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Cultivating ‘cities in the wilderness’: New York City's commercial pleasure gardens and the British American pursuit of rural urbanism

  • VAUGHN SCRIBNER (a1)
Abstract:

Privately owned, for-profit, seasonal, walled-off venues that boasted a variety of flora and fauna in addition to other services like stages, buildings, thespians, musicians, exhibits and victuals, New York City's Vauxhall and Ranelagh commercial pleasure gardens blossomed by the mid-eighteenth century. An in-depth analysis of these pleasure gardens not only contributes to how we understand colonists’ endeavours to support a more complete leisure sector, but also reveals the nuanced nature of the ‘rural vs. urban’ or ‘wilderness vs. civilization’ dyads. Ultimately, urban colonists hoped to embrace the rural nature of their surroundings to make their ‘cities in the wilderness’ more accessible, healthy places.

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1 New-York Mercury, 3 Jun. 1765; New-York Gazette, or Weekly Post-Boy, 15 Jan. 1767. For more on the city/country paradigm and how one might view the eighteenth-century city as intertwined with the natural world, see Borsay, P., ‘Nature, the past and the English town: a counter-cultural history’, Urban History, 44 (2017), 2743; also see Williams, R., The City and the Country (Oxford, 1973).

2 T.M. Garrett, ‘A history of pleasure gardens in New York City, 1700–1865’, New York University Ph.D. thesis, 1978, abstract. For more on the definition of the pleasure garden, see Douglas, L., ‘Certain pleasures, ambiguous grounds: the etymology and evolution of the pleasure garden’, Journal of Landscape Architecture, 8 (2013), 4853, DOI: 10.1080/18626033.2013.798924; O'Malley, T., Keywords in Landscape Design (Washington, DC, 2010), 518–20.

3 In 1757, colonist William Smith Jr declared ‘New-York is one of the most social Places on the Continent’. He continued to note ‘The Inhabitants of New-York are a mixed People’, listing 11 churches of varying denominations and religions. Smith, W. Jr, The History of the Province of New-York: First Discovery to the Year 1732 (London, 1757), 211, 189, 194.

4 Milroy, E., ‘“For the like uses as the moore-fields”: the politics of Penn's Squares’, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 130 (2006), 277. For more on resistance to entertainment and leisure in Boston and Philadelphia, see Boston News-Letter, 10 Jul. 1750; McDermott, D., ‘Structure and management in the American theatre from the beginning to 1870’, in Wilmeth, D. and Bigsby, C. (eds.), The Cambridge History of American Theatre, vol. I: Beginnings to 1870 (Cambridge, 2006), 182215; Scribner, V., ‘Transatlantic actors: the intertwining stages of George Whitefield and Lewis Hallam Sr., 1739–1756’, Journal of Social History, 50 (2016), 127; Nathans, H.S., Early American Theater from the Revolution to Thomas Jefferson: Into the Hands of the People (Cambridge, 2003), 1330; Milroy, E., The Grid and the River: Philadelphia's Green Places, 1682–1876 (University Park, 2016), 21–3.

5 For investigations of other public spaces, see Thompson, P., Rum Punch and Revolution: Taverngoing and Public Life in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia (Philadelphia, 1999); Bushman, R.L., The Refinement of America: Persons, Houses, Cities (New York, 1992); Rudolph, F., The American College & University: A History (Athens, GA, 1990); Johnson, O., Absence and Memory in Colonial American Theatre: Fiorelli's Plaster (New York, 2006); Scribner, V., ‘“The happy effects of these waters”: colonial American mineral spas and the British civilizing mission’, Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 14 (2016), 409–49; Hart, E., ‘From field to plate: the colonial livestock trade and the development of an American economic culture’, William and Mary Quarterly, 73 (2016), 107–40.

