CHAPTER XI. WALL STREET.

If you pass down Broadway to the main entrance to Trinity Church, and then turn abruptly to your left and cross the street, you will find yourself at the head of Wall street, the great financial centre of America. It is a narrow street, extending from Broadway to East river, and lined with handsome brown stone, marble, and granite buildings. Scarcely a house has less than a score of offices within its walls, and some have very near three times that number. Space is very valuable in Wall street, and some of the leading firms in it have to content themselves with a narrow, small, dark hole, which a conscientious man would hardly call an office. The rent demanded for these "offices" is enormous, and the buildings bring their owners princely fortunes every year. The houses are all covered with signs, the names on which one will immediately recognize as famous in the financial world. The streets running into Wall street, for the distance of one or two blocks, on the right hand and the left, are also occupied with the offices of bankers and brokers, and are included in the general term, "Wall street," or "the street."

                     ITS HISTORY.

Wall street has always been famous in the history of New York. It was originally used as a sheep pasture. Its natural condition being partly rolling upland and partly meadow of a swampy character. The name of the street originated thus: In 1653, the Dutch settlers, being threatened with an attack by their New England neighbors, resolved to fortify the town by constructing a wall or stockade across the island just beyond the northern limits of the settlement. The line selected was drawn across the old sheep pasture. In the course of a few years, the anticipated hostilities having passed over, the settlers began to build houses along the line of the city wall, and the new street, when laid off, received by common consent the name of "the Wall street," which it has since borne. The wall, having fallen into decay, was demolished about the year 1699, and the stones were used in building the first City Hall, which stood at what is now the corner of Nassau and Wall streets, the site of the Sub-Treasury of to-day. This building was used for the various purposes of the city government until the close of the Revolution. It contained, besides the council and court rooms, a fire engine room, a jail for the detention and punishment of criminals, and a debtors' prison, which was located in the attic, a cage, and a pillory. A pair of stocks were set up on the opposite side of the street, wherein criminals were exposed to the indignant gaze of a virtuous public.

After the close of the Revolution, the building was enlarged and improved for the use of the Federal Government. The first Congress of the United States assembled within its walls in the year 1789, and upon its spacious portico George Washington took the oath to support and defend the Constitution, as President of the United States.

The street was originally taken up with private residences, but at length monetary institutions commenced to find their way into it. The Bank of New York was located here in 1791, at the corner of William street. Other institutions, and private bankers, soon followed it, and the work of improvement went on until the street of to-day is the result. Famous lawyers have also had their offices in this street. Alexander Hamilton's sign might once have been seen here, not far from where his humble monument now stands in Trinity churchyard, and the name of Caleb Cushing is now to be found just a little below Broadway.

The street fairly began its present career in the days of Jacob Little, "the great bear of Wall street." He opened an office here in 1822, and, in twelve years, by dint of such labor as few men are capable of performing, placed himself at the head of American operators. His credit was good for any amount, for his integrity was unimpeachable. He could sway the market as he pleased, and his contracts were met with a punctuality and fidelity which made "his word as good as his bond." Efforts were made to ruin him, but his genius and far-sightedness enabled him to defeat all his enemies with their own weapons. His gains were enormous, and so were his losses. He met the latter cheerfully. The late war, however, brought his reverses so rapidly upon him that he had not the time to meet one before another stared him in the face. Still, he was calm and undismayed. He gave up his last dollar without repining, saying that he would willingly sacrifice even life itself for the perpetuity of the Union and the Constitution. He died early in the year 1861, honored by all, and leaving his life an example to those of us who are left behind him. He was a devout member of the Episcopal Church, but he extended his charities, which, though quiet, were unusually large, to all denominations.

                     THE SUB-TREASURY.

The Sub-Treasury is a handsome white marble building, located at the corner of Wall and Nassau streets. The Treasury is built in the Doric style of architecture; and its massive flight of steps and handsome portico present a striking appearance. It is built in the most substantial manner, and has an entrance at the rear on Pine street. The interior is tastefully arranged, and massive iron gratings protect the employees from surprise and robbery. The vaults are burglar-proof. This is the principal depository of the Government, and millions of dollars are always in its vaults.

