The History of Tammany Hall
The Equal Rights Party
THE Equal Rights movement, which began its activity inside the Tammany organization, was virtually a moral, then a political, revival of the Workingmens movement. Its principles, however, were less radical, and its demands more moderate. It advocated the equal rights of every citizen in his person and property and in their management; declared unqualified and uncompromising opposition to bank notes as a circulating medium, because gold and silver were the only safe and constitutional currency, and a like opposition to all monopolies by legislation. It also announced hostility to the dangerous and unconstitutional creation of vested rights by legislation, because these were a usurpation of the peoples sovereign rights, and asserted that all laws or acts of incorporation passed by the Legislature could be rightfully altered or repealed by its successors. The Equal Rights movement comprised men of various classes. Moses Jacques and Levi D. Slamm were its principal leaders. To comprehend its nature, a brief review of the causes which conspired to bring it into being will be necessary.
Up to 1831 the repeal of the law for the imprisonment of debtors had been a subject of almost constant agitation by reformers and workingmen. Under this law more than 10,000 persons, mainly unfortunate laborers, were imprisoned annually in loathsome prisons, without inquiry as to their innocence or guilt, lying there at their creditors will, unsupplied by the city with any of the necessities of life.1 Tammany Hall had taken no action until 1831, when its leaders gave a belated approval to a bill introduced in the Assembly, abolishing imprisonment for debts of any sum except in the cases of non-residents.2
This bill had become a law in that year; yet by 1833 the interest of Tammanys chiefs in the workingman had died away to such an extent that the Assembly was allowed to pass a measure entitled a law abolishing imprisonment for debt, but reinstituting imprisonment on all debts under $50, thus completely nullifying the law so far as the poor were concerned.
The measure failed to become a law; but the sharp practise shown in its wording, and in the means taken to push it through the Assembly, disgusted the Equal Rights men, and in their meetings they passed resolutions denouncing the chiefs responsible therefor. Their resolutions furthermore declared that the proceedings at Tammany Hall were a sealed book.; that a few men William Paxen Hallett, Elisha Tibbits, J.J. Roosevelt and John Y. Cebra made up important nominations in Wall street after the bankers had decided upon the candidates and then had the nominating committee accept them.
Popular disaffection was increased by the manner in which the Legislature and the Aldermen continued to create corporations with enormous grants. The scandals over the procurement of legislative charters, particularly bank charters, had for more than 25 years aroused a growing indignation among the people. In 1805, shortly after the passage of the Merchants Bank charter, Peter Betts, an Assemblyman, declared in open session of the lower house, that Luke Metcalfe, a fellow member, had sought to bribe him to vote for the measure. The price promised was 15 shares of the banks stock, valued at $50 each. Conflicting testimony was given on the matter, and a motion was made to expel Metcalfe; the house, however, retained him in his seat by a vote of 87 to 16.3
Charges of the same kind, affecting practically every session of the Legislature, were common, though only occasionally were they made the subject of official investigation. In 1812, however, shortly after the Assembly, forced by public criticism, had passed a resolution compelling each member to pledge himself that he had neither taken nor would take, any reward or profit, direct or indirect, for any vote on any measure,4 another scandal arose. The Bank of America, with very moderate assets of any sort, received a charter on a stated capitalization of $6,000,000, an enormous sum in those days. Charges of corruption were bandied about, one Assemblyman, Silas Holmes, declaring under oath that the sum of $500, besides a handsome present, had been offered him. A committee of the lower house listened to testimony in the case, and then, by a decisive majority, voted that the body was above suspicion.5 But in a pronunciamento to Gov. Tompkins during the same year the same house graciously reported: We are well aware that the number of charters for banking institutions already granted has awakened general solicitude and anxiety.