6 Garrett concentrated on these spaces, but only in the context of colonial New York City, while Naomi J. Stubbs surveyed American pleasure gardens through the lens of race, class, nature and nationalism, but almost wholly in the early federal era. Barbara Wells Sarudy, finally, investigated the emergence of colonial American pleasure gardens, but only in the Chesapeake region (and, once again, primarily in the federal era). Garrett, ‘A history of pleasure gardens’; Stubbs, N.J., Cultivating National Identity through Performance: American Pleasure Gardens and Entertainment (New York, 2013); Sarudy, B.W., Gardens and Gardening in the Chesapeake, 1700–1805 (Baltimore, 1998), ch. 9. For those works which have concentrated on federal era pleasure gardens, see Eberlein, H.D. and Hubbard, C., ‘The American “Vauxhall” of the federal era’, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 57 (1944), 150–74; Vallillo, S.M. and Chach, M. (eds.), ‘Pleasure gardens’, special issue, Performing Arts Resources, 21 (1998); Henderson, M., The City and the Theatre: The History of New York Playhouses: A 250 Year Journey from Bowling Green to Times Square (New York, 2003); O'Malley, Keywords, 520; Beamish, A., ‘Enjoyment in the night: discovering leisure in Philadelphia's eighteenth-century rural pleasure gardens’, Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes: An International Quarterly, 35 (2015), 198212. Carl Bridenbaugh never mentioned commercial pleasure gardens in his seminal Cities in Revolt (1955), nor did Gary Nash in The Urban Crucible (1979), or Richard Bushman in Refinement of America (1992), or Emma Hart in Building Charleston (2010), or Keith Krawczynski in Daily Life in the Colonial City (2013). Bridenbaugh, C., Cities in Revolt: Urban Life in America, 1743–1776 (New York, 1955), 143, 145, 339–40; Nash, G.B., The Urban Crucible: Social Change, Political Consciousness, and the Origins of the American Revolution (Cambridge, 1979); Bushman, The Refinement of America, 129–31; Hart, E., Building Charleston: Town and Society in the Eighteenth-Century British Atlantic World (Charlottesville, 2010); Krawczynski, K., Daily Life in the Colonial City (Santa Barbara, 2013), 340. Benjamin Carp only mentioned New York City's Vauxhall Garden in the context of the Stamp Act riots in Carp, B.L., Rebels Rising: Cities and the American Revolution (Oxford, 2007), 82–3.

7 Borsay, ‘Nature, the past and the English town’, abstract, 5; Porter, R., London: A Social History (Cambridge, 1994), 98.

8 For population increase, see Hofstadter, R., America at 1750: A Social Portrait (New York, 1973), 4. For more on the idea of hybridity in environmental history, see Clifford, J., ‘The urban periphery and the rural fringe: West Ham's hybrid landscape’, Left History, 13 (2008), 139; White, R., ‘From wilderness to hybrid landscapes: the cultural turn in environmental history’, in Sackman, Douglas Cazaux (ed.), A Companion to American Environmental History (Malden, 2010), 188; Sutter, P., ‘The world with us: the state of American environmental history’, Journal of American History, 100 (2013), 96; Finger, S., The Contagious City: The Politics of Public Health in Early Philadelphia (Ithaca, 2012).

9 Nash, G.B., ‘Social development’, in Greene, J.P. and Pole, J.R. (eds.), Colonial British America: Essays in the New History of the Early Modern Era (Baltimore, 1984), 247.

10 Nash, Urban Crucible, 409; Porter, London: A Social History, 98. Many colonists and visitors compared the mid-eighteenth-century colonies’ cities to England's ‘country towns’. Bridenbaugh, C. (ed.), Gentleman's Progress: The Itinerarium of Dr. Alexander Hamilton, 1744 (Chapel Hill, 1948), 192–3; Burnaby, A., Travels through the Middle Settlements in North America in the Years 1759 and 1760 (Dublin, 1775), 169.

11 As O.T. Barck noted, New York City and its environs remained ‘a rural rather than urban area’ by 1763. Barck, O.T., New York City during the War for Independence: With Special Reference to the Period of British Occupation (New York, 1931), 12.

12 ‘pastoral, n. and adj’, OED online, Sep. 2016, Oxford University Press, www.oed.com.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/view/Entry/138625?rskey=NygElh&result=1&isAdvanced=false (accessed 5 Oct. 2016). For a further discussion of ideas of pastoralism in early America, see Hallock, T., From the Fallen Tree: Frontier Narratives, Environmental Politics, and the Roots of a National Pastoral, 1749–1826 (Chapel Hill, 2003). For more on colonists’ ‘romantic’ notions of ‘wilderness’, see Nash, R.F., Wilderness and the American Mind, 4th edn (New Haven, 2001), 4466.

13 Johnson, S., Dictionary of the English Language, 2 vols. (London, 1785), vol. II, 1062, vol. I, 386. For a further discussion of how early modern Britons viewed ‘nature’ and ‘wilderness’, see Nash, Wilderness and the American Mind, 1–66.

