Robert Merry's Museum: "Uncle Hiram's Pilgrimage", by William C. Cutter (1857-1860)

"Uncle Hiram's Pilgrimage" (1857-1860), by William C. Cutter as "Hiram Hatchet," is a 30-part look at 19th-century New York City. "Uncle Hiram" narrates his journey down Broadway to representative subscribers to Robert Merry's Museum -- a journey through a world as exotic as any Gilbert Go-ahead ever encountered. Humorous encounters with "the natives" punctuate heavily illustrated descriptions of New York City landmarks which include Barnum's American Museum and the Five Points area. Every landmark mentioned is illustrated in the magazine, though only a few illustrations are reproduced here.



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UNCLE HIRAM'S PILGRIMAGE, by William C. Cutter (from Robert Merry's Museum, January 1858, pp. 16-18)

Elsie. Oh, Uncle! how long we have been waiting for you to tell us more of the Museum, and of all the wonderful things that are there!

I fear you will not find any other part as interesting and curious, as that which contained the Aquaria.

Elsie. Perhaps not, Uncle. I never heard anything more curious or beautiful, and I mean to have an aquarium of my own, by-and-by.

Fanny, Harry, and all the rest. And so do I, and so do I, and so do I.

Frank. And soon we can go fishing in our own parlors, without any danger of wetting our feet, or freezing our fingers.

Well, Frank, I will join you, some stormy day, and try the fun of fishing in a glass vase, while seated in a rocking-chair, with Hannah playing on the piano, or reading some luxurious book. But, we will now to the Museum, for we have much to see there yet, before I can proceed with my Pilgrimage.

There are so many things to be seen here, that I hardly know where to begin. But, as it is the holiday season, and all the young folks are full of Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, I will take you, first of all, to see

THE HAPPY FAMILY.

This is one of the most remarkable

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exhibitions ever made since the Flood. The scene in the Ark may have been something like it; but, as we are not informed how the different animals were disposed of there, we can not say certainly. Here, in one large cage, without any division, or any attempt to keep them apart, are animals, birds, insects, and reptiles, of opposite natures, and such as have never been known to meet, except as enemies, all living together in perfect peace and friendship. Here are dogs, cats, and mice, lying down and sleeping, or playing together. Here is a dove, or a small bird, sitting quietly on the back of a cat, or of a hawk. Here is a bird hopping from coil to coil of a sleeping serpent. A timid rabbit is feeding side by side with a dog, or a monkey. An owl sits on the same perch with a parrot. A toad hops, unmolested, among cats, rats, mice, birds, and all the rest; and a hen and a guinea-pig keep company with an ant-eater, and a Mexican hog.

Two or three cries at once. Why, Uncle, are you not jesting? How can these different creatures live together, and not quarrel?

I can not tell you how it was brought about. I do not know what means have been used to tame, and train them. But so it is. They are there, in perfect peace and quiet. I have seen them, and watched them for a long time, as they moved about, each one as much at ease, as if alone in the cage--no one ever interfering with another, or seeming to be annoyed by anything that is done. The mouse seems to have no more fear of the cat, than of his fellow. The cat is apparently as friendly with the mouse, as with her own kitten.

Frank. Why, what a witch that man must be!

Harry. Ha, ha, ha! not a witch, Frank, but a wizard.

Frank. Well, wizard, or witch, I don't care which; but I should like to know how he does it.

That is a secret you will not find it easy to discover, and, if you should aquire it, it would not do you any good. The greater part of the secret is probably patience and perseverance. A man who has anything else to do, could not well do anything of this kind. Besides, you are too indulgent to your pets, and you would not like to restrain, and deny, and punish them, as much as would be necessary to subdue their nature, and change their habits entirely. These animals live together quietly, but they are not lively and playful. The monkeys seem to retain something of their love of fun, and of mischief. But yet, they do not carry it so far as to annoy their companions.

You would be very much amused, I am sure, to see the "Happy Family." Sometimes you will see them all up and moving, flying, hopping, jumping, but never interfering seriously with each other; mingling, in the strangest groups you can imagine. Sometimes, especially on a cold day, you will see the greater part of them cuddled down together in a corner, a pile, or lump of life, made up of cats, rabbits, Guinea-pigs, rats, monkeys, etc., etc., either quietly asleep, or trying to keep each

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other warm; while the rest of the family are moving about, from perch to perch, or occasionally crowding themselves into the mass of sleepers.

There is in the Museum a great variety of the curious birds and animals, wither living, or stuffed, and looking like life, which will repay anybody for a few hours of study. I hope you will all have an opportunity to see them. Among them are

The Leopard--an animal of the cat species. It is found in the tropical regions of Asia and Africa. Its fur is yellow, with ten or twelve ranges of small black clusters of spots on each flank.

The Ostrich--a native of Africa and Arabia, the largest of all birds, being four feet from the ground to the top of the back, and its head often as high as ten feet--is remarkable for its swiftness in running, in which it is aided by wings, which are too small for flying. Its plumage is elegant, and much sued in ornamental dress.

The Gnu, or Horned Horse, belongs to the ox tribe of ruminating animals, and partakes of the form of the ox, the horse, and the deer. It is found in South Africa.

The Rhinoceros (nose-horn) belongs to the same order of animals as the elephant, distinguished as hoofed animals, which do not ruminate, or chew the cud. It is of the species Tapir. It is much larger than the American tapir, and is distinguished by a kind of horn on its nose, composed of a solid fibrous substance, resembling a tuft of hairs glued together. Some species have two horns, one above the other. It is stupid and ferocious, frequents marshy places, and lives on grass and shrubs.


