Lossing's Field Book of the Revolution, Vol. II., Chapter XXII.







New York and its Associations. – First Settlement on Manhattan Island. – Dutch West India Company. – The Patroon System. – Government Established. – Trade of the People. – Governor Stuyvesant. – New Netherlands seized by the English. – Disappointment of the People. – Governor Stuyvesant. – New Jersey. – Leisler Chief Magistrate. – His Persecution and Death. – Suppression of Piracy. – Captain Kidd. – Attempt to Muzzle the Press. – Triumph of Democracy. – The Negro Plot. – Death of Sir Danvers Osborn. – Cadwallader Colden. – Sons of Liberty. – Place of Meeting. – Newspapers in the City. – Arrival of Stamps. – The People demand them. – Colden burned in Effigy. – Destruction of James’s Property. – Stamps delivered to the Mayor. – Quiet. – Repeal of the Act. – Rejoicings. – Pitt’s Statue. – Murmuring against the Mutiny Act. – Liberty Pole several times cut down. – Excitement. – Pitt Caricatured. – Soldiers Disarmed. – Fifth Liberty Pole. – Political Coalition. – Public Sentiment. – John Lamb. – M‘Dougal Imprisoned. – Partial Triumph of Toryism. – Arrival of a Tea-ship. – Destruction of Tea. – New Parties. – Meeting of Provincial Congress. – Arrest of Captain Sears. – Seizure of Arms. – Post-office. – Arming of the People. – Closing of the Custom-house. – Arms seized by the Sons of Liberty. – Fortifications Ordered. – Wooster and his Troops at Harlem. – Capture of British Stores. – Turtle Bay. – Committee of One Hundred. – Removal of Cannons from the Battery. – Cannonade from the Asia. – Newspapers in the City. – Destruction of Rivington’s Printing Materials. – Capture of Seabury. – Rivington and Sears. – Disaffection. – Disarming of the Tories. – Troops under Lee in New York. – His Head-quarters. – Sir Henry Clinton. – Fortifications upon York or Manhattan Island. – Washington’s Conference with Congress. – Preparation for the Defense of New York. – Landing of British Troops. – Plot to destroy Washington. – Declaration of Independence read to the Army. – Destruction of the King’s Statue. – Effect of the Declaration. – Howe’s Letter to Washington. – Commission of the Brothers. – Preparations for Battle. – Disposition of American Detachments. – Kip’s Bay. – The Kip Family.


Hail, mighty city! High must be his fame

Who round thy bounds at sunrise now should walk; 1
Still wert thou lovely, whatsoe’r thy name,
New Amsterdam, New Orange, or New York;
Whether in cradle sleep in sea-weed laid,
Or on thine island throne in queenly power arrayed."


Historical associations of the deepest interest, colonial and revolutionary, cluster around the city of New York and its immediate vicinity. Here was planted one of the earliest of the European settlements in the New World; and during the march of progress for more than a century and a half, from the advent of the Half Moon [1609.] before Manhattan, until the departure of the last vestige of foreign dominion from its shores [1783.], the events of its history bear important relations to the general structure of our republic. Here, when the colonies lifted the strong arm of resistance against an unnatural mother, the military power of the latter first raised a permanent standard. Here was the central point of that power during almost the entire period of the conflict which ensued; and here it lingered longest when the conflict was ended. Here the last great act of the drama of the Revolution was performed, when the first President of the United States was inaugurated, and the machinery of our Federal government was put in motion. Liberty in America was born at Plymouth, cradled in Boston, and baptized in Philadelphia; in New York it was inaugurated Pontifex Maximus, and its Liturgy – the Constitution – accepted as the expression of the common sentiment of a free people.

Volumes have been written concerning the colonial history of New York; I shall devote only a few pages to the same theme, in addition to that which has already been given in this work. We have glanced at colonial and revolutionary events north of the Hudson Highlands; let us now open the chronicles of the city and vicinity.

A few months after the return of Henry Hudson to Europe, with intelligence of his discovery of the beautiful island of Manhattan 2 and the river bearing his name, some Dutch traders sailed up the bay and planted their tents near the spot where now flourish the stately trees of the Battery. Hudson, being in the employment of the Dutch East India Company, the States General of Holland claimed political and territorial jurisdiction over a vast extent of country more than that watered by the river discovered by Hudson. Ship followed ship with adventurers from Holland, and as deep in the wilderness as Albany they planted trading stations. A Dutch West India Company was formed [1621.], clothed with all the elementary powers of government, and furnished with a charter giving them territorial dominion over the shores of two continents, without the least regard to the existing settlements of the English, Spanish, and Portuguese. The history of this company is instructive, but we must forbear.

A new system was adopted in 1629. Patroons came, 3 and women and children were brought to form the basis of a permanent colony. The new domain was called New Netherlands, and the settlement on Manhattan, the germ of the present city of New York, was named New Amsterdam. The chief trade of the people was in the skins of the bear, otter, and raccoon; and soon the New Englanders complained that Dutch trappers were seen even as far eastward as Narraganset Bay. Tales of the beauty and fertility of the New World were poured into the ears of the Dutch and Germans. Their neighbors, the Swedes, caught the whisper, came over the sea, and seated themselves upon the banks of the Delaware. Jealousy begat feuds, and feuds engendered conflicts, and Christian people spilled each others blood in the sight of the heathen.

When government for the new colony was ordained, Peter Minuits was sent as director general [1625.], 4 and during his administration, and that of his successors, Van Twiller and Kieft, the settlements increased, yet trouble with the Swedes and Indians abounded. 5 The governors were weak men, as statesmen, and possessed no military talent. Not so the successor of Kieft, Petrus Stuyvesant, a military commander of renown; a man of dignity, honest and true. He conciliated the Indians; 6 made honorable treaties respecting boundaries with the people of Connecticut, and by a promptly executed military expedition [1655.], he crushed the rising power of the Swedes on the Delaware, 7 and warned Lord Baltimore not to attempt an extension of his boundary line too far northward. Yet, with all his virtues, Stuyvesant was an aristocrat. His education and pursuit made him so; and wherever the feeble plant of democracy, which now began to spring up in New Amsterdam, lifted its petals, he planted the heel of arbitrary power upon it. Watered by Van der Donck, and a few Puritans who had strayed into the Dutch domain, it flourished, nevertheless, and at length it bore fruit. Two deputies from each village in New Netherlands, chosen by the people, met in council in New Amsterdam [December 1653.], without the governor’s permission. This first popular assembly offended the chief magistrate, and for five years animosity was allowed to fester in the public mind, while Stuyvesant opposed the manifest will of the people. They finally resisted taxes, scorned his menaces, and even expressed a willingness to bear English rule for the sake of enjoying English liberty.

A crisis approached. Charles the Second, without any pretense to title, gave the territory of New Netherlands to his brother James, duke of York [March, 1664.]. The duke sent an English squadron under Richard Nicolls to secure the gift, and on the third of September, 1664, the red cross of St. George floated in triumph over the fort, and the name of New Amsterdam was changed to New York. 8 It was an easy conquest, for the people were not unwilling. Stuyvesant began to make concessions when it was too late, and his real strength, the will of the people, had departed from him. Although they disliked him as a ruler, they loved him as a man, and in his retirement upon his Bowerie farm, 9 near the city, he passed the remainder of his days in quiet, honored and respected by all.

Nicolls, the conqueror, assumed the functions of governor. 10 He changed the form of laws, but the despotic spirit remained. The people were disappointed, and felt that they had only changed one tyranny for another. Nicolls filled his pockets from the people’s purses, departed, and was succeeded by Francis Lovelace, who developed new schemes of taxation, that the people should "have liberty for no thought," as he expressed it, "but how to discharge them." The people did think of something else, and were on the verge of open rebellion, when the clouds of national war overshadowed local difficulties. England and Holland were at variance, and in July, 1673, a Dutch squadron sailed up the Bay of New York, and, without firing a shot, took possession of the fort and town. The easy conquest was the work of treason, yet, as the royal libertine on the throne of England doubtless shared in the bribe, the traitor went unpunished. New Jersey and the settlements on the Delaware yielded, and for a short period (from July, 1673, until November, 1674) New York was again New Netherlands. 11

During the period of twenty-four years from the English Conquest, until the Revolution [1664 to 1688.], when James was driven from the throne, democratic ideas rapidly expanded, and democratic principles worked powerfully in New York. When, early in 1689, the people heard of the overthrow of the bigot James, and the accession of William and Mary, they appointed a Committee of Safety, and with almost unanimous voice approved the act of Jacob Leisler, the commander of the militia, in taking possession of the fort in the name of the new Protestant sovereigns. Nicholson, the royal governor, departed, and with the consent of the people Leisler assumed the reigns of local rule until the king should appoint a successor. This whole movement was the spontaneous act of the people, in their sovereign capacity of self-governors. The aristocracy were offended; denounced Leisler as a usurper; and when Governor Sloughter came, they represented the popular leader as an enemy to the king and queen. Never was a man more loyal than Jacob Leisler; never was an accusation more false. His enemies resolved on his destruction, and succeeded.

Leisler and his son-in-law, Milborne, were arrested, tried under a charge of treason, and condemned to be hung. Sloughter withheld his signature to the death-warrants until the leaders of the aristocracy made him drunk at a dinner party. He then signed the fatal instrument, and before he was sober, Leisler and Milborne were suspended upon a gallows [May 16, 1691.] on the verge of Beekman’s Swamp, near the spot where Tammany Hall now stands. These were the proto-martyrs of popular liberty in America. 12

Governor Sloughter, a man "licentious in his morals, avaricious, and poor," 13 died of delirium tremens two months after the death of Leisler, and was succeeded by Benjamin Fletcher, another weak, dissolute man; "a soldier of fortune." Fletcher became the tool of the aristocracy, and with their aid attempted to establish Episcopacy in New York, and make it the legal religion of the province. The popular Assembly was too strong for them, and defeated the scheme. Earl Bellomont, 14 who succeeded Fletcher in 1698, was a better and a wiser man. Death removed him just as his more liberal policy was about to bear fruit [1701.], and Edward Hyde (afterward Lord Cornbury), a libertine and a knave, cursed the province with misrule for seven years, when the people successfully demanded his recall. From that period until the arrival of William Cosby as governor, in 1732, the royal representatives, unable to resist the will of the people, expressed by the popular Assembly, allowed democratic principles to grow and bear fruit. Rip van Dam, "a man of the people," was acting governor when Cosby came. They soon quarreled, and two violent parties arose; the Democratic, who sided with Van Dam, and the Aristocratic, who supported the governor. Each party had a newspaper at command, 15 and the war of words raged violently. The governor finally ordered Zenger, the publisher of the paper opposed to him, to be arrested on a charge of libel. After an imprisonment of thirty-five weeks, Zenger was tried and acquitted by a jury. The excitement was intense, and as on other occasions, the heat of party zeal stimulated the growth of democratic ideas. 16

The remarkable event in the history of judicial proceedings, known as The Negro Plot, occurred in the city of New York in 1741. The idea became prevalent that numerous negro slaves in the city had conspired to burn the town, murder the white people, and set up a government under a man of their own color. A panic appeared to subvert all reason and common sense, and before it was allayed, four white people were hanged; eleven negroes were burned, eighteen were hanged, and fifty were transported to the West Indies and sold. All the local histories contain accounts of this affair in detail.

