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effect of this on our excellent comptroller” was very profound. It suggested to him the wisdom of making a virtue of necessity, and thus it was that he retired so modestly and patriotically from the candidacy for the mayoralty, declaring, as already intimated, that Mr. Havemeyer is the only man to save New York! When election time came Green and other friends had plenty of money, and the great desideratum was secured.
But a difficulty soon arose. A new charter was framed. The more sensible and honest of those who had to do with this instrument thought it would be as well to allow Mr. Green to return to private life. Some went so far as to resolve that if his well-known zeal for “reform" rendered him unwilling to allow the department of Finance to pass from his hands into any other, gentle force should be used for that purpose. Naturally enough, our new mayor was highly indignant; did they want to insult him by depriving him of his pet? or did they wish to have the city treasury plundered again by withdrawing from it the incorruptible, protecting hand of Reformer Green? Some slight revelations were made in our State Legislature during the discussion of these weighty questions. We copy the following from a report given by the Herald, while the great controversy was proceeding, as an illustration :
“Senator Madden-Havemeyer has insulted this legislative body. I think he is in second childhood. A good republican had the bill relative to common schools passed in this body, giving the appointment of school commissioners to the mayor, and yet when he had offered twenty-one names for those positions the mayor only named five out of them. This was dishonest. There is something radically wrong about such a mayor. He is endorsed by the Committee of Seventy, which also endorses Andrew H. Green, who had a bill presented here by my venerable friend from the Fifth, which gave him power that the Czar of Russia would never have dared to ask for. And who is Green ? Let us pull off the tinsel that surrounded this only honest man. Why he has driven away nearly all the business (in supplies, I mean) of that city because honest men refuse to submit to his dictation, and he refuses to pay their honest bills; but I remember when the Central Park Commission bill was passed no compensation was asked for, but two years after this Andrew H. Green, Treasurer of this Commission, came here and asked a salary of $10,000 a year.
VOL. XXVII.-NO. LIII.
“A HOWL AT GREEN'S GRAB.
“Messrs. Weismann and Benedict, simultaneously–No, five.
“Mr. Madden (in a towering rage, and with a force that whirled both the fragile and venerable New Yorkers back in their seats, as if they were shot)—No, sir ; ten. He took $10,000 a year for two years past, and drew it every year afterward, and, besides, he drew $300 a year for his personal expenses. Now I don't want to hear any more about Green and his honesty."
Senator Madden was favored with a liberal amount of abuse for this exposition by the champions of Green, but we have not seen or heard that anyone has attempted to disprove the essential facts. During the same controversy the independent press began to adipit that they had been somewhat mistaken in their estimate of Mr. Green at the ontset of his career as comptroller. Thus, for example, in one of a series of articles on the same subject, the Herald proceeds, as follows:
“But, in his reply to our questions regarding the interest on the city deposits, Comptroller Green attempts to mystify the matter in a very curious and suspicious manner. The facts are very simple. Under Chamberlain Devlin the city received no interest on amounts remaining in the city and county treasury. The Chamberlain did, how. ever, receive interest, which he put into his own pocket. The deposits were worth a great deal to the banks, and they paid the Chamberlain, we believe, four per cent. for the use of the money. The greater the amount in the treasury the more profit the city chamberlain realized. The consequence was that month after month the balances reached into the millions, and upon all this amount, at least for nine months in the year, the people were paying seven per cent. interest, the money being raised on city revenue bonds in anticipation of taxation. Chamberlain Devlin is said to have made over a million dollars out of this interest.* Chamberlain Sweeny decided to give up this perquisite of
* Some of our readers will probably remember at least a portion of our explanation of the manner in which we were assailed by certain parties in our battle with the Ring plunderers. Foremost among those who manifested to us their sympathy with Sweeny, Tweed & Co. against us were the Jesuits of St. Xavier's College, in this city. We showed at the time that there was good reason for this sympathy—that there were none of the plunderers who were not very liberal and accommodating to the good Fathers, and also to their spiritual Sisters. We alluded to the handsome things Chamberlain
the office and to pay over the interest received to the credit of the city. His immediate successor, Chamberlain Bradley, kept up the practice. The interest account was kept separately, and when Mr. Bradley retired from office it reached nearly half a million dollars. This fund was not all the advantage the city derived from the new system. There being no object in keeping heavy balances in the treasury, for which the city received four per cent. interest and paid seven per cent., the balances ran down to a few hundred thousand dollars, and the interest paid on revenue bonds proportionately decreased."