UNCLE HIRAM'S PILGRIMAGE, by William C. Cutter (from Robert Merry's Museum, February 1858), pp. 47-48)

Bidding farewell to the American Museum, I stepped out into Broadway, and was, for a time, not a little confused by the rattling, and buzzing, and hum of the living multitudes passing and repassing, and rushing up and down, as if the goal of life was at one end or the other of Broadway. The contrast was not agreeable, passing so suddenly from the quiet I had been enjoying among the living and the dead in this great storehouse of natural curiosities. I soon became accustomed to the din, however, and began to take observations for my future progress. St. Paul's loomed up darkly on the other side of the street, a structure neither imposing nor beautiful. A statue of the great Apostle adorns a niche in the pediment.

Frank.--Does it look like Paul, Uncle?

I don't know, Frank. In the first place, I don't know how Paul looked, except that he represents himself as not very good-looking. In the second place, the statue is so high up, that you can not see what it looks like. If it were a statue of Julius Cæsar, it would answer as well, so long as the people accept it as meant for Paul.

In the church-yard, on the south side of the church, there is a tall and somewhat imposing monument, which may be worthy of a passing notice. It is an obelisk, twenty feet high, erected in honor of THOMAS ADDIS EMMETT, an Irish orator and patriot, whose brother, Robert, was executed as a rebel in 1803. Thomas, escaping to this

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country, was received with great éclat, as one of a persecuted race, a martyr to the cause of liberty. I was more interested in this monument, that it brought freshly back to my memory my school-boy days, when I was accustomed to recite, with great power of eloquence, as I then thought, a portion of Robert Emmett's reply to the question, "What he had to say why sentence of death should not be passed upon him?" It was a favorite theme for our weekly declamations, and its author was to us a sort of demi-god.

Thomas Addis Emmett became somewhat distinguished in this country as a politician and a lawyer. His death, which took place about thirty years ago, was sudden and impressive. He expired, without a moment's warning, while addressing the court at the City Hall.

Passing St. Paul's, the next object of interest is the Astor House, a fine, large hotel, and one of the best in the world. At the time of its completion, some twenty-five years ago, it had no equal. To it belongs the honor of originating the modern style of palace hotels. Others have arisen, since, more imposing in extent, and more elaborate in architecture and appointments; but I greatly doubt if there can be found in the world a house more conveniently arranged, better conducted, or more thoroughly furnished with every appointment for substantial comfort and reasonable luxury.

The Astor is built of Quincy granite, and occupies the whole front between vesey and Barclay streets, 200 feet, extending back on those streets 150 feet.

The amount of eating done within those walls, in one year, would astonish almost any frugal housewife.


UNCLE HIRAM'S PILGRIMAGE, by William C. Cutter (from Robert Merry's museum, March 1858, pp. 75-79)

Gazing at the Astor House provoked in me something of an appetite for dinner. But I was doomed to wait some time, before tasting it. As I was crossing Vesey Street, I met an old friend, the first familiar face I had seen among the many thousands that had passed me in my pilgrimage. He seized me cordially by the hand, and, though moving very rapidly when he came up, seemed in no haste to go on. He turned back, and held me a long time in conversation about the great city, its singular history, wonderful growth, wealth, wickedness, etc. He was an old man, and very talkative. He was born in New York, and had always resided there. He had heard his father and grandfather relate many curious and interesting incidents of its early history, and seemed to have the whole story at his tongue's end. He was particularly interested in talking of its rapid growth, and showing how steadily and powerfully it had been expanding into the acknowledged metropolis of the Western world.

His grandfather's memory extended back almost to the time when the old Dutch government was superseded by the English. In an old almanac, which he carried in his pocket, he showed me a sketch of the city as it was in 1664, when it contained 1,500 inhabitants, and occupied only so much of its present territory as lies below Wall Street. In truth, it did not occupy more than half that space, for a large part of what is now covered with buildings was then water.

This cut shows us the East River view of the Battery, or Market Field, as it was then called. The fort on the

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left was called Fort Amsterdam by the Dutch, and Fort George by the English. The gallows, standing in solemn loneliness on the shore, shows that New York, even in its youth, was not as virtuous as it should be.

It would occupy too much time and space to tell you all that my friend had to say; but it will help you to form some idea of the strides the city has taken toward the country, to remember that the Astor House is about half a mile above Wall Street, and about four miles below the great "Central Park," which may perhaps be regarded as the present limit of the city on the north, though destined, by-and-by, as the name given it imports, to be its center.

Standing on this point, we were continually jostled and disturbed by the crowds passing up and down. New York as it is was continually withdrawing our attention from New York as it was. I could not help remarking to my friend the seeming earnestness and activity of the passers, saying, that every one appeared to have an important object ahead, which he was bent on accomplishing at once.

"Oh!" said he, "that is all appearance. Not one in twenty of them have any object at all, except to see what is passing, and to occupy time."

"Is that possible?" I asked. "How, then, do they support themselves?"

"You last question is more than I can answer," he replied; "and one half of these people would be as much puzzled to answer it as I am. The first I can answer at once, and give you proof that I am right."

"How will you do that?" I asked.

"I can stop five hundred, or a thousand of them, on this spot, for half an hour, or more, and not one of them shall know why they stop, or what they are looking after."

So saying, he stepped to the edge of the side-walk, drawing me with him. Then, pointing toward the sky, just over the Museum, he said to me, earnestly, "There! don't you see it?"

Instantly some twenty or thirty persons gathered around us, each asking, "What is it?" The number of idle gazers and questioners increased at every moment, and in about two minutes, the walk was so crowded and crammed, that no one could pass, and all new-comers were compelled to stop. Not one in twenty of the crowd knew why they were stopped, or how long they would be detained; and very few of them cared, as long as they had something new to excite them.

