Fulton and Morse stand as typical of the inventive, mechanical, and commercial genius of the city at the mouth of the Hudson.
Few commercial capitals have ever grown with more marvelous rapidity than New YorkThe great merchants and men of affairs who have built up her material prosperity, have not merely enriched themselves and their city; they have also played no inconsiderable part in that rapid opening up of the American continent during the present century, which has been rendered possible by the eagerness and far-reaching business ambition of commercial adventurers, wielding the wonderful tools forged by the science of our day. The merchant, the railroad king, the capitalist who works or gambles for colossal stakes, bending to his purpose an intellect in its way as shrewd and virile as that of any statesman or warrior,all these, and their compeers, are and have been among the most striking and important, although far from the noblest, figures of nineteenth-century America.
Two New Yorkers of great note in this way may be instanced as representatives of their class,John Jacob Astor and Cornelius Vanderbilt. Astor was originally a German pedler, who came to the city immediately after the close of the Revolution. He went into the retail fur-trade, and by energy, thrift, and far-sightedness, soon pushed