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executive authority confided to me by the people of the State. I deem it due to the good order of society to say that, so far as depends on me, the supremacy of the law will be inflexibly maintained, and that every man who strikes a murderous blow at the life of his fellow must be made to feel that his own is in certain peril. If we cannot by firmness of purpose attain this end we may soon be forced to acknowledge the disheartening truth that there is nothing so cheap or so ill-protected as human life.
I address this letter to you because you were the first to apply to Governor Hoffman, and the first to apply to me for å commutation of Foster's sentence. It is sent in sincere sympathy with you, his early spiritual adviser, and with his afflicted family, some of whom I know and hold in the highest esteem, but with the clear conviction that I am performing an imperative duty.-I am, dear Sir, with unfeigned respect and esteem, yours,
JOHN A. Dix. Rer. STEPHEN H. TING, D.D.
(Vol. II., page 186.)
HOW FORT WADSWORTH GOT ITS NAME.
May 19, 1864. Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War:
Sir, I respectfully suggest that the name of Wadsworth be given to one of the forts in this harbor. At this juncture it strikes me as singularly appropriate, and I am sure it would be well received by our whole community. I do not know why Fort Richmond is so called. The records of the Engineer Department may show. With my present information it suggests nothing to my mind but some passages in British history, and a city sheltering traitors in arms against the Government.
If there is any reason why this name cannot be changed for another which is identified with our own history at the most critical period of our existence, and adorned with the manliest virtues, the fort at Sandy Hook is without a name, and may be made a medium for transmitting to posterity one eminently endeared to the people of this State. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
John A. Dix, Major-general.
5S Ninth Street, May 19. Dear GenerAL, -I return, with many thanks, the rough draft of your letter to the Secretary about naming one of the forts in the harbor after General Wadsworth. I think it admirable, and have no doubt it will be successful.
Yours very sincerely, IRWIN MCDOWELL. Major-general Dix.
(Vol. II., page 208.)
REFUTATION OF CHARGES AGAINST TRINITY CHURCH CORPORATION.
Office of the Corporation of Trinity Church, No. 187 Fulton Street,
New York, April 2, 1878. To the Editor of “The Index," Boston, Mass.:
SIR,-An article in your paper of the 5th of January last, to which my attention has very recently been called, professes to state some “ ASTOUNDING FACTS ABOUT TRINITY CHURCH."
As these alleged facts have no existence, I ask, as an act of justice to Trinity Church, the use of your columns to correct the misstatements which have been imposed on you. I present them in the order in which I find them :
1. “Trinity Church owns a vast amount of real estate in New York City, lying compactly between Broadway and the North River, and extending nearly two miles in length and from one-fourth to three-fourths of a mile in breadth. The whole district enclosed by a line running eastward from the North River through Cortlandt Street to Broadway, thence northward seven squares to Warren Street, thence one square westward to Church Street, thence eleven squares northward to Canal Street, and (continuing on Greene Street) seven squares still northward to Amity Street ; thence six squarcs westward to Sixth Avenue, thence four squares northward to Greenwich Avenue, and thence seven squares south-westward on Christopher Street, where the line strikes the North River once more--all this immense district, lying in the most valuable part of the city, belongs to Trinity Church, together with considerable territory south of Cortlandt Street, concerning the exact boundaries of which we are left in some doubt.”
The district embraced in the boundaries above described contains, as nearly as can be calculated, 5000 lots of the usual dimensions in the city—25 feet by 100. The whole number of lots belonging to Trinity Church is 750—about one-seventh of the number in the above-described district. The property of Trinity Church is, therefore, overstated about 600 per cent. In other words, of the 5000 lots 4250 belong to individuals, and not to this Corporation. The 750 lots belonging to the latter do not lie “compactly” in the district referred to, but are scattered over it singly or in small groups.
2. “The value of this enormous amount of real estate is, at a low valuation, fully SEVENTY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS."
This estimate is obviously founded upon the misapprehension that Trinity Church is the owner of the whole district referred to, instead of one-seventh part of it. Thus the whole value of the real estate of this Corporation, according to the estimate of your informant, correcting his statement as to its extent, would be but $10,000,000. This, however, is an exaggeration. The income derived from it last year was $456,786 45—less than the legal interest of $7,000,000; this year it will be much less; and the whole property is productive, except the ground occupied by seven churches, four cemeteries, four school-houses, a rectory, an infirmary, and a very few vacant lots. No reasonable estimate would place it at a higher value than $7,000,000.
3. “If we correctly understand our informant, Trinity Church pays no tax on the land itself, though the lessees pay taxes on the buildings they have erected upon it under long leases."
