editor, and since his accession to that post there has been a marked decline in the ability of the paper, which, under the rule of Mr. Hudson, was unquestioned. Nobody expects consistency in the Herald, and its course to-day is no guarantee that it will hold the same tone to-morrow. Mr. Bennett aims to float with the popular current, to be always on the winning side, and he succeeds. The advertising patronage of the paper is immense.
The Herald office is one of the most conspicuous buildings in the city. It is located at the corner of Broadway and Ann street, and is built of white marble, in the modern French style. Below the sidewalk are two immense cellars or vaults, one below the other, in which are two steam engines of thirty-five horse power each. Three immense Hoe presses are kept running constantly from midnight until seven in the morning, printing the daily edition. The rooms and machinery are kept in the most perfect order. Nothing is allowed to be out of place, and the slightest speck of dirt visible in any part, calls forth a sharp rebuke from Mr. Bennett, who makes frequent visits to every department of the paper. On the street floor, the main room is the public office of the journal. Its entrances are on Broadway and Ann street. It is paved with marble tiles, and the desks, counters, racks, etc., are of solid black walnut, ornamented with plate glass. Every thing is scrupulously clean, and the room presents the appearance of some wealthy banking office.
[Picture: THE HERALD OFFICE.]
On the third floor are the editorial rooms. The principal apartment is the "Council Room," which overlooks Broadway. Every other branch of the editorial department has its separate room, and all are furnished with every convenience necessary for doing their work with the utmost precision and dispatch. Each day, at noon, the editors of the Herald, twelve in number, assemble in the "Council Room." Mr. Bennett, if he is in the city, takes his seat at the head of the table, and the others assume the places assigned. If Mr. Bennett is not present, his son, James Gordon Bennett, jr., presides at the council, and in the absence of both father and son, the managing editor takes the head of the table. The council is opened by Mr. Bennett, or his representative, who presents a list of subjects. These are taken up, seriatim, and discussed by all present. The topics to be presented in the editorial columns of the Herald the next day are determined upon, and each editor is assigned the subject he is to "write up." All this is determined in a short while. Then Mr. Bennett asks the gentlemen present for suggestions. He listens attentively to each one, and decides quickly whether they shall be presented in the Herald, and at what time; and if he desires any subject to be written upon, he states his wish, and "sketches," in his peculiar and decisive manner, the various headings and the style of treatment. There are twelve editors and thirty-five reporters employed on the Herald. They are liberally paid for their services. Any one bringing in news is well rewarded for his trouble. The composing rooms are located on the top floor, and are spacious, airy, and excellently lighted. A "dumb waiter," or vertical railway, communicates with the press room; and speaking tubes, and a smaller "railway," afford the means of conversation and transmitting small parcels between this room and the various parts of the building. Five hundred men are employed in the various departments of the paper.
The circulation of the daily edition of the Herald is estimated by competent judges at from 65,000 to 70,000 copies. In times of great public excitement, all the dailies overrun their usual number by many thousands.
The Tribune has a daily circulation of about 43,000 copies. It is, in point of ability, the best of the city dailies. It long ago surmounted its early difficulties, and has been for many years one of the most profitable enterprises in the city. It is owned by a joint stock company. It was begun by Mr. Greeley on $1000 of borrowed money. At the formation of the company the stock was divided into 100 shares at $1000 each. The number is still the same, but the shares could not now be bought for many times their original value. In 1870 the dividend declared amounted to $163,000; or, $1630 on each share. At present the shares are owned as follows:
Shares. Samuel Sinclair, publisher 21 Horace Greeley, chief editor 12 Estate of Stephen Clark, 14 (formerly money editor) Dr. J. C. Ayer (of Lowell) 16 Estate of A. D. Richardson 5 Bayard Taylor 5 T. N. Rooker, foreman in 5 composing room Mr. Runkle (husband of Mrs. L. G. 2 Calhoun) Oliver Johnson (of the 1 Independent) Mr. Cleveland (brother-in-law of 1 Horace Greeley) G. W. Smalley (London 2 correspondent) Solon Robinson (agricultural 2 editor) Two printers in the office 2 Solomon A. Cheeney 3 John Hooper 2 B. F. Camp 2
The Tribune property is valued at over $1,000,000, which includes nearly $300,000 in real estate. The stockholders, it is said, contemplate, at no distant day, erecting a large and handsome printing office on the site of the present unpretending building now occupied. The profits of the paper do not depend upon the daily edition. The semi-weekly circulates about 35,000 or 40,000 copies, and the weekly about 130,000 copies. The last is sent all over the United States, and has beyond a doubt the largest number of readers of any paper in the world.