During the administration of George Clinton (of the family of the Earls of Lincoln), from 1743 till 1753, disputes ran high between the government and the people. Clinton’s haughty demeanor, exactions, and injudicious assumption of privileges, disgusted the people, and they treated him with scorn. Clinton menaced them with punishments; they defied him, and boldly pronounced his conduct "arbitrary, illegal, and a violation of their rights." Yielding to the democratic pressure, Clinton left the province, and was succeeded by Sir Danvers Osborn, on whose goodness and integrity the people relied for quiet and just rule. Four days after his accession [Sept. 12, 1753.] to office, he went down into the suicide’s grave, 17 and his deputy, James Delancey, officiated as governor. The "Seven Years’ War," now kindling in Europe, and its counterpart in America, the "French and Indian War," absorbed public attention, and the local politics of New York became, in a measure, a secondary consideration with the people. 18 In that war, the people of New York, like those of her sister colonies, perceived their true strength, and learned a lesson of vast importance to them in the crisis which was now approaching. We have too often, in these volumes, considered the events which led to this crisis – the open resistance of the people to the supreme government – to require a repetition here, except those circumstances of local interest which marked the reception of the Stamp Act in New York.

When intelligence of the passage of the Stamp Act came over the sea, the people of New York boldly avowed their opposition. Cadwallader Colden, 19 a venerable Scotchman of eighty years was acting governor, and his council were men of the highest character in the province. Colden was a liberal-minded man, yet duty to his sovereign compelled him to discountenance the proceedings of the people, and his name appears in the records as the enemy of civil freedom. The SONS OF LIBERTY, who organized at this time throughout the colonies though not numerous at first in New York, were very active, and gave Colden a great deal of trouble. 20 The newspapers spoke out moderately but manly, and there were few persons who openly advocated the Stamp Act. As the day approached when the act was to be put in force [Nov. 1, 1765.], the tone of the press and the people became more defiant, 21 and it was resolved not to allow the stamps to be landed. A general meeting of the citizens was held on the evening of the thirty-first of October, 22 when two hundred merchants appended their names to resolutions condemnatory of the act; a Committee of Correspondence was appointed, 23 and measures were adopted to force James M‘Evers, the appointed stamp distributor, to resign his commission.


The stamps arrived on the twenty-third of October, and M‘Evers, already alarmed by the manifestation of the public feeling, refusing to receive them, they were placed in the hands of Lieutenant-governor Colden (who resided within Fort George) for safe keeping. The garrison was strong, and under the command of General Gage, then chief captain of the British troops in America. In view of impending troubles, Colden had strengthened the fort and replenished the magazine. A knowledge of these facts increased the indignation of the people, but did not alter their resolution. Notwithstanding armed ships were riding in the harbor, and the guns of the fort were pointed upon the town, the people assembled in great numbers, appeared before the fort, and demanded the delivery of the stamps to their appointed leader. A refusal was answered by defiant shouts, and half an hour afterward the lieutenant governor was hung in effigy, 24 in "the fields," near the spot where Leisler was gibbeted seventy-five years before. Thence they paraded through the streets, back to the fort, dragged Colden’s fine coach to the open space in front, tore down the wooden fence around the Bowling Green, and after making a pile, cast the coach 25 and effigy upon it, and set fire to and consumed all together. The mob then proceeded out of town to the beautiful residence of Major James, of the royal artillery, where they destroyed his fine library, works of art and furniture, and desolated his choice garden. 26 Isaac Sears and others, leaders of the Sons of Liberty, who had issued strict orders forbidding injury to private property, endeavored to restrain the mob, but the storm they had raised could not be quieted till the appetite for violence was appeased. After parading the streets, with the Stamp Act printed upon large sheets, and raised upon poles, headed "England’s Folly and America’s Ruin," the populace quietly dispersed to their homes. 27

Excitement still prevailed in the city, when Colden, perceiving further resistance to the will of the people unavailing, ordered the stamps to be delivered to the Mayor (Cruger) and Common Council, the former giving a receipt for the same, and the corporation agreeing to pay for all stamps that should be destroyed or lost. 28 This was satisfactory to the people. and quiet was restored. Yet the colonists were no less vigilant, and efforts to enforce {original text has "enfore".} a repeal of the obnoxious act were every where made. Non-importation agreements were numerously signed; the hum of spinning-wheels and the clatter of shuttles were heard in almost every household, and rich men and women, who commonly walked in broadcloths and brocades, now appeared, on all occasions, in homespun garments.

On Tuesday, the sixth of May [1766.], the joyful intelligence of the repeal of the Stamp Act reached New York. 29 The city was filled with delight. Bells rung a merry peal, cannons roared, and placards every where appeared, calling a meeting of the citizens at Howard’s the next day to celebrate the event. Hundreds assembled, and marching in procession to "the fields," they fired a royal salute of twenty-one guns upon the spot where the City Hall now stands. An immense table was spread at Howard’s, where the Sons of Liberty feasted, and drank twenty-eight "loyal and constitutional toasts." The city was illuminated in the evening, and bonfires blazed at every corner. Another celebration was had on the king’s birth-day [June 4, 1766.], under the auspices of Governor Moore. The governor, council, military officers, and the clergy, dined at the King’s Arms (now Atlantic Garden), where General Gage resided, and great rejoicings were had by the people in "the fields." 30 The Sons of Liberty feasted at Montagne’s, and with the sanction of the governor, they erected a mast (afterward called Liberty Pole) a little northeast of the present City Hall, in front of Warren Street. It was inscribed, "To his most gracious Majesty, George the Third, Mr. Pitt, and Liberty." The loyalty of the people, and their idolatry of Pitt, were boundless, and at a meeting at the Coffee House [June 23.], corner of Dock (now Pearl) and Wall Streets, a petition was numerously signed, praying the Assembly to erect a statue to the great commoner. The Assembly complied, and on the same day voted an equestrian statue in honor of the king. These were erected in 1770, but within six years that of the king was destroyed by the Republicans, and Pitt’s was mutilated by the Royalists soon afterwards. 31


Even while the people were singing alleluiahs, there were some in New York, who, like Christopher Gadsden of Charleston (see page 542), were sagacious enough to perceive the tendency of Pitt’s Declaratory Act, which accompanied the Repeal Bill, and were bold enough to warn the people, even in the midst of the loyal excitement. The liberal press of England immediately denounced it, 32 and Pitt’s plea of expediency could hardly save him from the anathemas of the Americans, when they gravely considered the matter. However, the Sons of Liberty regarded the repeal of the Stamp Act as a secession of the ministry from their authoritative position, and believing that a full redress of grievances complained of would follow, they dissolved their association, but agreed to meet each year on the anniversary of the repeal, to celebrate the event.

Before the echoes of repeal rejoicings had died away, the low mutterings of another storm were heard. When intelligence of the Stamp Act riots reached England, Parliament passed the Mutiny Act, which provided for the quartering of troops in America, at the partial expense of the colonists themselves. In June, Governor Moore informed the people of New York that he hourly expected the arrival of a re-enforcement for the garrison, and that he desired the Assembly to make immediate provisions for them, according to the demands of the Mutiny Act. The Sons of Liberty were aroused, and at a meeting at Montagne’s, they solemnly resolved to resist this new measure of oppression to the uttermost. The troops came; angry feelings were soon excited between them and the people, and thirty-six days after the Liberty Pole was erected with so much harmony and loyalty it was cut down by the insolent soldiery [Aug. 16, 1766.]. The people re-erected it the next evening, in the face of the armed mercenaries; not, however, without a fracas, in which blood was shed. 33 A little more than a month afterward [Sept. 23.], the soldiers again prostrated the Liberty Pole, and again the people upreared it, and from its top they flung the British banner to the breeze [Sept. 25.]. The autumn and winter passed without serious trouble in the city, but when the people met to celebrate the anniversary of the repeal [March 18, 1767.], and with great rejoicings inaugurated the "mast" as a "Liberty Pole," the soldiers again interfered, and that night the cherished emblem of freedom was prostrated for the third time. The people again erected it, bound it with iron, and placed a guard there. The soldiers came with loaded muskets [March 22.], fired two random shots into Montagne’s house, where the Sons of Liberty were assembled, and attempted to drive the people from "the fields." Fearful retaliation would have followed this atrocious act, had not the governor interfered and ordered the soldiers to refrain from further aggressive movements. On the king’s birth-day [June 4.], they made another unsuccessful attempt to destroy the Liberty Pole, but it stood in proud defiance until 1770, when armed men came from the barracks at midnight [Jan. 16, 1770.], prostrated it, sawed it in pieces, and then piled it up in front of Montagne’s. The perpetrators were discovered, the bell of St. George’s Chapel, in Beckman Street, was rung, and early the next morning three thousand people stood around the stump of the pole, and, by resolutions, declared their rights, and their determination to maintain them. For three days the most intense excitement prevailed. In frequent affrays with the citizens, the soldiers were generally worsted; and in a severe conflict on Golden Hill (Cliff Street, between Fulton Street and Maiden Lane), near Burling Slip, several of the soldiers were disarmed. 34 Quiet was at length restored; the people erected another Liberty Pole [March 24.] upon private ground purchased for the purpose, upon Broadway, near Warren Street, and a few days afterward the soldiers departed for Boston. 35 This fifth Liberty Pole remained untouched as a rallying-place for the Whigs until 1776, when it was hewn down by Cunningham, the notorious provost marshal, who, it is said, had been whipped at its foot.

The Colonial Assembly steadily refused compliance with the demands of the Mutiny Act, until Parliament, early in 1767, passed an act "prohibiting the governor, council, and Assembly of New York passing any legislative act for any purpose whatever," when partial concessions were made. A new Assembly was convened in 1768 [Feb. 11.]. It was composed of less pliable material than the other, and, notwithstanding the imperial government made the province feel the weight of its displeasure, and would not recede from its position of absolute master, the Assembly refused submission, until May, 1769, when an appropriation was made for the support of the troops. In the autumn of that year Sir Henry Moore died [Sept. 11.], and the reins of government were again held by Colden. Soon an unlooked for coalition between Colden and Delancey, the leaders of opposing parties, appeared. Opposite political elements seemed to assimilate, and the leaven of aristocracy began its work in the Assembly. A game for political power, based upon a money scheme, was commenced, which menaced the liberties of the people. 36 The popular leaders sounded the alarm, and an inflammatory hand-bill appeared [Dec. 16, 1769.], signed "A Son of Liberty," calling a meeting of "the betrayed inhabitants in the fields." It denounced the money scheme, the pliancy of the Assembly, and the unnatural coalition of Colden and Delancey, as omens of danger to the state.

A large concourse of people assembled around the Liberty Pole the next day. They were harangued by John Lamb, 37 one of the most ardent of the Sons of Liberty, and by a vote unanimously condemned the action of the Assembly. They communicated their sentiments to that body by a committee, 38 when the Assembly adopted measures for the discovery and punishment of the author of the obnoxious hand-bill. Lamb was cited before the House, but was soon discharged; and the guilt being fixed upon Alexander M‘Dougal (the Revolutionary general, subsequently) by the printer, he was arrested, and refusing to make any acknowledgment or to give bail, he was cast into prison, where he remained about fourteen weeks, until arraigned for trial. He then pleaded not guilty, gave bail, was arraigned before the House several months afterward (when he was defended by George Clinton), and was again put in prison for contempt. He was soon released, and was never troubled with the matter afterward. These proceedings engendered dissatisfaction. Popular opinion was with M‘Dougal, and men and women flocked to the prison to sympathize with him. The growth of democratic principles was promoted by these events.

Gradually the Loyalist party gained ascendency in the Legislature, and the influence of that body was felt among the people. Non-importation agreements were disregarded, and only the Hampden Hall Sons of Liberty maintained the integrity of their principles. Disaffection appeared among the members of the general committee of One Hundred, and of the vigilance committee of Fifty-one, recently organized. The Loyalists rejoiced, and Rivington printed in his Gazetteer,

"And so my good masters, I find it no joke,
For YORK has stepp’d forward and thrown off the yoke
Of Congress, committees, and even King Sears,
Who shows you good nature by showing his ears."

