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State of New York

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One of the thirteen colonies of Great Britain, which on 4 July, 1776, adopted the Declaration of Independence and became the United States of America.


The State of New York lies between 40° 29' 40" and 45° 0' 2" N. lat. and between 71° 51' and 79° 45' 54" W. long. It is bounded by Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and the Dominion of Canada on the north; by Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut on the east; by Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the Atlantic Ocean on the south, and by Pennsylvania, Lake Erie, and the Niagara River on the west. It has an area of 49,170 square miles, of which 1550 square miles is water surface. From east to west it is 326.46 miles in width; it is 300 miles long on the line of the Hudson River.


The physical geography of New York is very varied. It includes the high range of the Adirondack Mountains in the northern part. In the southern and eastern part lie important portions of the Appalachian system, of which the principal branches are: the Catskill Mountains on the west bank of the Hudson River below Albany ; the ranges of the Blue Ridge, which cross the Hudson at West Point and form the Litchfield and Berkshire Hills and the Green Mountains on the eastern boundary of the State and in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont, and the foothills of the Alleghanies in the south-western portion. The highest peak in the State is Mount Marcy in the Adirondacks, which has an altitude of 5344 feet. The valley of the Mohawk divides the mountainous district in the eastern part of the State, and forms a natural channel in which the Erie Canal now lies, and which affords easy communication by water and rail between the Great Lakes and the Hudson River valley. On the Niagara River is one of the great cataracts of the world, Niagara Falls, which is a mile wide and 164 feet high. The preservation of its natural beauty has been ensured by the erection of a State Park, which adjoins a similar park established by the Canadian Government.

Geologically, the State of New York is most interesting. The Hudson River valley and the Adirondacks form part of the Archæan continent, which is regarded as the oldest portion of the earth's surface. The Hudson River rises in the Adirondack country. It is navigable for 151 miles, from Troy to the sea. The Palisades of the Hudson are among the most interesting and important examples of basaltic rocks in the world. The principal rivers of the State, besides the great Hudson River and its tributary, the Mohawk, are the Susquehanna River, which rises in Lake Otsego in the central part of the State; the Delaware, which rises on the western slope of the Catskill mountain country, and the Allegheny, which rises in the south-western corner of the State. None of these is of commercial importance within the State of New York, all passing on to form the principal rivers of Pennsylvania. The series of large inland lakes in central New York form a marked feature of its physical geography. They are of great natural beauty, besides being of importance for transportation and commerce, and many of the large cities and towns of the State have grown up on their banks. The land surrounding them and the valleys of the brooks and small rivers which form their feeders and outlets are of remarkable fertility. The forests of the State are extensive. They lie principally in the Adirondack, Catskill, and Blue Ridge country. They are the remnants of the primeval forests that once covered most of the State. The State has established by constitutional provision and statutory enactments an extensive system of forest preserves. They are the Adirondack Preserve, containing approximately 1,500,000 acres, and the Catskill Preserve, containing 110,000 acres. Provision is made by law for increasing their area from year to year. The beautiful valleys of the Hudson and its tributaries extend from the sea into the foothills of the Adirondacks at Lake George. The valley of Lake Champlain on the eastern slope of the Adirondacks adjoins the valley of Lake George, and continues it, except for a divide of about two miles at its beginning, into the Dominion of Canada and the St. Lawrence valley. The great central plain of the State, lying between the mountainous districts of the south and west and the Great Lakes and the Adirondacks and the eastern mountain ranges on the north and east, is renowned for the fertility of its soil and the extent of its manufactures.

The only sea-coast of the State is formed by Long Island, and extends for 130 miles from New York Harbour to Montauk Point, which is nearly opposite the boundary line between the States of Connecticut and Rhode Island. The waters lying between Long Island and the mainland form Long Island Sound, one of the most important waterways of the United States . From the head of navigation on the Hudson River at Troy, a distance of 151 miles from the sea, there extends across the State to Lake Erie one of its great possessions, the Erie Canal, completed in 1825. It is 387 miles long. From Troy to Whitehall at the head of Lake Champlain extends another of the State's great works, the Champlain Canal, establishing water connexion with the St. Lawrence valley on the north. Ample communication by water from the Lake States on the west and from Canada on the north to the Atlantic Ocean at New York Bay is provided by this canal system. There are also three other important interior canals owned by the State, the Oswego, the Cayuga and Seneca, and the Black River canals. In 1909 the goods carried free on these state canals valued nearly sixty million dollars. There is now under construction by the State the Great Barge Canal, which it is estimated will cost more than $60,000,000. It is intended to provide navigation for modern canal barges of 1000 tons from Lake Erie to New York City.

