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The Beauties of Washington Irving by Washington Irving

Showing the nature of History in general;
Description of the powerful Army
Of Peter Stuyvesant's expedition
How the People of New-Amsterdam
In which the Troubles of New-Amsterdam appear to thicken---
A warlike Portrait of the great Peter---and how General Von Poffenburgh distinguished himself at Fort Cassimir.
The dignified Retirement and mortal Surrender of Peter the Headstrong.
How Peter Stuyvesant relieved the Sovereign People from the Burthen of taking Care of the Nation---with sundry Particulars of his Conduct in Time of Peace.
Showing the great Difficulty Philosophers have had in peopling America---and how the Aborigines came to be begotten by Accident, to the great Relief and Satisfaction of the Author.
The Grand Council of New-Amsterdam---with Reasons why an Alderman should be Fat.


During a journey that I once made through the Nctherlands, I had arrived one evening at the Pomme d' Or, the principal inn of a small Flemish village. It was after the hour of the table d'hote , so that I was obliged to make a solitary supper from the reliques of its ampler board. The weather was chilly; I was seated alone in one end of a great gloomy dining-room, and my repast being over, I had the prospect before me of a long dull evening, without any visible means of enlivening it. I summoned mine host, and requested something to read; he brought me the whole literary stock of his household, a Dutch family-bible, an almanack in the same language, and a number of old Paris newspapers. As I sat dozing over one of the latter, reading old news and stale criticisms, my ear was now and then struck with bursts of laughter which seemed to proceed from the kitchen. Every one that has travelled on the continent must know how favourite a resort the kitchen of a country inn is to the middle and inferior order of travellers; particularly in that equivocal kind of weather, when a fire becomes agreeable towards evening. I threw aside the newspaper, and explored my way to the kitchen, to take a peep at the group that appeared to be so merry. It was composed partly of travellers who had arrived some hours before in a diligence, and partly of the usual attendants and hangers-on of inns. They were seated round a great burnished stove, that might have been mistaken for an altar, at which they were worshipping. It was covered with various kitchen vessels of resplendent brightness; among which steamed and hissed a huge copper tea-kettle. A large lamp threw a strong mass of light upon the group bringing out many odd features in strong relief. Its yellow rays partially illumined the spacious kitchen, dying duskily away into remote corners; except where they settled into mellow radiance on the broad side of a flitch of bacon, or were reflected back from well-scoured utensils, that gleamed from the midst of obscurity. A strapping Flemish lass, with long golden pendants in her ears, and a necklace with a golden heart suspended to it, was the presiding priestess of the temple.

Many of the company were furnished with pipes, and most of them with some kind of evening potation. I found their mirth was occasioned by anecdotes, which a little swarthy Frenchman, with a dry weazen face and large whiskers, was giving of his love adventures; at the end of each of which, there was one of those bursts of honest unceremonious laughter, in which a man indulges in that temple of true liberty, an inn.

As I had no better mode of getting through a tedious blustering evening, I took my seat near the stove, and listened to a variety of travellers' tales, some very extravagant, and most very dull. All of them, however, have faded from my treacherous memory except one, which I will endeavour to relate. I fear, however, it derived its chief zest from the manner in which it was told, and the peculiar air and appearance of the narrator. He was a corpulent old Swiss, who had the look of a veteran traveller. He was dressed in a tarnished green travelling jacket, with a broad belt round his waist, and a pair of overalls, with buttons from the hips to the ancles. He was of a full rubicund countenance, with a double chin, aquiline nose, and a pleasant twinkling eye. His hair was light, and curled from under an old green velvet travelling cap stuck on one side of his head. He was interrupted more than once by the arrival of guests, or the remarks of his auditors; and paused now and then to replenish his pipe; at which times he had generally a roguish leer, and a sly joke for the buxom kitchen maid.

I wish my reader could imagine the old fellow lolling in a huge arm-chair, one arm a-kimbo, the other holding a curiously twisted tobacco pipe, formed of genuine e'cume de mer, decorated with silver chain and silken tassel—his head cocked on one side, and a whimsical cut of the eye occasionally, as he related the following story.


On the summit of one of the heights of the Odenwald, a wild and romantic tract of Upper Germany, that lies not far from the confluence of the Main and the Rhine, there stood, many, many years since, the Castle of the Baron Von Landshort. It is now quite fallen to decay, and almost buried among beech trees and dark firs; above which, however, its old watch-tower may still be seen struggling, like the former possessor I have mentioned, to carry a high head and look down upon the neighbouring country.

The Baron was a dry branch of the great family of Katzenellenbogen, and inherited the reliques of the property, and all the pride of his ancestors. Though the warlike disposition of his predecessors had much impaired the family possessions, yet the Baron still endeavoured to keep up some show of former state. The times were peaceable, and the German nobles, in general, had abandoned their inconvenient old castles, perched like eagles' nests among the mountains, and had built more convenient residences in the valleys; still the Baron remained proudly drawn up in his little fortress, cherishing with hereditary inveteracy, all the old family feuds; so that he was on ill terms with some of his nearest neighbours, on account of disputes that had happened between their great great grandfathers.

The Baron had but one child, a daughter: but nature, when she grants but one child, always compensates by making it a prodigy; and so it was with the daughter of the Baron. All the nurses, gossips, and country cousins, assured her father that she had not her equal for beauty in all Germany; and who should know better than they? She had, moreover, been brought up with great care under the superintendence of two maiden aunts, who had spent some years of their early life at one of the little German courts, and were skilled in all the branches of knowledge necessary to the education of a fine lady. Under their instructions, she became a miracle of accomplishments. By the time she was eighteen, she could embroider to admiration, and had worked whole histories of the saints in tapestry, with such strength of expression in their countenances, that they looked like so many souls in purgatory. She could read without great difficulty, and had spelled her way through several church legends, and almost all the chivalric wonders of the Heldenbuch. She had even made considerable proficiency in writing; could sign her own name without missing a letter, and so legibly that her aunts could read it without spectacles. She excelled in making little elegant good-for-nothing lady-like knicknacks of all kinds; was versed in the most abstruse dancing of the day; played a number of airs on the harp and guitar; and knew all the tender ballads of the Minnielieders by heart.

Her aunts, too, having been great flirts and coquettes in their younger days, were admirably calculated to be vigilant guardians and strict censors of the conduct of their niece; for there is no duenna so rigidly prudent and inexorably decorous, as a superannuated coquette. She was rarely suffered out of their sight; never went beyond the domains of the castle, unless well attended, or rather well watched; had continual lectures read to her about strict decorum and implicit obedience; and, as to the men—pah! she was taught to hold them at such distance, and in such absolute distrust, that, unless properly authorised she would not have cast a glance upon the handsomest cavalier in the world—no, not if he were even dying at her feet.

The good effects of this system were wonderfully apparent. The young lady was a pattern of docility and correctness. While others were wasting their sweetness in the glare of the world, and liable to be plucked and thrown aside by every hand; she was coyly blooming into fresh and lovely womanhood under the protection of those immaculate spinsters, like a rose-bud blushing forth among guardian thorns. Her aunts looked upon her with pride and exultation, and vaunted that though all the other young ladies in the world might go astray, yet, thank Heaven, nothing of the kind could happen to the heiress of Katzenellenbogen.

But, however scantily the Baron Von Landshort might be provided with children; his household was by no means a small one; for Providence had enriched him with abundance of poor relations. They, one and all, possessed the affectionate disposition common to humble relatives; were wonderfully attached to the Baron, and took every possible occasion to come in swarms and enliven the castle. All family festivals were commemorated by these good people at the Baron's expense; and when they were filled with good cheer, they would declare that there was nothing on earth so delightful as these family meetings, these jubilees of the heart.

The Baron, though a small man, had a large soul, and it swelled with satisfaction at the consciousness of being the greatest man in the little world about him. He loved to tell long stories about the stark old warriors whose portraits looked grimly down from the walls around, and he found no listeners equal to those who fed at his expense. He was much given to the marvellous, and a firm believer in all those supernatural tales with which every mountain and valley in Germany abounds. The faith of his guests exceeded even his own: they listened to every tale of wonder with open eyes and mouth, and never failed to be astonished, even though repeated for the hundredth time. Thus lived the Baron Von Landshort, the oracle of his table, the absolute monarch of his little territory, and happy, above all things, in the persuasion that he was the wisest man of the age.

At the time of which my story treats there was a great family gathering at the castle, on an affair of the utmost importance. It was to receive the destined bridegroom of the Baron's daughter. A negociation had been carried on between the father and an old nobleman of Bavaria, to unite the dignity of the two houses by the marriage of their children. The preliminaries had been conducted with proper punctilio. The young people were betrothed without seeing each other; and the time was appointed for the marriage ceremony. The young Count Von Altenburgh had been recalled from the army for the purpose, and was actually on his way to the Baron's to receive his bride. Missives had even been received from him from Wurtzburg, where he was accidentally detained, mentioning the day and hour when he might be expected to arrive.

The castle was in a tumult of preparation to give him a suitable welcome. The fair bride had been decked out with uncommon care. The two aunts had superintended her toilet, and quarrelled the whole morning about every article of her dress. The young lady had taken the advantage of their contest to follow the bent of her own taste; and fortunately it was a good one. She looked as lovely as youthful bridegroom could desire; and the flutter of expectation heightened the lustre of her charms.

The suffusions that mantled her face and neck, the gentle heaving of the bosom, the eye now and then lost in reverie, all betrayed the soft tumult that was going on in her little heart. The aunts were continually hovering around her; for maiden aunts are apt to take great interest in affairs of this nature. They were giving her a world of staid council how to deport herself, what to say, and in what manner to receive the expected lover.

The Baron was no less buried in preparations. He had, in truth nothing exactly to do; but he was naturally a fuming bustling little man, and could not remain passive when all the world was in a hurry. He worried from top to bottom of the castle with an air of infinite anxiety; he continually called the servants from their work to exhort them to be diligent; and buzzed about every hall and chamber, as idly restless and importunate as a blue-bottle fly on a warm summer's day.

In the mean time the fatted calf had been killed, the forests had rung with the clamour of the huntsman; the kitchen was crowded with good cheer; the cellars had yielded up whole oceans of Rhein-wine and Ferne-wein; and even the great Heidelburg tun had been laid under contribution. Every thing was ready to receive the distinguished guests with Saus und Braus in the true spirit of German hospitality—but the guest delayed to make his appearance. Hour rolled after hour. The sun that poured his downward rays upon the rich forest of the Odenwald, now just gleamed along the summits of the mountains. The Baron mounted the highest tower, and strained his eyes in hopes of catching a distant sight of the Count and his attendants. Once he thought he beheld them; the sound of horns came floating from the valley, prolonged by the mountain echoes. A number of horsemen were seen far below, slowly advancing along the road; but when they had nearly reached the foot of the mountain, they suddenly struck off in a different direction. The last ray of sunshine departed—the bats began to flit by in the twilight—the road grew dimmer and dimmer to the view; and nothing appeared stirring in it, but now and then a peasant lagging homeward from his labour.

While the old castle of Landshort was in this state of perplexity, a very interesting scene was transacting in a different part of the Odenwald.

The young Count Von Altenburg was tranquilly pursuing his route in that sober jog-trot way, in which a man travels towards matrimony when his friends have taken all the trouble and uncertainty of courtship off his hands, and a bride is waiting for him, as certainly as a dinner at the end of his journey. He had encountered at Wurtzburg, a youthful companion in arms, with whom he had seen some service on the frontiers; Hermon Von Starkenfaust, one of the stoutest hands, and worthiest hearts, of German chivalry, who was now returning from the army. His father's castle was not far distant from the old fortress of Landshort, although an hereditary feud rendered the families hostile, and strangers to each other.

In the warm-hearted moment of recognition, the young friends related all their past adventures and fortunes, and the Count gave the whole history of his intended nuptials with a young lady whom he had never seen, but of whose charms he had received the most enrapturing descriptions.

As the route of the friends lay in the same direction, they agreed to perform the rest of their journey together; and that they might do it the more leisurely, set off from Wurtzburg, at an early hour, the Count having given directions for his retinue to follow and overtake him.

They beguiled their wayfaring with recollections of their military scenes and adventures; but the Count was apt to be a little tedious, now and then, about the reputed charms of his bride, and the felicity that awaited him.

In this way they had entered among the mountains of the Odenwald, and were traversing one of its most lonely and thickly wooded passes. It is well known that the forests of Germany have always been as much infested by robbers as its castles by spectres; and at this time, the former were particularly numerous, from the hordes of disbanded soldiers wandering about the country. It will not appear extraordinary, therefore, that the Cavaliers were attacked by a gang of these stragglers, in the depth of the forest. They defended themselves with bravery, but were nearly overpowered, when the Count's retinue arrived to their assistance. At sight of them the robbers fled, but not until the Count had received a mortal wound. He was slowly and carefully conveyed back to the city of Wurtzburg, and a friar summoned from a neighbouring convent, who was famous for his skill in administering to both soul and body: but half of his skill was superfluous; the moments of the unfortunate Count were numbered.

With his dying breath he entreated his friend to repair instantly to the castle of Landshort, and explain the fatal cause of his not keeping his appointment with his bride. Though not the most ardent of lovers, he was one of the most punctilious of men, and appeared earnestly solicitous that this mission should be speedily and courteously executed. "Unless this is done," said he, "I shall not sleep quietly in my grave!" He repeated these last words with peculiar solemnity. A request, at a moment so impressive, admitted no hesitation. Starkenfaust endeavoured to soothe him to calmness; promised faithfully to execute his wish, and gave him his hand in solemn pledge. The dying man pressed it in acknowledgment, but soon lapsed into delirium—raved about his bride—his engagements—his plighted word; ordered his horse, that he might ride to the castle of Landshort; and expired in the fancied act of vaulting into the saddle.

Starkenfaust bestowed a sigh, and a soldier's tear, on the untimely fate of his comrade; and then pondered on the awkward mission he had undertaken. His heart was heavy, and his head perplexed; for he was to present himself an unbidden guest among hostile people, and to damp their festivity with tidings fatal to their hopes. Still there were certain whisperings of curiosity in his bosom to see this far-famed beauty of Katzenellenbogen, so cautiously shut up from the world; for he was a passionate admirer of the sex, and there was a dash of eccentricity and enterprise in his character that made him fond of all singular adventures.

Previous to his departure he made all due arrangements with the holy fraternity of the convent for the funeral solemnities of his friend, who was to be buried in the cathedral of Wurtzburg, near some of his illustrious relatives; and the mourning retinue of the Count took charge of his remains.

It is now high time that we should return to the ancient family of Katzenellenbogen, who were impatient for their guest, and still more for their dinner; and to the worthy little Baron, whom they left airing himself on the watch-tower.

Night closed in, but still no guest arrived. The Baron descended from the tower in despair. The banquet, which had been delayed from hour to hour, could no longer be postponed. The meats were already overdone; the cook in agony; and the whole household had the look of a garrison that had been reduced by famine. The Baron was obliged reluctantly to give orders for the feast without the presence of the guest. All were seated at table, and just on the point of commencing, when the sound of a horn from without the gate gave notice of the approach of a stranger. Another long blast filled the old court of the castle with its echoes, and were answered by the warder from the walls. The Baron hastened to receive his future son-in-law.

The drawbridge had been let down, and the stranger was before the gate. He was a tall gallant cavalier, mounted on a black steed. His countenance was pale, but he had a beaming, romantic eye, and an air of stately melancholy. The Baron was a little mortified that he should have come in this simple, solitary style. His dignity for a moment was ruffled, and he felt disposed to consider it a want of proper respect for the important occasion, and the important family with which he was to be connected. He pacified himself, however, with the conclusion that it must have been youthful impatience which had induced him thus to spur on sooner than his attendants.

"I am sorry," said the stranger, "to break in upon you thus unseasonably—"

Here the Baron interrupted him with a world of compliments and greetings; for to tell the truth, he prided himself upon his courtesy and his eloquence. The stranger attempted, once or twice, to stem the torrent of words, but in vain, so he bowed his head and suffered it to flow on. By the time the Baron had come to a pause, they had reached the inner court of the castle; and the stranger was again about to speak, when he was once more interrupted by the appearance of the female part of the family, leading forth the shrinking and blushing bride. He gazed on her for a moment as one entranced; it seemed as if his whole soul beamed forth in the gaze, and rested upon that lovely form. One of the maiden aunts whispered something in her ear; she made an effort to speak; her moist blue eye was timidly raised; gave a shy glance of inquiry on the stranger; and was cast gain on the ground. The words died away; but there was a sweet smile playing about her lips, and a soft dimpling of the cheek that showed her glance had not been unsatisfactory. It was impossible for a girl at the fond age of eighteen, highly predisposed for love and matrimony, not to be pleased with so gallant a cavalier.

The late hour at which the guest had arrived left no time for parley. The Baron was peremptory, and deferred all particular conversation until the morning, and led the way to the untasted banquet.

It was served up in the great hall of the castle. Around the walls hung the hard favoured portraits of the heroes of the house of Katzenellenbogen and the trophies which they had gained in the field and in the chase. Hacked corslets, splintered jousting spears, and tattered banners, were mingled with the spoils of sylvan warfare; the jaws of the wolf, and the tusks of the boar, grinned horribly among cross-bows and battle-axes, and a huge pair of antlers branched accidentally over the head of the youthful bridegroom.

The cavalier took but little notice of the company or the entertainment. He scarcely tasted the banquet, but seemed absorbed in admiration of his bride. He conversed in a low tone that could not be overheard—for the language of love is never loud; but where is the female ear so dull that it cannot catch the softest whisper of the lover? There was a mingled tenderness and gravity in his manner, that appeared to have a powerful effect upon the young lady. Her colour came and went as she listened with deep attention. Now and then she made some blushing reply, and when his eye was turned away, she would steal a side-long glance at his romantic countenance, and heave a gentle sigh of tender happiness. It was evident that the young couple were completely enamoured. The aunts, who were deeply versed in the mysteries of the heart, declared that they had fallen in love with each at first sight.

The feast went on merrily, or at least noisily, for the guests were all blessed with those keen appetites that attend upon light purses and mountain air. The Baron told his best and longest stories, and never had he told them so well, or with such great effect. If there was any thing marvellous, his auditors were lost in astonishment; and if any thing facetious, they were sure to laugh exactly in the right place. The Baron, it is true, like most great men, was too dignified to utter any joke but a dull one; it was always enforced, however, by a bumper of excellent hocheimer; and even a dull joke, at one's own table, served up with jolly old wine, is irresistible. Many good things were said by poorer and keener wits, that would not bear repeating, except on similar occasions; many sly speeches whispered in ladies' ears, that almost convulsed them with suppressed laughter; and a song or two roared out by a poor, but merry and broad-faced cousin of the Baron, that absolutely made the maiden aunts hold up their fans.

Amidst all this revelry, the stranger guest maintained a most singular and unseasonable gravity. His countenance assumed a deeper cast of dejection as the evening advanced; and, strange as it may appear, even the Baron's jokes seemed only to render him the more melancholy. At times he was lost in thought, and at times there was a perturbed and restless wandering of the eye that bespoke a mind but ill at ease. His conversations with the bride became more and more earnest and mysterious. Louring clouds began to steal over the fair serenity of her brow, and tremors to run through her tender frame.

All this could not escape the notice of the company. Their gaiety was chilled by the unaccountable gloom of the bridegroom; their spirits were infected; whispers and glances were interchanged, accompanied by shrugs and dubious shakes of the head. The song and the laugh grew less and less frequent; there were dreary pauses in the conversation, which were at length succeeded by wild tales and supernatural legends. One dismal story produced another more dismal, and the Baron nearly frightened some of the ladies into hystericks with the history of the goblin horseman that carried away the fair Leonora; a dreadful but true story, which has since been put into excellent verse, and is read and believed by all the world.

The bridegroom listened to this tale with profound attention. He kept his eyes steadily fixed on the Baron, and as the story drew to a close, began gradually to rise from his seat, growing taller and taller, until, in the Baron's entranced eye, he seemed almost to tower into a giant. The moment the tale was finished, he heaved a deep sigh, and took a solemn farewell of the company. They were all amazement. The Baron was perfectly thunderstruck.

"What! going to leave the castle at midnight? why, every thing was prepared for his reception; a chamber was ready for him if he wished to retire."

The stranger shook his head mournfully and mysteriously; "I must lay my head in a different chamber to-night!"

There was something in this reply, and the tone in which it was uttered, that made the Baron's heart misgive him; but he rallied his forces and repeated his hospitable entreaties.

The stranger shook his head silently, but positively, at every offer; and, waving his farewell to the company, stalked slowly out of the hall. The maiden aunts were absolutely petrified—the bride hung her head, and a tear stole to her eye.

The Baron followed the stranger to the great court of the castle, where the black charger stood pawing the earth, and snorting with impatience.—When they had reached the portal, whose deep archway was dimly lighted by a cresset, the stranger paused, and addressed the Baron in a hollow tone of voice, which the vaulted roof rendered still more sepulchral.

"Now that we are alone," said he, "I will impart to you the reason of my going. I have a solemn, an indispensable engagement—"

"Why," said the Baron, "cannot you send some one in your place?"

"It admits of no substitute—I must attend it in person— I must away to Wurtzburg cathedral—"

"Ay," said the Baron, plucking up spirit, "but not until to-morrow—to-morrow you shall take your bride there."

"No! no!" replied the stranger, with tenfold solemnity, "my engagement is with no bride—the worms! the worms expect me! I am a dead man—I have been slain by robbers—my body lies at Wurtzburg—at midnight I am to be buried—the grave is waiting for me—I must keep my appointment!"

He sprang on his black charger, dashed over the drawbridge, and the clattering of his horse's hoofs was lost in the whistling of the night blast.

The Baron returned to the hall in the utmost consternation, and related what had passed. Two ladies fainted outright, others sickened at the idea of having banqueted with a spectre. It was the opinion of some, that this might be the wild huntsman, famous in German legend. Some talked of mountain sprites, of wood-demons, and of other supernatural beings, with which the good people of Germany have been so grievously harassed since time immemorial. One of the poor relations ventured to suggest that it might be some sportive evasion of the young cavalier, and that the very gloominess of the caprice seemed to accord with so melancholy a personage. This, however, drew on him the indignation of the whole company, and especially of the Baron, who looked upon him as little better than an infidel; so that he was fain to abjure his heresy as speedily as possible, and come into the faith of the true believers.

But whatever may have been the doubts entertained, they were completely put an end to by the arrival, next day, of regular missives, confirming the intelligence of the young Count's murder, and his interment in Wurtzburg cathedral.

The dismay at the castle may be well imagined. The Baron shut himself up in his chamber. The guests, who had come to rejoice with him, could not think of abandoning him in his distress. They wandered about the courts, or collected in groups in the hall, shaking their heads and shrugging their shoulders, at the troubles of so good a man; and sat longer than ever at table, and ate and drank more stoutly than ever, by way of keeping up their spirits. But the situation of the widowed bride was the most pitiable. To have lost a husband before she had even embraced him—and such a husband! if the very spectre could be so gracious and noble, what must have been the living man? She filled the house with lamentations.

On the night of the second day of her widowhood she had retired to her chamber, accompanied by one of her aunts, who insisted on sleeping with her. The aunt, who was one of the best tellers of ghost stories in all Germany, had just been recounting one of her longest, and had fallen asleep in the very midst of it. The chamber was remote, and overlooked a small garden. The niece lay pensively gazing at the beams of the rising moon as they trembled on the leaves of an aspen tree before the lattice. The castle clock had just tolled midnight, when a soft strain of music stole up from the garden. She rose hastily from her bed, and stepped lightly to the window. A tall figure stood among the shadows of the trees. As it raised its head, a beam of moonlight fell upon the countenance. Heaven and earth! she beheld the Spectre Bridegroom! A loud shriek at that moment burst upon her ear, and her aunt who had been awakened by the music, and had followed her silently to the window, fell into her arms. When she looked again, the spectre had disappeared.

Of the two females, the aunt required the most soothing, for she was perfectly beside herself with terror. As to the young lady, there was something, even in the spectre of her lover, that seemed endearing. There was still the semblance of manly beauty; and though the shadow of a man is but little calculated to satisfy the affections of a love-sick girl, yet, where the substance is not to be had, even that is consoling. The aunt declared she would never sleep in that chamber again; the niece, for once was refractory, and declared as strongly, that she would sleep in no other in the castle: the consequence was, that she had to sleep in it alone; but she drew a promise from her aunt not to relate the story of the spectre, lest she should be denied the only melancholy pleasure left her on earth—that of inhabiting the chamber over which the guardian shade of her lover kept its nightly vigils.

How long the good old lady would have observed this promise is uncertain, for she dearly loved to talk of the marvellous, and there is a triumph in being the first to tell a frightful story; it is, however, still quoted in the neighbourhood, as a memorable instance of female secrecy, that she kept it to herself for a whole week; when she was suddenly absolved from all further restraint, by intelligence brought to the breakfast table one morning that the young lady was not to be found. Her room was empty—the bed had not been slept in—the window was open, and the bird had flown!

The astonishment and concern with which the intelligence was received, can only be imagined by those who have witnessed the agitation which the mishaps of a great man cause among his friends. Even the poor relations paused for a moment from the indefatigable labours of the trencher; when the aunt, who had at first been struck speechless, wrung her hands, and shrieked out, "The goblin! the goblin! she's carried away by the goblin!"

In a few words she related the fearful scene of the garden, and concluded that the spectre must have carried off his bride. Two of the domestics corroborated the opinion, for they heard the clattering of a horse's hoofs down the mountain about midnight, and had no doubt that it was the spectre on his black charger, bearing her away to the tomb. All present were struck with the direful probability; for events of the kind are extremely common in Germany, as many well authenticated histories bear witness.

What a lamentable situation was that of the poor Baron! What a heart-rending dilemna for a fond father, and a member of the great family of Katzenellenbogen! His only daughter had either been wrapt away to the grave, or he was to have some wood-demon for a son-in-law, and, perchance, a troop of goblin grand children! As usual, he was completely bewildered, and all the castle in an uproar. The men were ordered to take horse, and scour every road and path and glen of the Odenwald. The Baron himself had just drawn on his jackboots, girded on his sword, and was about to mount his steed to sally forth on the doubtful quest, when he was brought to a pause by a new apparition. A lady was seen approaching the castle, mounted on a palfrey, attended by a cavalier on horseback. She galloped up to the gate, sprang from her horse, and falling at the Baron's feet, embraced his knees. It was his lost daughter, and her companion—the Spectre Bridegroom! The Baron was astonished. He looked at his daughter, then at the spectre, and almost doubted the evidence of his senses. The latter, too, was wonderfully improved in his appearance, since his visit to the world of spirits. His dress was splendid, and set off a noble figure of manly symmetry. He was no longer pale and melancholy. His fine countenance was flushed with the glow of youth, and joy rioted in his large dark eye.

The mystery was soon cleared up. The cavalier, (for in truth, as you must have known all the while, he was no goblin,) announced himself as Sir Hermon Von Starkenfaust. He related his adventure with the young Count. He told how he had hastened to the castle to deliver the unwelcome tidings, but that the eloquence of the Baron had interrupted him in every attempt to tell his tale. How the sight of the bride had completely captivated him, and that to pass a few hours near her, he had tacitly suffered the mistake to continue. How he had been sorely perplexed in what way to make a decent retreat, until the Baron's goblin stories had suggested his eccentric exit. How, fearing the feudal hostility of the family, he had repeated his visits by stealth—had haunted the garden beneath the young lady's window— had wooed—had won—had borne away in triumph— and, in a word, had wedded the fair.

Under any other circumstances, the Baron would have been inflexible, for he was tenacious of paternal authority, and devoutly obstinate in all family feuds; but he loved his daughter; he had lamented her as lost; he rejoiced to find her still alive; and, though her husband was of a hostile house, yet, thank heaven, he was not a goblin. There was something, it must be acknowledged, that did not exactly accord with his notions of strict veracity, in the joke the knight had passed upon him of his being a dead man; but several old friends present, who had served in the wars, assured him that every stratagem was excusable in love, and that the cavalier was entitled to especial privilege, having lately served as a trooper.

Matters, therefore, were happily arranged. The Baron pardoned the young couple on the spot. The revels at the castle were resumed. The poor relations overwhelmed this new member of the family with loving-kindness; he was so gallant, so generous—and so rich. The aunts, it is true, were somewhat scandalized that their system of strict seclusion, and passive obedience, should be so badly exemplified, but attributed it all to their negligence in not having the windows grated. One of them was particularly mortified at having her marvellous story marred, and that the only spectre she had ever seen should turn out a counterfeit; but the niece seemed perfectly happy at having found him substantial flesh and blood—and so the story ends.

[1] i e. Cat's-Elbow. The name of a family of those ports very powerful in former times. The appellation, we are told, was given in compliment to a peerless dame of the family, celebrated for a fine arm.


It was a rainy Sunday, in the gloomy month of November. I had been detained, in the course of a journey, by a slight indisposition, from which I was recovering; but I was still feverish, and was obliged to keep within doors all day, in an inn of the small town of Derby. A wet Sunday in a country inn! whoever has had the luck to experience one can alone judge of my situation. The rain pattered against the casements; the bells tolled for church with melancholy sound. I went to the windows in quest of something to amuse the eye; but it seemed as if I had been placed completely out of the reach of all amusement. The windows of my bed-room looked out among tiled roofs and stacks of chimneys, while those of my sitting-room commanded a full view of the stable-yard. I know of nothing more calculated to make a man sick of this world than a stable-yard on a rainy day. The place was littered with wet straw that had been kicked about by travellers and stable-boys. In one corner was a stagnant pool of water, surrounding an island of muck; there were several half-drowned fowls crowded together under a cart, among which was a miserable crest-fallen cock, drenched out of all life and spirit; his drooping tail matted, as it were, into a single feather, along which the water trickled from his back; near the cart was a half-dozing cow, chewing the cud, and standing patiently to be rained on, with wreaths of vapour rising from her recking hide; a wall-eyed horse, tired of the loneliness of the stable, was poking his spectral head out of a window, with the rain dripping on it from the caves; an unhappy cur, chained to a doghouse hard by, uttered something every now and then, between a bark and a yelp; a drab of a kitchen wench tramped backwards and forwards through the yard in pattens, looking as sulky as the weather itself; every thing, in short, was comfortless and forlorn, excepting a crew of hard-drinking ducks, assembled like boon companions round a puddle, and making a riotous noise over their liquor.

I was lonely and listless, and wanted amusement. My room soon became insupportable. I abandoned it, and sought what is technically called the traveller's-room. This is a public room set apart at most inns for the accommodation of a class of wayfarers, called travellers, or riders; a kind of commercial knights errant, who are incessantly scouring the kingdom in gigs, on horseback, or by coach. They are the only successors that I know of, at the present day, to the knights errant of yore. They lead the same kind of roving adventurous life, only changing the lance for a driving-whip, the buckler for a pattern-card, and the coat of mail for an upper Benjamin. Instead of vindicating the charms of peerless beauty, they rove about, spreading the fame and standing of some substantial tradesman, or manufacturer, and are ready at any time to bargain in his name; it being the fashion now-a-days to trade, instead of fight, with one another. As the room of the hostel, in the good old fighting times, would be hung round at night with the armour of way-worn warriors, such as coats of mail, falchions, and yawning helmets; so the travellers' room is garnished with the harnessing of their successors, with box coats, whips of all kinds, spurs, gaiters, and oil cloth covered hats.

I was in hopes of finding some of these worthies to talk with, but was disappointed. There were, indeed, two or three in the room; but I could make nothing of them. One was just finishing breakfast, quarrelling with his bread and butter, and huffing the waiter; another buttoned on a pair of gaiters, with many execrations at Boots for not having cleaned his shoes well; a third sat drumming on the table with his fingers, and looking at the rain as it streamed down the window glass: they all appeared infected by the weather, and disappeared, one after the other, without exchanging a word.

I sauntered to the window and stood gazing at the people, picking their way to the church, with petticoats hoisted midleg high, and dripping umbrellas. The bell ceased to toll, and the streets became silent. I then amused myself with watching the daughters of a tradesman opposite; who being confined to the house for fear of wetting their Sunday finery, played off their charms at the front windows, to fascinate the chance tenants of the inn. They at length were summoned away by a vigilant vinegar-faced mother, and I had nothing further from without to amuse me.

What was I to do to pass away the long-lived day? I was sadly nervous and lonely; and every thing about an inn seems calculated to make a dull day ten times duller Old newspapers, smelling of beer and tobacco smoke, and which I had already read half a dozen times. Good for nothing books, that were worse than rainy weather. I bored myself to death with an old volume of the Lady's Magazine. I read all the common-place names of ambitious travellers scrawled on the panes of glass; the eternal families of the Smiths and the Browns, and the Jacksons, and the Johnsons, and all the other sons; and I decyphered several scraps of fatiguing inn-window poetry, which I have met with in all parts of the world.

The day continued lowering and gloomy; the slovenly, ragged, spongy clouds drifted heavily along; there was no variety even in the rain; it was one dull, continued, monotonous patter—patter—patter, excepting that now and then I was enlivened by the idea of a brisk shower, from the rattling of the drops upon a passing umbrella.

It was quite refreshing (if I may be allowed a hackneyed phrase of the day), when, in the course of the morning, a horn blew, and a stage coach whirled through the street, with outside passengers stuck all over it, cowering under cotton umbrellas, and seethed together, and reeking with the steams of wet box-coats and upper Benjamins.

The sound brought out from their lurking-places a crew of vagabond boys, and vagabond dogs, and the carroty-headed hostler, and that non-descript animal ycleped Boots, and all the other vagabond race, that infest the purlieus of an inn; but the bustle was transient; the coach again whirled on its way; and boy and dog, hostler and Boots, all slunk back again to their holes; the street again became silent, and the rain continued to rain on. In fact, there was no hope of its clearing up, the barometer pointed to rainy weather; mine hostess's tortoise shell cat sat by the fire washing her face, and rubbing her paws over her ears; and, on referring to the Almanack, I found a direful prediction stretching from the top of the page to the bottom through the whole month, "expect—much—rain—about—this—time!"


In that same village, and in one of these very houses, (which, to tell the precise truth, was sadly time-worn and weather beaten,) there lived many years since, when the country was yet a province of Great Britain, a simple good-natured fellow, of the name of Rip Van Winkle. He was a descendant of the Van Winkles who figured so gallantly in the chivalrous days of Peter Stuyvesant, and accompanied him to the seige of Fort Christina. He inherited, however, but little of the martial character of his ancestors. I have observed that he was a simple good-natured man; he was, moreover, a kind neighbour, and an obedient hen-pecked husband. Indeed, to the latter circumstance might be owing that meekness of spirit which gained him such universal popularity; for those men are most apt to be obsequious and conciliating abroad, who are under the discipline of shrews at home. Their tempers, doubtless, are rendered pliant and maleable in the fiery furnace of domestic tribulation, and a curtain lecture is worth all the sermons in the world for teaching the virtues of patience and long suffering. A termagent wife may, therefore, in some respects, be considered a tolerable blessing; and if so, Rip Van Winkle was thrice blessed.

Certain it is, that he was a great favourite among all the good wives of the village, who, as usual with the amiable sex, took his part in all family squabbles; and never failed, whenever they talked those matters over in their evening gossipings, to lay all the blame on Dame Van Winkle. The children of the village, too, would shout with joy whenever he approached. He assisted at their sports, made their playthings, taught them to fly kites and shoot marbles, and told them long stories of ghosts, witches, and Indians. Whenever he went dodging about the village, he was surrounded by a troop of them, hanging on his skirts, clambering on his back, and playing a thousand tricks on him with impunity; and not a dog would bark at him throughout the neighbourhood.

The great error in Rip's composition was an insuperable aversion to all kinds of profitable labour. It could not be from the want of assiduity or perseverance; for he would sit on a wet rock, with a rod as long and heavy as a Tartar's lance, and fish all day without a murmer, even though he should not be encouraged by a sinble nibble. He would carry a fowling piece on his shoulder for hours together, trudging through woods and swamps, and up hill and down dale, to shoot a few squirrels or wild pigeons. He would never refuse to assist a neighbour even in the roughest toil, and was a foremost man at all country frolics for husking Indian corn, or building stone fences; the women of the village, too, used to employ him to run their errands, and to do such little odd jobs as their less obliging husbands would not do for them.—In a word, Rip was ready to attend to any body's business but his own; but as to doing family duty, and keeping his farm in order, he found it impossible.

In fact, he declared it was of no use to work on his farm; it was the most pestilent little piece of ground in the whole country; every thing about it went wrong, and would go wrong, in spite of him. His fences were continually falling to pieces; his cow would either go astray, or get among the cabbages; weeds were sure to grow quicker in his field than any where else; the rain always made a point of setting in just as he had some out-door work to do; so that though his patrimonial estate had dwindled away under his management acre by acre, until there was little more left than a mere patch of Indian corn and potatoes, yet it was the worse conditioned farm in the neighbourhood.

His children, too, were as ragged and wild as if they belonged to nobody. His son Rip, an urchin begotten in his own likeness, promised to inherit the habits with the old clothes of his father. He was generally seen trooping like a colt at his mother's heels, equipped in a pair of his father's cast off galligaskins, which he had much ado to hold up with one hand, as a fine lady does her train in bad weather.

Rip Van Winkle, however, was one of those happy mortals, of foolish, well oiled dispositions, who take the world easy, eat white bread or brown, whichever can be got with the least thought or trouble, and would rather starve on a penny than work for a pound. If left to himself he would have whistled life away in perfect contentment; but his wife kept continually dinning in his ears about his idleness, his carelessness, and the ruin he was bringing on his family. Morning, noon, and night, her tongue was incessantly going, and every thing he said or did was sure to produce a torrent of household eloquence. Rip had but one way of replying to all lectures of the kind, and that, by frequent use, had got into a habit. He shrugged his shoulders, shook his head, cast up his eyes, but said nothing. This, however, always provoked a fresh volley from his wife; so that he was fain to draw off his forces, and take to the outside of the house—the only side which, in truth, belongs to a hen-pecked husband.

Rip's sole domestic adherent was his dog Wolf, who was as much henpecked as his master; for Dame Van Winkle regarded them as companions in idleness and even looked upon Wolf with an evil eye, as the cause of his master's going so often astray. True it is, in all points of spirit befitting an honourable dog, he was as courageous an animal as ever scoured the woods—but what courage can withstand the ever-during and all besetting terrors of a woman's tongue? The moment Wolf entered the house his crest fell, his tail dropped to the ground or curled between his legs, he sneaked about with a gallows air, casting many a sidelong glance at Dame Van Winkle, and at the least flourish of a broomstick or ladle, he would fly to the door with yelping precipitation.

Times grew worse and worse with Rip Van Winkle as years of matrimony rolled on; a tart temper never mellows with age, and a sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use. For a long while he used to console himself, when driven from home, by frequenting a kind of perpetual club of the sages, philosophers, and other idle personages of the village; which held its sessions on a bench before a small inn, designated by a rubicund portrait of His Majesty George the Third. Here they used to sit in the shade, of a long lazy summer's day, talking listlessly over village gossip, or telling endless sleepy stories about nothing. But it would have been worth any statesman's money to have heard the profound discussions that sometimes took place, when by chance an old newspaper fell into their hands from some passing traveller. How solemnly they would listen to the contents, as drawled out by Derrick Van Bummel, the schoolmaster, a dapper learned little man, who was not to be daunted by the most gigantic word in the dictionary; and how sagely they would deliberate upon public events some months after they had taken place.

The opinions of this junto were completely controlled by Nicholas Vedder, a patriarch of the village, and landlord of the inn, at the door of which he took his seat from morning till night, just moving sufficiently to avoid the sun and keep in the shade of a large tree; so that the neighbours could tell the hour by his movements as accurately as by a sun-dial. It is true, he was rarely heard to speak, but smoked his pipe incessantly. His adherents, however, (for every great man has his adherents,) perfectly understood him, and knew how to gather his opinions. When any thing that was read or related displeased him, he was observed to smoke his pipe vehemently, and to send forth short, frequent, and angry puffs; but when pleased, he would inhale the smoke slowly and tranquilly, and emit it in light and placid clouds; and sometimes, taking the pipe from his mouth, and letting the fragrant vapour curl about his nose, would gravely nod his head in token of perfect approbation.

From even this strong hold the unlucky Rip was at length routed by his termagent wife, who would suddenly break in upon the tranquillity of the assemblage and call the members all to nought; nor was that august personage, Nicholas Vedder himself, sacred from the daring tongue of this terrible virago, who charged him outright with encouraging her husband in habits of idleness.

Poor Rip was at last reduced almost to despair; and his only alternative, to escape from the labour of the farm and clamour of his wife, was to take gun in hand and stroll away into the woods. Here he would sometimes seat himself at the foot of a tree, and share the contents of his wallet with Wolf, with whom he sympathized as a fellow-sufferer in persecution. "Poor wolf," he would say, "thy mistress leads thee a dog's life of it; but never mind, my lad, whilst I live thou shalt never want a friend to stand by thee!" Wolf would wag his tail, look wistfully in his master's face, and if dogs can feel pity, I verily believe he reciprocated the sentiment with all his heart.


Among the musical disciples who assembled, one evening in each week, to receive his (Ichabod Crane's) instructions in psalmody, was Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter and only child of a substantial Dutch farmer. She was a blooming lass of fresh eighteen; plump as a partridge; ripe and melting and rosy cheeked as one of her father's peaches, and universally famed, not merely for her beauty, but her vast expectations. She was withal a little of a coquette, as might be perceived even in her dress, which was a mixture of ancient and modern fashions, as most suited to set off her charms. She wore the ornaments of pure yellow gold, which her great-great-grandmother had brought over from Saardum; the tempting stomacher of the olden time; and withal a provokingly short petticoat, to display the prettiest foot and ankle in the country round.

Ichabod Crane had a soft and foolish heart toward the sex; and it is not to be wondered at, that so tempting a morsel soon found favour in his eyes; more especially after he had visited her in her paternal mansion. Old Baltus Van Tassel was a perfect picture of a thriving, contented, liberal-hearted farmer. He seldom, it is true, sent either his eyes or his thoughts beyond the boundaries of his own farm; but within those every thing was snug, happy, and well-conditioned. He was satisfied with his wealth but not proud of it; and piqued himself upon the hearty abundance, rather than the style in which he lived, His strong hold was situated on the banks of the Hudson, in one of those green, sheltered, fertile nooks, in which the Dutch farmers are so fond of nestling. A great elm-tree spread its broad branches over it; at the foot of which bubbled up a spring of the softest and sweetest water, in a little well, formed of a barrel; and then stole sparkling away through the grass, to a neighbouring brook, that babbled along among alders and dwarf willows. Hard by the farm house was a vast barn, that might have served for a church; every window and crevice of which seemed bursting forth with the treasures of the farm; the flail was busily resounding within from morning to night; swallows and martins skimmed twittering about the eaves; and rows of pigeons, some with one eye turned up, as if watching the weather, some with their heads under their wings, or buried in their bosoms, and others swelling and cooing and bowing, about their dames, were enjoying the sunshine on the roof. Sleek unwieldy porkers were grunting in the repose and abundance of their pens; from whence sallied forth, now and then, troops of sucking pigs, as if to snuff the air. A stately squadron of snowy geese were riding in an adjoining pond, convoying whole fleets of ducks; regiments of turkeys were gobbling through the farm-yard, and guinea fowls fretting about it, like ill-tempered house-wives, with their peevish discontented cry. Before the barn door strutted the gallant cock, that pattern of a husband, a warrior, and a fine gentleman; clapping his burnished wings, and crowing in the pride and gladness of his heart—sometimes tearing up the earth with his feet and then generously calling his ever hungry family of wives and children to enjoy the rich morsel which he had discovered.

The pedagogue's mouth watered, as he looked upon this sumptuous promise of luxurious winter fare. In his devouring mind's eye, he pictured to himself every roasting pig running about with a pudding in its belly, and an apple in its mouth; the pigeons were snugly put to bed in a comfortable pie, and tucked in with a coverlet of crust; the geese were swimming in their own gravy; and the ducks pairing cosily in dishes, like snug married couples, with a decent competency of onion sauce. In the porkers he saw carved out the future sleek side of bacon, and juicy relishing ham; not a turkey, but he beheld daintily trussed up, with its gizzard under its wing, and, peradventure, a necklace of savoury sausages; and even bright chanticleer himself lay sprawling on his back, in a side dish, with uplifted claws as if craving that quarter, which his chivalric spirit disdained to ask while living.

As the enraptured Ichabod fancied all this, and as he rolled his great green eyes over the fat meadow lands, the rich fields of wheat, of rye, of buckwheat, and Indian corn, and the orchards burthened with ruddy fruit, which surrounded the warm tenement of Van Tassel, his heart yearned after the damsel who was to inherit these domains, and his imagination expanded with the idea, how they might be readily turned into cash, and the money invested in immense tracts of wild land, and shingle palaces in the wilderness. Nay, his busy fancy already realized his hopes, and presented to him the blooming Katrina, with a whole family of children, mounted on the top of a wagon loaded with household trumpery, with pots and kettles dangling beneath; and he beheld himself bestriding a pacing mare, with a colt at her heels, setting out for Kentucky, Tennessee, or the Lord knows where.


Among these the most formidable was a burly, roaring, roystering blade, of the name of Abraham, or according to the Dutch abbreviation, Brom Van Brunt, the hero of the country round, which rung with his feats of strength and hardihood. He was broad-shouldered and double-jointed, with short curly black hair, and a bluff, but not unpleasant countenance, having a mingled air of fun and arrogance. From his Herculean frame and great powers of limb, he had received the nick-name of Brom Bones, by which he was universally known. He was famed for great knowledge and skill in horsemanship, being as dexterous on horseback as a Tartar. He was foremost at all races and cock-fights; and, with the ascendency which bodily strength always acquires in rustic life, was the umpire in all disputes, setting his hat on one side, and giving his decisions with an air and tone that admitted of no gainsay or appeal. He was always ready for either a fight or a frolic; had more mischief than ill-will in his composition; and with all his overbearing roughness, there was a strong dash of waggish good humour at bottom. He had three or four boon companions of his own stamp, who regarded him as their model, and at the head of whom he scoured the country, attending every scene of feud or merriment for miles round. In cold weather he was distinguished by a fur cap, surmounted with a flaunting fox's tail; and when the folks at a country gathering descried this well-known crest at a distance, whisking about among a squad of hard riders, they always stood by for a squall. Sometimes his crew would be heard dashing along past the farm houses at midnight, with whoop and halloo, like a troop of Don Cossacks; and the old dames, startled out of their sleep, would listen for a moment till the hurry-skurry had clattered by, and then exclaim, "Ay, there goes Brom Bones and his gang!" The neighbours looked upon him with a mixture of awe, admiration, and good-will; and when any mad-cap prank, or rustic brawl, occurred in the vicinity, always shook their heads, and warranted Brom Bones was at the bottom of it.

This rantipole hero had for some time singled out the blooming Katrina for the object of his uncouth gallantries, and though his amourous toyings were something like the gentle caresses and endearments of a bear, yet it was whispered that she did not altogether discourage his hopes. Certain it is, his advances were signals for rival candidates to retire, who felt no inclination to cross a lion in his amours; insomuch, that when his horse was seen tied to Van Tassel's paling, on a Sunday night, a sure sign that his master was courting, or, as it is termed, "sparking," within, all other suitors passed by in despair, and carried the war into other quarters.

Such was the formidable rival with whom Ichabod Crane had to contend, and, considering all things, a stouter man than he would have shrunk from the competition, and a wiser man would have despaired. He had, a happy mixture of pliability and perseverance in his nature; he was in form and spirit like a supple jack—yielding, but tough; though he bent, he never broke; and though he bowed, beneath the slightest pressure, yet, the moment it was away, jerk!—he was erect, and carried his head as high as ever.

Brom, who had a degree of rough chivalry in his nature, would fain have carried matters to open warfare, and have settled their pretensions to the lady, according to the mode of those most consise and simple reasoners, the knights-errant of yore—by single combat; but Ichabod was too conscious of the superior might of his adversary to enter the lists against him: he had overheard the boast of Bones, that he would "double the schoolmaster up, and put him on a shelf;" and he was too wary to give him an opportunity. There was something extremely provoking in this obstinately pacific system; it left Brom no alternative but to draw upon the funds of rustic waggery in his disposition, and to play off boorish practical jokes upon his rival. Ichabod became the object of whimsical persecution to Bones, and his gang of rough riders. They harried his hitherto peaceful domains; smoked out his singing school, by stopping up the chimney; broke into the schoolhouse at night, in spite of his formidable fastenings of withes and window stakes, and turned every thing topsy-turvy; so that the poor schoolmaster began to think all the witches in the country held their meetings there. But what was still more annoying, Brom took all opportunities of turning him into ridicule in presence of his mistress, and had a scoundrel dog whom he taught to whine in the most ludicrous manner, and introduced as a rival of Ichabod's to instruct her in psalmody.


In this way matters went on for some time, without producing any material effect on the relative situations of the contending powers. On a fine autumnal afternoon, Ichabod, in pensive mood, sat enthroned on the lofty stool from whence he usually watched all the concerns of his little literary realm. In his hand he swayed a ferule, that sceptre of despotic power; the birch of justice reposed on three nails, behind a throne, a constant terror to evil doers; while on the desk before him might be seen sundry contraband articles and prohibited weapons, detected upon the persons of idle urchins; such as half-munched apples, popguns, whirligigs, fly-cages, and whole legions of rampant little paper game cocks. Apparently there had been some appalling act of justice recently inflicted, for his scholars were all busily intent upon their books, or slyly whispering behind them with one eye kept upon the master; and a kind of buzzing stillness reigned throughout the school-room. It was suddenly interrupted by the appearance of a negro in tow-cloth jacket and trowsers, a round crowned fragment of a hat, like the cap of Mercury, and mounted on the back of a ragged, wild, half-broken colt, which he managed with a rope by way of halter. He came clattering up to the school door with an invitation to Ichabod to attend a merry meeting, or "quilting frolic," to be held that evening at Mynheer Van Tassel's; and having delivered his message with that air of importance, and effort at fine language, which a negro is apt to display on petty embassies of the kind, he dashed over the brook, and was seen scampering away up the hollow, full of the importance and hurry of his mission.

All was now bustle and hubbub in the late quiet school-room. The scholars were hurried through their lessons, without stopping at trifles; those who were nimble, skipped over half with impunity, and those who were tardy, had a smart application now and then in the rear, to quicken their speed, or help them over a tall word. Books were flung aside, without being put away on the shelves; inkstands were overturned; benches thrown down; and the whole school was turned loose an hour before the usual time; bursting forth like a legion of young imps, yelping and racketting about the green, in joy at their early emancipation.


Thus feeding his mind with many sweet thoughts and "sugared suppositions," he journeyed along the sides of a range of hills which look out upon some of the goodliest scenes of the mighty Hudson. The sun gradually wheeled his broad disk down into the west. The wide bosom of the Tappaan Zee lay motionless and glassy, excepting that here and there a gentle undulation waved and prolonged the blue shadow of the distant mountain. A few amber clouds floated in the sky, without a breath of air to move them. The horizon was of a fine golden tint, changing gradually into a pure apple green, and from that into the deep blue of the mid-heaven. A slanting ray lingered on the woody crests of the precipices that overhung some parts of the river, giving greater depth to the dark gray and purple of their rocky sides. A sloop was loitering in the distance, dropping slowly down with the tide, her sail hanging uselessly against the mast; and as the reflection of the sky gleamed along the still water, it seemed as if the vessel was suspended in the air.

It was towards evening that Ichabod arrived at the castle of the Heer Van Tassel, which he found thronged with the pride and flower of the adjacent country. Old farmers, a spare leathern-faced race, in homespun coats and breeches, blue stockings, huge shoes, and magnificent pewter buckles. Their brisk, withered little dames, in close crimped caps, long-waisted gowns, homespun petticoats, with scissors and pincushions, and gay calico pockets hanging on the outside. Buxom lasses, almost as antiquated as their mothers, excepting where a straw hat, a fine riband, or perhaps a white frock, gave symptoms of city innovations. The sons, in short square-skirted coats, with rows of stupendous brass buttons, and their hair generally queued in the fashion of the times, especially if they could procure an eelskin for the purpose, it being esteemed throughout the country, as a potent nourisher and strengthener of the hair.

Brom Bones, however, was the hero of the scene, having come to the gathering on his favourite steed Dare-devil, a creature, like himself, full of mettle and mischief, and which no one but himself could manage. He was, in fact, noted for preferring vicious animals, given to all kinds of tricks which kept the rider in constant risk of his neck, for he held a tractable well broken horse as unworthy a lad of spirit.

Fain would I pause to dwell upon the world of charms that burst upon the enraptured gaze of my hero, as he entered the state parlour of Van Tassel's mansion. Not those of the bevy of buxom lasses, with their luxurious display of red and white; but the ample charms of a genuine Dutch country tea-table, in the sumptuous time of autumn. Such heaped up platters of cakes, of various and almost indescribable kinds, known only to experienced Dutch housewives! There was the doughty dough-nut, the tenderer oly koek, and the crisp and crumbling cruller; sweet cakes and short cakes, ginger cakes and honey cakes, and the whole family of cakes. And then there were apple pies, and peach pies, and pumpkin pies; besides slices of ham and smoke beef; and moreover delectable dishes of preserved plums, and peaches, and pears, and quinces; not to mention broiled shad and roasted chickens; together with bowls of milk and cream; all mingled higgeldy-piggeldy, pretty much as I have enumerated them, with the motherly tea-pot sending up its clouds of vapour from the midst—Heaven bless the mark! I want breath and time to discuss this banquet as it deserves, and am too eager to get on with my story. Happily Ichabod Crane was not in so great a hurry as his historian, but did ample justice to every dainty.

He was a kind and thankful creature, whose heart dilated in proportion as his skin was filled with good cheer; and whose spirits rose with eating as some men's do with drink. He could not help, too, rolling his large eyes round him as he ate, and chuckling with the possibility that he might one day be lord of all this scene of almost unimaginable luxury and splendour. Then, he thought, how soon he'd turn his back upon the old school house; snap his finger in the face of Hans Van Ripper, and every other niggardly patron, and kick any itinerant pedagogue out of doors that should dare to call him comrade!

Old Baltus Van Tassel moved about among his guests with a face dilated with content and good humour, round and jolly as the harvest moon. His hospitable attentions were brief, but expressive, being confined to a shake of the hand, a slap on the shoulder, a loud laugh, and a pressing invitation to "fall to, and help themselves."

Ichabod prided himself upon his dancing as much as upon his vocal powers. Not a limb, not a fibre about him was idle; and to have seen his loosely hung frame in full motion, and clattering about the room, you would have thought Saint Vitus himself, that blessed patron of the dance, was figuring before you in person. He was the admiration of all the negroes; who, having gathered, of all ages and sizes, from the farm and the neighbourhood, stood forming a pyramid of shining black faces at every door and window; gazing with delight at the scene; rolling their white eye-balls, and showing grinning rows of ivory from ear to ear. How could the flogger of urchins be otherwise than animated and joyous? the lady of his heart was his partner in the dance, and smiling graciously in reply to all his amorous oglings; while Brom Bones, sorely smitten with love and jealousy, sat brooding by himself in one corner.


The first conflict between man and man was the mere exertion of physical force, unaided by auxiliary weapons,— his arm was his buckler, his fist was his mace, and a broken head the catastrophe of his encounters. The battle of unassisted strength was succeeded by the more rugged one of stones and clubs, and war assumed a sanguinary aspect. As man advanced in refinement, as his faculties expanded, and his sensibilities became more exquisite, he grew rapidly more ingenious and experienced in the art of murdering his fellow beings. He invented a thousand devices to defend and to assault—the helmet, the cuirass, and the buckler, the sword, the dart, and the javelin, prepared him to elude the wound, as well as to launch the blow. Still urging on, in the brilliant and philanthropic career of invention, he enlarges and heightens his powers of defence and injury.—The aries, the scorpio, the balista, and the catapulta, give a horror and sublimity to war; and magnify its glory, by increasing its desolation. Still insatiable, though armed with machinery that seemed to reach the limits of destructive invention, and to yield a power of injury, commensurate even with the desires of revenge—still deeper researches must be made in the diabolical arcana. With furious zeal he dives into the bowels of the earth; he toils midst poisonous minerals and deadly salts—the sublime discovery of gunpowder blazes upon the world—and, finally, the dreadful art of fighting by proclamation seems to endow the demon of war with ubiquity and omnipotence.

This, indeed, is grand!—this, indeed, marks the powers of mind, and bespeaks that divine endowment of reason, which distinguishes us from the animals, our inferiors. The unenlightened brutes content themselves with the native force which providence has assigned them. The angry bull butts with his horns, as did his progenitors before him—the lion, the leopard, and the tiger, seek only with their talons and their fangs to gratify their sanguinary fury; and even the subtle serpent darts the same venom, and uses the same wiles as did his sire before the flood. Man alone, blessed with the inventive mind, goes on from discovery to discovery—enlarges and multiplies his powers of destruction; arrogates the tremendous weapons of Deity itself, and tasks creation to assist him in murdering his brother worm.


And here, perhaps, it may not be unacceptable to my untravelled readers to have a sketch that may serve as a general representation of this very numerous and important class of functionaries, who have a dress, a manner, a language, an air, peculiar to themselves, and prevalent throughout the fraternity: so that, wherever an English stage Coachman may be seen, he cannot be mistaken for one of any other craft or mystery.

He has commonly a broad, full face, curiously mottled with red, as if the blood had been forced by hard feeding into every vessel of the skin; he is swelled into jolly dimensions by frequent potations of malt liquors, and his bulk is still further increased by a multiplicity of coats, in which he is buried like a cauliflower, the upper one reaching to his heels. He wears a broad-brimmed low-crowned hat; a huge roll of coloured handkerchief about his neck, knowingly knotted and tucked in at the bosom; and has, in summer time, a large bouquet of flowers in his button-hole; the present, most probably, of some enamoured country lass. His waistcoat is commonly of some bright colour, striped, and his small-clothes extend far below the knees, to meet a pair of jocky boots which reach about half way up his legs.

All this costume is maintained with much precision; he has a pride in having his clothes of excellent materials; and, notwithstanding the seeming grossness of his appearance, there is still discernible that neatness and propriety of person, which is almost inherent in an Englishman. He enjoys great consequence and consideration along the road; has frequent conferences with the village house-wives, who look upon him as a man of great trust and dependence; and he seems to have a good understanding with every bright-eyed country lass. The moment he arrives where the horses are to be changed, he throws down the reins with something of an air, and abandons the cattle to the care of the hostler; his duty being merely to drive from one stage to another. When off the box, his hands are thrust into the pockets of his great coat, and he rolls about the inn yard with an air of the most absolute lordliness. Here he is generally surrounded by an admiring throng of hostlers, stable-boys, shoeblacks, and those nameless hangers-on, that infest inns and taverns, and run errands, and do all kind of odd jobs for the privilege of battening on the drippings of the kitchen and the leakage of the tap-room. These all look up to him as to an oracle; treasure up his cant phrases; echo his opinions about horses and other topics of jocky lore; and above all, endeavour to imitate his air and carriage. Every ragamuffin that has a coat to his back, thrusts his hands in the pockets, rolls in his gait, talks slang, and is an embryo Coachey.