The Tribune is the leading organ of the Republican party in the United States, and its influence is tremendous. It is a well written, well conducted paper, and is every year becoming more independent of party control. The chief editor is Horace Greeley, who imparts his strong personality to the whole journal. Many of the country people believe that the Philosopher writes every line on the editorial page. The managing editor is Whitelaw Reid, and the publisher Samuel Sinclair. Mr. Reid succeeded Mr. John Russell Young, and the paper has profited by the change. Mr. Sinclair is one of the most efficient publishers in the land, and the Tribune owes not a little of its success to his genius—for that is the only name to give it. The editorial staff comprises more ability than that of any other city journal, though some of the others make a better use of the talent at their disposal. Its correspondence, both domestic and foreign, is the best of all the city papers—perhaps the best in the Union—and the list of its correspondents contains some of the brightest names in literature.
The Times is also a Republican journal, and aims to represent the Administration of General Grant. Under the management of the late Henry J. Raymond, a born journalist, it was a power in the land. Since Mr. Raymond's death there has been a falling off in the ability, the manliness, and the influence of the paper. It is owned by a stock company, and is a profitable enterprise. The chief editor is Mr. Louis Jennings, an Englishman, and formerly the New York correspondent of the London Times. Mr. Jennings is a gentleman of ability and culture, and a journalist of considerable experience. His chief needs are a decided infusion of American ideas and sentiment, and a recognition of the dissimilarity between the London and New York mode of viewing matters. The publisher is Mr. George Jones.
The Times, under Mr. Raymond, was one of the freshest and most thoroughly up to the times journals on the continent. Its correspondence, especially that from Europe, was exceptionally good. There has been a falling off in this respect of late. The circulation of the paper is not known with certainty, but is believed to be about 30,000 or 35,000 copies.
The World is the principal Democratic journal of the city, and aspires to be the organ of the party throughout the country. It was begun about the year 1859 as a religious paper, and is said to have sunk about $300,000 for its projectors. It then became the organ of the Democracy of the city, and has for some time paid well. It is the property of its editor, Mr. Manton G. Marble. It is unquestionably one of the ablest journals in the country. Its editorials are well written, indicative of deep thought on the subjects treated of, and gentlemanly in tone. In literary excellence, it is not surpassed by any city journal. It aims to be in the front rank of the march of ideas, and makes a feature of discussions of the leading scientific and social questions of the day. It is lightened by a brilliant display of wit, and the "Funny Man of the World" is well known in the city. The chief editor is Manton G. Marble. He is the author of the majority of the leaders. In this he is ably seconded by Mr. Chamberlain, one of the most forcible and successful writers on the city press. Mr. Marble is not seen much in the office. The World rooms are connected with his residence in the upper part of the city, by a private telegraph, by means of which he exercises a constant supervision over the paper. The managing editor is Mr. David G. Croly (the husband of "Jennie June"). He is a genius in his way. He does not write much, but gives the greater part of the time to superintending the work of the office. He is said to be extremely fertile in suggesting themes for treatment to his brother editors. The great faults of the World are its devotion to sensation journalism, its thick and thin Roman Catholic partizanism, and, strange to say, a little too much looseness in the tone of its Sunday edition. Its circulation is variously estimated at from 15,000 to 30,000. The exact number is known only to the publisher.
The Sun assumes to be the organ of the working classes, and claims a circulation of 85,000 copies. It is a bright, sparkling journal, issued at a cost of two cents. It is four pages in size, and has a fine list of advertisements. It is owned by a stock company, who bought it from the late Moses Y. Beach, its founder. The chief editor is Mr. Charles A. Dana, a journalist of long experience, and one of the most thoroughly cultivated men in the profession. He has made it a great success. It is piquant, forcible, and good-natured. Mr. Dana is assisted by a corps of able editorial writers and reporters, who are thoroughly impressed with the wisdom of his policy. He is very sanguine of making a still greater success of the Sun, and claims that he will yet run its circulation up to 200,000 copies.
The Standard is the property of Mr. John Russell Young, formerly the managing editor of the Tribune. It is a Republican organ, and is struggling to reach an established and prosperous position. It is well managed, and is conducted with considerable editorial ability.