                     THE CUSTOM HOUSE.

The Custom House was built for and formerly used as the Merchants' Exchange. It is situated at the corner of Wall and William streets, and is a large, handsome, granite edifice. The colonade at the front entrance and the rotunda are well worth seeing.

                     BANKING HOUSES.

Just below the Custom House is the handsome marble building of Brown Brothers, bankers, one of the model houses of New York, as regards both the firm and the edifice. The Messrs. Brown are regarded as the most reliable and accomplished operators in the street. Across the way, in a dingy granite building, is the office of August Belmont &Co., the American agents of the Rothschilds, and bankers on their own account. Jay Cooke &Co. occupy the fine marble building at the corner of Wall and Nassau streets, opposite the Treasury, and there conduct the New York branch of their enormous business. Fisk &Hatch, the financial agents of the great Pacific Railway, are a few steps higher up Nassau street. Henry Clews &Co. are in the building occupied by the United States Assay Office. Other firms, of more or less eminence, fill the street. Some have fine, showy offices, others operate in dark, dingy holes.

                     THE STOCK EXCHANGE.

The Stock Exchange is located on Broad street, to the south of Wall street. It is a fine white marble edifice, extending back to New street, which is also taken up with brokers' offices. There is an entrance on Wall street, but the main building is on Broad street. It contains the "Long Room," the "The New York Stock Exchange," the "Mining Board," the now obsolete "Petroleum Board," and the "Government Board." All sorts of stocks are bought and sold in this building. "Erie" and "Pacific Mail" are the most attractive to the initiated, and the most disastrous as well.

The Chamber of the Board of Stock Brokers is a large, handsomely furnished apartment, somewhat like a lecture room in appearance. Each broker has a seat assigned to him. Outsiders are not admitted to the sessions of the board, but any one may communicate with a member by handing his card to the doorkeeper, who will at once call out the gentleman. The sessions of the Board are presided over by a President, but the work is done by a Vice-President, who from ten o'clock until one, calls over the list of stocks, and declares the sales. Each day a list of stocks to be put in the market is made out, and no others can be sold during the sessions. The Board has the right to refuse to offer any stocks for sale, and a guarantee is required of the party making the sale. The members of the Board are men of character, and their transactions are fair and open. They are required to fulfil all contracts in good faith, however great the loss to themselves, on pain of expulsion from the Board, and an expelled member cannot be reinstated. The entrance fee is three thousand dollars. Persons wishing to become members are required to make their applications at certain times. This is publicly announced, and if any one can bring and sustain an accusation affecting the integrity of the applicant, he is not admitted.

Ordinarily the sale of the stocks offered, proceeds in a monotonous, humdrum manner, but when "Erie," or "Pacific Mail," or any other favorite stock is called, each man springs to his feet. Bids come fast and furious, hands, arms, hats, and canes are waved frantically overhead to attract the attention of the presiding officer. The most intense excitement prevails throughout the room, and the shouts and cries are deafening. Sales are made with the utmost rapidity, and the excitement is kept up at the highest point as long as any thing of interest is offered. If a sale is contested, the president names the purchaser, and his decision is final, unless revoked by an instantaneous vote of the Board.

                     THE OPEN BOARD.

The Open Board of Stock Brokers meet in the second story of a handsome brown stone building adjoining the Stock Exchange. Their sessions are from ten until one. The business of the Board is similar to that of the Stock Exchange, and is dispatched with as much precision, quickness, and clamor.

                     THE GOLD ROOM.

Descending from Broad street to the basement of the building used by the "Open Board," we find ourselves in a long, dimly lighted passage-way, which leads us into a small courtyard. As we emerge into this yard, we hear a confused hum above our heads, which grows louder as we ascend the steep stairway before us. Passing through a narrow, dirty entry, we open a side door, and our ears fairly ache with the yells and shrieks with which we are startled. For a moment we think we are about to enter a company of lunatics, but we pass on reassured, and the next instant stand in the Gold Room.

