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Title: Satan's Invisible World Displayed or, Despairing Democracy - A Study of Greater New York
Author: Stead, W. T. (William Thomas), 1849-1912
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: THE CITY HALL, NEW YORK.]

  OR, Despairing Democracy.



  “Inasmuch as no government can endure in which corrupt
  greed not only makes the laws but decides who shall
  construe them, many of our best citizens are beginning
  to despair of the Republic.”--EX-GOVERNOR ALTGELD,
  _Labour Day_, 1897.

  The “Review of Reviews” Annual, 1898.





For the past four years I have devoted the ANNUAL of the REVIEW OF REVIEWS
to a romance based upon the leading social or political event of the year.
This year I intermit the publication of the Series of Contemporary History
in Fiction in order to publish a study of the most interesting and
significant of all the political and municipal problems of our time. To
those who may object to the substitution of a companion volume to my
Chicago book for their usual annual quantum of political romance, I reply,
first, that “changes are lightsome” and a novelty is attractive, and,
secondly, that nothing that the wildest imagination of the romance-writer
could conceive exceeds in startling and sensational horror the grim
outline of the facts which are set forth in this survey of that section of
“Satan’s Invisible World” which was brought to light by the Lexow

The trite old saying that “Truth is stranger than Fiction” has seldom been
better exemplified than in the story of the way in which the Second City
in the World has been governed, unless it be in the consequences of the
resulting despair. For if the revelations made before the Lexow Committee
are almost incredible, the deliberate decision of the ablest and most
public-spirited Americans that there is no way of escape save by the
hamstrung Cæsarism of the Charter of Greater New York is still more
marvellous as a confession of the shipwreck of faith. Sin, when it has
conceived, bringeth forth Death, and the corruption that rotted the
administration previous to 1894 has only brought forth its natural fruit
in the adoption of a bastard Bonapartism of the Second Empire as the best
government for the First City in the American Republic.

The election of the first Mayor for Greater New York, which is progressing
while these pages are being written, gives a special actuality and
interest to this study. But its permanent value does not depend upon the
issue of the _plébiscite_ which has decided who will sway the destinies of
the Second City of the World at the eve and on the dawn of the Twentieth

It will, I hope, render available to the whole English-speaking world the
gist and essence of the evidence taken before the Committee appointed by
the Senate of the State of New York to inquire into the Police Department
of the City. This Committee, presided over by Senator Lexow, held seventy
sittings in the year 1894, and ultimately published the Report of their
inquiry in five stout octavo volumes of 1100 pages each. All their
proceedings were public, and the New York papers published ample reports
from day to day. Outside New York nothing but brief telegrams or
occasional letters informed the world of what was taking place, and the
final Report was never published in the British or Colonial press. Yet the
lesson of the state of things revealed by the Lexow Committee was one
which every great city would do well to take to heart. What New York was,
London, Glasgow, or Melbourne may--nay, will certainly--become, if the
citizens lose interest in the good government of their city.

When I was in New York in September, I tried in vain to purchase a copy of
the Lexow Report. As for exhuming the files of the daily papers, one might
as well try to resurrect Cheops. Fortunately, just as I was stepping on
board the _Teutonic_, the five bulky volumes were handed over to me as a
loan. Dr. Shaw had at the last moment succeeded in borrowing the office
copy of the Report from the Society for the Prevention of Crime. It was
apparently the only available set in the whole city. I deemed it well
therefore to master the voluminous evidence in order to construct a
readable and authentic narrative which would make this great object-lesson
accessible to the world.


      _November, 1897._



  FRONTISPIECE: THE CITY HALL, NEW YORK                        2

  PREFACE                                                      5



     I. LIBERTY ENLIGHTENING THE WORLD                         9

    II. THE SECOND CITY IN THE WORLD                          17

   III. ST. TAMMANY AND THE DEVIL                             27

    IV. THE LEXOW SEARCHLIGHT                                 43


     I. THE POLICE BANDITS OF NEW YORK                        57




     V. “THE STRANGER WITHIN THE GATES”                       87

    VI. THE SLAUGHTER-HOUSES OF THE POLICE                    95

   VII. KING MCNALLY AND HIS POLICE                          107


    IX. FARMERS-GENERAL OF THE WAGES OF SIN                  125

     X. “ALL SORTS AND CONDITIONS OF MEN”                    135

    XI. BELIAL ON THE JUDGMENT SEAT                          145

   XII. THE WORST TREASON OF ALL                             151


     I. DESPAIRING DEMOCRACY                                 159

    II. THE TSAR-MAYOR                                       165

   III. THE CHARTER OF GREATER NEW YORK                      171

    IV. GOVERNMENT BY NEWSPAPER                              179

     V. WHY NOT TRY THE INQUISITION?                         189

    VI. THE PLEBISCITE FOR A CÆSAR                           197

   VII. THE FIRST MAYOR OF GREATER NEW YORK                  211

  APPENDIX                                                   214

  INDEX                                                      217







The entrance to the harbour of New York is not unworthy its position as
the gateway--the ever open gateway--of the New World.

And the colossal monument raised by the genius of Bartholdi at the
threshold of the gateway is no inapt emblem of the sentiments with which
millions have hailed the sight of the American continent.

The harbour, though guarded by great guns against hostile intruder, and
infested by the myrmidons of the Customs, is nevertheless an appropriate
antechamber of the Republic, from whose never-dying torch stream the rays
of Liberty enlightening the world.

Over the great lagoon-like waters flit the white-winged yachts--the
butterflies of the sea--dancing in the rays of the rising sun. On shore
the luxuriant foliage of the trees betrays but here and there the hectic
flush that portends the glories of the Indian summer. The islands, as
emeralds in the setting of the sea, are a doubly welcome sight to eyes
which for days past have seen nothing but the heaving billows of the broad
Atlantic. Here and there, flecking with colour the sunlit scene, flutter
the Stars and Stripes. Far away in the West, faintly audible in the
distance, come the multitudinous sounds of the awakening seaport. The
great Liner, which shuddered and throbbed for three thousand miles as it
forged five hundred miles a day across the sea, is gliding smoothly and
softly as a gondola towards the Venice of the Western World. Except when
approaching the Golden Horn, no more beautiful scene greets the traveller
on approaching a great capital than that presented by the entrance to the
harbour of New York. And right in the centre of the fair vision stands the
Bartholdi monument, with its gigantic figure hailing the pilgrims from the
Older World with the glad welcome of the New. What more appropriate
janitress of the Land of Liberty?

The cynic may sneer that the analogy between the City of the Great
Assassin and the City of the Boss extends further than the sea-gate to the
city. But to the millions whose eyes have rested hungrily upon the nearing
land such reflections are unknown. To them the New World, of which New
York holds the keys, has ever been arrayed in the rainbow garment of Hope.
New York, merely as the portal of the continent, had long been to them as
a kind of New Jerusalem, let down from Heaven in mercy to hard-driven,
hopeless men. From their earliest childhood they had heard of the great
Commonwealth beyond the sea, where the blood-tax of the conscription was
unknown, where all men were free and all men were equal, and where, in
solid, unmistakable reality, the dreams of the poets were found embodied
in a Constitution that was at once the envy and despair of the world:--

  There’s freedom at thy gates and rest
  For earth’s downtrodden and oppressed;
  A shelter for the hunted head,
  For the starved labourer toil and bread;
  Power at thy bounds
  Stops, and calls back his baffled hounds.

What wonder that the storm-tossed emigrant, as he first saw the city of
New York glimmering through the haze, felt the magic charm with which the
tribes of Israel first gazed upon the confines of the Promised Land.

To the great mass of the English, Scottish, and Irish people--as
distinguished from the travelled and more or less cultured minority--the
United States has for a hundred years been the land of their ideal, often
dearer to them than their own. A very large section, possibly a majority,
of our race has ever been more in sympathy with the people that was
believed to have sprung from the loins of the men of the _Mayflower_ than
with the nation which recalled Charles the Second and still tolerates the
ascendency of the Establishment and the dominance of the landed
aristocracy. It is quite recently that this enthusiastic devotion to the
American Commonwealth has been somewhat dashed in Great Britain. It still
exists in full force across the Irish Channel. To the Irishman the United
States is much more of a fatherland than the British Empire. We are,
indeed, but a step-motherland to the Irishman, whereas in the United
States he is not merely at home, but in most of the cities he is at the
head of the household. But forty, thirty, and even twenty years ago it was
practically the accepted creed of the English Radical that America led
the van, and whenever he was downcast and dispirited by the temporary
triumph of the Tories, he found consolation in the reflection that in the
great Republic beyond the Atlantic a new and vigorous race was carrying
out his ideals, free from the hateful clog of the hidebound Conservatism
of the Old Country. No one can read the speeches of Bright and Cobden
without feeling that it was on the Hudson and the Mississippi they found
their spiritual fatherland, and the generation that sat at their feet
learned from them to regard America much as Walt Whitman painted it in his
swinging dithyrambs in praise of “Liberty’s Nation.” We all more or less
were brought up to exult in the belief that--

  America is the continent of the Glories, and of the triumph of Freedom,
  And of the Democracies, and of the fruits of Society, and of all that
        is begun.

Hence nothing more extravagant can be said in praise of New York Harbour
than that even to those nurtured on such pabulum it is no unworthy
approach to the sea-gate of a new and better world.

Nor is it only the outside of the harbour that is most impressive. The
Hudson--that stately river compared with which the Rhine is but a muddy
creek, and the Thames a sluggish rivulet--is not less worthy of its _rôle_
as the throne of the great city. It is impossible to exaggerate the
impression which the Hudson at night must produce on the peasant from the
Carpathians or the labourer from Connemara. Even to those who have more
travelled eyes, and are not unfamiliar with seagirt citadels, the
spectacle is superb. Never shall I forget my first impression of the
mighty river.

It seemed as if I had strayed to the entrance of faerie-land, or that,
unawares, I had been transported to the sea-gate of some enchanted city.
Midnight was near. In the sky overhead the stars gleamed, but they were
faint and speck-like, for the moon was shining unveiled by cloud. But it
was neither the lapping of the rippling water nor the silver sheen of the
moonlight on the wave that gave the scene its fascination of wonder. These
things are the universal poetry of Nature--the music of the waves and the
magic of the moon. And there is no speech or language where their voice is
not heard. But here there was something more. For on either side of the
expanse of water rose high banks of irregular outline, from whose rugged
shadows gleamed the lights as of a myriad eyes:--

  Behold the enchanted towers of Carbonek,
  A castle like a rock upon a rock,
  With chasm-like portals open to the sea,
  And steps that met the breaker.

Up and down either side, as far as you could see, until the dark outlines
merged in the distant horizon, these innumerable eyes looked out over
the water. Sometimes they winked, and now and then one or another would
close. It was as if each bank were guarded by some vast monster with a
thousand times the eyes of him who watched the treasure of the Golden

[Illustration: THE OCEAN GATE OF THE NEW WORLD. A Misty Morning in New

And behind the basilisk of the shore there rose, tier upon tier, the
buildings of the city, in which dwelt millions and millions of the
children of men. Palaces and temples, brightly outlined in light or
towering dark against the luminous haze behind, pierced the sky-line.
Amidst the vast confusion two lofty eminences stood out conspicuous,
dominating the whole. One was a crown-like dome, poised in mid-air,
shining resplendent with jewels of electric light; the other a lofty tower
girdled with a blazing zone of fire. Stars of flame shone on its summit,
while ever and anon a beam of white light, quick and piercing as a
two-edged sword, flashed like the brand of an archangel over the shadowy
city. And it was as it was written of old time, when our first parents,
after being cast out of Eden, looked back and saw “a flaming sword turning
every way to keep the way of the tree of life.” The sword was not of fire,
but of pure white light. Above and below it made darkness visibly black,
but revealed with startling distinctness everything on which it fell.

That was but the background, the framework of the picture. For the great
scene was on the water. Never until at Spithead this midsummer, when six
square miles of the Solent crowded with the warships of the world burst at
a signal into a glittering wilderness of lights, had I ever seen anything
to compare to the Hudson at midnight. In Paris on the night of the fête of
the Republic in Exhibition year, when the Seine was crowded with steamers,
all illuminated and decorated from stem to stern, there was something like
this. But the Seine was but a skein of silk stretched across the city; the
water was hidden by the craft. Here the whole expanse of waterway exceeded
even that of the Neva at St. Petersburg; and, although full of life and
colour and sound, was nowhere crowded.

Imagine a great arm of the sea across which, between the two shores, were
swiftly, ceaselessly gliding like silent faerie shuttles in some
enchanter’s loom huge floating palaces, radiant from end to end with
innumerable lights. They moved with such strenuous rapidity that the
waters foamed beneath their keel, and the anchored vessels seemed to fly
past as we left them behind. No great galleon of Spain illuminated in
honour of her patron saint ever shone more resplendent, and none ever
moved with half the fierce, resistless rush of these monsters of the
river. No sails had they or visible means of propulsion, they sped as if
thought-impelled. Seldom had I seen anything more weirdly beautiful, or
more calculated to impress the imagination.

Now and then a smaller palace would float down the stream, reviving, I
know not how, strange reminiscences of the great State barges in which the
Rinaldos of mediæval romance would be rowed to some high festival in
Armida’s garden. Two starry lights overhead, as at the masthead--though
masts there were none--dimly revealed the contour below, where the light
streaming from serried windows produced a curious effect, as if banks of
illuminated oars were speeding the galley on her way. And then again,
silent and slow, with but one light burning at her prow, a sombre
melancholy scow would drift across the moonlit waters--like

                  the barge
  Whereon the lily maid of Astolat
  Lay smiling like a star on darkest night.

On sea and on shore it was one perpetual feast of lanterns. Mingled with
the golden and silver rays of the electric lights there shone everywhere
lamps of ruby and of amethyst and of emerald, glowing like jewels of
intense colour, set in a tiara of diamonds and pearls.

And to add to the weirdness and mystery of the scene, ever and again there
would rise from the waters a strange melodious murmur, increasing in
intensity to a wail, which would continue a minute and then die away as it
arose. It was like the plaintive lowing of sea-monsters for their lost or
wandering calves. Otherwise all was still, save the lapping of the waves
on the shore.

“And behold I saw,” said the seer of the Apocalypse, “as if it were a sea
of glass mingled with fire. And lo----”

It was New York seen from a New Jersey ferry-boat on the Hudson, plying
between 23rd Street and the Pennsylvania railway. Could there be a more
sudden descent from the poetry of faerie-land to the vulgar prose of a
work-a-day world? The light-crowned dome was the office of the _World_
newspaper, the flashing beam from the tower the advertisement of a dry
goods store from Chicago. Yet, nevertheless, the effect of the reality, as
it may be seen every fine night, far exceeds my poor description. To those
who have eyes to see it is one of the most wonderful and beautiful and
suggestive of scenes.

Such then is the outward and visible aspect of the Empire City, a city
which from its situation is beautiful exceedingly, and which until quite
recently was regarded as the joy of the whole earth, and which still does
honour to the statue of such a martyr of Liberty as Nathan Hale. How it
has come to pass that the mighty has fallen, and the city which was once a
name at the sound of which men renewed their hope and faith in the
progress of the world, has become a byword, a hissing and reproach, it
will be the object of this volume to explain. It is a subject in which we
of the Old World have weighty reason to be interested. For we have
suffered a severe blow and a grievous discouragement in the betrayal of
the cause of Liberty in the very vestibule and entrance chamber of the
Republic. For all round the world the shame of New York darkens the sombre
shade which encompasses the oppressed and gladdens with evil joy the heart
of the oppressor.

[Illustration: STATUE OF NATHAN HALE. City Hall Park, New York.]

Office, Broadway.]



A pandemonium of type-writing machines--of gigantic type-writing machines
driven by demons who never tire--in some vast hall of Eblis. The clank of
the type, the swish of the machine, the quick nervous ring of the bell,
all indefinitely multiplied and magnified, fill the vast space with a
reverberating clangour. This clangour continuously increases until its
very vibrations seem to become clotted and fill the air with a sound that
can be felt in every pore. It is like the pressure of an atmosphere so
dense you can almost cut it with a knife, an atmosphere that is never
still, but perpetually frets, and moans, and snarls with feverish unrest.

How many machines there must be to crowd the air with this million times
multiplied misery of click and clang--ring-ring--ring-ring--and clang and
click, that never stops, but rises and falls, rhythmless and rude, like
the waves of a choppy sea on a rocky beach! Now and again through the
infernal hubbub there pierces a dreadful wail,

  As it were, one voice in agony
  Of lamentation, like a wind that shrills
  All night in a waste land, where no one comes
  Or hath come since the making of the world.

How hot the air is! a temperature of the antechamber of Tophet. As the
perspiration bursts in great beads of moisture from your brow, you hear
the faint hum of circling wings, faint at first, but ever growing shriller
and more acute--hiss, zip--as the invisible fiend circles round his
prostrate victim. Hiss, zip, nearer, louder than before, audible clearly
even above the metallic storm of the type-writing machines. And as the
mosquito settles on your ear, you awake with a start and suddenly realise
where you are.

You are not in even the outermost circles of Dante’s “Inferno.” You are
trying to sleep in the heart of Central New York, in the midst of all the
thunder and the rush and the roar of her million-crowded streets, along
which surges as a restless tide the turbid and foaming flood of city life.
The bells of the tramcars continually sounding, the weariless trampling of
the ironshod hoofs over granite roadway, the whirling rumble of the
wheels, the roar of the trains which on the elevated railways radiate
uproar from a kind of infernal firmament on high, all suffused and
submerged in the murmurous hum that rises unceasing from the hurrying
footsteps in the crowded street, that inarticulate voice of New York--

  Sad as the wail that from the populous earth
  All day and night to high Olympus soars.

And that dreadful shriek is the farewell of an Ocean liner sounding a
sonorous note with stentorian lungs as it quits the wharf.

There is nothing like it in London. Chicago, with all its bustle, has
nothing to compare to this harsh metallic clangour of struggle and
strife--although there the mournful death-tolling bell on the locomotives
which thread the streets supplies a note of pathos and of awe that is
missing in the racket and roar of New York.

One grows used to it in time, just as after a few days you become used to
the thrust and swirl of the screw which drives the liner across the sea.
The great ship vibrates in every nerve of steel, and the state-room throbs
with the thud of the engines. So the great city pulses with strenuous
power, and in the multitudinous uproar of its streets we hear the sound of
the friction of the two-million manpower engine which has made even Lesser
New York one of the greatest driving forces of the American Republic.

It is a dynamo of the first order. And like the dynamo it is instinct with
magnetic power. All great cities are great magnets, and New York is the
greatest--but one--in the world.

The figures of the portentous growth of cities in our epoch recall the
familiar story in the “Arabian Nights Entertainments” of the vessel which,
sailing too near the Loadstone Mountain, was whelmed into sudden
destruction. For the attraction of the loadstone was such that all the
iron nails in the vessel were drawn out of their fastenings, and the
timbers that were once a ship became mere flotsam and jetsam on the water.
It is a wild and romantic fable in the mouth of the Princess Scheherazade;
but it is grim reality in the world to-day. For the great city is to the
rural population exactly what the Arabian loadstone mountain was to the
heedless sailor who came within the range of its fascination. All the iron
in the rural ship of State is attracted to the mighty Babylon. The men
with iron in their blood, the girls whose pulses leap and tingle with the
eager flush of adventure and ambition, desert the village and the farm to
crowd the roaring mart and glaring street. The country is denuded of its
most vigorous children. The city engulfs into its insatiate maw all those
the brightest, the bravest, and the best.

The process goes on at an ever accelerating ratio. As Mr. Godkin has well

    Parks and gardens, cheap concerts, free museums and art galleries,
    cheap means of conveyance, model lodging-houses, rich charities, such
    as every city is now offering in abundance to all comers, are so many
    inducements to country poor to try their luck in the streets. They are
    the exact equivalents, as an invitation to the lazy and the
    pleasure-loving, of the Roman circus and free flour which we all use
    in explanation of the decline and fall of the Empire. They are
    luxuries which seem to be within every man’s reach gratis, and they
    act with tremendous force on the rural imagination.--_North American
    Review_, June, 1890.

The percentage of urban to the total population of the United States,
defining as urban all dwellers in cities of more than 8,000 population,
was 3·35 in 1790. Forty years later it had doubled. But in 1860 it was
16·13, and in 1890, 29·12. But the growth of the cities which alone
deserve the name of great has been still more phenomenal. In 1840--not
sixty years ago--the ten greatest cities of America contained a total
population of 711,652. To-day Brooklyn alone, which has been merged as a
kind of suburb in Greater New York, has a population of a million, while
the ten great cities, to be hereafter known as the Great Ten--New York,
Chicago, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, St. Louis, Boston, Baltimore, San
Francisco, Cincinnati, and Cleveland--had in 1890 a population of
6,660,402, and will have in 1900 a population of eight millions. In fifty
years the population of the United States did not quadruple itself, for it
only expanded in round numbers from 17 millions to 62½ millions. But the
great cities increased themselves nearly ten-fold in the same period, and
to-day they contain 11 per cent. of the whole population of the Union. The
latest estimate of the present population of the country gives the cities
25 millions out of the 72 million citizens of the United States.

If one-third of the inhabitants of the American Commonwealth dwell in
cities, these urban centres possess even more than one-third of the wealth
of the nation, and far more than one-third of its actual power. A writer
in one of the recent American magazines points out that the wealth of the
Great Ten in 1890 exceeded the wealth of the whole country, cities
included, in 1850. The revenue of the same Great Ten amounted in 1890 to
£25,000,000 per annum, a greater sum than was raised for State purposes in
all the federated States and Territories. The annual Budget of New York
and Brooklyn in 1890 dealt with ten millions sterling, a sum almost
exactly equalling the Budget of the United States forty years ago.

It is now half a century since De Tocqueville wrote:--“I look upon the
size of certain American cities, and especially upon the nature of their
population, as a real danger which threatens the security of the
Republic.” Since then this “real danger” has gone on increasing at an ever
accelerating ratio. When De Tocqueville wrote, there were only three or
four cities with a population over 100,000. To-day there are thirty. And
most remarkable fact of all, the population of Greater New York is now
equal in number to the total population of the United States at the time
of the Declaration of Independence. Her 3,200,000 inhabitants exceed
nearly four-fold the total number of the inhabitants in all the cities in
the States at the time De Tocqueville visited America. In the State of
New York, sixty per cent, of the inhabitants live in cities; in
Massachusetts, seventy per cent.

This tendency townwards, which is one of the most striking characteristics
of the English-speaking race all round the world, is nowhere more
conspicuous than in the United States; and New York, of all American
cities, is that where this centripetal law is just now seen to be
operating most powerfully. In the amalgamation by which the Greater New
York has come into being we have the latest manifestation of the craving
on the part of all modern men to come together in ever-increasing
agglomerations of humanity. The fissiparous tendency so perceptible in
politics is not visible in cities. There are numerous instances of two
cities fusing into one; but no city having once achieved its unity splits
it up. Amalgamation, not separation, is the order of the day. Where a
river does not divide--as for instance, in the case of Gateshead, that
“long, narrow, dirty lane leading into Newcastle-on-Tyne,” or in the case
of Salford--the larger town invariably swallows up its minor neighbours,
as a large raindrop on the window-pane attracts the smaller drops in its
immediate vicinity. In the case of Greater New York, not even the dividing
river has been able to prevent the law of gravitation doing its will.

The City of New York is indeed seated upon rivers, and if State boundaries
had not stood in the way, there is little doubt that Jersey City would
have shared the fate of Brooklyn and Long Island. But even without Jersey
City, the new urban conglomerate will be the second city of the world in
populousness and greater even than London in area.

The City of New York has an area of 39 square miles, while the area of
Greater New York is over 300 square miles. Brooklyn contains 29 square
miles, Staten Island comprises nearly 60 square miles, Westchester County
annex has an area of about 20 square miles, and the Long Island townships
included in the scheme have an aggregate extent of perhaps 170 miles.

At the first election for the Greater New York, held this year, no fewer
than 567,000 citizens were registered as electors in this colossal
constituency. The Greater New York charter divides the city into five
boroughs. (1) Manhattan, consisting of the island of Manhattan, and the
outlying islands naturally related to it. (2) The Bronx, including all
that part of the present City of New York lying north of the Harlem, a
territory which comprises two-thirds of the area of the present City of
New York. (3) Brooklyn. (4) Queen’s, consisting of that portion of Queen’s
County which is incorporated into the Greater New York. (5) Richmond; that
is, Staten Island. The population of the City of New York which before the
amalgamation was close on 2,000,000, is now swollen to 3,200,000, of whom
nearly 2,000,000 live in tenement houses.

The size of New York is by no means its most notable distinction. Chicago
some day may, by right of its more central position, win the prize of
being recognised as the real if not the political capital of the United
States. But the position to which Chicago aspires has, for nearly a
century, been held by New York. For New York is one of the few cities in
the States which are not of yesterday. Of course, compared with London,
which dates back to the Cæsars, New York is but a mushroom upstart. But as
in the realm of the blind the one-eyed man is king, so in the New World a
city which can count its history by centuries may be regarded as
possessing quite a respectable antiquity.

[Illustration: Map of GREATER NEW YORK.]

To us in the Old World it is the window through which we look into
America. Peter the Great built his capital on the Neva in order to have a
window from which he could look into Europe. New York serves much the same
purpose. It is through the window-pane of New York that the Old World sees
what little it does see that is going on in the American Republic. All the
newspaper correspondents of the European press without a single exception,
so far as I know, cable from New York. Not a single British newspaper has
a correspondent at Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, or Washington. As for
the suggestion of publishing telegrams from New Orleans or San Francisco,
it would be more reasonable to expect to see despatches from Mars. This
leads, no doubt, to much misconception. The New York window is by no means
of transparent crystal. Those who consent to see the United States solely
through their New York window-pane will often be egregiously misled.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that New York is the only window through
which the Old World peeps into the New.

Nor is that the only special reason why New York is better known to us of
the older branch of the race than any other part of the American
Continent. New York is not more the only window than it is the only door
of the New World. The Atlantic is furrowed by a thousand keels, but all
the liners steer for New York. Steamers no doubt ply to Boston and to
Philadelphia, but the great trade route--the only passenger route--lies
past Sandy Hook. New York is the front gate of the Western hemisphere.
Even Canada finds it more convenient to use the New York entrance than the
ice-blocked mouth of the St. Lawrence. Hence, whatever else the Old World
man may see or fail to see in the New World, the one place he is certain
to see, the one place which he cannot avoid seeing, is the Queen of the

And as New York is the first American city which every traveller sees, and
the last which he leaves, so New York has attracted a greater number of
European residents than any other city, with the doubtful exception of
Chicago. In 1888, thirty-six per cent. of the citizens were either Irish
or of Irish descent. The German element was in 1891 estimated at
twenty-five per cent. In the City of New York the indigenous American only
numbers twenty per cent.

But it is not its imported population which makes it so peculiarly
European. Chicago is at least as cosmopolitan, but the city on Lake
Michigan counts herself much more American than her sister on the Hudson.
During the last Presidential Campaign New York was constantly singled out
for attack by the Bryanite orators of the West and South as if it were a
foreign and hostile colony encamped on American soil. Wall Street, the
centre of the financial system of the United States, was as sound on the
currency question as the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, and the
advocates of Free Silver confounded New York and London alike beneath
their savage anathema. Community of interest begets community of ideas,
and the Western men angrily declare that New York is no more a typical
American city than London or Liverpool. This is an exaggeration, no doubt.
But neighbourhood counts for something, and New York is a thousand miles
nearer to London than to Chicago.

New York is only six days’ steaming from Europe. It is the centre from
whence the mighty shuttles ply back and forth across the Atlantic,
weaving the ocean-sundered sections of our race into one. Of the threads,
some end at Southampton and others at Liverpool. But they all start from
New York.

Printing-House Square, New York.]

There is another distinctive element about New York. It is the great
literary producing-centre of the American people. Boston has long since
been dethroned. No other city has even ventured to contest the primacy of
New York. There is not a single magazine printed in America that has any
circulation outside the United States which is not edited, printed, and
published in New York. The advantages of a more central position enjoyed
by Chicago are as nought compared with those which New York enjoys in
other ways. When I proposed to publish the American _Review of Reviews_ in
Chicago, I was promptly silenced by the statement that with the exception
of the _Ladies’ Home Journal_ there was not a single periodical published
outside New York which could claim to have achieved a success. New York,
from the publishing point of view, is the hub of the American universe.
Her magazines, admirably edited and marvellously illustrated, circulate in
every nook and corner of the English-speaking world. The magazines of the
other cities are virtually unknown outside the Republic, and often, it may
be said, outside the city that gives them birth. New York, then, as the
window and front door of the United States, with an unchallenged
financial, commercial, shipping and literary ascendency, has the pull over
all her rivals. To nine-tenths of mankind New York is America. All the
rest of the country is but the pedestal upon which New York stands.

This pre-eminent position carries with it a grave responsibility. If the
world at large judges the American Commonwealth by New York, then New York
owes a double duty both to the American Commonwealth and to the world at
large. Hence the extreme interest which the latest evolution in the civic
development of New York naturally arouses. This Greater New York--what
does it mean? How did it come into being? What were the issues at stake at
the late Election? All these questions every one is asking. I propose to
attempt to supply some answer.

It is a task of some difficulty and no little importance; for not merely
is New York--rightly or wrongly--regarded as the most typical and best
known American city, but the United States tends more and more to become
not a federation of States and territories, but an association of huge
cities. The Great Ten not merely include within their boundaries nearly
eight million persons, or more than ten per cent. of the whole population;
they do the thinking and the guiding and the managing of a very large
proportion of the remaining nine-tenths. Draw a circle with a
three-hundred-mile radius round the Great Ten, and you inclose an area
which is practically dominated by the Ten and educated by their
newspapers. The Newspaper Area is a phrase not yet naturalised in
geographies, but it is the most real and living area of all those into
which the social organism is divided. For the newspaper collects its news
every day, and sells its news every morning and evening, thereby creating
a living, ever-renewed bond between the dwellers within the radius of its
circulation infinitely superior to the nexus supplied by the tax-collector
and the policeman. It is not difficult to define the length of the range
within which a newspaper can create a constituency. It is rigidly limited
by the distance from the printing-office in which a newspaper can be
delivered before breakfast. After breakfast the influence of the newspaper
dwindles every minute. Any one living so far off as not to be able to
obtain his newspaper before dinner is practically outside the
pale--unless, of course, he lives remote from any local centre of news
distribution. In that case the range of influence is almost indefinite, as
is shown to this day in the hold which the weekly _New York Tribune_
exercises over farmers scattered everywhere between the Atlantic and the
Rocky Mountains. But speaking generally, the range of the Newspaper Area
is limited by breakfast-time.


Greater New York has come into being in order to increase, not to
diminish, the influence of New York in the Republic and in the world at
large. This influence may be for evil. “Under the new charter,” says Mr.
W. C. De Witt, Chairman of the Committee which drafted that document, “the
City of New York at one bound becomes the mistress of the Western
hemisphere and the second city of the world. It should be to its people
what Athens was to the Greek, Rome to the Romans, Florence to the
Florentine--an object of constant solicitude and of civic pride.”

The question whether they intend to obey the voice of their friendly
mentor is one on which the future fortune of the American Commonwealth
will largely depend. For, as Mr. J. C. Adams pointed out in a thoughtful
article on “The Municipal Threat in National Politics,” which he
contributed to the _New England Magazine_ in July, 1891:--

    The misgovernment of the cities is the prophecy of misgovernment of
    the nation; just as the paralysis of the great nerve-centres means the
    palsy of the whole body. There is graver danger to the republic in the
    failure of good government in our cities than arises from the moral
    corruption which accompanies that failure. The misgovernment of our
    cities means the break-down of one of the two fundamental principles
    upon which our political fabric rests. It is the failure of local
    self-government in a most vital part. It is as great a peril to the
    republic as the revolt against the Union. For the republic is
    organised upon two great political ideas, both essential to its
    existence. The first is the principle of federation, which is embodied
    in the Union; the second is the principle of local self-government,
    which places the business of the states and the towns in the hands of
    the people who live in them. Both of these are vital principles. The
    republic has survived the attempt to subvert one of them. It has just
    entered on its real struggle with a serious attack upon the other.

The fate, therefore, of the American Republic may be bound up with the
fortunes of Greater New York.



Hitherto, the city government of New York has not been a credit to the
Republic; otherwise I should not be publishing a survey of the way in
which New York has been governed as “Satan’s Invisible World Displayed.”
The title, of course, is an adaptation, not an invention. The original
holder of the copyright was one Hopkins, of the seventeenth century, who,
having had much experience in the discovery of witches, deemed himself an
expert qualified to describe the inner history and secret mystery of the
infernal regions under that picturesque title. I have adopted it as being
on the whole the most appropriate description of the state of abysmal
abomination into which the government of New York had sunk before the
great revolt of 1894 broke the power of Tammany--for a season--and placed
in office a Reform Government charged to cleanse the Augean stable. The
old witchfinder had no story to tell so horrible or so incredible as that
which I have drawn up from the sworn evidence of witnesses exposed to
public cross-examination before a State Commission in the City of New
York. In the reports of the infernal Sabbats, for attending which
thousands of old women were burnt or hanged in the seventeenth century,
there always figures in the background, as the central figure in the
horrid drama, a form but half-revealed, concerning whose identity even the
witchfinders speak with awe. The weird women, with their incantations and
their broomsticks, their magic spells and their diabolical trysts, are but
the slaves of the Demon, who, whether as their lover or their torturer, is
ever their master, whose name they whisper with fear, and whose commands
they obey with instant alacrity. For the Master of Ceremonies in the
Infernal revels, the Lord of the Witches’ Sabbat, is none other than Satan
himself, the incarnate principle of Evil, the Boss of Hell!

In the modern world, sceptical and superstitious, these tales of witches
and warlocks seem childish nonsense, unworthy of the attention of grown-up
men. But although the _dramatis personæ_ have changed, and the
_mise-en-scène_, the same phenomena reappear eternally. Here in the
history of New York we have the whole infernal phantasmagoria once again,
with heelers for witches, policemen as wizards, and secret sessions in
Tammany Hall as the Witches’ Sabbat of the new era. And behind them all,
always present but dimly seen--the omnipresent central force, whose name
is muttered with awe, and whose mandate is obeyed with speed--is the same
sombre figure whom his devotees regard with passionate worship, and whom
his enemies dread even as they curse his name. And this modern
Sathanas--this man who to every good Republican is the most authentic
incarnation of the principle of Evil, the veritable archfiend of the
political world--is the Boss of Tammany Hall.

Among the many legends which have clustered round the beginning of the
great association which has played so conspicuous a part in the history of
New York, there is one which appeals specially to the sense of humour.
Tammany, according to tradition, was the name of a Delaware Indian who in
ancient days belonged to a Redskin confederacy that inhabited the regions
now known as New Jersey and Pennsylvania. His name has been variously
spelled as Temane, Tamanend, Taminent, Tameny, and Tammany.

Curiously enough, by a kind of metamorphosis by no means without precedent
among more historical saints, his name has been attached to a locality
which he probably never visited, and with the inhabitants of which he and
his people lived in hereditary feud. This was not, however, due to any of
his conflicts with the Mohicans, who in those days pitched their wigwams
on the island of Manhattan. He owes it to a battle which he fought with no
less a personage than the great enemy of mankind. In the days when St.
Tammany, passed his legendary existence, there were no white men on the
American Continent; but although the Pale-Face was absent, the Black man
was in full force, and one fine day St. Tammany was exposed to the fell
onslaught of the foul fiend. At first, as is his wont, the bad spirit,
with honeyed words, sought to be admitted to a share in the government of
Tammany’s realm.

“Get thee behind me, Satan!” rendered in the choicest Delaware dialect,
was the Saint’s response to the offers of the tempter. But as a more
illustrious case attests, the Devil is not a person who will accept a
first refusal. Changing his tactics, he brought upon St. Tammany and his
Delawares many grievous afflictions of body and of estate, and while the
good Chief’s limbs were sore and his heart was heavy, the cunning deceiver
attempted to slink into the country unawares.

St. Tammany, however, although sick and sore, slept with one eye open, and
the Devil was promptly ordered to “get out of that,” with an emphasis
which left him no option but to obey. Again and again the Devil, renewing
his attacks, tried his best to circumvent St. Tammany, but finding that
all was in vain, he at last flung patience and strategy to the winds, and
boldly attacked the great Sagamore in order to overwhelm him by his
infernal might.


Then, says the legend, ensued the most tremendous battle that has ever
been waged between man and his great enemy. For many months the great
fight went on, and as Tammany and the Devil wrestled to and fro in mortal
combat, whole forests were broken down, and the ground was so effectually
trampled under foot that it has remained prairie land to this day. At
last, after the forests had been destroyed, and the country trodden flat,
St. Tammany, catching his adversary unawares, tripped him up, and hurled
him to the ground. It was in the nick of time, for Tammany was so
exhausted with the prolonged struggle that when he drew his scalping-knife
to make a final end of the Evil One, the fiend, to the eternal regret of
all the children of men, succeeded in slipping from Tammany’s clutches. He
escaped across the river to New York, where--so runs the legend, as it is
recorded by a writer in _Harper_--“he was hospitably received by the
natives, and has ever since continued to make his home.”

Such, in the quaint but suggestive narrative of the ancient myth, is the
way in which the Devil first came to New York, where, as if in revenge for
his defeat, he seems to have christened the political organisation which
has been his headquarters after the name of Tammany.

The Tammany organisation did not in the beginning take its rise in New
York. It first sprang into being in the ranks of the revolutionary army of
Pennsylvania. Tammany, or Tamanend, as he was then called, was adopted by
the Pennsylvanian troops under General Washington as their patron saint.
There were two reasons for this. In the first place, it was Hobson’s
choice, for St. Tammany was the only native American who had ever been
canonised; and, in the second place, nothing seemed more appropriate to
the revolutionary heroes than to adopt as their patron saint a brave who
had “whipped the Devil.” St. Tammany, therefore, came to be adopted by the
American army as a kind of counterpart to our own St. George. St. Tammany
and the Devil seemed to be a good counterpoise to the legendary tale of
St. George and the Dragon. The 12th of May was Tammany’s Saint’s Day, and
was celebrated with wigwams, liberty poles, tomahawks, and all the regular
paraphernalia of the Redskin. A soldier attired in Indian costume
represented the great Sachem, “and, after delivering a talk full of
eloquence for law and liberty and courage in battle to the members of the
order, they danced with feathers in their caps and buck tails dangling on
behind.” The practice spread from the Pennsylvania troops to the rest of
the army, and so popular did Tammany become that May 12th bid fair to be
much more a popular national festival than July 4th.

It was not until this century had begun that the Tammany Society was
domiciled in New York. It was introduced there by an upholsterer of Irish
descent, named William Mooney. He did not take much stock in St. Tammany,
but preferred to call his Society the Columbian Order, in honour of
Columbus. The transactions of the Society dated from the discovery of
America. Besides the European head, who was to be known as the Great
Father, there were to be twelve Sachems, or counsellors--“Old Men” being
the Indian signification of the word; a Sagamore, or master of ceremonies;
a Wiskinkie, or doorkeeper of the sacred wigwam; and a Secretary.

The Society from its outset appears to have been political, but in its
early days it combined charity with politics. In the second year of its
existence it undertook the establishment of a Museum of Natural History,
and got together the exhibits which formed the nucleus of Barnum’s famous
museum. It was a social and convivial club, which met first in a hotel of
Broadway, then in a public-house in Broad Street, and finally in the
Pig-pen, a long room attached to a saloon kept by one Martling. In 1811 it
erected a hall of its own. Its present address is “Tammany Hall,
Fourteenth Street.”

There is no necessity to do more than glance at the curious beginnings of
a society which is perhaps the most distinctively American of all the
associations that have ever been founded in the New World. A writer of
“The Story of Tammany,” which appeared in _Harper’s Magazine_ many years
ago, from which most of these facts are taken, says:--

    The Tammany Society, or Columbian Order, is doubtless the oldest
    purely self-constituted political association in the world, and has
    certainly been by far the most influential. Beginning with the
    government, for it was organised within a fortnight of the
    inauguration of the first President, and at a spot within the sound of
    his voice as he spoke his first official words to his countrymen, it
    has not only continued down to the present time--through nearly three
    generations of men--but has controlled the choice of at least one
    President, fixed the character of several national as well as State
    administrations, given pseudonyms to half a dozen well-known
    organisations, and, in fact, has shaped the destiny of the country in
    several turning-points of its history.

    Few suspect, much less comprehend, the extent of the influence this
    purely local association has exerted. To its agency more than any
    other is due the fact that for the last three-quarters of a century
    New York city has been the most potent political centre in the world,
    not even Paris excepted. Greater than a party, inasmuch as it has been
    the master of parties, it has seen political organisation after
    organisation, in whose conflicts it has fearlessly participated,
    arise, flourish, and go down, and yet has stood ready, with powers
    unimpaired, to engage in the struggles of the next crop of
    contestants. In this experience it has been solitary and peculiar.
    Imitators it has had in abundance, but not one of them has succeeded
    in catching that secret of political management which has endowed
    Tammany with its wonderful permanency.

    What is that secret? It is unquestionably to be traced, in part, to
    the sagacity which Tammany’s leaders have at all times shown in
    forecasting the changes of political issues, or availing themselves of
    the opportunities afforded by current events as they have arisen.
    Tammany has not only furnished the most capable politicians the
    country has possessed, but has managed to ally itself with the
    shrewdest ones to be found outside of its own organisation. It has
    always shown a willingness to trade in the gifts at its command, and
    rarely indeed has it got the worst of a bargain.

[Illustration: FIRST TAMMANY HALL, ERECTED 1811.]

The writer in _Harper_, however, while attempting to explain the secret of
Tammany, only raises a still more difficult question. How is it that
Tammany should have been able to discern the signs of the times better
than its rivals? How is it that Tammany has been able to furnish the most
capable politicians the country has ever possessed, and how is it that it
has displayed so much wisdom? There is one explanation, which, no doubt,
commends itself to many of those who have spent their life in fighting
Tammany Hall. Tammany has little regard for the innocence of the dove, but
it has always displayed the wisdom of the serpent. Considering the place
where the Author of all Evil found refuge after his discomfiture by St.
Tammany, a Republican may be pardoned for suggesting that the wisdom of
Tammany is due to the wisdom of the Old Serpent. Certainly, many innocent
persons have been accused of dalliance with the foul fiend on much worse
_primâ facie_ evidence than that which is furnished by the universal
admission that Tammany, out of the most uncompromising materials, has
succeeded in achieving exploits which antecedently would have been
absolutely impossible. For Tammany, although preserving and maintaining
from first to last a discipline which is the despair of all the other
political machines in the country, has never been without fierce
internecine fights. It has cast out leader after leader, and the ferocity
of the feuds within Tammany has exceeded that of any of the combats which
have been waged against the common enemy. Nevertheless, notwithstanding
all schisms, all reverses, all exposures, Tammany remains to this day the
strongest, the best disciplined, and the most feared political
organisation in the world.

[Illustration: TAMMANY HALL, OPENED 1860.]

Mr. Croker, in the series of interviews which I reported in the October
number of the REVIEW OF REVIEWS, argued with much force and plausibility
that it was contrary to the law of human nature that an organisation could
live and last so long if it were composed of Thugs and desperados, and
that witness no doubt is true. Even so stout and stalwart an opponent of
Tammany as Dr. Albert Shaw has frequently felt himself constrained to
admit that the insane fashion in which New York has been governed rendered
even the rule of Tammany preferable to the constitutional and legal chaos
which was the only substitute. Dr. Shaw, speaking of the system under
which New York has hitherto been governed, said:--

    To know its ins and outs is not so much like knowing the parts and the
    workings of a finely adjusted machine as it is like knowing the
    obscure topography of the great Dismal Swamp considered as a place of
    refuge for criminals.

Again he wrote:--

    In New York, the absurdly disjointed and hopelessly complex array of
    separate boards, functions, and administrative powers, first makes it
    impossible for the community to focalise responsibility anywhere in
    the formal mechanism of municipal government, and then makes it
    possible for an irresponsible self-centred political and mercenary
    society like Tammany to gain for itself the real control, and thus to
    assume a domination that ought to be centred in some body or
    functionary directly accountable to the people. Government by a secret
    society like Tammany is better than the chaos of a disjointed
    government for which there can be no possible location of central

It is not for me to dogmatise where experts, native to New York,
hopelessly disagree. But viewed from the outside the secret of Tammany’s
success seems to lie chiefly in the fact that Tammany has from the first
been really a democratic organisation. No one was too poor, too wicked, or
too ignorant to be treated by Tammany as a man and a brother if he would
stand in with the machine and join the brotherhood.

This secret of Tammany--the open secret--was explained to me in Chicago by
a saloon-keeper of more than dubious morals who had been a Tammany captain
in New York. I saw him the night after Dr. Parkhurst had scored his first
great success over the politicians of New York. The ex-Tammany Captain
shook his head when I asked him what he thought of Dr. Parkhurst’s
campaign. He had no use for Dr. Parkhurst. For a time, he thought, he
might advertise himself, which was no doubt his object, but after that
everything would go on as before. The one permanent institution in New
York was Tammany.

I asked him to explain his secret. “Suppose,” said I, “that I am a newly
arrived citizen in your precinct, and come to you and wish to join
Tammany, what would be required of me?”

“Sir,” said he, “before anything would be required of you we would find
out all about you. I would size you up myself, and then after I had formed
my own judgment I would send two or three trusty men to find out all about
you. Find out, for instance, whether you really meant to work and serve
Tammany, or whether you were only getting in to find out all about it. If
the inquiries were satisfactory then you would be admitted to the ranks of
Tammany, and you would stand in with the rest.”

“What should I have to do?”

“Your first duty,” said he, “would be to vote the Tammany ticket whenever
an election was on, and then to hustle around and make every other person
whom you could get hold of vote the same ticket.”

“And what would I get for my trouble?” I asked.

“Nothing,” said he, “unless you needed it. I was twenty years captain and
I never got anything for myself, but if you needed anything you would get
whatever was going. It might be a job that would give you employment under
the city, it might be a pull that you might have with the alderman in case
you got into trouble, whatever it was you would be entitled to your share.
If you get into trouble, Tammany will help you out. If you are out of a
job Tammany will see that you have the first chance of whatever is going.
It is a great power, is Tammany. Whether it is with the police, or in the
court, or in the City Hall, you will find Tammany men everywhere, and they
all stick together. There is nothing sticks so tight as Tammany.”

Therein, no doubt, this worthy ex-captain revealed the great secret, of
Tammany’s success. Tammany is a brotherhood. Tammany men stick together,
and help each other.

The record of Tammany, however, hardly bears out the claim made for it by
Mr. Croker as to the honesty and purity of its administration. From its
very early days Tammany has had a bad record for dishonesty and utter lack
of scruple. As early as 1837, two Tammany leaders, who had held the
federal offices of Collector of the Port of New York, and of United States
District Attorney for the Southern district of New York, skipped to Europe
after embezzling, the one £250,000, the other £15,000. About twenty years
later, another Tammany leader, who was appointed Postmaster for New York,
advanced £50,000 of post-office money in order to carry Pennsylvania for
Buchanan. These, however, were but bagatelles compared with the carnival
of plunder which was established when Tweed was Tammany Boss.

It was not until about the middle of the century that Tammany laid the
hand upon the agency which for nearly fifty years has been the sceptre of
its power. A certain Southerner, rejoicing in the name of Rynders, who was
a leading man in Tammany in the Forties, organised as a kind of affiliated
institution the Empire Club, whose members were too disreputable even for
Tammany. These men, largely composed of roughs and rowdies, who rejoiced
in the expressive title of the Bowery Plug Uglies, were the first to lay
their hand upon the immigrant and utilise him for the purpose of carrying
elections. Mr. Edwards, writing in _McClure’s Magazine_, says:--

    It was the Empire Club, indeed, which taught the political value of
    the newly-arrived foreigner. Its members approached the immigrants at
    the piers on the arrival of every steamship or packet; conducted them
    into congenial districts; found them employment in the city works, or
    perhaps helped them to set up in business as keepers of grog-shops.

“Politics in Louisiana,” General Grant is reported to have said on one
occasion, “are Hell.” They seem to have been very much like hell in the
days when the Plug Uglies with Rynders at their head ruled the roast at
Tammany. Mr. Edwards tells a story which sheds a lurid ray of light on the
man and manners of that time. Mr. Godwin, who preceded Mr. Godkin in the
incessant warfare which the _Evening Post_ has waged against Tammany, had
given more than usual offence to Rynders. That worthy, therefore, decided
to assassinate the editor as he was taking his lunch at the hotel. Mike
Walsh, however, a plucky Irishman, interfered, and enabled Godwin to make
his escape. When the intended victim had gone out--

    Rynders stepped up to Walsh and said: “What do you mean by interfering
    in this matter? It is none of your affair.”

    “Well, Godwin did me a good turn once, and I don’t propose to see him
    stabbed in the back. You were going to do a sneaking thing; you were
    going to assassinate him, and any man who will do that is a coward.”

    “No man ever called me a coward, Mike Walsh, and you can’t.”

    “But I do, and I will prove that you are a coward. If you are not one,
    come upstairs with me now. We will lock ourselves into a room; I will
    take a knife and you take one; and the man who is alive after we have
    got through, will unlock the door and go out.”

    Rynders accepted the challenge. They went to an upper room. Walsh
    locked the door, gave Rynders a large bowie-knife, took one himself,
    and said: “You stand in that corner, and I’ll stand in this. Then we
    will walk towards the centre of the room, and we won’t stop until one
    or the other of us is finished.”

    Each took his corner. Then Walsh turned and approached the centre of
    the room. But Rynders did not stir. “Why don’t you come out?” said
    Walsh. Rynders, turning in his corner, faced his antagonist, and said:
    “Mike, you and I have always been friends; what is the use of our
    fighting now? If we get at it, we shall both be killed, and there is
    no good in that.” Walsh for a moment said not a word; but his lip
    curled, and he looked upon Rynders with an expression of utter
    contempt. Then he said: “I told you you were a coward, and now I prove
    it. Never speak to me again.”

Mike Walsh, the hero of this episode of the bowie-knife, is notable as
having been the first man to publicly accuse Tammany of tampering with the
ballot-box. He was not the last by any means; but Tammany seems to have
begun well, for, says Mr. Edwards:--

    Roscoe Conkling once said, chatting with a group of friends, that
    Governor Seward had told him that the Tammany frauds committed by the
    Empire Club in New York City in 1844 unquestionably gave Polk the
    meagre majority of five thousand which he obtained in New York State,
    and by which he was brought to the Presidency.

[Illustration: FERNANDO WOOD.]

It is not surprising that with this beginning things went on from bad to
worse until Mike Walsh, a few years before the War, publicly declared in a
great Democratic meeting in the city:--

    “I tell you now, and I say it boldly, that in this body politic of New
    York there is not political or personal honesty enough left to drive a
    nail into to hang a hat upon.”