The physical geography of the State has been an important factor in its growth. The easy communication afforded by its great rivers and its convenient waterways has made it the favoured highway for domestic trade and commerce and emigration for more than a century, while its possession of the greatest seaport of the North Atlantic Ocean has made the State the principal gateway for the world's trade with North America. The ice-free and deep-channelled port of New York, lying at the mouth of the Hudson River, with its wide roadsteads and anchorages and vast transportation facilities is indeed the greatest property of the State of New York. The port has a total water front of 444 miles.


The means of communication within the State are admirable.


In 1907 there were 8505 miles of railway and 3950 miles of electric railway tracks. The great railroad of the State is the New York Central system between New York and Buffalo which provides communication between New York City and the principal places in all parts of the United States by its own lines and their direct connexions. The great New England system, the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, besides having its terminal in New York City, crosses the southern part of the State into the coal and iron country of Pennsylvania. It controls also the extensive New York, Ontario, and Western Railroad, extending diagonally across the State from Oswego on Lake Ontario to the Hudson River at Weehawken, opposite New York. The Erie system, in addition to being one of the trunk lines to Chicago, is probably the greatest freight carrier in the Union. Its passenger traffic around New York City is also of great extent. Its terminal is in Jersey City opposite New York. The Delaware and Hudson Railroad extends from its connexion with the Grand Trunk of Canada, at Rouse's Point on Lake Champlain, to Albany, where it forms a connexion with a network of roads extending into many of the important centres of central and western New York. The Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad runs parallel to the southern boundary of the State in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and has its eastern terminal at Hoboken on the Hudson River also opposite New York City. It extends also to the north a most important line from Binghamton to Buffalo, Utica, and Oswego. It is the greatest of the anthracite coal carriers. The Buffalo, Rochester, and Pittsburg Railroad connects the three large cities named in its title, and serves one of the important agricultural, manufacturing, and mining districts of the States of New York and Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Railroad, one of the great national trunk lines, with its Hudson tunnels and its new vast terminal in New York City, is one of the great institutions of New York. Its main lines centre about Philadelphia. It owns and operates in addition to its other properties the entire railroad system of populous Long Island, whose wonderful growth in population and industry seems but a presage of still more extensive development. The Hudson Tunnels under the Hudson River connect the City of New York with the terminals of most of the railroads on the New Jersey side of the Hudson; recently opened (1910) tunnels under the East River bring the Long Island Railroad into direct connexion with the Pennsylvania system, and thus with the rest of the continent. These tunnels are a marvellous achievement in subaqueous construction. The development of the terminals of these trunk lines and of their accessories especially about the port of New York is a great object lesson in the astounding development of the Western Hemisphere in less than eighty years. The first railroad in the State, the Hudson and Mohawk, was built in 1831. It was 17 miles long and ran from Albany to Schenectady on the Mohawk. It was one of the earliest steam railroads in the world.

Water Routes

The communication by water within New York State is not less wonderful. To the ocean navigation that fills the port of New York must be added the traffic on the rivers lakes, and canals of the State and upon Long Island Sound. The prosperous cities and towns which are ranged along the banks of the Hudson River, across the State on the lines of the canals and lakes and rivers, and upon the shores of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River are sustained largely by it.

Wagon Roads

The improved system of State highways, begun in late years, has given modern highways to many of the rural districts and laid out avenues between the cities. It is based upon subventions of highway improvements by means of loans and aids from the State treasury to the various local authorities. The growth of vehicular traffic by electric tramways and by automobiles has greatly promoted this work.