14 R. Bushman, ‘American high-style and vernacular cultures’, in Greene and Pole (eds.), Colonial British America, 369; Anishanslin, Z., Portrait of a Woman in Silk: Hidden Histories of the British Atlantic World (New Haven, 2016), 1617.

15 For more on early modern Britons’ complicated conceptions of ‘health’ and ‘nature’, see M. Dennis, ‘Cultures of nature: to ca. 1810’, in Sackman (ed.), A Companion to American Environmental History, 214–45; Kupperman, K.O., ‘Fear of hot climates in the anglo-American colonial experience’, William and Mary Quarterly, 41 (1984), 213–14; Porter, R., Enlightenment: Britain and the Creation of the Modern World (New York, 2000), especially ch. 13: ‘Nature’; Nash, Wilderness and the American Mind, 1–66; Scribner, ‘“Happy effects of these waters”’.

16 T. Pownall, ‘A memorial stating the nature of the service in North America, and proposing a general plan of operations, as founded thereon’ [1756], repr. in Pownall, T., The Administration of the British Colonies. The Fifth Edition. Wherein their Rights and Constitution Are Discussed and Stated, 5th edn, 2 vols. (1764; London, 1774), vol. II, 183–4.

17 Kraus, M., ‘America and the utopian ideal in the eighteenth century’, in Hoffer, P.C. (ed.), An American Enlightenment: Selected Articles on Colonial Intellectual History (New York, 1988), 3 (quote).

18 Gist, C., Christopher Gist's Journals, ed. Darlington, W.M. (Pittsburgh, 1893), 47; Walker, J., Elements of Geography and of Natural and Civil History (London, 1795), 593.

19 Milroy, Grid and the River, 21 (quote), 11–49; Milroy, ‘The politics of Penn's squares’, 276–8; Reps, J.W., The Making of Urban America: A History of City Planning in the United States (Princeton, 1965), 147–74. As historian Elizabeth Milroy noted, ‘[Penn] specifically instructed his commissioners to find a site that was “high, dry, and healthy”, and in subsequent promotional writings he emphasized the fact that Philadelphia's site was noted for “the loftiness and soundness of the Land and the Air”’. Milroy, ‘The politics of Penn's squares’, 274–5. Milroy also explained that ‘William Penn's presence in the colony may have prompted the formulation of an ordinance passed in 1700 that required all those residing in houses in Philadelphia. . .to plant trees in front of their houses’. Milroy, Grid and the River, 29.

20 New-York Journal, 16 Jun. 1774.

21 Southern gentlemen also crafted their cities according to the most up-to-date city-building methods. Kornwolf, J.D., Architecture and Town Planning in Colonial North America, vol. III (Baltimore, 2002), 1251; Martin, P., The Pleasure Gardens of Virginia: From Jamestown to Jefferson (Charlottesville, 2001), 28, 30–1; Reps, J.W., Tidewater Towns: City Planning in Colonial Virginia and Maryland (Williamsburg, 1972); Sarudy, Gardens and Gardening, 128–33. Hugh Jones, for example, equated Williamsburg's order and verdant nature with health, exclaiming that residents of Williamsburg ‘dwell comfortably, genteely, pleasantly, and plentifully in this delightful, healthful, and (I hope) thriving city of Williamsburgh’: Jones, H., The Present State of Virginia (New York, 1865 (orig. printed in 1724)), 32; Wilson, T., The Oglethorpe Plan: Enlightenment Design in Savannah and Beyond (Charlottesville, 2012), Introduction.

22 Milroy, ‘The politics of Penn's squares’, 281–2; Dunlap, W., A History of the American Theatre (New York, 1832), 43; Reps, J.W., Town Planning in Frontier America (Princeton, 1969), 194–5. For notations of the mass amounts of trees in New York City, see Waldeck, P., Eighteenth Century America: A Hessian Report on the People, the Land, the War, As Noted in the Diary of Chaplain Philipp Waldeck (1776–1780), trans. B.E. Burgoyne (Bowie, MD, 1995), 18. The German Waldeck noted in Oct. 1776: ‘The streets are rather wide, especially the so-called Broadway, where the King's statue stood. High trees stand before the houses.’

23 M'Robert, P., A Tour through Part of the North Provinces of America: Being, A Series of Letters Wrote on the Spot, in the Years 1774, & 1775. To Which Are Annex'd, Tables, Shewing the Roads, the Value of Coins, Rates of Stages, &c. (Pennsylvania, 1935), 30, 32, 2–3.

