This change of police forces alarmed the local merchants who supported the Municipals. It also emboldened the gangs to have open warfare, not worried in the least about how the replacement police would handle the occasion. The gangs knew that these men were inexperienced. It was a perfect opportunity for crime to surface and take advantage of the situation.
From the NEW YORK HERALD, Friday, July 3, 1857.
THE DECISION AMONG THE MERCHANTS ON CHANGE
The announcement that the Court of Appeals had decided in favor of the constitutionality of the Albany Police bill caused a good deal of excitement and discussion among the merchants on the Corn Exchange as well as the Exchange in Wall street. Among the several hundred businessmen who daily report to those commercial marts, an immense majority are on the side of the municipal liberty and right of the city, and opposed to the obnoxious law fastened upon this community and its industry by a reckless combination of Albany black republican schemes. These laws are denounced by men of all parties, whether democrat, whig, Know Nothing, and even by some republicans, who are ready to join in any legitimate measure which will secure their speedy repeal. Black republicans who appear on ‘Change are few and far between; and even they, when pressed as to the character of the late facts of the Legislature in reference to this city, including the Port Warden bill, &c., are forced to condemn them. When pressed on the subject they attempt to make the issue solely a personal one between Mayor Wood and the Albany black republican police laws, like a cuttle fish, which, when pressed, endeavor to hide itself in the water it has discolored by its own fluid. A leading shipping merchant was heard to say that if the expenses of Mayor Wood’s resistance to the tyranny of the Albany law were to fall upon him (the Mayor), he stood ready to contribute liberally for his relief, and believed other would make contributions for the same object.
THE METROPOLITAN POLICE BILL IN BROOKLYN.
There was rejoicing among the members of the First District police yesterday afternoon and evening in consequence of the decision of the Court of Appeals relative to the Police law. They were all favorable to the Metropolitan law in that district; and they hardly knew how to express their delight when the news arrived. It was the same in the office of the Deputy Superintendent and Justice Cornwell’s court. The latter, with the Deputy’s men, collected subscriptions to fire a salute in honor of the event, but those having charge of the cannon refused to part with them, and, therefore, the salute intended of three guns for each of the Judges who favored the law, were not fired; the wet weather also militated against it! The rain did not hinder the members of the First District police, however, from evincing their jubilant feelings. They produced a lot of candies and several flags. The windows eight in number of the station house, were illuminated – twelve candles in each window. The door was festooned with flags, and a large banner was suspended across Washington street from the station house.
The other districts are divided and no display was made publicly. They appear to feel that the object of the law was to oust them from office, and they have no occasion for rejoicing.
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No rejoicing indeed. For the very next day there would erupt a violent brawl between rival gangs in Lower Manhattan. The bloodshed and anarchy would be horrific until quelled by the military.
NEXT: The Gang Riots