The Journal of Commerce is one of the few old-style papers left in New York. It is a ponderous four-page sheet, depending more upon its advertising than upon its circulation for its profits. It is edited with ability, and as it employs but few editors and reporters, and cares but little for general news, its publication is inexpensive. It is supplied by a regular carrier, and is not sold on the news-stands. It is taken by the leading hotels and by the down-town merchants, to whom it is valuable because of its commercial reports. The general reader would find it dull reading. It is one of the best paying papers in the city.
The Star is a two cent paper, and was started at the time of the sale of the Sun to Mr. Dana and his associates, with the hope of securing the patronage of the working classes. Its managing editor is Mr. Joseph Howard. It is a sprightly paper, intensely Democratic in tone, and is said to be prosperous.
The evening papers are much less influential than the morning journals, but the best of them are very successful.
The Evening Post heads the list. It is owned by William Cullen Bryant & Co., and Mr. Bryant is the principal editor. It is the ablest and the most influential of all the evening papers, and is one of the purest in its tone of any of the American journals. It is taken chiefly in the families of cultivated and professional men. Its book notices are considered the most reliable. Its circulation and advertising patronage are large, and it is a very profitable investment.
The Commercial Advertiser is now under the control of the venerable Thurlow Weed, and is a good paper.
The Evening Express is the property of the brothers James and Erastus Brooks. It is well managed, and well edited, and is regarded as ranking next to the Post in ability and general excellence. It is said to be worth $40,000 per annum above expenses to its proprietors.
The Evening Mail is younger than either of the others, but not far behind the best of them in ability and interest. It has a decided literary tone, and is one of the most enterprising news purveyors in the city. It is now a thoroughly successful enterprise, and it deserves its good fortune.
The Telegram is little more than an evening edition of the Herald. It is owned by James Gordon Bennett, jr., and is a lively sheet, full of news and gossip. It sells for two cents, and has a large circulation. Its first page always contains a rough, but sometimes spirited cartoon, caricaturing some notable event of the day. It is a paying paper.
The Evening News is a penny paper. It claims to have the largest circulation in the city, and is said to be very profitable. It is devoted almost exclusively to police news, and descriptions of crime, and finds its readers chiefly among the lower and rougher portion of the community. It is owned and conducted by Mr. Benjamin Wood.
The evening papers are generally issued in four editions, at one, two, four and five o'clock in the afternoon. On occasions of unusual interest, they often issue extras every hour until late in the night. The evening papers contain the latest news and gossip, and a variety of light and entertaining reading matter, and are bought chiefly by persons who wish to read them at home after the cares and fatigues of the day are over, or to kill time in the cars on their way home.
There are three daily morning papers published in the German language, the State Gazette, the Democrat, and the Journal, and one evening paper, the Times. The Courier of the United States, and Franco-American Messenger, are issued in the French language. They are also daily morning papers. All are well supported by the citizens speaking the language they use.
II. WEEKLY PRESS.
Exclusive of the weekly editions of the daily journals, there are about 133 weekly papers published in the city of New York. Some of these are literary journals, some political, some the organs of the various religious bodies, and some devoted to the interests of trade and manufactures.
The best known weeklies are the literary, religious, and political papers, and of these the most noted are, Harper's Weekly, Harper's Bazaar, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, the Nation, the Chimney Corner, the Ledger, Home Journal, Weekly Review, Sunday Mercury, New York Weekly, Hearth and Home, the Sunday News, the Albion, Dispatch, Sunday Times, Citizen, Revolution, Spirit of the Times, and Police Gazette, among the secular papers. The most prominent religious journals are the Independent, Examiner, Evangelist, Methodist, Observer, Tablet, Liberal Christian, Christian Advocate, Christian Union, Christian Inquirer, and Church Journal.
The Ledger has the largest circulation, having an actual sale of 300,000 copies per week. It is so well known throughout the country that it would be superfluous to describe it here. It is the property of Mr. Robert Bonner, who has reaped a large fortune from it. Next in popularity is the New York Weekly, which is much inferior to the Ledger, but which claims a circulation of over 200,000 copies. There are about a dozen illustrated papers of various degrees of merit, Harper's Weekly, the Bazaar, and Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper head the list in popularity and worth. The first and second claim a circulation of over one hundred thousand, and Frank Leslie claims about seventy-five thousand for his paper. Some of the other illustrated journals are simply indecent sheets, and should be suppressed. The Nation is regarded as the highest critical authority in the country, and holds here very much the position of the Saturday Review in London.
