Philip Wallys boyhood memories of his visit to New York offers a peak into social conditions in the city during the middle of the 19th Century.
“I thought New York was a great city, where men
wore their Sunday clothes every day, and were free-
and-easy-happy-fellows-with-gigs, like my uncle Tom ;
and, of course, I wanted to go and see it.” — Philip Wallys
Wallys is soon to be disabused of this notion!
“Perhaps these men and women have a good time—
but I think I would rather be one of the dogs.
You will see, too, men and women going about
the streets — and they start early, too — with sacks
on their shoulders, and an iron hook in their hands
they poke into any pile of rubbish or filth, and hook
out anything that has value.”
“Mahometans are forbidden to drink wine and brandy,
and New Yorkers are not ; and that there are not
eleven hundred grog-shops in one ward in Constantinople,
as there are in New York. It is also true,
that in Turkey people are not so craving to get
rich as in New York ; and are not tempted to steal
from the time they are born.”
- Wallys, Philip. About New York :an account of what a boy saw in his visit to the city. New York : Dix, Edwards & Co., 1857.
- Persistent Link:
- Widener Library
- Harvard University