The Chemical Bank was a more modern instance. The report of the joint legislative committee in 1824 had shown that its promoters set apart $50,000 worth of stock at par value6 to buy the votes of members, Gen. Robert Swartwout -he who had defaulted for $68,000 in 1820 -acting as one of the lobbyists and claiming $5,000 for his services.7 Other scandals throwing strong light on legislative practises were those of the Ætna and Chatham Fire Insurance Companies. The testimony brought out in the investigation of these companies in 1826 showed that William J. Waldron (one of the line of Grand Sachems) gave $20,000 in certificates of stock to Gen. Jasper Ward, a State Senator, and $20,000 more to various other persons to get the Ætna charter through the Legislature.8 The Chatham charter, passed in 1822, cost $20,000 in stock at par value, additional sums being paid for the passage of certain amendments in 1824.9 Ward wrote from Albany to a friend in the city, complaining that the Jefferson Fire Insurance Company, which secured a charter at the same time (1824), had paid only 5 per cent. of what it had promised, giving notes for the remainder.10 These were but a few examples of the general legislative corruption. The men who profited by these charters brought about, in 1830, the exemption of bank stock in the city from taxation. That nearly every Tammany leader held bank stock was proved by the testimony before an investigating committee in June, 1833, which set forth how the organizers of the newly founded Seventh Ward Bank had distributed thousands of shares among over one hundred State and city office-holders, both Tammany and Anti-Masonic. Every Tammany Senator was involved. James Perkins, the principal lobbyist for the charter, swore repeatedly that $5,000 in stock at par value had been taken directly by State Senators and from $10,000 to $25,000 in stock distributed indirectly.11 Perkins charged Thurlow Weed with accepting a $500 bribe.12 The investigating committee reported finally that it could find no proof involving any but one of the accused.13 As the bill for the charter had originally passed the Senate by a vote of 27 to 2,14 and as the members of the investigating committee had been chosen from this majority, its conclusions were naturally viewed with a good deal of suspicion.
The Equal Rights men complained that 75 per cent. of the whole of the bank notes circulating in New York City consisted of depreciated paper. The circulation of these in notes of $5 or under amounted by March, 1835, to nearly $1,500,000. One establishment alone, whose weekly pay-roll in 1834 amounted to $40,000, paid the greater part of this sum in depreciated notes. The wage earner was in constant fear that any morning he might wake to hear that the bank whose notes he held had failed. Frequently the worst deceptions on the public were connived at by the officials. The Hudson Insurance Company, for instance, with a nominal capital of $200,000, was permitted to issue bonds to the amount of $800,000, upon the most fictitious resources. This was far from being an isolated instance. The law allowed a bank with only $100,000 capital to loan $250,000, thus receiving interest on more than twice the capital actually invested.15
The Council was more than ever a hotbed of venality. Numberless small jobs were perpetrated without public notice; but when it was proposed in October, 1831, to give the Harlem Railroad Company the franchise for the perpetual and exclusive use of Fourth avenue, free of all payment to the city, Alderman George Sharp, one of the few public-spirited members, drew general attention to the matter by an energetic denunciation. After every other means had been resorted to without success to influence his vote, he was told that he would be excluded from the party by certain persons at Tammany Hall. Alderman Stevens, who declared that he had seen stock given to members of the board and to the corps editorial to secure their influence, was also threatened. The words of these two men proved conclusively the truth of what for a long time was common report: that the group of Tammany leaders not only controlled the party nominations but threatened public officials with their displeasure, with all which that implied exile from public life, loss of political influence, perhaps ruin of fortune in case they did not vote for certain measures whose merits were recommended to them.
The laborer had other grievances. For seventeen years the Council had refused to grant any additional ferries between New York City and Brooklyn. During that period the population of New York had increased 150,000 and that of Brooklyn 15,000. This growth involved a vast amount of marketing and increased the business intercourse between the two places more than fourfold. The lessees of the Fulton Ferry the sole ferry had made an agreement in 1811, it was alleged, with the New York City Corporation, by which the latter undertook to bind itself not to establish, any additional ferries from south of Catherine street to the Village of Brooklyn for twenty-five years. The large landholders influenced the Common Council to continue this monopoly, their aim being to force the people to stay in New York, where rents were 35 per cent. higher than in any other city in the Union. The exactions of the water, gas and steamboat monopolies likewise had a share in causing the formation of the Equal Rights party.
Besides the dispensing to favored knots of citizens of trading privileges and immunities which were withheld from the great body of the community, the laboring element believed that there was a gross inequality of taxation in the interests of the rich. Taxes rose from $550,000 in 1832 to $850,000 in 1833, but the increase fell upon the poor. The Merchants Bank was assessed at $6,000; the lot and building had cost that sum twenty years before, and were now worth at least twice as much. The Merchants Exchange was assessed at $115,000, yet it was known that the land and building had cost $300,000. Dozens of like instances were cited by the reformers and they now determined upon a concerted effort looking to better government.
A powerful influence came to the aid of the Equal Rights men when William Cullen Bryant and William Leggett assumed the editorship of the Evening Post. This journal now advocated industrial and political reforms with singular independence and ability. It revived the original conception of the nominating committees functions. It urged the electors to remember that the nomination by a nominating committee was but a recommendation to the people of certain candidates whose merits and qualifications were as fair a matter of discussion as any under Heaven; and that it was for this very purpose that nominations were made so long before the great popular meeting was convened. Besides his editorial support of the movement, Leggett participated in the practical work of its organization and management. The clear thought and definite expression shown in most of the Equal Rights manifestoes and resolutions are perhaps directly due to him.
The Equal Rights faction became especially active in the Fall of 1834. Its orators raised such a stir that both Tammany Hall and the Whigs suddenly developed an astonishing care for the workingmen. To conciliate them, the Tammany Nominating Committee exacted a written pledge from every one of its candidates requiring an expression of his sentiments on the monopoly question. To counteract the Wigwam, the Whigs gathered a meeting of Whig Mechanics at Masonic Hall, October 14, at which opposition to monopolies, especially banking monopolies, was declared Not to be outdone, the Wigwam got together a meeting of Democratic Mechanics, who resolved to oppose monopolies and to restore the constitutional currency. Tammany also began to recognize, even more liberally than before, the naturalized citizens. As a consequence, it won the Fall (1884) election by over 2,300 majority, most of the Equal Rights men voting with it. One-third of its 18,000 voters were estimated at this time to be of foreign birth.
Nearly all the Tammany Assemblymen proceeded to forget their pledges, only four of the delegation voting in the February following against the bill giving exclusive privileges to the Peaconic Company.
The first clash between the Equal Rights faction and the Tammany monopolists occurred at a meeting at the Wigwam on March 31, 1835. Certain that the Aldermen would never grant additional ferries, the Equal Rights men favored a measure, then pending in the Legislature, for the establishment of a State Board of Commissioners clothed with that power. Gideon Lee,1616 a Wall Street banker, called the meeting to order and nominated Preserved Fish for chairman. Many objections were uttered, and Fish retired. The radicals howled down the Tammany speakers and ran the meeting themselves, adopting resolutions prepared by Joel P. Seaver, declaring for the creation of the State board. A bill for a new ferry the present South Ferry was passed the same year. The Equal Rights men still hoped to gain their ends inside the organization. When Cornelius W. Lawrence17 stood for reelection as Mayor in April, 1835, there was scarcely any opposition to him from any quarter, he receiving 17,696 votes out of a total of 20,196.