It was amusing to hear their questions and conjectures, some of them given in a tone of positive earnestness, as if their very lives or fortunes depended on knowing what strange thing had happened.

"Ha!" cried one. "I see it."

"What? What? Where?" cried a score at once.

"There! over the Museum. I vow it is a balloon, with an elephant in it."

"Nonsense!" said his neighbor. "You don't see any such thing. The balloon never was made that could carry an elephant."

"That's as much you know," replied the other. "Pray, did you never hear of Rufus Porter's balloon, that was to carry fifty men to California in two days?"

"Was to!" growled the impatient objector. "Did he ever do it?"

Having accomplished his object, my friend took me by the arm, and drew me aside, to continue his story of "the Olden Times."

In his enthusiasm, he forgot that

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I was on a pilgrimage, with my pack in my hand, and he did not know that I had not had my dinner. From one story to another, he carried me quite back to the first discovery of the Bay and River, in 1607; then, nothing would do but he must show me a picture of Hendrick Hudson, in his quaint, old dress, with a sketch of his ship, the Half Moon, as she lay at anchor, off the Highlands, surrounded by large numbers of Indian canoes. The brave old navigator thought, as Columbus did, that he had reached the farther India, and that the "River of the Mountains," as he called it, came down from the heart of its golden regions.

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The early settlers had many difficulties with the Indians, owing chiefly to the avarice and injustice of the new-comers, and to the effect of the "fire-water." Treaties were made with them, at various times, only to be broken, on the first and slightest pretense. The Indians, not knowing how to read, depended upon the white men to make, declare, and explain the treaty. And then, when any difficulty arose, it depended upon the honor and honesty of the white men to make a fair case of it. Whatever may be said of the cruelty of th4e red men, their provocations were many and great. It

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Indians Paying Tribute

certainly was not necessary to rob them of their lands, as they were disposed to sell them very cheap. For seventy-five dollars--and that, perhaps, in rum and trinkets--they sold the whole Island of New York.

The old Dutchmen were shrewd in making bargains, but they were not very careful to keep on the right side of the Indians. They often provoked them to acts of violent retaliation, and then made war upon them, as if they had been first to offend. The Indians were noble-looking men, some of them, and worthy of a better fate. With all their fantastic costume, they do not appear to much disadvantage by the side of the Dutch governor and his council. If the Indians had been the artists in this case, they might, perhaps, have drawn a picture still more favorable to their ancestors. As it is, the history and the illustrations are all the work of the "pale faces;" and, bad as it appears for them, they have probably made out the best case they could.

My friend occupied me so long with these old matters, and entertained me so much by his enthusiasm and his anecdotes, that I did not move from the spot where we first met, where I shall now be obliged to leave you, having no more time at present.


UNCLE HIRAM'S PILGRIMAGE, by William C. Cutter (from Robert Merry's Museum, April 1858, pp. 117-118)

Well, Uncle, said Jessie, here we are, waiting to hear of your progress. If you stand so long at every corner, you will hardly live to see the end of Broadway.

I never expect to see the end of it, my dear; for it grows faster than I can travel. It now stretches miles away into the country. But, little by little, we will see what we can.

Frank. Is Broadway very wide?

No. There are many streets in the city wider than this. When it was first laid out, while the city was but little more than a village, and the houses were all low, it was considered very spacious. And so it was, for the use then required of it. But, at the present time, when most of the buildings, on both sides, are seven and eight stories high, and the street is the principal thoroughfare of a city of nearly a million of people, it is very inconveniently narrow.

To proceed-- My antiquarian friend was not disposed to drop the subject he had taken up with so much interest. He entertained me with the history of St. Paul's--of the Astor House, of the Museum--the Park Theater, and many other prominent objects in this vicinity. He walked with me some distance, and entertained me much by his remarks, and his enthusiasm in all matters relating to this "great city." While standing near the Astor House, he called my attention to the gates, at the southern extremity of the Park, opposite, and informed me that the balls on the top of the gate-posts were brought from the site of the ancient city of Troy. They are about fourteen inches in diameter, perfectly round, and apparently of brown granite, or sandstone. In what position they were found there, or what may have been their origin, or purpose, my friend could not inform me.

Harry. Perhaps they are some of the thunderbolts of old Jove, left on the battle-field.

Elsie. More likely they are the marbles used by the giants in their sports.

Whatever may have been their origin, or use, they now occupy a conspicuous place at the main entrance to the Park; while not one in ten thousand of those pass them daily knows anything of their history, or looks upon as any other than ordinary ornaments to a gate-post.

While talking of these matters, an amusing incident occurred, near by, which illustrates one of the innumerable phases of Broadway life. A hand-organ, with the usual accompaniment of a monkey, as a tax-gatherer, was grinding out its uncouth measures, opposite the door of a fashionable Hair Dressing Establishment; while the monkey, full of his pranks,

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was investigating every object of interest in the vicinity.

Presently the door opened, and a very genteel, carefully-dressed man, with gold spectacles and a gold-headed cane, came out. The monkey, who, just then, was amusing himself, by reaching through the meshes of a wire window-skreen, [sic] for pea-nuts, which the boys threw at him, mischievously seized the gold spectacles, and endeavored to escape with them. This proved a more difficult matter than he imagined, as they were hooked behind the ears of the wearer, who did not at all relish either the rude scratching of his ears, or this public derangement of his toilet. In the scuffle which ensued, the gentleman's highly polished hat fell to the pavement, and was trampled under foot by the crowd. His cravat was left in a state of unseemly disorder, and his temper was ruffled, like the sea in a storm, or a courtier in the time of Queen Bess. The monkey succeeded, at length, in getting possession of the spectacles, though in a damaged condition; and then, springing to the top of an awning-post, out of the reach of the enraged dandy, he coolly attempted to adjust them to his own ugly phiz. This was a difficult matter, as he did not understand how to make them hold on. Having made several unsuccessful attempts, during which the crowd shouted and cheered him on, he flung them down, and sprang across the awning, into one of the windows of the Astor House.