The climate of the State is salubrious, and corresponds generally with that of the north temperate zone. In 1909 -- which was somewhat abnormal, it is true -- the extremes of temperature were 102° above zero maximum and 35° below zero minimum. For 1909 the mean annual temperature of the entire State was 45.8°. The average rainfall throughout the State for the same year was 36.03 inches. New York State is divided by the Department of Agriculture of the United States into three climatological districts: (1) the Hudson, Delaware, and Susquehanna basins, (2) the Allegheny River, and (3) the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence. The great extent of the State causes very variable climatic conditions within its boundaries. In 1909 the mean annual temperature for one part of the Adirondack region was 39° and for the vicinity of New York City 52°. The rainfall during the year 1909 averaged from 18.10 inches in Livingston County to 62.7 inches in Jefferson County. The winters in the Adirondack country, the St. Lawrence, and the Champlain valleys are generally severe, while the Hudson Valley, Long Island and the vicinity of New York City have moderate winters and hot summers.


New York has been since 1820 the most populous state in the Union. The Federal Census returns of 1910 place the population at 9,113,279; the State Census of 1905 placed it at 8,067,308. The City of New York in 1910 comprised 4,766,883 souls. It is one of the centres of the population of the world. In a circle of 680 square miles area with its centre at the Battery (the same area as that of Greater London ) there are dwelling six millions of people, or scarcely a million less than in the London district, which it is to be remembered is not a municipality. This metropolitan district is the most cosmopolitan community in the world. Its urban character is most varied and interesting. One division of it, the City of New York proper, is so large that if divided it would make three cities such as Chicago, Philadelphia, and Pittsburg. Yet nearly a million and a half of people live outside the limits of the city and within the indicated area.

The cities of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, and Troy are the five next in size; according to the census of 1910 they include respectively 423,715, 218,149, 137,249, 100,253, and 76,813 people. In 1905 there were 4821 Indians still on the State Reservations. There were 47 municipalities in New York in 1900 having a population of more than 8000 people, and in them 68.5 per cent of the people dwelt. In 1900 there were 3,614,780 males and 3,654,114 females in the State. There were 99,232 coloured people. 1,900,425 of the population or a little less than one quarter were foreign born. Of these there were 480,026 Germans, 425,553 Irish, 182,248 Italians, 165,610 Russian (mostly Hebrews), and 135,685 English -- to mention only the largest groups. The population of the whole State in 1790 was 340,120 by the first Federal Census. In 120 years it has increased more than twenty-six times.

In 1906, according to the Federal Census Bureau, there were 2,285,768 Roman Catholics in New York, forming 63.6 per cent of the total of 3,591,974 religious communicants or church members in the State of New York. It is the largest religious denomination in the State. However, only 43.7 per cent of the people of the State claimed membership in any church or denomination. In 1906 there were 278 Roman Catholics for each 1000 of the population, a gain of 8.6 per cent over the figures of the census reports of 1890. The number of Protestant Episcopalian communicants at the same date in the State was 24 for each 1000 of the population. In 1906 the Federal Census reports show that in the State of New York the number of churches and halls for worship was 9193, having a seating capacity of 3,191,267. There were also presbyteries valued at $22,283,225. The Sunday schools were 8795 in number and attended by 1,247,051 scholars. The entire value of all church property was $255,166,284, on which the debt was $28,382,866. The Catholic Annual for 1910 shows the following carefully gathered for the dioceses of New York State. All these dioceses, it should be noted, are wholly included within the State boundaries and together comprise the whole State: Dioceses Catholic Population Churches Priests Parochial Schools Young People under Catholic Care

  • New York: 1,219,820 Catholics -- 331 churches -- 929 priests -- 148 parochial schools -- 101,087 young people under Catholic care
  • Albany: 193,525 Catholics -- 171 churches -- 232 priests -- 47 parochial schools -- 20,362 young people under Catholic care
  • Brooklyn: 700,000 Catholics -- 195 churches -- 426 priests -- 76 parochial schools -- 78,567 young people under Catholic care
  • Buffalo: 244,739 Catholics -- 194 churches -- 346 priests -- 111 parochial schools -- 36,405 young people under Catholic care
  • Ogdensburg: 92,000 Catholics -- 154 churches -- 135 priests -- 15 parochial schools -- 4,079 young people under Catholic care
  • Rochester: 121,000 Catholics -- 129 churches -- 163 priests -- 54 parochial schools -- 19,779 young people under Catholic care
  • Syracuse : 151,463 Catholics -- 106 churches -- 119 priests -- 18 parochial schools -- 9,141 young people under Catholic care
  • Totals: 2,722,547 Catholics -- 1280 churches -- 2350 priests -- 469 parochial schools -- 269,420 young people under Catholic care

These Catholic estimates are interesting for the purposes of comparison with those of the official documents, and particularly as being in advance of the results of the Federal Census of 1910, which are now being prepared but cannot be published in detail for some years to come. The present population of the State of New York, according to the census of 1910, is 9,113,279, about one-tenth of the entire population of the United States .


