11 / 22/ 97


Once a month (approximately) we're going to take a look at New York, the state and the city, tracing their growth from the early days of the Republic. Let's look at the year 1784. The Treaty of Paris has been signed, in September of the previous year. Washington has disbanded his Army, the British have evacuated Manhattan. It's time to attempt a return to normal life.

Most of the state's population is settled along the Hudson River between New York and Albany, in towns such as Kingston and Poughkeepsie. The Six Nations of the Iroquois have signed the Second Treaty of Fort Stanwyx in October, surrendering all claims to the Northwest territory, west of the Niagara River. Veterans of Sullivan's campaigns which introduced them to the rich agricultural possibilities of central and western New York, have faraway looks in their eyes. They will soon have a crack at some of this now-empty land, as recompense for their recent services. Sadly for them, many of these military grants will end up in the hands of the speculators. Hard cash is difficult for a veteran to come by.

Up and down the Hudson corridor things are pretty quiet. Albany's Lutheran Church is reorganized. Colonial government records, moved upriver to Poughkeepsie for safekeeping during the recent war, are loaded aboard ship and sent back to New York City, which has just been designated as the new state capital.

Life in Manhattan picks up its pace a bit, now. After legislators get settled into their new home they turn to education, founding the University of the State of New York. They also discuss a plan of Christopher Colles to improve navigation on the Mohawk River. Nothing results. This is the state legislature.

The focus of the city government returns to peaceful concerns. The office of mayor, an appointive, one-year position, is filled by lawyer James Duane, newly retired from Congress. He will be reappointed for the next four terms. In mid-March the Bank of New York is organized, opening for business early in June. And on October 5th, Dr. John Henry Livingston is appointed professor of theology by the Dutch Reformed Church Synod, establishing the first theological seminary in America.

No longer do the masts of warships dominate the port of New York. Commercial activity begins returning. Immigration from Europe gets under way again. On February 22nd the Empress of China sails with a cargo of ginseng, seeking to open trade with China. The cargo will sell there for $230,727. And in March, a young trader arrives from Germany. His stock consists of seven flutes. He will soon be dealing in more than wind instruments. His name is John Jacob Astor.

For Classical ninety-one five, this is David Minor.


© 1997 David Minor / Eagles Byte