None of our readers will accuse is of having extracted this passage for the purpose of showing that either Sweeny or Bradley was an honest man. We have done so for the purpose of showing that however dishonest both were, as public functionaries, they were not as barefacedly so as some who would have the world regard them as paragons of honesty. But we will make room for another paragraph or two:
"From the statements of the chamberlain and his deputy, which appear in the Herald to-day, it will be seen that since December last not a single dollar of interest has been paid to the credit of the city. The table of monthly balances during the year shows a gross amount of over sixty-seven millions, or an average of about five millions and a half, in round numbers, per month. Four per cent. interest on these deposits would have realized two hundred and twenty thousand dollars. Not a cent has been paid. The benefit of the large deposits has gone into some person's pockets ; it has not been secured by the tax-payers.
Devlin, with the rest, had done for them, including the scholarship which he had established in their college, to be known to all posterity as the Devlin scholarship. Since their influence in making the Irish vote in the proper way enabled the Chamberlain to make a million by the interest on the city deposits alone, not to mention other little pickings, he would have proved himself very ungrateful had he not requited them liberally for their pains. The Chamberlain's heir, and his successor in the tailoring branch of his business, fully recognizing this fact, has, it seems, donated another fraction of the ill-gotten million or millions to the same institution. It is needless for us to assure our readers that we have never made a criticism on the Jesuits as priests or as Catholics, but as intermeddling, spiteful and mischievous politicians, men who, instead of being, as they pretend, the pillars of the Catholic Church, are really its worst enemies in spite of their bigotry and intolerance. Nor would we have said a word about the Devlin millions now had we not known that our “ honest” reformers have also been negotiating on quite a large scale with the good Fathers.
“Let us examine the manner in which Comptroller Green attempts to evade responsibility for this return the rotten system of the worst days of Tammany rule, and the efforts he makes to befog the plain issue. He admits that he prohibited, last December, the practice of keeping a separate account and making a separate monthly return, which every taxpayer could understand, of the amount of deposits during the month, and the amount of interest received and paid over to the city. But he affects ignorance of the after-fate of the interest, when its visible life had been thus cut off, and assumes' that it is credited where it ought to be, along with the principal of the various accounts on which it has accrued.' Is this an honest statement ?”
This article appeared December 18, 1872, just three months after we had given our portrait of Andrew H. Green. Senator Madden's sketch was a little later. At all events, our readers will remember that we made no accusation against our "honest” comptroller which was not fully substantiated within four months after its publication. It was generally believed when his name was omitted from the new charter that his career as a high functionary was pretty nearly at an end. But those who thought so had no idea either of what money can do at Albany, or how liberally Andrew H. Green can use the public money when there is a tolerably good prospect that in due time it will return with interest to his own pocket. We confess that we were ill-natured enough to believe that, although Mr. Green would abstain, for obvious reasons, from appearing personally among the lobbyists, as he had done a year previously when the first charter was before the legislature, he would do everything else in his power to prolong his hold on the public treasury. And so the fact has proved. Hence it is, that as Peter B. Sweeny, whom all acknowledge to have some brains, was the adviser and guide of the old Ring, Andrew H. Green, whom all acknowledge to be devoid of brains, is the adviser and guide of the new Ring! And thus it is that our reform comptroller and reform mayor have so nearly become one flesh that we question whether Pope did not refer to politics as much as to matrimony when he penned the well known couplet:
“There swims no goose so Green but soon or late,
Thus we think we can claim to-day, withont any undue assumption, that our impressions, good, bad, and indifferent, of September last in regard to our candidates for office, were pretty nearly correct. There has not been time yet,
for a full development of the facts; but so far as the different trees have borne fruit by which their character could be judged, our estimate of Mr. Havemeyer and Mr. Green has been proved to be as just as that which we gave of General Dix in the same article, and which we closed as follows:
“In short, no one questions for a moment, either the ability or the integrity of General Dix, for the reason that he is one of the very few that have filled several important offices with unsullied honor. Accordingly he is not the less our choice for being a general; he is not the less our choice for being a Republican ; nay, he is not the less our choice for being a zealous advocate of the re-election of General Grant."*
Now, from the day upon which these various impressions were penned until the present we have never asked the slightest favor of any of these gentlemen. We have neither called upon, or written to, either Mayor Havemeyer or his pet. We have been quite aware from the outset of the large annount of patronage in the gift of his Honor; but the offices he has, or rather had, to bestow, have excited our cupidity about as much as those bestowed on the faithful of his jurisdiction by the Grand Lama of Thibet. We have never applied to anybody, directly or indirectly, for any office whatever, and it is our intention to remain so for the rest of our life. But had our aspirations been different-had we been as anxious in this respect as the most greedy and persistent office-seekers—we certainly should not like such colleagues as those who seem to be the particular favorites of his Honor. Of all connected with the old régime no one, we believe, has been more abused than “ Hank” Smith. Whether this interesting member of the Smith family has deserved all the opprobrium cast upon him, or has perpetrated all the crimes attributed to him, we do not know. Except from hearsay we know nothing whatever
* Nat. Quar. Rev., No. L., p. 371.