This is a handsome apartment, in the style of an amphitheatre, with a fountain in the centre. A gallery runs around the upper part, and several telegraph offices are connected with the room. There are but few benches. The members of the Board are always too much excited to sit, and seats are only in the way. Though the main entrance is on Broadway, the Gold Room really fronts on New street. During the sessions of the Board, it is filled with an excited, yelling crowd, rushing about wildly, and, to a stranger, without any apparent aim. The men stamp, yell, shake their arms, heads, and bodies violently, and almost trample each other to death in the violent struggle. Men, who in private life excite the admiration of their friends and acquaintances by the repose and dignity of their manner, here lose their self-possession entirely, and are more like maniacs than sensible beings.

Few members of either the Stock or Gold Boards operate for themselves. They generally buy and sell for outside parties, from whom they require a guarantee at the outset, and charge a fair commission on the sale for their services. Members have confidence in each other, for they know that no one can afford to be dishonest. Expulsion and financial ruin and disgrace are the swift and inflexible punishments of bad faith.

There are many persons, whose transactions in the stock and gold markets amount to millions of dollars each year, who cannot enter these boards as members. They are regarded as unsafe, and their petitions are invariably rejected. They usually operate through regular members.

                     CURBSTONE BROKERS.

Any one who can pay one hundred dollars a year for the privilege, is allowed to operate in the "Long Room," as the lower floor of the Stock Exchange is called. His capital may be one, one hundred, or one thousand dollars, but if he pays his dues regularly, no one is allowed to molest him. No rules or regulations bind these operators. The honest man and the rogue mingle freely together. Persons dealing with them have no guarantee of their good faith, and must look out for rough treatment at their hands. They overflow the hall, crowd the steps and sidewalks, and extend out into the street. From this circumstance they are termed "curbstone brokers," a name which will probably cling to them. A few of these operators are men of integrity, who being unable to enter the regular boards, are compelled to conduct their business in this way. They have regular places of business in some of the neighboring streets, and are as fair and upright in their dealings as any member of either of the boards; but the great majority are simply sharpers, men who will not meet their losses, and who will fleece any one, who falls into their hands, out of his last cent.

                     STOCK GAMBLING.

It has been remarked that the men who do business in Wall street have a prematurely old look, and that they die at a comparatively early age. This is not strange. They live too fast. Their bodies and minds are taxed too severely to last long. They pass their days in a state of great excitement. Every little fluctuation of the market elates or depresses them to a fearful extent, even though they may not be conscious of it at the time. At night they are either planning the next day's campaign, or hard at work at the hotels.

On Sunday their minds are still on their business, and some are to be seen hard at work in their offices, where they think they are safe from observation. Body and mind are worked too hard, and are given no rest.

The chief cause of all this intense excitement, is the uncertainty which attends such operations. No man can tell one week whether he will be a beggar or a millionaire the next, the chances being decidedly in favor of the former. Nine out of ten who speculate in stocks or gold, lose. Like all gamblers, they are undismayed by their first reverse, and venture a second time. They lose again, and to make their loss good venture a third time, risking in the end their last dollar. The fascination of stock gambling is equal to that of the card table, and holds its victims with an iron hand. The only safe rule for those who wish to grow rich, is to keep out of Wall street. While one man makes a fortune by a sudden rise in stocks or gold, one thousand are ruined. Even the soundest and best established firms fall with a crash under these sudden reverses. The safest are those who buy and sell on commission. If the profits go to other parties, in such cases, the losses fall upon outsiders also, so that under all circumstances a legitimate commission business is the safest, as well as the most profitable in the end. This is proved by the fact that there are very few old firms in "the street." Houses supposed to be well established are failing every day, and new ones springing up to take their places. Nothing is certain in Wall street, and we repeat it, it is best to avoid it. Invest your money in something more stable than speculations in stocks.

                     A KEEN GAME.