New York is the wealthiest State in the Union. The aggregate value of all the property within the State in 1904, as estimated by the Federal Census Bureau, was $14,769,042,207, of which $9,151,979,081 represented real property and improvements. The revenue of the State Government in 1908-9 was $52,285,239. The City of New York received the enormous revenue of $368,696,334 in 1908, and had in the same year a funded debt of $598,012,644. The resources of the State of New York lie first in its commerce, and then in its manufactures, agriculture, and mining.


In 1908 New York City was the third shipping port of the world, being surpassed only by London and Liverpool. Its imports were of the value of approximately 780 millions and its exports 600 millions. The tonnage movement of foreign trade for the year ending 30 June, 1909, was: entered, 12,528,723 tons; cleared, 11,866,431 tons. The shipping of the inland waters and of the Great Lakes controlled by the State of New York is of equally vast extent. Buffalo, with a population of over 400,000, receives in its port on Lake Erie a large portion of the shipping trade of Canada and of the Lake States of the Union. The other ports of Lakes Erie and Ontario are similarly prosperous.


New York is the leading State of the Union in manufactures. In 1905 it had invested in manufactures more than $2,000,000,000, and the value of its manufactures products was approximately $2,500,000,000. In the same year it produced 47 per cent of the men's and 70 per cent of the women's clothes made in the United States. The value of its textile output in the same year was $114,371,226.


In 1900 there were in New Yor 226,720 farms of a total area of 22,648,100 acres, of which 15,599,986 acres were improved land. The principle crops are maize, wheat, oats, potatoes, and hay. The wool clip in 1908 was estimated at 5,100,000 pounds. The largest dairy interests in the United States are within the State of New York.


The mines of the state in 1908 yielded products valued at $45,609,861; the quarries produced building stone valued at $6,137,279. The Onondaga salt springs produced in the same year products of the value of $2,136,738, while the petroleum wells yielded $2,071,533 worth of crude petroleum.


The State of New York has no funded debt except for canals and highways. Its outstanding bonds for these purposes on 30 September, 1909, aggregated $41,230,660. It has no direct taxation. It has a surplus in its treasury. The assessed valuation of the taxable property within the State for 1909 was just short of $10,000,000,000. The title of "Empire State", given to New York by common consent, is well deserved.


The public educational system of New York is extensive and arranged upon broad plans. It is governed by a general revised statute of more than 2000 sections called "Education Law", adopted in 1910. This law provides for a central organization called the "Education Department" composed of the regents of the University of the State of New York, who are the legislative branch, and the Commissioner of Education, who is made the chief executive officer of the system and of the regents. The work of the Educational Department is divided into three parts, the common schools, the academic or secondary schools, and the colleges and universities. The head of the regents of the university is the chancellor. Executive control, however, is entrusted to the commissioner of education, who, with his assistants and subordinates, has charge of the enormous details of the entire educational system of the State under the legislative control of the regents and the direction of the statutes of the State passed by the legislature. The colleges and universities of the State are separate corporations, formed either by the regents or by special statutes. They are under either private or municipal control. There is no State university as such, although Cornell University has been given many of the privileges and State aids usually granted to such an institution. These corporations are subject, however, to the provisions of the Education Law and the jurisdiction of the Education Department. The academies or secondary schools are also either private or public. The public secondary schools are directly in charge of the school boards and boards of education of the various divisions of the State. The private academies may enroll themselves under the Department of Education, and receive the privileges of the public academies in respect to examinations and certificates from the Education Department. There is, however, no legal compulsion put upon them in this respect. The common schools of the State are divided generally into those which are controlled by the local boards of education in the cities and more populous centres, and those which are controlled by the local school officers elected by the people in the school districts in other parts of the State. Woman suffrage is granted in school officers' elections. In the great cities of the State the common and secondary schools are usually placed in charge of school boards and officers provided for in the city charters, which are in the form of statutes enacted by the legislature.