24 ‘Chapter XXI: from an officer in New York, 11 Sep. 1780’, in R.W. Pettengill (trans.), Letters from America, 1776–1779, Being Letters of Brunswick, Hessian, and Waldeck Officers with the British Armies during the Revolution (Port Washington, 1964), 229; see also Döhla, J.C., A Hessian Diary of the American Revolution, ed. Burgoyne, B.E. (Norman, 1990), 23–9.

25 For more on the idea that historians should view urbanization in the northern and southern colonies as intertwined, see Scribner, V., ‘“Quite a genteel and extreamly commodious house”: southern taverns, anxious elites, and the British American quest for social differentiation’, Journal of Early American History, 5 (2015), 3067.

26 For more on nurseries in the colonies, see Sarudy, Gardens and Gardening, 3–19, 65–77; Leighton, A., American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century: ‘For Use or for Delight (Boston, 1986).

27 New-York Mercury, 7 Jul. 1766.

28 ‘Memorandum for Capt. Troy from James des Vories, St. Croix, 1 May 1762’, ‘New York Oct 22d 1762’, ‘An account of trees Enockelated for Mr Kempe, 1764’, in John Tabor Kempe Papers, New York Historical Society, box 12, folder 3; Pride was not alone in serving West Indian captains. See, for instance, Boston News-Letter, 10 Mar. 1768: a local nursery owner advertised ‘A Great variety of Garden Seeds, Fruit Trees of all kinds, suitable for this Country: as also, SEEDS saved here suitable for the West Indies; in said Seeds imported are eight different sorts of Peas.’

29 Leighton, American Gardens, 248; Isaac, R., Landon Carter's Uneasy Kingdom: Revolution and Rebellion on a Virginia Plantation (Oxford, 2004).

30 Martin, Pleasure Gardens of Virginia, 55, 65.

31 While cities like Philadelphia relied upon a grid-like plan which encompassed myriad smaller squares intended for the leisure of between four and eight bordering households, many other colonial urban centres – notably New York City and Boston – grew around larger, more shared public commons. For more on the many uses – and definitions – of the public common, see O'Malley, Keywords, 202–4.

32 Callender, H., ‘Extracts from the diary of Hannah Callender’, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 12 (1888), 446; McDermott, ‘Structure and management in the American theatre from the beginning to 1870’, 185; E. Milroy, Grid and the River, 36; Barber, S., Boston Common: A Diary of Notable Events, Incidents, and Neighboring Occurrences, 2nd edn (Boston, 1916), 47, 63, 72.

33 Pennsylvania Gazette, 26 Apr. 1764. For more on the elite desire for a balance between country and city life, see Reinberger, M. and McLean, E., The Philadelphia Country House: Architecture and Landscape in Colonial America (Baltimore, 2015), 44.

34 Hofstadter, America at 1750, 158; Borsay, ‘Nature, the past, and the English town’, 6.

35 Greig, H., ‘“All together and all distinct”: public sociability and social exclusivity in London's pleasure gardens, ca. 1740–1800’, Journal of British Studies, 51 (2012), 64; Martin, Pleasure Gardens of Virginia, 55. Because Englishmen – specifically Londoners – originally created the commercial pleasure garden, this article will concentrate on how Britons abroad – specifically British American colonists living on the north-eastern seaboard of mainland North America – sought to translate this English invention to North America's shores.

36 Smollett, T., The Miscellaneous Works of Tobias Smollett. . . In Six Volumes, ed. Anderson, R. (Edinburgh, 1800), vol. VI, 97; Greig, ‘“All together and all distinct”’, 64 (quote); Daily Advertiser, 23 May 1743; Westminster Journal or New Weekley Miscellany, 31 Aug. 1745; Porter, London: A Social History, 174–5. While other pleasure gardens existed in London – specifically Cuper's Gardens, Marylebone Gardens, Mulberry Gardens, Dobney's Gardens and Bagnigge Wells – they all emulated Vauxhall and Ranelagh, and elites did not generally attend them. Greig, ‘“All together and all distinct”’, 73.

