The City of New York is governed by a Mayor, a Board of Aldermen and a Board of Common Councilmen. The Mayor has been stripped by the Legislature of the State of almost every power or attribute of power, and is to-day merely an ornamental figure-head to the City government. The real power lies in the Boards named above, and in the various "Commissioners" appointed by the Legislature. These are the Commissioners in charge of the streets, the Croton Aqueduct, Public Charities and Corrections, the Police and Fire Departments.

We do not seek to lay the blame for the mismanagement and infamy of the government of this City on any party or parties. It is a fact that affairs here are sadly mismanaged, whoever may be at fault.

In place of any statements of our own concerning this branch of our subject, we ask the reader's attention to the following extracts from a pamphlet recently published by Mr. James Parton. He says:

The twenty-four Councilmen who have provided themselves with such ample assistance at such costly accommodation are mostly very young men, - the majority appear to be under thirty. Does the reader remember the pleasant description given by Mr. Hawthorne of the sprightly young bar- keeper who rainbows the glittering drink so dexterously from one tumbler to another? That sprightly young barkeeper might stand as the type of the young men composing this board. There are respectable men in the body. There are six who have never knowingly cast an improper vote. There is one respectable physician, three lawyers, ten mechanics, and only four who acknowledge to be dealers in liquors. But there is a certain air about most of these young Councilmen which, in the eyes of a New-Yorker, stamps them as belonging to what has been styled of late years "our ruling class," - butcher-boys who have got into politics, bar-keepers who have taken a leading part in primary ward meetings, and young fellows who hang about engine-houses and billiard-rooms. A stranger would naturally expect to find in such a board men who have shown ability and acquired distinction in private business. We say, again, that there are honest and estimable men in the body; but we also assert, that there is not an individual in it who has attained any considerable rank in the vocation which he professes. If we were to print the list here, not a name would be generally recognized. Honest Christopher Pullman, for example, who leads the honest minority of six that vainly oppose every scheme of plunder, is a young man of twenty-seven, just beginning business as a cabinet maker. Honest William B. White, another of the six, is the manager of a printing office. Honest Stephen Roberts is a sturdy smith, who has a shop near a wharf for repairing the iron work of ships. Morris A. Tyng, another of the honest six, is a young lawyer getting into practice. We make no remark upon these facts, being only desirous to show the business standing of the men to whom the citizens of New York have confided the spending of sundry millions per annum. The majority of this board are about equal, in point of experience and ability, to the management of an oyster stand in a market. Such expressions as 'them laws,' 'sot the table,' '71st rigiment,' and 'them arguments is played out,' may be heard on almost any Monday or Thursday afternoon, between two and three o'clock, in this sumptuous chamber.

But what most strikes and puzzles the stranger is the crowd of spectators outside the railing. It is the rogues' gallery come to life, with here and there an honest looking laborer wearing the garments of his calling. We attended six sessions of this 'honorable body,' and on every occasion there was the same kind of crowd looking on, who sat the session out. Frequently we observed looks and words of recognition pass between the members and this curious audience; and, once, we saw a member gayly toss a paper of tobacco to one of them, who caught it with pleasing dexterity. We are unable to explain the regular presence of this great number of the unornamental portion of our fellow-beings, since we could never see any indications that any of the crowd had an interest in the proceedings. As the debates are never reported by any one of the seventeen reporters who are paid two hundred dollars a year for not doing it, and as the educated portion of the community never attend the sessions, this board sits, practically, with closed doors. Their schemes are both conceived and executed in secresy, though the door is open to all who wish to enter. This is the more surprising, because almost every session of the board furnishes the material for a report, which an able and public-spirited journalist would gladly buy at the highest price paid for such work in any city.

Debates is a ludicrous word to apply to the proceedings of the Councilmen. Most of the business done by them is pushed through without the slightest discussion, and is of such a nature that members cannot be prepared to discuss it. The most reckless haste marks every part of the performance. A member proposes that certain lots be provided with curbstones; another, that a free drinking hydrant be placed on a certain corner five miles up town; and another, that certain blocks of a distant street be paved with Belgian pavement. Respecting the utility of these works, members generally know nothing and can say nothing; nor are they proper objects of legislation. The resolutions are adopted, usually, without a word of explanation, and at a speed that must be seen to be appreciated. 
       * * * * *