There is a fine picturesqueness about this phrase which enables it to
stick like a burr to the memory. It was not, however, until the Irish
emigration began in good earnest that Tammany found its vocation. Fernando
Wood was first elected to the Mayoralty in 1854. Fernando Wood was a ward
politician who first became known to the public by a prosecution in which
it was proved that he had cheated his partner by altering the figures in
accounts. He did not deny the charge, but pleaded statutory limitation.
Having thus succeeded in avoiding gaol, he promptly ran for the Mayoralty,
and was duly elected. With him came what Mr. Godkin calls “the
organisation of New York politics on a criminal basis.” The exploits of
Fernando Wood, however, were thrown entirely into the shade by the lurid
splendour of his successor.

This was William M. Tweed, the famous “Boss” Tweed, who began his life as
a journeyman, and ended it in Ludley Street Gaol, after having ruled New
York for years, as if he were a Turkish Pasha. After serving
apprenticeship as a Member of the New York Senate, Deputy Street
Commissioner, and President of the Board of Supervisors, he gradually made
his way upwards until he was recognised as Boss of Tammany. It was not,
however, until the year 1868 that he succeeded in giving the public a true
taste of his quality. Even hardened Tammany politicians were aghast at the
colossal frauds which he practised at the polls--frauds not only unique in
their dimensions, but in the exceeding variety and multiplicity of their
methods. On January 1st, 1869, Tweed and his allies began to plunder the
city in a fashion which might have made the mouth of a Roman proconsul
water. His ally, Connolly, was made Comptroller, while Tweed himself found
ample scope for his fraudulent genius in the posts of Deputy Street
Commissioner and Supervisor. In the first year he issued fraudulent
warrants for £750,000. The money was spent fast and furiously. Tweed was a
fellow of infinite variety, and he seemed almost to revel in the diversity
of methods by which he could plunder the public. One very ingenious and
simple fraud was his securing an Act of the Legislature, making a little
paper which he owned the official organ of the City Government. In that
capacity he drew £200,000 a year from the rates and taxes, as compensation
for printing the report of the proceedings of the Common Council. Mr.
Edwards says:--

    He established a printing company, whose main business was the
    printing of blank forms and vouchers, for which in one year two
    million eight hundred thousand dollars was charged. Another item was a
    stationer’s company, which furnished all the stationery used in the
    public institutions and departments, and this company alone received
    some three millions a year. On an order for six reams of cap paper,
    the same amount of letter paper, two reams of notepaper, two dozen
    pen-holders, four small ink-bottles, and a few other articles, all
    worth not more than fifty dollars, a bill of ten thousand dollars was
    rendered and paid.

    The frauds upon which the conviction of Tweed was obtained consisted
    in the payment of enormously increased bills to mechanics, architects,
    furniture-makers, and, in some instances, to unknown persons, for
    supplies and services. It was the expectation that an honest bill
    would be raised all the way from sixty to ninety per cent. In the
    first months of the ring’s stealing the increase was about sixty per
    cent. Some of the bills were increased by as much as ninety per cent.,
    but the average increase was such as to make it possible to give
    sixty-seven per cent. to the ring, the confederates being allowed to
    keep thirty-three per cent.; and of that thirty-three per cent.
    probably at least one-half was a fraudulent increase.

After a time the outrageous nature of his stealings provoked a revolt in
Tammany itself. It is to this which Mr. Croker looks back with such proud
complacency as marking the advent of reformed Tammany. Tweed was beaten at
the elections, and his opponents secured a majority on the Board of
Aldermen. Thereupon the resourceful rascal promptly went down to Albany,
bought up a sufficient number of Congressmen and senators to give him
control of the Legislature, and so secured a new Charter for New York,
which legislated his opponents out of office. By this Charter a board of
audit was created which consisted of Tweed, Connolly and Mayor Hall. What
followed is thus described by the _Nation_:--

    The “Board” met once for but ten minutes, and turned the whole
    “auditing” business over to Tweed. This sounds like a joke, but is
    true. Tweed then went to work, and “audited” as hard as he could,
    Garvey and other scamps bringing in the raw material in the shape of
    “claims,” and he never stopped till he had “audited” about 6,000,000
    dols. worth. Connolly’s part in the little game then came in, and that
    worthy citizen drew his warrants for the money, which that
    simple-minded “scholar and gentleman” the Mayor endorsed, without
    having the least idea what was going on. Tweed’s share of the plunder
    amounted to about 1,000,000 dols. in all. The Joint Committee,
    reporting on the condition of the city’s finances, declared that the
    discoverable stealings of three years are 19,000,000 dols., which is
    probably only half the real total.

Never was a more unblushing rascal, as Mr. Tilden said in his account of
Tweed’s sovereignty. The Tammany Ring

    controlled the State Legislature, the police, and every department or
    functionary of the law; several of the judges on the bench were its
    servile instruments, and issued decrees at its command; it secured the
    management of the election “machine,” and “ran” it at its own free
    will and pleasure; a large part of the press was absolutely at its
    disposal. In the course of three years it had paid to eleven
    newspapers the sum of 2,329,482 dols. (about £466,000) nominally for
    advertisements, most of which were never even published, or never
    seen. Not only the City government, but the lion’s share of the State
    government also had fallen into the hands of “Boss” Tweed and his
    confederates. Millions of dollars were stolen by the conspirators by
    means of “street openings,” “improvements,” new pavements, and other
    frauds. The Ring took from the public treasury a sum amounting to over
    £1,500,000 for furnishing and “repairing” a new Court-house. The
    charges for plastering alone came to about £366,000. For carpets,
    warrants were drawn for £120,000, although there were scarcely any
    carpets in the building. The floors were either bare, or covered with
    oil-cloth. Nearly £100,000 was alleged to have been paid for iron
    safes, and over £8,200 for “articles” not defined and never found. The
    total sum stolen was over £4,000,000.

[Illustration: WILLIAM M. TWEED.]

Tweed’s brief but dazzling career--for he was indeed a hero clad in
Hell-fire--is said by President Andrews to have cost the City of New York
160,000,000 dols. The fine levied by Germany on the City of Paris after
the War of 1870-1 was only one-fourth that amount. Fraud may be more
costly than War. The total direct property loss occasioned by the great
fire at Chicago in 1871, when three square miles of buildings were burned
down, and 98,500 persons rendered homeless, was only 30,000,000 dols.
above the plunder of Tweed and his gang. Thus Fraud can be almost as
ruinous as Fire.

[Illustration: MR. TILDEN.]

Tweed was a fellow, if not of infinite jest like poor Yorick, at least of
infinite insolent humour. In 1871 he boasted that he had amassed a fortune
of 20,000,000 dols. Nor did he in the least scruple to avow the means by
which he acquired it. President Andrews, of Brown University, in telling
the history of the last quarter century, says, “He used gleefully to show
his friends the safe where he kept money for bribing legislators, finding
those of the Tammany-Republican stripe easiest game. Of the contractor who
was decorating his country place at Greenwich he inquired, pointing to a
statue, ‘Who the hell is that?’ ‘That is Mercury, the god of merchants and
thieves,’ was the reply. ‘That’s bully,’ said Tweed; ‘put him over the
front door.’”

Tweed was to the last popular with the masses of the people. Even when the
whole town was ringing with proofs of his guilt, he stood as candidate for
the Senate of New York State, and was elected. He had distributed in the
poorer districts some £10,000 worth of coal and flour, and one of his
champions brought down the house by declaring that “Tweed’s heart has
always been in the right place, and, even if he is a thief, there is more
blood in his little finger and more marrow in his big toe than the men who
are abusing him have in their whole bodies.”

This man, with this excessive development of marrow in his big toe, was
ultimately run down by Mr. Tilden and the Committee of Seventy. Connolly,
the Comptroller, weakened and made terms with his opponents by appointing
Mr. Green as Deputy-Comptroller. Mr. Green had little difficulty in laying
hands upon all that was necessary in order to secure the prosecution and
conviction of Tweed. Tweed’s two infamous judges were driven from the
bench, and he himself was clapped into gaol. He made his escape, and
sought refuge in Spain. He was, however, delivered up to the American
authorities, and reconducted to prison, where he died. To the last Tweed
retained possession of much of his ill-gotten wealth. An offer which was
made to surrender the residue of his millions in return for his liberty
was rejected.

Tweed thought himself on the whole, an ill-used man. The judge who tried
Tweed declared that he had perverted the “power with which he was clothed
in a manner more infamous, more outrageous, than any instance of a like
character which the history of the civilised world afforded.” But Tweed
himself declared that he believed he had done right, and was willing to
“submit himself to the just criticism of any and all honest men.” From
this it would seem that Mr. Croker is not alone in his imperturbable
consciousness of public rectitude. Tweed on one occasion admitted that he
had perhaps erred, but he explained he was not to blame. The fault lay
with human nature in the first place, and with the system under which New
York was governed in the second. Therein, no doubt, he was right. “Human
nature,” he said, “could not resist such temptations as were offered to
men who were in power in New York, so long as the disposition of the
offices of the city was at their command.”

The most outrageous thing that Tweed ever did was to pass a bill through
the State Legislature at Albany, giving the judges unlimited power to
punish summarily whatever they chose to consider to be contempt. By this
law, which was fortunately vetoed by the Governor, every newspaper in New
York would have been gagged as effectually as the press of Constantinople.

After Tweed fell, Tammany was reorganised under Honest John Kelly and
Richard Croker. Mr. Godkin declares that Honest John Kelly was only honest
in name. He says:--

    John Kelly practised the great Greek maxim “not too much of anything,”
    simply made every candidate pay handsomely for his nomination,
    pocketed the money himself, and, whether he rendered any account of it
    or not, died in possession of a handsome fortune. His policy was the
    very safe one of making the city money go as far as possible among the
    workers by compelling every office-holder to divide his salary and
    perquisites with a number of other persons.

The same system had prevailed down to the year 1894, when Tammany, for the
first time in many years, was driven from power. Just before the upset,
the New York _Evening Post_ published the records of the twenty-eight men
who now or recently composed the Executive Committee of Tammany. It showed
that they were all professional politicians, and that among them were one
convicted murderer, three men who had been indicted for murder, felonious
assault, and bribery, respectively, four professional gamblers, five
ex-keepers of gambling houses, nine who either now or formerly sold
liquor, three whose fathers did, three former pugilists, four former
rowdies, and six members of the famous Tweed gang. Seventeen of these
held office, seven formerly did, and two were favoured contractors.

By these men New York was governed down to the year 1894. All the efforts
of the reformers seemed in vain. Mr. Godkin reluctantly confessed:--

    The power of the semi-criminal organisation known as Tammany Hall not
    only remains unshaken, but grows stronger from year to year. Every
    year its management descends, with perfect impunity, into the hands of
    a more and more degraded class.

But it is ever the darkest hour before the dawn. Although on the very eve
of the November election of 1894 it was declared that “Mr. Croker held
almost as despotic a sway over New York as an Oriental potentate over his
kingdom,” one month after that statement had been made he was hurled from
power by a great outburst of popular indignation. How that was brought
about I will now proceed to tell.

The sworn foe of Tammany.]



Mr. Lowell good-humouredly chaffed John Bull when he declared that

  He detests the same faults in himself he neglected,
  When he sees them again in his child’s glass reflected,

and we only need to glance at current English criticisms upon American
affairs to justify the poet’s remark. Especially is this the case with a
vice which of all others is regarded as distinctively English. John Bull
has plenty of faults, but of those which render him odious to his
neighbours there is none which is quite so loathsome as his “unctuous
rectitude.” That phrase, coined by Mr. Rhodes to express the contempt
which he and every one who knew the facts felt on contemplating the
hypocrisy and Pharisaism displayed in connection with the Jameson Raid, is
likely to live long after Mr. Rhodes has vanished from this mortal scene.
This tendency to Pharisaism and self-righteous complacency, which thanks
God that it is not as other men are, is one of those vices which John
Bull’s children seem to have inherited in full measure. We are pretty good
at Pharisaism in the Old Country, but we are “not a circumstance,” to use
the familiar slang, when we compare ourselves to some of the Pharisees
reared across the Atlantic. This has nowhere been brought into such strong
relief as when on the very eve of the exposure and discomfiture of Tammany
their spokesmen took the stump and talked like very Pecksniffs concerning
the immaculate purity of Tammany Hall.

The same characteristic is observable in all of them. Whether it is Boss
Tweed, appealing confidently to the verdict of honest men upon a career of
colossal theft and almost inconceivable fraud; or Mr. Croker, who, after
surveying his whole life, declares that he has not discovered a single
action which he has reason to regret, for he has not done anything but
good all his life; or Bourke Cochran, who was at one time the Apollo and
the Demosthenes of Tammany, the same unctuous rectitude oozes out of every
pore. When Tammany was at its heyday of prosperity and power in 1889, it
assembled in its thousands to cheer enthusiastically the impassioned
oratory of Mr. Cochran, who declared, as among the self-evident truths
which found an echo in every breast, that “if corruption prevails among
the people, liberty will become a blighting curse, subversive of order.
Corruption once begun, decay is inevitable and irresistible; the
destruction of the Republic is immediate, immeasurable, irredeemable;
since history does not record a case of a popular government which has
been arrested in its downward course.” Tammany listened to this with
ecstatic admiration, cheered to the echo their eloquent oracle, and then
went on using the proceeds of a system of blackmail for the perfecting of
an engine of corruption to which it is difficult to discover a parallel in
the annals of mankind.

In Mr. Croker’s case, his calm consciousness of incorruptible virtue seems
to be based upon a curious inversion of a belief in a Divine Providence.
Tammany is not strong in theology, but Mr. Croker, in talking to me, based
his argument in favour of the excellence of Tammany on the postulate that
the government of the universe was founded on the law of righteousness.
This being the case, it was only possible to reconcile the continued
existence of Tammany on one of two hypotheses. Either the domination of
evil was permitted for a season for some sufficient cause hidden in the
inscrutable mysteries of the Divine councils, or we must boldly assert
that, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, Tammany rule was in
accordance with the eternal law, _Credo quia impossibile_, rather than
admit that so great an anomaly as a terrestrial Inferno could be permitted
to exist by the good government of God. Mr. Croker, of course, adopted the
latter hypothesis. There is much in it, no doubt, especially to those in
Mr. Croker’s position. It is, however, open to the fatal objection that
the same process of logic would _à fortiori_ secure a certificate of good
conduct for the Great Assassin of Stamboul himself. The Ottoman Empire has
lasted even longer than Tammany Hall, but even Mr. Croker would shrink
from maintaining that Abdul Hamid was on that account the exemplary
vicegerent of the Almighty.

This Pharisaic panoply in which Tammany was clad, as in a coat of mail,
was no small element of its strength. The consciousness of wrong-doing is
always an element of weakness. Not until a man can do evil and persuade
himself that he is doing good can he silence that conscience which makes
cowards of us all. Probably this unctuous rectitude on the part of Tammany
and its Boss should be estimated as one of the chief obstacles in the way
of the scattered and despairing band of reformers who, five or six years
ago, confronted the stronghold of iniquity entrenched in their midst.

Its position, indeed, appeared almost impregnable. Tammany Hall commanded
an annual revenue large enough to equip and maintain a small army. It had
under its orders the whole of the executive force in its police--a body of
men practically above the law, armed with powers hardly inferior to those
of the police of St. Petersburg. Besides the police, all the persons on
the pay-rolls of the City and County were under the thumb of the Boss.
There was hardly a city official, from the highest to the lowest, who did
not hold office by the sovereign will and pleasure of Tammany. As there
are 27,000 names on those pay-rolls, all of whom were voters and were
taxable to an almost unlimited extent whenever the Tammany exchequer
needed to be replenished, it is obvious how enormous were the odds against
the assailants of Tammany.

[Illustration: _Photo by Tom Reveley, Wantage._ RICHARD CROKER IN HIS

But the unctuous rectitude of its leaders, the prompt obedience of the
police Janissaries, and the discipline of the standing army of the
twenty-seven thousand Pretorians on the city pay-rolls, were by no means
the only difficulties which had to be overcome. Tammany Hall itself might
be compared to a central citadel or keep of a Norman fortress. The
outworks consisted of all the saloons, gaming hells, and houses of
ill-fame in the City of New York. Some of these, no doubt, were by no
means enthusiastic in support of the powers that be, but they resembled
tribes which, having been subdued by force of arms, are compelled to pay
tribute and use their weapons in support of their conquerors. In New York,
just before the revolt against Tammany, the number of licences for the
sale of intoxicants in New York City was over 6,000. The number of
unlicensed drinking places was estimated at from 2,000 to 3,000. Each of
these saloons might be regarded as a detached outwork, holding a position
in advance of the main citadel, and covering it from the attack of its

In those days it used to be said that licences were granted by the Excise
Board to anybody who had not served a term in a penitentiary. One
indignant divine declared that it was perfectly safe to say that, if the
Devil himself should apply to the Excise Board for a licence to set up a
branch establishment on the children’s playground in the Central Park, it
would be granted. As to the other establishments of even worse fame than
the saloon, there was an unwritten contract by which, in return for
tribute paid directly or indirectly, they were shielded by the strong arm
of Tammany from the enforcement of the law. It was calculated that if all
the saloons in New York were placed side by side, averaging them at only
twenty feet frontage each, they would form a line of circumvallation
twenty miles long. To put it in another way, there was on an average one
saloon for every thirty voters.

In addition to its control of the saloon, Tammany had two extremely
important financial resources which have not yet been mentioned. The first
was the control of the city contracts. A great city like New York, with an
expenditure that exceeded that of the whole Federal Government of the
United States fifty years ago, had an enormous means of influence at its
disposal in the mere granting of contracts. But even this was a
comparatively trivial element in the financial strength of Tammany. There
existed in New York, as in almost every city, great corporations
representing enormous capital, and dividing gigantic dividends, which, in
the Tammany scheme of the universe, might have been created for the
express purpose of furnishing an unfailing supply of revenue to the party
chest. The corporations which enjoyed franchises from the city, giving
them control of the streets, whether for the purpose of traction, of
lighting, or of electrical communication, were Tammany’s milch cows. They
all possess monopolies, granted to them in the first instance either by
corruption or by negligence, which enable them to plunder the public.
These monopolies can only be terminated or modified by the Legislature,
and the Legislature can only act in obedience to the party machine. All
that needs to be done when the campaign fund runs low is for the Boss to
intimate to the various corporations that milking time has come, and that
if they do not contribute liberally of their substance to the party
treasury, Tammany will no longer be able to give them protection when the
usual attack is made next session upon their monopoly or their franchise.
Money is the sinews of war, and as the Tammany war chest was always full,
Tammany snapped its fingers at all its enemies, and contemptuously
declared that the reformers did not amount to a row of pins.


The outlook undoubtedly was very gloomy. From the point of view of
practical politics it was simply hopeless; nevertheless, in a couple of
years the fortress was stormed, and the government of New York placed in
the hands of the Reformers. The story of the way in which this was brought
about should never be forgotten by all those who are called upon to lead
forlorn hopes against immense odds. As long as the world lasts, such
narratives are among the most precious cordials which in times of danger
and distress restore the courage and revive the faith of man. Dr.
Parkhurst’s attack on Tammany is one of the latest of a long series of
victories achieved by the leader of an outnumbered handful. When Gideon
went forth against the hosts of Midian with only three hundred followers,
he left a leading case on record for the encouragement of all who should
come after. How many reformers and revolutionists who have helped the
world forward in the path of progress have been cheered by the dream in
which the Midianitish soldier saw a cake of barley bread smite and
overturn the multitudinous camp of the conqueror, history does not record!
But if ever a man needed the inspiration of that barley cake it was Dr.
Parkhurst, when in 1892 he set himself to the desperate task of wresting
New York City from the grasp of Tammany.

Dr. Parkhurst was a Massachusetts minister of Puritan ancestry, who, in
1880, at the age of thirty-eight, had been called to Madison Square
Church, in New York. For ten years he went in and out among the people,
quietly building up his church, ministering to his congregation, and
learning at first-hand the real difficulties which offered almost
insuperable obstacles to right living in New York. In 1890, on the eve of
the November election, he preached a sermon on municipal politics, which,
although it failed in influencing the polls, nevertheless marked Dr.
Parkhurst out as the man to succeed Dr. Howard Crosby as President of the
Society for the Prevention of Crime. He took office in 1891. In less than
twelve months he began the campaign from which he never withdrew his hand
until the government of the city was wrested from the control of Tammany.

Nothing is more characteristic, both of the state of things in New York
and the uncompromising directness of Dr. Parkhurst, than the fact that he
had no sooner assumed the control of the Society for the Prevention of
Crime than he adopted as his motto the significant watchword, “Down with
the Police!” That fact alone speaks volumes as to how utterly New York
City had fallen under the control of the Evil One. For a society for the
prevention of crime to adopt “Down with the Police!” as its watchword,
seems to us of the Old World absolutely inconceivable. The police exist
for the prevention of crime, yet here was a society of leading citizens,
presided over by a doctor of divinity, putting in the forefront of its
programme the formula “Down with the Police!”

Strange though it may seem to us, the best people of New York understood
and appreciated what Dr. Parkhurst was after. But it was not till the 14th
of February, 1892, that he put the trumpet to his lips and blew a blast
the echoes of which are still sounding through the world. His sermon was
an impeachment of the Government of New York, the like of which had seldom
been heard before in a Christian pulpit. If any one questions the justice
of the title of this volume, let him read what Dr. Parkhurst said in the
sermon, of which the following sentence is a fair sample:--

    There is not a form under which the Devil disguises himself that so
    perplexes us in our efforts, or so bewilders us in the devising of our
    schemes, as the polluted harpies that, under the pretext of governing
    this city, are feeding day and night on its quivering vitals. They are
    a lying, perjured, rum-soaked and libidinous lot.

That was plain speaking in honest, ringing Saxon, for Dr. Parkhurst knew
that there was no better way of spoiling the trump card of the Devil’s
game than to refuse to let him keep things mixed. He maintained that the
district attorney, or, as we should say, the public prosecutor, was guilty
of complicity with vice and crime: that “every effort to make men
respectable, honest, temperate, and sexually clean was a direct blow
between the eyes of the mayor and his whole gang of drunken and lecherous
subordinates, who shielded and patronised iniquity.” Criminals and
officials, he declared, were hand-and-glove, and he summed up the whole
matter in the following concise exposition of the _status quo_ in “Satan’s
Invisible World” in New York, 1892:--“It is simply one solid gang of
rascals, half of the gang in office and the other half out, and the two
halves steadily catering to each other across the official line.”

[Illustration: From _Frank Leslie’s Weekly_. REV. C. H. PARKHURST, D.D.,

Of course there was a great outcry. Some good people were scandalised,
while as for the bad ones, they were simply outraged at such “violent and
intemperate utterances in the pulpit.” One of the police captains declared
“it was a shame for a minister of the Gospel to disgrace the pulpit by
such utterances.” Dr. Parkhurst was summoned before the Grand Jury, and
solemnly reproved for making statements which he could not for the moment
substantiate with chapter and verse. When the Grand Jury condemned him and
the judge rebuked him, Tammany was in high glee; but Dr. Parkhurst bided
his time. He was not a man to be “downed” by censure. Finding that his
general statements were scouted because he could not produce first hand
evidence as to the literal accuracy of each particular instance on which
he built up his general finding, he took the bold and courageous step of
going himself through the houses of ill-fame, gaming hells, and other
resorts which were running open under the protection of the police. He was
accompanied in his pilgrimage by a detective and a lawyer, and for three
weeks every night Dr. Parkhurst, to use his own phrase, “traversed the
avenues of our municipal hell.” They entered into no houses not easy of
access, went into no places which were not recognised as notorious, and
were perfectly well known by the constable on the beat. In one case they
succeeded in proving police collusion by getting the policeman on beat to
stand guard while they visited the house, ostensibly for an immoral
purpose, in order to warn them against any signs of a possible raid.

Having thus mastered his facts and obtained incontrovertible evidence at
first hand as to the fact of police complicity in the wholesale violation
of the law, Dr. Parkhurst stood up in his pulpit on the morning of March
13th, 1892, and once more arraigned the city authorities. This time,
however, he was armed with a mass of facts ascertained at first hand, and
supported by unimpeachable, independent testimony. He brought forward no
fewer than two hundred and eighty-four cases in which the law was
flagrantly violated under the noses of the police, who, he maintained,
were guilty of corrupt complicity in the violation of the law they were
appointed to enforce.

It was a great sermon, and one that shook the city to its centre. Some
idea of its drift and spirit may be gained from this extract:--

    There is little advantage in preaching the Gospel to a young fellow on
    Sunday, if he is going to be sitting on the edge of a
    Tammany-maintained hell the rest of the week. Don’t tell me that I
    don’t know what I am talking about. Many a long, dismal,
    heart-sickening night, in company with two trusted friends, have I
    spent since I spoke on this matter before, going down into the
    disgusting depths of this Tammany-debauched town; and it is rotten
    with a rottenness that is unspeakable and indescribable, and a
    rottenness that would be absolutely impossible except by the
    connivance, not to say the purchased sympathy, of the men whose one
    obligation before God, men, their own consciences, is to shield virtue
    and make vice difficult. Now, that I stand by, because before
    Almighty God I know it, and I will stand by it though buried beneath
    presentments as thick as autumn leaves in Vallombrosa, or snowflakes
    in a March blizzard.

And stand by it Dr. Parkhurst did. He was promptly summoned again before
the Grand Jury, and this time he had his facts at command. Instead of
being rebuked, the Grand Jury reported emphatically that it was impossible
to reconcile the facts presented by Dr. Parkhurst with any other theory
than that of wholesale police corruption.

The following month various keepers of disreputable houses were prosecuted
upon Dr. Parkhurst’s evidence, when every effort was made to damage Dr.
Parkhurst by representing him as the vicious criminal who was responsible
for the very evils which he had brought to light.

It is the old, old story. As long as you sit still and say nothing you are
all right, but the moment you call attention to a hideous wrong or a
shameful crime, all those whose iniquities you have disclosed combine with
your enemies in order to make a busy public believe that it is you who
have exposed the crime who is the real criminal, while they, poor
innocents, are the injured parties, for whom a respectable public should
have nothing but sympathy, and commiseration.

The ferocity of the attacks upon Dr. Parkhurst provoked a reaction in his
favour. The City Vigilance Society was formed by the association of forty
religious and secular societies of the city. The work of sapping and
mining went steadily on. In order to bring odium upon Dr. Parkhurst, the
police suddenly decided to close up several houses of ill-fame, so as to
turn their unfortunate occupants into the streets on one of the coldest
nights of the winter of 1892. Dr. Parkhurst met this by promptly providing
homes for all the dispossessed women. Foiled in this cruel manœuvre, the
police prosecuted Dr. Parkhurst’s detective for an alleged attempt to levy
blackmail. This was Satan reproving sin with a vengeance, and for the
moment it had a temporary success. The detective was convicted, in the
first instance, but on appeal the verdict was set aside. Undaunted,
however, by this reverse, Dr. Parkhurst began to carry the war into the
enemy’s camp. He got up cases against forty-five of the sixty-four
gambling and disorderly houses which were allowed to run by the police
captain of a single precinct. The trials followed with varying results. It
was evident that the difficulties in the way of obtaining a full
disclosure of police corruption could only be overcome by special
measures. Public opinion was now deeply stirred, and the Chamber of
Commerce memorialised the Senate of New York City to hold an inquiry into
the Police Department of New York.

The Senate appointed a Committee of Investigation, and passed a bill
providing for the payment of its expenses. This bill was vetoed by
Governor Flower, himself a Democrat, whose veto elicited another
illustration, if it were wanted, of the marvellous Pharisaism of Tammany
and its friends.

[Illustration: GOVERNOR FLOWER.]

Where party feeling runs high, anything that one party proposes the other
one opposes, and Governor Flower, finding the Republican majority of the
Senate in favour of the investigation into the misdeeds of the New York
police, could only see in it a Republican plot for the manufacture of
political capital in the division of political patronage. So he took
special objection to any investigation of the Police Department of New
York. The following passage from the veto message deserves to stand on
record as one of the most extraordinary eulogies ever pronounced upon a
rotten system on the very eve of its exposure. Speaking of New York,
Governor Flower said:--

    Except for political objects, there is no good reason why that city
    should be singled out for legislative scrutiny. The same men who do
    the investigating in public will admit in private what every
    well-informed person knows is true--that no city in the State is so
    well governed as New York. No city in the State has a lower tax rate;
    no city has a better police regulation; no city has a lower ratio of
    crime; no city has better streets; no city has a better fire
    department; no city has better parks; no city has better schools; no
    city has a better health department; no city has a better credit; no
    city is so comfortable a place to live in. That bad men sometimes get
    in office there is true. That frauds upon the city treasury sometimes
    occur is true; that mal-administration sometimes happens is true; that
    ideal municipal government has not yet been attained there is true;
    but these things are as equally true of every city in the world, they
    are truer of other cities of our State than they are of New
    York.--Lexow Commission, vol. i., p. 10.

In order to get round the Governor’s veto, prominent members of the
Chamber of Commerce guaranteed to the Committee counsel’s fees to an
amount necessary to enable them to prosecute the investigation. Thereupon
the Committee was appointed and set to work. All its members were Senators
of the State of New York. It was presided over by Mr. Clarence Lexow. The
names of the other members were Edmund O’Connor, George W. Robertson,
Cuthbert W. Pound, Charles T. Saxton, Jacob A. Cantor, Daniel Bradley,
with William A. Sutherland and John W. Goff as counsel. The only member of
the Committee representing New York City was Mr. Cantor, who presented the
minority Report, which maintained that the Republicans were as bad as the
Democrats, and that most of the officials in the Police Department
implicated in blackmail, fraud and corruption were Republicans.

[Illustration: JOHN W. GOFF.]

The Committee held its first meeting on the 9th of March, 1894. At the
earlier sittings the Police Department was represented by counsel, but
after a while he was withdrawn, and the Committee was left to conduct its
inquiries as best it could. It was fortunate in securing the services of a
famous lawyer, Mr. John W. Goff, who is now Recorder of New York,
“succeeding a man who fined him for contempt because he insisted upon his
rights as counsel in protecting one of Dr. Parkhurst’s agents.” As even
the one dissentient member of the Committee reported, “No more tireless,
industrious or effective counsel was ever employed by a Committee charged
with the responsibility of its character.” As I read over the voluminous
reports of the evidence taken by the Lexow Committee, I could not repress
a sigh: would that we had enjoyed the privilege of having such an examiner
as John W. Goff on the South Africa Committee! But, of course, there was
one great difference: the Lexow Committee was appointed for the purpose of
finding out the facts and exposing scandal, whereas the South Africa
Committee seems to have accepted the theory that it was appointed for
exactly the opposite purpose of hushing them up, and of screening Mr.
Chamberlain at any cost.

The members of the Lexow Committee when they undertook their duties had no
idea as to how far it would lead them. They thought that two days a week
for three weeks would complete the investigation. No sooner, however, had
they begun to apply the probe than they came upon evidence of such
rottenness that even the laziest of them felt they had no option but to go
on. Go on they did day after day, taking evidence from morning till night,
but it was not until the end of the year that they were able to finish
their Provisional Report. This was dated January 16th, 1895. In the Report
they thus summarise the evidence which they took:--

    The record shows a total of 10,576 pages of proceedings. This does not
    include a mass of documentary exhibits which were read and considered
    in evidence, for the purpose of information. Of this testimony, 1,077
    pages embrace the subject-matter of police interference at the polls,
    and the balance, or almost 9,500 pages, refer to the subject-matter of
    blackmail, extortion and corruption. In all, 678 witnesses were
    examined, of whom 81 were examined on the first and 597 on the second
    branch of the inquiry. In all, about 3,000 subpœnas were served, of
    which upwards of 2,750 were with reference to the second branch of the
    inquiry.--_Ib._, vol. i., p. 4.

It is upon this immense body of evidence taken on oath, under
cross-examination in public audiences, that I have based this volume.
“Satan’s Invisible World” is thus displayed, not by a stranger or a casual
observer, or an amateur investigator. The revelation has been made by
American subjects testifying on oath before an American tribunal as to the
state of things that actually existed in the City of New York. As the
result of the investigation the old system of Tammany rule was overthrown,
and the police thoroughly reorganised. They have now as Chief Commissioner
Mr. Moss, who, after Mr. Goff, was the chief instrument in exposing the
corruption of the old system. If any one doubts the accuracy of the
picture of what actually existed down to 1894, which is set forth in this
and the following pages, I can only refer him to the volumes of evidence
to which reference is made throughout in the passages quoted.

It is not surprising that men who have lived in the midst of such a city
should sometimes burst out like Dr. Parkhurst with the despairing cry:--

    You can love your country and work for it, pray and plead for it, but
    there is a stage of rottenness which once reached, the country is
    damned beyond the power of the Holy Ghost to do anything for it.

That such a state of rottenness has been reached in any part of the
English-speaking world we must all be loath to admit. The great popular
uprising which swept Tammany from power in 1894 was a healthy sign that
the rottenness had not eaten to the vitals of the community. But the
Charter of Greater New York proves only too well how deeply distrust has
sapped the faith of the citizens in the possibility of governing their
city by the ordinary democratic machinery of an elective assembly.

[Illustration: SENATOR LEXOW.]





The Lexow Committee experienced great difficulty in procuring evidence
owing to the Reign of Terror which was established in New York by the
police. The story reads more like a description of an Indian province
terrorized by a band of Thugs than a statement of how New York was
governed. When unwilling witnesses--and the vast majority of witnesses
were most unwilling--were placed on the stand, they were thus addressed by
the Chairman:--

    Any testimony you give now, under oath, before this Committee with
    reference to bribery or corruption, cannot be used against you in any
    form, shape, or way. The fact of your confession here before this
    Committee will be a complete bar against any prosecution against you
    for that offence. In other words, if you sit here and tell the truth,
    and confess that you have committed any crime of that description, you
    will be absolutely relieved from any punishment for the commission of
    that crime. On the other hand, if you swear to anything that is false,
    then, not only could you be punished for the crime that you committed,
    if you did commit the crime of bribery, but for the crime of false
    swearing, or perjury, besides; you understand that?--Vol. iv., p.

Notwithstanding this, the amount of perjury committed, especially by
policemen, was appalling. One of them, of the name of Interman, admitted
frankly that it was the common understanding among the members of the
force that it was their duty to swear falsely to conceal the facts about
bribery and corruption. If they spoke the truth they would be bounced or
persecuted, whereas if they came forward and perjured themselves they
would stand high with their superiors. The wrath of a captain who can make
it hot for you next day evidently weighed much more with the police than
the wrath of an offended God, whose mills grind so slowly that retribution
may not begin till the day of judgment.

The answers to questions put to brothel-keepers and others as to their
belief in the binding character of an oath and the reality of a future
state were hardly edifying. One woman, Julia Mahoney, broke the record
for the unhesitating candour with which she answered counsel’s questions.

“Do you not know,” said Mr. Goff, “that you would meet your punishment in
the world hereafter?”

“I hope not,” Julia replied simply.

“And you know that you would be liable to go to the State’s prison?”
persisted Mr. Goff. But Mrs. Mahoney was proof against that threat.

“If I was in prison I would be out in twenty-four hours,” she remarked.
“She has got a pull,” sagely observed Senator Bradley.

It must be admitted that it was a task of uncommon difficulty to extract
the truth from witnesses such as these, who fear not God neither regard
man. Why should they? They have got a pull, and the pull ends all things.

Two competent American observers have recently told us what a policeman is
in an American city. Both confirm to the letter what was stated by a
leading citizen of Chicago five years ago. “Never mind what is said about
this or that system of city government. In Chicago and all the West the
police govern the city, and that is all there is to it.” In New York it
would appear to have been much the same. Mr. Theodore Roosevelt, who was
head of the New York police in the first two years of the Reform
Administration, writing in the _Century Magazine_ for October, says:--

    The police occupy positions of great importance. They not merely
    preserve order, the first essential of both liberty and civilisation,
    but to a large portion of our population they stand as the embodiment
    as well as the representative of the law of the land. To the average
    dweller in a tenement-house district, especially if born abroad, the
    policeman is in his own person all that there is of government: he is
    judge, executive and legislature, constitution and town meeting.

The other witness is Mr. Godkin, the editor of the _Evening Post_, who,
writing in the _North American Review_ seven years back, says of the newly
landed immigrant:--

    No sooner has he established himself in a tenement-house or a
    boarding-house than he finds himself face to face with three
    functionaries who represent to him the government of his new
    country--the police justice of the district, the police captain of his
    precinct, and the political “district leader.” These are, to him, the
    Federal, State and municipal governments rolled into one.... These
    three men are to him America. Everything else in the national
    institutions in which Americans pride themselves he only sees through
    a glass darkly, if he sees it at all.

These dwellers in tenement-houses in New York, to whom the police--of whom
there were then 4,000--are judge, executive, and legislature, constitution
and town meeting, comprise two-thirds of the population of the city. To
the foreign denizen of these districts--say one-half of the whole--the
policeman and his masters of the political machine are all of America that
he can see or understand.

Now let us see what kind of an America the New York police presented to
the eyes of the majority of the population of the city. The Lexow
Committee in its final Report, after commenting on the difficulty of
obtaining evidence owing to the terrorism practised by the police, said of
a typical case:--

    This situation was characteristic. A consuming desire to put an end to
    an outrageous servitude on the one hand, and a dread lest failure
    might result in a still more galling thraldom on the other! It seemed,
    in fact, as though every interest, every occupation, almost every
    citizen, was dominated by an all-controlling and overshadowing dread
    of the police department.

    Those in the humbler walks of life were subjected to appalling
    outrages which to some extent continued, even to the end of the
    investigation. They were abused, clubbed and imprisoned, and even
    convicted of crimes on false testimony by policemen and their
    accomplices. Men of business were harassed and annoyed in their
    affairs, so that they too were compelled to bend their necks to the
    police yoke, in order that they might share that so-called protection
    which seemed indispensable to the profitable conduct of their affairs.
    People of all degrees seemed to feel that to antagonize the police was
    to call down upon themselves the swift judgment and persecution of an
    invulnerable force, strong in itself, banded together by self-interest
    and the community of unlawful gain, and so thoroughly entrenched in
    the municipal government as to defy ordinary assault. Strong men
    hesitated when required to give evidence of their oppression, and
    whispered stories; tricks, subterfuges and schemes of all kinds were
    resorted to to withhold from this committee and its counsel the fact
    that they had knowledge of acts of corruption or oppression by the
    police. The uniform belief was that if they spoke against the police,
    or if the police discovered that they had been instrumental in aiding
    your Committee, or had given information, their business would be
    ruined, they would be hounded from the city, and their lives even
    jeopardised.--Vol. i., pp. 25, 26.

For wrongs inflicted by the police there was no redress. Mr. Goff in the
concluding stages of the investigation referred to this phase of the
question in the following significant terms:--

    A great many innocent people who have been clubbed by the police in
    our city have thought that the city was responsible for the actions of
    its employés; but the courts have held time and time again that the
    city is not responsible; and then from the further fact that nearly
    every policeman in the city has his property in his wife’s name, it
    has become a notorious thing that it is useless to bring an action for
    assault against a policeman.... Mr. Jerome reminds me now of the
    celebrated case of Mr. Fleming; I think it was a Decoration Day
    parade. Captain Williams clubbed him in Madison Square, and he got a
    judgment of $2,500; but the judgment was never collected. We have
    never been able to get it on the record that a judgment against a
    police official has been paid.--Vol. v., p. 4,661.

It is not surprising after this to read the answer of a witness, a
journalist of standing, who had been nearly murdered by a police captain
in the cells of the police-station. He was asked if he had taken
proceedings against his assailant. He replied:--

    “I never did, sir. It is no use going to law with the Devil, and
    Court, and Hell!”

To quote the more formal but not less emphatic finding of the Lexow

    It appears, therefore, that the police formed a separate and highly
    privileged class, armed with the authority and the machinery for
    oppression and punishment, but practically free themselves from the
    operation of the criminal law.--Vol. i., p. 30.

[Illustration: A VIEW IN ST. PETERSBURG. A City where the Police have as
much power as in New York.]



One of the most pathetic of human fallacies is the assumption that you
have only to pass a law in order to extirpate an evil. The touching faith
of English-speaking men in the efficacy of statute-made law is nowhere
more strikingly illustrated than in the great cities of the United States.
The fact that a statute is only so much good paper inked by a
printing-press does not seem to occur to the citizens, even after the
repeated demonstrations of its impotence. Nowhere can severer laws be
found for the suppression of all manner of vice and crime than in those
cities where vice and crime hold high carnival under the patronage of the
police. It has been frequently observed that this habit of finding relief
for moral indignation by placing a stringent law upon the statute-book is
exactly the instinct which leads the private citizen to say “Damn!” There
is a great deal of this swearing at large in the passing of rigorous
statutes, which are no sooner passed than they appear to be forgotten.
Take, for instance, the laws which were passed from time to time to secure
the extirpation of vice and crime in the City of New York. They certainly
did not err in the direction of leniency. The usual complaint of the
police elsewhere is that they are not vested with sufficient power in
order to deal with the vicious and criminal classes. This cannot be said
with truth of the New York police, as will be seen from the following
extract from the proceedings before the Lexow Committee:--

    Mr. Moss: We have got a situation here as autocratic as anything than
    can be found in St. Petersburg; a law was passed in 1873 for the
    purpose of giving the police abundant opportunity to enter such places
    for any purpose that they might see fit to enter.

    Mr. Goff: Judicial functions have been vested in the Superintendent of
    Police, in a policeman of this city, who, on his own motion, can under
    Section 285 of the Consolidation Act issue a warrant, and on the
    execution of that warrant the doors of any house in the City of New
    York may be broken in. If we had time to introduce evidence of cases,
    we could do so where from spleen and malice on the part of some common
    policeman, the respectable houses have been invaded without colour or
    authority of right, except this arbitrary power given to the police by

    Senator O’Connor: That is simply a horrible condition of affairs;
    better submit to a thousand disorderly houses than that one decent
    house should be treated in such a manner.

    Mr. Goff: Under the law as it exists to-day in the City of New York, a
    policeman who is the Superintendent of Police--that is all he is, a
    policeman--has the power to issue his warrant fully equal to that
    exercised by the Prefect of Police in St. Petersburg....

    Counsel then read as follows:--

    “If any member of the police force, or if any two or more
    householders, shall report in writing under his or their signature, to
    the Superintendent of Police that there are good grounds, and state
    them, for believing any house, room or premises within the said city
    to be kept or used as a common gaming-house or common gaming premises
    or room for playing for wagers, or for money at any game of chance, or
    to be kept or used for lewd and obscene purposes or amusements, or the
    deposit or sale of lottery tickets or lottery policies, it shall be
    lawful for the Superintendent of Police to authorise in writing any
    member or members of the police force to enter the same, who may
    forthwith arrest all persons there found offending against the law,
    but none other, and seize all implements of game or lottery tickets or
    lottery policies and convey any person so arrested before a magistrate
    and bring the article so seized to the office of the clerk; it shall
    be the duty of the said Superintendent of Police to cause such
    arrested person to be rigorously prosecuted and such articles seized
    to be destroyed as the orders, rules and regulations of the Board of
    Police shall direct.”

    There has been no law in our country under our system of a more
    complete, sweeping and comprehensive measure placed within the powers
    of a simple executive office, as the Superintendent of Police is, as
    this law. It exceeds that of the Common Law, where the power is vested
    in a judicial officer to issue a warrant; but here a policeman may
    authorise in writing any members of his police force to enter any
    place complained of by either a member of the police force or by two
    householders, and arrest all such persons found therein.--Vol. iv.,

Notwithstanding this right of domiciliary visitation, which equals or
exceeds that possessed by the Prefect of St. Petersburg, we have it
admitted on all hands that it utterly failed in attaining its end. The
police machine, Mr. Goff declared, was by no means inefficient. Regarded
as a machine it was indeed, in his opinion, the most perfect machine ever
invented in New York. Notwithstanding all its mechanical perfection the
result was nothing but organised impotence.

Witness after witness appeared on the stand to attest the extraordinary
inability of the police authorities to cope with the flagrant evils in the
city or in the force under their command. On one occasion it was proved
that the agents of the Society for the Prevention of Crime had been hunted
by a mob of bullies and crooks for half a mile through Bowery. It was a
regular riot, in which the agents for the Society were struck and stoned
through the whole of Captain Devery’s precinct; the police officers
looking on as amused spectators. They were appealed to for assistance, and
took no notice. At last, the hunted men jumped on a car, and escaped with
their lives. But although this riot had taken place in the heart of the
city, and created a scandal through the whole of New York, Superintendent
Byrnes reported that he could not find any evidence that there had been a
riot (p. 4,834.) The extraordinary inability of the police to see what was
going on under their noses, although apparently phenomenal, was so
habitual that it ceased to excite any surprise. Saloons ran open all
Sunday under the eyes of the patrolmen. The Superintendent of the Society
for the Prevention of Crime gave evidence on this subject as follows:--

    I pointed out an open saloon to a patrolman, whose name I do not know,
    and inquired why he did not close it; he said that if I insisted upon
    it, he supposed he must do so; but it would do no good, and only get
    him in trouble with the department and cause his removal to some
    undesirable precinct.--Vol. v., p. 4,835.

[Illustration: JOHN C. SHEEHAN. Ex-Police Commissioner. Boss of Tammany.]

But it is only when the Police Commissioners, who stand at the head of the
whole force, are under examination that we discover the extent of their
utter inability to find out anything. There was, for instance, Mr.
Sheehan, who at that time was Police Commissioner, and who now is the
titular Boss of Tammany Hall. The question of pool-rooms was under
consideration when he admitted that they existed, and that he knew they
were corrupting the police. Then the Chairman put the following

    And, notwithstanding the fact that you knew or had heard that those
    pool-rooms were corrupting the police, you thought it was not
    necessary to take any action upon it?

Mr. Sheehan replied:--

    I did start an inquiry to find out if those pool-rooms were paying,
    what they were paying, and who they were paying it to. I did that
    within a few months after I became a Police Commissioner, but I
    couldn’t get any authoritative information of any kind on the subject;
    but I got it from all sides that they were paying, and it was
    believed that they were, but no person would substantiate or stand for
    it.--Vol. iv., p. 3,765.

So he abandoned the subject as one which it was no use discussing any

It was just the same with Mr. Commissioner Martin. He was asked concerning
the existence of corruption in the police force. I quote the following
from the Record:--

    Examined by Mr. Sutherland: What did you do to restore the tone and
    efficiency of the police?

    A. The Board of Police was waiting for any evidence of that character
    to be brought to it.--Vol. i., p. 483.

    Q. What investigation has the Police Commissioners ever instituted to
    discover the falsity of those charges?

    A. No special investigation.--Vol. i., p. 484.

It was the same thing with disorderly houses.

    Examined by Mr. Nicoll: And, during all the years you have been Police
    Commissioner, you never have examined the record to see how many there
    are or where they are located?

    A. No, sir; I have not.

    Q. And hasn’t that led you to go to these records to see what houses
    were put down as disorderly in this category?

    A. No, sir; I have not.

    Q. Has the subject of suppression or diminution of these disorderly
    houses been a matter of discussion before the Board of Police?

    A. No, sir.--Vol. i., p. 528.

Even when crime was discovered, when the criminal was, as it were, taken
red-handed, there seemed to be a strange paralysis that prevented his
appearance in court. This affected other Boards besides that of the
Police. When the action of the Excise Board was under consideration, it
was admitted by Mr. Andrews, a Commissioner of the Board, that in one
notorious case the licence had been obtained by false swearing. Mr. Goff

    Q. Did you ever, when you discovered these false papers, as you say,
    and of perjuries having been committed before the Board--did you ever
    take any steps to have the perpetrators called to answer for the

    A. No steps were ever taken for indictment; no.--Vol. iv., p. 4,386.

It was not for want of painstaking on the part of the Legislature that the
police force was not more efficient. Every constable before being
appointed had to comply with the provisions of the Civil Service law,
which were thus explained by Commissioner Martin:--

    The candidate is required to have the names of a certain number of
    citizens, usually five, to vouch for him as to his character--their
    acquaintance with him; and all those papers having been finally
    completed, the papers are sent to the Civil Service Board, where
    examinations are held from time to time of batches of such applicants.
    Application is made to the captain for examination of his character
    and as to the persons who signed the paper, and a report is made in
    writing by the captain. There are three Civil Service Commissioners
    appointed by the Mayor; I do not recollect the names just at this
    time. Once a year the Civil Service Board made an examination of all
    applicants for patrolmen, and they usually examine in batches of from
    400 to 600.--Vol. i., p. 567.

The Commissioners themselves, when asked about the subject, were at a loss
to explain how it was vice and crime flourished under their very eyes. Mr.
John McClave, the Republican Police Commissioner, told the Committee that
he had always voted with his Tammany Commissioners on the Board, because
“he had never known them to do anything wrong.” There was a very touching
little scene described by Mr. McClave’s son-in-law, as to the grief which
the appointment of the Lexow Committee occasioned Mr. McClave. Mr. and
Mrs. McClave were going to a reception one night, and, said Mr. Gideon
Granger, the son-in-law--

    Mr. McClave was quite nervous, and Mrs. McClave turned to him and
    said, “Why, Johnnie, what is the matter with you?” And he says, “Oh,
    nothing, nothing.” And she says, “Oh yes, there is; it is that police
    investigation business. I would not worry over that.” And he said, “I
    don’t see why it is those hayseed politicians up in Albany want to
    come down here and bother us honest men.”--Vol. i., p. 1,162.

Notwithstanding Mr. McClave’s pathetic lament, the Lexow Committee went on
with its work, and the conduct of these “honest men” was brought forth to
the light of day. With results.





The New York Police Department as it existed in 1894 was like the Scribes
and Pharisees in the Gospel. It was like unto whited sepulchres, which
indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones
and of all uncleanness. Hardly a single thing that was proved to exist
could have existed if the laws, rules and regulations had been faithfully
enforced. Therefore until the searchlight of the Lexow inquiry was turned
on, it was the correct thing to deny that the abuses, the corruption, the
blackmail had any existence. On paper the New York police was the finest
in the world. It was the most perfectly equipped, and it was armed with
authority as great as that of any autocrat. What then could possibly be

The answer of the Lexow Committee, after hearing the evidence, was short
and succinct. Their answer to the question, What is wrong in the Police
Department? might be summed up in one word--Everything. From the crown of
the head down to the sole of the feet, the department was proved to be one
mass of putrefying sores. There was no health in it, and it was worst of
all at the top.

The Lexow Report says:--

    The conclusion which has impressed itself upon your Committee is that
    the disorganising elements at work in the Police Department are such
    that operate from the higher officials down, rather than from the
    patrolmen up.--Vol. i., p. 29.

