American History and Genealogy Project

State of New York

New York, the most northern of the middle United States, and the most populous state in the Union, is bounded n. by Lake Ontario, the river St. Lawrence, and Lower Canada; e. by Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut; s. by the Atlantic, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania; and w. by Pennsylvania, Lake Erie, and Niagara river. It lies between 39° 45' and 45° n. lat., and between 73° and 79° 55' w. lon., and between 2° 51' w., and 5° e. long, from W. It is about 316 miles long, and 314 broad; containing 46,000 square miles, or 11,040,000 acres. The population in 1790, was 340,120; in 1800, 586,050; in 1810, 959,049; in 1820, 1,372,812; in 1830, 1,913,508; in 1840, 2,428,921. Of these, 853,929 were white males, 816,276 do. females; 6,435 free colored males, 6,428 do. females. Employed in mining, 1,898; in agriculture, 455,954; in commerce, 28,468; manufactures and trades, 173,193; navigating the ocean, 5,511; do. lakes and canals, 10,167; learned professions, 14,111.

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This state is divided into 58 counties, which, with their population in 1840, and their capitals, are as follows:

County, Population, Capital

Albany, 68,593, Albany Oswego, 43,619, Oswego, Pulaski
Alleghany, 40,975, Angelica Otsego, 49,628, Cooperstown
Broome, 22,338, Binghamton Rensellaer, 60,295, Troy
Cattaraugus, 28,872, Ellicottsville Saratoga, 40,553, Ballston
Cayuga, 50,338, Auburn Schenectady, 17,387, Schenectady
Chautauque, 47,975, Mayville Schoharie, 32,358, Schoharie
Chemung, 20,732, Elmira Seneca, 24,874, Ovid, Waterloo
Chenango, 40,785, Norwich St. Lawrence, 56,706, Canton
Clinton, 28,157, Plattsburgh Steuben, 46,138, Bath
Cortland, 24,607, Cortlandville  Tioga, 20,527, Owego
Delaware, 35,396, Delhi Tompkins, 37,948, Ithaca
Erie, 62,465, Buffalo Warren, 13,422, Caldwell
Essex, 23,634, Elizabethtown Washington, 41,080, Salem, Sandy Hill
Franklin, 16,518, Malone Wayne, 42,057, Lyons
Fulton, 18,049, Johnstown Yates, 20,444, Penn Yan
Genesee, 59,587, Batavia Columbia, 43,252, Hudson
Hamilton 1,907, Lake Pleasant Dutchess, 52,398, Poughkeepsie
Herkimer, 37,477, Herkimer Greene, 30,446, Catskill
Jefferson, 60,984, Watertown Kings, 47,613, Brooklyn
Lewis, 17,830, Martinsburg New York, 312,710, New York
Livingston, 35,140, Geneseo Orange, 50,739, Goshen, Newburg
Madison, 40,008, Morrisville Putnam, 12,825, Carmel
Monroe, 64.902, Rochester Queens, 30,324, North Hempstead
Montgomery, 35,818, Canajoharie Richmond, 10,965, Richmond
Niagara, 31,132, Lockport Rockland, 11,975, Clarkstown
Oneida, 85,310, Utica, Rome, Whitestown Suffolk, 32,469, Riverhead
Onondaga, 67,911, Syracuse Sullivan, 15,629, Monticello
Ontario, 43,501, Canandaigua Ulster, 45,822, Kingston
Orleans, 25,127, Albion Westchester, 48,686, Bedford, White Plains

These counties are divided into 807 townships, including 9 cities, and 125 incorporated villages.

The capital of the state is Albany, on the w. bank of the Hudson r., 145 ms. n. of New York.

This state has a great variety of surface. Two chains of highlands, rising in some parts to mountains, pass along the eastern part of the state, and may be regarded as a continuation of the eastern chain of the Alleghenies. One of these, coming from New Jersey, crosses the Hudson near West Point, constituting what are called the Highlands, and passing northward, separates the waters which fall into the Hudson from those which fall into Long Island sound. The other, and principal range, comes from Pennsylvania, and forms the Catskill mountains, and proceeding n. crosses the Mohawk, and forms, in the n. e. part of the state, opposite to Lake Champlain, some high summits called the Adirondack mountains. The highest peak of the Catskill mountains is Round Top, 3,804 feet high. Pine Orchard, 2,274 ft. high, back of Catskill, has a fine hotel, which is much frequented in the summer season, and which embraces a prospect 70 miles in extent, including the Hudson river, whitened with sails, and skirted in the distance by the lofty Green mountains. The highest summits west of Lake Champlain, are Whiteface, about 5,000, and Mount Marcy, 5,460 feet high. The country in the eastern part of the state is generally hilly, where it is not mountainous. In the western part of the state it is level, excepting in the s. toward the Pennsylvania line, where it becomes uneven and rough. The soil is generally good, and in some parts exceedingly fertile. The eastern part is best adapted to grazing, and the western to grain. Wheat, Indian corn, grass, rye, barley, oats, buckwheat, and potatoes are raised in great quantities. Beef and pork, butter and cheese, horses and cattle, pot and pearl ashes, flax seed, peas, beans, and lumber, form extensive articles of export. Apples, pears, plums, and peaches, succeed well in different parts of the state. In this state there were in 1840, 474,543 horses and mules; 1,911,244 neat cattle; 5,118,777 sheep; 1,900,065 swine; poultry to the value of $1,153,413. There were produced 12,286,418 bushels of wheat; 2,520,060 of barley; 20,675,847 of oats; 2,979,323 of rye; 2,287,885 of buckwheat; 10,972,286 of Indian corn; 9,845,295 pounds of wool; 447,250 of hops; 30,123,614 bushels of potatoes; 3,127,047 tons of hay; 1,735 pounds of silk cocoons; 10,048,109 pounds of sugar. The products of the dairy amounted to $10,496,021; and of the orchard to $1,701,935; of lumber to $3,891,302. There were produced 6,799 gallons of wine; and of pot and pearl ashes 7,613 tons; tar, pitch, turpentine, &c., 402 barrels.