In the Fall of 1835, however, the Tammany Nominating Committee recommended for State offices candidates of a character most obnoxious to the Equal Rights men, and called a meeting for the evening of October 29, to ratify its nominations. Barely were the doors opened when the Equal Rights men rushed in and frustrated an attempt to place Isaac L. Varian in the chair. In the melee, the Bank Democrats, finding themselves unable to control the meeting, withdrew, but in doing so turned off the gas, leaving the Equal Rights men in total darkness. The trick must have been anticipated; for each man drew forth a candle and a lucifer, or loco foco match, and in a twinkling the hall was resplendent with dancing lights. The Equal Rights men adopted resolutions and a suitable ticket of their own.18
Three sets of candidates stood for election. The Native Americans, who opposed the election of foreigners to office and urged the repeal of the naturalization laws, took the place of the Whigs. In the face of this strong sentiment, Tammany Hall acted with its usual diplomacy. The general committee boasted that the regular Tammany ticket was composed of only native Americans, which was true, the naturalized citizens having been cajoled on the promise of receiving the usual quota among nominations the next year. Of the nearly 23,000 votes cast at the election, Tammany Hall obtained an average majority of about 800. The Native Americans polled 9,000 votes, and the Equal Rights men, or Anti-Monopolists, over 3,500. It was estimated that 2,000 Whigs voted the Tammany ticket to defeat the Anti-Monopolists, and that about 5,500 Whig votes were divided between Tammany Hall and the Native Americans.
The news of its slight plurality was hailed with anything but pleasure at the Wigwam, where the Anti-Monopolists were denounced as political swindlers and adventurers. Instead, however, of making a show of outward fairness, the organization leaders blindly took the course most adapted to fan the flame of opposition to themselves. After the great fire of 1835, which destroyed $20,000,000 worth of property, and the extent of which was due to the refusal of the corrupt Aldermen to give the city a proper water supply, the Common Council agreed to loan $6,000,000 at 5 per cent. interest for the relief of insurance companies and banks which had suffered from the fire.19 Nothing was said or done for the relief of the poor sufferers whom the Wigwam claimed to have under its especial protection. The Council allowed pawnbrokers 25 per cent. interest and prohibited them from loaning more than $25 on a single pledge.20 The city institutions were in a melancholy state.21 Most serious of all on the public mind were the disclosures concerning the Commercial Bank, from which funds were embezzled in the scheme of cornering the stock of the Harlem Railroad. As a step towards this end, Samuel Swartwout and Garrit Gilbert (a sometime Sachem) lobbied for the passage of a bill to increase the capital stock of this road, which in turn, it was thought, would increase the price of all the stock —two Senators agreeing to raise- objections temporarily so as to blind the eyes of the New Yorkers.22
The leaders made no effort to stop the granting of charters, or to curtail the monopolist privileges already granted. It was admitted generally that no legislation even remotely affecting the interests of the banks could pass without the consent of those institutions. Tradesmen also had their combinations. But combinations, legal enough when organized by capital, were declared illegal when formed by workingmen. At this time the Supreme Court of the State of New York decided that combinations to raise the wages of any class of laborers amounted to a misdemeanor, on the ground that they were injurious to trade. Later, in June, 1836, twenty tailors were found guilty of conspiracy under that decision and fined by Judge Edwards $1,150 in the aggregate for engaging in a strike for higher wages.
The mechanics prepared to hold an indignation meeting and applied for permission to use Tammany Hall. This was refused by the Sachems.23 In defiance of the Wigwam, the meeting, a gathering of 20,000 persons, was held in the park fronting Tammany Hall. Are workingmen, read the address of the committee of this meeting,
free in reality when they dare not obey the first instinct of all animated beings; when our courts pronounce it criminal to exercise natures paramount law of self-preservation? Trades unions and mechanick societies are only self-protective against the countless combinations of aristocracy; boards of bank and other chartered directories; boards of brokers; boards of trade and commerce; combinations of landlords; coal and wood dealers; monopolists and all those who grasp at everything and produce nothing. If all these I combinations are suffered to exist, why are trades unions and combinations of workingmen denounced? Should they not have an equal chance in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness? Should they not have an equal right with the other classes of society, in their person, in their property or labor, and in their management?
The meeting, in strong resolutions, condemned the Supreme Court decision and that of Judge Edwards.