Yet the great mass of the people remained sufficiently democratic to preserve a spirit of hostility to oppressive government measures. We need not here repeat the story of Britain’s sins and America’s endurance. New York shared in common with the other colonies, and when Tryon came from North Carolina [July 3, 1771.] to rule the province, he found the same loathing for petty tyranny and aristocratic assumptions. Comparative quiet prevailed, however, until intelligence of Lord North’s Tea Act came. The flame of excitement then burst out in New York as suddenly and fiercely as in Boston. The Sons of Liberty reorganized; the Committee of Correspondence resumed its labors; tea commissioners and stamp distributors were considered co-workers in iniquity, and in front of the Coffee House in Wall Street, an effigy of Kelly, a New Yorker in London, who had ridiculed popular indignation here, was burned [Nov. 3, 1773.]. The fire in Hampden Hall spread among the people, and when Captain Lockyier, of the Nancy, the first tea-ship that came, arrived at Sandy Hook, he heeded the advice of the pilot, and went up to the city without his vessel. The "Mohawks" 39 were warned to be in readiness, and the people resolved that no tea should be landed. Captain Lockyier’s conference with the committee satisfied him that he had no fair alternative but to return to England with his cargo. Even while he was ashore, a merchant vessel (Captain Chambers) arrived with eighteen chests of tea hidden among its cargo. The vigilant Sons of Liberty searched his vessel, cast his tea into the harbor, and advised him to leave port as soon as possible. He heeded the advice, and left New York with Lockyier, while the people crowded the wharf at Whitehall, shouted a farewell, and amid cannon peals hoisted the royal flag upon the Liberty Pole in token of triumph.

Loyalty and timidity again developed their fruit in the Revolutionary committees, and by adroit management moderate men and royalists gained the ascendency. Afraid openly to oppose the popular will, they insidiously cast obstacles in the way of efficient co-operation with other colonies. Soon two distinct parties were formed among professed Republicans, marked by a line of social distinction – the Patricians and the Tribunes – the merchants and gentry, and the mechanics. They coalesced, however, in the nomination of delegates to the Continental Congress, and on the twenty-seventh of July [1774.], the people, by unanimous voice, ratified their choice. 40 This was an act of the people alone, for the Assembly, too timid or too loyal, refrained from any expression of opinion concerning the proposed Congress. 41

The American Association, adopted by the first Continental Congress, was popular in New York, and a committee of sixty was immediately organized to enforce its provisions. Warmly supported by the true Sons of Liberty, they took the lead in political matters. By their recommendation, the people in the several counties chose representatives for a Provincial Congress, and on the twenty-second of May, 1775, that body convened in the Exchange, at the foot of Broad Street, in New York. 42 The General Assembly had adjourned a month previously, and never met again. 43

The great crisis was now approaching, and the occurrence of many local circumstances inflamed the minds of the people, and prepared them for open rebellion. 44 Intelligence of the martyrdom of patriots at Lexington and Concord came at the moment when Captain Sears, the popular leader, was in official custody [April 24, 1775.], because he had made, it was alleged, treasonable propositions. 45 Aroused by that first clarion-blast of war, the people took possession of the City Hall, armed themselves, and with Lamb and Willett at their head, they embargoed all vessels in the harbor laden with provisions for the British army in Boston. They did more; Andrew Elliott, the collector, forbade the landing of a cargo of rum for the patriots. Sears and Lamb ordered the vessel to Cruger’s Wharf (between Coenties 46 and Old Slips), landed the rum, and carted it to its destination in the city then returning to the custom-house, they demanded and received the keys, dismissed the employées, and closed the building [May 2.]. When they had committed this overt act of treason, they boldly gave notice of the fact to their brethren in other cities. Persons known to be engaged in sending provisions to the British ships in the harbor were seized, and general alarm pervaded the Tory ranks. 47 A grand Committee of Safety, consisting of one hundred of the most respectable citizens, was now organized; a military association for practice in the use of fire-arms was formed, under Samuel Broome; a pledge (see page 384, volume i.) was circulated, and numerously signed; six hundred stand of arms were taken from the city arsenals by the committee, and distributed among the citizens; and when an Irish battalion (the last remains of the garrison in Fort George), under Major Moncrief, were on their way to a vessel bound for Boston, with a quantity of spare arms in boxes upon wagons, Marinus Willett and a small body of Sons of Liberty, encouraged by a short harangue by John Morin Scott, boldly confronted the soldiers, seized the arms, and carried them back to the now deserted fort [Jan. 23, 1775.]. These arms were afterward used by Gansevoort’s regiment, of which Willett was lieutenant colonel.

When the Provincial Congress assembled [May 22.], its complexion disappointed the people. Toryism and timidity prevailed in that Assembly, and the elaboration of schemes for conciliation, instead of measures for defense, occupied the majority. Hard pressed by public opinion, 48 and the influence of important events daily transpiring, they were obliged to yield. Four regiments were authorized to be raised; 49 fortifications at King’s Bridge 50 were ordered, and measures were taken to fortify the Hudson passes in the Highlands. In the mean while, the patriots gathered in force around Boston; the battle of Bunker Hill was fought; a Continental army was organized, and George Washington appointed the commander-in-chief. 51 Rumors of the approach of troops from Ireland came, and the Provincial Congress, somewhat purged of its Toryism by intelligence from the East, invited General Wooster, then in command of eighteen hundred Connecticut militia at Greenwich, to come to the defense of New York. He encamped at Harlem [June, 1775.] for several weeks, sent detachments to beat off marauders, who were carrying away the cattle of Long Island to the British army in Boston, and by his presence made the New York patriots bold and active. At midnight [July 20.] they captured British stores at Turtle Bay, and sent part to the grand army at Boston and a part to the troops then collecting on Lake Champlain to invade Canada; they also seized a tender, with stores, belonging to the Asia, and took possession of provisions and clothing deposited at Greenwich 52 by the government. 53


Governor Tryon returned to New York in the Asia on the third of July, and was received with respect. His course soon indicated his opposition to the Republicans. The energetic actions of the committee of One Hundred taught him to be circumspect in public, and his private intrigues to gain ascendency for Toryism in the Provincial Congress were abortive. That body, now guided by the popular will, and perceiving a resort to arms to be inevitable, ordered Lamb, who was then a captain of artillery, to remove the cannons from the grand battery and the fort, and take them to a place of security. Assisted by an independent corps under Colonel Lasher, and a body of citizens guided by King Sears, as the sturdy Son of Liberty was now called, he proceeded to the battery at nine o’clock on the evening of the twenty-third of August. Captain Vandeput, of the Asia, informed of the intended movement, sent a barge filled with armed men to watch the patriots. When they appeared, a musket ball was indiscreetly sent among them from the barge. It was answered by a volley, when the barge hastened to the Asia, bearing several men killed and wounded. That vessel opened her port-holes, and hurled three balls ashore in quick succession. Lamb ordered the drums to beat to arms; the church bells were rung, and while all was confusion and alarm, a broadside came from the Asia. Others rapidly followed, and several houses near the fort and Whitehall were injured by the grape and round shot. 55 No life was sacrificed, but terror seized the people. Believing the rumor that the city was to be sacked and burned, hundreds of men, women, and children were seen at midnight hurrying with their light effects to places of safety beyond the doomed town. Yet the patriots at the battery were firm, and in the face of the cannonade every gun was deliberately removed. Some of them afterward performed good service in the American cause. 56

Deep feelings of exasperation moved the Sons of Liberty in the city after this cannonade, and Tryon’s fears wisely counseled his flight. Mayor Mathews and others promised him protection, but he had more confidence in gunpowder, and on the nineteenth of October [1775.] he took refuge on board the British sloop of war Halifax, 57 where he received his council, and, like Dunmore, attempted to exercise civil authority. 58

Aided by Rivington, 59 with his Royal Gazetteer, his influence was still great, and he managed to keep disaffection alive and in active propagation. In total disregard of truth and common fairness, Rivington abused the Republicans with unsparing severity, and none more bitterly than Captain Sears. 60 That patriot, fired by personal insult and political zeal, came from Connecticut, where he had gone to plan schemes for the future with ardent Whigs, and at noonday entered the city [Nov. 23, 1775.] at the head of seventy-five light-horsemen, proceeded to the printing establishment of Rivington, at the foot of Wall Street, placed a guard with fixed bayonets around it, put all of his types into bags, destroyed his press and other apparatus, and then in the same order, amid the shouts of the populace, and to the tune of Yankee Doodle, left the city. They carried off the types and made bullets of them. On their way back to Connecticut they disarmed all the Tories in their route, and at West Chester seized and took with them the Reverend Samuel Seabury 61 and two other obnoxious Tories, and carried them in triumph to New Haven.

During the winter of 1775-6, disaffection to the Republican cause prevailed extensively throughout the province, and in Queen’s county and vicinity, on Long Island, the people began to arm in favor of the crown. Tryon expected to see the province speedily declare in favor of royalty, and from the Duchess of Gordon (armed ship), where he made his headquarters, he kept up an active correspondence with Mathews, Delancey, and other Loyalists in the city. The Continental Congress promptly opposed the progress of disaffection, and vigorous measures were adopted for a general disarming of the Tories throughout the colonies. 62

Early in January [1776.], Washington, then at Cambridge, was informed that General Sir Henry Clinton was about to sail on a secret expedition. He doubted not that New York was his destination, where Tryon was ready to head the Loyalists in a formal demonstration in favor of the crown. Fearing that province might be lost to the patriots, Washington readily acceded to the request of General Charles Lee, then in Connecticut, to embody volunteers in that colony, and march to New York. Governor Trumbull lent his aid to the service, and within a fortnight Lee, having the bold Isaac Sears for his adjutant general, was in rapid march toward New York with twelve hundred men. His approach produced great alarm, and many Tories fled, with their families and effects, to Long Island and New Jersey. The Committee of Safety, yet dozing over the anodyne of disaffection, were aroused by fear, and protested against Lee’s entrance into the city, because Captain Parker, of the Asia, had declared his intention to cannonade and burn the town if rebel troops should be allowed to enter it. 63 Lee was unmoved alike by Parker’s threats and the committee’s protest, and encamping the larger portion of his troops in "the fields" (the present City Hall Park), he made his head-quarters at the house of Captain Kennedy, No. 1 Broadway. 64


He proclaimed his mission, and said, "I come to prevent the occupation of Long Island or the city by the enemies of liberty. If the ships of war are quiet, I shall be quiet; if they make my presence a pretext for firing on the town, the first house set in flames by their guns shall be the funeral pile of some of their best friends." Lee’s energy of expression and action was potential. The Tories shrunk into inactivity; a glow of patriotism was felt in the Provincial Congress, and measures were speedily adopted for fortifying the city and the approaches to it, and garrisoning it with two thousand men.

Sir Henry Clinton arrived at Sandy Hook on the day when Lee entered the city. He sailed for North Carolina [March, 1776.], was followed thither by Lee, and in June they were in conflict in Charleston harbor. The army in New York was left in charge of Lord Stirling [March 7.], and that officer prosecuted with vigor the labor of fortifying the city, begun by Lee. 65 Already the Tories who remained had been compelled to take an oath to act with the Americans if required, and officers were busy upon Staten Island, and some parts of Long Island, in disarming them.


