The American Metropolis

A LITTLE more than two centuries ago the site of New York City was bought by its first white owners for twenty-four dollars. The following tabular statement exhibits the steps of its progressive settlement since then.

Year. Population.

1656 . . 1,000

1673 . . 2,500

1696 . . 4.302

1731 . . 8,628

1756 . . 10,381

1773 . . 21,876

1786 . . 23,614

1790 . . 33.S3*

1800 . . 60,489

1S10 . . 96,373

Year. Population.

1820 . . 123.706

1825 . . 166.089

1830 . . 202,589

1835 . . 270,063

1S40 . . 312,852

1845 - - 371,223

1850 . . 515,794

1S55 . . 629.S10

1S60 . . 814.254

1864 . . ,ooo,ooo+

Taking the first census as a point of departure, the population of New York doubled itself in about eleven years. During the first century it increased a little more than tenfold. It was doubled again in less than twenty years ; the next thirty years quadrupled it ; and another period of twenty years doubled it once more. Its next duplication consumed the shorter term of eighteen years. It more than doubled again during the fifteen years preceding the last census ; and the four years since that census have witnessed an increase of nearly twenty-three per cent. This final estimate is of course liable to correction by next year’s census, but its error will be found on the side of under-statement, rather than of exaggeration.

The property on the northwest corner of Broadway and Chamber Street, now occupied in part by one of Delmonico’s restaurants, was purchased by a New York citizen, but lately deceased, for the sum of £1,000: its present value is £125,000. A single Broadway lot, surveyed out of an estate which cost the late John jay £500 per acre, was recently sold at auction for £ So,000, and the purchaser has refused a rent of £16,000 per annum, or twenty per cent on his purchase-money, for the store which he has erected on the property. In 1826, the estimated total value of real estate in the city of New York was £64,804,050. In 1863, it had reached a total of $402,196,652, thus increasing more than sixfold within the lifetime of an ordinary business-generation. In 1S26, the personal estate of New York City, so far as could be arrived at for official purposes, amounted to $42,434,981. In 1863, the estimate of this class of property-values was $192,000,161. It had thus more than quadrupled in a generation.

But statistics are most eloquent through illustration. Let us look discursively about the city of New York at various periods of her career since the opening of the present century. I shall assume that a map of the city is everywhere attainable, and that the reader has a general acquaintance with the physical and political geography of the United States.

Not far from the beginning of the century, Wall Street, as its name implies, was the northern boundary of the city of New York. The present north boundary ot civilized settlement is almost identical with the statutory limit of the city, or that of the island itself. There is no perceptible break, though there are gradations of compactness, in the settled district between the foot of the island and Central Park. Beyond the Park, Haarlem Lane, Manhattanville, and Carmansville take up the thread of civic population, and carry it, among metropolitan houses and lamp-posts, quite to the butment of High Bridge. It has been seriously proposed to legislate for the annexation of a portion of Westchester to the bills of mortality, and this measure cannot fail to be demanded by the next generation ; but for the present we will consider High Bridge as the north end of the city. Let us compare the boundary remembered by our veterans with that to which metropolitan settlement has been pushed by them and their children. In the lifetime of our oldest business-men, die advance wave of civic refinement, convenience, luxury, and population has travelled a distance greater than that from the Westminster Palaces to the hulks at the Isle of Dogs. When we consider that the population of the American Metropolis lives better, on the average, than that of any earthly capital, and that ninety-nine hundredths of all oursufferingpoor are the overflow of GreatBritain’s pauperism running into our grand channels a little faster than we can direct its current to the best advantage,— under these circumstances the advance made by New York in less than a century toward the position of the world’s metropolis is a more important one than has been gained by London between the time of Julius Cæsar and the present century.

I know an excellent business-man. who was born in his father’s aristocratic residence in Beaver Street. Holborn is as aristocratic now. Another friend of mine still living, the freshest of sexagenarians, told me lately of a walk he took in boyhood which so much fatigued him, that, when he was a long way out in the fields, he sat down to rest on the steps of a suburban hospital. I guessed Bellevue ; but he replied that it was the New York Hospital, standing in what we now call the lower part of Broadwav, just opposite North Pearl Street. No part of the Strand or of the Boulevards is less rural than the vast settled district about the New York Hospital at this day. It stands at least four times farther within than it then did beyond the circumference of New York civilization. I remember another illustration of its relative situation early in the century, — a story of good old Doctor Stone, who excused himself from his position of manager by saying, that, as the infirmities of age grew on him, he found the New York Hospital so far out in the country that he should be obliged, if he stayed, to keep ‘‘a horse and cheer.''

Many New-Yorkers,recognized among our young and active men, can recollect when Houston Street was called North Street because it was practically the northern boundary of the settled district. Middle-aged men remember the swamp of Lispenard s Meadow,which is now the dryest part of Canal Street ; some recall how they crossed other parts of the swamp on boards, and how tide-water practically made a separate island ot what is now the northern and much the larger portion of the city. Young men recollect making Saturday-afternoon appointments with their schoolfellows (there was no time on any other day) to go “ clear out into the country,” bathe in the rural cove at the toot of East Thirteenth Street, and, refreshed by their baths, proceed to bird’s-nesting on the wilderness of the Stuyvesant farm, where is now situate Stuyvesant Park, one of the loveliest and most elegant pleasure-grounds open to the New York public, surrounded by one of the bestsettled portions of the city, in every sense of the word. Still younger men remember Fourteenth Street as the utmost northern limit of the wave of civilization ; and comparative boys have seen Franconi’s Hippodrome pitched in a vacant lot of the suburbs, where now the Fifth Avenue Hotel stands, at the entrance to a double mile of palaces, in the northern, southern, and western directions.

