Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

timent so beautifully expressed in one

The whole book is a jeu-d'esprit, of Mr. Coleridge's Sybilline Leaves.* and, perhaps, its only fault is, that no

jeu-d'esprit ougbt to be quite so long as Though ages long bave past

to fill iwo closely printed volumes. UnSince our fathers left their home,

der the mask of an historian ot bis native Their pilot in the blast, O'er untravellid seas to roam,

city, he has embodied, very successfulYet lives the blood of England in our veins ; ly, the results of his own early observaAnd shall we not proclaim

tion in regard to the formation and conThat blood of honest fame, Which no tyranny can tame

stitution of several regular divisions of By its chains !

Ainerican society; and in this point of

view his work will preserve its characWhile the language free and bold Which the bard of Avon sung

ter of value, long after the lapse of uime In which our Milton told

sball have blunied the edge of those How the vault of heaven rung

personal allusions which, no doubt,conWhen Satan, blasted, fell with all bis host; tributed most powerfully to its popularWhile these with reverence meet,

ity over the water. New York, our Ten thousand echoes greet, And from rock to rock repeat

readers know, or ought to know, was Round our coast.

originally a Dutch'new settlement, by While the manners, while the arts

the style and title of New Amsterdam, That mould a nation's soul,

and it was not till after it had witnessed Still cling around our hearts,

the successive reigns of seven generations Between let ocean roll,

of brigbreecbed deputies of their high Our joint communion breaking with the sun ;-Yet still from either beach,

mightinesses that the infant city was The voice of blood shall reach,

transferred to the dominion of England, More audible than speech,

in consequence of a pretty liberal grant “ WE ARE ONE."

by Charles II. to bis brother the Duke

of York, and the visit of a few English The great superiority, over too many vessels sent to give some efficacy of his countrymen, evinced by Mr. Ir- to this grant, in partibus infideving, on every occasion, when he speaks lium. Diedrich Knickerbocker, the of the manners, the spirit, the faith of imaginary Dutch Herodotus of this city, England, bas, without doubt, done of course, considers its occupation by much to gain for him our affection. the English forces as the termination of But had be never expressed one senti- its political existence, and disdains to ment favourable to us or 10 our coun, employ the same pen that bad celebratry, we should still bave been compelled ted the achievements of Peter the Headto confess that we regard bim as by far song, William ibe Testy, and the other the greatest genius that has arisen on the

govervors of the legitimate Batavian literary horizon of the new world. The breed, in recording any of the acts of Sketch Book has already proved, to our their usurping successors, holding aureaders, that he possesses exquisite pow- thority under the sign manual of Great ers of pathos and description ; but we Britain. To atone, however, for the recur, with pleasure, to this much earli hasty conclusion of bis history, he makes er publication, of which, we suspect, but its commencement as long and 'minote a few copies have ever crossed the Al- as could be desired-not beginning as lantic, to sbew that we did right when might be expected with the first landing we ascribed to him, in a forener paper, of a burgo-master on the shores of the the possession of a true old English veia Hudson, but plunging back into the of humour and satire-of keen and live- utmost night of ages, and favouring us ly wit-and of great knowledge and with a regular deducement of the Batadiscrimination of human nature.

vian line through all the varieties of

place and fortune that are recorded beThese fine verses were not written by Mr. Cole tween the creation of Adam, and the ridge, but by an American gentleman, whose name is concealed, though he calls him a dear and valued sailing of the good ship Goode Vrouw friend." His name should not have been concealed.

for the shore of Communipaw. The

description of the imaginary historian : During the whole time that he stayhimælf has always appeared to us to be ed with us, we found bin a very worone of the best things in the whole book, thy good sort of an old gentleman, so we sball begin with quoting it. We though a little queer in his ways. He are not sure that it yields to the far- would keep in his room for days tofamed introduction to Chrysal. Our gether, and if any of the children cried, readers are to know that Mr. Diedrich or made a noise about his door, be Knickerbocker composed his immortal would bounce out in a great passion, work in the Independent Columbian with his hands full of papers, and say Hotel, New York-and that having something about “derangiog his idemysteriously disappeared from his lodge as;" which made my wise believe ings without saying any thing to the sometimes that he was not altogether landlord, Mr.Seth Handaside, the pub- compos. Indeed there was more than lican thought of publishing his MSS. by one reason to make her think so, for way of baving his score cleared. The his room was always covered with programe of Mr. Handaside contains scraps of paper and old mouldy books, such a fine sketch of a veritable Dutch laying about at sixes and sevens, which portrait, that we cannot help wishing it he would never let any body touch; bad been twice as full as it is.