Washington hastened to New York after the British evacuated Boston [March 17, 1776.], for he suspected Howe would sail directly to attack that city. He arrived on the fourteenth of April, and approving of the course of Lee and Stirling, he pushed forward the defenses of the city. Fort George was strengthened, and in the course of three months strong works were erected in the vicinity of the city and in the Hudson Highlands. 67 Toward the close of May [May 23.], he left the troops in command of General Putnam, while he hastened to Philadelphia to confer with Congress respecting the general defense of the colonies. The wicked bargain of Great Britain with the German princes for their men was now known, and it was believed that New York was the point where the mercenary vultures would probably strike their first blow. To that point the eyes of all America were now turned. Congress authorized a re-enforcement of thirteen thousand eight hundred militia, to be drawn from New England, New York, 68 and New Jersey, and provided for the establishment of a flying camp of ten thousand men, to be formed of militia from Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. The latter were to rendezvous at Amboy, and the accomplished General Mercer was appointed to the command. General Greene took post at Brooklyn, and superintended the preparation of defenses there. On his return [June 7.], Washington went to the upper end of the island, and personally aided in the surveys and the arrangement of the plan of Fort Washington and its outworks.

General Howe, who went to Halifax from Boston, arrived at Sandy Hook on the twenty-ninth of June [1776.], with ships and transports bearing his recruited army, where he was visited by Governor Tryon. On the eighth of July he landed nine thousand men upon Staten Island, 69 and there awaited the arrival of his brother, Admiral Howe, with English regulars and Hessian hirelings. These arrived in the course of a few days, and in August, Clinton and Parker, with their broken forces, joined them. Another disembarkation took place on the twelfth, and there, upon the wooded heights of Staten Island, above Stapleton and Clifton, and upon the English transports, almost thirty thousand men stood ready to fall upon the Republicans. 70 Already the Declaration of Independence had gone abroad; 71 the statue of the king in New York had been pulled down, 72 and brave men, pledged to the support of the Continental Congress and its measures, were piling fortifications upon every eligible point around the devoted city.

On the arrival of General Howe at Sandy Hook, the Provincial Congress of New York adjourned to White Plains, and there, on the ninth of July, they reassembled, approved of the Declaration of Independence, and changed the title of the Assembly to Convention of the Representatives of the State of New York. The Declaration, however, offended many influential men, who, though warmly attached to their country, and yearning for a redress of grievances, shuddered at the thought of separation from Great Britain. Some closed their mouths in silence and folded their arms in inaction, while others, like Beverly Robinson, the Delanceys, and men of that character, actively espoused the cause of the king. The patriot army in New York was surrounded by domestic enemies, more to be dreaded than open adversaries, and this fact seemed favorable to the hopes of Howe, that the olive branch would be accepted by the Americans when offered. 73 He soon perceived that much of loyalty was the child of timidity, and when his proclamations were sent abroad, offering peace only on condition of submission, the missiles proved powerless. Although doubtless desiring peace, he was obliged to draw the sword and sever the leashes of-the blood-hounds of war.

On the twelfth of July, the Rose and Phœnix ships of war, with their decks guarded by sand-bags, sailed up the bay, and passing the American batteries without serious injury, proceeded up the Hudson to Haverstraw Bay, for the double purpose of keeping open a communication with Carleton, who was endeavoring to make his way southward by Lake Champlain, 74 and for furnishing arms to the Tories of West Chester. The vigilant Whigs would not allow their boats to land, and there they remained inactive for three weeks. In the mean while, the belligerent forces were preparing for the inevitable battle. Hulks of vessels were sunk in the channel between Governor’s Island 75 and the Battery, and chevaux de frise were formed there under the direction of General Putnam, to prevent the passage of the British vessels up the East River. A large body of troops were concentrated at Brooklyn, under General Greene; Sullivan and his little army hastened from the North; two battalions from Pennsylvania and Maryland, under Smallwood, arrived, and the New York and New England militia flocked to the city by hundreds. On the first of August the American army in and around New York numbered about twenty-seven thousand men, but at least one fourth of them were unfitted by sickness for active duty. Bilious fever prostrated Greene about the middle of August, and Sullivan was placed in command at Brooklyn. A small detachment was ordered to Governor’s Island; another was posted at Paulus’ Hook, where Jersey City now stands, and General George Clinton, with a body of New York militia, was ordered to West Chester county to oppose the landing of the British on the shores of the Sound, or, in the event of their landing, to prevent their taking possession of the strong post at King’s Bridge. Parson’s brigade took post at Kip’s Bay, 76 on the East River, to watch British vessels if they should enter those waters. Such was the position of the two armies immediately antecedent to the battle near Brooklyn, at the close of August, 1776.



1 While the Dutch possessed the city, after its recapture in 1673, it was the duty of the mayor to walk round the city every morning at sunrise, unlock all the gates, and then give the keys to the commander of the fort. The walls or palisades extended from the East River, across Broadway to the corner of Grace and Lumber Streets, along the line of the present Wall Street. From the most westerly point, they continued along the brow of the high bank of the Hudson to the fort, near the present Battery.

2 According to Heckewelder, this Indian word signifies place of drunkenness, a name given to the spot fourscore years before, when Verrazani landed there, and at a council of the natives gave them strong liquor and made them drunk. The place and the local tribe were afterward called Manhattan and Manhattans.

3 See vol. i., p. 391. The chief patroons, or patrons, who first came, were Killian van Rensselaer, Samuel Godyn, Samuel Bloemart, and Michael Paw. Godyn and Bloemart purchased lands on the Delaware, Van Rensselaer at Albany, and Paw in New Jersey, from Hoboken to the Kills. Livingston, Philipse, Van Cortland, and others, came afterward.

4 This year a company of Walloons came from Holland and settled upon the land around the present Navy Yard at Brooklyn. There, on the seventh of June, Sarah Rapelje, the first white child born in New Netherlands, made her advent.

5 Dishonest traders changed friendly Indians to deadly foes. Conflicts ensued, and, to cap the climax of iniquity, Kieft caused scores of men, women, and children, who had asked his protection against the Mohawks, to be murdered at midnight, on the banks of the Hudson, at Hoboken. This act awakened the fierce ire of the tribes far in the wilderness, and caused the settlers vast and complicated trouble.

6 Because of his honorable treatment of the natives, and their attachment to him, the New Englanders charged him with a design to exterminate the English by Indian instrumentality.

7 See vol. ii., page 46 {original text has "vol. i., page 386."}.

8 The fort was built of Holland brick, and was finished in 1635. It stood on high ground on the site of the row of brick houses southeast of the Bowling Green, and was capacious enough to contain the governor’s house, a small church, and to accommodate three hundred soldiers. It was called Fort Amsterdam. On its surrender to the English, it was called Fort James; during the Dutch occupation again, in 1673, it was called Fort William Hendrick; then again Fort James; on the accession of William and Mary, it was called Fort Orange; and finally, it was named Fort George, when Anne, who married Prince George of Denmark, ascended the English throne. It retained that name until it was demolished in 1790-91.

9 Governor Stuyvesant retired from active life after the surrender to the English, and lived in quiet dignity upon his "Bowerie" estate, a short distance from the city, during the remainder of his life. * Stuyvesant was a native of Holland, born in 1602, and was forty-five years of age when he came to rule New Netherlands. Soon after his arrival, he married Judith Bayard, daughter of a Huguenot, by whom he had two sons. After the capture by the English, he went to Holland (1665) to report to his superiors, and this was his last ocean voyage. With his little family he enjoyed the repose of agricultural pursuits, within sight of the smoke of the city, which curled above the tree-tops along the "Bowerie Lane." Upon his farm (on the site of the present Church of St. Mark’s), he built a chapel, at his own expense, and dedicated it to the worship of God according to the rituals of the Reformed Dutch Church. He lived eighteen years after the change in the government, and at his death was buried in his vault within the chapel. Over his remains was placed a slab (which may still be seen in the eastern wall of St. Mark’s), with the following inscription: "In this vault lies buried PETRUS STUYVESANT, late captain general and commander-in-chief of Amsterdam, in New Netherlands, now called New York, and the Dutch West India Islands. Died in August, A. D. 1682, aged eighty years."

* Governor Stuyvesant’s house was built of small yellow brick, imported from Holland, and stood near the present St. Mark’s church, between the Second and Third Avenues. I saw his well in 1851, in a vacant lot between Eleventh and Twelfth Streets, nearly on a line with the rear of St. Mark’s. A fine brick building now (1855) covers the spot.


A pear-tree, imported from Holland in 1647, by Stuyvesant, and planted in his garden, yet flourishes on the corner of Thirteenth Street and Third Avenue, the only living relic which preserves the memory of the renowned Dutch governor. I saw it in May, 1851, white with blossoms, a patriarch two hundred and seven years of age, standing in the midst of strangers, crowned with the hoary honors of age and clustered with wonderful associations. An iron railing protects it, and it may survive a century longer.

10 The dismemberment of the New Netherlands speedily followed the English Conquest. James sold to Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, the domains included within the present limits of New Jersey. Many privileges were offered to settlers, and the new province flourished. Berkeley finally sold his moiety to a party of Quakers, among whom was William Penn. The province was divided into East and West Jersey. The latter was assigned to the Quakers. In 1682, the heirs of Carteret sold his share to Quakers, among whom, again, was William Penn, and all the territory became an asylum for the persecuted. The ownership of the Jerseys proved a bad speculation, and in 1702 the proprietors surrendered them to the crown. They were united, and for a while were under the jurisdiction of the governor of New York, yet having a distinct Legislative Assembly. New Jersey was separated from New York in 1738, and remained a distinct province until she assumed the position of a sovereign state in 1776.

11 For interesting papers connected with this event, see Documentary History of New York, iii., 80-99 inclusive; also Valentine’s Manual of the Common Council of New York, 1852, p. 415-435 inclusive.

12 Jacob Leisler was a native of Frankfort, in Germany. He came to America in 1660, and after a brief residence in Albany, he became a trader in New York. While on a voyage to Europe, he, with seven others, was made a prisoner by the Turks, to whom he paid a high price for his ransom. Governor Dongan appointed him one of the commissioners of the Court of Admiralty in 1683. In 1689, while exercising the functions of governor, he purchased New Rochelle for the persecuted Huguenots. His death, by the violence of his enemies, lighted an intense flame of party spirit, which burned for many long years.

Abraham Gouverneur, Leisler’s secretary, was condemned at the same time, but was pardoned. He afterward married the widow of Milborne, and became the ancestor of the large and respectable family of Gouverneurs in this country, and its collateral branches.

13 Chief Justice Smith.

14 It was during the administration of Bellomont, that efforts were made to suppress prevailing piracy. The governor, Robert Livingston, and others, fitted out an expedition for the purpose, intrusted the command to the famous Captain Kidd, and were to share with him in all the profits arising from the capture of piratical vessels. Kidd was hung as a pirate in 1701, apparently the victim of a political conspiracy.

15 The Democratic paper was published by John Peter Zenger, and was called The New York Weekly Journal; the aristocratic paper was published by William Bradford, formerly of Philadelphia (see page 52), and was called The New York Gazette. The latter was established in 1725, and the former in 1726. Bradford had been in the printing business in New York since 1693. His was the first newspaper printed in the colony.

16 This was the first attempt in New York to muzzle the press. Andrew Hamilton, of Philadelphia, was Zenger’s counsel; and the people, to express their approbation of the verdict, entertained Hamilton at a public dinner, and the corporation presented him with the freedom of the city in a gold box. On his departure, he was honored with salutes of cannon.

17 The loss of his wife had preyed upon the cheerfulness of Osborn, and he had become almost a misanthrope. Dismayed by the cares and perplexities of office which he saw awaited him, he hung himself with a handkerchief upon the garden fence of his residence.

18 We have already considered, in the first volume, the convention of colonial delegates at Albany in 1754, and the part which New York took in the war which ensued, and continued until 1763.

