Monday, October 6, 2008

A Little Taste Of History (42)

Topics: Happenings in NYC during the 1700s #2

New ordinances were passed in respect to cleaning the streets a matter in which the primitive New Yorkers seem to have experienced a foretaste of the trouble endured by their descendants. In 1702 an ordinance was enacted that all the inhabitants should sweep the dirt in heaps in front of their doors on Friday morning, and have it conveyed away and thrown into the river or elsewhere before Saturday night under penalty of six shillings. This, the cartmen were required to carry away at the rate of three cents per load, or six, if they loaded their carts themselves; and were subjected to heavy fines in case of a refusal.

On the 18th of December, 1708, John, Lord Lovelace, Baron of Hurley, who had been appointed the spring before as Cornbury's successor, arrived at New York, and was joyfully welcomed by the citizens. In April, 1709, he convened his first Assembly, of whom he demanded the grant of a permanent revenue and the payment of the governmental debts, together with a full examination of the public accounts, "that it "might be known to all the world that the public debt "was not contracted in his time."

A city ordinance was passed, providing that any negro or Indian slave who should presume to appear in the streets after nightfall without a lantern with a lighted candle in it should be committed to jail, to remain there until released by the payment of a fine of eight shillings by his master, and as an equivalent, the authorities pledged themselves that the culprit should receive thirty-nine lashes at the public whipping-post, should his master desire. But the negroes did not submit tamely to these despotic regulations, so from time to time, an outbreak warned the whites of the strength of the power which they were endeavoring to repress and of the deadly peril which was brooding among them.

First Fire Engines: December, 1732. The first fire occurred at which fire engines were used. Two fire engines had recently been imported from England, and companies were formed which became the foundation of the New York Fire Department. Their efficiency was found greatly to exceed the former method of lines of bucket men passing the water from hand to hand from the nearest wells or from the river.


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