But the origin of the mischief was found to exist not in the department at
all, but outside the department. The first thing that was wrong was that
the police were practically run by Tammany Hall politicians in the
interest of their party, and that the real governing power in the force
lay outside of it. Two of the Police Commissioners in whose hands the
control of the force was nominally lodged were leaders in their own
districts for Tammany Hall, and their sense of their obligations to their
party far outweighed their obligations to the law or to the city. As one
of the witnesses put it bluntly:--

    So long as our municipal departments are run by Boss Croker, they will
    be regarded as adjuncts of a political organisation, and will be used
    to perpetuate its power. A police commission controlled by such
    influence is incapable of rendering justice.--Vol. i., p. 114.

From an English point of view what New York needed most was a City
Council, with some effective control over the affairs of the city. The
shadowy unreality known as the Board of Aldermen cuts no figure in the
inquiry into the forces which actually governed New York. Tammany Hall,
the executive committee of Tammany Hall, came much nearer to the ideal of
a Municipal Assembly than the Board of Aldermen. It was to Tammany Hall,
and not to the Board of Aldermen, that the Police Commissioners appealed
when they wanted to enforce their authority over the men under their own
orders. This came out very plainly in Commissioner Martin’s evidence. He
found that his subordinates were taking so active a hand in politics,
joining political clubs and the like, that he wished to check it. He went,
not to the Board of Aldermen, but to Tammany Hall. He was asked:--

    Q. Why did you go there?

    A. I took occasion to speak in Tammany Hall about it, because there I
    could reach people from different assembly districts; I have spoken to
    representatives of the different districts about it in my office.

    Q. And you went to Tammany Hall to engage their co-operation in
    securing greater efficiency of the police force in New York city?

    A. To aid in making it efficient; yes, sir.

    Q. Was that because there was no other place to go to?

    A. There was no other place to go to that would be as effective as
    that.--Vol. i., p. 443.

No wonder the Committee reports:--

    No stronger illustration is necessary to show how under the then
    existing conditions a political faction had impressed itself so
    strongly upon the police force that its authority was more potent than
    that of the nominal chiefs of the department.--Vol. i., p. 19.

It was to Tammany Hall also that the liquor dealers appealed for
protection from the intolerable exactions of the police. “There was no
other place to go to.” The legal authorities were paralysed by the extreme
distrust felt by Americans in all elective assemblies. Tammany Hall
naturally and inevitably became the one living centre of popular authority
in the city. Its moral authority in New York was something like that of
the Land League over Ireland under Mr. Parnell. The Lexow Committee report
with a certain jealous awe concerning the “supreme head of authority,” Mr.
Richard Croker, who, although a private citizen, unconnected with the
Police Department, but leader of Tammany Hall, “was able to do what all
the other legally constituted authorities failed to accomplish.” They

    The same private citizen whose authority was so potent to accomplish
    all this, was able, by a word of command, at once to shut up all the
    pool-rooms then in full operation, and which, according to the
    testimony up to that time, neither the whole force of police, of
    detectives, of superintendent, or of the Commissioners themselves
    could effectively close.--Vol. i., pp. 18-19.

“Taken as a whole,” says the Lexow Report, “the records disclose the fact
that the Police Department, from the highest down to the lowest, was
thoroughly impregnated with the political influence of Tammany Hall”; and
they add, what naturally follows, “that the suppression and repression of
crime depended not so much upon the ability of the police to enforce the
law, but rather upon the will of that organisation or faction to have the
law enforced” (vol. i., p. 19).

The leaders of Tammany, no doubt, were not “agin the law” in the abstract.
But they owed their first allegiance to their party, and their first
thought was not of the duty they owed to the city, but of the duty they
owed to Tammany. The claims of that great brotherhood had precedence over
such trifles as the laws of the State, which after all were passed by
“Hayseed” legislators, or, in plain English, by the rustic vote of the
rural districts of the State of New York. One redoubtable worthy, Judge
and ex-Senator Roesch, who figures conspicuously in this American Tartarus
as one of the minor Plutonian deities, gave very interesting evidence on
this point. He was a Judge, an ex-Senator, and a leader of Tammany Hall.
His aid in the latter capacity seems to have been generally invoked by the
various law-breakers of the neighbourhood. He was asked by Senator
O’Connor whether it was not one of the duties of the district leader, “if
the members of his party were labouring under any kind of difficulty at
all, for the purpose of conducting his organisation and making that solid
with the parties, to do what he could to give them aid?”

The Senator answered unhesitatingly, “In every case.” When he was proved
to have received money from keepers of disorderly houses, whose girls were
run in by the police, he said that he received it entirely as a lawyer for
giving legal advice. But he admitted that when he went to the
station-house to bail out the girls, he acted as a political leader. So
the Chairman observed, “You advised as a lawyer and acted as a political
leader in carrying out your advice.” Mr. Senator Roesch is in many ways a
more typical representative of Tammany than Mr. Croker himself. Both,
however, agree on one principle. They always stick by their friends, and
when anything is going they see that, their supporters are not left out in
the cold. This, which would be denounced as scandalous nepotism on the
part of a less democratic Government, was unblushingly proclaimed as the
sole saving principle of appointing officials under Tammany. Senator
Roesch had used his influence or political pull in order to induce the
Police Commissioner Martin to transfer one Sergeant Schryer to another
precinct. Questioned by Mr. Goff before the Committee as to the grounds
for this intervention on his part in the promotion of the police, he made
the following answer:--

    A. I will tell you; when a man comes to me and wants to get an
    appointment or transfer, or anything like that, I never stop to
    consider who is in the place he wants to go to, but my object is to
    get him there; necessarily, somebody has got to get out of the way,
    and here it happened to be Sergeant Schryer....

    If I can get a friend of mine on the force, or get him a promotion or
    position on the force, I always try to do it.

    Q. And without inquiring, whether or not the man who is going to
    suffer by the removal, who was to suffer?

    A. That was none of my business; it was sufficient for me to know the
    man they appointed to that place was competent and worthy of it, was a
    friend or party organisation.

    By Senator O’Connor: A political leader or a man holding a high
    position here in the city, regardless entirely of the merits of the
    man whom he seeks to remove, when requested by one of his
    friends--political friends--to secure his position, that leader does
    everything in his power to bring about that result?

    A. For his friend.

    By Mr. Goff: Now, we have it that both parties do it?

    A. Certainly.

    Q. Only that the Republican leaders do not have a pull?

    A. Well, Republican leaders are not in the majority; New York city is
    more a Democratic city.--Vol. ii., pp. 1,283-4.

Mr. Roesch confessed with frank brutality the principle upon which all the
politicians acted in relation to the patronage to which they believed they
were entitled. To make room for their friend, to secure a place on the
city pay-rolls for a political comrade, was ample justification for
insisting upon the removal of any officer who might happen to be in the
way. Let no one imagine that this was an exceptional case. Commissioner
Martin admitted frankly that from eighty-five to ninety per cent. of all
the appointments which he had made when he was chairman of the Police
Board were endorsed, in the first instance, by the district leader of
Tammany Hall for the district in which the applicant resided.

Under such a system promotion by merit was practically non-existent. On
this point Commissioner Martin was equally frank. He was questioned very
closely as to whether he had ever promoted an officer simply for merit.
After thinking a bit, he said he thought he could name one or two cases.
Then said Mr. Goff:--

    So far as your recollection goes, with the exception of two instances,
    so long as you have been police commissioner, you have not recommended
    for appointment, promotion or transfer a single man, except one, who
    was backed by political influence?

    A. I do not recollect of any others. I think there are others of
    them.--Vol. vi., p. 448.

But if a district leader of the type of Roesch was able to nominate
officers to the police, what becomes of the law by which all officers were
to be appointed by open competition in an examination conducted according
to Civil Service rules? The answer to this question is twofold. In the
first case, a certain margin was allowed to the Commissioners. They were
not bound always to appoint the candidates who came out on top. If they
were tolerably near the top, it was held to be sufficient. The second
answer is much more extraordinary. It was proved before the Committee that
by connivance with a police clerk it was quite possible for candidates to
be returned as having passed their examinations who had never been in
the examination-hall, and who never had written a single answer to any of
the questions! This was done by personation. A competent person entered
himself in the name of the candidate, filled in his examination papers,
and passed in his name. By this means there was no difficulty in driving a
coach and four through the Civil Service rules. The persons who obtained a
position on the force by this means were known as the pupils of those who
passed their examinations in their study, and were blackmailed


John Schlie, examined by Mr. Moss, described how one of the personators
went gathering in his fees:--

    I went down one day with Dave Brant to the police headquarters. We met
    an officer; the next thing I know I saw two 10-dollar bills slipped in
    his hand: he said, “That is good;” I said, “How did you get that?” He
    said, “That is one of my students;” I said, “What do you mean?” he
    said, “I passed for them people;” he said, “That is good;” so we went
    and had a drink and walked a couple of blocks; he commenced scratching
    his head, and he said, “I guess I have another student;” he goes down
    there and gets 15 dollars more.--Vol. ii., p. 1,474.

Of course, it was impossible thus to cheat the Civil Service examinations
without the connivance of some of the officials, and this connivance had
to be paid for at a price. Thus the natural process, promotion by pull,
led up to promotion by purchase. The evidence on this point was
overwhelming. It appeared that in a very great number of cases--so many
indeed as practically to establish the rule--candidates who wished to be
appointed to the force had to pay 300 dollars to a go-between, who
negotiated the matter with the police authorities. How much money stuck to
the fingers of the go-between, and how much was passed on to those in
authority, does not clearly appear, but there is no doubt that the sum of
300 dollars was demanded, and paid, as a preliminary before the candidate
could assume the uniform of policeman.

This practice once begun, it rapidly extended. As the initial cost was 300
dollars, each step in promotion cost a larger sum. To be made a sergeant
cost 1,600 dols., while the price of a captaincy was 15,000 dollars! The
police who had purchased their promotion in this fashion naturally felt
that they had a vested interest in their posts. In the British army a
similar system of purchase grew up, but it was one which was regulated by
law and sanctioned by custom, whereas in the case of the New York police
the whole system was under the ban of the law. The Lexow Committee
remarked in their report upon this subject:--

    The policeman who pays for his appointment commences his career with
    the commission of a crime, and it is not strange that the
    demoralisation thus engendered should follow him in his further
    career. The captain who pays a fortune for his appointment finds
    himself compelled to recoup in order to return the moneys loaned to
    him by his friends by resorting to the practices which have been
    disclosed in the record before us. It seems incredible that men who
    are otherwise law-abiding and efficient should stoop to the
    perpetration of the monstrous and debasing practices revealed by this
    record, unless influenced by a system existing as the result of the
    conditions hereinbefore alluded to. Nor is it strange that, in the
    contemplation of these practices by superior officers, inferior
    members of the force should have become demoralised, until the
    contamination has spread throughout the entire department.--Vol. i.,
    pp. 49, 50.

It may be asked how was it that, while the evil was still in its infancy,
and the force as a whole was not yet tainted through and through, its
honest members did not expose the corruption which was being established
in their midst? The answer is that the evil began at the top and spread
downwards. Hence, it was impossible for the private constable to make a
stand without exposing himself to a severe punishment for daring to be
more virtuous than his superiors. The following extract from Gideon
Granger’s evidence will show how this pressure from above operated upon
those below:--

    A. I did not come to court because of the threats that were made by
    Mr. McClave and Mr. Nicoll, and I knew the power that a police
    commissioner has got, to use every bit of the department against
    anybody, to accomplish their own ends, and, in fact, he has boasted of

    Q. Mr. McClave?

    A. Yes, sir; endless power he has boasted of.

    Q. What has he said in his boasting?

    A. He said police commissioners had more power than the President of
    the United States had; repeatedly said that.--Vol. i., p. 1,142.

In considering the action of the police, we ought in justice to remember
that they were living in a city the whole administration of which was
infected by this money canker.

Mr. William M. Ivins, private secretary to Mayor Grace, by whom he was
appointed City Chamberlain, estimated that in his time “assessments”--that
is, money paid by candidates to “guarantee the result” of their
elections--averaged £40,000 per annum. He wrote:--

    “The existing system amounts to an almost complete exclusion from
    official public life of all men who are not enabled to pay, if not a
    sum equal to the entire salary of the office they seek, at least a
    very large percentage of it. The poor man, or the moderately
    well-to-do man, is thus at once cut off from all political ambition,
    because the only key to success is wealth or machine power. The ablest
    lawyer at our Bar could not secure a nomination for a judgeship unless
    he were able to pay an assessment of from 10,000 dollars to 20,000
    dollars (£2,000 to £4,000); while a mere political lawyer, if he have
    the means of paying his assessment and stands well with the party
    leaders, can without great difficulty secure a nomination, and even an
    election, to an office for which he has no peculiar qualifications.”

It would therefore be unjust to judge the police without making due
allowance for the condition of their environment.

One of the most interesting witnesses who came before the Committee was
Captain Creedon. It was in his case that the facts concerning the purchase
of promotion were brought out most clearly.

Creedon was an Irishman, with a distinguished record and a high character.
He joined the police force in 1864, and was made sergeant after fifteen
years in the ranks. He remained sergeant for thirteen years, when he was
promoted to a captaincy. Before he entered the police he had served with
great gallantry in the Union army. He served with his regiment in no fewer
than twenty-three engagements. He entered as a private, rose to be a
sergeant, and his name was down for a first lieutenancy when he left the
army. His record on the police for thirty years’ service was extremely
good, hardly anything being entered to his discredit. Such entries as were
to be found related only to breaches of the technical rules of the force,
and in no way implied any moral guilt.

Captain Creedon was put in the witness-box, and asked how much he had paid
to be made a captain. He denied he had paid anything. As the facts were
perfectly well known, the Committee was much startled by Captain Creedon’s
perjury. But after adjournment had given time for reflection, the worthy
Captain came to the stand and explained that he had denied everything
because he was an Irish revolutionist, and that he had such a dread and
terror of being regarded as an informer, that he preferred to perjure
himself rather than incur that disgrace. He was willing to sacrifice
himself and risk going to gaol for perjury rather than in any way
implicate any of his friends in the improper and illegal transactions in
which he had been engaged.

It was carefully explained to him that he was not in Ireland, and that
nothing he could possibly say on the stand could expose him to the
imputation of being an informer. Having received this assurance, Captain
Creedon opened his mouth and spoke.

The story he had to tell was very simple. Three times he had gone up for
examination for a captaincy before the Civil Service Board. He had passed
creditably every time, but notwithstanding this, he seemed no nearer to
securing an appointment. His friends kept on telling him that he was
simply wasting his time going up for examination after examination. He had
much better stay at home unless he made up his mind to do one thing. He
steadily turned a deaf ear to their representations, until at last four
years after his first application, seeing that no one was promoted without
bribing their superiors, he consented to fall in with the general
practice. As soon as he did this, the way was made plain before him. Mr.
Reppenhagen, the representative of the New York Democracy in his district,
was indicated as the man to approach Police Commissioner Voorhis. Mr.
Reppenhagen saw the Commissioner, and reported to the Captain that the
place could be had for 12,000 dollars. Creedon had not at that time 12,000
dollars to invest in the purchase of a captaincy, but on talking it over
with his friends, they agreed to make up a purse, so as to enable him to
acquire the position which he coveted. While they were raising the money,
Reppenhagen reappeared, and announced that a certain sergeant named
Weigand had offered 12,000 dollars for the captaincy, and that if Creedon
wished to secure it, it would cost him 15,000 dollars. Creedon’s friends
were men of mettle, and they agreed to raise the full sum. Creedon gave
the subscribers notes acknowledging their subscriptions as a loan, which
he afterwards repaid. The money was raised, and deposited in a bank. A Mr.
Martin then appears on the scene as the confidential man of the Police
Commissioner, smelling round after the 15,000 dollars as a rat noses round
a cheese. For some reason or other there was a hitch in the appointment,
and Creedon’s friends and Reppenhagen passed some days in horrible
suspense as to whether or not, in spite of the money being “put up,” the
appointment might go to Sergeant Weigand, while Martin was equally alarmed
lest the 15,000 dollars should slip through his fingers.

The Record contains the following entries:--

    John W. Reppenhagen examined by Mr. Goff: Do you remember saying to
    Martin further, that as long as Creedon’s friends had put up more
    money than Weigand was reported to have put up, that it would play the
    devil in the organisation in that district if Creedon was not

    A. I might have said that.--Vol. v., p. 5,010.

    Q. Don’t you remember when you said that to Martin, that Martin said
    in word and in substance as follows: “I will go right down and I will
    see Voorhis, who is too damned hoggish about this thing.” Do you
    remember those words?

    A. I don’t remember the words.

    Q. When he was in that condition of excitement, and when he struck the
    bar several times with his clenched fist, didn’t he say those words,
    “That Voorhis wanted everything, almost the earth; he was hoggish, and
    he would go right down to New York and talk right up to him, and tell
    him he must do the right thing?”

    A. In substance he said that--yes.--Vol. v., p. 5,014-5.

Reppenhagen was evidently in a state of great uneasiness about securing
the patronage for which the money had been raised by Creedon’s friends. By
way of enforcing his representations, he reminded Mr. Martin pointedly
that the only chance he had of fingering any of the money was to see that
Creedon’s appointment went through, otherwise he would not make a cent.
Thus pressed, Martin went off to see Voorhis. When he next saw Reppenhagen
he assured him that it was all right, and that Voorhis had pledged his
word to appoint Creedon the next Board Day. Even after this there was a
hitch. It was reported that Weigand was going to be appointed after all.
Reppenhagen then found it necessary to take hold of the affair with a
strong hand.

“John,” said he to Martin, “you had better go down yourself, and stay by
the Commissioner until the appointment is made.” Thus adjured, John went
down, vowing that he would not leave the Commissioner until he had
appointed Creedon. Then at last Creedon was duly appointed.

After this another hitch arose as to the difficulty of paying over the
money. Then it was Mr. Martin’s turn to be uneasy. He said he thought he
had been bilked, and that the money would never be turned over. Creedon’s
friends, however, were men of affairs, and knew the kind of gentry they
were dealing with. They had refused to hand over the money until the
Captain was duly appointed. But now that Creedon was a captain at last
they released the money. When Reppenhagen handed over the fifteen thousand
dollars to Martin, that functionary handed him back five thousand dollars
for himself. How much of the ten thousand dollars went to Commissioner
Voorhis or how much of it stuck to Martin’s fingers the record does not
show. Here, however, was clear and unmistakable evidence as to the
systematic manner in which promotions were arranged for and carried
through between the Commissioners on the one hand and the candidates on
the other.

There is a sequel to this story, which is so exquisitely absurd that it
seems more like _opera bouffe_ than a chapter from recent history. While
the Committee was still engaged in ferreting out how the money was paid
which secured Captain Creedon his captaincy, a startling rumour reached
the Committee that the Police Board had suspended Captain Creedon from
duty on account of his having obtained his captaincy by corrupt means. A
bombshell falling in the court could hardly have created greater

To begin with, the Committee was a privileged body. All its proceedings
were privileged. For any outside authority to act upon the testimony which
it had taken without the direct authorisation of the Committee would be a
contempt of the Senate. Further, the evidence given by Captain Creedon was
tendered on the assurance of the Committee that no action could be taken
upon it by any outside authority. They had promised him protection and
immunity from persecution and prosecution, and for the Police Board to use
his own admissions against him, which were privileged communications, the
making of which secured him protection from any action based upon such
admissions, was an indictable offence at the common law. But what made
things worse was that, when the Captain left the stand, he had been
addressed in eulogistic terms by counsel. This was not without cause. His
candour in owning up and admitting everything had enabled the Committee to
penetrate into the depths of the mystery of promotion by purchase. Mr.
Goff had concluded his little speech by declaring that, “In view of
everything; in view of your splendid service to your country, and your
good service on the Police Department, it is the unanimous expression of
the Committee that the public interests would not be served were you to be
disturbed in your present position as police captain” (p. 4,982).

Within an hour of this emphatic and public certificate of commendation,
the Police Board met and suspended Captain Creedon from duty. Not a single
captain or police officer of all the black regiment of clubbers and
blackmailers, whose infamy had been proved before the Committee, and who
had been indicted before the Grand Jury, had been removed from duty. Only
when this honest officer had admitted the truth did they pounce down upon
him and make an example. It is only fair to say that the Board was not
aware when it suspended Creedon of the remarks that had been made by the
counsel of the Committee as he left the witness stand. When they were
rebuked they restored him to his post. But even with this allowance, the
fact that the Commissioners should have only made one suspension, and that
of a man who had confessed and repented of his wrong-doing, while they
left all the other scoundrels unwhipped, was one of the most significant
incidents in the whole course of the inquiry.

But after such an illustration of the methods of the Police Board, is it
very surprising that until the Lexow Committee sat the authorities were
utterly unable to discover any specific evidence as to the corruption into
which the whole force had sunk?

[Illustration: CAPTAIN CREEDON.]




The following narrative of the career of a police captain of the City of
New York is taken for the most part textually from the evidence tendered
on oath by Captain Max F. Schmittberger, then in command of the Nineteenth
Precinct. The police of New York were four thousand strong, divided for
purposes of administration--and of plunder--into thirty-eight Precincts.
Schmittberger was Captain of the Nineteenth. He gave his evidence almost
at the close of the inquiry, when the essential facts were all proved up
to the hilt by the evidence of a multitude of witnesses. Strange, almost
incredible though it may appear that such an official should make so
remarkable a confession, it is to be remembered that the facts were
already known, and the only chance he had of saving himself was by turning
Queen’s evidence. When he took the stand under subpœna, the Chairman
addressed him as follows:--

    We are here on the great State service to ascertain not only
    individual or specific cases of fraud or corruption, but the general
    system, and any witness who places himself on the stand here, no
    matter if he has himself been guilty of the violation of the law, if
    he places himself under the protection of this Committee, to serve it,
    to aid it in the ascertainment of those questions that the State
    Senate has imposed upon us, we shall consider it not only our
    obligation and our duty under the circumstances as Senators,
    individually and collectively, to do all that we can to see that that
    immunity which the law throws about you is safely guarded, but that he
    shall hereafter be protected from any of those results that that
    testimony might otherwise bring upon him.--Vol. v., pp. 5,311-2.

Thus adjured, Captain Schmittberger did on the 21st of December, 1894,
unfold as remarkable a tale of infamy as ever was deposed on oath by an
officer supposed to be responsible for the enforcement of the law. When he
had closed his testimony, he said, “I have made a clean breast of
everything I know.” Mr. Goff, who was examining him, asked:--

    Is it not a fact that, owing to the developments before this Committee
    showing the corrupt and rotten condition of affairs in the Police
    Department, you feel justified in coming forward and stating all you
    know for the benefit of the people of this city and of this State? The
    Captain replied: “I feel that the pillars of the church are falling,
    and have fallen, and I feel in justice to my wife and my children that
    I should do this.”--Vol. v., p. 5,382.

In compiling his autobiography I quote, wherever possible, textually from
his own words, giving the reference in all important points to the page
from which the quotation is taken.


I joined the police force when I was twenty-three years old, on January
28th, 1874. I had previously been a confectioner. I was married when I was
admitted to the force. The Civil Service rules were not in operation then,
neither had I to pay anything, for the practice of paying money for a
position in the force had not commenced so early as 1874.

I was first assigned to the 19th Precinct, then the 29th, better known as
the “Tenderloin.” For three years I served as patrolman. In those years I
discovered the importance of the political pull. The local politician, by
his influence with the Police Commissioners and the chief police
authorities, could generally make the sergeant his mouthpiece, and induce
him to give preference and show favours to patrolmen who were friends and
supporters of the politician. It was decidedly detrimental to discipline,
but it was the principle throughout. A sergeant who was seeking promotion
relied much more on his political pull than upon his record as a police

Senator O’Connor interrupted to ask:--

    Is there any recognition of merit at all in the department as now
    conducted, apart from money considerations or political influence?

Captain Schmittberger replied:--

    To a very small extent. It is either politics or money.--Vol. v., p.

The result has been that in the last ten years the police have
deteriorated. “They are more politicians than anything else” (p. 5,316).
The mischief of the political pull was increased when candidates had to
pay for their appointment. They felt they had purchased their positions,
and were sort of independent.

The system of purchase, which did not exist in 1874, gradually became so
general that if men wanted to get into the department it was necessary to
see one of the “go-betweens,” a set of men of whom one Charley Grant,
Commissioner McClave’s secretary, was very well known. These
purchase-officers made poor policemen, and they felt they had a right to
more protection than the others. When they were rebuked for offences by
their officers they would often defy them, basing their defiance upon the
ground of political influence and power to protect them from the
consequences of their act. This was especially the case with those men who
belonged to political organisations, political clubs.

There was the Pequod Club, for instance, a Tammany club, presided over by
Police Commissioner Sheehan, which I was pressed to join, owing to the
pull it would give me if I belonged to the Commissioner’s club. Several
police captains belonged to it, and the tickets for the club outings, at
five dollars apiece, were forced upon storekeepers and liquor dealers by
the police. They also compelled all the liquor dealers in the precinct to
buy Munzinger’s mineral waters, for Munzinger was secretary of the Pequod.

In the Tenderloin there were a great number of disorderly houses, which
were resorts for the criminals of the whole country, who came there to
meet prostitutes. That precinct of New York was the centre for the
criminal classes. No one interfered with them, it being perfectly well
understood by the police that they were under protection, and they were
under protection because they paid money for protection directly to the
police captain of the precinct. This was necessary, because without his
protection the officers would have closed the house. If they had
interfered with a protected house, they would have been removed to another
beat. Even if outrages occurred they knew they were not to interfere, as
the houses had paid the captain for protection, and no interference was
permitted. I heard once of an officer, of the name of Coleman, who was
killed in a disorderly house, and there never has been an inquest or an
arrest of any persons suspected of the crime, or any judicial inquiry
whatever touching the cause of that officer’s death (p. 5,328).

I was raised to the rank of a roundsman in April, 1880, because I found
Commissioner Whelan’s favourite dog, and I remained in the precinct till
March 6th, 1883. During all that time the state of things was very bad.
French women used to stand out in front of the railing in front of their
houses and pull every man in as he went through the street. When citizens
complained, they got no satisfaction. On one occasion a citizen who
complained was ordered out quick. There was a friction--a very large
one--between him and the Captain. It was even reported in the newspapers
at the time that the Captain had threatened to club the complaining
citizen out of the precinct.

During these early years I had a good record. I had arrested an important
burglar, who had shot at me. I received honourable mention twice; I got
the medal of honour from the department, and also the gold and diamond
medal from the citizens of the precinct for raiding out the thieves there;
I sent over 1,200 people to State prison whom I arrested myself in seven
years as a detective (pp. 5,383-4).

So it came to pass that in March, 1883, I was made sergeant. I remained as
sergeant for seven years, when I was made captain. I had passed at the
head of the Civil Service list, and had some influential political men
recommending me. I paid nothing for my appointment.

When I became captain I objected at first to the levying of blackmail. I
was appointed to the steamboat squad, and I had not been there any time
when detective Vail told me that he collected money from the ship
companies and dock occupants or lessees, and that my predecessors always
received half. I told him I did not care about a thing of that kind. Vail
replied, “You’re a damned fool if you don’t do it; you might as well get
it as well as the others” (p. 5,337). So I told him to go on and do the
collecting. He brought me 190 dollars a month, and I gave him 20 per cent.

At this time, in the police department when I became captain, it was an
understood thing, and a matter of common understanding among the captains
of the various precincts, that they were to take advantage of any
opportunity that presented itself to make money out of their respective
precincts (p. 5,337).

I did it--we all did it. It was the universal custom. I had a list of the
men and the amounts they received. The wardman brought me half of it to
the station-house. I then returned him 20 per cent. It was a poor
district, and so I was not expected to send any of my share up to the
inspector. He told me himself that he hardly expected anything, as there
wasn’t anything in the precinct. That was true, and therefore I tried to
get another as soon as possible. At the end of thirteen months I was
transferred to the Twenty-fifth Precinct. I brought with me my
confidential collector, Gannon the detective.

When we settled down in the new station we discussed what collections
could be made. We found there was nothing, only the policy shops, of which
there were about ten, and the Liquor Dealers’ Association. There was no
difficulty about either.

The policy shops, all those in the precinct and in the upper part of the
city, are under a man by the name of Parker, and if I remember right,
Parker came to the station-house and saw me, and told me how many shops he
had in the precinct; that was all. He was introduced to Gannon, and Gannon
did the rest (p. 5,341). He fixed the old price that had been understood
for years long before my time--twenty dollars a month per shop. The
Bohemian Liquor Dealers’ Association were equally easy to manage. They
paid eighty dollars per month.

My predecessor before he left had a talk with me about what should be
given to the Inspector. He said he gave him usually from fifty to
seventy-five dollars a month. He used to put the money in an envelope, and
give it to an officer, who would give it to the sergeant in Inspector
Williams’s office. I did not take this course. I went directly to Williams
and handed him fifty dollars in an envelope. He took it in his office at
headquarters without a word (p. 5,343).

I was three months in that precinct. I gave the Inspector a hundred
dollars one month. It was necessary to square him because it was in
Williams’s power to send men up there to raid those policy shops over my
head; I had to prevent him from doing that. Of course, upon consideration
of receiving that sum of money every month he wouldn’t do it (p. 5,344).

I had also to pay 20 per cent. to my collector. In return for this money I
gave protection to the policy shops, and allowed all the liquor dealers to
run open on Sunday. I was in the precinct three months, during which time
I duly reported to headquarters concerning disorderly houses, gambling
houses, &c., in my precinct, but I was very careful to say nothing of the
ten policy shops which paid for protection. It was an understood thing the
law was not to be enforced in the case of those who paid for protection.

After three months I was changed to the Twenty-seventh Precinct. In that
precinct there were ten policy shops and three pool-rooms. I brought
Gannon along with me. The policy shops paid as before, but the pool-rooms
paid two hundred dollars a month. This was the old tariff paid to my
predecessor, and continued, as a matter of course. Besides the usual 20
per cent. to the collector, I had to pay two hundred dollars per month to
Inspector Williams. During the nine months I was in the precinct I handed
him directly eighteen hundred dollars. He made no remark, and I would
merely say, “Here is something for you.” I gave him the same money I
received from the pool-rooms. But in this precinct I drew no money from
the saloons. There had been some trouble with my predecessor, and it had
been arranged that instead of paying the police the liquor dealers were,
in future, to pay direct to Tammany Hall (p. 5,349).

I was removed from this precinct because of the liquor dealers.
Superintendent Byrnes ordered me to make direct _bonâ fide_ excise arrests
where liquor was sold on Sunday. I made over twenty _bonâ fide_ arrests.
The President of the Liquor Dealers threatened the officers to have them
transferred if they made real arrests, and he was as good as his word. I
also was transferred for the same cause. The liquor dealers pulled the leg
of Commissioner Martin, who was a Tammany chief, and we were all
transferred. The Superintendent whose orders I obeyed could not protect
us. He simply told me to keep quiet, that the thing would right itself.

I was transferred to the Fifth Precinct, and there remained only nine
weeks. There were only two pool-rooms, which yielded four hundred dollars
a month, of which I gave fifty dollars to Inspector McAvoy. I put the
money in a blank envelope and left it on his desk at headquarters.

From the Fifth I was removed to the Ninth, where I only remained a month.
I made no collections there. But when I was removed to the Twenty-second I
had better fortune: I remained there from May to December. Here I first
struck disorderly houses. They paid--some ten, others twenty-five, and
others again as much as fifty dollars a month. The policy shops paid the
usual twenty-dollar tariff. There I collected from five hundred to six
hundred dollars per month. The gambling houses were all strictly closed

It was while I was in this precinct that I came across Commissioner
Martin, who was protecting personally a house of ill-fame kept by Mrs.
Sadie West, 234, West Fifty-first Street. A body of citizens had made a
formal complaint. I sent an officer down to make inquiries. Mrs. West
said, “Commissioner Martin is a friend of mine, and don’t you do anything
until you hear from him.” Next day Commissioner Martin, who was at the
head of the Police Board, ordered me to send the officer back to apologise
and say he had made a mistake. “Hold on, Commissioner,” I said; “this
originates from a complaint of citizens.” “Well,” he replied, “I don’t
care; I want you to do what you are told.” So I had to send that officer
back, and he had to apologise (p. 5,363).

That was not the only difficulty I had with the Commissioners.
Commissioner Sheehan did his utmost to induce me to allow a gambling house
to be opened in the precinct by one Maynard, a friend of his friend Mr.
Proctor. The capital which Proctor was to bring to the gambling house was
his pull with Sheehan--the Superintendent’s orders were strict. So I told
Sheehan, whom I met at the Pequod Club. Sheehan told me that there was a
Spanish Club in that house, and I had no right to interfere with it; “if
they played cards among themselves without playing gambling games that I
had no right to interfere.” But the Superintendent said he would break me
if I allowed cards to be played there. When I told Sheehan this he
exclaimed, “Well, if they cannot play, Daly can’t play!” As a matter of
fact Daly was not playing (p. 5,368).

During my stay in this precinct I used to take one hundred and fifty
dollars a month in a closed envelope and give it to Inspector McAvoy at
headquarters. One curious circumstance I remember about him. The Inspector
is a very religious man, and he had conscientious scruples. He asked me
one time if some of the money I gave him came from disorderly houses; if
it did he didn’t want it, because he didn’t want any money of that kind; I
told him no, it hadn’t; he drew the line there (p. 5,370).

Of course as he had been captain in the precinct himself he knew that it
did come from disorderly houses, but he wished to be told it did not. I
reported to headquarters that there were no disorderly houses in the

In December, 1893, I was made Captain of the Tenderloin, and have been
there ever since. But the glory had departed owing to the raids made after
Dr. Parkhurst’s action. I did not get more than 200 dols. a month there.
Georgiana Hastings’s house of ill-fame I was warned not to touch, as if I
did I should burn my fingers. I was informed that certain public officials
were in the habit of visiting Georgiana Hastings’s house--some officials
that graced the Bench, and some officials that held commissions in the
City of New York. One night, when a Bench warrant was sent there for
execution, there were two officials, one a judge of a Court in this
city--not of a Civil Court--in the house, and so that warrant was not
executed (p. 5,374). She paid no protection money. She was protected
inviolate by the law on account of the influential character of her

Last year I made a political contribution of 100 dols. both to Mr. Martin
and to Mr. Sheehan, who were both Police Commissioners and Tammany leaders
in their respective districts. I had nothing much to do with handling
money in payment for promotion. I acted as go-between in the case of
Martens. I took 1,600 dols. of his to Captain Williams, and he got him
made sergeant. Martens afterwards told me it would cost him 14,000 dols.
to be made captain. On the whole, I have been four years a police captain.
In that time I have been in command in six precincts, in every one of
which I found the custom of collections regularly established from of old.

       *       *       *       *       *

It would seem that the tariff was fixed: the commission to the collectors,
and the proportion for the Inspector. The figures were as follows:--

                         Sources of       Collectors’               Total
            Time of        Revenue           Com.      Inspectors’   Net
  Precinct   Stay         per Month       20 per cent.    Share    Receipts

     37    13 months  Blackmail on ships, $190     495      --       1,975

     25     3   "    {10 policy shops at $20 }
                     {Liquor dealers, $80    }     168     200         472

     27     9   "    {10 policy shops at $20 }
                     {3 pool-rooms at $200   }   1,450   1,800       3,950

      5     2   "     2 pool-rooms at $200         160     150         590

                     {Policy shops, $20      }
      9     7   "    {Houses of ill-fame,    }     700   1,050       1,750
                     {  $10, $25, and $50 =  }
                     {  $500                 }

     19    12   "     Houses of ill-fame, $200     480      --       1,920
           --                                    -----   -----      ------
           46                                    3,453   3,200      10,657

The ransom extorted from the vicious and criminal classes of a single
precinct by the police would seem to be an irreducible minimum of a
thousand pounds per annum.

The Lexow Committee reported:--

    The confessions summarised show the existence throughout the city of a
    system so well regulated and understood that upon the assignment of a
    new captain no conversation was necessary to instruct the precinct
    detectives or wardmen as to their line of conduct. Without a word they
    collected the illicit revenue, simplifying their duties as much as
    they could, either by granting monopolies of a special kind of crime
    to individuals, or imposing upon certain individuals who had knowledge
    of a particular class of crime the obligation of collecting for them,
    thus collecting monthly from all licensed vice and crime, and paying
    over their collections to the captain, deducting for their services
    twenty per cent. from the total. Or, rather, at first, paying the
    whole to the captain, and receiving twenty per cent. back from him,
    and thereafter making the deductions themselves. The captain, on his
    side, visited the inspector and paid over to him a substantial
    proportion of the amount collected.--Vol. i., pp. 45, 46.

of Brooklyn Bridge from a roof in Broadway.]



“I was a stranger and ye took me in.” The familiar passage needs to be
interpreted in a different sense if it is to describe the treatment of the
stranger by the police of New York. In the evidence of the men who
practise the confidence trick, the curious fact came out that the police
expressly abandoned strangers to the tender mercies of the Bunco Steerer
and Green Goods dealer. These thieves were forbidden to practise their
arts upon the resident population of New York. But the “guy” was fair
game. The stranger from the country was abandoned to the plunderer, who
indeed could count upon the active co-operation of the police--in return
for a share of the loot. The stranger was taken in indeed. But not in the
sense of the Bible text.

The treatment of Americans who were strangers in the sense of not
possessing a fixed abode within the city limits, was bad. The treatment of
the stranger from over sea, the foreign immigrant, was infinitely worse.
It has been the glory of Columbia, as one of the poets declared, that her
latchkey was never drawn in to the poorest and weakest of Adam’s kin. The
boast is no longer true. Restrictions upon the pauper immigrants from the
Old World have been multiplied of late with ominous rapidity. But the
foreigner had already established himself by the million within the
Republic before the restrictive policy was begun.

In the Civil War, when the negroes were enrolled as soldiers in the
Federal ranks, their presence was excused by the cynical remark that
niggers were good enough food for powder. The foreign denizen of the New
York slums is regarded in much the same light by the police of the city.
Not as food for powder, but as material for plunder--squeezable folk who
have no rights, save that of being allowed to swell the registration list
of their oppressors. The police brigands levied blackmail boldly enough
even when dealing with the cute Yankee and the smart New Yorker. But when
they were let loose on the foreigner their rapacity knew no bounds. They
had the power of a Turkish pasha in an Armenian province, and they used it
almost as ruthlessly. They did not massacre, it is true. There was no
occasion for such extreme measures. Even the Turk would not slaughter his
taxable cattle if they were not guilty of indulging in aspirations after
freedom. No dream of revolt ever crosses the mind of the poor wretches in
the city slums to whom the policeman is the incarnate embodiment of the
whole American Constitution. Back of him stands the whole
Government--City, State, and Federal. What he says goes. So the
foreigner--poor, ignorant, friendless--can only obey.

A witness before the Lexow Committee testified to the existence of a gang
of criminals known as the Essex Market Gang, which had established a
regular reign of terror in the neighbourhood. This witness, whose name was
John Collins, said:--

    Last night business people spoke to me; I live nineteen years in that
    neighbourhood and begged of me to protect them; it is impossible to
    live there with the gang; they can convict any man they want to, and
    they can make free any man they want to, because they have got their
    witnesses; the leading man is Martin Engel, he owns property over
    200,000 dollars, got from ruining people.

    Mr. Moss: You can see what power these men have when they have lots of
    men swearing to anything, and police officers to make arrests, and
    judges holding them and discharging them at will.

    Chairman Lexow: If the situation is such as indicated, how is it there
    has not been a revolt down there?

    Mr. Moss: The class of people are largely those who have come from
    foreign countries--countries where they have been used to that sort of
    thing, and supposed this Government just about the same, and, perhaps,
    a little worse than the place they came from; they are largely Polish
    Jews and Russian Jews and foreigners of that class, who have small
    understanding of the English language and no knowledge of our custom.
    Those are the class of people that are terrorised by this gang.--Vol.
    v., p. 4,896.

In small things as in great, the helplessness of the poor foreigner is
conspicuous. Here is an instance of the way in which an Italian shoeblack
was treated for daring to ask an officer, whose boots he had blacked on
credit for a month until the little bill had run up to 75 cents, to settle
up. The bootblack, whose name was Martini, stopped the officer, whose name
was Gwinnen, as he was passing their stand, and said:--

    “Gwinnen, why don’t you pay what you owe me?” so he said, “The next
    time you stop me on my way going across the street, I will smash you
    on the jaw, you dirty Italian son-of-a-bitch;” at the same time my
    partner got up and said, “Well, why don’t you pay us?” At the same
    time he rushed up against my partner like a cyclone and struck him
    right and left with his hand; and he had him all bleeding. I tried to
    step in between the two of them to separate them, and this officer
    Looney came along from behind me and he grabbed me by the back of the
    neck and punched me between the eyes, and he said, “Let us pull the
    guinea in.”

    Q. Whom did he mean by the guinea?

    A. Well, he meant us two; so we went to the station-house, and they
    made a charge of disorderly conduct: they claimed that we were
    fighting each other, me and my partner.

    Q. And both of you were cut and bleeding at this time?

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. Were the officers in uniform?

    A. All in uniform. When they went into the station-house they told
    their story, and when I went to tell my story, they wouldn’t listen.
    They heard the policeman’s story, but would not let us tell ours at
    all. Another officer took me to the court, and Gwinnen took my partner
    along; when we got to the other side of the station-house,
    Sixty-seventh and Lexington Avenue, this Gwinnen took off his belt,
    doubled it in two, and struck my partner in the face two or three

    Q. You were then under arrest?

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. And on your way to the police-court?

    A. Yes, sir; I appealed to the officer that had me, and I said,
    “Officer, tell him that he should not hit him any more;” so after he
    turned around my partner was a sight.--Vol. iv., pp. 3576-7.

The sequel of this episode is interesting. The judge, apparently thinking
the poor wretches who were brought before him all bloody had had enough of
it, dismissed the case. Strange to say, the victims in this case
endeavoured to obtain redress. They appealed to the Superintendent, who
promised that the officers should be punished. Nothing was done. They then
made another effort, raised £5 to pay a lawyer, and began an action for
assault. One officer was held for the Grand Jury. But it was postponed
again and again. The lawyer insisted on more money, which was not
forthcoming, and so the Italians lost their £5, had their beating, and do
not even appear to have recovered their 75 cents.

The lesson thus taught, not to throw good money after bad, and the
impossibility of getting justice of a policeman, has been learned so well
that one marvels at the temerity of the brave bootblacks, whose courage
deserved a better fate.

The Lexow Committee in their Report put it on record as their deliberate
conclusion that--

    The poor ignorant foreigner residing on the great east side of the
    city has been especially subjected to a brutal and infamous rule by
    the police, in conjunction with the administration of the local
    inferior criminal courts, so that it is beyond a doubt that innocent
    people who have refused to yield to criminal extortion, have been
    clubbed and harassed and confined in gaol, and the extremes of
    oppression have been applied to them in the separation of parent and
    child, the blasting of reputation and consignment of innocent persons
    to a convict’s cell.--Vol. i.

The case which appears to have produced the deepest impression for wanton
wickedness and ingenious devilry on the minds of the Commissioners was the
attempt to plunder an unfortunate widow woman of the name of Urchittel.
Mrs. Urchittel was a Russian Jewess, who emigrated to the United States in
1891. Her husband had died at Hamburg, from which city she sailed for New
York, where she arrived, accompanied by her four children, the eldest of
whom was fourteen, the youngest three. But it is best to print in her own
simple language the statement of her wrongs:--

    In 1891 I came to New York, a widow with four children; my husband
    died in Hamburg. Being without means, I applied to the Hebrew
    charities on Eighth Street for help, and they were kind enough to
    support me for starting a boarding-house in 166 Division Street, and
    gave me for furniture and other necessaries, and, besides 60 dollars,
    sent immigrants to my boarding-house. My business was increasing
    daily, having thirty to thirty-five persons every week, and in eight
    months I saved 600 dollars. I worked hard indeed, but I did it gladly,
    knowing that this will enable me to support my children, the orphans.

    The immigration having been stopped, I had to give up boarding
    business, and applying again to the Charities, they supported me
    again, giving me 150 dollars, and sent me to Brownsville, where I
    bought a restaurant and made a nice living, but having the misfortune
    to lose one of my beloved children, I left Brownsville, after staying
    there but a little time, and came back to New York.

    I bought a cigar store in 33, Pitt Street, corner of Broome, for 175
    dollars, and gave the landlord 40 dollars security, and supplied more
    goods for 50 dollars. On the second day of my taking possession of the
    store a man came in and bought a package of chew tobacco for five
    cents. A couple of days later the same man came in, asking me for a
    package of chew tobacco, to trust him, which I refused, excusing
    myself being recently the owner of that store; I don’t know anybody of
    that surrounding. I cannot do it. He took then out a dollar of his
    pocket and gave it to me for changing, and having no small change,
    only pennies, which he wouldn’t take, I sent my one-year aged daughter
    to get other coin for the dollar, and handing same to the man I felt a
    tickling in my hand caused by the quarter of the dollar in the hand of
    the man, and I said good-bye to him.

    On the evening of that day another man came in the store, and told me
    that the man who was before asking for chew tobacco without money is a
    detective, and that he has a warrant to arrest me, and I can avoid the
    trouble by giving the detective 50 dollars, and refusing to do it, I
    will be locked up, and my children taken away from me till the
    twenty-first year. Not knowing to have done anything wrong, I laughed
    at the man, and told him that I wouldn’t give a cent to anybody, and
    if that man should come in again, I will chase him out with a broom.

    The other night, at 11 o’clock, the children being asleep already, the
    same man who asked me to trust him the chew tobacco, and after which I
    learned he was a detective, named Hussey, came in with another man who
    took away my cousin that came to see me in that night, and the
    detective remained with me alone in the store; he told me then that he
    knows that I keep a disorderly house and saved 600 dollars of that
    dishonest business. If I wanted to escape being arrested, he wanted 50
    dollars. I opposed to his assertion, and protested against his wanting
    money of me, saying that I ever made a living by honest business, but
    he wouldn’t listen to me, and in spite of my protesting and the crying
    of my children, I was forced to leave my store and follow him.

    As we were two blocks away we met Mr. Hochstein, and crying, I told
    him all my trouble, and how I don’t know anything about the false
    accusations. It was of no avail; Mr. Hochstein told me that the
    detective wants 75 dollars, but he will try to settle it with 50
    dollars, but without any money nothing can be done for me, and gave me
    also his advice, to pay 10 dollars monthly to the detective I wouldn’t
    be troubled at all, and that I should resume my business unhindered. I
    repeated again that I don’t know anything about dishonest business,
    but it was no use talking more.

    I was dragged from corner to corner till three o’clock in the morning,
    insisting that I had money with me, 600 dollars I kept it in my
    stockings. Weary and tired out, I sat down at the corner of Essex and
    Rivington Streets at a dry goods store and took off my stockings,
    showing that I had no money in them. “If you don’t want to give the
    money,” said the detective to me, “I can’t help it, you must follow me
    to the station-house.” Being convinced that it is impossible that I
    should escape without giving money, I took out 25 dollars of my
    pocket, the only money I had, and handed them over to the detective
    standing by a window, which money was parted between Mr. Hochstein and
    himself, he taking 13 dollars and Hochstein 12 dollars.

    They went with me to Essex Street, and, sending me in through a gate
    in the house, where I was kept about two minutes, they sent me home
    after with the warning to be prepared with fifty dollars. At seven
    o’clock in the morning the detective, Hussey, came to my store asking
    for the money. I cried again and begged him to let me go, that I am
    not able to give him any more money; but he didn’t want to hear me any
    more, and I had to follow him. By the signal of a whistle a man came
    near me, and the defective gave me over to him with the remark not to
    let me go till I have the fifty dollars. The name of that man is Mr.
    Meyer. I went with him to Mr. Lefkovitz, manufacturer of syrups, 154,
    Delaney Street, and to Mr. Frank ---- for selling the store even for
    the fifty dollars, but they didn’t want to buy it, seeing the man
    after me and fearing trouble. After trying in vain to sell the store
    the detective said to Mr. Meyer, “That bad woman don’t want to give
    the money. Take her to the court,” and I had to stay at the trial.

    Two bad, disreputed boys were engaged by the detective, Hussey, for
    witness. The one said that he gave me fifty cents for gratifying him,
    and the other said that he would give me forty cents, and I did not
    agree asking fifty, and thus I was detained in default of five
    hundred dollars bail. Having been sitting in the court the detective,
    Hussey, came in to me on the same day at four o’clock P.M., and told
    me that my children are already taken away from my house, and if I can
    give him the fifty dollars he can help me even now.

    Hearing the distress of my poor children, I cried loudly, and a lady
    took me to a dark room, where I was locked up. Unable to procure bail,
    I was imprisoned for three days, and sent after to the Tombs, where I
    had to stand trial.

    There were about fifty persons to witness that I had always made an
    honest living, but they were not asked at all, and being wholly unable
    to understand the English language, I couldn’t defend myself. The
    lawyer, who was sent from the Hebrew Charities, came too late, and had
    to give only the certificate of the society, testifying that I was
    supported by them, and led a decent living. It came too late, and I
    could not talk any more.

    I was fined fifty dollars. My brother sold my store for sixty-five
    dollars, and paid the fine.

    I ran then crazy for my children, for I didn’t know where they were.
    Meeting the detective he told me that they are in the hands of a
    society in Twenty-third Street. I ran there, but no one knew of my
    children. Finally, after five weeks, I received a postcard of my
    child, that the children are at One Hundred and Fifty-first Street and
    Eleventh Avenue, and when I got there, and begged to give me back my
    children, none would hear me.

    Grieved at the depths of my heart, seeing me bereaved of my dear
    children, I fell sick, and was laying six months in the Sixty-sixth
    Street hospital, and had to undergo a great operation by Professor
    Mundy. After I left the hospital, I had the good chance to find a
    place in 558, Broadway, where I fixed up a stand by which I am enabled
    to make a nice living, to support and educate my children. I went
    again to Twenty-third Street, begging to release my children, and that
    was denied again. My heart craves to have my children with me.

    I have nothing else in the world only them. I want to live, and to die
    for them. I lay my supplication before you, honourable sir, father of
    family, whose heart beats for your children, and feels what children
    are to a faithful mother. Help me to get my children. Let me be mother
    to them. Grant me my holy wish, and I will always pray for your
    happiness, and will never forget your kind and benevolent act towards
    me. Your very humble and faithful servant, (Signed) CAELA
    URCHITTEL.--Vol. iii., pp. 2, 961-4.

[Illustration: MRS. URCHITTEL.]