In New York City is situated the large college known as the College of the City of New York, maintained at public expense. It has the most extensive buildings for educational purposes in the city and an enrolment of more than 3736 pupils. On the Hudson, at West Point, is situated the famous United States Military Academy for the training of officers for the army. It is entirely under Federal control through the War Department, and has 525 cadets in attendance. The professional schools of the State of all classes are controlled by the Education Department under stringent provisions. Admission to the secular professions generally is granted by State certificates awarded after rigid examinations by State examining boards. The schools for the training of teachers are also either under departmental control or, in the more populous centres, under the control of the several boards of education of the localities. Primary education is compulsory between the ages of seven and sixteen years. The state does not interfere, however, with the liberty of choice of schools by parents. No discrimination is made against parochial and private schools, which have enrolled themselves with the Education Department: they receive, however, no public financial aid, if the small grant made by the Department to defray the cost of examinations in the enrolled secondary schools be excepted.

In 1908 there were 1,841,638 children between five and eighteen years of age in New York State; there were 1,273,754 pupils and 36,132 teachers in the public schools. The academies or secondary schools of the State had 95,170 pupils and 1523 teachers; the colleges and universities 22,097 students and 2699 teachers. There were 12,068 public school buildings, 144 public secondary schools or academies, and 30 colleges and universities. The appropriation of public moneys for educational purposes in New York State for the year 1907 was $71,838,172. The City of New York alone paid in 1909 for public school education $36,319,624. Its schools contained 730,234 pupils and had 17,073 teachers and directors. The public statistics of the Department of Education of New York available show that 451 parochial schools, besides numerous academies and colleges, were conducted under the auspices of the Catholic Church in New York in 1908. The number of pupils in the Catholic educational institutions of the State cannot be ascertained with certainty. A large number of Catholic schools and academies make no public reports, but it is conservatively estimated that 210,000 pupils were in the Catholic schools in 1908. The State Education Department reported that in 1907, 179,677 pupils were registered as in the Roman Catholic Elementary Schools alone. The Catholic Annual of 1910 estimates the number of young people under Catholic care including the orphans and other inmates of charitable institutions as 269,420.

There are many excellent high schools and academies in the State conducted by the Catholic teaching orders of men and women and by secular priests and laymen. The colleges under Catholic auspices are: Fordham University, St. Francis Xavier College, Manhattan College, Brooklyn College, St. Francis College, St. John's College, Brooklyn -- all in New York City; Canisius College at Buffalo, Niagara University at Niagara Falls, and the College of New Rochelle, a flourishing college for women in charge of the Ursuline Nuns. All of these institutions are under the jurisdiction of the Education Department of the State of New York. In 1894 there was inserted in the Constitution of the State a provision that neither the State nor any subdivision thereof should use its property or credit or any public money or authorise or permit either to be used directly or indirectly in aid or maintenance other than for examination or inspection of any school or institution of learning wholly or in part under the control or direction of any religious denomination or in which any denominational tenet or doctrine is taught. The Catholic seminaries for the education of priests are flourishing. The great novitiates of the Jesuits, Redemptorists, and Christian Brothers, and several others maintained by various religious orders, are in the Hudson Valley, south of Albany. The seminary of the Archdiocese of New York at Dunwoodie, Westchester County, which is the monument of the late Archbishop Corrigan, is one of the leading seminaries of the United States. The diocesan seminaries of St. John's at Brooklyn, St. Bernard's at Rochester and the Seminary of Our Lady of Angels, conducted by the priests of the Mission at Niagara Falls, in the Diocese of Buffalo , are of the highest standing for scholarship and training.


The militia of the State, which is composed exclusively of volunteers, numbers 17,038 trained officers and men in all the arms of the military service. It is intended to form the nucleus of a military force in time of need by training volunteer citizen-soldiers in the military art. It is most liberally supported by the State and most carefully trained in co-operation with the Federal Government.


