The City-Wide Investigation
IN the early fall of 1931, the J oint Legislative Committee to Investigate the Affairs of the City of New York met in the county courthouse. Among the most important witnesses--and a gentleman who brought laughter to the otherwise somber city--was the Hon. Thomas M. Farley, sheriff of New York County, president of the Thomas M. Farley Association, leader of the Fourteenth Assembly District, and Tammany Hall sachem. Samuel Seabury, counsel, with consummate politeness, asked him to explain how he had accumulated nearly $400,000 within six years on an annual salary of $8,500. Their dialogue was a source of new phraseology for the American political vocabulary:
SEABURY: Where did you keep these moneys that you had saved?
FARLEY: In a safe-deposit box at home in the house.
SEABURY: Whereabouts at home in the house did you keep this money that you had saved?
FARLEY: In the safe.
SEABURY: In a safe?
SEABURY: In a little box in a safe?
FARLEY: A big safe.
SEABURY: But a little box in a big safe?
FARLEY: In a big box in a big safe.