We may safely affirm, that, since the organization of the science of statistics, no city in the world has ever multiplied its population, wealth, and internal resources of livelihood with a rapidity approaching that shown by New York. London has of late years made great progress quantitively, but her means of accommodating a healthy and happy population have kept no adequate pace with the increase of numbers. During the year 1862, 75,000 immigrants landed at the port of New York ; in 1863, 150,000 more ; and thus far in 1S64 (we write in November) 200,000 have debarked here. Of these 425,000 immigrants, 40 per cent have stayed in the city. Of the 170,000 thus staying, 90 per cent, or 153,000, are British subjects ; and of these, it is not understating to say that five eighths are dependent for their livelihood on physical labor of the most elementary kind. By comparing these estimates with the taxlist, it will appear that we have pushed our own inherent vitality to an extent of forty millions increase in our taxable property, and contributed to the support of the most gigantic war in human annals, during the period that we received into our grand civic digestion a city of British subjects as large as Bristol, and incorporated them into our own body politic with more comfort both to mass and particles than either had enjoyed at home.

There are still some people who regard the settlement of countries and the selection of great capitals as a matter of pure romantic accident. Philosophers know, that, if, at the opening of the Adamic period, any man had existed with a perfect knowledge of the world’s physical geography and the laws of national development, he would have been able to foretell a priori the situations of all the greatest capitals. It is a law as fixed as that defining the course of matter in the line of least resistance, that population flows to the level where the best livelihood is most easily obtained. The brute motives of food and raiment must govern in their selection of residence nine tenths of the human race. A few noble enthusiasts, like those of Plymouth Colony, may leave immortal footprints on a rugged coast, exchanging old civilization tor a new battle with savagery, and abandoning comfort with conformity tor a good conscience with privation. Still, had there been back of Plymouth none of the timber, the quarries, the running streams, the natural avenues of inland communication, and to some extent the agricultural capabilities which make good subsistence possible, there would have been no Boston, no Lynn, no Lowell, no New Bedford, no healthy or wealthy civilization of any kind, until the Pilgrim civilization had changed its base. It may be generally laid down that the men who leave home for truth’s sake exile themselves as much for the privilege to live truly and well at once as for the mere opportunity of living truly.

New York was not even in the first place settled by enthusiasts. Trade with the savages, nice little farms at Haarlem, a seat among the burgomasters, the feast of St. Nicholas, pipes and Schiedam, a vessel now and then in the year bringing over letters of affection ripened by a six months’ voyage, some little ventures, and two or three new colonists, — these were the joys which allured the earliest New-Yorkers to the island now swarming from end to end with almost national vitalities. Not until 1836, when the Italian Opera was first domiciled in New York, on the corner of Leonard and Church Streets, could the second era of metropolitan life be said fully to have set in there,— the era when people flow toward a city for the culture as well as the livelihood which it offers them. About the same time American studios began to be thronged with American picture-buyers ; and there is no need of referring to the rapid advance of American literature, and the wide popularization of luxuries, dating from that period.

Long prior to that, New York was growing with giant vitality. She possesses, as every great city must possess, preëminent advantages for the support of a vast population and the employment of immense industries. If she could not feed a million of men better than Norfolk, Norfolk would be New York and New York Norfolk. If the products of the world were not more economically exchanged across her counter than over that of Baltimore, Baltimore would need to set about building shelter for half a million more heads than sleep there to-night. Perth Amboy was at one time a prominent rival of New York in the struggle for the position of the American Metropolis, and is not New York only because Nature said No!

Let us invite the map to help us in our investigation of New York’s claim to the metropolitan rank. There are three chief requisites for the chief city of every nation. It must be the city in easiest communication with other countries,— on the sea-coast, if there be a good harbor there, or on some stream debouching into the best harbor that there is. It must be the city in easiest communication with the interior, either by navigable streams, or valleys and mountain-passes, and thus the most convenient rendezvous for the largest number of national interests, — the place where Capital and Brains, Import and Export, Buyer and Seller, Doers and Things to be Done, shall most naturally make their appointments to meet for exchange. Last, (and least, too, — for even cautious England will people jungles for money’s sake,) the metropolis must enjoy at least a moderate sanitary reputation ; otherwise men who love Fortune well enough to die for her will not be reinforced by another large class who care to die on no account whatever.

New York answers all these requisites better than any metropolis in the world. She has a harbor capable of accommodating all the fleets of Christendom, both commercial and belligerent. That harbor has a western ramification, extending from the Battery to the mouth of Spuyten Duyvil Creek, — a distance of fifteen miles ; an eastern ramification, reaching from the Battery to the mouth of Haarlem River, — seven miles ; and a main trunk, interrupted by three small islands, extending from the Battery to the Narrows, — a distance of about eight miles more. It is rather under-estimating the capacity of the East River branch to average its available width as low as eighty rods ; a mile and a half will be a proportionately moderate estimate for the Hudson River branch ; the greatest available width of the Upper Bay is about four miles, in a line from the Long Island to the Staten Island side. If we add to these combined areas the closely adjacent waters in hourly communication with New York by her tugs and lighters, her harbor will further include portion of the channel running west ot Staten Island, and 01 the rivers emptying into Newark Bay, with the whole magnificent and sheltered roadstead of the Lower Bay, the mouth of Shrewsbury Inlet, and a portion of Raritan Bay.

As this paper must deal to a sufficient extent with statistics in matters of practical necessity, we will at this stage leave the reader to complete for himself the calculation of such a harbor’s capacity. In this respect in that of shelter, of contour of water-front, of accessibility from the high seas, New York Harbor has no rival on the continent. The Bay oi San Francisco more nearly equals it than any other ; but that is on the Pacific side, for the present much farther from the axis of national civilization, and backed by a much narrower agricultural tract. W e will not refer to disadvantages of commercial exchange, since San Francisco may at any time be relieved of these by a Pacific Railroad. On our Atlantic side there is certainly no harbor which will compare for area and convenience with that of New York.