At this moment the peculiar Wigwam methods were being displayed in another direction to an edified public. In the first days of May, 1836, the Board of Aldermen found itself divided equally, Tammany Hall and the Whigs each having eight votes, precluding either from electing a president. The Tammany members, in the tea-room downstairs, made merry over refreshments. The Whigs could not muster a quorum, and sent word to the organization men to appear; the Wigwam men replied that they didnt choose, and bade the Whigs come to them. Meanwhile the public business stood still. Finally the balloting was begun. On May 23, seventeen votes were found to have been cast, although there were only sixteen voting Aldermen.24 By the end of May more than 120 ballots were had. At last, on July 1, the Tammany men persuaded Alderman Ward, a Whig, to offer a resolution electing Isaac L. Varian, a Wigwam candidate, for the first six months, which was done.
Taking these proceedings as a cue, the Equal Rights party, on June 6, at Military Hall, adopted a long series of resolutions stating that the aristocracy of the Democracy, or in other words, the monopolists, the paper-currency Democrats, the partizans of the usages, had long deceived and misguided the great body of the Democrats. Through these usages, the tools of the banks and other incorporated and speculative interests were enabled to take advantage of the unsuspicious self-security of the people, both before and at primary meetings. By the aristocracy and through secret caucuses, candidates were chosen, proceedings were cut and dried, and committees were packed. When committees could not be packed without opposition, the resolutions further read, two sets of committeemen were usually elected, and that set whose political complexion best suited the packed majority of the general committee was always accepted without any regard to the majorities of the people. The Union did not furnish a more dangerous usurpation upon the sovereignty of the people than the fact of the Tammany Hall Nominating Committee sending recently a petition to the Legislature in favor of chartering more banks and banking paper capital and designating themselves, not as citizens, but as members of the nominating committee, notwithstanding the very nominees of such a committee had given their written pledge to oppose new banks and monopolies.
The usages, the Equal Rights party next resolved, so productive of secret caucuses, intrigues and abuses, furnished the avenue through which one portion of the Democracy had been corrupted, and the other portion the great mass led astray. The latter was taught to believe that usages alone made men Democrats, and that to keep Federalists and Whigs out of office was the very essence of Democracy.25
The Equal Rights party then nominated Isaac L. Smith, of Buffalo, for Governor, and Moses L. Jacques, of New York City, for Lieutenant-Governor. To draw from the strength of the new party, some of Tammanys leaders Samuel Swartwout, Jesse Hoyt, Stephen Allen, Saul Alley and a few others professed to favor the repeal of the Restraining law, which in effect prohibited private banking and gave the incorporated institutions a monopoly. The Anti-Monopolists were not to be deluded. On September 21 they declared that in the recent professions of the Tammany corruptionists in advocating this repeal and in favoring some other few minor democratic measures, they beheld the stale expedient of luring the bone and sinew of the country to the support of their monopoly and banking men and measures and that they had no faith in Tammany usages, policy or its incorrigible Sachems.
The characters of most of the Wigwam nominations were so tainted that it seemed as if the candidates were put forward in defiance of the best public sentiment. It is not so certain that outside the Equal Rights party the voters were repelled by the current methods of buying legislation and dictating nominations. A low tone of public morals was manifested. Men were bent on moneymaking. He who could get rich by grace of the Legislature was thought smart and worthy of emulation. The successful in politics were likewise to be envied, and, if possible, imitated. A large part of the community bowed in respect to the person of wealth, no matter whence came his riches; and the bank lobbyists were the recipients of a due share of this reverence.
From these men the Tammany leaders selected candidates. One of the Assembly nominees was Prosper M. Wetmore, who had lobbied for the notorious State Bank charter. This bank, according to the charter, was to have $10,000,000 capital, although its organizers did not have more than a mere fraction of that sum. This was going too far, even for Albany, though upon modifying their application, the charter was granted.26 Reuben Withers and James C. Stoneall, bank lobbyists; Benjamin Ringgold, a bank and legislative go-between, and Morgan L. Smith, preeminent among lobbyists, were other Tammany nominees. Notwithstanding the low standards of public morals, these men were so unpopular, that when the form of submitting their names for ratification to the great popular meeting it the Wigwam on November 1, was carried out, a hostile demonstration followed. The names of Wetmore, Smith and Ringgold especially were hooted. But the leaders had groups of whippers-in brought in hurriedly to vote affirmatively, and the presiding officer declared all the nominees duly accepted by the people.