At almost every session we witnessed scenes like the following: A member proposed to lease a certain building for a city court at two thousand dollars a year for ten years. Honest Christopher Pullman, a faithful and laborious public servant, objected, on one or two grounds; first, rents being unnaturally high, owing to several well known and temporary causes, it would be unjust to the city to fix the rent at present rates for so long a period; secondly, he had been himself to see the building, had taken pains to inform himself as to its value, and was prepared to prove that twelve hundred dollars a year was a proper rent for it even at the inflated rates. He made this statement with excellent brevity, moderation, and good temper, and concluded by moving that the term be two instead of ten years. A robust young man, with a bull neck and of ungrammatical habits, said, in a tone of impatient disdain, that the landlord of the building had 'refused' fifteen hundred dollars a year for it. 'Question!' 'Question!' shouted half a dozen angry voices, the question was instantly put, when a perfect war of noes voted down Mr. Pullman's amendment. Another hearty chorus of ayes consummated the iniquity. In all such affairs, the visitor notices a kind of 'ungovernable propensity to vote for spending money, and a prompt disgust at any obstacle raised or objection made. The bull-necked Councilman of uncertain grammar evidently felt that Mr. Pullman's modest interference on behalf of the tax-payer was a most gross impertinence. He felt himself an injured being, and his companions shared his indignation.

We proceed to another and better specimen. A resolution was introduced, appropriating four thousand dollars for the purpose of presenting stands of colors to five regiments of city militia, which were named, each stand to cost eight hundred dollars. Mr. Pullman, as usual, objected, and we beg the reader to mark his objections. He said that he was a member of the committee which had reported the resolution, but he had never heard of it till that moment; the scheme had been 'sprung' upon him. The chairman of the committee replied to this, that, since the other regiments had had colors given them by the city, he did not suppose that any one could object to these remaining five receiving the same compliment, and therefore he had not thought it worth while to summon the gentleman. 'Besides,' said he, 'it is a small matter anyhow'; - by which he evidently meant to intimate that the objector was a very small person. To this last remark, a member replied, that he did not consider four thousand dollars so very small a matter. 'Anyhow,' he added, 'we oughter save the city every dollar we kin.' Mr. Pullman resumed. He stated that the Legislature of the State, several months before, had voted a stand of colors to each infantry regiment in the State; that the distribution of these colors had already begun; that the five regiments would soon receive them; and that, consequently, there was no need of their having the colors which it was now proposed to give them. A member roughly replied, that the colors voted by the State Legislature were mere painted banners, 'of no account.' Mr. Pullman denied this. 'I am,' said he, 'captain in one of our city regiments. Two weeks ago we received our colors. I have seen, felt, examined, and marched under them; and I can testify that they are of great beauty, and excellent quality, made by Tiffany and Company, a firm of the first standing in the city.' He proceeded to describe the colors as being made of the best silk, and decorated in the most elegant manner. He further objected to the price proposed to be given for the colors. He declared that, from his connection with the militia, he had become acquainted with the value of such articles, and he could procure colors of the best kind ever used in the service for three hundred and seventy five dollars. The price named in the resolution was, therefore, most excessive. Upon this, another member rose and said, in a peculiarly offensive manner, that it would be two years before Tiffany and Company had made all the colors, and some of the regiments would have to wait all that time. 'The other regiments,' said he, 'have had colors presented by the City, and I don't see why we should show partiality.' Whereupon Mr. Pullman informed the board that the City regiments would all be supplied in a few weeks; and, even if they did have to wait awhile, it was of no consequence, for they all had very good colors already. Honest Stephen Roberts then rose, and said that this was a subject with which he was not acquainted, but that if no one could refute what Mr. Pullman had said, he should be obliged to vote against the resolution.

Then there was a pause. The cry of 'Question!' was heard. The ayes and noes were called. The resolution was carried by eighteen to five. The learned suppose that one half of this stolen four thousand dollars was expended upon the colors, and the other half divided among about forty persons. It is conjectured that each member of the Councilmen's Ring, which consists of thirteen, received about forty dollars for his vote on this occasion. This sum, added to his pay, which is twenty dollars per session, made a tolerable afternoon's work.