It is not only the best harbor on our coast, but that in easiest communication with other parts of the country. To the other portions of the coast it is as nearly central as it could be without losing fatally in other respects. Delaware and Chesapeake Bays afford fine roadsteads ; but the low sand baitcns and wet alluvial flats which form their shores compelled Philadelphia and Baltimore to retire their population such a distance up the chief communicating rivers as to deprive them of many important advantages proper to a seaport. Under the influence of free ideas may be expected a wonderful development of the advantages of Chesapeake Bay. Good husbandry and unshackled enterprise throughout Maryland and Virginia will astonish Baltimore by an increase of her population and commerce beyond the brightest speculative dreams. The full resources of Delaware Bay are far from being developed. Yet Philadelphia and Baltimore are forever precluded from competing with New York, both by their greater distance from open water and the comparative intcriority of the interior tracts with which they have ready communication. Below Chesapeake Bay the coast system of great river -estuaries gives way to the SeaIsland system, in which the main-land is flanked by a series of bars or sandbanks, separated from it by tortuous and difficult lagoons. The rivers which empty into this network of channels are comparatively difficult of entrance, and but imperfectly navigable. The isolation of the Sea Islands is enough to make them still more inconvenient situations tiian any on the main-land for the foundation ot a metropolis. Before we have gone far down this system, we have passed the centre where, on mathematical principles, a metropolis should stand.

Considered with regard to the tributary interior, New York occupies a position no less central than with respect to the coast. It is impassible to study a map of our country without momently increasing surprise at the multiplicity of natural avenues which converge in New York from the richest producing districts of the world. The entire result of the country s labor seems to seek New \ork by inevitable channels. Products run down to the managing, disbursing, and balancing hand ot New York as naturally as the thoughts of a man run down to the hand which must embody them, from the north it takes tribute through the Hudson River. This magnificent water-course, permitting the ascent of the largest ships for a hundred miles, and of river-craft for fifty miles farther, has upon its eastern side a country averaging about thirty miles in width to the Taconic range, consisting chiefly of the richest grazing, grain, and orchard land in the Atlantic States. Above the highlands, the west side of the river becomes a fertile, though narrower and more broken agricultural tract; and at the head of navigation, the Hudson opens into another valley of exhaustless fertility,—that of the Mohawk, — coming eastward from the centre of the State.

Thus, independent of her system of railroads, New York City possesses uninterrupted natural connection with the interior of the State, whence a new system of communications is given off by the Lakes to the extreme west and north of our whole territory.

To the northeast, New York extends her relations by the sheltered avenue of Long Island Sound, — alluring through a strait of comparatively smooth water not only the agricultural products which seek export along a double water-front of two hundred miles, but the larger results of that colossal manufacturing system on which is based the prosperity of New England. To a great part of this class of values Long Island Sound stands like a weir emptying into the net of New York.

The maritime position of New York makes her as easy an entrepot for Southern as for foreign products ; and in any case her share in our Northern national commerce gives her the control of all trade which must pay the North a balance of exchange.

The Hudson, the Sound, and the line of Southern coasting traffic are the three main radii of supply which meet in New York. Another important district paying its chief subsidy to New York is drained by the Delaware River, and this great avenue is reached with ease from the metropolis by a direct natural route across the Jersey level. Though unavailable to New York as a navigable conduit, it still offers a means of penetrating to the southern counties of the State, and a passage to the Far West, of which New York capital has been prompt to avail itself by the Erie Railroad, with its Atlantic and Great Western continuation to St. Louis. This uniform broad-guage of twelve hundred miles, which has just been opened by the energy and talents of Messrs. McHenry and Kennard, apparently decides the main channel by which the West is to discharge her riches into New York. — But we are trenching on the subject of the capital’s artificial advantages.

Finally, New York has been prevented only by disgraceful civic misman-

agement from becoming long ago the healthiest city in the world. In spite of jobbed contracts for street-cleaning, and various corrupt tamperings with the city water-front, by which the currents are obstructed, and injury is done the sewage as well as the channels of the harbor, New York is now undoubtedly a healthier city than any other approaching it in size. Its natural sanitary advantages must be evident. The crying need of a great city is good drainage. To effect this for New York, the civil engineer has no struggle with his material. He need only avail himself dexterously of the original contour of his ground. Manhattan Island is a low outcrop of gneiss and mica-schist, sloping from an irregular, but practically continuous crest, to the Hudson and East Rivers, with a nearly uniform southerly incline from its precipitous north face on the Haarlem and Spuyten Duyvil to high-water mark at the foot of Whitehall Street. Its natural system of drainage might be roughly illustrated by radii drawn to the circumference of a very eccentric ellipse from its northern focus. Wherever the waste of the entire island may descend, it is met by a seaward tide twice in the twenty-four hours. On the East River side the velocity of this tide in the narrow passages is rather that of a mill-stream than of the entrance to a sound. Though less apparent, owing to its area, the tide and current of the Hudson are practically as irresistible. The two branches of the city-sewage, uniting at the Battery, are deflected a little to the westward by Governor’s Island, and thus thrown out into the middle of the bay, where they receive the full force of the tidal impulse, retarded by the Narrows only long enough to disengage and drop their finer silt on the flats between Robin’s Reef and the Jersey shore. The depurating process of the New World’s grandest community lies ready for use in this natural drainage-system. If there be a standing pool, a festering ditch, a choked gutter, a malarious sink within the scope of the city bills of mortality, there is official crime somewhere. Nature must have been fraudulently obstructed in the benignest arrangements she ever made for removing the effete material ot a vast city’s vital processes. I n the matter of climate, New York experiences such comparative freedom from sudden changes as belongs to her position in the midst of large masses of water. She enjoys nearIv entire immunity from fogs and damp or chilly winds. Her weather is decided, and her population are liable to no one local and predominant class of disease. So far as her hygienic condition depends upon quantity and quality of food, her communications with the interior give her an exceptional guaranty. Despite the poverty which her lower classes share in kind, though to a much less degree, with those of other commercial capitals, there is no metropolis in the world where the general average of comfort and luxury stands higher through all the social grades. It is further to be recollected that health and the chief comforts of life are correlative. — that the squalid family is the unhealthy family, and that, as we import our squalor, so also we import the materials anti conditions of our disease. This a priori view is amply sustained by the statistics of our charitable institutions. Dr. Alanson S. Jones, whose position as President of the Board of Surgeons attached to the Metropolitan Police Commission combines with his minute culture in the sciences ministering to his profession to make him a first-class authority upon the sanitary statistics of New York, states that the large majority of deaths, and cases of disease, occur in that city among the recent foreign immigrants, — and that the same source furnishes the vast proportion of inmates of our hospitals, almshouses, asylums, and other institutions of charity ; furthermore, that two thirds of all the deaths in New York City occur among children.— a class to which metropolitan conditions are decidedly unfavorable ; and that, while the scVen hundred thousand inhabitants ol Philadelphia are distributed over an area of one hundred and thirty square miles, the one million inhabitants of New York are included within the limit of thirty-five square miles, yet the excess of proportionate mortality' in the latter city by no means corresponds to its density of settlement. It is safe to affirm, that, taking all the elements into calculation, there is no city in the civilized world with an equal population and an equal sanitaryrank.

