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He had heard southern men declare slaves were better off in the South than hired laborers in the North. Yet he would argue, "There is no permanent class of hired laborers amongst us. Twenty-five years ago I was a hired laborer. The hired laborer of today labors on his own account today, and will hire others to labor for him tomorrow."

He set up the indictment, "Although volume upon volume is written to prove slavery a good thing, we never hear of the man who wishes to take the good of it by being a slave himself."

And he writhed as a man under the weight of some heavy conundrum of history in writing, "As labor is the common burden of our race, so the effort of some to shift the burden onto the shoulders of others is the great durable curse of the race."

Chapter 91

THE Northwest and the South were paying their large debts in New York. While the centre of politics was Washington, the money centre of the country was New York. Canals, railroads, steamboats, crop transfers were handled through the nation's financial capital at the lower end of Manhattan Island. Affairs of size in cash outlay waited on word from New York. The streams of cash from the Mississippi and Gulf regions led to New York and the East. Nearly two-thirds of the banking capital of the country was in the East; per capita circulation in the East was $16.50 as against $6.60 for the country as a whole.

In a small eastern area of 200,000 square miles were factories, mills, stores, shipping-lines, railways, and banks that earned yearly returns equal usually to the total of capital invested. The bulk of the banking profits of the country was in the control of eastern banks. The list of bank presidents in New York City showed an interesting percentage of them as having accumulated $100,000 to $500,000 in New England or the middle eastern states, and then moving to New York, the American vortex of cash and credit. A new bank was started for every month in the



year in New York City in 1851. And in the two years following fifteen more banks opened their doors.

Among large fortunes were some out of the "African trade." A book published for bankers and merchants, "Wealth and Biography of the Wealthy Citizens of New York," rated Peter Harmony as worth $1,500,000. "The ship, Warsaw, sold in 1844, made him $90,000 in one voyage round Cape Horn. Some of his ships to Africa brought out cargoes, it is said, that paid a profit equal to the difference in price between negroes in Africa and Cuba."

Whisky, cotton, and real estate had brought Stephen Whitney ten million dollars. "He was born in Connecticut, and began life as a poor boy by retailing liquor, and finally dealt in the article by the wholesale. The great impetus to his fortune, however, was given by several heavy but fortunate speculations in cotton. His investments in real estate doubled his fortune."

William P. Furniss, a millionaire, "made all his money in the South, and is now a broker in Wall Street." John Suydam's estate of $700,000 came from cotton speculation. "Mercantile business south, at Mobile" was the source of Jonathan Hunt's million. Samuel Packard, $500,000, was plainly "a rich cotton planter, resident in New York," while Isaac Packard got his $250,000 from "negro plantations in Cuba," and Mauran Oroondates came by his $500,000 "in the southern trade, and by the steam-ferry at Havana."

Little pieces of land on Manhattan Island had doubled, and kept doubling, in price. Henry Brevoort's father left him an eleven-acre farm, and when Ninth and Tenth streets cut across Fifth Avenue where the cows were once pastured, Brevoort had become a millionaire. Peter G. Stuyvesant, of the ancient Knickerbockers, was rated at $4,000,000, mostly real estate. The estate of Stephen Van Rensselaer also came to $4,000,000, and was divided between two sons, "one of whom owns Albany County, and the other Van Rensselaer County."

Iron, coal, hardware, drugs were the sources of fortunes invested mainly in real estate. Anson G. Phelps, worth $1,000,000,

owned Pennsylvania iron mines, a part of Missouri mountain, "altogether perhaps a half-million acres," and had "contracts to supply the Federal Government with nearly all the copper used for the national vessels."

Sometimes the little book published for the information of bankers and merchants came close to impertinence. It rated Morgan Lewis at $700,000 and declared, "He acquired his estate by marrying a Livingston of wealth." And there was the odd item about Thatcher T. Payne, brother of John Howard Payne, author of the song, "Home, Sweet Home." He was "of a family part Jew from the east end of Long Island, not far from Montauk," and his $100,000 came "through marriage with a wealthy widow." Benjamin L. Swan had $500,000. "His firm was peculiarly lucky in commercial arrangements during the late Mexican War."