Some years ago, the famous Jacob Little resolved to bring down the market value of Erie stock, which was then selling readily at par. He contracted with certain parties to deliver to them an unusually large amount of this stock on a certain day. A combination was immediately formed in the street to ruin him. The parties concerned in this league took his contracts as fast as they were offered, and bought up all the stock in the market. In doing this, they firmly believed they were placing all this paper to be had out of the reach of Mr. Little, who would be ruined by being unable to deliver the stock at the time, and in the quantities agreed upon. His friends shook their heads ominously, and declared that his enemies had been "one too many" for him this time; but the "Great Bear," as he was called, kept his own counsel. When the day for the delivery of the stock arrived, his enemies were jubilant, and all Wall street was in a fever of excitement; but he was as calm and as smiling as ever. Repairing to the office of the Erie Railway Company he laid before the astonished officers of the road a number of certificates of indebtedness. The faith of the Company was pledged to redeem these certificates with stock, upon presentation. Mr. Little demanded a compliance with this contract. The Company could not refuse him, and the stock was issued to him. With it he met his contracts promptly. The result was fearful to his enemies. This sudden and unexpected issue of new stock brought "Erie" down with a rush, and the sharp witted operators who had bought either at par or at a premium, solely to ruin their great rival, were ruined themselves, almost to a man.

                     A "DEAR" SALE.

But a short while ago, a house in Wall Street, which had ventured too far in its speculations, failed. It settled its liabilities honestly, but had not a penny left. One of the partners had used U.S. bonds to the amount of fifteen thousand dollars, belonging to a relative, and these had been swept away. Whether for the purpose of replacing this amount, or for his own benefit, the broker resolved to get possession of a similar amount in bonds at once. The failure of his house had not become generally known, and he determined to lose no time in his operations.

Proceeding to the office of a well known house, one morning just as business hours opened, he asked for fifteen thousand dollars worth of Government bonds, and offered the cheque of his firm in payment for them. Being well and favorably known to the parties, his request (which was based upon the falsehood that he wished the bonds to fill an order for a countryman who was in a hurry to leave town, and that he had not the amount in his own safe), was complied with. The bonds were delivered to him, and his cheque taken in payment. He at once departed, and the banker, feeling no uneasiness at the transaction, did not send the cheque to bank at once. Several hours passed away, and he heard rumors of the failure of the house to which he had sold the bonds. The cheque was at once sent to the bank; payment was refused, on the ground that the house had failed, and had no funds in the bank. The fraud was plain now, and the banker, repairing to the office of the unfortunate firm, was informed by the partner of his friend that the transaction was a swindle. The detectives were at once set on the track of the swindler, who had made his escape immediately after getting possession of the bonds.

                     HOW FORTUNES ARE MADE AND LOST.

Fortunes are made quicker and lost more easily in New York than in any other place in the world. A sudden rise in stock, or a lucky speculation in some other venture, often places a comparatively poor man in possession of great wealth. Watch the carriages as they whirl through Fifth Avenue, going and returning from the Park. They are as elegant and sumptuous as wealth can make them. The owners, lying back amongst the soft cushions, are clad in the height of fashion. By their dresses they might be princes and princesses. This much is due to art. Now mark the coarse, rough features, the ill-bred stare, the haughty rudeness which they endeavor to palm off for dignity. Do you see any difference between them and the footman in livery on the carriage-box? Both master and man belong to the same class - only one is wealthy and the other is not. But that footman may take the place of the master in a couple of years, or in less time. Such changes may seem remarkable, but they are very common in New York.

See that gentleman driving that splendid pair of sorrels. He is a fine specimen of mere animal beauty. How well he drives. The ease and carelessness with which he manages his splendid steeds, excites the admiration of every one on the road. He is used to it. Five years ago he was the driver of a public hack. He amassed a small sum of money, and being naturally a sharp, shrewd man, went into Wall street, and joined the "Curbstone Brokers." His transactions were not always open to a rigid scrutiny, but they were profitable to him. He invested in oil stocks, and with his usual good luck made a fortune. Now he operates through his broker. His transactions are heavy, his speculations bold and daring, but he is usually successful. He lives in great splendor in one of the finest mansions in the city, and his carriages and horses are superb. His wife and daughters are completely carried away by their good fortune, and look with disdain upon all who are not their equals or superiors in wealth. They are vulgar and ill bred, but they are wealthy, and society worships them. There will come a change some day. The husband and father will venture once too often in his speculations, and his magnificent fortune will go with a crash, and the family will return to their former state, or perhaps sink lower, for there are very few men who have the moral courage to try to rise again after such a fall, and this man is not one of them.

