his way up so as to be able to command a large amount of capital; and he forthwith embarked on ventures more extensive in scale. The fur-trade was then in the North almost what the trade in gold and silver had been in the South. Vast fortunes were made in it, and the career of the furtrader was checkered by romantic successes and hazardous vicissitudes. Astor made money with great rapidity, and entered on a course of rivalry with the huge fur companies of Canada. Finally, in 1809, he organized the American Fur Company, under the auspices of the State of New York, with no less a purpose than the establishment of a settlement of trappers and fur-traders at the mouth of the Columbia. He sent his parties out both by sea and overland, established his posts, and drove a thriving trade; and doubtless he would have anticipated by a generation the permanent settlement of Oregon, if the war had not broken out, and his colony been destroyed by the British. The most substantial portion of his fortune was made out of successful ventures in New York City real estate; and at his death he was one of the five richest men in the world. His greatest service to the city was founding the Astor Library.
Vanderbilt was a Staten Island boy, whose parents were very poor, and who therefore had to work for his living at an early age. Before the War of 1812, when a lad in his teens, he had been