19 Colden was one of the most active and useful of the public men of New York before the Revolution. From a well-written memoir of him, by the pen of John W. Francis, M. D., of the city of New York, and published in The American Medical and Philosophical Register (January, 1811, volume i.), I have gleaned the materials for the following brief sketch:

Cadwallader Colden was the son of a Scotch minister of the Gospel, and was born at Dunse, in Scotland, on the seventeenth of February, 1688. He was educated at the University of Edinburgh, where he completed his collegiate studies in 1705, at the early age of seventeen years. He then devoted three years to the study of mathematics and medical science, when he came to America, and remained here five years, practicing the profession of a physician. He returned to Great Britain in 1715, and in London became acquainted with the leading minds of the day; among others, with Halley the astronomer. He married a young lady in Scotland, and returned, with her, to America in 1716. They settled in the city of New York in 1718, and soon afterward Colden abandoned his profession for employments in public life. He became the surveyor general of the province, a master in Chancery, and a member of the Governor’s Council. About 1750, he obtained a patent for a large tract of land near Newburgh, in Orange county, which was called Coldenham, where he resided with his family a great portion of his time, after 1755. In 1760, he was appointed lieutenant governor, and held that office until a year before his death. On account of the absence or death of the governor-in-chief, Colden often exercised the functions of chief magistrate. Such was his position when the Stamp Act excitement prevailed. He was relieved from office in 1775, when he retired to his seat at Flushing. He died there on the twenty-eighth of September, 1776, a few days after the great fire broke out, which consumed a large portion of the city of New York.

Doctor Colden was a close student and keen observer through life, and he enriched medical and other scientific works by numerous treatises from his pen. His "History of the Five Nations of Indians" is a work of great research and observation, and is now much sought after by scholars. Botany was his delight, and with Linnæus, the great master of the science, he was a constant and valued correspondent for many years. Almost all of the eminent scientific men of Europe became his correspondents, and Franklin and other leading men in America were his intimate epistolary friends. Doctor Colden paid much attention to the art of printing, wrote upon the subject, and was a real, if not the original, inventor of the process called stereotyping. To Doctor Francis I am indebted for a fine copy of the portrait of Colden, from which the one here given was made.

20 The association in New York had a correspondent (Nicholas Ray) in London, to whom they gave regular accounts of their proceedings, and from whom they as regularly received intelligence of the movements of the ministry. The most prominent men of the association in the province of New York were Isaac Sears, John Lamb, Alexander M‘Dougal, Marinus Willett, William Wiley, Edward Laight, Thomas Robinson, Hugh Hughes, Flores Bancker, Charles Nicoll, Joseph Allicock, and Gershom Mott, of New York city; Jeremiah van Rensselaer, Myndert Rosenboom, Robert Henry, Volkert P. Dow, Jelles Fonda. and Thomas Young, of Albany and Tryon counties; John Sloss Hobart, Gilbert Potter, Thomas Brush, Cornelius Conklin, and Nathan Williams, of Huntington, Long Island; George Townsend, Barak Sneething, Benjamin Townsend, George and Michael Weekes, and Rowland Chambers, of Oyster Bay, Long Island.

The house of Richard Howard, "in the fields" (now the Park), which stood very near the site of Howard’s Irving House, on the corner of Broadway and Chamber Street, was the usual place of meeting of the Sons of Liberty. They also met at Bardin’s (afterward Abraham Montagne’s) which stood on the site of Francis’s bookstore, on Broadway, near Murray Street. To this house a garden was attached, which extended as far as the present Church Street, and was a place of public resort.

21 There were only three newspapers in the city of New York, then containing a population of about seventeen thousand. These were The New York Mercury, published by Hugh Gaine; The New York Weekly Gazette, by William Weyman; and The New York Gazette (formerly Parker’s paper), by John Holt. The latter commenced the publication of his New York Journal in 1766.

22 This meeting was held at Burns’s "King’s Arms," the present house fronting the "Atlantic Garden," No. 9 Broadway.

23 The following-named persons constituted the committee: Isaac Sears, John Lamb, Gershom Mott. William Wiley, and Thomas Robinson. There was also a Committee of Vigilance organized at about the same time, consisting of fifty-one persons.

24 The effigy had a drum upon its back, a label on its breast, and in one hand a stamped paper. The drum was in allusion to the fact that Colden was a drummer in the army of the Scotch Pretender in 1715. An effigy of the devil hung by his side, with a boot in his hand, to indicate the people’s detestation of the Earl of Bute. By the advice of Colden, Gage wisely refrained from firing upon the people while these outrages were occurring.

25 There were only three or four coaches in the city at that time, and as they belonged to wealthy friends of government, they were considered by the people evidences of aristocratic pride. Such was the prejudice against the name of coach, that Robert Murray, a Quaker merchant who owned one, called his "a leathern conveniency." Mr. Murray owned a country seat near the intersection of Fourth and Fifth Avenues, and Thirty-sixth and Fortieth Streets, long known as Murray Hill. Colden’s coach was made in England for Sir Henry Moore, the absent governor-in-chief at the time. Colden’s coach-house and stables were outside the fort, and easy of access by the populace.

26 James’s house stood on an eminence a little east of the present intersection of Anthony Street and West Broadway, and was called Ranelagh. I find in the newspapers of the day, the Ranelagh Garden advertised, a few months after this outrage, by John Jones, as a place of public resort, where fire-works were exhibited and refreshments furnished. Vauxhall, the seat of Sir Peter Warren, was at the foot of Warren Street.

27 During the evening of excitement, the cannons on Capsey battery (near the present flag-staff, toward the Whitehall end of the Battery), and also several in the government store-yard near by, were spiked, and rendered unfit for service.

28 Less than a month after this, some stamps, which were brought in a brig, were disposed of in a more summary way. Ten boxes of them were seized by some of the citizens, put into a boat, and taken to the ship-yards at the foot of the present Catharine Street, on the East river, where they were burned in a tar barrel. Governor Sir Henry Moore arrived on the third of December, and his conciliatory course tended to confirm the quiet which Colden had restored to the province.

29 The intelligence was brought by Major James, who came passenger in the Hynde, from Plymouth. She was six weeks on her voyage.

30 An ox was roasted whole; twenty-five barrels of beer and a hogshead of rum were opened for the populace; twenty-five pieces of cannon, ranged in a row where the City Hall now stands, thundered a royal salute; and in the evening twenty-five tar barrels, hoisted upon poles, were burned, and gorgeous fire-works were exhibited at Bowling Green.

31 The statue of the king was placed in the center of the Bowling Green, and the iron railing which now incloses the spot was placed there for its protection. See page 595.

The statue of Pitt was pedestrian, and made of marble. It was placed at the intersection of William and Wall Streets. The figure was in a Roman habit; in one hand was a scroll partly open, on which was inscribed Articuli Magna Charta Libertatum. The left hand was extended in oratorical attitude. On the south side of the pedestal was the following inscription: "This statue of the Right Honorable William Pitt, earl of Chatham, was erected as a public testimony of the grateful sense the colony of New York retains of the many services he rendered to America, particularly in promoting the repeal of the Stamp Act. Anno Dom., 1770."

While the British soldiers occupied the city they knocked off the head and arms of the statue, and other wise defaced it. It was removed after the war, and for many years laid among rubbish in the corporation-yard, from which it was conveyed by Mr. Riley, of the Fifth Ward Hotel, to the corner of his house, within an iron railing, where it yet (1857) remains. The engraving on the preceding page is a representation of its present appearance.

32 A caricature appeared in London, which represented Pitt upon stilts, his gouty leg resting on the Royal Exchange, in the midst of bubbles inscribed War, Peace, &c. This stilt was called Popularity. The other stilt, called Sedition, he stretched over the sea toward New York, fishing for popularity in the Atlantic. The staff on which he leaned was called Pension. This caricature was entitled The Colossus, and was accompanied by five satirical verses in broken English, as if spoken by a Frenchman.

33 No citizen was killed, or very seriously wounded. Isaac Sears and John Berrien each received a wound.

34 The late Col. Michael Smith, who died in New York in April, 1846, at the age of ninety-six years, was then a young man of twenty. He was engaged in the affray, and was one of those who disarmed the soldiers. I have seen the musket which he seized at the time, and which, as a soldier, he bore throughout the war that soon followed. It is a very heavy Tower gun, and is preserved, by his family as a precious heir-loom.

35 At this time the true Sons of Liberty were excluded from Montagne’s by those who were active with them in 1765, but now leaned toward the government side. With these Montagne sympathized, and to them, he hired his rooms, when the day approached for celebrating the repeal of the Stamp Act. The patriots purchased a small house at the corner of Broadway and the Bowery road (where Barnum’s American Museum now stands), named it Hampden Hall, and that was their place of assemblage during the four years preceding the bursting forth of the storm of the Revolution – See Holt’s Journal (supplement), No. 1418.

36 This was the issuing of bills of credit, on the security of the province, to the amount of one hundred and twenty thousand pounds, to be loaned to the people, the interest to be applied to defraying the expenses of the colonial government. It was none other than a Monster Bank, without checks, and was intended to cheat the people into a compliance with the requirements of the Mutiny Act, by the indirect method of applying the profits to that purpose.

37 John Lamb was born in the city of New York, on the first of January, 1735. In early youth he followed the occupation of his father (optician and mathematical instrument maker), but in 1760 entered into the liquor trade. He was a good writer and fluent speaker, both of which accomplishments he brought into use when the troubles with Great Britain began. He was active in all the preliminary scenes of the Revolution in New York, and in 1775 received a captain’s commission. He accompanied Montgomery to Quebec, was active and brave during the siege, and was wounded and made prisoner at the close. He retired to New York the ensuing summer, was promoted to major, and attached to the regiment of artillery under Knox. As we have met him at various times in his military career, we will not stop to repeat the story of his services. He was elected to a seat in the New York Assembly at the close of the war, and was active in civil services until the organization of government under the Federal Constitution, when Washington appointed him collector of customs for the port of New York. He held this office until his death, which occurred on the thirty-first of May, 1800. Never was there a purer patriot or more honest man than John Lamb.

38 The committee consisted of Isaac Sears, Caspar Wistar, Alexander M‘Dougal, Jacobus van Zandt, Samuel Broome, Erasmus Williams, and James van Varck (Varick).

39 When it was known that tea-ships were on their way, a notice appeared in Holt’s journal, calling the "Mohawks" to action. There appeared to be the same understanding in New York as in Boston, that tea was to be destroyed, if necessary, by men disguised as Indians.

40 Philip Livingston, John Jay, James Duane, John Alsop, and Isaac Low were chosen. They were adopted as delegates by other districts, and the name of Henry Wisner was afterward added. The people of Suffolk county elected William Floyd, and the credentials of all were presented together.

41 Governor Tryon’s house was destroyed by fire at midnight on the twenty-ninth of December, 1773. So rapidly did the flames spread, that the governor’s family had great difficulty in escaping, and Elizabeth Garret, a servant girl sixteen years of age, perished in the flames. The governor lost all of his personal effects. The Assembly made him a present of twenty thousand dollars in consideration of his misfortune. The great seal of the province was found among the ashes, two days after the fire, uninjured. Tryon went to England in April, 1774, and on his departure he was honored with addresses; a public dinner by the Common Council; a ball by General Haldimand, then in command of the troops; and King’s (now Columbia) College, then under the care of Dr. Cooper, conferred upon him the degree of LL. D.

42 Peter van Brugh Livingston was chosen president, Volkert P. Douw, vice-president, and John M‘Kisson and Robert Benson, secretaries. Nathaniel Woodhull, of Suffolk county, was soon afterward called to the presidential chair. He was appointed a brigadier the following year.