The climate of New York is various. The winters on the seacoast are mild, but changeable. In the n. e. part they are severe, but more uniform. In the extensive level country w. of the mountains, the climate is more mild than in the same latitude in the e.

The principal rivers are the Hudson, 324 miles long, navigable for sloops 156 miles to Troy, and enters into New York bay, and thence into the Atlantic; the Mohawk, 135 miles long, which enters the Hudson a little above Troy; the Genesee, 125 miles long, and enters Lake Ontario, having at Rochester, 5 miles from its mouth, two falls of 96 and 75 feet, furnishing many of the finest mill seats; Black river, which rises near the sources of the Hudson, and flows 120 miles into Lake Ontario; the Saranac, 65 miles long, enters Lake Champlain at Plattsburgh; the Oswegatchie flows 100 miles, into the St. Lawrence; the Oswego proceeds 40 miles, from Oneida lake into Lake Ontario; the Au Sable rises in the Adirondack mts., and after a course of 75 miles enters Lake Champlain. The majestic St. Lawrence forms a part of the northern boundary of the state. The head branches of the Susquehanna, the Alleghany, and the Delaware, rise in this state.

The state has a considerable number of lakes which lie wholly within it, besides Lake Ontario on the n., and Champlain on the e., winch are but partly within it. Besides these, Lake George in the n. e., 33 ms. long and 2 broad, is a beautiful sheet of water, surrounded by the most picturesque scenery, and has an outlet into Lake Champlain. In the western part of the state are Oneida lake, 20 ms. long and 3½ wide; Skeneateles lake, 15 ms. long and 1 to 1½ broad; Owasco lake, 11 ms. long and 1 to 2 broad; Cayuga lake, 38 ms. long and 1 to 4 broad; Seneca lake, 35 ms. long and 2 to 4 broad; Crooked lake, 18 ms. long and 1 to 1½ broad; Canandaigua lake, 14 ms. long and 1 broad. These lakes all discharge their waters into Lake Ontario. In the extreme w. part of the state is Chautauque lake, 18 ms. long and 1 to 3 broad; situated near Lake Erie, but discharging its waters s. into the Alleghany river.

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The islands of New York are--Long Island, 120 miles long from w. to e., and about 10 miles as its average breadth. It contains Kings, Queens, and Suffolk counties. Within the bays, at its e. part, are Fisher's Island, Shelter Island, Robins's Island, and some others. Staten Island, s. w. of the harbor of New York, is 18 miles long and 8 wide, and constitutes the county of Richmond. Manhattan Island, on which the City of New York stands, is 15 miles long, and about 1½ wide at an average breadth, and contains the county of New York. Grand Island, in Niagara river, is 12 miles long, and from 2 to 7 wide, and extends to within 1½ miles of the falls.

The harbor of New York city is one of the finest in the United States, and is on New York bay, which extends 8 miles above the Narrows, and is about 25 miles in circumference. It is safe, spacious, and accessible at all seasons of the year. On the bar, at Sandy Hook, it has a depth of from 21 to 27 feet, and is deeper above. The Hudson is navigable for large ships, about 130 miles to Hudson. Sag Harbor on the e., and Brooklyn on the w. end of Long Island, have good harbors. Sacketts Harbor has a good natural, and Oswego a good artificial harbor on Lake Ontario. Buffalo and Dunkirk are harbors on Lake Erie.

New York is the chief commercial city of the state, and of the United States. Situated on an island of the same name, it has a harbor on three sides; and its facilities for commerce with all parts of the country and of the world, are unrivalled; and in the amount of its shipping, it is second only to London. Brooklyn, on Long Island, opposite New York, must be regarded as an appendage of the great city, though it has become itself a large city, being the second in population in the state, and the seventh in the Union. Albany, Rochester, Troy, Buffalo, and Utica, are large and flourishing cities. Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, Hudson, Cattskill, and Lansingburgh, on the Hudson; Schenectady, on the Mohawk; Geneva, Syracuse, Auburn, Lockport, and Ithaca, in the w., and Plattsburgh in the n., are large and flourishing places.