Only six of the organizations thirteen Assembly nominees survived the popular wrath, and the nominees for nearly all the other offices were beaten, notwithstanding the expectation that the Presidential election would carry them in on the party ticket. A number of Tammany men of principle refused to vote. The Whigs, the Native Americans and some Locofocos joined forces. They were aided by the panic, which, breaking out shortly before election, reacted against the Democrats. The Equal Rights men as a rule voted for Van Buren. Tammany Hall and the Whigs both committed frauds. Van Buren received 1,124 majority in New York City, which in 1832 had given Jackson nearly 6,000 majority.
Made wiser by defeat, the organization, leaders realized the importance of the Equal Rights movement, and caused, as a sop, the passage, in February, 1837, of the bill repealing the Restraining act. The Common Council likewise modified the Pawnbrokers act by cutting down the interest to a more reasonable percentage.27
Their providence stopped at this point, however,28 and during the panic Winter following neither Legislature nor Common Council did anything to alleviate the miseries of the poor. On the contrary, the poor complained that the tendency more and more was to use the power of the law to make the rich richer. While the suffering was greatest, Alderman Aaron Clark, a Whig, who had made his fortune from lotteries, proposed that the city spend several millions of dollars to surround its water front with a line of still-water ponds for shipping purposes, his justification for this expenditure being that the North River piers would raise the price of every lot 5 x 100 feet west of Broadway $5,000 at a jump.29 Millions to benefit landowners and shippers, but not a dollar for the unemployed hungry! exclaimed the Anti-Monopolists. Alderman Bruen, another Whig, at a time when the fall in the value of real estate in New York City alone exceeded $50,000,000, suggested the underwriting by the city to the speculators for the sum of $5,000,000, to take in pledge the lands they had bought and to give them the bonds of the city for two-thirds their value. To the Equal Rights men there was not much difference between the Tammany Hall and the Whig leaders. Both, it was plain, sweated the people, for their own private interests, although the Whigs, inheriting the Federalist idea that property was the sole test of merit, did not flaunt their undying concern for the laborer so persistently as did the Wigwam.
The city in 1837 was filled with the homeless and unemployed. Rent was high, and provisions were dear. Cattle speculators had possession of nearly all the stock, and a barrel of flour cost $12. On February 12 a crowd met in the City Hall Park, after which over 200 of them sped to the flour warehouse of Eli Hart & Co., on Washington street. This firm and that of S.B. Herrick & Son, it was known, held a monopoly in the scarce supply of flour and wheat. The doors of Harts place were battered down, and nearly 500 barrels of flour and 1,000 bushels of wheat were taken out and strewed in the street. Herricks place likewise was mobbed.30 On May 10, when the banks suspended specie payments, a vast and excited crowd gathered in Wall Street, and a riot was narrowly averted.31
The Equal Rights party could not be bought out or snuffed out. To deprive it of its best leaders Tammany Hall resorted to petty persecution. Jacques and Slamm had headed a petition to the Legislature protesting against the appointment of a certain suspicious bank investigating committee. The Wigwam men in the Legislature immediately secured the passage of a resolution for the appointment of a committee to investigate this petition, and this committee instantly haled Jacques and Slamm to appear at Albany and give testimony.32 The purpose was plain. The Tammany men sought to have the Equal Rights leaders at Albany, which was not as accessible from the city as now, and there keep them under various pretexts while the Spring campaign for Mayor was going on. Jacques and Slamm did not appear and were adjudged guilty of contempt. When they were most needed in New York City they were arrested and arraigned before the Legislature. William Leggett also was threatened, but escaped arrest.