As many of the retired matrons of this city, unskilled in "gestic lore," are doubtless ignorant of the movements and figures of this modest exhibition, I will endeavour to give some account of it in order that they may learn what odd capers their daughters sometimes cut when from under their guardian wings.—On a signal being given by the music, the gentleman seizes the lady round her waist; the lady scorning to be out-done in courtesy, very politely takes the gentleman round the neck, with one arm resting against his shoulder to prevent encroachments. Away then they go, about, and about, and about—"About what, sir?"—About the room, madam, to be sure. The whole economy of this dance consists in turning round and round the room in a certain measured step, and it is truly astonishing that this continued revolution does not set all their heads swimming like a top; but I have been positively assured that it only occasions a gentle sensation which is marvellously agreeable. In the course of this circumnavigation, the dancers, in order to give the charm of variety are continually changing their relative situations,— now the gentleman, meaning no harm in the world, I assure you, madam, carelessly flings his arm about the lady's neck, with an air of celestial impudence; and anon, the lady, meaning as little harm as the gentleman, takes him round the waist with most ingenious modest languishment, to the great delight of numerous spectators and amateurs, who generally form a ring, as the mob do about a pair of amazons pulling caps, or a couple of fighting mastiffs.—After continuing this divine interchange of hands, arms, et cetera, for half an hour or so, the lady begins to tire, and "with eyes upraised," in most bewitching languor, petitions her partner for a little more support. This is always given without hesitation. The lady leans gently on his shoulder; their arms entwine in a thousand seducing, mischievous curves—don't be alarmed, madam— closer and closer they approach each other, and in conclusion, the parties being overcome with ecstatic fatigue, the lady seems almost sinking into the gentleman's arms, and then— "Well, sir! what then!—Lord! madam how should I know.


These fashionable parties were generally consigned to the higher classes, or noblesse, that is to say, such as kept their own cows, and drove their own wagons. The company commonly assembled at three o'clock, and went away about six, unless it was in winter time, when the fashionable hours were a little earlier, that the ladies might get home before dark. I do not find that they ever treated their company to iced creams, jellies, or syllabubs; or regaled them with musty almonds, mouldy raisins, or sour oranges, as is often done in the present age of refinement. Our ancestors were fond of more sturdy, substantial fare. The tea-table was crowned with a huge earthen dish, well stored with slices of fat pork, fried brown, cut up into morsels, and swimming in gravy. The company being seated round the genial board, and each furnished with a fork, evinced their dexterity in launching at the fattest pieces in this mighty dish, in much the same manner as sailors harpoon perpoises at sea, or our Indians spear salmon in the lakes. Sometimes the table was graced with immense apple pies, or saucers full of preserved peaches and pears; but it was always sure to boast an enormous dish of balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog's fat, and called dough nuts, or oly keoks: a delicious kind of cake, at present scarce known in this city, excepting in genuine Dutch families.

The tea was served out of a majestic delft tea-pot, ornamented with paintings of fat little Dutch shepherds and shepherdesses, tending pigs—with boats sailing in the air, and houses built in the clouds, and sundry other ingenious Dutch fantasies. The beaux distinguished themselves by their adroitness in replenishing this pot, from a hugh copper tea-kettle, which would have made the pigmy macaronies of these degenerate days sweat, merely to look at it. To sweeten the beverage, a lump of sugar was laid beside each cup—and the company, alternately nibbled and sipped with great decorum, until an improvement was introduced by a shrewd and economic old lady, which was, to suspend a large lump directly over the tea table, by a string from the ceiling, so that it could be swung from mouth to mouth,—an ingenious expedient, which is still kept up by some families in Albany; but which prevails without exception in Communipaw, Bergen, Flat-Bush, and all our uncontaminated Dutch villages.

At these primitive tea-parties the utmost propriety and dignity of deportment prevailed. No flirting nor coquetting— no gambling of old ladies, nor hoyden chattering and romping of young ones—no self-satisfied struttings of wealthy gentlemen, with their brains in their pockets; nor amusing conceits, and monkey divertisements of smart young gentlemen with no brains at all. On the contrary, the young ladies seated themselves demurely in their rush-bottomed chairs, and knit their own woollen stockings; nor ever opened their lips, excepting to say yah Mynheer, or yah ya Vrouw, to any question that was asked them; behaving, in all things, like decent well educated damsels. As to the gentlemen, each of them tranquilly smoked his pipe, and seemed lost in contemplation of the blue and white tiles, with which the fire places were decorated; wherein sundry passages of scripture were piously pourtrayed: Tobet and his dog figured to great advantage; Haman swung conspicuously on his gibbet; and Jonah appeared most manfully bouncing out of the whale, like harlequin through a barrel of fire.

The parties broke up without noise and without confusion. They were carried home by their own carriages, that is to say, by the vehicles nature had provided them, excepting such of the wealthy as could afford to keep a wagon. The gentlemen gallantly attended their fair ones to their respective abodes, and took leave of them with a hearty smack at the door: which, as it was an established piece of etiquette, done in perfect simplicity and honesty of heart, occasioned no scandal at that time, nor should it at the present—if our great grandfathers approved of the custom, it would argue a great want of reverence in their descendants to say a word against it.


Or Creation of the World; with a multitude of excellent Theories, by which the Creation of a World is shown to be no such difficult Matter as common Folks would imagine.

Having thus briefly introduced my reader into the world, and given him some idea of its form and situation, he will naturally be curious to know from whence it came, and how it was created. And indeed the clearing up of these points is absolutely essential to my history, masmuch as if this world had not been formed, it is more than probable, that this renowned island, on which is situated the city of New-York, would never have had an existence. The regular course of my history, therefore, requires that I should proceed to notice the cosmogony or formation of this our globe.

And now I give my readers fair warning, that I am about to plunge for a chapter or two, into as complete a labyrinth as ever historian was perplexed withal; therefore, I advise them to take fast hold of my skirts, and keep close at my heels, venturing neither to the right hand nor to the left, lest they get bemired in a slough of unintelligible learning, or have their brains knocked out by some of those hard Greek names which will be flying about in all directions. But should any of them be too indolent or chicken-hearted to accompany me in this perilous undertaking, they had better take a short cut round, and wait for me at the beginning of some smoother chapter.

Of the creation of the world we have a thousand contradictory accounts; and though a very satisfactory one is furnished by divine revelation, yet every philosopher feels himself in honour bound to furnish us with a better. As an impartial historian, I consider it my duty to notice their several theories by which mankind have been so exceedingly edified and instructed.

Thus it was the opinion of certain ancient sages, that the earth and the whole system of the universe was the deity himself; a doctrine most strenuously maintained by Zenophanes and the whole tribe of Eleatics, as also by Strato and the sect of peripatetic philosophers. Pythagoras likewise inculcated the famous numerical system of the monad, dyad, and tryad; and by means of his sacred quaternary elucidated the formation of the world, the arcana of nature, and the principles both of music and morals. Other sages adhered to the mathematical system of squares and triangles; the cube, the pyramid, and the sphere; the tetrahedron, the octahedron, the icosahedron, and the dodecahedron. While others advocated the great elementary theory, which refers the construction of our globe and all that it contains to the combinations of four material elements, air, earth, fire, and water; with the assistance of a fifth, an immaterial and vivifying principle.

Nor must I omit to mention the great atomic system taught by old Moschus before the siege of Troy; revived by Democritus of laughing memory; improved by Epicurus, that king of good fellows; and modernized by the fanciful Descartes. But I decline inquiring whether the atoms, of which the earth is said to be composed, are eternal or recent; whether they are animate or inanimate; whether, agreeably to the opinions of Atheists, they were fortuitously aggregated; or, as the Theists maintain, were arranged by a supreme intelligence. Whether, in fact, the earth be an insensate clod, or whether it be animated by a soul; which opinion was strenuously maintained by a host of philosophers, at the head of whom stands the great Plato, that temperate sage, who threw the cold water of philosophy on the form of sexual intercourse, and inculcated the doctrine of Platonic love—an exquisitely refined intercourse, but much better adapted to the ideal inhabitants of his imaginary island of Atlantis than to the sturdy race, composed of rebellious flesh and blood, which populates the little matter of fact island we inhabit.

Besides these systems, we have, moreover, the poetical theogony of old Hesiod, who generated the whole universe in the regular mode of procreation, and the plausible opinion of others, that the earth was hatched from the great egg of night, which floated in chaos, and was cracked by the horns of the celestial bull. To illustrate this last doctrine, Burnet, in his theory of the earth, has favoured us with an accurate drawing and description both of the form and texture of this mundane egg; which is found to bear a near resemblance to that of a goose. Such of my readers as take a proper interest in the origin of this our planet will be pleased to learn, that the most profound sages of antiquity, among the Egyptians, Chaldeans, Persians, Greeks, and Latins, have alternately assisted at the hatching of this strange bird; and that their cacklings have been caught and continued, in different tones and inflections, from philosopher to philosopher, unto the present day.

But while briefly noticing long celebrated systems of ancient sages, let me not pass over, with neglect, those of other philosophers; which, though less universal than renowned, have equal claims to attention, and equal chance for correctness. Thus it is recorded by the Brahmins, in the pages of their inspired Shastah, that the angel Bistnoo transformed himself into a great boar, plunged into the watery abyss, and brought up the earth on his tusks. Then issued from him a mighty tortoise, and a mighty snake; and Bistnoo placed the snake erect upon the back of the tortoise, and he placed the earth upon the head of the snake.

The negro philosophers of Congo affirm, that the world was made by the hands of angels, excepting their own country, which the supreme being constructed himself, that it might be supremely excellent. And he took great pains with the inhabitants, and made them very black and beautiful; and when he had finished the first man, he was well pleased with him, and smoothed him over the face, and hence his nose, and the nose of all his descendants, became flat.

The Mohawk philosophers tell us, that a pregnant woman fell down from heaven, and that a tortoise took her upon its back, because every place was covered with water; and, that the woman, sitting upon the tortoise, paddled with her hands in the water, and raked up the earth, whence it finally happened that the earth became higher than the water.

But I forbear to quote a number more of these ancient and outlandish philosophers, whose deplorable ignorance, in despite of all their erudition, compelled them to write in languages, which but few of my readers can understand; and I shall proceed briefly to notice a few more intelligible and fashionable theories of their modern successors.

And first I shall mention the great Buffon, who conjectures that this globe was originally a globe of liquid fire, scintillated from the body of the sun, by the percussion of a comet, as a spark of generated by the collision of flint and steel. That at first it was surrounded by gross vapours, which cooling and condensing in process of time, constituted, according to their densities, earth, water, and air; which gradually arranged themselves, according to their respective gravities, round the burning or vitrified mass that formed their centre.

Hutton, on the contrary, supposes that the waters at first were universally paramount; and he terrifies himself with the idea that the earth must be eventually washed away by the force of rains, rivers, and mountain torrents, until it is confounded with the ocean, or, in other words, absolutely dissolves into itself.—Sublime idea! far sur passing that of the tender hearted damsel of antiquity, who wept herself into a fountain; or the good dame of Narbonne in France, who, for a volubility of tongue unusual in her sex, was doomed to peel five hundred thousand and thirty-nine ropes of onions, and actually ran out at her eyes before half the hideous task was accomplished.

Whiston, the same ingenious philosopher who rivalled Ditton in his researches after the longitude, (for which the mischief-loving Swift discharged on their heads, a most savoury stanza,) has distinguished himself by a very admirable theory respecting the earth. He conjectures that it was originally a chaotic comet, which, being selected for the abode of man, was removed from its eccentric orbit, and whirled round the sun in its present regular motion; by which change of direction, order succeeded to confusion in the arrangement of its component parts. The philosopher adds, that the deluge was produced by an uncourteous salute from the watery tail of another comet; doubtless through sheer envy of its improved condition; thus furnishing a melancholy proof that jealousy may prevail, even among the heavenly bodies, and discord interrupt that celestial harmony of the spheres, so melodiously sung by the poets.

But I pass over a variety of excellent theories, among which are those of Burnet, and Woodward, and White-hurst; regretting extremely that my time will not suffer me to give them the notice they deserve—And shall conclude with that of the renowned Dr. Darwin. This learned Theban, who is as much distinguished for rhyme as reason, and for good natured credulity as serious research; and who has recommended himself wonderfully to the good graces of the ladies, by letting them into all the gallantries, amours, debaucheries, and other topics of scandal of the court of Flora, has fallen upon a theory worthy of his combustible imagination. According to his opinion, the huge mass of choas took a sudden occasion to explode, like a barrel of gunpowder, and, in that act, exploded the sun—which, in its flight, by a similar convulsion exploded the earth—which in like guise exploded the moon—and thus, by a concatenation of explosions, the whole solar system was produced, and set most systematically in motion.

By the great variety of theories here alluded to, every one of which, if thoroughly examined, will be found surprisingly consistent in all its parts, my unlearned readers will perhaps be led to conclude, that the creation of a world is not so difficult a task as they at first imagined. I have shown at least a score of ingenious methods in which a world could be constructed; and, I have no doubt, that had any of the philosophers above quoted the use of a good manageable comet, and the philosophical warehouse, chaos, at his command, he would engage to manufacture a planet, as good, or, if you would take his word for it, better than this we inhabit.

And here I cannot help noticing the kindness of providence, in creating comets for the great relief of bewildered philosophers. By their assistance more sudden evolutions and transitions are effected in the system of nature, than are wrought in a pantomimic exhibition, by the wonder-working sword of harlequin. Should one of our modern sages, in his theoretical flights among the stars, ever find himself lost in the clouds, and in danger of tumbling into the abyss of nonsense and absurdity, he has but to seize a comet by the beard, mount astride of its tail, and away he gallops in triumph, like an enchanter on his hippogriff, or a Connecticut witch on her broomstick, "to sweep the cobwebs out of the sky."

It is an old and vulgar saying, about a "beggar on horseback," which I would not for the world have applied to these reverend philosophers: but I must confess, that some of them, when they are mounted on one of those fiery steeds, are as wild in their curvettings as was Phæ ton, of yore, when he aspired to manage the chariot of Phoebus. One drives his comet at full speed against the sun, and knocks the world out of him with mighty concussion; another, more moderate, makes his comet a kind of beast of burden, carrying the sun a regular supply of food and faggots; a third of more combustible disposition, threatens to throw his comet, like a bombshell, into the world, and blow it up like a powder magazine; while a fourth, with no great delicacy to this planet and its inhabitants, insinuates that some day or other his comet— my modest pen blushes while I write it—shall absolutely turn tail upon the world and deluge it with water!— Surely, as I have already observed, comets were bountifully provided by providence for the benefit of philosophers to assist them in manufacturing theories.

And now, having adduced several of the most prominent theories that occur to my recollection, I leave my judicious readers at full liberty to choose among them. They are all serious speculations of learned men—all differ essentially from each other—and all have the same title to belief. It has ever been the task of one race of philosophers to demolish the works of their predecessors, and elevate more splendid fantasies in their stead, which, in their turn, are demolished and replaced by the air-castles of a succeeding generation. Thus it would seem that knowledge and genius, of which we make such great parade, consist but in detecting the errors and absurdities of those who have gone before, and devising new errors and absurdities, to be detected by those who are to come after us. Theories are the mighty soap-bubbles with which the grown-up children of science amuse themselves; while the honest vulgar stand gazing in stupid admiration, and dignify these learned vagaries with the name of wisdom!— Surely Socrates was right in his opinion, that philosophers are but a soberer sort of madmen, busying themselves in things totally incomprehensible, or which, if they could be comprehended, would be found not worthy the trouble of discovery.

For my own part, until the learned have come to an agreement among themselves, I shall content myself with the account handed down to us by Moses; in which I do but follow the example of our ingenious neighbours of Connecticut; who at their first settlement proclaimed, that the colony should be governed by the laws of God— until they had time to make better.

One thing however appears certain—from the unanimous authority of the before quoted philosophers, supported by the evidence of our own senses, (which, though very apt to deceive us, may be cautiously admitted as additional testimony,) it appears, I say, and I make the assertion deliberately, without fear of contradiction, that this globe really was created, and that it is composed of land and water . It further appears that it is curiously divided and parcelled out into continents and islands, among which I boldly declare the renowned ISLAND OF NEW-YORK will be found by any one who seeks for it in its proper place.

[2] Aristot. ap. Cic. lib. i. cap. 3.

† Aristot. Metaph. lib. i. cap. 5. Idem de Coelo, 1. iii. c. 1. Rousseau. Mém. sur. Musique Ancien. p. 39. Plutarch de Plac. Philos. lib i. cap. 3.

†† Tim. Locr. ap. Plato t. iii. p. 90.

|| Aristot. Nat. Ascult. I. ii. cap. 6. Aristoph. Metaph. lib. i. cap. 3. Cic. de Nat. Deor. lib. i. cap. 10. Justin Mart. Orat. ad Gent. p. 20.

[3] Mosheim in Cudw. lib. i. cap. 4. Tim. de Anim. Mund. ap, Pit lib. iii. Mem. de Acad, des Beiles Lettres, t. xxxii. p. 19 et al.

† Book i. ch. 5.

[4] Holwell, Gent. Philosophy.

† Johannes Megapolensis, jun. Account of Maquaas or Mohawk Indians. 1644.

[5] Darw. Bot. garden. Part I cant. i. l. 105.


And now the infant settlement having advanced in age and stature, it was thought high time it should receive an honest Christian name, and it was accordingly called New-Amsterdam. It is true there were some advocates for the original Indian name, and many of the best writers of the province did long continue to call it by the title of "The Manhattoes," but this was discountenanced by the authorities, as being heathenish and savage. Besides, it was considered an excellent and praiseworthy measure to name it after a great city of the old world; as by that means it was induced to emulate the greatness and renown of its namesake—in the manner that little snivelling urchins are called after great statesmen, saints, and worthies, and renowned generals of yore, upon which they all industriously copy their examples, and come to be very mighty men in their day and generation.

The thriving state of the settlement and the rapid increase of houses gradually awakened the good Oloffe from a deep lethargy, into which he had fallen after the building of the fort. He now began to think it was time some plan should be devised on which the increasing town should be built. Summoning, therefore, his counsellors and coadjutors together, they took pipe in mouth, and forthwith sunk into a very sound deliberation on the subject.

At the very outset of the business an unexpected difference of opinion arose, and I mention it with much sorrowing, as being the first altercation on record in the councils of New-Amsterdam. It was a breaking forth of the grudge and heartburning that had existed between those two eminent burghers, Mynheers Tenbroeck and Hardenbroeck, ever since their unhappy altercation on the coast of Bellevue. The great Hardenbroeck had waxed very wealthy and powerful from his domains, which embraced the whole chain of Apulean mountains that stretch along the gulf of Kip's Bay, and from part of which his descendants have been expelled in latter ages by the powerful clans of the Joneses and the Schermerhornes.

An ingenious plan for the city was offered by Mynheer Tenbroeck, who proposed that it should be cut up and intersected by canals, after the manner of the most admired cities in Holland. To this Mynheer Hardenbroeck was diametrically opposed, suggesting in place thereof that they should run out docks and wharfs by means of piles, driven into the bottom of the river, on which the town should be built. "By these means," said he triumphantly, "shall we rescue a considerable space of territory from these immense rivers, and build a city that shall rival Amsterdam, Venice, or any amphibious city in Europe." To this proposition Tenbroeck (or Ten Breeches) replied, with a look of as much scorn as he could possibly assume. He cast the utmost censure upon the plan of his antagonist as being preposterous, and against the very order of things, as he would leave to every true Hollander. "For what," said he, "is a town without canals?—It is like a body without veins and arteries, and must perish for want of a free circulation of the vital fluid." Tough Breeches, on the contrary, retorted with a sarcasm upon his antagonist, who was somewhat of an arid, dry boned habit; he remarked, that as to the circulation of the blood being necessary to existence, Mynheer Ten Breeches was a living contradiction to his own assertion; for every body knew there had not a drop of blood circulated through his wind-dried carcass for good ten years, and yet there was not a greater busybody in the whole colony. Personalities have seldom much effect in making converts in argument; nor have I ever seen a man convinced of error by being convicted of deformity. At least, such was not the case at present. Ten Breeches was very acrimonious in reply, and Tough Breeches, who was a sturdy little man, and never gave up the last word, rejoined with increasing spirit—Ten Breeches had the advantage of the greatest volubility, but Tough Breeches had that invaluable coat of mail in argument called obstinacy— Ten Breeches had, therefore, the most metal, but Tough Breeches the best bottom—so that though Ten Breeches made a dreadful clattering about his ears, and battered and belaboured him with hard words and sound arguments; yet Tough Breeches hung on most resolutely to the last. They parted, therefore, as is usual in all arguments where both parties are in the right, without coming to any conclusion; but they hated each other most heartily for ever after, and a similar breach with that between the houses of Capulet and Montague did ensue between the families of Ten Breeches and Tough Breeches.

I would not fatigue my reader with these dull matters of fact, but that my duty as a faithful historian requires that I should be particular; and, in truth, as I am now treating of the critical period, when our city, like a young twig first received the twists and turns, that have since contributed to give it the present picturesque irregularity for which it is celebrated, I cannot be too minute in detailing their first causes.

After the unhappy altercation I have just mentioned, I do not find that any thing further was said on the subject worthy of being recorded. The council, consisting of the largest and oldest heads in the community, met regularly once a-week, to ponder on this monstrous subject; but either they were deterred by the war of words they had witnessed, or they were naturally averse to the exercise of the tongue, and the consequent exercise of the brain— certain it is, the most profound silence was maintained— the question, as usual, lay on the table—the members quietly smoked their pipes, making but few laws, without ever enforcing any, and in the mean time the affairs of the settlement went on—as it pleased God.

As most of the council were but little skilled in the mystery of combining pothooks and hangers, they determined, most judiciously, not to puzzle either themselves or posterity with voluminous records. The secretary however, kept the minutes of the council with tolerable precision, in a large vellum folio, fastened with massy brass clasps; the journal of each meeting consisted but of two lines, stating in Dutch. that "the council sat this day, and smoked twelve pipes on the affairs of the colony." By which it appears that the first settlers did not regulate their time by hours, but pipes, in the same manner as they measure distances in Holland at this very time; an admirably exact measurement, as the pipe in the mouth of a true born Dutchman is never liable to those accidents and irregularities that are continually putting our clocks out of order.

In this manner did the profound council of New-Amsterdam smoke, and doze, and ponder, from week to week, month to month, and year to year, in what manner they should construct their infant settlement: meanwhile, the town took care of itself, and like a sturdy brat which is suffered to run about wild, unshackled by clouts and bandages, and other abominations, by which your notable nurses and sage old women cripple and disfigure the children of men, increased so rapidly in strength and magnitude, that before the honest burgomasters had determined upon a plan, it was too late to put it in execution— whereupon they wisely abandoned the subject altogether.


The following story has been handed down by a family tradition for more than a century. It is one on which my cousin Christopher dwells with more than usual prolixity; and, being in some measure connected with a personage often quoted in our work, I have thought it worthy of being laid before my readers.

Soon after my grandfather, Mr. Lemuel Cockloft, had quietly seated himself at the Hall, and just about the time that the gossips of the neighbourhood, tired of prying into his affairs, were anxious for some new tea-table topic, the busy community of our little village was thrown into a grand turmoil of curiosity and conjecture—a situation very common to little gossiping villages—by the sudden and unaccountable appearance of a mysterious individual.

The object of this solicitude was a little black-looking man, of a foreign aspect, who took possession of an old building, which having long had the reputation of being haunted, was in a state of ruinous desolation, and an object of fear to all true believers in Ghosts. He usually wore a high sugar-loaf hat with a narrow brim, and a little black cloak, which, short as he was, scarcely reached below his knees. He sought no intimacy or acquaintance with any one—appeared to take no interest in the pleasures or the little broils of the village—nor ever talked, except sometimes to himself in an outlandish tongue. He commonly carried a large book, covered with sheepskin, under his arm, appeared always to be lost in meditation—and was often met by the peasantry, sometimes watching the dawning of the day, sometimes at noon seated under a tree poring over his volume, and sometimes at evening gazing, with a look of sober tranquillity, at the sun as it gradually sunk below the horizon.

The good people of the vicinity beheld something prodigiously singular in all this: a profound mystery seemed to hang about the stranger, which, with all their sagacity, they could not penetrate; and in the excess of worldly charity they pronounced it a sure sign "that he was no better than he should be;" a phrase innocent enough in itself; but which, as applied in common, signifies nearly every thing that is bad. The young people thought him a gloomy misanthrope, because he never joined in their sports; the old men thought still more hardly of him, because he followed no trade, nor ever seemed ambitious of earning a farthing; and as to the old gossips, baffled by the inflexible taciturnity of the stranger, they unanimously declared that a man who could not or would not talk was no better than a dumb beast. The little man in black, careless of their opinions, seemed resolved to maintain the liberty of keeping his own secret; and the consequence was, that, in a little while, the whole village was in an uproar; for in little communities of this description, the members have always the privilege of being thoroughly versed, and even of meddling in all the affairs of each other.

A confidential conference was held one Sunday morning after sermon, at the door of the village church, and the character of the unknown fully investigated. The schoolmaster gave as his opinion that he was the wandering Jew; the sexton was certain that he must be a free-mason from his silence; a third maintained, with great obstinacy, that he was a High German Doctor, and that the book which he carried about with him contained the secrets of the black art; but the most prevailing opinion seemed to be that he was a witch—a race of beings at that time abounding in those parts: and a sagacious old matron, from Connecticut, proposed to ascertain the fact by sousing him into a kettle of hot water.

Suspicion, when once afloat, goes with wind and tide, and soon becomes certainty. Many a stormy night was the little man in black seen by the flashes of lightning, frisking and curvetting in the air upon a broomstick; and it was always observed, that at those times the storm did more mischief than at any other. The old lady in particular, who suggested the humane ordeal of the boiling kettle, lost, on one of these occasions, a fine brindle cow; which accident was entirely ascribed to the vengeance of the little man in black. If ever a mischievous hireling rode his master's favourite horse to a distant frolic, and the animal was observed to be lame and jaded in the morning,—the little man in black was sure to be at the bottom of the affair; nor could a high wind howl through the village at night, but the old women shrugged up their shoulders, and observed, "the little man in black was in his tantrums." In short, he became the bugbear of every house; and was as effectual in frightening little children into obedience and hysterics, as the redoubtable Raw-head-and-bloody-bones himself; nor could a housewife of the village sleep in peace, except under the guardianship of a horse-shoe nailed to the door.

The object of these direful suspicions remained for some time totally ignorant of the wonderful quandary he had occasioned; but he was soon doomed to feel its effects. An individual who is once so unfortunate as to incur the odium of a village, is in a great measure out-lawed and proscribed, and becomes a mark for injury and insult; particularly if he has not the power or the disposition to recriminate.—The little venomous passions, which in the great world are dissipated and weakened by being widely diffused, act in the narrow limits of a country town with collected vigour, and become rancorous in proportion as they are confined in their sphere of action. The little man in black experienced the truth of this; every mischievous urchin returning from school had full liberty to break his windows; and this was considered as a most daring exploit; for in such awe did they stand of him, that the most adventurous schoolboy was never seen to approach his threshold, and at night would prefer going round by the cross-roads, where a traveller had been murdered by the Indians, rather than pass by the door of his forlorn habitation.

The only living creature that seemed to have any care or affection for this deserted being was an old turnspit,— the companion of this lonely mansion and his solitary wanderings;—the sharer of his scanty meals, and, sorry am I to say it,—the sharer of his persecutions. The turnspit, like his master, was peaceable and inoffensive; never known to bark at a horse, to growl at a traveller, or to quarrel with the dogs of the neighbourhood. He followed close by his master's heels when he went out, and when he returned stretched himself in the sunbeams at the door; demeaning himself in all things like a civil and well disposed turnspit. But notwithstanding his exemplary deportment, he fell likewise under the ill report of the village; as being the familiar of the little man in black, and the evil spirit that presided at his incantations. The old hovel was considered as the scene of their unhallowed rites, and its harmless tenants regarded with a detestation which their inoffensive conduct never merited. Though pelted and jeered at by the brats of the village, and frequently abused by their parents, the little man in black never turned to rebuke them; and his faithful dog, when wantonly assaulted, looked up wistfully in his master's face, and there learned a lesson of patience and forbearance.

The movements of this inscrutable being had long been the subject of speculation at Cockloft-hall, for its inmates were full as much given to wondering as their descendants. The patience with which he bore his persecutions particularly surprised them—for patience is a virtue but little known in the Cockloft family. My grandmother, who, it appears, was rather superstitious, saw, in this humility, nothing but the gloomy sullenness of a wizard, who restrained himself for the present, in hopes of midnight vengeance—the parson of the village, who was a man of some reading, pronounced it the stubborn insensibility of a stoic philosopher—my grandfather, who, worthy soul, seldom wandered abroad in search of conclusions, took datum from his own excellent heart, and regarded it as the humble forgiveness of a Christian. But however different were their opinions as to the character of the stranger, they agreed in one particular, namely, in never intruding upon his solitude; and my grandmother, who was at that time nursing my mother, never left the room without wisely putting the large family bible in the cradle—a sure talisman, in her opinion, against witchcraft and necromancy.

One stormy windy night, when a bleak north-east wind moaned about the cottages, and howled around the village steeple, my grandfather was returning from club preceded by a servant with a lantern. Just as he arrived opposite the desolate abode of the little man in black, he was arrested by the piteous howling of a dog, which, heard in the pauses of a storm, was exquisitely mournful; and he fancied now and then that he caught the low and broken groans of some one in distress. He stopped for some minutes, hesitating between the benevolence of his heart and a sensation of genuine delicacy, which, in spite of his eccentricity, he fully possessed,—and which forbade him to pry into the concerns of his neighbours. Perhaps, too, this hesitation might have been strengthened by a little taint of superstition; or surely, if the unknown had been addicted to witchcraft, this was a most propitious night for his vagaries. At length the old gentleman's philanthropy predominated; he approached the hovel, and pushing open the door,—for poverty has no occasion for locks and keys,—beheld, by the light of the lantern, a scene that smote his generous heart to the core.

On a miserable bed, with pallid and emaciated visage and hollow eyes; in a room destitute of every convenience; without fire to warm or friend to console him, lay this helpless mortal, who had been so long the terror and wonder of the village. His dog was crouching on the scanty coverlet, and shivering with cold. My grandfather stepped softly and hesitatingly to the bedside, and accosted the forlorn sufferer in his usual accents of kindness. The little man in black, seemed recalled by the tones of compassion from the lethargy into which he had fallen; for, though his heart was almost frozen, there was yet one chord that answered to the call of the good old man who bent over him;—the tones of sympathy, so novel to his ear, called back his wandering senses, and acted like a restorative to his solitary feelings.

He raised his eyes, but they were vacant and haggard;— he put forth his hand, but it was cold; he essayed to speak, but the sound died away in his throat;—he pointed to his mouth with an expression of dreadful meaning, and, sad to relate! my grandfather understood that the harmless stranger, deserted by society, was perishing with hunger!—With the quick impulse of humanity he despatched the servant to the hall for refreshment. A little warm nourishment renovated him for a short time, but not long: it was evident his pilgrimage was drawing to a close, and he was about entering that peaceful asylum where "the wicked cease from troubling."

His tale of misery was short, and quickly told;—infirmities had stolen upon him, heightened by the rigours of the season; he had taken to his bed without strength to rise and ask for assistance; "and if I had," said he, in a tone of bitter despondency, "to whom should I have applied? I have no friend that I know of in the world!— the villagers avoid me as something loathsome and dangerous; and here, in the midst of Christians, should I have perished without a fellow being to sooth the last moments of existence, and close my dying eyes, had not the howlings of my faithful dog excited your attention."

He seemed deeply sensible of the kindness of my grandfather; and at one time as he looked up into his old benefactor's face, a solitary tear was observed to steal adown the parched furrows of his cheek.—Poor outcast!— it was the last tear he shed; but I warrant it was not the first by millions! My grandfather watched by him all night. Towards morning he gradually declined; and as the rising sun gleamed through the windows, he begged to be raised in his bed, that he might look at it for the last time. He contemplated it for a moment with a kind of religious enthusiasm, and his lips moved as if engaged in prayer. The strange conjecture concerning him rushed on my grandfather's mind. "He is an idolater!" thought he, "and is worshipping the sun!" He listened a moment, and blushed at his own uncharitable suspicion; he was only engaged in the pious devotions of a Christian. His simple orison being finished, the little man in black withdrew his eyes from the east, and taking my grandfather's hand in one of his, and making a motion with the other towards the sun—"I love to contemplate it," said he; "'tis an emblem of the universal benevolence of a true Christian;—and it is the most glorious work of him who is philanthropy itself!" My grandfather blushed still deeper at his ungenerous surmises; he had pitied the stranger at first, but now he revered him:—he turned once more to regard him, but his countenance had undergone a change; the holy enthusiasm that had lighted up each feature had given place to an expression of mysterious import:—a gleam of grandeur seemed to steal across his gothic visage, and he appeared full of some mighty secret which he hesitated to impart. He raised the tattered nightcap that had sunk almost over his eyes, and waving his withered hand with a slow and feeble expression of dignity—"In me," said he, with a laconic solemnity,— "In me you behold the last descendant of the renowned Linkum Fidelius!" My grandfather gazed at him with reverence; for though he had never heard of the illustrious personage thus pompously announced, yet there was a certain black-letter dignity in the name that peculiarly struck his fancy and commanded his respect.

"You have been kind to me," continued the little man in black, after a momentary pause, "and richly will I requite your kindness by making you heir to my treasures! In yonder large deal box are the volumes of my illustrious ancestor, of which I alone am the fortunate possessor. Inherit them—ponder over them, and be wise!" He grew faint with the exertion he had made, and sunk back almost breathless on his pillow. His hand, which, inspired with the importance of his subject, he had raised to my grandfather's arm, slipped from its hold and fell over the side of the bed, and his faithful dog licked it; as if anxious to sooth the last moments of his master, and testify his gratitude to the hand that had so often cherished him. The untaught caresses of the faithful animal were not lost upon his dying master; he raised his languid eyes,—turned them on the dog, then on my grandfather; and having given this silent recommendation— closed them for ever.

The remains of the little man in black, notwithstanding the objections of many pious people, were decently interred in the church-yard of the village; and his spirit, harmless as the body it once animated, has never been known to molest a living being. My grandfather complied as far as possible with his last request; he conveyed the volumes of Linkum Fidelius to his library;—he pondered over them frequently; but whether he grew wiser, the family tradition doth not mention. This much is certain, that his kindness to the poor descendant of Fidelius was amply rewarded by the approbation of his own heart, and the devoted attachment of the old turnspit; who, transferring his affection from his deceased master to his benefactor, became his constant attendant, and was father to a long tribe of runty curs that still flourish in the family. And thus was the Cockloft library enriched by the invaluable folios of the sage Linkum Fidelius.


My aunt Charity departed this life in the fifty-ninth year of her age, though she never grew older after twenty-five. In her teens she was, according to her own account, a celebrated beauty,—though I never could meet with any body that remembered when she was handsome. On the contrary, Evergreen's father, who used to gallant her in his youth, says she was as knotty a little piece of humanity as he ever saw; and that, if she had been possessed of the least sensibility, she would, like poor old Acco, have most certainly run mad at her own figure and face the first time she contemplated herself in a looking-glass. In the good old times that saw my aunt in the hey-day of youth, a fine lady was a most formidable animal, and required to be approached with the same awe and devotion that a Tartar feels in the presence of his grand Lama. If a gentleman offered to take her hand, except to help her into a carriage, or lead her into a drawing-room, such frowns! such a rustling of brocade and taffeta! Her very paste shoe buckles sparkled with indignation, and for a moment assumed the brilliancy of diamonds! In those days the person of a belle was sacred—it was unprofaned by the sacrilegious grasp of a stranger:— simple souls:—they had not the waltz among them yet!

My good aunt prided herself on keeping up this buckram delicacy; and if she happened to be playing at the old fashioned game of forfeits, and was fined a kiss, it was always more trouble to get it than it was worth; for she made a most gallant defence, and never surrendered until she saw her adversary inclined to give over his attack. Evergreen's father says he remembers once to have been on a sleighing party with her, and when they came to Kissing-Bridge, it fell to his lot to levy contributions on Miss Charity Cockloft, who after squalling at a hideous rate, at length jumped out of the sleigh plump into a snow-bank, where she stuck fast like an icicle, until he came to her rescue. This Latonian feat cost her a rheumatism, which she never thoroughly recovered.

It is rather singular that my aunt, though a great beauty, and an heiress withal, never got married.—The reason she alleged was, that she never met with a lover who resembled Sir Charles Grandison, the hero of her nightly dreams and waking fancy; but I am privately of opinion that it was owing to her never having had an offer. This much is certain, that for many years previous to her decease she declined all attentions from the gentlemen, and contented herself with watching over the welfare of her fellow creatures. She was, indeed, observed to take a considerable lean towards methodism, was frequent in her attendance at love-feasts, read Whitfield and Wesley, and even went so far as once to travel the distance of five and twenty miles to be present at a camp-meeting. This gave great offence to my cousin Christopher, and his good lady, who, as I have already mentioned, are rigidly orthodox;—and had not my aunt Charity been of a most pacific disposition, her religious whim-wham would have occasioned many a family altercation. She was indeed, as the Cockloft family ever boasted—a lady of unbounded loving-kindness, which extended to man, woman, and child; many of whom she almost killed with good nature. Was any acquaintance sick?—in vain did the wind whistle and the storm beat—my aunt would waddle through mud and mire, over the whole town, but what she would visit them. She would sit by them for hours together with the most persevering patience; and tell a thousand melancholy stories of human misery, to keep up their spirits. The whole catalogue of yerb teas was at her fingers' ends, from formidable wormwood down to gentle balm; and she would descant by the hour on the healing qualities of hoar-hound, catnip, and penny-royal. Wo be to the patient that came under the benevolent hand of my aunt Charity; he was sure, willy nilly, to be drenched with a deluge of decoctions; and full many a time has my cousin Christopher borne a twinge of pain in silence, through fear of being condemned to suffer the martyrdom of her materia-medica. My good aunt had, moreover, considerable skill in astronomy; for she could tell when the sun rose and set every day in the year;—and no woman in the whole world was able to pronounce, with more certainty, at what precise minute the moon changed. She held the story of the moon's being made of green cheese as an abominable slander on her favourite planet; and she had made several valuable discoveries in solar eclipses, by means of a bit of burnt glass, which entitled her at least to an honorary admission in the American Philosophical Society. "Hutching's Improved" was her favourite book; and I shrewdly suspect that it was from this valuable work she drew most of her sovereign remedies for colds, coughs, corns, and consumptions.

But the truth must be told; with all her good qualities, my aunt Charity was afflicted with one fault, extremely rare among her gentle sex—it was curiosity. How she came by it, I am at a loss to imagine, but it played the very vengeance with her, and destroyed the comfort of her life. Having an invincible desire to know every body's character, business, and mode of living, she was for ever prying into the affairs of her neighbours; and got a great deal of ill-will from people towards whom she had the kindest disposition possible. If any family on the opposite side of the street gave a dinner, my aunt would mount her spectacles, and sit at the window until the company were all housed, merely that she might know who they were. If she heard a story about any of her acquaintance, she would forthwith, set off full sail, and never rest, until, to use her usual expression, she had got "to the bottom of it;" which meant nothing more than telling it to every one she knew.

I remember one night my aunt Charity happened to hear a most precious story about one of her good friends, but unfortunately too late to give it immediate circulation. It made her absolutely miserable; and she hardly slept a wink all night; for fear her bosom friend, Mrs. Sipkins, should get the start of her in the morning, and blow the whole affair.—You must know there was always a contest between these two ladies, who should first give currency to the good-natured things said about every body; and this unfortunate rivalship at length proved fatal to their long and ardent friendship. My aunt got up full two hours that morning before her usual time; put on her pompadour taffeta gown, and sallied forth to lament the misfortune of her dear friend.—Would you believe it!— wherever she went, Mrs. Sipkins had anticipated her; and instead of being listened to with uplifted hands and open-mouthed wonder, my unhappy aunt was obliged to sit down quietly and listen to the whole affair, with numerous additions, alterations, and amendments! Now this was too bad; it would almost have provoked Patient Grizzle or a saint; it was too much for my aunt, who kept her bed three days afterwards, with a cold as she pretended; but I have no doubt it was owing to this affair of Mrs. Sipkins, to whom she never would be reconciled.

But I pass over the rest of my aunt Charity's life chequered with the various calamities and misfortunes and mortifications, incident to those worthy old gentlewomen who have the domestic cares of the whole community upon their minds; and I hasten to relate the melancholy incident that hurried her out of existence in the full bloom of antiquated virginity.

In their frolicsome malice the fates had ordered that a French boarding-house, or Pension Francaise, as it was called, should be established directly opposite my aunt's residence. Cruel event! unhappy aunt Charity!—it threw her into that alarming disorder denominated the fidgets: she did nothing but watch at the window day after day, but without becoming one whit the wiser at the end of a fortnight than she was at the beginning; she thought that neighbour Pension had a monstrous large family, and somehow or other they were all men! She could not imagine what business neighbour Pension followed to support so numerous a household; and wondered why there was always such a scraping of fiddles in the parlour, and such a smell of onions from neighbour Pension's kitchen: in short, neighbour Pension was continually uppermost in her thoughts, and incessantly on the outer edge of her tongue. This was, I believe, the very first time she had ever failed "to get at the bottom of a thing;" and the disappointment cost her many a sleepless night, I warrant you. I have little doubt, however, that my aunt would have ferretted neighbour Pension out, could she have spoken or understood French; but in those times people in general could make themselves understood in plain English; and it was always a standing rule in the Cockloft family, which exists to this day, that not one of the females should learn French.

My aunt Charity had lived at her window, for some time in vain; when one day she was keeping her usual look-out, and suffering all the pangs of unsatisfied curiosity, she beheld a little meagre, weazel-faced Frenchman, of the most forlorn, diminutive, and pitiful proportions, arrive at neighbour Pension's door. He was dressed in white, with a little pinch-up cocked hat; he seemed to shake in the wind, and every blast that went over him whistled through his bones, and threatened instant annihilation. This embodied spirit of famine was followed by three carts, lumbered with crazy trunks, chests, band-boxes, bidets, medicine-chests, parrots, and monkeys; and at his heels ran a yelping pack of little black-nosed pug-dogs. This was the one thing wanting to fill up the measure of my aunt Charity's afflictions; she could not conceive, for the soul of her, who this mysterious little apparition could be that made so great a display;— what he could possibly do with so much baggage, and particularly with his parrots and monkeys; or how so small a carcass could have occasion for so many trunks of clothes. Honest soul! she never had a peep into a Frenchman's wardrobe—that depot of old coasts, hats, and breeches, of the growth of every fashion he has followed in his life.

From the time of this fatal arrival my poor aunt was in a quandary;—all her inquiries were fruitless; no one could expound the history of this mysterious stranger: she never held her head up afterwards—drooped daily, took to her bed in a fortnight, and in "one little month," I saw her quietly deposited in the family vault—being the seventh Cockloft that has died of a whim-wham!

Take warning, my fair countrywomen! and you, O! ye excellent ladies, whether married or single, who pry into other people's affairs and neglect those of your own household; who are so busily employed in observing the faults of others that you have no time to correct your own; remember the fate of my dear aunt Charity and eschew the evil spirit of curiosity.


I WAS not a little surprised the other morning at a request from Will Wizard, that I would accompany him that evening to Mrs. —'s ball. The request was simple enough in itself, it was only singular as coming from Will;—of all my acquaintance, Wizard, is the least calculated and disposed for the society of ladies—not that he dislikes their company; on the contrary, like every man of pith and marrow, he is a professed admirer of the sex; and had he been born a poet, would undoubtedly have bespattered and be-rhymed some hard named goddess; until she became as famous as Petrach's Laura, or Waller's Sacharissa; but Will is such a confounded bungler at a bow, has so many odd bachelor habits, and finds it so troublesome to be gallant, that he generally prefers smoking his cigar and telling his story among cronies of his own gender:—and thundering long stories they are, let me tell you: set Will once a-going about China or Crim Tartary, or the Hottentots, and heaven help the poor victim who has to endure his prolixity; he might better be tied to the tail of a jack- o'lanthern. In one word, Will talks like a traveller. Being well acquainted with his character, I was the more alarmed at his inclination to visit a party; since he has often assured me, that he considered it as equivalent to being stuck up for three hours in a steam-engine. I even wondered how he had received an invitation;—this he soon accounted for. It seems Will, on his last arrival from Canton, had made a present of a case of tea to a lady, for whom he had once entertained a sneaking kindness when at grammar-school; and she in return had invited him to come and drink some of it: a cheap way enough of paying off little obligations. I readily acceded to Will's proposition, expecting much entertainment from his eccentric remarks; and as he has been absent some few years, I anticipated his surprise at the splendour and elegance of a modern rout.

On calling for Will in the evening, I found him full dressed, waiting for me. I contemplated him with absolute dismay. As he still retained a spark of regard for the lady who once reigned in his affections, he had been at unusual pains in decorating his person, and broke upon my sight arrayed in the true style that prevailed among our beaux some years ago. His hair was turned up and tufted at the top, frizzled out at the ears, a profusion of powder puffed over the whole, and a long plaited club swung gracefully from shoulder to shoulder, describing a pleasing semi-circle of powder and pomatum. His claret-coloured coat was decorated with a profusion of gilt buttons, and reached to his calves. His white cassimere small-clothes were so tight that he seemed to have grown up in them; and his ponderous legs, which are the thickest part of his body, were beautifully clothed in sky-blue silk stockings, once considered so becoming. But above all, he prided himself upon his waistcoat of China silk, which might almost have served a good house-wife for a short-gown; and he boasted that the roses and tulips upon it were the work of Nang-Fou, daughter of the great Chin-Chin-Fou, who had fallen in love with the graces of his person, and sent it to him as a parting present; he assured me she was a perfect beauty, with sweet obliquity of eyes, and a foot no longer than the thumb of an alderman;—he then dilated most copiously on his silver sprigged dicky, which he assured me was quite the rage among the dashing young mandarins of Canton.

I hold it an ill-natured office to put any man out of conceit with himself; so, though I would willingly have made a little alteration in my friend Wizard's pictu esque costume, yet I politely complimented him on his rakish appearance.

On entering the room I kept a good look out on Will, expecting to see him exhibit signs of surprise; but he is one of those knowing fellows who are never surprised at any thing, or at least will never acknowledge it. He took his stand in the middle of the floor, playing with his great steel watch-chain; and looking round on the company, the furniture, and the pictures, with the air of a man "who had seen d—d finer things in his time;" and to my utter confusion and dismay, I saw him coolly pull out his villanous old japanned tobacco-box, ornamented with a bottle, a pipe, and a scurvy motto, and help himself to a quid in face of all the company.

I knew it was all in vain to find fault with a fellow of Will's socratic turn, who is never to be put out of humour with himself; so, after he had given his box its prescriptive rap, and returned it to his pocket, I drew him into a corner where he might observe the company without being prominent objects ourselves.

"And pray who is that stylish figure," said Will, "who blazes away in red, like a volcano, and who seems wrapped in flames like a fiery dragon?"—That, cried I, is Miss Laurelia Dashaway:—she is the highest flash of the ton—has much whim and more eccentricity, and has reduced many an unhappy gentleman to stupidity by her charms; you see she holds out the red flag in token of "no quarter." "Then keep me safe out of the sphere of her attractions," cried Will: "I would not e'en come in contact with her train, lest it should scorch me like the tail of a comet.—But who, I beg of you, is that amiable youth who is handing along a young lady, and at the same time contemplating his sweet person in a mirror, as he passes?" His name, said I, is Billy Dimple;—he is a universal smiler, and would travel from Dan to Beersheba, and smile on every body as he passed. Dimple is a slave to the ladies—a hero at tea-parties, and is famous at the pirouet and the pigeon-wing; a fiddle-stick is his idol, and a dance his elysium. "A very pretty young gentleman, truly," cried Wizard; "he reminds me of a contemporary beau at Hayti. You must know that the magnanimous Dessalines gave a great ball to his court one fine sultry summer's evening; Dessy and I were great cronies;—hand and glove:—one of the most condescending great men I ever knew.—Such a display of black and yellow beauties! such a show of Madras handkerchiefs, red beads, cocks' tails, and peacocks' feathers!—it was, as here, who should wear the highest top-knot, drag the longest tails, or exhibit the greatest variety of combs, colours, and gew-gaws. In the middle of the rout, when all was buzz, slip-slop, clack, and perfume, who should enter but Tucky Squash! The yellow beauties blushed blue, and the black ones blushed as red as they could, with pleasure; and there was a universal agitation of fans: every eye brightened and whitened to see Tucky; for he was the pride of the court, the pink of courtesy, the mirror of fashion, the adoration of all the sable fair ones of Hayti. Such breadth of nose, such exuberance of lip! his shins had the true cucumber curve;—his face in dancing shone like a kettle; and provided you kept to windward of him in summer, I do not know a sweeter youth in all Hayti than Tucky Squash. When he laughed, there appeared from ear to ear a chevaux-de-frize of teeth, that rivalled the shark's in whiteness; he could whistle like a north-wester; play on a three-stringed fiddle like Apollo; and, as to dancing, no Long-Island negro could shuffle you "double-trouble," or "hoe corn and dig potatoes," more scientifically: in short, he was a second Lothario. And the dusky nymphs of Hayti, one, and all, declared him a perpetual Adonis. Tucky walked about, whistling to himself, without regarding any body; and his nonchalance was irresistible."

I found Will had got neck and heels into one of his traveller's stories; and there is no knowing how far he would have run his parallel between Billy Dimple and Tucky Squash, had not the music struck up from an adjoining apartment, and summoned the company to the dance. The sound seemed to have an inspiring effect on honest Will, and he procured the hand of an old acquaintance for a country dance. It happened to be the fashionable one of "The devil among the Tailors," which is so vociferously demanded at every ball and assembly: and many a torn gown, and many an unfortunate toe, did rue the dancing of that night; for Will thundered down the dance like a coach and six, sometimes right and sometimes wrong; now running over half a score of little Frenchmen, and now making sad inroads into ladies' cobweb muslins and spangled tails. As every part of Will's body partook of the exertion, he shook from his capacious head such volumes of powder, that like pious Eneas on the first interview with Queen Dido, he might be said to have been enveloped in a cloud. Nor was Will's partner an insignificant figure in the scene; she was a young lady of most voluminous proportions, that quivered at every skip; and being braced up in the fashionable style with whalebone, stay-tape and buckram, looked like an apple pudding tied in the middle; or, taking her flaming dress into consideration, like a bed and bolsters rolled up in a suit of red curtains. The dance finished.—I would gladly have taken Will off, but no;—he was now in one of his happy moods, and there was no doing any thing with him. He insisted on my introducing him to Miss Sparkle, a young lady unrivalled for playful wit and innocent vivacity, and who, like a brilliant, adds lustre to the front of fashion. I accordingly presented him to her, and began a conversation, in which, I thought, he might take a share; but no such thing. Will took his stand before her, straddling like a colossus, with his hands in his pockets, and an air of the most profound attention; nor did he pretend to open his lips for some time, until, upon some lively sally of hers, he electrified the whole company with a most intolerable burst of laughter. What was to be done with such an incorrigible fellow?—To add to my distress, the first word he spoke was to tell Miss Sparkle that something she said reminded him of a circumstance that happened to him in China;—and at it he went, in the true traveller style,—described the Chinese mode of eating rice with chop-sticks;—entered into a long eulogium on the succulent qualities of boiled birds' nests: and I made my escape at the very moment when he was on the point of squatting down on the floor, to show how the little Chinese Joshes sit cross-legged.


In no instance have I seen this grasping after style more whimsically exhibited than in the family of my old acquaintance Timothy Giblet. I recollect old Giblet when I was a boy, and he was the most surly curmudgeon I ever knew. He was a perfect scare-crow to the small-fry of the day, and inherited the hatred of all these unlucky little shavers; for never could we assemble about his door of an evening to play, and make a little hubbuh, but out he sallied from his nest like a spider, flourished his formidable horse-whip, and dispersed the whole crew in the twinkling of a lamp. I perfectly remember a bill he sent in to my father for a pane of sound glass I had accidentally broken, which came well nigh getting me a flogging; and I remember, as perfectly, that the next night I revenged myself by breaking half-a-dozen. Giblet was as arrant a grub-worm as ever crawled; and the only rules of right and wrong he cared a button for, were the rules of multiplication and addition; which he practised much more successfully than he did any of the rules of religion or morality. He used to declare they were the true golden rules; and he took special care to put Cocker's arithmetic in the hands of his children, before they had read ten pages in the bible or the prayer book. The practice of these favourite maxims was at length crowned with the harvest of success; and after a life of incessant self-denial, and starvation, and after enduring all the pounds, shillings and pence miseries of a miser, he had the satisfaction of seeing himself worth a plum, and of dying just as he had determined to enjoy the remainder of his days in contemplating his great wealth and accumulating mortgages.

His children inherited his money; but they buried the disposition, and every other memorial of their father in his grave. Fired with a noble thirst for style, they instantly emerged from the retired lane in which themselves and their accomplishments had hitherto been buried; and they blazed, and they whizzed, and they cracked about town, like a nest of squibs and devils in a fire-work. I can liken their sudden eclat to nothing but that of the locust, which is hatched in the dust, where it increases and swells up to maturity, and after feeling for a moment the vivifying rays of the sun, bursts forth a mighty insect, and flutters and rattles, and buzzes from every tree. The little warblers, who have long cheered the woodlands with their dulcet notes, are stunned by the discordant racket of these upstart intruders, and contemplate, in contemptuous silence, their tinsel and their noise.

Having once started, the Giblets were determined that nothing should stop them in their career, until they had run their full course and arrived at the very tip-top of style. Every tailor, every shoemaker, every coachmaker, every milliner, every mantua-maker, every paper-hanger, every piano-teacher, and every dancing-master in the city, were enlisted in their service; and the willing wights most courteously answered their call, and fell to work to build up the fame of the Giblets, as they had done that of many an aspiring family before them. In a little time the young ladies could dance the waltz, thunder Lodoiska, murder French, kill time, and commit violence on the face of nature in a landscape in water-colours, equal to the best lady in the land, and the young gentlemen were seen lounging at corners of streets, and driving tandem; heard talking loud at the theatre, and laughing in church, with as much ease and grace, and modesty, as if they had been gentlemen all the days of their lives.

And the Giblets arrayed themselves in scarlet, and in fine linen, and seated themselves in high places; but no body noticed them except to honour them with a little contempt. The Giblets made a prodigious splash in their own opinion; but nobody extolled them except the tailors, and the milliners, who had been employed in manufacturing their paraphernalia. The Giblets thereupon being, like Caleb Quotem, determined to have "a place at the review," fell to work more fiercely than ever;— they gave dinners, and they gave balls; they hired cooks; they hired confectioners; and they would have kept a newspaper in pay, had they not been all bought up at that time for the election. They invited the dancing men, and the dancing women, and the gormandizers, and the epicures of the city, to come and make merry at their expense; and the dancing men, and the dancing women, and the epicures, and the gormandizers, did come; and they did make merry at their expense; and they eat, and they drank, and they capered, and they danced, and they— laughed at their entertainers.

Then commenced the hurry and the bustle, and the mighty nothingness of fashionable life;—such rattling in coaches! such flaunting in the streets! such slamming of box-doors at the theatre! such a tempest of bustle and unmeaning noise wherever they appeared! The Giblets were seen here and there and every where;—they visited every body they knew, and every body they did not know; and there was no getting along for the Giblets. Their plan at length succeeded. By dint of dinners, of feeding and frolicking the town, the Giblet family worked themselves into notice, and enjoyed the ineffable pleasure of being for ever pestered by visiters, who cared nothing about them; of being squeezed, and smothered, and parboiled at nightly balls, and evening tea-parties; they were allowed the privilege of forgetting the very few old friends they once possessed;—they turned their noses up in the wind at every thing that was not genteel; and their superb manners and sublime affectation at length left it no longer a matter of doubt that the Giblets were perfectly in the style.


In my mind there's no position more positive and unexceptionable than that most Frenchmen, dead or alive, are born dancers. I came pounce upon this discovery at the assembly, and I immediately noted it down in my register of indisputable facts—the public shall know all about it. As I never dance cotillions, holding them to be monstrous distorters of the human frame, and tantamount in their operations to being broken and dislocated on the wheel, I generally take occasion, while they are going on, to make my remarks on the company. In the course of these observations I was struck with the energy and eloquence of sundry limbs, which seemed to be flourishing about without appertaining to any body. After much investigation and difficulty, I, at length, traced them to their respective owners, whom I found to be all Frenchmen to a man. Art may have meddled somewhat in these affairs, but nature certainly did more. I have since been considerably employed in calculations on this subject; and by the most accurate computation I have determined, that a Frenchman passes at least three fifths of his time between the heavens and the earth, and partakes eminently of the nature of a gossam or soap bubble. One of these jack-a-lantern heroes, in taking a figure, which neither Euclid nor Pythagoras himself could demonstrate, unfortunately wound himself— I mean his foot—his better part—into a lady's cobweb muslin robe; but perceiving it at the instant, he set himself a spinning the other way, like a top, unravelled his step, without omitting one angle or curve, and extricated himself without breaking a thread of the lady's dress! he then sprung up like a sturgeon, crossed his feet four times, and finished this wonderful evolution by quivering his left leg, as a cat does her paw when she has accidentally dipped it in water. No man of "woman born," who was not a Frenchman, or a mountebank, could have done the like.


I have often had occasion to remark the fortitude with which women sustain the most overwhelming reverses of fortune. Those disasters which break down the spirit of a man, and prostrate him in the dust, seem to call forth all the energies of the softer sex, and give such intrepidity and elevation to their character, that at times it approaches to sublimity. Nothing can be more touching than to behold a soft and tender female, who had been all weakness and dependence, and alive to every trivial roughness while treading the prosperous paths of life, suddenly rising in mental force to be the comforter and supporter of her husband under misfortune, and abiding, with unshrinking firmness, the bitterest blasts of adversity.

As the vine which has long twined its graceful foliage about the oak, and been lifted by it in sunshine, will, when the hardy plant is rifted by the thunderbolt, cling round it with its caressing tendrils, and bind up its shattered boughs; so is it beautifully ordered by Providence, that woman, who is the mere dependant and ornament of man in his happier hours, should be his stay and solace when smitten with sudden calamity; winding herself into the rugged recesses of his nature, tenderly supporting the drooping head, and binding up the broken heart.