The commerce of New York greatly surpasses that of every other state in the Union. The exports in 1840, were $34,264,080; and the imports were $60,440,750.

In the year 1840, there were 469 commercial and 1,044 commission houses engaged in foreign trade, with a capital of $49,583,001; 12,207 retail drygoods and other stores, with a capital of $42,135,795; 9,592 persons engaged in the lumber trade, with a capital of $2,694,170; 7,593 persons engaged in internal transportation, and 804 butchers, packers, &c., the whole employing a capital of $2,833,916; the fisheries employed 1,228 persons, and a capital of $949,250.

The manufactures of New York are also extensive. Home-made or family goods were produced amounting to $4,636,547; 323 woolen manufactories, with 890 fulling mills, employing 4,636 persons, produced articles to the amount of $3,537,337, and employed a capital of $3,469,349; 117 cotton manufactories, with 211,659 spindles, employed 7,407 persons, and a capital of $4,900,772; 332 persons produced 2,867,884 bushels of salt, employing a capital of $5,601,000; 186 furnaces produced 29,088 tons of cast iron, and 120 forges, &c., produced 53,693 tons of bar iron, consumed 123,677 tons of fuel, employed 3,456 persons, and a capital of $2,103,418; 9 smelting houses produced 670,000 pounds of lead, employing 333 persons, and a capital of $221,000; 77 paper mills produced articles to the amount of $673,121, and other paper manufactures produced $89,637, the whole employing 749 persons, and a capital of $703,550; hats and caps were manufactured to the amount of $2,914,117, and straw bonnets to the amount of $160,248, the whole employing 3,880 persons, and a capital of $1,676,559; 1,216 tanneries employed 5,579 persons, and a capital of $3,907,348; other leather manufactories, as saddleries, &c., produced articles to the value of $6,232,924, and employed a capital of $2,743,765; 13 glass houses and 11 glass cutting establishments, employed 498 persons, produced articles to the amount of $411,371, and employed a capital of $204,700; 47 potteries employed 197 persons, producing articles to the amount of $159,292, and employed a capital of $88,450; machinery was produced to the amount of $2,895,517, employing 3,631 persons; hardware and cutlery employed 962 persons, and produced articles to the value of $1,566,974; 112 cannon and 8,308 small-arms were manufactured by 203 persons, to the value of $1,106,203; 1,713 persons manufactured the precious metals to the amount of $1,106,203; 1,447 persons manufactured granite and marble to the amount of $966,220; 489 persons manufactured 11,939,834 pounds of soap, 4,029,783 pounds of tallow candles, and 533,000 pounds of spermaceti candles, with a capital of $618,875; 669 persons manufactured tobacco to the amount of $831,570, with a capital of $395,530; 212 distilleries produced 11,973,815 gallons, and 83 breweries produced 6,059,122 gallons, the whole employing 1,486 persons, and a capital of $3,107,066; 4,710 persons manufactured carriages and wagons to the amount of $2,364,461, with a capital of $1,485,023; 338 flouring mills manufactured 1,861,385 barrels of flour, and with other mills produced articles to the amount of 16,953,280, employing 10,807 persons, and a capital of $14,648,814; ships were built to the amount of $797,317; furniture was manufactured to the amount of $1,971,776, employing 3,660 persons, and a capital of $1,610,810; 3,160 persons produced bricks and lime to the amount of $1,198,527; 1,233 brick and 5,198 wooden houses were built by 16,763 persons, and cost $7,265,844; 321 printing offices, and 107 binderies, 34 daily, 13 semi-weekly or tri-weekly, and 19S weekly newspapers, and 57 periodicals, employed 3,231 persons, and a capital of $1,876,540. The whole amount of capital employed in manufactures in 1840, was $55,252,779.

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This state has a number of respectable literary institutions. Columbia College (formerly King's) was founded in New York in 1754, and is conducted by the Episcopalians; Union College, at Schenectady, was founded in 1795; Hamilton College, in Clinton, was founded in 1812; Geneva College, conducted by the Episcopalians, was founded in Geneva, in 1823; the University of the City of New York, was founded in 1831. The Hamilton Literary and Theological Seminary was founded in Hamilton, by the Baptists, in 1819. The Theological Institute of the Episcopal Church, was founded by the Episcopalians, in New York, in 1819; the New York Theological Seminary, connected with the University, was founded by the Presbyterians, in 1836; the Theological Seminary, at Auburn, was founded by the Presbyterians, in 1821; the Hartwick Seminary, at Hartwick, in Otsego county, was founded by the Lutherans, in 1816; the Theological Seminary of the Associate Reformed Church was founded at Newburg, in 1836; the College of Physicians and Surgeons in the city of New York, was founded in 1807; the Albany Medical College, was founded in 1839. All these institutions had in 1840, 1,235 students; besides, there were in the state, 505 academies, with 34,715 students, and 10,593 common and primary schools, with 502,367 scholars, and 44,452 persons over 20 years of age who could neither read nor write.