In watching the crowd on Broadway, one will frequently see, in some shabbily dressed individual, who, with his hat drawn down close over his eyes, is evidently shrinking from the possibility of being recognized, the man who but a few weeks ago was one of the wealthiest in the city. Then he was surrounded with splendor. Now he hardly knows where to get bread for his family. Then he lived in an elegant mansion. Now one or two rooms on the upper floor of some tenement house constitute his habitation. He shrinks from meeting his old friends, well knowing that not one of them will recognize him, except to insult him with a scornful stare. Families are constantly disappearing from the social circles in which they have shone for a greater or less time. They vanish almost in an instant, and are never seen again. You may meet them at some brilliant ball in the evening. Pass their residence the next day, and you will see a bill announcing the early sale of the mansion and furniture. The worldly effects of the family are all in the hands of the creditors of the "head," and the family themselves are either in a more modest home in the country, or in a tenement house. You can scarcely walk twenty blocks on Fifth Avenue, without seeing one of these bills, telling its mournful story of fallen greatness.

The best and safest way to be rich in New York, as elsewhere, is for a man to confine himself to his legitimate business. Few men acquire wealth suddenly. Ninety-nine fail where one succeeds. The bane of New York commercial life, however, is that people have not the patience to wait for fortune. Every one wants to be rich in a hurry, and as no regular business will accomplish this, here or elsewhere, speculation is resorted to. The sharpers and tricksters who infest Wall Street, know this weakness of New York merchants. They take the pains to inform themselves as to the character, means, and credulity of merchants, and then use every art to draw them into speculations, in which the tempter is enriched and the tempted ruined. In nine cases out of ten a merchant is utterly ignorant of the nature of the speculation he engages in. He is not capable of forming a reasonable opinion as to its propriety, or chance of success, because the whole transaction is so rapid that he has no chance to study it. He leaves a business in which he has acquired valuable knowledge and experience, and trusts himself to the mercy of a man he knows little or nothing of, and undertakes an operation that he does not know how to manage. Dabbling in speculations unfits men for their regular pursuits. They come to like the excitement of such ventures, and rush on madly in their mistaken course, hoping to make up their losses by one lucky speculation, and at length utter ruin rouses them from their dreams.

Although New York is the chief business centre of the country, fortunes are made here slowly and steadily. Great wealth is the accumulation of years. Such wealth brings with it honor and prosperity. One who attains it honestly, has fairly won the proud title of "merchant;" but few are willing to pursue the long life of toil necessary to attain it. They make fifty thousand dollars legitimately, and then the insane desire seizes them to double this amount in a day. Nine lose every thing where one makes his fortune.

The reason is plain. The speculation in stocks is controlled by men without principle, whose only object is to enrich themselves at the expense of their victims. The Herald recently presented the following picture of the transactions in the stock market:

Within the past few days we have seen the most gigantic swindling operations carried on in Wall street that have as yet disgraced our financial centre. A great railway - one of the two that connect the West with the Atlantic seaboard, has been tossed about like a football, its real stockholders have seen their property abused by men to whom they have entrusted its interests, and who, in the betrayal of that trust, have committed crimes which in parallel cases on a smaller scale would have deservedly sent them to Sing Sing. If these parties go unwhipped of justice, then are we doing injustice in confining criminals in our State prisons for smaller crimes.

To such a disgusting degree of depravity do we see those stock operations carried that members of the Church of high standing offer, when 'cornered,' to betray their brother 'pals,' and, in their forgetfulness of the morality to which they sanctimoniously listen every Sunday, state that 'all they care about is to look out for number one.' A manager of a great corporation is requested to issue bonds of his company without authority, offering 'to buy the bonds if you are caught, or buy the bonds with the understanding not to pay for them unless you are caught.' This attempted fiscal operation, however, did not work, and resulted in a good proof of the old adage that it requires 'a rogue to catch a rogue.'