I was once congratulating a friend, who had around him a blooming family, knit together in the strongest affection. "I can wish you no better lot," said he, with enthusiasm, "than to have a wife and children.—If you are prosperous, there they are to share your prosperity; if otherwise, there they are to comfort you." And, indeed, I have observed that a married man falling into misfortune is more apt to retrieve his situation in the world than a single one; partly because he is more stimulated to exertion by the necessities of the helpless and beloved beings who depend upon him for subsistence; but chiefly because his spirits are soothed and relieved by domestic endearments, and his self respect kept alive by finding, that, though all abroad is darkness and humiliation, yet there is still a little world of love at home, of which he is the monarch. Whereas a single man is apt to run to waste and self neglect; to fancy himself lonely and abandoned, and his heart to fall to ruin like some deserted mansion, for want of an inhabitant.

These observations call to mind a little domestic story, of which I was once a witness. My intimate friend, Leslie, had married a beautiful and accomplished girl, who had been brought up in the midst of fashionable life. She had, it is true, no fortune, but that of my friend was ample; and he delighted in the anticipation of indulging her in every elegant pursuit, and administering to those delicate tastes and fancies that spread a kind of witchery about the sex.—"Her life," said he, "shall be like a fairy tale."

The very difference in their characters produced an harmonious combination: he was of a romantic and somewhat serious cast; she was all life and gladness. I have often noticed the mute rapture with which he would gaze upon her in company, of which her sprightly powers made her the delight; and how, in the midst of applause, her eye would still turn to him, as if there alone she sought favour and acceptance. When leaning on his arm, her slender form contrasted finely with his tall manly person. The fond confiding air with which she looked up to him seemed to call forth a flush of triumphant pride and cherishing tenderness, as if he doted on his lovely burthen for its very helplessness. Never did a couple set forward on the flowery path of early and well-suited marriage with a fairer prospect of felicity.

It was the misfortune of my friend, however, to have embarked his property in large speculations; and he had not been married many months, when, by a succession of sudden disasters, it was swept from him, and he found himself reduced almost to penury. For a time he kept his situation to himself, and went about with a haggard countenance, and a breaking heart. His life was but a protracted agony; and what rendered it more insupportable was the keeping up a smile in the presence of his wife; for he could not bring himself to overwhelm her with the news. She saw, however, with the quick eyes of affection, that all was not well with him. She marked his altered looks and stifled sighs, and was not to be deceived by his sickly and vapid attempts at cheerfulness. She tasked all her sprightly powers and tender blandishments to win him back to happiness; but she only drove the arrow deeper into his soul. The more he saw cause to love her, the more torturing was the thought that he was soon to make her wretched. A little while, thought he, and the smile will vanish from that cheek—the song will die away from those lips—the lustre of those eyes will be quenched with sorrow; and the happy heart, which now beats lightly in that bosom, will be weighed down like mine, by the cares and miseries of the world.

At length he came to me one day, and related his whole situation in a tone of the deepest despair. When I heard him through, I inquired, "Does your wife know all this?"— At the question he burst into an agony of tears. "For God's sake!" cried he, "if you have any pity on me, don't mention my wife; it is the thought of her that drives me almost to madness!"

"And why not?" said I. "She must know it sooner or later: you cannot keep it long from her, and the intelligence may break upon her in a more startling manner than if imparted by yourself; for the accents of those we love soften the harshest tidings. Besides you are depriving yourself of the comforts of her sympathy; and not merely that, but also endangering the only bond that can keep hearts together—an unreserved community of thought and feeling. She will soon perceive that something is secretly preying upon your mind; and true love will not brook reserve; it feels undervalued and outraged, when even the sorrows of those it loves are concealed from it."

"Oh, but, my friend! to think what a blow I am to give to all her future prospects—how I am to strike her very soul to the earth, by telling her that her husband is a beggar! that she is to forego all the elegancies of life— all the pleasures of society—to shrink with me into indigence and obscurity! To tell her that I have dragged her down from the sphere in which she might have continued to move in constant brightness—the light of every eye—the admiration of every heart!—how can she bear poverty? she has been brought up in all the refinement of opulence- How can she bear neglect? she has been the idol of society. Oh, it will break her heart— it will break her heart!—"

I saw his grief was eloquent, and I let it have its flow; for sorrow relieves itself by words. When his paroxysm had subsided, and he had relapsed into moody silence, I resumed the subject gently, and urged him to break his situation at once to his wife. He shook his head mournfully, but positively.

"But how are you to keep it from her? It is necessary she should know it, that you may take the steps proper to the alteration of your circumstances. You must change your style of living—nay," observing a pang to pass across his countenance, "don't let that afflict you. I am sure you have never placed your happiness in outward show—you have yet friends, warm friends, who will not think the worse of you for being less splendidly lodged; and surely it does not require a palace to be happy with Mary—"

"I could be happy with her," cried he, convulsively, "in a hovel!—I could go down with her into poverty and the dust!—I could—I could—God bless her!—God bless her!" cried he, bursting into a transport of grief and tenderness.

"And believe me, my friend," said I, stepping up, and grasping him warmly by the hand, "believe me she can be the same with you. Ay, more: it will be a source of pride and triumph to her—it will call forth all the latent energies and fervent sympathies of her nature; for she will rejoice to prove that she loves you for yourself. There is in every true woman's heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity. No man knows what the wife of his bosom is—no man knows what a ministering angel she is—until he has gone with her through the fiery trials of this world."

There was something in the earnestness of my manner, and the figurative style of my language, that caught the excited imagination of Leslie. I knew the auditor I had to deal with; and following up the impression I had made, I finished by persuading him to go home and unburden his sad heart to his wife.

I must confess, notwithstanding all I had said, I felt some little solicitude for the result. Who can calculate on the fortitude of one whose whole life has been a round of pleasures? Her gay spirits might revolt at the dark downward path of low humility suddenly pointed out before her, and might cling to the sunny regions in which they had hitherto revelled. Besides, ruin in fashionable life is accompanied by so many galling mortifications, to which in other ranks it is a stranger.—In short, I could not meet Leslie the next morning without trepidation. He had made the disclosure.

"And how did she bear it?"

"Like an angel! It seemed rather to be a relief to her mind, for she threw her arms round my neck, and asked if this was all that had lately made me unhappy.— But, poor girl," added he, "she cannot realize the change we must undergo. She has no idea of poverty but in the abstract; she has only read of it in poetry, where it is allied to love. She feels as yet no privation; she suffers no loss of accustomed conveniences nor elegancies. When we come practically to experience its sordid cares, its paltry wants, its petty humiliations—then will be the real trial."

"But," said I, "now that you have got over the severest task, that of breaking it to her, the sooner you let the world into the secret the better. The disclosure may be mortifying; but then it is a single misery, and soon over: whereas you otherwise suffer it, in anticipation, every hour in the day. It is not poverty so much as pretence, that harasses a ruined man—the struggle between a proud mind and an empty purse—the keeping up a hollow show that must soon come to an end. Have the courage to appear poor, and you disarm poverty of its sharpest sting." On this point I found Leslie perfectly prepared. He had no false pride himself, and as to his wife, she was only anxious to conform to their altered fortunes.

Some days afterwards he called upon me in the evening. He had disposed of his dwelling-house, and taken a small cottage in the country, a few miles from town. He had been busied all day in sending out furniture. The new establishment required few articles, and those of the simplest kind. All the splendid furniture of his late residence had been sold, excepting his wife's harp. That, he said, was too closely associated with the idea of herself; it belonged to the little story of their loves: for some of the sweetest moments of their courtship were those when he had leaned over that instrument, and listened to the melting tones of her voice. I could not but smile at this instance of romantic gallantry in a doting husband.

He was now going out to the cottage, where his wife had been all day superintending its arrangement. My feelings had become strongly interested in the progress of this family story, and, as it was a fine evening, I offered to accompany him.

He was wearied with the fatigues of the day, and as we walked out, fell into a fit of gloomy musing.

"Poor Mary!" at length broke, with a heavy sigh, from his lips.

"And what of her?" asked I: "has any thing happened to her?"

"What," said he, darting an impatient glance, "is it nothing to be reduced to this paltry situation—to be caged in a miserable cottage—to be obliged to toil almost in the menial concerns of her wretched habitation?"

"Has she then repined at the change?"

"Repined! she has been nothing but sweetness and good humour. Indeed, she seems in better spirits than I have ever known her; she has been to me all love, and tenderness and comfort!"

"Admirable girl!" exclaimed I. "You call yourself poor, my friend; you never were so rich—you never knew the boundless treasure of excellence you possessed in that woman."

"Oh! but, my friend, if this first meeting at the cottage were over, I think I could then be comfortable. But this is her first day of real experience; she has been introduced into a humble dwelling—she has been employed all day in arranging its miserable equipments—she has, for the first time, known the fatigues of domestic employment— she has, for the first time, looked round her on a home destitute of every thing elegant,—almost of every thing convenient; and may now be sitting down, exhausted and spiritless, brooding over a prospect of future poverty."

There was a degree of probability in this picture that I could not gainsay, so we walked on in silence.

After turning from the main road up a narrow lane, so thickly shaded with forest trees as to give it a complete air of seclusion, we came in sight of the cottage. It was humble enough in its appearance for the most pastoral poet; and yet it had a pleasing rural look. A wild vine had overrun one end with a profusion of foliage; a few trees threw their branches gracefully over it; and I observed several pots of flowers tastefully disposed about the door, and on the grass-plat in front. A small wicket gate opened upon a footpath that wound through some shrubbery to the door. Just as we approached, we heard the sound of music—Leslie grasped my arm; we paused and listened. It was Mary's voice, singing, in a style of the most touching simplicity, a little air of which her husband was peculiarly fond.

I felt Leslie's hand tremble on my arm. He stepped forward to hear more distinctly. His step made a noise on the gravel walk. A bright beautiful face glanced out at the window and vanished—a light footstep was heard— and Mary came tripping forth to meet us; she was in a pretty rural dress of white; a few wild flowers were twisted in her fine hair; a fresh bloom was on her cheek; her whole countenance beamed with smiles—I had never seen her look so lovely.

"My dear George," cried she, "I am so glad you are come! I have been watching and watching for you; and running down the lane, and looking out for you. I've set out a table under a beautiful tree behind the cottage; and I've been gathering some of the most delicious strawberries, for I know you are fond of them—and we have such excellent cream—and we have every thing so sweet and still here—Oh!" said she, putting her arm within his, and looking up brightly in his face, "Oh, we shall be so happy!"

Poor Leslie was overcome—He caught her to his bosom— he folded his arms round her—he kissed her again and again—he could not speak, but the tears gushed into his eyes; and he has often assured me that though the world has since gone prosperously with him, and his life has, indeed, been a happy one, yet never has he experienced a moment of more exquisite felicity.



As you appear to have taken to yourself the trouble of meddling in the concerns of the beau-monde, I take the liberty of appealing to you on a subject, which, though considered merely as a very good joke, has occasioned me great vexation and expense. You must know I pride myself on being very useful to the ladies, that is, I take boxes for them at the theatre, go shopping with them, supply them with bouquets, and furnish them with novels from the circulating library. In consequence of these attentions I am become a great favourite, and there is seldom a party going on in the city without my having an invitation. The grievance I have to mention is the exchange of hats which takes place on these occasions; for, to speak my mind freely, there are certain young gentlemen who seem to consider fashionable parties as mere places to barter old clothes: and I am informed, that a number of them manage by this great system of exchange to keep their crowns decently covered without their hatters suffering in the least by it.

It was but lately that I went to a private ball with a new hat, and on returning in the latter part of the evening, and asking for it, the scoundrel of a servant, with a broad grin, informed me that the new hats had been dealt out half an hour since, and they were then on the third quality; and I was in the end obliged to borrow a young lady's beaver rather than go home with any of the ragged remnants that were left.

Now I would wish to know if there is no possibility of having these offenders punished by law; and whether it would not be advisable for ladies to mention in their cards of invitation, as a postscript, "Stealing hats and shawls positively prohibited."—At any rate, I would thank you, Mr. Evergreen, to discountenance the thing totally, by publishing in your paper, that stealing a hat is no joke.

Your humble servant,

Walter Withers.

Showing the nature of History in general;

containing furthermore the universal Acquirements of William the Testy, and how a Man may learn so much as to render himself good for nothing.

When the lofty Thucydides is about to enter on his description of the plague that desolated Athens, one of his modern commentators assures the reader, that his history "is now going to be exceeding solemn, serious, and pathetic;" and hints, with that air of chuckling gratulation, with which a good dame draws forth a choice morsel from a cupboard to regale a favourite, that this plague will give his history a most agreeable variety.

In like manner did my heart leap within me, when I came to the dolorous dilemma of Fort Good Hope, which I at once perceived to be the forerunner of a series of great events and entertaining disasters. Such are the true subjects for the historic pen. For what is history in fact, but a kind of Newgate Calendar, a register of the crimes and miseries that man has inflicted on his fellow men? It is a huge libel on human nature, to which we industriously add page after page, volume after volume, as if we were building up a monument to the honour rather then the infamy of our species. If we turn over the pages of these chronicles that man has written of himself, what are the characters dignified by the appellation of great, and held up to the admiration of posterity?—Tyrants, robbers, conquerors, renowned only for the magnitude of their misdeeds and the stupendous wrongs and miseries they have inflicted on mankind—warriors, who have hired themselves to the trade of blood, not from motives of virtuous patriotism, or to protect the injured or defenceless, but merely to gain the vaunted glory of being adroit and successful in massacring their fellow beings! What are the great events that constitute a glorious era? The fall of empires— the desolation of happy countries—splendid cities smoking in their ruins—the proudest works of art tumbled in the dust—the skrieks and groans of whole nations ascending unto heaven!

It is thus the historians may be said to thrive on the miseries of mankind—they are like the birds of prey that hover over the field of battle, to fatten on the mighty dead. It was observed by a great projector of inland lock navigation, that rivers, lakes, and oceans were only formed to feed canals. In like manner I am tempted to believe, that plots, conspiracies, wars, victories, and massacres are ordained by Providence only as food for the historian.

It is a source of great delight to the philosopher in studying the wonderful economy of nature, to trace the mutual dependencies of things, how they are created reciprocally for each other, and how the most noxious and apparently unnecessary animal has it uses. Thus those swarms of flies, which are so often execrated as useless vermin, are created for the sustenance of spiders; and spiders, on the other hand, are evidently made to devour flies. So those heroes who have been such pests in the world were bountcously provided as themes for the poet and the historian, while the poet and historian were destined to record the achievements of heroes!

These and many similar reflections naturally arose in my mind as I took up my pen to commence the reign of William Kieft; for now the stream of our history, which hitherto has rolled in a tranquil current, is about to depart for ever from its peaceful haunts, and brawl through many a turbulent and rugged scene. Like some sleek ox, which, having fed and fattened in a rich clover field, lies sunk in luxurious repose, and will bear repeated taunts and blows before it heaves its unwieldy limbs, and clumsily arouses from its slumbers; so the province of the Nieuw Nederlandts, having long thriven and grown corpulent under the prosperous reign of the Doubter, was reluctantly awakened to a melancholy conviction that, by patient sufferance, its grievances had become so numerous and aggravating, that it was preferable to repel than endure them. The reader will now witness the manner in which a peaceful community advances toward a state of war; which it is too apt to approach, as a horse does a drum, with much prancing and parade, but with little progress, and too often with the wrong end foremost.

Wilhelmus Kieft, who, in 1634, ascended the Gubernatorial chair, (to borrow a favourite though clumsy appellation of modern phraseologists,) was in form, feature, and character, the very reverse of Wouter Von Twiller, his renowned predecessor. He was of very respectable descent, his father being Inspector of Windmills in the ancient town of Saardam; and our here, we are told, made very curious investigations in the nature and operations of those machines when a boy, which is one reason why he afterwards came to be so ingenious a governor. His name, according to the most ingenious etymologists, was a corruption of Kyver, that is to say, a wrangler or scolder, and expressed the hereditary disposition of his family, which, for nearly two centuries, had kept the windy town of Saardam in hot water, and produced more tartars and brimstones, than any ten families in the place; and so truly did Wilhelmus Kieft inherit this family endowment, that he had scarcely been a year in the discharge of his government, before he was universally known by the name of William The Testy.

He was a brisk, waspish, little old gentleman, who had dried and withered away, partly through the natural process of years, and partly from being parched and burned up by his fiery soul, which blazed like a vehement rushlight in his bosom, constantly inciting him to most valorous broils, altercations, and misadventures. I have heard it observed by a profound and philosophical judge of human nature, that if a woman waxes fat as she grows old, the tenure of her life is very precarious; but if haply she withers, she lives for ever: such likewise was the case with William the Testy, who grew tougher in proportion as he dried. He was some such a little Dutchman as we may now and then see, stumping briskly about the streets of our city, in a broad skirted coat, with buttons nearly as large as the shield of Ajax, an old-fashioned cocked hat stuck on the back of his head, and a cane as high as his chin. His visage was broad, but his features sharp; his nose turned up with a most petulant curl; his cheeks, like the regions of Terra del Fuego, were scorched into a dusky red—doubtless, in consequence of the neighbourhood of two fierce little gray eyes, through which his torrid soul beamed as fervently as a tropical sun blazing through a pair of burning glasses. The corners of his mouth were curiously modelled into a kind of fretwork, not a little resembling the wrinkled proboscis of an irritable pug dog; in a word, he was one of the most positive, restless, ugly little men that ever put himself in a passion about nothing.

Such were the personal endowments of William the Testy; but it was the sterling riches of his mind that raised him to dignity and power. In his youth he had passed with great credit through a celebrated academy at the Hague, noted for producing finished scholars with a despatch unequalled, except by certain of our American colleges, which seem to manufacture bachelors of arts by some patent machine. Here he skirmished very smartly on the frontiers of several of the sciences, and made so gallant an inroad on the dead languages, as to bring off captive a host of Greek nouns and Latin verbs, together with divers pithy saws and apophthegms; all which he constantly paraded in conversation and writing, with as much vain glory as would a triumphant general of yore display the spoils of the countries he had ravished. He had moreover puzzled himself considerably with logic, in which he had advanced so far as to attain a very familiar acquaintance, by name at least, with the whole family of syllogisms and dilemmas; but what he chiefly valued himself on was his knowledge of metaphysics, in which having once upon a time ventured too deeply, he came well nigh being smothered in a slough of unintelligible learning—a fearful peril, from the effects of which he never perfectly recovered. In plain words, like many other profound intermeddlers in his abstruse, bewildering science, he so confused his brain with abstract speculations which he could not comprehend, and artificial distinctions which he could not realize, that he could never think clearly on any subject, however simple, through the whole course of his life afterwards. This, I must confess, was in some measure a misfortune, for he never engaged in argument, of which he was exceeding fond, but what, between logical deductions and metaphysical jargon, he soon involved himself and his subject in a fog of contradictions and perplexities, and then would get into a mighty passion with his adversary, for not being convinced gratis.

It is in knowledge as in swimming,—he who ostentatiously sports and flounders on the surface makes more noise and splashing, and attracts more attention than the industrious pearl diver, who plunges in search of treasures to the bottom. The "universal acquirements" of William Kieft were the subject of great marvel and admiration among his countrymen; he figured about at the Hague with as much vain glory as does a profound Bonze at Pekin, who has mastered half the letters of the Chinese alphabet; and, in a word, was unanimously pronounced a universal genius!—I have known many universal geniuses in my time, though to speak my mind freely, I never knew one, who, for the ordinary purposes of life, was worth his wcight in straw; but for the purposes of government, a little sound judgment, and plain common sense, is worth all the sparkling genius that ever wrote poetry, or invented theories.

Strange as it may sound, therefore, the universal acquirements of the illustrious Wilhelmus were very much in his way; and had he been less a learned man, it is possible he would have been a much greater governor. He was exceedingly fond of trying philosophical and political experiments: and having stuffed his head full of scraps and remnants of ancient republics, and oligarchies, and aristocracies, and monarchies, and the laws of Solon, and Lycurgus, and Charondas, and the imaginary commonwealth of Plato, and the Pandects of Justinian, and a thousand other fragments of venerable antiquity, he was for ever bent upon introducing some one or other of them into use; so that between one contradictory measure and another, he entangled the government of the little province of Nieuw Nederlandts in more knots, during his administration, than half a dozen successors could have untied.

No sooner had this bustling little man been blown by a whiff of fortune into the seat of government, than he called together his council, and delivered a very animated speech on the affairs of the province. As every body knows what a glorious opportunity a governor, a president, or even an emperor has of drubbing his enemies in his speeches, messages, and bulletins, where he has the talk all on his own side, they may be sure the high-mettled William Kieft did not suffer so favourable an occasion to escape him, of evincing that gallantry of tongue common to all able legislators. Before he commenced, it is recorded that he took out his pocket handkerchief, and gave a very sonorous blast of the nose, according to the usual custom of great orators. This, in general, I believe, is intended as a signal trumpet, to call the attention of the auditors; but with William the Testy it boasted a more classic cause, for he had read of the singular expedient of that famous demagogue Caius Gracchus, who, when he harangued the Roman populace, modulated his tones by an oratorical flute or pitch-pipe.

This preparatory symphony being performed, he commenced by expressing an humble sense of his own want of talents, his utter unworthiness of the honour conferred upon him, and his humiliating incapacity to discharge the important duties of his new station; in short, he expressed so contemptible an opinion of himself, that many simple country members present, ignorant that these were mere words of course, always used on such occasions, were very uneasy, and even felt wrath that he should accept an office for which he was consciously so inadequate.

He then proceeded in a manner highly classic, profoundly erudite, and nothing at all to the purpose; being nothing more than a pompous account of all the governments of ancient Greece, and the wars of Rome and Carthage, together with the rise and fall of sundry outlandish empires, about which the assembly knew no more than their great grandchildren who were yet unborn. Thus having, after the manner of your learned orators, convinced the audience that he was a man of many words and great erudition, he at length came to the less important part of his speech, the situation of the province; and here he soon worked himself into a fearful rage against the Yankees, whom he compared to the Gauls who desolated Rome, and the Goths and Vandals who overran the fairest plains of Europe—nor did he forget to mention, in terms of adequate opprobrium, the insolence with which they had encroached upon the territories of New Netherlands, and the unparalleled audacity with which they had commenced the town of New Plymouth, and planted the onion patches of Weathersfield under the very walls of Fort Goed Hoop.

Having thus artfully wrought up his tale of terror to a climax, he assumed a self-satisfied look, and declared, with a nod of knowing import, that he had taken measures to put a final stop to these encroachments—that he had been obliged to have recourse to a dreadful engine of warfare, lately invented, awful in its effects, but authorised by direful necessity. In a word, he was resolved to conquer the Yankees—by proclamation.

For this purpose he had prepared a tremendous instrument of the kind, ordering, commanding, and enjoining the intruders aforesaid, forthwith to remove, depart, and withdraw from the districts, regions, and territories aforesaid, under the pain of suffering all the penalties, forfeitures, and punishments, in such case made and provided, &c. This proclamation, he assured them, would at once exterminate the enemy from the face of the country; and he pledged his valour as a governor, that within two months after it was published, not one stone should remain on another in any of the towns which they had built.

The council remained for some time silent after he had finished; whether struck dumb with admiration at the brilliancy of his project, or put to sleep by the length of his harangue, the history of the times deth not mention. Suffice it to say, they at length gave a general grunt of acquiescence; the proclamation was immediately despatched with due ceremony, having the great seal of the province, which was about the size of a buckwheat pancake, attached to it by a broad red riband. Governor Keift, having thus vented his indignation, felt greatly relieved— adjourned the council sine die—put on his cocked hat and corduroy small-clothes, and, mounting on a tall raw-boned charger, trotted out to his country seat, which was situated in a sweet, sequestered swamp, now called Dutch Street, but more commonly known by the name of Dog's Misery.

Here, like the good Numa, he reposed from the toils of legislation, taking lessons in Government, not from the Nymph Ageria, but from the honoured wife of his bosom; who was one of that peculiar kind of females, sent upon earth a little before the flood, as a punishment for the sins of mankind, and commonly known by the appeallation of knowing women. In fact, my duty as an historian obliges me to make known a circumstance which was a great secret at the time, and consequently was not a subject of scandal at more than half the tea-tables of New-Amsterdam, but which, like many other great secrets. has leaked out in the lapse of years; and this was, that the great Wilhelmus the Testy, though one of the most potent little men that ever breathed, yet submitted at home to a species of government, neither laid down in Aristotle nor Plato; in short, it partook of the nature of a pure, unmixed tyranny, and is familiarly denominated petticoat government. An absolute sway, which, though exceedingly common in these modern days, was very rare among the ancients, if we may judge from the rout made about the domestic economy of honest Socrates, which is the only ancient case on record.

The great Kieft, however, warded off all the sneers and sarcasms of his particular friends, who are ever ready to joke with a man on sore points of the kind, by alleging it was a government of his own election, to which he submitted through choice; adding, at the same time, a profound maxim which he had found in an ancient author, that "he who would aspire to govern, should first learn to obey ."

[6] Smith's Thucyd. vol. I.


This was one Dirk Schuiler (or Skulker,) a kind of hanger-on to the garrison, who seemed to belong to nobody, and in a manner to be self-outlawed. He was one of those vagabond cosmopolites, who shark about the world as if they had no right or business in it; and who infest the skirts of society, like poachers and interlopers. Every garrison and country village has one or more scapegoats of this kind, whose life is a kind of enigma, whose existence is without motive, who comes from the Lord knows where, who lives the Lord knows how, and seems to be made for no other earthly purpose but to keep up the ancient and honourable order of idleness. This vagabond philosopher was supposed to have some Indian blood in his veins, which was manifested by a certain Indian complexion and cast of countenance; but more especially by his propensities and habits. He was a tall, lank fellow, swift of foot, and long-winded. He was generally equipped in a half Indian dress, with belt, leggings, and moccasons. His hair hung in strait gallows-locks about his ears, and added not a little to his sharking demeanour. It is an old remark, that persons of Indian mixture are half civilized, half savage, and half devil; a third half being expressly provided for their particular convenience. It is for similar reasons, and probably with equal truth, that the back-wood men of Kentucky are styled half man, half horse, and half alligator by the settlers on the Mississippi, and held accordingly in great respect and abhorrence.

The above character may have presented itself to the garrison as applicable to Dirk Schuiler whom they familiarly dubbed Gallows Dirk. Certain it is, he acknowledged allegiance to no one—was an utter enemy to work. holding it in no manner of estimation—but lounged about the fort, depending upon chance for a subsistence, getting drunk whenever he could get liquor, and stealing whatever he could lay his hands on. Every day or two he was sure to get a sound rib-roasting for some of his misdemeanours, which, however, as it broke no bones, he made very light of, and scrupled not to repeat the offence whenever another opportunity presented. Sometimes, in consequence of some flagrant villainy, he would abscond from the garrison, and be absent for a month at a time; skulking about the woods and swamps, with a long fowling-piece on his shoulder, laying in ambush for game, or squatting himself down on the edge of a pond catching fish for hours together, and bearing no little resemblance to that notable bird ycleped the Mud-pole. When he thought his crimes had been forgotten or forgiven, he would sneak back to the fort with a bundle of skins, or a bunch of poultry, which perchance he had stolen, and would exhange them for liquor, with which, having well soaked his carcass, he would lay in the sun and enjoy all the luxurious indolence of that swinish philosopher Diogenes. He was the terror of all the farm-yards in the country, into which he made fearful inroads; and sometimes he would make his sudden appearance at the garrison at daybreak, with the whole neighbourhood at his heels, like a scoundrel thief of a fox, detected in his maraudings, and hunted to his hole. Such was this Dirk Schuiler; and from the total indifference he showed to this world or its concerns, and from his truly Indian stoicism and taciturnity, no one would ever have dreamed that he would have been the publisher of the treachery of Risingh.

When the carousal was going on, which proved so fatal to the brave Von Poffenburgh and his watchful garrison, Dirk skulked about from room to room, being a kind of privileged vagrant or useless hound, whom nobody noticed. But though a fellow of few words, yet, like your taciturn people, his eyes and ears were always open, and in the course of his prowlings he overheard, the whole plot of the Swedes. Dirk immediately settled in his own mind how he should turn the matter to his own advantage. He played the perfect jack-of-both-sides; that is to say, he made a prize of every thing that came in his reach, robbed both parties, stuck the copper-bound cocked hat of the puissant Von Poffenburgh on his head, whipped a huge pair of Risingh's jackboots under his arm. and took to his heels just before the catastrophe and confusion at the garrison.

Finding himself completely dislodged from his haunt in this quarter, he directed his flight towards his native place, New-Amsterdam, from whence he had formerly been obliged to abscond precipitately, in consequence of misfortune in business, that is to say, having been detected in the act of sheep-stealing. After wandering many days in the woods, toiling through swamps, fording brooks, swimming various rivers, and encountering a world of hardships that would have killed any other being but an Indian, a back-wood man, or the devil; he at length arrived, half-famished, and lank as a starved weasel at Communipaw, where he stole a canoe, and paddled over to New-Amsterdam. Immediately on landing, he repaired to Governor Stuyvesant, and in more words than he had ever spoken before in the whole course of his life, gave an account of the disastrous affair.

On receiving these direful tidings, the valiant Peter started from his seat, as did the stout King Arthur when at "merry Carleile," the news was brought him of the uncourteous misdeeds of the "grim barone"—without uttering a word, he dashed the pipe he was smoking against the back of the chimney, thrust a prodigious quid of negro-headed tobacco into his left cheek, pulled up his galligaskins, and strode up and down the room, humming, as was customary with him when in a passion, a hideous north-west ditty. But, as I have before shown, he was not a man to vent his spleen in idle vapouring. His first measure after the paroxysm of wrath had subsided, was to stump up stairs to a huge wooden chest, which served as his armoury, from whence he drew forth that identical suit of regimentals described in the preceding chapter. In these portentous habiliments he arrayed himself, like Achilles in the armour of Vulcan, and maintaining all the while a most appalling silence, knitting his brows, and drawing his breath through his clenched teeth. Being hastily equipped, he strode down into the parlour, jerked down his trusty sword from over the fire-place, where it was usually suspended; but before he girded it on his thigh he drew it from its scabbard, and as his eye coursed along the rusty blade, a grim smile stole over his iron visage. It was the first smile that had visited his countenance for five long weeks; but every one who beheld it prophesied that there would soon be warm work in the province!

Thus armed at all points, with grisly war depicted in each feature, his very cocked hat assuming an air of uncommon defiance, he instantly put himself on the alert, and despatched Anthony Van Corlear hither and thither. this way and that way, through all the muddy streets and crooked lanes of the city, summoning by sound of trumpet his trusty peers to assemble in instant council. This done, by way of expediting matters, according to the custom of people in a hurry, he kept in continual bustle, shifting from chair to chair, popping his head out of every window, and stumping up and down stairs with his wooden leg in such brisk and incessant motion, that, as we are informed by an authentic historian of the times, the continual clatter bore no small resemblance to the music of a cooper hooping a flour barrel.

Description of the powerful Army

that assembled at the City of New-Amsterdam—together with the interview between Peter the Headstrong and General Von Poffenburgh; and Peter's Sentiments respecting unfortunate great Men.

While thus the enterprising Peter was coasting, with flowing sail, up the shores of the lordly Hudson, and arousing all the phlegmatic little Dutch settlements upon its borders, a great and puissant concourse of warriors was assembling at the city of New-Amsterdam. And here that invaluable fragment of antiquity, the Stuyvesant manuscript, is more than commonly particular; by which means I am enabled to record the illustrious host that encamped itself on the public square, in front of the fort, at present denominated the Bowling Green.

In the centre then was pitched the tents of the men of battle of the Manhattoes; who, being the inmates of the metropolis, composed the life-guards of the governor. These were commanded by the valiant Stoffel Brinker-hoof, who whilome had acquired such immortal fame at Oyster Bay—they displayed as a standard, a beaver rampant on a field of orange; being the arms of the province, and denoting the persevering industry, and the amphibious origin of the Nederlanders.

On their right hand might be seen the vassals of that renowned Mynheer Michael Paw, who lorded it over the fair regions of ancient Pavonia, and the lands away south, even unto the Navesink mountains, †† and was moreover patroon of Gibbet-Island. His standard was borne by his trusty squire, Cornelius Van Vorst; consisting of a huge oyster recumbent upon a sea green field, being the armorial bearings of his favourite metropolis, Communipaw. He brought to the camp a stout force of warriors, heavily armed, being each clad in ten pair of linsey woolsey breeches, and overshadowed by broad brimmed beavers, with short pipes twisted in their hatbands. These were the men who vegetated in the mud along the shores of Pavonia; being of the race of genuine copperheads, and were fabled to have sprung from oysters.

At a little distance was encamped the tribe of warriors who came from the neighbourhood of Hell-Gate. These were commanded by the Suy Dams, and the Van Dams, incontinent hard swearers as their names betoken—they were terrible looking fellows, clad in broad-skirted gaberdines, of that curious coloured cloth called thunder and lightning; and bore as a standard three devil's darning-needles, volant, in a flame coloured field.

Hard by was the tent of the men of battle from the marshy borders of the Wael-bogtig, || and the country thereabouts—these were of a sour aspect, by reason that they lived on crabs, which abound in these parts: they were the first institutors of that honourable order of knighthood, called Fly market shirks; and if tradition speak true, did likewise introduce the far famed step in dancing, called "double trouble." They were commanded by the fearless Jacobus Varra Vanger, and, had moreover, a jolly band of Breukelen ferrymen, who performed a brave concerto on conchshells.

But I refrain from pursuing this minute description which goes on to describe the warriors of Bloemen-dael, and Wee-hawk, and Hoboken, and sundry other places, well known in history and song—for now does the sound of martial music alarm the people of New-Amsterdam, sounding afar from beyond the walls of the city. But this alarm was in a little time relieved, for lo, from the midst of a vast cloud of dust, they recognized the brimstone coloured breeches, and splendid silver leg of Peter Stuyvesant glaring in the sunbeams; and beheld him approaching at the head of a formidable army, which he had mustered along the banks of the Hudson. And here the excellent but anonymous writer of the Stuyvesant manuscript breaks out into a brave but glorious description of the forces, as they defiled through the principal gate of the city that stood by the head of Wall-street.

First of all came the Van Bummels, who inhabit the pleasant borders of the Bronx. These were short fat men, wearing exceeding large trunk breeches, and are renowned for feats of the trencher: they were the first inventors of suppawn, or mush and milk.—Close in their rear marched the Van Vlotans, of Kaats Kill, most horrible quaffers of new cider, and arrant braggarts in their liquor.— After them came the Van Pelts, of Groodt Esopus, dexterous horsemen, mounted upon goodly switch-tailed steeds of the Esopus breed: these were mighty hunters of minks and musk rats, whence came the word Peltry.— Then the Van Nests of Kinderhoek, valiant robbers of birds' nests, as their name denotes: to these, if the report may be believed, are we indebted for the invention of slapjacks, or buckwheat cakes.—Then the Van Higginbottoms, of Wapping's Creek: these came armed with ferules and birchen rods, being a race of schoolmasters, who first discovered the marvellous sympathy between the seat of honour and the seat of intellect, and that the shortest way to get knowledge into the head was to hammer it into the bottom.—Then the Van Grolls of Anthony's Nose, who carried their liquor in fair round little pottles, by reason they could not bouse it out of their canteens, having such rare long noses.—Then the Gardeniers, of Hudson and thereabouts, distinguished by many triumphant feats, such as robbing watermelon patches, smoking rabbits out of their holes, and the like, and by being great lovers of roasted pig's tails: these were the ancestors of the renowned congressman of that name.—Then the Van Hoesen's of Sing-Song, great choristers and players upon the Jew's-harp: these marched two and two, singing the great song of St. Nicholas.—Then the Couenhovens, of Sleepy Hollow: these gave birth to a jolly race of publicans, who first discovered the magic art of conjuring a quart of wine into a pint bottle.—Then the Van Kortlandts, who lived on the wild banks of the Croton, and were great killers of wild ducks, being much spoken of for their skill in shooting with the long bow.—Then the Van Bunschotens, of Nyock and Kakiat, who were the first that did ever kick with the left foot; they were gallant bush-whackers, and hunters of racoons, by moonlight.— Then the Van Winkles of Haerlem, potent suckers of eggs, and noted for running of horses, and running up of scores at taverns: they were the first that ever winked with both eyes at once.—Lastly, came the Knickerbockers, of the great town of Schahtikoke, where the folk lay stones upon the houses in windy weather, lest they should be blown away. These derive their name, as some say, from Kniker, to shake, and Becker, a goblet, indicating thereby that they were sturdy tosspots of yore; but, in truth, it was derived from Knicker, to nod, and Boeken, books, plainly meaning that they were great nodders or dozers over books: from them did descend the writer of this history.

Such was the legion of sturdy bush-beaters, that poured in at the grand gate of New-Amsterdam. The Stuyvesant manuscript, indeed, speaks of many more, whose names I omit to mention, seeing that it behoves me to hasten to matters of greater moment. Nothing could surpass the joy and martial pride of the lion-hearted Peter, as he reviewed this mighty host of warriors; and he determined no longer to defer the gratification of his much wished-for revenge, upon the scoundrel Swedes at Fort Casimir.

But before I hasten to record those unmatchable events which will be found in the sequel of this faithful history, let me pause to notice the fate of Jacobus Von Poffenburgh, the discomfitted commander-in-chief of the armies of the New-Netherlands. Such is the inherent uncharitableness of human nature, that scarcely did the news become public, of his deplorable discomfiture at Fort Casimir than a thousand scurvy rumours were set afloat in New-Amsterdam; wherein it was insinuated, that he had in reality a treacherous understanding with the Swedish commander; that he had long been in the practice of privately communicating with the Swedes; together with divers hints about "secret service money,"—to all which deadly charges I do not give a jot more credit than I think they deserve.

Certain it is, that the general vindicated his character by the most vehement oaths and protestations, and put every man out of the ranks of honour who dared to doubt his integrity. Moreover, on returning to New-Amsterdam, he paraded up and down the streets with a crew of hard swearers at his heels,—sturdy bottle companions, whom he gorged and fattened, and who were ready to bolster him through all the courts of justice,—heroes of his own kidney, fierce whiskered, broad shouldered, colbrand looking swaggerers, not one of whom but looked as though he could eat up an ox, and pick his teeth with the horns. These life-guard men quarrelled all his quarrels, were ready to fight all his battles, and scowled at every man that turned up his nose to the general, as though they would devour him alive. Their conversation was interspersed with oaths like minute guns, and every bombastic rhodomontado was rounded off by a thundering execration like a patriotic toast honoured with a discharge of artillery.

All these valorous vapourings had a considerable effect in convincing certain profound sages, many of whom began to think the general a hero of unutterable loftiness and magnanimity of soul, particularly as he was continually protesting on the honour of a soldier,—a marvellously high sounding asseveration. Nay, one of the members of the council went so far as to propose they should immortalize him by an imperishable statue of plaster of Paris.

But the vigilant Peter the Headstrong was not thus to be deceived. Sending privately for the commander-in-chief of all the armies, and having heard all his story, garnished with the customary pious oaths, protestations, and ejaculations—"Harkee, comrade," cried he, "though by your own account you are the most brave, upright, and honourable man in the whole province, yet do you lie under the misfortune of being damnably traduced and immeasurably despised. Now though it is certainly hard to punish a man for his misfortunes, and though it is very possible you are totally innocent of the crimes laid to your charge; yet as heaven, at present, doubtless for some wise purpose, sees fit to withhold all proofs of your innocence, far be it from me to counteract its sovereign will. Beside, I cannot consent to venture my armies with a commander whom they despise, or to trust the welfare of my people to a champion whom they distrust. Retire, therefore, my friend, from the irksome toils and cares of public life, with this comforting reflection—that if you be guilty, you are but enjoying your just reward— and if innocent, that you are not the first great and good man, who has most wrongfully been slandered and maltreated in this wicked world—doubtless to be better treated in a better world, where there shall neither be error, calumny, nor persecution. In the mean time let me never see your face again, for I have a horrid antipathy to the countenances of unfortunate great men like yourself."

[7] This was likewise the great seal of the New-Netherlands, as may still be seen in ancient records.

† Besides what is related in the Stuyvesant MS. I have found mention made of this illustrious patroon in another manuscript, which says:—"De Heer (or the Squire) Michael Paw, a Dutch subject, about 10th Aug. 1630, by deed purchased Staten Island. N. B. The same Michael Paw had what the Dutch call a colonie at Pavonia, on the Jersey shore, opposite New-York, and his over-seer, in 1636, was named Corns. Van Vorst—a person of the same name, in 1769, owned Pawles Hook, and a large farm at Pavonia, and is a lineal descendant from Van Vorst."

†† So called from the Navesink tribe of Indians, that inhabited these parts—at present they are erroneously denominated the Neversink, or Neversunk mountains.

|| i. e. The Winding Bay, named from the windings of its shores. This has since been corrupted by the vulgar into the Wallabout, and is the basin which shelters our infant navy.

[8] Now spelt Brooklyn.

Of Peter Stuyvesant's expedition

into the East Country; showing that, though an old Bird, he did not understand Trap.

Great nations resemble great men in this particular, that their greatness is seldom known until they get in trouble; adversity, therefore, has been wisely denominated the ordeal of true greatness, which, like gold, can never receive its real estimation until it has passed through the furnace. In proportion, therefore, as a nation, a community, or an individual (possessing the inherent quality of greatness) is involved in perils and misfortunes, in proportion does it rise in grandeur—and even when sinking under calamity, makes, like a house on fire, a more glotious display than ever it did, in the fairest period of its prosperity.

The vast empire of China, though teeming with population, and imbibing and concentrating the wealth of nations, has vegetated through a succession of drowsy ages; and were it not for its internal revolution, and the subversion of its ancient government by the Tartars, might have presented nothing but an uninteresting detail of dull, monotonous prosperity. Pompeii and Herculaneum might have passed into oblivion, with a herd of their contemporaries, had they not been fortunately overwhelmed by a volcano. The renowned city of Troy has acquired celebrity only from its ten years' distress and final conflagration; Paris rises in importance by the plots and massacres which have ended in the exaltation of the illustrious Napoleon; and even the mighty London itself has skulked through the records of time, celebrated for nothing of moment, excepting the plague, the great fire, and Guy Faux's gunpowder plot! Thus cities and empires seem to creep along, enlarging in silent obscurity under the pen of the historian, until at length they burst forth in some tremendous calamity, and snatch, as it were, immortality from the explosion!

The above principle being admitted, my reader will plainly perceive that the city of New-Amsterdam and its dependent province are on the high road to greatness. Dangers and hostilities threaten from every side, and it is really a matter of astonishment to me, how so small a state has been able, in so short a time, to entangle itself in so many difficulties. Ever since the province was first taken by the nose, at the Fort of Good Hope, in the tranquil days of Wouter Van Twiller, has it been gradually increasing in historic importance; and never could it have had a more appropriate chieftain to conduct it to the pinnacle of grandeur than Peter Stuyvesant.

In the fiery heart of this iron-headed old warrior sat enthroned all those five kinds of courage described by Aristotle; and had the philosopher mentioned five hundred more to the back of them, I verily believe, he would have been found master of them all. The only misfortune was, that he was deficient in the better part of valour called discretion, a cold-blooded virtue which could not exist in the tropical climate of his mighty soul. Hence it was, he was continually hurrying into those unheard-of enterprises that gave an air of chivalric romance to all his history; and and hence it was, that he now conceived a project worthy of the hero of La Mancha himself.

This was no other than to repair in person to the great council of the Amphyctions, bearing the sword in one hand, and the olive branch in the other; to require immediate reparation for the innumerable violations of that treaty, which, in an evil hour, he had formed; to put a stop to those repeated maraudings on the eastern borders; or else to throw the gauntlet, and appeal to arms for satisfaction.

On declaring this resolution in his privy council, the venerable members were seized with vast astonishment: for once in their lives they ventured to remonstrate, setting forth the rashness of exposing his sacred person in the midst of a strange and barbarous people, with sundry other weighty remonstrances—all which had about as much influence upon the determination of the headstrong Peter, as though you were to endeavour to turn a rusty weathercock with a broken-winded bellows.

Summoning therefore, to his presence his trusty follower, Anthony Van Corlear, he commanded him to hold himself in readiness to accompany him the following morning on this his hazardous enterprise. Now Anthony, the trumpeter, was a little stricken in years, yet by dint of keeping up a good heart, and having never known care or sorrow (having never been married), he was still a hearty, jocund, rubicund, gamesome wag, and of great capacity in the doublet. This last was ascribed to his living a jolly life on those domains at the Hook, which Peter Stuyvesant had granted to him for his gallantry at Fort Casimir.

Be this as it may, there was nothing that more delighted Anthony than this command of the great Peter; for he could have followed the stout-hearted old governor to the world's end, with love and loyalty: and he moreover still remembered the frolicking, and dancing, and bundling, and other disports of the east country; and entertained dainty recollection of numerous kind and buxon lasses, whom he longed exceedingly again to encounter.

Thus, then, did this mirror of hardihood set forth, with no other attendant but his trumpeter, upon one of the most perilous enterprises ever recorded in the annals of knight-errantry. For a single warrior to venture openly among a whole nation of foes; but, above all, for a plain, downright Dutchman to think of negotiating with the whole council of New-England—never was there known a more desperate undertaking! Ever since I have entered upon the chronicles of this peerless, but hitherto uncelebrated chieftain, has he kept me in a state of incessant action and anxiety with the toils and dangers he is constantly encountering. Oh! for a chapter of the tranquil reign of Wouter Van Twiller, that I might repose on it as on a feather bed!

Is it not enough, Peter Stuyvesant, that I have once already rescued thee from the machinations of these terrible Amphyctions, by bringing the whole powers of witchcraft to thine aid?—is it not enough, that I have followed thee undaunted, like a guardian spirit, into the misdst of the horrid battle of Fort Christina? That I have been put incessantly to my trumps to keep thee safe and sound— now warding off with my single pen the shower of dastard blows that fell upon thy rear—now narrowly shielding thee from a deadly thrust, by a mere tobacco-box—now casing thy dauntless skull with adamant, when even thy stubborn ram-beaver failed to resist the sword of the stout Risingh—and now, not merely bringing thee off alive, but triumphant, from the clutches of the gigantic Swede, by the desperate means of a paltry stone pottle?—Is not all this enough, but must thou still be plunging into new difficulties, and jeopardizing in headlong enterprises thyself, thy trumpeter, and thy historian?

And now the ruddy faced Aurora, like a buxom chambermaid, draws aside the sable curtains of the night, and out bounces from his bed the jolly red haired Phoebus, startled at being caught so late in the embraces of Dame Thetis. With many a stable oath, he harnesses his brazen-footed steeds, and whips and lashes, and splashes up the firmament, like a loitering post-boy, half an hour behind his time. And now behold that imp of fame and prowess, the headstrong Peter, bestriding a raw-boned, switch-tailed charger, gallantly arrayed in full regimentals, and bracing on his thigh that trusty brass-hilted sword, which had wrought such fearful deeds on the banks of the Delaware.

Behold, hard after him, his doughty trumpeter, Van Corlear, mounted on a broken-winded, wall-eyed, calico mare; his stone pottle which had laid low the mighty Risingh, slung under his arm, and his trumpet displayed vauntingly in his right hand, decorated with a gorgeous banner, on which is emblazoned the great beaver of the Manhattoes. See him proudly issuing out of the city gate, like an iron-clad hero of yore, with his faithful squire at his heels, the populace following them with their eyes, and shouting many a parting wish, and hearty cheering.— Farewell, Hard-koppig Piet! Farewell, honest Anthony!— Pleasant be your wayfaring—prosperous your return! The stoutest hero that ever drew a sword, and the worthiest trumpeter that ever trod shoe leather.

Legends are lamentably silent about the events that befell our adventurers, in this their adventurous travel, excepting the Stuyvesant manuscript, which gives the substance of a pleasant little heroic poem, written on the occasion by Domini ægidus Luyck, who appears to have been the poet-laureate of New-Amsterdam. This inestimable manuscript assures us, that it was a rare spectacle to behold the great Peter, and his loyal follower, hailing the morning sun, and rejoicing in the clear countenance of nature, as they pranced it through the pastoral scenes of Bloomen Dael; which, in those days, was a wild flower, refreshed by many a pure streamlet, and enlivened here and there by a delectable little Dutch cottage, sheltering under some sloping hill, and almost buried in embowering trees.

Now did they enter upon the confines of Connecticut, where they encountered many grievous difficulties and perils. At one place they were assailed by a troop of country squires and militia colonels, who, mounted on goodly steeds, hung upon their rear for several miles, harassing them exceedingly with guesses and questions, more especially the worthy Peter, whose silver chased leg excited not a little marvel. At another place, hard by the renowned town of Stamford, they were set upon by a great and mighty legion of church deacons, who imperiously demanded of them five shillings for travelling on Sunday, and threatened to carry them captive to a neighbouring church, whose steeple peered above the trees: but these the valiant Peter put to rout with little difficulty, insomuch that they bestrode their canes and gallopped off in horrible confusion, leaving their cocked hats behind in the hurry of their flight. But not so easily did he escape from the hands of a crafty man of Pyquag; who, with undaunted perseverance, and repeated onsets, fairly bargained him out of his goodly switched-tailed charger, leaving him in place thereof a villanous, spavined, foundered Narraganset pacer.

But, maugre all these hardships, they pursued their journey cheerily along the courses of the soft flowing Connecticut, whose gentle waves, says the song, roll through many a fertile vale and sunny plain; now reflecting the lofty spires of the bustling city, and now the rural beauties of the humble hamlet; now echoing with the busy hum of commerce, and now with the cheerful song of the peasant.

At every town would Peter Stuyvesant, who was noted for warlike punctilio, order the sturdy Anthony to sound a courteous salutation; though the manuscript observes, that the inhabitants were thrown in great dismay when they heard of his approach. For the fame of his incomparable achievements on the Delaware, had spread throughout the east country, and they dreaded lest he had come to take vengeance on their manifold transgressions.

But the good Peter rode through these towns with a smiling aspect; waving his hand with inexpressible majesty and condescension; for he verily believed that the old clothes which these ingenious people had thrust into their broken-windows, and the festoons of dried apples and peaches which ornamented the front of their houses, were so many decorations in honour of his approach; as it was the custom in the days of chivalry to compliment renowned heroes, by sumptuous displays of tapestry and gorgeous furniture. The women crowded to the doors to gaze upon him as he passed, so much does prowess in arms delight the gentle sex. The little children too ran after him in troops, staring with wonder at his regimentals, his brimstone breeches, and silver garniture of his wooden leg. Nor must I omit to mention the joy which many strapping wenches betrayed, at beholding the jovial Van Corlear, who had whilome delighted them so much with his trumpet, when he bore the great Peter's challenge to the Amphyctions. The kind-hearted Anthony alighted from his calico mare, and kissed them all with infinite loving kindness—and was right pleased to see a crew of little trumpeters crowding around him for his blessing; each of whom he patted on the head, bade him be a good boy, and gave him a penny to buy molasses candy.

The Stuyvesant manuscript makes but little further mention of the governor's adventures upon this expedition, excepting that he was received with extravagant courtesy and respect by the great council of the Amphyctions, who almost talked him to death with complimentary and congratulatory harangues. I will not detain my readers by dwelling on his negotiations with the grand council. Suffice it to mention, it was like all other negotiations—a great deal was said, and very little done: one conversation led to another—one conference begat misunderstandings which it took a dozen conferences to explain; at the end of which the parties found themselves just where they were at first; excepting that they had entangled themselves in a host of questions of etiquette, and conceived a cordial distrust of each other, that rendered their future negotiations ten times more difficult than ever. [10]

In the midst of all these perplexities, which bewildered the brain and incensed the ire of the sturdy Peter, who was, perhaps, of all men in the world, least fitted for diplomatic wiles, he privately received the first intimation of the dark conspiracy which had been matured in the Cabinet of England. To this was added the astounding intelligence that a hostile squadron had already sailed from England, destined to reduce the province of New-Netherlands, and that the grand council of Amphyctions had engaged to co-operate, by sending a great army to invade New-Amsterdam by land!

Unfortunate Peter! did I not enter with sad forebodings upon this ill-starred expedition? Did I not tremble when I saw thee with no other counsellor but thine own head—with no other armour but an honest tongue, a spotless conscience, and a rusty sword—with no other protector but St. Nicholas—and no other attendant but a trumpeter? Did I not tremble when I beheld thee thus sally forth to contend with all the knowing powers of New-England?

Oh how did the sturdy old warrior rage and roar, when he found himself thus intrapped, like a lion in the hunter's toil! Now did he determine to draw his trusty sword, and manfully to fight his way through all the countries of the east. Now did he resolve to break in upon the council of the Amphyctions, and put every mother's son of them to death. At length, as his direful wrath subsided, he resorted to safer though less glorious expedients.

Concealing from the council his knowledge of their machinations, he privately despatched a trusty messenger with missives to his counsellors at New-Amsterdam, apprising them of the impending danger, commanding them immediately to put the city in a posture of defence, while in the mean time he would endeavour to elude his enemies and come to their assistance. This done, he felt himself marvellously relieved, rose slowly, shook himself like a rhinoceros, and issued forth from his den, in much the same manner as Giant Despair is described to have issued from Doubting Castle, in the chivalric history of the Pilgrim's Progress.

And how much does it grieve me that I must leave the gallant Peter in this imminent jeopardy: but it behoves us to hurry back and see what is going on at New-Amsterdam, for greatly do I fear that city is already in a turmoil. Such was ever the fate of Peter Stuyvesant; while doing one thing with heart and soul, he was too apt to leave every thing else at sixes and sevens. While, like a potentate of yore, he was absent attending to those things in person, which in modern days are trusted to generals and ambassadors, his little territory at home was sure to get in an uproar—all which was owing to that uncommon strength of intellect, which induced him to trust to nobody but himself, and which had acquired him the renowned appellation of Peter the Headstrong.

[9] This Luyck was, moreover, rector of the Latin school in Nieuw-Nederlands, 1663. There are two pieces of ægidius Luyck in D. Selyn's MSS. of poesies, upon his marriage with Judith Isendoorn. Old MS.

† Now called Blooming Dale, about four miles from New-York.

[10] For certain of the particulars of this ancient negotiation, see Haz. Col. State Pap. It is singular that Smith is entirely silent with respect to this memorable expedition of Peter Stuyvesant.

How the People of New-Amsterdam

were thrown into a great Panic by the News of a threatened Invasion: and the Manner in which they fortified themselves.

There is no sight more truly interesting to a philosopher than to contemplate a community where every individual has a voice in public affairs, where every individual thinks himself the Atlas of the nation, and where every individual thinks it is duty to bestir himself for the good of his country.—I say, there is nothing more interesting to a philosopher than to see such a community in a sudden bustle of war. Such a clamour of tongues, such a bawling of patriotism, such running hither and thither, every body in a hurry, every body up to the ears in trouble, every body in the way, and every body interrupting his industrious neighbour, who is busily employed in doing nothing! It is like witnessing a great fire, where every man is at work like a hero; some dragging about empty engines! others scampering with full buckets, and spilling the contents into the boots of their neighbour; and others ringing the church bells at night, by way of putting out the fire. Little firemen, like sturdy little knights storming a breach, clambering up and down scaling-ladders, and bawling through tin trumpets, by way of directing the attack. Here one busy fellow, in his great zeal to save the property of the unfortunate, catches up an anonymous chamber utensil, and gallants it off with an air of as much self-importance, as if he had rescued a pot of money; another throws looking glasses and china out of the window, to save them from the flames; while those, who can do nothing else to assist the great calamity, run up and down the streets with open throats, keeping up an incessant cry of—Fire! Fire! Fire!

"When the news arrived at Sinope," says the grave and profound Lucian, though I own the story is rather trite, "that Philip was about to attack them, the inhabitants were thrown into violent alarm. Some ran to furbish up their arms; others rolled stones to build up the walls; every body, in short, was employed, and every body was in the way of his neighbour. Diogenes alone was the only man who could find nothing to do; whereupon, determining not to be idle when the welfare of his country was at stake, he tucked up his robe, and fell to rolling his tub with might and main, up and down the Gymnasium." In like manner did every mother's son, in the patriotic community of New-Amsterdam, on receiving the missives of Peter Stuyvesant, busy himself most mightily in putting things into confusion, and assisting the general uproar. "Every man," saith the Stuyvesant manuscript, "flew to arms!" By which is meant, that not one of our honest Dutch citizens would venture to church or to market, without an old fashioned spit of a sword dangling at his side, and a long Dutch fowling-piece on his shoulder; nor would he go out of a night without a lantern! nor turn a corner without first peeping cautiously round, lest he should come unawares upon a British army; and we are informed, that Stoffel Brinkerhoff, who was considered by the old women almost as brave a man as the governor himself, actually had two one-pound swivels mounted in his entry, one pointing out at the front door and the other at the back.

But the most strenuous measure resorted to on this awful occasion, and one which has since been found of wonderful efficacy, was to assemble popular meetings. These brawling convocations, I have already shown, were extremely offensive to Peter Stuyvesant; but as this was a moment of unusual agitation, and as the old governor was not present to repress them, they broke out with intolerable violence. Hither, therefore, the orators and politicians repaired, and there seemed to be a competition among them who should bawl the loudest, and exceed the others in hyperbolical bursts of patriotism, and in resolutions to uphold and defend the government. In these sage and all powerful meetings it was determined, nem. con. that they were the most enlightened, the most dignified, the most formidable, and the most ancient community upon the face of the earth. Finding that this resolution was so universally and readily carried, another was immediately proposed,—Whether it were not possible and politic to exterminate Great Britain? Upon which sixty-nine members spoke most eloquently in the affirmative, and only one arose to suggest some doubts, who, as a punishment for his treasonable presumption, was immediately seized by the mob, and tarred and feathered; which punishment being equivalent to the Tarpeian Rock, he was afterwards considered as an outcast from society, and his opinion went for nothing. The question, therefore, being unanimously carried in the affirmative, it was recommended to the grand council to pass it into a law, which was accordingly done; by this measure the hearts of the people at large were wonderfully encouraged, and they waxed exceedingly choleric and valorous. Indeed, the first paroxysm of alarm having in some measure subsided, the old women having buried all the money they could lay their hands on, and their husbands daily getting fuddled with what was left—the community began even to stand on the offensive. Songs were manufactured in low Dutch, and sung about the streets, wherein the English were most wofully beaten, and shown no quarter; and popular addresses were made, wherein it was proved to a certainty, that the fate of Old England depended upon the will of the New-Amsterdammers.

Finally, to strike a violent blow at the very vitals of Great Britain, a multitude of the wiser inhabitants assembled, and having purchased all the British manufactures they could find, they made thereof a huge bonfire; and, in the patriotic glow of the moment, every man present, who had a hat or breeches of English workmanship, pulled it off, and threw it most undauntedly into the flames— to the irreparable detriment, loss, and ruin of the English manufacturers. In commemoration of this great exploit, they erected a pole on the spot, with a device on the top intended to represent the province of Nieuw Nederlandts, destroying Great Britain, under the similitude of an Eagle picking the little Island of Old England out of the globe; but either through the unskillfulness of the sculptor, or his ill timed waggery, it bore a striking resemblance to a goose vainly striving to get hold of a dumpling.

