The Great Meddler

In Henry Bergh—a reformed dilettante who founded the A.S.P.C.A.—many saw a latter-day Saint Francis of Assisi. But others, especially the cruel or the thoughtless, regarded him as The Great Meddler.

On an unseasonably warm evening in April, 1866, a well-tailored gentleman with a drooping mustache and a long, thin, face, obviously a member of the “upper ten,” stood at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Twenty-third Street in New York City, watching the tangle of traffic where Broadway slants across Fifth Avenue. A wilder individualism than we know today prevailed among the horsecars and omnibuses, the struggling carriages, drays, vans, and butchers’ carts of New York. Every wheel was turned, of course, by horsepower.Read more »