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the order of the evening, the latter dance having been introduced by the French.
Marriages and funerals were public; but notes of invitation to them were issued. The funerals were followed by long processions on foot, as no public conveyances were used prior to the year 1789, and very few families owned a "leathern conveniency" as Robert Murray styled his carriage.
Without a doubt the French refugees bore a prominent part in the great change in the colony, and they undoubtedly infused new life into its veins.
As we have said, the Dutch were a slow people. They were noted for the slowness, perseverance, and the plodding tenor of their lives; they had got into a groove and they steadily persevered in it. Their social life had always been simple, domestic, and unostentatious.
The English were formal, and held strict ideas of caste, which consisted of a lower, middle, and upper class; the barriers separating each were impregnable and insurmountable. Some of the wealthier Dutch families held aloof from strangers, and formed a distinct class by themselves; but the majority met the British officers and attachés at public entertainments; and after a time adopted their idea of caste.
The Huguenots were naturally romantic, vivacious, and chivalric; and, freed somewhat from the overshadowing vigilance of their founder's spirit, and having no party feeling like the others, they formed, as it were, a bond of union between them.
The original settlers, finding no reason for alarm at the inroad upon their hospitality, and shaken out of the narrow groove in which the course of their existence had formerly run, could not but acknowledge the beneficial effect of the leaven from France. Immediately upon their arrival, the Huguenots had commenced to ply their industries, and very soon that
portion of the city which, through force of circumstances, they had been compelled to accept - the vicinity of Bucther's Pen, it having, in all probability, moved away with the city's limits gave evidence of their thrift and consequent prosperity.
Moreover, the first destitute refugees had been followed in course of time by others; who had been more fortunate in bringing with them some of their patrimony. Nearly every ship of those that arrived once a month from England brought over families of wealthy, and even noble ancestry.
The refugees of the better class had mostly engaged in mercantile or commercial pursuits. They had erected comfortable and even handsome dwellings, and the elegance and refinement of their private life caused the aristocracy amongst the Dutch and English to welcome them to their entertainments, and to take pleasure in being entertained by them.
The style of architecture likewise had greatly improved. Pearl Street, at that time the first one west of Broadway, and which between State and Whitehall streets was extremely narrow, contained some handsome dwellings.
At Coenties Slip stood the municipal buildings, up to the time of their removal to Wall Street, in the early part of the eighteenth century. There, also, stood a celebrated inn for the reception of visitors to the city, this spot having been chosen on account of the exceeding beauty of its prospect, and its aristocratic surroundings.
At the slip, Pearl Street curved to the north, widening considerably at Hanover Square; it also changed its name at different stages in its course, assuming first that of Dock Street, then Hanover Square, Queen and finally Magazine Street.
On this street the gable ends ceased to face the street, and " stoeps " and benches yielded to roof
balconies, which formed pleasant and more retired localities for rest, recreation, or sociability. From these elevated pleasure gardens might be seen the beautiful shores of Nutten1 and Nassau Islands,2 with Staten Island and the highlands of the North, or Hudson, River forming a background.
Here one might enjoy at evening the fresh ocean breezes wafted over the lovely bay, and from the Sound through South River; and the gentle lapping of the water in Countess' Slip made itself heard in the quietness of the night.
In course of time Bowling Green and Lower Broadway, which had been par excellence the aristocratic part of the city, gave precedence to their rival Pearl Street, just above Hanover Square.
This square was then the fashionable shopping locality; and there might be seen old Dutch and high English dames, mingling with the fair daughters of sunny France, to admire the fashions from over the sea six months old or more.
Dress at this period was greatly attended to by both sexes, the ladies attiring themselves quite elegantly, and the young men appearing Beau Brummels of a Sunday, with coats of every color and indeed of several colors combined. The skirts of the coats were frequently lined with silk and satin of delicate hues, and the collars were of velvet or silk, of quite different colors from the garment. Sometimes, indeed, instead of collars the coats were finished off with several small capes. It is probable the young men were as frequently met in Hanover Square as were their lady friends, mothers, sisters, and loves-on business matters of course, for men are never frivolous.
Mr. Walton, who had accumulated a for
1 Governor's Island.
2 Long Island.
8 East River now.
♦ Coenties Slip.
5 Mr. Walton married a daughter of Mr. Delancey.
tune in foreign trade, built, in Pearl Street, a house of such elegance as to compete with the Kenedy mansion, No. 1 Broadway. Its fame, we are told, reaching the mother country, was the innocent cause of preventing any scruples from arising in the maternal breast, in regard to the taxation of her infant colonies; for, she argued, if provincial children can build for themselves such elegant mansions, they may well afford to pour some of their surplus gold into the maternal coffers.
This house was built of yellow Holland brick; and its spacious gardens bordered on South River. In this residence, in after years, Antien Genet wedded the daughter of Governor Clinton. Later on, in No. 119 of this street, General Moreau lived when an exile in this country; and his family remained in it while he fought for the Allied Army. After his death his widow resigned it into the hands of the executors, and there was a sale of his beautiful furniture and curios. A friend of the writer's has still in her possession the elegant crystal chandelier that hung in the drawing-room of his house.
The wealthy merchant Jumel, who loaned of his fortune so largely to France in her need, also resided in this street.
Although the lower portion of Manhattan Island was composed of sandy soil, it nevertheless bore a good supply of elm, maple, and sycamore trees, as also Normandy poplars, that stood like grim sentinels along the
1 There is an amusing anecdote related of General Moreau while in this country. He was invited to a concert, during which a piece was sung, the refrain being "to-morrow, to-morrow. The general, understanding English but imperfectly, supposed the song was composed in his honor and the refrain to be the repetition of his name; he consequently thought it obligatory to acknowledge the mark of respect. The audience were consequently astonished by seeing him rise and bow most respectfully on all sides as often as the refrain was repeated. Many of them did not know the illustrious man by sight.
2 Mrs. Julius G. Caryl.