From the Preface.
A CENTURY has passed since the organization of the Bank of New York, and the board of directors have deemed it proper that some account of the origin and progress of the institution should be published in a suitable form for preservation. As the bank is the oldest institution of the kind in the State, and one of the oldest in the country, its existence covers a period of great changes in the financial policy and condition of the United States, and of severe trials in the business world. No attempt has been made to treat of these, except so far as the Bank of New York has been affected by them.
A greater degree of interest naturally attaches to the early history of the bank than to the events of a later day, with which the reader is more familiar, and a larger proportion of space is therefore given to it in the narrative.
In the appendix will be found some documents which are referred to in the earlier part of the history, and others which will interest those who have been in any way connected with the institution. Among these is a list of the presidents, cashiers, and directors of the, bank from its foundation to the present time.
The fac-similes of some of the notes issued by the bank at different periods of its existence, and of the checks drawn upon it by Talleyrand and Aaron Burr, will also, it is believed, be found of interest to the reader.
The compiler of this volume desires to acknowledge the valuable aid he has received from Mr. Richard B. Ferris, the vice-president of the bank, who has furnished a large proportion of the statistics, and to whose diligent and intelligent research much of the interest of the narrative is due. Acknowledgments are also due to Mr. John Austin Stevens, from whose published volumes the material for the account of the condition of the city at the time of the organization of the bank, and also for the sketches of the early officers of the institution, was gathered; to General James Watts De Peyster, through whose kind offices a portrait of General Alexander McDougall, the first president of the bank, was obtained, and also to the Honorable William G. Thompson, of Detroit, for the use of the portrait; to Mr. C. V. Quilliard for the use of a miniature of Gulian Verplanck; to Mr. Matthew Clarkson for the steel engravings of his grandfather, Matthew Clarkson; to Miss Ann Wilkes for the use of a portrait of her father, Charles Wilkes; to Mr. D. Colden Murray for the use of a portrait of Isaac Roosevelt; to Mrs. James Suydam for the use of a portrait of Cornelius Heyer; to Mr. William Oothout for the use of a portrait of his father, John Oothout; to Mr. J. W. Halsey for photographs of Anthony P. Halsey; and to Messrs. Harper & Brothers for the use of a wood-cut of the Walton House.