The piteous plea of this bereaved mother produced a great effect upon the
mind of the Committee. The children had been taken away by the Society for
the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, under an Act which had been passed
with the best intentions in the world, but which, as the case of Mrs.
Urchittel showed, was only too facile an instrument in the hands of the
corrupt police. It will be noticed that in her evidence she said that “two
bad, disreputed boys” were engaged to swear away her character. The
allusion was a reminder of the fact that one of the worst developments of
the system under which the police became bandits was the organisation of a
band of professional perjurers, who would swear anything the police cared
to tell them. Mrs. Urchittel’s character was irreproachable, yet on the
evidence of these scoundrels she was convicted of keeping a house of
prostitution. The man Hochstein, who divided the plunder with the
detective, was a saloon-keeper, and a prominent politician in the
district, who figures very conspicuously in the evidence of other
witnesses before the Committee. No sooner had Mrs. Urchittel given her
evidence than two men came to her and warned her that if she were to
commence with Mr. Hochstein she would get into trouble, and be sent to
prison for two years.

The efforts of the Commissioners to secure the return of the children to
their distracted mother were for a time thwarted by the provisions of the
law which is so hidebound and imperative in its terms that no judge would
venture to interfere with the commitment of the police magistrate. Mr.
Goff called attention to the fact that “the condition of the law in New
York City is that, upon the _ipse dixit_ of one man, children can be taken
from their protectors, fathers and mothers, and secreted away in some
institution, and there is no power invested in any court or in any
official to compel him to reveal where the children are or to restore
them.” The sensation occasioned by this case was so great that the
Commission were able towards the close of their sittings to announce the
gratifying intelligence that they had at last succeeded in securing the
release of the children, who were then, after more than eighteen months,
handed over to their mother. The opinion of the Commissioners on the case
was embodied in the following terms, which I quote from their Report:--

    Oppression of the lowly and unfortunate, the coinage of money out of
    the miseries of life, is one of the noteworthy abuses into which the
    department has fallen....

    The evidence of many witnesses shows the existence of a wonderful
    conspiracy in the neighbourhood of Essex Market police-court, headed
    by politicians, including criminals, professional bondsmen,
    professional thieves, police, and those who lay plots against the
    unwary, and lead them into habits of law-breaking, or surround them
    with a network of false evidence, and then demand money as the price
    of salvation, and if they do not receive it, drag their victims into
    court and prison, and often to a convict’s cell....

    In another case, Mrs. Urchittel, a humble Russian Jewess, ignorant of
    our tongue, an honest and impoverished widow with three small
    children, whom she was striving to support, was falsely accused by a
    precinct detective of keeping a disorderly house in the back room of
    her little store where she and her little children slept, and he
    demanded a sum of money which she could not pay, whereupon he took her
    from her home, dragged her through the streets until three o’clock in
    the morning, pulled down and searched her stockings for money, until
    she in despair produced all that she had saved for her month’s rent.
    This being insufficient, he gave her a short time to obtain the
    balance, and she tried to sell her store, but failed, and then he
    arrested her again, lodged a false and infamous charge against her,
    fastened it upon her by the testimony of miserable tools whom he had
    employed for the purpose, and secured her conviction. Her children
    passed into the hands of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
    Children. Her fine was paid by selling her store, and she was
    released, only to fall into a severe and lingering illness. When she
    recovered her home was gone, her children were gone, and she was

    Many cases of similar oppression are found on the record.--Vol. i.,
    pp. 43, 44.

Is it any wonder that the Lexow Committee reported under the head of
“Brutality,” as it existed in the police force:--

    This condition has grown to such an extent that even in the eyes of
    our foreign-born residents our institutions have been degraded, and
    those who have fled from oppression abroad have come here to be doubly
    oppressed in a professedly free and liberal country.--Vol. i., p. 30.

This is how “Liberty enlightens the world” from her eyrie in the Island of

[Illustration: AUGUSTINE E. COSTELLO.]



Said Mr. Goff at one of the sittings of the Lexow Committee:--

    We have, Mr. Chairman, called attention heretofore to what may be
    justly termed “slaughter-houses,” known as police-stations, where
    prisoners in custody of the officers of the law, and under the law’s
    protection, have been brutally kicked and maltreated, almost within
    view of the judge presiding in the Court.--Vol. iv., p. 3,598.

Slaughter-houses is not a bad term. The cases in which witnesses swore to
violent assault on prisoners in the cells by policemen were numerous. That
which immediately provoked this observation was a typical one of its kind.

One Frank Prince, who had been keeping a disorderly house in Ninety-eighth
Street, had the temerity to refuse to pay the 100 dollars a month
blackmail which had been demanded by the police. His house was raided, and
he was taken to the station-house. He was accused before the Captain of
having said that he would make him close the other disorderly house in the
district, which presumably was under the Captain’s protection. Now not to
pay blackmail yourself was bad enough; but it was far worse to threaten to
dry up the contributory sources of police revenue. The poor wretch denied
that he had ever uttered such a threat. “Take him into the cell and attend
to him!” said the Captain. Prince was marched out by the wardman, who was
also blackmail collector for the precinct. When they reached the cell, the
turnkey and the wardman kicked him through the doorway, and then following
him in fell to beating him about the head with a policeman’s billy. They
kicked him violently in the abdomen, inflicting permanent injuries, and
declared he deserved to have his brains knocked out. Such was the
“attendance” prisoners received in the police cell to teach them the
heinousness of refusing to pay ransom to the banditti of New York. This
case by no means stood alone.

The most remarkable case of police brutality to prisoners under arrest,
and which is one the best attested in the collection, is that of the Irish
revolutionist, Mr. Augustine E. Costello.

The story of Mr. Costello was wrung from him very reluctantly. He was
subpœnaed on behalf of the State, and confronted with the alternative of
being committed for contempt of Court or of being committed for perjury.
Mr. Costello, being a revolutionary Irishman, had a morbid horror of doing
anything which could in any way lead any one to accuse him, no matter how
falsely, of being an informer. The prejudice against the witness-box often
appears to be much stronger on the part of Irish Nationalists than the
prejudice against the dock. Mr. Augustine E. Costello is an honourable man
of the highest character and the purest enthusiasm. He was one of those
Irishmen who, loving their country not wisely but too well, crossed the
Atlantic for the purpose of righting the wrongs of Ireland. His zeal
brought him into collision with the Coercionist Government that was then
supreme. He was convicted and sentenced to twelve years’ penal servitude.
He was a political offender, the American Government intervened on his
behalf, and the treaty known as the Warren and Costello Treaty was
negotiated, which led to his liberation before his sentence had expired.
During his incarceration in this country he was confined in several
prisons, both in England and Ireland, and thus had a fair opportunity of
forming a first-hand estimate of the interior of British gaols and the
severity of our prison discipline. He was treated, he reported, with a
great deal of rigour, but he was never punished without warrant of law,
and was never pounded or assaulted. It is characteristic of the Irish
political convict that, when Mr. Costello was asked about this before the
Lexow Committee, he carefully inquired whether his answers would more or
less justify “the people on the other side,” and it was only on being
assured that it would do no such thing that he reluctantly admitted that
he had never experienced as a convict in British gaols anything like the
brutality with which he had been treated by the New York police.

Mr. Costello’s story, in brief, is this. About ten or a dozen years ago he
was on the staff of the _New York Herald_. By his commission he was
attached to the police headquarters, in which capacity he was necessarily
brought into the closest relations with captains and inspectors. He
discharged his duties with satisfaction to his employers, and without any
complaint on the part of the police. Two lawyers of good standing, who
were called as witnesses, testified that they had known him for years as a
thoroughly honourable man, a newspaper man of talent and ability; one
whose word they would take as soon as that of the President of the United
States. Every one who knew him spoke in the highest terms of his veracity
and scrupulous regard for accuracy.

Mr. Costello in 1885 conceived the idea of publishing a book about the
police under the title of “Our Police Protectors.” His idea was to hand
over 80 per cent. of the profits of the work to the Police Pension Fund,
retaining 20 per cent. as compensation for his work. The book at first was
very successful. The police sold it for the benefit of the Pension Fund,
and the profits were duly paid over by him to the fund in question. But
just as the book was beginning to boom, the Superintendent of Police
brought out a book of his own, entitled “The Great Criminals of New York.”
No sooner had it appeared than the police withdrew all their support from
Mr. Costello’s book, declared they had nothing to do with it officially,
and left him stranded with the unsold copies on his hands. Mr. Costello
appears to have regarded this as natural under the circumstances. He
entered no complaint of the way in which he had been treated over “Our
Police Protectors” by the department, for whose Pension Fund the book was
earning money, but at once set himself with a good heart to bring out
another book of a similar character about the Fire Department.


Mr. Croker, who was then a Fire Commissioner, and his two colleagues gave
Mr. Costello a letter certifying that the Fire Department had consented to
the publication of his history in consideration of his undertaking to pay
into the Fire Relief Fund a certain portion of the proceeds of the sale of
the book, for the publication of which Mr. Costello had been given access
to the records of the department. Armed with this letter, Mr. Costello set
to work. He printed 2,500 copies of the book, with 900 illustrations. The
book itself was bulky, containing as many as 1,100 pages, and costing
nearly £5,000 to produce, an expenditure which he had incurred entirely on
reliance upon the support of the Fire Department promised him in the
letter written by Mr. Croker and his fellow commissioners. But again an
adverse fate befell the unfortunate Costello. Just as the book was
beginning to boom, another man named Craig, who had a pull at the Fire
headquarters, got out a very cheap book, called the “Old Fire Laddies,”
which he ran in opposition to Mr. Costello’s expensive work. The Fire
officials backed the man with a pull against Mr. Costello, who had no
pull. Friction arose, and the Fire Department withdrew the official letter
on the strength of which Mr. Costello had gone into the work.

But the power of the pull was to make itself felt in a still more painful
fashion. Mr. Costello had several agents canvassing for orders for the
book, and for advertisements. He did his best to obtain from those agents
the Croker letter, and succeeded in doing so in all but two or three
cases. As he had already spent his money, the only thing he could do was
to continue to push his book. His agents, no doubt, when canvassing made
as much capital as they could out of the credentials which Mr. Costello
had originally received from the Fire Department. This was resented, and
it seems to have been decided to “down” Costello. The method adopted was
characteristic. The Fire Commissioners and the Police were two branches of
Tammany administration. When Mr. Costello’s canvassers were going about
their business, they were subjected to arrest. He had as many as
half-a-dozen of his canvassers arrested at various times. They were seized
by the police on one pretext and another, locked up all night in the
police cell, and then liberated the next morning, without any charge being
made against them. The application of this system of arbitrary arrest
effected its purpose. The terrorised canvassers refused to seek orders any
longer for Mr. Costello’s book. One or two, however, still persevered. In
November, 1888, two of them, who had retained the original certificate,
were arrested in the First Precinct at the instance of Captain Murray of
the Fire Department, who said that they were professing to be connected
with the Fire Department, with which they had nothing to do.

Mr. Costello, accompanied by his book-keeper, Mr. Stanley, went down to
the police-station to endeavour to bail his canvassers out. Mr. Costello
had no fear for himself, as he believed Captain McLaughlin was his
friend--a friendship based upon the Captain’s belief that Mr. Costello’s
influence had counted for something in securing his captaincy. Mr.
Costello complained of the repeated arrests, and declared that he would
not let it occur again if he could help it. Captain McLaughlin showed him
the books that had been taken from the imprisoned canvassers, in one of
which there was a loose paper containing the memorandum of sales made on
that day, and a copy of the Croker letter. Mr. Costello at once took
possession of the letter, which he had been trying to call in for some
time. He showed it to the Captain, and then put it in his pocket, telling
the Captain that if it was wanted, he would produce it in court the next
day. The Captain made no objection, and they parted, apparently on
friendly terms.

Mr. Costello had supper, and then went off to the police-headquarters at
seven o’clock, in order to secure an order for the release of his
canvassers. Suspecting nothing, he walked straight into the office, where
he found himself confronted by Inspector Williams. This Inspector was
famous for two things: he had the repute of being the champion clubber of
the whole force, and it was he also who first gave the _soubriquet_ of
“Tenderloin” to the worst precinct in New York. The origin of this phrase
was said to be a remark made by Inspector Williams on his removal from the
Fourth to the Twenty-ninth Precinct. Williams, who was then captain, had
said, “I have been living on rump-steak in the Fourth Precinct; I shall
have some tender loin now.” Mr. Costello picked up this phrase, applied it
to the Twenty-ninth Precinct, coupling it with Williams’s name. Williams
never forgave Costello for this, and on one occasion had clubbed him in
Madison Square.

When Costello saw the Inspector, he felt there was a storm brewing, for
Williams was in one of his usual domineering moods. The moment Mr.
Costello entered, the Inspector accused him of stealing a document out of
Captain McLaughlin’s office, and detained him for five hours. It was in
vain that Mr. Costello explained that the document which he had sent home
by his book-keeper, and placed in his safe, was his property, and would be
produced in court when it was wanted. During the five hours that he stayed
there he noticed what he described as “very funny work” going on. The
Inspector was telephoning here and there; detectives were coming in and
whispering, as if receiving secret orders; and at last, at midnight, two
detectives came in and whispered a message to the Inspector. Thereupon
Williams turned to Costello, ordered him to accompany the detectives, and
consider himself under arrest. A foreboding of coming trouble crossed
Costello’s mind. He asked his book-keeper to accompany him, as he felt
that there was something going to happen, and he wanted him to be an
eye-witness. This, however, did not suit his custodians. On their way down
to the police-station one of the detectives said to Stanley, “You get
away! We do not want you at all.” Costello said, “Well, if you have to go,
you might look up Judge Duffy. I may want his services as well as these
men.” Stanley left, and Costello, with the two detectives, made his way to
the police-station.

It was getting on to one o’clock in the morning. Costello was carrying an
umbrella, as it was raining, when they came in front of the station-house.
The door was wide open, and the light streamed on to the sidewalk. Just as
he was placing his foot on the step he saw two men come towards him. The
bright light cast a shadow, and in that shadow he saw Captain McLaughlin
raise his fist and deal a savage blow at his face. He instinctively drew
back his head, and the Captain’s brass-knuckled fist struck him on the
cheek-bone, knocking him down into the gutter. The detectives stood by,
indifferent spectators of the scene. As Costello lay half-stunned and
bleeding in the muddy gutter, Captain McLaughlin attempted to kick him
several times in his face. Fortunately, his victim had retained hold of
his umbrella, and with its aid was able to keep the Captain’s heavy boots
from kicking him into insensibility.

He struggled to his feet, when Captain McLaughlin went for him again. What
followed is best told by the transcript from the evidence before the Lexow

    Augustine E. Costello examined by Mr. Moss. I said to Captain
    McLaughlin:--“Now, hold on; I am a prisoner here; this is a cowardly
    act on your part; if I have done anything to offend the laws of the
    State there is another way of punishing me; this is not right.” You
    could hardly recognise me as a human being at this time; I was covered
    with blood, mud, and dirt, and had rolled over and over again in
    trying to escape the kicks that were rained at me. I hurried myself as
    fast as I could into the station-house, thinking that would protect
    me; all this time I was being assaulted, the two detectives stood over

    Q. What were their names?

    A. I cannot recall it just now, but I can get their names later on;
    two wardmen of that precinct; there was a second man with the man who
    assaulted me; that man, I may tell you, was Captain McLaughlin.

    Q. What do you mean; on the sidewalk?

    A. On the sidewalk; the man with him, standing right off the kerbstone
    on the street; and when I got into the station-house, I asked to be
    allowed to wash the blood off myself, and I was feeling more like a
    wild beast than a human being.

    By Mr. Moss:--Tell us what he did?

    A. McLaughlin put himself in all sorts of attitudes and tried to
    strike me, and I dodged the blows.

    Q. Was that in the general room of the station-house?

    A. Yes. Captain Murray, of the Fire Department, was present at the
    time; he made the complaint against the two men.

    Q. You were a prisoner, and standing in the middle of the
    station-house floor while McLaughlin was raining blows at you?

    A. Yes. “Now,” I said to him, “McLaughlin, look here, I never felt
    myself placed in the position that I do to-night; no man has ever done
    to me what you did to-night, and I advise you to let up. Standing
    here, if I am assaulted again, you or I will have to die; one man of
    two will be taken out of this station-house dead, and so, stop.” At
    this time I had my fighting blood up, and had recovered from the
    collapse I was thrown into. I said, “You may think me not protected
    here; but I have a good strong arm, and if you assault me again, as
    sure as there is a God in Heaven, I will never take my hands from your
    throat until you kill me or I kill you.” He kept on blustering, but
    never struck me again.

    Q. What was the nature of the punishment?

    A. He had brass-knuckled me.--(Vol. iv., p. 4,527).

    Q. You say he desisted at that moment?

    A. He desisted at that moment when I said he or I would have to die if
    he did not stop. I was then allowed to go into his private room and
    wash some of the mud and gutter off my face and hands. I could not
    wash the blood off, because that was coming down in torrents; and when
    I was going downstairs, somebody kicked me or punched me severely in
    the back, and I feel the effects of it yet at times, and I suppose I
    always will. Then I was thrown into a cell bleeding, and by this time
    a second collapse had come over me, and I must have fainted in the

    Q. Did McLaughlin go into the cell?

    A. No; he came down after me, after I was locked up, and made it clear
    he gloried in the fact that I was in that condition. So, fearing that
    some one would open the cell door during the night, when I would be in
    a faint--because I felt very weak from the loss of blood--I took out
    my note-book and wrote in it, “If I am found dead here to-morrow, I
    want it known I am murdered by Captain McLaughlin and his crowd.” I
    hid that in my stocking, that piece of bloody paper. I kept it for a
    long time, and I tried to find it to-day, but could not put my hands
    on it, and am very sorry I cannot put my hands on it.

    Q. Were you persecuted any more that night?

    A. I was persecuted in a way that they would not give me any water.

    Q. Did you call for water?

    A. Yes, and it was denied me; everything was denied me. From loss of
    blood and all that I became unconscious; and about five o’clock in the
    morning, when I could get a little rest, I was routed out from my bed
    and told to get ready; then I asked the privilege of getting something
    to brush off my clothes and my shoes, and after paying a little for
    it, I did get it; and I was taken out by these two same men that had
    arrested me. Now, before I proceed any further, will you let me go
    back a little?

    Q. Yes.

    A. All the five hours I was kept a prisoner at police headquarters
    with Inspector Williams standing over me, I might say, with drawn
    baton, two detectives were up at my house, which shows this was a
    put-up job and conspiracy to degrade me; from quarter after seven or
    half-past seven, from the time this happened two detectives were up at
    my house bullying my wife and scaring her to death, and all this time
    they knew I was down in the hands of Inspector Williams. Inspector
    Williams told me this with great glee as I was about to be taken away.
    I said, “You must have no heart.” I said, “I don’t mind the
    persecution I have been subjected to, but I don’t wish to have that
    inflicted on my wife and children; they will go crazy. I beg you to
    telephone the station-house, and have those brutes taken out of my
    house;” and he did, but they were there up to midnight, and all these
    five hours in my house bullying my wife and sending my children into

    Q. You went to Court the next morning, did you?

    A. Yes, sir. I begged then of the men that they would allow me to buy
    a pair of glasses more or less to conceal my lacerated face. I was in
    a terrible state. They refused until I got very near the place and I
    said, “I will make trouble for somebody if I go in this condition;”
    and they let me buy a large pair of blue goggles, and I sent for
    Counsellor Charles T. Duffy, who is at present justice of the peace in
    Long Island City, and I told him what happened to me, and he said,
    “These people are too much for me; I will go and get somebody to
    assist you. What do you think of Mr. Hummel?” I said, “Do what you
    like about it; have Mr. Hummel.” I paid him a retainer fee, and he
    said, “These are infernal brutes, and we ought to break them.” I said,
    “I am prepared to do what you tell me.” When the case was brought up
    it was laughed out of Court; there was no case for me or my men. They
    first had me to get bondsmen before the thing was tried; but there was
    no case tried--there was no case to try. Hummel said, “What have you
    against this man; he has not destroyed any documents.”--Vol. iv., p.

Mr. Costello was taken home, and laid up in bed for five days. His face
had to be sewn up. The doctor, who, by-the-bye, was Mr. Croker’s
brother-in-law, certified that the injury to the face had been produced by
brass knuckles, the cut being too severe to have been produced by the
simple fist. He was threatened with erysipelas, but, fortunately,

I should have mentioned that while Mr. Costello was being taken into the
station-house all bloody and muddy, his book-keeper came to obtain access
to him. Captain McLaughlin stopped him, pulled open his overcoat, and
searched his pockets.

“What is this for?” cried Stanley. The Captain made no answer, but
continued the search. “What does this mean?” angrily asked Stanley.

“You know d---- well what it means,” was the reply.

“I do not understand you,” said Stanley. “What is it for?”

“Open the door,” said the Captain to an orderly, “open the door.” The
orderly opened the door. “Now,” said the Captain, “get the Hell out of
here!” and the book-keeper was promptly forced right out, and left on the
sidewalk to reflect upon the irony of events which had subjected the
author of “Our Police Protectors” to such treatment.

It is a very pretty story, and one which naturally provokes the inquiry as
to how such things could be practised with impunity. Mr. Costello himself
said that if there had not been so much Celtic blood in his veins there
would have been several funerals in New York, for he was not only a Celtic
Irishman but a Catholic Irishman, and murder was repugnant both to his
religion and to his nature. Other redress than that which could be gained
by your own right hand it was impossible to obtain, for it was this
witness who made the famous remark previously quoted. Senator O’Connor
asked him, “Did you ever take any proceedings against these men?” and the
witness replied, “I never did, sir. It is no use going to law with the
devil and court and hell!”

He probably thought himself lucky that he had escaped without permanent
disfigurement. One Thomas J. Standant was less fortunate. A policeman
named Schillinberger, of the Eleventh Precinct, who was a very athletic
man, struck Standant a tremendous blow with his fist, which was not, as in
McLaughlin’s case, provided with brass knuckles. Standant’s nose was
smashed, the blood poured from his eyes and ears, and he was carried to
the hospital, where he had to submit to various operations before he
recovered his eyesight and hearing. He was badly disfigured for life. When
he brought an action against the policeman for assault, the officer was
defended by the Corporation Counsel. Schillinberger, although indicted by
the Grand Jury, was never suspended for a moment, but continued on duty
during the whole of the sittings of the Commission.

In another case a witness was produced who could hardly speak
intelligibly. On Thanksgiving morning he had bought a couple of crabs from
an oyster stand, the owner of which had apparently paid blackmail, and was
therefore under the protection of the police. When the policeman on the
beat heard the altercation between the customer and the protected oyster
stand keeper he walked up to the witness and, without a word, delivered a
smashing blow upon his mouth. Two front teeth were splintered up into the
gum, inflicting so severe an injury that it was two days before the
swelling abated sufficiently for the dentist to be able to cut away the
teeth, and four days before the roots could be touched. The dentist
declared that the officer must have had something in his hand, either
brass knuckles or some other weapon of that kind, to splinter the teeth so
badly. But in all those cases the fist seems to have been the favourite

The only other case that I shall refer to is that in which the policeman
used his club. There was a fight in the hallway of a house, and one Frank
Angelo had stepped in to try to part the combatants. Up came a policeman
of the name of Zimmerman, who rushed into the midst of the _mêlée_, and
striking Angelo heavily with his club, knocked his eye out. The eye hung
down on the man’s cheek, and had to be subsequently removed. Angelo, all
bloody, with his eye in this ghastly position, was arrested by his
assailant, and taken to the police-court. The poor fellow, not knowing
what would befall him, sent for a lawyer, who first of all charged him £10
for his professional services, and then said that the only way for him to
get out of the scrape was to pay the officer £5, which he accordingly did.
The judge asked him no question, and discharged the case. It is needless
to say that Angelo brought no action against the policeman. There was no
justice, he said, in New York. Justice there was indeed--hideous,
diabolical, devil’s justice. It is bad enough to have your eye knocked out
with a policeman’s club in the street when you are endeavouring to prevent
a fight, but it is worse to have to pay that policeman £5 for having
performed that operation, and an additional £10 to a lawyer to induce the
ruffian to accept the money.

After reading this, it is not surprising that Mr. Goff, now Recorder of
the City of New York, publicly declared, after a careful examination of
the records of the Police Department for three years, that it could be
proved that the police force was to all intents and purposes and in
practice exempted from and above the operation of the law of the land. Mr.
Goff, after saying that in three years only one policeman had been
convicted for an assault upon a citizen, and remarking that the air of the
trial-room at police headquarters was blue with perjury, continued thus:--

    The members of the police force of this city commit offences of the
    grade of felony and misdemeanour, and they have gone for years
    unpunished and unwhipped for those offences, which, if committed by
    citizens, would have resulted in fact in sentence to State’s prison,
    and to the penitentiary. In other words, the operation of the law of
    this State, so far as it applies to the citizens of New York, and to
    all persons as it should, stops short of the police force. Felonious
    assaults have been committed upon citizens by policemen, which if
    committed by a civilian would result possibly in four or five years’
    sentence in Sing Sing, and all the policeman need apprehend is, a
    charge against him, with a possible conviction finding him guilty of
    assault, and a fine, for instance, of ten days’ pay. A police officer
    of this city can brain a citizen with a club, and he may reasonably
    expect that all the penalty he will have to pay for that is about the
    sum of thirty dollars, while an ordinary citizen, if he commits that
    offence, is almost certain to go to State’s prison.--Vol. iii., p.

This is not a case of one law for the rich and another for the poor. It is
one law for the citizen and none at all for the policeman.

Some of the evidence taken as to the action of the police supplied the
Committee with very sensational episodes. One witness, for instance, a
truckman, of the name of Lucas, appeared before them with his head in a
frightful state of disfigurement. The man had been drunk, and gone to
sleep on a doorstep, when he was robbed of four dollars. On waking up,
finding that he had lost the money, he asked a policeman if he could find
out anything as to who had robbed him. This seemed to offend the officer,
for he struck Lucas in the face, knocked him down in the gutter, and then
standing over him, belaboured him unmercifully with his club on his face
and head. “For God’s sake!” cried the man, “do not kill me altogether.” A
young man, a stranger, coming past, seeing the outrageous nature of the
assault, asked the policeman to stop. Thereupon another policeman in
citizen’s clothes ran up, knocked him down, jumped on him, and then
marched Lucas and the stranger off to the police-station. The blood
running down Lucas’s neck, drenched his shirt, and one of the picturesque
incidents of the inquiry was the production of the bloody shirt before the
senators. The man was bleeding so freely that the sergeant of the
police-station had to sew up the top of his head. It took twenty-seven
stitches to sew up the wound opened by the policeman’s club. When he got
into the police-station he was again assaulted, and had he not run for the
sergeant, he was of the opinion that he would have been killed altogether.
The next morning he was brought before the judge, and discharged. Nothing
seems to have been done to the officer.

The Committee summed up the whole case in the following sentences:--

    It was proven by a stream of witnesses who poured continuously into
    the sessions of the committee, that many of the members of the force,
    and even superior officers, have abused the resources of physical
    power which have been provided for them and their use only in cases of
    necessity in the making of arrests and the restraint of disorder, to
    gratify personal spite and brutal instincts, and to reduce their
    victims to a condition of servility....

    Besides this exhibit of convicted clubbers, still wearing the uniform
    of the force, there was a stream of victims of police brutality who
    testified before your committee. The eye of one man, pushed out by a
    patrolman’s club, hung on his cheek. Others were brought before the
    committee, fresh from their punishment, covered with blood and
    bruises, and in some cases battered out of recognition. Witnesses
    testified to severe assaults upon them while under arrest in the
    station-houses. The line of testimony might have been endlessly
    pursued by your committee.... We emphasise this finding of brutality
    because it affects every citizen whatever his condition, because it
    shows an invasion of constitutional liberty by one of the departments
    of government whose supreme duty it is to enforce the law, and because
    it establishes a condition of affairs gravely imperilling the safety
    and the welfare of the people in their daily avocations.--Vol. i., p.


[Illustration: AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY’S DEPÔT. (New York is a city whose
Buildings are as colossal as the Corruption of its Police.)]



The Confidence Trick is perhaps the form of crime that would most
naturally commend itself to the police banditti of New York. For the force
was engaged all day long in playing a gigantic Confidence Trick upon the
citizens. The gold brick which the swindlers sold to the credulous
countryman was hardly more mythical than the enforcement of the law which
was supposed to be secured by the organisation of the City police. It is
therefore not surprising to learn that the police were hand-and-glove with
the gang of swindlers which, under King McNally, carried on the Green
Goods trade in the City of New York. It was one of the most lucrative of
all the crimes which were carried on under police protection, and one of
the safest. Few of all the stories told before the Lexow Committee display
quite so unblushing a co-partnership between the law-breakers and the law
officers as was revealed in this Green Goods swindle. The rascality of the
rogues was so audacious that it provokes a laugh. For it is possible to
carry impudence to a point where indignation is momentarily submerged by
the sense of the ludicrous. Sheer amazement at the existence of such
preposterous villains begets such a sense of its absurdity, that any
censure seems as much out of place as in the nonsense tales of the
nursery. Yet when the grotesque impression subsides, it is difficult to
find terms strong enough to characterise this systematic misuse of the
powers created for the protection of life and property and the due
observance of the law for the purpose of facilitating fraud and of aiding
and abetting and protecting swindling.

The evidence taken before the Lexow Committee contains a mass of materials
for an exhaustive description of the criminals of New York, and the
various methods by which in 1894 they preyed upon the public; but the
person who undertakes the compilation of such a work is not to be envied.
The Report of the Committee is a very striking illustration of the
wickedness of issuing books without indexes. Here we have five bulky
volumes of evidence without even an index of the names of witnesses. There
is no subject-index of any kind. Witnesses are called and recalled in
bewildering confusion. Nevertheless, even the most cursory perusal of the
evidence brings to light a great many interesting and extraordinary facts
as to the organisation of the criminal classes of the city.

Green Goods are forged or counterfeit bank notes. The pretence is either
that there has been an over-issue of certain denominations of paper money
by the Treasury, or that the plates have been stolen from the Government,
and by this means it is possible to offer to sell ten dollars for one.

McNally, the King of the Green Goods men, employed at times a staff of
thirty-five men. He began his career some twenty years ago as a bully who
was kept by a prostitute. He swindled out of all her money a mistress of
his who kept a restaurant, and started an Opium Joint. He then embarked in
the Green Goods business, kept his carriage, and made his fortune.

The men who work this Confidence Trick seem to have carried their
organised system of swindling to a very high pitch of perfection. Their
master-stroke, however, was the admission of the police to a working
partnership, which enabled them not merely to carry on their swindling
with impunity, but also stood them in good stead whenever a victim had to
be bullied and driven out of the city. King McNally was, unfortunately,
not available for examination, owing to his precipitate departure for
foreign parts as soon as the inquiry began. The Committee, however, was
able to secure evidence which brought out very clearly the main lines of
their operations.

The chief witness was one William Applegate, whose sister accompanied
McNally in his hurried departure to Paris. Applegate had been employed for
three years as one of the gang. He began when nineteen as a
circular-folder, for which he received 8s. a week. These formed the
foundation of the Green Goods business. A Green Goods gang in full
operation is constituted as follows:--

(1) The Backer or Capitalist, who supplies the bank roll--a roll of 10,000
genuine dollar bills, which are shown to the victim. He receives fifty per
cent., out of which he pays the police, and so guarantees the protection
of the gang.

(2) The Writer, who addresses the wrappers in which the circulars, bogus
newspaper-cuttings, etc., are enclosed. He receives the other fifty per
cent., out of which he has to pay the percentage due to the rest of the

(3) The Bunco Steerer, who is sent to meet the victim at some hotel, fifty
to a hundred miles distant from the city. He is the messenger who gives
the victim the pass-word, and then leads him to the Joint or den where the
swindle is completed. He receives five per cent. of the plunder.

(4) The Old Man, a respectable-looking old gentleman, who says nothing,
but who sits solemnly in the Joint when the “beat” is being carried
through. He receives five dollars.

(5) The Turner, who is represented as the son of the old man, and does the
selling of the bogus notes. His fee is ten dollars.

(6) The Ringer, a confederate behind the partition, who dexterously
replaces the good money shown in the bank roll by the bundles of bogus
notes. His fee is five dollars.

(7) The Tailer, who remains on guard at the railway station, personating a
policeman, for the purpose of bullying any victim who discovers he has
been swindled, and returns to try to recover his money. This gentleman is
also paid five dollars a victim.

With this staff, and the protection of the police, the Green Goods
business can be carried on very successfully. McNally used to take as much
as £1,600 in a single day. Fortunes of £40,000 were accumulated by the
leading backers, although McNally’s pile was not estimated at more than

The first step is the obtaining of directories and the arranging for the
despatch of circulars. The circulars were of the familiar kind, printed as
if typewritten, and addressed by a staff of writers, of whom McNally had
eight or ten kept constantly at work. Enclosed in the envelope with the
circular were slips printed as if they were cut out of newspapers, the
same with intent to deceive, the slip being carefully written by Mr.
McNally, or some member of his gang, for the purpose of giving the reader
to understand that the offer of the circular was _bonâ fide_ and reliable.
These were sent out by thousands, the printer executing orders for 200,000
sets at a time. A slip was also included giving the address to which a
telegram should be sent, in order to secure the advantageous offer made to
the victim by the circular. These addresses were usually vacant lots in
the city, but arrangements were made by bribing the officials of the
telegraph company to hold all telegrams sent to such fictitious addresses
until called for.

The business was carried on a kind of mutual partnership basis. It was
worked somewhat in this fashion. A writer would send out 10,000 circulars
or more a day. One, or perhaps two, of those would hook a victim, who
would telegraph, making an application for the money offered him at such
tempting terms. This victim would belong to the writer of the circular by
which he had been caught. Having thus hooked a victim, he had to be
landed, and for this purpose he had to be brought to town and personally
conducted by a bunco steerer to the den or joints where three confederates
fooled the victim to the top of his bent, and usually succeeded in
fleecing him by one form or another of the confidence trick.

The victim, who was known as a “Come On” or as a “Guy,” was swindled by a
variety of methods. One favourite plan was to undertake to sell the
credulous rustic 10,000 dollars for 650 dollars. For less than 650 dollars
he was told he could not have the “State rights.” The monopoly for his own
State was promised to the favoured individual, whose 650 dollars had to
be paid down on the spot. A locked box was then given him, within which he
was assured there were 10,000 dollars in coin. In reality, there was a
brick, which was all the poor victim got for his money.

Another method of swindling was thus described by the witness Applegate
when under examination by Mr. Goff:--

    Q. I hand you two tin boxes; do you recognise those as belonging to

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. Were those boxes used in his business?

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. Here is a third one, and a fourth one; what were those four boxes
    used for?

    A. They would put the money in one box for the man, in a box like
    that, and that would be a deal of from about 300 dollars to 500
    dollars; they would put the money in this box and it would be in front
    of the victim, and in the meantime a duplicate box would be behind the
    partition, and in the duplicate box there would be a brick and some
    paper, and they would put the money in this box here on the desk and
    lock it up before the victim; it would be on the back of the desk like
    that, and then Billy Vosburgh would say, “Get that book,” and with
    that they would lift up the desk and that would hide the box from the
    victim, and then Walter McNally, who did the ringing, would open his
    trap door and take this box in and put the other box out; it would all
    be done in a second.

    Q. I will now hand you this fifth box; what is that used for?

    A. That was used for the bank roll.

    Q. What is there--is there a false lid to that?

    A. No; there is one, yes.

    Q. How was the bank roll brought into play there; explain about that?

    A. The bank roll would be laid right in there, 8,200 dollars; it would
    be laid there. There was supposed to be 8,200 dollars done up in
    packages, with three elastics around them.

    Q. Now, I hand you this book, and ask you if those were the packages
    there were exchanged for the genuine packages?

    A. Yes, sir; these were, as we called them, the dummies.

    Q. Explain how they were operated?

    A. You see this is a package supposed to be of 5 dollar bills. There
    would be a good one on the top, and a good one on the bottom, and here
    would lay the same package of genuine money, and Walter would count
    out, say, 200 dollars in 5 dollar bills, which would be so much, and
    he would say, to save time, “We will measure the packages together,
    and, instead of counting each and every bill, we will put the packages
    together,” and the victim would think there was the same amount of
    money in each one, and then, through sleight-of-hand, he would put
    these in the box, and the good money on top; and if the victim wanted
    to see the packages again he would show them, and the one on top would
    be good money; and if the victim is a hard victim, he might want to
    take the money with him, and then Walter would shift these packages,
    and, therefore, he got about 60 dollars for 500 dollars or 1,000

    Q. And the victim would get those packages that we now exhibit,
    instead of the packages containing the good money that he has seen?

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. There were many of those in use, were there not?

    A. Yes, sir, we would never take the elastics off these; we would just
    take the elastics off the good money.

    Q. Here is a box with a heavy weight; see what is in this box?

    A. I guess that is a brick (witness takes out a brick wrapped up in
    paper); that is what he would get for his 650 dollars; for a 300
    dollar deal he would get half a brick; for 10,000 dollars it would
    have to be heavier than for a less amount.--Vol. iii., pp. 2,575-6.

In connection with McNally’s gang there was an Art Gallery fitted up
adjoining a saloon used sometimes as McNally’s headquarters. The chief
feature of this Art Gallery was a great number of pictures representing
treasuries filled with all kinds of money. “Here,” said the Steerer to the
Guy, “is the picture of what you will get in reality.” The effect upon his
imagination of these painted representations of enormous treasure in gold
and silver predisposed the victim to part freely with his money, and
believe the plausible friends who so kindly proposed to point out to him
so short a cut to a fortune. McNally had a private carriage also, with a
footman in livery. “The carriage racket,” as it was called, was thus
described by Applegate:--

    Q. Now, proceed and describe the operations of the carriage?

    A. Well, previous to the steerer and the guy coming to the carriage,
    there would be a satchel put there, a little red satchel.

    Q. In the carriage?

    A. In the carriage, with a brick and paper in it; there would also be
    two or three satchels without anything in it on the seat of the
    carriage. Walter Haines would get in with the guy. Walter Haines would
    have the money in the bag, the bank roll, and he would put the money
    in the satchel, a duplicate satchel to the one that had the brick in
    it; he would put the money in the satchel, and after the guy had paid
    Haines his money so--we never received theirs before we gave them
    ours, and after he made the deal and everything was all right, Haines
    would say, “I will go to the depôt,” and the steerer would grab the
    satchel and run out, and Walter Haines would slip the money in the
    cab, and Haines would say, “The steerer will go with you,” and he
    would go away with the steerer.

    Q. Were there any cases in which they discovered the fraud before they
    left the State?

    A. No, we worked kind of snug; when we were working the carriage
    racket we worked a little on the snug.

    Q. What is that?

    A. We did not have the protection we ought to have had, and the
    steerer then would have to go with the guy and keep the satchel and
    see the guy on the train, and, after he got on the train, he didn’t
    care a darn where he went.

    Q. And he did not have the facilities as in the turning joint?

    A. No, sir; we would not give him the satchel until he got on the
    train, and would say, “We will give you this at the proper time and

    Q. Weren’t you in the habit of giving to the guy keys?

    A. No; we generally threw the key away and told him to cut it open;
    not with the satchel; with the box we gave him keys.

    Q. Was there any design in giving the keys with the box?

    A. We never gave him the key which fitted the box.

    Q. So when they got on the railroad----

    A. When a guy gets a box like that there will be some combination on
    it, and he will get the wrong key, and he don’t know how to get out of

    Q. And you always made sure to give him a key that would not open the

    A. Yes, sir; the reason of that is that we gave him a key that fits
    the box with the money in, and that would not fit the box that had the
    brick in.--Vol. iii., pp. 2,613-5.

There were many ways of swindling the unfortunate guy. When once they are
hooked, they can be played with to almost any extent. In this, as in
higher regions, the saying holds good--

  Faith, fanatic faith, once wedded fast
  To some dear falsehood, hugs it to the last.

A guy will pay his money down and expect the notes to be sent to his
order. When they fail to turn up, he will come back and buy some more,
which are to be expressed to him. When they do not arrive, he will come
back the third time and do another deal, and see them checked at the
station with his ticket. The baggage-man is accused of stealing the money,
and the guy comes up for a fourth time. In this final purchase he never
allows the box or bag to go out of his own hands. Not until he opens the
precious parcel and finds the brick or counterfeit notes or rolls of
paper, does it dawn upon him that he has been done.

The need for great secrecy and the importance of getting a long way off
the city before opening the box do not seem unreasonable to a man who
knows that he is engaged in a more or less fraudulent transaction. It is
the knowledge of the guy that he is doing a more or less crooked business
which enables the gang to plunder him with such impunity.

Some such methods are probably familiar to the police of all the cities in
the world, but that which was peculiar to New York was the arrangement
made for carrying on this business, not merely with the cognizance of, but
with the active co-operation of the police. This partnership was so close
that in McNally’s case all the business was carried on in conjunction with
a police captain of the name of Meakin, who had as his agent at
headquarters a detective of the name of Hanley. It is difficult to repress
a smile on reading, at the very opening of Applegate’s evidence, how
things were worked.

Every now and then, when the newspapers made too much fuss concerning the
scandals of the Police Department, the authorities would order what is
known as a “general shake-up”--_i.e._, the captains would be shifted all
round, the assumption being that a new broom would sweep clean, and that
by changing the captains from one precinct to another the abuses that had
created any fuss would be rectified. Unfortunately the whole system of
blackmail and corruption was so elaborately organised that the shifting of
the captains made no change. Each newcomer succeeded to the business, and
carried on the collection of blackmail without losing a single day.
“Business carried on as usual during alterations” might have been posted
up over every police-station in New York; but in the case of Green Goods
men, their business was too profitable to be lost by the captain who had
once got hold of it. The consequence was that, when the shake-up took
place, and Captain Meakin was transferred from the “down-town precinct” to
Harlem at the other end of the island, he carried all the Green Goods men
with him up to his new station. As soon as the order was given that the
shake-up was to be enforced, Captain Meakin sent word to McNally that he
must follow him to Harlem. McNally thereupon told all his writers, Bunco
steerers and Turners that they must pack up their traps, and follow the
Captain to the precinct to which he had been transferred. The notice was
short, and for a moment it seemed as if the smooth course of the Green
Goods business would be interfered with, for several victims were on
their way to the rendezvous fixed by the writers in Captain McNally’s old
precinct. The resources of roguery are not so easily exhausted; the Bunco
steerers were ordered to bring their victims from the down town precinct
to some saloons in Harlem until the gang had arranged with the Captain as
to where the victims were to be plundered in the new precinct.

The saloon in which the confidence trick was played, and the room in which
the victim was relieved of his money, was known as the “Joint,” or the
place where they “beat the victim.” The first thing necessary was,
therefore, to find out a saloon that would be available for the purposes
of the gang. Captain Meakin was a man of resource. He and his wardman met
McNally at a drug store, and arranged with a saloon-keeper of the name of
Hawkins that the joint should be opened in his saloon. The arrangement
made with Hawkins was that he should have a sovereign for every man that
was fleeced at his place.

Very little time was lost in bundling the boxes, with the bricks and all
the other paraphernalia of the craft, into an express waggon. The King
drove up in his carriage with the bank-roll and his liveried coachman,
while the Turners followed by the Elevated Railway. As soon as the
arrangement was fixed up with the King and the Captain and the
Saloon-keeper, the signal was given, and the victims, who were planted at
various saloons in the neighbourhood by the Bunco steerers waiting until
the Police Captain and the King had fixed up arrangements as to the joint,
were brought down and fleeced. Thus, without the loss of a single day the
business was transferred, and was running merrily under the protecting
ægis of Captain Meakin and his police.

For four months this went on, until at last the scandal became so great
that the Police Commissioners received representations from the
inhabitants, and it became evident that the Hawkins saloon would no longer
serve as headquarters. A friendly communication was sent to the thieves by
Detective Charlton. He told them that they would have to quit, but at the
same time he obligingly suggested that the saloon of a man named Day in
the immediate neighbourhood would be quite as convenient, and would serve
equally well as a place for “beating” their victims. To Day’s saloon,
therefore, the Joint was transferred, and business went on for five
months, ten or twelve writers being busily employed in sending out
circulars, as many as fifteen thousand being sometimes despatched in a
single day.

At last an order was issued from headquarters ordering the arrest of all
the Green Goods men of New York. This looked serious, but when you have a
friend in the force you do not get arrested, excepting as a friendly
put-up job. When the order was issued from headquarters, Detective
Charlton was sent by Captain Meakin to inform McNally that they were
going to raid the Joint, and advised him to remove all the stuff before
the police arrived. This timely hint was promptly acted upon, and when the
place was raided nothing was found. The Green Goods men in the meanwhile
had transferred themselves to Jersey, which, being a foreign State, was
beyond the jurisdiction of the Superintendent. But everything was done to
make their sojourn in Jersey pleasant; Captain Meakin gave them a
recommendation to a detective in the Jersey force, who saw to it that they
were not interfered with. In return for those services, Captain Meakin
received from McNally £90 a month, the tariff being fixed at £10 per
writer. The money was paid to Detective Charlton, who handed it over, no
doubt after collecting his commission, to the Captain.

If the matter had only stopped here, the case of the Green Goods men would
not have differed materially from that of the disorderly houses, which all
subsidised the police, and were protected in return. But in the case of
these swindlers, who elevated the confidence trick almost to the level of
a fine art, there was a further development. If any of the writers were
behind in their payments to the King, McNally promptly denounced them to
the Captain, and the defaulting writer was as promptly arrested. By this
means discipline was enforced in the gang and all bad debts avoided.
Again, if any writer refused to follow McNally to the district where he
wanted him, or in any other way allowed his personal preferences to
interfere with the orders of the King, he was denounced and run in by the
obedient, uniformed myrmidons of his majesty.

In order to enforce discipline over the whole of New York City, it was
necessary to supplement the arrangement with Captain Meakin by a similar
understanding with an officer at the headquarters department. This officer
was Charles Hanley. “He was McNally’s right hand man, and any time he got
into trouble or his men got into trouble, the first man he sent for was
Hanley; and Hanley was always sent for.” He represented the Detective
Bureau, and his services were necessary when any unfortunate victim,
discovering that he had nothing but a brick in his box, came back to the
city and made complaint. A considerable number of the guys, or the
victims, never came back, being too thoroughly ashamed of their folly to
face an exposure; but a certain proportion did. These “Come-backs,” as
they were called, naturally applied to the Detective Bureau at the police
headquarters, and there they were taken in hand by McNally’s partner.
Applegate explained the working of this system as follows:--

    In cases of a come-back of any kind; in case a man has been swindled
    who has found the brick in the box before he has left New York; and as
    a rule he would go to the central office and make a holler; Hanley
    would always seem to be the detective that would get the man in
    charge; the man would be brought up town to try and identify the
    people, which he never could do; then we always got the tip to go
    away; the man would be brought down town and chased out of town as
    being a counterfeiter; and they would pay 500 dollars, and 250 dollars
    would go back to the police; the police claimed half of the
    deal.--Vol. iii., p. 2,590.

The method, it will be seen, was extremely ingenious. The swindlers had
passed forged notes upon their victim. When he made a complaint, he was
promptly arrested or driven out of the town by the confederates of the
gang in the police for having counterfeit notes in his possession! No
wonder things went “nice and easy.” Applegate described one scene which
had evidently afforded the gang great amusement. A victim, who had been
swindled, and had applied to the police for redress, was handed over in
the usual course to Hanley, who took him up town to the saloon where he
had been robbed, to see if he could find the Bunco steerer who had
inveigled him into the Joint. Applegate himself acted as the go-between on
that occasion. He warned the Steerer to keep out of the way, and then
asked Hanley to bring the Guy down past the windows of the saloon, where
the men who had swindled him could have some fun in watching him as he was
trotted about the street on a false scent. By some strange mistake, and
despite all warnings, the Steerer ran into the Detective and the Guy; but
even this difficulty was overcome, for a few words from the Detective put
it all right, and the Steerer went off without being arrested. For his
part in that little comedy Hanley got one-half of the money of which the
man had been swindled. In this case Hanley’s share of the plunder amounted
to £50. The victim was chased out of the town under the threat of arrest
and imprisonment for having counterfeit notes in his possession.

“You see,” said the witness, apologetically, “the guy is a guy, and you
can do almost anything with him.” It is certainly not difficult, when you
have the police to stand in whenever you get into a tight place.

The only terror which seemed to haunt the mind of the Green Goods men was
that of being shot down by some sharper who made himself up as a guy in
order to possess himself of the bank-roll of genuine money. Appo, a man
who spent most of his life in picking pockets when he was at liberty, and
in doing time in gaol when he was caught, had a rough experience of the
murderous possibilities that the Green Goods man has to face. On one
occasion a Tennessee detective made himself up as a country bumpkin. When
the critical moment came, he clapped his revolver at the head of Appo,
shot out his eye, lodged the bullet in his skull, from which it was never
extracted, and made off with all the money at that time on Appo’s person.
When examined before the Committee, Appo thus explained the _modus
operandi_ by which Green Goods men occasionally got cleaned out and
murdered in the bargain. He said:--

    ... I take a man; I rig him up; I say, “Do you want to make 5,000
    dols. or 10,000 dols.?” “Yes, sir.” “Well, you go up to a hotel room,
    and I will touch the wires to a party band, bring him there with his
    bank roll, and you play guy; when he comes in and shows his goods,
    take your gun, stick him up, and take his money away from him. If he
    goes to make a kick, shoot him; he cannot do that much; the law will
    protect you; see how Tony Martin got killed there in Brooklyn; them
    men got out; it was cold-blooded murder--wilful, deliberate,
    premeditated murder.” Fixed up? My case was fixed up there in
    Poughkeepsie; the man sneaked up behind me in cold blood and shot me,
    and sent me to State prison for three years and two months.--Vol. ii.,
    p. 1640-1.

Another ingenious precaution which was taken by McNally was to have the
detectives at the various railway stations surrounding New York in his
pay, so that in case any Guy were to discover that he had been swindled,
and make a fuss at the station, he could be promptly arrested for holding
counterfeit money, and so bullied as to make him thankful to get home
without saying more about it. The detective at the Central Depôt was paid
£10 a month for his services.

The facts as they were detailed before the Lexow Committee were proved by
such overwhelming evidence that the chief criminal, Captain Meakin, of the
police force, was seized with an illness which rendered it impossible for
him to appear in the witness-box. Perjury to an unlimited extent was
familiar enough to the police captains, but the evidence about the Green
Goods gang was too strong even for a police captain to brazen it out. So
it came to pass that Captain Meakin was too dangerously ill during the
sitting of the Committee for his evidence to be taken even at his own

The Lexow Committee reported on the subject as follows:--

    It appears conclusively that a heavy traffic of this kind has been
    systematically carried on by these swindlers, who, in exchange for
    protection, shared a large part of their ill-gotten gains with the
    police.... The evidence indicated that the first step in the
    initiation of business of this character was to establish relations
    with the captain of the precinct in which the work was carried on.