Frank. I thought these monkeys were always chained to the organ.

This one had been chained, but had got loose. It was some hours before he was caught, during which he led his pursuers in a chase all over the house.

Meanwhile, the discomfited exquisite had swallowed his rage, refitted his toilet, and gone on his way.


UNCLE HIRAM'S PILGRIMAGE, by William C. Cutter (from Robert Merry's Museum, May 1858, pp. 145-147)

Owing to the confusion of the monkey-chase and the uproar and fun it occasioned, my friend and I became parted, and as the quaint old Bunyan says, I addressed myself to my way.

Frank. What answer did you get, sir?

Oh! a very amusing one; at the same time, it was not agreeable. The crowd which had gathered to see the fun, or to learn what it was, attracted some of the New York highwaymen, the professed pick-pockets, who have acquired such adroitness in their craft, that they can take the watch out of a man's pocket, or the diamond-ring from his finger, without his knowing it. One of these commenced operations on a lady, who was uncomfortably squeezed in among the mass near me, and succeeded in getting her gold watch and chain, while she was most anxious about her laces and flowers. A policeman happened to be so near as to see the act, seized the robber, while his hand was yet in the lady's pocket, searching for her purse. The scamp immediately dropped the watch into my bosom, and cried, "Hands off! What are you about?" with sundry other angry exclamations, as if he felt himself grossly insulted, to be touched by a policeman. The officer kept his hold, however, while he thief continued to bluster and to protest his innocence. When asked for the watch, he knew nothing of it, and when I produced it, he turned on me like a savage, and said, "There's the thief!--let me alone!" The officer knew better, and calling some of his comrades, took him off to the Tombs, while I went on my way unmolested.

Jesse. Did not this incident detain you a long time?

Not more than five minutes; then the tide flowed on as quietly as before. A robbery, or a murder, in Broadway, is scarcely noticed, more than the dropping of a pebble into a stream, which makes a few ripples, and soon disappears.

Being a little fatigued with my adventure, I crossed over to the Park, and took a seat on one of the chains, by which the various grass sections are protected from intrusion. Here I had a fine view of the confluence of the two great thoroughfares of New York, Broadway and the Bowery, which last has an outlet here, through Chatham Street and Park Row. On the next page is a very good representation of the scene, as it now appears, so far as the buildings are concerned. The artist hs contrived to clear away a considerable number of trees from the lower end of the Park, and an immense number of carriages and foot passengers from the streets. I never saw those streets so deserted. Perhaps he took the likenesses of those only who were willing to pay for being made so conspicuous. Or, possibly, the handsome people stood still,

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Broadway & the Bowery

to be taken, while the rest ran away. On the right, you see a part of the Astor House. Next to that is St. Paul's Church, the steeple, which seems to be at the wrong end, lifting its slender spire above the hotel. The building in the center, which cuts off the train of wagons and carriages going down Broadway, is "The American Museum," where we made such a pleasant visit a short time since, and where we saw such a variety of rare and interesting curiosities.

Frank. What are all those flags for, Uncle?

A mere fancy of the manager, to attract attention, making the Museum more conspicuous, as far as it can be seen.

On the left is "Park Row." Park Theatre once occupied a conspicuous place there; but has given place to stores and warehouses, for a more useful, if not a more profitable, kind of business. If the gentleman and lady standing under the tree, by the gate, should turn to the left, and look straight through one of those buildings on Park Row, and through another, separated from it by a very narrow alley, they might see right into our sanctum, at 116 Nassau Street, and (if they have very good eyes, or a magic pair of spectacles) read what we are now writing about them.

Elsie. Oh, Uncle, wouldn't that be funny? But is your office so near the Great Museum?

You mean to ask, perhaps, if the American Museum is so near the Great Museum? Yes, close under our wing, which accounts for its great prosperity.

Frank. Pray, Uncle, are those balls you spoke of, at a former meeting, which came from the site of ancient Troy, on these gate-posts at this end of the Park? If so, they look much smaller than you represented them.

They are not there now, Frank. The old gates have been replaced with new and lighter ones, for which the Troy balls would be quite too large. I do not know where they are at the present time.

There are rail-tracks on Park Row, extending through Chatham Street and

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the Bowery, up the east side of the city, and connecting with the Harlem and New Haven Railroads. One of the cars is just on the start, as you see. If you want a ride, you must jump in quickly, or it will be off. But, as they go every three minutes, you can, if you please, wait till we finish our talk.

Elsie. Dear Uncle, I thought there was a fountain at this end of the Park. I do not see anything of it in this picture.

There is a fountain, or rather a basin, near this end of the Park, not embraced in this view. When it was first built, there was a constant display of its brilliant and beautiful jets, attracting large numbers of people, to pause as they passed, and keeping always fresh and green the trees, shrubs, and flowers on every side. But there is seldom any water in it now, the city fathers preferring to waste it in some other way. The flowers are all dead, the evergreens withered and brown, and even the grass gray, thirsty, and stinted, as if a blight had fallen on the place. This Park has nothing about it that is inviting or tasteful as a Park. But anything green, in the midst of so much brick and marble, is refreshing. As an open space, for the better circulation of air, it is of great value. Parks are sometimes called the lungs of a city. But if your lungs, or mine, were as uniformly choked with dust as the City Hall Park is, we should never breathe without coughing.

