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[ 152 ] EDWARD PESSEN character favoring one large group of rich men at the expense of another. The assessments were a matter of public record, subject to the scrutiny of knowing men. If reputedly wealthy families such as the Hoyts, Brevoorts, and Hones were worth more than the records indicate, there is no reason to think that the ratio of the disparities between the assessed and actual value of their wealth was significantly if at all different from the ratios that applied to other wealthy men and families. If the city's record of assessments for 1828 therefore does not permit us to draw up a listing of the exact amount of wealth owned by individuals, it does enable us to ascertain who the wealthiest persons in the community were. Above all, the assessment data represent a bedrock that provides assurance that an individual was worth at least the amount attributed to him. The same cannot be said for the Moses Beach lists. Since it was important to know who the wealthy persons were in the later as well as the earlier years of the Jacksonian period, I decided to create an additional fist of the wealthiest New Yorkers in 1845—not least because Beach's "Wealthy Citizens" pamphlet for that year has had the greatest vogue among modern historian's.11 It was apparent that Beach's list could not be regarded as a reliable listing of New York City's wealthiest citizens. Skepticism is aroused by the obvious haste and carelessness with which it was drawn up, its repetitions, misspellings, disregard for the alphabet, the gossipy nature of biographies purportedly written to be helpful to businessmen, the too round figures attributed to individuals, and the cryptic and unsatisfactory explanation of the sources of its data. One's immediate reaction to it was that while it might be useful as a list of the reputedly wealthiest one thousand in New York City, a serious study of wealth and its origins would have to rely on something better. 11 The sixth edition, published that year, was reprinted in Lanier, A Century of Banking in New York. Some of Lee Benson's conclusions about the wealth of New York State's Jacksonian and Whig political leaders were based on Beach's "evidence"; see The Concept of Jacksonian Democracy: New York as a Test Case (Princeton, 1961), 82-85. Frank Otto Gattell's findings, concerning the political preferences of rich men, used as its "rich men" those whose names appeared on Beach's list; see Gattell's "Money and Party in Jacksonian America: A Quantitative Look at New York City's Men of Quality" Political Science Quarterly, LXXXII (June 1967), 235-52. Earlier Robert G. Albion's generalizations concerning the alleged occupations of the city's leading men were based on an 1846 edition of Beach's list; see Albion, "Commercial Fortunes in New York: A Study in the History of the Port of New York about 1850" New York History, XVI (April 1935), 158-68.