    It appears, moreover, that men notoriously engaged in the swindling or
    confidence business had their headquarters in the city, known to the
    police, where they might be ordinarily found, and that those who were
    receiving protection plied their trade unmolested, while others, who
    had not been fortunate enough to establish relations with the police,
    or those who intruded upon districts not assigned to them, would be
    warned off and in case of failure to obey would be summarily dealt
    with.--Vol. i., p. 39.

Strange and incredible though it may appear that the police should
actually join hands with the criminals of the type of the Green Goods
gang, it was entirely in keeping with the principles which had been
elaborated into a system in dealing with every form of robbery.

The Lexow Committee reported:--

    It has been conclusively shown that an understanding existed between
    headquarters’ detectives, pawnbrokers and thieves, by which stolen
    property may be promptly recovered by the owner on condition that he
    repay the pawnbroker the amount advanced on the stolen property. In
    almost every instance it also appears that the detective, acting
    between the owner and the pawnbroker, receives substantial gratuities
    from the owner of the property for the work done in his official
    capacity.--Vol. i., p. 40.

But there was a still worse form of co-partnership involved in the
procedure adopted in robberies in houses of ill-fame. A witness of the
name of Lucy C. Harriot, who at the time when she gave her evidence was an
inmate of the workhouse on Blackwell’s Island, but who had an extensive
experience in the disorderly houses of New York, explained the system in
some detail. The police, she said, were able to make robberies in what
were known as panel houses, safe for the thief and profitable to
themselves. When a man was robbed and went to the station-house for
redress, the Captain usually sent down a wardman to the house, who made it
his first duty to represent to the victim the prudence of saying nothing
about it, and of avoiding what would be otherwise a painful exposure. If
the victim persisted, the wardman would pretend to endeavour to find the
girl, but always discovered that she had gone off to Europe, or had
disappeared in some mysterious way. The matter always ended in the man
being scared off. I quote the evidence as given in the Report:--

    By Mr. Goff: And after the stranger is scared off, the wardman goes to
    the house, and isn’t it a rule that the money he is robbed of is
    divided with the police?

    A. I have heard it ever since I have been round; that is about nine

    Q. Where do you come in when you steal 180 dols.; where does your
    profit come in?

    A. If the man went away quietly, the wardman would have received 90
    dols. of the 180 dols., and I would have got 45 dols. out of the
    remaining half.

    Q. And the madam for 45 dols.?

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. And the wardman gets, in this case, fifty per cent. of the loot?

    A. Yes, sir, that is so.--Vol. i., p. 3,620.

    By Chairman Lexow: How many houses have you been into to which the
    rule as to payment of money and the division of property applies?

    A. Every one that ever I entered.

    Q. How many?

    A. About two dozen, I guess.--Vol. i., p. 3,622.

    By Senator Bradley: What you say is a general custom?

    A. A common occurrence.

    Q. Is that tariff fixed ... the payment of fifty per cent. to the
    wardman, or the policeman, in case of panel theft?

    A. Yes.

    Q. That he should get one-half?

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. And that applies to all these twenty-four houses you speak of?

    A. Yes, sir, every house I went into of that kind.--Vol. i., p. 3,623.

Excepting in the most barbarous regions of Turkey, where Pashas are
sometimes suspected and accused of winking at the raids of bandits in
consideration of a share of the spoil, has there ever been such a story as

The principle of territorial jurisdiction is so deeply rooted in the
American mind that the New York police seem to have acted upon it in all
their dealings with the criminals whom they shepherded. For instance, they
appear to have parcelled Broadway into blocks, allotting each block to a
different thief, who, of course, paid quit rent for his district to the
police. The understanding was that the policeman was to be free to arrest
the thief if there was a complaint made by the victim, but that so long as
no complaints were made the policeman would “close the other eye,” and
allow the pickpocket a free run. Mr. Goff stated that there was once a
fight between the thieves; that one trespassed upon the other’s domain and
went to a pawnshop about it, and the authorities at police headquarters
threatened to send the first thief up the river if he ever invaded the
second thief’s privileges (vol. v., p. 5,193).

This reverent regard for territorial landmarks is very touching. The New
York police appear to have been as much opposed to poaching as are English

[Illustration: DELMONICO’S.]



Among its other achievements, the Lexow Committee enriched the vocabulary
of our language by the word Pantata. It is a mysterious word of Bohemian
origin. What it precisely meant none of the witnesses could explain. It
had no exact equivalent in the English language, but there was no
difficulty about understanding how it was applied in New York. Pantata, in
its origin, the interpreters explain, meant father-in-law. The term was
used in households to describe your wife’s father, but it was also held to
be the equivalent of Old Man; and one witness declared that in Bohemia,
the country from which the word was exported, it is frequently applied to
the Emperor-King of Austria-Hungary, Francis Joseph, who is said to be
Pantata to his Royal Bohemians.

Whatever may be the original significance of the term, it was applied by
the Bohemian Liquor Dealers’ Association to the Police Captain of the
precinct in which they did their business. He was their Pantata, and from
this beginning the term came to be used as a generic title for the police
official, who was on terms of family relationship with the vicious and
criminal class under his jurisdiction. The New York police captain was in
a special sense the father-in-law, or Father-in-the-Law, to a very
numerous progeny of disreputable people. Instead of being a terror to
evildoers, he became their Pantata, who looked after them with
semi-paternal care, and generally acted as their Father-in-the-Law,
regarding it indeed as his chief function to relax the law in their behalf
in return, of course, for consideration received. So long as his dues were
paid there was nothing that Pantata would not do. He could, for instance,
and did, practically suspend the legislation for Sunday closing. But that
is a mere trifle.

It was proved by the evidence of one witness that the Pantata police did
not hesitate to issue irregular licences of their own for the keeping of
unlicensed saloons, or shebeens, as we would say.

One witness, Anna Newstatel, held a licence once down to the year 1890.
When running a full licensed saloon she paid five dollars a month to the
police. After 1890 her licence was revoked, but in consideration of her
having been a good paying subject, the police told her that she might go
on selling all kinds of liquor without a licence, so long at she
continued to pay her dues to them, in consideration of an initiation fee
of £40 down. The following is the extract from the evidence:--

    Q. What was your licence revoked for?

    A. For selling liquor on a beer licence.

    Q. And after your licence was revoked the police allowed you to sell
    everything without a licence?

    A. After I paid them 200 dollars at the start and then 50 dollars a

    Q. Now did you pay 200 dollars at the start?

    A. I said I couldn’t afford to do that--I would sooner rent out the
    saloon; and they said if I rent out the saloon as a store, and I
    should live private upstairs and carry on my saloon business upstairs
    for half of the amount--for 100 dollars to start, and 25 dollars every
    month--and I should try that, and they will help me and see that I
    shall have customers enough to do business.

    Q. In other words, they told you you must go upstairs?

    Chairman Lexow: That is to say, they would reduce the amount one-half
    if she would do that?

    Q. You sold on Sunday as well as on weekdays?

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. Now, about the custom that you had. Did the detectives provide you
    with the custom; did they give you custom?

    A. No, they did not; they came in sometimes themselves and like this,
    only they never paid when they came in; only they allowed me to keep
    open any hour and all the time.--Vol. v., p. 4,592.

This claim to be supplied with drink whenever they felt they wanted a
glass appears to have been very generally recognised by the liquor dealers
of New York. Sometimes the police would pretend that they would pay, but,
as a matter of fact, the principle of free drinks seems to have been very
widely recognised.

In the regular saloons there was comparatively little necessity for
invoking the assistance of the benevolent Pantata. He had a much wider
field in dealing with the gaming houses, which flourished in every
precinct in New York. According to the law, no gaming house was allowed to
run. Yet, by permission of the police, there were about a thousand of them
running all the time the Lexow Committee was sitting. I had better quote
here the extract from the Lexow Committee’s Report:--

    The evidence is conclusive that with reference to this class of vice
    the police occupied substantially the same position as they did with
    respect to disorderly houses.

    It was proven even that while the Committee was actually in session
    more than six hundred policy shops were in active operation in the
    city, running openly, and from day to day policy slips were secured in
    some shops in different portions of the city by detectives in the
    employ of your Committee.

    Qualified witnesses swore that the general average of open shops was
    about one thousand. The testimony disclosed the remarkable fact that
    not only were these violators of the law protected by the police in
    consideration of a fixed sum of 15 dollars a month per shop, but that
    the area of operation of each “king” was so clearly understood and
    carefully guarded, that any intruder would be certified to the police,
    and would either be compelled to refrain from competition with a
    licensed “policy king,” or else would be arrested and condign
    punishment would be visited upon him.

    It seems clear from the evidence that this division of territory was
    largely for the benefit of the police, insuring a more rapid and
    easier collection of the tribute to be paid the “policy king” to whom
    a particular district had been assigned, paying in bulk at the rate
    of fifteen dollars per shop for all the shops running in such district
    or districts.

    Pool-rooms flourished all over the city in the same way. Large sums
    were extorted from their proprietors by the police, and they were
    permitted to remain unmolested, openly and publicly running, until a
    private citizen, Richard Croker, after a conference with a police
    commissioner, enforced their cessation practically in a single day.
    This is one of the most remarkable circumstances testified to before
    your Committee. And yet nothing was done or attempted to be done until
    the private citizen aforesaid commanded that they be closed, and they
    were closed, and closed without criminal prosecution.

    It appeared subsequently in evidence that these pool-rooms, while
    running, had been assessed and had paid for police protection as high
    as 300 dollars a month.--Vol. i., p. 3,637.

We have too much betting in England--betting carried on with the active
co-operation of the press--for any English journalist to be able to throw
a stone at New York or Chicago, for the extent to which gambling is
carried on in policy-shops or pool-rooms. The Turf is the great gaming
hell of the Old Country, and nearly every newspaper in the land plays the
part of a tout and tempter to those who wish to gamble. In New York, while
there is betting enough among certain classes, the masses of the people
seem to prefer other forms of risking their money.

A very curious picture is given in the evidence taken by the Lexow
Committee of the prevalence of the gaming habit among all classes of the
population, especially in the poorer districts. After making one or two
ineffectual attempts, I have given up all hope of understanding, much less
of explaining, the precise way in which gambling goes on in pool-rooms.
From the explanations of the witness, the uninitiated outsider can only
discern vaguely that policy is much more akin to the Italian lottery
system than anything which prevails in this country. Any sum can be
staked, from one cent upwards. The gambler chooses a number or
concatenation of numbers. What is called a “saddle” consists of two sets
of numbers, while a “gig” is composed of three. There are many kinds of
“gigs,” which were duly described for the edification of the Committee,
the “police gig” being one of those most in vogue. In the choice of
“saddles” or “gigs”--or, in other words, in the selection of numbers on
which to put his money--the New York gambler is exactly like a Neapolitan,
and in nothing is the resemblance more remarkable than in the respect paid
to dreams. Nearly every policeman, it was declared, had a dream book, and
according as he dreamed, so he would put his money upon the number
indicated by the dream in his pocket oracle. I made a small collection of
dream books when I was in Chicago, and came to the conclusion that the
dream book was much more constantly consulted in that city than the Old or
New Testament. Judging from the evidence before the Committee, dream books
are equally in vogue in New York, but any accident or incident would serve
to suggest a favourite combination of lucky numbers, which would be in
great request until some other incident arose to suggest a new
combination. You staked a cent and stood to win a dollar.

One of the most painful features of this policy gambling was the extent to
which it worked downwards, even to the children. Lads coming from school
would beg a cent in order to try their luck. As they could only pay by
attracting customers, it was impossible to run a policy shop in secrecy.
In less than a couple of days the police were perfectly well aware that a
policy shop had been opened, and it was therefore absolutely necessary to
secure the police in advance. This seems to have been done on strict
business principles, and the partnership between the various kings or
satraps, to whom the police farmed out the precinct, appears to have been
very harmonious.

Bucket-shop and gambling on the tape on the prices quoted on the Stock
Exchange is as common in New York as it is in London; but one ingenious
method of improving on the bucket-shop was brought to light in the course
of this investigation. The disadvantage of the gambling in _bonâ fide_
Stock Exchange securities is that they are often sluggish, and do not go
up and down with sufficient rapidity to stimulate the excitement of the
gambler. In New York a bogus commission agency established a system of
gambling which beat the bucket-shop hollow. Instead of waiting for the
arrival of genuine prices of real stocks, the genius who ran this
commission agency fixed up a tape machine in his office, and before
business started in the morning wrote out a series of about five hundred
different quotations for stock in purely imaginary companies. When his
gamblers had assembled, he turned a handle, and wound off his tape. He
made the stocks of course go up and down with the requisite rapidity, and
from a gaming point of view it was in every way but one superior to the
ordinary betting on the tape. The one exception, however, was a pretty
considerable drawback, for the proprietor of the establishment knew in
advance what figures would come out, and how the prices would fluctuate.
So long, however, as he did not bet himself, this made no difference to
those who wanted a flutter.

Into the ramifications of the gambling in New York it is not necessary to
follow the Committee in their painstaking investigation. It did not even
draw the line at the Chinese quarter; and those who wish to know all about
Fantah, and the mysteries of the Button Game, will find their curiosity
gratified if they read through the Report. All that need be said is that
no form of gambling was carried on at New York which had not the police
authorities as its protectors, and the rank and file as its patrons. Under
such circumstances, it is hardly to be expected that much progress will be
made in suppressing gambling in New York.

The task indeed, as every policeman knows, is one of great difficulty,
even when the force is entirely free from any suspicion of complicity.
Mr. Moss, who is now at the head of the police at New York, had to admit
last September that, despite all his efforts, pool-rooms had been running;
and, as the newspapers declared, some of the police are Pantatas still. It
was, however, generally admitted that if the Pantata can be exterminated
by zeal, energy, and severity, Mr. Moss is the man to do it.


[Illustration: ST. PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, NEW YORK. (Roman Catholic.)]



If the Police Captain was the Pantata of the Gambler, he was the
Farmer-General of the Houses of Ill-fame in his Precinct. His duty, as
defined by the law which he had sworn to enforce, was clear. He was bound
to close every disorderly house in his jurisdiction. His practice was to
let them all run--for a consideration. The Strange Woman, that pathetic
and tragic figure in the streets of all great cities, whose house from of
old was said to be the Way of Hell, going down into the Chambers of Death,
excited in the Police Captain only the sentiment of rapacity. In his eyes
she was merely an asset in his farm, and one of the most valuable.

It was when the Lexow Committee approached this part of the investigation
that they found the greatest difficulties placed in their way.

During the whole of the inquiry the Police Department preserved an
attitude of animosity to the Lexow Committee. This was only natural,
considering that the Committee was engaged in bringing to light all the
misdeeds of the Department for the last three or four years. The Committee
was protected by law, and supported by public opinion; nevertheless, the
police eagerly seized every opportunity that was offered them in order to
embarrass the Committee’s investigations, by intimidating witnesses, and
sometimes by spiriting them away altogether. It was proved that policemen
had gone round to the keepers of disorderly houses, and had begged them to
refuse to appear, or to refuse to testify, promising as an inducement
that, if they would hold their tongues, they should be allowed to run
their houses freely without interference from any one. The tune which all
the policemen sang was “Wait till the clouds roll by.” The Lexow Committee
was but a creature of to-day, while the Police Department was one of the
permanent institutions of the city.

“These fellows have got no pull,” said the police. “You lie low for a
time, and we will protect you.”

When this argument failed, they resorted to menace, threatening to close
up the house, to fling the keepers into gaol, and occasionally, when these
threats failed, they resorted to personal violence.

The Committee, speaking of the terrorism which was employed by the police
in order to prevent witnesses testifying, said:--

    In the course of the inquiry, a man rushed into the session of your
    Committee, fresh from an assault made upon him by a notorious
    politician and two policemen, and with fear depicted upon his
    countenance, threw himself upon the mercy of the Committee and asked
    its protection, insisting that he knew of no court and of no place
    where he could in safety go and obtain protection from his
    persecutors.--Vol. i., pp. 25, 26.

The most distinguished exploit of the police, however, during the whole of
the inquiry was the spiriting away of the French Madam, Matilda Hermann,
one of the most notable keepers of disorderly houses in the City of New
York. When it was known that the Committee was after her, and that Madam,
who had been plundered to the bone by the police, was by no means
indisposed to “squeal”--to quote the expressive vernacular of the
Department--there was a consultation among the police authorities as to
what measures should be taken to close her mouth. A considerable number of
people in the same way of business had been induced to migrate to Chicago,
where they remained waiting until such time as the Committee adjourned,
but Madam Hermann was too dangerous a witness. She required special
treatment. A purse was made up for her by the police, which, when the
subscription closed, amounted to 1,700 dollars. She was then under
subpœna, and was expected before the Committee the next day.

At midnight, a police officer in plain clothes came to her house, bundled
her into a carriage in such hot haste that she had not time to complete
her toilet, and whisked her off no one knew where. For some weeks the
police appeared to have triumphed, but after a time the Committee were
able to get upon her track. She had been taken first to New Jersey, and
then from New Jersey had been railroaded through to Canada. From thence,
after moving about from place to place, she had been taken to a Western
city, where at last she was run to ground.

When the agents of the Committee found her she expressed no disinclination
to return to New York and testify. She had fulfilled her part of the
bargain in keeping out of the way as long as she could. Now that she was
discovered she was willing to return. In great triumph she was escorted
back to the city. In order to prevent any attempt at rescue, an additional
staff of men were sent to Philadelphia to meet her. The precaution was
timely, for as soon as they arrived at Jersey City a last desperate
attempt was made by the police to prevent her evidence being taken.

She was in the custody of the Deputy Serjeant-at-Arms of the Senate, who
had a party of resolute men in his train. But notwithstanding this, no
sooner had the party arrived in Jersey City than they were set upon by the
Jersey police, who treated them with the greatest roughness. They
threatened to break their faces, hustled them about, and endeavoured in
the _mêlée_ to get Madam Hermann away. The Deputy Serjeant, however,
stuck to his witness, and finally he, Madam Hermann, and all his men were
arrested, run into the station-house, and locked up.

The sensation which this occasioned can be imagined. Fortunately, the
Committee was in session, otherwise there is no knowing whether the daring
attempt to seize and remove the witness might not have succeeded. The
immediate publicity, however, that was given to the case convinced the
police that the game was up. The Chief of the Police and the Police
Magistrate refused to lend their aid in thwarting the ends of justice, and
the conspirators, led by a lawyer, who was also a senator of the State of
New Jersey, drew off their gang, and reluctantly allowed Madam Hermann to
be brought to New York. The story reads more like an episode from the
Middle Ages than an excerpt from the proceedings of a senatorial
investigation in New York State in the last decade of the nineteenth

The French Madam, as she was called in the precinct, was evidently
regarded by the police as a gold mine. She had three or four houses, with
some twenty-four or twenty-five girls, and was doing a flourishing
business. She paid the police altogether in the seven years that she was
running the sum of over 30,000 dollars, or more than £6,000; _i.e._, this
woman alone yielded the police a revenue of nearly £1,000 a year. Part of
this money, it should be said, went to the lawyers, who shared it with the
police. Every time she was raided the policeman insisted upon her taking a
lawyer, and told her that if she would take the lawyer of his choice, he
would not swear against her. He would swear that he was not sure of her
identity. This she did, and she was discharged. Every time she took a
lawyer she had to pay from £35 to £80, and the lawyer always told her that
he only got part of the money, as the rest of it went to fix her
detectives. Her evidence on this point was very emphatic. Whether she paid
200 dollars or 100 dollars, the lawyer only got 50 dollars; the rest went
up to the police.

    Q. Were you told by the lawyers that that must go up?

    A. From the smallest lawyer to the biggest lawyer: every lawyer was
    the same.

    Q. And every lawyer whose name you have mentioned told you that they
    had to give up to the police part of their fees they got from you?

    A. Every one of them.--Vol. iv., p. 4,179.

Mrs. Hermann first went into the business from being employed as a
dressmaker for the inmates of disorderly houses. She gradually added house
to house, until she had four houses and twenty-five girls. She had to pay
the police sometimes as much as £200 initiation fee before opening a
house, and then from £60 to £100 per annum as protection money.

In addition to these payments, every policeman in the street received a
dollar or two whenever he chose to ask for it. The method of exacting
this payment was very simple. The policeman said nothing, but simply stood
in front of the door. Of course, no one entered the house as long as he
was there; therefore, as counsel put it, “in order to induce him to take a
little exercise round the block, he was presented with a two-dollar bill.”
This little episode used to occur about twice or thrice a week.
Notwithstanding these payments, she made too much money to be left alone.
She was raided twice in 1890, and on the first occasion the police
extracted the sum of £200 before she was allowed to reopen her premises.
The next year she was prosecuted, and had to forfeit £200 bail in order to
avoid a threatened imprisonment. Immediately after her return she was
again arrested, and had to pay £200 to the detective, who shared it with a
high official at the Central Police Headquarters.

Her business was so profitable that she admitted in Court that she had
been making between £2,000 and £3,000 a year, of which sum the police and
the police lawyers seem to have had a good half. On one occasion, when she
had paid £100 to her lawyer to get off with a fine of £20, she was
liberated on the Friday and re-opened her house on the Saturday.

Notwithstanding the way in which they fleeced their unfortunate victim,
she was still subjected, like all her class, to occasional outbursts of
brutality on the part of members of the force.

When Dr. Parkhurst was making his tour of investigation through “the
avenues of our municipal Inferno,” the wardman was sent round the district
to the keepers of all the disorderly houses to describe Dr. Parkhurst, and
to tell them to look out for him in case he appeared at their house.
Another experience was when she took a house in West Twenty-third Street
to start it as an ordinary boarding-house. She had furnished it, and was
trying to let it. Promptly the wardman of the precinct came to her and
asked her “whether she did not know the law of the precinct.” “You know
very well,” he said, “that you cannot move in here until you see the
Captain.” And then this estimable officer did all he could to convince her
that it was idle trying to run a decent boarding-house, and she had much
better open the house in the regular way. The initiation fee would be
£400, £200 down and the rest to stand over until business was good. There
was to be a further payment of protection money, amounting to £240 a year.
She had not much ready money, whereupon the wardman suggested that she
might pawn her diamonds, for, said he, “the Captain is very bad off for

Another very amusing thing which came out in her evidence was the argument
used by a detective named Zimmerman to induce her to give him £10. He got
a couple of pounds one day, and came back the next, asking for another £2.
She objected, but he said, “I will be a good friend to you. I have lots
of pull, and my brother has shaved the Superintendent for twenty years,
and I get a great deal; I have a pull on that account.” It is an
interesting illustration of the way in which everything was turned to
account for the levying of blackmail. But we could hardly get lower than
this. The origin of pulls is mysterious; but to have a pull because your
brother shaves the Superintendent is a very mysterious foundation for
political influence. It is, however, but one among the many things in the
evidence that remind us of Turkey. The barber of the Grand Vizier is no
doubt a much more influential person than many a Pasha; and detective
Zimmerman was probably right in believing that his pull was good.
Everywhere, and at every turn, we are confronted by the omnipresent
“pull.” It confirms in the strongest way what Mr. Godkin said long ago as
to the city governments in America being a system of government by

    In the ward in which he lives, the foreign immigrant never comes
    across any sign of moral right or moral wrong, human or divine
    justice. He then perceives very soon that, as far as he is concerned,
    ours is not a government of laws, but a government of “pulls.” When he
    goes into the only court of justice of which he has any knowledge, he
    is told he must have a “pull” on the magistrate or he will fare badly.
    When he opens a liquor-store, he is told he must have a “pull” on the
    police in order not to be “raided” or arrested for violation of a
    mysterious something which he hears called “law.” He learns from those
    of his countrymen who have been here longer than he that, in order to
    come into possession of this “pull,” he must secure the friendship of
    the district leader.--_North American Review_, 1890.

Mrs. Hermann was only one among a number of other Madams who appeared
before the Committee, but none succeeded in exciting so much sympathy on
the part of the senators. The scandalous way in which the poor woman had
been fleeced, and bullied, and ultimately reduced to penury by the very
officials to whom she was paying protection money, roused the indignation
of the Committee. If the police had protected her in return for their fee,
it would have been a different matter, but, as Senator O’Connor remarked,
indignantly, in addition to paying the monthly tax, and the initiation
fees, raids were got up as an excuse to enable a policeman or a class of
criminal lawyers to extort money out of her. Senator Pound remarked that
it was the practice to protect such women until they became wealthy, and
then squeeze it out of them and leave them destitute. They say that there
is “honour among thieves,” but there seems to be none with the policemen
who handled Mrs. Hermann.

Another Madam, whose case attracted considerable attention, was one
Augusta Thurow, whose misfortunes brought her into intimate relations with
Senator Roesch, and led to the appearance of that redoubtable politician
in the witness-box. The relations between her and the Captain of the
Precinct seem to have been on straight business lines. About a dollar a
month for each girl in the house was the regular tariff. When beginning
business she went round to see the Captain and told him that she was
willing to do the right thing, but she had not much money, and could not
pay a very heavy initiation fee. He met her fairly, and said that he would
send the wardman round, and she was to do what he told her. When the
wardman came he said, “You wait until after the election, and, after the
election is over, you start right in and do business.” After the election
day he returned and said, “Now we will come to terms. Give me twenty-five
dollars a month and there will be no trouble either for you or for me.”
Business went on smoothly until one day she received a summons to go and
see the Captain. When she got there she found a number of other ladies and
gentlemen of her own profession at the station-house. On being admitted
into the Captain’s presence she thought he wanted money. He replied, “I am
not supposed to take money, but you can give me the money;” whereupon she
handed him twenty-five dollars. He then told her that he had sent for her,
not in order to collect the protection fee, which was the duty of the
wardman, but to give her a friendly warning that he had received orders
from the Central Office to close all the disorderly houses in the
precinct. He hoped, therefore, that she would do her business very
carefully, otherwise they might raid her from the Central Office. This was
an incident which was constantly occurring. The Central Office, stirred up
by newspaper reports, or by the representations of decent citizens, issues
orders for enforcing the law. The police captains, instead of executing
the orders of the Central Office in the spirit as well as in the letter,
send word round to all those concerned warning them to be on the alert. By
this means the Captain of the Precinct effectually nullifies the orders
issued from the Central Office, and, even if the Central Office make a
raid on their own account, they find nothing to seize.

It was shortly after this visit that Mrs. Thurow made her first
acquaintance with a redoubtable policeman of the name of Hoch. Of all the
collectors or wardmen who figure in the evidence, Hoch enjoys the most
conspicuous notoriety. He was no sooner entrusted with the collections in
that district than he insisted upon raising the fees for protection. “A
ranch like that,” he said, “is worth seventy-five dollars a month, and
here you are only paying twenty-five dollars, and give me only five
dollars, although you promised me ten dollars.”

“Hoch,” she replied, “I cannot afford it.”

    Q. What did he say when you said you could not afford it?

    A. He says, “You have got the house, and why don’t you make money? It
    is your own fault; and that house is situated in the right spot, and
    you can do all the business you want and we won’t interfere with you,
    but you must do better than this.”

    Q. Did he make any threats then to pull you, if you did not pay a
    higher rate?

    A. He said, certainly, if I could not do better than that, he would
    raid the house.--Vol. i., p. 1,055.

This alarmed the Madam, and off she went to her husband, who was sent in
quest of Judge Roesch, the leader of the Seventh Assembly District, an
ex-senator. “I will go and see somebody, and fix the thing up,” said
Roesch. “But it will cost about one hundred dollars.” The money was paid,
and she did business right away.

Some time after this she was pulled by another detective. She expostulated
against the injustice of being run in, although she was paying protection
money, whereupon the detective remarked sententiously, “Somehow or other
you did not hitch with the Boss.” She went round to the station-house, to
find out what was wrong. The Captain told her that she had to find another
house in the precinct, and he would protect her, but he would not stand
the house in which she was any longer. The cause of this she discovered
when she was told that she could not open the new house until she paid an
initiation fee of £200 for the Captain, and £50 for Hoch.

It is not quite clear how it was that she got at cross purposes with the
police, but one remark made by Hoch would seem to indicate the existence
of an incipient jealousy between the police and Tammany Hall.

Augusta Thurow told the Committee that she said to Hoch:--

    “I cannot afford to pay more than I am paying; you people treat me so
    terribly, and I had to go to Roesch, and I had to pay him for his
    trouble.” He said, “What did you pay him?” I said “Never mind what I
    paid him.” He says, “That is how it is with you; you people get us
    angry; you give money to the politicians that belong to the
    police.”--Vol. i., p. 1,080.

The Chairman asked her to repeat exactly what he said; and she answered,
“He said, ‘You give the money to the politicians that ought to go to the
police. Are the politicians doing for you, or are we doing for you?’”

The evidence of the two Madams, and of a great number of other keepers of
disorderly houses, proved beyond all gainsaying that the police were in
partnership with the prostitutes, and that the firstfruits of the harvest
of shame were paid to the Captain of the Precinct. The Report of the Lexow
Committee thus sums up the result of their investigations:--

    The testimony upon this subject, taken as a whole, establishes
    conclusively the fact that this variety of vice was regularly and
    systematically licensed by the police of the city. The system had
    reached such a perfection in detail that the inmates of the several
    houses were numbered and classified, and a rateable charge placed upon
    each proprietor in proportion to the number of inmates, or in cases of
    houses of assignation the number of rooms occupied and the prices
    charged, reduced to a monthly rate, which was collected within a few
    days of the first of each month during the year. This was true
    apparently with reference to all disorderly houses except in the case
    of a few specially favoured ones. The prices ran from twenty-five to
    fifty dollars monthly, depending upon the considerations aforesaid,
    besides fixed sums for the opening of new houses or the resumption of
    “business” in old or temporarily abandoned houses, and for “initiation
    fees” designed as an additional gratuity to captains upon their
    transfer into new precincts. The established fee for opening and
    initiation appears to have been five hundred dollars.

    Thus it appears that transfers of captains, ostensibly made for the
    purpose of reform and of enforcing the discontinuance of the practice,
    the prevalence of which seems to have been generally understood,
    resulted only in the extortion from these criminal places of
    additional blackmail.

    As an evidence of the perfect system to which this traffic has been
    reduced, your Committee refers to that part of the testimony which
    shows that in more than one instance the police officials refused to
    allow keepers of disorderly houses to discontinue their business,
    threatening them with persecution if they attempted so to do, and
    substantially expounding the proposition that they were for the
    purpose of making money to share with the police. As an evidence of
    the extraordinary conditions to which this system had given rise, it
    is proper to call your attention to the fact that in a number of cases
    women, who, as keepers of disorderly houses, had paid thousands of
    dollars for police protection, had become reduced to the verge of
    starvation, while those who had exacted blackmail from them were
    living in luxury in houses that had been furnished out of the earnings
    of these women, or they were wearing ornaments of jewelry purchased by
    them; and even the furniture of their houses had been paid for by
    those whom they had protected in the commission of crime.

    The evidence establishes, furthermore, that not only the proprietors
    of disorderly houses paid for their illegal privileges, but the
    outcasts of society paid patrolmen on post for permission to solicit
    on the public highways, dividing their gains with them, and, often, as
    appears by proof, when brought before the police magistrates and
    committed to the penitentiary for disorderly conduct in default of
    bail, they compounded their sentence, and secured bail by paying ten
    dollars or fifteen dollars to the clerk of the court, or his agents,
    and were then released again to ply their calling and to become
    victimised as before.

    The evidence furthermore shows that in some of the houses of the
    character described, visitors were systematically robbed, and when
    they made complaint at the station-house the man detailed to examine
    into the charge failed to arrest the perpetrator, and frightened the
    victim off by threats, and then returned and received his
    compensation, an equal division of the plunder between the thief and
    the officer.

    The testimony taken as a whole conclusively establishes that the
    social evil was, and probably still is, fostered and protected by the
    police of the city, even to the extent of inducing its votaries to
    continue their illegal practices, maintaining substantially a
    partnership with them in the traffic, absorbing the largest part of
    the resulting profit.--Vol. i., pp. 33-36.

The most startling statement in the whole Report is that which is
contained in the paragraph just quoted. From this it appears that the
police were not merely toll-keepers on the way to hell, but if by any
chance the Strange Woman wished to forsake her chamber of death, they
thrust her back into it. What was it to them that she might wish to save
her soul alive out of the pit? Her duty was to stay there and earn dollars
for the police. Were they not the Farmers-General of the Wages of Sin?

Mrs. Blood, a keeper of houses of ill-fame, was compelled by a Police
Captain to purchase the house of Madame Perot at some 10,000 dollars above
its value, to carry it on as a house of prostitution (vol. v., p. 5,414).
Another Captain smashed in the face of a man named Galingo because he had
taken a house in which the Captain wished to instal a brothel-keeper from
whom he expected to get £200 opening fee and £10 a month afterwards (vol.
iv., p. 4,487). In other cases, witnesses who had intended to leave the
business were compelled to go on running by threat of being raided and
ruined if they dared to think of ceasing to earn fees for the police. The
police had come to believe that they had a vested interest in every
brothel; and when a keeper proposed to quit the business, he felt like an
Irish tenant who is being evicted without compensation for disturbance.

[Illustration: MADAM HERMANN.]




“After all,” some readers will say, “what does it matter? These people are
all outlaws; they deserve what they get, whatever it is.” But the net of
the New York police was exceeding wide, and the mesh was exceeding fine,
and no class of the community escaped. As the sun riseth upon the evil and
the just, so the blackmailer of the Police Department marked as his prey
the honest and virtuous as well as the vicious and criminal. The Lexow
Committee report:--

    The evidence of blackmail and extortion does not rest alone on the
    evidence of criminals or persons accused of the commission of crime.
    It has been abundantly proven that bootblacks, push-cart, and fruit
    vendors, as well as keepers of soda-water stands, corner grocerymen,
    sailmakers with flag poles extending a few feet beyond the place which
    they occupy, boxmakers, provision dealers, wholesale drygoods
    merchants, and builders, who are compelled at times to use the
    sidewalk and street, steamboat and steamship companies, who require
    police service on their docks, those who give public exhibitions, and
    in fact all persons, and all classes of persons whose business is
    subject to the observation of the police, or who may be reported as
    violating ordinances, or who may require the aid of the police, all
    have to contribute in substantial sums to the vast amounts which flow
    into the station-houses, and which, after leaving something of the
    nature of a deposit, then flow on higher. The commerce of the port
    even is taxed when the functions of the police department touch it, so
    that the shippers are compelled to submit to exactions in the city of
    New York that they do not meet with in any other port.--Vol. i., p.

The chief sufferers, of course, were the poor and those who had no helper.
They were as much at the mercy of their oppressors as the French people
before the Revolution were at the mercy of their nobles. Again and again
the senators expressed their amazement that a population so harassed and
oppressed did not rise in revolt. Their wrongs certainly were immeasurably
greater than those which led to the Tea-party in Boston Harbour and the
Declaration of Independence. The chief abuse, the great grievance, might
be summed up in one sentence. There was no justice for the poor. A witness
of the name of Collins, speaking of the notorious Alderman, Silver Dollar
Smith, and the gang by which he reigned supreme on the east side, said:--

    Smith has a regular organisation; you couldn’t convict them people
    neither; you couldn’t convict them people in Court neither. It is an
    organisation to represent witnesses to condemn people if they have no
    money. If they have money to give, they are innocent; they perjure
    themselves if they pay money.--Vol. v., p. 4,894.

But it is not necessary to go beyond the finding of the Lexow Committee in
their official Report:--

    The co-ordination of all the departments of city government, under the
    sway of the dominant Democratic faction in that city, has produced a
    harmony of action operating so as to render it impossible for
    oppressed citizens, particularly those in the humbler walks of life,
    the poor and needy, to obtain redress or relief from the oppression or
    the tyranny of the police. Their path to justice was completely
    blocked. It is not credible that the abuses shown to exist have been
    the creation of but a short time. It is clear from the evidence that
    abuses have existed for many years back; that they have been
    constantly increasing through the years, but that they did not reach
    their full and perfect development until Tammany Hall obtained
    absolute control of the city government, and under that control the
    practices which have been shown conclusively before your Committee,
    were brought into a well regulated and comprehensive system, conducted
    apparently upon business principles.--Vol. i., p. 37.

The way in which the criminals in uniform and on the judge’s bench acted
when by any chance they could punish any one for doing what they
themselves were doing all the time has already been remarked in the case
of Captain Creedon, who was the only captain suspended by the Police Board
during the whole investigation. A more cruel case was that of Karl Werner.
This man had tried to bribe a policeman with five dollars, and was
promptly arrested. Every difficulty was placed in the way of letting him
have bail. At last the Court promised to accept bail, and a professional
bondsman offered to give bonds for 100 dollars. His wife raised 95
dollars, and because she could not raise the additional five on the spot,
the bondsman confiscated the 95 dollars, and the poor wretch was sent to
gaol. The professional bondsman is one of the worst of the harpies who
prey upon the unfortunate. Mr. Goff, who reported this incident to the
Commission, deplored the impotence to save the victim of the bondsman and
the police. “It is,” he said, “simply another of the many instances of the
terrible reign of terrorism” (vol. iv., p. 4,225).

Yet at the very time when Werner was being treated so harshly, the police
were collecting blackmail by thousands of dollars every week. At first the
Committee was incredulous. The Chairman asked once:--

    Do you conscientiously believe that, notwithstanding these
    revelations, notwithstanding the situation that we are brought face to
    face with now, and what has occurred, there are police officers to-day
    in this city who accept blackmail?

But he was speedily convinced that the revelations and the terrors of
exposure had only reduced the amount of the blackmail levied by reducing
the number of those who could be compelled to pay. The evidence of Captain
Meakin’s collector, Edward Shalvey, was conclusive on this point. He swore
in the witness-box that he had gone on collecting, without making the
slightest change, right down to September:--

    Q. You collected from these several places, liquor dealers, policy
    shops, and houses of ill-fame as you did under the previous captain?

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. Did you ever meet with any refusal to pay from people engaged in
    this class of business, or did they all pay as matter of course?

    A. They all paid as matter of course.

    Q. So that, officer, even beneath the terrible frown of the Lexow
    Committee, the collections went on just the same?

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. The old, old story continued, is that not so?

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. And while, as a matter of fact, while there were exposures made and
    being testified to before this Committee since last April or May,
    right along the collections continued unbroken, did they not?

    A. Yes, sir; not to such an extent.

    Q. And the captains took the money in the same way?

    A. Yes, sir.

    Chairman Lexow: It seems incredible!--Vol. i., pp. 5,407-8.

“It is a tough old world, sir,” as the old stager remarked to an
enthusiastic young Reformer, “and takes a deal of moving.” It is a very
tough old world, and in the whole hemisphere there are few places tougher
than New York.

The contributions paid by contractors to Mr. Croker can easily be
understood. One Michael Moran, who was engaged in the towboat business,
towing garbage under the Street Cleaning Department, made various
subscriptions of from £10 to £30 to Tammany Hall. He was asked why he did
so. He replied that Mr. Croker was the treasurer of the organisation he
was doing some work for. “Tammany Hall, you mean?” asked the Chairman.
“Well, I guess so,” replied Moran. “Don’t you know there is a distinction
between the City and the organisation known as Tammany Hall?” asked the
Chairman. There was no reply. But Moran evidently did not. Tammany Hall
was the organisation that stood for the City. For him it was the City, and
Moran said to subscribe to Tammany was the natural feeling amongst
everybody that worked for the City; “one done it, and I didn’t want to be
left behind by anybody else; I thought I would hold my own end up”:--

    Q. Did any one suggest to you the advisability of giving up this

    A. I have had conversations with other men that were in the employ of
    the City, and we compared notes occasionally to know what was done,
    and how we could keep ourselves solid.

No political contributions were made by Moran before Tammany came into
power. So the Chairman asked:--

    Q. How is it then that when the Department changed you felt called
    upon to send a cheque to Mr. Croker?

    A. Well, because I didn’t think I could go on and do the amount of
    business I had for the City without recognising the people that were
    in power.

In 1892, when the Presidential Election was on, Moran doubled his
subscription. Why was that? He replied:--

    I compared notes with somebody in the same business that I was in
    myself, and found out somebody was paying a little more than I did,
    and I was afraid somebody in my line of business would put in a little
    more and I would get left.--Vol. v., pp. 4,912-6.

When once an evil system has got itself established, innumerable other
influences combine to render its extirpation extremely difficult. The
Committee was much scandalised by discovering that for premises whose
licence had been cancelled for immorality, a new licence was granted
almost immediately. But when the President of the Excise Board was asked
to explain, he said:--

    There came into consideration property interests; we found that if
    licences were refused for places where business was carried on, that
    the banks were affected who had loaned money on mortgages, persons who
    had loaned on mortgages, the banks who had notes of parties in
    business; the rents went to the support of persons who depended upon
    them solely; the tax commissioners of the city protested to the Board
    of Excise against the refusal to license premises, because it reduces
    the value of property, and for that reason reduces the taxable values,
    and affected the city in that way; real estate agents and other
    persons interested, and owners of property came to us and protested at
    the start that we ought not to refuse to allow a reputable business to
    be carried on on any premises, because they had been improperly
    conducted before.--Vol. iv., p. 4,379.

And it came to pass that no sooner was a saloon closed for vice or crime
than it was opened again with a fresh licence.

The most mournful and tragic part of all these stories of oppression is
that which relates to the treatment of the forlorn and desolate women who
have no money with which to bribe the police. For them there is no mercy.
The theory of the police, as we have seen, seems to have been that
prostitutes existed for the purpose of raising revenue for the force. The
women of the streets were the irregular tax-gatherers of the Department.
Their vice was not merely connived at, but actively encouraged, so long as
the police received their stipulated proportion of the wages of shame.

The women were the bondslaves of the Administration. By law they had no
right to ply for hire; but, in consideration of the payment of a regular
ransom, they were left free to earn their precarious living.

“This is a phase,” said Mr. Goff, “and a revolting phase, of a custom that
exists in New York. I suppose it is the lowest form of oppression and
corruption that possibly could be conceived by the human mind; and that
is, a tax upon these unfortunate women in the streets at night; for they
will not be allowed to walk the streets at night unless they pay so much
to the officer, and this has been the custom in many districts of this
city for years.”--Vol. iv., p. 3,617.

The tariff varied.[1] On some profitable beats, the licence fee was fifty
cents per night. But as a general rule the rate for “cruising” was a
dollar a week. So long as she paid she was all right--always with the
understanding that the policeman was to be free to arrest her if she was
complained of by any whom she molested. Irregulars--occasional clandestine
unfortunates--were, of course, regarded as interlopers and hunted down
remorselessly. The zeal of the policeman, which was not stirred in the
least by the breach of the law, rose to white heat when a woman who had
not paid her fees attempted to pick up customers.

    [1] The following table of some of the rates enforced by the police
    may be found convenient for reference:--

        Pool-rooms from £10 to £60 per month.
        Policy shops from £4 per month.
        Liquor dealers, 8s. per month.
        Prostitutes, outside, from 4s. a week to 2s. per night.
        Prostitutes, inside, 4s. per week.
        Houses of ill-fame from £2 to £10 per month.
        Ditto. Initiation fee on opening, from £100 to £400.
        Price of Police appointment, £60.
          "   of a Sergeant’s post, £300.
          "   of Captaincy, £3,000.

In theory, in New York--and, alas, in many other great cities--the right
of a woman to freedom from arbitrary arrest without process of trial, and
to redress for wrongful arrest, is absolute. In practice it does not
exist. Every poor woman who is out after dark is liable to be arrested by
a policeman, and to a woman friendless and forlorn there is written over
the portals of every police-station, “All hope abandon ye who enter here.”
Before the Police Justice, the policeman’s word goes. No corroborative
evidence seems to have been demanded in New York. As one worthy testified
before the Committee, he made arrests on general principles, and swore
that his victim was loitering for purposes of prostitution. It was not
necessary that she should commit any overt act, that she should molest any
one, or that any citizen should complain of her molestation. It was enough
that she should be loitering in the street. The oath of the policeman as
to her intent settled her fate. A hurried gabble of words in a crowded
court, and she was packed off to gaol.

This is the besetting sin of all attempts to keep the streets clear of
immoral women by giving men, more or less immoral themselves, absolute
liberty to arrest any woman whom they please to say is loitering for
purposes of prostitution. It was with a flush of pride that I came all
unawares upon a reference made before the Lexow Committee to the case of
Miss Cass, which made the name of Endacott a byword and a reproach in
London some dozen years ago. Counsel had not got the story quite right.
His version curiously mixed up the Trafalgar Square agitation with the
arrest of the dressmaker in Regent Circus, but he had the main idea quite
right. Scotland Yard and Mr. Matthews hit the poor girl a foul blow before
the incident was ended, but it was a welcome thing to find that their
belated vengeance had failed to silence the reverberations of indignation
evoked by her scandalous arrest.

Americans and foreigners are often shocked at the state of London streets.
Mr. Croker, I remember, expressed himself as being much horrified at the
state of Piccadilly at midnight. But better a thousand times have the
scandal of our streets than place the liberty of all women at the mercy of
the police. The arrests of women fell 50 per cent. in London after the
uproar that was made about Miss Cass, and they are not likely to rise so
long as the authorities insist upon the most just and salutary rule then
introduced, that no woman shall be arrested for molesting by solicitation,
unless the citizen who is molested is willing to give evidence next day in
the police-court to that effect. The right of a human being to walk about
the streets, to loiter about the streets, does not depend, and ought not
to depend, upon the chastity of that individual. But if that principle
were to be adopted as a principle of police action, it ought in justice to
be applied impartially to both sexes.

Some very scandalous instances of the arbitrary arrest of innocent women,
and their consignment to prison on the uncorroborated oath of a policeman,
were brought before the Committee. The case of Ettie Kelter is one
instance of the kind of thing that follows inevitably from making the
policeman practically at once sole accuser and sole judge of the right of
a woman to be at large in the streets.

Ettie Kelter was a young married woman of unimpeachable character. She had
lived in Albany until August, 1894, when she came to live in New York. One
Saturday evening in the following month she went out shopping, and being a
stranger in the city she lost her way. She asked a gentleman to direct her
to her destination. He did so. She took the wrong turning, so he called
after telling her where she should go. She had hardly taken a few steps in
the right direction before a young man--a policeman in plain
clothes--seized her arm and dragged her off to the police-station. There
he gave her in charge, declaring he had known her for years. It was in
vain she protested she had never been in the city till the previous month.
She was removed under arrest to another police-station, where she was
locked up in a cell with a prostitute. She was terrified. She had been
dragged through the street at a great rate, and no sooner was she in the
cell than a blood-vessel burst. The blood gushed from her nose and mouth,
scaring her companion, who thought she was bleeding to death. The blood
streamed over the floor of the cell. But all the efforts of her companion
failed to attract the attention of the policeman or the matron. She
hammered at the door with a tin cup, but no one came. Not until the
morning did the officer come to release them from the bloody cell.


Pale, weak, distracted, almost fainting, Ettie Kelter was bundled into
court in the midst of a crowd of the offscourings of the streets, and
brought up before Judge Hogan. She could not hear the charge, nor could
she make out what the Judge said, excepting that he said something about
soliciting. She did not know what it meant, but she passionately denied
that she was anything but a respectable married woman who had only just
come to New York. She might as well have held her peace. “Two months’
imprisonment. After that, three hundred dollars bail good behaviour.” This
was Sunday morning. She was taken back to the cell, and her companion,
who had been sentenced to three months’ imprisonment, showed her a
lawyer’s card. “Send for that man,” she said, “give him twenty dollars and
he will get you out.” Her companion did so and got out. Mrs. Kelter
thought it would be better to send for her husband, who was employed as
fireman on the emigrant ferryboat. The policeman who arrested her
volunteered to go and tell him. But when he saw Kelter the message the
policeman delivered was--

“Now you have a good chance of divorce; I arrested your wife last night,
and she has got two months on the Island.”

She tried to write to her husband. But she had only two cents, and they
would not give her a sheet of paper for less than five, nor would they
send it out for less than fifty cents.

So the poor woman was taken to the Island, and kept there in prison for
twenty-four days. At the end of that time her husband placed fifteen
dollars in an envelope and handed it to Justice Hogan. His wife was

And that kind of infamy was going on all the time. The way in which the
unfortunates were driven from pillar to post and treated as mere cattle,
to be fleeced and plundered, provoked a very remarkable protest from a
Police Captain who had sufficient humanity left in him to see the horror
of the system which he had to administer. He was asked whose fault it was
that the social evil flourished to such an extent. He said it was the
fault of the law:--

    Q. The law itself?

    A. Yes, sir, if you give the women the same protection by law that you
    do a mule and a dog you will do away with two-thirds of the houses of
    prostitution and women of the street.--Vol. i., p. 5,198.

In reply to the Chairman he explained how it was that houses of ill-fame
were so much more difficult to deal with than gaming houses. He said:--

    Because, Senator, you take the women to court, they are fined a few
    dollars and turned out on the street again to go and get more money,
    be re-arrested and pay again; the trouble is that prostitutes are

    Q. Wasn’t that done with gamblers as well?

    A. Well, you could get their paraphernalia and get them away, but you
    couldn’t with the women; a prostitute should never be fined and her
    money taken away from her; those women are not bad women until they
    are made so; they are dragged off the street and dragged before the
    court and their money taken away from them, and then drove out on the
    street again; they are not bad until they are drove to it; now, there
    were fully 30,000 arrests made from January 1st, 1876, to January 1st,
    1878, in that little precinct alone, and I will venture to say there
    were not 1,500 women arrested, but arrested over and over again.--Vol.
    v., p. 5,213.

He was still further examined by Senator O’Connor:--

    Q. I want to ask you a question or two: what do you mean to say, that
    if people would give the women the same protection given to mules and
    horses prostitutes would be fewer?

    A. What I mean by it is this: when they are arrested, instead of
    sending them to a magistrate to be fined and money taken from them,
    send them to a reformatory and inquire into their history, and you
    will find there are a great many of these people that you see lost in
    the papers. As I say, the women are not bad naturally; it is only
    where they are driven to it. If there was a reformatory and the money
    taken from them and taken care of, and put the institution under good
    women, good, proper persons to control that reformatory, and not abuse
    them, not send them to jail or abuse them, but send them to a
    reformatory. You will find some people from Massachusetts, some from
    Ohio, some from somewhere else, some from Michigan; send them to their
    homes, and if they are foreigners, who have not been here five years,
    send them back to Europe, and you will find as a general thing that
    the reason why the prostitutes and why the disorderly houses cannot be
    overcome is that there is no care taken of them; they haven’t a friend
    in the world. There is no friend to a prostitute; everybody bangs her,
    everybody beats her; she is dragged into the station-house, taken to
    court, fined, and thrown on the street to get more money and bring it
    back.--Vol. i., p. 5,214.

These words deserve to be written up in letters of gold in every place
wherever men discuss the question of abating this plague. It is the
verdict of experience upon the habitual resource of the unthinking. “Go
to, let us harry our sisters!” is the first and last word of most of those
who dream it is possible to promote the cause of morality by outraging the
principles of justice.