While I was sitting on the chain, amusing myself with the ever-shifting scene before me, an alarm of fire was sounded from the great bell on the City Hall. One, two, three, four, the deep, solemn tones rang out; and again, one, two, three, four, and so at intervals of a minute or two, for some time. Scarcely had the alarm been repeated twice, before the rumbling of engines and the shouts of the noisy firemen were heard. From different directions, they rushed along the streets, shouting, screaming, hallooing, like so many wild Indians--sometimes dashing on to the sidewalks, to avoid the crowd of carriages, and then sweeping on through the moving lines of omnibuses, as if they would tear up the very pavement in their fury and haste. The people generally paid no attention to the fire, or to the noise the firemen made about it. They went on their way with the same earnestness, or lounged on the corners with the same indifference, as before.

Frank. How did they know that their own houses might not be on fire?

Few of them would stop to think of that; and those who did, would know from the four strokes of the bell whether or not the fire was in their district. In New York, none but the firemen and the rowdies take any interest in a fire, unless their own property is in danger; and it is well they do not. If everybody should rush to the scene, as they do in small towns and villages, the crowd would be so great, the firemen could not do their duty, and every fire would be accompanied by a mob and a fight.


UNCLE HIRAM'S PILGRIMAGE, by William C. Cutter (from Robert Merry's Museum, June 1858, pp. 174-175)

Crossing over to the west side of Broadway, on leaving the Park, I re-commenced my pilgrimage. The street was very different, in some respects, from what you would find it if you should go there now. Many of the old buildings have been taken down, and new ones erected in their places. Pausing at the corner of Park Place, for instance, which is the second street from the Astor House, I had a very pleasant and refreshing view of the grounds and buildings of Columbia College, which are now displaced by a bustling street, and tall, bare marble or stone stores. This College was founded somewhat more than a century ago, and here have been educated many of the great men who have adorned the history of our country. The site which, when first occupied, was quite out of town, has been, for more than a quarter of a century, a sort of oasis in a wilderness of brick and mortar. Commerce crowded so hard upon it, that it not only ceased to be a suitable place for quiet study, but became too valuable to be held for such a purpose. So the inexorable street went through; the College and the "College Green" disappeared, and Mammon piled up in their places his palaces of trade.

As I looked down upon the spot, of which I had often heard, I recalled some incidents connected with the early history of the College, which had interested me much, as I heard them from the lips of one who witnessed and took part in them. The time was a few years after the Revolution, and embraced the period of the formation of our present government, and the inauguration of General Washington as its first President.

The characters were Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Knox, Morris, Marshall, Jay, Hamilton, Burr, John Randolph, of Roanoke, and many others of the same circle. They seemed, as by magic, to come up and pass before me. I had, as it were, known them as they looked and acted and talked on this spot. Their mental photographs had been taken for me, by my friend, and I had them here before me. I talked with them, and sought to protract their visit. But the vision soon passed. The place, the people, the customs were so changed, they did not feel at home. They looked sorrowfully on the extravagance and luxury of the times, and seemed to feel that all their labors and sacrifices would, after all, prove fruitless of any permanent good.

Elsie. Why, Uncle, you must have fallen asleep in the street, to have had such a dream as that!

No, no, my dear child. Nothing so "quick as thought." All this and more passed through my mind in the twinkling of an eye, conjured up by the simple association of the "College Green," with the stories I had heard from my old Dutch friend. There are waking as well as sleeping dreams, you know, and visions of things never

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seen or even visible. I did pause at the corner of the street. Very probably I put on a very grave face, as these thoughts came rushing upon me; but I kept my eyes open, and my mind busy, and was very soon on my way again up Broadway, and in very different company from that I had called around me at the corner.

Frank. Did you ever see any of the great men of your day-dream?

Of those whom I have mentioned, I have seen only one, and that the very one whom I should least care to see--Aaron Burr. He was a man to be despised for his character--for exalted talents prostituted to low and base ends--and to be feared and shunned for an influence as malignant as it was irresistible. He always appears to me, standing as he did in the midst of that constellation of great and good names, like another Lucifer among the morning stars. There have been many traitors, like Arnold, but few incarnate demons, like Burr. His example should be a beacon to warn all young men that the way of virtue is the only way to honor, and that the sure way to gain and keep the respect of others is, to respect themselves. This Burr never could have done. Born with the highest intellectual endowments, thrown into the society of the noblest and best race of men the world ever saw, with everything around and before him that could excite the loftiest ambition, he seems to have regarded himself as only the creature of passion--born to indulge, and not to aspire.

Frank. Did he not aspire to political honor and power?

Yes; and he might have attained it, if he had sought it openly and honorably. But, in that, as in everything else, he preferred the wrong to the right, the crooked to the straight.


UNCLE HIRAM'S PILGRIMAGE, by William C. Cutter (from Robert Merry's Museum, August 1858, pp. 54-55)

A pilgrim is supposed to attend to his own business, and not to be disposed to notice every odd thing that comes in his way. Thousands of people were constantly passing and repassing, of whom I took no note at all. Some were beggars, and some were peddlers of cigars, cakes, nuts, or matches. There was one very notable character, however, of whom I could not help taking notice. He has become one of the "institutions" of the Great Metropolis, and he forces himself upon the notice of every pil-

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grim, whether he will or not. Even the deaf can hardly avoid hearing him; and the blind, if they do not see him, must always know when he is near. He is called "the four-cent man." For some years he has made it his sole business to peddle paper and envelopes in the street, having but one price, four cents, for the wares he offers. From morning till night, day after day, in heat and cold, and in all weathers, he marches slowly along the sidewalk, with his samples well arranged before him, calling out, in a clear, distinct voice, with a full, slow utterance: "Twelve--sheets--of--writing paper--for four--cents." "Twenty-five--self-sealing--envelopes--for four--cents." "Twelve--sheets--of note paper--for four--cents." He speaks so loud and so distinct, that he can be heard in almost any room of the buildings, for some distance around, and no one finds any difficulty in understanding exactly what he has to sell, and how much he expects to get for it.

