“The People of the State of New York, by the grace of God free and independent. To all to whom these presents shall come, or may concern, greetings. Know ye, that We, reposing especial trust and confidence in the loyalty, integrity and prudence of Richard Varick, Esquire, have therefore of our especial grace, certain knowledge and meer motion, nominated, constituted and appointed, and by these presents Do nominate, constitute and appoint the said Richard Varick to be Mayor of our City of New York..."
Governor Richard Nicolls appointed Thomas Willett as the first English “mayor of New York” in 1665. Starting in 1777, the mayor was appointed by the Council of Appointments, in which the state's governor had the loudest voice. In 1821, the Common Council, which included elected members, gained the authority to choose the mayor. An amendment to the New York State constitution in 1834 provided for the direct popular election of the mayor.
Richard Varick served as Mayor of New York City from 1791 to 1801. During this period, the population of the city doubled, making basic civic necessities like water and disease control the focus of his attentions. Due to his support of the unpopular Jay's Treaty (between the US and Great Britain) in 1794, he was almost driven out of City Hall by a riot, while Hamilton was challenged to a duel by Edward Livingston. In a sweep of political fortunes that made Thomas Jefferson president, Varick was replaced in 1801 by Livingston.
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