H vdrographically speaking, either Liverpool or Bristol surpasses London in its claims to be the British metropolis. But as England’s chief commerce flows from the eastward, to accommodate it she must select for her metropolis the shores of the most accessible, capacious, and sheltered water on that side of the island. The result is London, — a city backed by an almost imperceptible fraction of the vast interior which pays tribute to New York,—having a harbor of far less capacity than New York, and without any of its farreaching ramifications, — provided with a totally inadequate drainage-system, operating by a river which New-Yorkers would shudder to accept for the purposes of a single ward, — and supporting a population of three million souls upon her brokerage in managing the world’s commerce. New \ork has every physical advantage over her in site, together with an agricultural constituency of which she can never dream, and every opportunity for eventually surpassing her as a depot of domestic manufactures. London can never add arable acres to her suite, while only the destruction of the American people can prevent us from building ten up-country mills to every one which manufactures for her market. She has merely the start ot us in time ; she has advanced rapidly during the last fifty years, but New York has even more rapidly diminished the gap. No wonder that British capitalists will sacrifice much to see us perish, — for it is pleasanter to receive than to pay balance of exchange, even in the persons of one’s prospective greatgrandchildren.

Turning to the second great power of the Old World, we may assert that there is not a harbor on the entire French coast of capacity or convenience proportionate to the demands of a national emporium. Though the site of Paris was chosen by a nation in no sense commercial, and the constitutional prejudices of the people are of that semibarbarous kind which affect at the same time pleasure and a contempt of the enterprises which pay for it, there has been a decided anxiety among the foremost Frenchmen since the time of Colbert to see France occupying an influential position among the national fortunehunters of the world. Napoleon III. shares this solicitude to an extent which his uncle’s hatred of England would never permit him to confess, though he felt it deeply. The millions which the present Emperor has spent on Cherbourg afford a mere titillation to his ambitious spirit. Their result is a handsome parade-place, — a pretty stone toy, — an unpickable lock to an inclosure nobody wants to enter,—a navy-yard for the creation of an armament which has no commerce to protect. No wonder that the discontented despot seeks to eke out the quality of his ports by their plenteous quantity,— seizing Algiers, — looking wistfully at the Red Sea,—overjoyed at any bargain which would get him Nice, — striking madly out for empire in Cochin China, Siam, and the Pacific islands,—playing Shylock to Mexico on Jccker’s forged bond, that his own inconvenient vessels might have an American port to trim their yards in. Meanwhile, to forget the utter unfitness of Paris for the capital of any imaginary Commercial France, he plays ship with Eugénie on the gentle Seine, or amuses himself with the marine romance of the Parisian civic escutcheon.

No one will think for an instant of comparing Paris with New York in respect to natural advantages. The capitals of the other Continental nations are still less susceptible of being brought into the competition. The vast cities of China are possible only in the lowest condition of individual liberty, — class servitude, sumptuary and travel restrictions, together with all the other complicated enginery of an artificial barbarism, being the only substitute for natural cohesion in a community whose immense mass can procure nothing but the rudest necessaries of life from the area within which it is confined.

A priori, therefore, we might expect that the metropolis of America would arise on New York Island, and in process of time become one of the greatest capitals of the world.

The natural advantages which allured New York’s first population have been steadily developed and reinforced by artificial ones. For the ships of the world she has built about her water-front more than three hundred piers and bulkheads. Allowing berth-room for four ships in each bulkhead, and for one at the end of each pier, (decidedly an under-estimate, considering the extent of some of these structures,)—the island water-front already offers accommodation for the simultaneous landing of eight hundred first-class foreign cargoes. The docks of Brooklyn, Jersey City, and Hoboken may accommodate at least as many more. Something like a quarter of all New York imports go in the first instance to the bonded warehouse ; and this part, not being wanted for immediate consumption within the metropolis proper, quite as conveniently occupies the Long Island or Jersey warehouses as those on the New York shore. The warehouses properly belonging to New York commerce— containing her property and living on her business — received during

1561 imports to the value of $41,811,664; during 1862, $46,939,451; and during 1863, $61,350,432. During the year 1861, the total imports of New York amounted to $161,684,499,—paying an aggregate of duties of $21,714,981. During the year 1862, the imports amounted to $172,486,453, and the duties to $52,254,318. During 1863, the imports reached a value of $184,016,350, the duties on which amounted to $58,885,853. For the same years the exports amounted respectively to $142,903,689, $216,416,070, and $219,256,203, — the rapid increase between 1861 and