37 E. Winslow, ‘Journal of an intended voyage on board the ship Early of Halifax, John Phillips, commander, from Boston to London, 16 Dec. 1754–30 Sep. 1755’, Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library, 32, 45, 66, 63, 67; Hoffman, R., Mason, S.D. and Darcy, E.S. (eds.), Dear Papa, Dear Charley: The Peregrinations of a Revolutionary Aristocrat, as Told by Charles Carroll of Carrollton and his Father, Charles Carroll of Annapolis, with Sundry Observations on Bastardy, Child-Rearing, Romance, Matrimony, Commerce, Tobacco, Slavery, and the Politics of Revolutionary America (Chapel Hill, 2001), 166–74.

38 Fatherly, S., Gentlewomen and Learned Ladies: Women and Elite Formation in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia (Bethlehem, 2008), 119 (quote); Colden, C., The Letters and Papers of Cadwallader Colden, vol. III: 1743–47 (New York, 1918), 95.

39 Betsy Galloway to Grace Growden Galloway, 1778, Joseph Galloway Family Papers, 1743–83, Library of Congress, Washington, DC, box 1, folder 1; Scribner, ‘“Happy effects of these waters”’; Melosi, M.V., The Sanitary City: Environmental Services in Urban America from Colonial Times to Present, abridged edn (Pittsburgh, 2008), ch. 1; Tarr, J.A., The Search for the Ultimate Sink: Urban Pollution in Historical Perspective (Akron, 1996); Reinberger and McLean, The Philadelphia Country House, 45.

40 For other examples of commercial pleasure gardens originating from taverns, see Black, W., ‘Journal of William Black, 1744’, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1 (1877), 130; South Carolina Gazette, 5 Mar. 1744; Pennsylvania Mercury, 12 May 1737.

41 Garrett, ‘A history of pleasure gardens’, 66–70; New-York Gazette, 5 Feb. 1740; Callender, ‘Extracts’, 444–5.

42 Conroy, D.W., In Public Houses: Drink and the Revolution of Authority in Colonial Massachusetts (Chapel Hill, 1995), 243; Thompson, Rum Punch and Revolution; Carp, Rebels Rising; Shields, D., Civil Tongues and Polite Letters in British America (Chapel Hill, 1997); Salinger, S.V., Taverns and Drinking in Early America (Baltimore, 2002); Scribner, ‘“Quite a genteel and extreamly commodious house”’; Scribner, ‘“Happy effects of these waters”’; Hembry, P., The English Spa, 1560–1815: A Social History (London, 1990).

43 For references to other commercial pleasure gardens, see Milroy, ‘The politics of Penn's squares’, 277; Sarudy, Gardens and Gardening, 129; G.A. Duclow, ‘Philadelphia's early pleasure gardens’, in Vallillo and Chach (eds.), ‘Pleasure gardens’, special issue, Performing Arts Resources; Fithian, P.V., Journal and Letters of Philip Vickers Fithian, ed. Farish, H.D. (Charlottesville, 1983), 106; Blanchard, C., The Journal of Claude Blanchard, Commissary of the French Auxiliary Army Sent to the United States during the American Revolution, 1780–1783, trans. W. Duane, ed. Balch, T. (Albany, 1876), 56; New England Weekly Journal, 16 Sep. 1740; New England Weekly Journal, 10 Feb. 1741; Sonneck, O.G., Early Concert-Life in America (1731–1800) (Leipzig, 1907), 20; Maryland Journal, 15 May 1776.

44 Milory, Grid and the River, 36; Boston News-Letter, 10 Jul. 1750; Conroy, In Public Houses.

45 Boston Evening Post, 26 Jun. 1738; Chastellux, Marquis de, Travels in North America, in the Years 1780, 1781, and 1782 (New York, 1827), 292–3; Pennsylvania Gazette, 19 Mar. 1754.

46 Smith, The History of the Province of New-York, 211; Pennsylvania Gazette, 15 Jan. 1754; Scribner, ‘Transatlantic actors’, 9.