In which the Troubles of New-Amsterdam appear to thicken—

Showing the bravery, in Time of Peril, of a People who defend themselves by Resolutions.

Like as an assemblage of politic cats, engaged in clamorous gibberings and catterwaulings, eyeing one another with hideous grimaces, spitting in each other's faces, and on the point of breaking forth into a general clapper-clawing, are suddenly put to scampering, rout, and confusion, by the startling appearance of a house-dog—so was the no less vociferous council of New-Amsterdam amazed, astounded, and totally dispersed, by the sudden arrival of the enemy. Every member made the best of his way home, waddling along as fast as his short legs could fag under their heavy burthen, and wheezing as he went with corpulency and terror. When he arrived at his castle, he barricadoed the street door, and buried himself in the cider cellar, without daring to peep out, lest he should have his head carried off by a cannon ball.

The sovereign people all crowded into the market-place, herding together with the instinct of sheep, who seek for safety in each other's company, when the shepherd and his dog are absent, and the wolf is prowling round the fold. Far from finding relief, however, they only increased each other's terrors. Each man looked ruefully in his neighbour's face, in search of encouragement, but only found, in its wo-begone lineaments, a confirmation of his own dismay. Not a word now was to be heard of conquering Great Britain, not a whisper about the sovereign virtues of economy—while the old women heightened the general gloom, by clamorously bewailing their fate, and incessantly calling for protection on St. Nicholas and Peter Stuyvesant.

Oh, how did they bewail the absence of the lion-hearted Peter!—and how did they long for the comforting presence of Anthony Van Corlear! Indeed, a gloomy uncertainty hung over the fate of these adventurous heroes. Day after day had elapsed since the alarming message from the governor, without bringing any further tidings of his safety. Many a fearful conjecture was hazarded as to what had befallen him and his loyal squire. Had they not been devoured alive by the cannibals of Marble-head and Cape Cod? Were they not put to the question by the great council of Amphyctions? Were they not smothered in onions by the terrible men of Pyquag? In the midst of this consternation and perplexity, when horror, like a mighty night-mare, sat brooding upon the little, fat, plethoric city of New-Amsterdam, the ears of the multitude were suddenly startled by a strange and distant sound—it approached—it grew louder and louder— and now it resounded at the city gate. The public could not be mistaken in the well known sound. A shout of joy burst from their lips, as the gallant Peter, covered with dust, and followed by his faithful trumpeter, came galloping into the market-place.

The first transports of the populace having subsided, they gathered round the honest Anthony, as he dismounted from his horse, overwhelming him with greetings and congratulations. In breathless accents he related to them the marvellous adventures through which the old governor and himself had gone, in making their escape from the clutches of the terrible Amphyctions. But though the Stuyvesant manuscript, with its customary minuteness where any thing touching the great Peter is concerned, is very particular as to the incidents of this masterly retreat, yet the particular state of the public affairs will not allow me to indulge in a full recital thereof. Let it suffice to say, that, while Peter Stuyvesant was anxiously revolving in his mind how he could make good his escape with honour and dignity, certain of the ships sent out for the conquest of the Manhattoes touched at the eastern ports, to obtain needful supplies, and to call on the grand council of the league for its promised co-operation. Upon hearing of this, the vigilant Peter perceiving that a moment's delay were fatal, made a secret and precipitate decampment; though much did it grieve his lofty soul, to be obliged to turn his back even upon a nation of foes. Many hair-breadth 'scapes and divers perilous mishaps did they sustain, as they scoured, without sound of trumpet, through the fair regions of the east. Already was the country in an uproar with hostile preparation, and they were obliged to take a large circuit in their flight, lurking along, through the woody mountains of the Devil's Backbone; from whence the valiant Peter sallied forth one day, like a lion, and put to rout a whole legion of squatters, consisting of three generations of a prolific family, who were already on their way to take possession of some corner of the New Netherlands. Nay, the faithful Anthony had great difficulty at sundry times to prevent him, in the excess of his wrath, from descending down from the mountains, and falling sword in hand upon certain of the border-towns, who were marshalling forth their draggle-tailed militia.

The first movements of the governor, on reaching his dwelling, was to mount the roof, from whence he contemplated with rueful aspect the hostile squadron. This had already come to an anchor in the bay, and consisted of two stout frigates, having on board, as John Josselyn, Gent. informs us, "three hundred valiant red coats." Having taken this survey, he sat himself down, and wrote an epistle to the commander, demanding his reason of anchoring in the harbour without obtaining previous permission so to do. This letter was couched in the most dignified and courteous terms, though I have it from undoubted authority, that his teeth were clenched, and he had a bitter sardonic grin upon his visage all the while he wrote. Having despatched his letter, the grim Peter stumped to and fro about the town, with a most war-betokening countenance, his hand thrust into his breeches pockets, and whistling a low Dutch Psalm tune, which bore no small resemblance to the music of a northeast wind, when a storm is brewing. The very dogs, as they eyed him, skulked away in dismay—while all the old and ugly women of New-Amsterdam ran howling at his heels, imploring him to save them from murder, robbery, and pitiless ravishment!

The reply of Col. Nicholas, who commanded the invaders, was couched in terms of equal courtesy with the letter of the governor—declaring the right and title of his British majesty to the province; where he affirmed the Dutch to be mere interlopers; and demanding that the town, forts, &c. should be forthwith rendered into his majesty's obedience and protection—promising at the same time, life, liberty, estate, and free trade, to every Dutch denizen, who should readily submit to his majesty's government.

Peter Stuyvesant read over this friendly epistle with some such harmony of aspect as we may suppose a crusty farmer, who has long been fattening upon his neighbour's soil, reads the loving letter of John Styles, that warns him of an action of ejectment. The old governor, however, was not to be taken by surprise, but thrusting the summons into his breeches pocket, he stalked three times across the room, took a pinch of snuff with great vehemence, and then loftily waving his hand, promised to send an answer the next morning. In the mean time he called a general council of war of his privy counsellors and burgomasters, not for the purpose of asking their advice, for that, as has been already shown, he valued not a rush; but to make known to them his sovereign determination, and require their prompt adherence.

Before, however, he convened his council, he resolved upon three important points; first, never to give up the city without a little hard fighting, for he deemed it highly derogatory to the dignity of so renowned a city, to suffer itself to be captured and stripped, without receiving a few kicks into the bargain. Secondly, that the majority of his grand council was composed of arrant poltroons, utterly destitute of true bottom; and, thirdly, that he would not therefore suffer them to see the summons of Col. Nicholas, lest the easy terms it held out might induce them to clamour for a surrender.

His orders being duly promulgated, it was a piteous sight to behold the late valiant burgomasters, who had demolished the whole British empire in their harangues; peeping ruefully out of their hiding places, and then crawling cautiously forth, dodging through narrow lanes and alleys; starting at every little dog that barked, as though it had been a discharge of artillery—mistaking lamp-posts for British grenadiers, and in the excess of their panic, metamorphosing pumps into formidable soldiers, levelling blunderbusses at their bosoms! Having, however, in despite of numerous perils and difficulties of the kind, arrived safe without the loss of a single man, at the hall of assembly, they took their seats and awaited in fearful silence the arrival of the governor. In a few moments the wooden leg of the intrepid Peter was heard in regular and stout hearted thumps upon the staircase.—He entered the chamber arrayed in full suit of regimentals, and carrying his trusty toledo, not girded on his thigh, but tucked under his arm. As the governor never equipped himself in this portentous manner, unless something of martial nature were working within his fearless pericranium, his council regarded him ruefully, as a very Janus, bearing fire and sword, in his iron countenance, and forgot to light their pipes in breathless suspense.

The great Peter was as eloquent as he was valorous; indeed, these two rare qualities seemed to go hand in hand in his composition; and, unlike most great statesmen, whose victories are only confined to the bloodless field of argument, he was always ready to enforce his hardy words by no less hardy deeds. His speeches were generally marked by a simplicity approaching to bluntness, and by truly categorical decision. Addressing the grand council, he touched briefly upon the perils and hardships he had sustained, in escaping from his crafty foes. He next reproached the council for wasting in idle debate and party feuds that time which should have been devoted to their country. He was particularly indignant at those brawlers, who, conscious of individual security, had disgraced the councils of the province, by impotent hectorings and scurrilous invectives, against a noble and powerful enemy—those cowardly curs who were incessant in their barkings and yelpings at the lion, while distant or asleep, but the moment he approached, were the first to skulk away. He now called on those who had been so valiant in their threats against Great Britain, to stand forth and support their vauntings by their actions—for it was deeds , not words, that bespoke the spirit of a nation. He proceeded to recall the golden days of former prosperity, which were only to be gained by manfully withstanding their enemies; for the peace, he observed, which is effected by force of arms, is always more sure and durable than that which is patched up by temporary accommodations. He endeavoured, moreover, to arouse their martial fire, by reminding them of the time, when, before the frowning walls of fort Christina, he had led them on to victory. He strove likewise to awaken their confidence, by assuring them of the protection of St. Nicholas, who had hitherto maintained them in safety, amid all the savages of the wilderness, the witches and squatters of the east, and the giants of Merry-land. Finally, he informed them of the insolent summons he had received, to surrender; but concluded by swearing to defend the province as long as heaven was on his side, and he had a wooden leg to stand upon. Which noble sentence he emphasized by a tremendous thwack with the broad side of his sword upon the table, that totally electrified his auditors.

The privy counsellors, who had long been accustomed to the governor's way, and in fact had been brought into as perfect discipline as were ever the soldiers of the great Frederick, saw that there was no use in saying a word— so lighted their pipes and smoked away in silence like fat and discreet counsellors. But the burgomasters being less under the governor's control, considering themselves as representatives of the sovereign people, and being moreover inflated with considerable importance and self-sufficiency, which they had acquired at those notable schools of wisdom and morality, the popular meetings—were not so easily satisfied. Mustering up fresh spirit, when they found there was some chance of escaping from their present jeopardy, without the disagreeable alternative of fighting, they requested a copy of the summons to surrender, that they might show it to a general meeting of the people.

So insolent and mutinous a request would have been enough to have aroused the gorge of the tranquil Van Twiller himself—what then must have been its effects upon the great Stuyvesant, who was not only a Dutchman, a governor, and a valiant wooden-legged soldier to boot, but withal a man of the most stomachful and gunpowder disposition. He burst forth into a blaze of noble indignation, to which the famous rage of Achilles was a mere pouting fit—swore not a mother's son of them should see a syllable of it—that they deserved, every one of them, to be hanged, drawn, and quartered, for traitorously daring to question the infallibility of government; that as to their advice and concurrence, he did not care a whiff of tobacco for either; that he had long been harassed and thwarted by their cowardly councils; but that they might thence forth go home, and go to bed like old women, for he was determined to defend the colony himself, without the assistance of them or their adherents! So saying, he tucked his sword under his arm, cocked his hat upon his head, and girding up his loins, stumped indignantly out of the council-chamber, every body making room for him as he passed.

No sooner had he gone than the busy burgomasters called a public meeting in front of the Stadt-house, where they appointed as chairman one Dofue Roerback, a mighty gingerbread-baker in the land, and formerly of the cabinet of William the Testy. He was looked up to with great reverence by the populace, who considered him a man of dark knowledge, seeing he was the first that imprinted new-year cakes with the mysterious hieroglyphics of the cock and breeches, and such like magical devices.

This great burgomaster, who still chewed the cud of ill will against the valiant Stuyvesant, in consequence of having been ignominiously kicked out of his cabinet at the time of his taking the reins of government, addressed the greasy multitude in what is called a patriotic speech; in which he informed them of the courteous summons to surrender— of the governor's refusal to comply therewith— of his denying the public a sight of the summons, which, he had no doubt, contained conditions highly to the honour and advantage of the province.

He then proceeded to speak of his excellency in high sounding terms, suitable to the dignity and grandeur of his station, comparing him to Nero, Caligula, and those other great men of yore, who are generally quoted by popular orators on similar occasions. Assuring the people that the history of the world did not contain a despotic outrage to equal the present for atrocity, cruelty, tyranny, and blood-thirstiness; that it would be recorded in letters of fire on the blood stained tablet of history! that ages would roll back with sudden horror, when they came to view it! That the womb of time—(by the way your orators and writers take strange liberties with the womb of time, though some would fain have us believe that time is an old gentleman)—that the womb of time, pregnant as it was with direful horrors, would never produce a parallel enormity!—with a variety of other heart-rending, soul-stirring tropes and figures, which I cannot enumerate. Neither, indeed need I, for they were exactly the same that are used in all popular harangues and patriotic orations at the present day, and may be classed in rhetoric under the general title of Rigmarole.

The speech of this inspired burgomaster being finished, the meeting fell into a kind of popular fermentation, which produced not only a string of right wise resolutions, but likewise a most resolute memorial, addressed to the governor, remonstrating at his conduct; which was no sooner handed to him, than he handed it into the fire; and thus deprived posterity of an invaluable document, that might have served as a precedent to the enlightened cobblers and tailors of the present day; in their sage intermeddlings with politics.


During my residence in the country, I used frequently to attend at the old village church. Its shadowy aisles, its mouldering monuments, its dark oaken pannelling, all reverend with the gloom of departed years, seemed to fit it for the haunt of solemn meditation. A Sunday, too, in the country, is so holy in its repose; such a pensive quiet reigns over the face of nature, that every restless passion is charmed down, and we feel all the natural religion of the soul gently springing up within us. "Sweet day, so pure, so calm, so bright, The bridal of the earth and sky." I do not pretend to be what is called a devout man; but there are feelings that visit me in a country church, amid the beautiful serenity of nature, which I experience no where else; and if not a more religious, I think I am a better man on Sunday, than on any other day of the seven.

But in this church I felt myself continually thrown back upon the world by the frigidity and pomp of the poor worms around me. The only being that seemed thoroughly to feel the humble and prostrate piety of a true Christian, was a poor decrepid old woman, bending under the weight of years and infirmities. She bore the traces of something better than abject poverty. The lingerings of decent pride were visible in her appearance, Her dress, though humble in the extreme, was scrupulously clean. Some trivial respect, too, had been awarded her, for she did not take her seat among the village poor, but sat alone on the steps of the altar. She seemed to have survived all love, all friendship, all society; and to have nothing left her but the hopes of heaven. When I saw her feebly rising and bending her aged form in prayer—habitually conning her prayer book, which her palsied hand and failing eyes would not permit her to read, but which she evidently knew by heart—I felt persuaded that the faultering voice of that poor woman arose to heaven far before the responses of the clerk, the swell of the organ, or the chanting of the choir.

I am fond of loitering about country churches, and this was so delightfully situated, that it frequently attracted me. It stood on a knoll, round which a small stream made a beautiful bend, and then wound its way through a long reach of soft meadow scenery. The church was surrounded by yew trees which seemed almost coeval with itself. Its tall Gothic spire shot up lightly from among them, with rooks and crows generally wheeling about it. I was seated there one still sunny morning, watching two labourers who were digging a grave. They had chosen one of the most remote and neglected corners of the church-yard; where, from the number of nameless graves around, it would appear that the indigent and friendless were huddled into the earth. I was told that the new made grave was for the only son of a poor widow. While I was meditating on the distinctions of worldly rank, which extend thus down into the very dust, the toll of the bell announced the approach of the funeral. They were the obsequies of poverty, with which pride had nothing to do. A coffin of the plainest materials, without pall or other covering, was borne by some of the villagers. The sexton walked before with an air of cold indifference. There were no mock mourners in the trappings of affected wo; but there was one real mourner who feebly tottered after the corpse. It was the aged mother of the deceased—the poor old woman whom I had seen seated on the steps of the altar. She was supported by a humble friend, who was endeavouring to comfort her. A few of the neighbouring poor had joined the train, and some children of the village were running hand in hand, now shouting with unthinking mirth, and now pausing to gaze with childish curiosity, on the grief of the mourner.

As the funeral train approached the grave, the parson issued from the church porch, arrayed in the surplice, with prayer-book in hand, and attended by the clerk. The service however, was a mere act of charity. The deceased had been destitute, and the surviver was pennyless. It was shuffled through, therefore, in form, but coldly and unfeelingly. The well fed priest moved but a few steps from the church door; his voice could scarcely be heard at the grave; and never did I hear the funeral service, that sublime and touching ceremony, turned into such a frigid mummery of words.

I approached the grave. The coffin was placed on the ground. On it were inscribed the name and age of the deceased—"George Sommers, aged 26 years." The poor mother had been assisted to kneel down at the head of it. Her withered hands were clasped, as if in prayer, but I could perceive, by a feeble rocking of the body, and a convulsive motion of the lips, that she was gazing on the last relics of her son, with the yearnings of a mother's heart.

Preparations were made to deposite the coffin into the earth. There was that bustling stir which breaks so harshly on the feelings of grief and affection; directions given in the cold tones of business: the striking of spades into sand and gravel; which, at the grave of those we love, is, of all sounds, the most withering. The bustle around seemed to awaken the mother from a wretched reverie. She raised her glazed eyes, and looked about with a faint wildness. As the men approached with cords to lower the coffin into the grave, she wrung her hands and broke into an agony of grief. The poor woman who attended her took her by the arm, endeavouring to raise her from the earth, and to whisper something like consolation—"Nay, now—nay, now—don't take it so sorely to heart." She could only shake her head and wring her hands, as one not to be comforted.

As they lowered the body into the earth, the creaking of the cords seemed to agonize her; but when, on some accidental obstruction, there was a jostling of the coffin, all the tenderness of the mother burst forth; as if any harm could come to him who was far beyond the reach of worldly suffering.

I could see no more—my heart swelled into my throat —my eyes filled with tears—I felt as if I were acting a barbarous part in standing by and gazing idly on this scene of maternal anguish. I wandered to another part of the church-yard, where I remained until the funeral train had dispersed.

When I saw the mother slowly and painfully quitting the grave, leaving behind her the remains of all that was dear to her on earth, and returning to silence and destitution, my heart ached for her. What, thought I, are the distresses of the rich! they have friends to soothe—pleasures to beguile—a world to divert and dissipate their griefs. What are the sorrows of the young! Their growing minds soon close above the wound—their elastic spirits soon rise above the pressure—their green and ductile affections soon twine round new objects. But the sorrows of the poor, who have no outward appliances to soothe—the sorrows of the aged, with whom life at best is but a wintry day, and who can look for no aftergrowth of joy—the sorrows of a widow, aged, solitary, destitute, mourning over an only son, the last solace of her years; these are indeed sorrows which make us feel the impotency of consolation.

It was some time before I left the church-yard. On my way homeward I met with the woman who had acted as comforter: she was just returning from accompanying the mother to her lonely habitation, and I drew from her some particulars connected with the affecting scene I had witnessed.

The parents of the deceased had resided in the village from childhood. They had inhabited one of the neatest cottages, and by various rural occupations, and the assistance of a small garden, had supported themselves creditably and comfortably, and led a happy and a blameless life. They had only one son, who had grown up to be the staff and pride of their age.—"Oh, Sir!" said the good woman, "he was such a comely lad, so sweet-tempered, so kind to every one around him, so dutiful to his parents! It did one's heart good, to see him of a Sunday, dressed out in his best, so tall, so straight, so cheery, supporting his old mother to church—for she was always fonder of leaning on George's arm, than on her good man's; and, poor soul, she might well be proud of him, for a finer lad there was not in the country round."

Unfortunately the son was tempted, during a year of scarcity and agricultural hardship to enter into the service of one of the small craft that plied on a neighbouring river. He had not been long in this employ when he was entrapped by a press-gang, and carried off to sea. His parents received tidings of his seizure, but beyond that they could learn nothing. It was the loss of their main prop. The father, who was already infirm, grew heartless and melancholy, and sunk into his grave. The widow, left lonely, in her age and feebleness, could no longer support herself, and came upon the parish. Still there was a kind of feeling toward her throughout the village, and a certain respect as being one of the oldest inhabitants. As no one applied for the cottage, in which she had passed so many happy days, she was permitted to remain in it, where she lived solitary and almost helpless. The few wants of nature were chiefly supplied, from the scanty productions of her little garden, which the neighbours would now and then cultivate for her.

It was but a few days before the time at which these circumstances were told me, that she was gathering some vegetables for a repast, when she heard the cottage door which faced the garden suddenly open. A stranger came out, and seemed to be looking eagerly and wildly around, He was dressed in seamen's clothes, was emaciated and ghastly pale, and bore the air of one broken by sickness and hardships. He saw her, and hastened towards her, but his steps were faint and faltering; he sank on his knees before her, and sobbed like a child. The poor woman gazed upon him with a vacant and wandering eye— "Oh my dear, dear mother! don't you know your son? your poor boy George?" It was indeed the wreck of her once noble lad; who, shattered by wounds, by sickness and foreign imprisonment, had, at length, dragged his wasted limbs homeward, to repose among the scenes of his childhood.

I will not attempt to detail the particulars of such a meeting, where joy and sorrow were so completely blended: still he was alive! he was come home! he might yet live to comfort and cherish her old age! Nature, however, was exhausted in him; and if any thing had been wanting to finish the work of fate, the desolation of his native cottage would have been sufficient. He stretched himself on the pallet on which his widowed mother had passed many a sleepless night, and never rose from it again.

The villagers when they heard that George Sommers had returned, crowded to see him, offering every comfort and assistance that their humble means afforded. He was too weak, however, to talk—he could only look his thanks. His mother was his constant attendant; and he seemed unwilling to be helped by any other hand.

There is something in sickness, that breaks down the pride of manhood; that softens the heart, and brings it back to the feelings of infancy. Who that has languished, even in advanced life, in sickness and despondency; who that has pined on a weary bed in the neglect and loneliness of a foreign land; but has thought on the mother "that looked on his childhood," that smoothed his pillow and administered to his helplessness? Oh! there is an enduring tenderness in the love of a mother to a son that transcends all other affections of the heart. It is neither to be chilled by selfishness, nor daunted by danger, nor weakened by worthlessness, nor stifled by ingratitude. She will sacrifice every comfort to his convenience; she will surrender every pleasure to his enjoyment; she will glory in his fame, and exult in his prosperity;—and, if misfortune overtake him, he will be the dearer to her from his misfortunes; and if disgrace settle upon his name, she will still love and cherish him in spite of his disgrace; and if all the world beside cast him off, she will be all the world to him.

Poor George Sommers had known what it was to be in sickness and none to soothe—lonely and in prison, and none to visit him. He could not endure his mother from his sight; if she moved away, his eye would follow her. She would sit for hours by his bed, watching him as he slept. Sometimes he would start from a feverish dream, and look anxiously up until he saw her bending over him; when he would take her hand, lay it on his bosom, and fall asleep with the tranquillity of a child. In this way he died.

My first impulse on hearing this humble tale of affliction, was to visit the cottage of the mourner, and administer pecuniary assistance, and, if possible, comfort. I found, however, on inquiry, that the good feelings of the villagers had prompted them to do every thing that the case admitted; and as the poor know best how to console each other's sorrows, I did not venture to intrude.

The next Sunday I was at the village church; when, to my surprize, I saw the poor old woman tottering down the aisle to her accustomed seat on the steps of the altar.

She had made an effort to put on something like mourning for her son; and nothing could be more touching than this struggle between pious affection and utter poverty: a black ribbon or so—a faded black handkerchief, and one or two more such humble attempts to express by outward signs that grief that passes show. When I looked round upon the storied monuments; the stately hatchments; the cold marble pomp, with which grandeur mourned magnificently over departed pride, and turned to this poor widow, bowed down by age and sorrow at the altar of her God, and offering up the prayers and praises of a pious, though a broken heart, I felt that this living monument of real grief was worth them all.

I related her story to some of the wealthy members of the congregation, and they were moved by it. They exerted themselves to render her situation more comfortable, and to lighten her afflictions. It was, however, but smoothing a few steps to the grave. In the course of a Sunday or two after, she was missed from her usual seat at church, and before I left the neighbourhood I heard, with a feeling of satisfaction, that she had quietly breathed her last, and had gone to rejoin those she loved, in that world where sorrow is never known, and friends are never parted.


The storm increased with the night. The sea was lashed into tremendous confusion. There was a fearful, sullen sound of rushing waves, and broken surges. Deep called unto deep. At times the black volume of clouds over head seemed rent asunder by flashes of lightning that quivered along the foaming billows, and made the succeeding darkness doubly terrible. The thunders bellowed over the wild waste of waters, and were echoed and prolonged by the mountain waves. As I saw the ship staggering and plunging among these roaring caverns, it seemed miraculous that she regained her balance, or preserved her buoyancy. Her yards would dip in the water; her bow was almost buried beneath the waves. Sometimes an impending surge appeared ready to overwhelm her, and nothing but a dexterous movement of the helm preserved her from the shock.

When I retired to my cabin, the awful scene still followed me. The whistling of the wind through the rigging sounded like funeral wailings. The creaking of the masts, the straining and groaning of bulk heads, as the ship laboured in the weltering sea, were frightful. As I heard the waves rushing along the side of the ship, and roaring in my very ear, it seemed as if Death were raging round this floating prison, seeking for his prey; the mere starting of a nail, the yawning of a seam might give him entrance.


There is no species of humour in which the English more excel, than that which consists in caricaturing and giving ludicrous appellations, or nicknames. In this way they have whimsically designated, not merely individuals, but nations; and in their fondness for pushing a joke, they have not spared even themselves. One would think that, in personifying itself, a nation would be apt to picture something grand, heroic, and imposing; but it is characteristic of the peculiar humour of the English, and of their love for what is blunt, comic and familiar, that they have embodied their national oddities in the figure of a sturdy corpulent old fellow, with a three-cornered hat, red waistcoat, leather breeches, and stout oaken cudgel. Thus they have taken a singular delight in exibiting their most private foibles in a laughable point of view; and have been so successful in their delineations, that there is scarcely a being in actual existence more absolutely present to the public mind than that eccentric personage, John Bull.

Perhaps the continual contemplation of the character thus drawn of them, has contributed to fix it upon the nation; and thus to give reality to what at first may have been painted in a great measure from imagination. Men are apt to acquire peculiarities that are continually ascribed to them. The common orders of English seem wonderfully captivated with the beau ideal which they have formed of John Bull, and endeavour to act up to the broad caricature that is perpetually before their eyes. Unluckily, they sometimes make their boasted Bull-ism an apology for their prejudice or grossness; and this I have especially noticed among those truly home-bred and genuine sons of the soil who have never migrated beyond the sound of Bow-bells. If one of these should be a little uncouth in speech, and apt to utter impertinent truths, he confesses that he is a real John Bull, and always speaks his mind. If he now and then flies into an unreasonable burst of passion about trifles, he observes, that John Bull is a choleric old blade, but then his passion is over in a moment, and he bears no malice. If he betrays a coarseness of taste, and an insensibility to foreign refinements, he thanks heaven for his ignorance—he is a plain John Bull, and has no relish for frippery and nicknacks, his very proneness to be gulled by strangers, and to pay extravagantly for absurdities, is excused under the plea of munificence—for John is always more generous than wise.

Thus, under the name of John Bull, he will contrive to argue every fault into a merit, and will frankly convict himself of being the honestest fellow in existence.

However little, therefore, the character may have suited in the first instance, it has gradually adapted itself to the nation, or rather they have adapted themselves to each other; and a stranger who wishes to study English peculiarities, may gather much valuable information from the innumerable portraits of John Bull, as exhibited in the windows of the caricature shops. Still, however, he is one of those fertile humourists, that are continually throwing out new portraits, and presenting different aspects from different points of view; and, often as he has been described, I cannot resist the temptation to give a slight sketch of him, such as he has met my eye.

John Bull, to all appearance, is a plain downright matter-of-fact fellow, with much less of poetry about him than rich prose. There is little of romance in his nature, but a vast deal of strong natural feeling. He excels in humour more than in wit; is jolly rather than gay; melancholy rather than morose; can easily be moved to a sudden tear, or surprised to a broad laugh; but he loathes sentiment, and has no turn for light pleasantry. He is a boon companion, if you allow him to have his humour, and to talk about himself; and he will stand by a friend in a quarrel, with life and purse, however soundly he may be cudgelled.

In this last respect, to tell the truth, he has a propensity to be somewhat too ready. He is a busy-minded personage, who thinks not merely for himself and family, but for all the country round, and is most generously disposed to be every body's champion. He is continually, volunteering his services to settle his neighbour's affairs, and takes it in great dudgeon if they engage in any matter of consequence without asking his advice; though he seldom engages in any friendly office of the kind without finishing by getting into a squabble with all parties, and then railing bitterly at their ingratitude. He unluckily took lessons in his youth in the noble science of defence, and having accomplished himself in the use of his limbs and his weapons, and become a perfect master at boxing and cudgel play, he has had a troublesome life of it ever since. He cannot hear of a quarrel between the most distant of his neighbours, but he begins incontinently to fumble with the head of his cudgel, and to consider whether his interest or honour does not require that he should meddle in the broil. Indeed he has extended his relations of pride and policy so completely over the whole country, that no event can take place, without infringing some of his finely-spun rights and dignities. Couched in his little domain, with these filaments stretching forth in every direction, he is like some choleric, bottle-bellied old spider, who has woven his web over a whole chamber, so that a fly cannot buzz, nor a breeze blow, without startling his repose, and causing him to sally forth wrathfully from his den.

Though really a good-hearted, good-tempered old fellow at bottom, yet he is singularly fond of being in the midst of contention. It is one of his peculiarities, however, that he only relishes the beginning of an affray; he always goes into a fight with alacrity, but he comes out of it grumbling even when victorious; and though no one fights with more obstinacy to carry a contested point, yet, when the battle is over, and he comes to the reconciliation, he is so much taken up with the mere shaking of hands, that he is apt to let his antagonist pocket all that they have been quarrelling about. It is not, therefore, fighting that he ought to be so much on his guard against, as making friends. It is difficult to cudgel him out of a farthing; but put him in a good humour, and you may bargain him out of all the money in his pocket. He is like one of his own ships, which will weather the roughest storm uninjured, but roll its masts overboard in the succceding calm.

He is a little fond of playing the magnifico abroad; of pulling out a long purse; flinging his money bravely about at boxing matches, horse races, and cockfights, and carrying a high head among "gentlemen of the fancy;" but immediately after one of these fits of extravagance, he will be taken with violent qualms of economy; stop short at the most trivial expenditure; talk desperately of being ruined, and brought upon the parish; and in such moods, he will not pay the smallest tradesman's bill without violent altercation. He is, in fact, the most punctual and discontented paymaster in the world; drawing his coin out of his breeches' pocket with infinite reluctance; paying to the uttermost farthing, but accompanying every guinea with a growl.

With all this talk of economy, however, he is a bountiful provider, and a hospitable housekeeper. His economy is of a whimsical kind, its chief object being to devise how he may afford to be extravagant; for he will begrudge himself a beafsteak and a pint of port one day, that he may roast an ox whole, broach a hogshead of ale, and treat all his neighbours on the next.

His domestic establishment is enormously expensive: not so much from any great outward parade, as from the great consumption of solid beef and pudding; the vast number of followers he feeds and clothes; and his singular disposition to pay hugely for small services. He is a most kind and indulgent master, and, provided his servants humour his peculiarities, flatter his vanity a little now and then, and do not peculate grossly on him before his face, they may manage him to perfection. Every thing that lives on him seems to thrive and grow fat. His house servants are well paid, and pampered, and have little to do. His horses are sleek and lazy, and prance slowly before his state carriage; and his house dogs sleep quietly before his door, and will hardly bark at a house-breaker.

His family mansion is an old castellated manor-house, grey with age, and of a most venerable, though weather beaten appearance. It has been built upon no regular plan, but is a vast accumulation of parts, erected in various tastes and ages. The centre bears evident traces of Saxon architecture, and is as solid as ponderous stone and old English oak can make it. Like all the relics of that style, it is full of, obscure passages, intricate mazes, and dusky chambers; and though these have been partially lighted up in modern days, yet there are many places where you must still grope in the dark. Additions have been made to the original edifice from time to time and great alterations have taken place; towers and battlements have been erected during the wars and tumults; wings built in times of peace; and out-houses, lodges, and offices, run up according to the whim or convenience of different generations: until it has become one of the most spacious, rambling tenements imaginable. An entire wing is taken up with a family chapel; a reverend pile that must once have been exceedingly sumptuous, and, indeed, in spite of having been altered and simplified at various periods, has still a look of solemn religious pomp. Its walls within are storied with the monuments of John's ancestors; and it is snugly fitted up with soft cushions and well-lined chairs, where such of his family as are inclined to church services, may doze comfortably in the discharge of their duties.

To keep up this chapel has cost John much money; but he is staunch in his religion, and piqued in his zeal, from the circumstance that many dissenting chapels have been erected in his vicinity, and several of his neighbours, with whom he has had quarrels, are strong papists.

To do the duties of the chapel he maintains, at a large expense, a pious and portly family chaplain. He is a most learned and decorous personage, and a truly well bred Christian, who always backs the old gentleman in his opinions, winks discreetly at his little peccadilloes, rebukes the children when refractory, and is of great use in exhorting the tenants to read their bibles, say their prayers, and, above all, to pay their rents punctually, and without grumbling.

The family apartments are in a very antiquated taste, somewhat heavy, and often inconvenient, but full of the solemn magnificence of former times; fitted up with rich though faded tapestry, unwieldy furniture, and loads of massy gorgeous old plate. The vast fire-places, ample kitchens, extensive cellars, and sunptuous banqueting halls—all speak of the roaring hospitality of days of yore, of which the modern festivity at the manor-house is but a shadow. There are, however, complete suites of rooms apparently deserted and time worn; and towers and turrets that are tottering to decay; so that in high winds there is a danger of their tumbling about the ears of the household.

John has frequently been advised to have the old edifice thoroughly overhauled; and to have some of the useless parts pulled down, and the others strengthened with their materials; but the old gentleman always grows testy on this subject. He swears the house is an excellent house—that it is tight and weather proof, and not to be shaken by tempests—that it has stood for several hundred years, and, therefore, is not likely to tumble down now—that as to its being inconvenient, his family is accustomed to the inconveniences, and would not be comfortable without them—that as to its unwieldy size and irregular construction, these result from its being the growth of centuries, and being improved by the wisdom of every generation—that an old family like his, requires a large house to dwell in; new upstart families may live in modern cottages and snug boxes, but an old English family should inhabit an old English manor-house. If you point out any part of the building as superfluous, he insists that it is material to the strength or decoration of the rest, and the harmony of the whole; and swears that the parts are so built into each other, that, if you pull down one, you run the risk of having the whole about your ears.

The secret of the matter is, that John has a great disposition to protect and patronize. He thinks it indispensible to the dignity of an ancient and honourable family, to be bounteous in its appointments, and to be eaten up by dependants; and so, partly from pride, and partly from kind-heartedness, he makes it a rule always to give shelter and maintainance to his superannuated servants.

The consequence is, that, like many other venerable family establishments, his manor is encumbered by old retainers whom he cannot turn off, and an old style which he cannot lay down. His mansion is like a great hospital of invalids, and, with all its magnitude, is not a whit too large for its inhabitants. Not a nook or a corner but is of use in housing some useless personage. Groups of veteran beef-eaters, gouty pensioners, and retired heroes of the buttery and the larder, are seen lolling about its walls, crawling over its lawns, dozing under its trees, or sunning themselves upon the benches at its doors. Every office and out-house is garrisoned by these supernumeraries and their families; for they are amazingly prolific, and when they die off, are sure to leave John a legacy of hungry mouths to be provided for. A mattock cannot be struck against the most mouldering tumble-down tower, but out pops, from some cranny or loop-hole, the grey pate of some superannuated hanger-on, who has lived at John's expense all his life, and makes the most grievous outcry, at their pulling down the roof from over the head of a worn-out servant of the family. This is an appeal that John's honest heart never can withstand; so that a man, who has faithfully eaten his beef and pudding all his life, is sure to be rewarded with a pipe and tankard in his old days.

A great part of his park, also, is turned into paddocks where his broken down chargers are turned loose to graze undisturbed for the remainder of their existence—a worthy example of grateful recollection, which, if some of his neighbours were to imitate, would not be to their discredit. Indeed, it is one of his greatest pleasures to point out these old steeds to his visiters, to dwell on their good qualities, extol their past services, and boast with some little vain-glory, of the perilous adventures and hardy exploits, through which they have carried him.

He is given, however, to indulge his veneration for family usages, and family incumbrances, to a whimsical extent. His manor is infested by gangs of gipsies; yet he will not suffer them to be driven off, because they have infested the place time out of mind, and been regular poachers upon every generation of the family. He will scarcely permit a dry branch to be lopped from the great trees that surround the house, lest it should molest the rooks, that have bred there for centuries. Owls have taken possession of the dovecote; but they are hereditary owls, and must not be disturbed. Swallows have nearly choked up every chimney with their nests; martins build in every frieze and cornice; crows flutter about the towers, and perch on every weathercock; and old grey-headed rats may be seen in every quarter of the house, running in and out of their holes undauntedly, in broad daylight. In short, John has such a reverence for every thing that has been long in the family, that he will not hear even of abuses being reformed, because they are good old family abuses.

All these whims and habits have concurred wofully to drain the old gentleman's purse; and as he prides himself on punctuality in money matters, and wishes to maintain his credit in the neighbourhood, they have caused him great perplexity in meeting his engagements. This, too, has been increased, by the altercations and heart-burnings which are continually taking place in his family. His children have been brought up to different callings, and are of different ways of thinking; and as they have always been allowed to speak their mind freely, they do not fail to exercise the privilege most clamorously in the present posture of his affairs. Some stand up for the honour of the race, and are clear that the old establishment should be kept up in all its state, whatever may be the cost; others, who are more prudent and considerate, entreat the old gentleman to retrench his expenses, and to put his whole system of housekeeping on a more moderate footing. He has, indeed, at times, seemed inclined to listen to their opinions, but their wholesome advice has been completely defeated by the obstreperous conduct of one of his sons. This is a noisy rattle-pated fellow, of rather low habits, who neglects his business to frequent ale-houses—is the orator of village clubs, and a complete oracle, among the poorest of his father's tenants. No sooner does he hear any of his brothers mention reform or retrenchment, than up he jumps, takes the words out of their mouths, and roars out for an overturn. When his tongue is once going, nothing can stop it. He rants about the room; hectors the old man about his spendthrift practices; ridicules his tastes and pursuits; insists that he shall turn the old servants out of doors; give the broken down horses to the hounds; send the fat chaplain packing, and take a field preacher in his place—nay, that the whole family mansion shall be levelled with the ground, and a plain one of brick and mortar built in its place. He rails at every social entertainment and family festivity, and skulks away growling to the ale-house whenever an equipage drives up to the door. Though constantly complaining of the emptiness of his purse, yet he scruples not to spend all his pocket-money in these tavern convocations, and even runs up scores, for the liquor over which he preaches about his father's extravagance.

It may readily be imagined how little such thwarting agrees with the old cavalier's fiery temperament. He has become so irritable, from repeated crossings, that the mere mention of retrenchment or reform is a signal for a brawl between him and the tavern oracle. As the latter is too sturdy and refractory for paternal discipline, having grown out of all fear of the cudgel, they have frequent scenes of wordy warfare, which at times run so high, that John is fain to call in the aid of his son Tom, an officer who was served abroad, but is at present living at home, on half pay. This last is sure to stand by the old gentleman, right or wrong; likes nothing so much as a racketing roystering life; and is ready, at a wink or nod, to out sabre, and flourish it over the orator's head, if he dares to array himself against paternal authority.

These family dissensions, as usual, have got abroad, and are rare food for scandal in John's neighbourhood. People begin to look wise, and shake their heads, whenever his affairs are mentioned. They all "hope that matters are not so bad with him as represented; but when a man's own children begin to rail at his extravagance, things must be badly managed. They understand he is mortgaged over head and ears, and is continually dabbling with money lenders. He is certainly an open-handed old gentleman, but they fear he has lived too fast; indeed, they never knew any good come of this fondness for hunting, racing, revelling, and prize-fighting. In short, Mr. Bull's estate is a very fine one, and has been in the family a long while; but for all that, they have known many finer estates come to the hammer."

What is worst of all, is the effect which these pecuniary embarrassments and domestic feuds have had on the poor man himself. Instead of that jolly round corporation, and snug rosy face, which he used to present, he has of late become as shrivelled and shrunk as a frost-bitten apple. His scarlet gold-laced waistcoat, which bellied out so bravely in those prosperous days when he sailed before the wind, now hangs loosely about him like a mainsail in a calm. His leather breeches are all in folds and wrinkles, and apparently have much ado to hold up the boots that yawn on both sides of his once sturdy legs.

Instead of strutting about as formerly, with his three-cornered hat on one side; flourishing his cudgel, and bringing it down every moment with a hearty thump upon the ground; looking every one sturdily in the face, and trolling out a stave of a catch or a drinking song; he now goes about whistling thoughtfully to himself, with his head drooping down, his cudgel tucked under his arm, and his hands thrust to the bottom of his breeches pockets, which are evidently empty.

Such is the plight of honest John Bull at present; yet for all this the old fellow's spirit is as tall and as gallant as ever. If you drop the least expression of sympathy or concern, he takes fire in an instant; swears that he is the richest, and stoutest fellow in the country; talks of laying out large sums to adorn his house or to buy another estate; and, with a valiant swagger and grasping of his cudgel, longs exceedingly to have another bout at quarterstaff.

Though there may be something rather whimsical in all this, yet I confess I cannot look upon John's situation without strong feelings of interest. With all his odd humours and obstinate prejudices, he is a sterling hearted old blade. He may not be so wonderfully fine a fellow as he thinks himself, but he is at least twice as good as his neighbours represent him. His virtues are all his own; all plain, home-bred and unaffected. His very faults smack of the raciness of his good qualities. His extravagance savours of his generosity; his quarrelsomeness of his courage; his credulity of his open faith; his vanity of his pride; and his bluntness of his sincerity. They are all the redundancies of a rich and liberal character. He is like his own oak; rough without, but sound and solid within; whose bark abounds with excrescences in proportion to the growth and grandeur of the timber; and whose branches make a fearful groaning and murmuring in the least storm, from their very magnitude and luxuriance. There is something, too, in the appearance of his old family mansion, that is extremely poetical and picturesque; and, as long as it can be rendered comfortably habitable, I should almost tremble to see it meddled with during the present conflict of tastes and opinions. Some of his advisers are no doubt good architects that might be of service; but many I fear are mere levellers, who, when they had once got to work with their mattocks on the venerable edifice, would never stop until they had brought it to the ground, and perhaps buried themselves among the ruins. All that I wish is, that John's present troubles may teach him more prudence in future. That he may cease to distress his mind about other people's affairs; that he may give up the fruitless attempt to promote the good of his neighbours, and the peace and happiness of the world, by dint of the cudgel; that he may remain quietly at home; gradually get his house into repair; cultivate his rich estate according to his fancy; husband his income—if he thinks proper; bring his unruly children into order—if he can; renew the jovial scenes of ancient prosperity; and long enjoy, on his paternal lands, a green, an honourable, and a merry old age.


The doctor now felt all the dignity of a landholder rising within him. He had a little of the German pride of territory in his composition, and almost looked upon himself as owner of a principality. He began to complain of the fatigue of business; and, was fond of riding out "to look at his estate." His little expeditions to his lands were attended with a bustle and parade that created a sensation throughout the neighbourhood. His wall-eyed horse stood stamping, and whisking off the flies, for a full hour before the house. Then the doctor's saddle-bags would be brought out and adjusted; then, after a little while, his cloak would be rolled up and strapped to the saddle; then his umbrella would be buckled to the cloak; while, in the mean time, a group of ragged boys, that observant class of beings would gather before the door. At length the doctor would issue forth, in a pair of jack-boots that reached above his knees, and a cocked hat flapped down in front. As he was a short, fat man, he took some time to mount into the saddle; and when there, he took some time to have the saddle and stirrups properly adjusted, enjoying the wonder and admiration of the urchin crowd. Even after he had set off, he would pause in the middle of the street, or trot back two or three times to give some parting orders which were answered by the housekeeper from the door, or Dolph from the study, or the black cook from the cellar, or the chambermaid from the garret window; and there were generally some last words bawled after him, just as he was turning the corner.

The whole neighbourhood would be aroused by this pomp and circumstance. The cobler would leave his last; the barber would thrust out his frizzed head, with a comb sticking in it; a knot would collect at the grocer's door, and the word would be buzzed from one end of the street to the other, "The Doctor's riding out to his country seat."


The Cockloft family, of which I have made such frequent mention, is of great antiquity, if there be any truth in the genealogical tree which hangs up in my cousin's library. They trace their descent from a celebrated Roman Knight, cousin to the progenitor of his Majesty of Britain, who left his native country on occasion of some disgust; and coming into Wales, became a great favourite of Prince Madoc, and accompanied that famous argonaut in the voyage which ended in the discovery of this continent.— Though a member of the family, I have sometimes ventured to doubt the authenticity of this portion of their annals, to the great vexation of cousin Christopher, who is looked up to as the head of our house; and who, though as orthodox as a bishop, would sooner give up the whole decalogue than lop off a single limb of the family tree. From time immemorial, it has been the rule for the Cocklofts to marry one of their own name; and as they always bred like rabbits, the family has increased and multiplied like that of Adam and Eve. In truth their number is almost incredible; and you can hardly go into any part of the country without starting a warren of genuine Cocklofts. Every person of the least observation, or experience, must have observed that where this practice of marrying cousins, and second cousins, prevails in a family, every member, in the course of a few generations, becomes queer, humourous, and original; as much distinguished from the common race of mongrels as if he were of a different species. This has happened in our family, and particularly in that branch of it of which Christopher Cockloft, Esq. is the head—Christopher, is, in fact, the only married man of the name who resides in town; his family is small, having lost most of his children when young, by the excessive care he took to bring them up like vegetables. This was one of the first whimwhams, and a confounded one it was; as his children might have told, had they not fallen victims to his experiment before they could talk. He had got from some quack philosopher or other, a notion that there was a complete analogy between children and plants, and that they ought to be both reared alike. Accordingly he sprinkled them every morning with water, laid them out in the sun, as he did his geraniums; and if the season was remarkably dry, repeated this wise experiment three or four times of a morning. The consequence was, the poor little souls died one after another, except Jeremy and his two sisters; who, to be sure, are a trio of as odd, runty, mummy-looking originals as ever Hogarth fancied in his most happy moments. Mrs. Cockloft, the larger if not the better half of my cousin, often remonstrated against this vegetable theory;—and even brought the parson of the parish, in which my cousin's country house is situated, to her aid; but in vain, Christopher persisted, and attributed the failure of his plan to its not having been exactly conformed to. As I have mentioned Mrs. Cockloft, I may as well say a little more about her while I am in the humour. She is a lady of wonderful notability, a warm admirer of shining mahogany, clean hearths and her husband: whom she considers the wisest man in the world, bating Will Wizard and the parson of our parish; the last of whom is her oracle on all occasions. She goes constantly to church every Sunday and saint's day, and insists upon it that no man is entitled to ascend a pulpit unless he has been ordained by a bishop; nay, so far does she carry her orthodoxy, that all the arguments in the world will never persuade her that a Presbyterian or Baptist, or even a Calvinist, has any possible chance of going to heaven. Above every thing else, however, she abhors Paganism; can scarcely refrain from laying violent hands on a Pantheon when she meets with it; and was very nigh going into hysterics, when my cousin insisted that one of his boys should be christened after our laurcate, because the parson of the parish had told her that Pindar was the name of a Pagan writer, famous for his love of boxing-matches, wrestling, and horse-racing. To sum up all her qualifications in the shortest possible way, Mrs. Cockloft is, in the true sense of the phrase, a good sort of a woman; and I often congratulate my cousin on possessing her. The rest of the family consists of Jeremy Cockloft, the younger, who has already been mentioned, and the two Miss Cocklofts, or rather the young ladies, as they have been called by the servants time out of mind; not that they are really young, the younger being somewhat on the shady side of thirty— but it has ever been the custom to call every member of the family young under fifty. In the south-east corner of the house, I hold quiet possession of an old-fashioned apartment, where myself and my elbow chair are suffered to amuse ourselves undisturbed, save at meal times. This apartment old Cockloft has facetiously denominated Cousin Launce's Paradise; and the good old gentleman has two or three favourite jokes about it, which are served up as regularly as the standing family dish of beefsteaks and onions, which every day maintains its station at the foot of the table, in defiance of mutton, poultry, or even venison itself.

Though the family is apparently small, yet, like most old establishments of the kind, it does not want for honorary members. It is the city rendezvous of the Cocklofts; and we are continually enlivened by the company of half a score of uncles, aunts, and cousins in the fortieth remove, from all parts of the county, who profess a wonderful regard for Cousin Christopher; and overwhelm every member of his household, down to the cook in the kitchen, with their attentions. We have for three weeks past been greeted with the company of two worthy old spinsters, who came down from the country to settle a law suit. They have done little else but retail stories of their village neighbours, knit stockings, and take snuff, all the time they have been here: the whole family are bewildered with church-yard tales of sheeted ghosts, white horses without heads, and with large goggle eyes in their buttocks; and not one of the old servants dare budge an inch after dark without a numerous company at his heels. My cousin's visiters, however, always return his hospitality with due gratitude, and now and then remind him of their fraternal regard, by a present of a pot of apple sweetmeats, or a barrel of sour cider at Christmas. Jeremy displays himself to great advantage among his country relations, who all think him a prodigy, and often stand astounded, in "gaping wonderment," at his natural philosophy. He lately frightened a simple old uncle almost out of his wits, by giving it as his opinion that the earth would one day be scorched to ashes by the eccentric gambols of the famous comet, so much talked of; and positively asserted that this world revolved round the sun, and that the moon was certainly inhabited.

The family mansion bears equal marks of antiquity with its inhabitants. As the Cocklofts are remarkable for their attachment to every thing that has remained long in the family, they are bigoted towards their old edifice, and I dare say would sooner have it crumble about their ears than abandon it. The consequence is, it has been so patched up and repaired, that it has become as full of whims and oddities as its tenants; requires to be nursed and humoured like a gouty old codger of an alderman; and reminds one of the famous ship in which a certain admiral circumnavigated the globe, which was so patched and timbered, in order to preserve so great a curiosity, that at length not a particle of the original remained. Whenever the wind blows, the old mansion makes a most perilous groaning; and every storm is sure to make a day's work for the carpenter, who attends upon it as regularly as the family physician. This predilection for every thing that has been long in the family shows itself in every particular. The domestics are all grown grey in the service of our house. We have a little, old, crusty, grey-headed negro, who has lived through two or three generations of the Cocklofts, and, of course, has become a personage of no little importance in the household. He calls all the family by their christian names; tells long stories about how he dandled them on his knee when they were children: and is a complete Cockloft chronicle for the last seventy years. The family carriage was made in the last French war, and the old horses were most indubitably foaled in Noah's ark—resembling marvellously, in gravity of demeanour, those sober animals which may be seen any day of the year in the streets of Philadelphia, walking their snail's pace, a dozen in a row, and harmoniously jingling their bells. Whim-whams are the inheritance of the Cocklofts, and every member of the household is a humourist sui generis, from the master down to the footman. The very cats and dogs are humourists; and we have a little runty scoundrel of a cur, who, whenever the church bells ring, will run to the street door, turn up his nose in the wind and howl most piteously. Jeremy insists that this is owing to a peculiar delicacy in the organization of his ears, and supports his position by many learned arguments which nobody can understand: but I am of opinion that it is a mere Cockloft whim-wham, which the little cur indulges, being descended from a race of dogs which has flourished in the family ever since the time of my grandfather. A propensity to save every thing that bears the stamp of family antiquity has accumulated an abundance of trumpery and rubbish with which the house is encumbered, from the cellar to the garret; and every room, and closet, and corner, is crammed with three-legged chairs, clocks without hands, swords without scabbards, cocked hats, broken candle-sticks, and looking glasses with frames carved into fantastic shapes, of feathered sheep, woolly birds, and other animals that have no name except in books of heraldry. The ponderous mahogany chairs in the parlour are of such unwieldy proportions, that it is quite a serious undertaking to gallant one of them across the room; and sometimes make a most equivocal noise when you sit down in a hurry: the mantle-piece is decorated with little lacquered earthen shepherdesses—some of which are without toes, and others without noses; and the fire-place is garnished out with Dutch tiles, exhibiting a great variety of Scripture pieces, which my good old soul of a cousin takes infinite delight in explaining. Poor Jeremy hates them as he does poison; for while a younker, he was obliged by his mother to learn the history of a tile every Sunday morning before she would permit him to join his play-mates: this was a terrible affair for Jeremy, who by the time he had learned the last had forgotten the first, and was obliged to begin again. He assured me the other day, with a round college oath, that if the old house stood out till he inherited it he would have these tiles taken out, and ground into powder, for the perfect hatred he bore them.

My cousin Christopher enjoys unlimited authority in the mansion of his forefathers; he is truly what may be termed a hearty old blade—has a florid, sunshiny countenance, and, if you will only praise his wine, and laugh at his long stories, himself and his house are heartily at your service. The first condition is indeed easily complied with, for, to tell the truth, his wine is excellent; but his stories, being not of the best, and often repeated, are apt to create a disposition to yawn, being, in addition to their other qualities, most unreasonably long. His prolixity is the more afflicting to me, since I have all his stories by heart; and when he enters upon one, it reminds me of Newark causeway, where the traveller sees the end at the distance of several miles. To the great misfortune of all his acquaintance cousin Cockloft is blessed with a most provoking retentive memory, and can give day and date, and name and age and circumstance, with most unfeeling precision. These, however, are but trivial foibles, forgotten, or remembered only with a kind of tender respectful pity, by those who know with what a rich redundant harvest of kindness and generosity his heart is stored. It would delight you to see with what social gladness he welcomes a visiter into his house; and the poorest man that enters his door never leaves it without a cordial invitation to sit down and drink a glass of wine. By the honest farmers round his country seat, he is looked up to with love and reverence; they never pass him by without his inquiring after the welfare of their families, and receiving a cordial shake of his liberal hand. There are but two classes of people who are thrown out of the reach of his hospitality—and these are Frenchmen and Democrats. The old gentleman considers it treason against the majesty of good breeding to speak to any visiter with his hat on; but the moment a Democrat enters his door, he forthwith bids his man Pompey bring his hat, puts it on his head, and salutes him with, an appalling "Well, sir, what do you want with me?"

He has a profound contempt for Frenchmen, and firmly believes that they eat nothing but frogs and soupmaigre in their own country. This unlucky prejudice is partly owing to my great aunt Pamelia having been, many years ago, run away with by a French Count, who turned out to be the son of a generation of barbers; and partly to a little vivid spark of toryism, which burns in a secret corner of his heart. He was a loyal subject of the crown; has hardly yet recovered the shock of independence; and, though he does not care to own it, always does honour to his majesty's birth day, by inviting a few cavaliers, like himself, to dinner; and gracing his table with more than ordinary festivity. If by chance the revolution is mentioned before him, my cousin shakes his head; and you may see, if you take good note, a lurking smile of contempt in the corner of his eye, which marks a decided disapprobation of the sound. He once, in the fullness of his heart, observed to me that green peas were a month later than they were under the old government. But the most eccentric manifestation of loyalty he ever gave was making a voyage to Halifax for no other reason under heaven but to hear his majesty prayed for in church, as he used to be here formerly. This he never could be brought fairly to acknowledge, but it is a certain fact I assure you.—It is not a little singular that a person, so much given to long story-telling as my cousin, should take a liking to another of the same character; but so it is with the old gentleman—his prime favourite and companion is Will Wizard, who is almost a member of the family, and will sit before the fire, with his feet on the massy handirons, and smoke his cigar, and screw his phiz, and spin away tremendous long stories of his travels, for a whole evening, to the great delight of the old gentleman and lady, and especially of the young ladies, who, like Desdemona, do "seriously incline," and listen to him with innumerable "O dears," "is it possibles," "good graciouses," and look upon him as a second Sinbad the sailor.

The Miss Cocklofts, whose pardon I crave for not having particularly introduced them before, are a pair of delectable damsels; who having purloined and locked up the family-bible, pass for just what age they please to plead guilty to. Barbara, the eldest, has long since resigned the character of a belle, and adopted that staid, sober, demure, snuff-taking air, becoming her years and discretion. She is a good-natured soul, whom I never saw in a passion but once; and that was occasioned by seeing an old favourite beau of hers kiss the hand of a pretty blooming girl; and, in truth she only got angry because, as she very properly said, it would spoil the child. Her sister Margery, or Maggie, as she is familiarly termed, seemed disposed to maintain her post as a belle, until a few months since; when accidentally hearing a gentleman observe that she broke very fast, she suddenly left off going to the assembly, took a cat into high favour, and began to rail at the forward pertness of young misses. From that moment I set her down for an old maid; and so she is, "by the hand of my body." The young ladies are still visited by some half dozen of veteran beaux, who grew and flourished in the haut ton, when the Miss Cocklofts were quite children, but have been brushed rather rudely by the hand of time, who, to say the truth, can do almost any thing but make people young. They are, notwithstanding, still warm candidates for female favour; look venerably tender, and repeat over and over the same honeyed speeches and sugared sentiments to the little belles that they poured so profusely into the ears of their mothers. I beg leave here to give notice, that by this sketch I mean no reflection on old bachelors; on the contrary, I hold, that next to a fine lady, the ne plus ultra , an old bachelor is the most charming being upon earth; inasmuch as by living in "single blessedness," he of course does just as he pleases; and if he has any genius must acquire a plentiful stock of whims, and oddities, and whalebone habits: without which I esteem a man to be mere beef without mustard, good for nothing at all, but to run on errands for ladies, take boxes at the theatre, and act the part of a screen at tea-parties, or a walking stick in the streets. I merely speak of those old boys who infest public walks, pounce upon the ladies from every corner of the street, and worry and frisk and amble, and caper before, behind, and round about the fashionable belles, like old ponies in a pasture, striving to supply the absence of youthful whim and hilarity, by grimaces and grins, and artificial vivacity. I have sometimes seen one of these "reverend youths" endeavouring to elevate his wintry passions into something like love, by basking in the sunshine of beauty; and it did remind me of an old moth attempting to fly through a pane of glass towards a light without ever approaching near enough to warm itself, or scorch its wings.