The libraries of the State are numerous and important. The Education Department maintains a generous system for the establishment of libraries and provides generous State aid for their support. The great library of the State is the New York Public Library in the City of New York, which in 1909 owned 1,549,260 books and 295,078 pamphlets, in all 1,844,338 volumes. It will soon (in 1911) occupy the magnificent building erected by the City of New York in Bryant Square at Fifth Avenue and Forty-second Street, which has just been completed. It is largely endowed by the testamentary gifts of John Jacob Astor, James Lenox, and Samuel J. Tilden, and receives aid from the City Treasury.


The territory which now forms the State of New York may, as regards its history, be divided into two parts. The first part includes the Hudson River valley, the valley of the Mohawk, the land around Newark Bay and New York Harbour, and the western end of Long Island -- which, speaking generally, were, together with the sparse Delaware River settlements, the only portions of New Netherland actually occupied by the Dutch when the province was granted by the English Crown to the Duke of York in 1664. The second part comprises the rest of the State excluding eastern Long Island: this was the Indian country, the home of the Iroquois and the other tribes forming the Five Nations, now mostly remembered from the old romances, but a savage and fierce reality to the Dutch and English colonists. As late as 1756 there were only two counties to be found in the entire province west of the Hudson River. Interposed between the French and the Dutch (and afterwards the English), and brought from time to time into their quarrels for supremacy, the Indians kept the land between the Great Lakes, the Hudson, and the St. Lawrence truly "a dark and bloody ground" until the end of the eighteenth century, when, as part of the military operations of the Revolution, the expedition of the American forces, sent by Washington under command of General John Sullivan, finally broke their power at the Battle of Newton near Elmira in 1779.

Although their military power was thus destroyed, the Indians still remained a menace to the settlers in remoter districts for many years. Gradually, however, their opposition was overcome, and they finally became the wards of the State, living on reservations set apart for their exclusive occupancy. A remnant of them (4821 in the year 1905) still survives. Early in the nineteenth century large grants of land began to be made by the State at small prices to land companies and promoters for the purpose of fostering occupation by settlers. Systematic colonization was immediately undertaken, and a large emigration from Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Dutch settlements in the Hudson Valley began to flow into the Iroquois country. This continued prosperously, but not rapidly until De Witt Clinton, one of the great figures in the history of New York, upon his taking the office of Governor in 1818, pressed forward vigorously the long-standing plans for the construction and completion of the great artificial waterways of the State, the Erie and the Champlain canals. European immigration then became essential to supply the labour needed for the success of these plans. Stalwart men and women flocked from the British Islands and Germany in astounding numbers, and in forty years the population of New York City increased more than six times (from 33,131 in 1790 to 202,589 in 1830). The labouring men, who worked outside the cities on the public works, with their families became settlers in the villages and towns that grew up along the canals. The general prosperity which succeeded the successful completion of these works and their operation, and the consequent enormous development of the State's resources, drew others into the territory. The population of the State of New York itself increased from 340,120 in 1790 to 1,918,608 in 1830.

The European immigration thus begun included of course a large proportion of Catholics. Bishop Dubois estimated that in 1830 there were 35,000 Catholics in New York City and 150,000 throughout the rest of the State and in northern New Jersey, made up chiefly of poor emigrants. The Irish element was very large, and the first Catholic congregations in New York were in some cases almost wholly Irish. To them soon came their devoted missionary priests to minister to them in the Faith which had survived among their race and grown even brighter in the night of the iniquitous penal days, which had then but just begun to pass away. The State of New York, because of the uncertain boundaries of the old Dutch province of New Netherland, at first laid claim to the country which now comprises the State of Vermont, and also to part of the land now lying in western Massachusetts and Connecticut. These claims were settled by mutual agreement in due course and the boundaries were fixed. The State of Vermont thereupon became the fourteenth State of the Union in 1791, being the first admitted after the adoption of the United States Constitution in 1789. The first complete State Constitution framed after the Revolution was that of New York. It was adopted on 20 April, 1777, at Kingston on the Hudson. John Jay, George Clinton, and Alexander Hamilton were its principal framers. The City of New York became the capital of the State after the Revolution, as it had been the capital of the Province of New York before. Upon the adoption of the United States Constitution in 1789 it became the capital of the United States. President Washington was inaugurated there at Federal Hall at the head of Broad Street, the first capital of the United States . His house stood at the foot of Broadway. Its site is now occupied by the Washington Building. In 1790 the capital of the United States was removed to Philadelphia, and in 1797 the capital of the State was removed to Albany where it has since remained. Since 1820 the City of New York has been the commercial and financial centre of the continent of North America.