The literary journals are well conducted, and one will often find articles of genuine merit in some of the most unpretending. The reason is that journalists are unable to live on their salaries, as a rule, if they be married men, and are forced to make up the deficiency by contributing to the magazines and weekly papers. As a matter of course, they must dispose of their wares wherever there is a market, and where they are sure of being paid, even at starvation rates, for their labors. From $2.50 to $5.00 per column is the rate of payment with the most of the weeklies, and many men and women with whose names and labors the literary world is familiar, are glad to write for them at this beggarly price as a means of increasing their legitimate incomes. The number of writers is very much in excess of the demand, and literature offers a thorny road to the majority of its followers in the metropolis.
The Sunday papers are generally high priced and nasty. They are entirely sensational in character, and are devoted to a class of news and literature which can hardly be termed healthy. They revel in detailed descriptions of subjects which are rigorously excluded from the daily papers, and abound in questionable advertisements. All of which they offer for Sabbath reading; and the reader would be startled to see into how many reputable households these dirty sheets find their way.
XV. WALL STREET.
I. THE STREET.
WALL STREET begins on the east side of Broadway, opposite Trinity Church, and terminates at the East River. It is about half a mile from the extreme southern end of the island, and about the same distance from the City Hall. It is a narrow street, about fifty feet in width, and slopes gradually from Broadway to the river. It is lined on both sides with handsome brown stone, yellow stone, granite, marble, iron, and brick buildings, and the Treasury and Custom-House rear their magnificent fronts about midway between the termini of the street. They are diagonally opposite each other. The buildings are covered with a multiplicity of signs, rivalling the edifices of Nassau street, in this respect. Scarcely a house has less than a score of offices within its walls, and some contain at least three times as many. Space is valuable, and rents are high in Wall street, and many of the leading firms in it have to content themselves with small, dark apartments, which a conscientious man would hesitate to call an "office." The rents paid for such quarters are enormous, and the buildings yield their owners large incomes every year. The streets running into Wall street, on the right and left, are also occupied for several blocks with the offices of bankers and brokers, and are all included in the general term "Wall street," or "The Street."
[Picture: WALL STREET.]
Wall street first appears in the history of the city as a portion of a sheep pasture which was used in common by the inhabitants of New Amsterdam. Its natural condition was partly rolling upland and partly meadow of a swampy character. The name of the street originated thus: About the middle of the seventeenth century, the English in the New England colonies began to press heavily upon the Dutch in New Netherlands, and kept the worthy burghers of New Amsterdam in a constant dread of an invasion. Influenced by this feeling, the city authorities resolved to fortify the place, and in 1653 constructed a wall or stockade across the island, from river to river just beyond the line of the village. This wall passed directly across the old sheep pasture. Citizens were forbidden to build within 100 feet of the stockade, this open space being reserved for the movements of troops. It soon became a prominent highway, and the eastern portion has since remained so. The anticipated attack on the city was not made, but the wall was kept in good condition. Houses crept up close to the wall on the city side, and began to appear on the opposite side just under the wall. Thus a new street was formed, through which ran the old stockade. The open space along the wall was originally called The Cingel, signifying "the ramparts." Soon after the town reached the limit of the military reservation, persons residing here were spoken of as living "long de Wal," and from this the street came to be called "the Wall street," which name it has ever since borne. The wall having fallen into decay, was demolished about the year 1699, and its stones were used in the construction of the old City Hall, which stood at the intersection of Wall and Nassau streets, the site now occupied by the Sub-Treasury of the United States. The old building was used for the various purposes of the city government until the close of the Revolution. It contained, besides the council and court rooms, a jail for the detention and punishment of criminals, a debtors' prison, which was located in the attic, a fire-engine-room, a cage and a pillory. A pair of stocks was set up on the opposite side of the street, wherein criminals were exposed to the indignant gaze of the virtuous public.
At the close of the Revolution, the City Hall was enlarged and improved for the use of the General Government. It thus became the first capitol of the new Republic, and was known as Federal Hall. The first Congress of the United States assembled within its walls in the year 1789, and upon its spacious portico, in the presence of an immense multitude, George Washington took the oath to support and defend the constitution as first President of the United States.