The entire inaccuracy of this statement will be seen by the following extract of a letter which I addressed to General Grant in March, 1876, to correct a like misapprehension on his part:
“The fact is, that the Corporation of Trinity Church is taxed, under the laws of this State, precisely in accordance with the suggestions in your Message to Congress. Its property consists of church edifices, cemeteries, school-houses, an infirmary, a rectory, and several hundred lots of ground, which, with the exception of a few used for parochial purposes, are leased partly for short and partly for long periods. On the short leases the Corporation pays the taxes ; on the long leases the taxes are paid by the lessees. I paid in September last, as Comptroller of the Corporation, on the former, $46,943 91; and we estimate the amount paid on the latter at $60,000, making over $100,000 paid to the city this year for taxes, besides a considerable sum for assessments. We pay taxes on every foot of ground used for secular purposes. We pay on our rectory, in which the Rector resides, on the office in which the business of the Corporation is transacted, although it is within the boundaries of St. Paul's Cemetery. In fact, nothing is exempt except the church edifices, the cemeteries, four school - houses, in which free schools are kept, and an infirmary, in which the sick receive gratuitous treatment."
I will only add that I have, as Comptroller of Trinity Church, paid to the city for taxes on its real estate, since the 1st of October, 1877, the sum of $64,107 97.
4. “According to the official records in the offices of the Chief of Police and the Excise Commissioners, the real estate of Trinity Church supports SEVEN HUNDRED AND SIXTY-FOUR LIQUOR SALOONS or gin-mills, and NINETY-SIX KNOWN HOUSES OF PROSTITUTION (ninety-two white and four colored), with many others suspected to be such.”
The utter recklessness of this accusation cannot be better illustrated than by the statement of the fact that the alleged number of liquor saloons and houses of prostitution is 860, exceeding by 110 the whole number of lots owned by Trinity Church. If the accusation were true there would be a liquor saloon on every lot belonging to this Corporation, and on 96 of its lots a liquor saloon and a house of prostitution. The charge is destitute even of a shadow of foundation. The number of lots of which the Corporation has the entire control is 483. On 259 of these the lessees own the houses. On 224 the houses belong to the Church. The former are leased for two years, and the latter for one. On all the leases of these 483 lots there has been for years a covenant on the part of the lessee that no intoxicating liquors shall be sold on the premises. It is as follows: “ That he, the said party of the second part [lessee), his executors, administrators, and assigns, and each and every under-tenant or occupant of the said premises or of any part thereof, shall not, nor will at any time during the term hereby demised, sell, or expose for sale, any strong or spirituous liquors, wine, ale, or beer, or take or have a license for such sale."
This covenant is rigidly enforced, and I say, without fear of contradiction, that there is not a single liquor saloon or “ginmill ” on any one of these 483 lots. It is proper to add that there are 267 lots held for long terms on old leases. Over these the Corporation has no control, but a ground-rent is regularly collected, and the Vestry have no knowledge, nor do the records of the Police or Excise Departments show, that any one of them is used for either of the purposes alleged by your informant.
To put this calumnious accusation against Trinity Church effectively at rest, I addressed letters of inquiry to the Police and Excise Commissioners, and have received the following answers: Police Department of the City of New York, 300 Mulberry Street,
New York, March 30, 1878. DEAR SIR,—In response to your letter of inquiry of the 16th instant, I transmit the enclosed report, which I trust will prove satisfactory.
Very respectfully, WILLIAM F. SMITII, President. Gencral Joux A. Dix.
Police Department of the City of New York, 300 Mulberry Street,
New York, March 30, 1878. General William F. Smith, President, Board of Police :
SIR, -- Referring to the letter of General John A. Dix to you, dated March 16, 1878, the undersigned have the honor to report :
That the letter calls attention to the following statement as having appeared in a newspaper published in Boston : “According to official records in the offices of the Chief of Police and the Excise Commissioners, the real estate of Trinity Church supports SEVEN HUNDRED AND SIXTY-FOUR LIQUOR SALOONS or gin-mills, and NINETY-SIX KNOWN HOUSES OF PROSTITUTION (ninety-four white and two colored), with many others suspected to be such."
The records of the Police Department do not state nor show that the real estate of Trinity Church supports seven hundred and sixty-four, or any other number of liquor saloons or gin-mills, or ninety-six nor any other number of known or suspected houses of prostitution.
Having a very general knowledge of the records and reports of the Police Department and its officers, it is our belief that the name of Trinity Church does not appear in them at all. Very respectfully submitted.
GEORGE W. WALLING, Superintendent.
omce of the Board of Excise, 293 Mulberry Street,
New York, April 2, 1878. John A. Dir, Esq.:
SIR,—Yours of the 18th of March duly received, and I am instructed by the Board of Excise Commissioners to send you the information requested.
I would respectfully state that the official records in this office do not show the granting of any license to parties selling liquor, or saloon keepers, occupying property owned by the Corporation of Trinity Church. By order.
CASPER C. CHILDS, Clerk to the Board.
I might well be pardoned the strongest expression of indignation at these calumnious accusations against Trinity Church; but I withhold it, from the belief that you have published them without any suspicion of their untruth, and that you will cheerfully give the same publicity to their refutation. Respectfully yours,
JOHN A. Dix.