43 Fifteen of the twenty-four members of the Assembly were Loyalists, and during their last session, efforts to pass resolutions approving the proceedings of the Continental Congress were fruitless. A motion to that effect, offered by Nathaniel Woodhull (afterward slain by the British), was lost by a party vote. Those who voted in the affirmative were George Clinton, Nathaniel Woodhull, Philip Schuyler, Abraham Tenbroeck, Philip Livingston, Captain Seaman, and Messrs. Boerum, Thomas, and De Witt.

44 On the twentieth of December, the ship Lady Gage, commanded by Captain Thomas Mesnard, arrived with ten cases and three boxes of arms, and a barrel of gunpowder, consigned to Walter Franklin. The collector ordered these to be seized, because, as he alleged, they had been lying in Franklin’s warehouse several days without cockets. While on their way to the custom-house, a small party of the Sons of Liberty took them from the officers in charge, but before they could conceal them, they were retaken and placed on board an armed ship in the harbor. On the same day a letter for the collector was put in the post-office, * containing menaces of vengeance, and that night a very inflammatory hand-bill was left at almost every door in the city.

* A scheme for the establishment of an independent post-office, proposed by William Goddard, the publisher of the Maryland Journal, was put into partial operation in 1775, and on the eleventh of May, John Holt, the printer, was appointed post-master. The office was kept at Holt’s printing-house.

This is supposed to have been written by John Lamb. To avoid being betrayed, the Sons of Liberty went to Holt’s printing-house at night, and put in type and printed their hand-bills themselves, and then circulated them through the town.

45 When General Gage began to fortify Boston Neck, the people refused him labor and materials; and in the spring of 1775, he sent to New York for both, in order to erect barracks for the soldiers on Boston Common. The patriots were informed that a sloop laden with boards was about to sail for Boston. A meeting was called at the Coffee-house, and it was resolved to seize the vessel. At that meeting, Sears exhorted the people to arm themselves with muskets and twenty-four ball-cartridges each. For this he was arrested and taken before the mayor. He refused to give bail, and was about to be carried to prison, when the people took him from the officers, and bore him in triumph through the town, preceded by a band of music and a banner. That night Sears addressed the people in "the fields," and a few days afterward he was elected a member of the Provincial Congress. The names of Burling, Ivers, Alner, M‘Dougal, Roorbach, and Richard Livingston are preserved as among those of Sears’s friends on that occasion.

46 This is erroneously supposed to be a corruption of Countess’s Slip, a name given to it in honor of the Countess Bellomont, the child-wife of Governor Bellomont, who was a mother at the age of thirteen.

47 Dr. Cooper, the president of King’s (now Columbia) College, becoming alarmed, soon afterward fled to Stuyvesant’s house, near the East River, where he remained concealed, under the impression that the Whigs were trying to seize him. He finally escaped to the Asia man-of-war. He had written much in favor of Episcopacy in America, and was a decided Loyalist; so decided, that, next to Tryon, Colden, and Mayor Mathews, he was most detested by the Whigs. Dr. Cooper was eminent for his learning. He succeeded Dr. Johnson as president of the college in 1763. Soon after his flight he went to England. He died suddenly in Edinburgh, on the first of May, 1785, at the age of fifty years, and was buried in the Episcopal chapel there.

48 New York has been unjustly taunted for its adherence to royalty, when the curtain of the Revolutionary drama was first lifted in 1775. Family influence was very great in that colony, and through it the General Assembly and the Provincial Congress were very loyally inclined. But the masses were chiefly republican in feeling, and when Toryism was fairly crushed out of the popular Assembly by pressure from without, no state was more patriotic. With a population of only one hundred and sixty-four thousand, of whom thirty-two thousand five hundred were liable to do militia duty, New York furnished seventeen thousand seven hundred and eighty-one soldiers for the Continental army; over three thousand more than Congress required. – Judge Campbell’s Address before the New York Historical Society, 1850.

49 These were commanded by colonels M‘Dougal, James Clinton, Ritzema, and Wynkoop. Herman Zedwitz, a Prussian, was M‘Dougal’s first major. Ritzema joined the Royal army after the battle at White Plains; and about the same time Zedwitz was cashiered for attempting a treasonable correspondence with Tryon.

50 King’s Bridge spans Spyt den Duyvel Creek, at the northern end of York Island. The first structure there was of wood, erected at the expense of the colony in 1691, and was called the King’s bridge.

51 For a notice of Washington’s arrival in New York, when on his way to Cambridge, see vol. i.. page 564.

52 Greenwich was then a village of a few houses, a mile and a half from the city. It has long since been merged into the metropolis, and is now (1855) at about a central point, on the Hudson, between the lower and upper part of the city.

53 These acts were done under the immediate sanction of the committee of One Hundred, * who, while the Provincial Congress legislated, were busy in executing according to the known will of the people. The patriots regarded this committee with more confidence than they did the Provincial Congress.

* The following-named gentlemen composed the committee of One Hundred: Isaac Low, Chairman; John Jay, Francis Lewis, John Alsop, Philip Livingston, James Duane, E. Duyckman, William Seton, William W. Ludlow, Cornelius Clopper, Abraham Brinckerhoff, Henry Remsen, Robert Ray, Evert Bancker, Joseph Totten, Abraham P. Lott, David Beekman, Isaac Roosevelt, Gabriel H. Ludlow, William Walton, Daniel Phœnix, Frederick Jay, Samuel Broome, John De Lancey, Augustus van Horne, Abraham Duryee, Samuel Verplanck, Rudolphus Ritzema, John Morton, Joseph Hallett, Robert Benson, Abraham Brasher, Leonard Lispenard, Nicholas Hoffman, P. V. Brugh Livingston, Thomas Marsten, Lewis Pintard, John Imlay, Eleazar Miller, Jr., John Broome, John B. Moore, Nicholas Bogart, John Anthony, Victor Bicker, William Goforth, Hercules Mulligan, Alexander M‘Dougal, John Reade, Joseph Ball, George Janeway, John White, Gabriel W. Ludlow, John Lasher, Theophilus Anthony, Thomas Smith, Richard Yates, Oliver Templeton, Jacobus van Landby, Jeremiah Platt, Peter S. Curtenius, Thomas Randall, Lancaster Burling, Benjamin Kissam, Jacob Lefferts, Anthony van Dam, Abraham Walton, Hamilton Young, Nicholas Roosevelt, Cornelius P. Low, Francis Bassett, James Beekman, Thomas Ivers, William Dunning, John Berrien, Benjamin Helme, William W. Gilbert, Daniel Dunscombe, John Lamb, Richard Sharpe, John Morin Scott, Jacob van Voorhis, Comfort Sands, Edward Flemming, Peter Goelet, Gerrit Kettletas, Thomas Buchanan, James Desbrosses, Petrus Byvanck, Lott Embree. – See Dunlap’s History of New York, ii., Appendix, ccxvi.

54 Turtle Bay is a small rock-bound cove of the East River, at the foot of Forty-seventh Street. The banks are high and precipitous, and afforded a safe retreat for small vessels. Here the government had made a magazine of military stores, and these the Sons of Liberty determined to seize. Under the direction of Lamb, Sears, Willett, and M‘Dougal, a party procured a sloop at Greenwich, came stealthily through the dangerous vortex of Hell Gate at twilight, and at midnight surprised and captured the guard, and secured the stores. The old store-house in which they were deposited is yet standing upon a wharf on the southern side of the little bay. The above view is from the bank at the foot of Forty-sixth Street. Beyond the rocky point on the north side of the bay is seen the lower end of Blackwell’s Island, with the shore of Long Island in the distance.


On the left of the old store-house, delineated in the annexed sketch, is seen the bridge across the mouth of Newtown Creek, a locality which will be mentioned presently in connection with a notice of the landing of troops under Sir Henry Clinton.

55 Among the houses injured at that time was the tavern of Samuel Fraunce (commonly called Black Sam, because of his dark complexion), on the corner of Broad and Pearl Streets, where Washington parted with his officers more than eight years afterward. That house, known as the Broad Street Hotel, was partly destroyed by fire in June, 1852. Freneau, in his Petition of Hugh Gaine, makes that time-server allude to the cannonade of the Asia, and say,

"At first we supposed it was only a sham,
’Till he drove a round ball through the roof of Black Sam."

56 There were twenty-one iron eighteen-pounders and some smaller cannon on the battery. Alexander Hamilton, then a student in King’s (now Columbia) College, was among the citizens on that occasion. He had organized a corps for artillery discipline among his fellow-students, and fifteen of them were now with him. Among their trophies were two six-pounders, which they buried in the earth on the College Green, despite the menaces of Dr. Cooper, the Tory president. These two cannons may yet (1855) be seen at the entrance gate of the College Green, fronting Park Place.

57 The Continental Congress, on the sixth of October, recommended the several Provincial Congresses and Committees of Safety to secure every person believed to be inimical to the Republican cause. No doubt this recommendation hastened Tryon’s flight.

58 The members in attendance were Oliver Delancey, Hugh Wallace, William Axtell, John Harris Cruger. and James Jauncey.

59 James Rivington was a native of London, well educated, and of pleasing deportment. He came to America in 1760, established a bookstore in Philadelphia the same year, and in 1761 opened one near the foot of Wall Street, in New York, where his Royal Gazetteer * was established in April, 1773. No man was more thoroughly detested by the Whigs than Rivington, for he held a keen and unscrupulous pen. His good nature often pointed his severest thrusts. When, in 1781, he perceived the improbability of success on the part of the British, he made a peace-offering to the Americans, by furnishing the commander-in-chief with important information. By means of books which he published, he performed his treason without suspicion. He wrote his secret billets upon thin paper, and bound them in the cover of a book, which he always managed to sell to those who would carry the article immediately to Washington. The men employed for this purpose were ignorant of the nature of their service. While thus playing into the hands of the Republicans, he unceasingly abused them, and kept Clinton, Robertson, and Carleton in blissful ignorance of his perfidy. When the Loyalists fled, and the American army entered the city in the autumn of 1783, Rivington remained; a fact which has puzzled those acquainted with his course during the war. Others, not a tithe so obnoxious, were driven away; in his secret treason lies the explanation. His business declined, and he lived in comparative poverty until July, 1802, when he died at the age of seventy-eight years. The portrait here given is from a fine painting by Stuart, in the possession of Honorable John Hunter, of Hunter’s Island, New Rochelle. The signature is half the size of the original. Mr. Hunter remembers Rivington as a vivacious, companionable man, fond of good living, a lover of wine, and a perfect gentleman in his deportment.

* There were three other newspapers printed in the city when Rivington’s press was destroyed, namely, Gaine’s New York Mercury, in Hanover Square, established in 1752; Holt’s New York Journal, in Dock (Pearl) Street, near Wall, commenced in 1766; and Anderson’s Constitutional Gazette, a very small sheet, published for a few months in 1775, at Beekman’s Slip. Hugh Gaine was a time-server. He was a professed patriot until the British took possession of New York in 1776, when he returned to the city after a brief exile at Newark, became a moderate Loyalist, and, on making an humble petition to the State Legislature at the close of the war, he was allowed to remain. This petition was the subject of one of Freneau’s best satirical poems. Gaine kept a bookstore under the sign of the Bible and Crown, at Hanover Square, for forty years. He died on the twenty-fifth of April, 1807, at the age of eighty-one years.

Previous to the meeting of the first Congress, Holt’s paper contained the Snake device (see page 508, volume i.) at its head; in December, after its session, it bore the annexed significant picture as a vignette. This is half the size of the original. Upon the body of the serpent were these words.

"United, now, alive and free,
Firm on this basis Liberty shall stand,
And thus supported ever bless our land,
’Till Time becomes Eternity."