Any one witnessing this scene would certainly have supposed that now the militia regiments of the City of New York were provided with colors. What was our surprise to hear, a few days after, a member gravely propose to appropriate eight hundred dollars for the purpose of presenting the Ninth Regiment of New York Infantry with a stand of colors. Mr. Pullman repeated his objections, and recounted anew the generosity of the State Legislature. The eighteen, without a word of reply, voted for the grant as before. It so chanced that, on our way up Broadway, an hour after, we met that very regiment marching down with its colors flying; and we observed that those colors were nearly new. Indeed, there is such a propensity in the public to present colors to popular regiments, that some of them have as many as five stands, of various degrees of splendor. There is nothing about which Councilmen need feel so little anxiety as a deficiency in the supply of regimental colors. When, at last, these extravagant banners voted by the Corporation are presented to the regiments, a new scene of plunder is exhibited. The officers of the favored regiment are invited to a room in the basement of the City Hall, where City officials assist them to consume three hundred dollars' worth of champagne, sandwiches, and cold chicken - paid for out of the City treasury - while the privates of the regiment await the return of their officers in the unshaded portion of the adjacent park.

It is a favorite trick with these Councilmen, as of all politicians, to devise measures, the passage of which will gratify large bodies of voters. This is one of the advantages proposed to be gained by the presentation of colors to regiments; and the same system is pursued with regard to churches and societies. At every one of the six sessions of the Councilmen which we attended; resolutions were introduced to give away the people's money to wealthy organizations. A church, for example, is assessed a thousand dollars for the construction of a sewer, which enhances the value of the church property by at least the amount of the assessment. Straightway, a member from that neighborhood proposes to console the stricken church with a "donation" of a thousand dollars, to enable it to pay the assessment; and as this is a proposition to vote money, it is carried as a matter of course. We select from our notes only one of these donating scenes. A member proposed to give two thousand dollars to a certain industrial school, - the favorite charity of the present time, to which all the benevolent most willingly subscribe. Vigilant Christopher Pullman reminded the board that it was now unlawful for the Corporation to vote money for any object not specified in the tax levy as finally sanctioned by the Legislature. He read the section of the Act which forbade it. He further showed, from a statement by the Comptroller, that there was no money left at their disposal for any miscellaneous objects, since the appropriation for 'City contingencies' was exhausted. The only reply to his remarks, was the instant passage of the resolution by eighteen to five. By what artifice the law is likely to be evaded in such cases, we may show further on. In all probability, the industrial school, in the course of the year, will receive a fraction of this money - perhaps even so large, a fraction as one half. It may be that, ere now, some obliging person about the City Hall has offered to buy the claim for a thousand dollars, and take the risk of the hocus-pocus necessary for getting it - which to him is no risk at all.

It was proposed, on another occasion, to raise the fees of the Inspectors of weights and measures - who received fifty cents for inspecting a pair of platform scales, and smaller sums for scales and measures of less importance. Here was a subject upon which honest Stephen Roberts, whose shop is in a street where scales and measures abound, was entirely at home. He showed, in his sturdy and strenuous manner, that, at the rates then established, an active man could make two hundred dollars a day. 'Why,' said he, 'a man can inspect, and does inspect, fifty platform scales in an hour,' The cry of 'Question!' arose. The question was put, and the usual loud chorus of ayes followed.

As it requires a three-fourths vote to grant money - that is, eighteen members - it is sometimes impossible for the King to get that number together. There is a mode of preventing the absence, or the opposition of members, from defeating favorite schemes. It is by way of "reconsideration." The time was, when a measure distinctly voted down by a lawful majority, was dead. But, by this expedient, the voting down of a measure is only equivalent to its postponement to a more favorable occasion. The moment the chairman pronounces a resolution lost, the member who has it in charge moves a reconsideration; and, as a reconsideration only requires the vote of a majority, this is invariably carried. By a rule of the Board, a reconsideration carries a measure over to a future meeting - to any future meeting which may afford a prospect of its passage. The member who is engineering it watches his chance, labors with faltering members out of doors, and, as often as he thinks he can carry it, calls it up again - until, at last, the requisite eighteen are obtained. It has frequently happened, that a member has kept a measure in a state of reconsideration for months at a time, waiting for the happy moment to arrive. There was a robust young Councilman, who had a benevolent project in charge of paying nine hundred dollars for a hackney-coach and two horses, which a drunken driver drove over the dock into the river, one cold night last winter. There was some disagreement in the Ring on this measure, and the robust youth was compelled to move for many reconsiderations. So, also, it was long before the wires could be all arranged to admit of the appointment of a 'messenger' to the City Librarian, who has perhaps less to do than any man in New York who is paid eighteen hundred dollars a year; but perseverance meets its reward. We hear that this messenger is now smoking in the City Hall at a salary of fifteen hundred dollars.