The name of Vanderbilt was looming. Cornelius, rated at $1,200,000, had only begun on transportation and finance that would bring him tens of millions. In Daniel Drew, president of the Erie Railroad, was an example of a financier performing a vital and important public service and charging, for the service a price unknown to the public. He had millions; just how many he did not tell, if he knew. He had organized and reorganized the Erie and was one of the first adepts in railroad accounting. The estimated construction cost of connecting New York and Lake Erie was $2,000,000. But when built it had cost $15,000,ooo. And the total capital obligations were $26,000,000. Thus at last a rail line ran between the seaboard and the Great Lakes. The railroad and the telegraph speeded up trade, sent the volume of business higher, and initiated the piling up of such personal fortunes as the New World had not seen before. Millionaires were getting common. "With princely fortunes accumulating on the one hand, and the stream of black poverty [from Europe] pouring in on the other," said the New York Tribune, "contrasts of conditions are springing up as hideous as those of the old world."

John Jacob Astor was rated as high as $50,000,000 and as low



as $25,000,000. "He has, by the sole aid of his own industry, accumulated a fortune scarcely second to that of any individual on the globe, and has executed projects that will perpetuate his name to the latest age." At eighteen years of age he had left his home in Baden, Germany, "resolved to be honest and industrious, and never to gamble." He clerked in a fur store, went into the fur business for himself, and built trade till he was able to send sixty men to locate a fort and trading-post, Astoria, on the Columbia River.

Next he had a chain of forts and posts in the northern Pacific Coast wilderness, trading hardware, knickknacks and rum to Indians and white trappers for furs later shipped to China and traded for teas, silks, nankeens. "His ships now ploughed every sea."

Two-thirds of his profits year by year went into real estate and first mortgages. "In case of foreclosure, which has often happened, he has bought the property in at much less than its real value. . . . Mr. Astor has vast tracts of land in Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa, and other parts of the West. . . . His income must be $2,000,000 a year, or $4 a minute. . . . It has been remarked of him that Mr. Astor was capable of commanding an army of 500,000 men. . . . During active life he resided in a large house in the lower part of Broadway, and lived in a style of princely magnificence, attended by servants from some of the various nations with which he traded, among them some from the Empire of the Celestials. His house was furnished with the richest plate, and his apartments adorned with works of art, among which was a Cupid by Mignard."

Thus was America growing. Thus life was arranging itself at the financial capital of America. New York had a nickname. It was known among Americans as the Front Door.

Emerson, the Concord preacher, saw war, revolution, violence, breeding in the antagonisms of bold, powerful men. "Vast property, gigantic interests, family connections, webs of party, cover the land with a network that immensely multiplies the dangers of war."

Chapter 92

As Lincoln traveled over the fourteen counties of the Eighth Judicial Circuit six months of the year, making his home in Springfield, with occasional trips north and south in the state, there was a feel of change in the air. He had seen the frontier pass from Illinois and move west of the Mississippi. He had floated past St. Louis, a town of 5,000 people, and had seen it grow to 74,000 in twenty years. He had watched Springfield with less than a thousand people grow to 4,500; its citizens had voted for no license to saloons. He had seen cholera arrive in Springfield and the mayor ordering a day of prayers against the plague.

The public square that Lincoln saw just before turning up the stairway to his law office was sketched by the Journal when it urged: "Our streets and alleys should be cleaned everywhere, especially in and around the neighborhood of the square. The brickbats, trash, old hats, old boots, and shoes, rags, bones, manure and many other things which grace our streets, should be hauled off, and hog holes filled up."

The town council had passed an ordinance to stop the running at large of hogs in the streets; the council had repealed the ordinance, and finally settled the matter by a law providing that no hogs should run at large in the streets of the capital city of Illinois unless the said hogs had rings in their noses.

The hog-raisers of the state in 1850 counted 1,915,907 hogs. Travelers from Chicago said cows ambled along the sidewalks of that city as freely as the people, while residents of Quincy had their saying that geese filled the streets and as scavengers were superior to hogs.

Besides Springfield, the cities of Quincy and Rockford had voted no license to saloons. The slogan, "The saloon must go," was heard. A petition with 26,000 signers asked the legislature in 1853 for a state-wide vote on liquor-selling in Illinois; the

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