Commodore Vanderbilt is one of the New World’s strong men. His career is one which young men who aspire to lead in practical affairs may study with profit.
[Footnote 1: This narrative of the business-life of Commodore Vanderbilt was written immediately after I had heard him tell the story himself. It was written at the request of Robert Bonner, Esq., and published by him in the New York Ledger of April 8, 1865. I should add, that several of the facts given were related to me at various times by members of Mr. Vanderbilt’s family.]
New York does well to celebrate the anniversary of the day when the British troops evacuated the city; for it was in truth the birthday of all that we now mean by the City of New York. One hundred and seventy-four years had elapsed since Hendrick Hudson landed upon the shores of Manhattan; but the town could only boast a population of twenty-three thousand. In ten years the population doubled; in twenty years trebled. Washington Irving was a baby seven months old, at his father’s house in William Street, on Evacuation Day, the 25th of November, 1783. On coming of age he found himself the inhabitant of a city containing a population of seventy thousand. When he died, at the age of seventy-five, more than a million of people inhabited the congregation of cities which form the metropolis of America.
The beginnings of great things are always interesting to us. New-Yorkers, at least, cannot read without emotion the plain, matter-of-fact accounts in the old newspapers of the manner in which the city of their pride changed masters. Journalism has altered its modes of procedure since that memorable day. No array of headings in large type called the attention of readers to the details of this great event in the history of their town, and no editorial article in extra leads commented upon it. The newspapers printed the merest programme of the proceedings, with scarcely a comment of their own; and, having done that, they felt that their duty was done, for no subsequent issue contains an allusion to the subject. Perhaps the reader will be gratified by a perusal of the account of the evacuation as given in Rivington’s Gazette of November 26, 1783.
New York, November 26:—Yesterday in the Morning the American Troops marched from Haerlem, to the Bowery-Lane—They remained there until about One o’Clock, when the British Troops left the Posts in the Bowery, and the American Troops marched into and took Possession of the City, in the following Order, viz.
1. A Corps of Dragoons.
2. Advance Guard of Light Infantry.
3. A Corps of Artillery.
4. Battalion of Light Infantry.
5. Battalion of Massachusetts Troops.
6. Rear Guard.
After the Troops had taken Possession of the City, the GENERAL [Washington] and GOVERNOR [George Clinton] made their Public Entry in the following Manner: