NEW York was indeed a dreary city when the kings troops left it after their sojourn of seven years. The spaces desolated by the great fires had never been built up, but still remained covered with the charred, melancholy ruins; the churches had been dismantled, the houses rifled. Business was gone, and the channels in which it had run were filled up. The Americans on taking possession once more had to begin all over again. They set busily to work to rebuild the fallen fortunes of the town; but the destruction had been so complete, and the difficulties in the way of getting a fair start were so great, that for four years very little progress was made. Then affairs took a turn for the better; the city began to flourish as it never had flourished before, and grew in wealth and population at a steadily increasing pace.
The dismantled churches were put in order; and Trinity, which had been burnt down in the fire of 1776, was entirely rebuilt. Kings College had its name changed to Columbia, and was again started, the first scholar being De Witt Clinton, a nephew of George Clinton, at the time governor of