Never I firmly believe, did there exist a family that went more by tangents than the Cocklofts.—Every thing is governed by whim; and if one member starts a new freak, away all the rest follow like wild geese in a string. As the family, the servants, the horses, cats, and dogs, have all grown old together, they have accommodated themselves to each other's habits completely; and though every body of them is full of odd points, angles, rhomboids, and ins and outs, yet somehow or other, they harmonize together like so many straight lines; and it is truly a grateful and refreshing sight to see them agree so well. Should one, however, get out of tune, it is like a cracked fiddle, the whole concert is ajar; you perceive a cloud over every brow in the house, and even the old chairs seem to creak affettuoso. If my cousin, as he is rather apt to do, betray any symptons of vexation or uneasiness no matter about what, he is worried to death with inquiries, which answer no other end but to demonstrate the good will of the inquirer, and put him in a passion; for every body knows how provoking it is to be cut short in a fit of the blues, by an impertinent question about "what is the matter?" when a man can't tell himself. I remember a few months ago the old gentleman came home in quite a squall; kicked poor Cæsar, the mastiff, out of his way as he came through the hall; threw his hat on the table with most violent emphasis, and pulling out his box, took three huge pinches of snuff, and threw a fourth into the cat's eyes as he sat purring his astonishment by the fire-side. This was enough to set the body politic going; Mrs. Cockloft began "my dearing" it as fast as tongue could move; the young ladies took each a stand at an elbow of his chair: Jeremy marshalled in rear; the servants came tumbling in; the mastiff put up an inquiring nose; and even grimalkin, after he had cleansed his whiskers and finished sneezing, discovered indubitable signs of sympathy. After the most affectionate inquiries on all sides, it turned out that my cousin, in crossing, the street, had got his silk stockings bespattered with mud by a coach which it seems belonged to a dashing gentleman who had formerly supplied the family with hot rolls and muffins! Mrs. Cockloft thereupon turned up her eyes, and the young ladies their noses; and it would have edified a whole congregation to hear the conversation which took place concerning the insolence of upstarts, and the vulgarity of would be gentlemen and ladies, who strive to emerge from low life by dashing about in carriages to pay a visit two doors off, giving parties to people who laugh at them, and cutting all their old friends.


But the most important branch of civilization, and which has most strenuously been extolled, by the zealous and pious fathers of the Romish Church, is the introduction of the Christian faith. It was truly a sight that might well inspire horror, to behold these savages, stumbling among the dark mountains of paganism, and guilty of the most horrible ignorance of religion. It is true, they neither stole nor defrauded; they were sober, frugal, continent, and faithful to their word; but though they acted right habitually, it was all in vain, unless they acted so from precept. The new comers therefore used every method to induce them to embrace and practise the true religion—except indeed that of setting them the example.

But notwithstanding all these complicated labours for their good, such was the unparalleled obstinacy of these stubborn wretches, that they ungratefully refused to acknowledge the strangers as their benefactors, and persisted in disbelieving the doctrines they endeavoured to inculcate; most insolently alleging that from their conduct, the advocates of Christianity did not seem to believe in it themselves. Was not this too much for human patience?— would not one suppose, that the benign visitants from Europe, provoked at their incredulity, and disconraged, by their stiff-necked obstinacy, would forever have abandoned their shores, and consigned them to their original ignorance and misery? But no—so zealous were they to effect the temporal comfort and eternal salvation of these pagan infidels, that they even proceeded from the milder means of persuasion to the more painful and troublesome one of persecution—let loose among them whole troops of fiery monks and furious blood-hounds—purified them by fire and sword, by stake and faggot; in consequence of which indefatigable measures the cause of Christian love and charity was so rapidly advanced that, in a very few years not one fifth of the number of unbelievers existed in South America, that were found there at the time of its discovery.

What stronger right need the European settlers advance to the country than this? Have not whole nations of uninformed savages been made acquainted with a thousand imperious wants and indispensable comforts, of which they were before wholly ignorant? Have they not been literally hunted and smoked out of the dens and lurking places of ignorance and infidelity, and absolutely scourged into the right path? Have not the temporal things, the vain baubles and filthy lucre of this world, which were too apt to engage their worldly and selfish thoughts, been benevolently taken from them; and have they not instead thereof, been taught to set their affections on things above? And, finally, to use the words of a Reverend Spanish Father, in a letter to his superior in Spain—"Can any one have the presumption to say, that these savage Pagans have yielded any thing more than an inconsiderable recompense to their benefactors, in surrendering to them a little pitiful tract of this dirty sublunary planet, in exchange for a glorious inheritance in the kingdom of Heaven!"

Here, then, are three complete and undeniable sources of right established, any one of which was more than am ple to establish a property in the newly discovered regions of America. Now, so it has happened in certain parts of this delightful quarter of the globe that the right of discovery has been so strenuously asserted, the influence of cultivation so industriously extended, and the progress of salvation and civilization so zealously prosecuted; that, what with their attendant wars, persecutions, oppressions, diseases, and other partial evils that often hang on the skirts of great benefits, the savage aborigines have, some how or another, been utterly annihilated; and this all at once brings me to a fourth right, which is worth all the others put together; for the original claimants to the soil being all dead and buried, and no one remaining to inherit or dispute the soil, the Spaniards as the next immediate occupants, entered upon the possession as clearly as the hangman succeeds to the clothes of the malefactor— and as they have Blackstone, [11] and all the learned expounders of the law on their side, they may set all actions of ejectment at defiance—and this last right may be entitled the RIGHT BY EXTERMINATION, or in other words the RIGHT BY GUNPOWDER.

But, lest any scruples of conscience should remain on this head, and to settle the question of right for ever, his holiness Pope Alexander VI. issued a mighty bull, by which he generously granted the newly discovered quarter of the globe to the Spaniards and Portuguese; who, thus having law and gospel on their side, and being inflamed with great spiritual zeal, showed the Pagan savages neither favour nor affection, but prosecuted the work of discovery, colonization, civilization, and extermination, with ten times more fury than ever.

Thus were the European worthies who first discovered America clearly entitled to the soil; and not only entitled to the soil, but likewise to the eternal thanks of these infidel savages, for having come so far, endured so many perils by sea and land, and taken such unwearied pains, for no other purpose but to improve their forlorn, uncivilized, and heathenish condition—for having made them acquainted with the comforts of life—for having introduced among them the light of religion; and finally, for having hurried them out of the world, to enjoy its reward!

[11] Bl. Com. b. ii. c. 1.


Will's great crony for some time was Tom Straddle, to whom he really took a great liking. Straddle had just arrived in an importation of hardware, fresh from the city of Birmingham, or rather as the most learned English would call it Brummagen, so famous for its manufactories of gimlets, pen-knives, and pepper-boxes, and where they make buttons and beaux enough to inundate our whole country. He was a young man of considerable standing in the manufactory at Birmingham; sometimes had the honour to hand his master's daughter into a tim-whisky, was the oracle of the tavern he frequented on Sundays, and could beat all his associates, if you would take his word for it, in boxing, beer-drinking, jumping over chairs, and imitating cats in a gutter, and opera-singers. Straddle was, moreover, a member of a catch-club, and was a great hand at ringing bob-majors; he was, of course, a complete connoisseur in music, and entitled to assume that character at all performances in the art. He was likewise a member of a spouting-club; had seen a company of strolling actors perform in a barn, and had even, like Abel Drugger, "enacted" the part of Major Sturgeon with considerable applause; he was consequently a profound critic, and fully authorized to turn up his nose at any American performances. He had twice partaken of annual dinners, given to the head manufacturers at Birmingham, where he had the good fortune to get a taste of turtle and turbot, and a smack of Champaign and Burgundy; and he had heard a vast deal of the roast beef of Old England;—he was therefore epicure sufficient to d—n every dish and every glass of wine he tasted in America, though at the same time he was as voracious an animal as ever crossed the Atlantic. Straddle had been splashed half a dozen times by the carriages of nobility, and had once the superlative felicity of being kicked out of doors by the footman of a noble duke; he could, therefore, talk of nobility, and despise the untitled plebeians of America. In short, Straddle was one of those dapper, bustling, florid, round, self-important "gemmen," who bounce upon us half-beau, half-button-maker; undertake to give us the true polish of the bon-ton and endeavour to inspire us with a proper and dignified contempt of our native country.

Straddle was quite in raptures when his employers determined to send him to America as an agent. He considered himself as going among a nation of barbarians, where he could be received as a prodigy: he anticipated, with a proud satisfaction, the bustle and confusion his arrival would occasion; the crowd that would throng to gaze at him as he passed through the streets; and had little doubt but that he should excite as much curiosity as an Indian chief or a Turk in the streets of Birmingham. He had heard of the beauty of our women, and chuckled at the thought of how completely he should eclipse their unpolished beaux, and the number of despairing lovers that would mourn the hour of his arrival. I am even informed by Will Wizard, that he put good store of beads, spike-nails, and looking-glasses in his trunk, to win the affections of the fair ones as they paddled about in their bark canoes. The reason Will gave for this error of Straddle's respecting our ladies was, that he had read in Guthrie's Geography that the aborigines of America were all savages; and not exactly understanding the word aborigines, he applied to one of his fellow-apprentices, who assured him that it was the Latin word for inhabitants.

Wizard used to tell another anecdote of Straddle, which always put him in a passion:—Will swore that the captain of the ship told him, that when Straddle heard they were off the banks of Newfoundland, he insisted upon going on shore there to gather some good cabbages, of which he was excessively fond. Straddle, however, denied all this, and declared it to be a mischievous quiz of Will Wizard, who indeed often made himself merry at his expense. However this may be, certain it is he kept his tailor and shoemaker constantly employed for a month before his departure; equipped himself with a smart crooked stick about eighteen inches long, a pair of breeches of most unheard-of length, a little short pair of Hoby's white-topt boots, that seemed to stand on tiptoe to reach his breeches, and his hat had the true transatlantic declination towards his right ear. The fact was—nor did he make any secret of it—he was determined to astonish the natives a few!

Straddle was not a little disappointed on his arrival, to find the Americans were rather more civilized than he had imagined:—he was suffered to walk to his lodgings unmolested by a crowd, and even unnoticed by a single individual;—no love-letters came pouring in upon him;—no rivals lay in wait to assassinate him;—his very dress excited no attention, for there were many fools dressed equally ridiculous with himself. This was mortifying indeed to an aspiring youth, who had come out with the idea of astonishing and captivating. He was equally unfortunate in his pretentions to the character of critic, connoisseur and boxer; he condemned our whole dramatic corps, and every thing appertaining to the theatre; but his critical abilities were ridiculed;—he found fault with old Cockloft's dinner, not even sparing his wine, and was never invited to the house afterwards;— he scoured the streets at night and was cudgelled by a sturdy watchman;—he hoaxed an honest mechanic, and was soundly kicked. Thus disappointed in all his attempts at notoriety, Straddle hit on the expedient which was resorted to by the Giblets;—he determined to take the town by storm. He accordingly bought horses and equipages, and forthwith made a furious dash at style in a gig and tandem.

As Straddle's finances were but limited, it may easily be supposed that his fashionable career infringed a little upon his consignments, which was indeed the case—for to use a true cockney phrase, Brummagen suffered. But this was a circumstance that made little impression upon Straddle, who was now a lad of spirit—and lads of spirit alway despise the sordid cares of keeping another man's money. Suspecting this circumstance, I never could witness any of his exhibitions of style without some whimsical association of ideas. Did he give an entertainment to a host of guzzling friends, I immediately fancied them gormandizing heartily at the expense of poor Birmingham, and swallowing a consignment of hand-saws and razors. Did I behold him dashing through Broadway in his gig, I saw him, "in my mind's eye," driving tandem on a nest of tea-boards; nor could I ever contemplate his cockney exhibitions of horsemanship, but my mischievous imagination would picture him spurring a cask of hardware, like rosy Bacchus bestriding a beer-barrel, or the little gentleman who be-straddles the world in the front of Hutching's Almanack.

Straddle was equally successful with the Giblets, as may well be supposed; for though pedestrian merit may strive in vain to become fashionable in Gotham, yet a candidate in an equipage is always recognized, and like Philip's ass, laden with gold will gain admittance every where. Mounted in his curricle or his gig, the candidate is like a statue elevated on a high pedestal; his merits are discernable from afar, and strike the dullest optics. Oh! Gotham, Gotham! most enlightened of cities! how does my heart swell with delight when I behold your sapient inhabitants lavishing their attention with such wonderful discernment!

Thus Straddle became quite a man of ton, and was caressed, and courted, and invited to dinners and balls. Whatever was absurd or ridiculous in him before was now declared to be the style. He criticized our theatre, and was listened to with reverence. He pronounced our musical entertainments barbarous; and the judgment of Apollo himself would not have been more decisive. He abused our dinners; and the god of eating, if there be any such deity, seemed to speak through his organs. He became at once a man of taste—for he put his malediction on every thing; and his arguments were conclusive— for he supported every assertion with a bet. He was likewise pronounced by the learned in the fashionable world a young man of great research and deep observation,— for he had sent home, as natural curiosities, an ear of Indian corn, a pair of moccasons, a belt of wampum, and a four-leafed clover. He had taken great pains to enrich this curious collection with an Indian, and a cataract, but without success. In fine, the people talked of Straddle and his equipage, and Straddle talked of his horses, until it was impossible for the most critical observer to pronounce whether Straddle or his horses were most admired, or whether Straddle admired himself or his horses most.

Straddle was now in the zenith of his glory. He swaggered about parlours and drawing-rooms with the same unceremonious confidence he used to display in the taverns at Birmingham. He accosted a lady as he would a bar-maid; and this was pronounced a certain proof that he had been used to better company in Birmingham. He became the great man of all the taverns between New-York and Harlem; and no one stood a chance of being accommodated until Straddle and his horses were perfectly satisfied. He d—d the landlords and waiters, with the best air in the world, and accosted them with gentlemanly familiarity. He staggered from the dinner-table to the play, entered the box like a tempest, stayed long enough to be bored to death, and to bore all those who had the misfortune to be near him. From thence he dashed off to a ball, time enough to flounder through a cotilion, tear half a dozen gowns, commit a number of other depredations, and make the whole company sensible of his infinite condescension in coming amongst them. The people of Gotham thought him a prodigious fine fellow; the young bucks cultivated his acquaintance with the most persevering assiduity, and his retainers were sometimes complimented with a seat in his curricle, or a ride on one of his fine horses. The belles were delighted with the attentions of such a fashionable gentleman, and struck with astonishment at his learned distinctions between wrought scissors and those of cast steel: together with his profound dissertations on buttons and horse-flesh. The rich merchants courted his acquaintance because he was an Englishman, and their wives treated him with great deference because he had come from beyond seas. I cannot help here observing that your saltwater is a marvellous great sharpener of men's wits, and I intend to recommend it to some of my acquaintance in a particular essay.

Straddle continued his brilliant career for only a short time. His prosperous journey over the turnpike of fashion was checked by some of those stumbling-blocks in the way of aspiring youth called creditors—or duns:—a race of people who as a celebrated writer observes, "are hated by the gods and men." Consignments slackened, whispers of distant suspicion floated in the dark, and those pests of society the tailors and shoemakers, rose in rebellion against Straddle. In vain were all his remonstrances; in vain did he prove to them, that though he had given them no money, yet he had given them more custom, and as many promises as any young man in the city. They were inflexible; and the signal of danger being given, a host of other prosecutors pounced upon his back. Straddle saw there was but one way for it: he determined to do the thing genteely, to go to smash like a hero, and dashed into the limits in high style; being the fifteenth gentleman I have known to drive tandem to the—ne plus ultra —the d—l.

Unfortunate Straddle! may thy fate be a warning to all young gentlemen who come from Birmingham to astonish the natives!—I should never have taken the trouble to delineate his character, had he not been a genuine Cockney, and worthy to be the representative of his numerous tribe. Perhaps my simple countrymen may hereafter be able to distinguish between the real English gentlemen and individuals of the cast I have heretofore spoken of, as mere mongrels, springing at one bound from contemptible obscurity at home to daylight and splendour in this good-natured land. The true-born and true-bred English gentleman is a character I hold in great respect; and I love to look back to the period when our forefathers flourished in the same generous soil, and hailed each other as brothers. But the Cockney!— when I contemplate him as springing too from the same source, I feel ashamed of the relationship, and am tempted to deny my origin.—In the character of Straddle is traced the complete outline of a true Cockney of English growth, and a descendant of that individual facetious character mentioned by Shakespeare, "who in pure kindness to his horse, buttered his hay."


In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail, and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small market-town or rural port, which by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally and properly known by the name of Tarry Town. This name was given, we are told, in former days, by the good house-wives of the adjacent country, from the inveterate propensity of their husbands to linger about the village tavern on market days. Be that as it may, I do not vouch for the fact, but merely advert to it, for the sake of being precise and authentic. Not far from this village, perhaps about three miles, there is a little valley, or rather lap of land, among high hills, which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A small brook glides through it, with just murmur enough to lull one to repose; and the occasional whistle of a quail, or tapping of a woodpecker, is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon the uniform tranquillity.

I recollect that, when a stripling, my first exploit in squirrel shooting was in a grove of tall walnut trees that shades one side of the valley. I had wandered into it at noon time, when all nature is peculiarly quiet, and was startled by the roar of my own gun, as it broke the sabbath stillness around, and was prolonged and reverberated by the angry echoes. If ever I should wish for a retreat, whither I might steal from the world and its distractions, and dream quietly away the remnant of a troubled life, I know of none more promising than this little valley.

From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar character of its inhabitants, who are descendants from the original Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been known by the name of Sleepy Hollow, and its rustic lads are called the Sleepy Hollow Boys throughout all the neighbouring country. A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere. Some say that the place was bewitched by a high German doctor during the early days of the settlement; others, that an old Indian chief, the prophet or wizard of his tribe, held his powwows there before the country was discovered by Master Hendrick Hudson. Certain it is, the place still continues under the sway of some witching power, that holds a spell over the minds of the good people, causing them to walk in a continual reverie. They are given to all kinds of marvellous beliefs; are subject to trances and visions; and frequently see strange sights, and hear music and voices in the air. The whole neighbourhood abounds with local tales, haunted spots, and twilight superstitions; stars shoot and meteors glare oftener across the valley than in any other part of the country, and the night-mare, with her whole nine fold, seems to make it the favourite scene of her gambols.

The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback without a head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannon ball, in some nameless battle during the revolutionary war; and who is ever and anon seen by the country folk, hurrying along in the gloom of night, as if on the wings of the wind. His haunts are not confined to the valley, but extend at times to the adjacent roads, and especially to the vicinity of a church that is at no great distance. Indeed, certain of the most authentic historians of those parts, who have been careful in collecting and collating the floating facts concerning this spectre, allege that, the body of the trooper having been burried in the church-yard, the ghost rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head; and that the rushing speed with which he sometimes passes along the Hollow, like a midnight blast, is owing to his being belated, and in a hurry to get back to the church-yard before day-break.

Such is the general purport of this legendary superstition, which has furnished materials for many a wild story in that region of shadows; and the spectre is known, at all the country firesides, by the name of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.

It is remarkable that the visionary propensity I have mentioned is not confined to the native inhabitants of the valley, but is unconsciously imbibed by every one who resides there for a time. However wide awake they may have been before they entered that sleepy region, they are sure, in a little time, to inhale the witching influence of the air, and begin to grow imaginative—to dream dreams, and see apparitions.

I mention this peaceful spot with all possible laud; for it is in such little retired Dutch valleys, found here and there, embosomed in the great state of New York, that population, manners, and customs, remain fixed; while the great torrent of migration and improvement, which is making such incessant changes in other parts of this restless country, sweeps by them unobserved. They are like those little nooks of still water which border a rapid stream; where we may see the straw and bubble riding quietly at anchor, or slowly revolving in their mimic harbour, undisturbed by the rush of the passing current. Though many years have elapsed since I trod the drowsy shades of Sleepy Hollow, yet I question whether I should not still find the same trees and the same families vegetating in its sheltered bosom.


In this by-place of nature there abode, in a remote period of American history, that is to say, some thirty years since, a worthy wight of the name of Ichabod Crane; who sojourned, or, as he expressed it, "tarried," in Sleepy Hollow, for the purpose of instructing the children of the vicinity. He was a native of Connecticut: a state which supplies the Union with pioneers for the mind as well as for the forest, and sends forth yearly its legions of frontier woodmen and country schoolmasters. The cognomen of Crane was not inapplicable to his person. He was tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, and his whole frame most loosely hung together. His head was small and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weathercock, perched upon his spindle neck, to tell which way the wind blew. To see him striding along the profile of a hill on a windy day, with his clothes bagging and fluttering about him, one might have mistaken him for the genius of famine descending upon the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield.

His school-room was a low building of one large room, rudely constructed of logs; the windows partly glazed, and partly patched with leaves of old copy books. It was most ingeniously secured at vacant hours, by a withe twisted in the handle of the door, and stakes set against the window shutters; so that though a thief might get in with perfect ease, he would find some embarrassment in getting out; an idea most probably borrowed by the architect, Yost Van Houten, from the mystery of an eelpot. The school-house stood in a rather lonely but pleasant situation, just at the foot of a woody hill, with a brook running close by, and a formidable birch tree growing at one end of it. From hence the low murmur of his pupils' voices, conning over their lessons, might be heard in a drowsy summer's day, like the hum of a beehive; interrupted now and then by the authoritative voice of the master, in a tone of menace or command; or, peradventure, by the appalling sound of the birch, as he urged some tardy loiterer along the flowery path of knowledge. Truth to say, he was a conscientious man, that ever bore in mind the golden maxim, "Spare the rod and spoil the child."—Ichabod Crane's scholars certainly were not spoiled.

I would not have it imagined, however, that he was one of those cruel potentates of the school, who joy in the smart of their subjects; on the contrary he administered justice with discrimination rather than severity; taking the burthen off the backs of the weak, and laying it on those of the strong. Your mere puny stripling, that winced at the least flourish of the rod, was passed by with indulgence; but the claims of justice were satisfied, by inflicting a double portion on some little, tough, wrong-headed, broad-skirted Dutch urchin, who skulked and swelled, and grew dogged, and sullen beneath the birch. All this he called "doing his duty by their parents;" and he never inflicted a chastisement, without following it by the assurance, so consolatory to the smarting urchin, that "he would remember it and thank him for it the longest day he had to live."

When school hours were over, he was even the companion and playmate of the larger boys; and on holyday afternoons would convoy some of the smaller ones home, who happened to have pretty sisters, or good housewives for mothers, noted for the comforts of the cupboard. Indeed it behoved him to keep on good terms with his pupils. The revenue arising from his school was small, and would have been scarcely sufficient to furnish him with daily bread, for he was a huge feeder, and though lank, had the dilating powers of an Anaconda; but to help out his maintainance, he was, according to country custom in those parts, boarded and lodged at the houses of the farmers, whose children he instructed. With these he lived successively a week at a time; thus going the rounds of the neighbourhood, with all his worldly effects tied up in a cotton handkerchief.

That all this might not be too onerous on the purses of his rustic patrons, who are apt to consider the costs of schooling a grievous burden, and schoolmasters, as mere drones, he had various ways of rendering himself both useful and agreeable. He assisted the farmers occasionally in the lighter labours of their farms; helped to make hay; mended the fences; took the horses to water; drove the cows from pasture; and cut wood for the winter fire. He laid aside, too, all the dominant dignity and absolute sway with which he lorded it in his little empire, the school, and become wonderfully gentle and ingratiating. He found favour in the eyes of the mothers, by petting the children, particularly the youngest; and like the lion bold, which whilome so magnanimously the lamb did hold, he would sit with a child on one knee and rock a cradle for whole hours together.

In addition to his other vocations, he was the singing-master of the neighbourhood, and picked up many bright shillings by instructing the young folks in psalmody. It was a matter of no little vanity to him on Sundays, to take his station in front of the church gallery, with a band of chosen singers; where, in his own mind, he completely carried away the palm from the parson. Certain it is, his voice resounded far above all the rest of the congregation; and there are peculiar quivers still to be heard in that church, and may still be heard half-a-mile off, quite to the opposite side of the mill-pond, on a still Sunday morning, which are said to be legitimately descended from the nose of Ichabod Crane. Thus, by divers little makeshifts, in that ingenious way which is commonly denominated "by hook and by crook," the worthy pedagogue got on tolerably enough, and was thought, by all who understood nothing of the labour of headwork, to have a wonderful easy life of it.


But all these were nothing to the tales of ghosts and apparitions that succeeded. The neighbourhood is rich in legendary treasures of the kind. Local tales and superstitions thrive best in these sheltered long settled retreats; but are trampled under foot by the shifting throng that forms the population of most of our country places. Besides there is no encouragement for ghosts in most of our villages, for they have scarcely had time to finish their first nap, and turn themselves in their graves, before their surviving friends have travelled away from the neighbourhood; so that when they turn out at night to walk their rounds, they have no acquaintance left to call upon. This is perhaps the reason why we so seldom hear of ghosts except in our long established Dutch communities.

The immediate cause, however, of the prevalence of supernatural stories in these parts, was doubtless owing to the vicinity of Sleepy Hollow. There was a contagion in the very air that blew from that haunted region; it breathed forth an atmosphere of dreams and fancies infecting all the land. Several of the Sleepy Hollow people were present at Van Tassal's, and, as usual, were doling out their wild and wonderful legends. Many dismal tales were told about funeral trains, and mourning cries and wailings heard and seen about the great tree where the unfortunate Major Andre was taken, and which stood in the neighbourhood. Some mention was made also of the woman in white, that haunted the dark glen at Raven Rock, and was often heard to shriek on winter nights before a storm, having perished there in the snow. The chief part of the stories, however, turned upon the favourite spectre of Sleepy Hollow, the headless horseman, who had been heard several times of late, patrolling the country; and, it was said, tethered his horse nightly among the graves in the churchyard.

The sequestered situation of this church seems always to have made it a favoured haunt of troubled spirits. It stands on a knoll, surrounded by locust trees and lofty elms, from among which, its decent whitewashed walls shine modestly forth, like Christian purity, beaming through the shades of retirement. A gentle slope descends from it to a silver sheet of water, bordered by high trees, between which, peeps may be caught at the blue hills of the Hudson. To look upon its grass grown yard, there the sunbeams seem to sleep so quietly, one would think that there at least the dead might rest in peace. On one side of the church extends a wide woody dell, along which raves a large brook among broken rocks and trunks of fallen trees. Over a deep black part of the stream, not far from the church, was formerly thrown a wooden bridge; the road that led to it, and the bridge itself, were thickly shaded by overhanging trees, which cast a gloom about it, even in the day-time; but occasioned a fearful darkness at night. Such was one of the favourite haunts of the headless horseman, and the place where he was most frequently encountered. The tale was told of old Brouwer, a most heretical disbeliever in ghosts, how he met the horseman returning from his foray into Sleepy Hollow, and was obliged to get up behind him; how they galloped over bush and brake, over hill and swamp, until they reached the bridge; when the horseman suddenly turned into a skeleton, threw old Brouwer into the brook, and sprang away over the tree tops with a clap of thunder.


It is a common practice with those who have outlived the susceptibility of early feeling, or have been brought up in the gay heartlessness of dissipated life, to laugh at all love stories, and to treat the tales of romantic passion as mere fictions of novelists and poets. My observations on human nature have induced me to think otherwise. They have convinced me, that however the surface of the character may be chilled and frozen by the cares of the world, or cultivated into mere smiles by the arts of society, still there are dormant fires lurking in the depths of the coldest bosom, which, when once enkindled, become impetuous, and are sometimes desolating in their effects. Indeed, I am a true believer in the blind deity, and go to the full extent of his doctrines. Shall I confess it!—I believe in broken hearts, and the possibility of dying of disappointed love. I do not, however, consider it a malady often fatal to my own sex; but I firmly believe that it withers down many a lovely woman into an early grave.

Man is the creature of interest and ambition. His nature leads him forth into the struggle and bustle of the world. Love is but the embellishment of his early life, or a song piped in the intervals of the acts. He seeks for fame, for fortune, for space in the world's thought, and dominion over his fellow men. But a woman's whole life is a history of the affections. The heart is her world: it is there her ambition strives for empires; it is there her avarice seeks for hidden treasures. She sends forth her sympathies on adventure; she embarks her whole soul in the traffic of affection; and if shipwrecked, her case is hopeless— for it is a bankruptcy of the heart.

To a man the disappointment of love may occasion some bitter pangs: it wounds some feelings of tenderness—it blasts some prospects of felicity; but he is an active being— he may dissipate his thoughts in the whirl of varied occupation, or may plunge into the tide of pleasure; or, if the scene of disappointment be too full of painful associations, he can shift his abode at will, and taking as it were the wings of the morning, can "fly to the uttermost parts of the earth, and be at rest."

But woman's is comparatively a fixed, a secluded, and a meditative life. She is more the companion of her own thoughts and feelings; and if they are turned to ministers of sorrow, where shall she look for consolation? Her lot is to be wooed and won; and if unhappy in her love, her heart is like some fortress that has been captured, and sacked, and abandoned and left desolate.

How many bright eyes grow dim—how many soft cheeks grow pale—how many lovely forms fade away into the tomb, and none can tell the cause that blighted their loveliness! As the dove will clasp its wings to its side, and cover and conceal the arrow that is preying on its vitals, so it is the nature of woman to hide from the world the pangs of wounded affection. The love of a delicate female is always shy and silent. Even when fortunate, she scarcely breathes it to herself; but when otherwise, she buries it in the recesses of her bosom, and there lets it cower and brood among the ruins of her peace. With her the desire of the heart has failed. The great charm of existence is at an end. She neglects all the cheerful excercises which gladden the spirits, quicken the pulses, and send the tide of life in healthful currents through the veins. Her rest is broken—the sweet refreshment of sleep is poisoned by melancholy dreams— "dry sorrow drinks her blood," until her enfeebled frame sinks under the slightest external injury. Look for her, after a little while, and you will find friendship weeping over her untimely grave, and wondering that one who but lately glowed with all the radiance of health and beauty, should so speedily be brought down to "darkness and the worm." You will be told of some wintry chill, some casual indisposition, that laid her low;—but no one knows of the mental malady that previously sapped her strength, and made her so easy a prey to the spoiler.

She is like some tender tree, the pride and beauty of the grove; graceful in its form, bright in its foliage, but with the worm preying at its heart. We find it suddenly withering, when it should be most fresh and luxuriant. We see it drooping its branches to the earth, and shedding leaf by leaf; until, wasted and perished away, it falls even in the stillness of the forest; and, as we muse over the beautiful ruin, we strive in vain to recollect the blast or thunderbolt that could have smitten it with decay.

I have seen many instances of women running to waste and self-neglect, and disappearing gradually from the earth, almost as if they had been exhaled to heaven; and have repeatedly fancied that I could trace their death through the various declensions of consumption, cold, debility, languor, melancholy, until I reached the first sympton of disappointed love. But an instance of the kind was lately told to me; the circumstances are well known in the country where they happened, and I shall but give them in the manner as they were related.

Every one must recollect the tragical story of young E—, the Irish patriot; it was too touching to be soon forgotten. During the troubles in Ireland he was tried, condemned, and executed on a charge of treason. His fate made a deep impression on public sympathy. He was so young—so intelligent—so generous—so brave—so every thing that we are apt to like in a young man. His conduct under trial, too, was so lofty and intrepid. The noble indignation with which he repelled the charge of treason against his country—the eloquent vindication of his name—and his pathetic appeal to posterity, in the hopeless hour of condemnation—all these entered deeply into every generous bosom, and even his enemies lamented the stern policy that dictated his execution. [12]

But there was one heart, whose anguish it would be impossible to describe. In happier days and fairer fortunes, he had won the affections of a beautiful and interesting girl, the daughter of a late celebrated Irish barrister. She loved him with the disinterested fervour of a woman's first and early love. When every worldly maxim arrayed itself against him; when blasted in fortune, and disgrace and danger darkened around his name, she loved him the more ardently for his very sufferings. If, then, his fate could awaken the sympathy even of his foes, what must have been the agony of her, whose whole soul was occupied by his image! Let those tell who have had the portals of the tomb suddenly closed between them and the being they most loved on earth—who have sat at its threshold, as one shut out in a cold and lonely world, from whence all that was most lovely and loving had departed.

But then the horrors of such a grave! so frightful, so dishonoured! There was nothing for memory to dwell on that could sooth the pang of separation—none of those tender, though melancholy circumstances, that endear the parting scene—nothing to melt sorrow into those blessed tears, sent, like the dews of heaven, to revive the heart in the parting hour of anguish.

To render her widowed situation more desolate, she had incurred her father's displeasure by her unfortunate attachment, and was an exile from the paternal roof. But could the sympathy and kind offices of friends have reached a spirit so shocked and driven in by horror, she would have experienced no want of consolation, for the Irish are a people of quick and generous sensibilities. The most delicate and cherishing attentions were paid her by families of wealth and distinction. She was led into society, and they tried by all kinds of occupation and amusement to dissipate her grief, and wean her from the tragical story of her loves. But it was all in vain. There are some strokes of calamity that scathe and scorch the soul—that penetrate to the vital seat of happiness— and blast it, never again to put forth bud or blossom. She never objected to frequent the haunts of pleasure, but she was as much alone there as in the depths of solitude. She walked about in a sad reverie, apparently unconscious of the world around her. She carried with her an inward woe that mocked at all the blandishments of friendship, and "heeded not the song of the charmer, charm he never so wisely."

The person who told me her story had seen her at a masquerade. There can be no exhibition of far-gone wretchedness more striking and painful than to meet it in such a scene. To find it wandering like a spectre, lonely and joyless, where all around is gay—to see it dressed out in the trappings of mirth, and looking so wan and woe-begone, as if it had tried in vain to cheat the poor heart into a momentary forgetfulness of sorrow. After strolling through the splendid rooms and giddy crowd with an air of utter abstraction, she sat herself down on the steps of an orchestra, and looking about for some time with a vacant air, that showed her insensibility to the garish scene, she began, with the capriciousness of a sickly heart, to warble a little plaintive air. She had an exquisite voice; but on this occasion it was so simple, so touching, it breathed forth such a soul of wretchedness, that she drew a crowd mute and silent around her, and melted every one into tears.

The story of one so true and so tender could not but excite great interest in a country remarkable for enthusiasm. It completely won the heart of a brave officer, who paid his addresses to her, and thought that one so true to the dead could not but prove affectionate to the living. She declined his attentions, for her thoughts were irrevocably engrossed by the memory of her former lover. He, however, persisted in his suit. He solicited not her tenderness, but her esteem. He was assisted by her conviction of his worth, and her sense of her own destitute and dependent situation, for she was existing on the kindness of friends. In a word, he at length succeeded in gaining her hand, though with the solemn assurance, that her heart was unalterably another's.

He took her with him to Sicily, hoping that a change of scene might wear out the remembrance of early woes. She was an amiable and exemplary wife, and made an effort to be a happy one; but nothing could cure the silent and devouring melancholy that had entered into her very soul. She wasted away in a slow, but hopeless decline, and at length sunk into the grave, the victim of a broken heart.


[12] This ill-starred youth was the son of Dr. Emmet, a gentleman of fortune and family, whose mind was deeply imbued with republican principles, which he was but too successful in impressing upon his children. His eldest son, Thomas Addis Emmit, being a suspected character, in 1798 he accepted the terms offered by Government, and retired to France, from thence he proceeded to New-York, where he held the first place at the bar of that city, highly respected as a lawyer and esteemed as a man. Robert, the person alluded to by our author, either possessing more enthusiasm or less prudence than his brother, became involved in a series of insurrections, which at last attracted the attention of Government, and the unfortunate man was arrested while he lingered in his flight, in expectation of a last meeting with the lady to whom he was engaged. This amiable female, whose hard fate is described with so much pathos by our author, was the daughter of the celebrated John Philpot Curran. The following address was delivered by Emmet on his trial.

`I am asked if I have any thing to say why sentence of death should not be pronounced upon me. Was I to suffer only death, after being adjudged guilty, I should bow in silence; but a man in my situation has not only to combat with the difficulties of fortune, but also the difficulties of prejudice: the sentence of the law which delivers over his body to the executioner consigns his character to obloquy. The man dies, but his memory lives; and that mine may not forfeit all claim to the respect of my countrymen, I use this occasion to vindicate myself from some of the charges advanced against me.

`I am charged with being an emissary of France—'tis false! I am no emissary—I did not wish to deliver up my country to a foreign power, and least of all, to France. No! never did I entertain the idea of establishing French power in Ireland—God forbid. On the contrary, it is evident from the introductory paragraph of the address of the Provisional Government, that every hazard attending an independent effort was deemed preferable to the more fatal risk of introducing a French army into the country. Small would be our claims to patriotism and to sense, and palpable our affectation of the love of liberty, if we were to encourage the profanation of our shores by a people who are slaves themselves, and the unprincipled and abandoned instruments of imposing slavery on others.

`If such an inference be drawn from any part of the proclamation of the Provisional Government, it calumniates their views, and is not warranted by the fact. How could they speak of freedom to their countrymen? How assume such an exalted motive, and meditate the introduction of a power which has been the enemy of freedom in every part of the globe? Reviewing the conduct of France to other countries, could we expect better towards us? No! Let not, then, any man attaint my memory by believing that I could have hoped for freedom through the aid of France, and betrayed the sacred cause of liberty by committing it to the power of her most determined foe: had I done so, I had not deserved to live; and dying with such a weight upon my character, I had merited the honest execrations of that country which gave me birth, and to which I would have given freedom.

`Had I been in Switzerland. I would have fought against the French—in the dignity of freedom, I would have expired on the threshold of that country, and they should have entered it only by passing over my lifeless corpse. Is it then to be supposed that I would be slow to make the same sacrifice to my native land? Am I, who lived but to be of service to my country, and who would subject myself to the bondage of the grave to give her independence— am I to be loaded with the foul and grievous calumny of being an emissary of France?

`My lords, it may be part of the system of angry justice, to bow a man's mind, by humiliation to meet the ignominy of the scaffold; but worse to me than the scaffold's shame, or the scaffold's terrors, would be the imputation of having been the agent of French despotism and ambition; and while I have breath, I will call upon my countrymen not to believe me guilty of so foul a crime against their liberties and their happiness.

`Though you, my lord, sit there a judge, and I stand here a culprit, yet you are but a man and I am another. I have a right therefore to vindicate my character and motives from the aspersions of calumny; and, as a man, to whom fame is dearer than life, I will make the last use of that life in rescuing my name and my memory from the afflicting imputation of having been an emissary of France, or seeking her interference in the internal regulation of our affairs.

`Did I live to see a French army approach this country, I would meet it on the shore, with a torch in one hand and a sword in the other; I would receive them with all the destruction of war! I would animate my countrymen to immolate them in their very boats; and before our native soil should be polluted by a foreign foe, if they succeeded in landing, I would burn every blade of grass before them, raze every house, contend to the last for every inch of ground; and the last spot on which the hope of freedom should desert me, that spot I would make my grave! What I cannot do, I leave a legacy to my country because I feel conscious that my death were unprofitable, and all hopes of liberty extinct, the moment a French army obtained a footing in this land. God forbid that I should see my country under the hands of a foreign power. If the French should come as a foreign enemy. Oh! my countrymen! meet them on the shore with a torch in one hand and a sword in the other: receive them with all the destruction of war; immolate them in their boats, before our native soil shall be polluted by a foreign foe! If they succeed in landing, fight them on the strand, burn every blade of grass before them as they advance—raze every house; and if you are driven to the centre of your country, collect your provisions, your property, your wives and your daughters; form a circle around them—fight while but two men are left; and when but one remains, let that man set fire to the pile, and release himself, and the families of his fallen countrymen, from the tyranny of France.

`My lamp of life is nearly expired—my race is finished: the grave opens to receive me, and I sink into its bosom All I request then, at parting from the world, is the charity of its silence. Let no man write my epitaph, for as no man, who knows my motives, dare vindicate them let not prejudice or ignorance asperse them: let them and me repose in obscurity and peace, and my tomb remain uninscribed, till other times and other men can do justice to my character.'

[13] It was on her, says our Author, that Moore, the distinguished Irish Poet, composed the following lines:

She is far from the land where her young hero sleeps,
       And lovers around her are sighing;
But coldly she turns from their gaze and weeps.
       For her heart in his grave is lying.
She sings the wild songs of her dear native plains,
       Every note which he lov'd awaking—
Ah! little they think, who delight in her strains,
       How the heart of the minstrel is breaking!
He had lived for his love—for his country he died,
       They were all that to life had entwined him—
Nor soon shall the tears of his country be dried,
       Nor long will his love stay behind him!
Oh! make her a grave where the sun-beams rest,
       When they promise a glorious morrow;
They'll shine o'er her sleep like a smile from the west,
       From her own lov'd island of sorrow!


We one day descried some shapeless object drifting at a distance. At sea, every thing that breaks the monotony of the surrounding expanse attracts attention. It proved to be the mast of a ship that must have been completely wrecked; for there were the remains of handkerchiefs, by which some of the crew had fastened themselves to this spar, to prevent their being washed off by the waves. There was no trace by which the name of the ship could be ascertained. The wreck had evidently drifted about for many months; clusters of shell fish had fastened about it, and long sea weeds flaunted at its sides. But where, thought I, is the crew? Their struggle has long been over—they have gone down amidst the roar of the tempest— their bones lie whitening among the caverns of the deep. Silence, oblivion, like the waves, have closed over them, and no one can tell the story of their end. What sighs have been wafted after that ship! what prayers offered up at the deserted fireside of home! How often has the mistress, the wife, the mother, pored over the daily news, to catch some casual intelligence of this rover of the deep! How has expectation darkened into anxiety— anxiety into dread—and dread into despair! Alas! not one memento shall ever return for love to cherish. All that shall ever be known, is, that she sailed from her port, "and was never heard of more!"

The sight of this wreck, as usual, gave rise to many dismal anecdotes. This was particularly the case in the evening, when the weather which had hitherto been fair, began to look wild and threatening, and gave indications of one of those sudden storms that will sometimes break in upon the serenity of a summer voyage. As we sat round the dull light of a lamp in the cabin, that made the gloom more ghastly, every one had his tale of shipwreck and disaster. I was particularly struck with a short one related by the captain.

"As I was sailing," said he, "in a fine stout ship, across the banks of Newfoundland, one of those heavy fogs that prevail in those parts rendered it impossible for us to see far ahead even in the day-time; but at night the weather was so thick that we could not distinguish any object at twice the length of the ship. I kept lights at the mast head, and a constant watch forward to look out for fishing smacks, which are accustomed to lie at anchor on the banks. The wind was blowing a smacking breeze, and we were going at a great rate through the water. Suddenly the watch gave the thrilling alarm of `a sail-a-head!'—it was scarcely uttered before we were upon her. She was a small schooner, at anchor, with her broadside towards us. The crew were all asleep, and had neglected to hoist a light. We struck her just a-midships. The force, the size, and weight of our vessel bore her down below the waves; we passed over her and were hurried on our course. As the crashing wreck was sinking beneath us, I had a glimpse of two or three half naked wretches rushing from her cabin; they just started from their beds to be swallowed shrieking by the waves. I heard their drowning cry mingling with the wind. The blast that bore it to our ears swept us out of all further hearing. I shall never forget that cry! it was some time before we could put the ship about, she was under such head-way. We returned, as nearly as we could guess, to the place where the smack had anchored. We cruised about for several hours in the dense fog. We fired signal guns, and listened if we might hear the halloo of any survivors: but all was silent—we never saw or heard any thing of them more."


It was a fine sunny morning when the thrilling cry of "land!" was given from the mast head. None but those who have experienced it, can form an idea of the delicious throng of sensations which rush into an American's bosom, when he first comes in sight of Europe. There is a volume of associations with the very name. It is the land of promise, teeming with every thing of which his childhood has heard, or on which his studious years have pondered.

From that time until the moment of arrival, it was all feverish excitement. The ships of war, that prowled like guardian giants along the coast; the headlands of Ireland, stretching out into the channel; the Welsh mountains, towering into the clouds; all were objects of intense interest. As we sailed up the Mersey, I reconnoitred the shores with a telescope. My eye dwelt with delight on neat cottages, with their trim shrubberies and green grass plots. I saw the mouldering ruin of an abbey overrun with ivy, and the taper spire of a village church rising from the brow of a neighbouring hill—all were characteristic of England.

The tide and wind were so favourable, that the ship was enabled to come at once to the pier. It was thronged with people; some idle lookers-on, others eager expectants of friends or relatives. I could distinguish the merchant to whom the ship was consigned. I knew him by his calculating brow and restless air. His hands were thrust into his pockets; he was whistling thoughtfully, and walking to and fro, a small space having been accorded him by the crowd, in deference to his temporary importance. There were repeated cheerings and salutations interchanged between the shore and ship, as friends happened to recognize each other. I particularly noticed one young woman of humble dress, but interesting demeanour. She was leaning forward from among the crowd; her eye hurried over the ship as it neared the shore, to catch some wished-for countenance. She seemed disappointed and agitated; when I heard a faint voice call her name.—It was from a poor sailor, who had been ill all the voyage, and had excited the sympathy of every one on board. When the weather was fine, his messmates had spread a mattress for him on deck in the shade, but of late his illness had so increased, that he had taken to his hammock, and only breathed a wish that he might see his wife before he died. He had been helped on deck as we came up the river, and was now leaning against the shrouds, with a countenance so wasted, so pale, so ghastly, that it was no wonder even the eye of affection did not recognize him. But at the sound of his voice, her eye darted on his features; it read, at once, a whole volume of sorrow; she clasped her hands, uttered a faint shriek, and stood wringing them in silent agony.


It is interesting to notice how some minds seem almost to create themselves, springing up under every disadvantage, and working their solitary but irresistible way through a thousand obstacles. Nature seems to delight in diappointing the assiduities of art, with which it would rear legitimate dullness to maturity; and to glory in the vigour and luxuriance of her chance productions. She scatters the seeds of genius to the winds, and though some may perish among the stony places of the world, and some be choaked by the thorns and brambles of early adversity, yet others will now and then strike root even in the clefts of the rock, struggle bravely up into sunshine, and spread over their sterile birth-place all the beauties of vegetation.


I was yet a stranger in England, and curious to notice the manners of its fashionable classes. I found, as usual, that there was the least pretension where there was the most acknowledged title to respect. I was particularly struck, for instance, with the family of a nobleman of high rank, consisting of several sons and daughters. Nothing could be more simple and unassuming than their appearance. They generally came to church in the plainest equipage, and often on foot. The young ladies would stop and converse in the kindest manner with the peasantry, caress the children, and listen to the stories of the humble cottagers. Their countenances were open and beautifully fair with an expression of high refinement, but, at the same time, a frank cheerfulness, and an engaging affability. Their brothers were tall and elegantly formed. They were dressed fashionably, but simply; with strict neatness and propriety, but without any mannerism or foppishness. Their whole demeanour was easy and natural, with that lofty grace, and noble frankness, which bespeak free-born souls that have never been checked in their growth by feelings of inferiority. There is a healthful hardiness about real dignity, that never dreads contact and communication with others, however humble, It is only spurious pride that is morbid and sensitive, and shrinks from every touch. I was pleased to see the manner in which they would converse with the peasantry about those rural concerns and field-sports, in which the gentlemen of this country so much delight. In these conversations, there was neither haughtiness on the one part, nor servility on the other; and you were only reminded of the difference of rank by the habitual respect of the peasant.

In contrast to these, was the family of a wealthy citizen who had amassed a vast fortune; and, having purchased the estate and mansion of a ruined nobleman in the neighbourhood, was endeavouring to assume all the style and dignity of an hereditary lord of the soil. The family always come to church en prince. They were rolled majestically along in a carriage emblazoned with arms. The crest glittered in silver radiance from every part of the harness where a crest could possibly be placed. A fat coachman in a three-cornered hat, richly laced, and a flaxen wig, curling close round his rosy face, was seated on the box, with a sleek Danish dog beside him. Two footmen, in gorgeous liveries, with huge bouquets, and gold-headed canes, lolled behind. The carriage rose and sunk on its long springs with peculiar stateliness of motion. The very horses champed their bits, arched their necks, and glanced their eyes more proudly than common horses; either because they had got a little of the family feeling, or were reined up more tightly than ordinary.

I could not but admire the style with which this splendid pageant was brought up to the gate of the church-yard. There was a vast effect produced at the turning of an angle of the wall;—a great smacking of the whip; straining and scrambling of the horses; glistening of harness, and flashing of wheels through gravel. This was the moment of triumph and vainglory to the coachman. The horses were urged and checked until they were fretted into a foam. They threw out their feet in a prancing trot, dashing about pebbles at every step. The crowd of villagers, sauntering quietly to church, opened precipitately to the right and left, gaping in vacant admiration. On reaching the gate the horses were pulled up with a suddenness that produced an immediate stop, and almost threw them on their haunches.

There was an extraordinary hurry of the footmen to alight, open the door, pull down the steps, and prepare every thing for the descent on earth of this august family. The old citizen first emerged his round red face from out the door, looking about him with the pompous air of a man accustomed to rule on 'Change, and shake the Stock Market with a nod. His consort, a fine, fleshy, comfortable dame, followed him. There seemed, I must confess, but little pride in her composition. She was the picture of a broad, honest, vulgar enjoyment. The world went well with her; and she liked the world. She had fine clothes, a fine house, a fine carriage, fine children, every thing was fine about her: it was nothing but driving about, and visiting and feasting. Life was to her a perpetual revel; it was one long Lord Mayor's day.

Two daughters succeeded to this goodly couple. They certainly were handsome; but had a supercilious air, that chilled admiration, and disposed the spectator to be critical. They were ultra-fashionable in dress; and, though no one could deny the richness of their decorations, yet their appropriateness might be questioned amidst the simplicity of a country church. They descended loftily from the carriage, and moved up the line of peasantry with a step that seemed dainty of the soil it trod on. They cast an excursive glance around, that passed coldly over the burly faces of the peasantry, until they met the eyes of the nobleman's family, when their countenances immediately brightened into smiles, and they made the most profound and elegant courtesies; which were returned in a manner that showed they were but slight acquaintances.

I must not forget the two sons of this aspiring citizen, who came to church in a dashing curricle, with outriders. They were arrayed in the extremity of the mode, with all that pedantry of dress which marks the man of questionable pretensions to style. They kept entirely by themselves, eyeing every one askance that came near them, as if measuring his claims to respectability; yet they were without conversation, except the exchange of an occasional cant phrase. They even moved artificially; for their bodies, in compliance with the caprice of the day, had been disciplined into the absence of all ease and freedom. Art had done every thing to accomplish them as men of fashion, but nature had denied them the nameless grace. They were vulgarly shaped, like men formed for the common purposes of life, and had that air of supercilious assumption which is never seen in the true gentleman.

I have been rather minute in drawing the pictures of these two families, because I considered them specimens of what is often to be met with in this country—the unpretending great, and the arrogant little. I have no respect for titled rank, unless it be accompanied with true nobility of soul; but I have remarked in all countries where artificial distinctions exist, that the very highest classes are always the most courteous and unassuming. Those who are well assured of their own standing, are least apt to trespass on that of others; whereas, nothing is so offensive as the aspirings of vulgarity, which thinks to elevate itself by humiliating its neighbour.

As I have brought these families into contrast, I must notice their behaviour in church. That of the nobleman's family was quiet, serious, and attentive. Not that they appeared to have any fervour of devotion, but rather a respect for sacred things, and sacred places, inseparable from good breeding. The others, on the contrary, were in a perpetual flutter and whisper; they betrayed a continual consciousness of finery, and a sorry ambition of being the wonders of a rural congregation.

The old gentleman was the only one really attentive to the service. He took the whole burden of family devotion upon himself, standing bolt upright and uttering the responses with a loud voice that might be heard all over the church. It was evident that he was one of those thorough church and king men, who connect the idea of devotion and loyalty; who consider the Deity, somehow or other, of the government party, and religion "a very excellent sort of thing, that ought to be countenanced and kept up."

When he joined so loudly in the service, it seemed more by way of example to the lower orders, to show them, that, though so great and wealthy, he was not above being religious; as I have seen a turtle-fed Alderman swallow publicly a basin of charity soup, smacking his lips at every mouthful, and pronouncing it "excellent food for the poor."

When the service was at an end, I was curious to witness the several exits of my groups. The young noblemen and their sisters, as the day was fine, preferred strolling home across the fields, chatting with the country people as they went. The others departed as they came, in grand parade. Again were the equipages wheeled up to the gate. There was again the smacking of whips, the clattering of hoofs, and the glittering of harness. The horses started off almost at a bound; the villagers again hurried to right and left; the wheels threw up a cloud of dust; and the aspiring family was wrapt out of sight in a whirlwind.


To Asem Hacchem, principal Slave-driver to his Highness the Bashaw of Tripoli. -

Sweet, O Asem! is the memory of distant friends! Like the mellow ray of a departing sun, it falls tenderly yet sadly on the heart. Every hour of absence from my native land rolls heavily by, like the sandy wave of the desert; and the fair shores of my country rise blooming to my imagination, clothed in the soft illusive charms of distance. I sigh, yet no one listens to the sigh of the captive: I shed the bitter tear of recollection, but no one sympathises in the tear of the turbaned stranger!—Think not, however, thou brother of my soul, that I complain of the horrors of my situation; think not that my captivity is attended with the labours, the chains, the scourges, the insults, that render slavery, with us, more dreadful than the pangs of hesitating, lingering death. Light, indeed, are the restraints on the personal freedom of thy kinsman; but who can enter into the afflictions of the mind? who can describe the agonies of the heart? They are mutable as the clouds of the air; they are countless as the waves that divide me from my native country.

I have, of late, my dear Asem, laboured under an inconvenience singularly unfortunate, and am reduced to a dilemma most ridiculously embarrassing. Why should I hide it from the companion of my thoughts, the partner of my sorrows and my joys? Alas! Asem, thy friend Mustapha, the invincible captain of a ketch, is sadly in want of a pair of breeches! Thou wilt, doubtless smile, O most grave Mussulman, to hear me indulge in such ardent lamentations about a circumstance so trivial, and a want apparently so easy to be satisfied: but little canst thou know of the mortifications attending my necessities, and the astonishing difficulty of supplying them. Honoured by the smiles and attentions of the beautiful ladies of this city, who have fallen in love with my whiskers and my turban;— courted by the bashaws and the great men, who delight to have me at their feasts; the honour of my company eagerly solicited by every fiddler who gives a concert; think of my chagrin at being obliged to decline the host of invitations that daily overwhelm me, merely for want of a pair of breeches! Oh, Allah! Allah! that thy disciples could come into the world all be-feathered like a bantam, or with a pair of leather breeches like the wild deer of the forest; surely, my friend, it is the destiny of man to be for ever subjected to petty evils, which, however trifling in appearance, prey in silence on this little pittance of enjoyment, and poison these moments of sunshine, which might otherwise be consecrated to happiness.

The want of a garment, thou wilt say, is easily supplied; and thou mayest suppose need only be mentioned, to be remedied at once by any tailor of the land. Little canst thou conceive the impediments which stand in the way of my comfort, and still less art thou acquainted with the prodigious great scale on which every thing is transacted in this country. The nation moves most majestically slow and clumsy in the most trivial affairs, like the unwieldy elephant which makes a formidable difficulty of picking up a straw! When I hinted my necessities to the officer who has charge of myself and my companions, I expected to have been forthwith relieved; but he made an amazingly long face—told me that we were prisoners of state—that we must therefore be clothed at the expense of the government; that as no provision has been made by the Congress for an emergency of the kind, it was impossible to furnish me with a pair of breeches, until all the sages of the nation had been convened to talk over the matter, and debate upon the expediency of granting my request. Sword of the immortal Khalid, thought I, but this is great!—this is truly sublime! All the sages in an immense logocracy assembled together to talk about my breeches!—Vain mortal that I am! I cannot but own I was somewhat reconciled to the delay which must necessarily attend this method of clothing me, by the consideration that if they made the affair a national act, my "name must of course be embodied in history," and myself and my breeches flourish to immortality in the annals of this mighty empire!

"But pray, sir," said I, "how does it happen that a matter so insignificant should be erected into an object of such importance as to employ the representative wisdom of the nation? and what is the cause of their talking so much about a trifle!"—"Oh," replied the officer, who acts as our slave-driver; "it all proceeds from economy. If the government did not spend ten times as much money in debating whether it was proper to supply you with breeches as the breeches themselves would cost, the people, who govern the bashaw and his divan, would straightway begin to complain of their liberties being infringed— the national finances squandered—not a hostile slang-whanger throughout the logocracy but would burst forth like a barrel of combustion—and ten chances to one but the bashaw and the sages of his divan would all be turned out of office together. My good Mussulman," continued he, "the administration have the good of the people too much at heart to trifle with their pockets; and they would sooner assemble and talk away ten thousand dollars than expend fifty silently out of the treasury— such is the wonderful spirit of economy that pervades every branch of this government." "But," said I, "how is it possible they can spend money in talking: surely words cannot be the current coin of this country?"— "Truly," cried he, smiling, "your question is pertinent enough, for words indeed often supply the place of cash among us, and many an honest debt is paid in promises; but the fact is, the grand bashaw and the members of Congress, or grand talkers of the nation, either receive a yearly salary or are paid by the day."—"By the nine hundred tongues of the great beast in Mahomet's vision, but the murder is out! it is no wonder these honest men talk so much about nothing, when they are paid for talking like day-labourers." "You are mistaken," said my driver; "it is nothing but economy."

I remained silent for some minutes, for this inexplicable word economy always discomfits me;—and when I flatter myself I have grasped it, it slips through my fingers like a jack-o'lantern. I have not, nor perhaps ever shall acquire, sufficient of the philosophic policy of this government, to draw a proper distinction between an individual and a nation. If a man was to throw away a pound in order to save a beggarly penny, and boast at the same time of his economy, I should think him on a par with the fool in the fable of Alfangi; who, in skinning a flint worth a farthing, spoiled a knife worth fifty times the sum, and thought he had acted wisely. The shrewd fellow would doubtless have valued himself much more highly on his economy, could he have known that his example would one day be followed by the bashaw of America, and the sages of his divan.

This economic disposition, my friend, occasions much fighting of the spirit, and innumerable contests of the tongue in this talking assembly. Wouldst thou believe it? they were actually employed for a whole week in a most strenuous and eloquent debate about patching up a hole in the wall in the room appropriated to their meetings! A vast profusion of nervous argument and pompous declamation was expended on this occasion. Some of the orators, I am told, being rather waggishly inclined were most stupidly jocular on the occasion; but their waggery gave great offence, and was highly reprobated by the more weighty part of the assembly; who hold all wit and humour in abomination, and thought the business in hand much too solemn and serious to be treated lightly. It was supposed by some that this affair would have occupied a whole winter, as it was a subject upon which several gentlemen spoke who had never been known to open their lips in that place except to say yes and no.—These silent members are by way of distinction denominated orator mums, and are highly valued in this country on account of their great talents for silence;— a qualification extremely rare in a logocracy.

Fortunately for the public tranquility, in the hottest part of the debate, when two rampant Virginians, brim full of logic and philosophy, were measuring tongues, and syllogistically cudgelling each other out of their unreasonable notions, the president of the divan, a knowing old gentleman, one night slyly sent a mason with a hod of mortar, who in the course of a few minutes closed up the hole, and put a final end to the argument. Thus did this wise old gentleman, by hitting on a most simple expedient, in all probability, save his country as much money as would build a gun-boat, or pay a hireling slang-whanger for a whole volume of words. As it happened, only a few thousand dollars were expended in paying these men, who are denominated, I suppose in derision, legislators.