1562 being no doubt uartly stimulated by the disappearance of specie from circulation under the pressure of our unparalleled war-expenses, and the consequent necessity of substituting in foreign markets our home products for the ordinary basis of exchange. In 1861, 965 vessels entered New York from foreign ports, and 966 cleared for foreign ports. In 1862, the former class numBesides the various berths or anchorages and the warehouses of New York, commerce is still further waited on in our metropolis by one of the most perfect systems of pilot-boat, steam-tug, and lighter service which have ever been devised for a harbor. No vessel can bring so poor a foreign cargo to New York as not to justify the expense of a pilot to keep its insurance valid, a tug to carry it to its moorings, and a lighter to discharge it, if the harbor be crowded or time press. Indeed, the first two items are matters of course ; and not one of them costs enough to be called a luxury.

Statistics of the Port of New York.

1861. 1862. 1863.

$ $ $

1 Total value of Exports... 142,903,689 216,416,070 219,256,203

2 Total value of Imports ...... 161,684,499 172,486,453 184,016,350

3 Value of Goods warehoused during the entire year .. 41,811,664 46,939,451 61,350,432

4 Amount of Drawbacks allowed during the entire year 57,326.55 275,953.92 414,041.44

5 Total of Duties paid during 23,714,981.10 52,254,317.92 58,885,853.42

6 No. of Vessels entered from Foreign Ports during year 965 5,406 4.983

7 No. of Vessels cleared to Foreign Ports during year .. 966 5,014 4,666

The American river-steamboat — the palatial American steamboatas distinguished from the dingy, clumsy English steamer — is another of the means by which Art has supplemented New York’s gifts of Nature. This magnificent triumph of sculpturesque beauty, wedded to the highest grade of mechanical skill, must be from two hundred and fifty to four hundred feet long, — must accommodate from five hundred to two thousand passengers, — must run its mile in three minutes, — must be as rococo in its upholsterings as a bedchamber of Versailles, — must gratify every sense, consult every taste, and meet every convenience. Such a boat as this runs daily to every principal bered 5,406, and the latter 5,014. In 1863, they were respectively 4,983 and 4,466. These statistics, from which the immense wharfage and warehouse accommodation of New York may be inferred, are exhibited to better advantage in the following tabular statement, kindly furnished by Mr. Ogden, First Auditor of the New York Custom-House.

city on the Sound or the Hudson, to Albany, to Boston, to Philadelphia. A more venturous class of coasting steamers in peaceful times are constantly leaving for Baltimore, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, Key West, Mobile, New Orleans, and Galveston. The immense commerce of the Erie Canal, with all its sources and tributaries, is practically transacted by New York City. Nearly everything intended for export, plus New York’s purchases for her own consumption, is forwarded from the Erie Canal terminus in a series of tows, each of these being a ropebound fleet, averaging perhaps fifty canal-boats and barges, propelled by a powerful steamer intercalated near the centre. The traveller new to Hudson River scenery will be startled, any summer day on which he may choose to take a steamboat trip to Albany, by the apparition, at distances varying from one to three miles all the way, of floating islands, settled by a large commercial population, who like their dinner off the top of a hogshead, and follow the laundry business to such an extent that they quite effloresce with wet shirts, and are seen through a lattice of clotheslines. Let him know that these floating islands are but little drops, of vital blood from the great heart of the West, coming down the nation’s, main artery to nurse some small tissue of the metropolis ; that these are “Hudson River tows ”; and that, novel as that phenomenon may appear to him, every other fresh traveller has been equally startled by it since March, and will be startled by it till December. Another ministry to New York is performed by the night-tows, consisting of a few cattle, produce, and passenger barges attached to a steamer, made up semiweekly or tri-weekly at every town of any importance on the Hudson and the Sound. We will not include the large fleet of Sound and River sloops, brigs, and schooners in the list of New York’s artificial advantages.

Turning to New York’s land communication with the interior, we find the following railroads radiating from the metropolitan centre.

1. A Railroad to Philadelphia.

2. A Railroad to the Pennsylvania Coal Region.

3. A Railroad to Piermont on the Hudson.

4. A Railroad to Bloomfield in New Jersey.

5. A Railroad to Morristown in New Jersey.

6. A Railroad to Hackensack in New Jersey.

7. A Railroad to Buffalo.

8. A Railroad to Albany, running along the Hudson.

9. Another Railroad to Albany, by an interior route,

10. A Railroad to New Haven.

11. A Railroad to the chief eastern port of Long


12. The Delaware and Raritan Road to Philadel-

phia, connecting with New York by daily transports from pier.

13. The Camden and Amboy Railroad, connecting


14. The Railroad to Elizabeth, New Jersey.

The chief eastern radius throws out ramifications to the principal cities of New England, thus affording liberal choice of routes to Boston, New Bedford, Providence, and Portland, as well as an entrance to New Hampshire and Vermont. To all of these towns, except the more southerly, the Hudson River Road leads as well, connecting besides with railroads in ever)7 direction to the northern and western parts of the State, and with the Far West by a number of routes. The main avenue to the Far West is, however, the Atlantic and Great Western Road, with its twelve hundred miles of uniform broad-gauge. Along this line the whole riches of the interior may reasonably be expected to flow eastward as in a trough ; for its position is axial, and its connection perfect. All the chief New Jersey railroads open avenues to the richest mineral region of the Atlantic States, — to the Far South and the Far West of the country. Two or three may be styled commuters’ roads, running chiefly for the accommodation of city business-men with suburban residences. The Long Island Road is a road without important branches ; but the majority of all the roads subsidiary to New York are avenues to some broad and typical tract of the interior.

