the office, have hitherto given us on the whole a very good bench.
The distinguishing features of the life of the city between 1820 and 1860 were its steady and rapid growth in population, the introduction of an absolutely democratic system of government, the immense immigration from abroad, completely changing the ethnic character of the population, the wonderful growth of the Roman Catholic Church and the great material prosperity, together with the vast fortunes made by many of the business men, usually of obscure and humble ancestry.
The opening of the Erie Canal gave an extraordinary impetus to the development of the city. The canal had been planned, and reports concerning it drawn up, at different times by various New York citizens, notably by Gouverneur Morris; but the work was actually done, in spite of violent opposition, by De Witt Clinton. Clinton was, more than any other man, responsible for the introduction of the degrading system of spoils politics into the State; most of his political work was mere faction fighting for his own advancement; and he was too jealous of all competitors, and at the same time not a great enough man, ever to become an important figure in the national arena. But he was sincerely proud of his city and State, and very much interested in all philanthropic, scientific, and