Another instance of their economy I relate with pleasure, for I really begin to feel a regard for these poor barbarians. They talked away the best parts of a whole winter before they could determine not to expend a few dollars in purchasing a sword to bestow on an illustrious warrior: yes, Asem, on that very hero who frightened all our poor old women and young children at Derne, and fully proved himself a greater man than the mother that bore him. [14] Thus, my friend, is the whole collective wisdom of this mighty logocracy employed in somniferous debates about the most trivial affairs; as I have sometimes seen a Herculean mountebank exerting all his energies in balancing a straw upon his nose. Their sages behold the minutest object with the microscopic eyes of a pismire; mole-hills swell into mountains, and a grain of mustard-seed will set the whole ant-hill in a hubbub. Whether this indicates a capacious vision, or a diminutive mind, I leave thee to decide; for my part I consider it as another proof of the great scale on which every thing is transacted in their country.

I have before told thee that nothing can be done without consulting the sages of the nation, who compose the assembly called the Congress. This prolific body may not improperly be called the "mother of inventions;" and a most fruitful mother it is, let me tell thee, though its children are generally abortions. It has lately laboured with what was deemed the conception of a mighty navy.— All the old women and the good wives that assist the bashaw in his emergencies hurried to head-quarters to be busy, like midwives, at the delivery.—All was anxiety, fidgeting, and consultation; when after a deal of groaning and struggling, instead of formidable first-rates and gallant frigates, out crept a litter of sorry little gun-boats. These are most pitiful little vessels, partaking vastly of the character of the grand bashaw, who has the credit of begetting them; being flat shallow vessels that can only sail before the wind;—must always keep in with the land;—are continually foundering or running on shore; and in short, are only fit for smooth water. Though intended for the defence of the maritime cities, yet the cities are obliged to defend them; and they require as much nursing as so many rickety little bantlings. They are, however, the darling pets of the grand bashaw, being the children of his dotage, and, perhaps from their diminutive size and palpable weakness, are called the "infant navy of America." The art that brought them into existence was almost deified by the majority of the people as a grand stroke of economy.—By the beard of Mahomet, but this word is truly inexplicable!

To this economic body therefore was I advised to address my petition, and humbly to pray that the august assembly of sages would, in the plenitude of their wisdom and the magnitude of their powers, munificently bestow on an unfortunate captive a pair of cotton breeches! "Head of the immortal Amrou," cried I, "but this would be presumptuous to a degree:—What! after these worthies have thought proper to leave their country naked and defenceless, and exposed to all the political storms that rattle without, can I expect that they will lend a helping hand to comfort the extremities of a solitary captive?" My exclamation was only answered by a smile, and I was consoled by the assurance that, so far from being neglected, it was every way probable my breeches might occupy a whole session of the divan, and set several of the longest heads together by the ears. Flattering as was the idea of a whole nation being agitated about my breeches, yet I own I was somewhat dismayed at the idea of remaining in querpo, until all the national gray-beards should have made a speech on the occasion, and given their consent to the measure. The embarrassment and distress of mind which I experienced were visible in my countenance, and my guard, who is a man of infinite good-nature, immediately suggested, as a more expeditious plan of supplying my wants, a benefit at the theatre. Though profoundly ignorant of his meaning, I agreed to his proposition, the result of which I shall disclose to thee in another letter.

Fare thee well, dear Asem; in thy pious prayers to our great prophet, never forget to solicit thy friend's return; and when thou numberest up the many blessings bestowed on thee by all-bountiful Allah, pour forth thy gratitude that he has cast thy nativity in a land where there is no assembly of legislative chatterers;—no great bashaw, who bestrides a gun-boat for a hobby-horse;— where the word economy is unknown;—and where an unfortunate captive is not obliged to call upon the whole nation to cut him out a pair of breeches.

[14] General Eaton.

A warlike Portrait of the great Peter—and how General Von Poffenburgh distinguished himself at Fort Cassimir.

Hitherto, most venerable and courteous reader, have I shown thee the administration of the valorous Stuyvesant under the mild moonshine of peace, or rather the grim tranquility of awful expectation; but now the war-drum rumbles from afar, the brazen trumpet brays its thrilling note, and the rude clash of hostile arms speaks fearful prophecies of coming troubles. The gallant warrior starts from soft repose, from golden visions, and voluptuous ease; where, in the dulcet "piping time of peace," he sought sweet solace after all his toils. No more in beauty's siren lap reclined, he weaves fair garlands for his lady's brows; no more entwines with flowers his shining sword; nor through the live long lazy summer's day, chants forth his lovesick soul in madrigals. To manhood roused, he spurns the amorous lute; doffs from his brawny back the robe of peace, and clothes his pampered limbs in panoply of steel. O'er his dark brow, where late the myrtle waved—where wanton roses breathed enervate love—he rears the beaming casque and nodding plume; grasps the bright shield, and shakes the ponderous lance; or mounts with eager pride the fiery steed, and burns for deeds of glorious chivalry.

But soft, worthy reader! I would not have you imagine, that any preux chevalier, thus hideously begirt with iron, existed in the city of New-Amsterdam. This is but a lofty and gigantic mode in which heroic writers always talk of war, thereby to give it a noble and imposing aspect; equipping our warriors with bucklers, helmets, and lances, and such like outlandish and obsolete weapons, the like which perchance they had never seen or heard of; in the same manner that a cunning statuary arrays a modern general or an admiral in the accoutrements of a Cæsar or an Alexander. The simple truth then of all this oratorical flourish is this—that the valiant Peter Stuyvesant, all of a sudden, found it necessary to scour his trusty blade, which too long had rusted in its scabbard, and prepare himself to undergo the hardy toils of war, in which his mighty soul so much delighted.

Methinks I at this moment behold him in my imagition— or rather, I behold his goodly portrait, which still hangs up in the family mansion of the Stuyvesants, arrayed in all the terrors of a true Dutch General. His regimental coat of German blue, gorgeously decorated with a goodly show of large brass buttons, reaching from his waistband to his chin. The voluminous skirts turned up at the corners and separating gallantly behind, so as to display the seat of a sumptuous pair of brimstone coloured trunk breeches—a graceful style still prevalent among the warriors of our day, and which is in conformity to the custom of ancient heroes, who scorned to defend themselves in rear. His face rendered exceeding terrible and warlike by a pair of black mustachios; his hair strutting out on each side in stiffly pomatumed ear-locks, and descending in a rat-tail queue below his waist; a shining stock of black leather supporting his chin, and a little, but fierce cocked hat, stuck with a gallant and fiery air over his left eye. Such was the chivalric port of Peter the Headstrong; and when he made a sudden halt, planted himself firmly on his solid supporter, with his wooden leg inlaid with silver, a little in advance, in order to strengthen his position, his right hand grasping a gold-headed cane, his left resting upon the pummel of his sword; his head dressing spiritedly to the right with a most appalling and hard favoured frown upon his brow— he presented altogether one of the most commanding, bitter looking and soldierlike figures that ever strutted upon canvass. Proceed we now to inquire the cause of this warlike preparation.

The encroaching disposition of the Swedes, on the south or Delaware river, has been duly recorded in the chronicles of the reign of William the Testy. These encroachments, having been endured with that heroic magnanimity which is the corner stone, or, according to Aristotle, the left hand neighbour of true courage, had been repeated and wickedly aggravated.

The Swedes who were of that class of cunning pretenders to Christianity, who read the Bible upside down, whenever it interferes with their interests, inverted the golden maxim; and when their neighbour suffered them to smite him on the one cheek, they generally smote him on the other also, whether turned to them or not. Their repeated aggressions had been among the numerous sources of vexation that conspired to keep the irritable sensibilities of Wilhelmus Kieft in a constant fever; and it was only owing to the unfortunate circumstance that he had always a hundred things to do at once, that he did not take such unrelenting vengeance as their offences merited. But they had now a chieftain of a different character to deal with; and they were soon guilty of a piece of treachery, that threw his honest blood in a ferment and precluded all further sufferance.

Printz, the governor of the province of New-Sweden, being either deceased or removed, for of this fact some uncertainty exists, was succeeded by Jan Risingh, a gigantic Swede; and who, had he not been rather knockneed and splay-footed, might have served for the model of a Samson or a Hercules. He was no less rapacious than mighty, and withal as crafty as he was rapacious; so that, in fact, there is very little doubt, had he lived some four or five centuries before, he would have been one of those wicked giants, who took such a cruel pleasure in pocketting distressed damsels, when gadding about in the world; and locking them up in enchanted castles, without a toilet, a change of linen, or any other convenience. In consequence of which enormities, they fell under the high displeasure of chivalry, and all true, loyal, and gallant knights, were instructed to attack and slay outright any miscreant they might happen to find, above six feet high; which is doubtless one reason that the race of large men is nearly extinct, and the generations of latter ages so exceeding small.

No sooner did Governor Risingh enter upon his office than he immediately cast his eyes upon the important post of Fort Casimer, and formed the righteous resolution of taking it into his possession. The only thing that remained to consider was the mode of carrying his resolulution into effect; and here I must do him the justice to say, that he exhibited a humanity rarely to be met with among leaders, and which I have never seen equalled in modern times, excepting among the English, in their glorious affair at Copenhagen. Willing to spare the effusion of blood, and the miseries of open warfare, he benevolently shunned every thing like avowed hostility or regular siege, and resorted to the less glorious but more merciful expedient of treachery.

Under pretence, therefore of paying a neighbourly visit to General Von Poffenburgh, at his new post of Fort Casimir, he made requisite preparation, sailed in great state up the Delaware, displayed his flag with the most ceremoneous punctilio, and honoured the fortress with a royal salute previous to dropping anchor. The unusual noise awakened a veteran Dutch sentinel, who was napping faithfully at his post, and who having suffered his match to go out, contrived to return the compliment, by discharging his rusty musket with the spark of a pipe, which he borrowed from one of his comrades. The salute indeed would have been answered by the guns of the fort, had they not been unfortunately out of order, and the magazine deficient in ammunition—accidents to which forts have in all ages been liable, and which were the more excusable in the present instance, as Fort Casimir had only been erected about two years, and General Von Poffenburgh, its mighty commander had been fully occupied with matters of much greater importance.

Risingh, highly satisfied with this courteous reply to his salute, treated the fort to a second, for he well knew its commander was marvellously delighted with these little ceremonials, which he considered as so many acts of homage paid unto his greatness. He then landed in great state, attended by a suite of thirty men—a prodigious and vainglorious retinue, for a petty governor of a petty settlement, in those days of primitive simplicity; and to the full as great an army as generally swells the pomp and marches in the rear of our frontier commanders at the present day.

The number in fact might have awakened suspicion, had not the mind of the great Von Poffenburgh been so completely engrossed with an all-pervading idea of himself, that he had not room to admit a thought besides. In fact, he considered the concourse of Risingh's followers as a compliment to himself—so apt are great men to stand between themselves and the sun, and completely eclipse the truth by their own shadow.

It may readily be imagined how much General Von Poffenburgh was flattered by a visit from so august a personage; his only embarrassment was, how he should receive him in such a manner as to appear to the greatest advantage, and make the most advantageous impression. The main guard was ordered immediately to turn out, and the arms and regimentals (of which the garrison possessed full half a dozen suits) were equally distributed among the soldiers. One tall lank fellow appeared in a coat intended for a small man, the skirts of which reached a little below his waist, the buttons were between his shoulders, and the sleeves half way to his wrists, so that his hands looked like a couple of huge spades; and the coat not being large enough to meet in front, was linked together by loops, made of a pair of red worsted garters. Another had an old cocked hat, stuck on the back of his head, and decorated with a bunch of cock's tails—a third had a pair of rusty gaiters, hanging about his heels—while a fourth, who was a short duck-legged little Trojan, was equipped in a huge pair of the general's cast off breeches, which he held up with one hand, while he grasped his firelock with the other. The rest were accoutred in similar style, excepting three graceless ragamuffins, who had no shirts, and but a pair and a half of breeches between them, wherefore they were sent to the black-hole to keep them out of view. There is nothing in which the talents of a prudent commander are more completely testified than in thus setting matters off to the greatest advantage; and it is for this reason that our frontier posts at the present day (that of Niagara for example,) display their best suit of regimentals on the back of the sentinel who stands in sight of travellers.

His men being thus gallantly arrayed—those who lacked muskets shouldering spades and pickaxes, and every man being ordered to tuck in his shirt tail and pull up his brogues, General Von Poffenburgh first took a sturdy draught of foaming ale, which, like the magnanimous More of Morehall, was his invariable practice on all great occasions; which done, he put himself at their head, ordered the pine planks which served as a draw bridge, to be laid down, and issued forth from his castle, like a mighty giant, just refreshed with wine. But when the two heroes met, then began a scene of warlike parade, and chivalric courtesy that beggars all description. Risingh, who, as I before hinted, was a shrewd, cunning politician, and had grown gray much before his time, in consequence of his craftiness, saw at one glance the ruling passion of the great Von Poffenburgh, and humoured him in all his valorous fantasies.

Their detachments were accordingly drawn up in front of each other; they carried arms, and they presented arms; they gave the standing salute and the passing salute:—they rolled their drums, they flourished their fifes, and they waved their colours—they faced to the left, and they faced to the right, and they faced to the right about:—they wheeled forward, and they wheeled backward, and they wheeled into echelon:—they marched and they counter-marched by grand divisions, by single divisions, and by subdivisions,— by platoons, by sections, and by files,—to quick time, in slow time, and in no time at all: for, having gone through all the evolutions of two great armies, including the eighteen manoeuvres of Dundas; having exhausted all that they could recollect or imagine of military tactics, including sundry strange and irregular evolutions, the like of which were never seen before or since, excepting among certain of our newly raised militia—the two great commanders and their respective troops came at length to a dead halt, completely exhausted by the toils of war. Never did two valiant train band captains, or two buskined theatric heroes, in the renowned tragedies of Pizarro, Tom Thumb, or any other heroical and fighting tragedy, marshal their gallows-looking, duck-legged heavy-heeled myrmidons, with more glory and self-admiration.

These military compliments being finished, General Von Poffenburgh escorted his illustrious visiter, with great ceremony, into the fort; attended him throughout the fortifications; showed him the horn-works, crown-works, half-moons, and various other out works; or rather the places where they ought to be erected; and where they might be erected if he pleased; plainly demonstrating that it was a place of "great capability," and though at present but a little redoubt, yet that it evidently was a formidable fortress in embryo. This survey over, he next had the whole garrison put under arms, exercised and reviewed, and concluded by ordering the three bridewell birds to be hauled out of the black hole, brought up to the halberts, and soundly flogged for the amusement of his visiter and to convince him that he was a great disciplinarian.

There is no error more dangerous than for a commander to make known the strength, or, as in the present case, the weakness of his garrison; this will be exemplified before I have arrived to the end of my present story, which thus carries its moral, like a roasted goose his pudding, in the very middle. The cunning Risingh, while he pretended to be struck dumb outright, with the puissance of the great Von Poffenburgh, took silent note of the incompetency of his garrison, of which he gave a hint to his trusty followers, who tipped each other the wink, and laughed most obstreperously—in their sleeves.

The inspection, review, and flogging being concluded, the party adjourned to the table; for among his other great qualities, the general was remarkably addicted to huge entertainments, or rather carousals; and in one afternoon's campaign would leave more dead men on the field than ever he did in the whole course of his military career. Many bulletins of these bloodless victories do still remain on record; and the whole province was once thrown in amaze by the return of one of his campaigns; wherein it was stated, that though, like Captain Bobadil, he had only twenty men to back him, yet, in the short space of six months, he had conquered and utterly annihilated sixty oxen, ninety hogs, one hundred sheep, ten thousand cabbages, one thousand bushels of potatoes, one hundred and fifty kilderkins of small beer, two thousand seven hundred and thirty-five pipes, seventy-eight pounds of sugar plums, and forty bars of iron, besides sundry small meats, game, poultry, and garden stuffs. An achievement unparalleled since the days of Pantagruel and his all-devouring army; and which showed that it was only necessary to let bellipotent Von Poffenburgh and his garrison loose in an enemy's country, and in a little while they would breed a famine, and starve all the inhabitants.

No sooner, therefore, had the general received the first intimation of the visit of Governor Risingh, than he ordered a great dinner to be prepared; and privately sent out a detachment of his most experienced veterans to rob all the hen roosts in the neighbourhood, and lay the pigsties under contribution—a service to which they had been long inured, and which they discharged with such incredible zeal and promptitude, that the garrison table groaned under the weight of their spoils.

I wish, with all my heart, my readers could see the valiant Von Poffenburgh, as he presided at the head of the banquet. It was a sight worth beholding:—there he sat, in his greatest glory, surrounded by his soldiers, like that famous wine-bibber, Alexander, whose thirsty virtues he did most ably imitate; telling astonishing stories of his hair-breadth adventures and heroic exploits, at which, though all his auditors knew them to be most incontinent and outrageous gasconades, yet did they cast up their eyes in admiration, and utter many interjections of astonishment. Nor could the general pronounce any thing that bore the remotest resemblance to a joke but the stout Risingh would strike his brawny fist upon the table, till every glass rattled again, throwing himself back in his chair, and uttering gigantic peals of laughter, swearing most horribly it was the best joke he ever heard in his life. Thus all was rout and revelry and hideous carousal within Fort Casimir; and so lustily did Von Poffenburgh ply the bottle that in less than four short hours he made himself and his whole garrison, who all sedulously emulated the deeds of their chieftain, dead drunk, in singing songs, quaffing bumpers, and drinking patriotic toasts, none of which but was as long as a Welsh pedigree, or a plea at Chancery.

No sooner did things come to this pass than the crafty Risingh and his Swedes, who had cunningly kept themselves sober, rose on their entertainers, tied them neck and heels, and took formal possession of the fort, and all its dependencies, in the name of Queen Christina of Sweden; administering, at the same time, an oath of allegiance to all the Dutch soldiers who could be made sober enough to swallow it. Risingh then put the fortifications in order, appointed his discreet and vigilant friend Suen Scutz, a tall, wind-dried, water-drinking, Swede, to the command; and departed, bearing with him this truly amiable garrison and their puissant commander, who, when brought to himself by a sound drubbing, bore no small resemblance to a "deboshed fish," or bloated sea monster, caught upon dry land.

The transportation of the garrison was done to prevent the transmission of intelligence to New-Amsterdam; for much as the cunning Risingh exulted in his stratagem, he dreaded the vengeance of the sturdy Peter Stuyvesant, whose name spread as much terror in the neighbourhood as did whilome that of the unconquerable Scanderberg among his scurvy enemies the Turks.


There are certain half-dreaming moods of mind, in which we naturally steal away from noise and glare, and seek some quiet haunt, where we may indulge our reveries, and build our air castles undisturbed. In such a mood, I was loitering about the old gray cloisters of Westminster Abbey, enjoying that luxury of wandering thought which one is apt to dignify with the name of reflection; when suddenly an irruption of madcap boys from Westminster school, playing at foot-ball, broke in upon the monastic stillness of the place, making the vaulted passages and mouldering tombs echo with their merriment. I sought to take refuge from their noise by penetrating still deeper into the solitudes of the pile, and applied to one of the vergers for admission to the library. He conducted me through a portal rich with the crumbling sculpture of former ages, which opened upon a gloomy passage leading to the Chapter-house, and the chamber in which Doomsday Book is deposited. Just within the passage is a small door on the left. To this the verger applied a key; it was double locked, and opened with some difficulty, as if seldom used. We now ascended a dark narrow staircase, and passing through a second door, entered the library.

I found myself in a lofty antique hall, the roof supported by massive joists of old English oak. It was soberly lighted by a row of Gothic windows at a considerable height from the floor, and which apparently opened upon the roofs of the cloisters. An ancient picture of some reverend dignitary of the church in his robes hung over the fire-place. Around the hall and in a small gallery were the books, arranged in carved oaken cases. They consisted principally of old polemical writers, and were much more worn by time than use. In the centre of the library was a solitary table, with two or three books on it, an inkstand without ink, and a few pens parched by long disuse. The place seemed fitted for quiet study and profound meditation. It was buried deep among the massive walls of the abbey, and shut up from the tumult of the world, I could only hear now and then the shouts of the schoolboys faintly swelling from the cloisters, and the sound of a bell tolling for prayers, that echoed soberly along the roofs of the abbey. By degrees the shouts of merriment grew fainter and fainter, and at length died away. The bell ceased to toll, and a profound silence reigned through the dusky hall.

I had taken down a little thick quarto, curiously bound in parchment, with brass clasps, and seated myself at the table in a venerable elbow chair. Instead of reading, however, I was beguiled by the solemn monastic air, and lifeless quiet of the place, into a train of musing. As I looked around upon the old volumes in their mouldering covers, thus ranged on the shelves, and apparently never disturbed in their repose, I could not but consider the library a kind of literary catacomb, where authors, like mummies, are piously entombed, and left to blacken and moulder in dusty oblivion.

How much, thought I, has each of these volumes, now thrust aside with such indifference, cost some aching head! how many weary days! how many sleepless nights! How have their authors buried themselves in the solitude of cells and cloisters; shut themselves up from the face of man, and the still more blessed face of nature; and devoted themselves to painful research and intense reflection! And all for what? to occupy an inch of dusty shelf—to have the title of their works read now and then in a future age, by some drowsy churchman or casual straggler like myself; and in another age to be lost, even in remembrance. Such is the amount of this boasted immortality. A mere temporary rumour, a local sound; like the tone of that bell which has just tolled among these towers, filling the ear for a moment—lingering transiently in echo—and then passing away like a thing that was not!


There was one dapper little gentleman in bright coloured clothes, with a chirping gossiping expression of countenance, who had all the appearance of an author on good terms with his bookseller. After considering him attentively, I recognized in him a diligent getter up of miscellaneous works, which bustled off well with the trade. I was curious to see how he manufactured his wares. He made more stir and show of business than any of the others; dipping into various books, fluttering over the leaves of manuscripts, taking a morsel out of one, a morsel out of another, "line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little." The contents of his book seemed to be as heterogeneous as those of the witches' caldron in Macbeth. It was here a finger and there a thumb, toe of frog and blind worm's sting, with his own gossip poured in, like "baboon's blood," to make the medley "slab and good."

After all, thought I, may not this pilfering disposition be implanted in authors for wise purposes; may it not be the way in which Providence has taken care that the seeds of knowledge and wisdom shall be preserved from age to age, in spite of the inevitable decay of the works in which they were first produced? We see that nature has wisely, though whimsically, provided for the conveyance of seeds from clime to clime, in the maws of certain birds; so that animals, which, in themselves, are little better than carrion, and apparently the lawless plunderers of the orchard and the corn field, are, in fact, Nature's, carriers to disperse and perpetuate her blessings. In like manner, the beauties and fine thoughts of ancient and obsolete authors are caught up by these flights of predatory writers, and cast forth again to flourish and bear fruit in a remote and distant tract of time. Many of their works, also, undergo a kind of metemphsychosis, and spring up under new forms. What was formerly a ponderous history, revives in the shape of a romance—an old legend changes into a modern play—and a sober philosophical treatise furnishes the body for a whole series of bouncing and sparkling essays. Thus it is in the clearing of our American woodlands; where we burn down a forest of stately pines, a progeny of dwarf oaks start up in their place: and we never see the prostrate trunk of tree mouldering into soil, but it gives birth to a whole tribe of fungi.

Let us not, then, lament over the decay and oblivion into which ancient writers descend; they do but submit to the great law of nature, which declares that all sublunary shapes of matter shall be limited in their duration, but which decrees, also, that their elements shall never perish. Generation after generation, both in animal and vegetable life, passes away, but the vital principle is transmitted to posterity, and the species continue to flourish. Thus, also, do authors beget authors, and having produced a numerous progeny, in a good old age they sleep with their fathers, that is to say, with the authors who preceded them—and from whom they had stolen.

Whilst I was indulging in these rambling fancies, I had leaned my head against a pile of reverend folios. Whether it was owing to the soporific emanations from these works; or to the profound quiet of the room; or to the lassitude arising from much wandering; or to an unlucky habit of napping at improper times and places, with which I am grievously afflicted, so it was, that I fell into a doze. Still, however, my imagination continued busy, and indeed the same scene remained before my mind's eye, only a little changed in some of the details. I dreamt that the chamber was still decorated with the portraits of ancient authors, but the number was increased. The long tables had disappeared, and in place of the sage magi, I beheld a ragged, threadbare throng, such as may be seen plying about the great repository of cast-off clothes, Monmouth Street. Whenever they seized upon a book, by one of those incongruities common to dreams, methought it turned into a garment of foreign or antique fashion, with which they proceeded to equip themselves. I noticed, however, that no one pretended to clothe himself from any particular suit, but took a sleeve from one, a cape from another, a skirt from a third, thus decking himself out piecemeal, while some of his original rags would peep out from among his borrowed finery.

There was a portly, rosy, well-fed parson, whom I observed ogling several mouldy polemical writers through an eye-glass. He soon contrived to slip on the voluminous mantle of one of the old fathers, and having purloined the gray beard of another, endeavoured to look exceedingly wise; but the smirking common place of his countenance set at nought all the trappings of wisdom. One sickly looking gentleman was busied embroidering a very flimsy garment with gold thread drawn out of several old court dresses of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Another had trimmed himself magnificently from an illuminated manuscript, had stuck a nosegay in his bosom, culled from "The Paradise of dainty devices," and having put Sir Philip Sidney's hat on one side of his head, strutted off with an exquisite air of vulgar elegance. A third, who was but of puny dimensions, had bolstered himself out bravely with the spoils from several obscure tracts of philosophy, so that he had a very imposing front; but he was lamentably tattered in rear, and I perceived that he had patched his small-clothes with scraps of parchment from a Latin author.

There were some well dressed gentlemen, it is true, who only helped themselves to a gem or so, which sparkled among their own ornaments, without eclipsing them. Some, too, seemed to contemplate the costumes of the old writers, merely to imbibe their principles of taste, and to catch their air and spirit; but I grieve to say, that too many were apt to array themselves from top to toe, in the patchwork manner I have mentioned. I shall not omit to speak of one genius, in drab breeches and gaiters, and an Arcadian hat, who had a violent propensity to the pastoral, but whose rural wanderings had been confined to the classic haunts of Primrose Hill, and the solitudes of the Regent's Park. He had decked himself in wreaths and ribands from all the old pastoral poets, and hanging his head on one side, went about with a fantastical lack-a-daisical air, "babbling about green fields." But the personage that most struck my attention was a pragmatical old gentleman, in clerical robes with a remarkably large and square, but bald head. He entered the room wheezing and puffing, elbowed his way through the throng, with a look of sturdy self-confidence, and having laid hands upon a thick Greek quarto, clapped it upon his head, and swept majestically away in a formidable frizzled wig.

In the height of this literary masquerade, a cry suddenly resounded from every side, of "Thieves! thieves!" I looked, and lo! the portraits about the wall became animated! The old authors thrust out, first a head, then a shoulder from the canvass, looked down curiously, for an instant, upon the motley throng, and then descended, with fury in their eyes, to claim their rifled property. The scene of scampering and hubbub that ensued baffles all description. The unhappy culprits endeavoured in vain to escape with the plunder. On one side might be seen half a dozen old monks, stripping a modern professor; on another, there was sad devastation carried into the ranks of modern dramatic writers. Beaumont and Fletcher, side by side, raged round the field like Castor and Pollux, and sturdy Ben Jonson enacted more wonders than when a volunteer with the army in Flanders. As to the dapper little compiler of farragos, mentioned some time since, he had arrayed himself in as many patches and colours as Harlequin, and there was as fierce a contention of claimants about him, as about the dead body of Patroclus. I was grieved to see many men, to whom I had been accustomed to look upon with awe and reverence, fain to steal off with scarce a rag to cover their nakedness. Just then my eye was caught by the pragmatical old gentleman in the Greek frizzled wig, who was scrambling away sore affrighted with half a score of authors in full cry after him. They were close upon his haunches; in a twinkling off went his wig; at every turn some strip of raiment was peeled away; until in a few moments, from his domineering pomp, he shrunk into a little, pursy, "chopp'd bald shot," and made his exit with only a few tags and bags fluttering at his back.

There was something so ludicrous in the catastrophe of this learned Theban, that I burst into an immoderate fit of laughter, which broke the whole illusion. The tumult and the scuffle were at an end. The chamber resumed its usual appearance. The old authors shrunk back into their picture-frames, and hung in shadowy solemnity along the walls. In short, I found myself wide awake in my corner, with the whole assemblage of book worms gazing at me with astonishment. Nothing of the dream had been real but my burst of laughter, a sound never before heard in that grave sanctuary, and so abhorrent to the ears of wisdom, as to electrify the fraternity.

The librarian now stepped up to me, and demanded whether I had a card of admission. At first I did not comprehend him, but I soon found that the library was a kind of literary "preserve," subject to game laws, and that no one must presume to hunt there without special license and permission. In a word, I stood convicted of being an arrant poacher, and was glad to make a precipitate retreat, lest I should have a whole pack of authors let loose upon me.


And the sage Oloffe dreamed a dream—and lo, the good St. Nicholas came riding over the tops of the trees in that selfsame waggon wherein he brings his yearly presents to children; and he came and descended hard by where the heroes of Communipaw had made their late repast. And the shrewd Van Kortland knew him by his broad hat, his long pipe, and the resemblance which he bore to the figure on the brow of the Goede Vrouw. And he lit his pipe by the fire, and he sat himself down and smoked; and as he smoked, the smoke from his pipe ascended into the air and spread like a cloud overhead. And the sage Oloffe bethought him, and he hastened and climbed up to the top of one of the tallest trees, and saw that the smoke spread over a great extent of country; and as he considered it more attentively, he fancied that the great volume of smoke assumed a variety of marvellous forms, where in dim obscurity he saw shadowed out palaces and domes and lofty spires, all of which lasted but a moment, and then faded away, until the whole rolled off, and nothing but the green woods were left. And when St. Nicholas had smoked his pipe, he twisted it in his hatband, and laying his finger beside his nose, gave the astonished Van Kortlandt a very significant look; then mounting his waggon, he returned over the tree tops and disappeared.

And Van Kortlandt awoke from his sleep greatly instructed, and he aroused his companions and related to them his dream: and interpreted it, that it was the will of St. Nicholas that they should settle down and build the city here. And that the smoke of the pipe was a type how vast should be the extent of the city; inasmuch as the volumes of its smoke should spread over a vast extent of country. And they all with one voice assented to this interpretation excepting Mynheer Tenbroeck, who declared the meaning to be that it should be a city wherein a little fire should occasion a great smoke, or in other words, a very vapouring little city—both which interpretations have strangely come to pass.


In the course of an excursion through one of the remote counties of England, I had struck into one of those cross roads that lead through the more secluded parts of the country, and stopped one afternoon at a village, the situation of which was beautifully rural and retired. There was an air of primitive simplicity about its inhabitants, not to be found in the villages which lie on the great coach roads. I determined to pass the night there, and having taken an early dinner, strolled out to enjoy the neighbouring scenery.

My ramble, as is usually the case with travellers, soon led me to the church, which stood at a little distance from the village. Indeed, it was an object of some curiosity, its old tower being completely overrun with ivy, so that only here and there a jutting buttress, an angle of gray wall, or a fantastically carved ornament, peered through the verdant covering. It was a lovely evening. The early part of the day had been dark and showery, but in the afternoon it had cleared up; and though sullen clouds still hung over head, yet there was a broad tract of golden sky in the west, from which the setting sun gleamed through the dripping leaves, and lit up all nature into a melancholy smile. It seemed like the parting hour of a good Christian, smiling on the sins and sorrows of the world, and giving, in the serenity of his decline, an assurance that he will rise again in glory.

I had seated myself on a half sunken tombstone, and was musing, as one is apt to do at this sober-thoughted hour, on past scenes and early friends—on those who were distant and those who were dead—and indulging in that kind of melancholy fancying, which has in it something sweeter even than pleasure. Every now and then, the stroke of a bell from the neighbouring tower fell on my ear; its tones were in unison with the scene, and, instead of jarring, chimed in with my feelings; and it was some time before I recollected, that it must be tolling the knell of some new tenant of the tomb.

Presently I saw a funeral train moving across the village green; it wound slowly along a lane; was lost, and re-appeared through the breaks of the hedges, until it passed the place where I was sitting. The pall was supported by young girls, dressed in white; and another, about the age of seventeen, walked before, bearing a chaplet of white flowers; a token that the deceased was a young and unmarried female. The corpse was followed by the parents. They were a venerable couple of the better order of peasantry. The father seemed to repress his feelings; but his fixed eye, contracted brow, and deeply-furrowed face, showed the struggle that was passing within. His wife hung on his arm, and wept aloud with the convulsive bursts of a mother's sorrow.

I followed the funeral into the church. The bier was placed in the centre aisle, and the chaplet of white flowers, with a pair of white gloves, were hung over the seat which the deceased had occupied.

Every one knows the soul-subduing pathos of funeral service; for who is so fortunate as never to have followed some one he has loved to the tomb? but when performed over the remains of innocence and beauty, thus laid low in the bloom of existence—what can be more affecting? At that simple, but most solemn consignment of the body to the grave—"Earth to earth—ashes to ashes—dust to dust!"—the tears of the youthful companions of the deceased flowed unrestrained. The father still seemed to struggle with his feelings, and to comfort himself with the assurance, that the dead are blessed which die in the Lord; but the mother only thought of her child as a flower of the field cut down and withered in the midst of its sweetness: she was like Rachel, "mourning over her children, and would not be comforted."

On returning to the inn I learnt the whole story of the deceased. It was a simple one, and such as has often been told. She had been the beauty and pride of the village. Her father had once been as opulent farmer, but was reduced in circumstances. This was an only child, and brought up entirely at home, in the simplicity of rural life. She had been the pupil of the village pastor, the favourite of his little flock. The good man watched over her education with paternal care; it was limited, and suitable to the sphere in which she was to move; for he only sought to make her an ornament to her station in life, not to raise her above it. The tenderness and indulgence of her parents, and the exemption from all ordinary occupations, had fostered a natural grace and delicacy of character, that accorded with the fragile loveliness of her form. She appeared like some tender plant of the garden, blooming accidentally amid the hardier natives of the fields.

The superiority of her charms was felt and acknowledged by her companions, but without envy; for it was surpassed by the unassuming gentleness and winning kindness of her manners. It might be truly said of her:

"This is the prettiest low-born lass, that ever Ran on the green-sward: nothing she does or seems, But smacks of something greater than herself; Too noble for this place."

The village was one of those sequestered spots, which still retain some vestiges of old English customs. It had its rural festivals and holyday pastimes, and still kept up some faint observance of the once popular rites of May. These, indeed, had been promoted by its present pastor; who was a lover of old customs, and one of those simple Christians that think their mission fulfilled by promoting joy on earth and good-will among mankind. Under his auspices the may-pole stood from year to year in the centre of the village green: on May-day it was decorated with garlands and streamers; and a queen or lady of the May was appointed, as in former times, to preside at the sports, and distribute the prizes and rewards. The picturesque situation of the village, and the fancifulness of its rustic fetes, would often attract the notice of casual visiters. Among these, on one May-day was a young officer, whose regiment had been recently quartered in the neighbourhood. He was charmed with the native taste that pervaded this village pageant; but, above all, with the dawning loveliness of the queen of May. It was the village favourite, who was crowned with flowers, and blushing and smiling in all the beautiful confusion of girlish diffidence and delight. The artlessness of rural habits enabled him readily to make her acquaintance; he gradually won his way into her intimacy; and paid his court to her in that unthinking way in which young officers are too apt to trifle with rustic simplicity.

There was nothing in his advances to startle or alarm. He never even talked of love: but there are modes of making it more eloquent than language, and which convey it subtilely and irresistibly into the heart. The beam of the eye, the tone of the voice, the thousand tendernesses which emanate from every word, and look, and action—these form the true eloquence of love, and can almost be felt and understood, but never described. Can we wonder that they should readily win a heart young, guileless, and susceptible? As to her, she loved almost unconsciously; she scarcely inquired what was the growing passion that was absorbing every thought and feeling or what were to be its consequences. She, indeed, looked not to the future. When present, his looks and words occupied her whole attention; when absent, she thought, but of what had passed at their recent interview. She would wander with him through the green lanes and rural scenes of the vicinity. He taught her to see new beauties in nature; he talked in the language of polite and cultivated life, and breathed into her ear the witcheries of romance and poetry.

Perhaps there could not have been a passion, between the sexes, more pure than this innocent girl's. The gallant figure of her youthful admirer, and the splendour of his military attire, might at first have charmed her eye; but it was not these that had captivated her heart. Her attachment had something in it of idolatry. She looked up to him as to a being of a superior order. She felt in his society the enthusiasm of a mind naturally delicate and poetical, and now first awakened to a keen perception of the beautiful and grand. Of the sordid distinctions of rank and fortune she thought nothing; it was the difference of intellect, of demeanour, of manners, from those of the rustic society to which she had been accustomed, that elevated him in her opinion. She would listen to him with charmed ear and downcast look of mute delight, and her cheek would mantle with enthusiasm: or if ever she ventured a shy glance of timid admiration, it was as quickly withdrawn, and she would sigh and blush at the idea of her comparative unworthiness.

Her lover was equally impassioned; but his passion was mingled with feelings of a coarser nature. He had begun the connexion in levity; for he had often heard his brother officers boast of their village conquests, and thought some triumph of the kind necessary to his reputation as a man of spirit. But he was too full of youthful fervour. His heart had not yet been rendered sufficiently cold and selfish by a wandering and a dissipated life: it caught fire from the very flame it sought to kindle; and before he was aware of the nature of his situation, he became really in love.

What was he to do? There were the old obstacles which so incessantly occur in these heedless attachments. His rank in life—the prejudices of titled connexions— his dependence upon a proud and unyielding father—all forbade him to think of matrimony:—but when he looked down upon this innocent being, so tender and confiding, there was a purity in her manners, a blamelessness in her life, and a beseeching modesty in her looks that awed down every licentious feeling. In vain did he try to fortify himself by a thousand heartless examples of men of fashion; and to chill the glow of generous sentiment, with that cold derisive levity with which he had heard them talk of female virtue; whenever he came into her presence, she was still surrounded by that mysterious, but impressive charm of virgin purity, in whose hallowed sphere no guilty thought can live.

The sudden arrival of orders for the regiment to repair to the continent completed the confusion of his mind. He remained for a short time in a state of the most painful irresolution; he hesitated to communicate the tidings, until the day of marching was at hand; when he gave her the intelligence in the course of an evening ramble.

The idea of parting had never before occurred to her. It broke at once upon her dream of felicity; she looked upon it as a sudden and insurmountable evil, and wept with the guileless simplicity of a child. He drew her to his bosom, and kissed the tears from her soft cheek; nor did he meet with a repulse; for there are moments of mingled sorrow and tenderness, which hallow the caresses of affection. He was naturally impetuous; and the sight of beauty, apparently yielding in his arms; the confidence of his power over her; and the dread of losing her for ever; all conspired to overwhelm his better feelings—he ventured to propose that she should leave her home, and be the companion of his fortunes.

He was quite a novice in seduction, and blushed and faltered at his own baseness; but so innocent of mind was his intended victim, that she was at first at a loss to comprehend his meaning; and why she should leave her native village and the humble roof of her parents? When at last the nature of his proposal flashed upon her pure mind, the effect was withering. She did not weep— she did not break forth into reproach—she said not a word— but she shrunk back aghast as from a viper; gave him a look of anguish that pierced to his very soul; and clasping her hands in agony, fled, as if for refuge, to her father's cottage.

The officer retired, confounded, humiliated, and repentant. It is uncertain what might have been the result of the conflict of his feelings, had not his thoughts been diverted by the bustle of departure. New scenes, new pleasures, and new companions, soon dissipated his self-reproach, and stifled his tenderness; yet, amidst the stir of camps, the revelries of garrisons, the array of armies, and even the din of battles, his thoughts would sometimes steal back to the scene of rural quiet and village simplicity— the white cottage—the footpath along the silver brook and up the hawthorn hedge, and the little village maid loitering along it, leaning on his arm, and listening to him with eyes beaming with unconscious affection.

The shock which the poor girl had received, in the destruction of all her ideal world, had indeed been cruel. Faintings and hysterics, had at first shaken her tender frame, and were succeeded by a settled and pining melancholy. She had beheld from her window the march of the departing troops. She had seen her faithless lover borne off, as if in triumph, amidst the sound of drum and trumpet, and the pomp of arms. She strained a last aching gaze after him, as the morning sun glittered about his figure, and his plume waved in the breeze: he passed away like a bright vision from her sight and left her all in darkness.

It would be trite to dwell on the particulars of her after-story. It was, like other tales of love, melancholy. She avoided society, and wandered out alone in the walks she had most frequented with her lover. She sought, like the stricken deer, to weep in silence and loneliness, and brood over the barbed sorrow that rankled in her soul. Sometimes she would be seen late of an evening sitting in the porch of the village church; and the milkmaids, returning from the fields, would now and then overhear her, singing some plaintive ditty in the hawthorn walk. She became fervent in her devotions at church: and as the old people saw her approach, so wasted away, yet with a hectic bloom, and that hallowed air which melancholy diffuses round the form, they would make way for her, as for a thing spiritual, and, looking after her, would shake their heads in gloomy foreboding.

She felt a conviction that she was hastening to the tomb, but looked forward to it as a place of rest. The silver cord that had bound her to existence was loosed, and there seemed to be no more pleasure under the sun. If ever her gentle bosom had entertained resentment against her lover, it was extinguished. She was incapable of angry passions; and in a moment of saddened tenderness, she penned him a farewell letter. It was couched in the simplest language; but touching from its very simplicity. She told him that she was dying, and did not conceal from him that his conduct was the cause. She even depicted the sufferings which she had experienced; but concluded with saying, that she could not die in peace, until she had sent him her forgiveness and her blessing,

By degrees her strength declined, so that she could no longer leave the cottage. She could only totter to the window, where, propped up in her chair, it was her enjoyment to sit all day and look out upon the landscape. Still she uttered no complaint, nor imparted to any one the malady that was preying upon her heart. She never even mentioned her lover's name; but would lay her head on her mother's bosom and weep in silence. Her poor parents hung in mute anxiety over this fading blossom of their hopes, still flattering themselves that it might again revive to freshness, and that the bright unearthly bloom which sometimes flushed her cheek might be the promise of returning health.

In this way she was seated between them one Sunday afternoon; her hands were clasped in theirs, the lattice was thrown open, and the soft air that stole in brought with it the fragrance of the clustering honeysuckle which her own hands had trained round the window.

Her father had just been reading a chapter in the Bible: it spoke of the vanity of worldly things and of the joys of heaven: it seemed to have diffused comfort and serenity through her bosom. Her eye was fixed on the distant village church; the bell had tolled for the evening service; the last villager was lagging into the porch and every thing had sunk into that hallowed stillness peculiar to the day of rest. Her parents were gazing on her with yearning hearts. Sickness and sorrow, which pass so roughly over some faces, had given her's the expression of a seraph's. A tear trembled in her soft blue eye. Was she thinking of her faithless lover?—or were her thoughts wandering to that distant church-yard, into whose bosom she might soon be gathered?

Suddenly the clang of hoofs was heard—a horseman galloped to the cottage—he dismounted before the window— the poor girl gave a faint exclamation, and sunk back in her chair;—it was her repentant lover! He rushed into the house, and flew to clasp her to his bosom; but her wasted form—her death-like countenance— so wan, yet so lovely in its desolation,—smote him to the soul, and he threw himself in an agony at her feet. She was too faint to rise—She attempted to extend her trembling hand—her lips moved as if she spoke, but no word was articulated—she looked down upon him with a smile of unutterable tenderness,—and closed her eyes for ever!

Such are the particulars which I gathered of this village story. They are but scanty, and I am conscious have little novelty to recommend them. In the present rage also for strange incident and high-seasoned narrative, they may appear trite and insignificant, but they interested me strongly at the time; and, taken in connexion with the affecting ceremony which I just witnessed, left a deeper impression on my mind than many circumstances of a more striking nature. I have passed through the place since, and visited the church again, from a better motive than mere curiosity. It was a wintry evening; the trees were stripped of their foliage; the church-yard looked naked and mournful, and the wind rustled coldly through the dry grass. Evergreens, however, had been planted about the grave of the village favourite, and osiers were bent over it to keep the turf uninjured.

The church door was open, and I stepped in. There hung the chaplet of flowers and the gloves as on the day of the funeral: the flowers were withered, it is true, but care seemed to have been taken that no dust should soil their whiteness. I have seen many monuments, where art has exhausted its powers to awaken the sympathy of the spectator; but I have met with none that spoke more touchingly to my heart, than this simple, but delicate memento of departed innocence.


The family meeting was warm and affectionate; as the evening was far advanced, the Squire would not permit us to change our travelling dresses, but ushered us at once to the company, which was assembled in a large old-fashioned hall. It was composed of different branches of a numerous family connexion, where there were the usual proportion of old uncles and aunts, comfortable married dames, superannuated spinsters, blooming country cousins, half-fledged striplings, and bright-eyed boarding school hoydens. They were variously occupied; some at a round game of cards; others conversing around the fire-place; at one end of the hall was a group of the young folks, some nearly grown up, others of a more tender and budding age, fully engrossed by a merry game; and a profusion of wooden horses, penny trumpets, and tattered dolls about the floor, showed traces of a troop of little fairy beings, who having frolicked through a happy day, had been carried off to slumber through a peaceful night.


The mirth of the company was greatly promoted by the humours of an eccentric personage whom Mr. Bracebridge always addressed with the quaint appellation of Master Simon. He was a tight brisk little man, with the air of an arrant old bachelor. His nose was shaped like the bill of a parrot; his face slightly pitted with the small pox, with a dry perpetual bloom on it, like a frost-bitten leaf in autumn. He had an eye of great quickness and vivacity, with a drollery and lurking waggery of expression that was irresistible. He was evidently the wit of the family, dealing very much in sly jokes and innuendoes with the ladies, and making infinite merriment by harpings upon old themes; which, unfortunately, my ignorance of the family chronicles did not permit me to enjoy. It seemed to be his great delight during supper to keep a young girl next him in a continual agony of stifled laughter, in spite of her awe of the reproving looks of her mother, who sat opposite. Indeed, he was the idol of the younger part of the company, who laughed at every thing he said or did, and at every turn of his countenance. I could not wonder at it; for he must have been a miracle of accomplishments in their eyes. He could imitate Punch and Judy; make an old woman of his hand, with the assistance of a burnt cork and pocket handkerchief: and cut an orange into such a ludicrous caricature, that the young folks were ready to die with laughing.


Like as a mighty grampus, who, though assailed and buffeted by roaring waves and brawling surges, still keeps on an undeviating course; and though overwhelmed by boisterous billows, still emerges from the troubled deep, spouting and blowing with tenfold violence—so did the inflexible Peter pursue, unwavering, his determined career, and rise contemptuous above the clamours of the rabble.


Resolutely bent, however, upon defending his beloved city, in despite even of itself, he called unto him his trusty Van Corlear, who was his right-hand man in all times of emergency. Him did he adjure to take his war-denouncing trumpet, and mounting his horse, to beat up the country, night and day—sounding the alarm along the pastoral borders of the Bronx—startling the wild solitudes of Croton—arousing the rugged yeomanry of Wee-hawk and Hoboken—the mighty men of battle of Tappan Bay [15];—and the brave boys of Tarry town and Sleepy hollow—together with all the other warriors of the country round about; charging them one and all, to sling their powder horns, shoulder their fowling-pieces, and march merrily down to the Manhattoes.

Now there was nothing in all the world, the divine sex excepted, that Anthony Van Corlear loved better than errands of this kind. So, just stopping to take a lusty dinner, and bracing to his side his junk-bottle, well charged with heart-inspiring Hollands, he issued jollily from the city gate that looked out upon what is at present called Broad-way; sounding as usual a farewell strain, that rung in sprightly echoes through the winding streets of New-Amsterdam—Alas! never more were they to be gladdened by the melody of their favourite trumpeter!

It was a dark and stormy night when the good Anthony arrived at the famous creek (sagely denominated Harlem river) which separates the island of Manna-hata from the main land. The wind was high, the elements were in an uproar, and no Charon could be found to ferry the adventurous sounder of brass across the water. For a short time he vapoured like an impatient ghost upon the brink, and then, bethinking himself of the urgency of his errand, took a hearty embrace of his stone bottle, swore most valorously, that he would swim across, en spijt den duyvel (in spite of the devil!) and daringly plunged into the stream.—Luckless Anthony! scarce had he buffeted half-way over, when he was observed to struggle violently, as if battling with the spirit of the waters—instinctively he put his trumpet to his mouth, and giving a vehement blast, sunk for ever to the bottom!

The potent clangour of his trumpet, like the ivory horn of the renowned Paladin Orlando, when expiring in the glorious field of Roncesvalles, rung far and wide through the country, alarming the neighbours round, who hurried in amazement to the spot.—Here an old Dutch burgher, famed for his veracity, and who had been a witness of the fact, related to them the melancholy affair; with the fearful addition (to which I am slow of giving belief,) that he saw the duyvel, in the shape of a huge moss-bonker, seize the sturdy Anthony by the leg, and drag him beneath the waves. Certain it is, the place, with the adjoining promontory, which projects into the Hudson, has been called Spijt den duyvel or Spiking duyvel ever since,— the restless ghost of the unfortunate Anthony still haunts the surrounding solitudes, and his trumpet has often been heard by the neighbours, of a stormy night, mingling with the howling of the blast. Nobody ever attempts to swim over the creek after dark; on the contrary, a bridge has been built to guard against such melancholy accidents in future—and as to moss-bonkers, they are held in such abhorrence that no true Dutchman will admit them to his table, who loves good fish, and hates the devil.

Such was the end of Anthony Van Corlear—a man deserving of a better fate. He lived roundly and soundly, like a true and jolly bachelor, until the day of his death; but though he was never married, yet did he leave behind, some two or three dozen children, in different parts of the country—fine chubby, brawling flatulent little urchins, from whom, if legends speak true (and they are not apt to lie,) did descend the innumerable race of editors, who people and defend this country, and who are bountifully paid by the people for keeping up a constant alarm—and making them miserable. Would that they inherited the worth, as they do the wind, of their renowned progenitor!

[15] A corruption of Top paun; so called from a tribe of Indians which boasted of 150 fighting men. See Ogilvie's History.


The tidings of this lamentable catastrophe imparted a severer pang to the bosom of Peter Stuyvesant than did even the invasion of his beloved Amsterdam. It came ruthlessly home to those sweet affections that grow close around the heart, and are nourished by its warmest current. As some lone pilgrim wandering in trackless wastes while the tempest whistles through his locks, and dreary night is gathering around, sees stretched, cold and lifeless, his faithful dog—the sole companion of his journeying— who had shared his solitary meal, and so often licked his hand in humble gratitude;—so did the generous-hearted hero of the Manhattoes contemplate the untimely end of his faithful Anthony. He had been the humble attendant of his footsteps—he had cheered him in many a heavy hour, by his honest gaiety; and had followed him in loyalty and affection, through many a scene of direful peril and mishap. He was gone for ever— and that too at a moment when every mongrel cur seemed skulking from his side.

The dignified Retirement and mortal Surrender of Peter the Headstrong.

Thus then have I concluded this great historical enterprise; but, before I lay aside my weary pen, there yet remains to be performed one pious duty. If among the variety of readers that may peruse this book, there should haply be found any of those souls of true nobility, which glow with celestial fire, at the history of the generous and the brave, they will doubtless be anxious to know the fate of the gallant Peter Stuyvesant. To gratify one such sterling heart of gold I would go more lengths than to instruct the cold-blooded curiosity of a whole fraternity of philosophers.

No sooner had that high-mettled cavalier signed the articles of capitulation, than, determined not to witness the humiliation of his favourite city, he turned his back on its walls, and made a growling retreat to his Bouwery, or country-seat, which was situated about two miles off; where he passed the remainder of his days in patriarchal retirement. There he enjoyed that tranquillity of mind which he had never known amid the distracting cares of government; and tasted the sweets of absolute and uncontrolled authority, which his factious subjects had so often dashed with the bitterness of opposition.

No persuasions could ever induce him to revisit the city— on the contrary, he would always have his great arm-chair placed with its back to the windows which looked in that direction; until a thick grove of trees planted by his own hand grew up and formed a screen that effectually excluded it from the prospect. He railed continually at the degenerate innovations and improvements introduced by the conquerors—forbade a word of their detested language to be spoken in his family, a prohibition readily obeyed, since none of the household could speak any thing but Dutch—and even ordered a fine avenue to be cut down in front of his house, because it consisted of English cherry trees.

The same incessant vigilance, that blazed forth when he had a vast province under his care, now showed itself with equal vigour, though in narrower limits. He patrolled with unceasing watchfulness around the boundaries of his little territory; repelled every encroachment with intrepid promptness; punished every vagrant depredation upon his orchard or his farm yard with inflexible severity; and conducted every stray hog or cow in triumph to the pound. But to the indigent neighbour, the friendless stranger, or the weary wanderer, his spacious door was ever open, and his capacious fire-place, that emblem of his own warm and generous heart, had always a corner to receive and cherish them. There was an exception to this, I must confess, in case the ill-starred applicant was an Englishman or a Yankee; to whom, though he might extend the hand of assistance, he could never be brought to yield the rites of hospitality. Nay, if peradventure some straggling merchant of the east, should stop at his door, with his cart load of tin ware or wooden bowls, the fiery Peter would issue forth like a giant from his castle, and make such a furious clattering among his pots and kettles, tht the vender of "notions" was fain to betake himself to instant flight.

His ancient suit of regimentals, worn threadbare by the brush, were carefully hung up in the state bedchamber, and regularly aired the first fair day of every month; and his cocked hat and trusty sword were suspended in grim repose over the parlour mantlepiece, forming supporters to a full length portrait of the renowned Admiral Von Tromp. In his domestic empire he maintained strick discipline, and a well organized despotic government; but though his own will was the supreme law, yet the good of his subjects was his constant object. He watched over, not merely their immediate comforts, but their morals, and their ultimate welfare; for he gave them abundance of excellent admonition, nor could any of them complain, that, when occasion required, he was by any means niggardly in bestowing wholesome correction.

The good old Dutch festivals, those periodical demonstrations of an overflowing heart and a thankful spirit, which are falling into sad disuse among my fellow-citizens, were faithfully observed in the mansion of Governor Stuyvesant. New-year was truly a day of open-handed liberality, of jocund revelry, and warm-hearted congratulation— when the bosom seemed to swell with genial good-fellowship; and the plenteous table was attended with an unceremonious freedom, and honest broad-mouthed merriment, unknown in these days of degeneracy and refinement. Paas and Pinxter were scrupulously observed throughout his dominions; nor was the day of St. Nicholas suffered to pass by without making presents, hanging the stocking in the chimney, and complying with all its other ceremonies.

Once a year, on the first day of April, he used to array himself in full regimentals, being the anniversary of his triumphal entry into New-Amsterdam, after the conquest of New-Sweden. This was always a kind of Saturnalia among the domestics, when they considered themselves at liberty in some measure to say and do what they pleased; for on this day their master was always observed to unbend, and become exceedingly pleasant and jocose, sending the old gray-headed negroes on April fools' errands for pigeon's milk; not one of whom but allowed himself to be taken in, and humoured his old master's jokes as became a faithful and well disciplined dependant. Thus did he reign, happily and peacefully on his own land—injuring no man—envying no man—molested by no outward strifes— perplexed by no internal commotions; and the mighty monarchs of the earth, who were vainly seeking to maintain peace, and promote the welfare of mankind, by war and desolation, would have done well to have made a voyage to the little island of Manna-hatta, and learned a lesson in government from the domestic economy of Peter Stuyvesant.

In process of time, however, the old governor, like all other children of mortality, began to exhibit evident tokens of decay. Like an aged oak, which, though it long has braved the fury of the elements, and still retains its gigantic proportions, yet begins to shake and groan with every blast—so the gallant Peter, though he still bore the port and semblance of what he was in the days of his hardihood and chivalry, yet did age and infirmity begin to sap the vigour of his frame; but his heart, that most unconquerable citadel, still triumphed unsubdued. With matchless avidity would he listen to every article of intelligence concerning the battles between the English and Dutch.— Still would his pulse beat high whenever he heard of the victories of De Ruyter; and his countenance lower, and his eyebrows knit, when fortune turned in favour of the English. At length, as on a certain day, he had just smoked his fifth pipe, and was napping after dinner, in his arm-chair, conquering the whole British nation in his dreams, he was suddenly aroused by a fearful ringing of bells, rattling of drums, and roaring of cannon, that put all his blood in a ferment. But when he learned that these rejoicings were in honour of a great victory obtained by the combined English and French fleets over the brave De Ruyter and the younger Von Tromp, it went so much to his heart, that he took to his bed, and in less than three days was brought to death's door by a violent cholera morbus! But even in this extremity he still displayed the unconquerable spirit of Peter the Headstrong; holding out, to the last gasp, with the most inflexible obstinacy, against a whole army of old women, who were bent upon driving the enemy out of his bowels, after a true Dutch mode of defence, by inundating the seat of war with catnip and pennyroyal.

While he thus lay, lingering on the verge of dissolution, news was brought him, that the brave Ruyter had suffered but little loss—had made good his retreat—and meant once more to meet the enemy in battle. The closing eye of the old warrior kindled at the words—he partly raised himself in bed—a flash of martial fire beamed across his visage— he clenched his withered hand as if he felt within his gripe that sword which waved in triumph before the walls of Fort Christina, and, giving a grim smile of exultation, sunk back upon his pillow, and expired.

Thus died Peter Stuyvesant, a valiant soldier, a loyal subject, an upright governor, and an honest Dutchman— who wanted only a few empires to desolate to have been immortalized as a hero!

His funeral obsequies were celebrated with the utmost grandeur and solemnity. The town was perfectly emptied of its inhabitants, who crowded in throngs to pay the last sad honours to their good old governor. All his sterling qualities rushed in full tide upon their recollections, while the memory of his foibles and his faults had expired with him. The ancient burghers contended who should have the privilege of bearing the pall—the populace strove who should walk nearest to the bier—and the melancholy procession was closed by a number of gray-headed negroes, who had wintered and summered in the household of their departed master for the greater part of a century.

With sad and gloomy countenances, the multitude gathered round the grave. They dwelt with mournful hearts on the sturdy virtues, the signal services, and the gallant exploits of the brave old worthy. They recalled with secret upbraidings, their own factious oppositions to his government—and many an ancient burgher, whose phlegmatic features had never been known to relax, nor his eyes to moisten, was now observed to puff a pensive pipe, and the big drop to steal down his cheek—while he muttered, with affectionate accent and melancholy shake of the head—"Well den!—Hard-Koppig Peter ben gone at last."

