Orphan asylums and hospitals were built. Societies for visiting the poor in their homes were started, and did active work,and by their very existence showed how much New York already differed from the typical American country district or village, where there were few so poor as to need such relief, and hardly any who would not have resented it as an insult. As early as 1798 one society reported that it had supported through a hard winter succeeding a summer of unusual sickness, over three hundred widows and orphans who would otherwise have had to take refuge in the almshouse. It goes without saying, however, that this acute poverty was always local and temporary; there was then no opportunity for the pauperism and misery of overcrowded tenementhouse districts.
The first savings-bank was established in 1816. The foundations of our free-school system were laid in 1805. The Dutch had supported schools at the public expense during their time of supremacy; but after their government was overturned, the schooling had been left to private effort. Every church had its own school, learning being still the speical property of the clergy; and there were plenty of private schools and charity free schools in addition. Public-spirited citizens, however, felt that in a popular government the first duty of the State was to see that the children