"Made just prior to the Revolution, the Ratzen [sic.] plan was the most accurate and useful survey of New York then circulating" (Deák).
The index illustrates a degree of religious tolerance that would have been found in very few cities around the world, and evinces the great diversity that has characterized New York throughout its history. There is a diverse collection of Protestant sects noted, including Calvinist, Episcopalian, Lutheran, and Huguenot churches, in addition to a synagogue. However, Roman Catholicism and non-Christian African religions were not permitted to be practiced openly. The great estates located to the north of the city proper are shown as belonging to several famous families including the Rutgers, the Bayards, and the De Lanceys.
The rarity of the Plan is highlighted by the fact that it was unknown to Cumming (writing in 1979), and does not appear to have been recorded since. Cumming lists a copy of Ratzer's Map with "Ruse & Turners" watermarks, but was uncertain if the watermark date was 1831 or 1851. The watermark date on the present example of the Plan is "Ruse & Turners / 1831". Since both the Cumming copy of the Map and the present Plan appear to have been printed on the same batch of paper, it is highly probable that they were printed at the same time. What is certain is that the present work is finely printed on top quality paper, and that the image shows no apparent differences or wear when compared with the earlier issue.
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