Let us turn to consider how New York has provided for the people as well as the goods that enter her precincts by all the ways we have rehearsed. She draws them up Broadway In twenty thousand horse-vehicles per day, on an average, and from that magnificent avenue, crowded for nearly five miles with elegant commercial structures, over two hundred miles more of paved street, in all directions. She lights them at night with eight hundred miles of gas-pipe; she washes them and slakes their thirst from two hundred and ninety-one miles of Croton main ; she has constructed for their drainage one hundred and seventy-six miles of sewer. She victimizes them with nearly two thousand licensed hackmen ; she licenses twentytwo hundred carand omnibus-drivers to carry them over twenty-nine different stage-routes and ten horse-railroads, in six hundred and seventy-one omnibuses and nearly as many cars, connecting intimately with every part of the city, and averaging ten up-and-down trips per day. She connects them with the adjoining cities of the main-land and with Staten and Long Island by twenty ferries, running, on the average, one boat each way every ten minutes during the twenty-four hours. She offers for her guests’luxurious accommodation at least a score of hotels, where good living is made as much the subject of high art as in the Hôtel du Louvre, besides minor houses of restand entertainment, to the number of more than five thousand. She attends to their religion in about four hundred places of public worship. She gives them breathing-room in a dozen civic parks, the largest of which both Nature and Art destine to be the noblest popular pleasure-ground of the civilized world, as it is the amplest of all save the Bois de Boulogne. Central Park covers an area of 843 acres, and, though only in the fifth year of its existence, already contains twelve miles of beautifully planned and scientifically constructed carriage-road, seven miles of similar bridle-path, four sub-ways for the passage of trade-vehicles across the Park, with an aggregate length of two miles, and twenty-one miles of walk. As an item of city property. Central Park is at present valued at six million dollars ; but this, of course, is quite a nominal and unstable valuation. The worth of the Park to New York property in general is altogether beyond calculation.

New York feeds her people with about two million slaughter-animals per annum. How these are classified, and what periodical changes their supply undergoes, may be conveniently seen by the following tabular view of the New York butchers’ receiving-yards during the twelve months of the year 1863.

I am indebted for it to the experience and courtesy of Mr. Solon Robinson, agricultural editor of the “ New York Tribune.”

Receipts of Butchers’ Animals in New York during 1863.

Beeves.| Cows.| Calves.| Sheep.| Swine.

393 Feb. 19,930 16,349 474 1,318 24,877 135,413 98,099 843 April 616 3-r32 2,594 29.645 18,311 79,320 56.516 May 16,739 440 3,510 23785 718 39.305 July 396 2,993 5,516. 41,614 40,716 20,347 496 3,040 49,900 36,725 Oct. 30,847 524 3,654 3,283 79,078 68,646 475 Nov. 23,991 24, 397 557 3,378 61,082 64,144 112,265 183,359 Dec. 26,374 518 191,641 Total 264,091 6,470 35,709 519,316 1,101,617 Total of all kinds. 1,927,203.

Of the total number of beeves which came into the New York market in 1863, those whose origin could be ascertained were furnished from their several States in the following propor-

tions : —

Illinois contributed .... 118,692

New York “ .... 28,985

Ohio “ .... 19,269

Indiana “ .... 14,232

Michigan “ ..... 9,074

Kentucky “ .... 6,782

Averaging the weight of the cattle which came to New York market in 1863 at the moderate estimate of 700 lbs., the metropolitan supply of beef for that year amounted to 189.392,700 lbs. This, at the average price of nine and a quarter cents per pound, was worth $ 17,518,825. Proportionable with these estimates, the average weekly expenditure by butchers at the New York yards during the year 1863 was £328,865.

it is an astonishing, but indubitable fact, that, while the population of New York has increased sixty-six per cent during the last decade, the consumption of beef has in the same time increased sixty-five per cent. This increment might be ascribed to the great advance of late years in the price of pork, — that traditional main stay of the poor man’s housekeeping,—were it not that the importation of swine has increased almost as surprisingly, We are therefore obliged to acknowledge that during a period when the chief growth of our population was due to emigration from the lowest ranks of foreign nationalities, during three years of a devastating war, and inclusive of the great financial crisis of 1857, the increase in consumption of the most costlv and healthful article of animal food lacked but one per cent of the increase of the population. These statistics bear eloquent witness to the rapid diffusion of luxury among the New York people.

From the table of classification by States we may draw another interesting inference. It will lie seen that by far the largest proportion ot the bullocks came into the New York market from the most remote of the Western States contributing. In other words, New York City has so perfected her connection with all the sources of supply, that distance has become an unimportant element in her calculations of expense ; and she can make all the best grazing land of the country tributary to her market, without regard to the question whether it be one or twelve hundred miles off.

The foregoing butchers’ estimates are as exact as our present means of information can make them. Large numbers of uncounted sheep are consumed within the city limits, and the unreported calves are many more than come to light in statistics. Besides these main staples of the market which have been mentioned, there is consumed in New York an incalculable quantity of game and poultry, preserved meats and fish, cheese, butter, and eggs.

Mr. James Boughton, clerk of the New York Produce Exchange, has been good enough to furnish me with a tabular statement of the city’s receipts of produce for the year ending April 30, 1864. Such portions of it as may show the amount of staples, exclusive of fresh meat, required for the regular supply of the New York market, are presented in the opposite column.

A less important, but still very interesting, class of products entered New York during the same period, in the following: amounts : —

COTTON. WHISKEY. OIL CAKE. Bush. Pkgs. Bbls. 18,193 7,343 21,838 2,329 3,196 1,657 1,175 11,043 1,551 14083 19,853 884 19, 332 1,189 790 15, 656 17,500 26,902 2,318 1,280 10,441 8,193 1,393 39,594 4,973 8,441 1,163 32,346 1,498 34,475 2,115 39, 302 1,457 35,575 4, 536 33,538 5,686 1,044 22,873 265,685 96,222 15,293 106,356

New York, during the same period, exported, —

Of Flour

2,571,744 bbls.