Ellen. How can he afford to sell so cheap, Uncle? We have to pay a cent apiece, when we buy envelopes.

There are two reasons why he sells so cheap, my dear. In the first place, he has no rent to pay, no clerks, no fire and lights. He does all his business in the street, and by daylight, and does it all himself. In the second place, he buys cheap, and sells large quantities. His business is very prosperous. He never varies his prices, and never loses anything by credit. His custom is all cash.

Kate. Are not the people of the city sometimes annoyed by these constant outcries in the streets? You know how the newsboys in Cincinnati disturbed us, as we were going to church, on Sunday.

Yes, they are, as a class, considered as a kind of nuisance. The Sunday papers are particularly so; and in some of the cities, they are not allowed thus to disturb the quiet of the holy day. The outcries would not be so annoying, if they were only intelligible. For the most part, you can not guess what they say, unless you have a chance to see what they have to sell. This "four-cent man" is teaching them a lesson, by which it is hoped they will profit. He ought to be regarded as one of the reformers of the day. When he is gone, they should erect a statue to his memory, at some prominent corner, to remind all peddlers, as they pass, of the value of plain dealing and plain speaking.

But there is, it seems, one objection to this plain-speaking four-cent man. His full clear voice and plain words command attention, and often as he passes, every one must hear. This sometimes disturbs the thoughts and interrupts the business of men who are easily distracted, and whose business requires very close and quite attention. In such cases, they have sometimes requested him to change his tone, or to remove to some other street, and have even paid him the amount of an ordinary day's earnings, to keep still for a day, while some important consultation was in progress. A very short time since, I noticed him, as if some new idea had seized him, moving quietly along, and saying, in a sort of undertone, which yet was very distinct and clear, "Envelopes and paper, selling off cheap." This he continued till 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and then took up his old strain, in the same clear, full voice, "Twelve--sheets--of writing paper--for four--cents." He had been hired to "spare the ears of the public" till that time, and he faithfully kept his part of the contract.


UNCLE HIRAM'S PILGRIMAGE, by William C. Cutter (from Robert Merry's Museum, September 1858, pp. 79-81)

In Broadway there are many things to puzzle a pilgrim. Where do so many people come from? Where are they going? How do they all get a living? and is it possible that they all find a home at night?

Look, now, at this poor, blind cripple, led by a child, and begging his way down, and then begging his way up; and then at these organ-grinders, rending the air with a kind of shrieking music, about as melodious and agreeable as that of a pig in the act of being stuck. Here, on the corner, is a shriveled-up old woman, somewhere between sixty and eighty years of age, who looks as if here life had been one long agony. She sits, from morning till night, day after day, on that same stone, with a small basket of peanuts, the whole value of which can not exceed fifty cents. Her gains, if she sell out her stock every day, can not be more than fifteen or twenty cents. God help her! I suppose she is more thankful for that than these fashionable ladies are for their silks and satins, and the fine carriage they ride in.

Just observe the carriages, as they pass, or stand in waiting by the sidewalk. Some of them are quite plain, but many of them are very stylish and showy, highly plated or gilded, with coachman and footman in gaudy liveries.

Some pilgrims would have paused in front of Stewart's great marble palace, and moralized an hour or so on fashion, extravagance, and the follies of the world in general. I looked at it, as I went by, with a feeling of admiration at its proportions, and of wonder at the enterprise and courage of its builder. I can not say, moreover, that I did not admire the fine equipages that stood all along the street in front of it, and the fine ladies, old and young, who were going in and out, in two ceaseless processions. There are worse ways of spending money than this, and there is something of human love and parental affection mingled with the pride, and something of refined taste, with the mere love of display, here exhibited. So I passed on, not quite sure, to say the least, that there was not a lurking emotion of envy even in my old heart, or at least an entire willingness, if I could have the chance, to ride in a carriage, and see my wife and daughters, and all my large family handsomely dressed. But I passed on, leaving the fashionable world to please itself in its own way, and the poor, miserable starving begging world to creep on as best it could. My sympathies, just then, were turned in a new direction. One of my fellow-travellers, who had never rode in a carriage in his life, slipped and fell on the pavement, and came so near being run over and crushed, that I could not hold back from trying to help him. He had two more legs than I had, but he could manage to stand, for all that, on the slippery pavement, and--

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Elsie. Oh! Uncle. It was a horse, wasn't it?

Yes, it was a horse, an omnibus horse--but a fellow-creature and a fellow-traveler, and I felt for him. But he was soon up, and on his way, and so was I. In a few minutes I found myself in front of the New York Hospital, a very plain substantial building, but, after all, much more to my taste than any of the marble palaces which commerce and pride have reared, above and below it, on the same great thoroughfare.

The Hospital stands back some hundred feet from Broadway, with an avenue, ninety feet wide, leading to it. It has ample ground for its accommodation, covering nearly an entire block. When it was erected, it was quite out of town; and those who selected the site, probably never thought of such a thing as the city overtaking it. It is now so far down, that both fashion and business have made prodigious strides beyond it. It is the general hospital of the city. It is liberally endowed, and embraces every provision for the best and most effective care of those who require its attention.