After the destruction of his press, Rivington went to England. When the British took possession of New York, he was appointed king’s printer, and in October, 1777, he resumed the publication of his paper, under the original title. On the thirteenth of December, he changed the title to "The Royal Gazette," and published it semi-weekly. During the occupation of the city by the British, a paper was issued every day but one; Gaine’s Mercury on Monday; Rivington’s Gazette on Wednesday and Saturday; Robertson’s, Mills’, and Hicks’ Loyal American Gazette on Thursday; and Lewis’s New York Mercury and General Advertiser on Friday. Rivington alone assumed the title of "printer to the king." – Thomas’s History of Printing, ii., 312.

60 Isaac Sears was born at Norwalk, Connecticut, in 1729. His ancestors, who were among the earliest emigrants to Massachusetts, were from Colchester, England, and came to Plymouth in 1630. Mr. Sears was a successful merchant in the city of New York, engaged in the European and West India trade, when political matters attracted his attention. When the Stamp Act aroused the colonists, Sears stood forth as the champion of right, and, as we have seen in preceding pages, was one of the most active and zealous members of the association of the Sons of Liberty. He was an active Whig during the whole war, and when it ended, his business and his fortune had disappeared. Before the war he had commanded a vessel engaged in the West India trade. In 1785, we find him on the ocean as supercargo, bound for Canton, with others engaged in the venture. When they arrived at Canton, Captain Sears was very ill with fever, and on the twenty-eighth of October, 1785, he died at the age of nearly fifty-seven years. He was buried upon French Island, and his fellow-voyagers placed a slab, with a suitable inscription, over his grave.

61 This was Bishop Seabury of a later day, whose grave is noticed on p. 618, vol. i. He was born at New London in 1728, graduated at Yale in 1751, took orders in the church, in London, in 1753, and then settled in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He was at Jamaica, Long Island, for ten years, and then removed to West Chester, in the county of West Chester. He took sides with the Loyalists, and was one of those who signed a protest at White Plains against the measures of the Whigs. Sears and his party carried him to New Haven, where he was kept for some time, and then paroled to Long Island. His school at West Chester was broken up, his church was converted into a hospital, and he went to New York, and served as chaplain, at one time, in Colonel Fanning’s corps of Loyalists. At the close of the war he settled in his native town. He was consecrated a bishop (the first in the United States) in 1784. and for the remainder of his life he presided over the diocese of Connecticut and Rhode Island. He died on the twenty-fifth of February, 1796.

62 Resolutions to this effect were adopted on the second of January, 1776, and on the same day Lord Stirling was directed to "seize and secure all the ammunition and warlike stores belonging to the enemy" then or thereafter in New Jersey – See Journal, ii., 5, 6, 7.

63 Parker did not fire a shot because of the "rebel toops" in the city. His reasons were ludicrous. He said Lee desired the destruction of the city, and he would not gratify him. – Lee’s Letter to Washington.

64 This house (yet standing) was built by Captain Kennedy, of the royal navy, at about the time of his marriage with the daughter of Colonel Peter Schuyler, of Newark, New Jersey, in April, 1765. The above engraving exhibits the locality in the vicinity of the Kennedy House. On the extreme left is seen the Broadway front of the Kennedy House (No. 1), where Lee, Washington, and afterward Sir Henry Clinton, Robertson, Carleton, and other British officers, were quartered, and where Andrè wrote his letter to Arnold. The building next to it (No. 3) is the one occupied by Arnold (see page 777, vol. i.) when Champe attempted his capture. It was the residence of Robert R. Livingston. The two high buildings beyond (Nos. 5 and 7) are more modern; the small, low one (No. 9, Atlantic Garden) was Gage’s head-quarters in 1765. On the right of the picture is part of the Bowling Green, where the statue of the king stood. This view is taken from the site of the northwest bastion of Fort George.

65 On the night of the tenth of April, one thousand Continentals went over to Governor’s Island and constructed a redoubt upon the west side, a little southeast of Castle William. On the same night a regiment went over to Red Hook, the extreme point of land north of Gowanus Bay, over which South Brooklyn is now spreading, constructed a redoubt for four eighteen-pounders, and named it Fort Defiance. It was upon a small island, close to the shore, near the water termination of Conover and Van Brunt Streets, south of the Atlantic Docks.

66 I was informed by the venerable Anna van Antwerp, * about a fortnight before her death, in the autumn of 1851, that Washington made his head-quarters, on first entering the city, at the spacious house (half of which is yet standing at 180 Pearl Street, opposite Cedar Street), delineated in the engraving. The large window, with an arch, toward the right, indicates the center of the original building. It is of brick, stuccoed, and roofed with tiles. There Washington remained until summoned to visit Congress at Philadelphia, toward the last of May. On his return, he went to the Kennedy House, No. 1 Broadway, where he remained until the evacuation in September.

* Mrs. Van Antwerp left the city with her parents when the British took possession, and retired to Tappan, where she was married. They returned to the city after the war, and her husband purchased the lot No. 38 Maiden Lane, where she resided from that time until her death, a period of almost seventy years. Her style of living was that of the Revolution, and all the persuasions of her wealthy children could not lure her from that simplicity and the home of her early years of married life. She arose one morning, sat down by her table, leaned her head upon it, and expired like a waning ember, at the age of ninety-five years. Almost all of the few who knew her half a century ago had forgotten her.

67 Redoubts and batteries were constructed at eligible points along the East River to Harlem, and along the Hudson to King’s Bridge; also upon Governor’s Island, Red Hook, Brooklyn Heights, and Paulus’s Hook. *


* Fort George with its dependencies, on the site of ancient Fort Amsterdam, was the principal military work upon the island. It had, when Washington came into the city, two twelve-pounders and four thirty-two-pounders, though capable of mounting sixty cannons. Connected with it was the Grand Battery, with thirteen thirty-two pounders, one twenty-four, three eighteen’s, two two’s, and one brass and three iron mortars. This was enlarged after the British took possession, to a capacity for ninety-four guns. This work was in the vicinity of the present flag-staff upon the Battery. A little eastward of it, at the South Ferry landing, was the Whitehall Battery, with two thirty-two pounders. From this point to Corlaer’s Hook, along the East River, several works were constructed. There was a battery of five guns upon Tenyck’s Wharf, at Coenties Slip, and upon Brooklyn Heights opposite, Fort Stirling, a battery with eight guns, was constructed. It was between the present Hicks and Clinton Streets, a little northeastward of Pierrepont Street. At Old Coffee-house, Fly, Burling’s, Beekman’s, and Peek Slips, and at the Exchange, foot of Broad Street, breast-works were thrown up. There was also a barrier with two guns across Broadway, just above the Bowling Green. At "the ship-yards," on the site of the present Catharine Market. was an irregular work, called Waterbery’s Battery, having seven guns. A larger work was on Rutgers’ first hill (a little eastward of the Jews’ burying-ground), at the Intersection of Market and Madison Streets. It was called Badlam’s Battery, and mounted eight guns. Another small work, of horse-shoe form, was on a high bank near the water, in Pike Street, between Cherry and Monroe Streets, with a breast-work on the water’s edge. Here General Spencer was encamped, and this was called Spencer’s Redoubt. It had two twelve-pounders. On Rutgers’ second hill, between Henry and Madison, Clinton and Monroe Streets, was a star redoubt, embrasured for twelve guns. This was connected by an irregular line of works, extending to a strong battery called Crown Point, at Corlaer’s Hook, situated upon the site of the present Allaire Works. Eastward of this, upon Burnt Mill Point, was a battery, on the site of the Novelty Iron Works. From Crown Point was a line of intrenchments extending to a strong redoubt, of circular form, mounting eight heavy pieces, and called Fort Pitt. It was upon the brow of a hill at the intersection of Grand and Pitt Streets. From Fort Pitt a series of strong works extended nearly on a line with the present Grand and Broome Streets, to Broadway, and thence, diverging to the northwest, terminated in a redoubt on the brow of a hill, on the borders of a marsh near the intersection of Thompson and Spring Streets.


Within this line, upon an eminence called Bayard’s Mount, was the largest of all the works, except Fort George and the Grand Battery. This was called Independent Battery, and the Americans named the eminence Bunker Hill. This name was retained until the Collect or Fresh Water Pond, which covered many acres in the vicinity of the Halls of Justice, was filled by digging down the hills around it. The battery on Bunker Hill was upon the space included within the intersections of Center, Mott, Mulberry, Grand, and Broome Streets; and for a long time after the hill was digged down, the brick lining of a well, constructed within the works, stood up like a huge chimney. This battery had nine eight-pounders, four three’s, and six royal cohorns and mortars.

The first work on the Hudson, after leaving Fort George, was the Oyster Battery in the rear of No. 1 Broadway. It had two thirty-two pounders and three twelve’s. Southwest of Trinity church, on the high river bank, was M‘Dougal’s Battery of four guns. West of Greenwich Street ("Greenwich road"), near the water, between Reade and Duane Streets, was the Jersey Battery, with five guns. Along the high river bank a breast-work extended almost to the Vauxhall (see page 582) at the corner of Warren and Greenwich Streets. On Greenwich, between Franklin and North Moore Streets, was the "Air-furnace" and "Brew-house." The former was fortified, and from it a line of intrenchments extended northeast, to the north part of the present St. John’s Park, overlooking Lispenard’s Meadows. On the river bank, in front of the "Brew-house," was a circular work called the Grenadier’s Battery, with three twelve-pounders and two mortars. From it a line of breast-works extended along the river to Hubert Street. From that point, close along the west side of Greenwich Street, was a line of breast-works, extending to Desbrosses Street. Where Watt Street crosses Greenwich was another small breast-work; at the foot of King Street was another; and from the foot of Clarkson to Barrow was another. Upon the high ground known until within a few years as Richmond Hill, there was quite an extensive line of fortifications, which commanded the river, and the Greenwich and Broadway roads. This line commenced near the junction of Spring and M‘Dougal Streets, and, sweeping around near Houston and Hammersley, ended at Varick, near King Street. On the west side of Broadway, near Houston Street, was an eminence on which works were erected; and directly east of them, between Broadway and the Bowery, were four small breast-works, a few rods apart. East of the Bowery, at the intersection of Forsyth and Delancey Streets, was a small circular battery. On the west side of Broadway, near Walker, was an irregular work; and the Hospital (on Broadway, fronting Pearl Street), a strong stone building, was fortified. There was also a line of breast-works extending along the East River from the present Dry Dock to Stuyvesant Square; and at Horn’s Hook, at the foot of Eighty-ninth Street, was a work called Thompson’s Battery, with nine guns. I was informed by the venerable Judge Woodhull, of Franklinville, Long Island (now ninety-eight years of age), that when the lines across the island, from the East River toward the Hudson, were constructed, the merchants and other citizens were pressed into service.

It must be remembered that most of the streets here mentioned were not then in existence. Chambers Street up Broadway, Hester Street up the Bowery, and Catharine Street up the East River, were the extreme points to which streets were laid out at the time of the Revolution. Now (1852) the streets and avenues are all opened to Fortieth Street, and some beyond; and almost a solid mass of edifices cover the island from river to river below Thirty-second Street. Then the Hospital was quite in the fields, and Greenwich was a country village.