A railroad treasurer boldly states that he has without authority over- issued stock of the company to a large amount. He offers it to a broker for sale, with the understanding that all received over a fixed value is to go into his (the treasurer's) pocket. From the fact that this man is not arrested for mal-administration of the company's property we judge this to be a legitimate operation, and that this may hereafter serve as a model or standard of morals to all presidents, directors, treasurers and managers of railway and other great corporations. It is evident that the world has made a great mistake on the question of morals, and that as we progress in civilization with our modern Wall street system of ethics we shall be able to have a new and more exact translation of the Bible - Wall street edition - for the benefit of stock gamblers and stock thieves of all descriptions. Upon the great banking house facing Wall street we will have in letters of gold upon a green back-ground the following commandments:

1. Steal largely or not all; for is it not preached in Gotham that he who steals largely and gives donations to the Church shall enter the kingdom of heaven, while to him who confines his stealings to modest peculations shall be opened the doors of Sing Sing?

2. Steal largely! for in proportion to the magnitude of thy stealings shalt thou prosper and wax respectable throughout Gotham.

3. Steal largely! for as ye steal so shall ye show your fitness for the high places in the land; so shall ye be invited to exercise your talents in the numerous positions of trust and profit thereby; so shall ye add honor and glory to the government of your fathers, and your days shall be long in the land.

4. Steal largely! for by thy stealings shalt thou create a new morality; and so shalt thou build up a great people who shall prosper beyond all other nations.

This is the new code we offer - a code taught to us by the times and by the facts that assail us. When we see an 'honest' Judge 'Iago' rise from his bed at midnight to pander to the contemptible rascality of stock thieves we have but little hope for even what we dignify by the name of law. When we see our churches allowing a host of gamblers to gather for false worship at their shrines and pander to them, that they may share their plunder for the 'benefit of the Lord,' we have still less hope in our future. When we see great criminals respected and lesser criminals imprisoned we believe that the American mind is sadly out of a proper moral pathway.

"The operations now carried on in Wall street, be they of any stock, or of gold, call for the interference of some power sufficient to crush them. If the City or the State is powerless, let the general government take the matter in hand for the general good. Take gold, for example. There are not over two millions of the solid coin used as a basis for the operations which in a single month represent a sum twice the amount of our national debt. The harpies who gather around the Gold Rooms in their mad shoutings are at the same time shouting 'Death to the republic!' They unsettle all values, and are, as a mass, a public calamity, and should be dealt with as such. As with gold, so with stocks, and no nation can long afford to let its future hang upon the will of a mass of unprincipled men who daily bleed its prosperity beyond all calculation."

These things are well known in New York, but no one heeds them. Each one thinks he is shrewd enough to avoid the dangers which have ruined others, and only discovers his mistake when it is too late to repair it. Men of all classes, even ministers of the Gospel, and frequently women, rush into Wall street in pursuit of sudden wealth, where, to use an old adage, "if they are not gored to death by the Bulls, they are sure to be devoured by the Bears."

Persons who wish to succeed in New York, or elsewhere, should shun speculation. Legitimate business offers brilliant rewards here, but speculation means ruin. If you wish this assertion enforced, go into Stewart's or Claflin's stores, and see how many salesmen on small salaries you will find there who were once wealthy merchants doing business on their own account. They succeeded in their legitimate pursuits, but were not satisfied with their success. They wanted more, commenced speculating, and lost every thing. Men to succeed here must be energetic, cautious, enterprising, and economical.

                     BOGUS STOCK COMPANIES.

On fine afternoons visitors to the Park do not fail to notice a handsome equipage driven by a stylish young man, with rosy cheeks and light curly hair. His face is the perfect picture of happy innocence. He is very wealthy, and owns a great deal of real estate in the city. The manner in which he made his money will show how other persons enrich themselves.

A few years ago he, in company with several others, organized a scheme for working certain gold mines said to be located in a distant territory. A company was made up, the country was flooded with flaming descriptions of the valuable mine, and stock was issued which sold readily. The bonds were soon taken up, and in a month or two the so-called company commenced paying handsome dividends. A number of gold bars, bearing the stamp of the mint, were on exhibition in the company's office, and were triumphantly exhibited as amongst the first yields of the valuable mine. For several months the dividends were paid regularly, and the company's stock rose to a splendid premium. It could hardly be bought at any price. No one doubted for an instant the genuineness of the affair, and the lucky company was the envy of all Wall street.

