Stokes, I. N. Phelps The iconography of Manhattan Island 1498-1909 (v. 5)

(New York :  Robert H. Dodd,  1915-1928.)



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I   bands, fuel. Sec. tor 2000 per ann, when the quantity of water re¬
quired docs not eiceed 300,000 gallons, and so, in proportion, for

I    any larger quantity, up to two miUions. In this estimate, I Include
the leaver beam, guide posts, and the erecting of the Engine.

"I wlU engage to finish this work hy the month of March, next
ensuing, at farthest, and as mucb sooner as possible,"—Report of the
Manhattan Committee (printed by John Furman, N. Y., 1799), II-
On April 30, Roosevdt wrote that he "might engage to put up an
Engine tor the [Manhattan] Corporation, within the space of three
or tour months, capable ot raising 300,000 gaUons of water, to the
height ot 50 feet, in 14 hours, and find the pumps, pump rods, and
frame for the engine, for the sum ot nine thousand five hundred
dollars."—Ibid., 11. On May 6 (q.v.), the coramittee recoraraended
that Roosevelt's latter offer be accepted.

The coraraon council appointa a committee "to take charge ot
Belle Vue House & Land and to direct auch Thinga to be done fot
its preaervation aa tbey shaU judge necessary."—.1/. C. C. (1784-


The common council resolves "that it shall he the Duty of tbe
Street Commissioners {see Ap 10] to take Charge ot aU the Real
Estate & other Rights bdonglng to this Corporati'on trora whicb
any Revenue is or may be drawn for the purpose of iraproving
the same and encreaslng the Revenue thereof And that in order to
proraote tbia object it ahdl be the Duty of the Commissioners in
convenient Time to furnish this Board with an accurate List of aU
such Real Estate k other Rights together with the amount of
Revenue at present arising therefrom."—M. C. C. (1784-1831),

The coramon council refers to tbe street coraraisaionera a peti¬
tion for paving South St, "frora the Exchange [Slip] to Coenties
Slip."—M, C. C. (1784-183O, II: 539- On May 6, an ordinance
waa passed for the purpoae.—Ibid., II; 541. On June 3, a regulation
ot this part of the street waa adopted.—Ibid.,U: 551. OnJunei7,
estimates and assessments for the paving were ratified, and a col¬
lector ot the assessment money appointed.—Ibid., II;   553.

In a letter to the comraon council, Abijah Hammond states that
he is sending a coloured ground-plan of his lots at Greenwich ad¬
joining the state prison ground, and desires to convey one part to
the dty for a market and the other parts for streets, on condition
tbat the dty will grant to him the land between high and low-water
raark and the right to establish a ferry from a certain point shown
on the plan,—Frora the original letter, in raetal fUe No. 15, city
clerk's record-room, endorsed "June 24^''; 1799 [q.v.] taken into
consideration (see Minutes)."

Walter Rutherfurd wrote on Marcb 11: " . . , Tbe Govern¬
ment House is to be Custom House after Mayday, what a pity."
—Rutherfurd, Family Records and Events, 188. See alao L. M. R.
K., Ill: 974, and descrips, ot Pis, 63 and 66,1: 442,443.
' Tbe following article addressed "To the Citizens of New York"
appears in a dally newspaper: "Your attention and curiosity bav¬
ing been much eicited, by an Act passed at the close of the late
sesrion of the Legislature, incorporating Aaron Burr, Dr. Brown,
Jobn B. Church, John Watta, and others, into a corapany, stiled
tbe 'Manhattan Corapany' [see Ap 2]; and your interests being
materiaUy affected by this moat extraordinary Law, it is important
that some of the circumstances attending it should be laid before

"The necessity of a supply ot pure and wholesome Water has
long been acknowledged. The Corporation of the City, anxious to
comply with your wiahea in this respect, employed ao Engineer of
great eiperience (Mr. Weaton) to survey the River Bronx, and
other streams and springs on this Island and in its vicinity; who
in an able report [see Mr 14], which you raust bave seen decided on
tbe practicability ot obtaining a sufficiency of good water for the
conauraptlon of the City. They immediately had a petition
draughted praying the Legislature to empower them to carry into
effect this important object. This was sent to the Members of the
Assembly from this City then at Albany, who were requested to
lay it before the Legislature, and to proraote by their influence Its
adoption—Instead of complying with thia request . . . they
suppressed the petition, and deputed Aaron Burr to thia City to
procure an application from individuals, praying to be erected into
a Company, tor the said purpose; He accoidingly, by the address
which he so well knows how to employ induced a number ot pro¬
fessed speculators and aorae respectable steady raen to unite in an
application for this purpose—With this In his pocket our Machiavel

returns to Albany and when be preaented it to the Aasembly de- May
clared. that it waa not tbe wish ot the Inhabitanta of New York 1
to entrust their Corporation with this business . , .; by these
and similar representations, and by promising to the influential
raerabers to pay their assistance with such number of shares as
they raight wisb to subscribe, he procured the Law in question to
be paased.  .  .  .