“ Wheat . . . .

15,842,836. . . . bushels.

“ Corn. . . . . 5,576,772 “

“ Cured Beef . . 113,061 pkgs.

“ “ Pork . . 189,757 bbls.

Deducting from the total supply of each of these six staples such amounts as were exported during the year, we find a remainder, for annual metropolitan consumption, amounting, in the case of We have no room for the details — which would embarrass us, if we should attempt a statement — of the cost of clothing the New York people. We will merely remark, in passing, that one of the largest retail stores in the New York dry-goods trade sells at its counters ten million dollars’ worth of fabrics per annum, and that another concern in the wholesale branch of the same trade does a yearly business of between thirty and forty millions. As for tailors’ shops, New York is their fairy-land, — many eminent examples among them resembling, in cost, size, and elegance, rather a European palace than a republican place of traffic.

Flour . . . . . to 1,908,671 bbls.

Wheat . . . . “ 2,276,257 bushels.

Corn. . . . . . “ 8,540,490

Cured Beef. . . “ 89.209 Pkgs.

“ Pork. . . “ 209,279 bbls.

Cotton . . . . “ 238,124 bales.

The most comprehensive generalization by which we may hope to arrive at an idea of the business of New York is that which includes in tabular form the statistics of the chief institutions which employ and insure property.

On the 24th of September, 1864, sixty-three banks made a quarterly statement of their condition, under the general banking law of the State. These banks are at present, the only ones in New York whose condition can be definitely ascertained, and their reported capital amounts to $69,219,763. The national banks will go far toward increasing the total metropolitan banking capital to one hundred millions. The largest of the State banks doing business in the city is the Bank of Commerce, (about being reorganized on the national plan,) with a capital of ten millions ; and the smallest possess capital to the amount of two hundred thousand dollars.

Mr. Camp, now at the head of the New York Clearing-House, has been kind enough to furnish the following interesting statistics in regard to the total amount of business transactions managed by the New York banks in connection with the Clearing-House during the two years ending on the 30th of last September. Figures can scarcely be made more eloquent by illustration than they are of themselves. I therefore leave them without other comment than the remark that the weekly exchanges at the Clearing-House during the past year have repeatedly amounted to more than the entire expenses of the United States Government for the same period.

Clearing-House Transactions.

EXCHANGES. BALANCES. 1863. EXCHANGES. BALANCES. October $1,081,243,214.07 $54,632,410.57 October $ 1,900,210,522.77 $ 74,088,419.08 November 874,966,873.15 47,047,576.93 November 1,778,800,987.95 66,895,452.49 December 908,135,090.29 44,630,405.43 December 1745,436,325.73 60,577,884.19 1863. 1864. January 1,251,408, 58,792,544.70 January 1,770,312,694.43 63,689,950.88 February 1,199,249,050.07 51,583,913.88 February 2,088, 170,989.48 65,744,935.13 1,313,908,80 60,456.505.45 March 753,323,948.53 84,938,940.37 1,138,218,26 53,539,812.46 2,644.732,826.34 93,563,526 May 1,535,484,281.78 70,328,306.25 1,877,653,131.37 76,328,462.88 July 1,261,668,342.87 62,387,857.44 59,803,975.16 July 1,777,753,537.53 1,902,029,181.42 88,187, 73,343,903.49 87,658.93 August 1,466,803,012.90 53,120,821.99 1,776,018,141.53 69,288,834.17 September 1,584,396,148.47 61,302,352.35 September 2,082,754,368.84 237.16 $,14,867,597,848.60 $677,626,482.61 $24,097,196,655.92 $885,719,204.93 306 Business days. 309 Business days. Average per day, 1862-3. Average per day, 1863 - 4. Exchanges. . . . . . . $48,586,921.07 Exchanges. . . . . $77,984,455.20 Balances. . . . . . 2,214,465.63 Balances ....... 2,866,405.19 Aggregate Exchanges for Eleven Years .$96,540,602,384.53 “ Balances “ “ “. . . . . . . . 4,678,311,016.79 Total Transactions. . . . . . . $101,218,913,401.32

On the 31st day of December, 1863, there were 101 joint-stock companies for the underwriting of fire-risks, with an aggregate capital of $23,632,860 ; net assets to the amount of $29,269,423 ; net cash receipts from premiums amounting to $10,181,031 ; and an average percentage of assets to risks in force equalling 2.995. Besides these 101 joint-stock concerns, there existed at the same date twenty-one mutual fire-insurance companies, with an aggregate balance in their favor of $674,042. The rapidity with which mutual companies have yielded to the compacter and more efficient form of the joint-stock concern will be comprehended when it is known that just twice the number now in being have gone out of existence during the last decade. There are twelve marine insurance companies in the metropolis, with assets amounting to $24,947,559. The life-insurance companies number thirteen, with an aggregate capital of $1,885,000. We may safely set down the property invested in New York insurance companies of all sorts at $5 1,l39,461. Add this sum to the aggregate banking capital above stated, and we have a total of $120,359,224. This vast sum merely represents New York’s interest in the management of other people’s money. The bank is employed as an engine for operating debt and credit. Its capital is the necessary fuel for running the machine ; and that fuel ought certainly not to cost more than a fair interest on the products of the engine. The insurance companies guard the business-man’s fortune from surprise, as the banks relieve him from drudgery; they put property and livelihood beyond the reach of accident: in other words, they manage the estates of the community so as to secure them from deterioration, and charge a commission for their stewardship.