Wall street was originally taken up with private residences, and the old views represent it as well shaded with trees. Even as late as 1830 it presented a very rural appearance between Broadway and William street. Prior to the Revolution, the lower part of the street had been built up with stores as far as Front street, and had become the centre of mercantile affairs in the city, the row of stores on Wall street being the first erected beyond Water street. About the year 1792, the old Tontine Coffee House was erected on the northwest corner of Wall and Water streets, and this became the favorite rendezvous for the city merchants, by whom, indeed, it was erected and controlled. In 1791 the Bank of New York was located at the corner of William street, and marked the first encroachment upon the strictly private portion of the street. It was also the first effort to make this locality the centre of the financial operations of the city. Other institutions and private bankers soon followed, and the character and architecture of the street began to undergo a change. The work of improvement went on steadily, and the Wall street of to-day is the result. Famous lawyers have also had their offices in this street. Alexander Hamilton's sign might once have been seen here, not far from where his humble monument now stands in Trinity Churchyard, and the name of Caleb Cushing is still to be found near a doorway just below Broadway.
[Picture: UNITED STATES SUB-TREASURY.]
"In 1700 a house and lot on the southeast corner of Wall and Broad streets, 16 x 30, sold for 163 pounds. In 1706 a house and lot on the north of Wall street, 25 x 116, sold for 116 pounds. In 1737 a house and lot on the north of Wall street, 62 x 102, sold for 110 pounds. In 1793, the dwelling and lot of General Alexander Hamilton, on the south of Wall street, 42 x 108, sold for 2400 pounds. In 1794 a house and lot, 44 x 51, sold for 2510 pounds." At present the ground included in these sites is held at hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The street fairly began its present career in the days of Jacob Little, "the great bear of Wall street." He opened an office here in 1822, and by dint of such labor as few men are capable of performing, placed himself at the head of American operators. His credit was good for any amount, and his integrity was unimpeachable. He could sway the market as he pleased, and his contracts were met with a punctuality and fidelity which made "his word as good as his bond." Efforts were made to ruin him, but his genius and far-sightedness enabled him to defeat all his enemies with their own weapons. His gains were enormous, and so were his losses. The civil war brought upon him disasters which he could not surmount, and he died poor in the early part of 1861, leaving behind him one of the names of which New York is proud.
At the corner of Nassau street, and looking down into Broad street, is the Sub-Treasury of the United States, a handsome white marble edifice. It is built in the Doric style of architecture, and its massive flight of steps and imposing portico give to it a striking appearance. It is constructed in the most substantial manner, and has a rear entrance on Pine street. The interior is handsomely arranged, and tasteful but secure iron gratings protect the employees from surprise and robbery. The vaults are burglar proof. This is the principal depository of the Federal Government, and millions of dollars are always in its vaults. The building was erected for, and was used for some years as, a Custom House.
From the steps of the Treasury one may enjoy a fine view of the entire street, and of Broad street also. About the hour of noon the scene is busy and exciting. The roadway in Wall street is full of struggling vehicles, and long rows of cabs stand in waiting in Broad street for the busy operators within the Exchanges. The side walks are crowded with an eager, hurrying throng. The steps and street around the Stock Exchange, in Broad street, are black with men who are shouting, pushing, and struggling in the effort to turn the transactions of the day to their advantage. Overhead is an intricate maze of telegraph wires, along which flow the quick and feverish pulsations of the great financial heart of the country. The sunlight falls brightly and cheerily over it all, and at intervals the clear, sweet chimes of old Trinity come floating down the street high above the noise and strife below them.
Diagonally opposite the Treasury, and at the corner of William street, is the Custom House, which occupies the irregular square bounded by Wall street, Exchange Place, William street, and Hanover street. It is one of the finest and best arranged edifices in the city.
Just below the Custom House is the handsome marble building of Brown Brothers, one of the model houses of New York, as regards both the firm and the edifice. The Messrs. Brown are regarded as the most reliable and accomplished operators in the street. Across the way, in a dingy granite building, is the office of August Belmont & Co., the American agents of the Rothschilds, and bankers on their own account. Jay Cooke & Co. occupy the fine marble building at the corner of Wall and Nassau streets, opposite the Treasury, and there conduct the New York branch of their enormous business. Fisk & Hatch, the financial agents of the great Pacific Railway, are a few steps higher up Nassau street. Henry Clews & Co. are in the building occupied by the United States Assay Office. Other firms, of more or less eminence, fill the street. Some have fine, showy offices, others operate in dark, dingy holes.