for he said he had laid them all away 'It was sometime, if I recollect right, in their proper places, so that he might in the early part of the fall of 1808, koow where to find them; though for that a stranger applied for lodgings at that matter, he was half his time worrythe Independent Columbian Hotel, in ing about the bouse in search of some Mulberry-Street, of which I am land- book or writing which he bad carefullord. He was

a small, brisk looking ly put out of the way. I shall never old gentleman, dressed in a rusty black forget what a pother he once made, becoat, a pair of olive velvet breeches, and cause my wife cleaned out his room a small cocked hat. He had a few when his back was turned, and put ergrey hairs plaited and clubbed behind, ery thing to rights; for he swore he and his beard seemed to be of some would never be able to get his papers eight and forty hours growth. The in order again in a twelvemonth. only piece of finery which he bore Upon this my wife ventured to ask bim, about him, was a bright pair of square what he did with so many books and silver shoe buckles: and all his bag- papers ? and he told her, that he was gage was contained in a pair of saddle “seeking for immortality;" which bags which he carried under bis arm. made her think more than ever, that tbc His whole appearance was something poor old gentleman's head was a little out of the common run; and my wife, cracked. who is a very shrewd body, at once 'He was a very inquisitive body, and set him down for some eminent country when not in his room was continually schoolmaster.

poking about town, hearing all the * As the Independent Columbian Ho- news, and prying into every thing that tel is a very

small house, I was a little was going on : this was particularly the puzzled at first where to put him ; but case about election time, when he did my wife, who seemed taken with bis nothing but bustle about from poll to looks, would needs put him in ber best poll, attending all ward meetings and chamber, which is genteely set off with committee rooms; though I could the profiles of the whole family, done never find that he took part with either in black, by those two great painters, side of the question. On the contrary Jarvis and Wood; and commands a he would come home and rail at both a very pleasant view of the new parties with great wrath-and plaioly grounds on the Collect, together with proved one day, to the satisfaction of the rear of the Poor-House and Bride. my wife and three old ladies who were well, and the full front of the Hospital; drinking tea with her, that the two so that it is the cheerfullest room in parties were like two rogues, eacb tug; the whole house,

ging at the skirt of the nation ; and

that in the end they would tear the very gress-map of that name, she did not like coat off its back, and expose its oaked io treat him uncivilly. Wbat is more, she ness. Indeed he was an oracle among even offered, merely by way of makthe neighbours, who would collecting things easy, to let bim live scot-free around him to bear bim talk of an af- if he would teach the children their letternoon, as he smoaked his pipe on the ters; and to try her best and get the bench before the door; and I really be- neighbours to send their children also : lieve he would have brought over the but the old gentleman took it in such whole neighbourhood to his own side dudgeon, and seemed so affronted at of the question, if they could ever have being taken for a school-master, that found out what it was.

she never dared speak on the subject • He was very much given to argue, again. or, as be called it, philosophize, about • About two months ago, he went out the most trifling matter, and to do him of a morning, with a bundle in his justice I never knew any body that was hand—and bas never been heard of a match for bim, except it was a grave since. All kinds of inquiries were looking gentleman who called now and made after him, but in vain. I wrote then to see him, and often posed him in to his relations at Seaghtikoke, but they an argument. But this is nothing sure sent for answer, that he had not been prising, as I bave since found out this there since the year before last, when stranger is the city librarian; and, of he had a great dispute with the Concourse must be a man of great learning: gress-man about politics, and left the and I have my doubts, if he had not place in a buff, and they had neithec some band in the following history. heard por seen any thing of him from

*As our lodger bad been a long time that time to this. I must own I felt with us, and we had never received very much worried about the poor old any pay, my wife began to be somewhat gentleman, for I thought something bad uneasy, and curious to find out who must have have happened to him, that and what he was. She accordingly he should be missing so long, and never made bold to put the question to his return to pay his bill