In a few months, all the stock being disposed of, the company ceased paying dividends. This excited the suspicion of some of the shrewdest holders of the stock, and the affair was investigated. It was found that the wonderful mine had no real existence. The gold bars were simply gold coins melted into that form at the Mint, and stamped by the Government as so much bullion. The dividends had been paid out of money advanced by the company, who were simply half a dozen unprincipled sharpers. The stockholders were ruined, but the company made a profit of a clear half million of dollars out of the infamous transaction. Legal proceedings are expensive and tedious when instituted against such parties, and the stockholders, rather than increase their losses by the outlay necessary for a lawsuit, suffered the swindlers to go unmolested.

A certain stockbroker, anxious to increase his wealth, purchased twenty acres of land a few years ago in one of the Western States, and commenced boring for oil. After a few weeks spent in this work, he discovered to his dismay that there was not the slightest trace of oil on his land. He kept his own counsel, however, and paid the workmen to hold their tongues. About the same time it became rumored throughout New York that he had struck oil. He at once organized a company, and had a committee appointed to go West and examine the well. In a few weeks the committee returned in high glee, and reported that the well contained oil of the very best quality, and only needed capital and improved machinery to develop its capacity. In support of this assertion they brought home numerous bottles containing specimens of the oil. This report settled the matter in Wall street, and the stock issued by the company was all sold at a handsome premium. When the sales ceased, it was rumored that the well had ceased flowing. This was true. There was no oil anywhere on the land. That in the well had been bought in Pennsylvania and poured into the well by the agents of the owner, and the examining committee had been paid large sums for their favorable report. The owner of the well was enriched, as were his confederates of the bogus company, and the holders of the stock were swindled, many of them being ruined.

                     A PETROLEUM PRINCE.

We take the following from a work recently published in Paris. It contains the observations of an intelligent French gentleman during a residence in New York:

An Irishman, thirty years ago, arrived in Philadelphia. He was a mason by trade, industrious and sober, which is not often the case with natives of the Emerald Isle. He managed to save a few hundred dollars, and then married.

He had enjoyed the blessings of matrimony over ten years, when, on going to his work, early one morning, he found, a short distance from his house, a basket covered with a linen cloth. He carried it home, opened it, and a handsome baby appeared before his view. To the child's clothes was pinned a paper bearing a few lines, asking, in the name of the Almighty, the person into whose hands the basket might fall, to take charge of the new-born infant, for the sake of a poor fellow-creature. The Irishman and his wife, not having any children, at once adopted the little one, regarding it as a gift sent by Providence. A few years later, the Irishman, who had by his savings amassed quite a handsome sum of money, purchased a small farm in a thinly settled county of Pennsylvania, and there lived quietly and contentedly, until, one day, in cutting down a tree, it fell upon him, and he was crushed to death beneath its weight. After this sad occurrence, his widow, with the help of the adopted child, carried on the business of the farm, often regretting she could not give the boy an education; but they were so far from any school, she could not think of sending her son such a distance from home.

One day a rumor circulated throughout Pennsylvania that, by boring into the earth to a moderate depth, in some parts of the State, oil was found to spring forth. Startling as this rumor was, many persons were forced to believe it, when they saw, with their own eyes, a black liquid, giving a bright light, issuing from certain holes bored for experiment. After this, all persons began experimenting on their own property. The Irish widow imitated her neighbors, and with the help of her adopted son, bored a hole in her garden. After a few day's work, they struck oil - a flowing well rewarded their enterprise!