"The manner in whicb tb's raeasure waa promoted, corrupt and
wicked as I have stated it, ia not raore objectionable than the
raeasure itsdf—By thia Law a Capital ia created of Two milliona
of DoUars which according to the dedaration of the subscribers may
be invested in a Bank, an India Company, an Insurance Company,
a Company for the aale and purchase of Bills of Exchange and
public and private stock, and what to themselves is of the least
importance—Water Works; . . , and they are not obliged to
furnish a supply of water under ten years from the date ot the act
—Already do the subscribers dedare that supplying the City with
water tho apparently begun, will not really be commenced, until the
profits arising from Badting, India, business, &c are suffident to
pay the Expence.

"... This Manhattan Company, furnishes the first inatance
of an unlimited Act of Incorporation—of a corapiete monopoly in
effect—of immense powers, unnecessarily granted to a few Indl¬
riduals, which aoclety at large cannot partake of—of scandalous

"That a supply ot good water is essentid to the wdfare of this
City, cannot be denied—but It was not necessary that a Corapany
should be incorporated for this purpose—the Corporation of the
City, men whom we aU know who possess tbe pubUc confidence,
stood ready to carry into effect so desirable an object—they only
asked to be employed to do it—they did not ask for the power ot
forraing a Bank, an India Corapany. . . . Nothing can equal the
mischievous tendency of thia law, but the gross indecency of plac¬
ing effectively at the head oi a corapany, whoae capitd ia two ralUIons
of dollars, a man whose pecuniary concerns are publicly known lo be


isible embarr.

In another artide on the same subject, contributed by "A Citi¬
zen," these questions are asked: "Is this project of raising up a
Bank, an India Corapany, an Insurance Corapany, a Corapany
for Water Works, a Stock Jobbing Corapany, all in one, intended
to benefit the Community at large, or to enrich those individuala
who were in the secret? If the Community was to be benefitted,
why had not all an equal chance for subscribing? Why was nearly
half of the whole number of shares, engrossed by Members of the
Legislature and their connections bdore tbe law passed, or previ¬
ous to its bdng published? Do the men who were concerned in such
adfiah, such corrupt practices, deserve your confidence? Will you
by again decting auch men give a premium to viUIany?—Is the
raasterhand, who raoved at wiU the eight reraalning puppets, again
to be your representative? . . ."—N. Y. Gaz. & Gen. Adv., My
tf 1799, "Four of the raerabers of the asserably frora the city,
Messrs. Storm, Furman, Arculariua and Neiaen, . . .were opposed
to this flagitious transaction."—Ibid., footnote.   See F 25, My 21.

On this day and on Dec. i9,Gouverneur Morris made mention
in his diary ot the presence of the Chevalier d'Orleans (Louis
Philippe) in New York and "Morrisania."—Diary & Letters of
Gouverneur Morris (1888), II:   378.

John R. Cozine, president ol tbe "Harmonical Society," pub¬
lishes a notice "that the society have reraoved their place of
meeting to Vauihall, Broadway, nearly opposite to the Tontine
City Tavern,"—Diii/y-life,. My 2, 1799. This was Ddacroii's.—
/ii(f., N6, 1799.

John B, Coles, Samuel Osgood, and John Stevens make a report
to the Manhattan Corapany on the information tbey bave received
regarding the best mode of supplying the city with water. As It is
"extrerady desirable, that a part of the city, at least, be furnished
with a supply of Water, during the ensuing summer," they recora¬
mend that Nicholas Roosevdt's offer to build a steam engine in
thrccor four months (see Ap 29) be accepted, and that "the ground
bdonging to the Corporation of the city, on which Mr. Colles
erected an Engine before the revolution, for a similar purpose,
ahould be purchased without dday. The weU which waa formerly
aunk thereon should be opened again, and deepened, if necessary;
a reservoir forraed, and the pipes procured and laid as far as is
deemed expedient during thia season." Contrary to JVIr. Weston's
report of April 16 (q.v.), they urge that wooden pipes be used
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