Of the religious denominations in 1838, the Presbyterians and Congregationalists had 564 ministers, and 86,000 communicants; the Baptists had 483 ministers, and 67,183 communicants; the Methodists had 591 ministers, and 30,700 communicants; the Dutch Reformed, 142 ministers, and 15,800 communicants; the Episcopalians had 207 ministers, and about 10,000 communicants; the Associate Reformed had 30 ministers; the Lutherans 27; the Roman Catholics 32; the Universalists 25; the Unitarians 8; besides a few others.

There were in the state Jan. 1st, 1840, 96 banks, with an aggregate capital of $36,801,460, and a circulation of $10,629,514. A number of these banks have recently been discontinued. At the close of 1840, the state debt amounted to $20,165,254.

The state has 2 penitentiaries; one at Sing Sing, on the Hudson river, and the other at Auburn; the latter is regarded as a model for such institutions.

The present constitution of the state government was adopted in 1821. The legislature consists of a senate composed of 32 members, elected by the people, one fourth of whom are renewed every year; and an assembly, of 128 members, chosen annually, by a universal suffrage of all male citizens over 21 years of age, except colored persons, who must have a freehold worth $250. The governor and lieutenant-governor are chosen for two years, by the people, by a plurality of votes.
The chancellor and judges of the supreme court are chosen by the governor and senate, and hold their offices during good behavior, or until they are 60 years of age.

New York has taken the lead of her sister states in the great works of internal improvement; and her example and success have stimulated the other states to undertake their great works. The Erie canal was commenced in July, 1817, and completed in 1825. It extends from Albany to Buffalo, 363 miles, and cost originally $7,143,789. This sum will be more than doubled by the present widening of it. The Champlain canal, from Albany to Whitehall, 79 miles, was carried on simultaneously, and cost $1,257,604. The Oswego canal, from Syracuse to Oswego, 38 miles, was completed in 1828, at a cost of $565,437. The Cayuga and Seneca canal, from Montezuma to Geneva, 21 miles, was completed in 1828, at a cost of $236,804. The Chemung canal, extend3 from Elmira to Seneca lake, including a feeder to Painted Post, 39 miles, and cost $331,693. The Crooked Lake canal extends from Crooked lake to Seneca lake, 8 miles, and cost $156,776. Chenango canal extends from Binghamton to Utica, 97 miles, and cost $2,270,605. The above are all branches of the great Erie canal, and their united length is 655 miles; and the cost of the whole $11,962,711. The Black River canal extends from the Erie canal, at Rome, to the foot of the high falls in Leyden, on Black river, 35 miles, with a navigable feeder of 11 miles; the cost, including the improvement of the navigation of the river, 40 miles, to Carthage, $1,068,437. The Genesee and Alleghany canal extends from Rochester to Olean, on the Alleghany, 107 miles, with a branch of 15 miles, estimated to cost $2,002,285. The Delaware and Hudson canal commences at Eddyville, on the Rondout creek, near the Hudson, and reaches to Honesdale, on the Lackawaxen river, passing to, and through Delaware river, 109 miles, and cost $2,231,320.

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Many railroads have been projected in the state, and the following have been completed. The Harlem railroad extends from New York to Fordham, 12 miles; the Long Island railroad extends from Brooklyn to Suffolk station, 41 miles, to De continued through the island to Greenport; the Hudson and Berkshire railroad extends from Hudson to West Stockbridge, 33 miles; the Catskill and Canajoharie railroad, to connect the two places, 78 miles, partly completed; the Rensselaer and Saratoga railroad extends from Troy to Ballston, 23 miles; the Mohawk and Hudson railroad connects Albany and Schenectady, 16 miles; the Saratoga and Schenectady, 21½ miles, connects the two places; the Utica and Schenectady connects these places, 77 miles; the Syracuse and Utica continues this road 53 miles w., to Syracuse; the Syracuse and Auburn railroad continues this road to Auburn, 26 miles; the Auburn and Rochester railroad continues it 80 miles w., to Rochester. The Towanda railroad connects Rochester and Attica, 45 miles, and is now being continued to Buffalo. Buffalo and Niagara Falls railroad connects the two places, 23 miles. Lockport and Niagara Falls railroad connects these places, 20 miles. Ithaca and Owego railroad joins the two places, 20 miles; the Rochester railroad extends from Rochester to Port Genesee, 3 miles; Bath railroad extends from Bath to Crooked lake, 5 miles; Port Kent and Keesville railroad connects the two places, 4½ miles. The New York and Erie railroad is one of the greatest undertakings of the kind in the world. It commences at Piermont, 22 miles above New York, on the Hudson, and is to extend through the southern counties of the state, 359 miles, to Dunkirk, on Lake Erie. The estimated cost of the work is $5,473,000. This road is completed and in operation to Goshen, 45 miles from Piermont, and other sections of it are completed or in great progress.
Hudson river and the island of Manhattan, now New York, were discovered by Henry Hudson, an Englishman, in the service of the Dutch. The first permanent settlement was made by the Dutch, on Manhattan island, in 1614. In 1664, the English, under Richard Nichols, took the country for the Duke of York; and by the peace of Breda, in 1667, the Dutch confirmed the colony to the English. In 1673, an expedition from Holland took the city of New York, and soon after the whole colony submitted. The following year the country was restored by the treaty of Westminister, and the Duke of York took out a new patent. The first legislative assembly of the province met in October, 1683. In 1693, Episcopacy was made the established religion of the province. The inhabitants of New York bore an important part in the French war, and in the war of the revolution. In September, 1776, the British captured and occupied New York, and held possession of it until the peace, in 1783. On the 26th of July, 1788, this state, in convention, adopted the constitution of the United States--yeas 30; nays 25; majority, 5.