47 New-York Gazette, 16 May 1765; Garrett, ‘A history of pleasure gardens’, 82, 92, 106; New-York Journal, 21 Jul. 1768.

48 For entrance fees, see Sonneck, Early Concert-Life, 21–30; New-York Chronicle, 29 Jun. to 6 Jul. 1769; New-York Journal, 29 Jun. 1769. Greig, ‘“All together and all distinct”’, 50–75. For an example of how such a social model of internal division extended into other public spaces (namely the tavern), see Scribner, ‘“Quite a genteel and extreamly commodious house”’. Philip Vickers Fithian noted slaves working in a gentleman's private pleasure garden in 1773, commenting ‘after Mrs. Carter had given some orders to the Gardiners (for there are two Negroes, Gardiners by Trade, who are constantly when the Weather will any how permit, working in it) we walked out’. Fithian, Journal and Letters, 44. Not all gardeners, of course, were enslaved. When one man arrived in New York City in 1773, he advertised in the Rivington's New-York Gazetteer: ‘A Gardiner, that is lately arrived from England, who understands that business in all its branches, as kitchen, flower, and pleasure garden, grafting and budding of fruit trees, in the most approved method, is welling to engage with any gentleman, either in this or any of the neighboring provinces, as a Gardiner, or Overseer of an estate.’ Rivington's New-York Gazetteer, 13 May 1773.

49 New-York Gazette; and the Weekly Mercury, 6 Jun. 1774.

50 New-York Gazette; and the Weekly Mercury, 6 Jun. 1774.

51 New-York Gazette; and the Weekly Mercury, 6 Jun. 1774.

52 Virginia Gazette, 14 Oct. 1773. For further discussion of early English ideologies of air and health, see Jenner, M., ‘The politics of London air: John Evelyn's Fumifugium and the Restoration’, Historical Journal, 38 (1995), 535–51; Milroy, ‘The politics of Penn's squares’, 275; Scribner, ‘“Happy effects of these waters”’, 409.

53 Murphy, K.S., ‘Collecting slave traders: James Petiver, natural history, and the British slave trade’, William and Mary Quarterly, 70 (2013), 637–70; Parrish, S.S., American Curiosity: Cultures of Natural History in the Colonial British Atlantic World (Chapel Hill, 2006); Nelson, E.C. and Elliott, D.J. (eds.), The Curious Mister Catesby: A ‘Truly Ingenious’ Naturalist Explores New Worlds (Athens, GA, 2015); Kalm, P., Peter Kalm's Travels in North America: The English Version of 1770, ed. Benson, A.B. (New York, 1937); Darlington, W., Memorials of John Bartram and Humphry Marshall (Philadelphia, 1849); F. Knobloch, ‘Flora’, in Sackman (ed.), A Companion to American Environmental History, 327–44; O'Neill, J. and McLean, E., Peter Collinson and the Eighteenth-Century Natural History Exchange (Philadelphia, 2008).

54 Reinberger and McLean, The Philadelphia Country House, 31; O'Malley, Keywords, 669.

55 Garrett, ‘A history of pleasure gardens’, 67; Montresor, J., Plan de New-York et des environs, 1775 (Paris, 1777); Harrison, W., New and Universal History, Description and Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster, the Borough of Southwark (London, 1775), 512; Borsay, P., ‘Pleasure gardens and urban culture in the long eighteenth century’, in Conlin, J. (ed.), The Pleasure Garden, from Vauxhall to Coney Island (Philadelphia, 2013), 58; New-York Gazette, 14 Jan. 1771.

56 Nicholas Bayard was a notable merchant of New York City. He brokered numerous land deals at mid-century, and owned various servants. See, for instance, New-York Mercury, 3 Mar., 2 Jun., 16 Jun. 1755. He was also unhappy when miscreants destroyed some of his locust trees ‘planted along-side of the lane aback of my woods, as an ornament and conveniency for gentlemen, and others, who take their walks that way’. New-York Gazette, or Weekly Post-Boy, 11 Sep. 1758. Apparently, by 1762 the destruction of his farm by miscreants had grown even worse. See New-York Gazette, or Weekly Post-Boy, 17 May 1762.

57 Bridenbaugh, Cities in Revolt, 340 (quote); Pennsylvania Gazette, 26 Jul. 1770; Cagnato, C., Fritz, G.J. and Dawdy, S.L., ‘Strolling through Madame Mandeville's garden: the real and imagined landscape of eighteenth-century New Orleans, Louisiana’, Journal of Ethnobiology, 35 (2015), 235–61; J.H. Ernstein, ‘Constructing context: historical archaeology and the pleasure garden in Prince George's county, Maryland, 1740–1790’, Boston University Ph.D. thesis, 2004. While visiting George Whitefield's Georgia orphan house in 1746, one colonist remarked that the grounds boasted a ‘Garden, which is a very extensive one, and well kept up, is one of the best I ever saw in America, and you may discover in it Plants and Fruits of Almost every Clime and Kind’. Pennsylvania Journal, 9 Dec. 1746.