His remains were deposited in the family vault, under a chapel, which he had piously erected on his estate, and dedicated to St. Nicholas—and which stood on the identical spot at present occupied by St. Mark's Church, where his tombstone is still to be seen. His estate, or Bouwery, as it was called, has ever continued in the possession of his descendants; who by the uniform integrity of their conduct, and their strict adherence to the customs and manners that prevailed in the "good old times," have proved themselves worthy of their illustrious ancestor. Many a time and oft has the farm been haunted at night by enterprising money diggers, in quest of pots of gold said to have been buried by the old governor—though I cannot learn that any of them have ever been enriched by their researches—and who is there, among my native-born fellow citizens, that does not remember, when in the mischievous days of his boyhood, he conceived it a great exploit to rob "Stuyvesant's orchard" on a holiday afternoon?

At this strong hold of the family may still be seen certain memorials of the immortal Peter. His full length portrait frowns in martial terrors from the parlour wall— his cocked hat and sword still hang up in the best bed-room. His brimstone coloured breeches were for a long while suspended in the hall, until some years since they occasioned a dispute between a new married couple. And his silver mounted wooden leg is still treasured up in the store room as an invaluable relique.


And now the rosy blush of morn began to mantle in the east, and soon the rising sun, emerging from amidst golden and purple clouds, shed his blythesome rays on the tin weathercocks of Communipaw. It was that delicious season of the year, when nature, breaking from the chilling thraldom of old winter, like a blooming damsel from the tyranny of a sordid father, threw herself, blushing with ten thousand charms, into the arms of youthful spring. Every tufted copse and blooming grove resounded with the notes of hymeneal love. The very insects, as they sipped the dew that gemmed the tender grass of the meadows, joined in the joyous epithalanium—the virgin bud timidly put forth its blushes, "the voice of the turtle was heard in the land," and the heart of man dissolved away in tenderness.


I am aware that I shall incur the censure of numerous very learned and judicious critics, for indulging too frequently in the bold excursive manner of my favourite Herodotus. And to be candid, I have found it impossible always to resist the allurements of those pleasing episodes which, like flowery banks and fragrant bowers, beset the dusty road of the historian, and entice him to turn aside and refresh himself from his wayfaring. But I trust it will be found that I have always resumed my staff, and addressed myself to my weary journey with renovated spirits, so that both my readers and myself have been benefited by the relaxation.

Indeed, though it has been my constant wish and uniform endeavour to rival Polybius himself, in observing the requisite unity of History, yet the loose and unconnected manner in which many of the facts herein recorded have come to hand, rendered such an attempt extremely difficult. This difficulty was likewise increased by one of the grand objects contemplated in my work, which was to trace the rise of sundry customs and institutions in this best of cities, and to compare them when in the germ of infancy with what they are in the present old age of knowledge and improvement.

But the chief merit on which I value myself, and found my hopes for future regard, is that faithful veracity with which I have compiled this invaluable little work; carefully winnowing away the chaff of hypothesis, and discarding the tares of fable, which are too apt to spring up and choke the seeds of truth and wholesome knowledge.—Had I been anxious to captivate the superficial throng, who skim like swallows over the surface of literature; or had I been anxious to commend my writings to the pampered palates of literary epicures— I might have availed myself of the obscurity that over-shadows the infant years of our city, to introduce a thousand pleasing fictions. But I have serupulously discarded many a pithy tale and marvellous adventure, whereby the drowsy air of summer indolence might be enthralled; jealously maintaining that fidelity, gravity, and dignity which should ever distinguish the historian.


I rose and prepared to leave the abbey. As I descended the flight of steps which lead into the body of the building, my eye was caught by the shrine of Edward the Confessor, and I ascended the small staircase that conducts to it, to take from thence a general survey of this wilderness of tombs. The shrine is elevated upon a kind of platform, and close around it are the sepulchres of various kings and queens. From this eminence the eye looks down between pillars and funeral trophics to the chapels and chambers below, crowded with tombs; where warriors, prelates, courtiers and statesmen lie mouldering in their "beds of darkness." Close by me stood the great chair of coronation, rudely carved of oak, in the barbarous taste of a remote and gothic age. The scene seemed almost as if contrived, with theatrical artifice, to produce an effect on the beholder. Here was a type of the beginning and the end of human pomp and power; here it was literally but a step from the throne to the sepulchre. Would not one think that these incongruous mementos had been gathered together as a lesson to living greatness?—to shew it, even in the moment of its proudest exaltation, the neglect and dishonour to which it must soon arrive; how soon that crown which encircles its brow must pass away; and it must lie down in the dust and disgraces of the tomb, and be trampled upon by the feet of the meanest of the multitude. For, strange to tell, even the grave is here no longer a sanctuary. There is a shocking levity in some natures, which leads them to sport with awful and hallowed things, and there are base minds, which delight to revenge on the illustrious dead the abject homage and grovelling servility which they pay to the living. The coffin of Edward the Confessor has been broken open, and his remains despoiled of their funeral ornaments; the sceptre has been stolen from the hand of the imperious Elizabeth, and the effigy of Henry the Fifth lies headless. Not a royal monument but bears some proof how false and fugitive is the homage of mankind. Some are plundered; some mutilated; some covered with rihaldry and insult—all more or less outraged and dishonoured!

The last beams of day were now faintly streaming through the painted windows in the high vaults above me; the lower parts of the abbey were already wrapped in the obscurity of twilight. The chapels and aisles grew darker and darker. The effigies of the kings faded into shadows; the marble figures of the monuments assumed strange shapes in the uncertain light; the evening breeze crept through the aisles like the cold breath of the grave; and even the distant footfall of a verger, traversing the Poet's Corner, had something strange and dreary in its sound. I slowly retraced my morning's walk, and as I passed out at the portal of the cloisters, the door, closing with a jarring noise behind me, filled the whole building with echoes.

I endeavoured to form some arrangement in my mind of the objects I had been contemplating, but found they were already falling into indistinctness and confusion. Names, inscriptions, trophies, had all become confounded in my recollection, though I had scarcely taken my foot from off the threshold. What, thought I, is this vast assemblage of sepulchres but a treasury of humiliation; a huge pile of reiterated homilies on the emptiness of renown, and the certainty of oblivion! It is, indeed, the empire of death; his great shadowy palace; where he sits in state, mocking at the reliques of human glory, and spreading dust and forgetfulness on the monuments of princes. How idle a boast, after all, is the immortality of a name! Time is ever silently turning over his pages; we are too much engrossed by the story of the present, to think of the characters and anecdotes that gave interest to the past; and each age is a volume thrown aside to be speedily forgotten. The idol of to-day pushes the hero of yesterday out of our recollection; and will, in turn, be supplanted by his successor of to-morrow.


In the ever memorable year of our Lord, 1609, on a Saturday morning, the five and twentieth day of March, old style, did that "worthy and irrecoverable discoverer (as he has justly been called,) Master Henry Hudson," set sail from Holland in a stout vessel called the Half Moon, being employed by the Dutch East India Company, to seek a north-west passage to China.

Henry, (or as the Dutch historians call him, Hendrick) Hudson was a seafaring man of renown, who had learned to smoke tobacco under Sir Walter Raleigh, and is said to have been the first to introduce it into Holland, which gained him much popularity in that country, and caused him to find great favour in the eyes of their High Mightinesses, the lords states-general, and also of the honourable West India Company. He was a short, square, brawny old gentleman, with a double chin, a mastiff mouth, and a broad copper nose, which was supposed in those days to have acquired its fiery hue from the constant neighbourhood of his tobacco pipe.

He wore a true Andrea Ferrara tucked in a leathern belt, and a commodore's cocked hat on one side of his head. He was remarkable for always jerking up his breeches when he gave out his orders, and his voice sounded not unlike the brattling of a tin trumpet, owing to the number of hard north-westers which he had swallowed in the course of his seafaring.

Such was Hendrick Hudson, of whom we have heard so much and know so little; and I have been thus particular in his description, for the benefit of modern painters and statuaries, that they may represent him as he was; and not, according to their common custom, with modern heroes, make them look like Cæsar, or Marcus Aurelius, or the Apolla of Belvidere.


As chief mate and favourite companion, the commodore chose Master Robert Juet, of Limehouse, in England. By some his name has been spelled Chewit, and ascribed to the circumstance of his having been the first man that ever chewed tobacco; but this I believe to be a mere flippancy; more especially as certain of his progeny are living at this day, who write their names Juet. He was an old comrade and early school-mate of the great Hudson, with whom he had often played truant and sailed chip boats in a neighbouring pond, when they were little boys; from whence it is said the commodore first derived his bias towards a seafaring life. Certain it is, that the old people about Limehouse declared Robert Juet to be an unlucky urchin, prone to mischief, that would one day or other come to the gallows.

He grew up as boys of that kind often grow up, a rambling heedless varlet, tossed about in all quarters of the world—meeting with more perils and wonders than did Sinbad the sailor, without growing a whit more wise, prudent, or ill-natured. Under every misfortune he comforted himself with a quid of tobacco, and the true philosophic maxim, that "it will be all the same thing a hundred years hence." He was skilled in the art of carving anchors and true lovers' knots on the bulk-heads and quarter-railings, and was considered a great wit on board ship, in consequence of his playing pranks on every body around, and now and then even making a wry face at old Hendrick, when his back was turned.

To this universal genius we are indebted for many particulars concerning this voyage, of which he wrote a history, at the request of the commodore, who had an unconquerable aversion to writing hinself, from having received so many floggings about it when at school. To supply the deficiencies of Master Juet's Journal which is written with true log book brevity, I have availed myself of divers family traditions, handed down from my great great grandfather, who accompanied the expedition in the capacity of cabin boy.


Suffice it then to say, the voyage was prosperous and tranquil—the crew being a patient people, much given to slumber and vacuity, and but little troubled with the disease of thinking—a malady of the mind, which is the sure breeder of discontent. Hudson had laid in abundance of gin and sour crout, and every man was allowed to sleep quietly at his post unless the wind blew. True it is, some slight dissatisfaction was shown on two or three occasions, at certain unreasonable conduct of Commodore Hudson. Thus, for instance, he forbore to shorten sail when the wind was light, and the weather serene, which was considered among the most experienced Dutch seamen, as certain weather breeders, or prognostics, that the weather would change for the worse. He acted, moreover in direct contradiction to that ancient and sage rule of the Dutch navigators, who always took in sail at night; put the helm aport, and turned in; by which precaution they had a good night's rest, were sure of knowing where they were the next morning, and stood but little chance of running down a continent in the dark. He likewise prohibited the seamen from wearing more than five jackets, and six pair of breeches, under pretence of rendering them more alert; and no man was permitted to go aloft, and hand in sails, with a pipe in his mouth, as is the invariable Dutch custom at the present day. All these grievances, though they might ruffle for a moment the constitutional tranquillity of the honest Dutch tars, made but a transient impression; they ate hugely, drank profusely, and slept immeasurably; and being under the especial guidance of providence, the ship was safely conducted to the coast of America; where, after sundry unimportant touchings and standings off and on, she at length, on the fourth day of September, entered that majestic bay, which at this day expands its ample bosom before the city of New-York, and which had never before been visited by any European.


To Asem Hacchem, principal Slave-driver to his Highness the Bashaw of Tripoli. -

Though I am often disgusted, my good Asem, with the vices and absurdities of the men of this country, yet the women afford me a world of amusement. Their lively prattle is as diverting as the chattering of the red-tailed parrot, nor can the green-headed monkey of Timandi equal them in whim and playfulness. But, notwithstanding these valuable qualifications, I am sorry to observe they are not treated with half the attention bestowed on the before-mentioned animals. These infidels put their parrots in cages and chain their monkeys; but their women, instead of being carefully shut up in harems and seraglios, are abandoned to the direction of their own reason, and suffered to run about in perfect freedom, like other domestic animals: this comes, Asem, of treating their women as rational beings, and allowing them souls. The consequence of this piteous neglect may easily be imagined;—they have degenerated into all their native wildness, are seldom to be caught at home, and, at an early age, take to the streets and highways, where they rove about in droves, giving almost as much annoyance to the peaceable people as the troops of wild dogs that infest our great cities, or the flights of locusts that sometimes spread famine and desolation over whole regions of fertility.

This propensity to relapse into pristine wildness convinces me of the untameable disposition of the sex, who may indeed be partially domesticated by a long course of confinement and restraint, but the moment they are restored to personal freedom, become wild as the young partridge of this country, which, though scarcely half hatched, will take to the fields and run about with the shell upon its back.

Notwithstanding their wildness, however, they are remarkably easy of access, and suffer themselves to be approached, at certain hours of the day, without any symptoms of apprehension; and I have even happily succeeded in detecting them at their domestic occupations. One of the most important of these consists in thumping vehemently on a kind of musical instrument, and producing a confused, hideous, and undefinable uproar, which they call the description of a battle—a jest, no doubt, for they are wonderfully facetious at times, and make great practice of passing jokes upon strangers. Sometimes they employ themselves in painting little caricatures of landscapes, wherein they will display their singular drollery in battering nature fairly out of countenance—representing her tricked out in all the tawdry finery of copper skies, purple rivers, calico rocks, red grass, clouds that look like old clothes set adrift by the tempest, and foxy trees, whose melancholy foliage, drooping and curling most fantastically, reminds me of an undressed periwig that I have now and then seen hung on a stick in a barber's window. At other times they employ themselves in acquiring a smattering of languages spoken by nations on the other side of the globe, as they find their own language not sufficiently copious to supply their constant demands, and express their multifarious ideas. But their most important domestic avocation is to embroider, on satin or muslin, flowers of a non-descript kind, in which the great art is to make them as unlike nature as possible; or to fasten little bits of silver, gold, tinsel, and glass, on long stripes of muslin, which they drag after them with much dignity whenever they go abroad—a fine lady, like a bird of paradise, being estimated by the length of her tail.

But do not, my friend, fall into the enormous error of supposing that the exercise of these arts is attended with any useful or profitable result; believe me, thou couldst not indulge an idea more unjust and injurious; for it appears to be an established maxim among the women of this country, that a lady loses her dignity when she condescends to be useful, and forfeits all rank in society the moment she can be convicted of earning a farthing. Their labours, therefore, are directed not towards supplying their household, but in decking their persons, and— generous souls!—they deck their persons, not so much to please themselves, as to gratify others, particularly strangers. I am confident thou wilt stare at this, my good Asem, accustomed as thou art to our eastern females, who shrink in blushing timidity even from the glances of a lover, and are so chary of their favours, that they even seem fearful of lavishing their smiles too profusely on their husbands. Here, on the contrary, the stranger has the first place in female regard, and, so far do they carry their hospitality, that I have seen a fine lady slight a dozen tried friends and real admirers, who lived in her smiles and made her happiness their study, merely to allure the vague and wandering glances of a stranger, who viewed her person with indifference and treated her advances with contempt.—By the whiskers of our sublime bashaw, but this is highly flattering to a foreigner! and thou mayest judge how particularly pleasing to one who is, like myself, so ardent an admirer of the sex. Far be it from me to condemn this extraordinary manifestation of good will—let their own countrymen look to that.

Be not alarmed, I conjure thee, my dear Asem, lest I should be tempted, by these beautiful barbarians, to break the faith I owe to the three-and-twenty-wives, from whom my unhappy destiny has perhaps severed me for ever;— no, Asem, neither time, nor the bitter succession of misfortunes that pursues me, can shake from my heart the memory of former attachments. I listen with tranquil heart to the strumming and prattling of these fair sirens; their whimsical paintings touch not the tender chord of my affections; and I would still defy their fascinations, though they trailed after them trains as long as the gorgeous trappings which are dragged at the heels of the holy camel of Mecca, or as the tail of the great beast in our prophet's vision, which measured three hundred and forty-nine leagues, two miles, three furlongs, and a hand's breadth in longitude.

The dress of these women is, if possible, more eccentric and whimsical than their deportment; and they take an inordinate pride in certain ornaments which are probably derived from their savage progenitors. A woman of this country, dressed out for an exhibition, is loaded with as many ornaments as a Circassian slave when brought out for sale. Their heads are tricked out with little bits of horn or shell, cut into fantastic shapes; and they seem to emulate each other in the number of these singular baubles, like the women we have seen in our journeys to Aleppo, who cover their heads with the entire shell of a tortoise, and thus equipped are the envy of all their less fortunate acquaintance. They also decorate their necks and ears with coral, gold chains, and glass beads, and load their fingers with a variety of rings; though, I must confess, I have never perceived that they wear any in their noses—as has been affirmed by many travellers. We have heard much of their painting themselves most hideously, and making use of bear's grease in great profusion—but this, I solemnly assure thee, is a misrepresentation: civilization, no doubt, having gradually extirpated these nauseous practices. It is true, I have seen two or three of these females who had disguised their features with paint, but then it was merely to give a tinge of red to their cheeks, and did not look very frightful; and as to ointment, they rarely use any now, except occasionally a little Grecian oil for their hair, which gives it a glossy, greasy, and, as they think very comely appearance. The last mentioned class of females, I take it for granted, have been but lately caught and still retain strong traits of their original savage propensities.

The most flagrant and inexcusable fault however, which I find in those lovely savages, is the shameless and abandoned exposure of their persons. Wilt not thou suspect me of exaggeration when I affirm—wilt not thou blush for them, most discreet Mussulman, when I declare to thee— that they are so lost to all sense of modesty as to expose the whole of their faces from their forehead to the chin, and they even go abroad with their hands uncovered!— Monstrous indelicacy!

But what I am going to disclose will doubtless appear to thee still more incredible. Though I cannot forbear paying a tribute of admiration to the beautiful faces of these fair infidels, yet I must give it as my firm opinion that their persons are preposterously unseemly. In vain did I look around me, on my first landing, for those divine forms of redundant proportions, which answer to the true standard of eastern beauty—not a single fat fair one could I behold among the multitudes that thronged the streets: the females that passed in review before me tripping sportively along, resembled a procession of shadows, returning to their graves at the crowing of the cock.

This meagerness I first ascribed to their excessive volubility, for I have somewhere seen it advanced by a learned doctor, that the sex were endowed with a peculiar activity of tongue, in order that they might practise talking as a healthful exercise, necessary to their confined and sedentary mode of life. This exercise, it was natural to suppose, would be carried to great excess in a logocracy. "Too true," thought I, "they have converted, what was undoubtedly meant as a beneficent gift, into a noxious habit, that steals the flesh from their bones and the rose from their cheeks—they absolutely talk themselves thin!" Judge then of my surprise when I was assured, not long since, that this meagreness was considered the perfection of personal beauty, and that many a lady starved herself, with all the obstinate perseverance of a pious dervise, into a fine figure! "Nay more," said my informer, "they will often sacrifice their healths in this eager pursuit of skeleton beauty, and drink vinegar, eat pickles, and smoke tobacco, to keep themselves within the scanty outlines of the fashions."—Faugh! Allah preserve me from such beauties, who contaminate their pure blood with noxious recipes; who impiously sacrifice the best gifts of Heaven to a preposterous and mistaken vanity. Ere long I shall not be surprised to see them scarring their faces like the negroes of Congo, flattening their noses in imitation of the Hottentots, or like the barbarians of Ab-al Timar, distorting their lips and ears out of all natural dimensions. Since I received this information, I cannot contemplate a fine figure, without thinking of a vinegar cruet; nor look at a dashing belle, without fancying her a pot of pickled cucumbers? What a difference, my friend, between those shades and the plump beauties of Tripoli,—what a contrast between an infidel fair one and my favourite wife, Fatima, whom I bought by the hundred weight, and had trundled home in a wheelbarrow!

But enough for the present; I am promised a faithful account of the arcana of a lady's toilette—a complete initiation into the arts, mysteries, spells and potions, in that the whole chemical process, by which she reduces herself down to the most fashionable standard of insignificance; together with specimens of the strait waistcoats, the lacings, the bandages, and the various ingenious instruments with which she puts nature to the rack, and tortures herself into a proper figure to be admired.

Farewell, thou sweetest of slave drivers! The echoes that repeat to a lover's ear the song of his mistress are not more soothing than tidings from those we love. Let thy answer to my letters be speedy; and never, I pray thee, for a moment, cease to watch over the prosperity of my house, and the welfare of my beloved wives. Let them want for nothing, my friend, but feed them plentifully on honey, boiled rice, and water gruel; so that when I return to the blessed land of my fathers, if that can ever be, I may find them improved in size and loveliness, and sleek as the graceful elephants that range the green valley of Abimar.

Ever thine,



When a man is quietly journeying downwards into the valley of the shadow of departed youth, and begins to contemplate in a shortened perspective the end of his pilgrimage, he becomes more solicitous than ever that the remainder of his wayfaring should be smooth and pleasant, and the evening of his life, like the evening of a summer's day, fade away in mild uninterrupted serenity. If haply his heart has escaped uninjured, through the dangers of a seductive world, it may then administer to the purest of his felicities, and its chords vibrate more musically for the trials they have sustained—like the viol which yields a melody sweet in proportion to its age.

To a mind thus temperately harmonized, thus matured and mellowed by a long lapse of years, there is something truly congenial in the quiet enjoyment of our early autumn, amid the tranquillities of the country. There is a sober and chastened air of gaiety diffused over the face of nature, peculiarly interesting to an old man; and when he views the surrounding landscape withering under his eye, it seems as if he and nature were taking a last farewell of each other, and parting with a melancholy smile—like a couple of old friends, who, having sported away the spring and summer of life together, part at the approach of winter with a kind of prophetic fear that they are never to meet again.

It is either my good fortune or mishap to be keenly susceptible to the influence of the atmosphere; and I can feel in the morning, before I open my window, whether the wind is easterly. It will not, therefore, I presume be considered an extravagant instance of vainglory when I assert, that there are few men who can discriminate more accurately in the different varieties of damps, fogs, Scotch-mists, and north-east storms, than myself. To the great discredit of my philosophy I confess, I seldom fail to anathematize and excommunicate the weather, when it sports too rudely with my sensitive system; but then I always endeavour to atone therefore, by eulogizing it when deserving of approbation. And as most of my readers, simple folk! make but one distinction, to wit, rain and sunshine—living in most honest ignorance of the various nice shades which distinguish one fine day from another— I take the trouble from time to time, of letting them into some of the secrets of nature,—so will they be the better enabled to enjoy her beauties, with the zest of connoisseurs, and derive at least as much information from my pages as from the weather-wise lore of the almanack.

Much of my recreation, since I retreated to the Hall, has consisted in making little excursions through the neighbourhood; which abounds in the variety of wild, romantic, and luxuriant landscape that generally characterizes the scenery in the vicinity of our rivers. There is not an eminence within a circuit of many miles but commands an extensive range of diversified and enchanting prospect.

Often have I rambled to the summit of some favourite hill, and thence, with feelings sweetly tranquil as the lucid expanse of the heavens that canopied me, have noted the slow and almost imperceptible changes that mark the waning year. There are many features peculiar to our autumn, and which give it an individual character: the "green and yellow melancholy" that first steals over the landscape—the mild and steady serenity of the weather, and the transparent purity of the atmosphere, speak not merely to the senses but the heart,—it is the season of liberal emotions. To this succeeds fantastic gaiety, a motley dress, which the woods assume, where green and yellow, orange, purple, crimson and scarlet, are whimsically blended together.—A sickly splendour this!—like the wild and broken-hearted gaiety that sometimes precedes dissolution, or that childish sportiveness of superannuated age, proceeding, not from a vigorous flow of animal spirits, but from the decay and imbecility of the mind. We might, perhaps, be deceived by this gaudy garb of nature, were it not for the rustling of the falling leaf, which, breaking on the stillness of the scene, seems to announce, in prophetic whispers, the dreary winter that is approaching. When I have sometimes seen a thrifty young oak changing its hue of sturdy vigour for a bright but transient glow of red, it has recalled to my mind the treacherous bloom that once mantled the cheek of a friend who is now no more; and which, while it seemed to promise a long life of jocund spirits was the sure precursor of premature decay. In a little while, and this ostentatious foliage disappears—the close of autumn leaves but one wide expanse of dusky brown, save where some rivulet steals along, bordered with little stripes of green grass—the woodland echoes no more to the carols of the feathered tribes that sported in the leafy covert, and its solitude and silence are uninterrupted except by the plaintive whistle of the quail, the barking of the squirrel, or the still more melancholy wintry wind, which, rushing and swelling through the hollows of the mountains, sighs through the leafless branches of the grove, and seems to mourn the desolation of the year.

To one who, like myself, is fond of drawing comparisons between the different divisions of life and those of the seasons, there will appear a striking analogy which connects the feelings of the aged with the decline of the year. Often as I contemplate the mild, uniform, and genial lustre with which the sun cheers and invigorates us in the month of October, and the almost imperceptible haze which, without obscuring, tempers all the asperities of the landscape, and gives to every object a character of stillness and repose, I cannot help comparing it with that portion of existence, when the spring of youthful hope and the summer of the passions having gone by, reason assumes an undisputed sway, and lights us on with bright but undazzling lustre, adown the hill of life. There is a full and mature luxuriance in the fields that fills the bosom with generous and disinterested content. It is not the thoughtless extravagance of spring, prodigal only in blossoms, nor the languid voluptuousness of summer, feverish in its enjoyments, and teeming only with immature abundance—it is that certain fruition of the labours of the past—that prospect of comfortable realities, which those will be sure to enjoy who have improved the bounteous smiles of Heaven, nor wasted away their spring and summer in empty trifling or criminal indulgence.

Cousin Pindar, who is my constant companion in these expeditions, and who still possesses much of the fire and energy of youthful sentiment, and a buxom hilarity of the spirits, often indeed draws me from these half-melancholy reveries, and makes me feel young again by the enthusiasm with which he contemplates, and the animation with which he eulogizes the beauties of nature displayed before him. His enthusiastic disposition never allows him to enjoy things by halves, and his feelings are continally breaking out in notes of admiration and ejaculations that sober reason might perhaps deem extravagant. But for my part, when I see a hale hearty old man, who has jostled through the rough path of the world, without having worn away the fine edge of his feelings, or blunted his sensibility to natural and moral beauty, I compare him to the evergreen of the forest, whose colours, instead of fading at the approach of winter, seem to assume additional lustre when contrasted with the surrounding desolation. Such a man is my friend Pindar;—yet sometimes, and particularly at the approach of evening, even he will fall in with my humour; but he soon recovers his natural tone of spirits; and, mounting on the elasticity of his mind, like Ganymede on the eagle's wing, he soars to the etherial regions of sunshine and fancy.

One afternoon we had strolled to the top of a high hill in the neighbourhood of the Hall, which commands an almost boundless prospect; and as the shadows began to lengthen around us, and the distant mountains to fade into mists, my cousin was seized with a moralizing fit. "It seems to me," said he, laying his hand lightly on my shoulder, "that there is just at this season, and this hour, a sympathy between us and the world we are now contemplating. The evening is stealing upon nature as well as upon us;—the shadows of the opening day have given place to those of its close; and the only difference is, that in the morning they were before us, now they are behind; and that the first vanished in the splendours of noon-day, the latter will be lost in the oblivion of night.— Our `May of life,' my dear Launce, has for ever fled: our summer is over and gone:—but," continued he, suddenly recovering himself and slapping me gaily on the shoulder,— "but why should we repine?—What though the capricious zephyrs of spring, the heats and hurricanes of summer, have given place to the sober sunshine of autumn— and though the woods begin to assume the dappled livery of decay! yet the prevailing colour is still green—gay, sprightly green.

"Let us then comfort ourselves with this reflection; that though the shades of the morning have given place to those of the evening,—though the spring is past, the summer over, and the autumn come,—still you and I go on our way rejoicing;—and while, like the lofty mountans of our Southern America, our heads are covered with snow, still, like them, we feel the genial warmth of spring and summer playing upon our bosoms."


The family of the Lambs had long been among the most thriving and popular in the neighbourhood; the Miss Lambs were the belles of Little Britain, and every body was pleased when Old Lamb had made money enough to shut up shop, and put his name on a brass plate on his door. In an evil hour, however, one of the Miss Lambs had the honour of being a lady in attendance on the Lady Mayoress, at her grand annual ball, on which occasion she wore three towering ostrich feathers on her head. The family never got over it; they were immediately smitten with a passion for high life; set up a one horse carriage, put a bit of gold lace round the errand boy's hat, and have been the talk and detestation of the whole neighbourhood ever since. They could no longer be induced to play at Pope-Joan or blind-man's-buff; they could endure no dances but quadrilles, which no body had ever heard of in Little Britian; and they took to readimg novels, talking bad French, and playing upon the piano. Their brother too, who had been articled to an attorney, set up for a dandy and a critic, characters hitherto unknown in these parts, and he confounded the worthy folks exceedingly by talking about Kean, the Opera and the Edinbro' Review.

What was still worse, the Lambs gave a grand ball, to which they neglected to invite any of their old neighbours; but they had a great deal of genteel company from Theobald's Road, Red-lion Square, and other parts towards the west. There were several beaux of the brother's acquaintance from Gray's Inn Lane and Hatton Garden; and not less than three Aldermen's ladies with their daughters. This was not to be forgotten or forgiven. All Little Britian was in an uproar with the smacking of whips, the lashing of miserable horses, and the rattling and jingling of hackney coaches. The gossips of the neighbourhood might be seen popping their night caps out at every window, watching the crazy vehicles rumble by; and there was a knot of virulent old crones, that kept a look-out from a house just opposite the retired butcher's, and scanned and criticised every one that knocked at the door.

This dance was a cause of almost open war, and the whole neighbourhood declared they would have nothing more to say to the Lambs. It is true that Mrs. Lamb, when she had no engagements with her quality acquaintance, would give little hum-drum tea junkettings to some of her old cronies, "quite," as she would say, "in a friendly way:" and it is equally true that her invitations were always accepted, in spite of all previous vows to the contrary. Nay, the good ladies would sit and be delighted with the music of the Miss Lambs, who would condescend to strum an Irish melody for them on the piano; and they would listen with wonderful interest to Mrs. Lamb's anecdotes of Alderman Plunket's family of Port-soken-ward, and the Miss Timberlakes, the rich heiresses of Crutched-Friars; but then they relieved their consciences and averted the reproach of their confederstes, by canvassing at the next gossiping convocation every thing that had passed, and pulling the Lambs and their rout all to pieces.

The only one of the family that could not be made fashionable was the retired butcher himself. Honest Lamb, in spite of the meekness of his name, was a rough hearty old fellow, with the voice of a lion, a head of black hair like a shoe-brush, and a broad face mottled like his own beef. It was in vain that the daughters always spoke of him as "the old gentleman," addressed him as "papa" in tones of infinite softness, and endeavoured to coax him into a dressing gown and slippers, and other gentlemanly habits. Do what they might, there was no keeping down the butcher. His sturdy nature would break through all their glossings. He had a hearty vulgar good humour that was irrepressible. His very jokes made his sensitive daughters shudder; and he persisted in wearing his blue cotton coat of a morning, dining at two o'clock, and having a "bit of sausage with his tea."

He was doomed, however, to share the unpopularity of his family. He found his old comrades gradually growing cold and civil to him; no longer laughing at his jokes; and now and then throwing out a fling at "some people" and a hint about "quality binding." This both nettled and perplexed the honest butcher; and his wife and daughters, with the consummate policy of the shrewder sex, taking advantage of the circumstance, at length prevailed upon him to give up his afternoon's pipe and tankard at Wagstaff's; to sit after dinner by himself and take his pint of port—a liquor he detested—and to nod in his chair in solitary and dismal gentility.

The Miss Lambs might now be seen flaunting along the streets in French bonnets, with unknown beaux; and talking and laughing so loud that it distressed the nerves of every good lady within hearing. They even went so far as to attempt patronage, and actually induced a French dancing master to set up in the neighbourhood; but the worthy folks of Little Britain took fire at it, and did so persecute the poor Gaul, that he was fain to pack up fiddle and dancing pumps, and decamp with such precipitation, that he absolutely forgot to pay for his lodgings.

I had flattered myself, at first, with the idea that all this fiery indignation on the part of the community, was merely the overflowing of their zeal for good old English manners, and their horror of innovation; and I applauded the silent contempt they were so vociferous in expressing, for upstart pride, French fashions, and the Miss Lambs. But I grieve to say that I soon perceived the infection had taken hold; and that my neighbours, after condemning, were beginning to follow their example. I overheard my landlady importuning her husband to let their daughters have one quarter at French and music, and that they might take a few lessons in quadrille. I even saw, in the course of a few Sundays, no less than five French bonnets, precisely like those of the Miss Lambs, parading about Little Britian.


After the dinner table was removed, the hall was given up to the younger members of the family, who, prompted to all kind of noisy mirth by the Oxonian and Master Simon, made its old walls ring with their merriment, as they played at romping games. I delight in witnessing the gambols of children, and particularly at this happy holiday season, and could not help stealing out of the drawing-room on hearing one of their peals of laughter. I found them at the game of blindman's-buff. Master Simon who was the leader of their revels, and seemed on all occasions to fulfil the office of that ancient potentate, the Lord of Misrule, was blinded in the midst of the hall. The little beings were as busy about him as the mock fairies about Falstaff; pinching him, plucking at the skirts of his coat, and tickling him with straws. One fine blue-eyed girl of about thirteen, with her flaxen hair all in beautiful confusion, her frolic face in a glow, her frock half torn off her shoulders, a complete picture of a romp, was the chief tormentor; and from the slyness with which Master Simon avoided the smaller game, and hemmed this wild little nymph in corners, and obliged her to jump shrieking over chairs, I suspected the rogue of being not a whit more blinded than was convenient.


On parting with the old angler I inquired after his place of abode, and happening to be in the neighbourhood of the village a few evenings afterwards, I had the curiosity to seek him out. I found him living in a small cottage, containing only one room, but a perfect curiosity in its method and arrangement. It was on the skirts of the village, on a green bank, a little back from the road, with a small garden in front, stocked with kitchen herbs, and adorned with a few flowers. The whole front of the cottage was overrun with a honeysuckle. On the top was a ship for a weathercock. The interior was fitted up in a truly nautical style; his ideas of comfort and convenience having been acquired on the birth-deck of a man of war. A hammock was slung from the ceiling, which, in the day-time, was lashed up so as to take but little room. From the centre of the chamber hung a model of a ship of his own workmanship. Two or three chairs, a table, and a large sea chest, formed the principal moveables. About the walls were stuck up naval ballads, such as Admiral Hosier's Ghost, All in the downs, and Tom Bowline, intermingled with pictures of sea fights, among which the battle of Camperdown held a distinguished place. The mantle-piece was decorated with sea shells; over which hung a quadrant, flanked by two wood-cuts of most bitter looking naval commanders. His implements for angling were carefully disposed on nails and hooks about the room. On a shelf was arranged his library, containing a work on angling, much worn; a bible covered with canvass; an odd volume or two of voyages; a nautical almanack; and a book of songs.

His family consisted of a large black cat with one eye, and a parrot which he had caught and tamed, and educated himself, in the course of one of his voyages; and which uttered a variety of sea phrases with the hoarse brattling tone of a veteran boatswain. The establishment reminded me of that of the renowned Robinson Crusoe; it was kept in neat order, every thing being "stowed away" with the regularity of a ship of war; and he informed me he "scoured the deck every morning, and swept it between meals."

I found him seated on a bench before the door, smoking his pipe in the soft evening sunshine. His cat was purring soberly on the threshold, and his parrot describing some strange evolutions in an iron ring that swung in the centre of his cage. He had been angling all day, and gave me a history of his sport with as much minuteness as a general would talk over a campaign; being particularly animated in relating the manner in which he had taken a large trout, which had completely tasked all his skill and wariness, and which he had sent as a trophy to mine hostess of the inn.

How comforting it is to see a cheerful and contented old age; and to behold a poor fellow, like this, after being tempest tost through life, safely moored in a snug harbour, in the evening of his days! His happiness, however, sprung from within himself, and was independent of external circumstances; for he had that inexhaustible good-nature, which is the most precious gift of Heaven; spreading itself like oil over the troubled sea of thought, and keeping the mind smooth and equable in the roughest weather.

On inquiring further about him, I learned that he was a universal favourite in the village, and the oracle of the tap-room; where he delighted the rustics with his songs, and like Sinbad, astonished them with his stories of strange lands, and shipwrecks, and sea fights. He was much noticed too by gentlemen sportsmen of the neighbourhood; had taught several of them the art of angling; and was a privileged visiter to their kitchens. The whole tenor of his life was quiet and inoffensive, being principally passed about the neighbouring streams when the weather and season were favourable; and at other times he employed himself at home, preparing his fishing tackle for the next campaign, or manufacturing rods, nets, and flies for his patrons and pupils among the gentry.

He was a regular attendant at church on Sundays, though he generally fell asleep during the sermon. He had made it his particular request that when he died he should be buried on a green spot, which he could see from his seat in church, and which he had marked out ever since he was a boy, and had thought of when far from home on the raging sea, in danger of being food for the fishes—it was the spot where his father and mother had been buried.


Nothing can be more imposing than the magnificence of English park scenery. Vast lawns that extend like sheets of vivid green, with here and there clumps of gigantic trees, heaping up rich piles of foliage. The solemn pomp of groves and woodland glades, with the deer trooping in silent herds across them; the hare, bounding away to the covert; or the pheasant, suddenly bursting upon the wing. The brook, taught to wind in natural meanderings, or expand into a glassy lake—the sequestered pool, reflecting the quivering trees, with the yellow leaf sleeping on its bosom, and the trout roaming fearlessly about its limpid waters: while some rustic temple or sylvan statue, grown green and dank with age, gives an air of classic sanctity to the seclusion.

These are but a few of the features of park scenery; but what most delights me, is the creative talent with which the English decorate the unostentatious abodes of middle life. The rudest habitation, the most unpromising and scanty portion of land, in the hands of an Englishman of taste, becomes a little paradise. With a nicely discriminating eye, he seizes at once upon its capabilities, and pictures in his mind the future landscape. The sterile spot grows into loveliness under his hand; and yet the operations of art which produce the effect are scarcely to be perceived. The cherishing and training of some trees; the cautious pruning of others; the nice distribution of flowers and plants of tender and graceful foliage; the introduction of a green slope of velvet turf; the partial opening to a peep of blue distance, or silver gleam of water; all these are managed with a delicate tact, a pervading yet quiet assiduity, like the magic touchings with which a painter finishes up a favourite picture.

The residence of people of fortune and refinement in the country has diffused a degree of taste and elegance in rural economy, that descends to the lowest class. The very labourer, with his thatched cottage and narrow slip of ground, attends to their embellishment. The trim hedge, the grass-plot before the door, the little flower-bed bordered with snug box, the woodbine trained up against the wall, and hanging its blossoms about the lattice, the pot of flowers in the window, the holly providently planted about the house, to cheat winter of its dreariness, and to throw in a semblance of green summer to cheer the fire side: all these bespeak the influence of taste, flowing down from high sources, and pervading the lowest levels of the public mind. If ever Love, as poets sing, delights to visit a cottage, it must be the cottage of an English peasant.

The fondness for rural life among the higher classes of the English has had a great and salutary effect upon the national character. I do not know a finer race of men than the English gentlemen. Instead of the softness and effeminacy which characterize the man of rank in most countries, they exhibit a union of elegance and strength, a robustness of frame and freshness of complexion, which I am inclined to attribute to their living so much in the open air, and pursuing so eagerly the invigorating recreations of the country. These hardy exercises produce also a healthful tone of mind and spirits, and a manliness and simplicity of manners, which even the follies and dissipations of the town cannot easily pervert, and can never entirely destroy. In the country, too, the different orders of society seem to approach more freely, to be more disposed to blend and operate favourably upon each other. The distinctions between them do not appear to be so marked and impassable, as in the cities. The manner in which property has been distributed into small estates and farms, has established a regular gradation from the nobleman, through the classes of gentry, small landed proprietors, and substantial farmers, down to the labouring peasantry; and while it has thus banded the extremes of society together, has infused into each intermediate rank a spirit of independence. This, it must be confessed, is not so universally the case at present as it was formerly; the larger estates having, in late years of distress, absorbed the smaller, and, in some parts of the country, almost annihilated the sturdy race of small farmers. These, however, I believe, are but casual breaks in the general system I have mentioned.

In rural occupation there is nothing mean and debasing. It leads a man forth among scenes of natural grandeur and beauty; it leaves him to the workings of his own mind, operated upon by the purest and most elevating of external influences. Such a man may be simple and rough, but he cannot be vulgar. The man of refinement, therefore, finds nothing revolting in an intercourse with the lower orders of moral life, as he does when he casually mingles with the lower of cities. He lays aside his distance and reserve, and is glad to wave the distinctions of rank, and to enter into the honest, heartfelt enjoyments of common life. Indeed the very amusements of the country bring men more and more together; and the sound of hound and horn blend all feelings into harmony. I believe this is one great reason why the nobility and gentry are more popular among the inferior orders in England than they are in any other country; and why the latter have endured so many excessive pressures and extremities, without repining more generally at the unequal distribution of fortune and privilege.

To this mingling of cultivated and rustic society may also be attributed the rural feeling that runs through British literature; the frequent use of illustrations from rural life; those incomparable descriptions of nature that abound in the British Poets—that have continued down from "the flower and the leaf" of Chaucer, and have brought into our closets all the freshness and fragrance of the dewy landscape. The pastoral writers of other countries appear as if they had paid nature an occasional visit, and become acquainted with her general charms: but the British poets have lived and revelled with her,—they have wooed her in her most secret haunts,—they have watched her minutest caprices. A spray could not tremble in the breeze— a leaf could not rustle to the ground—a diamond drop could not patter in the stream—a fragrance could not exhale from the humble violet, nor a daisy unfold its crimson tints to the morning; but it has been noticed by these impassioned and delicate observers, and wrought up into some beautiful morality.


To Muley Helim al Raggi, surnamed the agreeable Ragamuffin, chief mountebank and buffo-dancer to his Highness. -

The numerous letters which I have written to our friend the slave-driver, as well as those to thy kinsman the snorer, and which doubtless were read to thee, honest Muley, have in all probability, awakened thy curiosity to know further particulars concerning the manners of the barbarians, who hold me in such ignominious captivity. I was lately at one of their public ceremonies, which, at first, perplexed me exceedingly as to its object; but as the explanations of a friend have let me somewhat into the secret, and as it seems to bear no small analogy to thy profession, a description of it may contribute to thy amusement, if not to thy instruction.

A few days since, just as I had finished my coffee, and was perfuming my whiskers preparatory to a morning walk, I was waited upon by an inhabitant of this place, a gay young infidel, who has of late cultivated my acquaintance. He presented me with a square bit of painted pasteboard, which he informed me, would entitle me to admittance to the city assembly. Curious to know the meaning of a phrase which was entirely new to me, I requested an explanation; when my friend informed me that the assembly was a numerous concourse of young people of both sexes, who, on certain occasions, gathered together to dance about a large room with violent gesticulation, and try to out-dress each other. "In short," said he, "If you wish to see the natives in all their glory, there's no place like the city assembly; so you must go there and sport your whiskers." Though the matter of sporting my whiskers was considerably beyond my apprehension, yet I now began, as I thought, to understand him. I had heard of the war dances of the natives, which are a kind of religious institution, and had little doubt but that this must be a solemnity of the kind—upon a prodigious great scale. Anxious as I am to contemplate these strange people in every situation, I willingly acceded to his proposal, and, to be more at ease, I determined to lay aside my Turkish dress, and appear in plain garments of the fashion of this country, as is my custom whenever I wish to mingle in a crowd, without exciting the attention of the gaping multitude.

It was long after the shades of night had fallen, before my friend appeared to conduct me to the assembly. "These infidels," thought I, "shroud themselves in mystery, and seek the aid of gloom and darkness, to heighten the solemnity of their pious orgies. Resolving to conduct myself with that decent respect, which every stranger owes to the customs of the land in which he sojourns, I chastised my features into an expression of sober reverence, and stretched my face into a degree of longitude suitable to the ceremony I was about to witness. Spite of myself, I felt an emotion of awe stealing over my senses as I approached the majestic pile. My imagination pictured something similar to a descent into the cave of Dom-Daniel, where the necromancers of the East are taught their infernal arts. I entered with the same gravity of demeanour that I would have approached the holy temple of Mecca, and bowed my head three times as I passed the threshold.—"Head of the mighty Amrou!" thought I, on being ushered into a splendid saloon, "what a display is here! surely I am transported to the mansions of the Houris, the elysium of the faithful!"—How tame appeared all the descriptions of enchanted palaces in our Arabian poetry! Where ever I turned my eyes, the quick glances of beauty dazzled my vision and ravished my heart: lovely virgins fluttered by me, darting imperial looks of conquest, or beaming such smiles of invitation, as did Gabriel when he beckoned our holy prophet to heaven. Shall I own the weakness of thy friend, good Muley?—while thus gazing on the enchanting scene before me, I for a moment forgot my country, and even the memory of my three-and-twenty wives faded from my heart; my thoughts were bewildered and led astray, by the charms of these bewitching savages, and I sunk, for a while, into that delicious state of mind where the senses, all enchanted and all striving for mastery, produce an endless variety of tumultuous, yet pleasing emotions. Oh, Muley, never shall I again wonder that an infidel should prove a recreant to the single solitary wife allotted him, when even thy friend, armed with all the precepts of Mahomet, can so easily prove faithless to three-and-twenty!

"Whither have you led me?" said I, at length, to my companion, "and to whom do these beautiful creatures belong? certainly this must be the seraglio of the grand bashaw of the city, and a most happy bashaw must he be, to possess treasures which even his highness of Tripoli cannot parallel." "Have a care," cried my companion, "how you talk of seraglios, or you will have all these gentle nymphs about your ears; for seraglio is a word which beyond all others, they abhor:—most of them," continued he, "have no lord and master, but come here to catch one—they're in the market, as we term it." "Ah, ha!" said I, exultingly, "then you really have a fair, or slave market, such as we have in the East, where the faithful are provided with the choicest virgins of Georgia and Circassia?—by our glorious sun of Afric, but I should like to select some ten or a dozen wives from so lovely an assemblage! pray what would you suppose they might be bought for?"—

Before I could receive an answer, my attention was attracted by two or three good-looking middle-sized men, who being dressed in black, a colour universally worn in this country by the muftis and dervises, I immediately concluded to be high priests, and was confirmed in my original opinion that this was a religious ceremony. These reverend personages are entitled managers, and enjoy unlimited authority in the assemblies, being armed with swords, with which, I am told, they would infallibly put any lady to death who infringed the laws of the temple. They walked round the room with great solemnity, and, with an air of profound importance and mystery, put a little piece of folded paper in each fair hand, which I concluded were religious talismans. One of them dropped on the floor, whereupon I slily put my foot on it, and, watching an opportunity, picked it up unobserved, and found it to contain some unintelligible words and the mystic number 9. What were its virtues I know not; except that I put it in my pocket, and have hitherto been preserved from my fit of the lumbago, which I generally have about this season of the year ever since I tumbled into the well of Zim-zim on my pilgrimage to Mecca. I enclose it to thee in this letter, presuming it to be particularly serviceable against the dangers of thy profession.

Shortly after the distribution of these talismans, one of the high priests stalked into the middle of the room with great majesty, and clapped his hands three times: a loud explosion of music succeeded from a number of black, yellow, and white musicians, perched in a kind of cage over the grand entrance. The company were thereupon thrown into great confusion and apparent consternation.— They hurried to and fro about the room, and at length formed themselves into little groups of eight persons, half male and half female;—the music struck into something like harmony, and, in a moment, to my utter astonishment and dismay, they were all seized with what I concluded to be a paroxysm of religious phrensy, tossing about their heads in a ludicrous style from side to side, and indulging in extravagant contortions of figure;— now throwing their heels into the air, and anon whirling round with the velocity of the eastern idolators, who think they pay a grateful homage to the sun by imitating his motions. I expected every moment to see them fall down in convulsions, foam at the mouth, and shriek with fancied inspiration. As usual the females seemed most fervent in their religious exercises, and performed them with a melancholy expression of feature that was peculiarly touching; but I was highly gratified by the exemplary conduct of several male devotees, who, though their gesticulations would intimate a wild merriment of the feelings, maintained throughout as inflexible a gravity of countenance as so many monkeys of the island of Borneo at their antics.

"And pray," said I, "who is the divinity that presides in this splendid mosque?"—The divinity! Oh, I understand—you mean the belle of the evening; we have a new one every season.—The one at present in fashion is that lady you see yonder, dressed in white, with pink ribbons, and a crowd of adorers around her." "Truly," cried I, "this is the pleasantest deity I have encountered in the whole course of my travels;—so familiar, so condescending, and so merry withal;—why, her very worshippers take her by the hand, and whisper in her ear."

"My good Mussulman," replied my friend with great gravity, "I perceive you are completely in an error concerning the intent of this ceremony. You are now in a place of public amusement, not of public worship; and the pretty looking young men you see making such violent grotesque distortions are merely indulging in our favourite amusement of dancing." "I cry your mercy," exclaimed I, "these then are the dancing men and women of the town, such as we have in our principal cities, who hire themselves out for the entertainment of the wealthy;—but, pray who pays them for this fatiguing exhibition?"—My friend regarded me for a moment with an air of whimsical perplexity, as if doubtful whether I was in jest or in earnest—"'Sblood man," cried he, "these are some of our greatest people, our fashionables, who are merely dancing here for amusement." Dancing for amusement! think of that, Muley!—thou, whose greatest pleasure is to chew opium, smoke tobacco, loll on a couch, and doze thyself into the regions of the Houris!—Dancing for amusement!—shall I never cease having occasion to laugh at the absurdities of these barbarians, who are laborious in their recreations, and indolent only in their hours of business!—Dancing for amusement!— the very idea makes my bones ache, and I never think of it without being obliged to apply my handkerchief to my forehead, and fan myself into some degree of coolness.

"And pray," said I, when my astonishment had a little subsided, "do these musicians also toil for amusement, or are they confined to their cage, like birds, to sing for the gratification of others? I should think the former was the case, from the animation with which they flourish their elbows. "Not so," replied my friend, "they are well paid, which is no more than just, for I assure you they are the most important personages in the room. The fiddler puts the whole assembly in motion, and directs their movements, like the master of a puppet-show, who sets all his pasteboard gentry kicking by a jerk of his fingers.—There now, look at that dapper little gentleman yonder, who appears to be suffering the pangs of dislocation in every limb: he is the most expert puppet in the room, and performs not so much for his own amusement, as for that of the bystanders." Just then, the little gentleman having finished one of his paroxysms of activity, seemed to be looking round for applause from the spectators. Feeling myself really much obliged to him for his exertions, I made him a low bow of thanks, but nobody followed my example, which I thought a singular instance of ingratitude.

Thou wilt perceive, friend Muley, that the dancing of these barbarians is totally different from the science professed by thee in Tripoll; the country, in fact, is afflicted by numerous epidemical diseases, which travel from house to house, from city to city, with the regularity of a caravan. Among these, the most formidable is this dancing mania, which prevails chiefly throughout the winter. It at first seized on a few people of fashion, and being indulged in moderation was a cheerful exercise; but in a little time, by quick advances, it infected all classes of the community, and became a raging epidemic. The doctors immediately, as is their usual way, instead of devising a remedy, fell together by the ears, to decide whether it was native or imported, and the sticklers for the latter opinion traced it to a cargo of trumpery from France, as they had before hunted down the yellow-fever to a bag of coffee from the West-Indies. What makes this disease the more formidable is, that the patients seem infatuated with their malady, abandon themselves to its unbounded ravages, and expose their persons to wintry storms and midnight airs, more fatal in this capricious climate, than the withering Simoon blast of the desert.

I know not whether it is a sight most whimsical, or melancholy, to witness a fit of this dancing malady. The lady hops up to the gentleman, who stands at the distance of about three paces, and then capers back again to her place;—the gentleman of course does the same; then they skip one way, then they jump another;—then they turn their backs to each other;—then they seize each other and shake hands; then they whirl round, and throw themselves into a thousand grotesque and ridiculous attitudes;— sometimes on one leg, and sometimes on the other, and sometimes on no leg at all: and this they call exhibiting the graces! By the nineteen thousand capers of the great mountebank of Damascus, but these graces must be something like the crooked backed dwarf of Shabrac, who is sometimes permitted to amuse his Highness by imitating the tricks of a monkey. These fits continue for short intervals of from four to five hours, till at last the lady is led off, faint, languid, exhausted, and panting, to her carriage;—rattles home;—passes a night of feverish restlessness, cold perspirations, and troubled sleep; rises late next morning, if she rises at all; is nervous, petulant, or a prey to languid indifference all day; a mere household spectre, neither giving nor receiving enjoyment; in the evening hurries to another dance; receives an unnatural exhilaration from the lights, the music, the crowd, and the unmeaning bustle;—flutters, sparkles, and blooms for a while, until the transient dolirium being past, the infatuated maid drops and languishes into apathy again;— is again led off to her carriage, and the next morning rises to go through exactly the same joyless routine.

And yet, wilt thou believe it, my dear Raggi, these are rational beings; nay, more, their countrymen would fain persuade me they have souls! Is it not a thousand times to be lamented that beings, endowed with charms that might warm even the frigid heart of a dervise;— with social and endearing powers, that would render them the joy and pride of the harem;—should surrender themselves to a habit of heartless dissipation, which preys imperceptibly on the roses of the check; which robs the eye of its lustre, the mouth of its dimpled smile, the spirits of their cheerful hilarity, and the limbs of their elastic vigour:—which hurries them off in the spring-time of existence; or, if they survive, yields to the arms of a youthful bridegroom a frame wrecked in the storms of dissipation, and struggling with premature infirmity. Alas, Muley! may I not ascribe to this cause the number of little old women I meet with in this country, from the age of eighteen to eight-and-twenty?

In sauntering down the room, my attention was attracted by a smoky painting, which, on nearer examination, I found consisted of two female figures crowning a bust with a wreath of laurel. "This, I suppose," cried I, "was some famous dancer in his time? "O, no," replied my friend, "he was only a general." "Good; but then he must have been great at a cotillion, or expert at a fiddle-stick—or why is his memorial here?" "Quite the contrary," answered my companion; "history makes no mention of his ever having flourished a fiddle-stick, or figured in a single dance. You have no doubt, heard of him: he was the illustrious Washington, the father and deliverer of his country: and, as our nation is remarkable for gratitude to great men, it always does honour to their memory, by placing their monuments over the doors of taverns, or in the corners of dancing-rooms."

From thence my friend and I strolled into a small apartment adjoining the grand saloon, where I beheld a number of grave looking persons with venerable gray heads, but without beards, which I thought very unbecoming, seated round a table studying hieroglyphics. I approached them with reverence, as so many magi, or learned men, endeavouring to expound the mysteries of Egyptian science: several of them threw down money, which I supposed was a reward proposed for some great discovery, when presently one of them spread his hieroglyphics on the table, exclaimed triumphantly, "Two bullets and a bragger!" and swept all the money into his pocket. He has discovered a key to the hieroglyphics, thought I—happy mortal!—no doubt, his name shall be immortalized. Willing, however, to be satisfied, I looked round on my companion with an inquiring eye; he understood me, and informed me that these were a company of friends, who had met together to win each other's money and be agreeable. "Is that all?" exclaimed I; "why then, I pray you, make way, and let me escape from this temple of abominations, who knows but these people, who meet together to toil, worry, and fatigue themselves to death, and give it the name of pleasure — and who win each other's money by way of being agreeable— may some one of them take a liking to me, and pick my pocket, or break my head in a paroxysm of hearty good-will!"

Thy friend,



James flourished nearly about the time of Chaucer and Gower, and was evidently an admirer and studier of their writings. Indeed, in one of his stanzas he acknowledges them as his masters; and, in some parts of his poem, we find traces of similarity to their productions, more especially to those of Chaucer. There are always, however, general features of resemblance in the works of contemporary authors, which are not so much borrowed from each other as from the times. Writers, like bees, toil their sweets in the wide world; they incorporate with their own conceptions the anecdotes and thoughts which are current in society; and thus each generation has some feature in common, characteristic of the age in which it lived.

James in fact belongs to one of the most brilliant eras of our literary history, and establishes the claims of his country to a participation in its primitive honours. Whilst a small cluster of English writers are constantly cited as the fathers of our verse, the name of their great Scottish compeer is apt to be passed over in silence; but he is evidently worthy of being enrolled in that little constellation of remote but never-failing luminaries, who shine in the highest firmament of literature, and who, like morning stars, sang together at the bright dawning of British poesy.

How Peter Stuyvesant relieved the Sovereign People from the Burthen of taking Care of the Nation—with sundry Particulars of his Conduct in Time of Peace.

The history of the reign of Peter Stuyvesant furnishes a melancholy picture of the incessant cares and vexations inseparable from government; and may serve as a solemn warning to all who are ambitious of attaining the seat of power. Though crowned with victory, enriched by conquest, and returning in triumph to his metropolis, his exultation was checked by beholding the sad abuses that had taken place during the short interval of his absence.

The populace, unfortunately for their own comfort, had taken a deep draught of the intoxicating cup of power, during the reign of William the Testy; and though, upon the accession of Peter Stuyvesant, they felt, with a certain instinctive perception, which mobs as well as cattle possess, that the reins of government had passed into stronger hands; yet they could not help fretting, and chafing, and champing on the bit, in restive silence.

It seems by some strange and inscrutable fatality, to be the destiny of most countries (and more especially of your enlightened republics,) always to be governed by the most incompetent man in the nation; so that you will scarcely find an individual throughout the whole community, but who will detect to you innumerable errors in administration, and convince you in the end, that had he been at the head of affairs, matters would have gone on a thousand times more prosperously. Strange! that that government, which seems to be so generally understood, should invariably be so erroneously administered—strange, that the talent of legislation, so prodigally bestowed, should be denied to the only man in the nation to whose station it is requisite.

Thus it was in the present instance, not a man of all the herd of pseudo-politicians in New-Amsterdam, but was an oracle on topics of state, and could have directed public affairs incomparably better than Peter Stuyvesant. But so severe was the old governor in his disposition that he would never suffer one of the multitude of able counsellors by whom he was surrounded, to intrude his advice, and save the country from destruction,

Scarcely, therefore, had he departed on his expedition against the Swedes, than the old factions of William Kieft's reign began to thrust their heads above water, and to gather together in political meetings, to discuss "the state of the nation." At these assemblages the busy burgomasters and their officious schepens made a very considerable figure. These worthy dignitaries were no longer the fat, well-fed, tranquil magistrates, that presided in the peaceful days of Wouter Van Twiller. On the contrary, being elected by the people, they formed in a manner a sturdy bulwark between the mob and the administration. They were great candidates for popularity, and strenuous advocates for the rights of the rabble; resembling in disinterested zeal the wide-mouthed tribunes of ancient Rome, or those virtuous patriots of modern days, emphatically denominated "the friends of the people."

Under the tuition of these profound politicians it is astonishing how suddenly enlightened the swinish multitude became, in matters above their comprehensions. Coblers, tinkers, and tailors, all at once felt themselves inspired, like those religious idiots, in the glorious times of monkish illumination; and, without any previous study or experience, became instantly capable of directing all the movements of government. Nor must I neglect to mention a number of superannuated, wrong-headed old burghers, who had come over when boys, in the crew of the Goede Vrouw, and were held up as infallible oracles by the enlightened mob. To suppose that a man who had helped to discover a country did not know how it ought to be governed was preposterous in the extreme. It would have been deemed as much a heresy as, at the present day, to question the political talents and universal infallibility of our old "heroes of '76"—and to doubt that he who had fought for a government, however stupid he might naturally be, was not competent to fill any station under it.