New York, city, the principal city of the state of New York, and in population, commerce, and wealth, the largest city of the United States, is situated on the s. end of New York or Manhattan island, at the confluence of the Hudson or North river, and a strait called the East river, which connects Long Island sound with the harbor of New York. The City Hall is in 40° 42' 40" n. lat., and 71° 1' 8" w. lon. from Greenwich; and 2° 54' e. lon. from Washington. It is 86 ms. n. e. from Philadelphia; 210 s. w. from Boston; 225 n. e. from Washington; 670 n. e. from Charleston, S. C.; 1,397 n. e. from New Orleans; 145 s. from Albany; 372 s. from Montreal. The population in 1790, was 33,131; in 1800, 60,489; in 1810, 96,373; in 1820, 123,706; in 1830, 202,589; in 1840, 312,710. Employed in commerce, 11,365; in manufactures and trades, 43,390; in navigating the ocean, 2,786: do. rivers, lakes, and canals, 716; learned professions and engineers, 2,929.
The city and county have the same limits, comprising the whole island, which extends from the Battery, on the s., 13½ miles, to Kingsbridge, on the n., with an average width of 1 mile and three fifths. The greatest breadth is 2 miles and one eighth, and the area of the whole island about 14,000 acres. It is separated from the main land, in Westchester county, by Harlem river, a strait, through which the tide flows. The strait denominated the East river, separates it from Long Island on the e.; on the s. is the bay and harbor; and on the w. is Hudson river, which separates it from New Jersey. Three bridges across Harlem river connect the island with the main land. Several islands in the harbor, and in the East river, are attached to the city.

The harbor of New York is safe and commodious, being about 25 miles in circumference, and vessels of the largest size come up to the wharves at the city. The entrance over the bar at Sandy Hook, has a depth of water from 21 to 27 feet; and thence to the city the channel is from 35 to 50 feet deep. The entrance to the harbor, between Staten Island, on the w., and Long Island, on the e., is called the Narrows, which is about one third of a mile wide, and is well defended by strong fortifications. There are also batteries on Bedlow's and Ellis's islands, further up the harbor. There are strong fortifications for the defense of the city on Governor's island, which contains 70 acres of ground, and is distant 3,200 feet from the city, at the Battery. Castle Williams, on the w. side of the island, is a round tower, 600 feet in circumference, and 60 feet high, with three tiers of guns. Fort Columbus is on the highest point of the island; and on the e. side is a battery to defend the entrance through Buttermilk channel. A considerable United States garrison occupies the island, on which are extensive barracks.

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The most elevated ground on the island of New York, is 238 feet above tidewater. The city which is built extends over three miles on each river, and in its compact parts has a circumference of about 9 miles. The streets were originally laid out according to the surface of the ground, and some of them were crooked; and, in imitation of European cities, many of them were narrow. But, in latter times, they have been widened and improved at a great expense; and in the newer parts of the city, comprehending a large part of it, care has been taken to lay out the streets straight, regularly, and of sufficient width. Broadway, 80 feet wide, is the principal thoroughfare, and extends from the Battery, at the s., nearly 3 miles, to Union square, where it joins the Bloomingdale road and the 4th avenue, which extends through the island to Harlem. Broadway is entirely straight through its whole course, and occupies the height of land between the North and East rivers. Greenwich-street, near the North river, commences at the Battery, and runs parallel with the river, through the whole extent of the city. It is wide and handsomely built. Pearl-street, between Broadway and the East river, is in a crescent form, over a mile in length, contains many spacious warehouses, and is the principal seat of the drygoods and hardware business, which has also extended into Cedar and Pine, and other adjacent streets. Front and Water streets, between Pearl-street and the East river, are occupied chiefly by wholesale grocers, commission merchants, and mechanics connected with the shipping business. South- street, extending along the margin of the East river, contains the warehouses and offices of the principal shipping merchants. Wall-street, extending from Broadway to the East river, is occupied by banks, insurance offices, newspaper and brokers' offices--has the Merchants' Exchange, and other fine granite buildings, and is the great centre of the heaviest money transactions in the country. The Bowery is a wide and extensive street to the e. of Broadway, running n. and s., and connected with the Third avenue, which is macadamized to Harlem, and forms the great entrance to the city from the n. e. East Broadway, Henry, and Madison streets, in the n. e., and Bleecker, Bond, and other streets, in the n. part of the city, are beautifully built. Canal-street, much below the centre of population, half a mile n. of the City Hall, is a wide street, with a large canal under it, from which it receives its name, is occupied by stores, and is the seat of an extensive retail trade. It crosses Broadway nearly at right angles, and extends to the North river. In the year 1800, the site of this street was a large pond, extending nearly across the island, and which received the drainage of 400 acres of ground. This was the northern limit of Broadway until 1801, and then far beyond the thickly settled parts of the city.