Of the system in New York there is only one good thing to be said. Bad as
it was, it is infinitely better than the hideous abomination of the
European system of tolerated houses with their _police des mœurs_ and the
compulsory weekly surgical examination of their unhappy inmates. Better a
thousand times even the rude, irregular tyrannies of Hoch and Koch, and
all the diabolical gang of blackmailers, than elaborate all these infamies
into a legalised system stamped with the seal of the approval of the State
and enforced by the dread penalties of the law.

Prostitution, everywhere hateful, is at least less intolerable when it is
free. When to the horrors of prostitution there is added the legalised
slavery of the regulation system, you have indeed the sum of all
villainies, and the abomination that maketh desolate is at last set up in
the very holy of holies.




The effect of law, not law written in the Statute Book, but law
practically enforced among the people, is to evolve a conscience. Not
without deep true meaning was it said of old time “the law is a
schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.” For it is the law, by its pains and
penalties, which educates the individual as to the obligations of morality
and the duty of well-doing. But in New York the universal practice of
permitting all manner of abominations to run, provided the regular fee was
paid to the police, acted as a direct depravation of public morals in
familiarising the worst people in the city with a moral standard which was
in itself a negation of morality. A woman of the name of Flora Waters, who
kept a café with waitresses in a disreputable quarter, formulated with the
utmost precision her belief that she was doing right because her money was
taken by the police:--

    Q. You thought the business you were doing was not wrong?

    A. I thought it was all right when I paid, because they all said the
    money was going to----

    Q. I only want to get her moral idea?

    A. Because they told me the wardman did not keep the money and it goes
    up higher, and it had to be that way, because it was not old in this
    country, that people that sold liquors could keep waiters; but I
    thought it was nothing wrong, and everybody told me the money went all
    through, and everybody knew how it was worked.--Vol. ii., p. 1,363.

Here we have plainly and simply set out the inevitable consequence of any
system of regulation. When the police sanction anything, it is no longer
wrong to practise it. The police-court is the only Sinai of the Slum.

Bad as the police were proved to be in many instances, they were gentlemen
compared with some of the Justices. The fact that such foul creatures were
permitted to sit on the judgment seat and deal out sentences to men and
women, the worst of whom were better than their judge, is the most
melancholy feature of the whole black, bad business. This is the innermost
centre of the New York Inferno.

Among the magistrates or police-court justices who figure conspicuously in
this hideous drama, one Justice Koch appears pre-eminent. I prefer not to
attempt to express the sentiments which are aroused by the spectacle of
such a Justice dispensing justice. Miss Rebecca Fream, a mission-worker
who had in vain endeavoured to secure some redress for the wrongs
inflicted upon her poorer neighbours, was on one occasion ordered out of
his court. She told the Lexow Committee:--

    I turned to him, and I said, “Don’t worry yourself; is this what you
    call justice?” then I said, “May God pity the poor on the east side,
    for with half-drunken judges on the bench whom shall they look to for
    justice if God forsakes them; you were half-drunk yesterday when I
    applied for a summons, and to-day you are so drunk you can’t see out
    of your eyes.”

    Q. He made no effort to punish you for contempt of court?

    A. No; there was one of the officers, and he turned and said, “By jee,
    I wouldn’t take that from anybody.” I said, “If you were in the same
    boat with him you would have to take it.”

    Chairman Lexow: Fine commentary upon the police-court procedure!

    The Witness: That is nothing; that is only a drop in the bucket.--Vol.
    iv., p. 4,484-5.

The police-court judge seems in many cases to have been the pivot on which
the whole horrible system of oppression revolved. It would need the pen of
a Zola to describe adequately these shambles of the poor. There was the
headquarters of the foul crew that flourished on perjury and grew fat upon
using the forms of the law to frustrate its aims. It was the paradise of
the professional bondsman, the blackmailer, and all the human vermin that
thrive upon the misfortunes of their fellows. The worst lawbreakers of the
precinct stood inside the rail beside the judge, browbeat and bullied the
unfortunate accused, and practised every kind of extortion with impunity.
The blackguard lawyer, hand-and-glove with the bandit policeman, found an
even more detestable scoundrel than themselves upon the bench. The
fiercest invectives of Juvenal would be too weak to do justice to these
sinks of iniquity, in which honesty was a byword, innocence a
laughing-stock, and the law merely a convenient pretext for levying

The Committee was constantly hearing of the abuses connected with these
courts, but the inquiry closed before they could be taken seriously in
hand. The infamy of the system of bail, which was worked to fill the
pockets of the bondsmen, led to frequent comments. On one occasion the
Chairman remarked--

    That seems to me to be a point that has never been properly
    accentuated; the commission of the police justice and the general
    activity of that character of man is a very great item going to show
    their inefficiency. Blumenthal and Hochstein’s reputation was well
    known, and their insolvency was an established fact, and yet they went
    on bonds to the extent of thousands and thousands of dollars, and
    those bonds were even forfeited and not paid, and the men accepted
    again.--Vol. v., p. 4,490.

In the Report they say:--

    While it was impossible for your Committee to spend much time in
    considering police courts, enough is shown upon the record to justify
    the conclusion that a very important reason why the police have been
    able to carry on and successfully perpetrate their reprehensible
    practices, is that at least some of the police justices have
    apparently worked in sympathy and collusion with them.--Vol. i., p.

In the examination of a witness named John Collins, Mr. Moss said--

    I think that the evils perpetrated by these judges, some of them, are
    even worse in their results than the evil practised by the police.

    Chairman Lexow: It seems to me that any evil of that kind permitted by
    a judge is ten times worse than that committed by any other

    Mr. Moss: Of course, I myself have been before some of these judges
    for the society which I represent, and know what it was to be sat down
    upon, and outraged and browbeaten.

    Senator Bradley: The witness says to me that the judges eat and drink
    with these people, and know the character of the people well.--Vol.
    v., p. 4,897.

The best way of bringing out this aspect of the administration of justice
in New York is to set forth, without a word of comment, the substance of
the evidence taken concerning the abortionists.

Abortion is not regarded in New York with anything approaching the horror
that is excited by the same crime in the Old World. According to the
evidence given before the Lexow Committee by an expert there were about
two hundred abortionists who advertised every day in New York their
readiness to kill the unborn child. It is an irregular profession that has
regular practitioners. But, like all the other vices, it is a fertile
source of revenue to the police. Dr. Newton Whitehead, a leading
practitioner in this recognised system of antenatal infanticide, was
called before the Committee and testified as to the way in which he was at
once helped and hindered by the police. Whitehead was arrested three times
in six weeks. He was never tried on any one of these occasions. But he had
to pay in bribing the police and feeing the police lawyer the sum of £565.

The doctor was arrested by a policeman called Frink, who insisted that he
should retain for his defence a lawyer of the name of Friend. He was told
that Mr. Friend had got a telephone directly from his house to police
headquarters, so they informed him at once of all these cases, and he was
our lawyer--the police lawyer (vol. iv., p. 4,240). Somewhat reluctantly,
Whitehead sent for Friend. He had to pay him 700 dollars. Friend remarked
apologetically that he would not insist on so much; but “I don’t get this
money myself: I have to turn over 50 per cent. of it to the police.” “Our
lawyer,” indeed!

The policeman Frink then took his prisoner off into a small court-room,
and told him, “In all these cases, Doctor, we expect to have some money
off from them. Pay me 500 dollars and I will guarantee that the case will
be dismissed when it is called.” He paid 500 dollars and the case was
dismissed, the only evidence offered incriminating, not the doctor, but a
midwife, whom, however, they refused to prosecute, as “she did not have
any money, and was not worth bothering with.”

The lawyer, the doctor and the policeman dined together at a saloon in
University Place. During dinner the policeman grew confidential:--

    Sergeant Frink remarked to me that that was a very nice place; he said
    he knew the proprietor, and he said, “Doctor, this would be a very
    nice place if you ever wanted to run a young girl in here, upstairs,
    it would be all right; nothing would be said.”--Vol. iv., p. 4,235.

A month later the doctor was again arrested. This time it cost him 475
dollars, paid to the lawyer. He was again arrested in the following month,
and was held for the Grand Jury:--

    Q. There was a regular raid on the abortionists at that time, was
    there not?

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. And all the warrants were issued by Judge Koch?

    A. All the warrants were issued by Judge Koch. Yes, sir.

    Q. Do you know that any have been convicted?

    A. No, sir. It was simply a blackmailing scheme.

    Q. Blackmailing by whom?

    A. I expect by the police.

    Q. Who issued the warrant you were arrested on?

    A. Judge Koch.

    Q. He seems to have had a monopoly on the issuing of warrants of these

    A. He might have been making money pretty fast out of it.--Vol. iv.,
    p. 4,246.

“Judge Koch,” Whitehead said, “sat back in his chair, and he said he was
going to make an example of me,” and he held me to wait the action to the
Grand Jury. He first insisted on 7,500 dollars bail, but after various
interviews with the police lawyer and the police sergeant he reduced it to
2,500 dollars.

About a day or two after he had been held for the Grand Jury a lady came
to see Whitehead, and said she wanted to be treated for abortion.
Whitehead refused to treat her, and said that he had been so badly

    I told her I thought I would not practise any more; I would leave the
    City of New York if they were going to prosecute me that way for
    nothing, and she said, “The gentleman who got me in the family way is
    a very influential man, and he is a judge, and can do a great deal for
    you, doctor.” I told her I did not think he could, because I had been
    held for the grand jury. She insisted, and said, “Doctor, who is this
    man that held you?” I said, “It was Judge Koch;” she said, “Judge
    Koch?” She said, “My God, he seduced me and got me in the family way
    five times, and Judge Koch paid the bill.”

    Mr. Goff: Proceed, doctor.

    A. She left my house, and she went down to Judge Koch at Essex Market,
    and Judge Koch sent for me.

    Q. Sent for you?

    A. Yes, sir, by her. I have got lots of proof of that: there is no
    need for him to wriggle out of it, for he cannot; and I went to see
    Judge Koch, and he was as sweet as sugar. He told me, “Doctor,” he
    says, “I am very sorry about this affair; I did not know that my girl
    had ever been to you,” he said. “I will do all I can for
    you--everything.” He said there would not anything come of this case.
    “Don’t you be afraid;” the girl afterwards----

    Q. Wait a while; was there any one present?

    A. Mr. Friend here.

    Q. Was present when Judge Koch said that to you?

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. Just follow the narrative: how did Mr. Friend come to be there in
    the room?

    Judge Koch waited for him until he came; I sat there about
    half-an-hour, and Koch seemed to be holding a case outside, and he
    waited until Mr. Friend came; he came in and saw me, and said, “I am
    waiting until Friend comes here.”

    Q. Judge Koch said?

    A. Yes, sir; and when Friend came in he spoke this matter over, and
    Friend wanted to know what it was; he said, “It was that Alexander
    woman I had trouble with before.”--Vol. iv., p. 4,264.

The “Alexander woman” was an actress, apparently Koch’s mistress. Dr.
Whitehead promised to perform the operation, but put it off. She went away
to another doctor and had the abortion brought about.

“I may say, Mr. Chairman,” said Mr. Goff, in addressing the Committee at
the close of Dr. Whitehead’s evidence, “that of all the terrible exposures
that have been testified to before this Committee, and that have shocked
not only our city but the civilised world, I think the most terrible of
all is that which we have heard this afternoon. I think the Committee has
reached the climax of the horrible in this city.”

“Satan’s Invisible World Displayed,” indeed!

[Illustration: DR. WHITEHEAD.]




It will be remarked, somewhat impatiently I fear, by the reader of this
long and dismal series of stories of the way in which the municipal Thugs
did their deadly work, But where were the citizens? The good honest
citizens, we are told, are always in a majority. They proved that they
were able to elect their own City Government. Why did they not do it? What
is the use of talking about “the land of liberty,” “the Great Republic,”
and the Democratic principle, if the richest, oldest, and most
highly-educated city in the Western Continent is as impotent to use the
ballot-box to protect itself as if it were a city in the dominions of the
Great Mogul?

The answer of the Lexow Committee--not by any means a complete answer--is
as follows:--

    The results of the investigation up to this point may ... be properly
    summarised in the general statement that it has been conclusively
    shown that in a very large number of the election districts of New
    York, almost every conceivable crime against the elective franchise
    was either committed or permitted by the police, invariably in the
    interest of the dominant Democratic organisation of the City of New
    York, commonly called Tammany Hall. The crimes thus committed or
    permitted by the police may be classified as follows:--

    Arrest and brutal treatment of Republican voters, watchers, and
    workers; open violations of the election laws; canvassing for Tammany
    Hall candidates; invasion of election booths; forcing of Tammany Hall
    pasters upon Republican voters; general intimidation of the voters by
    the police directly and by Tammany Hall election district captains in
    the presence and with the concurrence of the police; colonisation of
    voters, illegal registration and repeating, aided and knowingly
    permitted by the police; denial to Republican voters and election
    district officers of their legal rights and privileges; co-operation
    with and acquiescence in the usurpation by Tammany Hall election
    district captains and watchers of alleged rights and privileges, in
    violation of law.

    In fact, it may be stated as characteristic of the conditions shown to
    exist by a cloud of witnesses that the police conducted themselves at
    the several polling places upon the principle that they were there,
    not as guardians of the public peace to enforce law and order, but for
    the purpose of acting as agents of Tammany Hall, in securing to the
    candidates of that organisation by means fair or foul the largest
    possible majorities. They evidently regarded themselves as coadjutors
    of that organisation, stationed at the several polls for the purpose
    of securing its success whether by lawful or unlawful means, resorting
    to device, oppression, fraud, trickery, crime, and intimidation of
    almost every conceivable character....--Vol. i., pp. 15, 16.

    It is to be regretted that sufficient time was not at the disposal of
    your Committee to enable it to subject every district in the city to a
    rigorous examination upon the lines of this branch of inquiry, whereby
    a more accurate estimate of the effect of police interference might be
    reached. Sufficient, however, appears upon the record to show beyond
    peradventure that, owing to the practices above referred to during the
    years covered by the investigation, honest elections had no
    existence, in fact, in the City of New York, and that, upon the
    contrary, a huge conspiracy against the purity of the elective
    franchise was connived at and participated in by the municipal police,
    whereby the rights and privileges of the individual were trampled
    ruthlessly under foot, and crime against the ballot held high
    carnival.--Vol. i., p. 17.

The date of this Report, be it remembered, was January 15th, 1895. It may
be supplemented by a very significant admission made by Mr. Goff, himself
a Republican and now Recorder of New York. Speaking of the election frauds
which he did so much to detect and punish in November, 1893:--

    It would not be just to lay the blame exclusively upon the Tammany
    inspectors, though, of course, being in the majority and in full
    control, they were chargeable with all that took place. Republican
    inspectors either openly co-operated with or quietly acquiesced in the
    perpetration of the fraud.--_North American Review_, February, 1894,
    p. 210.

The fraud on the ballot, to which both parties were privy, was all the
more abominable because the provisions of the law against such abuses were
very strict. But it is a favourite method in other countries than the
United States to salve an uneasy conscience by passing a rigorous law
without taking any precautions to see that it is carried into operation.
This mode of relieving the feelings had been indulged in by New Yorkers in
1890, when the Ballot Reform Act passed into law. But, writing in 1894,
Mr. Goff, who was Counsel to the Committee for the Prosecution of Election
Frauds, said:--

    Since the enactment of the reform-ballot law in 1890 no organised
    effort has been made to watch its operation or to detect any illegal
    practices. The public was satisfied with the popular catch-name of the
    Act, and it slept peacefully upon the assurance that fraud was no
    longer possible; but the evidence obtained by the volunteer watchers,
    and the finding of over sixty indictments by the Grand Jury, mainly
    against election officials, demonstrate that false registration, false
    voting, and bribery are as easily and as safely practised as they ever
    were, and that perjury has enormously increased, owing to the number
    of safeguards which must be sworn away by the fraudulent voter and the
    collusive inspector.--_Ib._, p. 204.

There were 1,157 polling stations in New York in 1893, and it was not
possible to obtain competent watchers for all of them. But the evidence
obtained was sufficient to show on how colossal a scale the frauds were
practised, with the co-operation or connivance of both parties.
Ballot-stuffing seems to have been common. Mr. Goff says:--

    Almost without exception there were more ballots found in the
    ballot-box than the ballot clerk’s number showed to have been
    delivered or the poll-list showed to have been voted, and in a great
    number of districts more than the registration. How they came there is
    to some extent a mystery: but in some places ballots were folded in
    duplicate, and in others the pile of ballots on the table was added to
    by a sleight-of-hand performance.--_Ib._, p. 209.

In the Thirty-sixth Election District of the Second Assembly District it
was estimated that 5,000 out of the 12,770 votes counted were fraudulent.
In the Seventh of the Third 567 ballots were found in the box for a
district which had only 508 names on the register. Repeating and
personation were almost universal. The lodging-houses played a leading
part in the squalid and sordid drama. The tramps who use these dossing
kens are all registered. But as they seldom pass three nights in the same
place, they rarely vote where they are registered. That, however, is a
mere detail. Mr. Goff says:--

    The same men who registered did not, as a rule, vote upon the names
    given. To have them do so would require their maintenance at the
    lodging-house, and that would be too expensive. A more economic plan
    was adopted. A few days previous to election the proprietors of the
    lodging-houses were furnished, by the election-district captains, with
    lists of the names registered from their houses. Separate slips for
    each name were then supplied, and on election day the tramps, as they
    come along, were handed the slips, and they voted on the names thus
    given as frequently as they could get the slips. The election workers
    were never hard pushed to bring out the registered vote. They simply
    sent for the men when they wanted them, and were always supplied with
    the required number. Sometimes the floater forgot the name given to
    him or could not read the slip; sometimes a man who could not speak
    English wrestled with an American name, or an English-speaking man
    struggled with a Polish name. In all of these cases the obliging
    inspectors helped them out either by looking at the slip or by giving
    some sort of pronunciation to the unpronounceable name. In some
    election districts there was a rivalry as to who could vote on the
    most names, and the man who won the honours was an ex-convict, who
    voted eighteen times in two election districts of the Third Assembly
    District.--_Ib._, p. 205.

The evidence taken before the Lexow Committee abounds with vivid little
vignettes of how elections were conducted in New York City only four years

Here, for instance, is what Mr. Louis Meyer, a Republican inspector in the
Third Assembly District, heard given as official directions by Police
Captain Devery to a platoon of policemen on the morning of the November
poll, 1893. The Union League and the City Club had decided to send
watchers to the polls to detect any illegal practices. So by way of
preparing for their reception, Captain Devery told the police in Mr.
Meyer’s hearing:--

    There is a lot of silk-stocking people coming from up town to bulldose
    you people, and if they open their mouths, stand them on their
    heads.--Vol. i., p. 203, Lexow Report.

With such instructions it is not surprising that the police refused to
interfere when their attention was called to the most flagrant breach of
the law. Here is the story of Israel Ellis, Republican poll clerk at the
Fifth Election District of the Third Assembly:--

    When several voters came and they were handed sets of ballots, I
    wanted to get their names down, but the chairman and the officer told
    me it would be sufficient for me to take down the name and the vote.

    I told them it was not sufficient, because if I did not do this, there
    would be a great deal of repeating done; and they said, “Never mind,
    it is none of your business; you do as we tell you; it has been
    carried on for a great length of time,” and I still kept on
    protesting. And once the chairman of inspectors and another inspector
    said if I didn’t shut up they would remove me from the board, and then
    the officer said if I would not stop he would take a hand in that too.

    Q. The policeman said that to you?

    A. Yes, sir; and then several times the repeaters came in openly,
    without any fear whatever, and they tried to vote, and each time I
    protested and challenged their votes; and one time a repeater came in
    and he passed the ballot clerk, he passed the chairman, but I
    recognised him as a repeater, and I challenged the man, and I said,
    “What is your name?” but the man had forgotten his name, because he
    was voting for the second--third--time, and so I caught hold of that
    man by the collar and ejected him, and the officer did not say one
    word; a second time a man came in to vote which I myself recognised as
    voting the second time in that election district; and another witness
    told me, whose name I do not know, that he was voting for the third
    time, and I waited until the man had voted, and I challenged his vote,
    and the man voted, and after he voted I caught hold of that man, and
    said, “Officer, I want you to arrest that man;” and the officer looked
    at the ceiling, not at me; he did not say a thing, and he did not
    arrest the man.

    Q. Did you tell the officer what you wanted him to arrest him for?

    A. I told him, the officer, that he voted for the second time to my
    own knowledge, and the third time to the knowledge of a witness, and
    wanted him to arrest him.

    Q. And he looked at the ceiling?

    A. He looked at the ceiling.--_Ib._, vol. i., pp. 216-17.

One voter was allowed to vote on the Christian name John. He could not
remember the other name. At the close seventy-two more votes were found in
the ballot-box than there had been voters in the booth.

A similar scene was described as occurring at the Third Election District
by Jacob Subin, a Republican watcher, who deposed that he had seen Mr.
Rosalsky, the captain of the Socialistic Labour Party, protest against a
young man who actually attempted to vote in Mr. Rosalsky’s name under his
very nose. Mr. Rosalsky grabbed hold of him and demanded that he should be
locked up as a repeater caught in the act. Three Tammany heelers thereupon
punched Mr. Rosalsky’s face for him. He called upon the policeman to
protect him. That worthy stretched himself leisurely and replied, “Well, I
guess I am pretty busy just now. I will see you after four o’clock, and
will have more time to spend.” The heelers then were for mauling Rosalsky
more severely; but the Tammany captain interfered, and, as an act of
grace, secured his release on condition that he went right away. Rosalsky
bolted for his life. After this Jacob Subin deemed it wiser to content
himself with a simple protest when he saw such repeating as this:--

    I have seen the Tammany Hall heelers bring in five or six men, drill
    them into line, and from the appearance of some of them they looked
    like Irishmen, and some like recent importations from Chatham Square
    or any of those dives, and most of those voted on Hebrew names; but
    the fun of it was that they could not pronounce the name under any
    circumstances that they were voting, and of course, as a rule, the
    chairman of the board of inspectors used to correct them, and in some
    instances they forgot their names entirely, and in such cases they
    went out of the line, and then the heelers would approach them and
    bestow such vile language upon them, and curse them and swear at them
    for being so stupid as not to recollect the name of the person they
    were voting under; and then they would drill them into line again, and
    I protested against them. I attempted to challenge them, and I was
    told unless I stopped monkeying with the regular way of doing business
    that I would be thrown through the window.--Vol. i., p. 303.


The appearance of the Tammany captain as master of the revels thus
reported by Jacob Subin is significant. Frank Nichols, in the
Twenty-ninth Election District of the Third Assembly, where they had
eighty-four more votes than they had names on the register, took two
voters to the poll. As he was on the wrong side his men were not allowed
to vote:--

    I said, “Why can’t they vote?” and they said, “No, they could not
    vote,” and I said, “What was the matter of these people they could not
    vote?” and they said, “You go home; go home; you people can’t vote any
    more,” and then I was put out in the middle of the street, and the
    captain of the election district said, “Take this fellow away from
    here,” and a fellow hit me in the eye with a brass knuckle.

    Q. Did the police do anything at all?

    A. No, sir; he would not arrest a cat that day as long as it belonged
    to Tammany Hall; he would not arrest a cat.--Vol. i., p. 301.

Canute A. Deas, who was Inspector of Election at the First Election
District of the Third Assembly, protested fifty times in a single day
against barefaced repeating. The policeman whispered in his ear that he
meant to be fair, but he had his directions to take his orders from the
Chairman of the Board. Captain Devery drove up and stood laughing and
talking with the Tammany captain while the legal voters were in vain
clamouring to be allowed to vote. The Republican watcher was thrown out by
force under the eyes of the policeman:--

    Q. Who threw him out?

    A. The crowd--the Tammany Hall captain of the district, who was in
    there; he was authority for everything.--_Ib._, vol. i., p. 279.

    Examined by Chairman Lexow: When you said that the Tammany Hall
    captain was authority for everything, what did you mean?

    A. I meant that, whenever he desired to go into the polling place, he
    did so, that whatever he wanted was done; it seemed that they all
    worshipped him, bowed down to him.--_Ib._, vol. i., p. 287.

Another witness, Ralph Nathan, described how a Republican captain was
hustled out because he swore that a voter had already voted in four
election districts, for he had followed him round and had seen him do it.
Mr. Nathan said:--

    The Tammany henchmen around the Third Assembly district have a
    peculiar method of putting a man out; you cannot make a particular
    charge of assault against them, hardly, but they push them out and
    hustle them out; they have probably ten heelers at every election
    district, and the polling place is generally narrow and small, and
    they can fill up a place and push you out.--Vol. i., p. 290.

Here also is a description of the method in which repeaters were brought
up when wanted. Mr. C. H. P. Collis, a prominent citizen who acted as
watcher for the Twenty-second Election District of the Second Assembly
District, deposed that he saw repeating going on openly:--

    Q. Men voted under names that were not theirs?

    A. I cannot go so far as that.

    Q. Describe what you did see?

    A. I saw a man who sat at my side ticking off the list, and those
    names that were not ticked he would take three or four of them, men
    who had not voted, and hand them to an active worker, I supposed for
    the purpose of having those people hunted up and brought to the
    polls, which would be legitimate; but I saw this man take them out in
    the street and hand them to the people there.

    Q. Hand those names to the people?

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. Then what occurred?

    A. Then after awhile a man would come in and walk up to the polls.

    Q. And would he call off one of those names?

    A. Yes, sir. In fact one man had forgotten his name and turned to the
    man who brought him in, and said, “What is that?”--and he told him,
    “John Kelly,” or whatever the name was.--Vol. i., p. 130-1.

As a pendant to this scene take the following description of what happened
at a previous election, where Mr. Thomas F. Harrington, Republican
watcher, who had been challenging repeaters, was set upon by one Whitty,
an ex-convict, as he was returning to the polling place to attend to his
duties. Whitty was carrying a club and a revolver. Harrington argued with
him, fearing that “they meant to inflict punishment upon me,” and
remonstrated against causing blood to be spilled on election day. Whitty,
however, held on to his man, whereupon, said Harrington:--

    I grabbed him by the throat with my left hand and went to strike him
    with my right, when the two officers (who had been standing watching
    Whitty’s attack) rushed. One officer grabbed me by the coat and raised
    his club to strike me, and I told him if he struck me I would kill him
    where he stood, and a friend of mine came forward to help me, and the
    other officer rushed out and grabbed him, and up with his stick to
    strike him; they did not take hold of this Whitty at all; it was me
    and my friend they took hold of.

    Q. And these policemen made no move to protect you in any wise in this
    assault, until you began to defend yourself?

    A. No, sir.

    Q. And then they laid hold of you and of your friend?

    A. Yes, sir.--Vol. i., p. 135.

“We are in the business of carrying elections,” said Boss Tweed, and a
very successful business Tammany has made of it.

But what becomes of popular sovereignty, of the majesty of the ballot, of
the sacred privileges of citizenship?

[Illustration: MR. VAN WYCK. First Mayor of Greater New York.]

[Illustration: From the _Journal_, New York.]





Despair is a strong word, nor can the citizens be rightly said to despair
of the Republic while they are still engaged in making energetic efforts
for its salvation. In the strict sense of the word, therefore, it is
absurd to speak of a despairing democracy, which is still struggling to
avert its threatened doom. But for democracy in the English sense of the
word there is no longer any struggle in the City of New York. The ablest
and the most hopeful Americans have given it up as a bad job, so far at
least as city government is concerned. Hence, it is no misnomer to speak
of Despairing Democracy as the natural and, perhaps, inevitable
consequence of the display of “Satan’s Invisible World,” a few hints and
glimpses of which have been afforded in the preceding chapters.

It seems but the other day that Mr. Andrew Carnegie flaunted before the
eyes of his former countrymen the magnificent achievements of the
principle which in city government is already abandoned in despair. Who
could have imagined when reading the exultant pæan chanted by this
American Scot over the achievements of “Triumphant Democracy” in the
Western Republic, that within a very few years we should be called upon to
chant a dirge over its grave in the first city in the United States.

Such an assertion will, no doubt, startle many readers both in the Old
World and the New. It will be vehemently contested, chiefly by those who
are too deeply immersed in the roaring eddies of the fight to be able to
appreciate the significance of the drift of the current which is sweeping
them free from their ancient moorings. But outsiders proverbially see most
of the game. It is in no spirit of exultation, but rather with a feeling
of profound regret, that I note the course which the law of evolution
seems to be taking in the great cities of the Western World. That regret
is chastened and subdued by two considerations. The first is based upon
the belief in the providential government of the universe. The second,
which is more personal to myself, is the fact that for nearly twenty years
I have been engaged in an attempt to compel hidebound devotees of
parliamentary government to admit the virtue that is latent in the Russian
autocracy. I am no bigot of Constitutionalism, neither am I guilty of the
arrogant folly of pronouncing judgment upon expedients the adoption of
which the ablest and wisest men in other lands deem to be indispensable.
But the most sympathetic observer, after he has made all allowances,
cannot ignore the salient fact of the situation, which is that by
universal consent of the ablest and most practical citizens in the
foremost city of America, democracy, in the ordinary sense of the term,
has hopelessly and irretrievably broken down.

Be it carefully observed that I limit the collapse of democracy to that
application of the principle which has hitherto been regarded as natural
and almost invariable. Democratic government, as defined by Abraham
Lincoln, “government of the people, for the people, and by the people,”
has in English-speaking lands, and nowhere more so than in New England,
been regarded as the government of the community by an elective
assembly--that is to say, representatives chosen by the different
localities meet together in a common council which is entrusted with
authority to manage the affairs of the community. The House of Commons is
the most familiar type of such a democratic assembly, but every town
council in the land is based on the same principle. Nor is it only in
Britain that this principle has been applied. It has hitherto prevailed
wherever democracy has been adopted as the system of government; whether
in the French Republic, in the German Municipalities, or in any and all of
our Colonies, the same principle invariably reappears. The centre of
authority is the elective assembly, composed of representatives of the
wards or districts or constituencies into which the city or community or
nation has been divided.

[Illustration: A VIEW IN BROADWAY.]

Of course, I shall be told, and justly told, that this system of what may
be called parliamentary or municipal democracy is by no means the only
form through which democracy can give effect to its will. This, of course,
is perfectly true, and that was why I was so careful to limit and define
what I meant by democracy. There is no danger of my forgetting that
democracy can exist without the usual parliamentary or municipal
apparatus. Russia, although governed autocratically, is nevertheless one
of the purest democracies in the world. Neither can any Englishman who
lived through the Second Empire in France forget that the Third Napoleon
always maintained that the Empire was the true and natural outcome of
modern democracy. Nevertheless, although the Tsar of Russia rules over a
democratic nation, and the Third Napoleon regarded himself as the armed
guardian of French democracy, the conventional conception of a democracy
in English-speaking lands has never been that of a community governed by
an autocrat, but always of a community in which the centre of power lay in
the elective assembly. It is this conventional theory of democracy which
has been thrown overboard in New York. Hence, from the point of view of
the parliamentarian or the conventional believer in government by an
assembly of elected persons, the Charter of Greater New York, under which
the first election has just taken place, is a more melancholy spectacle
than even “Satan’s Invisible World Displayed,” with all its saturnalia of
debauchery, violence and corruption. The Charter of Greater New York is
the direct outcome, the natural fruit of the bitter experience of Tammany
rule. Once more, to quote the familiar saying, “Sin when it hath conceived
bringeth forth death,” and the sin revealed by the Lexow Committee has
brought forth a deadly harvest in the Charter of Greater New York. Deadly,
that is, inasmuch as it is fatal to the principle of vesting the
government of the people in the elected representatives of the people in
public council assembled. For the central principle of the Charter of
Greater New York is the substitution of the authority of a Tsar-Mayor for
what has hitherto been regarded as the natural authority of an elected

This is not a sudden and unexpected change. The evolution of an elective
autocracy has been in progress for some years, but it has never before
been brought into such conspicuous prominence as by the Charter of Greater
New York, for that Charter is the formal embodiment in black and white of
the central principle of the Second Empire, with certain modifications
which accentuate rather than diminish the expression of democratic
despair, of which it is the embodiment. It is this evolution of
Bonapartism, of an elective dictatorship, based on universal suffrage,
which is the most startling phenomenon of modern politics in the United
States. The Third Napoleon never claimed to reign by divine right. His
authority was based upon a mass-vote of the electors of France. His
throne, although propped by bayonets, was seated on universal suffrage,
and in theory he asserted, and in practice in the last years of his reign
adopted, the principle that this autocracy, which originally sprang from a
mass-vote of the people, needed to be renewed and confirmed from time to
time by a _plébiscite_ of the whole nation.

The government of Greater New York, as it has been established by the
Charter under which the recent election took place, is simply the Second
Empire of France re-established in the first city of the American
Republic, with the limitation that the reign of the despot shall be
rigidly limited to four years, after which he shall not be eligible for
re-election until the expiry of another term of an equal duration. That
this in no sense is an exaggeration, but a simple literal statement of
facts perfectly well known in the United States, I shall shortly proceed
to show; but before doing so it is well to note some of the circumstances
which led up to this extraordinary evolution of autocracy on Republican


[Illustration: MR. SETH LOW. First Tsar-Mayor of Brooklyn.]



The parallel which instinctively occurs to the mind of the observer is one
of somewhat evil omen for the future of the American Commonwealth. The
Roman Republic evolved the Empire very much in the same way that the Tsar
Mayoralty of Greater New York has been evolved from the institutions which
preceded it. The Roman Empire was not based upon a _plébiscite_ of the
citizens, but equally with the New York Mayoralty it ignored the principle
of hereditary right. Occasionally the Imperial purple passed from father
to son, but for the most part the throne was filled by the only kind of
election possible in those days. The Emperor was the choice of men who
wielded, not ballots, but swords.

A study of the corruption and despair which produced the Roman Empire will
supply many curious parallels to the existing state of things in America.
In ancient Italy, as in modern New York, elective institutions had been
abused until the best citizens despaired of the Republic. The Third
Napoleon, in his history of Julius Cæsar, writes concerning the way in
which elections were managed in ancient Rome in terms which curiously
resemble those employed by the Lexow Committee in explaining how elections
were worked in modern New York:--

    The sale of consciences had so planted itself in public morals, that
    the several instruments of electoral corruption had functions and
    titles almost recognised. Those who bought votes were called
    _divisores_; the go-betweens were _interpretes_; and those with whom
    was deposited the purchase-money were _sequestres_. Numerous secret
    societies were formed for making a trade of the right of suffrage;
    they were divided into decuries, the several heads of which obeyed a
    supreme head, who treated with the candidates and sold the votes of
    the associates, either for money, or on the stipulation of certain
    advantages for himself or his friends. These societies carried most of
    the elections, and Cicero himself, who so often boasted of the
    unanimity with which he had been chosen Consul, owed to them a great
    part of the suffrages he obtained....

    This all was struck with decadence. Brute force bestowed power, and
    corruption the magistracies. Numerous elements of dissolution
    afflicted society; the venality of the judges, the traffic in
    elections, the absolutism of the Senate, the tyranny of wealth, which
    oppressed the poor by usury, and braved the law with
    impunity.--“Julius Cæsar,” by Napoleon III., vol. i., p. 3.

As a way of escape from the disasters which afflicted the Republic, there
emerged in natural process of evolution, first, the dictatorship of Sylla,
then the triumph of Marius, afterwards the ascendency of Cæsar, which led
directly to the foundation of the Empire by Augustus. We are not within
sight of the Augustan Empire in the United States, but the same causes
which in the natural course of time ripened the Empire of the Cæsars are
to be seen in full operation on the banks of the Hudson. The United States
is happily at present without the legionaries whose supremacy enabled a
succession of military commanders to establish the Roman Empire upon the
grave of the Roman Republic. That element of danger may not be wanting in
time to come. The growth of imperial ambitions at Washington is one of the
most plainly marked signs of the times. A spirit which to-day annexes
Hawaii, threatens Spain, and defies Europe with the Monroe Doctrine, will
certainly be driven to increase its armaments or to abate its ambitions.
These things, however, belong to the next century. Sufficient unto the day
is the evil thereof.

The system of the Tsar-Mayor first came into operation at Brooklyn in
1882. It sprang, as did the Second Empire, from the timidity of the
citizens. Mr. Seth Low, the first Tsar-Mayor, writing in the last edition
of Bryce’s “American Commonwealth,” points out this very clearly. He

    The aim of the Americans for many years deliberately was to make a
    city government where no officer by himself could have power enough to
    do much harm. The natural result of this was to create a situation
    where no officer had power to do good.

The idea of allowing citizens in their wards to elect representatives, who
should wield all the powers vested in English, French or German town
councils, was regarded by Americans as savouring of suicidal recklessness.
To trust the elected representatives of the people in an American city, as
we trust the town councils of Birmingham and Glasgow, seems rash and
reckless to the American statesman. A very thoughtful writer in the
_Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science_ four
years ago, singled out the English municipal system as one which no sane
American would dream of applying to a great American city. He said:--

    It may be safely said that this whole organisation of the Birmingham
    government is an exaggeration of the features which have had the worst
    effects in the United States. It must make the mouth of a Tammany
    chief water to think of such a simplification of his labours and
    increase of the opportunities for plunder.

Notwithstanding this, American observers have followed Mr. Chamberlain in
declaring that Birmingham is the best governed city of the world. That,
however, in no way reassures the American pessimist, who has put on record
his conviction that “the vicious principles evolved in English municipal
government will overcome any safeguard, and that it is only a question of
time when English cities have a taste of what New York has been through.”
The result of this deep-rooted conviction in the American mind, that the
elect of the people is certain to steal if he gets a chance, was that
city governments came into existence dominated by the one desire to
paralyse in advance the city council, to limit its opportunities of
stealing, and place it more or less at the mercy of the State
Legislatures. The result of this system born of cowardice and lack of
faith was to transfer almost all power in New York from the city
authorities to Tammany Hall. Tammany, in theory at least, was broad based
upon the people’s will, nor was there any limitation to the authority of
the Boss.

After a time the absurdity of this system, and the ruinous results which
followed, forced upon the minds of the more intelligent citizens the fact
that something must be done, and that at any cost. Some centre of local
authority must be created which could be trusted not to steal. Mr. Seth
Low explains and defends the establishment of the Tsar-Mayor on the theory
that cities in their organic capacity are more accurately described as
large corporations than as small states. He says:--

    The better results flowing from this theory are easily made clear.
    Americans are sufficiently adept in the administration of large
    business enterprises to understand that, in any such undertaking, some
    one man must be given the power of direction and the choice of his
    chief assistants; they understand that power and responsibility must
    go together from the top to the bottom of every successful business
    organisation. Consequently, when it began to be realised that a city
    was a business corporation rather than an integral part of the State,
    the unwillingness to organise the city upon the line of concentrated
    power in connection with concentrated responsibility began to
    disappear. The charter of the city of Brooklyn is probably as advanced
    a type as can be found of the results of this mode of thinking. In
    Brooklyn the executive side of the city government is represented by
    the mayor and the various heads of departments. The legislative side
    consists of a common council of nineteen members, twelve of whom are
    elected from three districts, each having four aldermen, the remaining
    seven being elected, as aldermen at large by the whole city. The
    people elect three city officers, besides the board of aldermen--the
    mayor, who is the real as well as the nominal head of the city, the
    comptroller, who is practically the book-keeper of the city, and the
    auditor, whose audit is necessary for the payment of every bill
    against the city, whether large or small. The mayor appoints
    absolutely, without confirmation by the common council, all the
    executive heads of departments. He appoints, for example, the police
    commissioner, the commissioner of city works, the corporation counsel
    or counsellor at law, the city treasurer, the tax collector, and, in
    general, all the officials who are charged with executive duties.
    These officials, in turn, appoint their own subordinates, so that the
    principle of defined responsibility permeates the city government from
    top to bottom. The mayor also appoints the board of assessors, the
    board of education, and the board of elections. The executive officers
    appointed by the mayor are appointed for a term of two years--that is
    to say, for a term similar to his own.--Bryce’s “American
    Commonwealth,” vol. i.

This Charter first came into effect in January, 1882, and Brooklyn has
been governed by Tsar-Mayors ever since. Mr. Seth Low, who was the first
Tsar-Mayor in America, and who subsequently served a second time, claims
for it the virtues and vices of all despotisms. When you have a good Tsar,
nothing can be better. When you have a bad Tsar, nothing can be worse. As
he says, the Brooklyn system “made clear to the simplest citizen that the
entire character of the city government depends upon the man chosen for
the office of Mayor.” It is, of course, playing double or quits. If you
get a good man, his immense power enables him to be potent for good, but
if you get a bad one, Heaven help the city!

The Brooklyn system was adopted with modification in several towns,
notably in Cleveland, in Cincinnati, and to a certain extent in
Philadelphia. The same system was carried out to its ultimate extreme in
the Charter of the City of Quincy, in Massachusetts. Mr. Gamaliel
Bradford, of Boston, in the May number of the _Annals of the American
Academy of Political and Social Science_ for 1893, thus explained the
evolution of the Tsar-Mayor as it could be seen in the Quincy Charter:--

    It was provided that the mayor should be the only executive official
    elected at all, and he by general vote of the city, so that he might
    be the embodiment of the whole administration and responsible for it.
    That he might be this, he was given the full power of appointment and
    removal of all subordinates except the school committee, as to whom
    even the radical framers of the charter shrank from encountering the
    popular prejudice. It was held that the separate election of
    officials, whether by popular vote or that of the council, is
    destructive of all subordination, of all firm or efficient
    administration, and of all personal responsibility. But the Quincy
    charter ran counter to another prejudice much more deeply rooted: the
    requirement of confirmation of the mayor’s appointments by the council
    or aldermen.

    The New York charter of 1884 gave to the mayor the full power of
    appointment, though that of removal, which seems to be necessary to
    make the other effective, was still jealously withheld. The Quincy
    charter gives both powers in full measure. Another object aimed at,
    though with some compromises, was to get rid of boards or commissions,
    as overriding the mayor and destroying that personal responsibility
    which was regarded as so important to public opinion. One man in every
    place, that man directly responsible to the mayor alone, and the mayor
    himself to the people, at short intervals; this was the guiding
    theory. To obviate the almost morbid dread of one man power, it was
    provided that the mayor might be removed from office by a
    three-fourths vote of the council, and a new election ordered. The
    theory was developed by another provision wholly new in the practice
    of the country: that the heads of departments, as well as the mayor,
    should be required to be present at the sessions of the council, to
    explain the wants of administration, and to give a public account of
    their stewardship in response to the questions of individual members.
    It was expected that in this way the strength or weakness of the mayor
    would be made clear to the popular apprehension, and that a better and
    improving class of men would be chosen with a corresponding effect
    upon city affairs.

Unfortunately, Mr. Bradford was compelled to admit, what Mr. Charles
Francis Adams had previously pointed out, that the experiment of the
Tsar-Mayor was, in Quincy, by no means justified by its results. Mr.
Bradford says:--

    It must be admitted, upon the evidence of leading citizens of Quincy,
    that the charter has thus far failed to accomplish its purpose; that
    extravagance of expenditure, local jobbing and caucus politics are as
    rampant as in other cities in the State.

Nevertheless and notwithstanding the disappointment in Quincy, when the
Charter of Greater New York came to be discussed, the advocates of what
may be called the English or normal system of vesting the government of
the town in the hands of an elective council were in a hopeless minority,
and the Charter of New York was drawn up upon the Tsar-Mayor basis. The
advocates of the Tsar-Mayor used all the familiar arguments which are
employed by apologists for autocracy all over the world. Their great
keynote was the need for the concentration of responsibility.

“It is necessary,” said Mr. Godkin, “to reduce to its lowest possible
point the number of executive officers whom the community has to watch.”
Mr. De Witt, Chairman of the Committee, who drafted the Charter for
Greater New York, put the matter succinctly when he wrote:--“I am for a
Tsar-Mayor, with a short term, and a free right to go again to the
people”; and then he added, recurring to the curious vein of fatalism
which in Napoleon found expression in a belief in his destiny, “I believe
that the Supreme Ruler of the universe moves through the mind of the
multitude, and in this age of free schools and ubiquitous journalism, no
mayor with plenary power and full responsibility would dare to permit
corruption or inefficiency to exist in any department. If he did, the
people would have only one head to hit, and one party to demolish.”

This change, to which we may take it American reformers are now definitely
committed, may be, as Mr. E. M. Shephard declared, “the most important
gain in municipal reform in our time,” or it may be the first step down
the inclined plane which leads to despotism. My duty is not to dogmatise,
but merely to describe. All that I would venture to observe by way of
comment is that the new reform seems to be at variance, not only with the
universally accepted English idea, which may, of course, be ignored, but
equally with the Jeffersonian theory of the fundamental principle of Local
Government. It may be necessary to fight fire with fire, and to cast out
the Boss by the Tsar-Mayor, but old-fashioned Liberals may be pardoned if
they feel that it is a very dangerous game to cast out the Devil by the
aid of Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils.

[Illustration: DR. ALBERT SHAW. Editor of the _Review of Reviews_, New



The Charter of Greater New York is the last, or rather the latest, of a
long series of Charters granted by the State Legislature of New York for
the government of the city. There were eleven distinct Charters granted
between 1846 and 1890, so that the average life of a Charter is only four
years. The Charter preceding this was regarded by Mr. Godkin as the best
because it reduced the elective element almost to vanishing point:--

    No community as heterogeneous as ours can manage its affairs
    successfully through democratic forms without reducing to its lowest
    possible point the number of executive officers whom it has to watch,
    and call to account when things go wrong. As soon as responsibility is
    widely diffused in such a community, “deals” or bargains between
    politicians for the division of the offices at once begin.

In no community, homogeneous or heterogeneous, can public affairs be
managed successfully when the supreme Legislature always stands ready to
remodel the Charter whenever the minority in the City can command the
support of the majority in the State. It is bad enough in London when the
minority in the County Council can appeal to the majority in the House of
Commons. But the House of Commons only interferes by way of obstructing
legislation desired by the Progressive majority. It never attempts to
revolutionise the constitution of the Council, because the majority at
Westminster does not agree with the majority at Spring Gardens.

It would not be a very great exaggeration to say that in the past the only
effective government of the City of New York has consisted of Tammany Hall
Executive as a Lower House, and the Legislature at Albany as an Upper
Chamber. These two bodies were not shadows. They were both governing
realities. When Tammany did not control the State Legislature, Albany was
the only hope of the despairing Republicans. How constant was the
interference of the State Legislature may be inferred from the fact,
vouched for by a return presented to a State Commission on the Government
of Cities, that in the ten years between 1880-9 no fewer than 399
different amending laws were passed at Albany affecting the Charter of New
York City. A State Legislature which passes nearly forty laws every year
changing or amending the City Charter is a factor to be reckoned with.

The demand for Home Rule for the city, often repeated, does not seem to be
supported in earnest by either party. Both admit the need for it. But
neither seem willing to risk anything to obtain it. The Charter of the
Greater New York sprang from the Commission appointed in 1896 to consider
and report upon the proposed consolidation and unification of the
government of the great urban area now known as Greater New York. The
subject had long been under discussion, but when the Charter came to be
drafted many drew back. Mr. Croker asserted that if the citizens had been
permitted to vote yea or nay upon the adoption it would never have come
into force. The Referendum was not permitted, and the Charter came into
force this year without the preliminary of a popular mass vote.

General Tracy, the Republican candidate at the recent election, was
President of the Charter Commission, with Mr. De Witt as Chairman of the
Committee. Among the other members were Mr. Strong, the Mayor of New York;
Mr. Seth Low, the first Tsar-Mayor of Brooklyn; Mr. Gilroy, Tammany
comptroller of the City of New York, and several other influential men.
They unanimously agreed to recommend the Charter as it stands at present,
although Mr. Seth Low and Mayor Strong dissented from one or two of its

The Commissioners set to work in the belief that they were framing a
constitution for a city which in the lifetime of those now living would
have 6,000,000 citizens. Mr. De Witt, the Chairman of the Committee, who
tells us that “his embattled energies laboured at the Charter for eight
long consecrated months,” contemplated with pride the result of his
handiwork. Speaking of the Charter, he declares:--

    It is adequate to all the emergencies of the vast future. It is
    constructed not merely for the present, but for many centuries to
    come. It has in it all the virtues of existing charters and the vices
    of none. It will adapt itself to any extent of domain, and to any
    multiple of population. As well with a population of ten millions as
    with a population of three millions, it will give to each
    neighbourhood the utmost care and attention, and to the imperial
    metropolis, as a whole, the utmost dignity and power. The form of
    government for Greater New York, it will be the model upon which
    Greater London will be constructed.

Without making quite such a lofty claim for the Charter as this, there is
no doubt that it is an important document, and one which will well repay a
careful study. It is somewhat voluminous, filling with its annexes no less
than one thousand pages.

It has, however, been made the subject of a very painstaking and lucid
analysis by Dr. Albert Shaw, whose “Studies of Municipal Administration in
the Old World and the New” entitle him to speak with some authority on the
matters dealt with by the Charter. His analysis of the Charter was
published in the _Atlantic Monthly_ for June, 1897, under the title of
“The Municipal Programme of Greater New York.” Mr. De Witt published his
clear and concise idea of the Greater New York in _Munsey’s Magazine_,
under the title of “Moulding the Metropolis.” The Charter itself, with its
1,620 sections, has been published in popular form at 10 cents by the
Brooklyn _Daily Eagle_. The text of the Charter, with the aid of Dr.
Shaw’s and Mr. De Witt’s analyses, enables any one to form a tolerably
clear idea as to what the Charter does and what the Charter means.

Mr. Croker repeatedly assured me, before the recent Mayoral contest began,
that the Charter was a monstrosity and an absurdity, that the system of
government which it established must inevitably break down, and that not
even an archangel could make it work satisfactorily. Mr. Croker can hardly
be said to be an impartial judge, but his verdict is sufficiently in
accord with that of Dr. Shaw to justify very grave misgivings as to the
prospect before the second city of the world.

During my stay in New York I was simply besieged by interviewers, begging
me to tell them what I thought of the Charter. I turned a deaf ear to
their solicitations, preferring to make a more careful study of the
Charter itself with the advantage of the analysis of Dr. Shaw. Even now I
rather shrink from expressing an opinion, lest it should be misconstrued
as implying any claim on my part to sit in judgment on those who are
saddled with the responsibility of governing New York. But when doctors
differ, the people decide, and when local experts are at hopeless variance
as to the merits or demerits of the Charter, it may perhaps be permitted
to a British onlooker, even at a distance of 3,000 miles, to put on record
the way in which the Charter strikes him. If this should not be denied me,
I may say at once that the Charter seems to have written on its face
thoroughgoing distrust of the people. The aspect of the Charter is black
with despair. It is far worse as an expression of democratic despair than
the Brooklyn Charter, for the Brooklyn Charter at least trusted the
Tsar-Mayor, whereas the New York Charter shrinks even from doing that.