On 8 April, 1808, the Holy See created the Diocese of New York coincidently with the establishment of the American Hierarchy by the erection of Baltimore to be an Archiepiscopal See with New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Bardstown (now Louisville ) as suffragan sees. Doctor Richard Luke Concanen, an Irish Dominican resident in Rome, was appointed first Bishop of New York, but died at Naples in 1809, while awaiting an opportunity to elude Napoleon Bonaparte's embargo and set out for his see. After a delay of six years his successor Bishop John Connolly, also a Dominican, arrived at New York in November, 1815, and ministered as the first resident bishop to his scattered congregations of 17,000 souls (whom he describes as "mostly Irish ") in union with the four priests, who were all he had to help him throughout his immense diocese. He died on 5 February, 1825, after a devoted and self-sacrificing episcopate, and is buried under the altar of the new St. Patrick's Cathedral. During the vacancy of the see, preceding the arrival of Bishop Connolly (1808-15), the diocesan affairs were administered by Father Anthony Kohlmann. He rebuilt St. Peter's church in Barclay Street, and in 1809 bought the site of old St. Patrick's Cathedral in Mott Street, the building of which he finished in 1815. He also bought in 1809 the land and old residence in the large block on Fifth Avenue at Fiftieth Street -- part of which is the site of the present St. Patrick's Cathedral -- and there established a flourishing boys' school called the New York Literary Institution.

In 1822 the diocesan statistics were: two churches in New York City, one in Albany, one in Utica, one in Auburn, one at Carthage on the Black River, all of which were served by one bishop and eight priests. Bishop Connolly was succeeded on 29 October, 1826, by John Dubois a Frenchman who had been a fellow student of Robespierre and was one of the émigré priests of the French Revolution. He was one of the founders of Mount St. Mary's, Emmitsburg, Maryland -- "the mother of priests ", as it has been called -- and passed through the cholera epidemic of 1832, when 3000 people died in the City of New York between July and October. He increased the churches and brought to his diocese zealous priests. It is noteworthy that he ordained to the priesthood at St. Patrick's in June, 1836, the Venerable John N. Neuman (q.v.), afterwards the saintly Bishop of Philadelphia. After a life of arduous labour, trial, and anxiety both as a missionary, an educator, and a pioneer bishop, his health broke down, and he was granted in 1837 as coadjutor John Hughes, who justly bears the most distinguished name in the annals of the American hierarchy even to this day. Bishop Hughes was consecrated on 9 February, 1838. A stroke of paralysis attacked the venerable Bishop Dubois almost immediately afterwards, and he was an invalid until his death on 20 December, 1842, whereupon he was succeeded by his coadjutor as Bishop of New York. In April, 1847, the Sees of Albany and Buffalo were created. Bishop John McCloskey (q.v.), afterwards the first American cardinal, who was then Coadjutor Bishop of New York, was transferred to Albany, and Reverend John Timon, Superior of the Congregation of the Mission, was made Bishop of Buffalo. In October, 1850, the Diocese of New York was erected into an Archiepiscopal See with the Sees of Boston, Hartford, Albany, and Buffalo as its suffragans. Archbishop Hughes sailed for Rome in the following month, and received the pallium from the hands of Pius IX himself.

The career of Archbishop Hughes and the history of his archdiocese and its suffragan sees are fully treated under their appropriate titles, and need not be discussed here. The life of Archbishop Hughes marked the great formative period in the history of the pioneer Church in New York. His great work in the cause of education, in the establishment of the parochial schools, the establishment of the great teaching and other religious orders, and the erection of seminaries and colleges for the training of candidates for the priesthood, as well as in the solution of the tremendous problems connected with the building up of the churches and charities and the preservation of the Faith, had a profound effect upon the attitude of the State of New York towards religious institutions and persons and ecclesiastical affairs. The Knownothing movement of the fifties (see KNOWNOTHINGISM) was profoundly felt in New York, but the number and importance of the Catholic population protected them from the cowardly assaults made upon the Catholics in other places. The presence of Archbishop Hughes was ever a tower of strength in the conflict and in producing the overwhelming defeat which this un-American movement met. The only effect of this sectarian agitation upon the legislation of the State was the passage in 1855 of a plainly unconstitutional statute which sought to prevent Catholic bishops from holding title to property in trust for churches or congregations. It proved of no avail whatever. In 1862, after the Civil War began, it was quietly repealed.