The principal part of the shipping lies on the East river, and a walk along South-street presents a dense forest of masts. Many vessels lie also in the North river; and there are continually not less probably than from 800 to 1,000 vessels lying at the wharves and in the harbor. New York is the second commercial city in the world, and in its harbor are generally to be found vessels, not only from the principal ports of the United States, but from most of the commercial nations on the globe. Its insular situation gives it a great extent of harbor, and it is rarely obstructed or much incommoded by ice. The tonnage of the port for the year 1840, was 414,817. The amount of imports for the year 1841, was $75,268,015; of exports, was $30,731,519. The amount of duties paid at the port, was $10,802,119. Two lines of steamships connect New York--one with Liverpool, and the other with Southampton, England, and Antwerp, Belgium. Besides these, several lines of packets connect it with London, Liverpool, and Havre. The New York and Liverpool line consists of 20 ships of the first class, with a large capacity for freight, and elegant accommodations for passengers; and one vessel sails from each place every sixth day. The New York and London packets consist of 12 large ships, one of which sails from each place every ten days. One line of the New York and Havre packets consists of 12 ships of the first class, one of which sails from each place every eight days; another line, of 6 ships, sails from each place monthly. Lines are also established to all the important ports on the coast of the United States, and many of them are steamboat lines. There are also lines to some ports in the West Indies, in Mexico, and in South America. The foreign arrivals in New York in 1841, were 2,118; the number of passengers was 57,334. The passengers from domestic ports by sea were 8,920.

The most splendid public building in the city is the Merchants' Exchange, in Wall-street, though its confined situation does not exhibit it to advantage. It covers the whole space between Wall, William, Exchange, and S. William streets--is constructed of blue Quincy granite, and is 200 feet long by 171 and 144 feet wide, and 77 feet high to the top of the cornice, and 124 feet to the top of the dome. The front, on Wall-street, has a recessed portico of 18 massive columns, 38 feet high and 4 feet 4 inches in diameter, each from a solid block of stone, and weighing 43 tons. Besides numerous other rooms, the exchange in the centre is in a circular form, 80 feet in diameter, with 4 recesses, making the whole length and breadth 100 feet, 80 feet high, and surmounted by a dome, resting in part upon 8 Corinthian columns of Italian marble, 41 feet high, and lighted by a sky-light, 25 feet in diameter. The whole cost of this building, including the ground, is estimated at $1,800,000. Not less splendid is the Custom House, built of white marble, of the Doric order, something after the model of the Parthenon, at Athens. It occupies the site of the old city hall, in the open gallery of which Washington was inaugurated as first president of the United States. It is 200 feet long, 90 feet wide, and 80 feet high. Each of the n. and s. fronts has a portico of 8 columns, 5 feet 8 inches in diameter, and 32 feet high. The great business hall is a splendid circular room, of 60 feet in diameter, with recesses and galleries. Exclusive of the ground on which it stands, and of its furniture, it cost $950,000. The entire cost, including the ground, is estimated at $1,175,000. Both the above buildings are entirely incombustible.

The City Hall, heretofore regarded as much the finest building in the city, is more beautifully situated than any other, in the middle of the Park, where it shows to great advantage. It has more ornament than either the exchange or custom house, but less simple grandeur. It is, however, unquestionably one of the finest buildings in the United States. It is 216 feet long and 105 broad, and has the Ionic, Corinthian, and composite orders rising in regular gradation. The front and both ends above the basement are built of white marble; the rear of brown freestone. Rising from the middle of the roof is a handsome cupola, on the top of which is a colossal figure of Justice. There are some splendid rooms in the interior. The edifice cost $538,731. A large brick building in the rear of the city hall, is occupied with various public offices and courts, and by the hall of the American Institute, with its library and models of machinery.

The Hall of Justice occupies the whole space between Leonard, Elm, Franklin, and Centre streets, and is a unique and beautiful building, of the Egyptian order of architecture, constructed of a light-colored granite. It has a court and other rooms; and connected with it, in the rear, is the House of Detention.

The Hall of the University of New York, in the upper part of the city, on Washington square, is a splendid building, of Gothic architecture, 180 feet long by 100 feet wide, so situated as to appear to great advantage. Columbia College is a handsome building, finely situated in the lower part of the city. Trinity Church, on Broadway, fronting Wall-street, will, when completed, be the most complete and splendid Gothic structure in the United States. St. Paul's Episcopal Church, in Broadway, with a steeple 234 feet high; and St. John's Episcopal Church, on St. John's square, with a steeple 210 feet high, possess fine proportions and elegant architecture.
The Dutch Church, on Washington square, is a splendid Gothic building. Many other churches, as the French Protestant Church, in Franklin-street; St. Patrick's Cathedral, in Prince-street; the Society Library, Gothic Hall, and St. Thomas's Episcopal Church, in Broadway, and the Baptist Church, in Broome-street, are imposing buildings.