. I therefore adfriend the librarian, who replied in bis vertised bim in the newspapers, and dry way, that he was one of the Liter- though my melancholy advertisement ati ; which she supposed to mean some was published by several humane prinnew party in politics. I scorn to push ters, yet I have never been able to learn a lodger for bis pay, so I let day after any ihing satisfactory about him. day pass on without dupping the old • My wife now said it was high time gentleman for a farthing: but my wise, to take care of ourselves, and see if he who always takes these matters on had left any thing behind in bis room, herself, and is, as I said, a sbrewd kind that would pay us for his board and of a woman, at last got out of patience, lodging. We found nothing, however, but and hinted, that she thought it high time some old books and musty writings, and "some people should have a sight of his pair of saddle-bags; which, being some people's money." To which the opened in the presence of the librarian, old gentleman replied, in a mighty contained only a few articles of worntouchy manner, that she need not make out clothes, and a large bundle of blotherseri uneasy, for that he had a treas- ted paper. On looking over this, the ure there, (pointing to his saddle-bags,) librarian told us, he had no doubt it was worth her whole house put together. the treasure which the old gentleman This was the only answer we could had spoke about; as it proved to be a ever get from him; and as my wife, by most excellent and faithful HISTORY some of those odd ways in which wom OF NEW-YORK, which he advised us by en find out every thing, learnt that he all means 10 publish : assuring us that was of very great connexions, beiog re- it would be so eagerly bought up by a lated to the Knickerbockers of Seagh Jiscerning public, that he had no doubt tikoke, and cousin-german to the Con- it would be enough to pay our arrears

ten times over. Upon this we got a

In those good days of simplicity very learned school-master, who teach- and sunshine, a passion for cleanliness EB our children, 10 prepare it for the was the leading principle in domestic press, which he accordingly has done ; economy, and the universal test of an and has, moreover, added to it a num- able house wifema character which ber of notes of his own; and an engra- forined the utmost ambition of our unving of the city, as it was at the time Mr. enlightened grandmothers. The front Kuickerbocker writes about.

door was never opened except on mar* This, therefore, is a true statement of riages, funerals, new year's days, the fesmy reasons for having this work printed, tival of St. Nicholas, or some such great without waiting for the consent of the occasion-It was ornamented with a author: and I here declare, that if he gorgeous brass knocker, curiously ever returns, (though I much fear some wrought, sometimes into the device of unhappy accident has befallen him) I a dog, and sometimes of a lion's bead, stand ready to account with bim like and was daily burnished with such rea true and bonest man. Which is all at ligious zeal, that it was oft times wora present

out by the very precautions taken for • From the public's humble servant, its preservation. The whole house was

Seth Handaside.' constantly in a state of inundation, ubPassing over all the details of the

der the discipline of mops and brooms first settlement, on the site of the beau: housewives of those days were a kind of

and scrubbing brushes; and the good tiful city of New Amsterdam, we shall make bold to introduce our readers at

amphibious animal, delighting exceedouce into the following graphic and, ingly to be dabbling in water-jowe doubt not, correct account of the somuch that an historian of the day mode of living practised among the gravely tells us, that many of his townsinhabitants of this yet unsophisticated

women grew to bave webbed fingers colony. Any body that looks upon a

like unto a duck; and some of them, Datchman on his own paternal shore,

he had little doubt, could the matter be with his ten pairs of breeches, bis big the tails of mermaids—but this I look

examined into, would be found to have wig, his pipe, and his solid mass of cheek and chin, might prima facie con upon to be a mere sport of fancy, or clude, that of all human beings he must

what is worse, a wilful misrepresentabe the least liable to sudden changes of

tion. habit, costume, or customs. Under the

• The grand parlour was the sanctum burning sun of Java, the enormous

sanctorum, where the passion for cleanExotic swelters in the same old mass

ing was indulged without controul. of Hannel that had wrapped his infant

In this sacred apartment no one was limbs from the damp breezes of bis na

perinitted to enter, excepting the mistive Zuyderzee. Beneath the roman. visited it once a week, for the purpose

tress and her confidential maid, who tic moonlight of The Cape, he sits un- of giving it a thorough cleaning, and smoaking between his legs, and the putting things to rights-always taking same true stalk of Gouda beliveen his the door, and entering devoutly, on