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The society for the erection of this Hospital was organized in 1771, and received its charter from the Earl of Dunmore, then Governor of the Province. Having received liberal aid from the Legislature, the building was commenced in 1773. In 1775, when nearly completed, it was destroyed by fire. further aid being promptly rendered by the Legislature, it was recommenced in less than a month. but the good work was again delayed, or for the time defeated, by the breaking out of the Revolutionary War. The city being in possession of the British, the Hospital was occupied as barracks for English and Hessian troop soldiers.

It was not until January, 1791, that the place was opened, under its own proper officers, for the reception of patients. From that time, it has gone steadily on in its work of mercy, relieving thousands of patients, and adding greatly to the comfort of numbers, whose cases were past all human relief.


UNCLE HIRAM'S PILGRIMAGE, by William C. Cutter (from Robert Merry's Museum, October 1858, pp. 118-119)

While I was inspecting the hospital, a friend, noticing the deep interest I felt in such institutions of mercy, called my attention to another, of a very different kind, which was situated not very far off. It was out of my track, somewhat, but, being an independent pilgrim, and warmly interested in every effort to reclaim the vicious and elevate the degraded, I was easily drawn aside to take a look at the Five Points' Mission House, and House of Industry.

About one minute's walk from roadway, that renowned thoroughfare of fashion, wealth, and commerce, brought us to this central point of squalid misery and sin, the most filthy and uninviting portion of the great city. An open space of about one acre, formed by the meeting of Little Water, Cross, Anthony, Orange, and Mulberry streets, is called, by way of derision, "Paradise Square." On one side of this open space once stood the "Old Brewery," known to fame as one of the most perfect illustrations of a hell one earth, which even the purlieus of a Sodom could furnish. This Brewery was erected in 1792, and was occupied in its appropriate vocation for about forty-five years. In 1837 it was rented out as a tenement house, or rookery. From this time it became a moral post-house, of the darkest and lowest description, and was marked by a shameless wickedness and misery which our young friends would find it difficult to conceive of. One portion of it was christened "The Den of Thieves," a name which would aptly characterize the whole building. Along one side of it ran a narrow, filthy path, scarcely three feet wide, known as "Murderer's Alley." Nothing can be imagined more offensive and disgusting than the condition and aspect of the whole place, as it was eight years ago. Every room, every corner was reeking with filth, crime, and wretchedness. a mission to such a spot would seem more hopeless than to the darkest region of heathendom. But no place is too dark for the light of the Gospel to penetrate, or too desperate for the power of the Gospel to transform.

The spot where that "Old Brewery" stood is now covered by a handsome, substantial building, called the Five Points' Mission House. If it be a triumph of Christianity to convert a theater into a church, what shall we say of such a transformation as this?

"It was the very nest of crime. The worst passions which deform our common human nature had their sowing time and their fruit season there. Young children were there immolated to Moloch, and men and women of ripe years were transplanted thence, to bloom upon the gallows. The foulest

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crimes were hatched, fostered, and developed there. There was the home of the assassin, the thief, and the prostitute. Up those curious stairs, and along those winding passages, through nests of chambers, ingeniously contrived to prevent the escape of the victim, or elude the search of his friends, has been borne many an unhappy wretch, who will never be heard of till the morning of the resurrection. The Old Brewery was, at one period of its history, not excelled by any haunt in London or Paris, as the lazar-house and infectious center of crime.

"But where it once stood, a church has been erected, with a house for the preacher, school-rooms for the ignorant, bath-rooms for the dirty, and tenements, clean, wholesome, and inviting, for the homeless."

On the opposite side of the square stands the Five Points' House of Industry, a large, handsome, convenient structure, which has sprung out of the same spirit of Christian enterprise and active humanity which conceived and completed the Mission House. The latter is more strictly a religious institution, but nevertheless cares for the body as well as for the soul. The former is, in its inception and design, an industrial and reformatory enterprise, but does not, by any means, neglect the interests of the immortal soul, nor give them a secondary place. Mr. Pease, to whom the great work of originating and accomplishing the mission is mainly to be ascribed, is the head and front of this also. In connection with the House of Industry in this city, he has a farm in Westchester County, where he resides, and where he has a large number of children who have been snatched from the very jaws of pollution and death, and placed under the most wholesome training for usefulness and happiness.

At some other time, I will tell you more about this farm, and the good it has done.


UNCLE HIRAM'S PILGRIMAGE, by William C. Cutter (from Robert Merry's Museum, November 1858, p. 150)

Again on the great thoroughfare. How full of life, bustle, and show! But I heed not the bustle and show. I look only for the life, for that which I have just seen is so far exalted above bustle and show, that they seem more hollow and meaningless than ever.

Here now is an object which touches the same chord. It seems to have strayed away from the region I have just left, and to be out of place in any part of Broadway. But such is life, abounding in the strongest contrasts--the bright and the dark, the sad and the joyous, the happy and the wretched, side by side, jostling each other, and sometimes mysteriously changing places. Look at this poor cripple. His lower limbs are entirely paralyzed and useless. He can not walk a step, nor stand, nor even move his legs in any way, without the aid of his hands. He is sadly deformed in his back, and his neck is so twisted, that his chin rests on his left shoulder. Can you imagine a more pitiable object? And do not your young hearts thrill with gratitude to Him who has made you to differ, as you walk by, erect, and in full health and vigor? But he is not unhappy, for he, too, is grateful. Pushed helplessly about in his little wagon, he finds sunlight in human smiles, and absolute happiness in feeling that God is his Father, and will yet make him whole. He knows that, when he gets home, he will be as erect and vigorous as any of the children of the Father's great family. What a contrast! With scarcely one of all the blessings which constitute our life and happiness, he is contented, grateful, happy--while with all these gifts lavished upon, and preserved to us from year to year, we fret, pine, and murmur, as if God were not only unkind, but unjust.