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Among the hotels, several of which are fine buildings, the Astor House, in Broadway, is the most distinguished. It is built of Quincy granite, and contains 390 rooms. It is said by travellers, that there is nothing of the kind, in London or Paris, which equals it.

Among the public places, those most worthy of notice are the Battery, a beautiful public ground, on the s. point of the island, in the form of a crescent, containing 11 acres; the Park, in the centre of the lower part of the city, containing 10¾ acres, laid out with walks, shaded with trees, and surrounded with a neat iron fence, which cost $15,653. It is ornamented by a large and splendid fountain, supplied by the Croton water. St. John's square, in the w. part of the city, containing 4 acres, beautifully laid out with walks and trees, and surrounded by an elegant iron fence, which cost $26,000; Washington Square, 1½ mile n. of the city hall, containing 9¾ acres, which spreads before the New York University; Union Square, with a beautiful elliptical enclosure, at the termination of Broadway on the n., and ornamented by an elegant fountain, supplied by the Croton water. Several other squares exist in the n. part of the city, not yet fully regulated.
A large number of the streets, stores, and other buildings of the city are lighted with gas. The expense of gas and lamps in 1840, was $120,676; of city watch, was $223,950; and of cleaning the streets, $149,931.

The most splendid and expensive public work undertaken by the city, is the Croton waterworks. The aqueduct commences at the Croton river, 5 ms. from Hudson r. in Westchester co. The dam is 250 feet long, 70 wide at bottom, and 7 at top, and 40 feet high, built of stone and cement. It creates a pond 5 ms. long, covering 400 acres, and contains 500 millions of gallons of water. From the dam, the aqueduct proceeds, sometimes tunnelling through solid rocks, crossing valleys by embankments, and brooks by culverts, until it reaches Harlem r., a distance of 33 ms. It is built of stone, brick, and cement, arched over and under, 6 feet 9 inches wide at bottom, 7 feet 5 inches at the top of the sidewalls, and 8 feet 5 inches high, has a descent of 13¼ inches per mile, and will discharge 60 millions of gallons in 24 hours. It will cross Harlem r. on a magnificent bridge of stone, 1,450 feet long, with 14 piers, 8 of 80 feet span, and 7 of 50 feet span, 114 feet from high tidewater to the top,and which will cost $900,000. This bridge is in progress, and for the present the water is brought across the r. in an iron pipe, laid as an inverted syphon. The receiving reservoir is at 86th st., 38 ms. from the Croton dam, and covers 35 acres, and contains 150 millions of gallons. The water is conveyed to the distributing reservoir on Murray's hill, 40th street, in iron pipes. It covers 4 acres, and is built of stone and cement, 43 feet high above the street, and holds 20 millions of gallons. Thence the water is distributed over the city in iron pipes, laid so deep under ground as to be secure from frost. The whole cost of the work will be about $12,000,000. The water is of the finest kind of river water. No city in the world is now more plentifully supplied with pure and wholesome water than the city of N. York; and the supply would be abundant, if the population were five times its present number.

The Harlem railroad extends from the City Hall through Centre-street to Broome-street; turns at right angles to the Bowery, where it turns again nearly at right angles, and follows the Bowery to the 4th Avenue, on which it extends to Harlem, 8 miles; and it is continued several miles further to Fordham. A part of its course is a deep cut through solid rock, with a short tunnel and high embankments. It has a double track the whole length, and is the most expensive railroad, for the distance, in the United States.

There are two colleges in the city. Columbia College, founded in 1750, has a president, 10 professors, about 140 students, and about 14,000 volumes in its libraries. The New York University was founded in 1831, and has a chancellor, and 12 professors, about 125 students, and a valuable library and philosophical apparatus. The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church was established in 1819, has 5 professors, and 75 students, and 7,260 volumes in its library. The New York Theological Seminary was organized in 1836, has three ordinary, and 4 extraordinary professors, 108 students, and a library of 16,000 volumes. The Public School Society had, in May, 1840, 16 schools, with male and female and primary departments; and 46 primary schools, and 22,955 scholars. The Rutgers Female Institute, in Madison-street, is a flourishing institution, with over 450 pupils. The Mechanics' school, in Crosby-street, has 550 pupils. The Protestant Episcopal school is a flourishing institution. The College of Physicians and Surgeons, in the city of New York in Crosby-street, was founded in 1807. The New York Eye Infirmary; the New York Hospital, situated in Broadway, at the head of Pearl street; and the New York Lunatic Asylum, are important institutions; as are the Deaf and Dumb Asylum, near the Harlem railroad, between the 4th and 5th Avenues, with 200 pupils, and the Institution for the Blind on the 8th Avenue, with 70 pupils.

The New York Society Library, in a fine building in Broadway, has 35,000 volumes; the New York Historical Society has 10,000 volumes, with many coins and medals; the Lyceum of Natural History has a library and museum; the National Academy of Design, instituted in 1826, has purchased the statuary of the Academy of Fine Arts, which it will exhibit with its collection of the paintings of living artists; Clinton Hall Association was founded in 1830, for the promotion of literature, science, and the arts; the Mercantile Library Association, for the special benefit of merchants' clerks, has a library of about 23,000 volumes, and an annual course of lectures through the winter; the Apprentices' Library, founded in 1820, has 12,000 volumes, read by 1,800 apprentices; the American Institute, incorporated in 1833, holds a splendid annual fair, and distributes premiums. The New York Lyceum, founded in 1838, has a respectable library and reading room, and sustains in the winter season a very able course of lectures.