There is a manoeuvre, also, for preventing the attendance of obnoxious, obstructive members, like the honest six, which is ingenious and effective. A 'special meeting' is called. The law declares that notice of a special meeting must be left at the residence or the place of business of every member. Mr. Roberts's residence and Mr. Roberts's place of business are eight miles apart, and he leaves his home for the day before nine in the morning. If Mr. Roberts's presence at a special meeting, at 2 P. M., is desired, the notice is left at his shop in the morning. If it is not desired, the notice is sent to his house in Harlem, after he has left it. Mr. Pullman, cabinet-maker, leaves his shop at noon, goes home to dinner, and returns soon after one. If his presence at the special meeting at 2 P. M. is desired, the notice is left at his house the evening before, or at his shop in the morning. If his presence is not desired, the notice is left at his shop a few minutes after twelve, or at his house a few minutes past one. In either case, he receives the notice too late to reach the City Hall in time. We were present in the Councilman's Chamber when Mr. Pullman stated this inconvenience, assuming that it was accidental, and offered an amendment to the rule, requiring notice to be left five hours before the time named for the meeting. Mr. Roberts also gave his experience in the matter of notices, and both gentlemen spoke with perfect moderation and good temper. We wish we could convey to our readers an idea of the brutal insolence with which Mr. Pullman, on this occasion, was snubbed and defrauded by a young bar-keeper who chanced to be in the chair. But this would be impossible without relating the scene at very great length. The amendment proposed was voted down, with that peculiar roar of noes which is always heard in that chamber when some honest man attempts to put an obstacle in the way of the free plunder of his fellow-citizens.

These half-fledged legislators are acquainted with the device known by the name of the 'previous question.' We witnessed a striking proof of this. One of the most audacious and insolent of the Ring introduced a resolution, vaguely worded, the object of which was to annul an old paving contract, that would not pay at the present cost of labor and materials, and to authorize a new contract at higher rates. Before the clerk had finished reading the resolution, honest Stephen Roberts sprang to his feet, and, unrolling a remonstrance with several yards of signatures appended to it, stood, with his eye upon the chairman, ready to present it the moment the reading was concluded. This remonstrance, be it observed, was signed by a majority of the property-owners interested, the men who would be assessed to pay for one half of the proposed pavement. Fancy the impetuous Roberts, with the document held aloft, the yards of signatures streaming down to his feet and flowing far under his desk, awaiting the time when it would be in order for him to cry out, 'Mr. President.' The reading ceased. Two voices were heard, shouting 'Mr. President.' It was not to Mr. Roberts that an impartial chairman could assign the floor. The member 'who introduced the resolution was the one who 'caught the speaker's eye,' and that member, forewarned of Mr. Roberts's intention, moved the previous question. It was in vain that Mr. Roberts shouted 'Mr. President.' It was in vain that he fluttered and rattled his streaming ribbon of blotted paper. The President could not hear a word of any kind until a vote had been taken upon the question whether the main question should be now put. That question was carried in the affirmative, by a chorus of ayes, so exactly timed that it was like the voice of one man. Then the main question was put, and it was carried by another emphatic and simultaneous shout.

                     POLITICAL BLACK MAIL.

Mr. Parton thus briefly exposes the system of political black mail practiced in the City government:

