New York County Treasurer Check signed by William "Boss" Tweed and Gang 1867

New York County Treasurer Check signed by William

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New York County Treasurer Check signed by William
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Beautifully engraved check from the County Treasurer of New York - National Broadway Bank made payable to William "Boss" Tweed issued in 1867. This historic document has an ornate border around it with a vignette of an old sailor, an indian, a ship and an eagle. The check is signed by the New York City Mayor John Thompson Hoffman (who later became Governor), City Comptroller Richard B. Connolly, and the Clerk J.P. Touny. It is endorsed by Tweed on the back and is over 132 years old. After the Civil War, the warring factions of the local Democratic Party became united behind the leadership of a pro-union Tammany Hall leader named William M. ("Boss") Tweed. Boss Tweed had the legislature authorize a City charter which gave the City government more autonomy and home rule. Understanding the value of public works, he actively sought rapid expansion of the City's physical infrastructure, extending streets and sewers to most of Manhattan on the East and West sides of Central Park and the sleepy, farming village of Harlem to the North. This combination of events led to the Tweed Ring. The ring consisted of Tweed and his henchmen¬óPeter Sweeny, City Chamberlain; Richard B. Connolly, City Comptroller; and A. Oakey Hall, the Mayor who controlled the city without interference. They defrauded the city and openly bought votes, encouraged judicial corruption, and controlled New York City politics; estimates of the amount of money the city lost to the ring range from $30 million to $200 million. City judges became notoriously corrupt. Attempts within Tammany to oust the Tweed Ring failed, and in 1870 Tweed forced through the state legislature a charter that greatly increased the powers of the ring. Tweed maintained personal popularity because of his openhandedness and charity to the poor. The immediate cause of Tweed's downfall was the publication in the New York Times of evidence of wholesale graft revealed by M. J. O'Rourke, a new county bookkeeper and the effective cartoons of Thomas Nast that aroused public indignation.

A committee of 70, organized to fight Tammany, elected most of its candidates in 1871, although Tweed himself was returned to the state senate. Largely through the efforts of Samuel J. Tilden, Tweed was tried for felony, but the jury could not reach a verdict. In a second trial he was convicted and given a 12-year prison sentence; this, however, was reduced by a higher court, and he served one year. Arrested once more on other charges, he escaped and went to Cuba and then to Spain, but was extradited (1876) to the United States. He died in prison two years later. John Thompson Hoffman ( 1828-1888) who also signed the check was Mayor of New York from 1866-1868 and Governor of New York from 1869-73. He joined the Tammany Society in 1859. As mayor of New York City and governor of New York the activities of Tweed Ring were at their height. His political future was ruined by conviction of Tweed.


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