The American Bible Society, instituted in 1816, received for the year ending May 13th, 1841, $118,860; the American Tract Society, founded in 1816, received $98,962. These societies have each a large building in Nassau- street. The Home Missionary Society received $85,413; the American Board of Commissioners received $235,189; the American and Foreign Bible Society (Baptist) received $26,001; the Baptist Home Missionary Society received $10,779. Most of these societies hold an anniversary in N. York in May. The Methodists have a large and extensive book-concern. There are many other religious and benevolent societies.

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There are 168 churches in the city of New York, viz: 13 Dutch Reformed, 2 German Reformed, 27 Episcopal, 24 Presbyterian, 3 Congregational, 3 Reformed Presbyterian, 4 Associate Reformed, 3 Associate churches, 18 Baptist, 1 Welch Baptist, 17 Methodist Episcopal, 1 Ind. Methodist, 3 Associate Protestant Methodist, 2 Primitive Methodist, 1 Calvinistic Methodist, 1 German Methodist, 3 Lutheran, 1 Moravian, 4 Friends, 3 Universalist, 2 Unitarian, 1 Mariners, 11 Roman Catholic, 7 Jews' Synagogues, 2 New Jerusalem, 1 Christian, 1 Providence Chapel, 1 Congregation of Disciples, 1 Congregation of Primitive Christians, 1 Mormon or Latter-Day Saints, and 9 African, viz, 1 Episcopal, 2 Baptist, 2 Presbyterian, and 4 Methodist.
There are in the city about 30 banks, with an aggregate capital of about $30,000,000; 10 marine insurance companies, with a capital of $3,800,000; 22 fire insurance companies, with a capital of $6,360,000. There are 4 banks for savings. There were in 1840, in the city, 417 commercial houses and 918 commission houses engaged in foreign trade, with a capital of $45,941,200; 3,620 retail drygoods and other stores, with a cap. of $14,648,595; 61 lumber yards, with a cap. of $731,500; 4 furnaces have a cap. of $23,000; machinery manufactured to the amount of $1,150,000; hardware and cutlery, $135,300; precious metals, $932,760; of various metals, $1,087,800; 18 cotton fac. and 2 dyeing and printing estab., with a cap. of $61,300; I spermaceti oil and candle fac., cap. $100,000; 11 distilleries and 15 breweries, with a total cap. of $575,076; paints, drugs, &c., with a cap. of $648,650; 3 glass fac. and 6 glass cutting estab., with a cap. of $53,000; 1 paper fac.; 7 sugar refineries, produced articles to the value of $385,000; rope walks, cap. $9,800; 2 grist m., 8 saw m., cap. $146,800; cabinet furniture to the amount of $916,675. There were built 542 brick and stone, and 59 wooden houses, to the value of $1,889,100; 113 printing offices, 43 binderies, 18 daily, 45 weekly, and 5 semi-weekly newspapers, and 28 periodicals, employed 2,029 persons, and a
cap. of $1,285,320. Total capital in manufac. $11,228,894. There were 4 colleges, 430 students, 148 acad. or grammar sch., 7,207 scholars, 209 com. and primary schools, 32,867 scholars.
The city has 6 theatres, 2 museums, and a large number of other places of amusement. Four steam ferries connect the city to Brooklyn, 3 to Williamsburg, 2 to Jersey City, and 3 to Hoboken; in which places numbers of those doing business in the city, reside.

There are not more than 5 or 6 cities in Europe more populous than New York, viz: London, Paris, Constantinople, St. Petersburgh, Naples, and perhaps Vienna.

The government of the city is in the hands of a mayor and common council. The city is divided into 17 wards, each of which elects an alderman, an assistant alderman, two assessors, one collector, and two constables.

New York was settled in 1612 by the Dutch, and in 1623 they built a fort at the s. point of the island, and in 1642 a Dutch church within the fort. In 1664 the city was surrendered to the British. In 1638, the assessors' valuation of property in the whole city, was 78,231£. The British had possession of the city during most of the revolutionary war. They evacuated it Nov. 25th, 1783, when the troops under Gen. Washington entered it. The first congress met here in 1785; and here Washington was inaugurated as first President in the United States, April 30th, 1739. The yellow fever prevailed in 1795 and 1805; and the cholera in 1832, when 2,467 persons died in July, and 2,206 in August. On the night of December 16th, 1835, a dreadful fire swept over 40 acres, covered with stores filled with valuable merchandise, and destroyed property to the amount of nearly $18,000,000. The burnt district has been entirely rebuilt with increased convenience and beauty.  

Table of Contents

Source: A Complete Descriptive And Statistical Gazetteer Of The United States Of America, By Daniel Haskel, A. M and J. Calvin Smith, Published By Sherman & Smith, 1843

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