But as Peter Stuyvesant had a singular inclination to govern his province without the assistance of his subjects, he felt highly incensed on his return to find the factious appearance they had assumed during his absence. His first measure, therefore, was to restore perfect order, by prostrating the dignity of the sovereign people.

He accordingly watched his opportunity, and one evening when the enlightened mob was gathered together, listening to a patriotic speech from an inspired cobler the intrepid Peter, like his great namesake of all the Russias, all at once appeared among them, with a countenance sufficient to petrify a millstone. The whole meeting was thrown into consternation—the orator seemed to have received a paralytic stroke in the very middle of a sublime sentence, and stood aghast with open mouth and trembling knees, whilst the words horror! tyranny! liberty! rights! taxes! death! destruction! and a deluge of other patriotic phrases came roaring from his throat, before he had power to close his lips. The shrewd Peter took no notice of the skulking throng around him but advancing to the brawling bully ruffian, and drawing out a huge silver watch, which might have served in times of yore as a town-clock, and which is still retained by his descendants as a family curiosity, requested the orator to mend it and set it going. The orator humbly confessed it was utterly out of his power as he was unacquainted with the nature of its construction. "Nay, but," said Peter, "try your ingenuity, man; you see all the springs and wheels, and how easily the clumsiest hand may stop it, and pull it to pieces; and why should it not be equally easy to regulate as to stop it?" The orator declared that his trade was wholly different, he was a poor cobler, and had never meddled with a watch in his life. That there were men skilled in the art, whose business it was to attend to those matters; but for his part he should only mar the workmanship, and put the whole in confusion—"Why, harkee, master of mine," cried Peter, turning suddenly upon him, with a countenance that almost petrified the patcher of shoes into a perfect lapstone—"dost thou pretend to meddle with the movements of government—to regulate and correct, and patch, and cobble, a complicated machine, the principles of which are above thy comprehension, and its simplest operation too subtle for thy understanding, when thou canst not correct a trifling error in a common piece of mechanism, the whole mystery of which is open to thy inspection?— Hence with thee to the leather and stone, which are emblems of thy head; cobble thy shoes, and confine thyself to the vocation for which heaven has fitted thee—But," elevating his voice until it made the welkin ring, "if ever I catch thee, or any of thy tribe, meddling again with the affairs of government—by St. Nicholas, but I'll have every mother's bastard of ye flea'd alive, and your hides stretched for drum-heads, that ye may thenceforth make a noise to some purpose!"

This threat, and the tremendous voice in which it was uttered, caused the whole multitude to quake with fear. The hair of the orator rose on his head like his own swine's bristles, and not a knight of the thimble present but his heart died within him and he felt as though he could have verily escaped through the eye of a needle.

But though this measure produced the desired effect in reducing the community to order, yet it tended to injure the popularity of the great Peter among the enlightened vulgar. Many accused him of entertaining highly aristocratic sentiments and of leaning too much in favour of the patricians. Indeed there appeared to be some grounds for such an accusation, as he always carried himself with a very lofty soldier-like port, and was somewhat particular in his dress; dressing himself when not in uniform, in simple but rich apparel; and was especially noted for having his sound leg (which was a very comely one) always arrayed in a red stocking and high heeled shoe. Though a man of great simplicity of manners, yet there was something about him that repelled rude familiarity, while it encouraged frank, and even social intercourse.

He likewise observed some appearance of court ceremony and etiquette. He received the common class of visiters on the stoop, [16] before his door, according to the custom of our Dutch ancestors. But when visiters were formally received in his parlour, it was expected they would appear in clean linen; by no means to be bare footed, and always to take their hats off. On public occasions he appeared with great pomp of equipage (for, in truth, his station required a little show and dignity,) and always rode to church in a yellow waggon with flaming red wheels.

These symptons of state and ceremony occasioned considerable discontent among the vulgar. They had been accustomed to find easy access to their former governors, and in particular had lived on terms of extreme familiarity with William the Testy. They therefore were very impatient of these dignified precautions, which discouraged intrusion. But Peter Stuyvesant had his own way of thinking in these matters, and was a staunch upholder of the dignity of office.

He always maintained that government to be the least popular, which is most open to popular access and control; and that the very brawlers against court ceremony, and the reserve of men in power, would soon despise rulers among whom they found even themselves to be of consequence. Such at least, had been the case with the administration of William the Testy; who, bent on making himself popular, had listened to every man's advice, suffered every person to have admittance to his person at all hours; and, in a word, treated every one as his thorough equal. By this means every scrub politician and public busybody was enabled to measure wits with him, and to find out the true dimensions, not only of his person, but his mind.—And what great man can stand such scrutiny?

It is the mystery that envelopes great men, that gives them half their greatness. We are always inclined to think highly of those who hold themselves aloof from our examination. There is likewise a kind of superstitious reverence for office, which leads us to exaggerate the merits and abilities of men of power, and to suppose that they must be constituted different from other men. And, indeed, faith is as necessary in politics as in religion. It certainly is of the first importance, that a country should be governed by wise men; but then it is almost equally important, that the people should believe them to be wise; for this belief alone can produce willing subordination.

To keep up, therefore, this desirable confidence in rulers, the people should be allowed to see as little of them as possible. He who gains access to cabinets soon finds out by what foolishness the world is governed. He discovers that there is a quackery in legislation, as well as in every thing else; that many a measure, which is supposed by the million to be the result of great wisdom and deep deliberation, is the effect of mere chance, or perhaps of hair-brained experiment.—That rulers have their whims and errors as well as other men, and after all are not so wonderfully superior to their fellow-creatures as he at first imagined; since he finds that even his own opinions have had some weight with them. Thus awe subsides into confidence, confidence inspires familiarity, and familiarity produces contempt. Peter Stuyvesant, on the contrary, by conducting himself with dignity and loftiness, was looked up to with great reverence. As he never gave his reasons for any thing he did, the public always gave him credit for very profound ones. Every movement, however intrinsically unimportant, was a matter of speculation; and his very red stocking excited some respect, as being different from the stocking of other men.

To these times we may refer the rise of family pride and aristocratic distinctions; [17] and indeed I cannot but look back with reverence to the early planting of those mighty Dutch families, which have taken such vigorous root, and branched out so luxuriantly in our state. The blood which has flowed down uncontaminated through a succession of steady, virtuous generations, since the times of the patriarchs of Communipaw, must certainly be pure and worthy. And if so, then are the Van Rensellaers, the Van Zandts, the Van Hornes, the Rutgers, the Bensons, the Brinkerhoffs, the Skermerhorns, and all the true descendants of the ancient Pavonians, the only legitimate nobility and real lords of the soil.

I have been led to mention thus particularly the well authenticated claims of our genuine Dutch families, because I have noticed with great sorrow and vexation, that they have been somewhat elbowed aside in latter days, by foreign intruders. It is really astonishing to behold how many great families have sprung up of late years, who pride themselves excessively on the score of ancestry. Thus he who can look up to his father without humiliation assumes not a little importance—he who can safely talk of his grandfather is still more vainglorious—but he who can look back to his great grandfather without blushing is absolutely intolerable in his pretensions to family.—Bless us! what a piece of work is here, between these mushrooms of an hour and these mushrooms of a day!

But from what I have recounted in the former part of this chapter, I would not have my reader imagine that the great Peter was a tyrannical governor, ruling his subjects with a rod of iron—on the contrary, where the dignity of authority was not implicated, he abounded with generosity and courteous condescension. In fact he really believed, though I fear my more enlightened republican readers will consider it a proof of his ignorance and illiberality, that in preventing the cup of social life from being dashed with the intoxicating ingredient of politics, he promoted the tranquillity and happiness of the people— and by detaching their minds from subjects which they could not understand, and which only tended to inflame their passions, he enabled them to attend more faithfully and industriously to their proper callings; becoming more useful citizens and more attentive to their families and fortunes.

So far from having any unreasonable austerity, he delighted to see the poor and the labouring man rejoice, and for this purpose was a great promoter of holydays and public amusements. Under his reign was first introduced the custom of cracking eggs at Pass or Easter. New-Years Day was also observed with extravagant festivity— and ushered in by the ringing of bells and firing of guns. Every house was a temple to the jolly god. Oceans of cherry-brandy, true hollands, and mulled cider, were set afloat on the occasion: and not a poor man in town but made it a point to get drunk, out of a principle of pure economy—taking in liquor enough to serve him half a year afterward.

It would have done one's heart good also to have seen the valiant Peter, seated among the old burghers and their wives of a Saturday afternoon, under the great trees that spread their shade over the Battery, watching the young men and women as they danced on the green. Here he would smoke his pipe, crack his joke, and forget the rugged toils of war in the sweet oblivious festivities of peace. He would occasionally give a nod of approbation to those of the young men who shuffled and kicked most vigorously, and now and then gave a hearty smack, in all honesty of soul, to the buxom lass that held out longest, and tired down all her competitors, which she considered as infallible proofs of her being the best dancer. Once it is true the harmony of the meeting was rather interrupted. A young vrouw, of great figure in the gay world, and who, having lately come from Holland, of course led the fashions in the city, made her appearance in not more than half a dozen petticoats, and these too of most alarming shortness.— A universal whisper ran through the assembly; the old ladies all felt shocked in the extreme, the young ladies blushed and felt excessively for the "poor thing," and even the governor himself was observed to be a little troubled in mind. To complete the astonishment of the good folks, she undertook, in the course of a jig, to describe some astonishing figures in algebra, which she had learned from a dancing master in Rotterdam.—Whether she was too animated in flourishing her feet, or whether some vagabond Zephyr took the liberty of intruding his services, certain it is, that in the course of a grand evolution which would not have disgraced a modern ball room, she made a most unexpected display—whereat the whole assembly was thrown into great admiration, several grave country members were not a little moved, and the good Peter himself, who was a man of unparalleled modesty, felt himself grievously scandalized.

The shortness of the female dresses, which had continued in fashion ever since the days of William Kieft, had long offended his eye; and though extremely averse to meddling with the petticoats of the ladies, yet he immediately recommended that every one should be furnished with a flounce to the bottom. He likewise ordered that the ladies, and indeed the gentlemen, should use no other step in dancing than shuffle and turn, and double trouble; and forbade, under pain of his high displeasure, any young lady thenceforth to attempt what was termed "exhibiting the graces."

These were the only restrictions he ever imposed upon the sex; and these were considered by them as tyrannical oppressions, and resisted with that becoming spirit always manifested by the gentle sex whenever their privileges are invaded,—In fact, Peter Stuyvesant plainly perceived, that if he attempted to push the matter any farther, there was danger of their leaving off petticoats altogether; so, like a wise man experienced in the ways of women, he held his peace, and suffered them ever after to wear their petticoats and cut their capers as high as they pleased.

[16] Properly spelled stoeb: the porch commonly built in front of Dutch houses, with benches on each side.

[17] In a work published many years after the time here treated of (in 1761, by C. W. A. M.) it is mentioned that Frederick Philipse was counted the richest Mynheer in New-York, and was said to have whole hogsheads of Indian money or wampum; and had a son and daughter, who according to the Dutch custom, should divide it equally.

Showing the great Difficulty Philosophers have had in peopling America—and how the Aborigines came to be begotten by Accident, to the great Relief and Satisfaction of the Author.

The next inquiry at which we arrive in the regular course of our history, is to ascertain, if possible, how this country was originally peopled; a point fruitful of incredible embarrassments; for unless we prove that the aborigines did absolutely come from somewhere, it will be immediately asserted in this age of scepticism, that they did not come at all; and if they did not come at all, then was this country never populated—a conclusion perfectly agreeable to the rules of logic, but wholly irreconcilable to every feeling of humanity, inasmuch as it must syllogistically prove fatal to the innumerable aborigines of this populous region.

To avert so dire a sophism, and to rescue from logical annihilation so many millions of fellow creatures, how many wings of geese have been plundered! what oceans of ink have been benevolently drained! and how many capacious heads of learned historians have been addled and for ever confounded! I pause with reverential awe, when I contemplate the ponderous tomes in different languages, with which they have endeavoured to solve this question, so important to the happiness of society but so involved in clouds of inpenetrable obscurity. Historian after historian has engaged in the endless circle of hypothetical argument, and after leading us a weary chase through octavos, quartos, and folios, has let us out, at the end of his work, just as wise as we were at the beginning. It was doubtless some philosophical wild-goose chase of the kind, that made the old poet Macrobius rail in such a passion at curiosity, which he anathematizes most heartily as "an irksome, agonizing care, a superstitious industry about unprofitable things, an itching humour to see what is not to be seen, and to be doing what signifies nothing when it is done." But to proceed:

Of the claims of the children of Noah to the original population of this country I shall say nothing, as they have already been touched upon in my last chapter. The claimants next in celebrity are the descendants of Abraham. Thus Christoval Colon (vulgarly called Columbus,) when he first discovered the gold mines of Hispaniola, immediately concluded, with a shrewdness that would have done honour to a philosopher, that he had found the ancient Ophir, from whence Solomon procured the gold for embellishing the temple at Jerusalem: nay, Colon even imagined that he saw the remains of furnaces of veritable Hebraic construction, employed in refining the precious ore.

So golden a conjecture, tinctured with such fascinating extravagance, was too tempting not to be immediately snapped at by the gudgeons of learning; and accordingly, there were divers profound writers, ready to swear to its correctness, and bring in their usual load of authorities and wise surmises, wherewithal to prop it up. Vatablus and Robertus Stephens declared nothing could be more clear: Arius Montanus, without the least hesitation, asserts that Mexico was the true Ophir, and the Jews the early settlers of the country: while Possevin, Becan, and several other sagacious writers, lug in a supposed prophecy of the fourth book of Esdras, which being inserted in the mighty hypothesis, like the key stone of an arch, gives it in their opinion perpetual durability.

Scarce, however, have they completed their goodly superstructure than in trudges a phalanx of opposite authors, with Hans de Laet, the great Dutchman, at their head; and at one blow tumbles the whole fabric about their ears. Hans, in fact, contradicts outright all the Israelitish claims to the first settlements of this country. attributing all those equivocal symptoms, and traces of Christianity and Judaism, which have been said to be found in divers provinces of the New World, to the Devil, who has always affected to counterfeit the worship of the true Deity. "A remark," says the knowing old Padre d'Acosta, "made by all good authors who have spoken of the religion of nations newly discovered, and founded besides on the authority of the fathers of the church."

Some writers again, among whom it is with great regret I am compelled to mention Lopes de Gomora and Juan de Leri, insinuate that the Cananites, being driven from the land of promise by the Jews, were seized with such a panic that they fled, without looking behind them, until stopping to take breath, they found themselves safe in America. As they brought neither their national language, manners, nor features with them, it is supposed they left them behind in the hurry of their flight. I cannot give my faith to this opinon.

I pass over the supposition of the learned Grotius, who being both an ambassador and a Dutchman to boot, is entitled to great respect; that North America was peopled by a strolling company of Norwegians, and that Peru was founded by a colony from China—Manco, or Mungo Capac, the first Incas, being himself a Chinese. Nor shall I more than barely mention, that father Kircher ascribes the settlement of America to the Egyptians, Budbeck to the Scandinavians, Charron to the Gauls, Juffredus Petri to a skating party from Friesland, Milius to the Caltæ, Marinocus the Sicilian to the Romans, Le Comte to the Phoenicians, Postel to the Moors, Martin d' Angleria to the Abyssinians, together with the sage surmise of De Laet, that England, Ireland and the Orcades may contend for that honour.

Nor will I bestow any more attention or credit to the idea that America is the fairy region of Zipangri, described by that dreaming traveller Marco Polo the Venetian; or that it comprises the visionary island of Atlantis, described by Plato. Neither will I stop to investigate the heathenish assertion of Paracelsus, that each hemisphere of the globe was originally furnished with an Adam and Eve: or the more flattering opinion of Dr. Romayne, supported by many nameless authorities, that Adam was of the Indian race: or the startling conjecture of Buffon, Helvetius, and Darwin, so highly honourable to mankind, that the whole human species is accidentally descended from a remarkable family of the monkeys!

This last conjecture, I must own, came upon me very suddenly and very ungraciously. I have often beheld the clown in a pantomime, while gazing in stupid wonder at the extravagant gambols of a harlequin, all at once electrified by a sudden stroke of the wooden sword across his shoulders. Little did I think at such times that it would ever fall to my lot to be treated with equal discourtesy, and that while I was quietly beholding these grave philosophers emulating the eccentric transformations of the hero of pantomime, they would on a sudden turn upon me and my readers, and with one hypothetical flourish metamorphose us into beasts! I determined from that moment not to burn my fingers with any more of their theories, but content myself with detailing the different methods by which they transported the descendants of these ancient and respectable monkeys, to this great field of theoretical warfare.

This was done either by migrations by land or transmigrations by water. Thus Padre Joseph d'Acosto enumerates three passages by land, first by the north of Europe, secondly by the north of Asia, and thirdly by regions southward of the straits of Magellan. The learned Grotius marches his Norwegians by a pleasant route across frozen rivers and arms of the sea, through Iceland, Greenland, Estotiland, and Naremberga. And various writers, among whom are Angleria, De Hornn, and Buffon, anxious for the accommodation of these travellers, have fastened the two continents together by a strong chain of deductions— by which means they could pass over dryshod. But should even this fail, Pinkerton, that industrious old gentleman, who compiles books and manufactures Geographies, has constructed a natural bridge of ice, from continent to continent, at the distance of four or five miles from Behring's straits—for which he is entitled to the grateful thanks of all the wandering aborigines who ever did or ever will pass over it.

It is an evil much to be lamented, that none of the worthy writers above quoted, could ever commence his work, without immediately declaring hostilities against every writer who had treated on the same subject. In this particular, authors may be compared to a certain sagacious bird, which in building its nest is sure to pull to pieces the nests of all the birds in its neighbourhood. This unhappy propensity tends grievously to impede the progress of sound knowledge. Theories are at best but brittle productions, and when once committed to the stream, they should take care that like the notable pots which were fellow voyagers, they do not crack each other.

For my part, when I beheld the sages I have quoted gravely accounting for unaccountable things and discoursing thus wisely about matters for ever hidden from their eyes, like a blind man describing the glories of light, and the beauty and harmony of colours, I fell back in astonishment at the amazing extent of human ingenuity.

If, cried I to myself, these learned men can weave whole systems out of nothing, what would be their productions were they furnished with substantial materials—if they can argue and dispute thus ingeniously about subjects beyond their knowledge, what would be the profundity of their observations, did they but know what they were talking about! Should old Rhadamanthus, when he comes to decide upon their conduct while on earth, have the least idea of the usefulness of their labours, he will undoubtedly class them with those notorious wise men of Gotham, who milked a bull, twisted a rope of sand, and wove a velvet purse from a sow's ear.

My chief surprise is, that among the many writers I have noticed, no one has attempted to prove that this country was peopled from the moon—or that the first inhabitants floated hither on islands of ice, as white bears cruise about the northern oceans—or that they were conveyed hither by balloons, as modern aeronauts pass from Dover to Calais—or by witchcraft, as Simon Magus posted among the stars—or after the manner of the renowned Scythian Abaris, who, like the New-England witches on full blooded broomsticks made most unheard-of journeys on the back of a golden arrow, given him by the Hyperborean Apollo.

But there is still one mode left by which this country could have been peopled, which I have reserved for the last, because I consider it worth all the rest; it is—by accident! Speaking of the islands of Solomon, New-Guinea, and New-Holland, the profound father Charlevoix observes, "in fine, all these countries are peopled, and it is possible, some have been so by accident. Now if it could have happened in that manner, why might it not have been at the same time, and by the same means, with the other parts of the globe?" This ingenious mode of deducing certain conclusions from possible premises, is an improvement on syllogistic skill, and proves the good father superior even to Archimedes, for he can turn the world without any thing to rest his lever upon. It is only surpassed by the dexterity with which the sturdy old Jesuit, in another place, cuts the gordian knot—"Nothing," says he, "is more easy. The inhabitants of both hemispheres are certainly the descendants of the same father. The common father of mankind received an express order from Heaven to people the world, and accordingly it has been peopled . To bring this about, it was necessary to overcome all difficulties in the way, and they have also been overcome!" Pious Logician! How does he put all the herd of laborious theorists to the blush, by explaining in five words, what it has cost them volumes to prove they know nothing about!

They have long been picking at the lock, and fretting at the latch, but the honest father at once unlocks the door by bursting it open, and when he has it once ajar, he is at full liberty to pour in as many nations as he pleases. This proves to a demonstration that a little piety is better than a cart-load of philosophy, and is a practical illustration of that scriptural promise—"By faith ye shall move mountains."

From all the authorities here quoted, and a variety of others which I have consulted, but which are omitted through fear of fatiguing the unlearned reader—I can only draw the following conclusions, which, luckily however, are sufficient for my purpose—First, That this part of the world has actually been peopled (Q. E. D.:) to support which we have living proofs in the numerous tribes of Indians that inhabit it. Secondly, That it has been peopled in five hundred different ways, as proved by a cloud of authors, who from the positiveness of their assertions, seem to have been eye-witness to the fact— Thirdly, That the people of this country had a variety of fathers, which as it may not be thought much to their credit by the common run of readers, the less we say on the subject the better. The question, therefore, I trust is for ever at rest.


The renowned Wouter (or Walter) Van Twiller was descended from a long line of Dutch burgomasters, who had successively dozed away their lives, and grown fat upon the bench of magistracy in Rotterdam; and who had comported themselves with such singular wisdom and propriety that they were never either heard or talked of— which, next to being universally applauded, should be the object of ambition to all sage magistrates and rulers.

His surname of Twiller is said to be a corruption of the original Twijfler, which in English means doubter; a name admirably descriptive of his deliberative habits. For though he was a man shut up within himself like an oyster, and of such a profoundly reflective turn that he scarcely ever spoke except in monosyllables; yet did he never make up his mind on any doubtful point. This was clearly accounted for by his adherents, who affirmed that he always conceived every subject on so comprehensive a scale that he had not room in his head to turn it over and examine both sides of it; so that he always remained in doubt, merely in consequence of the astonishing magnitude of his ideas!

There are two opposite ways by which some men get into notice—one by talking a vast deal and thinking a little, and the other by holding their tongues and not thinking at all. By the first many a vapouring superficial pretender acquires the reputation of a man of quick parts,— by the other, many a vacant dunderpate like the owl, the stupidest of birds, comes to be complimented by a discerning world, with all the attributes of wisdom. This, by the way, is a mere casual remark, which I would not for the universe have it thought I apply to Governor Van Twiller. On the contrary, he was a very wise Dutchman, for he never said a foolish thing; and of such invincible gravity that he was never known to laugh, or even to smile, through the course of a long and prosperous life. Certain, however, it is, there never was a matter proposed, however simple, and on which your common narrow minded mortals would rashly determine at the first glance, but what the renowned Wouter put on a mighty mysterious, vacant kind of look, shook his capacious head, and having smoked for five minutes with redoubled earnestness, sagely observed, that "he had his doubts about the matter;"—which, in process of time gained him the character of a man slow of belief, and not easily imposed on.

The person of this illustrious old gentleman was as regularly formed, and nobly proportioned, as though it had been moulded by the hands of some cunning Dutch statuary, as a model of majesty and lordly grandeur. He was exactly five feet six inches in height, and six feet five inches in circumference. His head was a perfect sphere, far excelling in magnitude that of the great Pericles (who was thence waggishly called Schenocephalus, or onion head)—indeed, of such stupendous dimensions was it, that dame Nature herself, with all her sex's ingenuity, would have been puzzled to construct a neck capable of supporting it; wherefore she wisely declined the attempt, and settled it firmly on the top of his back-bone, just between the shoulders; where it remained, as snugly bedded as a ship of war in the mud of Potowmac. His body was of an oblong form, particularly capacious at bottom; which was wisely ordered by providence, seeing that he was a man of sedentary habits, and very averse to the idle labour of walking. His legs, though exceeding short, were sturdy in proportion to the weight they had to sustain; so that when erect he had not a little the appearance of a robustious beer barrel, standing on skids. His face, that infalliable index of the mind, presented a vast expanse perfectly unfurrowed or deformed by any of those lines and angles which disfigure the human countenance with what is termed expression. Two small gray eyes twinkled feebly in the midst, like two stars of lesser magnitude, in a hazy firmament; and his full-fed checks, which seemed to have taken toll of every thing that went into his mouth, were curiously mottled and streaked with dusky red, like a Spitzemburg apple.

His habits were as regular as his person. He daily took his four stated meals, appropriating exactly an hour to each; he smoked and doubted eight hours, and he slept the remaining twelve of the four-and-twenty. Such was the renowned Wouter Van Twiller—a true philosopher, for his mind was either elevated above, or tranquilly settled below, the cares and perplexities of this world. He had lived in it for years, without feeling the least curiosity to know whether the sun revolved around it, or it round the sun; and he had even watched for at least half a century, the smoke curling from his pipe to the ceiling, without once troubling his head with any of those numerous theories, by which a philosopher would have perplexed his brain, in accounting for its arising above the surrounding atmosphere.

In his council he presided with great state and solemnity. He sat in a huge chair of solid oak hewn in the celebrated forest of the Hague, fabricated by an experienced Timmerman of Amsterdam, and curiously carved about the arms and feet, into exact imitations of gigantic eagle's claws. Instead of a sceptre, he swayed a long Turkish pipe, wrought with jasmin and amber, which had been presented to a stadtholder of Holland at the conclusion of a treaty with one of the petty Barbary powers. In this stately chair would he sit, and this magnificent pipe would he smoke, shaking his right knee with a constant motion, and fixing his eyes for hours together upon a little print of Amsterdam, which hung in a black frame against the opposite wall of the council chamber. Nay, it has even been said, that when any deliberation of extraordinary length and intricacy was on the carpet, the renowned Wouter would absolutely shut his eyes for full two hours at a time, that he might not be disturbed by external objects; and at such times the internal commotion of his mind was evinced by certain regular guttural sounds, which his admirers declared were merely the noise of conflict made by his contending doubts and opinions.

It is with infinite difficulty I have been enabled to collect these biographical anecdotes of the great man under consideration. The facts respecting him were so scattered and vague, and divers of them so questionable in point of authenticity, that I have had to give up the search after many, and decline the admission of still more, which would have tended to heighten the colouring of his portrait.

I have been the more anxious to delineate fully the person and habits of the renowned Van Twiller, from the consideration that he was not only the first, but also the best governor that ever presided over this ancient and respectable province; and so tranquil and benevolent was his reign that I do not find, throughout the whole of it, a single instance of any offender being brought to punishment;— a most indubitable sign of a merciful governor and a case unparalleled, excepting in the reign of the illustrious King Log, from whom, it is hinted, the renowned Van Twiller was a lineal descendant.

The very outset of the career of this excellent magistrate, like that of Solomon, or to speak more appropriately, like that of the illustrious governor of Barataria, was distinguished by an example of legal acumen, that gave flattering presage of a wise and equitable administration. The very morning after he had been solemnly installed in office, and at the moment that he was making his breakfast from a prodigious earthen dish, filled with milk and Indian pudding, he was suddenly interrupted by the appearance of one Wandle Schoonhoven, a very important old burgher of New-Amsterdam, who complained bitterly of one Barent Bleecker, inasmuch as he fraudulently refused to come to a settlement of accounts, seeing that there was a heavy balance in favour of the said Wandle. Governor Van Twiller, as I have already observed, was a man of few words; he was likewise a mortal enemy to multiplying writings, or being disturbed at his breakfast. Having listened attentively to the statement of Wandle Schoonhoven, giving an occasionable grunt, as he shovelled a mighty spoonful of Indian pudding into his mouth—either as a sign that he relished the dish, or comprehended the story: he called unto him his constable, and pulling out of his breeches pocket a huge jackknife, despatched it after the defendant as a summons, accompanied by his tobacco box as a warrant.

This summary process was as effectual in those simple days as was the seal ring of the great Haroun Alraschid among the true believers. The two parties, being confronted before him, each produced a book of accounts, written in a language and character that would have puzzled any but a high Dutch commentator, or a learned decipherer of Egyptian obelisks, to understand. The sage Wouter took them one after the other, and having poised them in his hands, and attentiveiy counted over the number of leaves, fell straightway into a very great doubt, and smoked for half an hour without saying a word; at length, laying his finger beside his nose, and shutting his eyes for a moment, with the air of a man who has just caught a subtle idea by the tail, he slowly took his pipe from his mouth, puffed forth a column of tobacco smoke, and with marvellous gravity and solemnity pronounced—that having carefully counted over the leaves, and weighed the books, it was found, that one was just as thick and as heavy as the other—therefore it was the final opinion of the court, that the accounts were equally balanced—therefore Wandle should give Barent a receipt, and Barent should give Wandle a receipt—and the constable should pay the costs.

This decision being straightway made known, diffused general joy throughout New-Amsterdam; for the people immediately perceived, that they had a very wise and equitable magistrate to rule over them. But its happiest effect was, that not another lawsuit took place throughout the whole of his administration; and the office of constable fell into such decay, that there was not one of those losel scouts known in the province for many years. I am the more particular in dwelling on this transaction, not only because I deem it one of the most sage and righteous judgments on record, and well worthy the attention of modern magistrates, but because it was a miraculous event in the history of the renowned Wouter—being the only time he was ever known to come to a decision, in the whole course of his life.

The Grand Council of New-Amsterdam—with Reasons why an Alderman should be Fat.

To assist the doubtful Wouter in the arduous business of legislation, a board of magistrates was appointed, which presided immediately over the police. This potent body consisted of a schout or bailiff, with powers between those of the present mayor and sheriff; five burgermeesters, who were equivalent to aldermen; and five schepens, who officiated as scrubs, sub-devils, or bottle-holders, to the burgermeesters, in the same manner as do assistant alderman to their principals at the present day—it being their duty to fill the pipes of the lordly burgermeesters, hunt the markets for delicacies for corporation dinners, and to discharge such other little offices of kindness, as were occasionally required. It was, moreover, tacitly understood, though not specifically enjoined, that they should consider themselves as butts for the blunt wits of the burgermeesters, and should laugh most heartily at all their jokes; but this last was a duty as rarely called in action in those days as it is at present, and was shortly remitted, in consequence of the tragical death of a fat little schepen, who actually died of suffocation in an unsuccessful effort to force a laugh at one of burgermeester Van Zandt's best jokes.

In return for these humble services, they were permitted to say, yes and no at the council board, and to have that enviable privilege, the run of the public kitchen; being graciously permitted to eat, and drink, and smoke, at all those snug junkettings, and public gormandizings, for which the ancient magistrates were equally famous with their more modern successors. The post of schepen, therefore, like that of assistant alderman, was eagerly coveted by all your burghers of a certain description, who have a huge relish for good feeding, and an humble ambition to be great men in a small way—who thirst after a little brief authority, that shall render them the terror of the alms-house and the bridewell—that shall enable them to lord it over obsequious poverty, vagrant vice, outcast prostitution, and hunger-driven dishonesty—that shall place in their hands the lesser, but galling scourge of the law, and give to their beck a houndlike pack of catchpoles and bum-bailiffs—tenfold greater rogues than the culprits they hunt down!—My readers will excuse this sudden warmth, which I confess is unbecoming of a grave historian; but I have a mortal antipathy to catchpoles, bum-bailiffs, and little great men.

The ancient magistrates of this city corresponded with those of the present time no less in form, magnitude, and intellect, than in prerogative and privilege. The burgomasters, like our aldermen, were generally chosen by weight; and not only the weight of the body, but likewise the weight of the head. It is a maxim practically observed in all honest, plain thinking, regular cities, that an alderman should be fat—and the wisdom of this can be proved to a certainty. That the body is in some measure an image of the mind, or rather that the mind is moulded to the body, like melted lead to the clay in which it is cast, has been insisted on by many men of science, who have made human nature their peculiar study. For as a learned gentleman of our own city observes, "there is a constant relation between the moral character of all intelligent creatures and their physical constitution—between their habits and the structure of their bodies." Thus we see, that a lean, spare, diminutive body is generally accompanied by a petulant, restless, meddling mind. Either the mind wears down the body by its continual motion; or else the body, not affording the mind sufficient house-room, keeps it continually in a state of fretfulness, tossing and worrying about, from the uneasiness of its situation. Whereas your round, sleek, fat, unwieldy periphery is ever attended by a mind like itself, tranquil, torpid, and at ease; and we may always observe, that your well-fed, robustious burghers are in general very tenacious of their ease and comfort; being great enemies to noise, discord, and disturbance: and surely none are more likely to study the public tranquillity than those who are so careful of their own. Whoever hears of fat men heading a riot, or herding together in turbulent mobs?—No—no—it is your lean, hungry men, who are continually worrying society, and setting the whole community by the ears.

The divine Plato, whose doctrines are not sufficiently attended to by Philosophers of the present age, allows to every man three souls: one immortal and rational, seated in the brain, that it may overlook and regulate the body— a second consisting of the surly and irrascible passions, which, like belligerent powers, lie encamped around the heart—a third mortal and sensual, destitute of reason, gross and brutal in its propensities, and enchained in the belly, that it may not disturb the divine soul, by its ravenous howlings. Now, according to this excellent theory, what can be more clear, than that your fat alderman is most likely to have the most regular and well conditioned mind. His head is like a huge, spherical chamber, containing a prodigious mass of soft brains, whereon the rational soul lies softly and snugly couched, as on a feather bed; and the eyes, which are the windows of the bedchamber, are usually half closed, that its slumberings may not be disturbed by external objects. A mind thus comfortably lodged, and protected from disturbance, is manifestly most likely to perform its functions with regularity and ease. By dint of good feeding, morever, the mortal and malignant soul, which is confined in the belly, and which by its raging and roaring, puts the irritable soul in the neighbourhood of the heart in an intolerable passion, and thus renders men crusty and quarrelsome when hungry— is completely pacified, silenced, and put to rest: whereupon a host of honest good-fellow qualities, and kindhearted affections, which had laid in perdue, slily peeping out of the loopholes of the heart, finding this Cerberus asleep, do pluck up their spirits, turn out one and all in their holiday suits, and gambol up and down the diaphraghm—disposing their possessor to laughter, good humour, and a thousand friendly offices towards his fellow mortals.

As a board of magistrates, formed on this model, think but very little, they are less likely to differ and wrangle about favourite opinions; and as they generally transact business upon a hearty dinner, they are naturally disposed to be lenient and indulgent in the administration of their duties. Charlemagne was conscious of this, and therefore (a pitiful measure, for which I can never forgive him,) ordered in his cartularies, that no judge should hold a court of justice, except in the morning, on an empty stomach.— A rule which, I warrant, bore hard upon all the poor culprits in his kingdom. The more enlightened and humane generation of the present day have taken an opposite course, and have so managed that the alderman are the best fed men in the community; feasting lustily on the fat things of the land, and gorging so heartily oysters and turtles, that in process of time they acquire the activity of the one, and the form, the waddle, and the green fat of the other. The consequence is, as I have just said; these luxurious feastings do produce such a dulcet equanimity and repose of the soul, rational and irrational, that their transactions are proverbial for unvarying monotony; and the profound laws, which they enact in their dozing moments, amid the labours of digestion, are quietly suffered to remain as dead letters, and never enforced, when awake. In a word, your fair round bellied burgomaster, like a full fed mastiff, dozes quietly at the house door, always at home, and always at hand to watch over its safety: but as to electing a lean, meddling candidate to the office, as has now and then been done, I would as lief put a greyhound to watch the house, or a race-horse to drag an ox-waggon.

The burgomasters then, as I have already mentioned, were wisely chosen by weight, and the schepens or assistant Alderman, were appointed to attend upon them, and help them to eat; but the latter in the course of time, when they have been fed and fattened into sufficient bulk of body and drowsiness of brain, became very eligible candidates for the burgomasters' chair; have fairly eaten themselves into office, as a mouse eats its way into a comfortable lodgment in a goodly blue-nosed, skimmed milk, New-England cheese.


From the Sketch-Book.

It was the very witching time of night that Ichabod, heavy-hearted, and crest-fallen, pursued his travel homewards, along the sides of the lofty hills which rise above Tarry-Town, and which he had traversed so cheerily in the afternoon. The hour was as dismal as himself. Far below him, the Tappan Zee spread its dusky and indistinct waste of waters, with here and there the tall mast of a sloop, riding quietly at anchor under the land. In the dead hush of midnight, he could even hear the barking of the watch-dog from the opposite shore of the Hudson! but it was so vague and faint as only to give an idea of his distance from this faithful companion of man. Now and then, too, the long-drawn crowing of a cock, accidentally awakened, would sound far, far off, from some farm-house away among the hills—but it was like a dreaming sound in his ear. No signs of life occurred near him, but occasionally the melancholy chirp of a cricket, or perhaps the guttural twang of a bull-frog, from a neighbouring marsh, as if sleeping uncomfortably, and turning suddenly in his bed.

All the storeis of ghosts and goblins that he had heard in the afternoon, now came crowding upon his recollection. The night grew darker and darker; the stars seemed to sink deeper in the sky, and driving clouds occasionally hid them from his sight. He had never felt so lonely and dismal. He was, moreover, approaching the very place where many of the scenes of the ghost stories had been laid. In the centre of the road stood an enormous tulip tree, which towered like a giant above all the other trees of the neighbourhood, and formed a kind of land-mark. Its limbs were gnarled, and fantastic, large enough to form trunks for ordinary trees, twisting down almost to the earth, and rising again into the air. It was connected with the tragical story of the unfortunate André, who had been taken prisoner hard by; and was universally known by the name of Major André's tree. The common people regarded it with a mixture of respect and superstition, partly out of sympathy for the fate of its ill-starred namesake, and partly from the tales of strange sights, and doleful lamentations told concerning it.

As Ichabod approached this fearful tree, he began to whistle: he thought his whistle was answered; it was but a blast sweeping sharply through the dry banches. As he approached a little nearer, he thought he saw something white, hanging in the midst of the tree; he paused and ceased whistling; but on looking more narrowly, perceived that it was a place where the tree had been scathed by lightning, and the white wood laid bare. Suddenly he heard a groan—his teeth chattered, and his knees smote against the saddle: It was but the rubbing of one huge branch upon another, as they were swayed about by the breeze. He passed the tree in safety, but new perils lay before him.

About two hundred yards from the tree a small brook crossed the road, and ran into a marshy and thickly wooded glen, known by the name of Wiley's swamp. A few rough logs, laid side by side, served for a bridge over this stream. On that side of the road where the brook entered the wood, a group of oaks and chesnuts, matted thick with wild grape vines, threw a cavernous gloom over it. To pass this bridge, was the severest trial. It was at this identical spot that the unfortunate André was captured, and under the covert of those chesnuts and vines were the sturdy yeomen concealed who surprised him. This has ever since been considered a haunted stream, and fearful are the feelings of the schoolboy who has to pass it alone after dark.

As he approached the stream, his heart began to thump; he summoned up, however, all his resolution, gave his horse half a score of kicks in the ribs, and attempted to dash briskly across the bridge; but instead of starting forward, the perverse old animal made a lateral movement, and ran broadside against the fence. Ichabod, whose fears increased with the delay, jerked the reins on the other side, and kicked lustily with the contrary foot; it was all in vain; his steed started, it is true, but it was only to plunge to the opposite side of the road into a thicket of brambles and alder bushes. The schoolmaster now bestowed both whip and heel upon the starveling ribs of old Gunpowder, who dashed forward, snuffling and snorting, but came to a stand just by the bridge with a suddenness that had nearly sent his rider sprawling over his head. Just at this moment a plashy tramp by the side of the bridge caught the sensitive ear of Ichabod. In the dark shadow of the grove, on the margin of the brook, he beheld something huge and misshapen, black and towering. It stirred not, but seemed gathered up in gloom, like some gigantic monster ready to spring upon the traveller.

The hair of the affrighted pedagogue rose upon his head with terror. What was to be done? To turn and fly was now too late; and besides, what chance was there of escaping ghost or goblin, if such it was, which could ride upon the wings of the wind? Summoning up, therefore, a show of courage, he demanded in stammering accents— "Who are you?" He received no reply. He repeated his demand in a still more agitated voice. Still there was no answer. Once more he cudgelled the inflexible sides of old Gunpowder, and shutting his eyes, broke forth with involuntary fervour into a psalm tune.

Just then the shadowy object of alarm put himself in motion, and with a scramble and a bound, stood at once in the middle of the road. Though the night was dark and dismal, yet the form of the unknown might now in some degree be ascertained. He appeared to be a horseman of large dimensions, and mounted on a black horse of powerful frame. He made no offer of molestation or sociability, but kept aloof on one side of the road, jogging along on the blind side of old Gunpowder, who had now got over his flight and waywardness.

Ichabod, who had no relish for this strange midnight companion, and bethought himself of the adventure of Brom Bones with the Galloping Hessian, now quickened his steed, in hopes of leaving him behind. The stranger, however, quickened his horse to an equal pace. Ichabod pulled up, and fell into a walk, thinking to lag behind— the other did the same. His heart began to sink within him; he endeavoured to resume his psalm tune, but his parched tongue clove to the roof of his mouth, and he could not utter a stave. There was something in the moody and dogged silence of this pertinacious companion, that was mysterious and appalling. It was soon fearfully accounted for. On mounting a rising ground, which brought the figure of his fellow traveller in relief against the sky, gigantic in height, and muffled in a cloak, Ichabod was horror-struck, on perceiving that he was headless!—but his horror was still more increased, on observing that the head, which should have rested on his shoulders, was carried before him on the pommel of the saddle; his terror rose to desperation; he rained a shower of kicks and blows upon Gunpowder, hoping by a sudden movement, to give his companion the slip—but the spectre started full jump with him. Away then they dashed, through thick and thin; stones flying, and sparks flashing, at every bound. Ichabod's flimsy garments fluttered in the air, as he stretched his long lank body away over his horse's head, in the eagerness of his flight.

They had now reached the road which turns off to Sleepy Hollow; but Gunpowder, who seemed possessed with a demon, instead of keeping up to it, made an opposite turn, and plunged headlong down hill to the left. This road leads through a sandy hollow, shaded by trees for about a quarter of a mile, where it crosses the bridge famous in goblin story, and just beyond swells the green knoll on which stands the whitewashed church.

As yet the panic of the steed had given his unskilful rider an apparent advantage in the chase; but just as he had got half way through the hollow, the girths of the saddle gave way, and he felt it slipping from under him. He seized it by the pommel, and endeavoured to hold it firm, but in vain; and had just time to save himself by clasping old Gunpowder round the neck, when the saddle fell to the earth, and he heard it trampled under foot by his pursuer. For a moment the terror of Hans Van Ripper's wrath passed across his mind—for it was his Sunday saddle; but this was no time for petty fears; the goblin was hard on his haunches; and (unskilful rider that he was!) he had much ado to maintain his seat; sometimes slipping on one side, and sometimes on another, and sometimes jolted on the high ridge of his horse's back bone, with a violence that he verily feared would cleave him asunder.

An opening of the trees now cheered him with the hopes that the Church bridge was at hand. The wavering reflection of a silver star in the bosom of the brook told him that he was not mistaken. He saw the walls of the church dimly glaring under the trees beyond. He recollected the place where Brom Bones' ghostly competitor had disappeared. "If I can but reach that bridge," thought Ichabod, "I am safe." Just then he heard the black steed panting and blowing close behind him; he even fancied that he felt his hot breath. Another convulsive kick in the ribs, and old Gunpowder sprung upon the bridge; he thundered over the resounding planks; he gained the opposite side; and now Ichabod cast a look behind to see if his pursuer should vanish, according to rule, in a flash of fire and brimstone. Just then he saw the goblin rising in his stirrups, and in the very act of hurling his head at him. Ichabod endeavoured to dodge the horrible missile, but too late. It encountered his cranium with a tremendous crash—he was tumbled headlong into the dust, and Gunpowder, the black steed, and the goblin rider, passed by like a whirlwind.

The next morning the old horse was found without his saddle, and with the bridle under his feet, soberly cropping the grass at his master's gate. Ichabod did not make his appearance at breakfast—dinner-hour came, but no Ichabod. The boys assembled at the schoolhouse, and strolled idly about the banks of the brook; but no schoolmaster. Hans Van Ripper now began to feel some uneasiness about the fate of poor Ichabod, and his saddle. An inquiry was set on foot, and after diligent investigation they came upon his traces. In one part of the road leading to the church, was found the saddle trampled in the dirt; the tracks of horses' hoofs deeply dented on the road, and evidently at furious speed, were traced to the bridge, beyond which, on the bank of a broad part of the brook, where the water ran deep and black, was found the hat of the unfortunate Ichabod, and close beside it a shattered pumpkin.

The brook was searched, but the body of the schoolmaster was not to be discovered. Hans Van Ripper, as executor of his estate, examined the bundle which contained all his worldly effects. They consisted of two shirts and a half; two stocks for the neck; a pair or two of worsted stockings; an old pair of corduroy small-clothes; a rusty razor; a book of psalm tunes, full of dog's ears; and a broken pitch-pipe. As to the books and furniture of the schoolhouse, they belonged to the community, excepting Cotton Mather's History of Witch-craft, a New-England Almanack, and a book of dreams and fortune telling; in which last was a sheet of foolscap much scribbled and blotted in several fruitless attempts to make a copy of verses in honour of the heiress of Van Tassel. These magic books and the poetic scrawl were forthwith consigned to the flames by Hans Van Ripper; who from that time forward determined to send his children no more to school; observing, that he never knew any good come of this same reading and writing. Whatever money the schoolmaster possessed, and he had received his quarter's pay but a day or two before, he must have had about his person at the time of his disappearance.

The mysterious event caused much speculation at the church on the following Sunday. Knots of gazers and gossips were collected in the church-yard, at the bridge, and at the spot where the hat and pumpkin had been found. The stories of Brouwer, of Bones, and a whole budget of others were called to mind; and when they had diligently considered them all, and compared them with the symptoms of the present case, they shook their heads, and came to the conclusion that Ichabod had been carried off by the galoping Hessian. As he was a bachelor, and in nobody's debt, nobody troubled his head any more about him; the school was removed to a different quarter of the hollow, and another pedagogue reigned in his stead.

It is true, an old farmer, who had been down to New-York on a visit several years after, and from whom this account of the ghostly adventure was received, brought home the intelligence that Ichabod Crane was still alive; that he had left the neighbourhood partly through fear of the goblin and Hans Van Ripper, and partly in mortification at having been suddenly dismissed by the heiress; that he had changed his quarters to a distant part of the country; had kept school and studied law at the same time; had been admitted to the bar, turned politician, electioneered, written for the newspapers, and finally had been made a justice of the Ten Pound Court. Brom Bones too, who shortly after his rival's disappearance, conducted the blooming Katrina in triumph to the altar, was observed to look exceedingly knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was related, and always burst into a hearty laugh at the mention of the pumpkin; which led some to suspect that he knew more about the matter than he chose to tell.


We have more than once, in the course of our work, been most jocosely familiar with great personages; and, in truth, treated them with as little ceremony, respect, and consideration, as if they had been our most particular friends. Now, we would not suffer the mortification of having our readers even suspect us of an intimacy of the kind; assuring them we are extremely choice in our intimates, and uncommonly circumspect in avoiding connections with all doubtful characters; particularly pimps, bailiffs, lottery-brokers, chevaliers of industry, and great men. The world in general is pretty well aware of what is to be understood by the former classes of delinquents: but as the latter has never, I believe been specifically defined, and as we are determined to instruct our readers to the extent of our abilities, and their limited comprehension, it may not be amiss here to let them know what we understand by a great man.

First, therefore, let us (editors and kings are always plural) premise, that there are two kinds of greatness;—one conferred by heaven—the exalted nobility of the soul;— the other, a spurious distinction, engendered by the mob, and lavished upon its favourites. The former of these distinctions we have already contemplated with reverence; the latter we will take this opportunity to strip naked before our unenlightened readers; so that if by chance any of them are held in ignominious thraldom by this base circulation of false coin, they may forthwith emancipate themselves from such inglorious delusion.

It is a fictitious value given to individuals by public caprice, as bankers give an impression to a worthless slip of paper, thereby giving it a currency for infinitely more than its intrinsic value. Every nation has its peculiar coin, and peculiar great men; neither of which will, for the most part, pass current out of the country where they are stamped. Your true mob-created great man is like a note of one of the little New-England banks, and his value depreciates in proportion to the distance from home. In England, a great man is he who has most ribands and gew-gaws on his coat, most horses in his carriage, most slaves in his retinue, or most toad-eaters at his table; in France, he who can most dexterously flourish his heels above his head—Duport is most incontestibly the greatest man in France!—when the Emperor is absent. The greatest man in China is he who can trace his ancestry up to the moon; and in this country our great men may generally hunt down their pedigree until it burrows in the dirt like a rabbit. To be concise; our great men are those who are most expert at crawling on all-fours, and have the happiest facility in dragging and winding themselves along in the dirt like very reptiles. This may seem a paradox to many of my readers, who with great good nature be it hinted, are too stupid to look beyond the mere surface of our invaluable writings; and often pass over the knowing allusion, and poignant meaning, that is slyly couching beneath. It is for the benefit of such helpless ignorants, who have no other creed but the opinion of the mob, that I shall trace, as far as it is possible to follow him in his ascent from insignificance,—the rise, progress, and completion of a little great man.

In a logocracy, to use the sage Mustapha's phrase, it is not absolutely necessary to the formation of a great man that he should be either wise or valiant, upright or honourable. On the contrary, daily experience shows that these qualities rather impede his preferment, inasmuch as they are prone to render him too inflexibly erect, and are directly at variance with that willowy suppleness which enables a man to wind, and twist, through all the nooks and turns and dark winding passages that lead to greatness. The grand requisite for climbing the rugged hill of popularity,—the summit of which is the seat of power,—is to be useful. And here once more, for the sake of our readers, who are of course not so wise as ourselves, I must explain what we understand by usefulness. The horse, in his native state, is wild, swift, impetuous, full of majesty, and of a most generous spirit. It is then the animal is noble, exalted and useless. But entrap him, manacle him, cudgel him, break down his lofty spirit, put the curb into his mouth, the load upon his back, and reduce him into servile obedience to the bridle and the lash, and it is then he becomes useful. Your jackass is one of the most useful animals in existence. If my readers do not now understand what I mean by usefulness, I give them all up for most absolute nincoms.

To rise in this country a man must first descend. The aspiring politician may be compared to that indefatigable insect called the tumbler, pronounced by a distinguished personage to be the only industrious animal in Virginia; which buries itself in filth, and works ignobly in the dirt, until it forms a little ball of dirt, which it rolls laboriously along, like Diogenes in his tub; sometimes head, sometimes tail foremost, pilfering from every rat and mud hole, and encreasing its ball of greatness by the contributions of the kennel. Just so the candidate for greatness:— he plunges into that mass of obscenity, the mob; labours in dirt and oblivion, and makes unto himself the rudiments of a popular name from the admiration and praises of rogues, ignoramuses, and blackguards. His name once started, onward he goes struggling and puffing, and pushing it before him; collecting new tributes from the dregs and offals of the land as he proceeds, until having gathered together a mighty mass of popularity, he mounts it in triumph, is hoisted into office, and becomes a great man, and a ruler in the land.—All this will be clearly illustrated by a sketch of a worthy of the kind, who sprung up under my eye, and was hatched from pollution by the broad rays of popularity, which, like the sun, can "breed maggots in a dead dog."

Timothy Dabble was a young man of very promising talents; for he wrote a fair hand, and had thrice won the silver medal at a country academy; he was also an orator, for he talked with emphatic volubility, and could argue a full hour without taking either side, or advancing a single opinion; he had still farther requisites for eloquence; for he made very handsome gestures, had dimples in his cheeks when he smiled, and enunciated most harmoniously through his nose. In short, nature had certainly marked him out for a great man; for though he was not tall, yet he added at least half an inch to his stature by elevating his head, and assumed an amazing expression of dignity by turning up his nose and curling his nostrils in a style of conscious superiority. Convinced by these unequivocal appearances, Dabble's friends, in full caucus, one and all declared that he was undoubtedly born to be a great man, and it would be his own fault if he were not one. Dabble was tickled with an opinion which coincided so happily with his own,— for vanity, in a confidential whisper, had given him the like intimation; and he reverenced the judgment of his friends because they thought so highly of himself;—accordingly he set out with a determination to become a great man, and to start in the scrub-race for honour and renown. How to attain the desired prizes was however the question. He knew, by a kind of instinctive feeling, which seems peculiar to grovelling minds, that honour, and its better part—profit, would never seek him out; that they would never knock at his door and crave admittance; but must be courted, and toiled after, and earned. He therefore strutted forth in the highways, the market-places, and the assemblies of the people; ranted like a true cockerel orator about virtue, and patriotism, and liberty, and equality, and himself. Full many a political windmill did he battle with; and full many a time did he talk himself out of breath, and his hearers out of their patience. But Dabble found to his vast astonishment, that there was not a notorious political pimp at a ward meeting but could out-talk him;— and what was still more mortifying, there was not a notorious political pimp but was more noticed and caressed than himself. The reason was simple enough; while he harangued about principles, the others ranted about men; where he reprobated a political error, they blasted a political character:—they were, consequently, the most useful; for the great object of our political disputes is not who shall have the honour of emancipating the community from the leading-strings of delusion, but who shall have the profit of holding the strings and leading the community by the nose.

Dabble was likewise very loud in his professions of integrity, incorruptibility, and disinterestedness; words, which, from being filtered and refined through newspapers and election hand-bills, have lost their original signification; and in the political dictionary are synonymous with empty pockets, itching palms, and interested ambition. He, in addition to all this, declared that he would support none but honest men; but unluckily as but few of these offered themselves to be supported, Dabble's services were seldom required. He pledged himself never to engage in party schemes, or party politics, but to stand up solely for the broad interests of his country;—so he stood alone and what is the same thing, he stood still; for, in this country, he who does not side with either party is like a body in a vacuum between two planets, and must for ever remain motionless.

Dabble was immeasurably surprised that a man so honest, so disinterested, and so sagacious withal, and one too who had the good of his country so much at heart should thus remain unnoticed and unapplauded. A little worldly advice, whispered in his ear by a shrewd old politician, at once explained the whole mystery. "He who would become great," said he, "must serve an apprenticeship to greatness; and rise by regular gradation, like the master of a vessel, who commences by being scrub and cabin-boy. He must fag in the train of great men, echo all their sentiments, become their toad-eater and parasite,—laugh at all their jokes; and, above all, endeavour to make them laugh; if you only now and then make a man laugh, your fortune is made. Look but about you, youngster, and you will not see a single little great man of the day but has his miserable herd of retainers, who yelp at his heels, come at his whistle, worry whoever he points his finger at, and think themselves fully rewarded by sometimes snapping up a crumb that falls from the great man's table. Talk of patriotism, virtue and incorruptibility! tut, man! they are the very qualities that scare munificence, and keep patronage at a distance. You might as well attempt to entice crows with red rags and gunpowder. Lay all these scarecrow virtues aside, and let this be your maxim, that a candidate for political eminence is like a dried herring; he never becomes luminous until he is corrupt."

Dabble caught with hungry avidity these congenial doctrines, and turned into his predestined channel of action with the force and rapidity of a stream which has for a while been restrained from its natural course. He became what nature had fitted him to be;—his tone softened down from arrogant self-sufficiency to the whine of fawning solicitation. He mingled in the caucusses of the sovereign people; adapted his dress to a similitude of dirty raggedness; argued most logically with those who were of his own opinion; and slandered, with all the malice of impotence, exalted characters whose orbit he despaired ever to approach:—just as that scoundrel midnight thief, the owl, hoots at the blessed light of the sun, whose glorious lustre he dares never contemplate. He likewise applied himself to discharging faithfully the honourable duties of a partizan; he poached about for private slanders, and ribald anecdotes; he folded hand-bills—he even wrote one or two himself, which he carried about in his pocket and read to every body; he became a secretary at ward-meetings, set his hand to divers resolutions of patriotic import, and even once went so far as to make a speech, in which he proved that patriotism was a virtue;— the reigning bashaw a great man;—that this was a free country, and he himself an arrant and incontestable buzzard!

Dabble was now very frequent and devout in his visits to those temples of politics, popularity, and smoke, the ward porter-houses; those true dens of equality, where all ranks, ages, and talents, are brought down to the dead level of rude familiarity.—'Twas here his talents expanded, and his genius swelled up to its proper size; like the loathsome toad, which shrinking from balmy airs, and jocund sunshine, funds his congenial home in caves and dungeons, and there nourishes his venom, and bloats his deformity. 'Twas here he revelled with the swinish multitude in their debauches on patriotism and porter; and it became an even chance whether Dabble would turn out a great man or a great drunkard.—But Dabble in all this kept steadily in his eye the only deity he ever worshiped—his interest. Having by his familiarity ingratiated himself with the mob, he became wonderfully potent and industrious at elections: knew all the dens and cellars of profligacy and intemperance; brought more negroes to the polls, and knew to a greater certainty where votes could be bought for beer, than any of his contemporaries. His exertions in the cause, his persevering industry, his degrading compliance, his unresisting humility, his steadfast dependence, at length caught the attention of one of the leaders of the party; who was pleased to observe that Dabble was a very useful fellow, who would go all lengths. From that moment his fortune was made;—he was hand and glove with orators and slang-whangers; basked in the sunshine of great men's smiles, and had the honour, sundry times, of shaking hands with dignitaries, and drinking out of the same pot with them at a porter-house!!

I will not fatigue myself with tracing this caterpillar in his slimy progress from worm to butterfly; suffice it that Dabble bowed and bowed, and fawned, and sneaked, and smirked, and libelled, until one would have thought perseverance itself would have settled down into despair. There was no knowing how long he might have lingered at a distance from his hopes, had he not luckily got tarred and feathered for some of his election eering manoeuvres—this was the making of him! Let not my readers stare—tarring and feathering here is equal to pillory and cropped ears in England; and either of these kinds of martyrdom will ensure a patriot the sympathy and suffrages of a faction. His partizans, for even he had his partizans, took his case into consideration— he had been kicked and cuffed, and disgraced, and dishonoured in the cause—he had licked the dust at the feet of the mob—he was a faithful drudge, slow to anger, of invincible patience, of incessant assiduity—a thorough going tool, who could be curbed, and spurred, and directed at pleasure—in short he had all the important qualifications for a little great man, and he was accordingly ushered into office amid the acclamations of the party. The leading men complimented his usefulness, the multitude his republican simplicity, and the slang-whangers vouched for his patriotism. Since his elevation he has discovered indubitable signs of having been destined for a great man. His nose has acquired an additional elevation of several degrees, so that now he appears to have bidden adieu to this world, and to have set his thoughts altogether on things above; and he has swelled and inflated himself to such a degree, that his friends are under apprehensions that he will one day or other explode and blow up like a torpedo.



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