The Equal Rights party, however, was soon to demonstrate its capacity to do harm to Tammany. The organization nominated John J. Morgan for Mayor; the Whigs named Aaron Clark, and the Equal Rights party opposed them with Jacques. The 3,911 votes Jacques received were enough to defeat Morgan, with his 12,974 votes, against Clarks 16,140. Worst blow of all, Tammany Hall lost the Common Council. When the new body came in it removed all of the Wigwams office-holders that it could. The spoils in the form of annual salaries paid by the city, amounting to $468,000; the perquisites and contracts such as that for the Croton Aqueduct, in favor of which the people had voted some years before — and other improvements, all went to the Whigs.
The Tammany men, regarding the Equal Rights men responsible for this loss of power, were now disposed to treat with them and willing enough to throw over the banker-corporation element.
1 The minutes of the Common Council covering these years show continuous records of petitions from imprisoned debtors, praying for fuel and the patching up of windows in the dead of Winter. Charitable societies were in existence to supply the jailed debtors with food.
2 This singular provision, by which non-residents were liable to imprisonment for debt, while the natives of the city were exempted, was erased in 1840.
3 Journal of the Senate and Assembly, 1805, pp. 351 and 399.
4 Ibid., 1812, p. 134.
5 Journal of the Senate and Assembly, 1812, pp. 259-60.
6 Stock given at par value meant an almost immediate rise in value to the legislator. Most stocks went upward from 10 to 15 per cent. on the passage of the charter, and in the case of the more profitable and exploitative corporations, far higher advances were scored in a short time.
7 Journal of the Senate, 1824, pp. 498-532.
8 Journal of the Senate, 1826, Vol. 6, Appendix B. A considerable part of the money and stock promised the members of the Legislature for their votes was withheld owing to the expected investigation.
11 Senate Documents, 1834, No. 47, and Ibid., No. 94. Walter Bowne was the banks president.
12 Ibid., No. 94.
13 Ibid., No. 47.
14 Journal of the Senate, 1833, p. 396.
15 Documents of the Senate, 1834, No. 108.
16 Lee was the last Mayor elected by the Common Council (1833-34).
17 Lawrence had a curious habit of strolling the streets carrying his spectacles in his hand behind his back, and ogling all the pretty girls he met, a habit which was broken later when one winsome lass tangled him in a plot, much to his financial and mental distress.
18 The next day the Equal Rights men were dubbed Locofocos, a name afterward applied by the Whigs to the entire Democratic party.
19 Documents of the Board of Aldermen, 1836, Nos. 65 and 100.
20 Ibid., 1837, No. 48.
21 Ibid., 1837, No. 32.
22 Documents of the Senate, 1836, Vol. II, No. 94.
23 A short time before, at an Anti-Monopolist meeting, Chairman Job Haskell had represented that the Tammany Society the secret body, responsible to no one and enforcing its demands through the Tammany Hall political organization was to blame for the political corruption. Resolutions were then passed setting forth that whereas the self-constituted, self-perpetuating Tammany Society had assumed a dictatorial attitude and by usages made by itself endeavored to rule the people as with a rod of iron; and as they (the Equal Rights men) believed the people were capable of managing their own affairs without the aid of said inquisitorial society, that we deem the Tammany Society an excrescence upon the body politic and dangerous to its rights and liberties.
24 Proceedings of the Board of Aldermen, Vol XI, p. 16.
25 These resolutions were published officially in the New York Evening Post, June 8, 1836.
26 Cornelius W. Lawrence, the Tammany Mayor, became the banks first president.
27 Documents of the Board of Aldermen, 1837, No. 48.
28 Excepting some instances of private charity by Tammany leaders.
29 Documents of the Board of Aldermen, 1836, No. 80.
30 Documents of the Board of Alderman, 1839, No. 29.
32 Documents of the Assembly, 1837, Nos. 198 and 327.