The plunder of the persons who are so unfortunate as to serve the public, and of those who aspire to serve the public, is systematic, and nearly universal. Our inquiries into this branch of the subject lead us to conclude that there are very few salaries paid from the city or county treasury which do not yield an annual per centage to some one of the 'head-centres' of corruption. The manner in which this kind of spoliation is sometimes effected may be gathered from a narrative which we received from the lips of one of the few learned and estimable men whom the system of electing judges by the people has left upon the bench in the City of New York. Four years ago, when the inflation of the currency had so enhanced the price of all commodities that there was, of necessity, a general increase of salaries, public and private, there was talk of raising the salaries of the fourteen judges, who were most absurdly underpaid even when a dollar in paper and a dollar in gold were the same thing. Some of the judges were severely pinched in attempting to make six thousand half-dollars do the work which six thousand whole ones had accomplished with difficulty; and none, perhaps, more severely than the excellent and hospitable judge whose experience we are about to relate. A person known by him to be in the confidence of leading men about the City Hall called, upon him one day, and informed him that it was in contemplation to raise the salaries of all the judges $2,000 per annum. The judge observed that he was much relieved to hear it, for he had gone so deeply into the Sanitary Commission and other projects for promoting the war, and had made so many expensive journeys to Washington in furtherance of such projects, that he did not see how he could get through the year if the inflation continued. 'Well, judge,' said the person, 'if the judges are disposed to be reasonable, the thing can be done.' 'What do you mean by reasonable?' asked the judge. The reply was brief and to the point: 'Twenty-five per cent, of the increase for one year.' The judge said No. If his salary could not be raised without that, he must rub on, as best he could, on his present income. The person was evidently much surprised, and said: 'I am sorry you have such old-fashioned notions. Why, judge, everybody does it here.' Nothing more was heard of increasing the judges' salaries for a whole year, during which the inflation itself had become inflated, and every door-keeper and copyist had had his stipend increased. At length, the spoilers deemed it best, for purposes of their own, to consent the salaries of the judges should be increased $1,000; and, a year after that, the other $1,000 was permitted to be added.

It was recently proved, in the presence of the Governor of the State, that the appointment of the office of Corporation Attorney was sold to one incumbent for the round sum of $10,000. This is bad enough, but worse remains to be told Sworn testimony, from thirty-six witnesses, taken by a committee of investigation, establishes the appalling fact, that appointments to places in the public schools are systematically sold in some of the wards - the wards where the public schools are almost the sole civilizing power, and where it is of unspeakable importance that the schools should be in the hands of the best men and women. One young lady; who had just buried her father and had a helpless mother to support, applied for a situation as teacher, and was told, as usual, that she must pay for it. She replied that she could not raise the sum demanded, the funeral expenses having exhausted the family store. She was then informed that she could pay 'the tax' in instalments. Another poor girl came on the witness-stand on crutches, and testified that she had paid $75 for a situation of $300 a year. Another lady went to a member of the Ring, and told him, with tears, that she saw no way of procuring the sum required, nor even of saving it from the slender salary of the place. The man was moved by her anguish, took compassion upon her, and said he would remit his share of 'the tax.' It was shown, too, that the agent of all this foul iniquity was no other than the principal of one of the schools. It was he who received and paid over the money wrung from the terror and necessities of underpaid and overworked teachers. We learn from the report of the committee that the Ring in this ward was originally formed for the express purpose of giving the situations in a new and handsome school 'to the highest bidder'; and, as the opening of the new school involved the discharge of a small number of teachers employed in the old schools, the Ring had both, the fear and the ambition of the teachers to work upon. 'There was a perfect reign of terror in the ward,' says the report of the investigating committee. 'The agent performed his duty with alacrity and with a heartlessness worthy of the employers. It appears that he not only summoned the teachers to come to him, but that he called on their parents and friends as to the amount they should pay for their appointments - the sums varying from $50 to $600, according to the position sought.'

And who were the Ring that perpetrated this infamy? They were a majority of the trustees elected by the people, and the School Commissioner elected by the people - six poor creatures, selected from the grog-shop and the wharf, and intrusted with the most sacred interest of a republic, the education of its children.

                     THE RESULT.

"The result of all this plunder," continues Mr. Parton, "is, that in thirty-six years the rate of taxation in the city and county of New York has increased from two dollars and a half to forty dollars per inhabitant! In 1830, the city was governed for half a million dollars. In 1865, the entire government of the island, including assessments on private property for public improvements, cost more than forty millions of dollars. In 1830, the population of the city was a little more than two hundred thousand. It is now about one million. Thus, while the population of the county is five times greater than it was in 1830, the cost of governing it is sixteen times greater. And yet such is the value of the productive property owned by the city, - so numerous are the sources of revenue from that property, - that able men of business are of the deliberate opinion that a private company could govern, clean, sprinkle, and teach the City by contract, taking as compensation only the fair revenue to be derived from its property. Take one item as an illustration: under the old excise system, the liquor licenses yielded twelve thousand dollars per annum; under the new, they yield one million and a quarter. Take another: the corporation own more than twenty miles of wharves and water-front, the revenue from which does not keep the wharves in repair; under a proper system, they would yield a million dollars above the cost of repairs."