58 Callender, ‘Extracts’, 448; Owen, W., Narrative of American Voyages and Travels of Captain William Owen, R.N., and Settlement of the Island of Campobello in the Bay of Fundy, 1766–1771, ed. Paltsits, V.H. (New York, 1942), 26.

59 New-York Journal; or, the General Advertiser, 21 Jul. 1768; New York Chronicle, 28 Sep. to 5 Oct. 1769.

60 New-York Journal; or, the General Advertiser, 21 Jul. 1768; New-York Gazette, 4 Jul. 1768.

61 New-York Gazette, 2 Apr. 1770; New-York Chronicle, 29 Jun. to 6 Jul. 1769; Sonneck, Early Concert-Life, 166–70; New England Weekly Journal, 16 Sep. 1740; New-York Gazette, 11 Feb. 1765; New-York Mercury, 28 Dec. 1761; New-York Gazette, 7 Dec. to 14 Dec. 1767.

62 For ‘pre-Revolutionary tumult’, see Hodges, G.R.G., ‘The laboring republic’, in Gray, E.G. and Kamensky, J. (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution (Oxford, 2013), 580.

63 Thompson, Rum Punch and Revolution; Carp, Rebels Rising; Conroy, In Public Houses; Bridenbaugh, Cities in Revolt; Nash, Urban Crucible; Maier, P., From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765–1776 (New York, 1972).

64 Greig contended that London's Vauxhall and Ranelagh were spaces where urbanites more clearly defined differences in status, while Nosan argued that these gardens diminished status gaps. Greig, ‘“All together and all distinct”’; Nosan, G., ‘Pavilions, power and patriotism: garden architecture at Vauxhall’, in Conan, M. (ed.), Bourgeois and Aristocratic Cultural Encounters in Garden Art, 1550–1850 (Washington, DC, 2002), 101–21.

65 For ‘pre-Revolutionary tumult’, see Hodges, ‘The laboring republic’, 580; New-York Mercury, 7 Nov. 1765; Lemisch, J., Jack Tar vs. John Bull: The Role of New York's Seamen in Precipitating the Revolution (New York, 1997), 81; Garrett, ‘A history of pleasure gardens’, 79. According to the New-York Mercury, 27 Jun. 1758, ‘the House of Mr. Keen (commonly called Vaux Hall)’ existed. It is very likely that this is the site that Fraunces purchased in 1765 and subletted to James.

66 New-York Gazette, 4 Jul. 1768.

67 New-York Gazette, and the Weekly Mercury, 14 Jan. 1771; Garrett, ‘A history of pleasure gardens’, 88–9.

68 Garrett, ‘A history of pleasure gardens’, 119; [E. Schaukirk], ‘Occupation of New York city by the British’, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 10 (1887), 418.

69 ‘Garish Harsin to William Radclift, 13 Feb. 1776’, in Mercantile Library Association, New York City during the American Revolution (New York, 1861), 87; Buskirk, J.L. Van, Generous Enemies: Patriots and Loyalists in Revolutionary New York (Philadelphia, 2002), Introduction.

70 Cresswell, N., The Journal of Nicholas Cresswell, 1774–1777 (London, 1925), 244; Döhla, A Hessian Diary of the American Revolution, 44, 56, 123, 138, 145, 228, 231. Colonial mineral spring spas such as Pennsylvania's Yellow Spring Spa were also converted into hospitals during the American Revolution. Cotter, J.L., Roberts, D.G. and Parrington, M., The Buried Past: An Archaeological History of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, 1992), 404; Futhey, J.S. and Cope, G., History of Chester County, Pennsylvania, with Genealogical and Biographical Sketches (Philadelphia, 1881), 101.

71 [Schaukirk], ‘Occupation of New York city by the British’, 427, 429–30.

72 Van Buskirk, Generous Enemies, 34–5.

* The author would like to thank Robert Lewis, Joshua Nygren, the anonymous peer reviewers and the editorial staff at Urban History for their invaluable aid in the piece. He would also like to thank the University Research Council at the University of Central Arkansas for financial support. The title is a play on the title of C. Bridenbaugh, Cities in the Wilderness: The First Century of Urban Life in America, 1625–1742 (Oxford, 1938).

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Urban History
  • ISSN: 0963-9268
  • EISSN: 1469-8706
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