himself sailing a sloop as a ferry-boat, between Staten Island and New York, and soon had saved enough money to start a small line of them. After the war he saw the possibilities of the steamboat, and began to run one as captain, owning a share in it as well. He shortly saved enough to become his own capitalist, and removed to New York in 1829. He organized steam lines on the Hudson and Sound, making money hand over hand; and in 1849the period of the California gold feverhe turned his attention to ocean steamships, and for several years carried on a famous contest with the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, for the traffic across the Isthmus to California. He was drawn into antagonism with the filibuster Walker, because of his connection with the Central American States, and became one of the forces which compassed that gray-eyed adventurers downfall. Then he took to building and managing railways, and speculating in them, and by the end of his days had amassed a colossal fortune. The history of the Wall Street speculations in which he took part, forms much the least attractive portion of the record of his life.
Astor and Vanderbilt were foremost and typical representatives of the commercial New York of their day, exactly as Hamilton and Jay were of the Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary city. Neither was of English blood; Astor was a