In explaining the provisions of the Charter, I prefer to quote from Dr.
Shaw’s analysis. He says:--

    First comes the mayor, who is entitled the chief executive. He is to
    be elected for four years and is not eligible for an immediate
    re-election, and his salary is to be 15,000 dols. a year. The business
    of city administration is divided into eighteen executive departments.
    These are the departments of finance, of law, of police, of water
    supply, of highways, of street-cleaning, of sewers, of public
    buildings, lighting and supplies, of bridges, of parks, of building,
    of public charities, of correction, of fire, of docks and ferries, of
    taxes and assessments, of education, and of health.

The members of all these boards, with one exception, are appointed by the
Mayor, not elected by the people. The one exception is the City
Comptroller, who is at the head of the Finance Department. He is elected
at the same time as the Mayor. The Mayor also appoints all the members of
the five school boards, which look after education in the five boroughs of
Greater New York:--

    The system provided for in the new charter puts the executive
    government wholly into the hands of the eighteen departments, which
    are practically supreme in their respective eighteen spheres, except
    as they are limited by two important groups, or boards--namely, the
    board of estimate and apportionment and the board of public
    improvements. One discovers with some surprise that the
    ordinance-making power, which would nominally belong exclusively to
    the municipal assembly, is, in the Greater New York charter, conferred
    upon all the executive departments.

Where then, it will be asked, does the Municipal Assembly come in, for
there is a Municipal Assembly which is divided into two chambers? To which
the answer is that the Municipal Assembly is practically reduced to the
function of a debating society; for, says Dr. Shaw:--

    The eighteen executive departments take away from the municipal
    assembly the larger part of the ordinance-making power; the board of
    public improvements in practice controls municipal plans and policies
    as regards the construction of works, and the board of estimate and
    apportionment intervenes to prepare the budget, both on the side of
    income and on that of disbursement.

It is true that the budget must be voted by the Municipal Assembly, which
on that occasion sits as one body. But its control is practically nil. The
real financial control is vested in the Board of Estimate and
Apportionment. Mr. F. V. Green, writing in _Scribner_ for October, 1896,
points out that the framers of this board carefully avoided the principle
of direct election. He says:--

    Probably in no other part of the globe, however autocratic its
    government, is such power of taxation and appropriation committed to
    so unrepresentative a body as in this foremost city of the land of
    liberty, whose Government originated in a protest against taxation
    without representation. And it is a still more curious anomaly that
    this system, which was established as one of the results of the
    overthrow of the Tweed _régime_, and has been in operation for
    twenty-three years, is the most successful feature of the present form
    of city government--the only one of which criticism is seldom heard.

After this non-elective board has approved of the estimates, they are then
sent down to the Municipal Assembly to be voted. But, says Dr. Shaw, the
Municipal Assembly

    must complete its action within a certain number of days. It may not
    add a penny to the estimates at any point whatsoever. It is permitted
    to throw out items or to make reductions, but it must not offset these
    by voting increased sums for any object. When it has completed its
    consideration, the budget goes to the mayor for his final action. The
    mayor has authority to veto any amendments that the municipal assembly
    may have made. That is to say, he may restore any amounts that have
    been subtracted.

But, it will be said, the Mayor’s veto may be overridden. It may, but only
if there is a majority of five-sixths of the Municipal Assembly against
him. Such unanimity is practically unattainable.

It would, indeed, seem as if the chief purpose of the Municipal Assembly
was to give its members practical lessons in the working of simple sums of
vulgar fractions. Again, to quote Dr. Shaw:--

    No man will ever become intimate enough with the provisions of this
    charter--no matter how many years he may sit in the municipal
    assembly--to know for a certainty, without careful reference to the
    document, by what kind of a majority a particular piece of business
    must be carried to have validity. Some actions in the municipal
    assembly may be taken by a majority of those present and voting,
    provided there is a quorum. Other things may be done by a simple
    majority of all those elected; still others require a two-thirds
    majority of all those elected, others a three-fourths majority, others
    a four-fifths majority, others a five-sixths majority, and others
    absolute unanimity. I suspect that there may be still other
    percentages or proportions requisite for certain actions; but the
    seven that I have mentioned have caught my attention, as I have
    endeavoured to run through the document.

In the report of the Commission presenting the Charter, the Commissioners
point out that the Charter introduces, “in accordance with established
American polity, a variety of checks and safeguards against the abuse of
the powers conferred upon the Municipal Assembly.” There is no doubt on
that head. The distrust of the popular elected assembly appears at every
turn. The popular assembly is emasculated from the very first moment of
its existence. It is carefully deprived of the right of initiative in
matters of the first moment, and elaborate provisions are made for
depriving it of the exercise of the authority which in England we should
regard as absolutely indispensable. To begin with, the Municipal Assembly
is forbidden to grant any franchise or right to use the public streets
except upon the approval of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, and
then only for limited periods, with due provision for periodical
re-valuations. The Municipal Assembly is not allowed to sanction any work
involving the expenditure of any large sum of money, or to create any
debt, to dispose of any franchise, or to levy any tax, without the
concurrence of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment. Even then its
decision is subject to the veto of the Mayor. In cases of public
improvements of great magnitude and cost, the Municipal Assembly cannot
vote by a simple majority. Unless it can muster a majority of
three-quarters of its whole membership it can do nothing. It is possible,
therefore, for one quarter of the Assembly, plus one, to paralyse that
body at will. In fact, it is impossible adequately to explain the
impotence of the Assembly which, according to ordinary English ideas,
ought to be the source, seat and centre of all powers. No doubt clauses
exist conferring upon the Assembly certain powers, but at the end of the
clauses you will always find that they have not to be exercised excepting
on the initiative of some Department which is not elective, or with the
concurrence of some Board which is equally free from the taint of a
popular elective origin.

All that, however, is consistent enough with the Napoleonic conception of
the true method of democratic government. Napoleon, with his ministers of
state, never claimed to exercise such control over the _Corps Législatif_
as the Mayor of Greater New York will exercise over his elective assembly.
He is allowed a free hand to appoint his own executive, and he can pass
his own budget, so long as he can find one-sixth, plus one, of the
Assembly to support him. The creation of the Tsar-Mayor, however
interesting as indicative of the rooted distrust of elective assemblies
which is supreme at present in the American mind, is not the feature of
the Charter which reveals most deeply how far the distrust of popular
government has gone in the United States. For, after giving the Mayor
supreme responsibility, and electing him for a term of four years, these
astonishing charter-makers carefully provide that he shall only have a
right to remove the commissioners, whom he has been allowed to appoint,
during the first six months of his term of office. It is this limitation
which shows how thoroughly the modern American distrusts his governing
men. Faith in an elective council has perished utterly; but faith in a
Tsar-Mayor might have shown the survival of some faith in the elective
principle. But the stipulation carefully made in the Charter that the
Mayor’s right to remove the heads of departments whom he has nominated
shall cease six months after his election, is the most astounding
illustration yet afforded of the deep-rooted distrust which the American
of to-day has in all elected men.

Ex-Mayor Grace, writing after much experience of the working of city
governments, declared:--

    The absolute power of removal as well as of appointment of all
    commissioners and heads of departments should be vested in the mayor,
    the power of removal to be subject to no check beyond that of filing
    the reasons for such removals--expressed in writing.

Mr. Seth Low, the first Tsar-Mayor of Brooklyn, and Mr. Strong, the Mayor
of the Reform Administration in New York, both declared, in a
supplementary report, their conviction that the authority given to the
Mayor to make appointments without confirmation ought to carry with it, as
a matter of course, the authority to make removals in the public interest
without charges at any time. Their protests, however, were overruled. The
majority dare not trust the Mayor with such powers. The result is that
“for three years and six months the government of the City of New York
will be carried on by eighteen separate departments, not one of which is
directly responsible or accountable to anybody. They do not derive
authority directly from the people, and they certainly owe nothing to the
Municipal Assembly. On the other hand, there is no power in the Mayor to
hold them accountable.” Says Dr. Shaw:--

    It is bureaucracy pure and simple. I am not ready to assert it
    positively, but I am of the impression, from some knowledge of the
    subject, that the very shadowy municipal assemblies provided some
    years ago for St. Petersburg and Moscow had a greater legislative and
    financial authority than the new municipal assembly of the Greater
    New York; and I am inclined to believe that neither in the
    administration of those Russian cities nor in the administration of
    the Russian provincial governments will one find a bureaucratic system
    so complete and so indirect in its responsibilities to the public as
    the bureaucracy which the Greater New York charter creates.

There is no necessity to go further. I have quoted enough to justify the
title of “Despairing Democracy”; for here we have a democracy in such
depths of despair that it first emasculates its elective assembly, and
then hamstrings its Cæsar.


[Illustration: MR. W. R. HEARST. Editor and Proprietor of the _New York



Twelve years ago I employed part of the leisure I enjoyed in the safe
retreat of Holloway Gaol in writing an essay on “Government by
Journalism.” In that essay, which was published after my release in the
_Contemporary Review_, and subsequently republished under the title “A
Journalist on Journalism,” I expounded a theory as to the natural and
inevitable emergence of the journalist as the ultimate depository of power
in modern democracy. One passage I may be permitted to quote, as it bears
directly upon the subject of the present chapter:--

    The future of journalism depends almost entirely upon the journalist,
    and at present the outlook is not very hopeful. The very conception of
    journalism as an instrument of government is foreign to the mind of
    most journalists. Yet, if they could but think of it, the editorial
    pen is a sceptre of power, compared with which the sceptre of many a
    monarch is but a gilded lath. In a democratic age, in the midst of a
    population which is able to read, no position is comparable for
    permanent influence and far-reaching power to that of an editor who
    understands his vocation. In him are vested almost all the attributes
    of real sovereignty. He has almost exclusive rights of initiative; he
    retains a permanent right of direction; and, above all, he better than
    any man is able to generate that steam, known as public opinion, which
    is the greatest force of politics.

    To rule--the very idea begets derision from those whose one idea of
    their high office is to grind out so much copy, to be only paid for
    according to quantity, like sausages or rope-yarn. Bunyan’s man with
    the muck-rake has many a prototype on the press. To dress contemporary
    controversy day by day in the jacket of party, to serve up with fresh
    sauce of current events the hackneyed commonplaces of politics--that
    in their eyes is journalism; but to rule! Yet an editor is the
    uncrowned king of an educated democracy. The range of his power is
    limited only by the extent of his knowledge, the quality rather than
    the quantity of his circulation, and the faculty and force which he
    can bring to the work of government.

    An extraordinary idea seems to prevail with the eunuchs of the craft
    that leadership, guidance, governance, are alien to the calling of a
    journalist. Those conceptions of what is a journalist’s duty, if
    indeed they recognise that imperious word as having any bearing upon
    their profession, is hid in mystery. If it may be inferred from their
    practice, their ideal is to grind out a column of more or less
    well-balanced sentences, capable of grammatical construction,
    conflicting with no social conventionality or party prejudice, which
    fills so much space in the paper, and then utterly, swiftly, and for
    ever vanishes from mortal mind. How can they help to make up other
    people’s minds when they have never made up their own?

    Even as it now is, with all its disabilities and all its limitations,
    the press is almost the most effective instrument for discharging many
    of the functions of government now left us. It has been, as Mr.
    Gladstone remarked, and still is, the most potent engine for the
    reform of abuses that we possess, and it has succeeded to many of the
    functions formerly monopolised by the House of Commons. But all that
    it has been is but a shadow going before of the substance which it may
    yet possess, when all our people have learned to read, and the press
    is directed by men with the instinct and capacity of government.

Now it so happened by a curious coincidence that just about the time I was
penning these sentences in happy Holloway, a youth fresh from Harvard, the
heir to one of the greatest fortunes in the United States, was deciding to
devote his life to the journalistic profession. Mr. W. R. Hearst was the
son of Senator Hearst, one of the lucky handful of men who came out from
the development of the silver mines of the Far West with many solid
millions of sterling gold in his possession. As heir to the Hearst
millions, nothing would have been more in accordance with the ways of the
millionaire class than for the young graduate to have given himself up to
a life of self-indulgent ease. Young Hearst, however, had no inclination
for sloth. Journalism attracted him, and he set himself to learn the
business of the craft. Money, of course, was available to secure him ample
opportunity to indulge his whim, and before long he began to try his
prentice hand as editor and proprietor of the _San Francisco Examiner_. He
soon proved that he possessed the editorial instinct as well as the
capitalist’s purse, and the _Examiner_ began to be heard of far beyond the
Pacific Coast as one of the smartest specimens of American journalism.

But the Pacific Coast is a long way off. To reign in San Francisco is less
than to serve in New York, and Mr. Hearst soon began to turn a longing eye
to the Eastern capital. The same loadstone that drew Mr. Pulitzer from St.
Louis to make the _New York World_ the latest and greatest of American
newspapers, compelled Mr. Hearst to come to the same city to found a
newspaper which would be even later and greater than the _World_. It was
with Mr. Hearst as it was with Themistocles when the laurels of Miltiades
would not allow him to sleep. The laurels of Mr. Pulitzer were equally
productive of insomnia in the _Examiner_ office. At last, when Senator
Hearst died, and the young editor of thirty found himself in undisputed
control of a million or two--pounds, not dollars--with a reversionary
right, on the death of his mother, to several millions more, he was in a
position to realise his ambition. Crossing the continent, he purchased the
_New York Morning Journal_ from Mr. Pulitzer’s brother Albert, and began
the siege of New York. The _World_ was then in the height of its
prosperity. In ten years it had built up a circulation without a rival in
the Western hemisphere. The Paris _Petit Journal_ alone distanced the
_World_ in Europe. The great gilded dome of the _World_ office, which
every night, radiant with electric light, sits as a crown of flame upon
the city’s brow, did not rise more conspicuously above the other buildings
in its vicinity than the _World_ towered aloft above its contemporaries.
When Mr. Hearst sat down in New York he had one ambition, and--so far as
he allowed any one to see his secret thoughts--one ambition only. He would
publish a newspaper which would beat the _World_.

[Illustration: MR. JOSEPH PULITZER. Editor and Proprietor of the _New York

He began operations by annexing the pick of the staff of the _World_.
Journalists in the United States sit by no means so tightly in their
chairs as they do in this country. The Americans are a restless race.
Whether it is that the nomad Redskin left a migratory contagion in the
air, or whether the force of gravitation has been suspended on their
behalf, or whatever else the cause may be, the fact is indisputable.
Whether in politics, in the press, or elsewhere, they shift about with a
readiness that seems strangely unnatural to the more stolid Englishman,
who is apt to root himself like his native oak. Hence it was possible for
Mr. Hearst to begin his campaign in New York by taking away from Mr.
Pulitzer several of the brightest and brainiest members of his staff. They
left the _World_ to form the staff of the _Journal_, with regrets no
doubt, but without hesitation. For the terms of Mr. Hearst were better
than those of Mr. Pulitzer, and they went. Mr. Pulitzer, alarmed by the
secession, induced some of them to return by the offer of still better
terms than Mr. Hearst, but the young man with the inherited millions
outbid the older journalist who had made his own pile, and the _Journal_
started with the cream of the _World’s_ staff. If there be something of
Dugald Dalgetty about this sudden transfer of allegiance in English eyes,
it was entirely in accordance with the habits and customs of American
journalism. A change in proprietors or in editors will be followed by a
filing out of all the staff, the members of which no more lament over
their fate than gipsies deplore the fall of their tent-poles.

To the men recruited from the _Journal_, Mr. Hearst added some of the best
of his Californian staff, and as he paid the highest salaries going, he
had the pick of the pressmen of the continent. He picked as a rule wisely
and well. But his first choice and the most valuable member of his staff
was himself. No one did more to give the newspaper character and success
than the young millionaire, who was to be seen in his shirt-sleeves
through the hottest nights in the sultry summer toiling away at proofs and
formes until the early hours when he saw his paper to press. Members of
his staff who were worked like niggers could not complain when they saw
their chief working harder than any of his salaried employees. “A
millionaire,” they said, “in his shirt-sleeves! He could not work harder
if he were working on space for his daily bread!”

After having formed his staff, Mr. Hearst launched his paper, publishing
it at a cent. The _New York Herald_ is published at three cents. The
_World_ was published at two cents. Mr. Hearst published morning after
morning an eight and a twelve page paper at a price below the cost of
production. Mr. Pulitzer, recognising that at last he had found a real
rival, reduced the price of the _World_ to a cent. From that day to this
the two rivals have wrestled together without ceasing. They both publish
morning and afternoon and Sunday editions. They both are profusely
illustrated. They both cater directly and avowedly for the million, and
the million responds. The weaker of the old-fashioned papers went down
beneath the feet of the contending giants as the forests went down under
the trampling of St. Tammany and the Devil. But the circulation of the
_Journal_ went up steadily, until in two years Mr. Hearst had a Sunday
circulation of 400,000 at five cents, while the average daily sales of the
morning and evening journals reached 350,000. The circulation of the
_World_ was not seriously impaired. The _Journal_ grew not at the expense
of its rival so much as at the expense of the other papers which were less

Of course this result was not achieved without prodigious expenditure.
Never before were such salaries paid on any newspaper. The secrets of the
counting-house are not revealed to the outside world, but Mr. Hearst is
said to have half-a-dozen editors and artists, each of whom draws the
salary of a Cabinet Minister. Money flowed like water. Nothing was too
much to pay for a first-class, exclusive piece of intelligence.
Journalists of the old school stood aghast at the _Journal’s_ prices. And,
what made the expenditure appear still more outrageous, for a long time
there were practically no receipts. Advertisers, even in the United
States, are a conservative race. A newspaper appealed in vain for their
support. They would come in, but only at low prices. Mr. Hearst said they
might stay out; they must come in at his prices or not at all. They took
him at his word and stayed out--for a time. But now they are coming in
shoals, and the advertisement columns day by day attest the capitulation
of the advertiser to the newspaper. The direct cash loss on the first
year’s editing of the _Journal_ could hardly be less than £200,000, if,
indeed, it did not largely exceed that sum.

People began to wonder what Mr. Hearst was after. He could not be after
the dollars--he had more dollars than he could count. He was not known to
have any distinctive political aspirations. He was spoken of sometimes as
the Socialist millionaire, but he never professed any belief in Socialism
as a dogma of his creed. Was it only to beat the _World_? Who could say.
The _Journal_ plunged heavily and got hit badly by its advocacy of
Bryanism and Free Silver, but Mr. Hearst was no fanatic of silver. He was
not a fanatic at all. He was a man as modest in private life as his paper
was blatant in print. His editorials were searched in vain to discover any
consistent or inconsistent creed. The _Journal_ was like Broadway in
print. Broadway at high noon, with cars swinging backwards and forwards
along the tracks, and the myriad, multitudes streaming this way and
that--life everywhere, but one common governing purpose or direction

But after a time there was gradually evolved from this feverish chaos of
sensationalism some trace of a great conception. Mr. Croker, who, although
not glib of tongue, is shrewd of wit and keen of eye, discerned its drift,
and set himself to ridicule and belittle what he called “government by
newspaper.” Then the _Journal_ itself, taking heart of grace from a series
of successes, boldly printed at the head of its editorial columns:--



This appeared immediately after the announcement of the release of the
fair heroine Evangelina Cisneros from her Cuban gaol by the enterprise of
a _Journal_ reporter. It was followed by an editorial entitled “The
Journalism that Does Things.” This article expresses so succinctly the
aims and objects of a paper which has played so conspicuous a part in the
recent history of New York that I have no hesitation in quoting it here:--

    The instant recognition accorded throughout the world, outside of
    Weyler’s palace and offices of most New York newspapers, to the work
    of the heroes who, in the service of the _Journal_ and of humanity,
    rescued Evangelina Cisneros from the prison of the Recojidas is
    broader and deeper than a mere compliment to a single newspaper. It is
    epochal. It signifies that by a supreme achievement the journalism of
    action, which is called by its detractors the “new journalism,” and
    proudly accepts the title, has broken down the barriers of prejudice
    and vindicated its animating principle.

    Action--that is the distinguishing mark of the new journalism. It
    represents the final stage in the evolution of the modern newspaper of
    a century ago--the “new journals” of their day--told the news, and
    some of them made great efforts to get it first. The new journal of
    to-day prints the news too, but it does more. It does not wait for
    things to turn up. It turns them up.

    It has taken some time for the understanding and appreciation of these
    novel methods to become general, but from the very first the _Journal_
    has found an immense constituency eager to welcome them. It has
    provided for this sympathetic body of readers a continuous succession
    of notable deeds. We may recall a few examples.

    The _Journal_ has always been an energetic ally of the Cuban patriots.
    It has rendered them a variety of important services, of which the
    rescue of Miss Cisneros is merely the latest. Another of a similar,
    through less dramatic sort, was its action in forcing the Spanish
    authorities to issue passports to the widow and children of Dr.
    Ricardo Ruiz, the American dentist who was murdered by his gaolers in

    When the _Casper Whitney_ put to sea with water oozing in through
    every joint, the _Journal_ secured an investigation which resulted in
    the removal of Captain Fairchild, of the inspection service.

    The _Journal_ proved by experiments with chartered vessels off Sandy
    Hook that the ordinary flags of the international signal code could be
    easily read at night from a great distance under flashlight
    illumination. This discovery, whose value in saving life and property
    at sea is incalculable, it dedicated freely to the maritime world.

    From the beginning the _Journal_ has taken a practical as well as a
    theoretical interest in the relief of suffering and the elevation of
    the classes that have lacked a fair chance in life. Last winter it
    undertook to mitigate the awful distress that prevailed so widely at
    that time by opening a depôt in Grand Street, at which hot food was
    distributed daily to those in need. Thousands of starving people were
    relieved by this enterprise. On another occasion, when a fire in
    East Thirty-fifth Street rendered many families homeless, the
    _Journal_ invited them all to a Christmas dinner, and then, with the
    co-operation of its readers, established them in newly-furnished
    homes. But the greatest work of the _Journal_ in the direction of the
    improvement of social conditions has been the establishment and
    maintenance of the _Journal_ Junior Republic, which has saved about
    two hundred boys from the slums, and turned them into good citizens,
    and which contains the promise of unlimited future development and

    Last winter, when the aldermen had undertaken to grant a perpetual
    franchise for the use of the streets to a light, fuel and power
    company, the _Journal_ served injunctions upon the board and prevented
    the outrage. At the same time it fought at Albany for dollar gas with
    such success that even Mr. Platt’s Legislature was compelled to yield
    to public opinion to the extent of passing a bill providing for a
    general reduction. The practice of invoking the law against unfaithful
    public servants has been repeated recently with signal success in the
    case of Commissioner of Public Works Collis and his pet contractors,
    who have been compelled to raise the siege of Fifth Avenue.

    When the East River murder seemed an insoluble mystery to the police,
    the _Journal_ organised a detective force of its own, and in two or
    three days identified the victim, Guldensuppe, and his assassins. And
    when the Long Island Railroad attempted to excuse its wholesale
    manslaughter at Valley Stream by alleging that an engine could be seen
    for a distance of one thousand five hundred feet, the _Journal_ took a
    counterpart of the wrecked tally-ho outfit to the scene, and proved by
    actual measurement that the driver could not have seen the approaching
    train until his leaders were on the track, with the engine eighty-four
    feet away.

    These are a few of the public services by which the _Journal_ has
    illustrated its theory that a newspaper’s duty is not confined to
    exhortation, but that when things are going wrong it should itself set
    them right if possible. The brilliant exemplication of this theory in
    the rescue of Miss Cisneros has finally commended it to the approval
    of almost the entire reading world.


These things, all of them, or almost all, are good. Some of them are very
good. But all of them together do not prove that in Mr. Hearst we have the
man of whom Mr. Lowell spoke when he said:--

    Methinks the editor who should understand his calling and be equal
    thereto, would truly deserve that title of ποιμὴν λαῶν, which Homer
    bestows upon princes, he would be the Moses of our nineteenth century
    ... the Captain of our Exodus into the Canaan of a truer social order.

Nevertheless, Mr. Hearst is far and away the most promising journalist
whom I have yet come across. He has education, youth, energy, aptitude,
wealth, and that instinctive journalistic sense which is akin to genius.
If in addition to these great qualifications he were to realise the
possibilities of his vocation, and to become inspired by a supreme
enthusiasm--say to redeem New York, and make the second city in the world
in size the first city of the world as a place of human habitation--there
is no knowing what incalculable good might lie within his grasp. Certainly
no man in all New York has such a chance of combining all the elements
that make for righteousness and progress in the city as the young
Californian millionaire-editor who founded the _Journal_.

There is, however, no greater delusion than to imagine that a newspaper in
America has any influence merely because it is a newspaper. The habit of
running newspapers as if they were mere commercial dividend-earning
undertakings has so largely discounted the influence of the press as to
lead many shrewd observers to declare that they would just as soon have
the newspapers against them as in their favour. Carter Harrison had every
newspaper in Chicago against him--but his own--and he was elected to the
mayoralty by an overwhelming majority. Mr. Croker declared over and over
again that if he had stood for the mayoralty of New York he would wish for
nothing better than that every newspaper in the city should be against
him, in which case he regarded his success as a certainty. Tammany at one
time corrupted the newspapers. At another time it bullied them. Now it
disregards them. “Mere newspaper talk”--nothing can be more contemptuous
than that.

If New York is to be raised to the position of being the ideal city of the
New World it will not have to be by mere newspaper talk, but by the man
behind the newspaper who can make his newspaper the organising, vivifying,
rallying centre for all the best forces and influences of the city. If Mr.
Hearst has soul enough and heart enough he may do it. I do not know any
one else who has got his chance.

[Illustration: TAMMANY HALL OF TO-DAY.]

[Illustration: THOMAS C. PLATT. Chief of the Republican Party in New



“Never prescribe until you are called in,” is an excellent maxim, which
like that other more pithy saying, “Mind your own business,” has one
somewhat serious drawback. If they were construed literally and obeyed in
spirit as well as in letter, what would become of the journalist’s
business? For the chief business of the journalist is to look after other
people’s business. To chronicle it in the first place; to comment upon it
in the second. It is the privilege of the profession.

There is no cause for resenting the innocent liberty of criticism and
suggestion which is exercised by the press. It can only too easily be
ignored; nor has the journalist any means beyond the opportunity of
representation and of persuasion for giving effect to his proposals. He
has no authority except that which belongs to every man who sees things as
they are, and the authority pertains to his ability to make others see
them with his eyes rather than to his personal position. Hence those who
object to the “damned impudence of the newspaper man” have only to shut
their eyes and close their ears, to remove themselves effectively from the
area of his jurisdiction.

The journalist who in the course of his public duty ventures to pry into
“the secrets of the prison-house” is always met by its keepers with an
outcry of indignation and resentment. “Why are you poking your nose in our
affairs?” they cry in aggrieved chorus; “you stay at home and attend to
your own business!” How often have we not heard that plausible demand put
forward by the thieves and scoundrels and oppressors of the world, when
first the adventurous newspaper man ventures to expose their misdeeds and
suggest ways and means for curtailing their evil power. Tammany Bosses
have often angrily denounced the meddling of the newspapers in their
pickings and stealings. Nor is it only journalists who are met by this
protest. We have seen how Police Commissioner McClave was distressed at
the wickedness of the hayseed Senators up at Albany who sent the Lexow
Committee to trouble the “honest men” of the Police Department. The
evildoer who is waxing fat upon his misdeeds, always objects to any one
interfering with his plunder. And as the accusation of officious meddling
in “what is no concern of yours” is the first brick that lies handy for
hurling at the head of the intruder, it is thrown accordingly.

The difficulty is immeasurably increased when the journalist is commenting
on the affairs of another city or country than his own. For then the
crooks can invoke the sentiment of offended patriotism, and shelter their
picking and stealing behind the sacred folds of the national flag. When I
was in Chicago five years ago I was seriously told by a distinguished
American author that it was insufferable impertinence on my part to
publish any opinion on current American affairs until I foreswore
allegiance to the Queen and naturalised myself as an American citizen! I
venture humbly and with all deference to suggest that if a cat may look at
a king, it may be permitted to an English-speaking journalist to describe
what he sees and to say what he thinks even concerning the affairs of
those other English-speaking communities which prefer the Stars and
Stripes to the Union Jack. This curious recrudescence of perverted
nationalism which would deny the right of comment on American affairs to
everyone not born or naturalised in the American Republic, is after all
nothing more than a partial reversion to the savage’s jealousy of the
stranger who was not a member of the tribe. Let us be thankful that the
reversion is not complete, otherwise I should have cause for thankfulness
that I escaped with my life.

We may, however, brush on one side these absurdities born of the morbid
sensitiveness of the Half-grown, who are always suspecting that every word
of criticism conceals an assumption of superiority, and a denial of the
rights which the Full-grown regard as too self-evident to be questioned.
Rational adults do not in these days require a certificate of origin
before listening to the ideas of those who are interested in their
affairs. The stranger, no doubt, will often make mistakes, which any tyro
to the manner born would have avoided. He is like a Frenchman attempting
to make a speech in English. But, despite his blunders in details, he
looks at things from a different standpoint, he brings to their
consideration the experience gained in other communities, and although he
may make himself a fool now and then--which Lowell reminded us is one of
the inalienable rights of man--he will often strike out new ideas which
perhaps by their very absurdity may bear good fruit by rousing attention
and provoking discussion.

At the close of this cursory survey of one of the gravest problems which
can occupy the attention of mankind, the reader may fairly expect me to
say whether I see any way out. Must we despair of democracy, then, after
all, and abandon all hope of governing great cities by the time-honoured
machinery of elective assemblies? Is the Dictator indispensable for the
salvation of the Republic? And if we cannot get along without his
authority, dare we not trust him to remove his ministers after the first
eighth of his term of office?

If to these questions I venture to suggest any replies, I hope that I may
not be accused of attempting arrogantly to dogmatise upon the solution of
local problems the conditions of which it has been obviously impossible
for me to master at first hand. I make no pretence to be free from bias or
partiality. If my critics complain that my suggestions are based upon my
inherited ingrained prejudices, strengthened by a professional instinct,
rather than upon a scientific and judicial examination of all the facts, I
make no demur. For in dealing with all these complex questions it is
extremely difficult to eliminate the habit of mind that dates back to the
cradle and beyond the cradle.

Hence, for instance, if I scout the notion that there is any reason for
despairing of democracy even in New York City, this adoption of the
watchword of “Never despair!” is due primarily to two antecedent
convictions, neither of which has anything to do with the local
circumstances of New York. One is a fundamental faith in the Providential
government of the universe, the other a belief that in the evolution of
human society, Democracy has arrived, and has come to stay. “Time brings
not back the mastodon”; and, despite the present reversion to the tyrant
of the old Greek city, in the shape of the Tsar-Mayor, I cannot believe
that the great stream of progress is about to change its channel. I cannot
believe that the American democracy is permanently forsaking what
Jefferson regarded as the fundamental principle of democratic
institutions. Jefferson’s familiar and weighty words--“As Cato concluded
every speech with the words, _Delenda est Carthago_, so do I every opinion
with the injunction, ‘Divide the counties into wards’”--embody advice that
is in accord with all the traditions of the English-speaking race. I may
be pardoned for believing that it expresses the sound principle of local
self-government, rather than the new-fangled innovation of the vesting of
all power in a Dictator elected by a mass vote of so huge a unit as a city
of three millions.

If this be so, then it follows that it would be well to endeavour, as
speedily as it could be done with safety, to regain the ancient ways, and
return to fundamental principles by dividing the city into wards, and
making the elected representatives of these wards the governing authority
of New York. Until the Common Council--composed of representatives each
directly elected by ward or district, and held personally responsible by
the citizens in that ward for the efficient and honest discharge of his
municipal duties--is restored to its natural position as the source and
seat and centre of civic authority, it seems to me that we shall continue
wandering in the wilderness. The elective assembly is the mainspring of
the machine, and although you may turn the pointers round with the
watchkey of a Tsar-Mayor, the watch will never keep right time till the
mainspring is restored to its right place.

This, however, may only be an English prejudice. However frankly I may
express my fear that the Tsar-Mayor will not prove a permanent source of
security to the law-abiding, honest citizens, I shall be delighted if my
forebodings are falsified by the event. For good or for ill the great
experiment is to be tried, and the whole human race is interested in its

I come to safer ground when I say that, whether the centre of authority be
the Tsar-Mayor or the Common Council, there is no security for the good
government of the city except the public spirit and loyal co-operation of
all good citizens. I know nothing more admirable than many of the recent
efforts made by the Citizens’ Union and the Patriotic League of New York
to arouse an intelligent interest in the community at large in the
government of the city. The campaign of Education which has been going on
for these last three years is a much more solid security for good
government than any tinkering of the civic administrative machine. What
seems to be most needed is, that the admirable work done in certain
districts should be universalised and made equally effective in all
quarters of Greater New York. The need for making general or universal the
best work done in certain localities, points to the need of some central
body, like the Civic Federation or Citizens’ Union, or Civic Centre, which
would cover the same area as the civic administration, and within which it
would seek to secure for all voluntary effort the same system and
regularity and universality that is attained in the municipal service.
Such a Civic Centre or nucleus for the co-operation of all societies and
agencies, social, moral, intellectual and religious, would stand to the
civic authorities much as the spiritual power stands to the State. A
federation so constituted would be the Civic Church of the city; and the
State without the Church, is the body without the soul.

These are broad general propositions, which seem to me to lie at the root
of the whole matter. But I would not like to close this chapter without
making one suggestion which, although it will be scouted at first and
treated with ridicule and contempt, may nevertheless contain within it the
germ of an institution which may remedy some of the more flagrant evils
which afflict the body politic. The creation of the Tsar-Mayor shows that
the American citizen is not hidebound by prejudice. In presence of the
hideous abuses glanced at in the former chapters he has sacrificed his
ancient prejudices against Despotism and the One Man power, in order to
re-establish the Greek Tyrant as the autocrat of the American City. What I
wish, with all deference, to suggest, is that having enthroned the
Tyrannus, they should hasten to establish the Inquisition.

The proposition is made in all seriousness. As a palliative and corrective
for the existing evils I see no suggested solution that holds out more

I need not, I hope, explain that I do not suggest the resurrection of the
old dread ecclesiastical tribunal, with its familiars and its _auto da
fe_. Neither do I suggest that heretics should be burned alive in Madison
Square. What I am after is much more serious business. The suggestion is
the offspring of two facts, both unmistakably conspicuous in the
contemporary history of New York. One is the emergence of a great
journalistic ambition, not merely to chronicle, but to do. The other is
the record of the Lexow Committee. The success of the latter in its work
of investigation, together with the existence of the new ideal of
journalistic duty, seem to suggest that the best immediate remedy for the
malady of the body politic would be the establishment on a permanent
footing of a Tribunal of Investigation and Inquisition, armed with all
necessary powers, to administer oaths, to compel the attendance of
witnesses, to commit for contempt, and to punish summarily for perjury.
And I would further venture to suggest that in the Journalism that Acts
there is here a field even more legitimate for the enterprise of the new
journalists than breaking into a Spanish prison or dredging the river for
the head of a murdered man.

To put it briefly, I would respectfully ask those who are in despair over
the corruption that eats like a canker into the hearts of American cities,
why not give statutory authority to American journalism to create,
maintain and carry on a Lexow Committee _en permanence_, with extended
powers for the purpose of discovering and handing over for punishment all
those who are preying upon the public?

There is no remedy like the light of day. These evils exist in the midst
of our communities because they can be done in secret. The crook in office
relies upon the cloak of darkness. Tear away that cloak, proclaim the
things done in secret upon the housetop, and the crook will walk in the
straight path. The enterprise of the American newspaper is great. But
although it can discover Livingstone and rescue Miss Cisneros, it cannot
locate the boodler and prove who paid him the boodle. It may suspect. It
may know, and it may accuse. But without its Lexow Committee it can
neither prove nor convict.

It may be objected that to institute such a tribunal would be to create a
frightful engine of tyranny, and that the remedy might be worse than the
disease. The experience of the Star Chamber is not exactly reassuring.

But to this there are several answers. In the first place, beyond arming
the proposed Inquisition with adequate powers to enforce attendance by
subpœna, to punish contempt of court, and to impose summary penalties for
perjury, it would not be vested with any power of inflicting punishment.
Having ascertained the facts, it would hand over the guilty person to the
ordinary civil and criminal tribunals, binding over all witnesses to
appear when the case came on for trial. Its functions would be those of
investigation, for the purpose of providing a case for the ordinary
tribunals, so that there would be no interference with the safeguards
provided by the law and the constitution for the liberty of the subject
and the impartial administration of justice.

Secondly, the proceedings of the Inquisition would be from the first
conducted under the full glare of publicity. Even if it were within its
powers to hold a secret session, no action could be taken at such session
until it had been confirmed in the light of day. Both at the inception and
at the close of a case the Inquisition would be a public tribunal, liable
to public criticism and amenable to public opinion. Its chief duty would
be the obtaining of material in the shape of authentic information capable
of being proved in court, for the protection of the public. It would,
therefore, be unreasonable to fear that such a Court, whose _raison
d’être_ is to bring evil out of the darkness into light, could be capable
of the abuse which sprang up in the Star Chamber or the Inquisition, where
secrecy made power irresponsible.

If it be admitted that such a tribunal might with advantage be created,
the question would then arise how it should be constituted. The paralysis
of faith in the integrity of the elected man which prevails in American
citizens would seem to preclude any hope of securing a competent and
inflexible Inquisitor-General by an appeal to the principle of popular
election--direct or indirect. If, however, the Journalism that Acts is to
be allowed to follow the natural path of evolution, it might perhaps be
recognised as a power in the State, to whose initiative might be left by
statute the task of appointing the Inquisitor and of bringing cases before
the Inquisition. If the choice of Inquisitor-General were left to the
journalists, each of whom is an inquisitor himself in his own way, you
would at least have a small expert constituency, each member of which
would have a direct interest in making a good selection. And if the duty
of bringing cases before the Court were limited in the first instance to
the journalists, the door would be closed against the irresponsible
calumnies of miscellaneous scandal-mongers, for the only persons who could
then set the tribunal in motion would be the newspaper, which would lose
in prestige and in authority should it bring forward a case which on
investigation proved to be baseless.

I am well aware that the suggestion will be ridiculed, and by no one so
much as the journalist in whom the consciousness of his responsibility has
not yet been evolved. But if the Journalism that Acts is to do its share
in the cleansing of the Augean stable of municipal corruption, it could
hardly find a more legitimate field for development than in providing a
simple but effective tribunal for the purpose of dragging out of the
darkness and secrecy in which they flourish those evils which can never be
dealt with until they are accurately located, and brought within the range
of public opinion by the searchlight of the Inquisition.


[Illustration: GENERAL TRACY.]



The contest for the mayoralty of Greater New York, which was fought out at
the polls on the 2nd of November, has been one of the most famous
elections ever fought. To begin with, never before have half a million
electors voted in the same day for the election of a chief magistrate.
Greater New York contains more that 3,000,000 inhabitants, and 567,000
registered electors. The constituency is not more vast than the powers of
the mayor are unlimited. As no chief magistrate before received the
suffrages of so many electors, so no chief magistrate was ever invested
with such absolute authority. Mr. Van Wyck, the new Mayor of Greater New
York, for six months at least is almost as much master of New York as
Napoleon III. was master of France after the _plébiscite_ which installed
him at the Tuileries. The two-chambered elective council of the city has
even less control over his municipal appointments than the senate and
_Corps Législatif_ of the Second Empire. For so great a stake it was
natural that all parties should enter their best men, and that the contest
should be fought with as much energy as a Presidential Election.

The first to enter the field was Mr. Seth Low, the President of Columbian
University, and the candidate of the Citizens’ Union. Mr. Low--or Seth Low
as he is usually called--was the first Reform Mayor of the City of
Brooklyn, where he was re-elected and served a second term. Although he
belongs to the Republican party, he stood as the candidate of those who
object to the subordination of municipal to national issues. The one great
curse which has plagued New York in the past has been that its citizens
never had a chance of voting upon a straight civic issue, but were always
pulled hither and thither by the conflicting interest of the Republican or
Democratic parties, compared with whose real or imaginary interests the
welfare of the city was regarded as dust in the balance. Mr. Low was one
of the leading members of the Commission which framed the Charter of
Greater New York. He is a man of education, of leisure, of experience, and
of the highest character. The Citizens’ Union was formed last winter in
the old City of New York, with the object of electing what is called a
non-partisan mayor. The Citizens’ Union, although nominally non-partisan,
was really recruited in a great measure by the Republicans. Hence it was
regarded by the leaders of the Republican machine as virtually a revolt
against the Republican Caucus, and the Chairman of the County Republican
Committee publicly declared that the Republican party would much rather
see a Tammany man installed as the first Mayor of Greater New York than a
mayor who was not the nominee of the Republican organisation. And the
Republican Party men have had their wish.

[Illustration: THE HIGHEST BUILDING IN NEW YORK. American Surety Company.]

It was this declaration that led Mr. Seth Low to join the Citizens’ Union,
which he had not previously done. About the middle of the year, the ticket
which had long been current as to the advisability of nominating Seth Low
for the Mayoralty began to crystallise into action. The Citizens’ Union
had increased its membership from 6,000 to 25,000, and it had secured
nearly 100,000 signatures to a memorial requesting Mr. Low to be put in
nomination as a candidate for the Mayoralty. Earlier in the year he had
contemplated standing only as a unifying force among the friends of good
government, but when the memorial was presented, and the Citizens’ Union
insisted upon taking independent action without conferring with the other
organisations, he accepted the nomination, and in the beginning of
September issued his address.

His appeal to the constituency was based, according to his own statements,
upon the following principles. First, he stood for the idea of having a
free man in the Mayor’s chair, a man who would be responsible to the
people who put him there, and not to any party machine. The Reform Mayor
of New York, he said, in a passage which stung General Tracy into unwonted
fury, must be in the City Hall of New York, and not on a racecourse in
England, or in the Senate Chamber of Washington. The suggestion, of
course, being that if the Tammany candidate were elected, its master would
be Richard Croker, who was supposed to spend his time on English race
tracks, while if General Tracy were elected, he would take his orders from
Senator Platt, the Republican Boss. Secondly, Mr. Low stood for the idea
of Home Rule--Home Rule for New York. A community of three million and a
quarter of people ought to be entitled to shape their own destinies in
matters that are purely local. Further, he stood as the advocate of good
city civic administration, which he defined as a civic government so well
administered that no interest in the great metropolis shall be so small as
to be beneath its care, and no interest so great that it shall timidly
shrink from attempting to deal with it. In Mr. Seth Low’s address,
accepting the nomination, he frankly avowed that he was a Republican, and
expected to remain one; but he would pledge himself that, in making
appointments, he would fill every place with an eye single to the public
good. “The patronage of the city shall not be used, so far as it is in the
mayor’s power to prevent it, for purposes of either strengthening or
weakening one party or another, or any fraction of another party.” On the
subject of public franchises, by which the streets of New York have been
practically handed over to irresponsible corporations, he made the
significant suggestion that the city should be able to deal with every
application for a change of the power by which the street railways were
worked, as being equivalent to a demand for a new franchise. There is more
in this than is discernible at first sight by an English reader. The
tramways of New York are largely operated at present by cables and horses.
These are being superseded as rapidly as possible by electricity. If no
street railway were to be allowed to adopt electricity as a mode of
traction, unless it surrendered what we should call its local Act of
Parliament, empowering it to use the streets, and had to make terms _de
novo_ for that privilege, the relation between the public and the
companies would be immediately transformed. At present the companies have
got all they want, and pay the city next to nothing. It may not be
possible to adopt Mr. Seth Low’s suggestion, but the idea is well worth

In his reference to the Labour Laws of the City, he maintained that they
should be administered in the letter and in the spirit. The vexed question
of the saloon was dealt with in a lengthy paragraph, in which he balanced
himself as best he could between the two schools of restriction and of
freedom. The Raines Liquor Law, which was imposed upon the City of New
York by the State Legislature, has created an immense amount of irritation
by its attempt to secure Sunday closing, and to enforce stricter
discipline on the saloons. Mr. Low condemned the Raines law for not taking
into account the public sentiment of so cosmopolitan a city as New York.
This being interpreted, means that the German citizens object to be
deprived of their Sunday beer, and that, to adopt the local vernacular,
you cannot swing a great world-city on principles of the hayseed
legislators up at Albany. What Mr. Low would do in relation to the
licensing does not precisely appear, beyond desiring to adopt some system
of local option:--

    In my opinion, an excise law, so far as it affects the daily life and
    the habits of the people, should reflect the public opinion of the
    city. On such points, in case of radical differences of opinion, I
    should take the appeal to the people themselves.

The keynote, therefore, of his address lay in the sentence that he desired
to secure for “this Imperial City” the opportunity to start upon its new
career under an administration pledged to make the interests of the city
its supreme care. Mr. Low had the great advantage of not being a mere
theorist, but one who had had four years’ experience in the application of
the principles upon which he would propose to act as Mayor of Greater New
York. The city government, he maintained, should be organised on business
principles. Quite recently he contributed a chapter to Mr. Bryce’s
“American Commonwealth” on City Government in the United States, in which
he embodied the result of his experience and observation as Mayor of
Brooklyn. His dominant idea is that the government of a city should be
conducted upon very much the same principles as the management of any
corporation, railroad, or joint stock company. The Mayor should be general
manager, and the head of every department should hold office at his
supreme discretion. Another principle upon which he insists is that
wherever executive work is to be done, it must be put in the hands of one
man, but that wherever it is not an affair for action, but for discretion,
in the multitude of councillors there is wisdom. Where the work is
discretionary have a board, where it is executive have one man.

The second candidate to enter the field was one as well known in this
country as he is in his native land. Henry George, whose sudden death on
the eve of the poll gave so tragic a note to the contest, was nominated by
the Bryanite section of the Democratic party. He commanded, and deserved
to command, a great deal of public support, and still more of popular
sympathy. Henry George stood as candidate for Mayor some years since, and
was defeated by Tammany Hall joining hands with the Republicans, in order
to elect Mr. Hewitt. Mr. Croker talked over that ancient history with me
on the steamer, and then expressed a confident conviction that the Labour
Unions would never again support Henry George. They were all in line, he
said, with Tammany. Henry George, whose book, “Progress and Poverty,” was
practically discovered in Great Britain after it had fallen very flat in
the United States, was an honest man, full of all generous enthusiasms,
and his candidature deserved and obtained general sympathy, because it was
the most emphatic, picturesque, and sensational method of expressing
dissatisfaction with things as they are. Mr. George was a strong Free
Trader, but he was not an advocate of Free Silver.

His followers, however, tolerated all differences of opinion in return for
the value of his support. They even left him to nominate his own ticket.
He was selected as candidate for a party calling itself the United
Democracy, which adopted the Liberty Bell as its emblem. The speaker who
moved the nomination of Mr. George in the Convention, spoke of him as “the
great, the immortal Henry George, the man who had shown the working people
the way out of their difficulties. When George is mayor, the problems
which vexed the municipality will cease. Corruption and bribery will keep
away from the City Hall if George is there. They fear him as the
inhabitants of the lower regions do the angels of heaven.” When he
accepted the nomination, he declared that he stood not as a Silver
Democrat or a Gold Democrat, but as one who believed in the cardinal
principles of Jeffersonian Democracy. The defeat of Bryan, he declared,
was “the defeat of everything for which our fathers had stood, and it
looked to him as though the United States were fast verging into a
virtual aristocracy and despotism.” He stood, therefore, upon the doctrine
of the equality of men, and in the conviction that in the democracy that
believed that all men were created equal lay the power that would vivify
not merely New York, but the world.

The platform of the United Democracy, after denouncing unscrupulous
corporations and corrupt combinations, whose influence is felt alike in
local and national courts, proceeds to define the aims and aspirations of
its supporters in a manifesto, of which the following is a summary:--

    It reaffirms the Chicago platform, demands home rule in municipal
    affairs, denounces the Excise laws, demands not only municipal
    ownership of franchises but their operation by the municipal
    government, three cent (or less) car fares on surface and “L” roads,
    dollar gas, the abolition of contract work for the city, enforcement
    of the eight-hour law on city work, the representation of labour in
    the Administration, increase of school accommodation and the
    introduction into the schools of industrial training: the designation
    of public places for free exercise of the right of free speech, the
    opening of court houses and schools for the free use of the people in
    the evening: it denounces the abuse of injunctions by the courts, and
    demands the abolition of property qualifications for grand and petit

The clause in the plank of the Tammany platform which refers to the Raines
Liquor Law ran as follows:--

    We condemn the so-called “Raines” Liquor Law as iniquitous and
    intolerant. It was passed at the instigation of the Republican State
    machine against the protest of the majority of the people of New York,
    irrespective of party. It has injured owners of real estate. It has
    closed avenues of legitimate employment. It has deprived thousands of
    our citizens of rational enjoyment. It has given rise to a system of
    spying and official intermeddling abhorrent to a free people. It
    extorts exorbitant revenues from this city to aggrandise other
    portions of the State. It sought to deprive the citizen of a trial by
    jury, and, in the collection of penalties, compels the licensee, at
    the caprice of the State Commissioner of Excise, to defend himself in
    remote localities. It protects and masks the dive-keeper, while it
    harasses and impoverishes the reputable dealer. It promotes
    intemperance, furnishes a legalised refuge for vice, imperils the
    innocence of children, and destroys the sanctity of home. We therefore
    demand its prompt repeal and the enactment of an Excise law,
    conservative of the public morals and liberal in its provisions, that
    shall place its administration and revenue, so far as shall apply to
    this city, within the control of this municipality, thus insuring
    strict enforcement of law by the consent of the governed.

Tammany is almost as pronounced as Henry George was as to the municipal
ownership. The following is the paragraph referring to this subject in
their manifesto:--

    All proper municipal functions should be exercised by the municipality
    itself, and not delegated to others. We favour municipal ownership and
    municipal control of all municipal franchises. We oppose the granting
    of any public franchise in perpetuity. We oppose the granting or
    extending of any such franchise, or the bestowal of any new privilege
    upon a corporation holding such franchise, without adequate

    We, therefore, approve, as a step in the right direction, the
    provisions of the new Charter, which require adequate compensation to
    the city for all franchises hereafter to be granted, and which limit
    the terms of all such franchises, with reversion to the city on their
    expiration. We denounce the Republican party for its wasteful and
    reckless grant of valuable public franchises to private individuals by
    special legislation, with no provision for compensation to the
    municipality, whereby this city has already lost some of the most
    valuable franchises on its most important streets.

[Illustration: THE LATE HENRY GEORGE.]

The most significant plank in the platform is that demanding municipal
ownership of monopolies of service as essential to the purification of
politics and the protection of the citizen against taxation:--

    We declare that the functions of street railway transportation, the
    lighting of the streets and homes of the people, whether by gas or
    electricity, the carriage of the people by ferries about the waterways
    of Greater New York, the facilitation of the interchange of speech by
    telephones or telegraphs, are all purely municipal functions, things
    which can better be done by organised society than by individuals; we
    insist that the present system of delegating these functions to
    corporations has resulted in a heavy sacrifice of public wealth and
    convenience, the practice of extortion upon citizens compelled to
    enlist the services of these corporations, and the creation of
    powerful moneyed interests which, enjoying rich public grants,
    systematically employ every art of corruption in politics to control
    the city government for their own profit.

