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The International Monthly, Volume 4, No. 2, September, 1851   By:

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Of Literature, Art, and Science.

Vol. IV. NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 1, 1851. No. II.



The maritime commerce of New York has increased so rapidly that it has continually outgrown the space appropriated for its accommodation, so that the docks, wharves, warehouses, and landings, have been found wholly inadequate to the reception of the business which has poured in upon them. But the benevolent institutions of the "Empire City," designed to meliorate the condition of sea faring men, have been fully equal to the exigencies of this improvident class of laborers, and are among the noblest and best conducted of the many charitable institutions in this great and growing metropolis of the New World. Commerce is the life and soul of New York, and the most selfish motives should lead to the establishment of suitable retreats and hospitals for the benefit of the class of men without whose labors its wheels could not revolve; but it is not to those who are most benefited by the labors of seamen that they are indebted for the existence of safe havens of retreat, where they may cast anchor in repose, where they can no longer follow their dangerous and storm tost business. Seamen are the only class who have asylums provided expressly for their use, either in sickness or old age. The nation provides no hospital like that of Greenwich, where the tars who are disabled in the public service find a home and an honorable support, but it lays a capitation tax on all the seamen in the navy for the creation of a fund, out of which the Naval Asylum, the Wallabout Hospital, &c., for the disabled, invalid, and superannuated of the navy have, at their own cost, not altogether disagreeable homes. New York, however, from the munificence of private individuals and the creation of a fund from a tax on seamen, can boast of excellent institutions for the ample and comfortable accommodation of all the sick and infirm sailors who have earned a right of admission by sailing from this port. In this respect there is no other city in the world that can equal New York.

The quarantine ground of the port of New York, which is on the north eastern point of Staten Island, five and a half miles from the Battery, is admirably located for the purposes of purification, and liberally endowed with all the necessary means for the cure of the sick and the prevention of the spread of disease. The ground appropriated for the purposes of a lazaretto has a frontage on the bay of about fourteen hundred feet, and extends back twelve hundred feet. It is inclosed by a high brick wall, and includes suitable hospitals for the accommodation of the sick, houses for the resident physician, and offices for the numerous persons employed about the grounds. The largest hospital, appropriated for fever patients, is that nearest the water. It is constructed of brick, is three stories high, and one hundred and thirty six feet long by twenty eight feet wide. The building on the rising ground next above this is intended for convalescents. It is built of brick, three stories high, fifty feet long, and forty five feet high, with two wings sixty six by twenty six feet each. Higher up, beyond this, is the small pox hospital, which generally has the largest number of patients. It is but two stories, eighty feet long and twenty eight feet wide; like the other hospitals, it is built of brick, and has open galleries on the outside, in front, and rear. The quarantine hospitals, although forming no unimportant part of the maritime institutions of New York, do not properly come under the head of those denominated benevolent, as they are merely sanitary and for the purpose of preventing the spread of contagious diseases.

[Illustration: THE SEAMEN'S RETREAT.]

The Seamen's Retreat is also on Staten Island, a mile below the quarantine ground, built upon a natural terrace, about one hundred feet above the water, and fronting the Narrows... Continue reading book >>

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