Le 21 mars 2017, 08:48 dans Humeurs • 0
rose the sun the next morning, shooting his long rays over level Long Island, spanning the East River and touching with rosy light the hill on which Captain Boniface had built his comfortable home. What a wonderful tale, provided his memory is good and his eyesight strong, this same old sun could tell, particularly if he had the moon to help him, for, whether shining brightly, or peering through mists of heavy clouds, between them they have seen most of this world’s doings. One thing is certain, however change, change, change would be the theme of all their story. Old ocean alone remains always the same; for even the “everlasting hills” may be pierced by boring tunnels and disfigured by the shafts and engines of unsightly mines. And this that is true of the whole world is true of every inhabited corner of it, and doubly true of that particular corner where we find New York mapped out to-day. Row upon row of dwellings—mansion and hut crowding close upon one another; mile after mile of stores, warehouses, and every conceivable sort of structure, and yet only a hundred years, and lo! there was none of it.
Do you chance to know where St. Paul’s Church stands on Broadway, on the block bounded by Fulton and Vesey streets? Then let me tell you that no longer ago than 1784 St. Paul’s was on the very outskirts of the city. Just above it were two fine dwellings, which now form part of the Astor House, and a little farther on a highway leading to the right bore the weather-beaten sign, “The Road to Boston,” and another turning to the left, “The Road to Albany,” and Hazel’s home was a mile or more out on this Albany road. Beyond were only open fields, with here and there a farm-dwelling or country homestead, and an occasional “mead-house” or “tea-garden,” for the refreshment of jaded travellers, or pleasure-seeking parties from the town. Nearly on the site of the present City Hall stood the almshouse, and in close proximity the jail, while sandwiched in between them were the gallows, not exactly affording what might be called a cheery outlook to the poor unfortunates obliged to seek such food and shelter as the almshouse offered. These gallows were enclosed in a building shaped like a Chinese summer-house, and painted in all the colors of the rainbow, as though trying thereby to overcome any mournful associations which the place might otherwise possess. A platform within this remarkable building supported various contrivances for conveniently “dropping malefactors into eternity.” while a row of hooks and halters adorned the ceiling, so that at least half a dozen offenders might be dispatched by the same method at one and the same moment.
Wall Street, in 1783, was a street of residences. Here was the bachelor homestead of Daniel McCormick, upon whose stoop, on a mild and pleasant afternoon, you were likely to find a goodly little company of cronies and toadies, each and all of whom made it a point never to refuse an invitation to remain to dinner and enjoy his excellent pot-luck.