Mr. George declared he was a poor man as the candidate of poor men. Mr.
George simply stood where he did in 1886. Hence, he simply had to fall
back upon his old thunder, and to reproduce the fierce denunciations which
he hurled against the existing state of things by which the control of the
modern American city was given over to the worst classes of the community.
Here, for instance, is a passage in which he lashed the corrupt influences
that dominate American politics:--

    The influences which have degraded the rich and debased the poor, and,
    under the forms of Democracy, given over the metropolis of our country
    to the rule of a class more unscrupulous and more arrogant than that
    of the hereditary aristocracy from which it is our boast that we of
    the new world have emancipated ourselves?

    The type of modern growth is the great city. Here are to be found the
    greatest wealth and the deepest poverty. And it is here that popular
    government has most clearly broken down. In all the great American
    cities there is to-day as clearly defined a ruling class as in the
    most aristocratic countries of the world. Its members carry wards in
    their pockets, make up slates for nominating conventions, distribute
    offices as they bargain together, and--though they toil not, neither
    do they spin--wear the best of raiment and spend money lavishly. They
    are men of power, whose favour the ambitious must court, and whose
    vengeance he must avoid.

    Who are these men? The wise, the good, the learned--men who have
    earned the confidence of their fellow citizens by the purity of their
    lives, the splendour of their talents, their nobility in public
    trusts, their deep study of the problems of government? No; they are
    gamblers, saloon keepers, pugilists, or worse, who have made a trade
    of controlling votes, and of buying and selling offices and official

    It is through these men that rich corporations and powerful pecuniary
    interests can pack the Senate and the Bench with their creatures. It
    is these men who make school directors, supervisors, assessors,
    members of the Legislature, Congressmen.

Mr. George was a magnetic man--a man of intense enthusiasm and tireless
energy. He spoke night after night, and as the contest waxed hotter and
hotter his discourses rose in temperature, until, before the contest came
to a close, he pledged himself to send Richard Croker to the Penitentiary
as a thief; and he left his hearers in very little doubt that if he could
have had his way, the Republican boss would occupy the adjacent cell. To
Mr. Seth Low, Mr. George was a great speculative writer and a dreamer. To
General Tracy, he was a man who went in for Free License and Free
Everything excepting Free Silver. To Tammany he was a most dangerous foe.

The following extract from a speech delivered by Charles Frederick Adams
is a fair illustration of the kind of ferment that is working under the
surface of American politics:--

    Everywhere that man is oppressed by man the people are straining their
    ears to hear of Henry George’s election. He is a man of men, one who
    dues not confine his attention to the great individuals and the more
    fortunate classes, but one who lends his head and heart to the cause
    of man. He is the Moses to whom we all look to be led out of the
    wilderness. He is the lodestar of suffering humanity.

    This is no single tax movement. It is a movement to benefit
    down-trodden man, a movement to throw off the chains of serfdom in
    order that we may once again breathe God’s pure air with freedom.
    Henry George has the respect of every intelligent man and woman in
    this country. His name is the keynote to truth and freedom. And yet
    there are men who claim to be his friend who went to him and asked him
    not to accept a nomination for first Mayor of the Greater New York.
    They appeal to his modesty, telling him that he is only wanted by a
    handful of mere agitators. They know they lied when they tried to turn
    him aside, and yet they call themselves his friend, but their
    friendship is like a celebrated kiss in a celebrated garden.

    It is not a question of silver, the tariff, or anything of that kind;
    it is the more vital question of trying to rescue a great city from a
    lot of organised robbers. As a guarantee of our sincerity we ask Henry
    George to be our candidate and raise us from the contemptible tyranny
    of little men. If we were held in thraldom by a Cæsar or a Napoleon we
    might stand it, but, my God! a Croker, a Croker, gentlemen; a Croker
    or a Platt!

    The time has come when the common man, that great crucified of
    eternity, shall say like the crucified divinity: “Choose ye now which
    ye will serve; he that is not with me is against me,” and with these
    words I ask you to take off your coats and work for the election of
    Henry George.

The Tammany candidate, who was elected by a majority of 85,000 votes, was
Mr. Justice Van Wyck. Henry George stood 5 ft. 6 ins. in his shoes. Mr.
Van Wyck stands 5 ft. 7 ins. Mr. Van Wyck is not yet fifty years of age.
In 1880 he distinguished himself by publicly denouncing Boss Kelly in
Tammany Hall for betraying John Hancock, the Democratic nominee for the
Presidency. He was howled down, but he bided his time, and when Mr. Croker
and Mr. Sheehan, the past and present Bosses of Tammany, put their heads
together to find a man who is best calculated to carry the election, they
decided that there was none so good as Mr. Van Wyck. He is a clear
speaker, but he refused at this election to follow his opponents on to the

Tammany’s victories are not won by oratory. Tammany’s platform had many
planks, but three were prominent:--(1) The denunciation of Reform
administration, for raising the rates, and increasing the expenditure of
the city. (2) An attack upon the Streets Department, with Mr. Colles at
its head. The ground for this attack was the irritation that was produced
in Fifth Avenue and elsewhere by the Works Department permitting the
drainage and other works to be carried on so slowly as to practically
render the traffic in the thoroughfares impossible for twelve months at a
time. (3) An attack on the Raines Law as in every way an intolerant
measure, which protected the evil, and persecuted the reputable. In this
respect Mr. Van Wyck was at one with Henry George. The two candidates also
agreed in demanding Dollar Gas, a phrase which needs a moment’s
explanation. The gas companies which supply New York charge 5s. per
thousand feet. It was proved before a Committee of the Legislature that
gas can be sold at a profit at 4s. per thousand feet, but the influence of
the wealthy corporations was too great to permit such a heavy cut in their
charges. The price of gas, therefore, has to come down 2½d. a year for
five years, a postponement of the interests of the consumer to the greed
of the gas companies which is bitterly resented in New York.

Like Mr. Low and Mr. Henry George, Mr. Van Wyck was in favour of building
fresh schools for the children, who are at present without school
accommodation, and also in favour of more rapid transit and more bridges.
On municipal ownership he spoke with an uncertain sound, merely remarking
that the corporations now in the control of their streets have gone to
such lengths as to require legislation and municipal oversight. By way of
appealing to the labour party, he declared that the eight hour law on the
Statute Book on the State was a righteous one, and must be maintained, and
he denounced government by injunction as a violation of the rights of man,
striking at time-honoured principles which are the foundation of the laws.
Everything, he declared, was possible for an administration which would
have as its guiding thought the future rather than the present, prosperity
rather than patronage, progress rather than politics. To be the first
Mayor of Greater New York seemed to him to be an opportunity of a
generation. If he were elected, he declared that before the end of four
years there would be such progress as this hitherto divided city had never
before enjoyed. Mr. Van Wyck is the Chief Justice of the City Court. His
father was a lawyer of Dutch extraction. It remains to be seen whether his
confident prognostication will be fulfilled.

General Tracy, the nominee of the Republican Convention, was too good a
man to be sacrificed in such a fight. He has served the nation as
Secretary for the Navy, and if common rumour be not a common liar, he did
a good deal of the work of Secretary of State in the last years of Mr.
Blaine. England owes him a special meed of gratitude, because it was he
who, when he was in supreme control of the American Navy, insisted upon
breaking through all rules and precedents in order to allow Captain Mahan
to continue at a post on land, where he had leisure to finish his great
work on “Sea Power in History.” General Tracy is also too old a man to be
intrusted with the onerous task of governing this great heterogeneous
conglomerate of cities which is known as Greater New York. He is nearly
sixty-eight years of age, and, although he is hale and hearty, he will be
over three score and ten by the time the first Mayor of the Greater New
York has to retire from office. His nomination was due to the fixed
determination of his partner’s father, Mr. Senator Platt, the Republican
machine man, to assert himself at this election. In his eyes the Citizens’
Union is an arrogant upstart, a mutinous offshoot, which has the audacity
to deny to the regular Republican machine its legitimate voice in the
control of affairs in New York. Mr. Platt and Mr. Croker agree in
believing that it is impossible to govern New York without a regular party
machine. The Citizens’ Union, of course, would in time become a party
machine, but as it starts on non-partisan lines, the process of evolving a
Boss from the Citizens’ Union would be slower than would be the case of
other organisations based upon regular party lines. In order to secure a
platform for General Tracy, the Republican Party men had to repudiate the
programme for which they had repeatedly committed themselves in times
past. The separation of municipal from national issues had been repeatedly
affirmed in the strongest terms by previous Republican conventions; but on
this occasion, in order to justify General Tracy’s candidature, the
Republican platform was throughout an attempt to introduce the national
issues into the city contest. The one great issue before the people, it
declared, was the Chicago platform, an admission of which Mr. Bryan after
the victory has naturally made the most.

Bryanism was confounded with Tammany Hall, and it was asserted in the
strongest possible terms that “the code of good government, meaning
thereby honest and intelligent administration, can never be divorced from
the Republican party.” “We are the people, and wisdom will die with us,”
and not wisdom only, but honesty, ability, righteousness and all manner of
virtue will only perish from the land unless the regular Republican
candidate is put into office and kept there. That is always the burden of
their song. General Tracy appealed to the citizens as the candidate of
sound money, which has absolutely nothing to do with any municipal
issue--the candidate of social order and the endorser of the patriotic and
successful administration of William McKinley. Forgetful of the fact that
they had declared they would prefer to see a Tammany mayor elected than
the candidate of the Citizens’ Union, the Republicans denounced Tammany in
no measured terms. “The crimes of the Tammany democracy should never be
forgotten or forgiven.” The platform then commends the Raines law on the
ground that by removing power from the excise or local license board, and
conceding the right to sell intoxicating liquors to any citizen who paid
the tax and obeyed the law, it had taken the saloon out of politics, and
had liberated the saloon-keeper from the politician. It had also been
financially advantageous. But having endorsed the Raines Law up to this
point, they hedged in the final paragraph, in which, after referring to
the cosmopolitan character of the city, they said that “provisions of the
law relating to the times and conditions at and under which liquor may be
sold, and the provisions of the law enforced, are wisely to be left to the
will of the people of the city rather than to the judgment of their duly
constituted authorities.”

Finally, the platform pledged the party to a strict enforcement of the
labour laws, which were defined as follows:--“The Factory Inspection Law,
the Mechanics Lien Law, the Law Regulating the Employment of Minors in
Mercantile Establishments, the Anti-Sweating Law, the Law Guaranteeing
Union Wages on all Public Works, and the Law Preventing the Subletting of
Contracts.” General Tracy in accepting the nomination declared that it was
not enough for the Mayor to be negatively honest. “He must be
affirmatively and aggressively honest.” But he also harped upon the
spectre of Bryanism, which would not down, and invoked for the exorcising
of that spectre “the Republican Party, which in the Providence of God, for
more than forty years, has been the great bulwark of national honour and
prosperity.” Any attempt to disintegrate, weaken or destroy that
organisation seemed to him a grievous mistake, fraught with calamity and

On September 27th the _Journal_ sent out an army of reporters, with
instructions to interview all the citizens whom they met in the course of
the day in certain well-defined districts, in order to ascertain their
preference as between General Tracy and Seth Low. The voters were
approached indiscriminately, and represented all sorts and conditions of
men, from hod-carriers to bankers. The result was that 9,102 citizens were
interviewed, 4,835 of whom preferred Seth Low, and 4,267 voted for Tracy.
This poll suggested the holding of a much more comprehensive census of
opinion. An attempt was made to interrogate a whole vast constituency.
Three hundred reporters were sent out with the following ticket:--

  |                    _NEW YORK JOURNAL._                    |
  |                                                           |
  |       VAN WYCK.                         TRACY.            |
  |       GEORGE.                           LOW.              |
  |                                                           |
  |As between B. F. Tracy, the Republican candidate; Seth Low,|
  |the Citizens’ Union candidate; R. A. Van Wyck, the regular |
  |Democratic candidate; and Henry George, the Independent    |
  |Democratic candidate, whom do you prefer for Mayor of the  |
  |Greater New York?                                          |
  |                                                           |
  |    NAME OF CANDIDATE....................................  |
  |      YOUR SIGNATURE.....................................  |
  |        YOUR ADDRESS.....................................  |
  |          BOROUGH OF.....................................  |
         _Sign this Ballot and send it to the Journal._

The town was marked out into districts, and the canvassers proceeded
systematically from house to house. Never before had there been so
extended a canvass introduced of what they call a straw ballot in any
constituency. It was, of course, not a ballot in the sense of secret
voting at all, for all the citizens signed their papers, which were then
taken to the central office and carefully examined. The census began on
the 4th of October and was continued for a week. It was closed with the
following result:--

    Each elector was required to sign his name and address upon a voting
    card supplied by the canvasser. When the poll was closed the _Journal_
    had obtained signed declarations from no fewer than 277,871. The
    voting was divided as follows:--

                         Total _Journal_ Poll.

        Van Wyck               89,056
        George                 85,050
        Low                    59,764
        Tracy                  44,001
             Total            277,871

    These figures show that Mr. Van Wyck had 32 per cent. of the
    constituency, Henry George 30½, Low 21½ and Tracy nearly 16. If on the
    2nd of November the whole 550,000 electors had gone to the poll, and
    those who have not been reached by the canvassers had voted in the
    same proportion as those who have, the result would have worked out as

                                Position in
                             Greater New York.      Actual Vote.

        Van Wyck                 176,269       |      235,181
        George                   168,345       |       20,727
        Low                      118,288       |      149,873
        Tracy                     87,098       |      101,823
                                 -------       |      -------
             Total               550,000       |      507,604

All calculations, however, were vitiated by the death of Henry George. His
son, whose name was substituted for his father’s at the eleventh hour,
naturally could not command the same amount of support.




    Edgar A. Whitney, examined by Chairman Lexow: I was in the
    gaming-house when the door opened, and Mr. Glennon, the police
    wardman, gave the word and said, “Is Mr. Pease in?” I said, “No, sir;
    I am taking care of the game while he is at his supper.” He said,
    “Come to one side:” he said, “That captain wants this game closed up
    until after election time; that if the Tammany Hall ticket is
    elected,” he says, “we will protect you for anything from a poker game
    to a whore-house.”--Report of Lexow Commission, vol. ii., p. 1603.

The above extract from the evidence taken before the Lexow Committee at
the end of 1894, immediately after the election which overturned Tammany
rule in New York City, condenses into one coarse but expressive sentence
the moral issue usually raised by elections in New York. Whether the
latest victory of Tammany will have the same result remains to be seen.

The election of Mr. Van Wyck, the Tammany candidate, as the first Mayor of
Greater New York, which has taken place as these pages were passing
through the press, is a curious and suggestive comment upon “Satan’s
Invisible World Displayed.”

“Ephraim is joined to his idols, let him alone!” has been the reflection
of many a reformer on hearing of the immense majority by which the second
city in the world elected to place itself under the governance of the
elect of Tammany Hall. But the worst of such an attitude is that Ephraim
does not leave other people alone, for in his worship of the false gods he
brings down disasters upon other heads than his own. The welfare and good
government of the first city in America can never be a matter of
indifference to the rest of the world.

Tammany Hall seated its candidate by a majority of votes sufficiently
decisive. But although Mr. Van Wyck was 85,000 votes ahead of his nearest
competitor, he did not poll a majority of the citizens. If the principle
of a second ballot which is established on the Continent of Europe had
been the law in New York, the issue would have had to be fought out again
in a single-handed fight between Mr. Van Wyck and Mr. Seth Low. In default
of such a provision, all that can be said is that at the first election of
Greater New York Tammany polled 235,000 and the three anti-Tammany
candidates 272,000 votes, making a majority against Tammany of 37,000.

If Tammany be as black as it is painted, the worst thing about the
election is not the return of Mr. Van Wyck, but the divisions of his
opponents. That Tammany should be beloved of her own progeny is nothing.
What is serious is that those children of light who see the evil of
Tammany rule should treat it as a matter of trivial importance compared
with the passion and prejudice of personalities and parties. If good men
do not combine when bad men conspire, the inference is very obvious.
Either the conspiracy of the bad men is not very bad, or the good men
hardly deserve their name.

The familiar saying of Burke that he refused to draw an indictment against
a whole nation may be applied to cities as well as to nations. What is
clear enough is that Tammany in the past has discredited democracy. It has
done so twice in the most conspicuous and unmistakable fashion.

Under Tweed it became a synonym for Thieving. Under Croker’s government
the Lexow Report proved it became an organised system of Blackmail.

What is it to be under Mr. Van Wyck?

That is the question which it is for Tammany to decide.

Mr. Croker professed admirable sentiments as to his resolution to make New
York the ideal city of the world. Nothing could have been worthy of the
man to whom the citizens have entrusted their destiny. We should, however,
have had more right to face the future with confidence had Mr. Croker’s
contemplation of the past--and such a past--not been quite so complacent.

Nevertheless it is a good rule that which Cardinal Manning laid down for
dealing with those who protest that they have been cruelly misjudged by
their contemporaries.

“When a man tells me that he is an honest man,” said the great Cardinal,
“I never enter into a controversy with him as to the past. The past is
past. And although I may have in my hand conclusive proofs of his guilt, I
never refer to the subject. I always say, ‘My friend, you say that you are
an honest man. I am delighted to hear it. We will not discuss the past. We
might be unable to agree on that subject. But the future is before us. Act
as an honest man from henceforth, and I shall treat you as an honest

The Cardinal’s rule may be invoked in favour of extending the same act of
oblivion to Tammany and its Chief.

The account of past misrule placed on record in the Report of the Lexow
Committee cannot be effaced from the page of history.

It is a useful and timely service to Tammany itself to popularise the
findings of that Committee, if only to remind the men, who are now
summoned to make New York the ideal city of the world, of the hole from
which they were digged. A vivid remembrance of the horrible pit and the
miry clay has ever been regarded as salutary for the pilgrim to the
Celestial City.

Nothing is more likely to help Mr. Croker and his men to try to obey the
Apostolic maxim to forget the things that are behind in order to press
forward to those which are before, than the knowledge that every one can
give chapter and verse in support of their belief that New York under
Tammany rule in the past really deserved the title of “Satan’s Invisible

On that point there is no longer any room for difference of opinion. To
question it is to justify disbelief in the honesty of the sceptic or the
sincerity of his professions as a Reformer. But we may well be content to
let the dead past bury its dead if, rising upon the wreck and ruin of
these evil days, Tammany should now attain to nobler things.

There is at least one great historical precedent justifying a hope that
this may be so.

When Madcap Hal succeeded to the English throne, there was the same
jubilant exultation among Falstaff, Bardolph and all the roystering crew
when Pistol rushed in helter-skelter, crying:--

  And tidings do I bring, and lucky joys,
  And golden times, and happy news of price.

But the story of their disappointment is one of the most familiar and
dramatic scenes in the history of the English-speaking race. The question
now is whether Mr. Croker will dare to address his old companions of
misrule in the words of Henry the Fifth:--

  Presume not that I am the thing I was:
  For Heaven doth know, so shall the world perceive,
  That I have turn’d away my former self;
  So will I those that kept me company.

If so we may hope that it may be in New York even as it was in olden time
in England, and that it may be said of the era that opened when Tammany
elected the first Mayor of Greater New York by 85,000 majority:--

              Yea, at that very moment,
  Consideration like an angel came,
  And whipp’d the offending Adam out of him.

    *       *       *       *       *

  Never came reformation in a flood,
  With such a heady current scouring faults;
  Nor never Hydra-headed wilfulness
  So soon did lose his seat, and all at once,
  As in this King.




Mayor Van Wyck’s Letter of Acceptance in reply to the Democratic City
Convention, which invited him to stand as candidate for the Mayoralty, was
published a fortnight before the polling day. In the _New York Journal_ of
October 24th, Mr. Van Wyck, in the course of an interview with Alfred
Henry Lewis, a representative of the paper, said:--“There need be no doubt
or mistiness concerning my attitude on all questions now craving reply. I
wish most heartily that every citizen of New York would read my letter of
acceptance. It was not carelessly prepared; it was in no sort the
suggestion or work of other men; it presents my exact position on every
subject it suggests, and I meant every phrase of it, and I mean it now.”

The text of the Letter of Acceptance is as follows:--

    Hon. Almet F. Jenks, chairman; John C. Sheehan, Bernard J. York, Dr.
    John L. Feeney, James McCartney and John H. Sutphen, committee.

    Gentlemen: In response to your official notification of the action of
    the Democratic City Convention in selecting me as its candidate for
    the office of Mayor of Greater New York, I now formally accept the

    The duty before the first Mayor of the City of New York, as it is to
    be the beginning of the coming year, is of a magnitude too vast to be
    undertaken without misgivings by any man of mind enough to comprehend
    the problems it involves. While it is to be the second city in the
    world in population, it is to be, at the very outset, the first--by
    far the first--in point of the strictly municipal powers to be
    exercised by its local government.

    To approach the task in any other spirit than that of American
    liberty, coupled with a realising sense of the cosmopolitan character
    of the population to be served, would, in my judgment, be to err

    The temper of mind which benefits the villager or the inhabitant of
    towns in which there is but one type of citizenship to deal with is
    little fitted for the work before us.

    At all events, should the people repose their confidence in me, I will
    endeavour to act with that largeness of view which considers the
    rights of every man, regardless of race, creed or colour.

    A successful administration of the affairs of this municipality must
    depend, in great measure, upon the honesty and the efficiency of the
    officials appointed by the Mayor. In this regard I shall, if elected,
    exercise the greatest care to provide, in all the departments, for
    such intelligent and honest supervision and direction as will secure
    to the public not only a wise and efficient service, but as well the
    return to them of a dollar’s worth for every dollar expended.

    To make of the several boroughs a homogeneous city requires that, in
    the control of the administration of affairs, there should be a
    government responsible and responsive to the people. It should be
    honest, efficient and liberal. It should be guided by sound political
    principles, securing a more perfect discharge of public duty than is
    possible under such conditions as have imposed upon us the factious,
    discordant and demoralising administration from the misdeeds and
    negligences of which all elements of our citizenship have suffered.

    What is here said of the present city of New York applies, I am
    persuaded, in considerable measure, to Brooklyn. There, also, the
    taxpayer has had reason for serious complaint. Within the past four
    years taxes have been heavily increased, the cost of most of the
    departments has been largely augmented, and the debt has not only been
    carried up to the Constitutional limit, but has been positively
    swollen to the extent of over ten millions of dollars.

    To permit a continuance of the disregard thus shown for the ability of
    property to contribute to the support of the government would
    obviously be to give to confiscation a practical sanction. The
    metropolis is not to be made prosperous by any policy which involves
    the ruin of the investors in its real estate.

    The results here exhibited furnish one of the most costly object
    lessons ever taught a community as to the wasteful character of a
    Government permitted to whirl incoherently with the whims of its
    several officials, as contrasted with the economy enforced by the
    organised vigilance and definite policy of responsible Government
    controlling all the expenditures of its subordinate departments.

    Coupled with the extravagance and waste against which our citizens
    have protested, there has been an utter disregard of the rights and
    convenience of the people; the most scandalous example of which is to
    be found in the present shocking condition of our streets and

    There can be no justification for such a complete surrender of our
    road-beds to corporations and contractors. Undoubtedly the prosecution
    of necessary and useful improvements requires an occasional
    disturbance of some part of the pavements of our streets, and
    sometimes a partial interference with the movements of traffic. It
    needs, however, but ordinary care and supervision in the consideration
    of demands made in this direction to so arrange that no single
    locality may be unduly disturbed, and that all the discomforts and
    inconveniences of the situation shall not fall upon the citizen to the
    profit and advantage of the contractor.

    While a proper opportunity must always be given for the prosecution of
    public work, and while no unnecessary delays should be permitted in
    its completion, this does not mean that entire streets and avenues are
    to be delivered over to the exclusive use of public and private
    contractors; that for miles the stores and shops in the most prominent
    of our thoroughfares are to be practically shut out from business;
    that our citizens are to be denied any but the most difficult access
    to their homes; that in some cases traffic between the various points
    of our city be made impossible, and in all cases difficult and
    dangerous, and that the health of the entire community should be
    imperilled and injuriously affected by open trenches, wherever the
    people may turn.

    Such a condition of the streets as we are now compelled to endure may
    result from gross inefficiency. It can be attributed to only one other
    cause, and that is, gross corruption. It should be treated as a
    criminal disregard of the public comfort and safety, and any
    administration responsible therefor must stand discredited before the

    The flagrant violations of the principles of Home Rule by the
    Republican majorities in recent Legislatures have challenged the
    attention and excited the indignation of our citizens. The usurpation
    of the rights of our municipality and its people has become such an
    intolerable wrong that it cannot be too strongly rebuked. A
    cosmopolitan constituency, exceeding the population of the United
    States at the time of the adoption of the federal Constitution, should
    not be required to protest against such interference with its purely
    domestic concerns as attempts to dictate even its harmless customs,
    habits and pursuits.

    And yet, again and again we have been subject to legislation conceived
    either in ignorance of, or contempt for, the wishes and sentiments of
    our people, and enacted as a revenge upon our politics or an assault
    upon our revenues.

    In the Raines Liquor Law we have an example of a class of legislation
    utterly without public sanction. It was imposed upon our citizens
    against their vigorous and united protest. It has failed to secure a
    single one of the advantages urged in justification of its enactment.
    It has only succeeded, by dispensing with local supervision and
    control, in removing the salutary restraints which heretofore
    protected the reputable dealer from the open rivalry of the
    divekeeper. It employs the spy, and necessitates methods which can
    never be approved by men who believe in the Democratic theory of
    government. I favour its prompt repeal.

    I join in the demand of your platform for “the enactment of an excise
    law conservative of the public morals and liberal in its provisions,
    that shall place its administration and revenues, so far as shall
    apply to this city, within the control of this municipality.”

    With you, I believe that one of the chief duties of the incoming
    administration will be to provide adequate school accommodation. I
    recognise the obstacles in the way. It is difficult to keep pace with
    the changes which affect the residence or business character of
    localities. It is not with the intention of reproaching any one for
    the condition of affairs in this direction in the past, but simply to
    emphasise a determination for the future, that I express my full
    indorsement of your demand that every child desirous of education in
    our schools shall be afforded full opportunity, whatever labour or
    expense may thereby be involved.

    In common with all citizens, I recognise that, to make effectual the
    advantages which all expect to flow from the consolidation of the
    various boroughs, there must at once be devised and put in execution a
    system of rapid transit which will afford quick and comfortable travel
    between the homes and places of business of our people in the boroughs
    of Manhattan and of the Bronx; bridges facilitating communication
    between the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens with Manhattan Island, and
    the expansion of the ferry system, at reduced fares, between the
    borough of Richmond and the rest of the city.

    In your platform there is, I am pleased to see, a comprehensive
    appreciation shown of the directions in which the general well being,
    not less than the material interests, of the people ought to be
    promoted by the administration. It is there felicitously
    said:--“Subject to the limitations of reasonable, but not parsimonious
    expenditure, the municipality should provide all needed facilities for
    the open-air recreation of the people. Good roads, bicycle paths,
    improved pavements, open-air playgrounds, small parks and pier gardens
    are improvements in this direction.” I deem it proper to make special
    mention in this relation of the pressing necessity for proper bicycle
    paths, and to add that, if elected, I shall make it my duty to have
    them constructed.

    The demand made in the platform for dollar gas, used both as fuel and
    light, also commends itself to my judgment.

    The proper limits of a letter of acceptance will not permit an
    adequate presentation of the importance to the commercial supremacy of
    the city of having its water front improved to the uttermost. The
    endeavour of other cities to wrest from us the position to which we
    are entitled by reason of the natural advantages which we enjoy, and
    the enterprise of our merchants, should awaken a vigilance which will
    furnish us with dock accommodations sufficient for our largest
    commercial needs.

    I heartily approve and indorse every pledge of the platform of
    principles adopted at the Convention. The great essential for
    municipal progress is home rule in the management of local concerns.
    Almost as a necessary consequence will we then enjoy that measure of
    personal liberty which imposes and permits only such restraint of the
    citizen as is necessary for the peace and protection of all.

    All lawful combinations which deny to any or all of our citizens a
    free field of competition must be suppressed. The municipality itself
    should both own and control its franchises, and where now such
    franchises are operated under grants to corporations, a fair charge,
    and that only, for the service rendered or convenience furnished
    should be permitted.

    In the prosecution of public improvements a liberal, but not
    extravagant, policy, as already remarked, should be adopted. The needs
    and claims of the various boroughs should be carefully considered and
    fairly determined.

    The eight hour law should be enforced, and, where practicable,
    resident labour should be directly employed. In all cases the
    prevailing rate of wages should be paid. As I understand the
    declaration of your platform upon this point, it means that every
    contractor doing work for the city should be required to pay as high a
    rate of wages as the city itself is required to pay for similar work.
    To this I give my unqualified assent.

    Let me add, in conclusion, that, should the people intrust me with the
    grave responsibility of the Mayoralty, I shall make the promotion of
    their welfare, to the exclusion of all antagonistic ends, the object
    to be striven for with every power of my mind and body.--Yours



  Abortionists, The Police and, 147-149

  Adams, Charles Francis, referred to, and quoted, 168, 205

  Adams, J. C., quoted, 26

  Albany Legislature, 171

  “Alexander Woman,” 149

  All Sorts and Conditions of Men, 135-143

  American Commonwealth, see United States

  Andrews, President, of Brown University, quoted, 38, 40

  Angelo, Frank, 103

  _Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science_ quoted,
        166, 168

  Applegate, Wm., Evidence of, 108-115

  Appo, Evidence of, 115-116

  “Arabian Nights Entertainments” referred to, 18

  Area of Greater New York, 20

  _Atlantic Monthly_ quoted, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177

  Augustus, Emperor, referred to, 166

  Autocracy in Russia, see under Russia

  Autocratic Government in Greater New York, see under New York

  Ballot Reform Act of 1890, 152

  Baltimore, Maryland, Population of, 19

  Bartholdi’s Monument “Liberty,” 9-10

  Belial on the Judgment Seat, 145-149

  Birmingham Municipality referred to, 166

  Blood, Mrs., 132

  Blumenthal, 146

  Boroughs of Greater New York, 20

  Boston, Mass., Population of, 19

  Bowery Plug Uglies, 35

  Bradford, Gamaliel, quoted, 168

  Bradley, Daniel, referred to, 54, 117, 147

    The Charter of 1882 and Government by Tsar-Mayor, 166-167
    Population and Area, 19-20
    City merged in New York, 20, 26
    Borough of Brooklyn, 20

  _Brooklyn Daily Eagle_ referred to, 173

  Brown Borough, 20

  Bryanism, 201, 207

  Bryce, James, quoted, 166

  Bunco-Steerers, see Green Goods Swindle

  Bureaucracy of Greater New York, 176-177

  Byrnes, Superintendent, 83

  Cæsar, Julius, referred to, 165

  Cantor, Jacob A., referred to, 54

  Carnegie, Andrew, referred to, 159

  Cass, Miss, referred to, 139

  _Century Magazine_ quoted, 58

  Charlton, Detective, 113-114

  Chicago, Illinois:
    Population of, 19, 22
    Chicago and New York, 18, 21, 22, 24, 190
    Fire of 1871, 40

  Children, Protection of, 92-93

  Cincinnati, Ohio:
    Population of, 19
    Brooklyn System of Government, 168

  Cisneros, Evangelina, and Cuba, 184

  Citizens’ Union of New York, 192, 197, 207
    Seth Low’s Candidature, 197-201

  City Vigilance Society of New York, 52

  Civic Centre of the City, 192

  Civil Service Examinations: How They were conducted, 70-72

  Cleveland, Ohio:
    Population of, 19
    Brooklyn System of Government, 168

  Cochran, Bourke, referred to, 43

  Coleman, 81

  Colles, Mr., referred to, 205

  Collins, John, Evidence of, 88, 147

  Collis, C. H. P., Evidence of, 156-157

  Columbian Order or Tammany Society, see Tammany, New York

  Confidence Trick--Green Goods Swindle, 107-118

  Connolly, Richard B., and the Tweed Ring, 37-40

  Constantinople and New York compared, 9-10

  _Contemporary Review_ quoted, 179-180

  Contents Table, 7

  Costello, Augustine E., Evidence of, 95-102

  County Council of London referred to, 171

  Craig’s Book on the Fire Department, 98

  Creedon, Capt., Evidence of, 73-77

    Society for Prevention of Crime in New York, 49, 62
    Police Corruption, see under Police
    “The Great Criminals of New York,” 98

  Croker, Richard, referred to, 33, 43-44, 67, 68, 98, 99, 121, 137, 139,
        172, 173, 184, 187, 199, 201, 204, 205, 207, 212, 213

  Cuba: Rescue of Evangelina Cisneros, 184

  Daly, 84

  Day’s Saloon, 113

  Deas, Canute A., 156

  Democratic Government: Despairing Democracy in New York, 159-163

  Democratic Party:
    Judge Van Wyck’s Candidature and Election, 197, 202-206, 211-216
    Henry George, Independent Democratic Candidate, 201-205

  Despairing Democracy in New York, 159-163

  Devery, Capt., 153, 156

  De Witt, C., quoted, 26, 169, 172

  Disorderly Houses, The Police and, 81-85, 95, 117, 125-133

  Dollar Gas, 206

  Duffy, Judge, 100, 102

  Edwards, E. J., quoted, 35, 36, 37

  Elections in New York, see under New York

  Ellis, Israel, Evidence of, 153-154

  Emigrants to New York, see Immigration

  Empire Club organised by Rynders, 35-36

  Endacott, P. C., referred to, 139

  Engel, Martin, 88

  Essex Market Gang, 88, 93

  Farmers-General of Houses of Ill-Fame, 125-133

    Wealth of the Great Ten American Cities, 19
    Wall Street and the Currency Question, 22
    Financial Ascendency of New York, 22-24
    Financial Strength of Tammany, 46-47
    Bryanism, 201, 207

  Fire at Chicago, 1871, 40

  Fire Department, New York, 98

  Flower, Governor Roswell P., and the Committee of Investigation, 52-53

  Foreigners in New York, see Immigration

  France: The Second Empire and the Government of Greater New York,
        162-163, 176

  Fream, Miss Rebecca, Evidence of, 146

  Friend, Lawyer, 147-149

  Frink, Policeman, 147

  Galingo, 133

  Gambling: The Police and the Pool-Rooms and Policy-Shops, 63-64, 82-84,

  Gannon, Detective, 82, 83

  Gas: Dollar Gas, 206

  George, Henry, Independent Democratic Candidate, and His Programme,

  Germans in New York, 22

  Gilroy, Tammany Comptroller, 172

  Glennon, Wardman, 211

  Godkin, E. L., quoted, 18-19, 42, 58, 129, 169, 171

  Godwin, Parke, of _New York Evening Post_, Rynders and, 35-36

  Goff, John W., (Counsel), 54, 59, 61-62, 64, 69-70, 75, 76, 79, 93, 95,
        104, 110, 117, 118, 136, 138, 148, 149, 152, 153

  Grace, Ex-Mayor, quoted, 176

  Granger, Gideon, Evidence of, 65, 73

  Grant, Charley, 80

  Green, F. V., quoted, 174

  Green, Deputy-Comptroller, 40

  Green Goods Swindle, 107-118

  Gwinnen and the Shoeblack, 88

  Haines, Walter, 111

  Hale, Nathan, Statue of, in New York, 14-15

  Hall, Mayor, 38

  Hamstrung Cæsarism as a Remedy, 159

  Hancock, John, referred to, 205

  Hanley, Detective, 112, 114, 115

  _Harper’s Magazine_ quoted, 30, 31

  Harrington, Thomas F., Evidence of, 157

  Harriot, Lucy C., Evidence of, 117

  Harrison, Carter, referred to, 187

  Hastings’s (Georgiana) Disorderly Houses, 84-85

  Hawkins, Saloon-Keeper, 113

  Hearst, W. R., of the _New York Journal_, 180-187

  Hermann, Matilda, Evidence of, 126-129

  Hewitt, Mayor, referred to, 201

  Hoch, Policeman, 130-131

  Hochstein, Saloon-Keeper, 90, 92, 146

  Hogan, Judge, 140-142

  Hopkins’s (Matthew) “Satan’s Invisible World Displayed,” 27

  Hudson River at Midnight, 11-14

  Hummel, Mr., 102

  Hussey, Detective, 90-92

  Ill-Fame, Houses of, see Disorderly Houses

  Illustrations (see also Portraits):
    The City Hall, New York, 2
    Liberty Enlightening the World, 8
    A Misty Morning in New York, 12
    Statue of Nathan Hale, 15
    New York Post Office, Broadway, 16
    Printing-House Square, 23
    The Front Door of the New World, 25
    Union Square, 29
    First Tammany Hall, erected 1811, 32
    Tammany Hall, opened 1860, 33
    Tammany Hall of To-day, 187
    The Children’s Playground, Central Park, 47
    New York and Brooklyn Bridge, 66
    Brooklyn Bridge, 86
    Fourteenth Street, 97
    American Tract Society Depôt, 106
    Delmonico’s, 118
    St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 124
    Gansevoort Market, 134
    Oyster Row, 141
    Fifth Avenue, 144
    Wall Street and Trinity Church, 150
    Hotel Majestic, 155
    A View in Broadway, 161
    Riverside Drive and Grant’s Tomb, 185
    The Overhead Railway, 195
    The American Surety Company, 198
    Cartoon: Greater New York: An Optimistic Prophecy, 210
    St. Petersburg, 60

  Immigrants and Foreigners in New York:
    Population of New York, 18-20
    The Police and the Immigrants, 35, 58, 87-93

  Inquisition for New York, 189-195

  Ireland and the United States, 10-11

  Irish Citizens in New York, 22

  Ivins, Wm. M., quoted, 73

  Jefferson Theory of Local Government, 169, 191, 201

    Government by Newspaper, 179-180
    The Chief Business of the Journalist, 189
    Investigation by Newspaper, 193-195
    European Correspondents in New York, 21
    Newspaper Area of the United States, 24-26
    _The New York Journal_, 180-187, 208-209

  Kelly, John, 41, 205

  Keltie, Ettie, Case of, 140-142

  Koch, Judge, 145-149

  Labour Laws of New York, 200, 208

  Labour Unions, 201

  Law: Belial on the Judgment Seat, 145-149

  Lefkovitz, Isaac, 90

  Lexow (Clarence) Committee of Investigation, see under Police

  Lewis, Alfred Henry, referred to, 214

  “Liberty enlightening the World,” 9-15

  Licensing Question, see under Liquor Traffic

  Lincoln, Abraham, on Government, 160

  Liquor Traffic in New York:
    Number of Saloons, 46
    Saloons open on Sundays, 62-63, 83
    The Liquor Dealers’ Associations, 82, 119
    The Excise Board and New Licences for Closed Houses, 138
    The Raines Liquor Law, 202, 205, 207, 215

  Literary Primacy of New York, 24-26

  Long Island Townships, Area of, 20

  Low, Seth,
    First Tsar-Mayor of Brooklyn, 166-167, 172
    Quoted, 167, 176, 200, 201
    Candidate of the Citizens’ Union, 197-201

  Lowell, James Russell, quoted, 43, 186, 190

  Lucas, 104-105

  McAvoy, Inspector, 83, 84

  McClave, Commissioner John, 65, 73, 189

  _McClure’s Magazine_ quoted, 35, 36, 37

  McKinley, Wm., referred to, 207

  McLaughlin, Capt., and Mr. Costello, 99-103

  McNally, King, and His Police, 107-118

  Mahan, Capt., referred to, 206

  Mahoney, Julia, Evidence of, 57-58

  Manhattan Borough, 20

  Manning, Cardinal, quoted, 212

  Maps of Greater New York, 21, 177

  Marius referred to, 165

  Martens, Sergeant, 85

  Martin, Commissioner, 64, 68-70, 83, 84, 85

  Martin, Mr., and the Promotion of Captain Creedon, 75-76

  Martini, Shoeblack, 88

  May 12th, Tammany’s Saint Day, 30

  Maynard’s Gambling-House, 84

  Meakin, Captain, 112, 113, 114, 116

  Meyer, Inspector Louis, 90, 153

  Monopolies, 48

  Mooney, Wm., introduced Tammany Society into New York, 30

  Moran, Michael, Evidence of, 137

  Moss, Frank, referred to, 55, 61, 72, 88, 100, 101, 123, 147

  Municipal Government in New York, Brooklyn, etc., see New York,
        Brooklyn, etc.

  _Munsey’s Magazine_ quoted, 173

  Munzinger’s Mineral Waters, 81

  Murray, Capt., 99, 101

  Napoleon III. and the Second Empire, 162-163, 165, 176

  Nathan, Ralph, Evidence of, 156

  _Nation_ (of New York) quoted, 38

  _New England Magazine_ quoted, 26

  New York City and Greater New York:
    The Statue of Liberty, 9-10
    The Gateway of the New World, 9-15
    The Statue of Nathan Hale, 14-15
    The Second City in the World, 17-26
    The Window of America, and the Door of the New World, 21-24
    Tenderloin or 29th Precinct, 80-81, 99
    Political Power, 22
    Literary Primacy, 24-26
    Journalism in New York, 21, 24-26, 179-187
    The Story of Tammany, 27-31
    The Substitute for Tammany, 33-34
    Tammany a Great Political and Democratic Organisation, 32-35
    Tammany’s Record for Dishonesty, 35
    Rynders’s Empire Club and Its Methods, 35-36
    Fernando Wood’s Mayoralty, 37
    The Tweed Ring, 37-41
    Samuel J. Tilden and the Committee of Seventy, 40
    “Honest” John Kelly, 41
    Tammany Rule down to 1894, 43-55
    Dr. Parkhurst’s Campaign, 34, 48-52, 55, 84, 128
    The Lexow Committee of Investigation of Police Corruption, etc.,
        53-157 (see under Police)
    Tammany, the Police, and the Municipal Elections, 151-157
    The Fire Department, 98
    Amalgamation of Brooklyn with New York, 20, 26
    Maps of Greater New York, 21, 177
    Population, Foreigners, 18-22
    Area, 20
    Five Boroughs, 20
    Despairing Democracy, 159-163
    The Charter of Greater New York and the Second Empire, 162-163
    Government by Tsar-Mayor, 165-169
    Provisions of the Charter, 171-177
    Powers of the Mayor, 173-174, 176
    Financial Control and the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, 173-175
    Eighteen Executive Departments, 173-174, 176-177
    Impotence of the Municipal Assembly, 174-176
    Distrust of the People, 173
    Why not try the Inquisition? 189-195
    The Common Council and Division into Wards, 191-192
    Investigation by Newspaper, 193-195
    The Election of 1897; the Plebiscite for a Cæsar, 197-209
    Seth Low’s Candidature, 197-201
    Henry George’s Candidature, 201-205
    The Tammany Platform; Candidature and Election of Judge Van Wyck,
        202-206, 211-216
    General Tracy’s Candidature, 206-209

  _New York Evening-Post_ quoted and referred to, 35, 41

  _New York Herald_ referred to, 96, 182

  _New York Journal_ and Its Editor, 180-187, 214
    Quoted, 184-186
    The _Journal_ and the Election, 208-209

  New York State Legislature, 171

  _New York Tribune_ referred to, 26

  _New York World_ referred to, 14, 180-183

  Newspapers, see Journalism

  Newstafel, Anna, Evidence of, 119-120

  Nichols, Frank, 154-156

  _North American Review_ quoted, 18-19, 58, 129, 152

  O’Connor, Edmund, referred to, 53, 61, 69-70, 80, 102, 129, 142

  Pandemonium of Typewriting-Machines--Central New York, 17

  Pantata Police, 119-123

  Parker, 82

  Parkhurst, Dr. C. H., and His Campaign against Tammany, 34, 48-52, 55,
        84, 128

  Patriotic League of New York, 192

  Pennsylvania (see also Philadelphia): Tammany, Patron Saint, of
        Pennsylvania Troops, 30

  Pequod Club, 80-81

  Periodicals of New York, 24

  Perot, Madame, 132

  _Petit Journal_ referred to, 180

    Population of, 19
    Brooklyn System of Government, 168

  Platt, Thos. A., 199, 205, 207

  Plebiscite for a Cæsar, 197-209

  Police of New York:
    Down with the Police! 49-55
    The Bandits of New York, 57-60
    Powers and Impotence of the Police, 61-65
    Promotion by Pull and Promotion by Purchase, 67-77, 80-81
    The Case of Capt. Creedon, 73-77
    Capt. Schmittberger, 79-86
    The Police and the Foreign Population, 87-93
    The Slaughter-Houses of the Police, 95-105
    “Our Police Protectors,” 96
    King McNally and His Police, 107-118
    The Pantata Police and the Policy-Shops and Pool-Rooms, 119-123
    The Police and Houses of Ill-Fame, 81-85, 95, 117, 125-133
    The Police and the Poor, 135-143
    The Police and the Women in the Streets, 138-143
    The Police and Abortionists, 147-149
    The Police as Agents of Tammany in the Municipal Elections, 151-157

  Police Pension Fund, 96-98

  Police of St. Petersburg, 61-62

  Policy-Shops, see under Gambling

  Polk, President, referred to, 36

  Pool-Rooms, see Gambling

  Population of the United States and the Great American Cities, 19-20

    Byrnes, Superintendent, 65
    Costello, Augustine E., 94
    Creedon, Captain, 77
    Croker, Richard, 45
    Flower, Gov. R. P., 53
    George, Henry, 203
    Godkin, E. L., 42
    Goff, John W., 54
    Hearst, W. R., 178
    Hermann, Madam, 133
    Lexow, Clarence, 56
    Low, Seth, 164
    Moss, Frank, 123
    Parkhurst, Dr. C. H., 50
    Platt, Thomas C., 188
    Pulitzer, Mr., 181
    Schmittberger, Capt. Max F., 78
    Shaw, Dr. Albert, 170
    Sheehan, John C., 63
    Tilden, S. J., 40
    Tracy, General, 196
    Tweed, William M., 39
    Urchittel, Mrs., 91
    Van Wyck, Robert A., 158, 163
    Whitehead, Dr., 149
    Williams, Inspector, 105
    Wood, Fernando, 36

  Pound, Cuthbert W., referred to, 54, 129

  Preface, 5

  Prince, Frank, 95

  Proctor and Gambling Houses, 84

  Prostitutes, The Police and, 138-143

  Pulitzer, Albert, of _New York Journal_, 180

  Pulitzer, Mr., of _New York World_, 180-183

  Queen’s Borough, 20

  Quincy, Mass.: The Charter and Government by Tsar-Mayor, 168

  Raines Liquor Law, 200, 202, 205, 207, 215

  Reppenhagen, John W., and Capt. Creedon, 74-76

  Republican Party:
    Candidature of Gen. Tracy, 206-209
    Seth Low, Candidate of the Citizens’ Union, 197-201

  Richmond Borough, Staten Id., 20

  Robertson, George W., referred to, 53

  Roesch, Ex.-Sen., 69-70, 129-131

  Rome, Ancient, and Greater New York, 165-166

  Roosevelt, Theodore, quoted, 58

  Rosalsky, Mr., 154

    Russian Autocracy, 160, 163
    Tsar-Mayors of Brooklyn, Greater New York, etc., see Brooklyn,
        New York, etc.
    The St. Petersburg Police, 61-62

  Rynders and the Empire Club, 35-36

  St. Louis, Missouri, Population of, 19

  St. Petersburg Police, 61-62

  Saloons of New York, see Liquor Traffic

  San Francisco, Population of, 19

  _San Francisco Examiner_ referred to, 180

  “Satan’s Invisible World Displayed,” by Matthew Hopkins, 27

  Saxton, Chas. T., referred to, 54

  Schillinberger, Policeman, 103

  Schlie, John, Evidence of, 72

  Schmittberger, Capt. Max F., 79-86

  Schryer, Sergeant, 69-70

  _Scribner’s Magazine_ quoted, 174

  Second Empire, 162-163, 176

  Shakespeare quoted, 213

  Shalvey, Edward, 136

  Shaw, Dr. Albert, quoted, 33-34, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177

  Sheehan, John C., 63-64, 80, 84, 85, 205

  Shephard, E. M., quoted, 169

  Shipping: Ascendency of New York, 22-24

  Slaughter-Houses of the Police, 95-105

  Smith, Silver Dollar, 135

  Standant, Thos. J., 102-103

  Stanley, Mr., and Mr. Costello, 99, 100, 102

  State Legislature of New York, 171

  Staten Id. Borough, 20

  Stranger within the Gates, 87-93

  Street Railways, 200

  Strong, Mayor, 172, 176

  Subin, Jacob, referred to, 154

  Sutherland, Wm. A., referred to, 54, 64

  Sylla’s Dictatorship referred to, 165

  Tammany, St.:
    Origin and Early History of Tammany, 27-31
    Tammany in New York, see under New York

  Tenderloin or 29th Precinct, 80-81, 99

  Thurow, Augusta, Evidence of, 129-131

  Tilden, Samuel J., and the Committee of Seventy, 40

  Tocqueville, A. C. H. C. de, quoted, 19

  Tracy, Gen. Benjamin F., Republican Candidate, 172, 199, 206-209

  Tsar-Mayors of Brooklyn, Greater New York, etc., see under Brooklyn,
        New York, etc.

  Tweed, Wm. M., and the Tweed Ring, 37-41, 157, 212

  “Unctuous Rectitude,” 43

  United States (see also Brooklyn, New York, etc., etc.):
    British Devotion to the American Commonwealth, 10
    Ireland and America, 10-11, 22
    Population, 18-19
    New York and the Presidential Campaign, 22
    Imperial Ambitions, 166

  Urchittel, Mrs., Evidence of, 89-93

  Vail, Detective, 81-82

  Van Wyck, Judge Robert A.:
    Tammany Candidate, 197, 202-206
    Election of, 211-216

  Voorhis, Commissioner, and the Promotion of Capt. Creedon, 74-76

  Walsh, Mike, and Tammany, 35-36

  Warren and Costello Treaty, 96

  Walters, Flora, Evidence of, 145

  Weigand, Sergeant, 74-75

  Werner, Karl, Case of, 136

  West’s (Mrs. Sadie) Disorderly House, 84

  Westchester County, 20

  Whitehead, Dr. Newman, Evidence of, 147-149

  Whitney, Edgar A., Evidence of, 211

  Whitty, Ex-Convict, 157

  Williams, Inspector, 82, 83, 85, 99, 101

  Witches’ Sabbat, 27

  Women in the Streets, The Police and, 138-143

  Wood, Fernando, Mayor of New York, 37

  Worst Treason of All, 151-157

  Zimmerman, Detective, 103, 128-129


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