Meanwhile speculators, wild with the excitement of this discovery, besieged Pennsylvania, and that State soon swarmed with them. The desire to possess a portion of those marvellous lands took possession of every mind. Throughout the States every one was affected with the new disease, denominated 'oil on the brain;' and soon the value of the oleaginous districts went up to wonderful figures. In many instances, as much as fifty thousand dollars were paid for an acre of land. And, availing herself of the general infatuation, the Irish widow sold her farm, for two millions of dollars, to a Boston company, which thought it was very cheap to give not quite seven thousand dollars per acre for petroleum land. The three hundred acres of the widow's farm had cost three hundred dollars a few years before, that is to say, one dollar an acre! Besides the two millions of dollars, the Irish widow had stipulated that one half of the flowing well in her garden should belong to her. That well yielded from five to six hundred barrels of oil per day. You may be sure the old lady doted on it. She visited it a hundred times a day, always surveying it with amazement, and ascertaining whether it was as productive as ever. Even at night she left her bed to go and view the marvellous spring. During one of these nocturnal excursions, she imprudently drew too near the well with a light - the spring fired up with lightning-like rapidity, and the poor woman, becoming wrapped in the flames, was burned to death. The coroner was summoned to hold an inquest. When it was over, the widow's neighbors, desiring to ascertain whether she had sold her farm for as large an amount as was rumored, prevailed upon the coroner to open her safe. It contained two hundred thousand dollars in gold, which, no doubt, represented the widow's profits for her reserved rights in the well; and also bonds of the United States to the amount of two millions of dollars, the said bonds registered in the name of Peter Crazy, the widow's adopted son, and only heir and legatee, according to her will, that was also found in the strong-box.

Now, the young man, whose large stakes a few minutes ago caused such a sensation, is the same Peter Crazy, the widow's adopted son; and he came here to-night to complete his ruin. But I must now relate what became of him after becoming possessed of a princely fortune.

At the time he came into possession of this fortune, Crazy did not know the difference between one thousand and one hundred thousand dollars. He could hardly write his name; and, unfortunately, he had nobody to warn him against the dangers that beset the youth of this world, and to make of him, instead of a spendthrift, a man useful to society.

Suppose a philanthropist, a good-hearted, high-minded man, should suddenly come into possession of two millions of dollars, what a benefactor he might prove to his fellow-creatures! What useful and benevolent institutions he might found! What improvement might every branch of human labor receive if he chose to apply to it a portion of his wealth.

As soon as it became known that Crazy had inherited a large fortune, many adventurers, with whom the new Eldorado swarmed, pounced upon him like birds of prey upon a carcass; and then commenced for Crazy a life of prodigality and vice, the end of which is near at hand.

In Philadelphia, he stopped with his cronies at one of the most elegant and spacious hotels of the city, stipulating for the exclusive use of it during their stay. He bought fine horses, carriages of the most approved pattern, and furnished a maison de joie, where he reveled every night. Many Philadelphians will long remember his daily freaks of extravagance. I will relate one as a sample of the others. One day, as a regiment stopped in the city on its way to the West, he presented it with one thousand baskets of champagne - one basket to each man - a piece of liberality that cost him twenty-five thousand dollars. After spending half a million dollars in the Quaker City, he came to New York in search of new excitements.

Here he met with persons who aroused a new feeling in his mind - that of pride. Those capitalists and speculators who drive their fancy teams in Central Park, who keep racehorses, who do their best to resuscitate the fine old times of France under the Regency, were not, he was told, as wealthy as himself. He was bound to live in style, lest he should be taken for a shoddy contractor, who does not know how to spend his money. Crazy, therefore, imitated the leaders of fashion - but in the same way European wood-cutters are imitated by Australasian savages, who, when they cut down a tree, wait for its fall until they are crushed by its weight. He kept as many as forty horses; bet heavily at the races, and lost every time; and hired a theatrical troupe, whom he provided with costly costumes, and who played only for himself and a few friends. One night he was so delighted with the saltatory skill and pirouettes of the dancing-girls of his troupe, that he presented each of them, with a gracefulness of manner that Buckingham himself would have envied, pearls and diamonds worth over one hundred thousand dollars. In short, for a year, he indulged in all conceivable dissipations. But Providence has in store for him one of those visitations that, from time to time, startle and instruct the world.

"Crazy believes his main income can never be impaired. Besides the one hundred thousand dollars he has in his pocket - the last of the money found in the Irish widow's strong-box - he fancies he possesses inexhaustible means in the oil well. On returning, he will learn that that source of wealth is dried up, and his only fortune consists of the fifty-two coats he has purchased inside of the past month."