II. THE STOCK EXCHANGE.
The Stock Exchange is located on the west side of Broad street, just out of Wall street. It is a fine white marble edifice, with a portico of iron, painted flashily in black and gold. It extends back to New street, with an entrance on that street. There is also an entrance on Wall street. It contains the "New York Stock Exchange," "The Mining Board," and the "Government Board."
During the spring and summer of 1871 the internal arrangements of the building were very much improved. The refitting cost the brokers $60,000, but they now have the handsomest establishment of its kind in the world.
The main entrance is on Broad street, and from this the visitor passes into a room, the larger portion of which is separated from the Broad street end by an iron railing. This is "The Long Room," and during the day it is almost always filled with a noisy and not over-nice crowd. It is the scene of the irregular sales of stocks. Any one who can raise $50 can purchase a season ticket to this hall, and once admitted can sell and purchase stocks without being a member of the Regular Board. This arrangement has nearly put an end to the sales of stocks on the side walks, and has given a tinge of respectability to the class known as "Curb-stone Brokers." A dozen or more different stocks may be sold here at once, and the sale may be continued as long as the seller sees fit. There is no regular organization of the brokers operating here, though these men control the bulk of the sales made in the street. They are noisy and seem half demented in their frantic efforts to make sales.
The "Stock Exchange" occupies the main hall, which is on the floor above the Long Room. This hall is one of the most beautiful apartments in the city. It is seventy-four feet long, fifty-four feet wide, and fifty-two feet four inches high. Its lofty ceiling is arched and decorated with bright red and buff penciling upon a sky blue ground, while the walls are relieved by broad square pilasters, painted in brilliant bronze, with tall windows and arched tops rising between, and other spaces between the columns covered with drapery in more subdued colors. Up to a few feet from the floor the painting is in a dark-hued bronze. The coloring is in the Moorish style throughout, and the effect of the whole is very fine. At the north end is the platform for the desks of the Vice-President and Secretary, and on each side of this is a black board for recording the quotations of the session. On the same platform is the desk and instrument of the stock telegraph operator. At the south end of the hall is a light gallery capable of holding 200 persons, for the use of visitors. In connection with the hall are several committee, cloak and ante-rooms. In the centre of the ceiling is a huge ventilator, beneath which is suspended the lighting apparatus, containing 100 burners. A chamber five feet in depth underlies the hall and the adjoining lobby, and in it are laid pipes for conducting warm air.
[Picture: THE STOCK EXCHANGE.]
At the base of the walls is an open iron grating covering the apertures of a shaft leading from the engine-room. Through this shaft warm air is forced into the hall in winter, and cool air in summer, thus securing perfect ventilation.
The Stock Exchange Board is an incorporated company, and is the only lawful association in the city for the transaction of business connected with stocks. It consists of 1050 members, but the control of its affairs is vested in a council of forty members, together with the President, Secretary and Treasurer in their unofficial capacity. The admission fee is $5000, and a seat in the Board becomes the absolute personal property of the broker, who can sell or otherwise dispose of it as he would of his watch or his coat. Candidates are admitted by ballot and with great care, the object being to secure the exclusion of all but men of known integrity, for the Board requires the most scrupulous good faith in the transactions of all its members. Four black balls will prevent the admission of a candidate whether he wishes to enter by purchase or otherwise. Candidates must submit to a close scrutiny of their previous lives, and must show a clear record.
There are two daily sessions of the Board, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. The securities offered at these meetings are divided into two classes, the Regular and the Free List. No stock or bond can be dealt in until it has been rigidly examined by a committee, and found to be a bona fide security.
At half-past ten o'clock in the morning, the Morning Board is called to order by the First Vice-President. The Regular List, which is made up in advance of the meeting, must always be called, and called first. The Free List may be called or not at the option of the Board. The Regular List consists of 1st. Miscellaneous Stocks. 2d. Railroad Stocks. 3d. State Bonds. 4th. City Stocks. 5th. Railroad Bonds.
The session opens with the reading of the minutes of the previous day. Then comes the call of the Regular List. The call of Miscellaneous Stocks awakens but little excitement. Bids follow quickly upon the announcement of the stocks, and the transactions, as they are announced by the cries of the brokers are repeated by the Vice-President to the Assistant Secretary, who records them in the journal, and they are also recorded by a clerk on a black board in full view of the members. Where there is a doubt respecting a sale or purchase the Vice-President decides, and his decision is final, unless reversed by the votes of a majority of the members present.
