American Passage: The History of Ellis Island by Vincent J. Cannato

By Vincent J. Cannato

For many of latest York's early historical past, Ellis Island have been an imprecise little island that hardly held itself above excessive tide. this present day the small island stands along Plymouth Rock in our nation's founding mythology because the position the place lots of our ancestors first touched American soil.

American Passage captures a time and a spot remarkable in American immigration and heritage, and articulates the dramatic and bittersweet debts of the immigrants, officers, interpreters, and social reformers who all performed a big position in Ellis Island's chronicle. during this sweeping, usually heart-wrenching epic, Vincent J. Cannato unearths that the historical past of Ellis Island is finally the tale of what it capacity to be an American.

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The large brewers and distillers (unlike the petty beermen and spirit-makers of the Westminster poll book) had set up their shops and warehouses at some distance from the centre. , in Vauxhall; Sir Ben Trueman in Brick Lane, Spitalfields; and Samuel Whitbread in Chiswell Street, St Luke's. Brewing had become a major business and was rapidly expanding. Pennant lists the twenty-four largest brewers of 1786, together with their annual output of strong beer, ranging from I o,ooo barrels at the lowest to 1 so,ooo barrels in the case of Samuel Whitbread.

2 Thomas Pennant, Some Account of London, pp. 154-5; Dorothy Marshall, 1 Johnson's London, 1968, p. 19. Dr The Growth ofthe Metropolis IJ Restoration, by the Earl of Southampton's Bloomsbury Square (laid out in 1665), Soho Square (1681), Lincoln's Inn Fields and Red Lion Square (1684) and St James's Square (planned for the Earl of St Albans in 1663 and completed in 1684). All these developments resulted, as we have said, from the combined enterprise of noble patrons and speculative builders (men such as Nicholas Barbon, Sir Thomas Bond, Richard Frith, Sir Thomas Neale and Gregory King); but the two building schemes centred round Bloomsbury and StJames's Squares, and successively promoted by the Earls of Southampton and St Albans, went further.

Pp. 74-81 ; Ralph Davis, The Rise ofthe English Shipping Industry, pp. 16-18, 33-5 ; A Tour, vol. 1, pp. 43, 48; Theodore Barker, 'London and the Great Leap Forward', The Lstener, i 29 June 1967, p. 846; 0. H. K. Spate, in An Historical Geography ofEngland, p. 543· 1 I, Economic Life JI necessary to remove the three-decker moorings at Woolwich some 20 fathoms into the channel. But more serious still, as trade and tonnage expanded, was the inadequacy of the quays and wharves. The so-called 'legal quays' (where alone the bulk of dutiable goods could be landed) were only 500 yards long and, by the end of the century, were only sufficient to handle about one-third of the traffic that had to land there; and even when supplemented by the 'sufferance wharfs' on both sides of the Upper Pool, they caused irritating delays, particularly to the great West Indian fleet, and provoked complaints which long remained un­ heeded.

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