Well, dear children, it makes me happy and thankful to know that you do not feel so now--that you value your blessings, and pity those who can not enjoy the same. Cherish this feeling. Let it take deep root in your hearts, or it will gradually die out, and leave you as insensible as marble.

But, what have we here? a new aspect of life, a new phase of humanity. A young man stands on the edge of the sidewalk, and holds up a pack of plain cards, quietly calling the attention of the passers to "something curious." One stops to see what it is, then another, till he has quite an audience. He then shuffles his cards, which were all white on the back, at first, and in a moment they appear spotted with blue stars. He takes great pains to show you, in the first place, that the cards are all blank. Then, with a great show of words, which mean nothing, and a look as if he expected everybody to be astonished, he shows up, first a set of blue stars, then red stars, then black ones, till somebody is astonished, and asks him what he will take for the secret. The price is ridiculously small for the power to perform a miracle. It is soon paid, and the purchaser, grown wondrous who by the revelation then made to him, pockets his cards, and goes off to see whom he can dupe in the same way.

Frank.--Why, Uncle, how does he manage to make these changes?

I did not think the secret worth a shilling, and therefore I was not initiated, so that I can not explain it to you. But if there was any real mystery in it, he would not sell it so cheap.


UNCLE HIRAM'S PILGRIMAGE, by William C. Cutter (from Robert Merry's Museum, December 1858, pp. 178-179)

The pilgrim who walks with his eyes open, is continually meeting with sights that are strange and unexpected. Many are very disagreeable, and disagreeable in that way that we feel, as we pass them, that it must be as painful for those who exhibit them to be seen in such a throng, as it is to us to see them. It is difficult to understand how poverty in rags should feel any satisfaction in showing itself by the side of heartless and ostentatious wealth. And yet in Broadway, as in many other of the great panoramas of life, they jostle each other at every turn. It may be, and probably is, a feeling of selfish pride on our part, that we think it would be more becoming and natural for the very poor and ill clad to choose some more quite walk, when they would be less exposed to observation and to painful contrast. But there is no accounting for tastes. They evidently think they have as good a right to exhibit their ugliness in broad daylight as the more favored have to show off their splendor and magnificence. And so you meet them in all the ingenious deformities of real or feigned distress, all the darker and more urgent in its appeals, as well as the more disgusting, for the violent contrasts it presents.

Look here, now. You have read of Esquimaux dog-teams traveling with velocity over the snow of the Arctic regions. But here is a dog-team in Broadway, and it would seem, too, an Esquimaux squaw to claim and guide it as her own. Who would suppose such a team would ever be seen in Broadway, or find anything to do there! But here you meet them daily, crowding their way through the interminable sea of carriages, omnibuses, carts, wagons, drays, and vehicles of every name, and often, it would seem, at the imminent hazard

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of being crushed between them. The Esquimaux dog-teams are only driven on the snow, and generally consist of ten or twelve dogs harnessed together in pairs. The New York dog-teams are not quite so extensive or fanciful; they are a sort of mongrel between these and the Mexican or South American, where we often see a pair of mules at the pole, with an ox or a bull for a leader, and sometimes, even, a mule and an ox side by side. The New York team is generally a small hand-cart, with two dogs harnessed to the axletree or the shafts, a man, a woman, or a boy leading off. Sometimes there are three or four dogs, some attached to the axletree and some to the shafts. The harness is of the most motley character, made up of leather straps, strings of every color, bits of cloth, and sometimes of small chains. The dogs are trained, and always look as if they had seen hard service in the training, and lost all the natural life and frolic of a dog. They plod along moodily, their heads down, and their tongues hanging out, paying no attention to anything by the way, and seeming to be burdened with the care of some great business. They often look as if they felt that they were in the wrong place, and greatly abused. I remember seeing one team dragging heavily along with an overloaded cart, and a master, much more of a brute than his dogs, who looked as if on the verge of going mad--not with ordinary canine madness, but with loss of that reason and instinct which make the dog the friend and faithful servant of man. You can see something of the same expression in this team. How unlike the same animals racing about the fields, or even tamely following a master in the street! How unlike the free and spirited action of the Esquimaux team! The dog was not made to draw heavy burdens; his feet are not formed for such service, nor his limbs adapted to the required strain. Even the Esquimaux dog is often used up by this unnatural labor, becomes insane, rushes hither and thither, howling in his restless agony, and dies in convulsions.

The New York dogs suffer apparently in the same way, although I have never heard of any of them dying as the Arctic dogs do. They draw at a great disadvantage, being so much below the cart that their efforts to pull have the effect to increase the weight they are drawing. Whenever the cart stops, they lie down in their tracks and sheep, or watch tremblingly the motions of their master, as if expecting a lash or a kick to accompany the call for a new start. These dogs are well fed, however, and always seem to be plump and in good order. It is difficult to see how they can be made profitable; it must cost as much to board them as to feed a child. But, as I have said, there is no accounting for tastes, and one half the world has no idea how the other half lives.

Harry. What business are these dog-drivers engaged in?

They follow quite a variety of businesses. Some of them are rag-pickers, scouring the streets, and gathering up paper and rags, which they sell to the paper-makers. Some pick up or buy old iron, which they sell to the founders; others gather bits of rope, twine, and a great variety of other matters, for the junk-shops; and they are all in the way of finding whatever valuable things are lost in the streets. Some of them have amassed money by their occupation, and own large houses in the city.

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