In 1853 the Dioceses of Brooklyn in New York and of Newark in New Jersey were established, the first Bishop of Brooklyn being Reverend John Loughlin and the first Bishop of Newark Reverend James Roosevelt Bayley, who later became Archbishop of Baltimore. In 1868 the Diocese of Rochester was separated from Albany, and the venerable and beloved apostle of Catholicism in North-western New York, Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid (q.v.), appointed its first bishop.

In 1872 the Diocese of Ogdensburg was created, and in November, 1886, the youngest diocese of the State, Syracuse. It is unnecessary to sketch further here the history of Catholicism in New York State during the incumbency of the archiepiscopal office by Cardinal McCloskey, Archbishop Hughes's successor, and that of his successor Archbishop Corrigan, or of his Grace, John M. Farley, its present archbishop. It is sufficient to record the continual progress in the advancement of Catholic interests, in the building up of the Church, and in adjusting its activities to the needs of the people.


The Catholics of New York State have produced their full proportion of persons of distinction in the professions, commercial, political, and social life. Of the ninety-seven justices who now sit in the Supreme Court seventeen are of the Catholic faith. Among the justices of the lower courts are many Catholics. Since 1880 three mayors of New York City (Messrs. Grace, Grant, and Gilroy) have been Catholics. Francis Kernan was United States Senator for New York from 1876-82. Denis O'Brien closed a distinguished career as Judge of the Court of Appeals, the court of lest resort, by his retirement for age in 1908 after a continuous service of eighteen years. The first Catholic Justice of the Supreme Court was John R. Brady, elected in 1859, and loyal sons of the Church have been on that bench ever since. Mayors of the great cities of the State, senators, assemblyman, State officers and representatives in Congress, and a multitude of other public officers have been chosen from the Catholic citizenship ever since the beginning of the nineteenth century and have rendered distinguished service to the State. For many years the two brilliant leaders of the New York Bar were Charles O'Conor and James T. Brady, sons of Irish Catholic emigrants. In medicine Gunning S. Bedford and Thomas Addis Emmet kept for many years the Catholic name at the top of the profession, and they have now worthy successors. In the great public works and industries of the State Catholics have had more than their share of the labour and its rewards. In the commercial life of New York some of the largest fortunes have been honourably gathered by Catholic men, who have been most generous to the religious and charitable works of the State.


The State of New York has a constitutional government. It was the model of that of the United States of America . The union of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government under a written constitution is its principle. Its executive head is the governor. The legislature has two houses, the Senate and Assembly, which meet annually at Albany, the State capital. Its courts are composed principally of a Court of Appeals (the highest court) and the Supreme Court, which is divided into four Appellate Divisions, and numerous courts of first instance, divided into districts throughout the State. There are many minor and local courts supplementing the Supreme Court.

The State of New York has always been foremost in the pursuit of freedom of worship and religious toleration . It is true, however that her first Constitution in 1777 excluded all priests and ministers of the Gospel from her legislature and offices, and put a prohibitory religious test upon foreign-born Catholics who applied for citizenship. Herein we find an echo of the bitter intolerance of the eighteenth century, which was strongly opposed in the Convention. The naturalization disability disappeared very soon on the adoption of the Federal Constitution in 1789, and, by subsequent constitutional amendments, all these remnants of ancient bigotry were formally abolished. It is remarkable to find John Jay, otherwise most earnest in the fight for civil liberty, the leader in these efforts to impose religions tests and restraints of liberty of conscience upon his Catholic fellow-citizens. This Constitution, nevertheless, proclaimed general religious liberty in unmistakable terms. The provision is as follows: "The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship without discrimination or preference shall forever hereafter be allowed within this State to all mankind provided that the liberty of conscience hereby granted shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this State."

The statutes of the State which permitted the formation of religious corporations without restraint, and gave to them when formed, freedom to hold property and conduct their affairs unhampered by the civil power, are contemporaneous with the restoration of order within its borders after the British evacuation in November,

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