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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 242 [1902]

              [loose newspaper clipping: first column]
MR. ROBERT B. ROOSEVELT, the
only man living who was a member
of the Reception Committee which
welcomed the Prince of Wales�now
King Edward VII.�to this city, in
1860, compares, for the Sunday HER-
ALD, that royal visit with the visit
of Prince Henry of Prussia.  To him the new
incident brings sharply, by contrast, the
marvellous changes in the aspect of the city
viewed by the British monarch and that
which will unfurl its wonders to the eye of
the Prussian Prince.  His recollections of the
reception of the Prince of Wales are enter-
taining, coming from the only member of
the official hosts on that occasion who lives
to tell of it.
  Mr. Rooseelt was at the time United
States District Attorney.  Later he was
United States Minister to the Netherlands.
He was also a member of the Reception Com-
mittee during the visit of the Russian Grand
Duke Alexis, in 1871.
		     ���
	By Robert B. Roosevelt.
  By the visit of Prince Henry of Prussia
will be marked another epoch.  To me,
to whom the visit of the Prince of
Wales, now King Edward VII., is most
vividly recalled, with the incidents of his re-
ception and tour, the force of this statement
is emphatic, intense.
  And with the vision memory takes me back
to the arrival of the heir to the British
throne, forcing into most acute contrast the
impression of the present greatness which
cannot fail of being made upon the coming
visitor.
  Where Albert Edward saw acres of green
turf and nodding leaves Henry will find the
stateliest piles of masonry ever reared as
monuments to the most colossal enterprise 
and business activity of the world.  Where
the present British King found a village
comparatively, with outlying settlements,
Prince Henry will behold the most marvel-
lous consolidated, densely built city of this
half of the earth at least.
  Albert Edward might have said:��We
have better, grander places at home.�  Upon
Henry will be forced the truth that nowhere
in his native land has he beheld such stu-
pendous evidences of progress and achieve-
ment.
  No need for me to tell here, in detail, what
we have to boast of.  Rather let me call it
to the mind of the reader by a plain recital
from my recollection of incidents upon and
immediately subsequent to October 11, 1860.
The telling of the past will the better bring
out, by suggestion, these things which are
wonders, yet are considered commonplace
through our lack of time for appreciation�

[loose newspaper clipping: second column]
and which, in our pause, let us regard as the
record of an epoch.
How the Prince Came.
  The nation was younger then than it is
now, but it �loved a lord,� and above all
an English lord, as dearly then as it does
now, and the arrival of the future sovereign,
a prince in his own right, and the highest
nobleman next to kingship in the world,
caused no little fluttering of hearts, and
aroused the deepest interest and enthusiasm.
  A Committee of Reception was made up
of citizens by a sort of natural selection, and
was not appointed by the Mayor, as had been
the custom of later years.  Of this Mr.
Maunsel B. Field was the secretary and man-
aging member.
  The Prince reached New York by the way
of Philadelphia and took the Camden and
Amboy line from that city, which left him
at Amboy, to come to the city on the rev-
enue cutter Harriet Lane.
  He reached New York on October 11, and
Lieutenant General Winfield F. Scott deliv-
ered the address of welcome on board the
cutter.
  The Prince was a tall, fine looking, stal-
wart young gentleman of nineteen, said to
be a little gay�so much so, it was whispered,
that the Duke of Newcastle, the Earl of St.
Germain and General Bruce were sent with
him as much to keep him out of mischief as
to do him honor by their presence on his
staff.  General Bruce especially was re-
garded as his sternest mentor.
  As for the others, they disliked their mis-
sion so much, and America at that time
was held in so little esteem, that they could
not help showing their contempt for both
land and people.  When they went up the
Hudson to visit Albany or West Point they
kept themselves ostentatiously in the cabin
and would not even look at the scenery,
which, in their opinion, was so much in-
ferior to that of the Thames as not to be
worth the trouble of a regard.
A �Royal Good Fellow.�
  But the Prince was altogether different,
and what, if he were a less great personage,
might be described as a �royal good fellow,�
appreciative of the kindness and honor that
were shown to him and possibly not indiffer-
ent to the future effect of his amiable gra-
ciousness.  He already wore his proverbial
�Prince Albert� frock coat, and under that,
across his breast, the broad blue ribbon of
the Order of the Bath, and wherever he went
made himself friendly and at home almost
as if he had been born a republican in-
stead of the head of the world�s aristocracy.
  He did this even under some rather trying
circumstances.  A public reception was given

[loose newspaper clipping: third column]
at Castle Garden, where he was formally
welcomed by Mayor Fernando Wood, and
where he was introduced to the Common
Council  Mr. Wood was imposing, and car-
ried the reception off in good style, but the
introduction to the then Common Council
must have surprised His Royal Highness,
who was not accustomed to our democratic
ways.
  After that ceremony, however, he reviewed
our troops, consisting mainly of our militia,
which, even then, was in pretty good train-
ing, and was takn to the Fifth Avenue

[loose newspaper clipping: fourth column]
Hotel, where he made his headquarters
thereafter during his stay.
  Of course, our American girls went crazy
over him.  The barber who cut his hair
made a small fortune by selling alleged
locks for keepsakes.  Even the water in
which he washed his hands was bottled
and sold to female worshippers.  I remem-
ber one of them remarking in my presence
that she had not noticed little specks in it, and
she seemed to think either that the nobility
came off in the washing or that the hands

[loose newspaper clipping: fifth column]
of Princes did not get soiled like common-
place hands.
  The Prince was shows the seats of learn-
ing and more or less of the institutions, and
a ball at the Academy of Music was given
in his honor, in which all the �Four Hun-
dred� of that day took part.  He began the
dancing with the wife of Governor Morgan,
and had as partners afterward Mrs. Peter
Cooper, Mrs. Judge Roosevelt, Mrs. Hoyt,
daughter of General Scott, and others.  He
remained three days in the city, and left a
most kindly remembrance of him, which 
has never died out among the old set of 
New Yorkers.  Not many of these are now
living, although by chance the writer of
this article had two of them to dinner at
his house since he commenced writing these
reminiscences.
Academy Was �Uptown.�
  New York has since grown almost beyond
expression and utterly beyond belief.  Then
the Acadmy of Music was quite uptown
and was the only large hall in the city.  It
was floored over for such functions when
there was to be dancing, and on this occa-
sion the flooring gave way and many of the
participants were precipitated about two
feet below, but non of them was hurt and
the revelry went on without interruption, ex-
cept for temporary repairs.
  The �town� did not exist above Fourteenth
street and Fifth avenue and was just bud-
ding or blossoming into prominence.  The
Fifth Avenue Hotel was still sometimes de-
scribed by its first appellation, �Eno�s Folly�
�a favorite way in which the public try to
show their superiority to persons who have 
better judgment and more enterprise than
themselves.
  Then we were a newer people, and the very
fact that we insisted upon asserting that we
were �just as good as anybody� was not the
highest claim to the respect of the rest of the
world.  Now the �rest of the world,� espe-
cially since our Spanish war, begins to think
almost as well of us as we do of ourselves,
and turns gracious, if not affectionate, eyes
upon us while welcoming us into the honors
and troubles of a �world nation.�
  Our �splendid isolation� is being invaded
by those who desire our alliance.  Not merely
�our cousins� of the British Isles, but our
half cousins among the Germans on the
Continent and our good friends among the 
most autocratic of all nations, the Great Bear
of the North of Europe and Asia, are more 
tender to us every day.  And that naturally
brings me to the second famous visit to our
shores.
Grand Duke�s Visit
  The Grand Duk
Emperor
[rest of article cut off]               
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