[Picture: THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE BOARD IN SESSION.]
The call of railroad securities brings the brokers to their feet, and the real business of the day begins. Offers and bids, shouted in deep bass, high treble, or shrill falsetto, resound through the hall, and in a few minutes the jovial-looking brokers seem to be on the verge of madness. How they yell and shout, and stamp, and gesticulate. The roar and confusion are bewildering to a stranger, but the keen, practised ears of the Vice-President at once recognize the various transactions, and down they go in the Secretary's book, and on the black board, while the solemn-vizaged telegraph operator sends them clicking into every broker's office in the city. High over all rings the voice of Peter, the keeper of the gate, calling out members for whom telegrams or visitors have arrived.
The other stocks awaken more or less excitement, and when the Regular List is completed, the Free List is in order, and the Vice-President calls such stocks as the members express a desire to deal in. Then, unless there is a wish to call up some stock hastily passed over on the call of the Regular List, the session closes.
At one o'clock, the afternoon session is held, and the routine of the morning is gone over again. The transactions of both sessions are carefully recorded in the Secretary's books.
The Vice-President receives a salary of $7000 per annum for his services, which are not light. The Secretary and Assistant Secretary, and Roll-keeper do the rest of the work of the Board. The last named keeps a record of the fines, which yield an exceedingly large revenue to the Board. The brokers are not the most dignified of mortals in their meetings, but are very much given to disorderly conduct and practical jokes. The annual dues of the Exchange are but fifty dollars, but the average broker pays at least ten times as much in fines. To interrupt the presiding officer during a call of the stocks subjects the offender to a fine of not less than twenty-five cents for each offence; to smoke a cigar within the Exchange costs five dollars; to be absent from special meetings is to incur a fine of not more than five dollars; to stand on a table or chair is punishable with a fine of one dollar; to throw a paper dart or ball at a member during the session of the Board costs ten dollars; and other offences may be punished with fines assessed by the Vice-President at any sum between twenty-five cents and five dollars.
Each day a list of stocks to be put in the market is made out, and no others can be sold during the sessions. The Board can refuse to offer any particular stock for sale, and a guarantee is required of the party making the sale. The members of the Board are men of character, and their transactions are fair and open. They are required to fulfil all contracts in good faith, however great the loss to themselves, on pain of expulsion from the Board, and it is very rare that an expelled member can be reinstated.
III. THE GOVERNMENT BOARD.
The room used by the Government Board, in which all transactions in the bonds and securities of the United States take place, is located on the second floor of the Exchange building. It is handsomely frescoed and furnished in green rep. The basement beneath this room is an immense vault, containing 618 safes, arranged in three tiers, and guarded by four policemen detailed for that purpose. These safes are a foot and a half square, and are rented by the brokers who deposit in them overnight small tin boxes containing their bonds and other securities. It is estimated that the value of the securities nightly deposited here is over two hundred millions of dollars.
The seats of the brokers in the Government Room are arranged in tiers, rising one above the other, from the floor to the wall. The officers occupy a platform at the head of the chamber. The order of business is very much like that of the Stock Board.
"The Vice-President begins:
"'6s '81 registered—'81 coupon. 5.20s '62 registered—coupon. What's bid?'
"Here and there from flanking chairs come sputtering bids or offers:
"'Ten thousand at 3/8, buyer 3.'
"'I'll give an 1/8, seller 3, for the lot.'
"'0.25, buyer 30, for fifty thousand.'
"'0.25, regular, for any part of five thousand.'
"First Voice. 'Sold,—five hundred.'
"The presiding officer repeats the sale and terms, the secretary makes his registry, and a new bond is started.
"Sometimes when 5.20s are called, there is at first only one voice which rings the changes on 'I'll give 115. I'll give '15 for a thousand,—'15 for a thousand.' Presently, however, before any response follows the offer, a member in a distant corner, either carelessly or maliciously, shouts out, 'I'll give '14 for a thousand,—'14 for a thousand.'
"The Vice-President plies his hammer: 'Fine Irving—fine Irving fifty cents.' The Roll keeper proceeds to make his little note of it, and Irving, who has violated the rule, founded on common sense, which forbids a member from making a bid below or an offer above the one which has the floor immediately subsides amid the laughter of his neighbors.