The Atlantic Dock Company brought over workers from Germany to build the Atlantic Basin after the Irish workers who had begun the job demanded better pay. On April 15, 1846 newspapers reported on a riot between angry Irish and the newly arrived Germans at the Atlantic Dock. Twelve days later, The Tribune reported that tensions were still high.
Transcription: The New York Herald, April 17, 1846
Brooklyn City News
THE EXCITEMENT in our sister city, in regard to the riot which took place on Wednesday at the Atlantic dock, between the laborers and the Germans who were employed to replace them, has considerably abated, although It appears that no measure have as yet been taken by the public authorities to bring the rioters to justice, notwithstanding the names of the ringleaders are known A meeting was called on Wednesday evening, at which the Mayor the Mayor-elect, the Sheriff, two of the police magistrate and the District Attorney attended, but, nothing definite was done: the parties, as we understand, not being able to agree upon the particular measures to be adopted This is rather an odd way of preserving the peace. We know of only one course to be panned, and that is to arrest the rioters, send up bills of indictment to the grand jury, and if they are found, to return them to the Court of Sessions, have the parties tried, and if convicted, punished according to law. Those we presume are the only measures which an honest and faithful magistracy can or ought to take. The public functionaries of Brooklyn have nothing to do with the difficulties between the contractors and their workmen, their duty is simply to see that the law is upheld, the lives of the citizens protected, and the peace of the city preserved. A rumor was in circulation in East Brooklyn on Wednesday evening, that is the course of the day a German had been thrown into the dock at the South Ferry, and was nearly smothered before he could be got out; but upon making inquiry there, we found there was no truth in the report, at least no one in the neighborhood of the ferry had heard of the outrage; to we consider it was only got up for effect
Transcription: The Tribune, April 27, 1846
To the editor of The Tribune
The Riots, Election, &c. – The excitement recently caused by the refractory laborers at the Atlantic Dock has not yet ceased, nor is it likely that there will be a cessation of hostilities until the threatened ejectment of the occupants near the “seat of war” is carried into execution. This measure will undoubtedly be attended with much difficulty and great danger – the end whereof no man can truly calculate....
Brooklyn, April 26, 1846.
☞We hear nothing further of the riots. Bissett, the man most severely injured on Thursday evening, is likely to recover