It is a legitimate assumption in this part of the country that the money employed in managing property bears to the property itself an average proportion of about seven per cent. Hence it follows that the above-stated aggregate banking and insurance capital of $120,359,224 must represent and be backed by values to more than fourteen times that amount. In other words, and in round numbers, we may assert that the bank and insurance interests of New York are in relations of commerce and control with at least $1,685,029,136. This measure of metropolitan influence, it must be remembered, is based on the statistics attainable mainly outside of cash sales, and through only two ol the metropolitan agencies of commerce.

I do not know how much I may assist any reader’s further comprehension of the energies of the metropolis by stating that it issues fifteen daily newspapers, one hundred and thirty-three weekly or semi-weekly journals, and seventy-four monthly, semi-monthly, or weekly magazines, — that it has ten good and three admirable public libraries,— a dozen large hospitals, exclusive of the military, — thirty benevolent societies, (and we are in that respect far behind London, where every man below an attorney belongs to some “union” or other, that he may have his neighbors’ guaranty against the ever-impending British poor-house,) — twenty-one savings-banks, one theatre where French is spoken, a German theatre, an Italian opera-house, and eleven theatres where they speak English. In a general magazine-article, it is impossible to review the hundreds of studios where our own Art is painting itself into the century with a vigor which has no rival abroad. We can treat neither the aesthetic nor the social life of New York with as delicate a pencil as we would. Our paper has had to deal with broad facts ; and upon these we are willing to rest the cause of New York in any contest for metropolitan honors. We believe that New York is destined to be the permanent emporium not only of this country, but of the entire world, — and likewise the political capital of the nation. Had the White House (or, pray Heaven ! some comelier structure) stood on Washington Heights, and the Capitol been erected at ban wood, there would never have been a Proslavery Rebellion. This is a subject which business-men are coming to ponder pretty seiiously.

After all, New Yorks essential charm to a New-Yorker cannot express itselt in figures, nor, indeed, in any adequate manner. It is the city of his soul. He loves it with a passionate dignity which will not let him swagger like the Cockney or twitter like the Parisian. His love for New York goes frequently unacknowledged even to himselt, until a necessary absence ot unusual length teaches him how hard it would be to lose the city of his affections forever.

It is a bath of other souls. It will not let a man harden inside his own epidermis. He must affect and be affected by multitudinous varieties of temperament, race, character. He avoids grooves, because New York will not tolerate grooviness. He knows that be must be able, on demand, to bowl anywhere over the field of human tastes and sympathies. Professionally he may be a specialist, but in New York his specialty must be only the axis around which are grouped encyclopaedic learning, faultless skill, and catholic intuitions. Nobody will waste a Saturday afternoon riding on his hobby-horse. He must be a broad-natured person, or he will be a mere imperceptible line on the general background of obscure citizens. He feels that he is surrounded by people who will help him do his best, yes, who will make him do it, or drive him out to install such as will. If he think of a good thing to do, he knows that the market for all good things is close around him. Whatever surplus of himself he has for communication, that he knows to be absolutely sure of a recipient before the day is done. New York, like Goethe’s Olympus, says to every man with capacity and self-faith,— Moreover, the moral air of New York City is in certain respects the purest air a man can breathe. This may seem a paradox. New York City is not often quoted as an example of purity. To the philosopher her atmosphere is cleaner than that of a country village. As the air of a contracted space may grow poisonous by respiration, while pure air rests over the entire surface ot the earth in virtue of being the final solvent to all terrestrial decompositions, so is it possible that a few good, but narrow people may get alone together in the country, and hatch a social organism far more morbid than the metropolitan. In the latter instance, aberrations counterbalance each other, and the body politic, cursed though it be with bad officials, has more vitality in it than could be excited by any conclave ot excellent men with one idea, meeting, however solemnly, to feed it with legislative pap.

While no man can ride into metropolitan success on a hobby-horse, popular dissent will still take no stronger form than a quiet withdrawal and the permission to rock by himself. No amount of eccentricity surprises a NewYorker, or makes him uncourteous. It is difficult to attract even a crowd of boys on Broadway by an odd figure, face, manner, or costume. This has the result of making New York an asylum for all who love their neighbor as themselves, but would a little rather not have him looking through the keyhole. In New York I share no dreadful secrets with the man next door. I am not in his power any more than if I lived in Philadelphia, — nor so much, for he might get somebody to spy me there. There" is no other place but New York where my next-door neighbor never feels the slightest hesitation about cutting me dead, because he knows that on such conditions rests that broad individual liberty which is the glory of the citizen.

In fine, if we seek the capital of well-paid labor, —the capital of broad congenialities and infinite resources, the capital of most widely diffused comfort, luxury, and taste, — the capital which to the eye of^the plain businessman deserves to be the nation’s senateseat,— the capital which, as the man of forecast sees, must eventually be the world’s bourse and market-place, — in any case we turn and find our quest In the city of New York.

“ Here is all fulness, ye brave, to reward you :
Work, and despair not ' ”

To-day, she might claim Jersey City, Hoboken, Brooklyn, and all the settled districts facing the island shore, with as good a grace as London includes her multitudinous districts on both sides of the Thames. Were all the population who live by her, and legitimately belong to her, now united with her, as some day they must be by absorption, New York would now contain more than 1,300,000 people. For this union New York need make no effort. The higher organization always controls and incorporates the lower.

The release of New York commerce from the last shackles of the Southern “ long - paper ” system, combined with the progressive restoration of its moral freedom from the dungeon of Southern political despotism, has left, for the first time since she was born, our metropolitan giantess unhampered. Let us throw away the poor results of our last decade ! New York thought she was growing then ; but the future has a stature for her which shall lift her up where she can see and summon all the nations.1

  1. In addition to the obligations elsewhere recognized, an acknowledgment is due to the well-known archæologist and Statistician of New York, — Mr. Valentine, — who furnished for the purpose of this article the latest edition of his Manual, in advance of its general publication, and to the great convenience of the writer.