precaution of leaving their sboes at lips. Let us see how completely he their stocking feet. After scrubbing the transplanted the observances of Old Amsterdam to the sedgy swamps

floor, sprinkling it with fine white saod, which in the inidst of ionnmerable no

which was curiously stroked into anble

, dry, and airy, and unoccupied situ- gles and curves, and rhomboids, with ations) it was Mynheer's good will a broom-after washing the windows, and pleasure to found the New._of rubbing and polishing the furniture, and pleasure to found the New.-of and putting a new bunch of evergreens course, the whole picture is meant to be a severe satire on the more fashionable

in the fire-place—the window shutters manners of the present possessors of the

were again closed to keep out the flies, city of New York.

and the room carefully locked up until

on

the revolution of time brought round culated to excite their admiration. I the weekly cleaning day.

can neither delight them with accounts • As to ihe family, they always entered of suffocating crowds, nor brilliant in at the gate, and most generally lived drawing rooms, nor towerióg feathers, io the kitchen. To have seen a numer- nor sparkling diamonds, nor immeasurous household assembled around the able trains. I can detail no choice an. fire, one would have imagined that he ecdotes of scandal, for in those primiwas transported back to those happy tive times the simplest folk were either days of primeval simplicity, which float too stupid, or too good natured to pui! before our imaginations like golden sic each others characters 10 pieces--nor sions. The fire-places were of a truly can I furnish any whimsical anecdotes patriarchal magnitude, where the whole of brag-how one lady cheated, or anfamily, old and young, master and ser- other bounced into a passion ; for as vant, black and white, nay, even the yet there was no junto of dulcet old very cat and dog enjoyed a community dowagers, who met to win each other's of privilege, and had each a prescrip- money, and lose their own tem.pers at a tive right to a corner, Here the old card table. burgher would sit in perfect silence, These fasbionable parties were genpuffing his pipe, looking in the fire with erally consigned to the higher classes, half sbut eyes, and thinking of nothing or noblesse, that is to say, such as kept for hours together; the goode vrouw on their own cows, and drove their own the opposite side would employ her. waggons. The company commonly self diligently in spioning ber yarn, or assembled at three o'clock, and went knitting 'stockings. The young folks away

about six, unless it was in winter would crowd around the bearth, listen- time, when the fashionable hours were ing with breathless attention to some a little earlier, that the ladies might get old crone of a negro, who was the ora- home before dark. I do not find that cle of the family,--and who, perched they ever treated their company to iced like a raven in the corner of the chiin- creams, jellies, or syllabubs; or reganey, would croak forth for a long win- led them with musty alınonds, mouldy ter afternoon a string of incredible sto- raisins, or sour oranges, as is often ries about New-England witches-- done in the present age of refinement.-grisly ghosts-horses without heads Our ancestors were fond of more sturdy, and hairbreadth escapes and bloody en- substantial fare. The tea table was counters among the Indians.

crowned with a huge earthen dish, well * In those happy days a well regulated stored with slices of fat pork, fried family always rose wiih the dawn, din- brown, cut up into morsels, and swimed at eleven, and went to bed at sunming in gravy. The company being down. Dinner was invariably a pri- seated around the genial board, and vate meal, and the fat old burghers each furnished with a fork, evinced their shewed incontestible symptoms of disap- dexterity in launching at the fattest pie. probation and uneasiness, at being sur.. ces in this mighty dish--in much the prised by a visit from a neighbour on same manner as sailors barpoon porpoisuch occasions. But though our wore ses at sea, or our Indians spear salmon thy ancestors were thus singularly in the lakes. Sometimes the table was averse to giving dinners, yet they kept graced with immense apple pies, or up the social bands of intimacy by occa saucers full of preserved peaches and sional banquettings, called tea parties. pears; but it was always sure to boast

. As this is the first introduction of an enormous dish of balls of sweetened those delectable orgies, which have dough, fried in hog's fat, and callerl since become so fashionable in this ciry, dough nuts, or oly koeksma delicious I am conscious my fair readers will be kind of cake, at present scarce known very curious to receive information on in this city, escepting in genuine Dutcla the subject. Sorry am I, that there families. will be but little in my description cai • The tea was served out of a marcas

« VorigeDoorgaan »