68 John Morin Scott was appointed to the command of the New York troops, with the commission of a brigadier.


69 The main body of Howe’s troops landed near the present quarantine ground, and encamped. upon the hills in the vicinity. The fleet had anchored off Vanderventer’s point (the telegraph station at the Narrows), and three ships of war and some transports brought the English troops within the Narrows, to the landing-place. – (Howe’s Dispatch to Lord George Germaine.) Howe made his head-quarters at the Rose and Crown Tavern, upon the road leading from Stapleton to Richmond, near New Dorp. The house is near the forks of the Richmond and Amboy roads, and overlooks the beautiful level country between it and the sea, two miles distant. It is now (1852) the property of Mr. Leonard Parkinson, of Old Town, Staten Island. The house was built by a Huguenot, one of the first settlers upon that part of the island.

When Howe landed, the great body of the people on the island formed a corps of Loyalists, under Tryon, and some of them were in the battle near Brooklyn.

70 A plot, originated by Tryon, to murder the American general officers on the arrival of the British, or at best to capture Washington and deliver him to Sir William Howe, was discovered at this time. It was arranged to blow up the magazine, secure the passes to the city, and at one blow deprive the Republicans of their leaders, and by massacre or capture annihilate the "rebel army." Mayor Mathews was one of the conspirators; and from his secure place on board the Duchess of Gordon, Tryon sent money freely to bribe Americans. Two of Washington’s Guard were seduced, but the patriotism of a third was proof against their temptations, and he exposed the plot. Mathews, Gilbert Forbes (a gunsmith on Broadway), and about a dozen others, were immediately arrested, and sent prisoners to Connecticut. * It was ascertained that about five hundred persons were concerned in the conspiracy. Thomas Hickey, one of the Guard, was hanged on the twenty-seventh of June, 1776. This was the first military execution in New York. – See Sparks’s Writings of Washington, iii., 438; Force’s American Archives, vi., 1064; Ib., i. (second series), 117; Gaine’s New York Mercury.

* Mathews carried with him the Mayoralty flag of New York City and a flag of one of the Loyalist battalions. These are now (1855) in the possession of a gentleman at Charlestown, Massachusetts, and are well preserved.

71 Washington received the Declaration of Independence on the ninth of July, with instructions to have it read to the army. He immediately issued an order for the several brigades, then in and near the city, to be drawn up at six o’clock that evening, to hear it read by their several commanders or their aids. * The brigades were formed in hollow squares on their respective parades. The venerable Zachariah Greene (commonly known as "Parson Greene," the father-in-law of Mr. Thompson, historian of Long Island), yet (1855) living at Hempstead, at the age of ninety-six years, informed me that he belonged to the brigade then encamped on the "Common," where the City Hall now stands. The hollow square was formed at about the spot where the Park Fountain now is. He says Washington was within the square, on horseback, and that the Declaration was read in a clear voice by one of his aids. When it was concluded, three hearty cheers were given. Holt’s Journal for July 11, 1776, says, "In pursuance of the Declaration of Independence, a general jail delivery took place with respect to debtors." Ten days afterward, the people assembled at the City Hall, at the head of Broad Street, to hear the Declaration read. They then took the British arms from over the seat of justice in the court-room, also the arms wrought in stone in front of the building, and the picture of the king in the council chamber, and destroyed them, by fire, in the street. They also ordered the British arms in all the churches in the city to be destroyed. This order seems not to have been obeyed. Those in Trinity church were taken down and carried to New Brunswick by the Reverend Charles Inglis, at the close of the war, and now hang upon the walls of a Protestant Episcopal church in St. John’s.

* This order was written by Major Samuel Webb (father of James Watson Webb, Esquire, Editor of the New York Courier and Enquirer), whom Washington had chosen as his chief aid-de-camp a few days before. He was born in the "Webb House" (see page 436, volume i.) in Wethersfield, Connecticut, in 1751, and joined the army at Cambridge as a volunteer a few days after the skirmishes at Lexington and Concord. He was immediately appointed aid to General Putnam, and fought gallantly in the battle of Bunker’s Hill. After the evacuation of Boston by the British, he accompanied the army to New York, was made Washington’s aid toward the close of June, 1776, and performed active service until after the retreat of the Americans across New Jersey. He was wounded in the battle at White Plains, and also on the banks of the Delaware. Having been appointed colonel under General Parsons, in the Connecticut line, he accompanied that officer on an expedition to Long Island, was made prisoner, and was not exchanged until 1781, when Washington gave him the command of the Light Infantry (the leadership of which the Baron Steuben had just resigned), with the rank of brigadier. Some time after the war, he married a daughter of Judge Hogeboom, and removed to Claverack, Columbia county, where he died in 1807. He was greatly esteemed and beloved by Washington.

72 The statue of George the Third was equestrian, made of lead, and gilded. It was the workmanship of Wilton, then a celebrated statuary of London, and was the first equestrian effigy of his majesty yet erected. It was placed upon its pedestal, in the center of the Bowling Green, on the twenty-first of August, 1770. On the same evening when the Declaration of Independence was read to the troops in New York, a large concourse of people assembled, pulled down the statue, broke it in pieces, and sent it to be made into bullets. Ebenezer Hazard, in a letter to Gates, referring to the destruction of the king’s statue, said, "His troops will probably have melted majesty fired at them." Some of the soldiers appear to have been engaged in the matter, for on the following morning Washington issued an order for them to desist from such riotous acts in future. * The greater portion of the statue was sent to Litchfield, in Connecticut, and there converted into bullets by two daughters and a son of Governor Wolcott, a Mrs. and Miss Marvin, and a Mrs. Beach. According to an account current of the cartridges made from this statue, found among the papers of Governor Wolcott, it appears that it furnished materials for forty-two thousand bullets. The pedestal was used for a tomb-stone for Major John Smith, a British officer. Afterward it was devoted to more humble use as a door-step of the mansion of the Van Voorst family, in Jersey City, where, after more than fifty years’ service in that capacity, it yet (1855) remains.

* In a coarse Tory drama, entitled "The Battle of Brooklyn; a farce in two acts, as it was performed on Long Island on Tuesday, the twenty-seventh day of August, 1776, by the representatives of the Tyrants of America assembled at Philadelphia," published by Rivington, the destruction of the statue is attributed to Washington. A servant girl of Lady Gates is made to say concerning the chief, "And more, my lady, did he not order the king’s statue to be pulled down, and the head cut off." Mr. Greene described the statue to me as of the natural size, both horse and man. The horse was poised upon his hinder legs. The king had a crown upon his head; his right hand held the bridle-reins, the left rested upon the handle of a sword. The artist omitted stirrups, and the soldiers often said, in allusion to the fact, "the tyrant ought to ride a hard-trotting horse, without stirrups." Stephens, in his Travels in Greece, &c. (ii., 33), says, that in the house of a Russian major, at Chioff, he saw a picture representing the destruction of this statue. The major pledged him in the toast, "Success to Liberty throughout the world."

73 General Howe, and his brother, the admiral, were appointed by Parliament commissioners to treat for peace with the Americans. They were authorized to extend a free pardon to all who should return to their allegiance; to declare penitent towns or colonies exempt from the penalties of non-intercourse; and to offer rewards to those who should render meritorious services in restoring tranquillity. Howe sent proclamations to this effect ashore at Amboy, addressed to the colonial governors, and designed for general circulation among the people. The General Congress denounced it as a scheme to "amuse and disarm the people," and exhorted them to perceive "that the valor alone of their country was to save its liberties." – Journal, ii., 260. At about the same time, Colonel Paterson, the British adjutant general, went to New York with a flag, bearing a letter from General Howe, addressed to "George Washington, Esq." This was so addressed because the Briton was unwilling to acknowledge the official character of the "rebel chief." It was a silly movement; Washington penetrated the design, and refused any communication, unless addressed to General Washington. Paterson urged Washington not to be punctilious, pleading the necessity of waving all ceremony, for Howe came to cause the sheathing of swords, if possible. Washington was inflexible, and said, in reference to the commissioners, that they seemed empowered only to grant pardons; that those who had committed no fault needed no pardon, and that the Americans were only defending their rights as British subjects. Paterson returned, and Howe made no further attempts to correspond with "George Washington, Esq." Congress, by resolution, expressed its approval of the course of the commander-in-chief in this matter.

74 The chief plan of the campaign of 1776 was for Howe to attack New York and ascend the Hudson, while Carleton should come from Canada and form a junction. This would effectually cut off the Eastern States from the rest of the confederacy. Clinton, in the mean while, was to make war in the Southern States, and the American forces being thus divided, might be easily conquered. Their designs miscarried. Clinton was repulsed at Charleston, Carleton was kept at bay, and Howe did not pass the Highlands.

75 The original name of this island was Nutten. The rents of the land being a perquisite of the colonial governers, it was called Governor’s Island. It was held as such perquisite until the close of Governor Clinton’s administration. General Johnson, of Brooklyn, informed me that Clinton rented it to Dr. Price, who built a house of entertainment there, and laid out a race-course. Owing to the difficulty of taking racehorses to the island, it was abandoned after two or three years, and the course at Harlem was established.


76 The family mansion of the Kips, a strong house built of brick imported from Holland, remained near the corner of Second Avenue and Thirty-fourth Street, until July, 1850, when it was taken down. A pear-tree near, planted in 1700, bore fruit the present season. The house was built in 1641 by Samuel Kip, who was secretary of the council of New Netherlands, and at the time of its destruction was probably the oldest edifice in the State of New York. The sketch here given is from a painting in possession of the Reverend W. Ingraham Kip, D. D., of Albany, and gives its appearance at the time of the Revolution. The Kip family are among the oldest in this state.

Ruloff de Kype (anglicized to Kip after the English took possession of New Netherlands) was the first of the name found in history. He was a native of Bretagne, and was a warm partisan of the Guises in the civil wars between Protestants and Papists in the sixteenth century. On the defeat of his party, he fled to the Low Countries. He afterward joined the army of the Duke of Anjou, and fell in battle near Jarnac. He was buried in a church there, where an altar-tomb was erected to his memory bearing his coat of arms. * His son Ruloff became a Protestant, and settled in Amsterdam. His grandson, Henry (born in 1576), became an active member of the "Company of Foreign Countries," which was organized in 1588 for the purpose of exploring a northeast passage to the Indies. In 1635 he came to America with his family, but soon returned to Holland. His sons remained, bought large tracts of land, and were active in public affairs. One of them (Henry) was a member of the first popular Assembly in New Netherlands (see page 577), and married a daughter of De Sille, the attorney general. His brother Jacob bought the land at Kip’s Bay, and a third son, Isaac, owned the property which is now the City Hall Park. Nassau Street was called Kip Street. In 1686 one of the family purchased the tract where the village of Rhinebeck, Dutchess county, now stands. It was called "the manor of Kipsburg." A part of this was sold to Henry Beekman, by whose grand-daughter, the mother of Chancellor Livingston, it passed into the Livingston family. At the opening of the Revolution, the Kip family were divided in politics; some held royal commissions, others were stanch Whigs. The proprietors of the Kip’s Bay property were strong Whigs, but one of them, Samuel, was induced by Colonel Delancey to take the loyal side. He raised a company of cavalry, principally from his own tenants, joined Delancey, and was active in West Chester county, where, in a skirmish in 1781, he was severely wounded. He lived several years after the war, and suffered great loss of property by confiscation.

For several years after the British took possession of York Island, Kip’s house was used as head-quarters by officers. There Colonel Williams, of the 80th regiment, was quartered in 1780, and on the day when Andrè left the city to meet Arnold, Williams gave a dinner to Sir Henry Clinton and his staff. Andrè was there and shared in the socialities of the hour. It was his last dinner in New York. Such is well authenticated tradition. - See Holgate’s American Genealogies, page 109.

* The device was a shield. On one side, occupying a moiety, was a cross. The other moiety was quartered by a strip of gold; above were two griffins, and below an open mailed hand. There were two crests, a game-cock, and a demi-griffin holding a cross: the legend, "Vestigia nulla retrorsum."



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